Solo RVing: Learning From My RV Mistakes
Updated: Sep 29, 2022
The time I had a mini brakedown
After spending three days in a White River National Forest campground in Dillion, Colorado, and another day with my friends boondocking in the San Isabel National Forest, I finally felt at peace about my camper trade. I quickly hooked the Basecamp to get ready to leave when I realized that my brake disconnect wire looked as if a bear used the cable as a chew toy. No, a bear didn’t eat my cable —I have to take ownership of this dumb RVing mistake. I didn’t realize how ridiculously long my trailer chains were on the Basecamp, and the dang chains must have been dragging for at least 90 or so miles, burning the brake control wire from the road friction.
I stood there with the two cable chunks in my hand, and I could feel the panic set in. I’m in the middle of a forest — on Labor Day weekend no less — and I’m relatively confident that Poncha Springs doesn’t have a trailer supply store. My friends were filling up their water tank and trying to get on the road, so no one noticed me about ready to lose my shit.
What should I have done? I should have interrupted my friends and asked them for help. What did I do? I got in my truck and panicked some more. I googled stores close by, and I googled how to repair the wire. At this point, I couldn’t think straight, so I knew the best thing I could do was to slow my roll.
I got out of the truck and looked over at my friends. Thankfully, one of them saw what looked like total panic on my face and came over to see what was up. Here is where I tell you that two of my friends are full-time RVers; they run a very successful YouTube channel, and they have sponsorship from a large RV brand. Once they laughed and told me that they’ve had that happen before, I felt my blood pressure drop immediately. Should I drive without an in-tact brake disconnect line for a little while until I could get a new one installed? No. Would it kill me to drive a little bit to get a new wire? Also no. Problem solved.
The time when I decided I wasn’t fit to be a solo RVer
I don’t ever cry. When I do cry, it’s usually because I am pissed at myself. I am my own worst enemy. This story ends with me calling my husband, who was working out-of-state, and telling him that I wanted to sell my RV. At that moment — I told myself I was the dumbest RVer on the planet, and no one who made a mistake, as I did, deserves to be on the road in an RV alone.
What did I do to get to this point? I think I went to Rocky Mountain National Park. Since I was towing my camper over Berthoud Pass, I wanted to take the diesel truck with the exhaust brake instead of my Jeep Grand Cherokee. My trip there and back went off without a hitch. I didn’t completely lose my mind until I got home. Thank goodness.
Just before this trip, I figured out a system that helped me back up my tiny teardrop. Sticky notes! So, when I got home from this trip, I wanted to showcase my backing up skills by parking my T@B in the driveway. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and — CRAP. Did you know that it’s possible to jackknife your tiny trailer a little too much? I didn’t know this. When I looked in my mirrors, thankfully, I could see that the plastic bins I installed on the frame of the T@B stopped me from turning as sharply as I could. No problem, right? It’s just plastic! I finished backing up; I disconnected and emptied my trailer, and I decided to wash Pat’s truck since he was kind enough to let me borrow it for my adventure.
After washing the truck’s top, I made my way over to the side near the tailgate to clean the dirt off the rear end. That’s when I saw what I had done. I not only scratched the paint off the side of his truck, but I also bashed in the bumper and dented the side. Oh, did I mention that I did this to BOTH sides of his year-old vehicle? Yeah. I did that.
Obviously, since I’ve made more mistakes since then, I didn’t give up RVing, but, at that moment, I felt dumb enough that I thought I should give up RVing. Thankfully, my husband is an angel, and he told me not to be silly. He reminded me how much I love RVing, and it was dumb to give it up after a stupid mistake. I’m glad I listened to him. After that? I removed the bins off the front of the T@B, and I make sure I don’t turn so sharply anymore.
The time I gripped my steering wheel so long that I strained a ligament in my finger
My very first, massive RVing mistake is one I will never forget. My finger won’t let me forget it either. To this day, if I grip the steering wheel too hard, my old RVing injury comes back to haunt me. Read about my brilliant maneuver in Giving RV Mistakes the Middle Finger: Bumps in the Road.
We all make mistakes. I know that my dumb RVing mistakes I make on the road are mistakes I won’t repeat. Looking back, I am grateful that I didn’t give up RVing. Now, because of the internet and Facebook groups, I can talk to other women who’ve made similar mistakes, and together, we help each other realize that our mistakes are not silly. They are learning experiences, and as unified RVing ladies, we can look back on them and laugh.