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Riding the globe...

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

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

April 14-16, 2000

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

I am expecting to be there, and then on to the... (Grant)

1st International GS Owners Rally, Belgium,

Evening April 21-24, 2000

Belgium BMW Club, Vlaanderen, at Hoeve Lorette, Rudderveldstraat 3, B-9600 Ronse, Belgium.

Contact Rudi Denolf, Belgium, tel. 55-21-19-26, or phone +32-(0)9.227.83.57 after 20:00hr or:

Peter Dunn (UK) at +44-(0)1635-861200

(dial the (0) and not the 44or32 in the country, dial 44or32 and not the 0 outside country.)

Camping, welcome BBQ, breakfast, evening events, rideouts, etc. all included at 1150fr (Belgian francs)

New Updated Details

"In the Flemish Ardennes (GENT - Oudenaerde-Ronse)
There will be GS signs along the road from
Ronse.

Friday: Welcoming GS Drivers, Soup/Bread 120fr

Saturday: Breakfast, ride out on tar, or offroad, silly games etc.
BBQ 400fr and Party with music and local drinks TILL?

Sunday: breakfast, ride out, more silly games, self catering in the evening.

Evening: Slide Shows (Dia) reportage motorbike trips and more.

Monday: breakfast and end of the Rally

Camping and breakfast 750fr, BBQ 400fr, Drinks 40fr.

More details

See you there! (Grant)

Buffalo Rally, Nomads MC, Cape Town, South Africa

April 27 - 30, 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

28th BMW MOA International Rally
Great Lakes International Rally 2000, Midland, Michigan

July 13-16, 2000

BMW Motorcycle Owners of America. Rally Chairperson: Sue Rihn-Manke +1-(262) 495-4163 / beemerhill@
berbee.com. Check out the rally website at www.bmwmoa.org for further details

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.

BC Canyons Rally Hot Springs 2000, British Columbia, Canada

August 13-19, 2000,

A five day dual - sport/road tour in beautiful British Columbia that starts in Kamloops and ends in Fairmont, BC. Riders will have a choice of hard-surface and gravel routes. Every night we camp at hot springs. Tour is limited to 20 bikes. Cost: CDN$525 or US$375 includes five nights camping, catered meals, excellent map books, and support vehicle to carry some of your gear. Contact Ged Schwartz at gsmswrsw@direct.ca or Tel. +1-(250) 372-0550. All routes tested by an overweight 1100 cc dual-sport bike...some technical stuff is optional.

4th International Motorrad - Fernreise - Treffen in Gieboldehausen, Germany

September 1-3, 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.

Airheads European Millennium Rendezvous

September 4-9, 2000

So far only the date. For those who aren't familiar with the term "airhead," except as a reference to a blonde, it's a name given to old BMW's, air-cooled, where the new ones are oilheads, oil cooled. The 'airheads' are a busy group of old BMW lovers and riders...This includes all the old R80 and R100GS's. The plan for this one is: to design the "4th European" a bit more rally-style, means
change campgrounds a few times and guide you through some beautiful
regions eventually the Pyrenees, south of France and the Pietmont
"

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.

Blogger "is a free weblog editor. Using Blogger you can create and update a Web page on the fly, using only your browser window. Regardless of where you are, if you have a connection to the Internet, you can keep maintaining your page."

This looks perfect for travellers on the road wanting to maintain a web page!

Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

Want to know the GPS coordinates, (latitude and longitude) for any place name? Here's the place to get it!

Repair Shops...

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. 

Tech tips and bits...

From Christian, USA

"Adventure parts (here) are hard to come by. So some resourceful KTM owners banded together to buy some skidplates from Germany. We invite you to join us, if you want a high quality rally skidplate for the KTM Adventure R."

See the Bulletin Board for more info or contact Christian

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

"...The starter motor is a chronic problem, which I had with the old Valeo motor- it wouldn't start or would click or hesitate when the engine was cold. I put a reconditioned Bosch in, which fixed the problem for a little while, but then it came back. Now I find if I turn the engine over a couple of times in the morning with the kicker it starts OK otherwise its dicky. When we were up in Ooty (Nilgiri Hills) it was much colder and we had to clutch it...." Any ideas anyone?

Submit your tips and questions here, anything goes! Got a great idea for travellers, found a new solution to a problem? Send it in! If you're having a problem, just ask, there's a lot of people with a ton of experience out there to help.

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." Anybody know anymore on Kazumi?

Lionel Marx, I have no e-mail for him...

Annette, Sweden, travelling solo, heading North from Nairobi...(met by Dave Thompson in Nairobi)

A Brit heading for Timbuktu...?

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

A Brazilian biker, Raphael Karen, travelling on a Yamaha 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...

