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Old 11-13-2012, 09:40 PM   #21
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very wise.

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Originally Posted by megan View Post
You guys have been great. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the comprehensive advice! I've asked my father in law if he can drive us-over the road truck driver-but if he can't, I'm going to stay home. I should keep my family together for the holiday anyway. I will, however, seek out some training and start practicing on my own here at home. Unfortunately, I don't have enough time before Sunday to get any hours in. But, I do not want to ever be stuck and I don't want to be at the mercy of my husband if I want to go go go. Which is all the time. Thanks for all the great advice!
the safety of yourself, your family, your trailer and others on the road is most important. practice, learn and enjoy.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:11 PM   #22
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Mountain driving

Having just made this trip, the 20 or so miles off I-40 to Gatlinburg really cannot qualify as mountain driving. It is a mildly curvy 2 lane road with only gentle elevation changes that should not be difficult. Caveat... make very sure you approach via I-77 to I-40; going over through Smoky Mtn. Natl. Park from I-85 will put you on true mountain roads that will make the highest point in Florida look like the highway overpass it probably is, and not the place to learn. And... that tempting little road out of Robbinsville is the Tail of the Dragon, never recommended for trailers.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:35 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megan View Post
I will, however, seek out some training and start practicing on my own here at home. Unfortunately, I don't have enough time before Sunday to get any hours in. But, I do not want to ever be stuck and I don't want to be at the mercy of my husband if I want to go go go. Which is all the time.
If I may be so presumptuous…

A great way to get in some practice, but probably not until AFTER Christmas, is to go to the local shopping mall, before any of the stores open, and just tool around in the parking lot. Plenty of room to practice left and right turns, backing up straight, backing around a turn, all the maneuvers you need to know, and not much harm to be done if you cross the painted lines by accident. Your first time, get an experienced person (your mister?) to take you over there, so that you also have someone to give you directions for backing.

You'll even have a chance to practice hitching up and unhitching, if you like. If the mall parking lot isn't perfectly flat, you can even practice putting the trailer up on leveling blocks. In any event, try to keep your training sessions down to two hours or less per day. Any more than that and fatigue will detract from your learning ability.

By practicing in the mall parking lot, you also avoid heckling audiences, except possibly a security guard who should leave you alone after you explain what you're doing and why.

When you've gained enough confidence in the shopping mall parking lot, then you'll be ready to tow the trailer home in traffic and park it on your home turf. When you reach that point, you should be ready to try towing for a trip.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:50 AM   #24
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We stayed at that Jellystone a couple years ago and absolutely loved it. If you decide to make the trip, I wouldn't worry the least about setting up camp when you get there. The park is owned by a family who came back to the area (he's a retired police officer if I remember correctly) and they are quite possibly some of the nicest and most helpful we've run into in our travels. I'm sure they will go out of their way to assist you once you get there.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:55 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
If I may be so presumptuous…

A great way to get in some practice, but probably not until AFTER Christmas, is to go to the local shopping mall, before any of the stores open, and just tool around in the parking lot. Plenty of room to practice left and right turns, backing up straight, backing around a turn, all the maneuvers you need to know, and not much harm to be done if you cross the painted lines by accident. Your first time, get an experienced person (your mister?) to take you over there, so that you also have someone to give you directions for backing.

You'll even have a chance to practice hitching up and unhitching, if you like. If the mall parking lot isn't perfectly flat, you can even practice putting the trailer up on leveling blocks. In any event, try to keep your training sessions down to two hours or less per day. Any more than that and fatigue will detract from your learning ability.

By practicing in the mall parking lot, you also avoid heckling audiences, except possibly a security guard who should leave you alone after you explain what you're doing and why.

When you've gained enough confidence in the shopping mall parking lot, then you'll be ready to tow the trailer home in traffic and park it on your home turf. When you reach that point, you should be ready to try towing for a trip.
Excellent suggestion. Taking some orange traffic cones would be useful as well. You can simulate lanes and turns. Important to learn how wide to take turns, how to keep the rig centered in lanes, etc.

Orange cones are cheap at the Dollar Store.

Good Luck!
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:42 AM   #26
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OP: Maybe I missed it, but - Is there some reason why your Husband can not teach you to drive and maintain the rig?
I spent many years single handling on cruising blue water sail boats and used to come across couples on boats all the time. It absolutely amazed me how many of the wife’s were basically nothing but passengers and cooks. In an emergency they were helpless, not knowing even the basics of ship handling and maintaining all the onboard systems. The stress level on those boats was terrible for all involved. On the other hand there were other boats where all onboard could take over at any time. The attitudes and stress levels were 180 degrees out from those other boats. Emergencies can happen at any time and all onboard need to be able to step up and do what needs to be done for the safety of everyone involved. This applies to travel trailers as well as boats. Preaching over.
Good Luck and I hope you can still find it in yourself to do what needs to be done and safely make your planned trip.
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:53 AM   #27
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Just remember, "The right lane is your friend." Have a grand time.
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:54 AM   #28
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You can do it ...
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:57 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megan View Post
You guys have been great. ........ I will, however, seek out some training and start practicing on my own here at home. Unfortunately, I don't have enough time before Sunday to get any hours in. But, I do not want to ever be stuck and I don't want to be at the mercy of my husband if I want to go go go. Which is all the time. Thanks for all the great advice!
Excellent, Megan.

