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Old 08-05-2015, 07:14 AM   #1
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Totally Freaking Out!

Ok I could use a little support from the community. In two days I leave for Chilliwack. I'm a bit nervous about towing home. Since I dropped my $500 deposit I have be reading lots about safety. I have limited towing experience. At work sometimes I drive a Tower Ladder which is a 47' straight job through traffic with lights and sirens in heavy traffic. I also have a Class B CDL. Once I towed a hot rod with no engine for a friend about 60 miles. I understand there will be a learning curve, but should pick up on this fast. At which point did you feel a bit comfortable towing your Escape after picking it up?
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Old 08-05-2015, 07:36 AM   #2
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Ok I could use a little support from the community. In two days I leave for Chilliwack. I'm a bit nervous about towing home. Since I dropped my $500 deposit I have be reading lots about safety. I have limited towing experience. At work sometimes I drive a Tower Ladder which is a 47' straight job through traffic with lights and sirens in heavy traffic. I also have a Class B CDL. Once I towed a hot rod with no engine for a friend about 60 miles. I understand there will be a learning curve, but should pick up on this fast. At which point did you feel a bit comfortable towing your Escape after picking it up?
I would expect less than an hour. Once you experience how nicely your Escape tows, you will relax. But keep in mind, even after towing it thousands of miles you will still experience conditions that make you nervous like heavy rush hour traffic with drivers who weave in and out or who can't seem to stay in their own lane and "drift" over the lane lines. Just tow at a reasonable speed (60 max, for me) and you will be OK.
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Old 08-05-2015, 07:56 AM   #3
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Mirrors are important. If you can see to safely change lanes, the rest is not too bad.
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:14 AM   #4
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It would not be a bad idea to get some instruction right away. This will instil some good habits into your towing. There is a place in Chilliwack others have used, and thought good.
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:34 AM   #5
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Valley Driving School is very close to ETI. If u are going right back over the border, maybe a U.S. Forum member knows of a US Driving School in Washington near the border. You'll need to book an hour or two.

Setting the brake controller was a bit of a learning experience. Specially trying to figure out if you have someone behind you before you test the controller. For us never having towed before it took some time to learn how it felt to have the controller slowing the tug. And its not like you just set the controller once and forget about it. Test it often.

Driving mountains, up and down hilly, curvy terrain can be hairy the first few times. Specially in holiday traffic.

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Old 08-05-2015, 09:39 AM   #6
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The biggest thing for me was remembering it was back there when I was making turns.
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:48 AM   #7
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You'll do fine. And it's great that you take possession in Sumas so you can get the feel for towing in rural Whatcom County where there are good roads and little traffic.
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:54 AM   #8
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You'll do fine. And it's great that you take possession in Sumas so you can get the feel for towing in rural Whatcom County where there are good roads and little traffic.
Karen do you recommend any other road done to Burlington besides I-5?
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Old 08-05-2015, 10:05 AM   #9
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You could follow Hwy 9 all the way from Sumas to Sedro Woolley and then cut west on Hwy 20 to I-5. It is a very good secondary highway with some curves (and one roundabout) and not much traffic. Plus, you'd get to go through Van Zandt and stop in at Everybody's Store and through Acme and stop in at the Acme Diner. In fact, you could take it all the way to Everett but the traffic--and traffic lights--starts to pile up south of Arlington. I would cut over on Hwy 20. See Google Maps.
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Old 08-05-2015, 10:10 AM   #10
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Totally Freaking Out!

Vinny, my response might seem kind of strange but here goes. I find driving while towing to be a less stressful and more enjoyable experience than driving while not towing. I've always been a "faster" driver, and because of several years in law enforcement, I've had training in high speed tactical driving, etc. Because of this, I've sometimes had trouble relaxing while driving and traffic can drive me crazy. I was always stressing, aggravated and in a hurry.

When I'm towing, it forces me to have a different mindset. I know that I can't whip in and out of congestion or pass slower drivers on a whim. So, my entire approach is different. Taking my time, not worrying or stressing, watching the "other guy" be in a hurry instead of me, and ironically, chuckling as I watch the "maniacs" dodge in and out of lanes in an attempt to win the freeway wars.

My wife has even commented on this sea change several times. She likes this driver better than the other one. He's a happier man.

