Friday, May 13, 2016

Driving through New York City in a Class A Motor Home

My trepidation about our Friday drive from New Jersey to Long Island increased on Thursday when Craig read the weather forecast for the following day: heavy rain and thunderstorms. We have driven in rain and the Alfa handles well, but it is still not fun.

Added to that was the realization that it was Friday the Thirteenth. Normally I am neither superstitious nor religious, but the coincidence was bothersome!

Then I found a third disturbing factor by carefully looking at the page of "low clearance" warnings in our Rand McNally Trucker's Atlas. According to it, there were three low clearance underpasses on our route. We carefully compared their locations on the book map and on the New York City truck route map, and then used Google Earth to try to find them. As far as we could see there were no low bridges in the locations listed in the Trucker's Atlas. What to believe? I was actually most reassured by the images on Google Earth because we could see large semis on our chosen route.  So I guessed, as they say, "We were good to go."

For the two nights before the drive I had booked us into a small county park, Mahlon Dickerson, in Morris County New Jersey. At around 30 miles away, it was the closest I could get to the George Washington Bridge. I didn't want a long drive to start the trip. (We did a day trip to Morristown while there, and I will post about it another day.)

We left the park by 9:10 am on Friday. Quite early for us! Although the skies were threatening, we were happy to see only a few tiny drops on the windshield. 

Stay to the left!
Traffic was light on I-80 East all the way to the bridge. 

Our Rand McNally RV navigation system did give us one misdirection, which we recognized and ignored. It would have sent us onto the lower level. Large vehicles are supposed to use the upper level.

Toll Booth for George Washington Bridge Upper Level
But a quick lane change kept us heading toward the upper level.  With our recently-acquired E-Zpass module, we had no difficulties going through the toll booths. 

Driving across the George Washington Bridge in the RV

Traffic on the bridge moved smoothly. I found the trucks a comfort. If they could do it, so could we!

The first of the "low clearance" bridges did exist.

Yellow 12' 10" Clearance sign on left side of bridge

We saw the sign saying 12'10" Clearance, but we knew from Google Earth it is arched and that is the height at the outside edges of the road. We followed a semi through in the center lane. As far as we could tell, the other two low clearance locations did not exist. We knew where to look, and just kept following the big trucks.

We saw many exit signs for Parkways, cars only, 7'10" max-height. We knew we should not go on them, but our final exit was onto William Floyd Parkway. This had concerned me the night before, but once again the internet set my mind at ease. Googling William Floyd as a truck or RV route, there were several posts that said there were no bridges to be concerned about and RVs were OK.

The traffic level was quite reasonable all the way. Not true for the lanes going in the opposite direction, but we will leave that concern for the opposite trip. All in all, I think driving through Los Angeles is much worse. 

For anyone who needs to get from New Jersey to Long Island, I recommend I-80 East to I-95, George Washington Bridge Upper Level,  I-95 to I-295 Cross Bronx X-way,  I-295 to I-495 Long Island X-way. We continued on I-495 to exit 68, Floyd Parkway. From there we went to Wildwood State Park. The NYC part of this route is the official city route for oversized vehicles.

Follow that truck!
We arrived at the park just after noon. Our spot is nice, with full hook-up. The only negative is that trees block satellite TV reception. But we have a strong Verizon signal for internet, and with our unlimited data, Craig can stream the Warriors' basketball games. We also have pretty good reception on the TV antenna.

We will be here for twelve nights, giving us plenty of time to go to New York City several times. We plan to take the commuter train and use public transportation in the city. 

If anyone has any good suggestions for things to do on Long Island, we would love to hear them. 

For now, all I have to say is "Wow, we made it!"  Craig thinks I'm silly to have worried at all.

[From Craig] With Merikay so concerned about NY roads, I think I felt more attentive to driving today than any other time that I can remember.  Nothing happened that justified such alertness, but that's a better result than having a problem because one needed to be more alert!


  1. good for you. will keep this for future use. Good traveling

  2. Good advice for fellow travelers! Many thanks from all of us. Better to be overly cautious than to throw caution to the winds.

  3. Thanks for the tops , glad you made it alright, enjoy your time there.

  4. New York City! Fantastic! Enjoy the pizza.

  5. I grew up in Chicago, so I don't like driving through big cities, your research paid off.

  6. We always feel comforted seeing semi trucks on our route. Have fun in NYC!

  7. Love NYC! Have a great time - there is SO much to see!!!

  8. Thanks for the route report. This is news we can all use.

  9. Thanks for the tips, we might want to do this sometime.

  10. Great job. Thanks for sharing. Please let us know the RV Park info also.


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