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North America Topics specific to Canada and USA/Alaska only.
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  #1  
Old 29 Dec 2008
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US & Canada trip from New York (or Miami)?

Hi, after completing a half-year Europe to Australia tour last year, we now dream of doing a ´PanAmerican-trip´ together with my girlfriend. Most likely this would be 2-up on 1 bike. But because of work - that damn thing, that´s always standing between you and your dreams (and Im only kidding!) - will probably need to split this trip into at least two parts this time.

The first part of this plan, would be a tour around North America (US and Canada) for about 1 month, hopefully a bit more, but I know I´ll probably be a bit short on vacations Sept/Oct 2009, when we thought of doing it.

It would be easiest for us to fly into New York, then head northwest into Canada, then to the West coast and follow it south, then east all the way to Florida, and finally back north to where we started from. Or we could do it the other way round, too (but weather-wise it could probably be better to do this starting from NY around Sept 1st, 2009).

I am in the process of finding out, how much it would cost to send our own DL650 into the States (for reference, from Sydney, Australia to Helsinki, Finland, by sea, cost less than 500 euros one way). At the moment it seems likely, that I am not sending our own bike over just for 1 month, but possibly do that in 2010.

The other option would probably be doing this (the US&Canada-part I mean) on a rented motorcycle... anyone got any idea, roughly where it would come to, if we´d rent, say, a Vstrom 650 from NY for 1 month, and did up to 5000 miles with it? I got a feeling, that even if I could find a suitable bike for rent, which might not be easy, it might be quite expensive. And I dont know, whether or not you can easily cross into Canada and back on a bike rented from the US? I did once have a bike rented out of Johannesburg, which I was able to take generally all around southern Africa (8 countries) with a special permission from the company I rented from, so I´d figure it shouldnt be impossible.

Yet another idea, that could perhaps be realistic: - buy a bike in the US, prepare it for 2-up riding (that´s one problem, if you dont have much time, but should be do-able with good planning), and then do both the US&Canada2009-"leg", as well as the later Central&South-America2010-"leg" with it. After that, try selling it in Argentina, be prepared to sell cheap, or if that fails, then ship it to Europe. Finding a place to keep the bike somewhere safe for almost a year in between those 2 trips could be one problem, though I got some friends over there, that maybe could help with that. Bikes seem to be very cheap in the US, compared to my country, at least for now. I like the idea of a small investment, considering the risk of losing the vehicle totally, if bad luck strikes.

But not sure right now, because I´m not a US-resident, just a tourist, am I able to do all the necessary paperwork for it, so that I wont get trouble in some Central&South-American borders later on. If we decide, that buying our own bike in the US is the way to go, then we´d probably try to do all our riding in the Americas with this same bike. And I know that to be able to go to the Central&Southern-parts of the continent, we will probably have to be the owners of the bike we ride, so not possible by renting.

Any experiences, thoughts or ideas, what would possibly be the best way to make this happen, and also route suggestions & places to visit on the way, would be warmly welcomed!
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Old 3 Jan 2009
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I would recommend shipping your own bike to the US since you plan to go to South America. I just think the paperwork situation would be better.

Each State in the United States has different laws. Recently I allowed a Spanish rider to use my address because his intent was to purchase and register the bike in my state. But he could not, because he needed a drivers license from my state since he had an address here. To have one of those you have to prove residency by having paid bills, rent receipt's to having a Social Security Card. He decided to go to Florida where he could purchase a motorcycle and register it with my address, he was able to even use his national drivers license and was not delayed due to the paperwork. The problem he had later was the license plate tags were temporary ( good for 30 days ) meaning his intent was to bring his bike to my address and register in my state. The dealer in Florida was able to ship another set of temporary tags to him so he could complete his 60 day US tour legally, he later shipped the bike home. Having your own bike and tags makes it easier. In the United States you renew your bike license plate each year and you apply a tax sticker.

