North America, First and Second.

The black art of moving from A to B on foreign soil
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OnHellas
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North America, First and Second.

Post by OnHellas » Tue May 07, 2019 4:36 am

Part three of our ongoing trip is North America.
The second time here on a bike for me, the second time ever actually. Last time I rode in 22 different states. This time I’ll try to add a few more.
For Sarah it’s the first time here on a bike, her second visit to the states though.

Our plan is to enjoy ourselves obviously, see some amazing stuff, visit some national parks and go North to Alaska.

We can stay for up to 6 months on our VISAs so a fair few miles should/could be covered, all being well.

After that.......?

Adventure Bike Rider New Issue Out Now
OnHellas
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Re: North America, First and Second.

Post by OnHellas » Tue May 07, 2019 5:07 am

GT Logistics in Auckland, New Zealand, did a great job getting our bikes to Houston Texas.
They arranged the preparation of the bikes for air travel, totally purged of fuel, batteries isolated etc. They strapped both the bikes back in to the wooden crates that they had looked after since our arrival in NZ from Australia and sorted everything else that needs doing with the airline.
The bikes flew three days before us and actually took 2 flights. Auckland to San Francisco and then on to Houston.
Sarah’s bike had an extra 24 hours rest in San Fran as there wasn’t room for it on the Houston flight.
No worries though as both of our trusty steeds were back together by the time we boarded our 13 hour 45 minute flight on April the 30th. We took off at 8pm (half an hour delay) flew for 13 hours and 15 minutes therefore landing on time in Houston at 4.15pm local time......on the 30th of April.
We didn’t feel any younger......

Our one bag of checked luggage was on the carousel by the time we had queued for immigration checks.
Have you got an on going flight, are you here to work, what are you going to do.
All answered honestly but still a bit of a nervous time.

A quick ride in a shuttle bus and we were at what was probably the first of many motels.

The next morning, fuzzy headed and fairly early it was UBER time. A $10 ride to the airline cargo area.
Our paperwork was present, correct and collected and it was back in with Mr UBER for another $10 to the Homeland Security office to get our Temporary Import Permits sorted......looking good.....but the rather stern but friendly Officer pointed out that we were at the wrong office....wait there....he came back with an address and told us it was 10 minutes away...by car.
So, UBER, simple....if you’ve got internet connection. A 10 minute walk saw us back at the motel we’d checked out of earlier reconnecting to their WiFi.
UBER took us for another $15 ride. 9th floor, correct office. Smiley happy chappy listened to our request and wandered off saying no problem.
We then heard him laughing with colleagues on reading my surname. Another officer in the office had the same name, much merriment and banter followed. Far different from my experience a few years ago in the New York Homeland Security offices at JFK airport!
No more than 10 minutes later we were back in the lift pressing the ground floor button. Job done, the first Wow! of stage 3.
UBER once again, another $10 or so and we were back at United Airlines Cargo.
The paperwork tallied up, we paid the Airport fees of $60 per bike and were reunited with our crates.
Tools to open them anybody???
Our first new American friend was a chap from El Salvador with a claw hammer. The supervisor wasn’t happy with our friend but we kept our heads down and carried on opening the wooden boxes. We didn’t make to much mess, and the money that got stuck to the handle of the hammer when I returned it made the leaving of the broken crates OK.
Outside in the shade I put the screens back on and connected the batteries. My bike turned over willingly but was devoid of fuel. Sarah’s bike however fired up. Was there enough petrol to ride the 2.1 miles to the Gas Station......as I pulled out of the car park the answer was clear. No!
Plan B then.....UBER again. The driver was a bit of a wally to be honest, he couldn’t find where we were despite his satnav, and even bringing me back again once I had the fuel was painful.....Still, another $12 to UBER and we had fuel in the tanks. The bikes were running, it was time to go.
The whole thing had taken about 5 hours from start to finish. We’d spent a bit but hadn’t used an agent. That probably saved us a few hundred bucks per bike.
It was fairly warm by now and the humidity was up there a bit too. Back to the Gas station to top the bikes up, and we were away.

Two happy people, two happy bikes.
Last edited by OnHellas on Tue May 07, 2019 5:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

OnHellas
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Re: North America, First and Second.

Post by OnHellas » Tue May 07, 2019 5:14 am

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Our second flight with Air New Zealand. Very nice they are too.

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Re: North America, First and Second.

