Ok, you’ve heard of taking a Nose Dive. Well on Monday, Carol took a Butt Dive off the steps backwards and landed on her tail bone. For some reason, I went to the door to look out to see what she was doing, she often goes outside to sit with the dogs or to read a book. I looked down and all I could see was her legs and lower half of her body laying on the ground in the sun. For just an instant, I thought, Now what is she doing laying there in the sun instead of getting in the shade!!! Instantly, I realized she must have fallen as she started rocking from side to side. I threw open the door and leaped to the ground without even touching the steps and knelt at her side where it was very evident that she was in a lot of pain. She explained to me that she had stepped backwards down the steps and missed the second step from the bottom. After checking her out and consoling her, we got her sat up and brushed off and assisted her to her feet. Luckily, our site pad is loose pea gravel and not hard concrete or the outcome would have been a whole lot worse. Her injuries consisted of a bruised tailbone and dented pride.
After getting her inside, I gave her a couple of aspirin and put her on the heating pad. It’s now 3 days later and she’s still sore but recovering nicely. Once I got her down on the couch, this called for another RV Project and I went immediately to the computer, opened up “Microsoft Paint Program” and started drawing up plans on how to install handrails on both sides of the steps. I came up with at least 3 different plans until I more or less decided on one I thought would serve our needs.
We like having our door open all the way and hooked to the side of the RV so we get a good view out the door. I wanted handrails down both sides of the steps so this created a dilemma as to how we could open the door without the handrail on the door hinge side interfering or stopping the door from opening all the way back. I finally figured out a way to make the rail on the door hinge side swivel so it would lower out of the way long enough to get the door past, then raise it back up and lock it into position to provide a sturdy support.
In order to accomplish this, I had to use hinges mounted between the hand rail board and the upright support boards for everything to work as planned. The hinges serve a dual purpose. 1. Allows the hand rail board to float as the whole unit pivots down for opening and closing the door. 2. The hinges served as the means for mounting the hand rail board and the supports together to hold the hand rail in place.
This was not an issue on the other side as everything there could be mounted rigidly together and did not have to pivot. The whole thing can be taken down or assembled in less than 5 minutes using my portable battery powered drill/driver. All bolts, lag bolts, and nuts are 5/16” in size and with my quick connect 3/8” drive extension, I don’t have to change sockets.
The pivoting hand rail assembly has a bolt with washers and nut at the bottom to provide the pivot point and the one above serves as a pin to lock it all in place.
This is what the finished steps and handrails looks like. Hopefully this will keep us both a little safer while going up and down the steps. When I asked Carol (my chief financial officer) shortly after she fell if we could afford for me build this, her reply was “Money Is No Object, Whatever It Takes”.