A look at snowbirds

The Iceman cometh

This article is the first in an ongoing series on snowbirds and preparation for the snowbird lifestyle.

It’s pretty safe to say that summer is over and we’re approaching the Snowbird season.

A major concentration of snowbirds in Ol' Airy Zonie occurs each winter in the Phoenix area. Pictured above is Usery Mountain Regional Park located north of Mesa. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Long before winter’s blustery chill begins to sting the bones, plans are being made by millions of Canadians, Northeasters, Midwesterners, and those in the rainy Northwestern United States to seek the warmer climes of the south. It’s an interesting phenomenon that occurs each year and mimics the migration ritual of our feathered friends.

Snowbirds flock to Ol’ Airy Zonie, Southern Texas, Florida, and other Sunbelt states and Mexico to avoid winter’s bite, snow and blowing snow, and treacherous icy sidewalks and streets. Northern Europeans are also known to migrate to the U.S. Sunbelt, adding to these communities of seasonal residents.

Snowbirds are typically retired seniors who have the desire and financial ability to be away from home for extended periods of time. Many take their home-on-wheels with them in the form of a recreational vehicle while others maintain a second home or rental accommodation in a warmer location.

Located on Florida's Gulf Coast near Venice, Ramblers Rest is a popular park for snowbirds. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As our population ages the number of people considering this lifestyle increases.

We have been making this trip for the past 13 years in an RV—first with a fifth-wheel trailer and now in a motorhome.

There are numerous advantages to the snowbird lifestyle:

  • No snow to shovel or trod through
  • No bundling up in warm sweaters, winter overcoats, and snow boots
  • Taking part in outdoor activities during winter months
  • Ability to maintain friendships in two or more communities
  • Sense of community with other snowbirds
  • Break in the monotony of dull and dreary winter days
Birding attracts many snowbirds to the Rio Grand Valley of South Texas. Pictured above is the beautiful green jay. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Despite the many positive benefits, the snowbird lifestyle is not for everyone. For some it may be wise to gradually evolve into the lifestyle to determine if it’s for them. Snowbirding can be tried on a short term basis of one or two months to determine if there’s a fit with one’s individual preferences.

Surprisingly there are disadvantages to being a Snowbird:

  • Missing out on Christmas with the grandchildren
  • Not being a permanent part of any one community
  • Missing family and friends
  • Finding someone to look after your home while “on the road”
  • Security and safety issues
  • Increased financial burdens
  • Additional cross-border issues for Canadians

We find the snowbird lifestyle in an RV to our liking since we can take our home with us when the cold weather arrives and snow begins to fall. We enjoy the warmer climes while our neighbors back home are shoveling snow. For us the snowbird lifestyle is the best of both worlds.

If you have been dreaming about exploring the road less traveled, now is the time to stop dreaming and hit the road in a recreational vehicle. If not now, when?

Worth Pondering…

We have chosen to be reasonably warm year-round, so we are snowbirds. Every year when I hear the honks of the Canada geese overhead at our home, something in my genes starts pulling my inner-compass to the South. And an inner voice whispers: “Surely you’re as smart as a goose.” Feeling that I am at least as smart as a silly goose, I line up the motorhome with that compass pointer and head for the Sun Belt.

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AlbertaParks recognized for innovative reservation service

ESRI Canada recently presented an Award of Excellence to Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation (ATPR) for its online campground reservation system that uses ESRI’s geographic information system (GIS) technology.

The new innovative reservation service, Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca, provides campers with maps and real-time space availability of more than 4,000 camping sites at 50 provincial campgrounds. Campers now have the capability of viewing, exploring, and reserving campsites online.

In addition to increasing visitor satisfaction, Alberta’s new automated and centralized campground reservation service, has also increasing efficiency in park management.

Image courtesy Alberta Parks

The ESRI Canada Award of Excellence recognizes organizations and individuals for their outstanding achievements in the application of GIS.

“Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca is an excellent example of how governments can leverage the Internet and GIS to deliver enhanced services to citizens,” said Alex Miller, president, ESRI Canada. “It maximizes the use of the province’s geographic data and provides an interactive and cost-effective system to communicate park information. More importantly, it promotes the sustainable use of provincial parkland and makes recreational opportunities in Alberta more accessible.”

Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park, one of 50 Alberta parks using the new reservation system, Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The development of Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca was initiated in 2008 as part of Alberta’s Plan for Parks, a planning document that guides the management of provincial parks over the long term.

Previously, reservations could only be made by phone or in person. To address the need for a more efficient system, The Silvacom Group and Sierra Systems was chosen to design and develop an online application.

Using ESRI’s ArcGIS Server technology, they created an enterprise GIS that could manage and serve up large amounts of information about the campsites; more than 12 million map, data, and image files were compiled to build Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca.

Users can search campsites by geography, features, and amenities and obtain 360-degree panoramic views for an accurate depiction of the campground to help them choose the best site for their needs. The application also allows reservations to be made up to 90 days in advance.

Since launched on May 1, 2009, the site has received 10,000 visitors; more than 170,000 reservations were processed in its first two days of operation.

Image courtesy Alberta Parks

“With this technology, we have significantly improved our campground reservation service, which has resulted in our provincial campgrounds being easier to access,” said Cindy Ady, Minister of Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation.

Founded in 1984, ESRI Canada provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower businesses, governments, and educational institutions to make timely, informed, and mission-critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography.

Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation supports the development and marketing of the province as a world-class tourism destination; manages a network of provincial parks and protected areas to preserve important ecological areas and provide opportunities to enjoy and learn about Alberta’s natural heritage; and promotes active, healthy lifestyles and athletic excellence by supporting sport, recreation, and training facilities.

Worth Pondering…

Four strong winds that blow

Lowly seven seas that run high

All those things that don’t change

Come what may

But our good times are all gone

And I’m bound for moving on

I’ll look for you if I’m ever back this way

Think I’ll go out to Alberta

Weather’s good there in the fall

Got some friends there I can go to.

—sung by Ian Tyson

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Texas: Saddle up for a longhorn cattle drive

Texas Spoken Friendly

Texas is big and brawny in every way, a state brimming with natural assets. Whether visiting rugged mountains, sandy beaches, wild canyons, or pine tree forests, the Lone Star State attracts RVers in many wonderful and diverse ways.

Big Bend Ranch State Park. Photo courtesy TPWD

If you are looking for a Wild West experience, Big Bend Ranch State Park has an abundance of options. Currently the park offers more than 66 miles of trails with many more in development.

You can live the lore of the Old West by saddling up for the biannual Longhorn Cattle Drive taking place October 21-23 in Texas’ largest state park—Big Bend Ranch. This fall marks the 16th year of the state park’s most popular program that attempts to expose “city slickers” to the Southwest’s cowboy culture.

This four-day event is an ideal opportunity to leave the suit and tie behind and be a West Texas longhorn wrangler. The experience is guided and directed by Big Bend Ranch wranglers who can accommodate all levels of experience.

Participants, some inexperienced “dudes” and others more accomplished equestrians, spend three days helping Big Bend Ranch wranglers round up, drive, and pen the park’s historic longhorns for vaccinations and branding.

Big Bend Country. Photo courtesy TPWD

Over the years, hundreds of guests have come from throughout the United States, as well as from Australia, Canada, and England, to experience a taste of the Texas’ ranching heritage and the Wild West days at the more than 300,000-acre wilderness park.

The state park program can accommodate up to 15 wranglers. The cost of the three-day event is $975, which includes a horse and tack provided by a Big Bend area outfitter, park entry fee, lodging/camping fees, meals, and the assistance of park wrangler guides.

Program participants will meet at 10 a.m., Thursday at Sauceda, the Big Bend Ranch headquarters. They receive an orientation to the ranch and cattle drive program, receive safety instruction, and saddle up their mounts before riding to the pastures to start rounding up the longhorns. Cowhands can camp beneath the stars that night or return to the bunkhouse at Sauceda for the night.

Most of the pictographs in the park were probably painted during the Late Archaic (ca. 1000 B.C.-A.D. 1000) or Late Prehistoric (A.D. 1000-1535) periods. Photo courtesy TPWD

On Friday morning, participants finish rounding up the cattle and drive them to the cattle pens at Sauceda to be “worked.” To enhance the West Texas cowboy experience you’ll experience a chuck wagon meal and cowboy entertainment each evening.

