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Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting

Eighth Annual USA East

August 5-7, 2011

in cooperation with
Quality Touring equipment worldwide.
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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!

Camping facilities at the HU North Carolina meeting.

Camping facilities at the HU North Carolina meeting. Does it get any nicer?

Want to know what people thought of other HU Meetings? Is it worth coming to the Meeting?

"I'm so looking forward to another HU meet. My only problem is that I simply can't get to every talk I want, such is the amount of terrific presentations on offer. Each year I've been astonished at how articulate, intelligent, informative and entertaining the speakers are. I'm willing to help with anything that doesn't keep me from a talk - and my timetable will be full to bursting!"

The Plan

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

2011 Speakers and Tech Clinics

  • 11 Years on the Road, RTW
    • Grant and Susan Johnson
      Grant and Susan's updated show of their RTW trip.
  • New Jersey to Costa Rica and Back
    • Peter Bodtke
      Latin good times!
  • The Achievable Dream
    • Grant and Susan Johnson
      How you - yes, even you - can do trips you might not imagine. Proper planning is essential, and we'll give you a taste of what to expect and how to plan your trip so you have a great one!
  • GPS Tips for International Riders
    • Peter Bodtke
      or, "don't make the mistakes I made;" work arounds and open source maps for your GPS
  • Motorcycle Camping Gear
    • JD Dooley (HUBB: blueridgemotoblog )
      The latest in lightweight backpacking gear adapted for moto camping.
  • Easy Motorcycle Video Production
    • JD Dooley (HUBB: blueridgemotoblog )
      Make your ride videos look professional. No previous experience necessary
  • Women only
    • a very popular session - I'm told it's a must for the ladies, so plan on being there!
  • Fix that flat! How to change a tire anytime, anywhere
    • How to prevent flats in the first place, and fix them when you get one. 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.
  • Grant's ever-popular tire-changing session at the HU North Carolina 2009 Meeting.

    Grant's ever-popular tire-changing session at the HU North Carolina 2009 Meeting.

  • Photo Composition for Travellers, and a Critique of YOUR photos
    • Grant Johnson, Canada
      Transform your trip photos from boring to fabulous! Bring 10 photos on a USB key or SD card for discussion - what's missing, or not quite right, or just plain BAD - and how to correct the mistakes we all make. Bring some photos on a flash drive if you'd like a critique.
  • 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.
  • Experienced Travellers Panel - ask the experts anything you want! This has been VERY popular - ask anything - well almost... ;)
  • and more to come! How about you? We're all here to learn, and there's LOTS to learn! We want to do more presentations and clinics - but we need volunteers to give them! Any topic you can contribute having to do with motorcycle travel, maintenance, planning etc, lasting 20 minutes or more, would be great. Please contact me here to volunteer.

Just chilling at Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge, HU North Carolina Meeting, 2009.

There will be slide shows and tech clinics on Friday and Saturday evenings, and all day Saturday. Come early and make it a great weekend! We recommend riding on Thursday Friday and Sunday, and participating in the clinics evenings and Saturday.



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.

Ride leaders and sweep riders wanted!

Do-it-yourself Ride information.

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

More ride info to come. Send in any you have!

All times - and everything - approximate!

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

As presenters may or may not get there on time - or at all - this schedule is seriously subject to change.

Thursday evening

Nothing scheduled, event starts Friday, but there will be people there. Garmin gdb file with loads of info here.


CHECK-IN and sign up! You MUST be registered to go on a ride or entry to any events, clinics etc.

9:00 Ride briefing. Be gassed up and ready to ride if you're going. details here

Friday night

7:00 pm Speakers presentations start, so be sure you've eaten early! Order subject to change.

Saturday morning

8:00 - 9:00 - Breakfast

10:00 Rides

Saturday Lunch

1:00 Lunch

Saturday afternoon,

Tech Clinics. We have a number of informative and exciting tech clinics planned, so check the schedule Friday on-site for latest details.

  • 2:00 Fix that flat! How to change a tire anytime, anywhere
    How to prevent flats in the first place, and fix them when you get one. 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.
  • Rider Ergonomics - make that bike fit YOU!
  • and more!

Saturday evening,

7:00 pm sharp:

Speakers presentations



Head for home, hang around and chat, or head out for a last ride!

Miscellaneous notes:

Organizers will be there most of Thursday, hopefully Wednesday too, if anyone wishes to arrive early and just hang out or go for a ride in the area.

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.

Poster in pdf format (500kb) full colour Event poster. (You may need to right click and choose "save target as...")


The Meeting Location

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

For more information:
Telephone: 1-828-479-3864

The Iron Horse Lodge and grounds, camping on the right.

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

Getting There - GPS, Maps

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 the map.

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. www.grahamchamber.com 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!

Any info you have on the area, rides etc, please let me know.

Local Bike Shops

Let us know any good dealers nearby!

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.

Local Hosts

Mike Kilpatrick was the local host for this event - we're VERY grateful to him for stepping up and really making it happen with a lot of legwork and effort, there were a lot of complications to make it happen. We could REALLY use some help on the day too - please volunteer to help out for a couple of hours!

Present YOUR travel adventure!

Present YOUR Tech Clinic - good at something of interest to motorcycle Travellers? Please do a Tech Clinic for us!

Vendors! Register here

Press! Register here

Please Volunteer to help out! Odd jobs, registration, gate, etc. Just 2 hours of your time!

Previous Meetings stories

History of the HU Meetings, and what it's all about.

See video about HU Travellers' Meeting.

How to Host a Travellers Meeting in your area!

Editors note:
We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
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All text and photographs are copyright © Grant and Susan Johnson, 1987-, or their respective authors. All Rights Reserved.