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Are you a TRAVELLER? Are you interested in Dodge City without the sheriff, dead bikes in the desert, ankle chains and guards with shotguns, martinis and massage in Addis Ababa, whips and screams in San Francisco, love in Durango, monster bugs, sleeping with hippos, chased by bears, Bob Cat dancing, cowboys on dirt bikes, pumping a foot operated push-scooter from Alaska to Ushuaia, dengue fever in Laos, and much more...?
Then you're reading the right newsletter!
On the Website:
Welcome to the 45th Edition of the Horizons Unlimited E-zine. Yeah I know it's a little late - well, okay, you win, a lot late!
But a lot has happened since the last E-zine. I spent some of June and most of July in Europe, first attending the Horizons Unlimited 3rd Annual UK Travellers Meeting in the UK, which was a huge success, and a credit to the all the folks who put so much into organising it, and the 200 odd - very odd - who attended! Everyone had a great time, despite minor logistics problems. We promise next year will be even better, with a terrific new venue you'll love, guaranteed.
I next headed for Germany, picking up a shiny new loaner R1150GS from BMW (a big thanks to BMW for the loan!) and on to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for the 80th Anniversary BMW bash. With a reported 20,000 people it was a most impressive event, lots happening all the time, plenty of vendors with exotic toys to drool over, and a superb historical display of past and present BMW's.
From there it was off to the rest of southern Germany, France and Switzerland, visiting people and squeezing in some fantastic riding. The only downer was the extremely hot weather: 35C + in black riding gear isn't a lot of fun! Once I got out of southern France and into the Alps it cooled significantly, and made riding conditions perfect - in one of the very best riding areas in the world, the Swiss Alps mountain passes. Yes, I had a good time on a borrowed bike... :) I was very impressed with how well the R1150GS worked in the twisty alpine roads - awesome brakes, excellent power characteristics, drag-the-pegs-everywhere-handling, and surprisingly comfortable.
I had planned on getting to the Portugal Meeting as well, but time and schedule changes conspired against me - I was faced with over 7000 kilometers in 7 days, with two days for the meeting in the middle of it - and then be back in Germany on time for a very important meeting. Too hard, so I put the time to good use visiting prospective advertisers and taking a well-earned couple of days off. Apologies to those who were expecting me, but I hear they had a great time anyway, with over 30 people attending and several excellent presenters. Many thanks to Gonçalo Pais for organizing this event! Gonçalo is already planning next year's, and says it will be farther north, and even better and bigger!
One of the highlights of the trip was meeting Jochen Schanz and Herbert Schwarz, the creators and brains behind Touratech, and getting the tour of their factory. Everything from laser cutters to robot welders, and mountains of panniers and parts everywhere, packed into multiple floors. We had a great time talking about travel, swapping stories about interesting places in the world, where to next, and how we all went from a hobby - motorcycle travel - into a full time occupation!
You'll see the results of our new co-operative arrangement on all the site pages and in the newsletter, and they will also be mentioning us in their catalogue, so we're very pleased about this new relationship.
Shortly after I returned, we went to the Haws Meeting in Oregon. This took 5 days out of the schedule, but we had a great time! Details in the Community section below.
Then of course we had two months worth of stories to edit - that was a huge task, and as usual very difficult to pick the best for you to curl up with in front of the fire - or screen or whatever... TIP: If you like to print the ezine, in IE select View / Text Size and set it to "smallest" - and then print it. The smallest font size is then just right for printing, and saves a lot paper.
We're the victims of our own success - we have grown so large that we are getting kicked off our shared server! We have been pushing the limits of the server for some time, for instance the Blog's are running into "out of memory" errors and our search engine is getting throttled because it is taking so much server time, preventing us from updating the index. Our web host gave us an ultimatum - either move to a dedicated server or find another web host! So, we will be moving to a new dedicated server in a few days, and there may be a period when the site is unavailable for an hour or two, probably around 7-9 AM GMT if all goes well. This move to a new server will double our monthly hosting costs, but will allow us to continue to grow at the current phenomenal rate! Thanks for all your support and sending us new travellers! We will also have many more options to tweak and a lot things we can do in order to improve the site and ease maintenance, currently a huge amount of work. Look for new features in the next six months!
Thanks to all our loyal supporters
... and a gentle reminder to those who haven't contributed that we still need your help to pay for the ongoing costs of keeping the website running (especially now that our server costs have doubled :-( and keeping this global community going. If you know anyone who should be advertising with us (anyone who sells motorcycles or motorcycle accessories, riding gear, camping equipment and clothing, transports motorcycles, organizes motorcycle tours, or has motorcycles to rent should be advertising), please let us know or send them to our Advertising page with your recommendation.
Start your planning with travel books at the Horizons Unlimited books page, and use the Amazon search function for your area to look for what you want. We'll get a small percentage of the sale when you buy anything. Don't forget to visit the Souk for new lightweight fleece vests and jackets or your summer t-shirts. If you don't need any clothes (or you have to work off a few pounds before you can fit into any ;-), we gratefully accept checks in 5 currencies!
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 newsletter is provided as a complimentary service for travellers everywhere, both on the road and (temporarily;-) off. Your support is greatly appreciated.
14 Travellers still missing in Algeria.
Note that because of this situation we cannot recommend any travel in Algeria at this time.
Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meetings 2003/2004 - time to plan ahead!
A great way to meet new friends and fellow travellers is at one of the many HU Travellers Meetings planned for this year. You can meet people who don't think you're crazy for wanting to ride your bike to South America or Africa or across Asia, or even around the world! Admit it, all your 'normal' friends and most of your family fears for your sanity! So, this is your opportunity to meet the people who will encourage you in that craziness, share their experiences and advice on how to do it, and maybe you'll meet them again in Mongolia or Timbuktu! We're on FOUR continents now, so no excuse left - now's your chance to get to one!
UK - 27-29 June 2003 - 3rd Annual Meeting - A blockbuster weekend with about 200 happy participants, described as "...uniquely typical travellers atmosphere that's an odd ball combination of mellow, and tail wagging enthusiasm." All the details and photos here.
Portugal - 11-13 July 2003 - 1st Annual European Meeting - A great turnout, some thirty travellers from Portugal and Spain showed up for some super slide shows and rides. Details and photos when we have them will be here.
Get your registrations in for the Western USA / Canada, September 5-7, 2003 meeting. Carol Palladino and Peter Cameron are hosting this year's event in beautiful Revelstoke, BC. Fantastic riding country, and they are looking into all sorts of rides, including one to a local hot spring. We're expecting 60-100 people this year. Full details and sign up here.
Speakers so far:
Mexico - Oct. 31-Nov 2 2003 - Juan Carlos and Gerardo Ibarra are organizing this event, in Copper Canyon. If you'd like to present a slide show or put on a talk for the Mexico 2003 event, please let us know. We're hoping to make it there too, in case anyone wants to see us ;-)
Bolivia - Nov. 8 2003 - Frank and Ann Schwarzbauer are organizing this event in La Paz. Details on Frank's page. If you'd like to present a slide show or put on a talk for the Bolivia 2003 event, please let us know.
Thanks to all the volunteers!
Mark your calendars for at least one of these events. This is your chance to meet your fellow travellers, share adventures and travel tips, and incidentally to help support your favourite website! 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!
Plan where to be when!
If you know of any events of interest to travellers, send me a note.
14th Annual BMW GS Big Dog Ride, August 15-17, high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA.
Not for wimps. Details here.
"Facing the Ocean," August 15-17, Vladivostok, Russia,
Details here and here. From Greg Frazier "Here is a bike party worth posting on the Newsletter. Many of my friends I met in Russia will be there. It sounds like fun. The last time Sinus put together a bike party several travelers showed up and had a great time. I highly recommend if anyone is in the area, this would be a gathering not to miss. Dr. G"
"7TH EAR" (European Airhead Riders rendezvous) September 1-5 somewhere in the south of France again.
September 5-7, Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting, Western Canada / USA
To be held in Revelstoke, in Beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Grant and Susan will be there. Details here.
Postie Bike Challenge, Brisbane to Darwin 21 Sep to 1 Oct 2003,
"A group of 100 Honda 'Postie Bikes' will leave Brisbane on a four thousand-kilometre ten-day adventure to Darwin via the Gulf of Carpentaria...
Upon arrival in Darwin, the participants will hand their motor cycles to the Rotary Club to assist East Timor.
The entry fee (Aus$4,400 private, Aus$5,500 corporate) will cover the following: Supply and registration of a late model, roadworthy Honda Postie Bike workshop checked by ProHonda. (To be donated at your discretion in your name, or your company's, for relief in Timor). Everything else is provided..."
"...a different way to see Australia."
20 years of the Ténéré, Anniversary Roadbook Tour, 12-14 September 2003.
XT-Club Emmingen is holding this at Soltau / Lueneburger Heide, northern Germany. Your chance to meet Klaus, our HUBB XT Forum Moderator, and have a great ride! Details here.
2nd Caravana Eco Turística ECUADOR and PERU, October 5 to 11, 2003
From Ricardo Rocco: "6 days, 150 plus riders from Ecuador, Peru and many other countries. 2000 km of asphalt and off road exciting routes, events, prizes special events, excellent hotels and restaurants for very inexpensive prizes. Organized by the Ecuadorian Motorcycle Federation, Motorcycle Touring Commission (me)." For more details, write to Ricardo.
Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting Mexico - Oct. 31-Nov 2 2003, in the Copper Canyon.
See the meetings page for details.
Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting Bolivia - Nov. 8-9 2003
Frank and Ann Schwarzbauer are organizing this event in La Paz. Details on Frank's page. If you're in the area around then - as in somewhere in South America - make it a point to get there, it should be a fun event - Frank is doing a lot of work to make sure! There's even a great surprise gift for you!
Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting Argentina tentatively planned for Viedma late November.
Juan Pablo Cardenal
Grant, concerning your suggestion, I am a journalist in Spain and I have published the story of my trip in a Spanish travel website. In fact, I have several stories published there, including my trip in Africa and another trip with motorbike in Vietnam (rented bikes, not as heavy stuff as the African trip). Here is the link to both stories: One and Two"
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.
and Sharon Healey, Southampton UK
Do you know of a good shop 'on the road,'
...in other words, somewhere there isn't a large number of shops? (Also of course any shop that specializes 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.
There are now 42 + shops listed in out - of - the - way places, from Abidjan to Ghana to Peru! Be sure to check out the HUBB "Repair shops around the world" forum if you need work done!
Joerg Hau has a very nice page on how to overhaul a BMW gearbox in your own workshop, including a lot of clear photos, drawings (and links to drawings) of the few necessary tools etc.
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'd 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.
Brett Dean and Dave Sawtell, UK,
"Guys, I hope you can help us. We are currently in the middle of a London to Tokyo trip and in Central Asia, but we are in need of two new front tyres for our Triumph Tigers and will be in Almaty within three weeks. We have emailed a few of the larger tyre companies but no reply as yet. Any suggestions tips or hints. We will be out of email range after the 24 of August for about two weeks as we will be in Tajikistan. We know this is a long shot, but it is worth a try. Brett Dean and Dave Sawtell."
Simon Kennedy, Ireland, writes to the HU New York Community:
"Hello, I am a RTW traveller currently in the USA. During August I will be flying home to London for a few weeks from NY. I need somewhere to store my motorcycle in NYC during this time. Can you help? Thanks in advance, Simon"
Jo-Anne Smith writes to the HU Porto Alegre Community:
"I am travelling to Brasil on a BMW F650, (from Canada) now I am in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. I am crossing from Bolivia to Carceres. After visiting the Pantanal I may go up to Santarem on the BR 163. Do you know this road, is it open? I look forward to your advice. Thank you. Jo"
Plenty more questions and answers on the HU Bulletin Board! We've over 2,700 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.
Arlen Aas writes on the HUBB about buying a bike in Chile and registering it:
"I'm from USA (Minnesota). Bought a KLR650 ($4700US for a 2000) from a Kawasaki dealer in Temuco (500 miles south of Santiago-cheap bus ride from the airport) Chile, via email. Registered in my name and keeping it there for multiple return trips. Totally reliable and trustworthy family operated dealer. Dealer there has good supply of all makes and helpful to foreigners. (His dealership is across the street from US Embassy!!)
