Unfortunately for me, the second day of the trip, the RV broke down. After being towed to an automotive garage, the diagnosis came back. The automatic transmission was gone. Talk about lousy luck.
But bad luck wasn’t the point of my long-ago story. I relate it now because I was reminded of my own borrowed RV story after reading the woeful tale of Marvin Bass, the Pensacola, Florida man taking his first vacation in 5 years in a borrowed RV.
However, Marvin has my story beat by at least 225 feet, which is the distance of the plunge the borrowed 42-foot infelicitously-named Gulfstream Crescendo Motor home took off the side of a road.
The 65-year old Marvin was into the first week of a planned three week vacation and was traveling up a 10% grade on his way up the 8,431 foot high Teton Pass west of Jackson, Wyoming. He was on his way to Yellowstone National Park and was also towing a pick-up truck when the old RV overheated.
He found a flat side of the road to park the RV. Marvin then unhitched the truck to drive down to Jackson for coolant. But on his return, while trying to re-hitch the truck to the RV, he accidentally locked himself out of the RV.
Standing on top a five-gallon bucket, Marvin then tried shimmying himself through the driver’s side window to get back into the RV. Unhappily, his waggle became a belly flop when his stomach hit the air brake and the RV started rolling backward toward the precipice. Fortunately, Marvin was able to wiggle himself back out the window in time and was “unhurt after watching the borrowed motor home take plunge.”
According to the account in the Jackson Hole News & Guide, Marvin sent a text to his friend about having totaled the RV but he had not heard back from him. And in a bit of ironic understatement, he said, “Obviously, I’m not going to Yellowstone in it.” It took two wreckers to haul the totaled RV up the slope. See “Floridian escapes wild ride.”
But as for the rest of my own RV misadventure story, it was an expensive lesson, one that I should have already learned. “Neither a borrower nor a lender be, For loan oft loses both itself and friend,” said Polonius to Laertes. (Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 75–77)
I ended up buying the long-since ex-friend, a replacement transmission for his old RV – – – even though the mechanic explained the failure was the result of normal wear and tear, the transmission having exhausted its useful life. Bad luck to have the breakdown occur on ‘my watch.’
And as for Marvin, may his story turn out better – – – for his pocketbook, for his friendship and for his outlook on any long-deferred future vacations.