Californians No More

Hi everyone! Thank you for coming back for another blog about our journey to becoming full-time RV’ers. We are excited and a little sad/nostalgic to announce that we have officially given up our California citizenship. The recall election for governor? Not our problem anymore. Though I am sad I missed my opportunity to write in Kris Jenner as a candidate. Could you imagine? 

We actually barely slept the night before our appointment with the South Dakota’s version of the DMV called the Department of Public Safety (DPS) because we were so nervous. We had brought all this paperwork and done tons of research to make sure that we were fully prepared. We had anticipated a California experience at the DMV. For those of you unfamiliar, how did you get so lucky? Going to the DMV in California is akin to a root canal, a hangover, and jury duty combined into one, even if you have an appointment. We were mentally and physically preparing ourselves for an all-day waiting mind-numbing extravaganza.

Our appointment was at 8:30 am and we got there at about 8:10 am. We walked in, and there were only two women working in the entire DPS? 2 people?! The last time I went to the DMV in California there were only two people who were not completely losing their minds. The women greeted us with wide, welcoming smiles as if we were the exact people they have been waiting all week to meet. They exclaimed that we were early and they were free to help us right then. I couldn’t believe our luck. I might have pinched myself to make sure this was actually real. 

The two employees were absolutely lovely. They were thrilled we had all of our paperwork ready to go, took our pictures, and printed our licenses right then and there! We didn’t have to wait 3-6 weeks to receive it in the mail? What a time to be alive. We were out of there 5 minutes before our appointment was supposed to start. It was incredible. I might want to go back, just for fun to see the efficiency. 

Our big takeaways/learnings from this experience:

  • The birth certificate that you have always had (the one with the tiny footprint in the corner) is not, in fact, your real birth certificate. It is a souvenir from the hospital where you were born. You have to get the original from the state you were born in. Apparently the state doesn’t appreciate tiny footprints on legal documents. Weird. 
  • Bring your passport whenever you do something official. Thank gosh we brought ours because, in lieu of an original birth certificate, the passport works.
  • In California, they check your eyesight one eye at a time and you are more likely to need the note on your license that says corrective lenses. In South Dakota, they check both eyes at the same time, so your good eye can compensate for your bad one and you don’t need glasses when you drive! Blessings! 

All in all, we had a great experience in South Dakota getting domiciled. 10/10 would recommend. Make sure you do your research and prepare and use Escapees for help and directions. 

Just One More…Visit to the South Dakota DPS. I know it sounds crazy but it was so exciting! 

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Last Days of Crazy in California

The last we chatted, we were saying some painful goodbye to friends and loved ones. But now, the adventure has officially begun! But of course, we couldn’t leave without some craziness. Here is how the last few weeks have been! 

In an effort to sell/get rid of all of our worldly possessions, we planned to have an estate sale. We did research and thought this would be the best and easiest way to sell some of our bigger items, like furniture and artwork. The estate sale company told us that they would take care of everything. However, they came for a walkthrough about a week and a half before we had planned to leave and told us that we didn’t have enough stuff to warrant a full estate sale as the buyer asked to purchase a few items. 

To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I had banked on not having to worry about most of our furniture, all of my very large artwork and more. And now, all of a sudden, I had to figure out how to sell all of this in less than two weeks? I’m pretty sure my blood pressure skyrocketed and steam came out of my ears. 

But you know what? I took a deep breath and did what I had to do. I took stunning photographs of everything, wrote out absolutely glowing descriptions, and put those babies on every selling platform I could think of. And you know what? I did it! We sold every single thing in the house (except for my artwork that my family surprisingly and touchingly wanted to keep). It was a whirlwind, but kind of fun honestly. I was a machine on Facebook Marketplace. 

In the midst of selling everything in our home, Jerry was retiring. He has been with his company for almost 37 years. That’s almost four decades with the same company! The only thing I’ve done for 37 years is breathe. His team threw a lovely if small (thanks to Covid) retirement party. It was a really special day for him and I was proud to be by his side. 

Back to the physical fun of selling everything, packing up and leaving. So we had planned to meet the real estate agents the day we were leaving to get the check for the items the buyer purchased and hand over the keys. As we were packing up my Ford Escape to drive to South Dakota (remember we are picking up our truck and RV in Salt Lake City after we domicile in SD), we realized we had waaaaay too much stuff. There was no way everything was going to fit into the car. We had underestimated how much stuff we had that we needed to take with us to SD and into the 5th Wheel and how much stuff we were planning to drop off at our storage unit in Sacramento that we will empty out when we drive back next month. 

