Tuesday, September 24, 2019

A Tree Limb Bashes My Tiny Trailer, the Green Goddess

The main sections of the limb that bashed the Green Goddess.
I began my two-week tour of northeast Iowa's state parks with rain, steady rain, at times the rain so heavy that the radar on the cruise control shut off the system. The hour and a half trip was a good one, though, and I showed up at Palisades-Kepler State Park with the downpour ratcheting up again.

Setting up camp was a quick back-in to Space 1, right across from the camp host's station, and then I was inside my little standy, the Green Goddess, wet from the set-up but dry and away from the rain. Dinner was potato salad, and after sunset I enjoyed myself, reading the Mary Stewart Merlin Trilogy.

Suddenly, Boom! A huge bashing sound filled the trailer as it violently rocked. I realized the sound had been that of a limb falling onto the roof, so I quickly dressed, including my yellow rain slicker, and went outside to find out what had happened. A limb was lying beside the trailer, its diameter about five inches and its length about ten feet. Picking it up to move it out of the way, it was a heavy, dead weight of waterlogged wood. Searching the roof lit by my headlamp, I saw a 4-5 inch crack in the hard roofing.

My duct tape patch, as photoed the next morning.

What to do? If I did nothing, water would enter that crack and flood the camper. Then I remembered that I had duct tape. And as we all know, "If ya can't fix it with duct tape, it ain't worth fixin'." It still raining, I wiped off the roof area and slapped the duct tape onto the crack. Returning to bed (and finally falling asleep), the next morning I was happy to discover that the duct tape had adhered well to the roof and kept me dry.

The 4-5 inch crack. I tried to even the surface but could not.

I texted my builder son-in-law and asked what would be a better temporary solution until I returned home. His answer was Flex Seal Tape, available at Menard's. I thanked him and by searching found there was a Menard's just a few miles off my route to my next stop, Backbone State Park, Iowa's oldest state park. I bought the tape, drove to Backbone, set up camp, and then applied the tape. That stuff is thick and sticky, and I have no doubts about it keeping the unit watertight.

Flex Seal Tape patches the roof once I reach Backbone.

As for a permanent fix, I've contacted my insurance agent, and my actions steps are to finish my trip, to contact RTTC, the roofing product manufacturer, and a locally well-known RV source to determine my options.

Safely camping at Backbone State Park, the sun out and the awning up.

In the meantime, I camp on, the Green Goddess my safe haven. If the limb had hit squarely on  the flat section of the roof (or on the vent) I believe it would have pierced the camper. If I had been in a tent--well, the hole in the roof is pretty much where my pillow and head lie when sleeping. The limb striking the roof where the "teardrop" begins created a glancing blow which deflected the energy instead of concentrating it on one spot. I feel fortunate and blessed by the Green Goddess.

I am unscathed; she is scarred but undeterred. We journey on.

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  1. one of the main reasons i purchased an all aluminium toy hauler ..but this is sad ..insurance should have no problem with this issue at all .this sucks ..damn i feel your pain

  2. Insurance would consider a fix, but the builder is in North Carolina and said they'd replace the roof with an aluminum one for free. Wonderful! But insurance will not pay for gas or motels for the trip. Well, I'm heading out anyway. If I can sleep in rest stops and Walmarts, the trip should be under $500. I'm looking forward to the aluminum roof. Thanks for the reply.