RV Camping: Hold Down the Fort

RV CampingWhenever my husband or I would leave our house, there was always the admonition to the other to “Hold Down the Fort”.

This past weekend we went RV camping at our favorite spot; this spot is an RV park with a cement drive-through pad, water, sewage, electrical, and cable hook-ups, a pool, and a McDonald’s within two miles.

RV Camping

After setting up camp, hooking up the air conditioner, hot-water heater, and pulling out the awning, my husband was off to Sears for some serious tool shopping. “Hold down the fort while I’m gone” – his parting words as he spun out of the parking lot.

Our five and nine-year-old were inside the RV. I was sitting at the picnic table reading. It was then that I noticed storm clouds gathering. I collected card tables, lawn chairs, assorted towels, roller skates, fans, and bicycles and stored them next to the trailer under the awning. Then the wind hit.

There’s a Storm Brewing

The awning on the RV began trying to imitate a Kansas twister as I frantically, in my best imitation of Dorothy looking for Toto, alternated from lowering first the left awning brace and then the right one. By the time I had gotten them down as far as I could, I was drenched and the awning was still trying to get to Oz.

The lightning was cracking overhead, so I decided not to touch the metal braces anymore. The wind was trying to flip the awning over the top of the RV. There was only one way to hold down the fort. Since I wasn’t strong enough to roll up the awning, I grabbed the flapping web strap and held on. For once I was glad that I was packing a few extra pounds and could keep the awning in place.

Because the awning was now six feet from the trailer door, at an angle, I couldn’t open the door. The children climbed up onto the kitchen counter from inside and were yelling at me through the window. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, so I just smiled through my dripping hair to reassure them as I continued to do battle with the awning.

Hold on With All Your Might

The wind was picking up. From my 4-H training in handling horses, I remembered that you were never to wrap the lead rope around your wrist in case the horse bolted, dragging you along with him. I could just imagine seeing a gust of wind ripping the awning off and sending me airborne along with it, through the trees.

I could  imagine the next days’ headlines “Senior Mom and Awning Seen Sailing Due North during Storm”. I quickly unwrapped the web strap from my wrist and looped it under my rear, using both hands to control the slack. I think I had seen this on a National Geographic Mt. Everest climb.

All the campsites and streets were now standing in six inches of water. The lightning was still cracking so I edged away from the aluminum picnic table, although I don’t think it would have mattered; I was ankle deep in water anyway. I stood there grinning like an idiot (the children were still looking through the kitchen blinds every five minutes) soaked and hanging onto a strap in a hurricane and wondering why no one was coming to help.

The Storm Ceased

After fifteen minutes the wind died down and it was just heavily raining. I tied the strap to the aluminum picnic table and waited for the rain to stop, still unable to raise the awning due to the continuing lightning.  After another twenty minutes the rain stopped. I untied the strap from the table and raised the awning back to its pre-storm position, set the chairs back out to dry, and went to put on dry clothes. A few minutes later my husband arrived back from Sears.

“Boy, that was some storm! I saw an awning flipped completely over an RV just down from us and another one was bent into two pieces. I was surprised ours was still in tact.”

I don’t know why he was surprised. I said I would hold down the fort…and I did.

Author: Jo Worsham

Edited by: CampTrip.com

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