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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?
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Special Events News

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, Malmedy, Belgium
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, Belgium,
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.

Buffalo Rally, Nomads MC, Cape Town, South Africa
27 - 30 April 2000

"...our best bike rally, normally 4500 bikers attend this rally. It is held at Aliwal North, 180km south of Bloemfontein. The cost is normally R120 entry for the weekend."

Contact person is Luderick Jacoby, the president of the Nomads motorcycle club, +2721 400 3882 Cape Town, South Africa

BCCOM 2000 Kamloops, B.C., Canada
August 4-7 2000

KXA Exhibition Grounds in Kamloops, B.C., Canada. BCCOM (British Columbia Coalition of Motorcyclists) 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

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.

The "Hurt" Study

Motorcycle accident cause factors and identification of countermeasures - READ IT!

Michael O'Sullivan "The Plan: Drive a motorcycle from New York City to Tierra Del Fuego at the southern tip of Argentina and back..."

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

The complete book by Robert M. Pirsig is online. Well worth a read.

TransAmerica Trail

USA: "a coast-to-coast, off-pavement motorcycle trail...all you will need to make your journey cross-country including detailed roll charts and supporting maps." Fantastic!

Motorrad Abenteuer

Motorcycle Adventure - German only (unfortunately, for some of us! It looks good!) magazine for adventure travellers.

Repair Shops...

BMW Paralever driveshafts - common failure, possible solutions!

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

Price update, it's 400DM now, not 385. Should have got your order in quick!

phone: +49 7138 4168

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


Munich Motorcycles (08 9317 3317 fax 089317 3359) in Perth, Australia will take your original shaft and fit new u-joints with grease nipples for AUS$150 per u-joint. Turn around time is a week once they receive your shaft. They can ship anywhere. Paul also tells me they have a catalog with technical tips, and would be happy to send it out free to all who want it. Ok, time to make him regret that! Everybody order one quick before he changes his mind! E-mail Paul to order.

Eurotech in the USA also does shaft rebuilds. 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. They will also ship anywhere.

Technical notes gleaned from talking to the experts: Regrease the (rebuilt) shaft u-joints every 7,500 to 10,000 miles with a good high temperature bearing grease, preferably a marine grade. You should also at the same time grease the transmission to clutch splines with the BMW special grease for this job.

I had been told that the later post 1990 airhead gearboxes have a better set of seals and can run 1.0 liters of oil, and it is recommended to do so to improve the life of the gearbox. I asked Paul at Munich for comments;

"Teflon seals were fitted to the later models and filling with 1 liter of oil (instead of the standard 800ml) seems to cause no problems as far as we have been able to tell. The upside is improving the life of the gearbox."

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...

In a thread on the Bulletin Board, I was asked (essentially) about how I keep nuts and bolts from vibrating off, and I think it's worth reiterating here:

On my bike, (R80G/S) EVERYTHING 6mm thread and over is either nylock, safety wired, or loctited.

Nuts and bolts that are safety critical e.g. axle nuts, or engine survival, e.g. drain/fill plugs are safety wired.

Everything possible is nylocked. Everything else possible - and that's not much - is loctited. Be careful which loctite you use where - if you use red on a little carb screw you'll destroy it long before you get it off.

Really little things like carb bits, jets and the like, and some of the electrical is not loctited, but I usually give these a dab of silicone goo where possible.

A few dollars for nylocks, a fair bit of work for the safety wiring and a pain in the behind every oil change, but on the other hand - NOTHING on our bike has ever come loose in 13 years travelling.

(except the oem plastic fairing screen screws that disintegrated on a corrugated road - stainless steel screws and nylock nuts to the rescue) ;-)

NOTE: If the factory recommends a specific torque for any nut, (e.g. head nuts) then you MUST NOT use nylock, because then you will be unable to torque it correctly. In this situation I safety wire it if I am concerned about it coming undone, or use Loctite, which doesn't affect torque figures. Never worried about head nuts though, never found it to be a concern, just torque them correctly and check at regular service intervals. I carry a small 3/8" torque wrench, good for about 80 lbs-ft. I do wire motor mount bolts, as they do come a little loose on occasion and contribute to vibration.

Submit your tips here, anything goes!


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Grant Johnson

Newsletter Back issues

Reader comments

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.