Bruce Redding, USA, to Europe

"...really enjoy the e-zine. Wife and I are leaving AZ march 6, picking up new Africa twin in Evora, Portugal, spending 2 weeks in so. Portugal and Spain, then back to AZ. Our plan is to return for 2 weeks every month and work our way around most of western Europe, finally returning home in late Sept. I am director of a fighter aircraft museum and a historic car racing participant, so will be stopping at interesting airports, aviation museums, and races throughout our trip. Would enjoy meeting fellow riders."

Fulco Scherjon, Netherlands, to Australia,

"...I finally got my things together, and I have booked my flight: my TA (Transalp) will be leaving April 13, arriving around May 12 in Perth. I will take a flight one week later, arriving May 22 (taking a small delay into account). I will be leaving north that week, probably Wednesday or Thursday, taking about three weeks to go to Darwin. From there in about two weeks to Alice, and then heading for Cairns, for some diving...

Then there is that other thing; a crate for the return of my bike. I will be leaving around August 22, from Brisbane. My bike should be on a ship by then. It will need a crate to sleep in. It will arrive in Perth in a crate, but I will have to discard that probably, unlikely to find someone to transport it to the other side..."

Fulco could use a crate in Brisbane to ship the bike out, does anyone know a dealer he could arrange a crate with?

Administrivia

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A few technical notes on this edition:

A few people with Macintosh computers have told me that they have a big ;-) problem reading the small type in this column, so I have made everything two sizes bigger. Hope that works better for all. Please let me know. Remember that in a browser you can change the font size, and in most mail programs as well.

Note that if you want to print this you may want to ensure that the text size is appropriate, or you may end up printing more pages than planned! Test by printing one page first!

Also, there is a problem with Hotmail. Links in Hotmail are passed through a script so that they will open in a frame, sometimes causing a problem. All mail links also get messed up, coming up with a series of numbers or a cgi-bin directory path. I have been unable to solve this so far. If you run into this problem, just go to the edition on the website, it will work fine. If you have trouble getting there, just type the following address into your browser, all one line, no spaces:

http://www.
HorizonsUnlimited.
com/newsletter


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Please be assured that we will NOT under any circumstances, rent, lease, sell, or give out our mailing list, and/or your name and e-mail address, to anyone for whatever purpose. Your privacy is assured, and personally guaranteed.

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

6th Edition, April 1, 2000

Hi, welcome to the Sixth Edition of the Travellers' e-zine.

There have been pieces about the Horizons Unlimited website and E-zine in an Internet Newsletter, the March issue of Rider magazine, a good, old and established US motorcycle magazine, as well as the February issue of the similar UK magazine, Motorcycle Sport and Leisure. So the word is getting out, and the crazy Long Distance Motorcycle Travellers are getting noticed!

We have plenty of new stories for you in this issue, and several new longer stories on the website as well, so check out the Travellers' Stories section on the web.

We have had a great response to the Bulletin Board, you're using it and getting results, so we've added a number of new forums, designed to make it easier to find a previous post on a subject you're interested in. An important new one is Travellers' Advisories. If you have run into something that you think others on the the road would want to hear about, for example border closings and openings, local unrest, dodgy transport companies etc., please post it here. There are also forums for documentation, carnets and transport; bike preparation; route planning; and travellers seeking to meet travellers on the road.

If you haven't used the board, now's the time to seek or share information with others. Just remember to look for the little "register" when you get there, you must register to post messages on the board. Thanks.

Enjoy!

Some nice comments:

"...I have enjoyed your site, it is the most comprehensive MC tour web site! Your site provides a lot of information, thank you. Arto Rasimus" Finland

"... This is a brilliant site, with excellent links, that are very useful. We're going overland UK to Oz, leaving June 2001. Bought the bike, an R100GS, currently collecting as much info as possible on BMW's and overlanding. We'd love to hear from anyone that can offer advice. Thanks for the great site. xjr1200@cwcom.net, Manchester, England"

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.

We expect to be at the Tesch Treffen and the BMW GS Rally in April (see sidebar for details) and we hope to see YOU there!

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,

"...We trudged through the deep sand that is the main road of El Obeid, Western Sudan. Despite the scorching fury of the midday sun we had a sense of urgency about our mission: we were off to register our presence with the security police. Suddenly our police guide turned to us and broke the silence: "All Sudanese are stupid." We looked at each other. "Where are you from?" we asked curiously. "Sudan," he replied proudly.

We trudged on, trying to unravel this startling (mis)communication. El Obeid is a bustling town at the edge of the desert: the tarmac road from Khartoum ends here. It is also reputed to be the gum-arabic capital of the world. We're still not sure exactly what are this substance's key uses, but it is apparently a major national export. We have also been told that it is specifically excluded from US sanctions on Sudan. We're curious - can anyone confirm this?

El Obeid has also been an unexpected oasis for us. We've been sleeping on the roof of what used to be the International Hotel, which is a step up from our car park in Khartoum. Our new friends at the Franco-Sudanese Cultural Center have bustled us around from Coptic Church to Whirling Dervish prayers to local musician auditions. And we've generally been treated to the warmth and hospitality that we have grown used to in Sudan. We've also met the folks running the UN World Food Programme operation in this part of the world. Huge C130 cargo planes airlift food supplies to the southern region, and we accompanied the crew on one of these missions. It's all a little bizarre: Government authorisation operates on a "one for us, one for them" basis, so we first dropped a load of grain at an army camp before heading further south towards rebel-controlled territory. The plane came in at around 700 feet, slowed down above the drop zone, and then climbed sharply as the cargo retainers were released. Right on target, with no parachutes needed. Remarkable... We continue doing our best to stay out of trouble, and shall hopefully report soon from the remote west of the country..."

Arnoud Buitenhuis, Netherlands, India to Kathmandu and...

"...Unluckily it was nearly really the end. After leaving Nepal and staying a few days in Varanasi and Kajuraho I crashed into a TATA bus on the way to Agra. I was unconscious for quite some time but this is what I puzzled together afterwards: The bus overtook something and hit me full on the right hand side. I cannot remember the accident anymore (not even now after 2 weeks) but I saw the bus which had a big dent in the left front bumper and rest of the front where the BMW cylinder smashed into. The BMW is so badly hurt that he will have to be rebuilt by myself in my motorshop back in Holland, because they will have to check if the right cylinder is still straight on the bike. The damage is extensive, as everybody can understand when you slam into a bus with appr. 80 km/hour.

...everybody in India said I was super lucky but I think that my motorbike suit did what it was made for. The helmet I threw away because it was evident that it hit the bus (on the back side?!) with some force. I had a broken second rib and my whole right hand side hurt everywhere. Especially my knee and shoulder. But the protectors did their work and nothing else was broken...

After the accident I was transported to Mauranipur for examination in the hospital...they told me that I was lucky and there was nothing they could do with the rib that was still in its place. I stayed 3 days in Jhansi to retrieve some strength. The only thing I could do was sit in bed and watch television...

Still sore but better...back to Mauranipur where I got a lift from the police inspector to the policepost near the crash site to get the bike...and transport it to the Mauranipur police station. There we filled out forms and I was told it was all the fault of the bus driver but they only would start a trial to punish him not to get money for me, that was my problem. I made an effort to write down all the damage and get that acknowledged by the police. That was all no big problem and the police were very co-operative. The police inspector even arranged for the bike (to be) transported to Delhi on the back of a truck.

It took three days in the truck to Delhi...Tomorrow I will go to the embassy to see if they can help me start a civil suit to get some of my damage paid (wish me good luck!) and see if they know a transport company to fly everything (me included) to the Netherlands.

I am fine and I'm even looking forward to get back home again. I was on the way back anyway and although it is a pity I won't see Pakistan and Iran that part of the trip is always possible in a shorter bike trip.

Arnoud, R80GS (no longer Buzzing Hornet)."

Ken and Carol Duval, Australia, in Nairobi, Kenya,

"...The beer is cold and the weather is hot in Nairobi. The journey south through the Ethiopian Lakes district was great after the dusty rough roads of the north. The potholes and dirty dusty detours made the riding interesting and our Swiss travelling companions in the Pajero kept pace with us to Lake Lagano, the only safe lake to swim. Our cooling splash in the murky waters left us refreshed but with a strange soapy feeling.

The next stop at Moyale had us preparing for the Kenyan border crossing...Border formalities were completed by 9.00am and we joined the convoy as the first trucks carrying livestock, drygoods and people headed off into the heat. The journey was punctuated by two falls, one in sand and one in stones, both causing few problems with the bike but sapping our energy. We drank volumes of water in the heat but it was never enough. A truck driver who had offered us a ride the day before joined us as the sun went down. Our lights failed so we were forced to travel in the lights of the pursuing truck. Carol abandoned the bike soon after to hitch a ride on the truck. The ride to Marsabit was fast, rough and exhausting arriving around 9:00pm...

The next day we headed off in the cool at 6.30am and enjoyed sighting a family of baboons on the bridge south of town. They showed no fear as we passed within a couple of meters. The road although supposedly better was about the same and progress was steady with the preservation of the bike frame and tyres paramount. Highlight of the day was the sighting of a lone giraffe with very dark colourings about half way to Isiolo. We are in Africa!! The last 30 kms into Isiolo was a washboard/corrugation nightmare. We later found out that the Germans (Toyota) broke another leaf shackle and had ten flat tyres. We survived the day without a fall, broken frame or flat tyre.

