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Unexpected Scares: Real Tales of RV Dangers

| Updated Jan 9, 2024

The RV Lifestyle is filled with adventures. But most of us also experience some unexpected RV Dangers. In Episode 479 of the RV Podcast, we hear from 10 real RVers about the unsuspected scares they have encountered. And in each one, there's a valuable lesson learned.

You can watch the video version from our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel by clicking the player below.

If you prefer an audio-only podcast, you can hear us through your favorite podcast app or listen now through the player below.

The idea for this topic came from our new RV Lifestyle Community, where a post asks readers to share the most scary things that have happened to them on RV trips.

The community had plenty of unexpected scares to recount, from road hazards to wildlife encounters to dangerous miscalculations. We collected ten stories on video and audio and featured them as our podcast Interview of the Week, which you can see and hear in the players above.

But here are some of the many stories we collected:

“Coming to a dead end road following GPS without a way to turn around.” – Mary

“The slide out started going out every time we turned a corner!” – Tony

“Border police pounded on our camper asking if we were ok. Mind you this is in the middle of the night! They had a report of people being held at gunpoint in the park we were staying at!” – Penny

Be sure to click one of the players above to hear the stories from our ten guests in their own words. Maybe hearing their tales of RV dangers will help you prevent something similar.

As noted, all those stories were shared in our new RV Lifestyle Community group. So many have joined in the few brief weeks since we started this new RV Lifestyle group that we can hardly believe how warm, welcoming, and friendly it has become. But the big thing is how helpful it is.

Someone asks for a suggested route in their travels. Right away, there are numerous responses with practical suggestions. Someone else asks for campground recommendations. There are numerous responses, often with photos. Others ask a troubleshooting question about something regarding their RV. Expert help is soon offered.

Since the beginning of the year, Jen and I have been on numerous occasions each day. We love the instant private chat feature and have enjoyed meeting with many members. And we have already done several video live streams, interacting in real-time with different members. 

If you are unaware of this new community, we quietly launched it right around the holidays as an alternative to all the drama over on Facebook.

We still have the Facebook Group, which now has 280,000 members. But let's be honest. Something that big is pretty impersonal. There are a lot of problems with Facebook that I'm sure you are aware of if you've been a regular user, such as privacy issues, censorship policies, and growing nastiness on Facebook. 

That's why we started the RV Lifestyle Community. 

And that has created quite a buzz in the RV Industry. A leading industry publication headlined the story of our new group this way: “New RV Community Draws Thousands Fleeing Facebook.” 

We didn't start the group to protest Facebook. We will be keeping our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group open for those who want to use it. But we did start this community because we wanted a friendlier, more helpful, and more pleasant place to hang out online with those who shared our love of the RV Lifestyle.

It's totally free. Besides the chat feature and live streams, we have discussion groups on just about every topic you can imagine of interest to RVers and Campers. Plus, as members suggest, we will always be adding new features.

So please go check it out, and if you are on, just chat us up. Same with Phyllis and Wendy and our team of great moderators. We're all there to welcome you and help however we can.

We Just Published Two New E-Books!

The other big news is we just published two more RV Lifestyle Travel Guides. We announced them last night in a livestream on the new community. But we are so excited by these two new ebooks… our 19th and 20th ebooks.

Winter RV Camping Guide – Why Stop RVing just because it's cold?

winter rv camping guide

A lot of RVers in northern climates feel bad every November. That’s because they have winterized their RVs and put them away in storage until the spring… some five months distant.

Some of the lucky ones became snowbirds and flea the north for sunny skies and warmer temperatures as snowbirds. But that’s at least, maybe 10% of the RV population.

Most based in the north just wait until it warms up.

When Jen and I started RVing, we were about to do the same thing. But it just didn't make sense. Why should cold weather mean we had to stop RVing? So we took ours as far north as we could go in our home state to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and did our first winter campout – in two and a half feet of snow!

It was an adjustment, to be sure. We had to do some things very differently to camp in cold temps. But over the years, we’ve figured them out.

Our record, by the way, is camping when the actual outdoor temperature was minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The wind chill on that January trip to Northern Minnesota was minus 50! But we stayed snug and warm in our RV, even as a pack of wolves howled outside.

We are huge fans of winter camping. Now we say that knowing many people are not. Indeed, you need to actually enjoy snow and cold. But we know there are thousands of RVers out there who just need a little coaxing and some tips to get out there and have fun in their RVs year-round.

So that’s why we wrote The Winter RV Camping Guide.

In this 36-page ebook – (NOT a Print book) we’ll walk you through what you need to do before you leave home to get your rig winter-ready, and we’ll cover what to do when setting up camp.

