Tropical Weather at Tropic Winds RV Resort in South Texas

You don’t have to fly to an island to enjoy tropical weather. Texas has a gem of a place for delicious tropical breezes in Harlingen, Texas. Friendly staff and dozens and dozens of Winter Texans will make your stay here one to remember. Tropic Winds RV Resort is just 48 km (30 mi) from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Located in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley, the resort offers a wide variety of fun filled activities.

Home Away from Home

Melissa Cortez, the Tropic Winds RV Resort manager makes sure there are plenty of things to do for her guests. “Here at Tropic Winds we have a variety of activities for our Winter Texans. The activities they like the most are pickleball, our remote-control race track, arts and crafts, and the entertainment we provide.” Other activities include shuffleboard, horseshoes, bocce ball and the ever-popular line, square and ballroom dancing.

Most Winter Texans think of Tropic Winds as their home away from home. It’s the perfect place to sit back, relax, pour yourself a cold drink, read a book or have a friendly chat with your neighbor. Then when the mood strikes, there are plenty of adventures just outside the RV resort to fill you with wonder and get your heart pumping.

Water Fun, Golf and Birding

When you’re ready to explore the area, the warm, sandy beaches of South Padre Island await. Nestled between Laguna Madre and the Gulf of Mexico, the warm embrace of the water entices you to come and swim or sail.

The area surrounding the resort also offers world class golf at various local public golf courses. There are over a dozen golf courses near Harlingen. Just a golf swing away you’ll find two 18-hole championship courses at Rancho Viejo Resort and a scenic 18-hole course at the South Padre Island Golf Club.

If exploring nature and wildlife captivates your interests more, Harlingen is home to the World Birding Center and two of the most unique wildlife refuges in the country. The city is also home to Bass Pro Shops, a new and exciting attraction.

Hunting and Fishing

This area is akin to a hunter’s paradise. Texas is home to a variety of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, nilgai (antelope), javelin (similar to a wild boar), wild pig, dove, quail, ducks, wild turkey and more. The landscape and year-round greenery gives the area a unique advantage, as it encourages the growth and development of some of the largest animals found in the state.

Excellent fishing opportunities abound, whether you want to try and catch a big one off the pier or do some deep-sea exploration. Harlingen offers excellent fishing opportunities because of its location at the southernmost tip of Texas. Anglers can enjoy some of the best sport fish available year-round. Some fish species you may find include redfish, speckled trout, flounder, tarpon and many more. Offshore anglers can target marlin, sailfish, Dorado, snapper, grouper, amberjack, and others.

Museums, Theatre, and Shopping

There are several local museums that provide an excellent opportunity to explore the history of Harlingen. Be sure to plan a visit to the Iwo Jima Monument, Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum, and historic Jackson Street.

There’s great live entertainment here too. You can take in a variety of events such as community theatre, sporting events, and world famous musical acts. If retail therapy is on your mind, the Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets are a short drive away and feature over 140 name brand stores.

Family Fun

For family friendly fun, schedule some time to discover the 1,600 exotic and native animals at Gladys Porter Zoo. This dynamic zoo is organized into four distinct zones: Africa, Asia, Tropical America, and Indo-Australia. Within these zones, you will see such creatures as Galapagos Tortoises, Caribbean flamingos, tree kangaroos, kookaburras, and Bactrian camels.

And Relax

Once you get back to Tropic Winds, make sure you check the activity board. There could be a card tournament, live entertainment or a dance to close out the day. Tomorrow is another day; perfect for wherever you want to explore or just relaxing.

Winter Texans Stay in South Texas, Play in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico

There’s a great little town just 45 minutes from Fun and Sun RV Resort in San Benito, Texas that has everyone spreading the news.

Nuevo Progreso is a town located across the Mexican border that offers up spectacular shopping and fun things to do. They call themselves the friendliest folks on the border, and if you ask any Winter Texan, they’ll probably agree.

“The people in Nuevo Progresso really look after the visitors,” said long time Fun and Sun resident, Canadian, Gary Scott. “We get a lot of people from Ontario, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan and BC come down to Fun and Sun. They are great people, and we all head over to Nuevo Progreso.”

Walk Across the Border

Gary is a true-blue Winter Texan. He loves the town, the people and all there is to do there.

