I didn't have to help the Keyboard driver either. I offered, but he had everything well in hand and politely refused my offer. The bike was on a mini-pallet on wheels, and he had a rear power liftgate on the trailer. He could have maneuvered it one-handed onto the liftgate and handed it over to me on the ground almost remote-controlled!
Most shippers I called all needed a motorcycle dealership as the delivery point. They say they do this to avoid unknown streets with low tree branches and wires, sharp turns at small intersections, etc... and a dealership is OK to bring a large semi rig to, and they are used to having an area to unload bikes. I asked at a H-D/BMW dealer that's only a mile and a half from my house and they said fine to use them. The Keyboard driver kept me informed of his progress via cell phone as he entered my state, and as he was 30 minutes out. At this point I asked him to divert to a large VFW parking lot 3 blocks from my house and one block off the highway, where no event was taking place and was completely empty and he could easily enter and exit with a big truck. He did so and it all went very smoothly. I think it was $600 dollars for Chicago- Northern New Jersey. I tipped him a twenty and by his reaction you woulda thought I gave hime 500!
"The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why" -- Mark Twain
Well, I am reporting back post-purchase/shipping. I did go with Federal (www.funtransport.com), and am pretty pleased with the experience overall. The cost from PA to Houston, TX was about $700. They were relatively easy to work with, and were available by phone anytime that I had a question.
They picked the bike up at the seller's house. Initially, they gave me two potential pick-up days (Tues/Thurs), and then called the gentleman who sold me the bike to narrow it down first think on the week we had it shipped, as they do their route planning on Mondays. At that point, they gave a four-hour window, called the seller day before pick-up, and then again an hour prior to pick-up. The seller seemed pleased that it wasn't too problematic for them (I am glad about that as well- he and his wife are very nice people and made this an easy process for me). They loaded it and let the seller pack a couple of shop manuals in the saddle bags for me.
It took a week in transit. The online tracking/e-mail alert thing didn't really work for me (I didn't start to get alerts until after I received the bike), but I did call Federal to check on it and they updated me right away. It's nice that they assign you an "agent" that works with you throughout and serves as your point of contact. I had them deliver it to my workplace, although they would have been able to deliver to my house. The bike was in good shape, having been shipped inside a truck protected from the elements. They called me on Monday of the delivery week to schedule delivery, gave me a six-hour delivery window, and then the driver called me an hour prior to delivery (and again when he arrived). Three men unloaded it , and even helped me load it onto my little trailer to bring home.
All in all, I would recommend Federal MC Shipping highly. Now for the fun part... getting to know my new ride. Thank you to everyone who provided insight to me here!
'78 R80/7 and '84 R100RS (Blues Brothers), '86 K75C (Icy Hot)
'90 and '93 Mazda Miatas (Jelly Bean and Red Hot), '97 Nissan XE PU (Mighty Mouse)
'96 Giant Upland (big Kendas, baby!)