Friday, March 19, 2010

Go West Young Man - Going to the Sun

That saying is attributed to Horace Greeley, founder of the New York Tribune, however it really came from a fellow editor in the midwest JBL Soule. For me it is a spark for a dream that I believe will come true in September.

A couple of years ago I was asked by a fellow rider, what my dream road/ride would be. I immediately responded the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier NP. The inspiration came from a History Channel series on making this road.

From MA to Glacier NP it is just over 2500 miles. It would take me 5 days to get out there and 5 days back leaving only a few days to actually ride around the area. Over the winter I hemmed and hawed, coming up with every reason why this was not the right time. The most compelling reason was it seemed like the only available rental bike was a HD. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with a HD, especially an Ultra, it simply is not the preferred bike for me. Having recently acquired a FJR and been on the C10 for the last 2 years, I wanted either a ST1300 or a FJR to ride the roads. I found a company in Bend, Oregon that has both. Excitement sets in, then I checked out the airline ticket prices to Bend OR. Not exactly a major airport with reasonablely priced tickets. The tickets to Portand were cheap enough but the segment from Portland to Bend was as much as Boston to Portland.

Setback 1. Bend is out of the picture. I then said, what is more important getting out west or the bike I was going to ride. Getting out West was far more important than the bike, sorta. I settled on an Ultra, simply because it has a tour pack, which we need and provides a back rest and safey measure for MeAsWe. In reality if I was going to rent a bike and the bike was going to be a Harley, the choice would be a Road Glide, but that would not work out well for MeAsWe. It does not have a tour pack, thus no back rest for MAW.

With the winter being what it is, a time for reflection, hibernation, putting on weight, watching endless reruns of CSI, Law and Order, Criminal Minds, getting Netflix movies, wondering how much fuel oil you are burning, whether you will need to scrape the windshield, leaving to go to work in the dark, returning home in the dark, watching the first snow fall and the serenity it provides, watching the 2nd snowfall realizing the first snowfall was a false sense of serenity, just writing about winter makes me shiver.

Next choice of bikes now that Bend Oregon is out, is a Gold Wing. I have never ridden one, but I hear for big bike it is quite nimble. Eagle Riders (a major cycle renting company) has Gold Wings in Salt Lake City. I immediately take to MapSource and plan the trip starting in Salt Lake City. This is very very doable and matter of fact SLC looks like it is a great starting out point.

Call to Eagle Riders and essentially they want the money now and if you have to cancel, well they will give you a voucher that can be used within 1 year. Insurance on the bike is pricey. If the bike has mechanical problems and causes you to be delayed, they will reimburse you $71/day for your troubles. The rental is $131/day. You do the math. Then I read someplace even thou you are reserving the GW, there is no guarantee that it will be available when you show up. For a hefty rental price and absolutely no flexibility on ER part, going West looks like the Sun is going down.

Setback 2. Well maybe a not quite a setback, but ER is certainly a pricey road to see the Sun.

Way back I considered shipping the bike, but for some reason I remembered it did not make sense to ship your bike and it was more cost effective to rent. Having some time to kill I started researching shipping options. Couple of forms filled out on the internet and prices of $900 were coming up, confirming my initial impression. I saw a site that had something called Terminal to Terminal. Looked up what they defined as terminals. They had one in the Boston area and out west my choices were Seattle, Portland and Salt Lake City. Since I had planned the route starting in SLC, I focused my attention here. Plugged in the applicable data and got a price of just shy of $600. The eyebrows rise abit, the heart races abit, and a smile breaks out. At that price I will save money to boot. A phone call is in order to the company.

I get a hold of Gary from We discuss the particulars of what I am trying to accomplish. He states he wishes he could do what I was doing, however he just purchased a new house and just got this job after being unemployed for 9 months. I asked him if he was over 50 and he was. One of my main concerns is being able to pickup the bike on a Saturday and more importantly drop the bike off for shipping back east on a Saturday or Sunday.

We bounce a couple of emails back and forth to one another. He finally comes thru with the weekend pickup / drop off answer. A simple NO and it was NOT NEGOTIABLE.

Setback 3 Third time a charm is the saying isn't. Well we are going for the 4 Leaf Clover.

After the let down from FreightCenter, I used the information looking for other terminal to terminal shipping companies that do motorcycles. From the iNet Allied Special Products popped up on the screen. Plugged in the info needed and a quote was returned that looked even more promising than FreightCenter. These guys even included $8,000 of insurance with their quotes. A call to Allied and get Bri (short for Briana, what a great name) on the phone. I had looked up one of the Allied Van Lines called Bailey's Moving and Storage prior to calling ASP. Bri confirms that Bailey's is one of the terminals to get good pricing. She works up quote saying that the online ones can be inaccurate, $636 is the price. Higher than online but not off the wall. She then asks if I am a member of AMA or HOG, indicating that the price would be $580. You can join the AMA for $39, which this one discount will cover the cost of membership, so a plus for sure. In addition to the discount the insurance coverage is boosted to $15,000. The terminal here is Franklin, MA right next door. This is looking really good. One last initial thing to cover. Can I pickup and drop off the bike on a Saturday. Bri indicates that is up to the indivdual places and I should call them. Quick call to Bailey's and the gentleman there was very helpful and accomodating. He indicated that in September someone is generally on site and would be available to complete the pickup and drop off during this period.

Right now this seems to be perfect CLICKY HERE

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