USA East, 2008: Fifth Annual HU Travellers Meeting

Why Come to a Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers Meeting?

You can meet people who don't think you're crazy for wanting to ride your bike to South America or Africa or across Asia, or even around the world! Admit it, all your 'normal' friends and most of your family fears for your sanity! So, this is your opportunity to meet the people who will encourage you in that craziness, share their experiences and advice on how to do it, and maybe you'll meet them again in Mongolia or Timbuktu!

Robbinsville, North Carolina, USA, July 17-20, 2008

Short History of HU Meetings

How you can help - put up a few posters! poster available! Please post it everywhere!

The Plan

The plan is simple. Show up on Thursday or at the latest Friday afternoon, meet people and setup. Travel Presentations and Tech seminars are planned throughout the meeting, starting Thursday night.

2008 Speakers:

  • The Achievable Dream
    • Grant Johnson, Canada
      Learn from Horizons Unlimited's founder and 11 year round-the-world veteran everything you need to know to ride to the next country or the next continent. Sound scary? Get the inspiration and information so YOU can hit the road! In two parts:10-12 and 1-3PM.
  • Backpackers, Baboons, BMW's and Bushcamps
    • Denis and Linda Blaise, USA
      4,000 miles on rented F650's through South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho
  • Colonial Mexico, and Mexico's Copper Canyon
    • Merrill Glos, USA
      The Colonial cities of the Sierra Nevadas - awesome riding country with lots to see!
  • Two Bikes In A Canoe
    • Denis and Linda Blaise, USA
      Florida to Guatemala via Belize and Mexico
  • My one year around the Americas - in 2 years
    • Jacob Sherman
      My plan for one year around the Americas became an adventure of a lifetime when I broke my leg in Baja.
  • 11,000 miles to see a sign
    • Curtis Nugent
      Solo to the Circle (finishing at the meeting!)
  • Around the Block 2007 (Milestones for a 17 year old)
    • Toby (and Sara) Shannon
      The concept of RTW or shorter bike trips as a "coming of age" mile marker for a young man with his father. Luke turned 17 (in Cuzco) on this moto trip Peru-Brazil-Bolivia-Peru, 10,000 km in 42 days on a 250cc.
  • 11 Years on the Road, RTW
    • Grant Johnson
      Grant and Susan's show of their RTW trip hasn't been seen since 2000, so due to popular demand - well one or two - it's been resurrected with loads of never seen before pictures. (if we have time)
  • Central Mexico, 14,000ft mtn passes to 300ft coastal sand dunes
    • Lee Allison, USA
      Join Gerardo Ibarra, Bruce "gaspipe" Crawford and Leebob exploring central Mexico from 14,000ft and down down down to the sea we go.
  • Central America
    • Jeff Munn, USA, presented by Charles Twyman
      Central America to the Darien Gap, Virginia to the Darien and back
  • Mexico, Belize and Guatemala
    • Mike Kilpatrick, USA
      "Just because you've got the latest HU Meeting tee-shirt doesn't mean you're ready to cross borders."
  • how about you?? Let us know if you have something to show! Volunteers wanted for these and any other subjects you'd like to talk about! It's easy and fun, and we'll help you out.

2008 Tech clinics, Saturday/Saturday night:

  • Fix that flat! How to change a tire anytime, anywhere
    • Grant Johnson, Canada
      How to prevent flats in the first place, and fix them when you get one. Grant's changed thousands, and will show you all the secrets to make it easy. The best tools and how to use them for tube and tubeless tires. Hand's on practical and tire changing contest for beginners to experts!
  • Prep your bike for the long trip!
    • Grant Johnson, Canada
      Is your bike ready for long distance travel? Grant will conduct a hands on assessment and discussion of bike set up and prep, looking at YOUR bike.
  • Photo Composition for Travellers
    • Grant Johnson, Canada
      The one everyone SHOULD take, but no one does... We all want to take great photos of our trip - so why don't we? This easy clinic will transform your motorcycle travel photos from boring to fabulous! BRING your photos on a CD or Flash Drive, max 10, and we'll critique and discuss YOUR photos - what's good, and what's not - and how they could be improved.
  • Laptops and How to Stay Digitally Connected
    • Jay Kannaiyan, USA
      Mini laptops that are travel friendly, how to effectively use internet cafes in 3rd world countries. SIM cards and other forms of communication like Skype for free calls back home.
  • Health Tips for International Travelers
    • Stan Polanski, Physician Assistant, USA
      How to stay one step ahead of infectious diseases on your travels.
  • Off-road Basics
    • Lee Allison and Grant Johnson
      We'll do a beginners session for those who've never ridden off-road, or had a bad time when they did. Low speed CONTROL, even for street bikes, will be the focus. Tight feet up u-turns with ease, and how NOT to hit the rock in the road.
  • how about you?? Let us know if you have something to show! Volunteers wanted for these and any other subjects you'd like to talk about! It's easy and fun, and we'll help you out.

How about you??

