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Are you a TRAVELLER? Are you interested in human sacrifices, evil dictators, riding on Mars, risking the family treasure, hanging on the back of a charging rhino, swimming with sharks, personal encounters with wasps and spiders, armed cows, African hospitals, Growling Greg and Grandmother Goose, razor-sharp rocks, gorilla writers and much more...?
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Welcome to the 54th Edition of the newsletter. As this is written, Grant is in Vancouver and Susan is in London, but we will be reunited again soon. Grant is still spending lots of time organizing travellers meetings, and the next couple of months will be very busy with the USA East (North Carolina), UK and USA West (Colorado) meetings all in a short space of time. See details.
The site redesign is well underway, and we're hoping to launch midsummer, in between the June/July travellers meetings and the Sep/Oct travellers meetings!
Just to ensure that Grant has no spare time in which to get himself into mischief, he also has the small task of getting a house ready to sell in the next couple of weeks (lovely place with a fabulous garden and breathtaking mountain views, not to mention a garage to bring tears of joy to a man's eyes, all at a great price, if anyone is looking ;-). Once the house is sold, he gets to pack a houseful of stuff and move to England, also in between travellers meetings! So, no apologies for the fact that newsletters will continue to come out as we can get them done, but they won't be monthly for a while yet.
We hope you'll feel they're worth waiting for, though. As usual, we do have lots of exciting, inspirational and funny stories in this issue from intrepid travellers in South America, the Middle East, Africa and southeast Asia.
Why do some people travel on a motorcycle through dangerous countries to far off places? Most people are quite content with spending a week or two on a packaged holiday. If the trip is to a less developed country, it will be to a small enclave for the privileged, with filtered drinking water and all the comforts of home, and preferably surrounded by people who speak the same language as they do.
What motivates some of us to ride a motorcycle, which most people consider the most dangerous form of transport, through the insane traffic of Cairo, up a canyon wall in Utah, or along the hairpin curves of the Karakoram Highway? An urge for real adventure, escape from something or someone, overcoming fears, exploring one's limits, boredom, a desire to experience other cultures in a more close up and personal way, and many other reasons.
Two events recently brought this question to mind:
1. The death of Simon Milward in an accident in Mali. Simon was riding a handmade motorcycle around the world on a humanitarian mission, which began as an 18 month journey and turned into a 5 year odyssey. Many travellers met Simon and were touched by him, and some, such as Frankie Surgener, were inspired by him to make a difference on their own trips. Our deepest sympathies are with his family and friends, as he will be greatly missed, but in our view the world is better off today than it would have been if Simon had just stayed home where it was safe.
2. Meeting Mick McDonald, who is leaving on 15 May from London to Vladivostok through the 'Stans, riding for Friedreichs Ataxia, "an unusually cruel disease but very rare, and as such gets no funding, but is terminal." Mike met Cathy Mclean, who has the disease, on an overland truck trip in South America. They became friends, he decided to do the trip, and has inspired three other guys to join him. Mick, Chris, Patrick and Scott have raised $10,000 to date, which is all going to the Friedreichs Ataxia Research Association. See their website for more details or to contribute to the charity. Note that they are not asking for funding for the trip itself, and we would not be promoting it if they were. The trip is entirely self-funded. All donations go directly to the charity. Susan will be helping to see them off on 14 May at the Kings Head Pub in Earls Court, London. See the post on the HUBB for details.
We're immensely proud of all our travellers, regardless of their motives, because just by venturing outside their comfort zone, they will experience personal growth, and by making real contact with people from other countries and cultures, their awareness and tolerance will increase. But our hats are off to these travellers who decide to make a difference on their trip, whether by helping conserve wildlife that is under threat, by supporting polio vaccinations in the third world, or fund raising for a disease that has minimal public awareness. Good on ya all!
And thanks to all our generous supporters for helping us to keep going. For those who haven't yet contributed, or haven't recently contributed, here's all the ways you can help!
Start your planning with travel books at the Horizons Unlimited books page, and use the Amazon search function for your region to look for what you want. Don't forget to visit the Souk for sweatshirts, mugs, boxer shorts and much more.
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.
It's our advertisers, sponsors and product sales that make it possible for us to make the website and e-zine available to you. We hope you'll check out their products and services and if you plan to buy these products, do it from our site or links. If you do use the services of one of our advertisers/supporters, we hope you'll let them know that you're buying from them because of their support for HU - and of course that they have a great product or service! :)
If you've had problems receiving the e-zine due to spam filters or insufficient bandwidth, remember you can subscribe to the 'Notice' edition instead of the full HTML version. The Notice edition is a short, straight text message that contains a URL to bring you to the full text on the website. Because the Notice email is so small, it downloads in a flash, and leaves your mailbox uncluttered. Change to the Notice version here.
Please submit news reports, web links etc. to us for inclusion in this newsletter.
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This newsletter is provided as a complimentary service for travellers everywhere, both on the road and (temporarily of course ;-) off. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meetings 2005 - time to plan ahead!
There's Nine meetings on three continents this year, so plenty of opportunity to get to at least one meeting. If you haven't been to one, why not? If you have been you know why it's worth going!
It's a great experience, different from any other motorcycle event, described as a "...uniquely typical travellers atmosphere that's an odd ball combination of mellow, and tail wagging enthusiasm." Make 2005 the year to get to one, two or more events and meet your fellow travellers!
If you are planning on coming to one of the meetings, please register early. Also let us know if you'd like to show a few slides from one of your trips too - it doesn't have to be a fancy multimedia presentation, a few slides and a few words about the area is great. Length can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes.We have added "breakout sessions" to all meetings for 2005. There will be sheets of paper to post up that anyone can write on and say:
-Breakout session on "Crossing the Sahara" table 6 at dinner - 8 people max - sign up here
So what do you want to talk about? Come prepared!
For the Saturday afternoon (for most meetings) we are also adding even more prepared seminars on all subjects, and looking for more volunteers to lead them. Tech subjects such as tire changing, travel prep on documentation, health, packing the bike and anything else anyone wants to talk about are all of interest. You don't need to be an expert, just have done it! Let us know if you can help!
See you there!
Grant and Susan.
Plan where to be when!
If you know of any events of interest to travellers, send me a note.
Horizons Unlimited Travellers' Meetings:
Lots of HU Travellers Meetings planned for 2005 - check them out to see if there's one near you - and if there isn't... well, you're a traveller, right?
Eastern USA / Canada, Second Annual Meeting, North Carolina, June 17-19, 2005
UK 2005, Fifth Annual Meeting, June 24-26, 2005. Well over 250 registered, we're expecting a sell-out at 300, so get your registration and payment in VERY soon!
Western USA, First Annual Meeting, Colorado, July 7-10, 2005
Western Canada, Fourth Annual Meeting, Nelson BC, Canada, September 9-11 2005
Portugal, Third Annual Meeting, September 22-25, 2005.
Copper Canyon, Creel, Mexico, MID-week - Oct 11 - 14, 2005
Viedma, Argentina, Third Annual Meeting, December ?, 2005
Note: Grant will be at all the North American Meetings plus the UK Meeting. Susan will only be at the UK Meeting this year.
Other Events of Interest:
Motorrad Reise Treffen Gieboldehausen, Germany, 04.09.2005.Always a good event, well worth going.
