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Are you a TRAVELLER? Does the smell of spices wafting
through the air make you think of Zanzibar, a cacophony of honking
horns is Cairo, or a swirl of brilliantly patterned clothing
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
This report is from Werner Zwick, who DID make it, unlike us...
"...the Tesch Meeting was good as always. About 300 motorcyclists convened around a big campfire in the woods somewhere in eastern Belgium.
The water at the river crossing was very low, very few motorcycles fell into it.
A group of British motorcycle travellers, among them Elspeth, Chris, Gerard and Mark came from the Island to join the others.
Joshi from Japan, and a girl from South Korea brought some Asian flavour to the event.
The weather was like the years before. Friday and Saturday mostly rain with a chilly wind, Sunday bright and sunny.
On Saturday morning some travellers explored the medieval center of Monschau before heading to the Gasthaus in Höfen, where the travelshow took place.
Bernd Tesch greeted all motorcycle travellers to his 22nd rally. Then he invited the 10 participants of the Ushuaia Millenium Motorcycle Travellers Meeting who were attending on stage.
Afterwards the slideshows started with Eastern Patagonia, Antarctica and the millenium meeting in Ushuaia by Werner Zwick. Patricia Govers and Bernd Tesch gave a lively report on their 3-months exploration of Australia, Jutta Hartmann and Markus Koerbel presented their motorcycling adventures in Cambodia and Laos, and Jochen Hübner told his story on his travels solo around the world.
In between, Bernd invited all round-the- world travellers on stage. Then for the first time in the history of mankind, the Bernd Tesch Travel show ended earlier than planned. We could ride the 35km through the woods to the campsite in daylight.
Lots of new friends were made and many travel stories told at the big campfire in the center of the campsite all night long.
See you on the road or at Tesch next year"
From Bernd Tesch, snips:
"290 Motorcycle WORLD Travellers. At least 50 % have crossed one continent. Including
11 Mc World AROUND Travellers. As usual a wonderful athmosphere, 4
1st International GS Owners Rally, Belgium,
April 21-24, 2000
Report from Simon...
"Just a quick word to thank the Flanders GS Club for organising a cracking weekend. The last time I enjoyed that much mud was half a life-time ago at a rock festival (but I had hair then!).
The camp-ground, beer, food and company were all excellent.
The riding was challenging - muddy and pretty. My favourite comment was from Eddie before the second day's ride:
"today we will start a little later because the 'natural selection' has already been done".
A special thanks to Eddie and Frank for managing the ride out."
49'er Rally, BMW Club of Northern California, Auburn, California,
May 25-29, 2000
"Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn, California, 30 miles east of Sacramento in the heart of the Gold Country. Beautiful grassy facility within easy walking distance of Old Town Auburn. 3 nights camping and Sat. evening meal. BMW demo rides, 49'er Gold Poker Run, skills & tech seminars, Ted Simon talks about "Jupiter's Travels," speedway racing on Fri., GS ride & English Trials, live bands, and BMW dealer support in nearby Roseville with free shuttle. $36 pre-registered, $40 at gate, kids under 12 are $21..."
Dave Gluss ++1-(650) 851-2577, or web
Nick Sanders, Fastest Man Around the World,
is organising a two week trip from London to Casablanca, to be filmed by Sky TV. Get famous, call Nick at +44 (0) 1295 758095
15th International Rally BMWMOA-French Connection, Coutures, France
June 1-4, 2000
"Located at the European Camping of Chateau de Montsabert at Coutures. This little village is in the middle of the vineyard, at 10 kms of the Loire at 30 kms Southeast of Angers, and at 300 Kms SW of Paris ...visit a part of the Loire Valley, with its history, and its beautiful landscapes, by a short balade, a vine testing, and so on ...Rally celebrates... 20th Anniversary of the BMWMOA French - Connection...can rent mobile home, B&B or hotels. We can help you (with) the reservations." Alain Foucher
28th BMW MOA International Rally
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.
This is an opportunity to GIVE/GET directions & assistance TO/FROM like-minded bikers on the road. We all would like to know someone who can help in an emergency, or with local knowledge.
"Just a note to say I finally finished the book about my journey, 597-pages, 81/2 x 11" (would be over 1,000 in trade paperback). I've also put together a digital slide show on diskette."
Samples, pics and info on the website.
1995/1996, and 1999/2000 - and yes, that really is a BSA.
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.
"...about good bike repair places on the road. We would not advise that anyone should use Williamson Balfour BMW in Santiago. They are a very big dealer and very expensive. We came away 300 dollars lighter but with a problem not fixed. ...you can get BMW parts there but again they are not cheap.
... in Santiago, the road to go for motocycle bits, tyres, oils, and any Japanese bike repairs is Lira - it is near the Cerra Santa Lucia.
We had a very good experience with a mechanic in Temuco (about a hard days ride South of Santiago). He is a German called Peter Fischer and has a workshop at 0545 AM Matta in Temuco (he is not in Yellow Pages). He is a BMW trained mechanic ...he knows what he is talking about. He solved our problem with the front suspension in a matter of a few minutes. He also services or repairs bikes with you there so you can learn a little too! We have his email but not on us at the moment and will send it too you at a later date. He also runs local guided motorcycle tours (he use to work for Eidelweiss) and is a good source of local information. We rode out with him towards Argentina on a 3 day trip he was doing for his birthday treat!