And as good at tetris as Jerry is, he couldn’t win this round. We both started to panic because it wasn’t feasible to take an entire car load of stuff all the way to Sacramento and then come back. Luckily, Jerry’s son lives nearby and agreed to hold our stuff until we come back to the area next month. Nathan and Jordan are our heroes!  This had to be a rush job as, like I said, we were meeting with the real estate agents. Jerry got everything done right in time to meet with the agents. But,when the buyer’s realtor walked into the house, he realized he had forgotten the one thing he needed to bring, aka the check. Jerry was playfully annoyed that he had rushed to be on time and the realtor had to drive all the way back home for the check. 

It all worked out though and we officially set off that afternoon for Sacramento. Of course, with Bay Area traffic, we didn’t get there before the storage locker closed and had to spend the night. We woke up bright and early, went to the storage unit one more time to drop off and pick up a few things. We both then had a near panic attack when we lost the car keys. After 20 minutes of frantically searching and tearing the car and storage unit apart, Jerry found the keys ON TOP OF THE CAR. At this point we realized we both had to take deep breaths and laugh. We are on an adventure after all! 

Stay tuned for the first leg of our journey to domiciling and official RV owners! 

Just One More…thing to sell. Please God no.

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Saying Goodbye

The entire process of becoming full-time RV’ers has been a non stop whirlwind. Through selling our home, the mountains of paperwork to domicile, purchasing and perfecting our rig, selling 95% of our worldly possessions, my total knee replacement surgery, planning and booking our future travel spots, nothing has filled me with dread like saying goodbye to our home and loved ones in California.

I grew up in California and though I have traveled all over the US and the world, the Golden State has always been my home. I was born in Long Beach and lived all over Southern California until 1987 when I moved up to the Bay Area. Jerry was born in Texas, raised in Alaska, and has lived in California since he was 12. We are so excited to be embarking on this journey, but know there will be times when we are homesick. I honestly feel like I’m 18 and going off to college. Looking ahead but sad to leave my life behind. At least the drinks are better now than back then.

Jerry and I both still have family in the Bay Area whom we will miss dearly.  As well as coworkers, friends, neighbors, Bocci teammates, ukulele band members, and our local go-to restaurants. We did a lot of zooms and in person lunches and dinners before we left. We will also be in Sacramento in July for at least a week and my hope is that anyone who is able will come up, see the rig, and see us off. We have built a life here, but it is time for our next chapter.

However, in order to lighten the mood of this incredibly sad blog post, I wanted to make a list of things I will NOT miss in California. 

  1. The heat. Jerry and I live in the East Bay, aka the warmer side of the Bay Area. We are already in the triple digits in early June. I abhor the heat and my tolerance has decreased each trip around the sun. Our plan is to follow the mildest weather (we want to follow 70 degrees) we can find. No scorching summers and no frozen winters.
  2. The fires. As a California native, I am, unfortunately, an expert on the wildfires, wildfire season, air quality indexes, wearing masks before Covid made them trendy, and poorly done gender reveal parties. The past few years have seen the worst fires in California history, year after year. It is devastating and horrible to see friends and neighbors around the state suffer so much. We would like to avoid wildfire season as best as we can.
  3. Taxes. State. Sales. Income. Enough said.
  4. Earthquakes. In a state where the ground shakes but everything is earthquake proof and relatively safe is absolutely terrifying. I much prefer the predictability and horror of tornados, hurricanes, lightning storms, and blizzards.
  5. The food. California has such incredible food. Wide variety, diverse, and delicious. There has been so much pressure my entire life to pick just one restaurant. I am finally breaking free of these horrendous daily decisions and I couldn’t be more pleased.
  6. The beaches. Up and down the coast of California are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. But I am just so sick of them. Give me some wide open spaces, endless miles of nothing but flat land and roads.
  7. The celebrities. I have been mistaken for Liza Minelli for my entire adult life. I have signed autographs and taken pictures with fans and it is exhausting. It is time to get out of the spotlight and live in peace.

As you can tell, California is wrought with failures and we could not be more happy to leave. Only kidding. It’s been a wonderful place to live for the past 40(ish)+ years and saying goodbye to the state and the people will undoubtedly be the hardest part of this next chapter. But we are ready. These are happy tears!

Just One More… tissue for all of these goodbyes.

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Questions, Answers, and Reactions!

For today’s blog, I wanted to do things a bit differently. When Jerry and I first started telling our friends, coworkers, and families about our plans to become full-time RV’ers, we received some interesting responses, reactions, and questions. I wanted to take the time to answer these questions to give you all a little bit more insight of our plans and thought process going into this next chapter in our lives. 

