Tuesday, September 1, 2015
RV Road Less Traveled
Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
Are we the only ones who always seem to choose the wrong routes? We like to stay off the major highways and see rural America, but we are always in some kind of trouble.
Last month we had to unhook our toad and make a U-turn at a low overpass. Today we spent over two hours along 30 miles of North Dakota road construction that was worse than anything we experienced on the Alcan Highway 30 years ago before it was paved.
We are not sure if the North Dakota Department of Transportation is in charge out here or the “fracking” companies. We had dropped off Hwy. 2 in Stanley, ND, heading for the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Unit, and there was no indication that our route was a virtual nightmare. There were no detour signs, no flag people, inaccurate mileage signs and narrow passage points.
This seems to be a pattern for us. Are we poor navigators, or does everyone deal with situations like this?
--Newbies trying to learn in North Dakota
I applaud your sense of adventure -- keep it up. The alternative is staying on boring, exit-laden, super highways and reading billboards.
There are a few things you can do to alleviate some of your headaches. Many GPS systems have major construction updates and low clearance warnings. You can make a habit of asking locals when you make pit stops to see if you can garner any information about possible surprises ahead of you. Some companies like AAA are well known for travel map information that is very up-to-date.
With all that said, I still go back to using today's technology as your best source of information. Services may be out-of-date, locals may be ill-informed, signs, as you well know, can be deceiving.
As far as who is in charge in the new hot fracking areas, that could fuel a great debate. So much activity and new infrastructure makes some of my old stomping grounds look unrecognizable.
I just asked Dr. Google for North Dakota road conditions. I was directed to the Dept. of Trans. North Dakota site. There I found a state map. On it I found your route lit up like a Christmas Tree. When I clicked on the construction site it warned of “poor road conditions.” If you would have stayed on Hwy. 2 you wouldn’t have a tale to tell. Now you have this great campfire story and it only cost you a bit of slow going and maybe an RV wash.
Chances are you will hit as much construction or more on major travel arteries than you will on the back roads of America. Keep doing what you enjoy and deal with the challenges.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V.Shrink