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Old 05-03-2010, 04:10 PM   #29
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2007 23' International CCD
Lapeer , Michigan
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Airstream Rally Driving School would be fun! Would be great to have the hitch and scale vendors on board. And how about an Airstream rodeo? Might even have a demolition derby for the shells that have been parted out. Any sponsors? Location?


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Old 05-03-2010, 04:18 PM   #30
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1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
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I agree with the advice you've gotten so far: back in the drivers seat and DRIVE! My daddy put me behind the wheel with a travel trailer on when I was 16, told me I could do anything I put my mind to, and he was right. I took the steps off of one of our trailers in a national park once, still hear about it, but that's ok. I've also driven through some of the worst and tightest road construction you've ever seen without a scratch. It's amazing what you can do when you have to! Get back out there!


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Old 05-03-2010, 04:19 PM   #31
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1957 26' Overlander
1956 22' Flying Cloud
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Rutherford Co. , North Carolina
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3 lefts=1 right, think about it.
that's your answer - move to NJ! you'll never make a right turn again!
(for those who don't know - the only 'right turns' in NJ are correct turns... haha )
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Old 05-03-2010, 04:48 PM   #32
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1974 31' Sovereign
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
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Originally Posted by wheel interested View Post
Airstream Rally Driving School would be fun! Would be great to have the hitch and scale vendors on board. And how about an Airstream rodeo? Might even have a demolition derby for the shells that have been parted out. Any sponsors? Location?
...I'll check with my boss... We have lots of gently winding, curvy roads all around where I work, and the pace of life is usually slow enough the locals will forgive the occasional faux-pas. Who could resist the temptation of "The overlander63 Driving School"?
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 05-03-2010, 04:57 PM   #33
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1967 26' Overlander
Upperco , Maryland
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Fear. It's easy to give advice, but I've spent enough time with folks with anxiety and panic disorders to know how powerful fear can be. It's easy to say "just jump back on the horse," but it can be tough to do. Don't be shy about seeking help, not only with driving, but with confidence and dealing with anxiety.

Everyone has different coping strategies. For me, I channel my inner red neck. My father is one of the most bull-headed men on the planet. To call him "mule headed" would do a terrible injustice to the breed. What I admire about my father, his utter belligerence in face of certain disaster. His attitude is... if I bought and paid for the damn thing, I'm by God entitled to push it over a cliff if I feel the urge.

This is the guy who... wait, let me set the scene. We're up in logging camp, living out of camper trailers. My father has a packrat living with him, somehow in the walls of the tinny "same old box." Every night... scratch, scratch, scratch. Rustle, rustle, rustle. After a few nights of having his "beauty sleep" interrupted, the old man loads up the shotgun. He waits in the dark, the dark heart of hunter until he hears, "scratch, scratch, scratch."

BOOM! He blows a hole right in the side of the trailer. With the smell of gunpowder, he rolls over. Just before he falls asleep.

"Rustle, rustle, rustle."

Out of sheer stubborness, he refused to fix the trailer. Ventilation, he called it. He never did get the packrat... though I am proud that we talked him out of his backup plan... lowering the trailer into the reservoir until the animal ran out of air.

You aren't doing brain surgery. You're pulling a trailer. It's going to get dinged. Accept it. Embrace it. It yours. Perfection is the franchise of the terminally parked. Adventurers, free spirits, the bellicose and belligerent, well, my friend, we bump into things.

