Monday, November 12, 2007

Why travel when everyone is coming to us?

Katie and I have made a keen observation in recent days: there are about one million out-of-state license plates here in Arizona. Which means there's about two million out-of-staters. There are also drivers from Canada--we have seen Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Vancouver. We are still waiting to see Alabama, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, but I think we've got almost every other state covered.

The average age for these out-of-state drivers: 102

The technical term for these elderly out-of-town seasonal travelers is snow birds. This stems from the Arctic tern, a migratory seabird that travels from the North Pole to the South Pole every year. (Not really)

Like the arctic tern, the snow birds are seeking a warmer climate. Unlike the arctic tern, these snow birds do not have a good sense of direction. (And they don't lay eggs.) I almost crashed into an elderly couple from Missouri tonight as they traveled around 20 mph in a 45 zone. I also recently saw a tiny older woman in a large out-of-state truck drive directly out of a parking lot. Without using the exit. Over the sidewalk. Through two lanes of traffic. I am not kidding.

Driving becomes an adventure, almost like playing one of those arcade video games where you're dodging traffic and random obstacles. We have to be wary of the snow birds, in case they decide to abruptly change lanes or stop. (This is similar to driving on Hawthorne Blvd in Portland, Oregon, only the obstacles there are bicycles, buses, and hippies).

When I turn 102, I know exactly where I'll be headed for winter.


  1. Try driving ANYWHERE in Texas. They all drive like snow birds.

  2. just drove past a snow bird on the freeway going mock 40 (when he should have been going 65).... then i read your blog. the irony.