Snowbirds and Geese, Watching Their Spring Exodus Back to Reality.
Campers on the Road
A Sign of Spring for Southerners.
It happens every Spring for those of us who live in the Deep South. I'm talking about the massive movement of temporary Winter residents back to their homes up North.
Sure, officially the first day of Spring is normally designated as March,21. But down here, in our near-tropical paradise, we all know that the true first day of Spring is April First.
You see, the SnowBirds from up North are driven home by the end date on the long-term leases on the Apartments, Condominiums, Homes,Campsites and other places that they rent to get away from their cold and often miserable Winter weather.
As we all go out to eat or maybe just go shopping down here, you can sense a mood change in the air starting around the second week of March.
If you look closely, the Snowbirds start getting a more frantic look in their eyes.
There is an internal sensor system used by real birds that tells them it is time to migrate back to their Summer nesting sites in the northern parts of this planet of ours.
But, those of us who live in the deep southern states, like Florida, Texas, Arizona, and others have yet another tried and true indication of when Spring actually starts.
Our signal of the change are the many preparations our SnowBirds start making for the Great Exodus back to their northern abodes.
That Look, that Far Away Look.
Being a year-round resident in Florida, I have to mention again, the strange look that Snowbirds get as their Spring deadline approaches for them.
A movie director may work with their actors for hours to get them to display a certain expression on their face that reflects their internal emotions to the camera.
Well, just like these actors, Snowbirds slowly begin exhibiting a special look in their eyes.
Oh, it's not a look of Fear, or Anger, or other such strong emotion. No, rather it's a look of consternation.
You see, once they recognize that their remaining days in our Winter paradise are numbered; and quickly coming to an end, they succumb to a need to fill every remaining moment with activity.
There's no longer time for another lazy afternoon nap.
No longer is there time for sitting on their Lanai, sipping on a frozen Margarita and enjoying the warm tropical breezes.
And probably the worst of all, they realize there are only a few days left to curl their toes in the sun-warmed white sands of the beaches.
No, they realize that their homes, their responsibilities and their friends up North are calling them back.
So, they start gathering in groups, and even work on a plan for one last party at the clubhouse bar or maybe their favorite Tiki Bar.
And, they'll get together to go over and play that golf course they had meant to play all Winter but just didn't get to.
And eventually as their last day in Paradise approaches, they dress up and go to the farewell dance/party at the clubhouse where they can say their fond farewells to their fellow Snowbirds, until next year.
They know that inevitably, finally, they will make that long return trip to their northern homes and take their leave of our Winter Paradise for another year.
The Great Exodus of Snowbirds, Tourists and Campers.
The tourists I mention are not the weekly or bi-weekly people who slip down to our warmer climes for a brief respite from the cold weather they are experiencing back home.
No, I'm talking about those seasonal tourists who have the finances to rent their favorite style of residence for often as much as six months.
And the Campers?
Well, these tourists have a little more money invested in their RV than the occasional tourist does in their Condo, but they paid this extra money to have a mobile piece of their home with them wherever they go.
They do tend to stay longer than the regular tourists, but eventually even they have to return to their northern homes. Especially the Canadians.
Then there are the Canadians
In case you didn't know it, Canadian tourists are only allowed to be out of their country for a maximum total of six months a year.
From what I have been told, the tax penalties for being out of the country longer than this limit, are stiff and quite expensive, so these savvy Canadian travelers make sure that they are in compliance with their country's laws as they aim their automobiles and campers back to the North.
In fact, the eventual evolution of traveling Canadians is to arrive in their campground in September/October and return to their Canadian homes before their six month limit is hit and that usually means being on the road in March/April.
Of course US citizens usually take a little more time to leave and are not part of this specific Spring surge of travelers.
SNAP! They're Gone
It happens that fast, like a snap of the fingers.
One day, you're,an actual resident of Paradise, are heading to the local store or Doctors office; cursing the traffic, the waiting time at the Doctor's office, the cashier lines at the department stores, and all of those other lines at all of those other places that we locals use year round; which the Snowbirds take advantage of when they visit us.
This is especially true of the Canadians. As you know they have a Socialized Medical system. I know, because I have to listen to them brag about it everywhere I go.
The interesting thing about their system is to me, what I see them doing while they are down here in my Paradise.
