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Today’s Baby Boomer Retirees Aren’t Sitting Around

| Updated Sep 8, 2015

As we've traveled the country we've noticed something about many of the baby boomer retirees we've been meeting.

They aren't very content to just sitting around, doing nothing. That's one reason I believe the RV industry is experiencing a big bounce, despite an economy that seems to still be pretty flat. In particular, highly mobile Type B RV's are seeing big sales jumps compared to other RV types. I'm sure it's because they feed into that active lifestyle that Baby Boomers are living with the same gusto that characterized their professional lives.

In fact, the experts tell us that whether RVing or some other activity, today's retiree is more active and busy than any previous generation. So it was with the man I profile in this video. He's Bruce Peterson, from Rock Island, Illinois. Bruce led the fast-paced, high paying life of a hospital CEO in Rochelle, Illinois, for more than 20 years.  We met him back in 2012.

He retired a few years ago. But he was far from inactive. Instead, he is a canoe maker.

And not just any kind of canoe.

We're talking handcrafted works of beauty.

Bruce and his wife Sue, a former teacher, own the Navarro Canoe Company, located a couple blocks off the Mississippi River in Rock Island, Illinois, just across the river from Davenport, Iowa. The company's motto is “timeless craftsmanship for today's canoe” and as you can see in the video, the canoes are truly works of art. Navarro Canoes reflect both the long history of a company of excellence and the innovation of design for contemporary canoe enthusiasts.  Started by the Beach family in the Northeasten United States, the 50 year tradition of craftsmanship is now being carried on by Bruce in Illinois. He bought the company in 2011 after retiring from his CEO job.

You can meet Bruce in this video and join me as we take a ride in one of those beautiful canoes on the Mississippi River.

The statistics on baby boomers reaching retirement age are staggering. Every single day more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach the age of 65. According to a recent Del Webb Baby Boomer survey, 80 percent of Boomers indicated that they feel younger than their current age. More specifically, younger Boomers, age 50, said they feel 10 years younger, Boomers in their early 60s said they feel 13 years younger and those who are 65 said they feel 15 years younger than their actual age.

No wonder they're not slowing down.

Baby boomers are redefining the retirement years, with active lifestyles, like those who travel in RVs, and those who start new careers, like Bruce and his new canoe-making job.

Regardless, as Bruce will tell you, every day is a gift.

We had a great time meeting Bruce and Sue and sharing their story.

How about you reader, how are you making or planning to make your retirement meaningful?


Mike Wendland

Published on 2015-09-08

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

5 Responses to “Today’s Baby Boomer Retirees Aren’t Sitting Around”

September 08, 2015at10:16 am, Cathie West Recca said:

Hi Mike. My husband and I are doing our trip of a lifetime to celebrate our last child leaving the nest and we selected the UP of MI. We have a 45′ class A can you help with suggestions for us? We are rather new to this and don’t want to ruin our trip by getting into any situations we travel, camping, etc. I was so excited to find you. Can you please email me at We are leaving Oct 8 .

September 08, 2015at9:21 am, MJ Curry said:

Thanks Mike and Jennifer! We love our Roadtrek RS Adventurous and now the count down for adventures cross country as we literally set our target date(s) for retirement this year. Class B is perfect for us in so many ways…efficiency, roominess within the well thought out coach, craftsmanship, ability to jump in the vehicle and go to dinner, a ride, weekend or week long camping, seatbelts 7 so grandkids and kids can go on jaunts together and we get 17 – 22 MPG. We love our Roadtrek and the fabulous family of “”trekers” we met online on the Roadtrek Group facebook page. Plan to meet and greet fellow Roadtrek owners and others as retirement unfolds and we discover more of the US and Canada. Cheers… and again thank you both for the insight, fun and adventure you share so generously! Mary Jane and Jeff Curry.

September 08, 2012at8:48 am, Stan said:

I take it that your RV I saw in one of the shots in the video? If so, what year is it and do you have enough room? How big (long) is it? My wife wants something small like yours so she can drive. I think we need something bigger.

September 07, 2012at10:51 pm, Travelingman said:

How are you going to haul a canoe on your Roadtrek? Those look pretty sweet,

September 07, 2012at10:31 pm, Ann and Tom said:

We want to be you and your wife! Great video. Reminds us of the old Charles Kuralt “On the Road” features on CBS. We don’t have an RV yet but watching your travel reports is making us think we should. I retire next spring. I agree that we Baby Boomers want to be active. RVing seems like it would be just what we need. You have two new fans. We found you from a Twitter post someone sent about this story.

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