Ouch! Our motorhome got stuck. Really stuck. It has taken me a while to recover enough to even write this sad story. And to all those who would never ever find themselves in this predicament… never say never! 30 years of RVing and not one mishap until now.
On our way to a campground near Olympic National Park in upper Washington state, we turned from Hwy. 101 to Lake Drive in Amanda Park. The turn was way too tight! S-c-r-a-p-e, then scrape more. I was screaming “STOP!” at my husband. We were scraping the front AND rear.
The dip was extreme. It finally stopped our entire motorhome. We were stranded.
The worst part was that we couldn’t even see the dip when we turned but it really snagged us. We couldn’t go forward and we couldn’t go back. Then we tried putting the jacks down and jack pads under the tires, but no luck.
We were tipped sideways so much that water was leaking out of the overflow. It was not fuel, as many onlookers nervously asked. And yes, the small store nearby emptied out with onlookers. It was much more exciting than watching a newbie back into a camping site!
Happens multiple times a year!
The postmistress stopped by and said three or four motorhomes a year get stuck on that dip and a tow truck lifts them in the middle to get out. We called AAA for a tow truck—no show. They did finally say they had no one that could work with an RV.
We had to take off our bikes and bike rack, tow car and the tow bar that was digging into the asphalt.
We went into the little store nearby and they said the same thing: RVs get stuck there a lot. Of course, that begs the question: Why not fix the dip or at least put up a warning sign? It leads to the government post office too! The asphalt was rife with scrapes. “Stuck there a lot” may relieve the embarrassment but it still didn’t get us unstuck.
Built a ramp
The campground owners down the hill came by to see if they could help. My husband asked for boards. He returned with lots of boards. I put the jacks down to raise the back end and they built a ramp of boards and jack pads. We let the jacks up and were able to back up enough to get uphill, but this caused the front end to start scraping. Built another ramp for the front tires and finally got free. At that point it was still no-show on the tow truck.
Ready to roll again… kind of
The next day my husband found self-tapping screws and pounded, screwed and glued everything back together enough to travel. I was in charge of gluing the tail lights. All the light covers had popped off! The front generator drawer support had totally pulled out of the fiberglass on one side but a few pounds with a hammer and prying it with a massive screwdriver got it closed.
Finished the trip and made it to Arizona
Everything stayed together and we continued our trip back to our wintering grounds in Arizona. The only real issue was a brand-new bumping noise under the driver’s seat. Turns out the front generator cap support had torn away from the front cap. One support held and my husband wedged the generator drawer closed.
Learned a few lessons
- STOP if you hear scraping! Don’t move any further.
- Might have been okay if we had quickly disconnected the car while it was still on the highway, but with so many logging trucks whizzing by that may have caused a series of other problems.
- AAA RV tow assistance may not show up… ever.
- Self-tapping screws are great! They held everything together for 1,200 more miles.
The dip’s location
If you’re traveling near Lake Quinault in Washington, be aware of this dip. Here’s a Google Earth Satellite view of the area. The dip is at the turn of Highway 101 and Lake Drive N. If you see the Quinault Internet Cafe, look out!
The good news is that we have full coverage and zero deductible, but I can’t even imagine the rise in our insurance premiums next year. The other good news is that we are okay and didn’t have to spend months at a repair shop and could continue the trip. The best is to have a handy husband!