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Author Topic: Driving the Nacimiento Fergusson Road in an RV (Big Sur Area - California)  (Read 1355 times)

H5-Phil

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  • Penryn, CA. (foothills of the Sierra)
Hello,
We are looking for feedback from travelers who have driven the Nacimiento Fergusson road in an large RV (Big Sur area).  This road is the ONLY option to get to the campgrounds we have reservations at (Kirk Creek & Plaskett Creek). 
We tow a 31' TT and have total length of 52'.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated...  We plan to travel this road very early in the morning, when traffic would be light.

Safe travels,

Phil & Karen 
Phil & Karen with Crash, our 'guard' Dachshund
KE6HUL / KE6NYJ
2014 F-350 Diesel XLT. with Leer shell
2004 31' Alumascape TT

Ken & Sheila

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BIG JOE

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Hello,
We are looking for feedback from travelers who have driven the Nacimiento Fergusson road in an large RV (Big Sur area).  This road is the ONLY option to get to the campgrounds we have reservations at (Kirk Creek & Plaskett Creek). 
We tow a 31' TT and have total length of 52'.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated...  We plan to travel this road very early in the morning, when traffic would be light.

Safe travels,

Phil & Karen

Just my .02:

I've driven N/F road many times for CalFire equipment positioning. @ 52 feet, it's doable but has many, many steep hills, blind curves and corners. Paved but mostly One lane. This time of year.. vertical clearance (Trees) can be an issue. Motorcycles and Sport/Road cars like it's Challenge. The last 5 miles.. to Hwy-1 is very Narrow and Steep, with a more than 90* turn, to go south on Hwy-1.

You will need to enter Fort Hunter/Legget NG Base.. There Can Be travel restrictions/delays. (due to military training schedules)

With Hwy-1 closed.. there will probably be many OTHERS with the same Idea ?

You don't Drive Nacimiento/Ferguson Road.. You Negotiate it.

Your Call.. But be Prepared.. and SAFE.
Joe

Tow an 016 29RS "Reflection" 5r w/Trailair pin box...with a 2012 Ford DRW, F-350, 4x4, Loaded de-Blinged Lariat CC, 6.7 Diesel.. Wife & I, Beck & Sheeka the Dogs.. And as of 5-17.. Lizzie, the Kitten in Training.

H5-Phil

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  • Posts: 73
  • Penryn, CA. (foothills of the Sierra)
Thanks for the feedback.
Yes, the third line is a little troubling: "The entire Big Sur area is closed to the public, the only access is via the narrow and winding Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd." 
The campgrounds along that section of coast are open - we have 17 days reserved between two campgrounds.  The looming question for us is the access via the Nacimiento Fergusson road.  I wish the other posts included the size of their rigs.  I would imagine with such a small section of the coast open, that traffic coming out and going in would be light, especially very early in the morning.  I believe they close the road when construction/repair rigs ferry material to and from the repair sites.
My gut feeling is telling me to take the 5 hour drive there and check it out without my TT (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right?).  We aren't due there until 7/24.
I found this on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0yJzBQN3Y4  At 1:53 I screen captured the attached photo.  It's a large RV hauling a tow vehicle and headed to the coast via the NF road.  I didn't notice any place to turn around on the road so I'm assuming they made it.
I'll share my feelings about this road when I return from checking it out.  In the meantime I'd sure like to hear from those who have towed their TT over this pass.


Read the third line of Lou's post.

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,105332.0.html

You also might want to read the 6 post in the following:
https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g240329-i513-k4362390-Nacimiento_Fergusson_Rd-Big_Sur_California.html

ken
Phil & Karen with Crash, our 'guard' Dachshund
KE6HUL / KE6NYJ
2014 F-350 Diesel XLT. with Leer shell
2004 31' Alumascape TT

Lou Schneider

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The latest press release from the Calif. Highway Patrol says that vehicles on their escorted, one way construction supply convoys have a maximum vehicle length limit of 30 ft.  The road will be closed to traffic in the opposite direction during the convoys.

That should be a pretty strong hint you don't want to take your 52 ft. truck and trailer there, even if you could sneak it in.

Take a look at this picture from one of the convoys, from the http://www.thebigsurblog.com/ blog I referenced on the other thread:

https://blogbigsur.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/image0042.png

Look at that YouTube video again.  When you get to the last minute, open the Settings menu and slow it down to 1/4 speed playback so you can get a close look at the last 12 miles of the trip over the mountains and down to the ocean.  Now imagine it with morning fog a little thicker than when they made the drive and oncoming traffic.

