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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
Mt. Ive Rally, SA, Australia
120 km. west of Iron Knob.
For information contact:
From Werner Zwick,
Gieboldehausen was a great meeting. Many long distance travellers, a good Party until early morning and good slideshows on Buenos Aires - Ushuaia - Macchu Pichu - Santiago by Sandra Weishuhn and Joerg Becker, Australia by Wolfgang Simmert, overland from Switzerland to Australia (digital presentation with beamer), and a Tunisia trip full with unbelievable bad luck by Rolf Henniges.
Bernd Tesch sold books from his giant collection of motorcycle literature,
Sixteen people who were in Ushuaia for the Millennium meeting came for an unplanned reunion to the meeting. We had a lot to talk about. Most people seem to be back in Europe just to fill up the bank account for a while and then head on to another continent.
Sunday morning we parted with the usual words, see you on the road sometime, somewhere, or next spring at Bernd Teschs TTT.
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 may 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 quality MOTORCYCLE or TRAVEL site, useful or of interest in some way to travellers. In order to keep the Horizons Unlimited Links page the quality resource it now is, I must be very stringent in deciding which links to post. If I don't post your page, sorry.
Links here will be rotated regularly as needed.
Niklaus Fux, Vernon, BC, Canada
Three years ago, I got my license and my first motorcycle, and now I am thinking how I could get rid of my business and travel. (see AMW trip report #123)
In the meantime, I own a small hotel on Silver Star Mountain, Vernon, BC and I invite all 2 wheel travelers to stay at my place on their way to and from anywhere. The price will be at least 50% off regular rate, depending on the story they have. Visit my site. This is not to solicit business but to meet friendly travelers on 2 wheels. Regards and thanks again for the site. Niklaus"
"I live in the city of Kashiwa, about 30 km northeast of central Tokyo. Those who are arriving at Narita will find it most convenient to take a bus. I don't have a big set of tools. I can provide a place to stay for a couple of days, meal, tea and/or coffee, hot shower and bath, and conversation. I may be able to do some negotiations for travellers with Japanese companies or shops too. NOTE: Because of my job requirements, I need plenty of notice."
Paolo Volpara, Turkey
"We offer assistance and hospitality to all riders in Turkey. Please contact us if we can be of help."
More great people on the Links page...
Just remember the old adage, "Fish and visitors smell after 3 days!"
There are more "Helpful People" listed on the Links page, a huge thanks to all of them. How about you?
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.
none this month...
Rachel and Richard Kempster, Paul and Jill Ackland, UK, enroute to New Zealand,
"...We set off with Odyssey dry batteries, as they were half the size of standard BMW batteries and supposed to be tough. However both have now been replaced with the standard batteries as ours went flat after riding only to Italy.
We were riding with lights on but didn't feel this should have caused it to go flat. Have been told by BMW mechanic in UK that they are not really compatible with charging system of bike and fail to charge fully during normal running. Interesting if anyone else has had similar problems."
Comments anyone - similar or otherwise experiences?
What is the best battery for travelling? - Grant
I've made contact with some of the people we were looking for last month, thanks! - but the following are still unaccounted for...
Lionel Marx, I have no e-mail for him...
A Brit heading for Timbuktu...?
a Danish guy, Pauly, travelling on a new R80G/S classic converted into a PD, last seen in Kenya.
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...
Chris van de Goorberg, Netherlands, XT600, last seen in Mali...
Johan ? traveller from Netherlands, last seen in Rio de Janeiro.
"Japanese biker on a Suzuki Djebel 250. He'd ridden from Barcelona to Cameroon and then shipped the bike and his gear to Cape Town. When he opened the crate he only found his bike inside... He was heading north hoping to get to Egypt via Sudan although he'd heard the border between Sudan and Ethiopia is closed for the time being. After Africa he plans to go back to Japan via Russia although I'm not too clear on his intended route."
Annette, Sweden, travelling solo, last seen in Gondar
Russel, UK, travelling on an old Yamaha XT600 Tenere, last seen in Gondar.
from Dirk 'Krid' Bernhart, in Kampala, Uganda
"Hello Grant, I just read your new mag edition - great!! .. and saw that you are looking for Annette and Russel. Well, we met them in Gondar on their way to the Sudanese border. They were refused a land-visa, so they had the "only by air" in their passports for Sudan. I don't exactly know if they made it, but I heard that both came through. Annette wanted to go home for a month or so, and Russel was definitely tired of motorbiking. Guess he's back in the UK. Sorry, I don't have their email, I was ill the day we met them. Hope that helps anyway!!"
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
"I'm a Brit on my way to New Zealand on a dommie and I've just hit Greece or rather some dozy Greek driver hit me up the arse, but both me and the bike are nearly straight again and I'll be in Turkey in the next few days. I would quite like to meet up with someone for the whole Iran Pakistan thing so if you could pop this somewhere on your site it would be great. My mail is email@example.com, cheers, Rich.
(Also where would be a good place to renew my Pakistan visa, because I reckon it will run out just as I get there. Things seem to be taking longer than planned!!! No surprise there then.)"
Andy Dickson, Arusha, Tanzania
Still looking for a bike, Andy wants to buy a bike in Tanzania from someone who wants to do a one way trip to Tanzania. Save yourself a lot of money on shipping and help somebody out!
Stolen 1989 GSPD, in Poland, early September
"...my GS is stolen during our first overnight
stay in Poland. 1989 GSPD, chassis number 6415199; handgrip heating, Metzeler
3 and Metzeler Tourance. He was in optimal condition, and I would recognise
him among a hundreds others. But this last is probably not so special. Describing
all these specifications is quite impossible. There was a roadbook holder
"ramirez", original BMW sidebags, a large ORTLIEB bag with our tent
and other camping materials in it. Our rainclothes were in the little box
in the tank. On top of the tank there was a layer for the tankbag.
thanks a lot and I hope we'll meet each other on our GS. Louis Diels"
If you have any info at all, contact Louis as soon as possible. Thanks.
Rent a bike in Morocco
Dear people at Horizons Unlimited,
I am planning an unguided motorbike tour through Morocco in October/November this year and am looking for information on how to rent a decent enduro bike in Morocco. Any information would be helpful.
Thank you in advance. sincerely yours, Bernd Puschner
Hi, and welcome to the 12th edition of the Travellers' News. Sorry it's a little late this month, but all the travelling and long hours has taken it's toll, and I'm way behind on everything.
I thought last month was busy, well it was nothing compared to September! Nine days at Intermot, long, long hours, talking to people about travel and drooling over a host of new bikes, was really tough, but it was fun. Immediately after that I flogged the Beemer back to England quick-time in order to catch a flight to Ohio, USA, for the 2000 BMW RA Rally.
Only it almost didn't work out like that. In Brussels rush hour traffic, the gearbox let out a horrendous howling screech. Pulling in the clutch and coasting to a stop, I thought the old beast was going to break its record of never having let us down on the road. I was wrong - I still had first and fourth gears, enough to get me home all the way to London, even cruising at 120kph in fourth! Record still intact, if somewhat tattered.
The RA Rally was excellent, lots of travellers to talk to, and they even liked my new presentation on long distance travel, "How YOU can do it yourself." Thanks very much to all for the hospitality, especially Larry Cooper, Court Fisher and Carl Santora and Sue-Yin, much appreciated, and I hope to see you all again, perhaps over here!
The Bulletin Board has a couple of new forums, Travel Bikes for Sale / Wanted and Travel Equipment for Sale / Wanted. See if there's any goodies you're looking for, or maybe post something for sale. Lots of great information there, drop in and maybe you can learn something, or even better, contribute.
