Adventures of the Golden Snail

Moving is no big deal, right? Um, no! There’s a lot that goes into a RV relocation. You have to lift the motorhome jacks, close the slides, retract the canopy, take down the flags, and you need to secure EVERYTHING inside the motorhome so you do not have a disaster to clean up once the move has been completed. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, that was not the case on MY moving day. I struggle with daily, ongoing, pervasive fatigue that is exacerbated by stress. Guess what? This was a very stressful feat. So, I had to get up especially early to give myself plenty of time to achieve all the duties and to take ample breaks in between each accomplishment.

It was the middle of the week so there were very few campers around. I woke up, and started putting our belongings away inside the coach while being as quiet as possible. On that special day, Champlin just happened to be sleeping in later. Once finished inside, I moved outdoors and took down the flags quite easily. The next task was retracting the 20’ awning attached to the passenger side of the coach. Easy enough to achieve, but not on that day!

In the middle of the shade is a small black strap that you hook to a metal pole so you can hold the canopy in place when the toggle is switched. Holding the strap is critical because, if you do not, the awning will go quickly crashing into the RV. The tie needs to be held in the middle of the sunshade or it will disappear when the awning is rolled up; and to make things fun, the toggle to release it is 10 feet away from the canopy center point. So, I carefully hooked the metal bar into place and pointlessly stretched to reach the “magic button:. My Elastagirl prowess would have proved quite helpful at that moment. Nevertheless, my approach was not successful.

So I thought, “It’s okay; I will be able to move quickly and get to the center point once I flip the toggle” Well, that thought completely failed. There I was stuck, holding the bar, and I was slowly and regrettably releasing the canopy into the “abyss of what lies underneath” the awning cover. NOTE: You cannot reach the toggle to change the direction from retract to expand until the awning is either fully closed or fully open—depending on what you are trying to achieve.

So, I had no choice at that point. I had to watch the precious piece of black fabric disappear from my sight. There I was desperately holding onto the flimsy metal bar. What was I going to do? Well, I knew I could not let go or I would never get the awning open again. At least, those were the irrational thoughts I was having at that moment. So, I started banging as hard as I could on the motorhome so Champlin could come and rescue me from my poorly chosen method. To my utter disappointment, that boy could not hear a thing. Keith and I made sure to buy a coach that provided more than adequate sound protection.

I started to hopelessly look around and see if there was anyone watching or anyone I could yell for to rescue me from my awkward predicament. There was not a soul in sight! I felt like Rose from the Titanic as she was lying freezing to death on the wooden headboard while floating above the icy Atlantic water as she quietly yelled, “Help, help…..” I was completely alone; and from my perspective, I was a complete and total failure. But, never mind that, I would not lose.

I was determined that this challenge would be overcome so I decided to make the best of it. I let go of the useless metal bar and started laughing. If only someone had been recording this hysterical sight; I think it would have gone viral. To top it off, I was exhausted and needed to rest. As I sat there, I laughed and laughed and laughed, but I put my thinking cap on immediately. How was I going to flip the switch so I could try and extend the canopy?

Finally, I knew what to do! I was too short to change the setting on the awning that was now retracted to the top of the RV—a daunting 12’ overhead. Nothing could reach the switch…not the metal bar, a broom, or any size stick. So, I brilliantly decided to move the HEAVY metal picnic bench that was about 10 feet away. You know the ones I am talking about, right? They’re made of solid steel and take the strength of Conan to move.

It was still early in the morning, and people were sleeping or so I thought. I often wonder if there were onlookers laughing hysterically inside their campers, but they were too ashamed to come and help in fear of not being able to withhold their amusement from me. But never mind that, I moved the bench so I could stand on top of it and flip that darn switch. Every few minutes, I had to break and gain my strength as I tire easily. However, once the picnic bench was finally moved, I was still unable to flip the toggle. I stood atop the bench desperately pressing against the button saying, “Just move….please move.” I begged for my awning’s compliance. ……I failed again. After a much-needed, long break, I knew I had to go on top of the RV as you can reach the switch from the rooftop. I had never been on the roof of our girl, and I was not looking forward to doing that one bit.

I cautiously climbed up the coach’s backside ladder and tentatively headed for the awning 25 feet away over the obstacle-laden roof. (plumbing vents, air conditioner units, and bath vent covers to trip the unwary or unsteady) I walked carefully, but I made it to the “magic switch”. Once released, I had to open the canopy about 10 inches to free the hidden black strap from its imprisonment without falling over the coach side onto the hard ground below. Because I could not see where the fabric disappeared, I went up and down the ladder three painstaking times before I was able to open the awning enough to gain access to that precious and powerful black band. I finally did it!

I went back down the ladder and rested up before fully extending the canopy. Once drawn out, I had to again switch the toggle and hold the black strap at the awning’s middle so it would retract appropriately. Champlin was still not awake! I think it was close to 11 am. What was I to do?When I dig my heels in, I can be quite resourceful and never think any task is too hard to conquer. I looked around and saw a heavy metal pole the campground had installed on the site that was used to hold overhead lanterns. Brilliantly (yes, I am giving my self a lot of credit here), I decided to get Kiki’s six foot leash and attached it to the pole which I could then attach to black strap. Then, I flipped the switch. The awning released and locked. I grabbed the metal pole and moved it into the fabric and removed Kiki’s leash. The awning fully retracted with ease. Success! I was exhausted.

Now, I had to recover because at 1pm I had to move The Golden Snail, empty her waste tanks, and get to the new campsite.