If you ask around, anyone will tell you that Upper Michigan is one of the best places to be during the warm months. However, that may not be the case during these winter months for many U.P. residents.
Pat and Dave Roberts are two people that seem to have it all figured out. They're what most people call snowbirds. They own two properties and spend half the year in Sun City West, Arizona. But they actually prefer the term 'sunbirds' because they follow the sunshine and warm weather.
Call them what you will. But these two retirees have a pretty sweet set up. Every year about this time Dave and Pat Roberts trade their rock salt and snow shovels for palm trees and sunglasses. And you'd have a hard time getting those smiles off their tanned faces.
I sat with Dave, who shared some enticing details about Sun City. He said, â??In the evening when the sun is going down, you can sit on your patio with a cup of coffee and not a single mosquito in sight...and it's like 70 degrees. So yeah, that's pretty nice!â??
I caught up with them just as they were packing for their fifth winter in Arizona. You might think the pair would get tired of making the more than 2000 mile trip twice a year. But they wouldn't have it any other way. They like to take side-trips, spending days at a time in places like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore. One of their favorite side trips is the infamous Roswell, New Mexico which is the sight of a supposed top secret extraterrestrial crash landing.
But the Roberts like to avoid controversy. They say the Postal Service is easy to work with. In addition, all their utility companies offer seasonal pricing to help save money. They even have house sitters and watchful honest neighbors that ensure both properties are secure while they're away. In fact the Roberts struggled to find any negative aspects to their lifestyle. When pressed to talk pros and cons, Pat Roberts said "I don't think there's much of a downside for the simple reason, I'm in a nice climate almost all the year."
But snowbirding, or as they call it â??sunbirdingâ?? isn't for just anyone. Their success is the result of months of meticulous planning and a lifetime of dreaming! So while weâ??re shoveling and shivering, letâ??s all remember Dave and Pat Roberts will be sipping coffee on their porch as the Apache sun melts into the horizon.