The Speeding Ticket

the-speeding-ticketNot that long ago I wrote about how important it was for full-timers who workcamp to follow traffic laws compared to other folks, because if you get pulled over for something like speeding it gives the police officer the chance to ask you why you’re in their state but have your driver’s license and vehicles registered in another. Some states have very picky residency rules (like Georgia for instance) where if you take a job within the state, you’re considered a resident from that moment on. In Georgia’s case, you then have 30 days to switch your tags/driver’s license/vehicle insurance etc. over.

What to tell the police officer when you get pulled over in this instance has been hotly debated about on RVing forums. Typically, the officer will be clueless as to what a full-timer is, and they’ll think that you’re trying to skip out on paying the fees due to their state. The general consensus is not to lie to the officer, but to say as little as possible. Reply to questions succinctly and courteously, but don’t offer any information that isn’t directly asked for.

Twelve years. Twelve years I’ve had my driver’s license, and ten years I’ve owned a vehicle. In that time, I had never once been pulled over for speeding. Not that I’ve never done it before. I regularly go five over the speed limit, and like any normal person (especially when I had the Civic which didn’t have cruise control) I’d develop a case of lead foot on occasion and go higher than that.

I say had never been pulled over for speeding in the past tense, because guess what happened Wednesday when I was coming home from work. I guess there’s a first time for everything.

The blue lights started going off in my rear view mirror as I crossed the draw bridge in the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and a thousand curses fired off in my brain as I pulled over to the side of the road. It was after dark, so the officer came with his flashlight to the driver’s side window. I was ready with my license, registration, and proof of insurance.

It didn’t take long for the questions to start. Where are you heading, why are you in Georgia, etc. etc. I kept my cool and followed my own advice. Then the officer took my stuff and went back to his squad car for what felt like an eternity while I sat and waited for a verdict.


The situation wasn’t as bad as it could have been. See, I’d already scoured the internet looking at forums and talking on workcamping Facebook groups ahead of time and I knew that working in Georgia as a full-timer was going to be tricky business. As I said last post, the Lowe’s is located in Rincon, GA. My RV on the other hand is located in the next town to the East, just across the state line in South Carolina. Georgia can’t claim me as a resident even if I’m working there if I’m not staying there. Likewise South Carolina’s claim on me is thin because I’m not earning an income in the state.

But as it turns out I didn’t have to worry, because getting pulled over wasn’t the most interesting part of the night.

When the officer came back, he flat out asked me if I was a full-timer. I told him the truth, and then he told me that him and his wife had been full-time workcampers based out of Montana for a few years, they’d loved it. He told me a little about the places they’d been, how he wished he was still on the road, and that to get around Georgia’s 30 day rule, the trick was to switch sites within 30 days. He said you didn’t even have to move campgrounds, just sites.

I laughed, to be getting this advice about how to get around the rules from him. I was feeling pretty good about the whole situation, but then he handed me the speeding ticket. Shucks, guess you can’t win them all.

Being in the somewhat constrained financial situation that I am right now, the ticket was a bit of a bummer. I was going 50 in a 35 zone, the speed limit drops from 45 to 35 right around the bridge and I spaced it.

I drove the rest of the way home a bit disheartened, but then got the second surprise of the night. Duct taped in a plastic bag to the front step of Cas (cause it still hadn’t stopped raining) was a manilla envelope from another camper at the park whom I’ve never met before. At first it looked like some standard throwaway coupon ‘welcome to the area’ type stuff, but then I looked at them closer and read the note that had been enclosed with it.

the-speeding-ticket3Turns out the fellow who left the stuff had been sightseeing in the area for over a month and had bought a big package deal on prepaid tickets to events in Savannah. They hadn’t used them all in the time they’d been here, so he figured he’s pass them on to someone else. Apparently he’d noticed how I was never at the campground and deduced that I must work in the area, so he figured I’d appreciate the time off. Inside the envelope was a total of six tickets to three different events, the two full day passes to ride the Savannah Trolley tour alone are worth around $50.

I’m going to have to pay a speeding ticket. But on the upside, I was stopped by quite possibly the only cop in the state to understand what a full-timer is and not not give me twenty questions about what I was doing there. I got some interesting advice straight from the horse’s mouth about how to get around residency rules in the state, and while I’m losing money for the one ticket, the six tickets I received upon arriving back home probably come close to making up the cost.

And the moral of the story is: sometimes, you just have to trust that things will work out, one way or another. Oh, and pay attention to how fast you’re driving. Really.

