RV vs Logging Truck!

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Ray D

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:(I alluded to this issue of mine, earlier, in another thread. It was a different subject, and you came through for me. But, no comments on my cracks about the size of my beast - motorhome. No complaint, there, as that wasn?t really the subject of the thread.  (And, we are getting a kick out of RVing, with the travels we have done, so far.) Many of you have larger units than mine.

So, how daring are you? This time, THAT?S the subject. Just WHERE will one of these beasts go?

Newby to Motorhomes, I am not new to large vehicles. It?s just been a while, 30 yrs or so! I owned a small trucking company in Los Angeles, long ago. Moved to Idaho to have a better environment for my kids, and to hunt and fish. Nailed both objectives, just fine. Now, I?m 70 years old, a bit impaired, and would like to recover as much of my former travels as I can. I?d like to do some back-woods-stream, fly  fishing, maybe even some limited hunting.

I brought one truck to Boise, back then, a 1964 Ford cabover, with a 22 ft flat-bed. Total length, about 32 feet. I found business in the back woods for that truck, and also used it as a ?hunting platform? with my newfound friends. Sometimes, I didn?t need a road!

I hauled the camping stuff into the woods, for everybody. They took their 4WDs, and I hitched a ride, deeper, after we set up base camp. Sometimes, it was backpacks, after that.

I had that truck everywhere, on those old logging roads into the mountainous great outdoors. Now, I think I must have been insane! And, I am so limited as to where I am willing to take our new 36' Damon Challenger, I am not sure whether I was insane then, or now. I am all but terrified to take my unit off of a paved road.

The question: How does one tell? Am I safe, on a two lane gravel road, where trucks go, all of the time, every day?  If so, what if the road is a mountain road - tight turns - switch-backs - steep grades? What if it is a ?single track??  Logging trucks - they are ?tractor trailer rigs,? -  treat some of these like super highways! Why not me? Is my limiting factor the RV?s size, or my fears?

I can remember meeting logging trucks coming down, while I was going up. Sometimes, one of us had to back up, a ways, in order to pass. Just too narrow. Sure wasn?t going to be the guy with the load of logs, coming down. So, I backed- up. No problem. Just find a wide spot, backwards, and let him pass. Except - - - - .

Problem number two. Is anyone else fearful about backing one of these rigs up? I?ve backed the Challenger up, but it?s a big deal. I back it up onto the pad in the back yard, every trip. Sorry if this sounds stupid (it sounds stupid to me) but I really don?t know why it?s such a big deal!. I have similar mirrors to what I used to have, and a rear-view camera on top of that! Backing into a rental slot, at a resort, is an issue! That?s just a few feet! I do it, but I?ll take a ?pull-thru,?any day!

Used to be that backing-up was no big deal, at all. I could thread a needle with a truck! Watch out the window and keep an eye on your mirrors and drive that turkey backwards as far as you have to go! How do you folks handle this? Have I become a sissy, a wuss, a coward? Is this an issue for anyone else? Is it likely that I will ?get used to it? with practice? What happened to me?

If a semi-trailer logging truck can go there, why can?t I? He?s bigger than me! If a grocery delivery-van can go there, why can?t I? Do I need to sell this thing and move into an assisted living project? Is it time for me to grow a beard and get a walker? Am I all done, now? Is there a reason to be leery of getting off of the interstate, except at truck stops? What are the vehicle?s limitations? How far will you go? How do you decide? Gotta be somebody here, who actually DRIVES these things? What will they do?

Ray D
 

Neddy Boy

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Apr 20, 2006
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Hi Ray,

The best way I know of backing my rig up is to keep an eye on the mirrors, backup screen and have my wife stand at the back end in my side mirror's vision, direct me so I don't hit anything and get squared.  Other than that, I prefer the pull-through slots best too.

