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Riding the globe...

Horizons Unlimited
Motorcycle Travellers'

in cooperation with
Quality Touring equipment worldwide.

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 Guatemala?
Then you're reading the right newsletter!

Special Events News

Millennium Celebrations

So far not much news is in, although we have heard that Erin and Chris Ratay, USA, met up with Mika Kuhn, Germany and Liam, Ireland, in Goa. Haven't heard anything from Ushuaia except that there were about 20 travellers there.

Calendar 2000

Time to plan where to be when next - whoops - THIS year!

If you know of any events of interest to travellers, send me a note

BCCOM - British Columbia Coalition of Motorcyclists,
August 4-7 2000

KXA Exhibition Grounds in Kamloops, B.C., Canada. BCCOM 2000 will have demonstrations involving all aspects of motorcycling from the novice to the expert, displays, motorcycle skill events, games, entertainment, dealer demos and almost everything else you can think of concerning motorcycles. There will also be the 2000 BC Ride for Sight, a great charity mass ride.

1st International GS Owners Rally,
22-24 April, 2000

Belgium BMW Club, Vlaanderen, at Hoeve Lorette, Rudderveldstraat 3, B-9600 Ronse, Belgium. Contact Rudi Denolf, or Peter Dunn (UK) at +44-(0)1635-861200 (dial the (0) and not the 44 in the UK, dial 44 and not the 0 outside UK.) Camping, welcome BBQ, breakfast, evening events, rideouts, etc. all included at 1150 Belgian francs.

4th International Motorrad - Fernreise - Treffen in Gieboldehausen, Germany
1st - 3rd Sept. 2000

Ralph Wüstefeld and Wolfgang Simmert put on a great little rally in the middle of some terrific riding country somewhere in the middle of Germany. Slide shows, lots of food and drink, a band and long distance Travellers only! What more could you want? Oh yeah, forgot about those Danish rallies...they're truly wild.

Horizons Unlimited new LINKS...

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.

Tanguy French and a little English, maps of the route and pics. "Chris and him (Tanguy) crossed the north of the Republic of Congo (ex Zaire) and reached Uganda on 25 of December." 1999

Andreas and Tommy Swedish travellers site - can anybody translate for us?

"Around the World for PEACE is a project that was born inspired by the adventure of motorcycle traveling and motivated by the search of a world in peace. For a new culture, a culture of PEACE, to make a difference, to contribute with the beginning of the Decade of No -Violence in the year 2000, the motorcycling team of Around the World for PEACE is getting ready to set a world record of support signatures for this objective. Started in November 1999"


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Grant Johnson

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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.

Feel free to use the Bulletin Board for questions. If you think there is something you'd like to see in the newsletter, please send me an e-mail.

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!


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Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' e-zine - Copyright 2000, Horizons Unlimited and Grant Johnson. All rights reserved.

REDISTRIBUTION is allowed, indeed encouraged, but other than the following requirements, only with permission. You may forward copies of the Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' e-zine by forwarding it yourself by hand. You must forward the issue in its entirety, no fee may be involved, and you can forward no more than two issues to any one individual. Please suggest they Subscribe!

Legal gibberish disclaimer: (particularly for those in countries that have more lawyers in one town, just for instance, New York, not to name any names, than some whole countries, as another example, Japan. Again, not naming anybody specifically you understand) Recommendations are based on positive or negative experiences of somebody, somewhere. Your mileage (kilometrage if you insist) may vary. We are not responsible in any way any product or service mentioned, and do not warrant any such mentioned product or service, and are not responsible for any bad things that may befall you. You are responsible for yourself! Act accordingly. We check all links and information given as close as possible to publication, and all info is correct as best we can determine at that time.

Travellers' News Report

Third Edition, January 8, 2000

Hi, welcome to the New Millennium and our Third Edition!

I hope everybody had a great Christmas and New Years, and the recovery wasn't too long and painful. ;-)

As most of you know, we have been having a lot of grief with the website. Our host (now former host) disappeared completely on the 29th of December, our website was down, theirs was down and they weren't answering phone calls or faxes. Bummer! Just what I needed two days before y2k. Was it a y2k problem? Were they out of business? Who knows, I sure didn't, so we started scrambling for a new host, and eventually, in a moment of patriotic fervour when it came down to a Canadian or US host, went for the Canadian.

So much for patriotism. We have had all kinds of grief, from incorrect setup at their end in the first place to taking forever to get an answer to all the problems. In a few hours I will be writing to the company President in an effort to get mail sorted out. Five days and mail is still wrong. However, it is getting through via a rather circuitous route, and the website is finally fully up and running, in fact in the last 24 hours there has been over 60 hits, an amazing number for a specialty site like ours.

Thanks one and all for your patience and support, we have had dozens of letters letting us know what's going on from all over the world, and wonderful offers of web space from several people.

If I haven't responded to you please be patient, I will get to all of you asap. I'm down to only 60 unanswered letters in my in-box, so I'm getting there! That'll teach me not to take time off...mutter, grumble...


Christmas/Millennium parties

If you were at one of the Christmas/Millennium parties at one of the ends of the earth, and got a photo of everybody there - preferably with a poster with "Horizons Unlimited Travellers Rally" - or some such - send it in and I'll put it in the next e-zine. Get famous!

Other stuff:

Please feel free to submit news reports, web links etc. to me for inclusion here. This is 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.

your editor, Grant

more about Grant Johnson

Who's on the road, and where...

Chris Bright, UK, around the world, from Nairobi,

Chris made it through Egypt and Ethiopia intact, but with an unusual New Years resolution...

"My other new year's resolution is to start to take some advice for once in my life. Sorry Grant, I must have been asleep when you passed your words of wisdom on the land that borders the Med and the Red Sea. Please, please, time...slap me around the face with a wet, preferably rancid, fish and shout clearly and repeatedly: 'do NOT enter Egypt with a motor vehicle, because if you do, the monolithic demon that is Egyptian customs will take you and do something to you that is at the opposite end of the spectrum to having the soft bits on the end of you ears nibbled by nubile angels sent by God to comfort you!'

...If there is a Hell on Earth, then it is Egypt and if there is a Devil, then it is 'Shukri' the bloke at Cairo Customs who does the tracings of the engine and chassis numbers!

...riding on good dirt pistes, riding very bad corrugated and mud-infested pistes, having the bike's rear subframe welded (in 4 places) and repairing punctures in the front tyre (8 times - please don't ask me to say nice things about my sponsor... The wife's front wheel is now sporting a tyre from France, whose logo is a fat bloke!)

...The roads made it all worthwhile. 'It' being the stress in the UK and Egypt. The ultimate... speeding along at 50 or 60 kmh over gravel piste with the biggest dust cloud behind and nothing but friendly faces and great, in places, breath taking scenery ahead...The Ethiopian scenery is superb. So varied... arid high plateau to alpine pastures to rolling countryside to jagged cliffs.

Hang loose, Chris and Wife - P.S (BMW = Be My Wife, as per an Ethiopian policeman........)"

Just in this morning from Chris:

"...I'm glad to be writing this. The day before yesterday I had a small mishap... something to do with colliding with a sheep doing 100kmh (me that is, the (now dead) sheep was stationary). The bike looks a bit of a mess, but I was very very lucky. I'm more than ok and the bike is good too. All is in order, just lots of scratches. The 750 pounds value on the carnet de passage is now about all the bike is really worth! As it's not for sale, that does not matter either. If you see any bikers not wearing full protection, tell them my story. My kevlar reinforced bike jacket and trousers (and helmet of course) saved my skin.

In the crash the only thing that broke was my Psion5 computer. The thing still works, but the screen is cracked and it can't read the back up disk. ...As I can't use it to send emails anyway, it is all easier and safer for me not to have it... I would have been less hurt if the psion had not dug itself into my left hip! heading to arusha/ tanzania tomorrow... kilimanjaro (to look at only!), ngorongoro crater, dar es salaam, zanzibar, malawi etc etc."

Erin and Chris Ratay, USA, around the world, from Goa,

"We're in Hempi: East of Goa; North of Bangalore. This is a terrific area filled with awesome temples from the 15th century. The western tourists are mostly hippies, so we feel a bit out of place...oh well!

We had a great Christmas in Goa (midnight mass with 2,000 people), and a wonderful New Years celebration here in Hempi - although at 12:02am we lost power for about 2 minutes (not uncommon in India). Other than that, everything here is pretty normal.