There are a few photos of the new bikes and some goodies from Intermot 2000 on the website. Some of these could be the very first published anywhere! Enjoy.
New Travelling bikes including the KTM 950 Adventure
Some interesting goodies for travellers, F650 and R1100GS
Other bikes I liked, from Aprilias to Munches to MV's to the Sachs Beast.
Please feel free to submit news reports, web links etc. to me for inclusion here.
I try to link to your website if you have one, and also the photos in this ezine are generally linked from your website. If you don't want me to do that please say so!
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 - and I have the time and energy.
Note that Tourenfahrer magazine, the premier German motorcycle travel magazine is now carrying a one page column of my ramblings and a selection of much-edited travel stories, so your travel story could be published there as well. If you don't want to see an excerpt of your story or photo published there or another magazine please let me know!
Nikki Gaudion and Luke Timmermans, Australia, to India and Africa, in Pakistan,
"Dear Grant, Hope you are well and thanks for the great 'zine. Nik and I are relaxed and well in Islamabad after an awesome trip up to Swat, Chitral, over Shandur Pass to Gilgit, Hunza, Khunjerab Pass, Nagar, Baltistan, Deosai Plains (very rough and high) and back down the Karakoram Highway. Some VERY big mountains.
Unfortunately our ("£$%$££^& BMW- no more "loveable flat twins") gearbox is playing up and we may need to send it back to Australia ($$$$$$$$$$) so we're in Islamabad for a while. A huge bomb killed 20 Afghan refugees here yesterday (about 3km away), plus its raining and we're at the campground. Also the BMW guy I deal with in Perth is away and the Australian consul who said he would help with such things is also away (things are not going our way at the moment). We should get our Iran visa on Saturday, but we're not going anywhere for a while.
I took the gearbox out yesterday and my poor bike looks like a skeleton with no clothes standing in the rain.
Here is a quick road test of the roads over here.
1. KKH - Allah's gift to motorcycling. The Karakoram highway was built over 15 years from 1966 to link Pakistan and China. By mistake, they also created what must be one of the finest motorbike roads in the world, with unearthly scenery (it's available in Nepal but you have to walk for a week), good corners and little traffic.
The first 250 km is a little boring though there are 100 km of smooth corners through pine forest north of Abbottabad. After that until Besham its a little hot and dry with some dangerous corners and a few landslide areas.
The hills are getting bigger but still no BWMs (big white mountains). Watch out for crazed Toyota minivans packed with men, women and chickens (and four guys on the roofrack) swinging wide around blind corners- use the pre-corner horn liberally.
The first BWM is the staggering 8167m Nanga Parbat, appearing on your right after Chilas. The mountains really get huge as you cruise past Gilgit (a nice stop) to Hunza (a great stop). Rakaposhi appears dramatically on your right as you round a bend, looking bigger than its 7700m. From Hunza up to the Khunjerab Pass is simply stunning. At Passu the glaciers almost come down to the road, and there is very little traffic in this region. You can go to the top of the pass (4800m) in the National Park (Ibex, Marco Polo Sheep and Snow Leopard), have a look around, get your breath and turn around. Note there is no fuel past Sost (and even this is dodgy) and your bike uses more at these heights so don't get stuck as I nearly did. The road surface is excellent for Asia with the exception of a few slide areas.
2. Chitral Valley. After crossing Lowari Pass (3800m and rough, but doable with a road bike) the road winds up the wide valley, with Tirich Mir (7700m) gleaming in the north. It's a really beautiful ride, especially in the late afternoon sun, and the road surface is good. Chitral is an interesting mix of Chitralis, Pashtuns and friendly Afghans and is well worth a visit. You can also drive to the Kailash Valleys, though the road is bad and the jeep from Chitral is 50 cents. One Swiss girl we met dropped her Enfield in the creek and regretted not taking the latter option.
3. Shandur Pass (Chitral to Gilgit), 3 days. The road surface is poor and I wouldn't do it on a road bike, although we did it on the GS two-up (Nik had to walk a couple of short bits). The scenery again is superb, especially at the top (3800m), where you can stay the night at a tent hotel. The rough road gets a little tiresome as you near Gilgit, though they're paving this section now (slowly).
4. Gilgit to Skardu and Khapalu, 2 days. An awesome ride following the Indus Gorge. The river is really wild here and the road was somehow blasted out of the cliff wall. Its paved all the way to Khapalu. Baltistan has a totally different culture- its closer to Ladakh than to Punjab. You can almost see the "line of control" and there's a lot of military in the area.
5. Deosai Plains, 3 days. The road is very rough (definitely not on a road bike) from Skardu back to the KKH via the plains (4200m). There are 2 river crossings, one which is quite difficult- I got my feet very cold and wet and luckily didn't stall the motor. Sadpara Lake (9km from Skardu) is a beautiful place to stay and the trout fishing is excellent. There is also a tent hotel up on the plains (cold) where I saw Himalayan Brown Bear, Marmot and fox. Highly recommended if you feel tough.
Pakistan is a great place to bring your bike (renting a decent one is not an option) with good roads, friendly people (and even more friendly police) and easy land border crossings. It's safe (usually) and cheap- definitely the highlight of our trip so far.
Sorry its so long Grant but I hope it makes the next e-zine. If anyone wants more info on what's passable up here they can drop me an email. Now, what to do with a broken gearbox....If HPN gives me a new box I'd be happy to ride around with a big sticker on my bike...
"...We are going to repair the box here as the customs hassles and paperwork could take 3-4 weeks. They
are good mechanics here and have fixed other big bikes but haven't seen one like this before.
"All is well here in Islamabad (apart from the odd explosion). We got our gearbox fixed and soon should be on our way to Peshawar for a few days.
Amazingly all the bearings and even the seals were available here for about a third of the price they are in Aus. (FAG bearings). Pakistan comes through with the goods yet again!"
"Bike is fixed and running like an Aussie swimmer. (And just how do Aussie swimmers run, Luke? - Grant, tongue firmly in cheek, unable to resist the opening...) We're on our way to Peshawar today for a test run and should be back in Islamabad on Thursday in time for beers at the Australian embassy!
As to the question of safety, yes I believe Pakistan is very safe; foreigners get a warm reception in most places, and muggings/ rape stuff like that is much rarer than in the states. There are bombs (140 people killed this year in explosions- no tourists) but you'd really have to be unlucky- like getting eaten by a shark while on holidays in Australia.
All the best, Luke"
Mullie© and Nobilé, Netherlands, Cape Town to Netherlands with Ural sidecar, in Botswana,
"Friday September 1, On Our Way...
...a week after we arrived in Cape town, we finally started our journey. We first followed the southern coast in the direction of Port Elisabeth...
...It is quite an experience to ride around on the URAL around here. People are looking, waving, or even burst out in laughter. Most of them have never seen anything like it before, some are reminded of the good old days when they themselves rode a bike with a sidecar (HD of course). Lots of people approach us to talk about the bike and our trip...
The bike itself runs great. The first 1000 km we had to take it easy because she wasn't ridden in yet. After that we could open her up which means we can now go 80-90 km/h!! :-) That is, provided there is no head wind and we're not going uphill. Then it's all too soon back to 60 km/h again. I guess we're a bit too heavy with all the stuff...
We're in Botswana now, and will slowly move up."
Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, around the world, back to Africa,
"27/9/00 We are slowly getting back to the relaxed pace of life in Africa. Watching the women gathering, waiting for the tide to recede, with their spears of three prongs of sharpened steel attached with bark strips to the wooden fishing pole. When the tide was right enmasse they moved onto the still shallow flooded sand bars that stretch almost to the offshore islands and shuffling with their feet they locate crabs beneath a covering of sand to spear. Young boys gathered clams. We Bought some, boiling them fresh with rice for lunch. Vilanculo is a place, rare, that tourism has provided moderate facilities where you can watch the locals live a lifestyle they have done for generations.
28/9/00 Africans speak loudly, usually at the top of their voices. This can be annoying particularly when you want to watch the world go by quietly in a peaceful setting. It is better understood, when explained, that only by speaking loudly so that everyone can hear, are you free of accusations of spreading rumors or gossip. We hired a dhow (small single sailed boat almost the same as the Middle East's feluca) to get out amongst the fishing boats. With large tides the fishermen net the deep channels between sand bars at low water, laying out and drawing in the nets by hand.
29/9/00 450 km to Chimoio, mostly good roads, except where the flood plains soaked the road base so the asphalt crumbled to pot holes. Here there are still stagnant waters left over from the floods last March. Trees with their roots lying in water too long are dead and village huts, long ago abandoned, still partially submerged. The cost of everything in Africa continues to astound me for such a poor continent. Except for South Africa the continent produces nothing but raw materials. There is no transport system to move produce around the countries and as such the people only produce the basics of what they need. Any manufactured product has to be imported and is as expensive as in western countries. The next rung up from survival level seems unobtainable, yet the land is totally under utilised by western standards."
Bernarda "Benka" Pulko, Slovenia, around the world, in Thailand,
It was troubling to know in advance there has been nobody successful enough to release the bike of Thai customs in less than weeks. Some of them had them refused and sent back where they had arrived from.
Arriving to Bangkok brought one of the greatest welcomes I have ever had. Erin and Chris Ratay were my e mail corespondents for a year, since they have been on their round the world trip. It made my swap between developed and less developed Asia easier when they met me at the airport. It felt like we had known each other for years.
We soon met the rest of the 16 motorcycle travelers that happened to be on the same spot at the right time. Hard to believe as the rainy season was just approaching and we were more or less on the wrong place. So many of us.... We had some good "info exchanges". WWW.HorizonUnlimited.com in life.
As some of you may need to know a little more about releasing the bike of Thai customs I would like to advise you with one single thing: do not let any customs agent tell you what is possible and what is not. Temporary importation of the bikes is possible. Even in the port! If anybody thinks differently, let them call custom authorities at the airport in Bangkok. Apparently they know better than the others.
My bike was shipped from Japan and arrived on time! There is no way you can succeed without an agent who will speak Thai for you and jump over the line in the spotlight of priority as he is the agent for a foreigner. This was a great priority, believe it or not. Do not let the agent do it by himself either. That would take as long as you can do it yourself. The key is team work.
One full day would get my bike released if .. if Ecu Line in Japan did not make any mistake. Before leaving Japan I called them up and pointed out that the name on Carnet de passage was not written correctly. They were positive, and assured me, that it would not be a problem. No matter about all my previous experiences, I let them fool me and sure enough I believed them.
Here I was in the port with the bike ready to go, but the paper said Benka instead of Bernarda. It took me an additional day to get it sorted out. A bribe of $25.00 was paid and I sent some angry letters to the beginners at Ecu Line Japan. No additional expenses for Thai customs were necessary.
...I was glad to get the bike into my possession again. Not for a long time though, as after one mile on the road one idiot ran into my bike with a little 50 cc buzzer. Yeah, traffic in Bangkok is bad news. No damage was done except the alert was made. This is not Japan anymore.
I was on my way to Cambodia and so were Ratays. We hit the road together for a couple of days and a long list of special experiences. Cambodia is a very, very poor but unique place. Not just the roads with the greatest pot holes in the world (yes, falling into it with the motorcycle is not a problem at all!). It was dry, it was muddy up to my knees, and hot like in the oven. The people were nice and curious. As soon as we stopped their hands were all over us, touching these unbelievable materials, colorful plastic and biiig bikes.
On my (not the happiest) birthday, my fan quit working and here I caught a ride on a truck... that same night we knew enough people that we had met in the village of Poipet that we solved the problem and accepted an outstandingly nice offer from a United Nations doctor from Switzerland who made sure we were watered with champagne that day...
Cambodia in general was fun that made us tired but rewarded on every step we made. Phnom Pehn got me a powerful "bug" which has been making me sick ever since. Echerihia Collie and too strong a dosage of Cypro caused me an ulcer and high level of stomach acid and all that ended up with a bad ear infection and a thyroid problem, and on the side sore carpal tunnels. God bless my travel insurance by the way. What would I do without CORIS?
The Vietnamese border was unfriendly, cold and needs to be attempted again. Somewhere else other than from Cambodia. I will try from Laos, I believe, as I have spent already 150$ for Vietnam visa.
Being refused at the Vietnamese border from Cambodia meant nothing else but going back from where we came. Back to Thailand, riding the greatest 500 km in the world. Well, I did it. All sick and in hurry as my Carnet was expiring. The Slovene Automobile Association (AMZS) helped me tremendously and the Thai authorities issued an extension in one hour (that is not a speed with which they normally operate).
These days I am dealing with computer troubles that seems endless. $90 for an extended warranty on my laptop was one of the smartest investments I have ever made. In the last month the laptop has been sent back for repair, serviced by me and a troop of Compaq technicians and my patient friends...
I am on my way to Laos and Vietnam, than Malaysia and Singapore. From somewhere there I will ship the bike to Nepal and get ready for another traffic horror - India.
... I am still on the road. Still having fun but the green grass of home is more and more often on my mind. Benka"
Rob and Dafne de Jong, Netherlands, round the world, in New Zealand and USA,
"...New Zealand may be the only country in the world that has a beach mapped to be an official highway. Passage is only possible at low tide and every tide cycle, the sea washes out the marks that were left behind. The beach is called 90 mile beach, but in fact is not much longer that 90 kilometres. To ride the firm beach is great, but the way to get there is really spectacular... the most northerly entry near Cape Reinga, where a river runs into the sea which is used as a passage (about 1 km) through the dunes. The river is about 30 cm deep and has a moderate current. Rob took the XJ down the water, that is about 20 to 40 cm deep and has a moderate current. I'd never been on a solo bike in so much water before and just started the XT and went in. Water was everywhere, as off course I'd gone in too fast... I did not want my engine to stop running.
Off course we had to try out the maximum speed of our bikes on the beach. 165 km/h was about it. Every time we hit a spot of green algae our rear wheels started spinning, as you don't have any grip there. Coming off the beach our bikes looked just horrible. The engine was green of the algae and we hurried up to get to the steamcleaner. Take off the tank and the seats and wash, wash, wash.
...All around the world New Zealanders are known for their crazy things, like jumping off bridges with a bungee cord on their feet. "Yes, we have to go bungee jumping," Rob had had the idea when we were still preparing our tour back in 1992.
In Christchurch we tried out the bungee-rocket. You sit and are strapped down in a cage and are kind of shot into the sky with a speed from 0 to 160 km/h within 3 secs (G5-force). At this speed your face starts looking funny and you think hooooooooo... sh..., this goes tooooo faaaaasssttt.
