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Old 04-07-2021, 12:09 PM   #21
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Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Redington Beach
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YouTube has lots of good videos

We bought our first travel trailer a couple of years ago at 65 years old. I watched a million YouTube videos and some were incredibly helpful. Covered everything from towing and backing to packing and checklists. After a few "safe" trips we were confident enough to hit the road on a month-long trip from Florida to Iowa to Colorado to home. I learned a lot, but the biggest single lesson was "make sure the black tank valve is closed before removing the cap to connect the hose". The campers next to us thought it was hilarious and were glad to see they weren't the only ones to make that mistake when they first started. They offered a water hose and a beer. Moral of the story, don't be afraid of it and remember there are lots of helpful people out there, even when you're covered in shtuff...

We signed up for a caravan trip this fall. From what I've heard it's a great way to meet people and have the complexities of all the reservations handled by someone else while seeing some great sites. There are trips all over the country. We're thinking about a leaf-peeping tour in the Northeast for 2022. They also have some "women only" trips. Might be a good way to get your confidence up while having some good adventures!

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 04-07-2021, 12:23 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by RAurand View Post
Hi Brigitte,
Something that I do that has really helped me to keep from dinging things.
After I get all hooked up and BEFORE I move the trailer, I do a complete slow walk around the entire unit (INCLUDING LOOKING UP AT THE ROOF) and look for anything that I may have forgotten to stow away. When I am ready to being in my slide, I go inside the trailer and look for anything the slide may hit or catch when retracting (and before putting it out for that matter)

Hopefully this will help.
I will 2nd the idea of a walk around. While my wife & I have been doing this for a while, when we first started, I used a checklist I kept on my phone.

We did bend a few things on the way, honestly, we made a few mistakes (or our son did) and put a few dents & dings in 2 of our campers. There are lists all over the internet, but here are some of the key items we check. And... we doublecheck each other - pride is good, but we've learned to back each other up, just in case - saved us grief a few times - so that is where the checklist comes in handy.

After we're completely hooked up, and clear of the site, we usually stop to visually inspect 1 more time.... chock blocks, trash, etc we may have missed. My usual thing is - if it isn't tied down, it will move, so sort of look at everything as you walk through camper and around it - is anything flapping, exposed to wind, or will it slide off a flat surface.

We also watched a lot of people setup and tear down - as the one being observed, I always tried to not look like a complete mess, but it happens :-) That and its fun to see new campers figure things out - most will offer to help if you get flustered, so don't be afraid to ask for help backing up (trees, ditches, tight spaces, etc). We may smile a bit, but we also know that all of us have been in your position! I'm sure I forgot something, but this is off the top of my head as I sat here for a few minutes.

- awnings in
- all storage compartments latched/locked (so they don't flap)
- all windows closed
- roof vents closed
- antenna down (fellow RV'ers have pointed ours out at least once!)
- exterior antenna secured/down (ours has a radio antenna too)
- all valves shut, caps on
- water tank 1/3 or less
- slides flush with camper, or close
- grab bar folded in over door
- sewage hoses secure
- water hoses drained & secured
- external power disconnected & secured
- chock blocks??? sometimes you can't move them - but don't forgot them when you pull away!
- trailer umbilical attached (each check - turn on lights/turn signals to make sure they operate)
- break away cable attached
- pins secured in 5th wheel (or on tongue for travel trailer)
- weight distribution attached, clamped down (travel trailer)
- propane bottles secured (maybe leave one on for fridge to operate) - some bridges & tunnels make you turn off)

- bathroom - all stuff on shelves into storage basket (or laundry basket - we leave that in shower when we're not moving/actively showering)
- bedroom - all stuff off counters (chargers, books, etc)
- tv travel straps deployed (used)
- kitchen counters cleared (often into sink)
- stools on couch/chairs
- floors clear before operating slides (we've cracked a wall with a baby walker..)
- water heater/water pump/heat/ac all off
- trash emptied
- fridge securely latched (some have latches, we've used bungee cords on some campers)
- doors shut or tied back - so slide doesn't crush it.
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Old 04-07-2021, 12:28 PM   #23
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I have to laugh because my husband has done all those things and more and is still learning. I canít say anything though because I donít think I could do any better. I think itís all about practice.
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Old 04-07-2021, 12:48 PM   #24
Join Date: May 2020
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Try and get into the habit of doing an "idiot" check inside and out. Checking for brake lights working can be problematical on your own but I find if the turn indicators are working the brake lights are working. Non working lights usually being a simple burnt out bulb.

As for backing. I've tried the hand on the bottom of the wheel trick but still managed to get confused. A friend who grew up backing livestock trailers gave me a tip that I now use all the time. Since you're using your outside mirrors to backup try thinking of moving the steering wheel to PUSH the back of the back of the trailer in the direction you want it to go. In other words, if you're looking in the driver side mirror you'll see the driver side rear of the trailer. If you want to move it away from you, i.e. to the right, turn the wheel towards the back end as you see it in the mirror, i.e. hand on the steering wheel pushing towards the mirror. Same thing on the other side in the other direction. I found this much easier to get my head around what I was doing.

