Let’s face it: 2021 felt a lot like an extension of 2020. A year ago, we hoped that the new year would bring more positivity and good news.
While some had a fantastic year in their RVs, not everyone was so lucky.
In honor of leaving the negativity in the past, we explore the 10 worst RV stories of 2021 (and hope for better ones in the future).
Looking Back on 2021
Remember January 2021? There seemed to be such a strong sense of optimism. It was a new year, and it symbolized hope for us all. People were excitedly creating new goals and dreaming of the amazing travel days ahead.
It didn’t take long for reality to bring us back down to earth, however. By the end of the summer, many of us were back to life as we knew it. On top of that, inflation was on the rise, and materials were hard to get–if you were thinking of buying a new RV, chances are you had to make alternative plans.
So was this positivity a bit premature? We don’t think so. It was good while it lasted (and if we’re being sincere, 2021 wasn’t all bad).
Let’s see what made 2021 so horrible.
The 10 Worst RV News Stories of 2021
Below are the top 10 worst RV stories of 2021. While some are just plain tragic, a few deliver a bit of dark humor. Remember, there’s a silver lining in every situation.
#10. Crated Dog Latched to the Back of an RV
Unfortunately, these RVers decided to channel Mitt Romney when packing up their pooch for a trip in their RV. But instead of putting their dog’s crate on the roof, they attached it to the hitch of their RV. In June. During a heatwave.
The poor German Shepherd was spotted by passersby, causing multiple people to report the incident to the British Columbia SPCA. Thankfully, because of these caring citizens, the dog is now safe and in custody of the SPCA.
#9. Family Kicked Off Land for Living in an RV
Have you ever thought about buying your own little plot of land and parking your RV on it? Maybe to homestead or build your own house eventually.
This is exactly what Tim Leslie of Polk County, Georgia did when he lost his job. He and his family decided to start a small farm as they lived in their RV. The change would allow his kids to grow up in nature and provide a way to save money and reach their future goals.
Nevertheless, the building inspector and code enforcement officer showed up on his land not long after, demanding he and his family leave the premises. Why? They cited him for living in a recreational vehicle on his own land.
Since then, Leslie has been fighting the citation. And while he lost in municipal court, a superior court judge agreed to hear his case. What do you think–should property owners be able to live in a camper on their own land? Even just temporarily? We think so.
#8. Flat-Towed Jeep Wrangler Destroyed
You can feel better about all the silly mistakes you made in the past because they probably don’t compare to this. This brand new Jeep Wrangler was left in first gear when towed behind an RV at 55 mph.
Yeah. That means the engine was spinning around 50,000 RPMs. To put it into perspective, the Jeep would reach its redline at 6,600 RPMs. As you might have guessed, this destroyed the Jeep’s entire powertrain, making repairs just about impossible.
#7. RV Dealers Fed Up with Poor Quality Rigs
Wondering how the shortage of labor and materials is affecting RV production? It’s no secret that manufacturers are having a hard time keeping up with the high demand, but unfortunately, the quality was also affected.
In a nationwide conference call, RV dealers complained that the quality of new RVs was “pathetic”. Even new RVers noticed the problems, returning to the dealer with multiple issues after only one trip.
According to some dealers, it’s because of the shortage of workers and expertise.
“Their ability to retain employees is bad,” said one New England RV dealer. “You can just tell that the guys on the manufacturing lines have been on the job for just a week. Plants don’t have the proper staffing, and they can’t do the service after the sale.”
#6. RV Rams into Dairy Queen Drive-Thru
Have you ever wanted ice cream so bad that you’ll do just about anything to get it? Well, that’s what happened to this RVer, but in this case, “anything” meant shoving their massive fifth wheel through a tiny Dairy Queen drive-thru.
The video shows them trying to make a tight turn (and in this case, “tight” is an understatement), and in the process, destroying their fifth wheel and the Dairy Queen.
Of course, the internet had something to say about this exploit, and the comments are nothing short of hilarious. See for yourself on Reddit’s r/idiotsincars.
#5. Late Night Host Hates on His RV
Ever wondered what Jimmy Kimmel thinks about his RV? Look no further. In an interview with Kristen Bell, the two talked RVs. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard recently bought a million-dollar motorhome, and Kimmel admitted that seeing their two RVs next to each other was “humiliating.” Apparently, his Minnie Winnie doesn’t hold up compared to Bell’s luxurious rig.
