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Are you a TRAVELLER? Are you interested in riding
the 'Stairway to Heaven' on the Zambezi River, broken bones in Colombia, Chiang
Mai Bike Week, close encounters with bees in Australia, climbing the Sears
Tower (blindfolded), the Rubber Triangle, cross-dressing in Goa, rhino attacks
in Kathmandu, tigers and transvestites in Thailand, running campesino roadblocks
in Peru, James Bond Island, stray dog bites and rabies treatments, a Euro-invasion
in Melbourne and much more...?
On the Website
Every newsletter is permanently archived online.
One of the negatives about being in Vancouver is that the only people behind us in time are Alaskans and Hawaiians. So for the Kiwis, Aussies, Europeans and everybody else who think this issue is late, let us just state for the record that it's still February 1st in Vancouver!
One of the other negatives about being in Vancouver is that there's snow in our backyard! Melting, but it's been there for several days. This is not supposed to be happening here. And reading all the stories about folks lazing around on beaches in Thailand, Goa and Australia is not making us feel any better about it.
To cheer ourselves up, we're thinking about this summer, and planning to make it to the BMW Rally in Trenton, Ontario, July 11-14. What do you think? How about a Horizons Unlimited mini-travellers meeting there?
Even sooner, (we're thinking May), we're going to have the West Coast Horizons Unlimited meeting - debate is whether to have it on Vancouver Island or the mainland. Sorry all, our house isn't an option, because we couldn't fit even a few tents into our postage-stamp sized back yard. We have a location on Vancouver Island that looks good. Join the discussion list. We would appreciate any other suggestions for venues, best weekend, and also an alert if there's any weekend which wouldn't be good due to a conflicting event. Send your thoughts to all on the list.
It's another big month - reports from 35 travellers on the road in Thailand, Colombia, Australia, Zambia, Peru, India, Bolivia, Argentina, Kathmandu, Chile, Laos, New Zealand, South Africa, and you get the picture... Some folks we haven't heard from this month, we think they're goofing off in Oz. You know who you are. Get yourselves back on the road and write us! For the rest of you, hope you enjoy this issue.
We Want Your Travel Story!
We want YOUR motorcycle travel story, whether it's around the world or a once-in-a-lifetime trip to anywhere. We have set up a new system so that you can enter your story on your own page on Horizons Unlimited, the world's most popular motorcycle travel website, from any Internet cafe using only the browser. To see how it looks, see Ken and Carol Duvals' stories. You'll get a lot more readers here than in some obscure corner of the web. If you don't have a web site (or you're tired of maintaining your own), click here for more info and to request a 'blog' of your own!
Please submit news reports, web links etc. to us for inclusion in this newsletter.
We try to link to your website if you have one. And if you don't have a website, we can help.
This is a free service for travellers everywhere, both on the road and (temporarily;-) off. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Plan where to be when!
If you know of any events of interest to travellers, send me a note.
Karuah River Rally, Australia, February 9-10, 2002,
"A great rally in Barrington Tops just 300km nth of Sydney. It's a great ride up from Sydney via the Putty rd to Singleton then Gresford and over a mountain to Dungog for lunch and then into the forests to the rally. 15km of good dirt road to the site."
Daytona Bike Week Daytona Beach, FL. March 1-10, 2002,
"The Number One Destination for Bikers of all kinds, and the 'Greatest Continuous Party Event'" details
International GS-meeting, Belgium, Easter weekend - March 29 to April 1, 2002,
"Beautiful location in the heart of the Flanders Region. Meet new GS-people coming from around the GLOBE. New accommodation with more camp space, big tent, local beers.
Hoeve Lorette Rudderveldstraat 7 9600 Ronse Belgium Tel. +32/ 184.108.40.206"
Tesch Travel Treffen, Malmedy, Belgium, April 12-14, 2002
24th annual meeting for motorcycle world travellers. Slide shows, 300 odd travellers, great meeting, well worth going. Booking required. details
Latin Bikers of Chicago USA, April 13, 2002, to Mexico
16 to 20 days depending on your start point. On entering Mexico there will be several city parties hosted by local m/c clubs, and or the town mayor, with bands, great food, beauty pageants, etc. The rally starts in Chicago on April 13th and you can join in at any point thru the route. For detailed schedule contact the organizers.
BMW Rally, Victoria, Australia, April 27-28, 2002
"...to be held at a Nudist resort, yes that's right folks, you read correctly, located at Thoona, 20 kms west of Wangaratta, in north east Victoria. Entry fee is $15 for a badge and camping spot. If you don't want to camp, there are several levels of accommodation available up to ensuite cabins on site but you pay the extra. The north east of Victoria is at its best in autumn, many wineries abound
P.S. Clothes optional:):)"
Canyonlands Motor Classic - Street legal motorcycle rally in Moab, Utah, May 30 -June 2, 2002
"We are now officially an Adventure Touring/Sport
Touring rally. This year looks promising with lots of interest already thanks
to a write up by Dr. Greg Frazier in Rider Magazine. We fully anticipate 150
riders this year. There will be just as much to do for an ST1100 rider as
there would be for a KTM rider. Gino"
Third China (Yinchuan) International Motorcycle Tourist Festival June 12 - June 15, 2002
Interested? Info is sketchy at best, but here is what we have so far - if you learn any more please pass it on.
BMWMOA International Rally, Trenton, Ontario Canada, July 11-14 2002
Biggest BMW rally on the planet
International BMW Motorrad Biker Meeting, in south Bavarian Garmisch - Partenkirchen, July 5-7, 2002
This will be the BMW event of the year, with 10,000 visitors expected.
30th Anniversary Top O' the Rockies Rally, Colorado, USA, July 18-21, 2002
"In honor of the 30th anniversary, Special door prize drawing BMW F650GS Dakar.
70 miles SW of Glenwood Springs Colorado. Door prizes, and loads of vendors, BMW Denver onsite, free camping in the shady city park, hot showers, food vendors, music, Saturday evening dinner, field events, and great roads to ride in beautiful Colorado. Check out website for info and a pre-registration form."
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Sturgis South Dakota, USA. August 5-11, 2002
The biggest rally there is, primarily Harleys and choppers, but interesting.
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. To make it easy for you, we even have our logo and link code here!
All sites will be considered for listing, but must be a MOTORCYCLE or TRAVEL site, useful or of interest in some way to travellers.
Links will be rotated regularly as needed.
My Mexican Adventure by David Butt
David Lawson and Mo Reive, Scotland, Bangladesh to Scotland,
"We thought you might be interested in the trip we
completed in July 2001 from Bangladesh to Scotland by bike. We had been living
in Australia and we flew ourselves and the bikes from Sydney to Dhaka at the
start of March. I rode an XTZ660 and my girlfriend MO rode her DR350 20,000km
in five months back to Scotland in time for my brother's wedding in July where
I was best man. We set up and maintained a website while we were travelling
which consisted of a daily diary and photos. I thought you or some of your
readers might be interested, especially those of them we met during the trip.
We only found your site as we were leaving Australia which was bad timing
as we could have done with a little help. We're still enjoying reading it
now as it keeps our feet itchy.
From Ted Simon
"By the greatest of good fortune (which seems to dog my footsteps however hard I try to shake it off) there is a man in Medellin called Tiberio Jaramillo. Every biker should break down in Medellin. Tiberio loves to help. He has a bike shop here, and also has created a fine group of motorcyclists who go off on rides.
Maybe this doesn't coincide with your mental picture of Colombia, so let me put it straight. Yes, the guerrillas are a menace, but when you live here and take an interest in these things it's not hard to figure out where and when you can ride. Tiberio knows.
And Colombia is a paradise for bikers. All the way from Ecuador I've been reminded of this. It is truly a most beautiful country, with breathtaking (no pun intended) roads. Anyway, Tiberio is looking after me, so I want to scratch his back too. In about two months, he's going to pack up his shop and fulfill a long-time dream by riding to Alaska with a couple of friends. He's on an R100 GS. I don't know what his friends ride.
You may surmise that it is a lot harder for a Colombian to contemplate such a journey. The visa hoop-lahs he has to go through to get into countries are like me going into Sudan. And since he isn't into drugs, he doesn't have a lot of money. So obviously any of you along the way who could offer him a bed for the night should let him know.
They are coming up through Baja California to Tijuana, and back down to the Gulf to catch a banana boat to Cartagena, but I don't know the exact route. If you've only got room for one, that's OK. They already agreed between them that any one of them should take whatever is available.
I can't begin to tell you what a pleasant fellow he is. And he speaks good English, with an engineering degree from Madison, WI."
Ed. Tiberio founded the Horizons Unlimited Medellin Community last year and has been assisting numerous travellers recently, including Lew Waterman and Mariola Cichon, in addition to Ted. We are very proud to have Tiberio as part of our world-wide motorcycle travelling community, and we look forward to meeting him when he comes through Vancouver this summer.
There are many 'Helpful People' listed on the Links page, a huge thanks to all of them. How about you? Or you can join a Community, or start your own!
