August 16, 2016
Well, I hope I have my major beginner mistakes out of the way now. We thought that we were already to go on our first RV trip Friday morning. Then I remembered that I was plugged into house power in the garage. Terrific storm earlier that day knocked out our electricity for 3 hours. The problem then was that my fat shore power cord was trapped under the garage door. I went inside, into the garage, releasing the garage door opener latch, then pulling the heavy door up a foot while my wife pulled the power cord out from the other side.
I picked up the last few items from the kitchen table, then went back outside and climbed into the truck where my wife sat waiting for our departure. We gave each other a nervous look, then pulled out of the driveway. There was a little looseness, a little jerkiness when we pulled away. It made my wife nervous but I told her it didn’t feel any different than when I pulled it 120 miles home the previous Sunday. As we drove down our block, I concentrated on the noise trying to identify it. Then for some reason I thought of the power cord and asked if my wife had stowed it? No, she replied, she didn’t know how but intended to ask me when I came out of the house. I stopped in the middle of the street – it’s a quiet neighborhood. Sure enough there was my power cord trailing behind us. I removed the $15 20 amp adapter, still in one piece. The rubber on the male end had some serious road rash. I rubbed the black rubber detritus off with my finger and put the cord back to bed.
There was still quite a bit of looseness in the back end of the truck, noticeably worse in city traffic with all the stops and starts. This did nothing to calm my wife’s nerves. She was seriously starting to question the whole idea of RV camping. Once on the highway the problem seemed to disappear. Nonetheless I stopped at the first rest area and did a walk-around. Everything seemed intact. I pulled up on the coupler since that is where the looseness seemed to be coming from. It didn’t budge a millimeter. I thought it just might be the looseness of the tongue in the truck hitch. So back on the highway and no more sounds. No more until we got on the state highway for the short trip to the state park. Again the looseness, only looser still, and more noisy. My wife was ever so glad when we finally parked the rig in our shaded camping spot.
At midnight I was still laying awake, trying to get used to our new rather hot memory-foam mattress overlay, and thinking about that noise. On my boat trailers I could adjust the tightness of the coupler on the hitch ball by tightening a bolt on the bottom of the lock-down latch. But on this rig the underside of the coupler was welded closed. In the morning I watched for fellow RVers at nearby sites, having heard that there was something of a fraternity among RVers. I went over and introduced myself to our neighbor, stating this was our first trip in our first camper and i was skinny on towing experience. So he came over to have a look. He shook his head, then asked what size ball I was using. “2 inch” I replied, just what the previous owner had told me so that is what I bought. His rig wasn’t much bigger than mine and he said it came with a 2 5/16″. Really? He brought his drop hitch over. The 2 5/16″ ball fit snugly as you please in my coupler.
So I had driven 120 miles from northern Indiana to Indy, then 135 miles to southern Indiana with only the 380′ tongue weight keeping my 2 5/16″ coupler on my 2″ ball! The 390 lbs was the reason I couldn’t budge the assembly by hand. My wife had a right to be anxious! We did remember to hook the chains. Otherwise we could have been dealing with a runaway Retro! (The breakaway seems to be missing too). Bad things come in threes. I went to the Walmart in Corydon, picked up the correct hitch ball. Back at the campsite, I stooped to install it, only to discover that the large nut on the original hitchball was nearly at the bottom of the threaded shaft. The whole assembly wobbled spectacularly in its hole. No wonder we experienced the loudest, loosest jolt when we pulled up the the gatehouse at the park.
On the way home the rig tracked noiselessly and smoothly. My wife could relax. Except for temperature and humidity both in the 90’s, our three day RV baptism was very enjoyable. We hadn’t made a huge mistake in buying a travel trailer without ever experiencing that before, without even knowing if we both would like it. We did, very much. Can’t wait for the next trip. I know that we are still in a learning curve. I just hope that risking our lovely Retro careening past my truck on the downward slope of a southern Indiana hill will be the biggest rookie mistake we make.
June 25, 2016
Your not alone with that experience I made the same mistake towing with a smaller ball. It makes a huge difference stepping up to the full 2″ 5/16 ball! I know the coupler has the adjustment plate on the inside that will squeeze against the ball so I don’t think you were in any danger but yes it does make a lot of noise and for anyone else reading this threat make sure you get the full 2″ 5/16 ball for your White Water Retro. Do you have a generator yet to run the A/C in your retro? I did a review on a generator here https://whitewaterretro.com/for…..-lighting/ its been working great.