Post by Hoot » Tue May 07, 2019 1:04 pm

OnHellas wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:07 am
GT Logistics in Auckland, New Zealand, did a great job getting our bikes to Houston Texas.
They arranged the preparation of the bikes for air travel, totally purged of fuel, batteries isolated etc. They strapped both the bikes back in to the wooden crates that they had looked after since our arrival in NZ from Australia and sorted everything else that needs doing with the airline.
The bikes flew three days before us and actually took 2 flights. Auckland to San Francisco and then on to Houston.
Sarah’s bike had an extra 24 hours rest in San Fran as there wasn’t room for it on the Houston flight.
No worries though as both of our trusty steeds were back together by the time we boarded our 13 hour 45 minute flight on April the 30th. We took off at 8pm (half an hour delay) flew for 13 hours and 15 minutes therefore landing on time in Houston at 4.15pm local time......on the 30th of April.
We didn’t feel any younger......

Our one bag of checked luggage was on the carousel by the time we had queued for immigration checks.
Have you got an on going flight, are you here to work, what are you going to do.
All answered honestly but still a bit of a nervous time.

A quick ride in a shuttle bus and we were at what was probably the first of many motels.

The next morning, fuzzy headed and fairly early it was UBER time. A $10 ride to the airline cargo area.
Our paperwork was present, correct and collected and it was back in with Mr UBER for another $10 to the Homeland Security office to get our Temporary Import Permits sorted......looking good.....but the rather stern but friendly Officer pointed out that we were at the wrong office....wait there....he came back with an address and told us it was 10 minutes away...by car.
So, UBER, simple....if you’ve got internet connection. A 10 minute walk saw us back at the motel we’d checked out of earlier reconnecting to their WiFi.
UBER took us for another $15 ride. 9th floor, correct office. Smiley happy chappy listened to our request and wandered off saying no problem.
We then heard him laughing with colleagues on reading my surname. Another officer in the office had the same name, much merriment and banter followed. Far different from my experience a few years ago in the New York Homeland Security offices at JFK airport!
No more than 10 minutes later we were back in the lift pressing the ground floor button. Job done, the first Wow! of stage 3.
UBER once again, another $10 or so and we were back at United Airlines Cargo.
The paperwork tallied up, we paid the Airport fees of $60 per bike and were reunited with our crates.
Tools to open them anybody???
Our first new American friend was a chap from El Salvador with a claw hammer. The supervisor wasn’t happy with our friend but we kept our heads down and carried on opening the wooden boxes. We didn’t make to much mess, and the money that got stuck to the handle of the hammer when I returned it made the leaving of the broken crates OK.
Outside in the shade I put the screens back on and connected the batteries. My bike turned over willingly but was devoid of fuel. Sarah’s bike however fired up. Was there enough petrol to ride the 2.1 miles to the Gas Station......as I pulled out of the car park the answer was clear. No!
Plan B then.....UBER again. The driver was a bit of a wally to be honest, he couldn’t find where we were despite his satnav, and even bringing me back again once I had the fuel was painful.....Still, another $12 to UBER and we had fuel in the tanks. The bikes were running, it was time to go.
The whole thing had taken about 5 hours from start to finish. We’d spent a bit but hadn’t used an agent. That probably saved us a few hundred bucks per bike.
It was fairly warm by now and the humidity was up there a bit too. Back to the Gas station to top the bikes up, and we were away.

Two happy people, two happy bikes.
I believe everything on this excellent report except the part where you state " the money that got stuck to the handle of the hammer when I returned it made the leaving of the broken crates OK.". I've known you for years and you've never given money away, well not unless its in exchange for beer and mini cheddars. :)

OnHellas
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Re: North America, First and Second.

Post by OnHellas » Tue May 07, 2019 10:44 pm

Fuelled up and a selection of motels in our Booking.com saved list we headed east.
It was good to be back on our bikes and underway. Although the process of collecting them was fairly painless we were both tired and aware that we didn’t need to be riding far. We needed to be riding on the right hand side of the road too!!

After about an hour we’d covered 34 miles and stopped at a Popeyes Chicken fast food place for a stop and a drink.
We ended up eating some chicken as well, at least Popeyes is ticked off of the list and there’s no need to go back to one, ever!

There was no need to push on so we checked in to the motel on our saved list. Liberty would be home for the night.
Log like sleep was the order of the night.
Perfect.

