Thursday, January 03, 2008

Show of hands

OK, I have to admit I'm a little scared. During the last week while working at the parts and service counter, I fielded two calls from RVers asking about chains.

The first storm in a series of three over the next few days just arrived here with high wind warnings (100 mph wind gusts already over the passes at Lake Tahoe), forecasts of 20-60 mph along the coast, flooding in low-lying areas (with the offer of free sandbags), and 5-10 feet of snow at the upper elevations (over 5000 feet).

Early this morning, I had my propane filled, used the dump station, filled the water tank, drove to the laundromat and did my laundry. I returned, made a pot of coffee and prepared to hunker down for the remainder of my two days off. The first of the storms was supposed to arrive this afternoon and at 11:59, the first raindrops fell.

Um--why would you want to put chains on your RV and travel in a high profile vehicle through gusting winds in bad weather when the highway patrol is warning that I-80 will probably be closed to everyone?

Am I alone in seeing this as foolish?


  1. i wouldn't venture out in weather like that in my truck with top of the line snow tires, let alone in an RV. Perhaps the person calling believes his rig to be invincible because of its weight and the chains. It makes no sense whatsoever, except of course to the caller.

  2. You're hardly alone in thinking that heading up 80 during a *major* storm is nuts; unless it was an absolute emergency, I wouldn't do it in *any* vehicle, let alone an RV! And, if these "RVers" were *asking* questions about chains, what do you want to bet that they have NO CLUE as to what they're doing? I hope that they don't take someone else with them when they slide (or are blown) off the road.

  3. I can't imaging traveling in that kind of weather. I got a self-contained RV so I could pull over and ride out the weather safe and warm.

  4. In the Pacific Northwest you are in danger of trees falling on you, so being on the road isn't the best idea. Besides what kind of gas mileage do you think you would get going against that type of wind?

  5. They just asked about chains. Did they say they were going out on the roads?
    Perhaps, or more probably they were trying to find chains to carry with them in case of emergency, or necessity.

  6. Some states have tire chain laws.
    And you can be given a ticket if you have non with you to put on.
    Needed or not.
    When signs are put up that they are needed on certain vehicles.

  7. Debbie, you could get real good gas mileage if there was a tailwind.


  8. Correct. some states require chains. But they only enforce the rule when vehicles are actually driving in bad weather conditions . If you are in a motor home the place to be is anywhere but on the road in those conditions!
    better to prepare as Adrienne did adding a good book and plenty of hot chocolate!

  9. We always carry chains when we travel in the winter. When we head south from Canada in Feb. for our winter holiday in the sunny south we have over 1000 miles of winter roads to travel on. Some of the highway passes require chains and it's just wise to have them so you can get off the road if nasty weather blows in.

  10. One of the callers stated he had a 32' Winnebago. Another was towing a 35' fifth wheel.

    After I spoke with both of them, I wondered first how many chains would be needed: six for the truck and four for the fifth wheel? Did the inside duallies need chains? How do you put the chains on and how do you take them off?

  11. I would definitely hole up in a campground until the storm cleared and the roads were cleaned off, if I could. (Unless I could make it across safely before the storm hit.)

    But some RVers are still working for a living, and may not have any spare vacation time left. Some bosses can be very unreasonable. They don't care about their employee's safety, unless something happens on their business property, so that they can be sued. In order to keep a job, some people will take some fairly extreme risks, and might try going over the pass during a storm, to get back to work on time.

  12. 1st of all, I-80 shuts down to all traffic in high wind and heavy snow warnings and in winter time, snow chains are mandatory to have for most vehicles. No, they do not have to be on, but they do have to be present. Calif Law. I have sat parked in Sparks more than once. As for the Winnebago, the chains will not do him any good, only mandatory to have. The 5er has to have chains on traction wheels only, not the trailer and yes he should have them on duallies, Lay them out in front of the tires and drive onto the center and "hook 'em Danno". They are connected, two chains together per set.