Translate this page Click to translate - Espanoles - Deutscher - les Francais - Portugese - Italiano
Riding the globe...

Horizons Unlimited
Motorcycle Travellers'
e-zine

in cooperation with
Quality Touring equipment worldwide.

Are you a TRAVELLER? Are you interested in death by slow mutilation, bizarre luge events, the Pacific stonehenge, Santa's house, lesbian pilgrimages, llama carnage, the tarzan swing, flying Morris Minor, Mekong River crossing by canoe, Mongolian rituals, mines and London cabs in Western Sahara, and much more...?

Then you're reading the right newsletter!

In this e-zine:

Administrivia
Advertising
Books
Community News
Final Thoughts
In Progress...
Leaving Soon
Meetings
New Links
Repair Shops on the
road

Shorts
Subscribe
Travellers Community
Who's on the Road
Your Privacy

On the Website: (All pages open in new window)

Home Page
Advertising
Books
Bulletin Board
Community
Feedback
HU Souk (Store)
Links
Search the Website
Shipping
Travellers Stories
Trip Planning

Every newsletter is permanently archived online. Back issues here.

Get the RSS feed for this channel Syndicate this Channel

errr, what's an RSS Feed? there's a detailed RSS Guide here.

TIP: If you like to print the e-zine, in Outlook Express or Outlook go to View / Text size (or Font size) and select smallest. If you're reading this online, in IE select View / Text Size and set it to "smallest."

Then print it. The smallest font size is just right for printing, and saves a lot of paper.

Netscape, Firefox, Mozilla and Opera etc. are similar.

Support your favourite website!











Motorcycle Travellers' News Report

October 2008, 70th Edition

Welcome to the 70th edition of the HU e-zine! This was the month that the financial systems of the world seized up and the 'developed world' officially slid into recession. The media had been talking us into it for months, though, so it had the feel of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you have stocks, this has been a very bad month :-( Those of us who bought houses in the last year or two are now worried about negative equity, but the economists do think they'll go back up again eventually!

There are bright spots: if you have a variable-rate mortgage, the interest rate drop means monthly payments are less. Also, we are starting to hear from folks who figure this is a good time to hit the road! Lower prices for food and fuel mean that your travel fund goes farther. If you've been employed for awhile, now might be a good time to ask for that leave of absence for a few months ;-) Hmm, perhaps a new motto for the times: 'When the going gets tough, the tough go travelling...'

We've got tough travellers reporting from all over this issue: Iran, Argentina, Costa Rica, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Russia, Tonga, New Zealand, Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia, Morocco, Switzerland, Australia, Pakistan, India, Mongolia, Guatemala, Ecuador, Singapore, Thailand, Romania, Mauritania and even USA and Canada!

So, get out there on the road - we want YOUR adventure stories and pics! If you're not travelling, you should be planning your next trip. :)

"The Achievable Dream" Video - almost sold out!
Achievable Dream DVD cover

To get you started with your planning, the HU Achievable Dream Video is available now. Everything you need to know if you are seriously interested in travelling - your questions answered. Feedback from viewers has been great! Recent comments:

"Thanks for the excellent service, the DVD arrived on Saturday morning and none of my planned jobs were accomplished after a quick view lasted the whole afternoon. The DVD provided much more information than I expected and will need to be view many times for me to digest all the information that is on there.It has certainly made me think of some of the aspects of this type of trip from a different angle. I think it has been an excellent purchase and the 'motorbike trip' seed that has been germinating for some time has well and truly started to sprout. Many thanks, Graham"

"Got the DVD Thoroughly enjoyed it - very informative and Inspiring for a touring novice! Regards, Kelvin "

"Just a note to say thank you for such rapid delivery of the Achievable Dream DVD, watched it last weekend and learnt a lot - thanks. Also thank you for the kind inclusion of a sticker - which is now front and centre on the back of my bike! I will eagerly look forward to the new DVD's that you are producing. Cheers, Mike"

Price is a bargain at £15.49 or €24.50 or US$29.99 or CDN$38.99 including shipping/postage to anywhere in the world. Order now, but be warned, viewing this may be a life-changing experience!

Interested in Morocco? We have a special bonus offer on Morocco 'The Desert Pistes' - only £11.00 (US$17.50) if you buy with 'the Achievable Dream'.

Morocco Desert Pistes

Heading home after six months in Morocco and Western Sahara in his battered Land Rover 110, adventurer and film maker Darrin drove over 2,000 km of off-road pistes through the desert regions of southern and eastern Morocco as a grand finale to his journey back to Europe.

The resulting video documentary 'Morocco: The Desert Pistes' is packed full of detailed information on all of the routes driven and provides an excellent insight into what to expect and how to enjoy your own desert trip. If you're planning a visit to Morocco or the Sahara this provides an excellent companion before or after your own experience.

Order BOTH DVD's for US$47.99 (£30.48, €38)!

Achievable Dream DVD series - coming soon!

The new series of DVD's will highlight practical and essential information about all aspects of preparing and going on a major motorcycle trip. They will feature inspiring talks, including material from our presentation (updated this year), demonstrations, scenic images and video clips, debates on 'hot topics' and interviews with many seasoned motorcycle travellers, such as Sam Manicom, Chris and Erin Ratay, Greg Frazier and Herbert Schwartz. We've even interviewed Ted Simon in California, and Peter and Kay Forwood on location in Samoa!

What's covered? Everything you ever wanted to know about motorcycle travel.

  • DVD 1 is Inspiration and Preparation, including planning, paperwork for you and the bike, health and medical.
  • DVD 2 will cover the Kit - bike and other stuff, including which bike, preparing the bike, what to take and how to pack it.
  • DVD 3 - 'On the Road (Again), will tell you what to expect at border crossings, practicalities, safety, health, and much more.
  • DVD 4 - Last but certainly not least, we are producing Motorcycle Travel for Women, which will be directed and presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of "Lois on the Loose" and a new book out now: 'Red Tape and White Knuckles'. Lois promises us action, entertainment and hot tips, as well as coverage of 'women only' topics. Lois' husband Austin Vince (Terra Circa, Mondo Enduro) has filmed interviews and pieces to camera, and has also written the music for the whole series!

Those of you who have seen the current DVD know that it's not exactly high production values. For this series, in addition to producing several times as much superb content, we have invested in professional production and camera crew, equipment and editing. Filming is in broadcast quality wide screen HDV, incorporating multiple cameras.

So when is all this coming? We aim to have one or more of the DVDs available for Christmas 2008, and to be releasing them every 1-2 months through Spring 2009.

We can still use video clips if you have any good quality, short, exciting clips of your travels. Please go here for details and how to submit!

Horizons Unlimited 2009 Motorcycle Travellers Calendar - Winners from the 2008 Photo Contest!

Congratulations to the 2008 Photo Contest winners: Jolanta Glabek, Gemma Sunderland, Kris Miller, Tyson Brust, Ekke Kok, Paul Hurcomb, Laurent Bendel, Valerie Peponnet, David Breedon, Alan Whelan, Stefan Thiel, Jean-Louis Grauby and Sean Howman.

It was a really hard job to narrow it down to only 13 pics, as we had hundreds of great photos to choose from, but we think that the winners really deserve their accolades. The small pics don't really do them justice, you'll just have to buy the calendar to appreciate them in full size. All winners will receive a share of the proceeds from the calendar sales, a free calendar, and 1 year Gold Member status on the HUBB.

The Grand Prize winner is Tyson Brust, Canada, for his photo of Jose Rodriguez from Ecuador, riding the rim of Guagua Pichincha volcano, Ecuador; Honda CRF 450X.

by Tyson Brust, Canada; of Jose Rodriguez from Ecuador, riding the rim of Guagua Pichincha volcano, Ecuador; Honda CRF 450X.

Grand Prize winner: Tyson Brust, Canada; of Jose Rodriguez riding the rim of Guagua Pichincha volcano, Ecuador.

by Jolanta Glabek, of Brad Ryan, USA; On a sunset ride through Valle de la Luna, Chile, on our RTW tour; Africa Twin. by Gemma Sunderland, of Mark Herron, UK; A rough descent down from Kunzum La 4551m altitude, Spiti Valley, Indian Himalayan Adventure. by Kris Miller, USA; Broke through the dense valley freezing fog, to clear views on the summit, Steens, Oregon.

by Ekke Kok of Audrey Allenspach-Kok, Canada; Riding by the pyramid of Chephren in Giza, Egypt on our trip from Munich to Cape Town; F650GS. by Paul Hurcomb, UK; The Road to Timbuktu, on route to Cape Town; Yamaha XT600E. by Laurent Bendel, France; A Mongolian rider passes by and looks down upon Anders taking a break. Switzerland to Ladakh; Yamaha Ténéré.

by Valerie Peponnet, of Pablo Alvarez, Spain; Losing balance in a messy Jodhpur street with elephant, sadhu and auto-rickshaw, Rakatanga Asia Tour; R850R. by David Breedon, Australia; Deep in the Colombian jungle avoiding the road that was supposed to be held by FARC guerrillas; KLR 650. by Alan Whelan, UK; Kids on Tiger near Mamfe, Cameroon, trans-Africa trip - Lancashire to Cape Town; Triumph Tiger 955i.

by Stefan Thiel (www.stefan-thiel.info), Germany; Near the cliffs of Moher on the west coast of Ireland. by Jean-Louis Grauby, of Hubert Kriegel, French-USA, Friendly llamas at Santa Rosas de los Pastos Grandes in Argentina; Sidecar-ing the world; BMW R100GS - Ural Sidecar. by Sean Howman, Australia; A minor spill on a slippery Pamir highway in the wrong season, India to the UK via Central Asia; BMW R65.

The 2009 calendar is now available! Check it out and get your copy now, for some terrific travel inspiration! The calendars are available through CafePress, and the price is US$24.99 plus postage. The cost to us from CafePress is $14.99, and we split the $10.00 profit with the photographers.

How to contribute

As always, 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!

All about HU Membership benefits

Become a Member - Support HU via PayPal

Sign-up to PayPal

Can't/Don't want to use electronic payment? Support HU via Snail Mail

Advertisers

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! :)

Administration

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.

We now have an Syndicate this Channel RSS feed for the e-zine (you'll need an RSS Reader to use it) and all the travellers' blogs have their own feeds. The HUBB has a full RSS feed here. If you're not sure what that's all about, there's a detailed RSS Guide here.

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, and it won't cost you anything.

This newsletter is provided as a complimentary service for travellers everywhere, both on the road and (temporarily ;-) off. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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


Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Please be sure to tell them how you heard about Touratech. Thanks!

Touratech - Touring Rallye Racing Equipment.


up to top of pagespacerHorizons Unlimited Travellers Meetings...

