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Are you a TRAVELLER? Does the smell of spices wafting
through the air make you think of Zanzibar, a cacophony of honking
horns is Cairo, or a swirl of brilliantly patterned clothing
at Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, and Cape Agulhas, South Africa, and now Goa, India!
Where will YOU be?
Christmas Day, 1999
Traditionally there are a number of riders meeting up at Ushuaia at Christmas, as it's a logical stopping point in the wilds of South America. Two years ago when we were there, there were over a dozen riders from half a dozen countries. For those who make it this year, send us a pic so we can post it here in the newsletter.
Wherever you'll be, post it in the Bulletin Board and meet up with some fellow travellers!
Motorcycle travelers in and around Cape Town
area over Christmas are invited to meet at Cape Agulhas Christmas
Day. Contact number in Cape Town is Klaus/Melinde 021
794 3510 or try to catch me in transit:
GET YOUR WEB SITE LISTED in the LINKS section by listing Horizons Unlimited on YOUR web site, let me know you've done it by mailing me a link to the page, and you'll get listed here in the next newsletter and on the Horizons Unlimited web site Links page.
All sites will be considered for listing, but must be a MOTORCYCLE site, useful or of interest in some way to travellers.
Links will be rotated regularly as needed.
It's Down under week...
All comments and suggestions are carefully read, and where possible will be acted on. Your help will make this a useful service for all travellers.
I will try
to respond, please be patient. ALL e-mail is normally replied to quickly,
but who knows - we may be on the road!
If you would like to advertise your product or service in this newsletter, please contact me at the above link.
Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' e-zine
- Copyright 1999, Horizons Unlimited and Grant Johnson. All rights reserved.
That's all I can say! The response to the first edition of the e-zine has been spectacular to say the least. Thanks to one and all for the encouraging and complimentary letters. I'm going to have to work hard to meet your expectations!
Some comments from readers:
"Grant, I love the newsletter! From your opening sentence you conjured up memories of my trip through Zanzibar and Tanzania on moto and our recent passage through colorful Guatemala...I could send you many comical, romantic, or even frightening stories from the past 11 months since Alaska.
Andre and I have just arrived in Ushuaia. From here we split up. I will race to Brazil for Christmas and Andre will spend a little more time in Patagonia enjoying paradise.
FYI, word is getting out. I have already had two fellow motorcycle adventurers tell me about your site. I have already added the link to my webpage, I just have to upload it to the net when I arrive in Buenos Aires. Keep doing what you are doing"
I've made Steve promise to send me his "comical, romantic, or even frightening" tales as he goes. Check out his adventures so far at his web site Grant
"Thank you for the nice surprise! ... :)"
"Thanks! Great newsletter. I will definitely pass it on!"
"Thanks for a great newsletter. I have travelled Europe and New Zealand on my motorcycle, but now I think it is time for something a bit more 'ambitious'. Some of the entries were very inspirational and reminded me that there is no time like the present!
I have no idea who passed on my email address, but
I'm glad they did! I look forward to the next issue and maybe I will have
something to contribute soon..."
If you're at one of the Christmas/Millennium parties at one of the ends of the earth, get a photo of everybody there - preferably with a poster with "Horizons Unlimited Travellers Rally" - or some such - and I'll put it in the next e-zine. Get famous!
We have a Contest!
Gregory Frazier has offered YOUR CHOICE of any one of his great motorcycle books to the traveller who comes up with the most new subscribers to this e-zine. All you have to do is recommend the Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' e-zine to all your friends, get them to subscribe, and when they do, tell me who sent them!
The contest goes until January 31 midnight, and the winner will be announced in the February 1 (approx.) e-zine. Anyone from anywhere can enter, (Fine print - contest void where prohibited by law, and all the usual legal stuff for your area - gotta say that) and we will send you your book choice free of charge as a gift, so you shouldn't even have to pay duty or taxes. (More fine print - no guarantees on that of course!)
For all of you that have already sent in subscribes, (and there's a lot - Thanks!) please let me know who you recommended, with their names and e-mail addresses and I will include them in your totals.
Good luck, and thanks for the support.
Please feel free to submit news reports, web links etc. to me for inclusion here. This is planned as a free service to travellers everywhere, both on the road and off. Subsequent editions are planned to be at least monthly, but will be more often if there is sufficient interest and support.
Werner Zwick, Germany
"I'm leaving for my longest vacation so far in a few minutes. Tomorrow, I'll arrive in Buenos Aires, where it's hot and sunny. Next week, we will get our motorcycles out of customs at the airport and start heading south to be in Ushuaia for the New Years Eve motorcycle party. Anybody coming?
