Facing New Challenges
We left South Dakota with plans to stay two nights at a Minnesota campground overlooking the Mississippi River on the Wisconsin border. After an uneventful trip, we exited the highway, followed a curvy dirt road to the campground, pulled into our very uneven spot, and set up camp.
Because the site was so uneven, we ended up using every single one of our leveling blocks to prop up the tires and stabilizing jacks on the passenger side of the trailer. Breathing a sigh of relief at having just the right amount of blocks, we tried to get into the trailer. I couldn’t even reach the door handle from the ground.
After extending the legs of our stairs as far as they’d go, they hovered above the terrain. If we had tried to climb the stairs in that situation, we could have broken them and/or caused more problems.
We searched the area for anything that could support the stairs and spotted three thin boards under the site’s picnic table. Unfortunately, those still left at least a 3-inch gap — and only helped one side of the stairs.
After more exploration, Bob found some leftover firewood at a vacated campsite. It was just enough. We stacked the small pieces of wood to create the base our stairs needed and made it into our coach to complete setup. Whew!
A Mistake and Low-Hanging Branches
The next morning, as Bob climbed the ladder at the end of our coach to attach our Wi-Fi antenna, he noticed something didn’t look right around one of the vents. Upon further examination, he discovered a major issue: A screw had pulled out about halfway from securing the TV antenna to the roof and, as a result, had pulled the rubber membrane — the main roofing material — out from under the nose cap.
With a storm in that afternoon’s forecast, Bob secured the roof with duct tape and the shiny type of duct tape that’s used on water heaters.
It seems I had failed to secure the TV antenna, which sits toward the front of the trailer, in the proper position for travel. Normally, the rounded portion faces front. This time, however, the rounded portion had faced the driver’s side, leaving the metallic parts of the antenna free to grab onto leaves of low-hanging branches we passed.
As we had entered the campground the day before, we encountered some branches that hung a bit low for our 13’ 3” rig. Tagalong made it through, and we didn’t think anything of it. Evidently, we should have.
4 States in 1 Day
Gulliver is not a storm chaser. No, he’s more of a storm evader — at least when he’s pulling Tagalong. After hemming and hawing about staying at the beautiful campground and risking roof leakage, we ceded to Gulliver's nature and quickly packed up the trailer, hooked up, and hit the road — and some more low branches in the process of leaving.
We had planned to spend at least one night in Wisconsin, but storms were expected to blow through there that afternoon too. So, we hightailed it through three states all the way to my cousin’s fruit farm, Piedt’s Farm, in southwestern Michigan, where we could be close to Elkhart, Indiana (RV mecca) if we needed more repairs than we could do on our own.
After a two-hour round trip to Camping World the next day to get roofing supplies, we spent the following day hanging out on the roof in the hot sun trying to get all the wrinkles out of the rubber membrane. We taped it down with super sticky tape made especially for RVs and succeeded in fixing the roof.
Despite the trials, we’re still having fun, especially since the electric bikes we ordered arrived. We’re enjoying time on the farm, eating fresh produce, spending time with family, exploring my old stomping grounds, and traveling down memory lane. I was born in the area and spent my fifth-grade year here after moving out of state at the age of 4.
6/25/2020 04:59:53 pm
Right behind ya
6/25/2020 07:37:21 pm
6/25/2020 07:47:06 pm
Like the bikes. Looks like fun! Enjoy!!!😊
6/25/2020 08:46:42 pm
Love the adventures...maybe not the repairs involved, but exciting nonetheless. I enjoy reading about them. If you make it our way we have room for you to set up shop.
6/26/2020 03:06:17 am
Glad to see Bob has been keeping busy during "retirement." There always seems to be something to do. Thanks for the updates.
6/26/2020 03:44:50 am
Thanks for sharing guys! I enjoy reading about your adventures
6/26/2020 04:55:45 am
6/26/2020 06:06:44 am
You guys are so cool! ;-)
6/26/2020 08:00:53 am
Wow!! It seems that just about every day you have some kind of something to do or fix on your truck or your trailer. So lucky that you both are "Fixits", as in Mr. and Mrs! I envy you the fresh food you are enjoying on the farm. Being a city kid (or Air Force Base kid) all my life growing up, I don't know what that's like. Enjoy your time in beautiful Michigan (I lived in the UP for a year way back in the dark ages). Wish I could be there...
6/26/2020 04:47:54 pm
Love hearing the updates. On pins and needles in anticipation of a heading such as "smoothe sailing" "Utopia" "I must be dreaming" "So this is Bliss" "Nothing but Fun" "Paradise x 10" You'll get there and I look forward to hearing all about it.
7/5/2020 08:10:50 pm
No matter what challenges seem to come, you have a solution. I am excited about the various experiences you shall with us.
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This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.