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Old 11-12-2014, 11:36 AM   #15
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When I picked up my first trailer, I drove from the dealership to a campground across a the top of a long, narrow dam. I did have plenty of experience towing cargo trailers, utility trailers, and boats. The biggest cargo trailer I hauled was 8 1/2' x 28'- about the same size as a camper-
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Old 11-12-2014, 11:44 AM   #16
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Cantdr55 - all great advice from great sages of Airstreaming. One other thing to ask about is your TV and hitch. Dealers are really interested in getting you off the lot. You need to make sure that you have

1) A TV that is rated for the loads that you intend to pull (tongue weight and GVWR). On your side is that for the first trip home, it will be pretty light. Threads recommend GVWR + 20%.

2) A hitch setup that is appropriate for the expected tongue weight.

I was as green as you were when I picked up my rig at an un-named dealer on the way to Yosemite. We asked can my Jeep Grand Cherokee pull this trailer you are selling me? And I had them include in the deal a hitch setup to make it happen. Well, a Jeep Grand Cherokee is undersized when pulling a 28' CCD, but we were able to pull the trailer - off the lot and then it was our problem. Found out later that the dealer installed 700# load bars, but the trailer tongue weight as we found out later is in excess of 880#. So we were set up for an unsafe configuration that overheated going up the Priest Grade to Yosemite.

You should satisfy yourself that you have the right TV and hitch setup before you get to the lot.

Sorry for the rain on the parade, but it will be a great experience once you get set up right. Enjoy!
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Old 11-12-2014, 12:19 PM   #17
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Catndr55, congratulations and welcome to AS family and forums. Both my wife and I have commercial CDLs, although they will expire in a year. I have driven every vehicle, almost, around and would add to the excellent advice above.

I have given advice when asked by a number of people on trailers and motorhomes, believe it or not in tight quarters motorhomes are much easier to drive than a TV and long trailer. But, those too can be managed. My suggestion is when approaching a turn at an intersection or in a parking lot, campground etc think of "going deep into the intersection". Take a left hand turn at an intersection with a sidewalk on the right side where you are turning. Go as far as the TV can go and still make the turn without going or hitting the curb on the right side, by doing so as long as the cars sitting at the light are behind the white line where they are supposed to be you can make the turn without hitting the cars waiting for their green nor the curb on the right side. Takes some practice, but it works, I can usually get a tractor and 53' trailer around almost any intersection by using this method, of course a semi can turn much tighter than we can with a pick up and 30' trailer.

Also, someone at the dealership has experience in backing and maneuvering units in tight quarters, I would not be afraid to ask them to show you some tricks. Best of luck, take it slow, everyone can wait so don't be in a hurry just because people are behind you. Enjoy, there are not too many things more fun than traveling in and AS.

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Old 11-12-2014, 12:36 PM   #18
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Great advice so far.

I will simply add that you should not worry if you need, say, 20 or 30 times to back in to a spot safely and all the other campers are watching to see if you can ever do it. I know, for me, once I heard this advice and took a long time to back into a spot (hey, I need some practice), I just kept saying that I don't care how many times it takes, it is practice... Eventually I got it just right...
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Old 11-12-2014, 01:14 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by cantdrv55 View Post
My user name is due to my sports car which is now for sale to help finance my new AS lifestyle!
Oh noooo!!!!

Don't sell the sports car!

....or at least get something less expensive to replace it for weekend fun!

Might I suggest a Porsche 914 as a classic but not yet overpriced!?
....of course I'm biased as a long time 73 914-2.0 "914S" owner!

My advice as a fellow newbie, is stick to the CA towing limit of 55 & just leave more time to get there, get a checklist made up for all the pre- & post trip stuff, & be super cautious while driving.

I think AAA SoCal & NoCal may also offer a towing/RV class too.

Also a good WD & anti-sway set-up helps immensely, as I found out very early on!!!! ....no accident, but our vintage 20' single axle sure liked to "wag her tail" over 55, so that kept me honest on speed!

Have Fun!
Tom (the other half)
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Old 11-12-2014, 01:16 PM   #20
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I've had onlookers applaud when I finally get it just right. I just get out, diff my cap and give a sweeping theatrical bow.

Never take yourself too seriously...


