Getting Off the Interstates - A Question? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-13-2017, 12:34 PM   #21
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Name: Chester
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Originally Posted by DeanCHS1980 View Post
Hi Chester,

I appreciate the Just Do It attitude, but how the heck do you turn around an unhitched '17 Casita? Even our small trailer has a tongue weight of 375 to to 400 lbs!

I will practice more this year with backup sites. No pull throughs!!!

Take care

Dean
Dean, do you have a swivel caster (wheel) for your tongue jack? No lifting required, just pushing. A couple of wheel chocks and an assistant would also be helpful.
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Old 02-13-2017, 12:34 PM   #22
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Fear not...alternate routes are an adventure.

I generally travel solo + pitti pooch who isn't very adept at helping me turn around. I try to avoid interstates - to busy, too fast to enjoy scener, higher priced gasoline, bad coffee. Their only advantage: restrooms, frequent gas stations, fast food.

If I get stuck trying to get into a campsite and have trouble, there's usually someone to help.

Then there was the sand trap....traveling with my navigating granddaughter, she guided me off onto a dirt road looking for a small campground...road turned into a sandy motorcross...got stuck, said a few words I later regretted, and actually maneuvered out of there, getting high centered occasionally. (travel with a shovel).

Once I did end up on a closed road, map gps said it went through, but didn't; road corner too tight, leaving wheels on edge of ditch, no room to jog way out/back up...local came to my aid.

If you wish to use forest service roads (which I sometimes do very carefully), please check with the local forest service office for road conditions

Looking forward to my next alt route adventure.
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Old 02-13-2017, 12:38 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by chetandren View Post
Dean, do you have a swivel caster (wheel) for your tongue jack? No lifting required, just pushing. A couple of wheel chocks and an assistant would also be helpful.
I have a wheel for my Escape 17 ( 320# tongue weight ). It is only useful when the trailer is on a smooth, flat, concrete pad.
Otherwise, it just digs in and won't turn. I've found it much easier to hook up and use the tow vehicle to maneuver the trailer.
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Old 02-13-2017, 01:58 PM   #24
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1'-2' hitch extender could be useful to U-turn the trailer using unhitching method. It should allow to jack knife TV and trailer at sharper angle before touch down. It's just my thoughts, I never tried that.
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Old 02-13-2017, 04:52 PM   #25
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Backing UP with trailer behind.

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Originally Posted by DeanCHS1980 View Post
Hi All,

2016 was our first year camping and RVing in our new to us '05 Casita. We had never owned an RV and had never towed. We camped 38 nights and towed about 4,000 miles. Towing down the road was not bad. Sometimes that last few miles to an isolated campground in the hills was a bit of a challenge. Backing the trailer is not terrible. I ain't great and I will get better, but there is room for improvement.

Generally, we take the straightest (or quickest) point between home and the campground to get there, which is often the interstate. I stay in the right lane and drive 60 mph.

OK, the other day I was driving home from a meeting in Frankfort, KY in my Honda Fit. On Bluegrass Parkway, I saw a "brown" sign for a state park and decided to exit. It was a pretty afternoon and I thought I would take the scenic route home. I stopped by Lincoln Homestead State Park and Green River Lake State Park. I also stopped by quaint little town for lunch. In the process of exploring, I pulled-in, backed up, turned around, did U-turns, etc. while exploring. No problem, I was in my Honda Fit.

I often read about folks getting off the beaten path and exploring rural, small-town America. Sounds good to me, but for what I did in my Honda Fit, I would not have wanted to do in my mid-size SUV while towing the Casita. So, how do folks explore new areas that are off the beaten path (interstates) without needing to turn around, back up, and do U-turns?

I need some wisdom!

