Regret is useless. So, I push it away when it rears its ugly head. I keep envisioning a waterfall. I can't hold out my hand and stop it. I certainly can't reverse it. Instead, I push through, I learn, I go forward.
I was nervous going to the DMV. Though there are thousands of people living as Nomads in this country, and all of those that drive themselves around the country need a Driver's License. That is what I was telling myself. Some of them live in tents, right? So living in a trailer that is registered as a utility trailer shouldn't be a problem.
I called Connie, who has been living in her van until recently. She is the one who directed me to Green Cover Springs for mail service and to establish my address in Florida. She reassured me that the folks at the DMV were very knowledgeable. Thousands of nomads make Green Cove Springs their address. They know how to do this. She didn't need an appointment when she did it, pre-covid. I was comforted by Connie's words, and still nervous.
I had to drive 96 miles back to Green Cove Springs on my second visit because I showed up the first time while camped nearby without an appointment.
I didn't bring my mask in with me.
The woman who waited on me was sniffing the whole time and rubbing her nose. There was a short plastic partition between us, I kept stepping back away from the window.
She asked for the registration on my trailer. I handed it to her. She looked at it and stopped. "Ummm, this isn't an RV," she said.
"I know, they registered it as a utility trailer because it is so light. But it has insulation and windows and electric in it," I told her.
She shook her head, "This won't do."
"What do you mean? I am doing it. What do people do that live in their tents? They still need an ID or driver's license."
She went to speak with another clerk that was clearly more knowledgeable than Sniffing Clerk.
The more experienced clerk said that they had to change the registration of Lilac to be an RV. OK!
"I need to see the vin number," says Miss Sniffy.
"It's there on the registration," I say.
"No, I physically have to go out and see the vin number. Do you have the trailer here?" Miss Sniffy asks.
"No, It is 96 miles away! I had it here the last time I came." I was really worried now. Were they going to make me pull camp and bring Lilac over?
The more experienced clerk told Miss Sniffy she didn't need to see and verify the VIN because it was already registered.
I relaxed a bit and stepped away from the window a few feet.
It took about 45 minutes of me pacing back and forth in front of her window. I finally got my new driver's license. My DL address is now the license plate on Lilac, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043. My smile looks a bit tight, don't you think?
I hate shopping!
On my return from the DMV, my van broke down when I pulled into the campground entrance. So I am at the Suwannee Bicycle Association's annual Pedal and Paddle Event. My next door neighbors, Mari and Jerry were there and so was fellow Withlacoochee Bicyclists, Judy and Ken. I met a lot of people with experience pulling trailers.
I reached out by email, text and phone to friends. I talked with Regis Hampton who has been pulling a trailer with a high-top van for years. That's what I wanted, he said it was a 250NV Nissan.
I reached out to Bill Delouche who had a truck and pulls an airstream. I reached out to Jim Richardson who loves to shop for cars and was willing to help me comparison shop. It was good to have a team to talk to, but I was still pretty stressed.
I wasn't sleeping well.
I still got to kayak a day with the group.
I really enjoyed the great meals and comradery that the event provided. I had a story to tell and lots of people who could provide advice or sympathy.
One day I did a wildflower ride by myself. The wildflowers are the highlight of this event... and the good active people. Later I went on a very short ride with three other women.
People started to leave after the weekend event.
I wanted to hug Mari and Jerry when they left. Why did I sell my house next to them? They are such good neighbors and friends. There I was, questioning my decision... Regret!
I gave them a key to hand over to Debra. I emailed Debra with a request to get the death certificate and the title from my lock box in storage.
And in between the fun, I shopped.
I watched videos on how to figure out the tow capacity of a vehicle and I STILL DON"T KNOW WHAT THE F... they are talking about! How can I estimate the tow capacity? I know my empty trailer weighs about 1200 lbs. But how much my loaded trailer weighs or how much the tongue weighs? No Clue.
I was a chicken. I didn't want to show my ignorance on how to weigh these things at a CAT scale. While watching the videos I learned I could have just gone to the dump! They weigh vehicles coming and going and are usually happy to weigh your vehicles for you. Remind me to do that this summer. But how do you weigh the tongue?
The thing is, it might change, so I need to plan for the change. I felt whiney. The little "I don't wanna" girl was raging.
They have GVWR and GAWR and GCWR and Curb weight and tongue weight. Two bikes, repair kits, air compressor, battery charger, extra shoes, bags, gas stove, and on and on. Maybe 300-800 lbs were in my van? Plus me.
The prices! Wow. They are selling towing vans with 75,000 miles on them for over $40,000!
I wanted a covered van that could tow. I finally learned which vans have the ability to tow over 6,000 lbs. So I searched... and searched on line. Carmax, Truecar, Carvana. I searched for vehicles close and vehicles far. In the beginning I rejected possibilities because they didn't have leather seats. Mari agreed with me I should get a nice one I would be happy with. Different sites wouldn't give me the info or let me search for vehicles with a tow package (Carmax are you listening?). As I ran into dead ends I lowered my standards, but then I couldn't remember where I saw a vehicle that would work but it had cloth seats.
Mari told me, when I go to get a car, I am the boss. "You tell them what you want and what you will pay. They will come back with a higher price. Be prepared to walk."
I'd be walking a long way. I am in a small town and the car dealers are at least 14 miles away.
"Make them bring the car to you to try," she said.
"Oh Mari, won't you please do this with me," I thought.
I would call, I would leave messages, I would email the dealers when I saw a vehicle that might work. Does it have a tow package? I found one all the way in Cumming, GA. I called, I hoped. It turned out not to have the tow package and to be fitted for camping inside. Nope. I like my trailer.
I hate shopping. Did I tell you that?
Finally, I was soooo stressed out I got up one morning (I had rented a car for a couple days and I had to return it) and I decided to go drive a Ford F150. My advisors were telling me it would be a good tow vehicle for me.
I went, I drove, I bought, just do it.
But I forgot to look at the sticker for the GVWR! I checked after I signed the deal. 6500 lbs Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.
It is a horrible deal, I didn't channel Mari at all! I didn't even go in with a set price because all the prices were more than I wanted to spend! I just wanted the whole ordeal to be over.
Regret! I emailed Margaret Juhl who also hates to spend money. She virtually hugged me.
So here it is, my new tow vehicle, Big Blue.