Bike trip round the USA 2013 Motorcycling

Preparations for my bike trip to the USA

Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic

This has been a little wish of mine for ages and now that I (seem to) have the money and the time I have decided to go for it. My mental plans started about a year ago when I realised I really needed to pass my motorcycle test n the UK. Not a really silly thought. I met a guy in the lake district, when I was doing my 3-peak challenge, who told me that you could, for an extra fee, just drive in the States on a car driving licence.
However I asked the rental people in the US who told me that many states are now closing this supposed loophole and that you will have to have a valid motorcycle licence for the type of bike you will be riding.

Last year I started the process to get my licence and completed the CBT and then did my theory exam, Module 1 and Module 2 tests.

Me at Motorcycle Training WalesOK, at stage 2 now and booked by ticket to Chicago through Virgin. I was advised to set off from Denver, Colorado by the author of a very useful biking blog, Guy Boutin. However the flight prices to Colorado seem to be very high and often involve an approximate 33-35 hour journey (not always) and with 1-2 stops and are quite expensive. BA has even a direct flight to Denver but would cost me about £760!! No way!! I found a return ticket by Virgin Atlantic direct to Chicago, Illinois from Heathrow for £520 – bargain! By the way, Virgin Atlantic is by now means a budget airline and the quality of service is very good as I found out when I used them for my skydiving trip to Florida.

I have now also booked my motorcycle with Eaglerider and I hope to get the Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic, similar to the bike on the photo. The second choice is the much larger (and heavier) Electra Glide that does have much more default luggage space but I would prefer something a little lighter.

Haven’t really planed a trip like this before so there will be a lot to learn, I have now also received some ultralight camping gear. Even though I will travel with a bike you shouldn’t overload it as it will elevate the centre of gravity and make the bike more unstable and difficult to manoeuvre. Basically get the lightest gear you can afford and something that will be easy to assemble. I found the Terra Nova tens pretty good, there are two quite light ones, the more expensive 1.25kg Laser Competition 2 ad the cheaper 1.79kg Zephyros 2. The price difference was £240 for the basically same design and slight weight difference.

Am am still trying to get my head around travel insurance but everything including the US is going to be more expensive as there is no social health care to speak of.


A Message from John Cleese to the Citizens of the US

I saw this somewhere on the internet and found it hilarious. I apologise to any US citizen if he/she is offended but this is really good!

To The citizens of the United States of America:

In light of your failure to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas , which she does not fancy).

Your new prime minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.

A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

You should look up “revocation” in the Oxford English Dictionary.

  1. Then look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.
  2. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘favour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix -ize will be replaced by the suffix -ise.
    Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up ‘vocabulary’).
  3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as “like” and “you know” is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell- checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter ‘u’ and the elimination of -ize. You will relearn your original national anthem, God Save The Queen.
  4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
  5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not adult enough to be independent.Guns should only be handled by adults. If you’re not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you’re not grown up enough to handle a gun.
  6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
  7. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.
  8. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
  9. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline)-roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.
  10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
  11. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager.South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting Nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of British Commonwealth – see what it did for them.
  12. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters.Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.
  13. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies). Don’t try Rugby – the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us. No more Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, Cereal Bowl or Super Bowl. From now on….. get used to the World Cup.
  14. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
  15. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.
  16. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
  17. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; strawberries in season.

God save the Queen.

Zemanta Pixie

Slovenia, November 2007

Although this time I flew instead of drove to Lubljana it still seemed like it took ages, well in fact from the minute I set of from Johnston it was 8.45 AM and it was 8,45 PM when I arrived in Ljubljana, well Gradišče, to be more precise. So it took 12 hours to get here.
There were quite a few traffic jams to deal with and the morning rush hour in Haverfordwest added at least half hour to my journey. The other big delay was on the M25 (duhh).
Then the plane was delayed as there was something wrong with one of the fron wheels and it had to be replaced.
The weather here is a bit colder than in Pembrokeshire and not snowy as it was predicted. Weather aside I realy look forward to meet some of my friends here, especially those I didn’t get to see the last time I was here, in September.