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Old 04-01-2012, 01:29 PM   #29
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First of all, the 25's are actually 26'. The 27' and 28' are 28' (approx.) and the 27' is one inch longer than the 28'. Numbers can deceive.

Older public campgrounds tend to have smaller sites. Any one loop usually has one or two pull throughs. We look for those because it is easier. They are easier to get off season. Old campgrounds tend to have narrow roads making winding through with a longer trailer (and even a 25' sometimes) daunting, especially if the tree branches are not regularly trimmed (budget cutbacks can cause this). But the road may be too narrow for the less experienced to get into a space. Some spaces are delineated by logs (especially federal ones) to keep people from driving off the pads, but they add to the obstructions. There may be large rocks, picnic tables and trees too. Not backing trailers into tight spaces for a living, this can be a challenge for me, especially at the start of a season when I am rusty. I've always gotten into awful spaces, but it may take more time that I enjoy, though those watching seem to get great pleasure out of it. A longer space may cost more, though not always, and may be better to use because they are easier to spend time in. A tow vehicle may be parked in front of the trailer or next to it depending on the space.

A lot of FS campgrounds are being leased to concessionaires. They come in and make bigger pads, pave roads and some pads, bring in electric and sometimes water. The price doubles. These are easier to use and you can tell which ones they are by the price and amenities.

Many public campgrounds use reservations services that ask what the length of the RV is. I enter the longest number available and see what is available at that length—location, views, privacy—that sort of stuff. Then I go to the shorter ones and thus check out everything. There can be a lot of info on the reservation site, though not always easy to find. Sometimes I run 2 or 3 windows with different pages to get an idea what is what. If you are a walk in (really drive in), you take your chances and we just drive around all the loops to see what is available. When we find what we want, we pounce.

Some of these reservation systems will not accept reservations for a few days before your arrival. This gives the camp hosts time to put a reservation sign on the site, but means you have to reserve 3 days or so before you get there. For spontaneous traveling during the high season, this means we often don't go there. But there are usually some walk in sites if you get there right when check out time is.

RV Park Reviews is a website with some useful (and some grouchy idiots posting too) info for public campgrounds. Woodalls is of limited use because they only feature CG's that advertise, but they will tell you where the public ones are. The AAA Campbooks are history (keep your old ones for a while). AAA now gives you Woodalls for free, but I'd rather have both. State and federal campgrounds can be found through state park and federal park and forest websites.

Info can be faulty. Colo. SP's are generally nice (and more and more expensive), but I have seen pads that were so far off level as to be dangerous and I wondered if any RV's would roll downhill if they weren't tied down. We were at one Colo. SP where some sites weren't suitable for even tents, but were designated for RV's. If I suspect something is not clear, I don't reserve.

A lot of small towns—especially in the upper Midwest in our experience—have public campgrounds. They are usually not in the forest, but in the town. Some are great bargains and have lots of amenities, some are very basic, but also cheap. The best we've stayed at is in Duluth and if I recall correctly, it has everything we wanted, large sites, amongst the trees and overlooking a river. It was not easy to find. Grand Marais, Minn., had a nice one too.

Very popular parks (Yosemite for ex.) have space issues with tents and all sorts of RV's crammed into small areas in a narrow valley. The road was wide enough (barely), but it felt crowded there. We had a tent on one side and a conversion van on the other. Since the space across from us was empty when we arrived, I could maneuver the truck into it to back in without removing any of the Airstream. The space was also on a curve, so I could drive around the curve to back in somewhat straight. It still was a challenge. On a straight narrow park road, backing the trailer at almost 90˚ is not easy (Capital Reef NP was like that). So chose a space wisely.

Obviously the shorter the trailer, the better, except that really short trailers like to jackknife. 25' seemed ideal to us.

Gene
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:39 PM   #30
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Note one oddity among newer Airstreams -- the 27' FB Signature Series is 28' 0" and the 28' front door is 27' 11" (no difference really). They just wanted to keep them distinct by labeling in this manner. These lengths mark the step-up to a fore-and-aft queen.