Do you know of a good shop 'on the road,'
in other words somewhere there isn't a large number of shops? (Also of course any shop that specialises in travellers equipment and repairs is of interest.) But we're particularly looking for those rare items, good repair shops in South America, Africa and Asia etc. Please post your info in the Repair shops around the world Forum on the HUBB.
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.
Old R series BMW's are notorious for weak alternators, so here's a couple of solutions:
From Rick at Motorrad Elektrik
"400 Watts. Light and heat for 1970-95 Boxers...The end of that greatest limitation of the air cooled Boxer, a small capacity charging system. ... the Omega alternator kit for all 1970 through 1995 2-valve BMW twins. US$575.00"
From Australia, Les Farrand has produced an 800 watt alternator:
Requires mod's to front cover, timing chain cover, top eng. cover which I will do ( require's NO MOD's to main Eng. block). Retains standard Valeo starter. This is a properly engineered unit & is extremely reliable. I've had one on my own '92 PD for about the last six years and has done over 90,000Klm's. All I've replaced in 90,000 Klm's is a couple of belts & a set of rotor bearings, it's still on the original brush set. The rotor, stator, rectifier & regulator are common parts you can buy anywhere.
Will easily run some REAL lights (i.e.. 4x125 Watt spotlights & or driving lights plus 130 Watt high beam plus heated vest, grips etc.)... I'll machine the three covers, supply the conversion & detailed instructions on how to fit it. Anyone who is capable of fitting a timing chain & knows how to wire up relays should be able to fit this conversion. Should have a Web site set up soon. Have not set a price yet but will probably be similar to Motoelekt's price. Hope this is of some interest. Cheer's Les Farrand '92 PD (NSW. Aus)
A website with some useful information about EPIRB's (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon's)
When you meet people on the road, and they haven't heard of this ezine or the website, we'd appreciate it - and hope they would too! - if you get their names and email addresses and send it in to me, or better use the recommend form available on most all pages of the website.
From Jeanette Sabus,
"I am on my way across South America on a KLR 250.
Now I find myself stuck in Venezuela and looking for some parts which can't
be found here. I need urgently:
Can anybody help?"
"I have heard of a guy who will cross west-east Africa with his motorbike through CAR and southern Sudan. Is this a new possible option, or is this just for the truly fearless? Thanks for any info!"
"Does anyone know any South African insurance company that will provide cover for a UK registered bike... Replies greatly appreciated as tickets are booked to start my tour in Cape Town on 28 Feb."
"It seems to me as if a few people are still getting caught out with the Thai / Lao / Vietnam border crossings. I have an accurate up to date list & map of border crossings up here. If anyone is planing a ride in the area. Hope this is a help."
Plenty more questions and answers on the HU Bulletin Board! We've over 1200 registered users on the Board, which I think is pretty amazing, and gives a huge resource of knowledge and experience to help you with anything you might need to know.
From Tiberio Jaramillo in Medellin, Colombia Community,
"...My best advice for riders is to drop me a note when they get to Costa Rica or even in Panama, this is because the changing times in Colombia, if things are cool my recommendation is to come to Medellin, if riders make it here I can help them, showing the lower risk roads, also some very nice places depending the type of riding that they like, (read Mariola report in her site).
...In the reports that you have everybody mentions the
risky road from Popayan to Pasto. ...this is the only critical ride if a rider
decides to come to Colombia, my advice for riders going south from Popayan
or north from Pasto is to sleep in one of the two towns, get up early and
leave at 5:45 to 6:15 am., with gas full, tires inspected, chain tensioned
and lubricated, breakfasted and rested. Don't stop for anything between these
two cities, this will lower the risk because the principles of the guerrilla
is to stop people at the end of the day or at night in order for them to get
lost in the dark. They are afraid to do things in the morning because if the
army knows it is difficult for them to hide in the day time.
From PanEuropean, on Poland, in the HUBB,
I toured through Poland in August of 2001 on my motorcycle, and had a great time.
I entered at the south end of the country, crossing in from Slovakia. I did not know that Canadians needed a visa to enter Poland, and the border guards were very apologetic about this - they felt bad that they had to send me back to Bratislava to get a visa. I didn't mind the ride back (3 hours) - the highways through Slovakia were in great shape, and nice and twisty. As good as or better than Canadian or American roads. Slovakia is a really delightful country for sport bike riding.
The only criticism I have of the roads in Poland is that they are heavily rutted in certain areas - mostly the routes leading into and out of the industrial areas of the larger cities. I chose to stick to the secondary roads, rather than the principal highways, and found good riding conditions, wonderful geography and excellent hospitality.
Theft of the bike is a constant concern in Poland, because of Poland's proximity to Ukraine and Russia. I was always able to find a place to stay overnight where the motorcycle could be locked up. If I stayed at a B&B, the family would put it in their own garage, and park a car or tractor behind it. Every 'better' hotel in the country offers locked and guarded parking - the Poles do cater to Western European visitors.
I traveled across southern Poland, spending over a week in the country, and then exited into Germany. I don't speak a word of Polish but was able to muddle my way through without difficulty using English and French. Altogether I thought Poland was a very nice country, good value, no problems with buying fuel, food, Big Mac's, using major credit cards at all the service stations, hotels, etc. I would not hesitate to return, and I recommend Poland to other riders.
PanEuropean has been prolific on the HUBB, here's another one,
And another on travelling in Croatia, along with a great response from Tanker.
From Jay Wright on getting to Colombia from Panama by sailboat
"Just went from Colon to Cartagena last week. Walked into the yacht club in Colon (I believe that is the name of it), offered some guy $300 to put the bike on his deck. (150 now, 150 later). 4 days, bike was covered in salt, really had to generously oil everything before and after. 5 days in Cartagena of complete insane rules. No carnet de passage. There is no ferry from Colon to Cartagena. I would FLY it for $200 next time. The info is somewhere on this site. Although the San Blas islands were very, very nice. If you do it this way, make sure it´s a nice boat, and the captain is straight. Hang out and chat with him to get a feel for what he´s about. Even 4 days can seem like a month on a crappy boat with a idiot captain. Colon sucks. That's my 2 cents, hope it helps."
Ed. Start with the Shipping page to get the benefit of other people's experiences.
Request for info
Wouldn't YOU like to know all about the border you're approaching - what it should cost, paperwork required, 'tips' needed, and who to talk to, etc.?
When you cross ANY border, take some notes, and pass them on to us. Thanks!
If you have any information to contribute, there is a form at the bottom of the page which you can submit and we will put it on the page. Thanks!
The US State Department has issued travel advisories, information and/or warnings.
Gregory Frazier, USA, in Thailand,
"The people in Thailand smile a lot, which comes from their desire to make sanuk, the Thai word for 'fun.' The Thai's believe 'anything worth doing, even work, must have sanuk.' I've ridden around the globe three times, and decided to return to Thailand, because it was here I'd had my most motorcycling sanuk.
The first bike sanuk this trip was Chiang Mai Bike Week. USA Florida Bike Week - after 7 days with 100,000 Harley's using open exhaust pipes makes me start to dislike motorcycles. The Thai's, on the other hand, have only about 400 Harleys in the whole country, so to make a good bike gathering the Harley-Davidson owners have to hook-up with owners of other makes and models. Less than 1,000 BMW's are in Thailand, so between the two groups, and a sprinkling of other models, the North Comets Motorcycle Club put together a Bike Week of about 800 motorcyclists. To keep their Bike Week from becoming boring, they made it a two-day Bike Week, starting of Friday night and ending Saturday night, filling both nights and day. On Sunday most riders were headed home.
US $20.00 registration got each participant a Tee shirt, stickers, patch, two 'Class A' All You can Eat Buffets, one evening of local cultural shows and a second night of rock bands, stage shows with, a tattoo contest, custom bike show and Miss Bike Week modelling. It was interesting to see some Hell's Angles and Bandidos gang members having a beer together at the evening outdoor banquet, laughing and trading stories. At Bike Week in Daytona a similar meeting of these two bike gangs would probably be filled with fights and gunfire. Instead, Bike Week Thai style, was filled with sanuk.
An interesting twist in Chiang Mai Bike Week was that nearly everyone rode his or her motorcycle to Chiang Mai, some from as far away as Malaysia. Then on Saturday, they rode 100 kilometres into the country side for an All You Can Eat Lunch. One Thai group of over 200 motorcycles rode together from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, about 600 kilometres in one day, with a police escort!
Two travelers who had probably ridden the furthest to Bike Week were Maarten (Netherlands, on a BMW 1150GS) and Kathryn Yore (England, on a BMW F650GS). They were doing a long ride, headed to Australia. Here I caught them sharing sanuk with three native ladies from one of the hill tribes.
Two Thai's I met were 'adventure tourers,' Casper F. M. de Wolf and his wife Tulaya or 'Kung' (Shrimp). From their home in Lampang they had traveled all over Asia as well as Australia on their highly modified BMW R100GS.
