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Author Topic: Whats the worst road you have taken your coach down?  (Read 2871 times)
Tin Lizzy
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« on: February 07, 2007, 08:16:09 PM »

As I get closer to being able to actually use my coach I am wondering how much travel I will be able to do on forestry roads etc. Here in Alberta we have some great stream fishing and I would like to take my coach as close as possible before using the toad.
I thought it would be interesting if anyone has any great stories or better yet PICTURES to share.
Harry
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Tin Lizzy
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Calgary, Alberta
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2007, 09:05:14 PM »

I am sure others have done much worse, but one particular trek sticks out in my mind.  Our family was visiting the Great Smoky Mountains around Thanksgiving a few years ago.  We camped in the National Park. One day we took a look at a map showing the Cades Cove loop, and decided to go on a day trip. We do not drag a toad, so we ventured out in our 4104.  I don't recall what I was expecting, but I think I probably pictured something like the Blue Ridge Parkway.

As we entered the loop, it quickly turned into a one lane paved road. Ever so gradually, the further we went, the narrower the road got.  It wasn't that the road surface was really that bad, as it was smooth hard packed stone, most of the way.  But it kept getting tighter and tighter with absolutely no place to turn around. It is 11 miles long, and I was going through places where I had tree branches hitting both sides and the roof, all at the same time.  Fortunately, I didn't have some big buck paint job to be concerned about.  All I kept thinking about is: "What am I going to do if it gets a little smaller and I can't physically go forward?"   Back up 8 miles?  Although I could not see any, there had to be a dozen other cars somewhere behind me.

My wife and three kids thoroughly enjoyed the drive and my wife was amazed the way I handled the bus.  Me?  It took me another two days for my sphincter to relax.
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2007, 09:07:47 PM »

Harry, You didn't say how many wheel drive your bus is. If you have an old Crown with SQHDs and interlock, I think you can drive right up to the stream and throw your line in. Intercity buses can recieve extensive damage any time a rescue effort is began. If your going offroad in one, I'd keep the middle of the bus real strong so it didn't get pulled in half! A bus is heavy equiptment.I drive the bus alot like the truck. I normally will not take any tires off of the asphault, even for a traffic stop with officer friendly. To often the ground can be soft and suck your steer tire in until you are buryied 100 feet off the road.
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Tin Lizzy
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2007, 07:43:11 AM »

thinking more of gravel forestry roads. I don't want to destroy the bus. I don't think a few miles on a hard pack gravel will hurt it.
I realize that it will never go the places that a regular RV will go but I would rather have my bus and drive the toad further. I just thought it would be interesting to see others experiences in similar situations. How far off the pavement have you taken your coach?
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Tin Lizzy
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2007, 08:39:26 AM »

This little incident took place way back in my charter bus days:

Was assigned a charter to take a bunch of tree-hugging Sierra Club folk, politicians , logging company officials and Forest Service personnel to view a reforestation project in the Sierras SE of Yosemite National Park.

Picked up our guide at the ranger station in North Fork, and proceeded toward Mammoth Lakes.  Somewhere up around the 5500 foot level, the ranger directed me onto an obvious logging road, one that hadn't been watered down.  Being the middle of summer, the MC-9's A/C condensor blowers immediately engulfed the coach in dust as we progressed.  After about a mile and a half on this road, we came to a gate installed to prevent further advancement, as this was the site we were scheduled to visit.  Because of the dust, I suggested to the folk that they wait a moment before disembarking, to allow the blowers to settle everything down, so one of the logging company bigwigs spent some time talking to everyone about the project.

When everyone got off to go see the baby trees, I calmly asked my ranger guide how he normally got out of this spot.  He said he usually just made a left around the trees and back onto the logging road.  I asked him what he was normally driving, and he said a pick-up.  I then asked him if he thought I could bend this forty-foot coach around the trees he normally drove thru with his pickup.  The look on his face was a classic MasterCard moment when he realized that there was no place to turn the bus around.

So we backed the bus out.  The whole mile and a half. . .

I made the ranger act as my spotter, and told him I needed to be able to see him in my LH mirror the entire time.  He actually did a good job of spotting, and other than having to do a couple of three-point turns to get the coach around some sharper corners, we made it out without further incident.  Ranger also said he'd never take a busload back in there again - 12 passenger vans max!