  • Let us know if you have something to show! Volunteers wanted for these and any other subjects you'd like to talk about! It's easy and fun, and we'll help you out.
  • Let's hear about YOUR trip!
  • Volunteers for anything else? Some suggested subjects:
    • First Aid for travellers
    • Laptops, uploads, files, communications on the road...
    • GPS
    • how about you?? Let us know if you have something to show! Volunteers wanted for these and any other subjects you'd like to talk about! It's easy and fun, and we'll help you out.

There will be slide shows Friday and Saturday night, so come early and make it a great weekend! We will have a DVD or two and loads of opportunity to talk Thursday night.

Leaving on a big trip in 2008?

Plan on leaving from the Meeting! We'll make it a great send-off! Or coming home around the time of the Meeting? What a great place to arrive at!

Travel with others going to the Meeting

Don't forget to check out the HUBB to connect with other travellers en route to the Meeting


All times - and everything - approximate! big grin

An up-to-date schedule will be posted at the Meeting.


CHECK-IN and sign up for Saturday and Sunday breakfast, Saturday dinner!

There will be at least a motorcycle travel video in the evening, and lots of opportunities to meet up with others and go for on and off-road rides.

Self-guided Ride details
Tail of the Dragon / Cherohala Skyway Loop ride

Friday afternoon/evening

CHECK-IN and sign up for Saturday and Sunday breakfast, Saturday dinner!


Self-guided Ride details
Tail of the Dragon / Cherohala Skyway Loop ride

A guided ride, Saturday:

"The ride mapped out is 140+/- miles. It is very tight both gravel and paved roads for the most part except for a couple 6-8 miles sections. There will be a number of 'bail out' points to return to Ironhorse. Best suited for XR650, KLR, 640 Adventure, DR650, DRZ400. I have ridden all these roads on 950 Adventure as well and the big Tigers, GS's etc should be fine for anyone but novice off-roaders. All on roads, no single track. Plan on min moving time of 4-5 hours. The roads are tight and mostly 2-3-4 gear stuff."

We'd like to have a volunteer to lead this ride. Let me know here if you can. Thanks!

Russ Corn has volunteered to lead a ride! Thanks Russ!

And there'll be more too! Book your place as soon as you get there, numbers will be limited.

Friday night


7:00 pm
Speakers presentations

Saturday morning - late check in

8 - 10 am - Breakfast

10:00 - Self-guided Ride details (see sheets at check-in for times for guided rides) and tech sessions.

Local riders have put a lot of effort into planning some great rides, so get on the lists early!

We also hope to have a few travel oriented vendors there, so a great opportunity to have a good look at the latest goodies. Vendors please contact me for details.

Road Ride: "Tail of the Dragon / Cherohala Skyway Loop" - we did have a ride leader, unfortunately he's now going in for surgery the day before. If you want to ride it yourself or in a group the ride starts early Saturday morning, 9AM. Full Details on the Tail of the Dragon / Cherohala Skyway Loop ride, and route information.

Saturday afternoon,

Tech sessions:

  • Photo Composition - maybe
  • Tire repair
  • ?? See the list at check-in!
  • Volunteers wanted to conduct tech sessions - please contact me here

Saturday night,

6:00 pm Dinner (Buffet)

7:00 pm
Speakers presentations


Time to slowly ride off into the sunset, err, rise...

Miscellaneous notes:

Organisers will be there starting late Wednesday, if anyone wishes to arrive early and just hang out.

Accommodation and meals are NOT included.

Not everyone wants to camp, people have different budgets and comfort requirements. Also, some people showed up on Friday, some on Saturday. So this year, instead of us try to organize and require you to pre-register for all these possibilities, we're making the pricing as simple as possible, and giving you the links to information about accommodation options, ranging from camping and hostels to hot springs resorts. We have negotiated special prices for the camping and rooms for the weekend. For the most fun, you want to be at the "official HU Campground" - that's the IronHorse Lodge - so you don't have to go looking for people to talk to.

We learned last year that some people wanted meals organized, others preferred to make their own arrangements or bring their own food. So, there will be one main dinner on Friday and Saturday nights before the slide shows. The price is approximately $12-15. This meal is optional, if people prefer to make their own arrangements that's okay too. Be sure to sign up for meals on arrival.

Iron Horse will be serving for all meals, so no problem getting something to eat at the Meeting site.

Membership - Show you're proud to be a Horizons Unlimited Traveller!

Just to clarify the membership situation: Currently there is no requirement to be a member to access the website, the HUBB or to receive the monthly e-zine. For now, 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.

We will also upgrade your status in the HUBB to Member. In addition to recognising your contribution through your status, this will allow you to upload a custom profile picture and custom avatar, store up to 50 private messages, upload more pictures (10 MB maximum storage) and create polls.

Another benefit we can provide is if you decide you want a t-shirt, mug, fleece jacket or other Horizons logo product from the Souk, you can purchase Member logo products at the basic price. Just let us know and we can arrange access to the Members Private Store.

