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Author Topic: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"  (Read 2604 times)

garyb1st

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DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« on: December 24, 2017, 02:11:01 AM »
Thought I'd start a thread on roads you regret taking.  I'll start by relating our adventure last night on our short drive to Dos Picos County Park and Campground in Ramona, CA.  We got a late start for our Holiday outing.  But heck it was only 1 PM and the park was just 3 hours away.  That's very doable except on the Friday afternoon before Christmas.  We got to the park office at 6:30 PM.  Whenever we take a new route, I google the roads to make sure they're safe for the motorhome.   When I googled Highland Valley, I found a youtube video of the entire 16 miles stretch.  The video didn't have any sound and I wasn't sure but it looked like the video was shot from a motorcycle.  Still, it looked doable and according to Google maps, Highland Valley Road. Exit 26 off California I-15, is the fastest route to the campground.  When we got to Highland Valley Road, it was just past 5 PM.  It was dark.  There was no moon and this road did not have any street lights.  We make the turn onto Highland Valley and drove past one of those yellow warning signs.  The DW asks if I saw the sign.  I hadn't.  As an aside, we drove the same route today in the Jeep.  The warning sign said tractors - semis more than 25 feet from king pin to rear axel, NOT ADVISED.   But back to the adventure.  While we didn't see that warning sign, we did see several signs saying the road was going to get narrower.  Ouch.  How much more narrow can this road get?   I don't want to alarm the wife but I'm thinking, maybe we should turn around.  Each lane couldn't be more than 9 feet wide.  But heck, it's the fastest route.  Right.  Fast if your on a motorcycle.  It actually comes up as one of the better motorcycle roads in California.  Now I've owned a motorcycle and I've done a mountain road or two.   Just not like this and not at night.  So since there is literally no way to turn around, we head down the thankfully very lightly traveled road.  The first two or three miles are relatively easy.  While narrow, there weren't any other cars and we hadn't got to the hills yet.  But that is short lived relief.  This is a mountain road with steep grades and lots of curves.   Most of the shoulders are narrow to non-existent with occasional pot holes large enough to break an axle.  The other warning signs we saw warned that the road floods from time to time.  That was evident by the occasional deep ruts where the shoulder should have been.  Now we've done some challenging roads in the 3 1/2 years we've had a motorhome, but this one was hands down, the worst.  It would have been difficult in broad daylight.  In fact if we could have seen the drop offs, my knuckles would still be white.  As mentioned, we went back today with the Jeep just to see what we drove through.  If we met another large vehicle on the road, it would have been either an accident or serious negotiation regarding right of way.  We can't back up with the toad.  So for the most part, when we didn't see headlights coming our way, it was keep the Pace Arrow driver side tires right on or to the left of the yellow center line.   After the first few miles, the fun part began.  The road became both hilly and twisty.  Fortunately, most of it was up hill and we were moving at a snails pace.  It took about an hour and 15 minutes to make the 16 mile drive.  Seemed like forever.   But eventually we made it to the campground road.  When we called the ranger to check availability and before beginning this E ticket ride (for those old enough to remember the old Disneyland ride rating system), he suggested we come in before dark.  It was 2 hours after dark when we were finally on the park road.  I saw the sign.  Dos Picos County Park.  Success.  I turn left into the park road.  Only problem, it's not into the campground.  It goes to the day use area.   Not a problem except for the fact that we actually missed the entrance and got into some kind of oval shaped loop that we barely made it through.  So tight we almost had to unhook and back out.  Alas, we made it through with only minor Arizona pin striping and one missing side amber marker light cover.   So on we go to the campground.   That was relatively easy and only took an hour to find a place and put out the slides.   Happy holidays and great camping in 2018.   ;)
Gary B1st

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Sun2Retire

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2017, 03:25:00 AM »
Great story Gary, gotta love that “Arizona pin striping” eh?  ;)  I’ve adorned my rig with it a few times.
Scott
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HueyPilotVN

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2017, 04:26:55 AM »
So Gary,  guess I should not try to drag the stacker up to that campground.

Are you and Maria coming to Q this year?  Hope to see you there if you do.
Bill Waugh
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Old_Crow

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2017, 07:08:57 AM »
Navajo Lake State Park in northern New Mexico.  Do not try to negotiate the campground with a 37' gasser pulling a Jeep.  Even if you can get around the loops, there are no campsites big enough for that size rig.  Arizona pinstriping, indeed.