The 2008 summer meeting season is now over, and it was great! Brief reports:

UK West Mini-Meeting - 30-31 August

Gabriel Bolton (Baron Bolton) and Charlotte Moore (Charlotte Goose) hosted a 'spit and sawdust' overlanders camping weekend in the heart of Mendip. South of Bath, in Somerset. Thanks Gabe and Char, their families and all the volunteers and campers for a wonderful low-key event.

We were there, filming bits for the new DVD series, so thanks to all who talked to us about their bikes and other gear. We even managed to do a presentation on Saturday night about our travels, in a tent, with a projector powered off a generator! Amazing tech support!

Even the weather cooperated - mostly - though the pig and cow invasions required some effort to beat off! Typical comments:

"Thanks to Gabe and Charlotte great couple of days in the west country, well done for the weather Saturday and a great location for the Sunday breakfast. Very good turn out and a great mix of travellers. Colin"

"Thanks from me and Suzanne for putting the weekend together (it was us on the black KTM 950 adventure). What an honour for our first HU meet to be the first on the site and the last to leave. Talk about getting your monies worth! Such a pleasure to be sharing a site with such a fantastic bunch of people (and the cider wasn't bad either). Rich"

"Our first HU event of many and I look forward to meeting many of you again out there over the months and years ahead. Good luck to all those with a trip lined up already. Adi & Jackki"

More comments and pics on the HUBB thread.

Spain - Malaga, 12-14 September,

Alison Makin (Dakota) was the organizer for this event, helped by hubby Andy. Thanks Alison and Andy! Geoff Shingleton paused at the start of his RTW trip to come along to the meeting and do a first-aid presentation, which Grant taped for the DVD. So, double thanks to Geoff, whose first blog entries are on the site already - see later in the e-zine for some excerpts! And thanks also to Sean Howman, Tony and Anne Pringle, the vendors who offered raffle prizes (€70 raised for Riders for Health), and to all the volunteers and participants.

Typical comments:

"Hi Alison/Andy, Thanks again for organizing this fantastic event - double the numbers from the informal meet last year - looks like next year we'll take over the whole campsite! Anyone thinking of coming to this meet next year just do it, from the UK/Germany etc it's a nice manageable tour down, and it's ideal for anyone going to or coming back from tours further afield (Morocco etc), great off road ride outs along trails thru stunning scenery and an action packed weekend full of presentations etc. Thanks again - also to Geoff, Sean and Grant for their presentations. Cheers Mike"

"Hi Alison and Andy, thank you very much for organising a great event. I will be coming back next year with my wife. Thanks you also for your help to get new tires. Rainer (from cold Germany)"

"Guys, Thanks Sooo much for the weekend you organised. I had a ball! I met some great people on the weekend and enjoyed giving the bike some hammer on the trails which has inspired my confidence in it a lot! Glad to know I wasn't noticed much and was the 'grey' man of the weekend, I do try to keep it down but when your having a laugh I'm as quiet as four Portuguese women! So I'm endeavouring to slip quietly through the rest of the world like a ship of the night, Just so happens to be a Thames party barge! Ha ha ha! Bring on the Beer! Geoff"

More comments and pics on the HUBB thread.

Portugal, 19-21 September,

António Caldeira was the organizer for this event. Thanks António! Report still to come!

Meetings, 2008 - 2009, Mark your calendars!

Viedma, Argentina, 6-8 December 2008 - The gathering point for travellers in all of Southern South America! Registration is open now.

Thailand, Chiang Mai Jan 17 2009 - confirmed.

Australia, Feb 2009

New Zealand, February 21-22, 2009 - confirmed. Peter and Kay Forwood will be there, so if you're in the neighbourhood, plan on being there!

Germany, May 21-24, possibly October 23-25 as well!

UK Spring, 18-21 June 2009. Ripley. Date confirmed and registration is now open!

USA Colorado and North Carolina, and Canada West: We are working on it - but it's tricky! Dates soon, we hope.

HUMM Pyrenees 2009 - July 20-22, 2009. Fantastic on and off-road riding in the Spanish Pyrenees - not to be missed! Register now, limited spaces.

Spain, Malaga, 11-13 September 2009 - NOTE: There will be an ancillary event (modelled on the HUMM), called 'The Gecko Run'!

UK Autumn, September/October 2009, location and exact date to come.

More dates to come as we get them.

Volunteers and Hosts

Volunteers for all meetings are needed, just a couple of hours of your time makes it all a lot easier - and fun - for all. You can volunteer a few hours of your time for any meeting here.

If you'd like to host an HU Meeting in your area, please see the How To Host a Meeting page for details.

See the Meetings page for more details on all events.

See you there! Grin!

Grant and Susan


Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Please be sure you tell them how you heard about Riding Iceland
. Thanks!

Rent a motorcycle and see some of Icelands most stunning attractions.


 

Horizons Unlimited
New Links...

Too many to list! If you haven't checked out the Links page it's time you did - it's scary long, but it's a fascinating browse.


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.

 

 

 

 

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!
Motorcycle Express
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

 

 

 


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

There are many 'Helpful People' listed on the Links page, a huge thanks to all of them. How about you? Or you can join a Community, or start your own!

up to top of pagespacer Repair Shops...

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's of 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!

 

up to top of pagespacerWho are they?

When you meet people on the road, and they haven't heard of this e-zine or the website, we'd appreciate it (and hope they would too!) if you'd get their names and email addresses and send it in to me.

Thanks, Grant

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!

Shipping

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

If you have any information to contribute, please go here, and register (or just login IF you have used this system before) and you can then submit your information. Thanks!

Travel Advisories:

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

The US State Department regularly issues updated travel advisories, information and/or warnings.


























Motocare
Motorcycle Rental, hiring Honda's Transalp for touring Argentina and Chile. Ride across the Andes, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, lakes, deserts, salt pans, waterfalls, beaches, rain forests, glaciers...
Motocare Argentina

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

 

Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, around the world since 1996, two-up on Harley Davidson, in Tonga and New Zealand,

"With little sleep overnight we had a slow afternoon walking around the capital of Nuku'alofa, a small city of about 20,000 people, less modern than Samoa, poorer and with older vehicles, but with pleasant local produce and craft markets.

Toni's is a cheap, comfortable accommodation place located in the suburbs but with regular shuttle minibuses to town, and is a convenient place for us to wait for the motorcycle, with other travellers passing through.

We joined an enlightening and humorous island tour with five others, visiting royal tombs dating back to the 13th century, the landing spot of Captain Cook, beaches, blowholes, and the trilithon, a Pacific version of England's Stonehenge, although much smaller in complexity. An interesting day encompassing what the small island offers in one tour.

Blowholes along the limestone coast, Tonga.

Blowholes along the limestone coast

Ancient monument, the Trilithon, Tonga.

Ancient monument, the Trilithon

The evening was spent with a similar number of people over Toni's kava bowl, lasting well into the night with the relaxed conversation that drug provides.

Toni and Liliosa preparing the kava for drinking.

Toni and Liliosa preparing the kava for drinking

It is always great to see the expected boat at the wharf and just two hours later, after the smoothest of unloadings and unpackings, we were riding the motorcycle in Tonga the 192nd and second last country in the world, just leaving New Zealand to have ridden it in every country. The wharf, port and customs staff all assisted with the smooth unloading. It looks like we will have three days to ride about the small island before onshipping to New Zealand.

The now regular airport photo, Tonga.

The now regular airport photo

We met many people wanting to drop out in the islands, a lovely quiet lifestyle, but western born, I am not old enough yet, and hope never to be that old. Having been to New Zealand before we have found it to be a low population western society, something we usually enjoy in our travels, and look forward to some great rides.

Boiling eggs for lunch in a hot spring, Rotorua, New Zealand.

Boiling eggs for lunch in a hot spring, Rotorua

...New Zealand is supposed to be in a recession and the share markets around the world are crashing and banks collapsing but there is little sign of it as we walk the tidy streets of Rotorua. Steam gushes from parks in town, from gutter vents and mud pools bubble and boil. We found a small boiling pool, in a Maori part of town, and boiled a dozen eggs and made billy tea for lunch, soaked our feet in a hot foot pool, them ending up looking like lobsters, in another park of large hot lakes and streams."

Ed. Congratulations to Peter and Kay's Harley-Davidson for being the first and only vehicle to have been ridden in every country (193) in the world, over 480,000 km. Lest you think they're now going to rest on their laurels and write the long-awaited book, you're only half-right! They are writing a book (which we will be keen to see), but also will be starting off on their next trip in just a few months, to visit places they didn't get to on the first trip. As Peter says: "The world is too big a place to ride the same road twice". Horizons Unlimited is proud to host their complete RTW story and pictures here!


Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Please be sure you tell them how you heard about GS Adventures
. Thanks!

Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and South Africa - A truly memorable African Adventure!


Hamish Oag and Emma Myatt, UK, Asia, Australia and the Americas, in Mexico, BMW R1100 GS,

"As soon as we crossed the border, we noticed that Mexico seemed to be obsessed with sleeping policemen (or 'dead policemen', as my brother used to call them when he was little). They were everywhere. Every few hundred metres, there were these 'topes' as they are called in Mexico. Sometimes they were official ones, painted with warning stripes and with a handy sign announcing them; other times they had been homemade by the villagers and disguised as a bit of normal road, so the first thing we'd know about them was hitting them.

(Don't tell Dave but we sent him first, so we'd see him fly up in the air as he hit them unawares).

Sleeping policemen-or woman?

Sleeping policemen-or woman?

While in Nicaragua, we'd made the exciting discovery that we were carrying a third passenger! We were both very happy about this and it was perfect timing as by the time we got home I'd be about 14 weeks pregnant - over the nasty tired stage and into the full of energy stage. Or so the books say! Actually I'd been very lucky and not had any sickness, which would have been a complete nightmare on the bike. Because of this, Hame and I decided to take it a bit more easily than we had been, avoiding the dirt roads and extra vibrations. We also planned shorter days and splashed out a dollar or two more for a room, ensuring I could get a good night's sleep.

Emma rests with third passenger, Mexico.

Emma rests with third passenger, Mexico

I thought I felt a vibration from the bike's back end as we rode into San Augustinillo, but as it had been a long day's ride and the fact the roads weren't the best, I ignored my instincts. To be honest, the last thing I wanted to do was replace the final drive bearing for a second time. After our fairly major rebuild in Medellin, Colombia, I'd hoped we'd make it home before conducting any more repairs. I should have known better!

So when we set off from San Augustinillo, my fears were confirmed. Even Em could feel a vibration through her foot-pegs, indicating a final drive bearing on its way out. However, unlike myself, Em wasn't too disappointed as it meant another day by the beach!

After our big farewell, it was hello once again to DeNel and Brent before I set to work, catching the local collectivo to town in search of a press to remove the failed bearing.