Tynda's annual rally for Foreign Travellers will be 6-8th of May. Oregon (USA)
Free camping at the end of the famous motorcycle road in Oregon, the Aufderheide Forest road. Speakers will be Maarten Munnik from Holland (travelling around the world), Tom Hunter (just back from South America), and Lew Waterman (returning from Central America with Punky). Free. All members of BMWMOA and BMWRA are invited.
New York City's world famous Guggenheim Museum has hosted much of the world's fine art in the four plus decades of it's existence, but none has been more popular than the 1998 exhibit of "The Art of the Motorcycle"
It was literally a "Blockbuster", with lines four abreast going around several of New York City`s blocks. The exhibit was so successful that it traveled to Chicago, Las Vegas, Bilbao, Spain, and now we are fortunate to have it come to Memphis, TN. The exhibit opens April 22 at the Pyramid.
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.
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 100 + 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!
Niels from Belgium posts about getting to Nepal, on the HUBB:
"The best and safest route to Katmandu is from Sonauli to Butwal, Pokhara and then direction Katmandu valley. Don't take the road over Hetauda, unless you wanna meet Mauro's friends :-)
In Butwal there is some basic accommodation for sleeping.The town is not interesting. On the way to Pokhara, a little bit off the road lies Lumbini, birthplace of the Buddha, somebody told me there are some sleeping places too and probably a better option. But you can make Sonauli-Pokhara in one day...
Pokhara is a nice place, check out Vienna Lake lodge, the best place to stay. a little bit out of the crowded area, but with a very nice view over the Pewa lake. The old Blues bar is a place where bikers meet. Good luck. Niels"
Bill Shockley writes on the HUBB about travelling by boat through the Amazon:
"Just crossed the Amazon basin south to north from Iguazu Falls in Argentina thru Paraguay to Porto Vehlo, Brazil, then a riverboat 4 days 3 nights, air conditioned cabin, $550usd includes all meals and the bike on the Rio Madeira to Manaus. Old style wood riverboat. Very cool trip on a jungle river. Rode from Manaus to Caracas, Venezuela. Rough roads but black roads (asphalt) all the way. Only one road on the map. Some big cities which surprised me. Plenty of gas. Gas is dirt cheap in Venezuela, .15usd a liter. Porto Vehlo to Manaus by road not possible. The road is gone. No worries on the boat. Bar with music on the top deck. Great views. Sunsets cant be described. Portuguese no problem. Pure fun. Bill"
bigJoe writes on the HUBB about Peru: Road Huaraz-Chiquian-La Union-Huanuco?
"Did Huaraz to Huanaco in Dec but via Llata b-c we heard la Union was kind've dangerous...or so the locals said. So then. Having said that I wish I could recall the whole trip but we are now in Buenos Aires. The road was not paved all the way but was far from bad. Just gravel. Llata is nice... small little mountain hamlet, although not much to do. The ride was spectacular. Rode thru a massive copper mine to get there. Lovely. Mountains are outrageous as well. Road cuts thru hand cut mountain in some places. We passed a 10-mile roadblock, which took some negotiating with the locals. Careful as there is no law out there and you will be totally on your own but the ride is very nice. Huanaco will be a nice respite of modernity. Good luck!"
Chris in Tokyo writes on the HUBB about paperwork when arriving in Vladivostok:
"Unless the situation has changed this year, go to the Bizintour office on the third (?) floor of the Vladivostok Sea Terminal. They will be able to do the work for you. In 2003 the price was up to 100 dollars. Some people have succeeded on their own (usually with the help of a Russian), but I would just pay the money rather than taking many days. Hotels are not cheap in Vladivostok, so you may actually save money by paying the $100. Contact the Vladivostok HU Community for more information. And let us know the situation after you arrive in Russia! "
Pierre Saslawsky has a great line for cops trying to extort bribes:
"[Cop] - So, what do you have for me?
Ed. Pierre and Merritt have a great list of quotes from Africa and some 'useful' phrases for South America, in English, French and Spanish. See their site.
On the same topic,
This post has lots of useful tips for avoiding extortion by corrupt cops, including a translation of applicable legislation on fire extinguishers (read the post!) from Javier and Sandra, and a great form by Bob Morley, which might be worth a try: "I tried it on the police when they tried to fine me on Ruta 14. I said I'd only pay if they filled out the form I was given by an official at the airport in BsAs.
The cop looked at the form, then showed it to his boss who didn'tlook very happy and quickly sent me on my way.
The form is completely bogus and was inspired by a German traveller I met in 2003. I just made it a bit scarier and a friend translated it into Spanish. Have fun!"
And finally, a quite entertaining thread on how to get a cockroach out of your helmet...
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.
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, please go here, and register (or just login IF you have used this system before) and you can then submit your information. Thanks!
The US State Department regularly issues updated travel advisories, information and/or warnings.
Maarten Munnik, Netherlands, around the world, in Utah, Honda Africa Twin,
"It was a sunny but rather cold morning when I entered the Canyonlands National Park in Utah, USA. Since the temperature had dropped noticeably since the day before I asked the ranger if there would be rain, on which he replied: 'Absolutely not'. I decided to follow the so called 'White rim road'. This 4X4 road leads around the 'Island in the sky' just about half way of the canyon-wall. It's a little over 150 Km of rough and unspoiled canyon-land. When I came around a large rock-face the sky turned black and big, and wet, drops came down. Being in a canyon when it rains like that is not a good idea. Flash-floods can wipe out anything on it's trail... and I was definitely on it's trail, so I turned around and raced away from the black sky and the red rock. The rain was pounding down on me and before long I was soaked to the bone...
…The road (ahum...) was beautiful. Rock-slabs, washboards, steep tracks up and down and every now and then a real piece of gravel-road. My steering-head-bearing did not like it, but I loved it. The scenery was fabulous; it felt like being on Mars. In fact, at one point I became convinced that NASA never set foot on Mars... They, accidentally, landed in Utah and seeing all this red desert, figured they actually were on Mars. I even made my own Mars-photo. I might sell it to NASA later.
…I saw it coming, a shear rock-face with a track climbing up it... at a 45-degree angle. That in itself was a pretty adventure (remember it’s all sand and dust) but while turning onto it and opening the throttle in first gear I saw what I was really up for.... The trail was exactly one (small) car wide. The surface was bull-dust and big rocks scattered around everywhere.... and the side was, well at first only a few meters deep... but the further I drove upwards, the deeper it became (kind of logical) and halfway I did not dare to look to the side again since it was now at least a hundred meters deep. Hanging backwards on the handlebar, standing on the pegs I just 'went for it'’ Avoiding the rocks was no option. Any course-correction would take me close to the edge, and I did not want to be close to the edge (I was close enough on the other side). Big rocks and small slides forced me more and more to the middle of the track... but I concentrated on the top, which was coming closer now and I prayed there would not be any down-traffic. Stopping here was not an option since I would never be able to get moving again... In the right direction that is. Luck was with me and my super-Pam. We made it, actually pretty easy, to the top and no one had even tried to come down....
While riding along the track and enjoying a short lunch on the edge of the canyon, I encountered a group of dirt-bikers. They invited me to join them at their campsite in Moab where a large group of HSTA (Honda Sports and Touring Association) was having a gathering. A little bit later one of these guys had a small encounter with the (strange) law in this park. He fell down. Now, there is absolutely no shame in falling of your dirt bike on a trail like this... It just happens... Unfortunately it seems to be illegal to do so... and so, this guy got a traffic citation for falling off his bike. Officially it said: ‘Unable to maintain control over his vehicle’... and the ticket was.... 100 US Dollars. I guess in the USA it is better not to fall off your bike.
