Saturday, September 5, 2015

9/5 Adventures in Motorhoming

Today is a quiet day at home, catching up on work and resting, so I decided to post this description of some of my adventures in my motorhome. What is the difference between traveling or sightseeing and an adventure?  An adventure is where you never quite know what is coming up.  (Like when I got lost and blew a tire in Scotland a few years ago in the rain.  I got to meet some real Scottish tire shop guys who gave me directions to a famous oyster restaurant I would never have stopped at.)  I have certainly had a lot if unexpected things happen to me over the past three years, mostly because I am going to new places and because my mode of travel is a little more complex than hopping into a car and staying at hotels.

And the truth is that I have posted about very few of my most memorable adventures.  Some because they were embarrassing, some because they were a little scary, and some that would worry my family.  However, this posting is going to be a tell-all, so here goes!

Driving Under or Over Things

·       My motorhome is 11’8” tall.  The first weekend I went camping, I was drove under a railroad underpass that had a tiny sign saying it was 12’ tall.  Since the overpass was old and semicircular, I had no idea where they had measured this or if they had added any asphalt since the sign was added.

·       A couple of months later, I had to back up through a four-way stop intersection in Mackinaw City rather than go under an overpass with a sign saying 10’8”.  Cars very nicely waited for me.  That experience caused me to buy a GPS system that would not route me through places I would not fit.  Good investment.

·         A much more fun experience was driving through the 1.1 mile long Zion-Mount Carmel tunnel. You pay a $15 fee, and they hold traffic at the other end so you can drive through right down the center line with a long line of cars following you.  It is 13’ high in the middle but only 11’4” high a foot from the side so you really do have to stick to the middle.

·       Big bridges. At first, I was afraid of all bridges. The ones that are really scary are the long ones that go over wide entrances to harbors where large ships pass underneath. The scariest ones I have driven over are near Corpus Christie in moderate winds, but I stuck to the center lanes so I would not get blown off.  I drove the Sunshine Skyway bridge in Florida, also.

Parking a Big Rig

·       The first pole I scraped in a campsite was in Ohio.  It was up front on the right side, and I just missed it because it was low.  I like the flexible campsite markers they put in a lot of campgrounds. It tore my rear tire fender skirt and knocked off the bracket holding my awning. 

·       In California, I scraped the lower side of my motorhome going over an extremely narrow private bridge to a campground.  Famous words of son were, “Mom, you’ve got lots of room.”   Cost to repair this and body work for above scrape was $550.  

·       I backed into a telephone pole in Florida and bent my bike rack and the rear wheel of my bike.  Straightened out the former and got a new wheel for the later.   I swear I could not see it with my backup camera.

·       Backing in late at night to another Florida campground, I pushed the wooden site marker over.  Luckily the ground was soft from rain, and I was able to push it back upright.  No one ever sent me a bill, so I assume it was OK.  No damage to rear bumper.

·       Backed into a really, really big tree in Maine.  I should have known it was there, but didn’t look.  Bent my bike rack again, but kindly neighbor used his jack to push it back into shape.  No damage to bike or RV.  Worst part was that everyone in several sites saw me do it! 

Driving A Big Rig

·       Hit a couple of those orange plastic barrels in a construction are along a freeway where they had blown into or been knocked into my lane.  No choice here, but just a small scrape.

·       Somehow the storage compartment cover over the generator fell open and scraped the pavement as I was driving. Top edge still needs to be touched up.

·       Two sidewall blowouts while driving in California: one was on the freeway and the other on a busy two-lane road. These were not my fault, but were certainly scary.  Found out all my tires were under a recall for, guess what, sidewall blowouts, so got seven free tires from Michelin worth $300 each. 
There have also been a lot of scrapes with tree branches and a few curbs I have driven over, but all in all, I have had about the average number of "incidents" over the years.  Another day I will post about some of my personal adventures such as getting lost and falling into a cactus.


  1. Not bad! And those cones are fair game, I figure. I tow a very small trailer and have had my share of "oops!"

  2. Right after we had the bottom of our RV painted last year my husband who has been driving RVs for 40 years - took a wrong turn - against my advice! - and getting out hit a huge agave plant that really scratched up the bottom that was just painted. Also tore a few pieces of newly painted trim off too. I wisely kept my mouth shut.

    1. Those cactus are dangerous! I also learned they can put a hole in a bike tire. I was not even riding on dirt, but there must have been one on pavement I rode on. Smart of you to keep your mouth shut!