“It’s right across the border from Progresso, Texas, and it’s so easy to get to,” he said. “My wife and I usually just walk right across the border. There’s a bridge across the Rio Grande River from the US to Mexico. The river isn’t very wide at that point so most people park their cars in the States and walk over.”

Gary and his wife love the fact that it’s only a half hour drive from Fun and Sun in San Benito, and that they feel safe and very welcome in Nuevo Progreso.

Dentists and Shopping

Many Winter Texans, snowbirds and Americans head over to Nuevo Progreso for dental services. Some of the country’s highest rated dental experts practice here, over 40 offices in all. “A lot of people go over there to get the medication and to go to the dentists,” explained Gary. “It’s cheaper than in the USA. You can go across and get your teeth cleaned for $20! A lot of Canadians and Americans that don’t have dental plans just cross the border and get their work done.”

“We like to go over there for a fun day. We do some shopping and have something to eat,” he said. “We might go over a few times a week. It’s one of the safer places in Mexico and it is typically a town that caters to tourists.”

“The department stores here are great,” said Gary. “They have one called the El Disco Super Center. It’s the largest department store in town and has everything from rustic furniture to music, piñatas and cowboy hats. At El Disco, they even have a bar. It’s called Panchos. It’s quite the place for Winter Texans. We come here to eat, drink and dance. The bartenders are friendly and they all know your name after a while.”

They have other stores in town as well that carry everything a Winter Texan would need for the season, even hair salons and barbers. “I can get my hair cut for $4 here!” he said with a smile.

Festivals, Food and Fun

Twice a year they hold festivals that celebrate the tourists who help keep the town’s economy alive. “They have this one in January called Welcome Back Winter Texan Day. All the vendors have all their goods out on the street,” said Gary. “There’s free tequila and free beer too! It’s a really good hoot. Then in March, they have Winter Texan appreciation day. There are mariachi bands playing and they give away little goodies. There are thousands of people that go over there for that.”

Nuevo Progreso is also known for its food. Ttry some authentic Mexican food prepared by the people who know it best. There’s also seafood restaurants, Italian and great steaks. Most restaurants are family friendly, and have live music. For more music, just step outside and listen to the street entertainers.

Gary and his wife will be back next year so they can enjoy the diversity, safety and rich culture of Progreso Nuevo.

Canada 150: See How We Celebrated!

2017 marked the 150th anniversary of Canada! Encore RV Resorts celebrated Canada 150 by throwing several appreciation days across the Sunbelt to celebrate this major milestone!

All of our Canadian guests and US friends were invited to join us for a fun-filled day of activities, including bocce ball, petanque, shuffleboard tournaments, dancing, jam sessions and so much more.

Check out the recap video and let us know what you think!

Top 16 Achievements in 2016 – Texas RV Resorts

In order to ensure an amazing customer experience for the region’s Winter Texans, Team Texas worked diligently to improve all aspects of its RV resorts in 2016.

To express our appreciation of such hard work, we’ve compiled a list of the top 16 Texas achievements that made us proud. These successes ranged from property upgrades to the annual Encore Inter Resort Games, while even witnessing the rise in popularity of RC cars! 

1/ Victoria Palms RV Resort (City: Donna, TX). Received the prestigious “Official Best of Texas” award as the Best Age-Qualified RV Resort in the state. The RV property recently replaced its 11,000 sq. ft. ballroom floor with new maple wood flooring, and will be ready to host activities and concerts throughout the winter season.

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2/ Sunshine RV Resort (City: Harlingen, TX). Added three new indoor pickleball courts to its portfolio of amenities, as well as a two petanque courts.

Sunshine Pickleball

3/ Lake Conroe RV & Camping Resort (City: Willis, TX).  Added 33 new homes – a mix of 2-3 bedrooms. Also, this beautiful property underwent several property improvements, including upgrading its swimming pool.

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4/ Encore Inter Resort Games. All ten Encore RV resorts in South Texas created and participated in an Olympic style competition amongst one another. 500+ residents competed in 15 games including pickleball, shuffleboard, darts, swimming, billiards, bridge, and bocce ball just to name a few. This annual competition has been going on for about eight years, with Fun-N-Sun RV Resort taking home the trophy last season.