…After enjoying the hospitality of the HSTA and ‘Radcliff Racing’ in particular, it was time to head to Oregon to meet up with Eric and Gail. Via Salt Lake and the Bonneville speedway, which was sadly covered in 10 cm of very salty water so no speed record for Pam and me, I camped out in the desert near Bonneville. It was not the best spot since there was a railway close by, but I figured that one of two trains would not keep me awake... Now, either the same train was driving up and down the track all night, or it actually is the busiest railway in the entire USA, but the result was the same... I awoke every 20 minutes when a train would come by, blasting its horn and roaring it’s two or three diesel locomotives.... Not the best place to catch some sleep. Ahh well I thought, it could be worse.... it could be raining.... So the next morning it started to rain.
Quickly I jumped into my clothes, packed my tent and other stuff and..... did not shake out my pants... Actually I never shake out my pants, but obviously it is a good idea. A small spider had found it a comfy home and was highly irritated that it now had to share its new home with a badly smelling piece of white meat... So it tried to persuade the piece of white meat to leave... by biting it. ...I definitely needed a doctor. There is no taking risks with the family treasure and they looked as if they would fall off any minute now. The next morning, just before I was going to see the doctor, I noticed the small spider apparently was not very poisonous... and everything had returned to normal. Now, that was having a good day! But in the future I will always shake out my pants. Maarten"
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"Helge Pedersen’s GlobeRiders is proud
to announce the Silk Road Adventure 2005 Live!Journal. Harnessing the power of satellites, software and the
World Wide Web, GlobeRiders invites you to join in as this year’s inaugural group journeys the
Silk Road from Istanbul to Xian.
Also available from GlobeRiders is the all-new BMW F650GS Instructional Adventure DVD together with our two other DVD titles, the R1150GS and the Iceland DVD. We still have a few copies left of my book “10 Years on 2 Wheels”. This too can be ordered through our web page." Helge Pedersen.
Glen Heggstad, USA, around the world, in Nepal, F650GS Dakar,
"After evaluating a ton of information and advice, I left Bodhga in Bihar last week for a crossing into Nepal via Raxault. Exit and entry was smooth and painless.
After the chaos of India, the ride north was heavenly. Turning west at Hautada led to Chitwan for a visit with rhinos on the back of an elephant.
Much of the fear here is unwarranted. After speaking with many locals, everyone was aware of the bike burning attempt but also stated a public apology was broadcast over the radio and printed in the newspaper. As was stated, these were kids who did it and were not under orders. The policy of hands-off the tourists remains but when roads are closed due to strikes, it's anyone's guess what will happen. With no strike in effect, I would not hesitate to ride anywhere other than Western Nepal. I am certainly glad to have come here.
Wandering the dampened back streets of Katmandu is a spiral back in time. Ancient Buddhist temples and red brick stupas in the shadows with Hindu shrines exemplify ancient beliefs and constant celebrations of life. The roots of these religions reach back long before Jesus. The overwhelming spirituality of the mountains that attracts travelers is as potent as ever. Even given the effect of tourism, there's little impact on the hearts of the natives. Despite recent temptations of Western materialism, they are as humble and tolerant as I recall them twenty years ago.
... A ride through Tibet and down into China for access to Southeast Asia via Laos would be blazing a trail world-riders have merely fantasized about. But there're reasons why such objectives aren't reached. Governments. China is growing more lax regarding tourism but picky about whom visits Tibet. All tours involving land under their rule are processed through CTS. Journalists are forbidden for fear they'll expose of what's become of the inhabitants. Tried for permission from CTS in Lhasa for an overland exit through Tibet into China but was denied. Unless travelers are willing to pay exorbitant salaries of military escorts, it’s illegal to enter with private vehicles. Even short stays, cost in the thousands. Yet in a land and bureaucracy as vast as China's, often the left hand is unaware of the right. Scattered reports from motorcycling websites discuss lone motorcyclists appearing at borders fast-talking their way in. Getting out can be another story...
... It was a glorious ride to the Tibetan border with no hassles from anyone. Just enough standing on the pegs riding to keep me smiling. Soldiers wave Westerns through checkpoints and the people are as incredible as ever. Most hotels and resorts are empty and you can name your price. I stayed in a deluxe tent at the Last Resort and went rafting down the Bhote Kosi for pennies. Did I mention how awesome Nepal is? It's going to be hard leaving."
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James Klotz, USA, to South America, in Mexico, BMW R1150GS,
"After leaving the butterfly reserve (Santuario Mariposa Monarca in Michoacan), I was looking at a map of the area and decided that by taking a dirt road, I could knock off a good 20 miles or so on my trip to my next destination, Cuernavaca. The road began friendly enough, plenty of width for two normal sized cars and fairly smooth. But the farther I got back, the rougher it got… It was apparent I had made a mistake, the road was clearly too rough for my bike, especially being loaded down the way it was. And I was really in the middle of nowhere at this point…
I crested a hill... A washout had eroded the top half of this hill, but the bottom half had remained intact. This had left a pit of sand midway, and down went my front wheel into the pit. This might not have been so bad, because the rest of me and the bike followed faithfully, and gravity might have done its job and pulled us through, but being in the terrified state I was in, had grabbed a handful of front brake on the way down. This was the wrong thing to do. Now one thing you can say about a BMW motorcycle is when you really apply those brakes, they really work. Next thing I know I was skidding down this hill, looking like a rag doll feebly trying to hang on to the back of a charging rhino. Down I went.
Motorcycle safety gear has come a long way in the last few years, and it did its job. Luckily I had been wearing all of it at the time, and didn't even get a scratch. The bike on the other had, didn’t fare as well as I had. It was laying almost upside down, in a rut, nose first. The back wheel stuck up in the air, whimsically spinning from the momentum. It was mocking me...
Ever hear the phrase ‘It’s a really big small world’? Here I am brushing off the dust, trying to figure out how in the hell I was going to lift a 600 pound motorcycle out of a hole on a hill, in the middle on nowhere, when out of the bush walks this little Indian farmer. He had an inquisitive look on his face that reminded me of the movie ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’ when the coke bottle landed in the village. He must have been amused by the whole thing. Anyway, he helped me lift the bike back right side up, and I gave him a Swiss army knife for helping me. There was no way I could have gotten it without his help…
As for the bike, one of the side cases was torn off, the front hand guard was wedged into the front brake lever, the turn signal was broken off, faring scratched up and a small plastic piece was broken off the engine. Nothing that would keep me from continuing on, or so it seemed. Well, as fate would have it, that little plastic piece was some kind of engine idle sensor that allowed the motor to idle without the gas being applied. So the bike would start and run as long as I kept the gas applied. Now consider this for a moment; brake was not functioning properly and the only way I could make the bike run was to apply the gas. And I was still in some really treacherous terrain. Oh, and it was starting to get dark. Now we’re talking adventure!
There were several other obstacles getting back to the roadway, but I made it. At this point, I looked like something out of Road Warrior, but none the less, I was back on a paved road and thanking my lucky stars.
