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What were your mishaps on the road whilst travelling


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We very stupidly drove up Lynton hill earlier this week, by the time I realised we should have gone left it was too late. Anyway we had to stop halfway up to let a fellow motorhomer pass on his way down (he didn't intend on stopping). I was 12" off the wall on a bend and rolled back to give him room. Trying to get the handbrake off after putting it on hard proved very difficult as it wouldn't release possibly due to all the weight against the gradient. Very difficult situation to get out of luckily no damage. What sort of mishaps have other members encountered during their travels?.
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Having taken a wrong turn, our sat nav re-routed us down a very narrow lane in France a few years ago, a lane that I should have refused then and certainly would nowadays.

At the end of the lane there was no turning space, only an open gate leading to a narrow farm track which the sat nav showed as a road, so we carried on for about half a mile through this huge vinyard much to the surprise of the many grape pickers we passed!

Eventually we came to a gated entry to a chateau where we were stopped by this chap who, in perfect English asked us where we were going. I apologised and said that we had taken a wrong turn and had been unable to turn round so we just kept going.

He just smiled, opened the gate and pointed us towards the exit and we thanked him and left.


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On picking up our 2008 Kontiki in early 2014, driving along a dual carriageway at 60mph for 5 miles with the rear ladder bouncing up and down on the black stuff. The lock had somehow come undone and let the top section of the ladder swing onto the ground. After hearing a knocking sound, thought we'd better pull over and have a walkaround.


No damage apart from the feet on the ladder were worn away :'(

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Many years ago, long before the advent of built in folding steps, we had already lost a couple of free standing steps by forgetting to fetch them in and leaving them behind ,and of course they were never still there when you went back for them!


So I attached the new one with a lanyard to ensure that we didn't forget it again. We were bowling along down a country roas in Scotland when this Police car came up behind us blues and twos going and headlights flashing.


Naturally, I pulled over to let him pass as one does as soon as there was space but imagine my horror when he stopped in front of us and a big burly copper got out of the passenger side and walked back towards us with his hand up in the halt position.


Oh bugger I thought, surely I wasn't going that fast through the last village? Keeping a poker face, the copper invited me out of the cab and round to the back of the van where I noticed that the step was still attached, albeit a bit the worse for wear and with it's legs a good inch shorter than they were earlier.


Oh dear, I said, I'm sorry about that whereupon he smiled, suggested that I might like to pick it up and put it inside and we would say no more on the subject!


So I apologised again, thanked the very nice policeman, did as he suggested, and we all continued on our merry ways.



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Many years ago we drove onto a cl somewhere near Bude and as we did the owner came out and pointed us towards a level spot at the edge of the field.


Thinking that he meant the bare bit that looked like it had been prepared as a sort of hard standing I waved and carried on.


That bare bit turned out to be alongside the grassy bit he meant us to park on, the bare bit having had until that very day an old caravan standing upon it.


Consequently the bare soil was soft - very soft - soft enough for all four wheels to sink to axle depth! As soon as we drove on I felt the front wheels go and tried to accelerate through but when the back wheels went too (rear wheel drive Bedford CF) I knew I had failed miserably.


The owner came over and we had a laugh then he said that he would get his neighbour over in the morning and were we OK there for the night.


We were level enough and at least we didn't need the long suffering step so we agreed and had a restful night.


We were woken at 7.30 am by the sound of a tractor and in a few minutes we were out and parked on the hard bit.


I thanked the farmer and offered to pay him but he refused payment because, as he said, it was worth it for the laugh to just see the van up to it's axles in the soft stuff!


Even the cl owner gave us the night free as he too said it had been worth the laugh as we ground to a halt!

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First time getting on a French motorway late at night after getting off the ferry, approach the peage, all barriers were down apart from 1, guess which one my hubby went through, so no ticket to get off the motorway. He had a little trouble explaining to a young French girl on the emergency phone how he had managed to get on with no ticket, but she only charged him 6 euros so he did well.


Won't make that mistake again.

