RV Tales #4 – San Diego to Portland

By Jason Moffatt | Travel

Dec 26

A couple of weeks ago a neighbor asked me… “Have you seen the movie “RV” with Robin Williams?”

“Nope” I replied. “But I will now that you mention it.”

A couple hours later I got a text from my accountant Steve that read… “Check out TBS. They are playing RV right now.” What a coincidence! Actually, I’m not much surprised by these random acts of coincidence. I tend to magnetize this type of stuff.

So I started to watch the movie and pretty much hated it. It’s full of Robin Williams running into just about every problem known to man and RV’s. Not exactly the experience I want to cement into my mind at the moment. I laughed a few times, but overall I thought the movie was pretty lame.

Death To Smoochy in comparison was about 15 times better and considering that wasn’t a very epic flick, it gives you an idea just how bad RV really was.

Now I know first hand how Robin Williams felt in that movie. It seems that when you start RV-ing full time, you can expect all kinds of crazy shit to happen. And happen it sure did.

I had a pod delivered to my front door step before departing. Hired movers loaded the thing full to the brim as I packed my clothes and the few items I needed for my travels. Then I proceeded to accidentally tip the movers 75% of the cost of the move. Merry Christmas guys. Once everything was stowed away, I was finally on the road.

Quickly I learned that it’s always a good idea to make sure all the cupboards and closets are closed. As I veered left onto Interstate 5, books and CD’s started toppling all over the floor from above. A bit later,  some CD’s landed directly on my head (not really the kind of head banging music I’m into).  Luckily, these were minor incidents compared to what was about to happen.

I was on the road for about an hour and a half and all seemed just fine. The white knuckled feeling was starting to subside. As I approached South Central Los Angeles something went terribly wrong.

I heard a loud BOOM and feel the entire rig violently shaking.

I BLEW A DAMN TIRE!

This video below explains it in more detail…

The tire blowing experience was surreal. I was traveling in the middle lane, doing about 60 mph. Cars were surrounding me on all sides. After all, it is a freeway in LA at 2 o’clock pm.

Once the front tire blew it was difficult to keep the RV in the lane. It instantly started swerving into the left lane and cars were frantically trying to get out of the way. A quick peek into the right rear view mirror allowed me to see a small bit of clearance to get to the right shoulder.

I was able to safely navigate the 38 foot beast to the right hand emergency lane on the side of the road. There wasn’t much room, but just enough to get the rig off safely. Well, sort of safely.

Within minutes, a couple of trucks had their passenger side mirrors brush against my driver side mirrors. Luckily, they just kissed each other and no damage was done.

So I make the call to Triple AAA. Thank god I got the full RV package a few weeks ago before I ever hit the road. Can somebody say “Lifesaver”?

Well, it took AAA about 3 hours to arrive on scene. Apparently they couldn’t find replacement tires (you’ll understand why in a bit). I wasn’t too pissed about the time it took, but I was peeved that they told me it was going to be 30 to 45 minutes. Yeah, okay, sure. I didn’t really expect 30 minutes, but I also didn’t expect 3 hours.

Triple AAA = FAIL

I had 4 cold Corona’s chilling in the fridge that I desperately wanted to chug. I figured that probably wasn’t the greatest call though. Damn. O well, at least I had that Stevie Ray Vaughn “Live At The El Mocambo” VHS tape still in the VCR. Ahhhh Lenny.

A few minutes later a CHP pulled up. Yep, a CHIPS guy just like John and Ponch, minus the motorcycles. I told him of my woes and that Triple AAA was on the way. The stater was trying to urge me to drive the rig off the freeway on teh rim. “Hell no” I replied. The tow guy was on the way, and there was no way I was going to damage the rig any further. He was concerned that the tow truck driver would not be able to repair my tire without closing down the entire right land of the freeway. He had a valid point, but I was not moving the rig.

The cop bailed the scene without even asking to see my ID or insurance (I wish the next cop that pulled me over later in the story was as chill).

A couple hours later a tow truck driver shows up with a replacement tire. We still had the dilemma of getting the tire on without getting run over by rush hour traffic. Luckily, I had a idea. Maybe I could pop off the passenger side mirror and get an extra 12 inches of room to work with. The right side mirror sticks out about a foot and was preventing us from getting any closer to the wall.

Sure enough, the allen wrench that I had just been using to take apart my desk fit the bolts in the mirror. Woo hoo! I took that bad boy off and moved the rig 11 inches closer to the wall. Now, I had to jack the thing up without scraping the side of the rig on the wall.

The Mexican tow truck driver helped guide me while jacking up the RV with the hydraulic jacks. Without those hydraulic jacks we would of been hosed. We cleared enough room for him to get the tire on, and within 20 minutes I was ready to roll again.

Total cost came to $125 and a new pair of boxer shorts. Not too shabby all things considered. Come to think of it, I never actually paid for the tire. The owner of the company had to call me and gave me a address to send a check to. I forgot all about that until just now. I hope I still have that address.

So, I’m ready to roll again and I instantly get off the freeway to figure out what my plan is. If one tire blew up, what about the rest? Surely I didn’t want to go through this experience again.

I was really pissed because the first question I asked Camping World during my RV orientation was… “Do I need new tires?”. The told me that these tires were made in 2001, and the life expectancy of most RV tires is about 5 years. However, these tires still had tons of tread and there were no visible signs on cracking on the side walls. They assured me there was still some miles left on them.

WRONG!

So I got off the freeway and decided to do some investigating. But first, I decided to stop for my first diesel fill up. That wasn’t too bad. And seeing 5 cops at the gas station really made me feel like I had landed in a nice and pristine area. Geez, can it get any worse?

Then, I saw a large propane tank and asked the asian dude if I could fill up there. He assured me I could and instructed me to maneuver the rig into a small fenced in area. It was too crowded, and I almost side swiped a Cadillac. No thanks I told him, I’ll try somewhere else.

So I parked for a bit to relax my mind and check my email. I also let Webber piss on a bunch of bushes near a elementary school. While on the internet I started calling around to tire shops and doing a bit of research.

Apparently, Goodyear manufactured a tire “G 159” that was NEVER structurally designed to be safe for class A RV’s. These tires were made for low speed buses in the city. When you put these tires on Class A RV’s that are on the freeway, the sidewalls heat up and blow out.

Goodyear themselves have admitted this and a class action lawsuit hammered them a few years ago. Within one hour I had more knowledge about RV tires then anyone I had met at Camping World. The fact that they let me drive away on these tires was appalling at best. Especially since they knew I had a open check book and was willing to buy ANYTHING needed for the trip.

By this time I was furious. I called the Camping World a few blocks away from where I was and explained the situation to them. They went on the hunt for some new tires and I moved the RV into their parking lot for the night. I’d have to wait until the morning to get some new tires.

When I finally got to the Camping World parking lot it was deserted and boring. But I did have 4 cold squeezers in the fridge. Time to crack those while I took Webber for a walk along the train tracks.

As more boredom set in, I decided to do a Google search for a local bar. Wouldn’t you know it… Imperial Showgirls was just down the block. A quick cab ride later and I was standing at the front entrance looking for the door man. Apparently there was a $16 cover charge.

Seeing no door man, I decided to let myself in. The place was nearly empty. I chatted with the bartender, or should I say… watertender because they didn’t even serve booze in this place. ARgggg. Cali strip clubs suck.

The action picked up and I had a decent time. (Strip club tip – don’t use the ATM’s in those places. This machine charged a 10% transaction fee.  Great business tip – Do get into the ATM business if you supply strip clubs.)

I called a cab and went back to the parking lot and fell asleep.

In the morning Camping World could only install 3 tires for me. I’d have to cruise to Valencia to get 3 more. They also buffed out the tire marks on the side of the rig and refastened the panel that had jarred loose. They worked on the rig from about 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and I was ready to roll again.

The stop in Valencia took about 2 hours as well. When it was all said and done, I had spent about $4000. But I did have new tires and that made me feel much safer.

Before taking off, I decided to have a try at filling the propane one more time. There was this old asian dude manning the service station. He looked a lot like Mr. Miagi, but didn’t have nearly the grace. In fact, he couldn’t even get the propane hose on the nozzle for about 4 minutes. I almost had to do his job for him. Poor old guy.

Now it was time to climb the Grapevine. Climbing the Grapevine was pretty easy in this rig. I’d pass up big diesels with no problem. It was coming down the other side that was sketchy. This was the first time I had used the exhaust brake, or “Jake Brake” in trucker lingo. All in all, it was pretty easy. Another hurdle accomplished.

I drove through the night and parked at a truck stop about 150 south of Sacramento for a bit to eat. Lucky me, the Colts were playing a Thursday night football game. I watched Peyton do some of his magic, bs’d with some truckers and then got back on the road. After about 45 minutes I decided to call it quits. Webber and I hit another truck stop and passed out.