The next morning I carried out oil level checks and also replaced the Kiwi air that had escaped from our tyres (should that be tires no we’re in the US?).
Luckily the remaining Kiwi air was happy to be mixed with Texan air. Multiculturalism right there!
I did check them before leaving the airport but they were only down a little bit so went for the ‘it’ll be fine’ approach.

From Liberty we kept on easy and in to the state of Louisiana. Along the Gulf of Mexico. Past oil terminals dirty industrial areas in the area of Port Arthur.
Our route took us across Bayous and through very green open areas.
We started a new list while riding along. New types of roadkill spotted.
Today we added Turtle and Alligator. A dead ALLIGATOR!!!!!!

Where road didn’t meet road by way of a bridge we took a short ferry ride across the river. There we hundreds of Pelicans.
In the small town of Cameron we stopped for lunch. We found out what a Poboy is.
A bread roll with stuff in it. Shrimp and chilli and mayo in ours making a “Kickin’ Shrimp Poboy”. Nice though.

The humidity and temperature was a bit higher than we’d been used to if late so our hydration packs were drained by the end of the day, which was in Abbeville.
A trip to a supermarket was thrilling, nit.

Our impressions of logs were once again perfect during the night.

Two happy people, two happy bikes.

OnHellas
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Re: North America, First and Second.

Post by OnHellas » Tue May 07, 2019 10:45 pm

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OnHellas
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Re: North America, First and Second.

Post by OnHellas » Wed May 08, 2019 11:10 pm

Natchez was our next destination. I looked on the web for information on a paddle steamer and found Natchez. Unfortunately I didn’t pay as much attention to the information that I found as I should’ve. Natchez is also the name of a boat based in New Orleans.....but we headed for Natchez, the town.
The route there was fantastic. Single carriageway roads, a fair bit of it alongside the Mississippi River. We didn’t see much of the river though due to the Levies that help stop flood water.
In the small village of Palmetto we stopped for a drink and a snack at the only store. A store that hasn’t changed much in its 80 year, single family history.
What a welcome we got. The people were so friendly and pleased that we had stopped. They seemed to know everyone else that stopped to buy supplies.
Buddens in Palmetto. If you’re passing by....

Once we were in Natchez and booked in to our accommodation we were approached by a chap who’d spotted our bikes and as a fellow rider wanted a chat.
Long conversation short, he gave us two free tickets for a concert the following evening. Free is always a good price in my book and apparently Asleep At The Wheel are a very well known Grammy award winning group.
We’ve heard of them now, very good they were too. Thanks to Paul and his mate for the tickets.

We had a day off in Natchez and spent a few hours wandering around looking at the large houses and buildings. Most of the town was built on cotton money in the 1800’s.
The Mississippi River is a proper river, unfortunately the 1970’s pop song stuck in my head for a few days.

Two happy people, two happy bikes.

OnHellas
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Re: North America, First and Second.

Post by OnHellas » Wed May 08, 2019 11:11 pm

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OnHellas
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Re: North America, First and Second.

Post by OnHellas » Wed May 08, 2019 11:23 pm

We had thought of going to Graceland and see where Elvis used to live. But as we have a date with some fast cars this coming Saturday the mileage was just a bit to high so we came up with a new plan.
We found an 1860’s Antebellum (pre civil war) Plantation House that operates as a B&B. The once 2000 acres is now just 6 and nit many farmers in the area grow cotton anymore but the house has been carefully renovated and is still furnished and decorated as it would have been, all be it with showers, electricity throughout and no staff.
We got a tour as part of our stay.

The owner asked where we were headed and told us about ‘The Pig Trail’ which goes north towards Missouri. So after a couple of nights in Hot Springs we find ourselves in Ozark, at the beyond The Pig Trail.
It seems as though luck has kept us away from the worst of the weather too, tornado warnings are in place just 250 miles south of us back in Louisiana.

Hot Springs needs no explanation for how it got its name. The buildings in bath house row where amazing, the views from the lookout tower at the top of the hill stunning, although the walk up there made my shirt a bit damp. No, it didn’t rain!
There was a really good looking pancake place near where we were staying, but it was closing just as we got there. Never mind, hot dogs and ice cream had to do.

Two happy people, two happy bikes.

OnHellas
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Re: North America, First and Second.

Post by OnHellas » Wed May 08, 2019 11:23 pm

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