Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Driving Miss Lazy: learn to drive a big RV

Annie mentioned that it might be appropriate for an RV-centered blog to go ahead and talk about RV-related things.  I don't wanna go to school! The dog ate my homework!  I don't feel well!  I have a fever! I threw up all night!  I missed the bus.

Fine.  Here's some stuff:

We both attended the Driver Confidence Course held at Lazy Days in Seffner, FL.  It's near Tampa.  I've never driven the Duck [looks abashed], although we agreed I should know how.  Annie admits to being a control-freak, and I admit to being lazy;  we're a match made in Dysfunction Junction.

Barney was an excellent teacher.  He was comfortable with the subject, experienced behind the wheel and behind the lectern.  We were in the classroom about 75 minutes, but it seemed much less, and we met back in the afternoon for some white-knuckle road training.  Each student got about 10 minutes behind the Big Wheel, a 39' Fleetwood diesel pusher.  We ran through an ever-changing obstacle course (people kept moving vehicles, appearing on bicycles, parking cars, throwing themselves in front of us.  The runaway baby carriage was overkill, if you ask me).

There was good advice about

  • how to back up with and without a partner
  • how to mark your mirrors so they always provide the best information
  • how to navigate a turn
  • how to know where your corners and turning bits are
  • why you should never back up if you can't see your wife
Social commentary:  Watching these RVing couples reminded me of an important thing.  It's better to be married to a woman.  Women, sorry about that.  Men, high-five!  

Yes, I see the smudge.






Here are the videos. If you can't get to a class, these videos will be very useful. Go ahead and watch them. You should watch them. WATCH THEM.

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Pat said...

There's two certainies in life. My wife never stands behind a vehicle, when I'm at the wheel and I never stand near a canyon edge when she's behind me. It works for us.

Congrats on getting your certificates.

Sherry said...

OK I see you both there with your fancy diplomas. Where is the class and how much $$$$$??????

MAYBE - now mind you it's a MAYBE - I'll do it when I get to Florida which I am leaving for in 57 days 18 hours and 30 minutes but who's counting?

So does Annie let you drive now???


Carolyn said...

Roxanne, you look very tense

Rubye Jack said...

Wow. 10 minutes wouldn't be enough time for me to figure out how to get around the corner, but then I figure you guys have lots of experience anyways. Looks like fun!

Andra Watkins said...

I don't think I could be taught to drive an RV, but you make it look easy. :)

michael ultra said...

Good job. It is really just a mindset. Thank you two for your support. It means a lot!

The Good Luck Duck said...

Pat, the force of self-preservation is strong with you two.

Aren't we spiffy, Sherry? The course was free! We had to wait a little longer, because Lazy Days buyers get the first slots, but they didn't charge us anything. If you were interested, it probably isn't even too early to schedule a class day. I think it's a small investment for them to get an already-RV-ready couple onto the lot, and we did look at a lot of rigs in our spare time.

Does she let me drive? Well, is her driving ankle broken? Otherwise ... maybe not.

Carolyn, did I mention the runaway baby carriage?? Plus, you were looking at my tense side. You know how uptight I am anyway.

Rubye Jack, the technique is pretty simple, and I got to watch other people do it first. There's a lot of dot-watching and hip-aligning, but I didn't crash into anything or take out curbs.

Andra, you absolutely COULD be taught, and you could be taught in 75 minutes with a 10 minute course run. I promise.

Michael, is that like if I don't mind, the bones will set? It's true, it's much less complex than I would have thought. And, you're welcome. I know this is the discouraging time.

Merikay said...

I have watched them several times! I did a couple of test drives when we were shopping, but haven't had a chance to drive the Alfa since we bought her. I hope to get a few miles under my wheels this weekend. Easy ones!

Cyndi and Stumpy said...

Added to the list of videos I've got to watch. I put it ABOVE the one about emptying the black tank.

Cyndi & Stumpy @ RVly Ever After

The Good Luck Duck said...

Merikay, you're already ahead of me in driving time. A nice, easy drive sounds fun.

Cyndi, way to prioritize!

Russ Krecklow said...

What a great title today! Love it!! And both of you with certificates...how impressive. I especially enjoyed the picture of the windshield smudge!! Thanks so much for sharing.

George and Suzie Yates said...

Sounds like a great learning experience and a must do, something every couple should do. Gotta get Suzie on the program!

The Good Luck Duck said...

George, tell her it was SO EASY. One woman refused to try, but was coaxed into it. She was a natural - smooth and easy. I wasn't exactly "smooth and easy," but I negotiated the sharp turns and didn't even hurt anyone.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Hi Russ - glad to hear from you! The class was a good experience for me.

Gaelyn said...

I remember being nervous the first time I drove my 27 foot motor home. Eventually, I could parallel park it. Please don't ask about backing up a 36 foot 5th-wheel.

Good you can both drive with confidence.

Donna K said...

Russ does most of our driving but I drove her FIRST - does that count for anything?

Thanks for the link to the videos. I watched the first one already and I will be watching them all. I liked the way he explained about the mirrors.

TexCyn said...

Good yob girls!!! Congrats :)

Contessa said...

Impressive!!! I have not driven our 40" diesel pusher nor have any desire to. I will be sure to call on either of you qualified drivers should the need arise!!

Linda Starr said...

Oh I do miss RVing, you're practically in my neck of the woods. I have yet to drive any of our previous motorhomes, perhaps the next one, whenever that may be.

Bob said...

I'm with Linda.

Well no, I'm not really "with" Linda, I mean, I agree with the following, "I do miss RVing", and something or other about the next one. Short memory. Sorry.

Nice going on the certificates though. Rock on!

The Good Luck Duck said...

Gaelyn, tell me about backing up a 36' fifth-wheel! Annie was very good at backing up our fiver, but I never felt compelled to get "confident" about it. I'm impressed that you could parallel park a 27-footer. I can parallel park the Prius, and that's as good as I need to be.

Donna, first is everything! I get the feeling that most couples have a clear division of driving, which works out fine if one loves to drive and the other is indifferent (us).

Thanks, Cyn!

Contessa, it's pretty low on my list of wants, too. But, I'll head on down to Mexico to help out anytime - it should be a piece of cake.

Linda, why did you and Bob (*snortsnortsnort*) give up RVing? Bob, why did you and Linda give up RVing? Feel free to give me different reasons, as though you're not together.

Bob said...

Gave up Rving?
Well darn it, my wife and I moved to Europe in the summer of 08, and I naively kept our Class A motorhome for another year, but then gave up on the idea of ever using it during our brief visits back home (Canada)...so I *sniff*...sold it.
Had a lot of fun in that motorhome. Took it out east a few times, went to the races with my "pub buddies"....
I'm trying not to get too choked up here, but it ain't easy.

One hopes...that there will be an RV in our lives at some point in the future.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the fancy diploma's...you must have them framed and appropriately displayed in the Duck. Can you now add extra letters to your name?
And cheers for the links on driving. Well worth the watch.