In almost 3 years on the road, we have never tried to travel as many miles in as short a period of time as we did recently while crossing the country. And there’s a reason for that. The longer you drive, the farther you go, the more stuff goes wrong. Driving these rigs is exhausting. You’re on beat up roads in heavy traffic. You’re stressed. You’re tired. You’re putting your rig and tow car through hell. You’re not following your normal set-up and tear-down routines. You get careless. You make mistakes. Things break.

Yet, sometimes, you can’t avoid these lengthy treks. Sometimes, you have to get from Point A to Point B in a short period of time. That’s what happened to us, and it went about as well as expected – which was not well at all.

The Plan

The plan was to drive almost 1800 miles, from South Dakota to Connecticut, in two weeks. We’d be traveling through 9 states, splitting the driving equally between us. We’d drive anywhere from 150 to 325 miles per day, and stay in most places for just a night or two, except for weekends when we would stay 3 nights. We’d stay at a mix of campgrounds and free spots and, unlike our usual practice, we would mostly travel without reservations.

The Reality

Never in the history of humanity have two people exclaimed “What the fuck?!” more times in a 14 day period than the two of us did on this trip.

I mean, it was really somethin.

Wall, South Dakota to Eyota, Minnesota

Typically, these days, I limit our drives to about 150 miles. 200 is our absolute maximum. However, because we were driving through several low population states on flat roads, and because we had so much distance to make, I increased the mileage on some of our drives. Fortunately, our first day went great. 225 miles split between the two of us was no problem at all.

We stopped at a Cabela’s in Mitchell, South Dakota and were positively delighted. The store was huge, they had an enormous parking section just for overnight RVers, there were beautifully manicured green lawns to exercise the dog, and as the afternoon wore on, we were joined by several other travelers. Perfect!

The next day, the plan was to blow our normal mileage limits out of the water. This day would involve a 310 mile jaunt that would take us to a county park in Minnesota where we would spend a long weekend.

The trip started off well enough. I drove, he drove, I drove, he drove…. we stopped to get gas. As I was pumping gas into the rig, the guy next to me started chatting about RVs and we had a delightful discussion about the joys of life on the road. As he walked away to go into the store, he said “You kids be safe, ok?!” Lovely, just lovely.

I got back in the RV, we started out onto the main road, and we heard something. There was a “ker thunk” followed by a loud whooshing. It was the same kind of “loud whooshing” that we heard way back when we learned we’d been towing our car wrong for thousands of miles and dragging our tires. Kevin looked at the back up camera and said the Xterra looked “off” and suggested I go check what was going on.

As I walked out the door and looked toward the back of the motorhome, I saw a tire laying out in the middle of the road 50 yards behind us.

Our tire.

The tire that was supposed to be on the car.

It was in the road.

Because it fell off our car.

Now, boys and girls, what do we say when our tire falls off our car?

That’s right…

“What The Fuck?!?!”

What we quickly realized was that this was the same tire that we had replaced when we were in Portland in September as part of our very expensive Xterra rehab project. And, given that all of our other tires were NOT laying in the middle of the road, we surmised that the repair shop in Portland likely failed to tighten the nuts sufficiently when they put the new tire on. Over time, and after a long, bumpy drive through Minnesota, the nuts came loose and off went the tire.

Of course, at the time, we were focused on solving the immediate issue and getting back on the road. Later, when things had settled down, we took stock and realized how incredibly lucky we’d been.

First, if the tire was going to fall off while we were towing, it fell off at the absolute perfect time. We were driving less than 10 miles per hour (because we’d just turned out of the gas station) and we immediately heard it and stopped. Had it happened 20 minutes earlier or 20 minutes later we likely would have had no idea for miles. In fact, this exact same thing happened to our friends Jon and Cathy, and they towed their Jeep on 3 wheels for over a mile before someone flagged them down. At highway speeds, there’s no way to know when something like this happens. For Jon and Cathy, that meant a new axle.

More disturbing, had we not been towing at all, it could have come off when we were driving the Xterra. Just two days before, we’d been driving down I-90, in the rain, on our way to pick up supplies in Rapid City. If the tire had fallen off then…. well, that would have been bad.

So, as much as were all: “WTF?,” we were more: “Holy crap….”

Anyway, we called roadside assistance and as we waited the mandatory 90 minutes for the local tow truck driver to finish whatever he was watching on TV before coming to help us, we were visited by 4 – count em – FOUR people offering help. The first was my friend from the gas station who drove out 3 minutes after we parted ways and found us on the road (So much for “the joys of life on the road,” I guess?) The second was this guy, who pulled his truck up on the lawn outside the gas station, walked over to our front tire (Kevin had jacked up the car already), and explained that he didn’t see any major damage and we’d just need to get the bolts cleaned up and if he had the parts he could help us, but he didn’t have anything with him.

To which we said: “…and who the hell are you?”

Honestly, he was super nice and he was actually a former auto mechanic, so his assessment was extremely welcomed news.

In the meantime, another motorist and a truck driver both stopped to offer help. We assured them roadside assistance was on the way, thanked them for their offers, and headed backed inside to stay warm.

Finally, 86 minutes after we were told help was on the way, our tow truck driver showed up and towed us to a local repair facility.

Of course (of course!!!), all of this happened on a Saturday afternoon, so nothing was getting fixed any time soon. We figured we might as well continue on to our campground (which was an hour east of where this all happened) in the motorhome and just come back for the car when it was fixed. Fortunately, we were scheduled to stay at that campground for a couple nights, so that part worked out well.

