Mother Nature was causing havoc across the U.S., rain, snow, sleet, ice, tornadoes, high winds and local flooding. Yikes, nasty stuff! Too bad that Rob had spent quite a bit of time on Monday cleaning the windshield prior to our departure. Only to have it get rained on.
Tuesday, November 26th was check out day for us. Time to say goodbye to Brunswick, GA (and its lovely aroma) and head to St. Augustine. Since it was only a 1-1/2 hour drive, we didn’t need to leave at the crack of dawn so we did a few errands in the morning. A stop at Walmart was a necessity!
Despite being fairly organized people, we’re finding that somehow in all the chaos of selling the house and moving out, we didn’t bring some items, leaving them packed away in the storage unit. Rob’s rain gear was one such item. With the forecast of heavy rains for the day, some type of rain jacket was a must. Luckily he found what he wanted. Good thing – by the time, he disassembled the portable satellite DISH, disconnected all the hookups and a few other tasks – he was totally soaked even with the rain jacket!
Anyway, with Chooey settled on my lap and the other kitties in their hiding places, we finally left Blythe around 11:30 a.m., jumping on to I-95 South. Not a lot of traffic but the periodic torrential downpours made driving slightly unpleasant to the say the least. To avoid going through Jacksonville, we took the 295 east bypass. Again not much traffic and just after we passed Jacksonville, the rain stopped so after that it was a fairly easy ride.
Our destination was Stage Coach RV Resort in St. Augustine so we exited off of I-95 at exit 318, took a right on SR-16 then an immediate left on to SR-208, arriving there around 1:30 p.m. This campground has very close proximity and easy on-off access to I-95. In the office, we were greeted by two very nice, friendly women who assigned us to a pull-through, Site #40. No pool, clubhouse or other amenities here but each site does have full hookups, a cement pad and a picnic table. There is very wide spacing between sites here, unusual for a private campground.
We’ve been to St. A several times before but our main purpose this trip was not to do a lot of sightseeing but to visit the Clay County DMV so we could get new FL licenses and register our van in FL. Why Clay County? Our official new address for tax purposes is through a mail forwarding service that we have used for the past several years, St. Brendan’s Isle in Green Cove Springs in Clay County.
SBI provides mail forwarding services to RV’ers, Boat Cruisers or for anyone who travels. Whether fulltime RV’ers, live aboard cruisers or just part time travelers, for a reasonable monthly fee you can have your mail forwarded to the address SBI gives you.
Those services seem similar to many other mail forwarders but SBI goes a step further and will scan each envelope that arrives – you can then log into your online account, view each scanned envelope and make a decision as to whether that piece of mail should be forwarded, shredded or held. Can’t wait to have it forwarded? For a small $0.25/page charge SBI will open and scan the contents of the envelope then send you a pdf via email. SBI also offers other services like proxy signing your federal boat documentation and such. We have found the service to be very reliable, useful and reasonably priced.
Since we weren’t sure where the DMV was and we also had questions about exactly what we needed to bring, we decided to take a ride to Green Cove Springs and stop by St. Brendan’s Isle to pick up our accumulated mail and find out where we needed to go on Wednesday.
The nice folks at SBI welcomed us “home”, produced all our accumulated mail and packages and gave us directions to the Clay County Administration building where the DMV is located plus some advice on what to bring with us as proof of residency. Since the administrative offices were still open, we drove over and went inside where our questions were confirmed by the receptionist. Pretty big place! Probably three times the size of a typical DMV office in MA.
We were given a list of the requirements for obtaining a Florida drivers license which explains what documents you need to bring and points you to a website, GatherGoGet.com. In addition to our existing MA licenses (MA is a reciprocal state so no testing required), to apply for FL driver licenses we would also need two items proving our identity as well as two bills or other mailed items showing our residential address. To re-register the car in FL, we would also need the title to the vehicle, proof of insurance and of course to bring our vehicle with us so they could check the VIN and odometer. She also told us that all of this was going to be expensive!
The woman at SBI caused us some confusion and a little apprehension because she said that the two documents showing our residential address actually had to be something that was mailed to us in its original envelope. Obviously we don’t have utility bills or a deed so it would have to be a bank statement or something like that. Since we do everything on-line, I asked her if we could print an on-line statement as proof but her response was that we could try but she didn’t think they would accept that. That caused some concern and confusion especially for me since my MA license was expiring the next day. What would I do if I couldn’t get a new license? As it turned out it was a non issue and the items we presented were perfectly acceptable including a self printed bank statement.
We didn’t spend any more time in Green Cove Springs, since we knew we needed to gather and print out the documents we needed. Plus I needed to call our existing insurance carrier, Liberty Mutual, to switch our existing MA car insurance over to FL. Prior to the closing on the house, I had called several insurance companies to get new quotes. Boy, insuring your vehicle in FL is much more expensive than MA – must be all those old people down here! We had originally intended to insure our car with Blue Sky who holds our motorhome policy, but ended up sticking with our current car policy holder Liberty Mutual, who offered us the same policy at about 30% less than Blue Sky (but still about 30% higher than our old MA policy). Oddly, Blue Sky wanted almost as much to insure our 2007 Honda Odyssey minivan as they are charging us for our 2013 (and significantly more valuable) motorhome – and the motorhome has a full replacement value coverage! Hmmm. In any case, within an hour we had our proof of insurance from Liberty Mutual.
OK then, we had our MA licenses, our passports and SS cards, several bank documents showing our FL address as well as the motor home registration (already registered in Clay County from the day we bought it) which needed renewal, the title for our Odyssey and our proof of insurance. We were good to go (we hoped)!
Stay tuned for Rob & Linda’s really excellent DMV adventure!