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Whilst travelling back from Italy to Switzerland we decided to take the splugel pass over the mountains, unfortunately I missed the turning for the new road on the Italian side and ending up travelling up the side of the mountains for several kilometres around probably 20 to 30 very steep and sharp hairpin bends( OT was so scared she went in the back and closed the curtains ) until we reached a small tunnel entrance on a hairpin bend which had a 2.6m sign! We are 2.9m tall . I stopped and looked at the entrance for a minute got out and walked through ( there was very little traffic on this road), decided that I would very slowly attempt to drive through with my eldest son walking ahead with a torch making sure there was enough clearance with rock roof.


We made it but will never make that mistake again, good view though whilst going up!

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We were in Germany and we pulled off of the autobahn into a service area but missed the entrance and ended up in what looked like an abandoned industrial area. It was raining and we were in need of a cuppa etc and it was quiet so we stopped.


We then noticed a car driving round but paid no attention. Shortly after that we had a knock at the door and a short German chap with an uncanny similarity to that infamous German Fuhrer started ranting away at us in German, and pointing to the exit. So I smiled , noded, help up my cuppa and said 'funf minuten' where upon he started ranting again shouting nein nein. I nodded and he left, so we sat down had a giggle and finished our break.


When we went to drive out we found that he had padlocked a very heavy chain accross the road to prevent anyone getting in - and us getting out!


That's a nuisance I said - or something very similar!


The rain had stopped so I got out to inspect and found that the chain and padlock were pretty strong but the weak points were the shackle holding one end of the chain and the two peened over nuts and bolts holding the other end. Also the wooden posts at each end were not that heavy looking


Not wishing to cause any more damage than I needed to I decided against using the tow rope to pull the whole lot out of the way and elected to use tools to either undo the shackle or the bolt.


The shackle would not budge so after shearing of the eye on it I managed to get two long spanners on the nuts and bolts and sheared both off allowing us to leave the Fuhrers compound which we did at a healthy rate of knots!


It pays to carry a good toolkit!

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We had a brand new Auto Sleeper Harmony on a Talbot express and we were heading from the Midlands down the A 34 towards Portsmouth this was a Saturday morning and the ferry for our first ever trip to France was booked for Sunday morning (plenty of time) or so we thought, just got through Oxford and started to climb a bit of a hill on the dual carriageway, it was chucking it down with rain and the petrol engine just died, I managed to coast into a lay by in front on four or five houses , no mobile phone in those days and if you did, you couldn't afford to make a call, went for a wander looking for a phone box to call the AA, got back soaked through and had to bite the bullet and ask at a house, the door opened and this lady answered the door with a mouth full of sandwich and promptly shared it with me when she spoke.

The husband said, it was a good job you broke down by us because the neighbour 2 doors up would have gone ballistic if we had been outside his place.

The AA arrived, said he thought it was an electrical fault, pushed a few cables home and followed us for the next 15 miles we carried straight on toward Newbury and he turned off, all seemed well until we started to climb another small hill, this time, still raining I had to walk 2 miles to the nearest village to call the AA.

Two vans turned up, they couldn't see anything wrong but suspected that it was fuel, they followed us for around 40 miles, the AA man who was obviously the boss asked if he could drive and he did so until we ground to a halt, he jumped out checked the carb and it was as dry as a bone.

The towed us to the Tesco car park in Newbury.

They spent about an hour trying to fathom it out (we went and done the shopping come back made them a sandwich and a cup of tea before trying again, we set off the boss followed for miles(Ihad mentioned that when we took the petrol cap off there was a huge rush of air but that was sorted on the first service.

We stopped again on another uphill stretch, he had a eureka moment, there are two pipes on the petrol tank, one half way down the tank and the other at the bottom of the tank and they collapse to stop the engine sucking in air as the fuel drops, the mechanic must have put them on the wrong way round after fixing the air rush when the cap came off, but as he was under the van swapping them over another truck with flashing amber lights pulled up and said can you move only we are jacking the bridge up behind and in front of you to do some repairs and it will be at least a week before you can get back on the carriageway.

Luckily it was fixed and we made the ferry on time.


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Guest pelmetman

Drove down to Lamorna cove in Cornwall.........


The sign said no caravans.......but we're a campervan ;-) .........


Took 3 attempts to get back up the bleedin hill 8-) .........



