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Old 11-04-2013, 11:47 AM   #21
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I have seen this discussed before in another thread...and pardon me for being a tad slow.. even a dullard....but I am not entirely sure I totally grasp the "draw a line" point...please elaborate or restate perhaps....somehow it is not clicking and this is the second time I have seen a version of it....
Backing is not "natural" feeling - to me it's really counter intuitive. The advice commonly given is "put your hands on the bottom of the steering wheel and move the wheel in the direction you want the rear end of the trailer to go" - Which works just fine IF you also understand that less is more when backing and nothing happens instantly. Your trailer's back end will pivot on both axles scrubbing the tires sideways as much as rolling them back but if you pull far enough beyond your space and move your hands less than 1/4 turn your backing experience will be much happier than if you wrench the wheel around half a turn then correct, then re-correct then re-correct. It's easy to get into the habit of watching JUST the rear bumper of your trailer and thinking "oops I'm going to end up half way in the next spot beyond the one I'm aiming at... yet if you look at the rear tire... it's headed directly for the pad you want to be on... and you're still turning gently... and your back end is still moving toward the spot you're aiming for. When I'm truly in "zen-parking" mode it's almost as though I'm merely following the trailer into it's chosen space. I use a stream of water almost like a railroad track to run the trailer into it's parking spot (normally an arc from the back of the driver's side rear wheel to the middle of the near side of the pad or gravel I want that tire to rest on when I'm ready to unhitch). I'll try to remember to take pictures the next time I do it. I suppose on grass I could use some of my orange extension cords for guidelines.

Paula
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:57 AM   #22
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Something to always remember...when backing keep eye contact with spotter. This may mean you may have to stop while the spotter goes from side to side in the back to check the progress. The driver and the spotter need to feel comfortable using the mirrors on both sides of the truck at all times. Always roll down windows and turn radio off. And...when the spotter yells ...STOP... you stop!!! See you at the can opener.

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Old 11-04-2013, 12:02 PM   #23
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I suppose on grass I could use some of my orange extension cords for guidelines.

Paula
That's really clever.

So far, I've been either really lucky with backing up. It's been far less of an issue than I thought it would be. I agree, always hava a spotter. If you can't see the spotter, stop right there. Keep the kids in the car, or under close supervision by somebody who isn't the spotter.

Owning a longer trailer, bizarrely, helps. It's easy to see where the unit is going and they turns smooth and gentle on the three axles.
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:31 PM   #24
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great gesture with the grass seed but use a metal tin because mice LOVE grass seed!

if i'm a spotter i like to carry a whistle in case my voice isn't heard. it works great when a diesel is running or the driver has tired ears ;-)
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:48 PM   #25
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I have backed my bass boat now a ton of times and it feels pretty natural to me at this point...my older brother was just going on and on about "well a 30 foot trailer aint no bass boat trailer".....well no s#$t sherlock

I think I am getting the whole track idea right now Paula thanks...if you follow that track with the TV/TT then you will...well...be on track....makes sense to me now...not sure why I was having a hard time getting that...extension cord is a good idea...as are flash lights (I only have 2 flash lights right now that I will have with me...seems like most folks have 10 lol - I have a head lamp type and a small led type - oh and an LED lantern).
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:49 PM   #26
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My recommendation is to watch the following:
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:50 PM   #27
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"I had the same experience at a Cracker Barrel a long time ago"

Oh man, and THAT is the kind of horrifically embarassing thing I want to avoid!! And I could see me doing that on accident....ugh....

That dieselboss site looks good...Ill have to file that one away!

Refilling at half of a tank...man that seems excessive...BUT....it does make since if you consider that you may end up having to pass a couple places improper for pulling into...
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:51 PM   #28
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Lumatic...I now own the DVD

The wife and I thought it was excessively cheesy...but I find myself thinking more about it and constantly referencing it....

The "right there" part was the funniest..."no I meant right there left"

**another thing I did not like about watching that movie with my wife is she kinda felt like it made her a tad less interested in the whole idea...although she grew up RV'ing some, it made her feel rather anxious....would have been nice to play up the couple enjoying camping a bit, lol***
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:05 PM   #29
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this was the video I recall....besides the concept mentioned "pivot point" for turns TOWARD an obstacle...they offered no hard/fast rule about turning AWAY from the obstacle...Guess what I may do is while at target with a cone, I may figure an outside turn pivot point and use that (of course would need to assume a given distance from the obstacle, but you get my drift)...once cleared that marker then I would have little risk of swing dat big ol' but out and into that obstacle...

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Old 11-04-2013, 01:12 PM   #30
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"

Refilling at half of a tank...man that seems excessive...BUT....it does make since if you consider that you may end up having to pass a couple places improper for pulling into...
It probably is excessive, but we do not trust the fuel gauge on our vehicle, plus we time it for pit stops and to walk the dog. On familiar routes we do not always refuel so soon.
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:14 PM   #31
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My official airstream "mentor" has put out "landing lights" for me. As I'm not lucky enough to be retired, I tend to get to our camp spots after dark.

Larry uncoils a set of rope lights and lines them up where the drivers side of the trailer should be.

Makes it very nice when backing after a long tow, plus he gets to go to bed instead of holding a flashlight!
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:39 PM   #32
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I always seem to be the odd man out on this subject: "only back up using a spotter". Does everybody else out there travel with another person when they go camping ? I travel solo. When I am towing my equipment trailer, I am almost always solo. When I am pulling the horse trailer, probably half the time I am solo.

To my mind, with my style of travel anyway, a logical thing to say to someone learning this is, "learn how to back up your trailer by yourself. It will come in handy for you sooner than you think."