Everyone has heard of Thailand's Golden Triangle, where Burma, Thailand and Laos meet. Thailand is also famous for its cabbages, with millions grown in the North. A Thai entrepreneur, concerned with the spread of HIV, wants to make condoms as popular as cabbages in Thailand, so has opened three Cabbages and Condoms restaurants and souvenir shops. His business card from, the Chaing Rai shop, says 'Our Food Is Guaranteed Not To Cause Pregnancy.'
I will return to motorcycle in Thailand, Laos and Burma (where I got kicked out of this time). There are still 1,000's of kilometres of jungle trails and small roads I can ride, the price of travel is inexpensive (US$2.00 per gallon of gas, US$10.00 for a upscale hotel room, except in Bangkok, a full meal can cost US$1.00, and beer can run US$2.00) and I like the way the people smile and are friendly, and, of course, the sanuk of the culture."
Ted Simon, UK/USA, "Jupiter's Travels," around the world, again, in Colombia, R80GS Basic,
"January 16, 2002 - Medellin, Colombia
... The cauldron of my discontent boiled over on a busy road in northern Colombia last Saturday. As a result there has been a change of plan. The clavicle was a scary thing at first. Feeling bones moving about inside is weird. But now that I know what's going on, it's not so bad. What's really bad is the two cracked ribs. I coughed once, and that's it. I don't think I will ever dare cough again. And I'm learning to sleep sitting upright.
It's all my own fault. Nobody else was involved, unless you include the really silly driver I was overtaking at the time. I had no business doing it. He was one of those drivers who HAS to be in front. He went past me in his little silver Honda, and sat there, making it impossible for me to get past the slower trucks. We were on a busy, winding two-lane road with many big tarpaulin-covered lorries going both ways. Several times he took risks overtaking that chilled my blood, with his family in the car. Throughout my riding career I have made it an absolute rule NOT to get involved in games with such drivers. And yet, this time I took him where I know I shouldn't have. The curve tightened, and I had that split second of remorse when I knew I wasn't going to make it. Then I was off into a concrete gutter. The driver must have seen me do it. Of course he didn't stop, but two other families, each with pick-ups, did. They were wonderful.
At first I was too shocked to move, and they were careful, until I could be sure I was still in one piece. I got the helmet off myself (it has ferocious scratches right across the visor) and gradually figured out I could get up. A lot of my stuff was all over the road - including all my tools, which are much prized in Colombia - and although there was heavy traffic, they got everything together, got the bike up into one of the pickups, got me a seat in the other one, and took me back to the small town of La Pintada where there was a clinic. Sergio Santisteban took me in his truck, and Lucelly and Nelson Montoya had the bike. They treated me as though I were one of the family, and when I finally got round to checking, days later, not a single thing was missing.
All the way up through Colombia I was worrying about guerrillas. I wish I hadn't had to have an accident to remind me just how good Colombian people are, as they are everywhere, of course. The rest is medicine. It'll take a few weeks, at least. The bike however needs surgery. The front will have to be rebuilt. The steering head was broken through, but the forks are OK. New disc, but callipers OK. New electrics and speedo. So there we are. One stupid move. It will last me a long time."
Harald and Udo Lamers, the Bike Brothers, Netherlands, through Asia on Suzuki DR 600s, in Thailand
"Tigers and Transvestites - The border formalities at Poipet (Cambodia - Thailand) are easy and quick. The Thai custom officer is too busy with his lunch. So we have to fill in our carnets and then he will stamp and sign it. He is also not interested in seeing the bikes. Good. Could not all the border crossings be like this? Back in Thailand we drive to Ayutthaya, the old capital until 1767. Nowadays there are still a lot of ruins to see from that period, like Wats and Buddhas.
Heading south the landscape changes from rice paddies into palm oil and rubber plantations. The rubber trees are standing in line and have a little bowl attached at about 50 cm above the ground. They cut open the bark above the bowl and the white rubber juice is dripping in the bowl. We ask a man who is working at a plantation why our tyres are black if they are made from white rubber juice. Confused he looks at us but doesn't know the answer... In Khao Sok National Park we pitch our tent along a river and we try to remember when was the last time we camped. It seems weeks ago, too many hotels and guesthouses. We make ourselves a dinner and some coffee and go to sleep. With the sounds of the jungle as background music we fell asleep within minutes.
The next morning we get up early to make a hike. There are tigers living in this park and we hope to see one.
Khao Sok N.P. has one of the last remaining tropical rainforests in Thailand. It is warm and humid and within 30 minutes walking we are soaking wet. A narrow trail winds through the dense jungle. Some parts are very steep and we grab the roots of the trees to pull us up. We hear gibbons screaming and butterflies are circling above our heads. Harald finds a leech on his leg but he has already eaten. He torches the bloodsucker with a lighter. After a long day of hiking we saw only some lizards, a snake and a lot of ants. Then the next morning we see a tiger. It is on the tiger balm that we use on our legs to diminish the muscle pain...
The island Phuket is famous for its beautiful beaches and is therefore very touristy. We find a deserted beach to put up our tent. We make a nice campfire and dream away with the waves. The next morning two fishermen are passing and catch our breakfast.
The beach cities are packed with hotels, souvenir shops, restaurants and bars. Macho beach boys with their sun BBQed bodies and fresh tattoos try to impress the Thai girls. Only dressed in shorts and slippers they make wheelies with the rented motorbikes and try to make burnouts. When we stop they make fun of us because we wear our helmets, motorbike jackets, gloves and jeans. But when we cruise along the boulevard of Kata beach with our mud covered DRs we have much more attention then the show offs. We stay here a few days to relax on the beach, do some sea canoeing to the limestone rocks and caves and make a boat tour to Koh Tapu, better known as James Bond island. This peculiar shaped limestone island became popular when they shoot the Bond movie 'The Man with the Golden Gun' here.
In Kata we meet our Danish friends again who are also travelling around the world. The first time we met them in Leh in India and later in Nepal. We go out to a bar and exchange our adventures. A beautiful waitress comes to us and asks with a heavy voice: 'What do you want to drink?' Astonished we look up and then we see that it is a transvestite. When we study the other waitresses we see that there are more of them. This is also Thailand...
On the road to Malaysia we pass through a dramatic landscape. From the dense green jungle, white limestone rocks rise into the air, like big zits. When we drive close to them we feel little.
Over a 13.5 km long bridge (the longest in S.E. Asia) we arrive in Georgetown on the island Penang. A few days we are busy looking for a freight company that can ship our bikes to New Zealand. Then we need a whole day to clean the bikes to get rid off seven months dust and mud. The next day we go to the forwarder and crate our bikes. In four hours time we take off the aluminum boxes, front wheel, steer and manage to make a package that stays within 3 cubic metres. In three weeks it will arrive in Auckland, New Zealand. Until then we take a deserved holiday. But we will miss our mates..."
Glen Heggstad, USA, the Striking Viking, to Central and South America, in Peru, Kawasaki KLR650,
"The magical Andean scenery that unfolds before me on this route is foaming at the mouth spectacular. I'm grinning from ear to ear as I peer outward through my face shield at the sharp multicoloured canyons and towering peaks above me. For hundreds of miles in the distance in all directions no two viewpoints are alike. Each so astounding it leaves me breathless and in awe of beauty I never dreamed existed. This is what I came to experience in Peru and it is worth every second of hassle and discomfort.
... Up ahead I see a few small boulders in the road and some cut down trees being cleared which I easily skirt around with people yelling parro at me. At this point I'm thinking parro must mean obstacle of some kind, maybe a landslide up ahead. What the heck I'm on a motorcycle and should be able to get around anything.
Now I am encountering stones neatly arranged across the road about every quarter mile which I just run right over. People are not smiling at me anymore. There is a feeling of trepidation in the air but I can't quite figure it out.
Finally I reach a long line of vans and trucks with disembarked passengers milling about with worried looks on their faces. Once again I decide to slowly pass around them and now the crowd is passionately waving their arms yelling peligroso (dangerous) and parro. By now curiosity as well as a need to keep moving is driving me. They are very serious and I am very determined.
I made a decision after my ordeal in Colombia that I would never allow myself to be taken prisoner again and therefore would never stop at another road block. I know the consequences of this resolution and I don't care, I will never be taken alive again. When I saw the tree branches laying across the road and the boulders blocking the way with men standing ready on either side I said, here we go.
I kicked it down a gear and rode over the first set of tree branches in a hail of rocks and chunks of who knows what being pitched at me, all of it came close but nothing hit me. The first hurdle was a cinch but couldn't make it past the boulders as there was no space wide enough to get through. I am stuck and the mob is now storming toward me chanting parro and they are not happy. Once again my options are limited, there is nowhere to go, I must stand and well you know...negotiate. At least no one is shooting at me.
In moments I am surrounded by angry campesinos and by now figured out parro is something pretty serious. I also know the heart and soul of the campesino and they are good people and believe they will not harm me unnecessarily. They are going to give me a chance to explain. I ask them what parro means and they grumble in a rather gruff manner that parro is a road blockade, a protest against the government for high taxes and no voice.
