One might not know how they will choose to live when they start RV’ing full time. In campgrounds? Boondocking? Moochdocking?
I didn’t. I figured boondocking, but not right out of the gate. Too scary.
So I got what I thought I needed. A 24′ travel trailer and a 2WD V8 Toyota Tundra.
I soon came to know I would boondock, ALL of the time.
However, in the beginning, I didn’t know much about RV’ing. As you can witness in the video below, I didn’t even know how to put out my awning. (I watched a video right before I tried it, to learn.)
Then, I videoed myself, knowing full on it probably had comedic potential.
I was right.
The awning attacked twice. You can only really tell the one assault, the other is less obvious, but it hurt. Bruises appeared immediately. You can see them at the end of the video.
So I dove right into RV’ing, and I have a few lingering scrapes and bruises from my many, many missteps.
Below, this is what my face might look like if you asked me how little I knew about RV’ing when I started on the road: (I’m on the right)
My first massive flub happened back in December of 2015. I had to cross Snoqualmie Pass with my 2WD truck towing my rig.
It’s a mild pass but it gets hit hard with winter storms. And, of course, I got hit HARD. (The pass closed shortly after I went through.) Hell, it was my first time driving in real snow. It was definitely my first time driving in a snowstorm. And it happened to be through a mountain pass. And while pulling my RV.
But the FLUB was that this genius (myself) didn’t know that she had REAR wheel drive. This mistake made it impossible to keep moving forward once I hit some real incline because my chains were totally ineffective on the front tires.
Unable to move FORWARD, I had to stop in the MIDDLE of I-90, in a worsening snowstorm, to move the chains to the back. Dangerous for sure. You can read about that incident here.
Then there was the
suck-ass super fun incident of getting the RV stuck in a crevasse at Marble Canyon. (To read about that, click on the link to the left) Let’s just say I have a new respect for the power of a stupid little ditch.
Then there was the time I put my snow chains on too loosely and because of that, one chain came loose and caught on my brake line.
It pulled the brake cable super tight. And since the brake line was pulled tight, the brakes were engaged, and the truck couldn’t move even an inch in order to unhook the chain caught on the brake.
(But THIS woman GOT IT OFF SOMEHOW ALL BY HERSELF!) -Am I proud of that? Hell yes. Thank god I was only going about 5-10 mph when it happened.
- Shot my shoes 10 feet into the air, falling over my solar panel in the dark
- Gotten a flat around 10PM in Banff N.P.
- Left a window open while traveling
- Got frozen/broken pipes from staying in the cold too long
Now that you’re caught up, let’s laugh at my LATEST incident/adventure/failure.
Back in July, I needed a place to store my RV while I drove to Austin. I had just found out that my dad had pancreatic cancer, and so of course, I wanted to go be with my family.
No way I was pulling my rig from to Austin from Colorado. The guy I had just started seeing, Michael, let me park it at his place. Very nice of him and perfect!
Well, perfect except….
- He basically lives on the side of a mountain.
- His driveway is almost as steep as a 45* angle. Or so it seems.
- It’s a gravel driveway.
- The angle at the base of the driveway was worrisome for bottoming out.
None of these things sounded appealing to my lowly 2WD Tundra. My Florida truck already knew it was a stupid idea.
I was pretty sure it wouldn’t work but hell, why not try? Life’s an adventure!
(Yeah, but where’s the logic there???)
The decision was already made.
Upon arrival, I parked on the street, jumped out and looked at the driveway. I had gone up this driveway maybe twice before. Without the RV.
Thinking back, my wheels had spun a little going up it WITHOUT pulling a trailer. (Huh.)
Soooo, they’re not gonna spin if I am pulling 4,000+ lbs?
(Where’s the logic Where’s the logic Where’s the logic…)
I got out and walked over to ‘inspect’ the driveway…
Here’s what that looked like:
…you know how when a man’s car dies and he opens the hood and looks inside, trying to look like he knows what he’s doing?
That was me looking at the driveway.
On a side note, sort of, the Lumberjack mountain climber guy from the cliffhanger game on The Price Is Right popped into my head while I was ‘inspecting’ the driveway.
The driveway hadn’t changed.
I climbed into my truck and threw it into low.
And I started pulling my RV up the monster drive.
And it moved! It was gonna work!
I was heading UP!
UP- IT MOVED UP! -for about, ….
-for about, ….mmmmmmmmmm… 5 seconds.
After my five seconds of glory, the tires just spun and there was no further forward movement. None.
So I braked. But when I braked, the truck and RV STARTED SLIDING BACK DOWN. Yeah, that threw me into a state of panic.
(P.S. There’s a ditch on both sides of the driveway.)
I didn’t know if my RV was destined to end up in the ditch or not, but it was totally out of my control. (Visions of Marble Canyon danced in my eyes.) Thankfully, it stopped without ditching it.
So there I sat. Waiting for Michael and his friend’s 4WD Ford to rescue me. I wasn’t going to try to back up- I know my RV’s ass dragged on the street going up and I didn’t want to do damage by backing up and dragging it again.
4WD came and saved the day. It was an mid 90’s Red Ford F-250. The type you can find on any working ranch in Colorado.
We backed up my truck and trailer until the RV’s ass end was back on the street. We did it to keep it from sliding during the transfer of tow vehicles. (‘Is my frame bending????’)
I was silently freaking out at this point.
It’s just my house and everything I own on the line here. Yeah, I was nervous.
We lodged rocks under my RV’s wheels and slowly unhitched my wussy truck. The Slingshot didn’t slide. (Relief)
We got Big Red into the driveway, backed it and hitched it up.
The F250 heaved my little house up the STEEPEST side of the driveway without even one tiny complaint or tire spin. A MIRACLE!
Yeah, NOW I get it… 4WD is the shit. But give me a break, I grew up Florida, all like ‘What’s 4 Wheel Drive? Isn’t it just for rednecks who want to go 4 wheeling?’
The Lesson: I need a 4WD Truck.
Now that I KNOW I drive dirt roads, and that I love mountains, I know it’s a necessity.
So my house was successfully parked on the side of a mountain. However, the spot wasn’t exactly level.
Luckily I had a jack. The boys used it to MASSIVELY jack up the right side of my rig. Call it wobbly, but it worked!
I hope you have enjoyed laughing at my adventuring fumbles and hiccups! It’s no fun just keeping it all in my own head.
The journey will continue. And I will continue to screw up and share my ridiculousness with you, my friend.
The moral of this story?
Consider having 4WD if you plan to Rv anywhere but in campgrounds!
‘Wait, Am I turning into a redneck?’ 😬