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What Do I do with an Inherited RV? Never driven an RV


CoolFeet
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I am taking over my father's 2002 Winnebago Journey diesel RV as he no longer drives. I have never driven an RV.   It' registered in Minnesota and I plan on parking it in Arkansas until we move out of California.  It's parked in an RV storage lot and has not been started in 1 year.  I am transferring ownership on March 4.  We are moving out of California and looking for a place to live in states like Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Idaho, or Oklahoma.  I am taking an early retirement and plan on working part of full time.

  1. How should I attempt to start it?  I have RV towing insurance on my camping van.  That should cover jumping the RV.  
  2. Where should I domicile register this RV after I transfer ownership in Minnesota?  
  3. Any suggestions for parking this at a nice RV park to live in or possibly rent it out?
  4. How do I learn to drive this beast without killing myself?

 

 

 

 

Winnebago.png

Edited by CoolFeet
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If you can leave it registered in Minnesota until you decide where you want to move to it only costs $25 to license an RV here. Then I would look into scheduling with the RV Driving School for lessons on how to handle a big rig. (There's an instructor in Duluth, MN.) And I would look into getting it weighed (all wheel is best but CAT will do to start) so you don't overload it.

Linda Sand

https://www.rvschool.com

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$100 for a personalized plate in Minnesota then you keep it forever with no further fees; you can even transfer it to a new vehicle of the same type. But, you do have to domicile here which is not as easy as other places where you do not live full time.

Do be careful about moving out of California. They don't like people to leave. It's best to move sometime other than year end so you can file a partial year tax return in California to make it clear you are indeed leaving the state. And move as many business/medical connections as you can. Then you need to stay OUT of California for a substantial amount of time. No going right back to visit.

Linda

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Thanks for the tips.  I grew up in Minnesota, so it may be easier to domicile there.  My job ends on March 28.

$100 for permanent plates?  I am surprised that my father did not take advantage of this.

I checked out the driving school option and you need the RV with you.  I am reaching out to old friends that drive big rigs and hopefully will be able to take lessons with them.  Once I get comfortable driving this RV, it's going straight to Arkansas to be parked on my friend's farm.

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First of all, while it is true that the registration fee for the RV is $25 per year that does not cover the personal property tax on the vehicle. I found this on the Minnesota state tax department website.

Quote

The tax on passenger cars, pickup trucks, and vans is equal to a $10 flat tax, plus an additional tax based on the vehicle's original value.

That RV probably had a price of around $150,000 so check out what the property tax will be. As to where to register it when you move, you will need some sort of address in order to do that in any state and while TX, SD, & FL all accept the use of a mail forwarding service and while there are several other states that do so, most do not so that may be important. You will need to have your domicile somewhere so I suggest that you read The Issues of Domicile from the Escapees. 

Driving that RV is bound to be intimidating mentally when you start, but before you let it get to you, remember that your elderly father managed quite well. Modern motorhomes are very little more difficult than to drive a car, once you adapt to the size difference and learn how to judge the distances, you will be surprised by how easy it is. 

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1 hour ago, Kirk W said:

Modern motorhomes are very little more difficult than to drive a car, once you adapt to the size difference and learn how to judge the distances, you will be surprised by how easy it is.

True. Until you get to mountains. Then you need to know how to brake. Duluth is not in the mountains but it does have one very long downgrade you need to be prepared for. Other than that you can go to any large parking lot that is not busy and practice staying between the lines as you back up and turn corners.

Linda

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3 hours ago, CoolFeet said:

$100 for permanent plates?  I am surprised that my father did not take advantage of this.

A lot of people simply don't consider it as they are personalized plates. The one on my RV said CASTLE. And I keep it in case I ever buy another RV. :)

Linda

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6 hours ago, sandsys said:

True. Until you get to mountains.

The simple fact is that driving anything in the mountains is different than on flat land. But let's not start with telling of all of the special challenges and give him a chance to learn the basics first? Riding a bicycle is different in mountains too. 

12 hours ago, CoolFeet said:

How do I learn to drive this beast without killing myself?

