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ElizabethMeyer

Bridge clearance - Busted Kenwood DNX571TR

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Our Kenwood is in the shop for the next few months getting repaired. Yep, the next few months waiting for a part. Crazy. The problem is we are leaving for a month long trip from Chicago to Texas and we don't have an alternative for bridge clearance - our main concern. We both have Google Maps on our phones and use that app frequently in concert with the Kenwood.

Any apps available to add on to Google Maps? We really don't want to buy a stand alone GPS since our Kenwood is coming back to us some day but I'm not going to cheap out and not buy something only to end up with many thousands and thousands of  of dollars in roof repairs as I scrape off the top foot or so of my coach😁

Mark (aka Elizabeth the actual forum member and my wife)

 

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Stop in a local Pilot, Flying J, or Loves and pick up a Trucker's Atlas.  While there also find and purchase a small blue book called "Pocket Truck Stop Guide".  

The Trucker's Atlas it almost like a regular atlas except it shows all designated highways (where the big dogs can go).  It will list each and every low clearance in every state.  The small truck stop guide is a really good reference for not only places to fuel but where all rest areas are.  With these two items and an I-phone you can get by nicely.

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Mark,

A good description of your would be a lot of help. If you or Elizabeth could put the description in your signature it will speed up responses. 

It is best to know the height of your coach so when traveling this beautiful country of ours and you come to an overpass you would know if you can make it under safley.

Good luck and happy travels (when you get the coach back.:rolleyes:)

Herman

Edited by hermanmullins
Grammar and spelling

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I took Chicago to Austin Texas last year,  No underpasses that was less than 14' 6"...I'm 12' 6" high and 45' long!  We travel with a Truckers Atlas, fold up state maps & look at Satellite goggle each morning before leaving campground...been using regular maps for 50+ years !!!  GPS will put you in a farmers field.  Been there, done that, and don't want another T-Shirt. 

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Thanks for the replies. Coach is a 2015 Tiffin RED 33aa. 35 feet long, 13 feet high, 31k pounds fully loaded with full fuel, propane, fresh water and toad. 

Wife is getting the Truckers Atlas. Not sure what else we'll get, have to look up the suggestions posted. 

Does anybody just wing it? I was just talking to a buddy of mine a few minutes ago who has traveled 150,000 miles in a 34 foot Class A and he says he has never used anything other than paper maps and now Google maps. Just asking, not suggesting it. Wife is a cautious soul so it would never happen anyway. Personally we would like to just use our phones and not screw with the Kenwood. Mostly because it is slow and hard to access for my wife since it is the driver's cockpit and angled towards the driver with no ability to swivel it towards her. To see it, she has to unbelt and kneel in front of the stupid thing. 

Mark

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Winging it is an option, but not an option I'd take by choice. Here's one result of someone using the wrong type of GPS while driving a bus:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/04/09/overpass-scrapes-roof-off-bus-students-injured/498114002/

Your buddy has been fortunate and blessed. Not everyone has such good luck.

Maps and atlas can be good, but they don't update often enough for me. I have them in the coach for backup and to double check when needed. We rely on the Garmin RV GPS for most routing. When we have to do it manually we use other resources, including doing a dry run on Google Maps or Google Earth. Most important is to pay attention to signs and markings, no matter if using a GPS, trucker atlas, or any other type of reference. A good co-pilot is invaluable as well. We try and keep two sets of eyes awake and on the road as much as possible.

Unless you can find a reliable app on your phones that incorporate height & weight limitations in real time, I'd strongly suggest you get something like a trucker or RV GPS unit. They are not that expensive and come with lifetime map updates. Some even include lifetime traffic alerts.

I've been on Interstates that suddenly had a detour to the frontage road or a smaller road. Once you're off the main Interstate, it becomes really important to be able to confirm upcoming height & weight restrictions quickly.

My one routing screw-up involved a too-steep road. After backing down about a mile of narrow road, I'm extra careful when planning routes now. I was lucky that it only involved stalling out, not something worse.

