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A low railroad bridge can hurt your RV’s caboose

Vincent Kranz, a motorhome owner from Newark, Dela., has been RVing since 2008. He shares this unfortunate incident from one of his travels:

In the fall of 2013, we were driving through the eastern foothills of Appalachians. We went through Martinsville, Va., to see a couple of roadside attractions, a restored Shell gas station and a 20-foot-tall wooden mission chair.

On the way to see the chair, I got on a two-lane road that had a low clearance railroad bridge that was not marked until just before you got to the bridge, too late to turn around and impossible to back down the road. The concrete overpass was 11 feet, 2 inches tall, and our Winnie is a tad taller.  Since I couldn’t turn around or back up, I had to try to squeeze through the overpass.

Winnie is 33 feet long and all but the last 5 feet made it through with no damage. The bedroom air conditioner seemed to stick up a little bit higher than the rest of the motorhome and it was damaged enough it had to be replaced.

It was a good thing we didn’t need the AC, but it was damaged enough that I needed to make some hasty repairs before the rains came because you can see the outside from the inside of the bedroom.

I wrapped the AC unit with plastic and lots and lots of duct tape. This held until we got home on the weekend.

LESSON LEARNED: Even though you have a truck GPS which has the height of your motorhome programmed into it and should warn you of a low overpass before you venture down the road, they aren’t perfect and you need to be careful, stop, and think about what you are doing before you proceed. I probably could have deflated the tires somewhat and made it through the overpass and saved about $900 on the AC replacement.

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