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Old 12-02-2018, 03:09 PM   #1
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2016 25' Flying Cloud
Longview , TX
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 3
First timer parking in a state park

If this is the wrong forum please let me know.
We recently purchased a 2016 Flying Cloud. Our first outing was at an old Texas State Park with full hook ups. Backing into the spot was challenging as it was narrow, sloped and had a big tree bordering the curb side. 6' or so in front of the AS was a downward slope more pronounced than the black-topped pad the trailer was on. That pronounced slope was a small gully used beside the roadway to channel water.
Leveling was challenging on this our first outing. I have 20 stackable 8 1/2" square plastic one inch plates to use for leveling. I used about 6 of them to get the AS level side-to-side. And I only had enough plates to do one wheel.

Front to back I used about a dozen or more to level the rig and even then it the electric jack was 3/4 extended. It took about an hour and I was pooped after it was over. My dilemma (and thereby my question) occurred when it came time to go home. When I let the jack all the way down I was still 5 or so inches from the ball on my Ram 2500. And I had only 2 stacking plates to work with. The only solution I knew was to lower the AS on to something that would safely support the trailer and then start taking 1" plates off that had supported the trailer to make it level.

So what's the best way to handle a wompy pad like we were parked in and one where the rear tires of the tv were in that 8" gully? Your input much appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 12-02-2018, 03:27 PM   #2
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Dadeville , Alabama
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Wow not sure how you got to the point you could not lower the tongue down on to the ball. How did you get it up that high? Putting blocks under the tongue jack is fine, but you should be able to lower the tongue back to the original starting point.
Do you have any photos of your set up.
Leveling is an acquired skill, don’t loose hope.
I have rarely ever had to use more that 2 blocks (under each wheel) to level side to side and just put whatever blocks I have left under the tongue jack.

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Old 12-02-2018, 03:41 PM   #3
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Baltimore , Maryland
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I don't understand how you got yourself into that situation without first lowering the tongue on to something higher than your ball so you could put additional blocks under the jack. In any case, reversing the procedure you used to get yourself into your perdicament should get you out.

In the future, you'll likely get better at choosing locations and orienting yourself so that such major adjustments aren't necessary. My rig always feels a but wobbly if the tongue us up too high. Seems like I found myself doing that a lot more in the very beginning than I do now.
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:54 PM   #4
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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A couple things to watch out for:

1) If the tongue is high (lots of blocks), the rear end may be low ( = on the ground). It's worth double checking this sort of thing any time you have a nutty site.

2) You really want to get both wheels up and level. In addition (especially on an un-level site) the wheels all need to have chocks.

3) The plastic gizmos are great, but maybe not when stacked in a straight tower. The better approach is to build a pyramid. Having a tower tip over ... really ruins your day.

4) Always ask yourself - "what if the big wind blows?" after you are set up. Everything may be fine in a static situation. You can get a *lot* of force from wind hitting this way or that way on a trailer. Storms *do* come up pretty fast.

5) Many parks are more understanding about switching sites than you might think. If you pull up and the site is going to be an utter pain, check with the office. There may be other sites you can switch to. I'd gladly pass on full hookups to avoid the site you had ....

So back to the onto the hitch issue. The trailer *should* go down onto the ball. It came off so it should go on. There are a few possible reasons why it might not. The first is that the trailer has shifted since it was first put on the site ( YIKES !!!). The second (and far more likely) is that the truck is in a different position hooking up than it was when you unhitched. A remote third is that part of the road washed away in that big rain last night (= go get a shovel).

Some hints for shopping for sites online:

1) Always go for a longer site. Since you have not yet filled in your trailer details on your profile (hint hint hint) I can only guess at how big yours is. If you have a 25' trailer and a 30' site is available - get that one.

2) Read through the descriptions. Each park seems to have their own doublespeak in terms of sites. It *is* possible that every site they have is trash. More likely some are worse than others. Avoid any that are at the "worst end" of their description vocabulary.

3) Look very carefully at the site pictures. Most parks these days will show you a shot of the site. Always assume it's a "best case" view. In some cases Google Maps satellite view can help.

4) Check the reviews online. If the campground is full of nutty sites, it will get mentioned. Calibrate that against the descriptions.

Above all, get back out and do some more camping !!!!!