A wry smile spreads across my face as I point to the camera dangling around my neck and bellow out, Soy un escritor! Y quiero escribir en su protesta. I am a writer and want to write about your protest. There is a murmur that drifts among the crowd that erupts into cheers and shouts of approval. They wait in line to shake my hand apologizing sincerely pointing to my tires.
An older man mumbles, Lo siento senor las espinas..., I am sorry sir the spines... as he hands me one of the thorny tree branches to examine. They did try to warn me he says. Meanwhile the kids are busy picking two inch long spikes out of my tires. I am hoping in vain that my tubes have been chemically treated to self seal around small punctures, there is no time to take my wheel off and screw with a patch kit.
Time is even more critical now as the tires could be leaking slowly. To keep the spirit of goodwill flowing I ask for a group photo to put on my web site to make them all famous to the entire world. They can't comply fast enough and moments later they are busy rolling boulders aside for me to pass. I incorrectly assumed this was the only blockade and calculate the time lost thinking I may still make it to my stopover before dark.
As it turns out, about every half mile another group of campesinos has rolled down boulders from the hillside above or cut down a huge tree that now lays across my path. The boulders were easy to get around by driving through or beside them but the trees across the road were a different story...
... The road ahead now leads straight into thick black clouds in the distance and the temperature is dropping fast. I barely have time to stop and suit up before the onslaught of marble sized hail starts firing down on me. I stop for a photo as the landscape around me is beginning to turn white with plummeting ice particles. It toggles back and forth between the painful hail stones peppering my hands inside my waterlogged gloves and blinding driving rain.
As the sloshy muddy trail begins to freeze up a light corn snow starts to fall completely concealing any ruts or potholes in the road. The sky is so dark I can't tell how late it is but I know there are still a few hours left until I hit shelter. My electric heated grips have malfunctioned so my gloves have iced up and my fingers are too cold and stiff to keep moving in order to avoid frost bite.
... My rear tire finally gives out and within seconds I'm riding on the rim wobbling all over the road. I could continue slowly but would eat the tire so opt for running next to the bike guiding it downhill toward the lights in the distance.
I can't explain how on this miserable stormy night the only other vehicle on this particular deserted mountain at this particular point in time had just happened to have finished unloading its cargo and was about to return to the city ten miles below but somehow it occurred. I guess I am just lucky?
The men inside were amazed at the sight of a lone biker traveling in these conditions and gave me a dry jacket to put on and helped warm me up. It took every bit of strength the four of us had to lift the bike up over our heads and onto the back of the huge flatbed truck but we finally managed to wrangle it into a position for the hour long ride to the isolated city of Andajuelas below. I love Peruvians."
Grant March, Ireland, to Mexico, USA and Central America, in the USA, KLR650 in progress,
"I arrived in Dallas Fort Worth Airport after pleasant flight from Belize. The plane was a bit late and the usual worries when I ended up the last person at the luggage carousel waiting for one of my aluminium Bernd Tesch boxes to appear. A bit of a worry as tools, stove, sleeping bag, etc, etc were in there. Then I noticed a pile of stuff someone had taken off the carousel on the floor and sure enough there was the other box!
I went through customs. I came into the arrivals hall, and there in front of me was Les!
Les Hall is one of the guys who've made themselves available at Horizons Unlimited to assist fellow motorcycle travellers in Dallas, Tx. It was such a treat to be met at a strange airport in a new city by someone local. We went into town with Christie, his partner, and got gloriously huge burgers with blue cheese! Nice - after a month of third world Chinese and rice and beans in Belize!
All my stuff had arrived from the various dealers I mailordered in the US. More reports on that later. Looks good though.
I got quotes from a number of insurance companies and have opted to go with Progressive. See the HUBB for more details. I'm gonna see and buy a KLR 650 for US$4971 out the door with plates and everything. Other places were charging US$5600! There don't seem to be any 2001 models left in the showrooms.
So looks like tomorrow I'm gonna be mobile again. Having spent a month on foot in Belize you don't know how welcome this is.
My trip is only starting and already I feel it has been made by meeting Les and Christie! Thanks, Grant March"
Mika Kuhn and Damaris, Germany, around the world, in Australia, Tenere,
"11.Jan.2002 Back in Melbourne, Australia - Frankston, a bit south of Melbourne I made it around this big island with the bike in one piece and the sun starts to shine again. New Years Eve we spend with friends near Bendigo, out in the country side with the typical Aussie BBQ. What about my shoulder ? The first diagnosis was wrong, the collarbone is broke as the x-ray showed after we arrived here in Frankston. But it started to grow together again, and I wont have any problems in maybe a month.
A few days before Christmas we were on the way to Adelaide thru a wonderful wine growing region, when something happened which is still hard for me to believe. While riding along I got two bee stings, from two bees in a distance of 20kms, into my right eyelid. Damaris twice had the nice job to get the sting out of the eyelid. I managed to ride to Gawler, 50 kms north of Adelaide, before the eyelid was completely swollen and I couldnt ride anymore. It took three days to swell down, and the tablets the doctor gave made me so tired that I slept nearly three days. Damaris took great care of me, but for her it was the most boring Christmas she ever had, on a campsite in Gawler.
But now it is time to leave, and we will go do a loop over the Great Ocean Road to Canberra and than back to Sydney. We travel from there on to South America, I did my 'homework' and we will probably fly to Buenos Aires in Argentina around mid February.
Since I have left my hometown Bochum on the 1.5.1999, I have done the first 100.000 km on the Yamaha Tenere, the odometer shows now 145.200km. I have come through 26 countries in Europe, Asia and Australia and I have met so many wonderful people, who made this first part of the journey possible. Thank you where ever you are, I wont forget you. And I know I will meet more fantastic people in the maybe 130.000km to come in South America, North America and Africa. I try to keep you up to date and I look forward to read about your life and your dreams. All the best Mika"
Goose and Lucy, (Adrian Greygoose and Lucy Gardner), UK, around the world, in Zambia, R1100GS,
"We came across the border from the Botswana town of Kazungula. The Botswana customs were on one side of the Zambezi and the Zambian customs on the other, no-mans land being a ferry ride between the two.
With the rainy season well under way, Zambia was impressively rich with greenery which contrasted with the bright orange soil. The first noticeable difference between Zambia and Botswana was the roads! Pot holes would be better described as small craters which made for an interesting ride to the pick up point to Jungle Junction.
We were taken to a little village of no more than fifteen huts and Rondavels on the banks of the Zambezi and introduced to the guys who would be poling us, in Mokoros, (dug-outs) across to the island. The dugouts were original hand crafted vessels and the feeling of instability as we moved across the fast flowing water, for me still dressed in moto-x kit, was a little unnerving. Swimming I don't mind, all our kit was in waterproof bags but the Alpinestar boots would make for a hair-raising doggy paddle. Lucy sat in another Mokoro behind us looking a little more relaxed - having sensibly changed into her shorts and flip-flops!
The island on which Jungle Junction is found is sub-tropical and so covered in dense forest. Our hut was on a bank facing onto a shaded stretch of the Zambezi, with its own hammock swinging over the water's edge. As we sat on the end of our mosi-net draped bed looking out on our private view of the river, a small monkey plonked himself on a low branch in front of us. He tucked into a piece of freshly fallen fruit and then hurried off into the branches to find his next course.
We took a stroll round the island and discovered hidden huts and isolated hammocks at the end of each path - obviously Jungle Junction was built for pure relaxation! Fortunately the island is only a few hundred metres long, keep walking and you'll find a landmark eventually - otherwise it would have been very easy to get lost in the tangle of small, overgrown pathways. Before long we found ourselves, needless to say, in the bar - a thatched open-sided structure with a similar hut adjacent to it providing a dining room and a smouldering campfire between the two. This was to be the setting for Christmas and New Year and a finer location we couldn't have found.
... A final farewell dinner with friends turned out not to be the last - one island occupant after another went down with malaria, including Goose! Fortunately the Lariam we are taking reduces the symptoms and with the right medication, he was almost fully recovered after only a week. While Goose took it easy I went off for a whitewater-rafting trip down the Zambezi. This was one of those compulsory sport activities - 'you haven't seen the Falls properly if you haven't gone rafting!' - and also one of the more nerve-racking and exciting experiences of my life! Our day's rafting took us over 21 rapids, all bubbling viciously with waves up to 10ft high and dips and whirls pools that left your stomach behind. Each rapid had a name that was meant to give you some idea of what to expect - and with names like 'Stairway to Heaven', 'The Washing Machine' and 'Overland Truck Eater', not much is left to the imagination! At the end of the day, feeling bruised, battered and with aching limbs we parked the rafts up on a small beach with a sense of achievement and a sigh of relief - until I realised that we still had to climb the 700m out of the gorge!"
Andy Miller, UK, around the world? in Australia, KTM Adventure,
"... Before I left the UK I posted a request on the HorizonsUnlimited web site for travelling companions. I had a few replies, one of which was from a guy called Richard Watton. We never met in the UK, but just by coincidence we bumped into each other in southern Iran, only recognising one another by our email addresses. Small world! We kept in touch, now he is in Perth with me, just waiting for his bike to arrive from Kathmandu.
