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Old 02-09-2019, 03:52 PM   #1
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First Time Trailer - Counseling Session Needed

Iíd love to get some feedback from anyone that can remember how they felt the first time they pulled a trailer. Iíve been planning for a year and am picking up my 21í in May and couldnít be more excited. Now that the time is approaching, Iím starting to focus on what could go wrong (not great for the psyche). Iím a planner and a list-maker, so I know I will be intellectually prepared, but I have this vision of the "Escape guyĒ meeting me at some parking lot after crossing the border and handing me my new trailer and waving goodbye. Iím doing this alone and will drive away to the closest camping location to start the learning journey. It just feels huge to me! I will be stopping and starting quite a lot over a week-long trip back to the Bay Area (California), so, hopefully, I will become more comfortable with that experience. Any words of wisdom - perhaps itís not as difficult as Iím imagining? Thanks all!

Leslie
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Old 02-09-2019, 03:56 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Leslie View Post
I’d love to get some feedback from anyone that can remember how they felt the first time they pulled a trailer. I’ve been planning for a year and am picking up my 21’ in May and couldn’t be more excited. Now that the time is approaching, I’m starting to focus on what could go wrong (not great for the psyche). I’m a planner and a list-maker, so I know I will be intellectually prepared, but I have this vision of the "Escape guy” meeting me at some parking lot after crossing the border and handing me my new trailer and waving goodbye. I’m doing this alone and will drive away to the closest camping location to start the learning journey. It just feels huge to me! I will be stopping and starting quite a lot over a week-long trip back to the Bay Area (California), so, hopefully, I will become more comfortable with that experience. Any words of wisdom - perhaps it’s not as difficult as I’m imagining? Thanks all!

Leslie
Once you've learned a few basic skills, and have a little experience, towing is pretty easy Leslie. There are a few new skills you'll need to learn. You will need to tow at a little slower speed than when you're not, allow a little more room for braking, your turns are going to be wider, and backing up is something we all learn and are always improving on. If you have never towed before, I might suggest you attend one of those towing classes. They offer one in Chilliwack I believe. Those who've attended such a course as a first timer have reported back that it was quite valuable, and helped their confidence level.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:11 PM   #3
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Leslie, I was pretty nervous when I first started towing but, like anything else, it does get easier the more you do it. Like you, I am also a planner and list maker. That helps but nothing suffices for actual behind the wheel experience. The suggestion to attend a class is a good one. I’ll add, once you take delivery in Sumas, head to the nearest and largest empty parking lot you can find and practice maneuvering and backing.

Lastly, try to avoid arriving home during the commute! Best wishes,
Greg
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:12 PM   #4
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There are a limitless number of U-Tube videos about towing, backing up, etc.
Just do a search.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:20 PM   #5
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When I bought my 16' Scamp in 2002, I had never towed a travel trailer either. I had to go from the west side of Portland to the east side in rush hour traffic! Also crossing Portland's tallest bridge. I got into a lane and stayed there. Nothing was going to make me change lanes, nothing. White knuckles and I made it home just fine. I think in my case, "baptism by fire" actually helped. It gave me confidence I may not have gained if traffic would have been light... maybe. I do remember I burned through enough adrenaline that I was starving when I got home. So watch your blood sugar level, truly. Eat healthy! And good luck. No one is born with a towing gene.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:23 PM   #6
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Leslie,
Why not rent a Uhaul trailer and do some practicing. Other than the length and weight, pulling a smaller trailer will help you gain some confidence. You may also want to practice towing while in traffic rush hour to get the feel also. Backing up will also help you.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:44 PM   #7
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Cp Charley's idea is good if you have current tow vehicle. Trailer should be same size. Start with an empty parking lot and, ideally, a friend who can get you safely there. Graduate to the road, working up to construction sites, gas stations, getting passed by semis. I took a two hour trailer towing lesson from an outfit close to the factory that was helpful.
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Old 02-09-2019, 05:01 PM   #8
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All the advice given so far is great. The biggest hurdle is figuring out how to back up. The rest will be rather easy once you drive for a few miles... you'll see... just be careful with your turning radius. The biggest thing that helped me get the backing up process is putting my hands at the bottom of the steering wheel that way you turn the wheel in the direction you want the trailer to go. Also once you initiate the trailer backing up in the direction you want to go start bringing the steering wheel back around. This will avoid jackknifing the trailer. I found a good video that explains these two things very clearly but I can't find it. I'll post it if I do. These two things are what got me intially. Also your first night try and get a pull thru camp site so you don't have to worry about backing up on pickup day. One less thing to stress about on day one. Good luck and you'll get a lot if great advice here.
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Old 02-09-2019, 05:15 PM   #9
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First of all, congratulations on your upcoming Escape!! You're going to love the 21'. Second, we feel your nervousness. Prior to purchasing our 19', my dear husband (DH) had never towed a trailer and I had never been a "co-pilot" (aka. back seat driver). Our neighbor had us over to practice pulling his horse trailer around and that certainly helped; however, had we known about the classes near Chilliwack, we probably should have opted for one of those as well. Nonetheless, Dennis (ETI) drove our trailer into the parking lot at Bob's in Sumas, showed us how to hook it up, and off he went. Nervous? Nah ... Yeah, right. What I did do on that trip home was make reservations at places where NO backing up was required. It was enough getting used to the feel of the trailer behind the truck, changing lanes, turning, stopping in traffic, etc. (At one point, I even asked members of the forum how our truck should feel pulling the trailer up over the Siskiyou Pass and received very reassuring answers.) When we got home, DH had to back up into our back field which was challenging for the first time but he made it (and we only lost one tail light ... ). He's still not crazy about backing up (other members here can attest to that) but doing it again and again certainly helps (we think he may be missing a 'backup gene' ... ha!). One thing we've learned -- don't be afraid to ask other RVers for assistance/tips/help/whatever. Most are more than happy to share their knowledge. There's no shame in starting out with, "Hi, this is my first trailer and I was wondering ..... "
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Old 02-09-2019, 05:32 PM   #10
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Congrats on your new 21! We know the Bay Area well and just wanted to remind you that when pulling a trailer, you need to stay in the right 2 lanes on freeway travel....unless of course there’s a freeway merge or split. Then it’s easy to find yourself all of a sudden in the 3rd or 4th lane but don’t sweat it and just try to get back into the most right 2 lanes as soon as you can. From what I hear, Escapes seem to be very nice and easy to tow so for your 1st trailer you chose well! Just take your time, don’t be in a hurry and let people pass you when it’s safe to do so....an easy way to make others happy!
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