Saturday, March 12, 2011

Driving Lessons for an RV- A Great Thing!

We had been advised by the seller that RV lessons would be a great boon to us, saving us untold anxiety and countless mistakes, so we signed up and really had a great time.  Disclaimer: we're still pretty good at making mistakes anyway, but now have the benefit of knowing exactly who will be licensed to tell us "I told you so!"  There are just so many things to deal with.

Dick Reed's RV School (rvschool@wizwire.com) was recommended and we not only gained great confidence, we had a great time.  A truism of the RV life is that you meet the most wonderful people, and so far that's held quite true.  Jerry Caldera, a former truck driver, is on the staff of the RV School, and got this assignment as we are in his vicinity.  Dennis Hill, current owner of the school, has trainers all over the United States.

We traveled to Yucca Valley in late January for the lessons.  It is COLD there at night, and one of the things that we hadn't mastered was how to turn on the heater.  Apparently I'm catching on to Joe's enthusiasm, which squashes all little frustration, as we just piled blankets on the bed and dealt with it.

The lessons were thorough, putting us through paces about when to start a turn and what to look out for.  The basics are just two things:  don't hurry things, and stay between the lane lines. Mostly.  Sometimes we were instructed to straddle a lane in order to make a wide turn in a tight spot.  Handy tips for how to manage all the details came streaming out, and I tried to make note of most, but overall I began to identify with those kids in the slow reading groups in my classrooms who tried and tried to understand, but slowly went a little cross-eyed.  Luckily for me, Joe was overwhelmed too, so I didn't feel so bad.

Besides the terrific instructor, two other people were memorable.  Jonathan Martin, the park manager, was not only incredibly helpful in getting all our connections hooked up, but he also had a little piece of moon rock; his mother had worked at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena and in one of the missions, some samples of the rock were contaminated by earth's atmosphere and were handed out as souvenirs to people who had worked on the mission.  He was so proud of this rock that he offered to let me stand on it; in the posted photo I stood next to it so you could see it.  That's him in the photo with Joe.




We also ran into a winter resident of the park who has an RV business: www.dreamcamper.com.  Deputy Boots, as his professional card described him, owns a 1923 Model T converted into an RV, and puts on a very entertaining combination of history and comedy for state fairs, conventions, etc. Go to his website at www.dreamcamper.com for more info.

The last picture is of our setting.  Though sunny, it was quite nippy those two days. It's so dry in the high desert that your lips chap almost immediately.  You can't see it but the town is in a forest of Joshua Trees, those very shaggy cactus plants.  Truly the old west.

22 comments:

  1. Hey Bonnie! This is SO fantastic! I grew up in Joshua Tree and graduated from Yucca Valley HS, so I KNOW how COLD it can be at night in January! Where did you camp in the desert? There are some REAL characters out there!! I'm related to at least half the population thru my ex Robert, whose brother's relatives are half of 29 Palms. Our old high school band has gotten back together after 40 some years and has been playing in Pioneer Town. We are going to New York in April and will visit the Yankees minor league park in Pennsylvania. Any chance you'll be close by??? The next best thing to doing this trip ourselves (and we have thought about RVing) is having a techie bud go on it and post a great blog! Congrats, and have great fun!!!! We'll be 'following' you!

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  2. Yay, Alexis! I loved the Joshua Tree area, and all the characters there. We did visit Pioneer Town, but it was really quiet that day.

    Your question about the schedule was good motivation to get the schedule published, so you can check for particular games in the Tour Schedule tab.

    Joe tells me that the team you'll visit is located in Moosic, PA, and he'll be there on June 21, so he'll miss you. I won't be there as I will have "jumped ship" in DC for that week to visit my very special online buddies- we've been writing daily for 20 years in a private conference and had many face-to-face gatherings. A benefit of the tour for me is the ability to meet up with friends!!

    But we're not all that far apart geographically, so we should just make plans sometime to get together. Glen Ivy, anyone??

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