... Had no problems with the bike so far, I have just serviced it and put a new rear tyre on. Front to go on before heading off road, did have a small oil leak from the rocker cover this seems to leak every 10.000kms for some strange reason. Also sent a large parcel home but still seem to have too much gear.
Alice Springs... The journey from Perth was ok. Well sort of. It took 5 days, 2 days on tarmac, the other three on dirt. This started at Laverton. Up early to get to the next town, some 522kms, Warburton. This was the first over night stop. The last 150kms of road was not good deep corrugations and soft sand making progress very slow... the last few days have been 39-41 degrees... we had just 350 kms to do but it was the hardest yet deep sand, washouts and some creek crossings. These proved hard for Richard falling off twice. Lucky for him they were dry as 6 weeks ago the area had 121mms of rain in 12 hours. The guy at the weather station showed me some photos of people stuck in a 4x4. One having to be moored to a tree. Only days later could it recovered by tractor. This will explain why the desert is so green. As we reach a crest of a hill on gravel road only to see sand for as long as the eye could see.
As to the Olgas ahead was worth it but still not over yet as the road still had bad corrugations and soft sand. It's here I nearly fell off. The last 5kms were hell, then after three days off road we enter tarmac. Oh joy ...Now it's getting cold, 20 degrees and overcast, but no rain thankfully. I am in a town called ALICE.
Once settled at camp I called a guy I met at Susan and Grant Johnson's open house weekend in Slough last year. His name is Geoff Kingsmill. It's Geoff and his wife I have to thank for their hospitality and also responsible for scanning the photos you see. From here I will be heading south to Coober Pedy and onto the Oodnadatta Track heading towards Melbourne to catch up with friends and family. This is not the end but then off to Tasmania - Melbourne - Canberra - Sydney etc then NZ. I would love to continue to Canada. This would make sense as the flight home would be a lot shorter. Cheers Andy."
Ed. Sounds like us rationalising going from South Africa to Canada by way of South America - 'it's on the way, sort of'. He's definitely got the right idea...
Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, around the world since 1996, in Mexico, on a Harley Davidson,
"'25/01/02 The last two nights have been spent in 6 hour rooms, although most people seem to stay less than one hour. These purpose built 'hotels' on the edge of towns have off the road parking, next to each unit with curtains to hide the vehicle, its number plate and identity of the occupants while they indulge on the king-size bed, with air-conditioning and Playboy channel on the TV. For a small extra charge the room can be rented for the night, by truckers or travellers, a cheap comfortable alternative to an inner city hotel. We headed south west to Torreon through desert mountains in crisp sunshine. The poor sandy soils filling up open valleys for minimal agriculture. The white Mexican hat popular around towns with its more tattered version worn while on horseback rounding up cattle or goats. At Cuatro Cienegas there are numerous warm to hot pools bubbling up out of the desert floor and harbour unique species of fish and turtles.
26/1/02 The government run and owned Pemex petrol stations have a fixed price throughout the country, at about twice that of the USA. This keeps poorer people travelling on busses but doesn't seem to slow the wealthier car owners down. Toll ways or simply toll town bypass roads can inadvertently add considerable costs to travel. Motorcycles, with two axles are the same price as cars, and dearest we have encountered. Adding up the cheaper food and accommodation costs and offsetting that against dearer petrol, visas, motorcycle entry, internet, and not having people here to stay with, Mexico looks like costing, for us, abut the same as the USA."
Peter and Kay have travelled to over 100 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Horizons Unlimited is proud to host all their stories on our site. Fantastic stories and pictures!
Harvey Gordon-Sawyers & Lisa Roberts, UK, Round the World, waiting for parts in in Goa, India, Harvey on a BMW R100GS and Lisa on a BMW R80ST,
"We spent a couple of evenings with Kirsten, Chris and Bob, swapping stories and experiences and discussing plans for the next weeks and months. It was great to finally meet up with them and to hear all about coming through Iran and Pakistan. They are on two old Triumphs with black leathers, soft luggage, open faced helmets and goggles - so they really look the part! They left a couple of days ago heading south so we may catch up with them again on the road somewhere - if we ever get going.
We've been doing some serious work on our tans and I've even bought some beach clothes - but I think Harvey looks better in them than me (his comment - 'I never realised just how comfortable skirts are...'). I'm sorry the picture is a little blurred but I really was laughing so hard I just couldn't keep the camera steady.
And so to the day the parcels came. We skipped breakfast as our landlady seemed to be out and we were determined not to miss the delivery if it came. I went to the internet café to send off some enquiries to shipping agents about flying to South East Asia... upon our return our landlady appeared waving not just one but two bits of paper - the parcels had arrived.
Grabbing a large wodge of cash just in case (import duty here is apparently one hundred and fifty per cent), we sped off to the post office. We unwrapped the parcels as if they were Christmas presents, but only really looked at the bearings - two such small insignificant looking things which had been the cause of so much upheaval.
Riding on the crest of our victory wave, we decided to have a first crack at putting it back together. We cleaned up all the nuts and bolts, the corrosive powers of Coca Cola coming into their own again, greased them all ready for action, and prepared ourselves for the long haul. After a couple of minutes of waggling and remembering just how heavy the rear bevel drive housing is when you're crouched under the bike something went 'click' and it all slotted into place. Not quite believing our good fortune we quickly did up the bolts which hold it in place and breathed a huge sigh of relief.
On our way back from dinner we stopped to watch a badminton tournament being staged at the side of the road - complete with crowds of onlookers and a mega loud PA system. After only a few moments we were plunged into complete darkness as the power for the whole street switched off. Merrily everyone went about their business, some fired up their mopeds and went for a quick spin, others sang and catcalled while the players continued hitting the shuttlecock back and forth in the moonlight. Happily we went on our way - this is truly a unique country and soon we will be out there in the thick of it - exploring! "
Mariola Cichon, USA, aiming to be the first American woman to ride around the world solo, in Bolivia, KLR650,
"The 50 miles long road to Coroico begins in La Paz, which sits at nearly 4,000 meters. This road is listed as the most dangerous road in the world by the Inter-American Development Bank. It happened in 1995, after 26 vehicles went over the edge of sheer 1000 m drops a year before. According to the local people, a bus with 150 people went down this year. Negotiating many deep washouts created by streams running of the vertical walls, waterfalls, mud holes, and sections wide enough to hardly accommodate a car would have made it as dangerous as climbing outside walls of Sears Tower, blindfolded.
To help prevent accidents, first, the down traffic has a right of way. This means vehicles traveling up having often to back down toward a wider section. Second, the traffic is left sided. I learned that quickly when almost crashed with a truck turning a blind corner. The driver was angry, and for a good reason. I was on the wrong side of the road. I had to abandon staying close to the walls and move toward the edge! This was very unnerving. At one particularly nasty turn a solitary figure signalled me with what looked like a large green ping-pong racket. At first I did not understand. What does this man want, I thought. Then it dawned on me: traffic light! It turned out later that in 1998 this man lost his entire family to one of the worst bus crashes on the most infamous stretch of the road. Ever since that day he sits in a small hut on that very corner and provides safe signalling for oncoming traffic...
P.S. A new, paved road to Coroico and behind is currently under construction."
Werner Zwick, Germany, South and North America in stages, in Panama, Honda Transalp,
"Two weeks ago I flew to Quito, Ecuador where I stayed at Casa Helbling again and met Ricardo Rocco, who had hosted my Transalp since my last trip, and also Lew Waterman and his little dog Punky. For two days I searched with the help of Ricardo and some of his friends for a way to fly my Transalp to Panama City. Colombia is too dangerous to travel through right now. There is only one company that offered to fly a motorcycle. SAR Cargo. They charge 550 $, flat fee, the size does not matter at all. The bike has to be without gas, oil, the air has to be out of the tires and the battery has to be dry. I just disconnected the battery, and forgot to drain the oil. No problem.
When getting the papers I did not check that they did not specify the flight date. This became a problem later on.
On Monday I delivered my Transalp to the warehouse at the airport, put it on a metal palette, which was provided, and paid the 550$. It was agreed, that it would fly Tuesday morning to Bogotá, reloaded on a different plane and arrive in Panama the same day.
I bought a ticket to Panama and flew there on Tuesday. The heat of 35 degrees was shocking, but the Hotel Montreal has air-conditioning and a rooftop pool. Wednesday, I went to the airport to pick up the bike, but it was nowhere to find. They promised me that it would arrive in the evening. I should call mañana.
That gave me some time to visit the colonial part of the city, which has badly deteriorated and is also dangerous. But some buildings have been restored to their old glory, and more restoration is under way. Thursday, I called the cargo airport; my Transalp was not there but would arrive for sure in the evening.
More time to visit Panama City. There is a beautiful causeway, linking four islands in the bay to the canal area. The view to Manhattan like Panama City is nice and open-air restaurants serve good food.
Friday I took a taxi to the airport and guess, the bike was not there. I would not leave the office until they could tell me where it was. I was ready to go to the police because I thought it was stolen. When I told them that, they started to call their head office in Bogotá, but no Transalp there. The guys in Quito said they had sent it to Bogotá. Then somebody said, that it's on the way to Bogotá. Very sure. I verified that later and it was true. It would come with the next flight, which was scheduled for Tuesday evening.
