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Old 10-27-2012, 08:05 PM   #1
rce
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Question Where & when: 1st ever winter trip south

Sorry for the general question but really struggling:

From Central Canada/USA where & when would you recommend heading south this winter, particularly when, with regards to cold weather?

Background info: Both DW & myself recently retired, bought TT & TV, never trailered south before. Surveyor 189 ultralight is our TT. Like to do outdoors stuff.

Trying to determine when and where it would be "warm enough" for camping and in particular when are campgrounds generally open in winter months and in what areas? I'm guessing Texas, Florida & Arizona are "campable" year round but how about states north of them?

Thank you.
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:38 PM   #2
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just so you know, your ultra-light Surveyor will not be as well insulated as a regular TT.
some things have to be sacrificed to lower weights and the things that make a RV truly "4-season", are not found in ultra-lite trailers, like the Surveyor.
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:52 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by bikendan View Post
just so you know, your ultra-light Surveyor will not be as well insulated as a regular TT.
some things have to be sacrificed to lower weights and the things that make a RV truly "4-season", are not found in ultra-lite trailers, like the Surveyor.
Yes, there is very little insulating in our ultalight. We did camp one night when it just barely froze and a standard electric heater seemed to keep us toasty warm. Also have the furnace available which we haven't used yet.

I guess we're hoping to not push it too much below freezing at night time.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:08 PM   #4
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We have gone to Texas 2 years on Boxing day from Toronto area. Put water in the tank just south of Nashville both years, and had to winterize on the way home one year just north of Cincinnati, and made it all the way home without winterizing one year(home at end of March both years).The third year we didn't leave until Jan 19th and had to go all the way to New Orleans before using water tank, and made it home without winterizing again at end of March. Wal-mart works for us until we get to warm (not freezing) weather but we don't ever have to plug in because we have 230 watts of solar charging power. We found many boondocking opportunities in Texas the first year with only LED lights(easy on battery), and then added solar panels the 2nd year. We met a guy in Texas who said if it's too cold move south, and if it's too warm move north to avoid needing AC which is almost impossible on solar. Hope this helps.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:12 PM   #5
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Mesa Arizona
Casa Grande Arizona
Tucson Arizona
Yuma Arizona

Most all the RV there now are from Canada or the upper US States.
Temps are great during the winter and now snow or freezes.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:14 PM   #6
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Field guide:
Arizona's snowbirds arrive

The Arizona Republic

Thirty years ago, Arizona's snowbirds were a largely monolithic flock. They stowed months of supplies in their RVs and fled the cold Midwestern winters to soak up the sun at mobile-home parks in the East Valley.
Most were middle-class retirees who launched their migration in the fall and created their own fleeting societies, venturing into nearby communities for food and fun. By May, their trailer courts were empty.
Snowbirds enjoy Mesa | Field guide

Snowbirds, also known as seasonal residents, have since evolved into a richly diverse group. They arrive in the Phoenix area at different times, live throughout the Valley and vary by age, income, state or country of origin, housing preference, political impact and social habits.
Canadians, motivated by their suddenly strong dollar, are now descending in droves, many abandoning Florida's sunny beaches for the desert landscapes and lower property taxes of the Southwest.
Baby Boomers in their 50s or even late 40s -- at least those who can afford to buy second homes or condos -- are a newer breed of winter visitor. As the Vietnam generation eases out the World War II generation, they buy property in favorable markets and gradually spend more time in the state as they near retirement.
Modern snowbirds have become somewhat invisible, easily assimilating into the neighborhoods around them, from age-restricted communities in the northwest Valley to affluent condo complexes in Scottsdale. Many are choosing to become permanent residents by their late senior years.

Evolving species

Winter visitors began clustering at RV and mega mobile-home parks in Mesa and Apache Junction in the late 1970s. They've since become known as snowbirds -- seasonal residents who stay for at least a month but usually most of the winter.
Peggy Marklinger and her husband, Gerald, who are Canadians from Alberta, began driving their motor home to Arizona in the heyday of the RVers, back in 1979. The couple, now in their mid-70s, started relatively young for the era. They visited Peggy's snowbird parents, golfed, made friends and shopped. They eventually laid down their own roots and bought a place in a Mesa mobile-home park.
"It was much cheaper to go this route," Peggy said. "You get to know everybody if you want to socialize."
By the 1990s, age-restricted communities in Arizona began to draw more snowbirds into homes and condos along golf courses, luring them with amenities such as recreation centers, spas and theaters.
The trend toward home ownership accelerated over the past decade as Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, started to snatch up retirement and investment homes in the down market.
Judy Lutes, president of the Arizona Winter Visitors Association, a group that provides services to snowbirds, said the Boomers have a distinct difference in taste from their parents' generation, preferring resort-style living over the close-knit RV parks.
"Shuffleboard and stuff--that doesn't impress them," Lutes said of the Boomers. "They're into homes and condos."
Michael MacKenzie, executive director of the Toronto-based Canadian Snowbird Association, confirms that today's snowbirds are skewing younger than the generations that started coming to Arizona while in their 70s.
"It's not like that old stereotype where they lie in the sun and golf," MacKenzie said. "There is a lot of socializing. They're on vacation. They're retired. They like to spend money."
While experts say the winter visitor population has grown, no one really knows how many snowbirds are in the Valley anymore. The shift toward home-buying has made them difficult to track.
Stephen Happel, an Arizona State University economics professor who studied snowbirds for years, stopped following their numbers and spending habits after 2003-04. That year, he estimated 300,000 winter visitors pumped $1billion into the state economy.
MacKenzie counted 556,000 of his countrymen alone who migrated to Arizona last year. He expects even more this year. The Canadian dollar, which in 2002 was worth 62cents to the American dollar, now is worth closer to 95cents.
"That has a huge psychological impact on Canadians," MacKenzie said. "Food is cheaper. Clothes are cheaper. A lot of people who for years were renting are now buying. People who owned are now upgrading. Most Canadian snowbirds are driven by price and real-estate values are good."