Unfortunately, what had already been a long travel day became painfully long when we got to the campground.

I had reserved our site online and was expecting a nice, long, level site with a beautiful big grassy area behind it. Why did I assume that’s what we were gonna get? Because this is the picture the county posted of the site I booked:

Picture stolen from County of Olmsted’s website. They don’t care about accuracy? I don’t care about their copyright.

Nice, right?

Long, level, green grass, a couple trees… Perfect.

Yet, perhaps, it would have been more helpful if they’d shown what the site looked like from the side:

Or from the back of the site, looking up toward the road….

As soon as we saw it, we knew we could never get level, but we pulled in anyway because we needed to come up with an alternative solution. Then, just for cheap entertainment, we decided to give it a shot and see how close we could get. It was bad.

We used every single one of our blocks and still the automatic leveling system had a mighty chuckle before saying: “Please wake me when you’re serious.”

Ok, onto Plan B….

We noticed the site next to us was empty and thought it looked slightly less terrible. I pulled up the website, verified it was not reserved for the night, and we moved into that site.

No go. Same problem.

So, we took a walk around the campground and, after learning that ours was one of many comically unlevel sites in the park:


found one that looked workable.

I verified the site was available, reserved it, and we moved one last time. As the light completely disappeared, for the first time in almost three years on the road, we set up in the dark.

Oh, and the most awesome part? It was Saturday night, so all the locals were out camping – roasting marshmallows and, undoubtedly, laughing at the dipshits who didn’t know how to park their fancy motorhome.

“Look, you cretins, we know what we’re doing! We do this all the time! We can do this with one eye tied behind our backs! We’re professionals! You hear me? PROFESSIONALS!!”*

And with that, we hung our heads, walked inside, dropped the shades, and called it a night.

The remainder of our time at the park was lovely. The only other downside (not that we needed one) was I got a cold – which was WTF-worthy because it’s the second time I’ve gotten sick this year after going about 5 years without getting sick and 2 days into a drive from South Dakota to Connecticut was not the time to get sick.

(*Yes, that was intentional…)

Eyota, Minnesota to Madison, Wisconsin

The report on the Xterra was about as good as we could hope for. There was minimal damage, but the wheel (that sits inside the tire) needed to be replaced and, unfortunately, they couldn’t get that part for several days. Solution: Repair the car side of things (the bolts and the plate that holds the bolts) and then mount our full sized spare. Once we got to the east coast, we could replace the damaged wheel.

So, on Tuesday, we picked up the car, returned our rental, and got ready for the next chunk of driving.

Our destination was Madison, Wisconsin. The problem with this section of the country at this time of year is the highways are absolutely trashed after the brutal mid-western winter. There was tons of construction and tons of chewed up pavement. But, we were moving along alright until, suddenly, a construction project appeared and Kevin had to hit the brakes hard.

Turns out that whole “mass in motion wants to stay in motion” thing is totally accurate.

We have a small, 4 cup coffeemaker that sits on our counter. I never take it off the counter when driving and it has never moved.

Until… Physics!!

As we braked, lots of things started moving forward – quickly. Including the coffeemaker. And, unfortunately, we’d unplugged it that morning (not our usual practice), so it slid right off the counter, flipped over, and landed upside down on the stairwell behind the passenger seat.

None of which would have been all that bad had we removed that morning’s used coffee grounds from the machine.

Alas, as the coffeemaker was spiraling through the air on its way toward its date with the stairwell, it belched up our soggy, used coffee grounds all. over. the. place.

On the back of the passenger chair. On the side wall. On the floor, On the stairs. Inside the map pocket next to the passenger seat.


Additionally, we always leave Thor’s water bowl on the ground on top of a mat so he can get to it as we drive. However, this time, for some unknown reason, we left the bowl sitting in it’s raised pedestal rather than putting the bowl directly on the mat. So, naturally, when Kevin hit the brakes, it tipped over, dumping a pint of water all over the floor and front carpet.

This wasn’t so much a “What the fuck” moment, as a: “FUCK!” moment.

(And yes, they are totally different.)

Anyway, after cleaning up the mess (while in motion because there was nowhere to pull over), we finished the long day of driving, stopped for gas, and then pulled into Lake Farm County Park, a very nice county park in Madison.

As I was in the Xterra unhooking the secondary braking system, I looked at the back of the rig and said: “Kevin! Where’s the gas cap?”  To which Kevin responded: “What?” I said “The gas cap – for the RV?? Where is it??” To which he said: “FUCK!!!!!”

(It was a double “FUCK!!” kind of day)

Turns out, when he was pumping gas into the RV, the pump leaked, so he went to grab paper towels to clean it up, and then forgot to put the gas cap back on.

Presumably, our cap is somewhere on I-90 northwest of Madison.

When I wasn’t enthused about Kevin’s original fix for this problem:

…he suggested going to Auto Zone for a replacement cap.

“Yes, Kevin, that would be better.”

The only positive in this whole debacle was that, after picking up the new gas cap, we stopped at Ehlenbach’s Cheese Chalet – which is the perfect destination for those of us who understand cheese is the salve for all of life’s wounds.

Madison, Wisconsin to Hammond, Indiana

The day dawned cloudy and ominous and, soon, we were in a monsoon. Luckily, we didn’t have to leave very early, so we waited out the storm before heading out. This drive was particularly rough because the roads were ATROCIOUS.

