Hightailing from the hot!

We had been at my mother’s for about a week. We have helped her transition, actually Roxie did 90%+ of the work, to a life of recovery at home. We cleaned out her pantry, 4 hour job, but got rid of 80% of it. Went through her shoes and purses, put them on an organizer but only got rid of 10% of those. We decided we would leave in the mid to late evening so we could beat some of the heat, much like we did on the way over. We were able to tolerate the heat there with the 30amp connection and we got to test out our A/C units too!

We got out of Sun City West around 7:30. We weren’t quite sure of the goal for the night but we wanted somewhere cooler. Going back on I10 was not going to make ‘cool’ easy. I was thinking of possibly staying at the Flying J truck stop in Ehrenberg, AZ. We did so in our February trip to AZ. But February weather is much different that July! As we came into Quartzsite Roxie asked about staying at one of the BLM areas we have done so before. With further thought that seemed like a very good idea. My thinking was it was not going to be very crowded and it might be a bit cooler since there is no asphalt near.

We got to the Hi Jolly BLM site around 11pm and it was 93°. Better than Barstow on the way out at least. We could see another vehicle or two way in the distance but that was all that we saw. We didn’t go too far in, checked we were level and stopped. Put down the tongue jack a bit, set the truck parking brake, disconnected the umbilical and we were set. We turned on the fantastic fan, opened all the windows and let the breeze go. It did start cooling down but slowly. We didn’t much care as we were tired. I slept very soundly and I think Roxie did too.

Here we are in the AM:

2014-07-17 07.23.37

It started getting hot right away. Time to leave! We had a quick breakfast at Steaks and Cakes in Blythe and continued west. It wasn’t getting much cooler!

As we kept on trekking we came across Chiriaco Summit. Roxie wanted to look at the dry camping spots that they had behind the General Patton museum. We looked at the spots and it is nice to have such free spots for travellers. We also decided to stop and check out the General Patton museum itself. It is something that we always say we should do sometime so this was ‘sometime’. We found it to be a very interesting stop. Not just Patton memorabilia but all branches of the service. It shows a relief map of the area with all the camps that were in use for the summer training. Patton chose this area of California, Arizona and Nevada for training troops to fight in Africa. This was very good preparation for what they were going to encounter. If you remember another post, they used the Salton Sea for amphibious training and that is what introduced the barnacles to the Salton Sea. Time to stream Patton from Netflix.

Here are some shots. Something you don’t see every day, a propeller on a vehicle with wheels:

2014-07-17 11.22.50

Then a statue of the man himself:

2014-07-17 11.25.28

We got back in the Air Conditioned truck and headed down the hot road. We started looking for lunch around Indio but ended up eating at Ruby’s Diner in Cabazon as we did in an earlier trip. We filled up on diesel at Morongo and headed to our RV spot for the night. We had to be there by 6pm or we would be in the overflow area. We didn’t want to do that. The GPS said 2 hours but this was going through LA and we had 4 hours available. Did we make it, find out on the next entry…

Sailing the monsoons in the Airstream!

We have been sweltering over here in Arizona. It has been over 100 each day starting at 11am until 6pm. As mentioned in the previous entry we got hit with a huge thunderstorm in Kingman (they call them monsoons around here). To help alleviate some of the heat distress on the inside of the trailer I have had the awnings out whenever I can.

Yesterday the wind started picking up with dark clouds and thunder around 5pm. I decided to put in the awnings. This was a good decision because the wind picked up but it also really started raining hard! It flooded part of the streets around here but this whole neighborhood is designed to drain quickly and efficiently. We went out to get a bit to eat and when we got back the wind and rain had stopped. It only cooled it down about 5 degrees but took up the humidity drastically. I decided to put out the main awning again since I like it to block the morning sun.

Roxie and I have a running joke about me and the awning. She claims that I never put out the awning if there is a slight breeze. I do this proactively so I don’t have to be outside at 2am to take down the awning, which I have done!

We went out to the trailer at about 9:30 (my mom goes to bed early) and it was not windy or stormy so I opted to leave the awning up.

We were in bed looking at our various electronic devices and Roxie asked me if I felt the trailer moving. I told her it was probably because I had just moved in the bed. She said it felt like an earthquake. I told her that I don’t think they have too many earthquakes in the Phoenix area. We resumed our activities. Then *I* felt the movement. What was that. I looked out my window (streetside) and saw that it was very windy. We looked out Roxie’s window and saw the awning bouncing up and down. Uh oh! Here we go!

I shot out the front door in only my shorts, Roxie said it would have been good to video it but it would not have been good for the viewers. I started taking down the awning. Roxie stuck her head out of the door and I yelled at her to “Get back inside, do not come out!”.

If you are familiar with trailer awnings you can skip the next part. I will just explain some of the awning components and what they do. Here is a shot of part of the awing for reference:

AF17

Pay no attention to the back awning, that one was not an issue. On the large awning you will see a lower bar coming up at a 45 degree angle. These are the adjustable arms, front and back, support the weight of the awning and allows the awning to roll back to the trailer. The upper arm is adjustable also but its’s purpose to the hold the awning roll out where you want it to be and don’t allow it to retract until you remove the support arm.

OK. Back to the fun.

I had to first remove those upper arms to roll the awning back and the wind was whipping! Our awning is 22′ long and about 6′ deep which gives it 132′ square feet of wind area. I am not sure how big of a boat this would move but it sure is hard to hold it down! The wind was coming from the worst possible angle also, directly against the side of the trailer where the awning is.

Once I removed the upper support arm on the rear of the awning (pictured above) I worked my way down the the other arm in the front. At this time a gust came by, caught the sail and slammed the rearward awning arm against the trailer. This made the rearward part of the awning billow up higher than the roof. I thought I was going to lose the whole awning but I wasn’t going to give up!!

Roxie stuck her head out and asked about helping again. I yelled at her, again, told her to help this time. She came out and grabbed the frontward arm. I went to the back arm and got it extended back out. I then grabbed the awning strap in the center of the awning and held on tight! I had Roxie transition to the back arm and to lean into it. I removed the front top support arm and we waited until a lull in the wind.

We waited about 5 minutes before the first attempt. The first one almost worked but the wind was still billowing the material up where it would not quite roll up. We waited at least another 5 minutes before we tried again and this time it worked! Big sigh of relief!!

Time to secure it. Oh no! One of the anchors was in the wrong position. We had to pull the awning out again a bit, move the anchor over and then put it back. Great. I got Roxie a tool (our stabilizer jack crank) so she could reach it. We tried it and did it! Oops. Another problem. The upper support arm was now stuck behind the lower support arm. This one was easy though. Just a little wiggling.

We secured the big awning and the other awnings also. Just as we finished up the rain started in big drops. We got a bit wet but at least we saved the awning, as far as we knew.

We were treated to quite a light, wind and rain show into the evening.

The next morning I looked around at the aftermath. The awning poles looked like they were bowed when we were holding it but the appeared to be fine. But there were a few issues. When the rearward arm came slamming back to the trailer, it left a couple of marks:

dings

I have to keep telling myself that all these dings, etc. are just character added to the trailer and more stories to tell.

After the adrenaline wore off I slept very well and we dodged a serious bullet with the awning!