Two Italians purchased new ones there too and have them stored there after a visit to Ushuaia. I have not made arrangements to sell by bike back to dealer, but I am quite sure that it can be done. Its possible that you'd have to wait for the funds until he sold it or take a hit by taking less than its worth but that's part of the adventure.
Registration is easy as long as you have a RUT (their social security number), which is free and easy to get. The RUT (Chilean Social Security Number) can be obtained from a local government agency (Servicio de Impuestos Internos, SII). You need a local mailing address. You get a temporary RUT card and are sent a permanent one in 40 days. The temporary one is considered as official as the permanent one as it has stamps and signatures etc on it. The RUT will allow you to purchase a vehicle etc as it is an avenue for you to be able to pay sales tax.
Crossed into Argentina, Bolivia, Peru etc with Chilean title and no problems. Many people will tell you that you can't buy a bike there. It's not true. Visiting Chile and Argentina is easy and very rewarding..."
Ed. In response to my inquiry about contact details for the dealer, Arlen writes:
"The dealer in Temuco Chile is enthusiastic about expanding his business to the world. He does, however, in a way live in a smaller world and may be overwhelmed and possibly discouraged if he receives lots of people 'shopping' with little intent of taking the next step. Any HUBB participant is welcome to contact me via email or phone (320-587-0728) with any questions regarding purchase of a bike from the dealership. There has been at least two who have done so. I may be better able to explain the steps involved in getting proper paperwork to get the bike registered in their name etc. Carlos the owner is familiar with getting it done with a local person but has not had the experience as I have had only because I had to struggle through it."
Katharina, Germany, Germany to Malaysia, posts on the HUBB about which bike for women riders:
"I am female and I have been travelling now 15 months. I have a Suzuki DR 350 SHC. SHC means I can pump it up or lower it down. If it is down I get both feet easily on the floor. Depends on the situation. It is not the most comfortable or sexy bike, but it is light and easy to handle. I can pick it up with most luggage. For me this is important for travelling alone. If you want to do some off road and go out of the beaten track (otherwise you can go backpacking) you must be able to handle it by yourself. Don't listen to people who tell you that you must be a mechanic before you leave. Learning by doing is the answer and you will find always someone who helps you at least on these pages! If you want a bigger bike, think about the DR 650, Iris and Trui have it, or the Kawasaki KLR or the Dominator. I wouldn't ride a Transalp or African Twin, too high, too heavy, too big, not easy to handle. I met one woman on a Transalp, she was a good biker and could handle it, but she was not happy with it! Have a look on my website or ask me further questions!"
Tiberio Jaramillo responds to an inquiry about safe routes for travellers in Colombia:
"I think that if you take care in your riding times and precautions that will not be a problem, May I suggest a route for you in Colombia.
Cartagena, nice city, no good beaches, Santa Marta a vacation spot for Colombians, Taganga is a small fishing village very nice stay there, from Taganga ask for ride near the base of the walking path to Ciudad Perdida, live the bike on a paid parking or at the fire station, is always good to ask for example at the fire station or police station on how is the situation on the path to ciudad Perdida, I think you can take a bus from Taganga to the bottom part of the path, now I will recommend you to ask abut going to Cabo de la vela, this is the route go to Rioacha and ask direction to Cabo de la vela, sometimes the road is bad, you may be able to get a 4x4 to take there and see the Indians and some beautiful scenery.
Bogotá is a big city so I will recommend you go back to Cartagena from Santa Marta and go towards Medellin. taking this road: Cartagena, Maria la Baja, Tolu Viejo, Sincelejo, Planeta Rica, Caucasia, Yarumal, Santa Rosa de Osos, Medellin, Pintada (good campground in weekdays not on weekends), La Felisa, Irra, Santagueda, Chinchina, Santa Rosa de Cabal (good hot springs, do not sleep at the hot spring stay in Santa Rosa it is cheaper), Pereira, Salento, Montenegro, Cartago, (ask for carretera Panorama), Cali, Popayan, Pasto, Ipiales, ECUADOR.
Places to stay safe South of Cartagena will be Caucasia, In Medellin there is hostel if you need info please let me know, I have good friends that you can call and have fun, do you like this type of deal ask and I will send tel numbers and names. If you do not like big city stay in Pintada campground. Santa Rosa is nice place to rest and have a hot spring pool, the best one is the authentic Arbelaez hot spring or the old hot springs. Other place I am sending you is Salento a small town a hidden treasure for bike riders. Once in Salento ask for direction to Valle de Cocora is about 10 Km from town but is very nice and if you like take a horse ride to El Divisadero or the house of the park, good fish there, from there you may go to Cali nothing to see you may stay in Buga in the Regidor hotel, Popayan is interesting for old architectural housing.
SPECIAL NOTES. Ride in the mornings, never after 4 pm., good food where ever you see truckers or buses, when ever you stop look to the sides, now from Cali to south is like this, Cali or Buga leave very early morning 6 am and go to Popayan, Try not to stop too much in this road, and from Popayan to Pasto or Ibarra it can be done in one day leave again at 6 am with a full tank and eating because this is the only place I will ask not to stop, only for emergency and some photos, beautiful road and mountains, once you get to Pasto Airport you are safe, it has been a long time that nothing happens but is better to be safe, do not forget at all times whenever somebody asks for your nationality say loud and clear AUSTRALIA. If you decide to go to Bogotá instead let me know to suggest which roads to take. Right now I am in san Francisco USA, but anything that I can do for you from here is always free. Tiberio."
Annette and John are offering two free bike crates in Brisbane , Australia, around late July / early August.
"Free crates!! Hi, we are shipping our two BMW R80GS´s to Brisbane. We ended up paying a guy at the docks to make us two crates. Very good job if we must say. So if there is anybody out in or near Brisbane, Australia who wants two crates FREE OF CHARGE you can contact us and they are yours !!! You collect from the port." Contact Annette and John for more details.
Iris and Trui write in detail on the HUBB about the procedure for getting a visa for Iran.
Peter Slarke (aka Oz) writes on the HUBB about a huge hassle with US Customs when he shipped his bike from UK to Anchorage via Los Angeles:
"26 June - I am awaiting my bike in Anchorage. it should have been here 3 weeks ago but due to the incompetence of Frontier Forwarding it got impounded in LA customs, has cost me $460 (125 of which was customs clearance fees and unavoidable) on top of the 920 pounds paid to ship it, and it is still not here.
1 July - the bike arrived yesterday at long last. I have had two weeks of hanging around waiting plus the costs associated with this, $460 in customs clearing costs and have spent $40 on phone calls. The bike arrived in LA three weeks before I learned of its arrival. I was not contacted to say that I had customs clearance to complete, the only contact from Frontier Forwarding concerned the delivery address. The bike was impounded by customs because it sat there so long. I had to pay for the storage and impounding fees, a total of $460 above the freighting costs. Frontier Forwarding had told me the bike would customs clear in anchorage. They knew the transfer would be in LA to get it to Anchorage. Would you expect a company that 'specialises' in shipping bikes to know that the first time it enters the US, the customs need to clear it. Frontier Forwarding didn't, in fact when initially asked about compliance formalities for the us the agent Anthony did not have a clue."
Chris Bright (RTW - 1999-2002) offers his usual blunt but good advice:
"I've had the misfortune of dealing with several freight agents/ shipping companies/ airlines regarding moving my bike around the world. Just about without exception, NONE of them knew the precise procedure for where I wanted to leave from (i.e. their home turf!) or where I wanted to go. Basically they all want your money and are a bunch of muppets. All you can really do is find out in advance from the HUBB and the trip planning section, and tell the clowns how to do their job do and don't pay them until they have. Enjoy, ChrisB"
Request for info
Wouldn't YOU like to know all about the border you're approaching - what it should cost, paperwork required, 'tips' needed, and who to talk to, etc.?
When you cross ANY border, take some notes, and pass them on to us. Thanks!
If you have any information to contribute, there is a form at the bottom of the page which you can submit and we will put it on the page. Thanks!
The US State Department regularly issues updated travel advisories, information and/or warnings.
Doris Maron, Canada, RTW, in Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, Honda Magna 750,
"I have safely crossed Pakistan and Iran, and am now in Turkey. I had some interesting events in Pakistan – like breakfast and chai with two highway patrol officers, a police escort from DG Khan to Mekhtar (I felt like a visitor to the queen!), and a dead bike in the middle of the desert. Pakistan is a wonderful country to travel in. People here are the most hospitable people I've met in all of Asia.
June 10th, my last 300 kilometers across the desert before I reach the Pakistan/Iran border. The morning starts out good but soon the wind picks up. It's blowing so hard that my jaw hurts from the pressure of my helmet. Sand stings my neck and wrist where my skin is exposed. After another stop for roadside fuel my bike again starts to act up. This time it is really bad. I stop and check the oil - the level is still good. When I start out again I only get a few meters and it dies! Here I am in the middle of the desert, temperatures close to 50°, 100 kilometers from the border and my last fuel stop, and my bike dies! Now what to do??
I remembered reading an article on the Horizons Unlimited web site by a rider who had a similar problem. He said it turned out to be a loose battery cable. Well, I'm not a mechanic, but I do know a little bit so I figured I'd start there. I unload all my gear to remove the seat and guess what??? the battery cable is loose. It had jiggled loose from all the rough construction stretches I'd come through. I tighten the bolt and pray that this is the only problem. Sure enough, when I hit the starter it purrs like a Honda.
Iran - I finally got my visa for Iran by going through Sireh Tours via the internet. I contacted Ramin and he did all the work. He said it would take about ten days – it actually took almost three weeks but it was very easy. Ramin sent the reference number to the Iran embassy in Quetta and I just had to pick it up (after filling out the standard info form and paying the fee at the bank).
Not many people speak English in Iran and I hated wearing the dreaded scarf. If I were an Iranian woman I would start a women’s liberation movement for sure! Iran has the best highways I’ve ridden on. Some of that oil money is going to the right places. The most beautiful areas were in the north going through the mountains and along the Caspian Sea.
It’s now July 10th and I’ve been in Turkey over two weeks. It’s such a beautiful country with so much history that it’s hard to travel through quickly. I thought I would be across Turkey in two weeks, but it seems I’m traveling very slow these days and making more sightseeing stops than I expected."
Maarten Munnik, Netherlands, around the world, in Australia, Honda Africa Twin,
"With a dull sound the pick hit the ground... Even though I had put all my power in the blow, the point just sank a few cm in the hard rocky ground. With a dusty arm I wiped some sweat from my forehead where sweat and dust had created little streams of mud. The sun burned on my aching back as I raised the pick for another blow in the rocky ground... It was all there... Sun, dust, sweat, blood, blisters... all that was missing was a chain on my ankles and a guard with a shotgun.
What went wrong this time? Was I finally arrested for vagrancy? Or did I commit a real crime? Nope... nothing like that... I was testing my skills as a prospector... looking for gem's... Zircons, to be precise. To do this slave labour I had paid.... Yes, I know, I probably was in the sun too much without my hat.
The work was hard... especially because I was alone. Most people do this in a team... while one is hacking and collecting gravel, the other is washing and sorting ... I had to do it all. Loosen the hard gravel-rock, collect the gravel and dirt in a bucket and throw it in a sieve. With huge dust-cloths sifting the sand and dust out until only stones remain. They go in a smaller sieve to be washed... again by me... and then they get rinsed... yep, again by me. And then... put on a sorting board by me to be sorted by me. But... then again, all the profit would be for me.
And profit there was... At the end of the day I had about 40 stones from which I suspected some would be real gems... and some would just be quartz... appetite as they call it. I ended up with 3 stones which, after cutting, would be around 3/4 carats zircons. Not bad for a day's work I would say. The stones will be cut and sent to me. So this adventure actually made money!
... On to Mt Isa, which is the largest town in the world with 41.000 square Km. The same size as Switzerland. There I witnessed a show called Bob Cat Dancing. Now, a bobcat (as I learned) is a small ground-moving machine on 4 wheels. With it (3 of them) they had made a show, a musical. The little things were really dancing, balancing on 2 wheels, making pirouettes on two wheels, doing synchro dancing stuff on great music. ...and all free of charge. It was great!!!!
... the Pink Roadhouse is the only place in the desert where you can rent canoes ... a very reassuring idea... whenever the desert fills up with water... I know where to get my canoe. The guys (or girls) of the pink roadhouse are also responsible for many road-signs... some useful ('painted desert 50 Km')... and some less useful ('New York 5478 Km')... and some just not true ('Giant ants') Unless they are invisible? ... But then the sign should say 'Invisible giant ants'... However I did find robo-lizard... which was not signposted...
