Changing our Domicile to Florida – Part Two

Welcome to part two of our “moving” blog.  You can view part one here.

To get a driver’s license in Florida, you need several forms of identification.  We used our South Dakota drivers license, Passports and social security cards.  Florida does recognize SD licenses as a primary form of ID, but for some reason, they do not recognize licenses from 20 other states as a primary form.  It is best to be safe and have more ID then needed.  You can read more about the requirements at the website.

In addition, you must have two pieces of mail from your new address to get your license. (and the mail must have all names of those registering on it, and be from a bank, utility, insurance company, etc.)   So it is very important to set up your mailing address about a month before you officially change your domicile, to insure you have the proper mail to complete the process.

Also, you must have proof of automobile insurance issued by a Florida agent before you can apply for your driver’s license.

When we signed up with St Brendan’s Isle as our mail forwarding service, we stated we would come in person to complete the forms in person, and pick up our first batch of mail. They were very helpful and went over the forms we needed, and gave us a map of the area so we knew which buildings to go to, and what order.  Our only “glitch” at the time, was getting our VIN number verified for our 5th wheel.

Florida does require a VIN verification of any vehicle getting registered in Florida.  When we left Amazon in Indiana, we drove down through Atlanta (on a Sunday with minimal traffic) and stayed overnight just south of the city.  It was a long travel day, but we needed to get to Florida before everyone closed up for Christmas.  The next day we stopped in Lake City, Florida which is near the intersection of I-10 and I-75.  We decided to stay here, even though it was another 65 miles to Green Cove Springs. We figured we could just contact the police, have them verify the VIN on the 5th wheel, and then drive in to Green Cove Springs and complete the rest of the registration process.

However, the police in Lake City require you to go to their courthouse in town, pay a $4.00 fee, then call them back and they will have an officer come out when they have time.  Since we only had the afternoon to complete our registration without staying another day, we decided to just skip this step, and register the 5th wheel another time via mail.  We were not aware there would be a fee to have the VIN verified. (more on that later)

After picking up our mail, we drove over to the Clay County Courthouse and filed our Declaration of Domicile.  This form is needed to register to vote in Florida.  We used our SD Drivers license as our proof of identification.  The cost for this form is $15.00 per person, which includes a $10 filing fee and $5.00 notary fee.  We had two young couples ahead of us in line applying for marriage licenses, so our wait was about 15 minutes to complete this process.

Clay County Courthouse

Clay County Courthouse

After the courthouse, we went to the Clay County Administration Building to apply for our drivers license and vehicle registration.  After making sure we had all of our paperwork, they gave us a number and told us to have a seat in the waiting area.  But before our butts hit the chairs, our number was called.  We encountered the most pleasant employee, Christie, who made for a very smooth process. (that’s right….a pleasant DMV employee!!)   She also stated they are now able to complete our voter registration, so we did not need to go to another building to complete that.

Clay County Administrative Building

Clay County Administrative Building

We explained that we were not able to verify the VIN on our 5th wheel, and mentioned the fee that the Lake City police were going to charge.  She said she has never heard of any law enforcement department charging for that service, and several of the other employees who heard us talking mentioned that as well.  So apparently the charge is just unique to that city.  She also stated since our fifth wheel did not have an odometer, it did not need the VIN inspection, and she could register it because we had the original, clear title, which had the VIN on it.  We were very happy about that!! She did go out with Dan and verified the VIN and odometer on the truck.

She scanned all of our documentation in for the drivers licenses, and we did a very simple eye test, and took our photos.  Christie even re-took Dan’s photo, because she didn’t like the way the first one came out.  The driver’s license (good until our birthdays in 2023) cost $48.00 plus a $6.25 service fee.  In Florida, you can renew your license up to 18 months prior to expiration, and you can renew on-line or by mail one time, before you have to appear again at the DMV.

The application for our titles were $87.75 for each vehicle, and the license plates were $52.10 for the 5th wheel (5 months, expires in May) and $127.35 for the truck (12 months).  Since our pickup truck is over 5500 pounds, it falls into a class that gets renewed every December.  Otherwise, the renewal is based on the month of birth of the first person listed on the title.  That is how we ended up with 2 different renewal dates.

So our total costs with the DMV was $463.45, and if you include the $30 for our domicile declaration, our total cost to become members of the Sunshine State was $493.45.  It took us about 30 minutes to complete everything, and then we were on our way!!  It was a very simple process, and a lot cheaper than we expected.

