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-   -   Started getting stuck - camper wheels sunk (https://www.forestriverforums.com/forums/f2/started-getting-stuck-camper-wheels-sunk-43000.html)

ependydad 07-01-2013 01:08 PM

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.

Wiscampsin 07-01-2013 03:15 PM

Sounds like quite the ordeal. Glad to hear the damage was minor.

avolnek 07-01-2013 03:37 PM

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!

force 07-01-2013 03:51 PM

This would never happen to me because I'd never come on the forum to admit it ;)

ependydad 07-01-2013 03:52 PM

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...

ependydad 07-01-2013 03:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by force (Post 412138)
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.

avolnek 07-01-2013 03:58 PM

I pray for your sake she doesn't EVER read this forum!

force 07-01-2013 04:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ependydad (Post 412141)
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

ependydad 07-01-2013 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by avolnek (Post 412146)
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.

ependydad 07-01-2013 04:13 PM

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.

TeresaInCAL 07-01-2013 04:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by avolnek (Post 412146)
I pray for your sake she doesn't EVER read this forum!

LOL :trink39:

rockfordroo 07-01-2013 04:43 PM

Another helpful hint on spotting: Forget trying to see the wife in the mirrors or hear her from 25-30 feet back. I call my wife's cell phone with my cell phone, put my cell on speaker-phone and we can both talk normally. Just make sure you both understand what words you're going to use for "left" and "right." (When you're lookiing backwards, your left is her right!)

TeresaInCAL 07-01-2013 04:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ependydad (Post 412139)
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...

I believe BOTH should be able to hook everything up by theirselves, and drive/park whatever your rig is. What if one of you got hurt, or was sick? Most women are more capable than many men give them credit for.

Truth B Towed 07-01-2013 04:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TeresaInCAL (Post 412166)
I believe BOTH should be able to hook everything up by theirselves, and drive/park whatever your rig is. What if one of you got hurt, or was sick? Most women are more capable than many men give them credit for.

My DW has always learned how hook up, park and take down everything when we owned a pop up, she is doing the same with our TT, does an excellent job of parking it and will be doing the full haul when we go to Pokagon in august [first trip for her towing it] cuts set up and take sown time in half.

OldCoot 07-01-2013 06:00 PM

Have you considered taking some cones and going to a large parking lot and practicing backing into tight spaces from both directions using your mirrors. Try parallel parking with the trailer. Use some duct tape on the asphalt as a line and practice parking along the line. BTW, do it by yourself without a spotter.

As for TOWTA hooking up in case something happens to me, we have insurance that will fly either one of our boys to wherever she is and bring her and the trailer home.

ependydad 07-01-2013 06:39 PM

Oh, hey- after yesterday's mess, I left my truck keys in the ignition after unhitching until tonight when we went for a grocery run. Helpful neighbor hooked me up even after I had to admit that I apparently don't have jumper cables in the truck. Argh!

ChooChooMan74 07-01-2013 06:55 PM

Sounds like you are having one of those trips. We all have done our oopsies.

QCCowboy 07-01-2013 07:49 PM

Wow, definitely sounds like one of those trips you will never forget. Now, forget about what has happened and spend some quality time with the wife and kids and try to make this a trip they won't forget filled with fun and enjoyment!

As far as the 50 amp vs. 30 amp goes, I spent last weekend on 30 amp by choice. Suprisingly enough the 15k in the main kept everything pretty cool.

asquared 07-01-2013 08:20 PM

it sounds like an adult beverage or 3 or 4 are mandatory on this trip for you. I feel for you, I've had trips full of oh sh*# moments. it gets better and eventually pride and pain give way to laughter and good campfire stories. You will always have that "remember when" memory to share.

asquared 07-01-2013 08:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rockfordroo (Post 412165)
Another helpful hint on spotting: Forget trying to see the wife in the mirrors or hear her from 25-30 feet back. I call my wife's cell phone with my cell phone, put my cell on speaker-phone and we can both talk normally. Just make sure you both understand what words you're going to use for "left" and "right." (When you're lookiing backwards, your left is her right!)

use passenger side/drivers side instead of left/right. it will avoid confusion until one of you suffers from a common condition known as a brain fart and the trailer winds up in the bushes as a result of or getting where passenger side really is.


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