Friday, July 26, 2013

Lesson Learned



We had a bit more of an adventure than we bargained for early yesterday morning when we tried to get out of our boondocking site in the Coconino National Forest. After many consecutive days of rain, the once previously dry and dusty forest became saturated and there was no place for the water to go. It turned into a giant muddy mess, and the forecast was predicting more rain, so we cranked up the Lazy Daze as the next round of thunderstorms was building in the sky.

We took no pictures over the next couple hours as we attempted to get Debbie’s rig out of the deep ruts of mud. Jim managed to get us out of our site, but he was concerned about getting stuck in ruts as he crossed the road so he went faster than he should have. That resulted in some serious bouncing which caused the corner of the black tank gate valve to go into the muddy ground. Fortunately it only caused some minor damage to the black water pipe. There appeared to be a slight drip initially, but he tightened the clamp and it seems to be fine now. Whew, our full tank would not have been a pretty sight or smell had it broken!

After that we moved on to Debbie’s problem. She had really gotten mired down in the mud, and was almost at the point of calling a tow truck when she decided to go down the road about a half mile to where we had seen some other campers. A toothless guy there had two shovels (we had none, although we have always thought we should carry one). He told her we ought to just go have breakfast and let God and the sun take care of it! She opted to borrow the shovels, which was a much better decision. After we dug out the tires, we put down some sticks and finally got to where we could get a couple Lynx levelers in front of the back tires. Jim did the driving and finally managed to get up on the levelers and get her out. It wasn’t funny, but we joked about how our free campsite could have been very expensive.

This mud was like glue. We were so happy we got out because the rain started just as were were getting onto I-40, only about 3 miles from our camp.


Our plan was to do a long (for us) 245 mile drive to Vegas but we were wiped out, hot, and dirty. Jim wanted to dump our tanks in case he needed to do some repairs so we headed to Williams, just 25 miles west, dumped at an RV park for $8.75, then went to Kaibab Lake Campground, a national forest campground about a mile off the interstate. It had been upgraded a couple years ago, and the road and sites were all paved, which we desperately wanted. About an hour after we arrived the thunderstorms began, and you can’t imagine how happy we were to be off the dirt and mud. With the senior pass it cost $10/night. There are vault toilets and drinking water, but no electric or dump. After weeks of boondocking it was strange to see so many people around, but it is actually a very nice campground with widely separated sites.




If all goes as planned, we should be in Las Vegas sometime this afternoon. We have a lot of cleaning to do. And as much as we liked Flagstaff, we don’t recommend staying in the forest during the monsoon season. Don’t learn the hard way like we did!


  1. are living on the edge, guys. I hate mud...nothing good comes from it except adobe blocks.
    Box Canyon Mark

    PS Won't the heat of Vegas be just as bad as the mud of the forest?

  2. Oh dear...what an experience indeed. Glad you are out of that mess.

    A forest with paved sites. That is a new one in me.

  3. OMG, what a mess! I'm so glad you guys got out safely. It's super muddy here, too, at Bluewater after the heavy rains we've had. I'm out of the park right now, but around the lake it was pretty bad. Going to be interesting this weekend, wish I was there. :)

  4. Mark, LV is only a stop on the way to higher ground off Hwy 395 in CA.

    We are parked at an RV park on the SE side of LV. Gayle and Debbie are off to Trader Joe's.


  5. Glad you aren't still stuck in the mud! What an experience.

  6. I'm not sure whether it works or not but I know some people carry kitty litter in case they get stuck. I guess it gives traction? Glad you got out.

  7. An interesting story. I hope you find the time to draw philosophical conclusions from this experience, and post them.

  8. OH, my, what an experience! So glad you both got out and your black tank is fine. Not the tank to mess with!!

    Sorry to hear that Vegas is only a stop over but then Valley of Fire SP is probably really fire this time of year:) What a beautiful place it is!

    Enjoy your firm ground while it rains!

  9. That mud looked more akin to glue! Yuck! Glad you made it out okay.

  10. Sure glad you got out. I am right across the street from your lake campground. Got myself stuck in the mud a week ago. I certainly know what you mean about a sticky mess. Took me hours to get out. Have a nice trip to Vegas.

  11. Boonie, sometimes shit just happens. We will try not to make the same mistake again.

  12. I bet if you hooked your AWD Subaru up, it would have been enough to pull D out. Sometimes it just takes a bit of an extra tug.