Aug 082009

There are big changes in store for fulltime RVers who use South Dakota as their home base. According to a newsletter we received from our mail forwarding service, Alternative Resources, effective January 1, 2010, when it is time to renew your South Dakota drivers license, or when getting your first South Dakota drivers license, you must stay one night in a campground or motel and show a receipt to the drivers license office. You can do this in any city that issues licenses. You can still use your mailing service as the address on your driver’s license.

According to South Dakota officials, this puts the state in compliance with the Federal Real ID Act, and will allow license holders to board a commercial airplane, enter federal buildings, etc. I don’t know about you, but Big Brother is really starting to tick me off!

In other news from South Dakota, you now must reside in the county where you apply for a concealed weapons permit (CWP) for 30 days immediately prior to applying for the gun permit. You can use a motel or campground, and must present a receipt and note from said motel or campground stating the exact dates of your stay. Apparently your mailing service address will not be accepted. I don’t know how this will apply to those of us who already have a CWP when it comes time for renewal.

I had heard rumors about this for a while now, but in response to e-mails I sent to the state, officials said no decision has been made.  I would imagine that these new rules may steer at least a few prospective new South Dakotans toward a different state, such as Texas or Florida.

One dream trip for many RVers is Alaska, and it’s a journey we hope to make someday. Dennis and Carol Hill, owners of the RV Driving School, have been in Alaska this summer, and on their RV blog they have some great pictures of a bear catching a fish for dinner. I can’t wait to see Alaska someday too!

Meanwhile, back here in the Lower 48, Walter Cannon from the Recreational Vehicle Safety Education Foundation (RVSEF) called to tell me that he has been forced to pull the plug on the RV Lifestyle, Education, & Safety clinic scheduled for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in September.

Walter said low student registration numbers and a lack of sponsorship from the RV industry made going forward with the event impossible, but he plans to spend the winter focusing on new ways to promote the program with students and sponsors, and hopefully in 2010 we’ll see it happen. For those who never got to attend a Life on Wheels session, the RVSEF program could be an excellent learning opportunity. I’ll keep you updated as I hear more from Walter.

Thought For The Day – If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  6 Responses to “Changes For South Dakota Fulltimers”

  1. I’m not sure this is a bad thing. After all, if you claim to be a “resident” shouldn’t you be willing to spend at least one night in the state? Requirements are much stricter in Oregon, and probably other states, as well.

    Sorry to hear the RVSEF program didn’t fly. The loss of Life on Wheels has certainly left a big hole in education for RVers, and I had hoped that RVSEF could fill it.

  2. Nick,

    Alaska is a national treasure. Mere words don’t do it justice. GO!

    RE: RVSEF having to cancel the classes planned for Harrisburg. That is a real shame.
    There is a definite hole in RV education. Having attended a Life on Wheels conference in Iowa two years ago was an invaluable part of our indoctrination to this life style.

    I hope Walter Cannon can help fill this void.

  3. Gotta agree with you about BIG BROTHER, everybody keeps telling me that the terrorist didn’t win on 9-11, but when I look at all the changes the government has made since then to screw up our life style, I’d say it was a coin toss. They made so many knee jerk reactions and decisions with out giving them any thought that they’re just stupid, and you know what Ron White sez about that “You can’t fix STUPID”.

    Florida has a list of about 50 different things to show the you are a resident of the state, my favorite one is a note from the manager of the homeless shelter you stayed at last night.

  4. We have been to Alaska. Once was enough for us.
    While we enjoyed our stay we think the area between Banff and Jasper in Alberta is just as nice and in some ways better. They have glaciers, animals and beautiful scenery. It is also a lot closer and less expensive. What we didn’t like about Alaska was the touristy nature of many places. There are lots of gift shops with Chinese products for sale and the get-the-tourist-money-during-our-short-season mentality. True there are many wonderful views and great animal sightings. But be prepared for the tourist stick. We are from Florida and know what a tourist trap looks, smells and feels like. If you want to see the real Alaska be prepared to have to look for it.
    Having said that, there are several places we really thought were great. We liked Fairbanks and their University Museum. Anchorage is a dreadful town (watch where you park, tickets abound) but has a great Indian museum just east of town. The docent type employees are Indians. You should spend an entire day there seeing the village replica and the inside demonstrations. We also liked Homer away from the gift shops. A must is to take the longest possible glacier boat tour. It is expensive but worth the fee. Peter took a plane flight to Coldfoot and small tourist bus back to Fiarbanks and enjoyed the day. A lot of Alaska is for the fisher person. We don’t fish although Pete loves to eat fish. So if you like to fish, there is lots to see and do.
    But Alaska is not for everyone. Most of the people were friendly but as we said watch out for your wallet as this place is designed to get your money fast. But since I know you like the small out of the way places that is what you need to look for. Stay away from the tourist destinations especially where the cruise ships come in.
    Fuel is not a problem, There are stations all along any of the routes but fuel is more expensive than in the lower 48. The roads are in good condition except where they are working on the roads. Go slowly through these and you will not have any problems. Get protection for the front of your tow vehicle. There are lots of campgrounds (fairly expensive) and many dry camping places along the roads. Since there are many trucks on the roads slow down and give them plenty of room. This also means lots of places to get you RV worked on if necessary. Bring the parts you know would be hard to get and might go out (alternator, belts, etc). We had an alternator go out and since Peter had an extra, we were soon on the road again.
    Alaska can be a lot of fun. By knowing the pitfalls (tourist stuff) and staying away from it, you can have a wonderful time. Much of the fun is the route to Alaska and the route back. As I said you can go through Banff to Jasper (start in the US at Glacier National Park) on the way up and then can come back through British Columbia to Vancouver. This part of Canada is VERY beautiful. Be sure to stop at Liard Hot springs and go sit in the warm part of the springs. Toss a pebble on the hot area of the springs. Very neat stop.
    Get the Milepost book and make a plan. Next time I see you I can get out our map and and show you where we went and what we liked. You can then put that information together with info from others and you can be prepared to make your trip just right for you.
    Hugs to you and Terry, Connie B.

  5. Even though we didn’t attend a Life on Wheels until after we had RV’d for a year, we still gained a lot of valuable information. I was impressed with the instructors and their level of knowledge on everything we needed to know. I was also impressed that they were willing to spend time outside of class answering questions etc. We met some neat people there who have become good RVing friends too.

    I agree on Big Brother. Long before 9-11, I thought there was getting to be too much government involvement in our personal lives. My first big issue was requiring – by law – that you where a helmet while riding a motorcycle. We all know we should do that and it is the safest way to ride, but I don’t need a law telling me I HAVE to do that. It has only gone downhill from there. My motto is less government – more common sense.

  6. But common sense is highly uncommon, especially in practice!

    As to Alaska, we would be delighted to return (we went there on a cruise years ago, then recently by motorhome), EXCEPT — there are so darn many places here in the lower 48 we haven’t been to yet! And Canada too! We are very anxious to get to Nova Scotia, for example. With our preferred driving style — 175 miles per day max, followed by a day to two weeks of sitting still and enjoying the area — it’s a L-O-N-G trip!

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