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Old 09-18-2022, 02:26 PM   #1
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I hope it never happens, but what if it does?

I'll begin by confessing that I am "backing challenged." With enough time I could probably back my little Jayco 154BH, towed by my Toyota Sienna van, between the goal posts, but it would be a challenge. Last week, on the way to our CG, there was a detour--road closed ahead 1.5 miles. It was a typical Ohio county road, one lane each direction with deep ditches along the roadsides. There were almost no driveways. There were no convenience stores, church lots, etc. My question is this, what if we had not seen the detour and suddenly come upon that roadblock. What would a person do? It seems impossible to turn around on just 16' of blacktop (even for a pro back-up artist). It also seems nearly impossible to think that backing up the camper for a couple miles would be the answer. Calling for a flatbed tow truck to tow an unhitched trailer would require the driver to back a mile and a half to the camper; probably not an option. Assuming I don't die from a heart attack, what would be my method of conquering this dire problem?
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Old 09-18-2022, 02:34 PM   #2
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I'll begin by confessing that I am "backing challenged." With enough time I could probably back my little Jayco 154BH, towed by my Toyota Sienna van, between the goal posts, but it would be a challenge. Last week, on the way to our CG, there was a detour--road closed ahead 1.5 miles. It was a typical Ohio county road, one lane each direction with deep ditches along the roadsides. There were almost no driveways. There were no convenience stores, church lots, etc. My question is this, what if we had not seen the detour and suddenly come upon that roadblock. What would a person do? It seems impossible to turn around on just 16' of blacktop (even for a pro back-up artist). It also seems nearly impossible to think that backing up the camper for a couple miles would be the answer. Calling for a flatbed tow truck to tow an unhitched trailer would require the driver to back a mile and a half to the camper; probably not an option. Assuming I don't die from a heart attack, what would be my method of conquering this dire problem?
Trust me, after you back it the first half mile you'd do the next 1 1/2 mile while eating a sandwich and singing along with the radio.
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Old 09-18-2022, 03:31 PM   #3
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Yup. Go slow and straight, and if it goes off course, pull ahead 'till it's straight again. Repeat as necessary. Having a spotter walk behind you can ease the pain.
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Old 09-18-2022, 03:58 PM   #4
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We did have an experience as you describe after leaving a campground in Copake NY in the dark, and heavy rain. We were on a route known to us with a 35 foot camper behind us. We were about 7 miles down this road when we came upon a bridge that had been washed out by a previous storm. There was no warning signs and the closest side Street was at least 2 - 2 1/2 miles back. My DW had to get out walk behind me with a flashlight as I backed the winding road to the first available side road. It was nerve-wracking to say the least...
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Old 09-18-2022, 04:50 PM   #5
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OMG! My wife and I nearly had coronaries reading your reply. I can't imagine that you didn't sell the camper and take up stamp collecting after that trip! Sorry to hear that you suffered, but glad you got out of it. I think I'm going to make a "For sale, cheap" sign part of what I carry. Hope more folks reply. Thanks to all.
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Old 09-18-2022, 05:23 PM   #6
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OMG! My wife and I nearly had coronaries reading your reply. I can't imagine that you didn't sell the camper and take up stamp collecting after that trip! Sorry to hear that you suffered, but glad you got out of it. I think I'm going to make a "For sale, cheap" sign part of what I carry. Hope more folks reply. Thanks to all.
It wasn't pleasant at all especially for my wife who got soaked! Most important thing to take away from an event like this is do not panic! We took it slow and steady and waited for the best opportunity to get turned around.
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Old 09-18-2022, 05:25 PM   #7
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My daughter lives in a little cul-de-sac in SD and has a sweet pad beside her garage that I can park my trailer on when we come to visit. The issue is that the radius of the cul-de-sac is too tight to make the 180 degree turn I need, so I have to back a full city block to get onto the pad. I have the wife talk to me on my bluetooth connected phone just to let me know if some idiot decides to back out of their driveway while I back in. That is her only task. I back up with no issues, I love that stuff!! I guess I'm lucky, I grew up on a farm and backing things became second nature to me. My wife tells people I can back through the eye of a needle in the dark.
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Old 09-18-2022, 05:37 PM   #8
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It's doable...
Un hook tt from TV. Swivel tt 180°, hook back up and be on your way.
Ya it would take a little work but doable. Size and weight of your tt is good.
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Old 09-18-2022, 06:13 PM   #9
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Thanks, Paul. That thought crossed my mind, but I didn't know if the TT would be too heavy for a couple 75+ y/o campers to swivel. I hope we never need to attempt it, but will certainly try it if the shtf. Thanks to all who have replied. Anyone else have any experience or ideas?
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Old 09-18-2022, 07:35 PM   #10
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I learned early on. When you get to the boat ramp, you need to get in and out before a lynch mob forms. No pressure.
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Old 09-18-2022, 07:52 PM   #11
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A couple years back we were headed home from a weekend camping and made a quick decision to stay another night at a place on the way. Decided we’d check it out first. I looked at google maps and all seemed ok. Turned onto a two lane campground road with a turn around at the end that took us near the lake. What google maps didn’t show was that on Sunday’s half of Arkansas shows up and they park along the road. This makes the turn around at the end a no go. I got in deep before I could see it. Had to back up the fifth wheel about a 1/4 mile to a spot I could back in and turn around. My wife walked behind me as I backed waving off incoming traffic headed to that area. She wasn’t thrilled to say the least.
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Old 09-18-2022, 09:21 PM   #12
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My hybrid 2010 came with a wheel so you could push it around if you needed too. I’ve never used it but it’s a relief knowing I can do it if I have to. My trailer weighs 4800 empty and full about 5500
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Old 09-18-2022, 09:33 PM   #13
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Part of owning and operating a vehicle that includes towing... includes being able to operating it in all circumstances...

