Nick’s Blog

We are Floridians!

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Feb 062016
 

For some time now we have been planning to change our legal domicile from South Dakota to Florida. There were several reasons for this, including the fact that if and when we ever hang up the keys, it will be here in Florida. Other factors in our decision-making were that it’s difficult for fulltime RVers to get health insurance in South Dakota, and that we spend a lot of time here in the Sunshine State. It’s on our normal travel route, whereas we have to go out of our way to go to South Dakota.



The process was quick and relatively easy. Our first step was to register with the Escapees Mail Service and specify that we wanted to use their Sumter Oaks campground in Bushnell as our “official address.” To do that, we had to fill out a couple of forms, have one notarized, and send them, along with copies of our drivers licenses and passports, to the Escapees in Livingston, Texas. When it comes to running mail forwarding services for RVers, these folks wrote the book and they make it very convenient, walking you through the process.

On Wednesday we went to the Tax Assessor’s office here in Bushnell, where a very friendly clerk went over all the documents we would need to satisfy the requirements of proving our Florida residency.

Once we had that done and our address from Escapees established, the next step was to call Chris Yust from C&C insurance and have her issue a Florida insurance policy for our motorhome and Ford Explorer. Then we were good to go.

Yesterday we went back to the Tax Assessor’s office again, waited about 15 minutes to be called to the counter, and presented everything to another very nice clerk. It took him about an hour to issue us our new Florida drivers licenses, which only required an eye test, to register us to vote, and to register the motorhome. Then he asked for the paperwork on the Explorer and we ran into a glitch. Somehow we had left the lien release from when we paid it off at home. So we had to make a quick trip back to the campground, grab it, and go back. Then it took him another 15 minutes or so to issue the title to the Explorer and combination fresh/saltwater fishing licenses for both of us.

Our new drivers licenses are good for eight years, and the registrations on the two vehicles expire in October of 2017.



The total cost for everything was about $1100, most of which was the transfer fees on the two vehicles. It also included a motorcycle endorsement on my driver’s license, and instead of going with the regular plates we opted to pay another $25 per year each for Save the Manatees license plates. This money goes to the Save the Manatees Trust Fund, which funds manatee-related research and conservation management activities. The plates are consecutively numbers, which should make remembering them easier.

Florida plates small

We love these gentle giants of the water and one of the greatest experiences of our RVing life was paddling our Sea Eagle kayaks with them at Crystal River a few years back. We are pleased to help contribute in some small way to their survival. Another $65 of the total fee was for our fishing licenses. Once we turn 65 those licenses will be free and good for life.

We knew that Florida auto and RV insurance was going to cost us more than in South Dakota, and it turned out to be $33 a month more. But that includes disability insurance for loss of income (since we are still working Rvers) if injured in an auto accident. And when it’s time to renew, our vehicle plates will be a lot cheaper than South Dakota so it’s pretty much a break even situation in the long run.

Overall it was a quick and easy process, and we were very pleased with the courtesy and professionalism of the people at the Sumter County Tax Assessor’s office. They are nice folks down there.

With all of that done, our next steps will be to get health insurance for Terry. Since I’m covered by the VA, I’ll be switching to a VA hospital here in Florida. And I still have to apply for my Florida concealed weapons permit. That involves filling out some paperwork, getting a passport style photo taken, getting my fingerprints taken, and paying the appropriate fees. Since I’m an honorably discharged veteran, I can submit my DD 214 in lieu of taking a firearms safety course.

So hello Florida, it’s nice to be your two newest residents!

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Chesapeake 1880 by my friend Ken Rossignol, a tale of life in the Chesapeake Bay region as the industrial revolution changed the world forever. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Chesapeake1880_thumb.jpg

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Enjoy It While You Can

 Posted by at 12:14 am  Nick's Blog
Feb 052016
 

I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you. I’m going to die. And so are you. And your best friend, and your spouse, and sadly, even your kids. It’s going to happen sooner or later. We can’t avoid it. But we can make the most of whatever time we have left here on earth. […]

We Are Home!

 Posted by at 12:36 am  Nick's Blog
Feb 042016
 

Well, actually we’re at the place that will soon be our new legal “home” at the Escapees Sumter Oaks RV park in Bushnell, Florida. But we have stayed here so many times over the years, and so many members of our Escapees extended family are here that it almost feels like coming home. When we […]

A Good Day On the Road

 Posted by at 12:03 am  Nick's Blog
Feb 032016
 

Thunderstorms were predicted for Baldwin County, Alabama yesterday afternoon, and we wanted to be on the road and well ahead of them before they arrived. So we left the Escapees Rainbow Plantation co-op a few minutes after 9 AM, headed for Florida. And it was a good day on the road. We had just under […]

Feb 022016
 

That’s right, you people in the Sunshine State. Roll the awnings up, batten down the hatches, and put another log on the fire. We’re headed to Florida today! We hope to get an early start (early for us being about 9 AM) and hopefully we will be able to outrun the storm that’s supposed to […]

Sunday Means Ice Cream

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Feb 012016
 

Miss Terry hasn’t been feeling very well so we didn’t do much of anything away from the motorhome over the weekend. She got a lot of laundry done and some other chores around the house, while I spent a lot of time researching and writing for my newest Big Lake mystery novel. We did go […]

Jan 312016
 

Note: This story first appeared in the May-June, 2012 issue of the Gypsy Journal. Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C. has a long and interesting history. Most of us know it as the place where President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth on April 14th, 1865, as the president and his wife attended a […]

Crunch Crunch

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Jan 302016
 

For the last few days Terry has had a very stiff neck and a nagging headache. By Thursday evening it was so bad it was making her sick to her stomach and she said her whole body ached. So I asked the folks in the office here at the Escapees Rainbow Plantation if they knew of […]

Jan 292016
 

We drove across the bay to spend yesterday playing tourist in Mobile, and if you’re ever in this part of Alabama, you really need to make some time to explore this historic city which was first settled by the French in 1702. But Mobile has also been under British and Spanish rule before Alabama became […]

Jan 282016
 

I get a lot of e-mails from RVers and wannabe RVers. Most of the time they are nice folks with legitimate questions and I try my best to answer them with advice, or if I don’t know the answer I try to point them in the direction of somebody who does. But sometimes I just […]