Part 2: Our Wild Vehicle Registration Caper

This is the second and final installment of “Our Wild Vehicle Registration Caper”. 

The drive through Glenwood Canyon is especially beautiful after a snow!
Glenwood Canyon welcomed us with delicate frost on twigs.

On January 14, we were up early in Glenwood Springs, Colorado and off to Denver. It was a brutal 4 degrees when we came out of Glenwood Canyon past Dotsero, Colorado! Weren’t we glad that we had coats, hats, and gloves! We drove 165 miles directly to our DMV location in Denver. What a relief to finally be there with our paperwork in hand! BUT WAIT! As the DMV representatives looked through the paperwork, they noticed that Jorgensen Ford had neglected to notarize a signature! Steve called Jorgensen Ford as Diane seethed! It was roughly 2 p.m. Because we wanted to be back in Tucson by January 20, we had two options. #1 – they re-do the paperwork with it notarized and overnight it OR #2 – we get back in the truck and drive 1,000 miles roundtrip overnight and get it ourselves! Jorgensen called 30 minutes later and provided us with a FedEx tracking number. It was to be delivered by 10:30 a.m the next day!

Our Denver Motor Vehicle Location.

Ours was not the only traveling adventure. Unbelievably, the FedEx envelope traveled to Salt Lake City, Memphis, and then to Denver. Despite the multi-city trip, the FedEx truck pulled up at 10:30 a.m. Off we went back to the DMV. The very helpful DMV representative shuffled through the papers carefully discerning what was what, especially given that the truck was purchased in Utah, so not all papers look alike. He looked up at us and said, “You don’t want to hear this. I will show you the current road block.” Because we were now in 2020 and the truck is a 2016 it needs to have an emissions test. And, it must be done at a location that specializes in diesel emissions. He gave us a list of emissions companies and locations. Diane found one that was first-come, first-serve and “only” charged $55. Of course, we headed there. The truck passed the emissions test!

It was now 2 p.m. and we were back at the DMV waiting for the same representative. When we hand him the emissions test, he had a relieved look on his face. He said, “We are almost done here. All I need is to verify the VIN number on the truck.” At 2:45 p.m. we had our new license plate and vehicle registration in hand, sales tax and registration paid, and walking to our truck to install the new plate. 

The new plate starts with AZI-F. We climbed into the truck and said to each other, “It’s AS IF no one knows anything!” Hmmm….perhaps the name of our truck is AS IF. What do you think?

AZ IF….As If?

In Conclusion

Our Wild Vehicle Registration Caper had costs! In total, the extra driving was approximately 2400 miles. This translates to 160 gallons of diesel fuel and about $500. Along with four hotel stays, RV storage, cancellation fees, some newly purchased food that had to be discarded, and eating more meals out, this caper cost us at least  $1000. Given that we often book six months in advance to get campsites, our disappointment was palpable. The frustration of having to personally intervene and take the paperwork from one point to another added to a very stressful week.

There were several lessons learned. Avoid purchasing a vehicle out-of-state if at all possible. Since our situation made it logistically challenging to purchase elsewhere, the other lesson is to make sure  we and the car dealer have a detailed understanding of what paperwork is required.

The positive side of this escapade was spending two nights with Stephanie and Shane, one night with Mom Lois, one night with Steve’s sister and her family in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and two nights with Diane’s sister and brother-in-law in Los Alamos, New Mexico. We are grateful for the extraordinary hospitality of our family!

We loved our 2-night stay with Stephanie & Shane!

Alrighty…time to get back into the saddle, count our blessings, and keep movin’ at “The Speed of Sanity!”

Back in the saddle and nearing Tucson near night fall on January 20!

Part 1: Our Wild Vehicle Registration Caper

On January 10, we reached our frustration limit and quickly set a plan in motion to resolve what had become a seesaw-effect on paperwork. The seesaw worked like this: Jorgensen Ford sent in the initial paperwork to the Denver DMV. While we were in Denver for four weeks (November 22-December 21), Steve went to our DMV to let them know that paperwork would be coming from Jorgensen. We waited and waited. Steve checked with the DMV to see if the paperwork had arrived. Then, while we were camped in Grand Junction, Colorado, Steve received a call from Jorgensen on December 23 or 24 letting him know that the DMV returned the paperwork. They were requesting additional paperwork. Jorgensen sent paperwork back to the DMV. One of our concerns was that our temporary Utah license plate was due to expire on January 2. We didn’t want to drive with an expired license plate! 