Let me assure you that I actually lived in a 36', class A motorhome as our only home for almost 12 years. I am sure that at one time you didn't know how to drive at all and found all driving to be intimidating. Look at this much the same way. I am sure by now that you have driven more than 1 type of vehicle and each one has some differences. That motorhome will require some practice and learning new things, but you can do it. Remember you won't be getting behind the wheel for the fist time in big city rush hour that is sitting on a mountain road that is crooked with steep cliffs on both sides. You learn to drive anything new in an area of light traffic and few difficulties and only in good weather, just as you did when learning to drive the first time. 

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2 hours ago, Kirk W said:

The simple fact is that driving anything in the mountains is different than on flat land. But let's not start with telling of all of the special challenges and give him a chance to learn the basics first? Riding a bicycle is different in mountains too. 

Let me assure you that I actually lived in a 36', class A motorhome as our only home for almost 12 years. I am sure that at one time you didn't know how to drive at all and found all driving to be intimidating. Look at this much the same way. I am sure by now that you have driven more than 1 type of vehicle and each one has some differences. That motorhome will require some practice and learning new things, but you can do it. Remember you won't be getting behind the wheel for the fist time in big city rush hour that is sitting on a mountain road that is crooked with steep cliffs on both sides. You learn to drive anything new in an area of light traffic and few difficulties and only in good weather, just as you did when learning to drive the first time. 

Very well stated! A driving instructor will be his best initial experience. There are many utube videos to help too.

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7 hours ago, Ray,IN said:

A driving instructor will be his best initial experience.

If you do consider going this route, you should know that most, if not all of the instructors with the RV Driving School are full-time RVers and so are scattered about in many different locations.  You do not have to take your RV to some central point and might even be able to contact them about getting the course when one of them is traveling near to the location of your RV. They always have several instructors at Escapee rallies and probably other rallies too. They teach you in your RV because they want you to learn in the RV that you will be driving. That makes the course worth far more to you. 

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On 2/13/2022 at 7:48 PM, sandsys said:

$100 for a personalized plate in Minnesota then you keep it forever with no further fees; you can even transfer it to a new vehicle of the same type. But, you do have to domicile here which is not as easy as other places where you do not live full time.

Do be careful about moving out of California. They don't like people to leave. It's best to move sometime other than year end so you can file a partial year tax return in California to make it clear you are indeed leaving the state. And move as many business/medical connections as you can. Then you need to stay OUT of California for a substantial amount of time. No going right back to visit.

Linda

Linda, when we lived in Minnesota, the personal license plates still had a yearly registration and tax fee. It was the collector plates that did not have any yearly fees, just the initial fee but the vehicle had to be 20 years of age and you had to have another non collector vehicle registered too.   Coolfeet you may want to check the MN DPS website to be sure of what fees you will be  required to pay. 

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2 hours ago, Star Dreamer said:

Linda, when we lived in Minnesota, the personal license plates still had a yearly registration and tax fee. It was the collector plates that did not have any yearly fees, just the initial fee but the vehicle had to be 20 years of age and you had to have another non collector vehicle registered too.   Coolfeet you may want to check the MN DPS website to be sure of what fees you will be  required to pay. 

I bought my personal plate in 2012 so, yes, things may have changed since then.

Linda

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On 2/13/2022 at 6:00 PM, CoolFeet said:

I am taking over my father's 2002 Winnebago Journey diesel RV as he no longer drives. I have never driven an RV.   It' registered in Minnesota and I plan on parking it in Arkansas until we move out of California.  It's parked in an RV storage lot and has not been started in 1 year.  I am transferring ownership on March 4.  We are moving out of California and looking for a place to live in states like Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Idaho, or Oklahoma.  I am taking an early retirement and plan on working part of full time.

  1. How should I attempt to start it?  I have RV towing insurance on my camping van.  That should cover jumping the RV.  
  2. Where should I domicile register this RV after I transfer ownership in Minnesota?  
  3. Any suggestions for parking this at a nice RV park to live in or possibly rent it out?
  4. How do I learn to drive this beast without killing myself?