The ride to Nairobi was beautiful. It was great to see the green around Mt. Kenya after the dry country of the past couple of weeks. The gearbox actually saw 5th gear for many days. At the equator we stopped for the mandatory photo. A big moment as we crossed into the southern hemisphere for the first time in almost three years.

As we were about to depart alas...a flat front tyre. A thorn collected on the paved roads. We repaired it with the help of a few local Kenyan lads and had a coke with them afterwards. An absolute pleasure with no backsheesh asked for and one lad giving Carol a sticker of Kenya for our screen.

Uphill Campground was smaller than expected but the abundance of travellers with their tales makes this R&R spot most enjoyable. The TLC jobs for the bike are almost complete and we hope to be back on the road to Uganda by the end of the week.

Many thanks for the greetings and well wishes from everyone.

Dirk "Krid" Bernhardt, Germany, in North Africa, Tunisia-Libya-Egypt to South Africa,

"...in Tunis...another biker told me about this guy on a KTM who also wants to go to S.A., so I decided to meet him on the camping place. He is Stefan, an engineer, 34 years, constructing safety belts, nice quiet guy, experienced Sahara driver. I decided to go with all the boys to Libya, because only in a convoy I could drive the difficult desert roads.

...The Libyan border was no problem...I had to pay $245 for getting in. You get lots of papers with arabic writings on it and a number plate that I instantly installed in the inside of my alu box ;)...

From the first moment on, Libya was very different. Hardly people around, I directly felt how big this county must be...

After a cold night (The Sahara is ColD!!...1 degree Celsius) under the open sky we went on the first piste to Ghadames (see our story on Ghadames for pics...ed.) via Bir Alagh. Boring stone piste, but appropriate for me learning how to drive off the road. Bir Alagh is a well-station in the middle of nowhere, an old man, some chickens and a dog. The generator did not work, and we could not repair it, so the 70 year old man will maybe still descend the 30m into the well on rusty stairs everyday for getting water.

In Ghadames...Stefan and me went into the old town where we talked to the old muezzin...he was talking a bit of Italian, so did Stefan. Ghadames is a very old caravan city with a fabulous old city kernel, that has been built up like an ant's city out of clay.

In the deep small ways through the town there's lots of shadow and cool sitting places. In 1984, the government built new houses outside with water and TV, so everybody had to move there. Now the old town is empty, and I guess only Tourism will keep it alive. It's a pity because I had liked to see these wonderful streets full of life. We were allowed to visit the old mosk (built 44 after Mohammed's death, but I guess that is a bit too early), very interesting. At a quarter to four, the muezzin excused himself, he had to pray. From the loudspeaker suddenly came a loud and alert voice "ALLAAAHU AKBAR!", our old friend.

...am now in Cairo. I just arrived in Egypt yesterday, and everything is doing fine. The border crossing was NO problem at all, took three hours, but everyone was very friendly, I even got a tea for free. (I was prepared for a fist fight when I read all the reports on the net)...maybe because I arrived on early Friday. The filthy guy that always eats chewing gum in the "traffic" was very friendly, and a boy led me around all the offices and did not even want a tip!"

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

"...We are back in Chile again where people seem to want to thank us for sending Pinochet home. I wish I could have a bit more Spanish to tell them that we personally had nothing to do with it but then it probably isn't such a good idea to get too involved with the rights and wrongs so we just smile and nod.

We decided to give Franky bike a rest for the next few days and to go to Torres (del Paine) on the local bus. Big mistake. On the bus, packed with tourists, we realised at once why we loved the solitude and freedom of the bike. The coach sped past incredible photo shots of Torres, scared the guanacos and ñandus so they shot off out of sight and contained loads of people voicing loud opinions of the death penalty, seemingly unconcerned about the best views. We missed Franky immediately...

...Punta Arenas...All thoughts now turned to our four day ferry ride up to Puerto Montt, (see our story on Chile for pics...ed.) leaving the next day. We had been told initially to board the boat at 9 at night. When we went to get our tickets confirmed, this time changed to a midnight boarding. Blah! It meant a bit of a non-day in the run up to boarding which we filled with a few more Chilean beers. By 10 that night, I was ready for bed. Thanks to Chilean (in)efficiency, I still had another 4 hours to wait in the cold night air. They eventually decided to board the bike at the same time as the passengers, despite previously telling us to arrive an hour early. Well, for the Brits reading this, long live P&O, I will never complain about them again...When we woke in the morning we thought the boat was holding very steady. When we emerged onto deck we saw why. The boat had still not left Puerto Natales. In fact the boat did not leave port until 2 p.m. that afternoon. I am at a loss therefore as to the logic of loading the passengers at 1 a.m.

