Lee and a curious calico crisscross the country in a RV, living simply and sustainably.

I am a Turtle

Since getting the keys to my first hand-me-down car in my late teens, I have been a jackrabbit. Love to drive, especially by myself; and sometimes go too fast, especially around tight turns on winding roads. It’s been years since I’ve gotten a speeding ticket, thanks to cruise control. It keeps me in check.

Rose, my new Chevy Silverado loves to go fast, too. She has excellent pickup and handles as well as any vehicle I’ve owned. However, my RV driving instructor at the dealership has given me a new mantra “You are no longer a rabbit. You are now a turtle.” And jokingly “Once they see you’re a woman driving an RV, they’ll get out of your way.”

The morning he taught me how to hitch Gypsy up, set the brake controls and drive around an empty parking lot, I did okay. But then he had me pull out on an actual road, and eventually the interstate. Again, I did better than I’d expected, but still drove a bit fast for his liking. As we approached the campground and I had to back into my site for the first time, I said “I can’t. I’m a chicken.” Then “Nope, I’m a turtle!” “Atta girl” commended my driving sensei.

The next day after some service work was done, I drove Gypsy solo down the interstate and up into the mountains towards a campground near my town to “practice”. Once I left the 2 lane road, the GPS took me down a winding 1.5 lane road towards the riverfront campground. I did fine being a turtle and managing the blind curves, until I got to the river. And this 90 degree turn onto a bridge. With another car headed towards me and no room to pass on either side of the bridge. Shoot!

tight turn.JPG

My RV driving instructor’s voice reverberated in my head “There are only two rules. #1 Slow down. #2 Drive to the yellow line, then make sure you see the obstacle in your mirror before turning.” Fortunately, the other driver backed up on the bridge. I drove straight ahead until I saw the end of the bridge in my passenger side mirror, then made a sharp right turn. Right towards the other car. Sure enough, the car backed up as much as I needed it to. And I made a perfect pivot into my lane. The other driver turned out to be a woman my age, and we grinned and waved to one another as we passed. Phew!

I figure if I could handle that situation, I will grow to be an excellent RV driver. On my last trip up the winding river road, well past the bridge and into the blind curves, I spotted a small box turtle crossing the road. My totem!

In future GR&L blogs, I’ll share my research into RV’s, tips and tricks, travelogues, and anything else I think will be useful to full-time RVers, part-time wanderers, or vicarious wannabes. If you have comments or suggestions for a topic, please let me know.

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