It's all over,last USA post

#1
USA 6 months road trip finished.

This is the last post for our trip in the shipped Hymer and is copied from my last diary entry.
IT IS LONG , SORRY ! IT WAS A LONG TRIP.

171 days in America from 25 July to 12 January

Fuel approx 3.30 Dollars per US gallon which is approx £2.52 US gallon ( 66 pence litre)
We have paid as high 3.60 and lowest 2.49.

LPG approx the same as deisel but you can not fill yourself at a gas (petrol) station except in one or two states.Plenty of companies to fill you up including the many U haul depots.A adapter required for the American large thread screw on filler.Purchased ours from Gaslow.

Covered just over 17,500 miles in 36 States.

Fuel. $ 3297 = £2564 =15 pence mile.

Campsites. £905 for 42 nights (£22.00 per night)
We used mainly State Park campsites,no frills ,no electricity .

129 days free camping .

Purchase at the start of a yearly pass at 80 Dollars for National Parks have saved us lots.
It covers vehicle and occupants , average entrance is 20/30 Unfortunately the government shutdown has prevented it's use at many sights at the end of our trip.

Joined Good Sam at first opportunity in one of their many affiliated Camping World Supercentre stores.This cost 27 dollars which gets you discounts on affiliated campsites and a massive book at 8 dollars for all USA campsites.BUT our reason was it then allowed us to join their countrywide breakdown service for any size vehicle at 80 Dollars.You can also boondock (wild camp) on their carparks and use their dump stations.Not all though so check first.

We avoid campsites,too expensive.Very easy to boondock (wild camp).Average cost about 40 dollars but often a lot more.State and National parks are better at about 20 dollars but no electricity or frills and many of them
States have different rules concerning wild camping but the more western have best opportunities .Sometimes it just makes sense to use a site.
We have paid 8.00 up to 107.00 per night.That was a NP site and New Orleans city centre site.

Launderettes are common and cheap .Approx
2 dollars (£1.60 ) per washing machine and same for tumble lasting 45 minutes.

We dispose of grey and black often in the disposal points at state parks, gas stations,rest area's and Camping World.These allow for black ,otherwise many free standing plastic cubicles to dispose black as European vans have simple cassette storage but American have some type of pump out system.Water often uploaded from gas stations when filling diesel.

Free camping in towns/cities Casino's, Walmart or Sam's Club,Cracker Barrel,Golden Corral,Home Depot,etc.Never been refused when we seek permission..Very convenient for sights and eating out.

Supermarkets are more expensive compared to UK.Walmart cheapest.Example - loaf of bread 2.50/3.50 dollars.

Our favourite foodstuffs often only in independent supermarkets at a cost.

MOTORING -

We have bad roads in UK & Europe but in many locations here they take it to a new level.The van had certainly taken a bashing.

You guess how much fuel is required and pay first with a over estimated value.The actual amount used is what comes off your cc statement.

We have to use a 10 litre add blue every 1500 miles which is a extra expense at 15 dollars for this Mercedes 3 litre engine.

Americans very friendly and polite.Drivers pretty good and obey speed limits except in cities you get a few idiots .

Not keen on overtaking on any lane.Accident waiting to happen.We have seen many.

Traffic lights take far too long to change .

The condition of some vehicles are so bad I assume they don't have yearly checks for road worthiness.

What we used to call Remould Tyres are used on trucks ,explains why the highway is strewn with shredded tyres everywhere.

I like the ability to turn right (equivalent of turn left in UK) on a red light if no oncoming traffic.

You sometimes exit motorways from the fast lane and have to join at the same junction as those who are exiting.

Pick up trucks are ubiquitous and the cars no longer have what I call an American identity to their styling.They all look European ,no doubt to make sales worldwide.Just love their old style fifties cars.

Harley Davidson is king.They do like their Harley's and three wheeler's are also common.

Rv's of all sizes have air conditioning which ,I am told,you can't live without when the heat arrives.
This does of course require campsite electric or generator power.

GENERAL -

Plenty of housing appear to be in the form of what we call static caravans as used on holiday parks.
Unfortunately many are in poor condition and for some reason often are cluttered around with old cars and junk.Not many with gardens.

Fed up with the amount of injury lawyers billboards .Seems a specialist lawyer available for any conceivable claim.

Like home,many towns are losing their high street identity to out of town shopping area's some looking like ghost towns.The restaurants are mostly chains and often burgers.