* * *

The pictures in this post were taken in the past month, since I arrived back in the lowcountry. The first is of a little county park located just off I-95 near Pooler, GA, down the road from the Camping World where I had dropped Cas off to get de-winterized and a couple small fixes done. The second was taken at Hunting Island State Park, this seagull was waiting for a handout of the snacks Julie and I had brought with us to munch on while reading our books on the beach. The third is the vegetation covered sand dunes of Coligney Beach, on Hilton Head Island. If you look closely, you can see a bit of the ocean behind the dunes on the right.

Also, this post should have been up during my lunch break today, but instead I was driving myself to the emergency room with only one fully functioning eye.  Yes, I’ll be fine.  It really was more of a Urgent Care kind of situation, but all the Urgent cares around here are closed on Sundays.  That story will have to wait for another day. 😉

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22 Responses to The Speeding Ticket

  1. Brenda A. February 17, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    Now that was a great story! Love when things work out that way.
    Brenda A. recently posted..A Throne Fit For a QueenMy Profile

    • Becky February 18, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

      Indeed Brenda. It could have been better, but it could have been much worse. And I’m a glass half full kind of person. 😛

  2. Joe February 17, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    Thanks for sharing. This is one question my wife and I had

    • Becky February 18, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

      You’re welcome Joe!

  3. Martha February 18, 2013 at 2:18 am #

    I got stopped coming across 190 in East Texas. Most of the speed limits in Texas are 70 but it dropped to 55 on one of the long bridges. I was doing 58 in the 55 so only got a warning. I think they look for any reason to stop people to check for drugs. Guess I didn’t look like a smuggler. Anyone that wants to search my motorhome will have a job because of all the junk I carry. lol

    • Becky February 18, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

      Eeek, good thing you weren’t going faster Martha. Mine was on a bridge too, silly bridges.

  4. travelfables February 18, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Cool Story Becky! Lucky getting the cop who was familiar with RVers. I run around Georgia quite a bit, luckly most of my work I send through my wee Florida based biz (as its all online). I also like your apporach with the living in South Carolina and working in Georgia as well. I’m glad this wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Have fun.
    travelfables recently posted..saint simons island A6My Profile

    • Becky February 18, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

      Yeah, I lucked out big time. Guess if I had to get pulled over, this was the time to do it. 🙂

  5. Marvin February 18, 2013 at 2:36 pm #


    Becky ,

    I would not tell anyone that I was a fulltimer – I would say that I was visiting the area .

    I drive 5 under the speed limit , as tickets have become a main revenue stream for most departments , and because Rv’ers and vacationers are often thought of as easy pickins !.

    Giving you the tickets and coupons was a nice jesture – I often wish society as a whole was as neat as most RV’ers .

    Be Safe


    • Becky February 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

      I don’t think I could manage to drive five under, just don’t have the patience. But yes, I’ll certainly make use of those coupons! Take care Marvin.

  6. Mel (Melanie from NV) February 18, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    Heads up for your readers and possibly you in the future, I apologize if this already known but thought I should inform everyone anyway – California & New York have their own quirky rules – you work in that state, you may have to pay state income tax, regardless of where your residence is. New York due to alot of commuters from Jersey working in NYC and California due to Nevada (no state income tax state) being right next door. Even if only working a temp job for say 2wks, you are required to at least file the state income tax forms. So just do the homework when choosing the job and residence location.
    Side note – California is also very aggressive in going after retirement income earned in that state, even if you live somewhere else. Plus, lots of horror stories about Snowbirds in Palm Springs – a lady subscribed to the local newspaper year round and CA tried to say she was a resident even tho she lived in TX and only went to Palm Springs for several months during winter months.
    Glad the ticket mess & gift all worked out for you, we were in Savannah in April 2008 and did the Trolly Tour, it was really neat.

    • Becky February 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

      I’m pretty sure that’s true everywhere Mel. As in, the money I earned last year in Kansas I pay income tax to Kansas on, and the money I make here in GA I’ll have to pay GA for, but I won’t have to worry about my home state trying to take any of it being out of SD. And I shouldn’t have to worry about KS or GA trying to claim me as a resident and asking for money earned in other states. We’ll see how it goes when I finally get all my W-2’s in and go see a professional who understands full-timing.

      I have a friend who like me lives in SC but works in GA, and she has to file income tax for both states.

