When the farm in Vermont invited us for a WOOF farm stay, the first thing they said was “we’d love to have you, but not sure if you can get up our drive”. We had several email exchanges and a phone conversation discussing the driveway. They posted a video of a log truck navigating the corners and even went as far to build a 40′ mock-up of our RV with proper axle location and height of the rear bumper. He towed the simulated “beast” with his solar powered golf cart and reported back was that everything looked good.
Us Michiganders usually underestimate just how steep, curvy, and hilly other parts of the country can be. Likewise, most folks underestimate just how big and heavy “The Beast” is. Looking at this photo below (along with many others he sent) the corner looks perfectly navigable. Or so we thought….
As we approached the farm, the road got successively narrower and less maintained. We found the drive and as I pulled in we immediately started second guessing our decision. However, we know that we’ve got nothing to fear because a 4 ft wide golf cart weighing 600 lbs made it towing a 40′ section of 4″ pipe… Well – I put it in 4 LOW and boldly continue on. That is, until the first switchback.
One thing that wasn’t evident in the video or photos they posted was the grade. I’m not sure exactly what it was, but I’m guessing about 20%. Turns out that a 16,000 Lb RV starts to win when being pulled by a truck half its weight on gravel this steep. We gave up on the first switchback (after a few choice words of course as the truck tires started to slip!).
Backing out the 1/4 mile turned out to be the easy part. Since the driveway was on a dead-end road with no turn-around suitable for the Beast, we had to back out the opposite way we came in, which meant the road was headed uphill while the RV axles were headed downhill. We had to remove the rear bumper for extra clearance and then build a road 10″ at a time with our leveling blocks. Two hours later we were on the road again.
We spent the night at a campsite and drove to the farm the next day without the Beast. The whole way up the driveway, all we could think was “We’re glad we didn’t make the first corner”. The drive only got worse from there. We never would have been able to back around the switchbacks without losing traction and likely would have resulted in us marooning the Beast on Mt. Nickwackett.
Liam envisioned a Chinook helicopter being required to free The Beast from their drive. A couple of days later – this in the news…
Due to the quarantine requirements in VT, NH, and ME and the congestion on the East Coast, we decided to head West again to those wide open spaces we love so well. Hopefully we’ve learned our lesson…if Trish and I are both skeptical about the pending road and The Beast, it may be a sign that we should take the road MORE traveled!
Was wondering how you knew you could not make the hills in Vermont ! Thanks for the story.
Glad you did not give up on my driveway! I’ve been in some tough places with both our pop-up and little RV but nothing like this.