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Riding the globe...

Horizons Unlimited
Motorcycle Travellers'

in cooperation with
Quality Touring equipment worldwide.

Are you a TRAVELLER? Are you interested in life on a 'sangha' in the Congo, rescuing fair damsels in Turkey, bar fights on top of mountains, Amazonian chicas in tiny bikinis, fending off advances in Iran, skinny-dipping with sharks in Nicaragua, Easy Rider in Azul, carpet etiquette in Morocco, guerrilla activity in Chiapas, sleeping with turtles, 'avto bizarre' in Kyrgyzstan, honeymooning in Ecuador, Jessie bikers in South Africa, and much more...?

Then you're reading the right newsletter!

In this e-zine:

Calendar, Events
Community News
Final Thoughts
Helpful People
Home Again
In Progress...
Leaving Soon
Motorcycle News
New Links
Quotable Quotes
Repair Shops on the

Seen on the road
Tech Tips and Bits
Travellers Community
Travellers' Tips
Travellers' Questions
Whatever happened to?

Who's on the Road
Who Are They?
Your Privacy

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Travellers Stories
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Travellers' News Report

36th Edition, October 1, 2002

I'm always amazed, impressed, and awed at the range of stories we get from you. From "just another day on the road" to life-altering experiences, meeting people that change your perceptions of the world we live in. Occasionally, bad experiences, but mostly wonderful, positive moments that remind us that it's just people out there, and most of them are people that we'd be pleased to call "friend"! Stories such as Maarten's, and Iris and Trui's are especially significant, and make me proud to be part of this.

The number of travellers connecting with others through the HUBB, for friendship, company through a difficult area or just to exchange information is also impressive. Sean Kelly writes from Turkey: "Getting a little concerned about Bush/Iraq as we will be in Pakistan in a week or so. But, thanks to the HUBB we should be meeting up with Andreas, Cliff and Jenny, and getting a small convoy together, and maybe a party or two. Strength in numbers and all that."

Rajesh Nandipati, India, in USA, writes: "Dear Grant and Susan, please accept the Nobel prize for your invaluable efforts in helping create a global family. I just can't believe you do all this as a service. You should try to make money out of it- so that you can do it even better. I am sure that bikers like you play a significant though inconspicuous role in promoting cross cultural understanding."

Thanks Rajesh! It started out as a part-time service, but 4 years later, and with the newsletter on its 36th monthly issue, it's grown to huge proportions. Between the site and the HUBB, we have grown from 200MB to 450 MB in less than a year, and have run out of bandwidth. Victims of our success, we are facing getting kicked off our current server, as we are in the top 5% usage - and growing - of ALL the sites at our host. That will probably mean increasing our monthly costs just for site hosting to $300.

Unfortunately, revenues haven't been growing at the same rate as expenses. Susan and I are currently full-time on the website, with minimal income. And we haven't even begun to think about a paycheck yet, or when we might be able to travel again ourselves. Our savings are running out, and Susan will soon have to go back to 'real' work.

We greatly appreciate the generous contributions from those who have shown their support through purchasing from the Souk or Amazon or directly, but there just aren't enough of you! (Sales in the Souk were excellent for the first few months, but have recently died off). We also want to thank people who have contributed time and energy to organizing travellers meetings, and contributing information via the HUBB, and articles on the site. And we are happy to welcome new advertisers, (and please show your support by patronizing our advertisers and letting them know where you heard about them), but the new ones will barely pay for the new server.

Although we love getting nice comments and thank you's, in order to keep the site alive and free, we need something more tangible than nice words. First, we need you to help us find more advertisers. So if you know someone who works at a company that should be advertising with us, tell them why they ought to be advertising on the web's number one motorcycle travel site, and get them in touch with us. Any motorcycle equipment company, manufacturer, magazine (we can supply a monthly column as we do for Tourenfahrer) or tour company is of interest.

Second, we need you - and that's every one of you - to either buy something from the Souk, or just kick in with a contribution. Become a member of the Horizons Unlimited Travellers Community and show your pride in something very special. How much do you pay for a magazine subscription, without even thinking about it? Seems like a good deal doesn't it? For a comparison, the website is equal in size to dozens of books! And it's all free, with fast answers to all your travel questions - answers often available nowhere else in the world, or not without a great deal of effort!

Finally, we need volunteers to help with: website database development (MySQL, PHP security and Dreamweaver MX), so we can reduce the amount of manual labour involved in just putting information in; content contributions (look at the Trip Planning section, there's lots more needed, also country specific m/c travel information); and last, but definitely not least, we could really use a good marketer, since a potential advertiser recently confirmed what we had suspected in our hearts. He said: "you're crap marketers!" Well, fair enough, we didn't intend to be the Microsoft of motorcycle travel. But we're here, and we think it's important to continue this "global family" of travellers. So, get off your buns and be a part of something bigger than yourself!

Thanks for your support. Grant and Susan.

Horizons Unlimited Communities

I've had a couple of comments from Communities that not enough of you are dropping by for a visit! Remember that they are Communities, not just in case of a problem - they really do want to meet you! Lots of times they'll show you around town, or just provide a place to stay for the night - so start contacting them! There are over 172 Communities in 58 countries running already. A big thanks to all those who took the first step and established the Community in their area. Latest additions are Nelson, New Zealand; San Julian, Argentina (right on Ruta 3 between Commodoro Rivadavia and Rio Gallegos - a must stop!); Duesseldorf, Germany; Birmingham, Alabama USA; Empire, Michigan USA; Matelandia, Brazil; Bremen, Germany; Indija, Yugoslavia; Saudi Arabia, (Al-Khobar area); Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia; Ankara, Turkey; and Porto Alegre, Brazil! Thanks to all those who started these great new Communities!

Travellers Meetings 2003

Have you thought about a 'Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers Meeting' in your Community area? Following the successful launch of the UK (2001 and 2002) and Canadian / USA (2002) Travellers Meetings, 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 - and it's a lot easier than you might think. Our UK organisers had a blast this year and are all set to do it again next year! We'd like to see the Aussies and Kiwis hold one in the southern summer, and there are plenty of travellers heading in your direction now! Let me know what you think - we'll do all we can to support you and your Community.

We're working on a Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting in Mexico next year, as well as the Western Canada / USA meeting, UK meeting, and who knows what others. We are going to try very hard to be at as many of the meetings as possible ourselves, so we hope to see you there!

We Want Your Travel Story!

You'll get a lot more readers here than in some obscure corner of the web. It's free, and no popup ads, ever! Why such a good deal? We benefit because the more content we have, the more readers and advertisers we attract to the site, so it's a win-win for you and for us.

There are lots of new stories in the Travellers Stories section, the "Movable Type" Blogging software is getting a real workout. The MT help manual is completely rewritten, and easy to use. "... the help file is wonderful for Moveable Type." In fact, compared to having to learn HTML and other languages, and deal with updating a website from the road, it's a piece of cake! And you can do it from anywhere on the road at any internet cafe, no software required other than the browser.

To see how it looks, see Ken and Carol Duvals' stories. As Sean Kelly said, "All the feedback we are getting from friends and family about the blog is really good, it comes over as a 'very professional' way of presenting our travels and experiences."

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.

your editors, Grant and Susan Johnson, (about us, contact us)

up to top of page Calendar

Plan where to be when!

If you know of any events of interest to travellers, send me a note.

6th Fall "Transalps in the Blue Ridge" Rally, 4-6 October, Georgia, USA.

Held at Two Wheels Only, a motorcycles only campground in Suches, Georgia.

The 6th BMW Mexico International Convention will be held from 3-5 October 2002 in Oaxaca, Mexico.

"The event will include a traditional Oaxacan music concert, touring/ sightseeing, lunch at various country restaurants, presentations on first aid and driving techniques, a Verbena (popular folk party) and various other local entertainment. For more information, contact the organisers.

Annual FISHEAGLE RALLY at Langstrand Resort, South Africa, 04 to 06 October 2002.

"The LIVE TO RIDE Mcc, WALVIS BAY is presenting the annual FISHEAGLE RALLY at Langstrand Resort, 04 to 06 October 2002. Please visit our website for entry forms. "

Rhino Rally, South Africa, October, 2002

"The Rhino Rally is the biggest rally in the country. It is the largest gathering of rally goers in the country and an experience like no other. Kilometres and kilometres of tents and the happy throng of thousands of motorcycling enthusiasts must be seen to be believed. It is a social gathering with live bands, disco, flea market stalls and exhibitions, bars, food and refreshments. The Rhino has always had a reputation for good entertainment, with fun stage and field events and excellent prizes. For dates and more information, contact Bike SA.

SA Ranges Rally, Australia, 26/27th of October,

at a new site, at the Farina campground, 80 km's south of Maree.

3rd BMW Biker Meeting, 4-6 July 2003, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

Details eventually. :)

up to top of page Horizons Unlimited New LINKS...

And now for something completely different - a great guide to Australia - in German only;

Rainer's Australien He has a great 'Strine' - Aussie slang - to German translation here!


More Australia info, 14 day route, and 21 day route.

"Proven Products" Albury, Australia, has the licence to manufacture all Koni motorcycle shocks.

Get your website 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. We reserve the right to refuse to link back.

up to top of page A host of
volunteers for 'People en route willing to help!'

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!

up to top of pagespacerRepair Shops...

Yaounde, Cameroon

La Paz, Bolivia

Robbinsville, NC, USA

Southern Germany

Kuala Lumpur

From Damian, Dominic and Gary, on good bike repair shops in Bangkok.

"The next day was spent not looking for the actual parts but a reputable shop, which would cater for our bikes. The average bike here is a 125 cc so nothing like our monsters! We needed tyres quite desperately as our wonderful Michelin T66's had eventually come to the end of their life. We found 2 shops, which were pretty good, but only 1 could provide us with what we required. A pretty informative website on bike shops in central Bangkok was all we used. It has a map of the area and also a description as to what the shop specializes in."

