Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by lightcycle, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. SmilinJoe

    SmilinJoe Been here awhile

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    How are you guys doing? Just a "Hi" would be nice to know you guys are still alive.
  2. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    I heard they just left their "hometown" so Gene will report on that in about 3 years?:1drink
  3. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Perhaps they did settle in Kelowna, BC and are perpetually stuck in traffic on route 97 never to be heard from again. :dunno
  4. cruiserbiker

    cruiserbiker Adventurer

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    might be trying to recoup the 150 to 200,000 dollars spent the last 7 years.
  5. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    [​IMG]
    August 2012: Canadian Rocky Mountains


    For the last few years, whenever we've met people on the road and they've asked us where we've been and we've shown them on the map, sometimes the next question was, "What happens when you've been everywhere?"

    Neda always replies, "We'll just go back do it over again, because everything will be different the next time!"

    [​IMG]
    August 2019: Canadian Rocky Mountains

    We're in the middle of our move to the west coast, re-treading our steps from seven years ago. We're ramping up to be snowmadic again this winter, but we're not exactly sure where yet. We'll definitely get a clearer picture when we arrive and go knocking on some doors. Same as we've always done before.

    Certainty is the enemy of adventure!

    We do have big plans for the next riding season, the idea is get back to being nomadic on motorcycles again, but with a little twist. We'll keep you apprised!
  6. HickOnACrick

    HickOnACrick Groovinator

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    It took me more than a month, but I just finished this epic RR. Happy to see you are in BC...one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

    One complaint...all your food pictures are doing little for my waistline. I sit down to read a few pages, then I am rummaging through the fridge.
    mitchapalooza and mikegc like this.
  7. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Some folks on my local motorcycle forum have been discussing Air Canada's "Fly Your Motorcycle" program. We recently flew Neda's bike from Europe back to Canada using AC, so I just did a quick write-up.

    ===========================================

    July 23rd 2019: Airplane Shipping out of Italy

    Europe is in the middle of debilitating heat wave. In Paris, the mercury hit an astonishing 42°C. In comparison, we've got it pretty easy in Milan - only 38°C today.

    We've completed another leg of our seven-years-and-counting motorcycle world tour, slowly picking up our stuff that we've left around the globe. This includes one motorcycle that we've stashed for over two years in Croatia. We're headed back to Canada to spend the winter recuperating before the next leg of our tour next riding season.

    In 2007, we used a US company called Motorcycle Express, which sub-contracted out Air Transat Cargo to ship our bikes between Toronto and London, and then from Munich back to Toronto. You can read about our experiences here: RideDOT.com Europe

    Since then, a few other large companies have gotten into the motorcycle shipping game, WestJet Cargo just recently announced a program. We decided to opt for Air Canada Cargo's "Fly Your Bike" program, which offers a variety of locations in Canada and Europe. None in Croatia, so we chose the nearest one in Milan, which worked out well since Neda has family there that we wanted to visit.

    [​IMG]
    Air Canada Cargo Fly Your Bike
    DaleE, SmilinJoe and B10Dave like this.
  8. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    We sent an e-mail to the contact listed on the AC Cargo web page, and got an immediate response with a breakdown of the costs:

    €1000 ($1480 CAD) if you have an Air Canada passenger ticket
    €1200 ($1780 CAD) if you flew yourself with another airline.

    In addition, there were other costs:

    ~$90 CAD destination charge in Canada
    ~€80 ($120 CAD) Italian customs declaration/formalities
    ~€220 ($325 CAD) + Value Added Tax to do a Dangerous Goods Inspection and Declaration

    Air Canada passenger tickets are expensive, much more than the €200 rebate that AC Cargo was offering, and there were two of us traveling, which compounded the cost. So we decided to fly Air Italy (ex Meridiana Airlines), which saved us a lot more than €200.

    So the shipping itself tallied up to a grand total of €1500 + $80 CAD.

