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Old 08-22-2012, 03:49 PM   #1
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Picking up and driving new-to-us 2009 Anthem

Hi, Friends. Patience has paid off, and we will soon be the happy owners of a 2009 Entegra Anthem. I'm thinking the excitement will evaporate when we get all the paperwork completed and realize we have to drive it from Michigan to Texas. Neither of us have driven anything larger than a pick-up truck...are we crazy? We'll definitely spend some time practicing in a large parking lot, and plan to stick to highways for the trip home. We're going to stay in a hotel the one night we're traveling, so we won't have that to stress about.

Do you have any suggestions for us? The owner will go over the "how-to's" with us before we leave, but since you all appear to have more experience than he does, I would appreciate any tips you can offer.

Thank you!
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:06 PM   #2
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Marty and Cindy

Congratulations on your new baby!! We all will be excited to hear about your venture home. My one big concern is that you might not realize this big coach doesn't drive like a pickup truck. Most coach owner's drive between 60 and 65 mph and less than 400 miles a day. You really need to take it slow and get used to driving a big coach. My suggestion would be to break the trip up into shorter days and enjoy the trip home.

Since you've never driven one before check out the driving confidence videos at RV Driver Confidence Course: Part 1 - Better RVing

Once you get home, contact the RV Driving School for excellent hands on training. RV School Home Page

They have instructors in Texas.
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:09 PM   #3
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Thank you, Tom. Marty and I both realize we're not driving a truck, and while I'm the slower driver, he promises to keep it slow. Appreciate the driving links.
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:34 PM   #4
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I remember the first time I drove a class A in 2001 at an RV dealership. I was quite the white-knuckle driver. I've always been a very "aware" driver regarding my surroundings and using the mirrors. Once I learned how to apply my auto driving approach to class A driving I was fine. Placement in your lane, learing to use the mirrors properly, and watching your tail on turns are a few of the things you'll need to adjust to. After 11 years I still have the occasional "go over a curb on a right turn" event. It's embarrassing, but I think we all do it now and then. After awhile you'll find the drive to be very relaxing and enjoyable. Be prepared for rough road patches which will sometimes make it feel like you're driving a tank! However, most reasonable road surfaces will give you a silky smooth ride.

Above all, relax and have fun!

Stuart
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:35 PM   #5
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Congrats, guys! I second that recommendation...slow and not too many miles in a day. We just got back to Dallas after a 4500 mile, 3 month trip and the most we did in a day was less than 300....usually about 150! And keep those speeds down! I never go over 60, mainly to keep the fuel mileage up and...it's a lot safer. Just let the rest of those speedsters go around you-then YOU don't have to pass them, which provides the most "pucker factor" when driving one of these. The trickiest part will be learning to center the rig within the lane markers, then keep a good interval behind the guy in front.
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:45 PM   #6
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Congrats, guys! I second that recommendation...slow and not too many miles in a day. We just got back to Dallas after a 4500 mile, 3 month trip and the most we did in a day was less than 300....usually about 150! And keep those speeds down! I never go over 60, mainly to keep the fuel mileage up and...it's a lot safer. Just let the rest of those speedsters go around you-then YOU don't have to pass them, which provides the most "pucker factor" when driving one of these. The trickiest part will be learning to center the rig within the lane markers, then keep a good interval behind the guy in front.
I second these ideas! My mileage heading down to Florida recently approached 9.5 while pulling my daughter's car on a dolly. My average speed was 58-60. Coming back without pulling a car, I sped up to 65 due to time constraints and saw my mileage drop closer to 8.7... It adds up. And yes, driving slower does feel safer. You're a large piece of equipment that is not anywhere near as agile as a car. Braking distances can be deceptive. Also make sure your toad has a supplemental braking system. We installed the SMI Air Force One and love it. It makes a noticeable difference in braking distances and feeling secure.

I WISH I could drive no more than 150-300 miles per day, but until I have more free time I'm stuck having to go as far as 600-700 miles per day . It wears me out, but fortunately the driving is so much fun that I don't really care that much. For you at an early stage I would never drive that far in a day. In our early class A years we limited our drives to 6 hours each day maximum.
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:46 PM   #7
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Thanks for your feedback, Stuart & Slabman. I'm halfway through the first chapter of the RV Driver Confidence Course, and it's been great! Learning how to use the mirrors, mark distances and use a point of reference for turns is great - right hand turns have been my regular nightmares for the past many weeks. Can't wait to learn more!