Travellers' News Report

5th Edition, March 1, 2000

Hi, welcome to the Fifth Edition of the Travellers e-zine. We have lots more stories and news, technical tips, country and shipping information and more, all to make your travelling easier and more enjoyable.

Our intrepid travellers are on the road in Sudan, Peru, Botswana, South Africa, Kathmandu, Ethiopia, Bangkok, Uganda, Guatemala, Chile and India.


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. Editions are planned to be out approximately the first of every month, 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...

Globeriders Trev Sproat, and Noah Maltz, USA, around the world, in Sudan,

"Sudan is a fascinating land of contradictions. Sources such as The Lonely Planet, Fielding's Dangerous Places and the US State Department currently include this country in their "Avoid if you hope to get out alive" category, but from our experience it is among the safest, most hospitable countries in the world to visit. There is none of the hassling that make neighbouring Egypt and Ethiopia potentially unpleasant destinations; the streets are safe to walk alone at night; our possessions have been left untended without disappearing...casual traveller could almost remain ignorant of the reasons that Sudan has become a pariah state, facing US and international sanctions:

Firstly, ...a 35 year old civil war in the south. ...either John Garang and other rebels are nothing but bandits warmongering for their own personal gain, or they represent the disenfranchised (primarily black and Christian) south that has seen its resources diverted for the use of the (Moslem) north. Khartoum has apparently been bombing southern villages indiscriminately...since foreigners' movements are controlled by Government-issued travel permits, actually visiting the south is not an option...locals are usually quite happy to talk critically about politics and the state of their nation.

Secondly, the Fundamentalist leadership is hard core by anyone's standards, and the Sharia law is strictly imposed. Alcohol is banned...A curfew is enforced by road blocks...There are no effective channels of political dissent. And according to rumour, football was for a while banned by decree after President al-Bashir's personal team suffered a humiliating string of defeats.

But there's more to society in the Sudan than meets the eye: "Western" vices are alive and well. The local aragi firewater is drunk furtively behind fences...We're happy to report that the local grass is quite pleasant ...prostitution flourishes (although not as blatantly as in Ethiopia, Kenya, Panama or England for that matter). ...repression of the basic human desire to enjoy life does not work...People still drink, but since drinking is no longer technically possible, no support exists for alcoholics....Sudan might have a few lessons to teach the US, whose current drug policy suffers from amnesia of the Prohibition era. So we propose getting Clinton and al-Bashir together in a locked room with one of those diplomatic pouches, which should lead to a more creative outcome than the current sanctions.

..there is a lot of interest in Khartoum apart from watching folk sneak off to the sanctuary of parking lots and the river. There are some reasonable historical and ethnographic expanse of bustling markets...weekly appearance of the whirling dervishes...who literally spin and dance themselves into a religious frenzy...ruins at Meroe, a collection of several dozen Pharaonic pyramids...

We've also been busy working on our suspension.. Noah's front forks and Trevor's rear shock both blew within a few days of each other (not too bad after 40,000 kms of hard work). We rebuilt the forks in our car park - we think we got all the spacers and washers in the right order...

...tomorrow we resume our odyssey through Sudan to Chad, Niger and Algeria..."

Jeff and Linda Anspach, USA, around South America, in Peru

"...We went back to the hotel to gather the spare parts and returned to the (bike) shop on both bikes via the expressway. Uh oh we noticed a female cop motioning for us to pull over...she asked to see our permission to ride on the expressway. I thought that she meant our paperwork that we received at the border... it was back at the hotel... she informed us that motorcycles weren't allowed on the expressway and we were in violation. Instead of asking for payment she kindly showed us the next exit to take.

Maybe this female cop thing works after all. If it was a male cop in Central America he would have wanted a $100 bribe to keep us out of jail.

While we waited for Evil (mechanic!) to return from lunch they washed all the cubic meters of dirt we'd gathered on the ride to Hauraz off of both Suzi and TGH. I provided the oil filter and what I thought was the proper brake pads. As part of our trip preparation I've been carrying around spare brake pads the whole trip. Thinking that there would come a time when I would need them...The only problem is that those... at our bike shop in Portland ordered the wrong brakepads for us. I've been carrying around front and rear brake pads for a 1990-95 DR650. Unfortunately for us Suzuki changed the model design in 1996...I had two sets of the outdated brakepads ...worthless and weighing about 5 pounds. I should have double checked the order before bringing them with me but I just ran out of time...