Hame works on bike.

We said farewell to the Pacific until who knows when, and headed inland to the very lovely Taxco, an old silver mining town which still sells silver in every other shop. Taxco's markets were built along its steep, narrow streets and covered with tarps - so it was easy to get lost. It was a wonderful place to explore.

Taxco by night.

All the way through South America we'd been in touch with Eduardo and Margarita, friends of Jules and Grant. We'd met them when they visited Jules and Grant in San Rafael. They live in Mexico City and had asked us to call in on the way through.

As we left Taxco it started raining and the wet stayed with us all the way to Mexico City. We'd been running ahead of the rainy season but it felt like it'd caught us up. By the time we met Eduardo, we were very cold and wet, but he made us so welcome - food and hot showers were waiting for us so within minutes we were comfortable and grateful for the fantastic welcome into their beautiful home.

Eduardo and Margarita.

Eduardo and Margarita with Hamish

Mexico City is home to 23 million people. Hame and I are not great city people, so we found the traffic and general busyness quite draining, but the sights of the city were excellent.

Even the local Police were a sight, jetting around on their little electric buggies...

Police in Mexico City on electric buggies.
Hotel Guanajuato, Mexico.
Police in Mexico City on electric buggies.
Hotel Guanajuato

We weren't sad to leave the big city and ride North to quieter areas. We stopped off in Guanajuato, a fantastic town which was once an important mining town. Many of the original tunnels are still there, now occupying the town's roads, thereby saving the town from congestion. The town itself seemed to be built on many levels, with tunnels giving way to high walls and houses perched on steep hills.

Again, Guanajuato was a place we could have stayed for far longer but after a couple of days we had to maneuver Bertha out from her space by our room, and get back on the road.

Guanajuato, Mexico.

Guanajuato, Mexico

Stopping off further north in Zacatecas, we took in the colonial architecture whilst wandering the streets in search of a clinic. Em had been pregnant for ten weeks now and was therefore due a scan, as we'd not be able to get one easily in the States and it would be a few more weeks before we were home. Stepping into what we would later learn to be the oldest hospital in Mexico, we were treated extremely well, both overjoyed to learn all was well with junior to be. (Although perhaps we'll have to play recordings of motorcycle engines to get him or her to sleep! - Em)"

Ed. Congrats to you both, and what good timing! We'll look forward to meeting the newest arrival at next year's HU meeting ;-) See Hame and Emma's blog here on Horizons Unlimited for more stories and great pics! Also see their videos on YouTube.

Johan and Charmaine Claassens, South Africa, in Alaska, BMW R1150 GS,

"The first town we stopped in, in Alaska was Chicken! Yes, that is the name of the little town with the population of 8 and a three legged dog. The miners that started the town could not pronounce or spell the local Sioux Indian name for a bird so they called the town Chicken.

Chicken, Alaska.

The town has a post office, souvenir shop with fuel, pub and a restaurant. Oh, and the chicken poop... the long drop toilet! Well worth the stop for something warm to eat and drink. After warming up and filling the bike with fuel we headed down toward Tok. It was drizzling and cold but we found a really wonderful camp site called the Thomson's Eagles Claw Motorcycle Camp, yep they love bikers. And there were no RV's. The camp area is set up amongst spruce trees with a ground covering of the thickest softest moss carpet I have ever seen. There are little plants with berries, ferns, toad stools and mushrooms sticking up through the moss, a real children's fairy tale picture (I kept thinking that I would see pixies and fairies). There is an area to pitch tents or you can stay in the teepee, the little tent-house or bunk house. Each has a place to relax outside with a flowering pot plant on the table, a woman's touch I'm sure. They also set up a little gas stove under a shelter where we could heat water for washing.

It was really chilly that evening and the next morning as we were heading out of town we saw the fresh layer of snow on the mountains. The scenery on the road north was still spectacular with the bright yellow and orange of the autumn colours changing the leaves of the trees.

End of the Alaska Highway.

The air was really crisp all the way to Delta Junction which marks the end of the Alaskan Highway. We stopped at the visitors centre for a coffee and to take some photos of the GS at the highway marker. By the time we were ready to leave the sun had come out and we were warming up nicely.

Bear Glasier.

Bear Glacier, Alaska

The next stop was the North Pole... and Santa's house! This town is about 10 miles before Fairbanks and is a tourist attraction because someone clever put up a huge Santa's House next to the highway. We went to have a look and were rather disappointed as it was not a 'toy factory' as we thought but a shop selling all sorts of Christmas decorations... and very expensive coffee! The only interesting thing was the real live reindeer in an enclosure outside."

Ed. Johan and Charmaine stopped off at the HU Meeting in Ripley on their way from Dubai to North America to tell some of their trip stories. Best wishes on the next leg of your RTW trip!


Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Please be sure to tell them how you heard about StarCom1 Bike Communications . Thanks!

Starcom1 Communications, crystal clear at 100mph+ - you can't buy better.


Belinda and Patrick Peck, Australia, in Iran, Yamaha Super Tenere XTZ 750,

"Salam from the Middle East! Last time we wrote we were in Greece. We spent a wonderful week riding around the Greek Island of Lesvos Island, a lesbian pilgrimage island, with wonderful rides and scenery.

Next appointment was with our Turkish friend Baha in his summer holiday apartment! Its amazing the people we have met this trip! We travelled with Baha along the west coast of Turkey for a week and then we drove back along the Black sea coast of Turkey to Trabzon to pick up our Iranian visas from the Iran embassy there. Very easy, US$50 each and it took them 3 weeks to approve us!

Iran... wonderful Iran... how to we tell you about our fantastic time there. Firstly, it's law that women are covered up in public from head to toe. In 40deg heat, it's a chore, but it's a jailable offence, just like dancing in public or showing affection in public!

Ramadan, a Muslim tradition of fasting in daylight hours for a month was half way through when we entered Iran, so food was very scarce.

The people of Iran have to be the friendliest in the world and we felt very safe, in fact we felt like movie stars and everyone made such a fuss over us to make sure we were happy and everything was OK. When we would arrive in a town the 'flies'- young guys on motorbikes would drive really close to us to talk to us and touch us and show off doing wheelies in front of us. Boys, the same the world over!

The food was very boring on the whole... kebabs and rice or kebabs and rice... for 30 days, twice a day... uurrgghhh.

Highlights were Esfahan... the jewel of ancient Persia and one of the finest cities in the Islamic world. Imam square and Imam Mosque are to be seen to be believed, one of the most beautiful mosques in the world.

Yazd in the desert is the best old and still inhabited city in the country and one of the oldest towns on Earth according to UNESCO. We stayed at the famous travellers meeting place Silk Road Hotel for 5 nights and had to drag ourselves away. There were lots of other cyclists and a Turkish biker there and lots of other travellers to share tales with!

We are now in Abu Dhabi where HU member David Mildwater has kindly offered to store our bike and gear for a year. Tomorrow we are off to Oman for a week, then Hong Kong for a week, then home to Cairns Nov 2."

Ed. Follow Belinda and Patrick's adventures in their blog here on Horizons Unlimited!


Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Please be sure you tell them how you heard about Kudu Expeditions
. Thanks!

Kudu Expeditions, Trans-Africa motorcycle expeditions.


Darren and Emma Homer, the Americas 2007-2008, Disaster in Argentina,

Emma - "Back on the main road towards Rio Gallegos the road is pretty straight and boring. There are deep ditches on either side of the road too.

10 mins later we are heading along at our usual 55-60mph when I feel Darren back off the throttle and start braking hard, I look over his shoulder and see a llama coming up fast, it has frozen with fear in the middle of our path, I just have time to think 'we are going to hit it' before the impact.

I don't remember much except being thrown off to the right as the bike pitches and we hit the ground. I land face down in the gravel with my arms outstretched above my head and skid backwards for a good 20 metres. I remember seeing the gravel up close as I skid through it.

I come to a stop and manage to get up on my knees, Darren runs over to me shouting are you alright, are you alright? It takes me a moment to answer, Darren slaps me on the shoulder and tells me 'well done for staying with the bike'.

He runs back to the bike and I look round trying to take it all in. The llama is still in the middle of the road and I think it is dead, then suddenly it shakes into life and jumps to its feet before running at me for a second then back down the road. A car passes us at this point, not even slowing down through the carnage left on the road.

Both my hands are really hurting and I remember thinking 'my left hand is broken'."

Accident in Argentina.

Darren - "as we left the lake I was feeling good about the day, it's then that I spot the Llama coming out of the ditch to our left.

I get off the throttle and start to brake just in case, sure enough the animal bolts across the road, the ABS is now working hard as I try to scrub off speed.

Just as it gets to the middle of the road the animal freezes, shit! There's no time to get off the brakes and try and swerve, I just pray it moves.

The impact is hard, I guess we are still doing around 50mph as the front beak of the bike forces itself under the belly of the Llama. The front subframe breaks as the animal is forced up smashing through the oil cooler, light, clocks, GPS, mirrors and screen. The animal now makes impact with the bars and my hands as my head impacts its belly, Beamer now has too much weight on the front wheel and it tucks to the left and we go down.

I assume this is when Em comes off, I stay with the bike as we slide on our side through the gravel on the side of the road. Eventually I let go and the bike spins away from me, desperate to get to Em, I put my foot down thinking I have stopped, I hadn't, I flip up in the air and eventually come to a stop.

I look back up the road and see Em on her knees, shit shit shit, running up to her I start to shout, I need to hear her say she is ok, please let her be ok.

Em manages to say she is ok, clearly in shock but ok, 'your face is bleeding' she says 'don't worry it's fine I answer', just head butted the stupid thing. Once I hear Em say she is not badly hurt my thoughts turn to the road, our panniers and bits of bike are everywhere and cars are just whizzing by..."

Accident in Argentina.

Ed. Bummer of an end to a trip! Read the rest of Emma and Darren's saga of getting the bike and themselves to Buenos Aires then loaded up for an early return home.

Brad and Jolanta Glabek, USA, in Central America, Honda Africa Twin,

"...we spent the next few days chasing a chain and sprockets, as we were clicking away, waiting for the chain to break since Colombia. We headed to San Jose for a three hour ride to get the parts which the motorbike store said they had. However, when we got there they tried to tell us that the numbers 525 and 530 were the same and they didn't actually have the parts any way, as they usually don't. Luckily another store was able to make us a chain but no sprockets so we went on to the rainforest of Monteverde.

After getting drenched and a bumpy road we made it by dark. The next day we went on our first zip-line canopy tour. It was enjoyable but not as thrilling as we had hoped, but I really enjoyed the Tarzan Swing, which was similar to a bungee jump, which is one of my favourite adrenaline rushes.

Zipping along in the rainforest, Costa Rica.

