I couldn't agree with you more. During the week, I always take a ride over my lunch break. I have a number of different routes I take but I use them to keep my skills sharp. Some examples of the things I do are U turns, panic stops, dirt roads, heavy traffic, and my all time favorite, the pot hole gauntlet. Many's the time this practicing has saved my butt in a real life situation. So I completely agree, practice, practice, practice.
Glad your pucker moment turned out ok.
If you don't have to be somewhere, you're never lost, you're just ridin around.