After a hearty breakfast the next morning, the dudes help ranch wranglers sort the calves from the bulls and heifers, and after receiving instruction, vaccinate, brand, and ear-tag the cattle. Wranglers can then retire to the bunkhouse for rest or help drive the herd back to the pasture before heading home. Participants are welcome to come a day early and/or stay a day late but are subject to regular park fees.

Reservations are required and must be made by contacting the Customer Contact Center in Austin at (512) 389-8919.

Big Bend Ranch State Park

Phone: (432) 358-4444

Location: Far west Texas just northeast of Presidio off State Highway 170.

Directions: The west entrance at Fort Leaton State Historic Site is located 4 miles southeast of Presidio, on the River Road (FM 170). The east entrance at Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center is located 1 mile east of Lajitas on the River Road (FM 170).

Watch video of Big Bend Ranch State Park

For local weather forecast, click here

Worth Pondering…

Oh, give me a home where the Buffalo roam
Where the Deer and the Antelope play;
Where never is heard a discouraging word,
And the sky is not clouded all day.

—Dr. Brewster Higley (1876)

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Manitoba: The return of the snakes, Part 2

Five species of snakes breed in Manitoba. The red-sided garter snake has the largest range, is the most abundant and is the only species known to occupy large communal dens. Den sites include tree roots, shale cliffs, rock piles, sewers, foundations, animal burrows, rocky outcrops, and sinkholes. Dens contain from a few to over 10,000 snakes.

Mating ball: Annual mating ritual. Photo courtesy naturenorth.com

Red-sided garter snakes travel great distances every fall to return to their winter dens near Narcisse, Manitoba. Tens of thousands of these snakes migrate back to the limestone crevices that serve as winter homes, using what scientists believe are “scent trails” left by snakes travelling ahead. When fall rolls around, the central Interlake is inundated with these migratory snakes, reports the Winnipeg Free Press.

The fall migration back to the Narcisse Snake Dens is currently underway and will continue for a few more weeks. Good snake viewing should occur until at least the end of the first week in October. Sunny days are always best for snake viewing.

Image courtesy naturenorth.com

Highway 17 between Inwood and Narcisse is littered with the flattened bodies of snakes that were not lucky enough to make it across, the newspaper reported. Carcasses were literally everywhere.

Only two of the dens appeared to be active, with snakes slithering down the rocky edges into the pits. Most congregated together on the rocks to absorb the heat of the sun. Some of the snakes could be seen moving deeper into the dens, preparing for their winter of semi-hibernation.

The snake migration has caused problems in Inwood in the past. Last September, an Inwood seniors’ home, Inwood Manor, was infested with snakes on the return migration. Instead of going straight to their old dens, they decided to make the housing complex a new den.

Photo courtesy naturenorth.com

The Narcisse Snake Dens are 25 km/15 miles north of Inwood, on Highway 17. There are four snake dens in the Narcisse Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The dens were formed when underground water eroded the limestone rock of the area. This erosion caused the surface to collapse, creating a network of caverns and crevasses in the rock. This network extends well below the frost line, making it a perfect winter home for the red-sided garter snake.

In the fall, estimates of up to 50,000 snakes return to these dens resulting in the surrounding area being thick with snakes.

Worth Pondering…

There is magic in the air as August turns into September.

There is a ripening of the season as fruit trees grow heavy with red apples; leaves turn golden to reveal a harvest of pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, and peppers in the field; and grape vines hang heavy with clusters of newly turned black and golden grapes.

Enjoy your days and love your life, because life is a journey to be savored.

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Manitoba: The return of the snakes

Five species of snakes breed in Manitoba. The red-sided garter snake has the largest range, is the most abundant and is the only species known to occupy large communal dens. Den sites include tree roots, shale cliffs, rock piles, sewers, foundations, animal burrows, rocky outcrops, and sinkholes. Dens contain from a few to over 10,000 snakes.

