1 Year Journey – Mississippi Slideout Scare, Arkansas

We headed toward Vicksburg, MS…

…and about 20 miles outside of Hattiesburg, our RV decided to have a new problem.  Carla had pulled over in front of a gas station so we could change drivers. I was going to drive for an hour during my lunch break.  Keep in mind, this was the only place big enough to pull over for about 30 miles prior and about 10 miles after this gas station. Right when she pulled off on the side of the road in front of the gas station, the driver’s side dinette slideout started sliding out on it’s own!  It slid out over one foot and stopped right when it was on top of the highway stripe!!  Anyone who wasn’t inside the right-hand lane of the highway would have hit it.

The switch to slide it back in is designed to not be operational when the RV ignition is on, so we had to turn off the RV to slide it back in, and then start of the engine and pull into the gas station as quickly as we could while it was sliding back out on its own at the rate of 1/2″ per second.  Fortunately, the gas station had a few diesel lanes and we pulled into one of them.  Kind of strange to be pulled into a fuel line with our slideout sticking out!

I noticed the hydraulic fluid level was 1.5 quarts low, so I topped it off. It didn’t seem to help a whole lot. We then called Forest River, who gave us the contact information for the manufacturer of the slide out system (Equalizer). They walked us through bleeding any air out of the system, which there didn’t appear to be any. They determined that it is a bad hydraulic cylinder or check valve, neither of which we could do anything about while on the road.  The only thing we could do is come up with some way of keeping the slideout from going out.  Also, the slideout wasn’t simply falling out due to gravity, but rather was being pushed out by the hydraulic arm with a lot of force!  Disconnecting the motor for it did no good.

We initially put several of our leveling blocks between the slideout and the side wall, which worked, but was starting to bend the lower part of the slideout due to the amount of force being applied by the hydraulic arm. 

We decided to drive 20 miles into Hattiesburg to Home Depot so we could buy enough lumber to build a brace to keep the slideout in while also spreading out the load. 

When we got to Home Depot, Carla asked me (in a worried / panic-stricken voice), “Oh no, do you know where we parked the RV??”. I must have had an “Oh, crap!” look on my face, because for a moment I had to think about it.   I knew what highways we had been on and how far we have driven, but I really didn’t know the exact location of the RV.  Wouldn’t that be perfect if we were to go get lumber and then have no idea where our RV was parked?  I wonder if anyone has ever created a “Have you seen me?” flyer for an RV…  Fortunately, our GPS route to Home Depot showed where we had come from, so we quickly put a pin on the map so we could navigate back to it.

Nothing like spending a few hours of vacation time to pick out lumber!  It’s funny the things you end up doing while traveling in an RV. W e’ve learned to expect the unexpected.

Beach chairs… Check!  Beach umbrella… Check!  Lumber… Check!

Carla came up with this design and it worked beautifully!

After this, we continued on down the road toward Vicksburg, MS. We stayed at the Ameristar RV Park.  Good place for an overnight stay.

The next day, we made it to Arkansas!

We stayed at the Overland RV Park in Van Buren, which is where we stayed when we initially started our one year journey 2 1/2 months ago.

We have had a great time spending time with family and friends while in this area!  We have an appointment in Northwest Arkansas on June 30th to have the hydraulic slideout problem fixed.  After that, we will continue on toured the Pacific Northwest.  We would have been there by now if it had not been for the long stay in Tampa, waiting for the water heater to be swapped out, and now the hydraulic slideout the problem to be fixed.  It’s funny how your RV can dictate when you do and don’t get to travel. That’s why it’s hard to make reservations too far in advance.  You never know how long it’s really going to take you to get somewhere.  We are going to take a cruise from Seattle to Alaska this summer, so let’s hope the RV can make it to Seattle without any more major issues!

The silver lining with this slideout issue is that it has allowed us to spend time with family and friends that we didn’t plan on until July sometime.  Also, the kids will get to attend Vacation Bible School at Grandma and Grandpa’s church this week!

Got to squeeze in some kayaking also!  This was Avin’s first time to fish from a kayak, and neat that he got to do that with his Grandpa!

Fun times!

Side note:  I found this photo on the Internet…my dream RV and car garage!

Here is some drone footage of the Overland RV park we stayed at in Van Buren:

We saw a beautiful sunset the night before we got back on the road to head northwest toward Washington.

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