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Old 03-14-2017, 02:41 PM   #1
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
San Diego , California
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Newbie bringing AS home to CA from OK - Need Advice

Hello, wonderful to meet you all here and reading all your helpful posts. Long time lurker, first time poster.

We are newbies and planning on bringing home a well cared for 2008 Safari 25' from OK to CA. Some questions I have for this trip home:

1. Route options: I-40 and I-10 appear to be similar in time per google, any recommendations on which one is friendlier for newbie towing? which one might be more scenic to enjoy on the way home?

2. RV parks: the trip home takes about 19hrs car time, I am guessing at least 24-27hrs trailer towing time. Any recommendations on which newbie friendly RV park to stay at on the way home to CA? How do you go about selecting which ones to stay at as you are searching for them?

3. Gear: what should I bring with me in my TV to tow AS home? Seller is providing the Reese hitch. I am towing with 1/2ton Sierra w/ max tow option.

4. Safety: am I too paranoid in imagining a car/AS-jacking scenario? Common sense might escape me with my eyes scanning all my mirrors and knuckles devoid of blood.

5. Towing: never towed anything before, don't think I will have a chance to take defensive/confidence driving course before I pick up the AS. Is this a bad idea to go there and hook it up to tow it home? What should I at least do before transfer $, take title, and hook this thing up?

6. Inspection: seller offering to let me stay in it for the night to test out all features. It looks well maintained. AirForums volunteer inspector would be extra reassuring but I haven't arranged for that yet. I plan on bringing the long purchase checklist and go right down the line. Tips for looking at typical problematic areas would be appreciated.

7. Financing: choices include HELOC or typical RV loan through my bank, any other options you would recommend to consider?

8. Woulda/Coulda/Shoulda's: for those with similar previous experience of being newbies towing home AS, what would you do differently?

Please feel free to add anything else I have left out...welcome to my obsessive compulsive mind. Thank you.

Luforia
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Old 03-14-2017, 03:40 PM   #2
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2016 25' Flying Cloud
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I'd make sure i had proper hitch setup, tire pressure, lug nuts torqued to spec, all lights and turn signals working.

Make sure you have appropriate side mirrors on your tow vehicle.

Check the airstream systems, lights, water, furnace, ac if possible, stove, fridge, lp gas, microwave, faucets, toilet, etc. for function.

Maybe some leveling blocks if you're planning on camping, water hose, 30 amp cord, sewer hose, general tool box with pliers, socket set, screwdrivers, duct tape, etc.

Sticks for toasting marshmallows.

Otherwise, assuming it has no water damage and the gaskets/seals/caulking are in good shape, I'd go for it.

We towed first time right out of Lakewood NJ, straight on to interstate highways, through toll booths, Pennsylvania turnpike, etc. Actually, wide open interstate is likely easier than back road driving. I did have some farm experience with equipment but never towed a trailer.....my favorite saying is 'swing it wide'

If in doubt....slow down, slow is the way to go.
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Old 03-14-2017, 04:34 PM   #3
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
San Diego , California
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Thank you majorairhead.

I'd make sure i had proper hitch setup, tire pressure, lug nuts torqued to spec, all lights and turn signals working.
Seller putting on new set of tires before I pick it up so hopefully it's up to spec.


Make sure you have appropriate side mirrors on your tow vehicle.
The TV's tow package comes with tow mirrors so we are good there. Any tips on setting up your tow mirrors? I watched some youtube video about marking a spot on your tow mirrors where your trailer's wheels are at, but it was an example for Class A. Not sure if this applies to trailer, and if there are other trailer specific tow mirror setup...


Check the airstream systems, lights, water, furnace, ac if possible, stove, fridge, lp gas, microwave, faucets, toilet, etc. for function.
I do plan on using all the gadgets and gizmos in the trailer on the night before towing home. Glad seller is offering this, reassuring that he's not concerned about its operational status.


Maybe some leveling blocks if you're planning on camping, water hose, 30 amp cord, sewer hose, general tool box with pliers, socket set, screwdrivers, duct tape, etc.
Any recommendations as to where to buy the general tools like 30 amp cord, hoses, and blocks? I might have some time to have it all shipped in before heading out.

Sticks for toasting marshmallows.


