Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory

Only a Newbie!

As newbie RVers, we thought we were attentive students when the Airstream dealer spent a morning with us explaining all the nuances of the trailer, hitching, pitfalls, etc. We took delivery of the trailer and a new truck in March or last year, and decided a short trip in early April from Ontario to Myrtle Beach would be a good trial run and also allow us a visit with cousins who live in South Carolina.

We decided to stay our first night in Pennsylvania at a truck stop.

Lesson #1 - Stop early to get a camp spot! Snowbirders were returning to Canada in droves, and the sites were packed. But, being a trucker, my husband had no qualms about parking between two big rigs - both of which had refrigeration units which ran all night!

Up and at it the next morning I went to open the door to walk the dog and the dead bolt wouldn't budge! As a sickening feeling hit the nervous system, I had terrible visions of someone finding our decomposing remains sometime in the future. I quickly gave myself a shake and talked myself into being logical with the thoughts we had food, water, a washroom, a cell phone....not to mention, of course the emergency exit! My "hero" (husband) soon came to the rescue and after about five minutes discovered a missing screw in the lock face plate was causing the lock to bind. By pushing in on the faceplate, the lock disengaged. He soon put a screw in the hole, but six years later we have never used the deadbolt again!!

Lesson #2 - Check out EVERYTHING before you use it.

Finally, when ready to leave, the battery in the pick-up truck was dead! After (what seemed) like an hour of futile attempts, my husband went off to see if he could get another camper or motorist to give us a boost. While he was gone, a (parked) trucker came to my aid and quickly unhooked his trailer, pulled the tractor up to our truck and provided a boost. Next thing I see is my hubby and another man hauling a battery across the parking lot (why they didn't bring it in the vehicle it belonged to has always baffled me). Imagine Gary's surprise when he found our unit ready to roll!

Lesson #3 - Never leave your pick-up plugged into the trailer overnight!

We stopped for fuel just before turning off the Interstate onto the last leg of our trip to Myrtle Beach. Pulling away from the station, there was a "grinding" sound coming from the hitch area of the rig. My husband couldn't imagine what it was as he'd greased the hitch. This continued off-and-on into Myrtle Beach, especially if we went over bumps, which perpetuated the feeling it had something to do with the hitch. After unhooking the trailer and taking our first trip out of the campground, we realized the noise was actually from the truck. Gary purchased some grease and did whatever guys do under a vehicle greasing "stuff". Still no resolution. Our concern was, of course, getting the truck into travelling shape for the return trip and we decided our first sightseeing trip should be to find a mechanic. For some unknown reason I suggested he move the truck slowly, while I listened from outside to see if we could determine where the noise was coming from. I called out that it was actually from the rear of the box of the truck.

Lesson #4 - make sure the 2X4 used to stop cargo from sliding to the rear isn't too tight a fit or it will produce a "grinding sound"!

We enjoyed the rest of the holiday with the family and thoroughly enjoyed the area and a leisurely trip home up the coast with no further mishaps. But six years and motoring holidays that have taken us to 10 provinces and 43 states, I'd like to know when we become "experienced" RVers as we are always learning new "tricks of the trade" and gathering more of these "blooper" stories.

Submitted by:
Madge and Gary Ferguson
Ontario, Canada

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