There is an Aussie rider who purchased a bike in Michigan and was even able to register it there by using the sellers address. There was no need for a state drivers license. Today his bike is stored at my place for his return in the summer of 2009. I also have an Argentina bike stored at my home so there is no issue leaving a bike here. I am just thinking there is an option if you need to leave your own bike in North America, all you will need is insurance.

It seems that buying a bike in New York, Florida, Michigan or California is easier. Pennsylvania is bad because the Director of Homeland Security resided here.

I maybe wrong but it might be cheaper to ship the bike by air to Toronto, or Montreal , Canada. Another reason is New York customs is slower and it gets expensive staying in New York waiting for your bike. If coming to New York make sure the bike arrives before you do.

Renting is too expensive.
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Old 3 Jan 2009
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Yes, I understand that buying & registering may not be as straightforward as one might think. And because we would be a bit short on time, finding a bood bike & equipping it, getting it serviced, etc......... there are many things that can go wrong, and at least cause delay.

But since we intend to do 2 separate trips into the continent, we really need to think hard, if we want to ship our own bike there (and do that twice, too - or if we´re ready to store it there for almost 1 year). Maybe we will do that for the South America-part in 2010, and for this shorter first trip, we just try to find some place to rent...

And I actually already found one (that operates in the West coast, though), and it seems you could get a VFR800 or similar for about 800 US per week + insurances. Maybe it is negotiable for longer rentals - but then again maybe not, if we plan to ride 5000 miles with it!! Not cheap, and used to be a lot cheaper for us coming from the Euro zone, but now our currency has weakened.

Good point about New York, I just thought it would be easy for us, because we got a direct flight, but surely I can think of some other point of entry for the bike, if we ship it over. And thanks a lot for your info!
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Old 3 Jan 2009
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Hi Pecha - I've just replied to your other thread about shipping, and would like to offer some help with what you've suggested above...

Firstly, and without meaning to sound condescending, I think you've under-estimated just how big the United States is (and especially if you include Canada too)... It's not a country, it's a whole continent...

The route outline you suggest (ie. the four corners) is more likely to be 10,000+ miles... and while that might be technically possible in one month*, if you want to see anything other than highways, you'll need a lot longer than a month to do the country justice...

*actually, I'd say it is impossible in just one month, particularly if you want to see Canada too...

Certainly it is a good idea to consider your South America trip as a completely separate project. There is so much to see in the United States, that if you are limited by vacation time, you'll almost certainly want to come back and do the bits you missed...

Shipping your own bike is certainly the most sensible option, but as you have surmised, an expensive one if you're only there for one month...

Buying a bike in the US can be straightforward (if you can avoid the problems Statdawg describes) - I had no problem (as UK citizen ie. tourist) buying and registering a bike in Nevada - as long as you have a US address for the paperwork, you can buy, register and insure a US bike, and typically ride out the same day... also, if you want to insure your own machine, you'll also need an address here.

Once you have the bike registered in the US - your title (ownership document) comes in the post in a couple of weeks, and you have to go to the local DMV (department of motor vehicles) office to sort out a full registration, which only takes an hour or so - I'm sure the HUBB community (and also ADVrider which is very popular in the US) could sort you out with some storage at little or no cost if you do have to do your trip in stages...

Another point in the favour of buying - bikes (especially the Japanese brands) are also considerably cheaper to buy (and insure!) in the US than in Europe...

Hope that helps?

xxx
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Old 3 Jan 2009
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You´re probably right (I already thought I may not have understood the distances fully yet - it looks so easy on the map!!)... will need to find out, if we can arrange some more time, and even if we can, still shorten the route a bit. We dont want to keep pushing it on the highway, so that we could say we´ve done it, but rather go to some places, and stay there for a while & check them out more thoroughly. I have done almost 10 thousand miles on one month sometimes in Europe, but looking back, I think it wasnt so much of a ´holiday´...

At the moment, all 3 - sending our own, buying one, or even renting one, seem at least do-able, but they all certainly seem to have their ups and downs, very different from each other, so we´ll need to do more research on them, before we decide, what to do. Thanks for your info!
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