...I always hate watching someone else work on our bikes. I was finally losing patience and when we finally got Suzi back together she wouldn't start..." Sounds like everything is normal to me...except for the female cop!! Yeah!

BTW Jeff and Linda, could you please tell us what the "Price: $1.95 US $13.95 CAN" on your website home page refers to? ;-)

Siobhan and Charlie, UK, around the world, in Bangkok

"Now post Goa (met up with many others on the road), S to Kerala, short cut north by train an experience in itself. Arrested for unloading in the wrong station, etc. Worked our way upto Nepal and flew to Bangkok. Please pass on the bad news Thai airways are a bit expensive these days. We have met Peter from Netherlands (R80GS -many of you out there have met him). He flew his bike from Delhi with Aeroflot to Bangkok for about $160 (35 rupee/kg, no crating required). This is a must for all on this route, we have details of travel agent if anyone needs it. (See below in 'Travellers' tips on countries...' for details)

We are on the way to Laos and then possibly a quick visit to Angkor, Cambodia on the bikes. We have no feed back on whether this is possible or safe-anyone out there?

Update: "...we were told by the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok that we were not allowed to take the bikes in, and although we have heard anecdotally of people who've managed it, we've decided to give it a miss for the moment..."

Ken and Carol Duval, Australia, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,

Fresh from their troubles in Cairo, the Duvals are having fun in Sudan...

"Firstly many thanks for everyones well wishes and replies to our Emails. Our trail through the remainder of Sudan was not without mishap and we now can verify that Africa has some of the worst roads to travel on in the world. Travelling east to Gedaref was paved and quite ok. Gedaref, we lost an hour in the morning dealing with a security check and another passport stamp.

Khartoum office previously advised that no more was required until Gallabat. (They have a rubber stamp and stamp pad so they must use it.)

Late departure meant more riding in the heat. We covered half of the 160kms to the border to be greeted by another checkpoint and another registration. The heat was stifling and after a brief drink stop we had our first slow spill in the soft sand. The screen broke off, no other problems so we pushed on to Gallabat stopping frequently for drinks and rest. Approx. 5 kms from Gallabat Carol abandoned the bike on a bad rocky patch. Unfortunately the bike bottomed out on some rocks and down I went putting a small hole in the right rocker cover.

No problems as the army turned up on a tractor to assist. Turned the rocker cover upside down, straightened the crash bar with a rock, popped the pannier back into shape..those Nonfangos are tough...and we finished the remaining few kms. We camped outside the security hut that night after an entertaining evening at the souk (markets) in the local village. Sitting on a leather strap bed with 20 to 25 locals bouncing their questions at us in broken English and teaching us the odd Arabic word.

Next day we processed our documents quickly and headed into Ethiopia early in an endeavour to beat the heat. 40 Kms over the border at another little village we processed the customs papers for the bike and collected another passport stamp. Ethiopia here we come. 8 kms down the track a handling problem revealed a flat rear tyre. 11.00am is not a good time to fix a flat tyre. Out with the umbrella and the tube change was done in around 40 mins.

On the road again we had only covered around 90kms for the day we called it quits at an unnamed village enroute to Gonder. Camped in a mud hut with the girls working at the cafe/motel (I use the term loosely) giggling at our attempts at sign language and inadequate attempts at the Amharic language.

Rested we attacked the next stage to Gonder with gusto and arrived there around midday. A cold shower revived us and cleaned the dust away. Two days/nights were spent sight seeing before we headed to Bahar Dar on Lake Tana. We camped at a rather expensive campsite at a hotel enjoying cold beer, colourful birds, hot showers and rest.

After resting for a day we departed the tranquility of the lake for the dusty roads to Dejen. The Hotel manager gave us an alternate route which proved to be both shorter and with less traffic. Enroute we were overtaken by a Swiss couple in a Pajero 4wd. We had camped near them at Bahar Dar. Arriving in Dejen we joined forces to combat the throngs of children we attract at all the places we pass or stop at. The novelty of white travellers and the chance of a free handout attracts the crowds. We have travelled with these people to Addis Ababa and we enjoy their company and their youthful exuberance.

An approach to the Kenyan Embassy revealed we do not need a visa for a months stay so all being well we will head down towards the lakes area in Ethiopia towards the Kenyan border. No time can be placed on this journey to Nairobi as the road conditions are so bad.

