6 Tips for Getting the RV Ready for the Trip South

For many Canadian snowbirds, heading south—whether it’s to Fort Lauderdale, Scottsdale or Palm Springs—is an annual affair, one that takes careful planning and organization. Of course, before you can even begin to pack up, you’ll want to make sure your RV and its tires are ready for this epic journey.

1. Inflate & inspect

No one wants to start their trip south with a flat tire. One of the best ways to ensure your tires are healthy and ready for the journey ahead is to check their pressure and condition.

Inflate tires to the recommended PSI, including your spare tire.

Inspect sidewalls for signs of weathering and aging, including cracking, feathering and fading.

Inspect the tread for depth and unusual wear (which could point to an alignment problem that could decrease the life of your tire. For a journey like this, where you may be crossing through the snow and mud of Canada before hitting the dry, hot pavement of the South, it’s best to have a tread depth of at least 6/32”. Your tires should still be in good shape for the trek back to Canada in the spring if you follow this guideline

2. Prepare

Even with all that inflating and inspecting, you can’t always ward off debris on the road. Before you head out, make sure you have the necessary equipment to change a flat tire, including:

  • An 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

3. Get your brakes in line

This is an essential step with any vehicle you plan on driving, and on any road condition. Even if your brakes are not making that horrendous squeaky noise when you depress them, a professional brake inspection should be done at least once a year, and an ideal time is in the weeks ahead of your cross-country journey.

A certified mechanic will check to see if your brake fluid is clear and transparent like cooking oil, and will replace it if it’s dark and cloudy. They will also check to see if your brake pads and/or discs need replacing or if there is any damage to your brake lines.

4. Make sure your wheel bearings are bearing up

Most people find out about their wheel bearings when they hear a loud rhythmic and vibrating noise emanating from below their RV while driving. Some people confuse it with tire distress, but it usually means the seal on your wheel bearings is broken or damaged and the bearings are not ‘rolling’ properly.

Wheel bearings are a set of steel balls that ride the axel inside your wheel’s hub and help your wheels spin fast and with as little friction as possible. A certified mechanic can check to see if the wheel bearings require repacking with new grease or if they need replacing. This can be done when you get your brakes inspected.

5. Get power to the people

Before you embark on any road trip, it’s important to inspect your RV’s electrical system (AC and DC), including all plug-in outlets, appliances, batteries, cables, AC unit, and especially your circuit breaker and fuses. Knowing where your circuit breaker is located and testing your fuses is imperative in preventing any power surges and your circuit from overheating, which in the worse case scenario can cause a fire.

If you’re unsure of how your RV electrical system works, visit your local RV dealer or a certified mechanic. For this task, it’s best to get assistance, as there is a risk of shock and serious injury.

6. Ensure lights are ready for action

Now it’s time to make sure your exterior lights are in working order. First, ensure headlights, high beams, indicator lights, marker lights and brake lights shine in front and back of your RV, and triple-check that the wiring is working if you are towing your vehicle behind your RV. Having someone inspect your lights while you are in the driver’s seat, turning them on and off, is best.

7. Have supplies at the ready

If your RV does break down, being prepared will go a long way. Carry an RV survival kit with emergency food and water, an LED flare, solar and hand-crank NOAA radio, LED flashlight, candles or lanterns, mobile phone charger, water purification tablets, hand warmers, etc.

Of course, double-check you’ve got what you need in the event of a flat tire, and that you’ve got tools to check your tire pressure throughout the journey.

Article courtesy of Snowbirds & RV Travelers

It’s All About the People at Riverside RV Resort in Arcadia, FL

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When you find an RV park with the right mix of people, it’s hard to leave. That’s the sentiment at Riverside RV Resort and Campground in Arcadia, Florida. With 602 sites, this pet-friendly, close-knit community is a popular destination amongst RVers, especially Canadian snowbirds, many of whom have been wintering in the park since it first opened twenty years ago.

“We feel like we have found a small slice of ‘heaven’ at the Riverside RV Resort,” say Ben and Sandy Milburn, who are spending their tenth year at Riverside. “The most wonderful thing about this resort is the wonderful group of people that we have met here, who have become our snowbird family.”

Why do people come back to Riverside RV year after year? According to Sue Spalding, Riverside’s manager, the breathtaking scenery, beautiful landscape, top-notch amenities and fun activities help, but it’s really the strong sense of community that keeps people coming back. “The campers have really developed a winter community here. There is a camaraderie and helpfulness amongst our guests that you just won’t find elsewhere,” she says.

Enjoy Peace and Quiet in the Country

If you’re looking for peace and quiet, you’ll find it here. Riverside RV Resort and IMG_0232Campground is located directly on the Peace River, which flows past the west side of Arcadia and southwest towards the tidewater at Punta Gorda.

Located northwest of DeSoto County and 44 miles (71 km) west of South Sarasota, Arcadia is a great spot to dig for fossilized shark teeth. In addition to shark tooth hunting, locals love to canoe, boat and fish on the Peace River.

Arcadia offers the low-key, slow pace of the country, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t lots to do during the winter months. The small town of about 8,000 hosts DeSoto County’s annual fair in January, which boasts a carnival-like atmosphere as well as livestock shows presented by local 4-H and FFA members, and in March the local rodeo association puts on a charity rodeo enjoyed by park and community members alike.