As to pulling into someplace where after you get in there, you realize there is no "out"....ah well...it happens to all of occasionally. Just a few weeks ago I pulled into an unfamiliar JD dealership with the 35' horse trailer on the back. Oooops....no out from that lot. Had to back out the way I came....two opposing 90 degree turns. Just remember, if you managed to come in forward, then it can go back out the same way it came in.
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:48 PM   #33
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My official airstream "mentor" has put out "landing lights" for me. As I'm not lucky enough to be retired, I tend to get to our camp spots after dark.

Larry uncoils a set of rope lights and lines them up where the drivers side of the trailer should be.

Makes it very nice when backing after a long tow, plus he gets to go to bed instead of holding a flashlight!
I recently hit upon the rope light trick. I arrived late (and solo) at a dark, shady state park campground that had various things to run over/bump into near the edges of the sites. I plugged the rope light into the power pedestal and stretched it along the border of the campsite and it made my parking much easier.

I repeated the trick the next night when a new-to-RVing family that had just joined our unit arrived after dark.
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:56 PM   #34
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excellent idea!! And I actually have a rope light - woohoo . And I can use them for some external lighting perahps around awning at night if I am so inclined...I deploy one of those pop up tent thingies people use when tailgating on my back patio when family visit..it is white - I put up the rope light inside the celiing of that and instant party soft lighting...

GMW - I will be in most every case traveling with the wife and kids...but perhaps not in every case...my wife works every other weekend, so in fact, once I get the skills, I may need to learn to back solo....if and when I do, you can bet I will be extremely careful and take my time....

I think one thing I will have to keep in mind is verticle clearance...the ol' bass boat pulling this was a non issue...

Thanks for advice so far folks! Feeling much less anxious.
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Old 11-04-2013, 03:38 PM   #35
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Some of this advice SLAYS me. "Never backup without a spotter." I am a solo 'Streamer, and granted, I've only had my trailer for 2 years, but I've put about 20,000 miles on it. I have NEVER had a spotter and I've backed it into every kind of space imaginable. I take my time, check out the terrain and above all, recheck my progress. The only way you will get comfortable with your new 30' is to just DO IT. From all your posts I can't imagine anyone who ought to be better prepared by doing the "pre work" than you. While I have learned an awful lot on the Forums, I have learned a lot more out there on the road. You've got the right rig, you bought a PP (GREATEST hitch in the world), and you're going to find pulling your trailer and traveling with your family a world of fun. Use your God given common sense and JUST DO IT!
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Old 11-04-2013, 03:44 PM   #36
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I'll stick by the "only back up using a spotter" idea. I also use several trailers as well as the Airstream, and most solo, but unlike the Airstream they have good to fair visibility.

Following this forum will regularly see "oops" backing up and dented panels. Who knows when the neighbor's curious little kid wanders back there, or your own. You don't have to travel with a spotter to round one up.

It's not a matter of skill, it's a matter of safety.

The cameras on the back of the Airstream are interesting, something to look into if you must back alone.
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Old 11-04-2013, 03:49 PM   #37
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No need for a spotter If you take your time and use common sense.You are actually better off without one in most cases ....LOL
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Old 11-04-2013, 03:54 PM   #38
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No need for a spotter If you take your time and use common sense.You are actually better off without one in most cases ....LOL
x2! I got a dent in my bumper when I had THREE spotters 'helping' me back in. I never use them any more (or at least look at them). I always get out of the vehicle and eyeball the spot first, then back in.
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:11 PM   #39
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My recommendation is to watch the following:
Better yet- purchase The Long, Long trailer from Amazon and watch it in the trailer.
That trailer is a 1953 new moon. I wish the doorbell on my Classic sounded like that.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:35 PM   #40
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Lots of good advice here...

In a post some time ago somebody mention the GOAL principal for backing up. Get Out and Look. I like to remind myself of this every time I need to back up.

I'm sure you've mentioned what you have for back-up mirrors? Key in my mind is a split mirror with ample sections of wide angle and normal angle on both sides of the tow vehicle. It's key to be able to see where your wheels are while maneuvering in tight spaces. I also like tow mirrors that are permanently affixed rather than ones that you strap on only when you tow. When things are happening quickly it's important that you know exactly where to look to get information from the mirrors. Past experience demonstrated that strap on mirrors take just a fraction of a second longer to focus on the right spot and then interpret the information. With stock mirrors that just slide in and out, comprehension time is faster.

Thousands of miles of towing with virtually the same trailer as yours demonstrated to me that you can vastly over think getting into and out of gas stations. There are a few that might cause problems - but in general they have ample room to get in and out. Much more effort required to scope fast food restaurants. (We like McDonalds for breakfast when were on a long haul day). If it's early in the morning then there are usually plenty of surrounding businesses that have not opened for the day and can serve as temporary parking.

Remember to swing to the outside of every turn. When I was just getting used to towing I would practice this even when not towing. By making it habit you are less likely to 'forget' some day while actually towing, turn too sharply and then hit something with the large object behind. It has become so ingrained that now when I head down the highway on the bends I favour the outside of every turn so the trailer finds the middle of the lane. (It's amazing how much other drivers wander in their lanes...). Keep both hands on the wheel, and look well down the lane...

Do a complete walk around before heading off - looking up and down. I also like to remember the number of items to check when inspecting the hitch. i.e. I know there are 7 items - left WD jack, right WD jack, tongue jack, left chain, right chain, electrical cable, break-away cable. Count as you check and check in the same order. Minimizes the chance of missing something.

And mostly...have fun! This is all about reducing stress - not creating more.
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