Home vs. Domicile – how do full-time RVers handle mail?

home

Although we travel full-time in our motor home, we are required to have a domicile. You may call it “home”, “where you stay” or “homestead”, but the government authorities insist you have a “domicile” on record.

Your home and domicile can be 2 different places – and for RVers who travel full-time that is often the case.  Our “Home” is where we park it – that is, our RV IS our home. But our “domicile” is Lebanon, Tennessee – that is where we get our mail, have our driver’s licenses and vehicle registered, etc.

NASHVILLE SIGN

For those who live in an SNB (a stick built home NOT an RV) the two addresses are often the same. If you live in an apartment or mobile home park, but get your mail at the Post Office – that is similar to how us full-time RVers handle it. Our RV is our home and it rolls with us – our mail and correspondence gets sent to a physical place and we catch up with it as we can.

Terry and I are spending the Memorial week near Nashville, TN – hence can run by our UPS Store in Lebanon to pick up our mail and Amazon orders that we had sent there. If we were not going to be physically in town, we would have the UPS store forward our mail to the RV Park where we are staying.  This way, we can also restock groceries in our favorite local health food and grocery stores, stop by the been-there-forever farm stand for fresh locally-grown tomatoes and visit with our local RV repair shop.

Changing domiciles – nowadays – can be a real PITA. You used to be able to go into the post office, get your new address, drive to the DMV, apply for a new license and then start notifying everyone “I’ve moved!”…. well, it is no longer that simple. You have to show PROOF to everyone of who you are and where you choose to be domiciled – and of course, because it’s all handled by the Department of Homeland security now, each department has different documents they want you to provide.

MOVING KIT

If you have a commercial driver’s license like Terry and I both do that makes it even more difficult, in addition to the DOT requirements you already need to meet. My last trip to DMV in TN to change from Arizona took 4 different trips and the desk clerk STILL screwed up my mail-to address from the information I had written on their application ! Even the clerks are confused about the process and what CAN and can NOT be used for ID as well as addresses.

You can apply for a voter’s registration card online and mail it in, but everything else that uses that same Voter ID card for proof of who you are, must be notarized and validated. It’s the craziest policy I’ve ever seen in 40+ years of driving, but “it is what it is” and we have to deal with it ~ just like many other parts of our life that are being regulated more and more by our public “servants”. (Do you hear a little sarcasm in there?” Yes, it’s VERY frustrating dealing with “them”!

If you are considering RVing full-time, I highly suggest you join the Escapees RV Club – it was started by a couple who chose early in life to live in an RV as they worked around the country, so they kept in touch with a mimeographed letter to friends and family. We didn’t have email and social media back in the 1980’s! Joe & Kay Peterson were pioneers in the RVing full-time area ~ they are the founders of The Escapees Club ~ and now have a 3rd generation of Petersons (and spouses) along with many other employees & volunteers operating the membership club. In my humble opinion, Escapees is THE BEST RV club for anyone who is interested in this lifestyle we have chosen.

Join Escapees Today!

Join Escapees Today!

They also have their own mail processing center in Texas (soon to be expanded into Florida & South Dakota) and offer LOTS of knowledge to members on the subject of RVing. It doesn’t matter whether you are RVing in a tent, van, pop-up, travel trailer, fifth-wheel or million dollar motor coach, The Escapees Club welcomes you with a warm SKP hug.

If you do decide to join Escapees, please tell them SKP # 90684 referred you. I get a lamplighter pin to add to my name badge 🙂 Thanks! and SKP hugs to you and yours. Happy RViing!

2012-04 – Michigan, mostly …

April took us north into Michigan again. We were here last year in September. This visit the weather was how I always remembered it from our trucking years …. cold, gray and rainy – mostly.  We did enjoy a nice meal in Owosso at the Wrought Iron Grill which is located in the old Woodard Patio Furniture factory building. Wrought iron patio table & chair sets have always reminded me of steamy summer nights enjoying my homes in Florida, so it was fun to see the factory where many of these sets were built.

  The building is beautifully restored and repurposed

Then, we ran over to Holland from our Grand Rapids location to see the tulips in bloom at Dutch Village.  Being in this area manifested another one of my bucket list items. They had not completely opened all shops yet as their annual Grand Opening day is closer to May 1st, but the weather was beautiful when we were there so we stopped at the Holland State Park first – just to see the beach on Lake Michigan.  Here is a link to ALL the pictures I took in Holland, Mi.  

On a Saturday while we were in Grand Rapids (GR to the locals) we visited the Meijer Gardens butterfly display.  Meijer is a wonderful grocery/department store chain in the 5 state area around here. IMHO Meijer is MUCH better than Wal-Mart because they offer organic and locally grown/made products and they contribute back to their communities.  They also have VERY happy employees, which means that the positive attitude starts at the top and filters down.  If we lived here, Meijer would be our #1 choice for MOST provisions.  They also offer some really cool products I have never seen anywhere else – at very reasonable prices.  Check out this retro micro I ALMOST bought …not that I need one at the moment, but boy, was I TEMPTED!

Next we returned to our 2nd favorite locale in our Heartland regional work territory …. The Amish Country of Northern Indiana – where 9 out of 10 RVs are made ….we were in THE RV capital of the world!  Goshen was our hub for this week-long stay even tho our 2-day project was 15 miles north at Dometic in Elkhart. One of the benefits of using the Law of Attraction is that WHEN something you have been focusing on “suddenly” manifests, you know EXACTLY where it came from … there are no coincidences and no 2nd thoughts!