You can also look for a target you want to place the corner, like a light fixture or a plant or a tree. Just make sure you don't hit it!. It's also easier if you set yourself up with your landing zone on your left so you're primarily using the driver side mirror.

Don't be afraid of pulling up and starting over. I've had staff at RV parks guide me in and still they misjudge and ask me to start over. Be sure to keep an eye out that the front end of the truck isn't going to swing into something as you're looking to the rear.

For the stabilizers jacks, a cordless electric drill with a socket for the jack is S.O.P.. Cranking those suckers by hand gets old fast. If your tongue jack is manual I'd get that replaced with an electric one a.s.a.p.

It is all a learning curve for everybody and things do break or stop working. Usually the fix is something simple and has been mentioned, there's loads of help in the parks be they state or private. Kind of one of those unwritten rules. Give help when asked for you might be next. You'll get a great sense of accomplishment and confidence as your experience and knowledge grows.
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Old 04-07-2021, 01:22 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by ALJO View Post
If you're able to learn and want to learn you can accomplish everything, just follow the path of logic. Backing up you can learn in a large parking lot and put down some cones. Hand on the bottom of the steering wheel turn left or right goes hand in hand with the direction of the back end of the TT, so that's simple. Maintenance and repairs is doable for a DIYer and takes practice like anything else. When you fall of a horse you have to get right back on, sometimes it can be a long walk home. Surround yourself by some good RV friends which are able to help you (I help others all the time and enjoy doing that, because it has been my profession).
There are single RV groups with many individuals do their own work, I'm sure it would be fun to join them. An RV should be camping with its owner or vise versa, not sitting in the the yard collecting dust. I'm sure it will be a busy area around upstate New York, since you are retired you can go anywhere and enjoy your freedom. Be sure everything is well maintained and road worthy.

Great advice above along with many of the other posts!

Exactly what I had to do when I got my first trailer at age 65 four years ago. I was a tent camper all my life, but now due to aches and pains here and there, I opted for trailer camping. Nature is too wonderful to stay home. There was a lot of learning, especially backing up... my wife made fun at me the whole time LOL
Since your by yourself, maybe get a smaller trailer?
I didn't start with one as big as yours. And I still don't since it is just my wife and I.

Whatever you do, don't give up! Also, I was alone myself 24 years ago, was praying that God would send me another lifemate and not long after that I met my new best friend and lifemate, Iryn. You can too.

Good luck!
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Old 04-07-2021, 02:23 PM   #26
Join Date: Jul 2019
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Take some advice from a retired 72 year old sterile processing manager:
Check list before entering the OR.
Check list before leaving the OR.
Same for the TT.
Plus the one word you will always remember from your nursing career:
Good luck!
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Old 04-07-2021, 02:37 PM   #27
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You might look into RVing Women They have a northeast chapter and a nationwide solo traveler chapter. You probably have members near you, events, learning opportunities, and lots of knowledgeable women at any event willing to show you the easy and safe way to do anything you need to do with your truck and trailer.
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Old 04-07-2021, 02:48 PM   #28
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Donít give up!

RV Education 101 has a couple of excellent on-line video courses for you.... very reasonable I might add Ö I just downloaded the one for fifth wheels and it was $44 for 10 segments.

Very informative and assistive.

If you PM me with an email, I will send you some lists that I use when I set up and take down while camping, that are virtually fool proof if you follow them
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Old 04-07-2021, 03:03 PM   #29
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A local Vocational Tech school might offer a hands-on training course for backing your "rig".
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Old 04-07-2021, 03:34 PM   #30
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Brigitte there is a lot of good advice here. Iíll add to have a backup camera installed. I have one with the lines. It wonít be the same as your trucks, but will give you visibility. I also off and on get out of the truck to look things over. Even do my wife helps me backing up. Your travel trailer isnít to large and probable just right for you. Weíve all done what youíve done and have difficulty. No matter how careful something could happen. If I buy another truck. Iíll check out the Ford F150 with that backup setup. Land Rover also has that backup setup in one of their SUVís Good luck.
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:01 PM   #31
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Some great input here and I agree +++ with the walk around and checklists. Donít give up, you could even think about a smallish class c motorhome then you donít have to worry about backing a trailer and if itís less than 22í you hardly have any swing out..... just my thoughts..... good luck!
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:30 PM   #32
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I'll focus on one thing that I don't think was touched on much. Backing.

Spend some time practicing with, say, a rented U-haul 6' x 12' box trailer. This trailer is big enough to sort of emulate an RV, but far smaller than your RV. These are well-configured trailers that are substantially narrower, but the box still presents a visual barrier. It has a long, slender tongue to minimize the risk of jackknifing.

