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Old 08-27-2012, 02:18 PM   #15
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Hi, my wife has learned to help me park at campsites. I survey the site and let her know where I want to be. The only signals that I need are, come back, and stop. In a few cases, I need her to point in the direction that the rear of my trailer needs to go. My brother was helping me park my trailer at his neighbor's house and he brought out some radios; Both were turned on and on the same channel. I was backing up and stopped because he didn't say anything. I was very close to a building. Found out the the radio that he tossed into my tow vehicle had the volume turned way down. When parking at home, I rather do it all myself, with no help. I do quite well. We have no place to practice parking, so my practicing is OJT On the Job Training.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:32 PM   #16
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"P.S. In case no one has taught you this trick, try this:
Grip the bottom, center of the steering wheel instead of your normal grip.
To move the tail of the trailer right, move the bottom of the steering wheel right.
To move the tail of the trailer left, move the bottom of the steering wheel left.
Small adjustments are better than over-correcting, large adjustments."

Yep!!!!!!!! That was a pointer my brother gave me and I promptly came home to try it my first time out since that was passed on to me. I parked that trailer so perfect with effort but I danced for a week. Had a patient friend and female to help me. Couldn't wait to show my hubby.
Also, he wanted to take the truck to get a part for the tailgate and I asked him not yet or this time. I want to keep it hitched so I can practice. He is worried about the transmission and me wearing it out.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:19 PM   #17
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We use just four ARM signals. I cannot see hands in the rear view mirror. So, my wife's arm signals are not unlike those of a football ref motioning the start of the clock or the many other arm signals fans can see from anyplace in a stadium. The four signals are: move the trailer in the direction of one arm moving up and down, move the trailer straight back when both arms are moving up and down, stop when both arms are crossed in front of her chest. Simple, quiet, no shouting. If she moves to where I can't see her I stop. She knows the situation and corrects her position.

We have to back down our 100+ foot driveway that is only 10.5 feet wide with trees on one side and stone wall on the other.

Practice makes perfect
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:24 PM   #18
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We use radios and comunicate the direction with the words drivers side and passenger side.

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Old 08-27-2012, 05:05 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BessieB View Post
I kept wanting to learn how to park the Airstream, and the few times I got to try it with my husband coaching and losing what little patience he had I never got anywhere. So I told him I want to practice parking the trailer. He would just disappear and think I was going to drop the subject. So I called my mother to see if she would come over and help. It's easier to have someone help you hitch up, right?
So anyway, got it hitched which I can do and then started the circles in the back yard with the instructions copied from the manual. Mom directing. First park from left side and then the right. Half hour and it was perfect!!!!
Went out again today and 15 minutes, not perfect, but I did it left and right.
So until I need to drive the truck somewhere, I will continue to practice until I unhitch it.
Hubby says I should never have to back up just always use pull thrus, like life will always give me that perfect pull thru?
So I'm getting the concept, well better at it anyway.

I'm no pro at this - but have found a few secrets that usually keep me out of trouble:
  • always get out - scout where you want to go - where you want to stop - and scope out what you need to do.
  • don't ask your spotter to guide you - ask your spotter to tell you if you are getting off track - and when to stop (please note that "when to stop" is an important point .....)
  • back-up slowly - keep your perspective at all times
  • as soon as you lose perspective on where you are - then stop - get out - re-orient yourself - and pick-up where you left off.
And, of course, you need to recognize that Murphy's law has special significance when backing up with an audience - and the larger the audience - the more impact it has ......


Jay
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:28 PM   #20
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Glad for the practice

Well my mom and I just got home from our excursion to Silver Lake, Ca. Mom mentioned Kirkwood Lake so we headed on down, but as I went down the road, there was a sign that I didn't see that said "not recommended for trailers" No kidding!!!! So I came to a parking lot and pulled in for position to turn around. Didn't dare go into the campground, some can be narrow and pickles so without scouting, didn't dare go in. So I had to put my practice to serious exercise. Whew!!! I did it!!!!! Back into a boondock spot and now parked in the yard. I am just too impressed with myself.
Also glad that I had the generator with us, had to use it a few times, which is a first for me. Use that heater and down goes the juice.
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:10 PM   #21
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Wow BessieB! I'm really impressed with you! I'm still working up the courage to try what you are doing. Don't own an Airstream yet but will within the next year. I'm still in the "negotiating period" with my husband to let me drive it and park it once we do get it. I've been married long enough to know that I had to start working on him now before we get the Airstream :-)
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:27 PM   #22
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Airstream today, tomorrow the guns

