(or) the last half of our trip home and a summary of what we learned
25.02.2011 - 01.03.2011
View "Snowbirding 101" or Our first trip South for the winter on jcsc's travel map.
That weatherman was certainly right! Thursday night/ Friday morning was one to be remembered. The wind started about 2 AM and then shortly thereafter came the rain. It’s “exciting” trying to sleep in a trailer that is shaking so hard that you wonder if it is going to just get blown into the lake. The rain came at the trailer horizontally. It was fun after it was light enough so we could see. The birds, the ones that we could see, were having a hard time just holding on. After while the wind slowed down and about noon we were able to pull out.
Our ride to Cal Expo RV Park in Sacramento was uneventful because the storm had passed on through and we found a place just 2 spaces down from where we had spent 6 days in November. We took the next 2 days seeing Susie’s family again before the last leg of our trip.
It was our plan to leave on Monday, Feb. 28. According to the forcasters (again!) there was supposed to be a series of storms coming through N.CA for the next “forever”. I was in the getting-home mode. Each weather report differed a little, but they all showed a brief window of no storminess south of the Redding on Monday. I was concerned in that I had no chains for the PU or the trailer (new law). So I followed my impression to leave promptly Monday. We had a great trip to Redding. Then the clouds came up and we started across the mountains. By the time we got to Weed, it was 32 degrees, windy, and snow being blown lightly about, but none falling. As we came down the mountain, the weather improved. Although there was some snow on the sides of the road, the roads were not icy and we made it safely up to the RV park for our last night out. It had been a busy, nerve-racking day and it was good to relax along the banks of the N. Umpqua River near Roseburg.
Mar. 1, Tuesday, was our last day of our snowbirding excursion. It was uneventful, although we were introduced to winter. Having been in the desert all winter, we felt like we had missed it since it was usually in the 70’s most days. Now we were back driving through cold drizzle. To be honest, I kind of like the WA winters. (I just miss the sun after a while) Susie doesn’t like winters here, or anywhere else it’s cold! So I didn’t mind the drive up I-5. We arrived home about 6 PM.
OBSERVATIONS AND DATA FROM OUR CLASS – SNOWBIRDING 101
Data from trip
• 8138.4 total miles; 3919.8 miles pulling trailer; 11.62 mpg pulling trailer
• 15 weeks (to the day) gone from home
• We enjoyed our trip very much. We approached it as a college class. I logged all data regularly on my Excel spread sheet. We analyzed every aspect of what we did. Here is what we came up with:
o I don’t like to drive a combined unit of 48 feet. Driving on a highway is fine, no problem. But getting gas, shopping, eating out while pulling the trailer…..not my “cup of tea”.
o Our trailer, w/ the additions that I had made to it, worked excellent.
o I found that most of the people that we saw RVing were noncampers. They were interested primarily in getting from home to their pre-rented sight, that they had stayed in for the last “umpteen” years, ASAP. They parked their “homes”, put up their sat TV dish, put out their chairs and decorations, and mainly just sat there for 3-4 months.
o Don’t get me wrong, they were the nicest people I have ever met, happy, always a greeting, ready to help if I needed any, but they were content to stay put for the winter.
o We enjoyed, as you could tell by my running blog, going out and exploring all about where we were located. Often times, after a week at a place, we were ready to move on to the next. I suppose this feeling may lesson as we get older. But for now, I just can’t find myself sitting by the pool all day.
o We definitely need to find a better way to access the internet. When a park advertizes free Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi available, we found that most of them mean that they have access and most of the time the band-width was jammed and we could not use it very well.
o We learned that if we exercised certain financial planning and constraints, we could afford our dream as easily as staying home.
o We loved seeing and learning about all the areas we visited. Many of the places we want to go back to and spend more time. Oh, yea, I had plenty of photo ops too…..took over 11,000 pictures……now for the editing!
o And finally, yes, we plan to do it again next winter. But we plan on driving a small car, w/ good gas mileage, and renting an apartment, condo, park model, etc. We found that by looking around, we could find (at least in the area we were in) places to that would be close to the same price as our RV park costs and the extra gas to get us there.
I hope you have enjoyed this vicarious snowbirding adventure that I have led you on this winter. If any of you have made comments to this sight, I haven’t seen any of them due to certain parameters inherent to the sight. If you want to comment, you can do so at my personal email account, firstname.lastname@example.org.