...the boat ride was an experience, albeit a real gringo boat ride. More friends were made, further whisky sessions enjoyed, dice games learnt, whales spotted off the starboard and another incredible sunset. The whiff of the animals has now melted away; the new friends remain.

It was no surprise to us that we arrived In Puerto Montt in pouring rain. We had hoped that our travel back North would bring us some sunshine but it was not to be. With the season definitely autumnal here and the Chilean side of the Andes getting huge rain fall as a matter of course, we should not really have expected anything more. The big decision then was whether to spend the next few days around Chiloe and the Carreterra Austral or head further North. An email from Jeff and Linda (Anspach) who indicated rain all the way, made us decide to head into The Lake District and spend more time around there.

And here we are! We will report on the Lakes later!..."

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

"...Some notes about riding a motorcycle in Southern India:

1. You will get a sore arse, no matter what kind of seat you have or what kind of arse you have.

2. You will curse the fat bureaucrat who lined his pockets with the money which should have been spent on the roads.

3. One goat from every herd will try to throw itself under your front tyre.

4. Trucks are painted with meaningful statements like "one man, one tree" and "one family one child" that no one understands.

5. If the truck in front of you starts to pull over it is NOT for you; it means there is a crazed oncoming bus- do not overtake at this point.

6. Helmets are only compulsory in New Delhi, and only for men - women complained that it would ruin their hairdo and are exempt.

7. Jesus may be the last thing you see as his beatific face is painted on the front of a TATA bearing down on you at 80.

If you are starting to think South India may not be a bike touring paradise you're right! It's hard work, however the rewards are great; arriving in places like Hampi, Kochin and Shravanabelgola makes it all worth it and puts a smile back on your smokey-black dial..."

Mika Kuhn, Germany, around the world, in India,

"March 19, ...the festival of colours starts today with big bonfires all over town. This means I will be stuck here for three or four days and covered in all colours of paint.

After four months in India it is time for me to leave and go to Nepal, I need a change. I wish I could go into China from Nepal and I wouldn't have to come back to Delhi to fly out of India. To describe India is really hard for me, you have to see and smell this country to know what it is like. I'm used to the dirt, the traffic and to the crowds of people after all this time - but I will never get used to the way most Indians think. For me India is just another planet, and I can't explain most of the things I have seen. And I gave up asking 'why?', because nobody knows why, it is just like it is. One billion aliens.

Two days ago I met two Australians on Enfields and they told me about a Dutch biker (Arnoud Buitenhuis, reported above) on a BMW, who had a bad accident with a bus - so if you ride a bike here: be careful!

Since Goa I traveled 7.000kms in India and the Tenere is running fine - I only need a new driving chain and a new front tyre soon..."

Shorts...

Ryan Wagner and Dan Koengeter, USA, through South America, in Peru,

"...hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu was a lifetime memory...Hiking the trail took four days of grueling up and downs through the Andes. To make matters worse, we decided to hike independently from a group and carry our own gear. Hiking up a steep incline at 4200 meters with 40 pounds on your back was not an easy task. Thought that I was going to have a heart attack on several occasions and that my legs were going to fall off... We are currently in Bolivia and enjoying it immensely..."

Chris Bright, UK, around the world, in South Africa,

"a quick one from Swakopmund. (Namibia) it's cold, foggy, windy.... just like England in summer!! Have been spending the past weeks dodging, diving and weaving to avoid Eline. The wife needed a new alternator rotor and rectifier, but apart from that all is good...I hope to be sending the bike to New York, riding to Alaska and then south to Argentina...I'll be in the UK mid April to mid May..."

see the website for much more...

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

"...8/3/00 Good roads in Tanzania mean speeding vehicles and the first radars we have seen in Africa. We were pulled over and politely let go once but the second time the police were out for money. The fine $US 30.00. We disputed the speed and were informed to pay the fine and settle with the courts later. We explained we had insufficient money and were asked how much we did have (intro to a bribe). We explained not enough and perhaps we should go to the court now to settle the matter and the police could accompany us. This was agreed but as we were getting ready they changed their mind and let us off with a warning. Too much time and effort for them and away from their business of personal money collection. The road to Malawi passes through Mikumi National Park for 50 km. A freebie, with the same animals easily seen from the road. We rode through slowly, took a cheap room in a town just south of the park and returned to watch a herd of 50 elephants with young calves graze into evening near the road. We also saw giraffe, buffalo, warthog, antelope, zebra and baboons..."