To me, if the size of the crowds of Canadians taking advantage of our US medical facilities in the Winter is any indication, then their system is not such a great example of socialized medicine.
They choke our Doctors offices with appointments for things that you would think they should get treated while at home.
But that is for another article in the future.
The last sure signs of the imminent departure of Snowbirds are the crowds at the department stores as they stock up on gifts and new clothes..
The Last Shopping Trip.
You see, just before they leave Paradise, they go shopping.
There will be no; Mall, Department store, Curio Shop, or especially Outlet Mall that is safe from the sharp bargain-scanning eyes of the Snowbirds.
Where the typical shopper might spend $100 on a normal day of shopping the Snowbirds will now walk in with their long lists and rolls of $100 bills.
Their lists are of gifts to take home. Gifts of Beach T-Shirts, Cargo Shorts, ladies short and top outfits, designer shoes, name brand sporting goods of all types, and those myriad special requests from their friends and relatives.
And of course there are those special things that they want to wear in front of their friends to indicate that they were in Florida, or wherever, for the winter.
When they finally pull their two or three overflowing shopping carts up to a cashier, you know that they will take more time to check out.
They will be flashing their coupons, special credit cards and such, and of course having the items rung up and bagged 2-3 pieces at a time, depending who they might be purchased for.
When we residents drive by and see these packed parking lots, we groan, but we also smile.
You see, this is the the sign. The sign that we year-round residents have been waiting for. We now know that the annual "Time of the Snowbird" is ending, yet again.
And we will have a summer of peace and time to be true residents of Paradise, without advice on how to change everything, complaints about our stores, and restaurants, and loud bloated visitors are just, well, disturbing things.
You see we know that they are now going to be "On the Road"
Campers heading Home
The Insanity of the Race home for Snowbirds.
Snowbirds, especially the Camper variety, have quite a different attitude.
To them, it's every man for himself, and the drive turns into a personal challenge to get around that other camper, or trucker or slow driver who might be in front of them.
They just have to get that parking space at the rest area that is closest to the building, so they can get to the urinal or toilet, twenty seconds before the other slower walking travelers.
Let them wait, Ha Ha!
To them, it is an all-out race, every minute, and they all want to win, by having bragging rights for the fastest trip home. You know, I made it from Tampa to Quebec in 32.57 hours! My personal best!, HA!
You see such stupid things happening on the northbound roads. For instance have you ever gotten behind an under-powered pickup truck pulling a fifth-wheel camper driving right beside another under-powered truck pulling a tag-along camper.
The one in the left lane is running wide open but he just can't get around the other truck, and the other truck is also running wide open but refuses to back off.
It's a race thing you see.
So you and a few hundred other drivers stack up behind them for mile after mile as they play their little power game with each other.
This is part of your entertainment when the Great Exodus starts.
The rest of the world stacks up behind the Snowbirds as they exercise their personal indifference to everything but their race home.
And then, it happens.
Someone runs out of gas, or someone has a flat tire, or some other calamity occurs along the road like a drowsy driver or someone running off of the edge of the road.
He recovers, maybe, but stops on the side of the road to inspect his vehicle for damage and maybe decides it is a good time for a little snack while sitting there, on the side of the Interstate highway,
You can't stop the Exodus, so you just live with it.
That;s the thing about this strange winter/spring phenomena.
We are a free country, and we can all go where we desire, if we can afford it.
The natural fact is, more people want to be warm and enjoy the Sun and Beaches of the South than there are people who want to freeze their butts of in the colder reaches of the North.
OK, I know, there are people who love to ski, who love to hike winter trails, who just flat love the beauty of a snow-covered hillside.
But, my friend, there are so, so, many more who love to wear short pants and t-shirts every day and sit at Tiki Bars and sip on a cold beer as they watch the sunsets over their favorite bay.
Me? I'm sitting here wondering if I should go over to the Tiki Bar at Tarpon Point, sit at the now uncrowded bar, ordering a pint of Yeungling Beer and a hot Cuban sandwich.
Then I can sit back, in the setting Sun, and listen to the little trio over in the corner as they play some bad renditions of Jimmy Buffet music.
They kinda Suck, but that's alright, if you're in the right mood, and besides the Snowbirds are gone.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.