Wednesday, December 23, 2015

12/23 Driving Miss Daisy - Part 1

Well, actually, I have never given my motorhome a name, although I do occasionally refer to it as the “Beast” because it is so big. Just thought this title was clever.

Before I bought my motorhome, I had never driven anything bigger than a van.  When I went RV shopping, I was amazed at how big these things are, especially when they are indoors in a showroom.  You look up at it and cannot imagine a small being such as you getting behind the wheel and driving it out.  I did take a couple of test drives, but had no real lessons or instruction, other than watching some videos on my computer

Also, when I started out, I was looking at maybe 24 footers.  Then I realized that almost all of those either did not have a permanent bed or would not sleep grandkids or guests, so I started looking at 28 footers.  But most of those had corner beds way in the back, which would mean crawling over it to try to make it every day, or just leaving it looking messy.  I decided that my poor old knees could not handle that, especially since my orthopedic surgeon told me when he replaced my right knee that the kneecap was very thin and not to kneel on it. 

So, I figured what the heck, and went full speed ahead with the biggest Class C they make—32’ long and 12’ high!  Wow!  What had I gotten myself into?  My younger son had to drop me off at the dealer to pick it up and that meant a 75 mile drive back to his house and the storage lot where it would stay until my condo got sold and the weather warmed up.  I think he was a lot more scared following than I was, but we both made it home safely that day.  Since then, I have driven over 71,000 miles, so I am really an expert by now.

I think a lot of people buy a smaller motorhome than they might otherwise because they are concerned about the size making it harder to drive.  The truth is that while big RVs are hard to drive in some ways, they are easy in other ways.  One really easy thing is how well you can see over other vehicles.  I am short, 5’1”, which means I cannot see out of any vehicle well. In a car, I always feel as if I am sitting on the pavement and looking up at everyone else. However, I climb up into the cab of my motorhome, using the substantial running board, and then take another step up into the driver’s seat.  I feel like I am on top of the world!   

Now, I do have to use a booster seat because my driver’s seat is very cheap and is not at all adjustable. It took me a while to get the right setup.  At first, I bought one of those trucker’s gel seats, but it cut into the back of my legs and reduced blood circulation, making them ache or even get numb.  So I tossed that expensive item and ended up with a wedge-shaped foam cushion from JoAnn Fabrics that was thicker in the back and thinner at the front.  I had to cut it down to size and pinned a pillow case over it.  What I really would like is one of those fancy power seats that bus drivers have.  Short of that, I may try to get someone to remove the entire seat and put a 2” thick platform of some sort.

My booster seat, and the high cab, let sme see over everything except another motorhome and a commercial truck.  Love it!! 

In fact, I have gotten so used to driving my motorhome that I find it strange to drive a car these days.  And the length does not really matter once you get used to it.  All you have to do is drive the cab and the rest follows, assuming of course that you keep your vehicle in between those white lines on the highway!  And once you get into the mindset that you are driving a big truck, you just get in line behind the big truckers and follow them at about 60-65 MPH.  (Very few motorhomers really drive faster than this.)

More in a couple of days about steering, trying not to hit curbs, and other driving techniques, such as never getting into any place you cannot get out of! 



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