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Here’s a Guy Who Really Likes to Drive – More than 100,000 Miles Per Year

Category: Adventurous retirement

Arthur “Skip” Budge retired from the Plymouth, MA Police Department about five years ago. He now drives cars to vacation homes for his many clients. It’s a “sweet life” says Budge.  His story is the latest in our series of interesting baby boomer profiles as told to Patricia Kennedy. If you know a boomer retirement we should know about tell us via the Contact Us link.

I retired after twenty-eight years on the Plymouth, MA police force.  Being a police officer was a great career, but I started on the force when I was twenty years old and it was all I knew.  I really wanted time to travel and take advantage of opportunities to experience how other people live.  I never realized just how much my world was going to expand and how much I would love my new freedom.

My wife and I decided that it was going to be OK to take my pension and retire.  But I learned pretty quickly that I wouldn’t be satisfied just sitting around with nothing set to do, and that we really needed the extra dollars to supplement my pension.  Before the first year was out, I agreed to drive some friends’ cars back and forth to Florida –for something to do and to earn those extra dollars. I found that I really enjoyed the driving and helping people with a chore that they didn’t want to do themselves.  People who live in the New England states get pretty tired of winter, especially as they get older.  And, many of them don’t really want to make that long drive themselves.  Fortunately, I really like to drive.  By year two, I was in business.

Fifty-One Trips Back and Forth to Florida
The first year I drove, I made fifteen trips.  Last year, my fifth, I completed fifty-one, one-way trips delivering cars for customers.  It seems like I could grow the business indefinitely because I get new inquiries almost weekly.  As it is now, I’m pretty busy from October through May.  The rest of the time I help out at a local golf course and play as much free golf as I want.  I’m fighting hard to keep that time available for our personal travel.

Because I live in New England there’s a huge population that goes to Florida for the winter, and many people don’t want to drive their own car.  I don’t have to do any marketing at all – my only advertising expense is printing up business cards.

“People Just Trust Me”
The trust factor certainly bears on how busy I’ve become. Because I was a police officer, people just trust me.  I usually don’t even meet my customers face-to-face until the first time I come to pick up their car.  Customer service is key.  I’ll pick up the car right from the customer’s home. I deliver the car full of gas and washed.   I transport plants, dogs and even cats who, as you know, usually don’t like to ride in cars.

Some Cats Like to Ride in Cars
One good customer has a cat that actually does like to ride in cars.  Fatboy (great name for a cat!) is the subject of my two best stories about driving. Once when I was cruising down Route 95, Fatboy was roaming around the car when I glanced over just as his front paw hit the automatic window button.  The window came down and Fatboy perched up on the ledge looking for all the world as if he were about to leap out. I grabbed his tail, pulled him back in (yowling all the way) and got the window up – all without crashing into the guard rail.

Listening to Books on Tape really helps to pass the time – especially on the long stretches.  Fatboy is apparently a fan too.  Once as I was intently listening to a Stephen King thriller all of a sudden I felt just the whisper of a furry tail flashing across the back of my neck.  Fatboy!  Scared the living daylights out of me! I can still feel my heart thumping after that fright.  I had forgotten he was in the car.

 Where’s your ideal retirement location? 
Southeastern Massachusetts.  We have the Atlantic seashore, lots of fresh water ponds, hiking opportunities, abundant fresh and salt water fishing and two great retirement communities here in Plymouth with world-class golf courses. My grandchildren are here too – and that’s the real reason it’s so great.

What’s the most important quality you must have to do this work?
You must like to drive.  Really, really like it.  A good sense of direction sure helps.  And not getting too aggravated with other drivers.  After twenty-eight years as a police officer, believe me, I’ve experienced plenty of stressful and aggravating stuff.  Having a slow driver in front of me isn’t one of them.

Do you wish you had done this job when you started your working life?
If you look at my high school yearbook, you’ll see under my picture that I planned to “pursue law enforcement.”  I grew up in a police world; my father was in law enforcement.  So I would encourage anyone to go into this work.  But retirement life allows me a lot more freedom to travel, to meet new people, to earn some extra money.   I left work that I enjoyed and slid right into something that’s been great.  It’s a pretty sweet life.

Have you found any great places to eat on all those trips up and down Route 95?
There’s a great place in Manning, South Carolina – The Waffle House, at Exit 119 on R95.  I’m there so often that the locals began to wonder why they didn’t know where I lived in town even though they would see me at this popular spot so frequently!

Any great trips coming up?
Yes.  I’m driving one customer’s car from Plymouth to Las Vegas to South Florida and then back to Plymouth over the course of four months. Six thousand, five hundred miles!

How much do you charge? How does one get in touch with you?
The best way to reach me is through email — Skipbudge@comcast.net. I am good about returning emails quickly and can discuss pricing and dates by phone after that.

 

Resources

Contact Skip:    Skipbudge@comcast.net

Plymouth, MA

Waffle House in Manning, SC

The Pinehills

The Pinehills Golf (Pinehills Golf Club was created to rival the country’s most prestigious golf clubs)

Whitecliffs Golf

More Real Life Baby Boomer Retirement Lifestyles (1 dozen and counting!)

