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Old 07-01-2013, 02:08 PM   #1
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Started getting stuck - camper wheels sunk

Pulling into our campsite yesterday, I completely botched my first approach to the site. I turned too late and then tried to recover by over cutting it and ultimately ended up diagonal in the site to the parking pad. Of course, we had an audience. My wife had me stop before I backed up too far (i.e. off the grassed-over gravel pad and into just grass) so that I could come back and take a look at things.

What I should have done is pull back out the campground road, make a loop and start over. YES- it was that bad.

What I did was talk to her and we decided I could backup a little more, then pull forward to the side and straighten up. Apparently as I went off of the gravel pad, I sunk. By the time she got me to stop, both wheels on one side were in and sunk.

The camper came down and made contact with the truck bed (couldn't get the tailgate down). I usually have 6" or so clearance. (Turns out, the bottom of the camper is dented, but no damage to the truck... thankfully!)

On the truck side, I found that it, too made ruts.

My overly friendly neighbor came over immediately as wife and I were looking at our predicament. He said he had just what we needed. I was all ears, to be honest. My wife was the cooler head/thinker for a change (usually she loses it and I'm the thinker when emergent things happen). He came back with what looked like a 2x12 that was 4' or so long. We put that under the tire. I dropped it into 4x4-low and started to pull the camper up onto the board when wife and he yelled to stop and back into the hole again. Turns out, the board lifted and hit the bottom of the camper, bending my sewer pull arm and busted the handle. Gray water gushed into my clear cap, but he was able to push the arm closed, so it was only about a 1/2 gallon.

In my truck bed, I carry a handful of 18" long 2x10s. We put a few down and I was able to pull the camper up onto them and got it out onto the campground road.

I made the loop around to re-approach the site. Friendly neighbor went back to his site and wife talked calmness into me as I made the loop. The neighbor across from the site offered to move his truck - truth be told, he wasn't in the way in the slightest, but I still took him up on it in (mostly out of embarrassment).

This time, I started back and could see that I was ending up on the exact same trajectory that went so terribly awry the first time. Wife called me out on it about the time that I was going back into drive to pull ahead a little more. THIS final time back was pretty clean. It did take 2 pull forwards to jockey things without going off of gravel.

I did tell the campground lady that I buggered up her grass pretty bad. She said it was OK and that I wasn't the first with the rain the way it's been. She then relayed a story that someone sunk up to their axles and had to be pulled out with a semi.

The final insult - these are first come/first served sites, we pre-paid for 50amp service assuming we'd pick a 50amp site. A slip of the mind before all of this happened landed us onto a 30amp site. Pray for cooler weather so we don't need both air conditioners! (And now, I have to go ask for my $27 back.)

So, at the end of the day - the damage was minor, no one got hurt and I'm not responsible for the damage that I did to the site.
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Old 07-01-2013, 04:15 PM   #2
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Sounds like quite the ordeal. Glad to hear the damage was minor.
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Old 07-01-2013, 04:37 PM   #3
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A tip that has served me well for years is to use the shinny things on the side called mirrors! And to remember that the trailer is going to pivot on the axles. With that being said I try to get the axles just in front of where I want them IE: corner of the pad i'm parking on... And then begin my turn... If you turn before you will be off on the driver's side and if you turn late you'll be on the on the passenger side...

I always strive to never be "that guy" buy in the end it happens to everyone at some point!

Another thing to consider since it sounds like your wife was there assisting that mine has issues with from time to time is to stay within sight of the mirror you are looking out of. If she can't see the mirror then you can't see her!

Sometimes I will actually use her as a marker! I will have her stand on the corner of the pad that I am going to pivot on if I cannot see it clearly due to the sun or dark... or whatever reason...


Glad all worked out for you though!
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Old 07-01-2013, 04:51 PM   #4
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This would never happen to me because I'd never come on the forum to admit it
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Old 07-01-2013, 04:52 PM   #5
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Use my mirrors? Heck, I've been closing my eyes most of the time and hoping for the best!

We use a combination of her in the mirror and cell to cell phone calls. Part of the problem is that I didn't call her until after I'd made the first big mistake thinking that I could get it almost into position and then I'd just call her for fine tuning.

She's a great spotter and we work really well as a team. She generally understands the truck and trailer dynamic - likely even better than I. She's just never been in the driver's seat.

I'm usually not this bad...
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Old 07-01-2013, 04:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by force View Post
This would never happen to me because I'd never come on the forum to admit it
Initially, I was trying to figure out the lessons learned... as I have replayed yesterday in my head, I've pretty well come to the decision - I need to listen to my wife; especially her first instincts on things.
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Old 07-01-2013, 04:58 PM   #7
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I pray for your sake she doesn't EVER read this forum!
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ependydad View Post
Initially, I was trying to figure out the lessons learned... as I have replayed yesterday in my head, I've pretty well come to the decision - I need to listen to my wife; especially her first instincts on things.
Ha, isn't that the truth?

My wife is on the ball as far as setup and break down procedures, and by extension is a good spotter. In fact, she can even hook the camper up to the truck including the WDH bars. One of these days I may even let her drive.

I'll take this lesson from you though...I'll now check a little better for how soft the ground is around my intended TT parking spot.

Also, in addition to various lengths of 2x10's, I travel with a pair of these: Tow Truck in a Box
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:11 PM   #9
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I pray for your sake she doesn't EVER read this forum!
Ha. No, we've had that exact same discussion this morning. There were 3 points where I should have listened. Two would have definitely saved problems - the 3rd is circumstantial.

1) I should have called her before starting to backup like we usually do. Circumstantially, we may have avoided the horrendously botched backing in the first place.

2) When we were talking and she stopped me, she said I shouldn't go back any further. We talked it through after that and both agreed to go a little further. But, had I listened to her instincts, I wouldn't have gotten stuck where I did.

3) Because recovering from getting stuck in the mud is "a man's work", I only listened to the neighbor guy. In hindsight, she wanted me to grab the wood from our truck bed to use our boards instead of his. She didn't speak up, I didn't look to her. All told, had we used our boards - I likely wouldn't have banged up my sewer pull handle.

Truthfully- no worries in her knowing the mistakes. When we first started this parking thing, she would get over-talked by the men around (her father and a friend's husband- nice guys and neither intentionally invaded her role). She said she wasn't good at asserting her authority. We finally talked about that and that's why we use the cell phones; I *only* listen to her, regardless of what the guys are saying (unless there are yells to STOP). It's subtle but it works- we've camped with both those guys backed off to let her talk directly to me.
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:13 PM   #10
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And, she's seen these admissions already. I posted to a comment on Facebook about the mess:
Quote:
Yep. Like I said - no major damage. Pride is pretty bruised and should have listened to Mandie's first instinct to not go off of the gravel area (though, in discussion- we both agreed backing up more was an OK idea). Should have given Mandie a chance to speakup before listening to the neighbor guy with his board that was too long. Ok, so maybe I do have a few lessons learned already.
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