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Old 1 Nov 2011
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Awww Screw It.

!!!I'm FREE!!!

Free at Last, Free at Last, Oh Lordy I'm Free at Last!

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Old 1 Nov 2011
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I'm free

Hi Alex,

Yahooooooo! I had a huge smile on my face when I watched your video this morning Alex. Congratulations. Now my Father side is going to come out. Please take it easy on the bike. You haven't been riding for ages so just ease off a little and remember that you are very vulnerable. Maybe just back the fun meter back down into the green zone.

Enjoy the rest of your trip. I'm hanging out for your next report.

Cheers from Down Under,

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Old 2 Nov 2011
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.......Take your time and be safe

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Old 2 Nov 2011
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Sweet Freedom

Well now.

Enjoying my new found freedom, I took care of some last minute preparations in anticipation of leaving this joint tomorrow.

1st. I took all of my clothes to the laundry, and had them washed and cleaned. I'm good for another month now. Cost =$3.75.

2nd. I went to a seamstress and had my riding pants patched and sewn. My right ass cheek had a tear, as did the outside of my left knee. I asked if she could add 6" to my pants, but she said she couldn't do it tonight, so I told her not to bother. Cost = $3.00

3rd. I walked to the Ice Cream joint and bought myself a celebratory ice cream cone. Cost = $1.00

4th. I went directly next door to the seamstress with my pants and found buckles for my tank bag. I walked back to the hotel and grabbed my tank bag, and on the way back grabbed some sour gummy worms, a box of (20) 400mg Ibuprofen, and 3 ciprofloxicino. Cost = $5.54

5th. I took my tank bag and got new buckles replaced and sewn onto it where two had broken. The first broke in BAJA, Mexico (200 days ago) and was fixed with gorilla tape. The second was complete destroyed in Barranquilla, Colombia 3 months ago. Cost = $2.00

6th. I had the second seamstress add 6 inches to the bottom of my pants, because she could do it tonight. The material she used, she claimed was waterproof and it's sturdy as hell. I didn't need waterproof, but it's preferred, and I'll take it! Cost= $6 .00

7th. I went to one of my favorite food joints, and bought a more expensive meal. Pork this time. I said goodbye my people. Cost = $4.50

8th. I bought some chips and a 1 liter Gatorade from a favorite corner store. Cost = $2.80

Then I walked back to my hotel, paid my bill up to tonight, and told them I'd be leaving in the morning.

And I plan to do just that, after saying goodbye to the ladies that own the corner store, and their helper.

Now, I go for a with the Euro Girls.

Hell yes.


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Old 2 Nov 2011
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Great News,

Best of luck back on the road , keep those reports coming and ride safe
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Old 3 Nov 2011
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On the Road Again!

Whammo Bammo!

Thanks for all the replies everyone! I am on the road again, and am in the deep south of Ecuador.

I rode 180 miles today after leaving at 10:40am, much later than anticipated, after packing all my stuff, and saying goodbye to the ladies that own the corner store.

At about 2:30, I was tired, so I pulled up this mini dirt road offshoot that some construction workers had paved to lay a 3¨ waterline into direct contact with a mini waterfall.

I hung out there, eating some chips, and took a nap. I fell asleep for like 15 minutes, then got up and took off. 3.5 hours later, I found myselft 2.5hrs from the Peru border crossing at Macara.

My front brake rotor repair job didn´t hold, and I am beginning to wonder if it fact there is a small deflection in the axle, and I only aggravated the issue by reefing on the brake rotor.

So, I emailed a fellow rider named Frank that is waiting on a rear shock for his R1200GSA in Lima, and asked him if he could please help me find a replacement rotor, and possibly a front axle.

If any body wants to call up Lima, that would be cool too!

In a small town, I saw two Suzuki XF650 Freewind. They are nearly the same bike, and share the same frame (nearly) and same front hub/brake rotor. (though it´s on the right vs left side).

One bike was with a BMW F650 and KLR650, all Ecuadorian.

I stopped to speak with them and asked the XF650 owner if he new where I could find the parts. He and the other two guys all whipped out their smart phones and started making phone calls and texts. No one got a response. Ecuador is basically shut down for 3 days due to holidays and such, so the earliest I could get a part would be Friday. I can ride the bike to Piura, Peru about 5-6 hours away, and find it there, but it might take a few days.

From what I´ve noticed, the brake doesn´t cause me a problem, and the rotor is NOT touching the caliper. It´s just wearing more on the right side brake pad every rotation.

I´ll ride the bike to Lima, and sort the problem there.

And for now, I´m going to go eat food, and go to bed, so I can leave at 8am fully rested.