  7. Marsha February 19, 2013 at 4:38 am #

    Another thing to watch for are taxes an individual city might have sometimes if you’re not living in that particular city. I lived in one county and worked in the city in another, so I was taxed as a non-resident. It just complicates things when you’re filing your income taxes 🙁

    • Becky February 19, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

      Indeed Marsha. Actually got all my W-2’s today and did my taxes. Compared to in the past I paid more money for the software to be able to do it myself, but I did. And yes, in KS for instance I had to file as a non-resident. I still owed them on the money I made in that state even though I didn’t live there, but I this made logical sense to me and so I didn’t mind. I always take 0 exemptions on federal and state taxes when I start a new job so I get money back at tax time, working 3 different jobs in 2 different states didn’t change the fact that I still got money back, and I only owed each state for the money made it that state.

  8. John Hussey February 19, 2013 at 6:16 am #

    Two suggestions:

    First, we need to keep in mind that most towns, , municipalities and even states are about all bankrupt from liberal overspending and one source of revenue are the fines that can be garnered from traffic infractions, whether real or “set up”. They have been stepped up about everywhere in the US just for the increased income. Some places are downright dishonest in their attempts and go to great lengths to “entrap” the unwary. So, we must be ever vigilant because it is not just the cost of the ticket for the infraction but the insurance additional cost to bear for the next three years, too, that you will be confronted with.

    Now, here is a way for you to recoup some of the cost. I am surprised you have not already done it since you worked once for Amazon. Set up a portal link on your website for viewers to enter before going to Amazon and Amazon will then pay you a small fee for each of the viewer’s purchases through your website. I would be happy to help you out there since it would not affect my purchases in any way that I am aware of. I suspect I am not alone here. The extra income might mean you could get back on the road a little sooner and become just a little bit more independent. Think about it!

    • Becky February 19, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

      Hello John,

      I understand that states are short on money and thus speeding tickets etc. are more common these days. And I mean by that that I understood this before getting the ticket. I count myself pretty lucky actually that I went this long without getting one before. Will I be more mindful of my speed in the future? Yes, especially on this particular road, but I still can’t see myself sticking strictly to the speed limit. I guess to me those extra 5 miles per hour are worth the risk.

      I know a lot of bloggers who do the Amazon link thing. I will indeed think about it

  9. Ross Macintosh February 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    I’m touched by the kindness of the stranger who left you his unused tickets! I’d like to think that someday in a campground far away a fellow traveller will introduce himself and ask if the tickets he had left for you back in Savannah were of any use. If that happens I suppose a big hug will be in order. I imagine however the best payback is for us all to be encouraged to pass on our own “random acts of kindness” and help make the world we touch a better place…
    Ross Macintosh recently posted..Oh Shit…My Profile

    • Becky February 19, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

      Indeed Ross!

      And yeah, I’m a fan of random acts of kindness. I’ve done a couple of my own in the past.

  10. Kristine February 22, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    Great info!!If I ever get pulled over I will think of this and I thank you for sharing things like this. What luck that you got pulled over from a past full-timer!!

    I am in the throws of hitting the road. Looks like April 12 is the day, tho I will have RV here late March and may camp for a couple weeks to get dogs used to it b4 we hot the road. I have deposit on it now and will be paying and then insuring in March.

    I got a big truck, Nissan Titan, love it but not the gas mileage, Needed the tow capcity so its all good. Just getting ready to have yard sale and sell everything. Trying to think of everything that I need and has to be done and keep the big secret from work…LOL. You must remember being at this point…exciting, but busy.

    Ok well keep in touch, Kristine

    I have had emails with Campforce in kentucky and sent my application and resume.

    • Becky February 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

      Glad to hear that things are moving along well Kristine, yes I do remember being there. When it starts to get overwhelming just remember how good it’ll feel once you get on the road!

      Best of luck with CamperForce, have fun!

  11. George November 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    After looking all over your site and reading the blogs, I noticed one thing that is really missing. Pictures of you. There are only two that I have found. Both are in the profile folder. You really need to get into some of the pictures. The beauty of each pic would be doubled.

    After saying that, I must admit, you do well with photography and love your writings. How do you find the time to write. Being a full time worker and also a full timer, I find it hard to get time to write. I have been writing a book for over a year now and still am far from done.

    Thank you for your blogs and I’ll be watching on here for your travels. Maybe if you get close to Macon, GA. again, we can meet up and have some coffee. Take care and may you always have a tailwind.


    • Becky November 8, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

      A big part of the problem is I travel alone, so there’s no one to hold the camera to take a picture of me, hehe.

      Thanks for the compliments. And yes, it’s hard to find the time to write, especially this time of year when I’m working overtime at Amazon. My posts tend not to be as long and complex in the fall you’ll notice. And I’m still working on that ebook I started over a year later as well, it can be a challenge.

      I’ll be heading down to Florida after this is done but I don’t think I’ll be heading to close to Macon this go around. I’ll post more about my travel plans as things come together. Take care!

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