By Land, Sea, and Air - USA to Germany via Iceland

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by TravisGill, May 23, 2017.

  1. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

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    Map of our plan.

    We will be moving from San Diego, CA to Geilenkirchen, Germany this summer and plan to do so on our pair of G650GS motorcycles. Here is the rough plan:
    • Ride motorcycles from San Diego, California to Portland, Maine
    • Drop off motorcycles at warehouse 8 days prior to boarding
    • Fly back to San Diego for work
    • Motos will be shipped via EIMSKIP cargo vessel from Portland, Maine to Reykjavik, Iceland - 12 day transit
    • Fly from San Diego to Iceland to pick up bikes
    • Ride Iceland for 12 days
    • Board Smyril Lines ferry/cruise ship from Iceland to Faroe Islands
    • Ride Faroe Islands for 7 days
    • Board Smyil Lines ferry/cruise ship from Faroe Islands to Denmark
    • Ride motos from Denmark to Germany
    It's an adventurous plan for a couple that has only been to Baja, Mexico with the motorcycles. We've got a lot of questions. Does anyone have any advice or possible "lessons learned" regarding documentation or preparing motorcycles for packing via cargo ship or ferry? Has anyone used EIMSKIP or Smyril Lines that can offer any advice?

    Thanks in advance,
    Travis
    #1
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  2. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Sounds like fun! Is there no more a ferry connection between Iceland & Norway? If there is, then ditch Faroe Islands and go Norway. Or in any case, try to visit Norway on 2 wheels, while you're in Europe, it is like from a fairytale (..although it CAN rain A LOT and it IS expensive - it is the only country in Europe that is so beautiful I'm willing to tolerate both!!)
    #2
  3. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

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    Both Iceland and Norway are VERY expensive but so worth it. Enjoy your Epic journey.
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  4. Maddin

    Maddin Been here awhile

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    Faroer Island for 7 days?. These Islands are VERY small. Get to Norway with that ferry, or take a ferry which goes to Denmark right away.
    2 weeks on Iceland are nice (good for one round on the ring road, but the ferry leaves on the East side of Iceland). If you want to to to the interior (offroad), then 3 weeks are better.
    Cargo by sea can be delayed sometimes. Not that you are in Iceland and your bike are not there.
    #4
  5. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

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    Based on my research, Smyil Lines seems to be the only ferry that runs to the Faroe Islands. The route from Iceland has a stop-over at the Faroe Islands for one night. If you want to stay longer the next ferry heading to Denmark will be 7 days. I don't see an option for a ferry to Norway. Am I missing something?

    As far as the EIMSKIP cargo vessel; we will fly into Reykjavik a week after the boat is scheduled to offload the bikes.
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  6. Maddin

    Maddin Been here awhile

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    Yes Smyril Lines is the only ferry and it seems the don't go to Norway anymore. They had one route where they would go to Faroer Island, then Norway, then back to Faroer island and then to Denmark. You could stay ~3 days ont heFaroer and when the ferry did came back from Norway you could go for Denmark. Looks like this is no more.
    I'm not shure about 1 day stop on the Faroer. When we took the ferry to Iceland it was only an 1-2h stop. Just unloading and loading. The ferry did take about 2 1/2 days. Looks like its the same duration today.

    In your first post you did mention riding the Faroer Island 7 days long. This is why I said the Faroers are reltively small island. You can stay 7 days on these island, but riding might not be the main activity then.

    Make shure that your bikes will leave with that vessel. There can be delays, but more important, shippers might want to postpone the shipment to collect more. You would not be the first one at your destination with no bike. My shipment from Los Angeles to Germany was 3 month delayed in this way. I didn't care, because I had finished my journey. I do have no experience with EIMSKIP.
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  7. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

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    Wow! Thanks for the great reply and all the information! I sure hope that we don't experience a delay of more than a week. :(
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  8. Andsetinn

    Andsetinn Adventurer

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    This seems like a very nice trip.
    During high season Smyril line offers 2.5 nights stop in Faroe Islands :scratch. Faroe Islands are really nice but as has been mentioned earlier they are not big so 7 nights would allow you abundance of time to look around. I traveled with Smyril line last fall and while the ferry is quite nice for nearly 15 year old ferry it is not a luxury cruise ship.
    Eimskip is usually punctual (I have not used their U.S. to Iceland service) but it might be a good idea to get confirmation when the bikes are on their way.
    Standard documentation should be sufficient, registered owner and so on, although I see U.S. vehicles need confirmation of insurance. More here: https://www.tollur.is/english/individuals/customs/traveling-to-iceland/vehicles/ You can contact Customs/tollur and Eimskip and request information regarding documentaion and address where to pick up the bikes.
    If you are flying with Icelandair you can buy flight-bus tickets in the airplane to get from the airport to Reykjavik bus terminal "BSÍ" (Umferðarmiðstöð BSÍ). Check bus.is for bus schedules from there. Taxi is roughly 150-200 dollars same distance (might be more with latest currency fluctuation, get estimate before entering taxi), but it will take you directly to your hotel or where you want to go and is faster than flight-bus and then bus/taxi in Reykjavik. If you arrive late it can be a good idea to spend the first night in Keflavík/Njarðvík, 10 min from the airport.
    In Iceland there is no need to tip, cost is included in the price of the meal.
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  9. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

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    Andsetinn,

    Thanks for the VERY, VERY, informative post! Thank you so much.

    I'll ask about Smytil lines and the 2.5 nights stop over. Perhaps it is not offered mid-September? I was actually looking forward to some more relaxing time at the Faroe's but 7 days does seem like a long stay.

    So far Eimskip seems professional and supportive. I've had to call and ask about progress on a few occasions, but they seem to be on track for helping us.

    Thanks for the info on getting to the bus station.

