A Travellerspoint blog

The Solar Eclipse & Vacation in a Volcano

Where The Buffalo Roam


View The Solar Eclipse & Vacation in a Volcano & East Of The Rockies on DillyLynn's travel map.

Hello, Friends! I finally feel like writing again. I can't wait to catch you up on all the places we've been. We're currently in one place with good internet access for at least 2 weeks and I'm determined to write a little every day.

This episode begins on August 15, 2017 as we head south from Billings, MT toward our Eclipse Viewing campsite at the Wyoming Eclipse Paramotor Fly-in. I'd planned to spend the night at the free campground in the Kaycee, WY city park. That campground was a joke, so we found a spot at the local rest stop and spent a quiet night there instead.

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Wyoming Eclipse PPG Fly-In - 8/18-22/2017

We arrived in Wheatland, WY a couple of days before we were allowed into the ranch where the Fly-in was to be held. We had to find a place nearby to spend a couple of nights.

Free and/or inexpensive overnight parking was impossible to find the week prior to the Eclipse. The cost of lodging and campsites within the Band of Totality, where the sun would be completely covered, had skyrocketed. Everyone was trying to cash in.

Luckily, we found an out-of-the-way spot at the Wheatland Airport and spent a quiet (& free!) Wednesday night there. We spent Thursday night at a rest stop just north of Wheatland and Friday morning we set off for the Fly-in site at Kamp Dakota Campground and Guest Ranch.

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This historic campground established in 1970 included a rodeo arena and once hosted amateur rodeos. These days the rodeo arena is long gone and campground is overgrown. The current owners, Adene and Randy Kusma, raise cattle on the land and operate the facility as a hunting lodge.

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Several abandoned RVs remain on the property; remnants of the ranch's former glory days. Just inside the door of this Winnebago Brave was one of the funniest things I'd seen in a while...

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Mike & I had a great time at the fly-in, meeting old friends and making new ones here in Wyoming.

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This group photo and the following one of the total eclipse were taken by Dallas Mount. The aerial shot of the flight line was taken by David Nebel. Click for more photos of the Wyoming Eclipse PPG Fly-In.

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Total Solar Eclipse - 8/21/2017

Wow! The total solar eclipse was an incredible, multi-sensory experience! Photos just don't do it justice. The temperature drops as the sun becomes covered completely. Crickets begin to chirp, just like they do at dusk, and there's an orange sunset glow in every direction. I'm already making plans to see the next one in the US in 2024!

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Medicine Bow National Forest - 8/22-24/2017

After the fly-in, we were invited to camp with some of our friends in the Medicine Bow National Forest. They led us to the Nash Fork Campground near Centennial, WY. It was a beautiful spot to spend a couple of days.

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One day we took a drive and found Little Brooklyn Lake. There's a little campground on the lakeshore. What a beautiful place!

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It was the end of August and the weather was still nice in Wyoming. Summer was winding down and many families had gone home. Back to school; my favorite time of year! :)

We'd made no plans to see Yellowstone National Park and decided we were too close not to try to see it. So we left Medicine Bow National Forest on Thursday and headed northwest to visit Jackson, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park and maybe even Yellowstone National Park.

On our way both to and from Yellowstone, we stayed in the camping area at the Lander, WY City Park on the banks of a river. We were lucky to snag the same private campsite each time we passed through town. You can see our rig in the distance through the trees along the creek in the second photo.

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Jackson Hole, Wyoming - 8/24-29/2017

Jackson Hole refers to the 48-mile long valley along the Snake River. This area includes Grand Teton National Park and the town of Jackson, WY. Here was our first look at the Teton Range:

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Our first campsite in Jackson Hole was on BLM land. Prized for being free and for its great view of the Grand Teton, this campsite was very popular and crowded. We only stayed here one night before moving on to Jackson, WY.

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We spent the weekend exploring the city of Jackson. Overnight parking on the street was allowed for 72 hours and spots were difficult to find, but we made it work.