    This could be payable in cash in Italy before shipping, or by credit card in Canada when we collected the shipment. I'm all for collecting reward points and not carrying €1500 in cash with me, so we told AC Cargo that we would pay on the other side.

    [​IMG]
    We already knew the standard procedure for shipping our bikes. Clean the bike fastidiously and make sure there's less than a quarter tank of gas

    We sent them all of our pertinent details related to the shipment: passport, registration of the motorcycle, dimensions and weights, and a manifest of all the things we would be storing on the bike. Officially, we were only permitted to ship motorcycle-related items: toolkits, parts, gear. But the rules are lenient enough that we could claim pretty much anything to be motorcycle-related: "motorcycle" camping gear, "motorcycle" sweater, "motorcycle" underwear, "motorcycle" toothbrush and "motorcycle" shampoo, you get the idea...

    This meant we would basically be boarding the plane with nothing but carry-on luggage which was awesome!
  9. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    AC Cargo then sent us detailed instructions on the shipping procedure. First step: we had to undergo a Dangerous Goods inspection. This was performed by a separately-contracted company called DGM, which was located a few kms outside Malpensa Airport. We needed to drop the bike off 24 hours before the flight, so we did the DG inspection right before we went to the cargo warehouse.

    [​IMG]
    At the facility where the DG inspection was performed

    Thankfully Neda spoke Italian because the guy who performed the inspection didn't speak a lot of English. He had us empty all of our panniers and dry bags and did a *very* thorough inspection of the contents.

    Because of several recent in-flight incidences, there are new airline regulations which prohibit the use of rechargeable batteries in cargo. We thought we had removed all of these batteries, but it seemed we missed a few: the battery in my GoPro camera, camping headlight and portable speakers. All of those had to be removed and placed in our carry-on. As mentioned before, the inspection was surprisingly *very* thorough. It seems that the Dangerous Goods Certification company is liable for any cargo fires that start because they missed a combustible item.

    [​IMG]
    Took a while, but we finally passed DG inspection! This is our DG Certficate.
    TwilightZone, DaleE, ross and 4 others like this.
  10. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    [​IMG]
    From there, we rode to the cargo warehouse, which is situated just outside the airport terminal

    The Air Canada Cargo instructions led us to the office of yet another company, ATC, which AC Cargo sub-contracts out the logistics to. It seemed like they were quarterbacking the entire shipping process, and were our primary contact. We met with a super-nice lady who spoke excellent English and she pretty much held our hands through the next steps.

    [​IMG]
    She had us ride the bike up a ramp to the warehouse

    A lot of the warehouse staff stopped what they were doing to gather around our bike to check it out. Not for official purposes, they were just interested in the motorcycle. The ATC lady said that ever since Air Canada started the "Fly Your Bike" program, their logistics company had seen a steady flow of (mostly) Canadian motorcycles in and out of the warehouse. Because of this, the process was very streamlined and she knew exactly what to do to get us and in and out in record time.

    We were surprised that it was so simple. The last time we did this with Air Transat, we had to do a lot of prep work ourselves, disconnecting the battery and removing the windshield so it would fit in the smallish-container. Back then, they basically handed us a yellow safety vest and told us to go at it ourselves. With Air Canada, we truly felt like customers, instead of a member of the warehouse staff. We even got to keep our motorcycle key, despite the web site telling us that we had to keep it in the ignition. Nice.

    Pictures were taken of our bike. We were told this was for insurance purposes; to document the pre-shipping condition so we couldn't hold Air Canada liable for any existing damages.

    They took pictures of all the dings, dents, scrapes and scars. I had to smirk. I remarked that the plane could crash and it probably wouldn't damage the motorcycle any more than it currently was.

    Nobody else laughed at my plane crash comment... *shrug*

    After the ATC lady did a bunch of paperwork, she handed us a bill-of-lading and told us to show it to the Air Canada Cargo folks when we arrived on the other side.