Whenever I can find an internet cafe in Patagonia, I will keep you updated."
and so he did the bum...
"we arrived in Buenos Aires yesterday and are waiting for the motorcycles to arrive tonight. Its sunny and hot, the steaks are marvelous and the ice-cream superb. cu, Werner"
Siobhan, Australia, and Charlie, UK
"I am travelling from England to Oz with my boyfiend (hmm, interesting typo)(Her comment not mine! - [Grant];-) on two Africa Twins, having not only never been on a motorbike until Feb. this year, and then only passing my bike test 7 weeks before we left.
Foolhardy perhaps, but I've learned on the way via the roads of Europe, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. We have just braved the Karakoram Highway, making it to within 20 miles of Khunjerab Pass, but turning back due to ice (we hit the deck a few times on the way back down however).
Next stop, India, and more particularly, Goa, for the Millennium, where a lot of motorbikers seem to be headed. Siobhan"
Good on ya Siobhan! Anybody wanting to meet up in Goa for the Millennium - check out the Bulletin Board for more on Goa.
Peter Theuwissen, Netherlands
"...how to get to Panama. (from Colombia) There is no ferry and no road...I found an unusual alternative: a sailing yacht.
From Cartagena we have spend 7 days on a 45 feet yacht. During this week we visited some beautiful Caribbean islands, and some days we had to wait for better weather. The see was rough, especially during the night sails, but we survived. The bike was tied up against the mast. More rusty then ever and suddenly without the horn working I can drive it now to Prudhoe Bay in Alaska without any sea crossings. Minna (Finl.) is sharing my live and travels for the last 2 months.
Sailing Details, how to do it:
I found a sailing yacht in the yacht club in Cartagena. The owner was in fact looking for passengers. In the clubhouse there (Nautico-club) on the notice board other travellers ask for transport. But it is better to ask the captains of the ships themselves, so you just walk along the boats. Very nice yacht harbour there. Price: the usual trip to the San Blas islands (=Panama) costs 185 dollars each person, excellent food, 5 days. That's what we paid as well.
But normally these trips don't bring you to Colon, but to an island. (the reason: they don't want to cross the border with these yachts) From there you have to pay extra for a flight to Colon/Panama City). We agreed with the captain of course to bring us to Colon, also because of the bike! First he asked 100 dollars to take the bike, later when he saw my BMW, he asked 200, we agreed for 150.
Because the wind is always coming from the Colombia side, he would not do this kind of transport the other way, too much waves. So from Cartagena to Panama it is an alternative to take a bike on a yacht. But you have to be lucky to find an owner who is willing to take you.
...The Cristobal-yacht club is where all the yacht owners go, but the Colon-yacht club (other side peninsula) is better for unloading the bike.
To everybody on, or next to the road: happy travels and keep in touch!
P.S. I don't remember an unpleasant, bad or nasty experience during my stay in S.Am. Maybe I was lucky, but it is possible to travel there without serious problems. The only difficulties I had were caused by the bike!"
If you have any questions for Peter, post them on the bulletin board or e-mail him direct.
Lever Rukhin - Correction
Oops, I did a typo on Levers' e-mail address last issue - it should be MeLever@yahoo.com. Sorry Lever!
Tommy Ryser, USA and James, USA, in Peru,
From Chris Walstow, Canada/UK: ..."friends heading for Chile for Christmas. Their wives are flying down to travel with them for a few weeks. They started off with a small Palm Pilot equivalent to send e-mail, but this seems to have been lost. Not sure if they plan on heading for Ushuaia for Xmas etc." Any further news anyone?
Joerg and Sandra, Germany,
on two enduro Suzuki's flying to Buenos Aires on Dec. 5th, also hope to meet up with the Rysers.
Anke and Jan Eggengoor-Lucas, Germany
Yay, finally! We've been wondering where they got to... "we are still alive and arrived in Katmandu, Nepal 3 days ago. Till now there was no time to translate our reports into English - sorry. We finished now the first 20.000 km from our trip. From here we will fly with our bikes in the first days of January 2000 to Bangkok (if the planes still going). For Christmas and New Year we will go to Pokhara/Nepal to have Christmas like in Germany (cold and rainy, maybe snow).
Greetings to everybody we know and all the best for Christmas and the next century for you and your friends"
Chris Bright, UK - Ethiopia:
Out of the Egyptian frying pan into ... Ethiopia next...and he hasn't been heard from since he left Egypt for Ethiopia, where the bureaucracy is worse than Egypt. He's probably still in customs...
Greg Frazier, USA, on the SECOND leg of his SECOND trip around the world, in Namibia:
Meet Greg at Cape Agulhas Christmas Day! Further info in the sidebar.