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5/ RC Cars are Getting Very Popular. Added four more remote controlled car tracks in the region, growing from one track to five now. Tropic Winds, Fun-N-Sun, Victoria Palms, Country Sunshine, and Alamo Palms all have tracks for RC car enthusiasts to enjoy and compete.

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6/ Rallies, Festival and Trade Shows in the US & Canada. During 2016, our team attended over 50 events all over Canada and the US in order to promote South Texas and other Sunbelt destinations. If you attended a major RV show, you might have met our very friendly and resourceful colleagues.

Shows

7/ More Canadian guests flocked to South Texas. Throughout 2016, we are extremely pleased to notice a growing number of Canadians who choose to spend their vacation in South Texas. 21% more Canadians stayed with us than the prior year, and we love it!

Canadians More flocking

8/ Medina Lake RV Campground (City: Lakehills, TX). Built 2 boat docks for guests to enjoy a variety of water activities such as fishing, boating and kayaking.

9/ Conferences & Seminars in Canada. During 2016, our very own Team Canada promoted our South Texas properties at 22 conferences and seminars across Canada such as Montreal, Quebec City, Hamilton, Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Seminars

10/ Fun-N-Sun RV Resort (City: San Benito, TX). Added two great amenities, including four indoor pickleball courts and by popular demand, an RC track and RC airplane field.

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11/ Tropic Winds & Fun-N-Sun RV Resorts (Cities: Harlingen & San Benito, TX). Very proud to share that the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence has been Awarded for 2016 to these two amazing South Texas RV resorts.

12/ Lakewood RV Resort (City: Harlingen, TX). Replaced its 8,000 sq. ft. ballroom floor with new maple wood flooring, perfect for our square dancing and line dancing enthusiasts. The new ballroom floor also hosts two indoor pickleball courts.

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13/ Paradise Park & Tropic Winds RV Resorts (City: Harlingen, TX). Paradise Park added a new 800 sq. ft. craft shop as well as two bocce ball courts for all to enjoy. Tropic Winds also resurfaced its interior roadways so that guests are greeted by smooth streets when they pull in.

Paradise Park Bocce

14/ Southern Comfort RV Resort (City: Weslaco, TX). Re-plastered its pool, giving it a new, vibrant look.

15/ Paradise South RV Resort (City: Mercedes, TX). Replaced the popular bingo system at the resort with a new system, ensuring games for the whole season.

16/ Winter Concert Series (Rio Grande Valley, TX).  Guests were able to enjoy a concert series at five South Texas RV Resorts, including Victoria Palms, Fun-N-Sun, Sunshine RV, Southern Comfort, and Country Sunshine. Performers included Dec 63, Jersey Boys, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, Rhinestone Country, The Three International Tenors, Motown Magic, and The Orbison Years.

Meet Terry from Victoria Palms RV Resort in Donna, TX

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Profile:
Name: Terry Goss
In position since: December 2014
Title: Resort Manager
Work Location: Victoria Palms RV Resort
Favorite Activities: Sitting around a campfire (yes it’s true)


1. How does a typical day at Victoria Palms look like?  What is your favorite moment of the day?

Believe it or not, we start the day by baking cookies. We have become known for having warm, fresh baked cookies waiting for our guests as they arrive. It’s a small token of our appreciation for our customers when they arrive, often after a long time behind the wheel. From there it’s off to tour the property to make sure everything is ship shape and everyone is ready for the day. That’s the fun part. After that I move into running the daily reports, reading and responding to emails, and digesting our online presence and reviews. All that being said, my favorite time of the day is when I get to socialize with guests, old and new, and hear about their travels, their family and what their “other” home is like. It’s really a pretty good gig.

2. You are working, while people at the resort are enjoying their vacation. How do you handle that?

Here at Victoria Palms I am both a manager and a cheer leader. Of course I can’t be everywhere, all the time, but I try my best to be a vibrant part of the community. Even when I can’t stay for an entire event, I am very likely to stop by and cheer on the contestants. I love being around fun loving, happy people, and this position gives me lots of opportunity. I am the first one on the dance floor, love anything where there is food, and was the runner up in last year’s belly flop contest. You just can’t be at a place like Victoria Palms and not have fun.


