Tips For Camping With Pets

For those who enjoy the great outdoors, camping during the springtime can be a perfect weekend getaway.

Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

However, if you don’t want to leave your four-legged friends behind while setting out on your adventure, try bringing them along.

“Many campgrounds allow pets, with certain rules and regulations,” said Dr. Mark Stickney, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, in a public service announcement.

Often, the rules regarding pets can be seen posted on their website, and if not, questions can be easily answered over the phone. However, it is not advised that you show up with your pet without prior research and consent. Always call the campground ahead to verify they allow your dog type or breed.

“Most rules will include things such as having your pet on a leash, making sure they are supervised at all times, and requiring proof of vaccinations,” Stickney said.

“Even if they don’t require health records or vaccination certificates, it’s a good idea to bring them along just in case.”

Just as you need to pack food and other essentials for yourself, don’t forget to pack necessities for your pets as well.

Some items you’ll need to bring are plenty of food, a pet first-aid kit, a harness, and a leash. Even if the campsite has natural water resources, such as streams or lakes, you must still bring plenty of water for your pet to drink throughout your stay.

Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Your pets will want to drink out of any pond and lake in sight, but there are many different diseases they can catch by doing that,” Stickney said.

“So you don’t want that to be their primary source of water.”

Coming into contact with wild animals is a definite risk when you are out in a national forest or grassland. Although most of the wildlife you run into wants to keep away from you as well, you should have a way of containing your pet just in case.

“If your pet does get into a tussle with a wild animal, you do not want to get into the middle of it,” Stickney said.

“There is a very good chance you will be bitten or harmed.”

Your best method of action is calling off your pet or to try scaring away the wild animal.

In order to prevent such situations in the first place, it is a good idea to keep your pets close to you throughout your camping expedition and to have a leash or harness available at all times.

Before setting off on your camping adventure, make sure your pets are up-to-date on all of their vaccinations, especially rabies.

Depending on the campsite’s location, you may consult with your veterinarian about any other vaccinations that your pet may need, as well as discuss appropriate flea and tick control.

To make camping with your pet an exciting experience for the both of you, be sure to research the campsite ahead of time, take note of any restrictions or regulations, and bring the essentials along with you.

Expect the unexpected is a motto that campers and pet owners both understand well. Taking the time to pack extra leashes and collars, for instance, means that you don’t have to take time away from your camping adventure to purchase new ones.

Put an updated picture of your dog with your vet/rabies shot records. What would you do if your dog went missing?

Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Since you’ve chosen to take your dog camping, you’ll want to plan your outdoors activities to include them. At home you might be able to leave your dog in the backyard or in the house, but that’s not as easy when you’re camping.

Search for dog friendly adventures around your campground, so you can take Fido with you.

Following these guidelines and suggestions will guarantee a good time for everyone.

Worth Pondering…

A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.
―Robert Benchley

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RV Travel Tips for Pet Owners

Attention pet lovers: recreational vehicles and pets are a perfect match.

Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Traveling in an RV gives you the ability to bring your family pet along for the fun. With the company of your animal companion and without the anxiety of boarding your pet or asking a neighbor or friend to pet-sit, you can enjoy your camping trip with the entire family.

More and more RVers are traveling with their pets and finding it makes RVing even more enjoyable. Recreational vehicles and pets are, in most cases, a good mix. If your pets enjoy riding with you in the car, they’ll also enjoy traveling in the RV.

According the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), more than 50 percent of RV travelers bring pets on their travels. Among these pet owners, 78 percent bring dogs, 15 percent travel with cats, and the remaining pet owners travel with birds or other small pets.

The RV industry’s suppliers and manufacturers have made an effort to accommodate mobile pets, from collapsible pet window cages to special tie-downs for dogs built into RVs.
More and more campgrounds and RV parks now welcome pets and an increasing number are becoming pet friendly.

Plan your trip with pet-friendly destinations in mind. Contact the campground ahead of time to determine their policies on pets and then plan accordingly. If your lifestyle or your pet’s lifestyle cannot adapt, find a different campground or change your destination. Only as a last resort, reconsider taking your pet.

Bring copies of vaccination records with you, as you never know when you might need them.

