For those who think that we live on this perpetual vacation of puffy clouds, rainbows and soft kittens, I’m sorry to say, that’s a huge fallacy. As RVers, we still go through trials of life. There are some that may try to make us want to give up the ship. Amidst our amazing experiences of RV Life, we still have let downs, things that just piss us off and huge disappointments that make us cry.
But as Tom Hank’s character in the movie A League of Their Own said, “There’s no crying in baseball”, I’m going to paraphrase that:
Not too long ago, we had one helluva day that we’ll be talking about at campfires and bourbons. While yes, it could have been much worse, it was still a bad day in our RV Life. As we say in our beloved Coast Guard, ‘there are sea stories and there are no-shitters’ and this was one that goes in the books.
But before I go on, let this not lead you into thinking this is a common occurrence of our RV life. This is NOT a typical RV Life day…
How our day started great…
One early June morning, we started our getting-underway routine before departing an overnight Harvest Host destination. Dan takes care of all that encompasses outside and everything engineering. My role is stowing everything inside and getting our resident mousers settled in their kennels for their long ride. We were in our groove. Things were going well. After four years, we’ve got this down like pros.
Our next stop was 300 miles down the road to another Harvest Host destination; a bourbon distillery! (Feel the elation in my voice when I say that ).
Not an hour later…
Our day turned to total CRAP once we got on the road! Events started to unfold and things went downhill rapidly. We were mentally writing our own coffee table book with bright full-color glossies in our heads.
The I-40 east-bound highway road surface conditions were absolutely appalling. Our truck, our RV, our kitties and we took a beating traversing on this major highway. I kept telling Dan that I was afraid to open the door at our new destination fear of….whatever. I prayed…a lot…that our home would still be in one piece by the time we got to our destination. My back was killing me too.
While we were driving on the interstate, we were amidst heavy truck traffic. An 18-wheeler ahead of us, blew a tire. Most likely, from said poor quality road surface and the outside temperature. Not having room to avoid it, our dually’s right side tires ran over it thus, striking and damaging the front right section of our fifth wheel; also leaving a nasty tire skid mark all along the side of Liberty. Son of a #3…
After a tiring 300 mile drive on hell highway, we arrived at the next Harvest Host destination to boondock. Since we are solar capable, just had our awesome Battle Born lithium ion batteries installed and we’re self-contained, this wasn’t a concern EXCEPT it was 95 freaking degrees with a heat index of 105. This was no Texas dry heat we endured a month prior. Oh no…this was with full blown (pardon my sailor tongue) ‘balls hot’ humidity. We sweated buckets just getting unhooked.
No reasonable amount of solar, batteries or magic on a fifth wheel would allow us to power up our AC units, so we have to rely on our generators.
When Dan hooked up both gennies to power one of the AC’s, it wouldn’t energize. The air conditioner was broken…or so we thought. After troubleshooting, Dan found one of the AC cables shook loose while driving on the highway to hell. So, Dan had to get his toolbox out, wipe his brows and fix it….in the balls hot heat. Oh, and not only did he have to fix that, he had to get his good ole Eternabond (RVers miracle tape) out to repair what that damn tire damaged; the lower front right corner of Liberty.
While Dan was trying to fix the cable/wire, I was inside waiting for the AC to start. Krissie, our resident mouser started showing signs of severe heat stress; she was panting like a dog and becoming lethargic. This truly was scary because it could’ve put her into her diabetic condition due to the stress.
So, quick thinking, I pulled out my large ice gel pack out of the freezer, wrapped a towel around it and plopped her down on it. Poor Krissie didn’t even need coaxing. She knew I was trying to help her. She laid on it a good 20 minutes and came out of her heat exhaustion pretty quickly. I made her drink some water and eat a little.
It was then that we decided that we had to relocate where we would at least have electrical hookups to power the air conditioners.
All of this snowballed at 4:00 pm on a Friday…on Father’s Day weekend. I was calling all around trying to find a campsite or RV site but that proved to be more than a challenge, especially knowing we were nearing Smoky Mountains. After countless phone calls in the balls hot heat, we finally found a place that had an opening. It was at a Corps of Engineers Park about 100 miles away. We found a place where we could get Krissie, Kandi and ourselves some much needed coolness.
We packed everything back up in a matter of minutes and headed down the road. However, we were so far off of the interstate that we had to take the back state roads. This seemingly just compounded our frustrations. If any of you have driven on the back roads of Tennessee in the mountains, you’d know that the roads are narrow, with no shoulders, low hanging tree limbs, no guardrails, and curvy as a voluptuous woman.
While Dan was white knuckled pulling Liberty after an already exhausting day, I helped navigate by telling him curve by curve where the road was leading. I didn’t want him even taking his eyes off the road for even one second to look at the GPS. Meanwhile, Krissie and Kandi were in the back seat…meowing…crying…yelling…screaming louder…AND LOUDER. This upped our stress meters ten more notches north.
Once we got to the C.O.E. Park after our 3-hour nightmare of a tour (yeah right, 100 miles!), we were met by our wonderful and compassionate Camphost (We LOVE you Ken W!!) whom we spoke with on the phone. He came out to greet us and show us our site number.
But…wouldn’t you know it, dog tired, stressed to the max, hungry, with two screaming furkids in the back seat, we all of a sudden got an audience of about 10 people watching us shoehorn our slightly-injured family and fifth wheel into our back-end site.
Oh, and let’s not forget mentioning that we have ZERO cell or data signal here.
And lastly, I forgot to tell you at the beginning of this $hit show of a day that I procured a bad case of chiggers in Arkansas. I was peppered from the waist down with horribly itching and burning bites that were the size of silver dollars. Even though I used everything under the sun to try to minimize discomfort, I still felt like I had the heebie jeebies.
So, there’s our nine lives we went through in one day. If we were cats, we’d be dead. However, we were glad that we didn’t make it to ten because if we had, we probably would have thrown in the towel.
Our advice to prevent your own RV Life no-shitter story:
- Accept that its not a matter of IF its going to happen but WHEN its going to happen.
- Be ‘Semper Gumby’ meaning ‘always flexible’.
- Be innovative and creative; learn to think on your feet.
- Don’t always trust your RV GPS. They are made by humans and well, we know how that goes.
- Always pay attention to your pets’ health distress signals.
- Plan around the weather. Yes Virginia, global warming IS happening!
- Always keep your sense of humor and your faith.
- Never give up the ship!
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