SLIDESHOW: Couples riding retirement in the fast lane

Forget rocking chairs. Ixnay on twiddling the thumbs. And don’t even think about boredom.

Wayne and Bonnie Johnson

Wayne and Bonnie Johnson

Forget rocking chairs. Ixnay on twiddling the thumbs. And don’t even think about boredom.

Meet Russ Bartel and Sherry Creson of Bonney Lake, Wayne and Bonnie Johnson of Bonney Lake and Ron and Bev Carroll of Sumner. They’re three couples who are riding their retirements in the fast lane, right behind the steering wheel of their favorite classy cars. And they’re having the time of their lives.

The cars

The Carrolls: “We have a 1933 Plymouth 4-Door Sedan with suicide doors. We’ve been driving it since 1999 and have put over 50,000 miles on it. The paint color is called ‘Deep Iris’ but it looks more like a wine color. The engine is a Mopar 318, V-8 and bored out to 330, so it has a lot of spunk. The steering wheel is a custom-wooden wheel; power windows, air-conditioning, standard AM/FM radio with CD.

The Bartel-Cresons: “We have a 2004 Chevrolet Super Sport Roadster with a retractable hard top. It’s painted in a bright slingshot yellow. It has 50,000 miles on it – and climbing! There were only 9,000 of them made.”

The Johnsons: “We have a 1959 Ford Skyliner retractable convertible in geranium-pink and white, an original color. Our son bought us dice locks and valve-stem caps.”

The clubs

The Carrolls: The Valley Drifters, a small, statewide classic car club.

The Bartel-Cresons: None. Our cars may not be classics yet, so they don’t really fit into most clubs.

The Johnsons: The Sky-liners of America.

The adventures

The Carrolls: “Car shows; an annual Mopar picnic and fun-run to Mud Mountain Dam outside Enumclaw; Graffiti Vintage Christmas Bash to benefit underserved kids in the area; participating in the Santa and St. Patrick’s Day parades. The car has been in the movie ‘The Highway’ and has been used several times to bring brides and grooms to their receptions. It’s been to Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, where we’ll take it in a few weeks.”

The Bartel-Cresons: “So far, we’ve enjoyed just cruising but we plan to participate in local parades. Sherry ‘loves the sound of the dual exhausts.’”

The Johnsons: “Multiple parades, including Bonney Lake Days, Rod-Run to the End of the World at Long Beach, Wash. (Pepsi Cola Favorite Car Award); Sage and Sun Festival, Ephrata, Wash.; Slow Drags in Ilwaco, Wash.”

The fun

The Carrolls: “The most fun is just driving around and getting the thumbs-up from every age group – from little kids to old folks – and seeing the smiles on faces while we’re on the road. We always try to honk to the little kids; they love it!”

The Bartel-Cresons: “The Mrs. is young-at-heart and the Mr. feels he has worked long and hard and just deserves something fun. Our cars may not be classics, but they’re special to us.”

The Johnsons: “We really enjoy others giving us the thumbs-up on the freeway or stopping to ask about our cars. Our daughter Cindy was at a car auction eight years ago at the Puyallup Fairgrounds. She knew that her dad had always wanted one. She saw it, bought it and gave it to him.”

For retirees

The Carrolls: “Our advice to retirees is, ‘just do it,’ as Nike says. Time is short. Enjoy it.”

The Bartel-Cresons: “Whether it’s a collectible, classic or just something that really appeals to you, grab it, use it and enjoy it. You’re worked hard, made sacrifices and now is your time to enjoy the fruits of your labors.  Life is short; don’t wait for ‘someday’ – what are you going to do, leave it to your kids? They’ll make their own way in life, the same as you have.”

The Johnsons: “Go to the car shows. Find yourself a car that you can have fun in. It doesn’t have to be a classic, but they are the most fun. If you don’t want to get a car, do whatever it is that makes you happy and be active in it – enjoy life and have fun!”

Reach Judy Halone at or 360-802-8210.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.