Note it was made while coastal access was still available through Mud Creek.

I drove that road 20 years ago in a 21 ft. Class C while supporting a long distance bicycle rally.  If you want to take a small car loaded with a tent and gear to the campgrounds, fine.  But I wouldn't even think about trying it with anything larger, especially now that it's the only way in or out of the area.


« Last Edit: May 24, 2017, 07:46:11 PM by Lou Schneider »

H5-Phil

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  • Posts: 73
  • Penryn, CA. (foothills of the Sierra)
Thanks Big Joe,
I've decided to take the 5 hour drive in advance of our trip without the TT attached.  We are not due at the campground until 7/24.  Kirk Creek has such an amazing view that I want to do this trip IF it can be done safely - this will be our first stay there. 
We're early risers - very early when needed.  The thought is to head over at the crack of dawn, when most folks are still sleeping.
I will check the vertical clearance during my exploratory drive - thanks for that tip and for sharing your advice. 
I'm assuming I can check scheduled road closures online.

Phil

Just my .02:

I've driven N/F road many times for CalFire equipment positioning. @ 52 feet, it's doable but has many, many steep hills, blind curves and corners. Paved but mostly One lane. This time of year.. vertical clearance (Trees) can be an issue. Motorcycles and Sport/Road cars like it's Challenge. The last 5 miles.. to Hwy-1 is very Narrow and Steep, with a more than 90* turn, to go south on Hwy-1.

You will need to enter Fort Hunter/Legget NG Base.. There Can Be travel restrictions/delays. (due to military training schedules)

With Hwy-1 closed.. there will probably be many OTHERS with the same Idea ?

You don't Drive Nacimiento/Ferguson Road.. You Negotiate it.

Your Call.. But be Prepared.. and SAFE.
Phil & Karen with Crash, our 'guard' Dachshund
KE6HUL / KE6NYJ
2014 F-350 Diesel XLT. with Leer shell
2004 31' Alumascape TT

H5-Phil

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  • Posts: 73
  • Penryn, CA. (foothills of the Sierra)
Thanks Lou,
I've decided to take an exploratory drive with just my truck prior to our trip.  It's a 5 hour drive (one way) that could save a lot of time and grief in the long run.  Thanks for your concern and info.  Nice trick with slowing the video.

Phil

The latest press release from the Calif. Highway Patrol says that vehicles on their escorted, one way construction supply convoys have a maximum vehicle length limit of 30 ft.  The road will be closed to traffic in the opposite direction during the convoys.

That should be a pretty strong hint you don't want to take your 52 ft. truck and trailer there, even if you could sneak it in.

Take a look at this picture from one of the convoys, from the http://www.thebigsurblog.com/ blog I referenced on the other thread:

https://blogbigsur.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/image0042.png

Look at that YouTube video again.  When you get to the last minute, open the Settings menu and slow it down to 1/4 speed playback so you can get a close look at the last 12 miles of the trip over the mountains and down to the ocean.  Now imagine it with morning fog a little thicker than when they made the drive and oncoming traffic.

I drove that road 20 years ago in a 21 ft. Class C while supporting a long distance bicycle rally.  If you want to take a small car loaded with a tent and gear to the campgrounds, fine.  But I wouldn't even think about trying it with anything larger, especially now that it's the only way in or out for anyone living or working in the area.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2017, 08:19:16 PM by H5-Phil »
Phil & Karen with Crash, our 'guard' Dachshund
KE6HUL / KE6NYJ
2014 F-350 Diesel XLT. with Leer shell
2004 31' Alumascape TT

Tom and Margi

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You should be complimented for checking this out ahead of time, Phil.  So many people assume that California is the land of perfect weather and sunshine and plow into places like this with no hint of Mother Nature's winter surprises (destruction).  There are so many roads leading to scenic places in California that were definitely not designed to accommodate long rigs.

BIG JOE

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Thanks Big Joe,
I've decided to take the 5 hour drive in advance of our trip without the TT attached.  We are not due at the campground until 7/24.  Kirk Creek has such an amazing view that I want to do this trip IF it can be done safely - this will be our first stay there. 
We're early risers - very early when needed.  The thought is to head over at the crack of dawn, when most folks are still sleeping.
I will check the vertical clearance during my exploratory drive - thanks for that tip and for sharing your advice. 
I'm assuming I can check scheduled road closures online.

 :))

I posted my .02 with out concideration of " escorted traffic controls" that may be (probably Are) in place .. being N/F road being an Only access route. due to the Slide.

