After a long day of driving, we pulled into the We RV Champions RV Park just west of Tyler, Texas on Monday evening around 6:30 p.m.
We’d just spent a week at Wine Country Jellystone in Fredericksburg so that I could return to the RV Entrepreneur Summit for inspiration and networking. 😉 I have yet to process all of my notes and thoughts from that event, so another blog post on the topic will be forthcoming.
Checking in took some time, but we were able to take a look at the site they’d slotted us into as the last of the light was fading. It was a tight 90-degree turn into a pretty unlevel site (#6), but we thought we could make it work. Unfortunately, we did not factor in the heavy rains that had been falling in this area for the last few weeks. Or the darkness, or how tired we both were by this point.
Shawn tried to line up the truck and trailer to back into the spot while I used the flashlight and radio to reassure him of the edges of the asphalt “apron” in front of the gravel pad. He slightly overshot the narrow gravel pad while turning, and the far (passenger side) tires sunk deeply into the grass, up to the rim of the tires. This drug our landing gear through the mud and ancient asphalt and was putting us at great risk of damaging the trailer. To get out of the situation, he turned forward across the road into another grassy area. Whoops. Now the truck is sinking, and tires were spinning.
We (Shawn, that is) managed to drop the trailer on solid ground, stretching across the road. So at least our home was safe.
But there was no way to get the truck out of that spot. We couldn’t reverse at all, as the trailer hitch was in the way. Going forward, even in a tight turn, would get us deeper into mud and dandelions. The tires just weren’t biting, anyway. Nothing for it but to call Good Sam and cross our fingers.
After a little back-and-forth with the dispatcher (yes, it’s a semi truck titled as a motor home. Platinum coverage is supposed to cover ANY vehicle), we waited about 45 minutes for a local tow company to arrive.
I used this time to make a way overdue bathroom stop for myself and Elvis. Then called RVing friends who were an hour away, wondering if there might be any room at their park! I wasn’t feeling optimistic at this point.
Well, Good Sam mistakenly told the driver that he needed to pull a 38-foot trailer out of the mud, not a 10,000 pound semi tractor. The driver had never winched a semi before, and only had a 5-ton truck. Luckily his boss, the owner of the company, also showed up and knew just what to do.
We’ve watched a lot of Highway to Hell episodes, so we had a pretty good idea what to expect. 😊 While we waited for the tow truck, Shawn unbolted and removed the new moose bumper from the front of the truck as it uses the mounts where the tow hooks go. Then they attached the winch line to the front tow hooks. With Shawn steering the truck, they were able to slooooooowly pull the Volvo at an angle back onto the road. Sounds really anti-climactic to sum that experience up in one sentence, doesn’t it?
Oh – I neglected to mention that we had attracted quite a crowd by this point. The four workampers were all trying to assist with finding a route to drive the truck across the field, find a different site, and generally offer encouragement. A couple of other folks showed up, too, including Tank, another tow truck driver who happens to live in the park. (More about Tank in a minute.)
Once back on solid ground, Shawn and I hitched up the trailer to the Volvo at a pretty acute angle. The three tow truck drivers were very helpful in raising and lowering the trailer in tiny increments according to my instructions as I stood behind the hitch with my flashlight and radio. I was worried that the driver’s side corner of the trailer would kiss the Volvo wheel covers as he pulled forward, but it went very smoothly and we were headed down the park road again. Thank God.
So we trundled down the road to the second spot they’d pointed out. Check out the photo. Site 16 would allow us to pull forward into the road, then make a couple of “wiggles” to back into the site. In daylight, this would have been simple. At night it posed a bit more of a challenge. The site, however, was still unlevel and not capable of handling the weight of our trailer. Tank came to our rescue.
Tank knew that the site next to his would suit our needs perfectly, and he was right. On site 22, we literally were able to back straight down the street and into the spot. There’s a solid 6-8 inches of gravel base extending about 60 feet, a much heavier apron, a wider/deeper yard, a privacy fence, and it’s in the back corner away from the road noise. Score!
Officially this is a “premium” spot and costs $100 more, but it would be well worth it! We’ve been told we’ll get the site for the same cost as the regular site, in exchange for our difficulties. Which leads me to my next point —
Ya’ll – Texas folk are awesome! I was so worried that we’d be charged for damages, or not be allowed to stay, or just ostracized for causing a disruption. Instead, we’ve been asked repeatedly if we’re ok in our site, and if there’s anything else they can do. The staff members were more worried about the inconvenience to us than any damage. Ken and Bob were out the next morning at 9 a.m., and they managed to correct the worst of the damage before I arrived with my camera.
We’re going to try to make this a learning experience. We will be more critical of sites upon inspection, ask more questions of conditions and alternatives, and be more conscious of the weight of our truck and trailer. Hey, we didn’t cry or scream or point fingers at each other, so that was good!
We’ll be here for a month, exploring the area and reconnecting with my good friend Loren and her family. We’ve known each other since elementary school but we’ve been out of touch for 20 years.
Next stop: Little Rock, Arkansas.
What an ordeal! So glad it worked out and you had the help of some friendly folk. I wish more parks had pull through sites! We’ve had to use our sliding 5th wheel hitch more than once.. Looks like a great site! Enjoy your stay..
Pullthroughs are nice, but I honestly prefer back-ins so that Shawn’s office faces nature rather than a street. Making wide roads and angling spots as much as possible makes backing in sooooo much easier.
You are SO correct: Texas folk are the best. And we wouldn’t travel without Good Sam.
We were relieved that they did honor their word and pull out the truck. It sounds like people’s experience with the various service companies vary widely, so we are glad it worked out. I think a large portion of the kudos goes to the local towing company, really. As I said, they weer expecting to tow a lighter weight travel trailer, not a 10-ton truck! All’s well. 🙂
Love those Texas folks and fellow RVers. It’s so hard to arrive at night in a new park, but you obviously came out of the messy ordeal fairly unscathed and with a happy ending. Enjoy your time visiting and exploring! Dawn
Thanks Dawn! I’ve explored 2 big nature parks so far. Tomorrow I’m going to take the new camera and tackle downtown. Then maybe the zoo!
I just saw an incredibly similar story on Facebook involving a motorhome getting stuck in mud at a campground and about 15 neighbors coming out to help the owner get unstuck. It may also have been in Texas – I’m not sure. Whatever the case may be, I think most RVers have either been in a situation like that or imagined being in a situation like that and want to help. It’s another nice thing about this community. It’s awesome that the RV park was so great about it too – I’m sure it helped that you guys were kind and decent to deal with. Kudos to everyone involved. That’s the way things should be. Glad it all worked out.
Hm, wonder if that was at the last park we were at? Someone driving a borrowed/rented MH got stuck in the mud (over the septic field, no less!) and was stuck for days as so one could safely drive on that patch to tow her out. It was still there when we left a week later…. Yes, I’m extremely happy with our neighbors here. Hopefully as the weather continues to warm we’ll meet more folks.