Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California

    Default Some of our fun adventures over the years....

    I thought I'd combine ours in one thread and see what kinds of similar adventures people have had. We've been road tripping for 33 years (starting with our move from MO to AZ back in 1978), mostly camping and RV'ing but doing some motel trips as well.

    First memorable experience: In the early 80s, we put a car carrier on the top of the car and headed for northern California. We went up US 101 - wanted to take PCH for part of it, but of course that was a wet year and there were too many closures. Our first campsite was at Fremont Peak State Park outside of San Juan Bautista. We had the sensation of waking up one morning to the sun, and all the clouds were BELOW us on the side of the mountain.

    On that same tip, we took a state route inland. We discovered that this little state route was used primarily by logging trucks going who-knows-how-fast. We stayed at Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park where we were placed in a site right next to that road - all night we were buzzed by logging trucks. The next night we were in a Shasta Trinity NF campground that was so empty and quiet that it was free. We slept like dead people. But it was too hot.

    Another memorable trip: We went on a tent-camping trip to Yosemite over Easter Break one April. We'd been there a few days, hiked up to the top of Yosemite Falls (breath-taking), done the Yosemite Valley tour, and were thinking about heading for Sequoia the next day. A ranger came by and said, "There's a big blizzard due in later today. You'd best be departing, or be prepared to hunker down here for a few days." It took us 30 minutes to break camp (usually took us almost 2 hours). It started to sleet and then snow while we were breaking camp, and the tent was so wet we didn't even dare roll it up properly. We tossed everything in the back of the mini-van, strapped the kids in their safety seats, and left. We headed south on Hwy 41 (we were camped at Wawona, I believe). The whole way down, the van slid on the wet highway, and I prayed. (That's how I know about the curb/berm on the side of that highway.) We pulled into a motel in Oakhurst, probably smelling awful from too many days of campfires. The next day, the weather turned out "okay", and Sequoia roads were open. So instead of going straight home, we drove through Sequoia, stopping here and there, and finally staying another night in Tulare or someplace.

    Breakdowns always seemed to involve the slide-out on our 5th wheel. First one was on I-5 south, almost in Redding, where the slide-out attempted to do that while driving and destroyed the bracer bars. We learned to disconnect a wire when traveling, so that the slide wouldn't get a surge of power that it would interpret as "GO!"

    Another slide-out problem (this was an early slide) was the underskin - it decided to let go and drag on the pavement while coming down south on I-15 close to Dillon, MT. Hubby was out there in 30 mph winds, taking it all the way off, while laying on the shoulder of an exit ramp under the trailer. The next day, a mobile RV guy came and reinstalled it for us.

    A third time (same trip, earlier), the slide out jumped off its track. We've learned: if we buy another RV, get a different style slide-out and you will avoid these problems.

    Another break-down had to do with our truck. On the final lap home from the Colorado trip, two things happened. First, the oil light kept flashing. Come to find out that despite checking the oil a few days earlier, we had mysteriously used a LOT of oil. We were in the middle of the Arizona desert along I-8. A passing truck driver saw the hood up, enquired of our problem, went back into his truck, and handed us two big gallon bottles of diesel oil, the same kind we used on our truck. Bless that truck driver!

    Later that same day, there was another light that kept flashing and the tranny temp seemed awfully high. We inched home, driving 50 miles then sitting for 30 minutes, etc., till we made it the rest of the 150 miles home. Come to find out that we'd shot the transmission. THANK GOODNESS it was still under warranty by mileage AND age. While it was in the shop, we had some non-factory-suggested alterations made. That was 13 years ago and we're still on that new tranny, so we know that the alterations were helpful.

    Yet another memorable breakdown was not really a breakdown - it was an accident. It curtailed our east coast trip of 1993, just east of St Louis in Illinois.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Lots of earned expertise therein

    Whoa, I bet we could trade "war stories" for a bit. I drove and lived/worked in an experimental 4-WD RV for 6.5 years.

    I loved the story about unplugging the wire on the road so the slide wouldn't misinterpret the signal to slide out! Yikes!


  3. Default Great Thread!

    DH and I had both started new jobs just before we were married back in 1972 and we didn't have vacation time so our "Honeymoon" was delayed almost a year. DH kept asking where did I want to go, so finally I said I wanted to go to the Grand Canyon. I think this had to do with the fact that my parents had moved us to Texas from L.A. when I was a young kid. We traveled back to L.A. every summer for 10 years and no matter how much my brother and I begged, our parents wouldn't stop at the Grand Canyon or Petrified Forest. This was the beginning of what is now 38 years of traveling adventures and I have so many great memories!