Do you know of a good shop 'on the road,' 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.

up to top of pagespacerTech tips and bits...

Lengthy thread on oil coolers and their desirability for BMW airheads

Translation and definitions table for motorcycle tech terms

up to top of pagespacerWho are they?

When you meet people on the road, and they haven't heard of this e-zine 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 use the recommend form available on most all pages of the website.

Thanks, Grant

up to top of pagespacerTravellers' Questions...

From Kieran, UK - Subject: Peter the Dutch RT rider with r80GS

"I hope someone can give me the contact details of a Dutch guy called Peter that I met in Sydney. My sister Siobhan and her friend Charlie Anderson had done the trip from London to Sydney on their Africa twins. They had met a Dutch bloke who had helped them rebuild their racks in Thailand. I was outside the royal hotel in Bondi a month later, when a R80 GS pulled up not an inch of plastic left on it; and a travel stained bloke with an open faced helmet, odd accent, asked me where there was a backpackers. I knew it had to be him; so I lent him the couch. Anyway he works in Amsterdam, and owns a Pan-European as well; so if anyone has his email, it would be great to catch up him when I pass through that civilized city. Thank you all, Kieran, UK"

Plenty more questions and answers on the HU Bulletin Board! We've over 1,980 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.

Check it out!

up to top of pagespacerTravellers' tips and advisories...

Hotmail users ALERT!

"Spam-ridden Hotmail is at it again, taking new steps to clean out the accounts of its free users. The service is deleting all 'sent items' older than 30 days." Read more here.

"Stormsearcher" tells us that "Khardung La in the Himalayas at 18,000+ feet has been relegated to second highest

with the opening of a new pass near Pangong Lake, the 'Miramisk La'. It's 60m higher than Khardung La."

No I don't know where it is either! But now you record-seekers have a new road to add to the list.

From Iris and Trui, on handling unwanted propositions in Iran

"On one of our longer rides in Iran, we stop for a rest and a tea. A young man comes to talk to us. With our three words of Farsi and a lot of good will on both sides, something of a conversation is possible. A second man of about 40 years old walks up and positions himself behind us with his hands on the back rests of our chairs - a rather un-Iranian thing to do. As often, they ask about 'the men' - 'they're at work in Belgium' (eum). 'Children ?' - 'no, difficult if you're keen on motorbike travels'. Then the older man becomes sleazy: he signs/asks if Iris wants to sleep with him. I remember a phrase in Farsi from the guide book, 'what a woman can say to a man bothering her', meaning something along the lines of 'shame on you'. I say it calmly but clearly 'khejalat bekesh'. The man looks as if he's electrocuted. He backs up immediately and disappears. We don't see him again. Luckily for him, the young man was just getting new teas as I uttered my phrase."

From Marcel Kersten, Netherlands, posted in February:

"...I am going from Brazil back to Europe this March and will travel with the Grimaldi Lines. It is a RoRo ship (like a ferry that is ) and for a bike it is around US$250 and a car US$500. No additional costs at the port of arrival as it is your hand-luggage! Passenger fare is US$1400 for a single cabin but US$950 p.p. for a double. Sailings the 12th or the 28th of March from Paranagua..."

and reported back after the trip:

"The RoRo ship back to Europe was great. No hassle. Just like a ferry. European ports of arrival are Tilbury (UK), Hamburg (Germany), Antwerp (Belgium), Le Havre (France). The ships sail about every 11 days leaving from Buenos Aires, sometimes Montevideo, and in Brazil from Rio Grande do Sul, Paranagua, Santos and Rio de Janeiro (prices all the same). The only problems I had were in Brasil to obtain the port entry permit. I heard that in Argentina nothing was asked and you just drive straight in, and on board. For info or bookings you can contact Hamish Jamieson of Freighter Travel Ltd.

From Keith King, UK, replying to Hennes Haller's question,

"I've just read your enquiry on insurance in Argentina. I did a round South America trip in 2000 on my Honda XR600. I bought 6 months third party insurance in Buenos Aires which covered the Mercosur countries which cost me about 100$ USD (I also got a small discount for paying cash.) Although I was never asked for insurance documentation by any official along the way except in Guyana - $4 USD - and where you also need a local driving licence - (a hang over of former British Colonial bureaucracy!!), I felt that having it would sort of cover me for any paperwork hassles if I had a problem to get me back on the road faster. (I wondered if it was ever worth the paper it was printed on. However,the insurance company is Seguros B Rivadavia Cooperativa Limitada, Av 7 No 755- La Plata Buenos Aires. telefax 0221 427 0550/0551. They are very efficient and centrally located. I don't know if they'll do theft cover. But all along the way in SA,you'll be able to take your bike into the hotel, they are very accommodating here and overland motorcyclists are well respected in SA, so be prepared for stardom!! Have a good one and give me a shout if you need any info etc. Regards, Keith King.

From Pete Sinclair, UK, AliBaba, Norway?, and Jasper, UK,

Aswan - Wadi Halfa Ferry Update!

Important and detailed post - if you're going that way, read it!

From Simon and Georgie, on the Zilov Gap, Russia

"The Zilov Gap. The road right across Russia is now complete. We saw loads of imported Japanese cars coming through from Chita to Ulan Ude - all covered in dust with mud splashed up their sides - testament to the state of the new road. We met a travel agent in Vladivostok who said that the road had been completed (in gravel form) last month and he had already arranged for a guide to take a group of Swiss guys on bikes through. The road is complete but can be difficult to find - you have to know where it is. Having said that, we saw sections of it from the train and it looked doable at about 20-35mph."

From Henk deLange, South Africa,

"We have been trying to get visas for North Africa. I have found a contact in London who used to work for the Lebanese embassy and now works for a visa agency in London. He has helped me out with a lot of visa problems and we got our Libyan visa in one week in London. He did the translation and all necessary documents on the same day and then lodged the passport. His fees were £25 for every thing then an extra £20 that the Libyan embassy wanted so we can get our visas in one week instead of 4.

His name is Mohamed Al-Souss. His number is +44 (0)7956-214521 and +44 (0)207-2232820. Other services he does are translation: Arabic, English, French, Bulgarian, German, Arabic stamp, legalisation.

I hope that this will help you as you have helped me with a lot of answers. Thanks, Henk"

From Patrick Seacor, on shipping from Rio to NYC

"This was a TOTAL hassle to ship my bike from Rio to NYC. First off, the border officials didn't give me the proper stamp upon entry from Bolivia. When I went to inquire about shipping to the States I found myself caught in a major legal bind; they would not ship the bike without proper stamps etc. To top it all off, customs in Brazil was on strike so I could not get much done. It took one month of daily meetings (shipping companies, federal police, US embassies), paperwork and phone calls. TOTAL hassle.

When I got clearance, they still would not give me anything in writing (due to the strike?) so I left the bike with Transwaite Shipping in Rio and on a handshake agreed to $500 on a Rio to NYC shipment. 1 month later the bike arrived in Miami, and I was told I had to pay $300 for their handling, and $300 to get the bike to NYC. The people in Miami (Lilly & associates-Miami) were barely interested in talking to me and I had to constantly keep on them as to how to get the bike to NYC. It ended up in Newark, New Jersey; 2 months after I started the process."

Ed. What an awful experience, and a cautionary tale about the risks of sea shipping, and especially from Brazil, which is a wonderful country to visit, but NOT the best place in South America to try to ship a bike from or to!

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!


The Shipping page on the site is HUGE! It can be reached directly or from the Shipping link on the Trip Planning page.

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!

Travel Advisories:

The Foreign Office in London's Travel Advice Unit advises against all travel to all sorts of places. Check out the listing before you start!

The US State Department has issued travel advisories, information and/or warnings.


up to top of pagespacerWho's on the road, and where...

Maarten Munnik, Netherlands, around the world, in Turkey and Iran, Honda Africa Twin,

"In Turkey I had joined up with Sven and Birgit. I had met them in Romania before and when I entered a campsite in Cappadocia they were there again. How about coincidence?

Maartens party tricks

Party tricks - fascinating picture, explanation in Dutch only on his site. -

Anyway... we decided to travel together for a while. Me on the bike, and they in a Land Rover defender 110.

At the end of one day we went up to the Nemrut Dagi. A big mountain with very old (BC) stone heads and thrones on top (2150 meter). The road up there was terrible and what’s worse... it was getting dark (at 19:00 hour).... But. After an hour of struggling we got to the top. Since the wind was blowing very hard we decided not to put up my tent... I would sleep in the back of the Land Rover. (Sven and B sleep in a roof-tent). Where we were, 150 meters from the top, was a sort of restaurant and we went in for a cup of coffee and maybe a meal. And this is where the adventure started.

Nemrut Dagi - stone head

Nemrut Dagi

Inside were about 10 Turkish men... and one Japanese woman (22 years old). She had been traveling alone and took a tour up the Nemrut... No problem there, but when they (she and the guide) started the journey, it became clear the other tourists (6 of them) did not go with them... and because of this the price went up. When she had said she could not pay this and wanted to get out of the car, the guide suddenly did not understand English anymore and kept on driving up the mountain. When they got up there, and she could not pay the bill, the guide said: no problem, you just sleep in the car with me. Anyway, there she was, frightened and with nowhere to go. And then we walked in the door.

After we had found out about this situation we kind of 'picked up' Ami and put her in the back of the Land Rover. Unfortunately the guide had friends up there. Many friends and 5 minutes later they turned up at the back door of the Land Rover demanding to 'get the girl'.

So there we were, Sven and me against 10 angry shouting men... on top of a mountain.... in the dark. Lightning striking every 2 minutes, raining and freezing cold. In the beginning it started with a bit of pushing. The guide tried to open the door of the car. We pushed him back. Blocked the way to the door etc. etc. Things were looking bad, but we never got scared or anything.... I guess this knight in shining armour boosts up your adrenaline level... (Don’t try this at home)

Sven and Birgit

Just when I thought it would turn into a kind of bar fight (but on top of the mountain) the Jandarma showed up.... How nice.... At first they took the side of the guide... but when we explained the situation and made sure they realized we would press 'rape-charges' in the morning (if we were still alive) they understood the situation and (at last) prevented a huge fight (which we would probably lose).

