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I've been mulling this over for a while, and I intend to spend four or five months in the US, Canada and Mexico in 2010. I'd want to arrive somewhere, buy a scooter and loads of kit, and then just set off, camping most of the time, scrounging a bed for the night when I'm in radius of friendly grumpy folk who are daft enough to entertain a Curmudgeon.

I'll need to work out where to start (could be Montreal, could be New York, whatever) and a good dealer to buy a ready-prepped and PDI'd machine from - just subject to what is then available. A second-hand one might be easiest. It'll need to be at least a 500, and a twist-and-go Piaggio of some sort.

I'll also need (when I know where I'll depart from) a good dealer who will give me sensible money for the well-used, well-serviced(!) machine. I expect it'll have a minimum of 12,000 miles on it, maybe much more. I won't expect any more than they would give for an ordinary trade-in, just an honest price.

I have friends all over the American continent, some of whom I have known for over twenty years just via the internet, and I would like to visit as many as possible in person.

So what are my 'Gotchas', are there any 'Catch-22s', and does the above sound a feasible reality?
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Jim, you'll have to swing by Toronto, we'll do a club event to welcome you here.
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Re: Possible US tour in 2010 by a Curmudgeon...
jimc wrote:
So what are my 'Gotchas', are there any 'Catch-22s',
Your English isn't very good, you're fussy about beer and a grumpy fuck. But you'll definitely have a bed and breakfast in Minnesota.

Any time....curmudgeons stick together...
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Hang on, have I been misled? I was told there were some excellent breweries in the US these days, that "Miller Lite" crap is gone, right?
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jimc wrote:
Hang on, have I been misled? I was told there were some excellent breweries in the US these days, that "Miller Lite" crap is gone, right?
Don't worry, proper British style beers abound...now about the English....
OP
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Ok, Ok, I apologise for my poor English, it has evolved a bit here, that's all. And there are two 'i's in aluminium...

But back to the gotchas, would there be any problems in a Brit buying a bike in the US? Full UK licence etc, that seems not to be a problem (unless I stay more than a year), but how does it get registered to me without a US address?
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jimc wrote:
Ok, Ok, I apologise for my poor English, it has evolved a bit here, that's all. And there are two 'i's in aluminium...

But back to the gotchas, would there be any problems in a Brit buying a bike in the US? Full UK licence etc, that seems not to be a problem (unless I stay more than a year), but how does it get registered to me without a US address?
I'm sure you'll be able to find an MV member where you land who can provide you with an address....a friend did it with buddies from AU....( poor English too....)
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Your address could be the Modern Vespa headquarters while you are on assignment to the US. Just kidding, but I would pick a place to receive any mail while you are away that long, and someone could forward it to you. I could help you out with that if you need a "care of" address while you are riding.

Oh, and you need to ride in North San Diego County while you are here.
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Jim,

Like I said before if you make to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico you have a place to stay overlooking Banderas Bay and the wonderful Mexican Riviera. Plan on arriving in Mexico after the end of October. No rain, terrific weather, mild temperature, low humidity, and lots of things to see and do and you don't need to know more than a basic knowledge of Spanish. Great food, unbelievable beer, lots of Tequila, and wonderful people all over the country and on top of that, the exchange rate is very favorable. Both the ET2 and ET4 are running now, thanks to your help, and the Yamaha Zuma are waiting for your arrival. Just let us know when you can make it. Any information about Mexico you need I can provide. Check out banderasnews.com to see what is happing around the bay. Would love to have to you spend some time here. You will love Mexico......
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I'm sure registering a bike is not an issue. I met a charming chap at Monarch Pass last May, on my travels. He was from Britain, drove a Norton back home, had lost his job, figured this was a good a time as any to tour the USA. He bought a Honda in Las Vegas (I think) and was planning to sell it back to the same dealership on his return.

I'm sure with some planning and perseverance you will prevail. The welcome mat's out for you if you make it to NC.
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Don't forget your....
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i live right down the road from a brewery. you and that grumpy louisq can drive on up to my place in a hour and a half.
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Wow, I was just tickling an idea together and now ride-outs are being arranged! Awesome!

