got to get this thing home 745 miles - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-23-2010, 10:37 AM   #1
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Going to pick up my 17 foot Casita next weekend. It is 745 miles from my house. Towing with a Nissan Xterra. Have never towed anything before. Got my trailer hitch and brake controller last week. What do I need to know?
Thanks!
joy
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:11 AM   #2
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First Take your time
2 Dont panik
3 Learn how to ajust your brake controler
4 Never forget that you have a trailer on rear when turning
5 Ask to the previous owner to show all of your trailer fonction and take note
6 Go slowly
7 If you stop at a campgroud for the night , take a pull trough campground , much easy
8 And have a good trip

Yvon Chayer
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:21 AM   #3
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We also found that we needed to adjust our braking distances, at least during the initial learning period. If possible, allow plenty of room in front of and behind yourself so that you can make some quick adjustments. Also, turn corners really wide by pulling out further into the intersection. Watch the big rigs for how to do this!

We also like to take the state highways rather than the interstates when possible. It is a bit slower, but you have less traffic (big truck traffic) and there are lots of small towns in which to stop for a rest, food, help, etc. The scenery is more pleasant, too! This isn't always possible due to where roads are available and time constraints, but give it a try. Finally, keep your speed around 55 or so until you are comfortable. These aren't built for speed!
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:44 AM   #4
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Very good! I am sure the Casita will tag along behind you without much of a problem. Our Scamp does very well. Most of the time, you will just be driving as normal, as others have said, remember it is back there. Make sure if you have to pass someone, all of your rig is in front before turning back, if pulling in to gas stations, don't make tooo sharp of turns. Do not get too much weight in the rear of trailer, makes it want to sway. Take care, have fun and happy camping.

Also not too sharp of turns at corners, to keep from hitting or jumping curbs. And learn how to use the manual feature on the break controller. If the trailer starts to wiggle behind you, if you manually activate the trailer breaks, it will stop the wiggle. Nice to use if getting too much speed going down steep hills, which I do not think you will need going home, but someday maybe you will.

As an example: For an excessively steep drive, one would have to go up to WY US 14-A. We did the downward drive on US 14A after the split off of US 14 from Ranchchester, WY heading down hill to Lovell, pulling a 1983 20' Komfort Lite Travel Trailer with a '83 Ford F250 4 speed manual with granny gear. I had to hold granny in gear and ask my wife to manually apply the trailer brakes now and then to keep the speed down and to keep my truck brakes from heating up too much. They had a sign warning of the steep down grade, I should have taken the fork to Shell/Greybull. Most of the route was neat, all very pretty execpt for the 14 miles with 10% grade and sharp curves which I am sure was also pretty but I was to occupied to really notice the scenery. This was in 1990 or '91/'92. A year or two after the bad fires in Yellowstone.
http://www.rockymountainroads.com/us-014alt_wy.html


Photo of a double tow.
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Old 01-23-2010, 12:16 PM   #5
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Number one thing is to just slow down! I see to many lead foots pulling/driving rv's. (I being one , sometimes) But honestly it's about learning to enjoy a slower pace.

Is there someone who you could get to go with you on your first adventure? Say your Dad, friend etc that may have some towing experience?

Backing up, is always fun to learn! (not so much ) But you can conquer it! If I can anyone can! I spent the first 30 some years of my driving life not being able to back up anything attached to a hitch. But with the help of my 73 year old Mom, I got it! You just don't want to be in a situation where you have to back up until you have had time to practice. So always be aware of where your pulling into, such as one way street, construction zone, cramped parking lot. But if all else fails.............. Ask someone for help! You will find most will at the very least guide you. Other rver's are always willing to jump in .


Slow down, and you will be so much better off. Now that being said, don't get on a freeway doing 25 mph. Drive the speed limit (flow of traffic) or just below.
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Old 01-23-2010, 12:34 PM   #6
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Don't know if I can get anyone to go with me but I think I can do it. I can leave Memphis Friday at noon and drive most, if not all, the way to St. Augustine. I can stay the night and go to pick up my trailer Saturday morning. I would like to drive all the way home on Saturday. Mapquest says it is about 12 hours.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.....

I mean, other people have gone to pick up a trailer without ever having towed anything before, right????
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:06 PM   #7
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I mean, other people have gone to pick up a trailer without ever having towed anything before, right????
Sure, just don't push it. Take your time, and don't make yourself drive all night long, weary drivers are not safe drivers! Remember your pulling a bed, you can always pull into a Wallmart/truck stop/etc and get a few hours rest.

Remember the sales process takes time, as well as you want them to walk thru the "how too's" of the trailer with you. You will be at the perfect place to learn from. Throw a sleeping bag and pillow in with you, and if you get sleepy you can catch a few zzzzzzzzzz's. Make sure your propane is off for travel! Have them walk you thru how to hook up, can't remember if there is a sway bar or not (that one got me the next morning hooking back up from unhooking the night before!) oop's! But thankfully there was a camper in the campground that was knowledgable in sway bars, how I got the darn thing unhooked I don't know. But at 5 in the morning it wasn't going back on . Thankfully a nearby camper was up and roaming around that early and gave me a lesson .

Another thing I thought about, is how are your mirror's? Do they extend?
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:44 PM   #8
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MapQuest is wrong. You should be traveling at 55 MPH and that will take longer. Also, I think you have some good sized hills to drive over. Take your time and you get there when you get there.

Check tire pressure before leaving. If seller doesn't have a receipt for greasing wheel hubs, stop after a few miles to check wheel hub temperature. They may be hot, but should not make you let go immediately.