However irritating it is to drive on pothole strewn roads in a car, it is about 100 times worse in an RV. It’s “Bang! Bam! Crash! Shake!” for miles and miles and miles. The shaking rattles your brain and wears on your nerves. It’s especially bad for us because we have a gas coach. Higher end diesel motorhomes often have these airbag suspensions that provide a ton of cushion. Us? We’re screwed. We feel every bump. And the road from Madison, Wisconsin to Hammond, Indiana was hella bumpy!

There was also a ton of traffic and we were soon reminded of why exactly it is that driving in the west feels so much easier…

Because it is.

Driving in Wyoming:

Driving in the Indiana/Ohio/Pennsylvania:

After a seemingly endless drive, we finally got the hell off the highway and pulled into our second Cabela’s.

This place was confusing.

The reviews were all over the place. From “great place to spend the night” to “You’ll get kicked out by the local cops.” There were also conflicting reviews about long haul truckers using the RV spaces. The most recent reviews indicated that while truckers could use the spots during the day, at 10:00 p.m., they were required to leave.

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When we pulled in, there were a handful of trucks in the RV spots and we parked among them.

His truck would be way more badass if he #swirleditup

10:00 p.m. came and went and the trucks remained – none of which mattered to us. The engine noise doesn’t really bother us and since we didn’t see any other RVers, we were happy to have the company.

However, around 2:00 a.m, we heard a knock on our door. “Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me.”

We were sure it was a police officer and we were about to be evicted.

We heard the knock again, this time louder.

Kevin headed to the door while I trailed behind. He opened the kitchen window shade, looked out, and quickly stepped back. I asked what was wrong and, motioning toward the window, he said, “Look…”

Outside our door was a very drunk, very homeless guy with a bottle in his hand.


He knocked again.

After one more attempt, he walked (and by “walked,” I mean “staggered”) over to a nearby lawn.

Looking out the window, I realized our trucker neighbor had driven off and, now, we were the first vehicle parked across from a tunnel that went under the interstate. On the opposite side of the tunnel was a park. Probably a popular place for the homeless to hang out.

We continued watching until the guy eventually stumbled back into the tunnel and disappeared.

He hadn’t done anything but we had a sneaking suspicion he’d be back – possibly ticked off that we wouldn’t open the door. But, at 2:00 in the morning, we didn’t have a whole lot of options, so we crawled back in bed and tried to get some sleep. Fortunately, we never heard from him again but given our recent experience with the drug infested Colorado Walmart and this, I think our days of free camping along major interstates may be pretty limited going forward. While I hate paying $30 or $40 for a parking space at a campground, we’re finding that the alternatives are just not worth the hassle.

Hammond, Indiana to Goshen, Indiana

After leaving Cabela’s, we headed for the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen, Indiana. We were happy to have a 3 night break in the country. We arrived on the last day of an Entegra rally, so everyone was headed out and the place looked like it would be super quiet. As we sat down to have lunch after setting up, I remarked: “This place is great – nice and peaceful.”

And at that exact moment – and I’m not making this up –  a train went blaring by our campsite.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake. Seriously??”

Turns out the county fairgrounds are built right next to the train tracks, and there’s a railroad crossing right up the street, and every time the trains pass that crossing, they sound their horn.

And this is a busy, busy set of tracks. There are trains going by all day and all night, and those mofos blare their horn no matter what time it is.

In the meantime – and not surprisingly – Kevin picked up my cold. So now, we were both sick.

Goshen, Indiana to Gibsonburg, Ohio

By the time we left the fairgrounds, all we wanted was a good night’s sleep. Our original plan was to stay at an inexpensive RV parking lot operated by the Ohio Turnpike, but we were so desperate for peace and quiet, I decided to see what else I could find. Fortunately, we found this awesome little county park in Gibsonburg, Ohio. Best part? There was only one other RV there the night we stayed. We had the whole place to ourselves.

It was dreamy.

Once we got set up, we collapsed in bed, took a 3 hour nap, and proclaimed Ohio the nation’s finest camping destination.*

(*We were extremely high on NyQuil and Sudafed at the time.)

Gibsonburg, Ohio to Howard, Pennsylvania

Our plan had been to spend the next night in Mercer, Pennsylvania, a town located right off I-80. However, as you travel east in this part of the country, RV parks become more scarce, and the ones you do find are often wildly overpriced.

And I do mean wildly overpriced:

And I know that you’re thinking. “But Laura, of course they’re going to charge a lot of money in Mercer, Pennsylvania because it’s right near that amazing national park… Oh wait… No, it’s not… It must be because it’s near that world class museum…Oh… Right… There are actually no incredible museums anywhere near there. Is it because it’s an unforgettable city with its own unique culture, music, and cuisine?  Hahahaha! Yeah… No.

I mean, really….

Dear Mercer KOA,

Screw you and the horse you rode in on.


All of us who know your shit ain’t worth $70 per night.

(And yes, I know… me and my potty mouth. Whatever.)

Anyway, after flipping the bird at my computer screen, I closed out the tab for the KOA and kept looking.

Turned out, if we were were willing to drive 330 miles, we could make it to a Pennsylvania state park. And that HAD to be better, right?

Well, sorda.

In some ways it was great – we got a full hook up site, there was lots of greenery, and very few other campers.

Our kind of campground…

In other ways, it was still in keeping with the theme of this trip.

