Thursday, May 28, 2015

New ATV Guided Tours in Progreso, Texas

Where is Progreso, Texas you might ask yourself? The city of Progreso is situated about one (1) mile from the Rio Grande River and it sits in the middle of the Rio Grande Valley between McAllen, Texas and Brownsville, Texas. Located 5 miles south of Weslaco, Texas via FM 1015 and it borders the Mexican town of Nuevo Progreso, Tamaulipas formerly known as Las Flores.

What are ATV Guided Tours

When you come to south Texas make sure you come ride four-wheelers along the Rio Grande River. As a newly added attraction to the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), Texas Border Tours is a one of a kind adventure. The tours take you right up to the edge of the Rio Grand River as you follow a designated route that allows you to capture the true essence of the land. You will discborder fence that sits between Mexico and the USA. Most importantly, you will get to ride one of Texas Border Tours ATV's. If you don't already know, you will find that riding an ATV in open country terrain is one of the most fun and relaxing activities you can do. While on tour, you never really know what you will encounter, from traversing muddy terrain, to climbing hills, to a steady speed ride.
over picturesque landscapes nestled along the river valley. While on the tour, you will get to ride along a section of the 1,951 mile long

How does it work

The concept is simple, you don't need to have your own ATV to be able to ride at Texas Border Tours. You choose between a one (1), Two (2) or three (3) hour tour, then select the date and time you want to go and make the reservations online or by calling 956-998-3940. It really is that easy to do. When you get to the location you will be greeted and get you all set up with your helmet and goggles. Before departure your guide will go over some safety points and after that you will go riding. That is truly the essence of the experience of riding, its cut to the chase and get behind the wheel.

It doesn't matter if you are a novice or a pro, anyone can come and take part in this amazing eco tour adventure that will build memories for a lifetime. When you come to do the tour make sure you have the following checklist:


  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Bring insect repellent
  • Bring sunscreen
  • Bring cameras

What to expect on the tours

The 1 hour tour is a teaser, you won't believe just how much fun you are having because just as you are craving more, the hour goes by so fast. Which holds true to the old adage saying, time flies when you are having fun! The tour starts in Progreso Lakes and takes you to the Toluca Ranch property. The house and chapel date back to the 1860's. The ranch was established in 1880 by Florencio Saenz which local folklore has it that he sold his soul to the devil in order to gain wealth and prosperity. It is said that the house is haunted and today you can take haunted tours at the ranch. There is definitely an eerie ora to the place that is sure to give you goose bumps. From Toluca Ranch, the tour leads you south to the banks of the Rio Grande River, where you will travel about 5 miles along the river. At one point, you will go through a trail that runs parallel with the National Wildlife Refuge conservation land where you have the opportunity to spot local wildlife. Although it might prove difficult to spot any wildlife with all the rumble of the ATV's but you never know you might get lucky. You will definitely be taken back by the beauty of the land and just how peaceful and relaxing it feels to get out and ride.

The two and three hour tours take you from Progreso Lakes over to Mercedes, Texas, where if you like to get muddy you are sure to encounter some famous local "mud pits" that will get you the full experience of what it is to drive a 4x4 vehicle. You can expect to travel anywhere from 20-30 miles respectively with each tour. What else can we say, you have to come ride with us and find out first hand what the experience is like.

If you are a visitor to south Texas and you are looking for things to do in the RGV, then this is the attraction for you. Don't miss an opportunity to build memories that last, come join us at Texas Border Tours. To make reservations for an ATV guided tour please call 956-998-3940 or visit our website

Monday, May 25, 2015

2013 Honda Rancher Review

My love affair with Honda goes back to the early 90's when I rode my first Honda Foreman 400 around the farm in southern Arkansas. One of the things that stoodHonda Rancher 420 AT.
out to me was the quality of the machine, how day in and day out these machines were used as work horses around the farm from pulling water tanks to spray herbicide along the rice field levees, to pulling trailers around chicken farm houses, these ATV's worked without ever missing a beat. Fast forward 20 years later and I finally bought myself a

The feeling I had when I brought home my Honda Rancher 420 AT, it took me back to that very first time I rode a Honda. Grabbing the handlebars, pressing the throttle and hearing that unmistakable Honda sound, it was as if, I was reliving my boyhood all over again.