In Costa Rica, the work done by Breymann Motors was mixed. It was a good engine service but they fitted the wrong size back tyre, the repair of the indicators failed within 2 days, and the problems with front forks started after they had changed the oil and seals.
In Mexico City, we used Alta Vista BMW and would recommend them. They were on Preferico Sur (near the Olympic Stadium). They are in the Yellow Pages and there was a nice English speaking lady, Alice, who helped us. They picked the bike up on a trailer, did the repair and small service, cleaned the bike so it was immaculate, collected us from the hotel to take us to the garage so we could get the bike. (that day they could not bring out the trailer as it was the "banned" number plate for that day in Mexico City! Again we have an email but it has been sent back to the UK so we will have to let you have it later.
Kevin and Julia"
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.
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
There is still 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:
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Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' e-zine
- Copyright 1999-2000, Horizons Unlimited and Grant Johnson. All rights
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.
Hi, welcome to the Seventh Edition of the Travellers' e-zine.
If you expected to see us at the Tesch Treff and the GS Rally - we weren't there because I was sick in bed with a really nasty flu. It's been two and a half weeks and I'm still not all better, but improving. We'll get to some of the other rallies this summer, so hopefully we'll see you there!
There's plenty happening all over the world, so many events, so many things to see and do, and just not enough time... Enjoy your summer - or winter as the case may be!
WOW! Your e-zine is becoming awesome! -- such great stories by riders all over the world! Fantastic links resource! Bountiful in information. I jump right into Horizons Unlimited when it shows up in my mailbox! A feast for the MCing mind, heart and soul! (and you can quote me on that!)..."
okay...you ask, you get! We aim to please. Grant
Henry E. (Hank) Harley, Welland, Ontario Canada
"...what a great page and what great experiences you have had, although it's sinful, I envy you! I can hardly wait to follow your lead. Hank"
We are now an Associate with Amazon, the biggest bookseller on the web. If you want to buy a book, you can go to our Books pages, and we have listed a large number of the best motorcycle travel books, as well as a number of BMW books, general motorcycle books, and travel guides. Very much in progress, with hundreds more to come, but there is a good list to start with now. There's links to Amazon USA, Amazon UK, and Amazon Deutschland, so no matter where you are - Aussies order from Amazon USA ;-) you can order books at great prices, and I'll make a dollar or two, which goes to supporting this e-zine. There are links to search Amazon sites for all their products, books, cds etc, and yes, we get a tiny piece of that too. We really appreciate it when you start your book search from our website! Thanks for the support.
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
I've been off the air for a while after some micro-organisms ruined my week in Goa. All I remember is masala, masala, masala. My appetite is back with a vengeance now though, which is great 'cause the food here is heavenly (even the masala).
Nik and I have made it to lovely Rajasthan finally; we put the bike on the train from Goa to Ahmedabad. They wrapped the bike up in big hessian bags and cardboard and threw it into the baggage compartment of the train - it barely fit. So we hopped on the train and took off. When the ticket man came he informed us that our ticket was for tomorrow (duh!)- and there were no more seats left in sleeper (there were of course but they like to scare you for some extra backsheesh) so we had to pay for a new ticket and pay a fine.
The train journey wasn't so cheap after all. Actually still cheaper in total than buying 1200 km of petrol and easier on your butt. Our first stop was Mt. Abu, where we stayed in the Summer Palace of the Maharaja of Bikaner, played tennis and had tea in the sitting room (lots of pictures of dead tigers on the walls - and the Maharaja looking very proud of himself - fat bastard). It was "good morning sir" about 10 times a day - it got boring after a while. We stopped in Ranakpur last night and saw the amazing Jain temple with 1444 intricately carved marble columns. Then today we rode to Udaipur via an awesome fort at Kumbalgarh - a wonderful ride through the Aravelli ranges. We'll stay for a few days here in Udaipur then head to Chittoor and Bundi and up to Delhi.
Rajasthan; Chittoor - got fully plastered with dye during the holy festival and spent the next week with a bright pink head - a little girl burst into tears at the sight of me. Most people just laughed.
Bundi - met a kindly 85 year old Ghandi-type man and spent 2 days cruising around town in first gear following him on his bicycle. On the night before we left we got hammered with him on whiskey and promised to bring him our first born child.
Pushkar - On the way passed pilgrims walking there (only 200km) and prostrating themselves every few steps. That's one way to get to Pushkar, biking is better.
Dudu - An unplanned stop between Pushkar and Jaipur which turned into an otherwordly experience involving a 100 year old guru, wild looking guys with 6 foot long dreads and loincloths and copious amounts of marijuana, hash and Opium (sorry mum). I can see how westerners get sucked into this kind of lifestyle - you smoke enough chillums, anyone looks like God. Luckily we escaped with our sanity (and some great video).
Jaipur - Overtook a line of 20 or 30 elephants and their mahouts on the way to the fort, avoiding turds the size of a sack of spuds and much more slippery.
