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Old 07-14-2009, 04:23 PM   #1
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1972 21' Globetrotter
Lexington , Kentucky
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First-Timers . . . help

We are picking up our new baby ('72 Globetrotter) on Friday. Neither of us have ever really Rv'd or towed before. We are real newbies. What is the number one thing to remember about towing? We are hopeful that campers in our first RV park will help us with the first night there.
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:36 PM   #2
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Beginner's advice

  1. check everything three times before you leave
  2. go slow
  3. turn wide
  4. use your signals
  5. avoid heavy traffic
  6. turn off your radio, your cell phone and drive with the windows down listening for bad sounds.
  7. if people are waving at you, look closely at their faces - and STOP if they look panicky. Your antenna is probably up, or your steps are down, or there are sparks flying from the stabilizer jacks you forgot to retract... or worse.
Seriously - you've already done the first thing right - by being aware that there are pitfalls. You've also asked for help, and you might get it before you pull out of your driveway. I'm sure there are members in Lexington who will read this, send you a PM and even come out and give you a driveway safety check and review. If not, try a second post - just title it "Lexington Kentucky Airstreamers?

You are welcome here.

Paula
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:39 PM   #3
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Check behind you. If you are towing and don't see a trailer behind you, there is probably a problem.

Seriously, far more mistakes are made by experienced people who get careless than by new people who are on "pins and needles" about towing.

As for advice, you'll probably end up with more than you can use.
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:42 PM   #4
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Congratulation on your new baby. Wow, there is a long list of VERY important things to consider before towing. All have been enumerated many times here on the forums. How far will you be towing, what is your tow vehicle, do you have adequate mirrors, tires, wheel bearing, brakes controler,lights, trailer brakes, 7 pin connector, and on and on. All are important and it is hard to say which is most important. Give a few more specifics about your tow and you will get plenty of advise here. Have fun.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:06 PM   #5
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the number one thing that i remember everytime I tow our airstream or any trailer for that matter, is that you are towing a trailer. simple, huh?
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:29 PM   #6
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1972 21' Globetrotter
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Thanks to everyone . . . we are towing with a 2009 Jeep Cherokee . . . with new tow package and Rees stabilizer/equalizer bars . . . and brake control . . . transmission cooler . . . I'm sure I am forgetting something.

I love the "look behind you" and "pay attention to passerbys" . . . very good advice!
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:47 PM   #7
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Well, we bought our first Airstream last Fall. Our situation is a bit different from yours, we only bought it to use mainly for one-two months each year to escape the Canadian winters, and perhaps a couple of short summer trips yearly.

I wanted to avoid an older (vintage) unit as I hoped to have minimum maintenance - our last trailer was a 27 foot 1993 Award travel trailer and we had more than enough niggling problems witb appliances that acted up etc. - as well as rainwater leaks! It had reached the point where we needed to replace all the major appliances.

I was hoping to stay with the same length as I found it an ideal compromise. OK for longer stays and yet short enough to get ito pretty much all State/Provincial parks.

We wound up with a 2005 30' Classic Airstream and so far it has been just fine for us, although I have read on this forum that newer units experience a lot more quality issues than older Airstreams. Maybe we have been lucky so far!

We are not that interested in full-timing, but if we were, I couldn't imagine doing it in anything smaller than our Classic 30, which is actually 31' bumper to ball.

We did wind up buying a Hensley hitch and a diesel 3/4t truck to make the towing experience as enjoyable as possible and after a trip to California last winter, I don't regret those decision one bit!

Good luck in your quest!

Brian
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:47 PM   #8
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The 1st thing I noticed was that there was this spaceship tailgating me. It took a while to get used to that. Then leaving the dealer I managed to not take out his gate, then down the street through a tight turn I didn't run over the curb or crush a little old lady in her 20 year old car, and haven't hit anything yet. For a while I felt like I spend more time looking in the side mirrors making sure the trailer was in the lane than looking out the windshield, so I may have run over a few people, but so far, no sirens have followed me. After a while you'll know where the trailer is without looking constantly in the mirrors.

The most important thing to remember—to be attentive. More attention is required for towing than you are used to. Notice how truckers take wide turns and are not shy about taking more than one lane to turn. The trailer for an 18 wheeler is twice as long as your Globetrotter, so the turns won't be as wide, but the idea is the same. Watch for people trying to pass you because a lot of people hate to be behind RV's. I hope you have tow mirrors with a bottom mirror that shows you what's alongside you because some drivers will do really stupid things. Take it easy, it will all come with time.

Backing—hold the wheel at the bottom. If you want the trailer to go left, turn the wheel left; opposite for right. Take it slow, get used to it, experiment somewhere with a lot of space. Soft and hard turns are very different and learning how to straighten it out just takes trying it. Practice helps a lot. Don't be afraid to get out and look to see what's happening. Even experienced professional drivers get out sometimes because it the best way to see what's going on back there. When you go to a campground and people are watching you, they had a first time too. Ignore them. Sometimes they want to help; you'll have to judge whether they are full of it or not.

Enjoy your new baby. It's overwhelming for a while, but you will be GirlzAtPlay before long.

Gene
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:11 PM   #9
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You'll be fine...just take it easy and check everything twice...and yes, folks in the camp ground will be more than willing to help you survive your first trip! don't be too hard on yourself if you forget something...we've all done it.

Have fun and travel safe...
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Old 07-16-2009, 03:45 PM   #10
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1972 21' Globetrotter
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when reserving rv sites, how do we know what amps we need? 30 or 50?
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Old 07-16-2009, 04:51 PM   #11
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I am slightly guessing here, but a '72 should be a 30amp service. The end of your cord should look like this one...
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Old 07-16-2009, 05:08 PM   #12
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Now that you've got the trailer home it's time to check a few things. Re-pack the wheel bearings and check the tires. With any luck you've got the owners manual and that will help a lot. Try backing the trailer. It will take two to do this. One has to drive and the other has to work as the spotter. It takes a little practice.
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:43 PM   #13
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If it doesn't have an owner's manual, check the Airstream website for information on the trailer. Some older manuals are available.

I sometimes back without a spotter but that's because I know my land. It's always easier with a spotter. Walkie-talkies can make it a lot easier, because you can't always see the spotter. Best to practice where there are no obstacles so you can get a sense of what backing is about.

There are threads about wheel bearings and brakes. It's not as hard as it sounds and there are 2 benefits to doing it yourself—you can be sure you got it right, and you save a lot of money.

Gene
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Old 07-17-2009, 08:21 AM   #14
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What, that thing again!

Hi and welcome G@P!

What a wonderful adventure.

Advice, at toll plazas claim ignorance about the silver thing behind you and reply that it has been following you around since you left home
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