Worst RV Nightmare and Vintage Motorhome Tour

Since we’re talking about RV’s in this post, I thought you might enjoy hearing my worst RV nightmare while on the road. It happened several years ago, and looking back, I shudder. Not dangerous…just embarrassing as heck. A situation where I wished to completely disappear.


In RV magazines they tell you the most fun thing about RV’ing is the unplanned experiences you’ll have. Well, I don’t know about that.




Β This Is My Story~



We were in Tennessee going through a small town after having missed the turn to the bypass.




We thought, “Oh it’ll be fun taking the old road. So we missed the bypass…how hard can it be to go through town?”


We were shortly to find out.


On our jolly little jaunt, we encountered THIS! We came to a complete stop just short of the bridge.





This is where it behooves you to know the stats of your rig….like how tall it is. Ours is over 11 feet. See that sign? No way it’s going to go under that.


I don’t remember the details that day. Perhaps the sign showing the height wasn’t there then. Perhaps we just didn’t see it. I don’t know.


Hubby: “Florence, get out and go see if we can pass under that.”


Me: “WHAAAT?? Surely you don’t expect me to cross two lanes of traffic at rush hour to see if we can pass under it? I can tell from here we can’t pass under it.”




Cautiously, I cracked open the door peering out to see how much room there was for me to step out into heavy rush hour traffic whizzing by at top speed.


OK…maybe traffic wasn’tΒ exactly whizzing by at top speed

OK…maybe it wasn’t really BIGΒ heavy traffic (this IS small town America)

But it was rush hour.


And it was big enough for me to feel like a complete idiot crossing two lanes of traffic to go stand on the far sidewalk to gauge whether or not we could make it under the bridge unscathed. Any fool could see it just wasn’t possible.


Because THIS can happen. RVs traveling under bridges that are too low can get everything on the roof sheered right off. It happened to friends of ours.




Meanwhile a gawking, toothless old-timer crept by in his pick-up truck about the time I finally made it to the far sidewalk.


He rolled down his passenger window. And emphatically gave me the benefit of his vast experience.


“Lady, you ain’t gonna make it! I kin tell ya right now, you ain’t gonna make it!” I nodded thoughtfully like I was pondering, but still needed convincing. (After all, we must keep up appearances.)


So I hustled back across two lanes of…by now…almost totally blocked traffic.


To report dutifully that we “ain’t gonna make it.”


Hubby: “Florence, we gotta go unhook the car. Help me go unhook it.”


(It wasn’t over yet. More chances to look like a complete fool.)


We scramble out to unhook motorhome and car angled downhill. It wasn’t much of an angle, but enough to make the process of unhooking that much harder. I bent down and busied myself, trying not to look like a helpless female. I have helped him unhook before. I basically know what to do. But in an unlevel situation like that, there’s a lot of tension on the tow bars. There was no way I was strong enough.


I kept wondering how we were going to get out of this with traffic at a standstill all around us. Even unhooked, there was just nowhere to go. No space to back up. We didn’t know our way through town. We didn’t know if there was a way around this low bridge. I was feeling panicky.


Hubby: “Florence go get in the car and hold the brake.”


Thank God! I couldn’t go fast enough. I was delighted to hide in the car. To pretend I wasn’t part of this mortifying mess.


You have to understand something about me. I’m an introvert.


Introverts HATE being the center of attention.


Introverts HATE being stand-outs in a crowd. They like to melt into the background.


And believe me, that’s exactly what I wanted at the moment….to melt into the background….to totally disappear.


About the time he finished unhooking, along came our saviors….the fire truck and crew! I’ll never forget the ear-to-ear grin on the fireman’s face as he approached us and our train wreck. A look of “well, here’s another one!”


I’m not sure how they did it. I didn’t linger long to see. Ha! I hightailed it out of there as fast as I could go. I didn’t even care that I had no idea where I was going to meet up again with my other half.


The Moral of the Story~



*If we do miss a bypass, we turn around. Even though it’s not easy to turn one of these. You need plenty of space. There’s no such thing as backing up when you have a car in tow. You have to unhook first.


*We try not to miss the bypass in the first place. Now we have GPS. We didn’t then. And we found this map book at a thrift store~a Trucker’s atlas that tells you about important little things like low clearances.






Here’s our rig. It’s our baby….not the dog….or the cats. It was definitely a fixer-upper when we bought it. Hubby calls it his “hobby,” and I have called it a “dog” and a “motobeast,” although it really isn’t any longer.


We love our baby!





