One acronym in particular that fills me with dread is “DMV”. I immediately flash back to memories of taking a number and waiting ages for my turn to renew my driver’s license at the Hennepin County Service Center in Edina. When we arrived in Homer, I knew we needed to eat the frog and get the task checked off our list sooner rather than later.
We first stopped in on a Tuesday afternoon, and were pleasantly surprised to find virtually no line. This is a good sign…perhaps the DMV will be a whole new experience here in Alaska! It didn’t take long, though, to find out we were woefully unprepared. First on the docket: getting the truck & bus/RV registered. The truck was registered in my maiden name in Minnesota, and of course we hadn’t thought to bring the marriage license. Struck out there. Thankfully, we were able to get the bus registered.
Next, on to driver’s licenses. I stepped up to the counter and the woman soon directed me to a kiosk to take a written test. Test, huh? Now I’m wishing I would have looked into the State of Alaska’s requirements before showing up. I had naively assumed since I had a valid and current license with Minnesota it would just be some paperwork. But no sweat; I should be able to navigate my way through this multiple choice test. The first few questions on road rules were fine, but then I got a series of questions on penalties for drunk driving and driving without insurance in the State of Alaska. Needless to say, I crashed and burned on those.
In my defense, I have insurance and I don’t drink and drive, so penalties aren’t really a top of mind concern. Naturally, Papa B only got one or two of those on his test and passed no problem. He, of course, thought it was hilarious that he passed and I didn’t. Me, not so much. 🙂 Papa B couldn’t actually get his license that day either though, as he didn’t have sufficient proof of his identity. His Minnesota license didn’t cut it. So after completing only one of our four To Dos, we grabbed a regs book for me and headed home.
After a quick study of the Alaska specific laws and gathering the additional documents we needed, I was feeling more confident on Wednesday. Of course, Wednesday happened to be road test day though, so we waited for a good while before it was our turn. Little B was making friends all over the place, toddling up to everyone else waiting to say “Hi!”. She is usually a champ when it comes to waiting in line. Thankfully, I passed with flying colors the second time around, and we were able to check our DMV To Dos off the list.
On the plus side, vehicle registration is valid two years in Alaska rather than one in Minnesota, and the bill here is about half as expensive. We have also since discovered our local DMV has a live webcam during the day so you can see how many people are waiting. Talk about a total surprise…who knew our little town would have a live webcam? For any other Homer Sapiens out there, here’s what the current line looks like: