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Horizons Unlimited
Motorcycle Travellers'
e-zine

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
Goa, India, by Liam McCabe

"...met up with Mika Kuhn (Germany) also in Istanbul and Goa. There was a few of us together for a bit of a millennium party, Mika may have a photo of everyone the next day but I was away sleeping off the night before. What I do have is a very shaky video of all the other (8) overlanders dropping their underwear for the camera. The Discovery channel will have to pay a lot for this one..."

Yep. A bunch of bikers alright...

and from Ushuaia, by Werner Zwick:

"There were about 40 motorcyclists from Brazil, GB-England, France, Germany, Holland, Japan, GB-Scotland, Switzerland, and USA at Lago Verde Campground in Tierra de Fuego National Park, 20 km southwest of Ushuaia. We had a great time, with a big campfire and Gluehwine (hot spiced wine) every night. New plans for further travelling were made, and new friendships formed.

Afterwards, about 15 participants went to Antarctica, on different boats, without motorcycles though. We tried to organize the first motorcycle travellers meeting in Antarctica, but our poster was ripped by the wind, before the photos could be taken. The cruise through a sea full of icebergs
and past huge glaciers with uncountable penguins, seals and Albatrosses was
spectacular.
"

If you're in Ushuaia, to hell with the costs, you MUST go to Antarctica - Grant

Travellers' News Report

Fourth Edition, February 4, 2000

Hi,

The highlight of January for us was the 'Not the New Year's Party' of the CompuServe Ride Forum - UK Division. Hosted by Dave and Julie Moore at their home in Runcorn, near Liverpool, it was an opportunity to meet some UK bikers. Typical lot - one Aussie who teaches theoretical physics at a university in London, a German lady with a Ph.D. in chemistry who works for a pharmaceutical company, and her spouse, a Scot who is developing an application to allow people to get subway and train information on a PDA or mobile phone. My brain was hurting trying to follow the conversations! We met many other nice folks, stuffed ourselves like pigs, and partied on into the wee hours of the night. Definitely a good bunch, we hope to get back next year.

On the computer/website front it was my computer's turn to go down, in the repair shop for eight long painful days, while I came to grips with the interesting concept that is called "service" here in the UK.

Once I had it back, I had an enormous load of mail to deal with, and reinstalling some apps as well. Your letters and subscriptions keep coming in at a great rate, thanks, keep them coming!

We're getting a little fame, our website got a quarter page in the UK's Motorcycle Sport & Leisure magazine, as well as a story by Chris Bright in the same issue.

Other stuff:

I am in the market for a good used R100GS Paralever, if anybody knows of a good one not too far away at a reasonable price please let me know. I want to do some major upgrades to ours, particularly forks and rear wheel, and I have decided that it will be cheaper for me to buy a bike and swap the bits onto my old one than to buy the bits, given that I can sell the remains as a working bike for cheap later. Anybody want a cheap travellin' bike?

Please feel free to submit news reports, web links etc. to me for inclusion here. If I promised a link on our Links page, and it isn't there, please let me know. I did lose some information in the problems with the computer, despite religious backups.

This is a free service to travellers everywhere, both on the road and off. Subsequent editions are planned to be approximately monthly, but will be more often if there is sufficient interest and support.

your editor, Grant

more about Grant Johnson

Calendar 2000

Plan where to be when!

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

22nd Tesch Travel Treff, 14-16 April 2000

Meeting for Long Distance Motorcycle Travellers in Malmedy/Belgium. Contact Bernd Tesch or visit his website for more information.

1st International GS Owners Rally, 21-24 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.

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.

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.

Globeriders International Around the World Ride

"We will start by flying to Tokyo, Japan, June 1st 2000. One month prior to departure, Globeriders will ship each individual's motorcycle to Japan. After riding through Japan, China, Russia, Ukraine to Munchen where we end August 9th, 2000. From Germany many people plan to fly to the East Coast of the US to cross the continent.

For further information please contact Helge Pedersen

The Contest!

We have had a contest for the reader who can send in the most new subscribes to the e-zine, which closed February 1. The winner was in no doubt almost from the beginning, with the eventual winner telling me "I'm going to win! I really want one of those books!" The man has confidence - and chutzpah! But he was right! So without further ado, the winner of one of Gregory Frazier's great travel books is:

...drum roll please..ta daaaa....

Ralph Wustefeld!

Ralph sent in so many new subscribes I stopped counting at 50! He has access to a mailing list of his own, and forwarded the e-zine to a couple of others he looks after, so he had a big advantage over most of you. Therefore, while he still gets a book, I decided that the SECOND place, and first non-mailing list owner, should also get a book!

So, in second place, a book goes to....

Stuart Munro!

Congratulations guys, and well done. And thank you!

And many thanks to all of you who sent in new subscribes, and talked to all your friends. We've had a great response, the e-zine subscription list is up almost double over two short months ago. Many of the letters I received said something like - "just found your e-zine, a couple of travellers have told me about it, so I just had to check it out. Great stuff..."

Ralph and Stuart, please send an e-mail to Gregory with your book choice, and exactly where to send them.

Thanks again to all for the support, it's much appreciated.

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.

Rocinantes Travel Bente Bråthen and Dag Jenssen, "a collection of stories and photographs from our journeys on two wheels. We are a couple of dedicated travelers from Norway, married with no children, but we own a motorcycle, a camera and a laptop." Good stuff on Spain, the Lofoten Islands (Norway) story is in Norwegian, coming in English - they promise! Their plans for a coming Pan-American Highway trip is in English.

Internet BMW Riders Other Vehicle/Vendor Parts
That Can Be Substituted For BMW Parts - this page is very interesting - it's surprising how many parts can be sourced from car and truck components, and of course MUCH cheaper!

Richard Wolters, Australia, has a new page on air and sea shipping charges for bikes. So far it's mostly Australia to elsewhere, but perhaps we could all add what we know, and it could be a very useful resource.

India Tourist Office - tons of information for the India bound traveller

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

Repair Shops...

Julia Powell and Kevin Sanders, UK, in South America,

"For anyone travelling down this way, you should know that there is a BMW dealer in Quito. They are located on Av 10 de Agosto just past the airport. We took the bike to them to see if they had the correct oil for the bike so Kev could do the change. The Servicing Manager...told us they would change the oil for us at a cost of. . .NIL! We only had to pay US$2 for the fork oil. What a pleasant change. We now have an official BMW receipt for US$2 - I bet you don't get many as low as that!

As for the tyre problem, it was fixed in a way that you would all throw your hands up in horror. Kev got out the Swiss Army knife and filed off 2 mm from the protruding tread. Since we do not corner fast, we don't need that bit! The tyre obviously is slightly out of balance now but at our speeds we do not notice it much"

Ken and Carol Duval, Australia, in Cairo

Name: Fawzi Zaki
Business: Hanan 8 Rasha Exhibition For Motorbike
Address: 4 Hamid Radwan St., Hadaik Elkabba, El Girag Station, Cairo.
Tel: 4831471
Mobile: 0101593878.

Erwin Thoma, Germany, in Mexico

"There is the central parts stock (BMW) for Mexico at:

Toluca Planta de Automotives,
km 47.5 Carr. Mexico - Toluca,
Amomolulco Lerma,
52740 Edo. de Mexico.

Tel 7-276-1400

The guys there are very friendly and helpful. Some speak good English. They try to get the parts sent from the USA."

BMW Paralever driveshafts - common failure, possible solutions!

I talked to Erich Demant, Germany, who installs replacement u-joints for BMW drive shafts, /5 up to R1100's.

He speaks excellent English as well as German of course ;-), and is very willing to help. The shafts, (and I am particularly talking about R80/100GS Paralever models,) are rebuilt with a better u-joint incorporating a seal that holds the grease in better, and is easily user rebuildable, including a grease nipple so you can regrease it. Regreasing is recommended at least every 50,000km. Rebuild parts are also available for the upgraded joints, so it should go forever!

Rebuilt shafts are 385 DM plus shipping, and you must send him your old shaft. If you're still going on the old one, he will ship immediately and you can send your old one, with a cheque, when you receive the new one.

Warranty is one year minimum, and he says "...they just don't go, so warranty is no problem, but if it does you get your money back." Can't ask for more than that.

He adds that gearbox life can be significantly improved by using more oil in the gearbox. As of 1990 BMW changed the seals on all airhead gearboxes to a double lip seal on the front of the gearbox, and a brown seal that is stiff and requires oiling for half an hour before installation on the rear. These seals, which should have been used on any gearboxes that have been rebuilt since then, allow you to use 1.0 liters of oil instead of the standard 0.8 liters. You will have to lean the bike over to the right to put this much oil in.

From Louis Pearson on Erich's work: "I fitted the driveshaft modified by Erich Demant. It survived over 30,000km of African roads with no problems. It was regreased after 20,000km. He speaks very good English and has a very quick service. Give him a call he seems a nice guy."

From Khim Rojas: "They function as advertised, if you grease them regularly they will last. Our bikes have over 200k on them and nearly 100k with the modified driveshafts."

Erich is sending me some photos and more info which I will post here when they arrive.

Erich Demant
Johann Sebastian Bach Strasse 22
D-74193 Schwaigern (Massenbach)
Germany
phone: +49 7138 4168

No e-mail address, you'll have to phone him.

Eurotech in the USA also does shaft rebuilds. According to their catalog, it's US$275 for a rebuilt shaft. If you want to just buy a shaft and not do an exchange, they charge another US$100. Probably worth it if you're in Nairobi! Replacement u-joints for the rebuilt shaft are US$49.95.

Phone:1-831-722-7148 FAX:1-831-722-9275
E-MAIL

Australia

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."

Khim Rojas on: "Bruce MacRitchie of Munich motorcycles, Perth I can also recommend. I haven't tried any of his driveshafts, but if his shop is doing them I am sure it is quality work."

From Peter Theuwissen, Netherlands, in USA:

"In Medford, Oregon (USA) is a BMW-dealer, Hansen's Motorcycles, who can improve driveshafts. They
put grease-nipples on them.
"

Tel. 1-541-535-3342

Anybody know of anywhere else?

Do you know of a good shop "on the road,"

in other words somewhere there isn't a number of shops? USA, Canada, Europe etc. don't count. That's too easy. And too many! We're looking for those rare items, good repair shops in South America, Africa and Asia etc. I will create a web page for them eventually.

Travellers' tips...

On Internet Cafes:

Gregory used Microsoft Word to edit the story for this edition as it is much better for serious word processing than any e-mail program. However, Word can harbour macro viruses, and an Internet Cafe has to be a perfect place to get one. And he did! So when I opened the document, which he had attached to an e-mail, my Anti Virus program screamed Virus. Luckily, it was able to kill the virus and clean the document, or you wouldn't have his great story to read.

The lesson here is that if you want to use Word to edit documents in any place that isn't safe from viruses, meaning anywhere on the road, after you have saved the document, close Word and reopen the document in Wordpad. Save it again, and say Ok to the Wordpad notice about losing formatting etc. This will remove the virus if there is one! You will also notice a huge difference in file size. The Word document from Greg was 37 kb, the Wordpad document I saved from it was . And no virus. Wordpad can't hold the Word macro viruses, it strips all that out.

Submit your tips here, anything goes!
 

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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 1999-2000, 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.

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

Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, around the world, in Ethiopia

3 Jan 2000 "Finally meeting other travellers (not tourists), even one motorcycle traveller, Dave, from America, riding his BMW GS 1100 from South Africa. We picked his brain on roads, national parks and border crossings over maps and dinner. Visited the Mercato, one of Africa's biggest outdoor markets...and 'veged out'.

4/1/00 Another motorcycle traveller, a retired Norwegian, riding a BMW RS 1100 from Norway via Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan to Ethiopia. He caught the boat in Aswan Egypt to Wadi Haifa then the train to Athara, Sudan. His visa issued in three days in Norway. It appears the border south is open as he rode to Khartoum and Gedaref then part rode part trucked over the border to Gonder, Ethiopia, and rode to Addis Ababa. Still relaxing. Cut 4 cm more from the windscreen to be able to look down to see pot holes and welded a hairline crack in the exhaust pipe.
"

Chris Bright, UK, around the world, in Tanzania

"People say about Africa 'Life is cheap'. Slightly adapted, if you say it with a German accent: 'Life is sheep', or possible 'death is sheep' or whatever... In 'global9' I spoke of gormless goats and docile donkies. I didn't mention suicidal sheep. The problem with sheep is that they have absolutely no brain whatsoever and are quite large, but still very mobile...

