Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Ripped Our Awning Off and The Rule of Three

What's the "Rule of Three" anyway? (Part 1)

28 mph wind gust damaged our RV Pation Awning

Ah, full timing. living the good life, freedom of the open road, setting your own course, traveling at your own pace, learning how to take an RV patio awning apart in a wind and rain storm on an emergency basis with rain running down your sleeves and into your shorts, learning to use tools that aren't really meant to the job at hand to dismantle a twisted awning. Sounds perfect doesn't it?

When I was growing up my Dad always smiled when something went really wrong or when something broke and then he would say "Bad things always happen in threes, wonder what's next?"  After last weekend I truly understand that statement. 

Martha's last blog entry covered that we stayed in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi at the Silver Slipper Casino's RV Park.  We left there on Friday the 9th of November with the intent of heading toward Galveston Island State Park in Texas.

Bad Thing Number One

We were barely on the road for 20 minutes traveling north on Mississippi Highway 607 when we hit heavy rain and rather strong wind gusts coming from the east that started blasting the passenger side of the coach.

Since it was raining so heavily it became tough to drive, so I slowed to a safer speed of about 50 mph and shortly after we were hit by a really hard wind gust. As it hit us I heard a loud "pop" (think parachute popping open) and then the coach's handling got rather squirrely very quickly.  I was trying to figure out what was going on and glanced at mirror on the passenger side of the coach. What I saw was our 21' long 12' wide patio awning fully deployed and ripping itself apart.

I was already in the right lane with nobody behind me so I was able to brake hard and pull off the road onto the shoulder rather quickly.  When I got out of the coach this is what I was greeted with.

Not only was the canvas torn and shredding, the electric motor that retracts the awning was GONE!

After a full inspection of the damage and some googling by Martha on her cell phone of what others have done in this situation (we aren't the first, there's quite a bit of information out there), we came to the decision that the only thing to be done was remove the rest of the awning because the awning roller and canvas were shredded and the aluminum struts were all bent and twisted and some of them had their pivot points torn clear through the aluminum. Since we couldn't retract the awning and couldn't drive with it out, it had to come down. 

Bad Thing Number Two

When we arrived at the campground, we noticed that our tow dolly was missing a light!

There was a yellow LED marker light where this hole is now. I was pondering how this happened when I remembered the missing 12 volt awning motor. I don't know for sure, but I think that motor came off the awning and hit this light. What was really weird is that the screws that hold the light in place were also missing.  

Probable Sequence of Event - Maybe?

So, I think the events went as follows.  The wind gust broke the plastic housing and awning motor loose from the awning spool. It in turn went sailing into the tow dolly marker lite, then since the motor was gone the spool locking mechanism was also gone.  The awning's spool was effectively unlocked, allowing the spool to release under its own roll up spring and it rolled out and fully deployed.

Bad Thing Number Three

But wait, there's more. We spent the evening in an RV Park near Beaumont, Tx.  The morning we left for Galveston I had to dump grey water and much to my dismay the Rhino Flex sewer line burst when I pulled open the valve and emptied a considerable amount of the 47 gallon tank onto the already muddy ground before I could react and close the valve. What a mess.  It could have been worse. It may have been black water I had to dump. In retrospect I was lucky, I guess.

One thing is for sure, you get variety in your life when you full time.  


  1. As the old say goes "When it rains it Pours" sorry for your problems, glad you made it ok.

  2. Heya Bill, Dang it great to hear from you. Have you recovered from the shop fire yet?


Comments are encouraged. Please let us know how we are doing.

Our most recent blog

"Stick Em Up" - Old Tucson Studio and Theme Park

High Chapparral Ranch Set Admittedly I'm old. How old? Let's just say I hold the patent on dirt. I grew up in the 50's whe...