Tyres on the bike are cut badly but still no punctures. Other m/cyclists are experiencing frame breakages and punctures but we are ok so far (touch wood). Our next contact will be from Nairobi all being well where the bike will be in need of some attention. Keep those replies coming .. Regards Carol & Ken."

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

Burundi - "2/2/00 Headed out along reasonable sealed road next to the Congo (Zaire) border gradually rising towards mountains with the Rusizi River the border just to our left. The small border crossing 30 mins out of Burundi, much hassles by the immigration official wanting bribes, all the locals paying money, we politely refused and 20 mins into Rwanda."

Rwanda "3/2/00 Still heading alongside Lake Kivu, more mountain dirt road, the same beautiful scenery but the long distance views escape us because of heavy haze, a product of burning timber for cooking, making charcoal and the dry season. Gisenyi, at the top of the lake, a past playground for the Rwandan rich. Now slowly recovering but still full of UN and NGO's plus soldiers doing cross border business in Congo (Zaire). Our recovering hotel overlooks park, sandy beach and the lake where local boys swim and wash...

We are now at the base of a series of 7 volcanoes, one with three countries at its foot and another home to the famous Mountain Gorillas that Dian Fossey studied and were made famous in the book "Gorillas in the Mist". Tourists visit different groups from the three countries but their habitat has been dwindling as can be seen by the heavily cultivated slopes of the mountains with only the higher steeper areas untouched. At $US 250.00 each for a one day's expedition and a one hour viewing we decided to look from a distance...Further north to Fort Portal for the night."

Uganda "8/2/00 An obviously wealthier area than where we have recently been. Tell tale signs of wealth like people eating in restaurants, particularly breakfast. Motorcycle taxis, small 50cc scooters with a flash passenger seat, even private motorcycles. Shops selling western goods, imported foodstufs, very expensive here. Many travellers we meet have had malaria. They are usually taking medicine that the mosquito is resistant to. Feeling protected they are not taking other precautions against being bitten..."

Chris Bright, UK, around the world, in Namibia

"...I'm in Botswana, near Maun, it's dry (quel surprise!), hot and I'm 15 metres off the ground in the cleft of 2 branches of a centuries old baobab tree at Baine's Baobabs in Nxai Pans Park. The beers are being cooled by the wet cotton sock over the can in a bucket of cold water technique (thanks Curly!) and as my view pans the Pan (sorry about the pun, or is it pan!) 5 oryx gallop gracefully across the steamy water and high cirrus clouds cast intricate shadows towards the distant horizon. Why am I here? I could be in Blighty...

...arrived in Windhoek Namibia just now. The motto of the past few days has been 'go west' to outrun hurricane (or is it cyclone?) Erine. I'll be at bodo's for a couple of days and the touring the usual haunts, heading south(ish). If you see Erine, don't tell her I'm here! travelling with Mike and Rob from England (in a landcruiser!), and things are much more fun as experiences can be shared. I can also shelter in the car if it rains!...

I should be in Cape Town in a couple of weeks, not sure at present, will let you know when I know..."

see the website for much more...

Erin and Chris Ratay, USA, around the world, in Kathmandu

Erin and Chris left the bikes behind in Kathmandu and went trekking...

"We had anticipated rain and maybe cool evenings, but snow was the furthest thing from our minds. HELLO -- Himalayas in February, what should we have expected?!?

We woke at the crack of dawn (a bit sore and achey) on day 4 and were rewarded with a crystal clear sky and an awe inspiring sunrise. We watched silently as the peaks reached up to grab the burning morning rays, the streaks of orange flame gently swallowed the peaks. The view, as you can see below, (on their website) were spectacular...

Food prices are ... pretty reasonable, but the price for mineral water and candy bars increases with the altitude ...all our meals on the trek would prove to be quite tasty...

Our first trek was a wonderful experience, and one that we can't impress enough on others to do. Although the snow made the trek more challenging than we expected, it was certainly within our abilities and far better then coming during the 'high season' when lodges were overcrowded and the trails are a series of bottlenecks and congestion. Do it, do it, do it. You can arrange for a top shelf trip from just about anywhere, but at a premium. We split Chakre's cost (private guide) ($10/day-all inclusive) 3 ways with Kirstin, (3rd and only other person in their group) lodging averaged $1.50/night for a double, food was about $12/day (supply vs. demand), and tap water was available all along the trek, so we just added purification tablets."