... at the end of a long discussion, while the winds blew harder and harder and lightning stuck twice and the lights went out, we agreed to pay the guide a reasonable fee. Finally we could go to sleep... it was now around 2 or 3 in the morning.

Istanbul Blue Mosque

Istanbul Blue Mosque

Ami stayed with us for about a week before she returned to Istanbul and back home. We now have a place to stay in Japan for as long as we want. And we all are an experience richer. Normally I would never travel by night up a steep mountain on hardly noticeable roads... but I am glad I broke the rule."

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Rick Koda, USA, around the world?, KLR650,

"In March of 2002, I was to encounter yet another fallout with a career (which actually paid me quite well) because the duty I was required to perform bored me to oblivion, imprisoning my imagination in a labyrinth of tombstone walls. I had also gone through a divorce, seven months before that. With no debt and no mouths to feed except my own, why shouldn't I just do whatever my heart desires, thought I. What does it mean to live a life after all?

Without answers to any of these questions and without very much hesitation at all, I just walked away from my job, whispering 'No more' to Corporate America. Immediately afterwards, I bought a motorcycle and then got a license a few weeks later. I needed the help of a friend to ride my brand new Kawasaki KLR650 off the showroom floor (because, I didn't know how to ride a motorcycle at the time of purchase.)

Next, I decided to get rid of all my belongings: books, furniture, microwave, fridge, stereo, bicycles, snow board, clothes, and knick knacks that I've kept for years. Everything went to donation or was sold on Ebay, leaving me with not a place that I can call 'home'. I could hardly believe how much junk I owned, parting with which, now I feel as light as a hummingbird; however, this process was most difficult both in terms of emotional breakage and physical labor.

The rest, as they say, is history-my personal history: a signature process in my life that makes me who I truly am. I have finally liberated myself from the games that people play, which I never considered very rewarding. Now I just live my dream of roaming the world, which harbors a possibility that I fall prey to an unexpected disaster. On the road, everything is a fair game, which is the kind of game I like to play.

Brazil -

I'm having so much fun here. It ain't no Caribbean cruise, but it sure is a gran' ol' party ride. Hanging by the railing, many friendly folks come and greet me. One of them hands me half a glass of Ballantines and a handful of boiled shrimp he bought from one of the little canoes. We sit by the railing and watch the jungle go by. (He just keeps pouring those whisky into my glass, man, I'm drunk.) The greens of the Amazon supply a good percentage of the world's oxygen; I just admire it from the backseat that is the River. Sometimes we see a school of pink dolphins come and go, too fast for me to grab a camera.

Hammocks are the normal sleeping arrangement.

I see yet another small canoe right ahead of us trying to attach. Something about this canoe, however, is different. When I squint my eyes there is no mistaking--three gorgeous Amazonian chicas in tiny bikinis row frantically towards us and hook an iron prong. Wow, the entertainment of the showboat never ends...

When the boat slowly docks into the sleepy port of Belem, I think I will get an ulcer. The dock is too high to ride my bike off the boat. How is this problem gonna be solved? My worry doesn't go away even when few big men come and ask how much I would pay to have the bike moved out of the boat. How are these guys gonna do it? I agree to pay 30 reals ($11) for four people, which they agree. It turns out, these river folks have everything figured out. There's nothing they ain't ever seen. They use a pulley to lift the bike from the boat onto the dock. Man, I'm impressed."

Now in Chile

"...would appreciate if you can introduce me to a reliable person in Santiago, Chile, (such as a biker association) who may have insights in shipping a bike from chile to australia. Yes, I looked at your website, but for this particular shipping segment it is not all too helpful."

I told Rick to contact the Santiago HU Community! Hopefully he will be on his way soon.

Iris Heiremans and Trui Hanoulle, Belgium, 2nd overland to India, in Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, on DR650SE's

"Pakistan - The evening before we had arrived at the Tourist Motel in Taftan on the Pakistani side of the border with Iran. Four business men in bright white shawal kameezes (a wide long shirt and baggy pants of the same colour, worn all over the Subcontinent), travelling in a brand new Pajero also spent the night in this motel. We had exchanged a few common phrases about what where and when, but nothing more. We were loading the bikes when one of the men came up to me, smiling broadly. He said: 'This is from my father. You can change it into rials,' and pushed a 1,000 rupee note plus a visiting card in my hand. I didn't quite get the idea, and so he repeated his phrase. Finally I understood his accompanying father really gave me money. I stammered and turned around to see Iris with an exact same astounded expression, for she too received 1,000 rupees. Totally perplexed we walked up the stairs to thank the father. The old men touched Iris's shoulder, then her head as she bowed in deep respect, and then did the same to me. Then another of the four men brought a white cotton shawl to us, 'to protect you from the heat.' We didn't know how to thank these men, and clumsily ordered tea for all. 1,000 rupees equals some 18 euro or stretching ten times more in a country like Pakistan. But this is not about money, rather about a huge gesture of kindness without wanting anything in return. It is the bright side of Pakistan in a nutshell...

Iran - Tabriz is where we made a rendezvous with our Belgian friends, Luc and Catherine (on two first generation BMW R 80 G/S's), and with a German biker, Katharina (on a Suzuki DR 350). Internet once more proved to be THE ultimate travel tool - how on earth would we have known each others whereabouts if they were riding through Siberia and Mongolia, then back on the Trans-Siberian and down from Moscow to Turkey heading to India, while Iris and I were making our way through the deserts of Pakistan and Iran?!

Turkey - In these countries borders are the real thing: a massive iron gate, with barbed wire on top, controlled by armed men on either side. We park and Iris all of a sudden starts undressing. Then I realize the dress code is indeed over and done with. We solemnly hand over our two long coats (a bit burned from the exhaust at the edges) to an old Turkish tea man. While we're working our way through the red tape, he comes to ask at least four times to be sure he can really have them. We're very VERY sure.

... On a boring and fast stretch shortly before reaching Cappadocia, I spot headlights in the distance, obviously from motorbikes. We wave frantically, then pull over waiting to see if they stop too. A bike turns around and rides back. It's a Suzuki DR 650!! The biker jumps off his bike, pulls off his helmet, and shouts: 'I can't believe it. You must be Iris and Trui!!!' Bruno and his wife Christine Lanz are Germans living 15 km from 'our' DR specialist Seifert, so Seifert told them about us as they are on their way to India too. We ride to a teashop and chat happily for an hour or two."

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Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, around the world since 1996, on the final leg in South America, on a Harley Davidson,

"The last section of the trip begins with just 12 months left to the 100th anniversary in Milwaukee. We arrived back in Buenos Aires loaded with two tyres provided by Dunlop Germany and a large quantity of replacement parts provided at cost by Morgan and Wacker H-D in Brisbane Australia. A warm welcoming by Enruque's family followed by a barbecue and wine on his rooftop.

Any motorcycle that has been ridden for 300,000 km is going to show signs of wear let alone one that has been ridden fully loaded over some of the world's worst roads. We discovered the steering head bearings have become loose on the shaft meaning the shaft has to be built up and machined. There is some rust where dirt has built up in the cavity of a minor section of the frame requiring its removal and fabrication of a new piece of steel. The swing arm bushings need to be pressed out and replaced. H-D here have a machine shop nearby that can do this work so after we dismantled the front end, removed the rear end and pulled out the primary area and starter motor the bike looked a sorry mess in the workshop.

...the steering head bearings fitted and the front end of the motorcycle under its enormous fairing re-morphed back to its original look hiding the intricacies of wires, radio and air suspension. We finished in the early afternoon and over lunch had put on a computer slide shop of our most interesting photos which helped the mechanics understand why the motorcycle looks like it does. Why some components are so worn and others need replacing.

Why Forwood's bike shows some signs of wear!

...We ended up at the 'La Posta del Viagero En Moto' in Azul. A club house that has welcomed travelling motorcyclists for the last 10 years and highly recommended to us as a place to visit. We arrived unannounced and were warmly greeted by Jorge, offered two bunks and motorcycle parking in the basic but adequate, graffiti and memorabilia decorated, club house.

We could not have been more warmly received by the town if we were Peter Fonda (Easy Rider fame). A radio interview, free tickets to the Australia versus Croatia international volley ball match, (we will probably be the only Australian supporters) and an interview for the cable TV channel. In the evening about a dozen friends came over to demolish a whole 'Mas-Rica', a lamb, slowly cooked, three hours over a wood fire."

Ed. The Forwoods have been to over 125 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. In September 2002, they started their final leg, through South America. Horizons Unlimited is proud to host their entire trip story here.

Sean Kelly and Adrian Scott, UK to Oz 2002-2003, in Turkey, BMW GS

"On the road finally!! Feels weird after all this time thinking about it to be doing it...

Adrian and Sean at Goerme

...went for a spin around Cappodocia. If it's not eroded or carved from volcanic rock around here, then you might as well forget about it! Feeling a bit flush we even forked out a cool 15 million Turkish Lira (£6) for a guide to drag us around the underground city of Ozknack. OK, I've see bigger wine cellars, but he got us in and out of the site in record time. On completing our little tour we chased back to a high point to watch the sunset over the mountains and bumped into a young French couple we had met earlier in the day.

Adrian, on the road at Nemrut.

Adrian alone on the road at Nemrut

Things got a little bit weird at this point as they introduced us in turn to Mustapaha of the Goereme Lemon House. This lovely old fella had carved his own house from the rock in 5 months flat, and also attached a huge 'lemon store'. As we sat in his hewn front room, drinking beer and eating lemons, we and the French connection tried to work out what exactly he did with the thousands of lemons in his care. To no avail, and to this day it seems to be a mystery in the area. Maybe he's trading them on the stock market?"