When we awoke in the morning I was anxious to get across the Oregon border. I didn’t want to hit any snow in the mountainous area of Ashland.  We drove and drove and drove.

Finally we stopped in Weed. Weed is a great place. I remember staying with 2 cool lesbian chics there about a decade ago. I could probably settle down in a town like Weed. We didn’t stay long even though we wanted to.

Everything seemed to be working out okay. No snow through the pass and we were making great time. I stopped in Grants Pass for a quick nap and then decided we’d do the last 4 hour stretch and get into Portland around midnight. I couldn’t wait to get into town and have a nice beverage or six.

Finally, we hit Salem Oregon. Only one hour away from our destination. Then…. Red and Blue sirens. Shit! Cops were pulling me over.

A young state cop seemed to be in disbelief that the RV was truly mine. He kept asking questions about whether or not I had narcotics inside and whether or not I truly owned the vehicle.

After about 15 minutes of interrogation he finally let me go. Apparently $70,000 in cashiers checks with your name on them works as pretty good proof you aren’t a thief. I wouldn’t let him enter the RV to search and he ended up letting me go.

Whew! Luckily he didn’t find the dead hookers in the trunk.

Finally, an hour later we exit the 205 freeway onto Foster road and are headed to the bar for a nice cold squeezer. We made it. Yippee!

What happened next when I got to the bar was even cooler. I’ll save that story for next time.

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About the Author

Jason Moffatt is a former private detective turned internet marketer who uses his skills of keen observation and deductive reasoning to pinpoint the easiest paths to success online. He’s passionate about helping entrepreneurs in the health & wellness field along with those in the personal development space. Jason believes we’re all a work in progress and that each day presents an opportunity to be a little be better than the last.

Facebook comments:

  • Michelle Trent says:

    Loving RV Tales!

  • Fred says:

    lol… If ya liked the Grapevine you’re gonna love Cabbage :0) Keep the info coming. Man, I sure hope we can meet up somewhere along the way.

  • Liz says:

    Hi Jason,
    Sounds like the trip’s starting off with a “Bang”.
    It’s gonna be helluva a great time.

    Good job for not letting that rookie do an
    “illegal search” without probable cause.
    He had no right to even STOP you for crying out loud.
    (I am constantly having to explain my rights to the policy enforcers)

    You are going to have the trip of a lifetime. Can’t wait to hear some more!
    Make sure to keep a journal.

    Take it easy JMo,
    Liz

  • Dick Mccarville says:

    Too funny! I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story. Reminds me of many adventures. Jason, I hope everything went well and you had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends.

  • Mitch says:

    This is going to be one hell of a voyage. I really do think you missed the boat by not hiring your own production crew. By the time this is over I guarantee you would have had a hit tv show.

    This whole thing has a weird vibe about it to me. Be careful JMo.

  • Josh says:

    Love the beard man! I am sure your Christmas was one of the best yet, I hope it was white to… What’s the plans for New Years Eve? I guess we may find out … You can do one of your U-stream things from the RV? My wish for you is now more flat tires the rest of your RV Days man.. Happy Holidays!

  • @ Mitch ~ Got the production crew covered man. http://www.roadbandit.com will be filming everything!

  • Jay NaPier says:

    Other than the total lack of a resale value on an RV and the price of fuel – ouch!! The reliability factor comes in too.

    Which is why I prefer a nice rental car and a luxury condo!

    Jay NaPier

    P.S. – Ok, gotta say that I have dreamed of doing an RV trip and will be glued to your blog waiting on more updates!

  • Kat Harris says:

    Hi Jason,
    Great story! I used to sell RV’s back 20+ years ago….one of the few female ‘rv salesmen’ around at the time.
    I was reminded of the time we were doing a show. Our dealerhship was located in the Clearwater/St. Pete area, in Florida. The show was in Sarasota……across the Sunshine Skyway bridge, which runs about 5.5 miles and in the center goes way high up in the air, to accomodate the big ships coming in to Port of Tampa.
    We were short on help at that time, so salespeople and some office staff also had to drive units to the show. I got elected to drive a 34′ motorhome PULLING a 26′ travel trailer. (You also have to understand, I’m 5′ tall, don’t even weigh 100lbs)
    It just so happened that a storm was moving in, and wind gusts were running up to 60mph. Talk about SCAAARY!
    Well, I did it! However they did have to pry my hands off the steering wheel when we arrived at our destination….lol!

