So you think our RV is “Cool”? Well yes it is and that is exactly why we bought it. We saw a large vehicle that would not only take us off road, shelter us and take us where we want to go but it was also known as the “Cool RV”. We get questions, looks, pics and videos taken of us when we drive it around but take this as a warning when buying with big excited eyes like us. We are positive people and based on our tag line “live, love laugh and explore” we don’t want give out negative posts, information or vibes but this is a sad day and I don’t want anyone else to go through what we have gone through.
Today marks the day of 7 months since our last trip in our TravelingbeastRV. Today also marks the day when we were supposed to take our next epic trip across the country but unfortunately there he sits, lonely and sitting in the same spot as we parked it back in September. What happened? I wrote a very vague blog months and months ago about our mishap and it has taken me awhile to write what every body else who is thinking of buying the “Cool RV” some advice before they do.
Our RV is jacked up and standing tall but it’s heavy. It’s so heavy in fact that we have had two cracked wheels; one when we came back from a small two-day trip and the second on our day home from Asheville, North Carolina. The first cracked wheel was noticed while the RV was parked in our yard after the first two-day trip so we thought maybe we just drove too fast or hit too many bumps. We called the previous owner who put those particular wheels on the RV (who was also the person who converted it to 4×4) and he said “yeah I had a wheel crack on me once when we rode it hard on the beach off-roading.” So we thought OK no big deal and luckily he had another set where we bought one and had him replace for us. Wait, it gets worse…
Within our first 4 days of our Asheville trip JR’s brother noticed a rear left tire getting flat and we needed to pull over. Weird because that was the same side and wheel as last time. We had to find a quick fix because we had 6 more days on our trip. So we found a welding shop about an hour away. Whilst driving to this welding shop we had to stop and fill up every 10 miles or so which was stressful in its self. We get the welding shop and the owner said he does not weld aluminum wheels anymore due to the liability. After begging to get his help and to pay cash for his work ($500 out of our pocket that we could not use on our trip) he decided to do it. Five hours later we were back on the road to our next stop and just hoping we got there in one piece.
We Are Saved?
We arrived to our camping spot for the next four days and had a great time! We constantly checked the wheel throughout the days we spent there and it seemed fine. On our day home which was supposed to take us 8 hours took us another 28 hours. An hour into our trip I see the tire blow out and smoke everywhere! JR did amazingly pulling over on the side of the highway in what looked like a calm matter while I was freaking out. What happened was we moved the welded cracked wheel over to the right side rear because all the tanks are on the left side of the RV. The water tank, grey water tank and black water tank all on the same side. As a precaution we thought moving it to the side with no tanks would be more safe, but it was not.
We called our road side assistance and they sent someone out in about an hour. Unfortunately, the tow company that answered my insurance company thought they said “Golf” like the Volkswagen golf and not our brand which is a Gulf Stream RV. He basically didn’t have the tools to lift up our RV and put on the spare but you know what we didn’t have the tools or jack to do that either. So we called the insurance company back and they sent out someone else and made sure they knew it was an RV. Three hours later they came out, spare tire was put on which was an old dry-rotted and small donut. We sat on the side of the busy highway where there was also a major accident that happened a few miles up creating dead stop traffic. We thought we may have caused the accident or traffic with our “Cool RV” but the tow driver reassured us we did not because he saw it happen 15 minutes before he got to us. The only luck we had that day was a large road sign that said “Campground next Exit” which seemed to be a sign, if we believed in that.
We got to the campground extremely slowly because we were riding on a donut and an almost full tank of water and gasoline. We showered and calmed down and started looking for tire centers as close to the campground as possible. We wrote a list of tire places and a list of all equipment we need to purchase to make sure this did not happen again. We also started researching why this happened to us and what we need to take responsibility for.
- Buy a Jack!
- Buy a new spare wheel
- Better yet buy two new spare wheels
- Always, always empty your water tanks before traveling even if it’s for an hour
- Buy all new wheels
We woke up the next day and called all the places we looked up the night before. After two hours we found a company willing to work with us but they were 45 minutes away which was longer than we wanted due to the donut we were riding on. The customer service rep we worked with in Salem, North Carolina was super nice and he found a dully wheel for us to get us home! Unfortunately, they did not have it in stock at their particular location but at a nearby location which was about an hour west. We had no choice so the carrier went to pick up the dully wheel and three hours later it was put on and we were on our way!
JR drove the whole way home because he wanted to keep us safe in case we had another blow out or any problems. We sat on the edge of our seats until we saw our driveway at almost two in the morning. I always hate coming home from vacations because I just want to keep exploring but this was definitely a time when I was so happy to see a safe place.
So there are many lessons here that I hope we can share with others and if you have had a similar problem like this or just want to share another nightmare, please leave a comment below because we could really use some encouragement! For those who tell us all time how cool our RV is we do appreciate it but if you are about to find one you own here are our items for you to look for:
- Know the weight of your RV before full tanks and after.
- Ask your RV dealer if they know if the wheels and tires on RV now are from the previous owner.
- Know what kind of wheels and tires are on your RV and make sure you look up reviews and check with manufacture that the wheels and tires can hold the weight of your vehicle.
- Check the spare tire that comes with vehicle and if it looks “iffy” see if the deal will negotiate a new one in the sale.
- Everything on or done to the “Cool RV” you are looking at make sure you learn all about it from the dealer and if they don’t know do your research!
So this is me looking out our “Cool RV” window that has not moved in 7 months. The view I should be looking at this week are canyons and the desert of the West but instead I am looking out at my own yard wishing I was able to go with JR to Overland Expo West in our TravelingbeastRV. We still have not been able to afford to finish the new wheels on the RV and that is why it is still sitting here but after this negative moment we have talked, planned and kept each other’s spirits lifted up as much as possible. Please do your research before buying an RV and always come together as a team and work together through tough travel times like these.