Friday, September 14, 2012

The Winds of Change

If you're here, you probably read #HRTechChat Episode Thirty-One's preview and wanted to know the rest of the story of the rain, wind, tarps, stakes and bungee cords of Brent and his other half's annual camping trip this year. Here you go. ...

The wind this year was gusty and strong. Blame the remnants of Hurricane Isaac. Loud flapping sounds, as well as actual flapping, that first night told Brent something had gone horribly awry with his tarp system. Recall how the big tarp takes on qualities of a sail. During the morning’s wee hours, gusts provided enough lift underneath the large tarp to pull out all but one of the stakes securing its lower end to the ground. At 6am, Brent leapt out of the tent and tried, to no avail, to re-secure his large tarp. Too much wind lifted the tarp, like a sail, every time. He swore; he cut his fingers. He probably woke up his other half. (No, she was still snoring.) A new solution for shelter was in order, and fast.

Brent turned to the disassembled canopy, swiped from their front lawn the day before and now packed in the back of the Jeep. Could it be the answer? Would it fit over the tent and provide the necessary shelter from rain? Would stakes at its frame’s corners have enough strength to withstand the industrial-strength winds? All answers seemed to be yes, and through trial and error and despite his clumsiness, he unpacked and reassembled the frame. He then unfolded the canopy top. Drat! Months and months of sun had eaten away at the vinyl, now riddled with holes. He pressed ahead anyway. Then, the canopy ripped. No options remained, it seemed, and Brent, succumbing to apparent defeat, sank into about 30 seconds’ worth of despair.

But wait…

He still had all those stakes. He still had the large tarp. He still had all those bungee cords. And the canopy’s frame was there, assembled, just waiting to be used. He woke up his other half and asked her to help him drape the tarp over the frame. Thereafter, plenty of remaining tarp lay flat on the ground adjacent to each end of the frame. He threaded bungee cords through several of the loops along the tarp’s perimeter and attached the cords’ other ends to stakes, driven into the ground at about three points on both long ends of the tarp. The fit was tight, and the remaining stakes worked well to secure the rest of the tarp, flat on the ground, to the ground.

And, through several more windy nights, it all stayed in one place.