Anyone out there know the law?
As many of you know, we've been preparing for a big cross-country trip. There was a delay, but right now it looks like we'll be on our way on or around New Year's day. To make this journey, we have purchased (for a very reasonable price) a sizable, low-mileage minivan that previously saw use as a well-maintained (we hope) fleet vehicle.
We call it the Hippo, in honor of the song: "We got a hippopotamus for Christmas..."
Problem: It has no plates.
We passed CA's infernally difficult smog test and paid our DMV reg fees. But -- get this -- the DMV guy would not hand over plates until we installed rear seats!
Y'see, under a particularly wacky subsection of California law, a minivan without rear seats is considered a commercial vehicle, which means that the reg fees would be more than three times the amount required for a passenger van. So the DMV guy told us to grab a rear seat from a junk yard and install it, along with seat belts.
Turns out installing those overhead belts is kind of a pain. I COULD do it -- but time is short.
To be honest, it just seems ridiculous to invest any further money and time acquiring "proper" CA registration when we are not even going to be living in CA after January 1. Once we get to our Eastern destination, we have to go through the whole damned process all over again.
We paid the reg fees for a passenger van. Right now, we have a temporary registration sticker in the back window, which allows us to drive here in the state throughout the month of January. (Those things are pretty common sights in California.) My question is this:Do you think that we can drive across country with a temporary registration sticker?
If the Highway Patrol stops us, we will have paperwork proving ownership of the vehicle, as well as insurance and registration. I'd prefer not to be cited, and I sure as hell can't have the car impounded.
Frankly, we need to save the cash to pay for the registration hassle in Maryland, which will be expensive. Like all other states, MD seems to be hurting right now -- hence the much higher 2011 car reg fees, compared to last year. Also: There will be another emissions test, some sort of "vehicle inspection test," and a new, more expensive insurance policy. Yikes!
No doubt a lot of folks in Maryland have been grumbling about all this extra expense.We'd be very grateful if anyone out there knows about what sort of treatment we can expect from the Highway Patrols in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- and maybe West Virginia.
(Why West Virginia? Because we're big fans of the Mothman legend, and we want to see where it all started.)
I thank you, my ladyfriend thanks you, my Hell-Hound thanks you, and the Hippo thanks you.