You've guessed it... I belted a sheep while doing 100km/h and did a bungyless bungy jump 20 metres down the road and the wife slid upside down for about 15 metres. Luckily there were no handy cars, trees, walls to cause my deceleration. The sheep was as dead as a 'did parrot'. As well as shock, my only injury was where my psion (now broken) palmtop computer buried itself into my left hip. I was wearing the full gear with kevlar reinforced cordura clothing and army boots and a good helmet. If you see any idiots in just jeans and a tee shirt, please tell the my story! I was very lucky...So children: If you want to collide with a sheep, do it in at least a 10 ton truck and not on a motorcycle!

...The route from Dar es Salaam: I have 2 options I think: either Malawi, Mozambique, southern coast of RSA to Cape Town and then north again to Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe and back to Cape Town OR Malawi and the traditional route trough Zim, Bots, Nam and RSA to Cape Town. Any suggestions?

After Cape Town: After my little adventures with bureaucracy and generally pleasant, helpful, kindhearted people in ......., I ain't touching India with a bargepole...one more move and this is very likely to be either to S America and ride north or N America and head south...London to Cape Town and Alaska to Argentina (or vice versa), I reckon that would be pretty good. I have heard from everybody how wonderful Latin America and its people are, I'll have to check it out myself. Where's the Berlitz Spanish book?..."

see the website for much more...

Erin and Chris Ratay, USA, around the world, in Goa, India

"We'll be in Varanasi for a few days, then work our way towards Nepal at the end of the week. We'll do a little Trek, then ship the bikes from Katmandu to Bangkok -- The borders through Myanmar (Burma) are still closed, and permission to ride through China is impossible.

We'll hang out in Thailand for a few months, then try to cross into Laos and Vietnam before heading down to Malaysia early this summer. I have FINALLY learned to relax and not be in such a rush -- we've also thrown the end date out the window and have added S. America to the itinerary." (Yah! Way to go!...ed.)

"Riding in India has an incredible experience, and riding on the left side is a piece of cake (now). The road surface ranges from new asphalt with a white line (very rare) to a dirt/stone surface that feels more like riding over railway ties. Concentration and accepting that you have no right to be on the road when approached by a bus/truck (even in a blind curve) is essential. The backroads and small towns are scenic and flavorful, while the National Highways and big cities are pretty terrifying (we see multiple accidents everyday)."

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

"The major goal for me ...in Africa was to reach Zanzibar. The name Zanzibar has fascinated me for years. When I heard the name Zanzibar I conjured up images of Sultans, harems, eunuchs, slave traders and warehouses filled with cloves...So, upon reaching Africa, I wanted most to find Zanzibar, to ride my motorcycle onto this island in the Indian Ocean, and see if what I imagined was to be found there.

I made two mistakes before leaving Jo'burg. The first was not to put on a fresh rear tire. Maybe it was my Quaker upbringing...Or maybe it was foolish thinking to speculate that I would find a new tire up the road. Whatever it was, I left with a rear tire that did not have "complete trip" written on it, and complete the trip it did not.

The second mistake I made was leaving a perfectly good rear shock absorber in Jo'burg believing that the one on the bike still had enough life in it to make the complete trip. It, like the tire, voodooed itself away mid-trip.

My being stranded 1,000 miles from anywhere with a broken rear spring and tire made for a motorcycle half the size of mine made me test my improvisational skills, part of what I have honed over the years...a roadside repair place where I found a guy who could speak about 10 words of English. Between he and I we welded a Toyota shock between the main frame, just behind the top of the rear shock, and the swing arm, behind the rear of the bottom of the shock. The Toyota shock was off a wreck he had in the back...It sure is ugly but it is better than nothing, and, in fact, I'd have to say it is superior to the stock BMW stuff and closely approaches a set of Ohlins I have on my HPN. It seems to do just fine...

Price for the shock and welding? Nada. Nope, he would not take a cent. He said something about knowing what it was like to be broken down on the road. I tried to insist, but lost. We parted great friends and I promised to send him a copy of the photos I took of our work.