We were also invited by 'Fly-a-wire'. In this you are flat on your stomach in a small rocket-like fly-thing, to which you are strapped. Behind your feet you've got a 600cc boxer engine that you can control with a lever. First you are winched up and than backwards till you hang upside down (hoooooo---scaaarrryy). You cut yourself loose from the wire pulling you back and you whizz down reaching 140 km/h within 3 secs. After that you have 7 minutes to fly around, powered by the engine. It was superb. 7 minutes is quite long and you really get the hang of it, trying to make tight corners and reach higher speeds. Crazy they are, the New Zealanders, absolutely totally crazy, the way we like them.
...Our sidecar arrived two days later after we set foot on American soil in Los Angeles. To get it out of the port was really just a piece of cake. No checks, no questions, just a few forms and we were ready to roll again. We shipped our bike RORO from Sydney, Australia with Wilhelmsen Wallenius and all went well, although their service in Australia could have been better and they should have given us at least a discount. Air New Zealand made up for all of that though, being so generous to fly us from Sydney to Auckland and from Auckland to Los Angeles for just 25% of the price. Thanx guys!..."
Guy and Marleen Bauwens, Belgium, around the world, Malawi to Zimbabwe,
"...Our trip is started again!
We arrived back in Malawi on the 2 of September, where we have left our Juul with some local people. He was all well and shiny when we found him back. Guy put in his new suspension and he was back on the road.
From that time on, we wanted to leave, but we met so much nice people on the road that we kept on staying in this beautiful country.
We even... "upgraded" when we went to stay with some people on the tea-estates! This was what you can call real luxury...
We felt like the old colonist people. From the entrance of the gate to our house was about 12 kilometer. Swimming pool, horses, airplane... you name it... they got it! But the nicest people of the world.
We even tried to play golf one day !!! But we still have to learn "the lot" Guy hit his ball's very far, and when we arrived by the place ...the ball was gone... The trick is... local children come and take it... and then try to sell them back to us !!! Clever hey.
... when we did leave we drove the whole way to Mozambique, and about 700 km down the road, our bike stopped! This was it! Lucky 5 minutes later a pick-up stopped with 2 men, long beard's, beer in the hand... can we give you a lift? Yes please... Juul on the car, Guy with a beer in the hand also on it... and 10 minutes later we were hanging in the bar. So far Mozambique, because "no spare parts in this country."
Next day we drove to Zimbabwe instead. And this is where we are for the moment, HARARE.
The coils from the bike were gone, but they are on their way already from JO'BURG...
Guy and Marleen"
Manou Emringer and Ellen Spencer, Luxembourg and USA, around the world, in USA
(Note that you may have trouble accessing the site for some reason - my IE5.01 hangs on it, Susan's IE 5.01 is fine, my Netscape 4.7 is fine.)
"...There's no point in describing Grand Canyon (or, more generally the landscapes we have been riding through), you have to see it for yourself. Riding along the rim, occasionally catching glimpses through the trees of the abyss beyond, or riding in savage heat in Nevada or Utah with strange rock formations lining a straight road, the heat, the smells, the views ahead and those already behind combine to form an atmosphere impossible to recreate through descriptions or pictures.
Some of the people encountered along the way fit in with their strange environment : One that comes to mind was David, owner of a café in the middle of absolutely nowhere which claimed to be "Home of the Misfits and the Ugly Man's Contest". There seemed to be quite a few former winners in attendance when we were present.
After Grand Canyon, we rode west again, towards Joshua Tree National Park, the final attraction of a total of six National Parks we had crossed in 12 days. A day later we arrived in San Diego, where my father left us, having totaled 3300 km in 11 riding days. His commentary was short : "It was great. We must do it again". There seems to be good reason for hoping that he might join us again sometime during the year to come.
We're now in San Diego, having spent the last few days relaxing, updating the web site and servicing the bikes (by the way, when in San Diego and in need of service, House of Motorcycles is the place to go). Total distance traveled so far amounts to 10.640 km in almost seven weeks... somewhat hectic since there was much to see and we had deliberately planned to ride through North America fairly quickly. Now that we're about to enter Mexico, land of looong siestas, cold Coronas and wiggly Gusanos, we'll take it easy. Hasta la vista, Baby..."
Keith King, UK, around South America, in Brazil,
"16 Sept., Goiania,
...I've made it to Brasil and after what I've been through I feel justified in shouting about it. I'm now in Goais state some 2k kms from the Bolivian border, having done Argentina Uruguay Chile Peru Bolivia, this wonderful wonderful land where the air is filled with testosterone. The people here are so so friendly and happy - everyone sings! - and take any opportunity to dance - street cafes, bars etc. and the music is everywhere - 'cowtry' (country and western) where they dance the polka! fast, the lambadetta, hasquierda (doble pasos) etc. The food is superb and so much - a wonderful lunch (5 star equivalent for 1.50 USD$.
It is very hot 32-40 degs C but getting cooler as I head East. Green and lots of farmland so it's shorts and T shirts and the girls wear delightful braless backless halterneck numbers and very little else. Appearance is important here and our disco gear is normal day wear here - brilliant white and colourful tops with silver/gold slingback shoes (just my sort of thing). I must look like a tramp in my faded T shirts and must now ship back or distribute my cold weather gear...
The girls really keep in shape and man- what shapes! Drives my pulse rate high high. You girls would also go for the dudes here -cowboy Stetsons,boots and tight jeans with the big buckles, as this is farm country, and formation dancing is big here.
I've been out of touch because after Santa Cruz and Oruro in Bolivia I headed east to catch the sun as it was sooooo cold in Bolivia. On the jungle road heading for San Mathias on the frontier I blew the piston on the bike (found out later at great expense that it was lack of lubrication - blocked main filter - as the engine was cooking in this heat. Had quite an adventure trying to get to a town with a decentish hotel, finally hitched a ride in a truck carrying a load of animal corn, so bike and all ended up in San Roman, a two horse town where I passed a few days trying to get it fixed. the repairs only lasted 400 kms into Brasil where it blew the gasket. The police were most helpful (because you're from England - if you were from Bolivia you'd get no help! they said.) I had to wave them to put away their drawn guns, and got a ride to Cuiaba on a breakdown truck, spent 8 days, got bored and got bike gaskets fixed which lasted 300 kms to Rondopolis where the engine was split again.
The Honda dealers here see me as a money tree. At least I can learn Portuguese, Latino and maybe to dance. Have tied up with a motorcycle racing/ acrobatic team and have been doing the race tracks with all the razzamatazz.
Spent some time on the way in the Pantanal where alligators cross the road, the parrots are beautiful colours and you're attacked by hordes of colourful butterflies as you ride along.
Roads in Bolivia were wild - red dirt, water filled potholes the size of a pond, and bridges to give you nightmares. The people were mean looking but appearances are deceptive as I had nothing but a friendly welcome and help, umpteen police roadblocks so it was a relief to hit Brasil - asphalt roads and a First World country.
Will be heading for the coast to Salvador where everyone says its beautiful, via Brasilia. The riding in Bolivia/Peru and the north of Chile was enduring and I never want to see another dirt track so will be taking it easy and look forward to getting wet on the coast, will make my way up to Belem then take a boat down the Amazon to Manaus to cross into Guyana (oh no more dirt road, hope the rains hold off or pass). Just found my LB directory so doing a mail shot, I'd love to hear your news and pls forward to anyone else you know/I know.
I'm off tonight to a Carnival/Music festival with a group of 17-24 yr old babes (braces an' all) and no one thinks (or says) that I'm an oldster, they are so marvelous and have become great friends they want me to stay here. The Brazilian audience is wild and superb everyone sings along with the performers.