Just relax and take your time. You'll get used to the feel of it, and after a short time you'll be able to take corners and do backing like a veteran.
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Old 08-05-2015, 11:07 AM   #11
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I've towed lots of different trailers, some for many many miles, and I have to say I never get used to it, especially in high traffic areas. I think some of it has to do with your disposition. I'm generally pretty laid back, but it's just me and nobody to look to if I have a flat tire, etc., even though I have roadside service. After 8 years of pretty much fulltiming in a trailer and pulling all over the country, I'm thinking of getting a Sprinter or something I can just drive, even though I know I won't get Escape quality. I've had 13 footers on up and I always feel the same way. I think some of us just aren;t cut out for towing.
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Old 08-05-2015, 11:09 AM   #12
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As a suggestion by this forum, my husband and I scheduled a driving class from Valley Driving School in Chilliwack. Our first night we will be staying at a KOA and the next day have scheduled a class to ensure we understand aspects of driving our new trailer. It's a big investment and I was the one who wanted lessons. I am sure my husband will benefit just as much as me.
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Old 08-05-2015, 11:13 AM   #13
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I would reinterate that you will need to have mirror extensions on your tow vehicle before you pick up the trailer. I took a useful one hour lesson at the Valley Driving school right after picking the trailer up in the US Ask them to make driving into and out of a gas station as part of your lesson! (Of course I had to return from Sumas to Canada to GET TO the lesson but it all worked out)
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Old 08-05-2015, 11:20 AM   #14
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Another thought with the driving school, is that even if one of you has some experience, usually the hubby but not always, going to the school for the one to learn while the other brushes up, opposed to the spousal instruction which does not always go well, can be beneficial too.
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Old 08-05-2015, 11:39 AM   #15
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Losing the newbie nerves has been incremental over each of the four weeks. Backing in confidence was (newbie) medium-high because of some excellent youtube vids that prepared me. Increased again when I chose to back up a country lane that dead ended on me. I could have taken the easy way and turned around in the surrounding field, but glad I didn't. Towing confidence has likewise been about just getting some easy miles under the belt.

In fairness, I didn't put as many miles on as some do while a newbie.


Thread of interest....

Our experience with Valley Driving School
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Old 08-05-2015, 11:54 AM   #16
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At which point did you feel a bit comfortable towing your Escape after picking it up?
About 30 seconds after I got out of the confined yard area at ETI.

Seriously, first, as Karen said, that area couldn't be more perfect for towing. No major cities to drive through.

Secondly, if you'e used to driving a 47' rig, I can't imagine how you would have any difficulty with a shorter rig. Different I know, but before the first day is over I'm sure you'll be smiling.

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Old 08-05-2015, 11:56 AM   #17
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Vinny. I don't think you're alone in being a little nervous about towing the new trailer. I have wondered a little bit about it myself and I have a lot of experience in towing construction and farm trailers and backing them. Just something new to get used to. Karen, that looks like a good route to take south as we will be spending our first night in Bay View State Park. We will be right next door to Charlie and Lucy on the night of Sept. 10th as they are picking up their new trailer 2 days earlier. It would really be neat if any of the locals came by for a visit. Loren
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Old 08-05-2015, 12:10 PM   #18
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After we picked up our 19' at the factory, we immediately headed west towards Vancouver during rush hour traffic to pick up a BBQ at Dickinson Marine. Had to play with the brake controller a bit to get the feel of the brakes right. We had no problems with actually towing the trailer, but found out rather quickly that the stock mirrors on my FJ were not up to the job of spotting traffic to the sides and behind our Escape. Was a bit nerve racking driving somewhat blind through heavy traffic, but we tried to minimize lane changes and eventually ended up on less busy roads where driving was more pleasurable. For me, the learning curve for towing the Escape was pretty short and relatively painless. It sounds as if the OP has experience driving fairly big vehicles under stressful situations. You should have little difficulty adapting to your new trailer.
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:27 PM   #19
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Here's the Highway 9 suggested route...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Highway 9 Sumas to Burlington.jpg (264.9 KB, 45 views)
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:35 PM   #20
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Here's the Highway 9 suggested route...

Hey Karen...

Would that route be OK in January? We're picking up our trailer in early January, then heading towards Los Angeles. Should we head west to I5 instead?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Dolly
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