Internet cafe and me being tired means no photos today.


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Old 3 Nov 2011
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Just wanted to say that I am thoroughly enjoying reading all these posts
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Old 3 Nov 2011
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It's been 35 years since I wandered the same route at about the same age. Keep safe and we'll keep reading!
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Old 4 Nov 2011
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I nearly kicked a tree today...

Because I was ANGRY.

I left Azoques yesterday, and today I am on the border with Peru.

They impounded my bike this afternoon at the border because I was 24 days over my alloted visa time of 10 days. When I entered Ecuador, the system was down, so everyone was entered manually and given ten days. 2 days later I had accident.

I got a letter from the Judge from where I was, explaining the case, but apparently it was only good for immigration (i.e. my and my passport) but not valid for Aduanas.(i.e, custom and the bike). So, they made me leave my bike there, and I have to WAIT UNTIL MONDAY because of the ****ing holidays. On monday, the man that can make the necessary paper will arrive. All the Aduaneros (customs guys), wanted to help, but WOULD NOT budge.

This is the first time I have been angry in 7 months.

So now I have 4 days to chillax.

Today, I got sunburnt, had a flat tire, and realized that I am without my electric ($100) pump (which had my patch kit with it) because it never made it back to me after my accident. Either did EITHER of my pairs of gloves ($100 and $125). Some cop got the BEST gloves on the market. Summer and winter gloves.

So I got help from a local, took the wheel off the back of the bike, and left the bike on the road. Got driven about 5 miles, had the shit patched, got back on the bike, and was having a great time, and then this..........

Life is always full of adventures no?

I uploaded all the pictures I´ve not posted yet, and will go back to my hotel ($6/night) and write out the report. I´ve got this internet cafe computer silently downloading movies for me...

Did someone yell out ONWARD!? Right. Not just yet amigos.

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Old 4 Nov 2011
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Alex...that sucks........stay cool. Its all part of the great adventure you are living. You endured 40 days ..... a few more will likely turn up more exciting times. This is what keeps your followers glued to your Blog....its pacted with the unexpected with its twists and turns.
Best Wishes...

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Old 4 Nov 2011
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Glad to hear you're back on the road again even though you're stalled for a few days. Hopefully you'll be on your way again soon. As a little encouragement, remember the words of Bill Hicks, "it's just a ride".

Good luck with the border patrol.
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Old 4 Nov 2011
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On the road again, mostly.

The journey continues. Tuesday November 1st, 2011. Day 215.
The day my freedom to leave the country of Ecuador arrived; it was celebrated informally after the hearing by going out to breakfast with Mr. Lawyer Man. I tried to buy him breakfast, but the guy refused to let me pay, and in fact, never charged me a dime for his work. The Judge had just told us that he needed to consult with his superiors, but that meant little to Mr. Lawyer Man, as he was confident that the final hearing would be in my favor. He was eventually correct.

However, I still would need to return later that afternoon for the “final” verdict. In the mean time, we were close to Julio Cesar Guevara’s (aka, Mr. Lawyer Man) auto-body mechanic that was working on his Ford Explorer. As it turned out, Javier, his assistant (and brother and law) was driving the vehicle with his wife, two daughters, and two nieces when they had an accident, involving a tree, and rolling over on its right side. Julio told me that they all exited from the rear window, but were all completely fine!

After that, Julio (Lawyer Man) dropped me off at my hotel, with instructions to meet him at 2:15 to go to the Judges office for the latest news. Back at the hotel for a few hours, I received a phone call from Julio that involved him telling me to go to the Judges office on my bike, to get the papers for Migracion, because he was busy and couldn’t help right then. I didn’t have any idea what I was really doing, but I knew my way, so I got on the bike and headed for Bilblian 3 miles away.

Into the building and up the stairs like every other time I had been there, and into the open door to the Judges office. “Hola!” I said, before further explaining that my lawyer had sent me to collect a paper for Migracion. I got the paper, and that is the one you saw in the video if you watched it. I call it the “I’m FREE” doctrine. And that is what it turned out to be; for my bodily person.

After that, I had to go to the Migracion office at the Police station and give him a copy of the paperwork. I held onto the original for border crossing purposes, and that was it. I was told that the paper would allow me to leave without any issues potentially resulting from overstaying my original 10 day visa allowance that I received 32 days prior. Before I left the judges building though, I took a reminder photo of the place that served justice to me.

Ah, sweet personal freedom, and about as good as I have looked in 210 days. Kristi said so.

After that, you’ve heard the story. I went out and got all sorts of odds and ends taken care of, while still maintaining my “cheap bastidge” token at hand.

