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Older, but no wiser!
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Started looking at a "bucket list" ride in the US for 2013 or 2014. No idea if it'll ever happen but you know....

I love mountain riding and scenery and like the idea of doing a run up/across/through the Rockies, but the classic ride in the US is Route 66. I have been doing quite a lot of reading and can see why it appeals to the big, lazy road cruisers, but is it for a UK rider who wants a challenge and fun in the ride? I am having some doubts.

Anyone done this or one of the other big US cross country rides in recent years?

Hiring seems the usual option for the 2 week runs , but gosh is it expensive, 3 weeks plus and it starts to look appealing to take the Vara across, and "GB" plates would definitely be a conversation piece :)
 

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Tenacious Member
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Mate of mine did 66 a couple of years back. He loved it.

He went back this year to do Boston to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Loved that too.
 

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2 bikes = twice as happy
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We are in the early stage of planning a big trip in May/June 2013. Top of the list is to cross the USA but Route 66 has never really appealed. We were going to go Canada/Alaska until we realised it would still be winter in May and we would continue to ride into winter as we went north. Anyway, the latest plan is to fly the bikes to New York ride across the Northern States/Canada border to Oregon then south through the Rockies to LA where the bikes will be shipped back home. We have 6 weeks for the trip and it will be about 5,000miles. Plan b would be south through the Appalachians to the Deep South then West through Texas, Arizona, Nevada and places like that to California. I need to do more research on routes.

ROAD TRIP USA


The quote from James Cargo for a return flight/shipping for the bikes is a round £2,000 per bike inclusive of everything except US duties. It might be more for a lardy Vara. Whatever its loads cheaper than renting, which is extortionate in the US. Camper vans are cheap if you fancy one of them.
 

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Posh Bird
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I've done bits of 66 in California and Arizona. I think the trick is to pick and choose an interesting part - a lot of it is just a bit of a long road, but parts of it have some amazing scenery and wonderful old towns and it's like stepping back into a different era.

I think if you just stuck to the whole road all the way you'd miss an opportunity to go and see some far more amazing places and scenery - the US is just stunning and awe-inspiring in places....

That's my tuppence ;)
 

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SOTGATT
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Rockies to LA good and variable scenery....Las Vegas on the way...Grand Canyon too...

My bucket list one is the Pacific Coast Highway on the Californian coast...I consider it unfinished business from 1984, when I took the interstate instead of this meandering road 'cos I had no patience back then, plus I didn't realise what I'd be missing.

I reckon the cheapest way is to go there and buy a bike and then sell it.....that's what Jem did.

So did I but that wasn't by design...:confused: :cool:
 

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Should know better
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I've done the Appalachian Trail, but by car. I'd love to go back and do it by bike. Fantastic scenery and twisty foresty roads. A bit less touristy, you really get to see how people live. Gets hot in the Southern states, mind, so have to choose your time of year if riding it. And you'll still encounter some dry counties :eek:. Haven't done route 66, but obviously it's on the wish list, as is the Pacific coast down to LA. So much to do, so little time (and money) :rolleyes:. Good to dream, though.
 

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Did Sturgis 4 years ago, picked up the Harley in Chicago rodae across Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Minneapolis & Wisconsin, did around 3,000 miles riding small town USA.
Brilliant trip, this year did the Appalachians Skyline Drive & Blue Ridge Mountains with the Family driving vaction, did Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, back to Virginia.
I agree with Lulu, would love to do Skyline Drive & Blue Ridge Mountains again but on a bike, stunning scenery, we visited places like Little Switzerland, Floyd & Blowing rock, met some great people too, not to mention the wildlife that you see whilst travelling.
I'd say riding / driving anywhere in the United States is an adventure, so much to see & do.
I really enjoyed researching & planning the trips which was interesting, especially when you start looking at distances & time.
Enjoy planning your trip Steve !
 

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Hi Steve
I was looking into this since last year and unfortunately had to cancel the trip due to my wife not getting 3 weeks leave. Have a look here, I started that a while ago but it might help.
Is this possible and what have i missed? - ADVrider
Also contact all the tourist offices from all the states, county's or bigger city's you want to visit. Its amazing what they send out for free.
I also started of looking at route 66 but after asking a few questions over on the adv forum I changed our plans completely.

Any question just send me a pm
Pete
 

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Older, but no wiser!
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Some really good ideas and VERY useful comments here from you all. Thanks loads to everyone!

£2K to ship yer bike seems a lot, but the rental costs for a decent bike when you include insurance etc, is also a pig. Whatever option, it is not going to be a cheap break, no popping across the Channel and camping around France for 500 quid in a week.... I was interested to hear that Jem had purchased a bike.... All the reports I have seen say that this is a no no unless you have US address... Wrong or Right?

The Appalachians do appeal and would be a bit cheaper as they are (little) bit closer to home and I have read quite a bit on the area already, but the runs through the Rockies options sound that little bit better to someone NOT wanting the Harley cruise trip.... In all honesty, I think would rent a Honda Silverwing scoot ;) I priced a GS and was a little bit horrified, hence a looksee at chucking a bike on a ship.

