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Old 10-03-2006, 07:05 AM   #21
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My wife actually does help me out quite a bit but lately I've been camping with just my young son so I end up having to go it alone (I like him in the truck with me so I know he's not behind me.)

My two key thoughts are: (i) if possible get a spot where you can back by curving towards the driver's side, and (ii) if dealing with a 90 degree or so turn, pull well beyond the camp site but NOT all the way to the far side of the road; you need that space to allow, first the rear, then the front, of your tow vehicle to swing outward as you direct the trailer inward toward the site. In other words, line up well beyond the site and either in the middle of the road or even on the campsite/target side of the road; not the far side or you'll find yourself swinging your front end into a tree on the opposite side of the road.
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Old 10-03-2006, 07:12 AM   #22
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I feel like I just crammed for a final exam!

Great stuff!

This s/b a sticky
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Old 10-03-2006, 07:24 AM   #23
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My wife is simply useless in helping me back. Her signals are simply undecipherable. I do it myself.

I have to back into my covered storage space with much less tolerance than backing into a campsite. There is very limited space between buildings and my 8 1/2' wide trailer must swing into a less than 12' wide bay without the overhang clipping the roof support posts or the adjacent trailer which is often poorly parked. I need to turn away fom the driver's side so that the post is invisible to me all the way.

I watch the trailer wheels in my mirrors and judge my position from the dividing line painted on the concrete. I use the flat mirrors when the angle permits or I use my convex mirrors when I am at a tighter angle. If I know where one side of the trailer is, I can judge where the other side is as well.

After the storage bay, campsites are generally quite easy.
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Old 10-03-2006, 07:42 AM   #24
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I always try to back in with a left turn; I can see everything better that way. One trick that I have found very useful is taking one of my hook-up rods (those brightly colored magnetic reods used to get right with the hitch) and laying it on the ground at the spot in the site that I want my trailer wheels to be. This is easy to see on the ground as an aid to lining up. It not only puts the Airstream at the correct depth in the site; it allows me to see the correct angle. Until I discovered this trick, I always spent more time getting staight in the site than i did getting in the site.
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Old 10-03-2006, 09:49 AM   #25
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We often have a spotter (one of us) for backing up.
The key is that both the driver and spotter have to have the same goal - so a brief conversation about the exact desired parking space is important.

Be sure the spotter stands where the driver can see them in a mirror.

No radios needed - just clear hand signs. We have four:
  • Point right - direction trailer needs to go
  • Point left - direction trailer needs to go
  • Pull forward and try again
  • Stop
When this doesn't work - cussing seems to help, as well as placing blame for crumby parking job on some unsuspecting inanimate object or sun/rain/wind/bug in the eyes

On edit: We actually have a 5th hand signal - but this is polite company....
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Old 10-03-2006, 10:46 AM   #26
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Hilarious! The "fifth signal" for us is my wife standing with feet planted firmly and both arms crossed and giving me that "Fine. Do it your [insert mild obscenity here] self; See if I care" look. It has generally the same meaning as your fith signal, I'm sure!
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Old 10-03-2006, 11:09 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lipets

Great stuff!

This s/b a sticky
Yes, but if we do that, I think all the great "backing up" posts should be combined into one. Just my $.05.
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Old 10-03-2006, 11:12 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska
My wife is simply useless in helping me back. Her signals are simply undecipherable. I do it myself.
...
Have you tried discussing ahead of time what signals to use?
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Old 10-03-2006, 11:23 AM   #29
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How to back up your trailer:

1. Pull up just beyond the site
2. Cut your wheel to the opposite direction
3. Place transmission in reverse gear
4. Adjust your mirrors
5. Adjust your sunglasses
6. Strategically place toothpick in side of mouth, (cigarette in other side optional)
7. Cock head to the left
8. Gun the engine
9. Honk horn
10. Mash the accelerator.

