Dear RV Shrink:
My wife and I travel in a small motorhome. It’s not like we are new at it, we have had this rig for eight years. We have taken it on many trips and we travel together well, until we have to park it. It’s a guaranteed argument. I’m blind in one eye and have no depth perception. I like to have her stand behind the motorhome to make sure I don’t hit anything. She’s always telling me what the front of the unit is doing. I can see that. I want to know what the back is doing. She never stands where I can see her in the mirror and she can never hear me. I tried to work out some hand signals but lately all I have been getting is the middle finger. If you could give us a few pointers on how to work together, without creating a scene at every campground we visit, I would be eternally grateful. –Backed Up in Boise
Dear Backed Up:
Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger. This is one of the oldest problems since Fred and Barney invented travel trailers. It’s very easy to lose your cool when you are trying to park your rig and it seems like your partner is not cooperating, but it takes two to tango. My first suggestion would be to have you amp up your backing skills and confidence. Find a large empty parking area and put out some markers, such as traffic cones. Practice makes perfect. A short rig is sometimes harder to backup than a longer rig. Yelling at your co-pilot in training is never going to make either of you happy campers. Try this therapy on your next outing. Every time you are about to blow your stack take three deep breaths, get out of your vehicle and calmly explain to your wife were you would like her to stand and what information you would like her to communicate to you.
Another suggestion would be to let her drive and you watch the back. She may have much more backing skill than you. Two eyes are better than one. If this does not work I would suggest you invest in a Recreational Vehicle Backup Camera. You can still go behind and watch, but with the camera your wife can be sure not to miss when she backs over you. —Keep Smilin’, RV Shrink
The RV Shrink is not really a psychologist. But he does knows a lot.