Why are you going to move this to Arkansas until you move out of California and resettle elsewhere?  I would leave it in storage and then move it to the State where you finally decide on for your next home.  

     1.  Don't just plan on jump starting it.  Odds are the batteries are dead and need to be replaced.  You also need to consider appropriate service, as a minimum oil, filter and fuel filter changes.  Talk with your father about which shop he has used in the past and when the time comes make arrangements with them to put in new batteries, move it to their shop and complete service and an inspection.

      2.  Sounds like you need to continue with registration in Minnesota and then transfer to your new State of residence when the time comes.

      3.  I would never rent out an RV.  The money you get for rental may be less than damages, wear and tear.  Plus you need to have it serviced and moved and you need to deal with trying to rent when you live across the country.

      4.  I drive a truck camper.  It took relatively little time to get used to it and I was able to learn on my own driving in isolated areas.  I would definitely look for some at least minimal help.  You need to start with an RV dealer or maintenance shop and plan on paying for someone to go over all of the operation and maintenance.  You can start by looking at internet sources or books on RVing.  I would also recommend finding someone to work with you on learning the basics of driving a big rig.  That could be as simple as a couple of hours and then practice on your own before hitting the road for real.  I assume "we" means you and your wife or significant other.  They also need to be able to drive and handle this rig!  

 

 

 

 

 

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None of us have addressed question number three. It sounds like you are planning to park this permanently rather than drive it once you move. If that's true, it may not be a good idea. Motorhomes are designed to move. They don't do well when left to sit. Does your friend's farm have hookups? If permanently parked you need power and a way to get water and empty holding tanks. If there's a generator on board, it needs to be worked under a load at least once  month. When we stayed at one park all summer, we drove our motorhome for about an hour once a month while running the air conditioner in order to exercise the generator without bothering neighbors. On a farm you might not have neighbors but you still need to run the generator under load and it's best to drive the engine as well to warm it up and circulate all the fluids. You might be better off to sell your Dad's motorhome and buy something more appropriate for your planned use.

And we haven't talked at all about tires. They need to be replace every 5-7 years whether or not you drive the RV as tires die from old age and you can't tell that from looking at them since they may still have plenty of tread.

Linda

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On 2/13/2022 at 10:09 PM, Kirk W said:

First of all, while it is true that the registration fee for the RV is $25 per year that does not cover the personal property tax on the vehicle. I found this on the Minnesota state tax department website

We never paid personal property tax on an RV licensed in Minnesota; just sales tax when we bought them. Can you, please, provide a link to your information?

Linda

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CoolFeet, you have the beginnings of a decent plan. Getting a motor home from someone you know and trust is a good start. As was mentioned above, you are going to have to put some money into it, even if your father gives it to you (unless he puts the money in for you). Tires are the big expense, followed perhaps by batteries. I'd suggest that you have both engines fully serviced (oil, filters, coolant, etc.).

Have you ever driven anything bigger than a pickup truck? Ever towed a trailer of any kind? If so you probably can drive the coach without too much difficulty. Yes, RV Driving School is the ideal method, but many of us have driven our coaches with little instruction. The biggest thing I'd ever driven before we got our Foretravel was a school bus once in a while, and the last time was 15 years before we bought the Foretravel. The seller backed it out the the shed for me, then I took over for the test drive. We brought it home about a month later, 300 miles by myself (wife was in the car leading the way). 30 mph winds, and I didn't notice them until I got out.

The red flag in your plan is to park the coach. We're selling our Foretravel because we're not traveling as much as we did. If you are going to just park this rig and use it as a weekend vacation home I'd suggest you get something else and sell the MH. If, however, the parking is just a temporary thing until you can get out of California, then go for it.

We're domiciled in South Dakota, which is one of the top three for full-timers. Florida and Texas are the other two. Why those three? All three have no State income tax and let you use your mail service address as your legal address. Other States have no income tax, like Wyoming, but they usually require your driver's license, voter registration, etc. to be tied to a specific plot of residential land. Do some research on this IF you are going to be a full-timer. If you are going to be working somewhere and living there you will need to register all of your vehicles there. Again, some research ahead of time will be well worth the effort.

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