Florida Domicile or Texas Resident?

We have now been both and used two different mailing/PMB services. Here is our insights on both registrations and why we are in the process of changing to Florida.

PMB is a Personal Mail Box, and is different from a PO Box. The main differences are a PMB works with the Postal Service to provide an address, can sign for all types of mail on our behalf and forwards our mail as we request it. This is prevents us from having to use a relative’s address and making them responsible for our stuff.

Texas Resident, 183 Rainbow Road PMB (Personal Mail Box), RV Escapees

We joined RV Escapees and received our PMB the week we moved into the RV. We then went to Livingston, Texas to see the campground and mail facility (we were curious) and had the vehicles inspected. Once that was done we went to the vehicles registered with the PMB as the address and that was a pretty easy process and all total cost around $1500 for the Jeep and RV. We love state parks and Texas offers tags that support them; so we of course got plates with the Texas Horned Lizard on it for our Jeep and RV.

Texas Horned Lizard License Plate
This is an example plate from http://conservationplate.org/

Then we hit a snag. We went to the DMV in Livingston we were told we had to get a CDL (Commercial Drivers License). Full stop. What?!?! This is not enforced everywhere in Texas, as we have learned from other RVers, but in Livingston they are well aware of this requirement (we were not aware prior to showing up). We decided we had a lot of studying to do so for the time being we kept Virginia drivers license. Another thing to know about Texas is that inspections are due annually, although they allow you to pay for registration online and then they want you to get the inspection whenever you’re back in the state. This was good for us, but I am not sure how flexible they are if it’s more than a few months “past due.”

Escapees

The mail forwarding service is helpful, yet clunky. The online site for Escapees is not the easiest to navigate but once I learned how to use it it was fine. A couple difficulties are the billing, there is no reminder or automatic renewal. I am only finding out that we have not made a payment for the scanning service (we pay for a few months at a time) after I don’t receive an email with scanned mail for weeks. Secondly, and most annoying, is the way my request for mail forwarding works. To make the request we send an email, requesting it; easy enough. We are often forwarding mail to one of Andrew’s offices where I am not an employee. So I request to have the business name first, and then C/O Andrew Debnar on the second line. Escapees WILL NOT ACCOMMODATE THIS! So, every time we have mail forwarded it has my name first (they say that’s how the account is setup) and then Andrew’s name and then the mailing address. Not even his company’s name even though I type it exactly as it should appear in every email. This is not ideal for his mail-room co-workers (remember my name is first and I am not an employee) and we have had a package with our mail lost for a week at another business close by… they had no idea to take it next door as Andrew’s name is not on the building! Sigh.

Florida Domicile, 411 Walnut Street, St. Brendan’s Isle

We decided to get Florida Domicile because we did not want to have to study for a CDL when I know I will never drive as a professional (Andrew might, someday and he can get a CDL at that point). We considered Nevada, as they have a special RV license (which sounded like a good idea) but they require annual inspections like Texas and we didn’t want to have to be anywhere, every year, if we didn’t want to be.¬†After some research we decided Florida was the easiest option as we don’t ever need an inspection (no trips back unless we want to be there), we don’t need a CDL, and we don’t need to take a special RV driving test (not that the RV license is something I’m against). We also decided to try a different PMB company; so here’s the experience so far!

We joined in December 2018 and went to Florida to get the vehicles registered. This process was different than Texas. The company is not actually at 411 Walnut Street anymore. They grew and needed a larger facility. We saw the new facility and met the staff who were really helpful giving us tips on how to get domicile, registration, etc.

The next morning, we went to the County Courthouse down the street from St. Brendan’s Isle to get our Domicile paperwork completed. We were there right at 8:00 a.m. and this was perfect timing. When we left 15 minutes later the line to get through security was out the door. We guessed that court must start around 9.

