Our Texas Domicile

The Finances of Living in a Fifth Wheel Toyhauler!
December 2009

Traveling WITH New Rig

Winter Traveling Times

December – Our Texas Domicile

Us & NPS

Laura & Sasha at Cape Hatteras

December – Domicile What does it Mean?

Domicile is a legal term:  the place at which a company or other body is registered, especially for tax purposes; and chiefly in USA, a person’s residence or home. Our Home is where we park it, the RV. Legally, however, Texas became our legal domicile so that we would have:

  • No state income taxes
  • No personal property taxes
  • Lower Vehicle Insurance than Virginia
  • Low Vehicle Registration (especially with a new to us RV)
  • Polk County specifically has an understanding with Escapees RV Club for even more benefits
  • Cheaper Health Insurance
  • Inspections on Vehicles only when in the state

Spending a good two weeks in Livingston, TX to be a part of Escapees RV Club and its campground. And changing from Virginia to Texas domiciles, how expensive can it be?

Expenses for December 2009

  • Food, Food and Household: $186.88
  •         , Provisions: $63.54
  •         , PYO & Farm Market: $26.48
  •         , Out to Eat: $129.05
  • Clothing, Laura: $23.85
  • Transportation, Diesel: $585.37
  •                        , Parking: $3.00
  •                        , Fuel Pump Replacement: $128.76
  •                        , Truck Registration/Taxes: $310.58
  •                        , Truck/Camper Inspection: $29.00
  •                        , Camper Registration/Taxes: $1,100.00
  •                        , Motorcycle, Registration/Taxes: $161.80
  •                        ,                   , Inspection: $15.50
  •                        ,                   , Tools/Bracket: $6.67
  • Licenses, Both of us: $80.03
  • Utilities, Propane: $75.44
  • Camper, Equipment: $288.38
  • Communication, Cell Phone (S): $30.45
  •                          , Verizon: $60.07
  •                          , Postage: $7.87
  •                          , Mail Service 3 Years: $295.00
  •                          , 1st Class Postage: $50.00
  • Health, Insurance (L): $152.00
  •           , Insurance (S): $192.96
  •           , Other: $3.64
  • Recreation, Fun Stuff: $80.74
  •                  , Gifts: $50.00

Total Expenses = $4,307.40

Meeting New People and Social Meals

Well, all in all, not too bad, as we became Texas residents and spent some major time in Livingston, TX (over two weeks).

So the Food & Household is relatively on average the same as before, but the meals to go was a little higher than we would have though, because when we went to Livingston TX (that is where Escapees main camping and services are located), everyone was so social, so we did Christmas dinner there, and quite a few other meals.

We did find a farmers market in California, it was kind of like a farmers market/flea market, Mexican style. Got some great strawberries and oranges plus a couple pairs of leggings for me. We also checked out a winery and got a nice bottle of wine.

Transportation Across State Lines Expensive! 

We did not spend as much in diesel as we did not go as far, we spent 2 weeks in Livingston. That really helped us out, as we spent money on becoming Texas residents. I separated out the amounts as best I could…Since we did not pay taxes on the Camper, we paid for them in Texas (I think that is how it works, plus registration). While we paid taxes on the truck and motorcycle, we still had to pay registration fees, so I believe that is where there is the price difference. Slightly confusing, but in the end, all paid up, and now have Texas plates and licenses!

The fuel pump replacement – I am going to use Sasha’s words that he used on Facebook (because I really did not understand it at all):

Changed the fuel filters in the SuperDuty yesterday. Researched the procedure online and it looked like a easy 20 minute job…..Wrong. Long story short: yada, yada, yada, truck was towed to nearest Ford dealer for new fuel pump to replace the one I burned out. Air in the lines…..Bummer. And then the comments started:

Me: There needs to be an UNLIKE button – I do not like, I unlike!

Bo: Oh that sux…. But the job is done. Keep on truckin’!

Glen: You tube has how to videos for everything. Next time you need to do anything check Youtube first.

Sasha: Glen, I did check those out. They were saying an easy 20 minute job. WRONG.
On a 4×2 model, it’s an easy job. On a 4×4 the rail mount filter is a PITA to access as it is blocked by the drive shaft.

You really need a service bay to do it right with a 4×4 IMO. Even though I raised the rear of the truck, diesel fuel splattered and bounced out of the basin and all over my arms. I managed to get air in the lines and fried my fuel pump!

The placement of the the rail mount filter is poor design IMO. It should be mounted upright and easier to access.

Glen: Bummer! We are going to start a how to series on AV stuff on Youtube.

Sasha: thats a pretty good way to establish your expertise with a broad audience

Glen: Yeah I will hit you with some link once we are running.. Our resi series is called “Geek my house”

Sasha: that’s what the folks at http://powerstrokehelp.com/ do for us SuperDuty owners

Brian: whoa! killer storms now a breakdown? I’m tellin ya, primetime baby! 🙂
Hope all is well otherwise, really great pics so far.

Jeff: Did the tool in the powerstroke video help?

Sasha: Brian, this was just routine maintenance, but a story that ended up with a trip to the dealer….our rig is at the Escapees campground the whole time, not like we’re stuck on the side of the road somewhere. I was just trying to do basic diesel upkeep in DIY mode and got burned. In the future, I’ll stick with oil and oil filter changes.

Luckily, fuel filters for my model and year only need changing every 22.5K miles

Yeah, Jeff I have the low profile 36MM socket, it works great for the oil filter. It works on the rail mount fuel filter too, but when the truck is on the ground in “shade tree mechanic mode” you don’t have much room in there as the front diff is in the way. Having the truck in the air makes all the difference in getting clean access.

Jeff: That all sux. Glad you’re back on your wheels again.