... Right now I am working at a medium-size (330 square km, 2,500 cows) cattle-station. Mustering (driving cattle) on a dirt-bike and loving it."
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Merritt Grooms, USA and Pierre Saslawsky, France, across Africa, in Ethiopia, BMW F650's,
"Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, is the 3rd largest city in all of Africa (5 million), yet there are donkeys trotting through busy intersections, and sheep-herders guiding 50 head of sheep through traffic. The city has more public transportation - taxis, minibuses and buses - than I have ever seen in my life. If you can't fit all the people in, just hang them out the doors and windows... Both New York and Paris pale. Our favorite mode is the minibus. One guy drives like crazy, another hangs out the sliding door, constantly screaming out the destination, 'Bolé! Bolé!'. When there is a group of them, it sounds like an auction house. Riding in them feels like a video game. 'How close can you come without running-over someone?' is its name. Sometimes I close my eyes, but I get car sick, and since Pierre doesn't like it when i throw up on him, I keep them open.
Anyway, we are So sososososo glad to reach a big city, good food and a stellar hotel room. We rejoice! Look- water- Look!- toilet paper and hangers even!-towels and a trash can! no way and a bath tub! Our bed spread is bright pink and the former possession of some teenage girl from the 70s, complete with hearts and ruffles. There are high ceilings, nice lighting and gardens outside. I feel so at home.
Pierre and I have realized that both of us have been sick to a greater or lesser degree over 50% of the time since leaving France. Usually food is the maligner. Lord knows what monster lives within us. The past few nights I took the moribund, skinny beau out to a horn-o-plenty. As you can see, the volume of food seems too much to be able to fit into Pierre's internal real estate.
But the whole point of being here is rejuvenation. So for our third outing, we went to the Sheraton's ultra-schmancy Inn. We came here for martinis and massage, which does kind of ruin the built-up panorama of an African adventure, but you should have seen us after 4 months. We were a mess on the outside and even worse on the inside. I am sure the only reason they let us past their guards and screening devices is because we are a part of that dumb white-people class. Inside we had a Swedish massage ($18) and an all you can eat, five-star buffet of a king ($20). Kingly prices in Ethiopia. We are so spoiled and wimpy after one day that I am ready for the life of a face-lifted, poodle-holding, WASP girl.
... Our next leg will be to head straight south into Kenya. We have been off our bikes so long that today I stood next to mine and thought, 'I can't ride that thing, it's too big!' It feels like it's been a year. What a puss."
Simon McCarthy and Georgie Simmonds, UK to Asia, in Nepal, BMW R100GS,
"... there was a certain 40th birthday to be celebrated. Having opened all five of his presents (four new T-shirts and a second-hand siamese cat detective murder-mystery novel) we headed out for a day trip to Pulchowki rhododendron forest. We slowly climbed up to 2,700m on the bike with not a bloom in sight until we got ignominiously stopped by the army. We were informed that we couldn't continue any further. We pleaded our cause and the young army guys melted. 'OK then, we will go and pick some flowers for you because if our big boss sees you we will be in trouble' the only English speaker offered. 'Are you sure we can't accompany you' I whined. 'Alright then'. At that we followed 3 guys in combats and with shooters into the forest single file. Wait a minute, this felt deja-vu and a little bit dodgy. My mind raced as I imagined that these were not innocent army guys but Maoist rebels (more about them later) and they were taking us hostage. However, needing to trust them they led us further through the undergrowth. Suddenly they stopped and one guy was ordered to remove his body armour and shooter. To our amazement soon he was scaling a tree 20m high and was picking us blooms. In England rhododendrons are bushes but in their native habitat they are huge trees. After a photo call we headed back. In the evening we celebrated at the Everest Steak House. Superb rump steaks imported from India (sacred cow and all that) and chips for the princely sum of 4 USD.
... We took a 100km tortuous but beautiful route over the mountains (to Chitwan National Park). Simon was 100 metres in front, all was going well as we took the bends and enjoyed the scenery. I approached a standard bend, as I exited it I thought I could hear rain on my helmet. But no water to be seen. A few metres later on I realised that the noise was that of an insect buzzing around my helmet. No, not one but several. I stopped the bike and realised that bees were swarming around me. You can't plan for that scenario so I quickly had to decide what to do as they started stinging my neck. I had to abandon the bike and start running, taking off my helmet and screaming for Simon. They stung my hands, neck, throat and scalp. 'Luckily' Simon had been stung as well and had stopped further on down. God knows how long I would have had to wait until he realised that I wasn't following him if he hadn't been attacked as well. Simon struggled to pick up his own bike (dropped during his efforts to rid the beasts) and rode back to pick me up like a knight in shining armour. We rode as fast as we could brushing off the bees until we were clear. Then we had to retrieve his helmet and my bike and stuff. We did this on several sweeps of the area since the bees were still around. Not a pleasant experience. My head and neck were extremely painful and we had to remove some 16 barbs still left in my skin. Luckily I carry antihistamine tablets in my bag so we both popped one. We wondered what had prompted the attack. Simon recalled watching some kind of hawk at the bend where the bees swarmed, and we subsequently learnt that it was probably a Honey Kite known to attack hives! Seven days on and the swelling had subsided but the itching was annoying. Looking back on the incident now I think we should have tried to outrun the bees. By stopping and removing our helmets only allowed the insects to regroup and get caught up in our (my) hair."
Check out all their stories on Simon and Georgie's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!
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André Lomme, New Zealand, India to Germany, in Pakistan, R100GS,
27.07.03 After a rainy start in McLeod Ganj it got very hot again in Amritsar, where Mrs Bhandaris Guest House is a great place to stay if you want to camp in a beautiful, quiet garden. The town itself is a bit scary, haven't seen so many policemen and guns on the whole trip.
Dalbir arrived on his Honda and after some sightseeing, (the Golden Temple very impressive), we were on the way to the border. When we arrived the border just closed (16.00), so we waited anyway to see the bodyguards closing the gate. It is like carnival, lots of people on both sides of the border, singing and dancing and waving flags. After one more night in Amritsar we crossed the border the next morning with no major problems (thanks Ralf I got your message from the Pakistan customs people ) and it was a special day as well, the first bus route between Lahore and Delhi since 5 years.
Then in Lahore it took us a long time to find a place to stay, a lot of places were closed. Ended up camping in the garden of a big hotel where at night the bus from Delhi arrived so a lot of reporters and people and of course we smelly on dirty bikes. It didn't take long and we had to give the first short interview.
The next day was spent walking from one bazaar to the next to find a front tyre for the BMW. After a couple of hours then I got a used but good Dunlop, 21' is a hard thing to find. It took half a day to get the application in for the Iran visa. First to the German embassy to get a 'Letter of Recommendation', That cost nothing, then back to the Iranian, application form, waiting and the info to come back in 11 days.
So there was plenty of time to go up north on the KKH. From Islamabad via Murree and Batram to Gilgit. The KKH goes beautifully through the mountains with excellent views. The road was in a good condition but closer to Gilgit landslides across the road where more common. Gilgit is a nice, quiet town and a good place to stay is the 'Madina Guesthouse' with a nice big garden."
Ed. For more stories, see André's blog on Horizons Unlimited.
Lois Pryce, UK, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, in California, Yamaha XT225 Serow,
"Two months ago, as I battled through the snow in Alaska, my toes and fingers numb from the cold, I would boost my flagging morale by singing Beach Boys songs, picturing the sun, sea and sand of the Promised Land ahead. And here I am at last. Sunny California, proving to be everything I had dreamt of. I have been fortunate enough to have been hosted admirably every step of the way by a combination of old friends and strangers who have become friends. The sheer number of kind, helpful people never fails to astound me and has prompted me to set up a 'Thanks' page on my website to publicly display my appreciation of all these generous people.
... The Bay Area was calling me and it really was a thrill to ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and see San Francisco and the bay laid out before me, shimmering in the sunshine. The city's hippie past is still very much a part of its identity and obviously plays a major part in creating the relaxed and liberal atmosphere that San Francisco is famous for.
My ultimate San Francisco moment occurred in the middle of one particularly hot and sticky Saturday night. I was staying with an old friend in his tiny flat, deep in the heart of downtown San Francisco. He lives on the fifth floor of a big old apartment building that backs on to yet more big old apartment buildings, all of them seemingly jostling for space with one another. The view from the bedroom window is a classic cityscape - a jumble of dangerous looking metal fire escapes and other people's bedroom windows. It was around 3am when I heard the sound: Swish! Followed immediately by a woman's voice:
'Aarrgghh!'. Then again. Swish!
'Crikey! What's going on?' I enquired of my friend? 'Oh, it's just the neighbours in the opposite block. They're always at it, whipping and screaming' he said nonchalantly. 'There's a woman across the way that walks around topless with the curtains open too' he informed me. The rent may be high but he's happy there...
Los Angeles provided a welcome haven and a great place to work on the bike in preparation for the more uncertain terrain ahead. I fitted a new clutch, new tyres and a big, loud horn to inform those drunken truck drivers of my presence.
If you ever find yourself bored and listless, you could waste a couple of minutes by clicking on the following link: www.jath.com and watch me arseing around on the bike and giving a short interview here in LA.
... After nearly two months of Californian luxury I head into Mexico, crossing the border at Tijuana and riding south through the desert climes of the Baja peninsula. I have met up with a young lady named Rachel who is also riding her 250cc motorcycle into Mexico, so we will be travelling together for a while. The best bit of news is that she speaks Spanish. Ole! A full, tequila fuelled update coming soon. Adios amigos! Senorita Lois"
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Tiffany Coates, UK, around the world, in Brasil, R80G/S,
"I set off from Manaus, riding with Raymundo Huerta (from Mexico) on his Harley Davidson - yes, it did look an odd combination, a BMW and a Harley travelling on the road north through the jungle. We headed down to the Orinoco River and then to Angel Falls - this involved leaving the bikes in Ciudad Bolivar and flying across the jungle in a light aircraft before heading up-river, trekking and by boat, spending two night sleeping in the jungle in hammocks and listening to the noises around us while fending off an over curious monkey. It was definitely worth it to see this spectacular waterfall, the highest in the world - almost a kilometre-high sheer fall of water.
In Caracas, Ray left his bike in the Harley workshop for the day and so was a pillion passenger for several hours -the Tiff & Thelma White Knuckle Ride as it is known in various corners of the world. It was quite a learning experience for him, he has never been a passenger on a woman's bike before and he also added to his knowledge of colloquial English as I 'communicated' my displeasure with some of the cars around us that were not showing sufficient respect. Caracas is like Dodge City without the sheriff - after seeing a gun being pulled out at what I thought was a minor road rage incident (not involving me I hasten to add), I am now being very careful about not picking arguments with people I don't know.
Other than that, I am enjoying the diversity that Venezuela has to offer - I have been to the Andes mountains for some trekking and rode Thelma over a 4000 metre mountain pass - VERY cold in my summer gear. I have also been to Los Roques National Park - pristine Caribbean Islands 100 kms off the coast where I was snorkeling and diving. I celebrated my one year on the road with some other travellers in a Bar in Caracas - one of the travellers had been unfortunate enough to be pick-pocketed within 4 hours of arriving in the city from Europe.
... ironically I was actually walking along with Peter the Swede (having been wandering around on my own for weeks) when I sensed something was up and told him to move away from me - he had been on the receiving end of some of my self defence lectures lately so he did as I said and then this bloke suddenly lunged at me and grabbed my (cheap) watch - which amazingly didn't come off. I was SO angry with him that I ran after him to hit him - but then he looked so scared when I got him cornered that I just shouted at him. Meanwhile Peter the Swede is standing there with his mouth hanging open not quite taking in what was going on! Hopefully that little incident will be a warning to all the local muggers not to mess with me."
Ed. See Tiffany's blog here on Horizons Unlimited for more great stories.
Arno Backes and Sian Mackenzie, Germany and UK, Australia via USA to South America, in Brasil, on BMW R100GS PD and Yamaha XT600E,
"Florianópolis is a city perched on the tip of Ilha de Santa Catarina. We ended up staying on the south of the island for a couple of days before going back to explore the city and meet up with Cicero and Lourdes, the couple we had met on Ruta 3 in Patagonia. They took us along to a bike meeting of 'General Custom', one of many bike clubs in the city. We were treated like star guests, given t-shirts, stickers and met lots of other riders including members of Cicero's club, The Toupeiras. We made a few important contacts and were even interviewed for a local TV programme. Being a Saturday, a huge Feijoada was on the menu, our first taste of this popular Brazilian dish. It is a stew made from beans and pretty much all of a pig except its grunt.