Nat Crewe, UK, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, in Ecuador:
Nat arrived in Quito sans bike, which was supposed to arrive in two days from Panama. Ten days later still waiting!
Guy and Marleen Bauwens (Belgium)
Erin and Chris Ratay (USA)
If all went well, they and the bikes flew to India on Dec. 6. Haven't heard where they'll send Christmas and the Millennium, but maybe they'll make it to Goa...
Mark Cresswell read about Mark's experiences in Travellers tips below.
"...about to leave for a stint with Medecin Sans Frontiers in Feb, probably in Afghanistan, so will look into 1100GS for out there - could anyone advise as I have heard that they are just too heavy and a real dog in deep sand?"
RE 1100GS and deep sand - real dog! If you can keep the wick turned way up like the Paris Dakar boys ok, but even they get stuck. Mind you even the KTMs etc. get stuck. If you're on a loaded tour bike I don't think large amounts of sand is in the cards. Just too hard.
If you really want to do a lot of sand and slop, you need a Kawasaki 650 single or similar. For anything else, the 1100GS is fine. Certainly handles better in the bad stuff than the old GS's like mine, although they are over 120 pounds heavier. Check out the story of Max and me in Ecuador, He's a NEW rider, like one year, and he's really short, on an 1100GS, and did really well - mostly attributable to the bike! There are some good pics there, you'll get the idea. It was pretty bad in some places, and I was very impressed with the 1100. Personally I'd splash out for the 1150GS - that 6 speed is just the ticket. Grant
Anybody want to pitch in here? Please comment in the bulletin board.
"I'm hoping to get in touch with anyone who is planning on doing a Cairo to Cape in about 2002, probably on a BMW R80GS.
I'm planning on leaving from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (I live there), crossing Saudi (if possible -- Arab countries make places in Africa look like amateurs when it comes to bloody minded bureaucracy). Maybe up to the Levant, then down to Cairo. From there across and down Libya, Niger, Mali, Senegal, across to Cameroon, then depending on the situation in Congo and Angola, possibly ship down to Walvis Bay.
I'm a South African national, have done a couple of mini-trips (up and around Namibia, up to Malawi four times, and then up to Kenya via Uganda at the beginning of this year (members.tripod.com/SiTCoN).
If you can put me in touch with anyone, I'd be grateful. Cheers"
Anybody interested? Sounds like a good trip to me - Grant
Please Post replies and comments on the Bulletin Board
From Gregory Frazier
"I'm looking for someone to write 1,000 words or so (for some trade-off and a byline) in a new book I'm scribbling about how they got from Morocco to ? down the west coast of Africa, preferably as far as into Namibia. Things like how far down they were able to get, hassles, what it cost them to get over, around the barriers, etc. Spread the word that I am looking for an aspiring writer who wants to share their experiences. What they write will be edited, so they should not be too ego-oriented (even my stuff gets cut ;-) Thanks"
Ok you aspiring authors, here's your chance. Greg's written a dozen motorcycle books already, so it's a great opportunity to work with a pro.
Submit your tips here, anything goes!
A couple of downers I'm afraid...
Received from Aviv Rabinovich, Israel: "Real sad one: I don't know if you've heard but a "land cruiser" with Israelis and 2 Dutch people, all backpackers, fell down (about 300mt) off the road known as "The death road" in Bolivia. It's the road that connects La Paz (capital city) with a northern town "Rurenabaka". To who ever gets there, Pay Attention and remember that on this route and this route only you drive on the OTHER side of the road. Like in England for example. Not to mention considering riding this at night (some get silly ideas like this). Be a traveller, Not a hero."
thanks for the info, Aviv. It's too bad we so often learn about these things the hard way... Grant
A report from a friend in an embassy in Nigeria when asked about the situation in the area:
"Travel in Nigerian cities is dangerous....armed robberies, car-jackings, etc. Travel outside the cities is suicidal. There are two islands off the coast of Lagos....most embassies are on one and all diplomats (as well as many senior Nigerian government officials) live on the other. Crime is not too bad on these two islands because of the heavy police and army presence to protect the foreigners and government big-wheels. There are only two bridges to the mainland, so it is easy to search for criminals fleeing a crime. We are only allowed to leave the two islands if we are in an embassy armored vehicle and have an armed escort. That should give you a clue about Nigeria.
Other West African countries aren't nearly as bad with the exception of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea Bissau, which are all at war. There are a lot of other countries with current wars going on, but none of them are really part of West Africa. Crime is increasing all the time in most places though, so a lot of caution is necessary. The whole thing makes me sort of sad.....it is such an interesting area to travel through. I'd love to be able to take a good dual-purpose bike and ride from here to Europe (I've even plotted out a basic route!! <g>), but the security situation makes that nearly impossible. Sigh...."
