Ron and Hazel's 'Travels with Nuggie' travel blog

When I pulled in to park for the night, the weather was...

After it got dark, the wind was starting to blow.

In the morning, I could hardly see the highway 500 feet away.


In 2016, I was ready for that ''Blizzard of the Century''.

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Blowing winds (30 or 40 miles per hour) and freezing temperatures kept me in this Iowa casino parking lot, 5 miles from the Minnesota border, for two nights. There was no way I could have driven the remaining 160 miles home until conditions improved.

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The above paragraph pretty-much tells the story about why I had to stay in the casino parking lot, 5 miles from Minnesota, waiting for darn-near blizzard conditions to go away, so I could continue driving to the safe haven of our Minnesota cabin. Fortunately, I had plenty of fuel onboard to run the generator, and propane to power the furnace. And, if things really got bad, they had a buffet in the casino and blackjack tables.

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But, like a old boss of mine in the banking business told me once, "Howes, I ask you what time it is, and you tell me how to build a watch!"

The rest of this story is about how you can build that watch.

Leaving Hot Springs, Arkansas, where I'd spent a week in the National Park, the weather was fine, warm down there, actually, but I knew I needed to make tracks to get home before the weather in Minnesota worsened. So, I drove 440 miles to get to 'Diamond Jo's Casino', with the plan to stay overnight there, and the next day it would only be 160 miles to the cabin.

Going 440 miles in one day in a recreational vehicle makes for a long day, normally I like to keep it under 300 miles, and be in camp by late afternoon, or even earlier. In an automobile, moving down the highway is pretty simple, you only have one fifteen foot or so vehicle to worry about, heading up and down hills and changing lanes to pass other cars is no big deal, you've got plenty of power in that little thing.

Pulling 15,000 pounds or more up a mountain grade can be quite an experience for your motorhome engine and transmission, and your nerves But, in a 30 foot class A motorhome, towing a 15 foot car, everything you do requires more diligence and is a little harder to do, you are constantly checking other traffic with your mirrors and rear-view camera screen, and every move out of your lane requires some extra caution and planning. That 15,000 pounds or more your are driving often maxes out your engine and transmission as you head up and over hills, sometimes mountains, and often you're in the far right lane heading uphill at 45 miles an hour with your flashers on, while small Japanese cars whip right by you.

After 300 miles or so of this, you're ready for an overnight stop, and it must be 5 o'clock somewhere.

After doing this for about 10 years, I've gotten better at it, and so will you. I remember when I started out, I had a smaller 24 foot class C motorhome, where I wasn't towing anything, and it was more like driving a big van. When asked, I always tell prospective RV owners to start with a 24 foot Class C and if you need more space later, move up, but starting with a smaller RV is great and much easier way to learn.

Hazel thought our 30 footer was too big, and why are we towing a car? She often would say, "when we wear this one out, let's go back to a 24 Class C, and not tow anything". Hazel was forgetting how handy it is have a car with you for those trips to see the local sights or restaurants, or like when, in 2017 our motorhome transmission went out in Indiana, and she and the two grandsons we had along were able to jump in our Chevy Tracker and drive on to see our son and his family in New Hampshire, leaving me in Indiana to wait for the new transmission.

Tow vehicles make great life boats, but I would agree that with our 24 footer, we got along fine without one, we could drive and park about anywhere.

I remember talking to a fellow in an RV park in Wyoming a few years ago, he had a new 35 foot Class A and was towing a new 4-door 4,000 pound Jeep. I asked him what he had before, and he said it was a small pop-up camper he towed behind his car. "Yes", he said, "I think I overdid this new purchase a little, but I'm learning". He said he was able, so far, to keep his white-knuckle terror a secret from his wife and kids as he headed down the highway, trying to figure out how to get in the other lane.

How's that Timex coming along?



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