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Old 03-22-2013, 10:13 AM   #1
Stevereno
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Location: New Caney, TX
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Howdy from SE Texas!

My wife and I recently purchased a new Cougar travel trailer, model 25RET (28' long). Our tow vehicle is a 2010 Chevy Tahoe with 5.3L V8, 3:42 rear end and HD towing package. The rated towing capacity is 8500 lbs with this configuration. We had the RV dealer install an Equal-i-zer Sway Control Hitch, 10,000 lb rating. The brake controller and installation of same in the Tahoe was included with the hitch.

We have taken the TT out once for a "shakedown cruise" to an RV resort on Lake Livingston about 1 hour from home. We are new RVers, we have always camped in a tent. But between the checklist the dealer gave us, the checklists I found online and advice from the in-laws, we managed to have a successful trip. The only "necessity" we found we were without upon setting up was a a step stool. After leveling the trailer, we found the first step was pretty high off the ground. It was manageable for me but kinda high for my wife and our granddaughter. A quick trip to the local Wally World took care of that problem.

The biggest problem I have had with the TT so far is not an issue with the trailer itself. I have plenty of experience backing up boat trailers, utility trailers, etc. but have always done this looking over my shoulder. Backing the TT using the Tahoe's side mirrors (with extensions) just doesn't seem to come easy for me. Our house sits about 160 feet back from the street and our driveway has a nice curve in it. Getting the trailer started on the driveway is not bad, but negotiating the curved section using the mirrors just threw me for a loop. I know I will get the hang of it but my first two back-ins were pretty frustrating.

I have been lurking a bit while I was waiting for my membership to be activated and looks like there is a lot of good info on here and some friendly folks willing to lend a helping hand. Looking forward to participating in the forums.
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Old 03-22-2013, 10:34 AM   #2
JRTJH
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Stevereno,

to the forum and to Keystone. We're glad you decided to join us and we look forward to hearing about your RVing adventures.

Backing any RV that you can't see over or around takes some getting used to. One suggestion you may find helpful (if your driveway is relatively open and free of obstacles) is to watch the trailer wheels on the driver's side. If you line them up to a certain distance from the driveway edge and try to keep that distance as you back into the driveway, you'll probably find it easier than trying to watch both the back and the sides of the RV. When we change what we're watching, we tend to get disoriented and that's when the over-corrections occur. Just watch the wheels, keep them a couple of feet from the edge of the drive and let your DW warn you if you're getting too close to something behind you.... It takes time and practice to get it right, but it will come to you before too long.

Enjoy your time on the forum and make yourself at home.

John
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Old 03-22-2013, 10:54 AM   #3
Festus2
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Stevereno -
Hang in there - backing up your driveway will improve over time and it will soon become "second nature". When you master this, backing into campsites will be a breeze.

Now that you've stopped lurking and you can finally post, we're looking forward to hearing from you. If we can assist in any way, just holler.

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Old 03-22-2013, 11:38 AM   #4
davidcyndi
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Welcome!

My wife and I grew up in Humble/Atascocita so we might have crossed paths a few times and didn't even know it. Congrats on the new TT. It sure is a good time isn't it? We are new to the hobby and are really enjoying it too. Check out Cagle recreational area and double lakes. They are both just north of you and are excellent parks. Starting in April we are at Cagle or double lakes everyweekend. Let me know if you can make it up any weekend and we can meet up and say hello.

Concerning backing up. I had never backed up anything before we got our TT so I was quite nervous. I read all I could about it and watched a ton of youtube vids on it. The best one was to keep both hands at the bottom of the wheel and start backing up. If you want the butt end of the trailer to go right, turn your hands to the right (counter clock wise), and if you want the butt end to go left then turn your hands to the left (clock wise). Worked like a charm. Had no problems at all. Was like tim the tool time taylor when I was done, hooo hooo hooo hooo. To say the least I was proud of myself.

Well good luck and give me a shout if you want.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:01 PM   #5
Stevereno
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Originally Posted by JRTJH View Post
Stevereno,

to the forum and to Keystone. We're glad you decided to join us and we look forward to hearing about your RVing adventures.

Backing any RV that you can't see over or around takes some getting used to. One suggestion you may find helpful (if your driveway is relatively open and free of obstacles) is to watch the trailer wheels on the driver's side. If you line them up to a certain distance from the driveway edge and try to keep that distance as you back into the driveway, you'll probably find it easier than trying to watch both the back and the sides of the RV. When we change what we're watching, we tend to get disoriented and that's when the over-corrections occur. Just watch the wheels, keep them a couple of feet from the edge of the drive and let your DW warn you if you're getting too close to something behind you.... It takes time and practice to get it right, but it will come to you before too long.