Mike: You yadda yadda’d the story, LOL! (Too bad you can’t yadda yadda the bill.) Bummer indeed, sorry.

Sasha: Yeah, I guess this thread had no yadda yadda after all….

The bill? Get this. Ford diesels have a pretty good warranty. 5 years or 100,000 miles. Yesterday when the truck was towed in…..5 years + 1 day from the day we bought it. I kid you not! We’re looking at $635

Jeff: Maybe this will help. Call this number and very slowly and politely explain why the dealer needs to be able to help you pay for this. Telephone 800-392-3673
Available 8:00a.m.-5:00p.m. Local Time Monday-Friday
Follow up immediately with a letter to:
Ford Motor Company
Customer Relationship Center
P.O. Box 6248
Dearborn, MI 48126
and be sure to capture the name of the dealership and the name of the Customer Service rep. who so kindly spoke with you. It won’t hurt to send a copy to the dealership. There is a regional FCSD Ford Customer Service Division rep. who drops on the dealer regularly and you want to enable him to allow the dealer to pull credit from some sort of account. Stay very polite. Explain how the lack of fuel in the pump was a complete surprise to you. You don’t want to do this in email, you need to put a written piece of paper in their hand. Follow-up can be in email. So, 1) what happened – pump sucked air after routine fuel filter change. no other comments which could be perceived as negative. 2) Fuel pump failed. You had to have truck towed and repaired. 3) what you want – assistance in paying for the charges. Always remember, if it is discretionary, they’d possibly prefer to help a Ford fan, than a hater. Try this. It may take time, but it may work.

Sasha: It’s a Festivus Miracle!

Jeff, thanks so much for your timely tip. After calling the # you suggested, Ford covered most of the bill, leaving us with $125, a very happy and unexpected outcome! No letter writing needed!

Jeff: You may find 2 fuel pumps on the 6.0 litre, one on the rail and another up by the engine fuel filter. Did the rail-mounted pump burn out? Is there a method to prime it the next time? In any case, Ford Trucks kick ass. I’m looking forward to more of your travel stories.

Sasha: Yeah, it was the rail-mounted pump that burned out. That same assembly holds the HFCM fuel filter, the one that’s a pain to access with my 4×4 model. After I changed the filters last Sunday, I did the priming procedure, which is basically keying “on” without starting 3 times. The Ford tech I spoke with did not have any idea what happened as there were no error codes in the diagnostic. Anyway, a happy ending and when 22.5K more odometer clicks come along, a Ford dealer will be installing new fuel filters in our truck……..Jeff, many thanks again!

Mike: Festivus miracle indeed, congrats! LOL. Glad to hear the good news. Now I leave you with this thought: May this year the feats of strength outshine the airing of the grievances…

Jeff: If I have a kid, I’d name him Cosmo

Sasha: “As I was raining blows down upon him, I thought there must be a better way….”

Back to me again, I just wanted to show you all how Facebook helped us so much. Sasha of course is an excellent writer, and puts up very good comments, also he has been able to connect back to so many of his old friends on Facebook. The money spent on Verizon has been very good for us, but especially I think for him, because of the re-connection to old friends. Jeff was a friend from High School, who he had not seen since High School, so his advice was invaluable, and truly this Christmas we had a lot to be thankful of.

And from Facebook, Sasha was able to communicate to another old friend from Colorado, a skiing buddy. We met up with him in Houston, TX for drinks and dinner, had a great time. First time in a long time paying for parking, but we did not bring in the rig to Houston, just the truck.

Utilities of a Campground

For utilities we spent money on the campground in Livingston, I think it was 2 weeks that we were there, they have the weekly rental which was good, and a separate bill for electricity. We were very prudent on the electricity, and so it was not a high price. We also spent a bit on Propane, as before we got there, we used propane for the heat. Going through some cold spots here and there, so has to be done.

Camper Equipment 

We got an extra blanket, reflectix roll and a new faucet – Sasha was on a roll getting the rig as warm as possible. Since the windows are not double paned, wind was whipping through the area and into our camper.

Putting Reflectix inside the window pane area, while we would not be able to look out, it would help keep the camper warmer. Plastic over the windows does not work for us, but this does. We also got a new Faucet as the old one just did not work. So Sasha became a plumber too this winter. He is so handy, I think I’ll keep him!

Communication for Snail Mail

It was big this month as we signed up for Escapees, a Mail Forwarding Service for three years. This gives us a physical address that works well for banks and other places; Texas will now be our “domicile”, a physical address. But you have to be a member of Escapees in order to get the mail service, so that price is factored in. Then there is the mail that is sent to you, you give them $50 to start it off, and they will send you an email when the account is getting low. You decide how often you want your mail to come. It is pretty simple and easy to do, and there is such a piece of mind once it is done.

Then of course, you have to change Everything over to the new address. We let family know the new one, because a forwarded forwarded letter would take forever to get to us! We also put more minutes on Sasha’s phone, I had put minutes on mine last month. Plus I bought postage for some packages we sent out.

Yikes, Health Insurance

What can I say, even with all the other expenses, it is still pretty high, and we don’t go to doctors…just kind of sad really. I had some major back problems this month, I think I might have twisted my back or something, don’t really know what it was, got some bengay, heat warmers for the back, stayed flat out on my back for a couple of days, and took the advice of my sister and stopped exercising for a few days, and it worked itself out.

Sasha was also sick during this month, but I plied him with so much liquids and Vitamin C through oranges and grapefruit, that he weathered the storm real quick.

Fun Stuff 

We got a few gifts for the niece and nephew, it was a little tough this year to not be with family and old friends, but we met some new friends at Escapees, and had a nice Christmas dinner.

The end of the year with a new rig, new friends, and a great outlook on life…Loving every minute!

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