Friday, March 27, 2015
It's been nearly five years. Five years that I've had my Airstream trailer sit idle while I accomplished other things in my life. Oh, I would putter around with it now and then. I replaced one of the vents on top with a cheap unit from VTS. I put in three new panes of tempered glass to replace the three that had broken over the years. Mostly I just ignored this project. I painted my house. I dedicated more time to my business. I started riding my bicycle again. Out behind the garage, the Airstream waited. I'm not sure where the motivation to start working on it again has come from, but I've got it back.
One thing that I had been dreading since towing it home from Cape Cod back in 2008 was getting it registered. Every time I had to tow it someplace, either to have someone do some work on it or to go to a local campsite, I would borrow a dealer plate from a friend of mine. Today, I decided to bite the bullet and go to my local DMV office and see what hoops I was going to have to jump through in order to get a plate. You see, when I bought this Airstream, it had been sitting in a permanent camp site for years. When the family decided to sell it, they hooked on and towed it home. It was the first time it had moved in fifteen years. Since they never towed it, they never bothered to get it registered and over the years the transferrable registration was lost. The only paperwork I had was a notarized bill of sale from the owner. In 2008, I didn't care. I had my Airstream. I would deal with the anticipated nightmare of getting it registered later. Later came today.
Armed with nothing other than that bill of sale from 2008, I drove to the DMV. I presented said bill of sale to the lady behind the counter, and explained what I was trying to do. She handed me three forms to fill out, and told me that the only other thing I would need was a pencil etching of the VIN. Could it really be this easy? I was about to find out.
I drove back home, got the etching of the VIN and headed back to the DMV office. I was hoping that I would get the same clerk who was so helpful before. As I stood in line, I prayed that when my turn came up it would be with her. I soon found myself at the front of the queue, and when the next clerk was available, it wasn't the one I hoped for. I let the guy behind me go ahead, and I waited. Five minutes later, the next clerk was not my chosen clerk, so again, I let the guy behind me go ahead. It was ten minutes before the next clerk was available, and still it wasn't "my" clerk. Screw it, I'm not waiting anymore. I walked up to the new clerk, showed her my paperwork, she examined my etching, I paid a fee, and I got my plate. I was stunned. I had read so much about having to use a title service in Vermont. I had been prepared to look for a wrecked Airstream with that all important transferable registration to buy for cheap, willing to have a registration that did not match the VIN on my trailer. All of the things I had read. All of the horror stories of not being able to register a trailer. None of that applied to me. Thank you Chenango County Department of Motor Vehicles! I can now legally tow my trailer down to Baltimore to see Frank at Franks Trailer works to get new axles. The sky is now the limit.