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

The area around Victoria Palms has something for everyone. We are less than an hour away from the best beach in Texas with lots of entertainment and great eats. We are on the migratory path for both birds and butterflies and are one of the premier places to see them in the entire United States. We have some truly incredible shopping with an international flair. For even more fun, we can cross into Mexico for great shopping, food, drinks and services. Of course we have a zoo, museums, theaters, and every restaurant chain known to man. But my absolute favorite thing here in the valley, as we call it, are the little mom and pop restaurants. Not only is the food incredible (and very reasonably priced), but when was the last time the owner came to sit with you on your second visit, and actually remembered your name and what you like to eat. Just incredible!


4. What’s your favorite story to tell about your time at Victoria Palms?

I believe that all of the employees at Victoria Palm are a team and each has a significant role in delivering guest satisfaction. I expect that everyone will pick up whatever task is required, even if it is not considered in their job description. That goes for me as well. Last year we were getting ready to do some street repairs. We were using fresh, hot asphalt which has a very limited time on a truck before it cools off and is no longer usable. The day our asphalt arrived we had one of our maintenance team get hurt and another go home sick. So I jumped into some old jeans, slipped on a pair of work boots and some gloves, and jumped in the truck to help pick up the slack. What makes this special is not what I did, rather it was the looks I received from residents and guests as they saw me working in that truck. I have to say I had more pictures taken that day than any time in my life. It was almost like being a rock star followed by paparazzi. It was hard work but we got the job done and I gained a story to recount.


5. What’s your best accomplishment so far at the resort?

I would like to believe that I have had an impact at Victoria Palms in a lot of areas, but I think the most significant is in communications. Not everyone is comfortable being in front of people or starting conversations with strangers. That can leave some people feeling like they aren’t appreciated or respected. I have always made it a point to make the operation of the resort an open book. I don’t dodge questions and do my best to always provide an honest answer. Sometimes that answer is “no”, but when that’s the truth, anything less is misleading. As well I have expanded the modes of communication here at Victoria Palms. We had a great newsletter here when I arrived, but I thought we could do more. We now have a new website dedicated to events and activities (www.vpractivities.com), I do monthly “Town Hall” meetings which I record and post to YouTube. This enables our residents who are not here at the time of a meeting to still get all the information and not miss anything. I believe strongly in open and honest communications and think our residents and guests really appreciate that.


6. If had to describe your RV park to someone who thinks about coming to Victoria Palms, what would you say?

Picture a fine resort with every conceivable amenity, or a cruise ship where the activities seem to never stop. If you are an RV’er, picture wide, paved and lighted streets where maneuvering your rig is easy and the sites are all concrete with full hook-ups. If you are looking for a permanent winter or year around home picture well manicured yards, lush plantings, beautiful flowers and grass. Envision neat homes (each unique) which exude a feeling of community and safety. If you like to dance, dream about multiple live bands every week, where you can dance the night away on one of the largest and most beautiful dance floors in the valley. Or join in some of our dance lessons; line, ballroom, country, round. If you are a crafter then this must be paradise. Woodworking in our supersized woodshop, firing your pottery in one of our 5 kilns, stained glass, painting, sewing and quilting, wood carving, and the list goes on and on. If you are of the sports type we can keep you pretty busy there too. From racing remote control trucks to bocce ball, petanque, horseshoes, shuffleboard, pickle ball, tennis, cycling, swimming, water volleyball, etc. Are you starting to get the picture? Victoria Palms is incredible and you can do as much or as little as you desire.

7. What brought you to Victoria Palms?

Truthfully I came to Victoria Palms quite by accident. I had previously managed large resorts and honestly was looking for something with a little slower pace. I actually applied for a position at a smaller Thousand Trails park that was somewhat off the beaten path and very rustic. Remember one of my favorite pastimes is sitting by a campfire. As I was being interviewed the question I kept being asked was why I wanted that position, and was I really sure I could be happy there. In the end the interviewer convinced me to come see Victoria Palms. When I visited it completely knocked my socks off. I was instantly in love. As a resort manager I get to live in the resort, and I knew this was a place I could really feel at home. I was hired to manage it and have never looked back. It has been a complete labor of love.


8. Any last words for your current and future guests?

If this hasn’t given you a vision of what life is like at Victoria Palms, then you simply need to come see it for yourself. Come spend a week with us and I will personally make sure you see it all. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Come join me in paradise under the palms.