The American RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not only receives high Good Sam rating for its facilities but has something to offer every member of the family from its heated swimming pool for the kids, a spa for the adults, and a dog park for the family pet on board. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The American RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not only receives high Good Sam rating for its facilities but has something to offer every member of the family from its heated swimming pool for the kids, a spa for the adults, and a dog park for the family pet on board. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ensure your pet is properly identified. Also, obtain identification with the address of your destination.

Carry a photo of your pet. You’ll be glad you did if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of making, photocopying, and posting “lost pet” notices.

Bring along your pet’s bed and favorite toys so it will feel comfortable and at home on the road. If traveling with a feline friend, think through the cat-box arrangement. Having extra litter, a covered litter box, plastic bags for disposal, scoop, and baking soda to cover the bottom of the box will keep mess and odor to a minimum.

Your dog feels as cramped as you do after hours of traveling. It’s important that you walk your canine pet when you take rest stops. If your pet is a cat, walks aren’t an issue, but plenty of stretching room is.

Upon registration request a site away from other campers, shady if it’s hot, sunny if it’s cool. Check about leash rules, dog-walk areas, “poop-scooping” policies, and local dog parks.

Once you make camp, abide by the camp’s pet policies. No-spill food and water bowls make the experience even easier. Keep water within reach and keep any possible entanglements out of the way.

Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Never let your pet wander. Portable enclosed pens will enable your pets to enjoy the outside with you. Always clean up after your pet. Be a quiet and considerate neighbor—nothing ruins a camping experience for others like a constantly barking dog.

In selecting its list of Top Pet-Friendly RV Parks for 2014, Good Sam chose RV parks and campgrounds that feature amenities, special services, and events tailored to owners of pets.  These parks offer facilities ranging from dog runs to pet washing areas, and some hand out free treats and toys to canines upon check-in.

A number RV parks feature fenced-in dog runs on their property—a boon to travelers seeking a place to give their furry passengers a place to run after idle travel time. Also offered in some parks are trails for pet walking.

Among the most luxurious pet amenities are fenced-in dog wash stations, with stainless-steel sinks, soap, and warm water available to wash pets.

The American RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not only receives high Good Sam rating for its facilities but has something to offer every member of the family from its heated swimming pool for the kids, a spa for the adults, and a dog park for the family pet on board.

Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A favorite with Winter Texans, Bentsen Palm Village has 5.5 miles of onsite hiking and biking trails as well as numerous organized activities and workshops, from couples dancing to gourd painting, and Swedish blanket making to water color painting.

Pet friendly amenities include dog agility course and pet parade. The dog park became so popular that the owners recently added a second park so that guests could have separate running and play areas for big dogs and small dogs.

Happy camping to you and your four-footed friends. Most of all, have fun with your pet! After all, it’s a ruff life being a dog!

Worth Pondering…

We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It’s the best deal man has ever made.

—M. Facklam

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It’s a Dog’s Life at Grand Canyon Railway RV Park

Set in the mountain community of Williams, Arizona—Gateway to the Grand Canyon—the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park an ideal place to unwind and relax.

The Observation Dome is an unforgettable experience, thanks to a glass-enclosed streamliner that offers panoramic views of the surrounding scenery. (Source: thetrain.com)
The Observation Dome is an unforgettable experience, thanks to a glass-enclosed streamliner that offers panoramic views of the surrounding scenery. (Source: thetrain.com)

Adjacent to the historic train depot, the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park is just two blocks from Route 66 and downtown Williams.

Canyon Railway RV Park offers three types of RV spaces: pull-through sites, buddy spaces, and back-ins. All 124 sites have full service utilities with 50-amp electric service, cable TV, wireless Internet, access to the indoor swimming pool and hot tub at the adjacent Grand Canyon Railway Hotel.

The property has coin-operated laundry machines and a common picnic area with gas grills and a fire pit. Daily rates are $39.

Grand Canyon Railway Pet Resort

While pet parents enjoy a trip to the Canyon, their furry friends have something to wag about at the Grand Canyon Railway’s Pet Resort.

The Pet Resort boasts an entire residential wing for pets: 28 spacious rooms for dogs and 16 comfortable custom-made condos for felines. The Pet Resort is a modern retreat for pet parents who want to experience the iconic Route 66 in the town of Williams, an entertaining historic train ride, and take in the splendor of the Grand Canyon without leaving their four-legged family members at home or in a kennel far away.