'When I die, I don't want to go to Heaven - I want to come to Brasil`- Wish I had discovered this country before.
My advice to all out there is - get here soon, get here if you can - Keith King."
Ricardo Rocco Paz, Ecuador, "Around the World for Peace," in Venezuela,
"...I arrive at Ciudad Bolivar at 11 p.m., completing almost 900 kms. in 14 hours, with passage of customs included, I am too tire to be looking for a hotel, so I use the old trick to hire a taxi driver to lead me to a suitable hotel.
I rise early, every muscle hurts, anyway I must reach Pto. La Cruz today. It is unbearable warm in the Great Savannah and the road straightens to extend in long straight lines. At mid afternoon I arrive at my destination of the day, what a surprise I was about to have! I arrive at the beach, the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea receive me inviting, I stop to take photos and a short guy approaches. He says to me: "Do you come from mars or what!" What kind of answer a guy like this deserves? It seems that he didn't like my answer much, the guy turned out to be from the tourist bureau and he called the Police. What a way to treat tourists! It seems to be that people in Venezuela are very stressed out by the situation of their country because this incident illustrates the general attitude of Venezuelans in the Eastern part of the country, there is a general indifference attitude towards foreigners, and even among themselves, a very bad and discourteous attitude.
The black clouds that were towards the east arrive with rain. I go in search of a hotel. Impossible, all the hotels are booked. I find a cafe Internet and escaping from the heat and humidity, I sit down to do some work. When I realize it, it's already 10 at night. I go towards Barcelona, the neighbouring city, all the cheap hotels are full. It seems that during the weekends, the natives of Caracas escape the city towards the beaches. I take the highway towards Caracas, hoping to find a hotel in some of the towns of the road, nothing, everything is full. At 2 in the morning, I decide to follow the way to Caracas. They atmosphere is very humid, but the highway is fun, with many curves and little traffic. Suddenly, without warning, the sky breaks and a heavy shower falls.
I'm still dry, thanks to my Aerostitch suit, that sometimes seems to be the suit of Superman, because it holds off everything. 3 in the morning, I can hardly see through my damp windshield. I stop under the ceiling of a "caucheria", a closed tire repair place. Here, in the middle of nowhere, my bike and I, alone against the world. But my state of mind and soul is excellent, after all, how many times in life has one the chance to hang around all the night in the road from Pto. La Cruz to Caracas with a time like this? Only once in a lifetime, I suppose. 4 in the morning, the rain stops, and I keep going towards the west, but it seems that I chase the storm, because it gets even worse, in such a way, that I look desperately for a place to take refuge, but do not see anything in the dark of the night. "God, please, get me out of this, I promise to.............!!", Is what I repeat in my head and my heart. Finally, I see some kind of store or something like it, with enough cover for Lady Tenere and I. There we take refuge.
I am very tired. I get my small folding mattress and sleeping bag out of the waterproof bag and I lie down behind the bike, hoping not to get robbed. The mosquitoes don't let me close my eyes, but at least I rest a bit. When I'm about to fall asleep, must be about 5 in the morning, four drunk black guys appear and take refuge from the rain in "my" shack. I take my knife, my only defensive weapon, that was under the sleeping bag and put it in my pocket. I stand up so they can see who are they messing with. (I'm 6¨4, 220 lbs.) I greet them and think will be better to become their friend so that nothing rare can occur to them. These black guys are drinking brandy from a big bottle that inside contains, among other things, a serpent, a scorpion, insects and who knows what other weird things, mixed with grass and flowers.
They want me to drink with them. Luckily, they run out of booze. I get my things quickly, the sun seems to be coming out behind the clouds, but it continues raining. I manage to get rid of this guys and leave. I feel free!
But I catch the blessed rain again and again. After a couple of hours, surpassing a small mountain range, I find myself arriving in the city of Caracas, it's about 8 am... sunny and warm, finally, and I stop in the side of the road to dry a little. While I dry, I think about what am I going to do in Caracas on a Sunday, of all the people I know here, I do not have the telephone number of anyone. My bike remains constipated being affected by the altitude of the mountains, on the highway she works well, but in traffic she suffocates, it misfires and does not want to run.
I decide to go directly to Maracaibo, 800 km. away, but I will gain a day in my race against clock, to arrive on time at Cartagena for the start of the World-Wide Recovery Convention. The slight rest reanimates me, I feel well and I am not sleepy. I see the route in my map and I go towards the city of Barquisimeto. The exit of Caracas entertains me with wide and fast curves of a freeway, but to the other side, the damn rain again! This is incredible, was sunny and warm in the city, this is the "n" time that it rains! Finally, the route descends to the great plains of the coastal land of Venezuela, dry and desert. It is horribly hot. Now, everything on me and my bike is going to dry, even too much. Just a little bit of rain, please!
At mid afternoon, I pass by the city of Barquisimeto, a big group of motorcyclists is leaving the city, for a short ride I suppose. They greet me enthusiastically. To the West of Barquisimeto, I stop to get fuel and eat round maize loaves and tons of coofe. I am very, very tired. I talk with a truck driver, tell him my story about the crude night on the road and that I've been traveling since 7 in the morning yesterday, practically without stopping. He offers his humble hammock to me, hung under his trailer, so that I can take a little rest. I request him to wake me up in a couple of hours. I sleep a good repairing nap, hung under a trailer! Unreal!
I wake up, oh boy I feel good, I get myself under the shower of a shop hose. I am awake now.
...Lake of Maracaibo...I arrive at the bridge when the sun, extended by the expansive lens of the marine horizon, shows itself like a round fire cloud over the Lake of Maracaibo. I've traveled 36 hours covering nearly 1400 km...
Parked at my right, before the tollbooths, I see four sport bikes. I park besides them and wave. They are members of the Zulia Moto Club. The camaraderie of motorcycling enters in the scene one more time to rescue, once again, a solitary rider from the calamities of the route. I admire their bikes, beautiful machines, very well prepped up. Specially a Aprilia RS Mille, a jewel. Elias Molko, a mechanical engineer and Ivan Salazar, national distributor of Castrol, guide me to a hotel. When we arrive, I see it is too good for my budget, but they call Maximiliano Paris, lawyer and president of the club, that shows up and among them, they pay my hotel costs. The hospitality of these great motorcyclists and excellent men, demonstrates that the great world-wide brotherhood of motorcycling is present in all countries. The following day, they take me to the shop of Gustavo Palmar, where my bike receives all the attention that she deserved; new spark plugs, filters, fresh oil, courtesy of Castrol, and a good calibration and cleaning of the carburetors.
...Clean and ready to take me home, Lady Tenere looks like a different bike than the one that has ridden 30.000 km. through South America. These Venezuelan friends, with their generosity and positive attitude, erased the bad image that I was taking with me of the people of this beautiful country. Well rested and with an excellent mood, this Tuesday 29 of August, I cover the distance between Maracaibo and the border with Colombia, in the Guajira, in less than two hours. Before arriving at Paraguaipoa, already in the border zone, I get the last "greeting" from Venezuela, a police officer stops me in the middle of the route and put my documents in his pocket. I use all the positive energy and the little wisdom that I have learned in this trip, and we ended up talking and he allows me to go, wishing me a good trip instead of (extorting a) bribe, like I suppose was his intention.
I feel "butterflies" in my stomach. Colombia, a country that I love, is there, in front of us. I am not scared, but worried. I have received many warnings about Colombia. But I have disregarded all of them; tomorrow, Mr. Clinton arrives at Cartagena to officially begin the Colombia Plan. And the Peace Rider, enters a country in war.
