Life on Pause and BIG Repairs!
Ok friends it’s official: I’m sick of Desert Hot Springs. This is a GREAT area, but we’ve been here for like 2 months. This is not the RV adventure into the wilderness that I signed up for! Also it’s starting to get HOT. In the 90’s all this week. Boo-hoo I know, but all I can think of is driving up into the cooler mountain air…
Speaking of mountains, I have been spending far too much time lusting over other travelers’ Instagram photos, dreaming of all the fun places I want to go but CAN’T. Over the holidays we spent time with a lot of new traveler-friends, and seeing all the AMAZING places they have gone in the last two months (Baja, Death Valley, Utah, Texas) compared with where I’VE gone in the last 2 months (….Desert Hot Springs……..) is a little bit depressing. I’m trying not to be jealous, but I’m failing.
So why haven’t we gotten the heck out of here yet? The logistics of executing on this separation have proven to be just as tricky as expected… As you may have read previously, we had a number of RV repairs to do on both my RV and Kelly’s RV. We also needed to get our tow situation figured out, since we have 2 people and 3 vehicles between us.
The good news: We got the RVs all fixed!
Long story short, the 1993 Pace Arrow has recently had some problems with the engine. You may have seen from previous posts and photos that we thought we had a problem with the fuel system. Kelly changed the fuel filter on the side of the road, but that didn’t seem to fix it. We were guessing that the fuel pump needed to be replaced. So we made an appointment to take it in to a shop and have it looked over by someone who really knows what they are doing.
Since I am going to be driving this thing solo, I also wanted to have a full safety check done. We have had mechanics look over the RV before, but we have never had a true safety inspection of all the moving parts. When we first bought the RV we had a coolant flush and oil change and had someone make sure the engine and chassis generally looked OK. But a LOT of things in the RV are hidden. You can’t really see what may be wrong until you get under there and start taking things apart. We recently had some new friends (RememberToExplore.com) total their RV when their differential blew out and destroyed their rear axle. I was not even aware that the differential was a part I needed to worry about!! Turns out – quite important. I have a lot to learn.
So I decided to take the RV to a fantastic and thorough mechanic, the kind who works on police and fire vehicles for the city so you know they do good solid work. Note: this also means they are EXPENSIVE, but you get what you pay for – good quality service. I appreciate a mechanic who is going to sit down and explain all of the repairs to me patiently so that I get some education for my money as well, and they have been happy to do that. Since the stakes are higher with me being alone, I decided it would be worth it to invest a bit of money into the RV and make sure it is 100% safe, and all the weird parts that I would never even knew existed are inspected and deemed road-worthy.
Here were the results…
The bad news:
- There were quite a few major overhauls that needed to be done. The big ones: Shocks, brakes, exhaust system, fuel pump and fuel pressure gauge, and yes I DID need the oil in the differential changed, all that remained was black sludge.
- Many of these repairs were very expensive.
- It took absolutely FOREVER to get all the repairs done.
The good news:
- The RV drives like it has had years shaved off its life (which it basically has. It’s a mutant franken-RV with old and new parts mixed together.)
- I feel SO MUCH MORE CONFIDENT in its driving abilities. I wasn’t truly aware of how nervous it made me driving this thing when there were so many outstanding questions about the condition of important interior parts. Knowing that it has been inspected brings great peace of mind.
So with the RVs fixed, the only thing left to do is figure out the tow situation.
Here’s the complication: I’ve pretty much decided I want to sell my Honda Accord and get a vehicle that is more well-suited for towing behind the RV. The Accord is heavy enough to need an independent breaking system, which I would rather avoid. It’s also got 160K+ miles on it. If I installed a tow bar onto it, it would be committing to keeping it for a while, and I don’t know that I want to do that. I would rather get something lightweight, and preferably something that can go lightly off-road. At least more off-road than a 4-door sedan. Ideally something with a tow-package already. I never in my life thought I would be able to say this, but the ideal vehicle for the job would be: the illustrious and prestigious Geo Tracker.
So, done deal – sell the Accord and buy a new car, right? If only it were that simple. The complication is that I JUST payed off the loan on my Honda Accord, and the bank sent the title to my OLD address… Where instead of forwarding it to me it was somehow lost forever in the mail system. Without the title, I can’t sell the Honda Accord. Without selling the Honda Accord, I can’t get a new tow car yet. Without the tow car… We’re stuck in Desert Hot Springs.
So I am going through the bureaucratic nonsense of having a replacement title sent to me (expedited) so that we can get on with this. I plan to start car-hunting now so that once the title is in my hands I am ready to purchase my Geo Tracker (or similar. Although I’m not sure if anything else would really compare. Except for maybe the Isuzu Amigo which I would also accept).
But more good news, since both the RVs are in working order, Kelly and I have been able to officially separate. He is living in his RV and I am living in mine. We are staying in the same RV park together, so it’s not like we’re a world apart, but we have our own space. And……. it’s been really nice. We both agree on this. I know I definitely feel at peace with our decision and I think Kelly does too. Sad but good.
And, a favor: Please cross your fingers for me that my next blog post is me writing to you from a new city with a new car hooked up to the back of my vehicle. Thanks!