We over-nighted in Navajo National Monument in northern AZ.  At the turnoff to the campground a sign warns no rigs over 29' in campground.  We found a spot(1 only) we could use without unhooking the toad with no problem, and a couple we could have backed into if we'd had time to stay.
Wally Crow
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HappyWanderer

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2017, 09:09:12 AM »
Highway 14 in Nova Scotia. How it was ever named a "highway" is anybody's guess. On the map, it looks like a great shortcut between Milford and Windsor.

It started out okay, then got narrow, lots of curves, lots of broken pavement. After bouncing around for half an hour, we came upon a sign warning about rough road ahead. It could get worse? Yes, it did!

We finally made it to the other end. We had screws on the floor from the couch, and a broken accessory wire on the coach battery. No broken dishes, so I guess we made out okay.
WARNING: This post may contain a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer, or birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Kevin Means

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2017, 11:31:29 AM »
Great description and story Gary. Cyndi and I used to go to Dos Picos - a nice, quiet campground (at least, it used to be - haven't been there in years.) It was tight, but doable, in our first motorhome - a 28 foot Class A.

A few years ago, I drove up there in my Tahoe to see if there was any chance they'd widened the road, or made the campsites more accessible, so our 43 foot Tour would fit. Ha! Fat chance! I remember thinking it was even tight for my Tahoe, so I was chuckling a bit as I read your account. :)  Say hi to Maria, and Merry Christmas!

Kev
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winona

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2017, 11:59:13 AM »
Gilbert Road near Empire, Michigan -- it's sand!
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pz

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2017, 12:51:59 PM »
McKenzie Pass in Oregon (242) - we came from Sisters Oregon and started up the road (2-lane) because we like to travel the roads less taken. We came across a small sign that we think read "Not recommend for trailers and RVs", but the sign was so small and the dirt road that we think was supposed to act as a turn around was so inadequate that we missed the opportunity entirely.


The road kept becoming narrower, which is usually not an issue, but the switchbacks started winding through a road chiseled through the lava fields (steep walls on both sides). I literally had to pray that another vehicle was not coming around the corner because I had to go entirely into the oncoming lane to get around the corner.


Yeah, I know, I was stupid, but in my defense, Oregon was entirely remiss in properly warning the traveler, hence this post.
PZ
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Lowell

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2017, 12:55:27 PM »
The Apache Trail between Apache Junction and Roosevelt Dam in Arizona.  It's a great drive in a 4 wheeler but way too tight for a trailer or large Type A RV.
Lowell

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Alaskansnowbirds

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2017, 07:05:11 PM »
Stay away from 89A between Prescott, AZ and Jerome, AZ and 89A again between Sedona and Flagstaff.

Both very nice drives in your toad but don't take a RV there. MH or 5th wheel.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2017, 06:40:50 PM by Alaskansnowbirds »
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JudyJB

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2017, 01:05:11 PM »
Good topic.

CA 20 from Ft. Bragg to Willits or vice versa in Northern California from the coast inland.  Looks like a nice shortcut on the map but very winding and no shoulders at all.  In fact, if a redwood tree was slightly in the roadway, they just paved around the edge so there are hazards on what should be the shoulders.  Worst problem was huge, empty logging trucks barreling around hairpin turns downhill. 

I was driving my then-brand-new rig, and son asked if I'd like him to take over.  I told him if I crashed my rig, I would be very unhappy, but if he crashed it, I would never forgive him, so better for me to drive.  Made it, but would not recommend it for anything but a very short motorhome, maybe under 22'.  I've driven 110,000 miles over mountains and deserts, but this was the absolute worst.