Photo courtesy naturenorth.com

Red-sided garter snakes travel great distances every fall to return to their winter dens near Narcisse, Manitoba. Tens of thousands of these snakes migrate back to the limestone crevices that serve as winter homes, using what scientists believe are “scent trails” left by snakes travelling ahead. When fall rolls around, the central Interlake is inundated with these migratory snakes, reports the Winnipeg Free Press.

The fall migration back to the Narcisse Snake Dens is currently underway and will continue for a few more weeks. Good snake viewing should occur until at least the end of the first week in October. Sunny days are always best for snake viewing.

Photo courtesy naturenorth.com

Highway 17 between Inwood and Narcisse is littered with the flattened bodies of snakes that were not lucky enough to make it across, the newspaper reported. Carcasses were literally everywhere.

Only two of the dens appeared to be active, with snakes slithering down the rocky edges into the pits. Most congregated together on the rocks to absorb the heat of the sun. Some of the snakes could be seen moving deeper into the dens, preparing for their winter of semi-hibernation.

The snake migration has caused problems in Inwood in the past. Last September, an Inwood seniors’ home, Inwood Manor, was infested with snakes on the return migration. Instead of going straight to their old dens, they decided to make the housing complex a new den.

Image courtesy naturenorth.com

The Narcisse Snake Dens are 25 km/15 miles north of Inwood, on Highway 17. There are four snake dens in the Narcisse Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The dens were formed when underground water eroded the limestone rock of the area. This erosion caused the surface to collapse, creating a network of caverns and crevasses in the rock. This network extends well below the frost line, making it a perfect winter home for the red-sided garter snake.

In the fall, estimates of up to 50,000 snakes return to these dens resulting in the surrounding area being thick with snakes.

Worth Pondering…

There is magic in the air as August turns into September.

There is a ripening of the season as fruit trees grow heavy with red apples; leaves turn golden to reveal a harvest of pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, and peppers in the field; and grape vines hang heavy with clusters of newly turned black and golden grapes.

Enjoy your days and love your life, because life is a journey to be savored.

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Teardrop trailers sees upswing in sales

The economy has influenced all facets of daily life and occasionally in a positive way.
Around since the 1930s, Teardrop trailers are seeing a boom in popularity, Auburn Journal reports.

2007 white Dutchmen teardrop trailer

In Auburn, California, American River Sales has sold American Teardrops for 10 years and recently began manufacturing them in response to increased demand, general manager Bud Hausman told the paper.

“We can’t build them fast enough.”

The trailers have been increasing in popularity for the last 15 years, “with the last two years seeing the biggest growth we’ve ever seen,” he said.

The teardrop is designed for convenience. “It can be towed behind any car, including electric cars,” Hausman said. “They’re super lightweight. They’re the RV for the next generation.”

Custom-made teardrop trailer by freshelectrons on Flickr

The original teardrop design appeared in the 1930s. The March/April, 1939 issue of Popular Homecraft ran a story and plans for a teardrop trailer designed and built by Louis Rogers of Pasadena, California in the 1930’s for his honeymoon coach. The 8’x4′ floor plan was on tongue-and-groove flooring on a pine chassis. Rogers used a Chevrolet front axle with 28″ wheels and 1926 Chevrolet rear fenders. A curtain-enclosed dressing room outside the starboard entry door provided privacy while dressing.

The February, 1940 issue of Popular Mechanics, ran a story and plans for an egg-shaped teardrop trailer. Built on a 1924 Chevrolet Superior front axle with disk wheels from a 1930 Chevrolet, this 9’x5’9¼” floor plan featured a pressurized water tank with running water to a sink, a stove, and ice box in the rear kitchenette. The cabin provided a small clothes closet, a chemical toilet, and a single entry door on the starboard side.

Teardrop trailers have come a long way since those original teardrops, but still offer all the enjoyment and fun that the original teardrop owner came to expect.

“The unit we build is a pretty close replica of those 1940s units, using modern-day materials,” Hausman said.

The average size of the trailer is 5 feet by 8 feet. There are windows on both sides and a door on one side. American River’s basic models range from $3,995 to $5,995.

You get the base model and then you outfit it the way you want. Among the options are air conditioning, pullout kitchen, and mattresses.

“If you added every option, the unit would still be about $8,000,” Hausman indicated.

