I Want a
(or "10 years after the 'Trip from Hell', it's time
to start planning for our new RV")
by Michael Patrick Goad
July 18, 2003
It's been about ten years
since we've owned a small camper trailer. In the years since, we've
looked at a lot of recreational vehicles, and have even considered renting
for some of our vacations. Before we bought the first time, we used
a rental for a two-week vacation to Colorado. The next year we
bought a similar model from the dealer we had rented from.
While that trailer was too small for the four of us, it fit our budget.
Because it was used and it's size, the loan financing was easy and it was
paid off relatively soon.
We made fairly good use of our tiny RV for the couple of years that we
had it, including two long vacation road trips.
Unfortunately, we didn't have insurance on our little camper.
Our kids refer to the second vacation as the "trip from hell."
Before the trip even started, the engine of my truck threw a rod less
than 20 miles from home when I was towing the trailer up to Northwest
Arkansas. My wife and kids were traveling in our minivan, which they
had planned to use for a couple of days while I went back home
and finished a few days work.
Before I went back home, during a basketball game with my
brothers-in-law, one of them came down hard on my right foot. By the
next day, foot was bruised, swollen, and very painful. Just what I
needed before a three week, several thousand mile vacation.
After the trip began and less than 60 miles out of Arkansas, our Astro van's radiator developed leaks, resulting
in an overnight delay in Missouri for repairs.
After we started
heading west across Kansas, we ran into headwinds and the engine
started to overheat as the day got hotter. By slowing down, we were able to
Hays, Kansas, but finally gave up the westward travel and turned north.
Making it to North Platte, Nebraska, we had the radiator replaced with one
that had a larger cooling capacity, and all our problems were solved.
Well... not quite.
At Scottsbluff National Monument, where the interior of the van had
gotten extremely hot while we we going through the museum, I started the
engine to cool things off before everyone else made it back. Then,
not realizing that my wife's purse was in the van, I locked the doors.
This was in the days before On-Star, so we waited for over an hour for
a locksmith to arrive from town.
Most of the rest of the trip was less troublesome, until the very end.
After traveling from Arkansas to Alberta and British Columbia, we
headed home, taking a slight detour by way of the Four Corners area of the
American Southwest. Planning to stop in Northwest Arkansas for a 4th
of July with family, we were passing through Tulsa, Oklahoma and decided
to stop to get some lunch. It had just rained not long before and
when I hit the brakes to stop behind a line of traffic backed up on the
off-ramp, the tires slid on the slick pavement.
Fortunately we were able to stop.
Unfortunately, the big pickup behind us couldn't.
The collision smashed in the back of our camper and shoved us into the
vehicle in front of us.
Names and insurance companies were exchanged. We went on our way,
confident that the other person's insurance would be taking care of
Let's see. What do the kid's call this trip? The "trip from
hell." Well, there was one last bit a of deviltry to be played out.
It turned out that the lady that ran into us not only didn't have
insurance, but she was declaring bankruptcy and we were not going to be
able to get anything from her.
We had insurance on our van and were able to get it fixed. We
didn't have any insurance on the trailer. Fixing it would cost more
than it was worth. So..., we just parked it in the back yard.
A year or so later, a couple of fellows spotted it and bought it to put
out in the woods at their deer camp.
Ten years later, we plan to buy another RV. You can be sure that we will be buying insurance this time.