Friday, July 18, 2014

When The Awning Collapses...

Some folks we know, Ray and Cindy, Jim and Diane, were camped at Castle Rock, Washington this week. We diverted our own travel to join them at Toutle River RV Resort for a couple of days. Ray and Cindy sold their home last week and are going to give the full-time RV life a whirl. It was nice to visit with them and to extend our best wishes on their new lifestyle. Hope they enjoy it.

We stayed a total of three nights at Toutle River RVR and planned to pull out Tuesday morning.  Wayne busied himself doing outside chores while I showered.  As I emerged from the shower, I heard a loud bang and wondered what happened. I called out but Wayne did not answer.  Anytime that happens, I fear he might be injured and unable to respond. 

But Wayne didn't hear me. He was still outside, standing with our neighbor, Gene, talking and gazing at our coach's collapsed patio awning.  As he attempted to retract it, the roller arm gave out, breaking a metal piece off the roller cuff and subsequently, allowing the entire 16 foot awning to fall lifelessly onto the curbside slide.

The broken awning
We weren't sure whether to try to remove the entire awning apparatus, hardware and all, or try to roll it back onto the limp, broken metal roller bar.  I was sure we'd have to take it all apart and wouldn't have given any chance to getting that flap of canvas to wind onto that bar.

Ladder extended and put into place for a major operation.
The ladder did manage to cut his finger, causing lots and lots of blood....
Wayne disagreed with me and felt certain we were better off to try to wind the canvas, then strap it down with Duck Tape.  The new Little Giant ladder was pulled out and we began a sort of strange dance with the awning.  Fortunately, the campground was sparsely filled and so we had plenty of space to begin our "trial and error" routine.

Successful completion of rewinding the canvas onto the broken arm.
After just a couple of tries we got the awning rolled back onto the arm. Wayne stood on the ladder and assisted the electrical retract motor that I operated from the entry.  I could hardly believe it was rolling but it did -- and it stayed up.  Now what to do about that hydraulic arm -- outstretched and unwilling to cooperate.  After a few unsuccessful attempts, I pull downward on the apparatus, using the awning wand, while Wayne pushed it back toward the coach. 

Securing everything with Duck Tape. Lots of Duck Tape.
The final touch of at least a half roll of Duck Tape secured the broken awning to the coach. We were about 150 miles north of Coburg / Junction City; too far to turn back.

The finished project.  The touch of blue Duck Tape is my contribution.
It took, in total, about two hours to wrap up the collapsed awning, apply all our duck tape and finish preparing the coach for travel.  We pulled away sometime after 11 a.m. heading north on Interstate 5.

More on the repair developments will be posted as they occur.


  1. Seems like there is always something. I hate having to duct tape my coach but have been there.

  2. my side awning came apart in Death Valley two years ago (65 MPH wind) and I used grey duck tape to keep the clamshell closed until a repair could be done one month later. I never could get the tape off cleanly and to this day it is still there. I used mineral oil, acetone, gue off all to no avail. What did work well was to cover all the grey tape with black have to look very close to tell the black clamshell from the back duck tape.