Purchasing a truck & fifth-wheel is our primary focus for this year, so we bought a 2007 F-350 diesel dually 4WD King Ranch  from a local Goshen dealer and spent a long weekend enjoying our new ride thru the Amish countryside.

We also visited Heartland RV’s #1 dealer in Elkhart and walked thru a 2012 CrossRoads model to check out the front living room floor plan.  Front living room fifth-wheels were really popular in the 1908’s and they are coming back again so we wanted to get a feel for them in person. Redwood and Open Range both also makes a front LR floor plan we like.  Isn’t this beautiful ? 

We took an Amish buggy ride in Shipshewana

 after doing some shopping at Yoders Hardware and seeing the restored 1906 Carousel at Davis Mercantile.  Driving the back country roads in this area is such a pleasure when the weather is nice, which it was for our full day riding and walking around.

Mid April found us back in Michigan – first near Kalamazoo, then Lansing, then Detroit and Auburn Hills.   So far in 2012, we have been to the following states working as mobile OSHA hearing technicians.

We ended April with Terry in a local Detroit hospital.  With a prior history of a heart attack, when his symptoms developed beyond what we thought was just the flu, we headed for the ER.  That meant TK had to cancel our last 2 jobs scheduled in Michigan at the last-minute.  The upside for us is we had already checked into a kitchenette suite and had purchased groceries for a week, so we were set for a longer than usual stay.  All worked out OK, heart is fine, he just needs to get over the flu and will be back on his feet shortly.

2011 recap of our first 6 months as mobile OSHA technicians

Image Well, it’s been six months since Terry and I changed careers.  And we are STILL lovin’ it. The honeymoon is over, but we are so grateful for this opportunity.  The timing was PERFECT for us although we didn’t realize at the time, HOW that change would manifest itself.  NOW we are shopping for a full-time RV to finalize our jobs as mobile OSHA Certified Hearing Technicians with The TK Group. As I write this entry we are at our favorite location in the Kansas City, MO area, which we have decided we like VERY MUCH. We’ve either worked or stayed in this area many times over the last six months, so we have learned where everything we need is located, enjoyed lots of GR8 Bar-Be-Que, made some friends and really feel like we are coming to our home away from home when we return.

For now, our favorite crash pad is a Candlewood Suites hotel, but we are looking for a suitable MHP or RVP we can use near this area once we are RVing full-time as we work.

January provided us a week long project in Oklahoma City so we visited the OKC Museum of Art to see the exhibit of Dale Chihuly.  This is the 2nd time we have seen his work, and it always is impressive.  We also took in a rodeo.  The last week in December we spent a whole day at the National Cowboy Museum.

Christmas was spent back in Arizona in our vintage travel trailer, which we left in dry storage right on the same site we camped on. Our trailer is for sale so that is nice, not having to haul it in and out of the previous storage property.  Quail Ridge RV Resort is a great RV park, with full-timers, permanent residents on their leased lots plus overnighters all comfortably on spacious lots.  They often host the annual Cowboy Poetry Festival event, which is coming up in February. It’s only a 20 minute drive into Sierra Vista, Tombstone, or Patagonia from Quail Ridge. Our 2 weeks off at the end of the year included a 3500 mile round-trip from our last work location (Tulsa, Oklahoma) to Arizona, thru Kerrville, TX to visit Mom and back to Tulsa.

November took us to Alabama to visit with my Dad, and we worked in Arkansas and Oklahoma.  By Thanksgiving we were back in KCMO and I was able to cook a full turkey dinner with trimmings in our crock-pot.  Had never done that before, and it turned out better than I expected.

In October, we spent a day in Branson, Missouri where we met with Phil & Lorie, friends of ours who drove over from their new job location in St. Louis, Mo. Four years ago we met them when we both managed self storage locations in Phoenix, AZ.  Phil & Lorie loved living in their motorhome years back, so they are looking forward to purchasing another one some day.  We also enjoyed a few hours in St. Joseph, MO at the Patee House museum and Jesse James museum.

September we were working in Michigan and discovered how many great RVing spots there are in that state … we never knew!  Stumbling on the annual Woodward Dream Cruise was a blast from the past as we drove our Freightliner MDT along with the classic cars for a few miles.  They were taking pictures of us as we were taking pictures of them, laughing all the way. What a blast that was!  We crossed 2 items of our bucket list – the Henry Ford and The Ford Rogue factory tours. We also had a nice tour of the Laura Ingalls Wilder farm home in Missouri.

August was HOT everywhere and Indiana and Illinois were no exception. Having acclimated to the Arizona desert, the corn fields triggered allergies that I never knew I had.  Next year, I will carry Quercetin with me 24/7.  I almost couldn’t get to work one day, I was so miserable. When we took off from AZ in July to take our training classes in Illinois, we crossed another item off our list … the Great Platte River Pioneer museum.  You know, that HUGE bridge that crosses over both the east & west bound lanes of I-80 in Nebraska?  The one everyone says “what IS that thing?” the first time they see it?  Along the way, we stopped at the NRA Whittington center for a visit where Terry became a member before we left.