Towing Incident

Discussion in 'Camper's Confessional' started by Warren Mary Ellen, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. Warren  Mary Ellen

    Warren Mary Ellen Junior Ranger

    The first time we ever towed anything was when we picked our 560 Ultra last April. We drove home to SC without unhitching it from our Outback. You should have seen Cary's face when we told him this would be our first time towing anything. The only problem going home was backing up once we jackknifed and put a nice in the crease in the bumper of the Outback. Yes, Cary said not but we had no choice. Wrong turn put us between two buildings. Fortunately, there was a grassy field there where we turned it around.

    A few weeks later we took it for a weekend trip to the nearby mountains of SC for the first camping trip. It was a bit of a working trip for me, so we took two cars. We hitched up, we thought and I was driving the Outback towing the 560. Mary Ellen drove our other car following me. While driving through Walhalla,SC a car stopped abruptly in front of us forcing me to the same. The almost hitched 560 slammed into the Outback but since it was attached by the chains it of course moved with the car.

    My wife could see the smoke coming from the trailer brakes and tried to get us to stop. Cell phone did not have reception as we entered the mountains of SC and she got too close following for me to see her flashing the lights on her car. The brakes of course smelled delightful when we got the campground. Everybody was safe and the chains held as we drove it up the mountain road. I always wondered who won the pool on how long it would be before we called the Camp Inn factory with some incident.

    So after the 900 mile drive home from the Badger State and a short trip we got to replace the brakes and went ahead and purchased new tires to be safe. We got pretty good at hitching on our Long Haul last summer.
  2. Jean W

    Jean W Junior Ranger Donating Member

    Warren and ME,

    The learning curve can be steep at times. The first time I towed anything was from Goshen, Indiana, thru Chicago to Necedah. Had no idea how to back up a trailer either, plus by myself.

    Needed lessons to back up, so 18 year old son provided one 30 minute lesson at the local school parking lot. Hardest part was learning to back up using mirrors and having to think backwards in my mind.

    During that first summer, backing up when I was extremely tired was a disaster. Sometimes the son had to back the trailer into the garage. Eventually he refused, so I was forced to gain the skills and confidence myself. Slowly the skills of backing a trailer have improved. Best moment occurred when one of the neighbor guys told me I can do something they can't, which was back up a short trailer.

    Remember we all love watching as others struggle to back up their trailers in campgrounds. Now after a few years, so what if I need a few attempts to get the teardrop into the spot. Hey, I am a women who can back up a trailer!

    Keep on, for every learning memory you earn, there is someone who has a worse story yet, and I have a few from other friends.

  3. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    Been there, done that. At least as far as launching the trailer tongue through the bumper. That was a couple of years ago. Hitched up on a sloped driveway and didn't get the ball seated properly. Towed it 350 miles that way. I pulled into the KOA in Salt Lake City, but cut the corner a bit tight, hitting the curb as I was braking. The trailer slipped off the ball and into the bumper (300 feet before reaching my campsite for the evening). A few hundred dollars later the evidence of my sin was erased.

    Now if I have to hitch up where it is not level, I'll tow to a level spot and re-hitch. Experience is a great teacher!
  4. Jay & Valerie

    Jay & Valerie Junior Ranger Donating Member

    Dan and I discussed this when we were both camping at garner state park with our trailers.

    I have been pulling trailers/toys (bikes, jet skis, etc.) since I learned to drive. I don't know why no one ever mentions this tip but if you put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel instead of the top, whatever way your hand goes, the trailer will go.

    Want the trailer to go to the left, move your hand left. Want it to go right, move your hand right. Using your mirrors will be a lot easier once you move your hands from the top to the bottom of the wheel.
  5. Doug & Amber

    Doug & Amber Junior Ranger Donating Member

    Great tip!
  6. birder526

    birder526 Novice

    We were taught this trick along the way and it is so helpful!
  7. fpoole

    fpoole Junior Ranger Donating Member

    Also, Joan had a handy device, Orange Traffic cone she places where she wants the back of the trailer to go and stop. Just maneuvers it to the cone.

    Great idea, especially if you're Solo... no one to waving confusing hand signals.. heheh, all part of camping eh??
  8. Jim and Sue Lambly

    Jim and Sue Lambly Junior Ranger

    Hah! Two great ideas: hand placement and traffic cones! Love it.

    This reminds me of a story. Oh don't cringe, you all knew this was coming....

    When I was seven, we were visiting my parent's friends and their kids had bikes. We didn't - dad was digging ditches then and ditch diggers made zilch. Hard to keep a family of four kids on zilch, so bikes simply didn't factor into our lives. Anyway, one of the kids offered to let me ride his bike. What a disaster.

    I remember pushing down on the pedal, getting half way onto the seat, then panicking as the bike wobbled and jumping off. I would get maybe five feet down the sidewalk at each try. It must have been a pathetic sight - a little girl with her teeth clenched trying and failing over and over. I was at it for at least an hour. Finally my parents pulled me sweating and defeated into the car. It was one of the saddest rides home in my little life.

    Two years later, dad had a promotion and things weren't quite so tight. Christmas came along and what did I find??? A beautiful new bike - light blue. I was so excited..and determined to ride at last. After a hurried breakfast, I pushed my blue darling on to the street (no sidewalks in our neighborhood) and that's when my beloved sister, Rae, said those magic words, "Just keep pedaling."

    I was off in a flash and never looked back.

    Point of all this: I haven't figured out how to back this baby up without tons of trouble and then you said, "Just put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel!" Thank you!!!!

    And thank you, Rae - dear, dear sister of mine.

    Camp - and back up - On,

    Tom & Diana P likes this.

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