Let’s face it; if we’re going to be motorhome enthusiasts, we’re going to make some mistakes. Hopefully, our mistakes and mishaps won’t lead to extensive (and costly) repairs.
Fortunately, many of our mishaps while on the road, and particularly in camp, are pretty humorous when we look back at the stupid things we’ve done. So it only makes sense that our third annual RV Oops Awards have become so popular.
Throughout the year, author Larry MacDonald collects stories about things that have gone wrong and presents the awards as featured on page 38. I’m sure you’ll agree that finding fodder for this article is not difficult and that most of us — whether we’re seasoned RV owners or neophytes — can relate to the stories.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had my share of misadventures. One of my favorites was a dumping incident back in the 1970s while on a cross-country trip. We stopped for gas in the middle of Iowa. Our holding tanks were pretty full and luckily there was a dump station on the premises. Before we left our Southern California offices, a new company sent me a product it thought was destined to revolutionize the process of dumping holding tanks: a lightweight plastic disposable hose.
I was excited about the prospect of pulling a dump hose out of a tissue-sized box and throwing it away after use — albeit not environmentally friendly, but those concerns were in their infancy during the 1970s, so we were a little cavalier when considering the potential impact on our landfills.
We hooked the hose up in normal fashion, pulled the black valve handle first, and in shocked disbelief watched the seam of the hose open during the heaviest part of the dumping process. By the time we got the valve closed, the entire concrete pad adjacent to the gas pumps was covered with sewage. The convenience of having a dump station next to the pumps was definitely working against us.
With a sheepish look on my face, I asked the station owner for a long water hose that I could use to clean up the mess. I spent the next 20 minutes putting on a show that rivaled slapstick comedy. My wife, Lynne, and our friends who were traveling with us had quite a belly laugh, after they got over the disgusting aspect of the incident. Needless to say, that Disposa-Hose didn’t get my endorsement.
I have many stories to tell like that dumping faux pas. Most of them are only revealed while sitting around the campfire with other RV owners when such stories become the evening entertainment.
The mishaps experienced by most of this year’s winners were caused by absent-mindedness, and hopefully everyone involved got a good laugh after things settled down. Leaving your wife on the road is pretty funny, but I’m sure our reader paid the price for that one! Hearing crunches and scrapes is very disconcerting, and this year’s RV Oops Award winner took those sounds to the extreme.
I know the scraping and crunching sounds — and that sinking stomach feeling — all too well. I have found myself in a number of precarious situations while exploring unproven (and unpaved) roads. One of my favorite stories chronicles the time we took the wrong dirt road in a 33-foot Class A and ended up teeter-tottering on the edge of a cliff right above a mobile home park. That experience was a lot funnier when we finally got towed out and into the right camp area.
It’s amusing to poke fun at ourselves, and no doubt we’ll get plenty of entries for next year’s “honors.” Here’s hoping you don’t win.
Take a look at this year’s RV Oops Awards!