The day began prosaically enough with our breaking camp and getting ready to return to West Des Moines. Not that we wouldn’t like to stay in Fort Dodge, mind you. Actually, I’d love to stay through the weekend since this is the big sky-diving weekend in Fort Dodge. People come in from all over the US to sky dive through the weekend. There are white tents being set up for vendors and food on the airport grounds while there is a bunch of RV’s in a parking lot across from the airport in back of a sign saying ‘RV line-up here.’ We assume that they are waiting for the organizers to open a field near the airport that will be used all weekend as a campground.
Not only that, we’ve had a full working week in Fort Dodge and I’d like to kick back and relax. But, no, we set up 2 dental appointments on Thursday and 2 annual physicals on Friday so we’re on our way. The campground where we are staying is getting almost full for the long weekend and everyone there must be wondering why in the world two people are leaving. To go home for a long weekend? What are they thinking? Oh, well.
We were meeting my brother at Village Inn, a local chain restaurant on the north edge of town close to both the campground and Jack’s house. Good breakfast and ever so much better than the breakfast we had at Perkins several days ago. The omelet was light and fluffy, the country fries were golden brown and not the crispy critters we had last week. AND - Wednesday is PIE DAY at Village Inn. We were finishing up our breakfast and chatting when the hostess came over to ask if we wanted a piece of pie.
‘Oh, no, we’re full’, we said.
‘But it’s Wednesday and you can get a FREE piece of fruit pie.’
‘What kinds do you have?’ I asked. Note how quickly I changed my tune when I heard the word ‘FREE.’
‘Cherry, apple, blueberry, strawberry rhubarb,etc.’
‘I’ll have cherry’ I said while Gary said he’d have strawberry rhubarb.
My silly brother said he didn’t want any but, when I said I’d then take 2 strawberry rhubarb pieces, he changed HIS tune and said he’d take apple. Hmmm. He doesn’t want one, but doesn’t want me to get it either. I should have reminded him who was paying for breakfast.
Hugs, hand shakes and we were off.
But first two stops to get some refunds. We were over charged at Applebees the other night and Gary had a return for Radio Shack. And, now we’re off.
And, here comes the awning adventure.
We were 2 mile south of Odgen, Ia, rumbling on down the highway facing a pretty strong typical southwestern Iowa wind off the passenger front. I was a giving Gary a short synopsis of our YTD spending, remarking that we were under last year’s spending, when we head some horrible sounds, a ripping, a flapping in the wind and, sure enough, our awning had come off in the wind.
Gary slowed, pulled over into the shoulder of the highway and we got out to see the damage. Oh, shucks. Maybe we’re not under last year’s spending.
Awning flapping in the wind, metal supports awry on the side and short scratches in the fiberglass side of the RV, the side we’re been so careful to preserve. OK, luckily we’ve got all our tools and our LIttle Giant Ladder in the Jeep since we’ve used them in Fort Dodge. Let’s get to work. Several people stopped to help us. One was actually turning off the highway a mile back, noticed our plight, turned back onto the highway and came to help and offer his tools. Another was going the opposite direction, turned around and came back to help. We must be in Iowa. However, we actually had the situation well in hand, thanked them profusely and went back to work.
Afterwards, as we were talking, I noticed a ‘Tea Party’ decal and an ‘NRA’ decal on his truck. Luckily I wasn’t wearing my ‘Obama 2012’ t-shirt. Just kidding, I’m sure he would still have stopped and helped us - he was that kind of guy.
You can tell how windy it was by the death grip Gary has on the awning. I’m waiting for him to sail over the RV in the next gust. Which reminds me: when we got back to Des Moines, we read several stories about others who had awning problems on the highway. In one case, the awning did flip over the RV and ended up flapping into the traffic in the next lane. In another case, the whole awning assembly came off into traffic as the owner was passing another car. We were so lucky: quieter back road where we could pull off safely, little damage to the RV, no other cars involved, a Good Samaritan with a truck who stopped to help. I wish it hadn’t happened, of course, but, if it had to happen, this is the way.
Now, don’t feel bad for us. It could have been raining, it could have been 20 degrees, there could have been 2’ of snow. It was just an awning which is replaceable. But, shucks, I was already spending that extra money.
We got home about 4:30 and unloaded the RV. Funny how it takes so much longer to load it that unload it.
It’s evening, we’ve unpacked, eaten dinner, showered and now we’re eating our pie.