South Padre Island: A Taste of the Tropics off the Texas Coast

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Take a Tropical Holiday

Take a holiday on a tropical island that is known for its captivating fireworks for six months of the year. It’s a place where you can walk 55 km (34 mi) of the widest and cleanest beaches anywhere. Try your hand at windsurfing or go dolphin watching. You don’t have to go that far to find this year-round paradise. It’s right off the coast of Texas in Cameron County and it’s called South Padre Island. Even in January you’ll find the temperatures here around 20C (68F).

Stay with Us, Visit the Island

There are about 10 Encore RV Resorts near South Padre Island. Many are under an hour’s drive away. South Padre Island is easily accessible from the Queen Isabella Causeway in Port Isabel. Take State Park Road 100 and head over for some island fun.

We’ve put together a few things together that you might enjoy for your day trips to South Padre Island.

Nature Lovers Rejoice

thinkstockphotos-177884449The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Centre is a bird watcher’s mecca. Bring your binoculars and hunker down in one of the five bird blinds. There are over 3,300 linear feet of boardwalk here and a five-story tower where you can take in the beautiful land and ocean views.

Head over to Sea Turtle, Inc., and learn about their mission to rescue, rehabilitate and release sea turtles. The turtles are housed here until they can return to their natural habitat.

For something more out in the open, how about a whale and/or dolphin watching tour. Head out on an ocean cruise designed with dolphin watching in mind. There are several dolphin pods that live in the waters here year round.

Life’s a Beach

The beaches of South Padre Island were made for relaxing. As the island is only .8 of a km wide (.5 mi) you’re always just steps away from the ocean. Mild temperatures, calm warm water and sunshine are the perfect mixture for your day away on the beach. You can even take lessons on how to build the best sandcastles!

Get your cowboy on and saddle up for a ride on the beach or try watersports like thinkstockphotos-147286721parasailing, kiteboarding, and jet skiing. Test your balance with Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) or fly boarding. This is a water babies’ playground with several service providers ready to rent and/or teach you.

When it comes to fishing, you can take your pick of onshore, offshore or even deep sea fishing. Bring your own boat, or rent one here. If you prefer, cast from the shoreline and see what’s biting. There are restaurants in the area that will be happy to cook up whatever you catch.

Above and Below the Waves

Put on your life jacket, grab a paddle and head out on an adventure in a kayak or canoe. Perhaps you’d prefer to strap on a helmet and head out on a jet ski! There are 1.5-hour jet ski water tours for those of you that want a fast ride through the waves while sightseeing. For something a bit slower, hop aboard a six-person inflatable banana boat! There are several providers in the area that will rent you whatever you need for your above the water fun.

Dive beneath the waves and explore a world seldom seen by others. Many vendors here will teach you how to do basic open water dives. For those of you with experience, try a dive down to the sunken Texas Clipper. Get up close and personal to the sea life as you explore their world. You can rent equipment here, or bring your own. Either way it’s an thinkstockphotos-479607710experience you won’t’ soon forget.

Not ready for diving? How about snorkeling! Explore the Laguna Madre Estuary where the water is only one to two meters (three to six feet) deep, making in perfect for all experience levels from beginner to advanced.

Pamper, Relax, Repeat

For a small island, South Padre has some great shopping. You’ll find some great gifts for yourself and for friends back home. Once you’ve had your fill of shopping it’s time to step into one of their many spas and pamper yourself. Feel your cares melt away with a massage from one of their relaxation specialists.

Once your outsides have been taken care of, it’s time to treat your insides to some delicious treats. There are over 50 restaurants, bars and nightclubs on South Padre Island. There’re burgers and beachside grills and lots of places for seafood. There are several ethnic eateries on the island too as well as well-known fast food joints.

Once you’ve taken care of your body, it’s time to go out dancing, sing some Karaoke, or settle back for some nighttime fireworks displays.

Whatever you choose to do, whatever time of day, or season, you’re sure to have warm memories of your time at South Padre Island.

Comment below and let us know if you’re interested in visiting South Padre Island!

Tips & Tricks: Backing Up Your 5th Wheel

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There are a few parts of RV ownership – specifically, 5th wheel ownership – that are a bit intimidating. For one thing, it is a significant financial investment to purchase a 5th wheel, so that is an early hurdle that you will need to clear. Also, driving such a big rig down the road can be intimidating to those with no experience, as driving a truck and 5th wheel is a big departure from piloting a sedan. However, the biggest challenge to 5th wheel ownership for most people is going to be the issue addressed in the title of this post – backing up the rig.

