Trooper, are thy mine?

One last snag occurred before the Trooper and I could start the invasion.

When we got back from the Sonisphere festival, Gail sent over the shipping documents with a detailed set of instructions about dropping the bike off at the airports, how to prepare the bike for shipping and what documents I would need at the airport.

My vision of being able to ride the Trooper to Glasgow airport, get on the plane and ride away on the other side was quickly dispelled. I had to drop the Trooper off at cargo 2 days before departure for security screening. My hope to be able to send the Trooper across with saddle-bags and luggage rack loaded was also quashed. The bike apparently had to travel unladen and with empty saddle-bags.

Gail also included with the shipping documents a contact for a shipping agent, PBS International, who could handle even more paperwork and shipping formalities in the UK.

On the same day as the shipping documents arrived, I had an urgent email from Gail telling me that the Department for Transport had just issued a new directive on security screening, which included a 24 hour air sampling. This meant that the Trooper would have to be dropped off 4 days before departure. This gave only 2 working days to get the extra shipping paperwork and formalities sorted on this side of the pond, and she urged me to contact PBS immediately.

I called PBS as soon as I read Gail’s email and spoke to Tracey, the 4th of the wonderful ladies. Tracey managed to get all the necessary documentation turned around that afternoon and it arrived by courier the next day. I needed to take all this documentation with me when I dropped the Trooper off at the airport.

When I was talking to Tracey, the final potential snag raised its head. In order to get the Trooper through customs at the Canadian and US borders, I would need to the registration (or title) document to prove I was the legal owner. I had only had the Trooper 3 weeks at this point and I hadn’t had the new registration document back from DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). DVLA say they will send out the new document within 2 to 4 weeks, but I couldn’t be sure when Edinburgh Harley-Davidson had sent off the change of ownership details. I had the bill of sale from Edinburgh Harley-Davidson, but both Tracey and Gail thought that there was a risk of hitting problems with customs. The last thing I needed was to fly all the way over, and then not be able to get the Trooper out of customs.

As it turns out, the solution to the problem was much simpler than I’d imagined. I phoned DVLA and spoke to someone really helpful who told me that DVLA can issue a temporary registration certificate for vehicles that will be temporarily exported within 4 weeks of purchase. It does involve a trip to the local DVLA office, but that wasn’t a problem for me as there is an office in Edinburgh. The Trooper and I zipped over there and I paid my £3 for the certificate.

By the Friday afternoon, I seemed to have all the paperwork I needed and was all set to drop the Trooper off the following Monday at Glasgow airport.

If anyone is considering undertaking a similar trip, I ought to mention that I have encountered extra charges at nearly every stage. In addition to the $3,990 paid to Motorcycle Express for the shipping, I paid about another £270 to PBS, mainly for the security screening but also a fee for preparing the documentation. And I had to pay about another $80 (CAD) to retrieve the Trooper from customs in Canada.

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