Thanks always to Colonial Airstream for maintaining the best online photo database of many models and colors on their website -- Colonial Airstream
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:47 PM   #31
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:59 PM   #32
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(and some grouchy idiots posting too)

Yes, . . . I/we am/are legion.


As to trailer length: Measure ball coupler center to rear bumper center point. And from the same beginning to the outermost corners (as reference). Published "numbers" don't really mean much as we are not talking about the interior.

The other piece of "swing" information is to take the TV to some dirt and back at full lock in both directions on clean-swept dirt each time (again, for reference) as the "cut" can be different in either direction. From the initial pivot point on each rear tire.

With some helpers and some traffic cones (or similar) one can find out the "swing" needed for a rig into several angles of road and pad. A 90-degree turn is hardest, and avoid "blind side backing" (where the TV has to swing to the opposite side even though the original angle is from the direction of travel). It won't take long to see how much road & shoulder width is necessary.

For what it's worth I find it a bit tiring but in no way embarrassing to take any number of back-and-fill starts & stops. Might take me [6] tries to get the angle in inching along. (And we wonder why trailer tires should be at maximum sidewall pressure). But I wouldn't do it for just a couple of nights (unless CrawfordGene was next door with an all-amenities-steak-and-adult-beverage-dinner. Or one of you other unlucky souls, ha!)

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Old 04-01-2012, 02:23 PM   #33
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This discussion seems to be similar to the discussions of "long-bed" pickups versus "short-bed" pickups. The difference isn't worth worrying about unless you have a specific reason why the longer length won't work for you. The consideration of "potential problems," if taken to the extreme, would keep us parked in our driveways. It's an adventure - enjoy it!
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Old 04-01-2012, 02:24 PM   #34
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Quote:
Info can be faulty. Colo. SP's are generally nice (and more and more expensive), but I have seen pads that were so far off level as to be dangerous and I wondered if any RV's would roll downhill if they weren't tied down.
The worst I ever encountered made me nervous enough that after blocking everything I drove a spike into the ground and hooked my breakaway cable to it,
Fortunately didn't need it.
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Old 04-01-2012, 02:43 PM   #35
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For what it's worth I find it a bit tiring but in no way embarrassing to take any number of back-and-fill starts & stops.

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Absolutely. A spotter helps, but you can't always see them and may not understand what they are doing. When my wife puts up the stop signal, I know to stop, but she may not realize she's not in the mirror, especially the right one. You can use walkie talkies, but they distract me. Getting out and looking is best even though a bunch of RV's are waiting for you to get out of the way. Our process, developed over 4 1/2 years, looks chaotic, but no dents. My caution is motivated by the fear I will dent the trailer and hear about on my death bed.

Rednax, no steak (my father loved it and had many heart attacks), maybe an adult beverage.

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Old 04-01-2012, 03:05 PM   #36
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Absolutely. A spotter helps, but you can't always see them and may not understand what they are doing. When my wife puts up the stop signal, I know to stop, but she may not realize she's not in the mirror, especially the right one. You can use walkie talkies, but they distract me. Getting out and looking is best even though a bunch of RV's are waiting for you to get out of the way. Our process, developed over 4 1/2 years, looks chaotic, but no dents. My caution is motivated by the fear I will dent the trailer and hear about on my death bed.
I've found that generally I don't need to actually talk using the walkie-talkie - once to let my wife know that I can hear her, then otherwise it's just her telling me stop, left, right, keep going, or some variation of "you're doing it wrong." I rarely have to verbally reply to her. After we figured out that one-way communication still works (it is, after all, what the hand signals are), the walkie-talkies were a huge help. There is no way I can hear her over the diesel, and at our house, she has to stand in a certain spot to make sure I'm not hitting the house, and I can't see her in that spot.
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Old 04-01-2012, 03:16 PM   #37
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All but impossable

Last summer we pulled into a real nice camp ground by a creek in south part of Colo. with large trees for shade.. I understand the owner did not wish to take out any trees so put camping spaces in at random and at all angles you might could picture..

