By Russ and Tiña De Maris
It’s one of those “feel your heart sink” moments: You’re tooling down the highway with your RV, and somebody rolls up beside you pointing back at your rig. It happened to us a couple of weeks ago – and the outcome was truly surprising.
We were rolling down Arizona’s I-10, headed for a convention in Phoenix, when a fellow in a pickup truck rolled up next to us – giving us the old, “point and shout.” The navigator rolled down her window and the fellow warned we were close to losing a roof vent. Our driver/mechanic was doing the mental head-scratch, trying to figure out what roof vent might be in trouble, as some were covered with vent covers and all had been rolled down on our last stop.
The truck got ahead of us, and we whipped off the freeway at the next exit. As we did, we spotted our flag-down man parked on the shoulder. We went on, completely off the freeway, and found a large parking lot. As I, driver/mechanic/worry-wart, climbed out of the cab, the she of our party started doing her own worry-wart act: Here came the guy in his pickup. Was this some kind of a robbery setup?
Driver hops out of his truck. “It’s your refrigerator vent cap,” he tells me. “It’s just about to blow off.” Sure enough, our rear-wall mounted refrigerator’s cap was inching its way over the edge of the roof. “Have you got a roof ladder – a solid one?” our watch-guy asks. Happily we did – and he simply climbed up the ladder for a better look. Two of the four mounting screws were AWOL, and the ones that remained were on the trailing edge of the vent, just begging the winds to bend the vent cap far enough over to break off, or fly off.
For me, getting up on the roof means a freestanding ladder. I had one – buried in the back of the pickup truck, and we were loaded for bear. Getting out the ladder would be a 15-minute operation on its own. Climbing those straight-up-and-down RV ladders is an “If I have to peek over the edge of the roof, maybe …” issue. But hefting my body up on the roof from that angle is the stuff that my nightmares are made of.
“Have you got a screw gun?” our new friend asks. That I do! Within a couple of minutes the remaining screws were relocated to the leading edge of the vent, and our hero was back down, safe at ground level, having done the job for us. I was too dumbfounded to even ask his name – the best I could manage was a stammer of thanks.
“Hey, no problem,” he says. “I got a toy hauler that’s given me the same problem. Happy to help!” And with that, he jumped in his truck and vanished.
If you’re reading this, we want to tell you: Wish there were more folks out there like you, Mister. And if you get by Quartzsite, stop in – We’ll buy you a cup a coffee.