Kevin installed the GEICO app on his phone since they are now insuring the RV. I have spent hours imagining how much fun this app must be. I don’t want to actually launch it and see; I just want to envision the possibilities.
Are there different colored buttons depending on how bad we fucked up? I hope there are.
- A yellow button corresponds to “Whoops!”
- An orange button is “Dammmmnnnnnnnn….That’s gonna be expensive.”
- A red button means “Oooof.”
- A purple button with an exclamation point means “Send the cops. And tell them to bring a fire extinguisher. And a life preserver. Yes, we need all 3. We’ll explain later.”
I know, I know, I shouldn’t make light of accidents. But I’m pretty sure when we need to call GEICO (yes, “when,” not “if”) it’s going to be because of some slow speed, boneheaded, screw-up on our part. That’s the thing with driving these behemoths. When you’re on the highway, you’re usually pretty good. You stay in your lane (the right hand lane) and everyone passes you and you don’t care cuz “Hey! I’m in an RV. Everything is awesome!!!”
The problems happen when you get on small side roads, parking lots and campgrounds, when you suddenly have to maneuver this 38 foot, 30,000 pound monstrosity in small spaces. That’s when you notice there are all these people looking at you with this look of “YOU don’t look nearly competent to drive that thing” – which YOU know to be true, but you wonder why it’s so obvious to THEM? And, of course, all of this just increases the pressure on you because you now need to prove them wrong. But you can’t prove them wrong because you are – in fact – incompetent to drive this thing! It’s all very circular.
Even worse is the look you get in campgrounds when you attempt to back into your parking spot. Everyone is outside (because everyone is always outside at campgrounds) and you just know they’re all taking bets on whether you’re gonna hit a tree with your shiny new RV. But then you can see the change on their faces when they start wondering if you’re somehow gonna hit a tree AND their car which is parked across from your spot. And that is actually possible. You can hit something in front of you and behind you in one fell swoop. And the reason I know it’s possible is because we almost did it.
Luckily we managed to escape certain disaster on our fourth day of ownership because we had Jimmy Johnson on our side.
No, not him.
A different Jimmy Johnson.
Our Jimmy was our driving instruction from the RV Driving School and Jimmy is pretty much the most patient, kind, understanding, talented, lovely human being who has ever walked the earth. Move over, Mother Teresa. You got nothin on Jimmy.
Anyway, Jimmy spent two days with us doing his best to make us less incompetent and by the end, we were feeling pretty good. But man, parking Barney is NO JOKE. It’s a two person job, even for a seasoned driver. Given that, and knowing we only had two days to work with Jimmy, we decided to focus on getting good at one role or the other. We quickly decided that Kevin would drive and I would direct. But as soon as I started working with Jimmy on HOW to direct, I instantly regretted blowing off geometry class.
The problem is, you need to be in 3 places at once. You gotta worry about the initial back tire making it into the parking spot at the right angle, then you gotta worry about the far side not taking out a tree and at the same time, you gotta worry about where the nose of the RV is going. Because that nose has got a VERY big swing. So on this particular occasion, while I was in back celebrating getting Barney appropriately lined up with the parking space, Jimmy was up front helping Kevin not take out a car that was parked across the street. Absent him and Kevin paying attention, I would have been hitting the orange button on the GEICO app before they even finished processing our paperwork.
The point is, this stuff is hard. But if you have skills, you can get into spaces like this:
Which is CRAZY, right???
In any case, Barney’s days of being the belle of the ball are clearly numbered. We are not seasoned pros. We are us.
So, in recognition of the fact that Barney is never gonna look this good again, here are some photos from the day we picked him up. Before all the “oopsies” and “whoopsies” and “Dammits!!!” to come. If you follow us on Facebook (which you really should. We are delightful!!), you’ve already seen these. If not, here you go.
Barney the beautiful…. for a little while longer….
Anyway, you’ll be relieved to know Barney is safely parked in storage at the moment, awaiting some more after market modifications and for us to actually move in. If all goes well, we’ll be on the road for real by early August. Stay tuned!