What are the best features on a Honda Rancher 420

Although, at the time when I bought the Honda Rancher it was to help me relieve some stress when I came home from work. It allowed me to go explore the area around my neighborhood and find trails that I otherwise wouldn't have found with out the help of the Honda Rancher 420. Today, we are using it as one of our daily drivers for our tour company Texas Border Tours.

The particular model that I bought came with independent rear suspension (IRS) which I prefer over a single rear axle (SRA). Both types of suspension are good, it just depends what the intended use will be. For example, a SRA works better for pulling trailers and working around the job site. A IRS works better for trails where the terrain is uneven, you will notice it more when you go over obstacles, even though the articulation of each rear tire may not have the travel distance of a rock climber it still makes a difference when you are out in the trail.

This particular model also came with a dual option to chose between electric manual shift or "automatic" shift. I say automatic in parenthesis because it is not truly an automatic transmission. When the automatic mode is selected, you have the ATV's computer shifting for you. Although it is not the ideal way it still works as an automatic because all the rider has to do is give it gas and it goes. When I ride it, I use the manual shift mode option all the time because I decide when it is best to shift and I generally operate it on the high rpm band. When my daughters ride it, they use the automatic mode and it works flawlessly. However, one drawback of this automatic option is when going up steep hills, the computer can never get the right gear to make the climb, what you get is loss of power when it shifts on you at the top of the hill and you give it some gas, it downshifts and almost causes you to tip over. One way to correct this, is to change it to manual mode before making any climbs and have the correct power output evenly through out your climb.

Why get an ATV if it is not going to be 4x4? It was a must for me to have a 4x4 ATV and I wouldn't have it any other way. Honda made this simple and easy to use, by simply moving a lever up or down you can engage or disengage the 4x4 on the Rancher. Having 4x4 available just allows you to go a lot more places that a regular 4x2 ATV just couldn't go. Don't get me wrong, you will go places within reason, as I quickly discovered even though I had a 4x4 ATV I was not immune to getting stuck. I would say that after about four (4) or five (5) times of getting stuck, I opted to get a warn winch installed. Now you can really go places and if you get stuck all you have to do is winch yourself out. Well, that even gets old, after about four (4) or five (5) times, you don't really look forward to getting stuck anymore. Needless to say, although having a 4x4 is awesome, the drawbacks are getting stuck and then having to clean the Rancher, that is a chore I'd rather skip.

Is adding bigger tires to an ATV a good idea

The Honda Rancher is a mid-size ATV that is both strong and agile.Superior Traction Tires because I wanted to take my Honda Rancher places where other ATV's would have to sit on the sidelines. I am sad to report that going with bigger tires was not a good idea. The Honda Rancher just doesn't have the power to turn those tires in the mud. What I got was a bogged down ATV that couldn't push through the muck. One piece of advice that I would give anyone trying to go to a bigger tire on a small size engine ATV is save your money, you won't go places you think you can go and you will be greatly disappointed. After I got the tires I researched trying to change the gear ratio on the transmission, anything that would give me more torque but I quickly realized I was stuck with my mistake. I remember going through a plowed field just after a heavy down pour, in first gear throttle wide open, the mud was so bad that it locked all my wheels. It got to a point where neither forward or reverse would move the tires. The motor just didn't have the power required to turn the tires. Capable of reaching max speeds of 52 mph, you can sure get from one side of the farm to the other in no time, all while pulling a trailer. Don't get me wrong it has its limitations but you really have to push the one piston motor to find that limit. One of the things that I did last year was to upgrade tires. I went with a set of

What's the down side of owning a Honda Rancher 420

When you look at the whole picture, there is nothing anyone can really say about the Honda Rancher, it does what it was designed to do. Within the boundaries of reason you can not expect the performance of a big bore ATV, it just simply doesn't have the power, but when you compare it to a similar size ATV, there is no other brand that can compare to the Rancher. Sure, Can-am has the Outlander L model, and Yamaha has the Grizzly, but those are CVT run atv's and can not match to the durability and longevity of a true gear transmission as found on the Honda Rancher 420. Overall there are no real down sides to owning a quality made machine. After 2 years of heavy use, it still runs as the day it came out of the dealership with very low maintenance required.