T-Shirt Deal

Top quality heavy cotton t-shirts in black, or grey if pre-ordered. We will have a range of sizes available, but quantities will be very limited, so if you wait till the day, there might be none left in your size.

The new Synthetic t-shirts are in a beautifully made wicking material, and make great travel / riding t-shirts as well as all-round wear t-shirts. Available in black or grey at most meetings. MUST be pre-ordered.

Note that we will have a few black cotton t-shirts extra at each meeting, but anything else must be pre-ordered and paid in advance.

2011 Tshirt slogan "Wherever your mind wanders....Ride after it!"


Wherever your mind wanders...Ride after it!

Wherever your mind wanders...Ride after it!


Front Pocket 2010 tshirt

You can help!

If you have a few minutes, please download the poster (Adobe pdf format) and print off a few and hand them round your club or your local bike shop or anywhere seems like a good place.

2008 Poster in pdf format (886kb) full colour 2008 poster. (You may need to right click and choose "save target as...")

Thanks for the help!

The Meeting Location for 2004-8

Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge, Cabins and Campground
1755 Lower Stecoah Road,
North Carolina 28771

For more information:
Telephone: 1-828-479-3864
Email Ironhorse Lodge

More info on their website, and a review of Iron Horse in "Motorcycle Consumer News." (128kb .pdf)

Getting There - GPS, Maps

If you're heading there, check out the HUBB for current threads, who's going etc.!

GPS Co-ordinates: N35 deg 23' 20", W83 deg 40' 38"

Iron Horse is located in Graham County, North Carolina, on Lower Stecoah Road just north off Highway 28. A short 30 minute ride to the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap and the scenic Cherohala Skyway, two of the best motorcycle destinations in the United States.

Click to enlarge

more maps here

Other Accommodation Possibilities

Note: Camping is NOT included with your admission to the meeting. Reservations for camping (not required, but requested) and cabins, bunkhouse, rent-a-tent, (REQUIRED) here. Book EARLY!

Other accommodation possibilities are a little ways away - details to come.

Suggestions anyone?

Information about the area

Can you supply us with links, and other info on the places to ride, and interesting things to see in the area? Let us know here.

  • Ironhorse is in Graham County, NC. promotes the county and has driving directions to Graham County from Asheville, Atlanta and Knoxville. Even though the directions are not directly to Ironhorse, this site might be useful.
  • Great information on the "Tail of the Dragon" - otherwise known as US129, near Deal's Gap, with 318 curves in 11 miles, can be found on the "official" Tail of the Dragon website. An awesome road! We will have a few maps from the website, but it would be wise to print your own in advance. Available here. There is also info on Deals Gap, Cherohala Skyway and 2 Dual Sport rides.
  • North Carolina's 'Scenic Byways' website has a lot of great information on various scenic roads in North Carolina. They also sent Karen a book she says is great. It will be on display at the Meeting. Viewable online in pdf format or can be ordered from their website for only $5.00 each.
  • Wheels Through Time Museum a "35-year collection of rare American motorcycles and automobiles...230-vehicle collection in the lovely community of Maggie Valley, North Carolina, located just a few miles off of I-40 and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Maggie Valley is a quiet community of 400 people nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains." Owner Dale Walksler has very generously donated door prizes for our meeting, and wants to invite you to come visit the museum - he'll be delighted to meet you!

Local Hosts

Jim and Liz Donaldson are co-organizers of this event. The Horizons Unlimited events couldn't happen without the support of the local organisers and other helpers, and we greatly appreciate their assistance and support - please be sure to thank them too!

If you have any questions, they can be contacted here:

live in the area, so have lots of "local knowledge" if you have any questions.

And a special thanks to all the local sponsors and supporters!

  • Ghost Town Harley-Davidson "Western North Carolina's only source for authorized Harley-Davidson® sales, service and accessories."
  • Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC - "rare American motorcycles and automobiles"
  • Bluemoon Cycle in Norcross, GA. - "one of the largest volume BMW motorcycle dealers in the Southeast."
  • Fraziers Harley Davidson in Buford, GA. - "Our goal is simple. We want to keep everyone happy."
  • Atlanta Triumph Ducati in Atlanta, GA. - " a haven for motorcycle enthusiasts to hang out and discuss bikes with like minded fanatics."
  • Precision Cycle & ATV Sylva, NC. - a full-service shop - "Mechanics are the backbone of the business"
  • Smith Power Sports "products to make your outdoor living easier and more enjoyable. We offer experience, fair prices, and a friendly atmosphere." Kawasaki and KTM.
  • Mortons BMW, Fredericksburg, Virginia. Mortons have been a long-time Horizons Unlimited supporter, so a special thanks to them, and for coming all the way to the meeting! Say hi to Steve, he'll be wandering around...
  • BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta, "the leading BMW dealer in the southeast, with all the latest models, genuine BMW accessories and your exclusive source for BMW clothing in Georgia"

Please drop in for a visit and thank them for their support.

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!

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 Services and get your HU $15 discount!


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