A few weeks back the wife and I were SUPíing on Lake Fontana, just south of GSMNP. Although slightly overcast, with a few small passing showers, we had a great day. Once back at camp, I setup the awning as the sun had come out in full force, and it was slightly toasty at our campsite. After cooking dinner, drinking a few beers, we headed to bed for the evening.
At around 1am, the sky opened up and we started to get a heavy downpour of rain. I got up to close the vents to make sure rain did not come in. About 30 minutes later, I heard what I initially thought was a tree branch that had fallen on the van. It was a HUGE boom and not only did it cause us both to jump up, but it shook the van. I tried to open the sliding door but noticed that the awning was laying up against the window. After stepping out the passenger door, and not seeing any tree branches is when my mistake was realized.
I was not paying attention when I set the awning up earlier in the day (in full sun) and happened to set it up pretty much parallel with the ground. It being flat, allowed water to pool up in the middle of the awning which eventually broke both support arm brackets and cause the awning to pendulum into the side of the van at a very high rate of speed.
Pictures included for your viewing pleasure:
Support Bracket #1 hanging on by sheer willpower alone:
Support bracket #2 was completely separated from the awning and laying on the ground:
I contemplated replacing both support arms (at $250 each) but decided the rails were just too bent and elected to purchase a new awning from fiamma. The new awning should be in either today or tomorrow, so replacement happens this weekend.