From the price:

Sites in the pet loop for non-residents = Ouch.

to the hellaciously unlevel sites:

I think the correct term here is “ski slope.”
Every single leveling device we own….

To the fact that dogs are only allowed in certain loops – and you’re not even allowed to walk your dog through the other loops – so all the dogs are concentrated in one place and when you walk your dog through that place, it’s like walking the gauntlet… every dog loses its mind and starts barking, which sets off all the other dogs and they start barking too.

After spending days having our nerves rattled by the endless drives on terrible roads, the last thing we wanted was to get barked and lunged at every time we took poor Thor (who was also totally fed up) on a walk.

Too through.

We did go visit Kevin’s alma matter, Penn State, which was pretty cool. He found his old apartment (by locating the beer distributor on the next block over – true story), visited the engineering buildings, and marveled at all that has changed

Engineering: The study of “Huh?!?!”

and all that has stayed the same…

Really? People still use these????

It is an idyllic campus and we enjoyed walking around and soaking up the awesome energy that permeates college towns.

Howard, Pennsylvania to Greentown, Pennsylvania

Our penultimate trip was from Bald Eagle State Park to Promised Land State Park, a place we’d actually stayed in back in 2016. This drive featured a huge downpour, ever increasing traffic, and our fridge door flying open when we turned into the park (thanks to the magic of refrigerator bars, no damage done, thankfully.)

This, too, is a park that only allows dogs in certain loops, but, as we found out, not only are you restricted to certain loops, but you can only walk through parts of those loops.

After arriving to a wet, muddy, mess of an unlevel site, we took the dog for a walk, only to be confronted by a somewhat Soup Nazi-esque camphost who told us we were not supposed to be walking the dog on whatever road we were on.

It was as if we’d flown our Cessna into restricted airspace over the U.S. Capitol and an F-16 showed up on our wing to escort us out of the area.

Except we weren’t in a Cessna over the Capitol. We were just walking our dog. In a park.

He told us we could walk the dog on some other road in the loop or on one of the park’s hiking trails – which would have been super enjoyable after the day’s downpour – but we were not permitted to walk on the road we were on.

Kevin mentioned that we hadn’t seen any signs that indicated where we could or couldn’t walk the dog…. to which our overzealous camphost agreed and said they still needed to put signs up.

So, apparently, if we’d just been clairvoyant, we could have avoided this whole thing.

The fact that we did not completely lose it at that moment is testament to just how exhausted we were.

Pennsylvania to Connecticut

Finally, we made the last hop. Other than it being an incredibly long day, and having to deal with a ton of east coast traffic, it was as good a drive as any.

Happily we made it to our landing spot – only to find the spot sucked. But that’s a story for another day. At least we were no longer being stranded, jostled, overcharged, mislead, kept awake, lunged at, or on the receiving end of a stern talking-to for violating rules no one had communicated to us. So…Yay?

Next up: Connecticut: a terrible place to camp, but a great place to visit family.


  1. Holy crap! Your post title really does say it all. We are so glad you made it to your destination safely after all those difficulties, and that you made it without killing each other or any of the jerks you ran into. It is heartening to know that when troubles arise, there are often people who stop to help — which restores your faith in humanity even if it doesn’t solve the underlying problem.

    Here’s hoping you have absolutely nothing to write about for the next few months as you recover from this ordeal though candidly, I would miss the snark and humor. I must admit that I laughed at this post when I wasn’t gasping in dismay. 🙂

    • Thank you. All things considered, getting to our destination in one piece was a pretty big win. And yes, I have no doubt that had we stayed outside while waiting for roadside assistance to arrive, we would have had many more offers of assistance. It was really pretty awesome. And yeah, after all this, I’m pretty happy to be doing a whole lot of nothing and enjoying some downtime.

  2. Yikes! Ok. No more blaming Boston for your misfortune! Clearly you have had other REALLY bad experiences!! Glad you made it in one piece. It was great to see you!!

    • I mean, we WERE headed East when all of this happened… Maybe we just have to extend our “Cone of Catastrophe” outwards to cover the whole northeast rather than just Massachusetts??

  3. Great to read your about your adventures and realize the fact that not everyday is sunshine and smiles! RVing is work too!! You provide some very important tips/items for future RVer’s. My wife and I are gearing up in the next 20 months to start our full-time adventure and can’t wait. Keep the chapters coming, great reading.
    Thx & WTF!

    • Thanks for stopping by and thanks for commenting! No, RVing is definitely not all sunshine and unicorns. It’s got its ups and downs just like anything else and we’ve often found that the bad stuff comes all at once. Whether that’s better or worse, I’m not sure, but it’s always memorable!

      Good luck with your transition to fulltiming!

  4. Oh man, the 2 weeks from hell! I don’t even know where to start my comments! In truth, things could have been much worse, much more expensive and much more dangerous. But, in the moment, I agree…WTF! Glad you made it (eventually) and hope you had a great time visiting!

    • Thank you. Yes, as much as this was a trying period of time and we were extremely worn out, we were also very thankful that things didn’t end up worse. We were extremely fortunate in multiple ways and we try to keep that in mind.

  5. Oh man! What a trip. But now you can look back and laugh… Well maybe it’s still too soon! Hahaha. We have done the same, making a 5 day trek from FL to Mesa, AZ and I would never do that again!!! Glad you made it safely to the other coast!

    • Wow! Florida to Arizona in 5 days makes us look like wusses! Jeez. That’s incredible! And yeah, I can only imagine how tired and fed up you all must have been after that. All I know is, in the future, I will be making every effort to not have a repeat of this trip. Thanks for your comment!

