There’s a stretch of highway that begins at the northern city limits of Homestead Florida (my home and workplace for almost 33 years). It continues north-northwestward for about 212 miles along Florida State Road 997 and U.S. Route 27. It’s affectionately known as “The Chris M. Day Retirement Highway” – or the #CMDRH for short. (Chris M. Day is my name – in case you haven’t figured that out by now.)
When I drive the #CMDRH as I sing along loudly and proudly to the hottest Christian hits on the radio I picture imaginary signs along the side of the road spaced about 2 miles apart from each other that identify it as “The Chris M. Day Retirement Highway” / #CMDRH. The signs have a dark blue background with bright white lettering with the year 2023 at the bottom of the sign. (What an imagination I have !)
The #CMDRH includes a pivotal 54-mile stretch at the northern end that extends from Florida State Road 60 (to the north) to Florida State Road 70 (to the south). Somewhere within a mile of that 54-mile stretch is where I plan to move and retire in less than 3½ years. I’ve actually narrowed it down even further to the southernmost half of that 54-mile stretch. So it’s somewhere within a 27-mile stretch of U.S. Route 27 that I call “The Retirement Zone”. Sebring Florida is at the epicenter of it. (I plan to retire in Sebring.)
Sebring is a slow-growth military retirement town of about 10,600 residents within its city limits. Its population has only doubled over the past 70 years. It’s actually the urban commercial center (and seat) of its county (Highlands), and the county itself has just under 110,000 residents. It’s been an incorporated city for 107 years. It’s got a very low cost-of-living compared with much of the state of Florida. That makes it very attractive for retirees.
Nearly every road-trip vacation northward includes a trip along the #CMDRH and “The Retirement Zone”. The first 212 and last 212 miles of my recent 1,690-mile road-trip was through the #CMDRH – a week and a day apart. Once I’m in “The Retirement Zone” I drive a little slower, I look around a little longer, and I dream of a new chapter of my life that’s not too far into the future. I wonder what my life will be like when I live there in that area following the conclusion of my 38½-year U.S. Military and Government career.
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