2012 - 2017 Travel Map - Now in Crawfordsville Indiana

Next Phase - Truck Purchase

It's going fast now!  We just purchased a 2008 F-450 King Ranch Dual Wheel Rear (DRW) tow vehicle for the new 5th wheel trailer. The truck has 37k miles and we took possession today after 6 hours of haggling with the dealer, Sansone Ford of Ocean NJ.  This dealer was one of the best I have ever worked with though, highly recommend them.

We are a little excited, so we both had our pictures with it.




Tomorrow we are going to look for a bed cover.  We want one that rolls back when the 5er is attached.

Stay tuned for more excitement.

Next Phase - Rig Purchase

We purchased our 5th wheel yesterday!  It's a new 39 foot 2013 Sanibel 3500 manufactured by Prime Tme (Forest River).  We had auto levelers and a 5.5kw generator added to the unit.  Still need to add the satellite TV system. The unit will be completed by July 17 and be ready for us by the end of July.

This is a link to the Sanibel.
http://www.primetimerv.com/default.asp?page=products&model=sanibel&type=interior&choice=gallery

We have been casually looking at RVs for the past 3 years and seriously for the past 6 months.  We were originally thinking of getting a top of the line used unit to save some cash.  Then Patty found this new RV brand from Forest River that is making luxury models for our budget.  The Sanibel 3500 had all of the features we wanted; "L" shaped kitchen area, TV that can be seen by all in the living area, hard wood cabinets, and a bath room that was separate from the bedroom.  Also we wanted automatic leveling, a generator, and an automatic satellite system.  The Generator and the auto leveling are options that we are adding at the factory.  The satellite system is an other story.

Seems the satellite systems are added by the dealer or by third parties.  The stock RV has a connection for a satellite antenna in a compartment located on the under side of the RV. This connection is there so you can use a tripod antenna on the ground.  We want a roof mounted auto aiming system connected to all 3 TVs in the unit.  We learned that RVs are not wired for making easy changes.  We ended up with the dealer service department developing an estimate for the work to add the satellite system.  It will most likely be around $3k.  In the mean time I am going check out other people who can do this.

Now we are on the hunt for a truck.  There are 2 trucks in our area now that we will look at in the next couple of days.  Both are used, but still pretty pricey!  We'll let you know how that goes.

Stay tuned!


House Closed on Friday!! End of 2nd phase

Finally, we are now homeless and jobless, at least for a little while.  The last closing date had been last Wednesday which came and went.  We were told that Friday would then be the day.  This has gone on for 4 weeks with a closing going to happen at least 2 different days each week.  So by 11 am on Friday I sent our lawyer an e-mail asking if anything was going to happen today.  The reply was, "they" say it is going to happen.   She sent us new paper work with the new numbers for us to approve which we did.  It's now 11:30 so we decide to go to the beach.  I was talking to my sister on the phone at the beach and I get a text from our Realtor.  I hang up from the phone and read the text, "we are in closing and it should be done in 1/2  hour."  Wow!!  It was done as quick as that.

We are off next Tuesday to RV and truck hunt! We like the Sanibel 3500 built by Prime time, subsidiarity of Forest River.  It is 39 ft long with a weight of 14k lbs unloaded.  Our requirements are that the 5th wheel be 38 ft or longer, have an "L" shaped kitchen area, living room where all seats can see the TV, washer/Dryer hook-ups, no sink in the bed room.  After that we add the options, satellite TV and generator.  There is one in Shoemakerville PA which is 2 hours away.

Now we get to spend the money!

Black Hills SD Tour Today

Today was a long day!  We were up at 6:30 am and at Fort Hays where the tour starts by a little before 8 am.  Fort Hays is a tourist area sort of place that boasts having the set from the movie Dances with Wolves.  Actually the movie was made about 100 miles from here and they moved the set to this location in 1993.  Even though is was touristy, we liked it.

The tour includes all you can eat breakfast and a 9 hour tour of the Black Hills.  The tour included the following items:

  • Mount Rushmore
  • Iron Mountain Road
  • Custer State Park
  • State Game Lodge
  • Needles Highway 
  • Sylvan Lake 
  • Crazy Horse Mountain and Memorial
  • Fort Hays Chuckwagon Supper & Cowboy Music Show
We originally found out about this tour from Howard and Linda Payne's BLOG RV-Dreams Journal .  They were here a couple of weeks ago.  This couple has helped so many people follow their dreams in to the RV living life.  Thanks Howard and Linda!


Fort Hayes HQ.  Get tickets here.

Our Tour bus.

Part of the movie set from Dances with Wolves

Wooden Indian

Mount Rushmore with the flags from all states and territories

Close up

Good picture of us!

Interesting view that the bus driver says he doesn't always stop for.  
We were good so he stopped :)

Needles Highway view

This tunnel is only 100 inches wide and the bus is 96 inches! 
This is when we were coming out.  People at the other end were filming us coming through.
When we went by them, everyone applauded!

Sylvan Lake.  Just a picturesque lake in the mountains.

We were amazed by the Crazy Horse mountain sculpture.  They have been working on this for the past 64 years!  Their is no government money in this, they do not want it.  The sculpture was asked for by the Lakota Indian elders which Crazy Horse was a part of.  The sculpture is the work of two generations of the same family.  It is the largest sculpture in the world.