One day we packed a picnic lunch and took a drive out to Atherton Creek Campground on the shores of Lower Slide Lake. We thought it might be a nice place to camp, but the sites were too small and not level. The view of the Teton Range from there was stunning, though:

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Jackson Hole is home to the largest elk herd on earth, but we didn't see any while we were here. Instead, on our way north we got as close as I would ever want to be to a large herd of wild bison! I'm sure the log fence between us and the herd was never meant to stop a stampede!

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Turn up the volume on this video to hear the sounds of bison:

Grand Teton National Park - 8/28/17

Since it was the end of summer, we decided to take our chances at getting a campsite in the Grand Teton National Park with no reservations. We were happy to learn there are plenty of campsites available this time of year!

We spent a very relaxing Monday night at Colter Bay Campground in site M263. The ranger that registered us gave us a site on the right side of the road so our cabin door would open into the forest. This would turn out to be our favorite campsite in Jackson Hole.

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Yellowstone National Park - 8/29 - 9/1

To be sure we'd have a place to stay, I did call ahead and make reservations for a couple of campsites in Yellowstone National Park. It was exciting to score a campsite in Yellowstone on such short notice. And they said it couldn't be done!

We entered the park on Tuesday, 8/29 and headed toward Bridge Bay Campground on the shores of Yellowstone Lake.

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We were assigned to campsite H413 in Bridge Bay. These campsites were much smaller and closer together than the ones at Colter Bay. As you can see, our neighbor across the street was unconcerned that his slide-out was intruding into the roadway, effectively pushing all traffic much closer to our front door than it needed to be. I continue to be amazed at how inconsiderate other campers can be about fitting within the boundaries of their campsite.

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After one night at Bridge Bay, we were glad to move to Grant Village Campground site I311 for 2 nights. We had a heck of a time getting level at this site. I think we worked on it for over an hour before we were happy. Though I didn't get a photo of our campsite, here's one of the campsite next door. It was really beautiful there.

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One evening we took a walk along a sandspit on Yellowstone Lake and watched some kayakers float by.

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During our 4 day/3 night stay in Yellowstone National Park we were able to drive around the entire Grand Loop Road. We saw many of the park's most famous sights including:

Lake Village Lodge - Tuesday, 8/29

This was our first look at one of several historic buildings we would visit during our stay at Yellowstone. It really is awe-inspiring to see these places in person.

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Yellowstone River

These photos and video speak for themselves. It was a beautiful day to be on The Yellowstone River.

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Old Faithful Lodge - Thursday, 8/31

We were both excited to see Old Faithful. We got there early, so it was easy to find a parking spot. I was surprised that there was so much more to see here than 'just' a geyser eruption.

The Old Faithful Lodge was built in the 1920s. This is the front entrance and side porch of the Lodge. Moments after I took this photo of an empty porch, a busload of tourists arrived and soon every seat was taken.

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These photos are of the main lobby. The giant windows look out on Old Faithful and the fireplace is directly across the room. Truly magnificent!

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Old Faithful Geyser

There's a clock in the lobby of the Old Faithful Lodge indicating when to expect the next eruption of Old Faithful. As that time draws near, the crowds gather with great anticipation. That's the Old Faithful Inn in the background.

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Seconds before its eruption, Old Faithful begins to bubble & spray. And then...

Old Faithful Inn

After the eruption, we walked around the geyser to see the Old Faithful Inn, which first opened in 1904. Impressive from the outside, it was even more so on the inside. The woodwork was incredible!

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Having had our fill of the Old Faithful Historic District. we continued around Grand Loop Road. Our next adventure was to be a short scenic drive...

Firehole Canyon Drive is a one-way loop off of Grand Loop Road that goes along the Firehole River. This canyon cuts through 800-foot lava flows, passes a 40-foot waterfall, and accesses one of only two swimming holes in Yellowstone National Park. Even though crowded and slow, this was a beautiful drive.

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The next geothermic feature we stopped to see turned out to be my favorite feature in Yellowstone...

Grand Prismatic Spring - Thursday, 8/31

Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the US. This area includes many smaller hot springs. As you approach the entry to this exhibit, you see this golden waterfall.