So I'm driving along this curvy mountain road, catching my breath when up ahead I notice a dark cloud in the middle of the roadway. As I get closer, I realize it is not a cloud, but a swarm of something. Wasps. Was I an evil dictator of some poor 3rd world country in a previous life or something? This really was not my day. A swarm of wasps was in the middle of the roadway and I had no choice but to ride right through! Again, my trusty motorcycle gear saved me, because I was only stung a few times on my neck and once on my chest. (The little bastards tried to sting me all over my body, but the heavy jacket, pants, gloves, boots and helmet I wear saved me). When I got to a hotel that night, I found a hose and rinsed several hundred dead wasps out of my oil cooler and from inside my faring."
Cynthia Milton, UK, around the world 2004-2005, busted up in Chile, BMW R80G/S,
"I've ground to a halt in Patagonia with a busted shoulder and written-off bike. The track was reasonable gravel track, but with heaped gravel in between the tyre tracks. It was also very windy as we're now east of the Andes and on the Patagonian plain. I was running nicely at around 50mph; a gust of wind caught me and forced me on to one of the heaped gravel bits; the bike went into a bad weave which I couldn't control, and of course slowing down is absolutely not an option. There then loomed a sort of stone parapet at the side of the road, and the bike was heading for it; I really couldn't do anything about it so I hit it. I remember hearing my collarbone break, and then I was on my back on the ground facing back the way I'd come and the bike was behind me. I was pretty scared at first as I couldn't breathe - this was presumably because the punctured lung deflated suddenly and the other one was taken by surprise. But I tried to breathe slowly and it got a bit better.
They put me in the truck, and even found my specs which had flown off but not broken. Skip the truck driver took me back to the Argy border with Roberto the local guide on his 1150GS and did the exit stuff for me, then down the road back to the Chilean border where they got me out and sat me inside the office next to the stove. I was feeling pretty second-hand by then. Skip took my keys and carnet and said he'd go back for the bike, get it out of Argentina and back into Chile for me. Meanwhile the Carabineros put me in their pickup and took me to the local clinic where a male nurse checked me over, inserted a drip and put me on oxygen. He very carefully listened all over with his stethoscope - there were all sorts of strange noises and he was clearly pretty worried. I gather from Francisco that they were considering sending the helicopter for me, but eventually a Paramedic ambulance came out from Coihaique and they brought me to the hospital here. It´s the only one for over 600 miles. This whole thing took about 6 hours.
On Saturday Francisco looked at me again and said he thought they could no nothing much more and that I was clearly pretty healthy and that they would discharge me. That's when they discovered that I was in fact on my own. So Francisco said he wasn't happy about me being alone in a hotel, rang his wife Fabiola, and insisted I come and stay with him.
So here I am with four broken ribs and a broken collarbone. They are all lovely people. I was even taken to a BBQ party on Saturday night. Fabiola has been brilliant, taking me round to do the necessary paperwork and see the orthopod (who says 4 not 3 broken ribs).
My chums in the UK are organising a new frame, forks and front wheel to be shipped out (yes, it was that bad). Load of stuff is being shipped - chums are collecting frame, complete forks (they're destroyed), front wheel (also destroyed) etc together and shipping as one crate (with cooperation of dealer in UK), and Reg is flying out to help the rebuild. Also, the engineer son of another friend is flying out at his own expense at the end of next week to help the dismantling so we're ready for Reg and the new bits. Amazing. The bike is basically a write-off, but I have no choice but to rebuild. The Chileans here are being great. I'll add stuff as I can - I suppose it's a pretty big adventure, really, especially for a grey-haired middle-aged Englishwoman."
Ed. Take it easy, Cynthia. Think you've had your adventure quota for at least a month!
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Johan and Charmaine Claasens, South Africa, Cape Town to London, in Oman and Dubai, BMW R1150GS,
"The road from Sana'a to Muscat was extremely pleasant and full of wow's. From Sana'a we went through some stunning mountain scenery as you decline from 2350m, Sana'a altitude just as high as Addis Ababa. From the little town of Marib you start entering the real desert. Marib is a farm growing area, a type of an oasis. We slept the night in Say'un, a real big oasis town with dry scenery and the green farmlands and plenty of small motorbikes. The next day was from Say'un to the Yemen Oman border, Al Mazyona. There we found that there is a very big difference between Yemen and Oman.
On the road from Thamarit to Muscat I felt that one of the wheel's bearing is not so happy, so we slowed down from 120-130 to about 90-100 and slept the night in our tent next to a fuel station/hotel in the middle of nowhere. The next morning after we left, the bearing felt very ruff, but the next town was Hayma still 120km further on. I decided to nurse the GS to Hayma by riding 2nd gear, 25km/h for more than an hour until the sound became less when we could managed 60km/h. Hayma is 550km from Muscat, and the GS just made it to the town, then the seal broke and the back wheel was full of oil. God sent us once again a truck after waiting maybe 1 hour only. And that's how we got here. Oman is ok, but too much of a first world country and very expensive for us.
Sunday 20 March 2005 - We are still in Dubai, trying to find a job. We've realized that it is not as easy to find work here than what we thought it would be. The only jobs worth while is managing jobs, anything less than a manager gets paid very little. To rent a flat or a house here is very expensive, one bedroom flat will cost us around DHS 35 000 (R60 000) per year. We have given ourselves two more weeks to find a job or continue to Europe.
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Chris Smith and Liz Peel, UK, in Belize, Africa Twin,
"So what have been the highlights of Belize for us? Well, the first thing has to be the people we've met here. The Belizeans are wonderful, friendly people who have gone out of their way to make us feel a part of the country. We've been to everything from baby showers to fiestas with local friends. They are some of the best people in the world. Then there's the 'international' friends we've made. Other volunteers and the ex-pat communities here. There is a spiders web of people here who have made Belize their home and helped us get to grips with the red tape of the country, or just kept us supplied with alcohol and conversation. I think the most bizarre assistance we received though had to be someone offering to flying a packet of Oxo cubes out to us in the jungle by helicopter. We can't say too much about that though. The natural wonders of Belize are on a par with anything the rest of the world has to offer. Many travelers miss Belize and go straight to Guatemala as its perceived to be expensive. In comparison with the rest of C. America it is but it's worth it. Here on our doorstep at Pook's Hill we have the world famous ATM cave.
Rediscovered in 1986, it has revealed itself from amongst the trees and hillsides as an archeological treasure trove of the Maya world. A trip into the cave is a mixture of swimming, wading, walking and climbing as we make our way up the underground river that has been carving the cave out for millennia. As we pass stalactites and stalagmites, flow-stone and a hundred other formations we edge nearer to the jewel of the cave. Climbing a large bolder and struggling over a rock ledge we take our shoes off to protect the site. Then climbing a final ladder we enter a world of broken pots, offerings to the gods and the bones of human sacrifices. The chamber is littered with close to a 1000 artifacts and human remains that have lain hidden for 800 years or more. Its an incredible sight that demands respect. We haven't seen anything like it before in our lives and its got to be in the top 5 of out favorite places to date.
There have been so many highlights for us in Belize I don't think we could write them all here but trust us, they're here. If you ever get the chance come to Belize, you'll not be disappointed. Just a few pictures to whet the appetite.