Crazy Horse mountain sculpture.  Foreground is the 1/34 model.  
The actual is 1 mile away in the background.

Crazy Horse close up.

The show after dinner.


We got back to our room by 9 pm, a long day indeed!  We didn't have cell reception all day and we were trying to keep up with the closing of the house and the final walk through.  We were a little bummed that the closing did not happen again :(  Seems the bank still needed an other document that no one was aware of.  On a good note, the walk through went off with out any issues.

Tomorrow we fly back to NJ.  We plan to relax on the beach on Friday.

Stay tuned.


 







New South Dakota Drivers and voter registration

We are one major step closer to being South Dakota residents!  We got our SD drivers licenses and registered to vote today.



More news, we got the e-mail today we were waiting on, the house sale will close tomorrow!!!  We have already changed most all of our addresses with credit cards and banks to SD.  Now with our new drivers licenses and the house sale closure tomorrow, we will no longer be residences of NJ and will be residences of South Dakota.

I (Mark) had a little scare at the SD DMV today.  To get a SD DL you need a document that shows identity and nationality like a passport and something that proves your social security number like a SS Card.  If you are planning to be a RV full-timer, you need a receipt of one night stay in SD.

I thought I had everything and even stopped on the way to the airport to travel out here to get my SS card I saved since I was 14 years old.  The SS card I have been saving was only a receipt for a card, it looks just like a SS card.  So after waiting for 30 minutes at the SD DMV to get my DL, I was told that I needed a SS card or an IRS W2 or IRS 1099.  I was a little more than bummed out to say the least.  Would I need to travel out to SD again?  The answer was too easy, just need a copy of an IRS 1099 or W2!  I had a 1099 on my computer in the hotel room which I copied on to a thumb drive and Americas Mailbox printed it for me.  Back to the SD DMV within an hour and got my SD DL!!

We took a drive on the Skyline Drive above Rapid City and took this picture from Dinosaur Park.


Just before we went out to eat big storms passed on both sides of us.  We were looking at radar on our phones and since it's so flat here the weather outside looks just like it does on the radar.  We were able to walk to the Flying J and have soup and salad and watch the storms pass.  It was the end of a real good day.

Tomorrow we are taking a 9 hour tour of the Black Hills.  Need to be at the sign up at 7:30 am.

Stay tuned.


Travel to Rapid City South Dakota

We planned this trip to South Dakota and Americas Mailbox in Rapid City back in April when our house first had a sale contract.  The closing date for the house was then to be May 22nd.   Little did we know that we would still be waiting on the closing date for the house on this trip to SD.  The plan we made then was to clean out the house first, done, take stuff to Indiana, done, and move temporarily in to the beach rental house we rent each season, done.  Next, sign up for a mail forwarding service in South Dakota as part of demonstrating our residency, done.  We picked SD some time ago for it's lack of a state income tax, low 3% tax when purchasing our truck and 5th wheel and low vehicle insurance rates. A SD requirement to get  drivers licenses is to stay one night and show the receipt at the DMV.  While here we also want to register to vote and do a little site seeing.

We picked  Americas Mailbox as our mail forwarding service for a few reasons. They are competitively priced and owned/operated by full-time RVers.  They also specialize is helping you get you Drivers license and  registering your vehicles.  All things considered, for us, they were the best deal.

Since our flight was at 6:00 am Monday morning, we stayed near the Newark airport last night, Sunday.  We bought the stay and park package at the Ramada for $125 that lets us park for 7 days.  We were up at 3:30 am and down for the bus shuttle at 4:00 am! Our travel consisted of 2 flights, first 2.5 hours to Chicago, layover of a little over an hour and then a 2 hour flight to Rapid City.  With the 2 hour time difference, we arrived in Rapid City Airport at 10:00 am.

Sign in the airport

 Just recently Americas Mailbox added a small RV park and 4 hotel type rooms to their property so we rented room number 2 for 3 nights.  We are actually staying at our new mail forwarding address. Americas Mailbox is located in Box Elder just outside Rapid City about 9 miles from the airport.  The rooms are very nice, but the campground is just some very close sites in an open field.  Not something we would be likely to stay at in the future.

This is our new address for the mail forwarding.

The small RV park at Americas Mailbox


Our room door at Americas Mailbox


We checked in and were given a guided tour of our room from a woman who just started full-time RVing this year.  With check in we were also given a map to the DMV, which is just 5 miles away, and a check list for the documents we will need in the morning for getting our SD drivers licenses.  We were very tired after the early start so we went out to get a quick lunch, picked up some wine for the room and took a 2 hour nap.  We had lunch at a BBQ restaurant that was actually cooking the stuff outside.

Out back "Jake" was smoking all of the meat


After our 2 hour nap we decided to eat at a near by restaurant, the Dakotah.  They had Walleye and Buffalo on the menu.  I had both Buffalo and the Walleye and Patty had the Walleye.

The buffalo in front of the Dakotah


Tomorrow we will give up our NJ drivers licenses and get brand new SD ones with our new SD address. Everybody has told us that the SD DMV process will take less than an hour.  We will let you know.

Stay tuned!