Many of the projects we newly single ladies decide to tackle, can be done in the privacy of our homes. If we mess up, it’s easy to call in the pros and if you’re feeling really embarrassed, you can even blame someone else. That was a luxury Mary, from Boulder, Colorado didn’t have. If she wanted to carry on water-skiing, then she had to learn to drive the car with a trailer and a ski boat – something her ex had always done.
That meant, “learning how to back my car, a Jeep truck, with the 25 foot boat trailer and a 21 foot boat with a big engine, down a very difficult boat ramp, unhook it from the winch, launch it and get it back on.”
Doing it the first time took a lot of courage. “I was terrified and afraid I would completely ruin my boat,” said Mary. “I also felt embarrassed because there were people out at the lake watching who were greatly amused by the number of attempts it took me. Then I felt proud of myself and finally did it.”
I’ve only tried driving a trailer once – it was parade day in Niwot, and the parade organizers wanted a friend’s truck and trailer moved a few feet. I naively thought “how difficult can that be?” and volunteered. Sure enough, within minutes the truck and trailer were at 90 degrees to each other and I willingly handed the keys over to someone else!
Apparently, it’s a learned skill. “If you’ve never golfed before, you don’t just walk out onto a golf course and get the ball in the hole, ” said Mary. “It’s reverse – it’s completely opposite of the way you back a car. If you want the back end of boat trailer to go to the right, you have to grab the wheel at the six o’clock position and turn it to the right. Plus, you have to anticipate it because it moves slowly. It really is a matter of just practicing and doing it.”
With practice and determination, Mary’s now pretty comfortable driving the car, trailer and boat. “My heart still races before I start the process,” she said. “I take a couple of deep breaths and keep myself relaxed.”
There are a few resources on the web for tips on driving a trailer – here’s one from DMV.org. Most of the ones I looked at were pretty much the same. They all recommend going and practicing in a parking lot. That sounds perfectly sensible until you realize you’re going to have to drive the beast to the parking lot to start with and what if you make such a mess of it, you just want to leave the trailer at the parking lot?