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Many years ago when our then young son was into kites, we began in a small way, first with hand held, then on to old fishing reels attached to an old fishing rod butt section, until one year just before we went away he asked if we could take one of my bigger sea fishing reels to try.


So I stripped off the 35lb line from my conger fishing Abu 9000 and loaded a bulk spool of 20 lb line - at over 400 yards it was just shy of a quarter of a mile of line!


So we were up near a little place called Powfoot in Dumfrieshire on a breezy day by the coast and up went the kite, and up, and up, and up, and up until we could barely see it.


Eventually all the line was out and my dear son decided to give it an almighty yank to see if he could work it even higher. At that point the knot holding the line to the spool let go and off went the kite with 1/4 mile of line attached.


We watched if drift over what turned out to be a very secure government munitions base nearby and I decided that as it was around 1000' high it was a hazzard to aircraft and we had better follow it and let someone know. We followed it as best we could around the high wire fence and it seemed to stop so we drove round to the main entrance where we were stopped by an armed guard.


I got out of the van, explained as best I could what had happened, showed him the rod and reel and handed him a pair of binoculars so that he could see the kite. He was not amused!


After some discussion he phoned someone and two more army types soon appeared in a Land Rover. So I explained again and one of them laughed and said they would go and try to find it but couldn't guarantee returning it. I said that I was not bothered about getting it back but if you are to recover it you will need the rod and reel unless you have something else that will hold 1/4 mile of line!


They took the rod and reel, told us to wait there, and off they went. By this time the guard had mellowed a bit so we had a brew up in the van - the usual British answer to any crisis - and sat nattering until some 2 hours later just as it was getting dark the two guys in the Land Rover returned. They got out, and we offerred them a cuppa and biscuits, which they accepted then gave us back the kite, rod and reel with all the line neatly wound back on. Good job the reel had a line spreader!


Apparently the line had snagged on a power cable pole and they had to turn off the power, get a ladder, climb up, release the line without losing it, climb down, re-tie the line on the reel and wind it all in. What fun!


When I said 'that's a story to tell your grandchildren' little did I realise that I would be telling the tale to my own grand children one day!

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Its mid March, Clear skies and a force 8 easterly blowing and -5C as we are heading south fast towards the Loire Valley.


Passing oncoming truck sat close quarters is to say the least noisy as the wind seems to be distorting their windwash. As we pass it sounds and feels like the side of the van is being hit with a wet towel.


At about 16.50 hrs we stop at an aire and Val went back in the van to find the front roof light was missing.

Its likely the shock wave from the trucks was to blame.



I had nothing to block the 400 mm square hole but had noticed the vilage garage on the way in hoping there might be something in their rubbish skip went back and asked if I could have a look. With that a set of stepladders was produced and a roll of heavy duty cling film and in about five minutes they had us watertight for the night. Payment was declined. How civilised can you get.


Next day we found a dealer in Blois and got ripped off 100 Eros for a new skylight. In the UK they are £40.


In the late afternoon at an aire I found a high wall to shelter from the wind and donning artic gear got up on the roof and started repairs. After ten minutes some clothing came off as the the sun had warmed up the wall and it was now cooking me.


Fully weathertight we snugged down for the night alongside a canal with the usual tall popular trees with a rookery.


As dusk feel the rooks had a chat and settled down as did we. Sometime during the night we were woken by a major debate started in the rookery.


Morning broke very , very bright and a peek outside revealed a covering of snow had fallen overnight and came to the conclusion that the rooks had been voicing their disapproval at the vagaries of mother nature or perhaps the weather forecasters.


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Many years ago (early 70's) we had an Bedford C ex-ambulance. Used mainly as race transport for my brother's motorcycle racing. Friday evening travelling to Snetterton & the van slowly losing power until it got so bad that a deer running along side us & overtook us. Crawled in to Snetterton entrance so late it was locked for the night. 3 of us, the bike & everything else associated with it somehow managed to get some sleep. Next morning van wouldn't start but plenty of willing hands to tow us into the Pits. My brother got the motorbike out & tootled off to scrutineering, while I started on the van. Electrics & Carb all stripped cleaned & replaced, engine started ^ running OK. "Job's a gud un" I thought, prematurely !!

