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Backing into a site.


kathydavidb

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It's not the easiest thing to do. Is there a good way to guide your RV back into a site? The wife tries hard but the little finger points are difficult to see from 50 ft. away. Neighbors with good intentions often use different confusing signals. What works best for you? Thanks for any info. Dave.

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Arm movements and distinct directions and always have the person backing you in stay in your view. If not stop and wait till they do get into view. Another way that works is also cell phones, call and put them on speaker and take your time.

 

What ever way works for you is the best.

 

Dave

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First thing I would recommend is only have one person giving the signals.

Second thing would be let the person that is directing you know that if they cant see your mirror then you cant see them.

I may myself try the cell phone next time out and see how that works.

What works for me is to look at the ground and visualize where the tire is going to track, but make sure you also look up for clearance.

Practice, practice and then more practice. Have fun

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It's not the easiest thing to do. Is there a good way to guide your RV back into a site? The wife tries hard but the little finger points are difficult to see from 50 ft. away. Neighbors with good intentions often use different confusing signals. What works best for you? Thanks for any info. Dave.

 

Here is a link to Nick Russell's blog today which discusses this issue: http://gypsyjournalrv.com/category/nicksblog/

 

And here is a video on the topic:

 

Paul

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Our Monaco has a microphone at the rear camera . I turn the volume up a bit on the monitor and I can hear directions being told . If I hear a shout , I stop . ;)

 

We still use hand signals , but ...

 

Once you figure out tail swing and turn radii , the task becomes a cake walk . Like has been said , PRACTICE makes perfect . :)

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One thing that will help is to get three or four small traffic cones or bright flowerpots and align them where you want the driver's side of your rig to be. With a little practice you'll get into just tapping each one with your tailpipe.

 

As for directing, accept directions from only one person, presumedly your wife, and no one else. Forget hand signals; get an inexpensive pair of FMRS/GMRS radios so you can actually communicate.

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My wife and I use "walkie-talkies," and that really helps. I have an interesting story to tell about backing. Once, my first wife (God rest her soul) and I were way up in the Northwest, as I remember it, and she was back giving hand-arm movements for directions. All of a sudden she started waving her hand and arms in a very fast and uncontrolled way! I stopped, got out walked back and said, "_______! What you trying to tell me?"

 

Her answer, --- "Nothing! A huge swarm of nats just covered my entire head! I was just trying to make them leave me!"

 

C.

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Big arm, full hand movements - Walkie Talkies - One person, my wife, gives directions (EVEN AT RALLIES, MOTOR HOMES FOLKS DON'T KNOW HOW A TRUCK TRAILER WORKS, besides, it is not their rig, I don't know them or their expertise) - at 44K pounds, bending in the middle, I'm different -

 

And the MOST important thing --- G. O. A. L. --- GET OUT AND LOOK

 

I don't care who is looking, how silly I seem, who I upset, It's MY home that I'm parking

 

on edit - I don't talk back to her on the radio unless I'm stopped. I just listen and drive. Another thing that can help is the VOX (Voice on Transmit) to leave her hands / arms free.

 

I had one incident at a rally (Escapade) where the parking guys took the radio from her to direct me. I shut it down on the spot (sound of air brakes locking), sight of me getting out of the truck, with the keys in my hand --- Who are you? What are you doing? SHE will park me, you have ANYTHING to say, tell her and she will relay it to me. She is the ONLY parking person that I will listen to.

 

If you notice, a crane operator deals with one ground person and he stays in sight of the operator at all times.

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Lots of good advice, but the very best is from jbh.

 

As for directing, accept directions from only one person, presumedly your wife, and no one else. Forget hand signals; get an inexpensive pair of FMRS/GMRS radios so you can actually communicate.

In addition, use terms like driver's side and passenger side, never right/left. Develop your own way of communication and always use the same terms and in the same ways.

 

I too have a story related to our parking team. Some RV parks insist that you use their directions, so when that happens Pam just goes back well behind the director and quietly talks me into the site. One day we arrived in an RV park in Pendelton, OR where they said that they "had" to park us, so we went into our normal process with Pam back away and behind the employee. That employee had the wildest set of arm waving directions and gyrations that either of us have ever seen. It was so wild that there were some less than flattering remarks about it, inserted into our communication as we got parked, in spite of the antics of that park employee. Once we were parked, as I was lowering the jacks the employee walked up to my window and informed me that he was very impressed with my parking skills. He went on to inform me that "You would not believe the mess that some people get into, even with my directions! Many people just do not know how to back an RV, even with the best directions possible!" Pam was making some unflattering comments about him such that I had to key the mike to prevent him hearing since she was not where she could see that he was at my window. :lol:

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My younger brother drove big trucks and routinely positioned large and long missiles and artillery pieces. He introduced me to the Army method for the guide to signal the driver (works for all types of rigs). The guide simply pointed the direction the driver needed to turn the steering wheel to make the maneuver and not in the direction to travel. Stop and slow were communicated in the typical method using with both hands. I was amazed at how well this worked but it does require the guide have an understanding of how the particular rig tracks.