Embark on a new era of luxury rail travel with the Luxury Dome Class, combining the breathtaking views of the Observation Dome with the opulence of the Parlor cars. (Source: thetrain.com)
Embark on a new era of luxury rail travel with the Luxury Dome Class, combining the breathtaking views of the Observation Dome with the opulence of the Parlor cars. (Source: thetrain.com)

It offers a safe, comfortable, secure, and modern environment while the staff ensures your furry friend will have a great vacation.

When checking in your pets to the Pet Resort, allow extra time the morning of your train departure. The Pet Resort recommends checking them in by 8:00 a.m. to ensure enough time for you to board the train.

The Pet Resort is available to guests of both the RV Park and Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, as well as Grand Canyon Railway passengers and the general public.

Dogs and cats are kept cool and comfortable with separate central air conditioning and evaporative air-cooling systems during the summer months, and heat in the cooler Northern Arizona winter months. That’s right—separate state-of-the-art air systems—because we all know how dogs and cats think of the others’ scent!

This may be the cleanest air in Northern Arizona, which is already known to have some of the cleanest air in the nation.

Our canine friends enjoy their own private indoor/outdoor space, with standard size runs 4 feet x 4 feet on the inside and 4 feet x 10 feet on the outside. For bigger dogs, there are four extra-large runs that measure 6 feet x 4 feet on the inside and 6 feet x 10 feet on the outside. All outdoor runs are covered for your dog’s contentment.

Canine guests also enjoy individual playtime in the exercise yard during their stay at the Pet Resort.

The Pet Resort has soft background music playing for your pet’s enjoyment.

To make their stay even more comfortable, you are encouraged to bring your pet’s favorites: food, snacks, beds, bowls, bones, chewing items, and toys.

All animals must have paperwork to provide proof of current shots.
Each cat condo is custom-made and has a sitting ledge. The cattery looks out to the basketball and volleyball courts: built-in entertainment! And there are plenty of windows to let in natural sunlight, making it the perfect setting for—you guessed it—a catnap.

The pet resort is conveniently located adjacent to the Grand Canyon Railway, Hotel, and RV Park.

The  Luxury Parlor Car is the most exclusive seat on the train. (Source: thetrain.com)
The Luxury Parlor Car is the most exclusive seat on the train. (Source: thetrain.com)

Daily rates begin at $16 for cats and $23 for dogs, with the option of adding a second cat or dog to the same kennel for just $12 and $16 respectively. Extended stays of seven nights or more are available for a weekly rate of $98 for cats and $140 for dogs.

Details

Grand Canyon Railway

Xanterra Parks & Resorts owns and operates the Grand Canyon Railway as well as restaurants and lodges in several national parks.

The Grand Canyon Railway operates year-round and departs Williams at 9:30 a.m. and returns at 5:30 p.m. daily.

Train rates start at $59/adult; $29/child. Numerous package options are available.
Address: 601 W. Franklin Avenue, Williams, AZ 86046

Phone: (800) THE-TRAIN (843-8724)

Website: thetrain.com

Worth Pondering…

Trains are wonderful… To travel by train is to see nature and human beings, towns and churches and rivers, in fact, to see life.
—Agatha Christie

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Top Pet Friendly RV Parks

An estimated 60 percent of RVers travel with their pets, according to recent studies.

Good-Sam-Club-logo-300x259When it comes to selecting a campground, these travelers seek out RV parks that offer a wide range of pet-friendly amenities, from dog runs to trails for dog walking to flexible rules that allow their particular breed of dog.

To assist pet owners find campgrounds and RV parks that open their arms to canines and other travel companions, Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory has compiled a list of the Top Pet Friendly Parks of 2013. Featuring RV parks from across North America, the list is tailored for RV travelers seeking facilities that welcome pet owners.

Fortunately, many RV parks throughout North America welcome travelers’ four-legged companions with perks ranging from dog runs to pet-friendly policies.

The operators of these parks realize that dogs need more than collars and leashes when they go camping. They require wide-open spaces to run and pet rules that allow owners to take their animal friends for walks around the campground property.

Travel blog Gradling.com reports that pet owners in the U.S. spend $47.4 billion annually on their pets. Among the pet owners who take their animals on the road, 78 percent bring their dogs, 15 percent travel with cats and the rest brings birds, reptiles, or fish.

