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mmfarmer2012

New Snowbirds This Winter

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We are going to go to Arizona from Michigan this winter, it will be our first time.

We are looking for advice. Do we just head south, avoid the snow storms and worry about getting a campground as we travel down the road. We are thinking about 2 weeks getting there, then stay in a Park for a month, and then spend another two weeks coming back.

Anyone have thoughts or advice?

It would be very much appreciated.

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You didn't say where you are going in Arizona but many parks there fill up quickly during the winter. When we made reservations in May for November the park where we will be in Apache Junction only had 2 sites left. We will be there until the end of March.

Some people travel and just find a place for the night when they are ready to stop and that works for them. I am a planner and usually have my route mapped out along with reservations for stops along the way. May not be necessary but it makes me comfortable.

Enjoy your trip and the sights along the way.

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We spent last winter in Yuma AZ at a wonderful park called Fortuna De Oro - new recreational facilities as of last year - check out their website for details - Also, a Passport America RV park - enjoy the Yuma area - really great !!

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We looked at Yuma, AZ and didn't find much to do there except cross the boarder into Mexico if you need expensive dental work. We look a little more west in the Palm Spring area and found something more to our liking with good monthly rates. More to do in the area, hot mineral pools and not far east and west of things we like to see and do.

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South Texas is a lot closer to Michigan and further south than any of the above. In addition, there are a wide variety of parks and an equally wide range of prices. Generally the cost of living in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas is below average. You will find park rates that are quite reasonable for quality sites. Some parks fill but many have spaces available all season long. As a first time visitor I would encourage you to take some time to visit other parks near where you are. Even parks that are booked full this winter will welcome you to visit and see the parks facilities.

The winter season varies, many people arrive in October and stay through March or April. Others wait until after a specific holiday, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year. A month will give you a taste of the good life in the warmer south during winter. If you really like it, you may want to stay longer this winter or in future winters.

For your first time south, you may want to do some traveling along the southern border of the US and try a variety of areas. Different areas have resources that may address a special interest you may have better than other areas. When we made our first trip south we didn't make any reservations and traveled around a bit until we found a place that was comfortable for us. We've been returning there ever since.

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You didn't say when you're headed out but if it's in Dec / Jan like it is when we head out, you can head west - when you get to Des Moines - or St' Louis, look 2 days ahead on the weather ... you'll then most likely have to head for Ok City... kook ahead again - suspect you'll then be headed for Amarillo Tx... Temptation there is to go west to Albequerque but on two attempts, the ice storms coming at that higher altitude forced us to head for Las Cruces.....

We've had to take 10 to stay at the lower altitude and ice in Jan/Feb/Mar....twice.

Saw a lot of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas but probably added 300-400 miles bu zig-zaging west in hopes of going straighter to Phoenix / Apache Junction.. Staying in Gold Canyon this year....

From WI. will most likely just head for KC, then OK City, Amarillo, Tucumcari, - then 80% sure we'll have to continue down thru White sands area to Las Cruces, Tucson, and back up.

Probably going to do it in 3 days - likely less chance of getting hung up somewhere and having to hole up for a day or two..

We enjoy Apache Junction/Gold Canyon area for 2 months.... ..

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If weather appears as though it might be an issue, you can detour your trip to Memphis, Little Rock and Dallas and then I-20 to I-10 and you will add just over 100 miles to the trip. You will avoid any serious weather you might encounter in ABQ or Flagstaff (7000 FT) but still have excellent driving conditions. If weather is not a concern I would take the shortest route which includes Flagstaff as ABQ and Flagstaff are both excellent cities to visit and there is lots to see and experience at and between your destinations. If you go that way be sure to stop at Meteor Crater. Just watch the weather forecast. If it looks bad, don't move. Were you in a hurry? If so, take the Southern route. If not, take the Northern route, enjoy the trip, sit when bad weather is predicted and move when it's not. You really cannot go wrong.

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Thanks everyone for your help! We are looking at the months of February and March down south. We didn't realize that the RV parks in AZ would be reserved quite so early. Thought we would spend a week or so traveling back and forth and the bulk of the time in the Gold Canyon, AZ area. Weather will definitely be the determining factor when driving. Can't imagine trying to navigate snow and ice......

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If you are going in Feb. and March you should find places to stay. I travel from MI to AZ every tear and only make a reservation in 1 park that we like in Sierra Vista, AZ. I only call and make that res. a couple of weeks ahead of time. By the time I make that res.I am already in AZ or TX.

As for the trip out there, no res. needed. the parks along the interstates have room. Never been turned away on route West in 14 years.

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We don't leave Ontario until after Christmas and watch the weather and head south on I75.

After that we don't go west until we feel comfortable that we can stay out of the snow.

Leaving in January we go directly south but take our time coming back north.

It seems that February is the month when the parks are the most full.

This year we are planning to go back to the Rio Grande Valley and are not making reservations.

In AZ I think I would want to have reservations for February if you want it for the month.

We were in AZ two years ago and had no problem getting a site for a week at a time in March with Passport American.

We did get a site in Tucson for February but not the best sites.

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Can't imagine trying to navigate snow and ice......

Navigating snow and ice takes patience. If the forecast is for snow along your intended route or you wake up to a snow covered coach you have decisions to make. You could change your intended route or stay in one place for an additional day or two to let the storm pass. This is an easier decision if you aren't on a schedule and don't have reservations for the next night or two. If you awake in a snow storm, wait until the storm passes. Traveling in an area where there has been snow is best done in the middle of the day when temperatures are warm and salt and other melting agents are melting the snow. Don't stay on the roads too long if temperatures are near freezing as the melted snow will start to refreeze and can form ice patches. Notice I'm saying that you don't drive in that stuff, I'm suggesting ways to get along your way on your trip without driving in snow or ice. Patience!

I always prefer dry roads but sometimes you just get caught in the rain or snow melt. After driving in melted snow you should give your rig a thorough wash, top to bottom to get all the salt, calcium chloride or other melting agent off the coach. Use plenty of water to wash away all the chemical. I've only been caught in that condition one time and the coach looked horrible after a day of driving but it cleaned up nicely thanks to a friendly campground owner who said yes to my query about washing coaches. I think they are more welcoming in winter when they don't have so much business.

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