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Old 06-24-2007, 02:32 PM   #15
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2006 16' International CCD
Nashville , Tennessee
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Get out and practice between pylons and remember in most places you will camp you will have friendly neighbors who will gladly help you get situated. I have had people come out at midnight to help me back in. Trailer people are
a nice bunch. Just jump in and it will all work out
Don Cook

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Old 06-24-2007, 03:25 PM   #16
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Thanks, Don. I realize the folks on this forum are the same ones I'll be meeting in the field. I can tell they all seem to want to help newcomers.

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Old 08-25-2007, 08:41 AM   #17
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1996 34' Excella
Mapleton , Oregon
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Here is a cheap tip.Do not drive paralell to a truck rig with a overhanging load(other than passing!) If he makes a turn away from you his load will project into your lane and hit your trailer (log trucks for intanse!)
Greoge K.
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Old 08-25-2007, 09:33 AM   #18
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Thanks,! I was expecting your last post to say, "Burma Shave". I hope you aren't speaking from experience.
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Old 08-25-2007, 05:59 PM   #19
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Tucson , Arizona
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I shared your trepidation when we first got our 19' Bambi. I had towed a trailer when I was in my teens a million years ago, when we used hand brakes...but nothing recently. I was really nervous about it. We got a quick lesson at the dealership where we bought it and then we were on our own. The first time we brought it home, I entertained the whole neighborhood for at least 45 minutes just tryng to get it backed into our driveway...I thought I'd never get the hang of it! But I did.

We did go to an empty parking lot to practice, which helped a lot. The old hint of "hand at the bottom of the steering wheel, then move your hand in the direction you want the tail of the trailer to go"...really works. A few more trips out and backing into camping sites and the driveway and it's gotten easier. I can now back it into an 11' space between the house and the fence. In fact, not too long ago, after I'd backed the Bambi into its resting place at our house in a matter of minutes, the neighbor who'd watched me that first day home came over and congratulated me on my new-found skill!

The shorter the trailer, by the way, the harder they are to back up because the pivot point comes much quicker, and they react sooner. Just take it slow and if it's not going where you want it to go, pull forward and try again...try to keep the TV in front of the trailer to follow it in ocne the basic turn is made.

Oh. One other thing...insist that your partner or other half practice the backing up thing, too, so they know what you're dealing makes for far better empathy and undestanding when yo are backing it in! Having tried it themselves, they are less likely to get frustrated with you as you learn the tricks and get more comfortable with it!

On the road, give yourself plenty of stopping room, keep an eye on your mirrors and pay attention to what's going on around you. Airstreams track very well, you'll fine.

Good luck!
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Old 08-25-2007, 07:07 PM   #20
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Thanks, for the encouragement. I have the truck, now I need the trailer. As soon as the right one comes along, we be on the road.
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Old 08-25-2007, 08:49 PM   #21
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A good idea if you have a CB in your TV. Have your backing partner use a walkie talkie so you can stay in touch when they go to the other side to check on your clearance of any obstacles. Remember to have them keep looking up for branches and power lines. Make sure you both are using the same hand signals so you don't turn left when they mean stop.If it's dark, they can use a flash light projected on the driver's side of the AS. A moving light means keep coming back, a light aimed at driver means stop. Don't be afraid or embarassed if you need to pull ahead & reposition yourself 18 times to get the AS parked safely. It will get easier the move you do it. My wife & I used all of these methods when we started team driving a big rig cross country. Aim for a pull through parking spot whenever possible.
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Old 08-25-2007, 10:05 PM   #22
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Download that PDF file on towing tips and study it.

Hook up your new Airstream, tow it to the class in Idaho.

By the time you go from Georgia to Idaho you'll know almost as much as the instructor.

That's the way most of us learned. You'll do fine.
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Old 08-25-2007, 11:00 PM   #23
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Dick Reed's RV School

We invested 2 days attending the Dick Reed's RV School soon after getting our 27' Overlander and it was the best investment we have was a private one on two (one teacher and 2 of us) in our rig from 9am to 3 pm....we had a lot of fun as well as learned alot. Our particular teacher winters in Palmdale, CA and summers in Arizona or the other way around--I can't remember which. My husband didn't "need" to go to RV school but he admits now that is was a great takes alot of the worry out of towing if you haven't grown up towing stuff...and I feel comfortable taking my turn at the wheel as well...I will be happy to tell you more if you want to pm me....pj
Paula & Ed
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1968 28'Ambassador
2011 GMC Yukon Denali
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Old 08-26-2007, 08:05 AM   #24
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Slim, I've been backing travel trailers for over twenty years. All of the advice that's been given is sound. I want to pass on one more thing... we pretty much all back our trailers for a couple of weeks a year, and maybe a couple more weekends. Most of us get really comfortable and proficient at the end of the two-weeks of vacation. Then we park it and don't practice again until the next time we tow. And then, just like after a long layoff from playing golf, we can't do it well at all.