    Breakdowns were all to much a part of our trips. Our first breakdown was back in 1974 when we were on our second trip which was our first trip to Yellowstone. We had given ourselves plenty of time to get to Yellowstone from California but hadn't planned on the fuel pump going out as we were crossing Nevada on I-80. They were just building the tunnels before you reach Elko, NV and that's where the car decided to die and we pulled over at a wide spot in the road and a couple of seconds later a big piece of road equipment was heading right for us but we were able to get the car started and out of there just in time.

    The car was a 1966 Mercedes Benz that my DH's father bought while stationed in German and my DH had bought it from his Dad. Back then Mercedes Benz were not very common and neither were dealers or parts! We did luck into a Mercedes Dealer in Elko, but not a Mercedes part! It was 500 miles in either direction for the right part and a few day delay, so it was decided that they would add an American fuel pump and hope for the best. (That pump was still on the vehicle when we sold it years later) We lost a whole day and had to reach Old Faithful that night because we had reservations. We arrived after dark in Yellowstone which made for such an eery first impression with steam rising from the ground.

    Other breakdowns included one just 30 miles from Kanab, Utah. We knew exactly where we were because the dodge van died right at the road sign. Breaking down in Utah got to be a regular thing since we traveled there so often, but let me tell you, you don't want to break down on a Sunday in the remote parts of the state....nothing is open! Then there was the year we saw a shadow of something and it turned out to be our awning flapping in the wind. We were just a couple hours from home of a 5 week trip so we rushed back home, a neighbor helped DH take the awning off the trailer and we just dumped it in our back yard and headed out again. DH was able to fix the awing when we get back home.

    We stayed at motels the first 4 years and then when our first son was 15 months I talked DH into trying camping so we could afford to go on trips. I had never camped before but he had. First experience was tent camping and with an old dodge van. We loved it, but the old canvas tents were to inconvenient for the kind of moving around we liked to do so we build a bed in the back of the van and used that for 2 years until our second son came along. Then it was a tent-trailer for 5 years, a 24' travel trailer for 9 years, our old 23 ft motor home for 13 years and now our 30 ft motor home for the last 5 years.

    The scariest thing that ever happened was in 1993 when we were heading to Zion National Park for a week in our suburban towing the travel trailer. It was over 100 degrees out and we had just left I-5 and heading towards Bakersfield on a two lane road when the back tire of our suburban blew out. DH was just getting things under control when the trailer went into the sandy shoulder and then lost control. The trailer almost rolled over, but instead came crashing into the suburban as we ended up jack knifed in the middle of Hwy 58. We were lucky there was no on coming traffic. When we came to a stop we were pointed in the other direction. One of the propane tanks had gone flying off and the other one was dragging on the ground so the boys, dog and myself got out and stood on the shoulder while DH moved everything to the side of the road. A motor home had just passed us and saw what happened in their rear view mirror and came back to see if we were all right. We were able to duct tape the trailer enough to drive home. I still call this the vacation from hell. We left our home around 10 am and got back that evening around 10 pm.

    One of my favorite memories was a quiet night in Mesa Verde Morefield campground back in 1978. We were camping in the old dodge van then and we were sitting by the fire watching the sheet lighting off in the distance. DH didn't think we would get any rain. Well, about an hour later we were in bed and we are woken up by the loudest thunder I'd ever heard or FELT! (Remember I lived in Texas for 10 years too!) The ground under the van would vibrate from the thunder. The lighting was so bright that I couldn't keep my eyes open and I could even see the light with my eyes shut. The thunder and lighting and earth shaking would happen over and over without a break and it was right over us.

    We use to like to camp in remote places even with our tent trailer. There was one favorite site that was a several hours from home and the last 45 minutes was down a dirt road. We were heading home after a fun weekend and I noticed the diamond was missing out of my wedding ring. I SCREAMED but there was not turning back. That night we went though everything as we unloaded the tent trailer but it wasn't till the next morning when DH set up the tent-trailer that the sun hit on the diamond on the floor! What a relief that was! I still wear that diamond today...I just have the setting checked every year!

    Vacations were a priority in our home. We made a point of taking a vacation out of California each and every year and sometimes more than once. We've traveled with our boys to the East Coast in 1990 for the first time and drove the Alaska Highway up and back in 1992. We finally made it to the New England states two years ago. DH and I have now been to every state except Hawaii. Our passion has always been the national parks, nature, scenery, and wild life. I think we passed this on to our two son's because they both took their girlfriends (now wives) up to Yosemite to propose to them.

