Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Woman UP!

Hey Ladies, with a show of hands lets see how many of you drive your RV.  We’re talking about you towable owners too.  This is by far the most asked about topic of RV’ing that we get.  Who drives?  Do you both drive?  Sometimes we jokingly make reference to our chauffer we keep locked in the basement that we don’t let out until its time to pack up camp and move on.  But most of the time we answer honestly and say, “we both do” because we like to encourage non-drivers and instill a fleck of confidence that might get them behind the wheel.   

Betsy confidently behind the wheel
of our 40' motorhome.
For many years, we have been encouraging women to drive and overcome their fears.  In all honesty, we were very intimidated when we bought our first RV – a 40’ Class A motorhome.  The dealer we bought it from was nine hours away and to get home we went through rain, sleet, New Orleans rush hour traffic on I-10, and had to back down a long and winding driveway in the dark.  After that day, we knew we could do it. 

Recently, our RV buddies the Snowmads (Kristin and Jason) put out a great blog on women drivers.  They highlighted a bunch of female RV’ers,  a few of which are solo, and others that share the driving.  This diverse group of women pass along their tips and what path they took to confident driving; as well as, share some of their “whoops” moments to help you avoid pitfalls. 

Jason, Kristin, and their sweet dog pack.
Our biggest bit of advice (which you will find is a common theme among drivers in the article) is to TAKE IT SLOW!  There is no reason to rush.  And, if you are in a rush, you need better trip planning.  Give yourself time to react.  The interstate speed for us is 55-60 mph and we don’t mind when a rig goes zooming by at 80 mph. Here is some advice we live and drive by:
  • Switch off drivers and limit drive time.  The point that Jeanette makes in the article emphasizes that they limit their individual driving to two hours and then switch.  You may not feel tired or road weary but chances are good you are and not know it. 
  • Limit the daily drive distance.  We try and shoot for driving 200 miles in a day or less to get to our next destination.  For us, a day of driving 350 miles or more is a hefty amount and is something that we have done less than a handful of times in our five years of RV’ing. 
  • Drive between 10 and 3 pm.  This allows you to avoid morning and evening rush hour traffic, avoid being in a hurry to leave in the morning where you might forget to do something, and gets you to your campsite and set up well before dark (and in time for cocktail hour). 
  • Be a good passenger.  Robin mentions that her husband Jeremy trusts her judgment completely when she is behind the wheel which in turn gives her the confidence she needs to drive their fifth-wheel. 
  • Practice.  Another common theme is practice.  If you are not comfortable driving your RV, practice in an empty parking lot or on the open highway on a quiet Sunday morning.  Get the confidence you need before trying to tackle winding country roads with narrow shoulders, busy interstates in major cities, or navigating through towns.
One last thing.  Guys, don’t be the reason your partner is afraid to drive.  (You know what we are talking about!)  There may come a time when for some reason you can’t drive and she needs to. 

Hopefully, The Snowmads article will inspire you non-drivers to get behind the wheel.  Find a way that will boost your confidence and head in that direction.  We have all been new at this at some point and found ways to shake that feeling of terror when gripping the steering wheel.  If nothing else, you will have been introduced to some amazing women RV’ers whose blogs are full of fun and adventure. 

Time to Women UP and get behind that wheel!