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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.....

Bob
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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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2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 9-cpm solo, 15-cpm towing
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
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