On our first trip in our RV, we went to Texas to visit family. The western part of Texas is not known for its cold weather. In fact, it is not uncommon for residents to run their AC’s through Thanksgiving. In short, we did not expect to run into a snow and ice storm on the way back home.
The storm was big enough to have a name, Frona. We had plenty of opportunities to stop and wait her out, but we were on a mission, to get to our jobs, which were a little over a thousand miles away. Our drive to brave the elements in order to arrive on time was ultimately flawed. We were not completely reckless. We stopped when it was absolutely necessary, which is why we only made it 60 miles in three days.
After stopping for the night at Balmorhea State Park, which by the way was covered in snow, the storm broke. The day was sunny and the roads to the freeway had yet to be plowed. We could have stayed one more night and waited for the snow to melt in the coming fifty-degree day. Our path would have been clear, but we lost too much time. Waiting would also mean calling the bosses to say we would not be in so we pressed on.
What we did not know was the soft snow that fell the day and night before had become hard packed ice on the road. We didn’t take into account that we were driving a giant box and the weather forecasted 40 MPH gusts of wind.
All it took was one large gust on the white ice, and the rig was sliding towards the side of the road. I couldn’t steer; I couldn’t break. Not wanting to flip the rig, I turned it in the direction of the slant on the side of the road and waited for traction.
It’s hard to see, but the road dipped down too far to get back on the road
The side of the road was grass and dirt. We managed to stop before hitting a barbed wire fence, but we had slid off the road and were stuck. Miraculously, there were no injuries and the rig did not sustain any major damage.
All towing companies were busy, and we had to wait four hours for a tow truck to arrive to pull us back on the road. By this time, the ice on the road had turned to slush; if only we had waited. We were quite shook up and stopped at the next RV Park we found. We drove about forty miles that day.
Looking back, we would have undoubtedly made other choices. We knew the storm was coming. It only lasted three days and trying to travel through it only got us about a hundred miles and an accident. We should have stayed put at an RV park until the storm passed. This would have saved us a lot of stress, and we would have arrived at our destination at approximately the same time, perhaps sooner.
The above experience has established two traveling rules for us:
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