After the food, it was time for a coffee, at a place on the other side of the island! so about 30 bikes rode around the island, great fun! On the way back to the city, we all stopped above Lagoa to take some photos.
The evening wasn't over, next on the agenda was a party at the house of João Goncalves or Gau to his friends. Gau is well known in Brazil for his travels by motorcycle and the walls of his house were covered in photos and newspaper clippings, charting his trips. The earliest through the Amazon on a Harley, the most recent a round trip from Ushuaia to Alaska and back on an F650. A very interesting person to meet and chat to.
We had been invited by Alemão to go on a short trip up into the mountains. Had to backtrack down the BR101, then at Tubarao headed into the mountains and towards São Joaquim. The road slowly wound up and up, suddenly we were in the clouds and the road was doing a serpent impression, it hair-pinned up the mountain for another few km's, the clouds cleared and we could see this amazing road snaking down below us.
A few brave lorry and coach drivers were slowly descending, the corners so tight, that at each turn they had to stop and reverse a few metres before being able to get around. When we reached the top, the cloud came in again and as we peered over the edge, we could see nothing but a white fluffy blanket."
For more stories, check out Arno and Sian's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!
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Nelson Oliveira, Canada, to South America, in Mexico, F650GS,
"I met Helena in Toronto at a friend's party and promised that I would be visiting her on my way to South America. The travel guide to Mexico mentioned the road from Mazatlan to Durango as a very tortuous road across the Sierra Madre Occidental. Shortly after Mazatlan, the road climbs steadily up in never ending turns, high above the deep cut valleys of the Sierra. It wouldn't be such a bad road, if it weren't for the thick fog and the many heavy trucks, that climb up at a snail's pace. For most of the way, it was not possible to go faster than about 40km/h. In the afternoon, I reached the highest elevation at over 2000m and the vegetation changed to dense pine forests.
A few kilometres after El Salto, I ran into the most bizarre scene. The road descended into a big, open valley which was completely covered with brown water. All this water was draining through a single hole that passed beneath the road. On the other side, the water was gushing out in giant waves. I hadn't felt more scared than here. Further ahead, water covered the road and I stopped, fearing I might have to stay here for the night. After taking some pictures, and seeing how even bicycles were able to cross the not so deep water, I crossed myself. Shortly after the water, I couldn't believe my eyes. At the side of the road were piles of hail. This was very weird. Shouldn't I have been in a tropical environment? Well, the weather did improve later and despite of some rain, I reached Durango just before nightfall.
Helena invited me to stay with her and her family at her parent's house. I thought I might stay for a few days, possibly a week, and then continue further south towards Mexico City.
... I am writing this chapter here in Durango a month after I initially arrived. What was supposed to be just a few days, turned into weeks. Well, there is a reason behind this. I fell in love with Helena. Without getting into details, we are now dating. It changed and will change a few things in my life. I'm still planning to finish my trip, though first I want to finish my journey through the Americas and then see where I want to be next in my life..."
Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, around the world since 1996, in the USA, on a Harley Davidson,
"Dave Barr was the first person to ride a Harley-Davidson around the world, a 1972 Shovel model, 85000 miles, 48 countries, between 1988 and 1992. His feat even more special as he had lost both legs in a mine explosion in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) some years earlier. His metal prosthetic legs still allow him to walk and operate a conventional motorcycle but he says the effort required to do anything is at least double. A mutual respect between us brought us together today with exploits and stories from around the world. It takes people who have had similar experiences whatever the field to really appreciate others adventures. Dave along with us had been invited by Chris Beattie to welcome the 350 Australians with their over 200 motorcycles to San Francisco in the U.S.A. They are the first group of 500 who will be coming across to tour the states and end up at the 100th anniversary of production of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle, in Milwaukee at the end of August. The jet lagged group dribbled through the hotel foyer all afternoon and it was uncanny to hear so many Aussie accents in one place overseas.
A Harley rider without a motorcycle for up to two months goes through withdrawal symptoms and when reunited its worse than two lovers after a similar separation. Busses ferried the riders from the hotel with their gear and by 11 am all were loaded and ready to ride. Despite the tenseness and anxiety of not knowing if your bike was there or damaged things ran pretty smoothly. The police stopped traffic and escorted the 200+ motorcycles through the city and had blocked off all traffic across one side of the Golden Gate Bridge, shrouded in thick fog, and then across the San Raphael Bridge before leaving us to our own devices to head for Arlen Ness's welcoming party. Some motorcycles ran short of petrol to be topped up by the sweep car, others took the wrong road but all eventually arrived. Arlen Ness's new workshop and showroom put on a free lunch, tee-shirt and live band plus a facility tour, all designed around his magnificently sculptured motorcycles. Dave Barr and us lead a group of about 30 motorcycles down to Big Sur for the official welcoming, most camping, a great dinner and live band."
Ed. The Forwood's have been to 143 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North and South America. Horizons Unlimited is proud to host their entire trip story here.
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Steffen Utzmann, Germany, across Canada to Alaska and to South America, KTM 640 Adventure,
"I am having a grand time here in Canada. The Trans-Canadian Highway from Thunder Bay to Calgary was a long ride. In Calgary I was just in time for the Calgary Stampede. I was very lucky to be there at this major event, thus for sure I spent a day to see my first rodeo. And there was everything: bull riding, horse riding, chuck wagon races and a world class night show on a big stage. I was expecting all the cowboy stuff, but I didn't expect a 2-hour Broadway style show. It was just great!
... the 'Alcan' aka Alaska Highway was the road to take. From Dawson Creek to Whitehorse, just around Coal River I saw my first herd of Buffalo on the street. As well as later in Yukon and Alaska, black bear, caribou, sheep, eagles. I spent a couple of days on a side trip to Dawson City and the Dempster highway: 6 Celsius, rain, muddy road, monster bugs, camping in a Provincial Park Kitchen house, using a head protecting mosquito net at all stops... Nevertheless I rode it in 2 days. Not too bad for about 1600km of gravel. I didn't do any sightseeing up in Inuvik, but anyway the whole trip up the Dempster Highway was for the challenge and the crossing for the Arctic Circle by bike. In addition, I broke my personal record: over 1000km on a gravel road in one day.
From Dawson City I rode on the Top of the World Highway into Alaska. Nice road partly gravel and the most northern border crossing into the USA. Only the big Campers and RV are a bit troubling up there. If it's dry it can be really dusty. In Fairbanks I had my true Alaskan experience. I asked a woman working on painting a house for directions to the local KTM shop. And guess what? I spent 4 nights in her guesthouse. Helping her paint a house, did an airboat trip on the river, had a BBQ, and watched a show in Fairbanks. Thanks a lot Jeannine for sharing the Alaskan way of life with me.
In Stewart I meet Jose, a biker from Paris on a Honda Africa Twin. He is heading as well for Tierra del Fuego. We teamed up and rode to Hyder, Alaska together. There we meet two Grizzlies on the road and went up to see some Glaciers. We continued to ride together from Stewart to Whistler, BC where we split up as he is going to see Vancouver Island now and I am heading directly for Vancouver."
Frank Schellenberg, Netherlands, to South Africa, in Tanzania
"After a couple of tries, I think it was the third time again, I managed to leave Zanzibar. Instead of going to the mainland by dhow, this time I decided to take the ordinary ferry from Stonwe town to Dar Es Salaam.
I can now tell you, take a dhow! It's much easier, and a lot cheaper, even if you have to pay a bribe to the police arriving on either side. I left Zanzibar with Andy, one of the other Dive Masters in training that can call himself Dive Master now, on the night ferry. The next morning we arrived in Dar and all of a sudden low deck became high deck on that side of the harbour so the bike was 5 meters up.
With a bridge lifted to that height I managed to drive the bike off. After that all kind of harbour paperwork and such was coming my way, so there and then I decided that if it is possible to fly my bike back home, that's going to be the way.
In Dar my passenger for the next few weeks was waiting. Yes, I am going to try to go 2-up for a while. She hopefully will make the tarmac stretches ahead of me a bit more interesting. A short intro: Her name is Josette and met her in Nungwi Zanzibar, was on a Oasis Trans Africa overland truck and got tired of sitting in the truck so..."
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Mark Moors, Canada, in Namibia,
"Namibia was mostly sand dunes and desert. I have come to love such landscapes and find them very beautiful, with the colours of the sand changing, depending on the position of the sun and the time of day. And deserts are not always hot. I did some camping through Namibia and the temperatures plummet at night. It is not uncommon to have daytime temps in the 30s and night temps a few degrees above zero.
I rejoined the highway in northern Namibia near the town of Ruacana, next to the Angolan border. I stopped at the intersection and brought out my mini air compressor to refill my tires (lower air pressure gives better traction when travelling on unpaved or sandy surfaces). Just as I was finishing filling my tires, a man showed up dressed in casual shorts and a shirt. There weren't any houses nearby, so I wasn't sure where he had come from. He introduced himself as Captain David of the Namibian Self Defence Forces. He was friendly and asked my about my bike and trip, but from the odour on his breath, it was clear he had been drinking. I was then ready to go and said I would take a picture of him and the little girl. Great idea, he said, and he promptly pulled a 9mm handgun out from his waistband and held it up in the air! One very quick photo later, I was booting it on out of there, not wanting to hang around a man under the influence with a loaded handgun.
One of my greatest memories of Africa so far is the reaction of children who are walking along side the road, usually coming or going to school, when I drive by. They all turn and stare and then break into enormous smiles. Everyone starts to wave and it seems like I have often ridden for hours with one hand constantly waving back to all these friendly faces.
My last night in Namibia was spent camping at a site in the Caprivi Strip, a long thin section of Namibia that extends across the north of Botswana. I was at Camp Ngemi on the Okavango River and went to sleep with the grunts and bellows of the hippos across the river as background noise. My campsite was at a safe location, but did you know that hippos are the most dangerous mammal in Africa, killing more humans than any other, including lions, elephants etc? They are very territorial and surprisingly quick.
It is necessary to drive through Chobe National Park in Botswana to get to the border with Zimbabwe. I signed in at the Park gate and continued on my way. There are a lot of elephants in the Park and their droppings are everywhere (believe me, you can't miss them). I only saw one, however, crossing the highway a good ways up ahead of me. When I reached the gate at the other end and was signing out, the Park Ranger said 'where are the rest of the vehicles in your convoy?' I said excuse me? He repeated the question. I said I didn't know what he meant. He said that motorcycles are not allowed to go through the Park alone, as some of the elephants, especially the females with young, are aggressive. Now they tell me! Actually, one can't help but feel quite exposed when riding a motorcycle in such situations, so I was planning on giving most wildlife a wide berth. And most wildlife parks that have some of the main predators such as lions, don't allow motorcycles, period. Something about meals on wheels..."
Ed. Yes, we got that story about meals on wheels when we drove through Chobe, but we think it is a 'rural legend'. The real person at risk is the idiot taking the picture!
Gregory Frazier, USA, in Alaska, KLR,
"Earth's End found me July 4th at the furthest point west on the North American continent: Anchor Point, Alaska. I spent much of my riding time in Alaska hunting 'tough stuff' trails for a return off-road expedition in 2004.
Although Alaska is promoted as America's 'Last Frontier,' the truth is most roads are paved or high-speed gravel. Each summer both are clogged with motor homes and trailers pulled by cars/pick-up trucks. Next are hordes of tour buses and campers. Alaska in summer has become the world's largest bus/recreational vehicle zoo.
In the first edition of my book ALASKA BY MOTORCYCLE I wrote I had not seen a clown on a unicycle riding to Alaska. This month I came close to the clown, that being a German guy on a foot operated push-scooter pumping down the Dalton Highway from Prudhoe Bay.
At Anchorage and Fairbanks motorcycle shops I photographed numerous wrecked motorcycles. The cause was often gravel, most in construction areas. Heavy and overloaded motorcycles piloted by inexperienced riders seemed to score the highest fall-downs.
I saw many animals, got too-close-up photographs of bears and moose, and was knocked off my motorcycle by a fish. Simple advice to travelers looking for honest adventure in Alaska: Get off the main roads, away from groups and tourists; keep your matches dry; carry a good tire repair kit, and stay away from bad wimmins. There is a story in those tips to be found in the next edition of my Alaska book."