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This aerial view of the Grand Prismatic Spring is from Wikipedia. You can see the boardwalk we walked in the lower right corner...

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This photo of people standing on the boardwalk at the edge of the Spring. Yes, it really is that steamy!

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l was a little nervous being surrounded by this prehistoric stew. It seemed like the earth could erupt at any second! The hot springs are fascinating nonetheless, and I'm really glad I saw this place with my own eyes. The clear blue water and brilliant colors here are amazing!

The vivid colors are caused by the organisms living at the water's edge. During summer the microbes don't produce much chlorophyll and appear orange, red, or yellow. In winter, less sunlight causes more chlorophyll to be produced and the colors become muted. I'm glad we visited while the colors were brightest!

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Hayden Valley - Thursday, 8/31

Our next Yellowstone adventure would be driving through Hayden Valley. There are lots of happy bison living in this valley. Those dark spots dotting the landscape are bison.

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Here you see the Yellowstone River running through Hayden Valley. The mountains in the distance form part of the rim of the Yellowstone Supervolcano and we were in the middle of the caldera! Yikes!

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Once we experienced the requisite bison traffic jam, I felt our Yellowstone trip was complete:

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Our last stop on Grand Loop Road was at the West Thumb Geyser Basin. Here there are more blue hot springs and a couple of boiling mud pots:

It was unsettling to be surrounded by so much volcanic activity and fascinating at the same time; It was the experience of a lifetime and I was glad to leave!

We left Yellowstone on Friday, 9/1. With one last look at the Grand Teton Mountains...

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...we headed south, spending our last night in Wyoming at the Laramie Walmart parking lot.

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Here's a map showing our route through Wyoming:


Next I'll tell about when we were East of the Rockies in Colorado and New Mexico. We were near Rocky Mountain National park during elk rutting season and had several close encounters. Tune in next time to see what happened... :)

If you're interested, please subscribe to Our Permanent Vacation by clicking this "Subscribe" link. Thanks for coming along! Until next time...

Posted by DillyLynn 21:56 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Crossing Montana

A River Runs Through It & The Continental Divide

Hello, Friends! This episode of Our Permanent Vacation begins on July 27, 2017 when we left Bonners Ferry, ID, headed toward Montana.

We'd planned to stay at the Elks Lodge in Kalispell, MT. We thought it was really nice there until our electrical service became intermittent. Mike concluded that the power provided was insufficient for the number of rigs there, and we decided to find another place to camp.

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We found a great place to dry camp at the Flathead County Fairgrounds, and stayed here twice while we were in Kalispell. We couldn't believe that we had the place almost all to ourselves In the middle of summer!

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Kalispell, Montana is a cute little town. We really enjoyed exploring it. The original downtown area includes many shops & restaurants and some breweries. We ate the most delicious homemade salted-caramel ice cream at a shop called Sweet Peaks on the corner of 4th and Main.

Birthday In Kalispell - 7/29/17

I had wondered where we'd celebrate my birthday. July 29 was a Saturday. We drove south of Kalispell to the shores of Flathead Lake for brunch. I decided on the very cute Somers Bay Cafe in Somers, MT. It was a good choice. The ambiance was comfortable and our meals were delicious. Highly recommended!

As we explored further south along the lakeshore, we saw cherry orchards everywhere! We finally had to stop at one of the roadside stands and get some fresh-picked cherries to snack on. They were delicious!

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That evening, Mike surprised me with tickets to the local Demolition Derby. I hadn't been to one in years. Talk about an evening with the locals! The event came complete with a hot-dog-eating contest and a fire-breathing dragon. The people-watching was priceless!

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We got permission to camp in the raceway parking lot overnight and took advantage of another great, private campsite.

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Sunday morning we moved Sara back to the fairgrounds and took a drive to Glacier National Park. We were hoping to find a campsite closer to the park's entrance. We found a wooded campground just 5 minutes from Glacier National Park where we were able to reserve a site for Thursday and Friday.

Monday we drove north from Kalispell to Whitefish, MT. This is where some of the scenes from "A River Runs Through It" were filmed. It's a beautiful area. I would have liked spending a little more time there. Maybe next year...

