Well, I Guess That Was Summer

We painted our awning yesterday.

When we unpacked our trailer back on Widder Island, after that prolonged Winter, (and Spring-that-never-was) and rolled down the awning, we noticed that the fabric felt a little brittle. It was, after all, seven years old, and designed to have a limited life-span, as all such ‘add-on’s’, are made in order that as much money can be prised from RV owners wallets as is possible and still adhere to the minimum legal standards. (like just about everything where there’s a profit to be made)

The fabric itself is made of three layers, fabric (of some sort) sandwiched between two layers of vinyl. (of some sort)

And it’s black. Why it’s black I have no idea … well yes I do, it costs less to manufacture a black awning than it does a white or coloured, (or heaven forbid, a patterned one!)

We love our little home-on-wheels, but we’re certainly discovering just how much of it was constructed out of the cheapest materials possible. Thank goodness both Mrs Widds and I are ‘Ms Fixits’, when it comes to making repairs on the fly, or maintenance-y stuff that wouldn’t be necessary, or done as often, were the quality a little better. (I feel like I’m being a little too curmudgeonly today. Might pause and have a cuppa tea and a bikkie. That always changes my context) Having said that, we have the essentials for a comfortable day-to-day life, in the short-term, and that’s OK.

Back to the awning – having been out in the midday sun for days on end, for so many years, and being black, and layered, the poor thing’s layers had started to part company and a few tiny stress holes were showing. (that would swiftly become large stress holes if we didn’t do some repair work poste haste)

That was back in April. I don’t know if you remember April, but in the Lower Mainland, it was wet and cold. Not ideal conditions to even contemplate a major bit of outside work.

We researched the cost of buying a new awning – north of $800 – not an option, and settled for a special vinyl paint that would dry flexible enough so that it wouldn’t hinder the awning being rolled up and down as required.

Then we waited for a stretch of dry sunny weather … and waited … and waited.

April didn’t deliver, which was just as well because we were packing like dervishes to leave Widder Island for good.

May didn’t deliver. For the first half of the month we were at Cheam Fishing Village and Campground in Agassiz. (where it rained every, single, bloody, day) The second half of the month, we were amongst the gorgeous mountains in Valemount, where it didn’t rain every day, but it was too cold, and we were too buggered from the move to do anything more than bundle up and sit outside for a bit of fresh, very fresh, mountain air before the cold drove us inside again. (certainly not the recommended temperature range for doing a spot of outdoor painting)

We’ve been here in Prince George for a bit over two months now and between late-afternoon thunderstorms, rainy weather in general, and still being too cold, we still hadn’t got to fix our poor awning, who by this time had developed a bit of a tear. (which we were able to hastily patch with a bit of awning tape)

Finally, FINALLY, a few days ago, the skies cleared, the sun came out (and started to bake everything, but that’s another story – we’re having a heat-wave, not a heat-dome, it’s just waving) and we could begin!

Unfurling – if you look closely you can see the tape above the door ... a very common stress-point, apparently

Unfurling – if you look closely you can see the tape above the door … a very common stress-point, apparently

Day 1 – Mrs Widds, whose knees both work just fine, (mine couldn’t muster half a knee between them) ascended the ladder and washed the accumulated detritus off the awning.

Day 2 – Waiting. (we had to let it dry completely)

Day 3 – While I remained the designated ladder-holder, Mrs Widds again worked the ladder like a pro and slathered the awning with liquid vinyl … white liquid vinyl.

For the above mentioned reasons, we chose to paint it white.

White reflects heat – t’aint rocket science RV designers

White reflects heat – t’aint rocket science RV designers

The temperature waved at us as it merrily sailed past 30°C, but we forged on and finished the job …

You can’t beat a nice shady tree in Summer, for the extra coolness, and the dappled sunlight effect

You can’t beat a nice shady tree in Summer, for the extra coolness, and the dappled sunlight effect

You see that wavy valance-y thing along the bottom edge of the awning? This is what’s on the inside …

I think it looks like other-worldly dancers, ghosts and sprites

I think it looks like other-worldly dancers, ghosts and sprites

I’m in favour of leaving it as it is. (not cleaning the scuffs off) Mrs Widds remains undecided.