Keep on camping. You're always welcome to the spot next to me.
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Old 05-03-2010, 06:12 PM   #34
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1977 27' Overlander
Trotwood , Ohio
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Please Dont be discouraged.It happens to the best of us. I have 45 yrs over the road experience with big trailers, little trailers and everything in between.and last yr after Detroit-Metro IT HAPPENED!! We moved to my sisters to stay a week and while backing across the highway and into her drive where she has a stone pad ,water and electric,I let myself be hurried by another driver and lost sight of the trailer on the right side. On that side is a set of steps with wood hand rails. YUP you guessed it,I now have damage on the right side at the luggage compartment that extends to the the rear of that panel. I am still crying. But it happens to all of us no matter how good we are,a momentary distraction caused me to loose site of what I was doing. DON'T LET ANYONE HURRY OR DISTRACT YOU from what you are doing.LET EM WAIT.
So GET UP and CLIMB back ON BOARD and keep on towin, it gets easier with practice.
Best of Luck to You
Roger & MaryLou
7.3 liter Power Stroke Diesel
1977 27ft OVERLANDER
AIR # 22336 TAC- OH-7
May your roads be straight and smooth and may you always have a tailwind!
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Old 05-03-2010, 06:43 PM   #35
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Indian Harbor Beach , Florida
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Posts: 182
WOW what a way to start...but hey another chapter for your book!! We are new to ASing too. There is a RV driving school called Dick Reeds RV driving school. Just google it and it will come up. I know people that have taken the class and became very confident towing a trailer or driving a big Class A. Don't give up the ship until you have explored all your options...you'll miss out on alot!
Good Luck in whatever you choose.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:43 PM   #36
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2012 20' Flying Cloud
La Habra , California
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One thing you can try is to rent a utility trailer about the length of your AS and practice with it. Its a lot cheaper to practice on then on your rig. Take it out to a big parking lot, Walmart maybe, early Sunday morning and go around parking cart locations, follow the roads inside the place, be creative you'll get it, everyone does. Good luck.
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Old 05-03-2010, 08:50 PM   #37
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
1972 25' Tradewind
Houston , Texas
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Stupid idea

So maybe you need a special "driving" hat, scarf, shirt, badge, dashboard Jesus whatever to put on before you leave the driveway. Not that it will make you invincible but like a race car driver puts on his helmet it will remind you that 25' of expensive aluminum is behind you. There are times I almost forget I'm towing and at that point I can get careless and that's where the danger is.

You could also watch Star Wars where Yoda coaches Luke on how to deal with his fear.
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Old 05-03-2010, 09:21 PM   #38
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1992 21' Sovereign
Albuquerque , New Mexico
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 98
Good Advice

I am sorry you're fearful with your AS, and can empathize. AND I agree with all the practical advice on this thread! Practice, practice, practice! Our Airstream is parked at our property 15 miles from here. Although we've only owned it less than a year, and taken a few trips, the Airstream has been hitched up and brought home for driveway campouts and been to our dealer 3 times for plumbing repair, new fantastic fans and new hitch set-up. Two friends taught me how hitch it up, and at first double-checked my work each time.

I agree with Overlander65, it is important to be comfortable driving your tow vehicle. Sometimes when I drive our Ford truck I pretend the Airstream is behind me and take all curves/corners accordingly.

Don't let anyone hurry you along. Years ago, I pulled a U-Haul trailer from FLA to NM without any problems. It took 5 days. I got home and my Dad wanted me to unload the U-Haul immediately. We went to my aunt's house to store my stuff in her garage. Dad "helped" me back the trailer into the driveway by standing beside my driver's window and instructed me how to turn the wheel. ("Cut Left Cut Left Now Straight, OHH Cut Right") After driving that car with a UHaul trailer 2000 miles I backed that trailer through my aunt's brick wall and into her rose bushes.

Practice hitching and setting up with folks who are good teachers.
Practice towing and backing your Airstream without any "helpers". :-)))
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Old 05-03-2010, 10:55 PM   #39
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Rockville , Maryland
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Originally Posted by RichHog View Post
So maybe you need a special "driving" hat, scarf, shirt, badge, dashboard Jesus whatever to put on before you leave the driveway.
Great advice!!!
John "JFScheck" Scheck
2014 Itasca Solei 34T in Red Maple
Freightliner XCS Chassis with Cummins 6.7 ISB & Allison MH Transmission
**I Love U.S.A.**
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Old 05-06-2010, 02:04 PM   #40
Be Not Afraid JMJ + AMDG
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2008 25' Safari
Quiet Green , Connecticut
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 243
Thumbs up you all are the best, thank you!

