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Thread: Is it safe to tour in the States?

  1. #1

    Is it safe to tour in the States?

    As a Canadian rider I try to put together some rough ideas for next years big bike tour, I am considering possibly going south of the border. Last year was Gaspe, which was great, so my options to top it are quite limited. If I head to the far north, well, just a lot of rocks and trees and bears, rainy weather and long, straight highways. East coast was just done so that would be rinse and repeat. West means either going through the States or heading on a trip much too far for the time and budget I have.

    These BMW rider events sound like an interesting tour and destination, but there are some things I cannot help but consider.

    You see, from up here all we see is a constant barrage of "bad news" about what's been going on down south. Shootings and gun obsession, racism, protests both left and right, political issues, bad cops, robberies and a whole lot of other craziness which just makes us outsiders pretty nervous about heading down there especially if it's our first time.

    Can I get some feedback on any incidents you have had, any advice, or your experiences while crossing borders and heading into that wild west craziness down there?

    Cheers,

    Richard
    20170910_112032.jpg

  2. #2
    IBA# 5819 61996's Avatar
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    Never had an issue here.
    But someone did knock my bike over in Newfoundland though.
    “Fate whispers to the warrior, 'You can not withstand the storm.'
    The warrior whispers back, 'I am the storm.'

  3. #3
    Indeed, compared to Canada we might be seen to have our issues. But the truth is that Voni and I ride all over the United States - the west more than the east I must admit - and feel safe in doing so. For riding and traffic reasons I avoid big cities when I can, and riding, driving, or walking would avoid parts of many cities. I can tell when I see bars on the windows and folks with brown paper bags in front of the Stop&Rob convenience stores that I don't want to be there.

    In reality the countryside, small towns, and medium sized cities can be delightful. Much like western Canada where we ride every summer. I am sure more urban type folks can add a lot to my meager comments about cities, which I admit I avoid when I can.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
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  4. #4
    Registered User jr31's Avatar
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    No. It isn't safe. Please don't come.

    We're all running for our lives down here, scared out of our minds.

    Also, lions and tigers and bears.

    Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jr31 View Post
    No. It isn't safe. Please don't come.

    We're all running for our lives down here, scared out of our minds.

    Also, lions and tigers and bears.

    Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium.
    Wow! That was helpful!

    I've ridden in all 49 states in the conus. I avoid riding in the larger cities. Some wonderful sights. Some more boring than dangerous. I've crossed Canada and feel comfortable in both countries. Come south and enjoy the change.
    Marty Hill
    7 GS white

    Ride till you can't

  6. #6

    Touring in the U.S.

    Touring in the U.S is safe. We undoubtably have the same problems here that Canada has when traveling via motorcycle. I have traveled thru 49 States and all the Provinces in Canada with the exception of the Northwest Territories with no problems. Traveling in the major metropolitan areas of Canada are about the same as in any US metro area, it sucks. I would stay away from California simply because of the horrendous traffic, exorbitant fuel costs and totally unreasonable lodging expenses. We have the same problems as you have in Canada, pay attention and have fun. Border crossings are easy if you are respectful and not trying to hide something. We do not have socialized medicine here. Purchase medical coverage to protect you in the US.

  7. #7
    Registered User jandhumphreyme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jr31 View Post
    No. It isn't safe. Please don't come.

    We're all running for our lives down here, scared out of our minds.

    Also, lions and tigers and bears.

    Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium.

    Heheheh amen brother.

    I have acquaintances who go snowmobiling in Quebec every year. They've had snow machines stolen right off their trailer in the motel parking lot, sounds like a dangerous place to me.

    I wouldn't worry much about what's on the news, if it wasn't for the shock reporting and stirring up of racial and political strife they would be even less relevant than they are. Here just as in Canada, just as in EVERY part of the world are area's where some are not welcome, member's here can help you identify those areas if you ask questions.

    Follow mothers advice; smile, stay out of the bars, don't do drugs, unsolicited opinions are usually unwelcome, and if you don't have anything nice to say, keep your mouth shut. You'll be fine. Our country is filled with some of the friendliest, most giving people on the planet. I'd suggest you shut off the TV and come find out for yourself, but if you perfer to take someone else's word on the world, your pretty good right where you are.
    So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
    And we never even know we have the key

  8. #8
    RK Ryder
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    I have ridden in forty plus states and six provinces, using motels, campgrounds, hostels and rallies. Nothing but good riding and great experiences, meeting a very friendly and welcoming group of people. Occasionally had need for roadside help and always had friendly local help, whether that be asking for directions or recommendations, picking up a resting bike or receiving help locating a tire shop. I've had countless roadside conversations at gas stops and restaurants when folks see my license plate and marvel at the distance I've traveled. These encounters have sometimes ended with being invited to their homes for dinner or to use their property to setup my tent for the night. On one occasion at a BMW shop, did not charged for an hour's service because I was 'on the road'. I've yet to use the Anonymous Book.

    I do not discuss religion or politics, except with very close American friends I have made over the years. I am a polite rider and never show any displeasure to others with whom I share the roads. (Having said this, Americans as a group are more courteous on the road than folks back home.)

    Some American friends have stayed with us in Canada and I have stayed with them in the US. Although I ride alone I have more American riding buddies than Canadians.

