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Blue Snoopy is a 2012 Nova Vita Caravan pulled by a 2012 Nissan Navara ST Dual Cab Ute.

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Stranded – Don’t let this happen to you.

Whilst we were travelling to Mudgee to join the Winnebago Opal Safari, we pulled off the Great Western Highway at the Mt Boyce lookout (just past the Heavy Vehicle Weigh Station to the west of Blackheath in the NSW Blue Mountains) to have lunch.

After having a quick look for a level area that was large enough for the motor home to park, “He” decided that the area was unsuitable and elected to depart.  The motor home was reversed to a point where a 180 degree turn could be executed in a single motion.  However, what “He” had not noticed was that the area chosen to make the turn contained a “dip” that was a path for water runoff. 

During the process of making the turn through the dip, the rear facing exhaust touched the dirt and was blocked.  This caused the engine to stall and the motor home was “beached”.

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Why did this happen?  Unlike a normal car where there is not normally a large distance from the back wheels to the rear of the vehicle. there is a sizeable “overhang” on our motor home (the “over hang” is within legal requirements.)  Therefore, as the front wheels of the motor home passed the bottom of the ditch and commenced the exit climb, the rear of the vehicle (exhaust pipe and spare wheel) touched the ground on the dirt near the start of the ditch. 

Whilst we were able to clear the dirt from the area around the exhaust, the stalling of the engine had resulted in the vehicle reversing slightly with the main rear wheels now sitting in the loose dirt at the bottom of the dip.  The loose dirt and the fact that our rear tyre (which is stored underneath the vehicle at the rear) was sitting on the ground prevented us from driving forward.

Fortunately we participate in the Winnebago RV Help Scheme.  A call was made to the scheme’s 1800 number and “He” was advised by the operator that although our current situation was not actually covered under the scheme, the operator would locate a suitable tow vehicle and arrange for the operator to contact us.

Shortly afterwards we did receive a call and agreed on a rate for the operator to attend our location.

While we were waiting for help to arrive, we used the two shovels that we carry to excavate the entire area around and forward of the exhaust pipe.  At the same time we remove any dirt that we anticipated would impact on our recovery.
 
Just over one hour later the tow truck operator with a 12 tonne winch on the rear of the trailer had connected a tow cable to the front axle of the motor home.  The operator (Steve) was questioned regards the connect point and assured us it was the right spot. 

The operator also placed some wooden blocks under the rear wheels to lift the vehicle clear of the dirt once it moved forward.

After taking up the strain with the winch, the motor home was started and ten seconds later the motor home was moving forward unassisted.

The tow truck operator who came to our aid was Steve from Penrith Towing Service (www.towie.com      0414-tow-ing).  We cannot speak highly enough of this service  and we are grateful to Steve for the way he extracted the motor home.

Whilst “He” checked the vehicle for damage (fortunately there was none), “She” filled the holes we had dug to ensure that we followed the “leave no traces” principal.
What did we learn and confirm?  Heaps! 

ALWAYS remember that you are driving a long vehicle and depending on the situation, the rear can be grounded. 

ALWAYS be conscious of your location and THINK about any manoeuvres that you perform and make sure they can be performed safely. 

ALWAYS carry a small shovel and something to lie on (we actually remained very clean from this event). 

ALWAYS carry a reflective vest (not used for this event but very handy). ALWAYS carry some cones that you can place on the roadway if the vehicle is at the roadside.  Bunnings sell collapsible cones for about $15.00.  We carry two of these.

ALWAYS carry a credit card.  In our case, we had to provide a credit card number before the tow truck operator would attend.  This was fair enough as the return trip was about 100 kilometres and he stated that he needed to offset his cost should someone be able to assist us in the meantime.  

CONSIDER participating in a roadside assistance program.  Whilst our problem was not covered under the program, they did assist with locating and contacting the right help that we needed.

CONSIDER carrying some form of recovery device to place under wheels to stop them spinning.  We have plastic ramps for this purpose stored in the garage at home.  They need to be stored in the motor home hopefully never to be used but just in case.

CONSIDER carrying a mobile telephone with Telstra NextG coverage to ensure that you maximise your ability to call for assistance.  We drove approximately 3000 kilometres in NSW and for the majority of that time, we had Telstra coverage.  Optus was next to useless.

MAKE SURE you fully understand the operation of your vehicle.  If your motor home has the capability to lock the differential, that function could have assisted in this situation.   Unfortunately we do not have a differential lock.

OUR motor home is stronger than we thought.  Thank you Iveco for the chassis and Winnebago for the home content!

DON’T ever believe that the above will not happen to you.

2 comments to Stranded – Don’t let this happen to you.

  • Thank you for the kind words of appreciation…I have passed this on to Steve… He is very happy to hear…

  • Rick & Bron

    Good Evening E & J
    Thank you for the kind remarks. By the looks of the photos you look as if you are pretty handy with a shovel or was it “E” maybe ? Anyway if you have some spare time our garden needs digging over seeing that you have had some practice you could volunteer.
    Cheers Luv Bron & Rick

    (Note: original post edited by Site Administrator)

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