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Old 08-25-2012, 09:47 PM   #1
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My most expensive road trip ever...

A couple of years ago, my wife and I decided to bid on a motorhome on Ebay. We got it! It was a 2000 Winnebago Journey Diesel Pusher and was located in Albany, NY. Being as we both had the yearning to see the Fall changing of the leaves, we scheduled our trip to be back there about October 15th. We drove our Grand Cherokee tow car from Reno, NV to Albany taking about six days to cross the country.
When we arrived, the coach was not exactly what we expected but it wasn't too bad either. We had only spent $36,000 for it and we figured with a little elbow grease and some TLC, it might be a great buy. We had planned on selling it when we got home and possibly making a small profit.
We went to a local campground that was situated on a river and spent the next three days enjoying the scenery and fixing everything that I was able to fix. We then moved on with our trip and enjoyed the next week touring the NorthEast states. The problems began when we left Massachusetts and headed South through New York.
I had traveled the East coast before and didn't really want to take a Motorhome through New York, however I looked at the atlas and listened to "Lola", our GPS lady of knowledge, and it looked like there was no simple way to get to Hershey, PA and then on down to So. Carolina without going well out of our way. I told my wife "Let's go for it!" and off we went.
After driving all day and stopping occasionally at a Home Depot to buy some duct tape to hold various panels on the outside of the coach from blowing off in the wind, we found ourselves approaching the George Washington Bridge on the Bronx Expressway. The expressway was 3 lanes wide with no shoulder and we were right in the middle of rush hour and it was getting dark. People were whizzing by us on both sides and waving their one fingered salute. I was watching the road carefully and paying close attention to Lola and her directions.
Suddenly my wife and co-pilot asked me out of nowhere, "Are we considered to be a truck...?" "Well," I replied, "we're the same size as a truck and we have to follow the same rules of the road as a truck...why..?" "Well, are we over 9'-6" tall...?" Something told me that this was not just a casual question to pass the time. "Hell yes, we're over 9'-6" tall..!" I shouted..."WHY?" "Well, I've been watching these road signs and according to the last one, we should have gotten off at that last off-ramp...!" she replied. I caught a quick glimpse of an off-ramp flashing past me as I looked back and saw a very low bridge approaching faster than my senses could fathom. It was too late to stop...at 65 MPH and bumper to bumper traffic on both sides, I just hollered "DUCK!" and we hit it as close to the high spot as I could manuver without running anyone off of the road.
I heard a loud crashing sound and as I looked in my side mirrors, I could see headlights going left and right trying to avoid the various pieces from the roof of our bargain motorhome. There was no shoulder to pull off on and I figured I would find an off-ramp quickly and pull off and assess the damages. No off-ramps appeared in the next mile or so, which gave my mind a chance to re-think the situation..."Why stop...? All you're going to do is give the police a chance to give you one hell of a fine and a ticket!" I suddenly had this urge to keep moving. My wife, who was frantic at this time, was screaming "what are you doing?" "Arn't you going to stop?"
"No," I replied, "we're getting out of here!" We crossed the George Washington bridge into New Jersey and continued on into Pennsylvania before we finally pulled over at an out of the way KOA and took a look at what had actually happened. We were both sick about what had happened, but we went to bed and hoped for clearer heads the next morning.
When morning came, I took a look at the damages. Climbing up on the roof was precarious as the top of the rear ladder had been sheared off and was only hanging by one bolt. The motorhome had been scalped cleaner than Custer at Little Big Horn. There were holes everywhere! The interior had fans and plastic vents hanging from wires everywhere. Amazingly, we were alive! If that bridge had really been 9'-6" tall, we wouldn't be standing there that morning. When we settled down, my wife called our insurance co. and told them what had happened. They told us to continue our trip and notify them when we got home.
We went to Home Depot and bought some large commercial paint trays and duct taped them over all of the holes in the roof. The fact that they were bright orange didn't help to conceal the fact that we looked like "Cousin Eddie" and family for the rest of the trip.
When we got back to Reno, the insurance company had us take the coach to a dealer that they recommended and get an estimate for repairs.
The bad news was that the coach was a total loss. The good news was that we received $57,000 for ourselves and still had a great vacation. somebody had to be looking over our shoulders on that trip.

06' Itasca Meridian 36g with CAT 350
2011 Jeep Wrangler 4-door
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:01 PM   #2
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What a story! Glad that you both were safe other than your pride. I bet that didn't hurt too long after cashing the check.

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Old 08-25-2012, 10:17 PM   #3
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Wow your in Reno right? You should consider moving because you have used up your good luck.........

on a serious note glad all is OK...
2004 Itasca Meridian 34H Being Pushed By A 96 Tracker
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:23 PM   #4
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Where was that bridge again?

I still have 4 months of full replacement insurance. LOL.
Les (RVM12), Bonnie, Morgan and 4 leggers Bella & Bruce
2010 Forest River Cardinal 3450RL 40' Full Body Paint- 2015 Ram 3500 Laramie 6.7 ltr Turbo Diesel, 68RFE Trans. 4x4 SRW SB Pullrite 2900 18K FMCA-420438 Good Sam
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:45 PM   #5
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We avoid the tunnels and bridges into NYC like the plague. When we went to Cooperstown a few years ago, we avoided NYC both coming and going.
Retired. RVing with one husband and five cats.
1999 32' Fleetwood Southwind Class-A. Ford V10.
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:50 AM   #6
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Now that's my kind of memorable vacation! And it paid for itself, too. Glad to hear no one was injured.
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Old 08-26-2012, 03:07 PM   #7
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Ok so let see some pictures of this adventure????
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Old 08-26-2012, 04:33 PM   #8
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Wow, your plan may have faiiled but you did accomplish your original goal of buying a motorhome on the East coast, driving it home, and re-selling at a profit. If there is a next time, check out the Tapenzee bridge to I-78 or I-80; or go the extra hour and drive I-84 to I-81.
Tom and Amy from Northern Virginia.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:33 AM   #9
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but then they would actually have to sell the rig. destroying it is faster and easier.
1999 Winnebago Minnie 29', Ford V10, Close to stock.
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:44 AM   #10
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I hate the George Washington bridge so much that I will happily go 200 miles out of my way to avoid it whenever we travel south. Glad it worked out for you and you are alright. Nice that you were able to make a nice profit on the RV.

Todd, Shirley, and the Maddawgs Buster & Precious
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