The Epic Quest to Become Texans

Currently we’re camped at the Escapees headquarters, the club that helps us with residency paperwork. This place is far from grand, but more on that later. Here’s my status on our residency quest, which I can’t imagine you’ll find interesting; still it’s all part of our adventure.

So, we do have an official address in Texas thanks to the Escapees, and we’ve even successfully registered to vote. There’s the whole vehicle issue though, which is always complicated, but more so with a travel trailer and one you live in, to boot.

Weigh the Rig

On our way to the Escapees, we stopped at a truck stop to use the weight station, since you need to know your weight to get inspected.

Tracy watched a YouTube video on how to do this and then downloaded and app (of course!), and it was easy as pie. Turns out the truck and trailer weigh around 17,000 lbs together, and that’s with no water in the tanks but a new case of beer in the back.

Inspect the Rig

Next we drove to nowhere Texas to a guy with a mighty goatee who said he’d inspect both the truck and the trailer, and he was hard to find: Tracy spent a couple of days chasing leads to get him.

He lives in a mobile home with four barking dogs and a huge shed out back that you just drive into, where you chat with him about your rig.

Tracy expected this to take about 45 minutes as he got under the trailer to look at the axles and brakes, etc. I think it took about ten, as he eyeballed a few things, entered a few things into his computer, asked to see our insurance, then shook Tracy’s hand.

We were so relieved that it went smoothly that it wasn’t until Tracy was maneuvering our way out of this guy’s personal compound that Tracy thought to squirt his handshake hand with Purel.

One reason we were anxious about the inspection is that that very morning, the truck check engine light came one, and it started acting sluggish when Tracy presses the accelerator. The thing is brand new and under warrantee, but you never know what this could mean. The code he gets when he logs into the truck’s computer is, “Engine light is on.” No kidding.

That didn’t bother our inspection goatee dude. It does bother us though, and we have an appointment next week at a RAM dealership to find out what’s up. I added a week to our campground reservation just in case.

Register the Rig

In Maryland and Virginia, you go to the DMV to register your vehicles and to get your drivers license, but here it’s two different places, and although the documentation is unclear about whether you have to have Texas insurance before registering, it’s plain as day that you have to have the registration before you can get your license.

And we don’t yet have Texas insurance because insurance for an RV that is also your home is provided by only a handful of companies, and they’re not in a hurry to provide quotes.

After a Herculean effort by Tracy, he did get plates for both the truck and the trailer, plus a quote late last night from an insurance company (although it’s almost twice as much as we pay for the policy in Maryland).

The plates are still on Tracy’s makeshift desk behind the sofa in the trailer, though, because we might need them for our drivers license applications.

Drivers Licenses

Like everywhere, staff is behind on this stuff, and the next appointment we can get online is in 2021. But an obscure spot on the government website says if you show up early in the morning, you might be able to get a same-day appointment.

Not. Yesterday at 8 am we were told that many of staff at the local office were home sick with coronavirus, so no appointments that day. We’re to come back on Monday. Yippee.

Even then I doubt this will happen right away: I used to tell Finn when he was new to this to expect to take three trips to DMV to get anything done, no matter how sure you are that you have all your paperwork.

For us the trickiest paperwork (in addition to not quite yet having Texas insurance) is proving residency. We don’t have utility bills (or a gun license, which is #2 on the list of allowable proof). But we do have bank statements, and we chose the hometown to the Escapees to do this in, so maybe the government employees will be familiar with folks like us.

When this does finally happen, I will be bummed to surrender my best-ever license photo, and in fact the best I think that has ever been made, since I look better in this picture than I do in real life. When does that happen, I ask you?

For this new photo (if we ever get to that stage), I haven’t had a hair cut in seven months, and rarely is my hair clean. Can’t wait for this new picture.

I’m sure you’re waiting with baited breath. In the meantime, you guys stay safe, and give ‘em hell.

7 thoughts to “The Epic Quest to Become Texans”

  1. Shelly, I’m convinced there are magical elves inside the cameras at Maryland MVA offices. I too have sorrowfully relinquished an outdated license because of the better-than-real-life photo!

  2. For my best ever license photo I applied for a lost license so I could keep the only one that made me look unlike an escaped con.