Thanks,

Dean
: simple rule in backing up Left is right and right is left! remember that and u will never have a problem, is much easier with a Tandem trailer. Other problem is make sure you can see your trailer at all times so you know what it is doing and you are not jacknifing it into your car, if you cannot see it then have partner get out and give directions but teach Partner to never stand where you cannot see them. My wife used to love to get in behind what ever we were towing or driving and I could not see her so I would purposely work at running her over until she learned not to do that again.
Also if flat towing a Vehicle behind (all four wheels on the ground) remember do not try to back up more than a few inches, not a good thing to do unless u have a partner in the tow car with walkie talkie to you saying ready to stear. that way you can do it.
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Old 02-13-2017, 06:52 PM   #26
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Hi,

I am so impressed with the wisdom, can do attitude, and intestinal fortitude expressed regarding my question and ponderings about getting off the beaten path. Heck, who knows, all of you may get me out of the campground and get me boon docking at some point!

Take care,

Dean
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Old 02-13-2017, 07:34 PM   #27
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The answer is simple really. I still turn around, back up and do U-turns.

These little campers are really very maneuverable and I haven't found a situation yet I wasn't able to get out of. Become proficient at backing and you can explore with confidence. Of course, know your limitations but don't be afraid to stretch them once in a while. That's how we learn.
I'm with Randy. I still turn around, back up and do u-turns. I only get nervous about going down some obscure, narrow, little-used two-track through the woods or wilderness, because sometimes there might be no spot to turn around. But I'll go just about anywhere else.

Like others said, it's just a matter of practice (experience). I'm pretty good at backing up a trailer (if I do say so myself!), and have been doing it regularly for a couple decades (towing a cargo trailer for work and having to back into my driveway every day).

About pivoting the tongue while unhooked, I can visualize a method that might work (not that I've done it, mind you). This assumes that your tongue jack is on a wheel. If you have enough room to drive past your trailer, one way to pivot it is to have a bit of extra chain or tow strap or rope, and hook it between your vehicle hitch and the trailer's tongue (or safety chains). Put a block behind the far-side trailer wheel. Slowly move ahead, swinging the trailer around. Depending on whether you're running out of room on the far side, there may come a point at which the trailer is about halfway pivoted when you may also have to block the back of the near-side wheel and thereby coax the far-side wheel to come about. Best to give this a try in an open area one time as an experiment, to see how the trailer reacts, so you can gauge what you can and can't do, and how much space you need to have, in a tough situation.
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Old 02-13-2017, 07:40 PM   #28
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It has been said by many here, but practise, practise, practise, is the only way to go. You seem to have the right attitude, with confidence that you can do it, which will allow you to progress.

I am very comfortable towing a trailer into just about any condition, if I got in, then I can always get out, even if I have to reverse my way out. I am very well practised at towing, having towed lots for work since I had a drivers license, and tow a trailer almost every day. Plus, I have had a travel trailer for near 30 years now too.

I am a huge fan of taking a trailer to an empty parking lot, like at a mall after hours and practising. They have lines painted on the asphalt which are great for learning. First practise a lot reversing in a straight lines, following a definite path. Go slow at first. After getting better at that, practise turning 90° into a parking stall. Practise turning to the driver's side first, as this is the easiest, even for those with lots of experience, as you can see. Then, once you think you have it going good for you, practise more. Lots of folks will tout tricks that work for them, and that is fine if you are happy at that level, but nothing beats learning to do it to the point that you instinctively do what is needed to manoeuvre in reverse.

When you do reverse, use the mirrors. Do not crank your body around. By using mirrors you are watching on both sides of the vehicle at the same time. Once you get used to this, it will work much better. Just look at any professional driver, they only use their mirrors.

All the best in your exploring all the byways, lots of good stuff to find there.
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Old 02-13-2017, 08:27 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by DeanCHS1980 View Post
Hi All,

2016 was our first year camping and RVing in our new to us '05 Casita. We had never owned an RV and had never towed. We camped 38 nights and towed about 4,000 miles. Towing down the road was not bad. Sometimes that last few miles to an isolated campground in the hills was a bit of a challenge. Backing the trailer is not terrible. I ain't great and I will get better, but there is room for improvement.

Generally, we take the straightest (or quickest) point between home and the campground to get there, which is often the interstate. I stay in the right lane and drive 60 mph.

