9 day vacation: 5 kids, 1 hermit crab , New RV


Okay friends, are you ready for a pee in your pants laughing story? I’m sitting here reflecting on our last 9 days of vacation. It all started with this sweet ’92 Ford RV. I had been searching all summer and we came across a great deal. This beauty has 41,000 miles, 10 seatbelts, 1992 (Seth said it had to be in the 90’s), cassette tape deck, sleeping for 8 and in our price range of around $6000. So the crazy people we are, we paid cash and shook the guys hand and drove it 70 miles back to the Twin Cities. Yep, we own a 28 foot RV and it is parked on our sloping driveway. Our neighbors probably aren’t too impressed. Seth and I decided many years ago life is short and you always need an adventure. Boy oh boy did the Lord test our happy thought on that.


I packed up this beast and we headed down the road. Now at this point we are ALL pretty excited. The kids are in their car seats, Seth in the driver’s seat and I’m SnapChatting the chaos. We are proud of this purchase- excited about this purchase. After taking pics of this maiden voyage to a few co-workers, I put in my much sought after cassette tape, Grease Soundtrack. Did you actually know most thrift stores don’t carry them anymore? Yep truth! The week prior with 5, yes 5 kids in tow, I searched and searched thrift stores until I found calling ahead was way easer and less chaotic to find these vintage tapes. Within the first song playing, it stopped. Seth asked what was up and I discovered as I ejected it to investigated the long black tape had been eaten in the tape deck. Pretty funny. Well at mile 80 or so down freeway 94, we begin to see smoke…a lot of smoke…coming from our RV! REALLY?!The adventure begins so soon?

Seth quickly pulled over and we see oil pouring like a fountain that kids play in at the splash pad all out from the bottom of this new beast. It is 80 degrees out, 8:30pm and we have 5 tired kids and equally tired parents. BUT this is what we signed up for. After further accessing, we called roadside assistance and are pretty jacked up that we decided on full coverage on this thing and that road side assistance was included. By the time we got the tow truck, a taxi van for me and the kids (you know most tows only have room for 2 and most taxis are cars), it was dark and like 11pm. The taxi driver took me and the kids to some parking lot of an RV place and dropped us off. Sitting on the black asphalt with 5 kiddos at 11:30 pm, Seth calls me to tell me that the tow truck driver had a connection with a different repair shop 2 miles down the road. What?!! I am not walking 2 miles at midnight with 5 sleepy kids. So he called our van taxi back to pick us up; good thing because Ila’s boaster was still strapped in there. Have you ever had a $102 taxi ride? Seth met us there and the RV got backed up into the lot. The kids peed in landscape rock and we spend our very first night in the auto repair shop parking lot.


Can’t you see the joy on their faces?


Saturday the kids were awake and antsy to get to WI for Seth’s family reunion. After waiting till 8:30am, we called to see if anyone was going to show up to check it all out. By noon it was discovered that he couldn’t find a problem and said well, “See if it happens again”. 16 miles later (back on the freeway and in between towns) the smoke appears. Now this whole laughing adventure is on the border of not too funny as we are on the second tow in 18 hours. Actually I will tell you all the while I was nursing in the side chair, a man appeared in our window, freaking the heck out of me, and it so happened to be our tow truck driver from the night before. He was doing a run and he “thought he recognized that RV” and stopped to check it out. Now that Seth and this man are BFF’s we wait for an hour and have him hook us up. We are a large family and not really wanting to spend another “c-note” on a taxi we actually stayed in the RV for the 6 miles to the new shop. We had to call for a cop car to follow us down the freeway. What a sight! We were dropped at the new transmission shop and the cop goes and finds the owner at the Cadott town days parade and brings him up to check out the situation. Sorry dude! We would’ve waited. In the meantime, Seth’s family was antsy for our arrival at the family reunion. Oh, did I mention that I had 2 homemade anniversary cakes in the Rv for the reunion? That was fun keeping them safe through 2 tows! Anyway Seth’s uncle Mark drove in a van to rescue us. We were planning to spend the night in that parking lot so this was a pleasant and great surprise. The cop asks Seth how we were going to all fit, Seth replys “double buckling”. Why lie? Why not face the fact that this was definitely not what were hoping to happen and why get mad? What would that do? So as I packed as much crap into the van and squeezed us all in, double buckling my older kids, we headed to the family reunion. The cakes made it!


Sunday (the day we were suppose to head to the lake) we woke up at my parents house, dug out my parents tent and random supplies and I started re-planning…Plan B. We were now going to tent camp for the week. The transmission was shot in the RV-gggrrr! And if all went well it would be finished Thursday. Seth and his dad got back in the van and drove 75 miles back to the RV and packed up as much as they could to use while we were at the lake. Note to all you “want an RV people” – maybe have someone check the engine and tranny before you purchase! Slightly irritated, what really  were we going to do but make the most of it and continue on. Seth parents let us take their van- Thank you!