Glacier National Park - 8/4/17

We left Flathead County Fairgrounds on Wednesday morning and spent that night in the parking lot at Super One Foods in Columbia Falls, MT. We were set up in our site at Glacier Campground by noon on Thursday, so I packed a picnic lunch and we headed out for Glacier National Park.

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We ate lunch at the Fish Creek picnic area on the western shore of Lake McDonald. Afterward, we drove a short distance up Going-To-The-Sun Road and took the easy hike around Trail of the Cedars loop. It was peaceful under the giant trees and there is a beautiful waterfall in Avalanche Gorge. Mike took shelter under a tree like a Hobbit to make me laugh. :D This was a perfect way to spend our first afternoon in Glacier NP.

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One of the top "Things To Do" at Glacier NP is to drive Going-To-The-Sun Road. This steep, curvy road connects the east and west sides of the park. Neither one of us wanted to drive because we both wanted to see the view, so we decided to take the shuttle on Friday.

Glacier National Park operates a free shuttle system providing two-way service along Going-To-The-Sun Road. To avoid long lines, we opted to catch the 7:00 AM non-stop shuttle to Logan Pass, the highest point on the road. This was one of many times that we would cross The Continental Divide in our travels.

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We arrived at St. Mary Visitor Center on the east side of the park where it was cold and cloudy. We weren't planning to hike, so we caught the first shuttle back to the west entrance. Going-To-The-Sun Road is a breathtaking drive and well worth doing, whether you intend to hike or not.

I wish we'd had better visibility that day. The air was filled with smoke from the wildfires in the Northeast, and a low cloud-cover obscured the mountain tops. Unfortunately, we didn't get many good photos of the park. This is the best of the bunch:

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We left Glacier Campground on Saturday morning and began heading south. It was time to make our way toward Wyoming where we planned to watch the Total Eclipse of the Sun on August 21, 2017.

We had no idea where we'd be spending Saturday night and our options were limited. The National Bison Range was on our route and I hoped we could find somewhere close to stay for a couple of days so I could see my first bison in the wild.

A few miles south of the Bison Range, we discovered a hidden gem of a campground. Jocko Hollow Campground is nestled in a shady hollow on the banks of Jocko River. The campground is a little tricky to find; our map program gave erroneous directions. If you miss the turn like we did, it's worth it to turn around and follow the signs to Jocko Hollow Campground. The campground owner is welcoming and we were very comfortable there for a couple of days.

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National Bison Range, MT - 8/6/17

Sunday morning I packed a picnic lunch and off we went to the Bison Range. I learned that Theodore Roosevelt established the National Bison Range in 1908 to provide “…for a permanent national bison range for the herd of bison….”. At this range, there are scenic drives, nature walks, fishing access and a day use picnic area.

We took the 19-mile Red Sleep Mountain Drive loop, a self-guided tour through the bison sanctuary. We saw many Pronghorn Antelope right away. It seemed a long time before we spotted our first bison. When we finally did, I was thrilled!

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Eventually, there were lots more bison along the road. Bison like to roll in the mud or dirt, creating shallow depressions called wallows. Once you knew what to look for, you could see bison wallows all over the place.

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Near the end of our tour, we entered the Day Use area of the sanctuary where we saw our first live elk! What a magnificent creature: a 14-point rack! He seemed unconcerned as he grazed between the toilets. He eventually walked in front of our car and disappeared into the dense vegetation and up a very steep slope.

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I was surprised to learn that elk shed their antlers every year. Notice how fuzzy these new antlers are. Later in the year during the mating season, elk rub their antlers on rocks and trees transforming them into bony spikes.

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On Monday morning, we left our cute little campsite at Jocko Hollow and continued south. We passed through Missoula, MT where we had a chance to compare a burger made with bison vs. one made with elk. Both were good, and we decided we liked bison best.

We're always on the lookout for good places to boondock. I found just such a place east of Butte, MT, a few hours drive away. Homestake Pass sits on the Continental Divide at an elevation of 6,329 feet. There were several good campsites on this BLM land. Cell service was excellent and we had the place all to ourselves on a Monday night. I bet this place is packed on the weekend!