Later,

J

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Back in 1965 when I was 15 years old I worked for a grain farmer driving his grain truck while he ran the combine. I had to drive the truck to the grain bins when it was full and back in to a hopper on an auger , raise the truck box and auger the grain into a bin. This meant I had to get that truck into the same exact spot every time. I didnt even have a drivers license at the time....lol.

However it was very good training for my future driving. He taught me how to pick a spot with my eyes while I was driving in and determine that was where my back tires had to go. Once I got the hang of that I never forgot it. I can back my MH up a street and around a corner now if I need to. Its all about where those back tires are.

A motorhome is very easy to back in. A fifth wheel on the other hand takes more cordination but its the same principal of watching where the tires on the fiver are going. Once I got my wife to watch the tires on our fiver in order to get us lined up instead of the back of the trailer things got better.

When we get to a site in an RV park my wife gets out and watches for branches and clearance to the slides and to see if anything is going to be a problem. Using the rear camera and my mirrors I know exactly where the MH is going. Practice practice.

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DW and I always had problems with backing the trailer and getting the trailer positioned where I thought it should be. It wasn't a big issue, but I did have to keep getting in and out to check where the trailer was positioned.

 

The solution I came up with is; I put her in the drivers seat! Keep in mind she was never able to learn how to back up a trailer. I told her to put her hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and I would tell her how far (1/4 turn--1/2 turn) to turn the wheel right or left and when to start or stop the truck. The only thing she was responsible for was watching the front fenders of the truck to be sure to not hit a tree. This turned out to be a great solution. She was happy and I got the trailer in the position I wanted. She has commented several times she could just about close her eyes and just follow my directions. We did use walkie-talkies or cell phones and if she couldn't hear my voice she came to stop and didn't move the rig until she could hear my voice again.

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This idea came from me googling up rv backup lights. Someone had laid out strips of tape on their garage floor parallel with the length of the trailer, there were a couple of markers denoting location of the trailer wheels.

 

If you can imagine the footprint or track your trailer leaves when pulling out of your parking spot, I lay out a bunch of cats eye road markers on what the track needs to be going in. I start them 50 to 60' before the pad so things can get lined up. Because I am often jackknifing the trailer into the spot, I make sure the cats eyes are on the path the wheels need to be up with a couple xtra at the front and rear of the front and rear axle.

The location takes into consideration powerposts and other obstacles along with clearance for slideouts. Having half a dozen cats eyes laid out in a straight line parallel with the edge of the pad gives some reference on lining the trailer up when cutting around the corner.

The other issue is not getting the tank fairings hung up when backing uphill around a corner...I'm in the process of installing some ditch lights underneath to light up ground under and outside the footprint of the truck. Got that idea from a local firetruck.

Some LED backup lites are being installed on the trailer, 2 on the landing gear facing rearward and slightly out. These will light up the trailer wheels so I don't dump it into a ditch. 2 more at the rear lighting rearward and slightly off to the side.

 

The backup camera system when I get one will also help.

 

With the rig being 67 ft long and noisy it is difficult to enter an RV park on stealth mode. People are out with their cameras ready to post a screwup on U Tube. So walking the approach before backing in gives me a chance to assess route without being bothered or having 6 people, all experts, assisting me to back in.

 

This does work, if you stay on track the trailer can be positioned accurately.

 

Anything can be used for markers, painted rocks, margarine lids etc.

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I'd suggest practice too. BUT- in a vacant lot with nobody watching. Lay out the cones, and if you run over a few WHO CARES! You need to gain confidence in a low stress environment, don't just feel "the next time we go camping I'll do better". And when that time comes, you WILL.

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Hi All, the wife and I have become very good at this as a team after many year of tutoring her as to what I need. Its only when the local camp host get involved does it become a problem. Now I understand its their job, but when you inform them that its not our first rodeo, they should at least give us a try. Many people develope their own form of hand signals and it can be confusing to others.
BobQ

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