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Frank Butler, Papua New Guinea, around the world in 1000 days, F650GS, in Thailand and Cambodia,
"Bangkok Police are something special... They have a very dubious rule about Motorcycles and which lanes they can use. Basically you can't leave the left hand lane even when turning right across four lane off traffic.
If you find this a little hard to implement then they will fine you 1,000 Baht about USD 24.00. However it is not their intention to inconvenience you by making you go to the Police Station to pay the fine (they explain this while brandishing your drivers license) so if you give them 200 Baht about USD 5.00 then no more will be said, and the nice thing is that they don't burden you with a receipt either - which is thoughtful. Luckily I only met two thoughtful Policemen in my time in Bangkok, so I suppose it wasn't that bad...
I am still in Phnom Penh, doing little day trips about the area and waiting for clerical matters to sort themselves out. There is plenty to see and do, I am about templed out, but the scenery is nice and the people are great fun.
Phnom Penh is at the meeting place of two rivers, the mighty Mekong and the Tonle Sap and I have gotten into the nasty habit of heading down to the Foreign Correspondents Club just before Sunset and having a couple of G and T's on the balcony as I watch the sky turn pink over this river junction below - lovely. Then it's dinner time... what to eat. Every other place along the river front, or for that matter through out town is a restaurant, a cafe, or noodle bar, all tastes, all budgets are catered for. Before coming here I thought that this would be something of a frontier town, but nothing is further from the truth, it is remarkable civilised and a very pleasant place to hang-out, it would be easy to get stuck here. That's why tomorrow I am taking the old 'two wheeled stallion' and heading a couple of hundred kilometres down the coast."
Simon Kennedy, Ireland, RTW, in USA, Transalp,
"A beautiful beautiful ride up Utah Highway 12--rough red fantasy landscape becomes soft ranch land plain becomes alpine twists. Phenomenal. Best road ever? Today it is. This land is amazing. In a day or two I have seen so much. Bryce Canyon is too expensive, and hell, the whole state is so marvellous there's no need to pay to get into a park. I underestimate distances again. I'm pushing that 85mph average again. It's okay flying past the cars, but there is a nagging doubt in my mind. Isn't there a reason why I shouldn't do this? Maybe something to do with safety? I am slowing slightly toward a junction when I see the flashing red lights in my mirror. That's when I meet Warren.
Yes it's 65 I tell him, and no I am not sure, I wasn't paying attention, but I guess it was too much or we wouldn't be talking. This formulation amuses him. The accent helps too. 'Well it is sixty as a matter of fact'. Oh dear. Warren goes into a concerned homily complete with slaps on the arm about the animals on the road that can do me harm. He's a veritable encyclopedia of local fauna. As he drifts towards a breakdown by genus, species and sub-species his eye catches my name on my licence, 'So you're a doctor hey'? 'Yes. An academic one though, not a medical one.' 'Still. It's an achievement. There're people out there who need you'; something that had never occurred to me, and I am not sure is true, but I nod like an eager puppy at feeding time, aware that this avuncular tone spells l.e.t.o.f.f. in a large gentle font. He spends five minutes in his black and white processing the details. He'd clocked 77mph, so no jail time for me. Instead he gives me a slip that includes the delightful phrase 'this is not a court summons, just a friendly warning from the Utah police about your driving'. Wonderful: a friendly warning from the state trooper. I don't ask him what do you call a man with a rabbit on his head. Instead I tell him that I will be a good boy, and I mean it."
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Didier Martin, France / Australia, around the world for World Vision, in Mongolia, F650GS,
"Because of the unscheduled expense of the shock absorber I had to make a radical change to my itinerary. I decided to bypass Japan and Canada altogether and to fly directly to the USA from here. I bought a ticket to San Francisco for US$700 for the 27th of July, the last day of my visa.
Then I had to organize a carrier for the bike. I used the biggest agent in Ulaan Baatar. I was told that it would cost me US$1300 to have my bike flown to San Francisco via China. I prepared the bike myself to save money. The next day World Vision helped me to deliver the bike to the airport. Everything seemed OK with the custom but the next day the agent called me to tell me that the Chinese could not accept the cargo as it was. They wanted an extra US$600 because it was a so call dangerous good. The only way to avoid the cost was to send it as motorcycle spare parts and to do that I would have to remove the tank and the battery. Removing the tank is quite easy on most bikes but on this one the tank is under the seat, a little complicated for me. I could not do it so I only removed the covers that look like a tank and prayed that the Chinese would not see it. Another complication is when the bike reaches the US, the custom will read spare parts on the invoice and will they agree to give it back to me. We shall see. I have taken some chances here, which might turn up to be a very big mistake.
... Breaking news that I have just received after arriving in San Francisco. The email reads: 'I would like to let you know that your motorcycle could not be shipped on Saturday from Ulaanbaatar, reason is: Mongolian Airline security inspectors had investigated that the fuel tank not out of motorcycle, according to the Dangerous Goods Regulation of IATA they refused to accept it by air and they going to impose fine to me for lying. Motorcycles are never shipped out by passenger aircraft from Mongolia, we do not have cargo aircraft.
Therefore, I am going to do the following steps. Ship the bike from UB to Beijing by railway. Then from Beijing to San Francisco by aircraft by Dangerous Goods rate. But you have to pay US$500 more, I will give you money details if you agree with payment.'
I have no idea what to do next and been so far from Mongolia does not make things easier. Are they ripping me off? How along will I be stuck in San Francisco? Will I ever see my bike again?"
Jan and Kathrin Loesche, Germany, around the world, DR800 and R80G/S,
"Many years already we dreamed to travel with the motorcycle around the world. As GDR - Citizens our possibilities were 'reduced'. Thus we planned at that time to travel to the Soviet Union. Then the turn, the borders was open and one played with the globe. We transferred from MZ to western journey Enduros (bikes), and now, years later, are we with BMW R80G/S and Suzuki DR800 Big. The original plan is a world route, which is to finally lead us across Asia, Australia, South America and across Africa again home...
Australia - here we are! Life's getting exciting again. Shipping bikes from Auckland to Sydney seemed too easy. Didn't have a good feeling. Arrived in Sydney we learned my carnet extension (done in NZ) isn't accepted by Australian customs '...your carnet is expired. You have to get a new one very soon'. What I learned hours later is the bank guarantee which covers my carnet is more or less 'gone'. Kathrin's bike is good for another outcry, our plan to import it to Aussie isn't going to work very well. (NZ customs: '...no worries mate...') To import any vehicle into Australia it has to be OUT of Australia while applying. Oops! As we couldn't get it out of customs we told the authorities '...it isn't in Australia yet!' We probably end up in prison for this! To answer our application it takes them up to 17 days. Meanwhile the bikes are in a warehouse. Within one week they will charge us A$85 per day. Ah... our camping gear is with the bikes... cheapest accommodation is A$20 per person. Already empty handed we have to see Salvation Army and a psychologist very soon. Meanwhile we're looking for jobs in Sydney. Maybe it will be all right."
That was 4 July, so I asked them what happened:
"We gave up already. Talking to them is as talking to the big rock. After one month (!) the Australian registration board sent us a letter: 'No!'
We shipped the bikes back to New Zealand! Now we're in Germany to sort our papers out. Maybe we will ship the bikes directly to South America. After nearly 3 years a big disaster! No more islands! By the way: thanks for your great home page! regards, Jan+Kathrin"
Ed. See the updated page on the Carnet de Passage and procedure for importing bikes into Australia - anybody going to Australia with bike, this is required reading!
One Year on the Road, Cinq Continents en Moto, by Manou Emringer and Ellen Spencer, in English and French. "This travelogue illustrated with over 400 photos follows their journey through North and South America, West Africa, Europe and Asia."
Available only through Manou and Ellen directly. Don't forget to tell them where you heard about it.
From Nordkapp to Cape York on a Motorcycle, by Werner Bausenhart. Werner, 66, was born in Germany and worked in Canada until his retirement. He has authored a number of books since getting bit by the motorcycle travel bug, including 8 Around the Americas by Motorcycle, Into the Den of the Bear and the Lair of the Dragon on a Motorcycle, and Africa Against the Clock on a Motorcycle.
Werner's latest book describes his travels from Nordkapp to Australia overland, and back to Canada to complete the RTW trip. Should be an inspiration to any of you who have been thinking you're too old to go around the world on a motorcycle!
All his books are available directly from Werner. Tell him we sent you and get US$5.00 off the regular US$20 price!
La Vuelta Al Mundo Por La Paz, America del Sur, Un Sueno que se hace Realidad, Ricardo Rocco Paz.
This book, in Spanish, with pictures, describes Ricardo's circumnavigation of South America. He also has a couple of videos!
"Más que una crónica de viaje, es un libro que relata las experiencias humanas; relata la viviencia emocional del autor-motociclista en un proyecto por la Paz y contra las drogas, dándole una motivación inspiracional a sus viajes."
Contact Ricardo directly for purchase details. Don't forget to tell him where you heard about it.
The Producers of Mondo Enduro present Terra Circa, Around the World by Motorcycle (6 x 20 minute episodes).
Regular readers of this newsletter will remember Terra Circa's adventures around the world, and especially the Zilov Gap. Now's your chance to see it in video. Austin Vince is a very funny guy and the video is hilarious, as he leads his intrepid crew through misadventure after misadventure.
"This is adventure motorcycling" says Chris Scott, who wrote the book, so he ought to know!
Contact Austin directly for the PAL video or CD. Don't forget to tell him where you heard about it.
Looking for a travel book for someone special?
There's links to Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, and Amazon Deutschland, so no matter where you are - you can order books at great prices, and we'll make a dollar or a pound or a Euro, which goes a very little way 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
Top Ten Excuses For Not Exercising
1. It is well documented that for every mile that you jog, you add one minute to your life. This enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $5,000 a month.
2. My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She's 97 now and we don't know where the heck she is.
3. I joined a health club last year, spent about 400 bucks. Haven't lost a pound. Apparently, you have to show up.
4. I have to exercise early in the morning before my brain figures out what I'm doing.
5. I don't exercise at all. If God meant us to touch our toes, he would have put them further up on our body.
6. I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.
7. I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.
8. The advantage of exercising every day is that you die healthier.
9. If you are going to try crosscountry skiing, start with a small country. And last but not least:
10. I don't jog; it makes the ice jump right out of my glass.
"Humans don't judge risks very well - there is always a bias against risks that we are not familiar with, even though those risks may be far smaller than the familiar ones we willingly and regularly take. (I know people who smoke, but are scared of eating beef for fear of CJD!).
If you don't go to the 'dangerous' countries, then
the landmine's won't get you, and the soldiers won't shoot you, and the
bandits won't murder you, and the malaria won't kill you. But instead you WILL
suffocate on a chicken bone, get hit by a bus, die of a stroke, or, dammit,
die of old age. Adventurers we be."
gets more nervous every time I log onto this site!"
"I just want you to know that even though my trips
are only in USA I have had a number of emails from folks that found my stories
interesting. Thanks for your marvellous newsletter. I find it encouraging
me to bike in Germany."
"I want to congratulate HU. This is a superb site
and quite a goldmine of info. Thank you for keeping it running!"
"Hello all. Just wanted to introduce myself a little
and rave on this site. I've cruised a long time, even before we were
to use the net and we called phone to phone to each other. And I must
say the international mix of users here is the most varied and useful
I've ever seen. Many Kudos to the Johnson's, very well done."
Thanks for providing the Horizons Unlimited site. I enjoy
the monthly travelers reports immensely. Looking forward to meeting you in
"Had a great visit with my first traveler who stopped
by. Daniel Toader stayed for 3 days, on his way now back out west, up to Alaska
and then to the BC-Canada meeting. I am grateful for having the opportunity
to meet him."
"Awesome site by the way, I love it."
"In an attempt to be the most sad I'd like to be
the first to say 'The HUUK 2003 meet was fantastic.' Met some really good
people who we'll stay in touch with, met Mr. (we're not worthy) Ted Simon
and of course Sir Grant J. Thanks to all those who organised the event -
it really is appreciated and also to the guys who organised the ride outs
(easy my ass!). Good to see a few more people who don't have to shave every
morning too (ladies). This time next year we'll be 6 months into our 5 year RTW
trip, largely thanks to this site."