Otherwise, assuming it has no water damage and the gaskets/seals/caulking are in good shape, I'd go for it.
Any tips on inspecting gaskets/seals/caulking other than direct visual observation?


We towed first time right out of Lakewood NJ, straight on to interstate highways, through toll booths, Pennsylvania turnpike, etc. Actually, wide open interstate is likely easier than back road driving. I did have some farm experience with equipment but never towed a trailer.....my favorite saying is 'swing it wide'
Agree on highway being easier than local, I am more nervous about when I pull it into my neighborhood in the last mile. Sage advice to "swing it wide"


If in doubt....slow down, slow is the way to go.
Will be an unusual experience to drive 20mph slower than usual.
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Old 03-14-2017, 05:07 PM   #4
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2016 25' Flying Cloud
Gettysburg , Pennsylvania
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Your seller probably has the 30 amp shore power cord and sewer hose, maybe even leveling blocks. (in a pinch you can take 4 2x6's a foot long or so, and some 1x6's the same....that's what I used, and always have with me, to put under the trailer tongue jack, and the stabilizers at the corners of the airstream. I'd contact the seller and ask what of these items will come with the trailer.

I just set my mirrors to see back the side of the trailer, nothing special there for me.

You might want to get some rv toilet paper, and some black tank deodorizer/enzyme dropins, they go right in the toilet to the black tank to assist in breaking stuff down and making dumping the tank easier.

Don't forget to take pics of the entire experience
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Old 03-15-2017, 10:38 AM   #5
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Newbie bringing AS home to CA from OK - Need Advice

Checklists for arrival and departure are very important, for the same reason they are very important for experienced airplane pilots. There are just too darn many things even for a 25 year-old jet pilot to remember. If you forget something important, hopefully you won't crash and burn, but you may destroy something expensive on your trailer.

For your trip back, stay in parks with pull-through spots. They may not be the most scenic, but will save wear and tear on your nerves until you get things figured out. KOA's generally have pull-through spots available. Probably not the most glamorous place to stay, but reliably easy to get in and out of.

Think ahead anywhere you go. There is no penalty if you take a slow pass by a gas station to check things out, and go around the block before you try to enter it to fill up. Same with restaurants and super markets. Pick ones that have big parking lots and park way in the back so you will have plenty of room to maneuver.

I don't know if your trailer comes with one, but I have found that backup cameras on both the trailer and the truck are helpful. The backup camera on the trailer doubles as an electronic rear view mirror when towing.

Make sure you are set up with a trailer brake controller that is compatible with the trailer brakes on your new trailer.
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Old 03-15-2017, 10:55 AM   #6
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Tulsa , Oklahoma
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TOOLS. There are lists of common tools that people carry. You can find a thread in here somewhere on it. But when I went to pick mine up, I just took the entire tool box. Never know what you might need the first time out. With the hitch setup, there can be some pretty large bolts that require a pretty large torque wrench. So take a torque wrench if you have one. And you might want to print off and take with you a set of instructions for how to set up your particular hitch.

As for tow mirrors, I adjust mine so I can see as far down the side of the trailer as possible (to see down the lane to my right/left as far back as possible). It's good to be able to see the tires on the trailer for when you're turning and trying to avoid hitting a curb or hole.

As for checking systems - don't forget to look under the sinks and in all areas for plumbing/water leaks. Test the television if it has one. Set up the awning.

If the black water tank monitor doesn't work, don't let that be a deal breaker. It's very common for them not to work. Mine shows 100% full all the time and always has.

Open up all the windows to make sure they open.

If possible, put water in the grey and black water tanks and then dump it if they have a dump station (to check that the dump valves work/don't stick/don't leak).

Where are you picking it up? I live in Tulsa, OK.
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Old 03-15-2017, 12:33 PM   #7
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Towing Insurance

Sorry if I missed it but AAA RV Towing insurance or other might be a good idea. Good luck and have fun!
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Old 03-15-2017, 12:50 PM   #8
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Ariton , Alabama
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Hey - Check around for interest rates. Typically, credit unions are a bit cheaper.

The best thing about AS Forums is how very helpful everybody is. Last fall, I picked up a "project" '73 27' Overlander. Haven't steeled myself yet to get any kind of start on it, but know if I have questions, this is the place to ask them.

Good Luck!
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Old 03-15-2017, 01:29 PM   #9
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I-10 is really bad road from PHX to state line, you have to take it slow.

