When Keith and I first purchased “The Golden Snail”, I thought I would NEVER be able to drive it! However, I am not one to shy away from a challenge. In fact, I love proving to people that I can do just as much as any one. It’s especially gratifying to conquer tasks that “men” are only supposed to be able to achieve.
It took me a while to muster the necessary nerve for that first drive. I chose the cautious approach. I carefully observed Keith as he drove the “brick” making a mental note on how the rig maneuvered on the road.
I am a huge observer, and observation helps me learn best. I waited two months before I drove the coach. Where did I go on that momentous maiden trip? We were camping in Bald Ridge Creek Campground in Cumming, GA at the time.
Keith had spent a considerable time talking to me about what the best approach would be based on his experience. I actually really listened. This is unusual for me, as I typically think, “I’ve got this!” on EVERYTHING, and I do not want anyone else telling me how to do something ever, In fact, I pretty much “beat to my own drummer” all the time and rarely follow the leader or chose the same path others have chosen. I am not sure that is always good, but I knew better on that special day.
I think I intently listened because of these few critical facts. One, our motorhome weighs over 29,500 lbs. She is a strapping 40 feet long and eight feet wide.
Her tires are almost Champlin’s size, and the driver cannot see in a rear view mirror, although, our RV is equipped with a teeny, tiny black and white rear camera which is almost worthless. Lastly, “The Golden Snail” comes stocked with a 330 Caterpillar engine (for those who do not know, this is a big, loud diesel engine like a semi has).
When I got behind the wheel on that momentous day, I remember feeling completely insignificant and I just kept saying to myself….”You can do this…You’ve got this…and I am accident free.” I know you are dying to know where I went on that “oh so, special day.” Well, here goes, I drove our rig from site 15 at Bald Ridge Creek Campground to the campground dump station. I am pretty sure you are all awe struck at this very moment…NOT! But for me, that step was huge. I eased our motorhome out onto the campground road and watched my mirrors carefully while I hung on every word that Keith gave me so I would avoid children, bikes, cars, overhead trees, or ANY sudden movement around that would lead me to a screeching halt. I did not even drive a mile round trip, but I felt completely liberated as I watched all the old men in the campground look at me in this huge piece of machinery. Some would gawk; others would smile, but mostly I think they all thought, “What is that woman doing behind the wheel!” I am sure they were just waiting for the impending crash they were soon to witness. Of course, for me, this only fueled my fire of incessant independence. I loved every moment of it!
I could not wait to drive more, but I cautiously baby- stepped into the task. Initially, I drove the coach with Keith. Then, I began to drive it alone! Champlin had zero confidence in me. On my first trip driving without a chaperone, he rode next to me and said as I left the campsite. “Are you sure you can do this Mommy?” Luckily, doubts from others never get me down. I become even more determined!
Keith, Champlin and I spent about 2 ½ months at Bald Ridge. There was a break during the month of September when our family stayed in a studio apartment while Keith finished his project in downtown Atlanta. Keith thought he would have the project completed on September 23rd, and we brought the RV back to Bald Ridge based on his assessment. As with all construction projects, there were some last minute changes and delays. Unfortunately, Champlin and I left Keith in Atlanta and headed back to beautiful Bald Ridge. We had to make reservations at several different campsites because Keith’s delays were ongoing and campsite availability was extremely limited.
Keith was an hour away, and he continued to work incredibly long hours. It became apparent that he would not be able to meet me and move the rig to any other campsite. The Golden Snail needed to be dumped of its’ water waste every few days as this was not a full hookup campground, and we needed to move our girl because we had reservations at two other campsites. At that point, I felt I could move our coach as Keith had been working with me on driving, backing up, and becoming more comfortable with the coach. I told Keith I can move the RV, and to my surprise, he said yes immediately. There was no convincing or argument of any sort! I felt empowered but there was a hint of “what the h$#! are you thinking crazy lady!” Thankfully, that was a temporary. I had a few days to prep mentally, and each day I just kept saying, “You can do this!”. I think I said it a million times at least.
Stayed tuned for more…there is so MUCH more to this story!