Greg Frazier, USA, on the SECOND leg of his SECOND trip around the world, vacationing in luxury in Bali, (with Benka Pulko) having "done" Africa,

"Culturally and shell shocked, I have stumbled out of Africa. My motorcycle is 30,000 kilometres tired as am I. Africa is one of the harder (places) on the globe to motorcycle through... the combination of bad roads compounded by the numerous military/police checks, Bad Guys, and foreignness of the environment. While you are flogging through mud or sand it is not unusual to have some guy step out in front of you with an AK47...

I passed through Zambia, again,.. I found more potholed roads, more police checks and more missing pavement. It had not changed in three months. And yet the people seemed to maintain a degree of happiness that seemed to ignore their economic plight. It was as if they had seen the Dark Side and were quite happy to be where they were. Me, I've seen the Dark Side and some of Zambia is real grey...

...managed 11 countries without the Carnet (de passage), thereby saving $500.00 - $1,000.00 US, which just about paid for one months travel.

In my travels I ran into almost no other motorcycle travelers. The ones I did meet (three Brits, four Germans, one Belgium and one "unknown"-seen from across the road at speed) had met/seen about a dozen others. Africa is not on the Cruiser Route for the weekend riders...

As I look back on the 30,000 kilometers (18,000 miles) I have covered, my fondness for Africa grows. The color of the sunsets, changing shades of the desert, blues of the oceans, clear star shining nights, white moons, and green of the jungle jump to the front of my line of recollections. They jump quickly over the memories of sickness, bugs, potholes, sand, mud, guns, land mines, and errant drivers piloting vehicles wildly out of control. The southern part of Africa is as different from the north as Harley is from Indian, and yet both are Africa. I am glad to have seen and ridden both parts, but sad that I was forced to miss the middle. Maybe in some years Angola, Sudan, Congo and other African countries will open up to us Americans (Iraq maybe not), or maybe I can get a passport from my tribe and not have to travel on a USA passport. And then there are the areas I missed because of rain like the Sani Pass. All reasons to return, as well as the many nice people I met while stumbling around. As some Austrian biker in the movies said, 'I'll be back.'"

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

"...we are no longer flying the Union Jack off the back of the bike! We have already had some guy in a petrol station telling us how malo Inglaterra is.

It has to be said that our first 5 days in Chile were quite horrible. The riding was for the most part through flat barren desert, with endless days of wind and straight roads, riding through small sand storms with hardly any sights to see. (interesting how much everyone's opinion of places differs - I loved it here, and thought it was beautiful! Grant)

...we are now in Santiago and preparing for the push down to Tierra del Fuego. If all goes to plan we should be there about the 7 March. We have decided to go down there via Argentina, crossing over to Mendoza from Santiago and Bariloche and then crossing over to the coast at Comodores. The plan after Ushuaia is to then head to Torres for a weeks trekking and then get the ferry up through the fjords to Puerto Montt and take the Chilean Lake District route back up to Santiago...

Everyone we speak to says beware the winds of Patagonia - a lot of people seem to get blown off their bikes. Still we have practice at coming off now!...

...(in) Curacavi where we are enjoying the hospitality of Francisco Campla and his family. It is a beautiful place here and we are being looked after very well.

Kev and Francisco have been working on the bike because some work that we had done in at the BMW place in Santiago to try and repair a problem with the steering and it was not a good job.

Latin American standards of bike maintenance are as "good" as the standards of bed making (but this time it is not to our advantage and we are US$300 worse off)..."

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

"...We've been in Madras for four days now, looking around and waiting for the motorcycle to arrive. I just got word that its here now so I'll go tomorrow and start the tedious process of clearing it through customs. The shipping guys here have been great. The bike got stranded in KL for about 5 days and it was pretty frustrating but I knew this was going to be the hard bit, so I'm more patient now.

They've had a lot of problems with customs here. Apparently the bribery situation was getting so out of hand that the shipping agents decided en mass that they were going to stop bribing customs-now things are done totally by the book and subsequently take twice as long- but that's OK, I think its a good stand to take...

We should be on our way to Mamallapuram by Friday morning. We've "done" Madras (temples, museums, art galleries etc) and its been great but its time to hit the road...

You're never short of smiles from the locals here- very happy (and curious) despite their sometimes dreadful living circumstances. Mentioning the cricket is a great way to start up a very lively conversation; the number of people in India who know who Steve Waugh and Shane Warne are is probably 20 times the entire population of Australia. If you mention Sachin Tendulkar you get a million smiles and handshakes all round. We both feel very safe here-you wouldn't say that for too many western cities of 6 million people..."


Mika Kuhn, Germany, around the world, in India

"I'm on the road again, after seven weeks relaxing in Goa. The last two weeks I travelled together with a german biker through South India. We visited Hill Stations, temple and Cape Comorin. We also did a tourist boat trip on the backwaters near Cochin together with loads of backpackers. Since yesterday (22-2-2000) I am here in Bangalore, the High-Tech capital of India, but believe me my internet access has never been so slow in India. And High-Tech in India does not mean you don't have powercuts and things like that. Anyway, this is ..."

Joerg and Sandra Becker, Germany, touring South America

"...yesterday we arrived in San Pedro de Atacama. Here we stay for some days (together with Tommy Ryser and James Luce). Last night we camped outside in the Vally of the moon. Great !!

We are planing to go to Titicaca Sea and then to Machu Pichu and than we will see? We have not really a plan in this moment.

Some days ago my Yamaha XT600 has finished the 102,000 Km. That was a great moment! It is only a single.

After we split with Tommy and James in Ika/Peru we went to Cusco. The way was everything between a highway and nothing. We had a part from 122km with water and mud and a lot of river crossing without a bridge. It was a really hard ride and we are happy that we came through. Tomorrow we will go to Lake Titicaca and then from Bolivia back to Chile. We hope to be in Vina or Valparaiso around the 10.03. At the 17th we have to fly back to Germany."

Guy and Marleen Bauwens, Belgium, and Dirk?, around the world

left Nairobi, Feb 6 for Uganda

Peter Theuwissen, Netherlands, around the world, in USA

"I shipped my bike to Australia, have to wait a week to fly myself, and what happened: I got a brand-new Guzzi Quota 1100 (the first in Cal.) from the dealer!!! To put 1000 miles on the odometer! One of the nice surprises I had here in the US!"

Peter gets all the luck!

Keith King, UK, around South America, in Buenos Aires

"...Picked up on your mag in the UK and am now in Buenos Aires Argentina to ride the Continent. Awaiting delivery of my bike-Honda XR600-and will do an easy trial run into Uruguay first to iron out any problems.

Are there any other travelling bikers around this area who I can contact or viceversa? I'm heading South & clockwise to Guyana and then to do the Caribbean Islands."

Erwin Thoma, Germany, around the world, in Guatemala

"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 Guatamala till end of March. In Honduras till end of April."

Tommy Ryser and James Luce, USA, around South and Central America, in Panama

...have just flown themselves and bikes from Lima up to Panama, with plans to be back in Blaine, Washington in a month.

Ian Coates, ??

"...I can get the visa for Chad but I cannot get a visa for Niger in Sudan or Chad. You can only get a visa for Niger in Lagos (Nigeria). So I have got a visa for Egypt. I will be leaving on 10/02/00 and will be taking the short cut through the desert from Omdurman to Abu Dom. Then I will follow the Nile up to Wadi Halfa. I need to get there on Tuesday for the ferry on Wednesday, if I miss the ferry I will have to wait a week for the next ferry.

When I get to Cairo I will try and get visas for Libya, Tunisia, Algeria( if possible) and Morocco. If all goes well I will take a ferry from Morocco to sunny Spain. I will try to meet up with Marc Guttman on his rat bike, I hope it is still running as we fitted a new head gasket to it in Khartoum before he set off for Egypt...(in) Cairo I will try and get a room at the Safari hotel or the Sultan hotel. They are on the same block. I will keep everyone updated when I next happen across an internet cafe!

Late breaking news - 2 Swiss in a Toyota Hilux 4x4 have just told me that they had gotten visas for Niger in Khartoum!! However I am still going on to Egypt tomorrow...Ian - Husband, Father, Granddad, Friend, Biker"

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:

Leaving soon...

Donald Weber, Canada, heading for Africa, departing April 2000

"...KLR 650, I'll start in the south, from Durban, heading towards Namibia and traverse the Kalahari on my way back to South Africa and into Mozambique. From there, it's along the coast for as long as possible until Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, (with the odd Tusker) and then Northwards to Ethiopia and Sudan, where the adventure of the trip opens up and my plans lay in the hands of the friendly folks of the Sudanese Embassy. From here, the world opens up and I can head towards the West via Chad, north via Egypt and into the Middle East, or eastwards towards Djibouti where the Sinai Peninsula awaits..."

