New Mexico or South Dakota?

I’m toying with the idea of heading north to South Dakota.

I’ve established my residency there already.  The PTV and my new Casita (as yet unnamed) can be registered in South Dakota by mail through America’s Mailbox.  However, in order to obtain a SD driver’s license, I have to present proof that I’ve spent at least one night in that state.

Why pay $225 for the annual New Mexico State Parks camping pass and then leave the state within that year?

Why not pick up my trailer, head north out of Texas, cross over into Colorado, and keep going north to Rapid City, South Dakota?

Sound like a plan?

I like to tie up loose ends.

And it sounds like fun!  The crew and I could explore southwestern South Dakota.  Then make a leisurely loop through some gorgeous country in Wyoming and Colorado, camping on public lands, as we meander back to New Mexico before getting snowed in!

Warning!  Precipitous change of tone and subject ahead . . .

Will someone explain to me why it takes so long to search a title?  (I warned you.)  I’ve owned this house for sixteen years, the title was “searched” when I purchased it, and my credit history is pristine and verifiable.  Nothing’s changed.  What do these people do?  Why does it take weeks?

I don’t get it.

Surely they have phones and fax machines and COMPUTERS.  It’s not like we have to wait for some bespectacled old lady in the bowels of the county courthouse to work her way through a mountainous pile of dusty tomes, perusing hundreds of worm-eaten pages of hand-written records and fading documents .  .  .  Or do we?

I grab my cell and call the attorney. 

The receptionist tells me she’s out for the day. Oh no. Another day lost.   I relay my concern that I have not been notified of a date for closing.  I need to leave on an extended trip (there’s an understatement!)  this weekend.    I need to make several reservations for spots that are disappearing quickly.  For emphasis I add that people are rearranging their lives based on my departure from Georgia this weekend.

She says she will look into it and call me back.

I see.  Real estate law offices and title companies regularly handle transactions and title searches for banks and mortgage companies.  These entities are their meal ticket . . . lots of repeat business.   Whereas little ol’ Felix (the buyer) and I are private individuals, small potatoes . . . here today, gone tomorrow.   I wonder whose title search is lowest priority?

Getting a little paranoid, are we?

The receptionist calls back and says as best they can tell the closing with be this week or next.  Those last two words sting.  “Thank you.  Please have Ms. Morang (the attorney) call me first thing tomorrow morning.”  Sigh.

Another thing weighing heavily on my mind . . .

When should Janie move to her new home?  She needs to leave us today or tomorrow if the crew and I are hitting the road on Saturday.  On the other hand, if the closing delays us another week  —  please, God, don’t let that happen  – –  I don’t want to let her go so soon!



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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23 Responses to New Mexico or South Dakota?

  1. Steve says:

    Unless there’s a pressing reason to go there now (you have immediate need of an SD license for some legal reason), I would postpone it until spring next year. You’ll only be staying there for a few months before you have to leave because of winter. You can mitigate the high summer southwestern temps by staying in higher elevation areas.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Point well taken, Steve. Winter does come early in the mountains.

      I’m itching to get moving! Plus the miser in me wants to take full advantage of that annual NM parks pass. Maybe the trip to TX and then to NM will calm down this urge to travel.

      • Steve says:

        Precisely! Why spend all that $$$ on gas when you can save it all for the long run.

        I’m planning a informal gathering in NM towards the end of Sept/begging of Oct. It will be a lot of the nice folk from and myself hanging out for 4-5 days. We’re still working on the exact location and date. I’ll keep you posted if you’re interested in joining us.

  2. Kim says:

    I love that area of the country! There is so much to see and do up there. Don’t forget T. Roosevelt National Park – the South Unit is not that far from Rapid City. Of course, you’ll have the time and means to see it all eventually. Although I know you are sad about Janie, you’ve got some exciting days before you. Hopefully the next few won’t be on the phone with bureaucrats.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Kim,

      I feel like never in the history of the world has any human being ever been in such a state of anticipation! This has been one, long wait since 2004, topped off with a very long, hot summer!

      I’m ready for a change of scenery . . . lots of it!