Racing finished, van loaded, set off for home around 6pm. Got on the Thetford straight, so increased speed, Oh NO. Instead of increasing speed, it started dropping. Quick check & carb float chamber almost dry. What to do now ??? Eureka moment - gravity feed will solve the problem. Tank off the motorbike, syphon fuel from the van tank, jerry rig the motorcycle tank from cab ceiling with flexy tube to carb. Well it got us home early hours of the Monday morning, after a couple of stops to syphon more fuel out of the van tank. I suspected fuel pump failure but it transpired that the fuel line had been rubbing against the chassis causing a pinhole & the pump had been sucking more air than fuel.

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Reminds me of the time that we conked out - in the middle of the Longleat lion enclosure - on a hot bank holiday Monday (remember them!).


We had been having fuel flow problems for a few days but the combintion of heat and slow running finally proved too much for the poor old fuel pump!


We held up a huge queue of following cars whilst the rangers hitched a chain to the front of the van, whilst others stood guard with rifles, then they towed us out. But we did get a great view of the lions as they wandered up to see what was going on.


My wife was terrified, my son thought it was hilarious - and me - I was just pi##ed off at the inconvenience and embarassment!


We spent the night at the CC site having lurched our way there in fits and starts and I scrounged a lift into Warminster on Tuesday where I bought a new fuel pump - as well as new wipers and washer jets to replace the ones the monkeys had devoured earlier!


Happy days!

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Wallynnette - 2015-09-26 8:13 AM

Looks like we're in a minority with mishaps though. (lol)


The longer you do it the more mistakes you make - and we've been doing this for a very long time!


However we do try to learn that there is no point in making the same mistake more than twice, especially because there are still so many new and undiscovered mistakes for us to make!

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Trying to find a CL I had booked in Devon, the instructions said "follow the road to the T-junction and ....". Well, no T-junction so no left or right turn and nowhere to turn around! Very narrow lane and too late to do anything else, I was suddenly faced with a 10% descent. There must be somewhere down there to turn I thought as I could see several homes down there. No!! There was only the same narrow road and same steepness on the ascent out. All went well until sharp bend with a huge pothole which the m/home became stuck in. All I could do was to reverse very gently into the bank so that the vehicle could not run back down the hill. No phone signal of course.

I struggled up the hill to stop any vehicles coming down and actually stopped quite a few. One of the cars thanked me and went off only to return in a few minutes to see if he could help.Much younger and agile than me he ran down the hill to see the problem. By this time I had a weak signal and called the breakdown people. Absolutely frozen by now the young man invited me to sit in his car to wait for the truck which eventually arrived after about 2 hours. Driver and young man went back down the hill. On their return truck driver said "not going down there, you will have to find a tractor" and with that left. Young man took me to a nearish farm (too far to walk) and eventually persuaded the farmer to come with tractor. Back to the layby and both disappeared down the hill and in a few minutes my m/home appeared. I was so grateful to that young man who absolutely refused any payment which was really fortunate as the farmer cleaned me out! However, he did have a campsite so at least I could get off the road (thick sea fog by now).

Final result: PWS back bar badly bent so one of them must have tried to drive off and rolled back again. Other than that all good but I wished I could have prised the young man's address out of him so that I could have recompensed him properly. I know I should have complained to the breakdown but too exhausted after all this.

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We had quite a large RV which we loved. Being reasonably seasoned motorhomers we decided to go to France and Spain for our 3 week holiday as usual and booked our tunnel crossing for late evening.

The trip to Folkstone was superb, these RV are fabulous provided you aren't intimidated by the size. We were near the front of the queue for boarding and we squeezed our way onto the train to be near the front. We had a trouble free crossing, and as the doors started to open we tried to start that big V8 diesel, the engine was seized up solid. The train man came along to see what was wrong, and he radioed for a tow truck, " no problem" he said. The one ton pickup that reversed into the train, complete with about 15 feet of chain, would probably struggled to move our 7.5 ton RV if we could have released the handbrake, but it didn't have one. Instead we had a facility to lock up the transmission, and you cannot disengage the transmission lock unless the engine was running. You may by now be getting the gist of this, you can't release the parking break unless the engine is running, and the engine is seized solid, and we are at the front of the train with 140 caravans and motorhomes parked behind us, and it is only just possible to walk past us.

