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Old 09-09-2012, 08:52 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by c_lewis77 View Post
Look at this video that Sean made regarding backing. He really does a great job explaining the technique.

A lot of it is just getting a good feel for it and more importantly ...be patient and take the time you need. It is easy to get frustrated and sour the start of your adventure.
I am usually backing in by myself... I use the goal method (get out and look). Often fellow rv'ers are ki.d enough to spot me when they see me backing solo (always a generous bunch). My back in and set up time is getti.g quicker and quicker each time.
I like that idea! I am definitely trying it next time I park. Thanks!
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:12 PM   #22
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I like that idea! I am definitely trying it next time I park. Thanks!
I have used this technique to get my big 34 in some very interesting spots! I am about 56' nose to tail when hooked up!
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:30 PM   #23
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Last week I did my first back in with my wife's Overlander. I had to back it into a RV garage that did not have a straight approach. My 20 years of backing horse trailers may have come in handy, butt backing this combo, 29 foot Airstream and Ford Expedition, was the easiest park job I have ever done. In retrospect, I did exactly what was shown in the above video!
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:35 PM   #24
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There have been a lot of great tidbits here. We also use signals. But, they are ARM signals. The movements are large so that I can see my wife's signals clearly. The arm on the side to which she wants me to move rotates from her knee to over her head, if she wants me to go straight then both arms make the wave. Finally, she crosses both arms in front of her when she wants me to stop. Of course, this mandates that she must be in view of the mirror.
I also believe in taking my time, and getting out and scouting the area.

On our return from Alaska last year, we stopped in Coopers Town, NY. We arrived late and one mile from the state park encountered a Jersey Barrier with a sign that stated "road closed 3 miles ahead". We proceeded to the park and spent a relaxing night. The next morning, I checked the map and saw that it would be shorter towards our destination to continue on the road we had come in on the previous night. I forgot about the road closed sign. The road was a narrow country road, could not even be called a two lane blacktop. Reaching the road block, we had no option but to back down two miles as there were no intersections or driveways suitable for backing into and turning around. What worked in this situation was for my wife to walk about 20 feet behind the AS and act as a 'target' toward which I directed the trailer.

Is there a Guinness Book record for backing up for the longest distance? Maybe I should apply.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:41 PM   #25
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Great little video about "The Scoop" - I've forwarded to my wife and back-up "coach" who still is terrified of backing up herself. All the tips here about your backup coach needing to communicate with you, in words, and to be in sight of the driver - it's all great stuff. We had some "dicey" communication issues when first learning to back into our at-home parking spot as well as some interesting camping spots.

When we visited the Gunflint Pines campground up in Minnesota two weeks ago (wonderful place, by the way), owner Bob said his teenage son mastered backup skills at the age of 12 with his toy trucks and trailers. When it came time to back up a real trailer at 14 he had the concepts down pat from his toy trucks. His son has taken the wheel for many campers who were stymied trying to back down to the boat ramp on Gunflint Lake.

So --- does anybody out there know where I can find toy trucks and trailers that steer? I'd get a set for my wife to learn with.

Thanks.
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:31 PM   #26
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Another practice setup is a riding mower and a small trailer. That's how I learned.
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:39 PM   #27
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I was so excited about the reality of an AS and then it hit us like a rock on the windshield: driving, backing up, parking (leveling, etc.) would be an everyday reality and I wanted to ask the forum what the learning curve is for this "reality" and how time intensive the process of parking and setting up REALLY is ...
When people totally unfamiliar with trailers show up here, I suggest e renting an inexpensive moving trailer from U-haul and driving around with it, and backing, to get some idea what's to come.

There are some people who never figure it out, probably around 10%, and they end up selling their trailer and either leaving RVing entirely or getting a class C.

Quote:
Also, how do you deal with difficult parking situations, do you typically "scout" lots before you pull in, or ???
It would be rare indeed that I would be unable to park in a developed campground intended for use by RVs. So, I don't scout, unless I believe there's likely to be something dodgy about the site. This might happen if it's a county campground, or a forest road, or private property.

On our most recent trip, we arrived fairly late at night and I backed into a tight-fitting site with obstacles with minimal fuss and with only parking lights (for courtesy) while a group of people from the next campsite watched. They came over afterwards and offered us jello shots as a peace offering because they felt guilty having figured that I would provide them with much more entertainment than I actually did. I have also had people break out into applause after I park.

So this isn't my cross to bear.

I do realize, though, that some people have a hell of a time with it.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:33 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c_lewis77
Look at this video that Sean made regarding backing. He really does a great job explaining the technique.

