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Old 09-15-2013, 12:03 PM   #1
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First Trip Jitters

Tomorrow I head to a local campground for my maiden voyage. Have to admit that I'm a little nervous. Sure hope I don't mess anything up. Worried about getting it backed into the spot since I'll be by myself. I'm hoping not to have an audience...that would make me really nervous on my first trip out.
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:29 PM   #2
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Wish you well. Hopefully you have been studying/reading up on things. Just take it slow and easy. It'll get easier with time and experience.

The only advice I can offer at this point is to make ABSOLUTELY sure you chock (front and back) your trailer tires BEFORE you unhook from the tow vehicle.

You should do fine, and feel free to ask about anything you may have doubts or concerns here.
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jtintx View Post
Tomorrow I head to a local campground for my maiden voyage. Have to admit that I'm a little nervous. Sure hope I don't mess anything up. Worried about getting it backed into the spot since I'll be by myself. I'm hoping not to have an audience...that would make me really nervous on my first trip out.
Don't be shy about accepting help from neighboring campers with that back-in!

WMTire can suggest a great back-up camera set up for ya as well.

There are links here to great check lists for hooking up, and unooking as well.

Even though we've done this a few times now, we almost screwed up in TN....we didn't like the position of our RV and decided to move it forward in the space a bit. I checked and every thing looked like it had plenty of slack.... and thankfully I stood there to watch as he inched forward....

Good thing DH is quick on the STOP NOW! pedal....dang near pulled the fresh water hose out of the side of the TT.

(haven't confessed to this until now....so *hush* WMTire!) I can hear you laughing from here....
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jtintx View Post
Tomorrow I head to a local campground for my maiden voyage. Have to admit that I'm a little nervous. Sure hope I don't mess anything up. Worried about getting it backed into the spot since I'll be by myself. I'm hoping not to have an audience...that would make me really nervous on my first trip out.
Perhaps you will have some people on the side line that will help you with the backing in if you ask for their help.

Scout out your spot by walking it before you start your backing up and stop if you're not sure of your clearance.

Remember that probably each audience member who may be watching you has been in your position themselves the first time and if they are like most of your fellow RVers, they will be understanding. And who knows, you might shoe horn your unit in the spot the first time.

What CG are you going to?
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Old 09-15-2013, 01:06 PM   #5
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Local campground - good.

Backup - can always practice at a big empty parking lot on the way.

2304S - sized like my first, much easier for beginner, remember slide needs room bottom and top

Audience - don't let others distract you

Make a check-list as you have fun learning what to do, slow/enjoy
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Old 09-15-2013, 01:07 PM   #6
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Ditto on what B47 said. Get out and take a look around. Take it extra slow and see if you do need help. Other campers can be great with helping so don't be afraid to ask.

Good luck.
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Old 09-15-2013, 01:11 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I've downloaded some checklists that I'm about to print out. If I can't get it backed in on the first couple of tries and there is someone willing to help I think I'll take them up on it.
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Old 09-15-2013, 01:17 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jtintx View Post
Thanks for the advice everyone. I've downloaded some checklists that I'm about to print out. If I can't get it backed in on the first couple of tries and there is someone willing to help I think I'll take them up on it.
Let us know how it goes.
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Old 09-15-2013, 01:40 PM   #9
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Two years ago, I was like jtintx, heading out for my first trip by myself.

Although the campers were good intentioned backup helpers, the variety of hand and voice signals confused me, so I thanked and said I wanted to get used to doing it by myself.

Took me longer, and I 'B47' scouted my site high and low, over and over, as I backed up a bit at a time. Each of us is different. That worked for me, and has since as a solo camper.

The best general advise I can give is 'take your time' both backing and setting-up/taking-down. Most of my mistakes over the last two years came from either rushing or distractions.
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:48 PM   #10
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Just load up as best you think and go.

Each time you go out you'll get a little bit more savvy and forget a few less things.

Everyone has a "first time"....
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:52 PM   #11
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dont worry about the audience, as they have had the same jitters as you once or twice. maybe one will even help out.
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:10 PM   #12
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Just take it slow and easy when backing up. I would bet you will not make any new, unknown mistakes, and if you do make a mistake, just about everyone on this forum have made the same mistakes. I know I have given others a good laugh, or two. Most of the time I was sure those grinning were just remembering that they had that same move too. Something I still do when I have to back in is get out and look at what I need to do. I figure out where I need the driver side wheels on my trailer to track to get the rig in. What I do is throw a rag down on the ground where I want the trailer wheels to roll over, and I just roll over that rag. This also works on the passenger side wheels. Even if you miss the rag by a few inches you will still be close enough, and look like a seasoned pro. A little wiggle room is always a good thing. Another thing you can do, if available, is ask the camp ground to help you out. I can't count how many rigs I have backed in for visitors. Perhaps you will luck out and a pull through will be available.
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Old 09-15-2013, 04:26 PM   #13
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we just got back from our maiden voyage with our new camper. everything we great. as for backing. I just put something on the ground and use it as a refrence point.
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Old 09-15-2013, 08:33 PM   #14
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If someone does offer to help guide you in, tell them just to use single words like stop, go, left, right, and so on. Okay maybe "a little bit more" will work as well.