This gave me some time to visit the Miraflores locks on the Panama Canal. They are impressive, 305m long, and 33,5m wide. Saturday, I went to Portobelo on the Caribbean coast. In this tiny village, the Spanish conquistadors collected all the treasures of their colonies and sent them to Spain once a year with the armada. Always attacked by pirates. There are some small fortifications, a restored customs building and nothing else but a small village and some fishing vessels now.
Today, I went to the airport again, and believe it or not, I got my Transalp. Everything was there, I could ride away after some pumping of the tires and connecting the battery. Tomorrow I will leave Panama City and start my journey north. Hasta luego, Werner"
Chris and Erin Ratay, USA, around the world, in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, two BMW F650s,
"Sunday, Dec 30th: It's about another 20-kilometer ride from town to get to Tierra del Fuego National Park. The road is just as dusty as the one into Ushuaia. We find the campground at Lagoa Roca where all our m/c friends are supposed to be. Jason is there with some other riders he met: Marcel and Peter from Switzerland, Werner and Harriet from Germany and Holland respectively, and Johans from Austria (who we met in Rio Gallegos). That night another guy named Carl from Alaska also turns up, although he is staying in a hostel in town.
We pitch our tents and relax with the rest of the group. The scenery is spectacular here with lush forest, steep snow-capped mountains, and tons of wildlife around. Black rabbits run around the campsite while native geese and falcons grace the skies.
Monday, Dec 31st Around 2pm, 4 of the bikers head out to an estancia on the other side of the mountains (100km away) for a big all-night party. We intended to go out to join them, but at 7pm as we loaded up the bikes, it started to rain (and didn't let up until morning). Frank had purchased a couple of bottles of champagne, so we thought we'd have a nice quiet evening with just the 4 of us. Around 8:30p, the 2 Germans Alex and Annette pulled into camp, followed a few hours later by Alberto, who brought with him Chris from Canada and Aike from Finland. The owners of the campground were throwing a party for their family/friends (about 30 people), and we were all invited inside to join them for a terrific asado dinner (Frank is loving all this meat!). Dinner didn't get served until after 11pm (real Argentine style!) and we danced until about 3 in the morning..."
Looking for a travel book for someone special? 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.
There's links to Amazon USA, Amazon UK, and Amazon Deutschland, so no matter where you are - Canadians and Aussies order from Amazon USA;-) you can order books at great prices, and we'll make a dollar or a pound, which goes to supporting this e-zine.
There's also 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
From our favourite 'Mad Scotsman', Stuart Munro:
"Sad news about beer. You have to hope this study is flawed, but the evidence seems irrefutable. Recently, scientists for Health Canada released the preliminary results of a controlled laboratory analysis establishing the presence of female hormones in beer. Yep. Female hormones.
In a limited study, 100 men each consumed six pints of beer within a one-hour period. It was then observed that all gained weight; 95 talked excessively without making sense; 91 became overly emotional; 89 couldn't drive; 87 failed to think rationally; 83 argued about nothing, 79 had to sit down while urinating; 77 couldn't perform... and all participants refused to apologize when wrong."
from Will Rogers (reportedly):
"Never miss a good chance to shut up.
Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement.
Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier 'n puttin' it back in.
If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
There's two theories to arguin' with a woman. Neither one works.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.
There are three kinds of men:
The one that learns by reading.
The few who learn by observation.
The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves"
is great. A brilliant service."
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a real gold mine of information."
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query. I'd like to tell you both what an incredible source of information
and inspiration your website has been for me. I decided to sell my house and
plan a RTW (almost) journey in March of last year. I was lucky enough to find
your website straight away and have visited it religiously for several hours
every day for the last 10 months. I should be underway by April and if I come
across any information that is relevant to your site would be happy to pass
it on. Thanks Again"
"Thanks for the info and for the best
web site on the net............"
"I think you guys do a fantastic job
and it really helps people like me who use the site as a primary source of
information. I was due to depart in January 2002 for my trip to Africa - but
personal circumstances mean that I am stuck here at home, in dreary, drizzly
Nottingham. A daily check in to your website is keeping my dream alive. I
hope to get going sometime in 2002 (fingers crossed). In the meantime I'll
keep fiddling with my bike and planning my route."
"... had no idea so many motorcycle
adventurers were out there. Been biking around on trips myself for a decade,
only just got email, what an incredible research tool. Great reading about
like minded individuals experiences. Thanks."
"Just a quick note to say I think this
service, or whatever you'd like to call it, is wonderful. Wish I'd heard about
it earlier, I'm sure it would have gotten me off my butt sooner! Thanks again,"
"I've been reading your web site for
a while now. Just one word: fantastic ! especially the monthly letter, in
which I copy each time some information for my next trip to Pakistan. My wife
and I have made a trip from France to Syria and back on an AT Honda in sept
99 (we met Chris Bright in Cappadoce). Our trip to Syria is on a French bike
site at the
following address, with some pictures. Best regards, and thank you"
"I found your web site in the Swedish
magazine 'Bike'. Since the autumn is coming and it will soon be time to store
the bike for the next season, to find your web site was just a gift from above!
Safe journey! All the best! Who knows, we might end up together in some remote
workshop close to the end of the earth."
"You guys are doing a super great job!!!"
"Thanks a ton for the e-zine. Beats
all the bike mags hands down. You guys ROCK."
"Once again, an extraordinary issue,
Grant. An amazing resource and inspiration to us all. Maybe this riding season
you can join me here in Motorcycle Paradise and we can swap lies."
"I thoroughly enjoy your website."
"I am in the early stages of planning
my own RTW beginning one year from today (New Years Day '03). Your website
and links I feel are going to be invaluable in my planning. I picked up a
copy not long ago of the Adventure Motorbike Handbook and decided it is something
I simply have to do and no better time than right now. Your story is especially
interesting to me doing it two-up the entire time. My girlfriend has recently
fallen in love with motorcycling and the plan right now is for her to ride
her own bike but two-up is certainly an option. I look forward to the e-zine
and all the links and stories that accompany."
"I have 2 R80GS' in the garage, 1 standard
and 1 Dakar, waiting for the big trip when the kids grow up a bit. Please
keep up the excellent work as the newsletter keeps us going each month and
keeps the dream alive."
"Love the site.. planning a trip from
Vancouver Canada to Buenos Aires in the not-too-distant future. Hope to make
it onto your site eventually."
"Keep up the Fantastic work with the
E-zine it always brings a smile to my face when I see it appear in my inbox."
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Maarten Munnik is the winner of January's prize for his contributions on the Netherlands in the Trip Planning - Country Information section. Maarten also moderates several forums in the HUBB, including the Europe, Equipment Reviews, Camping Equipment, and the Honda Tech forum. Well done, Maarten!
We're giving away prizes every month from a drawing of folks recommending us to others, or contributing useful information to the site, either via the HUBB, or Shipping Form or other info of interest to travellers. We particularly are looking for information for the Trip Planning section. Examples include, in the Where and When section: Country info, Weather, Road conditions, Border crossings, Paperwork, What to see, etc. Under Equipment: your suggested Packing Lists, Packing techniques, etc.
Our December prize winner, Kyril Dambuleff, USA, chose a US$25.00 gift certificate from Amazon.com.
February's prizes include great books from Greg Frazier, round the world traveller and author extraordinaire, or a US$25 gift certificate from Amazon.
Here's what you get to choose from when YOU win!
Choose from A:
US$25 gift certificate from Amazon.com, or the equivalent in GBP or DM if you prefer Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de.
Dr. Gregory Frazier has very generously contributed a FREE book (or video) a month.
-New Zealand By MC
"We stayed in Ushuaia for 5 Days, but we didn't see many Motorbikers. The most travellers are here with their Landrover or with their trucks.
We met the following Bikers: Beat Gisler and Marcel (Switzerland), Wolfgang und Christian (Germany and Austria), Markus (Germany) and Jason Homewood(Great Britain).
Now we have travelled Argentina for about 4 weeks and tomorrow we will drive to Chile Chico (Chile). It's a great country with fascinating people. Up to now we have met 2 Bike Clubs and in each of them we got a really warm welcome:
We visited the well known Las Posta del Viajero en Moto in Azul and the still unknown Posta del Viajero en Patagonia in Puerto Madryn.
In this club we were the first visitors and we had a really great time with the guys. On Christmas, we spent our time in Ushuaia with many other travellers. Now, we will drive north along the Andes to visit Chile, Peru and Bolivia."
Note: Yes, there is a new Puerto Madryn Community for the club!
"13 January, 2002 - Bill and I have arrived in Panama City and will arrange shipping with Girag tomorrow. The border crossings thru CA have been fine except between El Salvador and Honduras. Five hours and a few bribes. The place is corrupt from the inside out I think. All others the usual 1-3 hours. I've just written Tiberio and would love to meet him and Ted of course. We have reservations to send our bikes and selves to Cali tomorrow afternoon and evening on Copa and Avonica respectively. Today we rode to the end of the road toward Darien. Now for some 'good luck' in Colombia.
