Meet John from Sunshine RV Resort in Harlingen, Texas

johnvanwyk

Profile:

  • Name: John Van Wyk
  • In position since: 2011
  • Title: Resort Manager
  • Work Location: Sunshine RV Resort
  • Favorite Activities: Fishing and Bird Hunting

1. What does a typical day at Sunshine RV look like? What is your favorite moment?
I usually start out the morning with my “housekeeping” activities and then move on to items that pertain to our residents. I try to get their requests completed first before moving on to my other duties, such as managing our on-site restaurant, coordinating our schedule jpage-encorerv-rgv-sunshineinterior-67-1of special events and working with our internal team here at the RV resort.

My favorite moment of the day comes when I get to interact and visit with our residents just one-on-one. I’m usually focused on what I can do to make their experience even more enjoyable, so it is nice to take a second and catch up with guests.

2. You are working, while people at the park are enjoying their vacation. How do you handle that?
jpage-encorerv-rgv-sunshineinterior-61-1I enjoy seeing people have fun and come up with new ways to enjoy the community, so I never look at it as “working” while others vacation. The guest experience comes first and making sure that everyone is enjoying their stay keeps me busy, so the day goes by pretty fast.

 

3. When people ask you what best experiences are in the surrounding areas, what would you recommend?

There are some excellent golf courses in the area where guests can test their skill. Birding is huge in the Harlingen area, as we are in the middle of the migratory pattern for birds jpage-encorerv-rgv-sunshineinterior-48-1heading south, as well as butterflies. However the must-see destination in the area is definitely South Padre Island, where you get a mix of southwestern culture and beach paradise.  Also, many Winter Texans take day trips to Progreso, Mexico which is about 30 minutes from our property. They go for shopping and the authentic dining experience. I’ve also heard they go for affordable dental care.

4. What’s your favorite Sunshine RV story to tell?
I don’t think I have one particular story that sticks out. I get a lot of pleasure out of helping people get plugged into something that brings them joy. Many times we are dealing with someone that may have recently lost a spouse and after the grieving process, they may need a little encouragement to get out and find fun. They often thank me for helping them through that and that is usually the most rewarding feeling.

jpage-encorerv-rgv-sunshineinterior-82-15. What’s your top accomplishment so far at Sunshine RV?
When I was hired as the Resort Manager two years ago, there were many areas of the operation that needed to be improved including staff morale and resident relations.  I am very proud to say that in the past two years, as a team, we’ve been able to create a positive environment for both the staff and residents.   As far as property improvements, most recently, we completely renovated our indoor pickleball courts which is something I am very proud of. We now have three, indoor, climate-controlled courts that are the envy of many.  

6. If you can describe (in a few words) your RV park to someone who thinks about coming to South Texas, what would they be?

Sunshine RV Resort has approximately 1000 sites.  For those who would prefer to stay in a smaller community, we do have a secluded section of the resort called Lakeside which has approximately 150 sites, with it’s own amenities and a lake!    Our RV site options jpage-encorerv-rgv-sunshineinterior-24-1include standard, premium, pull thru, and lakeside.  We have all the standard amenities you can think of including indoor/outdoor pickleball courts, a woodshop, a dog park, and a fitness center.  In addition, we have two large buildings that accommodate many of our entertainment events and activities.  

7. What brought you to Sunshine RV?
A friend told me about an ad in a newspaper that they were looking for a manager of Lakewood RV Resort, a 300 site community. I was hired and immediately made many improvements, to the point where I was promoted to run Paradise Park RV Resort, a 600 site RV resort. Eventually, I was promoted to manager of Sunshine RV Resort, which is over 1,000 sites and includes an on-site restaurant. You could say hard work brought me to Sunshine RV.

8. A last word for your guests?

While you may come to enjoy the warmth at Sunshine RV Resort, you’ll quickly find that the genuine staff and the kind people who stay at the resort make you want to keep coming back, year after year. At the end of the day, it’s all about the people, the customer experience and having fun!

Tips & Tricks: Are you prepared for a flat tire?

kal-tire-trailer-in-field

Story & photo courtesy of Snowbirds & RV Travelers Magazine

Your bags are at the door. You’ve mapped your route. The RV is packed. Before you head south for the winter, remember to take care of the tires that are going to get you there.

