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Old 04-02-2021, 02:33 PM   #1
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Question First time trailer camper - female

Hello everyone. I retired a few years ago from being a cardiac RN and being alone, and 70 years of age, I thought it would be wonderful to buy a trailer and travel. I tried it twice and then gave up. I bought a GM Silverado 150 to pull with which was great except for the 8-10 mpg/gal. The other problem is that I did not really know how to back up and jackknifed a few times and bent the bumper on my truck. I also ran the stairs off my camper because I forgot to put them in when moving. I closed my slides and twice had something in the way and cracked my cabinet which holds the sink. I have trouble as a female raising the jacks. All in all, I guess I do not know much about it and wonder if I should continue. It seems to be a self learning "the hard way" process. The trailer is a a 2016 Jayco 24 RDB, 2 slides, and now has been parked for the last 2 years. Maybe if I joined a singles club, of which there are none in my area..... Upstate New York, 7 miles from Canada, the armpits of the USA. Any suggestions out there??????
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Old 04-02-2021, 03:22 PM   #2
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Did you ever think of seasonal camping at an RV resort? You will make many friends and most likely get a ton of help and advice from fellow campers. You said that you are in Upstate New York and seven miles from Canada. I assume you mean Buffalo/Western New York. There are plenty of RV resorts in Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua Counties.
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Old 04-02-2021, 03:35 PM   #3
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I just looked up your location of Malone NY, which we call the North Country of New York State. Absolutely a beautiful area, hardly "the Armpit" of the USA.

Again, check into RV resorts. There must be plenty up there.
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Old 04-02-2021, 03:40 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 04-02-2021, 03:48 PM   #5
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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.

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Old 04-02-2021, 04:32 PM   #6
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Have you looked at LOW?.. Loners on Wheels

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Old 04-02-2021, 05:55 PM   #7
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I don't know if trading in your truck is an option for you? Resale on trucks is really good right now. Get yourself an F-150 with Pro Trailer Backup Assist and that should help you with your back up issues. The system doesn't allow you to jack knife.

Camping is all about taking your time. Double and triple check as you go.

I doubt a resort would fit the bill. It sounds like you want to travel, not just sit in an RV.
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Old 04-03-2021, 12:03 AM   #8
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Well, you can't be stupid being a nurse for so long or we would have seen you on on of those who done it TV shows. Don't let a few misshapes get in the way of your dream. The mistakes you made so far are learned now. Backing up? Put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and move it the direction you want the trailer to go. If you want to back to the left move your hand to the left. If you were going forward that would turn your truck right but backing up you are pushing the trailer with back of the truck. As soon as it gets going the wrong way backing up stop and pull forward. It is hard to get back under a trailer that is headed the wrong direction because of space limitations. I almost never back to the right because I cant see. Always back to the left untill you get real good. Always go slow.
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Old 04-03-2021, 02:03 AM   #9
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Welcome to the Forum from the western side of New York State!

We've all had mishaps at one time or another. Backing up just takes a little practice, and there are free printable and app checklists available on the web for setting up, breaking down, and things to stock in the camper. Just Google "RV checklists" and you'll find bunches of them to select from. They're a good idea to have.

And yes, I closed a slide on a previous trailer with a pantry door open. It ended poorly. We're on our sixth RV, and sometimes I back it in like a pro, and other days it must appear like it's my first time. A good friend has put the same dent in two truck bumpers now. We watch a lot of folks at campgrounds backing in to their sites, and it can be entertaining, even with a spouse directing them. There are always others nearby that are willing to help out if you need it. We've done that many times ourselves. Don't be discouraged.

The 8 to 10 miles per gallon is all anyone gets towing a camper. There's a recent thread here on that very subject.
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Old 04-03-2021, 03:24 AM   #10
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Hello from a fellow nurse!

Great comments here. I would add going to a parking lot and setting up some boxes as if they are trees that you have to back the trailer between. And just practice practice practice. I too look like a pro when nobody is looking but when somebody is watching I tend to mess up.

And always do a walk-around before you pull out. Maybe even a second walk around. I find that it helps to touch things I'm looking at.

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Old 04-03-2021, 05:10 AM   #11
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At 70, you're just barely old enough to be my mom. My mom is 70, dad is 69, and I'm 48. My mom and dad just got their first camper when we got our 3rd 5th wheel back in 16. So you ain't too old for this by any means.

As far as the armpit goes, you ain't even close! Lol! Detroit IS the armpit capitol of the world! Trust me! What a dump! Lol!

