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Old 05-04-2016, 06:51 AM   #1
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Getting off the beaten path

We are in the preliminary stages of getting info on the RV lifestyle. I'm been thinking that since we are retired and not in any hurry, perhaps we should think about traveling off the interstates. Our plan is to get a coach in the 40' range. Just curious how many people do this and is this plan feasible with a coach as large as 40'.
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:26 AM   #2
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We don't have a 40' but I wanted to give you a heads up that a lot of National Parks and Forest cannot accommodate 40' RVs. You'll be lucky if they can take a 35'. For your best shot of utilizing these beautiful parks I would recommend sticking to something 35' or below.
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:40 AM   #3
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FWIW in general if a road is rated for somebody with a semi tractor and a 48-53 ft trailer you can probably go down it. OTOH when you see it you may wish you had taken a different route. BTDT with smaller unit than 40 ft. Truck Atlas and Google satellite view are your friends.
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:53 AM   #4
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We don't have a 40' but I wanted to give you a heads up that a lot of National Parks and Forest cannot accommodate 40' RVs. You'll be lucky if they can take a 35'. For your best shot of utilizing these beautiful parks I would recommend sticking to something 35' or below.
Thanks, I think this has been discussed many times on this and several forums. Our plan is to spend a couple of months at a time on the coach and in order to get the DW to do this I have to make it comfortable. Comfortable to us is room to stretch out. I understand the size limitation at some Nat parks and other desirable areas but we will have to work around that.
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:59 AM   #5
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BTDT with smaller unit than 40 ft. Truck Atlas and Google satellite view are your friends.
BTDT????
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:30 AM   #6
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We are in the preliminary stages of getting info on the RV lifestyle. I'm been thinking that since we are retired and not in any hurry, perhaps we should think about traveling off the interstates. Our plan is to get a coach in the 40' range. Just curious how many people do this and is this plan feasible with a coach as large as 40'.
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Not to worry.
In 148k miles of travel with my current 35' coach, (towing a 3,200 lb toad), I have never come across an Interstate highway, a U.S highway, a state highway or a county highway that was not suitable for RV travel.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:53 AM   #7
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We stay off the interstates as much as possible.

Charles Kuralt said it best:

"Thanks to the interstate highway system, it is possible to travel from coast to coast and not see a thing."

We never have a problem on federal or state numbered highways. It is sometimes more of a challenge on county roads. They can be narrow with no shoulders. Agriculture equipment can cause slowdowns. And, you need a good map.

We have a 35 foot fifth wheel.
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Old 05-04-2016, 09:01 AM   #8
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BTDT????
Been there ... done that .....
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Old 05-04-2016, 09:23 AM   #9
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We're in a 44' tag axle coach ... and have no qualms about getting off the freeways. It's not difficult - it just means you really need to pay attention. There are folks out there who will do really stupid stuff to avoid "getting stuck" behind a 43,000 lb RV. You gotta be paying attention and be prepared to deal with that brand of idiot.

Getting off the freeways means you need to make peace with the fact that you're going to be moving slower and not covering miles in the same manner that you would on the freeway. You'll need to pay a little more attention to your route planning (to avoid low bridges, tunnels, "weight limited" bridges, etc.) ... and you have to be a little more diligent keeping an eye out for low hanging wires and tree branches.

Learn to keep your eyes peeled for "truck info/warning" signs whenever you're turning onto a road that is obviously "smaller" than then road you're currently on. They'll usually keep you from being surprised by low bridges, weight limits, etc.

Be aware of the traffic around you ... if you see semi truck traffic, chances are you're OK. If you don't see any evidence of large truck traffic ... you just need to be a little more cautious.

When you're out on the back roads - learn to keep half an eye on the traffic behind you. If you notice that you're leading a long line of cars and pickups .... consider pulling over when the opportunity presents itself and letting folks get by you.
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Old 05-04-2016, 10:20 AM   #10
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Thanks Norman, all good advice.

In '14 DW and I took our boat from Tampa to the Chesapeake via the intercoastal waterway (ICW) and returned in '15. We averaged 50 miles each leg and would stop at some places for a week at a time. To do this took a great amount of planning, both navigation planning (so as to avoid shallow spots) and planning stops with interesting things to do. I used several resources to do this.

I see our RV adventures in the same light. Acquiring the planning resources and then using this to plot each leg of our journey. We were not in a hurry on the boat nor will we be on our coach, so I think we will probably stay off the interstates as much as possible.

I know some folks like to just go and find a place when they get tired. Works for a lot of people on a boat too. But I've found planning ahead yields great results in interesting things to see and do and avoids finding oneself in less than desirable places.

But I will admit it takes a lot of work to do the research. I would spend half a day researching the next 3 legs. But I never ended up at a marina with exoberant fees or did I ever run aground.

Below is a picture off the Tides Inn near Irvington, VA during happy hour last fall.
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Old 05-04-2016, 10:30 AM   #11
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Tim, with that attitude you will have no problems with a big rig. Planning takes away most of the issues. Yes, there will be some few places that you can't go due to size. With good planning you will find plenty of good alternatives. The federal numbered highways are good for big trucks, so they are almost always good for big RV's too.
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Old 05-04-2016, 03:33 PM   #12
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Tim, with that attitude you will have no problems with a big rig. Planning takes away most of the issues. Yes, there will be some few places that you can't go due to size. With good planning you will find plenty of good alternatives. The federal numbered highways are good for big trucks, so they are almost always good for big RV's too.
X2!!!

We traveled constantly the last 8 years of full-timing in a 40' motorhome. We were rarely on interstates and we never had one problem. I will say that you'll have to do more research if you do it in the far eastern states but for the Midwest and Western states you'll have absolutely no problems. If you have the time, get off the interstates.

You should see our souvenier road atlas from our 16 years! You would see that there are very few secondary roads that aren't highlighted. It looks like a spider web.

The second issue is folks continuing to say you'll never fit in national parks with a big rig. I really wish they wouldn't do that because probably most of them haven't even tried or are leery about trying or hear stories handed down for years.

We have stayed, and without reservations, in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier, Zion, Bryce, and others. We've stayed in tons of state parks, including down the Oregon coast multiple times, national forest campgrounds, Corp of Engineer campgrounds, county and city parks. Again, never any issue. If you tow a car it's even easier. Park the motorhome and drive the car to see if there would be any obstacles. With our research we only had to do this one time because we just weren't sure of the gravel road as we were boondocking about 20 miles from the highway. We drove the car, found no problem and went back to get the motorhome.

We've also traveled the summer to Alaska and only made two reservations - one for July 4 weekend and one for Denali's farthest campground you can drive, Teklanika. We only made those a couple weeks out when we could better judge when we'd be there. During that trip we stayed in Canada and the Yukon's provincial parks (similar to our state parks), a few state parks and forest service campgrounds when we got to Alaska and some city parks right on the water. We also boondocked in lovely places during the whole trip.

Get the motorhome you and your wife would be happy living in and don't worry. You can do all you've planned.
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Old 05-04-2016, 09:00 PM   #13
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We have a 40' and have had no issues yet traveling off the interstates.
Prefer the country roads when time isn't an issue.
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Old 05-04-2016, 09:10 PM   #14
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Yup. 40' is ok. The room and comfort is a very good thing. Happy wife happy life.
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