Delhi - Nearly melted the engine and got lung cancer while negotiating the chaos and pollution. Spent the weekend at a traditional wedding in a village about 30km north. Witnessed the colourful and crazy ceremony surrounding a family giving their 16 year old daughter to another family - who knows what fate awaits her- most likely she will be bossed around by the in-laws, do all the housework, get beaten by her husband and die in a mysterious fire if she hasn't born a son within 12 months. The dowry included a new scooter, household furniture and appliances and thousands of rupees. The bride and groom had never seen each other before, didn't smile or look at each other during the ceremony, and the bride was crying and terrified as she was bundled into a car to be taken away to the inlaws house. What fun! Sometimes in this mad country it seems like human kindness and common sense are completely swamped by culture and tradition. I wouldn't want to be an uneducated woman (most of them) in India. Again, I got some great video and I hope to share it with you at some stage.
On Thursday we are riding to Lucknow and Varanasi then up to Kathmandu to escape the heat of the plains. Drop us an E if you get a chance; we love to hear the goss from home.
Luke and Nik"
"...Since I wrote the last mail I have been in Canada, USA, Mexico and Guatemala. I knew that I did not mail for a long time, but it was so much more interesting to travel than to write so I decided just to travel...here is the summary of the last couple of months.
One of the highlights of my tour, which is now going on for more than a year, was the enduro trip with Ged Schwartz near Kamloops in B.C.(BC Canyons Rally). Very well organized, nice people, nice weather and beautiful dirtroads. It is a pity that I am not living close to Canada otherwise I would like to join Ged's trips more often, but for sure I will show up again - see you Ged even if it is a long way from Germany.
Up in Alaska it was a little bit too expensive for me. The Euro - and so the Deutsch Mark - lost 20 percent against the US$ since I left Germany, so my girlfriend and I decided to turn around at Tok and go for the Top of the World Highway and the Dempster Highway up to the Arctic Circle in Canada. ...The only real adventure was that I was using a creek as a road for a couple of minutes and punctured my tire with at least 15 holes, so I could not repair it on my own and had to take a truck back to the main road and get the tire repaired...I am such a smart Around the World Traveler! :-) ... Just 5 minutes fun and then 6 hours work...
A must is the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper. One of the nicest roads I have ever seen - and I saw quite some. From then on till the Mexican border it was more or less a trip to visit friends. ...I passed the border into Baja California (Mexico) just before Christmas. I was worried: I expected criminals and corruption, but during traveling 4 months in Mexico nothing happened. I did primitive camping, used small roads and did a lot of things you should not do. The people are mostly helpful and the policemen and military stuff are just doing their business. Maybe I was just lucky, but I think, if you use your common sense and be careful, traveling in Mexico is as dangerous as everywhere. (I think he means "no more dangerous than anywhere else!" Grant)
I wanted to follow the Pacific Coast, but my rear wheel drive seal was leaking, the first problem since I left Germany...I went to the second biggest city in Mexico... Guadalajara...advice to keep on going to Mexico City because there are no parts and mechanics in Guadalajara....very nice people at the BMW shop in Toluca and they helped me a lot. Within a couple of days the bike was ready for Central America...at Acapulco I met Dan with his Kawasaki KLR and we have been traveling to Guatemala together ... a nice time. We did some nice dirt roads and I realized again how heavy my bike is. Sometimes it is too heavy. Very comfortable on paved roads and dirtroads but as soon as it gets to technical sections it is no fun to handle it. I am looking forward to the F650 GS. Has anyone already experience with the bike? Dan and I passed Chiapas and soon arrived at the border between Mexico and Guatemala. Here I was for the first time treated better than the American citizen, Dan. I got a much better rate for my Pesos than he did, because of his citizenship. The rest of the trip I never had the feeling that I was treated better than Dan.
The border crossing was no problem and the next day we arrived in Quetzaltenango to learn Spanish. ...In approximately 3 weeks I will continue to Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica - has anyone tips? ...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."
"...There are dark forces at work in Sudan. Our departure from Khartoum had been delayed repeatedly while spares cleared Customs and travel documents were renewed. We eventually slipped out of that city's clutches, managing about 1,000 kms before Noah's piston was destroyed by contaminated petrol. After all this we are now back in South Africa, quietly gnawing at our knuckles while Noah recovers from a dislocated shoulder and fractured arm.
After our extended hiatus in Khartoum we were so happy to be on the road again that Noah carried on going without his bike. A concealed railway track across the road swept away the front wheel, and he eventually came to rest with a useless right shoulder and knee, mild concussion and a disintegrated pair of riding pants. This was where the true adventure began (the kind that one would rather not experience)....onto an old Land Rover for the ride from hell: 4 hours on a dirt road with no pain killers. The sleepy doctor in El Obeid cranked up the old x-ray machine, checked out the results and languidly suggested that we get to Khartoum if Noah was keen to use the arm again. The next morning we were airlifted out, with Noah lying on the hard floor of the small plane, going airborne every time we hit turbulence. 24 hours after the accident he sucked gratefully on the anesthetic gas ('Could I get some of that to go?') and was fast asleep when the surgeon removed his shoes and clambered onto the operating table for the delicate task of returning Noah's arm to its rightful home.
Perhaps the most memorable part of this whole experience (apart from a wee bit of pain) is the support we got from everyone we knew - and many strangers whose first encounter was a garbled story about both of us being hit by a train!...