It always happens at the most inconvenient times: on a snowy, narrow mountain pass, on a Sunday night 60 kilometres from the next town, or a mere hour into your three-day journey south. With all the kilometres and pressures we put on our RV tires, getting the odd flat tire is considered part of this mode of travel, but there are ways to help prevent flat tires in the first place, and ways to be prepared when it happens.

PREVENTING FLAT TIRES:

Check the pressure

Before you begin packing up your RV or motorhome, have the air pressure checked on all of your RV tires, including the spare tire. RV’s often sit for long periods of time before they move onto the highway, and between trips, tires can lose a significant amount of air pressure.

Under-inflation is one of the most common causes of flat tires, and it can also lead to uneven tire wear as well as poor handling and fuel economy.

If you have a travel trailer, once it’s fully loaded, be sure to weigh each axle to confirm that the gross vehicle weight (GVW) matches the recommended tire pressure.

Check for weathering

Depending on how and where they’re parked, RV’s can be exposed to the elements, and that can impact a tire’s condition. Inspect the sidewalls for cracking, feathering and fading. Exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause the rubber to deteriorate, and weathered tires aren’t as fit to handle heavy loads at high speeds and hot temperatures.

Check the tread

While you might only have eyes for your sunny American destination, remember you may have to go through at least one Canadian snowstorm. To reduce the likelihood of a blowout and for optimum grip and handling in cold temperatures and on snow, ensure you have at least 3.5 millimetres or 4/32 inches of tread depth left on at least all-season M+S (mud and snow) tires.

PREPARING FOR FLAT TIRES:

The only thing worse than getting flat tire on the way south, is getting a flat tire late at night in the middle of nowhere and being unable to change it yourself. Fortunately, with the right equipment handy and a bit of know-how, you can usually get yourself back on the road in no time.

Check your ‘changing a spare tire’ equipment

Some RV’s come equipped with a standard jack and/or tire iron to help you remove a flat tire, but some models don’t. Be sure you know where your equipment is, and know exactly what you have.

In a best-case scenario, you would have on hand:

  • Accessible, well-inflated spare tire in good condition
  • Jack or ride-on ramp
  • Chock (for double-axle trailers and to keep other tires in place)
  • Tire iron
  • Cones to place around your RV as a warning to other drivers

For your safety and to help ensure your tire can be repaired in the future, only use inflator kits and sealants after educating yourself on how and when to use these products . If you get a flat tire, the best thing to do is put on the spare and get your RV to the nearest tire service centre.

Practice changing a tire

Now that you have everything you need to change a flat tire, practice once or twice on the driveway so you’ll be confident if you need to do it on your own in an emergency.

Come Discover the Florida Everglades!

everglades

People have been coming to the southern tip of Florida, specifically to the Florida Everglades, for centuries. Snowbirds have tried to keep this area a secret; however, something this great has a way of becoming known.

Subtropical Wild
When some people hear the word Everglades, they think swamps and dangerous creatures. While the Florida everglades are one of North America’s unsung wild places, there’s plenty of amenities here too.

birdsYou’ll marvel at the subtropical landscape that is both beautiful and rugged. This mostly untouched wilderness has plenty of wildlife that will delight and surprise. You can take wildlife tours via plane, boat or airboat, by vehicle or on a bicycle or walking tour.

There are several parks in the Everglades to enjoy. Spend a day exploring the 11,000-acre Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary where you’ll find the largest remaining stand of ancient virgin bald cypresses. There’s no trekking through the jungle here, it’s an easy two-mile walk along a boardwalk that passes through marshes, wet prairie, pinelands, hardwood hammocks and cypress swamps.

Fishing and Boating
Fishing is one of the main attractions of the Everglades. A fishing trip into the Ten Thousand Islands is an experience like no other. Imagine a land where there are no roads, no stores, and no signs of civilization. Now imagine yourself venturing into the tidal creeks and rivers and the mangrove islands and landing the catch of a lifetime.

fanAnglers of all ages and experience love the guided fishing tours here. Remember to bring your camera too. This land is flush with osprey, pelicans, herons, egrets, white ibis and roseate spoonbills. Don’t be surprised if a bottlenose dolphin or manatee tries to capture your attention.