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Old 12-02-2018, 03:58 PM   #5
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Most sites are not that bad. If there is any way just moving to another site would be the best way to approach the problem. Though I have been in sites that had so much slope I just could not get level and could not move sites. Rare, but it happens. I also carry a bottle jack in the truck that gets employed if the site is really bad and I have to stay there. If it is so bad that you cannot get reasonably level you should probably cut the ref. off. We stayed at a steep site on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the refrigerator cut off. It took 2 days of travel before it started working well again.
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Old 12-02-2018, 05:03 PM   #6
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- east coastal area - , Florida
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The advice from uncle bob about selecting a site is 100 percent correct. We now bypass several state parks in FL which have difficult sites.
Also - always go for the largest site available. The cost is the same whether it is 20’ or 40’. Same with drive- throughs.
When they start charging the huge double ac motor homes more than they charge me then I’ll worry about proportionality.

Also, check you site upon move-in for dead
Trees. State parks seem to like the natural look and don’t bother to take down dead trees. Instead, waiting for them to fall in their own.

Hint: sites on the outside of a loop are generally nicer than the inner loop sites.
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Old 12-02-2018, 06:19 PM   #7
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2014 25' Flying Cloud
Dexter , Maine
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Posts: 146

You stated your jack was "ALL THE WAY DOWN' yet you were still 5" above the ball? If I lower my power jack all the way down the tounge/hitch is only inches from the ground.
ARE YOU SURE YOUR STABILIZERS ARE UP? Is something blocking your nose from dropping?

Something doesn't ad up?

Joe D
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Old 12-02-2018, 06:19 PM   #8
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I can't stress enough the importance of keeping the trailer chocked fully in that situation.

One of our first outings, we mistakenly took out the chocks a bit too soon. We had to try a second time to get the ball under the hitch, and woahhhhh we were there pushing against gravity and praying. Don't want to do that again.

I also really recommend the Anderson Levelers. They are a curved wedge that you put under the tires (you need 2) on the low side, and then drive forward onto them until you are side-to-side level. Much faster, easier, and more accurate than stacking legos.

Also, it's useful to get out and look and figure out where you want the trailer to be on the site before you start backing in. You can usually "park" your truck next to the trailer, or perpendicular to the trailer, and still fit in your site just fine. This lets you have more leeway in where exactly those trailer wheels are sitting.

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Old 12-02-2018, 06:55 PM   #9
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Perhaps you forgot to raise/stow your stabilizers when hooking back up..??...and the front stabilizers were holding your tongue up and preventing it from dropping to your ball-hitch?

I'd recommend you get ANY brand of leveler-gadget than Andersens….who vandalized and defaced Arches Nat'l Monument. (Besides the fact that a different levelling system would not likely solve the problem you experienced.)
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Old 12-03-2018, 11:03 AM   #10
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San Antonio , Texas
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Which state park was that?
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Old 12-03-2018, 11:12 AM   #11
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Tomball , Texas
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We used Texas State Parks most of the time we camped with our teardrop. Even with the teardrop you can have elevation issues. My suggestion is to make friends with the Park assistant at check in. We are return visitors to some parks and know what sites to choose if available. At almost every park we have used, the assistant has been very helpful in choosing sites. We just came back from a Thanksgiving campout with our adult kids and the assistant, at check in, helped me pick 3 sites together in a good area. We are passively looking for an Airstream and I will continue to use their advice. Two State parks we won't revisit because of the sites, Huntsville and McKinney. Good luck, next time.
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Old 12-03-2018, 11:44 AM   #12
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Victoria , British Columbia
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Ive never been to Texas yet but are the sites paved or gravel/dirt . In BC all the provincials are mostly gravel/dirt .
When I have a bad side slope lets say 4inches ...Ive also brought out my small folding shovel and scrapped a few inches off the surface of the high side ....then add a inch or 2 block on the other iside ....job done and im not way up in air.
When I pull out I refill the hole and all's good.
Ive used this more when boon docking but some provincial or states ive stayed in needed a bit of adjustment ...LOL
I personally prefer having a selection of cut 2x6 boards as well as some plastic style wedges.
Keep at it and it will get easy and fast!
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Old 12-03-2018, 12:07 PM   #13
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Fair Oaks Ranch , Texas
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Wow, which park was this? We’ve been to most Texas State Parks (3 last month) and find the rangers very accommodating to switching sites. If the assigned site isn’t very level, pick another one and let the ranger know. We do this frequently. Things may change as they move to their new reservation system where you can pick a specific site, but I’m sure they will attempt to keep their campers happy. Mike
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Old 12-03-2018, 12:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by CycoMike View Post
Which state park was that?
Place yer bets!

I was going to say, "McKinney Falls!!" and the poster right below you cited that one as a no-go. Beautiful park, but many of its sites are just plain impossible.

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