Thursday, May 24, 2012

Achieving My Goal and Beyond ...

Our first view of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park

   We have put on some miles since my last post!  After two rallies in Lodi, California, we finally made it out to Yosemite National Park with no rain.  While in Lodi, George and Sharon Del Rosario, our newest instructor (and first female in the 21-year history of the school), gave a number of seminars at the Good Sam and WARE rallies including one "For Women Only" -- which a number of men actually chose to attend.  One unfortunate rally attendee actually learned about tail swing out the hard way when making a corner while exiting the fairgrounds and damaging a parked car.

Sharon Del Rosario, the school's first female instructor, has been RVing since 1979, including 8 years as a "solo".

   Because I learned from Dennis Hill to do my pre-trip inspection, as we prepared to leave Lodi, I noticed an oily substance on the ground beneath our engine compartment.  It turned out to be coolant which was leaking from one of the hoses.  Had I not noticed this, it could have meant a lot of trouble and expense later on, but we were able to get to Freightliner in Sacramento for a repair before hitting the road.  They allowed us to spend the night and worked us in the following day.

A relaxing evening at Freightliner in Sacramento, California before hitting the road ...

   We met up with Frank Piccolo and his wife, Sharon, who showed us Old Town Auburn.  Frank has been a valued instructor for the school in the Bay area and Northern California for a number of years.  I always enjoy hearing stories of students who begin a lesson extremely fearful and, by the end of the second day, emerge as confident and safe drivers.  Frank's feedback is always outstanding, and we are so proud to have him on our team!

Frank and Sharon Piccolo at Auburn Gold Country RV Park
   Not only have I been able to give George lots of relief along the highway, I have become something of the official parking driver with George's excellent guidance from the ground.  And  the parks we have encountered included some extremely tight spaces that have required some real maneuvering to get into and out of without doing damage to property or our rig.  I am 100% convinced it has been much easier to take his directions behind the wheel than to attempt to tell him which way to move the RV to get it where I want it parked -- okay, I'm blonde like that!

One of our tight parking spots I managed to back into with George's help...

   Before saying good-bye to California, I achieved my goal of driving on California freeways and practicing more mountains in a non-lesson situation.  As we entered Oregon, I had not planned it, but I conquered a new milestone -- driving in the rain.
Mountain drives along California's freeways ...

   So, just having first taken command behind the wheel within the past six months or so, I am confident that I can drive the Mandalay in traffic, in the mountains or in the rain, and I can park it with assistance.  It's truly hard for even me to believe! George is proud of me and can even sleep while I'm behind the wheel.  I am proud of me.  I no longer feel helpless to drive in an emergency.  I'm not an expert.  I'm not overly confident.  I am practicing and improving with each and every trip!


  1. Very good Val, that was a big step and I am proud of you also. George is doing a great on the job training. Never thought an Odessa gal could drive a big rig. I couldn't.

  2. You're doing great, Valerie! Next thing will be you becoming the 2nd woman driving instructor!

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