What does it take to turn an 80 mile, 2 trip into a 6 hour 120 mile trip? Well for Charley and I the answer is: 3 gas stations, 2 bad turns, 1 state trooper, 1 member of the Hyde Park Police and 2 NY State Park Rangers. Let me explain.
Charley and I wanted to stop at the Vanderbilt Mansion as we left the Hudson River Valley. On the way, we needed gas, but I missed the driveway and had to turn around. I pulled into a hotel parking lot thinking I could pull around the building and then head back to the Pilot Plaza. Wrong!
We found ourselves trapped behind the hotel with no place to go. It’s not possible to back up in a motor-home when towing a car. So, that required unhooking the car from the motor-home, (in a pouring rain) turning around and hooking the car back up.
After successfully completing this, without hitting any cars or trees. it was off to the Pilot for gas. I pulled into the Pilot, but the turns into the pumps were so tight I pulled right back out.
So we drove down the road to an Exxon and encountered the same problem. Then it was driving back up the road to a Mobile station. Finally, 1 hour and 3 gas stations into our trip, and 7 miles later, we were gassed up and good to go.
Charley routed us the long way around to Hyde Park. We went 20 miles out of our way through small towns and side roads to avoid several really bad turns on the short route. I wanted to avoid turns I felt were too tight to navigate in the motor-home with the Mini in tow.
We arrived at our destination ready to tour the Vanderbilt Mansion. Low and behold we couldn’t get in. The gate designed for elegant horse and carriages of the Gilded Age is not wide enough for a motor-home. Well no harm just lost time.
And we needed another place big enough to turn around.
We continued up the road. Charley found a nearby state park just up ahead where we should have been able to turn around.
Well of course we missed the first turn. Now what?
Remember my re-route to avoid the tight gas station turns?
I forgot my caution and became Joe the expert driver.
There was sharp left heading back to the park. I took it turning left, or mostly left, only to find myself face to face with a large tree. Can’t go over it, can’t get around it I have got us stuck.
I can’t back up with the Mini. So I have to unhook it, again. Only this time I have a new dilemma. The car is blocking a lane of traffic on Route 9, the only two-lane road through Hyde Park.
So, here we are blocking traffic and wedged in a position that won’t allow me to unhook.
A Hyde Park police officer arrived. With a bemused look on his face, he asked how we got in this position and if we were okay.
I told him I was a stupid human.
He also points out that we could have easily turned around off Route 9 since all of the neighborhoods have streets that form squares. I think they should put a sign up outside of town about that. “Easy turn arounds for motor-homes. Just use the side streets.”
Next two state park officers arrive and offer their assistance. Then a state trooper stops by, to joke with the Hyde Park cop and to see what’s going on.
While directing traffic, the police looked on helplessly as I hammered out locking pins to the tow so Charley can move the Mini.
I managed to get the car unhooked and backed the motor home away from the tree without any damage, except to my pride.
We hooked back up and off we went. Six hours and one hundred and twenty miles after starting out we pulled into Promised Land State Park just outside Mt. Pocono, Pennsylvania to camp for several days.
So today’s lesson: Don’t try really tight turns in our thirty-two foot motor-home and remember the Hyde Park neighborhoods are squares.