  3. Denise says:

    I’ve had some frustrating moments in the past few weeks while re-financing a home loan. It seems that if you don’t fit their boilerplate transaction model, it puts a hitch in their giddy-up. Keep after them!

    Where in New Mexico are you going? I forget. Unless you’re headed for the mountains and pine trees, August isn’t exactly pleasant in New Mexico.

    The Black Hills are very nice, and there are lots of interesting things to do and see, although the plains states can get pretty hot in August. Of course, you have to make a stop at Wall Drug!

    Some of my favorite places to beat the summer heat are the Wasatch and Uinta mountains in Utah around Salt Lake City and Provo. Pretty fall colors in September and October. Just head south before the first snow. It’s not fun to tow a trailer on ice!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Denise,

      If it’s New Mexico, it’s the northern mountains.

      I’ve never seen that area (SD, WY, CO) in autumn and I imagine it is breathtakingly beautiful. It’s been a while since I’ve seen really brilliant autumn colors like I saw as a young person in my native upstate NY or during travels across the northeast and on down to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

      I want to go to Utah and Idaho and the Pacific Northwest and . . . . I want to see it all!!!!

  4. Carmen says:

    As far as TItle Search, we have been there and done that and you nailed it; you will be there one time and gone. If the title “Attorney” has anything to do with legal papers, wait, wait a little longer and then the final wait. We seperated a ranch and it took the Attorney/Title Company (one and the same) two weeks to get it together. There was no big hurry, just wanted to get things completed. Patience I found out is over-rated. Enjoy the journey and take in all the beautiful views. The Mountians of NM are beautiful!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Carmen!

      What confuses me is this . . . wouldn’t the digital age speed up the title search process? Why does it take as long as it did 35 years ago? It makes me wonder if it’s completed in 45 minutes and then they hold everything up so they can charge the same fee as when it took days. Increased profit margin.

      Sorry, I’m being grumpy. I need to focus on those beautiful mountains of NM. . . . . and get going.

      • Carmen says:

        Your not being grumpy. I had to ask myself the same question, “why so long?” I do believe it is so they can charge the same as they did a few years ago. In my neck of the woods, the County Court House just went digital in 2006 and not totally digital yet. Now that’s sad.
        Look ahead and imagine all the beautiful scenery you be taking in. Safe travels an enjoy the journey.

  5. Jack says:

    I had the same jitters when I sold my house and was going full time. I drove thru a stop sign with a police man sitting there. I tried to explain I was starting a new life at age 62 and I was a bit stressed. It takes time! day by day, you will become stronger, trust me you will! Be safe and travel slowly.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jack,

      I know in my head it will all work out somehow. . . I feel like I’m at the starting line of a race waiting for the sound of the gun and I keep making false starts. I hope I don’t do something like run a stop sign! It sounds funny now but I’m sure it wasn’t at the time!

      You are a calming influence. Calm is good. You be safe, too.

  6. Judy Douglass says:

    You might want to rethink your trip to the Black Hills, the Sturgis Motorcycle rally officially starts this week and will be going on most of next week. It is awful busy, noisy and crowded and campsites are hard to find and very expensive, double or more of normal rates. If you can get out there about the 3rd week of Aug., things will be back to a more normal state.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Judy!

      Nice to see you here! You sound like someone who is “in the know.” Thanks!

      • Judy Douglass says:

        Sue, you can go to any DMV in SD to get your driver’s license. We’ve used both the DMV in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. Both locations had nice people working, just remember all DMV offices are closed on Mondays. Be sure you have all the documentation you need with you when you go in, America’s Mailbox should give you a list of everything you will need. Take cash, some of them will not take checks and I think they will only take a Discover card.

        Usually, it takes 10 to 20 minutes to get your license. You will love the Black Hills, late August will start the cool down, usually!! Take your time and enjoy everything.

  7. Reine says:

    Sue, it’s amazing how much stuff is still done on paper. Our daughter works for an oil and gas company and they hire folks that spend DAYS at county courthouses researching titles to property – although they’re often checking stuff that’s decades old. The title company has to research everything that MAY have happened to the house since you bought it, like leins or other potential impediments to the title such as a lawsuit. You’re clean but there are lots of folks that aren’t and you’re paying the price for their problems. It WILL be over soon.

