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Old 07-16-2017, 04:13 PM   #1
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How U Avoid Driving Into Places Likely to Get Stuck or Have to Turn Around?

Hi All,

As I contemplate my future life going to various places in my rig (and I'm just having it set up to tow my car now), I wonder/worry about getting myself into situations that are difficult to get out of. For now, I'm meeting up with RV'ing Women (the Oregon Chapter) in standard issue RV parks but have aspirations to be dry camping in more remote areas in the future.

So, first, how to be sure you stay on the major roads to get to your destination and not make a wrong turn, ending up in a situation that is difficult to get out of/ dead end, etc? With my toad, I will not be able to back up for example and I would generally want to avoid having to back up in any case, especially as I'm a solo traveller.

How do you know if you are driving onto a surface that will not support your rig and you are subject to getting stuck? (e.g. in more remote areas, sand, mud, etc.) or going down a forest service road and running out of road, conditions getting dicey, etc.

What has been your experience and what rules, thoughts, etc. guide your thinking and actions in order to avoid problems?

thanks so much,
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Old 07-16-2017, 04:25 PM   #2
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Couple of suggestions. Get a Garmin RV model gps, it allows you to put in the height, length, and average speed you drive, it will route you around any potential obstacles that may be to low. Second, get a truckers Atlas, available at most truck stops and Amazon, it shows the clearances along your intended route of travel. Between the two you should be able to avoid any low places.
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Old 07-16-2017, 04:58 PM   #3
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How will you be towing your car? If its 4 down the ease of hookup kind of helps you here. If you do get someplace where you can't backup just unhook and move the car. (If you are towing on a dolly then you'd be looking at something like an hour wait while you drop the car off the dolly, move it, move the RV (maybe even unhook the dolly and rehook the dolly) reload the car, etc.).

So far (knock on wood) we haven't been in that situation, and even on the smaller roads I've found gas stations with pull-throughs able to handle us.
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Old 07-17-2017, 01:55 PM   #4
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They are correct. Between using a good RV GPS, consulting a Truckers Atlas (shows designated routes), and pre-planning routes you should be able to avoid situations that would require backing. Of course there is always the possibility of getting into a spot when fueling up, or some type of emergency on the roadway that could require you to have to back up.

Only other solution would be to haul your toad on a trailer and learn to back it up.
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:03 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post

So far (knock on wood) we haven't been in that situation, and even on the smaller roads I've found gas stations with pull-throughs able to handle us.
This is one I've been wondering about. I'm assuming at the gas stations like Loves on the truck side they only have diesel, right? When I've been in my sister's 40' DP, of course that's where we've gotten gas, but what about in a Vegas towing a car?

Do you just pull up to the standard pumps and try and find one of the banks you can easily pull into and out of? As I wait for my Vegas, I now find myself looking at each gas station that I pull into thinking about how easy it would be to pull in and then out with an RV and toad.
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:20 PM   #6
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This is one I've been wondering about. I'm assuming at the gas stations like Loves on the truck side they only have diesel, right? When I've been in my sister's 40' DP, of course that's where we've gotten gas, but what about in a Vegas towing a car?

Do you just pull up to the standard pumps and try and find one of the banks you can easily pull into and out of? As I wait for my Vegas, I now find myself looking at each gas station that I pull into thinking about how easy it would be to pull in and then out with an RV and toad.
I have never had a problem finding a pull thru gas station pump in my Vegas or Axis. However, if I am planning to travel somewhere where there are narrow streets and/or possible height restrictions, I use Google street view and walk down the streets to make sure I am comfortable when I drive in with my Axis. I am traveling to Washington DC and I "walked by" (with google street view) three of four different hotels before I found one that I was comfortable would accommodate my Axis. Then I called them to make sure that they did not have any restrictions. If I am traveling long distances, I often plan my gas stop the night before using Gas buddy to check prices and street view to check location and access and then put the address in my GPS. I may not use it, but it is nice to have so I dont flail around looking for gas or propane.
You are correct the truck lanes usually only have diesel.
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:25 PM   #7
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As I wait for my Vegas, I now find myself looking at each gas station that I pull into thinking about how easy it would be to pull in and then out with an RV and toad.
That's the thing, it is in your best interest to start taking a more critical look at your fuel stops, food stops, camping space, etc. and trying to decide where you're going to go before you even get there. I find myself doing that all the time when I am driving my RV. Of course, I have a commercial driver's license and I drive a semi with a 53' trailer on occasion for my job and that forces me to be in that state of mind when I am driving a big truck. It's a way of thinking that is helpful in avoiding those instances that eat up time for relaxing and for playing.
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by tnedator View Post
This is one I've been wondering about. I'm assuming at the gas stations like Loves on the truck side they only have diesel, right? When I've been in my sister's 40' DP, of course that's where we've gotten gas, but what about in a Vegas towing a car?

Do you just pull up to the standard pumps and try and find one of the banks you can easily pull into and out of? As I wait for my Vegas, I now find myself looking at each gas station that I pull into thinking about how easy it would be to pull in and then out with an RV and toad.
Check via street view or via the web. Some also provide gas at those truck fuel up spots.