I may just be being overly sensitive but I often get a kind of old fashioned feel of "men drive, wifey does the cooking" in the RV world, and it's absolute nonsense in the twenty-first century, of course.

There's no black art to towing a trailer, or driving anything for that matter, it can all be learned and then improved with practice. It's the same for a man as it is for a woman.

So come on girls, get behind that wheel and show the boys just how easy it is, given the training and requisite practice, naturally.

Mrs Toad doesn't often tow but she can and has done, and every bit as well as anyone else I know that tows. Backing up the trailer isn't her greatest strength, but neither is backing up the car, it just needs a tad more practice I think
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:04 AM   #30
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I agree. Learn to pull, turn and back in an empty parking lot and then take some shorter trips to get the feel of it. The mountains are not as bad as Atlanta, and once you get off the freeway going to Jellystone, it really is only a curvy road. Take your time, learn how to do it, and then go for it!

We are all here pulling for you!
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:04 AM   #31
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My wife takes her friends out in our rig all the time... yeah, sometimes it is worrisome, but life is for living, not worrying about a dent in a piece of metal...
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:40 PM   #32
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:56 PM   #33
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You can do it, but this is not necessarily the right time.

I've towed our 25' trailer solo, along a winding, hilly road with steep sides on the right and the ocean crashing on rocks far below on my left. It took concentration and care, but wasn't technically difficult.

Backing trailers into place just takes practice and more practice. I came from a lifetime of occasionally pulling various things behind trucks, so pulling the Airstream solo wasn't that much of a stretch. It does take time, though, to learn where the wheels go when taking corners or backing, and those aren't things best learned under pressure.

It is important for all adults on a trip to be able to manage the rudiments of the job. That's a safety issue. It also boosts your empathy and communication when someone else is driving.
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:10 PM   #34
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I feel your pain

of not being able to make the trip because hubby can't......I did hook up our rig and took it by myself--once---it is a lot of work on your own.....but I am glad I did it and feel much more comfortable about driving.....backing up is still not mastered but on rallies, there are always folks to help with that.

Now, I have purchased a 1982 24' Motorhome to use when my husband is not available...still fixing it up so will let you know how that works out in the future.....paula
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:43 PM   #35
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Well, did you wind up going?
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:57 PM   #36
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Megan, I did not read all the threads. We just bought a 27' AS in NJ and we live in Denver. We had never towed a thing in our lives. After our walk thru my husband handed me the keys. I was so scared you could't imagine. I took the keys and away I went. 5 hours later, 4 toll booths, 2 major bridges, 3 states and mostly at night-I did it!!! I got over the fear in about 2 hrs. Go for it!! I love towing it now. We drove 1839 miles home. No fear now!!! Would love to hear about your adventure!!
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:48 AM   #37
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It's an old thread, but it reminded me how important is was for my wife to be an equal partner in the "hook and tow." I trained her right from the start to know every aspect of the operation. She only drives about 25% of the miles, but she is a great driver, and confident about towing. She can do a full hook/unhook, and as my spotter she can back me into a sliver of a spot. I am generally surprised by how few couples we meet who have a woman that shares towing.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:44 AM   #38
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No, we didn't go. Adam was worried about the breaks and my friends all said the mountains were way to steep to try it. We are going someplace close on Tuesday, so I'm going to practice pulling her then. I don't know that Rosie will ever see the mountains, it scares the hooey out of both of us!
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:01 AM   #39
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Phoenix, thanks for the info!
Wondered when to use low gear. good explanation.
I will be towing for the first time with a new truck for Picacho peak rally.
Only 50 miles away and I am 3 miles from highway.
Going to practice turns and backing up on Christmas day in local business parking lot.
Talking to people about towing is interesting, some will freak you out and others will be encouraging. Tells you more about them than towing!
I am more concerned about getting the airstream attached to truck properly!
(I am a lone gal on the loose too!)
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:22 AM   #40
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It is a good thing to be careful

There are enough scary stories about misses and non misses of accidents to know it is prudent to be knowledgeable about hooking up and towing. There are so many other crazy drivers that feel it is smart to dart in front of you when your stopping distance is huge....That said, towing is not rocket science and anyone who wants to do it can, IMHO. I have done it all by myself and while I can do it, I prefer to have a partner.....there are so many things to remember that it takes a lot of focus.....to remember everything. It does get easier with practice.

I encourage everyone to get comfortable with towing....you never know when you are going to need to have that skill. paula
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