17 January, 2002 - Bill and I are in Cali and will finish getting bikes out of customs tomorrow, basically a 2-day process. We shipped with Copa Cargo, Panama City to Cali. No corruption or problems on either end, just a little slow on this side. Shipping cost about 600 dollars for my Harley and 500 dollars for Bill's BMW. Will head to Popoyan if we can get out by midmorning and then make the problematic section to Pasto and Ecuador with a fresh start the next day. Thanks so much for your help! Had a lovely chat with Tiberio and got advice. Sure would love to visit him- next time!
23 January 2002 - Bill and I got thru Colombia with no problems. Spent 5 days in Cali, 2 1/2 days getting the bikes released and the rest meeting some of the most hospitable people I've ever met. A great! contact in Cali is Jorge Garcia at Asturias Motoservico. Repairs Harleys and probably can fix just about anything. Phone is 660 6038. I encourage riders to not cross Colombia off their list. Shipping the bikes via Copa was straightforward (from Panama).
Likewise, Harley-Davidson of Quito have been very helpful. Alexandra Arteage (593-2)22458252 is a very helpful person there. Quito and the ride here is very special. Thanks, Phil Mattson"
"I just wanted to let you all know that I have crossed all Colombia (Ipiales-Pasto-Medellin-Bogota-Bucaramanga-Cucuta) without any problem, except the thefts in Bogota.
Once they stole my helmet which hung on the mirror while resting for a while on the central plaza of a city called Armenia. Although I stood nearby and kept an eye on the bike, I didn't notice. Next time I was attacked in Bogota by four guys with knives, and they took my daypack with them. It contained mostly personal things without any value for them, and the digi-cam too, that's why you won't find any pics anymore on my website, at least for now.
On the other hand I have met very nice people in Colombia, and I have to thank Tiberio and Mauro for their help. As they know quite well the actual situation, they advised me where to go and where not to go.
Now I find myself in Valencia, Venezuela stuck with the problem that I have to get a new water pump for my KLR 250. I hope I can resolve that and will be back on the road soon. Jeanette"
"Well I made it! 18,346 kilometres, 23 countries and two punctures later I finally arrived at Cape Point on the Cape of Good Hope a few days ago.
I finally left my friends Alex and Gustav after staying a little longer than originally planned, my backside simply wouldn't permit me to get back on the bike at that stage. So I spent some more time being absolutely hopeless at climbing, although I did manage to perfect a new rock climbing technique which basically involved wedging my head in a crack and wiggling my bum around in the air. Not pretty, and in fact not desperately effective either.
... In terms of awesome views and landscapes, I think Lesotho is probably the most beautiful country I have been to. Take the Scottish Highlands, Switzerland and the Rocky Mountains, mix them together and then press that special enhance button on your computer. I crossed the border from South Africa at Buthe Buthe and then headed out along some incredible mountain passes to the Katse Dam, an amazing feat of engineering in itself.
From there it was down, down, down to the coast, and my first glimpse of the sea for some time. Got to Port Elizabeth and the start of the Garden Route that would take me all the way into Cape Town. Not only is the Garden Route stunning, but it is a major outdoor playground, with bungee jumping, white water rafter etc that could keep you occupied for weeks.
So now here I am in Cape Town, which deservedly has a reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, about to fly out later today.
Well, that's it, the final report. The end of the line. The conclusion of Charlie's Charity Caper to Cape Town. Looking forward to seeing many of you very soon back in England where I can spin you some of my grossly exaggerated tales in person..."
"So I have managed to get my trip Ride of a Lifetime off the ground, but I have had so many problems, like my rebuilt gear box giving up in Germany, seeing & having to ride on the best snow & ice for 25 years in Istanbul only to have hot sun the day I leave!
OMM Club of Istanbul were very helpful, I used Barkon to fly out the BM, but their agents are saying I need an 'invitation'!"
(Rik says the agents insisted he needed an invitation from someone in India as well as the carnet to enter. I informed him that it sounded like they were just trying for some baksheesh in order to 'solve the problem' for him.)
A couple of days later I received:
"...it seems we got all the paper work done today! Almost got to see Changeling!
So all be well inspect her with customs officer in morning take her to her new home after 9pm as trucks are not let into Delhi before 9pm and have to be out before 5am. Changeling will live at importer's as they have strong lock up, where I will rebuild her. I will make small runs into Delhi roads unloaded to get into the pace of riding here, then leave on Sunday as the roads seem a lot better then.
Now looking for road insurance - they seem to have fully comp and do pay out."
and on the 30th January;
"Got Changeling out of the airport today, I part rebuilt her, will finish Thursday and ride her again!"
It's worth noting the "invitation" scam, and to be prepared. Grant.
"...I think you know Jason Homewood, an English guy on a GS 1150, who's been travelling around South America for over a year by now? Well, the three of us seemed to make a good team. And after we'd spent two weeks in Ushuaia we decided to travel together up to Santiago, where we intend to split up again. We don't really have a precise itinerary, but the idea is to travel through the North of Chile into Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. We still don't know about Colombia, but since we won't be anywhere near that country for at least three months from now, we have not decided on anything yet. Anyway, we'd like to ship our bikes to Panama, from either Ecuador or Colombia and then make our way up to Mexico (Beat and I will probably split up somewhere in Central America and travel by ourselves). My personal plan is to finally reach Seattle/Vancouver around September 2002.
Ushuaia: Surprisingly little number of bikers. Apart from the three of us there was only Wolfgang (German, I believe), Christian (Austrian) and last but not least Werner and Harriett (together on a GS, model 1980) for X-Mas. Later (shortly before New Year) more people turned up: Chris and Erin (you've probably heard of TheUltimateJourney), together with whom we've struggled on routa 40 later on, Alex (German) and Anette (German), Johannes (Austrian, Africa Twin 750). Furthermore there was a Mexican, a Finn and a Canadian. We (Jason, Werner, Hariette, Beat and I) did not happen to spend New Years Eve at the Camping... Hasta luego, Marcel"
"Hello, greetings from Kathmandu. After India Nepal is really a relief for body and mind. Relatively clean, lots of nature and the big mountains... makes you feel really small. I've seen the Annapurna range and I would never go up there, these are really big! I am reading a good book at the moment called 'epics' about what can go wrong when climbing high mountains :-)
We went to the Chitawa national park and did some elephant riding there and it was well worth the money. It's much safer to watch rhinos as on foot (a French guy got attacked the very same day by one of these lovely two ton beasts).
The road to Kathmandu is one of the best experiences so far. Great views and an icy 2.600m pass. The terraces are impressive. The farmers' life here is really hard, no technical equipment. It's all on the farmer and his ox.
Now I am in Kathmandu and it's really cold. We found a shipping agent and will fly on the 1 Feb 02 (maybe) to Bangkok (looking forward to the warmer weather). Also the food is much safer here and I enjoyed a couple of excellent steaks. The future is bright. Mail you soon, Frank"
"We got joined in Bangkok by our friend Erik, who wanted to rent a bike in Bangkok but it turned out to be extremely difficult. So he decided to fly in his bike, a BMW F650GS, from Holland. On December 19th we left Bangkok on 2 bikes and went up north. Erik fell from his bike and needed some days to recover (his bike as well) so we spent Christmas in a small Thai village.
New Year we spent in Sukothai but to be short: It was the most boring New Year ever!
Did some service on the bikes in Nong Khai and waited for Mark Summer to catch up.
Today (28 Jan) we entered Laos together and applied for our Vietnamese visa as well. We're gonna spend 2 weeks in Laos before entering Vietnam together.
PS. Jen liked driving on Erik's bike so much that she changed her mind. Instead of shipping her bike to Australia she's going to fly her bike in to Bangkok as soon as we returned from our Indochina loop. So then the real journey starts!"
"All is good in windyyy Patagonia and am enjoying riding a KLR650. Much better for the gravel of careterra austral and ruta 40 than goaty: very responsive, light and it has brakes that work. The customers are keeping me busy, but most are fun to be with, so it is good to work for/with them. Finally met Chris and Erin Ratay a few days ago too, which was good. Jason and me did our best to sabotage their photo shoot ;-)
The alternative of being in a classroom with class A poo-types in the middle of winter makes it all the better. We will be in Ushuaia at the end of January. Maybe a first: twice to Ushuaia within 12 months and on 2 different bikes and with the same Norman... Am off to (again) see the Perito Moreno glacier tomorrow. Am still flying to NY on 20 Feb. and to GB on 25th. Hasta la vista later cb y normo"
"Got bitten by a stray Thai dog on New Year's Eve. Still struggling with the metaphorical significance: extirpating last year's sins or a portent of a troublesome 2002? Dunno.
I didn't fancy the rabies treatment. Us kids in England were subjected to some pretty horrific video nasties at school in the 1970s. The bite victim was shown manacled to a table writhing while masked doctors thrust 20cm needles into the poor sod's kidneys. This was supposed to be educational.
