"... Frank sat down in the rain and said 'Dale, move your bike over a little so the truck can get by'. I really didn't have any room to move, so thought I would take it off the kickstand and just lean it a little to the right to give a couple more inches. As my right foot touched the edge, it gave way; I was tumbling and sliding with my bike down the mountain. My bike and I stopped suddenly against a thorn bush. I was dazed now… couldn't see anything at first, but soon saw that my bike and I had a potentially greater fall if I wasn't careful. I couldn't stand up, too steep and slippery, and I didn't want to hang onto my bike, for fear it & I would go into the abyss..."
Dale Thornton and Frank Tabor, USA, in Peru
"... Up ahead I see a few small boulders in the road and some cut down trees being cleared which I easily skirt around with people yelling parro at me. At this point I'm thinking parro must mean obstacle of some kind, maybe a landslide up ahead. What the heck I'm on a motorcycle and should be able to get around anything. Now I am encountering stones neatly arranged across the road about every quarter mile which I just run right over. People are not smiling at me anymore. There is a feeling of trepidation in the air but I can't quite figure it out. When I saw the tree branches laying across the road and the boulders blocking the way with men standing ready on either side I said, here we go.
I kicked it down a gear and rode over the first set of tree branches in a hail of rocks and chunks of who knows what being pitched at me, all of it came close but nothing hit me. The first hurdle was a cinch but couldn't make it past the boulders as there was no space wide enough to get through. I am stuck and the mob is now storming toward me chanting parro and they are not happy. Once again my options are limited, there is nowhere to go, I must stand and well you know... negotiate. At least no one is shooting at me..."
Glen Heggstad, USA, in Peru
"... Along my motorcycle career I have crossed my share of international borders. But nothing in my know-how quite prepared me for crossing from China to Hong Kong. I am primed to ride through pothole-ridden roads, mud fields, bull dust and other natural disasters. Riding through crowded train stations, mechanical escalators, security checkpoints, and store rooms was not quite in my bag of tricks. Queuing up astride a full-size motorcycle at immigration and customs lines along with 100,000 weekend Chinese shoppers hauling baskets, carts, boxes, and bawling children was colorful to put it mildly
... My 'ride' across the Lo Wu station came to a sudden dead end on the second floor of an extremely crowded waiting room on the HK side. You see, Lo Wu is a busy pedestrian only border crossing that leads into a railway station where you catch a train to Kowloon. Motor vehicles cross at Man Kan To, a few kilometers away. Whoever issued my permits in Beijing obviously had never been in this part of the country and had not a clue what to expect. But the law is the law, and at Lo Wu I crossed..."
Frank Campbell, USA, over 12,000 km on a BMW F650 from Europe to Hong Kong
"... During the night I woke to hear something crackle, first I thought it was someone at the bike, I sat up listening. I couldn't place where it was coming from. I unzipped the tent and the first thing I noticed was a thick fog had covered the place, funny thing was it smelt like smoke. I jumped out in my boxer shorts and got into my new walking boots. I could hardly even see the bike, or the cow shed for that matter. I ducked down and ran in, half the floor was alight. I could see what had already been burnt by the black area and the rest was glowing red. The only water I had was in a 2-liter bottle, which I used to stop the fire spreading any closer to the bike. I then grabbed my waterproof bottoms and tied knots in the bottom of each leg and ran to the river..."
Liam McCabe , Northern Ireland, around the world, in New Zealand
"... A couple of minivans were stuck at the foot of this rutted ascent, whilst a third attacked it at maximum revs, wheels spinning as it was shoved by its dozen or so passengers. The attempt was unsuccessful, and it slithered back into the quagmire with smoke pouring interestingly from the engine compartment.
The audience turned expectantly towards me, and I didn't feel I could let them down. Up on the pegs, I launched myself at the thing gamely, with predictable results. Something solid in the glutinous muck grabbed pulled and twisted, and over I went. Fortunately, the mud was nice and soft, and I relaxed happily into its gluey embrace as I thumbed the kill switch. He's back, I thought, the legendary horizontal Irish biker adds one more landmass to the growing list of 'Places I've stacked the bike'...."
Connor Carson, UK, round the world, in Indonesia
"... I was redirected back to the old jetty and told to take my bike across the water in the traditional way - by longboat. Upon my arrival at this jetty my first reaction was to gag. My bike fully loaded weighs 300 kg, I began insisting that this was not possible and when the police then told me to wait until tomorrow and see if the strike is over this only fuelled my resolve. Monsoon downpour over, I removed all luggage including boxes from the bike and drove it onto the longboat via a rickety plank resting on beach sand. Once aboard we (the crew of one and myself) managed to turn the bike around, contorting ourselves into positions that would have made the authors of the Kama Sutra proud! As we set off across the water I couldn't stop myself from trying to gauge the depth in the event of a salvage operation. Who says I am paranoid?"
Steve Raucher, South Africa, in Thailand
"... here, in this narrow valley, the primitive senses can appreciate all the little details bestowed on this magical place; the intricate shades of green that fill the air, from the wild grasses to the maturing rice to the pine trees on the borders, the twists, turns, dips and pools of the bubbling river, the gorgeous silver sheen on the rocks at your feet, only the sounds of wind, river and birds to distract you from the visual beauty that surrounds. Kamal (safari leader) estimated the slope of our road to be an incredible seventy degrees, and it soon proved to be too much ..."
James Richmond, Canada, in the Himalayas
"... We park our bikes and Harald goes with the leader to a little house to negotiate. Udo stays with the bikes to guard them. The men are real close around the bikes and they all have a mean look in their eyes. They wear the shalwar kameez, wide trousers with a long shirt and tulbands on their heads. They just look like Ali Baba and his 40 robbers... Udo feels threatened and is afraid that the situation is going out of control. Then there is a lot of shouting and men are running to a bus. The bus wanted to drive away but the men are hammering with their fists on the bus till the driver stops. Udo realizes that we can go nowhere. We are taken hostage."
Harald and Udo Lamers, Netherlands, in Pakistan
"After a few hundred meters my bike looked like a big grey birthday cake on which you could not even recognize the knobbly tires any more. The mud went partly up to my kneecaps, during any of my very frequent stops mosquitoes were circling around my head like Native Americans when attacking the white man's wagons. And let's not forget about the heat, humidity, absence of any life forms but the ones mentioned and of course some crocs."
Dirk Bachmann, Germany, in Bolivia
"... 'So how exactly did you get here?' It was a common question among the locals. The Darien Jungle is virtually a no-mans land, with the guerrilla controlling the territory to the South and happy Carabineers controlling the paradise to the North... if you are lucky enough to visit the skinny piece of land that lies next to the Darien Jungle at the southern tip of the country, along the Caribbean sea, you just may think that this is paradise... Here you can fish in the morning and eat your catch in the afternoon, and listen to the monkeys hooting in the trees, eating the bananas, next to the mango tree. "
Kelly (USA) and Enric (Spain), from Santiago to USA, in Panama