...Mozambique was expensive, the roads were bad and people spoke Portuguese...On the road there were numerous police checkpoints and once I was asked to open my entire luggage. Another time, when I stopped to take a photograph of a bridge, a man stepped out of the bush with an AK 47, not carried over his shoulder, but carried at ready as he walked towards me. One of the things America has taught me (Waco, Ruby Ridge, New York City police Department, etc.) is that authorities like to play with their guns, so rather than wait for him to get close enough for a sure shot, I quickly started the motorcycle and rode off, waving as I rode away. I half expected to feel something hit me from the rear, but nothing did.

Malawi from Mozambique was another border exercise with paperwork, but still no Carnet de Passage was required....in Malawi I also met my first real bad guys. I may have come across others in the last months, but these were the first to try and liberate me of something that was mine while it was still on my person.

I had been walking through a busy area of town when I realized two guys had been following me for a block or so. Seeing that I was headed to an area where there were less and less people, I decided to cross the street and reverse direction. The two bad boys did the same, so I knew I was marked. Rather than get caught from the rear, I decided to face them head-on, and turned to walk directly at them. As I got to about three feet from them, one showed me a knife and said, 'Gimme yur money and dah boots muthafuka.' His buddy, the back-up guy, moved to my side.

I hesitated, and the knife guy made a threatening move at me and said, 'Quick, muthafuka, or I cut ya!'

My motorcycle helmet, a new Shoei Syncrotec, was in my right hand. I slowly bent down, moving my right hand and the helmet lower and behind my right leg. I said to the knife guy, who was directly in front of me, 'Look here, I can't take this boot off because of the glue,' and pointed, with my left-hand index finger at the toe of my left boot. Oldest trick in the book, and I felt a bit like Lucy Brown when suckering Charlie Brown into trying to kick the football she is holding on the ground and which she will invariably pull away at the last moment. I think Knife Guy in Malawi is the first cousin to Charlie Brown.

As Knife Guy Brown bent to look, I brought my fully cocked right hand with helmet from behind me and gave him a healthy love tap to the left side of his face...

He straightened up, and kept right on going over backwards. His buddy...looked at his pal laying on the sidewalk, out cold, and when I bent to pick up the knife, he took off running like Jessie Owens...

I will close this email transmission by saying the heat, humidity, sickness, breakdowns, sand, mud, bugs, river crossings, snakes, crocs, bad guys, dodgy border crossings, guns, crazed drivers, pot holes, land mines, sand storms, wild animals (two legged and four), solitude, and many nights sleeping on the ground have all been worth the ride to Zanzibar. I have covered nearly 30,000 kilometers since arriving in Africa, gone through three rear tires and nearly two front tires, eaten a chicken farms worth of scrawny birds, a hundred orders of greasy chips (French fries), and sucked down a couple of fifty-gallon drums of Fanta, Coca-Cola and beer.

My tee shirts should be burned (along with my socks and underwear), I have holes in the soles of my boots and my riding pants look like something used to mop floors. My adventure through Africa will now wind down.

I still have a challenging 8-10 day ride back to South Africa through Zambia and Zimbabwe with plenty of room for unplanned events but having reached Zanzibar makes that leg of my trip feel anti-climatic. As I sat on the upstairs veranda of The Africa House (a famous watering hole here in Zanzibar) this evening and watched the sun fall into the Indian Ocean between here and Tanzania I was struck with the thought of how I would have liked to share the experience with you. I hope this has given you just a slight taste of what has been mine and maybe you too will some day want to ride into Zanzibar.
Gregory, Riding in Zanzibar, Africa, January, 2000
"

Simon Milward, UK, The Millennium Ride, Around the World, in the Middle East somewhere...

"...My schedule has gone completely to pieces. Refusal of the Libyans to let me in, despite table thumping and my best attempt at indignation and criticism, forced me to ship to Sicily (what a beautiful island, the best I've yet seen of Italy) from Tunis. I then rode 400 km to Bari on the east coast non-stop and missed the Patras (Greece) boat by an hour and a half...

The Syrian visa came without too much trouble. But the British Consul here in Istanbul is ripping off Brits big time. They charged more ($50) for a letter of recommendation (required by the Syrians) than the visa did itself...

