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.