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RV Disaster and Redemption

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I had good reason. With winter giving me a sneak peak by dropping the temperatures down at night and freezing the water lines, it was time to leave Oregon and head south to winter quarters. I hitched up and drove the trailer on down to Stateline where I stayed overnight on a street that is in Oregon on one side and Nevada on the other. Mitchell’s Stateline RV park is on the Oregon side of the street. It is mostly just a big parking lot but a welcome oasis in the middle of nowhere and it was kind of fun walking back and forth between states.

The next morning I left headed south to catch I80 east in Winnemucca. About 30 miles north I had just come down a minor hill onto open desert when my SUV suddenly moved to the side as if an invisible truck had passed me or a wind gust hit it. That started my trailer fishtailing. Despite all efforts, I could not stop it. The SUV went off the road and rolled over fully then the trailer laid down on it’s side. My seat belt had held me tight against the seat as all the stuff in the SUV flew out the broken windows and went everywhere. I was only slightly injured with a bit of pain in one side but was able to get out OK. Bystanders stopped to help and called emergency services. The SUV was obviously totaled which was a real shame since I had just put on 4 brand new tires. Oddly, all were fine except for one on the front driver’s side that shows evidence of having run flat on the road and possibly causing the accident. The trailer did not look that badly damaged however it was damaged more by the wreckers that came out and pulled it back over on its wheels. They dragged it a bit before it caught and started to pull over and I could see the wheels bending as it came back over. Unfortunately, in the end, there was enough damage for my insurance company to decide to total it out too. That was it. My vehicle and home were both gone and it happened so quick. Amazingly, most of my stuff survived! I did lose some very expensive items like my TV and several pairs of glasses.

SUV and trailer accident

I spent over a month in motels first in Winnemucca to get all my stuff out of the SUV and trailer and put it into a rented storage locker then in Reno where I followed my trailer in hopes of it possibly being repaired instead of totaled. Insurance paid for part of the bill but at $60 a night at the cheapest available motel in Winnemucca it did not go far. Reno at least was half that and I had also seen an ad in the Reno paper in Winnemucca that intrigued me.

A word about insurance. While I had enough coverage this time for personal items, I can see it was in no way adequate to replace everything if the trailer had caught on fire. A lot of cheaper items lost can very quickly add up. I’ll be adding more coverage for personal items next time. It took several weeks to get the insurance claims settled and even to get money to pay the motel bill. Don’t get caught without a good credit card in this situation or you may still be sitting by the side of the road in the desert. My agent, Chris Yust, though was stellar. I called her from the accident site and she helped me get the ball rolling. She kept on it for me and kept pushing it through channels. She even called upper management when things seemed to get bogged down a bit and held my hand by phone and email. In the end, GMAC Insurance treated me very fair. They paid off the loan on my trailer and gave me a few hundred extra on it. My SUV they paid full value for including the new tires. I sent them a detailed list of my personal losses and that was paid with no quibbling.

One thing you should be aware of is what happens once your vehicle or trailer goes to a recycler. Once it is there, your access to them and what you can take out is highly restricted. Get everything you can out before your vehicle goes there and be sure to get lots of pictures of all damage both at the accident and after. When I told them the suspect flat tire was missing, they did not even seem to care. After a few calls to the wreckers involved, the tire was located at one of them and the second one offered to pick it up since they were going to the first and should not have left it there. They were to deliver it to the recycler in Reno for me to pick it up. However, when I showed up to get the tire for evidence, the recycler refused to let me have it saying it was part of the car now and only the insurance company could give me permission to take it. It was very frustrating. I eventually got it but what a pain.

Now lest you start thinking that DangRV is no more, let me put your mind at ease. Remember the ad in the Reno paper? I checked it out while in Reno. It was for a package deal of a 1992 1 ton dually Chevy truck that was in pretty good shape and a 1993 30 foot Terry Resort 5th wheel trailer.  The truck just needed a new serpentine belt and tires. The trailer needed tires, a new water heater, slideout awning, and some other things. With RV parts on Ebay (new water heater) and the very cheap price negotiated for the truck and 5th, it was possible to buy them for cash and make the repairs including all new tires and still have money left over from the insurance settlement. I am still a happy camper.

I very much miss my extremely comfortable SUV to drive and I will always remember my very well layed out travel trailer but life is always changing and perhaps it was time to move to the next level of trailering. The 5th wheel does have several additional things I had wanted and is also comfortable. I like to think this was God’s way of pushing me on to change though I would prefer to do it without the rolling over next time. Anyway, it gives me lots of new things to write about now! 😀

New 5th wheel and truck





2 comments to RV Disaster and Redemption

  • Wow! Not the sort of adventure any of us wants when RVing! So glad to hear *you* came out of it okay, and that the casualties were the SUV and RV instead (of course, *no* casualties would be best…!). Sounds as though you were able to reassemble your life pretty quickly, all things considered… It took us 4-5 years to select our first fifth wheel and at least a year to select our Class C, so I can’t imagine having to make a fast decision about a new rig. What is it someone said? “That which doesn’t destroy us makes us stronger”? You can probably lift twice your body weight with the strength you gained 🙂 Good for you to survive with your spirit and desire to travel intact!

    • Thanks! It took me 2 years to find my travel trailer because it was my first rig and I have a very specific lifestyle to accommodate. The new 5th wheel just dropped into my lap and I already knew what I liked and don’t like in an RV. I have seen several styles recently before the accident and then of course getting a great deal with no loan needed played into it too. I could have gone back to a house I own that is empty. I am very happy to be alive and on the road again. 😀

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