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Monday, May 14, 2012

Alternative Resources

The reason we came to Sioux Falls was to become South Dakota residents.  We were a little bit intimidated with all the details we were going to have to accomplish so we could turn around and continue our travels.

We should never have worried.  Alternative Resources is much more than just a mailing service, they guided us through the whole process of getting drivers licenses, registering our vehicles and getting set up to vote.

First off, the very friendly folks at Alternative Resources recommended we stay at the Tower Campground in Sioux Falls.  The campground staff took down our information and carefully put our names on the receipt exactly as they would appear on our new South Dakota drivers licenses.  The state requires a minimum one night stay to prove residence and accepts the receipt as proof.

We set up for a two night stay and I gathered together all the documents we’d need to get everything done in one day.

We started the day with a visit to our South Dakota “Home”, the Alternative Resources building.

Just a simple office in a row of offices.  Inside there are all the mailboxes.


At the front desk they had all the forms we needed to register to vote, so we’d be able to quickly accomplish that task.  We were given maps to the County Center a few miles down the road where we could get everything done in one stop.  Off we went.


First stop was the license office.  I had my folder with all my documents ready and we hit the first snag.  My Social Security card, which I received in 1965 was not acceptable.  Evidently over the years, the design changed and mine did not have the required blue column boarder on it.  Didn’t matter that it was still stapled to the card from the Social Security office stating in bold letters to “Keep this card in a safe place”.  I had no other means to prove my SSN.  My current passport didn’t have the SSN on it, my military retiree ID card didn’t have it, either.  So the only thing they would accept was a copy of my W-2 with the SSN on it.

Of course I didn’t have one with me, so it was a 20 minute drive back to the campground to get one from my last years tax forms and return.  The W-2 passed muster and Marti and I sat down to wait for our number to be called.

About a half hour later, our number came up.  A fast eye test, a photo, twenty bucks (each) and we had shiny new South Dakota licenses.

Next stop, voter registration.  One floor down, the voter registration office and the vehicle registration office were located directly across from each other in the same hallway.


We registered to vote first, using the forms from Alternative Resources.  In just minutes we were set and even got a chance to cast our first votes as South Dakota citizens in the primary election.

Then the long walk across the hallway to register the Journey and the Element.  That took all of ten minutes and we had four nice new license plates.  One important note, on a motorhome or trailer, you need to have a copy of your vehicle weight sheet showing all the weight capacities.  Make sure you use the Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW) for registering as they charge by weight.  Our Journey was 25,495 lbs. empty and cost $335 to register.  That will be approximately the same amount every year.

All in all, it took us only a couple of hours to complete everything, and everyone was very nice and friendly.  What to do next?  Why be a tourist and go explore Sioux Falls!


We had to take a “We were there” picture of our new hometown.


As a side note, Alternative Resources can register your vehicles for you via the mail, but you have to appear in person for your drivers license. Also, the DMV does not accept credit cards, cash, check or money order only.

And sadly, there will not be a real “R SANITY” South Dakota license plate on the Journey, the DMV will not issue customs plate unless you have an actual physical address in South Dakota.  We’ll have to get some signs made up to continue the tradition.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. quite the process but glad that you made it through!!!

  2. Hey, I remember that building! It was "one stop shopping". Glad you are now "official". Congratulations!

  3. Thanks for the info. Now we will be prepared. We've been hoping for a vanity plate..oh well. We have something else in mind :)

  4. We'll be going to that building in September :-))) Thanks for the detailed outline of how it works.

  5. Yes, we will be there too someday. But for the first 5-6 years of retirement we still have to be Wisconsin residents due to health insurance restrictions. Once that runs out, then we can change over.
    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  6. Now that you finally have a home address go enjoy yourselves! I'm glad it was easy for you.

  7. Enjoyed seeing the process and how it works.

  8. It's nice it was such an easy process.

  9. I have found it so easy to renew my vehicle registration on line each year, that I do it myself rather than have Alternative Resources do it. Saves a couple of bucks.

    Glad you were able to quickly go back to the rig for the necessary documentation. I was not so lucky last summer. :(

    1. I remember that post! Have to love DHS requirements, there is no gray area.

  10. Congrates on your new residence, I see a lot of SD plates running around.

  11. Great endorsement for Alternative Resources! Looks like there is a gaggle of RVers with South Dakota plates. Curious about why you chose SD over Florida as your "home state" given that you are pretty Eastern folks

  12. Howdy neighbors! Glad it was an easy process for you.