Never seen so many boat showrooms with extensive selection.A huge industry here for their many recreational area's and coastline and not forgetting the millions of fishermen.

DID WE ENJOY THE TRIP -

Great sights and cities we have always heard about now visited .Too much driving but I was mentally prepared for that.
But the thing that made it such a great trip was the people we met.I can not speak highly enough of how kind,helpfull with good manners the American people have been. We will miss being called Sir and Ma'am everywhere.

Such as-

Ben,who offered change at the counter to avoid us breaking in to a note.

Brit,who met us on a golf course,took our pics for the small town paper and the next day took us up on a trip in his aeroplane.

Durrae,who met us in a launderette who is a author of cookery books and gave us two signed volumes from her RV.

Reception at Royal Palms camp in Florida Keys who requested a cheque deposit and trusted us to turn up as we had no method of paying.That was Xmas week on a fully booked site.

Lynne and Steve who took us in their car from campsite to a restaurant and insisted on paying .

John in a pub night out who invited is out on a hunt the following day.

Tamara and Leanne,who after arriving at Huntington Metro Station on the southern suburbs of Washington to find it is multi storey.Turning in to the next side road we asked two women walking their dogs for info on parking such a large vehicle.
Pondering on the matter one suggested to park outside their house using their residential permit.
Taken aback slightly we hesitated but they insisted.So we parked and put the permit on the window.Next they present us with two travel cards with money loaded to use on the metro !
We of course put money on to them and returned them with extra ten dollars each.
Showing us a short cut to the station through a friend's garden we were on the platform in five minutes.

Sandy and the group at Royal Palms Xmas week who had us joining them at happy hour within one hour of our arrival.Turkey dinner Xmas day,film nights and get togethers.Good laughs.

Having joined a RV group called Texas Boomers to socialise with other campers who made us most welcome.We joined them twice , Halloween and pre Xmas.Fun dressing up ,games and lots ,lots of food.
Thanks especially go to-
Sandy and Randy Martin for our honorary certificate ,now officially Boomers.

Glenn and June Moeller,never a more friendly couple can you meet.

Leon and Charlotte,sorry we did not find the time to visit your lovely home in Houston to meet all your friends.Thanks for the fun Xmas presents.

And all the many other Boomers who made both meets such a good time.

Last night here in a snowstorm before delivery to Baltimore docks at 9 am tomorrow (Monday) .We fly on Wednesday. IMG_20190113_095510.jpg IMG_20190113_092519.jpg
 


#3
What a wonderful adventure thanks so much for sharing it . If you ever have time for more detailed account I would love to read more. Thank you.
 
#4
Thanks for all the info and photos, and for taking the time to share it with us. (y)
 
#5
It will take a while to "come down" after that trip, sounds amazing!
 
#9
Have a safe trip home I really enjoyed your posts I’ve been to a couple of the places on you’re trip but would love the time and the courage to do something along the same lines thanks.
 
#10
Aww, end of an epic trip. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures and have a safe journey back across the pond.
 
#11
What a wonderful adventure thanks so much for sharing it . If you ever have time for more detailed account I would love to read more. Thank you.
How to visit USA

Some background to why we are here. Having looked in to RV ownership or shared with their pros and cons ,we decided now or much later.Our son getting married in 2019 would mean 2020 at the earliest.
Because of other funsters posts we had obtained our 10 year visas late in 2017 in anticipation.
You need this to achieve up to 6 months in any one trip.A normal holiday visa called ESTA is quick to obtain but max out at 3 months.
Others in the past have been able to cross in to Canada or Mexico and after a short time get re entry for another 6 months.My research on this idea shows it may be frowned upon my the customs officials who at a whim can refuse re entry.
Note- the van has 12 months before export required .
Don't much fancy being stuck in Mexico with a van although you can ship home from Halifax in Canada if you wish to roll the dice.

The visa was not difficult,some form filling and a visit,for us, to the London Embassy for a 1hr queue for a simple interview.Other locations available I think.

So,with the news of a forthcoming wedding it brought all the dithering to a end and I made a request to Seabridge for a quote to sail asap.
Just Google.
They are a German company who have been shipping motorhomes worldwide for many years and have started to promote themselves at the NEC recently to tap in to the potential UK market.
It helps that they started to offer shipping from Liverpool instead of the continent from 2017.
They also speak very good English during my phone calls.