Yes it really is as long as it looks! All of 37 feet! Which is why you need plenty of space to turn. With the car hooked on the back, it’s probably about 50 feet.


Mr. Fix-it has made a ton of repairs and upgrades to it in the 11 years we’ve owned it.


The first video is the short version I made which basically shows the inside without much of my sparkling commentary. The second video gives the dirty details of what was wrong with it when we bought it.


Vintage Motorhome Tours~


Short Version



Longer Version



If you get this far, hope you enjoyed my story and at least one of the tours. Tell me what you think in the comments!


Sharing with these link parties here….








Tour a Vintage Motorhome and Read my True RV Story!
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As an experienced online seller for 19 years, I've just begun to reveal some of my selling secrets. In my Vintage Finds posts, I show what I buy for resale, and sell for. Because many items are vintage and need TLC, I show these DIY's, and how I refurbish to sell. I love picking, junking, thrifting, and shabby chic style.

40 comments on Worst RV Nightmare and Vintage Motorhome Tour

  1. I have friends who have motor homes and they love them. But I don’t think they ended up in a predicament like you did. I am sure you have gone to many interesting places. Does your husband enjoy picking like you do so you can stop?

  2. Oh my goodness, that story is FUNNY! I know exactly how you felt too. I have a vintage, 1967 travel trailer and on my very first outing pulling it by myself my daughter went camping about 6 hours away from my house. On the way home we thought it would be fun to go through a scenic area where there are some waterfalls. The road is a 2 lane road, very skinny. And something else was going on because the sides of the roads were completely packed with parked cars and there were people walking everywhere. Long story short, we finally realized we needed to turn around… omg… no… where??? I panicked and since it was just me and my daughter it was even worse. Something about having a man along (even if they don’t have a clue either) makes it better! lol! So I ended up having to try and back up (which I can do but apparently not very well under pressure!) I jack knifed it and popped the stabilizer bar completely off. I had to get out and hook it back up (all while people just stood around being annoyed that I was blocking traffic) It was THE MOST embarrassing moment of my life I think! So I feel your pain!!

    Your motorhome looks so comfortable and cozy!


    1. Thank you Tania! It is comfy & cozy & we love it, even with all its shortcomings. Sounds like you had quite an experience too! Wow, that backing up in a tight situation would have totally freaked me out, and I know what you mean about having a man along. They are better at handling these kinds of emergencies. I know you have a trailer….I have probably looked at all your blog posts about the trailer! It’s so cute the way you have it fixed up. Are you still going on camping trips? I hope that experience you had didn’t put you off camping.

  3. You literally had me laughing out loud. I could just picture that. I can see us in the same situation too, except we’d probably be trying to turn around. LOL

    Love the kitty cats. Can’t believe you take them camping with you, but I guess, why not? That’s great! Sounds like the RV is worth all the time and money spent. It gives you lots of enjoyment and that’s something precious.

    1. Oh yes, we always take the cats & they get along better camping than they do at home. Yes the RV is so much fun. You forget about all the expenses related to traveling in it. The good outweighs the bad.

  4. OMG – I’d love to know how they got your rig out of there. What a nightmare. I wonder if you could have let some of the air out of the tires just enough to make it under the bridge?

    Our worst experience was driving down a country road, at night, and when I looked out the side view mirror I realized that our canopy had sprung loose and was all the way open. How we didn’t hit a light pole and rip it completely off the camper is beyond me. It did get terribly bent and we had a hell of a time rolling it back up and securing it.

    1. I think the fireman held up traffic so he could back it up. Your experience sounds pretty scary too! My goodness, I would totally freak if I looked out and saw that! It is a miracle you didn’t hit something & tear it off.

  5. LOL Florence, I think I would have just died if that happened to us. I’m glad it all worked out in the end though and I loved seeing the inside of the camper. It’s huge and you guys did so much and it looks like such a cozy spot. Just like a real home with the two purr babies. We seldom see motorhomes here in South Africa so this was a real treat for me. Thank you

  6. Your motorhome is lovely, Florence! <3

    That photo of the truck-that-didn't-make-it was sickening… I had nightmares a bit when coming across country with just our 27' Coleman trailer. Of course, now that Hubby is working again at his regular work here in Texas, we upgraded to a 41' Heartland Landmark 365 Charleston fifth-wheel.
    Guess WHAT my nightmares will be next time!!! Lol!!! NOT…

    I still need to do a home tour here and show everybody the inside of our trailer from front to back, but yes, I do worry about when we do have to drive it out someday. It'll be as long as yours, I'm sure, with a 2500 or 3500 pulling it. For now, it's home! πŸ™‚

    Great story! I was scared for you as soon as I saw the title,
    Barb πŸ™‚

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Barb! I would LOVE to see yours! Hope you do that tour you’re talking about. I’ve driven ours, but only frontwards. I’ve never backed up. I would totally freak if I had to do that. The only thing you can depend on when you’re RV’in is to expect the unexpected!