Well Sierra Fun. My husband doesn't like me going out on my own or learning all the important stuff, but I will let him handle the plumbing for sure. But I think it is a guy thing that I shouldn't have to want to learn how to back up and such.
Same thing goes for the guns. This weekend my daughter and I are taking a class on shooting and handling our guns and rifles. You should have seen my husband's reaction when I told him to show us the ammo and the guns that we are to use and which rifle. He was not a happy airstreamer for sure. What do we want to handle a gun or rifle for? Another guy thing I guess. You know that sig is a mighty impressive looking gun? Taking the pistol also.
So trailers and guns, stepping on my hubby's toes.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:48 PM   #23
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I pretty much insisted my wife should know how to drive the rig as well as I do. Which means - back it into tight spots, make u-turns, hitch and unhitch, everything A to Z. For me, it was a safety precaution.

For some reason, women get a bad rap on this business of backing trailers. It is assumed that it's harder for them to learn to back a trailer than a man. Why, I don't know. But it is not true, of course. Backing a trailer is not difficult. There are only a few things to know in terms of actual technique. Once you know them, you practice them.

We use hand signals only, no talking of any kind. There's simply no need for talking. It only confuses and creates frustration. I can follow my wife's hand signals into any conceivable space a trailer can be backed into. Usually on one try. She knows where to stand, what the signals are, and how the trailer moves relative to the car. That's it - nothing else to learn.

Others have different systems, I am sure. But my system is dead simple.
  • Make sure you can see me (driver) in the mirror. If you can't see me, I can't see you.
  • Always be pointing to where the ARSE END of the trailer needs to go. I'll worry about the TV, you just guide the tail end.
  • The "straight back" sign means the tail end is "centered along the path we want the trailer to lie in."
It works for us every time and we don't wind up making a scene and yelling. Then we can sit back, have an iced tea and listen to OTHER people making a scene! (just kidding).



She is still practicing the driving, and I expect she'll have it down pat very soon.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:57 PM   #24
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Yeah, it's not a guy thing. I want my wife to be as capable towing our trailer as I am. You just never know what's going to happen out there. She can handle going forward without a problem, and she had some practice backing up but hasn't done it a lot.
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:08 PM   #25
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Learning Curve

Hi BessieB! I'm glad I'm not the only one. My husband seems to think that women driving trucks and trailers and shooting guns look like...well...how should I say this...like the kind of women that like to get real friendly with other women

Anyway, glad to hear that some of the men on this thread don't have a problem with it! I'll have to use the safety angle
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:07 PM   #26
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just replying

Tooooo Funny Sierrafun. My daughter may be going for police work plus being young, attractive, and single may make a target of some nasty. Plus if ever I take the trailer on my own, it would be nice to be armed if need be.
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:02 AM   #27
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Years ago I had a serious illness when camping. We were in a Westy, and the wife hadn't driven it yet. We were way the heck up in the mountains. She had to just jump in and drive a funny type of thing she had never driven. That's when I realized I'd never want that to happen again. And a trailer is a lot more than a Westy.

So, when we got the AS we agreed she'd become an ace driver too. Also it feels more equitable all the way around. I want to know I could catch a few Z's with her driving and not have to keep one eye on the road. Anyone can pull a trailer in a straight line at 60MPH on the Interstate. It's all the REST of it that I want her to know. Mountain driving, rain, tight quarters, gassing.

I have noticed though that not many couples do it this way.
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:29 AM   #28
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We indulge in occasional yelling and screaming. It doesn't back up the trailer more efficiently, but psychologists say it is very healthy to release your pent-up emotions.

Maybe for our next remote boondocking site we will bring along a chainsaw to remove any brush, branches, or small trees that get in the way of our backing operation.

(Just kidding, just kidding.)
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