If you're heading for West Africa take note! Grant
Mark Cresswell, Old versus new?
"Just flown the rest of the way to UK after trying to cross Africa on two early 1980's XT600's. Five engines, a gearbox and the odd head gasket later I bailed the project and the other guy eventually seized his engine whilst following a track in a rainforest in Western Tanzania, took a couple of days to get back to the road and then had to hitch the 1000+km with his bike as handluggage to Dar.
Tips: changing needle jets to try and accommodate the poor fuel led to too lean a mixture causing overheating and a seize in the Kalahari desert, and replacing these with too large a jet led to endless burbling as the mixture was too rich. The bike had seized before I had bought it so I had the whole engine rebuilt by a Yamaha dealer (as it happened, a number of times - one time they forgot to put oil in after a rebuild and it seized 3km into the test run), but at the end of the day you can't replace everything and metal fatigue etc is very real, so don't cut costs getting an old hammered bike and rebuilding it, rather stick with one you know the full history of or splash out and go new."
I couldn't agree more, the headache of dealing with a strangers unloaded problem isn't worth it - unless you're a masochist. Grant
ALASKA EXPEDITION 2000 MOTORCYCLE RIDE TO PRUDHOE BAY, Alaska
"June 20-30, 2000. ...for the true 'adventure motorcycle traveler,' the ALASKA EXPEDITION 2000 has been designed as a 'tough guy/girl ride to the end of the earth.'
'There are several ways to get to Alaska...(this is) an expedition adventure for the motorcycle rider who wants to get away, who wants to leave the city, the motels, the hectic everyday life and enjoy the solitude and scenery of an off-road ride to as far North as you can ride in Alaska...no ferry boat to Haines; no chase van...no guides keeping the riders clustered...no motels. If you have the right attitude, motorcycle and gear, you can ride nearly all the way to Alaska on gravel, avoiding the motor homes and trailers clogging the Alaska Highway. Most of the ALASKA EXPEDITION 2000 will be ridden over...3600 miles...of gravel roads...avoiding tourists and fast food outlets.
ALASKA EXPEDITION 2000 is ideal for the adventurers who want to try their global touring gear, such as GPS's, long distance gas tanks, extreme weather clothing and expedition camping equipment and share their experiences with like-minded motorcyclists.'
Contact: email@example.com. The registration fee for the ALASKA EXPEDITION 2000 is $995.00.
The expedition leader is Dr. Gregory W. Frazier, professional motorcycle adventurer, ...author (ALASKA BY MOTORCYCLE) and well-known motorcycle travel journalist."
I talked to Greg about this trip when he passed through here on his way to Africa, and it sounds like a great way to "get your feet wet" (pun intended!) if you're new to the adventure travel game. Greg's been to Alaska more times than I've washed my bike, so it should be fun and...mmm, interesting! Grant
Judge: "You are charged with habitual drunkenness. Have you anything to say in your defense?"
Defendant: "Habitual thirstiness?"
How's your geography?
From a US Travel agency:
A client called in inquiring about a package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked, "would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?"
A call from a man who asked, "is it possible to see England from Canada?" The agent replied, "No." He said, "but they look so close on the map."
"Life is travelling, travelling is living twice!"
thanks to Ralph Wüstefeld for the quote
I think we should pay special attention to this one:
"Those who visit foreign nations, but associate only with their own country men, change their climate, but not their customs... They see new meridians, but the same men: and with heads as empty as their pockets, return home with travelled bodies, but untravelled minds"...
C. C. Colton, 1780-1832
Found on somebody's? web site - Thanks!
Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' e-zine
to a friend! Just forward it to them, or send them the link to the newsletter on the web site.
I am working on a listing of people who have ridden around the world, as well as what I call "significant journeys" e.g. the first across Africa. Any information you may have on this topic, please let me know. Preferably post it on the Bulletin Board, or e-mail me direct.
Thanks for joining us, we hope you enjoyed it, and do please let us know your thoughts. It's your newsletter, help us fine tune it so it helps you!
I would like to send the e-zine to the editors of all the motorcycle magazines out there, so if you have a bike magazine lying around, I'd really appreciate it if you could let me know the editors e-mail address. Thanks.
We have an amazing range of readers, from all parts / regions / religions / races / creeds of the world, so please accept our best wishes for whatever your holiday is, and if you have one, make it a good one!
See you on the road, or next week in the Maldives, Indian Ocean - we're going scuba diving. We won't be able to answer any e-mail from December 18-28, but I'll reply as soon as we get back.
Grant and Susan Johnson
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