Camping and RVing, just like any other hobby or lifestyle has its ups and downs. A simple google search will provide hours of both funny and terrifying examples of things that can happen traveling or camping in RV. Most campers can tell you stories of their adventures with a mishap of some sort. Ourselves included. They all ranged in levels of severity but fortunately no one was hurt and today, we can share the stories without cringing. (At least not too much). We have also witnessed some accidents and emergencies that were absolutely gut wrenching.
In our first incident, we had just pulled into a campground and began to get set up. We had become distracted talking with some of the campers and forgot to put the tailgate down. We realized it too late when the fifth wheel pin crunched the tailgate of our truck as I gave the all clear for my husband to pull the truck away when in fact it was not all clear. No one was hurt but our egos and within a few days we had a new tailgate. The lesson learned is to stick to your checklist if you have one and don’t get distracted from the task at hand. You can always talk to your neighbors after you are set up.
Our next incident took place while pulling out of a campground. The roads were narrow and big rigs have to take care pulling in and out. While pulling out, we were watching the front end of the truck to avoid a collision with a half buried 55 gallon drum and recycling station and while doing so, we missed a stump that was in the middle of the site that we hit with the back corner of the camper making the turn out. The damage was minimal with only some paint and fiberglass scraped off the back corner. Again, no one was hurt and the camper had its first battle scar and we had another oops under our belt. Our lesson here is to always check your surroundings. As you can see that even with a spotter, things can happen.
Next, I was with a friend when we had a tire blowout on the camper 20 miles from our destination. A first blowout experience for me and I learned how to change my first trailer tire! Tire blowouts can be scary depending on so many variables including which tire, road conditions, travel speed and so on. We were blessed that we were in town and coming up to a stop at a stoplight and it was the middle tire of a triple axle fifth wheel. All is well that ends well. This is something that cannot be anticipated or avoided, the best thing is to keep your calm and get safely to the side of the road.
My last experience was while renting an Class C RV for a trip with my brother. (That’s another whole story in and of itself). Having already loaded up my things for a 3 day trip up the west coast of Florida, we began to notice a problem with the refrigerator, specifically the propane setting. The maintence crew came, got the rig and pulled it into the shop. After a few minutes we saw smoke coming out of the shop. After making a few jokes about the rig being on fire, the manager came out and confirmed our fears that our rig was in fact on fire! It was a complete loss so after salvaging my things we got a new unit and within a few hours we were on our way. This is another example of something out of our control, how ever it also reconfirms our desire to get a residential refrigerator in our next rig.
Most recently, while working at a campground in Florida this winter, we saw a rig that had boondocked in a store parking lot across the street. A common site for many looking for a quick place to stop for a few hours of sleep before getting back on the road. They had parked their motorhome in a corner to stay out of the way and the back of the motorhome was against some bushes and brush. At some point in the morning, they had fired up their generator which in turn caught some of the brush on fire. Realizing there was a fire behind them, they pulled the motorhome forward which then pulled the fire with them and within minutes the rig was engulfed in flames. After talking with the police and fire department, it seems that the bottom line was that the brush caught fire, which then caught the RV on fire. The owners got out in time but their rig was a complete loss. The basic lessons learned here is to always check your surroundings prior to parking and before running your generator.
The bottom line is that accidents will happen. After each experience there will be a lesson learned. There will be times when it is completely out of your control and some accidents we may be able to laugh off over time, but the truth is they all stick with us and certainly impact how we think about various processes in the future. Be safe out there and Happy travels!