Traveling With Fido

petsMany RV parks set aside large areas where dogs can frolic after being cooped up in an RV for extended periods of time.

A fenced-in dog run enables canines to run around leash free at Deer Creek Valley RV Park in Topeka, Kansas.

“Dog owners appreciate when you provide facilities for their animals,” says Todd Denius, owner of Royal View at Royal Gorge Campground in Colorado half-acre is set aside for pooches.

“For many people, pets are like their children.”

The park also boasts three miles of trails suitable for dog walking, although a leash is required for dog walking on the trails.

“It lets dogs burn off some energy after a long day of traveling,” added Denius, who owns three dogs.

Denius requires pet owners to review the campground’s policy regarding pets when checking in. They include requirements to clean up after the animal and avoid leaving barking dogs inside vehicles for prolonged periods of time.

Garden Of The Gods Campground, Colorado Springs, Colorado, allows up to three dogs per site but bans pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans.

Pet experts say that although traveling with pets can be fun and rewarding, RVers should consider a number of factors. Travelers should make sure their rig is large enough to accommodate an animal, and the pets should have up-to-date tags with contact information. Owners should always make sure their pet has the necessary immunization shots.

The Good Sam RV Travel Guide’s Top Pet Friendly Parks of 2013 are:

Good Life RV Resort, Mesa, Arizona
Sun Life RV Resort, Mesa, Arizona
Sunflower RV Resort, Surprise, Arizona
Circle RV Resort – Sunland, El Cajon, California
Rio Bend RV & Golf Resort, El Centro, California
Garden Of The Gods Campground, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Royal View at Royal Gorge Campground, Canon City, Colorado
Ocala Sun RV Resort, Ocala, Florida
Deer Creek Valley RV Park Llc, Topeka, Kansas
Evergreen Park R.V. Resort, Mount Eaton, Ohio
Horn Rapids RV Resort, Richland, Washington

Details

Good Sam RV Travel Guide

02-Feb-Pet-87801544In the listings found in the 2013 Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory, pet restrictions are indicated by breed (B), quantity (Q), or size (S). If pets are prohibited, “No Pets” will appear.

The 2013 Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory combines two of the RV industry’s most popular and respected brands—the Trailer Life Directory and Woodall’s Campground Directory—into one comprehensive volume. The guide contains detailed information on more than 14,000 RV parks across North America; each campground is personally inspected and rated by the Good Sam’s consultant teams.

The guide also includes lifestyle features, regional trip guides, and essential travel facts. Readers can get vital tech tips, learn about must-see points of interest in all of North America’s states and provinces, follow a meal and fitness planner, and get Road Ready with a special products section. Also included are guides to RV-related state laws and information needed for trouble-free trips into Canada and Mexico.

For more information about the 2013 Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory, click on goodsamcamping.com.

Worth Pondering…

Animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.
—George Eliot

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Camping with Pets

With more and more campgrounds accepting pets and offering on-site pet amenities, more pets than ever are being included on camping trips.

Camping with pets
Camping with pets

Camping with pets can be a very enjoyable experience for both owners and their animals with a little preparation and planning.

While camping can be a very affordable vacation option, being able to bring pets eliminates the need for a boarding facility. Owners and pets can enjoy their vacation together, an experience that’s usually not available on other types of vacations, according to a New Hampshire Campground Owners Association news release.

Sylvia Leggett, owner of Roberts Knoll Campground in Alton, New Hampshire, and member of the New Hampshire Campground Owners’ Association Board of Directors, has been camping with her three golden retrievers for many years. Leggett has noticed an increase in the number of campgrounds that allow pets, with many adding pet-friendly services.

“That’s why many people camp, so they can be outdoors and keep their pets with them, Leggett noted.”

Leo Spencer, owner of Chocorua Camping Village in Tamworth, New Hampshire, agrees, noting he has seen the number of owners camping with their pets increase within the last decade. Chocorua Camping Village was one of the first New Hampshire locations to offer a dog park and has since added additional amenities, which Spencer said has garnered very positive responses from campers and keeps them coming back year after year.

Camping with pets
Camping with pets

While being able to bring pets along can eliminate the need for a dog sitter or kennel, it does require some advanced planning on the owners’ part to make sure they are prepared for all situations. Only friendly, non-aggressive dogs should be brought to campgrounds.

