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Old 07-15-2009, 07:55 PM   #15
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My 40' motorhome is my first RV. I had pulled my Road Runner behind a truck before buying our Ventana.

My first drive was from the dealer in Thurmont, MD, around the DC beltway to Northern VA in evening rush hour.

The length wasn't as intimidating as the width. I felt like I had 1/8" on either side of the motorhome.

Length is an issue when maneuvering in tight places, not on the open road.
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:24 AM   #16
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[quote=69RoadRunner;523535]
...... The length wasn't as intimidating as the width. ......
Length is an issue when maneuvering in tight places, .....
[quote]

Yea, that's what my DW said also.....

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Old 07-16-2009, 10:12 AM   #17
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We bought our Dolphin sight unseen via eBay and flew to Dallas to pick it up. My previous RV experience was a truck and 30' 5th wheel. After the walk-thru, I let Reggie (seller) drive it to a nearby RV park and set it up. The next day, I said I'm going to have to drive this thing eventually or we'll live here forever, so I took it out for a spin around a suburban area. Found out about low tree branches real quick. Got through Dallas and Ft. Worth OK and then hit a construction "tunnel" in Wichita Falls. I crawled through about 25 mph getting a half mile back-up behind me. Lots of perspiration. Now, the coach seems natural to drive.
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Old 07-16-2009, 11:13 AM   #18
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One other thing that helped me a lot ... A salesman told me when I first did a trial run ... Pay attention to the lower right hand mirror, especially when you make a right hand turn. The guy actually told me that I would hit the curb many times, and that I ought to get used to it ... That statement made me determined to NOT hit that curb, and after five years, I very rarely even come close. I can actually turn close to it these days, but I always look into that mirror as we go around the corner. His tip was a big help to me anyway, hope it is to you as well.
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Old 07-16-2009, 11:30 AM   #19
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I had driven a large U-haul when we moved to Wilmington, 23 years ago.....but then again, that was pretty much "point A to B" drive on open roads, with little backing.
Prior to getting the RV (31' "C") I had taken School Bus Driver classes and have my "B" CDL with the school bus endorsement. The course was free (though took several days), but I learned a lot about the operation of these longer vehicles....and how the tail-end will swing much wider than you expect, as well as how to negotiate tight turns and backing.
If you can drive a school bus with 50 screaming kids.....a nice quiet RV is a breeze!
I worked for several years driving the buses....and there is a big difference between the "conventional" (front engine) and the "DP" (rear engine) models...and how you steer them, but you will become comfortable in either after a short period of time.

I would recommend that you take a short 1-2 mile drive around your neighborhood...backing and turning, to get the feel of the coach, prior to getting out on the road....especially if you are going to be driving in a "downtown" situation.

There are other RV driving courses out there, and I would think that the dealer might have some information as to where you can learn...if they won't go along to help you with some of it the first time.......

Practice.....practice....practice. Get some small "soccer" cones from Walmart, and go to a large parking lot to practice parking, backing, etc....until you feel comfortable, and bring along your "assistant", to help with backing, so you can get your hand signals and such understood, because when you go to back into that first campsite, you don't want to learn on the fly!! You've got a lot of money invested in that RV....you don't want to hit a branch or tree...or picnic table!

Good Luck.....Happy Camping
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:30 PM   #20
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Well Faye... you certainly came to the right place with your question.

My story is similar to several of those above. We had never owned any sort of RV at all before taking delivery of our 40' Itasca Diesel...hitching our Grand Cherokee behind it and heading cross country!

My test drive with the dealer forced me through a construction zone with concrete barriers on both sides too! The dealer probably needed a change of clothes afterward but I make it.

I had never driven anything longer than a pickup truck with a ski boat behind it but with the help of this forum I quickly learned what I was doing and now have about a year on the road and 20,000 miles under my belt without a scratch... knock on wood.

You've already gotten the best advice... just go for it... while respecting the size and weight of what you are piloting.

PS My wife is not among those DWs who share the driving. This has been a mutual decision.
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:38 PM   #21
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I drove Fire Apparatus for many years in a suburban setting so driving one of these is nothing new. Just remember if the front of the rig fits the back end will follow! Just watch the top!
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:44 PM   #22
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When I was a teenager, my dad asked if I wanted to learn how to drive. I said, 'Sure'. He stuck in a semi with a trailer. I got a class 1 license. Driving a motorhome is not the biggest thing I have driven.

Be aware of your surroundings, know your limits and go.
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Old 07-16-2009, 09:11 PM   #23
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Faye
wish i could help, but, i'm taking my mh to the repair shop this next monday.

if you pay attention, you won't join me,

have fun.
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:32 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RovinOn View Post
I drove Fire Apparatus for many years in a suburban setting so driving one of these is nothing new. Just remember if the front of the rig fits the back end will follow! Just watch the top!
...if you're going straight. Around turns, the front might make it, but the back might hit.
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:11 AM   #25
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Like many of the posters to your original message, we too started with a 40 foot diesel pusher.

Being the Macho Man that I am, I thought that it would be easy. Well.........the first 100 miles were punctuated with several stops to change my underwear and bouts of weeping like a scared child. Thank goodness the second hundred were slightly better!

I liken it to the hunting lesson when I was younger and did not weep as often. A rifle is precise and accurate and involves a finite target, a shot gun is broad and in the general direction. Anyone who ever duck hunted will tell you if you aim at the duck like it was the hole on a golf green, you will probably miss. If you aim at the duck like it was a bushel basket, you will probably hit it.

In a motorhome you spend the first few miles looking straight down and in your mirrors focusing on no more than a few feet out, trying to stay within the lines. This causes paranoia and frantic adjustments. After a while the target becomes bigger and you learn to look much further out and just point it in the general direction.

Your first experience will include the realization that most of your early fuel costs are not spent for highway driving, but on pulling back and forth 4 dozen times trying to get into that tight space at the RV park. You will also learn that the wonderful lady who bore your children and cleaned those messed underwear can't see you or hear you when you are backing up and yelling obscenities at her out the window.

Now that we have discussed messed underwear, weeping like a child, duck hunting, paranoia, child birth and obscenities, welcome to the future where all of those stories can be shared with the new friends you meet while Rving America!

P.S.

50 Gallons of Human Waste from a Black Tank will not fit into a 40 gallon Blue Boy. If you do not know what a 40 gallon Blue Boy is, please refer to the weeping like a child portion of this post.
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:51 AM   #26
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You may also learn that your DW is a good spotter. Mine is good at spotting the point where my trailer tire ran over a pole and then telling me about it.

I've gently explained that I prefer to know before I hit something, not after.
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Old 07-17-2009, 08:00 AM   #27
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You may also learn that your DW is a good spotter. Mine is good at spotting the point where my trailer tire ran over a pole and then telling me about it.
.
Yes spouses have "World Class" Hindsight, don't they?

Now if we could just "channel" that power into "foresight"..

(I'm so glad she doesn't read this forum)
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:02 AM   #28
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You may also learn that your DW is a good spotter. Mine is good at spotting the point where my trailer tire ran over a pole and then telling me about it.

I've gently explained that I prefer to know before I hit something, not after.
Hi 69Roadrunner.

It's a small world!! I think I may have married your wife's sister. I am sure they are related some way.
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