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Old 11-12-2014, 02:52 PM   #21
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Good advice from all above. Would add the following. Have a final walk around check list added to your checklists, make sure everything is in proper travel position. Every time you stop at a rest site, get out and check the hitch mechanism. If something feels rough or strange while towing, stop and check everything. Speed limit 60 mph.Sway bars. Use two people to hitch up,checking each other for omissions or wrong moves. Don't be interrupted during hitch up. Evaluate gas stations and other pull in places before pulling in...visualize your exit, make sure it is possible! If your hitch-receiver bar has a lock on it, drill another hole in the bar for a cotter pin in case the lock pops off. Drawers inside secured with bungie cords, also the cutting board on the sink.Electronic trailer brake controller on tow vehicle a must. To back up, place hands on bottom of steering wheel, if you want tail of trailer to go left then move left hand up turning steering wheel to the right and vice versa, always with a tail spotter. Don't change lanes, anticipate exits way ahead of time. Good luck ENJOY!
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:59 PM   #22
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All good advice we just got our FC 23D 6 weeks ago. just pay attention to what is around you. Keep it at 60 and the right lane is you friend. When backing up stay relaxed and get out to look, some one will be happy to help guide you

Enjoy
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Old 11-12-2014, 07:57 PM   #23
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benicia , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janabanana48 View Post
Oh noooo!!!!

Don't sell the sports car!

....or at least get something less expensive to replace it for weekend fun!

Might I suggest a Porsche 914 as a classic but not yet overpriced!?
....of course I'm biased as a long time 73 914-2.0 "914S" owner!

My advice as a fellow newbie, is stick to the CA towing limit of 55 & just leave more time to get there, get a checklist made up for all the pre- & post trip stuff, & be super cautious while driving.

I think AAA SoCal & NoCal may also offer a towing/RV class too.

Also a good WD & anti-sway set-up helps immensely, as I found out very early on!!!! ....no accident, but our vintage 20' single axle sure liked to "wag her tail" over 55, so that kept me honest on speed!

Have Fun!
Tom (the other half)
///////

Tom! I've put my 1979 Porsche 911 SC Targa up for sale. I know I'll regret selling it but my priorities have changed. I've owned that air cooled German go kart for 11 years but it is time to let others enjoy it.
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:36 PM   #24
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Search the forum before asking detailed questions. If you get frustrated try googling your topic and "Airstream" you'll usually be guided back to the forums.
Set up your hitch right
Practice backing in a big parking lot
When entering a parking lot or fuel station, ensure that you can exit before you enter
Beware the dreaded high profile parking lot entrance (tail drag of trailer)
Use your checklists, be consistent
Chocks first when arriving, chocks last when leaving
Before entering or leaving a camping spot, look up, look down, look all around
Arrive at camp before dark
Enjoy the trip and the camping!
Brad


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Old 11-12-2014, 10:26 PM   #25
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I learned this the hard way and since you are asking for advice...never never never enter an area blind where you cannot see a way out going forward. Example, a CVS pharmacy with a long single curbed lane approaching their drive thru that I just knew would get me around the building. I was wrong that day. Everything was fine until I turned the corner around the back of the building and (a few choice words spoken here) after a bit of checking clearances and eyeballing the columns and roof height, I was able to drive thru the pharmacy and even waved at the pharmacist as I went by.
Check everything, and then check everything again, chains, breaker bar, locks, break a way, lights, brakes, awning locked, steps up, stabilizers retracted, storage doors locked, door locked and dead bolted, antenna down, seems like a lot but it will become second nature. Most important of all, HAVE A BLAST!!
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Old 11-12-2014, 11:08 PM   #26
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Great advice from everyone. Thank you!
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Old 11-13-2014, 03:43 PM   #27
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Estes Park , Colorado
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I just did it last week. Drove home 80 miles from the dealership pulling a 2006 22' International CCT. I took all the back roads I could, started at 5,000' altitude and ended at 8000', got a romping stomping 11 mpg out of my Ford F-150. I had never pulled a large trailer, and it had been yrs since I'd pulled a small boat. My advice is go slow, point your right mirror down some so you can see the trailer right tire(s). This will help keep you off the shoulder and curbs. Pull over to let cars by, even stop to take a break if necessary. Avoid backing up situations as much as possible. Take someone with you as a spotter and co-pilot. You'll find yourself getting more and more at ease as time goes by. I hope you have as much fun as I did. Good luck.
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Old 11-13-2014, 04:03 PM   #28
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Great advice about the mirror. Thanks.
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