And actually, I drove 89A the short distance from Clarkdale/Cottonwood to Jerome, on the advice of a state park ranger. There is a dirt parking lot to the east of town, but you absolutely cannot drive through Jerome itself or beyond the town. Not fun, but I made it with 32' C.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2017, 01:09:11 PM by JudyJB »
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rockin rockwood

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2017, 01:20:51 PM »
  I-20 west bound in Louisiana. Nothing but expansion joints the whole length....ka-dunk ka-dunk ka-dunk Then as a goodbye gesture, the last 20 miles into Shrevesport will jolt every piece of suspension you have left!

catblaster

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2017, 04:36:33 PM »
    My vote is for I-4, it has been named the mos deadly highway in America with the stretch thru Orlando being the worst of the worst. Of course I guess it up to who is doing the naming. I-4 southbound at Fairbanks seems to have the right combination for rolling over semi's and the new construction which will make part of it a toll road is a nightmare of zigs and zags. Recently someone left a piece of construction equipment sticking out in the road and it caught someone and a crane fell over last week knocking out power lines and access to one of the ramps. All this and they want to charge us to ride part of it when they are done.
Will and Jane
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Corky

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2017, 06:29:39 PM »
US129, otherwise known as the Tail of the Dragon. It's located at the western edges of the Great Smokey Mountains.
The road is both thrilling and is also a killer, and not a place for anything 25' in length or longer.
Years ago I spent quite a bit of time there with both motorcycle and a MR2 Spyder.

Corky 
« Last Edit: December 25, 2017, 06:43:41 PM by Corky »
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Molaker

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2017, 06:46:08 PM »
Stay away from 89A from Prescott, AZ to Jerome, AZ and 89A again from Sedona to Flagstaff.

Both very nice drives in your toad but don't take a RV there. MH or 5th wheel.
When I was a 16 yr old, Dad had a '58 Plymouth Savoy.  We were going out to Cal. to visit my sister and traveled 89A from Flagstaff to Prescott pulling a 12' open cargo trailer.  I was driving when we went through Jerome.  We came up behind another vehicle towing a trailer much like ours.  Dad told me to pass when I could.  I never was able to get around, though, as it turned out to be us. ;D
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ChasA

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2017, 08:56:32 PM »
Now that is funny.
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garyb1st

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2017, 09:28:08 AM »
Great responses everyone.   Don't know if a list of these challenging routes exists within the Forum, but I for one would find it very helpful.  Hopefully if one of the moderators reads the thread and is aware of such a list he or she will point me in the right direction.  If not, I'd  like to suggest a listing of the many drives we would all appreciate hearing about before beginning.  The list would only be added to or modified by forum staff.  (I think that would be necessary to keep the list manageable). And as much as I like sharing the full impact of my misadventures, I think it would more helpful if the list was limited to the commonly known route and it's various identifiers.  Other than that, only additional detail providing insight and critical information to keep the driver and navigator out of harms way. 

 
 
Gary B1st

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2016 Jeep Wrangler


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nbalthaser

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2017, 10:49:00 AM »
I lived in Montreal Quebec and owned a short sprinter which we used as a second daily driver. I can tell you that all RV manufacturers need to use Montreal as a test bed for their suspensions. Honestly, the roads are pretty terrible. I'm not sure if it is because the city is so old or they've neglected infrastructure for so long or the winters or all the above. I shot a video where you can see and hear the bumpiness. The video is also a good indicator for what it's like to drive in a dense urban center in an RV.

https://youtu.be/6iuY8yOQRv4
« Last Edit: December 26, 2017, 11:02:56 AM by nbalthaser »

LarsMac

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2017, 11:05:21 AM »
CO 82 from Twin Lakes to Aspen.
A fascinating drive, open only in the summer, but anything larger that a 26 ft RV is NOT welcome, and will not be at all fun if you ignore the warnings and try to make the drive.
There are number of tight turns, and narrow sections.
It's a great day trip in your toad or a motorcycle, but leave your rig behind.

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John Stephens

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2017, 01:59:02 PM »
The worst road I've ever taken was I-10 through Louisiana, but then, I think all LA roads are in bad shape.

The scariest road I've ever been on was Tennessee Hwy 32. We were traveling from Pigeon Forge to Asheville, NC via Gatlinburg on 321 and planned on taking it all the way to I-40. We were using the phone GPS as a guide just in case we got lost and its map had other plans. Since we had it set to the shortest route rather than the fastest, it told me to turn from US321 onto TN Hwy 32 and take it for 12 miles. Since I was driving, I had no ability to look at the big map to see where this road went.

Fortunately, we were only driving the 39 ft. Adventurer. Had we been towing, we would have never made this road. After a couple of miles, the road began twisting and turning and we realized we were climbing up the side of a mountain. On one side of the coach was the mountain and on the other side was a drop-off so steep, we couldn't see the bottom. The road was paved, but only nine feet wide per lane. Then came the switchbacks. On three occasions, I had to pull forward and back up three to five times before being able to maneuver around the turns without falling off the road. Some of the turns were so sharp, I had to hang the front corner of the coach over the edge of the road and my wife panicked, jumping into the middle of the coach thinking the shift of her weight might keep us from going over. She didn't realize the front wheels of a Class A sit behind the driver and passenger seats and I had plenty of room before driving the tires off the road.

