If you scroll through our instagram time line during our first trip in Dutchie, you see mostly pretty sunsets, selfies, nice camp sites, pics of our cute dog Balto and the “occasional” beer. 😉 You don’t see much of what didn’t go perfectly on our first RV trip. 😉 First of all – we were very fortunate to not have any major issues and we are ever so thankful for that! But, traveling for 5 weeks everything didn’t go completely as planned and we did face some glitches along the way. 🙂
Our first obstacle wasn’t technically during our road trip, but it was the night before we left! As we were loading up Dutchie and getting ready for a happy hour in it with friends, I crawled up above the cab and discovered a very wet mattress and ceiling! As it had snowed the day before – melting snow had found a crack in some caulk on the roof. We got that dried out in time to hit the road the next day (and Stefan spent a 100 degree in Needles re caulking the entire roof! 😉 ).
City Water Connection
When we bought Dutchie the back flow water part had been replaced, but not until Stefan went to empty and fill the fresh water tank for the first time did he realize it wasn’t fixed with the correct part. As we discovered this when we were leaving Moab we needed to get this replaced so water wouldn’t be spraying out when we used the water pump. Luckily Arches Repair Center was able to get the part and fix it quickly (a huge thanks to them as we were in and out of there in an hour! ).
Middle of the Night Knock on the Door
During our first time staying in a parking lot someone knocked on our door around midnight! It was a panhandler, luckily harmless but we still slept with one eye open the rest of the night. Not the best experience for our first parking lot stay.
Mojave Desert Wind
After a relaxing four day stay in Needles, CA we drove across the Mojave on the way to our next stop in San Diego. Being newbies we had encountered a few hours of windy driving – but nothing like this! We saw a Class A’s awning on the side of the road that had just been ripped off, it was tiring driving for Stefan and we didn’t calculate our mpg that portion of the trip! Thankful Dutchie was in one piece after that couple hours drive (we contemplated stopping, but truthfully no place in that area… so drove as slow and safe as possible).
Water Filter Leak
Since we didn’t encounter any rain during our trip until the last couple days (so lucky, especially since our plan was escaping snow and mud season back home in Colorado!)… we knew it wasn’t a great sign to see water running down the side underneath the bed onto the floor. We lucked out and it was just the water filter leaking a bit, as it must not have been tightened quite enough when we replaced it.
House Battery Drained
While staying near Solvang, CA (if you haven’t been to this area it’s gorgeous!) one day we woke up to a drained house battery. Luckily Stefan was able to get the slide in with jumpstarting the generator. The house batteries tested still good and Stefan and I discovered this was a newbie mistake. Before arriving in Solvang we had stayed on the beach for a couple days never running the generator. After talking to an RV dealer we learned one usually needs to run the generator a couple hours a day to keep the batteries completely charged (on future trips we’ll be using our new Go Power!’s 120-watt Portable Solar Kit!)
Screw in Tire
After spending one of our favorite evenings of the trip in Death Valley, Stefan found a screw in the tire before we were to head out in the morning. We were a little worried since the closest town was 70 miles away! Luckily a Park Ranger told us about a Jeep tour company that was a a block away who could fix it. Super nice guys who could plug and fix it for $20! When they went to pull the screw out it had barely penetrated the rubber it was so short. 😉 So happy to have lucked out on this, since Dutchie has fairly new Michelin tires! You can read more about this story and our Tire Pressure Monitoring System here.
Forgot the Stabilizers
We had been on the road 3-4 weeks at this point and were getting fairly used to the tearing down camp routine… except one morning after a quick overnight at an Elks Lodge in Oakhurst, CA we tried to drive off with the stabilizers still down (a big OOPS!) Again – a major crisis was avoided as we were able to get them back up to drive. We didn’t use them the rest of our trip and Stefan just bought the tools to fix the one side that is a little bent out of place. Also grease the mechanism with Kwiklube Spray Grease to prevent from rusting and corrosion. I’m guessing we won’t forget those again! 😉
Detours in California
The same day we forgot to crank up the stabilizers we ran into numerous detours and road closures after a nice lunch in Mariposa, CA! I was actually using GPS (I tend to prefer paper maps when we aren’t in a city and not be online as much) and obviously wasn’t using the one with current road conditions as I didn’t get road closure warnings. 🙂 Stefan and I pulled over in Coulterville… thinking we were going to have to backtrack (again!) or stay there for the night. We ended up talking to a local who showed us a route toward Groveland that we didn’t know about! We ended up finding a lovely campground outside of Groveland (Yosemite Pines RV Resort) that we enjoyed for a couple days.
On the last night of our adventure we were visiting friends in Montrose, CO with Dutchie parked across the street. Balto had been playing with our friends’ dogs in their back yard, but we put him in our camper when we went out. After dinner we went to the new Speakeasy in Montrose and luckily Stefan got sent home to change since he wasn’t wearing a collared shirt. 😉 When he went inside to change his clothes Balto wasn’t in Dutchie! He had jumped out the bedroom window (left open a few inches!), through the screen and was sitting at our friends’ front door. Guess he wanted to play with his new friends! Balto doesn’t do well off leash so we were extra thankful we have him back! Lesson learned we can’t leave that window open even a crack!
Stefan and I tried to keep a good attitude throughout all these little hassles, as we knew the many issues that could arise from traveling with your house attached. These stories may get embellished as time goes on. 😉 Being newbies – we learned so much and we’re guessing there will be more lessons in the future! 🙂 We loved traveling in Dutchie for the first time, made so many wonderful memories and we can’t wait for more adventures! Please feel free to share the “glitches” during your first RV trips – we’d love to hear!
See ya on the road!
Kris & Stefan