The diagnosis in Sudan omitted a few aspects of the injury - such as the shattered bone at the top of the arm, nerve damage in the shoulder and the torn thigh muscles. The good news, though, is that Noah is now in the capable hands of the folk at the Rosebank Centre for Sports Medicine, who have promised to return him to Globeride better than before (as if that were possible). Our friends at Proaction (KTM SA) looked a touch confused when Noah hobbled in there, but recovered quickly enough and immediately started straightening the front wheel that we brought back from Sudan. But we have enough time over the next month or so to prepare for the next leg of our trip...now it's time for some shoulder exercises, before heading out in search of the medicinal analgesic properties of a few whiskeys...."
best wishes from all of us, get well soon! Grant
"...first the good news. We have been able to piggyback on a website here in Chile, courtesy of Francisco Campla, and this means that you can now enjoy a few selected photos of our journey. ...in Santiago we developed a few films about our journey to Ushuaia and then back up through the Chilean Lake District......At Puerto Varas, we headed east to spend the day doing a circuit of Lago Llanquihue and up to Petrohue, most of it a perfect dirt road. The Volcan Osorno towered at the far side of the lake, with the top was wrapped in a blanket of white fluffy cloud. Our route took us past many little wooden churches, painted in bright reds, yellows and blues and as we got closer to the volcan, the cloud started to disappear as the sun burnt it away. There was no doubt that this was a perfect day for riding a bike in the most scenic of places and we were congratulating ourselves on a great decision to come North...
...By morning the Chilean weather had done its usual and presented us with lashings of cold rain and low murky fog. The view had become...like trying to peer through the side of a tupperware box. So much for our warm drive North...fleeces and...waterproof layer and then had to suffer a ride which took us North part of the way on Ruta 5.
Ruta 5 is a horrible road, most of which is posted with signs declaring excavation profunda or desvio. Where the road is not yet dual carriageway, they are upgrading...the main road north / south...It is best to avoid Ruta 5, if at all possible, but sometimes to zigzag through the Lake District, you find yourself doing a few kilometres on it. Such times are low points in the ride, even more so when the weather resembles a typical late November in England.
...Valdavia, a Pacific coastal town and an important port in Colonial times. We stayed there a couple of nights, drying everything out..My boots have long since forgotten that they were supposed to be waterproof and hold water now like a good sponge...two days minimum for them to dry out, stiff and musty..."
"...Leaving Nairobi after a week of R&R we headed to Thompson Falls north of Nakuru...camping on grass...English style buildings in a well maintained garden.
The Ugandan border crossing was uneventful with our visas being purchased on the spot for US$30.00 each. The Carnet allowed the bike in for no cost and procedures were completed in under an hour.
Kampala saw a very potholed road road but the scenery more than compensated...Drivers in buses and matatu's were active and not to be messed with as they swerved violently from one side of the road to the other to avoid the potholes.
Red Chilli campground was a pleasure with green grass and our hosts supplying good food and cold beer. Our next port of call was Lake Bunyonyi near Kabale in the Sth West. A campground straight from paradise...Magnificent!!!!
...for lunch at Ishaka we enjoyed stewed goat and plantain bananas. mmmmm..different.
At the Bujugali Falls near Jinja (Source of the Nile) we camped on the edge of the river/falls. Beautiful. Excitement for the stay included a snake beating a hasty retreat from the pursuing Nationals hid under our tent. They extracted it and promptly killed it with the claim it was a Black Mamba. Closer inspection revealed it was only a harmless grass/tree snake.
Our border crossing back to Kenya was not as smooth as our entry into Uganda, with the Ugandan officials demanding a 10,000 shillings (US$7.00) road tax which should have been paid on entry but we were never asked to pay.
Approximately 50kms from Kisumu a noise from the rear suspension revealed a leaking Koni Shock with a broken mount on the swing arm. The rough roads of the last few months had taken their toll and with 180,000kms on the Koni it was way over due for a rebuild. At Kisumu we found a great campground on Lake Victoria (Kisumu Beach Resort). The facilities were excellent and our host introduced us to a mechanic (and motorcyclist) who repaired our broken shock mount.
Our first encounter with a hippo was here. It is very different trying to sleep with a hippo munching near your tent. Next stop...Lake Naivasha, Fishermans Camp was great. Camping under the golden trunks of these huge Acacia Trees with monkeys swinging around and the likelyhood of more hippos to be seen. Life's tough some days.
Departed Nairobi 2/4/00 and headed south to Moshi in Tanzania. The Border crossing was a simple affair with our visas costing US$20.00 each. The bike was free with the Carnet taking care of the legalities.
Moshi to Dar saw us run out of fuel for the first time on our journey (3 years) There was plenty of fuel in Moshi but we still had over 200kms worth in the tank and numerous fuel stops enroute. Unfortunately all of the garages had run out of fuel and were waiting on tankers. We missed the next real fuel source by 3kms. A local tractor driver came to our rescue...Presently we are camped on an island linked by ferry to the mainland. Very nice but very hot and humid. Tomorrow we are heading to Zanzibar for a couple of days to sample the seafood. Then it is Sth-Sth West to Lake Malawi...."
"...we managed to get out of Vientiane before the bomb/grenade went off. Don't really know the details ...There's word there might also be trouble around the Plain of Jars, but we will investigate and decide if we go.
We're in Luang Prabang at the Mekong g/h that overlooks the Mekong River. We have a HUGE room with HUGE attached bath and HUGE balcony for $8/night. The key is it's one of the few places with gated parking -- Make reservations in advance as it's highly recommended in the Lonely Planet! Prices in Laos seem a bit higher than Thailand, except for petrol which is a hair cheaper here.