We saw Liam (Africa Twin) from Ireland and Mika (Kuhn) (XT600) from Germany in Goa, so in the end there was a RTW gathering. Don't know if we'll see Mika again as he is heading to Mongolia, but we will see Liam again in Thailand and probably OZ."

Does anybody have a contact for Liam?

When you meet people out there, please get contact info when you write about them and let me know so I can add them to my who's who and where list! Grant

Greg Frazier, USA, on the SECOND leg of his SECOND trip around the world, in South Africa

"Somewhere it is said 'you are never alone in Africa.' I did not know what that meant until I got here and did ablutions in the bush. You can pull over for relief on the side of the road in the desert of Namibia, where the tallest thing is an ant, and about the time you settle into your constitutional exercise you will see that you are not alone. Africa is full of people.

So far I've managed to get into Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and in and out of South Africa several times. For the curious, I am not traveling on a Carnet de Passage, so each border is a little adventure...

I will now start to work my way up the east coast, deeper into Africa, and try to reach Kenya, where I am told my entry will be halted. We will see when I get there.

I did try to get into Angola but was turned back at the border crossing at Rundu, Namibia. The border was closed and hundreds of people were fleeing Angola as their government and the rebels were engaged in some heated fighting. Not to be deterred by border officials, I rode down river about 20 kilometers and tried to talk my way (bike and me) into a canoe and across to the other side. While the owner of the canoe was willing I waffled when he mentioned the crocs and snakes, then gave up entirely when he told me the other side of the river, where I would be let off, was mined. That night I slept on the river bank in Namibia while listening to sporadic rifle fire across the river...I doubted they were hunting four legged animals...bombings, news reports and some tourist killings this week seemed to prove my guess right...

Christmas/New Years found me in Cape Town and at the southernmost point in Africa, Cape Agulhas. Reaching Cape Agulhas was the culmination of having ridden motorcycle to highs and lows on the globe: Prudhoe Bay, Alaska; Ushuaia, Argentina; Bluff, New Zealand; and the North Cape in Norway. As I stood with one boot in the Indian Ocean and one in the Atlantic Ocean, I reflected on the past 140,000 miles around the globe. It was anti-climatic as I stood there, my boots slowly filling with salt water. No band, no cameras, no press, nada. Just me, the motorcycle and a reflection of how as a solo traveler I was the only one experiencing the achievement of a dream...

To the many of you who sent well wishes for me not to be alone during the holidays I want to say 'Thanks' and I am sorry I can not get back to each of you individually. I return your well wishes.

I have looped into Jo'burg to re-provision, bulk up on fast food and do some minor service on the motorcycle as it has now covered about 15,000 k's in the last month or so. Then it's off, North to Zanzibar."

Trevor & Noah, USA, around the world, in support of Save The Children or AMURT

" Kampala, Uganda. Rinaldo has welcomed us into his home, so we're gazing at the fresh roses on the table, and at the expanse of green hills beyond the balcony, trying to focus our addled minds on the past few weeks. We're here on a short trip to see Uganda before heading back to Nairobi and up to Ethiopia. We had been hoping (rather foolishly, they say) to get through the DRC to West Africa. But miracles don't happen, and the situation has not stabilised - so apart from anything else, gas is apparently unobtainable along our proposed route. And while we'd like to get to the Congo we'd rather not have it the last country we ever visit. So for now, our planned route is across Sudan and Chad into Niger, (martial law in Sudan notwithstanding).

... Tanzania was great fun. We went diving off Zanzibar, ballooned over the Serengeti, witnessed incredible wildlife, had some great riding (including Noah's spectacular bike summersault), ate eggs with white yolks, and even witnessed the tragi-comic spectacle of the UN hearings on the Rwanda war crimes. Perhaps most memorably, we've been treated to incredible hospitality along the way."

Ryan Wagner and Dan Koengeter, USA, to South America and Africa, in Nicaragua

"After 3 months, 14 days and over 6500 miles, we are finally in Managua, Nicaragua staying with the Peace Corps for Christmas and the new year. While in Guatemala we stayed with a Peace Corps volunteer for two weeks in a small village west of Guatemala City called San Jose Poaquil. There we helped construct green houses for a local elementary school which will provide students with fresh vegetables in the future. The town of Poaquil, however, was quite unique since the people continue to speak their native Indian language (called Catchecal) and wear very colorful traditional dress.