Why buy a Honda?

Simply put, Honda is the best on earth, it has a reputation of quality deep in their core values. Ask anyone that owns a Honda and they will tell you the same thing, Honda's just outlast any ATV's out on the market today. After years of serious use, you will discover that your Honda will work the same as the day you brought it home. It will withstand any punishment you can possibly throw at it and will be dependable until the day you decide to get rid of it. Which is something the new comers like Can-am and Polaris just cant get right just yet. Honda has been in the game of making ATV's for a long time and this isn't their first rodeo. I'm sure that anyone can probably argue this point, but I am speaking of first hand experience and knowledge of what a Honda truly is.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bird Watching in South Texas

Written by Kim C.

Texas Border Tours is  family owned and operated guided ATV or UTV tour service in the Rio Grande Valley.  We provide fun and excitement for all to enjoy.  If you need to unwind and relax after a hard day or week you can get out of the city life and take a meandering tour through the beautiful nature right in your own back yard.  We are located in Progreso, Texas just a half
mile north of the Progreso International Bridge.  We will take you through locations along the Rio Grande River that most will never see.

Are you an avid bird watcher?  Then one of our tours would be perfect for you.  While passing through the untouched wilderness you can see many different bird species.  From the Least Grebe to the Neotropic Cormorant there are many different birds that catch your eye.  Over 300 different species of birds have been found in and around our little piece of paradise here in Progreso, Texas. We will pass by lakes, through forest, and fields so there are many opportunities to see many different types of birds.  Some of the birds that have been spotted around the area would include White-tipped Doves, Green Kingfishers, Olive Sparrow, and Long-billed or Curved-billed Thrashers, just to name a few.  Make sure to bring your camera and binoculars.  You will be able to ride into areas that will get you right in the middle of it all.  There are many different bird watching options
in the Valley but the tours with Texas Border Tours are definitely one of a kind adventures.  

We offer several different tours for 1, 2, or 3 hours.  With the two and three hour tours a lunch is included from a choice of three different options.  You can choose a BBQ Plate that includes a chicken quarter, half pound of fajita, sausage and a heaping helping of beans and rice.  A Ranch House Enchilada plate of 6 enchiladas, rice and beans.  The third option is a Tamale plate of one dozen tamales with rice and beans.  All lunch plates are served with a drink as well. You can ride your own four wheeler or a group of four can use a Utility terrain vehicle and all ride together. So grab your friends or family and book your one of a kind all terrain vehicle (ATV) or utility terrain vehicle (UTV) tour with Texas Border Tours now.

What is Texas Border Tours?

Written by Kim C.

At Texas Border Tours it is all about relaxing, getting back to nature, and having fun.  You can come and ride an ATV or UTV along the Rio Grande River and see nature and wildlife at its best.
Coming into the tour as a novice rider myself, I was put at ease with the confidence and knowledge of the tour guides.  They walked me through proper helmet adjustment and use of the All Terrain Vehicle (ATV).  They even let me ride around the property before leaving for tour to make sure I was completely comfortable with the brakes and throttle of the ATV I had chosen.  I was even provided with the helmet and safety goggles.  Safety is definitely a top priority.

Once the group was all ready, we started out on the tour.  I, myself, took the one hour tour.  Along the ride I was able to see all kinds of Texas wildlife.  From the trees and flowers to birds and jack rabbits, there is plenty to see and take pictures of along the trail.  At one point in the tour we were even taken by a haunted house at Toluca Ranch!  This tour gave me a new point of view of the landscape of south Texas.  We were able to ride right along the edge of the Rio Grande River.
One of the members of our group even dipped his feet in the water.

I believe that Texas Border Tours is a good weekend getaway option.  On my tour I was on an ATV, but you could bring the whole family out and ride in a UTV.  The Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) has four seats and is equipped with seat belts for all riders.  I will definitely be coming back to bring more friends or family to experience this one of a kind opportunity.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

2015 Outlander XMR 1000 Review

One of Can-am's (BRP) top of the line ATV is the Outlander XMR 1000, this four-wheeler is not for the faint of heart. It is a serious ATV made for people who have a need for adrenaline rush and for those who simply like to ride the best. The 1,000cc Rotax motor has a quick throttle response with enough power to climb up to 65 mph in less than 10 seconds right when the limiter kicks in. There is not another ATV manufacture today that makes a production four-wheeler similar or even in the same ball park as the Outlander XMR 1000. This production ATV stands on a league of its own,
rivaled by no one. Lets get into what I like and dislike about the XMR because it does have its pros and cons.

