Airstream RV Blog #47 – Towin’ and Backin’ from Sean Michael on Vimeo.

Before we bought our travel trailer, the thought of towing an RV was foreign to me. Heck, I’d never even owned a pickup truck before. So I faced a learning curve, one compounded by the fact I’d never really backed up an RV either. To newcomers, these two tasks can be very intimidating. But they need not be. Today I’ll write about our “most frightening” tow experience. In a future post, I’ll tackle my worst backing experience…

Although today’s video was shot in sunny San Diego, our most frightening towing experience happened a thousand miles away, in remote British Columbia. We were following a tip offered by a park ranger in Alberta. “If you want nice hot springs,” the ranger said, “check out Lussier Springs. It’s in British Columbia, down near Canal Flats.”

We gamely turned on the highway to Lussier Springs, and were shocked by its condition. Ten seconds after steering onto the unpaved road, I suffered my first pangs of regret. This was the road less traveled – and for good reason. Our truck and trailer shuddered violently, shaken like a certain secret agent’s martini. Gravel crunched beneath our tires, flying backwards and bouncing off our Airstream with a metallic clang.

After traveling several miles at a snail’s pace, I was ready to concede defeat. We hadn’t seen a SINGLE road sign, the sun was setting, and the shoddy road was getting more and more narrow. An uncomfortable silence had settled over our truck, as my wife and I pondered our fate.

“Should we just turn back?” I wondered aloud. “There aren’t even any signs.”

Kristy shook her head and replied through clenched teeth. “We’ve already come this far. It would be tough to turn around. We might as well keep going.”

Therein lies the rub. When you’re towing a big RV rig, sometimes turning around is NOT an option. We didn’t really have enough space to reverse our direction, so we had no choice but to plunge forward.

And so we did. We traveled onward as road conditions degraded from merely lousy to downright terrifying. At one juncture, we crept around a corner and found ourselves traversing a steep mountainside. The gravel road narrowed into ONE lane. There were no guardrails. Its edge dropped off into oblivion. Anyone who has ever driven through the Rocky Mountains knows this feeling. “If we slip off this road,” I thought, “it’s all over.”

Under ordinary driving conditions, the experience would be nerve-racking. But add an 8000-pound travel trailer to the mix, and you might need to change your underwear.

At long last, we arrived at the base of the mountain. The sky grew dark, and we were mentally and physically exhausted. There was no going back. To my relief, we discovered a small provincial campground with one — and only one — site available. “You’d better grab it,” a camper advised. “It won’t last.”

At last I pried my white-knuckled hands from the steering wheel. We unhitched our trailer, and — after uttering a few choice words about the journey — immediately fell in love with the place.

“This is one of the prettiest campsites we’ve found,” Kristy said.

A beautiful lake was right outside our front door. Our site was private, shrouded by trees, and so cool in July that we needed to fire up our Airstream’s heat furnace. The nighttime sky was filled with stars cranked up to extra bright. And Lussier Hot Springs surpassed our expectations. Steaming waters bubbled forth from the rocks, forming a natural spa alongside the frigid river.

Airstream RV Blog #28 – The BEST Secret Hot Springs from Sean Michael on Vimeo.

While seated in this natural hot tub, we discussed our scary journey with fellow bathers.

“I’ve been coming here for 20 years,” one man said with a smile. “This is like our own little secret place. That road keeps people out.”

So in the end, we were lucky. Our “scariest” towing experience wasn’t so bad, after all.


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