OK, the other day I was driving home from a meeting in Frankfort, KY in my Honda Fit. On Bluegrass Parkway, I saw a "brown" sign for a state park and decided to exit. It was a pretty afternoon and I thought I would take the scenic route home. I stopped by Lincoln Homestead State Park and Green River Lake State Park. I also stopped by quaint little town for lunch. In the process of exploring, I pulled-in, backed up, turned around, did U-turns, etc. while exploring. No problem, I was in my Honda Fit.

I often read about folks getting off the beaten path and exploring rural, small-town America. Sounds good to me, but for what I did in my Honda Fit, I would not have wanted to do in my mid-size SUV while towing the Casita. So, how do folks explore new areas that are off the beaten path (interstates) without needing to turn around, back up, and do U-turns?

I need some wisdom!

Thanks,

Dean
When backing up with a trailer remember to unhitch the sway bar or it can bend it, especially if you have to turn it sharply. On our first trip with our brand new 21 ft 5th wheel we got into a place that didn't allow us to pull around much. We just had to jockey back and forth until we could get the trailer turned enough to get out of the place. We had never backed the trailer up and it was a great learning experience but not a fun one. Casita is much easier. You can put the wheel on the tongue jack, unhitch from vehicle and turn it enough to re-hook so you can get out of tight places. Moving it on pavement is not real hard but on the dirt if soft could be a problem. If you are in people's way they will help. We've moved ours in our garage because it is hard to back it into a 60 ft long garage with junk on both sides.
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Old 02-13-2017, 08:28 PM   #30
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I was following a friend

She was speedy and ran off and left me going into a very wooded area, she zigged and I went straight and ended up having to back up about a quarter mile..
Needless to say I have never followed her again, it I also lost my fear of tight places...do yourself a favor...just do it!
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Old 02-13-2017, 09:17 PM   #31
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This has brought back fond (?) memories. I find cursing lowers my blood pressure in situations like this. Also as has been said practice, which you will get by poking around hard to get out of places. But that is part of the fun isn't it?
Wow, I have given up golfing, but I guess the vocabulary I picked up on the course can still be useful!

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Originally Posted by Rzrbrn View Post
Another time, at Henry Coe State Park in CA, at the top of the hill where the house/office is located. I found out months later I did not have to turn around in front of the horse stables, but at the time I thought there was no other option. The Park workers and a couple of campers watched and were grinning, as I moved back and forth, maybe turning and gaining about 2 inches each time. But I eventually made it out, without unhitching.
Henry Coe! I used to camp there every year when I was in the Boy Scouts in the 70's.

~~

Well, I posted early and was waiting to see what sorts of wisdom I would get from all the more experienced folks here. It appears the primary wisdom is to remember I can always retrace my route, even if it is in reverse.

These short trailers are twitchy when backing up. I fall back on the old trick of gently moving the bottom of the wheel when I want to eliminate the zig-zagging (and the brain cramps). Somehow left-is-left and right-is-right works better for my feeble noggin.
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Old 02-13-2017, 09:49 PM   #32
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Hi All,

LOL, I guess the wisdom that I was looking for to avoid of these funny (now, maybe not then) stories is that I cannot avoid all of them, but maybe with a little practice and patience, I can minimize the number of them!

Happy Towing,

Dean
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Old 02-13-2017, 11:06 PM   #33
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Missouri
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Hi Dean
I am amazed that you have had such good advise from the fellow casita-ites I'll give you some that have worked for our years of going where we ain't went before. we drive along as we want and as we come into a small town we look for two parking places and park.. get a cup of coffee at the local café and make friends.. ask questions.. follow the advise to find a place to park for the night. unhook go explore.
if you believe those sayings about thinking positive..
just believe your going to find room to turn around when you need to or several parking spots in a row so you can be across from the dinner.. you'll be pleased at how often you get what you want in life.
Good sailing..
Jerry
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Old 02-14-2017, 09:11 AM   #34
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My trucker brother in law gave me some excellent advice: take it slow and don't be afraid to pull forward to straighten out and try again when backing.
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Old 02-14-2017, 09:38 AM   #35
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Any amount of backing, turning and maneuvering is less stressful to me than driving down a 4 lane interstate (4 lanes one way) with semis and all sorts of people in a serious hurry, flying by me on both sides. Now that usually is only for a while when I'm passing by a city, but still...

I'm fairly inexperienced with backing and pulling a trailer in general. But I have confidence in my abilities to take my time, think critically, and assess a situation and get myself out of trouble safely. I have no control over or confidence in drivers on an interstate who seem perfectly willing to risk their life and others around them to shave 20 minutes off their trip. I have terrible stories from my first long trip with my trailer, and a whole new respect for the kind of crap semi drivers have deal with, as far as people trying to get past them at any cost.

Getting stuck like this offroad is much less stressful to me than driving down I-15 through the Salt Lake area. Brigham City to Spanish Fork literally feels like running a gauntlet. I'll take this sort of stuff over that...


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Old 02-14-2017, 09:44 AM   #36
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Any amount of backing, turning and maneuvering is less stressful to me than driving down a 4 lane interstate (4 lanes one way) with semis and all sorts of people in a serious hurry, flying by me on both sides. Now that usually is only for a while when I'm passing by a city, but still...

I'm fairly inexperienced with backing and pulling a trailer in general. But I have confidence in my abilities to take my time, think critically, and assess a situation and get myself out of trouble safely. I have no control over or confidence in drivers on an interstate who seem perfectly willing to risk their life and others around them to shave 20 minutes off their trip. I have terrible stories from my first long trip with my trailer, and a whole new respect for the kind of crap semi drivers have deal with, as far as people trying to get past them at any cost.

Getting stuck like this offroad is much less stressful to me than driving down I-15 through the Salt Lake area. Brigham City to Spanish Fork literally feels like running a gauntlet. I'll take this sort of stuff over that...


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Bottomed out and lost traction. I did that when I was a teenager, disking a field with our tractor. I never believed I could get a big John Deere 4230 stuck like that. My dad said, this is why I told you not to drive across there!
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:07 AM   #37
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My trucker brother in law gave me some excellent advice: take it slow and don't be afraid to pull forward to straighten out and try again when backing.
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:28 AM   #38
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Dean, As Mike said in the 2nd post, don't be rushed by others.
Stay calm! Easier said then done sometimes.
Last summer I got off or Rt 1 in Maine to go and try to find a spot that was posted with a sign, Tidal Falls, on the east side of the highway.
After about going 2 miles east, toward the ocean, I came to a "T" with no sign...take a right thinking like most of these ocean drives go around in a big loop and your back on the highway....
I found my self in a very efluent neighborhood with million $$$ homes and the road just about 1 and half cars wide,,,Gated driveways...
GO Foward was the only option when I came to a dead end where a new house was being built.
There was all kinds of construction workers vehicles all over the road but thank God there was a place where Dump trucks had to turn around too.
I did the BACK UP-JACK KNIFE manover and with 2 more moves was on the road back to the high way.
Lesson learned..if the signs disapear...turn around then.
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Old 02-14-2017, 12:39 PM   #39
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While we have been as careful as we possibly can be not to head into a situation from which we may never escape...three times last year we got stuck.


At those points, we ended up relying on the kindness of strangers.


It's amazing how people will come forward to direct and help when they see us, the baffled idiots with a trailer and a dream of freedom.


But maybe we just have the right helpless look. Then again, many are drawn to the weird thing we're pulling and want a closer look anyway.




May you never become totally stuck, wedged like Pooh, in too tight a space!


BEST
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Old 02-14-2017, 02:11 PM   #40
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Bottomed out and lost traction. I did that when I was a teenager, disking a field with our tractor. I never believed I could get a big John Deere 4230 stuck like that. My dad said, this is why I told you not to drive across there!
Yep, one of those very common drainage paths that cut across desert roads. In any typical 4x4 truck, you just hit them at an angle, and they're no problem. But with a 17' long, really low-clearance motorhome...nope. Right when my rear tire dropped into the drainage, which happened to be filled with loose sand, the back of the frame and that platform sticking out behind the camper rested down on the hard-pack road. With a lot of the campers weight on them.

About 3 hours of digging, jacking up the tire and stacking rocks under it, over and over again till I finally broke free.

Then I had to find a place to turn around, and go back over that same drainage to get out. Hit it at a more intelligent angle the second time
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