Dan Shaw, USA, in Central America,

"...after 3 long long days of riding, I made it to Mexico City. I was planning on just passing thru, but after getting completely lost in the biggest city in the world, I decided to get a hotel and stay the night. After exploring the city, I actually kinda liked it and decided to stay another night.

The KLR is safely parked in the hotel lobby, because I'm afraid if I tried to ride the bike anywhere in this city, I'd get so lost I wouldn't be able to find my hotel again, so I'm subing it from here on out.

I was quite nervous on entering Mexico City. I heard so many bad things...I don't think it's any worse than any big city. It's not so dirty and there is always lots of people everywhere and something going on all the time.

On the way back from Guatemala I had to go thru many many police and military checkpoint...I got the impression they were hoping to find something they could get me for, but I was sure to have all my papers in order and nothing went awry..."

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

"...Japan has some of this motorcycling figured out better than the rest of the world. After a cold day of riding through the Japanese Alps it is nice to warm up in one of the baths most of the places to stay offer as standard fare.

These baths are a major adventure in themselves as each is different. I am never sure if I am going into one that is unisex or single sex. I try to maintain my cool when I make a mistake, like bowing, mumbling SO SORRY, and trying not to look at the ladies in the pool. Usually they smile, laugh or just stare (when I walk in without a towel). For those times when I really make a mistake, I add after saying 'So sorry...I AM FROM TEXAS.'

Things are expensive in Japan. US$6.50 for a BIG MAC Combo, $5.00 for a beer, and $50.00 for a cheap hotel room. Gas is not too bad, about $1.00 for a liter or $4.00 per gallon. You can go broke on the expressways however, about $.25 per mile. Riding a BMW around Japan brings true meaning to the acronym 'BMW'...Bring Mega Wallet.

...the number of time I have hit my head on doorways and overhanging signs. The Japanese are not tall, so they build everything small, and I think every doorway is about 5 inches shorter than I. Several time I have forgotten this while wearing my helmet with the face shield up and caught it on something. When I do it in front of a crowd, and there is a loud "thunk" from either my head or my helmet, I try to be cool, say 'So sorry, I am from Texas.' and everyone seems to think that is funny.

Riding in Japan is pretty easy. The drivers are far better than those I have found in many places in the world. Not a lot of horn honking, they do not scream at you when you split lanes, and gas is everywhere. While I have made a few mistakes, like parking on the sidewalk near a bicycle parking area, the cops just smiled when I said I was sorry and from Texas.

So far I have not tried a Geisha House, slept in a 'coffin' (a special small sleeping room one meter by one meter by two meters), or gotten a sake hangover. I've still some days left however so may fit them in. Oh yes, I have also not tried a karaoke place yet, which I may miss (unless I fall into the sake adventure).

...Both bike and rider are doing well, and having fun, Back to Montana seems a reality now, for early May. Hopefully the snow will be gone by then, as I have had my share here in the land of cherry blossoms..."

Takanori Kouchiwa, Japan,

"Last Saturday, I met Mr.Frazier and his partner(?) (that would be Benka - ed.) near Nikko in Tochigi prefecture in Japan. They are big adventurers! The road was covered with snow..."

Tanguy de la Vigne, Belgium, and Chris van de Goorberg, Eindhoven, Netherlands,

"...15 mars: Tanguy est revenu à Nairobi pour réparer sa moto..."

Tanguy is in Nairobi, fixing the bike...


This is our first advertisement, and we hope to get a few more. All our ads will be carefully chosen to ensure that it is (probably) of interest to you. Please support our advertisers and let them know where you heard about them!

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See you at the Tesch Treff April 14-16! (Grant and Susan)

Heading Towards...

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

"...Our (very rough) plan is to cross into Vientiane, Laos on Tuesday, then go N to Louangphrabang, next SE to Plain of Jars, then work our way to south to Mukdahan. We spent a little too much time in Chiang Mai (not hard to do), and realized we wanted to try and make it back to Thailand for Phuket Bike Week around April 14th -- so we'll probably exit Laos around the 11th.

Next we will spend some time around Bangkok, followed by a short hop to Cambodia, a wedding on May 7/8 west of Bangkok (near the Cambodian border), finishing off Thailand with a few weeks of R & R on a beach around Ko Samui -- and hanging out with some local BMW GS bikers!..."

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 vice-versa? 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. In Honduras till end of April."

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

On tour in Australia from 11-11-99 to May 2000.

Mads Are Heie, Norway,

"...My next tour will be to Iceland in August/ September. Going by boat from Bergen/Norway, and on the return we'll have a few days on the Faroe Islands as well. I'm really looking forward to that!