So at last I'm heading south again, and some new friends (Taiwanese, Belgian) are joining me for the boat trip and one is a nurse so it's just as well. I'm boating it to Izmir because I already rode from there to Istanbul and managed to fall off the bike twice on hard packed ice on the road, when going downhill the only braking mechanism I had was the snow piled at the sides. Besides an extra day out of the bleakness hopefully will see off the flu completely which has now turned into a cough.

But I did make contact here with Ivobuyasu Furuya, a Japanese biker living in Hungary studying music, who is going to try and get me some contacts with bikers in Japan for me to meet when I get there. Bikers rights as you know is one the important aims of this ride. In Turkey there are few bikers (apart from Jawa-riding couriers in the main cities), though I did make contact with a club here in Istanbul."

Julia Powell and Kevin Sanders, UK, from USA to South America, in Peru

"We were to leave Quito at sunrise the next day (hopefully when most demonstrators were still asleep after a long night of protest and drinking!) At six in the morning Kev and I waited on the main road out for Jeff and Linda. We had seen glass on the roads and there were some small crowds about, but nothing too bad. Still, I was a mixture of nerves, apprehension and excitement. We had planned to take some of the smaller mountain roads to try and miss any bother.

As it was the whole days ride was uneventful. Although there were many signs of the trouble from previous days and some roads still had smoking tyres with blockades pushed to one side, there was no hassle at all.

...on Sunday we crossed easily into Peru. No carnet required and very helpful Customs men. Then onto a local seaside town and our first Cusqueña beer!

By the time we got back to the hostal, Julio (their locally hired guide...ed.) was quite excited as he told us that the local newspapers wanted to do a story on us and was it OK if they could do photos and interview us the next morning. And so at 9 the next morning we sat around in the hostal lounge with Julio as translator and two eager reporters asking all about the trip...another reporter and the President of the Trujillo Motorbike Club arrived and we had to do the same all over again. Phew, this interview business is pretty tiring and we now have a good insight into the life of the rich and famous!!!

...The first 6 kms to the Banos del Inca were a breeze and then the concrete vanished and was replaced by mud gravel and holes. Within 200 metres, the water bottle was shaken off the back of the bike and dumped in the middle of it all. Still it was passable and at the great speed of 20 kms an hour we zigzagged our way up the mountain in front of us. Before long we hit the bottom of the fog that hung ominously around the top of the peaks. Visibility shrank to a few metres, the precipices on the left hand side increased to many hundreds of metres...As the morning got later, the fog was burnt off and the views went for miles.

...if the previous days fog and precipices seemed bad, they got worse today. Our first stretch of journey took us to Balsa, about 55 kms away and over a huge mountain range. The height meant fog again and rain and non-existent "road" surfaces. The slip factor was increasingly getting worse and full concentration on the surface ahead left little time for sightseeing...

Crossing a rickety old bridge into Balsa, we headed down the only road we could see. After 10 mins or so it was getting quite apparent that we had gone wrong. The map indicated a steep climb to the mountains again and we were speeding along the best dirt track to date following the river. We headed back to Balsa and stopped a little old man walking in the middle of the road, who spoke far too fast for us to understand a word but pointed vigorously to a small turning into a forest on the left...

...we had spotted this before but since it looked like a dried out river bed that only a 4 wheel drive would attempt we had not given it a second thought and yet this appeared to be the way he wanted us to go. Kevs thoughts were..."I bet they send all the gringos up here". (They do - it's great entertainment! ...ed.) After struggling up there for 5 minutes we stopped another local working in the field who still nodded frantically repeating Chachapoyas, si si si...we continued, the track got worse and we still had major doubts...there was only one road to Chachapoyas and this was it, arriba arriba arriba!

...The lack of road was worse, the rocks bigger, the incline steeper, the ruts deeper and the mud stickier, this now coupled with frequent landslides to negotiate and even sharper drops to avoid! On more occasions, I walked alongside the bike and we were lucky to make 10 miles an hour....

...hour after hour crawling through a track that seemed to be turning into a river with every new bend upwards. But this is not to take away from the magnificence of the views around us, as far as we could see mountains stretching higher and higher, peppered with strands of fog and mist...we reached Tingo (the village near to Kuelap) in about 10 hours...Tiredness obviously got the better of judgment, as we took a sharp uphill right hand bend and keeled over as the front wheel hit a large rock and we hit the floor, much to the amusement of a local family sitting outside their hut!...could not go any further that day and we were pointed in the direction of a well-signed (not) hostal across the river. At which point we heard a bang from behind as the bike hit the deck of its own will..."