When camping with a pet for the first time, Leggett recommends planning a shorter trip so the animal can get used to being away from home. That way, the trip can be ended early if needed.

When making a reservation, it’s a good idea to mention pets are part of your group. Some campgrounds can offer a campsite further away from busy areas, which may be more comfortable for some pets. Other campgrounds have a restriction on the number of pets allowed per campsite, which is helpful information for pet owners looking to bring more than one animal along.

Many campgrounds require proof of vaccines against rabies and Bordetella, a type of bacteria, though calling the campground ahead of time to confirm is suggested. Leggett recommends copying vet records with proof of all current vaccines and making sure licenses and contact information are included on pets’ collars. While all of her dogs are micro chipped, Leggett also has her phone number embroidered into her dogs’ collars in the event that they ever became separated.

When it comes to packing for pets, it’s also important to remember food and water dishes, an extra collar and leash, medicines or supplements, brushes, tie outs, shampoo, and something familiar from home, like a toy or blanket. If a dog is comfortable sleeping in a crate at home, that should be brought along too.

After settling into a camp or RV site with pets, it is important to be a responsible camper and pet owner. This includes cleaning up after pets, keeping them leashed, and making sure they stay out of prohibited areas.

Chocorua Camping Village has had a dog park for about 10 years now, but an AKC agility course was added about four years ago. The course contains a series of obstacles that anyone can use. In addition, there is a dog pond where dogs can swim and play fetch off leash, a dog wash station and access to five miles of walking trails. Pet themed events are held at the campground during the summer to include a pet parade.

Camping with pets
Camping with pets

When in doubt, do not leave pets unsupervised in an unfamiliar environment, as pets may act differently than they do at home.

As other places add pet-friendly amenities, it is getting more convenient for pet owners to bring their pets along. Many campgrounds can offer suggestions on places to visit with pets, from nearby hiking or walking trails to stores.

Like Leggett suggests, if you plan ahead and are prepared, camping can be a rewarding, memorable experience for both owners and pets.

Worth Pondering…

There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.

—Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Big Rio Grande Valley Welcome for Winter Texans

It’s no secret that RV parks and resorts in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) whose livelihoods depend on the annual influx of Winter Texansare facing several challenges.

The Roseate Spoonbill uses its long, flat, spoon-shaped bil to strain small food items out of the water. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The Roseate Spoonbill uses its long, flat, spoon-shaped bil to strain small food items out of the water. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many of today’s winter visitors are younger and more mobile than their counterparts of years past.

“They may go to Arizona this year, Texas next year, and Florida the next year,” said Kristi Collier, president and CEO of Welcome Home Rio Grande Valley, which markets 74 RV parks and resorts from Mission to South Padre Island.

Snowbirds unfamiliar with the RGV are also more likely to be concerned by publicity about violence in Mexico, even though cities in the Rio Grande Valley have less crime than other popular winter resort destinations in other states.

Despite these challenges, RV parks and resorts across the Valley are finding that they can continue to grow their business base for the winter season if they offer plenty of organized activities and continue to invest in new amenities for their parks, said Brian Schaeffer, executive director and CEO of theTexas Association of Campground Owners (TACO).

Pet Amenities

These new amenities include walking areas and agility courses for people with dogs as well as special pet-related activities.

“Dog parks are a big deal,” said Jacqueline Gomez, who is the marketing director for Llano Grande Lake Park Resort & Country Club in Mercedes, Victoria Palms Resort in Donna, and Alamo Park Mobile Home & RV Park in Alamo. She said each of the resorts has two, off-leash dog areas.

The great kiskadee has yellow on its crown that is often obscured by the black stripes that frames it. However, if you get a view of the top of its head as I did in this photo, the yellow brightly stands out on this Rio Grande Valley specialty. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The great kiskadee has yellow on its crown that is often obscured by the black stripes that frames it. However, if you get a view of the top of its head as I did in this photo, the yellow brightly stands out on this Rio Grande Valley specialty. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The dog park at Bentsen Palm Village in Mission has become so popular that the owners recently added a second park so that guests could have separate running and play areas for big dogs and small dogs.

“About 70% to 75% of our guests have dogs, so these kinds of amenities are important,” said Juanita Carvajal, Bentsen Palm Village’s general manager.

