Wednesday, November 29, 2023


RV boo-boos: That sinking feeling—from a slightly off-road adventure

Willie Nelson waxed poetic about, “Goin’ places where I’ve never been.” Does Willie have good towing coverage? For RVers, going where we’ve never been is often a big attraction, as it is for reader Frank B. Early this year, Frank got a yen for a side trip off the beaten track of California’s I-8. But it wasn’t long before a sinking feeling would put his tow coverage to the test. He explains:

“Never had a traction problem”

“January 27, 2022, we were headed from Quartzsite toward the BLM lands just west of Salton City. We have an almost-11,000-pound travel trailer and a crew/long GMC single rear wheel 4×4. Yes, we are heavy, but have never had a traction problem even when boondocking off-road in places others have already been.

sinking feeling“We turned off Interstate 8 and took the scenic Box Canyon Road down toward Mecca, California. Several people had their rigs parked a few hundred feet off Box Canyon road, so we decided to pull over and have lunch there. Suspecting nothing, I had the truck in two-wheel drive as we pulled onto what appeared to be a well-traveled surface. By the time I realized my mistake and put it in four-wheel drive it was too late. Rather than continue to dig in deeper, I unhitched and easily drove our truck out and toward Mecca where we could get cell service and call for help.”

A tow company with limited equipment

Yep, that good old sinking feeling. If you’ve been RVing for more than just a few trips, you’ve probably had plenty of experience with it. Sometimes it’s a feeling you get like Frank did, from that literal sinking into something you shouldn’t be in.

“We tried two companies approved by AAA to help us, but the one based out of Joshua Tree only had a two-wheel-drive tow truck and wouldn’t take on the job. Blew my mind that this AAA recommended towing company had such limited equipment.

$500 “life lesson”

sinking feeling“The next closest AAA-approved fellow was in Indio and had a 4×4 with sand tires for situations like ours. However, his truck was down with major engine work. He recommended Silverado Towing in Indio – not affiliated with AAA. I highly recommend Cesar and Silverado. He hooked up to our trailer with his dually and headed for the pavement. He almost made it when he got off the track and into another soft spot. However, he was now able to use his second truck to winch everything out.

“Cost us over $500 for this ‘life lesson’ but he got us out with no problem. AAA refunded their maximum of $450 to us for a tow from a non-affiliated company. Yay to Silverado Towing. Yay to AAA for being willing to think outside of the box.”

So glad that Frank’s sinking feeling didn’t involve too much of an unrefundable expense! Thanks to Frank for the story, and the photos!

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.

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.



0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Johnm405 (@guest_210555)
1 year ago

We pulled off the road in Missouri with our Bounder and by the time i had stopped both front and back tires on the passenger side had sunk into the dirt up to the axle. Had to get a local there with a tractor to pull us out.

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.