On reflection, this had nothing to do with public health awareness (the last European human rabies fatality was in the 1930s) and everything to do with instilling a suspicion of the dangerously diseased continental European Johnnies in the Queen's subjects.
Thankfully experience was almost pleasant; being feted by kind Thai nurses in clean modern Thai hospitals is not so bad at all. And the needle was small. Okay, I felt a bit of a prick, but, as they say, this is nothing new."
"next Malaysia, in Malaysia only approx. 4 weeks, then we must request our visas in Kuala Lumpur and at the beginning of March to ship we then go to Perth Australia"
"I am now in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. My bike is 500km from here in Kikwit. I had to return because of a broken waterpump. Very soon, probably tomorrow, I go back there. Build everything together again and continue towards Zambia. Then Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and again South Africa. From there to South America and carry on to North America. After that the plan is to go into Russia, Mongolia and after China towards Saudi Arabia. After the middle east to North Africa and home."
"18 January, Philipp, Tina and I are currently suffering Cabin Fever waiting for our bikes in Buenos Aires, and today learned that our ship has been delayed another 6 days. Anyway, we should be departing B.A. around February 1st, but man are we getting impatient !
Personally, your site has been a great help, and connected me and Philipp in the first place. I'm also keen on keeping up with what's going on in Colombia, as things seem to be deteriorating by the day..."
"At last we don't feel that the cold weather is chasing our heels. We are beginning to relax and take it easy now that we are near Bombay.
By the time we have left India we should have seen quite a bit of it so will be happy to contribute to Indian Page... Met James Taylor on a road north of Goa so we stopped for a chat. Unbeknown to me, my front engine sprocket had worn a hole in one of the oil pipes minutes before and if we hadn't stopped to chat with him I probably would have had a seriously damaged engine 10 minutes later (there was only half a pint of oil in my tank!!). Reckon one of the Indian Gods was looking down on me and my bike. Great though when you can have an oily Triumph washed by a young man for 45 pence. Great life this."
13 Jan 2002 - "I ship out in the next few days, just to sort out a ticket hopefully for the 17th to Chile. I met Chris Bright at the start of my trip in Istanbul and hoping to met up again in Feb along with the Ultimates, Chris and Erin. I'll send you something in the next few days about the North Island(NZ). Cheers Liam"
"After spending two nights around Lake Mungo we headed north to Pooncarie and Menindee. Didn't expect the deep sand instead of tar 30 k's north of Pooncarie. Diana dropped the XT twice, but no injuries to her nor damages to the bike. The Twin kept upright. Now we had two good days around Broken Hill and Silverton. Tomorrow we'll have a look at Wilpena and maybe Arkaroola."
"Karen and I will be in Kenya, Africa, from December 2nd to January 4th. 2002. It will be a fantastic journey that also will keep us away from any e-mail or phone contact with the rest of the world..."
"I will leave in 10 days to retrieve my bike in Java and do the rest of Indonesia then I have decided to do the Phillipine islands as I have never heard of anyone doing it! Then on to OZ! Do you know anyone that has done Sulawesi or the Phillipines?"
"Am in Yaounde, Cameroon at moment, just about to head into C.A.R."
"I just missed Ellen and Gerd Bauer, who had shipped their bikes and themselves with smugglers boats and a bush plane from Cartagena to Panama and left Panama the same day I arrived."
"...here are some tourists travelling OZ at the moment. If you'd like to offer some good Aussie hospitality and show them some good rides contact them at their emails.
1- Andy (DR650) from Germany is leaving Sydney today to spend time in the snowies and then head for Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, then up to the Kimberlies, Darwin, Alice Springs, Cairns, Brisbane and back to Sydney etc.
2- Joyce and Mark Groucutt, Manchester, UK to Australia, (XT600 and XTZ660) will be leaving Sydney in about 10 days and heading south for Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Nth to the Flinders and then Alice Springs, Darwin, Cairns, Brisbane and back to Sydney. Greg"
"Victoria is full of Africa Twins at the moment. We have had 3 in our garage in the last week or so. Dirk and Diana from Germany (A/T 750 and Yam 600 over Christmas). Last night Michael German on a A/T 750, and Martin and Barbara (Swiss) on a couple of 650 A/T's, unfortunately Barbara's bike is awaiting parts to arrive from Germany, she highsided it on the Oodnadatta track and broke a few ribs. Also met up with Frank and Jenny Germans on a trick BMW R100GS outfit built by Horst Urlich, who have just ridden from Perth via the Warbuton hwy, stuck in Mt Dare for 2 weeks over Christmas because of rain!! The Simpson was closed, couldn't get to Oodnadatta because of the mud, managed to get back to Finke then on the bitumen to Adelaide, arrived here in Melbourne on the weekend."
"Melbourne community was recently glad to welcome a host of Horizonistas. A get together was arranged which generated something of a crowd.
Michael Meier (Germany) and Barbara (Switzerland) escaped the group photo. Mika Kuhn is also in Melbourne couldn't attend the meeting as he is recovering from a broken collar bone.
From Melbourne Frank and Jenny have gone to Tasmania, Michael has gone to New Zealand. Marc and Niki have just left to go to the USA, Belgium and Thailand (by plane rather than 2 wheels though they do have a bike in Thailand) before returning to Melbourne in March. Mary Ann and I are planning to go to Chile, Peru & Ecuador for July, Aug, Sept this year.
As well as camaraderie and the special understanding that exists between Horizonistas world-wide, the Melbourne community was glad to lend assistance with repairs, accommodation and loan bikes to some of the group.
Anyone riding through Melbourne is always welcome to get in touch via the Community email. In moto veritas, Ralph Green"
"Hi, This is a most unusual request; I have friends from overseas who are camping their way around the world. They asked me if I know where they might be able to do this without spending large amounts of money.
They travel light and bring all their own camping gear, and only require a small place each to set up their camps. I'm sure they won't cause any trouble, they are lovely and you may make new friends.
I have given them your names and addresses anyway in anticipation of a warm welcome. Just in case you don't recognize them when they turn up, I have enclosed a picture to help identification. My thanks in advance."
Ed. This is a joke, in case anyone didn't get it! Thanks to Chris Walstow. Click on the pic for bigger image.
"Hallo from really cold Germany, it is incredible but our trip has ended. After approx. 73000km always direction east, we finally reached our home in the north of Germany again. So we proved the globe is round. Back here in Germany it is impressive that closed to nothing has changed. So we deal with the same daily problems than before the trip. Bureaucracy, find a new flat, get heath insurance, etc.
We want to say thank you to everybody who helped us to make this trip a unique experience!! many greetings viele liebe Gruesse Anke & Jan"
"Dude, we're safely back in London. Full newsletter of the final part of Terra Circa is being written as we speak. Stand by for an onslaught of news!"
For details on how you can join, or use the Community to get information and help, or just meet people on the road or at home, go to the Community page.
Send me some photos - with captions please - and a little text and you can have a webpage about your Community! A few links to webpages about your area would be useful too.
"...a picture of us (7 OMM Riders) riding on January 1st morning to celebrate the opening of new year with a mad ride. Sunny Istanbul."
Have you thought about a 'Horizons Unlimited MC Travellers Meeting' in your Community area? I'd like to see at least one a year on every continent - I think there is enough interest, it's just a (small ;) matter of doing it! It doesn't have to be anything elaborate, just a get-together at an interesting location. Let me know what you think - we'll do all we can to support you and your Community.
The address for ALL communities is now different, so take note. (You can just use the form on the Communities pages and not worry about the address if you like.)
Same beginning as before, but now it's with a "lists" after the @ as follows:
"lists.horizonsunlimited.com" not just horizonsunlimited.com.
Also, you can now UNsubscribe and REsubscribe without any intervention from me, so if you want to be off the list temporarily it's easy.
Our Community lists are now double-opt-in, (and out) which means that you have to ask to subscribe by filling in the form, and you then get an email message asking you to confirm that you want in by replying to that email. Double-opt-in is to ensure we've got your correct e-mail address, and to prevent anyone signing people up without their express consent. We have wanted to do this for some time, but the old host couldn't do it. All our mailing lists, including the e-zine, will soon be double-opt-in.
French and Spanish translation has been done by Jean-Pierre Poitras, Ottawa, Canada. Thanks very much Jean-Pierre! Dutch is posted, thanks to Jan Marc Staelens, Australia, and updates by Maarten Munnik. Polish is also posted, thanks to Micha³ Biernacki! German is in progress, slowly...
We have just done a complete redesign of the Community pages as they seemed to be confusing many people, so the translations are once again incomplete, but hopefully we will be able to get that sorted soon. If you would like to help, please have a look at the pages and see what hasn't been translated yet. Thanks, Grant
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 e-mail me direct. I currently have information on over 100 world travellers listed, but there are many more. See Bernd Tesch's page for more. Bernd lists around 245 long distance travellers. And there's at least 20 enroute to an around the world. Have YOU done it? Let me know!
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!
It is not the unknown, but the fear of it, that prevents us from doing what we want...
Grant and Susan Johnson
Live the dream! at: