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Old 04-15-2017, 07:03 PM   #43
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The Intimidation of the Drive

Great Post. Bought my first MH last year. I loved the amenities in the 36 ft. class A. I always like the look of a class C, but the view from the front of the class A was priceless. I could see how tall I was. I remember driving a u-haul with the over head and during our first big move. Did great until I pulled up to new place on a tree line street. Yup, as I was stopping, a big low hanging branch moved lower on it own just in time to make a thud and assist in stopping me. Thank God no damage, but I was always nervous with the unseen overhang.
In the my RV I make sure that I always have a good stopping distance, they drive great, but don't like to stop once you get those gasses rolling!
I did find that the defroster vents are perfectly lined up so that I can use them as guides to line up the yellow and white lines. Have yet to take long distance trip, but have a few planned this year.
To all, take it slow get their safe and drive ahead of yourself. Stay safe.
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Old 04-15-2017, 07:42 PM   #44
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When we bought our motor home, I had just retired from the fire department. I was used to driving fire engines in confining roads and alleys. One thing that made me nervous at first was how soft the ride is with the air bag suspension on the motor home. The fire engine rode like a truck! The things I learned when I went to school to be certified to drive the engine apply to the motor home. Things like get your hips past the center line before starting your left turn, then crank the wheel. We determined how far the tail end would swing out if you started your turn from a stop. That helped to know how far to be from an obstruction when you start to turn away from it so you would not clip it. Helpful when approaching a fuel pump.

Another thing was to find a comfortable positing in the lane and put a mark on the windshield that aligns with the white line. After a while you won't need it, but it sure helped the newbies to keep off the Botts' Dots marking the lane.
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Old 04-15-2017, 08:12 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
Even many experienced drivers could convert a chunk of coal to a diamond by squeezing their seat cheeks so hard!
This is the main reason I carry a crow bar next to the driver's seat. Need something to break the suction between myself and the driver's seat.

Our salesman was slick, we test drove the RV on a wide open interstate 4 and some of the back roads around Plant City. Smooth riding and no driver's jitters. The first time we took it out, it was 20+ miles of construction on I75 from Tampa with concrete barriers, narrow lanes, uneven road surfaces and tractor trailers 6 inches from my driver's side mirror. White knuckles and tune vision at its best.There are also a lot of driver's at stop lights with stained underwear from when ever I make those left and right turns
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Old 04-15-2017, 08:52 PM   #46
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My hands stopped sweating at about mile 1200. The drive home from the dealer was 450 miles. At least 425 was interstate.
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Old 04-16-2017, 01:42 AM   #47
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Have experienced all of the prior mentioned episodes including the third dimension (vertical clearance). The most exciting is driving highway one down the Baja peninsula with mostly twelve foot roadways and no shoulder and meeting the many 18 wheeler coming at you at 70mph. Many mirrors torn off on this road. Clearance of only a few inches with over a hundred mph closing rate. Most victims discribe hearing a loud explosion and their mirror is gone. Either party ever stops to exchange insurance info.
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Old 04-16-2017, 02:43 AM   #48
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Now ask my wife about driving 550 north out of Durango how that passenger seat view is
First to the OP, GREAT post and well written. I could "FEEL" your pain and I felt like I was in the drivers seat with you.

To JohnBoyToo: OK I will ask her. After I read this challenge I looked up Hwy 550 and wholly mackerel this looks scary. I'm posting 2 of the pics I found but one in particular really makes me wonder...the tunnel...

Did you go through this tunnel?

It says 13.9' clearance. Yeah at the center—HELLO—but what about the sides? If I came up to this tunnel I think I'd have to stop and contemplate whether or not I could make it or not. But then again, what choice would I have? Couldn't turn around on 550 or maybe I could in that little area on the left. Anyway, wait till there's no traffic either way, straddle the center line and.........Oh boy......here we go!
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Old 04-16-2017, 03:38 AM   #49
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The tunnel would be no problem. But the no guard rail road, forget it. Picture reminds me back in the fifties on the cabot trail in Nova Scotia, that had no guard rail on a gravel road.
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Old 04-16-2017, 04:11 AM   #50
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Money well spent - the training & confidence gained from it is priceless.

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Old 04-16-2017, 06:56 AM   #51
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Great thread. I bought a 37 ft Winnebago last year and my first real drive included US75 Central Expressway in Dallas...4-5 narrow lanes. At least it wasn't in rush hour traffic.
On a later day, after buying a house, I right turned over a curb that completely bent the exhause pipes.
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Old 04-16-2017, 09:22 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by marjoa View Post
First to the OP, GREAT post and well written. I could "FEEL" your pain and I felt like I was in the drivers seat with you.

To JohnBoyToo: OK I will ask her. After I read this challenge I looked up Hwy 550 and wholly mackerel this looks scary. I'm posting 2 of the pics I found but one in particular really makes me wonder...the tunnel...

Did you go through this tunnel?

It says 13.9' clearance. Yeah at the center—HELLO—but what about the sides? If I came up to this tunnel I think I'd have to stop and contemplate whether or not I could make it or not. But then again, what choice would I have? Couldn't turn around on 550 or maybe I could in that little area on the left. Anyway, wait till there's no traffic either way, straddle the center line and.........Oh boy......here we go!
If the tunnel height was determined according to the highway standards the measurement should be at the shoulder line. No guarantee of that however.
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Old 04-17-2017, 10:12 AM   #53
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I always remind myself that everybody behind the wheel of an RV had a "first time" ... and that the roadway isn't littered with busted and broken RVs for all those "first timers".

Like pretty much everybody else - I showed up for my "first time" behind the wheel with years of driving experience - some portion of it was driving "larg-er" vehicles (U-Hauls, "a short bus", straight trucks while in the service, etc.) But, no question the 44 foot long DP was the biggest thing I had ever driven - and was my first experience with air brakes. Like most folks - I watched every "how to drive your RV" video I could find.

Our sales guy took us for our first spin - and pulled into a local "mega church" not far from the dealership early on a Friday evening. He stopped the coach - exited the driver's seat and said "Your turn". Sat down, made a couple of adjustments to the seat and mirrors ... released the parking brake and put it into gear. I rolled up to about 20 MPH to get my first taste of stopping. My perception that air brakes would be more sensitive than the power hydraulic brakes I'm used to went out the window with that first stop. I quickly realized that you need to put a "a little leg" into stopping the beast. A couple of stops and I had a feel for that. Next was getting the feel for a few turns. A couple of lefts and a couple of rights ... and I was OK. I spent a total of 10-15 minutes cruising the church lot and felt comfortable enough to drive us back to the dealership. We spent that night on the dealership lot - and drove it the 170 miles back home the next morning without incident.

In the month that followed - we spent most Sunday evenings pulling the coach out of the storage lot - and heading up to the nearby mall parking lot where I practiced backing the coach as well as refining my turning. My DW also got behind the wheel - and got her first taste of driving the beast.

Early on - I whispered "you've got this" to myself on a few occasions. Now ... two years and 20,000 accident free miles later - I can say that I'm usually pretty comfortable behind the wheel. Negotiating construction zones - especially those with "lane jogs" - can tighten my grip on the wheel a bit - doubly so if we happen to find ourselves negotiating a "lane jog" while side by side with a semi tractor trailer. I've come to learn that nothing will help reduce the nerves in tight situations between than simply slowing down - and don't hesitate to do exactly that.

I find I need a couple of "easy miles" behind the wheel when driving the coach for the first time after a little break - before I'm back to feeling comfortable. But, once I've rolled for a couple of minutes, made a couple of turns, gotten the "feel" of the brakes - I'm good.
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