It would be so easy for us to settle here and we've had offers of help with the red tape but we must move on. We can't hang up our boots so early in the trip. Its only been 15 months now - we've only just started and there's still so much to see. All being well our next update will be coming from a country other than Belize. Which country remains to be seen but whichever it is it will have to be something special to live up to Belize. From a 'bikers' perspective its an easy country to travel through. The major roads are good and the more minor roads are not too much of a challenge at this time of year. Coming into Belize from Mexico is a relatively hassle free experience. If all your paperwork is in order you'll receive a temporary importation certificate for the bike for a month, the same as your tourist visa. Both can be extended with out too much trouble if your finding it hard to escape the country, as we have. Like the rest of C. America its who you know here. We got a letter of support from the ex-Deputy Prime Minister without any trouble. You can't help but bump into an ex-pat as you travel round Belize and many of them have contacts here, so just ask! "
Rene Cormier, Canada, around the world, in Argentina and Brasil, F650GS,
"I ran into Patrick (from the beach in Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Chile) at an internet cafe in Bahia Blanca, and we traveled north together to Azul. Patrick mentioned that in Azul, Marco was waiting and there was a place for motorcycle travelers to hang out. We arrived in the afternoon to a low building, closed because of a siesta, with BMW, Yamaha logos painted on the outer doors. We rang the bell, and waited. A lady appears, and tells us we must be looking for pollo. No, I thought, we don't want chicken, we were looking for a place to put a tent maybe, and also for our friend, Marco. Turns out the Pollo is the nickname of Jorge, the loving man that runs La Posta de Viajeros de la Moto, with the support of his family. Jorges real job is a little shop that sells scooter parts attached to the garage with the BMW logos.
The La Posta is a large room with a small kitchen area, small bathroom and a table and chairs. Along one wall is a bunk bed, and beneath the window to the street is another. Under both beds are mobile, low bed frames with wooden slats that can be moved to anywhere and used with a thermorest.
Jorge is a motorcycle aficionado, but more than that, receives great joy from having travelers come from around the world to stay with him. It has become tradition to paint your name some where on the walls, and leave a memento. Also, during your stay, you are expected to improve some part of the area. There is no charge for anybody staying there, or for any of Jorge's help. It is unlike any place I have ever been, and to think I almost drove by. I ended up staying a week, enjoying every day. In the attached garage, there is an indoor asado (bbq) pit that is usually going two or three times a week. Marco related that in 8 days, he had 5 asados there. The travelers intend to stay a day or two, but normally that is stretched.
Our last asado (13 guests) had 13 kilos of meat and 2 kilos of chorizo, 6 kilos bread, and salad. My first night there was a birthday asado for Conejo (rabbit) a friend of Pollos. After a week of authentic Argentinean hospitality, I headed north with Bob (UK) to Buenos Aires. The major agenda in BA was the servicing of the motos. I wanted to preventively take care of any issues that may rear their ugly heads in Africa, and I am getting spoiled now by working on the moto in a nice dry garage rather than on the side of a road somewhere. My to-do list was consisted of many bearing and seal replacements, things hadn't thought to look at, and since we ride the same model of bike, it would be just as easy to find two sets of spare parts and install them.
There is another motorcycle community in Buenos Aires, (contact through the Horizons Unlimited Community in BA) which is spearheaded by Javier and his wife Sandra. Most overland travellers on motos stop by to get work done at Javier's shop, Dakar Motos, or just to have a maté and receive local information. This is also where most of the work on our motos is done.
...Ever since my birthday in February, I had been struggling with some bouts of homesickness and cravings to get back to Canada, and was flirting with the idea of heading back home. Finding out that my British Columbian drivers licence was not renewable from outside the province helped make my decision. A current licence is required for a International Drivers Licence, and they need to be renewed every year. In addition, my passport only has two more blank pages left, and that needs to be renewed, as well as the Carnet for the motorcycle. The more I drank coffee and made lists, the more sense it made to head home. One of the problems with this plan is that Bob and I were making tentative plans to travel to Africa together after South America but this throws everything askew. I told Bob the morning after I decided that I was not ready to go to Africa. My head isn't in it, and I was going home for a few months. This was a wrench for him, but he took it well. That evening we spoke about this again, and he was willing to drive around Brasil and the rest of the northern South America for a few months while I go back, so the plan to travel together in Africa is still current."
Gregory Frazier , USA, RTW, in South America and on to Africa, KLR650,
"Like the famed American Pony Express riders, the 'Ride The Dream' team of Polk and Frazier have switched mounts, now using a BMW R1150 GS. They also changed continents. After reaching the end of the earth on the South American continent while dodging errant cars, lustful ladies and aggressive Latino boys (Donna-Rae learned what a daylight mugging was in Argentina), Donna-Rae and Greg flew to Africa to continue Donna-Rae’s dream ride around the world.
Greg says after nearly 20,000 miles with a pillion on the back of his motorcycle, 'So far Donna-Rae has managed her Parkinson's Disease better than I have riding with a female passenger.' This is Greg's fifth motorcycle ride around the globe, his first four being solo.
Donna-Rae said of her sometimes-grumpy lone wolf pilot, 'I have never seen this side of you before.' Needless to say their being together this long may have let them learn more than they wanted about each other. One of the pair calls their expedition the 'Growling Greg and Grandmother Goose Ride.' An old American Indian saying abounds: 'If you pull on a wolf's tail you should be prepared to deal with its teeth.'"
Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, around the world since 1996, in Japan, Harley-Davidson,
"29/3/05 I had met Timon in Africa, Uganda. He was on a six month overland truck trip from the south through to Europe. We had met the truck a couple of times and by co-incidence five years later he stumbled across our web page and generously invited me to stay where he is now, in Tokyo. The easy flight on China Airlines (Taiwan), Narita Airport Express train, change of trains and a reasonable walk had me at his apartment in almost central Tokyo late evening. The stories of Japanese running on time true, the train to the minute leaving each station on schedule. The stories of clean and orderly also true. Not a piece of litter to be seen, almost no-one talking on the trains, no-one smoking or eating whilst walking about, an unhurried progress of people and vehicles.
1/3/05 Sightseeing and absorbing the different culture. It is amazing how this culture has evolved so differently from other Asian societies in the region. Already I am finding the blank, almost expressionless faces, as people robotically move about the city on a work day, a little disquieting. The public chatter, laughter and bantering, that I am used to in Asia, not here. The gaiety of children, not visible in the city. Uniforms abound, bland mono colours, pressed and new, like a wardrobe for a 1950's movie scene, not a thread out of place. Occasionally a group of university students will rebel, eat and smoke in the street, even when walking, sometimes laughing, dresses as outlandishly as possible, bright colours, even the hair, but the society will have them in the black suits, if they want a job on graduation.
2/4/05 Kay and I have been discussing our situation recently and thought it a good idea to travel Japan together for a while. She will be flying into Kyoto on the 10th April for a month.
10/4/05 Early morning Sunday traffic was light, only a few trucks, into Kyoto by 11 am, easy to negotiate with most signs almost everywhere in Japan in both Japanese and English. Kay's plane arrived at 7.15pm and she was at Kyoto train station by 9.30, our dormitory bed accommodation, all we could find in Kyoto, not the best first night after not seeing each other in almost four months, a lot to discuss and talking to catch up on.
15/4/05 Despite high levels of service the rules are laid down to work within. Most accommodation has a check out at 10 am, and check in after 4 pm. Whilst those staying more than one night can usually remain in their room between these hours, few do. No staff are visible other than cleaners, no services available. Rainy days, or arriving in a city drenched off a motorcycle and having to wait till 4 pm would be no fun. We took a day off, our room overlooking a lovely Japanese garden courtyard in crisp sunshine. A time to relax in each other's company."