What I like about it

The Outlander XMR 1000 was the 2nd ATV acquired for our Texas Border Tour business. From the beginning we knew this would be a four-wheeler that the guides would use on tours as a lead quad. But before we put it to service we had to find out for ourselves what its limitations were. I am sad to report that simply put, this monster of an ATV has no limitations. Before writing this article, I wanted to bash BRP for reasons I will let you know later on in this article. But to be fair, this is just an extraordinary machine out of the box, ready for extreme play.

Having watched Ostacruisers videos on YouTube, I wanted to do what those guys did, so the first order of business was to go out and test it for ourselves. I took the Outlander for its maiden ride and one thing that I didn't know then, but I do now, is that anytime that you are going through some deep mud, always remember to switch it to low gear. As you can see from my YouTube video, the belt started smoking (at 1:19) and I didn't know why. Come to find out, I was doing it all wrong,  I needed to be in low gear and engine revved up. The XMR is made to perform at mid to high range RPM levels to really get the full experience.

One thing that is difficult to do, but it can be done, is finding a place to get stuck. Even equipped with the Gorilla Silverback tires and high ground clearance, there is just something about Texas mud that can clog the lugs of the tires making it impossible to traverse the ground. I like the Outlander 1000 because no matter the load, the engine never seems to bog down, like I said earlier, you have instant power always at the tip of your finger. You will break parts first, before the engine bogs down on you. This is something that you will not find in any other four-wheeler.

What I would change

In thinking of what I would personally change about the XMR, it would have to be the continuously variable transmission (CVT). There is just something about having to depend on a belt driven transmission to get you out of a situation which that doesn't inspire very much trust. Time and time again, your read and hear about riders breaking down in the middle of nowhere because of a broken belt. Honda is about the only manufacturer that has shun away from the CVT craze and focused on improving a true gear transmission on its ATV's. A Can-am Outlander bundled together with a truly geared transmission would  be a more dependable and powerful unit in my opinion.

The other change I would definitely make is to strengthen the front and rear drive propeller shafts. The ones that come standard with the unit from BRP are low grade and not made to withstand the amount of torque that the engine is able to produce. When you exert that type of power you need the parts that propel it to be strong and reliable no matter what you throw at it.

Downside of owning an Outlander XMR 1000

There is no doubt the XMR was built for extreme riding conditions. With that expectation, you would think BRP would back up their machines with their warranty. As I quickly discovered after breaking the front and rear propeller axles on our XMR, BRP quickly and swiftly declined our warranty claim. The warranty department at BRP said that it was excessive stress put on the machine and it could not honor the warranty repairs, which totaled over $1,000. When my dealer called me to give me the bad news, I was urged by the dealer to give the warranty department at BRP a call and get the claimed denial overturned in my favor. When I made contact with the warranty department they told me to go pound sand. They were very condescending to me and just plain rude. A lesson that I learned is that I will NEVER buy an extended warranty from anyone moving forward. In my experience companies will find a way to weasel their way out of not paying for warranty work. I know anyone can argue that point, but I have went through it first hand and have other examples as well.

When it comes to doing the first fluid change and in order to keep the warranty active on your Can-am Outlander XMR 1000, you have to take it to the dealer and have them perform the first scheduled maintenance. This typically happens at about 10 hours of operation. It is absolutely recommended by BRP, but, be prepared to shell out close to $500 for the service. I kid you not! What BRP recommends is oil change, gear change, air filter and valve adjustment for a whopping $500.  What I did is I ordered everything I needed to perform the fluid change on Amazon and I did the service maintenance myself. It took me about 2 hours to complete the job minus the valve adjustment, I didn't do that.