In the winter months, the forest transforms into a magical place of deep stillness and startling beauty that invigorates the soul. We love it so much we recommend every RVer try it at least once.

First, to be clear, this book is not for those who are seeking to live in their RV during the winter months in a cold climate. Living for months at a time in an RV in below-freezing temperatures will require different preparation than what we cover here.

And it’s really not for tenters, though, to be sure, there are a lot of winter tent campers.

But for those like us who enjoy winter activities and want to take their RV for a snowy adventure, this ebook is for you. This is mostly written with those in Motorhomes, Fifth Wheels, Travel Trailers, and Truck Campers in mind.

We’ll cover issues like water usage, keeping your rig warm, and bringing your dog.

We’ll share many tips we’ve gathered from our experiences so you will have everything you need to know to successfully enjoy a winter camping trip this year.

It is possible to use and enjoy your RV all year round.

And after you put into practice the advice we share in this eBook, we are sure you, too, will find an exciting new dimension of the RV Lifestyle.

There's no need to stop RVing when it gets cold! Some come on out with us and share the adventure!

Our second new ebook is….

A Newbie’s Guide to the RV Lifestyle

Unexpected Scares: Real Tales of RV Dangers 1

Let’s face it: the RV Lifestyle can be very challenging. So much to learn. So many options and choices. Whether just starting, hoping to travel more, or navigating the ever-changing landscape of new technology and RV features, it can be very overwhelming.

We’re all newbies.

I know when Jen and I were just beginning back in 2012, we felt like we were drinking from the proverbial firehose.

We learned soon enough that experience is the best teacher.

So, as we traveled, we sought out those who went before us. In emails, around campfires, and in remote boondocking spots, we found experienced RVers who helped show us the ropes.

Now, after 12 years of the RV Lifestyle and almost half a million miles, we’re doing the same thing.

Sharing our experience. The things we’ve learned. The mistakes we made. The successes and, most of all, the sheer joy and adventure that comes from the RV Lifestyle.

You’ll find it all in this 64-page ebook (digital PDF – NOT a print book) The Newbies Guide to the RV Lifestyle

In these pages, we'll explore every aspect of planning the perfect RV trip, from choosing the right RV to navigating scenic routes and creating unforgettable memories.

Packed with practical tips, personal anecdotes, and helpful resources, this book is your trusted companion for exploring the world on wheels. Each chapter not only goes into detail but also provides you with loads of helpful resource links to learn even more about each topic.

Are you, or someone you know, planning on RVing? THIS is the ebook to get first – before you purchase anything- to make sure you are heading in the right direction with the right RV and plans.

So, buckle up and get ready for the ride of your life. Consider this not just a guide—but an invitation to discover the joy of RV travel and the freedom of the open road.


social media buzz on the rv podcast

Wendy Bowyer reports on the hot issues most talked about this past week on social media and our RV Lifestyle Community group.

Over in our RVLifestyle Community, in the space called Mods and  DIY Tweaks, Bud and Sue said they never wanted a dishwasher in their Fifth Wheel, so they took it out and in its place installed two good-sized drawers and took a picture to show everyone. Many people really appreciated the change, said it was a great idea, and it gave others ideas of what they could do with their rig.

And then in the Traveling with Pets space, Christine asked: “Those who travel with cats, where do you put the kitty litter? Christine is thinking of putting it in the bathtub/shower area so it doesn't slide around, and wondered what others did. She got so many ideas.

Larry said his travel trailer has two doors. They only use the front door so the kitty litter goes by the rear door entry, gives the cat some privacy and is out of the way.

Paula puts her cat's kitty litter under the bed storage area, she uses a litter that doesn't really create a smell, cleans it every day, and this spot just keeps it out of the way.

Doreen does use the shower, but puts a puppy pad under it to protect the shower area, and then places a rug on the floor right outside it for easy clean up, just shaking out the rug as needed.

So many practical tips here for RVers who travel with their cat, and how traveling with a cat is really very easy.

Next, I'd like to tell you about a conversation over on our RVLifestyle Facebook group

Wade said he and his wife were heading out to look at Fifth Wheels and asked the veterans what advice do you wish you were given before buying your Fifth Wheel?

Lots of thoughtful answers here.

Several people said to make sure you can access important things like the bathroom or the refrigerator without having to open the slides.

Robert said to buy one for the size of your current family – not the family you hope will join you.

Go to an RV show and look at lots of models in one place.

Allison said to get an independent inspection done before you buy, even if it is new.

And many many others said to really look at vehicle tow capacities. Make sure your truck can pull the trailer. Don't trust what the salespeople tell you, but do your research and make sure the numbers work.