Check out their new blog on HU! They have a VERY detailed packing list too. I'll be interested to see how much it changes along the way... :)

Peter Cameron and Carol Palladino, Canada, London to Australia, in Portugal and Morocco, BMW R80RT,

" ...I pulled off the main road into a small town when suddenly my leg got very hot and wet. Looking down, confirmed the worst, oil, lots of oil, coming from the bike. I wheeled through a roundabout into what fortunately turned out to be an abandoned service station, since the bike was pouring all its remaining oil into a big puddle on the concrete. I contained and cleaned up the oil puddle as best I could and looked for the cause. It turned out to be a broken rubber oil line from the oil cooler. A walk to the nearest open service station and I had new oil and the location of the local parts store which would be open after siesta, in two hours. ...At the parts store various fixes were discussed by sign language and finally the local tractor mechanic who had been watching quietly said 'no', and grabbed the hose and took me out back to his shop. He cut an old steel brake line, flared the ends shoved it into the hose and used my two clamps and handed it back. When I asked how much I owed him, he just smiled and said good luck in Portuguese, slapped my back and sent me out into the heat.

Onward to Lisbon where we met two Welsh couples travelling on a Kawasaki 1500 and a Honda Valkyrie to Sicily via the big motorcycle rally in Faro, Portugal. We decided to ride with the Welsh gang down to Gibraltar, which turned out to be expensive and touristy, so with some trepidation, we decided to go to Tangier the next day.

Our fears were unfounded with secure parking for the bikes at the ferry terminal in Spain and an easy crossing. Upon arrival we were met with the expected scrum of guides offering to tour us around the Medina. We marched purposefully and unknowingly right through them to the entrance of the Medina and only one guide stuck with us, so after some haggling, Achmed dropped his price 70% and toured us through fruit, vegetable and meat markets, around mosques, synagogues and churches and into our first carpet shop. I had read about carpet shop 'etiquette' in travel guides and had some idea of what to expect and so thought things were going well with mint tea and the floor show of various carpets ...but before I knew it, we were split up and high pressure sales tactics had Jacquie (one of the Welsh women) just about buying an expensive and unwanted carpet. We regrouped and marched out, unfortunately with hard feelings all around. After a nice lunch I felt obligated to return and smooth things over. I shouldn't have bothered, the 'hard feelings' were just a sales tactic and as soon as we had left the shop we had been forgotten. It had been a good lesson, luckily, painlessly learned. Peter & Carol"

Ann and Frank Schwarzbauer, Germany, living in Bolivia, Honda Africa Twin, and BMW F 650 GS,

Some riding tips:

"Peru - A truck came from a parking lot and I couldn't brake too hard for sand on the street. So he pushed me finally off the road (I had cases on). We were fine but the AT had some optical faults. The driver offered us US$20, but I insisted on having police there. I wanted to 'risk' the 20 bucks for the experience with the Peruvian police.

Because nobody called them, I went back to the last station on the road and returned with the guys. We all were transported to the station, where we explained the situation. The question of guilt was pretty clear, but 20 bucks was not enough. (You have to know that these drivers are pretty poor and there is no insurance on the cars.) So what happened?

I was so surprised to see the police working on an agreement (any idea how much is spent in Germany on court costs?). Well, after two hours came a moment the two drivers offered $40. I accepted. Now the two wanted to leave... The policeman stopped them and ordered them to give us the hand and say sorry. It was a bit embarrassing for us, when both came along with head down saying: 'Señor, lo siento mucho.'

Rio Abajo, Bolivia

Bolivia - Three days ago I had my heaviest accident on bike ever, here in La Paz. It was the first time I harmed a person. I was waiting at a red light. On green I started and some meters ahead all of a sudden a 26 year old ran on the street and directly into the Africa Twin. I flew about 10 meters and 'landed' close to the entrance of the embassy of Japan. One of the witnesses was a police captain, who said: 'Don't you worry, it wasn't your fault.' I was very thankful to have an official as witness...

Here in Bolivia there is a new law, which says you must have a SOAT (seguro obligatorio contra accidentes de transito) insurance. I ignored it, because SOAT pays up to US$3,000. My international insurance is up to US$2,000,000 - so I thought, I was well covered.

Ann on the ferry to Copacabana

When the police arrived, we went directly to hospital, where the 'runner' got medical treatment, which I should pay. I didn't. More and more I got the feeling of being accused, although I was innocent. So I struggled and fought. When they wanted to confiscate my bike I didn't give the key etc. Well, I was a really terrible gringo, who gave the police a hard time. In the afternoon I asked a friend to meet me at the police station (he is a Bolivian lawyer). I was really fed up with the police, which wanted to make me pay also the goddamn alcohol test.

The following day I went there to get my bike back. The first thing I did was to apologize to them. I was really sorry and they were delighted to meet a different person and forgave me right away. I paid the hospital costs for the runner and the alcohol test as well. Why? The Bolivian SOAT is an insurance which always pays! It is installed to protect the pedestrians. It is NOT(!!) a question of guilt. So if you don't have it, you pay the hospital for the pedestrians yourself. I was terribly wrong. This system was totally new to me.

Summary: The police in all these countries were correct to me. Although I was always suspicious and expected 'the gringo can pay', it was never like that."

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Steven Derungs, Switzerland, around Africa, in the Congo, HPN BMW R80GS

"We went to the CIB in the morning, trying to find a crane operator who would put the landcruiser and my motorbike onto the ‘sangha’ (boat). Unfortunately it was Saturday, end of the week and pay-day. 'Most of the people will already be drunk, hanging around in brothels' we were told. Finally we did manage to find an operator who was not drunk (he was Muslim) and he was more than happy to help us.

The captain of the ‘sangha’ brought one of the barges up to the CIB compound in order to charge it. You have to imagine the riverboat not as one single boat which makes its way down river, but as one main engine-boat (the 'sangha') that pushes eleven (!) heavily loaded barges towards Brazzaville, just like the locomotive of a train. There are three rows, consisting of three barges each, while the main boat carries two barges on either side. Each barge is charged with wood, either already cut into planks, or with whole tree trunks which are for export. On the front end and the back end of each barge there is some space left which will now be occupied by the people who are travelling up- and down the river. it was on such a space that the CIB crane placed the landcruiser and my bike. we all held our breath while the crane lifted first the car, and then the motorbike into the air and placed them carefully on the platform.

We stayed on the barge and drove back into the... well, they call it harbour, where we were attached to the other ten barges. Immediately we had to fight for our space, losing a square meter here and there. There were so many people going to Brazzaville that all barges were going to be completely full. We secured enough space, and in the end, we had something like a little compound to ourselves. At the beginning there were many tensions about who would get how much space and people were picking fights with everyone. but eventually everybody found enough space to get installed, and finally, as so common in africa, everybody became friends. Once installed, we started to feel really comfortable with our spot. We had direct access to the water and we had enough space to move around.

The 'Sangha', Congo.

I put up my tent while the family that lived next to me built their make-shift home from wooden planks and watertight cloths from the UNHCR. in the end the whole construction of barges resembled a floating village, consisting of family homes, storage rooms and little shops where you could buy food, beer, rice and many other things.

We finally took off and the boat drifted slowly into the mist of dusk, entering a mystical world of water and dense forest which slowly dissolved into the shadows of the night. We prepared our diner and then climbed on the top of landcruiser which was going to serve as a perfect terrace for the rest of the trip. From here we had a wonderful view over the quiet river and the rest of the boat. there where no clouds in the sky and the moon and the stars where shining brightly above us.

... We are slowly getting used to the life on our boat. We wash ourselves in front of the little space, we occupy, using the water from the river. We cook coffee, prepare our food and chat with our neighbours. During the first two hours a lot of people came to look at us. It must be really interesting to watch some ‘mundele’ (congolese for 'whites'), living their normal live. After a while everybody seemed to having seen enough and we were being left alone."

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Tom Sewell, USA, to South America, in USA and Mexico, KLR650,

"September 28, 2002 - After saving money for 2 years and adding every available option to my new 99 KLR 650 I finally headed south from Whitefish, Montana. The road south through Salmon Idaho to Challis and Stanley was my first experience loaded down in the twisties. I met a group of 4 guys on sport tourers and barely kept up on the fun wiggles. Since my main goal for my 9 month trip to south America is to climb at least one peak in each state/country (second goal is señoritas) I stopped for a day hike up a new peak in the vast River of No Return Wilderness in central Idaho, having left my bike (Lolita) at a camp spot on a jeep road.

I hiked up a gully towards the towering ridge 4000 feet above. Soon I was carefully bushwhacking up steep slabs with ancient bristle cone pines. Near the crest the climbing was very exposed and on top instead of a gentle slope was scary 'don't slip' cliffs off both sides. I could see the highest point to the south but the ridge was impossible to follow direct. Luckily I noticed a small ledge system off to the west side and was able to follow it to the summit of Currant Peak 11,513 feet for a welcome lunch. After some pix and video I left my traditional Nepali 1 Rupee signed note in the register can and though I was already pooped and low on water the second highest summit was only a mile to the south along an easier ridge. An hour later and I added that one also to my life list, now at 428 peaks. Two parched throat hours later and I was back in camp and nobody had messed with my gear or Lolita.

Being on a budget, Vegas sucks. It was Friday night and the $38 hotel was a dive, and it was over 100F as I rode in. The next day Lolita developed a weird wheezing, then dying problem. It turned out we think, that my tank bags soft bottom was preventing fuel cap venting? Or was it bad gas? Anyhow I limped into Kingman Arizona. Next day the fuel problem persisted thru 108F desert down to Phoenix. Luckily there the Kawasaki dealer told me about Cameron Smiths garage shop up in Cave Creek town. A few hours later they had done the valves and tune up and hopefully solved the problem.

