A drive on the wild side - not...

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Where I stayed
Lazy Days

Flag of United States  , Florida
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

OK, so we stay in Florida for just one more day. This one is very important though - Betsy gets to drive a motorhome!!! Notice I said a motorhome not our motorhome, LazyDays offer a driving course, so while we are here it would be rude not to take it. I signed up too. 9am saw us in for the classroom session. I learned that a lot of the things I was "just doing" were the actual things to consider doing, when driving a large vehicle, (now that's comforting) however I got some facts and figures to go with those thoughts.* Like, how far in front of the motorhome is the closest thing you can see on the ground? Well it's probably in the region of 15-17 feet. When do you start turning the steering wheel to make sure the back wheels clear a corner? Depends on your "tyre cut" (mine's 45 degrees) - the angle your front wheels turn to, so I should start the turn when my knees are level with the corner, 50 degrees and you can wait for your hips to get there. Strange to be taught it and then realize you do do that don't you? Nice tips on mirror setting and putting a measurement on how far back you see in the rear monitor. Hints on putting little self adhesive dots on mirrors and windscreen for things like that point in front so you can make a good line round a bend without wandering over into the other lane, where the back wheels are in your mirror so as to know when you are clear on a stationary object. OK so when you have driven a few thousand miles these things just happen but I found it helpful to put the numbers together. A nice set of figures for reversing into a site too, I now have a number of red dots in various places around Bree. I am sure all this made sense to Betsy too as we set off for our "free lunch". I know, I hear you all say, "There's no such thing as a f....." but we gave you all those figures last time :)
After lunch we were to meet in the motorhome parked outside the rec. hall ready for the practical. This wasn't some beat up old bus that no one would miss if a few old dodderers beat it up a little. This was a brand new 40' diesel $250,000 worth! Barney, who gave our classroom session also took the practical, he gave the reverse parking demo (ok - so we weren't all let loose to do this bit ourselves, maybe they did want it all back in one piece after all). We did however, all get a drive around the campsite, a route that took in left and right hand turns, stops, pulling out from a parking space etc. and yes Betsy DID IT TOO. There was a smile on her face, she even said she enjoyed it. There was no fear of me shouting at her (not with 8 witnesses in there!) After about the 5th person to drive, one lady came running down from her site to see us, we opened the window as she asked, "are you looking for a site? Can I help?" Bless her, she even had the campsite map ready in her hand to put us on the right track. When we told her it was the driving course I think she felt a bit embarrassed but you know, word must have got round - it's strange how many of the cars that were parked sticking out into the roadways from their campsites were now either  pulled in or re-parked somewhere else :)
Not only have I got proof of Betsy's drive in pictures, she can now show off her certificate of confidence.
In the morning, before hooking up Scoobie and setting off, Betsy drove Bree over the same course (after putting those red dots on - so it's all set up for her driving now...). You know, she told me she enjoyed that too and thought it was already easier than her last drive. Bet she'll feel fine after taking over the next thousand or so miles back up to NH :)
Well I'll keep the red dots on just in case.

* Malc has always been keen on the technical side, I can remember hundreds of years ago when he was trying to teach me to drive, of course I had to 'understand' the workings of the internal combustion engine before I could be allowed behind the wheel!!
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