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Tail swing catches object, cuts RV end cap in half

Since 1970, Lloyd McCall of Tahlequah, Okla., has been RVing in his motorhome and fifth wheel, but nothing prepared him for this mistake a few years ago:

We purchased the new to us 2007 Essex the last of November in 2013 and brought it home in the middle of an ice storm in Oklahoma and Kansas. The weather finally faired up in a couple of weeks, so I decided to take it down to the Department of Motor Vehicles for the inspection required by the state to get the new license.

We have a 60-by-24-foot storage area for the RV with 14-foot doors, but there is a very large pine tree about 30 yards dead in front of the door. So, I have to come in at an angle from the south.

I’ve backed our 42-foot fifth wheel in and taken it out a thousand times with no problem, so this motorhome should be no different, I had no issue backing it in with ice on the ground. Well this barn is plenty wide, so I keep my tractor parked in there as well. But, it has never been an issue.

So, out of the barn I come and I’m about to make the turn to the right to get around the tree when I see my wife running from the house with her hands waving above her head screaming something. I was listening to Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again,” so I stop and get out to see what the fuss is all about.

As I made my slight left turn to avoid the tree, the tail of the motorhome caught the bucket on front of the tractor about midway down the battery compartment door. It was just enough to make a slight scratch, but it caught on the joint where the end cap connects and tore the fiberglass clean through between the curbside tail lights and halfway thru the street side.

There I sat in the yard with the lower half of the end cap dragging the ground at about a 45 degree angle with the engine compartment door standing up, what a sight!

It was a very short $9,500 trip!

LESSONS LEARNED: Remember TAIL SWING! Never park anything close to the RV. Always have a spotter with communication when entering or exiting a storage facility or campsite.

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