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That is a Charter Bus, not a motor home, they are even more built up than a Converted Prevost.  Richard, apples to apples please.  Not apples to oranges!

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FMCA and Good Sam both have a road atlas. We have both in our arsenal at all times. I’m the worry wart, I go as far as plotting our course before leaving home on google or the good Sam trip planner (sometimes both just to be sure) and it will help you avoid low bridges. I go as far as street view to familiarize myself with intersections with “Street View”. If we deviate off course, out come the books. My DW has a boaters license and can navigate utilizing charts, I leave the FMCA atlas in reach of her seat. I figure if she can pass that course there should be no issues!

We have a Rand McNally GPS, absolutely useless, guaranteed to get you stuck in a field or somewhere you shouldn’t be in a large vehicle!

i use it as an electronic map ONLY to see what we are approaching.

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1 hour ago, manholt said:

That is a Charter Bus, not a motor home, they are even more built up than a Converted Prevost.  Richard, apples to apples please.  Not apples to oranges!

Comparing vehicles was not my point. But, let's compare... That bus was a pretty typical charter bus - legal on the roads, so it's no taller than any motor home can be (13ft 6in). I've seen many new RVs at the FMCA rally this summer that came **** near the legal limit, and certainly there are many Class A rigs on the road just as tall and just as long as that bus. The problem in this case was that the road the bus was traveling on has many bridges which have low clearance, some lower than 8 feet. Had the driver known this, and had he been using an appropriate GPS unit, the accident probably wouldn't have happened.

My point was simply that 'winging it' is not good enough when driving a large and heavy vehicle. Whoever put that automobile GPS in the charter bus thought the driver could 'wing it' with that and get by.  People nearly got killed. It was by the grace of God that they didn't.

My point was that we all have an obligation to have information which is as current and correct as is possible. If someone feels better able to do so with a current trucker's atlas, so be it. If someone has a GPS unit which shows the relevant information which is correct and current, and they are able to use it to safely navigate the roads, then go with that.

Winging it? Not for me.

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27 minutes ago, manholt said:

Brett is right on and that goes for any road out there.  

 

Generally speaking, probably correct. Unless you're following one about to hit a bridge.

(Just here in SE Wisconsin, I've seen way too many semi trucks hitting overpasses. Usually on secondary roads, but also on ramps and approach roads.)

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Traveling the back roads through upstate NY before the W Springfield MA, there was an underpasses that I was concerned about.  Actually, google earthed to find a business near the underpass.  Called and asked if 18 wheelers drove that route.  Instant answer, even from the receptionist who had no idea about height restrictions.  Answer was, "yes, there is a Walmart just down the road and the trucks go through here all the time. Happier camper time.

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23 minutes ago, wolfe10 said:

Traveling the back roads through upstate NY before the W Springfield MA, there was an underpasses that I was concerned about.  Actually, google earthed to find a business near the underpass.  Called and asked if 18 wheelers drove that route.  Instant answer, even from the receptionist who had no idea about height restrictions.  Answer was, "yes, there is a Walmart just down the road and the trucks go through here all the time". Happy camper time.

Great example of due diligence. Love it!

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10 hours ago, ElizabethMeyer said:

Our Kenwood is in the shop for the next few months getting repaired. Yep, the next few months waiting for a part. Crazy. The problem is we are leaving for a month long trip from Chicago to Texas and we don't have an alternative for bridge clearance - our main concern. We both have Google Maps on our phones and use that app frequently in concert with the Kenwood.

Any apps available to add on to Google Maps? We really don't want to buy a stand alone GPS since our Kenwood is coming back to us some day but I'm not going to cheap out and not buy something only to end up with many thousands and thousands of  of dollars in roof repairs as I scrape off the top foot or so of my coach😁

Mark (aka Elizabeth the actual forum member and my wife)

 

Mark, welcome to the forum. Get on and ask questions and don't let your wife have all the fun. On your concerns with bridge height on your trip south to Texas. I have driven moste of the routes you might take and didn't see any low bridges or overpasses. You will be just fine if you stay on interstates and federal roads. 