We later found out that we had a cracked cylinder head which caused a hydraulic lock.

It took nearly 3 hours for all the caravans and motorhomes to reverse back out of the train, and we had been taken away because some people where turning nasty.

Eventually a local garage was called and he removed a fuel injector and got the water out, the engine started and we drove to his workshops, and 3 days later a replacement cylinder head was fitted and we were on our way.

I still wonder about all those 140 guys and hope that they enjoyed their holiday, and a final thought, not one of those caravaners took advantage of Eurotunnel's offer to push the caravans out if they unhitched them from the car.


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We have recently bought a second hand Burtsner Elegance 810i motorhome, and are very happy and proud of our new acquisition, and we super keen to get it out on the road for a weekends camping before the end of the summer.


As it was a new activity to our young family I took time to research into driving skills (which I should be okay at having driven HGV’s on and off for 20 years), where to visit and what procedures the various on board systems have to start and run.


So suitably trained, but with no experience we decided not to venture too far off and settled for a fairly local site Freshwater Holiday Park, near Bridport in Dorset. Well the journey there was great, even the high volume of traffic did not dampen our enthusiasm as we trundled west towards our home for the weekend. We arrived in a couple of hours booked in without any dramas and quickly set up in the pitch.


The first night was lovely we had a walk around the site, had a great dinner cooked and eaten all inside our lovely motorhome. The TV was turned on and the Oyster auto search satellite thingy did its stuff without fault. Settling down to a good nights sleep we all were quite proud of ourselves on how well we had coped, this motorhome milarky is not so hard, or so we thought!


In the morning the boys were up early off out on there bikes again playing with new found friends and having a great time, while me and my darling wife cooked the breakfast. So still a wonderful weekend break was continuing. With the dishes washed and the dogs walked I thought I would have a closer look at how to put up these awning thingies, we were given two with the purchase. A big 4.5m one which is part of the Fiamma roll our blind and a smaller one, which I later found just goes into the slot on the awning roll out sun blind.


So my first mistake was to wind out the awning, attach the legs and support bars, as this obviously was not needed because the smaller awning fits up against the side of the MH. Okay simple lets wind it in, this is where the problems started. My inexperience and typical rushing into it like a bull in a china shop attitude, caused me to try to wind the bugger in without first removing the support bars. When it would not wind in any further, what did I do…? I wound it harder, completely ruining the awning gearbox by stripping off all the thread.


After breaking this, I noticed my error of having not removed the support bars, so quickly stowed them away and went back to the winder. Nope it was well and truly buggered and no amount of winding is going to get this thing back in its box. So cuppa tea and have a think about this, as the future of attempting to drive with a bloody great sail hanging off the side of the motorhome did not look good.


Right suitably refreshed and having explained to the missus that the gearbox must have been broken, bloody sales man never told me that one did he! I approached the problem with a little more thought and a lot less brawn. By removing the cover I noticed a ½” drive socket, which must be used for something. So I got out my ½” socket set and gave it a couple of turns.


Great this is working the awning started to retract, but for some strange reason it would not remain in. each time I got to the point where it was nearly fully retracted it went spinning back out. Bugger it; on one of these roll outs it broke a support arm too.


Ok, so having figured that it does not self lock with out the gearbox, I had to go back to the drawing board and give it some more thought over another cuppa tea.


I could not see how else I was going to get out of this dilemma, driving down the road with the awning out was a none starter. Then the thought of it rolling out all of a sudden on the journey home, did not bear thinking about. Then I had a brain wave, looking at the straps I had used to secure the boys bikes in the garage, its so easy this, if I wind the bugger in all the way and then thread the strap behind the whole awning body at each end secure with the webbing straps job done. It sounds easier than it actually was to do, but I got the awning in and secure.

This whole incident had taken the better half of the morning but had not ruined the spirit, so we went off on our bikes the four of us and had a great day. Which was followed by a comfortable nights sleep and a wonderful Sunday mornings breakfast, but without the slightest temptation to touch the awning any more. We got back home also without any problems and all in all it was a great experience, which we will soon do again.


The cost dented my pocket around £300 in new parts for the awning, and are yet to be fitted, but I learnt so much.


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