Ken and Carol Duval, Australia, in Cairo

You may recall that last month the news from the Duvals was they dropped a valve in France. This month, they had a broken gearbox in Cairo! It's all fixed now, and here's a little info on that....

"News News News.. and it is all good. There is a BMW shop/mechanic in Cairo...A long and lengthy process to hook up with this chap but suffice to say another traveller not a biker introduced us to him around 10:00pm last night. This morning we have a reconditioned gearbox fitted (with a kick start.....wow) We were back in our tent by 1.00am feeling like it was all a dream. The day before the stripped barrel stud was repaired on the side of the road by another helpful Egyptian in the centre of Cairo. It's all happening so fast. The mechanic works on all the Police bikes and appears to have ample experience. For the reference of future travellers we have enclosed his address and name. (editors note - see sidebar - Repair Shops)

Only problem is he speaks no English so we recommend an interpreter. Cost of the gearbox plus labour and a new rubber boot for the driveshaft was 287 Eng. Pounds. A bargain. He placed a 5 year guarantee on the box. We will contact him when we come back up from South Africa and let him know how it is going. This may also be a contact for tyres as we had difficulty getting tyres and he indicated that he stocked tyres as well. Its coming together now. Many thanks for help on this one. Sudan visa took 4 days to process and the Ethiopian will be done today so we will be on the road soon after two dusty weeks in Cairo. Thanks again for your help. Regards Ken & Carol."

Despite all their problems, they were there at the pyramids for the finish of the Paris-Dakar-Cairo Rally 2000.

Shorts...

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

"We are currently in Panama. Will ship the bikes to Guayaquil, but we will fly via Copa airlines. Almost impossible to find a freighter or sail boat these days."

Erwin Thoma, Germany, around the world, in Mexico

"I am on my way to Terra del Fuego. I will be there (I hope) in December 2000 to join the party in the South :-))). I am looking for someone, who is also on the way to share information or join parts of the trip. I am in Mexico approximately till end of February. In Guatemala till end of March. In Honduras till end of April."

See the Bulletin Board to contact Erwin, he has started a thread...

Werner Zwick, Germany, on tour in South America

"Hi from Patagonia, where the wind blows, and motorcycles are pushed off the road by gusts. That happened in Torres del Paine Park to three of us...

Now I will head north towards some warmer weather and nice swimming beaches of the Lake district, hopefully. Swimming in the warm thermal waters of Deception Bay, Antarctica was nice, but with 3 degrees air temperature and a fierce wind quite uncomfortable."

Ian Coates, ??

"I am at Khartoum in Sudan. I cannot get a visa for Libya so I am trying to get one for Chad then on to Niger, Algeria, then Tunisia. Then a ferry to Italy. It is very hot here. If I go this way I have to go across the desert so I will have to take some cans of petrol with me as I cannot get any on the way. I will let you know when I get to Chad."

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

On tour in Australia from 11-11-99 to May 2000. He doesn't have a homepage but people can send him greetings via e-mail: simmert@gmx.net

Dave Thompson, USA, around the world, in Nairobi

"I've recently been traveling from Holland to Nairobi, and next week will be continuing from Nairobi to Cape Town..." We look forward to more from Dave...

Nikki Gaudion and Luke Timmermans, Australia, to India and Africa

"Partners in crime for over two years, veterans of many an adventure in Asia and Africa, and self confessed motorcycle nuts, are heading off to India on February 5. Travelling with them will be their trusty BMW R100GS Paris-Dakar bike. The trip will take them from their launch pad in Australia firstly to India then onward through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia..... We don't want to get too carried away 'cause who knows what can happen over the course of a year.

The bike leaves today, and hopefully we'll see it again on Monday. Looking forward to your next e-zine...Hope to meet you on the road some day..."

Leaving soon...

Dirk Bernhart, Germany

"...still in Aachen/Germany...My ferry now goes on Feb. 12 from Genoa to Tunis! The last weeks were quite busy, I had to buy lots of stuff, repair my car (for sale) and motorbike and get the paperwork done. With all the motocross protectors I now look and feel like a starwars imperial knight!