    Again, very helpful comments.
    #9
  10. Andsetinn

    Andsetinn Adventurer

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    The 2.5 nights stopover in Faroe Islands is offered 10.June to 25.Aug. http://www.smyrilline.com/Files/Bil.../2017/siglingaratlan-catalogue-2017_issuu.pdf.
    Faroe Islands are unique and very nice. Although small, if the weather is good you can be busy for few days and then relax, maybe start with a helicopter tour and then hike to the interesting places you see from the helicopter. Most of the islands are connected with bridges or tunnels but for some you need a ferry. There are nice waterfalls and the area where the lake near the airport enters the sea is very impressive.

    If you want to be camping while in Iceland, check here for campsites: http://tjalda.is/en/map/

    Check http://www.road.is/ for road conditions and link to weather information, they have live web cameras of all major highways so you can see the conditions with your own eyes. They also have a nice video about driving in Iceland.

    This is good to read too. http://www.mountainguides.is/blog/a-weather-guide-to-iceland-in-september/

    Lastly, one of my many relatives runs a guesthouse in the small town where the Smyril line ferry leaves Iceland. Feel free to check it out. :) http://gistihussillu.com/?lang=en
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  11. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

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    Andsetinn,

    Thanks again for the incredible amount of information provided. We will, most likely, be camping for most of the trip but like the idea of a shower every three days or so. I hope that we can have a fluid enough plan to find a place wherever we end up for the night. It seems like there are enough places to camp to allow this.

    Thanks for the links. We just purchased heated jackets and gloves for the each of us so I'm hoping we are well prepared. Fingers crossed that the shipping of the bikes will go as planned. I'll be starting a trip report shortly to share all the information I find and will share some the links you offered here.

    Thanks again for taking the time to help out another adventurer.
    #11
  12. Andsetinn

    Andsetinn Adventurer

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    Almost every town and village have swimming pools that you can use for few dollars, there are even swimming pools basically in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes you can negotiate lower price for using only the showers.
    #12
  13. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

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    Uodate:
    4,100 miles, 13 days, 12 US states, two Canadian providences, 13 relatives, 151 gallons of gas, three motorcycle tires, and a lifetime of memories.

    I enjoyed the open road and the travel with my wife Chantil. We saw some very beautiful parts of this great country including Zion and Monument Valley in Utah, the place where I grew up in Colorado, Devils Tower in Wyoming, South Dakota prairies, Canada forests, Vermont farm lands, and a chance to visit with most of my family along the journey.

    However, I really disliked the weight of always having to maintain a tight schedule. The riding took 9 days and they were very long days of 450+ miles. A cross-country trip of this magnitude deserves more time to enjoy it. Taking a month would be adequate but the reality of life and the time off from my career does not afford such luxuries.

    The bikes were delivered to the Eimskip warehouse in Portland, Maine. We spent about an hour off-loading our riding gear and getting it all strapped down to the bikes. We left the bikes and the titles to the very capable hands of the shipping manager and flew back to San Diego the next morning.

    A few days later we discovered that the bikes had passed the customs inspection and that they are scheduled to be loaded onto the cargo ship before the end of the week.
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  14. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

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    The bikes are on their way!! Nate at Eimskip was extremely helpful and answered ALL QUESTIONS we had regarding our first shipment of our motorcycles. The bikes were loaded into a cargo container with all the camping, clothes, and spare parts we travel with. Our riding gear (helmet, boots, jacket, pants, neck brace) were all strapped to the motorcycles with webbing and para-cord. Cargo container Skogafoss is scheduled to arrive in Iceland in about 9 days. More to follow...
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  15. oleve

    oleve Adventurer

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    A very exciting experience[​IMG]
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  16. fierstf

    fierstf girl power

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    If you find that you want more time in Iceland, you can easily change your ferry tickets. I took the ferry two summer ago and I was originally planning to stay only 2 weeks in Iceland. When I realized it was not enough time, I called the ferry line and the were able to move my ticket to the following week's departure. They might have charged me $25 (I really can't remember), but it was easy and well worth it to me. I did take the 2 1/1 day stop over in the Faroe Islands on the way back. That was enough time for me. The Faroe Islands can be beautiful but the weather can also be incredibly bad. We really only had one afternoon without horrible rains and wind. Hopefully you will have better luck.
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  17. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

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    Bikes were picked up from EIMSKIP in Reykjavik on Monday, 21 Aug. They were there waiting for us just as we left them with all of our gear ready to go. It appears they rode in thier own shipping container. Cost was about $930 USD per bike to ship from Portland, Maine.
    #17
  18. Andsetinn

    Andsetinn Adventurer

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    You should be about to arrive in Germany, I hope you had fun. How was the trip?
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  19. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

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    Still have about a week of riding left... Currently in the Faroe Islands until Thursday.
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  20. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

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    Arrived in Germany and our new home on Sunday, September 17th. I think I can say we've completed a legitimate motorcycle adventure: Over 8,000 miles, 6 countries, an ocean crossing, a few broken bike parts, and a memory of a lifetime.

    Logistically, the hardest part was getting the bikes to Portland to be loaded on the EIMSKIP vessel. Crossing the USA and Canada in such a short period of time put it's toll on me both physically and emotionally. If we did not have the three days to stop and visit with my family along the way, I would not have enjoyed the trip at all.

    Once we were in Iceland, things went pretty well. My G650GS Sertao had some issues but they were handled pretty painlessly and didn't slow us down much. The week in the Faroe Islands gave us a chance to really slow down and enjoy the road and scenery more. The ferry from Iceland to the Feroe's then to Denmark went as expected. I plan on putting together an extensive ride report over then next few weeks. Stay tuned...

    Europe is our new home and there are 50 sovereign states in Europe. More adventure awaits...
    #20
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