 And the FOG. In the morning and afternoon/evening.. the Fog can get down to 0 visability. Vertigo conditions. ( Daily Coastal Inversion Layer caused)

Very good idea on your exploratory drive.. pre RV trip !

It's Not for the faint of heart.. @52 feet in length.
Joe

Tow an 016 29RS "Reflection" 5r w/Trailair pin box...with a 2012 Ford DRW, F-350, 4x4, Loaded de-Blinged Lariat CC, 6.7 Diesel.. Wife & I, Beck & Sheeka the Dogs.. And as of 5-17.. Lizzie, the Kitten in Training.

Arch Hoagland

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I've been over it several times, once in a Miata and the rest of the time in a pickup truck.  It can be done but you need to be very cautious. I'd call the campgrounds and get their opinion.
If you do decide to go you MUST have your proof of insurance with you as you go through Hunter Liggett  and the military insist on seeing your paperwork. So make sure all your vehicle paperwork is in order.
2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
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2000 Lexus RX300, 4020lb
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H5-Phil

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  • Penryn, CA. (foothills of the Sierra)
Thank You All,

Thanks so much for all of the great advice, insights, suggestions, cautionary tales, etc. etc..  We were listening and are compiling a safety/must have checklist for our drive over. 

I was able to get a one night reservation at Kirk Creek CG (which remains FULL despite the road closures) in early June.  So, the dog I will do some recon work and enjoy a couple of days on the coast (wife doesn't enjoy the comforts of my camper shell for some reason ;).  I've spent much of my adult life on twisty, narrow and unpaved mountain roads (hang gliding).  Now as an RVer, I'm more comfortable in that scenario than on congested freeways where speeding, distracted drivers abound.

Thanks again,

Phil & Karen
Phil & Karen with Crash, our 'guard' Dachshund
KE6HUL / KE6NYJ
2014 F-350 Diesel XLT. with Leer shell
2004 31' Alumascape TT

BIG JOE

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 :)) Let us know the results of your Recon Mission ??

As you enter into the coastal hills on N/F road.. there are a couple of Dry Camping camp grounds. I've seen RV's there.. might wana check those out ? just 'cuz ? 
« Last Edit: May 25, 2017, 03:05:10 PM by BIG JOE »
Joe

Tow an 016 29RS "Reflection" 5r w/Trailair pin box...with a 2012 Ford DRW, F-350, 4x4, Loaded de-Blinged Lariat CC, 6.7 Diesel.. Wife & I, Beck & Sheeka the Dogs.. And as of 5-17.. Lizzie, the Kitten in Training.

H5-Phil

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  • Posts: 73
  • Penryn, CA. (foothills of the Sierra)
Will do.

:)) Let us know the results of your Recon Mission ??
Phil & Karen with Crash, our 'guard' Dachshund
KE6HUL / KE6NYJ
2014 F-350 Diesel XLT. with Leer shell
2004 31' Alumascape TT

H5-Phil

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  • Posts: 73
  • Penryn, CA. (foothills of the Sierra)
For those who might be interested there's a bit of a discussion below a driver's POV video of a 27' class C (I believe it's a C) using this road.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0yJzBQN3Y4&lc=z13sgjyzmwzszphpg04cetnjapnxhvboiug0k.1496069095195982
Phil & Karen with Crash, our 'guard' Dachshund
KE6HUL / KE6NYJ
2014 F-350 Diesel XLT. with Leer shell
2004 31' Alumascape TT

Arch Hoagland

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  • Clovis CA
Just found out from my son-in-law, who drives that road, that you don't need the insurance stuff now.
2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
W22, 8.1 gas,  Allison 1000 Transmission
7.1 MPG over 80,000 miles

2000 Lexus RX300, 4020lb
U.S. Gear Braking System

H5-Phil

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  • Penryn, CA. (foothills of the Sierra)
I posted my 'recon' report of this road with a few pictures 30 minutes ago.  It hasn't displayed yet.   Does a moderator have to screen the post/pics before it is shown here?

:)) Let us know the results of your Recon Mission ??

As you enter into the coastal hills on N/F road.. there are a couple of Dry Camping camp grounds. I've seen RV's there.. might wana check those out ? just 'cuz ?
Phil & Karen with Crash, our 'guard' Dachshund
KE6HUL / KE6NYJ
2014 F-350 Diesel XLT. with Leer shell
2004 31' Alumascape TT

Sun2Retire

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It hasn't displayed yet.   Does a moderator have to screen the post/pics before it is shown here?


