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Old 11-04-2013, 11:33 AM   #15
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yeah, I plan to hit the target parking lot up the road...it tends to have large unattended areas ripe for practice....I have not thought about walkie talkies...thought I would use my phone with bluetooth and with windows down...may invest in a pair...(quick advice for buying?)
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:35 AM   #16
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I recall a youtube video on avoidance of fender benders in gas stations and some sort of rule about where a pivot point is ensure clearance from barriers...ill try and dig it up and post it (as well as re-watch it).
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:37 AM   #17
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(whoops, I pushed send and then saw the Target parking lot post) I may be stating the obvious, or something someone already mentioned, but practice in a big empty lot to get a sense how tightly your rig can be turned. The flashlight in the grass idea is a great one too, for night maneuvering. Patience is good, having a plan with your partner/spouse before you get to those situations where tempers get short. I don't know about a 30 footer, but with ours, towing becomes pretty automatic, you learn the boundaries of the TV and trailer and can just sort of do it. Practice first will also lessen the amount of anxiety on the road. You'll be fine.
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:06 PM   #18
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We've learned to avoid the gas stations due to the unknowns re the diesel pump locations and the exits from them. We now use the full truck stops with the fuel islands. Sometimes they are busy and you have to get in-line, but you know where the pumps are and that a clear exit is there. Should you want to weigh your fully loaded truck/trailer, most have scales. During our trip planning, we use dieselboss.com web site to locate truck stops on our route.
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:07 PM   #19
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I had the same experience at a Cracker Barrel a long time ago. I was driving a motorhome and pulling an inline horse trailer, which had the front wheels on an axle, like a wagon. Never did learn how to back that trailer... We had to have people move their cars so we could get turned around. That was a rude lesson so I can relate to your concerns!

Usually we only stop at rest areas for meals, our own food is better anyway as for gas stations we never get below 1/2 tank on fuel, so if we need to pass by a gas station that is too crowded, we can. I like to go for pumps located towards the outside row and pull forward so no one can park in front of our truck. If you leave any pilot lights on, turn them off beforehand. Always check your side mirrors every time you turn and go slow. You will learn how wide you need to turn with practice.

There is a print book called The Next Exit that is great for locating fuel stops, rest areas and etc. along the interstate. We like it much better than any tech gadget for the co pilot to reference. No reception needed On smaller roads, church parking lots are a good bet for turning around or quick as long as they are vacant.

Another thing I still do in addition to the usual visual checklist departure items is to keep the vehicle window down when first leaving and listening for anything abnormal, such as running gear problems or jack/stabilizers left down. This is a habit I got into back in the days when I was trailering cranky horses

Gear down when going up and down hills, don't ride the brakes downhill. When we picked up our trailer in NC last month we took I-24 around the smokies. There is a long stretch of 6 or 7% grade and we passed one 18 wheeler pulled that had cooked his brakes. You should have seen the smoke! He was not in one of the several runaway truck pits, but one of those had evidence of recent use.

Those are a few random tips off the top of my head to add to the great pointers already posted. I apologize if any are redundant or too obvious, lol!
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:44 PM   #20
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Paula: Love the tip about lining up flashlights for night backing! May try that tonight, since my better half is bringing our trailer home tonight. We have to back down an unlit, narrow downhill driveway bordered by vegetation. I was going to pull out the shop light and lots of cords...Way to go with the grass seed too!