OK, let's see if a UK MV'er can survive 5 months touring the NA continent and a bit of the SA one as well without having to rely on camping or motels!

What I do promise is that wherever I end up, I'll buy the beers. Champagne is up to you guys...
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Free room, board, beer and maintenance here in Chesapeake Virginia.
You can get a good tour of Colonial Williamsburg and the Yorktown Battlefields...(oops, that might be a sore subject). Any way lots to see and do here.

John
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I'm humbled by the welcome (potential welcome, this isn't cast in stone).

Possible plan - land as south-east as possible in May, wiggle north-ish, wiggle west-ish, wiggle south quite a long way, wiggle east. I can't do the whole lot, but I do want to do some of the best twisties. Tourist attractions are not on my list apart from geographical ones.

I'm happy to do 50 or 500 miles a day, but would really like to make this a trip with even stops, so I don't make destinations the aim, just the ride itself.
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jimc wrote:
...that "Miller Lite" crap is gone, right?
screw you, dude, that's one of my favorites Razz emoticon



(actually it is. That and Lefe)
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Perhaps you could print up a couple dozen of your personal t-shits and sell the autographed on the trip? : 8) R
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Oh yeah and let us Quitters know if you're comin' out to the West coast. Of course, if you start in NY, I won't be too upset at you if you don't. The US, of course, is far, far, far, far, far far far, far far, far far far far far, far far larger than the UK and you might not have time to go from NY to SF.
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Having done something similar in the past, but an old bomb car instead of a scooter, the only question I'd have is what about insurance?

Granted I was young and foolish and only realised the enormity of my folly years later (driving coast to coast uninsured).

I'm sure it can be arranged, maybe with your current company, but I'm guessing you've seen old episodes of CHiPs...first question is 'license and proof of insurance please'.

There are minimum liability clauses here for personal injury and injury to others, usually $15,000 coverage for yourself and $30,000 coverage
for others and minimum coverage for property damage caused by you, I can't remember the figures right now but something similar to injury.

Also remember there is no National Health.

You give yourself a boo-boo and you are going to be charged out the wahzoo, think $4-$6k for an emergency room visit, ambulance at $500 a mile.

I'm not joking here, my friend was in L.A. a couple weeks ago helping his kid move, did his back in, went to emergency and the tab was $4,700.00

Injure someone else, well, it could be extremely ugly.

Heaven forbid anything would happen, but being from a socialised medical country originally myself, it's a consequence that doesn't present itself immediately.

Not that it should dull the enjoyment of your trip, just a contingency to plan for.

edit:

you can get yourself a legitimate address at a 'post box store'.

UPS stores in the U.S. have post boxes that you can even call a 'suite', usually rented by the month.

So you could be G.O.G. 27480 Elm St., Suite 16, Wellville N.J. (the U.P.S. store) and that is recognised as a legitimate mailing address for all purposes.
⚠️ Last edited by marc on UTC; edited 1 time
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Heard somewhere is can be done in ten days on a scooter. Sounds fishy to me.

Wayne B
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marc wrote:
Having done something similar in the past, but an old bomb car instead of a scooter, the only question I'd have is what about insurance?

Granted I was young and foolish and only realised the enormity of my folly years later (driving coast to coast uninsured).

I'm sure it can be arranged, maybe with your current company, but I'm guessing you've seen old episodes of CHiPs...first question is 'license and proof of insurance please'.

There are minimum liability clauses here for personal injury and injury to others, usually $15,000 coverage for yourself and $30,000 coverage
for others and minimum coverage for property damage caused by you, I can't remember the figures right now but something similar to injury.

Also remember there is no National Health.

You give yourself a boo-boo and you are going to be charged out the wahzoo, think $4-$6k for an emergency room visit, ambulance at $500 a mile.

I'm not joking here, my friend was in L.A. a couple weeks ago helping his kid move, did his back in, went to emergency and the tab was $4,700.00

Injure someone else, well, it could be extremely ugly.

