Small House Big World


Week 1 Solo Complete!

Anna Edgren • April 4, 2016

As a heads up, everyone can go ahead and prepare themselves for lots of hiking selfies… 🙂

After last week’s post a couple of people checked in with me to make sure I was OK. Don’t worry friends! Good news! I AM OK 🙂 I am not sad, I am not fretting, I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the complicated nature of big changes. They will always make me wistful. It’s hard to close one chapter of your life and begin another. That being said, I’m hanging in there! I had a really good first week alone and I’m already feeling like +10 in confidence. My mood is good. I am feeling optimistic. Here’s the latest: 

I found a great little spot in Bullhead City, AZ called Davis Camp. It’s right on the Colorado River, it’s beautiful, it’s relatively quiet, and it’s close to town. I paid $17 a night to dry camp (no hookups) which IS a bit pricey, especially when there is free casino camping just down the road, BUT, I was happy to pay a bit more for a quiet relaxing spot by the river rather than a casino parking lot. I am not ready to head off into the wilderness for solo-boondocking quite yet so this was a good compromise. I needed some pretty scenery to unwind and regather and take nice walks with the dog. This did the trick. 

2016-03-31 09.06.10

2016-03-29 14.51.32

Please ignore how hideously dirty my windshield is… I was attacked by bugs on the highway. It was sudden and unexpected and thankfully over quickly, like someone threw a handful of paintballs at the RV and then ran off. And yes I screamed. 

I did just a little bit of hiking during the week – Max and I explored Grapevine Canyon, where you can see PETROGLYPHS! So cool.

2016-03-30 14.44.16

RV-wise, all has been good, except I have had a couple little incidents with my car and RV:

1. My car battery died on my first 4-hour tow (which I mentioned in my last post).
2. My car engine was idling rough. It has been feeling a bit rough for the past 3 months or so, but it seemed to be worse post-towing. I was very nervous that this was related to the transmission, which is the number 1 thing you have to worry about when flat-towing…
3. My RV’s generator was running a little rough, nothing crazy but doesn’t seem 100%. 

So on Wednesday night I was sitting in the RV, listening to my generator grumble along, and thinking about how embarrassing it would be when it turns out I destroy my Honda Accord within a couple of weeks by flat-towing it incorrectly. Embarrassing yes, and more importantly, costly. I didn’t REALLY have any reason to think I was doing something wrong, but the dead battery and rough idle in the car just made me very nervous.

Thursday morning I decided to go to a coffee shop in town to get out and about. I found the CUTEST coffee shop (firehouse themed, loved it, recommend: Firehouse Coffee). Just next door was a mechanic shop that was advertising that they work on RVs. I decided to stop in and have a quick chat with the guy about my car’s rough idle, the tow set up in general, and the generator.

First, to address the dead battery. I got some advice from fellow RVers that the battery really shouldn’t have died after only 4 hours, even if the car’s clock was on. It should take much longer than that to drain the battery (and it was COMPLETELY drained after 4 hours, didn’t even turn over, just clicked at me). Sure enough the mechanic checked it out and it was not in good shape. So I got a new battery installed which may keep it from dying when I tow even without me pulling a fuse (we’ll have to see). I don’t usually drive more than 5 hours in a day so it might solve that whole problem.

Second, the car’s rough idle. I was VERY pleased to learn that a rough idle would NOT be an indication that something is wrong with the transmission. I had assumed the worst, and thankfully in this case it was unwarranted. After inspection it was determined that my spark plugs were not firing correctly, a quick and easy fix. That seems to have done the trick, it is running much more smoothly now.   

Third, the generator. This is shameful, but we’ve had this RV for over a year and have run the generator for countless hours, and never changed the oil. Oops. There’s a lot of maintenance to keep up with in an RV… Sometimes these things get away from you. This is going on my list of things to pay closer attention to. Getting the oil changed helped a bit with the roughness, and definitely gave me peace of mind. 

Getting these three things taken care of put me in THE BEST MOOD! You know that feeling you get when you’re TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS?! That’s what I have. Feeling good about overcoming these (relatively small) obstacles. Baby steps! 


I’ve been enjoying my time alone and it was also really nice to get out to a coffee shop for a couple of days to work and be in the company of others. I am trying to figure out how much alone time vs. socialization time I will need. We shall see.

Sunday I packed up and drove east toward Flagstaff, AZ. I am about 30 minutes east of Flagstaff in a town called Williams. Northern Arizona is high elevation – around 7K feet where I am now. The whole climate is totally different. Pine trees, cool breezes, it’s very refreshing. It has been quite a while since I’ve been in the company of pine trees, and I missed them. 

I plan to be in this area for the next couple weeks. On my list of places to hit:

– The Grand Canyon!
– Sedona, AZ and Oak Creek Canyon
– Flagstaff, AZ and hopefully a couple of fun breweries

Sounds like a good plan, right? I am looking forward to more exploring in week 2 🙂

Anna Edgren • April 4, 2016

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  1. Jeanette April 4, 2016 - 1:36 pm Reply

    Way to slay the first solo week! You’ll find some the right rhythm soon enough, and get your maintenance on schedule too. You got this.

  2. Eric Udell April 4, 2016 - 2:09 pm Reply

    Change the generator spark plug(s). Like the car, this can be responsible for rough operation. Depending on the generator, this can be fairly easy and can be done with only a few hand tools and a spark plug socket.
    Having oil changes done at a shop can be expensive, but the job is typically very cheap and easy to do yourself, though because of the potential for a mess, most campgrounds aren’t keen on you doing it on their property. Still, it takes only about 10 minutes and a pan. Most generators don’t hold a lot of oil.

  3. Kelly Beasley April 4, 2016 - 2:31 pm Reply

    Like, what’s with the attack of the bugs? That happened to me right at the California/Az border. Paintballs- yes! Loud, too. Glad to hear you are doing well…

    • Anna Edgren April 5, 2016 - 11:55 am Reply

      So funny. It was just this one random SMACK of bugs and that was it.

  4. Su H April 4, 2016 - 3:16 pm Reply

    It’s a great start! The road is yours!! Campe Diem 🙂

  5. Marie Parks April 4, 2016 - 8:49 pm Reply

    Yes, the paintball bugs! That happened to Josh and me when driving our car from Phoenix to Flagstaff. I screamed, too.

    I LOVE love love Flagstaff and the surrounding areas. You’re going to have a great time. Hug a Ponderosa pine for me!

    • Anna Edgren April 5, 2016 - 11:55 am Reply

      That’s too funny about the bugs… And yeah, so far I’m really happy I decided to come here! 🙂 Hugs all around!

  6. Jerry Minchey April 7, 2016 - 7:06 am Reply


    Keep an eye on your generator. Having oil that needs to be changed will not cause a generator to run rough. If the oil level is low, the low oil pressure switch will cause the generator to stop. Changing the generator spark plug like Eric suggest is a good idea. Also, run it with for 30 minutes or so with a full load might help.

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