IMG_20131226_112415_923 (1)

And now that we are Floridians, we are eligible for the reduced rates at Disneyworld!!!

And for the Quote of the Day……






Changing our domicile to Florida – Part One

Since June of 2013, when we became “full-time” RV’ers, we have been legal residents of South Dakota, which has a reputation as a very RV friendly state.  No state income taxes, low auto/RV insurance rates, and affordable health insurance were the main factors in our decision to join the “Great Faces, Great Places” state.  But for those of us who do not have employer sponsored health insurance, or are too young for Medicare, that is changing in 2015.  If we remained SD residents, we would not be able to have in-network nationwide coverage (except for emergencies).  For a more detailed assessment of the changes, you can read this article HERE.  The article is from the excellent healthcare website, dedicated to RV’ers,  South Dakota remains an excellent choice for those on Medicare, or for those who do not need to purchase their own health insurance.

The other two main RV friendly states are Texas and Florida.  We had no real preference, and decided to look into the costs for both.  I have decided to put this post in 2 sections, this first part will just cover mailing services and insurance companies  The second part will cover our actual process of changing to Florida.


Currently, we use as our mailing service in South Dakota.  We have been extremely pleased with the excellent service that Terri Lund and her staff provide.  If you are going to change residency to South Dakota, we would highly recommend them.

Texas has the very popular mail service provided by Escapee’s, of which we are members.  Escapee’s is now offering mail service in Florida.  We started looking into health insurance rates in Texas, based upon the zip code for the Escapee’s organization.  Rates for the two of us, on the healthcare exchange, were $273/month for the bronze plan with BCBS of Texas, offering an excellent nationwide plan.  (we had been paying $198.00/month in SD for a silver plan through Avera.  That plan was going to increase to $269.00/month, without nationwide coverage).

Once we started looking into Florida zip codes, we quickly realized Florida would be a better deal for us, so we eliminated Texas.  Another concern for us is that Texas also requires a vehicle inspection when renewing your tags.  Currently, you can request a waiver if you are not in the state at the time of renewal.  But as we have seen with SD, things can change.

Florida has four main mailing services that we are aware of:  Escapee’s, American Home Base, MyRVmail, and St. Brendan’s Isle.  We had no preference, and started checking health insurance rates based on the four different zip codes/counties.  Our best option was to become residents of Green Cove Springs, in Clay County, Florida, and use St. Brendan’s Isle as our mailing service.  We will be paying $11.99/month plus postage for their mailing service.  They were the most expensive of the four in terms of monthly costs, but that zip code provided us with the cheapest health insurance rates.  We have a bronze policy with Assurant for $198.00/month for the two of us, with a $6,000.00 deductible.  Preventive healthcare is covered at 100%, no deductibles, as required under the Affordable Care Act.  Since we are both healthy, we decided this was the best option for us.  If we had chronic conditions, then we would have gone with a silver policy, which has a higher monthly premium, but lower deductibles.  The policy has an option for a health savings account, which we were able to fully fund last year.

Again, this is just what works for us.  If you are considering changing your residency, take the time to check out all the zip codes/counties/states to decide what works best for your situation.  Another thing that we considered in our decision, is that our current doctors in Wisconsin are covered in-network by our Florida plan.  So we can keep our same doctors/clinics/hospitals.

I spent several hours going through all the websites of the mailing services, comparing monthly costs and fees, and then getting health insurance quotes on the exchange using all the different zip codes.  Not the best way to spend a day off, but the more time you spend doing your homework, the better prepared you will be to make such an important decision on where to “live”.

Auto/RV Insurance

South Dakota has very reasonable auto and RV insurance rates, so we were prepared to pay more for coverage in Florida.  It is important that you get proper insurance coverage, if you plan on living full-time in your RV.  Howard Payne of has written several articles on their website regarding RV insurance coverage (click HERE)

We contacted American Adventure Insurance, Miller Insurance Agency, and Epic Insurance Company for quotes.  Given the wide variation in pricing that we received, it certainly pays to shop around.  Just make sure the quotes you receive contain the same information, so you are truly comparing apples to apples.