“I’m going to be honest; mine’s a piece of junk. It breaks. The latches come off. It’s garbage…They didn’t tell me that when I bought it. That’s for sure.” Kimmel complained.
Looks like Jimmy wishes he’d invested in a more luxurious model.
#4. Britney’s Dad Escapes into an RV
If you’ve been following the #FreeBritney movement at all, you probably know that Britney’s dad, Jamie Spears, was recently removed as her conservator. Since 2008, he has had control over her massive wealth, as well as her personal life and wellbeing (allegedly). In court, Britney revealed the financial abuse and exploitation she had been suffering from under the hands of her father as she pleaded for control over her own life.
Now, Jamie Spears has retreated to a modest RV and lives outside of Kentwood, LA. He currently leads a normal life and hosts crawfish boils but mostly sticks to himself.
#3. This Gentleman’s Club Is RV Friendly
Does this story belong among the worst RV stories of 2021?
That depends on who you ask.
Regardless, it’s an interesting one. Kongo Klub Gentlemen’s Club in Mitchell, SD, currently allows RVers to camp overnight in their parking lot. They don’t provide any amenities, but they definitely have entertainment.
We really don’t recommend staying here if you want a good night’s sleep, as partiers will come in and out of the club throughout the night. But if you want to join in with the festivities inside, it might give you some great campfire stories for the road.
#2. Neighbors Hate This Double Decker RV Music Studio
Some Seattle residents and business owners aren’t having a good autumn. Why? Because a large, makeshift, double-decker RV sits in front of their homes and businesses.
And it won’t be going away anytime soon. At one point, the RV’s owner began to dismantle the unsightly apparatus…and then he began to rebuild the “upper deck” once again.
When interviewed by Komo News, he informed them that the RV was “The homeless music recording studio” and proceeded to say, “No, this is not coming down anytime soon.”
#1. Gabby Petito’s Remains Found In Wyoming
Finally, we end with one of the most heartbreaking stories of 2021: The Gabby Petito case. Gabby was a 22-year-old young woman who had recently set out on the trip of a lifetime with her fiance, Brian Laundrie. They were traveling in her converted Ford Transit van over the summer and documented their adventures on social media and YouTube.
In early September, Brian returned to his Florida home without Gabby (or any explanation of where she was). This triggered a nationwide search for the young woman, which unfortunately ended in tragedy. On September 19th, investigators found Gabby’s remains in a remote part of Teton National Park. Her death was later ruled a homicide.
Adding to the tragedy (and lack of answers), Brian Laundrie’s remains were later found in Florida’s Carlton Reserve, and his death was ruled a suicide. Sadly, Gabby’s family – and the rest of the world – is still waiting for answers regarding what exactly happened.
If you want to pay your respects to Gabby and her family, you can donate to the Gabby Petito Foundation here.
Here’s to a Better 2022
The past year has brought us a lot: A renewed sense of optimism followed by a slap in the face by life in general, sky-high RV prices coupled with pathetic quality, and a tragedy within the RVing/Vanlife community. It’s easy to feel down after all this bad news. But remember that good can come out of even the worst situations.
What’s the good, you ask? A German Shepherd has a new, safe home. Britney Spears has her freedom back. And amazingly, Gabby Petito’s family uses their tragedy to shed light on the hundreds of neglected missings persons’ cases through their newly established foundation.
The moral of the story? We’re all resilient. We know how to turn lemons into lemonade – and that can only mean good things are coming. Cheers to 2022!
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I was fortunate. I spent winter months in the mostly wonderful Campland on the Bay, Mission Bay in Pacific Beach, California. Then summer and fall mostly dispersed camping in a loop up through Yosemite and it’s nearby mountains, to Carson City, NV. Then E through NV and UT and into CO where I spent most of the rest of summer. Then down in the fabulous NW area of NM. Then down to my new home base of Silver City. Through AZ with a stop in Quartzsite, and back here on Mission Bay for winter.
No problems on my 20 year old class b Roadtrek so no problems with getting parts.
My only problem with with 2021 was a lot of costly dental issues.