Don’t Get Caught by Low Bridges, get Data for Streets and Trips
Our motorhome is not a big rig, so we don’t get caught by low bridges very often. Actually it only happened once in our 7 years on the road, in upstate New York. We came around a bend and came face to face with a railroad bridge at 11 feet above the roadway. We measure 11 1/2 feet. Luckily there was a place to turn around. Unluckily, there was no easy way to get to where we planned to go.
So we changed our plans!
If your plans are less flexible than ours, or if you have a bigger rig, low clearance information can be very important.
Streets and Trips Free Low Clearance Data
If you use Microsoft Streets and Trips, you probably know about all the data files available from the Discovery Owners’ website. Or, better yet, you can use the ‘Megafile’ that combines all the pertinent data sets. I’ve written previously about the Megafile. The Megafile includes the following low clearance pushpin sets:
I have had people tell me that they know of bridges that are not included in these sets. If you’re willing to pay a few bucks, you can get a more complete set of data from www.LowClearances.com I can’t vouch for this site personally, but I learned about it from the official Streets and Trips blog. You can find more detail there.
No Automatic Routing
Realize that these data sets are just that, data sets. It’s up to you to plan your route accordingly. Microsoft Streets and Trips does not have the capability to automatically avoid low clearances in setting your route.
Personally, I think that is a good thing. For example, if I let my GPS navigation software plan my route in Tennessee, I would not be able to visit the Thousand Trails at Natchez Trace, which is a gorgeous place! There is a low bridge at 11 Ft. But, if you read the Thousand Trails directions, you will know that there is a little gravel bypass drive just beside the road that provides plenty of space!
by Chris Guld, Geeks on Tour
Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger. Members can view all of the videos in the Learning Library.