RV Stuck in the Desert! Coach-Net Wrecker Rescue

TheRVgeeks Miscellaneous 27 Comments

We love boondocking, and hanging out in remote spots with great friends like Jason & Nikki Wynn makes it all the better. But camping off the grid sometimes involves driving on roads that barely qualify as roads.

In our 13 years of full-timing, we’ve never gotten stuck… until now.

Those of you who know Nikki & Jason will immediately realize that the incident featured in this video didn’t just happen recently, since the Wynns are now on their new boat and not currently RVing. But we were about to head to Australia and New Zealand when we got stuck, and just haven’t had time to get the video out… until now.

You may remember that back in January, Nikki was flying solo while Jason was out of town. We arranged to meet her in Joshua Tree South BLM and wait for Jason’s return. She found a lovely spot that looked perfect for us all to hang out, but none of us realized that the seemingly-firm surface wasn’t the same type of hard-packed desert that we’ve stayed on so many times before.

We found out the (ahem) hard way that the surface wasn’t so hard after all. It was actually about a 6-inch-thick crust overlaying soft sand. It was able to handle the weight of Nikki & Jason’s medium-size gas rig okay, but our 43′ diesel pusher was only supported as long as we kept moving. The moment we stopped, our 19 tons broke through the crust, and that was all she wrote.

Part of the reason that we didn’t get this video up right away was that we hadn’t actually planned to video at all. As a matter of fact, all of the footage here, except the aerials, was shot on our iPhone, with no intention of using it.

But when Jason heard what happened, he was dying to see. And Nikki put in so much effort, both attempting to free us, and cleaning up afterward, she agreed that we have to share it. So consider this our first How-Not-To video.

Be sure to follow Nikki & Jason’s adventures aboard Curiosity at GoneWithTheWynns.com.

If you watch closely, you can see Nikki’s little happy dance as the wrecker frees us. She was really…. uh… pulling for us. wink


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Comments 27

  1. I’m a few years late posting here.. but was glad to see you here with the Wynns! The location seems to be Joshua Tree (or is it further south towards Painted Canyon?). Where are you headed next?

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      Hey Steve,

      Coach-Net appears to have changed their plans around a lot since we originally signed up with them. We’re on a grandfathered plan we bought quite a while ago (and that we renew in 3-year increments for a discount) called the “Gold Plan”. From the looks of things, it matches up somewhere between the “Basic” and “Premier” levels of the Roadside Protect product. Looking at the pricing and features of the different levels, if we had to sign up today, we’d probably pick that “Basic” level, too. Looks like it provides all of the stuff you need, without some of the “bells & whistles” of the more-expensive plan.

      One other suggestion… check with any major clubs you belong to (FMCA, Escapees, etc) to see if they have any discount on Coach-Net plans. Sometimes you can lock in a better deal that way.

      Hope this helps!

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      The right amount of space for full-timing is a balancing act. Too small and it might be difficult being comfortable or having room for all your belongings. Too large and the RV won’t fit into many campsites in National Parks, National Forests, etc. While we’ve concluded that 35′-37′ is right about the sweet spot for us, others disagree, as we know people who full-time in 32′-33′ rigs, and some much smaller. It’s a very personal choice, but we don’t think we’d be comfortable in any floorplans we’ve seen under 35′. Of course if the plan is to drive from commercial RV park to commercial RV park, then larger is easier to manage, since fitting into small campsites isn’t needed. All depends on your interests.

  2. I live in the desert of Eastern Oregon and we have a lot of sand also. one trick I learned while on the fire Dept and when we got a fire truck stuck, we used water around the drive wheels to give them more traction. lots of water but not enough to make mud which gives sand suction instead of grip. hopefully you won’t need this comment but just incase it happens again.

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      Thanks for the tip, Pius! Never heard of that, so we’ll keep it in mind. Although with our luck, we’d use too much water, create quicksand, and lose our whole rig! LOL

  3. You guys, including the Wynns, of course, are great.

    I’m new to trailering (recently bought a LivinLite VRV Basecamp toy hauler and have gone on a couple of one-nighters. My whole family will be going to the Stanley Basin between the Sawtooth and White Cloud mountain ranges in August for a 10 day camping experience at Alturas Lake (a U.S. Forest Service) site.

    Wanted to let you and the Wynns know how much your videos have helped prepare me for the upcoming adventure.

