August 22, 2015


Humility is something that always seems to be easily forgotten and painfully remembered. The plan was to spend the day at Boya Lake and enjoy a warm, sunny afternoon fishing and canoeing around. Jacob and I headed over to the rental canoes at noon to see if we could take two out. On our way, we saw that all three of the best campsites at Boya Lake were vacant and made the executive decision that our family should move from our mediocre campsite to one of the high quality sites. The sites were closer to the campground entrance, so Mom and Jake sat at the site while I biked back to the moho to tell Dad, Naomi, and Hannah, who were cleaning, that we were moving. Naomi and I left Dad and Hannah to finish packing up and took the Suzuki to the new campsite. A few minutes later, Hannah showed up on one of the bikes and let us know that Dad was bringing the Moho over. I waited for 10 minutes or so before deciding he was taking too long and headed back on the bike to see if he needed any help. I had just started back  when I heard a loud noise that sounded like someone hitting gravel with a trailer hitch. I came around the corner and saw a deep gouge in the road next to a narrow driveway that sloped steeply down towards an empty campsite by the lake. I hadn’t passed anyone on the way in, so I was wondering where the people from that campsite had gone when Dad came around the corner in the RV. He stopped and asked me to look at the back of the RV to see if he had wrecked anything. Suddenly worried, I biked quickly behind the Zehnderprise. My heart sank when I saw the damage. The entire left side of the back bumper had been ripped off and was only held on by electrical wires.

DSC_5770.jpgI got everyone to take a picture to try and improve moral

There is only one road that heads back to the campsites further away from the entrance, and it is quite narrow. There are several oneway offshoots on the way in that loop to other campsites. Dad thought that he had taken a wrong turn onto a one way road, and was worried that if he met another RV that they wouldn’t be able to pass each other, so he decided to turn around. Since he had been driving the moho for almost a month now, he figured he could manage backing into the steep narrow road. He successfully backed down, but on his way up, the back end of the moho swung into a tree which grabbed the back panel and didn’t let go.

We took a quick look for any pieces on the ground and drove over to our new site. At the new and improved campsite we assessed the damage:

  • The rivets that connected with the plastic bumper to metal panels all ripped out.
  • The gas cap, which was pretty high tech for a gas cap, was torn in half and pulled through the plastic panel. The gas tube (where you put the gas in) was also pulled out of alignment which tore the plastic guide holes on the bumper.
  • A white tin piece that runs vertical down the back of the RV and covers a wire was pulled off its screws and twisted out at the bottom.
  • Two gouges, about an inch deep and 2 inches long, were torn in the body of the RV where branches scraped the side.
  • None of the electrical wires seemed damaged, and all the lights still worked. Finally some good news!
DSC_5779.jpgThe back bumper
DSC_5777.jpgThe gauges
The gas line behind the bumper

Considering how devastating it could have been, the damage wasn’t terrible. There was very little bent metal, and the plastic wasn’t broken anywhere. We sent the girls out on the lake and got to work. Jake bent and reattached the white tin while dad and I looked at how to reattach the plastic panel without any rivets and minimal selection of nuts, bolts, and screws. With both of us on the problem, we were able to come up with a solution. We cut access holes into the back of the plastic panel to give us the ability to feed a bolt through where the rivets used to be. It took some fiddling, but we were able to reattach the panel solidly. Jake got the tin piece back in place, and the gas tube was realigned after some new guide holes were drilled. Dad fixed the gauges with silicone, PL 8X, roof sealant, and some gorilla tape. Four hours later, she was good as new! The whole incident served as a good reminder, with minimal permanent damage, to always have someone spotting when maneuvering in close quarters no matter how confident you are with a vehicle.

DSC_5784.jpgLuckily we had a yoga mat!

DSC_5782.jpgWe had to bring out all the tools 


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