Zipping along in the rainforest, Costa Rica

There was also a Honda shop in town so we thought we would go talk to them and see where we could find sprockets for our Sweet Baby. He was really nice and called all over Costa Rica, and said they had parts in San Jose and could be shipped on a bus and be in Monteverde in the morning. We told him that we called the Honda shop but they said they did not have the parts so we were not very hopeful but decided to wait a day just in case. Much to our amazement the parts came in the morning and we were even more amazed when they were the right parts. This was just fantastic, saved us from looking for the parts throughout the rest of Central America. Miracles do happen...

The border crossing into Nicaragua was not too bad other than paying lots of strange little fees for who knows what, and getting our bike fumigated, which meant spraying the tires with some water like substance for $3. On we rode to a ferry to get to the Island of Omepete on Lago, Nicaragua. We rode around the island which was relaxing with a walk in a park seeing turtles, howler monkeys, and strange birds.

Howler monkey in Nicaragua.

Howler monkey in Nicaragua

We also swam in a fresh water spring which came out of the ground while being served $1 beers. It was all great fun, but unfortunately our friend Bruce had lost his fourth camera on this trip, sad. The first one was stolen in Buenos Aires, one was left at an internet café, one got soaked in one of our rainstorms in Costa Rica and now one more had disappeared after checking out the photos at a restaurant.

Lunch in banana leaves - Granada, Honduras.

Lunch in banana leaves - Granada, Honduras

The border crossing in Copan was the most pleasant border crossing since South America. It was virtually empty and no one hassling us for money, to exchange money, to help us get through the border, or telling us twenty different places we should start the process and what papers we need (which we usually don't need and don't need to pay for), etc. The immigration offices for both countries were close by, with no lines, and just friendly people. I befriended a young Guatemala cowboy who kept telling me how big Brad was, because Brad's height really stands out here, along with his brute strength (AKA Belly) too, while Brad did his magic with our passports and his bike paperwork. The rest of the day we rode in the scorching heat to get to Antigua."


Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Please be sure to tell them how you heard about Compass Expeditions. Thanks!

Discover the extraordinary with Compass Expeditions.


Derek Fairless, ATW Adventure Travel, in Peru, BMW F650 Funduro,

"Riding through the busy streets of Nasca searching for a hotel, I am surprised how un-commercialised it is. The same run down streets and shops, the dogs and old men dozing in the sun in the plaza, and a busy street market, it could be any small Peruvian town. The hotel I choose, in truth it is the only one that looked open to me, has small bungalow accommodations at the rear with small terraces outside to sit and laze on, as well as being in line of sight of the parked up bike. After a walk around the streets to get my bearings and having chosen a place to eat I sit with an after dinner beer and watch a gaggle of elderly American tourists waddle up the street. Behind me a couple take a table and I hear the unmistakable sound of a Yorkshire accent. We talk for a while and then I head back to the hotel.

The next morning after breakfast I head out to look for an ATM and am accosted by a ticket tout who offers me a flight to see the lines. Not only that but there is another couple booked on the flight, so I get the co-pilots seat; how could I refuse?

A bumpy taxi ride to the airport, a swift introduction to my Korean co-passengers and we climb aboard the small high winged monoplane. The interior looks a bit like a badly maintained Morris Minor with extras, but it all seems to work ok and we get the ok from the tower as we taxi across the apron.

The Whale (at the top) and The Scorpion, Nasca Lines, Peru.

The Whale (at the top) and The Scorpion, Nasca Lines, Peru

Now once more on my own sturdier mount the next morning I head for the next 'must do' in Peru, Cusco and Machu Picchu, unaware that I will be knocked out by the stunning scenery on the way. The road climbs steadily out of the plane, through barren small mountains with verdant valleys. The little town of Puquio is a mess with a torn up detour through its back streets, but the horizon promises high mountains ahead.

Further up the road I come to a sharp bend at the top of a mountain pass and there are skid marks all over the road. 'Wow!' I think, somebody certainly overcooked it here.' But the way they drive here made it no surprise. Around the bend a few hundred meters there were a couple of cars and a lorry stopped, nothing unusual about that, until I got level and saw the safety barrier burst open and the debris on the road. A little further on the road turned across the slope and I could see the ruined shell of a bus in the rocks with paper and cloth still blowing around along its route to its resting place. 'This has only just happened' I thought, maybe an hour ago.' About a mile down the road I passed a group of people, heavily laden with bags, boxes and reels of plastic water pipe. It was only after passing them that I realised that these were the surviving passengers from the bus! They had been left to make their own way to the next town or maybe the hospital to see loved ones who had not been so lucky. Unfortunately there was not much help I could offer, having no room for a passenger. I briefly thought of unloading the bike and offering to ferry them, but with insufficient Spanish for the task, and all the stuff they had, it would be an almost impossible task, much to my regret at my inability to help I carried on.

Wreck of the bus, clothes still blowing in the breeze where they caught on the shattered windows.

Wreck of the bus, clothes still blowing in the breeze where they caught on the shattered windows

The road follows the river gorge, crossing and re-crossing the raging torrent below. All too soon I have to branch off and head back up into mountain passes where the road zigzags up and down the mountain sides, then through lush valleys that you can see are following the general direction towards the higher ranges ahead. After crossing through green pastured farmland set in wide valleys, I eventually see the city of Cusco spread out before me."

Ed. Follow Derek's trip in his blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Nathan Thompson and Akiko Nishikura, Taking the slow road round the world, on the cheap, on a postie-bike... 2-up.

"East Timor - Looking back at the conditions that we faced on East Timor roads I can generalize and say that they were not as bad as we expected...

Postie-bike.

Although we only went to the eastern limits, the riding experiences to be had in this country are endless. From Dili all the way to Baucau on the northern coast the sealed road is in decent condition with only a few surprises. These surprises are however quite scary at times. Speeding trucks and UN vehicles are a menace throughout the country and the people in the northern coastal towns have hit upon a good strategy of slowing them down... Invisible speed bumps! A raised section of bitumen the exact same colour as the road sneakily hiding under the shade of a tree.

It's very effective as you can often see vehicles parked on the side of the road with their suspensions completely ripped out from underneath them. So effective in slowing down traffic that the town folk set up stalls to sell drinks and handicrafts to occupants of the now slow or immobile vehicles passing through. I imagine it's pretty entertaining for the locals to watch as there is usually a group crowding around the stalls, not to buy merchandise mind you, but to see all the spectacular mechanical failures transpire throughout the day.

It's a give-away really, and we soon learned to look out for the ladies selling baskets and warm coke rather than squinting into the shadows.

Traffic conditions.

East of Com the roads are quite rough in parts with sections of sand no longer than a few hundred meters. Rocky sections threw up some challenges for us but the size of the rocks were never bigger than baseballs. Luckily the friendly locals haven't learnt to throw them at rich foreigners yet either.

To get to Jaco Island from Tutuala is serious 4WD territory though I highly recommend it. We had an absolute blast tackling this section on our little motorbike and the scenery is fantastic all the way.

Timor Leste is a beautiful country with beautiful people. It will give you all the adventure and colour you could ask for. We will most definitely be coming back.

Nathan and Akiko.
Nathan in fancy raingear.
Nathan and Akiko
Currently growing a beard to scare little village kids enough so they stay away from the bike.

Indonesia

There is no way you will ever decipher the indication system used in Indonesia, that is if indeed one even exists. Sometimes indicators are used by the vehicle in front of you to tell you if it's safe to overtake, other times they are used to warn you it's unsafe. Sometimes indicators are used in the 'normal' way, to warn you that they are going to be turning, sometimes that warning never comes. And sometimes still the driver just simply forgets to turn his/her indicators off. Confused? I hazard a guess everyone else is too.

But if you see the passenger on a motorbike, gracefully flapping one arm, be sure he is not a ballet dancer in training... This wounded swan-like action is clear indication that the bike is soon turning.

Crossing the equator.

In reality as a motorbike rider you will soon learn to flow with all the other road users around you, think of it as a hyper real computer game, it helps me. Just don't get stuck behind that rubber truck..."


Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Please be sure to tell them how you heard about Moto Discovery. Thanks.

Pancho Villa Moto-Tours, the leader in motorcycle travel in the Americas for 20 years. Our tours now reach all parts of Latin America, with breathtaking rides in Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Chile, Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia.


Robin Breese-Davies and Rik Davis, UK, RTW, in Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil, BMW R1150GS,

"This was always going to be a hard day because of the road conditions which was mainly sand and loose gravel, but we were getting in the stride of things and handling everything no problem, but towards the end of the day Rob hit a soft sand patch which pushed him off the road which should have been just sand but unfortunately he was crossing a bridge at the time and the bike went down 12ft into the river below, Rob went flying over the handle bars and luckily landed the other side of the river, but the bike was a mess and yet again will need some fixing. We managed to stop a passing truck some 3 hours later to take Rob's bags & panniers, we then nursed the bike to Uyuni in the hope of some help and advice.

That's a long way down from the top.

That's a long way down from the top.

We started to realise that there was not a lot we could do here in Uyuni, but over breakfast an English guy called German stopped us and asked if we were the guys on the bikes, we then started to tell him our story and the position we were in, he was actually half Chilean and had a truck in Calama just across the border in Chile, he offered to organise a truck to take us there, pick up his truck then return to Uyuni to pick Rob's bike up and then fix everything in Chile, this all sounded too good to be true but as we spent two days getting to know him & his girlfriend, exchanging stories etc we decided to trust them.

Does this look like a trustworthy face?

Does this look like a trustworthy face?

Things just didn't seem right, the truck taking us to Chile was late, then the truck went via the police station, then we had to change trucks, then German had to pay a fine because his Bolivian visa had expired, when we eventually hit the road he was totally inaccurate about where we were on the map, how far the border was, the names of tourist sights we were passing, he then started getting nervous the closer we got to the border, he was asking the driver what the border guards were like & how many so it all started to smell, smell really bad, when we were filling our paperwork in for Chile he tried to sneak past into Chile illegally, he got arrested and manhandled into a police cell, we had no idea what was going on until the police told us he was a wanted man for serious crimes, we were shocked but started putting past events together and realised that all our belongings were back in Uyuni with his girlfriend, so our plan was to get back there as fast as we could. This was a difficult task as there is no transport in the area during the night because of the conditions, so we had to simply wait, sleep and get the first bus out of town which was 6.30am tomorrow, there was nothing we could do...

