I'm Paul and I bought a travel trailer. (That sounds like an introduction at an addition-related meeting.)
The path to this acquisition started when I was five years old and Dad bought an Open Road motorhome. Over the years he's owned a wide variety of models (Open Road, Pace Arrow, Avco, Coachmen, Rockwood, Dutch Star, etc.) and we've traveled all over the country and shared plenty of fun adventures like:
- Fixing a seized transmission cable in the Hoover Dam parking lot.
- Thawing frozen pipes on Christmas morning in Breckenridge, Colorado.
- Losing our brakes coming down a mountain in West Virginia.
I obtained my first RV 22 years ago, a 1982 VW Vanagon Camper (last of the air-cooled VW vans). It served us well but was getting increasingly rusty in appearance and cantankerous in nature. We planned to retire it after this season and purchase a travel trailer. To support the migration to a trailer, we sold the Audi A6 (which can't tow anything) and replaced it with a 2006 VW Touareg, which had a surprisingly high tow capacity. Then, quite suddenly, a neighbor's friend offered to buy the VW Camper, we were suddenly without an RV.
We'd been looking at the Jayco Feather series since we didn't want to overload the Touareg (after all, it isn't a 3-ton dualie). I really liked the X213 because it was fully hardsided and had the cool bike storage door at the front bunks. Unfortunately, we travel with two dogs that lie down wherever we sit and the aisle between the dinette and sofa in the X213 would be nearly impassable with two dogs clogging it up. This need for more open floorspace led us to the X23B and we purchased a brand new 2014 X23B last weekend.
Our house has a parking area next to the garage, bordered by a retaining wall. This is where the VW Camper lived and where we hoped to park the new trailer. The only catch is that the entrance into this parking area is a bit tight: only 94 inches from the corner of the garage to the inside edge of the retaining wall cap stones. I didn't know if I could keep the trailer from hitting the garage without rolling the tires up on the cap stones. The thought of our new acquisition sliding off the retaining wall was enough to give me sleepless nights.
We went back to the dealer after work on Monday to pick up the new trailer. By the time we finished the Tekonsha Primus IQ install, had our full trailer demo, and signed our lives away, it was after dark. So, there I was, backing a trailer for the first time in 13 years, up a curved driveway, through a tight entrance, in the dark, with no trailer mirrors, and Karen guiding me over the cell phone from the back of the trailer, swatting mosquitoes with one hand and using the other to alternate a flashlight between illuminating the awning's progress past the corner of the garage and the trailer's left-side wheels rolling along the top of the cap stones.
What fun. (It could have been worse, it could have been raining.)
After a few attempts, we gave up for the night. The trailer was about one-half back into the parking area with the two left-side wheels firmly planted on the retaining wall cap stones. This was hardly ideal but we figured the wall could take the weight for the night and we'd try again in the daylight on Tuesday. Here are a few photos of the first parking attempt, taken the following morning.
On my way home from work on Tuesday, I purchased a set of clamp-on trailer mirrors. We installed the mirrors, got on the phones, and tried again. Knowing I couldn't back straight in, I tried to arc the trailer around the choke point between the garage corner and the wall. This would, I hoped, roll the left-side trailer tires up on the wall cap stones for a few feet around the choke point and then back off the wall for a final parking position. It took two attempts to line it up correctly, but I managed to cram it in there. The end result is that the TV must end up with its left-side tires on the cap stones, but that's plenty acceptable since I'm not there very long. Here are the photos of the successful parking results.
We've already scheduled three weekend camping trips in August, so I'll get plenty of practice getting the new TT in and out of its parking spot. We look forward to using this forum to help us get the most out of our new toy. I've already been looking at several of the mods that folks have done.