Good tips from Vader and again, another one being a tad dubious about the whole Route 66 thing. Possibly we are all too cynical here? :) Liked the idea of contacting the State tourist people and sussing out some sights etc

Gonna have to suss this one out and see just what the time and cost will be, I doubt I can get a passout for 6 weeks like you Austin, but maybe a couple of weeks and then get Her Ladyship to fly out and join up for a week.... April/May would be the best time, followed by Sept/Oct. I had looked at the James Cargo site briefly, but it is a mine of good info
 

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Posh Bird
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Hi Steve,
Yes you do need a US address. I got all the info I needed for it from the Horizons Unlimited website. It did mention people even managing to register their bike at a willing and helpful bike dealer where they bought it from over there. Obviously this depends on the dealer and isn't the norm. I bought mine from Craigs List (similar to ebay) and sold it on there too. I did have time on my side though and was able to stay with a friend for free whilst looking for it. But I'm sure you could start to check bikes out from over here and liase with dealers. If you can buy it and sell it, you'll save a packet. I even sold mine for a few hundred dollars more than I bought it for!!

If you've got any questions - feel free to PM me, I'd be happy to talk about routes and experiences :)
 

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Older, but no wiser!
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Discussion Starter #12
Hi Steve,
Yes you do need a US address. I got all the info I needed for it from the Horizons Unlimited website. It did mention people even managing to register their bike at a willing and helpful bike dealer where they bought it from over there. Obviously this depends on the dealer and isn't the norm. I bought mine from Craigs List (similar to ebay) and sold it on there too. I did have time on my side though and was able to stay with a friend for free whilst looking for it. But I'm sure you could start to check bikes out from over here and liase with dealers. If you can buy it and sell it, you'll save a packet. I even sold mine for a few hundred dollars more than I bought it for!!

If you've got any questions - feel free to PM me, I'd be happy to talk about routes and experiences :)
Thank you Jem, good to hear from someone who "has done it"! :D

I do have a contact in the US who would act as a "home" and maybe even source and purchase a bike, the problem is that it is in Montana, a long way from anywhere.... :) I suppose Billings is not far and they visit there on a regular basis. How did you get on with Insuring your bike and what size machine did you buy?

Off to look at Craigs List..... and eBay.com, of course.
 

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Posh Bird
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Thank you Jem, good to hear from someone who "has done it"! :D

I do have a contact in the US who would act as a "home" and maybe even source and purchase a bike, the problem is that it is in Montana, a long way from anywhere.... :) I suppose Billings is not far and they visit there on a regular basis. How did you get on with Insuring your bike and what size machine did you buy?

Off to look at Craigs List..... and eBay.com, of course.
I can't remember who I insured it with now, an American company though, got their name through a thread on the Horizons website too. Relatively speaking it was more expensive than here but I'd only had my bike license for a year then and so that was part of it. I ended up having to get a year's insurance and then cashing it in as I only needed a few months. I got a 650 V-strom which was perfect for the job. Would have brought it back if I'd had the money.....

I've no idea where Billings is so I can't comment on that part.

Good luck with it all :)
 

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Older, but no wiser!
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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Billings is the capital city of Montana, a spit from Yellowstone Park and the Rockies ;)

Been looking at prices this evening, loads of bangers about. Sussing insurance also, and I have found one company Fernet that will offer 1,2 or 3month periods either with a UK or US reg bike. Not cheap mind.. :(
 

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Hi Steve
I was thinking on the same lines for this year but now leaning more to South Africa as its loads cheaper.
There is a tour company in the US that supplies bikes, gps etc for a route 66 run that ends up in Wisconsin at the Harley factory for a tour if thats what you are into.
I have a mate in our bike club who has been all over the world. He recons the 66 is dead boring and having watched Billiy Connelly trave it I have to agree it looked crap. My mate recons the one to do is route 1 down the west coast. There are lots of motorcycle tour operators on the west coast that will do either guided or non-guided tours. The non-guided are obviously cheaper and they supply bikes, gps, prebooked accommodation airport transferes etc and some meals. just type US motorcycle hire into google and you will find loads. many circular routes out of LA to Vagas into the desert round the mountains and back but it is expensive and you need to make sure you are fully covered for accidents etc and what out for extra charges for clothing/panniers etc.

Good luck. Everyone needs to have one big adventure, US west coast is one answer but South Africa or Mongolia are a couple of others worth a look or there are many tours in South America Chile/Peru etc.
 

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sounds great but mile after mile at 55mph? two friends of friends have done it one an out n out pig fan, sorry hog fan and another on a triumph, hog fan loved it so much he bought the bike home after buying it out there and the triumph guy said really boring, take your pick.:thumbright:
 

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sounds great but mile after mile at 55mph? .:thumbright:
I find that a great speed when doing any kind of distance; easy on you, easy on the bike and fuel and it eats the miles.
When you pass a truck doing around that speed and then you stop for a short break, often you'll see the truck pass you. It's not stopping that covers the miles, not so much high speeds.

55mph is 330 miles in 6 hours - a long way.
 

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Older, but no wiser!
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Discussion Starter #18
I find that a great speed when doing any kind of distance; easy on you, easy on the bike and fuel and it eats the miles.
When you pass a truck doing around that speed and then you stop for a short break, often you'll see the truck pass you. It's not stopping that covers the miles, not so much high speeds.

55mph is 330 miles in 6 hours - a long way.
Very true. You see the same on UK motorways all the time especially when riding a bike. Couple of years ago, i was coming back from the Highlands on a 600cc Honda socot, really tanking along whic led to VERY frequent fuel stops and I kept seeing this pink pick-up all the way from Glasgow, down to near Manchester :) I would overtake it again, about 10 miles after the 110mile fuel stop!
 

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I do notice that my 95 Harley seems to cruise best at 55-60 mph, smooth and relaxed at 70 the wind turbulence off the batwing increases and it is rougher and more vibration. Did Harley build the Evo tourers for the 55 limit?
 
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