The border crossing from Thailand into Laos at Vientiane is pretty simple, and aside from a small problem with our paperwork from Mae Sai (2 weeks earlier), it only took 1.5 hours. Since motorcycles can't ride across the "Friendship Bridge", a ride in a pickup truck is 600 baht per trip -- If you can fit 2 bikes, it's 600 baht. It had been a long day for us (late start, flat tyre, 8 hour ride), so rather than even trying we just paid 1000 for the 2 trips. After finishing at the Laos border with the Carnet (It just made it easier -- they didn't even look at the bikes!), entry tax was 2000 kip and "overtime" (after 16:00) was 2,500 kip each -- 1 baht = 200 kip = $0.027.
Only 1 problem in Laos -- Nobody told us they drive on the right!!! After 4 months driving on the left, that has become "normal" for us. We even saw an American movie a while back and commented that THEY were driving on the wrong side! We're just a wee bit confused now.
The roads in Laos are similar to India/Nepal, but with a lot less traffic! The ride from Vientiane to Vang Vieng was 186kms and took about 4 hours (including lunch stop). V.V. to LP was 235kms and took about 4.5 hours, but we only stopped for petrol -- It's a road filled with curves, mountain passes, and many small villages along the way -- watch for oil spills!!!
Internet cafes in all 3 places we've been. A bit slow, but not too bad. Price is about 300 kip/minute in Vientiane, and 450 in the other places. No "good" bookstore in Vientiane, but there is a good one in V.V. -- Haven't seen or been looking for one in LP. That's all for now.
Ride safe, ride far, ride often, Erin and Chris"
"Our experience was that we approached Customs with Passport and Carnet in hand (we gave up on playing 'dumb'). They asked for our documents, and seemed to know what to do with the Carnet. They stamped the top, took the bottom receipt, and sent us on our way without inquiring about other m/c paperwork or inspecting the bikes. All I can say for sure is it appeared to be much smoother with the Carnet.
THAILAND: Every Carnet issuer says the Carnet is not valid in Thailand, however on entry, customs demands the Carnet! They claim that we could not bring in the bikes without the Carnet. Again, we used them and had no problems.
LAOS/CAMBODIA: From what I understand, you can not drive overland between Laos and Cambodia -- Go to Bangkok in between and get your next visa :-)"
"Mathias and me then went to Aswan, he did by train, and I took the street...Aswan was even more relaxing, we did some felukka sailing and visited the beautiful islands. At night we drank beer on the rooftop (again) and watched the main bazaar street from this viewpoint.
Mathias then went back to Luxor, and for me there was a ferry waiting into Sudan. The paper work was done quickly, and since I arrived early and the bike had to be put on the ferry as the last thing, I had plenty of time watching the people loading the ship. It was an experience! They packed so many stuff on the ship that after some hours I thought that they must throw it into the water on the other side. Two things seem to be missing in Sudan: simple carpets and plastic chairs (from Gardena).
The problem...the step from the land to the ferry was increasing with every chair, and the loading hole was getting smaller and smaller...I became a bit nervous and unmounted windshield, mirrors and other things. When it was time to leave (7 hours after I arrived) the hole was so small that I did not believe xyzzy (my bike) would go inside the ship. But, inshallah, it somehow worked. No need to get nervous :)
...the shipping across Lake Nasser was not very eventful. I snapped a whole bank next to the air conditioner (with a german towel, harhar), and after dinner and some talking to the other passengers, I slept all night until we reached Wadi Halfa.
Xyzzy had to be unloaded as the first thing which was easier because the step from the ferry to the ponton was not as steep as the one in Aswan. A guy from the tourist police helped me with the little paperwork, and after about an hour I could drive from the ferry into SUDAN! This was exactly what I always imagined a ferry-arrival in Africa to be: You have to drive on several pontons, each for a different step of immigration/ paper stuff, and eventually across a kind of ladder onto the shore, behind it a dusty hill and some filthy huts on its top where women sell tea and Pepsi....
I also met this German-Australian guy, 60 years old, who walks (!!) his way from South Africa to Munich, 60 to 70kms a day. He is pulling a small wagon. He wants to arrive in Munich at the beginning of Olympia and hopes for a great welcome there. He looked quite exhausted and said that such a tour by foot was quite hard, because he cannot escape critical situations and has to walk all the day. He reminded me of Forrest Gump in that respect, though he did not seem to enjoy his trip. I guess he just wanted to prove to everyone that he's not belonging to the old iron yet.
...I left Wadi Halfa for Dongola, quite healthy and fit again. The temperatures rise up to 43 degrees celsius in the shadow nowadays, and I had to wear the thick protection clothes. So, I got up early for the 400kms. The road from Halfa to Dongola was the worst currogated sheet iron that you can imagine. The spaces are about 1 to 1.5m between the circa 10 to 15cm high buckels. It rocked me and my bike. I had to decide whether I go below 30 km/h or above 100km/h (at that speed you only touch the peaks, but it's dangerous). I did the latter wherever possible, that day was hard as hell.
At noon I took a break at a hotel. When I wanted to pay my drinks they told me that this was a normal family's house, the hotel would be next door. I must not pay anything. But I took some fotos of the family and their beautiful daughter. Hehe!