  6. I laughed entirely way too hard the entire way through this. I’m fairly certain you were writing about our one week “what the fuck” fest from NW Montana to Memphis, TN. I especially giggled at your assessment of the roads. Eryk screamed obscenities every mile of Indiana, Illinois and most of Wisconsin. He’s also done the same through most of PA/NJ/NY this year on the way up to Maine.

    • Yeah, WHAT is with the roads in those places??? Driving through South Dakota was like driving on a cloud compared to the midwest and northeast… and I get when it’s a high traffic area, but some of the roads we were on were pretty lightly used and they were still awful. It’s just bad – and exhausting.

  7. If anyone mentions Hwy 80 through Indiana or I10 through Louisiana I become physically ill. I’m overcome with dread, collapsing into a puddle of, “I don’t wanna!”.
    But you are right. There is the healing power of cheese to make everything right with world. If I was stranded on a dessert island I would want a block of cheese….and peanut butter!????
    Glad you guys are ok!

    • Ah yes, I-10, the Crown Jewel of our nation’s crumbling infrastructure! How on earth a road THAT important is in THAT bad of shape is just beyond me. Actually, if the state of Louisiana is going to refuse to fix I-10, perhaps they could at least hand out a block of cheese to every driver entering the highway. It might take the edge off a bit….

  8. Love your writing style ????????. Been there done that…blue ox tow bar snapped leaving our C-RV banging into back of allegro, I get it Keep writing and enjoy the small things. Safe travels.

    • Thank you – and Wow! Sustaining damage to both your motorhome and your tow car on the same day is pretty much the definition of a bad day. Your insurer must have been super excited about that call. But you’re right – it’s important to keep it all in perspective and not miss out on all the great parts of life. Safe travels to you too!

  9. The trials & tribulations of full-timing & the WTF moments! When we do our cross-country trek from FL to AZ, we try to do it in 6-8 days, driving 250-300 miles per day, stopping for one night……then ask ourselves, why do we do this?? We promise never to travel that way ever…….and then we do it again??
    Hope you have a great rest of the summer & no more WTF days!!! Do you have plans for the winter? As you know, we’re stuck in Florida till next summer. Guess I shouldn’t say “stuck” since many snowbirds come here, we’re just tired of being in one state for so long!!

    • I think we all know, deep down, that driving that many miles that quick is going to be awful, but then you look at some little middle of nowhere town in west Texas and say “do we really want to sit there for a week?” and the answer is always no. It just seems like less of a waste of time to rip the Band-Aid off and get it done… until you’re on day 5 and ready to tear your hair out. There’s really just no great answer….

      Anyway, as for winter, we’re still working on the plan, but we expect to be in Florida for much of it! Once I figure out our exact schedule, I’ll email you. Looks like we might finally cross paths!!

  10. I feel your pain. Welcome to traveling in the east. We endure a similar trip twice a year – are we insane? (no comments please, and if you need to, keep them to yourselves) If there wasn’t a sweet lake waiting for us here, we’d not do that drive again – ever. One thing we don’t do, anymore, is stay for a free overnight near the highway such as walmart, etc.. You often get what you pay for and we’ve endured too many of those same experiences. We’ve decided that even $70 is not too much to pay for a sound night’s sleep. We try to keep our drives through Indiana at a minimum because it’s not just I-80 that rattles your gourds….we blew out both headlights on I-70 last year on our way through! The worse thing is, you’ve got to do it all over again pretty soon! Fly your friends and family out to visit you next time, it’s easier!

    • I think it’s safe to say no one understands this misery more than you guys. I don’t know how you do it – though I’m sure the knowledge that you can relax for several months by a beautiful lake helps. Based on my unscientific survey of comments on this post, Indiana definitely seems to be a standout when it comes to terrible roads. I’m not sure why that is, but it’s unfortunate that it’s smack dab in the middle of everything. And I am 100% with you on the free overnight stops. Saving a few bucks is simply not worth it….

  11. I couldn’t read your blog this time. In the past, the rough language was overlooked, but this time was too much. From being an experienced farmer, I know that I can’t walk through a barn and come out without smelling like the barn.
    Thank you for the trip – wish it had lasted longer.

    • One of the things I truly love about writing a non-monetized blog is that I get to write what I want, when I want, how I want. I’m not trying to get clicks, sell items, or make sponsors happy. I just get to be me. And if people like what I write, they can stick around and if not, they are free to find something more to their liking. I take zero offense to people clicking around and then leaving without subscribing. Just like I hope no one takes offense when I check out their blog and decide it’s not for me. It’s nothing personal. We’re all different and we all like different things. For me, it’s nice to have a tiny corner of the internet where I can share my honest thoughts in my honest voice with whomever wants to read them.

      What I won’t do is try to be someone I’m not or try to make everyone happy. The older I get, the more I realize a) no matter what you do or say, someone is gonna be mad; and b) I don’t need everyone to like me. While I enjoy discussing topics and learning about other peoples’ experiences, I am not going to censor my own opinion, or write in a style and manner different than my norm just to make someone else feel better.

      I enjoy writing, I enjoy laughing, and I enjoy sharing funny stories. I am sarcastic, self deprecating, and appreciate the liberal use of swear words. And I have always, always thought Billy Joel had it right when he said: “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun.”