  • Kat Harris says:

    PS: Have an awesome trip man! I promise it’ll be a ton of fun…and you’ll have some more exciting, scary experiences along the way.
    BTW: we used to always tell our customers, especially if they were first time RVers, to do a couple of shakedown cruises, going places nearby for the weekend, before taking off cross-country….That way you can make sure all systems work, and be sure you know how to work them…..lol! Anyway maybe, just maybe, you could have gotten that blowout out of the way, while you were still close to home.

  • Jan says:

    Great story Jason. I hope you’re putting all this on film! Online Business Road Movie Show, Episode 1. Or something…I have the feeling that this trip might change your life. Happy new year in advance!

  • Dennis says:

    Hey my Friend!
    Merry xmas and soon a happy new one 😎

    I traveled for years in a motorhome and I can relate to whats happen for ya!
    I like to here the details of your excursion across america maybe canada?

    Any who, I will always remember the great times I had ( a few in a club with booze or at least set ups) traveling and a few scary times, Don,t rush, take your time and enjoy! see the sites yellowstone,etc.

    It good you got some company on the road, especially if you can trade off driving.
    Stay Cool Sir!
    I wish you the best both in this holiday time and your time as a road gypsy.

    Dennis

  • Hey Jason, You rock, thanks for taking us with you, great story. Every dude over 50 is riding shot gun vicariously. B Bop

  • Kelley says:

    Hi Jason,

    Great story. Can’t wait to see the film when you are done. This
    would make a great reality show on tv. Waiting to hear what comes next. Be careful driving and stay safe.

    Kelley

  • Wow what an adventure. Can’t wait for the next part. He you had a very Merry Christmas. I live in Canada so I guess its different down there in the States. All the best of luck fr Heather

  • Jason,

    Surprised by your reaction to the movie RV.
    Any time on the road and you’ve got to relate.

    Looking forward to more blog posts.

    Bob Erwin

  • Steve says:

    I’ve been thinking of doing the same sort of thing with a motorhome and I’m learning a lot just reading your stuff. One thing I know from my ex-father in-law (who had a big motorhome like yours), those things can nickel and dime (or more like hundred dollar) you to death. Thanks for a great story.

  • Dog says:

    This whole story sounds like a movie called “Tales from the Trip”.

    I like the fact that you included your dog in the adventure – misadventure.

  • Crystal* says:

    Hello there Master Rider:

    Have ye ever heard bout the “Red Paper Clip” Tales?

    If you make it to Vancouver, Canada… look us up, some interesting sights and future endevors…
    I can relate to your experience… Must have a few “angels” keeping you safe, as did I when, I fell asleep on the “Sea to Sky” (the road to Whistler Ski Village) and had an Out of Body experience, viewing my body, but unable to get my arms to work….They did have to take the Roof off to get me out of my Van, and then, I eventually had to buck up $500 for hitting the telephone pole, that likely stopped me! This was in the middel of the night… burning the candle at both ends, but totally sober, just tired. So don’t be driving when body wishes to sleep!!!

    Wishing you only a safe journey and congrats on Mastering your experience, must be no different than some of those waves, both in the water and on the land.

    Safe travels, good people, great food, crisp and clean moments and beautiful sunsets!
    C*

  • granmomangie says:

    I’ve done the RV living. I enjoyed it. Plan to do it again.

    Hell you don’t like your neighbors, starter up and pull away. Got to love that.

    You’ll have some awesome times. Can’t wait to hear about them.

  • Hey, I am doing the RV living at the moment my-self and loving it. In San Francisco at the moment. If you need to find a good place to park in the city over here, I know the perfect spot.

    Enjoyed your story, I need to start writing more about my stories as well.

  • Glyn says:

    Hey Jamo, you should create an info product with all the stuff you are learning as you live your new mobile lifestyle for all those people like myself who are green with envy.

    Keep trucking, keep safe and keep us posted.