From Guatemala.. to Campamento, Honduras...the mud was so deep that a bull-dozer had to assist trucks and cars through the bog. Fortunately, our bikes were able (to) forge through the mud. After two weeks in Honduras we drove to Managua...where we are currently staying until January 4th"

Peter Theuwissen, Netherlands, in USA

"...the big puzzle was: where to spend New Year? Australia??? New Zealand??? Venice beach??? or somewhere between.....No, I decided to move myself and the bike after the hollydays and computercraches to Australia. My celebration of the new millennium will be in the desert near San Diego with a bunch of bikers. Looking foreward to that!

Flying to Australia is expensive but I got an amazing deal with Air New Zealand. Before taking me to Sydney they will drop me off for a week on Tahiti, after to the Cook Islands and last but not least Fiji. So I have to live for a month without my bike....I will send her in a box as small as possible by boat.

Hope all of you are dreaming about, preparing or at least saving for a next trip somewhere: so we can meet again... But yes, one day even my trip is coming to an end. I promise you: next Xmas I am back home! Well thats what I promised my mother anyway...."

Werner Zwick, Germany, on tour in South America

"Saludos de Ushuaia, this is the end of the world, as far as the roads go. I am staying on the southernmost campground of the world.

Weather is changeable, 15 C during the daytime and around freezing at night. But with the big campfire and 20 other motorcyclists and more to come who travel and travelled the world its a great time.

New Years eve should be great. The Argentinean President is supposed to be here and there will be a big open air party all over town." all we need is a picture of the Argentinean president with all the motorcycle travellers... Grant


Julia Powell and Kevin Sanders, UK, from USA to South America, 18-12-99:

"We are meeting up with Dan and Ryan for Millennium in Costa Rica (Arenal). Spending the next ten days doing Belize to Costa Rica - very quickly!!"

Julia and Kevin tell me about :

"a German biker at Chitchen Itza called Tilo Heldner. He has been travelling now for about 4 months and has another year and half on the road. He plans to be in Ushuaia for Christmas 2000." Anybody have an address for him?

Guy and Marleen Bauwens, Belgium

Seen in Lake Langano, Ethiopia, by Chris Bright.

Ken and Carol Duval, Australia

Forwarded by Carol's brother, Wayne: "Unfortunately, Carol and Ken got to France and blew a valve in the engine about 119km north of Paris. They have been waiting for parts to come from England which were suppose to be there last week. The bike parts from England did not arrive in France as of Monday evening French time... They told me that once they get the bike fixed they will head to the south of France and over to Tunisia. They will be in Cairo around the 23rd January for the end of the Rally."

Erwin Thoma, Germany, around the world, in USA

"...I am now...8 months on the road with a BMW R 1100 GS. Passed Russia and am now from the Arctic circle to South America and then via Africa back to Germany."

Wolfgang Simmert - (co-organizer of the Motorrad-Reise-Treffen Gieboldehausen) Germany

On tour in Australia from 11-11-99 to May 2000. He has already met Bernd Tesch in Alice-Springs. He doesn't have a homepage but people can send him greetings via e-mail:

Mika Kuhn, Germany, around the world, en route to Goa

"...Time is just passing so quickly, after more than seven months on the road it is time to have a break for two months or so. In Goa India, beachlife, good food and beer.

Keep in touch and hopefully my webpage will be soon in English, so you are also able to read my reports."

Travellers' tips...


Chris Bright visited us here in the UK just before he left on his round the world trip. In talking about carnets and registration documents, he casually mentioned something about his serial numbers, and we picked up on it. Turns out that he didn't know that the engine and frame number on a BMW aren't the same - and he didn't know where the engine number was. He had registration documents and a carnet made out with identical numbers, the frame number. We straightened him out, and warned him about the dangers of travelling with mismatched numbers.

Especially in Egypt, as he has found out! There, they have a guy - in Cairo Chris says he's called Shukri - who actually does a rubbing onto a piece of paper of the numbers. These are then checked by innumerable people against the documents. At the Libya/Egypt border we had rubbings done twice, by two different people, before they were satisfied.