Backing up a 5th wheel is a challenge on multiple fronts. For one thing, the rig is rather large, so you may feel nervous moving in backward into an area that you can’t really see. Also, the rig is going to move in the opposite direction as your vehicle, so you will have to learn how to ‘dance’ with the 5th wheel in order to place it in exactly the right spot.

If you are struggling to back up your 5th wheel successfully, or if you would just like to have some tips in mind before trying for the first time, review the points below.

It’s All About Opposites

As mentioned above, you have to think ‘opposite’ when you want to back up a 5th wheel. At first, the fact that the 5th wheel moves opposite of your vehicle is likely to throw you for a loop, but you will get used to this factor relatively quickly. Try to find an open parking lot or another safe place to practice backing up and you will start to naturally respond to the way the trailer moves in reverse.

Go Slow

You don’t need to be in a rush to back up your 5th wheel properly. Take it slow, especially at first, and only keep moving back when you are confident in the direction that you are going. Don’t worry if other people are watching or even waiting – it isn’t worth pushing your 5th wheel into a bad spot just because you are trying to get out of the way.

Have a Spotter

This is perhaps the most important piece of advice that you can receive. If you are backing up your 5th wheel into any kind of a tight spot, have a trusted spotter and use them to direct your movements. If necessary, pick up some two-way radios to communicate between the cab and the spotter with ease. Or, if you prefer not to use radios, develop a few hand signals that you can use to make sure you are on the same page. Of course, you don’t want to back up into your spotter, so make sure you can see them at all times while the vehicle is in motion.

Stay on Driver’s Side

If at all possible, work on backing into spots that are on the same side of the vehicle as the driver. It is more difficult to go to the other side, as it will be harder to see as you back up. An experienced 5th wheel driver may be able to go the other way without too much effort, but stick to the driver’s side until you have confidence in your skills.

Spend Time Practicing

Just like any other skill in life, the only way to master backing up in your 5th wheel is to practice on a regular basis. If you are willing to put in some practice time in a nearby parking lot (or even in your own driveway, if it is big enough), you should be able to develop your 5th wheel backing skills in short order.

Have any tips of your own? Feel free to share them in the comments section!

Story courtesy of Snowbirds & RV Travelers Magazine

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

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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.

Winter Differently in Texas at Fun-N-Sun RV Resort

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The Skinners live close to the US border and like to escape to the warmth six months of the year. When a friend of theirs told them he had a park model for sale in South Texas, they flew down to see it. “We spent a week at Fun-N-Sun and talked to the people there,” said Carol Skinner. “We looked at some other parks and decided Fun-N-Sun was the kind of place we’d like to live.”

  Living in a Park Model

Living in a park model home is something more Winter Texans are doing. There’s no driving a big truck and hauling their winter home back and forth. They just pack their bags and go.

“I absolutely love it,” said Carol. “The park model has everything my husband and I need. It’s a single, so it is small and easy to take care of. That’s good because I’m way too busy when I’m down here! It gives us plenty of free time to do what we want. Fun-N-Sun cuts the grass and there’s no outside maintenance unless you want to have a little flower garden.

Activities Galore!

Carol likes the community because, as she mostly eloquently put it, “It’s not old.” Like many of her generation, keeping active and having fun is a must.

“I like that you’re not just sitting around and playing cards all the time. There are so many activities that the park offers. Most importantly, the activities here are always current. I think that’s the biggest draw.”imgp5234-1

There are many diverse activities at Fun-N-Sun Rv Resort. They range from sports to dancing to water focused activities and crafts. “I love dancing,” said Carol. I do a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll, a little bit of the 60s, the 70s. They have live bands and that is absolutely fantastic!”

Carol’s other hobby is stained glass and she loves that she can continue doing it at Fun-N-Sun.

“There’s a whole group of us here that do it together. It creates friendships… a real bonding experience. We even have a Facebook group we put together so we can stay in touch while we’re not in the park.”

