2012 - 2017 Travel Map (Map NOT Current) - Now in South Prairie Washington

Lesson Learned in Grimes Iowa - Major!


Wednesday:  September 05, 2012 – Travel Crawfordsville, IN to Grimes, Iowa

Today set a new record for us traveling.  We traveled 430 miles to Grimes, Iowa.  We decided to travel for the next 3 days around 400 miles each day to catch up to where we wanted to be in the Rocky Mountains.  We plan to take a little time to explore when we get to the Rockies.  We will just travel quickly through the flat plains states at this time.

We started out from Crawfordsville Indiana at 9 am which was a little behind the 8am we wanted to leave.  I took a little longer doing things like checking the lug nut torques on the rig and checking the oil in the truck.  We got a benefit of an extra hour after entering Illinois from the time change to central time J  We had off and on rain most of the way through Illinois.  There were some fantastic cloud formations as we pasted through sun and then clouds and then rain with high wind.


Just before the Mississippi River
Crossing the Mississippi River
This trip we had 2 lesson learned.  The first was driving in wind.  This is our first time driving the rig in wind.  The wind was only moderate, around 25mph, but it was enough to let me see how the rig handles in wind coming from different directions.  I found that the speed I was traveling had the most influence on the handling of the rig.  Around 65-67 mph (speed limit is 75mph) the rig was great even with moderate wind from any direction.  Any faster and the rig was unstable in wind. 

The next lesson was the BEST lesson so far.  I have been studying how to park a 5th wheel for some time now.  Only since we got the rig have we actually practiced parking the rig in the real world.  I had read that  one person is the driver (me) and one is the guide (Patty) when parking.  I learned the usual stuff like never move unless you can see your guide, get out and look around if you are unsure, things like that.  

Now the problem that a lesson is needed for.  Like we have done in the past, I pulled up to our site and Patty got out to guide me in.   After several moves and not understanding each other as always seemed to happen, I hit a camp light pole with the rear of the truck.  Of course I was mad and Patty was upset.  We should be able to do better than this!  Then I hit a tree with the roof of the RV!  I had said to Patty that I thought I was close to this tree so when I heard the crunch I knew what it was.  Of course one of the other campers came over to see what happened and to let me know the site was very tight.  I was mad at myself for not checking the tree and Patty was feeling upset that she didn’t see the tree getting close.  The good thing here was that the crunch sound was only tree bark and no damage to the RV J


The tree I hit is is in the upper left.

Tight site.

Here is the lesson learned about parking.   The DRIVER is responsible for the whole move!  No ifs ands or buts, period!  Have a “job meeting” for both of you to understand what you are going to do.  We would pull up to a site and I was just letting Patty try to guide me in without me even getting out to look at the layout.  Of course we couldn’t get it right; we didn’t have a “job meeting” to start the move so we would be on the same page.  So, we tried out our new plan before we left the site the next morning.  We were parked in a very hard to maneuver site.  We were in a pull through site with no room to pull out from the front.  We were going to need to back up in to the access road between the sites while threading the RV and truck between a tree to the right in the back and a tree to the left in the front (same tree we hit going in).  We walked the site discussing what we were going to try to do and how to do it.  After we discussed the plan we went about doing it.  Unbelievable, we made the move perfectly!  It was a complex move and we did it perfectly!
This “lessons learned” stuff is so great.  This is helping to make our relationship even more of a partnership.  This is a whole new adventure for us and, so far, it is making us stronger.  J J

Tomorrow we travel to Nebraska.

Stay tuned!

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