"Hopefully you are having a great time in Europe
and catching up with some of those people who rely on the pair of you for
this great website and the inspiration it provides. Have a good time."
Ed. Well, Grant had a great time! Susan stayed home and soldiered on :-(
Susan: Thanks for all the work you do on the website.
It has no doubt allowed many travelers to enjoy more of the world as well
as allowing those who dream of doing it the joy of dreaming."
"I want to say you have a very nice site. What I
like about your board is that people are friendly and I haven't found a bunch
of bashing on the site."
"Many thanks to you and Susan for a fantastic site."
"The best online resource for worldwide long distance
adventure riding is Grant & Susan Johnson's website and e-zine."
"I live in Dawson Creek B.C. I am an avid biker dude who rides a Harley. I retire next year from my career as a professional Fire Fighter/Paramedic. I plan on traveling to as many countries as I can on my hog. In the meantime, I thought I would start paying my dues, research travel information and start planning. I found your website and you guys are doing a great job.
As part of the traveling biker community and in order
to meet, gather information from other bikers, I have started a new community
on your website. I've offered to assist, inform would be travelers who are
planning or who are presently heading up the Alaska Hiway. I will also start
a web page on your site when I can gather up some cool photos of the area."
"Thanks for your great site."
"My compliments on your organisation!"
Ed. It's just the two of us, Michiel, but we're very talented and hardworking ;-)
"Thanks for the blog and the web site as a whole.
invaluable to people with a wanderlust!"
"Grant & Susan I heard about your website at
the recent BMW Rally in Charleston - its great!"
"This is a wonderful site!"
"Your site is a blessing for me. I've long dreamt
of riding just such a bike, and after years of pining away, I'm nearly ready
to plunge in and buy a Kawasaki KLR 650, with plenty of fun-looking luggage.
Thanks for a great site."
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ISSN 1703-1397 Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' Ezine - Copyright 1999-2003, Horizons Unlimited and Grant and Susan Johnson. All rights reserved.
Redistribution - sending it on to friends 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: (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.
Sue Ebers and Mike Coan, USA, touring Europe, in France, Honda GTS1000,
"The heat wave has broken and we are back the typical showery weather pattern. From Paris, we headed east and spent a couple nights in Strasbourg, about 300 miles away and near the German border. It is a very picturesque area and has a very German feel; the names of the towns and the streets are German, the food is German but you are still in France. The older locals speak a patois mix of German and French which can still be heard.
After getting a new intercom installed (oh yay! It's so nice to have something that works right! It really is nice to be able to talk to each other as we ride), we rode through a sudden downpour to a town called Annweiler to find a hotel for the night.
It turned out to be a cute little town of old Fachwerk houses with a canalized river running through town powering mill wheels that a few hundred years ago provided power to the bark mill and tanners. Now the wheels have been converted and now turn the water's energy to electricity for the town. Other, more recent homes from the 1800's were built from an unusually colored dark rose pink sandstone found in this area. A castle called Trifels sits on a high peak overlooking town; an unusually plain square building with a steeply pitched roof of terra cotta tiles."
Katharina Eberl, Germany, to Indonesia and back across Russia, Suzuki DR350,
"After bad roads in Cambodia and Dengue fever in Laos I relaxed in Thailand. The border crossing from Cambodia to Laos is now possible without any permits. Only the roads in Northern Cambodia to the border are quite rough and there is no customs. But they don't care, so it is no problem.
In Thailand I went climbing near Krabi. There I parked my bike at the tourist police for a week, quite safe. After this beach time I shipped my bike from Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo. Now, I am in Tokyo waiting for my Russian visa. Katharina"
Nicolas "Chiacchio," Italy, through Africa on a GN250,
"Chiacchio" posted a question on the HUBB back in November 2001 -
"I'm planning to cross Africa by motorbike (Suzuki GN 250) from Tunisia to Cape Town, via Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, ... 8 months: 02/2002 to 09/2002. Is anybody interested? Nicolas ('72)"
Replies ranged from "A GN 250... Yikes!" to "You better be getting someone with a 4 wheel drive to follow you"
In May he posted: "to all who thinks that a 250 cc is not enough - I am in Tanzania! I have been in Greece, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, SUDAN, Ethiopia, Kenya..."
And finally in July 2003:
"I am in Cape Town now! I did not get a Libyan visa so I travelled via Greece, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa... and I am going back... different way!
It's not WHAT you ride, it's how you ride it. I've said it many times - any bike will do it - it's just going to be a different trip, a slower or faster trip. Go - and enjoy.
Chris Lockwood USA/Japan; and Daisuke Yokoe, Japan, around the world, BMW F650's
"Another minor (?) setback. Or, the truth about Russian mechanics. Chris's bike had been hard to start since Ulaanbaatar. We thought the culprit was the oil we changed to there, and figured that next time we had the opportunity to change oil things would get better. But that didn't turn out to be the case. At something like 1,200 km from Novosibirsk, the bike decided to quit starting all together. ...we were (again) bush camping a few kilometers from town in the mosquito-infested woods. That meant we had to tow Chris's bike with Daisuke's all the way to town where we could possibly find a mechanic. If the bike couldn't be fixed, we were prepared to put it on a train to Novosibirsk and the closest BMW Dealer.
We were in luck, as probably the only person in town who spoke English happened to come by and direct us to a garage that could maybe help us. Ramon, a young mechanic took on the daunting task of finding out how to fix the BMW. Chris had already figured out that one of the spark plugs was not firing. Our innovative mechanic took a part out of a car's distributor cap to act as a replacement for the malfunctioning piece in the spark plug cap. This was the first sign that Ramon knew what he was doing. I didn't even know there was anything in the cap in the first place! But the engine still wouldn't start even with both plugs firing OK. Why a single-cylinder bike needs more than one spark plug is beyond me! Further inspection got us to the heart of the problem. The carburetor intake pipe had a five-centimeter-long gash on one side! The bike was going nowhere fast with a wound like that. But Ramon wasn't about to call it quits there. He got an old inner tube and cut it to cover the hole. Three plies of tube over the hole and all the parts back in place and the bike was running better than it had in weeks. Of course, we will replace the part in Europe, but our Russian mechanic has us on the road until we get the opportunity to do a 'proper' fix.
After the work was done, Ramon even too the time to find us a place to stay, as it was too late to keep riding. Fellow traveler Mika Kuhn has always said that a Russian mechanic can fix just about anything. Now we are believers. It is a good thing we didn't put the bike on the train or truck to Novosibirsk. A later trip to Bavarian Motor Center (BMW car and supposedly motorcycle dealer) there proved that they know almost nothing about bikes and charge too much in the process. No telling if they could have fixed the carburetor. An oil change and car wash ended up costing at least what we would pay for the same job in high-priced Japan when we had an income and could afford it. And they took almost all day for a job we could do ourselves in an hour. But at least we got the standard complementary BMW dealer cup of coffee!"
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Jo and Martin , Australia, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, in Colombia
"All is going well so far in Colombia. We arrived in Cartagena by yacht with both bikes (a dodgy way to do it - will put info on shipping notice board...), and after a week's 'holiday' there we set off for Medellin. We didn't end up stopping there and instead headed to Bogota. Cartagena to Bogota (via Medellin) took us five days. Now we are in Bogota for 3-4 days. After that we'll head to Cali and on to the border with Ecuador. Will keep you posted on how we go."
William (Nick) Palmer, USA, Round the World via Europe and Russia, BMW R80G/S,
"I entered Russia crossing at the Finland / Russia borderland of Nuijamaa, 20 miles southeast of Lappeenranta, Finland. This is a country that I have been unable to find clear answers to my several travel questions, but hope to as I ride through this vast country.
... The confirmations that I was hoping for about an air cargo flight from Vladivostok and the loading and unloading of the motorcycle at rail stops (maximum time 20 minutes) on the Trans-Siberian Railway (T-S W) could not be confirmed. These (confirmations) are needed to make the trip across Russia with limited time. A 60 or 90 day visa would eliminate the bike (R80G/S) transportation problem except in one place where the T-S W is set up for such a change over (because of highway construction) . More time would also allow for arranging surface transportation if air was not available at Vladivostok.
Will now change the direction of my travels and return to Scandinavia.
...Sunday, 27 July, up early, packed, and off to ride through this bright and clean city of Saint Petersburg. I seemed to have had the city to myself - no automobiles and just a few on the sidewalks. 45 miles and several hours later, I turned the bike northwest and departed Russia at the Vaalimaa, Finland / Torfyanovka, Russia border crossing."
Nick has sent a huge amount of info on Russia. We will be putting a page up on the website in the near future. Meanwhile, check out the existing Russia page.
Frank 'Curly' Mueller and Mathias 'Lance' Reidl, Germany, Alaska to Chile, R1150GS's,
"...The border to Mexico is to be broken through, it is already 30 degrees and a somewhat higher air humidity. And hopefully little stress at the border. We will see... "
Enrique Martinez Falconi, Mendoza, Argentina, to USA, Harley Davidson,
"... I'm riding my bike (1997 Harley Davidson FXD Dyna Super Glide) from my home to the USA. I started my trip on May 17th, and I am in Panamá in this moment. My plan is to arrive to the USA at the end of June, to spend some time riding there, and assist to the celebrations of the Centenary in Milwaukee at the end of August.
I met Ricardo Rocco in Quito, Ecuador, who gave me your name and e-mail with his regards.
So, is a pleasure for me to write you, and give you some notice from an Argentine biker."
Anthony Debreceny, Australia, North and South America,
"I've been in the US from OZ for two months, and now I'm in Montana and heading out tomorrow. Heading North and hope to be there in about 3 weeks. I'll be ready for a few beers when I get there so I hope to catch up. I'm planning to do the Canol Rd after Alaska then to Argentina." (posted June 13)
Daniel Todd, USA/Puerto Rico, second around the world tour, in the Philippines, KLR650,
"...finally got my bike released from customs after the last ezine and have been riding this beautiful archipelago since then. Since the journey was already delayed two months due to these shipping and bureaucratic setbacks, I headed North to circle the large island of Luzon in hopes of beating the Southwest Monsoon which was fast setting in. The first days were marked with a heavy typhoon and flooding, but I had blue skies for several weeks after that!
The Coastal cities of Vigan and Laoag have the best-preserved Spanish architecture in Asia and suggest the Philippines as Asia's version of the Spanish empire. Everywhere I rode was marked with Cathedrals and bell towers and I had to keep reminding myself that I was still in Asia and not Latin America!
By far the biggest drawcard of Luzon are the Banaue Rice Terraces which are said to be one of the eight wonders of the world. It was an arduous hike into the mountains but it was well and truly worth it! These spectacular, man-made rice paddies terraced into the mountainsides more than 2,000 years ago were built by the Ifugao, a highland tribe. Looking like giant steps into the sky, the terraces would extend 22,500 KM if placed end to end, or halfway around the world!"
Simon and Lisa Thomas, UK, around the world, R1100GS and F650GS,
"Our trip around the World started just 2 months ago from the UK, after 2 years of prep and sacrifice. I'm (Simon) 33 and Lisa is 41. After talking about a RWT for years we decided to make it happen about 2 years ago, shortly after I recovered from a serious bike accident which kept me out of action for over a year. Like most travellers the trip is a dream now realized, and whilst we're at it we're trying to raise both awareness and money for our chosen charities, all of which have been chosen due to personal reason; for more info see our website"
Alec Simpson, Australia, in Russia,
"I got put in touch with Alex from the St Petersburg Off Road Club, they organise the Lagoda Lake Trophy rally raid. He graciously took me and the bike to a club mechanic. We welded a 19ml nut to the top of the bolt, problem solved. I have now learnt that you can shorten the spring inside the seal to extend its life. I now also have a spare seal found at a Bearing and seal shop courtesy of Alex. The gearbox is full of fresh oil and keeping it.
It is probably not the forum for it, but if all Russia has people like this it must be a pretty fine place!"
Ohad Cohen and Sharon Arem, Israel, in South America, KLR 650,
"Hola... I'm on my way now to Peru. I was wondering how available are the parts for KLR-650 in Peru? I need some repairs to be done! In Bolivia it's quit hard to find. How is the road from Puno to Cuzco? Thanks, Ohad.