Horizons Unlimited is proud to host Peter and Kay Forwood's complete RTW story and pictures here!
Merritt Grooms, USA and Pierre Saslawsky, France , RTW, BMW F650's,
"(Lima, Peru) - Pierre and I are going through a grim and badly agitated, rash-like spot in our relationship. I say to him, 'You're mean and spiteful to me.', to which he responds, 'You don't know how to apologize for anything', to which I respond, 'That's because you are a mean French-fry!'. Well, now we are grim with one another, and again we get to experience the pro-con, the push-pull, the love-hate of not being able to get away from one another.
Do I feel that being in the same 20 ft radius of ourselves for 2 years has helped our relationship? Probably. Because we are both hard-headed and prone to righteousness of opinion in the heat of arguing, in hindsight I see that it is great to be forced to deal with the sometimes reactionary frustration and blame in the moment, before it festered and is given a chance to become long-term resentment. This situation of having to deal with conflict in the moment tells one much about themselves and their inherent abilities (or lack of) to communicate. In normal life, it is too easy to run off and find solace with your best-friend, or clam up and stay silent for several days until you forget what it was you were mad at, or seek out distraction (my personal favorite), or exaggerate scenarios inside your head to your ego's content. But not here brother! You get one friend, one lover, one confidant, and it's all the same person. One room, one bed, one credit card, one map and it must all be shared with one person.
One chance to make it work, because if you don't reconcile, the trip is over, at least for the couple. So, we stand in our corners, and like any animal, make a choice and a dance to either reconnecting or eat each other. Sometimes it's clumsy and pride-swallowing; sometimes flawless. To truly 'change' an aspect of one's self is the most difficult thing to do in human nature. People rarely truly change no matter how much they like to think so. Yes, we are adaptable, but to change old patterns in ways of reacting and thinking, is a rare rare endeavor and experience indeed.
Today we have spent every hour and night together for 660 days or 15,500 hours (sans the one night I spent alone with creepy peepers). Aren't there people who do experiments of this sort? I do know of the American woman who as a performance art piece tied herself to a Japanese man for 1 year with a 8 foot rope. If you have tried similar experience, please write us and tell us all about it. We are a captivated audience already!"
Ed. Merritt and Pierre are still together, last we heard, and have updated their travel tales with beautiful pictures on their site - check it out!
Tommy and Rosa, Germany, RTW, in Romania, BMW F650GS's,
"Tommy - As far as I can remember I loved motorcycling and I've spent all the money put aside for this hobby. I have to think hard to remember all the bikes I've owned: RD 350, CB 750 four, GPZ 600, XT 600 Ténéré, VFR 750 Intercepter, FZR 1000 Genesis, FZR 1000 Exup, GSXR 750, Yamaha OW 01, FZR 600, Bimota YB 9, Bandit 1200, XJR 1200, XJR 1300 SP, Z 1000, R 1150 GS and now: F 650 GS Dakar. I have always been a bit of an adventurer and my favourite travelling method has ever been riding a motor bike. So I've travelled half of Europe as well as parts of Africa and Asia with all kind of motorcycles. After having seen nearly all countries on my own continent, I tinkered with the idea of travelling a longer and more distant tour. My thoughts went round and round the issue, and at the beginning I rejected this phantasm. But in December 2003, Rosa and me made the decision: We'll go on a journey round the world!
Rosa - I've got the licence to ride a motorcycle since 1995. My first bike was a Honda CB 650 C, which unfortunately got a jammed spool shortly after buying. Altogether I've spent about 100.000 km on a bike, thereof around 300 km off-road. And at the first off-road opportunity I've overturned and wasn't able to get up again. Since then I've rather some respect for gravel roads!! Therefore I took an off-road course for not taking always a bath in the mud… ;-)
I've tinkered quite a long time with the idea of getting on a really big trip with the bike. Best time in year is for me, when taking our motorbikes, tent and sleeping bag and just ride straight on!
First report from Romania
... On a meadow below the street we pitch camp. Suddenly, a shepherd appears. He tells us - in Romanian probably - his life-story. Unfortunately, we don't understand him, because we speak no Romanian. He vanishes for an hour and comes back drunken! And he brings his dogs, a motorized saw and one plastic-bottle with 'labde' (cow's milk) for us! Unfortunately, he manages to start the motorized saw. We are afraid that he injures himself in his condition, but everything is well. He makes enough wood for us for at least 2 days by cutting down almost one tree! An interesting meeting! However we are glad that he leaves us alone soon again and we can sleep in silence."
Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World
La Vuelta al Mundo por la Paz - Un Sueno que se hace Realidad,by Ricardo Rocco Paz,
Ricardo's adventures in South America, in Spanish. There's two tapes and a book, contact him for details.
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 through Manou and Ellen directly, 38 Euros plus shipping, or in North America from HU. Don't forget to tell them where you heard about it. It's a very nice book, well done - I have one! Grant
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,
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!
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 Terra Circa video distributors for the PAL video or all format DVD. Don't forget to tell them you heard about it on HU, we'll make a bit, and it won't cost you any more.
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"It is with the deepest sadness that we report that Simon Milward has passed away following a road accident. The accident took place on the afternoon of the 4th of March near the city of Kayes, Mali, West Africa. Our sympathies and prayers go out to his family and friends.
Mrs. Jane Milward and Family and the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations
A celebration of the life of
A Memorial Fund has been established in memory of Simon Milward. Simon's family has asked that all donations go to the Flores Project 'Health for All'.
Ed. Horizons Unlimited has supported the Flores Project in the past. We urge you to support this very worthwhile endeavour, which extends the successful Riders for Health concept (using motorbikes to deliver medical assistance to remote locations, combined with extensive training for the mechanics and support personnel to ensure the bikes are 100% reliable) to Asia.
Simon's energy and enthusiasm for motorcyclists rights, and advocacy for the Flores Project are an inspiration to us all. He will be sorely missed.
"The Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations (FEMA) regrets to announce that it's former General Secretary Simon
Milward passed away following a road accident on the 4th of march 2005 near the city of Kayes in Mali (Africa). Simon was forty
years old. Simon Charles Milward was born on the 28th of january 1965 in Strete, South Devon, United Kingdom.
Comments from Horizons readers who knew Simon personally
"Iris and I knew this man, before he left we talked about his upcoming trip a few times, and he was a GOOD guy... We are appalled, incredulous, shocked, as hundreds of people throughout the world will be, and certainly his closest friends and family. Trui (and Iris)"
"Our friend and travel partner, Simon Milward died a few weeks ago in a traffic accident in Kayes, Mali, West Africa. Simon and I traveled together in Laos; we crossed the front lines of a civil war together; we rode the bikes where there were no roads or tracks; we met again in all this years on the road in Argentina, South Africa and the last time in Uganda. We have lost a true friend and it hurts more than riding with a broken leg on angolan roads. Mika Kuhn"
"Ride in peace Simon. You were my inspiration with RideAid. Frankie Surgener"
BMW has released a surprise new model, the HP2, HP for "High Performance." For lots of photos of it, see the BMW HP2 Slide Show. (Click "Nächstes Bild >" for next slide.) Designed as a serious, full-on off-road bike, it's BMW's answer to the KTM 950.
