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Luck and Motorhoming

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We where traveling on 95 south headed for South Carolina from Massachusetts I think it was in Virginia when a 2x8 was rolling down the Highway had metal ends on it looked liked a part of a ramp system. With vehicles on both side of me I had no choice but to hit it, so I prayed as I ran it over partly with front right tire and partly under the chassis. I was lucky though-- there was no damage to tire or oil pan and under carriage. Whew was I lucky-- must have it while it was Flat on the Road The RV was only a month old at the time, Thank you God.

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In December 2003 we made a pilgrimage to Kitty Hawk, NC to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight. Each state had a plane flying the state flag to Kitty Hawk as part of the Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Association (AOPA) celebration of the event. Our plans were shared with fellow pilots at the Missouri Pilot's Associaton meeting and the pilot who was flying his plane to Kitty Hawk asked where we were staying. When I told him it was our motor home and he was welcome to join us, he accepted. They were RV'ers, having traveled in their own trailer. We planned to have them sleep on the couch but Les was a little too long for the couch so slept on the floor in a sleeping bag! Les was a retired airline pilot and flew with the US Air Force. He became our guide through all the festivities at Kitty Hawk. He knew people I wouldn't have had a chance to talk to. We got behind ropes and talked to experts in aviation. He gave us personal recollections as we watched air shows. In short, it was like having our own VIP guided tour of the four day event. We enjoyed their company and they enriched our experience at the event. I'm sure lucky to have mentioned our plans at that meeting and the motor home made it all possible.

In 2004 we planned to travel the route of Lewis and Clark. This was the 200th anniversary of their departure on their exploration of the Missouri River and on to the Pacific Coast. We planned to start the trip in Louisville, KY across the river from Clarksville, IN. We had driven and enjoyed the Natchez Trace the fall of 2003 so decided to take that as our route from Texas to Louisville. En-route, one of the stops we made on the Natchez Trace was the site of Meriwether Lewis' grave. We didn't know where it was located. We were just beginning our journey and were focused on the river trip. The encounter with the grave site and the story behind the death of Lewis made the trip across country even more signficant knowing that Lewis suffered from severe bouts of depression. We checked to see where Clark was buried and visited his grave site in St. Louis, not far from where I lived my whole life. So a chance encounter added much to our planned summer trip.

In 2008 we were in the Winnipeg area during the summer visiting friends and found there was a Viking Festival in Gimli, just north of the city the weekend we were there. Louise has lots of Norwegian heritage and enjoys being a Viking so we wre off to Gimli. We had a great time at the festival. As an aviation enthusiast (private pilot) I had read about the Gimli Glider (Google it) which was one of the miracle stories of aviation. So we visited the airfield where the Gimli Glider landed. Just a tiny bit of bad luck, there had been a reunion of the crew and some passengers just a week before we were there. I'd have loved to been there for that. Later in that visit our friends took us to Fort Garry where there was a celebration for the anniversary of a treaty with the First People (Canadians respectful name for Indians). We were welcomed and treated to a sampling of a meal from the period of the treaty signing. There were various demonstrations throughout the grounds. One of them was a performer who was doing a hoop dance. The performance was beautiful and quite amazing to see the footwork involved and being done on a grassy surface which wasn't exactly smooth. When the performance was over, our host Irwin took us behind the pavilion to visit with the performer. It turned out Irwin knew the man, they had worked together in the fire department! We got to visit with and learn more about this native performer who travels the world demonstrating his skills and sharing his culture with others.

We were in the Olympic Peninsula (Washington) in 2012. We were touring wineries. While tasting wine and talking motor homes (there was a Prevost parked beside the winery) with our host, she asked if we were visiting to see the Potlatch. There was a Potlatch (meeting and exchange of gifts) taking place near there the next week. Pacific Coastal tribes were gathering for this event and they would be arriving by canoe in Olympia that weekend. We found information on the event and arrived early in the morning at the docks for the ceremonial arrival of the canoes. It was the most spectacular event I could imagine. Over 100 canoes from as far away as Alaska, having traveled for many days, some as much as a month, to reach this spot. These were the large ceremonial canoes, with dozens of paddlers, some in costume, others in T-Shirts but all welcomed in their native language over loudspeakers. We were welcomed as observers and thoroughly enjoyed a day watching and participating in this magnificant event. We had no idea this was going on when we planned the trip. Just really good luck being in the right place at the right time, meeting the right person to tip us off. This was a wonderful introduction to the native tribes of the Olympic Peninsula. We spent two months on the peninsula (first time visit) and visited many of the tribes forming a particular close bond with the Quilute Tribe at La Push. We commissioned a small souvenir totem with an artist there and a year later visited him in Olympia to collect our very dear souvenir of our spectacular summer visit to the Olympic Peninsula.

