Alligators and bears are not the only danger in Florida† Get to know the life-threatening mud puddles! Because yes, you see that right… † That just ended well! The front wheel came off the ground quite uncontrollably in this part and I was very close to tipping our camper. Muddy puddles like this are always difficult to estimate depth and in this case there was also an underwater rock on one side that almost launched the 4×4 camper on its side. And that while I was only going 5 to 10 kilometers per hour!
Table of contents
The ultimate tour of North America
This article is part of a large one-year tour the United States en Canada in 2022, with a Dutch 4×4 camper that we shipped ourselves… It is a bucket list worthy and a once in a lifetime experience that will never be forgotten.
We wrote almost 100 articles about this ultimate tour. Below is a handy overview in 5 expandable categories.
2. Highlights & Itineraries
3. Cities & places of interest (AZ)
- Tour America | Amelia City
- Tour America | Amelia Island
- Tour America | Annapolis
- Tour America | Ice Lake Trail
- Tour America | Kennedy Space Centre
- Tour America | KeyWest
- Tour America | Miami
- Tour America | New York City
- Tour America | Ouray
- Tour America | Salt Lake City
- Tour America | Savannah
- Tour America | Seattle
- Tour America | Silverton
- Tour America | St Augustine
- Tour America | Washington DC
- Tour America | Wynwood
4. National Parks & Monuments (AZ)
- Tour America | All National Parks (list)
- Tour America | Black Canyon of the Gunnison
- Tour America | Death Valley
- Tour America | Dinosaur
- Tour America | Everglades
- Tour America | Glacier
- Tour America | Grand Teton
- Tour America | Great Sand Dunes
- Tour America | Mesa Verde
- Tour America | Rock Mountain
- Tour America | Yellowstone
- Tour America | Yosemite
5. Plan your vacation to America here
- Itineraries compare | TUI, Americaplus, sawadee en Djoser.
- Motorhome rental companies compare | WorldWideCampers.com
- Fly & drives compare | Americaplus.
- Cruises and city trips compare | Travel deal.
- Flight tickets compare | Skyscanner, TUI, KLM. as KAYAK.
- Rental cars compare | Sunnycars, Alamo en rental cars.
- Tours and Activities compare | GetYourGuide.
- Camping sites reservation| RECREATION.gov
- Hotels & Resorts reservation | Booking.com.
- SIM cards order | USAsim en International sim.
- Parking at airport | Parkos, Central parking of park care.
- travel items (suitcases, world plugs, etc.) | Bol.com.
Swimming with a gun among the alligators
When I shared the incident with a group of enthusiastic overlanders I was told one horror story after another. Florida is wet, flat and often muddy. And the muddy puddles you encounter here can be life-threatening. This is because the blubber really doesn't tell you what to expect because you simply can't see it.
Jordan Walker's reaction is probably the pinnacle of how quickly things can escalate here, bizarre!
Muddy puddles = danger
And he wasn't the only one to come up with examples. This innocent looking Florida puddle also cost someone almost his entire car. The car suddenly became stuck and water ran into the doors and the engine. A rescue team had to be involved to pull the car out, which was declared a near total loss.
Therefore, at every muddy puddle you see in Florida, first look for a stick and poke a number of places so that you can estimate the depth of the puddle. You should also try to estimate whether the mud in the puddle is not so soft that you do not immediately sink into it with your wheels. Because that happened to the gentleman above.
Campers are top heavy = pay attention
My experience and the warnings of locals from Florida is therefore certainly a lesson for myself and hopefully for anyone who goes off-road with a similar car or combination. With a top-heavy combination like ours, it is of course extra careful, but also with 4×4 vans and yes, also normal camper vans or motorhomes† You easily underestimate how much heavy stuff, water, batteries and roof racks with solar panels, etc. you carry with a camper.
Campers are by definition extra sensitive to tipping over due to the top-heavy weight. For example, cupboards are often high and full of food, clothing and other items. Do not underestimate the weight of all these items: if 1 normal suitcase already weighs 20 kilos, check what the contents of all those cupboards weigh together, plus the cupboards themselves. You are quickly talking about hundreds of kilos hanging in a high place!
That is absolutely the case with our motorhome. That's why I don't like to look for the limit of our car, so be extra careful next time... It did yield beautiful pictures, which is nice again
What top heavy weight does to the camper
To give you an idea of what top heavy weight does to your motorhome when the ground is very uneven, I made this short video. Malou previously filmed a short piece at another lake. There too, the sudden shift of weight from left to right already caused a front wheel to lift off the ground. And that while I was very careful.
Adjustments to improve stability
I have already made several adjustments to improve the handling of our 4×4 camper both on the highway and when off-roading. I have heavy Tough Dog plaice dampers from rally sport installed and I also gave the leaf springs a major upgrade with air assistance suspension on top…
All this already makes a big difference, but the original anti-roll bar of the Mitsubishi L200, which is supposed to counteract the heavy tilting of the weight, has now become the weak point. The original stabilizer simply cannot cope with the extra weight while we are still within the maximum load of the vehicle.
At least, that is the practical experience. Had I known this in advance, this part would certainly have been adjusted before we left for the US and Canada… Unfortunately we are already here and specific parts are difficult to get in this country because this car was never delivered here. When we're back in Europe, I'll see if there's anything we can do about that.
In the coming year we will therefore have to make do with the current setup. So be extra careful!
Another beautiful place in the forest
Despite the shock and the lessons we had to learn, after this exciting off-road adventure we found a beautiful camping spot, hidden deep in the forest. This time, Malou was the one who approved the spot.
Until the next blog!
Plan your vacation to America here
- Itineraries : TUI, Americaplus, sawadee en Djoser.
- Motorhome rental companies : WorldWideCampers.com
- Fly & drives : Americaplus en Travelworld.
- Cruises and city trips for America you book with Travel deal.
- Flight tickets for America you book with TUI, KLM, KAYAK en Skyscanner.
- Rental cars : Sunnycars, Alamo en rental cars.
- Tours and Activities in America you book via GetYourGuide.
- Camping sites in National Parks you book on RECREATION.gov
- Hotels & Resorts in America you book with Booking.com.
- SIM cards : USAsim en International sim.
- Parking at the airport you can arrange via Parkos, park care of iParking.
- travel items (suitcases, bags, world plugs, etc. can be ordered at Bol.com.
Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!