Thursday, November 3, 2011
Don't Leave Home Without It
The most used “gadget” on our motor home is the awning. How can anyone go RVing without one? Depending on the direction we’re parked, one side of our rig always stays shady.
Awnings are handy for hanging things, too. People tend to use it to hang ornamental lights, wind chimes and other decorations from it. I used to do that until one night in Mitchell, South Dakota. It was around two a.m., when the sound of the awning bouncing up and down woke me out of a deep sleep. I waited to see if it was a “jump out of bed quick” sound because, after all, Mike had spiked it into the ground. Another hard shudder and I knew it was a husband-waking worthy moment. On our way out, to save the awning, lucky for me, my son-in-law, who was along this trip, woke up and took my place in the awning brigade; I got to stay inside. Since this spot was a one-night stand, I hadn’t put our lights or any other decorations out but it still took them awhile to get it safely secured. After fighting the wind for awhile, they were finally able to roll it up. The guys looked around before they came back in and felt bad for the tent campers who were trying to sleep with their tents flat against their faces. After that night, I don’t hang a lot from our awning.
Another time, as we checked into an RV park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a couple pulled in with their awning hanging down from the side of their trailer. Their story - the winds picked up speed as they drove along the 40 and blew their awning so hard it extended itself out. Before they could get their rig pulled over, it had ripped partly away. I felt bad for them but got to experience it for myself on another trip as we headed up the 5 to visit my folks. My husband suddenly veered to the side of the road. When I asked what was wrong, he told me to look in my side-view mirror - our awning was flapped out, waving at passing traffic. We pulled over, jumped out and tried to get the awning to roll back into its cylinder but the wind kept catching it. Mike jumped back in the motor home while I walked beside it holding on to the awning trying to keep it from getting damaged. Mike pulled up onto the side of the road so he could park it out of the way of traffic but still use it as a wind block - scary. That maneuver enabled us to roll the awning back up and drive to the nearest Camping World, which actually wasn’t too much farther, where we bought an awning lock - don’t leave home without it!
Then there was the time we were parked at a casino RV park. On our walk the evening before, we had noticed a couple of rigs with torn and ripped awnings. We figured the owners had been having too much fun gambling and hadn’t noticed the wind’s increase in velocity. This time, we hadn’t used our awning because of a bad storm but it still got wet. Once the rain passed and the sun came out, we decided to unwind the awning and let it dry out a little. Since we were sitting right there in our chairs, enjoying the sun and weren’t going to leave it out too long, we didn’t bother with the de-flappers or to stake and anchor the awning. We were just watching the clouds go by, when I noticed how fast they were moving and said, “Mike, I think we should put the awning away.” He looked up at the sky and then at me and said, “I think it’ll be all right for a little while longer. The awning really needs to dry out.” At that very moment, it was like two, large invisible hands reached down from heaven, lifted the awning up and pushed the opposite ends up into a V-shape. This emancipated the awning and slammed the now free flying arms into the motor home before the whole thing flew up and landed on the roof! Our jaws dropped and we just stared. It had happened so fast, neither one of us even moved out of the way, so I was glad none of the free-flying aluminum had headed our way. Some of our camping neighbors came over to assist and Mike was able to get all the pieces off the top of the motor home and in a nice pile.
So, an awning is a necessity in my opinion but it can add excitement to your trip!