Road trip from California to Michigan

11 Desert road

Buying a car in another state or country and driving it home is always a good recipe for a road adventure I purchased this Saab 9-5 from a dealer in Southern California in September 2008 and drove it to Northern Michigan. I always want to take a new car on a road trip and a 3,000 mile trip was just what I needed.

You don’t have to pay California sales tax if you buy a car and move it out of state. You still have to pay tax in your own state but this can give you some savings if the tax rate is lower than in California. In my case, that was about $700 savings so that was nice. However, that only applies if the new owner has the car transported out of state. It can not be picked up at the dealer and driven out of state by the owner. And that presented a bit of a problem for me. It was only a difference of $700 but still..


The dealer had a good solution to the problem. I took a flight to California and my salesman picked me up at the airport. The dealership arranged for someone to drive my new (used) Saab to the state line. Very friendly guy and a priest in regular life. I would be following in another loaner Saab from the dealer. The closest other state is Nevada and we arranged to meet with a Notary Public just past the state line. The ownership transfer had to be made official so the dealership and myself would be covered for any problems.

Whiskey Pete’s casino is at the state line and we met the Notary Public in the back room of a gas station. She was quite a voluptuous lady of Mexican/South American descent and wore a tank top with Thumper (cartoon character) on it. Not the type of Notary Public I expected but she was very nice and efficient. I never took official delivery of a car in the back of a Nevada casino gas station before but it was an interesting experience. The dealer told me they have done this kind of delivery for other customers as well. And they didn’t charge me anything for it.

The journey home took me through Las Vegas, the Bonneville Salt Flats (see more details in my blog), Grand Teton and Yellowstone Park. The weekend before the trip started gave me some time in SoCal and it was nice to revisit the place where I lived for a few years. And how often can you cruise the California Coast, Orange County, Hollywood, Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills in your won Saab when you live so far away. I can highly recommend buying your next car far away from home because the memory of the road trip lasts a long time.


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