Small House Big World


Away I Go!

Anna Edgren • March 29, 2016

A lot has happened in the past week. I kind of don’t know where to begin. First off, I’m happy to announce that I am writing this from a new town in a new state. I successfully packed my stuff, hooked up the car, said goodbye to Kelly, and hit the road again, alone. I am a BUNDLE of mixed emotions about this whole thing. I’m happy, I’m sad, I’m excited, I’m terrified. Luckily they are sort of balancing each other out in a weird way, so I feel… fine.

I had a change in plan: I decided to tow my Honda Accord instead of trying to get a new car. There were a lot of reasons for this decision. Although the Accord is not necessarily my IDEAL tow car, it had one huge advantage over other vehicles – it was already in my possession! Let’s just say a couple of days of car-hunting in Desert Hot Springs did NOT leave me feeling optimistic about finding a better tow car in a short period of time.

used car salesman

I also had a nice little chat with a Honda dealership to see what my car would be worth if I did a trade-in. They told me it would be worth $500. No I did not accidentally miss a zero. Obviously I could get more for it if I sold it to a private party, but STILL. Shockingly low. It got me taking a closer look at the condition on the Accord, and admit to myself that it has clearly taken a beating over the past year on the road. Dents from that time when we had 5 hailstorms over the course of a weekend, pinstripes from pretending I have an OHV, a cracked windshield, the interior wearing down from Max’s nails scratching on the leather… it’s not pretty. Whatever car is getting towed behind this motorhome is not going to stay in pristine condition anyway, mine is already junked up enough that it doesn’t much matter.

It still looks nice from a distance...

It still looks nice from a distance…

In the end, I decided it would just be a cleaner and simpler solution to keep what I have and make it work. I am lucky enough to have RVer friends who gave me some advice on what type of base plate and tow bar to get for my car. A huge shout out to Brandon from Alpha1ontherun, who talked me through his recommendation of the Stowmaster 5000, which I ended up getting. One of the main reasons I decided to get this model is because it is relatively easy to use alone. Many types of tow bar require you to be at the EXACT right height and position, not in a turn, and not on a slope. The Stowmaster system just hooks up to a 2″ ball on the motorhome, so its essentially like towing a trailer. It’s a little more forgiving.

I ordered my tow bar and base plate online, then took my car to the same mechanics who did my big repairs, I LOVE THEM and would recommend them to anyone – Sun Air Wheel Alignment  in Cathedral City, CA just outside of Palm Springs. All I asked for was to have the base plate installed, and they went out of their way to spend literally hours of their time making sure I knew how to use every piece of my tow equipment safely and smoothly by myself. I left their shop feeling totally confident in my tow set up and capable of using it alone. Amazing.

thank you

With the towing set up, the only thing left to do was wrap up and say goodbye…

Saturday was a big day. It was my birthday (32), it was my last day of hanging out with Kelly, and it was just 4 days shy of our 1-year-on-the-road mark. Whew! There is so much good and so much sadness all wrapped up together in this process. But Kelly and I somehow managed to have a totally kick ass last night together / birthday celebration / 1 year travel-anniversary at an awesome seafood place in Palm Springs, Ruben and Ozzy’s Oyster Bar and Grill. It was a great ending to a great year.

I’m so proud of us for spending a year together on the road. We had SO MUCH FUN.  And as much as I feel confident in our decision to split up, it still breaks certain pieces of my heart to say goodbye to Kelly and to that whole period of my life. I am so thankful that it happened. I will miss the fun times that we had.

And now… I’m alone. I hooked up my car to the RV, turned on the radio for more info and news and drove north towards Las Vegas. One very important note about flat towing your vehicle: You can’t back up. Nope not even an inch. It can break the tow bar. (And yes I DID make myself a strategically placed “DON’T BACK UP” sign). I had QUITE THE TIME trying to find an appropriate gas station where I had enough space to pull in and out with my towed vehicle. I thought getting gas with a 38 foot RV was hard… Getting gas with the car attached is insanity.

I had to find a gas station where I could pull in and out without turning around. This requires a space with a separate entrance and exit, and for the pump to be lined up at a convenient angle so you can get from one end to the other without too much weird maneuvering, and NO backing up. Would be easy enough in an area with truck-stops, but unfortunately I was not near an interstate and in a more rural area. It took me quite a bit of searching to find the right gas station, but eventually I found one that fit the bill. Huge sigh of relief and not looking forward to the next time I have to fill up.

When I arrived to my stopping point in Needles, CA, I discovered my car battery had died. I learned that I need to pull the radio fuse in my car to keep that from happening (at least I *think* that will solve the problem…). Only a small crisis, and a very nice old man at the RV park helped me jump my car. No big deal.

Now I’m parked in Laughlin, Nevada, at a nice quiet little spot by the Colorado River. I am still feeling a little wound up and nervous about this whole transition, but so far so good! The only way to go is forward. Here’s to new beginnings!

