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The Adventure Begins: Our First Camper Story

Zinger Travel Trailer

March 31, 2021, marked a very important day for the Hutcheson family. We brought home our very first camper, a 2021 Crossroads Zinger 290KB. We finished the paperwork the week before, but were finally able to do our walk-through and pick up after the dealership had finalized the inspection and detail.

The dealership installed the weight distribution hitch during the pickup and we were ready to roll! However… this is our very first camper/RV of any sort. We had never even stayed one single night in one before, much less tow something this large. Plenty of research had been done – almost 2 full years of research, actually – so we knew our truck would handle our new Zinger. Needless to say we were excited and terrified all at the same time!

Driving Our Very First Camper Home

The drive from the dealership started out fairly nice. The truck was handling the camper very well and the fancy hitch was doing its job. Of course John and I were very nervous since this was our first camper and the fist time we had towed something that size or weight. Though, everything started out smoothly, as most things do… until we came to a road block. 

The way the road was marked it appeared that only one lane was blocked, so we thought. We soon found out that the entire road was closed just before a bridge with nothing but driveways on each side of the road. Small driveways at that.

The Unexpected U-Turn

A very nice gentleman drove by after seeing us sitting at the barricade for about 15 minutes trying to figure out what to do. He just happened to have a driveway and front yard that we could turn around in. 

John is driving the truck, AJ our son runs down to the driveway to confirm there is room for us to turn around, and I hop out to move the barricades. Remember how I said this was our first time towing a camper? Yeah, that came into play big time here. I’m at the tail end of the camper yelling to AJ, who is in the bed of the truck. AJ is relaying messages to John. After a good 15-point turn to get all the way around we were back on our way. 

Getting in The Driveway (Beware of Branches)

White-knuckling the steering wheel all the way home, we make it safe and sound. The next hurdle in our adventure? Getting the camper in the driveway. We had trimmed the branches around the end of the driveway, but soon found out that we needed to trim them back much further than we had. One of the cut branches scraped almost all the way down one side of the travel trailer as we pulled into the driveway. Yes, we were too chicken after our u-turn experience to try to back it in the driveway. Not only did the branch create a nice new scratch down the camper, but it also loosened a connection (the black tank flush input). So one of our next adventures will be our first repair.

What We Learned

While it was a bit scary, it was a pretty decent start to our adventures. We knew going into the camper-life that everything wasn’t going to be smooth sailing, but it was going to be memorable and worth it. Some of the biggest takeaways we have so far are: 

  • Check your roads ahead of time and if you aren’t sure about a road closure, go a different route. 
  • A backup camera can save you time and headaches. This would have made turning around much easier, even if it would have been a little less comical to talk about later.
  • If you think you are completely clear of the branches, check again and cut them back more… just in case. 
  • Things could always be worse. Working together will get you through tough situations. I was so proud of our little family working so well together to turn the truck and camper around. 

We ordered a GPS system that works well with campers/rvs and has a compatible backup camera that pairs with it. John and I have decided to camp out in the driveway with the kids until, at the very least, the backup camera and GPS system come. That way we will at least feel more comfortable about maneuvering the camper. Everything else, we will take it as it comes and worry about it then. For now, we will enjoy what we have!

Do you have an interesting first camper story? We’d love to hear it! Leave a comment below or contact us online here.

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