Fail on the Apache Trail

I know this is a truck camper website, but I just had to share what I found on the Apache Trail last weekend. I came across this severely damaged Class-A motorhome at the bottom of the Fish Creek Hill. It had obviously suffered this damage driving down the infamous hill. If you’ve never driven the Apache Trail, the 1,000-foot drop down Fish Creek Hill is both beautiful and dangerous. The narrow road hugs a steep cliff that features several sharp turns with rock outcrops and rock overhangs. Due to carelessness, many people have died going down this hill. As you can see from the photos, the damage to the motorhome is pretty substantial with a large, gaping hole in the passenger side front and with both windshields completely shattered and missing.

There’s no way to sugar coat this one. The person who attempted to drive down Fish Creek Hill in this motorhome was stupid. It’s an epic fail! The warning sign before the decent says, “Vehicles Over 40 feet Prohibited.” This motorhome isn’t quite 40 feet long, but you’d think the owner would’ve gotten the message and done more research before embarking on this trip. Especially, since there are numerous signs that warn of sharp, hairpin turns. Was the driver drunk? Or was it simply a lack of good judgement? Who knows? On the front of the motorhome are inscribed the words, “On the Road Again.” Ha! Maybe another road, but not on this one! The owner would’ve been better off staying on the interstates or parked at a cushy RV park rather than tackling this infamous hill in a 38-foot motorhome. I hope he or she had good insurance.

This incident illustrates the benefits of owning a truck camper. Safely tackling Fish Creek Hill is impossible for a large motorhome, or a pickup truck pulling a 26-foot travel trailer, or a high-profile fifth wheel, but not for a truck camper rig. The go-anywhere, do-anything ability of a truck camper is hard to beat. Some owners of large RV’s try to go where truck campers often go, but they often fail miserably like this poor sap.

I have no idea how long the abandoned hulk has been parked at the bottom of the hill, but it doesn’t look like its been there too long. The motorhome shows signs of vandalism. The main door has been ripped off the hinges and several hatches and windows are missing. The stench of the abandoned hunk is pretty bad, too, with area around the motorhome swarming with flies and bugs. I hope somebody hauls this nasty hulk away soon. It’s a real eye sore. For now it stands as a monument to man’s stupidity.

If the Apache Trail and Fish Creek Hill sound familiar it might be because of this video we released last year. It includes several shots of the Truck Camper Adventure Rig on Fish Creek Hill.

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About Mello Mike 312 Articles
Mello Mike is an Arizona native, author, and the founder of Truck Camper Adventure Magazine. He's been RV'ing since 2002, is a truck camper and Jeep enthusiast, and has owned and restored several Airstream travel trailers. He enjoys college football, hiking, travel, off-roading, photography, and fishing. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years and now works as a project manager for a major banking and security firm. He also does some RV consulting and RV inspections on the side.

13 Comments on Fail on the Apache Trail

  1. Went down Fish Creek hill once with 9.6 Bigfoot camper. Never again! Too close on rock overhangs with road leaning into them. Two places were upbound cars had to backup for me to get past them. Have been up and down the hill with empty truck since, but won’t take my camper again. I think that 40ft max sign at the top should say no rv’s!

  2. Mike, thanks for the PSA on Apache trail. Folks (probably none who read your site) need to be aware that warning signs often are spot on and proceeding without consulting a local for more detailed information might cost them dearly. We drove Apache west to east in Feb of 2016 with our Chevy 3500 carrying our AF 996 (5000 lb.) TC and did just fine. Low range in 4WD was the ticket for that long downhill and although the Mrs wasn’t too thrilled at first with the decision, it worked out fine. Although I have lots of off road experience, I still parked the rig at the top and walked the first 1/4 mile to see what I was getting us into. My recommendation has always been, if you’re the least bit concerned about what is around the next corner, get off your butt and go for a walk before committing your rig and loved ones to that next section of road.

  3. Maybe the plan is to leave it there to educate people. Kind of like parking a totaled car in front of a high school to warn others against driving drunk.

  4. Mike

    You ain’t just whistling dixie with that statement “Severally Damaged” I almost reminds me of our MFH (Motor home From Hell) .
    We got convinced about 11 years ago to buy a RV from a mutual friend who’s husband passed away. We wanted to leave it on the side of the road and rent a U-Haul Truck to get home in. What a nightmare that trip was.

  5. I am very familiar with this road having travelled it many times via car & motorcycle and yes I agree, STUPID & epic fail. The only rig I have ever travelled on it other than passenger car & motorcycle was a Jeep Cherokee I owned pulling an 18′ Aliner pop-up TT. Doable, but was not a fun drive and would not even attempt it with my current 28’TT, even though the signs indicate a larger rig.

  6. I have a 33 foot RV and there is no way I would try that even though it is an older model. I would be nervous just going down in a truck camper.

    I wonder if he had friends with him who talked him into it?

  7. Don’t worry Mike, I doubt this coach will be there long. The value of the rig warrants a strong interest from the insurance company. Now, in the unlikely event that it was stolen or uninsured the rig may be there a little longer while the parts vultures carry off everything of value.

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