No. The site is 'post moderated' not pre, i.e., reviewed after posting - posts don't have to be pre-approved.
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350 "OURVEE"
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab "RTOAD"
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster

H5-Phil

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  • Posts: 73
  • Penryn, CA. (foothills of the Sierra)
I drove the infamous Nacimiento-Fergusson recently.  Here's my impression of the road, a few pictures and how I intend to drive it safely with our TT  (52' total length).

Let me preface my comments with this; if you are nervous or inexperienced with windy narrow roads this road is probably not for you in any vehicle. 

I headed over with just my truck (2014 F-350, 21' long with a width at the mirrors of 8' 9").  I did this drive on 6/7 (Wed) and returned 6/10 (Sat).  My conclusion after driving this road twice (there and back) is that I'll use a pilot car (my wife in our Prius communicating via handy-talkies) to cross this pass. 

Of all of the blind/semi blind corners there are, about a dozen of them concerned me.  They would require me to use the entire road (or the majority of it) to make the corners.  This was the deal breaker for me as far as driving this road without a pilot car.  Even though traffic was very light (I encountered about 10 vehicles on the way over and about 3 times that coming back) the idea of easing around a corner without knowing what was coming my way is just too risky for me and for the other drivers on the road.

However, large rigs are doing this drive solo.  While setting up camp at Kirk Creek the new campground host arrived.  She was driving an older Ford truck and towing a 31' TT - total length was 51' (see attached).  She said she was from Colorado and was used to towing on narrow windy roads.  Also, the campground host at Plaskett said he'd seen several large/long rigs in his campground.  During my 4-day stay, the longest rig I saw was that of the Kirk Creek host (with the exception of construction/repair rigs (see attached) which are being escorted over this road periodically by CHP).

I found most of the Nacimiento-Fergusson to be at least 20' wide (see attached - my truck setting on the road).  A few short sections of the road were as narrow as 16', these were few and far between.   There is one section that is now ONE LANE - this is an area of repair, is straight and about 100 yards long.  My average speed in the curviest sections of this road was roughly 5 to 10MPH.  As far as height restrictions, there is a bridge (see attached) you cross early in this drive that has a posted height limit of 14' 2" - I saw nothing beyond that bridge that appeared lower.

There is no diesel available on this 12 mile section of the coast but gas is available at Gorda.  I use Verizon and found NO service. 
 
Folks considering this drive should check for scheduled convoys taking repair materials over this pass.  Also, currently it is advised that no vehicles over 30' long or towing a trailer use this road (see attached).  If this becomes a requirement then obviously, longer rigs or those of us towing a TT, are screwed. 

Phil
« Last Edit: June 11, 2017, 05:02:03 PM by H5-Phil »
Phil & Karen with Crash, our 'guard' Dachshund
KE6HUL / KE6NYJ
2014 F-350 Diesel XLT. with Leer shell
2004 31' Alumascape TT

BIG JOE

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Thanks for the Feedback Phil  :))

Very informative for those that may want to "negotiate".. Nacimiento/Fergusson road.  :))

Joe
Joe

Tow an 016 29RS "Reflection" 5r w/Trailair pin box...with a 2012 Ford DRW, F-350, 4x4, Loaded de-Blinged Lariat CC, 6.7 Diesel.. Wife & I, Beck & Sheeka the Dogs.. And as of 5-17.. Lizzie, the Kitten in Training.

Sun2Retire

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if you are nervous or inexperienced with windy narrow roads this road is probably not for you in any vehicle. 

Not.....

Quote
This was the deal breaker for me as far as driving this road without a pilot car. 

... but I draw the line at a road requiring a pilot car!  ;)

Quote
While setting up camp at Kirk Creek the new campground host arrived.  She was driving an older Ford truck and towing a 31' TT - total length was 51' (see attached).  She said she was from Colorado and was used to towing on narrow windy roads.  Also, the campground host at Plaskett said he'd seen several large/long rigs in his campground.

Glad you made it to Plaskett and Kirk Creek. We thoroughly enjoyed Plaskett, and drove by Kirk Creek as a future destination. Two campgrounds with great settings
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350 "OURVEE"
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab "RTOAD"
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster

john owens

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Kirk Creek...I think this is the campground that was privately owned back in the 80's called Lime Kiln Campground...beautifull setting with beaches on the west side and tall  trees and streams on the other...great memories. Mostly setup for tenters thou as I recall.
2011 Winnebago 37F Class A  2012 Unlimited JK 2001 HD roadking  1964 Manx 1641cc buggy 1985 22'Lazy Daze Class C 2007 Chaparrel 26' deck boat..Thats all folks!!