I went for a with the euro girls that night as well, and we had French fries at a local restaurant. I told them each that they should leave with me and travel south, as I didn’t feel like going alone. They declined! After that, it was time for bed.

And the next morning, I drug all my crap down 3 floors to the garage below, and loaded up the bike. Finally ready, it was another reminder shot of my time in Azougues, Ecuador; 32 days.

Packed, ready to go, and looking good.

THUMBS UP! I’m out of here! Almost!

Before I could leave though, I had to stop and see my favorite ladies here in Southern Ecuador, Aida and Inez, along with their mother Javiera, and their helper Diego. Here I am sitting in the chair they brought out for me. Aida will contend that I am now her family, and I must call her when I get home (I have her phone number). Further, I must bring Kristi when I marry her. And bring my family the gifts she gave to me to give to them. Damn. She was pouring out the love!

So, please meet my 3rd family other than my own. (#1: Kristi’s, #2: My best friend of 18 years Kevin’s. #3: Aida and family)

And to give you an idea of what I look like in comparison.
From left to right we have the helper Diego (dark blue), one of the sisters Inez (light blue), a friend of the family (orange), the Mother of the sisters sitting in the chair Javiera, a friend of the family (light green), and finally Aida (purple). Of course, there I am standing with them all, none of which come to my shoulder!

Well, then it was time to leave Azogues, much later than my planned departure of 8am. I left at 10:30, and hit the road. It was totally awesome. About 4 hours later, after a gas stop, a pit stop for a snack, and another gas stop, I pulled over because I was beginning to get tired. Eyes were droopy etc.

I passed this little waterfall with a dirt road leading up to it at first, but decided better, and turned around. 200 meters of dir t road had me underneath it, occasionally wiping mist off my sunglasses. Awesome.

It was as I left the hotel, after 32 days I realized that I was gloveless. Yes. I had no gloves. Neither my summer weight gloves, nor winter weight gloves were anywhere to be found. Maybe they were never found when my bike got dumped. The pannier did get ripped off, and the lid busted up, and things went flying BUT my gloves were on my hands still. So where did they go? I believe a police officer has them right now.

Well, being gloveless felt like being naked. I didn’t like it. And my hands were cold as hell because it was raining, and I was at altitudes up to 3000 meters. Heated grips helped, but these mini minimart sacks do much better! No road protection, but I wasn’t cold any longer!

As I sat there, I was tired. Sitting on my ass for the past 30 days conditioned my ass to sitting in the saddle for hours, but not my body. I’ll have to get used to this again. Nap time!

This is where I came from. The southern mountains of Ecuador really offer some stunning views; more of that to come.

You can see here the type of weather I was experiencing that day. The sunshine was trying to push through the clouds, burning off the fog, yet failing to win.

What’s up everyone!?

I found this scene particularly nice, so I stopped to take a picture of it as well. You can see rays of sun light coming down in the valley between the mountains on the left with farmland on the right, all surrounded by forest.

Well, somewhere in this ride, I made it to the town of Loja, and got lost for about 35 minutes, driving around looking for the exit. The VERY FIRST one I had fad looked fishy so I didn’t take it. 35 minutes later after asking police men and taxi drivers, I was back to where I had been. Damn it.

It was 40 minutes later that I stopped for the day. I saw two Suzuki XF650 Freewinds in a small town that was unusually busy due the holidays. This one belonged to a guy riding with his two friends that were on other bikes, a BMW F650GS and a Kawasaki KLR650. This Blue Freewind is a 2002 model.

Some of you other DR650 riders will be interested to see the DUAL carbs. As the bike is apparently a 2 piston bike? That is new news to me! I thought it just had dual carbs like an XT550 or something! The man swore it had to be two cylinders though.

I need to recheck that, because the 47hp motor fits directly into a DR650 frame. The motors are identical on the outside from what I could see. The exhaust was the same, the oil sight glasses, the sumps, the stator covers, the clutch covers, the starter covers, the sprocket covers, etc. The oil cooler was placed differently, but so what!?

I took the opportunity to ask the owner of the Suzuki Freewind where he gets his parts. He lamented that he gets his parts in Loja, 40 minutes back in the direction that it came, but that also due to Ecuadorian holidays, I wouldn’t be able to find parts in Ecuador until Monday. Alas, but front brake rotor isn’t too bad. It’ll be ok.

