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RV off-road adventure in Florida | Roadtrip USA (12)

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!


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.

The ultimate roadtrip route through America and Canada | Wereldreizigers.nl
The ultimate roadtrip route through America and Canada | Wereldreizigers.nl

We wrote almost 100 articles about this ultimate tour. Below is a handy overview in 5 expandable categories.

1. Preparation
2. Highlights & Itineraries
3. Cities & places of interest (AZ)
4. National Parks & Monuments (AZ)
5. Plan your vacation to America here

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.

Malou approves the spot after the off-road adventure
Malou approves the spot after the off-road adventure

Until the next blog!


Plan your vacation to America here


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Chris

Owner or Wereldreizigers.nl | Discover the world!

– Travel 3+ months per year, 10 years in a row
– 10 months USA & Canada in 2022
– Bucket List Destination: Antarctica
–Best Beaches:Philippines
– Best Food: Thailand
– Best Wildlife: Uganda
– Best City: Singapore
- Best roadtrip: Croatia

Stubborn & decisive world traveller
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