Escape from Winter - 2012 travel blog


A significant number of Winter Texans are from Canada. We have seen licenses plates from every province except the territories where no one lives - Northwest Territories (population 43,000), Yukon (population 34,000 and Nunavut (population 33,000). This migration is not a recent development. The Canadians came here in droves even when their dollar was only worth $.70. Now that we are at par, that makes a winter away from the darkness, ice and cold just as appealing to them as it is to us. We can tell from the signs everyone has outside their site, that even some of the full time park residents originally hail from there. Canadians love the price of wine and liquor in the US; theirs is much more heavily taxed. A bottle of wine that would cost less than $10 here, costs twice as much north of the border. We would be teetotalers if we lived up there.

However, the wonderful health insurance Canadians have when they’re at home does not cover them here and they have to buy special coverage when they visit the US. Each province has its own rules regarding health insurance. We have Canadian friends that cannot stay down here all winter without a quick round trip flight home to keep their coverage current.

But that’s a small price to pay for a winter of fun in the Valley. We really like Canadians. Their political views are much more likely to match ours than the folks from rural red states that predominate here. When we meet someone new, we feel far more free to express our real opinion about world events. Canadians' views about guns correspond to ours. Like us they shook their heads after two local boys were accidentally shot while playing outside their school, by folks practicing target shooting. Did the target range get closed down? No way! Instead the school brought in bull dozers and is building a berm to protect the students. We and the Canadians are mystified.

Canadians are well informed about our country and the rest of the world. We often have to stop them when they start explaining simple things about their country, because they find that many Americans have no idea they are still part of the British Commonwealth and put images of Queen Elizabeth on some of their money, for example. Americans often are surprised that Canadians study French in school. Some of the RV parks here have become favorites of the Quebecois and French is much more commonly heard in them than English. One park hosted a petanque tournament, a sort of lawn bowling which originated in France.

The Canadians we meet here tend to be outdoorsy and athletic. Most of the folks who take the weekly twenty mile bike ride here are Canadian.

Canadians are even tempered and polite. They speak with well modulated voices and listen as much as they talk. If they do not agree with you, you are likely not to know it - at least not right away. When we were at the kite festival last week, a group of them aggressively set down their lawn chairs right in front of us, partially blocking our view. The exception that proves the rule. And they did apologize.

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