On their advice I stayed at a cheap motel and used the internet next door, called my dad for 3 minutes ($.50/min) at a calling booth, Kristi for 4 minutes, and got some grilled meat across the street. After that, I spent about 30 minutes shooting the shit with a store owner that spent the last 11 years living and working in Spain, Monday to Friday, as a cleaning lady, which she said she prefers to working in Ecuador, as it she works 7 days a week. She came home with enough money to buy a house in Loja, which she’s renting on a 2 year contract while living and working in the smaller town further south, out of the mountains. I bought a razor and a couple bottles of water from her. She was a nice lady.

To be continued...
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Old 4 Nov 2011
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The next morning, I hit the road at 8am. It was awesome.

My goal this day was to cross the border to Peru, and get as far south as I could before I was too tired, or it became dark.

The ride for the first hour looked like it was threatening to rain on my parade of happy sunshine. I was riding a ridgeline with sunshine on one side, and gray fog and clouds on the other side.

This dirt road beckoned into the distance. If I didn’t feel like leaving Ecuador just so I could be in Peru, I might have taken it! You can see the sunshine on this side.

And the foggy clouds on the other!

This looks a bit more dramatic than it really was, but now you can see what I’m talking about!

Happy Travel, Drive with Caution. Macara 121km (THE BORDER!)

In the next town, I saw a fully loaded motorcycle headed my way. I honked and waved. They pulled over, I followed them. These guys are traveling from Buenos Aires to North America, with the US as their end destination. They started on 2 bikes, but are now on one. Meet the Germans on a F800GS, Frank and Julie!

At this point, I was about an hour and a half from the border town of Macara, and the riding was awesome. It was 120km of twisty mountain roads with some dirt sections thrown in just to keep you real.

At the next gas station, I found myself looking at this thing. The local transportation had room for about 30.

Onward down the road I pulled over to get some water, as it was 98 degrees outside according to my vapor tech. I drank some water, and got back on the bike, with a flat tire. DAMN IT. Really, another one?!

Yeah, that sure looks flat as hell…

This is when I realized that I was missing another thing that I left home with. My cycle pump, and the patch kit I stored with it. DAMN IT. In my excitement to leave Azoques, when I packed, I didn’t even realize I never had my pump and patch kit. I hadn’t had a flat tire since Mexico, (not including the one in the mountains when I didn’t pack ANYTHING besides my tools), so I never thought about the pump at the bottom of my right pannier.

Now, I’m roadside, in the Ecuadorian mountains, 5 miles from the small town of Naranja behind me, and I pump my rear tire up. I’ve got a new rear tube on hand, and the tools to take off the tire, and replace the tube, but “I can’t ride it.

Well, as luck would have it, right behind me was a large truck parked with a driver it in, and he offered to take me back to the town when I told him my situation.

SHIT. I need to find a pump! As it was, I had to leave my bike on the side of the road. I left only locked panniers on the bike. Everything else I took with me into town to pump up the new tube and patch the old one.

Here you can see the truck and driver that helped me out.

At the vulcanizador, I had to help both the driver and the man working to find the whole in the tube. Neither could see well enough to spot it. Patching it was easy, and cost me $3. The guy driving the truck charged me nothing for the ride.

Thanks amigo!

Back on the road, I was stopped in border town of Macara by a small demonstration between workers of one sort and another. Stopped there was a bus with some tourists on it. In particular I noticed a Canadian that was about 6’4” standing out in the crown. His bus was stopped and couldn’t go through the traffic jam of cars created by the demonstration. As I was on a bike, I was urged by everyone (demonstrators alike) to just pass on through, and so I did.

I stopped at the next gas station, and as they weren’t serving gas, bought a instead. I had it in mind that it would be my last been in Ecuador for a long while to come!

International Point of Macara. Happy Travel, Return Soon. (NOT IF I HAVE MY WAY!)

As I arrived at the border, I drove right up to the Migracion, and parked the bike. I filled out my immigration card, and handed it over to the officer in charge, along with the letter that you have all seen, that explains my case. I am 24 days over my allotted visa period given to me at the Colombian Ecuador border, and the paper says why. The man looked at it, asked me a few questions, asked his co-worker about procedure, and then stamped my passport. I was clear.

Aduanas (customs) was right down the road. I left the bike where it sat, and went to talk to the Aduanjero. He was busy checking semi trucks passing through, so I waited a bit. In due time, he took a look at my paper work. I explained the same thing to him the same thing that I had explained to the worker in Migracion. I had had an accident, and that paper explained why I was late.

He made phone call, and asked me to bring my bike up to in front of the office window. Sure, and so did. And this is when he told me. You are beyond your 10 day allowance, and this paper is not valid for customs, and is only valid for immigration. You have to leave you bike where it sits, and I am keeping your paperwork (title and bike import paper). You cannot leave until proper paperwork is created, and you can’t do that until Monday, due to the holidays.

