Thursday, May 30, 2013

Family Get-Together, Driver's License Woes and RV Shopping...


Fun Family Time...
May 15-18 we spent in Boulder, CO at a mini-family-reunion.  Robin's parents came in from NC and we all met at her brother and sister-in-law's wonderful home in the hills outside of Boulder.

One evening Robin's cousin, Gary, and his wife, Sherilyn, dropped by.  All 8 of us went to a nice Mexican food restaurant.  Good food, good company - things don't get a lot better.

Driven to Distraction Getting our Driver's Licenses...
Prior to the family thing, we stored the motorhome and trailer in Cheyenne, WY and ran up to Rapid City, SD to finally get our drivers' licenses.  That turned into a fiasco because we arrived at the DL place early Monday morning only to find it is closed on Mondays.  Sheesh.

I had read that the smaller towns in SD have only a day or two of DL office operations per week.  Knowing that, I called Rapid City a while back and specifically asked if they were open "every day" compared to smaller towns.  I must have been unclear because the person assured me that they certainly are open everyday.  I guess every day in this scenario means that they are open every day that they are open.  Grrrrr.

Anyway, we stayed in the area an extra day.  We ran up to Mt. Rushmore and then relaxed at a campground back in Rapid City.

Mt. Rushmore is pretty neat.  We liked it but it is one of those "been there, done that" places.

Tuesday morning we hurried over to the DL place to get things wrapped up.  Not so quick and easy there pardner.  We are the government and we do things our own way.

I knew I had all the documentation necessary because I had called to make sure.  You see, any name change in a person's history must be documented.  We had Robin's birth certificate and marriage licenses showing her full history.  Guess what - her birth certificate did not have that fancy embossed circle saying it is an "Official Certified Copy" so the uber helpful DL gal cheerily told us we could  not get her DL.  No offer for further help or anything  - "Photo copies of birth certs are not acceptable - you can't get your DL."

Needless to say, we were a bit miffed.

We left grumbling to ourselves that our 600 mile round trip from Cheyenne to Rapid City was a bust.  Then I remembered "Hey, I  used to work for the government.  There is always a way around something, you just have to get to the right person."

We returned to the office and I asked to speak to a manager.  We explained that we were in the midst of a 600 mile trip specifically for this purpose and hoped that there was an answer.

We were referred to a supervisor who apparently needed to establish his superiority.  He gruffly wanted to know what was going on.  I explained that we are full-time RVers and had driven specifically to Rapid City in order to get our our DLs and were hoping for help in avoiding another long trip.

He responded contemptuously "So you want to get a driver's license here but you don't want to spend any time in our state."

"Yeah, right.  We just want to give you all our taxes!"

Now, with both our attitudes sufficiently piqued we got down to business.

We had another issue:  our marriage certificate did not have the all-so-important embossed seal.  Rats.

Oh - and guess what.  In order to get a DL, one must show a receipt of having stayed in a hotel or campground for at least one night.  No problem.  I knew the regulation and we had just spent two nights.  Wellllllll.  Said receipt was made out to Kevin.  Unbeknownst to us, we needed to have Robin's name on the receipt.  I guess they were concerned that she may have hitch-hiked in that morning from out of state to get her DL.   Sheesh #2.

I called the RV park and explained the situation.  The owner laughed and said he knew of the requirement.  He added Robin's name to the receipt and faxed it to the DL office.   We really appreciated his assistance.  (Sure glad it did not require an embossed seal of some sort...)

If you ever pass through Rapid City, SD be sure to camp or rent a cabin at Lake Park Campground.  Besides being helpful to us, this is a very nice campground.

Scrooge harrumphed away from his desk.   The workers at positions on each side offered smiles and eye-rolls toward his vacant spot.  I told them I got the message and was certainly glad to not be in their roles.  It must be frustrating trying to work within the crazy constraints.  Their friendliness and brief interaction helped us improve our attitude toward the whole ridiculous process.

Scrooge returned.  He said he was going to give Robin a 6 month extension on her TX license.  We need to gather the required embossed items and send them to Pierre.

"Great - who is Pierre?"  Oh.  Right.  Pierre is the capital of South Dakota - As a resident I should have known that right away.  Sheesh on me this time!!

We left with somewhat of a feeling of accomplishment toward getting a resolution.  We were happy I got my DL with no problems.  We'll see what Pierre has to say....

Having Fun Looking at New Rigs...
After leaving Rapid City we scooted over to Casper, WY to visit one of the larger Arctic Fox RV dealerships in this part of the country.  Arctic Fox is renowned for their 4 season utility.   They are a relatively low volume manufacturer so there are not many to view in person.  We have heard nothing but good things about them and wanted to tour some units.

Were we impressed.  We fell in love with a 2013 model 32-5M.  It was a struggle resisting the temptation to work a deal on the spot.

After Arctic Fox we headed south toward Boulder and stopped at a Montana dealer in Longmont, CO.  Boy, were we surprised and impressed with the Montana lines.  We used to lump Montanas into the mid-range line of 5th wheels.  They have really stepped up their quality in the last few years.  Were we to buy, Montana would be a contender.

We enjoy RV shopping.  Fortunately, we are not in any kind of hurry to purchase something.  We will research and tour more rigs as we can.

Our visit in Boulder was a lot of fun.  We always enjoy our time with Robin's family.  Visiting family counts as "Chasin' Our Dreams!"