A Rather Challenging Day

Our trip has been filled with good times, some serious adventure, and lots of smiles; but some days are more challenging. Yesterday was one of those days. It started with a 300 mile drive to Hardin, Montana in 95 degree heat. When we arrived at the Campground and I took WB for his ritual new Campground stroll, I noticed the dry grass crunching under my feet. Woolly Bear then slipped his collar and made a game of tag out of me trying to catch him. Fortunately he stayed away from RVs and cars, and I was able to capture him. Today he is wearing his harness and cannot escape!

After capturing WB, I stepped into the RV to find Charlie had sliced his thigh open while making “extenders” for the sun visors out of corrugated cardboard. I washed the wound with peroxide, applied neosporin, and bandaged him up. We decided the bleeding had stopped and stitches were not needed. Our new cardboard sun visors add much to the aesthetics of the Winnebago:). But we tend to drive early as the sun is rising, and we have now turned East so the sun is directly in our eyes.

After cleaning up the cardboard and blood ( he used a sheet rock knife), I decided we would sit outside in the shade. I got our chairs and left Charlie with WB while I fetched beverages. Should be simple, right? As I exited the camper and went to close the door, I found it would not close.

This worried me, because 3 days earlier, at a gas station in Hinton, we could not exit the vehicle! Our RV has only the one door, no drivers door. We had pulled up to the gas pump and the camper door would not open. Charlie finally forced it open, and we had a mechanic look at the latch. He suggested cleaning the locking mechanism. So we had thoroughly cleaned the inner parts of the door latch just 3 days ago. It had worked fine for those 3 days, and we thought our problem was solved.

But it wasn’t. We now had a door that could not be closed. I had the owner of the KOA help Charlie take the lock apart yet again, and we thought we had it fixed. It would open and close from the outside. The man showed us how to open the lock from the inside ( components were sliding around and sagging out of alignment) and we knew we would need to replace the entire mechanism upon our return home. I was fearful that we would be unable to open the door from the inside, so Charlie went inside while WB and I stayed outside. I shut the door and asked Charlie to open it. He could not! He was stuck in the RV until I opened it from the outside.

This was scary. Our Winnebago Vista 26e has only one door. The escape window is probably 8 feet above the ground, and I am pretty sure both Charlie and I would get hurt badly trying to crawl out the window. But worse yet, WB would not be able to escape through the window. He weighs 90 lbs and could not be dropped 8 feet to the ground without being hurt badly. So, we decided to remove the entire door latch/ lock and secure it until we could get it fixed. That would allow us to be confident we could exit or enter the RV as needed.

We got the latch system out easily, just a few screws to remove. Then the fun of how to secure the door began. We tried string, wire, stainless steel tie wraps, and bungy cords. None worked as well as we would have liked. The steel tie wraps would be strong enough to hold the door as we drove, but would need to be cut each and every time we entered or exited the rig. And we did not have an unlimited supply. The bungy cords would allow the door to wiggle too much, but we thought we would have to make do. Charlie went to the back compartment to get more bungy cords, and spotted our canoe tie downs. We didn’t bring the canoes, but did bring the trusted Thule webbed tie downs, these  could be cinched tight and certainly hold the door closed as we drove down the highway. We were ecstatic! We added some duct tape to cover the rest of the opening and were good to go. I think we rival the Beverly Hillbillies with our duct tape, card Board visors, and tied door.

Today we drove 360 miles and the door stayed securely closed. It takes a minute longer to let the dog out and to get out for gasoline, but the peace of mind it brings is worth it. When we get home we will have the dealer repair the latch, but I may be resurrecting our backpacking and car camping tents!

6 thoughts on “A Rather Challenging Day

  1. Liz

    WOW!!! This sounds like an episode from McIver! You have certainly conquered your dilema with creativity, calmness, sense of humor and duct tape!
    Way to go Sara, Charlie and WB!
    Safe travels to you!!!!

  2. Chuck p

    It’s all part of the journey as they say. Last time with charlie it was a hatchet. Keep all sharp tools away from him. Have a safe trip home. Wrap charlie in some bubble wrap for the rest of the trip.

    1. Ramblin' Rose Post author

      Thanks, Chuck! You are right about the hatchet and the bubble wrap!!! And thank God we brought the canoe straps, as I don’t think anything else would have worked as well. The door rattles less now than it did before.

  3. Rocky Kopylec

    So glad to hear you’re on the way back. What’s the adventure with out a little blood, sweat, and tears. Stop in Indiana at the factory for the door latch. See you soon.

  4. Pam

    I here your frustration in this posting. So glad the injury was not to serious and that you were able to come up with a solution. A door swinging open on the highway would be scary. Have a safe trip home!


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