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Old 02-09-2019, 11:08 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salmo7000 View Post
Go slow, use your mirrors to keep track of traffic, maintain a good distance behind other vehicles, and if you're changing lanes on a highway, be sure to know exactly where the back of the trailer is in relation to the closest vehicle.

I pulled in to a KOA in southern CA once and had to chew out some folks driving a rental motorhome. They just about clipped my bumper when they changed back into my lane. I told them they needed to be far more aware of how much longer their rig was from what they were used to.


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Originally Posted by Allan Bornestig View Post
Just one more thing that I see way too often. People passing tractor trailers and cutting in too close in front of them.

Any time I hear of an accident involving a big rig and a regular vehicle, I rather assume the car cut in front of the semi. I always make sure I can't see them in my side mirror and the rear view camera any longer. We also added side view cameras to both sides, which really help with changing lanes and passing vehicles.


I also much prefer them to be in front of me as opposed to behind me. Many of those drivers aren't as polite as they used to be, many years ago. I've had several discussions with long-time big rig drivers about that and the reasons for that.


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Originally Posted by arniesea View Post
I was going to suggest that you reach out to Laura (NW Cat Owner) as she took an RV course. But I see she has already posted with some excellent information.

As a former transit operator, my main suggestion is to drive with your eyes a 1/4 mile or more down the road. Too many people keep their attention focused on the taillights in front of them. Your peripheral vision will see the car in front just fine. Focus far down the road and you will have time to plan for changing situations instead of reacting to them. Maintaining a good following distance also gives you plenty of time to adjust.

Thanks! And great advice here. I always watch what's way ahead as you're gonna need lots more room to respond. However, I've also discovered that if I leave a decent gap between me and the next vehicle (esp in traffic) someone will usually cut in front of me. Hey, I needed that space so I can safely stop. And yeah, my horn isn't optional and does need dusting off from time to time.


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Originally Posted by h2owmn View Post
Camping people are really nice. Don't be afraid to ask folks nearby for help/directions when getting into a camp spot.

Lastly, if you can manage it, I highly suggest attending the rally at Osoyoos. Besides meeting a lot of really nice people, you'll get a ton of good ideas and advice.

I've asked others near me for help numerous times and never once have I been turned down. Early on there were some problems with the electric awning not going all the way back in. I tried fiddling with the control and read the manual, but couldn't figure it out. I found someone with a ladder that I asked the wife to borrow. The hubby was taking the trash out or some such. By the time I hauled that ladder back and was up on it, the husband came rushing over as well as 2 or 3 other guys. Turns out something else needed adjusting that only ETI knew about and wasn't in the manual, so that's another story. But the moral is, yes, other campers will be more than helpful.


There are other rallies around, so don't feel that's the only one you'd have to attend. I thoroughly enjoyed the one in Bandon OR last summer as I got to see a wide variety of different fiberglass trailers, some of which I had never heard of, much less all the others I had never seen before (but had heard of). Not all of the rallies are mentioned on this list very often, so you might want to join the Fiberglass RV forum, which is for a wide variety of fiberglass trailers, truck campers and motorhomes. They also have a rally calendar, although not all of them are on there either. (Kind of frustrating at times.)
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Old 02-09-2019, 11:14 PM   #22
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And yeah, my horn isn't optional and does need dusting off from time to time.

I'm of the opinion that if a driver has time to honk the horn, they have the time to change lanes, go around, slow down or do whatever will prevent an accident. Only time I've needed my horn is a brief toot to alert the person texting while driving that the light has changed to green.
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Old 02-10-2019, 04:05 AM   #23
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One big change with towing is that you no longer use your rear view mirror. If you have towing mirrors, put them on and get use to using them around town. Try to not look in the rear view if you can help it so you can do everything with your side mirrors. When your comfortable with your mirrors, things are much easier.



Also, you'll need to remember to swing a little wider when making turns so the trailer wheels don't hit the curb.



But overall, don't sweat it. I see you're from Oakland, so probably used to city driving. If you can handle that, towing isn't so hard.
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Old 02-10-2019, 07:34 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by goalie39 View Post
One big change with towing is that you no longer use your rear view mirror. If you have towing mirrors, put them on and get use to using them around town. Try to not look in the rear view if you can help it so you can do everything with your side mirrors. When your comfortable with your mirrors, things are much easier.



Also, you'll need to remember to swing a little wider when making turns so the trailer wheels don't hit the curb.



But overall, don't sweat it. I see you're from Oakland, so probably used to city driving. If you can handle that, towing isn't so hard.
Yes, great advice, your rear view mirror is just about worthless while towing, but those side view mirrors are indispensable in changing lanes and seeing what is behind the trailer.
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:37 AM   #25
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Leslie,
You've gotten some great advice.
I'll add a few thoughts.

Buy gas at truck stops or very large gas stations. You don't need the hassle of tight corners or stations that are difficult to pull out of.

Mirrors are your friends--the wider the better. Your F-150 is probably fine with stock mirrors, but be aware that Ford offers ones that extend for towing. Add-on ones are helpful but more jiggly.

Don't get embarrassed by beginner backing episodes. Get out and look 20 times, if necessary. If you get exasperated, get out walk around the whole place like you're exploring, then get in, pull forward and try again. Others may try to help, but that can be a distraction.

I like someone's suggestion to borrow a friend's trailer of any size, large or small, to practice with. I agree with a suggestion to rent a dual axle U-Haul for a brief time to practice with, too.
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:38 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Bill and Earline View Post
Don't get embarrassed by beginner backing episodes. Get out and look 20 times, if necessary. If you get exasperated, get out walk around the whole place like you're exploring, then get in, pull forward and try again. Others may try to help, but that can be a distraction.

Great advice! An easy acronym to remember: GOAL (Get Out And Look!).
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:45 AM   #27
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As expected, you have gotten a lot of good advice. I’ll take my turn.

Before getting our first travel trailer, I pulled a small utility trailer around a lot. That experience helped, but I distinctly remember our first road trip with the travel trailer. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why my arms were so tired after a couple days. It takes a while to learn to relax. So, stretch a lot when stopping for gas or for the night.

I remember realizing why those darn RVers drive so stinking slow through small towns and business areas off the freeway when I became one of them. Learn not to worry about the cars behind you as you are constantly scanning parking lots and side streets, determining whether you can get in, and out of them. That longer walk from your vehicle to your lunch spot is a chance to stretch your legs and relax.

Side mirrors with extensions are your friends. Knowing what is behind you offers peace of mind.

Take more breaks. In the beginning we seldom drove for more than two hours at a time. Enjoy the journey.

Have fun. You will do just fine.
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:00 PM   #28
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One more tip that I picked up at another site and practice now. When someone is helping you back in somewhere "... don't continue to back up if you can't see them in your mirror, no matter how much they say "Come on back"... ".
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:31 PM   #29
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If you decide to rent a trailer to practice. Also get some training cones also referred to as Soccer cones, with these you can go to large empty parking lot and practice backing and or making turns with the trailer without risk of damage.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:47 AM   #30
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Wow, lots of good advice. The only thing I might add is to make sure your GPS is up to date and pick your time to travel. Donít try to go through Seattle at rush hour, itís bad enough all the rest of the time. Also get the Good Sam app on your phone or at least know where youíre spending each night. I towed a lot before picking up our trailer, but towing a trailer before you pick up yours is a great idea. How exciting!
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