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smalexander

Back Road Travel In A Class A

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This may be just another silly question but I need to ask.

Our motorhome, class A DP, nearly 40 foot long, 33K pounds, 101 inches wide and 12 feet 7 inches high.

Over the last 6 years we have normally drive on the interstate highways. Because of various blogs, Harvest Host, and articles like Mike Wendland’s Open Mike in the FMCA magazine, we are planning this year’s trips on US highways and some state routes, not interstates.

Are there standard bridge heights that do not require minimum warning signs for interstates, US highways and State routes?

If so what are the minimums? I don’t want to leave an AC unit or a roof behind!

Does anyone with a class A, of about our size or larger, have experience on touring on the non-interstates?

If so, drawing from your experience what advice can you give?

What are the biggest concerns?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Steve

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Steve, I believe Rand McNally has an Atlas that has bridge heights listed. I also have heard there is a app for the same. With either, I would want to plan each day of travel ahead so as to not be surprised.

I am sure you will get some better answers before long.

Enjoy, there are some wonderful thing to see and visit on the back roads.

Herman

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I travel the "backroads" frequently, very similar proportions to yours. I use an rv gps to help navigate the roads. There are some precarious places that you must look out for. I have never known of an actual minimum height requirement proposed by dot on some of these roads, and you certainly need to be aware that there can be places that you should not go. I once recall a bridge in Georgia that the local deputy came by while I was negotiating a very low bridge on the way to the local campground, he actually climbed my rear ladder and directed me under the overpass. But overall experiences have been favorable, and the sites are often well worth being cautious. Watch for weight restrictions on the bridges also.

When in doubt, check it out!!!! Happy motoring, and Happy holidays.

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We have traveled many back roads east of the Mississippi.Three bridge hazards to watch out for not always well marked. Height, weight and width limits can all be unknown factors on a route. Another hazard that pops up is steep up and down grades.

Just because there is a campground ahead sign doesn't mean your big rig can get to it. Some state dots have lists of weight, height and width limitations for state roads on their web sites. Google maps can also be a clue. My rule of thumb is when in doubt stop and turn around, call ahead.

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The wife and I have been across these United States of America from sea to shining sea with only about 15 miles of Interstate travel.......From most of our travel we use US marked highways such as US 84 going East from New Mexico and US 82 West from the east coast.......US 60 West from New Mexico is a real nice drive.......

On our trip to Florida in April 2014 we left NM on US 62/180 east to US 84 all the way from Abliene TX to Valdosta GA, Great roads and no traffic was a real nice 5 days, with stops along the way and we get to see the small town America that made this country what it is today....These roads are the ones that were used before the Interstates were built and most or 4 lane or good 2 lane but no traffic makes for a verry relaxing drive.......Lots of campgrounds you just have to look around.....This is what we look like, if you see us wave...

DSCN2642.jpg

Some places you will need to use a bit of the big road but there are other roads to drive check with the locals about the roads if you have a concern.......

Try it you will like the slower pace........We are planing a trip to Green Bay Wisconsin in July and most of the time we will avoid the interstates..........

DSCN2668.jpg

Mike

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Because 2 of our children choose to live up there we travel to northern WI every few months in fact by car next week for Christmas. Back roads ie. county roads are very passable with class A. Sturgeon Bay is a very nice touristy area north of GB south central area has The Dells also very touristy.

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Because 2 of our children choose to live up there we travel to northern WI every few months in fact by car next week for christmas. Back roads ie. county roads are very passable with class A. Sturgeon Bay is a very nice touristy area north of GB south central area has The Dells also very touristy.

Thanks we are looking foward to the trip, that will be our first trip that far north in the USA........

Mike

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Normally US highways and state roads are okay. Some county roads can be narrow and the trees along the side may scrape your rig.

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We normally avoid the interstates. We have yet to encounter a low clearance that did not have adequate warning to avoid it. As other comments have said, there are atlases available and some Gps's list low clearances. As Charles Kuralt once said, "Interstates are wonderful. You can travel coast to coast and border to border and never see a thing."

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A web site that may help:

AITA OnLine low clearances can be found by clicking on the state, then low clearances. A warning: informaiton is as infomation is received. Things change. Road surfaces change, thereby heights can change.

Another low clearance site: Allstays Low Clearance

Besides low clearances, individual states may have other restrictions on secondary roads.

We try to travel the U.S Highway system and so far we have not encountered any problems. A little bumpy at times, but so are the Interstates.

