Only two days from picking up my camper in Chiliwack, B.C. ( on 10/15), and thought this might be a good time to post about my trip across the country.
First of all, it’s LONNNNNG. It took me six days to get across but one of those days was spent mostly in Sioux Falls, SD and Madison, SD to get my South Dakota driver’s license in Sioux Falls and then go to Madison to check in with my mail forwarding service, My Dakota Address. There are three states that are very good and very popular for full-time RV’rs: South Dakota, Texas and Florida. I chose South Dakota because it’s supposedly the best but, also, it was just a short distance off I-90. Advantages of changing state of domicile? Main one I found was the sales tax rate for my camper: 4% v.s. 8% had I registered in Cleveland. So I saved $1,000.00 right there. No inheritance tax (well, I have to think about those things) No state income tax. And more that I can’t remember at the moment.
* Side Stories are little incidents that happened that may or may not be of interest to everyone. If you’re not really into reading blogs, just skip those.
* [Side Story]: Almost flunked my last eye test for my driver’s license in Cleveland. Was thrilled to read that if you have an unexpired DL, you do not need to go through the testing again in SD. Showed up at the license bureau, got called to the desk, handed over the paperwork I had already filled out and then the clerk directed me to “look through the machine and read the third line.” What???? Well, I guess “no test” meant no DRIVING TEST. So I struggled greatly to read the letters. “Try it again,” she said. And I did. And she then said, “Try it again and I’ll put more light on it.” Tried it again. “OK,” she said, “last chance.” I mustered all the eyeball power I could dig up. “Well, you BARELY passed, I’m going to have to put a restriction on your license. You will have to have side mirrors on your vehicle.” “Oh, good, I have those, doesn’t everyone?” She just glared at me and went back to typing. “What do the side mirrors do?” I persisted. “They help with your blind spot.” Wanted to question her further because I still didn’t get it but figured I’d leave well enough alone. She was kind enough to let me take the test FOUR times and didn’t want to push it. Just glad I got a compassionate clerk and not a grump.
Back to South Dakota. After getting my license, met Teri from mydakotaaddress.com and picked up the mail she had waiting for me. All the paperwork for my trailer had arrived from Escape Industries in Chilliwack, B.C., my debit card (first time I’m ever going to use one) and my cell phone booster (for those times with minimal coverage) which Escape will install when I arrive on the 15th. She then filled out all the paperwork I needed to get my license plate, I walked to the next block, went to Treasurer’s office: no line, nice lady and in 10 minutes had my spankin’ brand new South Dakota license plates.
And westward ho, as a certified resident of South Dakota.
I’ve traveled cross country several times but don’t remember having speed limits of 80 mph. Doing 80 mph through mountains, with winds, hills and endless mountain curves was, honestly, terrifying. I had raced my Triumph TR3 in a road race at Nelson Ledges when I was 17 . . . and won in the women’s division! Fearless! What happened to that woman???? I tried to go slower when I could but didn’t want the lines to form behind me — enough time for that when I’m pulling the camper!!!
Brief return to the beginning of the trip: My dear friend, Cher, spent two days helping me before I left Cleveland 10/6. Cher suggested we try a tip she had seen on Little Houses on TV. I went out and measured the interior of the Tahoe. Then I laid down that measurement inside my condo and taped off the area. We then condensed and loaded everything within that space to be sure it would all fit. Then when we loaded the Tahoe, everything fit perfectly. Great tip to remember.
* [Side Story] I originally thought I would save money and sleep half the nights in the Tahoe. First night woke up from a power nap at a truck stop. Went in to use the facilities and realized I didn’t have my phone. Checked my fanny pack. Checked my pockets. Retraced my steps, searched the Tahoe. Went back to the washroom. Back to the Tahoe and rechecked. Looked underneath. Checked fanny sack and pockets again. Asked the cashiers. Third time to the Tahoe with a flashlight. Asked a couple of customers. Finally accepted that I had lost it and rationalized that I was going to get a new phone anyway and had (hopefully!) backed everything up. Opened my fanny sack to get glasses to look at the audio books on the shelf and there was my phone!!! I celebrated by buying an audio book and a bottle of orange juice. Had hardly slept the night before leaving and only got 2-3 hours this first night. It was tough driving the next day and after being encouraged, decided to just spend the bucks and stay the rest of the nights in motels.
All of the motels were just fine but one was particularly quirky. I felt like I was living in a movie, staying in the Bates Motel. Have to show you this photo of the desk and chair. The bed was attached to the wall and unmoveable. Absolutely impossible to pull the chair away from the desk to sit in it. Yup, quirky but I loved the place. The owner was super nice and there were dogs running all around. What’s not to love?
And since I haven’t had a TV for a couple of years, it was a real treat to watch TV at night, even though I usually only lasted five-ten minutes before falling asleep.
Yesterday drove to Camano Island State Park where I plan on staying after returning from Canada. It is right on Puget Sound and very beautiful. Lucky timing and met the Ranger so got a lot of good information. Evidently there may not be many other campers by the time I get there. Would be nice to have my dog but really have to wait until I’m comfortable learning all the systems in the camper.
7:45 a.m. Pick up brake controller at Escape Industries.
8:00 a.m. Have brake controller installed
11:00a.m. Do two hour orientation at Escape to learn about the systems in the trailer
I will then follow an Escape employee across the border Sumas, WA so he can handle all the customs work
We will then hook up trailer to the Tahoe
Then, will RETURN to Chilliwack and spend the night.
9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Driving class. Especially need to learn how to work brake controller and how to handle hills.
Then heading to Peachland, B.C. to spend a few days with Dave and Bob, the Canadian brothers I met in Osoyoos, B.C. several months ago at the Escape Rally. Also, Bob’s wife Carol and their miniature daschund, Frankie.
And the adventure continues . . .
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