I called Carefree Awnings, and got a great customer service person named Kathy. She had me take down the directions to freeing a stuck brake lever, which amounts to lifting the "carport" arm a bit while you move the brake lever. It takes two to do this, but it did work. The awning now is back to normal op.
She also offered to send me a few new replacement parts at no cost, even though my warantee is long over , and I am the second owner. My commendation to Carefree for their quick and friendly service.
added 1/22: Carefree did send me the new parts for the awning arms which I have had some problems with. Much appreciated.