Tough Day at the Track

Imagine Rodney Dangerfield sitting in the guest chair on the Tonight Show between Johnny and Ed:

“Oh, I tell ya, Johnny, I had a tough day today a TOUGH day!”

“Really Rodney? <Johnny grins at audience> How…tough..was it?”

“It was so tough that as soon I as I got here I headed for Ed’s private booze stash…and it was EMPTY! Tough day I tell ya!” <rim shot>

So yesterday my name was Rodney. The route: Wilmington, NY to Swanzey, NH. When I first plotted the route Tuesday night in the RV Trip Wizard app it showed 177 miles and 4 hours travel time. But then there was a low bridge along the route so I chose plan B, so now it was something like 203 miles and 4.5 hours. OK, so be it. So Wednesday morning there I was among the trees at the KOA:


The plan was to dump the tanks, hook ’em up and skedaddle by 9 AM. One thing I’ve learned, hook up, especially with a dump, always takes a bit longer than I think. So, actual departure time was more like 10 AM. No problem, the destination campground charges extra for checkin before 2 PM. I stop before turning out of the KOA and fire up my map app: no go. The map was not populating on the screen on my phone (even with the WeBoost !), so I could not see the route. I remembered turn left and go half a mile, but that was it. Not good enough. I remembered that navigation service is provided under the OnStar introductory package, so I called them and told the lady my situation. “Oh yes, we can provide directions right to the screen in your vehicle!” OK, but I have the route problem with the low bridge so don’t send me that way. Next thing I know the computer voice is telling me the route is on its merry way to my screen. And so it was: “in 100 feet turn left on county road so-and-so.” So now I know the problem with OnStar navigation: they only show your next turn. Again, not good enough since I’m a big picture guy. I prefer to be master of my route, not lead by the nose in the dark on a turn by turn basis. I don’t want them to “tell me” I want them to “confirm for me”. But, there seemed no other choice so I yielded to the machine.

After the first few turns I was confident that OnStar was sending me on a route similar to the one I mapped out the night before…until we got to the interstate. Now I recognized this interstate as being part of the planned route, only it should have been a right turn and OnStar said turn left. And OnStar was telling me to turn on a road that was maybe 100 yards past the interstate entrance, only I could not see the road. So I bit the bullet and turned left on the interstate and within 30 seconds OnStar was graciously telling me I screwed up. Well sweet, the next interstate exit was maybe 15 miles ahead. Oh well, it’s only time (and gas). But fate stepped in: 6 miles down the road was a “text stop”. So I pulled in there, hauled my laptop out of the Beast and was able to get the map app to work. Finally I had the much needed big picture.

After getting headed in the opposite direction on the interstate I was feeling back on track. But for some reason I left OnStar navigation on. It said get off the interstate, so I did, but as soon as I did I could tell this was not where I wanted to be. Fortunately, I was at a 4 way stop in a huge intersection with no other traffic and I was able to u-turn the Rig and get back on the interstate. Adios OnStar.

The scenery in eastern upstate NY was quite nice: more rolling hills compared to the mountainous terrain around Lake Placid, mostly agricultural (more corn!). But after getting off the interstate and rolling into Vermont the road turned to 2 lane state roads with more curves and ups and downs, which is just more stressful when dragging The Beast. Plus there were several bridges under construction cut down to one very narrow lane. Mega stressful.

Then the topper. Going through a small town, following the route on the map app I came to a right turn. Before turning I looked to the right and about 100 feet away was a bridge with a clearance of 11 feet. Sheesh! That would have shaved the top 2.5 feet off The Beast! Long story short, after an extra 40 or 50 miles and almost 2 hours I finally got back on a road that got me to the destination. The 4 to 4.5 hour trip turned into 7 hours. Ed, where’s your stash when I need it?



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