At this point, I nearly flipped out on this guy. I’ve dealt with a lot in the past month, and I was not enjoying this man telling me that I couldn’t leave, couldn’t move the bike, and couldn’t have my paperwork back.

I explained (lying) to the man that I had to arrive in Lima on Saturday. I need to be there, to catch a flight, to go home, to a funeral. I CAN’T stay here. I HAVE to go.

He replied that I should change the flight. I explained it was for a FUNERAL. He replied that I could leave, but I couldn’t take the bike with me. That was all there was to it, and there was nothing he could do. I couldn’t even pay the ridiculous fine because the office to do that was closed also! (I’d sooner leave the bike than pay the fine of $200/day per overstay. 24 x $200 = $4800.)

I asked to see my title for a second, and he obliged. I folded the title and put it in my protective case, and refused to let him have it back. Eventually copies of my license, my passport (American) and my title were made. With MY hands on the paperwork.

It was at this point that they felt like I was going to keep going, regardless of what they said, and they made a very pitiful effort to prevent this, buy putting a spike strip under my bike. Haha. The spikes were far enough apart that I could simply roll my bike over it. Lame.

At this point, I seriously considered leaving illegally. I could enter Peru with no problem, and it would be of no concern to me. I can always enter Ecuador again on my Canadian passport, and I’ll not be bringing this bike back anyway. What stopped me was my urge to sell my bike in Buenos Aires at the end of this trip, and a distinct feeling that screwing a guy over, and eliminating his potential access to Ecuador and Colombia en route, was not ok. And that is what made me stay, virtue of honesty. Can you imagine selling a bike to another person that would be impounded when he/she tried to enter Ecuador? How screwy would that be!?

And so I left the bike, after removing my day bag from the rear top case, and leaving only locked bags, on the bike. Here you can see the mileage of the bike. They don’t have my keys, so it won’t move, but just in case.

Well. The customs guys understood my frustrations. They knew I was being given the shaft by the holiday schedule; and probably because I told them multiple times that I was not angry, and was only frustrated, they were still being nice to me despite my demeanor. One guy just began ignoring me unless I specifically directed my question at him. Off to the side, I even offered the man in charge a bribe. I phrased in such a manner to describe the fact that in my previous border crossings, I was able to pay the customs agent on the spot and leave without any problems. He didn’t get it at first, but when he understood, he simply smiled and shook his head. He would lose his job, and not accept $10, $100, or $1000. Not here, not in Ecuador, he said.

Well, THAT is something different from what I’ve experienced! However, each of the guys shook my hand like they meant it, and they were only doing their job as they each displayed. They answered all my 100 questions in turn, and stood their ground. They would not budge from protocol. And so the bike stayed, and I caught a ride into town that the border guards arranged for me.

They guys at the border even told the driver that was helping me (a young 20 something guy) where to take me; a cheap, affordable, clean hotel for $6/night. That is where I was subsequently dropped off.

I was still not happy, but was neither was I defeated. It was odd. For the first time, I really felt like kicking something, and yelling out loud. But instead, I just looked around at my tiny room, and smiled. Life is full of adventure right? Life throws you curveballs sometimes right? Hahaha.

And so, this is my unhappy face, F$&% you face, which moments later was smiling instead.

This is the view from outside of my hotel room door. Pretty bleak really, but is about 80 degrees, so I´m happy.

The view into the inner courtyard of the hotel.

Hotel Bekalus.

I went out for some food, internet, and more food that yesterday afternoon/night. I found a Parrillada that serves good food, and lots of it, for cheap. Here you can see the remnants of beans and rice with steak, potato salad and a potato. Don´t worry. I ate ALL OF IT.


And, just for fun, a photo of the 1982 Honda Aero 80 that my brother and I tore around town on. 50mph was possible, and achieved on SEVERAL occasions. It was $50. It was awesome.

More to come later!

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Old 7 Nov 2011
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Back to Azogues I go.

Got double f´ed this morning. I have to go back to where I was for a month (8-10 hours by bus) and get more papers. Going back within the hour. When I get back, I´ll have all the papers I ever laid my hands on, and leave this place probably Thursday.

Best part is, I could have gone and come back had they simply told me this on Thursday last week. Also, the lawyer wont email me the papers. Probably because he can´t scan them into his computer. So, I have to go back.

More to come when I get back.

Count to ten Alex. Count to ten.

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Old 8 Nov 2011
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sorry to hear you've got more trouble's with the paperwork side of things. Lets hope this is the last thing with that and you can get onward with the rest of your journey. Pete.
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10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

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