All of these are real conversations Jerry and I have had with people in different areas of our lives. We have enjoyed reconvening at the end of every day and discussing what reactions people had today. It’s been a fun social experiment! So here goes.

Reaction: That’s super cool! 

Reaction: I’ve always wanted to do that! 

Reaction: ……what? What is that? 

The reactions to the news that we sold our house and plan to go on the road full time has been varied. Either everyone is excited and in awe of our decision to take such a risk or very confused. On the whole, everyone has been very supportive of our decision and want postcards/beverages from all the great places we visit. 

Question: Where are you going to move?

Answer: All over the place! 

Question: Where are you going to live?

Answer: Our RV. 

Question: But where is your home? 

Answer: Our RV. 

Question: But where is your house? Do you have a house? Where is your home base?

Answer: Our home is just like your home, it is just on wheels. We can take it anywhere we want. 

We seem to be getting these types of questions a lot. We get that it is a totally unconventional way to live, but we are so excited to have a home we can bring with us and explore all corners of the country. 

Question: How long are you planning to do this for? 

Answer: Truthfully, we don’t have a timeline. We want to enjoy our next act on the road and see as much of the country as possible. We know full-time people who have been doing this for 20 years and love it as much as they did their first year. There is so much to explore so why not take our time and see everything on our list? If and when there comes a time where we can’t travel, we will be ready for our next adventure and settle down. We are in no rush.

Question: What about your carbon footprint? 

Answer: Jerry and I have both commuted to work for many years. Jerry always had to drive at least an hour both ways. My jobs have not been in one location and I have driven all over the Bay Area. And my mother, when she was alive, lived about 50 miles from me and I was visiting her at least twice a week. Between the two of us, we were driving at least 1000 miles during the week, and that’s not counting any weekend activities we partook in. We will be getting rid of my car and only using our one truck that we will be picking up later this month in Utah. Yes, it is a large truck and diesel. However, we will not be driving all day every day. Our plan is to stay in each location for at least two weeks. Many of our upcoming reservations are for 4-6 weeks. With all of this in mind, we believe our carbon footprint will be much less than it was living and commuting in the Bay Area.  

Question: What about mail? 

Answer: I discussed this in a previous blog, and through Escapees RV Club, we set up our  mail forwarding as a part of domiciling. Our permanent address is in South Dakota. This is for credit cards, Federal and State issues such as drivers license, and vehicle registration purposes. Our mailing address is in Texas. Our mail comes to Texas and then Escapees will mail it wherever we are. Each time we settle in a new location, we just call Escapees and tell them where we are and they will send our mail. It’s a bit of a clunky system, but with everything digital these days, it really isn’t too much of a hassle. Plus, we gotta support the heroes at USPS right?

Question: How often do you have to go back to South Dakota?

Answer: We don’t! Just because we are domiciled in South Dakota doesn’t mean we really ever have to go back there if we don’t want to. Yes, we have to be mindful of when our licenses expire, but hopefully we can just renew online and have them mailed to us. However, South Dakota is an incredibly beautiful state with so much to see and do. I have been doing lots of research and can’t wait to plan our trip there for more than the few days we will be there to set up our domiciling. However, they have brutal winters and we will not be subjecting ourselves to that type of horror. Remember, we are from California. 

Question: What happens when you want to go on a trip where you have to fly? What do you do with your RV?

Answer: We just find a place to store our RV and take off on our trip. It’s pretty straight forward. The cool thing is that because we aren’t based in one place, we can do lots of research and find the best location and priced airport to fly out of. For example, if we want to go to Hawaii, we are most definitely flying out from the West Coast, but can price compare between, say, San Francisco and Los Angeles area airports to find the best deal. It’s pretty neat. However, we are really in no rush to fly anywhere at the moment. We plan to enjoy the great places, people, food, and culture of the continental United States.

So there you have it! These are the most common questions and reactions we have gotten. We are so excited to have you join us on our journey. Until next time!

Just One More… Question! I love to answer all of them so send your best!

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The domicile checklist for South Dakota!

Selling a House is a LITERAL PAIN IN THE KNEE!

Hi everyone! We are onto the next steps in the process of becoming full-time RV’ers. Who is excited? Who is exhausted? Who needs an adult beverage? All of the above? Me too! Well, strap in because I have quite the tale for you.

