Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Licensed and Registered

We are stopped for lunch
at the city park in Oakville, Washington (map), conveniently across the street from the library and its free WiFi signal.

This morning found us at the Wal-Mart in Chehalis (map), a place we've stayed before. The GPS again thought we were in the middle of one of the Chehalis airport's runways, since bulldozed to make way for the Wal-Mart (which does show in the satellite image), and a host of other stores including Home Depot and Applebees, where we again had dinner (even though, at this writing, they do not show in the image).

We had planned, actually, to spend the night at the Rotary Riverside Park in Centralia, right along the Skookumchuck River and a short scooter ride from the Department of Licensing. Unfortunately, the park is now posted "No Overnight Parking" and "No RVs," even though it was listed in two of our guides (Don Wright's Guide to Free Campgrounds and Day's End) as having several RV spaces for $12 per night as well as a dump station. Oh well.

That left the Chehalis Elks Lodge for $15 and the Wal-Mart, neither in convenient scooter distance. We opted for the Wal-Mart with its convenient access to Applebees, and it was handy for picking up a few items we did not find at our last stop. It did mean having to drive Odyssey up to the DOL this morning.

Fortunately the DOL parking lot was large enough to accommodate us, and other than about a 15 minute wait in "line" (they use a numbered ticket system, so no standing in queue required), we had no problems getting our driver licenses renewed. We have paper cards now, with the plastic ones to follow in the mail. Renewal was $50 -- we got hit with a $25 surcharge for our motorcycle endorsements. That goes into the state's motorcycle safety fund, though, and, as a former motorcycle safety instructor, I suppose I can't complain.

From there we headed back south to Chehalis and the county auditor's office to renew our license plates for the bus. They bought our (true) story about the computer not letting us renew them on line because it thought our driver licenses were expired (even though the state had sent us one-year extensions) and did not asses us a penalty for being a month late. They handed us our current registration and sticker and I immediately affixed it to the plate, so we can breathe a bit easier now.

We were done with the whole affair before noon. I was stunned, since I had girded myself for an all-day event, and possibly another night right there in Chehalis. In addition to finishing the bureaucratic processes in record time, my grand plan for working our way slowly up the eastern shore of the Olympic peninsula and then over the Hood Canal bridge to the Kitsap peninsula for the weekend exploded when Johnny from Hitek Homeless (with whom we are hoping to rendezvous during our sojourn in Washington) informed me that the Hood Canal bridge is closed at the moment. Sure enough, the DOT web site reveals that the bridge closed May 1 for renovations and will not reopen till mid-June.

Since we now have to go up the Kitsap on the more direct route, we found ourselves with a couple of free nights in the schedule, and we are now en route to the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino, in Ocean Shores. We have fond memories of our last stay there, and we are looking forward to a relaxing couple of nights. I have to say, after passing the same exit on I-5 for the fifth time in the span of 24 hours, I am happy to be leaving the Interstate behind.

Photo by Whirling Phoenix


  1. Whew, Washington license is expensive as my just renewed SD license was $8/five years and no extra cost for endorsements.

    Enjoy your blogs and your quest for the remote/free/scenic spots

  2. Florida is so nice... they mail everything! Today was also license and 3 plates.
    Box wine... hummmm... You should try making Sangria. This is the season for great fresh and inexpensive fruit. Mangoes, strawberries, melons, mixed with red on ice... Just a thought.
    Be well... Ara & Spirit

    PS: Hi Opal... hang in there buddy! "Spirit"

  3. We just drove past your motorhome and found your blog by googling. We have been entertained by your videos and feel like we know you. Love your blog. We travel 6 months per year and stay in Ocean Shores for the Summer. Hope to see you on the road some day.

  4. Will you be coming through Spokane? Would love to meet the both of you.

    You can find me at elevenfootrv.blogspot.com/
    Jenny J (kimilauri@msn.com)

  5. That license plate map is really cool. Do you have a source for that? (or a full version?)

  6. @Ryan: I found the photo on Flickr, under a Creative Commons license. If you click on the link at the bottom of this post that says "Photo by Whirling Phoenix" and search for "license plate," you'll get more details. Looks like it was found in Belvedere, CA.

    When I don't have an appopriate photo of my own, I often search Flickr for Creative Commons ones. The owners have given their permission to use the photos in this way, and I think that's really neat.


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