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Old 03-01-2015, 02:06 PM   #15
Happy Wonderer
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1997 25' Safari
Box Elder , South Dakota
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 59
My first Oh Sh*t experience was not in backing, but in pulling away from parallel parked vehicles.
Our entrance into full time timing started off with a bang - a bang which I neither felt nor heard but was alerted to by a witness to the event.
Upon leaving the campground we had been staying in for two weeks while clearing out of the house, I had parked alongside the campground road near the entrance to check out or something. When I had finished my business, I started the engine, engaged transmission to drive - with OD off - something I had to remember frequently in the beginning, and pulled out and around the vehicle parked directly in front of the rig. We got about 2 miles down the road when someone drove up beside us frantically waving and signaling us to stop. We stopped and the driver told us that I had hit a post (thankfully not the parked vehicle) with the trailer as I pulled away. Apparently, as the TV swung out, the rear of the trailer swung in and the rear awning support and one running light hit a wood post the circumference of a utility pole and maybe 4 feet tall which was about 3 feet off the road in the grass area. I was told that I was not the first to do this either. Little solace in that comment.
To this day, my rear awning support is secured with tie wire because the damaged, twisted lower arm is an older style with a bend of about 10 degrees which I cannot locate a replacement for anywhere. But it has been working fine for one year now.

No backing up incidents ever yet. I'm pretty good at that task. So far. Stay tuned.

“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking...”
― Leo Tolstoy
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Old 03-01-2015, 02:52 PM   #16
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2013 30' Flying Cloud
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 138
What a great thread. A word on our most valuable lesson would be the day I backed into the tree that jumped behind me. Here's the story:

We bought our first Airstream in 2010 and in 2013 we were on the way to trade in our much loved first trailer. My Navigator/DW spots when I back and it was my bright idea to propose that we use hand-held radios or our cell phones. My thought was that DW would be most confident in directing me and we would be safest.

On our overnight at a state park on the way to deliver the trailer we had a reasonable back-in space with just a few widely spaced trees. Oh! Boy.

To cut to the chase the battery on one radio quickly failed right after our radio check. As I was slowly backing into the tree DW was yelling and jumping like Rumplestiltskin. It was not my finest trailering moment.

So what good came from that event? First, everything about that event was my responsibility and I earned one or two small style points for admitting it. What follows everybody knows but second, we learned from that event. In this case we learned to use hand signals first and voice as a backup. In our pre-move walk through we usually begin with DW asking "where do you need me." Last, if we can't see each other's eyes in the mirror I stop. It's all easy stuff but after three years of trailering we needed this event to learn how to be better.

Afterword: it was a really skinny really tall odd little tree. There was virtually no damage but for a tiny scratch high in the trailer. We moved up the road witha really valuable lesson.

Speed is Life . . . guidance is optional . . .
The Traveling Circus: 2013 Flying Cloud 30A; 2006 Chevy Duramax Crew/LWB
Air #42313 TAC VA-7 WBCCI #1290
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Old 03-01-2015, 03:09 PM   #17
1 Rivet Member
1980 31' International
Nixa , Missouri
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 17
After retiring from 31 years driving a ''auto transport'', 10 cars where there should only be 9, don't follow to close because they look like they could fall off, too tall, to long, to low, I can tell you it is no disgrace to'' get out and look''.
I have walked around a lot of dealers lots, motel lots, and other places to see if I get in is there room to park, or a way out other than backwards. Try to park pointing out and don't leave room for some dummy to park so close to you that you can't.
I also have found, for me anyway, if you have to pull up 3 times to get the trailer in a spot, get out and walk around it and get your bearings, see where you are going wrong and think about it. Hurrying won't help. There is no one that get's the trailer exactly where they want it, ''1st time, every time''. Even the spotters at warehouses don't always get it ''1st time every time'', and they do it for 8 or 10 hours a day.
We just bought a 1980 31 foot airstream to remodel and use. Waiting for the Missouri weather to change so we can get started.
When buying we didn't go for the cheapest price, looked at the outside condition first, the interior was gone as far as furniture, beds, and things like that, but we didn't want original to airstream but original to our needs. Gave a little more for it than some others would have but got what we ''think'' we want.
I have spent a lot of time reading the forums and learning, and it is being very helpful.
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Old 03-01-2015, 05:06 PM   #18
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Currently Looking...
Espyville , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 8
If you're not dry-camping; do not forget your shore-power adapters. Nothing quite like no power for a week!
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Old 03-01-2015, 06:22 PM   #19
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2006 23' Safari SE
Lexington , Kentucky
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,611
Images: 6
The dump station

Our first trip out I was dreading the first dump station experience. I read everything I could find that the PO had given me. I went over it 50 times in my head, I knew what the steps were.