A Day at Fun-N-Sun

“We love getting up slowly,” said Carol. “We take our time as we get ready for our active day. One day I might be volunteering at the park’s activity office. Another day I could be doing one of my hobbies. If the weather is nice I may go to the pool and relax. At night, you’ll usually find me with my friends dancing the night away or at someone’s place enjoying a bottle of wine.”

Wintering Differently

For the Skinners, wintering differently mean getting out of the cold and getting full of warmth. “We have a few aches and pains and we don’t want to say in the weather that can contribute to those aches and pains,” said Carol “We are away from our children and grandchildren but there is Facetime and Skype so it’s easy to keep in touch.”

Internet service is provided at several areas in the park. “I like that because you can take your smart phone with you and talk to your family as you walk. You don’t have to worry about a dropped connection.

People Make the Place

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It’s the people that can make or break a place and that is true for Fun-N-Sun. “The manager, Tony S, is exceptional. In fact, all the staff are,” said Carol. “They appreciate you and you know that no question or comment is dumb. The staff here are physically out there and participating in a lot of the activities with us. They see where things can be improved or expanded upon. Both Tony S and regional manager Tony O are always looking at ways to provide options for the activities.”

For those who love to stay active, Fun-N-Sun RV Resort lives up to its name and scores high with its residents.

“We are called ‘Winter Texans’ as opposed to the “Snowbirds” in Florida & Arizona


For the past ten years, my husband Jack and I have been wintering in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) of south Texas. We are called “Winter Texans” as opposed to the “Snowbirds” in Florida & Arizona.

As new retirees, we first visited many southern states, wandering the roads with our motor home, from Florida to California. When we found Texas, it immediately felt like home. We are now two of the thousands of retired Canadians who make the trip to the RGV each winter – some RV parks / Mobile home resorts here are 60 or more percent Canadian residents.

The prices of food, accommodation and entertainment are generally much lower in Texas than other southern states, it is less crowded, the weather is usually wonderful (mid-seventies warm and windy but with little to no humidity in the winter) – and the people are very friendly and relaxed. They LOVE Winter Texans and advertise it everywhere with “welcome back” on billboards and store signs. There is even a “Welcome Back Winter Texans” regular newsmagazine.

Another real positive for us is the proximity to Mexico, where we thoroughly enjoy the Latino culture. The Mexican people – contrary to what we read in the mass media about the drug cartels – are warm, fun loving, and God-fearing. They offer tasty food in their many restaurants, lively entertainment and colourful hand-made crafts – all at very low prices. Many Winter Texans volunteer across the border, building homes and staffing the free medical clinic in the small town just south of us – a town that we feel quite safe visiting on a regular basis.

We also are happy to have access to the Gulf beaches of South Padre Island and enjoy the fresh-caught seafood from that area. Of course, Texas is world-renowned for chilli cook-offs and BBQ contests (smoked, not grilled) – so there is always a lot to eat.

Our Resort has many citrus trees so you can pick fresh grapefruit, limes, lemons and oranges right out of your own backyard. And the Valley grows many other vegetables and fruits (onions, cabbages, cauliflower, lettuce, melons, watermelon, strawberries) – often three crops a year – which are fresh and inexpensive to buy.

If you like rodeos and stock shows, and bloodless bull fighting, south Texas can entertain you. But, by far, Texas is a place for music – from country-western to Mariachi – you’ll find live music almost everywhere in the numerous cafes and bars where you can dance, and enjoy inexpensive beer, margaritas, tequila and wine. If you play a guitar, bring it along, as there are jam sessions all over the Valley every week. Karaoke is also a popular musical activity.

Gated-communities like ours (Victoria Palms Resort) offer an almost unlimited number of activities (pickle ball, bocce ball, aqua-fit, bike clubs, car racing, stained glass, wood carving, ceramics, Spanish classes, book club, golf leagues, art classes, line dancing, country-western dancing, ballroom dancing, sewing, quilting, computer classes, tennis, poker, too many card games to mention, jam sessions, live entertainment in our ballroom, darts, bingo, wood working, karaoke, billiards, shuffle board, horse shoes – and so on). Add the ever-present happy hours, ice-cream socials, pool parties and potluck suppers, and you can fill up your calendar very quickly.

Those are some of the many reasons why we have invested in a mobile home, western boots and hats – and why we keep coming back to Texas.

Wilma Jacobs