Will it be suitable for travelling? At the quoted price, not likely for most of us, unless you're seriously bucks-up, but it could be a lot of fun to ride hard, and if you're serious about places like North Africa and other off-road heavy areas, it could be the weapon of choice.
Dave Smith, RTW, in Australia, Ducati 250cc,
"I was up the east coast of Australia over by Gin Gin. One of my oil leaks was acting up again, and then I noticed the fuel dripping from the tank… I had close to a full tank when I noticed the leak, and I should've stayed in Gin Gin but what fun is that? I rolled the dice to see what happens. As I ride, there are bush fires on both sides of the road. That's always a good thing to ride through with fuel pouring out of the tank. Better riding than pushing. I made it to a rest area. I check all the trash cans looking for an empty bottle to save what fuel is left. No bottles, so I drink what's left of my water and fill up the 1.5 liter bottle. I pop off the tank to put it on its side to save what's left. Have to put it in a weird spot so the fuel doesn't pour out the leaky gas cap and doesn't pour out the hole in the tank. A friendly Aussie gives me a bit of Army Tape that's should hold up long enough to take it to a garage in Miriam Vale tomorrow. One good thing about riding up in the rain is it put out the brush fires. No big deal about the smoke from the smoldering fires. I'm from California—Land Of Smog.
A tow truck driver stops to take a leak. He's got nothing to stop my leak but the friendly Aussie finds some heavy-duty glue that doesn't give a petrol warning. The tow truck driver files off some of the bondo (bog in OZ) on the tank to uncover the leaking braze. He makes the first comment (out of dozens) about what a shitty job was done on the tank. The braze and bog on a tank meant for a round the world run. It's also my first look at the JB Weld. And then he dumped fuel on his nuts from the leaky gas cap."
Mika Kuhn and Damaris, Germany, around the world, in Gabon, West Africa, Ténéré,
"...I had two accidents and I rode the bike 1000km with a broken leg in Angola. Most of my time on the computer at the moment I spend writing letters to my health insurance in Germany, because they refused paying for the surgery I had a few weeks ago in Germany. For now, we are fine. My leg is healed and riding the bike is fun again. Tomorrow we will leave and go further North - Cameroon and Nigeria. All the best to you, keep in touch Mika and Damaris."
Simon Fitzpatrick, UK, London to Cape Town, in Morocco and Mauritania, Honda Dominator,
"... Leaving Auberge Sahara… Travelling alone again feels exhilarating for the first 5 miles, and worrying for the next 95. During one cig stop the bike blows over in the wind. I can't pick it up and have to flag someone down to help. The final 125 miles are a mixture of exhilaration and botty pain. The road after Aleg is brand new tarmac with white lines! It's like being in England except there are camels all over the highway. There's nowhere to stay in Aleg and I've resigned myself to sleeping in a pole less tent-a bag, if you will-by the side of the road. 25 miles shy of Sangrafa I spot an Auberge sign. It's very simple and barn-like and a lot better than the alternative. Also it's a mere 125 miles to Kiffa where there's a proper place to stay for tomorrow night...
9th March 2005. Cape Coast.
I stop for a fag somewhere in Southern Ghana and within seconds a man-and-wife team materialise from the undergrowth and offer me two - er - things in exchange for a cigarette. They're not coconuts but they might be cocoa-pods.
All things must pass, as George Harrison put it so succinctly, and we part enriched by the encounter. Ten miles down the lane I'm stopped by an aggressive copper who begins to denounce and shame me in an African language, making it clear that transporting a cocoa (or whatever it is) on a motorbike is an 'Infraction', and that the fine is 100,000 cedis. I protest in English - a bloke gave me them by the side of the road officer *tremble*. He continues to tick me off, now about the fact that I can't speak 'vernacular'. Well I'm sorry officer but I was off sick the day we did 'vernacular'. Then he almost-grins and says:
Ed. Follow Simon's adventures in his blog, here on Horizons Unlimited!
Erik and Hanka Forkert , Germany, around the world, in India, Honda Transalp,
"From the heat of Delhi we headed north towards the mountains in one day, where the nights are rather chilly. But what a marvellous change to the India we knew already: windy mountain roads instead of congested highways, colourful villages instead of smog-plagued cities, fresh green valleys with blooming trees in front of snow covered mountains instead of tree-cleared arid plains! We felt like new people while discovering the blooming foothills of the Himalayas around Shimla, Manali and Dharamsala. Here we became aware that we hadn't experienced springtime for 3 years! (Not that you have to feel sorry for us.)
At the moment we are staying in the mountain village of McLeod Ganj. This is the place where the Dalai Lama and many other Tibetan refugees live in exile. It's also a very touristy place and we are enjoying the bright side of it: We will certainly think of all the yummy international food and the tempting bakeries in the next weeks. Can you imagine, we had fresh bread with Nutella for breakfast! (Just think of Vegemite on toast.) But we also appreciate the Indian cuisine and so we will go to a cooking lesson tonight. Maybe we can invite you for a Malai Kofta or Navrathan Korma one day?
Tomorrow we are heading for the Golden Temple of Amritsar. After that we'll already cross into Pakistan. Lahore and Islamabad will be the first stops before one of our dreams hopefully become true: Riding along the Karakoram Highway up into the Himalaya. Hanka and Erik"
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Mauro Iacona, Ethiopia, in India, Africa Twin,
"On the road to Daman, I looked at my GPS and realized that just off the road a few kilometres away there is the sea. I got to Daman, found and empty beach with some pine trees, just in front of the Arabian Sea, couldn't be better. So I pitched my tent, and decided to have a swim, the long waited and dreamed swim.
My knowledge about the marine life fishes and alike, is very limited due to the fact that I have always lived in Addis, 2400m above the sea level and maybe 700 km apart. So this long beach can be a good introduction to small fishes, shells, and other marine creatures. With full enthusiasm and energy, I walked to the sea. This beach was quite deserted, but far away I saw two people. When I got closer, I can see they are carrying a basket and some fishing net. A fishermen and his wife. I looked at them and then shouted Fish?? He said 'Yes'. I shouted again 'Can I see'? He waved to me to come over. So I ran to them quite happily.
As I got there, he opened the basket to show me the fishes. I looked inside and saw some 20-25 fishes. I said 'Nice'. And looked at them again. I immediately realized that there were 2 kinds of fishes in the basket. Then I took a better look inside. I looked. I looked more. I hesitated a while but then said: 'Sharks!' The fisherman looked at me and said 'Yes, sharks.' He grabbed one and gave it me. I took it, and it was still moving. I looked again. It was really a small shark, maybe 20cm long. I looked into its mouth, not much of teeth yet but you can see something will soon grow there. Of course in that moment all my fantasies of a great swim in the Arabian Sea faded away instantly. I gave back the small shark to the fisherman. He smiled, she smiled, I sort of smiled, and they left. I looked to the sea, looked some more, turned around and headed back to my tent, thinking mummy sharks must be very pissed somewhere there…"
Jun Ishibashi (Bashishi on HUBB), Japan, around the world, in South Africa, Suzuki Djebel 200,
"Hello, South African riders. My name is Jun (I use my nickname 'Bashishi' on the web), coming from Japan on Suzuki Djebel200. I started my touring on June, 2004, and arrived Cape Agulhas on March 11, 2005. Now I am staying in guest house 'Green Elephant Backpackers' in Cape Town. Tel: 0800-222-722. +27-21-4486359.) I want to go to South America, but my money is almost finished, I have to work and gain money in Japan. When I am returning to Japan, I want to park my motorcycle in Cape Town, or other cities in South Africa. (I want parking in Cape Town. Because my motorcycle was drove about 43,000 km from Japan, it need many maintainances.) But I can not find parking space now. So please help or tell me motorcycle parking space. I will come back South Africa on Jan 2006. I think about 9 months is very long, but please. Jun Ishibashi"
Ed. comment: Jun has found storage for his bike - thanks to those who responded!
