Monday, April 7, 2014

Women Drivers

My husband is an excellent driver. He seems to drive our Winnie effortlessly, even through winding switchback roads, sheer cliffs to one side, or through tiny streets by the beach plagued with jay-walkers, bike riders and drivers unfamiliar with the area. It's so much fun to sit in the passenger seat with my camera out the window, wind blowing through my hair spotting dolphins or great camp sites, or cute beach cottages. I have every confidence in my husband's driving, and it's fun to sit carefree and footloose in my perch in the passenger seat.

It would be very easy to keep this arrangement going on a permanent basis. I know my guy loves to drive. It's not like he doesn't enjoy it. And he is (shhhh...don't tell him this) by far the more proficient driver. In high school, while all the rest of us had fast-food or grocery store jobs, he was driving a hotel shuttle and getting huge tips on a regular basis from very pleased customers. Even back then, he was amazing at darting through traffic safely and quickly. He even avoided several accidents (other drivers would have been at fault) by his quick-thinking and good reflexes. So you see, when he drives, I know we are in good hands.

But....we bought this r.v. because it is easy to drive, and we both wanted to be able to take it out. Also, while he enjoys driving, there's no denying that it is fatiguing after many hours. If we both were comfortable behind the wheel, we'd be able to go on longer trips without either of us becoming overly exhausted. So, I decided to get some more wheel time.

My solution: I'll take the kids on a spring break trip to visit our family 720 miles away! Nothing like jumping in with both feet, right? Since my husband has to work, and couldn't drive with us during the week, he could fly out and meet us for the weekend. Brilliant plan, right?

Only, I started getting slightly nervous at the thought of such a long trip all by myself with our three kiddos. And this is why I love my husband so much. Instead of shoving off my concerns and telling me not to worry, or conversely telling me I was right and I shouldn't be driving all that way by myself; he encouraged me to get some more drive time before the trip.

So that's what we've been doing. I started driving more around our house, then worked my way up to longer trips (back and forth from the storage facility). I've been gaining more hands-on practice with backing up, parking, getting gas, and even driving her to the maintenance appointments.

And yesterday we went on a few hour family drive with me behind the wheel. Of course, I didn't take any photos while driving, but here are a few pics on the same road I drove from the way home (he drove part of the way).
Uh-oh, the dreaded wall on the side of the road. I hate these! But the Winnie is nice and narrow, and the mirrors are great for easily keeping within your lane.

Look for these signs (for trucks) which let you know that the road is going to be steep and you should slow down, and down-shift as necessary.

After driving for a while, I could actually enjoy the scenery behind the wheel and felt much more comfortable and natural driving the Winnie.
Gorgeous beach at the end of our journey. What a beautiful day!
It would have been easier for us to keep things as they were, with him at the wheel, and me in my comfy "shotgun" seat. But easy isn't always best. And honestly, after the drive, I felt invigorated and happy and proud that I did it! I'm really looking forward to our Spring Break trip now, and know that I can easily handle, and will definitely enjoy, the drive!

I will be the first to admit, I was nervous about driving, especially down that steep and windy road. But that steep road allowed me to practice my down-shifting. And when I saw how well the Winnie handled, I grew more confident in what "we" could do together. The longer and further I drove, the more comfortable I got behind the wheel. And that was our goal. The more you drive, the better driver you become. It's just that simple. So start slowly, and work your way up to the more challenging drives. Just get out there and do it!