So, THAT was a pain. Long story short, only 18 or so months later, and 2 different install attempts at two different locations in two different cities, our new replacement awning is finally installed!

Perhaps I should back up? Start at the beginning? I suppose that might help.

It was a nice, sunny day in Brighton, Colorado where the RV was parked along the oversized driveway of Melody’s Aunt’s house. We were staying there for a few days to recharge, get some work done, and not focus on the warmth of the summer months of 2017 (and the fact that our generator was broken). Yes, this incident predates even the generator fiasco being fixed.

Old awning: who would put blue stripes with an all white/brown/tan rig?

Sitting inside the house on the 2nd floor working on some projects, I heard a small flutter outside and looked out to see the trees moving in a gust of wind. A few seconds later I heard the wind hitting the house and remembered the awning was out on the RV, giving it some sunshine to relax a bit before I tried to clean it. I figured I should go roll it in, just incase this gentle breeze developed over time into something a bit more hearty.

As I made my way out of the garage and came within about 15 feet of the RV, I was watching the small leaves from her garden gently and slowly roll across the driveway in the softest breeze you could imagine when suddenly, WOOOOSSSSHHHHHH!!! What seemed like a Category 8.2 hurricane made landfall right in the middle of Colorado. As I looked up to see if it was going budge the awning, still with hope in my heart, I saw about a foot and a half of the awning rip away from the roof line as the arms flung themselves skyward like a car dealership tube man.

I was literally 3 steps from the retract button when this all happened in the middle of the most pleasant whisper of a breeze ever – and there was not a single strong gust again for the rest of that afternoon.

Yeah. That’s how it happens around here. Around us.

After mourning the tear for a few hours I pulled myself together and called my insurance to ask about replacing it. While it turns out to be one of the items that IS actually covered on my plan, the deductible for such a thing was pretty much equivalent to the repair estimates for awnings of my special shape and size. I would be paying all but about $25 of the repair cost, and getting an exact replacement as it came from the factory. I should probably point out that the awning was the ONLY blue/grey part of anything on an otherwise white/brown/copper color scheme. It was horrible and looked like an old, moldy awning even brand new. 

After deciding not go through insurance and realizing we would have to budget for this fix over some time, we stepped away from it and continued with our travels. The awning did continue to work for quite a long time without further tearing. It was just a little more leaky at the roof line (right over the door) than before the tear. It still gave us about 60% of the cover from rain and 110% of the eye sore than it had when undamaged. 

Over the next year we tried a few times during our stops to order a replacement ourselves. It turned out however, that Coachmen used a custom length awning on our unit that meant a replacement was going to take ‘weeks’ to be ordered, cut and shipped. We didn’t stay in many places for that long during the year, so this didn’t pan out in our favor.

Fast forward to December of 2018. We were back in Houston for several weeks and while we had a ton of things to handle, we were determined to take care of the awning issue once and for all.

We went over to Ron Hoover which is our local favorite shop when in Houston (mostly due to A.J. in Service at the Katy location!) and ordered up our custom length Dometic awning. We were shocked and oh so happy when it arrived in just 1 week at their service department. I got the RV over there about a week and a half after the order was made and they installed it for us in about 3 hours.

That was when we noticed the issues. The seam at the roller end of the awning was loosely stitched. Loosely meaning I could thread a pencil into the seam if I wanted, and it certainly wasn’t going to hold up with wind and elements battering it. Secondly, and this may not be a manufacturing issue, the surface of the awning had quite a few scuffs on it’s edges. Lastly, and definitely not Dometic’s fault at all, was the foot and a half long ‘scratch’ along the roller of my awning hardware. As if someone had cut my old awning off with a razor and had gouged it as they went.

I pointed out all of the errors to them and they offered to replace it again at no charge. I said, yes, please do and notified them we had only 2 weeks left in the area and figured they should be able to just re-order the same thing and have it arrive a few days later as it had before.

After a week of lag time, we checked back with them and our service manager (Not A.J.) alerted us that what he failed to explain during the entire process was that they needed to reorder it through their warranty department using a number found ONLY on the awning which was now rolled up on the RV back in storage. We drove out, got the number, and left it with their service desk, which apparently failed to pass it on for yet another week. At this point, we were beginning to check back with them every day in hopes of prompting them to do their job. I am really trying not to make this sound like a Ron Hoover bashing post, because it’s not. We just had bumps in the road and miscommunication along with people being out over the holidays or sick, and long wait times from Dometic. Once again, the perfect storm of delays we original thought we lucked out of.

Ron Hoover as a whole stepped up however, and when it was clear we had to leave Houston before the replacement awing arrived, they made arrangements to have the ‘new-new’ awning, trucked over to their San Antonio location. We spent a week in Austin while we waited for all of that to happen, and finally got the call from Morgan in San Antonio that it arrived! I showed up on a Friday afternoon and, sure enough, it was there. I was a bit delayed getting there (as usual) because … wait for it … our slide out broke, AGAIN, that morning. More on that later.

We chose Sandstone for our replacement awning which matches the color scheme better!

Anyway, I made it down to the shop and encountered one final hiccup: the Katy service folks apparently didn’t mention to San Antonio that they were supposed to install the awning, so they assumed I was just picking it up. *sigh* The San Antonio location was chalk full of things to do along with an on-going RV show where they had 72 units, so there was no way to get it installed on Friday when I drove down. 

Morgan (who now is competing with A.J. for “Ron Hoover Hero” title), wrangled 2 techs to come in Saturday morning, despite service being closed, and install the new awning. I left the RV overnight, and came back to get it the next morning.

New-new Awning is amazing and just perfect. Looks like it actually belongs on the RV, and all the stitching is tight and in the right places.

Long story short: we love it.

Now, about that slide out…

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