On December 26, we decided to stop at Jorgensen as we were traveling between Grand Junction and Hurricane, Nevada. We expressed our concern about the plate due to expire. Steve asked if Jorgensen could reach out to the Utah DMV to see if the temporary plate could have a time extension. They agreed to look into that possibility.

On January 6, Steve called Jorgensen. They said that a time extension wasn’t possible since the truck was going to be registered in Colorado. Colorado could give us an extension if they had received valid paperwork.

On January 10, Steve received yet another call from Jorgensen that again, the paperwork was returned from the DMV. We had just finished having a “town day” in Parker, Arizona to do laundry, Diane to have a haircut, and to stock up on a week’s worth of groceries. We had just arrived at Buckskin Mountain State Park the night before and wanting to shift gears with a group campfire that night and a group hike on Saturday. Instead, Steve called Jorgensen back to request that someone be available at 8 a.m. on Monday, January 13 for us to personally retrieve the paperwork, and 90 minutes later we were in motion with Plan B. 

To think that we were excited to hit the trails at Buckskin Mountain State Park near Parker, Arizona!

Diane went to the Bucksin Mountain State Park office to cancel the remainder of our 7-night stay. Then she called an RV storage facility in Tucson, who fortunately had a spot for the trailer. She cancelled our Organ Pipe National Monument and Alamo Lake State Park stays, incurring cancellation fees. We cleared our calendar until January 21, when we were due to arrive at Lost Dutchman State Park. We called Stephanie & Shane plus Steve’s Mom Lois to see if we could have overnight stays with them.

That night we checked the weather forecast for the next 10 days in Utah and Colorado. The Arizona forecast was favorable, so we didn’t need to winterize Tranquility the trailer. We nabbed our small suitcases and packed. All of the refrigerator and freezer contents would need to either be thrown out (many of which were just purchased), or we’d need to take them with us. We hitched up the truck to the trailer and prepared as much as we could the evening before in order to get an early start the next morning.

On Saturday, January 11, we were “up and at’em” bright and early packing the last of the toiletries and essentials. Off we went to Tucson, 275 miles. Once at RV storage, we shifted the refrigerator and freezer contents to insulated bags and a cooler. We stopped at Walmart to buy three styrofoam coolers and ice to try to save the food from perishing. Off to a Phoenix hotel we drove, 115 miles. (Oddly, we had just driven I-10 through Phoenix 90 minutes before with the trailer!) 

Tranquility the Trailer was left in storage!
With the trailer is in storage, we are Phoenix bound for the night.

On January 12, we drove from Phoenix to Richfield, Utah, 480 miles. We arrived after dark, filled up the truck with fuel, and hit the sack. Fortunately, we had a big lunch on the late side (Navajo Tacos at Cameron Trading post, Carmeron, AZ – delicious), so fruit and crackers sufficed for dinner.

Navajo Tacos are a must at historic Cameron’s!
A plate sized Navajo Taco!

On January 13, we were at Jorgensen Ford at 7:50 a.m. Despite our best attempts to make sure someone would be there with the paperwork at 8:00 a.m., it didn’t happen. It was not until 8:45 that we were on our way. Our first stop was to get a cup of hot coffee! While we enjoy Starbucks, we also like to support local coffee shops. As luck would have it, there was an independent coffee shop on our way out of town. We handed the barista our cups and she disappeared for quite some time. Hmmm…this sure was taking longer than we expected. When she came back and handed us our to-go cups, she said, “This is from a fresh pot so nice and hot!” As we drove down the main drag towards I-70 and sipped our coffee, guess what? It wasn’t even lukewarm. Did we turn around? Nope! We decided that it was time to leave Richfield, Utah in our rearview mirror with intentions to never return.

A pause at the Sand Beach View Area in Utah as we traveled between Richfield, Utah and Denver, Colorado.

Richfield to the Denver DMV location is 475 miles! This would be a long day. We kept our eyes on the weather radar because there was a winter storm seemingly parked over Vail Pass. At one point via Denver 7 News’s Facebook post, we read that Vail Pass was closed. We verified this through the Colorado Department of Transportation website. Knowing when these storms hit and roads close, motorists need to seek hotel rooms, we were able to nab a room in Glenwood Springs. Though we were stopped short of our goal, it was nice to relax for an afternoon. We enjoyed a late lunch/early dinner at Smoke Modern Barbeque.

A snowy view from our hotel room in Glenwood Springs, Colorado!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Our Wild Vehicle Registration Caper. 

