Small House Big World


Life on Pause and BIG Repairs!

Anna Edgren • March 16, 2016

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 ( 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. 

puppy learning

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.

Geo Tracker

Like this.

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!

Anna Edgren • March 16, 2016

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  1. Eric March 16, 2016 - 7:49 pm Reply

    Glad to hear you’ve got your mechanical woes resolved! We’re off to the local Workhorse dealer to have our diff/axle looked at tomorrow. I think we’ve got a axle seal leaking grease onto the brake.
    You’ll be out adventuring soon!

    • Kerensa March 16, 2016 - 8:10 pm Reply

      So you think that’s what it is now? Eeek. I hope it gets fixed!

  2. Kerensa March 16, 2016 - 8:08 pm Reply

    Oh, man. You’re just making me cringe reading some of this. I’m glad you go the diff oil changed! Here’s hoping you get that title and new car soon.

    • Anna Edgren March 16, 2016 - 8:26 pm Reply

      Haha I know – it was a big relief to know that some of the major systems are now good to go!

  3. Jeff Chandler March 16, 2016 - 8:15 pm Reply

    Glad to hear things are falling in place. We ended up with a Ford Edge as a tow car, but like you said, we needed to install a supplemental braking system. Huge headache. If you’re planning on hanging out west, Chanda and I are planning on a southern Utah trip when I get back from Amsterdam, after I install the new solar panels. Probably early May.

    • Anna Edgren March 16, 2016 - 8:25 pm Reply

      Nice! I am planning to head to Utah, would be great to meet up if we’re there at the same time!

      I am getting some feedback that a supplemental braking system is probably something I want to have regardless of weight, so I will probably be heading down that path regardless.

      • Jeff Chandler March 16, 2016 - 8:48 pm Reply

        I went with the Invisibrake since we move so frequently, I didn’t want to deal with installing something every week when we’re leaving and driving in the middle of the night. Since I went through Camping World, the whole deal (tow bar, bracket, braking system, etc.) ended up being a whole lot more money than I expected (as well as several more days). Later found out we needed a towed battery charger to keep the car battery from dying. On another note, if you end up in west Texas, I highly recommend Balmorhea State Park. It was recommended by a friend for my trip back out to California and one of the best stops I made. Perfect for a day to recharge.

        • Anna Edgren March 17, 2016 - 10:08 am Reply

          I have been moving about every 2 weeks so I’m thinking I might go the cheapest route and do some type of pedal pusher you have to store each time. Not ideal but cheap and easy is what I’m going for at this point. I’ve had too many “whole lot more money than I expected and several more days” incidents in the past month and I’m not looking for another!!! 🙂

  4. Kathy Edgren March 16, 2016 - 8:21 pm Reply

    Fingers crossed!

  5. Brandon French March 17, 2016 - 9:12 am Reply

    I may be bias but Jeep wranglers are great toads! Right around 3500lbs very capable off road, and everybody loves a jeep girl!

    • Anna Edgren March 17, 2016 - 12:09 pm Reply

      I am not opposed to a Jeep but I’m not sure that it’s in the budget after all the repairs I just had to throw down for!

  6. CC March 17, 2016 - 11:13 am Reply

    I saw more GEOs and Samuris for sale in Yuma,AZ than anywhere. A lot were already setup to tow. And they were in very good condition! A lot of retired RVers go through Yuma. Your Accord is worth more so you should be able to trade.

    • Anna Edgren March 17, 2016 - 12:06 pm Reply

      Yuma is DEFINITELY the place to go for all things RV. The only problem is we were there in January and I don’t want to make the trip back again right now… I’m hoping the fairly decent RVer retirement community in the Palm Springs area will have some good options as well!

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