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Tuesday morning we continued traveling east on I-90. Using freecampsites.net, I found there were several fishing access camps along the Yellowstone River near Big Timber, MT. One we investigated was way too small for us, but the next one was perfect. We lucked out when we found Otter Creek Fishing Access. It was mostly empty in the middle of the week and we had our choice of campsites.

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There's a 7-day limit for free camping at Otter Creek. We still had plenty of time to reach our eclipse-viewing destination in WY, so we relaxed here on the river for 5 days. It got more crowded on the weekend, though and we were ready to leave by Sunday.

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We continued east on I-90 and spent a couple of nights in Billings. Since we needed an oil filter for our generator, we were allowed to stay in the Cummins dealer's parking lot on Sunday night. On Monday, we spent the night at the Billings Elk's Lodge.

Tuesday morning, 8/15, the eclipse was less than a week away and it was time to leave Montana for Wyoming.

Next Stop: A Total Eclipse

I'd been determined to see the Total Eclipse of the Sun ever since our travels began. I just didn't know where on the Path of Totality we would be. As luck would have it, I learned about the Wyoming Eclipse Paramotor Fly-in to be held in Wheatland, WY and the location was directly in the path of totality. So we headed south from Billings, MT for an Appointment with the Sun on August 21, 2017.

Next time, I'll tell you all about our trip through Wyoming and our unscheduled visit to Yellowstone National Park!

Here's a map showing our route through Montana:


If you're interested in following along with us, please subscribe to Our Permanent Vacation by clicking this "Subscribe" link. Thanks for following along! Until next time!

Posted by DillyLynn 16:20 Comments (1)

It's Our First Nomadiversary!

One Year Of Living Full-Time In Our RV

We can hardly believe it's been a whole year since we moved out of our sticks-and-bricks condo in Santa Barbara. This time last year I was sitting in a lawn chair in our living room because we had just sold my favorite chair.

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Over the past year, we have traveled across the US from the Mexican to the Canadian borders and back again. We've visited several states that we'd never been to before and made new friends along the way. We've seen herds of bison, elk, antelope and lots of other wildlife in their native habitats. We have had some amazing adventures so far.

One of the best things about being mobile is the having the ability to stay in a comfortable climate year-round. We spent the summer in Northern Idaho and Wyoming near the Canadian border. As summer turned to fall, we traveled south through Colorado, saw the first snow of the season in the Rockies and just enough fall colors before reaching the desert Southwest.

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As I write this, we are camping at Elephant Butte Lake State Park in southern New Mexico. The weather is beautiful here this time of year and the crowds are gone. I'll be posting more photos of our latest adventures soon. I just couldn't let this day pass without commemorating our first year on the road.

Both of us have adapted very well to this tiny home on wheels. Honestly, we have everything we need and nothing we don't. Our Permanent Vacation is turning out to be everything we hoped it would be. We eagerly look forward to another year of exploration and adventure. This is the life!

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Posted by DillyLynn 14:00 Archived in USA Comments (1)

3 Easy Steps To Becoming A Nevada Resident

The Nomad's Guide To Establishing A NEVADA Domicile

Because nomads never stay in one place for very long, they have the advantage of choosing to which state they want to "belong". There are more advantages to living in some states than others and each state has its own requirements for becoming a "domicile". There are 4 states that are particularly attractive to full-time RVers: Texas, Florida, South Dakota and Nevada.

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The Escapees RV Club has published a Step-by-Step guide on how to become a resident of Texas, Florida or South Dakota; partly because they offer legal addresses in these three states. I could find no such help with establishing Nevada residency, which is why I'm writing this guide.

A Residential Address is Mandatory

Your residential address represents your physical location. A building in which you live has a residential address. If your home moves from place to place, you must choose somewhere to represent your "permanent" physical location. The commercial address of a mail-forwarding service is unacceptable for use as your residential address.