In South Dakota, we had coverage through Blue Sky Insurance, and we paid $639/year for our truck insurance, and $813.00/year for a full-timers policy on our 5th wheel. (total $1452).   In Florida, the best rates we received came from Epic Insurance, with coverage provided by Progressive.  Truck insurance $1064  and 5th wheel insurance $796 (total $1860).  We are paying $408/year more for the same coverage we had in South Dakota.   A bit of an “ouch”, but we have piece of mind knowing we have better health insurance coverage.

In my next post, I will go over the steps needed to complete changing our domicile.

Quote for the day:  “The more that you read, the more things that you know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss






The “RV” train has left Clarksville

Just a quick update on the blog.  Saturday 12/20 was our final day at Amazon in Jeffersonville, Indiana.  We packed up and left Clarksville, Indiana very early on Sunday.  Our goal was to get to Florida ASAP, as we are in the process of changing our residency from South Dakota to Florida.  I plan on separate blog posts to give our final thoughts on Amazon as well as the steps we took to change over to the Sunshine State.  And yes, we will have our final weight loss numbers as well from Amazon.  I know our family looks forward to that number!

These last four weeks have been very busy, working 59 1/2 hour weeks at Amazon, and using our day off to research mailing services, auto/RV insurance rates and health insurance rates.  We are really looking forward to a few days of doing absolutely nothing after the first of January!


Dan and I (and our dog Makena) want to welcome our new blog followers.  Last January, we met up with Chris and Cherie of Technomadia in Cedar Key, Florida (along with a great group of other RV’ers!)  They have an awesome video series, called Ramblings – Tales from Nomads on their website, where they interview fellow RV’ers.  We have enjoyed watching and learning from these videos, and agreed to be interviewed by them.  It was our hope that we could offer a little advice about our lifestyle and the reasons we decided to full-time before “retiring”.

A few days ago they posted that interview on their blog, and we have seen a surge in new followers as a result.  We are very humbled that you have chosen to follow along on our journey.  The RV community is a wonderful extended family to us.  We have no regrets whatsoever!

For those that have not seen the video (about 8 minutes), click here for the link.

We always welcome comments and questions.  And again, thank you so much for following along!

We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Quote for the day:  “This is all you have.  This is not a dry run.  This is your life.  If you want to fritter it away with your fears, then you will fritter it away, but you won’t get it back later.” – Laura Schlessinger

My parents lied….

Hello everyone, I am back to give the “dog’s perspective”.

Keeping my peeps informed!

Keeping my peeps informed!

Two weeks ago, I  noticed my parents packing up our stuff in the 5th wheel.  I became very excited, and promptly did my part by sitting all day by the door, so they would not forget me.  When they told me to “kennel up” I happily sprinted into the back seat of the truck, and settled down in my kennel, dreaming of warm and sunny Florida.  They promised me we would be going there after Amazon.  When they stopped and opened up my crate, I figured we were stopping at one of those doggie rest stops, where I get to pee everywhere.

And then I realized, we were in another campground.  Hmmmm.  I thought we were going South to Florida, but somehow ended up going North.  To Indiana.  In December??  Yikes!

Now my parents tell me they did this because of a big bonus that Amazon offered.  I better be getting some new toys and treats out of that bonus.  Especially since they did not consult me in this decision.  And now they are working 11 hour days too?  They leave when it is dark, and return after dark, so my play time has been very limited.

The only good part of this, is my new dog walker.  She takes me for 30 minute walks every day in the park across the street!  And she likes to jog, so I finally have someone to jog with.  My mom said she will only run if her life depends on it.

My dog walker leaves a daily “report card” for my parents, so I have to be on my best behavior.  The first thing they do when they get home, besides petting me, is read that note.  Puts lots of pressure on me to behave, but I try my best!

I have been trying to make some new friends, on those rare days off that my parents have.  Here is me with my new friend, Snowflake.  Yes, she is a cat, but I find that cats don’t like to sniff my butt like dogs do.  I am starting to not be afraid around her.

making new friends

making new friends


My parents just finished up a 59 1/2 hour work week.  Seems Amazon offered all their employees a $100.00 VISA gift card, for anyone volunteering to do that.  They have been pretty exhausted at night.  They told me today that next Saturday, December 20, will be their “release” day from Amazon.  All the Camperforce will be heading out on Sunday….yay….off to Florida!!!!

