Sat 2 Feb 08

When we moved to Oregon, briefly, a year and a half ago we planned on titling and registering our newly purchased Mazda Tribute in our new state. At the Corvallis DMV there was bit of a snafu though (to do with a missing repossession affidavit from the bank that repoed it before we bought it) and we ended up never following up with the required paperwork.

A couple cross-country trips and about 13,000 miles later we’ve finally followed up. A few weeks ago we swung by a DMV branch here in Yakima and started to fill out the paperwork again. They handed us a bill for $521 and we like, “what?!” And then, “oh, right, that.” Since we had yet to transfer the title into our name, we were getting taxed on the purchase price of the used car. At Washington’s sales tax rate of 8.9%.

So we stalled for a bit and mentioned the part about not having a repossession affidavit and the DMV guy was like “yeah, you still need that.” Since we still didn’t have the bank letter it gave us a good excuse to leave, which we did.

Then I started to think about it and realized that Oregon’s sales tax is 0%, which is a fair bit better than 8.9%. And my little Dutch brain started churning and crunching numbers ($400 difference) and wishing that we had just followed through when we had a chance.

And it churned some more while I followed up with the repo bank and waited for the letter to show up in the mail. When the letter finally arrived a couple weeks later, I had a plan in place. I won’t divulge specifics, but Mary and I took a day trip south yesterday to procure our legally obtained new plates and registration. The plates are shiny and didn’t cost half a grand. I’m happy to be done with dodging cop cars on the chance of getting pulled over for expired tabs.

It was a gorgeous day for a road trip in our little valley even while the peaks around us were getting hit with a mighty snow storm (a storm that today has been dropping light snow on us all day). Sunny and right around forty degrees. The views were massive and lined with orchards and vineyards. It felt good to be on the road with little traffic and smooth pavement and I kept thinking about how great it would feel to be packed and heading somewhere new and interesting again. If we had had the dogs along (and my surfboard and wet suit), I would’ve been sorely tempted to make it a weekend on the coast.

I love Oregon. Every time I cross the Columbia River heading south I get all warm and happy inside. I know it may just be the lingering memory of those couple months doing nothing but surfing and goofing off, but it just seems like a state that fits me. If I’m ever a homeless vagrant with a bike and a backpack full of my possessions, I’m heading for the Oregon coast. I suppose Washington isn’t too shabby though either.

Pictured: looking across the Columbia River toward Washington and an REI that we stopped at in Kennewick.

Driving home the mountains were splashed in purple sunset light and we turned the radio off for a while to listen to the road whoosh by like a plane engine.