Last weekend I was on the "Primus Rally" in Norway. Motorbikes, Kerosene-Stoves and Camping. Beautiful weather, 16 Celsius below zero, and snow! Ride Safe!"

And I thought Canadians went nuts in the winter... ;-)

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..."

Whoops! ;-) changes to the above - Donald and KLR lost an argument with a car, and the bike is a write-off, so he's looking at a new/used bike. Would like to know if anyone can give him comments on a Transalp. Or perhaps something else.

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.

Home again...

Arto Rasimus, Finland, around the world,

"I came back from the tour (7/97-10/99). Now working & earning money in Finland. I can tell happy news: on the tour I met a Bolivian girl Lizbeth...we're planning to get married soon!"

Congratulations Arto and Lizbeth!

Joerg Becker and Sandra Weisshuhn, Germany, travelling in South America, Photo here!

"...105 days South America are coming step by step to the end.

Now we are in Valparaiso, the last five days we ride the whole days to arrive here.

In the last 3 1/2 months we drive 17,500 km from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, from there on the carretera austral to Puerto Montt and from there to Viña del Mar. From there we went to Ika in Peru to Machu Pichu and Lake Titicaca, to La Paz in Bolivia from there back to Arica in Chile and now the ends coming in Viña del Mar again. We will ever remember the road from Nazca to Cusco. Because it took us 3 days and it was horrible to drive in the rain season. There are 150 km with deep mud, big holes, maybe 10 deep and heavy (very wet) river crossings without bridges. There is really no street...At the 17th we have to fly back to Germany."

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

...back in Blaine, Washington, USA, and having a 'welcome home party' at the Rysers on April 1st.

Lionel Marx, USA,

"has now finished his ride in BA, from where he shipped his bike back to LA for an extortionate US$1500 (what!!??!!) and then flew to Rio for Carnaval before then going back home." (Thanks Julia and Kevin)

Travellers' tips on countries...

For information on getting to Japan with your bike, see the new page on Japan.

Arto Rasimus, Finland, on game parks in Africa,

"...wildlife parks possible to enter by bike. Can be interesting, or almost scary :) For example Matusadona, Zimbabwe."

Uros and Metka Blazko, Slovenia, on shipping from Harare, Zimbabwe,

"...Remember we wrote that The Kingfisher Freight was the cheaper to send our bike to Buenos Aires? Well in the end it turned out that we had to pay over US$2,350 not including the tickets for ourselves. In the future advise people to stay away from that agency..."

Noted!

Dave Thompson, USA, around the world, in Nairobi,

March 6 "...Because of a screw up on my part, I will have to hang around Nairobi for the next week or two to get my papers straightened out for the motorcycle...

In Nairobi there are many cyber cafes. ...In Mali, I was paying $10 per minute. It would cost me $30 just to see if I have mail. In Kenya, the rate is more like 250-420 shillings per minute ($3.33-$5). The cyber cafe charges 300 per hour, and has 56kbps speeds"

Ken and Carol Duval, Australia, in Nairobi, Kenya,

"...Important info. Visas: Sudanese was obtained in Cairo. It took 4 days, required a letter of recommendation from our Embassy, two photos and US$61.00 each. No airline ticket was required nor did they ask how we were travelling. This was a little obvious though. Ethiopian was processed in one day, two photos were required as well as a return airline ticket which was refunded by Egypt Air for a fee of 15 Egypt Pounds. Visas cost was US$63 each. Sudan need a Carnet de Passage while Ethiopia write out their own for the price of US$1 (wow!!)..."

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

Last issue I asked: "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? ;-)"

Their reply: "The $1.95 US $13.95 Can is a little poke at our Canadian friends back home in Portland. (Oregon, USA) It seems that every time we're talking about prices someone will say '...it was only 100 bucks! I believe that's $3,496 Canadian.' Everyday we would embellish the exchange rate a little more." Maybe only Canadians will understand - the CDN $ is sliding slowly to oblivion, now at about CDN$1.46 to the US$. I remember when it was US$1.07 to the CDN$! That was a looong time ago, unfortunately.

What it does mean for travellers is that your money goes a long way in Canada, so don't put off a visit, Canada is great value.

Theo and Ursula, living in Zimbabwe, as of March 18,

"...we have no petrol and diesel in Zimbabwe. If a filling station gets petrol or diesel you have to stand in a queue for up to 5 hours at a time and then you only get $500.00 of fuel. And in the meantime the fuel has gone up from $16 to $22 per litre..."

Sure hope those are Zimbabwe dollars he's talking. This appears to be a result of the terrible storms in the area, and may well change soon, but be prepared with a full tank and spare cans if possible.