There are several guided tours in the area that offer up both fishing and boat tours. Choose from guided kayak and canoe adventures, an airboat tour, or rent a boat for the day to explore the beaches and islands of the area.

Fresh Feasts
As you can imagine, being this close to the water means great seafood. There are as many types of restaurants in this area as there are variations on seafood dishes! Cafes, delis, family dining and five-star cuisine are all within minutes of wherever you’re staying. Some eateries even offer views of alligators while you eat!

There are several ethnic restaurants as well that serve Chinese, Italian, Cuban, Colombian, Peruvian and Caribbean food.
Learn More About the Everglades

One must see place is the Museum of the Everglades in Everglades City. Step through the doors and learn the story of the past 2,000 years in the Everglades. There are pierartifacts, period photographs, programs, lectures and events. While the museum is small, it contains a thorough history of the area from the native tribes, to the Tamiami Trail, and the Big Cypress Swamp.

There is loads of information here as well as a rotating gallery near the entrance where you’ll see great local art.
Where to Stay
Although there are motels, hotels, cottages and B & Bs in this area; this subtropical paradise was made for RVers.

Pull in and park your home on wheels amongst the avocado, mango and palm trees. The Miami Everglades RV Resort near Miami, Florida was voted “Best Campground in Miami.”
famSet yourself up in a spot that feels just right for you in the 34-acres of tropical camping surrounded by tropical floral nurseries and farms. From here you are only 10 miles away from Everglades National Park. Key Largo is located 30 miles to the south.

Travel a bit further south and you’ll come to the Florida Keys RV Resort. This 28-acre resort is located on its own island! Picture yourself waking up in a place where you are surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico. Ocean views in every direction, an onsite marina and plenty of amenities are right here for you to enjoy. Venture out and enjoy Long Key State Park, the Dolphin Research Center and the Bud ‘N’ Mary’s world famous fishing marina.

Both Miami Everglades RV Resort and the Florida Keys RV Resort also have lodge and cabin rentals for your convenience.

No matter where you go, or where you stay, you are sure to find plenty of great adventures, and ways to relax in the Florida Everglades.

Come For The Sun, Stay For The Fun At Fun-N-Sun RV Resort in Texas

fns

Its name, “Fun-N-Sun”, says it all. This resort in San Benito, Texas, shouts out loudly, “The sun is here. We provide the fun. Just arrive and enjoy.”

A good RV resort shouldn’t be just a place to park in the sun. It should have top notch facilities for the guest’s relaxation, amusement, and exercise. You’ll find all of this at Fun-N-Sun RV Resort. There is a large recreation hall where musicians put on concerts, as well as a large dance hall, one of the largest halls in Texas, where folks can spend the evening dancing and visiting. They also have a barber and beauty shop in case you want to fix up for the dance.

What hobbies or fun things are you interested in? If you want to hone up your computer skills, you can join the computer club. There is also a R/C car racing club, motorcycle club, Ham radio club, Genealogy club, writers club, and card games of all kinds. Don’t forget the R/C flying in the field across the road.

jpage-encorerv-rgv-funnsuninterior-15If you are looking for more activity, the four new, indoor, pickleball courts are sure to keep you busy at all times of the day. You can also check out the 10 billiard tables, take dance lessons, partake in indoor shuffleboard or table tennis. It’s a good place for kite flying, softball field, badminton, bocce ball, and checking your distance on the driving range. Their huge fitness centre is really loaded with top notch exercise equipment. The park is big enough that you can get a lot of bicycling done just riding on their inner roads.

Other activities that draw a large following are the art classes, music room, dance lessons, tennis lessons, sewing, well ventilated woodshop, stained glass, lapidary, and silversmith groups. Of course, after all of this, you won’t pass up the huge pool, or the hot tub. WiFi is also accessible at a few hot spots, or you can purchase full access.wood

Christmas is a special time with a catered meal at the park. This is a great time to see the lengths that people in the community go to in order to have their place look radiant with Christmas lights. The RV resort also has a small train, often used to give people rides through the park to see the bright sunsets, but at Christmas it winds around the park to give guests views of the coloured decorations and is a popular delight during the season.

These are just some of the activities you would expect a park of 1400 sites to have. If you don’t have an RV, you can stay in a Park Model, or rent a fully furnished cottage.

The Fun-N-Sun RV Resort is ideally located in the southeast corner of Texas, close jpage-encorerv-rgv-funnsuninterior-54enough to South Padre Island that you can easily drive over to enjoy the 34 miles of white sandy beaches, wade in the soft, warm waters of the ocean, and if you stay late enough in the day, view magnificent sunsets.

If you are interested in fishing you definitely should try out the Pirate’s Landing Fishing Pier in Port Isabel, just before the bridge that takes you to Padre Island. They have tackle and bait, snacks, rest rooms, and good parking. This is the longest  fishing pier in Texas and even if you don’t want to fish it’s worth visiting for a walk. The pier is also a great place on Friday nights to observe the fireworks as you walk. Some of the best fish and chips you will ever eat are available in Port Isabel, and there are often ‘all you can eat’ fish specials.

This part of the valley is very flat and for centuries the Rio Grande has meandered all over the valley floor leaving behind old channels and oxbow lakes, now cut off from the river. Downtown San Benito has a twisting 400 foot wide oxbow lake, The Resaca. For your enjoyment there is a waterfront path used by bicycles, walkers and hikers. Along the way there are picnic tables and a place to grill a few sausages, or wieners as you watch the raceducks dive for food.

Nature walks and bird watching are still the valley’s most popular activities. The area is in the bird migration flyways. The birds tend to avoid the desert to the west, and the ocean to the east, to pass in the thousands right through the Lower Rio Grande Valley. With a 365 day growing season, the wide plant diversity supports the needs of the 500 plus varieties of birds, and don’t forget the 300 types of butterflies. The Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge now protects the area.

Carol, a snow bird from Canada, tells it this way. “Fun-N-Sun is a Winter Texan’s paradise. Each and every day I can choose from a hive of activities in which to participate. Evenings are spent on the dance floor or, on the patio with a glass of wine and good friends. My day is filled with as much or as little as I want to do. On the days I choose to kick back, I relax in the sunshine and warmth, gazing at the palm trees swaying gently in the breeze. But most of all, I enjoy the people here at Fun-N-Sun. We are a community of active and fun loving adults whose friendships continue when we head back north.”

Now is the time to make arrangements at a really active RV resort.

Golf During the Winter at ViewPoint RV Resort

viewpoint-golffix2-1

ViewPoint RV Resort in Mesa, Arizona features both an 18-hole championship and a 9-hole executive course that will satisfy players of all abilities. The par 71, 6,374-yard Championship Course, opened in 1996, provides a fair test without the extremes of desert target golf. Relax and enjoy the tree-lined fairways, immaculate greens and strategic bunkering of the courses.vp

The sounds of rippling streams or cascading waterfalls will remind you why you play the game. If you’re a beginning player or you’re working on your short game, you’ll love our 9-hole executive course. This is a great place to take the youngsters or to enjoy a quick nine when time is short.

“This is traditional golf,” says Frank Samprone, the Director of Golf Operations, “it’s not overwhelming for the average player, but it still provides a good degree of challenge for the better player. Our pace of play is _15a5365-1excellent. An 18-hole round rarely takes more than four hours. It’s also a great course to walk.”

If you’re looking for an equipment upgrade, the Viewpoint ProShop carries full lines of clubs, equipment, accessories, and fashionable men’s and women’s golf apparel.

_15a4854-1ViewPoint’s golf facilities also include Fat Willy’s Clubhouse Pub & Grill, with spacious banquet rooms and a quaint little bar and grill that will surely quench your thirst or appetite before, during or after your round on the links. The Terrace Green Event Center with its elegant decor and stunning scenery can be the perfect setting for any group event including: weddings, receptions, golf outings, and social gatherings.

Visit the ViewPoint  golf website for tee times, course information, and more: http://www.viewpointgolfresort.com/course/