In the fall of 1960 my parents bought a brand new, Holly 16-foot travel trailer. This is the first trailer that they ever owned. Soon after, my dad, I and two of my friends went deer hunting in Northern Michigan with their new travel trailer. My parents owned a lot near Baldwin, Michigan and this is where we parked the new trailer to go hunting.
On the morning of November 15, 1960, one of my friends opened up a small vent near the roof of the trailer to let fresh air in before we left to go hunt. When we got back from hunting the entire day, we were tired and cold. The temperature had dropped to 20 degrees, so we turned up the heater, which used propane for fuel. We went to sleep around 11pm that night.
The next morning, all of us woke up with a splitting headache! We got our gear together and went out hunting any way. Later in the evening, we packed up our stuff and headed back home. Along the way home, we stopped at a local restaurant for dinner. The people who were already there eating, were talking about 8 hunters that were found dead in their trailers the night before, from being overcome with deadly fumes! The people also stated that there was a warning issued to anyone who owned a Holly travel trailer to check their model number and the serial number on the heater.
I checked both and discovered that we had one of the trailers with the defective heater! Talk about having good karma on your side. If my buddy hadn’t opened the vent in the top of the trailer, well, you know what would have happened!
Ten years later, my wife and I and our 3 kids pulled the same trailer to Colorado for a family vacation. On the third night in the city of Golden Colorado, we stopped for the evening and went to sleep. The next morning, before dawn, I got up to use the restroom and stepped into 8 inches of cold water covering the floor! This could have been disastrous as we had a box fan on the floor about three feet away from where I discovered the water! If the water had reached the fan, all of us could have been electrocuted! The cause of the water spilling onto the trailer floor was caused from having too much water pressure, which blew the line apart.
These were two close calls that I will never forget when I think of the 1960 Holly travel trailer!
Submitted by Ronald Smith of Ada, MI as a part of the RV Centennial Celebration “Share Your Favorite RV Memory” contest.
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