Monday, September 25, 2023


RV boo-boos: Listen to the directions!

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
It takes a bit of intestinal fortitude—and humility—to own up to boo-boos. Witness the case of a “Rocky day RVing.” Michael H. had, by his account, “been on the road for a long time when we finally got to our destination,” a Montana campground. It’s a matter of listening—and following—the directions.

Annoying RV park managers

With decades of RVing under our belts, we have to agree with Michael’s view. He describes RV park managers as annoying when “They insist on taking you to your site and in some cases actually doing all of the hookups.” Hear! Hear! “Well, after the incident this year,” Michael writes, “I have a different view on this practice.”

So, long day in the saddle, you know the feeling. You’re about ready to drop asleep at the registration desk. The receptionist draws a little “follow this line” on the paper campground map to send you on your way. All you can think about is how long it’ll take to complete the hookups and finally get your feet up. So it was for Michael, when he “heard” the instruction of “go around the swimming pool.” He thought he was following the directions, all right.

“I jumped into the motorhome and executed what I thought was ‘go around the pool.’ It was an extremely tight left turn and I was watching very closely a pole on the passenger side, afraid the mirror might hit it, and not paying attention to what was going on in the rear.” Sounds sensible enough, but then, “The rear of the coach went up and down making a clunking sound.” You know that gut-sinking feeling!

Gather around!

The picture explains where that “clunking sound” came from. What happens next? “I was extremely embarrassed as people in the campground gathered around to see what was going on.” Yep, all male readers will probably shake their heads in agreement. Talk about an affront to one’s dignity!

Is there a way out of this fix without hiring of a tow truck? Helpful onlookers made suggestions. Move boulders? Too big, and too deep. Go backward? Michael could only envision that nasty “front tire” boulder rising up and embedding itself in a basement storage compartment. Go forward? “This was felt to be best option. With the help of the others directing in the front to make sure I wouldn’t hit the pole, and in back telling to keep going, I was able to get out with absolutely no problems or damage to the coach.” Following the new directions in this on-the-fly situation, success finally came.

The moral of the story? A sadder-but-wiser Michael says, “Pay attention when the instructions are given. And don’t feel bad if they guide you to your site and assist with the hookup.”

If you’ve seen, 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. 

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

RV boo-boos – No pickup to pull fifth wheel? No problem!

Other stories by Russ and Tiña De Maris


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.


  1. I’m normally very good at following the rv park maps, to our site. Actually prefer they draw the route on the map for me. I learn visually.
    One rv park we stayed at had a lower and upper area. The lady lead us to our site with an ATV. Very glad she did, as the upper sites were up a narrow dirt road, with turn offs to other local residents. If she had not lead us up, I would have assumed I was lost.
    As to boo, boos. I once was backing into a site, super slowly, and lightly touched a wall with our ladder. Luckily the coach was barely moving, and no damaged occurred. Still felt embarrassed.

  2. I don’t know about hooking up, but I’ve seen several cases where the staff should have been on site to disconnect for departure.
    Like the one who wrapped the excess power cord around the pedestal a couple times. They forgot to disconnect the electric cord and drove off dragging the pedestal.
    And I’ve seen a number of geysers when water wasn’t disconnected and the riser was built using PVC instead of more solid metal pipe.

  3. Hey, this is amateur hour stuff. A REAL professional can get a VW Vanagon Camper stuck between two BUILDINGS! Don’t ask how I know this – it’s a very long story!

    • When I was in Germany a few years ago to visit Christkindlmarkts our driver drove down a alley with barely inches between the buildings on each side.

  4. 3 yrs ago we picked up our brand new 5th wheel, and 3 yrs ago I pulled into a Walmart parking lot for the night and caused $$$$ worth of damage by hitting a boulder in one of the median islands. After a quick cry, Walmart said no problem, got the forklift and moved the rock back in place, the police chuckled and said no problem, no one is filing charges and the insurance company…best of all….”Sharon, you just picked it up TODAY” and laughed and said not a problem. We were still able to use our trailer for the 2 week trip, no gas though, and had to rig the main sewer connection to dump, but 4 months later all was repaired and I am still known at my dealer as the “Rock Lady”.

  5. Wow. And for the record I don’t think that parking job qualifies as a mistake, unless there was some clear sign you were on top of the tank. How were you supposed to know?

    Kudos on figuring out a way to get out of there, well done! A lot of people would have thrown up their hands and called in a crane.

    • umm…how did this comment from a different ‘whoops story’ a week ago get pasted into this, different, article? Kind of scary to see one’s words transplanted around like that.

      • Hi, Wanderer. That stumped me for about two seconds. I think what happened was that Russ copied his previous post to update for this most recent one, and in copying it, it included the previous comments. Whoops (is right). I’ll mention that to him so he doesn’t do that, and it doesn’t get so confusing. Sorry ’bout that. Have a good night. 😀 –Diane


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