Good Luck
Curt
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Old 01-23-2010, 03:36 PM   #9
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I truly believe you should plan two days to get home. You're going to burn a bunch of adrenaline for a while... first-timers syndrome not just during the purchase process, but the hookup and going down the road. And that's going to make you tired. Best to plan ahead and to travel safely.
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Old 01-23-2010, 03:40 PM   #10
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Don't know if I can get anyone to go with me but I think I can do it. I can leave Memphis Friday at noon and drive most, if not all, the way to St. Augustine. I can stay the night and go to pick up my trailer Saturday morning. I would like to drive all the way home on Saturday. Mapquest says it is about 12 hours.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.....

I mean, other people have gone to pick up a trailer without ever having towed anything before, right????
Joy,

You are getting ready to embark on a fun adventure. It sounds like you are planning a pretty tight schedule. Don't let that make your trip unpleasant and dangerous. 745 miles is a long one day trip. Allow yourself plenty of time. Get an extra hour of sleep the night before you start that way you will be well rested. Driving 5 mph under the speed limit will be much less tiring and safer than driving 5 mph over the speed limit. On the way down have the option of pulling off and getting a room if you need to. I would not try to drive the entire 745 miles in one day coming back pulling a trailer for the first time. Two days is not enough time for a run like you are describing, even for a professional truck driver. This is a trip to Florida, enjoy it.

Once you get the trailer you will realize a sense of freedom. You can access it anytime you want to use the bathroom, take a nap or have something to eat. I would plan to spend the first night in it and get familiar with it before coming all the way back. Make sure the trailer brakes and lights are hooked up and working properly. Also make sure the tires in the tow vehicle and the trailer have the proper amount of air pressure.

With that in mind remember the trailer will need to be stocked and the water tanks filled. You will need some bedding, food and eating utensils etc. Some you can take with you in your car. Make a stop at a grocery store for the rest after you get the trailer. As an aside I like to carry two or three gallons of distilled water in my camper for drinking and making coffee. It costs about .72 cents a gallon at Wal-Mart.

Every new vehicle feels awkward when you first start driving it. You will soon overcome that. The open highway will be relatively easy with the trailer. Your tow vehicle will burn more gasoline when pulling the trailer. Make sure your side mirrors allow you good visibility past the trailer. Maneuvering tight turns in and out of driveways, parking lots and gas stations of course requires careful attention. The trailer will trail to the inside on sharp turns so you have to swing the tow vehicle out wider to compensate for that. Go slow and keep an eye on the trailer when conducting these turns. As you gain experience you will be able to tell what will work and what will not. After a while allowing for the trailer will become second nature. Try to avoid situations you have to back out of. If you do find yourself having to back up blind you may have to get out every few feet and see how you are doing. When you have time find a big empty parking lot and practice your backing.

Good luck,
Bruce H
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Old 01-23-2010, 04:10 PM   #11
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I did this back in Sept pulling my uhaul back from Michigan to southeastern CT.around the same distance actually.
Brakes weren't a problem for me however because the uhaul 13 footer hasn't any..and we had a full size pickup to tow with so hardly knew we had it there really.
Careful on corners and plan your parking accordingly also(you need two spots lengthwise)...check your hubs or bearings each stop and glance at the tires you checked before leaving. Try not to let the mirror occupy your attention too much(it's easy to do) Leave room to stop .
745 miles is alot for a day trip...better to leave one morning and rest at night and finish the next day....you'll still be plenty tired I'm sure.......Bruce
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Old 01-23-2010, 04:55 PM   #12
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Going to pick up my 17 foot Casita next weekend. It is 745 miles from my house. Towing with a Nissan Xterra. Have never towed anything before. Got my trailer hitch and brake controller last week. What do I need to know?
Thanks!
joy
go slow and make sure your lights work...... you will get the hang of it real fast .... P.S. make sure you have a spare tire.....
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Old 01-23-2010, 07:12 PM   #13
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You're going to burn a bunch of adrenaline for a while...
Donna, That's an understatement! LOL.....................................
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Old 01-23-2010, 07:37 PM   #14
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Maneuvering tight turns in and out of driveways, parking lots and gas stations of course requires careful attention. The trailer will trail to the inside on sharp turns [b]so you have to swing the tow vehicle out wider to compensate for that. Go slow and keep an eye on the trailer when conducting these turns.
Bruce has given you some very good advice, and I just have a couple of nits to pick. One is that yes, the inside wheel of the trailer (or any long single vehicle, for that matter) will trail to the inside of the corner (usually on right-hand turns in North America). But I would just say please do not get in the habit of swinging out wide to make corners (it drives me crazy how many people just in cars think they have to do that, but I digress!).

Instead, on right-hand turns (this generally does not happen on left hand turns in North America) you can drive slightly "past" where you would normally start to make the turn, and then turn as normal, without swinging to the left at all. This little bit of extra distance (and it does not have to be much), will keep your inner trailer wheel off the curb (or away from the post or etc.).

I don't think I've ever "swung out" in normal street driving, although there have been times I have chosen to use a different entrance to a gas station or etc. in order to avoid it. Now granted, there are times when you have to swing out, but I find them to be extremely rare, and generally only when getting into a narrow site (not on a public street) or parking in the woods or something.

My second nit isn't really a nit at all, but just to say that I wouldn't fill my tanks before the first trip home, because, if it's just you on a road trip, why carry the extra weight and invoke more systems. I would go with gallon jug(s) only.

Have a great trip!

Raya
(Picked my Boler up 1,725 miles from home and in a foreign country )

PS: There have been some good threads here about various tools and supplies that can be handy to bring, along with some talk about bills of sale, and etc. You may not choose to bring them all along, but I bet you would find them interesting reading. One that I remember was started by Bryan (bicycle icon) and one was started by Liz (California).
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