Now to the humorous part of the story:  Not only did the ranger have to walk that mile and a half in the summer heat, but, MCI owners, think about where the exhaust exits the coach. . .

Payback!

 Wink
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RJ Long
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2007, 09:23:10 AM »

Hi Tin Lizzy... I take my bus into forestry camp sites all the time, in the interior of BC. Most of the roads are logging roads, so if a tractor with a lowbed trailer, can make it down, so can I. Never had a issue ... but use common sence.
Ron
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bobofthenorth
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2007, 09:23:35 AM »

We've never told anybody this story but I guess enough time has passed to share it.  The attached doc was written the day after this happened.  We did this about 8 months after buying the bus.  The moral of the story - don't go offroading in a bus.  But it is amazing what they will do if you are stupid enough to try.
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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2007, 09:28:45 AM »

Wow Bob!  I am amazed!  What an adventure and it turned out okay in the end.  Thanks for sharing.  I can truly imagine the sphincter tightening that was going on during that time!
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Sean
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« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2007, 10:33:47 AM »

We take our Neoplan down forest roads all the time.  The biggest problem we encounter is with low trees (we're 13' tall), not road conditions.

We have been stuck in the mud, so I ditched my smooth, ribbed tires for agressive M&S (Mud & Snow) tread tires on the drive axle.  They are a bit noisier and probably cost us a small amount in fuel mileage, but they get us through the soft stuff much better.

One of the toughest things we ever crossed was a road washout on Mexico 1 in Baja.  And, just recently, we forded a stream in the Coronado National Forest that cost us some exhaust damage (see the video here: http://ourodyssey.blogspot.com/2007/02/big-puddle.html).  Other than that, we have had no incidents whatsoever, and we wouldn't give up our precious forest boondocking sites for anything.

Two words of advice:  1. Trees are hard on the paint.  If you have a nice paint job, put plenty of extra clear-coat on, so you can just buff out the scratches.  2.  You will have to back out of someplace, some time.  Make sure you have a good backup camera, and, if you have a partner and a toad, get a pair of FRS radios.

-Sean
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Full-timing in a 1985 Neoplan Spaceliner since 2004.
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2007, 01:25:42 PM »

I KNOW ONE THING FOR SURE......I'M STAYING ON PAVEMENT........YIKES WHAT Y'ALL WENT THROUGH.....

Happy Trails FOR SURE!   Wink

Paul

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steamguy56
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2007, 02:00:37 PM »

Wow Sean watching that clip on the Odyssey's dive into the big puddle or what ever it was reminded me of my very first buss drive. The old Suwannee river had flooded, we came to a place where the water had covered the road the buss driver gave me a quick lesson on driving ooold buss #8 just like I needed one. He walked across, it didn't get to his waist so he waved me on over. I drove slowly across, uneventfull but fun. My how things have changed since the early 70's, couldn't you see the news now of a youngen driving a school bus loaded with kids across a flooded road with the waters raging... What a memory
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H3Jim
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2007, 02:09:25 PM »

Sean, great video.  I agree wtih you about taking the bus into nice places - even at the risk of getting it stuck or damaged.  But it does have a pucker factor to it.

Bob of the north - wow, I got scared just reading it.  I have had my bus  on a steep slope and had it go sideways due to the fronts sliding in mud.  Pretty helpless feeling, and not much good can come of it.  The fronts were sliding due to the brakes being on, but not using brakes at all would probably have been worse...
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Jim Stewart
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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2007, 03:17:29 PM »

I beleive it was somebody on the Bus Nuts board that had a picture of a scenicruiser stuck good in a washout.
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Tin Lizzy
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« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2007, 03:57:16 PM »

Hey Bob,
That story had my heart going just reading it!!!
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Tin Lizzy
1972 MC 7
Calgary, Alberta
Tin Lizzy
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« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2007, 04:02:37 PM »

And Sean........................I am never following you ..................ever lol
that was incredible!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Shocked Shocked Shocked
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Tin Lizzy
1972 MC 7
Calgary, Alberta
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