I have always been very active and my favorite form of exercise is walking. I love going on long walks with my husband and alone. I have even trained and competed in multiple half marathons and one full marathon and many 10k’s,  all speed walking. There is just something about being outside in the sunshine that makes me so happy. But, a few years ago, I started getting severe pains in my right knee. Jerry actually freaked out one day when he was walking behind me as my knee was so crooked. He filmed me to show me what I looked like. I had no idea it was that bad. And I’m not sure if you’re aware, but knees are essential to walking! 

I went to the doctor and spent the next few years getting regular cortisone shots in my knee to stop the pain. I had blown through all of my cartilage and bone was rubbing on bone. Not cute. I knew eventually I would need surgery but I wanted to put it off as long as possible. Well, the time finally came when we decided to go full-time. Jerry retiring and us losing our great health insurance in California necessitated that I get my surgery ASAP. 

So on April 20, 2021, I went under the knife and got a full knee replacement. Just call me Iron Woman. I have friends who have gotten the same surgery and were up and walking around two weeks later so I assumed I would be able to do the same. How wrong I was.

Picture the worst pain you have ever been in and then double it. I can’t even describe with words how painful this recovery process has been. And the kicker is that I can’t take any pain meds/narcotics. Similar to my mother, I have horrible reactions to all pain meds. Not your normal side effects either. These are full-blown allergic reactions. So I have had to suffer through a 12-inch scar on my knee with Tylenol and ice packs alone. It has not been fun or easy. But, I have been able to catch up on all my Real Housewives. That is something, right? 

In the middle of this entire trauma, we were trying to sell our house. If you didn’t think we were crazy before, you probably do now, right? Leading up to my surgery, I was running around all day every day prepping the house for pictures and visitors. And remember, with COVID, all house viewings have to be by appointment only and the residents have to leave. We couldn’t have one big open house and get it over with. We had to leave our house every day for a week (we wanted to keep it open that long for the best offers) while our realtor booked all the appointments.  

BTW, we have the most amazing realtor EVER.  Kim Morruci is not only our realtor, but she and her husband are our very dear friends.  Mark is the Chief Engineer at a hospital as well and he and Jerry have known each other for years. Kim is the ONLY realtor Jerry has gotten along with or should I say, has allowed in our home. She has been with us for all 4 homes we have sold and bought.  You want someone who will take incredible care of you, then Kim is the one. Just for you Bay Area peeps, that is. Here is her email for when you need a realtor in your life:

And for me, leaving the house was quite the production. I was two weeks post-surgery and NOT thriving, as my niece would say. I had a walker to get around with and it was slow and painful going. Thankfully, our neighbors opened their home to us. I was able to sit down on their couch and relax instead of in the car or at a park, as our original plan. 

We also had to make sure that the house didn’t look like a total hospital room when we had potential buyers come. Thank god for Jerry for helping to tidy up every day. What a production! In the end, we sold our house immediately and are so happy about and thankful to the new homeowner. We are ready for our next adventure. Stay tuned! 

Just One More… surgery. Just kidding! Never again! 


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The Great Downsize of 2021

Alright, alright, alright. Now that you all have read about the absurd amount of paperwork to do in order to be full-time RV’ers, it’s time we tackle the real issue here. Downsizing. 

This was a huge hurdle for us. We will be going from a 1,600 square foot house to a 400 square foot home on wheels. Are we excited? You bet. Do we have way too much stuff? Oh, yea. 

A little bit about me. I am what my family fondly refers to as a fashionista. I have worked in the fashion industry on and off for over 20 years. In that time, I have worked for some wonderful luxury brands and have accumulated some incredible pieces. I love clothes but I have a slight addiction to shoes and handbags. I even turned one of our spare bedrooms into a closet a la Lisa Vanderpump (at a much smaller scale of course). The bottom line is I love fashion. 

Now, this has never been an issue before. In fact, twice a year, spring and fall, I go through my entire closet and donate what I haven’t worn in a while or know I will not wear again. I like to keep things fresh and try to wear as much as I can in my wardrobe. But no matter how many times over the years I have purged, it is nothing like the extreme downsizing that needed to be done in order to live out of an RV. 

Let me paint you a picture. I went through my entire wardrobe multiple times and packed up 11 boxes of clothes, shoes, handbags, and jewelry. 11 boxes!! I sent them all to an amazing organization called Thred Up, an online thrift store. I highly recommend. Each box I sent off was like a tiny piece of my soul. Saying goodbye to clothing that I knew I would never wear again/could never use while living in an RV was more devastating than dropping your dinner all over the floor. But it had to be done. I somehow found the courage to let go and so can you. My recommendation? Pour yourself a glass of wine, turn on some Bravo TV and LET IT GO! Trust me, the more you get rid of, the better off you will be. And if you really can’t let go, storage lockers and family member’s closets work well as a great hiding place. 