We got to the dump station without a soul being there; early April, it was still pretty cool. Great, I said. I can take all the time I want. I got out the gloves, hoses, connectors, got the rock for the hose, everything was perfect, I said, patting myself on the back.

I pulled the black lever and the tank started to empty. Glug, glug, glug, gleg, gleg, glig glig.... that didn't sound good. It was like a bottle, filling up. Sure enough, 'thar she blows!'. Quickly I pushed in the black lever.

Thinking I did something wrong, I rechecked all the fittings. It all looked OK. I pulled the black lever again; same result. Enough! I dragged slinky over to the other dump station and drove around. All went well that time. I dumped the gray, cleaned slinky and rinsed both stations.

On the way out I stopped at the Ranger station. I told her what happened and she says "oh yes, we've had a problem with that station". Hmmm, a sign would have helped. She said she'd report it.

Moral: It's not always the newbie's problem, but sometimes it's his luck.
Now, driving off with the the TV antenna up after our next night, that's a different story. (Now we have a stuffed 'antenna monkey' as a visual control. When the monkey is on the antenna crank, we need to crank down the antenna.)

Rich & Yvonne
2006 Safari SE -Dora-
2004 4Runner SE

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Old 03-02-2015, 09:41 AM   #20
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2015 27' Flying Cloud
Overland Park , Kansas
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3
Thank you for this post. We don't have any firsts to report just yet, we get our AS Thursday and having it hauled to our leased RV lot in Warsaw, MO. My husband hasn't decided on his tow vehicle just yet. We found a great place to keep the AS that is 1 1/2 hours away, so we can get used to the trailer on the weekends before getting out on the road. I'm sure we will have some stories to add here! This is our first AS and look forward to being a part of the Airstream family.
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:10 AM   #21
2 Rivet Member
2013 20' Flying Cloud
Lake Bluff , Illinois
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 60
My first was trying to refill the drinking water tank with the 'red' rinse water hose! Lucky, the hose was too short. I would still be gargling Listerine all day!
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Old 06-06-2015, 10:13 AM   #22
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2015 27' FB International
Herndon , Virginia
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 2
When we got our first AS, 25 signature cd, we were driving on I-10 past Indio, CA going down the big hill towards the Colorado river and Arizona. The TV at the time was a Chevy Avalanche and I didn't have good mirrors to see behind me. This was probably our third trip out with the AS, so we were still learning.

There were a lot of big trucks on the freeway and I was letting the rig go and using the engine to keep our speed down, but we were still passing a lot of trucks. Apparently, the truckers didn't like this and lo and behold, there were the red lights in my mirror. In CA, the speed limit for vehicles that are towing is 55mph. There is also a requirement that you be able to see a minimum of 200ft behind you. We pulled the "we just got this thing and are still learning..." (Well, we were!) the kind police officer let us go with a warning, telling us we could do the normal speed limit once we got out of CA.

I got a set of makesh mirrors to use on that TV when we got home and we haven't been pulled over since.

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Old 06-07-2015, 04:37 PM   #23
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2015 27' Flying Cloud
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 257
Originally Posted by westcoastas View Post

but when you're a newbie and you're excited in spending your first night in your AS, it's easy to forget the obvious.
So yesterday we took delivery of our new 27 ft FC. More than a little excited, we made reservations to spend the night at a local RV resort so we could check out the trailer close to home. We also got a new hitch system, so we were figuring everything out. Anyway, we leave the dealer with no problems, the Silverado 1500 tows the 27 beautifully with the sway pro, and everything is jake as we pull into our campsite. I start unhooking the trailer, leveling it as my wife organizes the inside. As I take the ball off the truck, I momentarily put the locking pin on the back bumper. Then my wife needed some help with figuring out the AC controls, and we finished setting up the trailer and drove off to a store for some groceries and a bottle of cold champagne. And you guessed it, I lost the locking pin for the coupler. A relatively inexpensive mistake, but boy was I feeling stupid. Always put stuff away were you can retrieve it.


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