Next, we went to the DMV in Green Cove Springs, Clay County to register our RV. Because the title is held by the bank we started the paperwork (they request the title by snail mail) and were told they’d call us when they received the title to complete the registration. We got in touch with our bank on our own and they sent the title in about two weeks time. Due to the time it takes to register new residents living in an RV, the DMV staff implemented what seemed to be new rules (there was confusion about the rules and how to proceed depending on which employee we spoke to). Ultimately, in order to register the RV we had to get a “ticket” and wait for the number to be called. Then, when that was completed, we had to get a new “ticket” for the Jeep and wait for that number to be called, and then the motorcycle, and then for the drivers licenses. This was a bit annoying, but three vehicle registrations and two drivers licenses were all completed in only two hours. Also, they offer tons of license plates that support all sorts of things, so we ended up with Protect the Panther on the Jeep, Everglades River of Grass (with a spoonbill on it) on our RV, and Florida Bikers Care Alliance for Persons with Disabilities on the motorcycle. Yay for good causes!

Picture
This is an example plate from https://myfloridaspecialtyplate.com/everglades-river-of-grass.html 

St. Brendan’s Isle

The mail forwarding service seems to be easier so far. We have not forwarded mail yet, but did have a number of packages delivered there as we waited for the registration process and were able to pickup our items easily. The online site is very easy to navigate and when the envelopes are scanned the options to view, scan, shred, or say it’s not mine are a click away. The best part is when we want the mail forwarded there is a place in our online account to make the request and whatever I put in there is what will be on the address label. This should make sending things to Andrew’s office much easier and less confusing for his co-workers.

 

New Project: Daily Photo from my Window

This will be my project for 2019. I will share an unedited photo each day as a way to demonstrate the reality of our life. This might give you a different perspective of living in an RV… it will allow me the opportunity to be really present. So, thanks!

Enter Osceola Wildlife Management Area, Ocean Lake Campground, Florida

Osceola Wildlife Management Area, Ocean Lake Campground, Florida

Been a While

We are enjoying our lives… just didn’t feel like posting for a while. Honesty, I was tired of the politics, and the fired up people we met that felt the need to share their views. Some uncomfortable learning experiences for us along the way. Nonetheless, we love the places we traveled and enjoyed most of the people we meet!

We ended 2016 and spent the first five months of 2017 traveling around.

After leaving my parent’s house in VA we went to the Florida Keys… warm and beautiful in the early winter.

We got to live here, on the shore of Grassy Key, for a week!

Then through the panhandle and on to New Orleans.

A small state park in Florida. We love free campsites!
NOLA

A short stop on the Gulf of Mexico, Texas before a long “office work stay” in the Dallas area.

Another free campsite.

From there we enjoyed Big Bend and western Texas which I’ll write more about in another post.

Through Quartzsite, Arizona and into southern Cali to spend time at BLM outside Joshua Tree. While in San Diego I visited a friend, and we stopped at a few Harvest Host locations and enjoy wines…

California
Joshua Tree National Park, outside the south entrance: I know this is a little stylized, but the sky really does look like this at sunset! We lived here for a month.

…to LA for another long “office-work stay” and then to San Francisco for a Google conference and onto many stunning places all over central and northern California.

This whole spring and summer we got to enjoy wild flowers like this from CA to AK!
San Francisco
One example of Harvest Host, CA: This vineyard was our back yard for a day and night. Delicious, fun, free opportunities when you become a member… https://harvesthosts.com/

Another free campsite at Rhyolite, NV. This is an old abandoned town that even had electricity. Funny story; Andrew thought we could find a spot easily so he didn’t unhook the Jeep to check out the road. So, we were stuck on a ridge, on a dirt one way road with our RV. We unhooked, completed about a ten point turn, and survived! Later we drove that road and many others with the Jeep… there was no way we would have been able to go much further in the RV.

The brown lumps in the center of the photo are wild burros.

Onto Reno which is an “office working stay” I really enjoy.

Washoe Lake State Park, NV
Truckee River, Reno, NV
Pyramid Lake, NV

Then we were in Utah where Andrew stayed a week without me when I went back to the east coast to visit my parents and attend a conference in Garrison, NY.

This is the area where salt comes from (Morton and other companies had signs marking what was their property along this road). Pretty neat to see this on our way to a BML near Salt Lake, UT.
Middle Fork, UT: Our backyard trails while we were staying on Wildlife Managed land.

When I returned, we immediately drove to Glacier National Park, MT before our month long journey through Canada to Alaska! More on that in another post.

Thanks for reading!