    Thank you!

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  4. Awesome and hey, share the good, the bad, the ugly and it turned out to be good. Kudos to Coach-Net and to Nikki, the clean up crew. Love following along on your adventures and watching your how-to and how-NOT-to videos.

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  5. Your experience was “night and day” different than mine using “Good Sam”! On my first trip in my 2011 Thor Serenno, I had a left front blow out 30 miles outside of Albuquerque . It carried me through a ditch approx. 7 car widths wide where I was able to come to a stop one foot from oncoming traffic. I could not believe what Good Sam put me through (MANY phone calls) to get some help to me, and once the company arrived with their dinky tow truck, OF COURSE it got stuck in the sand which made it an all day affair. They tugged and tugged than took me back to the somewhat seedy tow yard at sunset in the very small town I had been through instead of sending a more efficient truck from Albuquerque. Of course there were no tires for me there so they had to go into the city anyway. What a horrible experience for my first trip in my first big MH.

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      Sorry to hear about this nightmare. We can’t guarantee that Coach-Net is perfect in every situation, but we sure did have a great experience in our one encounter with them, and have heard good things from others.

  6. Speaking of stuck with large heavy equipment, what size will your next RV be? I remember you talking about a smaller unit for your next RV.

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      We’d love to be in a 35′-37′ diesel pusher. All we need to do is find a floorplan we like from a manufacturer we’d consider (preferably Newmar), and someone to take our upside-down RV mortgage off our hands. LOL

  7. Great timing – We just got in from a motorcycle ride with friends to Bermuda Dunes and when I checked my emails your ‘new post update’ was email number 4.

    We had rented a 10-bedroom mansion and were planning on a bunch of day rides, including more of Joshua Tree. But we went through Twentynine Palms on the way south and the temperatures were already in the mid 40’s (Over 110°F ) we found riding uncomfortable. It was even hotter in the valley! I could not imagine how uncomfortable/dangerous getting stuck in last week’s desert heat would have been. On the other hand, it looked pleasant when you got stuck in January.

    I’m off east on Monday to pick up my RV so the Coach-Net Roadside Assistance tip is great timing and I will look into it. I currently have BCAA Plus as this covers motorcycles and RVs.

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      Wish we weren’t now in position to recommend Coach-Net first hand, but it was great. They came WAY out into the middle of nowhere, and all it cost us was the trip for the driver. We wouldn’t be without it. Have a great trip to pick up your new rig!

  8. We got to try out our coverage for towing on October 4th of 2013. We had camped the week-end before at one of our favorite campgrounds in utah and decided to leave our Motorhome in their extended parking area along with many others to come back again for the last trip of the season. We had an early, heavy snow on Friday night – 6-8″ and plenty of good mud in the slanted parking area. What seemed like no slope at all the week before, became too muddy and slippery to back out. We kept getting more angled and closer to the boat on one side and the Motorhome on the other without backing up at all. The tow truck came from the next town and stayed on the road to pull us out. Then he stayed for several hours pulling out 5th wheels, trailers and other motorhomes that wanted to get out before spring. The camp host supervised everything and made sure that everyone who wanted to get out got helped.

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  9. Been there done that! Not once but twice….OUCH! the wallet is still sore, Stuff happens!

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  10. This is definitely good to know as we love the desert as well but have always been afraid to park very far from paved roads. Case in point: we were desert camping with a group, when one friend that got his DP stuck just as you did. He had Good Sam Roadside so he promptly called them. Good Sam said desert camping was considered off-roading and they refused to send a truck under his membership. We called the nearest HD tow company and were quoted $1100 for a tow truck. We eventually dug him out but it took us six long hours in the hot desert sun. I have Coach-Net so it’s good to know they won’t leave me high and dry in the same situation!

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      We’ve heard lots of stories about where various companies will and won’t go. Honestly, we think that driver came even further off the paved road than he was obligated to do, which is why we gave him a very generous tip. He saved our bacon.

  11. Ah memories… I loved our time there together and congrats on your first “how not to” video! The question I have is when and where will be our next “how not to” adventure?

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      Hi Nikki! It already seems like such a long time ago, doesn’t it? We miss you and Jason, and hope to connect again sooner rather than later, but we do draw the line at creating How-Not-To adventures where drowning is a possibility. ;-)

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