      • Not only are you excellent at swearing, hilarious, and a very good writer, but you are so incredibly diplomatic! If we had more people like you in the world, the world would be a much better and way more fun place.

  12. Oh, I had tears from laughing, “with you” not “at you”. I’d be traumatized with all that happening in such a short time period. Oh, the stories that you can tell later and hopefully laugh at! We are from AZ/CA (dry hot heat) and are spending, by choice, the summer months in the humid South by Lakes and the Ocean. Hoping that we do not have to change plans, but willing to, if any hurricanes decide to visit LA, AR, TN and the Carolinas. Oh, all this because we wanted to go to a couple NASCAR races that were on Mike’s bucket list. We will be in Syracuse NY for a rally at end of Sept. You guys should join the Elks Lodge. We are staying at a beautiful lodge right now for $25 per night, with FHU and a huge pool. Anyway, I am sure your travels will be back to normal now that you are at your destination area. Best of luck down the road. Oh, the same thing about the tire lug nuts not being tightened happened to me while pulling a boat. Shaking then see the tire bouncing off to the right of the car while we were in the car, slowing down. Tightened by an “engineer” friend prior (more to that story).

    • I feel SOME of your pain now that we are on the east coast after spending a year and a half out west. I am sure you guys are dying from the humidity. We’re in the northeast and it’s sticky. I can only imagine what it must be like where you are.

      We have heard many good things about the Elk’s club campsites. We definitely might look into them. They sound like a happy medium between free-but-annoying places and quiet-but-overpriced places. I’ll give em a look.

      And we, apparently, are not alone with the whole tire falling off thing. I have now heard from several people who’ve had similar experiences. Who knew it was even possible??

      Stay cool!

  13. Usually our trips include the statement “what was that” after hitting a bump and something decides to magically jump off the place it was peacefully sitting ….

  14. I hate those “What the F*@#” moments, and you sure had more than a few this trip. Hopefully, things will calm down and get back to fairly normal. You should have stopped at the Ohio State University campus instead of Penn State. It mighta changed the luck up a little (just kiddin’). I’m sorry about the spilled coffee grounds–mine was wine. Lots of wine. Glad you found humor in the mishaps (now, not then) and shared the experience. I know all full-time (“PROFESSIONAL”) RVers can commiserate.

    • I was thinking of your wine incident when our fridge door flew open! If not for the refrigerator bars, it would have been an absolute disaster. Phew… dodged a bullet on that! Actually, knock on wood, this incident with our coffeemaker was the first time we’ve had anything go flying or cause a mess. Hopefully, it’ll be the last.

      As for Ohio State, you may have a point. As much as I give Ohio a hard time, it was one of our best nights of the whole trip!

  15. OMG, I’m laughing because you are hilarious and a great storyteller. But I’m really glad that two weeks of hell is in your rearview mirror. If anything could go wrong, it did! This is the kind of travelogue that people considering the “dream” of fulltime traveling need to read. Because this kind of stuff happens to all of us, just not usually in such a concentrated period of time. (Although we don’t all have our wheels fall off, which is terrifying!)

    The fact that you dealt with all of the craziness, handled the challenges so well, are still alive, and can write about it with such humor means that you are, indeed, well suited for this nomadic life. Here’s to a summer of pothole-free roads, peaceful campgrounds, and keeping your wheels on!

    • Thank you! I do feel like we kind of “earned our wings” with this whole trip. I also feel I am now qualified to run FEMA if necessary. Ugh, what a mess. But it is comforting to hear from so many people who’ve been through similar incidents. Everything from missing tires to flying food to awful roads… We are, indeed, not alone. And yes, if I can discourage some people from running off and buying an RV – if only to stop campgrounds from endlessly raising their prices to ridiculous levels – it’ll all be worth it! 🙂

  16. Oh Laura, you are too funny! I love reading your blog as it always makes me laugh. I’m glad you made it. We had had several moments also…
    -When I was pushing out the living room slide, the cupboard door beneath the tv got caught. Wow, it made an awful crunching noise!
    -We were using our printer quite a bit. The one time I placed it somewhere where I did not think it would fall off, it did! While we were driving, we heard a very loud crash. That printer was toast.
    -Very recently my honey left one of those foam rollers kind of under his side of the bed. I did not see it. I pulled in the bedroom slide and heard a very loud crack…his nightstand kind of ripped off the wall. Ouch.
    -Oh and about trains. OMG, we stayed at the Air Force Academy Famcamp. A train track was very near to us, but not too noisy during the daytime. Well, at night, about every 30-60 minutes, coal trains go by and honk. Loud and long. To keep the wildlife off the tracks. I was so exhausted every day, I would just crash in the afternoon. I gotta think those deer are trained to stay away from the tracks by now!
    Keep the stories coming! 🙂
    Take care and safer travels!

    • “His nightstand kind of ripped off the wall.” “Kind of”? Hahahaha!

      You have definitely done some serious furniture remodeling! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve yelled “Stop!!” as Kevin is pulling in one of the slides because I realize I can’t account for one of Thor’s chew toys and I have a moment of panic wondering what a dog bone can do to a slide. Ugh… I love slides, but they can cause so many problems.

      I didn’t even think about the wildlife issue with trains. It makes sense, but I sorda feel like a little roadkill is a small price to pay for me to get a good night’s sleep.