These are just a few of the big things. There have been innumerable other experiences.

Sitting through the remeinants of Hurricane Katrina in Maine then exploring waterfalls for the next few days!

Seeing the northern lights while staying overnight at a rest area in Yukon, CA on our return trip from Alaska.

We've formed a bond with a lake freighter. In 2005 at the Eisenhower Locks on the St. Lawrence Seaway we watched the lake freighter Algowood pass through the locks. She was a beauty and we enjoyed watching her continue on her way west leaving the locks. That evening we camped at a roadside park on NY Highway 131 overlooking the St. Lawrence Seaway. As we were eating dinner a freighter passed below us on the seaway. In binoculars I could read the name, Algowood. The next day we stopped for lunch at Cape Vincent where the seaway opens into Lake Ontario. As we ate a picnic lunch in a lakeside park, a freighter exited the seaway into Lake Ontario. We watched as the seaway pilot was transferred and the Algowood proceeded into Lake Ontario. Fast forward to 2008, We are parked in the marina campground in Duluth, Minnesota on our way to the FMCA Convention in Minneapollis-St. Paul. A lake freighter is passing through the High Bridge coming from Lake Superior into the Duluth harbor. It was the Algowood! Maybe not luck, more like spooky!

On a whim we diverted a trip across country into central Wyoming, Lander to be specrific. We'd seen I-80 across Wyoming too many times and we had some time to spare. We arrived the the weekend of the One Shot Antelope Hunt. This is a high priced, big name antelope hunt that kicks off the antelope hunting season in Wyoming. Hunters are invited by the govenor to participate. The museum has pictures and momentos from actors, astronauts, politicians (former VP **** Cheney was there that weekend - we never saw him). Louise's father had talked about this event all his life and now we were here. We saw a few of the hunters, toured the museum and had some great hikes. Again, we knew nothing about this until we drove into town and saw the banner over main street. That same stay we camped at a park just outside Lander. When we arrived we were told to pick any site. We pulled into a site and the tree was too close to the motor home, we couldn't get TV. We were also parked next to another motor home and there were plenty of spaces so we moved over one space, more room for all and we had TV. The day we were planning to leave. The motor home we had parked next to caught fire. If we had been parked next to them, I'm sure our motor home would have burned also. lf you've never seen a motor home burn, and I hope you haven't, they burn faster and hotter than almost anything you can imagine. Neither the propane or fuel tank were involved and it was still a dreadful fire. We were very lucky that we didn't stay in that first campsite! Both people got out of the burning motor home but they saved nothing including their toad and their pet cat and dog.

Our planned Lewis and Clark trip was interrupted when we had to make an emergency run to Lake Havasu to take care of Louise's mother. We ended up clearing out her house and moving her to Denver to live with Lousie's youngest sister. After that event, we decided to resume the trip and headed north to the Mouth Rushmore area, South Dakota. Camping in Custer we decided to visit the Crazy Horse Monument. Arriving at the gate they told us that admission would be free tomorrow with a canned food donation and we could do the Volksmarch to the outstretched arm of the Crazy Horse carving in the mountain. We returned the next day with our bag full of cans and did the hike. Wow, what an experience. We've taken friends and grandchildren on the hike. We've done the hike three times now and will be looking for the next chance to catch the event.

Speaking of friends. Our first year out we stayed for the winter where we are living now. It is a wonderful park in a unique part of Texas. We were at a BBQ event in the park, everyone brings their own meat to BBQ and a picnic ensues. We were introduced to Dakota Bill and his wife Laura. We told them we were South Dakotans also! Of course we were just registered in South Dakota but they responded with enthusiasm and we've been close friends ever since. We visit them during the summer, we've caravanned with them on numerous trips, we've gone to FMCA Conventions with them, they have become our closest friends. They still stay for winters in the same park and just purchased a mobile home here.

In our camper van in New Zealand we camped next to a couple from Austraila. We visited over a bottle of wine that evening. Australia being our next destination, Ian and Debbie invited us to vist thm in Melbourne when we got there. We did and built a friendship that resulted in their coming to spend a few days with us at our house in Texas last fall!

So which of these is my favorite? You pick, I can't. They are all part of the wonderful experience that has been owning a motor home.

You just never know what surprise you will find or who you are going to meet around the next corner. I love the RV life. One of Louise's favorite sayings attributed to Rosalind Russell, from the movie Auntie Mame seems to be appropriate here, "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death."

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We where traveling on 95 south headed for South Carolina from Massachusetts I think it was in Virginia when a 2x8 was rolling down the Highway had metal ends on it looked liked a part of a ramp system. With vehicles on both side of me I had no choice but to hit it, so I prayed as I ran it over partly with front right tire and partly under the chassis. I was lucky though-- there was no damage to tire or oil pan and under carriage. Whew was I lucky-- must have it while it was Flat on the Road The RV was only a month old at the time, Thank you God.

Thank God indeed! We had a similar experience last Spring. Going down I-15 through Las Vegas at 60mph. Freeway very busy, no where to go. The truck in front of us dropped a 4' rubbermaid garbage can. All we could do was keep calm, pray and hit it head-on. It got stuck underneath and we had to drag it for about 2 miles until we could get off the freeway and pull over. We had to raise-her up with the jacks to get it out. Luckily there was no damage to the front fiberglass or underneath, the front axle stopped it. We were glad it didn't come out and hit another car or motorcycle. That was a lucky day for us and the others on the road.

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Had the left front tire throw the tread (but not deflate) in Nevada. Adjacent to and level with the highway on the right side was a huge gravel area that I could coast into, be well off the road, and change the tire in comfort and safety. When I think of all the non-ideal spots to lose a tire, I feel blessed.

Had a severe misfire on starting the engine after lunch. Looked for the nearest CG with hookups and ended up in Service Park CG near Silas, AL for a week while I repaired the MH. Beautiful Corp of Engineers CG on the Tombigbee River near a dam. I had never seen barge traffic up close before (50 yards from the MH), and enjoyed it immensely. Might be a gearhead thing, but two 5000 horsepower diesels holding position on the river at 3 AM alongside your motorhome is the closest I've come to witnessing a UFO landing. I would have missed the whole thing if the MH had kept running correctly.

Had a vibration in the driveline while driving across Wyoming, called my brother (trucking for 45 years) and discussed symptoms. He diagnosed probably a u-joint as I was approaching a Laramie exit, took the exit, looked up a parts store, parked in a vacant lot across the street, pulled the driveshaft, had two bad u-joints replaced, reassembled and back on the road in 2.5 hours.

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We were on our way home to Wisconsin from Zapata, TX. Going around Laredo at 45 MPH on the beltline we were coming up to a three way intersection when the lights changed to red. I stepped on the brakes---and NOTHING!!. Brake pedal went right to the floor!. There was no one stopped in the right turn lane so I downshifted the Allison transmission and took a right--at 45 MPH. I think the coach and the Geo Tracker went up on the left side wheels while going around the corner. Luckily no one was coming out from the side street so we were able to slow down enough to turn into the Academy Sporting Goods parking lot and coast to a stop. Crawled around under the coach and found the master cylinder rod off from the pedal!!

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It's March, an apt month to pose the question:What's the luckiest thing that's happened to you while motorhoming?

We have met the most wonderful people during our travels which tops any experience that we could have ever planned ahead for.

Wouldn't trade these friendships for anything.

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Luck is finding the RV lifestyle and having a spouse who loves it as much as I do. We have had over 50 years together and the last 14 have been extended time RVing - now full time for 2 1/2 years.

Our luckiest RV experience was in January 2003 when we left Music Valley, east of Nashville, expecting snow to begin later in the afternoon. By the time we got on I 40 it was snowing hard. The eventual total was 12 inches. We spent the next 4 hours traveling 37 miles!. We stopped on the Natchez Trace Parkway just short of Double Arch Bridge and with a Ranger's permission we spent the day and night on the closed road enjoying the solitude. We had full propane, fuel and water and empty holding tanks when we left the campground so we were good to stay for quite a while.

We got to play in the snow knowing it wouldn't be for long we come from Western NY where 12" of snow isn't a hiccup, but in Nashville it might as well be 12 feet. We didn't slide off the road or get stuck in the snow or have any bad experience to laugh about, just an unplanned overnight stop and hot chocolate to add to the pleasure. Looking back, it may also have been our first Boondock too. We were only on our second cross country run - we are currently on our 14th such run, we look forward to many more.

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Lost steering and brakes at the same time heading for Zion due to a complete hydraulic failure. We had just come down a long steep grade into Hurricane Utah so we were lucky the failure didn't take place 15 minutes earlier and the reason we are alive today is we were going uphill when the failure occurred allowing us to coast to a stop. I pulled the parking brake which disintegrated. The only way I could stop from rolling backwards was to drop the jacks.

We got a tow to St. George, spent the weekend at a CAT dealer for repairs, drove it home and never drove it again.

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A different kind of luck: On final leg back home from 2 week honeymoon trip, it was getting late and we decided to stop 2 hours shy from home in Kinder Louisiana casino Rv park for the night. Went in to casino to gamble for a bit and hit my first "hand pay" (too much for machine to pay) ever on a slot machine. Paid for entire honeymoon!!! Tommy

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Just a month ago my hubby and I took our maiden trip with our new tow vehicle. We are new to RV'ing and had finally broken down and bought a little toad. We were headed home from Buellton on Hwy 101S and were enjoying the bicyclists riding along the side of the road to our right. All of a sudden, about a quarter of a mile ahead, a cyclist lost his balance and went down right in front of us. We were doing 60 MPH in a 35' gas rig. My husband hit the brakes, as we slowed, we realized that we were not going to stop in time. He was directly in front of us sprawled out across the entire lane. This was very bad. We were going to kill a man and we couldn't do anything about it, I thought.

Not my hubby, my hero. With his fast thinking, he immediately figured," I can't control the steering when braking." He quickly switched from the brake to the gas, a very bold and brave move, and steered hard left. Thank God there was no car in that lane to our left or there would have been a very severe accident. As we saw him and his bike disappear under my side of the front end, and come out by the steps at the side, we quickly regained control of our rocking rig and pulled over to the side. MIRACULOUSLY, about an eighth of a mile behind us, were a group of drivers helping the gentleman up. His helmet was dented and had flown off of his head, his bike was a crumpled mess, but he escaped with just scratches. We were all very lucky that day, but I'd rather say blessed as I don't believe in luck.

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Got everybody beat, best thing that ever happened as an RVer was my motorhome burned to a crisp in my driveway the night before a trip to Hilton Head. Had a nice Alfa with the usual electric/lp refrigerator. Factory recall said there was a defect that could cause a fire. Really! And the only response from the refrig maker was to send a recall card. Well, I got the card the day before my trip, called my dealer and told him to order the parts for the recall and next service in a week or so after my trip I would let him do the recall service and that would be it. Wrong.

About 9:30 the night before our trip my daughter screamed, "the bus is on fire". Never had a chance to put it out and was more concerned that the fire would leap to our house, 20 feet from where the biggest fire in the neighborhood was happening. Once I realized my garden hose was not gonna help the RV I diverted my attention to saving my house. Very upsetting experience to be sure. As I had premium insurance with State Farm my only wish was I could get enough from them to pay the bank my loan balance. I owed roughly 50 and was hoping to get 50 and then start over. Well, my agent said you were lucky to be alive and the fire was a direct cause of the refrigerator and the idiots at the factory had no clue how serious the situation was and could be life threatening. He offered a settlement north of 110 and I almost fainted. Then he threw in an extra 20 for the contents that were lost and or damaged. He said his company would get every penny back and would I be interested in being a party to the lawsuit so I could recover my deductible. Of course I agreed. State Farm got it all back and sent me a check for the 2k deductible. Since then the premium has been paid the day I receive the statement.

That my friends in how I moved up to a Country Coach Magna, two years newer and in a much higher class RV. Five years later and an additional 50,000 miles I moved up once more to a Newell and as long as I can keep it between the lines RVing in the greatest part of my life. My suggestion to anyone that asks about owning an RV is get the nicest one you can afford and don't be afraid to own one that has been used and cared for.

The fire was 2008 and that was the beginning of the crash and it was a great buyer's market. It still is in my opinion. My Country Coach was barely hurt with 40k miles and listed originally for 650 and I got it for less than 20% of that four years later. Same with the Newell. Listed for 7 figures and I got for 30% of original value with 50k miles. There are some really nice coaches that folks can't use or need to move. Due diligence and a little patience will reward a savvy buyer.

College football and travel baseball keeps me moving from May to January. I can't imagine not having my own bed, refrigerator and warm potty. We sail by the fast food joints and the kids think a 7 hour trip is maybe 2 hours. RVing is so much fun and there are no strangers at camps and parking spots. Good quality living and seeing lots of places I would never otherwise get to visit. What was a nightmare actually turned into a great chance to move up and realize a better chance to experience another five plus years of RVing.

