Making Lemonade

When life gives you lemons

I had no plans to title bus that day. My research had told me, I had fifteen days to drive the bus out of Nevada, from the moment I registered it. But after I had bought the bus, and had the documents in hand, my gut knew I needed to title it immediately. I could register it, and get the moving permit at a later date.

So just after lunch, on a Saturday, I headed for the DMV in Henderson, Nevada. I walked in, registered for an appointment, and took a seat. I eagerly counted the number of customers ahead of me in the queue, as the numbers scrolled on the big screen. Doing the sums in my head, I assumed I’d be out by 2pm. In reality, I would not be seen until after the office closed at 4pm. The office operates a web based booking system, allowing others to jump the queue, but this was only available to US cell phone numbers. After two and half hours of waiting, I enquired with an agent, who suggested I leave to get some lunch.

I returned before doors closed, and resumed my position. It’s amazing how fast the queue disappears once the office is closed for the day.

Shortly after 4pm, having waited over four hours, my number was called.

I explained to the DMV agent what I needed to achieve. Her response suggested it was a simple procedure, and I’d be on my way in a matter of minutes. I handed over the documents, along with the existing title certificate, and she began to enter the details into the computer. The expressions on her face quickly turned from reassurance to concern, and she left to consult her supervisor. Something was wrong and I was panicked.

The agent returned to advise that after running the vehicle through the NMVTIS database, they had a found a salvage record on the vehicle. They would not be able to title the vehicle without an inspection. Even after the vehicle was inspected, it would only be eligible for a salvage title, and not the clean certificate I had hoped for.

I was devastated and confused. Had I wasted my money on a lemon? I’d done extensive research including a VIN check through the National Insurance Crime Bureau, but nothing had been flagged.

Jet lagged and four hours wasted in the DMV office, I returned to the airport to consider what to do next. On the flight back to London, I plotted my course of action.

A more detailed report quickly revealed the reason the vehicle was flagged. The school district in Nevada had originally attempted to sell the vehicle through an auction company that specialises in salvaged vehicles. The auction company had failed to sell the vehicle. During the course of entering the bus into inventory they had incorrectly logged the bus as salvaged.

Following weeks of correspondence with the auction company, they finally admitted their error. It would be another two weeks before they were able to correct it.

Documents are now in order, and I’m hopeful to finally title the vehicle when I return to Las Vegas at the end of the month. A quality lesson learned and a positive outcome for the first problem in this adventure, of which I expect there will be many more.

2 Responses
  1. Jerry

    Oh, an international travel adventure involving a skoolie and a British crew…this will be fun…but no YouTube?

    1. Paul

      Fun is one word for it. All the struggles of converting a skoolie, with the added benefit of trying to do it from 5,000 miles away. Add in all the confusion regarding metric vs imperial and naming differences (it’s aluminium!) and it’s bound to be a mess.

      Definite plans to create a YouTube channel, so watch this space.

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