 

Ned

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There are limitations on where you can take a large motorhome, but those roads will usually be posted as to the maximum size vehicle allowed.  We have been on some roads that we probably shouldn't have, but always with the knowledge that the road was passable.  Just the other day we drove the Top of the World Highway in Alaska, so narrow in places that two vehicles had to proceed very slowly to pass, but still doable in even the largest RVs.  We don't go on unmarked roads where we don't know the conditions.  If you stick to the national and state highways, you will generally not have any problems.  Get a Trucker's Atlas (I'm sure you're familiar with it) and it will tell you of low clearances, but we've run into very, very few of those.

Backing up is not a problem, as long as you don't have a toad behind.  Even with a toad, we have backed up as much as 20-30 feet, as long as the two vehicles are straight.  You do need someone to spot for you and tell you when to stop.  Backing the motorhome without a toad is no more difficult than any other vehicle with only mirrors for assistance.  If you could back a truck, you can back the motorhome.  If you're uncomfortable right now, go find a large, empty, parking lot and practice.  Use the stripes on the lot for markers, pretend they mark out a campsite.

By all means, grow the beard, many of us have done that :)  You don't need the walker for that.
 

Ray D

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Boise, Idaho
Ned and Ned: Thanks.

We have Nextel Phones with the walkie talkie feature. I use the mirrors and the back-up camera, while she guides me. We get it done. I did it alone a couple of times, and then, alone, took out the gate and a thirty foot section of fence. Dinged the back bumper. $2,500 for that little fiasco, and now don't park unless she is there with me.

Didn't think of practicing on a parking lot. That might help! Don't know of such a lot at this time, but will look for one. (I think I need to start with an empty lot.)

We did take one trip, that reassured me on a related issue. I intentionally set up a trip that went to a beautiful area where there was one pretty severe grade. Wanted to give my "grade brake" a check out. Challenger did fine! It was like it was asking for more! I feel better about grades, now. Still, there are some quite a bit steeper than the one I tried.

I don't feel as aggressive as I used too. Don't know where that went! May have gotten covered up in a wrinkle, some where!

Ray D.
 

Shayne

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Jan 22, 2006
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Ray D  I concur with Ned and Ned.  I understand backing a trailer of that magnatude is very difficult. Many of us back MHs into slots we have no business doing so, but we do.  Some with tow vehicles, some with dollies and some with trailers. We all have expeirience one way or another.  Personally our rig is 65' long when I back up and at times very difficult. This shouldn't be done without assistance.  Backing ours is not like a semi nor  a 5th wheel rig, the swivels are much different. Yes a back up camera helps, but in our case we need 2 cameras. Heck when you have a long and difficult rig it's even hard to find a fuel station that you can comfortly get in and out when the fuel in in the rear of the MH and you still have half the unit behind you. But yep I've had damage to the unit and trailer  MY fault  I pay.  Backing is difficult at times no matter who is driving.  Good Luck
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
Well, there are a number of questions and answers in the Original Post in this thread... I'll tackle backing up first

Some folks can not back a simple car into a back-in parking slot.  Some folks can not parrellel park, and those folks should not even THINK about putting an RV in reverse.  Other folks... Well, I'm a farm boy

I routinely back my Damon (An Intruder, very simular to your challanger but I have an extra half-bath) onto its pad here at home.. that is over 100 feet of backing with obstructions in the path.

I just unhook the towed vehicle first (Since it's towed 4-down) Not that I have  not backed up wagons (Which are also towed 4 down but the stering (Front) wheels are tied to the tow vehicle, not castors)

I have taken my 37'7" intrider down Cottonwood Canyon (I can never remember if it's Drive or Road) in Utah
You described it well (Some places it's a 1-track dirt road impassable when wet, we did have to ford a stream)

Some of the reasons you are more cautious with your Challanger than your Logging truck

Logging truck, not counting mirrors is eight foot wide,, Challanger eight and a half foot wide (I've driven both, it's a BIG difference)

Logging truck had steel rails around the outside for you to snag your tie-downs to.. Challanger, Fiberglass sides

Logging truck, who cares if you have a couple of dings on said rail... Challanger  YOU CARE!!

