Preparing to Go Solo
First off: News. Kelly bought an RV! A 1989 Pace Arrow (keeping it in the family). It is currently in the shop being serviced so we are unsure when his moving date will be. It’s a work in progress. In the meantime, Kelly and I have each been gathering resources and trying to prepare ourselves to go on the road solo. This is a big transition period and there is a LOT to consider. We want to make sure both of us have our ducks in a row and are ready to tackle problems as they arise.
When considering going solo, it is all too easy to imagine how difficult certain situations would be to handle alone. For example, just the other day we had to stop on the side of the highway when our awning decided it wanted to come out and party on an extremely windy day. We were barely able to wrangle it back into place together. The thought of dealing with these types of issues alone is… in a word… terrifying. So we’re both trying to find ways to minimize the terrifying parts, teach ourselves any necessary skills we may be lacking, and be strong independent people who are ready to take this on! Here is what we’re doing:
1. We both got Coach Net. I officially consider this to be a must-have for any new RVer. Scratch that – any RVer period. Coach Net offers a lot of services to RVers, including discounts and repair advice, but most importantly: You pay them approximately $150 a year and if your RV needs to be towed, they will tow it and cover the cost. Period. Towing an RV is guaranteed to be expensive, and depending on exactly how far into the middle of nowhere you’ve managed to get yourself, it can be UNGODLY expensive. With Coach Net, you can put all those worries aside. In the middle of the forest, in the middle of the desert, or on the side of a busy highway, Coach Net will come and tow you to a repair shop. We’ve already used them once and I can’t tell you how thankful we were to have that option. I am not affiliated in any way with Coach-Net (but man I should be, this is a pretty good sales pitch). I just think it’s a great thing to have if you are an RVer.
2. We are both getting our RVs serviced and tuned up. My RV (still weird to say that) is getting new shocks, and a total overhaul of the brake and exhaust system. I for one am VERY excited to have my repairs done, despite the ridiculous expense. It will bring me a lot of peace of mind to know the RV I’m driving is safe. Kelly’s RV is getting a new alternator and new front tires. He may have to get more done – time will tell. He plans to make sure enough is done to get his RV good to go as well. And, worst case scenario, again, we have Coach-Net for emergencies (and our regular insurance as well of course).
3. Learning each other’s RV responsibilities. As a couple, you often split up tasks. Kelly’s jobs in the RV were things like dumping the tanks, hooking up the electricity and water connections, and fixing things as they broke (think: cabinets coming unhinged, a dripping faucet, various screws flying out of their respective homes.) I have been shadowing Kelly as he makes repairs to get pointers for when I have to handle this stuff alone. Last week I watched him change the fuel filter, which I now totally understand how to do and pray to god I never have to do myself.
I’ve even had the opportunity to tackle a couple of things myself. I am VERY excited to announce that I changed the passenger-side headlight in my Honda Accord and it only took me 45 swearing-filled minutes (it’s more difficult than you’d think, I promise). And as of yesterday I officially hooked up the water, electricity and even the sewer hose for the first time WITHOUT getting poop everywhere, which I’m considering a real accomplishment.
Now, when it comes to me teaching Kelly a thing or two… the only real specialized RV knowledge I have to share is how to drive the thing. Which, to be fair, is a pretty important part. I have been giving him some pointers on things to pay attention to when driving and I think that’s been helpful. I think he will get the hang of it no problem! My next task will be learning how to drive WITH the tow car I plan to install… Oh boy.
4. Planning our next steps. We still have a few things to take care of before we part ways. First, Kelly’s RV needs to be fixed up and ready to live in. Second, I need to purchase a base plate so that I can get a tow bar installed. Right now we have 3 vehicles between the 2 of us and no way to tow! We’re hoping to get those items sorted out in the next few weeks and then we will make plans to move out of this area. Possibly together or possibly apart, depending on how comfortable we’re feeling. We’ve been in Desert Hot Springs now for a few weeks, and will certainly be here for a few more so we’re not rushing anything. Not that I’m complaining. It is GORGEOUS here, and the weather has been spectacular.
Here’s a quick update on what we’ve been doing when we’re NOT worrying about this whole upheaval:
- Enjoying the HECK out of the pool and spa at our RV park, Catalina RV Spa & Resort.
- Hanging out with the always entertaining Ardent Campers
- Eating Mexican Food at our new favorite Desert Hot Springs locale: South of the Border
- Eating one too many Hot & Ready pizzas from the all-too-close Little Caesar’s in town (we’ve been a little lazy about cooking. And by we I mean me).
- Taking the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the near-top of Mt. San Jacinto and hiking around.
- Taking great walks in the desert with the pooch
Despite the tumultuous nature of this transition, I am continually reminded that the world is a beautiful place and I am so thankful to be able to get outside and experience it. And let’s be real, it doesn’t hurt that it is February and I’ve been wearing shorts and tank-tops every day. Excluding the day I got to go play in the snow on the top of Mt. San Jacinto. Which I am not complaining about. Because it was pretty cool.