Chris Bright, UK, around the world, in Guatemala and Honduras,
"Dear all, have made it to 'yah, where is daddy's visa card, ok yah ok?-ville', also know as Antigua, Guatemala. This is serious trendy backpacker land; matching hiking boots, rucksack and bracelets etc. Hey where is my travel iron and hair dryer?
Anyway, left Mexico, which was great, except for the topes (speed bumps). I had to get a new rear shock absorber (360 bucks) as the old one blew up. Nasty. But not as nasty as having your oil cooler hose giving way dramatically with 100 degree oil hitting a 300 or 400 degree exhaust pipe!!!! Conveniently I was carrying an oil cooler-bypass with me. So new oil cooler hose too (for 10 bucks) all acquired in Guatemala City yesterday.
Next week will be doing a Spanish course here. Will update you ref further movements.
...am still in Antigua Guatemala struggling with Spanish lessons. Something to do with being a lazy person and not doing homework and generally having an allergy to all things schoolesque.
The wife has other oil cooler hoses and a 'new' shock absorber ( where the definition of 'new' has dubious undertones). it is a long story and will suffice to say, the one I have now is rusty!!!! I didn't fancy airfreight for one from Germany as this is very expensivo and Guatemalan customs procedures were copied out of the book entitled 'Egyptian customs rules and regulations designed to p--- off visiting joynny foreigner-types - inshallah.' (by a j p lickorish and a bevvy of professors, t l o b university press 1902).
Anyway, on Sunday/Monday am off again, to Honduras, possibly via El Salvador. I wish I knew!!!
hasta luego, dos cerveza por favor; mi amigo pagado,
...hola mi amigos!!
A quick one from La Ceiba, on the northern (Caribbean) coast of Honduras. It was excellent to escape the clutches of crap Antigua. El Salvador was 'ganz nett' and the people were happy to see us. Not too many gringos make it there. We crossed over a very little used border into Honduras and received no import papers for the bikes. Should be a laugh trying to leave again (into Nicaragua) without any paperwork! Wish us luck. The 50 kms from the border to the nearest town took 6 hours. Something to do with a (big) bit of mud, and we know how much brighty and wife luuuuuuuuuv mud!!!! still... nothing major broken on the bike in the last 5 days.
Am off to Utila Island today. Will be back in touch next week and there might even be a global report on Mexico and Guatemala coming out soon too. I bet you can't wait.
hope all is good at your ends. looselyos hangos, brightos"
Simon Milward, UK, around the world, in Australia,
"...It took about a week to become accustomed to Western society again. I got a few individual sponsors in Darwin while concentrating on preparing the bike for 4000 km of outback roads to Sydney. I managed to shred a new primary drive belt due to leaving a loose bolt in the compartment (potentially a very serious setback) during the general service I did at the local Harley shop, found a good second-hand pair of shocks at the local 'wreckers' which are now dead, cost me Aus$150 though, and Metzeler came up with a new touring rear tyre. That's now looking pretty much squared off. I was planning to do some major work on the bike in Melbourne but here in Sydney I need to get a front tyre and sort out a few other items because I need a road-worthiness certificate in order to get some insurance ahem.
The outback roads were a big change to Indonesia's hairpin bends. Corners were a novelty until I arrived at the Blue Mountains West of Sydney: I'm talking 200 km straights. I could put my feet up on the highway pegs but not exactly relax - I was still very tired and in the Northern Territory there are no speed limits: gigantic 'road trains' three times the length of European trucks thundered by and blew even my heavy bike all over the place!
It's really best to stop and wait for the dust to settle, the red dust of Australia's red centre. There was a strong headwind most of the way reducing fuel consumption to a measly 14km/litre, normally its 23km. So of course I ran out of petrol once or twice, but it's never a problem because everyone stops to help. I also fell off once, simply because I was looking down at the drive chain to check out the noise (the split link had broken) but that time I was on the hard/soft shoulder snaking around at about 60km/h: down I went breaking my 10 litre water container and bending once again the headlight crash frame which looks decidedly lop-sided now. That can wait till Melbourne.
You've also got to keep your eyes peeled for the suicidal outback wildlife. Kangaroos bound along beside you before cutting in but the emus are even more dangerous. Faster than 'roos they get startled by the engine noise and from a few hundreds metres off in the bush will dart at 90 degrees across the road. You see them coming and slow down, but like a heat sensor missile they head straight for you and you resort to emergency braking! Crazy beasts. Birds of prey, hawks I think, dive-bombed me but backed off 20m above, they had me quite scared once or twice and reminded me of WWII fighter planes in the films. 'Roadkill' (squashed kangaroos) is a common sight, providing easy meals for the birds, easier than me anyway. Millions of red, brown or white termite mounds several metres high line the main roads which are generally in pretty good shape...
You get used to seeing signposts indicating your next main destination as 1000 km away. In under two weeks in Australia I've ridden 10% of my total mileage so far, it's massive..."
Ken and Carol Duval, Australia, around the world, in Turkey,
"...picture...leaving Athens for northern Greece, Bulgaria and Romania was taken and sent in by Carol's brother Wayne. Carol and Ken left Romania on 7 September for Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India on their trek homeward to Australia... Presently in Bucharest, Romania organizing visas for Iran, Pakistan, and India.
...We travel some fast miles over the next couple of days taking in the sights at Side, Anamur and Alahan Monastery. So many ruins. Whew!!! We make it to a small campsite at Goreme late in the afternoon and pitch our tent. With only one other tent in the park we wondered does anyone camp in Turkey. The weather is absolutely perfect for camping. Our neighbours however turn out to be Aussies who inform us that the English Bikers are in town.
Touristy stuff again and we tour through an underground city at Kaymakli. Amazing (excuse the pun) but what a labyrinth. Next we visit a pottery shop at Avanos. The work was great but the hair museum was wild. A cave like room had locks of hair (only ladies) attached to a card with the owners name and address. These were pinned everywhere around the walls and roof. Carol has a bit there now also. The owner has a lottery twice a year for a two week holiday in Cappadocia. Apparently they are in the Guinness Book of Records. Heading back to the open air museum we finally meet the English couple (XT600). They are camped at another campground just outside town. We meet up later along with another seven or eight motorcyclists heading in the same direction. A late night and we are heading off the next day.
At Adiyaman we lash out and stay at a Hotel. It was a long day in the saddle and Carols' smooth talking saw the price reduced from 20 million a double to 5 million a double. Things are quiet this time of year and there are plenty of pensions offering good deals. The next day saw us climbing into the mountains looking for the famed heads of Nemrut Dagi. We ended up on the old road (Could not find signs for the new road, Paolo) and what a ride that was. Excellent... The last 5 miles (8 kms) was steep and rough. An adventure with a fully loaded bike to say the least. At the top we walked to view the heads. Fantastic but I thought they would be bigger. A bit like the Sphinx.
We lost a little time this morning. On exiting the Milli Park a new road not on our map took us towards Diyarbakir. Taking this route would mean we would miss Sanli Urfa the birth place of Abraham but there will be another day. We make good time and reach Bitlis just on dark. The road works towards the end of the day covered us in white dust. Haven't been this dirty for a while.
Another cheap hotel with the bike parked in the foyer saw us prepare for the last charge to the border post of Dogubayazit. We found the campground up near the Ishak Pasa (Palace). There was no one there and the wind was blowing plenty of dust around. Not pleasant so we opted for another cheap hotel. For those who are following, we are paying 6 million a double at the Hotel Ishhakpasa.
