MAKE TRAVEL PLANS FOR THE NEXT 6 WEEKS
MAKE PARK RESERVATIONS
LEAVE THE AWNING OUT ON A WINDY AFTERNOON
CANCEL ALL TRAVEL PLANS AND PARK RESERVATIONS
CALL MOBILE RV REPAIR SERVICE
Our stay in Punta Gorda provided plenty of time to plan our next several weeks. We have a subscription to RV Life and RV Trip Wizard. We can plan our drive, campgrounds, state parks, miles, cost - just about anything we need for our travels. After plugging in our RV stats, it will even help us plan a route that avoids any bridges or tunnels that won't accommodate our size...8.5 feet wide, 12.5 feet tall). The first part of our current journey took us to Tampa with a stay at MacDill AFB Famcamp. We planned to stay a week - the longest stay in our new home so far. We were excited to try out our new electric bikes and explore the area for a bit of time.
Our RV came with a 19'x12' electric awning. We have seen, heard, and read multiple stories about awning mishaps - mostly because owners left them out unattended and weather popped up. We smiled knowingly at each other, confident that wouldn't happen to us. We even had an agreement that we wouldn't have it out if we weren't home. Confident in our awning-ownership abilities, we bought our RV and started our adventures.
Two days into our first long stay at a campground, the Florida sun was blazing into the side windows. Pam decided to put out the awning for some shade inside. We were home, so we weren't breaking our awning pact - no big deal. It helped cool a little, but not a lot, so she pulled down the window shade. We couldn't see outside, but it was cooler. A couple of hours later, we were watching the local news and the weatherman said there were storms in the area - they were several miles away on the radar and the sun was still shining where we were. (We cannot confirm nor deny that Pam had forgotten about the awning at this point). Suddenly a big gust of wind came, shook the RV, and we heard a loud noise. We rushed outside to find the awning a mangled mess on one side. Trip tapped into his inner Spiderman and climbed the ladder to the roof in seconds. We were able to get it in to secure it, but it definitely needed to be replaced. We have also heard stories where people travelled with a broken awning and it unrolled on its own on the highway. No thanks.
Fortunately there is a mobile RV service in the area (who knew there were such things?) that comes to MacDill AFB once a week. They were able to order a new one (we are upgrading to an awning with a wind sensor - it automatically retracts with any wind). Repair is to be done on May 18 (our 30th wedding anniversary - traditionally, the pearl anniversary....but we are not traditional, so it's our awning anniversary). We cancelled our travel plans and reservations and are staying at MacDill Famcamp a couple more weeks.
And we have been having so.much.fun.
Reflecting on our RV experience so far See Trip's deeper dive into #1 driving here
Riding our electric bikes most days, exploring Tampa and running errands. We enjoy them even more than we thought we would. We have ridden to Dick's Sporting Goods (with a bonus pizza lunch next door), Home Depot, Walmart, and multiple trips to the PX and Commissary. Pam's basket and Trip's backpack provide plenty of cargo space See Trip's deeper dive on the #2 electric bikes here
Lots of long walks - nature trails, to the beach, taking Bosun to the dog beach
Slowing down a bit and enjoying our days together
We celebrated Trip's birthday - Pam made a homemade carrot cake in the RV convection/microwave oven
Playing pickle ball at the base gym