Enjoy your time on the forum and make yourself at home.

John
John - I was primarily watching the driver's side because it has a dropoff in one section and I could see the length of the trailer plus the driveway whereas the other side "disappears" due to the angle. The problem I would run into was that the rear of the Tahoe would end up too far over on the opposite side to where I was about to run off the driveway into the trees.

@davidcyndi - we might have been neighbors at some point. We lived in the Oaks of Atascocita for about 12 years before building our current home (we're in Northcrest Ranch off Hwy 242). Our daughters both graduated from Humble HS, class of '95 and '99.

I want to camp at Cagle and do some fishing up there. But I need to get some kind of rack to put on the Tahoe to carry our kayaks so we can take them with us. I have a trailer for the kayaks but it will only be used for day trips from the house now that we have the TT.

I will try that technique keeping hands at the bottom of the wheel. Sounds like that might be a good system to use.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:28 PM   #6
davidcyndi
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My wife grew up in atascocita south and i grew up in northshire behind deerbrook mall. We both went to Humble hs. I graduated 94 and my wife was 95.

Seriously try out cagle. Its a great park.
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Old 03-22-2013, 02:52 PM   #7
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Stevereno,

You know that if the drive is 12' wide and the RV is 8' wide, if you have the driver's side wheels 1.5' from the edge of the drive, you MUST have 3.5' on the passenger's side. If you keep the driver's side aligned, the other side will follow (it has to) and you can essentially "forget" that it's there (so long as there's no trees or other obstacles you have to maneuver around.

It's sort of like parking in the garage with mirrors that are only 3" from each side. We tend to always check "BOTH" mirrors, when in actuality, if the driver's mirror is 3" from the doorway, where "MUST" the other one be? It's human nature to look over to make sure, but it can't be anywhere but where it's supposed to be if the driver's side is right. It's the same with backing up the drive. If the driver's side wheels are 18" from the edge, the passenger's side "MUST" be 3.5 ft from the edge over there "where we can't see" Logically, they can't be anywhere else LOL

The reason the back of the Tahoe got "crooked and out of place" is from overcorrecting. If you follow your trailer wheels on the right track, the rest of the RV "MUST" follow correctly also. Give it a try next time you've got a little extra time, and remember, if you get out of line, even a little, stop, pull forward a few feet and get lined up again. Trying to correct while backing up will just get you even further out of line.....

Practice Practice Practice !!!
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Old 03-22-2013, 05:15 PM   #8
fla-gypsy
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Welcome from Florida. You will master the backing with just the mirrors quickly
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Old 03-22-2013, 05:53 PM   #9
Stevereno
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JRTJH - yeah I had plenty of pull forwards. I would rather suffer a little loss of pride with a "redo" than damage my trailer or TV.
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevereno View Post
JRTJH - yeah I had plenty of pull forwards. I would rather suffer a little loss of pride with a "redo" than damage my trailer or TV.
There's no "loss of pride" to stop, look, and redo. The loss of pride comes from hearing a crunch because you didn't want to admit that it might not be "quite right" I've been backing RV's for 40+ years and I still get out, look around, get my bearings and wave at the crowd watching to see if I'm going to hit something backing into a spot. If you look through some of the backing into spots threads on here, you'll see comments from many professional 18 wheelers who will say over and over, no pride lost in getting out to check, no matter how many times you do it.

Hang in there, it really does get easier LOL
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:13 AM   #11
TAZ23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRTJH View Post
There's no "loss of pride" to stop, look, and redo. The loss of pride comes from hearing a crunch because you didn't want to admit that it might not be "quite right" I've been backing RV's for 40+ years and I still get out, look around, get my bearings and wave at the crowd watching to see if I'm going to hit something backing into a spot. If you look through some of the backing into spots threads on here, you'll see comments from many professional 18 wheelers who will say over and over, no pride lost in getting out to check, no matter how many times you do it.

Hang in there, it really does get easier LOL
to the forum. TRJTH is right. I have been driving 18 wheelers for over 30 years and on the bottom of our mirrors on our company trucks is a sticker that says G.O.A.L (get out and look). Dont worry about other folks watching. Just remember they also went through it. Have fun and be safe
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Old 03-24-2013, 06:20 PM   #12
Stevereno
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Thanks guys. So far I have had at least one (and up to three) assistants looking out for me and giving me directions backing it up. Would have taken me 2-3 times longer most likely having to get out and do my own spotting.
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