  7. Hi Florence,

    What a great story! Too funny and I know we’ve all been there. Thanks for sharing. I remember those Rand-McNally books. We used to have several. They were great when you were on a highway and there was an accident. Sometimes we just liked to take the scenic route.

  8. Oh my what a story, I’m a introvert also, I would of crawled in the nearest hole. LOL . The hubby would of had to throw me out of the motor home.
    Your motor home is lovely! We are hoping one day maybe we can buy a smaller one, but it will be a fixer up as well. How do your kitties enjoy riding in the motor home? I’m pretty sure mine wouldn’t like the ride much.
    Thanks for the tour!

    1. We put the kitties in their boxes for to & from. One gets car sick and the other would be jumping in laps, like the driver, for instance. Not a good idea, so they do fine in the box. They can always tell when we’re getting packed up, and know it’s time to hide…LOL. Glad you enjoyed the tour. Hope y’all can get the motorhome of your dreams.

  9. Oh Florence, I have had my share of those kinds of moments and they are not funny in “the” moment. Yikes. Certainly funny afterwards though!! πŸ˜‰

  10. Florence,
    I would have been mortified too! LOL At least you didn’t try to get under, that would have been horrible! Your motor home is so cool, lots of room. It would make for a great home away from home. I’m not a tent camper, but this would be perfect. Watched both the videos, it’s amazing all the things that you have done to improve the motor home! It’s lovely. And all the widows are perfect, you can enjoy the scenery from anywhere in the home.

  11. Oh my Florence, what a story. lol and you told it so well. I felt as if I was right there with you. So typical between a husband and wife. What a funny story!!!

    I understand you complete. I am also an introvert. I hate calling attention to myself let alone to be in such a situation. You were brave. Love your motor home.


  12. Oh wow its embarassing for sure, but than goodness you stopped instead of trying it. Edmonton has a low level bridge that inevitable has someone get stuck at its entrance a couple of times each summer.

    Great story telling Florence.

  13. OMG what a crazy happening! I am too an introvert and i can relate to not wanting to be in the center of attention. But blogging is good for us it brings us out and we meet great people. I love your RV its in good shape.

  14. This is a cute story even though I’m sure you weren’t feeling that at the time.. Glad you didn’t go “through” and the fire department saved the day. My you do have a long travel but you both seem happy with it. We have 2 vintage trailers the longest 26 foot…they are work but the joys and memories are so worth it…My first time visit and found you through Distressed Donna’s blog. I have a shop from my blog and will differently check out your tips because I sure need them.

    1. Cathy, thanks for your lovely comments! Yes, we love that old rig, & yes that story was definitely not funny at the time! What kind of vintage trailers do you have? I know they are work! Anything bouncing down the road seems to break down a whole lot quicker. So glad you found me and dropped by! Yes I do give selling tips from having an Etsy shop. Please feel free to avail yourself of them. You have a blog shop, did you say? That’s what I want to do one day…haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  15. I would have wanted to disappear as well, Florence. At least you stopped in front of the bridge and didn’t just try to make it through. I’ve never traveled in a motorhome. Your RV looks very comfortable and you even have a real shower. It must be great to sleep in your own bed during a vacation and have the cats to cuddle. πŸ™‚

    1. Oh we enjoy it so much Julia! It is wonderful to have your own place and your own bed and all your stuff around you. Such a blessing, too, to have the animals with us…so expensive to board them these days.

  16. Oh no Florence! I totally could feel your pain in the story of the motor home and bridge. I’ve never been in a situation exactly like that but as an introvert I can empathize with how you were probably feeling. Hey at least you didn’t get as far as actually getting stuck right? So that’s a plus. πŸ˜‰ Well I loved your motor home tour!! You have an awesome motor home, lots of great details that must traveling very enjoyable. And how wonderful that you take your cats and dog. Thank you for the tour! I hope you enjoy all your future travels!!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the tour Keri! Yes that old rig is comfortable & we sure like the comforts of home as we travel, not to mention not having to board the animals. That is so expensive & it really adds up when you have more than one pet like we do. Yes that story was a bear! Funny now, but not then!

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