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Midwestern Heat to Test the Air Conditioners and Rain for the Awnings

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The thermometer was within striking distance of 100 degrees for the last week here in Missouri. During the day the air conditioners ran almost continuously even with our sun screens on all our windows. Since we are full timers we had sun screens custom made for all our windows. Motor Coach Designs took the measurements over the phone and we had them installed at the Monaco International Rally before the FMCA Convention in Redmond, Oregon in 2004. We don't use them all the time but if the weather is really hot or if we are parked in warm weather for a longer time, I'll put them on the motor home. They make a real difference. At our winter retreat in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, we have them on all winter long.

Where we are now in my daughter's driveway, we have nice shade in the morning but the afternoon sun shines directly on our front window followed by late afternoon sun on the passenger side of the coach. Awnings provide a little relief as well and we use them on the windows that have them. Last year I installed one over the living room window on the passenger side. Normally this window would be covered by the large awning but that awning is a Carefree of Colorado Mirage Awning. It is a very convenient power awning but can't stand the wind. Our winter residence in Texas regularly has winds greater than the 12 MPH limit for the awning. As a result there are many days when the awning can't be out. I finally broke down and installed the smaller window awning under the large awning. It has been worth the expense.

Now I have a confession to make. I recently had the large Mirage awning out late one evening to keep the afternoon sun off the side of the coach and out of my eyes as it peeked under the side of the window awning. After the sun set, I thought about it several times but was never up and moving around when the thought crossed my mind. So that night we went to bed with the awning out. I awoke at 3:00 a.m. to a loud crash. During the night a rain shower had come through. Water doesn't drain off the Mirage Awning, it pools on the awning. Carefree has a wind sensor for this awning but it doesn't have a rain sensor. I had several incidents before where small showers pooled water on the awning and I was always amazed that the arms supporting the awning held the weight of the water. This time, there was too much rain and the awning collapsed. One arm was bent almost to the ground. Another was bent slightly and the one by the front door was sticking out straight, right through the canvas that had ripped almost all the way to the door. I was able to bring the awning in to secure it out of the wind which was now blowing strong enough to make it flap. Where was the wind before the storm? It could have saved my dignity.

I called our insurance company, GMAC, and confessed that I had failed to close the awning. They took the information and asked for an estimate on the repairs. They would cut the check as soon as they had the estimate. We have never had an argument from GMAC about paying a claim. So I'm off to Freedom RV in Wentzville for some repair work. I downloaded the service manual for the awning from the Carefree web site and set out to disassemble the arms and canvas so I could drive to the shop. I took the motor home in for an estimate on Thursday the 18th, parts were ordered on Friday and shipped from Carefree the following Friday. As soon as they arrive, we'll get in to have the work done and then we'll set out for Monaco International and FMCA in Ohio. The week ahead looks a little cooler so that is a break and the awning repair won't necessitate any painting. All the painted parts of the awning survived without damage as did the side of the coach. It should be a one day job. Lucky me!

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