Trailer Life

St Augustine to Florida City – First Time Backing In To A Campsite

Monday morning around 8:15am…

After saying a few goodbyes to neighbor’s who happened to be outside… I left Stagecoach RV Park in St Augustine FL.

Six hours later, I arrived at Southern Comfort RV Resort in Florida City FL.

Arriving At Southern Comfort RV Resort

At the office, I pay for my monthly campsite. The friendly staff tell me my campsite number and hand me the usual packet of information.

Most campgrounds provide an info sheet with the campground map and rules (not all campgrounds have the same rules). Some info sheets also include local restaurants, coupons and area attractions.

I walk back to the van and trailer… all-the-while trying to motivate myself because this will be my very first time backing the trailer in to an actual campsite.

At My Campsite

I pull up to my campsite.

Hmm…. the campsite directly across from mine is empty.

When I practiced backing up in empty parking lots I could back straight across the entire lot with no problem. So, theoretically, I should be able to pull in to the empty campsite, make sure my van and trailer are lined up and back straight in to my campsite… boom!

Before backing in, I inspect my campsite to make sure it’s clear and to see where the water, sewer and electric are located.

My campsite also has a cement patio with a picnic table.

All I need to do is back in between the patio (on the passenger side) and the water/sewer/electric (on the driver side).

There’s plenty of room!

About The Back Up Cameras

The trailer has 3 cameras that can be used while driving or backing up.

Camera 1

Camera 1 is on the back of the trailer and shows a wide angle view of what’s behind the trailer.

Showing the camera on the back of the Jayco travel trailer.

Camera 2

This 2nd camera is on the driver side of the trailer and shows what’s on the driver side.

Showing the camera on the driver side of the Jayco travel trailer.

Camera 3

This 3rd camera is on the passenger side of the trailer and shows what’s on the passenger side.

Showing the camera on the passenger side of the Jayco travel trailer.

The Monitor

To view what the cameras see, there’s a monitor that plugs in to the 12volt port of the van. The monitor sits on my unused, middle cup holder (because that’s where I like it).

Using The Cameras

The cameras can be used based on the User’s preference.

I use Camera 1 when towing the trailer to see what’s behind me while driving. In addition to my side-view mirrors, this camera is helpful when I’m changing lanes.

When backing up, the monitor can be set to show all 3 cameras at once. This allows me to see what’s in back and on the sides.

When all 3 cameras are selected, Camera 1 also shows lines to use as a guide when backing up. The lines (supposedly) help you see if you’re on target or going to hit something.

Now back to the story…

Several Minutes Later

After multiple back and forth attempts at trying to back the trailer in a stupid simple straight line… I admitted defeat.

This should have been easy!!!

I turned the van off, got out and started looking for someone to help.

Across the road, a lady is puttering around her campsite. I wander over and let her know I’m looking for someone who can help me back in to my site.

She said she can only do pull thru and wouldn’t be much help.

The campground has pull thru sites. I tried to reserve a pull thru site but there were none available for the timeframe I was going to be here.

Pointing to a campsite kitty-corner to hers, the lady said there are a bunch of guys at the campsite with the yellow car.

I thank her and wander over to the yellow car where another lady is outside puttering around her campsite.

After briefly telling her my woes, she told me her boyfriend is gone but she has a friend who would be able to help.

She and I walk to the back of the campground and talk to a guy whom (I think) she called Mikey.

Mikey To The Rescue!

I open the driver’s door of the van – a little reluctant to get in. Before I utter a word, Mikey asks if I’d like him to back it in.

I could have used more practice with a helpful guide like Mikey but, at this point, I was too tired to care.

With a smile, I hand Mikey the keys as he hops in the van.

As Mikey backs up, the other lady watches the passenger side and I watch the driver side.

Mikey backed in with no problem.

Mikey hands me the keys and offers to help me set up camp. I thanked him and said I’ve got it from here!

Nikki Comes For A Visit

Nikki works until 7pm but she texted asking if it was ok to stop in after work. She wasn’t sure if I’d be too tired but a Momma is never too tired to see her baby girl!

Before stopping in, Nikki stops at Publix to grab us some food. I hadn’t eaten yet that day.

We hang out in the trailer until almost 10pm when Nikki needed to pick Misael (her boyfriend) up from work.

Shortly after Nikki leaves… it’s time for bed. I’m plum tuckered out!

Switching To The New Rules Of The Road

Now that I’m back in south Florida it’s time to switch to south Florida mode where the rules of driving are a little different than what I’m used to:

  • The millisecond the traffic light turns green, at least one person lays on the horn because the people in front aren’t moving fast enough.
  • It’s rare that people pull over for emergency vehicles with flashing lights.
  • The few (like me) who stop or pull over for emergency vehicles get honked at, hollered at and/or given the one finger salute.
  • It’s not unthinkable for someone to pass you on the left when you put your blinker on to turn left.
  • Someone could pass you when you stop for a stop sign.
  • No passing zone signs and lines seem to be for decorative purposes only.
  • While driving on the Ronald Reagan Turnpike there’s a point where you enter a portal and suddenly find yourself on a race track where (some) people drive at race track speeds, weaving in and out of traffic and/or pulling in front of you with only inches to spare because they’re trying to squeeze between you and the person driving just ahead of you in the other lane.

On the Turnpike there’s always someone being being pulled over by Police. For Police safety, there are always 2 or more Police cars when someone is pulled over.

The school zone speed limit here is 15mph. I’m used to 20mph which makes 15mph feels like snail speed.

With all the driving craziness, the ironic (but good) thing is everyone slows down for the school zones.

Parting Thoughts

I normally don’t like to drive more than 3 hours a day. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I made these reservations (many months ago) but a 6 hour drive makes for a long day.

I was thankful to see Nikki, share a meal and give her a hug.

As for backing the trailer…

I’ve practiced, I’m slow and have to seriously think it through but I can get the trailer to go the direction I want.

The problem arises when I try to make the van move with the trailer. That’s the point when things can get wonky.

I’ll just keep practicing.

You're allowed to scream. You're allowed to cry. But don't ever give up.


2 thoughts on “St Augustine to Florida City – First Time Backing In To A Campsite

  1. That was a long drive day! My limit is 4hr with a good break at 2. I give you a lot of credit with even trying to back up with the trailer I can’t even back up without one. Really never learned to back up when I had the little trailer and I always needed help to back into the driveway with the class c. Have to say though my driveway is horrible.
    How wonderful for Nikki to stop by and bring dinner for you both to catch up.
    Love the driving rules haha that sounds like here in the winter.
    Enjoy your stay!


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