Crossing into Mexico was a relief. I had made it across America, climbed 4 peaks en route, and was back in the 'developing world' I love so much. However Hermosillo was just as hot as Phoenix and Hotel Niza downtown was kinda gross for $15. Next day I quickly headed east up the deserted route 16 towards the Sierra Madre. This is surely a bikers dream road. No traffic and 200 miles of shape endless twisties rising up up up into the cool canyon country. At a river (the first surface water seen since Nevada) it was 109F in the shade. I soaked me and all my clothes. By lovely Yecora village it was 75F. Next day was another day of wonderful forest, cliffs, and endless curves. It took 5 hours of hard riding to reach Creel Chihuahua, a touristy town at 8400 cool feet, on the top of Copper Canyon. I think I'll chill out here a day."

Check out Tom's new blog here on HU!

Patrick and Belinda Peck, Australia, USA to Chile, in Peru, Yamaha Super Tenere XTZ 750,

"We met up again with John and Annette from England travelling on 2 BMW motorbikes. We all went for a ride with a lovely local family we met - 5 motorcycles in all. Top day with a local family, very friendly. You can imagine the looks we got when we drove through the countryside!"

Patrick looking dashing in red on a Yamaha; then Grandpa and Grandson on a Harley; Dad, daughter and Mum on a Honda Africa Twin; John Green on BMW and Super Grandma on another Harley!

Patrick looking dashing in red on a Yamaha; then Grandpa and Grandson on a Harley; Dad, daughter and Mum on a Honda Africa Twin; John Green on BMW and Super Grandma on another Harley!

We have really enjoyed Peru and are quite sad to be leaving, but looking forward to more adventures. Here are a few things that we found unique and interesting about Peru:

- The ancient civilisations going back many thousands of years with many secrets unsolved i.e. Nazca Lines and Machu Picchu.
- Along the Andes there are many volcanoes (some quite active) and many quaint maintain (pueblo) villages. - Lots of the houses are made of mud bricks and the people are generally very poor, but there is not much begging- they are very simple, but proud people.
- There are many fake coins and notes which the locals think they can easily dispose onto unsuspecting travellers! Once we filled up with fuel and got 4 fake coins in our change. It was so funny telling the local that we knew they were fake and would not accept them!

Patrick riding through river in Vilcabamba in Ecuador.

Patrick riding through river in Vilcabamba in Ecuador.

- There are no road rules (not apparent to us anyway) and everyone honks their horns continually. There are not many road signs, so we have to ask people continuously donde esta...? (where is...?).
- The food was surprisingly good with Menu del dia (menu of the day) costing US$1 for a 3 course meal with great thick soups!
- Everything is quite cheap, except fuel at US.85c/litre. We have got off the beaten track with the motorcycle and avoided dangerous bus stations and seedy parts of town and had some unique cultural experiences as a result. Patrick was right travelling by motorcycle is way safer and much more fun than travelling by public buses.

The honeymooners in front of our beachfront cabin in Ecuador with the bike nearby.

The honeymooners in front of our beachfront cabin in Ecuador with the bike nearby.

The Peruvians now realize the great benefits of tourism for themselves and their country and greet tourists with friendly and open arms. It is a fun and easy country to travel in with the only problems being pickpockets (which we haven't experienced)."

Check out Pat and Bin's new blog here on HU!

Simon McCarthy and Georgie Simmonds, UK to Asia, in Kyrgyzstan, BMW R100GS,

"... The hotel attracted a flowing river of backpackers, mainly heading to or from China, via our bedroom, which turned into a bit of an information bureau/tearoom - Georgie has never seen me being so sociable. We became friendly with three backpackers - Annette the Aussie, Helen the Kiwi and Marshall the Canadian. Marshall was a scream - a 6 foot 4 dyslexic, ex forest fire fighter, ex oil field worker, with an eye for adventurous travel mixed with the attitude of Dillon the hippy rabbit from the Magic Roundabout. When he heard about our trip he decided that he'd have to try the biking experience for a few weeks and I got pressed into helping him to find a suitable bike to buy or hire.

I had heard that there was an 'avto bizarre' (car market) in town so we headed down there. After a small cock-up when we found out that the locals also call the bus-station the avto bizarre (silly as most people want to buy a ticket for the bus and not the whole bus!), we found a market full of stalls selling bits of cars and one stall with bike bits and hey presto, a 1988 Ural motorcycle up for $300. It ran, it rattled, it had vinyl 'Harley-style' panniers. The front brake was lethally non-functional and the rear brake pedal would almost scrape on the floor before if gave any bite. But it had just been rebuilt (oh no, teething problems!) only 120kms before.

After a day or so of deliberating, discussing the possibility of putting a sidecar on the beast (so that all three travellers could ride on the bike and probably die together), the bike was hired for $40 for 10 days - not a bad deal. And so Marshall and Annette headed for the hills; the bike broke down and got fixed, and then got ridden through pastures and rivers. They slept in a field and were woken at midnight by a horseman who bummed a cigarette off them and sold them some milk. Last thing we heard was that they were planning a bigger trip..."

Ed. Well done, Simon! After corrupting another innocent, I hope you gave them the Horizons web address so they can properly plan the next trip ;-)

"We're in Vladivostok and all set(ish) to get the ferry to Japan. First the road from Ulan Ude is good, and took us about 10 hours riding - 2 easy days. We were travelling faster than before - at about 90 to 100kph - better tyre. From the train the countryside looked dead boring and the 1000 to 1200 miles from Chita to Khabarovsk looked as dull as ditchwater - we were glad to avoid 6 days of shit and mosquitoes by doing 2 days on the train. Khabarovsk is pretty cool modern place - nice people and ok hotels. Then the road down to Vladivostok - good road, some hills, some bends - all at about 100m above sea level. 2 days ride."

See Simon and Georgie's blog for more - and if they haven't got the rest of the story posted, get after them!

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Tiffany Coates, UK, Prudhoe Bay to Ushuaia, in Central America, R80G/S,

"The ride through Mexico was great, except for those bloody topes. At first I was riding along thinking what is a topes {when I saw the sign}, the next thing I knew, bang I had hit a speed bump, ahh, so that's what a topes is. Believe me, there are a lot of them in Mexico and not all of them are marked.

I was spending the night in a variety of places. When the sun set I would stop at the nearest pueblo and say who I was and where I was travelling, explaining that I needed somewhere to camp, often this would mean that I would be given pride of place on someone's patio, (yes, in my tent with Thelma alongside). One time though, in Chiapas, they decided it was too dangerous for me to camp out like that and assigned me an armed guard, who happened to be stationed on the garage forecourt where I had to go and camp. I think I was more at risk from his amorous advances than from any guerilla activity.

I made it through safely and picked up Maggie from the airport. Maggie and I had previously crossed Africa together on Thelma so she was ready for anything including the hell raising ride out of Guatemala City in the dark. We stayed in Antigua, Guatemala for a week, attending Spanish school; I took Thelma in one day for a lesson on the Spanish words for the bike parts. Cuba Libre or two was also part of the educational experience!!

We spent a couple of days on the volcanic island of Ometepe, skinny-dipping in Lake Nicaragua under a full moon. And yes Lake Nicaragua being the only place in the world where freshwater sharks live... but as I said to Maggie, after the bloody bears in Alaska, nothing can frighten me.

From there we went to a beach in southern Nicaragua where we had been told that turtles come ashore seven times year to lay their eggs, amazingly we were there at the right time, well, hundreds of them were on the beach and we had trouble trying to swim in the sea as they were all surfing in on the waves {they weigh more than I do, so potentially they are fairly dangerous}. Later that night Maggie was awoken by one hitting her repeatedly with its flippers through the tent as it was trying to dig a hole. Hmm, perhaps we were a bit close to the beach...

We are now in Panama, where the traffic police are the worst I have ever seen, they are also incredibly numerous. Each time we get pulled over I hiss at Maggie to quickly get her helmet off (she's a blonde and it seems to work every time). Maggie insists they just want a closer look at our newly revamped map of the world outlined on the back of the top box with true artistic style.

We have spent the past couple of days on the Pacific Ocean, body surfing and sipping more drinks whilst watching the most spectacular sunsets. But, we have to keep moving on, I think we have the only bike with two bikinis constantly hanging off the back, drying in the sun as we sing Elvis Presley songs into our Madonna style intercom system.

Maggie reluctantly leaves in two days time to go back to her job and a real life in Ireland. I'll be heading to Ecuador next week (look out Ricardo) as Tiberio thinks I shouldn't be heading into Colombia at the moment. I'll let you know how I get on with the shipping agents..."

up to top of pagespacerBooks

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 or a Euro, 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

up to top of pagespacerFunnies...


yes, miles per hour...

Useful Excuses for Adults (from ABC News)

Excuse to work less: If your father tells you it wouldn't kill you to work a little harder, point him to this:

A study by Guys and St. Thomas' hospitals in London investigated the lifestyles of 700 men. The ones who had suffered heart attacks had spent more time at work. Those laboring 60 or more hours had twice the risk of men toiling fewer than 40 hours.

Excuse to drink beer on dates: Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder, according to the research by Scottish psychologist Barry Jones.

In a study involving 80 Glasgow University students, he found men and women who had consumed a moderate amount of alcohol found the faces of the opposite sex 25 percent more attractive than their sober counterparts.

Excuse to stay in bed: Scientists have long known that adequate sleep is important for memory. Now German scientists are saying sleep is critical even for motor skills as simple as finger tapping.

Scientists writing in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences taught students different finger-tapping sequences. Students who got eight hours sleep performed 35 percent faster and made 30 percent fewer errors than those who didn't get sleep.

up to top of pagespacerQuotable Quotes...

"Don't keep forever on the public road, going only where others have gone. Leave the beaten track occasionally and dive into the woods. You will be certain to find something you have never seen before. Of course it will be a little thing, but do not ignore it. One discovery will lead to another, and before you know it, you will have something worth thinking about to occupy your mind, and really big discoveries are the result of thought.
--Alexander Graham Bell

If you would not be forgotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing.
--Benjamin Franklin

up to top of page Some nice comments...