We did 10,000 last year and that was the only bad road, when we got to the CA side open the trailer up and everything that could come loose did.
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Old 03-15-2017, 01:59 PM   #10
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I-40 is far more scenic IMHO. I have made that trip many times. Keep an eye on the weather though. Spring is around the corner but snow is always a threat in New Mexico and Flagstaff. There are more things to see along I-40 if your time permits.
Kartchner Caverns State Park off I-10 near Benson AZ is very nice if you take that route.
Have a great trip and welcome to the family
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Old 03-15-2017, 03:22 PM   #11
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
San Diego , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDave View Post
Checklists for arrival and departure are very important, for the same reason they are very important for experienced airplane pilots. There are just too darn many things even for a 25 year-old jet pilot to remember. If you forget something important, hopefully you won't crash and burn, but you may destroy something expensive on your trailer.

For your trip back, stay in parks with pull-through spots. They may not be the most scenic, but will save wear and tear on your nerves until you get things figured out. KOA's generally have pull-through spots available. Probably not the most glamorous place to stay, but reliably easy to get in and out of.

Think ahead anywhere you go. There is no penalty if you take a slow pass by a gas station to check things out, and go around the block before you try to enter it to fill up. Same with restaurants and super markets. Pick ones that have big parking lots and park way in the back so you will have plenty of room to maneuver.

I don't know if your trailer comes with one, but I have found that backup cameras on both the trailer and the truck are helpful. The backup camera on the trailer doubles as an electronic rear view mirror when towing.

Make sure you are set up with a trailer brake controller that is compatible with the trailer brakes on your new trailer.
Thanks McDave. I have checklist app installed with arrival, departure, inspection lists to go over everything inside and out, hope that's adequate.

Super helpful tip with checking out gas stations before pulling in. Same with staying pull-in sites at KOA, will need to look up where they are along the way.
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Old 03-15-2017, 03:31 PM   #12
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
San Diego , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlhendren View Post
TOOLS. There are lists of common tools that people carry. You can find a thread in here somewhere on it. But when I went to pick mine up, I just took the entire tool box. Never know what you might need the first time out. With the hitch setup, there can be some pretty large bolts that require a pretty large torque wrench. So take a torque wrench if you have one. And you might want to print off and take with you a set of instructions for how to set up your particular hitch.

As for tow mirrors, I adjust mine so I can see as far down the side of the trailer as possible (to see down the lane to my right/left as far back as possible). It's good to be able to see the tires on the trailer for when you're turning and trying to avoid hitting a curb or hole.

As for checking systems - don't forget to look under the sinks and in all areas for plumbing/water leaks. Test the television if it has one. Set up the awning.

If the black water tank monitor doesn't work, don't let that be a deal breaker. It's very common for them not to work. Mine shows 100% full all the time and always has.

Open up all the windows to make sure they open.

If possible, put water in the grey and black water tanks and then dump it if they have a dump station (to check that the dump valves work/don't stick/don't leak).

Where are you picking it up? I live in Tulsa, OK.
Thanks rlhendren! Yes, planning on bringing full tool kit w/ me, even drills and wrenches.

Good advice on filling up tanks and emptying them, will need to figure how to do that before final sale.

I'll be in Lawton, south of you I think.
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Old 03-15-2017, 03:34 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by pocarroll View Post
Sorry if I missed it but AAA RV Towing insurance or other might be a good idea. Good luck and have fun!
Thanks! I was offered Progressive thru my auto insurance company. They also offer towing of trailer and TV.

I'll look into AAA to compare.
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Old 03-15-2017, 03:36 PM   #14
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
San Diego , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JudithLeo View Post
Hey - Check around for interest rates. Typically, credit unions are a bit cheaper.

The best thing about AS Forums is how very helpful everybody is. Last fall, I picked up a "project" '73 27' Overlander. Haven't steeled myself yet to get any kind of start on it, but know if I have questions, this is the place to ask them.

Good Luck!
Thanks JudithLeo. We almost bought a gorgeously restored 1970 Overlander, was nervous about its age considering we are newbies, decided on sticking with something most shops would know how to handle.

Current RV loan thru my bank is 6.49% for 10yrs, kinda high...will look into credit unions to compare.
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