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Old 08-31-2006, 08:04 AM   #1
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Hello, I have been reading this forum for years, and this is my first post. I have yet to find a question or issue that has not been dealt with thoroughly, and thus solved my problem. (Thanks to all). I have recently traded in my 29' fifth wheel for a 35' Winne Chieftain. I tow a 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4 down.
I have read all I can on backing a toad. When I decided on the Class A/ Toad combination, it did not occur to me that I couldn't back up my toad. My driving experience with the combinatio is great with the exception that I am somewhat spooked by the notion that I will find myself in traffic in a backup situation, or gas station, and not be able to back up. It kind of puts a damper on an otherwise great experience.
Would anyone share their towing approaches as you go down the road. How do you plan? How do you select a gas station? What do you avoid? Do you attempt to park on the side of the road for lunch? Any other tried and true approaches would be appreciated. I need to feel a bit less exposed when I am towing my Jeep. (I have driven miles looking for a Walmart just for lunch) Thanks.
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Old 08-31-2006, 08:04 AM   #2
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Hello, I have been reading this forum for years, and this is my first post. I have yet to find a question or issue that has not been dealt with thoroughly, and thus solved my problem. (Thanks to all). I have recently traded in my 29' fifth wheel for a 35' Winne Chieftain. I tow a 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4 down.
I have read all I can on backing a toad. When I decided on the Class A/ Toad combination, it did not occur to me that I couldn't back up my toad. My driving experience with the combinatio is great with the exception that I am somewhat spooked by the notion that I will find myself in traffic in a backup situation, or gas station, and not be able to back up. It kind of puts a damper on an otherwise great experience.
Would anyone share their towing approaches as you go down the road. How do you plan? How do you select a gas station? What do you avoid? Do you attempt to park on the side of the road for lunch? Any other tried and true approaches would be appreciated. I need to feel a bit less exposed when I am towing my Jeep. (I have driven miles looking for a Walmart just for lunch) Thanks.
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Old 08-31-2006, 10:49 AM   #3
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That is a great question!!!!! I too, am new to Class A RV'ing and I have been wondering the same thing. Looking forward to some input.

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Old 08-31-2006, 11:12 AM   #4
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First of all, welcome to irv2
As you have mentioned, there is usually someone here that help you with your questions.
I've been in a Class A for three seasons now. The more you drive it, the easier it will be in looking at situations and deciding how to handle them. The first thing I try and do as far as gas stations is to avoid the ones where you are facing the store when you are next to the pump. I prefer the ones where you pull in and the store is off to your side. If you face the store, you run the risk of not being able to make the cut when you pull out. Someone could be parked up at the store and that reduces your cutting area. If you do need to use one of those type stations, try entering from a side street where you actually go in front of the store and then cut into the pump isle. That way you are facing out away from the store and usually have more room for leaving.
For lunch, I use rest area's, mall lots, Walmart's, fast food places with truck parking.
I have the older version of the "Exit authority" which is a book that tells you what is at each exit of a highway. The so called RV friendly places are marked in red. The newer version of that book arent that easy to use in my opinion but are better than nothing.

Probably the best thing you can do is attempt to look ahead and plan your moves before you commit to a certain road or gas station or whatever so that you can avoid being "caught".
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Old 08-31-2006, 11:40 AM   #5
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I have the same fear.I would rather spend a little more for gas at an interstate gas station than deal with a backup situation.If it ever does come up,I have trained my wife(yeah right!!) to unhook toad.With the jeep its a no brainer.With the xl-7 its a pain cause of the brake.I will tell you this,I had a lot more fears that are gone now since I have been in this MH.It got a lot easier over time.
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Old 08-31-2006, 12:13 PM   #6
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CTYAnkey, First of all WELCOME to iRV2!!

In regard to your question of backing the toad, the others here have offered good advice...
My first thoughts are ALWAYS geared toward looking way ahead and assessing what I'm about to get myself into....If and when we're exiting the off-ramp,we're BOTH checking things out and TALKING about what we see...The wife has learned not only to hook and unhook the toad in record time,she also has a pretty keen "eye" on where I "can" get into and where I can't get into.
It's really not as "hard" as it sounds as the more you drive that rig and toad,the more you'll get used to knowing your rig's limitations.

Keep your chin up and your eyes open and get out there and go camping!!

July 2007 in Branson,MO is our iRV2 National Rally....get used to that rig and make your reservations!!
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Old 08-31-2006, 02:25 PM   #7
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The best thing for your fears is to get comfortable with the process of disconnecting the toad, so you can do it quickly and easily. Then you will always know you can get out of a "situation". My wife can do ours as well as I can and together we can have the car off in secnds.

But as the others have said, planning ahead is the answer to staying out of trouble. You will soon learn to judge your turning radius and "know" whether you can get through a gas station or whatever. And don't push your luck - here` will always be another station or rstaurant further down the road.