Keep in mind, too, that an Axis/Vegas unit is just a big van. I've been able to stop at a "normal" car spot for fuel, even when I'm pulling a toad--still have to be careful there (possibly more so since it is a tighter squeeze and you may have to wait until someone moves out of your way).
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Old 07-17-2017, 03:27 PM   #9
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I have been towing my toad for many years and have had to disconnect it a few times because I misjudged the turning space.

Have faith though, you do learn to watch for spaces that are too small and avoid them. You also learn to disconnect and reconnect pretty fast.
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Old 07-17-2017, 04:11 PM   #10
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As far as your other question (this one):
Quote:
Originally Posted by karwask
How do you know if you are driving onto a surface that will not support your rig and you are subject to getting stuck? (e.g. in more remote areas, sand, mud, etc.) or going down a forest service road and running out of road, conditions getting dicey, etc.
Read this thread for about as extreme you can go with an Axis/Vegas:
http://www.thorforums.com/forums/f4/...pare-8338.html
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Old 07-17-2017, 04:20 PM   #11
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How do you know if you are driving onto a surface that will not support your rig and you are subject to getting stuck? (e.g. in more remote areas, sand, mud, etc.) or going down a forest service road and running out of road, conditions getting dicey, etc.
I'll tell a little story when I was in my sister's 40' Tiffen. Wife and I drove down with them to Florida to spend some time with my father. He had a small house up the street that he had renovated as a guest house/office. They had confirmed the septic tank was no place near the driveway and all seemed good.

He pulls the Tiffen into the driveway, that appeared to be very hard packed soil, and then at the end a concrete pad (that he was going to have to nose up on). We made it to about the concrete pad when everything gave way and the tires sunk maybe 6", 8" or more. Couldn't pull out, was buried in soft sand below what was actually only a couple inches of hard packed dirt (clearly should have dug some test holes or something).

Took a few hours, but we were able to get it out by putting wood under the levelers, then some wood under tires, then stacked wood a bit higher under levelers, etc. until it was high enough to put plywood under the tires and spread the load.
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Old 07-17-2017, 07:35 PM   #12
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Plan and hopefully have a great navigator. We have an ACE 27.1 and tow a Jeep Wrangler. Only once our first trip did I have to unhook Jeep. 1. If is doubt, don't do it! If it looks sketchy it probably is. 2. Find a place to stop and check it out. I have been in some tight spots in some gas stations because someone gets in the way but people for the most part are cool and will spot you or if you ask, they will move their cars. ( or just wait until they move). Remember you are on a journey. If you rush or have to rush, it will come back an bite you. If you are where semi's are, you are ok for the most part. If you don't see one, there may be a reason. 3. My wife found a book that is for truckers that details what's coming up called Next Exit. They list truck friendly stops. 4. Be careful of any residential areas. The big problem is overhead, trees and wires! Good planning and stopping where you are safe and checking it out will save lots of headaches. If you pull a toad and get quick at unhooking Like we have, park in a mall or Walmart and do a precheck run where you are going if unknown. We have done it more than a few times and for a few of them, we lucked out and found another way. ( Also we found a couple really good local restaurants and talked to locals. I know some of this is a pain but getting stuck or worse would be way more difficult of an issue than what we have done. Any way less stress!
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:24 PM   #13
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I had problems of this type twice with my first motorhome before I learned to take fewer chances.

Once in Key West I went down a long one-way street trying to find parking to later find there were low tree branches I could not drive under (did not see them from a distance). Backing up all the way wasn't an option because there were cars behind me by then. I got out of it by backing up some and then crossing over through a restaurant's parking lot to adjacent street to go back to main road. Before doing that I walked to adjacent street first to make sure street was clear and that I wasn't just going to dig myself a deeper hole.

The second incident was in Smokey Mountains National Park when I started down a dirt trail that only had a weight limit, but soon decided it wasn't wide enough or had height clearance for motorhome. Fortunately I was able to back up 100s of feet very slowly to get out -- there was absolutely no way to make a U-turn.

With my small and low-profile van camper I still take risks to get to where I want, but when driving larger motorhomes which we rent occassionally I stay on main roads, stay out of tight parking lots, and plan way in advance.
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Old 07-17-2017, 09:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by SuperD View Post
Couple of suggestions. Get a Garmin RV model gps, it allows you to put in the height, length, and average speed you drive, it will route you around any potential obstacles that may be to low. Second, get a truckers Atlas, available at most truck stops and Amazon, it shows the clearances along your intended route of travel. Between the two you should be able to avoid any low places.
I was looking forward to buying a RV specific GPS but it seems that all the reviews only get to 4 out of 5 stars. There are many that say the GPS's aren't worth the money. Can you shine some light on this subject.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:20 PM   #15
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Are GPS units perfect, no. Are they helpful, yes. Will they get you where you want to, yes most of the time. Do they know the shortcuts the locals know, no. They are only as accurate as the information that was put in to them.