Heaven forbid anything would happen, but being from a socialised medical country originally myself, it's a consequence that doesn't present itself immediately.

Not that it should dull the enjoyment of your trip, just a contingency to plan for.
Easily over come with major medical ins with a $1000 or $2000 deductible.

Wayne B
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If I remember you owe me a beer and I would be happy to return the favor if you are in the area Jim. You would also be welcome to stay for a night or three when you are in southern California. The Mrs. and I would make you feel very welcome. Irvine
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Jim-

Since, in terms of motor vehicle laws, the US is like 50 different countries. Thus you have two concerns in picking a state in which to buy the scoot: 1. the ability to buy and register the vehicle from a temporary US address with UK identification and 2. The state laws pertaining to operating a vehicle temporarily with a UK license. Pick a state that meets your needs in both of these categories. As long as you are kosher in the state where you claim an address and where the scoot is registered (should be the same), you are kosher in all 50 states. All states accept the license/registration laws of another state for vehicles "passing through". Thus, you should buy and register the scoot in a state that meets your circumstances. Washington state (WA), for example, allows you to use your UK license for up to one year "if you are visiting Washington", yet requires holders of US licenses to get a WA license within 30 days of establishing a residence (which includes registering a vehicle) there.

The above said, I return to the "50 countries" comment. Law enforcement is an even more colorful patchwork with municipal, county and state jurisdictions handling enforcement. Don't expect every patrol officer to be well versed with the laws of the state in which you register the scoot. Hell, don't expect some to be well versed with how their own state deals with out of country visitors. Wouldn't hurt to keep a copy of the relevant info with you. Your registration will show a US address and your license will be UK, which, in many locations, is not an everyday occurrence.

As a military person, my home state did not require me to renew my driver license as long as I was on active duty. Can't begin to count the number of times I was hassled in other states for driving with an "expired license", no less a registration in my home state with an address on the registration of a different state. Finally, in response to requests for help from beleaguered service members, the state sent us stickers to apply to the back of our license to state the applicable law. I still had a cop or two tell me that I should renew my license, for reasons of their own fabrication!

Vehicle insurance is a no brainer, as long as your registration/UK license results in a valid situation in the state of registration. You will have to let the insurance company know if and when you plan cross the border to Mexico and/or Canada.

As to health care, understand that the very first diagnostic procedure upon seeking medical care in the US is a wallet biopsy. You can add medical coverage for vehicle accident injury to the vehicle insurance in many states, and the state of vehicle registration sets the laws covering your insurance availability. Since the US has no National Health Care, nor reciprocity with UK NHC, a "traveler's medical policy" is a good buy. The easier it is for the health care provider to verify the exact details of your coverage, the better off you are. Thus, find a company with a US phone number and working hours, as your coverage will be verified that way regardless of any papers you carry. You will be expected to pay any amount not covered by insurance on the spot, and most facilities will want cash or a credit card up front, if you cannot prove you are indigent.

If you come to the US prepared, and set yourself up properly, the only difficulties you could encounter will be easily overcome with the appropriate documents in hand.

Can't speak for Canada and Mexico.

Sounds like a fun trip.

Al
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Licensing, registration, and insurance are much easier to get here in the US than they are on your side of the pond. Though, insurance will be the most difficult to negotiate. Your license should be fine for all states, but you will likely have to pay for the whole year's registration on the bike. If you speak with an insurance agent in the state where you plan to buy the bike, he or she could go over your short-term insurance options.

Insurance requirements are different from state to state, some require it and some don't. Of course, it's wise to have it whether you're required to or not.

Something to remember is that our motorcycle insurance, as I understand it, only covers the other party WRT bodily injury, not your injuries. The insurance agent should be able to fill you in as to the details. Again, this will vary from state to state and company to company.

Talk to your current insurance carrier. They may have partnerships with a company here that can issue coverage as a rider to your current policy, or may at least be able to advise you as to your options.
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Jim

Since you wish to buy the scoot upon arrival and sell it at departure, I would add one blinding flash of the obvious and one not so obvious:

1. The only hassle-free buy/sell would be to do the two transactions in the same country. Canada/Canada or USA/USA. BTW, it might be a piece of cake for a UK resident to buy and operate your scoot under Canadian law, and the US would recognize that when you cross the border.

2. The only buy/sell speed bump in the US is if you buy outside of California and try to sell in California. Need to be sure the scooter is clearly CARB (Calif Air Resources Board) approved. There are ways for a Calif person to get around this, but it does create a hiccup for an easy sale for you.

As to the term of your insurance, 6 month periods are not uncommon in many states. Again, insurance laws for buying coverage vary state by state, but coverage will cross state lines.

You can always call a dealer in your state of intended entry and discuss buying options and get insurance referrals. A full service dealer will handle the title and registration paperwork for you. You will want to know how long that takes. Most states provide some sort of temporary paperwork right off the bat. Then call the Motor Vehicle Bureau for that state and confirm licensing and registration issues. Some states have gotten a bit touchy about registering vehicles to "fureners" in the paranoia since 9/11. The only way to find out is to check state web sites and call ahead. (SKYPE is handy)

Al
⚠️ Last edited by Aviator47 on UTC; edited 1 time
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UTC quote
Not a drinker of alcoholic type beverages, but if you happen to be coming through Springfield Illinois you can look me up. We don't have much here but corn fields, oh and the new Abraham Lincoln Library which is really nice, why heck, I'll even pay your way to get in.
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Not so fast now. I believe that the Department of Homeland Security are very particular who they let in the US these days!

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TheO.Z. wrote:
screw you, dude, that's one of my favorites Razz emoticon
that and wonderful coors light. it's the "cats ass"

BTW! I read the phrase "cats ass" in Scoot magazine a few weeks after the cannonball - article was written by someone from Pennsylvania. ha.

I spoke with Jim T on the phone this afternoon - doing well, recovering - has the ruckas back together and riding around town.
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Aviator47 wrote:
Jim


1. The only hassle-free buy/sell would be to do the two transactions in the same country. Canada/Canada or USA/USA.


Al
Or CA/CA... but he said he was touring the USA, is CA a part? Razz emoticon
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Portland has the best damn beer anywhere
Jim,

You'd have to include Portland on your trip and your bed awaits at my place. As a curmudgeon in training, I'd love to learn all the tips I can about being a proper curmudgeon.

Portland is very well known for its excellent microbreweries so we got that one covered.

On the language, you will get a blank stare around here if you call the pet warmer a boot.

As for registering and buying a scoot, I can't speak for other states, but I know that Oregon and California wouldn't have an issue with you buying a scoot here. You do need a mailing address in the state in which you register. Not sure what the insurance companies would think of the UK license (<==please note this is the correct spelling).

-Arjen
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Wow, and thanks guys, that's given me tons of stuff to research! One thing I HATE WITH A PASSION (no apologies for shouting) is paperwork, so anything to minimise that will be used to good effect.

Small check list for me:
Investigate buying, licensing(!) and insuring in Canada - I'm assuming Quebec won't need a French driving licence...
Investigate an agreed sell-back pricing scheme, depending on mileage and assuming good condition.
Investigate opening a US or Canadian bank account, saves loads of money in 'commision' and might be able at some time to take advantage of currency rates.


Oh, license is the verb, licence is the noun.
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I thought this was about Gabriel getting back with Genesis..oh well.
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That sounds like one awesome trip. If you happen to go through Colorado, you're welcome at our place. There's definately plenty of fun twisties around here.

You MUST take a good camera with you!! We'll all want pictures, I'm sure!
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Like has been state, the state you get your transport in matters greatly.

Room-board-beer available in the Minneapolis/St Paul area if your by this way.
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Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
UTC quote
You mad folk very kind souls who have offered a place for a weary head are all on my list when it comes to planning itinerary - but that's for some time in the future. I'm sounding out the practicalities right now, but all these offers make me realise I might manage what I did when I was 17 (in 1969) - to travel for three months around the US, Canada and Mexico without spending money on commercial accommodation for more than two nights in total! Nearly all by Greyhound bus, USD99 for 99 days.

It also means I might be able to scrap the need for camping gear to be purchased and carried, a huge plus.

I've scrapped the Canadian bank idea, as most of the trip will be in the US, a US bank account sounds the ticket. Have to set it up in person I suspect when I get there.
@bobovespa avatar
UTC

Molto Verboso
21 75th Anniv. Primavera, 10 GTS Super 300, 64 Allstate, 61 VNB, 61 GL, 61 Lammy LI 125 Mahi Shriner, 57 Lammy LD125
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1411
Location: Baltimore-Washington-Asbury Park at the Jersey Shore
 
Molto Verboso
@bobovespa avatar
21 75th Anniv. Primavera, 10 GTS Super 300, 64 Allstate, 61 VNB, 61 GL, 61 Lammy LI 125 Mahi Shriner, 57 Lammy LD125
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1411
Location: Baltimore-Washington-Asbury Park at the Jersey Shore
UTC quote
Oregon is a great place to buy the scooter, and Portland is a great place to visit from June through September. There's no sales tax and it's cheap to register the scooter. I bought and registered my (Joel's) Cannonball GTV there. State law explicitly allows non-residents to register a vehicle (excepting motor homes!) by using a local address. I don't know about Oregon insurance though; I put it on my home state's policy.
OP
@jimc avatar
UTC

Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: UTC
Posts: 43618
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
 
Moderaptor
@jimc avatar
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: UTC
Posts: 43618
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
UTC quote
Thanks for the tip - but for budget reasons will be starting from the East coast, do the 'rounds', and then leave again to come back via Barbados to the UK. So a bike purchase/re-sell and all documentation has to be East-coast.
@cincinnati_john avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
'07 GTS-250ie - sold and gone
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2023
Location: the Queen City of the West, aka Porkopolis
 
Ossessionato
@cincinnati_john avatar
'07 GTS-250ie - sold and gone
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2023
Location: the Queen City of the West, aka Porkopolis
UTC quote
You could use a copy of this book:
Get a free National Geographic Scenic Highways Guide
If your travels bring you through Cincinnati, you'll have a bed and garage waiting.
But do see Oregon, my home-away-from-home; the Columbia River Gorge is a beautiful ride.
@marc avatar
UTC

Molto Verboso
06 GTS250. 00 Yamaha Vino airsal 70cc. 01 ET4 (wrecked). 67 Lambretta Vega125. 48 Beam Doodlebug Super. 1915 Board Track replica 80cc
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1352
Location: Monterey Ca.
 
Molto Verboso
@marc avatar
06 GTS250. 00 Yamaha Vino airsal 70cc. 01 ET4 (wrecked). 67 Lambretta Vega125. 48 Beam Doodlebug Super. 1915 Board Track replica 80cc
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1352
Location: Monterey Ca.
UTC quote
jimc wrote:
I've scrapped the Canadian bank idea, as most of the trip will be in the US, a US bank account sounds the ticket. Have to set it up in person I suspect when I get there.
U.S. banks are a whole nother bailywick.

I doubt very much if you can open one without a social security number (I could be wrong, how many here in the U.S. have opened a bank account without a ssn?).

Anyway, they are thieving grasping cheats at best who trust no-one and you would be better off conducting business through your own bank via a cash card with international connectivity like 'Plus' or 'Pulse'.
@andrea avatar
UTC

Sponsor
DL200, TV2, Vega, Lui, GTS
Joined: UTC
Posts: 750
Location: Orange, NJ
 
Sponsor
@andrea avatar
DL200, TV2, Vega, Lui, GTS
Joined: UTC
Posts: 750
Location: Orange, NJ
UTC quote
One big gotcha Jim - the UK/USA visa waiver scheme only allows you to be in the US for 90 days.

There may be a way of getting a B-2 (the visa number for those from countries that aren't part of a waiver scheme) for an extended period, but this would involve making an app to the US embassy in advance and providing financial documentation etc.

I'm honestly not sure if you can even get an extended tourist visa. The b-2 thing was supposition on my part. Best check with the US embassy. http://www.usembassy.org.uk/rctour.html

Andrea
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