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Old 11-04-2013, 07:36 PM   #43
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Re: Spotters / /going slower

I am almost always solo ... and that's when the "volunteer spotters" come out of the woodwork. They want to help. They need to help. They're all well intentioned, but their skill level varies. And if there's a big ding, it's not their trailer. So I ALWAYS get out and look. Several times when backing into tight spots. Even if there's traffic wanting me to get the heck out of the way so they can get on down the line. Even if there are two volunteers confidently waving me on in.

I think the biggest tip I can give anyone is just to slow down. In every way. On the road, it's a lot easier to have folks dealing with passing you than for you to worry about passing them and getting back into the right lane cleanly. It also saves fuel and brake lining material. Pulling into fuel stops, restaurants, etc. going very, very slowly gives you more time to eyeball the situation, and to abort if it looks bad. And backing into unknown parking spots (especially after dark), going slow and in increments lets you assess and reassess howgozit. You'll almost never come to grief by taking it slow and careful ... but trying to rush - you know how that come out!

Good luck with your new machine. You're gonna' love it.
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:56 PM   #44
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I've towed boats many years, both tandem and single axles. I was a bit concerned about towing our 28 International but it has been pretty easy, including backing up. Having the axles in the middle of the trailer seems to help. The biggest concern I have is afraid I will forget about something overhead and also the swing. So far, all has been good and the advice to just take it slowly is spot on.
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:07 PM   #45
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volunteer spotters on the fly would make me nervous...I would rather take my time solo than trust a random person I think....would need to establish effective communication practices with an individual and build up that confidence...some random holding their beer in one hand and waving with the other is not confidence inspiring

HeadWest...I said that earlier...I imagine it could be easy to forget about height clearance issues both when driving or backing...
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:33 PM   #46
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My advice was partilly covered here....I travel with grand hildren age 5 & 7 a few times a year. The rule of sacty for them is they must remain in car in seat belt during hitch and unhitch. They are not allowed to touch any buttons in tne trailer( that nice red li one sill turn off all power) and they are not allowed to flush toilet. I do that to protect my system and any quick flush release bevore all matter runs south.

I come off sounding like mean grammie sue, but really those couple of things keep everyone safe and systems working. I have fun grandchildren who think polishing the trailer is the best thing in life. Nice to get the low areS done!
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:51 PM   #47
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Two-way radio is an EXCELLENT idea! Low-cost alternative to the cost of running into a gas station awning or worse.
A good rule to implement: transmission never goes in reverse without a spotter in full view or with a radio.
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:57 PM   #48
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I always pre-plan my route whatever the destination. This includes fuel stops as well as rest areas. If traveling the interstates I use the Truck Master Fuel Finder website to locate anticipated fuel stops. By clicking on the truck stop name then scrolling down you can see a street view of the location. This can help choose the "friendlier" (access) truck stops. When not traveling interstates I use the street view in Google maps to locate fuel stops and preview how easily the stop can be accessed. Even when changing destitions in mid trip I take time to pre-plan my fuel stops for all changes in the route, especially in rural areas.
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:30 PM   #49
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I'm in awe of the planning and preparation some of you do; it's clearly a labour of love for you.

We travel mainly on the Interstate/Freeway/Motorway/Autoroute (trying to be inclusive here!) and use the service areas where possible for gas. They're normally large enough and usually designed with RVs in mind so entry to and exit from the pumps is generally easy. We discovered that the service areas in New Hampshire have no gas, only booze, but the gas stations off the Interstates were fine for access.

Up here in Ontario, specifically on the 401 between Windsor and Quebec Province, the service areas push RVs into the truck parking lots. This isn't an issue in terms of entry and exit but there's often no direct access to the gas pumps from the truck lot. I've found myself going the wrong way down an access road with the four-ways on, then doing a big 180 to get facing the right way to get to the gas. Someone in the planning department wasn't quite on the ball when they decided to route us RV's around the back with the truckers!
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:40 PM   #50
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If married to your "spotter", you will get lots of "help"! ;p

Seriously, just take your time. Like folks at a boat dock, only 3 launches per hour...but most important is yours. If you remember to put the plug in... Makes for great beer drinking while observing.

Really serious... Get a spotter, work out signals, do take your time, especially with your spotter!

I have cameras, but 30 feet away makes it hard to make out some things.
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:42 PM   #51
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Oh... Go rent a big moving trailer and pull around,,, practice parking, etc... Oh, DO GET THE OPTIONAL INSURANCE!!!
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:51 PM   #52
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Always get the wife to be a spotter.
It finally hit me today- when you're at an angle where you can't see the trailer, the tree, your wife or whatever- and you can't hear your wife- use the cell phone to communicate-
I think I am a good spotter- I coached an 80 year old lady driving a Ford 350 dually towing a 36' fifth wheel into a camping spot the first try- stabilizers on the pad, slides going out without hitting a tree, water, sewer, and electric reasonably close and all- on the first try-
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:41 AM   #53
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PharmGeek, have no worries about your Ram mirrors. They are quite adequate for the task.

You scoffed at the 1/2 tank refill strategy, but think about it this way. Your Ram has a 34-35 gallon tank which, even at 12 mpg, means you will have driven about three and a half hours (over 200 miles) if you departed on full. That is time to stop for food, bio break, or a stretch, especially with a family in tow. It is a time saver if you can do all that and refuel simultaneously. It will also leave you a buffer for those times when you least expect an issue. Call it "fuel in the bank."

Issues come in all forms when trailering. I've encountered three interstate accidents which left us stranded for 90 minutes or more, parked in sight of an exit that was unobtainable, while the weather was 90° or more. My wife and dogs were very happy I could leave the engine running and have the AC working as we waited on movement again.
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:04 AM   #54
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I refill when the light comes on- or 1/4 tank- whichever happens at the most convenient time. Sometimes I fill up wherever/whenever the gas is really cheap. Sometimes I fill up in my hometown because gas is usually less here than in surrounding towns. Gas is currently $2.95.9 here. I saw gas at $2.90.9 in Florence, MS yesterday.
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:43 AM   #55
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Yeah - I kinda forget about kids and stopping
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:34 AM   #56
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I use a spotter to keep me from backing into a immovable object. I also get out and look. I have learned the hard way. Don't be lazy or think your such an excellent driver you don't need to check. I am no longer interested in impressing the trailer chicks. Also avoids feeling really dumb while the trailer chicks snicker.
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