your first time out - Fiberglass RV

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Old 01-10-2014, 10:52 PM   #1
Name: Bill
Trailer: In the market
Posts: 78
your first time out

At some point this year, we'll have an egg. But for now I need a laugh. Tell me about your very first outing. The moment when you realized "I'm Really Green" at this. The time that, when you look back, you wondered how you got yourself in this mess and how am I gonna get out of it. Soon, it's going to be my turn and I want to know when I do something crazy, others have been down the same road. I'm just guessin' that you all had to have knots in your stomach first time out....

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Old 01-10-2014, 11:41 PM   #2
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA
W. Mass
Posts: 299
No knots, but one thing I learned in towing was while pumping gas somewhere on the first trip. After pumping I just caught in the mirrors the tire of the trailer jumping up on the small island where the pump was located. Got lucky and stopped before hitting the pump.

Lesson... Take wider turns on the inside of the island.

Different trip... Lesson, stay out of Dunkin Donuts parking lots. After needing to ask some folks to evacuate their parking spots it must have taken a 20 point turn to get out of that one. Thoughts of Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel went through my head.

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Old 01-11-2014, 03:34 AM   #3
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Name: Carl
Trailer: 2015 Escape 5.0TA
Somewhere in the Lower 48
Posts: 692
Even if the maps are "up to date," take everything the GPS says with a grain of salt. If it sends you down a narrow dead-end gravel road, your problems are greatly magnified when you are towing. And when you are ready to leave, even if you think you have checked everything, do a final walk-around.
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Old 01-11-2014, 03:56 AM   #4
Name: Richard
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 86
Oh, gosh! First time out was great fun interspersed with major fiascos. The previous owner had deposited the egg in the backyard. I have lots of trees, but the seasoned veteran backed it right in. When it came time to hitch up and leave for the first trip, I could not maneuver the egg into a spot that would actually let me drive it out as the trees were all in exactly the wrong spot (it seemed). So with no backing up experience I had to back the egg through a narrow gap between the house and the garage and then down the driveway onto the street. I did it, but I have no idea how.

After that, there were many smaller misadventures (first time dumping tanks ), but it was a great trip. All of our trips have been great, in fact.

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Old 01-11-2014, 06:31 AM   #5
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Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
Posts: 7,914
I remember these things about my virginal outing:

1. The the hitch weight was so over loaded that the car looked like it had two flat tires in back. BTW: The trailer hitch was "clamped" onto the bumper.

2. Having to hang a "Desert" brand canvas water bag on the front of the car so we would have cool water.

3. Hearing my Dad complain that gas stations in the mountians were run by bandits because they were charging $.35 a gallion for Ethyl (that's high octane gas for you youngsters) in the mountains.

4. That we were the only "Travel Trailer" in and other wise full Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park.

Lets see, that was with a 1951 Pontiac TV and a similar vintage, 13'(?) sticky that was mostly built out of masonite, in about 1953.

But I always heard that you never forget your first time.... and your last time..... So far that's true.
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Old 01-11-2014, 07:02 AM   #6
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Name: Pam
Trailer: U-Haul 1985
Posts: 3,096
On several occasions I've located 'perfect' spot on the campsite and got the trailer all unhooked, only to realize that it was not level left/right.
So I had to hook up again so I could move the trailer onto leveling blocks.

(and yes, I know about the Bal Leveler Jack, no suggestion needed )
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Old 01-11-2014, 07:16 AM   #7
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Name: Ted
Trailer: (Dark side)Coachman
Glade Valley, North Carolina
Posts: 967
Black Tank Surprise

Well this one wasn't me, but in fact my wife's uncle. He was camping at Hungry Mother State park in Virginia. The Dump station used to be in the same parking lot as the Ranger station. Get where I'm going HUH! Yes, while hooking up the sewer pipe to the camper he didn't know you were suppose to twist the the pipe to lock it on. When he pulled the dump the pipe came off and dumped all contents of the black tank into the parking lot and right beside of the Ranger Station. The Ranger also happen to be standing outside at the time. He gave him a broom, mop, dust pan and said clean it up. Not to mention all the other campers that were waiting to dump.
“I have tried to live my life so that my family would love me and my friends would respect me. The others can do whatever the Hell they please!” —John Wayne
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:16 AM   #8
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Name: Steven
Trailer: Currently Shopping
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 1,935
My wife and I both make an inspection tour of our trailer and vehicle before hitting the road.
It is remarkable how many things get caught with 2 sets of eyes
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Old 01-11-2014, 11:40 AM   #9
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Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
Posts: 7,914
Tip learned long after the first time:

If you spouse/significant other/etc. is helping you park, especially when backing in, allow only 1 command: "STOP" and use a whistle for that, Blowing the whistle always means STOP.
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Old 01-11-2014, 11:49 AM   #10
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Name: Francesca Knowles
Trailer: '78 Trillium 4500
Jefferson County, Washington State, U.S.A.
Posts: 4,543
I remember my first trip vividly, because that's when I found out how important the right tires are. Brand spankin' new tires on the trailer when I bought!