    Well, I could go on and on and on!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I loved the RV stories, except the one about your accident. Oooh, scary, but absolutely amazing that you were able to get the TT home at all!

    I can relate to the lightning story. One time we drove to Illinois to a family reunion, and parked our 5W outside of my uncle's house. That's where we stayed every night. We were sound asleep and woke to a thunder and lightning storm, but then I heard the wind. I told my hubby, "The awning is up!" He jumps out of bed, throws on flip-flops and went outside to put the awning back up. He came inside and proclaimed, "There is NOTHING like waving an awning rod in the air in the middle of a lightning storm!" But he was safe, and so were we in the 5W.

    Pop-ups....I will never forget the wind storm we faced in our "shakedown cruise" with our new tent trailer. We went to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, where we stayed in GC Trailer Village. We were on our last night there, when the wind really came rolling in. We felt like we were going to tip over, it was that strong. Come to find out the next day, they were 40 mph winds. Well, we woke our girls and sent them into the car to finish sleeping (it was about 3 am) while we broke camp. That was our exit from the GC in the dark. While on the road heading for Williams, my husband had to brake hard - 4 deer in the headlights. Yipes - but we didn't hit them. We got to Flagstaff and had breakfast out, pulling into Phoenix a good 6 hours before my parents expected us. Then my husband, learning to back the thing, hit their garage. (It didn't do much damage to anything except egos, and my husband has become an expert backer.)


  5. Default

    That is scary about the awning and the lightning storm! DH has only left the awning out once over night. We were in Yosemite National Park in our smaller motor home in mid May and we wake up and I can see the awning from where I'm sleeping which shouldn't be the case! I then realize that it's hanging so low because it's full of SNOW! So we get dressed really fast to get the snow off before it wrecks the awning!

    OMG...we had the same kind of pop-up wind story! We were camping in Rocky Mountain National Park and it was so bad I kept thinking all night that we were going to tip over too! We had an old 1971 Starcraft Tent-Trailer that was really big and heavy but I was still worried. .

    In April we were camping in Zion for 6 nights and it dawn on me that it was possible that our paths could have crossed with one of these other campers in our many years of camping and we never knew it. It's very possible that at some point our paths have crossed too!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    We have had similar feelings, looking around at acres of RV's and campers and wondering if we ever passed them on the road on another trip. Sometimes - such as the AlCan Highway trip 11 years ago - we know we actually did. Though we were only caravaning with my parents, we would stay in one park for a night, look over and say, "Oh! They were in Dawson Creek with us!" We got to chatting with some, but eventually we didn't see them again. They went on the Top of the World Highway, and we chose not to try that one.

    My parents owned a TT back in the 60s, when RV'ing wasn't quite so popular. I can remember days of pulling in with the truckers at a truck stop and having them be annoyed to be invaded by a family in a station wagon and TT.

    Another memorable "break down": My parents spent last summer in one of those membership campgrounds over here in California while avoiding the summer heat of Arizona. (We call them 'Zonies over here.) Well, my dad got sick and was scared to drive the 350 miles home pulling his rig, Mom couldn't drive the whole way either. So my husband and I drove up to Riverside County one Saturday. He towed their TT home (using my dad's truck), with Dad in the truck with him, and my mom and I followed in our car. On the way home, I saw an "alligator" (piece of tire) and avoided it. We radioed up and my dad said they had avoided it too. Well, about 30 miles later, we pull into the one and only open rest area on I-10 in Arizona, just to use the facilities. Dad starts inspecting his trailer tires: One had completely lost its tread! My husband and I had just gone thru a tire-changing thing with our trailer, so he starts hauling out the tire changing equipment - he practically had the tire changed before Mom could haul out the Good Sam ERS card. (Well, not quite, but we knew it would be a 2 hour wait in 108F temps for a tow truck.)

    Despite these little inconveniences, we are looking to replace our last rig. We sold the 5W last November. We hadn't used it much, and it was sucking up almost $100/mo in storage fees. Our girls are married and gone now, so we're looking for something a little smaller....maybe a truck camper (TC) but one with a slide-out. My dad and mom are also downsizing, as their RV'ing days are over due to health issues (Dad had a stroke in Jan). Their TT is on a sales lot in Sun City, AZ, and we are probably going to get their truck in a few months hence (and sell our older non-Power Stroke).

    I'm sure I'll think of other harrowing adventures with road trips.