How to back your trailer at night:

1. Perform steps as indicated above, except without the sunglasses
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Old 10-03-2006, 12:07 PM   #30
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Backing with a helper

This is how it seems to go with someone helping me back up:
Either (a) stand in a spot I can't see you, and use hand signals.
or (b) Use verbal communication, like "Okay, back, back, left, right, left, left, LEFT!" followed by a loud crunching noise of either the trailer or the truck knocking something over. "Okay, that's good!"
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Old 10-03-2006, 12:31 PM   #31
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walk the walk, talk the talk

You know, I've known some people who carry around a walkie talkie, one held by the driver, the other by the 'backupper helper'..eventually, you just hear the two of them communicating (or is it yelling) back and forth to each other for about 5 minutes..I usually try to stay in the view of the driver's side and guide my husband back into the spot closest to the water/sewer/cable setups..as long as we get into our site before dark, we're fine and dandy!
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Old 10-03-2006, 02:00 PM   #32
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that is what I was talking about,,,cell phone or walkie works great.
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Old 10-03-2006, 02:11 PM   #33
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Backing up and a few other less mundane things

I get tears thinking about all the couples going through this exercise all over the country and for so many years.

If this post was co-authored with Mrs. P. I am sure it would be far more historical & sharing lots of personal experience. Since I am typing this in private we can focus more on customer relations rather than spousal.

I share a couple of simple things with my customers (one has already been mentioned in a previous post & is very important).

1. If you are new to towing or still feeling anxious when backing, my recommendation is to spend some after-hours time at a large empty parking lot. Use the orange cones and practice, practice, practice. Starting over several times during practice is a lot less stressful than at your camp site.

2. Agree on hand signals with your ground guide. I like a closed fist for STOP.
Full arm and hand extended for directions. (Mrs. P is so small I can’t see her hand much less a finger from 50 ft. away)

Backing up a trailer means you have already survived each other trying to get the ball and hitch in the same county. This is where we really have a lot of fun and most of the historical stuff would come from. “Hooking up” could be a thread all to itself.
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Old 10-03-2006, 03:07 PM   #34
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Link is working today

Quote:
Originally Posted by myboyburt
Yuki held a seminar for us in the spring and did up a fab instruction sheet. There is a link to it on the NEU Website, just not working right now for whatever reason. I'll ping our webmaster and see if they can correct the problem.
Here's the link to the backing up instruction sheet Yuki put together for a NEU seminar that she held at spring rally this year.

http://www.wbcci1.org/ne/BackingUp_Seminar.pdf
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Old 10-03-2006, 04:31 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
This is how it seems to go with someone helping me back up:
Either (a) stand in a spot I can't see you, and use hand signals.
or (b) Use verbal communication, like "Okay, back, back, left, right, left, left, LEFT!" followed by a loud crunching noise of either the trailer or the truck knocking something over. "Okay, that's good!"
And it wasn't me!


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Old 10-04-2006, 01:42 PM   #36
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how about a new thread on "things hit while backing up?"
I could start that one.....
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Old 10-04-2006, 02:53 PM   #37
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Night Parking

While backing into a campsite at Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina, I was being directed by my sister. We had arrived, as was our custom, well after dark and we were both tired. (mistakes 1 & 2) She took the flashlight and got out of the truck. I positioned the trailer and backed into the site. All the while, she was watching and I was listening for a shout from her. She showered the ground with plenty of light from the flashlight. Next morning as we were milling around the trailer, I happened to notice this large limb, going out from the tree, up and over the A/C unit and back down again. I had "accidentially" parked the A/C unit perfectly under the high point of this protruding limb. Talk about luck-- This was a fortunate event. Now we always look HIGH and low for obstacles.
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Old 10-04-2006, 03:11 PM   #38
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Smile Unusual hand signals..

Of course its always important to remember the conditions your back up helper may be facing. I recall a time when I was being dive bombed by nasty evil biting black flies so I was snatching at them in the air while helping hubby back up. No accidents but he did ask me which way does that mean? That day it was much less stressful to be the driver than the helper...
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Old 10-06-2006, 05:03 AM   #39
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If backing up isn't bad enough, pulling out can be a diaster

"looking high and low" reminds me

The things we forget when it is time to leave.
TV antenna not lowered,
Entry step left sticking out,
Rear window left open,
etc.
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Old 10-13-2006, 11:08 AM   #40
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After viewing quite a few responses to the secrets of backing up, I've notice that no one has mentioned the use of a "camera system." Is it because they should not be used for such a purpose? Also, what do you do if you are a SINGLE camper with no help in sight? I backed my AS into a spot at the storage facility where we keep our trailer at, but it took me about 20 mini trips in and out of the TV to keep checking to make sure that I was never getting to close to the boat on a trailer next to me. Backing into a spot by yourself ain't easy, but it can be done. It does however take great care and patience not to damage your trailer or your neighbor's.
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