"Dear Grant and Susan, please accept the Nobel prize for your invaluable efforts in helping create a global family. I just can't believe you do all this as a service. You should try to make money out of it- so that you can do it even better. I am sure that bikers like you play a significant though inconspicuous role in promoting cross cultural understanding. That's all for now folks. BTW, the HUBB rocks. Like I signed your guest book - O Cornucopia of collective wisdom, I bow to thee. :-)"
Rajesh Nandipati, (flotsam) India, in USA

"Grant, Susan, Another great zine. Keep up the great work. Horizons is still the one and only."
Rich Kickbush, Somewhere in Russia.

"HU is a good read and I look forward to it every month, in fact I always leave it open on the email program for a day or two so that Michelle might read it and hopefully catch the travel fever!"
Dave Pearce, Queensland, Australia

"Currently my wife (Marlies) and I are in Hanoi,Vietnam, four months into a year long trip around S.E.Asia. When we can (impossible in China) we've rented bikes to get to 'spots', commonly following or followed by tour buses full of other travelers I might add. In our short time in Laos our mantra became, ‘We're coming back on a bike, we're coming back on a bike...’ I found your site looking for info on people who have ridden through India. Smitten by your site, I pause my own search and enjoy yours. Hopefully we'll be successful in getting a bike and making our India dream come true. If so we'll tell you all about it. Great site, thanks for your work and ideas.
Paul Willems, Winnipeg, Canada

"Hi Grant, Thank you for having such a great site... it helps me stay on the road. Keep up the great work."
Nick Woods, USA

"Firstly, thank you very much for providing an opportunity for us to meet and help fellow travellers. Dianne and I look forward to being able to assist fellow travellers where possible. I'm not sure if you and Susan made it up to Toowoomba while you were in Australia, but it is a lovely spot. Located about 150 km east of Brisbane, Toowoomba is fortunate to have some excellent riding country and is centrally positioned for day trips to either the Gold Coast to the south or the Sunshine Coast to the north. Hope we can tempt fellow travellers. We both really enjoy your site and I spend far too much time in there. Thanks again for giving us the opportunity to host the Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers Community for Toowoomba."
Haydn and Dianne Durnell, Australia

"Every biker I meet knows and says very good things about your site. Thanks so much."
Vincent Danna, France, RTW

"The web site certainly goes from strength to strength. All the feedback we are getting from friends and family about the blog is really good, it comes over as 'very professional' way of presenting our travels and experiences."
Sean Kelly, UK to Oz

"A great website full to the brim with useful info. Can’t wait to get on the road. I want to go NOW! :)"
Garry Scutcher, Sydney, Australia

"I've always had the traveling bug and have been halfway around the world, but not on two wheels. In 2001, I bought a Triumph Sprint ST, put panniers on it and out I went. I've put 25k on it to date. But I felt I was missing something. That was dirt. So I started looking at adventure riding and am in the process of deciding which bike to purchase. I'm leaning towards an F650 Dakar or KLR. On my search for information I've found site and that led me here. All I can say is WOW! Lot's of info. I can't wait to dig in. Thanks,"
John Morin, Austin, TX, USA

"Thank you for an excellent and informative site. I just read the Turkish page and it was very good. Maybe one day I will be able to ride long distance like you guys. Thanks again"
Ahmet Beyhan, Atlanta, GA, USA

"Hi guys, your web site has been really usefull for use to prepare our trip. And we still check it for info. 1000 thanks."
Laurent Melmoux, France

"I have seen your site, and it is the best about world travelling..."

"Can't wait to start reading. Looks brilliant so far. Planning (hoping) to do a lap of the world 2004."
Alan Hopkins, Birmingham, England

"Your website is absolutely awesome!!!! I see you having a large and captive audience wherever (bookstores, etc.) you might choose to share your travels with some day. However, you have probably figured out that you are too busy for such visits."
Marcia Siegle, Seattle, WA, USA

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ISSN 1703-1397 Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' Ezine - Copyright 1999-2002, Horizons Unlimited and Grant and Susan Johnson. All rights reserved.

REDISTRIBUTION is allowed, indeed encouraged, but other than the following requirements, only with permission. You may forward copies of the Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' e-zine by forwarding it yourself by hand. You must forward the issue in its entirety, no fee may be involved. Please suggest they Subscribe!

Legal gibberish disclaimer: (particularly for those in countries that have more lawyers in one town, just for instance, New York, not to name any names, than some whole countries, as another example, Japan. Again, not naming anybody specifically you understand) Recommendations are based on positive or negative experiences of somebody, somewhere. Your mileage (kilometrage if you insist) may vary. We are not responsible in any way for 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.

up to top of pagespacerMotorcycle News

From Intermot:

High-tech protective equipment

"For the first time ever, five international companies have teamed up to develop exclusive motorcycle protective clothing. Under the name of "Smart Rider's Outfit" (SRO), the project combines the highest level of comfort with maximum safety and modern communication and information technology. Responsible for the high-tech project are the Finnish clothing specialist rukka, boot manufacturer Frey Daytona, helmet manufacturer Schuberth as well as the Technical University of Tampere/Finland and the Nokia Research Center. The individual components are made from state-of-the-art materials and are designed to harmonise perfectly with each other. Further activities within the project are to integrate technologies such as night vision, anti-collision and other security systems, navigation and traffic information systems and even biosensory systems into the clothing. The first SRO product generation will make its debut in September this year at the Intermot trade fair in Munich."

posted on intermot site

Also from Intermot, the very latest in motorcycle travelling luxury;

up to top of pagespacerShorts...

Nicky Austin, UK, around Australia on a Kawasaki GT550,

"September 24, 2002 After Broome it started to get cooler again and beyond Port Hedland the head wind was so strong it wore me out riding in it. So in trying to get away from the bad (though not bad by English standards) weather I sort of shot through to the south quicker than I had planned.

I did have an interesting night sleeping behind a roadhouse at Fortescue River. It is family run, but the main woman in the house is called Barbara. She is a right character. I sat in the bar for the night being entertained by this incredible woman - whose husband promised her a holiday 20 years ago and still hasn't come through! I woke up in the early hours and found I was surrounded by about 10 kangaroos. I have seen lots, but never so close in the wild.

As I got closer to Perth, the countryside started to look more and more like England. One minute I'm in the Australian outback where it's all red dirt, dry grass, starving cattle not a puddle in sight. Within a few hundred kilometres it gets very green, the rivers have water in them, the cows are fat and I saw a yellow field. I have been in Perth for a week and I haven’t ridden the bike since I got here. I will though, just one last time."

Vincent Danna, France, around the world, in Kyrgyzstan, BMW R100GS,

"I'm now in Kyrgyzstan, great, great, great. Passes in the mountains above 4000 m.

Missed Simon and Georgie in Russia and Kazakhstan, but we are in touch on the web. Take care. Happy trails...

Curious locals in the bazaar, during the installation of the made to measure side satchels."

Chris and Erin Ratay, USA, around the world, chilling in Rio, two BMW F650s,

"September 13th -- Rio de Janeiro: We've rented an apartment for a few days for about $16/day -- 1 block from Copacabana beach, with direct views of the beach (if you crane your head out the window). Although we are in a prime location, it is the end of winter here so we haven't had the best of weather. It's warm, with the sun trying to break through the grey skies. When we travel a bit north, the climate should improve greatly.

Our frustrations with the Portuguese language have subsided, as we've taken a few lessons and now speak what is called Portunal -- a mix of (mostly) Espanol and (some) Portuguese. Spanish and Portuguese are probably about 90% similar, so it feels very close -- the pronunciation is where we struggle to understand. The Brazilians can understand our Spanish, but understanding what they say to us...

Our friend Heloisa from Porto Alegre arrives tomorrow to visit for a few days, then we plan to head north up along the coastal beaches. We have about 5 weeks to get up to the beaches of Recife, when we look forward to Erin's mother joining us for a couple of weeks. After Recife, we will ride across to Belem, take a boat UP the Amazon River to Manaus, then head due north to Venezuela. We're hoping to cross from Venezuela to Panama before Xmas, and return to the states next summer."

Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Please be sure you tell them how you heard about Motorrad Elektrik!

Visit the Motorrad Elektrik website for more info!"You want the best for your BMW Motorcycle. Motorrad Elektrik has been offering the best in electrical parts for classic and modern BMW's for over 10 years. Be it a full 12 volt conversion for your /2 or better than stock replacement parts for your late model "R" or "K", we've got you covered. Specialty parts for 'hardening' the charging and ignition systems for world-travelling Airhead GS's. Riders like Bob Higdon, Dr. Gregory Frazier, the late Ed Culberson and hundreds of others depend on Motorrad Elektrik components as they wander the globe.

Omega. 400 Watts. Light and heat for 1970-95 Boxers. YeeeHa! The end of that greatest limitation of the air cooled Boxer, a small capacity charging system!"


Uwe Krauss and Ramona Eichhorn, Germany, around the world, KTM's,

"We are a German couple travelling around the world on two KTM's. We have just arrived in Auckland from Australia... Hopefully, we will soon be in Christchurch. In the last 1.5 years we came through the middle east, Africa and Australia, so we have some stories to tell while having a beer. Maybe you have got some got tips for riding. Hope to hear from you soon, Ramona and Uwe"

Liam McCabe, Northern Ireland, around the world, in Ecuador, Africa Twin,

"Hello Grant, In Ecuador and with Ricardo Rocco doing TV clips for the X Games,and would like to thank him for all his contacts here. Leaving Quito in the morning for the Amazon or Colombia, still not sure where I'm going. Thanks, Liam"

Ed. I did advise Liam that Colombia is currently NOT recommended.

Rik Blocksidge, UK, to Australia, in India, BMW R80T,

"You should try India if you like 'COW'! I have some good photo's of our friends in the centre of Delhi, they do help to slow down the traffic!! In Shimla, all blue skies & hot sun, but night's now getting cold!"