Unexpected Scares: Real Tales of RV Dangers 2

Don't be surprised if you hear or see a wolf this summer while camping in Colorado

Colorado Parks and Wildlife released 10 gray wolves in mid- and late-December as part of a voter-mandated species re-introduction effort. 

Over the next three to five years, 30 to 50 wolves will be brought to the state from 10 to 15 different packs.

The move was very popular in much of the developed areas of the state, and especially so in Denver. But it was not at all popular in rural agricultural areas, like Grand County, where farmers and cattle ranchers worried about the financial impact the wolves could bring to their livelihood.

The first 10 wolves were released in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests areas near the Rocky Mountain National Park. Both are popular wilderness areas for campers and now – there are wolves among the wildlife.

We wrote a 7-Day Adventure Guide for Colorado, which is helpful for planning campgrounds, sites to see and things to do. To learn more click here.

Magazine collects complaints of national parks from clueless tourists

Outside Magazine had a story over the holiday season that would be hilarious – if it wasn't so sad – on reviews people left complaining about the nation's national parks.

The magazine searched reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google for the best and worst reviews of our national parks in 2023, and you wouldn't believe what they found.

People actually complained that Shenandoah had a “mountainous area with trees, and some nice shrubbery [sic], but unfortunately, it wasn’t that entertaining. Underwhelming.” 

And someone complained that Colorado's Great Sand Dunes National Park was basically too sandy.

For the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, someone complained about no bear sightings, and said the “haziness” gave a headache.

To see our story on the best national parks for wildlife viewing, click here.

Campgrounds at 24 Michigan state parks will face delayed openings or partial closure this season during upgrades

Twenty-four Michigan state park campgrounds are undergoing numerous building projects that will cause temporary closures or delayed openings this year.

The state is investing $250 million to improve everything from trails and picnic areas to modernizing bathhouses, campsite electric hookups, wastewater treatment, roads and more.

Some of the more popular of the 24 campgrounds in the mix include Ludington, Wilderness, Tawas Point, Seven Lakes, Port Crescent, Interlochen, Bay City, and Tahquamenon Falls state parks.

The improvements vary by location. 

If you are planning a camping trip this summer to Michigan, be sure to check out our 7 Day Adventure Guides to help plan your trip. Michigan is our home state and one of our favorite places to camp.

Wholesale RV values drop

Wholesale RV values are declining, according to the Black Book RV market commentary for January 2024.

The average selling price for motorized units was down 9.7% from the previous month. Towables were down 4.3%.

Also the number of RVs sold during the Covid years are showing up at auctions.

To see the full story in RVBusiness, click here.


Unexpected Scares: Real Tales of RV Dangers 3

QUESTION: We’re heard to the Tampa RV Show in Florida and we’re unsure how much time to budget, We’re camped over by Lakeland and will be driving in on Wednesday the opening day. We’re figuring out daycare for our dog and don’t know how long we should book for. The other option is bringing him. He’s very well behaved and only weighs about 15 pounds. Is the show dog-friendly?

ANSWER: Yes it is. A small dog like yours fits in great. Most small dog owners have carriages they push for their dogs. Some even carry them on backpacks. The crowds can get pretty big, so if a small dog is on a leash, I’d worry about him getting stepped on. If you have a stroller for your dog, bring that. As to how much time to budget, let me just say this show is huge. It takes up the whole Florida State Fairgrounds there at Tampa and all of the display buildings. To really see it, you need two days. Jen and I will be doing meet and greets at different spots each day of the show. On Wednesday, when you are going, you can find us at 3 PM at The Battleborn Battery Display. You’ll get a map and show guide when you enter the show. To see our complete meet and greet schedule – look here.

QUESTION: There are so many planning tools for RV trips. What do you and Jennifer use?

ANSWER: Funny, you should ask that because I am planning our trip to Tampa right now. Whenever we do long multi-travel day trips, I first turn to TV Trip Wizard. It’s the most advanced RV Planning tool I know of and it is bundled in with a bunch of RV Life Pro features. 

It is built specifically for RVers and is a Visual RV Trip Planner with some very advanced features. It uses distance rings to show exactly where you’ll be at the end of your driving day to choose the ideal stop. It shows you a list of RV parks and campgrounds along your route where you can read reviews and even book your sites directly. I just did that for the three nights we’ll spend on the road this week driving to Tampa. It customizes RV Safe Routes to the height & weight of your RV. It lets you avoid low clearances, steep grades, weight limits, and propane restrictions. I will do a video on how we used it to plan this trip and have that out in a couple of weeks. But if you want to check it out go to

Mike Wendland

Published on 2024-01-10

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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