Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Shady Person and A Sunny Life

kings mountain state park in south carolina with a 28 foot 1994 tioga montara fleetwood rv class c motorhome
A sultry hot day in July, evidenced by the shade, the rocker, the outdoor fan and a straw hat for strolling. Matter of fact, the white wash cloth on the red chair was being used to mop up sweat from my brow. I love the outdoors, even when hot, but nothing wrong with a few comforts either. Shown in back is my open door, but in reality, I have covered the screen door with clear plexiglass on a permanent fix. This enables me to run heat or air conditioning inside while enjoying a sunny view from the new door. I had to beef up the trim insulation to get a snug fit. Without this improvement, I would have to close the main door and only have the tiny window for natural daylight.

I'm a shady person who craves a sunny life.

The above picture is from July 2015 when I camped at Kings Mountain State Park on the North Carolina and South Carolina border. I've always said my RV was a tree hugger. In this case, the trees appear to be supporting our awning. Indeed the left tree is barely 3 inches from the awning frame and the right one is 2 inches away. But by golly, we got that awning up and out!

About that water bag.

I bought two identical collapsible water bags from Amazon. Each is 10 liters or 10.5 quarts. When full, 10 liters of water weighs about 22 pounds.

In high winds, my awning has been known to take flight, damaging the frame and struts. Sometimes there just isn't enough time to collapse the awning before a gust of wind tries to rip it away. One day while out hiking around a campground, I noticed a motorhome camper sitting under his awning with water jugs attached. They were not touching the ground, but suspended by a rope from the awning frame. I struck up a conversation with the occupant who explained that since he started doing this method, he had no trouble with his awning taking flight on windy days.

I don't buy any bottled water, because I use a Berkey purifier for my drinking and cooking needs (absolutely the best drinking water ever!). So initially when I finished off a bottle of bleach and a bottle of laundry soap, I filled these with water to weigh down the awning but each one was barely a half gallon (4 pounds) and windier days needed more weight. Soon I had multiple bottles of recycled garbage with water inside suspended. It worked but looked like I was dangling my garbage. Also, there was a problem with storage of same when I packed up camp.

My motorhome is tiny and the basement storage is minimal. Add to that I have too many tools, assorted chairs and squeezing in garbage bottles full of water was a bit problematic. Since we were planning to camp at some Federal parks that didn't offer up the convenience of campsite water spigots but rather public spigots, I decided to buy these collapsible water bags.

They worked great at the waterless campsites, we could haul over extra water if our tank ran dry. On the other hand, we could hang them from the awning to prevent wind damage. When packing up camp, I just find a needy bush or tree, spill out the water for nourishment of same, then pack the now flattened jugs.


I love it when a plan comes together. I just wish the water bags were clear instead of blue, but what the heck, it works. In most cases, I only need fill the water bags about half full to achieve awning insurance.

Give a goofy person a problem and they come up with a doable solution.

Many folks stake their awning with straps and jumbo screws twisted into the ground. I tried that method previously and discovered getting those jumbo screws back out of the ground was way too difficult for me. I regifted the scews, since I no longer use them. Ironically, they had been gifted to me from a hoarder in a campground who liked to hand out his excess.

That's another story... years back when I was new at this and living on a frighteningly tiny budget, I met a delightful couple that worked part time in an RV park where they lived fulltime. The husband did part time handy man work. Matter of fact, I was traveling with a brand new kitchen faucet that had defeated my installation skills. He installed it for a pittance then brought his wife over for me to meet.

Harley dog had been adopted just a week or two earlier and they were having a grand time with my puppy. Matter of fact, I had to be gone 3 days in a row for 8 hours each day and I was looking for puppy day care since at that young age, he couldn't control his bladder for more than a scant few hours. The couple happily begged me to let them keep him while I was gone. They refused all payment, but I bought them a half bushel of fresh peaches I found one day in my commute. Turns out they love peaches, so all was well.

Harley spent three days camping at their trailer and in the afternoons, I rushed over to collect my baby and visit with the eccentric couple. Mind you they had birds, cats and dogs of their own living in their tiny home, so one more puppy just seemed like more fun to them.

They decided I was living quite frugally and sought to load me up with useful gifts. They had this campsite that looked like an RV store explosion. Turns out they were avid dumpster divers and they had amassed quite a lot of camping supplies.  Next thing I knew, they were loading up a wheel barrel with with all sorts of useful things, a water hose, a sewer hose, the tie down screws, straps, ropes and so on. Whatever space was left in my basement, they filled it up with used useful RV goodies.

Ironically, I've never made it back to that RV park, but I think of that week in great fondness, the special friendship and the huge amount of help they offered this newbie.

Life is goof.

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Life is goof!