Modern birds

Snowbirds have shifted their behavior and are traveling to new areas of the Valley. Many affluent retirees are landing in Scottsdale, where they buy second homes, play tennis or hike, attend the theater and filter into art galleries and shopping malls.
They start ticking up the sales at Scottsdale galleries about mid-November, with the rush lasting from January through March, said Veronica Graffius, president of the Scottsdale Gallery Association. Snowbirds make up nearly half the shopping public during the high season.
Displaying strength and confidence, they remind Graffius of eagles.
"They are very smart and wise. When they know what they are looking for they just go for it," she said. "When they see something they want, they get it. They don't even negotiate."
Peter and Pat Caffaro of Edmonton, Canada, plan to join the crowd in December.
Peter Caffaro is a retired judge. He and his wife used to travel the world for vacations but now, in their 70s, they want more stability.
The couple just bought a condo in the Sage, an upscale condominium development in downtown Scottsdale.
"We do not golf," Pat Caffaro said. "I think that we'll end up reading, walking and strolling." The couple will have coffee or drinks with some of their Canadian counterparts in the building.
The Caffaros will likely have a lot in common with their neighbors. Brendan Mann of the Solvere Group, who brokers sales for the Sage, said about a quarter of the sales have been to Canadians. He just closed with a couple from Vancouver. They all paid cash.
"They know that the prices have been reset for our generation and the value will never be as good as it is today," Mann said.
Mann said to expect Canadians to be excessively happy while they're here.
A Canadian himself, Mann remembers when he and his wife first spent time in Las Vegas and marveled at the endless sunshine.
"We would giggle to ourselves every day when we opened the curtains," he said. "It's fantastic."
In other parts of the Phoenix area, age-restricted communities with pools, golf courses and full social calendars are the trend. Developments like Sun City Grand in Surprise, Trilogy at Vistancia in Peoria and Sun Lakes near Chandler are catering to middle and upper-middle income visitors.
Managers of such retirement communities across the Valley report that roughly 30 to 40 percent of their residents are seasonal. Most hail from the Midwest, Western states, Pacific coast and Canada.
Robert Pippett, a 76-year-old retired air-traffic controller from Chicago, moved to Sun City West last year after spending 13 winters in Florida.
The development, one of the earliest age-restricted communities in the Valley, appealed to the golfer with its seven courses.
Like many snowbirds his age, Pippett's looking to sell his condo in Chicago and make Arizona a permanent home. He'll spend the hot summer months at a home he recently bought in Prescott.
"If you're bored here, you're not going to find another place," Pippett said as he waited in line to bowl with his sister at one of the community's recreation centers on a Wednesday afternoon. "I know I'm going to stay here."

Local impact

For year-round Valley residents, snowbirds are more than occasional visitors. They leave their economic, cultural and political stamp on the region.
Scottsdale officials have no way of tracking how many of their winter tourists are snowbirds with second homes. They tend to assimilate deeply into their neighborhoods. But city leaders believe they have helped keep the shopping areas afloat.
Local arts groups are beginning to see an uptick in charitable contributions, but Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce President Rick Kidder believes the Valley could coax more giving from snowbirds.
"I think that constitutes an untapped resource," he said. "A lot of people breeze in and out of here and are largely unknown to the charity community."
The Sun Cities and Surprise in the West Valley depend on snowbirds to contribute cash as well as political value.
"When they come in, they add not just economically but civically," said David Moss, president of the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce. "They don't just come in and stay in their own bubble. There is higher attendance at City Council meetings and even at the chamber we'll see an increase in attendance at some events."
Winter visitors have a high profile in Surprise retirement communities, which play an outsized role in electing local government leaders and shaping policy. Four of the city's seven City Council members will come from age-restricted areas when a new mayor takes office next month.
Their influence can also be seen in regional politics -- Sun City, Sun City West and Surprise traditionally vote heavily for some of the most conservative state lawmakers and county officials, such as Rep. Jack Harper and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Maricopa County allows winter visitors who are registered to vote in the state to have their early ballots forwarded to seasonal addresses provided they submit the request in writing.
Other snowbirds in the Valley engage in the local community in ways unrelated to politics.
East Valley snowbirds get involved in religious or cultural groups, and Scottsdale snowbirds stay away from politics altogether. Canadians tend to keep their distance from what can be a controversial political scene.
The Caffaros think they'll be happy just making a few friends and taking advantage of what they consider to be a uniquely American form of hospitality.
"I don't know if it's peculiar to this area, but the people have been incredibly helpful and friendly," Pat Caffaro said. "Without exception -- even in the grocery store. You should be proud to be Americans."
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:30 PM   #7
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Try checking Georgia and Alabama also. ReserveAmerica.com will give you an idea if the camps are open all year or for a limited period.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:55 PM   #8
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Try checking Georgia and Alabama also. ReserveAmerica.com will give you an idea if the camps are open all year or for a limited period.
Just watch out for hurricains
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Old 10-28-2012, 12:13 AM   #9
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Just watch out for hurricains
Yup, hurricanes a worry too. Earthquakes too!

Thanks for all replies!

Sounds like Arizona a good alternative maybe?
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Old 10-28-2012, 12:24 PM   #10
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Don't overlook Florida, below Palm Beach, they have the best weather in the Winter and the beach will be close by west or east. Good Luck
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