I want to fly to California (San Francisco or San Diego) in January. Then buy a motorbike there and do a road trip for 2 or 3 months through Mexico, Central America and how far I can get.
I would then sell the bike off whereever I fly out from to come back to Europe.
I'm looking for advice on a few things:
1. Insurance: I would need to insure the bike I buy over there. Would I get insurance with an American company or from an insurer in Ireland? I don't have a policy in Ireland at the moment.
2. Bike registration: Registering bike in my name. Easy process?
3. I'm on a restricted license! I only passed my road test last year so I technically/legally can only drive a bike with power up to 33kW. How closely I stick to that is questionable. Of course I can do it on a not-powerful bike but bigger would be better. My guess is I wouldn't get into trouble unless if I had an accident.
4. Would you bring a small tent or is finding accomodation cheap and easy once into Mexico and farther south.
5. Buy the motorbike in SF or San Diego - much of a muchness?
6. Paperwork. Do I need anything more than my license, insurance, registration, my passport?
7. Insert other questions I should be asking here ______________ .
Thanks for reading and for any helpful advice you can offer! My other option is doing it on a bicycle.
Without a permanent address in the US I'm not sure you will have much success registering a bike there, but I don't know for sure. What I do know is that reading recent trip reports from seasoned bike travellers like Nick Sanders is that Mexico should be avoided at all costs unless you are armed or an SAS trained paratrooper. Or both.
I would love to do a trip like yours - I'd stay in hotels/hostels simply for the comfort and security but then I'm old and fussy. Read Simon Gandolfis book on touring South America as soon as you can and figure how you would approach it.
Why don't you do the reverse and buy a bike off someone finishing a trip in Ushuia and ride it to San Diego? Do you have biking friends in the US who could 'loan' the bike to you and put you on its insurance?
Your Irish license restrictions won't mean anything in South America but I'd recommend getting an International license as well.
Let us know how you get on - post pics...
To be honest with you i would avoid Mexico at all costs more espically if you travelling on a motorbike.
Have you seen the near war there having over there with the drug cartels, if not read up about it.
My thoughts exactly.
I would not drive a bike on my own in Mexico. Far to dangerous. Come to think of it I'd not go even if I went all the Hells Angels. I've been there twice in the last 3 years and my dear god the stories they tell you and I was very far away from the boarder with the USA. Then last year it spread to that area.
As said avoid.
I've been looking a trip to the states to do route 66. Plenty of great trips around the states even heading into Canada. You would easily spend months exploring and you'd have the best of modern cities followed by days of vast emptiness where you could camp etc.
I dunno not sure how many folks here would say Mexico is a safe trip.
Forget Mexico. Forget most of Central America for the same reason. Even Nick Saunders guy got kidnapped there last year...........way too dangerous.
And, seeing as you're forgetting things, there are no 33kW bikes over there, bar buying a small Jap 250 - probably a dirt bike. Is that what you want to tour on ?
Registering a bike in your name in the US is nigh-on impossible, as will US insurance be, without a US licence.
If you figure that out, let me know........
Mexico should be fine aslong as you keep your wits about you. Hundreds of thousands of people go there on holiday each year without issues..check out this guy http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=431849
How about Oz? I rode around Oz for 4 months, great country for biking, especially if you like long lonely dirt roads and camping.
The father did route66 last year. A load of them bought bikes off craigslist. They had a friend in the states and he registered all the bikes in his name and then they all insured them themselves. They did Chicago - LA - Chicago, had a great time.
I spent a two months in the 90's taking local transport and hitching across Mexico and up the length of Baja California. Make sure you know Spanish, have enough cash to bribe cops and watch out for "topes " speed bumps that appear out of nowhere even along main roads. You also will need tons of mozzie repellent, watch out for scorpions if you are camping on a beach / desert.
Most hassle seems to happen around border towns, ie Tijuana so I wouldn't hang around them for long. Once Mexicans see that you are Irish and not Gringo they will be al lot more friendly to you.
Thanks all for your advice. I'm looking at doing things slightly different. I'm looking at avoiding Mexico and Central America altogether for this trip and going only from somewhere / anywhere between Columbia and the very south down in Patagonia. I'm trying to get a better picture of what I will need for insurance (and if I'll need it).
I posted also on biker.ie today too so here are the new questions I've come up with..
I want to fly to South America in January. Then rent or buy a motorbike there and do a road trip for 2 or 3 months somewhere, anywhere between Columbia and all the bottom of Chile / Argentina.
I haven't done any big trips. I rented a Honda Innova 125 (for about 3 quid a day) in Northern Thailand and did the 'Mae Hong Song loop' (which I would highly recommend for anyone), about 1000 km total. I'm sure that South America will be a lot more challenging in some sections so your advice would be helpful if you know about it. I'm not a mega-biker (I don't know how to change a flat!! but I'll learn), but I'm fairly mechanically inclined. I'm well traveled but mostly backpacking.
I've got books Jupiters Travels and Trailblazers Adventure Motorcycling handbook.
BTW if you're interested in seeing a few pics from my Thailand motorcycle trip, I'll be happy to post them.
I'm looking for advice on a few things:
1 Where to fly into,
2 where to buy or rent bike,
3 what type of bike to buy,
4 possibly doing a tour if not expensive,
5 will it be hard to sell on bike if I buy one,
6 where to avoid and where to go,
7 recommended circuit or stretch,
8 what's the accomodation over there like (price and availibility),
9 how prepared do I need to be.
10 Would I need to bring a lot of gear with me or just pick up stuff cheap 11 over there.
12 What should I expect to pay for the bike to buy or rent.
13 Should I get an international driving license from AA or just a photocopy of my license?
14. Insurance: How would I get it, is it mandatory over there. I'm not insured in Ireland either as I've no bike right now.
15. Bike registration: Registering bike in my name. Easy process?
16. I'm on a restricted license! I only passed my road test last year so I technically/legally can only drive a bike with power up to 33kW. Would it really matter in South America?
17. Would you bring a small tent or is finding accomodation cheap and easy.
18. Paperwork. Do I need anything more than my license, insurance, registration, my passport?
19. Did you notice there is no question 11?
20. Will I meet some bikers doing the same thing or can it be quite isolated?
Thanks for reading and for any helpful advice you can offer is very much appreciated and a good encouragement to get up and going. My other option is doing it on a bicycle!!
...and just a final thought. Yes, riding around Australia might actually be a great idea. I'm going to NZ in September (if I still go for work) so I might do a trip to Oz around then.