A day of travel …and backing up!

Posted by on August 6, 2011

We left the KOA Niagara Falls today, headed towards Lake George NY. We got off to a bit of a late start, but we kind of prepared for that the day before and we took care of a lot of the “pre-flight” stuff the night before. ¬†It still took us about an hour and a half to walk the dogs, pack everything up securely, load the car on the trailer, etc …but by 11:30 we were on the road.

We’re headed to Lake George Escapes, but we don’t have a reservation until Sunday afternoon, so we needed a place to stop over for the night .. plus I didn’t really feel like making the drive from Niagara Falls to Lake George in a single stretch, so we fired up MS Streets & Trips looking for an inexpensive place to spend the night. We’ve joined a number of discount camping groups and found a place using our Passports America membership that was only $22 for the night (Full hookups, with 50amp service). We called on our way out and were able to book a site for the night at Frosty Acres Campground in Schenectady, NY.

The first hour or so of the trip was pretty uneventful … light traffic, but a bit of a cloudy day. About an hour and a half into this leg, the rains started coming down. This was the first time we spent any “real” drive time in the rain, and overall the motorhome handled it well. The visibility got pretty low at times, but we tracked well down the highway and the wipers clear very large areas on the HUGE windshield and worked well.

After a couple of brief stops for puppy and human breaks, we got to our destination exit and stopped at the Pilot Station for a Dunkin Donuts break and to pickup an RV Discount Fuel Card. Asking for the fuel card the employee behind the counter asks “Do you regularly fill up more than 20 gallons?” .. and yes, she didn’t know at that time that we had a motorhome .. but I kind of laughed, pointed at the motorhome and said, YES we do. Our last fuel stop on I-90 was for 64 gallons of fuel .. so yeah, we fill up with more than 20 gallons at a time ūüôā

So, all fueled up on Dunkin and Donuts we rolled out of the lot and headed towards Frosty Acres and this is where the fun started. We run a few navigation systems in the Motorhome, a combination of Google Maps, Microsoft Streets & Trips and our Magellan Maestro 4250. Typically we map out our leg in Streets & Trips, add all our stops and then setup each leg in Magellan. Maureen runs Streets & Trips (with a GPS Puck) while I’m driving – and yes with the GPS Puck she can keep an eye on my speed from anywhere in the coach – and I run Magellan attached to the dash so that I have an easy view on our route.

Magellan has been a great resource for us in the past, but today we should have listened to the alternate directions from Streets & Trips … while the routing that Magellan gave us were technically accurate, there is no way for us to map out routes specific to our height and when Magellan said “ding ding, turn right”, I made the turn and about 1/2 way through it came to a complete stop. This was not welcomed by the 6 or 7 cars behind us. As I turned right I there was an old, arched train bridge in front of us with a maximum clearance of 10 Feet. Uh oh .. that is not going to work for us. At “exact height” we’re about 11′ 10″, which I round up to 12″ to be safe. Yep, we were 2 feet taller than the bridge, 1/2 on the right turn, 1/2 on the main road and at a complete stop.

Ok now we **HAVE** to back up. Horns are a honkin’, cars are streaming in behind us and we aren’t going anywhere. Now Maureen has to get out and ask the line of cars to back up a few feet so that we can get ourselves out of this¬†predicament. After a few minutes we cleared enough room to back up and head back on down the road looking for an alternate route. I’ll tell you, this is one time where I’m VERY glad that we’re trailering the Tiguan and not 4 wheels down “toading” it since you can’t backup a 4 wheel down toad.

So down the road we head, with Magellan telling me to make a legal U-Turn as soon as possible so that she can send us back under the train bridge. I just forged ahead knowing that eventually Magellan would find us a new route and a few miles down the road, we were back on track headed towards Frosty Acres and a few more miles later, success! the sign for Frosty Acres is on our left.

Hhmmmm, I ask myself as we come upon the entrance …. why is the entrance uphill and cut like that? I’m never going to be able to turn left and get in, but I give it the old “college try” and sure enough it’s another no-go … with the motorhome and trailer, we’re close to 50 feet long and now we’re nearly¬†jackknifed across 2 lanes and blocking the entrance. Grrrr …we should have listened to Streets & Trips and we would have come in from the West instead of the East.

So here we are, Maureen out in the street watching for traffic and me backing us up again. And once again, I am ssooo glad that the Tiguan is trailered since we would have had to detach it *again* if we were towing 4-down. A few minutes of maneuvering and we were pointed East again and headed away from the campground looking for a place to turn around.

Luckily we found a firehouse a few miles away, got ourselves turned around and headed West towards the campground. This time upon arriving at the entrance, we were able to turn in, get to the check-in gate and get ourselves parked. Unfortunately our spot was not a pull through so before we could get in the spot, the car had to come off the trailer, the trailer disconnected from the motorhome, connected to the Tiguan and then moved aside .. all in the rain. Yes by this time it was staring to rain again and the heavy black clouds were encroaching upon us. This is where a 4-wheel down Toad comes in handy, but I figure today trailering came out ahead.

30 minutes later we were parked, hooked up and looking for dinner. Oh yeah dinner, weren’t we supposed to stop a Hannaford’s *before* we got to the campground ?!?! Oh well, we decided to grab Magellan, jump in the Tiguan and drive the 20 minutes to Hannaford’s. Typically this is where I would say we got some food for dinner, headed back to the coach and had a nice relaxing dinner, but today was not that day.

3/4 of the way to Hannaford’s Magellan went blank as the battery died … geez, can we get a break today. At least we were on the road to Hannaford’s, but now we had no guidance for our trip back in the dark. Google to the rescue! We fired up Google Navigation on our Android Phones and got back just as “easily” as we got there.

We finally got back to our site, unloaded the car in the pouring rain, took the dogs out and sat down for dinner. Mission Accomplished.

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