Susan C. Anthony

Susan and BrittlebrushSnowbird Stories

We took trips "Outside" many times to break up the long Alaska winters. As 2004 drew to a close, we got a call from a friend who worked for an airline.  "I have a couple of guest passes you're welcome to use if you can," he said. "They expire at midnight December 31, but as long as reservations are made and tickets are purchased by then, you can travel anytime in the next three months."

We already had tickets to see our families in 2005, so we thought a little and decided to go to California to visit old friends living there. They'd previously offered to let us stay on their sailboat which was moored in Long Beach. We'd never spent much time in California, so we called them and they were thrilled we were coming.

When we landed in Palm Springs, though, they drove us not toward the ocean, but toward the desert. Unbeknown to us, they'd contributed their sailboat to charity and were living in a trailer at Imperial Spa near the Salton Sea. It was the rainiest winter in decades. The desert was green and brilliant with blooming flowers. We'd never seen so much MUD. We soaked in the jacuzzi under the stars and, compared to deep winter in Alaska, it was heavenly.

Within days, Dennis located a fifth-wheeler he wanted to buy. "Wait a minute!" I said. "I thought we were just here for a two-week vacation!"  Someone else bought the trailer first, but from then on, we were destined to be snowbirds. We were entering a new chapter of life, like it or not!

The following January we returned.  Dennis bought a motor home which we set up at Imperial Spa. He bought 4-wheelers and a trailer to haul them. By the end of that season, we also had a Jeep Wrangler so we could drive on the road. The Salton Sea desert, we decided, is a lot like Alaska, but sand instead of snow and warm instead of cold. Perhaps most important, light instead of dark. 

Winter at the Salton Sea is a lot like summer in Alaska. So we now have two summers a year and just a short Alaskan winter (in April). Here are some of our snowbird stories, in reverse chronological order with the most recent at the top. To read all of them in order, start with the bottom link in the list and links after each story will take you to the next.

Source:, ┬ęSusan C. Anthony