    As others have said, be aware of your surroundings and trust your gut feelings, not stopping where you feel uncomfortable.

    My major concern lately is the great difference in our dollars. Despite the cheaper gas south of the border, in the last couple of years, it has become pricier to travel in the US.

    To speed up gas stops, use your postal code (minus letters) and add two zeros at the end when asked for your zip code.

    Have great trips in the USA!
    Last edited by Paul_F; 11-11-2017 at 02:09 PM.
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
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  9. #9
    When I travel, 95% of the time it's by m/c. Never had "real" issues, a few,mechanical problems thru the years, that were able to be solved by myself+/or folks I met along the way.
    We certainly have issues in the states, but the good far outweighs the bad. C'mon down!

    Sent from my C6606 using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Much like western Canada where we ride every summer. I am sure more urban type folks can add a lot to my meager comments about cities, which I admit I avoid when I can.
    The strange thing is.......The Canadian Plains (Manitoba to Alberta) have the highest homicide rates in Non-aboriginal Canada.

    In relative terms, a Canadian visiting the US is elevating their level of risk (homicide) by a factor of 3x. That's the same relative increase in risk that a US citizen takes when visiting Mexico.
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
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  11. #11
    Registered User dbaliko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jr31 View Post
    No. It isn't safe. Please don't come.

    We're all running for our lives down here, scared out of our minds.

    Also, lions and tigers and bears.

    Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium.
    Really? This type of reply is part of the reason Americans are loathed by much of the rest of the world.

    I apologize to our Canadian friend. I tour all over this country. Often going on 3000-5000 mile touring trips. While the U.S. has its problems, for the most part it is a beautiful and picturesque country. There are places to stay away from, but these are mostly inner city areas, where one wouldn’t desire to go anyway. Come on down!

    And I wouldn’t listen to those telling you to stay away from California. Northern California, especially the coastal areas, as well as the areas with Redwoods and Sequoias, are some of the most beautiful areas that our country has to offer.

    Doug
    Doug
    '12 R1200RT - The Green Machine
    '07 R1200RT - (sold)

  12. #12

    Dangerous ??

    "richardus

    Is it safe to tour in the States?"

    The events we see on TV are horrific. The other issues you mentioned are quite discouraging for our society.
    As others have commented these are pretty prevalent around the globe BUT so are the numbers of wonderful folks out there. Way more than the ne'er-do-wells. Watch travel programs that show a traveler interacting one-on-one/few within a host country and turn off the main media news

    I have traveled for business to many other continents and most of the contiguous US. I am in industrial areas and usually there are specific areas I am advised to avoid. The individual people are universally great and MANY have gone out of their way to help a complete stranger. I am often struck by how different a place is from the 'information' I've seen.

    MY perspective is the plane crash scenario. When a plane crashes there is a sudden loss of many lives (horrific) and all the news outlets provide primary coverage and sometimes days of minutia. Yet, every year, 30,000 - 40,000 people die on our US roadways. There are the media reports on the individual crash events but no routine commentary on the cumulative toll. In my 4-1/2 decades of driving in the US I only have direct knowledge of a few people who have been killed this way and 1/2 of them were in single vehicle crashes (not someone else's cause). My point is we humans tend to focus on one thing (for various reasons) and miss something else that might be considered more relevant.

    My suggestion is to stay off of highways and avoid too much ingress into cities (because it's just not that rewarding a bike ride experience). I have routinely ridden in Boston, MA during peak travel times without any angst but I grew up here.

    The meteorite can get you at any time so be prudent and enjoy the ride.

  13. #13
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    This kind of reminds me of a situation when traveling with my family as a youngster. We were in some small town out west. The wind was blowing ceaselessly. My dad asked some old guy in his rocking chair in front of the general store/gas station/post office if it's always this windy here. The reply was delivered in a slow drawl..."don't rightly know. I've only been living here for 30 years, but it ain't stopped yet."
    I've traveled about a third of a million BMW miles in the US, and in every one of the lower 48, as well as most of the Canadian provinces during the past 40+ years, and I have NEVER had any kind of a problem with people. Like Paul G., I tend to avoid cities, unless I have a specific reason for being there (like, staying with friends in San Francisco, or family in Tucson or NYC), but that has as much to do with my general dislike of cities and my preference for nature over concrete.

    Bottom line... come on in, the water's delightful.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  14. #14
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Cool

    I'm not sure what amazes me more?

    The fact that the OP actually asked that question, or that so many have tried to define and defend our nation's reputation.

    If you actually believe all the 'entertainment news' that pollutes our airwaves, play it safe - stay home. Very dangerous down here. We're all huddling in shelters any ways, armed for Armageddon and running out of rations.
    Kevin Greenwald - MSF Lead RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer)
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jr31 View Post
    No. It isn't safe. Please don't come.

    We're all running for our lives down here, scared out of our minds.

    Also, lions and tigers and bears.

    Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium.
    Nice second post. A fellow club member asked for advice, and that's the best you can do.

    Richard - Good counsel from the other responders. My own experiences traveling the country via motorcycle were in the 1980's, so not relevant to your concerns. I do day trips now, within about a 150-200 mile radius of Peoria. Never had a problem. I hope you'll give us a chance.
    Howard Edwards

    2014 Road King; 1975 R75/6

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