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How To Get Deliveries In The Middle Of Nowhere

rural addressThis post is more for my fellow gate guards who often stay in one place for a long time though it is possible that it might be useful to an RVer in the right situation such as camping on your own rural property.

Ever wondered how people out in the middle of nowhere get packages delivered to them? While the post office may or may not deliver way out there, other freight services do deliver! It’s a matter of getting them a physical address they can find which thanks to 911 emergency services and a scheme called “rural addressing” is possible and FREE.

911 addresses are also mailing addresses in some places while they are not mailing addresses but merely physical addresses in other places. For LaSalle County in Texas and for a look into how it works, quote “rural addressing is a distance-based process where beginning and ending points for each road had to be established and then measured from end to end. The address is not based on lot numbers or box numbers. It is based on a set of regional standards that uses odd on the left and even on the right. This distance-based measurement allows for an address to be assigned every 5.28 feet. This allows enough room in the event that a single lot is subdivided into several lots. Addresses are assigned based on how far the entrance or driveway is from the beginning of each road. Attention was given to ensure that existing addresses were maintained, wherever possible. In areas where only small segments of a road contained addressing, addresses were assigned to best fit the existing scheme while also conforming to accepted standards. Currently, the 9-1-1 address is not a mailing address. It is a physical address that is used for 9-1-1 emergency purposes, but it can also be used as a physical location address for UPS, Fed Ex, utilities, etc.”1

First you will need to find the department that handles 911 addressing for the county you are in. It may be the 911 Coordinator’s office, the Public Works Department, the 911 phone system, or other. Search for it online or try checking here. You might also try searching for the county name+”rural addressing”. Once you have found their website, there will be a form you can submit online or print out and mail. If there is a phone number, that is the fastest way to get an address assigned. They will ask you for owner’s name, your name, and parcel number. Instead of parcel number they may accept GPS coordinates, location in relation to the nearest assigned address, visual landmarks, or other items though parcel number (if you can get that) or GPS coordinates work best. They will likely look it up and ask you to verify items on the property to be sure they have the right location. They can see buildings, gates, signs, etc. to verify. Once they know where you are, they will assign the new address and mail or email you the new address information which you can then take to your local post office to get it entered into their database by the postmaster. You may want to wait a couple days to be sure it is in the system and propagated before placing your first order. In that time, you need to put up a sign on your property or gate with the new address properly displayed. Note that some counties do have specific ordinances on the color and height of address signs.

Now be sure that when you order something to be delivered, that it uses either UPS, FedEx, or other freight services rather than the postal service if your local post office does not deliver to your area. If your item is shipped via USPS in a non-delivery area, the address may not be found as a valid a mailing address and the post office may hold the item in general delivery for 30 days or at the postmaster’s discretion they may just return the item to the sender. Be sure to talk to your postmaster to find out their policy.

I have my doubts as to whether this would work in areas with no paved road nearby such 10 miles down a dirt road but it may if you are close enough to a main road and town, can post an address sign by the main road, and can be easily and quickly found.

The best option for those stationed far down dirt roads or for regular RVers is to find a business that is willing to accept packages for you including campgrounds, UPS stores, Mailboxes, Etc., some hardware stores, possibly the ranch manager, and others. Wal-Mart’s free Ship To Store works very well too for getting items from their online store shipped to their nearest local store.


1. http://911.mrgdc.org/911/index.php?page=rural_addressing&sub=home

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