We anxiously waited for those 12 miles to be up, thinking we would eventually find our way to I-40. No. Not yet. What the phone GPS didn't tell us was that the 12 miles it wanted us to stay on that road was simply how long the road was paved. At the end of the 12 miles, the road turned into a one lane gravel road, making me wonder if it was a driveway to Bubba's moonshine still. We had no defensive protection with us; not even a tire thumper, so we got a bit worried about where that road was going to take us, but we had no choice. The road was too narrow to turn around and go back, so we had to continue forward, only hoping for the best. The gravel part of the road was the backside of the mountain we had just climbed, so now, we were headed downhill. And then we ran into more switchbacks. This time, we had to be extra careful since we could slide off the road if I didn't stand on the brakes. The gravel lasted another 11 miles before dumping us onto a North Carolina road that had a sign indicating I-40 was only five miles away after turning left.

We made it! The one saving grace was that we had not run into a single vehicle going the other direction. I felt great relief and since this was my first serious challenge after buying the coach, I felt like I could drive the thing down Broadway and parallel park it in front of one of the theaters in New York City. I had extra confidence for about a half mile until I saw a sign stating that there was a bridge ahead with a weight limit of 5 tons. Oh great! My coach weighs 10 tons empty! Well, I knew there was no way I was going to turn around and attempt to traverse what we just went through a second time, so I decided to take the bridge at a high rate of speed and hold my breath. When we got to it, we did just that and made it across without a problem. I honestly think the sign was wrong because the bridge looked a lot sturdier than something that would hold only 5 tons. As soon as we crossed the bridge, we got dumped onto I-40.

When I looked at the Google map of the road we had taken, I was surprised we were able to make it in a rig that large. A sports car would have trouble taking that road at a decent speed. The 23 miles took us 2-˝ hours.

Lesson learned. I bought two items before our next trip across country: an RV GPS system and protection in the event we ever need it. If anyone wants to travel through the Smoky Mountains in an RV, take a different road than TN 32.
John
Cape Coral, Fl.
2005 Winnebago Adventurer 38J
2018 Chevy Equinox

skydivemark

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2017, 11:56:17 AM »
Great responses everyone.   Don't know if a list of these challenging routes exists within the Forum, but I for one would find it very helpful.  Hopefully if one of the moderators reads the thread and is aware of such a list he or she will point me in the right direction.  If not, I'd  like to suggest a listing of the many drives we would all appreciate hearing about before beginning.  The list would only be added to or modified by forum staff.  (I think that would be necessary to keep the list manageable). And as much as I like sharing the full impact of my misadventures, I think it would more helpful if the list was limited to the commonly known route and it's various identifiers.  Other than that, only additional detail providing insight and critical information to keep the driver and navigator out of harms way.

While considering making that list, maybe classify the roads like ski slopes do, black diamond, double diamond etc.?
Just a thought.
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ConductorX

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2018, 03:15:37 PM »
The worst road I've ever taken was I-10 through Louisiana, but then, I think all LA roads are in bad shape.

I resemble that remark.  Yes our roads are bad.  I live near I-12 and it has been under construction since the 80s.

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Oldgator73

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2018, 04:31:37 PM »
'less traveled.'  ;)
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Old_Crow

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2018, 05:05:28 AM »
'less traveled.'  ;)

Hah, I prefer the roads less traveled. 
Unfortunately my cross country trip this summer is going to be on a time restraint.  I hate hours upon hours on the freeway just driving to get somewhere.
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Oldgator73

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2018, 07:55:25 AM »
Some of our best trips have been the ones where we got lost.
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Molaker

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2018, 10:06:43 AM »
Old Spanish Trail Hwy...don't go there unless you are in a 4WD and have a couple of extra jerrycans of fuel. 