Thanks, again!
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:48 PM   #8
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Stuart, I've read the daily mileage info before - not planning to drive that far in one day, so if we have to spend more than 1 night on the road, that's what we'll do. In addition, the price of fuel is giving Marty nightmares, so I know he's planning to keep his speed no greater than 60.
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:51 PM   #9
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Thanks for your feedback, Stuart & Slabman. I'm halfway through the first chapter of the RV Driver Confidence Course, and it's been great! Learning how to use the mirrors, mark distances and use a point of reference for turns is great - right hand turns have been my regular nightmares for the past many weeks. Can't wait to learn more!

Thanks, again!
There are lots of wonderful people on here who will help guide you through. This is a great community that is helpful without all the nonsense often seen on other RV forum sites.

Everyone here will be glad to offer advice and support. You'll look back at these early drives and wonder how you ever thought it was difficult!
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:54 PM   #10
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Stuart, I've read the daily mileage info before - not planning to drive that far in one day, so if we have to spend more than 1 night on the road, that's what we'll do. In addition, the price of fuel is giving Marty nightmares, so I know he's planning to keep his speed no greater than 60.
I've discovered the best places to buy diesel these days are not the truckstops. Pilot, TA, Loves, and Flying J are really gouging these days... I was able to buy diesel anywhere from 15-30 cents cheaper by driving a mile or so away from freeway interchanges! If you have a smartphone, load up the gas buddy app! It's saved us $10+ per fill-up!
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:57 PM   #11
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Congrats on the new coach ! Remember its OK to go really slow around corners when pulling out from a stop sign. You have to drive it like a BUS, that means ,you have to remember your sitting pretty well out front so dont cut corners, use all of the road before you make the turn and go slow.
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Old 08-22-2012, 05:12 PM   #12
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Got the Gas Buddy app...love using it here at home!

I've found this forum to be invaluable, and the members are so very nice. We hope to make it to one of the Texas rally's before we leave the area. But, we'll be through here plenty of times, so we'll keep checking schedules as we travel.
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Old 08-22-2012, 06:19 PM   #13
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Remember to swing wiiiide around corners. Travel the interstate mostly for a while. Plan on looking for a place to stop every 300 miles and arrive way before it gets dark(just in case), besides itís all about a slower lifestyle. That means plan where you are going to stop, perhaps before you even start and get a reservation, just for a while. Truck stops need money or credit card before you pump and they have a master and slave pumps. Master is on the driverís side and is the one you have to get to work first, then the pass. side. Other than that have fun!! And congrats!!
Gary
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:40 PM   #14
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Just to give you a basis for comparison, we are in WI right now and returning to TX soon. It will take us at least three days - and that's a push for us. We can have a much more comfortable trip if we take four days. Check out becoming life members of Good Sam...life membership entitles you to apply for an RV Plus card - which drops the price on Pilot/Flying J pumps by .08/gallon. And get yourself a copy of RV'ers Friend and Next Exit. There are apps for both (we use iExit) but I really prefer the paper copy to get a better (and less confusing) look at what is available. Geico sponsers a good road Atlas that shows every Good Sam campground and, of course, Passport America and KOA put out their own books. We have others, but I find myself turning to these most often. Each state's web site will have info on whether or not you can overnight in their rest area - it's noisy but it's free (more $$ for gas). And a lot of the bigger casinos have very nice campgrounds - OK has quite a few. Don't want to sound like a commercial but these have helped us a lot. And, one final word of warning, if you are planning on staying in a hotel....please be very, very careful what type of parking lot you are entering. Not every hotel has enough room or height to handle what you will be driving.....backing out of a narrow driveway or paying to repair your coach and a hotel canopy would not be a fun experience.

We visited Lazy Days and completed their "Driver Confidence" course. It was great! I'd highly recommend them if you are ever going to be in their area. Unfortunately, neither of their locations is in TX - but it might make a good excuse for a trip. Our class had everyone from rank beginners (like we were when we moved up from our little Class B+ to our first big Class A) to very experienced drivers - and we all learned from the experience.

Best of luck - and welcome to the family!
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