...The worst possible news awaited, we had been robbed of almost everything, the bikes were still in the hotel but all of our bags had literally been emptied and Viviana was nowhere to be seen. The hotel knew nothing and were not very helpful, the police never turned up, we were both shocked, upset & hurting, we couldn't believe we had been robbed when we were in the need of help in the first place. We were in a very isolated place in the world so it all felt even worse, this is going to be a big challenge to sort this mess out. As you can imagine we were running over everything over the last couple of days to see where it went wrong and Rob remembered a lady questioning us why and how we knew German, at the time it meant nothing but now it rang alarm bells, she then confirmed that he was a very bad guy, wanted in Chile for smuggling cocaine, murder of a border patrol officer, theft and fraud, we then found this website from another victim who had lost a lot, we had been done by professionals and didn't see it coming, but it could have been so much worse.

Making a full assessment of what has been stolen, how it happened, trying to get a police report which proved impossible, in the end we had to write the report then pay the police for them to sign it... they are as bad as German & Viviana our thieves. We are both looking forward to leave this country which is a shame as it is so beautiful, but the people let it down. We were told by a Bolivian that it is the second most corrupt country in the world, we can now see why!

The rivers flooded over the tracks.

The rivers flooded over the tracks.

Immediately on entering Argentina there was a difference, tarmac roads, decent shops, police who didn't need bribing and a general positive feel in the people. Some great roads as we were approaching Salta and Rob's bike seemed to be holding up quite well. Enjoying the choice of good food, sophisticated shops, well dressed people, modern cars, no beggars and a real sense that we are in the 21st century. Rob also decided to put his bike on a truck just in case more damage was done to his bike.

Rik, Javier and Rob leaving Dakar Motos.

Rik, Javier and Rob leaving Dakar Motos.

Amazing, simply amazing, we had expectations but this was one of the few times that reality exceeds them, the scale of Iguazu Falls are unmatched and so far both Rik and I agree this is the highlight of the trip so far.

The San Martin panorama - stunning.

The San Martin panorama - stunning

We started the day visiting the immense Itaipu Hydro Plant and Dam, this is the biggest hydro dam in the world producing 75% of Paraguay's need and 25% of Brazils demand, huge! It's 8km wide, 65 stories high, just one of it's 16 water pipes releases as much water as the whole of Iguazu Falls, incredible.

After that we headed to Paraguay but there is not much to see and do so we just crossed the border into Ciudad del Este, Paraguay for a few hours before then going back into Brazil.

We then stayed with João and his family who we had been in communication with from Horizon's Unlimited, amazing hospitality and welcome, there is no way that Brazil can keep going like it's first 24 hours, simply amazing! Doing some admin, seeing the local sights and being spoilt by João and his family, also getting ready for four full days of riding into the interior of the Amazon.

João and Eliete - our fabulous hosts.

João and Eliete - our fabulous hosts

Another amazing thank you to João & Eliete for being such wonderful hosts, we were not allowed to spend anything and they treated us to get home cooked food as well as a great local restaurant.

... We put our bikes on the barge first of all which was supposed to be pulled behind the ferry, but at the last minute the captain changed his mind so we had to put our bikes on the ferry, then the bikes got surrounded by bags of onions, potatoes & garlic, so we did not see them for the whole trip.

The bikes need to get down to the barge first.

The bikes need to get down to the barge first

6 men in flip flops - hoping it doesn't get away.

6 men in flip flops - hoping it doesn't get away

It was steeper than it looks.. and they weigh 300kg.

It was steeper than it looks.. and they weigh 300kg.

This trip is supposed to be one of the best in the Amazon basin as the Rio Madeira is quite narrow compared to the Rio Amazon & Rio Negra which can be up to 3km wide, so the whole trip we were able to see the river banks, wildlife and local indigenous communities go about their normal life. The River was very low and on many occasions the boat would bottom out on sand banks which was quite entertaining. We were accompanied by the famous pink fresh water dolphins throughout the journey. The heat was with us 24 hours a day which made sleeping uncomfortable especially as our air conditioner was intermittent, but we got there in the end."

Ed. Sorry to hear about your bad experience in Bolivia, glad that later encounters in Argentina and Brazil were more positive!

Simon Roberts, UK, The Road to Kathmandu - the comic strip - in Iran!

"I reached the desert town of Yazd at sunset. Food, drink and accommodation were uppermost in my mind together with the little known fact that Yazd was apparently an important centre for the religion of Zoroastrianism. Something to discuss with fellow travellers over dinner...

I'd been tipped off about a certain 'Silk Road Hotel' by a man I'd met in Esfahan. He talked of courtyards with fountains and wide cushioned benches where one could lounge and smoke hookah pipes. 'There's a restaurant there too - no problem with Ramadan'. Too good to be true? That's what I thought as I pulled up after a long search onto what looked like a building site.

On the far side of the wasteland, a single light illuminated a doorway. It was getting dark. I needed to stop. I'd take a look. I rode across, flicked down the side stand, and unpacked the bike.

Click on image to see the full story.

Click on image to see the full story

I ducked through the doorway and a narrow passageway opened onto a large tiled courtyard. In the centre an ornate fountain splashed into a circular pond surrounded by potted plants. Cushioned lounging areas were spaced... 'Hey Simon!... Good to see you!'

Jo and Richard, a couple I'd met earlier in Tabriz grinned up at me from one of the lounging sofas. I looked around and recognised one or two other people too.. Ha. This would indeed do nicely. I booked into one of the excellent rooms that were spaced around the courtyard...and rejoined everyone for an evening meal.

We talked into the night about the importance of Zoroastrianism in the region and caught up with each other's news. The KTM had let them down resulting in truck rides and modified parts in back street work shops. I thanked Allah that I was riding with basic BMW technology. My time would come...

The Dusty Highway rolled beneath my wheels and I visited Shiraz and the wonders of Persepolis before deciding to veer from 'The beaten track'. While looking at my maps I realised how close I was to the Persian Gulf and thought 'This is a bike trip. It's about the roads and the landscape...how cool would it be to ride down the Persian Gulf Highway?'. The next day, I headed South...

The road crossed through miles of arid mountains with only solitary trucks for company. South West of Bandar-e-Bushehr I saw the thin strip of sparkling blue on the horizon. 'Azure blue is such an uplifting colour in all this ochre coloured land' I thought, artistically. I rode on picturing the whitewashed village where I would watch the sun go down with a cool drink. Recommended as a 'pretty fishing village' in a Lonely Planet I'd seen, Bandar-e-Kangan was the town I headed for.

A concrete dual carriageway took me into the town. Hmmm. The harbour must be where the 'pretty fishing village' is. I turned right and made my way down a pot-holed road. Rusting fishing boats were tied to a crumbling quay side. Men sat around in groups and looked up as I pulled up along side them.' Salaam!' I said, ' Hotel?' A crowd gathered. Moped riding kids, who'd been following me, swelled the crowd and the tension began to rise...' YOU! Come with us!' A shout went out. Shit. The police had arrived. The crowd dispersed and I was forced to follow them to their compound. I rode in and the gates were shut behind me.

My pulse raced. I feared the worst... Now what?"

Ed. See Simon's 'Road to Kathmandu' comic strip on Horizons Unlimited.


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

We take a no nonsense – attitude to motorcycle touring. The Metal Mule luggage system is tough and won't let you down, where ever the road takes you.


Darius and Jane Skrzypiec, RTW 2008-2011, in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, Africa Twin,

"After decades of ploughing through mud and gravel, the route 13 is finally rebuild and sealed by the Chinese. Now, the 200km to Luang Namtha can be done in 3 hrs instead of the former 10 hrs at least! The construction on this stretch of road just finished yet it's deteriorating again. Landslides taking its toll, covering the new string of asphalt with mud or, even worse, sending it down the slope. No question, Laos has severe deforestation problems. Logging, wrong planning and budgeting during the construction will be the reason for the quick damage. The road is likely to 'regain' its former state pretty soon.

Arriving in Laos.

Arriving in Laos

From the first day on in Laos we're in love with this beautiful and so unspoiled country. During the stretch to Luang Namtha we encounter no more than 10 vehicles; we're passing through villages with bamboo houses on stilts, the children are screaming and waving at us and all kind of animals walking in herds along the new asphalt band.

Really packed bike.

Who said we are packed ???

As soon as we stop, we're surrounded by curious kids, their parents observing us rather from a distance. With no electricity, no running water and no means of personal transportation, there must be a different definition of happiness in the mountains of northern Laos... and we've seldom seen so many happy faces!

Darius and Lao kids.

Spoiled by the first 200km of great asphalt we're not really looking forward to encounter the worst stretch of 'highway' in Laos, the No. 13 connecting Luang Namtha with Pak Mong. Right at the intersection to Boten the road conditions change dramatically. How I would love to follow the smooth road north to China instead. No, China isn't on our schedule yet. So, turning my head to the right I can see what appears to be the road - few hundred meters of black mud! At this time I only can hope that these aren't going to be the general road conditions in Laos.

Roads in northern Laos.

Roads in northern Laos

The permanent mud disappears pretty soon and now we actually can make out some pieces and bits of asphalt in between the gravel, mud, potholes and stagnant water. There is some big mud holes where most of the cars instantly getting bogged. These places are 'guarded' by village men, who are very willing to push the car through for several thousand Kip. To me it looks like the guys are helping themselves and watering the hole every now and then because it's always just one special wet hole around and the boys are just waiting for the next victim.

For the trucks it is a bit harder. Manpower alone doesn't help and the truck is stuck for hours if not days.

Darius and Jane in front of wat.

1 of the 1000 wats...

On the way South, we're visiting some waterfalls close to Pakse and the Wat Phu in Champasak. To reach Champasak we have to cross the Mekong. Nothing wrong with this we think, well, until we see the actual 'ferry', which consists of 2 wooden canoes which are connected by a 2m*2m wooden platform and driven by a little Honda pump boat engine. The boatman is kind of sure what he is doing (me not really) and directs me on the platform. I have to cross another 3 similar boats first before finally reaching our ferry, which is not an easy task either. As soon as the front wheel reaches the joint section of the 2 catamarans, it tries to push both boats down and apart… my adrenalin level shoots up. Somehow it works and we reach dry land safely!

Mekong ferry.

Mekong ferry

Our plan is to stay overnight in the border town but there is no border town... so, we find ourselves crossing the Cambodian border unintentionally today. Good bye Laos!"

Ed. Follow Darius and Jane's trip in their blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Brendon and Natasha Ball, UK, in Russia,

"On the road between Khabarovsk and Chita - the former Zilov Gap...
We are nearly halfway across Russia, with less than half the time left on our visas.

We are staying in a 'Guest House' dormitory with other travelers (in cars) The building errs on the dilapidated side of quaint. Still it’s less than £10 for the night and all the cucumbers you can eat.

Guest House dorm room.

