Thursday, March 30, 2023


RV boo-boos: Day ruiner—Things you don’t want to happen to you

There’s a saying among pilots: “Gravity can ruin your whole day.” Well, you don’t have to have wings on your rig to know there are just some things that rack up as a day ruiner. Here are two for the record books.

Totaled toad

day ruinerReader James S. recalls a fine day of RVing that had its own day ruiner. “I was towing a 2013 Fiat 500c behind my 2013 Newmar.” Off to a good start, but looking in his rear camera, James spotted a problem: Smoke! “I pulled onto the shoulder,” James recalls, “and tried to disconnect the tow,” which turned out to be the source of the smoke—and sadly—the flames. The latter managed to blast their way under the motorhome, blocking any chance of safely disconnecting the fiery Fiat.

As you can see, James’ Fiat was a complete loss. The motorhome suffered some rear-area damage. Happily, no injuries. And nope, no cause found for the fire.

Can-openered fiver

David C. says just watching someone else’s incident was a day ruiner for him. He explains: “I was at Goose Island State Park in Texas, admiring this beautiful black and gold humongous fifth wheel approaching. Spic and Span, shiny new it was.” But trouble was on the horizon. “Another vehicle was headed his way, so he hugged the right side. Unfortunately, this park has large live oak trees with low-hanging limbs sticking out over the road. I am talking limbs that are two feet in diameter.”

The average car or pickup can easily drive under these limbs. Still, says David, the motorhomer “Hit one and dragged the RV’s entire length under the limb crushing out the corner. Cabinets and all kinds of stuff spewed out of that top seam. I would imagine temporary repairs would have been in order to reach an integrity level that would allow it to be trailered away. A few seconds earlier or later and he would have continued driving down the middle of the un-striped road and nothing would have happened.” Surely, a true day ruiner.

If you’ve witnessed, or had your own “RV boo-boo” moment and have a photo to share with others, let us know. Fill out the form below, and put “boo-boo” on the subject line. Be sure to link your photo with the attachment tool on the form. Your day ruiner may appear here!

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Other stories by Russ and Tiña De Maris





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9 months ago

Our camping club met at a local beach campground. One of our member couples had purchased a new RV and this was the first trip out.

When we arrived, we noticed a van parked next to their rig, and upon closer inspection noticed that most of their rear roof was gone! Rolled up like a sardine can. The local RV repair shop was on the ball, trying to temporarily close up the opening until further repairs could be made.

Apparently, there were trees at the end of each loop…unsure why, since this was a beach campground. Leaving trees at the end of a loop — where you KNOW RVers will be having to make tight turns — seems a little shortsighted.

Management, of course, refused any responsibility but their attitude about it was what really bothered us. Not helpful or concerned at all. Just another day for them.

Anyway, the rest of the trip was certainly tainted by the experience. At the next club meeting, we all voted to scratch that campground from our list!

Bill Forbes
9 months ago

Years ago I drove my Class B into a parking area under a bridge in the City of Norfolk, Virginia. The area was posted “low clearance” but it didn’t say how low, and the clearance decreased as you went through. I knocked the air conditioner loose. During my quest for assistance to get the air conditioner off the roof safely, a police report got filed, and a week or so later, after I had paid to replace the air conditioner, I got a call from an investigator in the City Attorney’s office. I told him what had happened, including the low clearance but not how low. He asked me for a copy of my repair invoice, and a week or so after that the City mailed me a check to pay for the air conditioner. They also replaced the “low clearance” sign with one that had the actual clearance measurement.

A coworker told me he had seen a couple smash the bicycles on top of their car in the same spot, but they didn’t report anything.

So, it pays to report these things.

9 months ago

A few years ago, I saw my neighbore s leaving with their 5th wheel. It dropped onto the bed rails of their new Ford truck. I know you have to re check that the jaws fully engage the king pin but I wish there was an audible warning somehow if it wasn’t locked. Those poor people!

Thomas D
9 months ago

Here in Wisconsin state parks are old and never designed for todays behemoths. Most you cant even make the corners with. Best to stay out unless you walk the route first. It’s hard enough to even park given the length and obstructions of the sites. And there’s always a tree right across from the driveway you want. FUN

9 months ago

Driver boo-boo? Or does no one think perhaps just maybe a STATE PARK should have roadways safely driveable by RVs?

Norman Beattie
9 months ago
Reply to  wanderer

NO,,,,, the driver is solely responsible for overhead obstructions.

9 months ago
Reply to  wanderer

Wanderer, while I agree with you in concept, in the end it is as Norman states, the driver is responsible to know the height of the rigs highest point and avoid obstructions.

This wasn’t too much of an issue years ago when RVs were not so tall, but with many 5ers now exceeding 13′ and many motorhomes well over the 12′ mark, many facilities have not trimmed trees up to those levels.

Just last year we visited the Lincoln Birthplace Nat’l Historical Park. On their RV parking loop were several large oaks with huge and “low” limbs. I got in far enough to park for our visit, but being almost 13′ high, I had to unhook the toad and back out. Sometimes that’s necessary.

9 months ago
Reply to  wanderer

State and National parks and even campgrounds were once drivable for RVs. RVs got bigger and bigger. The driver needs to be aware of where he can and cannot go. Do we blast out tunnels in the Black Hills and rebuild tight turning roads just because RVs get bigger? I hope not. I know which store parking lots will accept a long bed dually and which will not and know that I will have to park out, rather than right up to the store. It seems that all parking spaces have shrunk with the shrunken cars. Some are even hard to maneuver my 1996 Lincoln Town Car in. Chopping up Nature just for too tall RVs just does not make sense to me. Semi drivers know where they can and cannot go. When I go to our ACE hardware, I know to take my Miata rather than my RV.

9 months ago
Reply to  KellyR

Well said. We should not expect other taxpayers to fund restructuring of public facilities for those RVers who want the McMansion.

Gary Blackburn
9 months ago
Reply to  pursuits

I agree with that except for low bridges. Instead of raising the bridge, dig the road lower for adequate clearance.

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