Don't be afraid to ask the campground for a site that has lots of room to back in as it is your first time. I did that though it didn't matter as that was the kind of site he already had selected for us. One of my fears was nailing something with the front of the truck as I was busy trying to see what the trailer was doing. So keep an eye on that as well.
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Old 09-15-2013, 08:55 PM   #15
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x3 on B47s comments.

Nervous is good. It keeps me focused. You can ask for a pull through for if you are really unsure. Having someone watch is fine - if they are confident in their skill they'll offer help, if not they'll sit and watch, which is probably best for both of you.
x2 on chocking before un-hitching. I chocked but not tightly and the trailler rolled about 8 inched the first time we disconnected.
And worse comes to worst, most CGs have a person who can help on staff. You got the trailer to have fun not prove you can drive an articulated device the wrong direction.

Oh, do remember, the direction the bottom of the steering wheel is going is the direction the trailer will go eventually.

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Old 09-15-2013, 09:01 PM   #16
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I am sure the checklists you have found on here are great but you will want to modify it for your needs. Try to write down and put things in an order that works for you. Stick by your checklist and do them in somewhat the same order and you will be less likely to forget something. I set up by myself on our last trip. I thought "I don't need that check list". Famous last words! I decided to look over it after leveling and chocking the wheels and guess what?? I had parked too close to the power pole and my slide wouldn't open. I had to reposition and re level the camper again. If I had read over my checklist I would have discovered that before I spent the time leveling. Good luck and everyone on here is right if you need help ask! Everyone I have ever asked for help is always glad to help!
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:09 PM   #17
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As others have said go slow and scout your spot before you start backing in. Don't forget to look up for branches and look in front for obstructions as well. Don't be afraid to ask someone to move their car or tow vehicle if its impeding you. Before putting the slides out look for clearance on the sides. Go slow.....others will watch and we've all been there before ourselves. Have fun!!!
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:54 PM   #18
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spotting and text messaging

remember, spotting for the driver and text messaging dont mix
Should have use the walkietalkie
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Old 09-15-2013, 10:00 PM   #19
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I have the same trailer and am getting more confident! The marker or cone on the ground where you want the trailer wheels to end up is useful. Another suggestion that came off a forum is this - Say you are backing in with the end of the trailer turning toward the driver side (the "easy" way). You will have your hand on the bottom of the wheel and will be moving your hand left towards the driver's window because you want the back of the trailer to turn left towards the driver side. The trick I learned is BEFORE you start moving, turn the wheel as above about 1 and a half turns to pre-load it, so to speak. Then start slowly backing. Seems to work well and make the corrections easier. After a while you won't have to stop and think which way to turn the wheel. The mirrors can be confusing at first, so it sometimes helps to roll down the window and look back until you are more comfortable backing. Also, don't forget about the front end of the truck! Sometimes that is more the problem with posts and other vehicles. Remember, if you go slow and don't get rattled, you're golden! I actually prefer to do it myself without others waving their arms about and giving conflicting directions about which way to turn the wheel. Even if you get out multiple time to look at how things are going, that is fine. If this old lady can do it, anyone can. I do so love it when I have an audience and nail it on the first try.
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Old 09-16-2013, 01:19 AM   #20
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Mmmm. I had my first trip a couple weeks ago. I was so upset and nervous about the parking. When we got to the local lake the spot reserved was in the middle of a bunch of trees. I have a four door short bed dodge truck and a 5th wheel trailer...well you know what happen. Cab damage...mmm. I wasn't real happy with the new look of my truck. Fortunately, no damage to our trailer. Funny part is...I just paid the truck off. Mmmm. A few days later I had a rattle when I shut the front drivers door. Mmmm. Maybe I will learn I have backed trailers quite a bit, but I was very nervous about this job at hand. Next trip(in a couple weeks) I will be more selective about the campsite parking angles and obstacles around it. We actually went and looked this weekend and my wife marked the best looking spaces in the areas we liked. Maybe we can get one of those.

Maybe this won't happen to anyone else. I am installing a 5th wheel with slide. The previous owner had installed a gooseneck adapter. I thought cool. This is good. I did some reading and discover maybe not so cool. Then the cab debts. Mmm. I guess I will have to take care of that.
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