I saw a number of RVs heading north last week. I said heading north, not south. It means the northern migration of the snowbirds has begun.
Some of these travelers have decided to head back to these parts before "spring break" season. The season when those who have suffered through the winter, especially our younger generation, decide they've had enough and head for the beaches of the southern coast. They arrive in hordes bringing their flip flops and swimsuits.
Snowbirds from the north start a hasty retreat back to where snow still sits on the ground, but there are no flip flops to be seen.
I never experienced "spring break." The furthest thing from a farm kid's thoughts was to hop on a plane and fly out of the country. The lack of a spring break was probably a good thing for us because if the school had closed for a week or two, we would have been put to farm chores we really didn't like very much. Barns that needed a thorough cleaning, feed that needed to be ground, hay that needed to be hauled and other such tasks were a far cry from sunbathing on a beach with a beer in our hand.
I've got lots of snowbird friends who spend their winter months in warmer climes. Over the years my wife and I have made shorter trips to the sun coasts either to visit or to drain our wallets at the giant theme parks that abide there. For the most part, those trips have been pleasant experiences. Some have been better than others.
A number of years ago when our daughter was just 6 years old, we won an all-expenses-paid trip to Florida. We packed up the van and headed south with visions of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck dancing through our heads. The trip south was uneventful and we enjoyed those first few breaths of air that hadn't been pre-chilled.
We won a free stay at a name brand hotel, just south of Orlando. I drove into the check-in parking lot and strode in the front door of the place. I noticed some plywood sheets sitting in the lobby and that all the desk clerks were wearing bib overalls. Quaint touch, I thought.
As I was checking in I asked the clerk why everyone was wearing bib overalls.
"Well, we are under construction and I'm sorry to inform you that the swimming pool will be closed for three weeks," she said sympathetically.
So much for the thought of watching our daughter splash around in the pool. But, the room was free as promised. I think someone got a deal on that place.
We did enjoy visiting the theme park and we did finally get to see the mouse and the duck, although it was a bit tiring getting pushed and shoved by some folks eager to get their kid in line first. But, it was a free trip, right?
Arriving back at our hotel after midnight, we saw dozens of police cars and fire engines outside with red lights flashing across the parking lot. A storm was brewing and lightning bolts flew across the sky as rain began to pelt us. I pulled up in front of our hotel room and was told by an officer that lightning had struck the hotel's transformer and the electricity was out for the night. We would have to move to another hotel across the highway.
In the rain we trudged across, my wife carrying our daughter, who was fast asleep by then, and as we stood in the rain waiting to get our new room some lady lost her little kid and screaming ensued for a time until the kid showed up in a flower pot display. We ended the night in a new room. The trip was free, remember.
So as I watch those RVs heading north, I remember that one trip to the sunny southland. I'm not heading to the beach on "spring break." I think I'll just take a stroll through the woods behind our house searching for deer antlers.
Welcome home, snowbirds. Hope you enjoyed the winter!
See you next time. Okay?