Goose and Lucy, (Adrian Greygoose and Lucy Gardner), UK, around the world, in Australia, R1100GS,

"8 Sep 02 - time has flown and in less than 24 hours Lucy and I will be airborne heading off for the last leg of our trip. We've had a manic three weeks in the UK and would like to say a big thanks to all who've let us crash on floors. It's been great to catch up but we apologise to those we didn't get to see.

We plan to be in Darwin by 15th October and from there will ride to Melbourne via either the West coast or the East, it all depends on how my arse is feeling. Love to you all, Adrian & Lucy"

Lew Waterman, USA, North and South America 2001-2, honeymooning in Peru, KLR650,

"We have just made it over the biggest hurdle. The U.S. Consulate in Lima has approved Achi's visa to emigrate to the U.S. as an alien spouse. Still planning to depart southward to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego Oct. 15. Anxious to ride. Achi will write Spanish language reports in addition to my English reports about the rest of our tour through South America for our website.

All is well and Punky is ready too. This adventure ain't over yet, not by a long shot. Plan to tour North America upon our return, showing Achi the wonders of The Up-Over. Assuming that is the opposite of The Down-Under, the Equator, that is. Later, amigos. Punky & Lew & Achi 2"

Pat and Helen Watson, UK, around the world, in South Africa, R100GS PD,

"It’s interesting to note what a bunch of Jessies SA bikers seem to be. On the straights, I tend to slow down and give the old girl a rest and then when we get to the interesting twisty bits I wind her up a bit. Not so your South African. They’d all come hooning past us on the straights and then back right off on the corners. Now, I’d love to point this out to the guys, but it transpired that the vast majority of them were tooled up. And we’re talking guns here!"

Falk Thümer and Reina Kasperowski, Germany, around the world, in Costa Rica, R100GSPD and Suzuki XF 650 Freewind,


Baja California, Mexico.

Baja California, Mexico

Hi Grant, here is some information about the cost of border crossings in Central America. We thought this information might be valuable for other travellers.


Entry / Exit

Fee Per Person - US$

Fee Per Bike - US$


To come in




To leave




To come in




To leave




To come in




To leave

1$ for copies



To come in




To leave




To come in

8$, and a 4$ fee on Sundays



To leave

1$ for copies


Costa Rica

To come in


11$ and 1,50$ for copies

At the moment we are in the German Bakery in Costa Rica, Nuevo Arenal. The folks here are very friendly and we take some time to relax, while Falk is doing some artwork on the walls here. So long Reina and Falk"

Guanajuato, Mexico.

Guanajuato, Mexico

Gary Nisbet, Damian and Dominic Booth, Zimbabwe, London to Australia, in Thailand, on Honda XRV 750 Africa Twins,

"Saturday, 7 September 2002 - We are currently in Bangkok, Thailand. Dom and Gary flew with Royal Nepal airlines to Bangkok early on Monday morning. The view of the Himalayas was short and a tad obscured by cloud but it's amazing that when you consider that you are at 29 000 feet and you can see snow capped peaks at that same level! Damian flew Thai air in the afternoon, he has since gone onto Perth to visit his sister, Rulan for a few weeks in Australia before coming back to Thailand for a week and then on to London.

... Today we visited Gary's distant relation, Lorraine out near Bagna on the road to Chomburi. This is an area where the expats live so is a completely refreshing change from the centre of Bangkok. It has huge houses, golf courses, wide-open spaces and we even spotted a monitor lizard soaking up the sun! It was a bit of a nightmare to navigate the Bangkok traffic but was worth the journey just to see how things operate on the roads. Once again the expressways were out of bounds but we managed, with Gary driving and Dom navigating on the back. It's very hot and humid here now and with the traffic lights taking between 5 and 10 minutes to change it was in the bikes best interest to switch off during stops to avoid overheating! We were treated to a lovely lunch and a swim and then we returned to the centre of Bangkok.

Tomorrow we'll be full blown tourists taking in some of the wonderful sights this place has to offer, temples, grand palace, etc. We have also yet to see some Thai boxing so may do that on Monday night before deciding what to do over the next 2 weeks (flooded northern Thailand or a sunny beach somewhere. Difficult decision!)"

Ed. See their site for a very detailed description of the Thailand entry procedure.

up to top of pagespacerSeen on the road...

by Herbert Roelandt, Belgium, on the Russia - Mongolia border;

Okano Hideki, Japan, around the world, Honda XR400,

"This Japanese traveller I met on the Russian - Mongolian border, he left Japan in April this year on his Honda XR400, so far he crossed Russia and toured in Europe. Last week he visited me here at home. He plans to travel for 5 years."

Herbert Roelandt and Okano Hideki meet.

by Alex Dudley, USA,

Vladawitch Tartry, Belorussia, around the world, 350 Jawa,

"I ran into Vladawitch Tartry here in Charlottesville, VA USA. He is still on his 350 Jawa and headed around the world trying to be the first deaf mute to circumnavigate the world on a motorcycle. He has been here for a couple of days having come to the US by way of Africa, South America, the northern Caribbean islands, Cuba and the US southeast. He indicates that his plan is to tour the US, perhaps back to South America by way of Central America and then back north to Alaska and west to Russia.

He seems to be a very nice fellow. He proudly displays various maps, newspaper and magazine articles, etc that recount his trips. It's raining here today so he may be holed up. For the past two days he has been displaying his motorcycle on the downtown mall. He seemed to have a touch of an oil leak yesterday. I got a couple of digital photos. ...I will try to send in."

by Maarten Munnik, Netherlands, around the world, in Esfahan, Iran, Honda Africa Twin,

"I was just looking outside the door of my hotel to see if my date had already arrived but was too shy to come in.... and there I saw 4 big bikes. Here you immediately notice big bikes since everything over 200 cc is forbidden. I ran out there screaming: Hey you... bikers stop... don't go away. They probably thought I was an Iranian student eager to talk to a foreigner. But they waited for me. When I had caught my breath (just joking) I said: 'Hi, I'm Maarten from Holland on an Africa Twin...' then they understood.

Since the hotel (Amir Kabir) is very good and cheap I advised them to get a room here... and they did. (Some one actually took my advice... wow!)

They are from Germany and traveling to India. Torsten Bock on a Suzuki DR 650 and Achim Nietche on a XT 600 K and Bruno and Cristine Lans who are here on their honeymoon. They got married in Germany and drove off the next day. Both on a Suzuki DR 650... one a bit older than the other. They are on the way to Bombay, India and will leave Esfahan on 26 September."

Ed. Well done, Bruno and Cristine - have a great honeymoon!

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Check out Highway Manager from Tiny Stocks!

TinyStocks presents Highway Manager: the most complete and flexible gas mileage application for the Palm OS® platform, written by a biker for bikers. Keep track of your gas mileage, insurance payments, garage bills, hotels, highway tolls and whatever is necessary. Statistics, charting function, multi-currency, and more... So, got a Palm OS device? Why not take it on the road?


up to top of pagespacerLeaving soon, or just left...

William - (KTMwill), UK, to India, KTM,

"God and KTM Adventure willing I am leaving on Monday, 2nd September 2002, on my first trip. I am heading to India, planning to arrive there at the start of December. My likely route is gonna be Czech, Slovak, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India. Not overly original I know but it impresses me!

In terms of timing, I am likely to only spend about 3 weeks through eastern Europe, 3-4 weeks in Turkey, 1-4 weeks in Iran depending on Visa! and 4 weeks in Pakistan.

It would be great to meet up with any fellow travellers for a coffee/beer/gossip on the way, I am travelling on my own, ahhh!"

John Wilson, Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Gerry Tiernan, Roscommon, Ireland, around the world, R80GS basic,

"Gerry Tiernan: My underlying reason for doing the trip: I think it was Marie de Vichy Chamrond who said: 'the distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult.' The genesis for this trip essentially lies in my youth of the early '70's when instead of doing my schoolwork I immersed myself in motorcycle magazines such as 'Motorcycle Illustrated,' which charted the exploits and adventures of inveterate long distance travellers who journeyed all over Europe, and every now and again to even more exotic locations such as through Africa, to India or Australia. Like any impressionable thirteen year old I vacillated in my loyalty to machine and speed almost on a daily basis, as each month's magazine test rode some fabulous new motorcycle that would capture my imagination. Invariably I returned to the conclusion that ultimately it was about travel. This early influence of magazine articles on my disposition towards touring and B.M.W's in particular, was very formative in my attitude to what motorbiking was about for me, and ultimately efficacious in my dream of going around the world by bike.

As to why I should choose to undertake it at this stage; it wasn't out of any sense of impending doom engendered by the recent activation of eschatological symbolism, or the need to see the world before it all changes irreparably that has set me on this path to travel around it at this particular point in time, but rather the circumstances of my life which happened to leave me free to pursue it now. I believe all ages and all places hold an eternal fascination that challenges us, and while I might harbour a nostalgic preference for a particular period, and I do bemoan the globalisation of culture, nonetheless I consider travel even in this present age today as still potentially a great adventure and educator."

John and Gerry with bikes leaving Ireland.

John and Gerry with bikes leaving Ireland

From Alex Bradley, their webmaster:

"...things haven't gone quite as planned as far as the communication side of the trip is concerned. John had tremendous difficulty sending emails and has finally attributed it to the different networks in other countries and the need for so many different numbers to be programmed into the laptop. I have managed to keep track of the travellers through John's wife and short emails which come through from time to time. He has sent photos via email but they never arrived.

The story so far is: They had quite an eventful trip through France and managed to bypass the more serious floods. John's regulator packed in, had to be replaced and they now carry a spare. In Italy they managed to visit Florence, which was an ambition of John's. After making their way down along the west coast of Italy, John and Gerry contacted me from Messina in Sicily and both reported they were in good health and the bikes were doing very well. The weather was very warm and they were really feeling the heat.

...they made their way through Sicily and into Tunisia and on to Libya. Here they had a five hour wait at the border in temperatures of over 40 degrees. They have to spend about five days in Libya, under armed escort, visiting at least two archaeological sites, before being handed over to the Egyptian authorities at the Libyan/Egyptian border.

