Nick Carroll Headshot

It took 27 months, but I am finally a legal, registered driver with West Virginia tags and a West Virginia license.

When I received my license plate in the mail last week, it marked the end of an epic journey.

Although I started with the Hampshire Review in October of 2018, I didn’t officially move to Hampshire County until December of that same year.

Now, in order to save a few bucks, I renewed my Honda Civic tags with the state of Indiana in 2019 as I preferred paying $35 with no inspection instead of hundreds of dollars, plus an annual inspection.

In January of 2020, I realized that my time in Hampshire County might be extended for a decade or 2, so I bit the bullet and decided to get my W.Va. drivers license.

After acing the vision test and smiling for the camera, I was a licensed driver in the Mountain State.

(Side rant: When you are at the DMV and taking a picture for your license, why can’t we have a monitor that shows you your headshot instantly?  It makes more sense to have the DMV employee snap 3 pictures, and those 3 photos populate on a screen and I select which photo I like best. That seems easy enough. Unfortunately, my driver’s license photo shows me scowling at the camera.)

Back to the beginning of 2020. I was licensed, but my car still had Hoosier tags. Those tags didn’t expire until mid-March so I thought it was best to wait 60 days before undertaking the tedious and costly process of changing plates, title and registration. In early March of 2020, I went to the DMV on Sunrise Summit and filled out the appropriate paperwork. Part of that process included sending away a packet of documents back to Indiana’s BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles).

If you recall, this was the same time period that Covid fears exploded around the nation and governors immediately shut-down government functions including DMVs. 

Well, as you can guess, I never saw my papers again.

Let’s revisit the panic of Covid in the spring of 2020. People were terrified of out-of-state visitors as they were the ones that would bring Covid into West Virginia.

With out-of-state plates on my car, I became a huge target.

One incident in Augusta had a police officer pull me over for no specific reason, then ask me a series of outlandish questions that included, “Do you have any dead bodies in the trunk?” 

I was shaking with rage and fear simultaneously. Mind you, I was coming home from a hike with my dog on a Saturday afternoon going 43 m.p.h. in a 40 m.p.h. zone. 

Driving with Indiana plates became a nightmare, as I had to explain the complex situation every time I got pulled over.

Since my packet of documents was lost for eternity, the only way I could get W.Va. tags required me to retrieve a new set of Indiana documents. The only way to get new Indiana documents was to drive to Indiana and visit the BMV.

Indiana opened up their BMV centers in the fall of 2021 and I took a trip in November to get my car re-titled and re-registered.

Those papers were sent to me in February of 2022. Upon receiving the documents, I immediately took them to the nearest title/registration service and started the process of getting W.Va. tags.

A temporary plate was slapped on the back of my Civic with an expiration date of June 14.

When those tags didn’t arrive by Memorial Day, I thought it wasn’t meant to be and planned on keeping my Hoosier tags for the rest of my car’s life.

Well, my 880-day nightmare came to an end a week ago when my old neighbor gave me a call and said she had my new tags in hand. How my mail ended up at the neighbor’s house of my old address, I’ll never understand, but thankfully, my blue Civic is legal and licensed and I look forward to speeding once again. o

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