Michael Odland, South Africa, to Tanzania September / October

...planning a trip from South Africa to Tanzania on an F650. He would love to hear from South Africans who want to join him on the trip - and/or the climb of Kilimanjaro.

Kev Storie, UK, heading for Eastern Europe and Africa in May

"...on my Tenere through Eastern Europe and then down through Africa. Will keep you posted on the revelations and other interesting bits. Keep up the good work..."

Home again...

Renate and Gino, Germany, from touring in North and South America,

"Hi Susan and Grant,

After 8 months and 25,000 miles (40,000km) thru Canada, USA, Central and South America we arrived safe and healthy Feb 15th, 2000 in good old Germany again. The trip to Ushuaia and the party for new year was a blast. In a way it was a shame that we had to fly home from Rio de Janeiro, but for sure it was not our last trip. Hope to stay in touch with you and maybe (hopefully) we will meet again somewhere, sometime on the road again.
drive safe and best wishes, Renate and Gino

p.s.: there is only one word for your travelmagazine:

'A W E S O M E'"

Werner Zwick, Germany, from touring in South America

"...home again with itchy feet to go back to South America. It was a great trip where I made many new friends. Going home from rainy Santiago to rainy Germany was not as hard as I thought it would be, but going to work the next day was quite tough. Today I will receive my slidefilms, I took 65 rolls of film. Does someone volunteer to see them all? :-)"

Chris ? (he's being coy, I asked him his last name and he didn't send it ;-)), UK, sent me a great letter, an inspiration for those who think you need a fancy new bike, but then have no money left to travel on...

" girlfriend (Gill - very coy!) and I travelled from our home in Southampton UK to Sydney Australia on a 1961 AJS 350 in 1994. I carried a few spares which we largely didn't require, tyres and chains were readily available but I took spares anyway. We covered 27400 miles (on the speedo) in 18 months but unfortunately had to return home as our money was running out and our Australian visas expired and the imigration would not extend them. So basically I would say to people just take whatever you have got and don't worry too much about what might happen...

We travelled from Southampton, England to Sydney Australia, through France, Luxembourg, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Back to India.

Due to lack of money we shipped the bike from Madras to Perth. (We)...flew from Calcutta to Bangkok, travelled through Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia by boat, train, bus and hired motorcycle untill we flew from Bali to Perth.

In Australia we travelled east across the Nullabor to Adalaide, then up to Alice Springs and Ayers Rock, then on to Tennant's Creek, Townsville, along the old Bruce Highway to the Blue Mountains and skirting Sydney we went on to the AJS owners club rally in the Snowy Mountains. On to Sydney for Christmas/New Years, back through the Snowies to Melbourne, back up to Adalaide, and finally across the Nullabor again to Perth... the way this AJS was not a fully restored pristine example, just an old hack I found outside a mud hut in Sierra Leone and fixed up, new engine bearings and piston.

Also if your bike isn't over valuable you can always throw it off a cliff or some such if it blows up and you're unable to fix it thus getting the local police to say it's scrap and stamp your carnet to say it's no longer in the country. We met a couple in India who set fire to their caravan to avoid having to pay to ship it home, it worked very well.

We also met a Dutch guy in India who was travelling by Zundap 50cc moped, he got about very slowly but when he suffered a big problem he just put it on the roof of a bus and had it transported to Madras to get it fixed. I have owned a couple of big beemers but would think they would be too big and unwieldy off road, most people we met traveling by motorcycle though seem to favour them but we never metany one travelling two up as we did, everyone seemed to think that you need a motorcycle each which of course is nonsense.

You have a very interesting site and I only wish I had the money to get back out there and do it again.

Best Regards Chris."

Love it! Interesting methods of dealing with bureaucracy! And you DON'T need a flash new bike...

Who are they?

I've made contact with some of the people we were looking for last month, thanks!, but the following are still unaccounted for...

From Chris Walstow, Canada "Quote from Tommy's (Ryser, USA,) latest e-mail "Met Kazumi a gal from Japan solo riding the continents on a Honda Trail 225. She said it was a bike she could pick up by herself when it fell."