We moved on this very quickly ,confirming the quote early June and the van was shipping on 5 July.
Based on our 8mtr van the shipping costs are based on volume.So I removed the sat dome , rear scooter and bike carrier.
We paid £3400 shipping which included port and agent charges and US documents.It will be similar for the return.
Also marine insurance £1300 for here and return.
The road insurance for six months £2200.

So £10,300 for 180 days = £58 per day.
Try to hire a van like ours to beat that ?

We paid extra £150 shipping for the scooter and £480 for its road insurance.

All arrangements through Seabridge.

They send email documents to print,fill and we photographed them and returned jpeg.

Nothing complicated along with pictures of driving licence ,log books .You need a International Drivers Permit from the post office for a small amount.

You receive a EPA exemption certificate .Must have this before shipping.It gives authorisation to import for one year without modification.

We shipped from Liverpool which seemed very laid back ,we parked up amongst Range Rovers due for export and left keys on dashboard!
Of course it's in a secure compound but still unerving .We never met the shipping agent just a few emails and some friendly phone chats.All info provided on where to go and who to see for delivery.Everything stored out of sight and we covered everything in lightweight plastic you would use when decorating.
Seabridge send you a link that allows you to view the ships location.It leaves weekly ,they have a fleet.It goes to Halifax, Canada then New York and Baltimore.

Here I went to the shipping agent and paid their fees to be given the release papers with customs clearance already completed.You have to pay 75 dollars for a escort service.They picked me up from the agent and delivered me to the van through various custom controls.I followed her to the nearest fuel station to fill up and we were "good to go" as they say here.You can only have one person collecting so Glenda remained in the nearby hotel with noon check out.I was at the agent for 9 am and back in the hotel car park by 11 am.
 
#12
South America Quote is in

from Antwerp to South America (Montevideo)





Dear Mr. JENKINS,



Thank you for your inquiry regarding a camper shipment to South America, Montevideo (Uruguay).

There is NO direct departure from UK (only with a transshipment). So we offer only a shipment to Uruguay from Antwerp, Belgium.



Attached you find a current quotation.



The vessels sail 2-3 times per month, and arrive 4 weeks later at the port of destination.

The schedule is available about 3 months before departure:

http://www.net.grimaldi.co.uk/webdata/Published_Sched_Fleetpos/sched_sa.htm

ETS is the departure & ETA is the arrival

(Please keep in mind that the schedule often changes to a later departure, but we can change the freight booking for free.)



A motorhome/camper can be shipped fully equipped (incl. camping equipment and personal belongings like clothes), but it must look apparently empty.

That means everything has to be neatly stowed in closets and storage areas.

Of course it’s forbidden to transport food, alcohol, weapons, drugs, etc. inside the camper.



We can offer you a Marine Insurance with a premium of 1% of the current vehicle’s value.



Booking

If you would like to book a shipment, please complete the booking form and send it back to us. We will also need a copy of passport and a copy of vehicle registration.

Most of our clients book 2 month in advance.

Changes and cancellations are free of charge until one week before the planned departure; the invoice will be sent after the vessels departure (no deposit required).



If you would like to travel as a passenger on board you have to book quite early – most cabins are sold out up to many months in advance.



Return shipment:

The return shipment can be booked without any problems by email during your journey.

Of course the return can be from another port in North or South America.

Generally you can deliver your vehicle from Monday to Friday (except on holidays).



Further shipment:

We can also organize for you a shipment from Columbia/Argentina to USA. Or ship from Argentina to South Africa and later further to Australia.



Storage

If you would like store your vehicle while travelling back home, we can give you an address in Montevideo (Uruguay). This could be your first place to stay after arrival and the place where you can wait, before you ship your vehicle back to Europe.



Meeting SeaBridge

You can meet our staff in person on one of this fares or on our SeaBridge-customer-meetings:

fares: CaravanSalon Duesseldorf; Suisse CaravanSalon Bern; CMT Stuttgart, BadKissingen, NEC motorhome show Birmingham.

SeaBridge meetings in April & Sept: e.g. 78073 Bad Dürrheim; 97631 Bad Königshofen



Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.



Kind regards



Denice Heinemann



Seabridge

Wilhelm Heinrich Weg 13

40231 Düsseldorf

GERMANY

Tel.: +49-(0)211-210 8083

Fax: +49-(0)211-210 8097

seabridge@t-online.de

www.seabridge-tours.de IMG-20190114-WA0000.jpg
 
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