Monday we repacked (my husband not fully understanding how we have so much stuff) and grabbed our newly repaired boat to set off for camp. My mom’s side of the family camps in Woodruff each year at the same spot. It is always a fun filled week. Seth doesn’t get too excited about taking a full week off to spend with extended family but in the end always has a blast. Okay he may drive me crazy complaining weeks leading up to it.Good thing he doesn’t read this.

FINALLY, we made it to the lake! The Griswold’s have arrived only a day behind schedule.

Since we didn’t get to the lake till later afternoon on Tuesday, Seth’s Florida uncle visited us and helped unload the boat into the water. Seth was taking forever to get to the ski beach where we stake “camp” for the day. Finally around the bend he comes using the trolling motor. Yes, the motor wouldn’t work. Are you serious Clark?! The boat we just paid to get fixed now won’t even start. So down to the lake my uncles and cousins come to help Griswolds again. After 2 hours of putzing it was discovered that the guy who fixed it put a piece in backwards and the idling problem that we paid to have fix still isn’t 100%. Throw your hands up, eh!

Wednesday was a nice smooth day. My cousin Julie and I went into town for groceries, boat gas, worms, etc. Of course our hubbys thought being gone 3 hours was far too long. We headed to the beach early afternoon when my mom comes down and asked if I bought corn. Why yes, I did and how do you know that? Well the raccoons had lunch…Really?! Nocturnal my butt!  After supper and a fire we pile up into our borrowed tent. Well our lunch mates were in the woods and I could hear them coming back. I was pretty irritated and annoyed and sick of the sniffing 12 inches from my head. I was hitting the tent and yelling “git” and clapping but they just kept scampering back. Finally I stood up and demanded Seth deals with the racoons. Half asleep, he tells me to lay down and go to bed. Out of the corner of my eye I notice my bag of popcorn I bought was opened and half on the floor (I never opened my snacks). I moved the food bag to discover a 16″ tear in the side of the tent. The flipping coons tore into our tent! I grabbed an umbrella (to use as my defense weapon) and  Seth ran to get duct tape from my mom’s campsite. This was not happening! We pushed the luggage against the duct tapped tear, put the food in the car and headed back in bed. Okay, so I haven’t tent camped in 10 years and I didn’t even think not to keep food in there. I put the cooler every night under the picnic table bench but really, a hole in the tent? I hope they enjoyed my hawaiian rolls, 2 bags of yummy popcorn, bag of candycorn, bananas and whatever else they got. Now try to sleep. Geesh my babies are in here. For the rest of the night I hear the raccoons tearing the bags, fighting and moving around our site. Needless to say, I got zero sleep. My hands hurt from clapping and my heart was racing. Finally morning came and the Griswolds added another fun-filled evening to our story.

Seth went and got the RV back on Thursday and as he proudly pulled into the campground there was a sigh of relief and joyous clapping that it finally made it. A few thousand dollars poorer, we got to enjoy the rest of our vacation in our original abode. Waterskiing, the three-hour tour tubbing ride, fishfries, pudgy pies, our camping party of 46 and sunkissed children was all worth it.


Thank you for reading my book. I hope this motivates you to not shy away from adventures or trips because it always works out and if nothing else it makes for a pretty good story. I’m so glad our story can be told and everyone is safe and healthy. You never know what might happen but life is to short not to go for it!

If you see a 92′ Ford Rv on the side of the road feel free to stop and be part of our story! Now debating if Vegas and Florida should be on the RV GPS or should we leave the keys at home?

Until next time!


PS- In case you were wondering, the hermit crab survived as well!

3 thoughts on “9 day vacation: 5 kids, 1 hermit crab , New RV

  1. Mallory ,well done and with such a great attitude we should all learn from this eh,,,love you all so and I’m blessed to be a part of it all…love Gramma J

  2. Mallory, you sure make me laugh. We sure enjoyed hearing of your adventure, and only you could laugh and say it was quite a trip. You are such a great family and have to hand it to Seth for sticking with it and keeping a smile on his face. Our Clear Lake family vacation wouldn’t be the same without you guys. Hope you have many more family outings in that RV and I am sure your kids love it and can’t you just hear them when they are adults with kids telling this story. That’s what memories are made of!

  3. What a hilarious story. Our very first motorhome was a 1971 Ford and on our first trip which was down to Florida from Atlanta to visit family we ran out of gas on the interstate halfway through Jacksonville in the middle of the night. As we were walking down the side of the interstate wondering how we were going to get gas and a can a couple of young Sailors stationed in Jacksonville picked us up and helped us out. After that experience we knew when the gas gauge showed one quarter of a tank left it was time to get more fuel. The next time I see you I have to tell you the story about the time that John left me on the side of the road in the middle of Georgia. He thought I was in the bathroom when he drove off, but I wasn’t and he did not discover that for quite a ways down the road

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