Over the years we have done a lot of stupid things. Mistakes happen. However, sometimes there are mistakes that happen that you cannot be prepared for. You always hear about things and think to yourself, “That could never happen to us.” Well, that is what we thought and hopefully, these never happen to you! These are our top 10 newbie RV mistakes.
1. First septic hose hookup
When we hooked up our septic hose for the first time we had not clicked it over to the locked position. This misalignment ended up being catastrophic. The hose popped off sending goodness everywhere. To make matters worse, when we went to push the valve back in it broke off in my hand. There was still enough sticking out so that we could shut off the flow. this was not the start to camping that we were expecting. A smarter person may have stopped right then and there, but we powered on.
2. Melting our electrical plug
Now, this was Carma’s fault. Generally, Carma is the one doing the cooking and she had the air on, and then she turned on the microwave. And that’s usually a no-no.
That usually blows the breaker in our camper. Yes, we probably have some electrical issues with that. However, in this case, for whatever reason, I think our plug was an aftermarket plug and the hot and the neutral, must have been touching, and the plug warmed up and melted together. But yeah, because usually it just blows the breaker right away it has not been an issue before.
We have since upgraded our electrical plug on the RV.
3. Switch on the Truck
Number three, switch on the truck. We can’t talk about that. We’re going to push that to the end because that was the stupidest thing that Richard has ever done as far as it comes to an RV.
4. Dumping out winterized fluid
Okay. This is also Richard’s fault. Up here in Canada. It gets stupid cold and we have to put antifreeze in our lines during the winter so they don’t break. Otherwise, if any water gets trapped in there, then it freezes solid.
So what Richard had done is open up your drain valves and you let out all the water, and then he pumped in the winter ice fluids. He forgot to close the valves. And so He pumped all of the winterizing fluid through the system and straight back out onto the street.
5. First time unhooking the camper… well trying to
The camping site hasn’t really changed that much since we came here the first time because this site is still horribly unlevel. But when we tried to hook up here our camper must have been slightly over to the driver’s side. So it was very much tilted.
And then over here where the truck was it was tilted the other way. So we sort of had this cockeyed situation going on and that’s why we couldn’t unhook. But we have since learned from that mistake and found a couple of tricks, such as unhooking the top portion of our hitch if things are super out of wack.
6. Driving through residential Saskatoon, SK.
Well, we were already late because of other reasons and our plan of cooking our supper at the campsite was not looking good. We were hungry and needed supper. So we said, “Let’s just grab McDonald’s and keep going”.
But of course, the only McDonald’s we find is on their ring road. It is the perimeter of this city, but it really was in the middle of a chaotic city and was not easy to deal with. We like to scope out locations ahead of time on Google Maps, in satellite mode. Then we look for large parking lots, semis, RVs, and basically areas that we can park in as we’re traveling.
In this situation, we had found such a parking lot. Yeah, it looked fairly open. However, once we got there, the whole place is under construction. The big parking lot now had two more box stores going up, so we just parked in the middle of it with our camper, and Carma ran in to get food.
However, the only way to get out of there was to actually drive through a big residential area in Saskatoon, where I’m sure that an RV has never gone before. We were cutting through some pretty narrow spaces, but we made it. No injuries to report.
7. No proper tools for a tire change
If you are new to driving, you don’t have the experience of changing a tire. You should do so ahead of time. Take the time, to figure it out. Do it in your driveway. We had it all planned out as to how this is going to go down. And once we actually got on the road and were stuck on the side of the highway with a flat tire, well, it wasn’t even flat.
It was a low tire. One thing we did do right, though, was that our tire pressure monitor told us that a tire was going flat. We use an EEZTire-TPMS that saved us a couple of times.
We’ve been stuck on the side of the road, but we didn’t have any issues because we had the warning ahead of time to actually stop and pull over. But then you couldn’t deal with it on your own.
So everything we had didn’t work. We had a plug-in compressor and it didn’t work because it wasn’t long enough and it wasn’t working with the plug-in. We didn’t have a proper jack to deal with it anyways because our RV is so high off the ground and when a tire goes low, it’s actually quite the process to take care of that and our camper doesn’t have anything on it to deal with that.