    My 2 cents on where to go. If you know you have to go to SD anyway sometime in the next year. Go now and get it over with so you won’t have any restrictions on where you travel after that. You can get your business done and then meander which ever direction you wish.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you! You’ve shed some light on this title business. It seems like the process would be more streamlined by now, like a background check is. I’ll try to be patient. What choice do I have.

      I appreciate you commenting on SD . I’m going to play it by ear. I need to see how comfortable I am with towing my trailer and finding places to spend the night. I can see you think like I do! I like to have things taken care of, rather than in a state of pending. Then again, there’s plenty of good reason to stay in north NM until the cold comes. It IS coming, right?

  8. Reine says:

    A quick Google of South Dakota temps shows forecast highs in the upper 70s and lows in the low 50s. Compared to the DFW, Texas area highs above 100 and lows in the mid 80s, that sounds heavenly!

  9. Bob Giddings says:

    If you are going to make the break with Janie, go on and do it. It won’t get any easier. But then again, this is coming from a guy who’s been divorced three times.

    The trip through South Dakota will be interesting, provided you can get away pretty soon. The weather should be reasonably good through November, at least in the flats. But I think you should reconsider spending your first winter in NM. Believe it or not, the desert gets coooold, and the mountains even colder. The Casita is not designed to be an all weather habitation, and even if it was that little trailer is going to seem prison-like rather than cozy, if you can’t get out of it much.

    You are actually starting out at the wrong time of year, weather-wise. It is going to take a few months to get used to living cramped. Winter is going to be a trial, and it will be here before you know it. I suggest you spend your first cold season somewhere warm, like South Texas or Florida. T-shirt and shorts sort of place, with at most a week or so where you need a light jacket. You have to take your acclimatization to trailer life in stages, or it can get overwhelming. It’d be a shame to overload yourself unnecessarily with layers of discomfort before you have a chance to get used to it. Better to stretch out the learning curve a bit.

    As for cable ties, they are fine for things you are putting away and don’t use much. But if you use the dog cage daily, they will get to be a pain. I suggest investing in some velcro straps and a few small sponges or rags to put between the sections.

    One of the great advantages of the fifth wheel was that I didn’t have to carry that sort of stuff up front with me, and it could rattle all it wanted back there in the trailer. Maybe you should just throw it on the bed while in transit? Or maybe hang it up in your voluminous closet? :o)


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Bob,

      You make a lot of well-reasoned suggestions. Re: Janie . . . I want her to be in her new home a few days before we leave to make sure it’s going to work. However, I don’t want a lot of days before we leave. Every place I look in this house and yard is going to remind me of her and things she did that will pull at my heart. It’s easier to forget someone when you don’t have reminders no matter where you look. Same goes for the crew . . I want them out of here soon after she leaves . . who knows how much her smell will bother them. It will be torture if they start crying for her (and Spike has an unusually large range of vocalizations to go with his moods!)

      You emphasize here and in previous posts the adjustment process for living in cramped quarters. I do have some things going for me . . . I’m not a big person (as you are), I can amuse myself for long periods of time with sedentary pursuits, and I adapt well to the cold, indoors and out. Even so, you make a good point about feeling cooped up.

      I’ve crossed FL off my list for any time soon because I lived there for 15 years and explored the state extensively. The only pull it has on me now is visiting my sister.

      If I were to go to SD shortly, I probably would be ready to slow down considerably by the time I got back to NM and then it would be cold, so I’d have to keep going south. This is a big consideration. Thanks for putting my mind on that aspect. Wow, so many choices!

      Steve made a good comment about $$$ . . . Maybe I should keep dollars in hand until I’m aware of exactly how much it costs me to live this life.

      Yes, the cable ties are not good once I’m pulling out the exercise pen often. I was saying they’re great for the trip to TX when I won’t be setting it up and I don’t have a camper bed for it to be thrown upon! 🙂
      I have some velcro strips.

      Thanks Bob for giving me another angle from which to plan.

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