Get some traffic cones and find an empty parking lot...and have at it. Take it slowly and work at hitting your targets on the first try. By the time you've backed the U-haul 10 to 20 times, it will begin to feel natural to you. Practice putting the trailer right where you want it to go from every conceivable emulate every scenario you might face.

Once you feel confident with the U-Haul, return it and go get your RV. Bring it back to the same parking lot and bring your cones. Practice, practice, practice. With your RV, you may wish to bring a spotter to ensure you don't have an encounter with another vehicle in the parking lot.

Take your time...I've been backing trailers since I was a teenager, and I'm 72 now. I back slowly, and I make my steering corrections at particularly low speed in case I get it backwards or over do it.

With experience and practice, you'll be confident in your backing.

By the way, maybe you need more mirror: That's an illustration, not a recommendation. They will have these that fit your truck's mirrors very well. If your RV is 8 feet wide and your truck is 6 feet wide, you can see how your stock truck mirrors may not give you an adequate view around your RV. I also have motorized mirrors, and I often adjust them all over the place to see where I'm going - up/down/left/right so I can see where the RV is going. I sometimes adjust my mirrors multiple times as I plug my rig into a tight spot.

As for the rest, checklists and vigilance are all that's required. I never extend or retract my slide without checking all around...including on the roof of the slide to ensure that no broken tree branches will obstruct it's motion and cause damage. Stairs? Checklist.

Stabilizer jacks? Get a cordless drill and an adapter for your stabilizer jacks. Now you have motorized jacks.

To be fair, some people simply can't do this stuff. But they are few and far between. Most people get pretty good at this with a little practice. But practice is essential. You wouldn't expect to be good at anything without practice.

Communication: If you have a spotter, a pair of these can be very handy. Shouting instructions from the back of the rig to a driver in a running vehicle is a recipe for miscommunication. But if you have a spotter, WORK OUT YOUR LANGUAGE FIRST. "Whose left?" "How far back?" and so on. More reliable is "driver's side" or "passenger side." "Keep coming 6 more feet is far more informative than "keep coming"...or "just a little more." Precision language that both agree upon is important.

Lastly, don't be afraid to take another bite at the apple. If you can get started angling in, then pull forward to get a straighter shot at your spot, life gets easier, and your positioning becomes more accurate. I'm pretty good at backing a trailer...enough to attract an audience. But I'm also not at all afraid to take another crack at it.
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:42 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Sn33kR View Post
you could even think about a smallish class c motorhome then you donít have to worry about backing a trailer and if itís less than 22í you hardly have any swing out..... just my thoughts..... good luck!
That's a good option... UNLESS you plan on driving around while camping... Like we (our age) driving around to different spots in the area is good.
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:48 PM   #34
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You kidding, you live in one of the most beautiful places in the country, The Adirondacks! Plenty of great camping places here. Buck Pond, Fishing Creek/Rollins Pond, Meacham Lake, Golden Beach, Coles Creek, Robert Moses in Massena, the whole Thousands Islands Region and I could go on and on. All the state campsites I mentioned are within 1-3 hours from you, great hiking, canoeing/ kayaking, biking or nature watching. We have been camping for many years, but just bought our first TT, jay flight 195rb, we too are learning how to back up. We live about ten minutes from Ausable Point Campground and plan on taking the TT down there this weekend to practice in the big parking lot first and then some campsites. Good luck and enjoy! If you want more info on local camping message me.
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Old 04-07-2021, 05:10 PM   #35
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P.S. If you choose to practice with a U-Haul, buy the loss/damage insurance. If you bend something, you'll be pretty well covered.
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Old 04-07-2021, 05:52 PM   #36
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Seems the OP of this tread must be camping reply to any of the posters
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Old 04-07-2021, 09:06 PM   #37
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I wish I lived next door to you. I would give you the skinny on how its really done. But since I am in Michigan and eventually I do need to venture to NY for a personal matter maybe then I can. But until then I would go on You Tube and look up any and all things you need help on. I did and boy were the videos very helpful. Like winterizing. I have one that really helped and that stabilizer bar? No one told us that we need to raise to get those iron things on. But we are still learning even after 4 years. As for backing up? I am a school bus driver and I still have troubles backing that trailer into a spot. A bus is easier but if I can do it and so can you. Good luck. And start on those videos like I did.
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Old 04-08-2021, 08:39 AM   #38
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Armpit? that would be new jersey!
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Old 04-08-2021, 08:44 AM   #39
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Being a newbie

Iím turning 70, my wife is 68 this summer. Weíve done a few trips with our TT, including cross country. I found YouTube videos very helpful, you can search for any topic and find helpful information. Good comments here from the other responses , agree with them. Hang in there, Iíve had my ď moments ď too!!
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Old 04-08-2021, 08:56 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by tramagli View Post
Armpit? that would be new jersey!
hey not my New Jersey. All mountains and woods and bears in Northwest NJ. lived there 11 years and saw oil tanks ..and the turnpike twice.

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