Heading south toward Monument Valley, we decided to stop along the way at Gooseneck State Park, which overlooks the San Juan River. This is a State Park that allows free dry camping on the rim of the canyon overlooking the river.
It was beautiful when we arrived and we got a perfect spot close to the rim. We settled in, put out the awning and chairs and prepared to take a siesta when seemingly out of nowhere this wind came up out of the canyon, straight toward us. Even though we live in Florida and encounter strong winds during tropical storms, this was much worse. It was unrelenting, probably at least 40-50 miles an hour, not gusts just steady wind coming out of the canyon and up toward us. We tried taking in the awning and it became a sail that we had to hang on to with all the strength we had. The wind whipped our voices away and we could barely hear each other. We couldn’t get the awning to retract because the metal legs had bent from the wind. Finally, Leonard was able to remove the legs and we could retract the awning which miraculously had not torn, but the legs were flopping like broken wings. Working at them with a hammer, he slowly was able to get them back into position and attached back on the RV. It was totally exhausting and afterward we just collapsed inside the RV, which was rocking back and forth like a boat. All that night the wind blew and a thick dust settled on everything. Sometime early in the morning the wind finally let up and in the morning we emerged from the RV to quiet and beauty with no evidence of what had occurred. By late morning when we left the wind was gusting once again for other innocent campers to battle. It seems that all RV’ers have an awning story to tell and now we have one of our own.
As a side note, the awning was tucked away for almost a week while we have been experiencing high winds, but Leonard and our friend Mike worked on it this morning and lo and behold they rebent the metal, greased it up and it works. Not great, but enough to give us some shade if we need it. Glory days.