Community Gardens

Of course, while pet friendly amenities are attractive to Winter Texans, that’s not the only attraction at Bentsen Palm Village. The 250-site resort recently set aside an open area of the park where its guests can grow their own organic fruits, vegetables and herbs.

“It’s like a community garden,” Carvajal said, “but we give each guest a 10 by 10-foot section where they can put a stake with their name on it. They often grow kale, peppers, tomatoes, onions and radishes. Sometimes, they grow so much they bring it into the office to share.”

Birding, Hiking and Wildlife

Bentsen Palms also markets its proximity to the World Birding Center while also highlighting the rare birds and other wildlife that make their way into the park.

“This past season, we had a family of elf owls that stayed in our park,” Carvajal said, adding that the owls are only 5 inches tall.

“The season before we had Black vented Orioles,” a rare bird native to Mexico and Central America that has a black hood, upper back and wings, and a bright yellow-orange underside.

The Black-vented Oriole made its home a short distance from our RV site at Bentsen Palm Village. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The Black-vented Oriole made its home a short distance from our RV site at Bentsen Palm Village. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many Valley visitors enjoy state parks, national wildlife preserves, and other nature reserves. Others like taking bike rides and walks and kayaking down the Rio Grande River.

Other Activities

RV park operators are finding that other types of organized activities are also critical for today’s Winter Texans.

El Valle del Sol in Mission offers more than 100 activities each week for its guests including classes in wood carving, ceramics, and painting and Tai Chi while its food related events range from pancake breakfasts to potluck dinners with Hawaiian, Cajan, Western, and other culinary themes. The park also has live entertainment with polka bands and other musicians.

Winter visitors like their surroundings to be nice, too, which is why many Rio Grande Valley parks are also investing in aesthetic improvements and other creature comforts.

“We just put in a high powered Wi-Fi system this summer and everybody is real happy about that,” said Ruth Dearinger, manager of VIP Park in La Feria.

Other improvements at the 256-site park include resurfaced streets, landscaping, and the installation of more campsites with 50 amp electrical hookups.

Texas Spoken Friendly

Worth Pondering…

Winter Texan is Better Than No Texan

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Woodley, an RV Driving Dog

Darwin, Australia resident Richard McCormack thought nothing of it when his dog, Woodley, sat in the passenger seat and watched him drive his recreational vehicle.

Richard McCormack couldn’t believe how lucky he was his RV was not damaged when his dog, Woodley, dislodged the handbrake and drove down the road. (Credit: Patrina Malone/ntnews)

But little did he know his two-year-old German koolie, wasn’t just sitting there enjoying the view and being friendly—Woodley was learning the RV’s controls.

The 62-year-old McCormack parked his large mobile home on Winnellie Road, which runs down a slight hill, and popped into a yard to inquire about repair work.

He was surprised when he looked back to see his double-decker motorhome rolling down a hilltop driveway with Woodley at the wheel, reported NTNews.

He’d only left the vehicle for a couple of minutes to talk to a mechanic about the RV when Woodley popped the handbrake, put his paws on the wheel, and took off.

Sales assistant Phil Newton could not believe his eyes when he saw the dog driving the 20-ton, double-decker bus through Darwin’s industrial zone.

“I thought, ‘What the…’!” he said.

“This was weird, even for the Territory.”

Newton, 30, said the dog was sitting in the driver’s seat with its paws on the steering wheel. He chased after the runaway bus, leapt through an open window, and rammed on the handbrake.

“It ran about 700 feet, swerved across the road, and traveled up a footpath. It was about to run into a parked car when I managed to stop it,” Newton added.

McCormack says he’ll be Woodley-proofing the handbrake to stop Woodley from doing a repeat performance before he sets out on the cross-country trek around Australia he has planned.

Naughty Woodley, the German koolie, peeps out from the 20-ton double-decker bus that he took for a joy ride. (Credit: Patrina Malone/ntnews)

“He’s still my best mate,” he said.

Woodley, on the other hand, was unrepentant.

Worth Pondering…

Your travel life has the essence of a dream.

It is something outside the normal, yet you are in it.

It is peopled with characters you have never seen before and in all probability will never see again.

It brings occasional homesickness, and loneliness, and pangs of longing.

But you are like the Vikings or the master mariners of the Elizabethan age, who have gone into a world of adventure, and home is not home until you return.

—Agatha Christie, British mystery writer

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