This just through on Lonely Planet's email newsletter,

"Laos/Thailand: New Limits to Vehicle Border Crossing

A three-day limit on private vehicles crossing the Thai-Laos border was announced recently by customs officials at the Friendship Bridge. The regulation requires cars to return to their native soil within 72 hours.

The move has caused some disruptions to overland tours: local tour operators and self-drive tour drivers are supposed to get their cars back before their planned visits are over." Not sure what effect this will have on travellers, but check carefully.

Joerg Becker and Sandra Weisshuhn, Germany, travelling in South America, Photo here!

Valparaiso"...we have to find out a way to bring the bikes back to Germany. There is an Embargo to Lufthansa and KLM to bring dangerous goods (motorbikes) to Europe, especially to Germany. We hope now that Swisscargo will sent our bikes to Europe.

If there is a traveller who wants to contact Swissaircargo in Santiago, here is an email address "Swisscargo@lanchile.cl". The persons to contact are Mr. Mathis Csaszar or Mr. Oskar Urutia. Both speak English and Mr. Csaszar speaks German, too.

Ryan Wagner and Dan Koengeter, USA, through South America, in Peru,

"...here is the information about how we sent our bikes from Panama to Guayaquil...

Pacific Agentship Panama, S.A.
(also called Ecuadorian Line).
Contact: Jose Aguilar (boarding officer)
Ave. 118, Calle Terminal, Edificio Colombus, P.O. Box 5026 Cristobal
Colon, Panama
tel:445 0166 fax:441 4308

One can also contact Alberto Funal in Panama city: 269 2022 (Ecuadorian
Line).

Cost US$150 per bike (weight not important). However, only take CASH. Shipped as loose freight in a container with other stuff. Need to arrive in Colon with bike and complete paper work day. Give yourself a full day to complete everything. Boat leaves usually on Sundays at about 5 p.m.
Takes 2.5 days to arrive in Guayaquil.

See Mr. Campbell in Colon....VERY HELPFUL...Will take you to container and get you through customs immediately (we gave him a tip of 6 US dollars). Will let you push your bike into the container and let you see that it is secured properly.

Pick up contact in Guayaquil:
Monica Jordan de Cervantes
email: mjordan@bonita.com
tel:593 4 481 447 or 481 439
fax:593 4 481 449

Did all paper work for us. Very nice lady. Speaks English. Went out of her way to help us. Processing fees were about 15 US dollars per bike. Also, we had to get a letter of transit from the American Embassy (US$50)..."

Andy White, UK, in Bangkok, flying bikes from Kathmandu to Bangkok,

"Warning for all planning to fly from Kathmandu to Bangkok. Myself, and 5 other riders have just done so, and all have encountered problems. Firstly we all used the Eagleeyes agency, which had already flown 4 others bikes smoothly. Upon arrival in Bangkok, we found this agency had not booked our bikes on the same plane, as we were told, or on any flight. The crate sizes were also too large, and this cost us on average $150 extra. Also, because the crate were in storage for 2 weeks at Kathmandu, when the crates eventually arrived, they had been vandalised, and items stolen - over $1200 of equipment from one crate. Only 3 bikes have arrived so far.

If you are thinking of flying from Kathmandu, be warned to deal only with the airline, and that the storage at the airport is not secure. Also I would advise giving Mr. Dakahl at Eagle Eyes Exports a wide berth."

Funnies...

No wonder the English language is so very difficult to learn:

We polish the Polish furniture.
He could lead if he would get the lead out.
A farm can produce produce.
The dump was so full it had to refuse refuse.
The soldier decided to desert in the desert.
The present is a good time to present the present.
At the Army base, a bass was painted on the head of a bass drum.
The dove dove into the bushes.
I did not object to the object.
The insurance for the invalid was invalid.
There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
They were too close to the door to close it.
The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
After a number of Novocain injections, my jaw got number.
I shed a tear when I saw the tear in my clothes.
I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
I spent last evening evening out a pile of dirt.

Quotable Quotes...

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, and shouting GERONIMO!"
Hunter S. Thompson

"There is no happiness for him who does not travel...
Therefore, wander... The fortune of him who is sitting, sits, it rises when he rises, it sleeps when he sleeps, it moves when he moves,... Therefore , wander!
"
The Rig Veda - 800 - 600 BC.

"No matter where you go, there you are! Oliver's Law of Location.
Remember that happiness is a way of travel - not a destination.
"
Roy M. Goodman

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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 60 around the world travellers 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? Is the file size too big? It's grown from the first edition, at 43kb, to 88kb for this one. There is just so much happening, so many of you having great trips, and writing about it, I find it hard to leave anything out!

See you next month.

Ride often, ride far, and ride it like you stole it!

Riding the globe...

Grant and Susan Johnson

Share the dream! at:
www.HorizonsUnlimited.com

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