Our experience with Valley Driving School - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 08-23-2014, 02:05 PM   #1
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Our experience with Valley Driving School

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
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Old 08-23-2014, 03:01 PM   #2
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If you've never towed before, or even if you have towed some, this sounds like money well spent.
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Old 08-23-2014, 09:04 PM   #3
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Larry & Lis I commend you for taking the initiative to get familiar with your new trailer before you hit the wide-open roads. How can you go wrong good job. Wish you the best of luck with your new Escape trailer.
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Old 08-23-2014, 09:11 PM   #4
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That was a smart thing to do, not having towed before. No doubt it helped with all of the backing you will be doing.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:41 PM   #5
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Well done, Larry and Liz! Our turn at Valley will come in less than three weeks. We hope it is as successful as yours.
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:06 AM   #6
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Glad to hear it was a good experience. The cost is a small investment for the knowledge and confidence you gained.

I would love to hear what your concerns and questions are about going up hill and down. I bet there are more than a few experienced voices on this forum who could give some good advice.

Kelly
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Old 08-24-2014, 11:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmart View Post
I would love to hear what your concerns and questions are about going up hill and down. I bet there are more than a few experienced voices on this forum who could give some good advice.

Kelly
I'll start a thread. Perhaps call it something like. Towing tips for newbies or towing horror stories and how to avoid them
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:42 PM   #8
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Just did a one hour with Howard at Valley Driving in Chilliwack. Tacking this on to an existing post to help with others that may search later.

Having some "fun" this morning trying to get the truck hitched up ready for travel, meant I was late for the appointment. No matter, a couple phone calls to explain delay and Howard was waiting patiently for me at the office.

A quick run through in the parking lot to make sure all was ready (pre trip inspection) and a 2km loop on Yale road via Industrial to a largely unoccupied lot. This lot just happens to be on the SE side of the Lickman overpass ... if you are in the area. He gave pointers on the drive over, which was great.

At the parking lot, he made sure I understood the Andersen and how to unhook/rehook. Also a couple of tries backing into "fake" campsites. He loved the Andersen by the way.


High marks for Howard. Was it worth the $90/hour? Yeah. Youtube is great, but somethings just need a personal touch. My confidence is good on the highway and getting better at the "short game" to butcher a golf expression.
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Old 03-06-2015, 12:08 AM   #9
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Hi Bruce. Its nice to read that you had a good experience.

The training we had last year helped Liz and I on our first time towing 11-day trip last fall. Tomorrow Liz and I are headed to ETI where we store our trailer. We are going to spend a few hours practicing backing up. Just the two of us, no trainer.

I'm not convinced that I remember much about backing up . We both want some practice. We only backed up four times on our first trip. They weren't all pretty, but we got the thing where we wanted it.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:28 AM   #10
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driving school

As a instructor and a receiver of initial and recurrent training in another field I am a real believer that it is money well spent if it might avoid one scrape of a nice trailer. Ask a UPS driver about their companies effort to train and check their drivers, our son is one and I think he is a much better driver than I, younger too.
Jack
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