Away I Go!
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.
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.
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.
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, 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!