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  1. Default Two year adventure -where to start?

    Hi All,
    My husband (65) and I (53) have made the decision to throw in our jobs, rent out our house and come to the US to be "Grey Nomads" as they call it here in Australia. We will have to buy a motor-home when we get to wherever we land in America.

    Everything is fluid at this stage and this is only day 2 of 365 days of preparation, but I would like a starting point please. Maybe there is a great thread/blog out there that already discusses this type of plan? Please point me in the right direction if so.

    During the 2 years we would like to see as much as we can (in a leisurely fashion) of Canada, Alaska, USA, Mexico and possibly other central American countries - as far down as the Panama Canal.

    My first big ask is about the seasons and the right time to travel in each location - in a general way as each country is BIG I know.
    For example, I read that the best time to travel in Canada is June-August if you have a motor-home.

    We may have to go up and down and all over to see each location at it's peak/shoulder time. Maybe we can do a full circle? Up the east coast, across and back down the west coast into Mexico. I really have no idea as you can tell. :0)

    I am sure we will not buy a massive MH so we hope to be able to take it to all countries, but I would appreciate general advice for driving a MH in Central America. Should we or shouldn't we for starters?

    I think we are going to be great friends and I look forward to talking with all of you.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    The first thing you need to do is get necessary visas from all countries good for the length of your stay. You WILL need one for the US because the visa waiver program is only good for 90 days. Then you have to get a US address in order to be able to buy, register, and insure a vehicle.

  3. Default

    Hi, yep got all that covered, thx.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Where I'd start.

    Debbie, if you have your visas and all that covered, how are you going to allocate your 24 months, between AK and Panama Canal? Where do you plan to be in winter? and how long is your US visa valid? (Remember, there are restrictions on where you must travel before you re enter the US... and that includes AK.)

    It is hard for anyone to give you an optimum time to be in a particular area. It depends so much on your plans, what you are wanting to get out of this trip, what your interests are, and to some extend, what your budget is. For example: My three trips to AK have been in May, June and August (in different years), and I can honestly say that each month had its hilights and its downsides. It is just a case of doing your research, and then seeing which appeals to you most. The same can be said for Canada, especially northern Canada.

    On the other hand, if you would like to experience the snow covered land, the northern lights, the 24 hour darkness, etc. you may want to go at the opposite end of the year.

    First thing I would be doing is start looking for a suitable motorhome. Even if you have to arrange to store it before you arrive. It took me more than 12 months of searching and researching to get the vehicle which I have. It pays to 'look' all over the US, as you never know where you are going to find a bargain. After looking in many States, I finally purchased a vehicle which was located in eastern PA.

    Even though I have family and friends in the US, there is no way I wanted any of them to carry the burden of covering my registration and insurance. Not even use their address. Not in that litigious society.

    (Although not exactly the same as your needs, this thread may give you some ideas.)

    So what brings you to North America for two years?


  5. Default

    Hi Lifey, I see you are from Melbourne. I think I may be drawing on your experiences about the logistics of everything a LOT!
    When I said "I have it covered" I meant I understand that visa's etc will have to be organised. I have not looked into this at all at this early stage. We own property in Memphis, so I planned to use that address for the registration be continued.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default First things first...

    ... get your visa(s) sorted out. The US first! Write a letter to the US Embassy in Canberra. I would not bother with the consulate in Melbourne, although you will probably need to go there later. Set out your complete situation, and what you are planning to do. No point trying to call or email, those won't be answered, even if you can find a phone number or email address. Writing to them gets results, every time, even if it takes weeks. With property in the US I do not know what visa, if any, you are entitled to. I do know that with the VWP and the B2 visa your maximum stay in US and Canada combined, cannot be more than 90 days (VWP)/6 months (B2). Re entry is only permitted if you have travelled to virtually another continent. Mexico and Central America as well as the Carribean Islands will not do. Prior to 9/11 it was common to spend a couple of days in Canada or Mexico and get another 90 days. Those times are gone for good.

    Last year I was in the US for four months, then went home for a week and was given another six months on my re entry.

    I went home two months later.

    Where are you from?


  7. Default

    Hi again, to answer your question about what brings us to North America - we have traveled fairly extensively over the years using many modes of transport. Years ago we bought a Kombie van and toured through parts of Europe and the UK for 6 months. I don't think I would even fit in a van that size these days so we will have to go bigger! hahaha.
    I guess we are looking for the last big adventure before we get old ;) and America seemed to fit the bill for us at this stage of our lives. Combining Canada and Central America with the US gives us a large choice for diversity of sights sounds culture people etc etc.
    Our adult children plan to be living in the UK during this time so we will probably be popping over there from time to time to visit, so hopefully that may help with outstaying-the-visa problems. That is a great tip about writing to the embassy - thanks so much.
    Important tip - learned on day 3/365 of planning!
    We are from the Central Coast approx 1 hours drive north of Sydney.

    What sites do you recommend for second hand motor homes? ebay?

  8. Default

    I just clicked on the link you recommended above and see that it may very well answer my last question. thx

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Any and all!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Debain View Post
    What sites do you recommend for second hand motor homes? ebay?
    Don't limit yourself to any particular site. Think of what keywords to use, and start from there. The thread I linked should give you a good start with keywords. When you find something that looks like it is the style you want, then keep searching with its keywords. You won't get bored... you might get frustrated. It will consume many hours and hundreds and hundreds of sites.

    You might see something you want on thE bay or Craigslist. However, purchasing from afar, I would definitely stick with a dealer. Many dealers advertise on both. The vehicle I bought was on thE bay, but I went direct to the dealer. Spent many many phone calls speaking with the salesman, organising mechanical checks, and all that, before I finally purchased. When you find a dealer go to their site, and check out their inventory. There may be many more there.

    It's just a matter of spending hours, days, months (???) on the computer, doing your research. In the end you will get there, just as I did.


  10. Default

    Hi Lifey,
    I read the whole thread that you posted above and it's almost put me off!!

    Gawd, what a hassle. I have printed the whole 38 pages for my husband to read as well - I wonder what he will say. I now realise how flippant I must have sounded when I said "I had it covered" - not even close.

    Do you have a summary of which state to purchase in for ownership ease, what dealer, which insurance company? Like you, we could pick up from anywhere really. This would be a great starting point for me if you did not mind divulging your sources.

    I have to say the support you received from the forum members was outstanding - they must feel like family to you now :0)

    Cheers Debbie
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-26-2013 at 04:49 PM. Reason: added some white space

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