A lot of it is just getting a good feel for it and more importantly ...be patient and take the time you need. It is easy to get frustrated and sour the start of your adventure.
I am usually backing in by myself... I use the goal method (get out and look). Often fellow rv'ers are ki.d enough to spot me when they see me backing solo (always a generous bunch). My back in and set up time is getti.g quicker and quicker each time.
Thank you for this video! Will use "the scoop" technique on our upcoming maiden voyage. We are VERY nervous!!!
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:15 PM   #29
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I drive for my living (at present, again, as in past). Getting out and walking back to see how the 18-wheeler should be angled is standard operating practice. This is on oilfield drilling rig pad sites. Plenty of dangerous stuff. Plenty of valuable stuff. On the one hand I have no time to waste. Getting the combination into position (when I am under a pneumatic trailer delivering bulk product) is the place where I can lose the most time (short of finding the mud engineer, ha!) as the unloading time can be affected by hose length necessary . . sometimes this can be "made better" by better positioning. The temptation is strong, all around.

An "overhead view" (imagine that you are seeing the site without obstructions from an aerial viewpoint) is a great help. How much to move the steering wheel is second, as learning when to start following the trailer -- versus angling it -- is the secret to best backing success. A few of my co-workers are flat awesome. Some old, some young. I'm middling good on my best days (is how I see it). A regular scan back & forth from mirror to mirror works well. Not the over the shoulder stuff.

With this said, I have no pride in doing it all in one set of maneuvers. I get out, sometimes again and again. Just one little crunch is all it takes.

I bring all this up as I strongly recommend -- in trip planning -- to "observe" fuel stops with Google Streetview or Bing Birdseye to see ingress and egress points. I choose fuel stops on several criterion, first among them is the above. Second -- of a lower order of importance -- is that the fuel stop be along my route of travel direction and past any stop/stoplight to re-enter the frontage road to the highway entrance.

The combined practice of having an order of importance and trip planning itself is that decisions concerning backing are answered prior to turning the key to start the engine (the trip). And it is why I'd always recommend daylight travel where arrival is scheduled prior not to dusk, but to sundown itself (see GAISMA).

The same does not always apply to campgrounds, but observance of overhead and other visual restrictions before the maneuvers begin is best practice. Avoid blind-side backing would be the only restriction, IMO. That, indeed, takes set communication rules & practice with a spotter. On the rigs some drilling companies have this requirement. And for this reason:

Take it for granted that no one else is paying attention. They may wander into your line of travel unaware of what you are doing . . even if it seems obvious that they've seen you.

We've a few other truck drivers around here, and they've made insightful comments on this (as well as other aspects of backing, mirror use, etc) on other threads in this line. Good stuff.

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Old 10-16-2012, 07:47 PM   #30
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I've had my 2012 28' Intl for a year now. It's been on several long hauls (last one was 3,200 miles). Did some practice in an empty parking lot when I first got it, and little by little have gained confidence in backing. One particular "adventure" was backing out of a narrow driveway into a narrow lane and then into a narrow street. As others have said (and I'll echo!), take your time. Learning to follow the trailer just takes practice, and I think a lot about HOW I'll back in before I do it. Other major learning: before you pull in for gas check out the pump orientation AND the distance it'll take to pull forward and turn to successfully get out of a filling station. I bypass quite a few stations that clearly have NOT been designed for folks pulling trailers, and suggest you do the same....especially after having had to back out of a few. For overnights, I'll usually go for a pull thru -- don't unhitch, just get level. I LOVE my Airstream and these Forums are a huge help.
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Old 11-22-2012, 06:10 PM   #31
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Last February when I bought my AS I had lined up an RV storage company to keep it. It was a carport. A few weeks later, my father's boss told me I could keep it in the company garage for free. I jumped on that one. The surprise was getting the AS into the garage. The door is 9.5' wide. That leaves 6" clearance on each side when I back the airstream in the garage. It may sound like a lot but from the mirror 40' away it looks awful close. I am still learning but I have gotten better at it. The awning side is even closer to the door edge.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:10 PM   #32
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This helps when I have no DW on the pad.....

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Old 11-22-2012, 09:50 PM   #33
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This helps when I have no DW on the pad.....

Bob
Hi, if you are slow at parking or just take your sweet time, you could use 30 weight motor oil for marking the line. This way it will stay longer.
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:40 PM   #34
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Easier shown than told. If you are ever out in the Antelope Valley send me a PM and we'll show you how and you can practice a bit.
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:44 PM   #35
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This helps when I have no DW on the pad.....

Bob
So that's where the used beer went after a day on the lake. Ingenious. Never understood why wives disapprove of that whole going-in-the-backyard thing. Contradicts the don't-wear-those-dirty-shoes-into-the-house thing.

I see we need a Designated Drinker from hereon.

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