Bill Shockley, USA, in South America, BMW R80ST,
"Hola everyone, just a quick note to let everyone know that I am alive and well and survived my trip to the end of the world. I was in Ushuaia for a couple of days and camped at the end of the road in the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Snow was in the air and the mountains turned white above me. There was ice on the motorcycle tank in the mornings. I hardly noticed, glad and grateful to finally be at the end of this road. I was surrounded by such beauty and very happy. One road ended, another begins. I am looking north now and thinking about all of you. Love, Bill."
Henno and Alexandra Reisinger, Germany, Alaska to Patagonia, in Costa Rica, BMW R 100GS and Suzuki Freewind,
"Hi guys, we are two German motorcyclists (BMW R100gs and Suzuki Freewind) on their way from Toronto via Alaska to Patagonia. In Costa Rica we will meet our parents who have for 2 1/2 weeks a rented car. Now we are looking for a safe place for our motorcycles to leave them for this time. it would be great if you have any idea where we can do this! Thanks a lot and see you maybe in Costa Rica?! Henno and Alexandra"
Torria Sakumoto, USA, Alaska to Ushuaia, BMW F650GS,
"I've made it to Rio de Janeiro! I am planning to continue up the northeast coast and take the boat from Belem to Manaus and finish the trip in Caracas, Venezuela. Torria"
Chris Davis, USA, Yamaha Super Ténéré, and Matt, USA, around South America, Honda Africa Twin,
"We arrived in Zapala in the afternoon and couldn't find any people. They take siesta very seriously. We found a hotel but they had no vacancy due to an international geologist convention. They directed us to a military residencia run by a bunch of retired military men, a jolly bunch that wanted to trade a moped for one of our bikes. I jogged around town, along a military installation, through the town dump by mistake and was afraid of stumbling across a mass disappeared grave site from the 70’s and 80’s, but in minutes I was outside the city with mountains and sky in all directions. We looked for a geology museum but it was closed and we noticed the sidewalks with foot size fossils in the rock, weird to be stepping on what looks like it should be roped off in a museum.
The next morning we drove through more mountain landscape. I stopped to take some pictures and Matt drove on ahead. I caught up to him and saw his body sprawled out in the middle of the highway. My mind went into emergency mode and I immediately started thinking of how I would get him to the nearest hospital. But then I noticed his kickstand propping the bike up, a strange way for it to land after throwing him. And there was a line of cows blocking the road and a bull looking intent. He swore that moments before I pulled up the cows had all been armed with guns and ordered him onto the ground. A local cowboy began riding over and we drove off before having to explain our shenanigans.
We came upon another herd of cows with some guys driving them straight down the highway. Our bikes parted the herd as they mosied by nearly bumping into us on both sides. I know cows are not known to be one of the fiercer animals but having those giant beasts and horns a foot away is intimidating. They could have sandwiched me easily. Stupid cows, he he he."
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Gustavo Cieslar, Argentina, RTW, Yamaha YBR 125,
"With the little which I knew until now about this country I am happy to say that Guatemala is a surprising country. Here one can be transported in history in places like Antigua, a beautiful colonial city extremely well preserved, feel the magic of the Lake of Atitlán and the towns that surround it, where the indigenous culture still stays lives, or to float in an earthly paradise like the natural sinks of Semuc Champey, in the middle of the forest. I believe that I am going to remain in Guatemala longer than planned, because this country has a special magnetism."
Mark Kirby (South Africa), Jason Sheppard (South Africa), and Doug Gunn (UK), London to Cape Town, Honda XL600 and two Honda Africa Twin's XRV750,
"2k5 Africa is a trip through Africa undertaken by three adventurous men looking to raise some money and awareness for three worthy charities operating in various parts of Africa (Save the Rhino, UNICEF and Umtha Welanga). We propose to leave on the 2nd April 2005 from London and travel south till we get to our goal - Cape Town, South Africa which is where both Mark and Jason were born.
... We are heading into Sudan and then Ethiopia where the internet options might be limited, not to worry, I'll have the updates back on by the time we get to Kenya."
James, USA, UK to Cape Town, Ural,
"5 Feb - I am planning an overland trip on a Ural to Cape Town. I am going to leave the end of September. This is the route I have tentatively settled on: London, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Egypt, The Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa. The first part of the trip through Turkey I have done before. After that it will all be new. If anyone has any ideas, experience, or suggestion, please let me know. I am trying to learn as much as possible as I can before I leave. I have read the post and many books and articles but I would like to hear some first hand experiences from people who have traveled these areas. Thanks, James
"25 April - My plans have changed I will be leaving the end of May. I have decided I am going to skip Israel. I appreciate all the advice, I am really anxious to get going."
"Belinda and Patrick Peck spent January to mid February travelling the north island of New Zealand. They are now in Brisbane, Australia. Their next trip will be either travel through Africa or Eastern Europe starting Jan 2006 on their motorcycle."
Paul and Zoe Jenkins, UK to South Africa, in South Africa, Honda Transalps,
"Since Zoe has done such a sterling job writing our web journal entries I thought I should make some sort of contribution. I started a poem about our trip while we were waiting for our Angolan visas in Libreville and have now completed it. Although it is rough round the edges as I have the writing skills of a gorilla (no offence to gorillas), I think it captures some of the things we experienced and learnt on our trip.
ODE TO AFRICA TRIP 2004
I remember how they started this rather daring trip,
They began by riding 500 kilometres per day,
Raging rivers, sinking sands and razor-sharp rocks,
'Look at them farming and hunting, aren't their ways amazing!'
'Hello and welcome white man, I have a special price for you',
'Relax white man, I don’t want anything, just to be your friend',
In this wild land of adventure and discovery,
And now after all that riding is there anything you can advise?
So they arrive in South Africa with their tans and sun-bleached hair,
Ed. See Paul and Zoe's blog, here on Horizons Unlimited!
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Thanks! Grant and Susan
We've now reached an amazing 328 communities in 76 countries as of 15 March 2005!
A big thanks to all those who took the first step and established the Community in their area.
New Communities are in Otocac, Croatia; Andalucia, Spain; Fort Collins, CO, USA; Komatipoort, Mpumulanga, South Africa; Carlisle, UK and more to come.
If you are on the road, do check out the Communities - don't feel like you're imposing on people! They signed up for a Community because they want to meet travellers - that's you! You'll have a great time, so go to the Communities page and let them know you're coming. Please remember that they are volunteers and offering to help because they're great people - common courtesy helps! When you write, tell them who you are, that you're passing through, and would like to meet them. Let them know if you need anything, and I'm sure they'll help as best they can.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.
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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 200 world travellers listed, but there are many more. 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...
All text and photographs are copyright © Grant and Susan Johnson
and their respective authors or creators, 1987-2005.