Don't panic. More importantly, don't get frustrated. Take your time each time, think about where you want the rear of the trailer to be, and what you need to do to get it there, and then do it slowly. If you screw up (trust me I do it at least once on ever back-up) just stop, pull forward a few feet, and back it up again the right way. Slooooooow and easy will get it done every time. Hurrying causes wierd problems and... dents.

I have a good friend who has a ton of Airstreams who does, in fact, put on driving seminars at WBCCI rallies, and towing and backing seminars specifically for women. Her website, if you'd like to contact her, is

Good luck. You'll do fine!

AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
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Old 08-26-2007, 09:32 AM   #25
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You'll be fine

First, a 3/4 ton truck with a 4,000lb camper is a great place to start. That configuration is the least likely to have any sudden and uncontrolable trailering fun.
Second, the fact that you are paying attention to being inexperienced is your best asset. Remember the line from "The Outlaw Josie Wales" - a man has to know his limitations. A balance between "no worries" and "constand anxiety" is the goal. Alert attentiveness is the best state of mind.
Finally, all of the advice here is valuable. When I have taught folks driving technique, I tend to work to the extremes in small steps. What does the system (truck, trailer & weight distribution) do under straight line braking, braking in turns and the like. It is all about feel and knowing what the system is going to do. Really, the only way to learn to drive with a trailer is to.... drive with a trailer. Just like motorcycling, picking the venue while you are learning is important. Picking trips that don't get in heavy traffic and on good roads will help
Donna & Mike
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Old 08-26-2007, 10:31 AM   #26
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1994 28' Excella
, Georgia
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My wife and I recently joined the WBCCI(TOG Unit) and during the New Member orientation class (approx 30-45 min) the officers discussed having some classes at upcoming rallies. Not only for the new members but for older ones also. Things like towing, trailer maintence and safety etc... You may want to contact them to see if they have it on schedule yet??
You are dead on with going with a 3/4 ton Trk, our trailer weights 6,300 lbs plus and I tow with a 1/2 and a 3/4 ton depending on the destination.
The 3/4 ton will definetly be a plus in a bad situation.

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Old 08-26-2007, 11:19 AM   #27
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2007 25' Safari FB SE
Lake Forest , Illinois
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Originally Posted by SlimJim
I'm not exactly sure which category this should be under but I have not been able to find any other threads on the subject.

I have been reading this forum for several months in preparation for buying an AS. I can be pretty analytical at times. You all have convinced me that I will be better served with a 3/4 ton truck and plan to buy one in the next few weeks. I'm looking for a nearly new 23' Safari but who knows when I will find exactly the right one.

Meanwhile, I have some reservations about towing. I have pulled small motorcycle trailers long ago but this is a different level all together. I have some concerns about backing into a camp site and driving in heavy traffic. When I started riding a motorcycle, I attended the new riders course and learned the basics. It seems like there should be the same type of training for new trailer owners. I Googled the subject and found many courses but they were all in Europe. I know I can get in a large parking lot and practice, and I probably will do that, but does anyone know of any formal training that may be available on towing trailers?
I also had your concerns. I am new at this as it is our first year. There is alot of advice on the Forum and I have tried to learn from my mistakes, of which there have been many.For what its worth I have learned to drive and turn slowly. I do not rely on my wife as she could watch the trailer go into a tree and then tell me I made a mistake. No kidding. So I hitch up by myself and back up by myself. I did buy handheld radios but I soon learned that they require an observant person on both ends. So they are now in a drawer. MOST importantly I learned from experience if you are going to pull an AS of 25 or longer the type of hitch is critical and although I may be biased I would not tow without an Hensely Arrow even though they are pricey. Further unlike what I learned at the dealer there is a lot of checking that must be done before going on a trip.It is time consuming but essential. I check all tires (purchased a conpressor), check the torgue on the bolts of the Hensley( yes they do get loose)check the remainder of the hitch components, check signal lights, etc. My biggest disappointment has been the inferior onboard black tank cleaner. It is worthless andnow before going home I have to spend 3/4 of an hour flushing the tank. Its a pain. I received a lot of confedence knowing that I was leaving after a careful checking system. I have found that campers are very willing to help one another and the Forums rallys are a great place to start. Good Luck and enjoy your AS. As with evrything else in life confidence comes with time and experience.

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