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Old 03-06-2015, 10:29 AM   #11
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Thanks for this info on the driving school, think I will try to schedule time for it when I go to pick up my trailer.
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Old 03-06-2015, 10:44 AM   #12
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Ruth is actually in Chilliwack office, Josh was excellent on phone also. Ask for them by name to schedule appointment.
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Old 03-06-2015, 12:16 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by LarryandLiz View Post
Valley Driving School’s office is very close to Escape Trailer Industries - to the East towards the Best Western Hotel. Cost was 85.00/hour plus tax. Liz and I booked an instructor for a 3 hour driving lesson (unfortunately both Liz + I forget her name we were a bit nervous/focussed during the intro). She was very encouraging to us and, since she prepares people for their driving tests, was well versed on BC driving regulation/laws.

Liz and I took turns being instructed. We first learned to back straight up keeping the truck/trailer aligned. We then went to a nearby Truck gas station which has large lot and practiced backing into a parking slot between two big trailers. Next we drove the streets of Chilliwack learning how to make safe stops, lane changes, turns and how to drive curves. She took us through some complicated “round-abouts” and several freeway entrance/exits. It was especially helpful to get her advice/instruction regarding proper placement of our after-market extension mirrors.

The instructor was encouraging and was sensitive to what we wanted to learn. For example, I asked she to take us onto the freeway. She is a full-time Valley Driving Instructor and supplements her income with runs as big-rig trucker into the Interior. Her perspective as a big rig trucker came through as she taught us about always making sure we knew where our trailer is and how it tracks, how to take curves etc. Although we didn’t do any big hills Liz and I wish we had asked her advice about how to safely drive down/up hills.

At the beginning of the session she ran us through a pre-trip safety check list. At the end of the session the Instructor gave us a verbal evaluation of our towing skills. Apparently we are “above average” newbies.

So was the 270.00 expense “worth it?” As newbies to towing it seems like a “no brainier” decision. We spent thousands of dollars buying and outfitting a trailer. It seems unsafe and a bit arrogant to hook-up thinking we can learn on our own.

Will we remember everything we learned yesterday when we back into our first camping site in a few weeks? Probably not. We will, however, be safer and more confident towing our trailer to the camp site. I’m guessing and hoping we will provide far less entertainment to our fellow campers as they watch us back into our very first camp site!

Larry
Just a quick note on scheduling at Valley Driving School. We had scheduled our instructions immediately following our Escape orientation. The orientation took longer than expected so we arrived late for the driving instructions. Unfortunately, Valley would not accommodate us nor would they allow rescheduling. Their policy for rescheduling is 24-hour notice, so we just had to eat the cost with no instruction. Lesson here is , might not be a good idea to try and cram too much into (1) day as we did.
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Old 03-06-2015, 02:54 PM   #14
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As a professional driver for almost 40 years of pulling the big rigs, I think that getting lessons should almost be mandatory . When you pull a large trailer your tow vehicle reacts totally different when you:
1 - Drive at higher speeds
2 - Go up or down hills
3 - Are breaking or accelerating
4 - Passing or being passed by a large rig
5 - Drive through strong crosswinds
6 - When taking sharp turns (especially down hill turns)
7 - In almost any aspect of driving you can think of

I’ve watched people take over half an hour to back into a spot that should only take 2 minutes or less because they don’t understand the basics. I’ve even offered to do it for them, and then given them a few tips to help them next time.
My congratulations to those of you who are smart enough to realize that you need lessons and humble enough to get them.

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And what ever you do, please please don’t drive when you are sleepy, pull over and take a 15-30 minute power nap in your beautiful new trailer. I have literally pull people out of flipped cars because the driver fell asleep.
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Old 03-06-2015, 06:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba55 View Post
Just a quick note on scheduling at Valley Driving School. We had scheduled our instructions immediately following our Escape orientation. The orientation took longer than expected so we arrived late for the driving instructions. Unfortunately, Valley would not accommodate us nor would they allow rescheduling. Their policy for rescheduling is 24-hour notice, so we just had to eat the cost with no instruction. Lesson here is , might not be a good idea to try and cram too much into (1) day as we did.
Good info! Thanks!
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Old 03-07-2015, 03:05 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by sunrisetrucker View Post
I’ve watched people take over half an hour to back into a spot that should only take 2 minutes or less because they don’t understand the basics.
Sunrise, I agree with all you say except for your impression about a "2 minute or less park". The last thing that most folks need is to feel this kind of "pressure". Relax, this is not a stock car race. For that matter, 100% of the folks in the campground have all had their moments...

Spent four months last summer going from Pacific to Atlantic, and back... nearly 20K km. Every "back in", like snowflakes, was a new experience, including some "gone down the wrong roads" turn a rounds... Remember, you're on vacation (or retired)... what else have you got to do...

Larry
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Old 03-07-2015, 03:13 AM   #17
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BTW, did nail some parks 100% of the time in 2 minutes or less... they were pull throughs...

Larry
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Old 03-07-2015, 06:34 AM   #18
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Worth it for us. Ask them to take you through a gas station though. I had to suggest it.
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Old 03-07-2015, 08:09 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stargeezer View Post
Sunrise, I agree with all you say except for your impression about a "2 minute or less park". The last thing that most folks need is to feel this kind of "pressure". Relax, this is not a stock car race. For that matter, 100% of the folks in the campground have all had their moments...
Pretty sure all he was saying, is that they should be able to do it in less than two minutes, and I totally agree. With just a bit of training and practice, this is a very doable feat. I would venture to say it could do it in half that time.

I remember one time watching a couple trying to back into a parking spot, with her giving instructions, and him doing the reversing. Tensions were pretty high there, lots of blaming each other. Nobody but themselves imposed and "pressure" in this situation, but themselves for not first learning what to do. I did go over, and much to the relief of both of them, gave some advice on what to do, and he managed to back it into the spot in short order. We spent that night sitting around the fire having a few wobbly pops. Really nice folks.

I too really appreciate and applaud those folks here who recognize a shortcoming of theirs, having towed little or not at all, and are looking for some professional training. Kudos to you folks.

And even after getting some good instruction, going and repeatedly practising in an empty parking lot, will only help you get a better grip on the practices you learned.
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Old 03-07-2015, 08:57 AM   #20
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[QUOTE=Stargeezer;85115]
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunrisetrucker View Post
Sunrise, I agree with all you say except for your impression about a "2 minute or less park". The last thing that most folks need is to feel this kind of "pressure". Relax, this is not a stock car race. For that matter, 100% of the folks in the campground have all had their moments.

Larry
Stargeezer I get your point but I wasn’t referring to the time spent finding your campsite or when you find it and you get out of your vehicle to look it over deciding exactly where you want to park your trailer. Or the time spent discussing with your wife (or significant other) why it’s better to park closer to the privacy edge than the picnic table (“you can move the picnic table dear, but can’t move the privacy edge“) and other assorted preparking tasks. What I was referring to was the time when you actually put your vehicle into reverse and start the backing in process. That part you should be able to do in 2 minutes or less.
Ok that part comes easy for me, maybe I should have said 3 minutes or less

And pull throughs do seem to be getting more popular but I like the back ins because they are usually cheaper.
Paul
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