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31531Re: Driving Motor Home from Pennsylvania to Costa Rica

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  • Scott Bidstrup
    Jun 1, 2005
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      Lee wrote:

      > motorhomes travel the inter-american highway DAILY.

      Sure they do. Won't argue otherwise for a minute.

      But they DON'T travel the Fortuna-Tilaran highway, or the
      Turrialba-Siquirres highway daily. Even though buses and trucks do, all
      day long and most of the night.

      In fact, in my two years in this country, I have only seen two
      motorhomes NOT traveling on the InterAmerican - and one of those was
      parked, just two clicks out of Cartago. There's good reasons for that...

      > as do tractor trailers navigate the "narrow" roads; not to mention BUSES! buses seem to navigate ANY road down here; your rig will, too.

      People who have never driven motorhomes, or haven't driven them very
      much, simply don't understand; a motorhome is NOT a bus. And it sure as
      heck isn't a semi - even though it may be as big. Motorhomes have MUCH
      lower ground clearance (which is a vital concern in driving here), MUCH
      smaller tires (and hence are much more vulnerable to potholes and speed
      bumps). Because of its low ground clearance and small tires, a motorhome
      CANNOT simply run off the edge of the pavement to accomodate oncoming
      traffic as buses and trucks do here routinely without giving it a second
      thought. If a motorhome tried that, the results would likely become
      the lead story on that night's Noticias Repretel. It simply has to stay
      put in its own lane, come heck or high water or a crumbling speed bump -
      and oncoming Tico drivers who are unfamiliar with motorhomes are not
      likely to understand that and accomodate that need.

      Motorhomes have lousy ground clearance because of a marketing problem:
      if it were as high as a semi's cab, the arthritic little old lady
      shopping with her gray-haired old husband can't get up into the darned
      thing on the dealer's lot and therefore won't buy it. Hence, the Load
      Range E tires on the 14" rims - and the six inch ground clearance. The
      lower ground clearance also helps greatly reduce the tendency to roll
      over in a sharp, high-speed turn - another important consideration for
      the old duffers with hard-wired, 60-year old driving habits who drive
      them, but somehow can't seem to adjust.

      Just as important, they have those huge fifteen-foot overhangs (with
      their own special road clearance issues) out behind the rear axle that
      SEVERELY constrain where you can take the darned thing - especially in
      turning (imagine what happens to that fifteen foot overhang in a sharp
      turn), going over dips, curb cuts, potholes and around sharp corners.
      The word "lever" comes to mind - but think of it in reverse. This is a
      problem buses and trucks don't face.

      > propane refills ARE available. even here in JACO, you can pull in and refill your cylinder. NOT the kind that we use for cooking; those need to be traded. but for vehicles running ON propane, or in need of refilling tanks within the confines of the vehicle, there are stations to accomodate you. seek and ye shall find.

      You may have them in Jacó, but I seriously doubt you'll find very many
      between Puebla and Liberia. Not all of Central America is like Jacó
      (which, to my way of thinking is a good thing, but that's for another post).

      Then there is the problem of fittings. Are these hose-equipped fill
      stations you talk about equipped with the same fitting type as is used
      for inboard propane fuel tanks in the States (they're NOT the same
      fitting as is used to fill portable tanks!!)? Having never seen such a
      fill station in Central America, I am not sure they are, and I would
      want to be CERTAIN before I risk getting committed to a life without a
      stove or a fridge.

      Scott B.
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