As we left Hoover Dam we wanted to go to Death Valley.  So, we headed up State Hwy 160 from Vegas.  My old Road Trip Navigator 2012 trip planner showed a campground at Tecopa, Cal.  In fact, it was labeled as Tecopa Hot Springs, public park.  I let my GPS have its head and it chose Tecopa Road off hwy 160 to Old Spanish Trail Hwy.  The route was on my trip planner, Google Maps, and shown on our paper map.  It was only about 80 miles from Vegas.

As we left Vegas area, I noted I was low on diesel (MB Sprinter chassis).  No problem, I still had 1/4 tank.  I'd fill up at the turn-off for Tecopa Road and if nothing there, I could fill up at Tecopa.


Tecopa Road was a pretty good road.  Then it changed to Nevada and Old Spanish Trail Hwy.  The closer we got to Tecopa, the narrower the "highway" got.  We finally got to Tecopa and the GPS led us off to the campground...and led us, and led us.  The road turned into two sandy dirt ruts trailing through the desert and finally just petered out, several miles after my low fuel light came on.  No campground in sight, just a busted old windmill and a cattle water trough.


We started to backtrack to Tecopa hoping we could make it and, of course, no cell service way the heck out there.  We did make it to Tecopa.  But, no gas station, let alone one with diesel.  We headed on up Hwy 127 toward Shoshone just hoping for cell service at the very least.


We made it to Shoshone somehow.  My fuel tank must have collapsed in a bit as I had to have been sucking air from it, not to mention the washers I was sucking out of my seat.  At last!  There was a Chevron station and diesel was only $5.14 a gallon.  I'd have paid $20 by then.



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Jeff in Ferndale Wa

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2018, 02:51:22 PM »
Definitely not the worst road out there, but this topic reminds me of my first time ever driving a motor home.
In 1989 I rented a 32' class A and took the kids from NW Washington to Los Angeles.Spent a few days at Disneyland,Magic mountain, etc.
We drove I5 on the southbound portion,but on the way home I decided I wanted to check out the California coast so got on Hwy 1 north of San Francisco.(at least I think that's where we got on)
We made it ok,but was pretty nerve racking for a guy who had never driven a motor home before.

If you are ever in NW Washington, do not be tempted to take WA 11 ,Chuckanut Drive, from Burlington to Bellingham.
The rock hillside extends right to the fog line in several places and could take out the side of your rig if you got too close.
I took out the side of an old panel truck one time many years ago.
I have never taken any of my RVs on that road, but ride my motorcycle any time I can.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 03:44:58 PM by Jeff in Ferndale Wa »
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LarsMac

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2018, 04:14:45 PM »
Definitely not the worst road out there, but this topic reminds me of my first time ever driving a motor home.
In 1989 I rented a 32' class A and took the kids from NW Washington to Los Angeles.Spent a few days at Disneyland,Magic mountain, etc.
We drove I5 on the southbound portion,but on the way home I decided I wanted to check out the California coast so got on Hwy 1 north of San Francisco.(at least I think that's where we got on)
We made it ok,but was pretty nerve racking for a guy who had never driven a motor home before.
...

OMG, NO!
Highway 1 north of the Bay Bridge is a bear, but then, if you turn on the Panoramic Highway, it gets even worse.  I've only ever been carsick twice in my life. That was one of them, and I was driving.

If you want to go up the coast, go north to San Rafael, and take Francis Drake Blvd to Olema and pick up highway 1 from their. 



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Jeff in Ferndale Wa

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2018, 07:05:55 PM »
OMG, NO!
Highway 1 north of the Bay Bridge is a bear, but then, if you turn on the Panoramic Highway, it gets even worse.  I've only ever been carsick twice in my life. That was one of them, and I was driving.

If you want to go up the coast, go north to San Rafael, and take Francis Drake Blvd to Olema and pick up highway 1 from their.

Ya..well this forum wasn't around in 1989, or maybe I might have followed your advice.  ;D
2007 Springdale 260
2008 Ford F250
2004 Honda Goldwing GL1800
Rampage Motorcycle Lift

LarsMac

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Re: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD "Fill in the blank"
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2018, 12:35:53 PM »
Ya..well this forum wasn't around in 1989, or maybe I might have followed your advice.  ;D

Well, it's worth logging here for posterity, I reckon.

I have to say, some of the views were fantastic, and I'm glad that I took that road, once.
You'll never get me on it again, though.

2000 Itasca Sundancer 430V
2007 Saturn Vue

"The trouble with people isn't that they don't know, but that they know so much that ain't so."