The Auburn store started up its manufacturing site earlier this summer. Prior to that, the teardrops were manufactured at American Teardrop headquarters in Elkhart, Indiana.

“This past year, we decided to open a factory here to cut down shipping costs,” Hausman said.

On November 1, the factory moves to a new, larger location. He expects to add another six to 10 jobs to the already six jobs created when the plant is fully up and running.

Camping in the woods with a Cozy Cruiser Deluxe teardrop trailer

American Teardrop is only one of numerous brands that make the teardrop trailer.

“It’s becoming so popular that big companies are coming out with mini-models to compete with teardrops,” he said.

For sales and rentals of the American Teardrop trailer, American River Sales is located at 13230 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95603

Worth Pondering…

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

—Les Brown

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Membership camping: Consider all factors before buying

In 1985, Jack and Mildred Kidwell, a Reynoldsburg, Ohio couple in their late 40s bought a Thousand Trails camping membership. Since then, they have paid thousands of dollars in finance charges and membership dues, the couple told Columbus NBC-4i News.

Now at age 72 and with severe arthritis, Jack Kidwell said they had to sell their recreational vehicle two years ago, but Equity Lifestyle Properties, the parent company of Thousand Trails membership campgrounds is trying to keep them paying.

In 2001, Kidwell said, his annual dues rose from $272 to $500 and in the last two years, he and Mildred decided to stop paying and the creditors are now calling.

“It is just a thing, there is no end to it,” said Kidwell.

Kidwell indicated that the couple tried to sell or cancel the membership, but the company refused.

“I just want them off my back and to quit trying to bill me for more money,” said Kidwell.

“In this particular contract there is no right of rescission, that’s an important element to look for in any contract,” said Joan Coughlin, Spokesperson for the Central Ohio Better Business Bureau.

Right of Rescission is language that allows the buyer with notice, to terminate a contract.

“This particular company has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau, so it’s got a bad track record already,” said Coughlin.

The next step for the Kidwells is to contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to file a complaint.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides consumers with the following suggestions:

Research the track record of the company before you buy

Ensure that everything the salesperson promises is written into the contract

Don’t act on impulse or under pressure

Study the paperwork outside of the presentation environment

Ask about your ability to cancel the contract, referred to as a “right of rescission”

If, for some reason, you decide to cancel the purchase, cancel it in writing

There is considerable information, misinformation, and confusion about membership camping and discount camping clubs. In order to assist the consumer in making an informed decision I have recently posted a series of nine articles.

Disclaimer: I am a member of Thousand Trails, Western Horizon Resorts, and Passport America camping club but do not represent them or sell memberships.

Worth Pondering…

When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot, and hang on.

—Thomas Jefferson

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Airstream resurges in popularity

Airstream Inc., whose sales represent only 1% of the total recreational vehicle market, is possibly the most easily identified brand in today’s marketplace, reports Mediapost.com. The 80-year-old RV manufacturing company is marketing its travel trailers and touring coaches to new buyer demographics—younger and creative affluents attracted to the Airstream for its design elements.

With a design inspiration reaching back 80 years, Airstreams are still years ahead of all other makes in style, strength, lightness, durability, quality, and comfort. Photo: Photo courtesy Airstream

“It is the fastest-growing segment,” Airstream’s VP of marketing, Sue Dooley says. “We are attracting people who appreciate the design, and are typically using it for alternative, often stationary, purposes: guest house, home office, or studio.”

Ironically, much of the recent press on Airstream has been not in RV magazines but design and fashion books. Antenna Magazine did a feature on Airstream this fall. This summer, Sunset, a West Coast lifestyle book, ran a spread on Airstream and put one of the trailers on its cover. Modernism also ran a piece.

The Jackson Center, Ohio-based company is currently partnering with Bloomingdale’s for its fall “Hot” campaign with an Airstream trailer appearing on the cover of the home catalog, and across Bloomingdale’s marketing platforms in stores nationwide. (To read earlier post, click here.)

The Airstream Ranch, another creative use for retired Airstream trailers. Photo: Photo courtesy Airstream Ranch

Bloomingdale’s is also hosting lifestyle events where Airstream dealers will show their best-selling travel trailers and touring coaches.