Your residential zip code is used for all sorts of things:

  1. where you vote,
  2. which state issues your Driver's License and Vehicle Registrations,
  3. whether your vehicles need smog inspections,
  4. whether you pay income tax to the state or not, and
  5. what you pay for insurance rates.
  6. Even financial institutions require you to have a residential address.
NOTE:
Your mail-forwarding service can be in any state and has nothing to do with your domicile address. I recommend establishing your mail-forwarding service before you hit the road so you can be sure your service works as expected. I have been very satisfied with the Las Vegas location of Anytime Mailbox.

Do Your Research

Some important topics to consider when choosing your domicile state are:

  1. Where will you be spending most of your time?
  2. Must you re-register your vehicle in person?
  3. Must you return to the state for a smog certificate?
  4. What are the state taxes?
  5. How much will insurance cost?
  6. How difficult is it to establish a domicile in Nevada?

Here are several websites I found helpful during my research on establishing Nevada residency:

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My 3 easy steps to establishing your Nevada domicile are:

Step 1 - Establish Your Residential Address

According to the Nevada DMV Residency & Proof of Identity page, you'll need two documents to prove your Nevada residential address. Both documents must be original and show your name and Nevada residential address.

There are more than 20 documents from which to choose to prove Nevada residency. One of them is:

A "record from a hotel, motel, recreational vehicle park or campground located in Nevada indicating no fewer than 30 days of consecutive residency"

The address of this campground will become your new residential address.

The second document we used was the DMV 005 - Certification of Nevada Residency form, which we downloaded from the Residency & Proof of Identity page.

Once you've found a place in Nevada that suits you, it's time to rent your space for at least 30 days.

Step 2 - Obtain Your Nevada Driver's License

Now that you'll be settled for at least a month, you'll have plenty of time to get your new driver's license and register your vehicles in your new home state. Expect to make at least a couple of trips to your local DMV office while establishing your Nevada domicile.

For your Real ID compliant driver's license you will need:

  1. the two documents that prove your Nevada residential address (referenced above)
  2. your current Driver's License or ID Card
  3. proof of ID: your valid, unexpired Passport, original Birth Certificate, or any out-of-state Real ID
  4. proof of Social Security Number: your original Social Security Card, W-2, IRS Form 1099, or a paystub
  5. proofs of all name changes
  6. a completed Application for Driving Privileges or ID Card (DMV 002) (This form is also available at the DMV.)
  7. corrective lenses, if needed. You will receive an eye exam.
  8. some form of payment: cash, check or credit card. As of 2017, most Nevada driver's licenses are valid for 8 years and cost $42.25. Licenses issued to those 65 and older will be valid for 4 years and cost $18.25.
Bring the above items to your local DMV office and you should have no problem getting your new Real ID compliant Nevada driver's license. If you wish, you can also register to vote in your new Nevada County by completing the Voter Registration Application on the last page of the Application for Driving Privileges.

Step 3 - Register Your Vehicles

In order to register your vehicle in Nevada, you must first obtain vehicle insurance from a Nevada-licensed carrier. Out-of-state insurance is not accepted. The new carrier will require proof of continuous coverage from your current insurance company. This can usually be handled with a few simple phone calls.

Your first trip to the DMV is a good time to get a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Inspection for one of your vehicles. You'll need a VIN inspection for each vehicle you wish to register in Nevada.

It is not necessary to have the title to your vehicle to register it in Nevada. You WILL need the current registration, though.

To register each vehicle, you'll need:

  1. a Nevada Evidence of Insurance card or policy information
  2. a Nevada Smog Certificate, if required. For more information see Nevada Emissions Testing Areas.
  3. your current registration and license plates (Remove & bring in.)
  4. tools you'll need to detach/attach your license plates
  5. residential and mailing addresses of all registered owners
  6. the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Inspection Certificate
  7. some form of payment: cash, check or credit card. You can estimate your vehicle registration fees by entering your VIN into Nevada's Online Fee Estimate tool.
After your vehicles are insured and registered in Nevada, you are officially a Nevada resident. You're now free to move about the country and when someone asks "Where you from?" you can honestly answer, "Nevada!"