From here they will make their way to Cairo and plan their next move. As they haven't got visas for Sudan they will either fly to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia or Nairobi in Kenya. They promise to send a full report with pictures when they reach Cairo. Alex"

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Canadian Wilderness Tours on an ATV (Quad Bike)

The Roughest, Toughest and Dirtiest Tour you will ever have! (No wimps or wooses please!)

Discounts for Group bookings.
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Tel: (1) 705 729 5202.


Paul Backes and Henk De Lange, South Africa, London to Cape Town, Starfish AIDS charity, Yamaha Tenere,

"Paul Backes and Henk De Lange have set themselves a challenge. Come middle September they will embark upon their homeward bound trip - not by way of air - but instead overland on motorbikes. Starting from London they will travel across south Europe, ferry to Egypt and then meander their way down through Africa and on to the southern most tip, home to our beautiful land and our rainbow nation of people...

16 Sep 02 - I am riding my bike from London to Cape Town via Cairo. I am leaving on Tuesday to France. The countries that we will be going through are UK; France (Toulouse); Spain (Madrid, Barcelona); France (Nice); Italy (Rome, Naples); Sicily; Tunisia (Tunis); Libya (Tripoli, Benghazi); Egypt (Cairo); Sudan (Khartoum) Ethiopia (Addis Ababa); Kenya (Nairobi); Tanzania (Mt Kilimanjaro; Dar Es Salaam, Zanzibar); Malawi (Lilongwe); Zambia (Lusaka, Victoria Falls); Botswana (Maun); Namibia (Windhoek, Swakopmund); South Africa (Clanwilliam, Cape Town) in the new year!

We are riding for a charity called Starfish who do charity for AIDS orphans of South Africa. The main website. E-mail Henk. My dad will be keeping an eye out on my emails.

While I am on my travels, think about me a have a beer and I will feel good in the sun!!"

(NOTE: At the Starfish Charity page, choose Champions, then Homeward Bound - it's framed, so can't link to a page internally)

Wolfgang Loehr, Germany, to Australia, BMW R100GS/PD,

"G'day all, as some of you may have expected (or feared) the moment has come to announce my Aussie Trip 2002! My time will be from Oct 06 arrival at Brisbane - Nov 16 departure from Melbourne. My well-known Beemer R100 GS/PD is still in maintenance, but will be ready for the trip. As this is the first time I get stranded at BNE/QLD are there some fellow riders who could give some assistance, help or even hints to go thru a) customs b) quarantine c) registration procedure? The bike arrives with air cargo and has to be cleared from there; as I did the rego in Sydney last time I've applied for a 'temporary licence for unregistered vehicles' - is there something similar in QLD? Any assistance is highly appreciated.

After the authority clearance my proposed milestones are Oct 12-13 Thunder Rally Nundle Oct 26-27 Kosciusko Rally Geehi or SA Ranges Rally Nov 02-03 Tiboboora. ...anything between is open. C'mon fellas give me some clues... so long"

up to top of pagespacerHome again...

Martin Rooiman and Jeannette Boom, a.k.a. De Twee Musketiers, Netherlands, around the world, temporarily home,

"7 Sep 02 - We are now in Bandung where we leave the bikes behind for a 5 week trip back home. We return on October 18th to continue our journey eastwards and hope to be in New Zealand for Christmas."

Check out Martin and Jen’s new blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Andy Miller, UK, around the world, back home temporarily, KTM LC640

"30 Sep 02 - Its now been 3 weeks since I got back to the UK and what a shock that was, good to see the family but I want to be riding my bike in a foreign country, not in London!!!

My ride across Canada was a very quick one due to catching my already postponed flight. I missed seeing Niagara Falls, due to a slight navigation error on my part. One minute I was heading towards Toronto on the highway in a southerly direction, expecting to see Niagara sign posted but no! The next thing I realised after some time was that I am now heading east. By now I could not be bothered to try to correct my mistake to see some waterfalls! So on I went.

I thought Australia was a big place but that's nothing compared to Canada. From Alaska to Nova Scotia there is no less than five time zones! Oh then there is Newfoundland another zone! (Ed. Actually, Newfoundland is only half a zone)

I left the UK with an open mind to see if there was another country that I would rather live in. Before leaving I thought in my mind this would be either Australia or NZ, but Canada is for me. British Columbia was the home of some of the most spectacular scenery and the friendliest people I have encountered on my travels.

Andy Miller and Heidi Volgger at the Arctic Circle .

Andy Miller and Heidi Volgger at the Arctic Circle

Back in my hotel in Halifax I made a phone call to a courier company in London asking if they have a vacancy for another motorcycle courier, the conversation went like:

Hi Mike how are you etc, its Andy can I have a job?
Mike- Yes Andy but where are you?
Andy- In Halifax!
Mike- So what are you doing in Yorkshire?
Andy- No not Halifax Yorkshire!! Halifax Nova Scotia!
Mike- Where's that! Ok you can start on Monday.
Andy- Today is Thursday.
So I did start on Monday what a shock. Damn traffic it's a nightmare! In my first three days back I managed to drop the bike in a car park, have a near death experience with another vehicle, and finally hit one of two policemen crossing the road! No worries all in a days work! How I hate this job.

Being back home after a year away on the bike seems as if time has stood still here. People come up to me and say 'Where have you been not seen you for a while'? I keep it brief but after 3 seconds they are either bored or not interested. Just stuck in their own small worlds. Its times like these that I wish I was back out on the bike in some far away place away from the material world we seem to be sucked into.

This is all bearable as in about ten weeks I will be off again to Vancouver with the bike, heading south.

Andy's bike in its shipping crate.

I have lots to do over the next few weeks on the bike plus all the other things that have to be done in order to go away again, its going to very busy here for me, but worth it in the long run, well hopefully. Cheers Andy. I am already missing the Nanaimo bars!!"

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Jeremy Andrews, New Zealand, Argentina to Alaska, in Mexico, F650GS,

"...the silence of the last two weeks results from an insane schedule of trying to make it to a wedding here in Vancouver. Drinking up large in Dawson City near the Yukon border with Alaska I was invited, and attempted to make riding.... (dumb)

Eventually I gave up in Prince George after having burned through my rear disc pads, tyres, and one stint of 2,000 Km's in 24 hours where I froze my proverbials off. No calling me stuuupid is necessary; I'm doing a good job of that myself.

In the interests of avoiding a coronary at the tender age of 35, I decided to delay departure from Vancouver until the 27th. There was no way I was going to be able to organise everything in 3 and a half days eh.

For shipping the bike back to New Zealand I contacted three shippers, and asked for a quote on a crated motorcycle given set dimensions of 2.2 x 1.45 x 1.5 metres from Vancouver to Lyttleton New Zealand.

Motorcycle Express 1300 USD
Jas Canada 954 USD
ECU Line 650 USD

Having already used ECU line from Belgium to Argentina which successfully avoided the heavy local charges in Buenos Aires, and considering the cheaper quote, I opted for ECU line. The actual dimensions of my crate were smaller than above as I dropped the front wheel off, reducing the dimensions to 3.851 Cubic Metres.

The end price was 462 USD, not including local charges in New Zealand. The only risk element I see is the change of containers in Hong Kong, as it introduces another handling stage, but I built the crate as strong as a proverbial s..t house. Transit time is expected to be 38 Days."

Check out Jeremy's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

up to top of pagespacerTravellers Community News...

Just a reminder to all, when you JOIN a Community in your area, send a note to the Community introducing yourself and suggesting a meeting for a beer or a ride or something. It's a good way of meeting like-minded individuals in your own town.

There are over 172 Communities in 58 countries running already. A big thanks to all those who took the first step and established the Community in their area. Latest additions are Nelson, New Zealand; San Julian, Argentina (right on Ruta 3 between Commodoro Rivadavia and Rio Gallegos - a must stop!); Duesseldorf, Germany; Birmingham, Alabama USA; Empire, Michigan USA; Matelandia, Brazil; Bremen, Germany; Indija, Yugoslavia; Saudi Arabia, (Al-Khobar area); Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia; Ankara, Turkey; and Porto Alegre, Brazil! Thanks to all those who started these great new Communities!

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 web page about your Community! A few links to web pages about your area would be useful too.

See the Community pages and write to any of the Communities in the area if you're interested, or join up, or if you're already in one, see who else is interested in getting together!


NOTE: The Bangalore, India Community is having a get-together on 2nd October Wednesday after noon 3pm. Meet at Koshy's, in Bangalore. Contact the Community for more details.

The Madrid, Spain Community just had a get-together on the 29th September, contact the Community for info on their next meeting.

Have you thought about a 'Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers Meeting' in your Community area?

Following the very successful launch of the UK (2001 and 2002) and Canadian / US (2002) Travellers Meetings, 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 - and it's a lot easier than you might think. Our UK organisers had a blast this year and are all set to do it again next year! Let me know what you think - we'll do all we can to support you and your Community.

Support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - check out the HU Souk for t-shirts, hats and other products with the new logo and a variety of slogans!


Check out t-shirts and other goodies at the HU Souk. Support your favorite website!Check out t-shirts and other goodies at the HU Souk. Support your favorite website!Check out t-shirts and other goodies at the HU Souk. Support your favorite website!

Thanks! Grant and Susan

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up to top of pagespacerIn Progress...

I am working on a listing of people who have ridden around the world, as well as what I call 'significant journeys' e.g. the first across Africa. Any information you may have on this topic, please let me know. Preferably 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!

up to top of pagespacerFinal thoughts...

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...

Riding the globe...

Grant and Susan Johnson

Live the dream! at:

All text and photographs are copyright © Grant and Susan Johnson and their respective authors or creators, 1987-2002.

All Rights Reserved.

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All text and photographs are copyright © Grant and Susan Johnson, 1987-, or their respective authors. All Rights Reserved.