OK, had a long, thorough reply all ready to post earlier, then the system logged me out and I lost it. Will try to reconstruct! Too many people to name, but know that each of your responses means a lot to me

Thank you all very much, for your generous support, encouragement and advice. You all are a great bunch of people, thank you Because of you, all your support and help, even after a long absence, that I went ahead and sent a donation to this site. I am so grateful you are here, thanks!

Yes, 90 degree right hand turn, one lane in each direction, no real warning. I let the pressure of the line of traffic behind me, along with the brief moment I had to figure out what to do, intimidate me. I pushed into a turn when I should have STOPPED. Will not make that expensive mistake again. Good idea to practice sudden stops, thanks.

And you are correct, not one of the people behind me stopped to see if I was o.k. after the accident.

My TV is my daily driver - I LOVE my truck! I have been accused of killing my minivan on purpose just months after getting Big Dog, but I really thought that green fluid under the van after a rest stop was someone's melted slushie, honest If you paid for diesel two summers ago you would know it was an accident!

Thanks for all the great advice, I will re-read this thread regularly as I regain my confidence. Since I have two identical turns to make between here and the highway (minus the heavy traffic!), I guess I should hook up and start making loops up to the next exit to practice.

Also plan to purchase an up to date GPS, as ours does not have a truck/bus feature. Thinking of a Garmin nuvi 465T trucker version, which will even warn me to change lanes ahead of time. But I will be sure to thoroughly check out my truckers' map and make sure it is in the truck before take off. That and making sure my mirrors are pulled out to tow position! I do have the lower section set so I can see the tires and the line on the road, which is helpful. Usually I am more worried about taking out a mirror on these narrow country roads! Forgot to fold driver's side mirror in once while parked and someone took it out for me

My DS 16.5 is glad I posted, he thinks your advice will prevent lots of similar accidents/poor decisions like the one I made. Who knows where your advice will ripple out to! He is also glad that you encouraged me to GO CAMPING again!

And thanks for encouraging me not to give up on my dreams. I have even checked out a few longer AS's online Not this summer, but at some point! I have a terrific 3/4 ton duramax/allison w/tow package that wants to bound up the western mountains hauling a long silver tube

Thanks again, to each of you, for the responses you offered to me and the help this will offer to lots of newbies!


"Color delights my spirit"
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:02 PM   #41
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Young Harris , Georgia
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I am glad that you are willing to have a go at it again.

Here's hoping that you never forget what that fear felt like, but that you channel it into an awareness and focus while driving/towing. A defensive attitude while driving coupled with a constant vigilance will keep you much safer and happier with your results.

The day you drive without some fear (heightened awareness is a better way of regarding it) is the day you will probably make a mistake.

Have fun!
Phil and/or Sue w/ Cheryl & Penny and Roger
(Buffett RIP 9/15/08, Gus RIP 12/22/2015)
1997 34' Excella
'09 Dodge Cummins Ram 3500 Crew 4x4 auto
AIR 1753
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Old 05-06-2010, 06:58 PM   #42
1972 Travelux Princess 25
Cobourg , Ontario
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,042
The advice to get some traffic cones or cardboard boxes, and go practice in an empty parking lot is excellent.

Your nervousness comes from fear of the unknown.

The more you practice the more you learn, and the more confidence you get. Soon you will be able to swing your rig around and know exactly where it is going.

It also helps to stand outside and watch while someone else maneuvers the trailer around. This helps you to visualize what is happening and where things are going.

In a tight spot you can also use a helper to guide and to warn traffic away.

The advice to SLOW DOWN is good. When you are nervous the temptation is to hurry, don't do it, slow down and take your time. Get out of the truck and walk around the rig to get the lay of the land. If you are afraid of looking like a doofus take an iron bar and whack the tires as if you are doing a safety check. No one will crack wise when you have an iron bar in your hands LOL.

Living in the trailer park of sense, looking out the window at a tornado of stupidity.
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