I've used GPS since it was first developed for the military, before that I used maps, they weren't always accurate either. The technology for GPS improves all the time. Do I rely on GPS, yes for the most part I do and will continue to do so.

Now, this is MY opinion based on usage of most brands of GPS units over the years. I personally prefer the Garmin units. The Garmin units are user friendly and accurate for the most part, they have the ability to be updated on a regular basis. I use Garmin exclusively now based on my past experiences. Other may disagree or use other methods, some people prefer Ford, others Chevy. Am I an expert, no, just a regular consumer giving my opinion.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:41 PM   #16
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Believe me, a good GPS is absolutely essential, especially in an RV. I have used them all over a Europe and while they are not perfect, they will get you where you want to go 95% + of the time. I started using them in the military and bought one of the first marine ones available for my boat. I like Garmin too, especially the RV line (I have the 760) because you can put in the RV specs and it will (hopefully) Route your around low bridges and underpasses. It will not help with gas stations or hotel canopys, for example, and - like any tool - you should not become too dependent on it or trust it completely. In an RV the GPS is particularily useful because it tells you what lane to be in on multilane roads, so you don't get caught two lanes over and not be able to hit an exit or stay on the road you want to be on. And, if you mess up, it will "recalculate" and get your back on the correct road - usually the easiest and quickest way. I also love the fact that it tells you the speed limit and changes in the speed limit. My eyes are looking so many places when I drive my RV that it is easy to miss changes in the speed limit. Are they perfect - no. In routing you they do not take into account stop lights and stop signs and slow traffic in towns. Sometimes they will take you the long way when there is a short cut and sometimes over a mountain when you didn't want to go there. I always have a paper map and check to make sure "she" is routing me the way I want to go. The traffic portion of the GPS has saved me countless hours of sitting in traffic and the ability to route around accidents and blockages. One other thing, buy one with "lifetime maps". The GPS is only as good as its map base and with lifetime maps you can update your map base several times a year and your GPS can give you many years of service. This is one tool that I will not leave home without. I have even purchased one on the road when I had one die.
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:14 AM   #17
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Lots of planning, and when I had the 41 foot DP, I only fueled at truck stops. Now with the Gemini its really a lot easier, it fits almost anywhere.
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:23 AM   #18
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I go slow and don't let anyone rush me. If the gas station looks questionable I pass. I will gas up early just to avoid putting myself in a bad spot. I have a Garmin 970, Road Atlas, Printed directions. With all of that my co-pilot (wife) verifies routes on her phone. I also have found recommendations of routes here on the forum.
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Old 07-18-2017, 04:25 PM   #19
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Perhaps a different perspective... but for my traveling I've been fine with Google Maps on my phone - rather than a dedicated GPS...
Certainly doesn't let me specify RV heights, etc - but hasn't caused any issues... No maps to maintain - no extra device to carry/power.

For gas stations, I take a close look before pulling in - especially when towing - and have driven past some - but many I can swing my 33 foot Hurricane around even the car pumps... I tend to use outside pumps... park a little further away from pumps to give me room to swing/turn...
Also found truck islands typically only have diesel - so end up in car area.
Have not yet (knocking wood) had the occasion to unhook/rehook to get out of anyplace. Doesn't take long with my setup to do so if needed.

As for non-hard surface - haven't done much 'off-road'...
One concert weekend we went to had us pull into a grass hilly area as part of the entrance - walked a bit of it first and watched others pulling in before picking the line I wanted to drive...

Taking some time to look - and not pulling in if you think there will be an issue is probably the best advice.

Everyone's situation is different - its finding what works for you.
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Old 07-18-2017, 04:29 PM   #20
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Perhaps a different perspective... but for my traveling I've been fine with Google Maps on my phone - rather than a dedicated GPS...
Certainly doesn't let me specify RV heights, etc - but hasn't caused any issues... No maps to maintain - no extra device to carry/power.

For gas stations, I take a close look before pulling in - especially when towing - and have driven past some - but many I can swing my 33 foot Hurricane around even the car pumps... I tend to use outside pumps... park a little further away from pumps to give me room to swing/turn...
Also found truck islands typically only have diesel - so end up in car area.
Have not yet (knocking wood) had the occasion to unhook/rehook to get out of anyplace. Doesn't take long with my setup to do so if needed.

As for non-hard surface - haven't done much 'off-road'...
One concert weekend we went to had us pull into a grass hilly area as part of the entrance - walked a bit of it first and watched others pulling in before picking the line I wanted to drive...

Taking some time to look - and not pulling in if you think there will be an issue is probably the best advice.

Everyone's situation is different - its finding what works for you.
I know Google maps is supposed to now have an offline mode, but haven't traveled any where I've needed to use it in the last few years (since they introduced that feature).

Do you find the offline mode works well? There are plenty of places around here where you hit dead spots with no cell coverage. In the past, I used to keep copilot loaded on my phone to use when Google Maps stopped working because there was no cell coverage.
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