This is the weather forecast for the next 7 6 days …

Weather forecast – A bit all over the place, in’it?

Weather forecast – A bit all over the place, in’it?

We’re due for a thunderstorm tomorrow afternoon/evening and then, that’s the end of the heat, and going by the past few years, the end of Summer. (hence this blog’s title) We’ve had 6 days of glorious sunshine, just long enough to get the awning done, and after tomorrow, it’s business as usual in our corner of the world, a bit of rain, a bit of sun, and 10 degrees cooler.


May your awnings never crack, your ladder stay sturdy, and your sunlight be dappled.

The Adventure continues.

P.S. This stretch of sunshine is why we didn’t do our ‘road trip’ Adventure to Vanderhoof this week. Awnings before road-trips. We have it planned for the week after next, fingers crossed.


27 comments on “Well, I Guess That Was Summer

  1. Something for when you have to fix it again: https://youtu.be/uZAsfB1Np-8

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was wondering if gluing another tarp – new – to the top would have worked.

    Everything’s a pain when you have to scramble to get it done.

    Sail canvas and grommets? That stuff lasts through salt water.

    Whatever else you do is going to cost time and effort if not money. Sigh. so sorry!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Widdershins says:

      I don’t think so. The two layers of fabric would have slightly different circumferences as it rolled. One would be compressed and one would be stretched.
      It was too hot to scramble, but we’ve been keeping an eye on the forecast for weeks, so when this break showed up we did do a bit of rearranging of priorities. 😀
      Someone else suggested sailcloth too. Great idea. 😀 We’ll certainly go the DIY route when this one finally does give up the ghost.
      Everything seems to take twice as much time and effort living like this. If I’m having a bad day, it can really get me down, especially these last few hot days when everything’s dried out now. I don’t do heat well, at all.
      We have an A/C, thankfully, but it only has one setting – loud and cold. I’m very clearly not cut out for the nomadic lifestyle. 🙂


      • The only thing bad about sailcloth may be the weight of the fabric – meant to withstand heavy winds, in may not be necessary for an awning you would roll up if there were wind.

        Everything IS harder – we’re getting older! I imagine it isn’t kind to the nomadic lifestyle. Which is why I probably won’t get to live in a tiny house for a while, as I hoped to. Sigh.

        Some AC is better than none – you can use it when you’re desperate!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks great now, Widds… and a good idea to paint it white!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have visions of you never rolling it up again lest the paint crack, floating along the highway rather crookedly with your side sail…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Widdershins says:

      Heh, 😀 … it’s supposed to NOT crack, but we’re keeping it out for as long as possible to let the paint fully cure. Then it’s the ‘rolling it up’, acid test. 😀


  5. It looks much better. I hope it holds together in the long run.
    Vanderhoof! I remember many a drive along that highway in the 60s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Widdershins says:

      Looking forward to the drive 😀 … we’re hoping for a few more seasons. We’ll see how it weathers the coming rains and maybe put a second coat on if need be … if we have another run of dry days that is. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Melodie says:

    Looking good

    Liked by 1 person

  7. quiall says:

    I would say a job well done! And I would mean it. I do not wish to brag, much, but our weather has been spectacular for the last few weeks. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ian Hutson says:

    If you ever need to replace the awning fabric entirely may I humbly suggest a visit to charity shops – do you chaps call them thrift shops, or is that just those weirdos from south of the border? Somewhere for second-hand clothes, anyway. You’ll need lots of cotton thread, spare needles, and about three dozen pairs of the most enormous old-fashioned bloomers that you can find, preferably lace-edged. You’d have the finest awning on the planet… 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  9. cagedunn says:

    Sail canvas and grommets will outlast the van if you can find some.

    I vote to keep the dancing sprites – saw ’em clearly!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. acflory says:

    I feel like a dunce, but I had no idea those awnings were retractable. Shows how little I know about RVs. I think the white is a great idea too. Enjoy the summer while you can. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The white awning looks great! A job well done. And I love the blessing at the end. Nice touch. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

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