In the evening I passed a field on the Nile where a band played wild sudanese music, and a horde of young men dancing like crazy, women sat in the shadow under a tree and clapped to the men's dance. A wedding party! I was instantly occupied by little boys was invited to stay with them. I showed them a complicated sirtaki-dance which made them laugh. Why? :-) These people were very friendly and hospitable, and partied like crazy.
...I met Stefan again as planned, a big HELLO and lots of pepsis later we had exchanged the most of what we experienced while we were separated. Stefan is healthy again and ready to go (on the rooftop shout it out)...While Stefan was looking at the bigger pyramids at Merowe (I did not have a permit) I listened to the boys playing the local guitar and the old pyramid guide singing with his quiet rough voice while the sun went down....
We now stay at the German Club in Khartoum, days of lazy luxury, while waiting for my Ethiopian visa which is complicated to get as you have to show an air ticket for it...Ciao, Krid"
"...we are finally in Bolivia and enjoying the change from Peru...it was not our favorite country (although hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu was a liftime memory). Hiking the trail took four days of grueling up and downs through the Andes...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...I thought I was going to have a heart attack on several occasions and that my legs were going to fall off....much harder than expected. After hiking to the Ruins, we headed south to Bolivia. Unfortunately, however, Peru is pure desert along the entire coast...the wind picked up and we found ourselves in the middle of a giant Peruvian sandstorm that had no mercy for two Gringo motorbikers on 20 year old Hondas...we made it to the border of Bolivia after three days of riding. We are currently in Oruro, Bolivia with the Peace Corp. From here, we plan to travel around Bolivia for the next two months. So far Bolivia has been very impressive...people are friendly, it's safe, and the landscape is not desert (as in Peru). Now that we are in Bolivia and have a little extra time we have decided to make a few minor repairs on the bikes: Here are the lists we have compiled for each bike.
Dan's 1980 Honda CB 650: Front rotor is warped (bikes shakes while applying front brake), front forks seals are completely shot (forks bottom out frequently), front headlight works when it wants to, right footpeg fell off, windshield is cracked in half (held together by zip ties), also large section of right half of windshield is missing, exhaust started to fall off (but now is fixed), valves chattered like wild monkeys (was fixed in Peru), seat has 6 inch rip, mysterious shake above 65 mph, had to take link out of chain due to an unstoppable stretching problem, bent handle bars, handle bar grips that continue to slide off (even after wire and glue), badly engineered luggage rack that always breaks off bolts and shakes loose, broken speedometer cable (who need to know your speed down here anyways?), dead battery with three days of push-starting until we could buy another one, left side mirror cracked, right mirror shakes so violently that I can not see behind me, head gasket leakes oil, engine burns oil profusely (maybe 30 quarts since Mexico), carburators leak gas if I forget to shut off gas valve, real axle bolt is held on with wire instead of a cotter key, FINALLY...rear break adjustment bolt is cross threaded (making adjustment difficult). More to come I´m sure!!
Ryan's 1983 Honda CB 550: handle bars are bent, seat is torn, hydrolic clutch barely works in high altitudes (sometimes doesn't work), windshield is cracked and held together with plastic tie tabs, ignition switch held on with zip ties, anti-theft handle bar lock refuses to work, speed cable is broken, slow leak in front tire, rear brake light works sometimes, only bright beam works in headlight, rear blinker is held on by duct tape, exhaust pipes have rust holes, front pegs for cruising have been ground down on one side from a little accident, bolt on oil filter is stripped, valve cover gaskets leak oil, valves chatter occassionally (but not like wild monkeys), burns oil (but only a little at this point), brake lever looks like it has been ground down by a grinder (also from the accident), same goes for the front blinker, one of the front reflectors fell off, plastic handle grip is torn (but held on with electrical tape), bolts in luggage rack break sometimes, saddle bags were torn but restitched, left mirror shattered, but eventually replaced. Hopefully this list does not grow much longer or else we will have little more than a frame to ride on.
Well, just one more country. They should make it...hopefully.
best wishes from the road, Ryan and Dan"
Sure glad Ryan considers these to be "minor repairs" - good luck guys! Grant
"The start of an adventure is always exciting. The start of this particular one, Around the World for Peace on motorcycle was just exhilarating. The departure program...was a big success. Tha Plaza de las Americas was full of people and the music bands played...we had plenty of photos taken by the press and by friends, and the TV station were covering the event. I felt very emotional, for the presence of my children and my girlfrind Eva, my brother Christian and my good friends couldn´t avoid a tear or two, specially when I hopped on the bike and everybody came and gave me a goodbye hug.
And guess what? You got it, the bike didn´t start, low battery, so I had to be pushed in front of all the people!
...we made it safely to Lima, Peru. The trip, the road, the weather, my bike were all just perfect. Not so for the XT 600 of my partner Cesar, which blew the motor, probably due to overheating. We will know for sure tomorrow when we will tear the motor open...
