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Old 01-06-2016, 07:27 AM   #15
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I really suspect that unmanageable ramps are by far the exception, rather than the rule.

All of the ones I have been on have had a very gentle incline, even the few along the Gulf.

I took one across the Mississippi just this past spring, twice, in southern Illinois. It was fun!

Don't avoid them out of fear, but call ahead if you are concerned, and take a good look when you get there.

But for the tiny, local ferries, there is usually an office associated with these, or someplace you can call for information.


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Old 01-06-2016, 08:43 AM   #16
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I'm still digging on this... the information doesn't seem to be on the internet, or is buried by marketing material. I'm inquiring with the ferry operating authority (TxDOT) because I'd like to have more info for further reference.

During my internet search, I was reminded of another Interstate clearance hazard - antiquated train crossings. There ARE at least limited published lists of those (e.g., "Montgomery County, FM3083 - All trailers with low ground clearance must have hydraulics to raise it to cross the railroad just south of SH105").

The T1N Interstate only has about 5 inches of clearance at the engine exhaust pipe. I have struck its heat shield on speed bumps, and I've had to creep over certain train tracks. Not the sort of thing that is necessarily of concern to people who largely constrain their travels to going from hook-up to hook-up, but I like to get off the beaten path.
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Old 01-06-2016, 09:26 AM   #17
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Another thing to keep in mind, (at least for the NCV3 AS), are the two welded loops on the hitch which are designed to scrape first on a heavy departure angle. That said, good judgement should prevail and an angular entry might mitigate some ramps.
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Old 01-06-2016, 01:49 PM   #18
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We took the Badger in September with our extended interstate and had no problems. We also took the ferry to Galveston and had no problems
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Old 01-06-2016, 04:56 PM   #19
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Out of interest, I looked up Galveston and saw that there was a tide range of just a few feet.

Here we have tide ranges up to 13 feet. As a result, our (ocean) ferry ramps are all two-stage. First the crew adjusts the ramp from shore, and locks it in place, and then they adjust the short ramp to the vessel. With small ferries, there can be a big difference in draft between loaded and unloaded, and if there is a low-clearance vehicle the crew stops traffic, adjusts the main ramp, and then adjusts the small ramp again. In areas with less range in water level, docks may be just have single stage ramp, and that has more potential for problems with front and rear clearance. Also, even if there is a two stage ramp, the crew may need to be asked if they can adjust it for a low clearance vehicle.

Upshot is, consider the design of the ramp and not just the vehicle.

Jeff
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Old 01-07-2016, 06:32 AM   #20
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I like seeing all these pics! They are giving me a better idea of the range of what's out there.

Here is a pic of the Torquil in NS. You can tell from the construction that tidal changes are not going to resolve this inflection, because the ramp simply plops down on the land itself (so when the tide rises, it will result in a similar angle, just at a higher elevation). If there were some kind of multi-stage land and sea ramp, it might be possible to shallow that up.

We had a low pressure system come in yesterday and there were warnings to expect a 3-foot tide in Galveston, which is higher than normal. When that happens they issue public warnings about shore roads potentially flooding but they never say anything about the ferry operations. The TxDOT PIO has not answered my inquiries, which is rare. They are usually responsive.
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Old 01-07-2016, 01:09 PM   #21
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Some abridged feedback that I received by email rather than via this thread:

"When we ground out [by tail-striking the Interstate on ferry ramps], usually the stainless steel bolts holding the skid plates to the frame shear, and we have even had the whole PVC pipe [holding the dump hose] fall completely off … We carry a good supply of these [stainless steel] nuts and bolts as spares of course…"

Intrepid soul!!! And I thought *I* was an envelope-pusher!



This would be my own analogous stream of consciousness in a similar scenario:

"Hmmm, do I feel like shearing off my skid plates today? Am I really *feeling* that as an option?? Let me contemplate... uh, mmmmaybe not..."

But I WILL be adding those extra nuts and bolts to my tool kit, just in case I change my mind.

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Old 01-08-2016, 01:11 PM   #22
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Likewise, has anyone had experience with the ferries on the Outer Banks on NC - especially the small ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke Island ? Have 31 ft Soverign and would like to spend a week or so at Ocracoke
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Old 01-08-2016, 02:08 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcl View Post
Out of interest, I looked up Galveston and saw that there was a tide range of just a few feet.

Here we have tide ranges up to 13 feet. As a result, our (ocean) ferry ramps are all two-stage. First the crew adjusts the ramp from shore, and locks it in place, and then they adjust the short ramp to the vessel. With small ferries, there can be a big difference in draft between loaded and unloaded, and if there is a low-clearance vehicle the crew stops traffic, adjusts the main ramp, and then adjusts the small ramp again. In areas with less range in water level, docks may be just have single stage ramp, and that has more potential for problems with front and rear clearance. Also, even if there is a two stage ramp, the crew may need to be asked if they can adjust it for a low clearance vehicle.

Upshot is, consider the design of the ramp and not just the vehicle.

Jeff
This is a good description of how these ramps are supposed to be operated.

In looking at the picture posted by the O P. It appears that the proper adjustment to the main ramp has not been done. Making for the steep angle of the fairing ramp. The number of scrapes on the ramp indicate this is a common issue there. How to work around careless operators is more the issue.
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Old 01-09-2016, 06:07 AM   #24
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This is a good description of how these ramps are supposed to be operated.

In looking at the picture posted by the O P. It appears that the proper adjustment to the main ramp has not been done. Making for the steep angle of the fairing ramp. The number of scrapes on the ramp indicate this is a common issue there. How to work around careless operators is more the issue.
That might explain why other pictures on the internet do not show as dire an angle at the same ramp. It may represent more than a tidal effect.

I also found it interesting that, in response to my questions, TxDOT gave me the direct phone number of the ferry control tower, rather than responding in its typical centralized manner (questions like mine are why they have a public information office in the first place). Perhaps I'm supposed to talk to the duty crew in order to get a feel as to whether they'll be rigging the ramps correctly on any given day.
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:53 AM   #25
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Perhaps there is a limit to their adjustment on a particular site. And a call to them would give the driver of a low clearance vehicle insight to the best tide level for safe loading?

I did my first ferry crossing last summer from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island with my 345 with dingy in tow. I was a bit concerned about the looong overhang as well as the dingy making the transition. But the ramps were well set up an all went smoothly. If at primium $s. Would have cost $20 less if unhooked and driven separately but I was traveling solo.

Got placed at the very front of the ferry, so had a great view out the front.
Plus was finally able to enjoy one of the pleasures of motorhome travel. Being able to go make a sandwitch and get a drink while under way. A benefit not usually available to the solo traveler.

Cheers Richard
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Old 01-09-2016, 10:20 AM   #26
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Took the ferry from Essex, NY to Burlington, Vt last summer. Getting on and off the ferry with the beast was a piece of cake. The view of the Green Mountains was fantastic.Click image for larger version

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Old 01-15-2016, 10:59 AM   #27
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Likewise, has anyone had experience with the ferries on the Outer Banks on NC - especially the small ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke Island ? Have 31 ft Soverign and would like to spend a week or so at Ocracoke

We took the Hatteras to Ocracoke ferry and the Ocracoke to Cedar Island ferry and enjoyed both! No problems loading or unloading. I highly recommend venturing out there!


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Old 01-15-2016, 08:52 PM   #28
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We've taken the Seattle to Bainbridge Island ferry a number of times and it is as civilized getting on and off the ferry as the island is gentrified! I lost my skid plates a few years ago so I am hyper conscious of access/egress issues.
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