RV Blunders

A few days ago, during our stay in Fernley, we were entertained one morning by two separate neighbors as they pulled out of the RV Park. All RV'ers make mistakes from time to time... I know we've made a few. But the two we witnessed that day are of the type that really shouldn't happen if even a modicum of care is taken during departure.

Blunder One: a motorhome parked immediately to our right. After unhooking all the utilities, hooking up his car (he tows a Jeep Liberty, with a tow-bar, all four wheels on the ground), and warming his engine for a few minutes, he started driving off, but turned the wrong way, away from the angle of the parking pad and the natural flow of traffic... apparently trying to short-cut his way out of the park. Well, big motorhomes don't turn very short... and due to turning the wrong direction, he wasn't quite able to make the turn without backing up and taking another stab at it. The problem is that when you're towing a car, four wheels down, you NEVER, EVER back-up. You see, the front wheels of the car naturally "caster" correctly when going forward, that is, they naturally steer themselves in the direction of travel. But in reverse, they do the opposite of what you'd want them to do... and do so quickly. So, as our friend backed up, Dar and I watched as the front wheels of his car abruptly turned all the way to the left and his reverse motion was pushing the front end of the car sideways. Doing this can destroy a tow-bar, damage the car's steering and alignment, or both. But despite the awkward position of the towed car, it's front tires screaming in protest as they were dragged sideways, and this guy continued backing until he though he could make the turn. I wondered, as he pulled out of sight, if he knew or cared what he'd done... and if he'd damaged anything. Preventing this blunder is easy... don't ever back up when towing. If you get caught in a tight situation and can't continue without backing up, always disconnect the car from the tow-bar and re-connect when you can continue forward again.

Blunder Two: not 20 minutes after Blunder One, another fellow with a motorhome drove through the same site in a similar effort to short-cut his departure from the park. The good news is that he was able to make the turn without using reverse. The bad news is that he was dragging about 25 feet of his big 50 amp power cord... the one that plugs into the power receptacle at the site. Yeowzer! These things don't come out, un-plug, of the power pedestal easily... especially when pulled from the side with a motorhome providing the power... and almost always they damage the power ped at the site. He too wasn't aware of what happened and drove merrily on his way. Don't have any idea how far he got before someone alerted him to his dragging, and by that time, frayed power cord. Preventing this blunder is also easy... make it a point, prior to moving the RV, to get out and do a complete walk-around checking for things like this, or that the jacks have been retracted, and steps and awnings are stowed.

I don't know if other RV'ers do this, but watching arriving or departing neighbors is big sport with some of us... watching for mistakes or trying to learn something.

Now, where's that hose...


Good reminders. I do at least one complete walk around before pulling out, also looking under at the jacks and up at the roof. I usually do a walk around again at stops, and take a very close look at my tow bar set up to ensure all the pins and bolts are okay.

Mistakes can be very co$tly and as much as I want to help the economy, I'd rather put the money in the fuel tank than the body shop owner. ;c)
Cyndi said…
Your stories remind me of the time we were camped in Escalante, Utah, and watched a guy hook up his toad and drive off in his big motorhome. Unfortunately, the brakes on his toad were locked - but his motorhome was so big and powerful he managed to drive away without knowing his toad was screeching along behind him. We tried to run after him, waving our arms to get his attention, but he continued on down the highway. I don't know how far he got before he realized what he was doing. Makes me glad I'm married to a man who is really meticulous about checking everything when we're setting up and breaking down.

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