Getting Off the Interstates - A Question? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-12-2017, 06:39 PM   #1
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Getting Off the Interstates - A Question?

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
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Old 02-12-2017, 06:53 PM   #2
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Dean,

Being similarly (in)experienced (and certainly not wise) all I can say is try to think three steps ahead. I once pulled off the freeway and into what I thought was a very large shopping center parking lot not too far from home. It turned out to be a very small strip mall parking lot; I had taken a different exit.

I did a lot of pausing and craning my neck as I assessed going forward. In the end, I was able to U-turn from one row into the other and get out OK.

I also once turned onto a dead end road with our little tear drop trailer. It took about ten or fifteen minutes to turn it around, using a muddy driveway at a gate to give me that extra bit of room I needed.

Other than that, I just try to scope everything carefully in advance and not let the cars behind hurry me when I am slowing and scoping.

I'll be interested to see what others have to say!
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Old 02-12-2017, 07:02 PM   #3
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Backing,turning around,"u ies"

Practice,practice,practice!!!! My sweetheart & i shut-down from 65mph to go back to visit two dot,montana ,well worth it! The us of a is a large book ,if you only use the interstates, you have read only one page.
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Old 02-12-2017, 07:06 PM   #4
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Hey Mike,

I like your idea of thinking 3 steps ahead. Sometimes I do this to a fault. I am trying to figure out how folks, Just Do It!!! I am a planner and not as comfortable with serendipity and spontaneity, but I like the idea of it.

This past summer, we were camping with my brother and his wife. He came from MS while I was traveling from KY to camp in AL. Once in the park, he took a wrong turn down a 1 way narrow graveled (sort of) service road. He had to back up 200 feet before he could make a sharp back up turn into a drive that would allow him to turn around. We laughed about it that night, but he was not amused at the time!

Take care,

Dean
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Old 02-12-2017, 07:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BARNEYCONE View Post
Practice,practice,practice!!!! My sweetheart & i shut-down from 65mph to go back to visit two dot,montana ,well worth it! The us of a is a large book ,if you only use the interstates, you have read only one page.
Hi Barney,

I am not much of a reader, so maybe that is my problem, I only read one page!

Practice, practice, practice. Got it!



Take care,

Dean
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Old 02-12-2017, 07:22 PM   #6
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Both reading & driving require practice!
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Old 02-13-2017, 09:25 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by DeanCHS1980 View Post
Hi All,

how do folks explore new areas that are off the beaten path (interstates) without needing to turn around, back up, and do U-turns?

Dean
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.
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Old 02-13-2017, 09:59 AM   #8
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About a month ago I saw one of those huge double tractor-trailer rigs come down a dead end road. The road just ends, with no widened area or any place to turn around other than small residential driveways. And its just past a very tight turn.. see photo.

It took the solo driver about an hour to get out of there so I didn't stick around to see how he did it. But he did.
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:09 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Randy P. View Post
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.
Hi Randy,

Solid advice. I tend to be one of those folks that will walk around the pond and study it before dipping my toe in it and they jumping in. Others, are much better at just jumping in!!! Of course the best solution is probably some balance between the two approaches.

More practice and pushing the envelope a bit is a nice recipe for success.

Thanks,

Dean
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:10 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
About a month ago I saw one of those huge double tractor-trailer rigs come down a dead end road. The road just ends, with no widened area or any place to turn around other than small residential driveways. And its just past a very tight turn.. see photo.

It took the solo driver about an hour to get out of there so I didn't stick around to see how he did it. But he did.

Hey Gordon,

Wow! That would be a nightmare, but I guess he improved his skills. Yikes.

Take care,

Dean
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:44 AM   #11
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Hey Mike,

I like your idea of thinking 3 steps ahead. Sometimes I do this to a fault. I am trying to figure out how folks, Just Do It!!! I am a planner and not as comfortable with serendipity and spontaneity, but I like the idea of it.
Listen to yourself and Just Do It. What's the worst thing that can happen? You may have to unhook your trailer to turn it around. This is all part of the journey/adventure.
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:52 AM   #12
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On one of our trips to Florida we visited my wife's brother as we usually do... we asked if we could find a place to turn around on his dead end street, he assured us there was plenty of places on his street to back in and turn around in. Well we pulled into his street and parked in front of his house to visit and show off our new camper... I eventually walked the remainder of the street to find every driveway was small and/or too tight to back into with the Scamp.
Since we have a 13 footer... we found that it could be turned around off the hitch! I took the foot off the post and put on the wheel... unhitched the camper and Peggy and I walked it around easily. I drove the Jeep around backed up and re-hitched. We now feel more confident about turning around if need be... we can do it!
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:54 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by chetandren View Post
Listen to yourself and Just Do It. What's the worst thing that can happen? You may have to unhook your trailer to turn it around. This is all part of the journey/adventure.
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
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:56 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ralphieboy View Post
On one of our trips to Florida we visited my wife's brother as we usually do... we asked if we could find a place to turn around on his dead end street, he assured us there was plenty of places on his street to back in and turn around in. Well we pulled into his street and parked in front of his house to visit and show off our new camper... I eventually walked the remainder of the street to find every driveway was small and/or too tight to back into with the Scamp.
Since we have a 13 footer... we found that it could be turned around off the hitch! I took the foot off the post and put on the wheel... unhitched the camper and Peggy and I walked it around easily. I drove the Jeep around backed up and re-hitched. We now feel more confident about turning around if need be... we can do it!
Ralphieboy,

NICE!

