After surviving all the wind storms I sat through in Quartzsite this winter, my awning has suffered a catastrophic failure.
But did you ever stop to ponder why we know it’s true
If you drop a broken egg you will not get an egg that’s new
That’s entropy or E-N-T-R-O to the P to the Y
The reason why the sun will one day all burn out and dieEntropy, MC Hawking
Not long after my bike ride through Oatman, I was just sitting in the van doing some writing. A sudden strong gust of wind lifted the awning, ripped the stakes out of the ground, and tossed the whole thing over my roof before I even knew what was happening.
The fabric itself was fine (and, fortunately, so are my solar panels that it landed on top of), but the poles got all bent up. The worst part, and how I knew there was no fixing it, was that half the rivets pulled out that hold the awning itself to the giant mounting bracket running along its entire length. Even if I roll it up and zip it inside its bag, I can’t be certain that the bag won’t finish tearing off as I drive down the road. As the great philosopher Dr. Leonard McCoy often said, “He’s dead, Jim.”
I removed the awning from the mounting brackets I fabricated (which themselves got badly bent), and then the brackets themselves to clean up the look. I will not be replacing the awning. I only had it for six months, and most of the time I had it I’ve been contending with the wind. Either I haven’t been able to set it up because of wind, or I’ve been caught with it up when the wind picked up, in situations where it was safer to leave it up and tied down than to try taking it down in a strong wind. Since I plan to continue spending a great deal of time in the southwest, tI’ll have to keep contending with strong winds like this. As much as I appreciate the shade it provides, especially in the desert where there isn’t much, an awning simply doesn’t work for me.
On top of that, the bike has a new issue as well. The right fork seal has sprung a leak, and is starting to spew the oil from inside the fork. This not only makes a mess, but also degrades suspension performance, and opens the risk of dirt getting inside and ruining things. I’m not planning on doing any more trail riding for a while after my last experience, but it’s still a problem I should get fixed.
As confirmed by my Kawasaki service tech friend, this is beyond my ability to tackle in a field somewhere. There are special tools involved, plus I need to keep all the parts clean, something I can’t guarantee in the middle of the desert. I called a Kawasaki dealer in Pahrump, Nevada, where I’m planning to make my way and spend some time. They can certainly do the work for me — a month from now. I’m going to be long gone by then. They also wanted ten times as much money for the radiator fan switch (might as well fix everything while I’m there) than the one I found for sale online. So I’ll have to figure something else out. For now, the bike’s still safe to ride, but I’m mainly going to stick to the street to avoid dust, dirt, and particularly bouncy conditions. I still need to figure out how to get this fixed.
My spirits were lifted by the return of Melinda. Once again, we happened to be going to the same place at the same time. The boondocking spot I’d chosen was big enough for a few vans, so I invited her to join me while she was exploring Oatman for herself.
I broke out my good glasses (the only glass ones I have, because work sent them to me) and a bottle of port to enjoy. We enjoyed a nice sunset over the California mountains, and then a small campfire. She also loaned me a travel book all about places to see in Oregon. I took a whole lot of notes about places to check out when I get up that way.
Today was a roller coaster. It started out wonderful with the bike ride. Then it got pretty depressing with the busted awning and discovering the fork seal leak. But then it got better thanks to Melinda and her company to bust my brain out of the funk it was in. Now, sleep. Tomorrow is a fresh start.