What's the verdict

Overall, Can-am has put out an exceptionally great machine. From the powerful Rotax 1000cc motor, to the Fox suspension, to the beastly Gorilla brand tires, this machine will impress even the hardest of critics. Now, don't to go and try to imitate what Ostacruiser does on his videos with his machines, you have to understand that those guys seriously alter their ATV's with aftermarket parts to accomplish some of the feats seen on video. However, your stock XMR will still impress you and go where no other ATV can go just the way it is. I mean, do you really need to submerge your ATV handlebar deep in water? The answer is no, why would you want to? It's an ATV not a boat, always keep that in mind when using your XMR.

As one of our lead guide quads at our business, we are thoroughly impressed with the Outlander 1000 XMR and we highly recommend it to anyone looking to ride the very best.

Can-am Outlander XMR 1000 crossing ditch

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

2015 Honda Pioneer 700-4 Review

Earlier this month we purchased a Honda Pioneer 700-4 to fill a need at our tour company Texas Borders Tours which is located near the border Town of Progreso, Texas. Since day one, we were excited to try out one of Honda's most improved UTV's. At first look the Honda Pioneer 700-4 is all quality and craftsmanship. Every lever feels firm and smooth when engaging, every button is quality made and it has the perfect fit when you press it. The casting of the differential and engine parts, look aesthetically clean and of good quality. Everything with the Honda Pioneer is well thought off, every detail is set to work as it was design and intended to do. Keep in mind this machine is a work horse for the ranch, farm and job site. However, it is not a sport UTV, so don't expect to ride like a Maverick X or a Razor 1000. With that being said, lets go into the likes and dislikes about the unit.

Why does it work so well

Honda made this machine with work in mind, it has a powerful 700 single piston engine. Combine that engine with a truly automatic transmission and what you get is a side by side (SxS) that can pull, tug and haul anything you throw at it. The accelerator has a quick response and gives you the right amount of torque when you need it along with the right gear. One thing that I noticed with the Pioneer 700 is that even though it does not have a low gear selector like other sport UTV's, under a load, the computer selects a gear and maintains that gear until you are through. We tried it in a field that had just been plowed and the night before we got about 5 inches of rain, so it was the perfect condition for one muddy day. As we entered the field, the weight of the Honda Pioneer dug into the earth, with the axle deep in mud the only option was to put the pedal to the floor and hope we didn't stop. The Honda Pioneer picked the right gear and it didn't let up until we were out of that mess.

The truck bed of the Pioneer 700-4 is a multi-purpose Swiss army knife. With the pull of a lever you can set up 2 additional seats that allow riders to climb in and ride comfortably. One of the things that stood out to me was the amount of leg room it provides in the back. Although, they are not bucket seats, they are made to serve a purpose. When you stow the seats away, you have a cargo bed to haul anything you want, from gravel, dirt to fishing or hunting gear. The cargo bed also lifts like a miniature dump truck allowing you to unload your cargo.

What are the downsides of the Honda Pioneer 700-4

It is not ergonomically correct, the front seat is a bench seat made for 3 riders with 2 seat-belts available. Honda gave you one upright position with no adjustable forward or backward movement on the the seat selection. The steering wheel is also  in a fixed location, you don't have the option to select a comfortable position which on long drives you can feel the pain. In addition, the accelerator pedal is also uncomfortable and in a weird angle. It almost sits too high off the floor and you find yourself with your foot lifted trying to press the pedal. After about an hour of riding, you can start to feel you leg muscle cramping up as you try to keep the accelerator going.

When it comes to cleaning your Pioneer 700-4 you will find yourself spending a lot of time trying to clean it on the inside, especially after a hard day of muddying. You see, the Honda Pioneer doesn't have any drains or traps on the floor board that allow you to easily hose off and clean your vehicle. This makes the chore of cleaning a dreaded one. Another thing that I noticed is that the front skid plate underneath the differential tends to hold debris and mud and it too doesn't have any drains or traps that allow you to hose it off easily.

Whats the verdict

Overall, this is one solid, strong UTV for the farm, ranch or construction site. If you are the type that likes to push machines to the limit of what they can do, the Honda Pioneer 700-4 will not disappoint. It will keep working for you day after day. That's the reputation that Honda has been able to build with anything Honda makes.
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