The whoopsies,... we've all had them and will have them. Just learn from it and dont do it a second time. Lol! A couple weeks ago I was on top of our trailer and I put my foot right thru the skylight and almost made it all the way thru into the bathroom shower. Almost a moment like clark griswold in christmas vacation when he was in the attic rummaging around and fell thru the ceiling into the bedroom. Lol!
The biggest thing is TAKE YOUR TIME!! Close things up, strap things down, etc.. and before you push that button or close something up, fold something in, ask yourself, " hey stupid! Is there anything in the way that's gonna get damaged??". That's what I do. I have 5 slides and I can do some serious damage to a lot of stuff opening and closing slides in my rig. Like others have posted, make a checklist. It dont matter how old you are, our minds cant remember everything. I'll do a walk around inside and out before I close or open things up and before I pull away I'll walk around again to make sure everything is good.

Backing your trailer,.. take it to a parking lot somewhere and do some practicing. Throw out some cones or even empty plastic buckets and use those. Easiest thing is put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel. If you want your trailer to go left, turn the wheel to the left. Again, take your time. It's not a race. Who cares. And if you need help, dont be afraid to ask for it. We're all here for a good time, not a long time. So enjoy it while you got it. I am! Lol!
God bless!!
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Old 04-03-2021, 05:38 AM   #12
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Checklists. Make a master and make a copy. take a pencil and each time you hook up or unhitch check the list. Pilots do something similar so they need not rely on fallible memory.

The stabilizers ? use a power wrench

Don't beat yourself up over the dents and dings. We have all made booboos. We put canoes on top of our truck and with sharp turns put them both through the fiberglass window guard in the front of the trailer

KOA's have funny signs when you leave the campground. They are mini checklists to remind you of what you may have overlooked. Prime on them is : Are your stairs up? This indicates that what you did is pretty common!

KOA's are useful for one thing. Even if its not your cuppa you can pick up hints from other campers and someone is there to assist you in getting set up. The one in Wilmington NY ought to be open if not now , soon.

I lived in Canton for a few years. This part of the never ending winter is the worst and with the border closed I can imagine you are feeling frustrated..

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Old 04-03-2021, 06:15 AM   #13
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You haven't done anything bad that hasn't already been done by most of us. It is a learning curve for sure. Great advice above from several posters. My wife still struggles backing up the boat but she continues to practice when we are the only ones at the ramp. She doesn't try to back up the camper...yet, baby steps I guess.
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Old 04-03-2021, 07:38 AM   #14
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I'm 78, Don't give up! You have not done anything that all of us have done. There are threads on JOF with tell all's of things we have messed up.

Go slow and talk to other campers.
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Old 04-04-2021, 10:10 AM   #15
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I can't add anything that has not already been added. There is no shame in asking other campers for help, particularly backing in without a spotter. Campers are really friendly people who like to help.

My Dad now camps alone after my Mother passed in 2019. He usually get's pull through spots when he can. If he can't, he asks for help as a spotter. He's 76.
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Old 04-04-2021, 02:09 PM   #16
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We all started somewhere I'm sure most of us have made similar mistakes. I would create a checklist to follow. My second piece of advise is never be in a hurry to do anything. Take your time and don't rush through the setup or takedown process.

Finally, my wife and I have been RVing for ten years (travel trailers and truck) but I know we're getting close to the point where the setup process for a trailer is physically going to be too much to handle. As we get closer to that point a class C is probably something more manageable. While having a class C has some limitations I'll accept those limitations rather that giving up on the RV lifestyle all together. That said you might want to consider a class C over a truck and travel trailer.

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Old 04-04-2021, 05:09 PM   #17
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Welcome from Northern Ontario
This site is a great resource.
I will echo many comments, most importantly practice backing up in a vacant parking lot.
Try campgrounds close to home, scout them out without your trailer, and reserve either a pull through site or a site that has plenty of room without obstacles. Many campgrounds are quieted midweek, which is great for retirees.
And I can't say it enough, do up a checklist.
Above all else, have FUN.
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Old 04-07-2021, 11:57 AM   #18
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Every camper had had issues. Keep plugging and trucking.

Make a check list. My wife and I have our separate duties, for two of us still have issues. So we departmentalized now.

As long as you enjoy it...

Good luck.
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Old 04-07-2021, 12:01 PM   #19
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+1 for checklists!! They are available on Pinterest and Google search should bring up others. Look a few over and find what works for you. You’ll probably have to modify any of them to you and your setup.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! For me, I’ll stay out of someone’s way unless it looks like someone is going to get hurt or something is going to get broken. However, if someone asks for a hand, everyone in our group will jump up to lend a hand, even if it’s just spotting them while backing.

As for the stabilization jacks, as previously said, get a battery powered drill or impact gun and the adapter. Again, ask someone at the campground what they use and how it works.

We have all been there… remember back when you started nursing- I’m sure you asked your mentor a million questions

“hello, can you give me a hand” will get you TONS of help!!
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Old 04-07-2021, 12:04 PM   #20
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Hi, I sent you a message about a Women's RV group that is nationwide
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