Here in Detroit I can likely buy two houses for what you paid for that Challanger (Assuming you got it new) and have change left over, rather a lot of change  So I'd say your caution is warranted
 

Ray D

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Jun 4, 2006
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Boise, Idaho
Shane, John, Ned and all, thanks again. I am hearing something like I hoped to hear. I may get it, yet. May grow the beard, too. (May get a rise out of Jasper?s Mom, on that!)

Think the most helpful suggestion was the parking lot. Most of those, here, are full, every day. Then I remembered a big one in a public park, not used a lot on weekdays.. Called a cop I know, who works that area. Told him I wanted to conduct a motorhome rodeo with a lot of backwards driving.

He said, ?Knock yourself out Ray. Have a good time. We won?t bother you as long as it?s not crowded.?  Anyone else want to come to the rodeo? We could set up cones, and have a slalom race!

John, I am more aware of the width of the unit than anything else. That extra 6" is a lot. Feels like it?s on both sides! The length and especially the overhang come in a close second. I made my pad and rolling gate 10 ?' wide, thinking that would be enough. In our previous unit, a 28', 90 Allegro, only 8' wide, it was. However, now by the time my tail is clear I am close to the sidewalk on the other side of the street! Gotta be careful.

I?ve been in Cottonwood Canyon, but long ago, in a car. Remember it barely. However - - -.

I?ll get specific. Highway 21 in Idaho is a scenic route, and well it should be, Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway. It is one astonishing panorama after another. It is paved, two lane, the length of it. It goes from Boise to Stanley, joins 75 and continues to Challis and on to Salmon, Idaho.

From 1974 until 1997, I hunted and fished that area, intensely. I know almost every square inch of it, deep into the woods. I love it!

Most of the way, it is curves and grades, with pretty high intensity between Idaho City and Lowman. One particular curve is a 180 with a 25mph sign. It?s hard to go that fast, on that particular curve, even in a sports car. It?s pretty tight! In my truck, years ago, I made that turn quite a few times. There are three Passes, with steep grades leading to each of them, the last few miles.

Anybody here ever taken a larger motorhome or a larger trailer on the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway? That would have been from Boise toward Montana.

If I get up the nerve to try that, I?ll have a shot at some of the wider gravel, leading off of it. Great fishing! I just need to get close to the streams. And, if all else fails, the road parallels the Salmon River for hours.

Thanks again, everyone, and keep it coming.

Ray D.

by the way, John, We didn't get it new. The original owner put 2050 miles on it. They brought it back after one trip to Southern Nevada or Arizona and swapped for a Diesel they had been considering. I was haggling on an older unit, at the time. The previous owners were about to walk and look for a Diesel somewhere else. The salesman asked me to look at this one. it was in my price range, at the top. The idea was that if I would buy it, the Diesel deal would go through. I paid just over half of suggested retail, at that time.  I had started out asking for 14K on the 90 Allegro, trade in. They were offering 4K. I got my $14K in trade, on top of that. Couldn't resist.
 

cs2kplus

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Jun 21, 2006
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Location
Asbury Park, NJ
TNRoy

I did fix one ground. Then another. Lets face it....its a '94....a bit unkept.

I added the new flasher.

Works great on the left side. The right side....I am so far SOL.

I would love to be able to fix this stuff while i was actually out camping. So far I have not made it out of the driveway.

I am working on it.  ::)

WaynO
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
My brother hauls flat steel for a living,  He too commented on that extra six inches width

Of all the things I needed to learn to operate my Motor Home, re-centering in the lane to allow for that extra width was the hardest.  The overhang is not much of a problem, the towed tends to track (save for the tightest curves) within the tracks of the motor home.  and backing up (W/o towed on) is as easy for me as it is in a car, easier in fact due to the longer wheel base.

But that six inches is a real expierence
 
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