After three weeks on our annual tour with two WWII bombers, we returned to Alaska to continue our adventures, pleased to find dry conditions and fewer mosquitos than when we left. We had planned to stay in the same spot a couple of hours north of Anchorage for three nights before moving on.
Some people have no trouble driving their RV in rainy conditions. We’re not among them. We’ve driven through rain a few times out of necessity, but anytime we can avoid it, we do.
The weather forecast called for rain on our scheduled day of departure, as well as the day before. Having experienced our fair share of water problems earlier in the year, we decided to head out sooner than planned and drive most of the way to Homer on a Friday.
Not wanting to fight weekend crowds, we opted to stop about 80 miles shy of our destination and hunker down at a grocery store that allows overnight RV parking.
One night turned into two as precipitation socked us in. We didn’t mind, though. The downtime proved beneficial after a very busy three weeks on tour. We relaxed, read, watched movies, and recuperated.
Sunday’s weather forecast showed a possible break in the rain. We ate breakfast, hustled into the store for a few essentials, and refilled our propane. Then, we secured everything in the rig and readied it for the 1.5-hour journey to Homer. Only the rain didn’t stop completely.
What’s the Big Deal About Driving in the Rain?
We have no issue driving Gulliver in the rain. He handles well and is watertight. Towing in wet weather, however, is not ideal as poor visibility and slick road conditions can worsen Gulliver’s ability to stop a 17,000-pound trailer.
In addition, Tagalong doesn’t tend to fare well in rain. He’s not built watertight. In fact, small openings around his wheel wells under the kitchen and living room slideouts allow for water to get inside the trailer while it’s moving. Wet roads can be enough to kick up water and spew it inside.
This makes for messy circumstances when we open our rig upon reaching our destination. Water streams across the main living area floor, from the dining table to the kitchen island and from there to the corner between the refrigerator and office.
Sopping up the rivers and pools is no big deal. The bigger issue is longer-term damage from water getting into the wood. But water isn’t the only concern. The tires kick up silt and sand from the road, which attaches itself to the wood wall between the refrigerator and office.
Preparing for the Onslaught
Because we left the grocery store parking lot in the rain, I stashed a towel in each of the faulty corners inside the trailer. The rain lightened up but didn’t completely subside. A moose crossing the road in front of us tested our stopping ability on the slick highway. The brakes held, and we didn’t hit it. Thankfully, we didn’t encounter the moose while driving through fog.
We reached Homer and parked Tagalong in the mud, setting up in continued rain. We opened his door to find both towels soaked to the point that I could wring them out — and a braided river still greeted us. Silt clung to the wall, and a patch of waterlogged carpet threatened to soak our socks if we removed our shoes.
I cleaned up the mess, and we finished establishing home for the week. Despite the mud and rough start, we can’t complain about our amazing views. Oftentimes in life, we have to go through hardships to reach our goals. I’d say we did that in this case.
We’ll continue to monitor the weather and do our best to avoid driving Tagalong in the rain. And for those times we can’t, maybe we’ll come up with some better solutions to absorb the water and silt.
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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.