So the next day we went out and bought a portable compressor, and we bought a two-tonne bottle jack, which allows us to easily lift up and change tires now. And that’s been a lifesaver.
8. Not watching the weather
And because of that, our awning almost got ripped off in a storm. So we were camping at Rivers, Manitoba, and we woke up to this crazy, whipping sound like the wind was just howling and our awning was starting to flap and we were actually legitimately scared.
Usually, were not scared of storms, but we were scared. Richard ran out and quickly tried to put the awning in. But our awning isn’t always very friendly at all. Our awning sucks if you’re an awning company. If you make beautiful awnings, would you like to sponsor us? Because ours is horrible.
Richard ran outside in whatever he was wearing and it was raining and hailing and lightning like crazy. We thought that he was going to get struck by lightning, but he quickly just brought it in so that it was a foot away from the camper, but it was no longer like whipping up and down.
And so now we keep a close eye on the weather, specifically the wind speed.
9. Almost lighting our camper on fire
The previous owner must not have used the gas ever because it turns out there is so much crap inside the water heater that when we turned on the gas for the first time, it lit on fire and it was spewing like black smoke up the side. We had scorch marks on the side of the camper and so we ended up having to completely clean all of the garbage out of the water header.
So we ended up cleaning it out completely, and it works fine now, but that first time, it was a little exciting
10. Truck issues
One time coming back home from a friend, camping at a friend’s. Our truck was giving some trouble. And the only way to get home without, stalling or not being able to start it up again, we had to hold the brake.
So every time we stopped, we didn’t put it out of gear. We kept it in gear. Call it stupidity. Call it what? But this is more of a camping experience most people don’t get to have.
This is not a mistake because there was no other option on the transmission. It’s an electric transmission and when you get moisture into the switch, it goes into the safety mode where if you put it in to drive, it remains in neutral and you actually can’t drive the truck. And so we left our friend’s house. It had been wet and we don’t know how it got moisture in there, but it happened. And so we ended up on the side of the road a couple of miles from their house.
We had stopped. Richard had put the truck into park to try and reset the error code that was showing. Could not drive anywhere. So we sat there for half an hour. Long enough that we were all happy.
Once we got the truck going again we said let’s just drive all the way home. If anyone has to go to the bathroom, we’ll pull over and not take it out of drive and hold the brake.
And we did that. We even stop for supper. We stopped for supper and we stopped for fuel at a card lock and we never turned the truck off and never took it out of drive. But then when we parked at home, we unloaded. We were then able to start it again. We since have a different truck.
Our biggest mistake in my mind to date
This mistake is the biggest because it is the simplest. Nothing went wrong. It was 100% our fault and we spent two, three, and three days fixing it.
As we were leaving Yorkton on our way out to Jasper the truck had no power. We could barely get up to 80kmph. So we booked a campsite in Yorkton and spent the night. With the camper unhooked we had full power or so it seemed. The next day we hooked up again and took off.
Still the same issue. So with our camper in tow, we went 60kmph all the way from Yorkton to Melville to a transmission specialist there. he could not find the issue. So we dropped the camper there and went back to the farm to grab another truck that we could use.
So what was the issue? What was the big mistake?
Somehow we had switched on the high idle.
The only thing that we can think of is that somehow when I thought I was switching on the fuel, I actually switched on the high idle. So one thing about this truck, when we were driving it a while ago, we’re not driving it right now. But the issue that happened, is that we have two switches on the dash.
So the top one is actually the high idle switch. And the bottom one is for the auxiliary fuel tank. And so it has a beautiful auxiliary fuel tank on the back and we can hold a lot more fuel, which is awesome. However, what happened is that we accidentally switched the wrong one. So then when you have the high idle on, you’re actually not able to drive at top speed, you’re not able to pull.
And that was the whole problem. Richard switched the wrong switch and that’s why we ended up spending a couple of days driving around in the wrong location. It still bugs me to this day that it’s such a stupid mistake, but it’s such a little easy mistake to make. So I don’t think you should.
It’s such a great story now.
So what are your RV stupid mistakes?
Leave us in the comments below your best and most favorite stories because we love to hear them.