Our time in Turkey is all but over. We will attend to a little mail tomorrow, do a little sight seeing, someone has to buy some 'proper' clothes, might even clean the bike. Catch you on the road.
Carol and Ken"
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, where we have listed some 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 a pound, 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.
Book suggestions please!
If you have a book or want a book that you think other travellers would be interested in please let me know and I'll put it on the site. thanks, Grant
"Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed
to a star does not change his mind."
"One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to
find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do."
"I've spent a couple of hours the last few nights at your page and the stuff you
link to. I really enjoy it, thanks for the effort you put into
"...all roads seem to lead
"Grant, I ran across a link on the BMW Airheads site. I looked over the previous
issues, and was swept away by the posts of folks riding all over, and around, the world. It causes one to re-examine
"...I am weekly if not daily on your site, what a pleasure to read and dream about trips. I am convinced this is one of the best motorcycling sites on the net. I just imagine the time and work you spend for the site. But please don't stop. Niklaus Fux"
"...this site is a real inspiration and super
fun to read. Love seeing photos and stories of real people living their dreams,
the same ones I now share. I will be back often, thanks again for the fun
"The board is a brilliant idea and has been really helpful. Keep up the good work! I promise to answer some questions when I get back from my trip instead of just asking them all! Thanks again, David Chapman"
"...thank you for putting up such an amazing and comprehensive site. I've been doing quite a bit of searching for various motorcycle/travel sites and yours is far and away the most interesting, informative, and detailed... Anyway, thank you once again for the great site... Drew Myers"
"...I read in your website a lot of time and I took out what is for me important... I decided to go to the south of Africa, you are right! I got a lot of very nice emails from SA-bikers and last but not least a friend of mine wants to come too a few weeks later. So thank you very much for your work in internet and information... so long, Brigitte, Germany"
"Know of any guys who want to take me away?"
and that's all she wrote as reply to the last e-zine... from a nice young lady in Australia... the bidding starts here guys...
Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine they lay down in their tent for the night and went to sleep.Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend awake.
"Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."
Watson replied, "I see millions and millions of stars."
"What does that tell you?" Holmes questioned. Watson pondered for a minute.
"Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe Saturn is in Leo. Logically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all-powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.
"Is that all?" Holmes asked.
"Yes." Watson replied. "Why, am I missing something?"
Holmes was quiet for a moment, then spoke; "Watson, you twit. Someone has stolen the %$#@ tent!"
A few technical notes on this edition:
There is still a problem with Hotmail, but they have made a number of changes, and there seems to be less of a problem now.
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Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' e-zine - Copyright 1999-2000, Horizons Unlimited and Grant Johnson. All rights reserved.
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.
This month we have TWO winners!
Last month's winner, Lever Rukhin, must be off travelling or sleeping, as he never responded.
This month's winners are: Renee Pattle, South Africa, and Daniel Watt, USA!
Remember, you have to reply to me by the 25th of this month to claim your prize - just let me know which book or video you'd like!
Dr. Gregory Frazier, round the world traveller and author extraordinaire has very generously contributed a FREE book (or video) a month to the lucky reader whose name gets drawn. That's right, you don't have to do a thing, you lazy sods, just sit back and wait for an e-mail - this e-zine - telling you that you've WON!
Here's what you get to choose from when YOU win!
Gregory Frazier's books:
Europe By MC, book
...I'm Seb (French) and heading down to South Africa with Brian (South African and British), we both ride the Africa twin. We left London the 25 Septembre and are now in France awaiting Sudan visa (fingers crossed), then we'll be off around the med (Italy then ferry to Greece, Turkey, Syria, Jordan) and down the east side of Africa to Cape Town. It should take us 6 to 8 months. We'll keep in touch...
Seb and Brian
"We have been lucky enough to receive some photos from fellow bikers, Jeff and Linda (Anspach), showing previous unseen clips of the trip. Julia"
"...in Guatemala after I eventually received my free rear suspension from BMW in Bogota. It took them 6 weeks to get it there but in the meantime I managed to see more of the troubled Colombia.
A bit weary and looking forward to a rest. Richard leaves me at the end of next month and I will then head alone down to Singapore and, as I see it, be riding home.
Do you know any good BMW dealers in the US where they will let me work on the bike and be able to use their work shop? I will also need a good mechanic that I can trust to look over the engine and fix all those leaks. I have also asked Greg about this as the US looks expensive.
Still much oil everywhere but the bike is ok.
PS I will send a load of address, emails and details on Colombia when I have more time."
Can anyone help Matthew out? - Grant
"We've been reading your website avidly whilst organising our trip to NZ, but this is the first time we've contacted you to say thanks and let you know what we're doing.
We are Rachel and Richard Kempster and are travelling with our friends Paul and Jill Ackland. We're on an R100GSPD and they are on an R80 basic, both two up. We left the UK on 25th August and have been through France, Italy, Albania(!), Greece and are now in Gelibolou in Turkey. Heading on the usual route through Iran etc. to Nepal and then to SE Asia, Oz and NZ. Our friend is setting up a website for us, when it's functioning I'll forward the address to you."
I've been talking about it long enough. Now I'm going to do it. In 2001 I will ride my bike around the world again... I will go on my own...
I can choose my own route and pace - and haven't I always said you're better off travelling alone?
...Strange to say, there is one question nobody has yet asked me. When I set out on Jupiter's travels, in 1973, I was 42 years old, and people wondered "Aren't you a bit old to be going round the world?"
Now, when I'm 69, nobody asks that question out loud. Is it delicacy? Or do we take the antics of the aged more for granted these days? Is this the Golden Age of the Geezer?
Anyway you can be sure I do ask myself. I don't feel any different, but how would I know? Apart from age, what else has changed? Well, after 20 years in America, I'm a lot heavier. And I wear glasses. And maybe I can't keep as many balls in the air at one time as I used to. As usual I'll be watching myself. I've always been my own lab rat, and I'll be reporting on my own performance with more than passing interest.
Where will I go?
As far as possible along the same route I took last time. After a quarter of a century I want to see how my personal world has changed. What has happened to the dreams of Signor Zanfiniin Roggiano, to Mohamad and his cramped little house outside Tunis, to Sa'ad, Kerim, and their motorcycle shop in Benghazi, to Madame Mellasse's hotel in Alexandria, to the school in the Sudanese desert and the teahouse called The Crocodile's Mouth, to the Curry Pot Inn on the road to Mombasa and the bar girls across the way, and on and on across five continents?
On which bike? I don't know yet. It could be a Triumph again. It could be a BMW. Or something entirely different.
When? At some propitious moment early in 2001, maybe even New Year's Day, from London. The last time, I started on the day war broke out. Maybe this time there'll be a synchronicitous outbreak of peace. Wouldn't that be nice?
How will I pay for it? That's the question. Somehow I have managed to live quite frugally for twenty years without saving any money. I'll get some from here and there, mostly from writing I suppose, but people are generous too.
So that's the news from Jupiter."
Ted has a special deal on a new limited edition of Jupiter's Travels which you may find interesting - more info by writing Ted Simon.
From Greg's Press Release...
"...Frazier's third global ride will utilize motorcycles of origin on the continent he is crossing: Indian (North America), Amazonas (Brazil, South America), BMW (Germany, Europe), Indian Enfield (India, Asia)... decided to make a third attempt to ride around the earth when he discovered his disease (wanderlust) had not been cured after the two previous trips. The third loop of the globe will see him in countries not previously crossed such as Nepal, Bhutan, Taiwan, Thailand, India. He will ride a minimum of 18,000 miles in six months, cross the Equator twice and reach a point exactly opposite from his starting point in Yellowtail, Montana."