The road to Krasnoyarsk was a dilapidated maze of puddles, holes and obstacles. Then the rain came back, but we were onto decent tarmac... for about 30 km. The next 80 were fun as we pressed on. Cars just don't manage at all in that stuff. 4x4's also slow down a lot. We were able to pick our way past all but the most extreme drivers, but even they can't match a GS when it got narrow. We saw an inverted lorry at one point, but thought it better to plod on, rather than play photographers. We don't have a marine housing on the camera.

Mud road to Krasnoyarsk.

Mud road to Krasnoyarsk

Today is Natasha's birthday. It hasn't been much for her, but she has borne it well, only threatening me with death by slow mutilation on a dozen occasions.

We continued to Krasnoyarsk. What traffic! Bumper to bumper at a crawl with Russian drivers talking to each other in Morse on their car horns. With much trauma, we found a hotel. Bugger the comments in Lonely Planet. It's one you can see, and it has parking in front of it. Who gives a toss that it is on the number 9 trolley bus route. Don't these people realise that somewhere to leave the bike is more important than the local museum of tapestry and wooden spoons.

It was far easier to exit Krasnoyarsk at 7am than our arrival. The day looked as though it wouldn't be a scorcher. So we put on our liners and Natasha dug out her heated gloves. Good move, the temperature didn't get above 14C until after lunch.

The journey was LONG, but comfortable. We caught up with Piotr and Marina, the Russian chap.

Piotr and Marina.

We actually had a bit of a chat. It seems that the roads in Mongolia are easier than the last 200km to Krasnoyarsk. They are expecting to be in Samara, his home by Friday. It will take us a bit longer I expect.

We headed out of the city following directions from a taxi driver near the hotel. 'You wont find any signs for Omsk, they don't do signs here.' And he was right, 140km before we found a sign. It was raining gently when we departed, The dawn bright orange behind us and sinister dark clouds ahead. The roads however were becoming a pleasure. We were able to achieve 500km by noon (just, I had to speed up to 130km/h to make it!) We saw a pair of bikes at a cafe and decided to have some coffee.

Two more riders from Holland.

Two more riders from Holland

These chaps had ridden to Vladivostok for a night, turned around and headed straight back. They asked us what bikes we had. Just the one.

'What, and you have ridden to Chita with a pillion?'
'Yes, Without Natasha I wouldn't have made it.'
'And you sat on the pillion?'
'Er yes,'
'We thought that we were crazy, but doing that road with a pillion, Hey, you are crazy too!'

We all headed away towards Omsk. We were not planning on going much further.

Light rain.

We were beginning to turn south when some light rain started. We filled with fuel, but didn't bother with wet gear, as it seemed to be easing, and trundled along. The traffic heading towards Ufa seemed to become heavier, with many slow lorries. But the air seemed to be getting thick with fumes as well. We were making progress, passing when there was a good space ahead, like you do, when it happened...

One second I had looked from behind a particularly filthy lorry, the next there was a lurch as the bike went down, and there we were, all three of us, in some sort of bizarre luge event. We seemed to accelerate from 80 to at least 200 km/h. At first the bike was winning, scraping along on its side. Natasha was in third place, then I managed (with no particular skill) to slide past the bike and stop just at the edge of the road. Natasha was up and running and she overtook the bike that was now pointing back the way we came on the wrong side of the road.

As there wasn't a trail of Brendon's knickers across the highway I assumed the pannier was still in one piece. The bike was hauled up and it seems as though the crash bar has done its job.

Bike after crash.

The plastic base rail of the pannier was somewhat abraded. OK it's not there anymore! The left pannier needed a bit of bungee chord to hold in in its frame. Natasha has a bruise on her elbow and knee, and I have a bruised bum.

Did the traffic stop? Only when Natasha flagged someone down. The bike started and sounded OK, so we did a U turn and got back on.

The cause? well there hasn't been a full forensic examination, but my guess is that we were unlucky to have been travelling over spilled oil mixed with the light rain. The road surface was glassy black, and looking at the distance we all slithered and the comparative lack of injury we were lubricated rather than victims of friction, which would have left marks on our clothing.

We rode for a few miles before stopping where there was comparative safety of a souvenir stall.

... Volgograd is BIG. We were very fortunate that the driver of a mini-bus that Natasha asked 'Is this the way to the centre of town?' said 'Just follow me'. I would NEVER have found the route, and certainly not at the speed we hurtled along. Somehow, doing 100 km/h in a city seems just a bit dangerous.

By the time we found Hotel Intourist the temperature was up to 35c. A couple of young bikers came and chatted in a bit of English. They were impressed with what we have done, and even escorted us to the secure parking, about 600 m from the hotel. So, we are safe and are hoping that our bruises will heal. We don't want to get on the bike for a day or two."

Ed. Happy birthday to Natasha! Glad to hear no major injuries from the crash, and think of the stories you'll be able to tell for years to come ;-) Follow Brendon and Natasha's trip in their blog here on Horizons Unlimited!


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

Visit the Motorrad Elektrik website for more info!Motorrad Elektrik has been offering the best in electrical parts for classic and modern BMW's for over 11 years. From 12 volt conversion for /2 to better than stock replacement parts for your late model "R" or "K", we've got you covered. Specialty parts for 'hardening' the charging and ignition systems for world-travelling Airhead GS's. Riders like Bob Higdon, Dr. Gregory Frazier, Grant Johnson and hundreds of others depend on Motorrad Elektrik components as they wander the globe.

Our Omega system has solved the charging problems for 1970-95 Boxers with 400 Watts Output, and our Nippon Denso starter is the perfect cure for Valeo syndrome.

Grant says: "The Omega system is simply a must-do for all airheads" (And I just got the starter too!)


Graham Shee, UK, Alaska to Argentina, in Colombia, Kawasaki KLR 650,

"Mexico - this is how it happens. You are cruising down highway one south of San Diego which is a three lane freeway. In front is a Chevy pick up truck with a California licence plate. The overhead sign reads - Border Crossing Ahead. The truck slows down as do you, almost to a standstill. You cross a speed hump in the road and a set of metal protrusions with accompanying sign - Do Not Reverse. And then you are in downtown Tijuana. Yes really! That can't be right - but for me it was very much reality. What happened to the big traffic queues, the immigration officials, customs inspections, dogs, guns etc. Nothing!

At least I had done enough research to realise that I needed an entry visa and an import permit for the bike. After some navigating, good judgment or maybe good luck I found an official looking building to do the necessary. The relevant documents are issued by a bank (Mexican Military Bank) - it was kind of strange having the bank girl come out to the car park and do a visual check on the bike. Inside the bank she only spoke Spanish and relied on other customers to translate, but outside spoke good English and was interested in my trip. They had picked up a small typo on my bike registration/VIN and hence the inspection. OK here, but hopefully won't come back and bite me in the future.

Advertising Mexican Style, Mazatlan, Mexico.

Advertising Mexican Style, Mazatlan

Having got the Mexican paperwork sorted, I was then faced with the reality that I had not checked out of the US. The immigration departure card clearly states that it has to be surrendered to a US official on departure. Only one thing for it - join the queue of Mexicans waiting to cross the border and go back and do it again. Eventually found a US official to 'check out' with, but they don't make it easy. Turns out that the border is effectively open for Americans travelling into Baja California (north only). The border into Baja south is the 'real' border.

Blowhole at La Bufadora, Mexico.

Blowhole at La Bufadora, Mexico

I decide to head down the coast and Baja California. Baja is big - just over 1000miles long. The first 80 miles is very commercial - with luxury condos and resorts springing up. You get the impression that planning control is not high on the agenda. After Ensenada (80 miles down) it all changes and becomes true wilderness (in a good sense). The roads are quiet with very little traffic. The landscape is rugged - almost desert-like in places but with mountains on the horizon. The countryside is dotted with cacti - real ones, just like you see in the movies. It is easy to feel remote here. Did manage two nights of camping - the second was excellent, with trees for shade, green grass to camp on and three swimming pools - all for 60 pesos (3GBP). However, I think hotels are the future - good value at 3 - 400 pesos (15 - 20GBP).

Its not until I reach Sants Rosalia that I actually get inspired. What a sweet little town. It has proper streets, pavements and neat little houses. Makes a change from the dirt and shacks that have prevailed up to this point. And so it continues. The Baja just gets better the further south I travel. Some of the landscape is absolutely stunning. The roads are good and very well maintained - full marks to the mexican government. Only the occasional washway (culvert) requires me to slow down - tropical storm Julio came through the week before and in places took the road with it. But it's all well signed. I think Julio may also be responsible for the greenery that prevails in the south - totally unexpected.

Me in front of Volcano Poas, Costa Rica.

Me in front of Volcano Poas

... And on to Colombia. Before each new challenge I like to get everything sorted. The local Chinese laundry got a week's worth of washing to do. The hotel gave me a bucket to wash the bike - couldn't find a car wash type place anywhere. The bike has been checked - yet one more notch goes by on the chain adjusters. Several dollars has been spent in the internet cafes (there are loads here) and my Colombia research completed. Because of the Darien Gap (i.e. - no road for 200miles) the bike is booked on a flight with Copa Airlines. At $629 reasonably priced. Straight forward to organise at the Copa office - hopefully it will arrive OK. For future travellers, some tips that might help:

i. There is a customs office right at the entrance to the cargo terminal. It was a five minute job to close out bike permit and get relevant stamp in passport.
ii. Allow at least two hours at Copa to get the bike checked in and complete the paperwork - I only allowed an hour and created anxiety for myself (my flight to Bogota was imminent).
iii. They asked about petrol but didn't actually check. No need to disconnect the battery. You can leave all of your luggage on the bike. I took my mirrors off, but probably no need.
iv. You should take some photo prints of the bike with you. They do a detailed visual inspection and use the photos to make notes. I guess they then use these to check at other end also and cover themselves against any complaints.
v. Although I didn't see my bike loaded, there were three other bikes ready to go to Medellin. They were loaded on an aluminium airline pallet (more like a tray) and strapped down. Looked good. No crate required.
vi. They have a proper cashier - credit cards accepted.
vii. Copa can organise a taxi to get back to the airport - about 20minutes to the departure terminal (there are no taxis within the cargo terminal area).

My flight to Bogota is with Copa also, but not the same one as the bike obviously - the bike goes in a freighter. $320 for me, booked three days in advance. Because the bike can only fly on a Friday, it was a toss up as to whether to wait in Panama or Bogota. Bogota won. Hopefully this was the right decision...

Bogota church.
Colombian hillside.
Bogota church
Colombian hillside

Bogota - I've been here two days now and am at the airport collecting my bike. Its here - exactly as I left it in Panama. Copa Airlines use a handling agent so I have to part with some cash to cover their input (about 70,000 pesos - less than 20GBP). They direct me to the customs office for some form filling - but no charge for my Temporary Import Licence. What's even better, I do the whole process myself - no fixer required. The only way out of the warehouse is via the loading dock - no problem. The cargo guys borrow a DHL truck with a rear lift platform and soon I'm sorted and ready to go.

Waiting for bike in Colombia.

The whole process was amazingly straightforward. There were so many places where it could all have fallen down - but it was nigh on perfect. My only mishap was the taxi taking me to the flight departure terminal rather than the cargo terminal. I thought my instructions were perfect, albeit in English. Maybe some Spanish would have helped!"

Ed. Follow Graham's trip in his blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Ruby and Mike, Canada, in Morocco, BMWR1200GS,

"We had been looking forward to Morocco for two (2) main reasons. (a) our return to western civilization and (b) the amazing history and culture. Morocco was exactly what we needed after a tough, but rewarding battle up the west coast of Africa.

Another adventurer from Germany, who has been in Morocco for (3) months. Check out his load.

Another adventurer from Germany, who has been in Morocco for (3) months. Check out his load.

The country exceeded our expectations in every aspect. It is very easy to travel in Morocco, the road system fairly new and well signed for African standards. The accommodations, both hotels and campgrounds were cheap and very clean. We fell in love with the Moroccan food and their freshly squeezed Orange Juice.

Colorful carpets are displayed in the medina within the walled town of Essaouira.

Colorful carpets are displayed in the medina within the walled town of Essaouira

Morocco feels like Spain 30 years ago, but it is moving in vast steps toward modernization. Of course this is sad for those of us, who love the Morocco of today with its Berber traditions and Muslim architecture. There are still places in the High Atlas Mountains untouched by the Western World. The advantage of Morocco is its close proximity with Europe.

I guess we could always get a motorcycle built here, if ours failed.

I guess we could always get a motorcycle built here, if ours failed

You can make Morocco as adventurous as you want. The option is yours, as it offers both some tough off-roading in remote places from high mountain passes to the open desert. If that is too adventurous take a wander through the souks of Fes and Marrakech or immerse yourself in the relaxed atmosphere of Chefchaouen.

One of the kasbahs at Ait Benhaddou.

One of the kasbahs at Ait Benhaddou

With tears in our eyes we left the African Continent behind, knowing in our heart that we will be back."

Ed. Lots of great photos on their site.


Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Please be sure to tell them how you heard about Traveldri-Plus. Thanks!


Johan Lundin, Sweden, in Brazil, KTM 640 Adventure,

"It has been 7 weeks since last update and you might wonder how it can take 7 weeks to fix a bike. The first action I needed to sort out was to find out the problem so I consulted my personal bike expert Simon. After about a day I was pretty confident taking the engine apart so headed to the local mechanic workshop in Santa Luzia do Parua where I broke down. It didn't take too long to find out that the problem was that a bearing had broken which in turn had caused some additional damage to the engine. It was nothing major in the sense that the engine needed replacement but meant that I needed to get KTM motorbike parts.

I checked up all the KTM dealers in Brazil which was quite easy since I've passed them, buying spare parts, on my way up north. Unfortunately all the required parts were not available in Brazil. I needed two rocker arms and one cam axis. I was able to buy one rocker arm from Sao Paulo. Due to import taxes all bike parts are twice the price in Brazil but the part arrived to Sao Luis within 12 hours.

Plenty of quads race as well.

Plenty of quads race as well

Now I needed to get the other two parts. Simon who was stuck waiting for parts in Mexico recommended a guy working for BMW in San Diego who had good KTM contacts. He sent other parts down to Simon and his brother in Central America and Peru in 5 days. I called him up and he was very helpful and knew how to deal with custom declarations. He ordered the parts from different sources within US and sent them my way after about a week and a half.

Back in Sao Luis I could follow my parts from US using the USPS tracking system but they made slow progress towards Brazil. I headed back to Santa Luzia when they had a motocross race there.

It took two weeks to get the parts thru customs. I spent the time helping Marcelo out when he was racing the three day Rally Rota Maranhao. For those that have heard about Paris - Dakar, this is a small version of the same thing.

The Rota Maranhao Rally starts here. Police are watching from helicopters.

The Rota Maranhao Rally starts here. Police are watching from helicopters

Back in Sao Luis my parts finally arrived and within a few days my bike was back in action. With the benefit of hindsight I should probably insisted on sending the parts with DHL or UPS but that is a learning experience for next time. Luckily I haven't suffered very much at all waiting since Brazil is a nice place with the friendliest people in the world.

Hope you are all doing fine across the world. I'm heading north now in the humid heat (33C / 92F) into the Amazonas rainforest. Johan"

Ed. Few words but lots of pics and video on Johan's site!

Carol and Ken Duval, Australia, RTW (again), in Argentina,

While in B A we decided to do some servicing on the bike and fix some annoying oil leaks. Javier and Sandra of Dakarmotos are very well known in Argentina as the people to be in contact with when, as a motorcycle traveler, you need help. We stayed at their basic hostel (attached to the work shop) for a few days to work on the bike.

Travelers at Dakarmotos in Buenos Aires.

Travelers at Dakarmotos in Buenos Aires

This was to be a major exercise. We dismantled the engine to replace the push rod seals and looked at stopping a leak around the right cylinder barrel stud, the thread of which had been replaced (third time in bikes history) in Santiago, Chile when we first arrived in South America. When the heads were removed a valve inspection revealed severe recession in the inlets to the point where they really needed to be replaced. This problem was of some concern as we had only completed 24,000 kms on what we believed to be reconditioned heads. Our host Javier however was unperturbed and reassured us the job would be taken care of in the following two weeks we were in B A. While this was being done we also sent the rear shock absorber away for servicing.

Caminito Street.

Colourful Caminito Street

...The next 13 days with Mike and Jane were a whirlwind of driving, sightseeing and meeting up with old friends. Carol caught a cold coming over Paso Los Libertadores between Uspallata and Santiago, Chile and shared it with us during the journey. In Santiago we stayed with our good friend Mario for one night and had a fantastic evening out to dinner with him and his bike club. The Aperrados Moto Club is a bit like our extended family in Chile as we have enjoyed rides and social outings with the members every time we have been in Santiago. Once again we had a fantastic time eating exotic foods at an Arabic Restaurant. Mike and I even had the pleasure of dancing with the resident belly dancer. Our moves were somewhat out of rhythm but it was worth a laugh.

Tango dancing in La Boca.

Tango dancing in La Boca

...Over the next few days we sorted out our gear again and planned our route north. This time we plan to break through the shackles of Argentina and Chile and venture to other South American countries. No commitments yet but we hope to make it to Paraguay Brazil and Uruguay but there is a lot to see in Argentina before we get there.

There is very little motorcycling other than the San Rafael to Buenos Aires return journey in this update and our apologies for this but we promise to make up for this over the next few months. After two weeks in the tin top we found it a tad restricting in respect to the meeting of people. The bike tends to attract locals, travelers, adults and children alike. We missed the smells on the wind as we ride including the numerous flowering trees and eucalypts.. Even the dead skunks! (Carol said she could do without the skunks!)

Jane, Mike and Ken.

Jane, Mike and Ken

It was cold however, and the likelihood of snow was high during this time so it was doubtful we would have done this journey on our bike. We found summer in Patagonia cold enough. I think there were times Mike wished he was on his R100GSPD or even his mountain bike instead of the car but compromises had to be made to enjoy at least part of this great country at this time of year. We had a great time with Mike and Jane and would love to see them tackle a similar journey on their own bike."

Ed. See all Ken and Carol's stories and great pics on their blog here on Horizons Unlimited!


Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Please be sure you tell them how you heard about Alaska Leather. Thanks!

We are the largest aftermarket parts, accessory and motorcycle clothing store in Alaska. Drop in for a tire change, service or just about anything motorcycle on your Alaska adventure tour.

Drop in on Alaska Leather on your Alaskan adventure for service, tires, accessories and a hot cup of fresh coffee!


up to top of pagespacerBooks

Red Tape and White Knuckles: One Woman's Motorcycle Adventure Through Africa

Lois' new adventures in Africa!

"Alone. No support vehicles, no fancy GPS and no satellite phone. Leaving from London, finishing in Cape Town - and the small matter of tackling the Sahara, war-torn Angola and the Congo Basin along the way - this feisty independent woman's grand trek through the Dark Continent of Africa is the definitive motorcycling adventure." Get it here!


Distant Suns, by Sam Manicom, coming soon!

Adventure in the vastness of Africa and South America

"Sam Manicom's dynamic third book transports you to Southern Africa, South and Central America in an action-packed three year voyage of discovery... a thought-provoking mix of scrapes and encounters with people which illuminate some moments of true darkness... acute observations on everything from human behaviour, to remote and stunning locations. Distant Suns grabs you, enthrals you and spits you out as a convert to the dream of overlanding these amazing continents." Book launch at the ACE Cafe in London Nov 1! You're invited!


Adventure Motorbiking Handbook.

Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, by Chris Scott


Motorcycle Therapy, by Jeremy Kroeker.

Motorcycle Therapy, by Jeremy Kroeker

From the Canadian Rockies to the Panamanian Jungle, Motorcycle Therapy rumbles with comic adventure as two men, fleeing failed relationships, test the limits of their motorcycles and their friendship. Get it here!


Into the Den of the Bear and the Lair of the Dragon on a Motorcycle.

Into the Den of the Bear and the Lair of the Dragon on a Motorcycle. 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
.
All his books are available directly from Werner. Tell him we sent you and get US$5.00 off the regular US$20 price!

For details on his books see here.


video cover picture

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 Aimimage 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.


Looking for a travel book for someone special?

Go to our Books pages, where we have listed some of the best motorcycle travel books, as well as a number of BMW books, general motorcycle books, and travel guides.

There's links to Amazon USA, Amazon UK, 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!

NOTE: If you buy a book starting with one of our links below, we get a little bit to help support the website!

buy from Amazon USA buy from Amazon Deutschland Shop at Amazon Canada

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


Help support your favourite website! Here's how!


up to top of page Your Privacy

Please be assured that we will NOT under any circumstances, rent, lease, sell, or give out our mailing list, and/or your name and e-mail address, to anyone for whatever purpose. Your privacy is assured, and personally guaranteed.

See our complete Privacy Policy here.

Grant Johnson, Editor

up to top of page Administrivia

Please note that you are receiving this newsletter only because you requested it! We are 100% opt - in only.

To subscribe or UNsubscribe to this newsletter.

Newsletter Back issues

Reader comments

All comments and suggestions are carefully read, and where possible will be acted on. Your help will make this a useful service for all travellers.

Please use the Bulletin Board for questions and suggestions.

Advertising:

If you would like to advertise your product or service in this newsletter or on the website, please contact me. Ad rates are very reasonable. Details at this link.


ISSN 1703-1397 Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' E-zine - Copyright 1999-2008, 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.

up to top of pagespacerShorts...

