Monday, January 31, 2011

The first drive in the Tiffin…

100_4140So I inserted the key and turned on the ignition and rev’ed her up (I am pretty sure it is a she). Merikay asked if I test drove her before and the answer is no I didn’t but we did start her up and check her out pretty thoroughly. Since she has a 5 speed Allison I pushed the D button and gave her a bit of diesel and off we went… and first obstacle was  a large low hanging tree near the exit. Easily circumvented it was down the narrow road to my first ever right turn.

I let the front end go a lot further than I did in my old truck to turn right and I had a successful first right turn… one more and we were on the state highway a short bit till we got to the restaurant where we were going to eat lunch.  After hearing my driving looked pretty good for a rookie from my partner I had a great chicken fried steak and then it was time to get on down the road.

100_4141So we are driving and I am seemingly staying between the lines and noticing how ever so close the guard rails seem to get on the right side of the road (never noticed it before – wonder why?). So we drive on through Johnson City (a bit scary), on through Dripping Springs (a bit scary) and then we started approaching Oak Hill near Austin where the traffic started to become quite congested.  I was feeling pretty comfortable when we got here so I stayed in the middle lane of the three lane road (thinking I was big and they would steer around me). And then it happened…

An approaching light was turning yellow and I had to decide if I was going to stop or go for it.  I decided I needed to feel the motorhome stop on short notice so I hit the breaks firmly. Stopped at the light 100_4139and when I did the passenger side curtain (which was apparently not secured) slid forward completely blocking off my right side mirror and part of the right side of the windshield. Traffic started moving and I thought “CRAP” so I stayed in the middle lane and hoped the next light turned red… it did and I hopped out of my seat and secured the curtain. Whew!!!

Driving though the congested south side of Austin with somewhat white knuckles I made it to Bastrop where my partner pulled into a convenience store for a potty break.  When I got to the entrance I scouted the place out and saw where I could pull out easily on the other side but when I looked up at the entrance there were three cars lined up to leave and I had to turn right into that entrance and hopefully miss them and the ditch on the right side of the entrance. Several YIKES later I was parked and talked with my buddy who said I was doing great.

100_4137With my confidence growing the last seventy miles would be a breeze right? Wrong! Sixty nine of those miles were easy but then I had to park the rig in my neighborhood alongside the curb in a cul de sac – YIKES!!! But with my wife assisting me getting close to the curb I was able to get her home after 3.5 hours of tense driving… I am now an experienced class A RV driver!

… now I have to get her turned around in a few days at the end of our cul de sac.. YIKES!


  1. I know how you felt,the first night I drove a 18 wheeler I hit rain,fog and snow It was a lone night.I did it for 28 more years.

  2. I feel like I'm driving with you. YIKES! Actually that all sounded like it went very well. Craig has a real horror story about the first few miles of driving a stick shift diesel camper, on the wrong side of the narrow roads, at night, thru traffic, after 20 hours on an airplane, in New Zealand! (It was a rental.)

    Are you tempted to just go sit in it? I would be. Is your wife planning the kitchen organization?

    What a wonderful time.

  3. Before we bought our MH, I took it for a test drive. The salesman told me to turn right onto a road that would loop us back to the dealership. He swears he didn't know that they were doing construction and had it narrowed down to one lane. I didn't hit any cones or workers. :)

  4. You did a fabulous job. You will get better and better. The first time I pulled the fiver, I didn't sleep the whole night before. Now i don't even think about it. Way to go!!!!

  5. Sounds like you did just fine. You didn't ask for advice, but here are three valuable MH driving tips that were shared with us and have proven themselves again and again.

    1. When turning, pull straight ahead until your hip bone is lined up with where you want to turn. (It feels like you're going waaaaaay out there, but it saves you from clipping the corner.)

    2. Watch the yellow center line and that white line on the right side will take care of itself. (A salesman told me to "sit on the center line". When it feels like I am, I still have plenty of room.)

    3. Remember you're long. So, watch your mirrors. (That's a mantra we repeat to each other every time we get behind the wheel!)

    Good luck!!!!

  6. Woohoo! Good for you...we're living vicariously through you, ya know..

  7. Congrats on your maiden voyage. I have been that route, having lived in Cedar Park. I swear when we got our 5er all the highway railings had been moved inward a foot or two! You're doing fine. Keep it up!

  8. You are my hero! I hope I do as well when I buy mine - but I'll have a Class C - shorter the better! :)

  9. And there's part two! I was holding my breath through parts of that. Here's to thousands of miles of smooth sailing.

  10. Yikes!!!! This was very exciting, I was holding my breath even though I knew it had a happy ending. Well done on all counts!! She looks like a beauty...I'm ready for the indoor tour!


  11. What a ride, but, hey duke, you did it! Few more rides, you will not only be an experienced Class-A driver but a pro! :)

  12. We've all been there and most of us are still here to talk about it! Congratulations on surviving your first drive, navigating through a city with no co-pilot! You are brave!! Your new rig looks beautiful and very well cared for. I look forward to reading more about your upcoming adventures.