Posted by DillyLynn 11:07 Tagged nevada_domicile rver_domicile become_nevada_resident nv_resident Comments (11)

Exploring Idaho

Where Lava & Water Flows

Filer, ID - Thursday, 6/15/17

Neither Mike nor I had ever been to Idaho, and we were really looking forward to visiting some friends near Twin Falls. From Crystal Hot Springs, Utah we drove to Filer, ID to visit our good friends Bob & Julie. We set up camp in their cul-de-sac for three days in hopes that Mike & Bob could take a flight or two.

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When we arrived, the weather looked like it would be perfect for an evening flight, so Mike began assembling his motor. It was good that the weather was cooperative on Thursday night, because Mike did not get another chance to fly in Filer.

Mike & I had a great time with Bob & Julie. They were very generous with their time and obviously very proud of their home town. Despite having just had knee surgery, Julie came along with us to show Mike & i the sights. What a trooper!

Our first stop was the Twin Falls Visitor Center on the Snake River. This is the site of the famous base-jumper bridge. Apparently watching people jump from the bridge is quite the attraction for locals. We had lunch at a restaurant on the cliff overlooking the bridge, but no one was jumping that day.

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The next day, we took a tour of the Snake River. Water levels were unusually high due to the snow melt. Bob & Julie said they had never seen so much water going over Shoshone Falls. I learned that Shoshone Falls is 45 feet taller than Niagara Falls, and is sometimes called the "Niagara of the West".

It was stunning to see so much water pouring over the cliff!

Craters Of The Moon - Sunday, 6/18/17

We said goodbye to Bob & Julie on Sunday and headed north toward Craters of the Moon National Monument. We camped there at the Lava Flow Campground for 2 nights. Talk about living in an asphalt jungle! You might expect something like this in Hawaii, but in Idaho?!

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This lava field covers 618 square miles. You can see it clearly on the map's satellite view.


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I was surprised at all the new life taking hold in the lava flow. We were there at just the right time of year to see these tiny pink flowers carpeting the rocky landscape. It was unexpectedly colorful!

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Sun Valley - Tuesday, 6/20/17

Ahh... Sun Valley! This is absolutely one of my favorite campsites so far. I'm sure I wouldn't like being here in the winter, but the Sawtooth National Forest is just beautiful in the spring time.

We arrived on Tuesday. We didn't like the first campground we came to, but the next campsite we found was extraordinary! These are the mountains at the end of the valley where we camped.

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A large circular driveway lead to our very private campsite.

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There was a path from the driveway to nearby Corral Creek. I loved sitting on the banks of the creek and listening to the water rushing by. It was so peaceful there.

On Saturday afternoon, we attended Sun Valley's Fire Fighter Appreciation event and I met Smokey Bear.

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As much as we hated to leave our beautiful spot in Sun Valley, we were looking forward to visiting our friends Steve and Charity. So we came down from the mountains and spent Monday night, 6/26, at the Elks Lodge in Mountain Home, ID.

Fruitland, ID - Tuesday, 6/27/17

Steve and Charity live among acres and acres of farm fields. Even though they had just gotten back from vacation, they welcomed us enthusiastically. Both Steve and Charity fly Powered ParaGliders like Mike does. They have a flying field right next to their house and they were hopeful the weather would cooperate for everyone to get a flight or two while we were there,

Bob & Julie surprised us with a visit on Thursday. Bob was in the market for a new paraglider and Steve had a couple for him to test fly. The weather was cooperative and everyone got to fly at least once. We were envious of Steve having such a perfect place to launch just steps from his back door.

On Friday, Charity, Julie and I went to the Trader Joe's in Boise. I sure do miss have a TJ's close by. It was refreshing to have some "girl time" with my friends. After lunch, we headed home toward Fruitland, about an hour north of Boise.

On our way home, we had a surreal experience. A driver going the opposite direction on I-84 lost control of her vehicle and careened across both southbound lanes. The car flipped several times across the median and became airborne just as we approached. It was flipping straight at us! Charity had to swerve onto the shoulder to avoid hitting it!

Thank you, Charity, for doing such a great job of avoiding a collision! The vehicle slid to a stop across both lanes on our side of the road. Others helped the accident victim out of the car and to a safe place. I can't believe this is the only photo I have of our entire stay in Fruitland.

