My wife and I are 5 years from retirement so after much research, we purchased a 38 foot 5th wheel trailer this spring. We have been out three times and I must say I am not enjoying the experience (my wife does). Something always goes wrong, it is time consuming to get all the gear ready to go as well as unloading and cleaning up, and it is very stressful to drive (I feel uncomfortable holding people up). The RV parks we have stayed in (Good Sam) look good on the internet but are not very nice in real life (perhaps my expectations are too high). I have practiced backing and it has not gone very well and I am very nervous about doing it. All in all, I feel like this is going to kill me before I retire. Is this the new user jitters that will go away with experience or should I reconsider and sell it?
I would think you might be having a little stress that will go away with use and practice. However, you really did pick a big outfit to learn on. We bought our original FW 19 years ago, but it was a 21 1/2 footer, not a 38 footer. When we stepped up this spring, we only went to a 26.5, about 30' from front of hitch to rear of bumper. Keep with it and I think you will begin to like the trailering, I know we like it today much more than when we got out first one.
Take a look at the Federal campgrounds, I find I enjoy them much more that the private ones. Now if you are the type of person that enjoys shopping and eating out a lot then they will not be for you. Here in Florida the State Parks are also very nice. I just do not enjoy parking in a parking lot, right on top of each other. And also I do not have to be doing something all the time. It is good to just set back and enjoy mother nature and enjoy my later years.
2004 Gulf Stream 36 ft Sun Voyager triple slide
Workhorse W22 8.1
2004 Saturn VUE w/stowmaster towbar
Two Ole Pharts & One Little CocaPoo named Cuddles
If you can, keep the trailer loaded with the common things you need for a trip including food staples and condiment type stuff in the fridge (hopefully you can keep it running?). We have it down to loading some groceries and a couple changes of cloths before we leave. We probably spend less than an hour preparing and about 20~30 unloading after we get home.
Scott, Grace and Wesly
2003 Dodge 3500 4x4, 6 speed Cummins (lightly bombed),
2004 Forest River 25RKS many, many mods.
Getting too large a rig is a fairly common problem, and you picked a biggie to learn with.
We had a truck camper that we really enjoyed, then went to a Class C and realized that we had given up too many remote sites. After owning the Class C for two years we had spent too much money on it, and went back to having a truck camper again. Happiness.
Mike and Carole
2007 Snowbird 9'6" Super Slide
2005 16.6 Double Eagle
2000 F350 7.3 SC 4X4
previously 8'10" Snowbird Camper
2006 Triple E Regency 27 foot SXL SOLD!
X2 on giving it more time. Developing a system of utility storage and deployment - power, water, leveling, etc., takes time. You should be able to grab a frosty beverage within 20 minutes of parking at your site. As mentioned, keep the rig stocked and just deal with linens, laundry, and perishables on a trip-by-trip basis. Do you park it at home? I do, and have a 30A power outlet. I plug it in when we get back and keep the fridge on...we only unpack what will spoil before our next trip out.
As far as things breaking, this should also quiet down, but it tends to be an ongoing thing. These rigs take a beating on the rough roads of America. It pays to do prudent preventative maintenance and be conscious of loose screws, odd noises, and things that don't seem right. Often you can nip issues in the bud before they become major (expensive) problems.
1993 Ford E-350 pushed by a 1988 Wilderness 24' TT
Sounds to me you were pushing into this experience? I have my doubts that if that is the case you are ever going to enjoy the RV lifestyle. That is unless you change your perception of things. As long as you have enough truck pulling should not be a choir. Little things go wrong all the time. Learn to not worry about them. Either fix them on the road or wait till you get home. When we get home the only thing that comes out is refer and freezer foods, dirty clothes. The trailer is always loaded with all of our clothes and ready to go otherwise. It does take me a couple of hours to wash stuff, but it's no big deal to me.
Donn,Lorri,Max (The Rescued Lab)
Resident Know It All
too soon to give up on it imo
dont worry about holding people up, youll soon realize those people in a hurry will pass you three times on one road theyre in such a hurry stopping all the time
internet cg shopping is a waste of time...i have found word of mouth much better, and a brief visit in your regular vehicle even better. some cg's are indeed not so hot
practice makes perfect...lose the fear. youll likely scratch your fiver in due time, what does it matter? im not saying be reckless but forget about feeling that others are always watching you, honest most are not-one tip with regards to backing into a spot with a trailer, and forgive me if you know this, is you put your hand at 6 oclock on the steering wheel...move your hand in the direction you want the trailer to go. after awhile you wont need this "trick" but it is great for beginners.
setup and teardown becomes much easier as you develop your own tricks of the trade and shortcuts...when you lose the stress say about leaving fresh water in your holding tank or about leaving stuff in your black or grey tanks once in awhile the whole experience gets better, if im camping again within 2 weeks and my tanks are less than half full often i dont bother emptying all the time, why? because it isnt particularly fun and i have trust in my tank treatments.
have fun!!!! i know full well pre-retirement you dont have all the time we want...but the key for me is taking my time, enjoy the slow pace of setup and tear down. if i rush, i miss or mess something up and invariably it ends up taking me longer than if i had taken my time doing it
* This post was
edited 06/28/12 08:57am by SpurHntr *
'08 Newmar Kountry Star 3916, 400ISL Cummins
'11 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
'07.5 LMM 2500HD Duramax Crew 8'
Blue Ox, BB, PP TPMS, BB Buggy, Ranger EV