We drove to Green Cove Springs about 30 miles away. We are using the mail service called St Brendan’s Isle located there. We went directly to their location to start the process of becoming state residents. Scott, that helped us, has been pheasant hunting in Bowdle and Hoven, SD. Small world. We had to sign paperwork for them to be able to handle our mail. We needed 2 pieces of mail to take with us to DMV to get our driver’s licenses. We had downloaded one and expected to have more in the mail today. But they hadn’t arrived, possibly later today. There was another form, called Declaration of Domicile, that we had to take to the court house to be certified to become residents and for voter’s registration. Scott had an idea that has worked for others. He made us a mailing label addressed to the two of us. He told us to first go to the court house with our Declaration on Domicile form. When they give us the certified copies back, ask them for an envelope with their return address printed on it. Then put the forms in there with the label on it and use that as our second piece of mail.
They were also very good about giving us directions to get everything done in one day. First, we went to the court house to have the Declaration of Domicile notarized and certified. Then we put them in their envelope with the mailing label.
Second we went to the Dept of motor vehicles for our driver’s license and to register our boat and dinghy (deen=gee as Miesha would say). They accepted the two forms of address verification that we had. Yeah! I guess it just depends on who you get as to how picky they are about the pieces of mail and whether they were downloaded and printed or actually mailed to you. It’s a little tricky when you don’t have utilities or rent/mortgage. It probably helps if you are friendly like Dave. And they signed us up for our voter’s registration. One less stop, we thought.
Miesha recommended Sweet Sensations for lunch. It was a great sandwich place with lots of desserts. Dave wanted to try the peanut butter pie. I picked up some free publications about the town. It has a population of about 6,000 and seems to have a very active community. It was a very clean city and everyone was very helpful and pleasant. There were lots of community festivals throughout the year.
After lunch, we went back to St Brendan’s Isle for some copies to be made. We thanked them for the addressed envelope, and let them know it worked. We also mentioned that the DMV registers us to vote. But they reminded us that we have to take the Declaration of Domicile form there, or they will be asking us to mail it later.
We also wanted to register for concealed weapons licenses in Florida. So we went to the Sheriff’s office for that. All these buildings were within a mile of each other on the same stretch of the road. There we were given a packet to mail to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. They needed finger prints, which they do starting at 2:00. So we went to a CVS to have passport photos taken as part of the packet. We started filling out the forms and realized they had to be notarized. So when we returned to the Sheriff’s office for our finger prints, they also had a notary public there and signed our forms for free. We were glad we had just decided to do it all at once. Otherwise we would have been scrambling to find a notary again. We completed the packets and went directly to the post office. I also mailed a post card to Dave’s mom from our new home in Florida. Oh yes, and we did drop the Declaration of Domicile. They were so excited that we did that.
Whew! By now I was ready to be done. Before we left the Post office, Dave decided to go back in and file our change of address with them. We found out that the post office will not accept address changes from a mailing service. Once it arrives at that service address, it is considered delivered. So we will have to contact everyone that we still do business with, besides family and friends, to give them our new address. We actually have already done that with most of our business contacts. Needless to say, I am going to make a list and keep it updated, because it will be the same whenever we leave St Brendan’s Isle. Yes, someday we’ll have a permanent address again.
Before we left town, we stopped at the Green Cove Springs Marina. I guess it is a good hurricane hole because it is 30 miles inland. It is on the St John’s river that flows into Jacksonville from the ocean and turns south. It is a working marina. It is fairly reasonable to have your boat hauled out of the water to have work done, which sounds like needs to be done every couple years. And they allow you to work on the boats yourself, which not all marinas will do. But it was not a resort type of marina. I felt like we were in the “red neck/white trash” part of Florida. I’m glad we checked it out before spending a day getting here by boat from the coast. I will know to make arrangements to visit family and friends while Dave works on the boat :)
We arrived back in St Augustine about 5:00. Since we had a car, we decided to have dinner someplace we couldn’t walk to. We drove east of the marina to the next island before the coast. We found the Conch House Resort and Marina with a great restaurant. The outdoor seating had several individual tables with their own tiki huts out over the water. We had one of their excellent dinner specials, crab stuffed grouper over rice and vegetables. We each took half home. It was a nice celebration of becoming Floridians.
Then we made a stop at West Marine. Dave picked up a few parts he needed. And we decided to try a new seat cushion. We are realizing that taking watch can get uncomfortable when you have to be at the helm for 2 hour shifts for 8-10 hour days. Along the inter coastal waterway, we haven’t been using the autopilot. There are too many twists and turns. This one can lay flat, but you can bend it in half. Then it has five positions you can set the back to. Plus the side fold out into arm rests. If we really like it, we may get another one. We were able to use a gift certificate from Dave’s brother, Dean, from Christmas to cover part of it. Thank you Dean. You would have liked this cushion on your watches. But you will probably get a chance to use it in the future (just like your mom’s metal drinking glasses, heehee).
We saved the worst for last-Walmart. We needed a few things besides groceries, so we decided to go here and do both at once. We spilt up the list, but it still takes forever. It was after 10:00 by the time we left. Then we had to find a place to park near the marina. Dave went to the marina, at least a block away, to get us a dock cart (nice wheel barrel). I organized the groceries so the breads, fruits, and eggs don’t get damaged. And I use several reusable bags that are stronger than the grocery bags. Then we have to load everything into the dinghy, motor to the boat, unload everything, and put away what had to be refrigerated. Whew!!
We make the most out of having a car for 24 hours. I think this was an 18 hour day for me. I know this was a long post, but it is amazing what extra steps you have to take when you don't have a car at your convenience.