A break from my complete lack of posts to the blog, but I feel that this must be said. California has a "planned non operation" capacity whereby you don't pay full registration for your car if you don't use it for "a registered year". Yes, "a registered year" is the rub. Nevermind the fact that I parked my car for 14.5 consecutive months, it was not the registered year. My registered year is november 12 - november 11. So the fact that my car may have been stored from July 1, 2013 to September 3, 2014 is irrelevant. I still had to pay two full years of registration. On top of the special fee for planned non operation. On top of the fee for turning off planned non-operation. On top of the 3.5 hours I had to sit around the DMV.
Just don't do it.
If you're journeying for only a year, sell the car. Or keep it in storage with absolute minimum insurance coverage (California requires insurance unless you're non-operational, but insurance was cheaper than what I spent in $'s much less aggrivation/time to deal with the PNO process). And if you keep it in storage, make sure to get someone to run it monthly for a bit to make sure the fluids stay fluid. And keep it on a charger to make sure you don't have to buy new batteries.
Hopefully this will help someone out in the future.