I'm writing this more for myself and for my non-RVing friends, than for the experienced RVers who check this blog from time to time.
Sometimes the adventure is in the driving, not in the destination.
When we were first starting as motorhome owners, we lived on a windy, hilly road near a very busy freeway with several downhill curves and narrow shoulders that could be very scary. It was a good but expensive learning experience.
When we were looking at our options for our drive out of the North Georgia Mountains, US 19/129 was our first choice. We drove it many times, going to various trailheads and attractions. From our park there were about 20 miles of difficult driving conditions, with a section of about 7 miles that had many 20-25 mph "S" curves going both up and down. Not the best choice for a Class A motorhome towing a Jeep. But in the worst places there was an extra lane, and although the shoulder was only a few feet wide, we hadn't seen any large rock walls leaning into the road. We saw some larger trucks going both north and south, but at the same time the traffic seemed relatively light.
We could do this. In particular, I (Merikay) could do this if I was the driver and the weather was good. I am more comfortable behind the wheel than white-knuckling it as the passenger. As the driver, I feel I can go as slow as I want and be in control.
But, after having been parked for five weeks, we had forgotten to tie down or properly stow a few things. On my first turn onto the highway we heard a large crash. Our table will fall over if not locked down. We forgot. No damage, just a scare! Craig fixed it while I kept driving. There was another class A towing a car just ahead of us, so my confidence got a little boost and the drive along 19 went smoothly. I'm not sure we would have chosen to go that way if we hadn't driven it by car several times first.
Next up, Atlanta.
We were warned about the horrible traffic in and around Atlanta.
Poo, what could be worse than Los Angeles? Craig is a much better city driver than I so it was his turn.
We had all day, and figured if we got caught in a slowdown we would just put up with it. We did need to stop at a Trader Joe's for essentials like ketchup, wine, and a few frozen items that only they sell. On our travels we have stopped to shop at stores that have wide open parking lots like Walmart, but of course we have avoided tight lots while towing. Following the advice of the more experienced bloggers, I looked at the chosen Trader Joe's on Google Earth, and even printed an image of the area. Both of us looked at it and decided we could maneuver through to the TJ's back lot and into to a much larger open lot where we could leave the Alfa with the Jeep attached.
I mentally patted myself on the back for being such a careful planner, but reality took over when we got there. The Trader Joe's was in a very urban area with lots of heavy traffic. We managed to drive the few blocks from the freeway without incident, pull into TJ's driveway and make our way around the back. The lot was very full, and (OMG) the driveway between the TJ's lot and the larger open lot, that I thought I had seen on the image, was blocked by a cement curb. The only way to get there was to make a couple of very tight turns, which I knew would be practically impossible with a 36' rig plus Jeep.
But we stayed calm.
We ended up unhitching the Jeep and parking the Alfa in a tight corner spot with her rear end sticking out into the aisle. Other cars could get by us. After shopping we returned and were happy to see several cars that had parked along our exit route had left. With careful guidance, Craig backed her out, got turned around and was able to exit the lot. I followed in the Jeep with the walkie-talkie. He found a larger lot down the road a bit to reconnect the Jeep.
Next challenge: Get out of Atlanta and back onto the freeway toward Warm Springs.
Our Rand McNalley GPS unit told us to turn onto Peachtree and then onto Piedmont. We did, but there was construction on Piedmont that required three lanes to merge into one. Not easy! We were then told to turn right on Buckhead Loop in 300 feet. Yikes, we were still merging. We squeezed over and were about to try for the turn when both of us could clearly see a sign that said this was Lenox Rd., not Buckhead Loop, so we drove straight through the intersection. At this point we notice a cop waving his hands furiously at us, probably telling us to stop. We did not. I looked in the side view mirror and saw him throw up his arms as if in exasperation.
The next intersection was not Buckhead either, and at this point the Randy was telling us to make a U-turn if possible. (Not !) It then guided us in a four street turn-around putting us back onto Piedmont going in the opposite direction, again toward Lenox Road (which it insisted was Buckhead). We were glad to see the cop had abandoned his post by this time, and was yakking it up with some other motorists, allowing us to make the turn without a problem. I had little faith in Craig's comment of "maybe he won't notice us..." I guess it turned out traffic was so tight that unless we had caused an accident, he let us pass.
A few more blocks and we happily found the ramp back onto I-85 and drove the remaining miles to the Warm Springs area.
Monday night we were happily settled into our spot at our RV Park for the night.
It was a harrowing day's drive, but we made it. Luck and patience were the keys.
Someday I might look back at this post and laugh at myself. But for tonight, I'm just pleased we made it without a fender bender or worse.