Lionel Marx, last seen in Ecuador...

A Brit heading for Timbuktu...?

A Brit on an F650 in Kenya, heading north...

A Brasilian biker, Raphael Karen, travelling on a Yahama Super Tenere, going from Sao Paulo to Alaska...

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

Travellers' questions...

Steve Schneider, USA, around South America

"...I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your issues of the ezine and will continue to do so when my adventure ends and I return to NYC. Andre and I have three weeks longer together and then I will head back to Rio and ship my bike to NY while he continues on to Venezuela and wherever else he can reach before running out of money or assets to sell.

I was wondering if you happen to know anyone who has shipped their bike from Rio and if they can recommend a transporter and/or crater. I have made a bunch of calls with minimal luck and am running out of time. Thanks"

I suggested to Steve that he just go to the airport and wing it, which has always worked for me! Trying to organise this sort of thing in advance in the third world is very difficult. If anybody has more detailed klnowledge let me or Steve know and I will pass it on.

Travellers' tips on countries...


"...I'm the author of that article in MOTORRAD and thank's to Trudi (very good interpretation!!!) (see the Bulletin Board) you already got some facts about travelling in is possible to take a bike into China and actually it was very easy. At the border (Torugart) we got a driving licence, a licence plate and a vehicle registration. That's the good news.

The bad news: Doing it officially, there will be a Chinese guide from the CITS with you. Day and night. Since it is for a private person not much fun to deal with the CITS in China to get the permit to enter the country with a bike, we had the idea to ask a travel agency which is specialized for trips into China to make the deal for us. So Active Tours got us in. And out.

We spend five days in China going from Torugart to Kashgar and ending at the Khunjerab-Pass where we entered Pakistan. For each day the CITS asks for about 100 to 150 US$ per person. But that includes the guide and his driver with the car and hotels with so called full pension. But we still camped for example at the Muztag Ata despite the fact that our guide wanted us to spend the night in a poor cabin.

For more information: Lonely Planet's "Central Asia" is a very good deal.

Please let me know if you go to China or not. My next plan: Tibet. With a bike.
Michael Schroeder

Further, after I questioned him on a couple of details: "I only know that if you have a travel agency dealing for you with the CITS in Kashgar in order to get the documents and permits the price is a little bit lower because they have better conditions (than) a private person. And they know the right person to talk to. Sorry, but this is all I know. Nils Hallenberg from Active Tours told me that he can help other people on bikes to get into China."

Go for it folks! It can be done.

Delhi to Bangkok, from Charlie and Siobhan:

"... bike from Delhi with Aeroflot to Bangkok for about $160 (35 rupee/kg, no crating required). This is a must for all on this route, we have details of travel agent if anyone needs it." Of course we want it! As soon as I heard about this I asked Charlie to get the details and send them on. He will also post them on the Bulletin Board. And here it is:

"These are the details we were given by (Peter), who used this service 3 weeks ago. He initially went through a travel service:

Aqua Travels PVT Ltd.
Manager: Rajeev Bhatia
1010, Arunachal Bldg,
19 Barakhamba Rd (nr Connaught Place)
New Delhi
Ph: 331 2553, 371 5981
Ph/Fax: 335 6414-18, 332 0155

They arranged the flight for both him and bike through Aeroflot, Delhi to Bangkok. He then dealt with a Mr N.K. Sharma at Aeroflot Cargo Office ph. 565-2350. The bike was on the same plane as him, no crating required (unlike the palaver doing it through Thai Air from Kathmandu to Bangkok), and he was charged by weight rather than by volume. I believe the price was 33 Rupees/kg, which for him worked out at about US$160. I can't verify all these facts of course, it being second-hand and to us, redundant info (we has already done it for twice the price), but it sounds worth trying, (until us overlanders are allowed to take our bikes through Myanmar and China, that is) Cheers, Siobhan"


If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.

Some days you are the dog, and some you're the hydrant.

The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard on duty.

Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement.

Living on earth is expensive, but it does include an annual trip around the sun. ;-)

Quotable Quotes...

"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."
Fr. Alfred D'Souza

"When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable."

Clifton Fadiman.


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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. I currently have about 50 people listed, but there are many more. Some people think there are around about 100 people who have done a full round the world. 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?

See you next month. Keep the rubber side down, and have a great ride.

Riding the globe...

Grant and Susan Johnson
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