You could try Co Pilot We have used this app for several years with no problem. I had a friend try the RV vershion and he didn't like it, so I am staying with the $10.00 car version.

https://copilotgps.com/en-us/car-navigation/

Something else to look at is RV Parky. 

https://www.rvparky.com/

Good for planning routes and finding campgrounds/stopping places. RV Parky does have a place to add the height of your RV.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Bill

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Richard.

So that we don't confuse the OP.  The legal height for a non commercial coach, is 14 feet, 0 inches.  A commercial bus is 14 foot, 6 inches, like Hop on-Hop off (built in UK & is 14' 4 7/8")!  

Merry Christmas to all.🎄

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3 hours ago, manholt said:

Richard.

So that we don't confuse the OP.  The legal height for a non commercial coach, is 14 feet, 0 inches.  A commercial bus is 14 foot, 6 inches, like Hop on-Hop off (built in UK & is 14' 4 7/8")!  

Merry Christmas to all.🎄

I don't want to get the thread off topic, but now that you've brought it up here's a quote from the New York State Police website (the incident above happened in NY):

        The maximum allowable height is 13 feet 6 inches. The maximum allowable width is:

  • On any highway, 96 inches (8 feet) including load.
  • On any qualifying or access highway, 102 inches (8 feet) including load.

And one from the Federal Highway Administration:

There is no Federal vehicle height requirement for CMVs. Thus, States may set their own height restrictions. Most height limits range from 13 feet, 6 inches (4.11 meters) to 14 feet (4.27 meters), with exceptions granted for lower clearance on particular roads.

--------------------------------------------------

The Newmar King Aire is 13'-4" according to their website. As I said, that's pretty close to the limit in lots of the US, and not at all different from the bus involved in the collision.

According to the data I've found online from the various states that regulate vehicles, most eastern states have a maximum vehicle height of 13'-6". Most western states are set at 14', although a few of those require permit for anything over 13'-6". Not at all sure where you're getting the commercial coach height of 14'-6" from, as it would seem to violate regulations in most states without having a permit.

The double deck buses seen on the roads in the US, such as those used by Go Transit and others come in models which are only 13'-6" in height.

Unless one is planning to drive only in the Western US, then assuming a safe clearance of anything over 13'-6" is unwise. And 13'-6" applies only to the Interstate system, as all bets are off on secondary roads.

All that said, I'm not sure why it was necessary to get into the minutiae of all this. My first post on the thread was merely trying to point out the importance of having the correct and current information regarding clearance height along your route. That point still stands, since the bridge in the incident I linked to was much lower than 13'-6", and had the driver been given the proper information the accident would never have occurred.

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Mark another good source of information is right here! Where are you headed or was this a general question? Most of us on here could probably recite the route we went to get to a point of interest.

Merry Christmas 🎄Happy Holidays to everyone 🎅 

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20 hours ago, ElizabethMeyer said:

Personally we would like to just use our phones and not screw with the Kenwood. Mostly because it is slow and hard to access for my wife since it is the driver's cockpit and angled towards the driver with no ability to swivel it towards her. To see it, she has to unbelt and kneel in front of the stupid thing. 

I am using/running all the apps I linked to on tablets. Bigger screen than the phone. You can use a phone and I use the phone when in the car. 

Like JLamont said tell us where you are leaving from and where you want to go, someone here has driven that route.

Bill

 

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13 hours ago, jleamont said:

 Where are you headed or was this a general question? Most of us on here could probably recite the route we went to get to a point of interest.

Merry Christmas 🎄Happy Holidays to everyone 🎅 

I was asking in general. Thanks again to all who responded and Merry Christmas! The bus video more than convinced me there will be no "winging" it.

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