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About don&penny

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  1. NPS Proposes Fee Increase at 17 National Parks

    Having worked in Yellowstone the last 4 summers and recognizing that the national parks were established for "the citizens to enjoy" I'd like to see the entry fees for non US citizens increased and no annual passes for non citizens. Based on personal observation, a large portion of the daily maintenance time is devoted to correcting (cleaning) overseas guest's messes (standing on toilet seats when using restrooms, throwing TP behind the toilets rather than in them, using restrooms as kitchens, etc.). Granted, much of this is due to differences in how things are done in different countries, but the cost is still borne by the parks. Obviously, the big bucks have to be spent on big projects (roads, infrastructure, etc.), but keeping up with the guests requires a great deal of effort. At Yellowstone, they have reduced law enforcement ranger staffing to an absolute minimum due to cost. As others have said here - it's would still be cheap compared to private recreation industry costs. Don
  2. Campgrounds near Seattle

    I don't have information regarding any specific campground in or around Seattle. When I come into town to do our physicals and such, we stay at the Puyallup Fairgrounds. It is not a long term stay location and they don't have discounts for longer stays (not even weekly). Don
  3. Campgrounds near Seattle

    Given that you're willing to drive up to 90 minutes one way, you could consider living as far away as Ellensberg, just east of the cascades on I-90. I worked with a guy in Seattle that did that. Bellevue is closer than where we worked. At times the pass can be closed due to snow, so that would be a consideration too. At least it would increase the number of places you could stay and probably improve the cost of living. Don
  4. You might consider "slowly" converting your traditional 401(k) money over to a Roth 401(k) (if your company provides/allows that option) or roll it over to a traditional IRA then "slowly" convert that to a Roth IRA. Either way, you will pay income tax on the amount you convert to a Roth as you do so, but will ultimately end up with it all available as tax free money when you withdraw it to use. I emphasize "slowly" so that you don't push yourself into a higher tax bracket when you do the conversion. It is legal to convert just a portion of your money each year and you can define the amount when you do it, thus letting you control your adjusted gross income to avoid the higher tax bracket. The other benefit to the Roth is - if you find you do not need the money, there are no RMD's (Required Minimum Distributions) for you or your heirs, as there are on traditional accounts. The one draw back would be, if you need the money you roll over before 5 years have passed since you first deposited the money into the Roth account, you would have to pay taxes on the earnings too, but otherwise you do not pay taxes on the Roth earnings when you withdraw the money. Don
  5. Condensation problem

    Many times it's a circulation problem. Keeping the closet doors open and perhaps a small fan circulating the air may help. Dry-z-air might also help. Don
  6. Verizon Killing 2 year contracts

    Our original 2 year contract ran out last spring. I waited until fall to upgrade my phone and actually added an additional phone to my account. No contract (they don't do them anymore), free phone(s) and total monthly cost is virtually the same as before, when we only had one phone. Don
  7. Federal lands Senior pass going from $10 to $80+

    Of course, if one takes a 2 week trip up there they could just buy an annual pass for $80 and get into all national parks at no additional cost for the next 12 months. Don
  8. Best interiors

    You could choose to buy from a custom build RV manufacturer like New Horizons, Spacecraft, etc. That way you get the layout you want, made from the best materials and built to suit you. It will cost more than high output assembly line units though. Don
  9. Domicile analysis

    I just came across an article that has some interesting information about changing domiciles from California to other states, which might be of some value in this discussion. Its more generally about the exodus of Californians due to the extension of the 13.3% state income tax bracket for CA citizens who are high income earners. Quote - California’s tough Franchise Tax Board (FTB) polices the line between residents and non-residents, and does so rigorously. Like other high tax states, California is likely to probe how and when you stopped being a resident. For that reason, even if you think your facts are not controversial, be careful. A California resident is anyone in the state for other than a temporary or transitory purpose. It also includes anyone domiciled in California who is outside the state for a temporary or transitory purpose. The burden is on you to show that you are not a Californian. If you’re in California for more than 9 months, you are presumed to be a resident. Yet if your job requires you to be outside the state, it usually takes 18 months to be presumed no longer a resident. Your domicile is your true, fixed permanent home, the place where you intend to return even when you’re gone. Many innocent facts might not look to be innocent to California’s tax agency. Unquote Full article here - http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2016/11/21/as-trump-tax-cuts-emerge-high-13-3-california-tax-spells-exodus/#35a459b627f3 Don
  10. NPS Considering Limiting Crowding in Zion NP

    My wife and I have worked in Yellowstone the last three summers. I agree, I'd like to see something done and shuttles would reduce traffic considerably. One of the logistical problems is the campgrounds. Unless they eliminate the campgrounds, they won't be able to close the park to privately owned vehicles (although, they could change the campgrounds to "tent only" I suppose). If they would start imposing heavy fines on anyone breaking the rules (driving or otherwise) and maybe even give authority to all workers in the park to ticket violators (where photographic proof of the violation is available), they could have enough income to implement whatever it takes. Don
  11. Shore plug protectant

    Rather than buying a dummy plug, you might consider making a polystyrene (aka Styrofoam) plug, with a drain hole at the bottom. You could either make it in one piece from a thick piece of material or two pieces (a ring and a cap) glued together. Either way, a bolt through the middle, with some slop in length, would give you a handle to pull it out. You could even attach a lanyard to the bolt and one of the receptacle attachment screws so it is always near the receptacle and would have to be installed before you drove away. Don
  12. Bumper Pull Hitches-Help Please!

    Physics says - the weight on the hitch is the weight on the hitch. How it's distributed forward of the hitch is a separate issue. Weight distribution hitches simply transfer some of the load that's on the hitch and would be on the rear axle, to the front axle. Don
  13. South Dakota "Residens"

    Yes it's true. Since SD has no state income tax, there are no state income tax forms to fill out. Of course, you will have to pay state income taxes to MD, on the money you earned there. Don
  14. taxed on value of free site?

    Not if it's done as we have experienced. The cost of the site is deducted before taxes, so it's equivalent to being paid for every hour of work plus a free site, though our hourly wage is effectively lower due to the deduction (which can equate to a wage lower than the federal minimum wage, depending on how much is charged for the site). Don
  15. taxed on value of free site?

    Hi Teri, Your site charge and electricity were deducted from your paycheck BEFORE income tax withholding was calculated and the amount deducted does not show up on your taxable income when working for Xanterra in Yellowstone. Hence, you neither see it nor pay federal income taxes on it (state income tax doesn't matter either way in this case, since you were in Wyoming which has no state income tax). The campground hosts in Yellowstone who work directly for NPS do not get paid, so they get their site and electric free. Don