    She was so nice, she even escorted us out of the building and walked us to the bus stop where we could get a free shuttle to the airport terminal so we could catch the train back to town. Better than walking a km and a half in the blistering Italian heat-wave.
    TwilightZone, DaleE, ross and 4 others like this.
  11. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    The next day, we sauntered onto the airplane with nothing but a couple of carry-on suitcases and our helmet bags.

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    9.5 hours flight. Definitely not the longest plane ride we've ever taken

    We touched down in Pearson and didn't get out of the airport till almost midnight, so we figured AC Cargo would be closed. Air Canada gives you 24 hours of storage from the time the shipment arrives till you pick it up. After then, they'll charge you storage fees.

    Next morning, we drive into Pearson again, heading towards the Air Canada Cargo warehouse at 2580 Brittania Rd E, out in Mississauga. Physically, it's less than a km from the airport terminal, but we made the mistake of heading to Pearson Airport, only to find out that AC Cargo is actually a 9 km drive from YYZ all around the circumference of the airport landing strips. :(

    [​IMG]
    20°C in Toronto is downright chilly when compared to Europe!

    At AC Cargo, we were surprised to find out that they are open 24 hours a day. We totally could have come down last night after we landed! We showed them the bill of lading and then we were told that our bike had to clear Canada customs.

    Ugh. CBSA. A knot developed in the pit of my stomach.
    TwilightZone, DaleE, ross and 3 others like this.
  12. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    This motorcycle has had a very convoluted history, being ridden out of Canada, down to South America, shipped on a boat out of Peru to Europe. *However* all of our shipping and export documents are non-existent because all our stuff got stolen in Croatia.

    We've had our share of shipping and customs problems in Africa and I was dreading the same back here in Canada.

    We drove over to the customs building and I realized that although the cargo warehouse is open 24 hours a day, CBSA is only open during normal business hours. So no, we couldn't have picked up our bikes last night anyway.

    [​IMG]
    That feeling of dread every time you have to deal with the government

    Neda lined up to talk to the CBSA officer. He scrutinized our paperwork, asked for her passport and then her motorcycle registration. He nodded. Things were going well. He then asked how long we were out of the country. Uh oh. Officially, the bike was out of the country for seven years, but we had come back last winter to spend the snowboard season out in western Canada. I prayed Neda would give the right answer....

    "*We've* been gone three months", she volunteered the very selective information.

    The CBSA guy nodded again. *phew*

    "Has this motorcycle been cleaned?"

    Agriculture Canada is very strict about contaminants making its way across the pond. We've been through this before so good thing we hosed the bike down thoroughly before we shipped it from Milan.

    "Yes!", she nodded.

    "Do you have a certificate from the company that cleaned it?"

    Uhhh... what?

    "No. We cleaned it ourselves", Neda sheepishly admitted.

    Everything around us seemed to grind to a halt as the CBSA looked up at her. In the background, I thought I heard a needle scratching as it was lifted off a record very suddenly.

    Oh no. We're f*cked.

    He stared at the both of us for what seemed like an eternity. Then looked down at the paperwork again and gave our copy three official stamps.

    "Okay, nothing to pay. You're good to go."

    OMG. What a relief. We've been through so many customs nightmares in the last year, I felt so happy to be back in Canada again!!!

    [​IMG]
    Our CBSA customs release document. Look at all those zeros at the bottom! I'm so happy, I wanted to frame this piece of paper!
  13. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    We drove back to the AC Cargo warehouse to settle the bill for the shipping and claim our motorcycle.

    This is where the only wrinkle in the process happened, and it's just a small problem. The AC Cargo folks in Italy quoted me €1500 + $80 CAD, which at the spot exchange rate should have been just over $2200 CAD (July 2019). AC Cargo in Canada presented me with a bill for $2350. I was a bit puzzled over the discrepancy, but after looking over the document, I realized that they had given themselves a very healthy exchange rate commission of 5%.

    Really?

    If I had paid cash in Italy, I would only have paid a ~2-3% commission and saved myself $75. I thought that by using my no-FX fee credit card, I'd save on all FX charges by being charged the amount in Euros, but of course they charged me in CAD in Canada. I just wasn't thinking.