Now, I wasn’t the only one who had a hard time with the downsizing. Much like my very tiny addiction to fashion, my husband, Jerry, has a bit of a thing for tools. Our garage is meticulously organized with all the tools you could ever dream of. He is an engineer and the neighborhood handyman. Seriously, he can and does fix everything. But on an RV, how many tools do you actually need? The answer is: I have no idea. But it has to be much less than what has occupied the garage for the last 20 years. And lucky for me, tools are much heavier than clothes! Jerry has been doing great though and been selling/giving away/donating many tools over the last few months. I swear I walked in on him shedding a tear over some type of saw or ratchet thing. 

The bright side? We are in this together. We have both purged so many of our babies, I mean tools/clothes. And we have also had to get rid of regular things around the house like cutlery, glasses, cookware, containers. There’s only so much Tupperware that fits in an RV, and we definitely do not want any glass. God forbid something breaks in a pothole and now there’s glass all over my precious new RV. 

I know that the idea of downsizing can be super daunting. But take it day by day and room by room. And find local organizations that can take your donations and even try selling online with websites like Facebook Marketplace. Good luck! 

Just One More… box of stuff to donate! 

The Storm Before the Fun

Jerry handling the paperwork…

Hi Everyone and welcome back to another exciting installment of Just One More! Today I wanted to talk about what it really takes to become full-time RV’ers. In mid-2020, when Jerry and I first decided we were going to sell our house and go full time, we started following a bunch of couples and families on YouTube. We wanted to learn about their experiences and see how they made their dreams become a reality. Now, we absolutely love following their vlogs but felt like many of them glossed over the process of getting started. These vloggers made it seem super easy to just sell your house and become full-time in their RV’s.

After much research and trial and error, we have found that this process is far from easy. Is it worth it? Hell yes! But we wanted to start our journey with you all by showing you exactly what it takes to follow your dream, hit the road, and become full-time RV’ers. 

The first buzzword we learned from our extensive research was “domiciling”. The idea is that even though you are completely mobile in your RV, you have to have a home base where you legally live for tax purposes. You can have many residences, but only one domicile.

In our research, we found an amazing organization called Escapees RV Club, which is the largest RV club in the country. They have all of the resources and support we needed to understand and start the process of domiciling. 

To start, we knew that once we left California, we did not want to move back. If you haven’t heard the news in a few decades, California has very high state income and sales taxes. Shocker, I know. Through Escapees, we discovered that there are three states that they recommend domiciling with: Texas, Florida, and South Dakota.  All three have no state income taxes and have low sales tax. From there, it is up to you to do the research to figure out which state fits your needs best. 

We compared all three on a variety of factors including cost of living, medical insurance, location, and vehicle registration. After doing a lot of research in all 3 states, we found that South Dakota was right for us. I spoke extensively with a medical insurance broker, who also happens to be a full-time RV’er.  Kyle Hensen from Nomad Insurance Group is incredible and puts us at ease as I have had the same insurance my entire life. This is a HUGE change for me.  He found health insurance through the state of South Dakota that is nationwide and very affordable for both of us. We also love the mountains and location. South Dakota, we are coming for you! 

After you choose which state to domicile in, there is a lot of paperwork that is dependent on each state. For South Dakota, you can establish your residency in 24 hours. You need to have a physical address, (NOT a PO Box)  register to vote, drivers license, residency and it’s a good idea to establish yourself by getting a library card for example. Confusing, right? Basically, you have to prove that you are a resident of the state. What’s a bit more confusing is that Escapees forwards all mail through Livingston, Texas.  So, we also have a mailing address which is in Texas.  See, not so easy!  It’s amazing all you must learn before you “hit the road.”

So you do all of this paperwork, right? Then what? You actually have to go and make it happen! We are currently in the process of selling our house, which I will get into in another blog, and have ordered our RV and truck from Utah. Once the house is sold, and our RV and truck are ready, we will drive to South Dakota, establish residency, and then go to Utah to pick up our RV and truck and start THE BIG ADVENTURE! 

It’s a lot, right? Luckily, with organizations like Escapees and your own personal research, you can make this happen! We are so excited to keep sharing our journey with you! Stay tuned for the next steps in the process: selling our house and downsizing from a 1,600 square foot house to a 400 house on wheels! 

Just One More …. Piece of paperwork lol

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