Oeyvind Johan Stenberg, Norway, India home, Enfield,
"I am driving an Enfield Bullet (1960) from India to Norway, when I stranded in Malatya due to a loose connecting rod. I am sending the bike and myself to Istanbul tomorrow." (18 June)
Nicolas Vallee, France, across Asia, Transalp,
"Hello, I am a French motorcyclist, travelling for one year with my Honda Transalp. Soon, I will arrive in Ankara, and I would like to know a good mechanic for changing oil of my Transalp and other few things. Thanks for your help Nicolas" (17 June)
Rene Cormier, Canada, around the world, F650GS,
"... Highlights from the last two weeks: humpback whales, lighthouses, sunrise at the most eastern point in North America, icebergs, Bay of Fundy, great free camp sites, amazing hospitality. Everyone should come to Newfoundland..."
Sjaak Lucassen, Netherlands, second around the world trip, in Bolivia, Yamaha R1,
"... the Uyuni salt plain in Bolivia."
Martin Rooiman and Jeannette Boom, a.k.a. De Twee Musketiers, Netherlands, around the world, in Australia,
"On the way to Darwin we met Rob van Leeuwen, a Dutch overlander on a BMW R1100GS and Eric & WIllie again. After our rest here we're slowly heading down South... toward the colder areas of this country.
In Alice Springs we decided to take a short break before heading down further South. Darwin turned out to be full of cricket fans who had taken all the hotel rooms, so we had to leave after two days already. In Kakadu NP we had a good time except for witnessing a collision between two cars right in front of us. We experienced the 'laid back' mentality of the Australian Police which especially Jeannette as an former Police Officer condemned. The long trip South was far from boring but we were happy to enjoy the comforts of civilization again, so we are not in a hurry to leave here."
Ed. See Martin and Jeannette's blog here on Horizons Unlimited.
Richard Parkinson and Lisa Godfery, New Zealand, UK to NZ, Yamaha TDM850,
"...Being in holiday mode now we had stopped keeping track of the days and didn't realise that it was Saturday morning when we packed up and left from Venice and that all of Italy was on the road heading off on the start of their summer vacation.
I have never encountered such a traffic jam. The traffic was solid all the way from Venice, around past Trieste and up to the Slovenian border and the temperature was in the high 30's. We were very thankful to be on a bike and able to ride down the side off this mess, past cars and drivers that were getting hot under the bonnet.
Huge queue for the border, which, of course, we jumped, then... a Slovenian traffic jam all the way down the coast. We were heading for Piran which our guide book says is heaving at this time of year so we were worried that everyone was heading there.
Such a relief to finally park up and get off the bike and to find that it was all relatively quiet. Had our first dip in the sea and spent the afternoon enjoying this delightful little town.
Slovenia is great. We loved the pretty coastal towns, roads are great for bikes, countryside really pretty with half the country still covered in forest and the people are friendly. It is slightly cheaper but not a lot than Italy but we found Slovenian camping grounds more expensive than France and Italy.
I’m writing this lying on the shores of crystal clear Lake Bohinj, having had a relaxing swim after a days ride with the mountains as a backdrop; this sure beats working."
Ed. See Richard and Lisa's blog here on Horizons Unlimited.
Erik and Hanka, Germany, around the world, Honda Transalp,
"Tomorrow we move on to Peru. We are already curious to what extent Peru is different than Bolivia. We leave the third country of our journey behind us..." (site in German only with Translate button)
Mika Kuhn, Germany, around the world, in Japan and Russia, Tenere (temporarily on a Honda),
"Two weeks ago I arrived here, the second time on my journey, and the welcome was fantastic. All the Tigers, I knew from summer 2000, were here Mikhail, Mad Max, Sergey, Andrei, Sharky, Alexei and some new faces. We had a lot to talk about and they organized a big welcome party. It was funny to hear the stories about other travelers, who had come thru in the last three years. Young British bikers arrived from Japan without number plates and no registration papers. Swiss bikers had crossed all Russia without Russian import papers for the bikes, using the Carnet, which is not valid in Russia, and of course they had a problem to export the bikes. The Tigers helped them all and much more.
Yesterday arrived a bikers group of eight from Poland and Germany on Harley's. With them an Austrian biker on a BMW. They crossed Russia and of course had some stories to tell. Today we went for a ride together and had Schaschlik (grilled meat on a stick) on the beach - all great people.
Together with my friend Seiji I rode from Utsonumiya to a travelers motorcycle meeting and we could witness the foundation of WTN-J, World Touring Network - Japan, and of course had a cup of sake (rice wine) or two. There I met the Brazilian traveler Sergio Mahoe, who lives in Japan. Last year Sergio went into Afghanistan with his Yamaha XT, on his trip from Japan to Brazil over Asia and Africa. Sergio invited me for a few days to his house. Thank you Sergio.
Wakkanai is in the North of Hokkaido, and now there is a ferry over to Sakhalin. But to save some money, I decided to go to Otaru and take a Russian cargo boat. The 'Forest King', an old Russian boat sailing under Cambodian flag, took me to Korsakov for a good price, only the time on sea was a bit longer. To clear customs for the bike was easy in Otaru and also in Korsakov. Only in Korsakov I had to say a clear 'Njet' to any small fees they wanted to charge."
Heiko Neumann, Germany, Europe/North America, in Poland and the Baltics, BMW R1150GS,
"The Baltic experience was great, especially the coast line: lots of beaches and some gravel road to add to the overall excitement... I get to the northernmost point of this Latvian peninsula, a small place called Kolka: two dozen houses and a gas station. I count myself lucky, because by then my gas is running low and I was beginning to get nervous. So, back on paved roads and tank filled up it starts to rain hard. Tough. I start looking for a place to stop and to let the rain clouds pass by.
The next place I see has a KTM LC 640 Adventure parked in front of it. I take it as a sign (you do not see very many motorcycles in Latvia), stop and meet Dzintars Baltais in the restaurant. He is on a trip along the coast in the opposite direction - albeit with a difference: he prefers to ride along the beach whenever possible. Sounds interesting, but I do not find it too hard to resist steering the heavy BMW onto the beach."
Ed. See Heiko's blog here on Horizons Unlimited.
by Phil and Debb Kopp, Seattle
"Joao (Batista de Lima, Brasil) arrived here in Seattle. Joao had originally planned to go to Russia, but he indicated some political problems between his country and Russia would prevent it. Instead, he planned to visit Canada, Alaska and then continue on to Miami where he has friends. He will ship his bike home from there.
He crossed into Texas at Brownsville, then came west through the painted desert in Arizona which he raved about. Continuing west he arrived in California and went up the coast to San Francisco and stayed with friends there for a week or so. Heading north, he stayed with Jeff Anspach in the Portland area before coming to Seattle. We fed him pizza and beer, showed him the shower, and gave him a bed. We downloaded his digital pictures, he emailed his wife and generally relaxed. He was a most excellent guest, with much better English skills than he realizes. He invited us to visit him in Brazil and I'm sure we'll take him up on that. (BTW- my wife and I each ride KLR's, been to Canada and Mexico dual-sporting several times.)
Early Monday morning, my wife took him downtown to the Canadian consulate for a visa. That took several hours and apparently the only glitch was that Joao is self-employed and didn't bring anything to 'verify' his employment. It eventually got sorted out and he headed north for the border at Blaine about noon."
By Todd Yaskiw, The Pas, Manitoba,
"I just returned from a trip out west on my KLR650 and while I was in Saskatoon Saskatchewan listening to the local Jazz festival on June 21, Vladimir Yarets Alexeevich showed up, showing off his bike and journey.
He also was looking for gas money donations. He has been on the road since 2000, and is hoping to be in the world book of records as the first deaf mute to travel the world. He was on his way to Alaska. Can't really talk to him nor he to you but he does have the appropriate flash cards to show you asking for some gas money! He looks well fed and healthy."
by Margaret Johnson, Victoria, BC,
"Today I was downtown and there was a fellow there with his motorbike all covered with many decals. On the store window nearby was a lot of photos of him and places he has been. He wants to be in the Guinness records as the first person to travel around the world as a deaf mute! According to his write up he lost his hearing during World War II which makes him over 60. (63 actually)His name is Vladimir Yarets Alexeevich from Belarus. He has been to 29 countries and 39 states (USA)."
Vladimir is moving right along! If anyone sees him say hi!
by Chris and Erin Ratay, USA,
"Greetings from Fargo, ND -- all is well, but the mileage crunching continues... Had a fantastic night in the campsite near New Denver (Roseberry Provincial Pk?), then made it to Glacier NP the following day (Fri). On Saturday, ran into Anthony Griffin, a fellow traveller we met in Bolivia last June -- nice guy whose left arm is paralysed, and he's riding RTW with only one arm! He went up to Banff, then will work his way to Vancouver/V. Island before heading up to Alaska in August on his Tiger."
Jakob Thor Gudbjartsson, Iceland, to Africa,
"In the end of August I will leave Iceland for 3 months trip down to Africa."
Pietro Spera, Italy, to the 'stans, R1100GS,
"My wife and I with our 1100 GS will be in UZ, TM, AZ, GE and AR from mid-August to mid-September. "
We'll leave it to you to figure out the acronyms... ;)
Alec Simpson, Australia, across Russia, R80G/S,
"...entering Russia end July, from West to East..."
Filip Allewijn, Belgium, to Russia, Yamaha Fazer,
"...I will visit Russia in August-September..."
Enrica and Paolo Ferrara, Italy, to Australia,
"Hello, really a great website! A lot of interesting information! We are departing in July from Italy to arrive in January in Australia... Enrica e Paolo"
Juan Waissman, Argentina, to USA, Harley-Davidson,
"I'm starting a trip to Milwaukee from Buenos Aires, to meet friends Peter and Kay Forwood in the 100th. I'm starting June 14. I can submit travel info, as well as border lines, papers and shipping between Ecuador and Panama. see u there, Keep riding"
Daniel Schaller, Switzerland, to ??, Yamaha XT600E,
"Hi there, I just took off from Switzerland to a journey that brings me to a place that I don't know yet. My intention is to get to Asia somewhen this year, but who knows yet. I always read the HU newsletter with great enthusiasm, and now I myself am on the road living the dream. If you're interested in my story, you can read about it on the web page I have put up. Greets Daniel"
Guido Bijsterbosch, Netherlands, to Nepal,
"It will be busy on the road, I am planning a similar trip, leaving my home country The Netherlands late August. Right now my passport is handled by the Iranian embassy, and as soon there green light I will start carnet business.
From Turkey to Iran, Pakistan, India and end up in Nepal. From that point I'm not sure if I will fly the bike back or continue to SE Asia. Nepal is already far away from home, and the road may be insecure by the time!
I travel alone, but some company will be welcome, especially for Iran and Pakistan since civilisation there has got different interpretations from what I am used to. My schedule is not very strict, I will drive average distances of approx 200 - 300 km a day, with plenty of resting /sightseeing /motorcycle repair /visa application days in between.
I've learned in previous travels that a tight schedule is more stressful than being on the road at all!"
Kevin & Julia Sanders, UK, Trans Americas Guinness World Record,
"... the Globebusters new look website is now fully launched. Packed with pictures, route maps, preparation info about the trans Americas Guinness World Motorcycle Record, you can follow the challenges we encounter through the news reports and photo gallery.
The official start date for the ride is 18 August 2003. The aim is to smash the existing record by more than ten days. Log on and see if we make it! Kevin & Julia Sanders "
Darby the Cafe Racer, USA, going as far as he can go while the money holds out, KLR,
"I've been serving sentence here in the dark, all alone, behind this stupid computer, in a big empty building, pulling 12 hr shifts for 10 months and it's almost over. I gave my boss 2 weeks notice and I'm outta here. I'm going back up north. I'm taking my KLR as far as it will go. Yeehee! I'm also selling most everything I own, skipping out on half a months rent, trucking my stuff up to who knows where (someplace Northwest) and leaving it in storage. Then I'm going to ride ride ride, till my fillings fall out.
'Oh but what about your career? what will you do when your money is gone? what about the economy? finding another job? how will you explain this in your next interview? bla bla bla.' I sold a year of my life for $15/hour and now I'm going to buy some freedom. Anyone heading north to Alaska/Yukon is welcome to hang out. If my money holds out, I may try to reach Cape Horn too. YeeHaw!"
Jef Imans, Belgium, West Africa, BMW F650,
"Planning to leave begin september (but might leave already begin august with first some extra touring in Europe)."
Jef has helpfully compiled a list of other travellers (going mostly to Africa), who he has corresponded with via the HUBB Travellers Seeking Travellers Forum. As we get further details, we'll put them in future issues.
