It’s now official – I have joined the RV Driving School as the first woman instructor in the 21-year history of the company!
On Friday and Saturday, George Mayleben, owner of the school, conducted a lesson for Becky Hazen.
Becky’s partner Lonnie Hodge was the observer. We’ve been friends with Becky and Lonnie since meeting them at a rally in Montana a few years ago, and our paths have crossed several times.
I rode along as trainee in preparation for becoming an instructor.
At the end of the 2-day lesson, Valerie came out to congratulate Becky for successfully finishing as the student and me for completing my training and joining the company. She kindly made herself closer to my limited height!
It’s really exciting to be joining this venerable company, as I have a little history with the school. First, I’ve known Dick Reed for many years. Below, Dick and Don enjoyed the shaded patio on Dick’s lot in Yuma, AZ a couple of months ago.
Dick was founder of the school in 1991 and owner for the first 15 years. I met him at the Escapade in Lancaster, CA in April 2004.
Dennis and Carol Hill, close personal friends of mine, later acquired the company and served as owners for the past 5 years. Dennis and Carol were our attendants when Don and I got married, and we’ve shared many good times together over the years, including a 3-month trip to Alaska last summer.
Going back to my RV history, I became a Solo RVer in 2003 with a truck and 5th wheel.
I didn’t know about the RV Driving School at the time, or I would have been a student then. However, when I switched from a 5th wheel to a motorhome in early 2007, I wanted some professional instruction, both to fill in the holes in my seat-of-the pants knowledge, and to give me confidence in handling a different type of RV. Dennis, who was by then the owner, offered me a discount to serve as the student while Dick trained a new instructor, Denny Orr, whom I’ve also known for several years. Such a deal! The 2-day session seemed more like a fun excursion rather than a studious endeavor, but I was amazed at how much I learned!
In January 2012 George and his wife Valerie acquired the school. Don and I met them the previous November while visiting Dennis and Carol in Livingston, TX.
We got to know them better at the RV Driving School gathering in January in Quartzsite where the baton of ownership was passed.
It was during the Gypsy Journal Rally in Yuma in early March that I talked with George and Valerie about joining the company. We agreed to proceed through the steps to check my qualifications. The Western Area Rally for Escapees (WARE) in Lodi, CA, which just ended, was an excellent time for George to provide training to me while he conducted Becky’s driver training. Now I’ve come full circle from student to instructor!
George and Valerie are in the process of expanding the school to provide safety and confidence training to RV drivers throughout the U.S. They are delightful, interesting people and I look forward to working with them.
Uh Oh, did I really use that w**k word? No, it can’t be – this is so much fun!