    Where can one post book reviews? I just finished a book about cross-country road travel - a non-fiction called "Cross Country" by Robert Sullivan.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Left out

    Reading through these great stories, I somehow feel a bit left out.

    Back in the early 80s we had a VW Microbus. One very hot summer on the back roads of The Grampians, its air-cooled engine overheated. (Subsequent models had water cooled engines.) We were delayed for some time... really it did not run properly again till the day cooled.

    And then there was my breakdown on the Alaska Highway in 2009 (post #8). But other than that, I do not think we ever had a vehicle breakdown or any other unplanned hold-up.

    Maybe my time is yet to come.



  8. Default

    Sometimes - such as the AlCan Highway trip 11 years ago - we know we actually did. Though we were only caravaning with my parents, we would stay in one park for a night, look over and say, "Oh! They were in Dawson Creek with us!" We got to chatting with some, but eventually we didn't see them again.
    That happened to us too! We met a couple at Dawson Creek on our way up the Alcan who were camped right next to us. We went our separate ways but did see their VW camper van once on the road and then 8 days later we ended up camped next to them for a couple of nights at the KOA near Denali National Park. We then went our separate ways and then two weeks later on our way back home we camped again in Dawson Creek and saw them at the campground! We weren't right next to them this time, but did talk to them.

    We probably could match a lot of our stories over the years!


  9. Default

    Reading through these great stories, I somehow feel a bit left out.
    Knock on wood and count your blessings!!!!

    The Alaska Highway is brutal on vehicles. Here's my list for just the Alaska trip. Shell on trailer was sagging in front by the time we got to Watson Lake in the Yukon Territory. The first place we go to about repairs tell us we won't make it home or to Alaska. Not what we want to hear at all! The second place we stopped found that the bed had pushed the front of the trailer out. They pulled back the skin of the trailer, knocked things back into place, beefed the frame up, and put the skin back and it looked like new. We also had them weld a brace that held up the gray water tank. The place was so nice they even let us spend the night in their yard and plugged us in to electricity!

    Once we reached Alaska the frame that holds the hot water heater fell apart on us. We bum some nails and fixed it on our own. Also had to have a second flat tire repaired at this point. By the time we reach Fairbanks the new water valve we put on at home is leaking. The suburban we are towing the trailer with is acting up but turns out to only be oily spark plugs and that was a quick fix. Had to buy a new trailer tire in Anchorage and do a second weld job on the trailer. In Oregon on the way home we had a hitch problem that required a new part.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Something in the RTA's forum software didn't mark this as unread for me, so I didn't see this until now.

    What type of trailer were you towing up to AK? It doesn't sound like that was much fun for you at all. For us, since the slide-out problem in Olympia, WA, we were worried about that slide all the way up and back. But it didn't keep us from having a good time!

    Right now we are trying to prevent a breakdown problem on our upcoming trip. That's been a major adventure in itself. About a month ago, we took our Pontiac to the local GM dealer for an electrical issue. We didn't figure our regular mechanic wanted to mess with electrics and electronics, as it's not "his thing". The GM dealer ordered 2 new parts and promised to call us in a week or two when the part arrives.

    At the end of May, still no part. We've been trying to contact them. The dealership itself closed but service supposedly remained open. It turns out that the dealer filed Ch 11 bankruptcy and will be replaced by a different dealer, but not until 7/1.

    So we took our vehicle to a local auto electric shop, one that's worked with us on an insurance-covered issue. It's there now. We hope that it may be much simpler than the dealership expected anyway, and they hope so as well. We are supposed to leave 7/1 but can postpone to 7/4 and still get to where we want to be on time.

    Problem is in the Heads Up Display - - sometimes it doesn't want to work - - and the onboard computer is half lit up, half-dark. The HUD is absolutely unessential (my barebones car doesn't have one) but I get concerned that the onboard computer may be more important than just telling us our fuel mileage, oil life, fuel range, etc.


Similar Threads

  1. Seattle to Yellowstone looking for adventures along the way.
    By sam1 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 09-07-2010, 04:52 PM
  2. Adventures on Wheels
    By romes in forum Off the Beaten Path
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-19-2009, 04:09 AM
  3. Adventures on Wheels
    By J_Deegan in forum Saving Money on Your Trip
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 02-14-2009, 04:37 PM
  4. Adventures on Wheels?
    By Mark Sedenquist in forum Saving Money on Your Trip
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-20-2006, 02:28 AM
  5. Excellent Adventures?
    By Chris C. in forum Off the Beaten Path
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-06-2001, 03:29 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts