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Never Confuse An RV With An ATV April 8, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Travel & Leisure.

Wikipedia ~ Travel Trailer (in Public Domain)

Once, while driving our camper van down a dirt road in North Carolina, the shoulder of the road gave way.

Our top-heavy camper started to topple over the embankment.


Before executing a full somersault in pike position, the rear-end snagged a barbed wire fence post and held on for dear life.

We stopped.
And breathed.

The passenger door was out of commission, resting inches from the ground.

The van rocked, at a 45-degree angle, each time we shifted our weight.

To get to safety, we clambered out the driver’s door and jumped 3-feet down to the crumbling shoulder.

We stopped.  On terra firma.  And breathed.

In my haste to evacuate before the camper continued its off-road adventure, I had not grabbed my purse from the bunk over the cab.

Now, back on solid ground, BFF said, “Hey, where’s your purse?”

Wikipedia ~ Travel Trailer (in Public Domain)

I pointed at the top-heavy camper  cantilevered over the fence post.  “In there.  In the top bunk.”

“Think you should get it?”

I stared at our RV, masquerading as an ATV, and shook my head.  “You want it, you get it.  I’m NOT going back in there.”

“What if you need it for identification?”

“As long as I’m still alive, I can tell them who I am.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Daily Prompt ~ Safety First


1. Crowing Crone Joss - April 8, 2013

wow, what a terrifying experience.

nrhatch - April 8, 2013

An off-road adventure I would NOT care to repeat. 😯

The van had to be winched back onto the roadway using a tree as a fulcrum and chains around both axles.

2. Andra Watkins - April 8, 2013

Glad you made it out of that one, Nancy.

nrhatch - April 8, 2013

We’ve had a few close calls over the years . . . landing on that barbed wire fence post probably saved our lives.

3. Kathy - April 8, 2013

ACK! indeed. Glad you got out. Purses can be replaced.

nrhatch - April 8, 2013

Yes! I waited until the van was hoisted up to safety before retrieving my purse.

4. William D'Andrea - April 8, 2013

I’m glad to know you got out all right. I hope you didn’t have to wait too long for help to come along.

nrhatch - April 8, 2013

Someone who lived down the road called a tow truck for us. So much better than having to call an ambulance.

5. SuziCate - April 8, 2013

I’m with you…forget the purse!

nrhatch - April 8, 2013

Nothing would have propelled me back into the camper at that moment . . . short of saving a pet or child.

6. kateshrewsday - April 8, 2013

“Hang on a minute lads. I’ve got a great idea…..”

nrhatch - April 8, 2013

Perfect, Kate! I would have taken photos of our predicament . . . but my camera was in my purse. :mrgreen:

7. SidevieW - April 8, 2013

There are easier ways to do exciting things

nrhatch - April 8, 2013

Most of the time, our RV provided relaxation and recreation in the great outdoors . . . but we did have a few hairy moments. 😀

SidevieW - April 9, 2013

so it seems 😉

8. Booksphotographsandartwork - April 8, 2013

My husband wants an RV but no…that is the kind of thing that would happen to us. Just like the Lucy movie, The Long Trailer or is it called The Long, Long Trailer? If you haven’t seen that one you have to see it! Might be a little difficult to find but totally worth it.

nrhatch - April 8, 2013

We learned our lesson . . . stay OFF dirt roads. Especially those with steep embankments.

That’s a great Lucille Ball movie. What a hoot she was! 😀

9. Grannymar - April 8, 2013

I always liked the idea of having an RV, but they are not very common over here. Now I think I’ll stick with car travel and sleeping in fixed beds!

nrhatch - April 8, 2013

We enjoyed ours for 10 full years (1990 – 2000) ~ great for weekend get-a-ways since most stuff got packed at the beginning of the season. All we had to do is grab our clothes and food for the fridge. Also great for “tail-gating” and picnics.

And we did one cross-country (7,000 mile) trip in it in 1992. We spent a month driving from North Carolina to California and back with LOTS of stops along the way. Great fun.

Once we moved to MD, to the banks of the Chesapeake Bay, we decided to “camp” in our own backyard (where we could douse the campfire and sleep in a queen size bed at night). 😀

10. bluebee - April 8, 2013

“Where’s your purse?”! Really, BFF!!

nrhatch - April 8, 2013

I shared this post with him this morning and we ROARED with laughter. I blame it on the SHOCK of the moment. 😆

11. diannegray - April 8, 2013

Good grief! You don’t want to have an adventure like that again soon!

nrhatch - April 8, 2013

No, we don’t. In this case, once was definitely ENOUGH. 😛

diannegray - April 9, 2013

I’m so glad your here to tell the tale 😯

nrhatch - April 9, 2013

Me too. BFF three. 😀

12. Tom Merriman - April 8, 2013

Ook, that’s a bit frightening, Nancy!
At least you can tell the tale, which is always a bonus!

nrhatch - April 8, 2013

Exactly our thought, Tom. But we did steer clear of dirt roads and byways after that. RVs are NOT ATVs.