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While we were in Fruitland, I made the difficult decision to quit flying. It had been over a year since I'd flown and I had to admit I am no longer athletic enough for the sport. Steve is teaching a neighbor of his to paraglide and he needed a harness, so I sold mine to him.

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One day I may still fly the trike we have in storage, but my days of foot-launching are over. I will never forget how it feels to free fly and am so grateful that I took the opportunity to learn to paraglide when I did. It's been an amazing experience!

Mike & I didn't really know where to go next, so we asked Steve's neighbor. Having kayaked in all 48 lower states, he said his favorite place of all is Stanley, ID. So on Sunday morning, we said goodbye to Steve & Charity and headed back into the mountains toward Stanley. We spent Sunday night in the Boise National Forest along the Payette River near Lowman.

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Stanley, ID - Monday, 7/3/17

On the drive into Stanley we came upon this beautiful wildflower meadow. It was adjacent to a very small, 2-site campground, available by reservation only. The person camping at one of the sites said that people had been stopping by all day long to take photos of this view.

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A little further down the road we came upon Stanley Lake. This is a view of the Sawtooth Mountains from the lakeshore.

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We arrived in the small mountain town of Stanley, Idaho the day before Independence Day. Stanley is located at the northern boundary of the Sawtooth National Forest. This is the view from the hilltop city park.

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Here are some old trapper cabins.

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Stanley held a Fourth of July celebration in the center of town. Main streets were blocked off and there was live music all afternoon. There was even a short fireworks display after dark. We thoroughly enjoyed being a part that quaint, small-town celebration.

Our first campground was right on the Salmon River. We watched people floating by every now and then.

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These are the Sawtooth Mountains a little south of Stanley. That's the Salmon River in the foreground.

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The most beautiful dump station in the world; just look at that view!

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I have to say that I agree with Steve & Charity's neighbor; the area around Stanley, ID is one of the most beautiful places on earth!

We stayed in Stanley for two weeks in 3 different campsites. All three were first-come-first-serve and free. We spent our first week in a dispersed camping campground on the banks of the Salmon River. Our second campsite was in a dispersed camping area along ID-75. We spent our last night at a dispersed campsite on a Forestry Service road near Redfish Lake.

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Boise to Coeur d'Alene, Monday, 7/17/17

Mike's iPhone began acting up while we were in Stanley and we wanted to replace it before it crashed completely. The nearest Apple Store was in Boise. So, on Monday morning, 7/17, we left Stanley and headed southwest toward the big city of Boise.

We got a replacement for Mike's iPhone at the Boise Apple Store and spent an uneventful night at the Boise Elks Lodge. We'd heard that Coeur d'Alene was nice, so the next morning we headed north on US-95. Along the way, we stayed overnight in Cambridge, ID at the Washington County Fairgrounds...

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...drove through Hells Canyon, North America's deepest river gorge carved by the Snake River...

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...took a break to watch the river flow by...

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...spent the night in the parking lot of an abandoned discount store in Grangeville, ID...

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...and checked in at the Coeur d'Alene Elks RV park on Thursday, 7/20.

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We enjoyed several days exploring the area around Coeur d'Alene. The lake was beautiful and we preferred the older parts of town. The newer, gentrified areas were much less appealing to us. We took advantage of being near a Honda dealership and had the brakes serviced on our CRV while we were here.

Bonners Ferry, ID, Wednesday, 7/26/17

We ended our exploration of Idaho at Boundary County Fairgrounds in Bonners Ferry. We were less than 30 miles from the Canadian border here. This is a popular little park for local families and a very nice place to spend up to 72 hours free of charge. We left Idaho the next morning and headed towards Glacier National Park in Montana.

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That's all for this post. Next time, I'll tell all about our adventures in Montana.

See the itinerary of this trip, and details about each destination.

If you're interested in following along with us, please subscribe to Our Permanent Vacation by clicking this "Subscribe" link. Until next time!

Posted by DillyLynn 11:01 Comments (3)

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