Cool story.

Take care,

Dean
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Old 02-13-2017, 11:01 AM   #15
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For us, the ability to get off the freeway and explore the back roads is on of the benefits of having the little trailer. Back when we had the Casita, I was traveling in Utah and took the wrong side of a Y. I decided to take a short cut indicated on my GPS and soon discovered that my route was blocked be a very low railroad underpass. A car could make it under, but not the Casita. Fortunately there was adequate turnaround space and I knew that if the truck could make the turn, the Casita would just follow.

With the upgrade to a class A and towing a car, I would have been in big trouble. I would have had to disconnect the car, maneuver the MH around, then reattach the car. That's why we bought the Campster and will be selling the MH. We want to explore.

As others have said, as you get more comfortable with your towing and backing abilities, you will also feel more comfortable getting off the main roads and enjoying the scenery.
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Old 02-13-2017, 11:07 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Dave Fish View Post
For us, the ability to get off the freeway and explore the back roads is on of the benefits of having the little trailer. Back when we had the Casita, I was traveling in Utah and took the wrong side of a Y. I decided to take a short cut indicated on my GPS and soon discovered that my route was blocked be a very low railroad underpass. A car could make it under, but not the Casita. Fortunately there was adequate turnaround space and I knew that if the truck could make the turn, the Casita would just follow.

With the upgrade to a class A and towing a car, I would have been in big trouble. I would have had to disconnect the car, maneuver the MH around, then reattach the car. That's why we bought the Campster and will be selling the MH. We want to explore.

As others have said, as you get more comfortable with your towing and backing abilities, you will also feel more comfortable getting off the main roads and enjoying the scenery.
Hi Dave,

Yup, that is the type of experience that I want to avoid, but I hear ya. Maneuvering the Casita is easier than other RVs. BTW, I need to upgrade my GPS, too! (Not that GPS can prevent all woes, whoaes)

Take care,

Dean
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Old 02-13-2017, 11:35 AM   #17
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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?

I have yet to have to unhook the trailer, but have considered it. If you do make darn sure it is not on even a gentle incline, you will not be able to control it.

When we picked up the Casita from Rice, on driving home I took a Google map identified short cut. Only it was not. This is my first TT, so next to no experience. The road was in Texas, nice and straight, what I call a two rut road, not even gravel. It turned out to be on a levee, so severely banked on both sides. I have to back out two, yes 2 miles. It took me about 3+ hours: Had to pull ahead then back up over and over, just could not keep it straight. Yet here I sit, typing this out, at home, some 3 years later. So yes we made it out. And this was only just the beginning.

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.

Be patient, don't get upset, just keep at it until you get out. Part of the fun....
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Old 02-13-2017, 11:51 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Rzrbrn View Post
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?

I have yet to have to unhook the trailer, but have considered it. If you do make darn sure it is not on even a gentle incline, you will not be able to control it.

When we picked up the Casita from Rice, on driving home I took a Google map identified short cut. Only it was not. This is my first TT, so next to no experience. The road was in Texas, nice and straight, what I call a two rut road, not even gravel. It turned out to be on a levee, so severely banked on both sides. I have to back out two, yes 2 miles. It took me about 3+ hours: Had to pull ahead then back up over and over, just could not keep it straight. Yet here I sit, typing this out, at home, some 3 years later. So yes we made it out. And this was only just the beginning.

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.

Be patient, don't get upset, just keep at it until you get out. Part of the fun....
Henry,

LOL, I had to read your post to Laura (DW). I really do appreciate these stories. What I am learning is that misery loves company. There is no magic or secret to exploring off the beaten path. It is practice and trial & error.

Hey, I have had a campsite or two that I have left my safety chains on until I was chocked, leveled and stabilizers in place due to an incline. I definitely don't want an unhooked 3,000 lb. Casita getting away from me!

Take care,

Dean
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Old 02-13-2017, 11:53 AM   #19
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You have seen lots of response to your ???

To us, the super slabs are to be avoided, except to save time if you just have to be there... But if you leave the day before, you can go the blue roads and enjoy the trip. With a Scamp, or Casita you are much more maneuverable than those big rigs. You need to practice backing up in a straight line for a good distance as well as turning. rule of thumb. .. If you want the rear of the trailer to go left, the bottom of your steering wheel goes left. Then once into the turn, bring the wheel back to center or the other way.
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Old 02-13-2017, 12:02 PM   #20
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You have seen lots of response to your ???

You need to practice backing up in a straight line for a good distance as well as turning. rule of thumb. .. If you want the rear of the trailer to go left, the bottom of your steering wheel goes left. Then once into the turn, bring the wheel back to center or the other way.
Hey Wayne,

I use the bottom of the steering wheel, but there is still too much "zig and zag" to my straight line! Hmm, practice, practice, practice!

Thx,

Dean
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