    So note to anyone doing this, save yourself a few bucks by paying cash in the local currency before you ship via Air Canada Cargo!

    [​IMG]
    A forklift brought out our motorcycle which was tied down to a skid. The Italian side did a nice job securing and protecting the bike

    We admired the professional crating job. Metal pallet + plastic wrapping over everything. Back in 2007, with Air Transat they used wooden pallets and crates. Very impressed with Air Canada Cargo.

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    Keys in hand, waiting while the warehouse guys stripped all the wrapping and tie-downs for us

    Back in 2007, we had to do all the unwrapping ourselves. Now, it seems like it's a safety liability to have civilians even inside the warehouse. We were instructed to stay behind several yellow lines painted on the warehouse floor. The world in 2019 is a very different place than 12 years ago. As mentioned before, this hands-off experience was such a pleasant surprise compared to our last airplane shipping experience. All we had to do was hop on the bike and ride off.
  14. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    [​IMG]
    One final step before riding out into Canada. Ontario-Legal again!


    As mentioned, all Neda did was hop on and ride off

    How does AC Cargo "Fly Your Bike 2019" compare to Motorcycle Express (Air Transat Cargo) 2007?

    - Surprisingly, the dollar cost has pretty much remained the same. I think there are economies of scale with more people shipping motorcycles across the Atlantic resulting in a cheaper price now, accounting for inflation, than it was back in 2007.

    - Air Canada has the process streamlined. With Air Transat, we had to do a lot of running around, paying different companies ourselves in cash. With AC, it was a single payment, which can be done with a credit card, which alleviates a lot of headache. However, if you want to save money, pay locally in cash, instead of in Canada.

    - No battery disconnect, no modification to the bikes required to fit the very ample and sturdy metal shipping container. Definitely a plus for Air Canada Cargo.

    Well done, Air Canada Cargo! Would definitely ship with them again!
  15. mattsz

    mattsz moto-gurdyist

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    You shipped Neda's bike from the Milan Avengers headquarters?


    What's this now? Shipping and customs problems in Africa?!? You never left Capetown! According to your blog, that is... :D
    Keating, Spicciani2 and horsti like this.
  16. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Sì.

    [​IMG]

    Avengers, Assemblare!

    We just did, temporarily. According to the blog, that is... :D
  17. mattsz

    mattsz moto-gurdyist

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  18. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/399.html

    [​IMG]

    We're riding the island of Shikoku today. The plan is to simply follow the coastline south-west from Tokushima and just check out what's along the way.

    So no plan really...

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    A little shortcut through the mountains. Virtually no traffic once we're outside of Tokushima! We like that.
  19. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Quick photo break! The bikes are handling nicely and I think I'm finally starting to get used to the sporty seating position

    It's still pretty cold and overcast as we break through the heavily forested mountains. The twisty road we're on quickly descends down to Shikoku island's shores. We're greeted by the sight of sandy beaches along the coastal route.
  20. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    [​IMG]
    Along the coast, we pass by several groups of hikers on the road dressed in the same white jackets we saw in Koya the other day

    These hikers are actually on the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage. There are 88 temples scattered all around the island of Shikoku. Pilgrims have to visit all of them in order, traveling a total of 1,200 kms! To show your progress, you get your Temple Stamp Book marked with a red stamp found at each temple. So it's like a religious scavenger hunt!

    People from outside Japan may not be aware, but there is a bit of fad going on with these Goshuin (temple stamp books) in Japan these days. Temple stamps can be found all over the country, not just on Shikoku. We're on a lot of Japanese Facebook groups, and we've seen so many posts of people's goshuin showing off rare stamps from hard-to-reach temples. For a lot of young people here, if you're going on vacation or on a business trip to a different part of Japan, you must always make time to visit one of the temples in the area to get your goshuin stamped there, so you can post a picture of it on Facebook, to the envy of everyone else!
    SmilinJoe, thwak, Spicciani2 and 6 others like this.