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back er up!

Backing up a Fifth-wheel!

For me, one of the most nerve-racking parts of RV’ing is actually backing up the fifth wheel into a spot. Now granted, I’m very early in my journey and have only been “out” four times at this point. So I haven’t had a lot of practice.

Backing up at a angle, backing up straight, backing up around a corner… yah, they are all interesting and frustrating and have started two days of a super tight tension headache in my shoulders that is no fun at all.

RV’ers tend to be friendly and helpful! The last place we went I was having a really hard time getting the angle just right, I wasn’t coming into the spot straight as there was a big truck parked across the lane, and Andrew, my then 13-year-old, has a hard time directing me too, because he’s new at this too and isn’t sure what to look for. And if I lose my cool, it’s all over for him, he quits trying to help. It’s all rough and stressful.

Anyway, this last time we were out, a gentleman from across the street came to assist me, asking if I would like him to guide me… I GLADLY accepted. Oh how wonderful that was! He guided me step by step: crank it all the way to the right, now back … more, now follow it, follow it, ok forward and do that again… three times till I was wedged in there just perfect!

I was in heaven following this guys instructions. I just wished I could see in my mind’s eye what to do as he did. But at the time I was so flooded with anxiety I couldn’t even learn from the experience. I was just so thankful (there may have been a tear in my eye) to be in the spot nice and snug at long last.

In relaying this story to a good friend of mine, she talked with her husband (a retired logging truck driver!), and he offered to help me practice when they were in town! 

So, on Thursday morning I started “battening down the hatches” in other words putting everything that was loose, away. Making sure that things wouldn’t fall, tip, spill, break or make a big mess. (I’ll do another post on what I do to prep to launch.)

It took me roughly two hours to get everything put away and tied down inside, then another hour to get all the outside things prepared to be underway. My assistant Andrew was at his dad’s this morning, so rolling through everything myself took a little more time.

From there we went to a big empty parking lot and pretended there were trees, cliffs, and other obstacles to back around. I can’t even begin to explain how helpful this was! They were so patient and encouraging to me. At times I wasn’t sure that all the time and energy it takes to pack up after being stationary for months was going to be worth it but it was SO worth it!

I have more confidence and I can use my mirrors to back up straight. I can back around a 45-degree corner and come straight with a curb as I know how to position myself to the inside of the curve and use my mirrors to do that. Seriously, it was so helpful!

So take the time and energy to go practice!

Slow down, breathe, think through each move. Try to find someone who was or is a truck driver, fireman, logger, anyone that you know that might have backup skills and patience to be a teacher… and ask them for a couple hours of their time in an empty parking lot. (we did Thanksgiving day when the stores were closed)

Practicing when your not under pressure of a campground is worth your time.

You will be so glad you did!

You’ve got this!
~ Vicki

Ask Away

I would honestly love to hear from you! What questions came up for you as you read this post?

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