He was very helpful in helping me back into our slot.. Nothing I would have asked my wife to help with as even with over 2 million miles of semi truck driving with 42 and 46 foot trailers it looked impassible when I first pulled up to our site.

I kept the camp ground nameless as I would not wish to hurt his campground.. What it lacked in open easy to park sites he made up with his help to park,, and the services he offered..

But the point is,,, HUGE motor homes were plugged into slots,, along with 3 axle trailers... into spaces I would not think a 15 foot trailer could fit.. So with the right help along,, and a lot of common sense that extra 4 foot of trailer can be easily over looked..

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Old 04-01-2012, 04:01 PM   #38
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There is frequently a sign on the back of big trucks "If you can't see my mirrors I can't see you"

A spotter must be trained to position himself/herself to always be able to see you in the mirror and also the possible obstructions.
Of course I still don't know what all those different arm waves mean
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Old 04-01-2012, 04:55 PM   #39
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30 footer

Travel Bird,

We have had our 30 foot classic since 2007. It's our fifth and largest trailer since we started camping over 40 years ago. We already have traveled over 40,000 miles with it and have had only 2 instances where we had some trouble getting into a spot we wanted. We scout the campground and look at the sites for tree placement, angles, overhangs, slope etc. We have been able to pull into sites that were supposedly for smaller trailers. We back in slowly and carefully and haven't had any more problems than with the smaller trailers.
Having a larger trailer does limit you on the number of sites that might be available in a campground but it hasn't been such a problem for us to consider getting a smaller unit. We just like the layout of the 30 footer the best.
( We have had 15, 22, 24 and 28 foot trailers - none were Airstreams)

Go for the unit that has all the amenities that you want. wolf146
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:52 PM   #40
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Hi all, I'm learning so much on my journey and I do realize that everyone has "opinions". I appreciate all the feedback that I am recieving right now and appreciate this Forum more than I can put into words.

OK~so the latest is, I was told that many folks choose a 25' b/c it doesn't limit them to where they can go. Am I missing something here? We are looking at a 30' or possibly a 27'. With only a couple feet difference, will we be limited to where we can park the Stream or getting into parks?
Anna I would not worry too much, I have had both my 30's everywhere a 25 has been and the only thing that was an even hinderence was that one place spaces I had to park the vehicle in the extended lot, other than that I have not had any problems. Most of my freinds have 25 & 27's.
As others have said some of your really old parks have the small spaces but even them are upgrading to accept larger units to gain more traffic and make money. A majority of State Parks have already begun their change to the spaces per federal government requirements, The federal lands are suppose to do the same.
Of coarse that has to do with usage, when the economy is bad it makes times good for campergrounds you see work get done, when the economy is good things are bad for campgrounds they tend to not do as much business because everyone goes to motels.
I now have a 35 Legend and I have not had any real problems with it either (Yet), but I am sure I will evenually, especially in about 3-4 years when I move up to a motorhome.
Most campgrounds, state, federal parks let you know what the site lengths are.

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Old 04-01-2012, 08:25 PM   #41
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There is frequently a sign on the back of big trucks "If you can't see my mirrors I can't see you"

A spotter must be trained to position himself/herself to always be able to see you in the mirror and also the possible obstructions.
Of course I still don't know what all those different arm waves mean
There's a reason it may be tiring getting in and out and walking back . . and the spotter has nothing to do with it. That being for the best based on previous experience. We need a break from each other (or, did) and I'm no picnic with this long swing to calc. She went for a walk and checked facilities.

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Old 04-01-2012, 09:59 PM   #42
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Z, I have never seen the 28' in person. Only the 27' and 30'. I should look for a 28' that I can go inside of. Starting to second guess myself now. OIY!!! Windish does not have one to look at. Will be in TX this weekend. I'll search some dealers there to see if anyone has one!
Stop by our rally at the Roadrunner RV park this weekend. You will see trailers of various sizes you can look through.
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