      I’m going to hell for that…. 🙂

  17. The rough roads are really a bummer! Glad y’all made it to your destination! Not sure if y’all are aware but the 2016 36LA you have (and us also) had a problem with the house welds not being welded properly. Tiffin in Red Bay will repair them free of charge if you take it there. We took ours a couple weeks ago and there were 2 broke welds. It causes the coach to be unlevel. (Right to left). They inspected all the welds and double welded them all. Seems an employee that was working at Tiffin decided a single weld was good enough and quite a few coaches were delivered before it was discovered. They have not done a recall but are fixing them as they filter in. It costs 25. A night in their full hookup campground and they waive 1 nights stay if you take the tour. My husband inspected under our coach and knew we had a broken weld and one that wasn’t welded at all.

    • Hi Linda! I actually had heard about that issue and just recently had our motorhome checked to make sure we were ok. There’s actually a shop in Connecticut that does a ton of Tiffin work (Connecticut Motorcars) and we’ve gone there a couple times and gotten good service. They checked our welds and didn’t find any problems. They did, however, notice our front cap is separating at the seam, and they said Tiffin considers that a structural issue and will pay for it to be fixed. So we are heading back there in a couple weeks for them to fix it. Anyway, so far, we’ve been able to avoid a trip to Red Bay, but only because my family happens to live in the state where this random shop is located.

      I’m sorry you guys had to deal with all this aggravation, but it sounds like it’s fixed now. Hopefully, it;ll be smooth sailing going forward.

      And, btw, thanks for giving me a heads up. If not for being on a Tiffin Facebook forum, I never would have known about the weld issue.

  18. We love reading your stuff because you are such an enjoyable read.(even during the trip from hell!)
    We feel for y’all, believe me, and are always encouraged by your musings, your wit and your ability to “tarry on”.
    Next time you get anywhere near Dallas, Please let us know. We’ll bring Champange!
    Stay Safe,
    Jim & Linda
    The “Vagaponds”

    • Aw, thank you so much! I really appreciate that!

      If there’s one lesson I hope to teach with this blog, it’s that “if these two morons can do this without getting themselves killed or arrested, anyone can!” 🙂

      We’ll definitely let you know next time we’re in your area!! Thanks for reading!

  19. If this doesn’t chase wanna be RV’ers away, I don’t know what will. Please keep scaring them away! Perhaps our next book should be ‘Glamour Days in Full-Time RV Life’ and we just solicit stories about WTF experiences. And then rate them on a ‘Pucker Scale.’ Glad you survived it — now to get back through there and return to the land of sunshine and rainbows:-)

    Stay safe!

    • Ha! I love it! Let’s write this book. Enough of these happy go lucky/living the dream/ how to live in an RV books. Someone needs to talk honestly about how terrible it is. We need to scare some people off! Otherwise, we’ll never be able to get a campground reservation. 🙂

      And yes, with every mosquito bite and every change out of sweaty clothes, we are looking forward to heading back west!

    • We were positively ecstatic to get to our destination in one piece! Hopefully, all the bad luck is behind us now. Fingers crossed!

  20. I am so sorry I had such a great laugh at your two weeks from hell 🙂 I really hope you are both feeling better. At least your drunk didn’t get inside your unit! We were camped in a Home Depot parking lot and someone, not me, didn’t lock the door. I was making dinner and looked out the window to see a guy climbing our steps, just as he opened the door hubby got there to great him … one look from hubby and he fell down the stairs and stumbled off. Yup he doesn’t leave the door unlocked anymore 🙂

    • Oh wow… that’s scary stuff. I mean, what the hell was he gonna do? Just walk in and fix himself a sandwich? Ugh. What’s with all the crazy people?? Anyway, glad it was resolved quickly. We’ll certainly be much more selective about where we stay now. We’ve had almost no issues with campgrounds, but these free spots have just been one hassle after another.

      And yes, thank you – we are feeling better. As soon as we stopped all the driving, things improved. 🙂

  21. I was laughing with you and crying with you and screaming obscenities with you on this trip! I am going from PA to CO in a few weeks and I can only hope my adventure will be less dramatic, but ya never know, do you?! My favorite: The Reality section. I almost spit out my Diet Coke when I read that. Great comedy writing and hope you get to relax and enjoy CT even if it’s weird camping. And hot and humid (I’m in MD right now, hot and humid).

    • Oh, I sure hope your drive is much less eventful than ours was. At least you’ll be heading toward the dry air and a bug free existence!! After all this time in the south and mid-Atlantic, Colorado will be glorious!

  22. I’ve met you two and don’t believe one iota that many potty words would come out of your mouths. ????

    Given next summer TLG and I want to head to WI from CO, and then off to OH. I’m preparing our divorce paperwork now and saving up bail money.

    • US? SWEAR???? Never!!!

      As for next summer, I’m not gonna lie…. You’re gonna need to get into Bourbon. And Quaaludes.

      • But, but, we have one of those diesel pusher thingies with the air suspension, we’re gonna be FINE. *sob* Having never ridden in a gasser on a bad road, I don’t know how it compares, but I do know I must gird my loins for what horror lies ahead. We should probably warn my family that we’ll be coming in hot, too.

        • LOL. Yeah, I think you will have an easier time than us, but it’s still gonna suck. Just leave yourself plenty of time. I think if we were doing our normal schedule – max of 150 miles per day and then spending at least a couple days in each spot – it would have been much more bearable.

  23. It’s nice to see you utilize f*#k in so many eloquent ways. Not many good writers could utilize it as a noun, adjective, and a verb. ????????

