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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Winter plans

Summer here in the North Country is the time to plan for winter. Sounds dreary, I know. That’s one big advantage of being a Snow Bird. Florida sun sounds a lot nicer than nicer than tromping through the snow to the wood pile.

Last winter we didn’t start heading south until February 6. After a couple weeks of nice weather, my raspy cough and backache went away. I could stop taking vitamin D pills. We got to Florida during a cold snap, but after New Hampshire, 50 degree weather seemed nice. I had my shirt off.

Snow Birds tend to follow a particular pattern. At first, they’ll stick around until January so as to have the holidays with family. A few years later, they leave after Thanksgiving. Then they head south at the first sign of frost and don’t return until the weather is nice. At some point, many decide to become year round southern residents. That was the old routine, when transportation was cheap, pensions were reliable, and the country was generally pretty stable. That can’t be counted on anymore. We all know it’s expensive to travel. Many private pensions have failed. Even Social Security doesn’t sound too secure anymore.

Florida is going to miss those people when they can’t head south anymore. As bad as their economy is, it’ll be much worse without the Snow Birds.

My lovely wife and I are planning on heading south next winter, after the holidays. Those plans are tentative, as there’s too much instability out there. Family and friends might need us here. We don’t know if we’ll be gone for 3 - 4 months, 4 - 5 weeks, or not at all.

I have to plan for a the long trip, be prepared to settle for the shorter one, and also plan for staying the whole winter. It’s enough to make my head spin. I’m trying to figure out how many sailing charts to buy while getting the firewood ready for the winter. There’s only so much time and money to go around. Heading madly off into all directions doesn’t work particularly well. The best I can do is set priorities and have fall back plans.

Last year we spent time with family, friends and in campgrounds. Only a small percentage of our nights was spent on the sailboat. It was a learn to sail winter for us. Now we plan on spending most of our time on the boat. Small as it is, it’s become another home to us. No matter where you go, you get to sleep in your own bed. We’ll have food, water, and clothes with us. If an area seems sketchy, we can raise sail and go somewhere else. Heck, in a pinch, we could sail all the way back to New Hampshire.

Winter is hard, but I’ll be prepared for it. All the same, I’m hoping for a break from the bitter cold and deep snow.



  1. Now that sounds like you have some workable plans laid out! Pretty good time to start, also!

  2. Way down here in south Texas, we also have a large snow bird (Winter Texan) population. They do indeed help out our economy quite a bit, spending their money in restaurants and retail outlets.

    The recent violence in Mexico, especially along the border, have curtailed activities of going into Mexico for short jaunts. Cheap medicationss are also becoming a thing of the past, with U.S. border guards being more stringent in inspections. Cheap dental and medical work is still there though, but the drug cartels like I mentioned above - SCARY! We're life long residents here, and when we scoot across the border, it is only for a short time and never after dark.



  4. I noticed a lot of snowbirds lingering here until well into May, and there are a few who never left at all. The RV park at the end of my street still has a good half dozen 5th wheels that have been there since I moved in in January. Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota are the plates I can see.

    Hope y'all get to take a nice long cruise, that ICW trip would be fun!