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Old 07-12-2009, 11:06 PM   #1
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Driving motorhomes over 30 feet

how did you feel the first few times you drove something 30 feet and over??
how experienced were you when you first started to drive these rv's ???

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Old 07-12-2009, 11:32 PM   #2
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Our first coach was a 34.5ft Airstream, I was a bit anxious on initial operation after being cautioned about making turns in that you pull our a bit further in the intersection before executing a right hand turn otherwise your rear wheels will hit the corner curb. After driving for about 50 to 60 miles it began to feel real comfortable.

After logging around 40k miles we traded it in on a 2000 38ft wide body coach and I was a bit concerned about the wide body, however after getting it out on the highway it was actually easier to drive than our old coach.

Prior to purchasing our first coach, i had never driven one. If it's your first time driving, you might be well served by having a seasoned driver go with you on your maiden voyage to provide some instructions and driving tips.

However, not to worry just go for it and have a great time.

Best regards and have many fun, safe and trouble free journeys,

Jim & SherrySeward

2000 Residency 3790 v10 w/tags 5 Star tune & Banks system Suzuki XL7 toad
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:50 PM   #3
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I agree with LVJ58. It only takes a couple of hours and very few miles before the initial worries are gone, and after only a couple of days you can't believe that you were that worried in the first place. Just take your time driving at the speed that you are comfortable with and you will be absolutely fine with a +30 foot coach.

Don't let the large size of the coach dictate the choice you make. Just pick the one you really want.

See you on the road.
The Great Dane
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Living in Denmark - visiting the US whenever possible. www.winnebago.dk www.blog.retired.dk

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Old 07-13-2009, 12:24 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by faye View Post
how did you feel the first few times you drove something 30 feet and over??
how experienced were you when you first started to drive these rv's ???
Hi Faye ...

The first RV of any kind that we ever owned was a 40' diesel pusher, and it was a bit intimidating at first, especially since we bought it in Des Moines and then drove it all the way to Kansas City for our shakedown cruise. Interestingly, the only problem that I have ever had is that I hit a steel post next to a diesel pump one day ($1400) damage) while moving it slightly to get it to a position where I could put fuel in it ... The highway driving was nervous for awhile, but these days (after five years), its just like driving the car. Took awhile to feel totally comfortable, but if you just "Go for it ", you'll be fine. Carole drives it too ...
Jack and Carole
'01 Diplomat
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:57 AM   #5
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My first Class A was a National Seabreeze 33 footer. It was very comfortable to drive. I had no problems driving the vehicle from the moment that I test drove it. I had never been behind the wheel of anything that large.

If you enjoy driving then everything will be okay. On the other hand, if you don't like to drive then you may find it a great challenge.
2004 Damon Escaper 4076
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Old 07-13-2009, 05:10 AM   #6
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Our first unit was a used 1982 24 ft Coachman Class C.

The owner was very experienced and when he realized this was our first unit, he offered to be my coach. We took it out for a ride and the first thing he taught me was to allow more space between me and the vehicle in front. He wanted at least 3 car lengths. Then he pointed out I wait too long before beginning to apply the brakes, slow down sooner. His final point was to always try to watch the vehicle in front of the one you are following because the guy in front of you might not be.

That was 12 years ago and I have carried that training with me...I'll never forget his guidance.

We now have a 35 ft Class A and every time I drive it, I respect the fact that it weighs almost 10 tons.
04 Winnebago Sightseer, 35N, W22 Chassis
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:20 AM   #7
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I grew up camping in RVs, but our 2001 Brave 30 ft. is the first one I've ever driven. Like most, the first day was filled with apprehention, but it lasted less than 50 miles. We were in Florida, heading back to Virginia. The plan was to go a few hours, and then find a place to stop.

Shortly after we started out, it started raining so hard you could not see anything. The wind had already been blowing like crazy. We came up on a KOA and decided to just stop for the night.

The next day we made it all the way to Jacksonville as we had planned, and it has just gotten better and better, we have had it a little over a year. I love driving it now, and we are still glad we bought it.
2011 Winnebago Vista 30W
Duane, Precy, 9 year old son Matt, and Abby, our American Eskimo.
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Old 07-13-2009, 06:14 PM   #8
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Hey everyone, I have been an owner now for 6 months or so. I have an '87 Gulfstream 34'. When I bought back in Feb. I had to drive home about 50 miles and I
was nervous as hell. The first part of the road was less a 30 foot wide farm road
with several curves. Then there was I5 South through Auburn and Tacoma to Olympia. I have since drove it about 300 miles and I am sill a little nervous. We are
hoping to leave for Mt. in about a week once I get a few more kinks worked out.

Hope to see everyone down the road. BJ
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Old 07-13-2009, 06:48 PM   #9
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I moved from a 29 footer to a 35 footer to now a 40 footer. Biggest thing to remember is making tight turns when things like gas pumps are next to you. Just take it slow so you can stop quickly. Also have a co-pilot to help you with what is happening on your right side.

My wife drove the 29 footer for about an hour and has NOT been in the driver's seat since...
Tom and Katharine
'07 Winnebago Tour 40TD, 400hp Cummins
RVing for 19 years & 150,000+ miles
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:11 PM   #10
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Stary in your lane!

