If you’re looking for a cheap way to have a laugh or two, you never have to leave the RV park. All you have to do is walk around and watch folks trying to back into an RV site. It’s some of the best free entertainment you can find anywhere.
Seriously, I’ve seen people make half a dozen or more attempts to get into their assigned site, and then just give up and leave their rig parked wherever they end up. Sometimes not until after they run over the power pedestal or water bib.
We know fulltimers who have been on the road for years who still ask for a pull-thru site when they make a campground reservation, and cringe when they can’t get one. Others can slip into any site as smooth as butter.
Of course, having a good ground guide makes it a lot easier. After 15 years of practice, Terry can get me into any RV site easily because we have a clear understanding of what her hand directions mean, and she’s got an excellent eye. She knows where our motorhome’s pivot point is and can place me exactly where I need to be before I start backing up.
Every vehicle has a pivot point. On an RV, it’s the center of the rear axle. When I’m backing up, when that points gets to the corner of the RV site, Terry signals me to turn the wheel and I slip right in. Then it’s a simple matter of making small corrections as I continue backward to place the motorhome where she wants it in the site. This You Tube video by Mark Polk explains pivot points very well.
Terry makes it a point to stay visible in my mirror at all times, and if she isn’t, I stop and wait until she moves back into sight. If she wants to check something on the other side she signals me to stop and wait first. And remember, this isn’t a timed activity. Nobody ever banged up their RV by backing into a site too slowly!
I have seen people go through all sorts of motions when guiding an RV into a site, flapping their arms in so many directions at once that I wouldn’t be surprised if they took fight. How can the driver possibly know what all that means? Even worse is the ground guide who simply points a finger. A driver is supposed to see that from forty feet away? Point your whole arm in the direction you want the back end of the RV to go. Both arms is even better. The ground guide also has to be aware of what is overhead. Backing into a tree limb can ruin your whole day.
Many times some well-meaning neighbor will come by and try to assist me, but I just tell them no thanks, we can handle it. Occasionally, even after I say that, they still try to “help.” When that happens I just ignore them and focus on Terry, because if they run me into a tree or a low hanging branch, they aren’t going to pay for my repairs.
And never underestimate the value of good driver training, or be too proud too get it. Last year in Tucson I was talking to a guy who said he had a 5th wheel, but was getting ready to sell it because he couldn’t back it up. He told me that his neighbor had to back it in next to his house after every trip. I told him that the RV Driving School had an instructor in Benson, less than 20 miles away who could teach him everything he needed to know. He was all excited and wanted to call right then. I gave him Sharon Del Rosario’s contact info and he said, "A girl?" I told him she wasn’t a girl, she was a woman, and a very competent one at that. An excellent instructor, Sharon has been a fulltimer for years, including a solo with a 5th wheel. His response was, "No girl can teach me how to park an RV!" I tried to convince him that Sharon could, but to no avail. His pride just wouldn’t allow it. As Terry said, "He’s right, no girl can teach him anything. He’s too dumb."
Thought For The Day – Bad things happen fast and we have to live through them slow.