13. Judith - April 8, 2013

Oh Nancy how scary. Gad you were both alright – shame about the RV

nrhatch - April 8, 2013

Thanks, Judith. It survived the experience with only a few bumps, bruises, and scratches from making the acquaintance of that life-saving fence post. We enjoyed it for another 8 years before selling it to a mechanic who promised to keep it in good working order. 😀

14. ryoko861 - April 8, 2013

Definitely lucky! My husband hates driving our conversion van because he says it always feels it’s going to fall over when it goes around curves. I don’t have a problem with it, but they are a bit top heavy.

nrhatch - April 8, 2013

We had one other hairy experience going around hairpin turns in the Great Smoky Mountains. It took us an hour to travel 8 miles, with my hands gripping the armrest for dear life. When we got off the trail, I made BFF pull over so I could fix myself a drink . . . at 10 o’clock in the morning! Definitely a white knuckle ride.

ryoko861 - April 9, 2013

LOL!!! That’ll wake you up for sure!

nrhatch - April 9, 2013

Yup. Eyes wide open. 😯

15. Pix Under the Oaks - April 8, 2013

Too scary Nancy!

nrhatch - April 8, 2013

Very scary. But we survived. Yay!

16. Perfecting Motherhood - April 8, 2013

Wow, they always have warnings for motorhomes and campers with high winds, but I guess they should also warn of roads giving way… I’ve always wondered if I could ever drive an RV, but now I’m not sure I should keep wondering. 😉

nrhatch - April 8, 2013

We were doing okay until a jeep came flying up the road in the opposite direction. We pulled over a few inches and the shoulder said, “Nuh, uh.”

The guys in the jeep stopped and helped us climb out ~ forming a human chain. I’m not sure we could have managed without their assistance. They felt B~A~D.

We stopped driving the van on dirt roads after this mishap.

17. dearrosie - April 9, 2013

Wow you drove around in it for 10 years!
After I read your comment that you and your husband roared with laughter this morning after he read your post, I wondered whether you sold your camper after this adventure?
so how did you get your purse?

nrhatch - April 9, 2013

We were a bit nervous driving the rest of that day, but we got over it quick ~ that was our “I’m gonna live forever . . . I’m gonna learn how to fly” phase of life. 😉

I waited until the van was hoisted to safety before retrieving my purse and my camera.

18. sufilight - April 9, 2013

That was a close call, Nancy! So glad you both made it out. Phil and I had a close call about 6 years ago when a loose piece of wood in the highway suddenly flew up in the air, crashed against our windshield. Phil managed to drive quickly off the road and averted an accident. We were stuck off the road for four hours before help came. I was so grateful that were unhurt that I didn’t care that we were stuck for those hours safe and alive.

nrhatch - April 9, 2013

Yes. I don’t think the wait for the van to be winched back on to the road bothered us in the least.

Having flying debris crash through your windshield seems scarier to me than our mishap because of the higher speeds, the traffic congestion, and the likelihood that something similar will happen again. Since we swore off “off road travel” in the camper after this incident . . . we knew we were not likely to have a repeat experience.

19. colonialist - April 9, 2013

Oh, wow, what fun! How was recovery effected?

nrhatch - April 9, 2013

The van had to be winched back onto the roadway using a tree as a fulcrum and chains around both axles ~ but it lived to drive another day.

colonialist - April 9, 2013

Come to think of it, that really is a different SLANT on A SHOULDER TO CRY ON!

nrhatch - April 9, 2013

You are so PUNNY! I love it. 😀

20. Pocket Perspectives - April 9, 2013

Scary! Who would think a barb wire fence post would be so “significant” in one’s life..wow!

nrhatch - April 9, 2013

You are RIGHT. Sometimes the most seemingly insignificant person, place, or thing can have far reaching consequences.

We are thankful that fence post was stronger than it looked!

21. Three Well Beings - April 10, 2013

Close calls you never forget! You kept a cool head not to go back in and get your purse and phone! My husband and son had an accident in our RV one time with it jackknifing on a blind curve half-way up a mountain! They weren’t hurt and using some quick thinking they really did take the situation in hand and make good choices. But I get weak-kneed every time they talk about it. And although it was at least 15 years ago, we still talk about it from time to time. We have stories if we spend enough time on the road, don’t we!! Glad both our stories ended well! 🙂

nrhatch - April 10, 2013

Me too! Here’s to Happy Endings (and Middles) and Safe Travels. A trailer jackknifing on a blind curve half way up a mountain sounds super scary.

I remember our mishap in slow motion . . . a jeep with two passengers careening up the hill, BFF shifting over to the shoulder to allow them to pass, the sensation of earth crumbling beneath the tires, the realization that the roadway was giving way, a futile attempt to steer the van back to safety, the beginning of the slide with the van at an awkward slant, a quick glance at how far we had to fall, etc.

But it doesn’t give me nightmares because we no longer drive on dirt roads in a top-heavy camper. Lesson learned.

22. jannatwrites - April 10, 2013

What a scary thing to happen! I did have to laugh at your last line. I don’t think I’d want to go in there to get it, either 🙂

nrhatch - April 10, 2013

Humor is a great tool to have in one’s tool-belt ~ perfect for diffusing less pleasant emotions (anger, fear, shock, etc.).

As we stood looking at the van loitering against that fence post, I started cracking jokes about Humpty Dumpty, etc.. BFF’s importune question was the catalyst. :mrgreen:

23. Tokeloshe - April 12, 2013

That must have been scary!

nrhatch - April 12, 2013

Very scary. Hope it doesn’t give you the heebie jeebies on your next camping trip.

24. Christine M Grote - April 15, 2013

Whoa. Did you ever get your purse back or did it take the ride of its life?

nrhatch - April 15, 2013

The camper stopped its descent after landing against the fence post and a tow truck winched it (and my purse) back to safety.

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26. vicbriggs - November 21, 2013

I suppose you’re right: if alive can tell them who we are. If not… we won’t care. They can figure it out themselves.

nrhatch - November 21, 2013

Exactly! Once the van was back on Terra Firma, I happily reclaimed my purse (and a stiff drink). 😉

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nrhatch - November 21, 2013

Hair-raising experience, TJG!

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