"I left El Goleid and it was 4 hours and 80 km of pure pain. Deep sand, with tracks of trucks and cars making my front wheel climb out of the track all the time turning my bike 90 degrees around and so on. I fell 5 times but with low speed in soft sand. I must thank my nice diving instructor Emy for teaching me Rescue diving and EFR, in which you learn when something happens underwater to Stop, Breath, Think and Act. When it is 32 degrees in deep sand, after you fell with a heavy bike, you just change the line to: Stop, Drink, Think, Act and its all going to be okay..."
Frank Schellenberg, Germany, in Sudan
"Close to Calafate, things got nasty when I hit a rock (don't ask) and smashed two big holes in my engine cover -ooops! A pick-up truck stopped to see what was up; once they had ceased scanning the horizon for some errant husband or boyfriend to appear on a bike and actually started to believe me that I was on my own, they took things into their own hands. There was only one option according to them, they would tow me to the nearest house - two miles away. I was understandably hesitant, and how right I was. Before I knew it, I found myself being dragged at 20 mph on a woefully short piece of rope through the gravel and sand, buffeted by the winds, while the driver spun his steering wheel - occasionally remembering to look back and see if I was still there and amazingly I was."
Tiffany Coates, UK, in Argentina
"Rich Kickbush and David Unkovich decided to try some Hill Tribe booze I had given Sharon which had a large, poison filled snake in the bottle. The snake head touched their lips and the booze tasted (they said) like battery acid. Sharon would not be out done by two Aussies, so licked the snake lips too. Dun Duvall, one of my jungle riding buddies from the USA who is doing the world with a Honda tied to the front of his sailboat, went a bit further and lipped the serpent twice. I hate snakes (had to wrap the bottle in newspaper while I carried it five days on the motorcycle so I could not see the ugly thing), so passed on the challenge (the dead snake might have tried to kiss me back)..."
Greg Frazier, USA, in Thailand
"We were issued coca leaves to chew, and explosive materials to give to miners to blast when in the mine. Since Wilson was unable to find a miner actively blasting, we took our purchased material outside and Wilson and Victorio mixed up some plastik and ammonium nitrate (fertilizer of Oklahoma bombing fame), stuck in a blasting cap, crimped on a 18' fuse with teeth, lit it, and ask if anyone wants to hold the deadly package. I volunteer, giving my camera to Laura for evidence of how stupid I really am. Victorio then scampers across the slope and lays the charge down on the ground about 100 yards away. Now, this is a public place...dogs sniffing around, children about, and taxis from town driving by... there is no 'fire in the hole' yell. Nothing. Minutes later the blast sends debris 40 feet into the air and a shock wave to the marrow. We all agree it's the best tour we've ever taken."
Alon Carter, USA, in Bolivia
"... From Tehran we went to Esfahan and camped in the park with the locals as the hotels were either fully booked or had only their most expensive rooms available. We pitched our tent amongst them (them being around 100 or so others, although they slept on carpets without tents). Within 5 minutes we had tea served to us by a family who stayed with us for the evening sitting outside our tent. They had no English except 'we love you' but with the help of pen and paper we talked. They left the next day leaving us at the mercy of the other Iranians using 'Hotel Park'. After 3 nights we were glad to leave - the friendliness of the people was overpowering. We had no time to ourselves - as one group would leave after speaking to us another would run over. We have really enjoyed Iran and been surprised by how unlike what we expected it has been. The women here are much more forward in talking to tourists and everyone is genuine when they say that they hope you have a pleasant time and if there is anything they can do to help just ask."
Cliff and Jenny Batley, UK, in Iran
"... I just walked away from my job, whispering 'No more' to Corporate America. Immediately afterwards, I bought a motorcycle and then got a license a few weeks later. I needed the help of a friend to ride my brand new Kawasaki KLR650 off the showroom floor (because, I didn't know how to ride a motorcycle at the time of purchase.) Next, I decided to get rid of all my belongings: books, furniture, microwave, fridge, stereo, bicycles, snowboard, clothes, and knick knacks that I've kept for years. Everything went to donation or was sold on Ebay, leaving me without a place that I can call 'home'. Now I just live my dream of roaming the world, which harbors a possibility that I fall prey to an unexpected disaster. On the road, everything is a fair game, which is the kind of game I like to play."
Rick Koda, USA, around the world?, in South America
"... When I came around the turn I saw something I did not believe. The road was gone... Instead there was water running down from the mountain. Brown, foaming and roaring water. But... I had to go that way. Imagine that on both sides of the road there was a kind of wall made out of water running through the drains... I think it must have been 1.5 meter deep, and the current was strong enough to take trees with it... and it did. I could see some traffic-signs so I knew where the road should be. Apart from the fact that water was pouring into every opening in my rain-suite (and now I know there are many) I was doing OK. I even managed to avoid a collision with a garden-door that came to me like a surfboard and after a few scary moments I was on dry road again. My joy was not for long..."
Maarten Munnik, Netherlands, RTW, in Germany
"...I ran into a group of about 30 police, all on BMW's, in rural France. They were out with two instructors, finishing the 'proficiency' training that is required before they can be assigned to ride motorcycles. I was invited to ride along with them (they had a great 130 km long route laid out). Towards the end of the day, the chief instructor suggested that maybe I could lead the pack, and asked that I keep up a 'challenging' pace for the students. So - I wicked it out of there, scraping pegs in the corners and hitting 160 to 180 km/h on the straights through all the secondary and tertiary roads, with a pack of 30 cops following way behind me. I always slow right down to 40 or 50 when I go through villages (too many kids, dogs, pedestrians, etc.), but the cops would come ripping through the villages in one big wolfpack at Warp 7, with all their blue lights on, in order to catch up the distance they had lost to me during the rural riding. What a howl, it was the highlight of my trip. They bought me dinner at the end of the route."
Michael Moore, Canada, in France, on PanEuropean
"...The bike club turned up, lead by Elgar on his Jawa 350. The other 2 members were on Minsk 125s - very similar to BSA Bantams. One brought along a huge video camera to capture 'the day the foreigners fell off'. First we had to ride round town in convoy, to show all the locals our machinery. Then a challenge - the local 'big dirty hill'. We all stopped at the bottom of a limestone track, with a hairpin halfway up. The recent rain had turned the fine limestone powder into a firm porridge, but it looked do-able. We then had 10 minutes of them asking us 'problem da?' and 'problem yes?', and we replied 'problem nyet' and 'problem no'. So they'd have to go up it and we'd have to try. The pull was a bit squirrelly, especially with road tyres and touring pressures, but we got up it cleanly - much to their surprise - English honour upheld!"
Simon McCarthy and Georgie Simmonds, UK to Asia, in Azerbaijan
"... Coming over a little hill, mild turn to the left... one crashed car, another one, oh an exploded army jeep, and there a burned out army truck, hmmm are those the remains of a lorry spread around in a big circle.... and what look at that, a black torched armored tank....!!!!!! For a second I thought I was riding through the remains of an ambush…
Pieter Maes, Belgium, in Morocco, on Honda Transalp