THIS IS FUN!! We are having the times of our lives here...We left Lima last Saturday and traveled almost 800 km to Puerto Inca, a small village-hotel were we camped out. When we got there, around 8 pm., the full moon greeted us showing a paradisiaic landscape...on to Antofagasta where we got a new transmission chain for the big Tenere and then commited the mistake of taking off to the high desert at dusk. We almost froze to death, we rode 250 km. and there was nothing, I mean nothing, until we found a service station in the middle of nowhere, where a hot soup called "Cazuela del Desierto" brought us back to live and helped us stop trembling. The owner, maybe seeing our sad faces when were dressing up to leave, offered us a room to sleep, offer that we took gratefully and inmediately... Next day we got as far as Copiapo when a slight, er, pilot error caused some damage on the Super Tenere, so we had to stop to do some repairs...one of the best things about motorcyle travelling, you really don´t know where you are going to end up, its part of the adventure and its part of the fun."
"Soliloquy was not my strong suit but enough miles behind the bars and one will resort to almost anything to wile away the miles. My thoughts ran back to my days in Montana as a snuffling pre-adolescent and our journeys to the lake with the boat. I can recall the pain of the "long" hot expeditions and my lack of enthusiasm that I expressed in a tedious litany of toneless, monosyllabic questions-(most notably)- "Are we there yet?"
Regrettably I had almost sunk again to that point in this crossing of the Atacama Desert when I had the good fortune to meet more Moto-Adventurists at the filling station. Joerg was piloting an impressive Yamaha XT 600 with a 10-gallon tank and looked the part of a North African desert racer. Sandra was riding a Suzuki DR 350 with an oversized gas tank and metal panniers. She had gone down more than a few times in the fierce winds of the Patagonia and still managed a smile when describing the details. Joerg was a rider to the core and had an Alaskan sojourn on his resume also. He was gregarious with a magnetic energy for Adventure-Touring and a plausible knowledge of machines. We shared a soda and traded as much information regarding our respective journeys, present and past, as humanly possible in an hour's time. We were all headed toward Santiago but they tended to move at a slower pace so we split up in hopes we would meet up again down South.
Our talk served to re-invigorate my spirit and planted some seeds for future adventures. Joerg shared some ideas in regards to how he customized his bike and offered to ship any parts that I was not able to obtain in the States. Later in the afternoon I passed over the Tropic of Capricorn just north of the coastal city of Antofagasta and my stopping point for the night.
The next few days were filled with the work of traveling; not always easy by motorbike. The autopiste was generally in good condition but the gas stations were spaced erratically and no one seemed to know the distance to the next station. At one point I bought a gallon of gasoline from a seedy looking individual in a village. He charged me $8.00 for one gallon. It's possible he was irritated as I had to pound on his door and disturb his beauty rest at 11:30 AM!"
"March 25, 2000
...Steve has just arrived safely in Tierra del Fuego...planning to head north to Buenos Aires where he can collect his thoughts, thaw out and send us some more great pictures and intriguing journal entries...(his webmaster)"
"Namaste, this word is used here for 'hello' and 'good bye' all day long.
After India I feel in Nepal like being on a short holiday trip, it is much quieter here and riding the bike is fun again. It also feels like a holiday because I plan to go back to New Delhi in May. The area Thamel I am staying in, is full of tourists and everything is so easy and relaxed.
So far I have seen Mount Everest only on the whisky bottles in the Tom and Jerry pub, my hangout every night. But I am planning a trekking and a rafting tour for the next weeks.
Nepal even has traffic rules and the police stopped me twice for a red light and riding without a helmet. I still ride the Indian style - no rules, using the horn and shouting at rickshaw drivers. I will have to change this here.
This is it for now, have fun. Greetings MIKA"
"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."
Posted by his family: "It's now more than one year since Tanguy left Belgium and many of you are questioning about him! After having his bike broken, mainly the suspensions, on the tracks to Ethiopia, Tanguy had to return by truck to Nairobi for repairing. As the parts could not be found on site we managed hard to get what was needed to repair and send them over to him.
The bike is now up and Tanguy rides "happy as a rider on a bike". He is still in Nairobi where the rain is falling hard and the campsite starts becoming a quagmire... He would like to leave the country: north or south ? South: still raining, North: famine and visa problems (Ethiopia, Sudan)."
Briefly home in the Uk, leaves early May for New York to meet up with "the wife", and heading for Alaska...
see the website for much more...
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Globetrott - Zentrale Bernd Tesch
Now have 183 books / videos. Worldwide largest offer. All ENGLISH books are reviewed in ENGLISH! Catalogues: from Germany cost DM 5,00, from Europe DM 10,00 from Overseas US$5,00 in advance. (Postage is incredible high) More info on the website.
23rd Meeting for Mc-WORLD-Travellers" : 06.-08.04.2001
Attention to all Mc-WORLD-AROUND-TRAVELLERS: In 04.2003 I will have my 25th Meeting with the main subject "WORLD-AROUND-TOURS". I invite all Mc-Circumnavigators to come to this meeting.
On tour in Australia from 11-11-99 to May 2000.
"...my plan is to leave late July for what Sam Correro tells me will be the first complete ride of his TransAmerica Trail. My riding partner is still not 100%, but if he dips out I'll just go ahead and do it on my own -- planning to take more than the minimum 26 days Sam says it needs, however; speed ain't the key!
Me? Ummm, 40-year-old journalist from Bath UK planning to travel v.v.v.light on '93 XR650L.
...I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who might want to tag along -- that said, I'm not into big groups...and I won't be throwing money around on comfy living! ;-)"
This sounds like a brilliant trip, and it's never been done! Any takers?