But then they informed me they signed up for another 59 1/2 hour work week.  Seems people are buying lots of slippers, socks, bathrobes, watches and jewelry, so they are very busy at their fulfillment center.  And they need another big push this week, so they again offered $100.00 VISA gift cards to all employees that work the crazy amount of hours.  My parents tell me the 1/2 day is a piece of cake, but since I am not allowed to eat cake, I have no idea what that means.

According to my math, with the $400 in gift cards plus extra overtime money, my parents should be able to buy a lot of treats and toys for me.  After all these long days of staring out the window waiting for them, I am exhausted and deserve a reward!!

Quote for the day:  “No matter what you are going through, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you’ll find the positive side of things.”  – Demi Lovato

50 Shades of Grey

Week #1 of our new adventure at Amazon in Jeffersonville, Indiana is under our belts (or should I say clear plastic fanny packs, as that is what security will allow you to wear?!).  Three more weeks left to get your shopping done, and we will be off to warm (hopefully) and sunny Florida.  This first week has flown by, and went relatively well for the 40 of us sent to Picking.  The 60 folks sent to the Packing department had a few bumpy days, until the management figured out what to do with all of them.  Part of the problem was due to having 1400 people start in 10 days.  Just too many bodies for the staff to keep track of.

Picking apparel has been both easy and challenging.  The easy part is not having to lift anything heavy, with the exception of some giant Ivanka Trump handbags that must have been a Black Friday special.  You could knock a person out with one of those!

The challenging part comes from trying to figure out all the different words the manufacturers use to describe a specific color.  Out is blue, red, green, purple.  In is viridian, amaranth, harlequin and eminence.   So when my scanner is telling me to pick a women’s sweater, medium, in cinereous, I just stare at the different grey sweaters for a while, looking for a medium.  Each item has a bar code on it, and if it is the wrong shade of grey, the scanner will beep at you to let you know you are wrong.

When it comes to fashion, I would describe myself as “fashion illiterate”.  I am a jeans and t-shirt person, but even t-shirts are not just “t-shirts”.  There are ruched long sleeve shirts, princess shirts, popper hem shirts, open shoulder, off shoulder, etc.  And then there are the purses!  Clutches, shoulder bags, cross body bags, top-handle bags, etc.  Fortunately, there are usually only two styles in one bin, so I can figure that one out pretty quickly.  One of our fellow Camperforce associates, an older gentleman, stopped me to say he thought he had a missing item in the bin.  His scanner told him to pick a “clutch”, and he did not see any automobile parts in the bin.  So he started to scan all items, as required if you think the item is missing, and discovered a purse is also a clutch!  He said he never heard that term used before.

This year, all Camperforce associates in all four facilities were given a purple t-shirt, which we have all been wearing at SDF-8.

2014 Camperforce shirt

2014 Camperforce shirt

I have been stopped multiple times by the regular full-time employees at SDF-8.  They are very thankful we are here to help, and ask if we have any questions.  Many are curious about our lifestyle, and think it is great that we are able to do this.  One gal said this has been the worst she has ever seen it since the plant opened in 2012.  She said it is not normally so chaotic, but they just cannot keep up with the demand, and have to hire anyone that comes through the door.

We have been enjoying picking at this facility.  It is very well-organized, but huge.  The pick mods start at aisle 100, and go up to 250.  The bins (start of the row) begin at 20 and end at 980.  Each floor is divided into three sections.  To put that into perspective at Campbellsville, the biggest section (Q) would start at row 1 up to row 102.  Each row would have bins 1 – 95.

Starting with Black Friday, we are now on 11 hour days.  It is not mandatory for the Camperforce to do 11 hours, but we decided to try it, and was pleasantly surprised at how fast the time went by.  We are just not as tired at this facility.  The floors are not plywood, so the feet do not get as tired.  And since the pick areas are so big, we do not have to walk up and down the stairs as often.  Most of the people who have pedometers said they are walking about the same or less as they did in Campbellsville.  We were laughing on break that if we don’t walk more than 10 miles in a day, it just doesn’t feel like we have been working very hard!  Your body really does adapt to the walking after a few weeks.

so true!

so true!

Makena has been doing well.  Her dog walker likes to jog, so she has been jogging in the park across the street with her.  Every day we get a report card on how she is doing, and we really look forward to that.  So far, she is “exceeding expectations”!!

Quote for the day:  “Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.” – Ann Landers