There is NO WAY you can get away with anything but perfect documentation - be warned. It took Chris a couple of weeks and a fair bit of hassle to sort his documents before he left, but if he hadn't, his bike would now be a permanent resident of the impound compound I saw in Cairo - full of expensive 4wds and other cars, all covered in many layers of the ubiquitous Cairo dust. And never moving again.

"Mugger money"

A street-wise New Yorker (is there any other living kind?) explained to me about mugger money years ago. The theory is that you want to have enough money in an obvious place, like your wallet, so that muggers think they have all your money. Five dollars isn't enough, they'll just be annoyed and keep digging or shoot you in frustration. Fifty to a hundred dollars is considered enough in New York.

We carry money stashed in half a dozen different places, on us and on the bike. A few small bills, US$1.00 bills are universal, or local currency, in a handy pocket is a great way to deal with tips and small purchases without revealing where the real money is.

BMW Paralever driveshafts - common failure, possible solution?

I am told that "Erich Demant, Joh. Seb. Bach Str. 22, 74193 Schwaigem, Germany makes replacement u-joints for beemer drive shafts, /5 up to R1100's. I don't have any personal knowledge of these but, they have received a favorable review in the Airheads club newsletter from someone who installed one. This is a fairly reliable source of such info. One U-Joint costs $50. There is a one year warranty. You must lubricate it every 15,000 miles - It has nipples for a grease gun applied lube."

If there is somebody out there who speaks German, and perhaps lives nearby and can check this out further and let me know I would appreciate it.

I also heard that there is somebody in Australia who can do much the same thing. "...a shop in Perth called Munich Motorcycles (08 9317 3317 fax 089317 3359) who will take your original shaft and fit new UJ's with grease nipples for around $200-240 Aussie. Turn around time is a week once they receive your shaft."

Details anybody? Anywhere else? E-mail addresses for these guys?

Submit your tips here, anything goes! 


Sports Quotes from England:

"And here's Moses Kiptanui, the 19 year old Kenyan, who turned 20 a few weeks ago." (David Coleman)

"Its a great advantage to be able to hurdle with both legs" (David Coleman)

"Once Tony Daley opens his legs you've got a problem." (Howard Wilkinson)

"We now have exactly the same situation as we had at the start of the race, only exactly the opposite." (Murray Walker)

On adjusting to playing football and living in Italy: "It was like being in a foreign country." (Ian Rush)

"Fred Davis, the doyen of snooker, now 67 years of age and too old to get his leg over, prefers to use his left hand." (Ted Lowe)

"I never comment on referees, and I'm not going to break the habit of a lifetime for that prat." (Ron Atkinson)

"I was in a no-win situation, so I'm glad that I won rather than lost." (Frank Bruno)

"There is Brendan Foster, by himself, with 20,000 people." (David Coleman)

"The lead car is absolutely unique, except for the one behind it which is identical." (Murray Walker)

"I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father." (Greg Norman)

"There have been injuries and deaths in boxing, but none of them serious." (Alan Minter)

"That's inches away from being millimetre perfect." (Ted Lowe)

"The Queen's Park Oval, exactly as its name suggests, is absolutely round." (Tony Crozier)

Quotable Quotes...

"A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it." John Steinbeck (1902-68) in 'Travels With Charley: in Search of America'

"Comes over one an absolute necessity to move. And what is more, to move in some particular direction. A double necessity then: to get on the move, and to know whither." D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) in Sea and Sardinia

The 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.

January 7 results to date:

So far Ralph Wüstefeld from Germany is in the lead, but Greg Frazier is close behind (I think he wants to win his own prize so he doesn't have to give away a book!) and Stuart Munro from Canada is in third. Come on folks, this is YOUR choice of great travellers books! The contest is still wide open and anyone could win!


To subscribe, or even UNsubscribe "now why would you want to do that?" to this HTML newsletter / e-zine.

Please recommend

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.

In Progress...

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.

Final thoughts...

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.

Riding the globe...

By the way, to those who were wondering, yes, the Maldives was a great vacation, we got in a little diving and lots of relaxing. One week wasn't near enough, but then any vacation less than a year isn't enough!

Grant and Susan Johnson
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