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Old 09-06-2016, 08:52 PM   #1
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Location: Indianapolis, IN
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Rookie Mistakes!!

Well, I hope I have my major beginner mistakes out of the way now. Two weeks ago we drove to northern Indiana to look at a 2014 Riverside Whitewater Retro 177. We both feel in love with the 1950's aesthetics - the curvy, canned-ham turquoise and white rippled aluminum exterior. Brought it home to Indy a few days later.

We thought that we were already to go on our first RV trip Friday morning. Then I remembered that I was plugged into house power in the garage. Terrific storm earlier that day knocked out our electricity for 3 hours. The problem then was that my fat shore power cord was trapped under the garage door. I went inside, into the garage, releasing the garage door opener latch, then pulling the heavy door up a foot while my wife pulled the power cord out from the other side.

I picked up the last few items from the kitchen table, then went back outside and climbed into the truck where my wife sat waiting for our departure. We gave each other a nervous look, then pulled out of the driveway. There was a little looseness, a little jerkiness when we pulled away. It made my wife nervous but I told her it didn't feel any different than when I pulled it 120 miles home the previous Sunday. As we drove down our block, I concentrated on the noise trying to identify it. Then for some reason I thought of the power cord and asked if my wife had stowed it? No, she replied, she didn't know how but intended to ask me when I came out of the house. I stopped in the middle of the street - it's a quiet neighborhood. Sure enough there was my power cord trailing behind us. I removed the $15 20 amp adapter, still in one piece. The rubber on the male end had some serious road rash. I rubbed the black rubber detritus off with my finger and put the cord back to bed.

There was still quite a bit of looseness in the back end of the truck, noticeably worse in city traffic with all the stops and starts. This did nothing to calm my wife's nerves. She was seriously starting to question the whole idea of RV camping. Once on the highway the problem seemed to disappear. Nonetheless I stopped at the first rest area and did a walk-around. Everything seemed intact. I pulled up on the coupler since that is where the looseness seemed to be coming from. It didn't budge a millimeter. I thought it just might be the looseness of the tongue in the truck hitch. So back on the highway and no more sounds. No more until we got on the state highway for the short trip to the state park. Again the looseness, only looser still, and more noisy. My wife was ever so glad when we finally parked the rig in our shaded camping spot.

At midnight I was still laying awake, trying to get used to our new rather hot memory-foam mattress overlay, and thinking about that noise. On my boat trailers I could adjust the tightness of the coupler on the hitch ball by tightening a bolt on the bottom of the lock-down latch. But on this rig the underside of the coupler was welded closed. In the morning I watched for fellow RVers at nearby sites, having heard that there was something of a fraternity among RVers. I went over and introduced myself to our neighbor, stating this was our first trip in our first camper and i was skinny on towing experience. So he came over to have a look. He shook his head, then asked what size ball I was using. "2 inch" I replied, just what the previous owner had told me so that is what I bought. His rig wasn't much bigger than mine and he said it came with a 2 5/16". Really? He brought his drop hitch over. The 2 5/16" ball fit snugly as you please in my coupler.

So I had driven 120 miles from northern Indiana to Indy, then 135 miles to southern Indiana with only the 380' tongue weight keeping my 2 5/16" coupler on my 2" ball! The 390 lbs was the reason I couldn't budge the assembly by hand. My wife had a right to be anxious! We did remember to hook the chains. Otherwise we could have been dealing with a runaway Retro! (The breakaway seems to be missing too). Bad things come in threes. I went to the Walmart in Corydon, picked up the correct hitch ball. Back at the campsite, I stooped to install it, only to discover that the large nut on the original hitchball was nearly at the bottom of the threaded shaft. The whole assembly wobbled spectacularly in its hole. No wonder we experienced the loudest, loosest jolt when we pulled up the the gatehouse at the park.

On the way home the rig tracked noiselessly and smoothly. My wife could relax. Except for temperature and humidity both in the 90's, our three day RV baptism was very enjoyable. We hadn't made a huge mistake in buying a travel trailer without ever experiencing that before, without even knowing if we both would like it. We did, very much. Can't wait for the next trip. I know that we are still in a learning curve. I just hope that risking our lovely Retro careening past my truck on the downward slope of a southern Indiana hill will be the biggest rookie mistake we make.
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:10 PM   #2
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Glad everything worked out, and only issue was some road rash on the power cord.

Thanks for posting, as it will be a reminder to check your rigs out.

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Old 09-06-2016, 09:52 PM   #3
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Great story so thanks for sharing and
Bill & Laurie | 2021 Winnebago Solis 59px (no pop top)
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:58 PM   #4
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No need to say it could have been a lot worse.
John & Cathy R.
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Old 09-07-2016, 12:27 AM   #5
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Check your insulation on that power cord carefully to see if it is showing anything other than black insulation. If it is, you may need to replace it. Would hate to hear that you hadn't known that you had a bare wire and got bit hard enough to go to hospital. 120V will hurt like he'll but 240 can kill, and if it doesn't kill it will knock you silly. Also, be real careful with what you run while using that adapter. Those are NOT 20A, those are only 15A! And your house breaker mite not trip until it's to late. If you doubt me, go ask one of the electrical salesmen at your local home improvement store.
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Old 09-07-2016, 12:34 AM   #6
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Thanks for the sharing your experience. Welcome to iRV2
Tim & Ruth
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Old 09-07-2016, 04:55 AM   #7
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close call for sure but you guys made it through it and came out the other side a little smarter and a little more experienced. It may take a couple of trips to get all the bugs worked out but you'll get it.
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Old 09-07-2016, 07:57 AM   #8
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Well, at least you got it all over with in one trip! Congrats on the new rig! Keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
Joe & Annette
Sometimes I sits and thinks, sometimes I just sits.....
2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT, 2013 Honda CRV AWD
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Old 09-07-2016, 02:48 PM   #9
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Currently on our first trip with our new trailer.

Am hoping to read about rookie mistakes, rather than make them. ;-)
Buzz & Jo Wolf, Mountain Home, Arkansas
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Old 09-07-2016, 04:35 PM   #10
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Hi and
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:46 PM   #11
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Welcome. Wow, that was quite the adventure. Glad that it all worked out fine. Enjoy your rig.
John & Marilyn
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Old 09-10-2016, 12:37 PM   #12
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Welcome to the world of camping. We all make mistakes. I have been a professional truck driver for 43 years. I went feet first into camping. First trip ever with my camper. I hooked up did my walk around. Drove 250 miles to our first-ever camping experience only to find the padlock that I use as a safety clip still in the tray in my truck bed. ( facepalm ). No one hurt and you learn. Welcome and enjoy. Dusty
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