A Hidden Antique Town

Do you love antiquing? Arcadia has one of the largest groupings of antique dealers in the state of Florida, and they’re all conveniently located in the downtown area. Campers at Riverside RV look forward to the 4th Saturday Antique Fair, which is held each month from 8 am to 3 pm. Find the perfect treasures and knick knacks as gifts, for your RV, or to take back home.

A Community That’s Driven by Fun

Arcadia has lots to offer, but there’s lots going on in Riverside RV Resort and Campground too. With a large proportion of Canadian guests, particularly from Ontario and IMG_0078Nova Scotia, the campground hosts a Canadian party as well as a number of estate parties throughout the season.  Of course, in this close-knit community everyone is welcome and intermingles, and the name of the game is fun. That’s why, at Riverside all the Canadian regulars who were able to come back this year have made the trip. At a time when other RV parks are losing some of their Canadian bookings because of the politicized climate and Canadian dollar, Riverside’s Canadian community remains vibrant, Spalding says.

And with plenty of swimming pools, a picnic grove, and an activity centre, games room, table tennis, shuffleboard, horseshoes and pickle ball courts why wouldn’t you come back? At Riverside RV there is never a dull moment – you can choose to enjoy the weekly entertainment, or take it easy at your own pace with a leisurely walk, relaxing boat ride or a day fishing on the water.

Breathtaking Views for All

Because Riverside RV is located directly on the Peace River, there’s a calm, relaxing vibe aIMG_0408t the park that keeps people coming back. It’s the pristine landscape and beautiful views that make Riverside special, Spalding says. In addition to the lull of river life, guests enjoy ponds with waterfalls and palm trees that host a wide variety of bird species, all located throughout the park, so that all guests can enjoy an amazing view, no matter which site they reserve.

A Fisherman’s Paradise

If you love fishing, then there’s no better way to spend your winter. Riverside offers fishing ponds (where you can try your luck with the bass), and direct access to the Peace River with brackish water (a mix of fresh water and salt water). The Peace River is home to snook, red fish, pike and blue gill. The park’s boat ramp offers direct access on and off the water, making it easy to spend the day fishing.

Riverside RV Resort and Campground in Arcadia, Florida has all the activities and amenities that you could ask for. But, the most surprising part of this park is that you may find a second home and a community that feels like family. It’s this close-knit community that keeps guests coming back year, after year to spend the winters with their snowbird family.

Interested in visiting Arcadia, Florida? Want to stay at Riverside RV Resort? Let us know in the comments below!

Golf During the Winter at ViewPoint RV Resort

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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/

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.

Pasco RV Resort in Florida is “one big loving family”

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For the past two years, my Dad and I have been wintering at the Encore Winter Quarters Pasco RV Resort in Lutz (just north of Tampa), Florida. I had been looking for a warm climate for my Dad where he could spend the cold Canadian winter months. One evening at a dinner with some friends, the discussion of wintering in Florida soon led to a trailer rental from a mutual friend who was familiar with Encore’s  Pasco Winter Quarters location. So there we were, transformed from frigid northern temperatures to the sunny south and part of the Snowbird migration to Florida.

When Dad flew down the first year by himself, my brother, sister and I had many apprehensions. We were concerned about how he would cope – he was eighty five. Dad is very mobile and can look after himself, but you always wonder how things will turn out. During his first telephone call he informed us that he was having fun and had met some wonderful neighbours who were taking care of him. This sounded too good to be true and we figured he was just trying to alleviate our concerns. Each phone call he insisted that all was well and he was enjoying the RV park way of life.

6y866b_still_vw_vr-1This was my first year of retirement and I had just returned from three months in S.E. Asia, so I flew to Florida to join my father two months into his stay. Well, from my first moments at the park, I could see that Dad had been sincere in his earlier phone conversations. The lifestyle was more that you could ask for. The location was central to all the amenities (airport, shopping etc.), the park size gave a very family oriented feeling and there were more than enough activities to fill your day. Of course you may expect that, but what was so overwhelming were the people, both residents and staff. I could not believe the love and warmth of the neighbours. They could not do enough to make Dad feel at home and he was never short for anything. I was quickly accepted in the same manner, a home away from home with a loving family thrown in. There were also many Snowbirds present if you felt you required some northern conversations.

I have to say the weather is a treat as are the local bird (cranes) wildlife, more like pets than wild. They sort of epitomize the lifestyle. One has to remember that a trailer park stay is not a vacation, but day to day living in Florida instead of at home in Canada. With all the activities your days / weeks just fly by, I will take this lifestyle any day.

One of our neighbours has a pontoon boat, so we have boated around and through Tampa and on other occasions gone fishing. It is such a relaxing way to spend a day. Golf is available at so many locations and the prices are very reasonable, especially since they always include a cart.

Going out to eat has turned into an adventure. We (Dad and his gang) all cram into a couple of SUV’s or vans and head to one of the local dining establishments. It could be Asian (so many to choose from), Greek, Italian, Mexican or some local cuisine and of course there are always burgers or pizza. Now and again they venture to all you can eat buffets, thank goodness there is always plenty of fruit and salad bars.

I must add that my brother, sister and a friend have come down to stay for a week on separate occasions and all have been treated with the same warmth as Dad. This really is one big loving family who sincerely care for one another.

Written by Alan Brown, Seasonal Guest at Winter Quarters Pasco RV Resort in Lutz, FL