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biz, your are correct about the Farm to Market roads in Texas. However US Hwy 69 runs through Whitewright, Texas where we live. It comes out of Denison, South into Whitewright. There is an overpass of just 14' 4" then a stop sign with a left turn towards Greenville, Texas. Just a half mile on south from the stop sign is another 14' 4" over pass. Both over passes are just a couple of feet wider then the two lanes. Many MHs come through here and you can always tell the first timers, they really slow down.

Merry Christmas

Herman

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My DW and I drove the "Historic" Route 66 this past fall. Unlike what most folks consider to be Route 66, the actual "Historic" route is mostly backroads with several areas that were challenging for our 43 ft Mountain Aire that weighed in at about 18 tons, has a 12' 6" height clearance and a width of 101.5", not including the mirrors.

Height was not typically an issue though we did run (not literally) into a few places where it could have been had we not been careful. One was a 12' 1" clearance we came across while taking a shortcut to an RV park and another was two 12' 3" railroad tracks on either side of a small town that our GSP (Garmin RV760) warned us about. Over-height is not the only thing you need to be aware of though as both weight, width and even length can be issues as well.

Height: My GPS includes information on height, weight and length. I have a set of low clearance POIs loaded onto my GPS to add an additional layer of information (www.lowclearances.com). There are also websites, like AllStays, that include clearance information (www.allstays.com).

Weight: On a couple of situations we also came across small, sometimes difficult to spot signs on bridges such as (10 Ton Limit). As we were towing a TOAD four down backing up was not an option without unhitching and the nearest driveway or cross road on this narrow two-lane was almost a mile back. We ran into two bridges that day with weight restrictions less than our rig's weight.

Width: Some of the old Route 66 roads were narrow with a drop off the right side road surface and no shoulder. On one stretch we had the right tire on the white line and the left tire was riding on or over the yellow line when we encountered a large farm truck of a similar width coming the opposite way. Fortunately the ditch was such that he was able to drive off the road a bit and park while we passed by.

Length: With our Toad we have a total length of 62' and some roads, like the old section of Route 66 going to Oatman, AZ, that has a limit of 40' total length.

Be aware of all these potential issues and plan your route out ahead each day and you will be fine.

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We have traveled for 10 years, our current coach has 132,000 miles. We travel almost any road. I've been on gravel in Alaska and Canada (hate it but it gets you where you want). The smaller the road, the slower we travel. That gives you time to deal with the unexpected. I've had to stop and pull off the road to unhook and turn around two times when we came upon an unexpected low bridge or overpass. The NE US is particularly hazardous for low railroad overpasses, Pennsylvania was the worst. It would be nice if low bridges were posted at the turn off for roads but that isn't the case so you're down the road approaching the low overpass where they put the sign and then you have to figure your way out of there.

Keep the height for your rig posted somewhere in the drivers compartment just so you can check to be positive. Allow 6" more than your coach for the posted clearance. Flying J has a truckers atlas that lists all the low bridges on the truck routes. My wife likes the truck routes. She is much more nervous about the non-truck routes but we've traveled quite a few.

We travel interstates, US Highways and state highways with little or no worries. We also travel county roads, farm to market roads, scenic roads, local roads. Getting to campgrounds are some of the worst roads. If there is a campground on the road, there should be clearance for the largest coaches unless it is posted otherwise.

If all you are traveling is the interstate roads, you are missing a huge amount of the value of your coach.

Enjoy the adventure.

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We are beginners. Been on the road for almost six months. Traveled about 9,000 miles so far. What a great experience/lifestyle. Just finished up a very nice day in Napa, California today. We started in Toronto, Ontario and headed west across Canada. One wedding and one new grand daughter (Two different families) later, What a great way to live.

About six weeks ago, we asked for advice and didn't get any responses. Looks like you are getting lots of good suggestions.....good for you. The only thing I can say for sure is do not take Highway 1 on the California Coast from Mendocino to Bodega Bay. No one warned us and I wish they had. We don't mind steep hills and sharp curves, but this was a challenge in a 43 foot+ MH towing an F150. Very slow going and had to use both lanes on several curves. Only bottomed out once on the rear, but all OK. Really glad they had lots of "Turn outs" to let people pass us. As they say, what doesn't kill you....makes you stronger and now, a lot wiser.

Next stop.....Rose Bowl Parade.

Any one know any good RV Parks around Santa Barbara or Arcadia?

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Newbie,

I've travelled Hwy-1 a number of times by motorcycle and car and you are 100% correct that some portions of that road are not appropriate for a big coach.

Please post about your experience attending the Rose Bowl Parade. We are planning to attend it in 2016 and I've started looking at the issues and options, including enrolling in a package tour to eliminate the complexity and organizational responsibilities.

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