Episode 602

August 15, 2020

Sometimes i go with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

i bought a utility trailer kit for various hauling tasks around the ranch.

It assembled easily. The directions were clear. The SOP of assembly required a friend to flip the trailer over. It weighs 450 lbs. Other than that i completed the assembly myself.

The fit was reasonable and almost all the parts were included.
A drive up gate was missing, so i contacted the retailer and the manufacturer.

The retailer’s SOP is to contact the manufacturer and get back to me. i have confidence that the missing gate will be shipped to me when the SOP is complete. 

In some things i have faith.

In California, the trailer must be registered. A licensing SOP for utility trailers is called Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI). 

i started at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) web site.

There i found the forms necessary to apply for a PTI. There was no way to apply for and obtain the license plate on line and it was unclear what the SOP for Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) verification was. i downloaded the forms that i could.

For clarity i telephoned the DMV.
Their SOP was to keep me on hold for an hour and a half.

When i was finally connected to the DMV call center the lady who answered as very helpful.

Since the DMV is not taking appointments, i could go to the DMV and wait in line, she advised.
Alternately, i could fill out all the forms, include a check for $32, have the California Highway Patrol (CHP) do the VIN verification and drop the packet into the night slot at the DMV. Great.

i called the CHP to schedule a VIN verification.
“Oh no,” said the CHP operator. Our SOP is to only do a VIN verification with a referral from the DMV.
“How do i get a referral?”
“Go to the DMV and wait in line.”


My wife and i drove the trailer to the DMV. We arrived at 1pm. There was no place to park. Paula drove the trailer to a nearby cul-de-sac while i waited in the COVID outside line.

The SOP of the DMV is currently to stand in an outside line, get a number assigned by a triage agent, who gives you the paperwork and instructions to wait about 3 hours to be called.

She also told me to bring the trailer around to the inspection aisle to get the VIN verification. i called Paula to bring around the trailer.

The inspector came out within 2 minutes and completed the VIN verification, looked at my paperwork, gave me the VIN form and assured me that i could not just drop the packet in the night slot, but had to wait for my number to be called.

“Where can we park?” There were no parking places for a truck and trailer in the lot or on the street. The inspector found us a place to park around the back. What a nice and efficient man.

… 3 hours later.

It is almost 5 o’clock and my number (B086) was still 20 numbers away from being called.

One of the managers, who, on his lunch break 3 hours ago, had noticed Paula sitting in the truck around back asked her why she was there. “Waiting to be called,” she said.
“There must be something wrong, I will see what I can do,” he said.

When the manager inspected my number he said that that number was beyond the issued numbers and must have been written incorrectly. My number should have been B068, not B086, and i had missed my call.
The manager (Richard) took my paperwork and said he would key it in.

The fee was actually $42 + $10 additional sales tax. Not the $32 the DMV call lady told me.
An additional form and a check for $52 later, Richard handed me the trailer license plate… 4:58 pm.

SOP for the DMV to obtain a PTI is to wait in a virtual COVID line, don’t go to the CHP for the VIN, hope that D086 is a real number and let the Universe place two random employees in your path to get you a trailer license.

Faith and patience were my only skills.

One Response

  1. Luana Langlois August 11, 2020

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