  • bob rettman says:

    Hey Jason, how close did you say you were to South Central? This is what probably what really happened: RV’s are large targets. Most likely a sniper, who saw you coming from a very long way off, took a bead on your tire and Boom!! shot it out. You manage to swerve and fish tail over to the shoulder. You are alive! This is an important factor in the plan, because if you would have died, it would have screwed up the whole business venture. When you call it in, this particular area of highway is exclusively serviced by the person who came out to help you. The highway authority sections off the highway by miles. The sniper was not shooting randomly. He was positioned on that section of road because his friend, the one who came out to service you, pays him for the cost of his bullet and gives him a percentage of the money made on the road call. Capitalism is wonderfully at work here. This sniper team actually creating business for themselves and reaping the rewards of their efforts.
    Ain’t capitalism grand?? To be honest Jason, I just made this whole scenario up based on what happened to me a few years ago. I attended a huge New Year’s Eve party. A few hundred people. When the event was over we all piled out to find that every car within a two block area had, not one flat tire but all four tires were flat on every car. Everybody panicked. It was freezing cold out. Who should drive down the street (at three a.m.) but a tow truck with a huge air tank on the back. We attack the guy begging him to help. He says “I hope your tires haven’t been slashed because then I will not be able to help you” He gets down at the first car and immediately says “Oh look whoever did this to you only loosened the stems so the air would come out. All I have to do is tighten them up and fill them with air. The charge? Five dollars per tire. $20.00 bucks a head. The guy went right down the street from car to car raking it in. Later we found out that the guy is notorious in the area for hiring young guys in the neighborhood to loosen the stems and just happens along in his tow truck. He kicks them back a percentage of what he makes. (a small percentage) Creating business where there is none. What a capitalist!
    Only In America huh? bob

  • Brett Jarvi says:

    Hey Jason,
    Life on the road is refreshing, you just never know what cool random adventure is next. I spent half my life as a nomad carpenter. Kind of like a modern day cowboy. I still feel the urge to wander. As soon as business starts booming, I am going to at least cruise out of Minnesota for the winter.
    On a sunny beach somewhere poking at my laptop, sipping on a cold one…

    Keep living the dream and leave a light on for me.

  • Jason, this stuff is great! Ha! What an adventure just starting out. Rock n roll. Rock n roll.

  • Queen F says:

    I have the same kinds of adventures at the fart factory:

    http://www.fartsfromtheheart.com

  • Scottie says:

    Hey Jason,
    Scottie here, I’m one of Randy’s good buddies here in LV, sorry to hear about your early mishaps, hope everything going smoothly now. Randy has told me alot about you and is very excited that you guys are joining up. I’m excited myself you guys seem to share a common goal. Well I can’t wait meet you myself when you get to sin city, we shall party it up!

    Scottie

  • Dude I’m hooked……more videos more videos!!!

  • Mark Vann says:

    Hey Jason,
    Now thats a great story! Life can get very interesting on the road, but its great! Be safe!

    mark

  • Hey – Jason!

    I’m taking notes – I want to do an RV trip myself. Note to self: do research before I leave home. Reading your story I’m thinking, gosh, I wonder if I could have pulled out of that mess as well as you did?

    Looking forward to more of this adventure – keep the patter going.

    Margaret

    • Thanks Margaret. I did a ton of research myself before taking off. Unfortunately I think nothing replaces real experience. What a long strange trip it’s been (and it’s just started).

  • Hey Jason, how close did you say you were to South Central? This is what probably what really happened: RV’s are large targets. Most likely a sniper, who saw you coming from a very long way off, took a bead on your tire and Boom!! shot it out. You manage to swerve and fish tail over to the shoulder. You are alive! This is an important factor in the plan, because if you would have died, it would have screwed up the whole business venture. When you call it in, this particular area of highway is exclusively serviced by the person who came out to help you. The highway authority sections off the highway by miles. The sniper was not shooting randomly. He was positioned on that section of road because his friend, the one who came out to service you, pays him for the cost of his bullet and gives him a percentage of the money made on the road call. Capitalism is wonderfully at work here. This sniper team actually creating business for themselves and reaping the rewards of their efforts.
    Ain’t capitalism grand?? To be honest Jason, I just made this whole scenario up based on what happened to me a few years ago. I attended a huge New Year’s Eve party. A few hundred people. When the event was over we all piled out to find that every car within a two block area had, not one flat tire but all four tires were flat on every car. Everybody panicked. It was freezing cold out. Who should drive down the street (at three a.m.) but a tow truck with a huge air tank on the back. We attack the guy begging him to help. He says “I hope your tires haven’t been slashed because then I will not be able to help you” He gets down at the first car and immediately says “Oh look whoever did this to you only loosened the stems so the air would come out. All I have to do is tighten them up and fill them with air. The charge? Five dollars per tire. $20.00 bucks a head. The guy went right down the street from car to car raking it in. Later we found out that the guy is notorious in the area for hiring young guys in the neighborhood to loosen the stems and just happens along in his tow truck. He kicks them back a percentage of what he makes. (a small percentage) Creating business where there is none. What a capitalist!
    Only In America huh? bob

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