Like I’ve said before, aside from all the reading and research, the actual art of RVing is all new to us. “The trip is never as planned but it’s always an adventure”. In this entry I will share 2 of the most challenging events of our adventures so far. Welcome to our version of RVing 101!
We are traveling east to PA where we will stay a few weeks to visit family and friends and also for medical, dental and other necessary appointments. Returning from South Dakota we headed towards Nebraska where Kevin lived for the 4 years of his time in the Air Force. Initially I wasn’t too thrilled with stopping in Nebraska as the state never intrigued me and also, those tornadoes. Oh, those tornados! But I totally understood how important this was to him so off to Omaha Nebraska we go. Much to my surprise it turned out to be an awesome stop! The RV park was a nice, quiet park along the Missouri River and the downtown area of Omaha was trendy and full of fun and interesting restaurants and shops. It was a good stop and the weather was beautiful and cooperative (no tornadoes).
From Nebraska we drove to Amana, Iowa where we would stay for 3 days and 2 nights. When we arrived in Amana the streams and creeks were quite swollen from previous day(s) of rain. The day we arrived the weather was beautiful. While in Amana we visited the Amana colony. The Amana colony is made up of 7 villages. It was a communal lifestyle that was built and settled by German Pietists. It was a mostly self-sufficient local economy which continued for 80 years, until 1932, when the community gave up the communal lifestyle for a number of reasons. The 92 year old beautiful lady who gave us a tour through one of the villages was herself born in the colony. She was as sharp as a tack and loved sharing the history of her culture!
This is where it started to get “interesting”!
The second and last night in Amana, before heading out in the morning to Indiana, it started to rain. When I say it rained, it rained and rained all night long.
And yep, here come the rising waters! We were awoken at 7 AM by a pounding on the door and a barking dog. Kevin opens the door to a man standing in knee deep water telling us we need to move now, the water is rising! Remember, we are still “newbies” at RVing and hooking up and heading out is getting somewhat easier and faster for us, but not as fast as rising waters. There was no time for the usual morning routines, including Stella’s usual routine. No place for her to go out and do her business on this morning. She patiently waited. Kevin went outside to start his process (in pouring rain, thunder and LIGHTNING) and I proceed with my inside tear down tasks, trying not to look out the window to see my poor husband trudging through the moving water and dodging lightning bolts. Is this what RVing is? Now I have seen on my Facebook RV sites I follow pictures of RV’s floating in water of washed out campgrounds during heavy rains and floods, but seriously, is this really happening? Well, yes it was and our RV camp tear down skills were tested to the max. We did manage to get ourselves to higher ground and out of that park and on our way faster than we ever exited a campground before! Much thanks to the EMS fella who gave Kevin directions around flooded roads to get us (and Beauty and the Beast) out of Amana!
RV 101 lesson learned- we will not stay anywhere we haven’t inspected for low lying areas with swollen creeks and streams.
From Iowa we headed east to Elkhart, Indiana. The RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum is located here, as is the bulk of the American RV industry. We had an appointment with MORryde International for a preventative maintenance inspection of our suspension. All was as it should be and so off we go. We didn’t visit the RV museum during this visit, we will save that for another time.
From Indiana onto our next stop in Erie PA we go! We had reservations at an RV park right along Lake Erie. When we arrived and checked in the owner took us to the are
a that was to be our site for the next 7 days. Front row view of Lake Erie, and a beautiful view it was!
But wait, this is an all grass spot!!!!!!
There was no road leading down to the site and no stones or cement slab on which to park. We are to simply drive on the grass and park in the grass. So before heading down to the site, Kevin asks the owner if he was sure we should be put in this spot because our RV is very heavy and the forecast is calling for a few days of rain. The owner assured Kevin that we will be fine, as there had been little rain all year and the area dries fast once the rain is over.
Hmmm, OK, it’s your park!
So we set up camp and enjoyed 3 beautiful sunny days along Lake Erie.
Day 4 the rains came and continued off and on, including heavy downpours for the next 3 days.
I’m sure by now you know where I am going with this? And you are correct! Yes, when it was time to leave we could NOT get out of our spot and onto the park road.
We were stuck!
Trying to back the truck up to hook up to the RV didn’t work. Tires spinning and mud flying everywhere. We tried many times but to no avail. We stayed an extra day for more drying time, but that didn’t happen and more rain was in the forecast for the weekend. We need to get out of here before it rains again!
Soon we had all kinds of suggestions and assistance from different campers and camp staff. The next day we tried again, but the same was happening.
When we would get out of one spot we would get stuck in another.
By now my husband was not a “happy camper”, especially after having discussed this possible situation with the owner prior to pulling into the spot. And where was this man who put us there, now that we were stuck? Not at the campground and not available per his staff. When we did finally get the truck hooked up to the RV with assistance of other campers and camp staff, we now had the weight on the back of the truck that we needed. It helped, and Kevin pulled the trailer out. However, as soon as he hit the incline in the grass field, there goes the traction again! We had been assured by others(former long haul truck drivers) that once we had the weight on the truck we would be fine pulling out and up to the road. So much for that theory – we are now stuck again!
Hours later and after several attempts and more torn up grass, the owner finally returned to the campground. He came to assess the situation and we could tell he was not very happy and Kevin wasn’t either! I continued to care for Stella while holding my breath, because one wrong word here and it is not going to be good to say the least. They discussed Kevin calling Coachnet(our road service vendor), to pull us out. After the owners assessment he informed Kevin he thought he could get us pulled out with his large front end loader. Once he brought the equipment to our truck he chained us up and proceeded to pull us out. I did not have my phone in hand when the pulling process started so I did not get a good picture of the towing. Once we were up and on the road, we wanted to get out of there!
So finally off to the Fingerlakes in New York we go!
RV 101 lesson learned- go with what our gut is telling us and no more grass only RV sites, especially when the forecast is RAIN!