"I'm about to head out for the second - longer - part of my journey... Trip reports will be posted every time I can get to a computer."
These two young Belgians flew to India, bought 3 Enfields, shipped one back and rode straight home on the other two in a round trip time of 6 weeks - two of which were waiting for paperwork! I met them at a service station in Belgium, only a hundred or so kilometers from their home. More details next month, as they have promised me a writeup on their trip and some details on borders and paperwork. One of the bikes was good all the way, the other was a real pain, but they were riding along fine after solving the worst of the problems enroute, except for the oil leaks...
"Russel" is back home in the UK. Still haven't got a contact for him, anybody?
"...we got the ferry from Italy (Otranto) to Albania (Volore) as a way of saving money and seeing a little of the country. We don't recommend it. The ferry was old and full of cockroaches and more importantly we were charged 57 USD on arrival, which we were not told about - UK citizens were charged the most, others varied to just a few dollars. Had to pay it or return to Italy. Also the roads in Albania although sealed were very poor - took us all day to drive 80 miles. Otherwise people hospitable and was interesting to see. Don't regret going, but advise people to bear in mind additional cost of entry - not sure if charged this at overland border from Greece though.
Hope this is of use to someone. Bye for now"
"Costs traveling into (without Carnet de Passage or Libreta)
2.60 US$ at the immigration
4.40 US$ at the custom
Sometimes you have to pay 2.2 US$ for disinfecting of the bike
21 US$ at the custom (they charged me 11US$ extra for a form. I asked for a receipt and just got an arrogant smile as an answer. Finally the officer told me, that if I will not pay, I would not be allowed to pass the border - I paid) Leaving the country was 2 US$.
Road tax of 7 US$
Leaving the country was 2 US$, plus a regional fee of 1 US$
10 US$ road tax for 1 month, 20 US$ for 2 months
1 US$ at the immigration
4 US$ at the custom
I left Panama City by airplane (169 US$ for the ticket). For the bike I used GIRAG Air Cargo to fly it to Columbia.
GIRAG, Panama S.A. is located at the cargo airport, close to the international airport in Tolumen. At the roundabout at Tolumen airport just follow the signs of American Airlines Cargo to the left, app. 8 miles further on. After the first custom office in the cargo airport turn the first right at the roundabout and then ask someone for the GIRAG office.
Rene Peredes from GIRAG (Tel 38-4326, 38-4289, 38-4397, 38-4091, Fax 38-4417) was very friendly and helpful. He speaks good English.
The rate for motorcycles is 250 US$ from Panama to Bogota, Columbia. The weight and size does not count. So I left my fully loaded Touratech boxes on the bike. I did not have anything to change at the bike. Just the battery has to be disconnected and only a little bit of petrol is allowed in the tank. Nobody checked these points.
In Bogota I first had a look at the bike at the GIRAG office close to the international airport in Bogota and pick up the documents. Then I had to do the custom clearance.
Pick up the forms from GIRAG and go to the custom office. Just across the road is the custom office (DIAN). You will need a special form (5 US$) which is not available at the DIAN office. But a guy in front of the office will get the form for you. The DIAN staff will show you the guy. You are not able to fill out the form on your own. Too much code numbers and neither the staff of DIAN nor GIRAG will help you. So you need the guy in front of the DIAN office. He charged me (20 US$) for the form and to fill it out. You do not have any other possibility.
The form has to be approved by DIAN. Next you have to get a stamp at the bank at the airport (in walking distance). Show the stamps at DIAN - that's it. Sometimes someone from DIAN will have a look at the bike, but not always.
Go back to GIRAG, show them the form and stamps and pick up your bike. My bike was in perfect condition and it took me approximately 5 hours to get all the stamps. The computers are not working all the time.
All the people have been quite friendly and it was no big deal. Good luck and please send me your experiences at borders all over the world, Erwin"
"Unknown to many, a good place to rent bikes is La Paz, Bolivia.
Speak to Walter Nosiglia at Nosiglia Sport, Av. Costanera No. 29, (Calacoto), Tel. (591-2) 794 904 , Fax (591-2) 771 395, mobile phone: 01565404 - 794904 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Walter is ex-motocross champion from Sucre, Bolivia. He's the official Honda dealer in La Paz. Great guy. He rents out XR 600s, XR400s, and Africa Twins as well as ATVs. Good quality. He just started another company called New Millenium Adventure Sports which is dedicated solely to this purpose. They have a site at: www.nmadventures.com which features monthly prices for the above vehicles (usd 1500 to 2500 aprox.) but Walter is a guy you can talk to.
I was with Walter in April of this year and I really liked the guy. Friendly, helpful and professional. Get in contact with him and see what kind of a deal he can cook up for you. You can also buy a bike through him, he will have it registered with all Bolivian papers and plates and ready to go. As he said: "In Bolivia, everything is possible." However, prices for bikes in Bolivia are more expensive than USA or Germany. (i.e. Africa Twin costs 11.600 USD with registration)
Good luck, Gonzalo Figueroa, Argentina, living among the Vikings in Oslo, Norway"
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 89 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. And there's at least 20 enroute now, although some won't make it all the way. Have YOU done it?
Bernd Tesch has produced a very comprehensive list, at his website of long distance travellers. Bernd now lists some 211 travellers. Not all have actually done an around the world, but are in progress.
I'll let you know when we have the actual count to date. We have some overlap, and some new to each other. We'd like to think that we have everybody, but of course we don't, so please continue to send any new information on any travellers you meet.
Send me your national AA address or wherever you get Carnets from, and I'll post it. Fees, contact info etc. would be very useful of course! Thanks.
Gonzalo Figueroa, Argentina (now living in Norway) suggested a database of border crossing info - sounds like a great idea to me, so any solid information you have on any border crossing would be very useful, similar to what Erwin has posted above would be perfect! Thanks, Grant.
As explained last month...
Melbourne Bikers, from travellers based in Melbourne, "In the spirit of Horizons Unlimited, we are forming an interest group. Our aims are simple: to meet up occasionally; to go for a ride now and then; to encourage young people to give it a try; and to be a recognizable point of contact for anyone passing through. You don't have to have an arse of steel or a book credit to join, you're welcome even if you can't ride a bike... plan is to have a network of email addresses of interested parties. If a traveller writes in then I'll forward it to everyone. If anyone likes the sound of this person or knows them or shares something in common with them or whatever, they can reply. If nobody likes the prospective visitor or if that person has a bad reputation, there is no name or phone number or address attached to the email address... (We) have had our hospitality seriously abused in the past, but neither of us want to turn everyone away - so this is the best way we know of filtering our prospective guests without having those awkward "please can I come and stay" phone calls."
If you're interested in doing something similar, let me know and I will set up a mail address for you, same idea, yourcity @ horizons unlimited.com. Eventually perhaps travellers could send an email to their next anycity @ horizons unlimited.com and easily contact the travellers there! Anybody on the "Helpful People" list that would like to take the point for their area please contact me. Note that the contact is anonymous. You decide who to respond to.
What do you think of this idea? Let me know.
We have already had a number of responses to this idea, and I'm working on the logistics for it all now. Hopefully by next month we'll have it all working and can give you a list. Contact me if you're interested.
We hope you've enjoyed this issue, and do please let us know your thoughts. It's your newsletter, so tell us what you want to know about!
See you next month, or on the road somewhere, someday...