Thursday, June 30, 2011

Connecting the Dots

Seffner, Florida

We’re sitting here at the Lazy Days Campground waiting for our “new” motorhome to be prepped for us.  It’s taking a bit longer than expected because we’re found a few things we want fixed and changed, plus we’re having a satellite system installed.  We’re in no hurry as long as they keep giving us free nights in the campground!  The free breakfast and lunch has been pretty nice.  Al never lets us miss one either!  Hurry up, we can’t be late for breakfast!

Lazy Days offers a lot of free classes.  Actually they are free if you have ever bought an rv from them, or if you are currently buying one. 

One of the most popular is the “Driver Confidence Course” taught by Barney Alexander.

He just had a milestone, as yesterday, one of the students in our class was the 42,000 student he has taught….accident free!   He will be retiring in a few months and Lazy Days will lose a big asset.  Barney has a helper that he taught his dot system to, but he will be going to the new Lazy Days Rv center in Tucson, Arizona.

We had  an hour and a half  of class room time and then after lunch we met by the “big boys.”  There were two big diesel pushers that the class was to drive.  One was 38 feet, the other was 41.  They both looked huge and intimidating! 

One lady in our class, Mary, just flew down from Connecticut to purchase her new 28 foot Tiffin Diesel pusher.  The main reason she came to Lazy Days was because of this class.  She flew back home last night, and her motorhome was being delivered to her on Friday.  I think she wasn’t quite ready to make that big of a trip by herself.  She travels the dog show circuit with her Collies and she thought a motorhome would be nice to have.  She had never driven any type of motorhome, and at the end of the class, they took a little extra time with her and she actually backed that 41 footer into a parking space, 3 feet from the other motorhome.  She was straight as an arrow in the site and just whipped it right in.  Of course she had Barney telling her what to do, but it was quite an accomplishment for her.  The rest of us didn’t get that lesson.  There is a video on how to do that though.

Each one of got a few minutes of  “drive time” in the motorhome.  We didn’t go out on the highway, but stayed in a parking lot at Lazy Days.  Barney says this is the hard stuff and if you can make sharp corners and successfully navigate curvy roads, you can drive on anything.   He said every motorhome is either a “hip” coach or a “bumper” coach.  Most are “hips.”  What this means is  before you make a right or left turn, you need to pull forward  until your hip is level with the edge of the road.  If you turn too soon, the tail of your motorhome will clip a sign, car, or run over the curb.  It was a good lesson and is explained more in the online classes.  I put a link below.  I recommend everyone who drives a motorhome look at his classes.  Al learned a lot and he has been driving our motorhome for years.

Barney’s system uses a series of little “dots” that you place on your rv.  One is on the front glass in front of the driver.  It helps you know where your front bumper is when you’re turning a sharp curve.  If you line up that dot with the right edge of the road, the rear of your motorhome will stay in your lane.  There are dots on each mirror, which show you exactly where your rear tires are while you’re driving.  That’s kind of a good thing to know, isn’t it.  Of course you have to know exactly where to place the dots so that they give you the correct information, and that is what he teaches you.

He mentioned “tail swing.”   We already knew about it, but he reinforced it.  The tail of a motorhome swings about 2 1/2 feet when you turn.  He recommends everyone tests their own motorhome by just marking where the rear tires are, then turning right and left.  See where your tail ends up!  When you stop for fuel and get too close to the pump and try to turn right….what happens?   Yep, your first collision.  He suggests stopping  3-4 feet away from the pumps to allow plenty of room for tail swing. 

There are a series of videos, here that Barney has made.  They will teach you everything (and probably more) that we learned in the class.  I had watched a few of them before, but actually being there made them a lot more clear.  You may need to watch them more than once to understand the dot system. 

Check out Better for some good information on rv’s.

Today, after breakfast, we’re taking a course on cooking with a convection oven.  Since our new motorhome has one, we thought it would be helpful. 

Gotta go, Al is bugging me to hurry so he doesn’t miss breakfast!


  1. Sounds like a very helpful class! You can never learn too much when it comes to these huge machines!
    I love my convection microwave!! Wish I had been able to attend a class. I learned the hard of hard knocks and ruined food. Once I got the hang of it...wonderful!!!
    Have fun and enjoy breakfast!!

  2. Sounds like they have quite the education program going there.

  3. I am so excited for you guy... nothing like getting a new home is there. The drivers class sounds really great and I am going to go to the link you posted and check it out! Thanks for all the great info!
    Have fun & Travel safe

  4. Barney sounds like some of the old heads at Trailways, when I started driving the bus, they stressed all the things to keep the four corners from getting banged up.Hope your new home is ready for you soon. be safe out there . Sam & Donna...

  5. Such a fun time getting a new home. The classes sound wonderful.

  6. Sounds like a great class. I need to learn to drive towing our 5th wheel. I will be interested to hear what you learn in the convection oven class. I have one but don't use it much as I am kind of lost as to how it works.

  7. Great information, thank you. I'm going to the video link as soon as I post this comment. I've never had a convection oven, but they sound nice - cook faster, right? My son roasts family holiday turkeys in his, and they come out really good.

  8. Always exciting when you get that next and bigger RV!

  9. Congrats on your new MH! You're blog from yesterday announcing this somehow slipped by me so I was really surprised to start reading this and see how casual you were about it.

    I'd be jumping up and down, hootin' and hollerin'. Maybe you already did that though.

  10. I Googled " Lazy Days Rv center in Tucson, Arizona." and see they are not open yet. Just bought the property on June 14th! BUT, Tucson may not be to far for us to go to take classes.

    I have heard it is not a good idea to buy one in Arizona though, because if stored badly the heat dries out everything.

  11. the classes sure do sound like a great idea!!!!

  12. Al’s Trailers is an Oregon RV dealer and major provider of RV parts, Supplies and Accessories. We specialize in New and Used RV Sales, RV Service, RV Parts and Accessories


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