Mike Bachman shares an incredibly fortunate truck camping story about hitting ice at altitude, flipping over, and walking away. What happened next is something you have to read, to believe.
Unless you grew up in a warm southern state, chances are you know about the one form of precipitation even professional drivers won’t mess with; freezing rain. Often totally invisible on asphalt and concrete roadways, black ice – as it’s called – can instantly render a vehicle uncontrollable and causes thousands of accidents every year.
Thankfully, the seriousness of freezing rain, and the conditions in which it happens are well known. Meteorologists often predict these conditions well in advance, warning the government, school systems, employers, and commuting public to take special caution, or avoid travel all together.
Most folks know to heed the freezing rain warnings, or pull over the instant they suspect freezing rain may be falling. Like hurricanes in Florida, tornadoes in the Midwest, or earthquakes in California, freezing rain and black ice are a fact of life for millions, and cause nothing more than delays, and the occasional down tree limb or power outage.
However, traveling through areas of elevation can add an interesting and potentially dangerous wrinkle to the threat posed by black ice. Temperatures decrease approximately 3.3 degrees Fahrenheit for every 1,000 feet in elevation you ascend. If the temperature at the base of a 2,000 foot mountain is 35 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees above freezing), it will be just over 28 degrees at the pass (four degrees below freezing). This means what may have been cold rain going up the mountain, can be freezing rain at the summit, or the other side.
Mike Bachman’s story of ice at altitude is a good one. Yes, Mike flipped his rig when he hit the ice, but he and his hunting buddies walked away unhurt. Mike’s story is now a cautionary tale for anyone who goes truck camping in the mountains near freezing temperatures, or might hire a tow truck. Thank you for sharing your story, Mike. We will all be safer for it.
A Truck Camping Cautionary Tale
by Mike Bachman
I am convinced that my Four Wheel Camper saved my life.
This past November, I was going hunting with my friends and my dog. It was a snowy day and we were driving up a mountain pass. What I didn’t realize was that ice had accumulated on the roadway on the other side of the mountain pass.
When my truck camper rig hit the ice, the road turned, but the truck didn’t. Instantly we went over a five foot drop off, flipping the truck onto the Four Wheel Camper, and crashing down the embankment.
When the truck finally came to a stop, we were all still upside down. I asked if everyone was okay, and then dialed 911. It was so icy at that point that the emergency vehicles couldn’t get up the mountain side.
Luckily, everyone was fine with no major injuries. Since we couldn’t do anything, we got some sandwiches out and ate lunch. Even with the truck and camper upside down, the Four Wheel Camper’s back door opened and worked. It was intact.
I hadn’t thought about Four Wheel Camper’s aluminum frame until that point in time. I never considered its strength until the accident. I was amazed that the camper stayed together as it did. It had absorbed a five foot fall down a hill, at speed, with two tons on top of it. And there we were, with the back door open and working, eating lunch. That really speaks to Four Wheel Camper’s construction.
I am convinced that the camper saved us from injury, or worse. Had the camper frame broken apart or failed, we would have absorbed that crushing force. Thankfully, the Four Wheel Camper withstood the impact, stayed intact, and kept us safe.
I did wind up going to the hospital to get checked out. My head had hit the roof of the truck cab and I wound up with a concussion. That shows how strong the impact was.
That afternoon my buddies and I decided to go hunting since the emergency vehicles couldn’t get to my vehicle. My friend’s wife came and picked us up at the end of the day when the weather improved.
Later that day, a local company picked up my truck and camper with a big tractor, turned the rig right side up, and towed it to a nearby facility.