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Not an Off-Road Vehicle!



blog-0371051001381700793.jpgMy sister and one of my uncles both have properties on Ripley Pond in Maine. In past years, I have taken our camper trailers in to my sister's place. However, our MH is a good bit taller and I was concerned mainly about the overhanging trees. My uncle's place isn't so far in. We did some reconnaisance and found that, with a little tree trimming, we should be able to get in. My uncle said "Sure, trim anything you need to."

On the weekend after we finally got our new tires, I put a pole trimmer and a brush lopper into the storage compartments and we headed for Ripley. There was another little complication. We had been having lot of rain in July, and the ground was a bit wet (maybe more than a bit).

One of the consequences of the Law of Gravity is that lakes and ponds are almost always located at the bottom of a hill! My uncle's lake lot is a beautiful spot, but it was downhill getting there, and it seemed twice as uphill getting out!

On Sunday of that weekend, my aunt and uncle came over to the pond and had a nice cookout with us. My sister and some of her family visited as well. There was an overhanging wire across the driveway. On the way in, I had gone around it through the fieldish lawn. My brother-in-law helped me tie the wire up with a rope, so I could go out the driveway, which was harder ground.

When we were ready to leave, I found I could not get enough traction to get started up the driveway. The first thing my uncle and I tried was to steal a few shovels of gravel from a pile along the road to put under the rear tires. That wasn't enough. My uncle said "let's get my tractor." It was at his house, only about a mile away.

There are no tow hooks on the front of my MH. There is a fiberglass "bumper" that looks pretty and holds up the fog lights, but is not good for much else. To make matters worse, this false bumper extends down below the frame. I hooked the chain to the frame and used wooden blocking to hold the chain down under the fiberglass. I succeeded in not ruining the fiberglass piece, but I bent up one of the battery boxes, pushing up on it with the blocking.

We made 40 or 50 attempts to pull the MH with the 4 wheel drive tractor. We found the driveway too steep and went back to the field route. We almost made it back to solid ground, but had to give up. My brother-in-law has a small track-mounted excavator, which he brought over. This excavator has a small dozer blade on it. He could set the blade, pull with the bucket, then reset and do it again. We made it back into the road that way, but not before he had thrown a track off the excavator. We had to get that back on before we could continue.

All in all, it took about 4 hours to get the MH away from Ripley Pond! I offered my BIL money for his fuel and trouble. He wouldn't take any. I owe him big-time, and will certainly do anything I can if I have an opportunity to help him. It was a hard day for my 80 year old uncle as well.

Needless to say, if we go with the MH to visit my relatives on Ripley Pond, we'll park at the house on the main road (with a level parking area) and either walk or borrow a vehicle to get to the pond!

Lesson Learned: A Class A motor home is NOT an off-road vehicle. (In fact, it's pretty helpless in tough going.) I'm sticking to paved or hard gravel roads from now on!


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