I started with a 36 foot fiver. It was intimidating to back up. I tried to only camp where they had drive through sites the first year. I was ready to sell it. If someone had come up and offered me anything close to what I paid for my fiver, I would have taken it.
Heck, you haven't even broke anything yet? I backed into a fence post, clipped an electrical box sticking out from a utility pole, jumped more than one curb, had the trailer's front jacks fall off the wooden blocks because I forgot to chock the wheels, had the "safety pin" pop out as I pulled into a gas station, which slammed on the trailer brakes, and those are just the things I remember now right off the top of my head.
And I am not done making mistakes after 5 years of practice. Last November I backed into a paved site. Since we were going to be on this site for 6 months I wanted our fiver positioned perfectly so as to maximize our patio space. I was about a half a foot too far to one side. I pulled forward, backed up, and shi$, I was still about a half to far to one side. Try number three, only moved about one inch in the right direction. Try number four, lost the inch I gained on try number three. Finally the campground person asked if I wanted him to try. Of course he nailed it perfectly it first try. He just said, don't tell anybody I did that.
It's like they told me at my dealership, the only way to get comfortable with it is to do it. And, when backing up, try not to turn the steering wheel more that a half turn at any one time, unless you have a spotter who actually says, "Cut her hard". And remember the GOAL - Which stands for "Get Out And Look" !
Anyone who has an RV and never has had a problem probably camps in their driveway.
Guess you should stay away from Good Sam Parks. A good park will be glad to have someone help you with backing up. Unless you bought used and were a good negotiator and you need a big honkin truck anyway, it is a little late to get out without losing a bunch of money. Thanks for the perspective of a new member that Good Sam Parks suck. I have been considering not renewing our affiliations and it appears that the Good Sam name is becoming poisonous. I mean post after post about how Good Sam Parks suck, Good Sam ERS sucks, Camping World Sucks (owned by Good Sam), Trailer Life and Woodalls (Good Sam publications)suck Good Sam partner programs like those with Flying J, insurance companies, finance companies and so on suck. It is becoming clear that taking all that money I spend on affiliation fees, advertising fees etc and using it to fund internet advertising and keeping some for myself is a better option. Posts like yours are really helpful. Thanks
All great answers above. I'm going to take a different approach and say most any recreation vehicle, property , etc is a lot of up keep for me.
We've had boats which maint and cleaning ,etc fell to me
Lake front property painting ,fixing mowing fell to me
RV driving ,maint setup me.
Something always needs fixing and in my family it comes my way. After a while it does become easier but at first it can me a real pain trying to figure everything out. Sometimes I have my doubts myself! Good luck
To help ease the driving and backing up issues, see if your dealer offers driving classes or can recommend someone. I was fine with driving our rv but my wife was scared. Our dealer offered to teach her how to drive and park when they learned this at delivery. I wound up teaching her and she can now do it, but it may be something to look into.
The best advice we got when we first started was to fully stock the rv like we would a second home. This way the only thing that you need to pack and unpack are your clothes and perishable food. It has made our experience a whole lot better. I also clean the inside of rv before we leave the campground, so when we get home it is done and I can just relax. This has helped a lot!
Hang in there as it does become second nature! We weren't rvers and didn't have rvers in our world before we got ours. We got it because our daughter had sever food allergies and we couldn't travel with her because she couldn't eat in restaurants. We are so addicted now we are out all the time! Rving gives you freedoms that no other type of travel can! Give it some time! Best wishes!
We were new to camping when we got our first hybrid. It was a whole new lifestyle and it was intimadating. Our very first trip was during a 6 hour thunderstorm, but we were hooked! We have since had 3 different RVs. However, if we would have got the wrong RV first, we might never had kept with it. 38 ft would be a lot to handle, and I think we would have thought camping was no fun, too. IMO, get something easier to drive, load, clean, etc. If your wife wants to keep you happy and still go camping-compromise!
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?
You started out with a big rig for sure but in time you should get more comfortable with it. When I see a line of cars behind me in the mountains, I pull off when safe and let them pass.
Backing up take practice with any new rig big or small. You are still uncomfortable with it, you still need more then. Not just into a spot but try all around a empty parking lot a few times each way.
Packing will get easier as you find what you can leave in the unit between trips. We have clothes just for the camper. When we come home we wash the dirty and put them right back in. Same with towels etc.
We keep a box for the dry foods we don't want to leave in the hot camper between trips. We refresh it in between and just take it with us with the fresh foods.
Finding a suitable camp ground can take time but once you find a few you like the issue will be mute. I personally find camp grounds to be over crowded, noisy and smoky so we boondock away from it all. No noise, no crowds, no smoke, just us and the dogs seeing the beautiful views. ( oh yeah, IT'S FREE!!)
Cleaning sucks! Doesn't matter if it's the house, boat, trailer, trucks or whatever. It just sucks as most chores do.
I think the biggest question is do you ever see yourself enjoying it once you get comfy with towing/ backing up and find that perfect camping spot. Most people let small issues slide because they enjoy the camping, maybe it's just not for you.
2011 GulfStream Amerilite 25BH
2007/2003 Ford Expedition
Nights camped in 2011 21
Nights camped in 2012 16
Another thing to consider is talking to your wife. Make her do her fair share of this! Tell her you don't like driving and that she needs to take a shift behind the wheel. It's not fair for you to all the bad jobs so if she's not pulling her weight, gently make her do so. (I apologize if I'm reading too much into your post, but it sounds like you got stuck with the stressful parts of RVing!)
You should both go find a big empty lot and practice backing (as well as spotter commands). If one of you has a knack for it, that's the official backerinner.
But it does sound like you just have to keep doing it. I didn't really sense anything going wrong that doesn't just take doing a few more times.
The campgrounds, on the other hand...if you're going for nature, be prepared to dry camp in federal parks (AFTER you get better at backing ). You can usually find information on length of rigs that they can handle. With that much trailer it shouldn't be too hard to go without hookups for a while.
If you're going for an RV resort kind of thing, I don't really know what to recommend except ask around, look at the satellite images of potential parks and count trees, etc.
For campgrounds go to www.rvparkreviews.com to research campgrounds & RV parks. Be sure to read through the reviews. You will be able to weed out the bad parks very quickly based on what people write.
Consider taking an RV driving class. Do a google search to find one in your area.
I'm not sure if you bought a new 5th wheel or a used one. New RVs may have some problems that sometimes come with a new RV. The manufacturers get overwhelmed by demand and from time to time the quality suffers so there are little problems that pop up as you use the rv the first few times. These will go a way. If it's a used RV you will go through patches of problems. Ours is 16 years old and every couple of years something breaks or needs to be replaced. This year it's the roof and patio awning.
I look at it this way... it may take me an hour to setup the RV and an hour to tear it down to go home, a few hours to drive to the campground and back home...but in between there are 40 hours of pure relaxation available to me during a weekend trip. That's a whole work week worth of time that I can choose to do whatever I want. No boss telling me what to do.
You may be using your wife as guide when you are backing into site. If not, establish some hand signals & use walkie talkies......as said check on pull thru sites. Seems like you'd have great state or federal parks in your area.
'08 Toyota Tundra 5.7L with tow package/Prodigy
'12 Evergreen EverLite 31 RLS Compositek construction
Some sites are just a witch to back into. That is witch spelled with a capital "B".
They are even more difficult if on the passenger side since mirrors distort distance and you can't just look out the window to get a better feel for distances.
I found that if I concentrate more at where the trailer's tires are going I have better success. After all, where the tires go, the trailer will follow.
And the size of the site is not always the problem, rather it is the narrowness of the road. The site can be gigantic, but if the road is really narrow you have little room to pivot or angle the trailer.
So, look for pull through sites and save yourself some grief.
I know there are many regular participants on this forum who do not like KOA campgrounds for their own various reasons. But, I found most KOA campgrounds have pull through sites. And, just based on my experience, most KOA campgrounds will send an escort with you to help get you set up. We stay at KOA campgrounds pretty much exclusively when just traveling from point A to point B.