Russell plans on shipping the bike to Singapore and continuing on after the TransAmerica Trail.
leaves on Round World 2000 May 1st.
Leaving in late May, hopefully, for Singapore, with a Ural.
"I will fly with my girlfriend in November 2000 to Argentina and will drive the PanAmericana to Mexico within 15 months. I would like to exchange info with motorcycle travellers who come down the other direction from USA to South America."
...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.
"...since the (bike) accident things have become a little bit scattered, and my trip plans have been pushed back by ??? I have decided to keep the KLR, (which was almost totalled - Grant) and will be fixing it up slowly as the summer progresses. Nothing cosmetic, just road worthy! Now I am forced to learn about the bike. In the meantime, I have bought a BMW R75/6 for cruising around, as I couldn't stand not having a bike ... So far, I have made two trips on the Beemer... in July, I am planning a two to three week trip, either in Europe (through the Balkans) or to Seattle. So, I am still touring, albeit on a more sedate level! As for Africa, yes, still planning and saving, and hopefully, if all goes well (which it hasn't) I'll be off in the fall."
good luck Don, we hope you make your dream come true... Grant
"Demented, that is what I would call a couple of rides around the globe. Expensive, time consuming, risky, sexless, and warped. Do it once, it might be called an adventure. Do it twice, it is gondotravel. Having run with the bulls in Pamplona four days, raced up Pikes Peak, swilled liters at Octoberfest and wallowed through divorce court, I have a pretty good slant on the word "demented."
A night in jail in Honduras, paying $6.80 for a BIG Mac in Tokyo, finding that condoms can carry gasoline, and splinting my own broken bones were pretty mild stuff compared to the bureaucrats in Egypt. Bent over, pantless and spead eagled, being inspected by British Customs Agents looking for drugs, gives one a wrinkled outlook on life, slightly demented. Asked by border guards in Brazil if I believed Monica or Bill adds another element to the definition of dementia: I asked "Who's Monica and which Bill?"
Looping around the globe, sleeping in a tent, dealing with broken parts and wondering if love is really out there "on the road" slides into the back sections of my cranial gray matter when confronted with everyday dealings, news, and the problem solving of sunup to sundown hard travel. That is close to demented, especially when fighting the Hershey squirts. I am an adrenalin two wheel traveler who prefers the solitude of solo adventure to group tours or organized adventures, but still like the company of someone who understands the meaning of phrases like "a plastic bag in the desert" (Namibia), or a "leaf in the wind" (Nebraska). These kinds of cosmic travelers pander to my whims and dreams of future travel.
And future travel I feel there will be. This planet Earth is small, and there are still many objects waiting for my nose to olifactoriate, my eyes to see and my wheels to cross. I may even make a third motorcycle ride around the globe, and maybe, with luck, see you on the road."
...started his World-Around-Tour at the Tesch Travel Treff in 1995 and ended it just coming from Capetown-Cairo at this years Treff!
the bike: 1989 Kawasaki KLR 650...this bike has worked very well for me. I put almost 30,000 miles on it during the trip...bike is great bike for adventure touring...
electric vest: Eclipse...worked great...made riding in cool weather comfortable and riding in cold weather survivable...
I wish I had: tank bag, first gear pants, helmet like the nolan n100 for talking to people with the helmet on, video recorder, and extra chain and sprockets.
stuff I didn't need: water filter, mini stove.
favorite place: San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas Mexico,
worst place: hot hot coastal plains of guatemala
best day: the day I got stuck in the salt flats in baja
worst day: the day I got robbed while I camped on the beach
things I wish I did differently: I wish I had spent less time in the states and more time in mexico and central america.
I should have gotten the proper vacinations and everything to go whereever because that was a big reason I turned back.
I would have liked to learn Spanish before I spent so much time in Mexico and should have gone to Spanish school
longer than 2 weeks."
"...Pauli? advises that Sudan/Ethiopia border (going north, not sure of south) is closed." as of Mid April.
A blonde, a redhead and a brunette sign up with a tourist group and chartered a double-decker bus to go to London. There are only two seats left on the bottom of the bus and only one seat in the top of the bus available when they board. They decided to take turns riding in the top and flipped a coin to see who got the first turn. The blonde won the toss.
A couple of hours later it's the redhead's turn so she walks up the stairs, and sees the blonde sitting there scared half to death. She's clutching the seat in front of her so hard that her knuckles are white.
"What's going on?" the red head asks. We're having a grand old time down below."
The blonde replies, "Yeah, but you've got a driver."
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did
do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.
"...work like you don't need the money, dance like there's nobody watching, and love like you've never
from a song, "Come From the Heart" by Susanna Clark
"I am learning as I make my way through my first continent that it is remarkably easy to do things and
much more frightening to contemplate them."
Ted Simon, Jupiter's Travels
"A computer is like an Old Testament god, with a lot of rules and no mercy." - Joseph Campbell
"People don't see the world as it is, but as they are."
"Science is everything we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else."
"The smallest good deed is better than the greatest intention."
"Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people."
Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' e-zine
to a friend! Just forward it to them, or send them the link to the newsletter on the website.
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 around 63 world travellers listed, but there are many more. Some people think there are around about 100 people who have done a full around the world. Have YOU done it?
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 96kb 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!