PharmGeek: Our little boat is more difficult to back than our trailer. I use the door mirrors while backing and can't see which way the boat is going till it needs a lot of correction. Using a line, like the squirt bottle, flashlights, or even a rope or hose gives a reference to follow in your side mirror while backing. I may have a picture somewhere in a book..
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:47 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by PharmGeek View Post
I have seen this discussed before in another thread...and pardon me for being a tad slow.. even a dullard....but I am not entirely sure I totally grasp the "draw a line" point...please elaborate or restate perhaps....somehow it is not clicking and this is the second time I have seen a version of it....
Backing is not "natural" feeling - to me it's really counter intuitive. The advice commonly given is "put your hands on the bottom of the steering wheel and move the wheel in the direction you want the rear end of the trailer to go" - Which works just fine IF you also understand that less is more when backing and nothing happens instantly. Your trailer's back end will pivot on both axles scrubbing the tires sideways as much as rolling them back but if you pull far enough beyond your space and move your hands less than 1/4 turn your backing experience will be much happier than if you wrench the wheel around half a turn then correct, then re-correct then re-correct. It's easy to get into the habit of watching JUST the rear bumper of your trailer and thinking "oops I'm going to end up half way in the next spot beyond the one I'm aiming at... yet if you look at the rear tire... it's headed directly for the pad you want to be on... and you're still turning gently... and your back end is still moving toward the spot you're aiming for. When I'm truly in "zen-parking" mode it's almost as though I'm merely following the trailer into it's chosen space. I use a stream of water almost like a railroad track to run the trailer into it's parking spot (normally an arc from the back of the driver's side rear wheel to the middle of the near side of the pad or gravel I want that tire to rest on when I'm ready to unhitch). I'll try to remember to take pictures the next time I do it. I suppose on grass I could use some of my orange extension cords for guidelines.

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Old 11-04-2013, 12:57 PM   #22
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Something to always remember...when backing keep eye contact with spotter. This may mean you may have to stop while the spotter goes from side to side in the back to check the progress. The driver and the spotter need to feel comfortable using the mirrors on both sides of the truck at all times. Always roll down windows and turn radio off. And...when the spotter yells ...STOP... you stop!!! See you at the can opener.

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Old 11-04-2013, 01:02 PM   #23
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I suppose on grass I could use some of my orange extension cords for guidelines.

Paula
That's really clever.

So far, I've been either really lucky with backing up. It's been far less of an issue than I thought it would be. I agree, always hava a spotter. If you can't see the spotter, stop right there. Keep the kids in the car, or under close supervision by somebody who isn't the spotter.

Owning a longer trailer, bizarrely, helps. It's easy to see where the unit is going and they turns smooth and gentle on the three axles.
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:31 PM   #24
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great gesture with the grass seed but use a metal tin because mice LOVE grass seed!

if i'm a spotter i like to carry a whistle in case my voice isn't heard. it works great when a diesel is running or the driver has tired ears ;-)
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:48 PM   #25
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I have backed my bass boat now a ton of times and it feels pretty natural to me at this point...my older brother was just going on and on about "well a 30 foot trailer aint no bass boat trailer".....well no s#$t sherlock

I think I am getting the whole track idea right now Paula thanks...if you follow that track with the TV/TT then you will...well...be on track....makes sense to me now...not sure why I was having a hard time getting that...extension cord is a good idea...as are flash lights (I only have 2 flash lights right now that I will have with me...seems like most folks have 10 lol - I have a head lamp type and a small led type - oh and an LED lantern).
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:49 PM   #26
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My recommendation is to watch the following:
The Long, Long Trailer (1953) - YouTube
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:50 PM   #27
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"I had the same experience at a Cracker Barrel a long time ago"

Oh man, and THAT is the kind of horrifically embarassing thing I want to avoid!! And I could see me doing that on accident....ugh....

That dieselboss site looks good...Ill have to file that one away!

Refilling at half of a tank...man that seems excessive...BUT....it does make since if you consider that you may end up having to pass a couple places improper for pulling into...
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:51 PM   #28
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Lumatic...I now own the DVD

The wife and I thought it was excessively cheesy...but I find myself thinking more about it and constantly referencing it....

The "right there" part was the funniest..."no I meant right there left"

**another thing I did not like about watching that movie with my wife is she kinda felt like it made her a tad less interested in the whole idea...although she grew up RV'ing some, it made her feel rather anxious....would have been nice to play up the couple enjoying camping a bit, lol***
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