 

 

8 Weeks as Full-time RVers!

It’s been several weeks since our last post. The past few days we’ve reflected a bit on what we wanted to convey in this entry. It is our hope that what we share from our experiences will help others who are considering a full-time RV lifestyle. We are still newbies and will consider ourselves as such until we have at least a year behind us.

We’re still smiling!

Hindsight Leads to Insight

The pace that we kept from October 2017, when we decided to shift to full-time RVers, until July 29 of this year, when we launched full-time, was quite daunting. In hindsight, we should have slowed our pace and extended our launch date another few months. Downsizing was by far the largest task at hand, especially after 43 years of creating our household! Anticipating our house rent would increase in the crazy Denver housing market was part of the impetus for setting July 29 as our launch date. We also wanted to gain some experience with the trailer before autumn and winter arrived. (Ahem…we are certainly doing this!)

The reality is that our July 29-September 2 Midwestern Loop schedule didn’t permit enough “down time” for spending at our campsites. We wouldn’t trade visiting our family and friends for anything. Instead, we should have tweaked our schedule. It’s one thing to have a road trip with just a vehicle, but an entirely different situation when towing a trailer that is one’s home! In retrospect, we needed the extra time to decompress from the pre-launch frenzy.

We are now viewing the Midwestern Loop as our “shake down” trip. Literally, we had some screws loosen in the trailer and a fault develop with our truck bed topper! We also had a good dose of reality those first six weeks going from one campground to another and refining our abilities as far as unhitching/hitching and setting up/breaking camp routines. After 44 years of tent camping, this requires a different skill set! Problem solving through various trouble spots has helped us become better acquainted to the nuances of owning a trailer and big diesel pickup!

Back in Colorado

Alas, when we arrived in Colorado Springs on Labor Day, we spent several days as tourists with dear friends of ours from Pennsylvania. Our daughter and son-in-love drove down from Denver to share in part of one afternoon. It was fantastic to hike the Garden of the Gods, drive up to Pikes Peak, tour the Cave of the Winds, and witness the beauty of the Air Force Academy chapels. 

Balanced Rock, Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs with our Pennsylvania friends.
Protestant Chapel, Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs

A few days later we shifted gears to a week’s stay in the Denver Metro area at Chatfield State Park. We had previously scheduled dental, doctor, and truck oil-change appointments knowing that we’d be back in September. Having time with family was the icing on the cake! Our daughter and son-in-love joined us for camping and hiking at Golden Gate Canyon State Park!

Golden Gate Canyon State Park, hiking with our family.

Truck Issues

The irony of our return to Denver is that with each appointment for the truck, we found ourselves needing to schedule more time in Denver to address truck issues. Thus, our time was extended and reservations to camp at Rocky Mountain National Park were cancelled.

  1.  Our four-month old SnugTop topper had a component break on the rear window when we were in Kansas. The topper was removed by our dealer in Littleton and freighted back to the manufacturer in California for repairs. It’s due back in two weeks. We will return!

    Back to storage we go with items from the trailer or bed of the truck!

    No topper makes a naked looking truck! At least we did some reorganizing and donated more items to ARC!
  2. At Big O Tires, we had a new set of four tires installed and decided to replace the spare too. Oops…the spare tire “key” wasn’t left behind by the previous owner of our truck. (Admittedly, we assumed that everything for changing a spare was packed with the tire-changing kit. Used truck buyer fail on our part). It took some doing with a trip to a different Ford dealer that had a “key” and removed the old spare for us. Back to Big O we went to have the new tire installed on the rim.

    Removing Spare Tire
  3. We left Denver last Thursday to head to the mountains for what we thought would be three weeks only to be faced with a truck engine that was losing power on steep inclines. The turbo boost wouldn’t engage. Fortunately, we made it to Golden Gate Canyon State Park campground, where we stayed for three beautiful days. We were able to schedule a service appointment at our Ford dealer on Tuesday of this week (one week after it was serviced for an oil change) plus get a rental car for a couple of days. Thankfully the drive back to Denver was mostly downhill. Answered prayers were being able to reserve a spot back at Chatfield State Park and having the truck repaired!

    “The Little Engine that Could” Rental Car 🙂

Intentional Awareness

In an attempt to create “Life at the Speed of Sanity”, this is our short list of “intentional awareness” on which we hope to stay focused:
Be flexible.
Be patient.
Balance our pace.
Have a Plan B at all times.
Autumn and winter weather are around the corner.
Smile.
Laugh.

The list looks good. Now to put these into practice.

The mountains are calling!

Colorado Gold at Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Living “Life at the Speed of Sanity”!

~ Diane & Steve