Sunday, November 14, 2010

School is Cool!


Jeff and I returned from our stay at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir in time to stake out a spot in the Foretravel parking lot. We knew it was going to be filling up fast, because the Ladies' Driving School was due to begin on Novenber 9th. I was pretty excited ... I wanted to be able to feel more confident driving this larger coach. Yikes!

There were 2 days of classroom instruction ... films and powerpoint images ... lots of discussion, question & answer AND 2 coach walk-arounds with some of the Foretravel guys who know how all the systems work. We learned a LOT!

THEN, on day three, we divided into groups of 5 and got behind the wheel of coaches supplied by 2 of the instructors and Foretravel. They let a bunch of women ... some of whom had never even planted their butts in the driver's seat ... get behind the wheel of machines that collectively were worth a minimum of a MILLION dollars. No joke.

So, here is L.D. Chatworth ... my On-The-Road instructor. He has worked at Foretravel for something like 38 years. VERY calm guy. Nothing rattles him, and that was just what most of the ladies needed. He was our guide as we took turns driving the obstacle course that the folks at Foretravel had set up at various spots on the Factory grounds ... to help us get used to where the 4 corners of the coach are located as we snuggled up to various cones, back up for several coach lengths, back into a standard campground spot (using the proper hand signals from a spotter) and navigating a slalom course. THAT was hard! You don't get a lot of room to swing a 45' coach back and forth to get around cones ... AND not crush anything with the tandem back wheels! But I made it. We all did! No cones were killed in the completion of the course.

So, here is the monster that my group drove. HUGE! The following day we went out on the road around Nacogdoches. L.D. took us all around the city. There is a "Loop" around Nacogdoches ... takes about 40 minutes to complete the whole route. We made right turns, left turns, went over railroad tracks, through school zones ... you name it. I have a great deal more confidence now, and I KNOW that the women who had never even turned the ignition key were totally inspired by their experience.

We met a number of new friends at school and while we were "camped" in the parking lot.
Here are Maudie, Joan and Janice. We are riding down the road with Joan behind the wheel. Not a bad place to hang out while you are waiting to take the wheel of a 26 ton machine!
Here is sweet Peggy from Georgia. she and her husband have just "upgraded" from a big 5th wheel pulled by a Freightliner truck to a 40' motor home just like ours. She has never driven anything bigger than a minivan until today! She is scared witless!Peggy does just fine, and can now relax and take painkillers for her tension migraine! We were all glad to finally get this part over with. There was a very creditable banquet that evening and we all now have certificates that attest to the fact that we passed the course.

Jeff is not convinced, however. He needs a course that teaches him to be a better passenger!

We are heading for San Antonio and a joint military Recreation Area ... Fort Sam Houston campground on Canyon Lake. Can't wait to settle in and relax for a while!

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