Truck drivers do not get their licenses if they can not operate the vehicles both directions. Granted they do this for an occupation, but the same expectations apply for those who pull a trailer.

Take the time to practice, learn how to back up your vehicle. It will be a "Life Skill" that you will appreciate for the rest of your life - and lots of others around you will appreciate you for learning that skill...
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Old 09-18-2022, 10:27 PM   #14
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Thanks again

Tunce - I'll be buying one of those ASAP, tomorrow to be exact!

SloPoke - I couldn't agree more with your sentiments, but backing is not in my wheelhouse. Bought our first used pup about 2009, then a new one in '12, then the new trailer in '15. In all those years, I probably successfully backed into about ten spots! I used to laugh when Dirty Harry said "a man's got to know his limitations," but I don't laugh any more. Thanks again to everyone who replied or will reply.
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Old 09-19-2022, 04:11 AM   #15
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Thanks, Paul. That thought crossed my mind, but I didn't know if the TT would be too heavy for a couple 75+ y/o campers to swivel. I hope we never need to attempt it, but will certainly try it if the shtf. Thanks to all who have replied. Anyone else have any experience or ideas?
Practice in a mall parking lot to see if you are able to perform it.
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Old 09-19-2022, 07:58 AM   #16
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bucko - As soon as I buy one of those wheels that Tunce showed in his reply, that's what we will be doing. Good advice, thank you.
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Old 09-19-2022, 08:08 AM   #17
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JAX3, as you have already found out backing up a short single axel trailer is not an easy task. It can be a slow,frustrating process. As far as your original question backing up a 1/4 of a mile would be my absolute maximum. Plan “B” I would swallow my pride call road side service a swear that my darn truck won’t start ( I actually installed a kill switch ) and let them deal with it. The wheel to spin it around is a good idea but I’m 70 years old , I have hardware in my back and just had my left hip replaced. No way in hell am I going to attempt to pull it around. Oh yea , plan “A” is let’s not get ourselves in the position to use plan”B”.
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Old 09-19-2022, 08:15 AM   #18
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I would be very cautious with using a wheel on the front jack to turn around a trailer. With smooth hard ground (like asphalt) even the slightest incline will roll your rv away in the downslope direction which could be very damaging to say the least. If you are on flat concrete the wheel can be of value for such purposes, however most roadways even when they appear to be flat are crowned in order to provide drainage.

I am in the camp that you should practice more, with practice you can learn how to back up without even turning your head around and simply use your mirrors. ~CA
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Old 09-19-2022, 09:09 AM   #19
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craig - You bring up some good points. That stamp collecting hobby is looking better and better to me as this discussion continues.
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Old 09-19-2022, 09:12 AM   #20
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I would be very cautious with using a wheel on the front jack to turn around a trailer. With smooth hard ground (like asphalt) even the slightest incline will roll your rv away in the downslope direction which could be very damaging to say the least. If you are on flat concrete the wheel can be of value for such purposes, however most roadways even when they appear to be flat are crowned in order to provide drainage.

I am in the camp that you should practice more, with practice you can learn how to back up without even turning your head around and simply use your mirrors. ~CA
X2 - I would not want to ever disconnect a trailer especially under a pressure situation on unknow terrain. The results as stated could be devastating. I would rather back up to a safe point than unhook... Even a 3 or 4,00 pound camper can be a bear to manhandle.
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