Mark aka MJC (London, UK), unknown bike, Up to South Africa via West-Africa, planning to leave begin October.
Ronnie Skarner aka Skonte (Sweden), Yamaha XJ900S Diversion, Mauritania - Timbuktu - Ivory - Senegal, planning to leave beginning of September. And from Skonte: "My planned trip will be; leaving Sweden 8 sept heading directly south to Morocco(Atlas)-Mauritania (Nema)-Mali (Timbuktu) -Burkina-Ghana (coast)-Ivory (coast)-Guinea (forest)- Senegal-Gambia?-Mauritania (Adrar)-Morocco (Atlas) and back home on an offroad-modified Yam XJ900S Diversion end of November. Visas for Mauritania, Mali and Burkina received, applying for Ghana this week."
Gazza aka Galloping Gazza, KTM 640, London - Cape Town, planning to leave beginning of october. Gazza writes: "It looks like we will depart at the end of October-ish at this stage."
Lewis Miller (?) aka POB/London, XT600 3AJ or an XR650L, Maroc - Mauretania - Timbuktu - Niger, planning to leave beginning of October.
Brian Greaney (Lagos, Nigeria), has done similar trip already - so very handy for practical information ;-)
Tyler (Dublin?), no bike yet (?), trip to Africa (flexible), planning begin September but flexible
Patchlewis (London, UK), unknown bike, Morocco and back, planning to leave begin September for 1 month.
Steve Harland, aka StevieG (Oxford, UK), unknown bike, Morocco coming from Turkey via Atlas, August in Turkey, Morocco in September (?). Unfortunately, Steve writes: "I was hoping to meet up with some of you either before or on the road round Europe/Eastern Europe/Turkey or Maroc this summer, but I'm sorry to say I had an accident in France last week and the bike is looking a bit written off! If by some miracle I find the money to get it fixed or get another bike, I'd truly love to get back on the road and hopefully see some of you on the way, as it looks like similar routes are being planned to my intended one... I'll keep you posted!"
Ben aka benbo (London, UK), KTM adventurer 2002, London - Cape Town, not sure about planning...?
Robbert (Gent, Belgium) - yes! finally another Belgian guy! Land Rover Discovery, West-Africa for 7 months (flexible?). Planning to leave September 21st (the only one with a pretty fixed date it seems ;-))
Ted Simon, UK/USA, "Jupiter's Travels," around the world, again, R80GS Basic,
"Steve and I rode off towards Dorchester. He said thirty five bikers were waiting at Bere Regis to join the procession. I didn't know where Bere Regis was, but Steve said it didn't matter. There were some motorcycle police waiting too, and once they'd checked out my tax disc and MOT and issued the appropriate tickets, they'd take care of things. Fortunately, he was joking. The police were there, the same ones that saw me off two and a half years ago. They turned a blind eye to the tax disc, which was easy because it was invisible under a thick cake of mud, and waved me on.
We arrived safely, and I got a pint of bitter which I must have drunk with stunning expertise because they all applauded. Everyone said I looked younger than when I'd left two and a half years ago, which was very nice of them. It could even be true, because when I left I was feeling pretty sick.
And that, believe it or not, was the end of a journey around the world. 59,000 miles of riding, 48 countries, all that time, and I had a hard job believing that I'd been anywhere. Standing there in Dorset I couldn't find anything to connect me with the Sudanese desert or the sands of Brasil, or the Andes, or the Outback.
It was all very peculiar. As though I hadn't really been anywhere at all. But it will come back to me. I know it will."
Gideon van Oudtshoorn , South Africa, South and North America, R1100GS,
"Have made it to Alaska at last and will be heading home soon. I hope that the stories and photos could give everyone a small idea of what I saw and experienced through the journey..."
Russell Ferrier, Australia/Argentina, across USA on a Ninja 600,
"Epilogue: ...It's not until you have a chance to sit and talk with other motorcyclists and listen to their stories that you realize a number of things:
Firstly, the fine line a rider rides, between life and near death. I have seen all sorts of scars on faces and limbs of other riders during this trip, shown to me as some sort of macabre testament to the ability to cheat death on a second by second basis.
Secondly, that riding a motorbike is not like driving a car, for us every curve, bump, insect, wind gust, pot hole, puddle, car, truck, motorbike, and bouncing plastic bucket is a potential life threatening hazard. Thankfully I had only a few scares. Thankfully too there were enough people to remind me that riding a motorbike that's possibly capable of doing 160 miles (260 kilometres) per hour and that can go from 0-60 mph in less than 3 seconds, is an awesome thing and equally frightening as well.
Thirdly: that there is a great camaraderie amongst most bikers, something car drivers don't have. And most bikers too are not the hoons or gang members that the stereotypical image would suggest. More likely they're responsible travelers, keen to see a place from a much closer perspective, enjoy the journey and get there in one piece. Finishing every day of this trip gave me a huge sense of accomplishment and perhaps even a sense of cheating death, yet again.
...I have now to plan the next trip - maybe on a BMW around the northern USA (Shawn over to you) or maybe across Russia - Evgeny let me know."
Chris and Erin Ratay , USA, 4 years and 100,000 miles around the world, back home in New York, two BMW F650s,
"We're back! Fortunately, it doesn't feel real (yet), but I'm sure that's only days away.
...we received a very warm 'Welcome Home' this week, including some fun with the press. This afternoon, weather permitting (or not) we will have a BBQ with friends.
We made the paper today (Aug. 7 here in NY -- www.newsday.com, and the local TV put us on last night. Still waiting for confirmation for the Today Show, tomorrow between 9:30-10 -- if it works out, we'll be up to 17 minutes!"
Ed. Chris is heading for Africa shortly for 6 weeks on a scouting expedition to lead a tour next spring! Not QUITE ready to settle down into normal life.
Bob and Julie McDarby-Feast, UK, BMW GS,
"One evening I phoned home and received the news that my father had become very ill. I flew home leaving Julie and the bike in Hungary. Having assessed his condition we decided that we would have to a very premature end to our trip and return home, permanently, to care for him. I flew back out to Hungary and over the following week we rode back through, Austria,Germany, Switzerland, France and back to the UK.
We're now sorting out our lives and are returning to some form of normality. My father's condition has improved significantly, but he will need long term care. We have rented a flat for the time being and will probably buy somewhere within the next six months or so big enough for us all to live in. We both return to work on Monday and by Tuesday it will probably feel as though we've never been away.
So that's about it. We both enjoyed the two and a half months of the trip we managed to complete. The bike went like a dream and proved the ideal mount for two and all our gear. We saw some great places and met some great people. We learned a lot and feel confident that come the time of preparation for our next trip we know how to go about it. We're not sure how far in the future it will be, but we're definitely going again.
Anyway for now, good luck to everyone and happy travels... "
Ed. Best wishes to you both and for your father's health, and hope you get travelling again soon.
Bob West, Dubai, writes:
"In last December's Ezine there was a picture of me in Dubai before departing to Buenos Aires, well here is an update. I arrived in Argentina and almost immediately met up with John Wilson and Gerry Tiernan (www.GSRTW.com) on their world trip. We travelled together to Ushuaia then north to Los Angeles. Along the way the DR650 proved to be a great bike for the trip particularly when it came to the dirt.
In LA John and Gerry went West to Sydney, I went East back to Dubai to support the coalition in Iraq!! (really to be with the family during this time and give my bum a break -the seat is not as good as BMW's) and returned to LA at the end of April after a 7 week holiday (not that the ride isn't). During the break I get a new recruit to distance riding, Graham Wadsworth an old mate from the UK, who said he would like to join me on the remaining trip to Alaska. In the seven weeks I was tasked with buying, preparing and shipping a bike as least cost to LA ready for collection when we arrived. The reason why is that Dubai is much cheaper than UK to purchase bikes and there I could test it before departure. All went well with the help of new friends Jay & Beverly in LA. Jay collected us on arrival, had the tools, fuel, transport and local knowledge to make everything work easily, Beverly provided first class accommodation and hospitality.
We departed LA and travelled North via the Rockies to Canada. Lots of problems with snow, as passes were blocked as we were early in the season, but arrived in Fairbanks in three weeks. We met one particular situation while Graham was making a phone call in a box when a Bear decided to sit next to the door so he could not get out, not that he wanted to while the bear was there, but all was well in the end.
On the return we visited and met up with a number of folks which made the trip: Dan & Cindy on Vancouver Island, Bob & Alison in Oregon and on the road we met up with, and spent a week riding with, Chris & Erin Ratay (www.ultimatejourney.com). We would like to say thanks to everyone we met, it was the sights and folks along the way that made the journey. Most of all we wish to thank the Horizons site as this gave us invaluable help and enabled us to meet some of the folks.
During the trip my Suzuki covered 46,000km with no problem (anyone who needs more information please email me) even using the same chain the whole trip, the XR400 of Graham's was fourth hand on purchase and after being thrashed around the deserts of Dubai for three years, again gave no problem in the 22,000km LA to Alaska and return.
The enclosed picture is us arriving back in LA under the Hollywood sign knackered but very happy and ready to do the whole trip again, after a rest for the bum!! We then took the flight back to the UK unfortunately arriving back a few days after the HU rally in Derbyshire UK. That will have to wait until I attend the one in Christchurch early next year. I am now waiting for the bike to arrive in the UK before the ride back to Dubai which should be a quick sprint, any volunteers to join me? Best Regards Bob West"
Eugene, Oregon Community
Gail and Eric Haws, of the HU Eugene Oregon Community and Tynda fame, took time out from their own hectic travel schedule (just back from Norway, next destination Argentina) to host a travellers meeting Aug. 2-3 on their lovely wooded 15 acre site southeast of Eugene. Attendees included just a few world travellers! Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, Glen Heggstad, USA, Ricardo Rocco, Ecuador, Herbert and Veerle Roelandt, Belgium and Grant and Susan Johnson, Canada were there.
Some local riders, soon to be world travellers (Pete from Berkeley) and occasional travellers (Ken and Marolyn Davis from Auburn, WA) also attended to hear stories and ask questions. No matter how much you have travelled, you can always learn more. For example, Herbert has been to Russia 10 times and Glen had lots of questions for him! Highlights were the champagne by the river, slide shows and videos, and the discussions that went on late into the night, and a great time was had by all. Thanks to Gail and Eric for the excellent hospitality, even if we did have to camp because Ricardo had taken all the rest of the bedrooms! (Honest, that's what Eric told me).
Morogoro, Tanzania Community,
Frank Schellenberg, Netherlands, writes from Tanzania: "Leaving Dar the next morning we were heading for Morogoro or Iringa. Driving into Morogoro and stopping there for an afternoon drink, I thought that Morogoro sounds familiar, but where from. Grabbed my little note book and remembered, there is a Horizons Unlimited Community there, dialled the number and told Steve I was in town. We were very welcome to stay at his wonderful house but as he had to finish work if we could meet him there around half past five, no probs of course.
We drank another couple of drinks and played some card games, when I became very tired, shivered and had a slight temp. That evening I found out that Malaria had hit me. And in the end found no better place to get it... After starting the treatment it went well quicker and apparently I noticed it in time, as I did not get this slap in the face as you normally get when you first get malaria. We spent three nights at Steve's place and left for Iringa. Steve I can't thank you enough for the great help we received!"
We've got over 230 communities in 64 countries as of August 6, 2003!
A big thanks to all those who took the first step and established the Community in their area. New Communities are in Dawson Creek, Canada; Nairobi, Kenya; Los Angeles, San Diego and Lafayette, USA; Durham, UK; Toulouse, France; Bandung, Indonesia; and Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
For details on how you can join a Community in your area, or use the Communities 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.
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, or go for a ride or something. It's a good way of meeting like-minded individuals in your own town.
Support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - check out the HU Souk for fleece vests and jumpers / pullovers, t-shirts, hats and other products with the new logo and a variety of slogans! Just in time for Christmas presents for your favourite motorcycle traveller!
Thanks! Grant and Susan
To subscribe, or even UNsubscribe 'now why would you want to do that?' to this e-zine.
Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle
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 100 enroute to an around the world. Have YOU done it? Let me know!
We hope you've enjoyed this issue, and do please let us know your thoughts. It's your newsletter, so tell us what you want to know about!
It is not the unknown, but the fear of it, that prevents us from doing what we want...
Grant and Susan Johnson
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