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Old 08-13-2008, 06:09 PM   #1
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Back in 1998 we took our new Class C to South Dakota. With my engineering background, I really tried to do my homework and check the height and width of each tunnel on the Needles Highway. My rig was 11 feet high and 7 feet wide so I saw that I could get through 3 of the 4 tunnels. Heck, a tunnel that is 12 feet high and 8 feet wide will give me a foot to spare! However, there is one piece of information I forgot to obtain. No where did if find that the first tunnel was 300 feet long with one lane and two way traffic! As I approached the tunnel, testosterone kicked in and I commanded "Honey pull in your mirror - we're goin' for it". Like a bullet in a gun barrel I shot through that tunnel with the percision of an Indy driver. Headlights coming the other way quickly backed up when they saw amber marker lights and Jersey tags! As my wife yelled, the kids screamed and my Mom prayed, we heard the sound. Worse than nails on a blackboard. It was metal on rock. High pitched. Echoing off the walls. Settling in the pit of my stomach. I couldn't see behind me so my mind formulated what was happening. I imagined metal trim and fiberglass sheeting mating with the granite wall. Delamination on a grand scale. Pieces of my beloved motorhome left on the road way. Better ventilation for the back bedroom. As we pulled out of the tunnel, I quickly pulled to the side to assess the damage. As I exited the motorhome a miracle happened that rivals Lourdes and Fatima. My motorhome was still intact. The only damage was a small scrape to the top metal trim and a small hole on the awning! I had 'threaded the needle of the Needles Highway'! But next time, I'll drive my toad...
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:09 PM   #2
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Back in 1998 we took our new Class C to South Dakota. With my engineering background, I really tried to do my homework and check the height and width of each tunnel on the Needles Highway. My rig was 11 feet high and 7 feet wide so I saw that I could get through 3 of the 4 tunnels. Heck, a tunnel that is 12 feet high and 8 feet wide will give me a foot to spare! However, there is one piece of information I forgot to obtain. No where did if find that the first tunnel was 300 feet long with one lane and two way traffic! As I approached the tunnel, testosterone kicked in and I commanded "Honey pull in your mirror - we're goin' for it". Like a bullet in a gun barrel I shot through that tunnel with the percision of an Indy driver. Headlights coming the other way quickly backed up when they saw amber marker lights and Jersey tags! As my wife yelled, the kids screamed and my Mom prayed, we heard the sound. Worse than nails on a blackboard. It was metal on rock. High pitched. Echoing off the walls. Settling in the pit of my stomach. I couldn't see behind me so my mind formulated what was happening. I imagined metal trim and fiberglass sheeting mating with the granite wall. Delamination on a grand scale. Pieces of my beloved motorhome left on the road way. Better ventilation for the back bedroom. As we pulled out of the tunnel, I quickly pulled to the side to assess the damage. As I exited the motorhome a miracle happened that rivals Lourdes and Fatima. My motorhome was still intact. The only damage was a small scrape to the top metal trim and a small hole on the awning! I had 'threaded the needle of the Needles Highway'! But next time, I'll drive my toad...
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:29 PM   #3
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Excellent story and well written..
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Old 08-13-2008, 08:39 PM   #4
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We watched a full size Tour Bus come through that tunnel, with someone blocking traffic from entering from the other end. Apparently is done often to impress tourists. Along with many others, we cheered and took pictures as he exited.
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Old 08-14-2008, 04:55 AM   #5
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WHERE is this 300 foot tunnel on the Needles Highway?
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Old 08-14-2008, 06:12 AM   #6
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Here is a picture of the tunnel. I didn't have my tape measure so maybe it's not 300 feet exactly...

Pic of the tunnel
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Old 08-14-2008, 06:53 AM   #7
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Actually the tunnel is less than 100 feet. I believe the photo is the one on the Sylvan Lake end at the Eye of the Needle. The entire passage is wider on the Sylvan end where there is no roof, just a split in the rocks than the other, but nothing I would try in the MH.We spent 3 months there last year and traveled that route quite a bit. Tour buses did make it through the entire route regularly. They had to line up exactly right in order to get through without scraping.
You were very good and very confident to even try it, notwithstanding making it through without any damage. Congratulations!

not my photo, but one from that tunnel
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:00 AM   #8
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My wife would disagree with the 'very good and very confident'. She would say 'VERY dumb'!
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:42 PM   #9
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RVThere, Congratulations, scary huh. You have done what few have done and few others will do. Now that you are "experienced" try some the toll booths on the Sam Houston Expressway around the south end of Houston.
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:28 AM   #10
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Comedian George Carlin once described my home state of NJ as the 'toll booth capital of the world'! But always looking for a new challenge of putting a MH through a slot designed for a VW Bug. I just went through the toll booths near the Denver Airport. Plenty of room to get through but they hit you up for something like $11 every 5 miles!
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Old 08-15-2008, 01:13 PM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">$11 every 5 miles! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
And here I was thinking diesel was high. Sounds like another reason to skirt around Colorado.
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Old 08-15-2008, 06:51 PM   #12
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I have seen a couple of buses go through the tunnel with inches on either side.
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