The country is seeing a renewed interest in road trips and RV’s are selling like hot cakes.  Welcome to the open road,  we love RV travel, but it has ups and downs.   

Every RVer has a story about a trip from Hell, you just hope it doesn’t involve a stop at the dump station.  One of the most frequent complaints from newbies is running out of water.  You never realize how much water you use until you load up thirty  gallons for a holiday weekend at the campground and realize you used it all on day two.  There’s nothing better than a shower after a day in the outdoors complete with sun screen and bug spray but don’t plan on standing under the spray for fifteen minutes.    Water might be endless at home but not here.   We’ve learned to take a shower in minimal water and leave the fancy plates at home, you don’t want to be washing a lot of dishes.

On our trip from hell we didn’t run out of water but just about everything else that could go wrong did.  This was the first real trip with our bigger Lance camper.  (we loved that thing).  We loaded it on the Dodge dually truck and realized we needed extended mirrors for this bigger unit.  We ran down to Auto Zone and picked up a couple of ‘easy to put on and take off’ side mirrors until we decided on something more permanent.    

On the way to California the mirror part of the driver’s side set up fell out of the aluminum holder.  We heard a clunky clunk and the mirror was gone.  We never intended to use them forever but come on, it fell apart a hundred miles from home!  Mirrors come in a set but they are a right and left so couldn’t even switch them out.  Not like it was going to be any trouble driving in Los Angeles without a side mirror.  

 Everything seemed to be going smoothly after the mirror fiasco , then people started waving at us and we thought this was just really nice.   When they started exaggerated waving and pointing to the street, we caught on that something was amiss. We pulled over to the emergency lane to discover a leak in the fuel line and diesel fuel flowing from the fuel tank connection.

We started searching for a place to get out of the traffic and off the freeway.  We found a ‘park and ride’ lot just off the freeway. Good grief, we were spilling diesel fuel all over the place in California, an extremely environmentally conscious state.  We needed to get this fixed quickly before the authorities found us and we ended up doing hard time. Monty was under the truck, covered with diesel fuel, hollering for anything that might stop the flow.  I’m in the camper hollering back that we have hangers, plastic bags, old t-shirts, rubber bands and the universal favorite, bread ties.  I don’t remember off hand, what the magic bullet was but we didn’t completely run out of fuel.  Maybe it was duct tape, the universal solution.

After lot of ‘garage talk’ (cussing) Monty got the flow of fuel stopped, at least temporarily, and we headed for a Home Depot to get something that would work for a fix until we got home.  Monty walked through Home Depot smelling like he bathed in diesel high test. I was afraid someone might light a match and he’d go up in flames.  I was walking a safe distance behind, just in case.  He gathered the supplies he needed for the repair and we pulled around back of the strip mall to make the fix.

We were parked with a group of folks hanging out behind the Home Depot. Monty was under the truck tending to the repairs and I  fixed lunch.  When he was through working his magic on the fuel line he needed a shower in the worst way.  We let the hot water heat up while we had a sandwich. The shower out of the way, and feeling better, he decided to use the shower water to wash any diesel fuel residue down the nearby sewer drain.  Did I mention this is the camper we have only used once or twice?  So he looks it over and pulls the handle for what, in the old camper, was the gray water.  Panic strikes as we realize it is the black water valve and we are dumping toilet paper and whatnots into the parking lot.  OMG this can’t be happening! Monty quickly closes the black water valve and pulls the gray water handle and releases the shower water. It was so awful, we were sure the potty police were on to us.   We were mortified and praying the gray water dump from the shower washed everything away. We didn’t stick around to find out!!

Our business in LA complete we headed home only to have a  blowout on the truck near Indio. We were on a stretch of highway that had no shoulder,  there was the white line and a ditch.  We can’t get off the road at all. OK, what else could happen? Where can we get off the highway?  We remember seeing a rest stop sign about a mile back, no worries, the rest stop should be just ahead. Thank goodness for the dual back tires.  Finally we see the green sign, at last some good news, NOT! The rest stop is closed for remodeling and the entrance is chained off.  We pull up as close to the chain as possible and manage to get off the road enough to tackle the tire.  

We can do this, it’s just a flat tire, until we realize with the new camper it is impossible to get the hundred pound tire out from under the truck without jacking up the camper first.  Good grief will this nightmare never end?  We get the camper jacked up and the tire drops down to the ground and Monty wrestles it out from under the truck and rolls it to the side.  Did I mention it was about 110 degrees this summer day?  I’m trying to provide shade and let’s face it, I don’t provide much shade.   I grabbed a couple of beach towels, one for Monty to kneel on while I held one for some shade while he changed the tire.  After the usual struggles getting the tire changed, we headed back on the road.  Home sweet home never sounded better.

The first thing Monty did when we got home was design a tool to reach under the truck to let down the spare tire without jacking up the camper. 

We laugh about it now, but this was just the worst trip ever.


2000 Camper w/Jeep Wrangler – Canada, 2007

4 replies
    • Carrie Bonello
      Carrie Bonello says:

      It was so awful there was nothing to do but laugh. We thought surely this was the worst of everything all in one trip.

  1. Sandy Lorenz
    Sandy Lorenz says:

    Carrie, your exactly right. R’vIng is an adventure in so many ways. The planned trip & making sure all is well for being on the road-“the unexpected “. It happened in Indiana. Our rig, in the campground site, sunk down in the mud after they had heavy rains-we did not know about. The campground owner pulled his farm tractor out of the barn to pull us out. The song says “Indiana wants me”, we say, “it got us.”

    • Carrie Bonello
      Carrie Bonello says:

      Funny story! Mud is so awful, thank goodness for the tractor! Yes, RVing is an adventure for sure. We just don’t want another one like this story with the camper.


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