Monday, March 17, 2008

Desert Hot Springs ate my door

I left Fairfield, CA and Camping World at 6:30 AM yesterday and drove to the San Bernardino Camping World, arriving at 3:00 PM. When I arrived at the store, I asked about how long it would take to drive to Blythe, CA where there is a Flying J. When I found out it was three hours, I decided to boondock in the parking lot.

At 6:30 this morning, I purchased gas and left for Tucson. I passed Desert Hot Springs and many warning signs about gusty winds ahead. I'm sure the signs were referring to new and improved gusty winds rather than the 30-40 MPH winds. Half the surface of the desert seemed to be crossing the road and the sand made visibility poor. I was going to pull over and wait, but since I had no idea when or if the winds would calm, I pushed on.

Generator door before

At 10:30, I arrived at the Flying J in Ehrenberg, Arizona, just across the state line. I climbed out of the rig and turned to go into the restaurant. I was astonished: half the door covering my generator was gone as if a giant animal had chewed it off and spit it out. The backing board was sitting on top of the generator and both door locks were hanging loose, as was the door itself. Once I closed my gaping mouth, I went for the duct tape. I used what was left of the roll and knew I needed more.
Generator door after

The store had duct tape and I went to the store counter to ask about how to receive a discount on my gas purchase. I've had a Flying J card for a couple of years but never used it. It seems I was in luck: with a $10 purchase, I received 3 cents off per gallon of gas or propane. The more I spent in the store and restaurant, the more I saved in gas. So I had breakfast, receiving a senior discount too.

I put more duct tape on the door and sealed it quite well (I thought). Then I filled up the RV with gas and left for Tucson.

The Arizona desert was just as windy as California and my hands were cramping as I fought to keep the six-ton RV in the lane.

When I arrived at the college and the parking crew found a space for me, I left the rig and surveyed the door. All the duct tape was there. The door was there. The backing board was gone and the remaining piece of the door was bent. I sighed. I peeled off the duct tape and smoothed the panel. Then I started the generator. Whew! It still works. Now I have a few days to decide how to repair the door until I can find a new one.


  1. Wow! What an adventure....glad nothing worse happened.

    I was standing outside my rig chatting with Nick & Terry Russell when you drove in & parked...but I didn't know that was you. Going to be great to finally meet!!

  2. While driving through CA this spring we witnessed very high winds and one camper was on its side and another was in the process of stopping as the winds had damaged the large awning. Debris was everywhere so the wind can certainly take its toll.

  3. I-10 thru southern California has hundreds of million dollar windmills in that area for a reason. It always makes a lot of sense for us retired and not so retired RVer's to pay attention to the weather reports in that area as they do not run those huge windmills on casual breezes. Sorry about your door, but they can be found at RV salvagers on line. There are several in California,and other parts of the country. Utah desert rat!

  4. We has a windy adventure a few years ago while traveling in the midwest. The wind torqued our motorhome to the point that the windshield popped out. It didn't break the glass, just popped it out of the gasket. Reinstalling it cost about $500 and was NOT covered by insurance since the the glass didn't break.

  5. Last April we were driving up I-59 in Mississippi during the mother of all windstorms. The headwind was in excess of 60 mph and my husband was doing at least that when we heard a really loud crash. We looked around to see what car or truck we hit. There was no other traffic on the raod. We immediately stopped the motorhome on the shoulder to see just what happened. We were shocked to see the entire front quarter panel all the way up to and around the wheel well and bottom of the door on the driver's side gone! (2006 Winnebago Adventurer/36 ft) The long scrapes and scratches down the entire length of the motorhome evidenced the ferocity of the way the quarter panel was ripped away. There was a small paint scrape on the bottom of the driver's window Had my husband's window been down, I shudder to think what might have been the result of that piece hitting him while he was driving. $5,600 later (thankfully covered by our insurance) everything is like new once again. I dare say that few motorhome are made to withstand 120 mph winds.