  24. Thanks for sharing the photos of Penn State (my alma mater too)!! And of course for the laughs. Hang in there!

    • Thanks Molly! I was truly impressed by how beautiful that campus was. What a wonderful place to spend four years.

  25. I’m not sure I would still be fulltiming if I had two weeks like this. I would probably have thrown in the towel with the car! So glad you arrived in Connecticut finally after this experience. But next time, Laura, tell us how you really feel…haha!!! I am sorry but I was laughing as I read. We tend to shy away from state parks just because of the leveling. It just isn’t worth the fight building mountains to teeter on top of to get level especially if it is the back wheels when you have double the building. Getting across the country rather quickly is never fun. We have traveled to the east four times with the MH but those where times we chose different routes to see the country and didn’t have any timeline. Sure makes a difference. Our last trip was just to have a short visit with family and clean out our storage unit. We were going from point A to B. THAT was NOT fun!! Never again. Hope your summer is going well.

    • Haha… Yeah, if we had this experience early on, I don’t think we’d still be doing it either! I’m amazed by how many people do these crazy cross country trips all the time. It’s just exhausting. You definitely have a point with the state parks. We’ve always been willing to deal with the leveling hassle because the sites tend to be so much bigger and more private. And, usually, the sites are much cheaper than private places. In this case though, we were paying way, way more than normal and the sites were just awful. In the future, we’ll look harder for commercial spots that are reasonable. I’m sure they exist, but since we were trying so hard to get where we were going, I didn’t want to take us too far off the highway. Anyway, I hope you are now all settled back in and enjoying some downtime and that sweet, sweet pool of yours!

  26. Seriously KUra, WTF doesn’t even begin to cover this dazzling portion of your road trip east. Shit storm of immense proportions indeed!!!!!

    My recent experience being tossed out of a kayak in a class three rapid may have been less painful! At least that was over in 5 minutes!

    Hoping you have some WTF free days ahead.


    • Thank you….Life has been much easier recently than it was during this trip, though I don’t think it had to try very hard to make an improvement. 🙂

      Sorry about your kayak situation. That must have been pretty scary!

      Hope you guys are well!

  27. Hmm, I must have not click the Post Comment button for it looks like my comment is lost 🙁
    Now I forgot what I said then.
    Anyhow you guys had been through a lot experiencing realities of RV life, the other side of living the dream. But having gone through all that, consider yourself “seasoned RVr” and nothing is going to faze you now, nothing!
    At least Thor was there to soothe and calm your nerves.
    With all that behind you now, summer should be just chilling and relaxing.

    • So, I just went looking in my spam filters and I found your first comment. Apparently, it got caught because you used a curse word. Dammit, MonaLiza. Clean it up a little, would ya? There are children around!! (Don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. Lots of comments on this post got filtered. It looks like I can be a potty mouth, but comments get caught). ????

      Anyway, yes, I feel we are ‘seasoned RVers these days. WELL seasoned!!! And so far, so good with the summer. Hopefully all the bad stuff is behind us now!

    • Hi! Thanks for your comment, and yes, we were definitely pretty tired by the end. Fortunately, things have improved quite a bit since then, and we can now look back and laugh at it all. If not, I truly would have just sat down and cried.

  28. RV’ing isn’t for the faint of heart sometimes. There’s always going to be days/weeks like that, hopefully, it’s out of your system for a long while. We’ve never done the Walmart or truck stop type of overnighting, Passport America comes in handy for those kinds of nights, and once in a while, we find a real “gem” of a campground. Glad you made it safely to CT,

    • Thanks! We, too, have found P.A. to be kind of the perfect remedy for those cheap overnights. The places are never fancy, but they’re always quiet and safe. We’ve never had a bad night at one… though, we’ve usually been happy to get moving the following morning.

  29. Great writing style, you hooked me with the story of the first day. I was thinking it could have been so much worse that you should have been thankful. Then you kept me interested with the information about Mitchell, SD Cabela’s; I marked that one on my map. Then you mentioned Minnesota, my home state until my wife moved me to Arizona. We have stayed at Chester Woods a few times. Like so many RV parks, it makes me wonder why folks that have never spent a night in an RV decide one day that they should build an RV park. I almost dropped out and then you mentioned Cheese; that kept we going for a little while. On to the bad roads and traffic east of the Mississippi. Great writing, great story, if you had stayed in one place for two weeks soaking up the sun, playing with the dog and cooking great meals, you would have had nothing to write about. Your adventures are like the pain an athlete endures so that they can have a great performance on game day. No pain, no blog. Thanks.

    • Haha. Thank you! That is definitely a good point: misery makes for excellent blog material. Who wants to read about everything going well? No one. That’s who. It would just be nice if the misery could be sprinkled on like confectioners sugar on a cake rather than dumped on our heads with a bulldozer, but whatever… small price to pay for fun blog posts!!! ???? Anyway, thank you for reading and commenting! I appreciate folks checking out this site and letting me know their thoughts!

  30. What a journey!! What an adventure. Glad you made it and could still have a good story to tell and hopefully looking back, laugh about it. Really enjoy your candid writing style, you are clearly a natural storyteller.


    • Thank you so much! I have to admit: our disasters and debacles do make the best stories, and after all the dust has settled, they really do provide the most memorable moments. I think that’s just a reality of travel though… trips where everything goes right are not all that exciting. It would just be nice if we could get a “touch of disaster” and a “dose of debacle” rather than a “cascade of catastrophes” all at once. 🙂


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