There is also a long list of celebrities who own the silver live-in lozenges: Johnny Depp reportedly has one as a pool house; Steve Carrell bought one he wanted on the set of “The Office” as an … office; and Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock have them.

Ace Hotels is doing a tour in an Airstream to promote its properties. The tour, visiting Portland, Oregon, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Palm Springs, California, ended in the last city with at an annual celebration of modernism around mid-century design, per Dooley. “There was a special installment of vintage Airstreams,” she says. “People are attracted to them. We did an event with Sunset in Palo Alto this spring. People waited for 30 minutes outside in sweltering heat to sit inside an Airstream.”

Internationally, a roster of boutique hotels has grabbed the silver bullets for promotional activity and as outré hotel rooms, accessories for bars, rooftop lounges, and the like. In Cape Town, South Africa, the Grand Daddy hotel has a “penthouse trailer park” on the roof, and sibling Old Mac Daddy’s, a “luxury trailer park” uses them for guests.

Dooley says the company sparked a rediscovery of the brand among a wider, design-centric audience three or four years ago, when the company partnered with Design Within Reach. “Around that time, we also worked with industrial designer Christopher Deam, who helped us create the International series of Airstream trailers. It had almost a Soho loft interior with dark cabinetry and accent pieces, great fabrics, a very cool statement for us.”

Worth Pondering…

Here is a simple but powerful rule: always give people more than they expect to get.

—Nelson Boswell

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Membership Campgrounds & Discount Camping Clubs, Part 9

Discount Camping Clubs

The Passport America campground in Luling, Texas makes a great base for discovering the oil heritage of the region and sample some of the best barbeque available in Texas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Unlike membership campgrounds, no contracts are required to join a discount camping club.

For approximately $50 a year, you receive a 50% discount on the nightly charge at a large number of private parks throughout North America.

The advantage is that you are risking only a one-year minimal investment if this option doesn’t fit with your RV travel plans.

Again, read the fine print.

Some parks have limitations on number of days, weekend and holiday stays, and during high season—in particular those are in Florida and other Sun Belt states.

Passport America

Passport America, a family-run business, is the “original” 50% Discount Camping Club.

Passport America invented the 50% discount concept in 1992 and continue to improve upon the concept.

More than 1600 campgrounds across the US, Canada, and Mexico currently participate in the Passport America Program.

Passport America serves Canadian RVers with several hundred RV park locations north of the U.S. border.

Their stated goal is to save you money.

With the Passport America membership, members also receive a free subscription to RV America magazine. This magazine provides a fresh look within the RV Industry and provides members with many great features such as product highlights, and recipes from the road. It also provides members with updates to the current edition of the Passport America International Camping Directory.

Other benefits include free email address, trip routing, iphone/ipad app, RV and auto insurance, discount mail forwarding, and Passport America store.

Cost: $44.00 per year

Information: (800) 681-6810

Disclaimer: I am a member of Passport America but do not represent or promote them.

Happy Camper Club

Photo courtesy rvuniversity.com

Happy Camper Club is a family-run 50% discount club for RVers.

As a member, you can stay at over 1,200 quality RV parks on a full hook-up site for half price.

Happy Camper focuses on primarily on U.S. travel with approximately 40 Canadian campgrounds now participating.

An introductory video is available for viewing on the Happy Camper website.

Happy Camper Club, Inc. is incorporated in the state of Louisiana where the founders, Bob and Anne Pierson, have owned and operated their two campgrounds for the last fifteen years. Bob’s background in the industry began in the 1980s with Thousand Trails where he worked in management and as a company director for over ten years, then decided to venture out on his own and buy his own parks.

Happy Camper Club is run on-site at the Monroe location of Shiloh Resorts, the Piersons’ home office. Bob passed away in 2007, and Anne continues to promote the club and work with the members they serve. Shiloh Resorts continues to be a family owned and operated business.

Membership includes Happy Camper Journeys magazine.

Cost: $49.95 per year

Information: (866) 67-SMILE; from Canada (318) 343-8608

Camp Club USA

Camp Club USA, the newest discount camping club, is owned by Affinity Group, the parent company for Coast to Coast Resorts, Camping World, and Woodall’s. Basically, it’s a clone of Passport America and Happy Camper Club.