I'd only moved the trailer a few miles at a time before this trip, and never at speeds above twenty-five. I set out on my maiden camping trip...trailer was flubbering all over the road as soon as I got above forty miles an hour! I slowed down, turned back, went to my RV guy with a "what the heck???", and he diagnosed the trouble at once: my brandy-new tires were for passenger cars. As if I'd thought to look beyond the shine...

Went straight to Les Schwab, bought the right tires, and voila! Problem solved.

I did get to my camping destination a little late that first day...but that's another story.
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Old 01-11-2014, 01:05 PM   #11
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Name: Paul
Trailer: '04 Scamp 19D, Tacoma 4.0L 4door, SB
Posts: 940
Toughest to learn?

Backing up. Think of pulling a rope versus pushing a rope. Backing a trailer into a spot, with sharp turns required, was the toughest for me. The only useful information from my helper (wife) was "STOP!! You'll hit a tree!" at the top of her lungs. We are both getting better, but it will take a few more trips. Advice: Watch some videos on backing up and carefully work on getting the feel. And take time. Do not let those waiting for you, or giving useless advice, make you nervous. Stop, get out, survey the place and calmly start over!
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:08 PM   #12
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Trailer: 2002 13 ft Scamp
North Dakota
Posts: 86
My first trip almost didn't happen, because I almost didn't get out of the driveway. I'm solo, so I had to try to hitch the Jeep to the Scamp by myself--and it took two hours. Once I got the hitch lined up with the ball and I tried to crank it lower, the crank handle got stuck on the Jeep's spare tire and I couldn't figure out a way to angle things so I could actually lower the hitch. I tried backing the Jeep in at an angle, straight on, and finally, I got it all put together, safety chains on, and I was almost ready to go.

Then I went to the back to put up the jacks and they'd been rusty when I'd bought the camper a few weeks before, but by now, they were rusted solid, and I couldn't get them up. WD40, swearing, praying, nothing worked. Finally, I got one of them up, but the other one was a lost cause. Set in stone, it was. So I put the Jeep in drive and did my best to knock it off on the driveway--which I did. Then I took it to the mechanic around the corner and he used an air wrench (I have no idea what it was called) to take it all the way off. A bottle jack kept me level when I camped, but that also meant that my dad got me brand new jacks for Christmas, so it wasn't all a lost cause.

Backing the Scamp back into the driveway when I got home was another hour-long fiasco on a narrow street (I'm directionally dyslexic, so at that point, backing up was horrifically difficult)--and I hope nobody was plastered to their front windows watching. Though I expect it would have been entertaining.

The learning curve was huge. Things definitely got a lot easier with practice, thank goodness!
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:25 PM   #13
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Name: Dave & Paula Brown
Trailer: Lil Snoozy
Posts: 1,297

We use the walk about walkie talkies for backing instructions (saves a marriage).
Our first time out we pulled into a rustic camping spot at midnight to join our friends that had gotten there earlier in the day. It was very dark, and we had turned off our headlights, and coasted into the area near our friends.
We didn't want to wake them, so we didn't unhook from the Jeep, nor level the Scamp, and quietly went to bed. When daylight came, we saw that we were actually stopped right in a rustic forest road, so I attempted to start the Jeep to move to an actual camping spot, but nothing happened. We quickly found out that by using the 12 volt D/C setting on the 3 way refrigerator for traveling, it could actually completely drain the trailer & tow vehicle batteries in only four hours. Jump starting the very dead battery from our friend didn't work, so we had to take both batteries out and bring them to the marina for an all day charge.
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:54 PM   #14
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Name: Roger
Trailer: 2009 Trillium 1300 "Homelet"/2014 Subaru Outback "Rosie"
Posts: 2,155
Some hints

For backing practice: Caravan Manoeuvring Game

Make sure everything is connected. I drove off without plugging in the electrical connection and by the time I noticed I had ground off a corner of the plug.

Make sure your ball is tightened to 150 ft-lbs. I had a clunking situation on our first trip. Turned out to be the ball not tight enough. Couldn't move it by myself, but the trailer sure could especially at cement highway seams.

Hint: Stay the first night in your trailer out on your driveway. That way if you forgot something critical, you are not far from help.

Why do I keep getting a 503 error?

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