The Ultimate Retirement Road Trip

Finally free to travel in September, two recently retired educators take their new Ford Fusion on a cross-country adventure.

By Chris Warren

Chuck and Betsy Losch enjoyed their decades-long careers in Indiana’s public education system—except for one thing: the school-year schedule, which limited their travel options. “We were always going when everyone else was traveling,” Chuck says. “Prices were higher and crowds were larger.” So when Chuck, a math teacher, and Betsy, a speech pathologist, retired last June, they eagerly started planning for a 21-day road trip to California and back—leaving in September, of course.

The first leg of the journey involved buying a 2015 Ford Fusion Titanium, which the couple chose because it was roomy, offered heated and cooled front seats, and featured “the kind of power you need to merge onto highways and pass big trucks,” Chuck says. With their comfort ensured, they loaded up the trunk and headed west. Here are some of the highlights from the Losches’ trek, more than 6,000 miles, from their hometown in Granger, Ind., to Santa Ana, Calif., and back.

Days 1–4: Indiana to the Old West

One must-see destination for Chuck and Betsy was Grand Teton National Park. The couple and their children had tried to visit the park in the 1990s but were thwarted by an early summer snowstorm. This time it worked out. After a night in Nebraska, they drove on to Dubois, Wyo., a place known for maintaining its Old West heritage. They stayed at a local inn and enjoyed blueberry pie at a quaint café.

From Dubois, they made day trips to the park, which was every bit as spectacular as they’d hoped. “We went for a hike and saw great views of the Snake River,” says Betsy. “We also saw the huge mountain range reflected in Jackson Lake. It was awe-inspiring.”

Days 5–9: Salt Lake City to Vegas

From Grand Teton National Park, Chuck and Betsy traversed scenic mountain roads to Salt Lake City. Wandering around on a Sunday morning, they visited the grounds of the Mormons’ majestic Salt Lake Temple and were treated to a performance by a local tabernacle choir.

Then it was back to the Fusion for a journey to a series of natural wonders: the Great Salt Lake, Canyonlands National Park, Goblin Valley State Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. After lots of hikes under the hot sun, Chuck and Betsy made it to Vegas for a couple of much-needed days of relaxation. Staying at a hotel on the Vegas Strip, they read books by the pool and even did a bit of gambling. “I won $17.88 on the slot machines,” Betsy says with a laugh.

Days 10–13: Going Hollywood

With the Vegas lights flashing in their rearview mirror, Chuck and Betsy left Nevada and drove to her brother’s place in Santa Ana. They packed in a lot over the next few days, visiting towns along the Pacific, including Laguna Beach and Oceanside, where they ate fish and chips and enjoyed the view of the marina. One Saturday night, they ventured into Los Angeles for a picnic and an amphitheater concert.

Days 14–21: Kicks on Route 66, and Home

The legendary Route 66 may not be as popular now as it was in its heyday, but it still hosts plenty of quirky attractions. Chuck and Betsy saw burros roam the streets in Oatman, Ariz., stopped by a celebrity motel in Gallup, N.M., and tasted “ugly” (yet delicious) pies at a local haunt in Adrian, Tex. From Amarillo, they drove north to Wichita and Kansas City before eventually arriving in Bloomington, Ill. where they enjoyed their final night on the road trip. Then they finally headed home.

Chuck and Betsy were amazed by the comfort and performance of the Fusion on their journey. “It was fantastic,” says Chuck. “We went approximately 6,000 miles and spent not quite $650 on gas.”*

The Losches are already dreaming about future treks—maybe to Glacier National Park or the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. “We made a good choice in getting a nice comfortable car for long trips,” Chuck says.

*2015 Fusion: EPA-estimated rating of 22 city/34 hwy/26 combined mpg. Actual mileage will vary.
Tags: Fusion

Build & Price: Fusion

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