Originally Posted by Charlie & Lucy
Can you tell us how the experience was for you with the lesson at Valley Driving School? And how was your first excursion driving it home?
Well. We ended up not taking the class at Valley Driving School. I'm sure we would have benefited from it, but we had a small weather window. The course we had scheduled would have been accompanied by a very big, cold, windy rainstorm -- it was predicted to be a pretty bad one, and we wanted to get our trailer home in dry weather if we could.
I had some previous experience -- not a lot -- pulling very light (Hobie Cat) trailers, and I had read everything I could find about towing. We decided we would trust me to get us home -- a 180-mile drive, including a ferry trip so that we could avoid Seattle traffic.
We took possession of Toto at about 1:30 PM in Sumas, WA, and we drove -- hoping to beat the weather. We did not want to drive through big wind and rain on this first go, and we were prepared to stop for the night if the weather closed in early.
Of course the ETI folk had set up our Anderson hitch and set our brake controller up with at least a good starting point (we have since experimented with it and it's still pretty much where they set it).
We drove 55 mph max with our Nissan Frontier and an Anderson hitch. Got to experience roundabouts, busy freeways, narrow two-lane roads, coastal hills and curves, and the aforementioned ferry between Edmonds and Kingston, WA.
Got home just after dark -- and just as the wind was picking up and rain was starting to fall. Backed in (somewhat crookedly) to our (lucky for us) unusually large driveway. Sighs of relief. We talked about our trip over a glass of wine. My sense: not as challenging as I thought it might be, and MUCH easier than driving a rented 23-foot class C motorhome (something we had done a few years back).
After our going-home "lesson," we decided we would skip the driving school experience for now, and see how we did. We have just followed advice read elsewhere: "Drive like your grandmother." Works very well. No problems yet. We've been out on three long-weekend camping trips, all with back-in sites.
For others: if a course sounds good, and you can do it conveniently, I'd say... do it! Small investment (really the price is basically Peanuts, yes?), and you're almost certain to learn some useful things. The people at Valley Driving School seemed very nice, very professional when we chatted with them.
We look forward to reading about all your adventures and meeting you out on the road somewhere!