Camp Club USA is the only half price RV club that emphasizes “nearly all of our campgrounds are rated 3 Diamond W’s by Woodall’s, the name in campground rating, or have an equivalent rating.” A browse through either Happy Camper Club or Passport America’s directory will reveal that this benefit can be claimed by all three clubs.

The Camp Club USA eNewsletter is sent out to members every month and gives the latest and greatest on all member benefits. The eNewsletter includes helpful articles featuring campgrounds, travel tips, and product reviews. Also, subscribers will be the first to know when new campgrounds are added.

In a recent press release (September 13) Bruce Hoster, vice president and executive director of Camp Club USA, indicated that the discount camping club has grown to 50,000 members and 1,200 campgrounds since it began in 2006.

In 2011 Camp Club USA will partner with the Woodall’s North American Campground Directory. Within the body of the Woodall’s Directory all Camp Club USA parks will be noted with a special symbol on state maps. And next to each listing, if it is a Camp Club USA Park, it will have the club logo next to it.

A consumer typically pays $49.95 to become a Camp Club USA member, but there are President’s Club discounts and other promotions for $39.95.

Cost: $49.95 per year

Information: (800) 391-2533

Worth Pondering…

Have you put…

Step up

Antenna down

Wife in?

—sign at a Dickson, Tennessee campground

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British Columbia: Snowbird RV Show this week

The 2010 Snowbird RV Show and Sale, September 23-26 in Abbotsford, is gearing up for one of its biggest shows ever just in time for the 100th anniversary of RVs.

The Snowbird RV Show and Sale is Greater Vancouver’s largest fall recreation vehicle show. If you enjoy the RV lifestyle, or think you might like to give it a try, then this is the show for you!

With more than 50 exhibitors and over 180,000 square feet of display space, the Snowbird RV event is the place where you’ll see everything from recreational vehicles, tow vehicles, parts and service, RV resorts and properties, accessories and gadgets, hitches, diesel engines, and truck customizing. There is also an area for private sales of RVs by the public.

The event caters to everyone from experienced RVers to those looking for unique family getaways as well as the weekend warriors who want to learn about the world of opportunities that exist with recreational vehicles.

This Old RV Seminar Stage has daily seminars on a variety of RV-related topics (for complete list of seminars, see below).

There is fun, excitement and prizes galore.

Class A diesel pusher motorhome

Net proceeds go to charity. Over $749,000 has been raised by the Earlybird and Snowbird RV Shows to date.

Details

Location: Tradex Trade & Exhibition Centre, 1190 Cornell Street, Abbotsford Airport, Abbotsford

Driving directions: From the Trans Canada Highway No. 1 (East or West), take Exit 83 Mt. Lehman Road south and follow the Airport and TRADEX signs to the Abbotsford International Airport property.

Map: For location map with driving directions, click here.

5th-wheel trailer

Dates and times:

Thursday, September 23 (10 a.m.-9:00 p.m.)
Friday, September 24 (10 a.m.-9:00 p.m.)
Saturday, September 25 (10 a.m.-9:00 p.m.)
Sunday, September 26 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.)

Scheduled Seminars:

Sanidumps.com: All About Holding Tanks

Canadian Snowbird Association: Rights and Privileges of Canadian Travelers

‘How To’ Technical Advice

Travel Mexico’s Mainland by RV

Trip Planning Made Easy

SolTrekker: Building a More Sustainable RV

Solar Power & Energy Saving Options For Your RV

Airstream travel trailer

Discover Central America & All It Has To Offer

RV Travel to the Southwest U.S.

Safety & Boondocking Tips & Hints

Admission: $8; seniors $6; youth, ages 13-19 $5; children 12 and under free; family pack $20, includes 2 adults and up to 4 youths; multi-day pass $10; 2 for 1 admission price Thursday, September 23, 5:00–9:00 p.m.

Parking: $5/day

Camping at Tradex: There is dry camping available at Tradex. To register call Tradex at: 604-850-1533. Click here for more information.

Information: (604) 870-4678 (870-GORV)

Worth Pondering…

Let’s Go RVing! Moss is starting to grow on my non-rolling stone! It is definitely time to get back in the RV and out on the open road.

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