More Exciting Retirement Adventures
Nomadic Pilot’s Search for the Right Airpark Community
Peter and Sally’s Retirement Adventures 
The Retiring Nomads 
John’s Next Chapter – Afloat 
Why Betty Loved the Mobile Lifestyle in Retirement 
What Do Skiing, Rotary, and Guatemala Have in Common for This Retiree 
Living the Cowboy Life in Retirement 
SCUBA Diving Passion Leads to Marine Environment Work 
How to Live for Free as a Second Career Volunteer 

Comments: Do you have a passion for helping others to learn? Have you spent time in similar projects that have been rewarding? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

About the Author
Patricia Kennedy, a branding and marketing consultant, is transitioning to a more relaxed way of living. She lives in Boston but escapes in the winter to Key West, Florida and to Plymouth, Massachusetts in the summer. Pat’s website is www.PKCBoston.com.

Posted by Admin on May 3rd, 2012

8 Comments »

  1. What a great idea for a little business! I will keep this article in case I need Skip’s services. My husband and I live in CT and hope to be moving/retiring to Virginia soon. It’s going to be a hassle transporting vehicles (I hate driving!!) so this is good to know of someone who does this service.

    by Chris — May 9, 2012

  2. He fails to mention how he gets home from a one-way trip.

    Editor’s Note: Skip returns by air, which is built into his fee. Generally the client drives him to the airport (he usually arrives after the client). We are starting to get questions about his fees, etc. Those should be best addressed directly to Skip. We will provide a way to contact him.

    by Edward — May 9, 2012

  3. John, What a great idea! Smart, and innovative! I will keep Skip’s information for friends who plan to relocate to Florida — and hate brutal traffic. (Once again, you’re a great resource!)

    by Neil S. Schuster — May 10, 2012

  4. I would love to do this. I love to travel & like to drive. Never had a wreck, even though other drivers seem to take aim at my vehicle sometimes, & been driving for over 40 years.

    by retirehappy — May 12, 2012

  5. My Hub has to have surgery this week and 10 days ago we went up to Hartford, CT for an orientation in regard to the surgery and what to expect. We drove most of the way on two lane roads but at one point we had to get on the interstate. Didn’t think much about it but soon discovered it was bumper to bumper with cars going 80 mph. I have driven on highways during my lifetime but this was terribly frightening. We eventually needed to get off an exit and were not sure if the exit was right or left so we had stayed in a middle lane. So all of a sudden our exit comes up and we need to move over 3 lanes to the right. OMG, I thought we were going to die. There was no room to move over and the cars kept flying by. We did by some miracle get off the exit but it was horrifying. There was very little space between each car and what little there was someone would dart into it causing us to apply the brakes. My Hub won’t be able to drive after surgery and I was supposed to drive him home. The trip is around 1 1/2 hours. I told him I could NOT drive on the interstate with that kind of traffic. I know there are back roads but I just don’t feel comfortable driving on unfamiliar roads. So, this may sound stupid but I hired a limo company to take us out there and bring us home. He has to stay overnight and I am staying in a hotel out there. In my wildest dreams I never thought I would be terrified but I am. I am 63 years old and maybe this is the beginning of no more interstate driving for me. Is anyone else bothered by bumper to bumper traffic going 80 mph? I admit I don’t drive too much on the highways but where Iive they are not congested like Hartford! Plus, both my Hub and I have issues driving at night with the glaring headlights. Seems no one obeys the speed limit, too much texting and other things. I think some of these drivers are reliving their teenage video games and think driving is a game. I live in a rural area and we have limited public transportation here. So driving is a must but no more interstates for me in the congested cities.

    by Louise — October 24, 2016

  6. Louise – It isn’t stupid to hire the limo, I hate traffic driving also & we fell into it going to a Boston hospital a lot for a number of years especially on a Fri. night around rush hour. If you have a GPS it might map out the secondary roads for you or you can do it with google maps that lets you pick fastest or I think it is called ‘scenic route” that you could pick. But sounds like the limo is the best for you.

    by Sue M — October 25, 2016

  7. I completely agree with Sue M, Louise. It is far from stupid — it’s a really good idea! I’m a little older than you and, though I still can negotiate the interstates, we don’t have that kind of traffic. In our travels, we do at times hit cities which are comparable to what you describe and for anyone who is not used to it, that situation is disconcerting and frightening. Sorry you had to go through it. I also agree that a GPS might help because it can let you know BEFORE you get there that you need to change lanes if you find yourself on a fast highway as well as provide non-speedway alternatives. For the high speed, distracted drivers there is no solution. I will keep your limo suggestion in mind for my own future. thanks

    by Rich Beaudry — October 25, 2016

  8. Don’t forget if you are a member of AAA they will help you with a map both online and in their offices, at least here in IL. You can request a ‘TripTik’ online or in our local office they can often print one for you the same day depending on how busy they are. The TripTik is a page by page set of directions, map, miles travelend shown on that page, possible construction delays, etc. Free if you are a member. We belong because of the road service which thankfully we have never needed thus far, but the mapping has been most helpful many many times. Besides the TripTik regular maps are available and there are books for each state you might travel through with info about cities, hotels and eateries which have AAA ratings. We have to go through Gary and NW IN often and it is a nightmare as you describe. Seems to be the same in all big city throughways. And signs are not adequate in giving drivers enough time to make needed lane changes safely and in plenty of time. If you can time drives out of the rush hour time that could obviously help. But hiring a limo is a great idea.

    by Carol Dugan — October 25, 2016

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