Migratory Path of Two Michigan Snowbirds Pt 1

Back in the winter of 2020-2021 we had an epiphany: ‘Boyhowdy, Michigan winters are dark and with the humidity, they are constantly uncomfortably cold’. Having been born and raised here we should have remembered this sad fact. But after living for over three decades in places with sunshine and dry cold…our memories of crappy winters had atrophied. Ergo, we made the decision, ‘ain’t gonna live through another Michigan winter.

Denise sat down at the trusty iMac and began planning the great escape adventure. She spent hours researching places and prices. What sounded good…what would give us warmth and access to connections…what could we afford…and dang it, what would be fun? Fourth quarter thinking influences us nowadays. If we don’t do it now, what will we regret? After months of dreaming we hit the road on December 30th, 2020.

Being amateurs at this concept of traveling in the Midwest during winter, we searched for every weather prediction we could find. Thursday the 30th looked ok, not great but perhaps we could out run any poor weather heading to Detroitish. We did the final pack and headed out at 6:30 a.m.

Part of the experiment of our adventure was to find out if we could exist without so much stuff. We loaded what we though we would need and use for a little over 2 months and it all fit into our 2014 Ford C-Max.
After 2 1/2 hours of driving, with excellent road conditions and good traffic, our first stop was for coffee in Antwerp Ohio. A small Midwest town where Denise found a delightful small business coffee/cafe. We talked with the proud owner and the young counter person fixed us a nice cuppa and a real breakfast sandwich. We greatly enjoy meeting people everywhere.

We had such fantastic weather and the roads were clear and calm so we kept driving and made it further than we planned that first day. Instead of St Louis we made it to the edge of Missouri and stayed in Rolla.

Our initial plan was 4 days with 3 nights on the road. We had booked a stay at a Marriott resort in Palm Desert California. Our kids and grandkids were going to meet us there. Things started going sideways fairly soon on the second day of the trip. The roads remained clear and it was good sailing, even had stretches where the speed limit was 85. So we went farther then we thought we could and ended in Amarillo Texas for our second night.

We have been sensitive to the pandemic and been vigilant about vaccinations and masks. It has been interesting to observe who wears masks and which states or cities seems to be good or not so good about public health. We went in search of test kits just to be safe on the road. In Amarillo we walked into a large store (it’s name rhymes with Voldemort), and no one, I mean no one in that crowded store had a mask on. We found it disturbing. We decided to get out of Texas as soon as we could.

We started earlier than usual the next day and had in mind, heck, driving through Texas and Arizona will be a cinch. They don’t have bad driving conditions here…wrong.

Texas, for crying out loud!
We made it as far as Winslow Arizona and in the mid afternoon decided we had to stop.

We had hope and trepidation that the next day would be better. But we had to make it past Gallup New Mexico which had some elevation so the possibility of more crappy driving was real. We weren’t sure if we could drive the last leg into Palm Desert in one more day. When we awoke in Winslow it was 7 degrees and it took me a while to scrape the frost off the car windows.

We kept watching as the temperature remained well below 32, but the roads were clear.
We even stopped for the most expensive gas we had purchased and a crummy cuppa joe in The famous Gallup New Mexico. Good timing and clear roads soon brought us to California.
Welcome to California.

A stretch of desert motoring and a stop at an outrageously busy gas station/gift shop to pee brought us close to our destination. The first thing we did in Palm Desert was to get the car washed. Now you could finally see the Michigan license plates on the car.

From St Clair Shores to Palm Desert what a long strange trip. And, we were constantly blessed with traveling mercies. The major chunk of the migration was now history.

One response to “Migratory Path of Two Michigan Snowbirds Pt 1”

  1. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to more of your trip adventures.


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