Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My wife is mad, I'm sad, the dog is glad. Let me explain. We had the dog tied to the awning support. My wife walked several sites over to talk to another couple.
It was a breezy morning and the awning was making some noise, but nothing too serious. Before my wife left she said we should roll it up, but I pooh-poohed the idea saying, "It's fine!"
Well, we must have had a microburst of wind, because we heard the dog yelp, metal crinkle, plastic crack and neighbors screaming. In the blink of an eye, the awning blew over the motorhome. It snapped the dog leash, broke the TV antenna, cracked two ceiling vent covers, and trashed a thousand dollar awning.
The dog was traumatized. He looked at me like, "I swear I didn't do a thing. I was just lying here sleeping!"
I was conveying the same thing to my wife, but she wasn't buying it. I have been getting the hot tongue and cold shoulder ever since.
Is it my fault? Shouldn't these things be engineered to take a wind blast? Should I have to roll it up every time I think there might be a wind event?
My wife says we shouldn't even replace it. I think it comes in handy on occasion. Will this scare me for life? Will I always be gun-shy about deploying my awning?
Please tell me there is therapy for a guy and his dog who were just trying to enjoy an afternoon siesta.
--Bob and Goober in "The Doghouse"
Dear Bob and Goober:
Bad things happen to good people and dogs. You have to let it go, move on, and learn from your experiences. You have learned some valuable lessons in this one event. First, always listen to your wife. Second, never second-guess an RV awning. Third, get a sturdier leash and a heavier dog.
Seriously, you cannot fight Mother Nature. Physics teaches us just how powerful wind in a sail can be. Your RV awning is basically a horizontal sail. You can tie them down, stake them down, even hold them down, but the right wind will still rip them apart.
Everyone has their own threshold of caution. I personally would not go to the store for an hour without putting the awning up. I have seen too many of them destroyed by just what you describe. The roll-up procedure takes about two minutes on a manual awning and thirty seconds on the new automatic models.
No matter how careful you are, a micro-burst like you experienced can catch anyone off-guard. Your insurance should replace it. Maybe you can upgrade to the newest awning technology while you are at it. That way you, your wife and Goober can be trained on the newest awning operations. It helps when the chain of command can reach the lowest rank. With a new automatic awning you should be able to blame it on Goober next time.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink