28 May 2012

Travelling Tales - part 2

so we last left the tales with the Harley and trailer delivered to Southampton docks . 

As you can imagine the following 3 weeks were a whirlwind of final preparations, visiting and making sure we had all the necessary paperwork.  When I say paperwork, the most important would be the US motor insurance documents, which we still didn't have on 30 April, we were told a problem with the US website. I would say in hindsight incompetence, but we won't point any fingers.  Needless to say we left the UK on 2 May with the promise that it would be awaiting our arrival at the hotel in Baltimore.  I was however armed with phone numbers and email addresses just incase.

The girls took us to the airport and we managed to depart without too many tears. The flight was fairly uneventful, we had 3 seats between us which was good for leg room.  I was sick, as usual, not many times do I fly without either feeling sick or being sick.

As you've probably guessed the insurance documents weren't at the hotel when we arrived, stress levels started to ramp up.  Made a phone call on the Monday morning, but the person I needed wasn't in so left a message, booked another night in the hotel as we can't pick up the bike without insurance.  Decided to go for a wander around Baltimore and sort out a pay as you go SIM card for the phone, and umbrella as it was raining. Back to hotel, asked again at desk if anything had arrived, "no" was the reply.  Got to our room and there laying on the bed was a UPS envelope, which funnily enough had a post date of 29 April.  I'm guessing it had been there all the while - no point in making a fuss, but when we checked out on the Tuesday morning there was no charge for the extra night!!  Anyway as we finally had everything we needed Peter decided we would go and get the bike regardless of the torrential rain!!

First stop the shippers office, then USDA, then the US Customs Office - now if you've had experience of Customs Officers you know they have no sense of humour, not that we tried to joke but we couldn't even raise a smile from this guy.  We were issued with reams of forms to fill in, with examples of how to do it.  One form looked to me like his master form, I questioned this and was told "mam just fill in the form", which I duly did, handed it over to be told "you filled in my master"!! Er yes I did say.  After that he chilled out a bit and we got processed. Then back to shippers, paperwork flying back and forth, trying to beat a 3pm deadline when all the union staff went home.  Finally the bike was released, dirty but all in one piece.  We suit up and after a delay when the bike wouldn't start we make it back to the hotel  - it was still raining. 

After a long hot bath we went out for dinner - Phillips Seafood and a few beers, sleep and woke on the Tuesday to cool sunshine.

As mentioned in my post So you want some more? we headed out of Baltimore and on to York PA to the Harley factory and tour.  One thing we like about the Americans, they always stop to chat, give you their phone numbers, offer you a bed for the night! Invite you to BBQ's, suggest roads to take, places to must see - we actually lost count of the offers we had during our trip; but anyway, I got chatting to a guy who asked where we were heading and he made a suggestion of a hotel in Gettysburg which we decided to check out.  Lovely hotel established in 1797 and belongs to the National Trust of the Preservation of Building but it's position on a roundabout (they don't have many of these in the US) made it very busy, add to that the fact that half the road surface was missing, so it made for a noisy night.  When it came to eating we decided we'd like to try family type restuarants rather than chain one, so we consulted a book we picked up called Great American Motorcycle Tours by Gary McKechnie which had recommendations for places to eat as well as places to ride.  Proved a fairly useful book. We had dinner at Dunlaps Diner and Bakery - good home style food.

Gettysburg is a small town and as you can imagine most shops have a Civil War theme, we had hoped to go on a Battlefield tour, but just missed the start of one and the next would make us too late for moving on so we decided just to look round on our own after filling up at the Lincoln Diner for breakfast.  Just glad we dieted before the trip!  We walked through the National Military Cemetry and Visitors Centre, then rode through the battlefields.

We finally headed off through the scenic highways and byways of Maryland, over the Bay Bridge to the eastern shore of Maryland finally ending the day in New Castle, Delaware (206 miles), where Peter had a date at Mike's Famous Harley.

This is where I'll leave it for today......  I have a feeling its going to take alot of posts to cover 3 months


  1. I am looking forward to reading more about your adventure.

  2. I cannot even imagine how wonderful a nice cold beer would be after a long day of riding. Yum! Although you probably needed one after having to go through customs too.

  3. Hmmm....My Husband has had several 'dates' at Mike's.
    I know the hotel in Gettysburg. I just drove by it a few weeks ago when traveling through Pensylvania on my way back to Luray.
    This series is going to be so much fun to read. Can't wait for the next round!


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