The first mistake a new coach driver usually makes, like I did and dw still does, is to stay too far to the right. Stay right up against your left side lane marker, then check your right side mirror - you'll find you can see the right side lane marker! Imagine that!

One long haul driver said to get in the correct position in your lane, then put your left foot on the floor exactly where you think your toe would point directly to the lane marker, as if you had a window in the floor. It's a simple mental exercise, and it works.

The inclination is to feel like the oncoming traffic is going to come too close. Hold your ground, they will steer clear of you. Just remember that if you can't see the lane marker in your right side mirror, you'r probably going to hit the next car you come upon parked on the side of the road - not a good thing to do? Try this: what if it's turns out to be a bicyclist? (Dw scared us both that way once.)

The fun part comes quickly and easily; don't worry, just go for it, and have a ball - along with the rest of us.
Ken & Carolee, 1994 36' Pace Arrow/Ford 7.5L, Mobil 1 full syn & Banks Pack. Towing a 1999 Saturn SL2 with Roadmaster Sterling All-Terrain & Brake Buddy.
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:45 PM   #11
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We had taken two vacations in 30' rentals, for a combined 7,000 miles. In addition, I've been driving rental trucks (U-Haul) for many years.

I was not prepared, however, for the vastly different feeling that our RV had because it is a Class A and not the Class Cs that we rented. I can remember test driving it and wondering what I was doing. The next time that I drove it was to bring it home about 2 weeks late - in the middle of January. Our first trip (toadless) was 250 miles - in light snow, sleet and freezing rain to the Texas hill country. The next morning, we had about 3 inches of snow covering everything.

Nearly 40K miles and 5 years later, I find that after I've driven it for a few miles, it is very familiar and comfortable. My backside still gets tight in heavy, especially gusty, crosswinds and in twisty, poorly paved "cattle chutes" through construction zones. As was suggested, I've practiced for many miles putting the driver's side of the RV right at the center line. That technique, making right hand turns and coming down steep grades (9%+) are the key driving situations that pose the greatest challenges to new Class A drivers, IMHO. We've been through heavy traffic in Atlanta and Denver and down twisty country roads through very rural NC. Each new situation presents its own unique requirements. Thus far, the only problem that I've had was scraping the bottom of a couple of compartment doors trying to cross a heavily crowned road sideways.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:28 AM   #12
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lane helpers ..

If you are having difficulty determining where the left side and right side of your coach will be as you go down the road ... make some "lane helpers"

I have used them on both my class A motorhomes ...

The first motorhome I cut a tennis ball in half ... I set these halves on dash immediately behind the windshield ... they are placed laterally so that when you sight over the marker you see the roadway exactly where the left and right side of your coarch will pass when you look in your rear view mirror ... this is easy to do in a big empty parking lot ... you will probably have to adjust them 3 or 4 times until you get them in the correct spot ...

I was mighty glad that I had made my lane helpers ... on my very first trip I came to a construction zone that had 9 1/2 foot lanes with concrete barriers on both sides (8 1/2 foot motorhome) ... I went VERY SLOWLY but I made it through without touching anything ...

The tennis ball halves do not work on this motorhome ... but I have devised lane helpers that I use when I get in tight situations .... I went through a construction zone yesterday where there was single lane traffic and the orange barrels had me squeezed to the left a long ways ... I used my lane helpers to get me over far enough to miss the barrels
2004 Winnebago Journey 39W - 2012 Buick Enclave
Present @home Home: Oshkosh, WI
We call our rig "Ernie the Journey"

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Old 07-14-2009, 07:54 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by chasfm11 View Post
........ My backside still gets tight in .....twisty, poorly paved "cattle chutes" through construction zones.
While I am not a "vengeful" person, I hope that there is a...

"SPECIAL PURGATORY" for the folks that design these torture devices..

In my vision of that purgatory, They are...
  • In a 9 foot wide class A with a 10 hp normally aspirated diesel with worn brakes and sloppy steering, dragging a fully loaded Ford expidition as a TOAD
  • Trapped in a 10 ft wide center lane of a wickedly curving steeply graded construction zone
  • Being passed at 60 mph on BOTH sides by a never ending parade of triple trailer semi's punctuated by school busses full of children
  • Continually being "told" by the DW or DH "LOOK OUT", "You almost hit that Bus", or "Oh Lord have Mercy, WHY did I let you buy this thing?" "or (my personal favorite) This is the LAST trip we take in this G*****N RV!"

Serves the bastiches right I say....
Michael (Home base Northern CO)
USED TO HAVE; 03 Alpine 40MDTS Now RVless
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Old 07-15-2009, 06:42 PM   #14
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Faye, I bought my first motorhome two years ago. A 1991 Elite 33' class A. I had to drive it home from up in the mountains about a hour east of here. My knuckles have never been so white. Going downhill in something that weighs that much with 18 wheelers passing you and cars cutting in in front of you. I was scared as hell! Even now it takes me about 1/2 an hour to get comfortable driving it. Actually I think this is a good thing. It keeps my guard up and keeps me alert. The two things I would tell you are the same as some of the others have stated. It takes longer to stop it than you might think and never do anything too quickly. (like change lanes, try to correct, etc.) Traffic is less frightening to me now but I am not ashamed to say that wind scares the hell out of me. Take your time and stay alert because when you get there it is so worth it!


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