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  • Writer's pictureSandra

Planning Roadtrip USA/Canada

Updated: Jul 30, 2022

15th of march 2022

I've been planning and arranging everything that's important for the past 3 months (3 years to be exact). Afterwards, such a trip with bus and dog across the big pond is not entirely without it. And there was something else!? Oh yes, I'm still in a wheelchair... I haven't flown since my accident. It doesn't matter, let's take a long-haul flight straight away so that the exertion pays off. So what do I have to think about? I'll try to give a little outline.

Shipment of the Skoolie This will take place at the end of March with the help of Seabridge by roll-on/roll-off from the port of Hamburg to Baltimore. The bus may be loaded, but must be "empty". I'll stow my Segway, walker and a few other things on the bus and hope they're still there when we pick the bus up at the port again.

flight booking Our Lufthansa flight leaves Frankfurt on April 20; I did the registration for wheelchair users including the assistance dog and had to submit a few documents. Not that much effort, by the way.

international health insurance Appropriate health insurance is required for such a long stay abroad; in this case we have concluded the contract with the ADAC for 6 months. Can also be extended if required, very important!

Car insurance for Skoolie The German car insurance does not apply overseas, so a separate one in the USA was required. It's ridiculously expensive, but you can't do without it! Unfortunately, this only applies in the USA; a separate one is required for Canada. But I'll tackle that once we've crossed the pond.

Technical inspection

Because the weight of the Skoolie (over 7.5 tons) falls under the regulations for trucks, we have to go to the main inspection every year. It's not due at the moment, but we'll be "over there" when it's due. That's why we brought the whole thing forward and picked up the plaque last week. Except for small remarks also without complaints.

Vaccination for Lennox and appointment at the veterinary office For the USA, a valid rabies vaccination must be proven, so we have refreshed the vaccination in good time. One day before departure, an appointment with the veterinary office is required, which confirms the suitability to travel and the valid vaccination protection

Rental car and hotel accommodation Yes, this is also necessary because we still have to drive from IAD airport to Baltimore, where the bus arrives at the port. We can’t avoid staying in a hotel either, since the bus can only pick you up at the port one day after arrival.

Cell service So that the travel budget is not unnecessarily burdened by phone calls and data connections, I got SIM cards from a German provider for the USA and Canada. The provider is called SIMLY and the contact via e-mail was extremely fast, helpful and absolutely exemplary. The prices are super fair! For example, the USA card also includes an EU telephone flat rate, which I think is great.

Rough route planning One of the most frequently asked questions: What does the route planning look like? Good question, next question! To be honest, the route is only roughly planned because we simply don't want to and don't have to commit ourselves. What is certain, however, is that the tour will start in Baltimore (because the bus arrives there) and then go to the Abilities Expo in New Jersey. A trade fair for people with disabilities, where various manufacturers of aids exhibit. Then it's off to Florida, then in the direction of Ohio, then to Canada (Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia), back to the USA and then we let ourselves drift... it all depends on where we are and when are and what else arises. But the goal is to be back in Baltimore in about 6 months and to start the journey home from there. But what am I talking about the journey home, first of all I'll be very happy when the journey finally starts!

What I didn't plan is that on the way home from the TÜV, the alternator suddenly decided not to charge anymore and we now just before (1 week before departure to Hamburg) have to remove it and have it checked. A new alternator was installed just 3 years ago and I would have hoped that it would last a bit longer. But well, now fingers crossed that the problem can be identified and fixed quickly. Preferably without a 4-digit invoice.

The 4-meter awning that I ordered in January should also be installed in good time (before next week). Unfortunately, the hardware that came with it wasn't really optimal for attachment to a rounded Skoolie roof rail. So we had to commission a few more parts to be milled. They won't be ready until Friday 3 days before departure.

Maybe one or the other can imagine that my nerves are a bit flat because of this. Quite apart from the fact that I could also catch COVID just before departure..... arghhhhh. I haven't even mentioned a lot of topics that also concern me, for example my aids, which I have to think about, since paraplegia like this also has a few things that come with it. But I think I'll spare you that. ;-) Did I forget something important? Certainly! If you think of something, please comment!

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