Luck, ... sure .... in a twisted way we were as lucky and you can get. Sure didn't seem like it at the time!

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Lost steering and brakes at the same time heading for Zion due to a complete hydraulic failure. We had just come down a long steep grade into Hurricane Utah so we were lucky the failure didn't take place 15 minutes earlier and the reason we are alive today is we were going uphill when the failure occurred allowing us to coast to a stop. I pulled the parking brake which disentegrated. The only way I could stop from rolling backwards was to drop the jacks.

We got a tow to St. George, spent the weekend at a CAT dealer for repairs, drove it home and never drove it again.

Very frightening AND INTERESTING. The parking/emergency brake is SPRING applied, hydraulic pressure released. Would be quite interested in how the parking/emergency brake was "disengaged"?

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Luckiest thing I can recall is finding a Blue Ox large bayonet connector pin that was somehow lost when we arrived at Stone Mountain Park last fall for the Country Living Fair. Things wouldn't have been good if my wife had to drive the Kia Soul all the way home to Black Mountain, NC! I went to the small camp store [park office was closed on Sunday morning] and asked if by any chance someone had brought the missing pin to lost and found. The guy disappeared back into the park office and showed up with the pin. Couldn't believe my luck!

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I found LOVE. As a widow I was traveling off and on with a singles RV club called "Wandering Individual Network." There was to be a gathering south of Quartzite, Ariz., and another lady and I had arrived a few days early. We had gone over to Bouse to meet a friend for dinner and music and didn't get back to our RV's until later that night. She didn't have a car so I dropped her off at her motorhome and parked by mine. We notice a fifth-wheel parked by us but didn't recognize it, no WIN emblem and it was dark.

I had said if God wanted me to have another man in my life he would put him on my doorstep. The next morning about 8 there was a knock on my door and the man from the 5th wheel was asking me what the gathering would be like as he had never been to one. I invited him in and as all RVers tend to do said, "where are you from?" We narrowed it down to the same small town in Ohio. We had never met, so it was on to the "who do you know." I trained his sister to do our job at the hospital, and my neighbor's daughter bought his house.

We have been together since Dec 9, 2005. Talked him into a motorhome. A new "one" for both of us. Moving two households into one RV while traveling was a lot of fun. Took four of us four days to move into the motorhome and 11 yards sales and 4 truck loads to thrift shops.

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Actually had another VERY LUCKY moment. We were coming north thru the hills, heading towards Syracuse, Nebraska. Came around a curve after the top of a hill. As we got around the curve we saw a whole line of vehicles backed up in both directions. A semi had run off the road and rolled over in a ravine at the bottom of the hills. Wreckers with cables out, EMTs, cops, etc down there. I just managed to get our coach & towed stopped with about 2' clearance from the car in front of us. I looked in the rear view mirrors and saw a logging truck with a full load come barreling around the curve behind me. He hit the brakes, smoke billowing out from all the tires, and slid to a stop on my right side on the shoulder, almost with bumpers even!! We matched wiping our brows when we looked at each other.

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We went to our first rally in our new motor home in Redmond, OR, many years ago. Toward the end of the rally, they were announcing winners of some give away prizes. By the time the last two prizes were being announced, it was getting late, so my husband, Jay, left to get us seats for the entertainment. We each had walkie talkies to keep in touch (before cell phone days) and he took off, while I waited around for the last prize announcements. The last prize was two battery powered scooters, which I thought would be a fun prize to take with us in the RV, as well as use around our 3 acre property..

I heard the announcer say...."And the winner is from El Cajon, California" and I thought, "So how many people could be here from our home town?" And then he said the winner is Jay Sender. I started screaming. The announcer asked if the person screaming was Jay and i said, "No. It's his wife". Boy, did that get a good laugh.

Well, needless to say, Jay was shocked when I called him on the walkie talkie and told him he won the scooters. What a great end to our very first motor home rally.

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Another piece of luck: Drove from Zapata to Crane's Mill CG on Canyon Lake. Went to open the 18' patio awning (Zip Dee brand) and the pin on the front axle fell out just as I got the awning all the way out. It was a #10-32 bolt and came apart. I replaced it with one of the clip pins that are like those used on our tow bar.

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It was back in the 70's when we were in Toronto and the Star Wars cast was celebrating their one year birthday at the CN tower. We had our young kids with us and we got to ride up the elevator with some of the cast in full costume.

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