The bike is currently quite "fragmented" - half of it is in my flat, the other half in the garage. Last week, I got a letter from the house administration stating that someone complained about me repairing two bikes in the community-garage, dropping huge oil blots and working with flammable liquids. This would be AGAINST THE GARAGE LAW and it would ENDANGER THE WHolE GARAGE. What had I done? There was a five years old dry oil blot on the floor and two jerry cans in the corner. Oh my. Time to get away!

Today I called the visa agency, my Egypt and SUDAN visa are already issued!! So, only Libya is missing but they expect all to be done on Thursday. Yippie!!!

My father wants me to break my arm in Tunisia so I have to return rather than go on to Cape Town. But wouldn't three healing weeks in Djerba be ok? :)

That's all for now, stay tuned! Krid"

Home again...

Patricia Govers and Bernd Tesch

"...are just back in Zweifall/Germany from a 3 months motorcycle-tour somehow around Australia (13.000 kms) and Tasmania (1000 kms). The two sponsored YAMAHA XT 600 E from BIKE TOURS AUSTRALIA did not have any problems. Bernd did not fall down, Patricia just made one test in soft mud off-road...Amazing how only 18 million Australians can build such huge long sealed roads AND keep the off-roads in excellent conditions. Never problem with orientation, to get petrol, water, food, to find accommodation.

We spend 2,5 times more money than planned. It was Bernd's first long distance-tour with a woman, so I had to sleep first time in a motel and to offer Patricia a shower more than all 6 weeks. We slept 70% outdoor. We travelled through big cities, along empty beaches, through endless savannah, bush, deserts and rainforest. You find all this in ONE continent! We liked the wild Koalas, Emus, kangaroos, scorpions and snakes we met. In 3 months we met about 15 Mc-Travellers. With four of them we celebrated Christmas at an open fire with the view on Ayers Rock. Patricia and I celebrated new year in the desert at Coward Springs, a hot spring on Oodnadatta Track with the milkyway in the sky. Unbelievable wonderful...

Wish YOUOUHH good travels in 2000, Bernd Tesch"

Who are they?

Lionel Marx, last seen in Ecuador...

"an American couple, Jeff and Linda Anspach, who are on 2 bikes (KLR and a Suzuki DR) and are trying to get to Peru too. They are from Oregon..."

"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."

A Brit heading for Timbuktu...?

Liam? Got him! We asked for a contact last month and Liam McCabe wrote in himself, after hearing about and finally seeing the e-zine on the web.

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

Travellers' tips on countries...

Donald Weber, Canada, heading for Southern Africa and travelling north in April 2000

"I checked the Sudanese Embassy in Ottawa TWICE, and actually had consistent information. I was told I could easily obtain a visa, but NOT if I was to travel overland between Ethiopia/Sudan and Sudan/Tchad. However, Egypt/Sudan, with a motorbike was no problem. The visa was valid upon the date of arrival, valid for one month, easily extended within the country. It needed to be used within 3? or 6? months."

Funnies...

How to Bathe a Cat:

1. Thoroughly clean the toilet.
2. Add the required amount of shampoo to the toilet water, and have both lids lifted.
3. Obtain the cat and soothe him while you carry him towards the bathroom.
4. In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close both lids (you may need to stand on the lid so that he cannot escape). CAUTION: Do not get any part of your body too close to the edge, as his paws will be reaching out for any purchase they can find. The cat will self-agitate and make ample suds. Never mind the noises that come from your toilet, the cat is actually enjoying this.
5. Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a "powerwash" and "rinse" which I have found to be quite effective.
6. Have someone open the door to the outside and ensure that there are no people between the toilet and the outside door.
7. Stand behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly lift both lids.
8. The now-clean cat will rocket out of the toilet, and run outside where he will dry himself.

Sincerely, The Dog

Quotable Quotes...

Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.
Margaret Lee Runbeck

...thanks to reader John Rutherford

Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

...thanks to reader Erik Ocvirk

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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. Come on guys, you must know somebody who has done a round the world! (Besides Ted Simon, Greg Frazier, and us! Have YOU done it?)

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! We have a lot of content, from many different people, is there too much? Is there a section we should drop? What do you think?

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...

Grant and Susan Johnson
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