Anna Edgren • March 29, 2016

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  1. Kelly beasley March 29, 2016 - 4:45 pm Reply

    Go Anna, go!! You can do this. : ) : )

  2. Live Small Ride Free March 29, 2016 - 4:46 pm Reply

    Congrats, well done, hooray! Cheers to your birthday, your one year mark and new beginnings!

  3. Carol Kilar March 29, 2016 - 5:33 pm Reply

    Congrats to you ! On to new wonderful experiences and memories.

  4. Sarah March 29, 2016 - 6:27 pm Reply

    Congratulations! I just found your blog yesterday — I’m at the planning stages of solo RV-ing, so you’re an inspiration. The idea of towing a car seems… well, scary. But I’m looking forward to reading many more successful stories from you and gaining confidence vicariously!

    • Anna Edgren March 29, 2016 - 7:17 pm Reply

      Sarah that’s awesome! It is all scary but it all gets easier every single time you do it. I am greatly looking forward to that mysterious time in the future when I will feel comfortable towing the car… I KNOW it will come I just don’t know when! Good luck with the planning and let me know if you have any questions I can help with.

  5. Brett March 29, 2016 - 6:59 pm Reply

    Rooting for you!

  6. Forrest Clark March 29, 2016 - 7:34 pm Reply

    Anna, as you set off on this new stage of your nomadic journey, remember that you have lots of friends out here in the RV world. You are an amazing, exceptional person. Since I am partnered in my journey, I don’t know all you will go through as you become a solo. But I know you are not alone because several of the solo women are very good friends of ours. You should be able to have a great time! I hope we cross your path sometime.

    • Anna Edgren March 30, 2016 - 10:42 am Reply

      Thank you so much for the kind words Forrest, I hope we cross paths again as well!

  7. Marie Parks March 29, 2016 - 7:46 pm Reply

    Congrats, Anna! I know you’ve been waiting for this day for a while. So glad everything went (mostly) smoothly. 🙂 See you on down the road, my friend!

  8. Liz March 29, 2016 - 11:16 pm Reply

    Thinking of you!

  9. Emi March 30, 2016 - 12:05 am Reply

    Sending love and lots of well wishes to you! I’m totally inspired by your strength and adventurous spirit! Happy birthday!! Come visit in Seattle. You and Max can stay with us anytime!

  10. Jeff Chandler March 30, 2016 - 3:41 am Reply

    Glad to see you’re back on the road! I’m getting very restless and jealous stuck in a hotel room for six weeks (I know, Holland in spring, how terrible…). First couple months of towing we had to stop every four or so hours to run the car and recharge the battery and still dealt with a dead battery almost every trip. Best $50 I’ve spent – towed battery charger. Hooks right into the umbilical and keeps a charge on the battery. Looking forward to getting back to the states and back on the road myself.

    • Anna Edgren March 30, 2016 - 10:40 am Reply

      Yep I might have to do that… Did it take much install?

      • Jeff Chandler March 30, 2016 - 11:06 am Reply

        Honestly, about 10 minutes. The hardest part was double checking that the positive was hooked up correctly at the car end of the umbilical.

  11. tommy March 30, 2016 - 11:22 am Reply

    Anna, if you look up “towed battery charger” on google, and click on “RVi Brake”, there’ll be a youtube video on the install. very easy.

    • Anna Edgren March 30, 2016 - 7:49 pm Reply

      Excellent, thanks!

  12. Linda March 30, 2016 - 7:40 pm Reply

    Best wishes on your next chapter. 1 yr. on the road is quite an accomplishment. Have you read the book “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed? She hiked the PCT solo. The book is much better than the movie.

    • Anna Edgren March 30, 2016 - 7:49 pm Reply

      Yes! Read the book and haven’t seen the movie. Loved the book. Thanks for the well wishes! Hope you’re well! 🙂

  13. Cathy Muha March 30, 2016 - 9:08 pm Reply

    Anna, you are such an amazing, confident person! I’d say “best of luck”, but it’s not luck that’s gotten you where you are, but “pluck”. I hope I get to see you when you come to visit your folks.

    • Anna Edgren April 5, 2016 - 11:56 am Reply

      Thank you Cathy! We should definitely connect when I’m back in June! 🙂

  14. Cherie March 30, 2016 - 9:38 pm Reply

    You go girl… you GOT this!

  15. Ride Dive and Be Murray April 5, 2016 - 9:32 am Reply

    Gas Buddy can be your best friend. Not only does it show you where the cheapest gas is on a map, it also has a truck icon on stations that are designed as truck stops. Sometimes there are user pictures that let you see the entrance and exit and pump arrangements. Also it links to Google so you can check out the satellite view and/or street view. Good luck and hope this helps!

    • Anna Edgren April 5, 2016 - 11:54 am Reply

      I actually have Gas Buddy but I’ve never looked at anything other than a quick glance at prices – Did not realize it will show you truck icon and photos. That is great to know! Thanks!

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