You should also try backing up (very carefully) to get an idea how much, if any, you can back before the wheels pivot sharply. Some vehicles can be backed only a few feet, some several feet and some a fair distance. Have someone watch and stop immediately if the wheels begin to pivot to either side - you don't want to stress the tow bar or mounts. And only tru to back straight up - don't even bother to try if the toad is at an angle to the coach. There will uprobably be someone here who can back in other situations (I've seen it done), but it's not a good bet for the average Rvers.

Yes, we stop along the road, or in shopping center lots, or at abandoned shops and stores.
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Old 08-31-2006, 02:45 PM   #8
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Hey CtYankey,

When you started out pulling that 5er did you not have some trepidation about where you were driving with it? Surely you must have gotten used to driving with an eye to backing up as little as neccessary. It will be the same with the MH.

In four years of driving our MH with the toad I have never had to unhook to get out of a bad situation. But, that is not to say I have never backed up with the toad attached. Two separate times I got into a bind making a turn and could not make the swing. It simply required cautiosly backing up about 4 or 5 feet while cutting the MH wheels, then continuing forward. It's not the end of the world if you have to back up a very short distance.

Get out on the road and the confidence will come with experience.

Here's to many safe, happy miles with your MH!
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Old 08-31-2006, 02:59 PM   #9
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Hi CT Yankey, I too know how you feel. I started towing just 4 years ago, now I feel quite comfortable with it. We have a book called The Exit Authority, I think it is called something else now, sorry can't think of what the new name is. But it is still available. It tells you what gas stations, restaurants, and other services that are at each exit, and whether you can get into them with your motorhome. If the big trucks can get in and out you can too. As usual it is not 100% up to date but it does really help. I have found there are not many situations that have made it necessary to back up, 2 in 4 years and a lot of miles. Don't sweat it too much.
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Old 08-31-2006, 05:41 PM   #10
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Hi CtYankey,

All the previously posted advice is good and what I do. I'd like to emphasize:
1. the book called The Next Exit. You can't beat it for letting you know where the truck stops are for fueling.
2. Plan, plan and plan some more, when and where you will stop. It doesn't take that much energy or thought, just a little team work with the co-pilot.
3. I stop only at truck stops for fuel or fueling places where I see a truck. If that is not available (rarely) I follow the previously posted suggestions.
4. For me, it is the co-pilot's responsibility to find the diesel pumps and tell me where they are. My 10 year old grandson is excells at this. He can see a diesel pump before I make the turn into the station. When he is in the coach, my wife will abandon the copilot seat in favor of my grandson, when we are going to stop for fuel.
5. I look for fuel at 1/2 tank. I have always found an easy in/out place before 1/4 tank.

I have backed up with the truck about 15 feet. Very slowly and with a spotter by the toad (with radio to me). My reason for the spotter is that my cameras and mirrors are very good to the end of the toad. After that I can not see where I am backing.
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Old 09-02-2006, 06:37 PM   #11
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Just get out there and go CTYankee, DW and I have driven class A's with towed 75000 miles, up an back down both coasts, only had to unhook twice in these 7 years. You can back up 2 or 3 feet with someone watching the front wheels on the Toad if you are kind of straight with the towed. Richard
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Old 09-03-2006, 06:47 AM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">The first thing I try and do as far as gas stations is to avoid the ones where you are facing the store when you are next to the pump. I prefer the ones where you pull in and the store is off to your side. If you face the store, you run the risk of not being able to make the cut when you pull out. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
One more thing to look for is, can you pull around the building, after pulling into a side pump. I always try to look for stations while comming down a "off ramp" (clover leaf), and look for a station I can pull around if pumps are straight into the building.

As stated pumps parallel to the building are best (but avoid the ones closest to the street) not always enough room to round the conor to get back out onto the street (short distance to driveway from pump).

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Old 09-03-2006, 04:40 PM   #13
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All the advice you have been given is right on the nose for towing. I would add my two cents and say don't allow your fuel to get so low before filling that you cannot go on to another location if the situation is warrants it on your first stop. This really comes under planning ahead. In many years of towing I have only had to unhook one time. I didn't swing wide enough to clear a concrete barrier.
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Old 09-03-2006, 05:48 PM   #14
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If you travel the same route often (or not so often) you might want to make a notation on your map of the fuel stations/restaurants that will allow you to get in/out comfortably. I keep index cards paper clipped in my altas, but I also have a clear sheet of overhead projector plastic covering some of my pages too... I note down my travel routes as well as my repeat places to stop... like certain Cracker Barrels and hints to make the stops easier on me. It's little things like "I-85 Exit 111 Cracker Barrel on E side Interstate then S. To leave turn R to P'Tree... L to Interstate... R then L @ BOA for Discovery Mills" (a shopping center we stop at). This puts me out at a traffic light (hard to cross the 4 lane with no light). I also keep an index card listing where the BOA's are in places that I will need or pass very close to.
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