June 29, 2016
September 22, 2016
I bought a 2016 retro 177se from private party who never used it and had been in covered storage for 10 months. We pulled it home in July 2016 with a 2 inch ball(did not realize until last weekend). I bought a Andersen WDH and put all together and pulled it out onto the street. One last check around and my son says, “Something looks wrong with the hitch.” It was not sitting right, that is when he realized we had the wrong ball size. Bummed to take the hitch off and put on the one the original guy bought (correct size). Anyway it still pulled fine, but now I have the new ball size and can’t wait to see how different it tows. I also purchased 2 champion 2000 generators for 550.00 a piece for 4000 w. Son is taking it out this weekend to see how it all works out.
June 25, 2016
Welcome to the forums Amber,
It will be a lot less clunky pulling it with the bigger ball. You will notice a difference with that. Sounds like you have plenty of power to run your 177Se White Water Retro. I’m using a single 2000 watt generator and can power everything in my 181B White Water Retro. Now of course I can’t power everything at once but I can make it work for my needs.
September 22, 2016
I have not heard from my son since yesterday at 7pm, most likely no cell service. He did say the pull was good and the wind caught it a couple of times, no biggie. I probably did over buy on the generator, but sometimes that is what I do. I am looking forward to pulling it myself in October to Nephi Utah. It will be about 11 hours from where I am. I found this forum from a podcast called Girl Camper. Love her podcasts.
June 25, 2016
Having a extra generator will be nice! You can power whatever you want plus some. Thats great to hear about Girl Camper sharing our website. We are still pretty new, but are gaining new users everyday. I actually own a web development company so once we gain a little more traction with our user base I will spend more time developing and cleaning up these forums. I built these forums in about a day not exactly my best work but they are doing their job for now. I’m always open to input as well.
September 22, 2016
September 24, 2016
Glad you had fun and were safe. We seam to be planning the next trip on our way home!! However, it’s time to winterize and cover for the season. Going to Hawaii in December for 2 weeks…
Love our 177se. Just right. Doing a few small projects this winter. Decided to sleep out in the driveway tonite! May have to run the heater.
What is your tow rig? Did you get any swaying?
June 25, 2016
I finally pulled my trailer to Utah, 600 miles one way. Although I was nervous at first but it all came along just fine. It was cold, Nephi was having a cold spell and windy. It was fun at night in the wind and the heater worked fantastic. Can’t wait to go again some where.
Good to hear everything worked out. You should come down to southern Utah with your Retro. Its still very warm down here we are having 80 degree days and 60 degree nights.
April 23, 2017
You aren’t alone with rookie mistakes. Our first time out, we arrived after dark. The entire trip was a comedy of errors that best described in Night Rider
February 4, 2018
That was amusing to read, I mean that in a good way
We all make mistakes. I once drove nearly 60 miles on state highways and freeways without the trailer cord plugged into my truck. I was wondering why the truck “message center” didn’t recognize that the trailer was attached. Silly me. Luckily, trailers without working lights are not uncommon in my part of Texas, and nobody on the road with me got angry or anything. Another time I was trying to detach, after moving all day, and I was tired. I unhitched everything but the safety chains. Truck, trailer, and myself all got a startling jerk when I tried to pull away from the trailer. A new neighbor in my new RV-hood saw me do this and called out to me (loudly) that my chains where still attached to the truck.
Hopefully my days of making newbie mistakes are over, but who knows…
March 3, 2017
Oh boy. What a great thread and topic. The biggest mistake I made was not closing my awning during one of our first trips. We were camping in Myles Standish State Park out on Cape Cod. A pretty big storm rolled in in the middle of the night with some heavy rain and wind. I panicked when remembering the awning was out. I had spent some time practicing opening and closing the awning a few weeks earlier but I stilled lacked having the process completely down. Anyways, I didn’t do a great job with it in the dark rainy, windy night while half asleep. What really woke me up was my right thumb becoming intimately familiar with the arms of the awning clamping down on it. I swear I can still feel my thumb throbbing when I think back on it. To this day the nail, which eventually fell off, has never quite looked right since growing back. The little slide piece on the awning arm that slides along the track on the awning as it extends broke in half due my thumb being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The lesson learned has been valuable: Since this event, I am very careful with taking care of everything (awning included) prior to turning in for the night. I also make every effort to get to wherever we plan to camp (we do a lot of boondocking) during the daylight hours to ensure we can get things right with our set up.
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