Once the boat docks I get a notification of the duty and VAT to be paid. I then arrange to pick the bike up from Felixstowe docks… a very easy procedure I have to say. A train from Liverpool Street straight to Felixstowe then a taxi down to the warehouse. Fill in some release paperwork and ride away.. simples.
I had a very pleasant if somewhat cold ride home stopping to MOT the bike on the way, (I found out that I can ride it on the American plate as long as it is to/from an MOT test). Once home I put the bike in the garage to await the new UK licence number, which I have to send off for. After about a week I receive a letter rejecting the application.. what!! Oh I need a customs clearance document to prove I have paid the import duty and VAT… hurumph! I call HMRC and the chap is very helpful, he checks the records and can see everything has been paid so he will email the confirmation to me. I resend the application form and a week later I receive the UK licence number, the official end of the whole experience.
Now for the final analysis… after all my trips I like to review the statistics so here we go.
Countries and States Visited –
Washington DC x 3
Viginia x 2
Maryland x 2
New York x 2
Texas x 2
Arizona x 2
Total distance ridden – start 9884 end 19794 a total of 9,910 miles
Flights, travel costs, etc. – £2,500
Importation costs – The shipping costs were relatively cheap at around £800. Thanks to a good valuation from Bayside HD the import duties were around £2000 including VAT so in the end it was really well worth doing.
Other costs e.g. Petrol, Accommodation etc not recorded, (too many). I did budget at around $100 a day but with the change in exchange rates due to Brexit I probably spent more like $150 a day.
Best rides – All of it really. Ok there were some bits that were less enjoyable than others but at the end of the day it was all good. If I had to pick one then I think the ride through Texas on the way to The Alamo, despite the butterfly-cide.
Worst rides – Texas Panhandle cos it was soooo windy.
Best HD Dealerships – Bayside, Portsmouth Virginia; Battlefield Gettysburg PA; Tonawanda NY; Cowboy San Antonio Texas; Space Coast Palm Bay FL.
Worst HD Dealerships – again nothing stands out as a smack you in the face awful experience so really all good.
Best Accommodation – Bayside Motel, Conch Key, Florida; All the places booked via AirBnB except…
Worst Accommodation – without a doubt the no anal sex on the bed in Washington DC booked via AirBnB, the only place I left in the middle of the night to go to another hotel. The second worst was the bedbugs in the Ponderosa Motel, Moriarty NM. The Siesta Motel in North Redington Beach, Florida was the worst in terms of the staff.
Favourite places – Niagara Falls; Alberquerque; Phoenix; Palm Springs; Conch Key; Shamrock; Washington DC; Tombstone AZ
Best places visited – Washington DC; Niagara Falls; Route 66 Drive In Movie, Calder; Boulder Dam; Hollywood; Venice Beach; Tallasin West; Tombstone; The Alamo; Florida Keys; Times Square, New York.
Least favourite places – it’s really weird but I can’t think of one place that I really didn’t like… ok Florida was quite wet and humid but in hindsight it was all very, very good. I think the people really made it special, everyone was just so great.
What I would do again – The whole trip was fantastic… I would do it all again but without losing stuff etc. Definitely would revisit the latter part of Route 66, Palm Springs, Florida Keys and would like to do the full Pacific Highway, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Tail of the Dragon. I would still like to visit the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore and other tourist hotspots that I was unable to get to this time.
What I wouldn’t do again – Lose stuff from the bike…grrrr.
What to remember for the next trip – this one is easy…. don’t lose stuff!! Make sure everything is tied on, strapped down, shut, locked and put away…. sigh!
Last, but in no way least – I had the most fantastic time, even though my partner and sister say I am a half glass empty kind of person. I do try not to be negative, but I guess I don’t try hard enough. I do wonder why I seem to have so many mishaps, but all in all the bright side is the bike and I are all in one piece so, ultimately a successful and positive trip.
So, if you are planning a grande voyage then ride safe, have fun and above all tie everything down!!
P.S. I got a letter from the court in San Bernadino for the red light violation… a fine of $480 😱😱😱😱 needless to say I haven’t paid it, so guess I won’t be going back to California any time soon.