Arch Hoagland

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  • Clovis CA
Kirk Creek...I think this is the campground that was privately owned back in the 80's called Lime Kiln Campground...beautifull setting with beaches on the west side and tall  trees and streams on the other...great memories. Mostly setup for tenters thou as I recall.

I did a backpack trip out of Lime Kilm campground many years ago. That area is called the Ventana Wilderness.

O.P.    Thanks for posting the pictures, very nice
2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
W22, 8.1 gas,  Allison 1000 Transmission
7.1 MPG over 80,000 miles

2000 Lexus RX300, 4020lb
U.S. Gear Braking System

H5-Phil

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  • Posts: 73
  • Penryn, CA. (foothills of the Sierra)
I hear you.  We wouldn't even be considering this road if not for having 17 days reserved at Kirk Creek and Plaskett.  The picture in my previous post of the big rigs being escorted over the road shows just how big you can be if you're taking your half of the road out of the middle ;)


... but I draw the line at a road requiring a pilot car!  ;)
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 08:06:55 AM by H5-Phil »
Phil & Karen with Crash, our 'guard' Dachshund
KE6HUL / KE6NYJ
2014 F-350 Diesel XLT. with Leer shell
2004 31' Alumascape TT

H5-Phil

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  • Posts: 73
  • Penryn, CA. (foothills of the Sierra)
There's a Limekiln State Park 3 mile north of Kirk Creek (https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=577).  I don't have the backstory about the CGs in that area but that's where it's at now.

Kirk Creek...I think this is the campground that was privately owned back in the 80's called Lime Kiln Campground...beautifull setting with beaches on the west side and tall  trees and streams on the other...great memories. Mostly setup for tenters thou as I recall.
Phil & Karen with Crash, our 'guard' Dachshund
KE6HUL / KE6NYJ
2014 F-350 Diesel XLT. with Leer shell
2004 31' Alumascape TT

johnitis

  • Posts: 1
Thanks for your report. Kirk Creek is our favorite camping spot. I've been hesitant to make reservations but, if there's a new camp host, that means the old one got out with her 37' Monaco over Nacimiento-Fergusson. So, now I'm tempted.

Avoid the gas at Gorda. It's (in)famous for it's ridiculously priced gas. Last year it was almost $10/gallon.

John

However, large rigs are doing this drive solo.  While setting up camp at Kirk Creek the new campground host arrived.  She was driving an older Ford truck and towing a 31' TT - total length was 51' (see attached).  She said she was from Colorado and was used to towing on narrow windy roads.  Also, the campground host at Plaskett said he'd seen several large/long rigs in his campground.  During my 4-day stay, the longest rig I saw was that of the Kirk Creek host (with the exception of construction/repair rigs (see attached) which are being escorted over this road periodically by CHP).

There is no diesel available on this 12 mile section of the coast but gas is available at Gorda.

H5-Phil

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  • Posts: 73
  • Penryn, CA. (foothills of the Sierra)
It really is a unique time to be camping on that stretch of the coast.  The normally busy highway is mostly quiet, turnouts with spectacular views mostly empty, parking anywhere is no problem and the human population is at a minimum.  It's like having the place to yourself.

I'm using a pilot car (my wife in our Prius) to be my eyes around those blind corners - I wouldn't do that drive any other way with my 31' TT.

A $5.00 bottle of wine at Gorda will set you back $25.00 so things are a bit pricy.


Thanks for your report. Kirk Creek is our favorite camping spot. I've been hesitant to make reservations but, if there's a new camp host, that means the old one got out with her 37' Monaco over Nacimiento-Fergusson. So, now I'm tempted.

Avoid the gas at Gorda. It's (in)famous for it's ridiculously priced gas. Last year it was almost $10/gallon.

John
Phil & Karen with Crash, our 'guard' Dachshund
KE6HUL / KE6NYJ
2014 F-350 Diesel XLT. with Leer shell
2004 31' Alumascape TT

H5-Phil

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  • Posts: 73
  • Penryn, CA. (foothills of the Sierra)
Thanks Tom and Margi!

I'm a firm believer that 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure'.  In this case my long drive over to explore the road would be a drop in the bucket compared to a serious accident or worse yet injuring someone else because of my negligence.

You should be complimented for checking this out ahead of time, Phil.  So many people assume that California is the land of perfect weather and sunshine and plow into places like this with no hint of Mother Nature's winter surprises (destruction).  There are so many roads leading to scenic places in California that were definitely not designed to accommodate long rigs.
Phil & Karen with Crash, our 'guard' Dachshund
KE6HUL / KE6NYJ
2014 F-350 Diesel XLT. with Leer shell
2004 31' Alumascape TT

 

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