Four years ago we camped in Montana and I learned how close it was to Dorothy and Toto’s Kansas. We parked our 19-foot trailer in a clean, new RV Park. The Captain decided to do a reconnaissance trip while I settled in to catch up with my email.
“Perfect,” I thought, “I’m going to enjoy my little bit of alone time.” Twenty minutes later, disaster struck.
When we first arrived, the Captain put up the trailer awning. You would think he knew about raising sails…. I made the mistake of suggesting that this was not a good idea because northeastern Montana is prairie-like and the wind whistles unimpeded across the land. Of course, as soon as I said “Don’t,” he did. Why don’t I learn?
“If it’s too windy, I’ll take it down,” he’d said.
He left. I settled in, enjoying my laptop and connecting with friends by email. Moments later, the whole trailer began to shake. A big gust of wind buffeted it. Visions went through my head – the trailer with me inside, bouncing across the prairie like a giant vinyl tumbleweed. I pulled the curtains aside and looked out the window. The canvas was billowing high, and the aluminum support on one side had collapsed so the awning hung onto the trailer at an odd twisted angle.
More gusts. I had to do something or we might roll over. Outside, I stood wondering what to do. If I did the wrong thing, a big wind gust could rip the awning or the aluminum supports out of my hands and smash them into the trailer. One support was higher than the other. I tried to lower it one notch at a time by opening the lever and un-telescoping the support. You would think that was the sensible and easy thing to do, except that the pin that holds the telescoped part in place is no longer responding to the lever action when I try to release it. The pin is either broken off or hanging by a thread. I muscled the thing to push it up and used needle-nosed pliers to poke the metal pin back through the slots that held the support in place, but all it did was slide into the next slot down and the struggle began all over again. The old whiplash injury in my neck began to scream in pain at the effort and I had to give up for a while. More gusts of wind. I tried again. More neck pain. I gave up and resigned myself to becoming a tumbleweed.
What I had struggled with for two hours took him less than five minutes to fix.
“Huh!” he said, “I didn’t think it was going to be that windy.”
I was dying to say “I told you so,” but what would have been the point?