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Old 02-14-2018, 05:31 AM   #1
masterdrago
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Learning Curve

Things Learned On Our First Full Travel Trip
When we picked up our new 3791RD 5th wheel on Halloween we pulled it the 4 miles to our house. We had some work done on our driveway by the county a few weeks prior to enlarge the street interface from 12' to 20'. The street we live on is a country narrow residential blacktop and even with help from an experienced neighbor, for the life of me, I could not get it backed in. We ended up pulling in forward but managed to exchange some pine resin for some gel coat in the process.
The county came out a week later to add another 20' culvert I had delivered, making the new width 40'. We did our 1st "campout" a mile from our home on Lake Conroe in an RV park and set up next to our full time neighbors. Spent a week there and being able to hit the house, hardware store and RV dealer for forgotten but needed items was good planning. I only had to make about a dozen trips out for items:=} While we were "camped", we had the concrete pad poured for the 5r. Things went well and we got to do a full winter checkout on the 3791. I managed to much more easily back it in after the week away.

Next full week long trip to Canyon of the Eagles, a trip of about 235 miles over country back roads.

Things learned:
Plan your route - I had used several maps and online sources to work my path. Deluxe Motor Carriers' 2018 Road Atlas to find low clearance bridges, TxDOT to find construction zones, MapQuest and Google Earth to check course plot. Make sure your navigator (Wife) understands the route. Also your on board NAV or GPS. One other mention. When following your own directions, make sure to go east, not west, when you need to go east. It can be a real bear getting turned around on a busy highway with no place to pull the monster in.

Fuel - Since our Ram Dully has only a 32 gallon tank, I made sure to have it full to the max b4 leaving. It turns out to get between 8 and 10 mpg pulling the 15,100# as weighed by RVSEF in Buda, Tx. just south of Austin. Turns out we are 1,730# under GVWR. The roads we used did not have RV convenient diesel stations. Note to self - Carry 10 gallons in portable tanks with a way to transfer the fuel to the truck tank.

DEF - Carry extra DEF (diesel exhaust fluid). The tow vehicle uses a lot more of this vital fluid when towing. It is fairly available in any small town but you pay more big $$$.

Trees - Make sure you understand all your clearance issues when navigating through small towns and inside campgrounds. Especially turning radius and swing. I got myself into a tight spot at the registration parking area due to my own inexperience. Traded some cedar bark with TPDM. Fortunately, it's repairable.

Propane - Not all campgrounds have nearby refill stations and in winter, you'll go through a fair amount. Either take extra (unfortunately the pigtails will not reach a grill sized bottle) or make sure you know where to get refills. Update - I found a way to carry grill tanks in the genny room secured and to raise them in the harness of the LP room - set them on the same plastic pads I use under the leveling legs.

Tools and Such - I have made my pile of tools and backup parts b4 we even closed the deal on our 5r. One thing I remembered while at the campground was extra fuses. Sadly, I could not use a spare from my Ram truck (different type). One good thing is that most of the 5r fuses are 15amp with a couple of 25amp thrown in. When I got back home, I added those to my pile of goodies.
Water in Holding Tank - On the way back, we filled the fresh water holding tank about 1/3 full to be able to flush for breaks.

I posted this on another forum and nothing was added. If anyone can add anything, please feel free to do so.
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Old 02-14-2018, 06:25 AM   #2
RoadRunnerTR21
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Good write up!
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Old 02-14-2018, 06:39 AM   #3
timandsusan
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Good analysis--very thorough! A few suggestions that have worked for our 12 yrs of RVing.
1. Change the diesel fuel tank to a 50 gallon internal tank. I did and it covers any day of driving that we plan.
2. DEF. Available in lots of places. I don't carry any spare DEF but check it regularly.
3. I wish I could recommend a GPS software for routing but DeLorme was bought by Garmin and my favorite software is not available.
4. I avoided Interstates for a few years but have learned to use them and enjoy the nice ride with services along the way.
5. You did not mention a "Check List" for departure--we have 2--one for me and one for my wife who handles the inside stuff. We add and take stuff off every year. We keep the list on our laptop and print out a copy when we start our travels.
6. Hope you have years of happy traveling. We travel about 4000 miles per year with a 3 to 4 month plan on getting somewhere and enjoying it. Also enjoy this owners website--lots of great ideas from great people!
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Old 02-14-2018, 07:43 AM   #4
masterdrago
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Thanks Tim & Susan. Yes, I believe a checklist is a vital part of the trip plan and whenever moving. I'm 65 so find a real need for them. We have two like you and are always changing them, adding and deleting lines.
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:59 PM   #5
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For what its worth.... you can also purchase a Rand McNally GPS for truckers at most truck stops. It lists all low clearances and will keep you on designated truck routes, so weight and height restrictions won't be an issue.

Also look at your campgrounds destination web sites they will post any special directions you need to follow to arrive safely and damage free, after you leave a designated highway.
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Old 02-14-2018, 08:39 PM   #6
Theunz
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Keep in mind that these references for low clearances apply only to hi ways. Once you exit them it's "eyes wide open". Although tree limbs are probably the object most often hit, don't discount telephone and cable tv lines! Although they are suspossed to be above 13'6" many are not, be especially careful in old neighborhoods with houses with low rooflines. Parking lots are another area that can get you too.
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Old 02-15-2018, 11:20 AM   #7
masterdrago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theunz View Post
Keep in mind that these references for low clearances apply only to hi ways. Once you exit them it's "eyes wide open". Although tree limbs are probably the object most often hit, don't discount telephone and cable tv lines! Although they are supposed to be above 13'6" many are not, be especially careful in old neighborhoods with houses with low roof lines. Parking lots are another area that can get you too.
Watching for trees has become one of my big watch points. You can normally see when the 18 wheelers have been making contact because all the leaves are ripped off. our 5r is much lower than the max of 13.5 at the edge, unlike the center where the front a/c is the high point. Again for the low brides I recommend the Deluxe Motor Carriers' 2018 Road Atlas.
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