 

Chris Desmond, Australia, RTW, in the USA and Canada,

"Toronto or Trono as the locals say, Niagara Falls lots of water and Ann Arbor University Town. Time to catch up with Family and Friends.

Toronto’s City Hall clock tower.

Toronto's City Hall clock tower

Rode from Chicago to Toronto via Port Huron, uneventful border crossing, got stuck in a traffic jam on the freeway for 2 hours just out of Toronto, very warm.

Niagara Falls, Lake Erie pouring into Lake Ontario - Absolutely astounding. This is looking at them from the Canadian Side.

Niagara Falls, Lake Erie pouring into Lake Ontario - Absolutely astounding. This is looking at them from the Canadian Side.

I stayed with my Uncle and Aunt here, they made me very welcome, thank you for your hospitality."

Ed. Few words but many great pics on Chris' blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Hubert Kriegel, France, RTW, in Switzerland,

"We went to Zell-am-Ziller in the heart of Tyrol to the native village of Peter's family (Eve's fiancé).

After a quick swing in Italy, we arrive in Tessin, Switzerland.

After a quick swing in Italy, we arrive in Tessin, Switzerland.

Ready to roll after a good lunch.

Ready to roll after a good lunch

Michel and Ursula live in their family house like it was generations before. For a dinner like that, I would not hesitate to drive thousands of miles.

Good bye Ursula and Michel, thank you so much for your hospitality, we will come back visit you... one day!

Good bye Ursula and Michel, thank you so much for your hospitality, we will come back visit you... one day!

Our little train drove slowly down the mountain to extend the pleasure.

Our little train drove slowly down the mountain to extend the pleasure.

Planning now for his next trip, Hubert writes to the Moscow community:

"I am on my 4th of 10 years on the road riding now a Ural sidecar. I want to go (now) to Russia, Siberia, but I need a long term visa with multiple entry to travel freely taking opportunity as they come. If you could help me to have an invitation to get a business visa, it would be great. Thank you for your help and I hope to meet you when I will get there. Hubert."

Ed. Hubert is now home (temporarily) in France preparing for his next trip! Check out his website for lots of great pics!


Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Please be sure to tell them how you heard about Harrison Billet. Thanks!

Harrison Billet - for when you REALLY want to stop!

The place to go to get good brakes for that overloaded world touring bike.

I'm running a 6 piston caliper from Harrison on my R80G/S, and it works REALLY well! Grant


Rick McDermed, USA, in Australia,

That Croc is NOT just a sculpture, read the sign!

That Croc is NOT just a sculpture, read the sign!

Krys crocodile, Australia.

This is the first of three (I was in NO mood to take pictures of the next two.

This is the first of three (I was in NO mood to take pictures of the next two. :=)

Broome, heading South toward Perth was an EXCELLENT stop where we could ride our motorcycles on the beach.

Broome, heading South toward Perth was an EXCELLENT stop where we could ride our motorcycles on the beach.

At the next roadhouse we got a weather update!

At the next roadhouse we got a weather update!

A little side trip to see some Stromatolites. These are the oldest living organisms on earth. 3.5 BILLION YEARS OLD.

I ask Corey to take this picture of me to prove to Julia that I am NOT the oldest living thing on earth!

I ask Corey to take this picture of me to prove to Julia that I am NOT the oldest living thing on earth! :=)

Ed. Age is all in the mind, Rick! See Rick's blog here on Horizons Unlimited for great pics!


MedjetAssist is an air medical evacuation and consultation membership program and is HIGHLY recommended by us and many others for all travellers. The regular MedjetAssist program is for citizens or residents of the US, Mexico and Canada, and gives hospital of choice protection virtually anywhere in the world and air evacuation as needed. (See below for more on the Foreign National Plan) Click the logo below for US, Mexico and Canada citizens to find out more. (NOTE: It's still in progress for the final HU version, but you can get MedjetAssist now!)

Get MedjetAssist for your next trip!

For OTHER nationalities it is currently a little more complicated. There IS a Foreign National Plan, but you can't enroll online. It's a faxable enrolment and subject to underwriting approval. The rates are the same, but transport is restricted to 'back to home country - hospital of choice' rather than 'anywhere in the world - hospital of choice'. We are working on improving that, but at least it IS available! Go here to contact MedjetAssist and inquire about the Foreign National Plan. Be sure to mention Horizons Unlimited.

Michael Paull adds his endorsement of MedJet (and he DID use their services - twice!):

"...After an additional three days in Beijing, I was deemed stable enough for air evacuation back to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, WA, in the company of my wife Aillene (who had flown in from Japan), and an air transport trauma nurse provided by the company that I had procured medical evacuation insurance from, MEDJET Assistance - without doubt, the best insurance coverage I have ever purchased in my life. A small plug here - these people were remarkable... If there was ever a better case for '...don't leave home without it.', MEDJET Assistance is at the top of my checklist, no matter where I travel (and I hope to do a LOT more)."

Note: Per the Medjet Assistance site: "...a medical transport between Europe and America can run more than $35,000. Middle East and South American flights range from $60,000 to $80,000. Transport from Asia often exceeds $100,000." Sounds like $205.00 for a single is pretty cheap insurance!


Marc Gibaud, France, in Central America,

Cows and windmills in Costa Rica.

Cows and windmills in Costa Rica

Ed. Can't find many words on Marc's site, and those that are there are in French, but the pictures more than make up for it!

Oliver Francis, Wales, UK, in Pakistan and India,

"Another incredible two weeks has passed. Pakistan is definitely my number 1 country so far. I've just returned to the Pakistan capital after riding up to the Chinese border through the Himalayas... I didn't think I would do that even when I started my trip. The views up there were incredible, I found myself just staring dumbstruck by the size and beauty of it instead of staring at the road and I didn't care. Every single challenge and difficulty involved in getting up there were completely wiped from the slate leaving me with a feeling that matched the clean and crisp mountains topped with snow.

The Khunjerab Pass, almost as high as a motorbike can get.

The Khunjerab Pass, almost as high as a motorbike can get

The views, the smells, the feeling of being so high, it's like being on top of the world! The temperature was a nice few degrees cooler and the mosquitoes can't survive at that altitude. It was magical and for once I am going to upload some pictures to prove it!

A view over the river Indus from between Murree and Abbotobad.

A view over the river Indus from between Murree and Abbotobad

A view from the KKH.

A view from the KKH

The lonely planet describes Old Manali as 'a small town which retains some of its mountain village charm' which is a lie. You can't walk more than 10 paces without passing another hotel and in between each hotel there is an adventure tourism shop and then dotted around them are small corner shops and souvenir shops. It has been turned into a holiday town meant mostly for the richer Indian travelers to spend their hot summer months in the nice cool mountains. Luckily for me I have arrived at the end of season and it is pretty dead here. a few western tourists and the odd coach full of local tourists. So far it has been a great place to recharge the batteries after Pakistan. I'm just relaxing with a cigarette and a coffee watching the world go by. Most people won't believe or even understand this but travelling is tiring. I need a holiday from my holiday and so I am going to spend about a week here doing nothing."

Ed. We understand perfectly, Oliver. Take regular breaks so you don't burn out and decide it's just not fun any more!

Book special just for Horizons Unlimited Readers!

"Into the den of the Bear and the Lair of the Dragon on a Motorcycle"
"8 Around the Americas on a Motorcycle"
"Africa Against the Clock on a Motorcycle"
"From Nordkapp to Cape York on a Motorcycle"

Werner Bausenhart has written several books on his travels around the world, and has offered them to HU readers at a great price. Tell him we sent you and get US$5.00 off the regular US$20 price!

For details on his books see here. Contact Werner now via this link to get the deal.

Mark Finn, Germany, writes to the HU Cairns Community,

"Hi all! My name's Mark, on my around OZ trip (Tenere) and will be in Cairns around mid November. I would like to meet up for a coffee or beer and hopefully some good hints about the area. In exchange have lots of travel tales to tell:-) Looking forward to catch up, so pls let me know if interested! Mark"

John Yakimyshyn, Canada, writes to the HU Guadalajara Community,

"Hola como estas. I am John from Canada, 51, good shape and solo, have been a volunteer english teacher in South America 4 years now, strictly for poverty street children. I was through Mexico last year on my moto to Argentina and back, returned to Canada. Now I returned by plane and am in Colombia, but plan to fly to Guadalajara Oct 8. So my question is if there are any members who have a cheap room to rent, and could also help me in possibly renting a bike so I can see if this is the place I wish to grow old in. Gracias for all your help. John from Canada"

Ed. John got a response from a Guadalajara community member, so he's now in contact.

Marcus Best, USA, RTW, in Mongolia,

"I spent a lot of my time in Mongolia thinking I knew exactly where I was while actually being completely lost. But being lost in Mongolia is never really a problem, because help is always close by, usually on horseback and knowing where every dirt track and goat trail leads. Sometimes it was a matter of sitting at a fork in the road and waiting for someone to pass by and point me in the right direction. At other times, I would drive down the trail heading west until it turned another direction, split into a web of livestock paths, or simply faded into grassy pastures.

Mongolia.

One of my wrong turns lead me to Buka and his family, who adopted me for a day that was my most memorable in Mongolia. I got a rare view of a typical day on the Mongolian steppe: the milking of mares, preparation of food and all kinds of dairy products, and even a haircutting ceremony for all three-year-old Mongolian males, in which family members (and the occasional wandering foreigner) snip locks of hair of the youngster, tying them into the knots of a blue satin sash while offering blessings and gifts to the child. It was a magical day, a wrong turn that ended up being a right turn.

Buka (second from left) and family.

Buka (second from left) and family

I had spent part of the morning waiting with fifteen other motorcyclists for the gas pump operator to show up with the key to the only fuel pump within 100 miles in any direction. While we waited, some of the guys took turns trying on my gloves and helmet while one seemed serious about trading his Russian clunker of a motorcycle for mine. One talkative nomad spat into my helmet before cramming onto his head which was notably larger and rounder than mine. So after I had filled up with 80 octane gas, I was cruising down a decent gravel road, decent enough that I could allow my mind to wander, and I was thinking: 'Why in the world did that guy have to spit into my helmet? Was that a Mongolian thing or just one of his superstitious quirks? Does he spit into his own hat before putting it on?'

Lost in thought about helmet spit.

Lost in thought about helmet spit...

And before I could react, I was headed at 50 mph straight into a pit of silt a foot deep, twenty feet long, and stretching across the width of the road. I was over the handlebars and in the air, an somehow landed on my back in the silt pit. The cloud of dust Jesse and I produced was impressive as it blew across the steppe. The damage to myself and the bike was minimal, just a gentle reminder to keep my eyes on the road, or maybe Jesse telling me to keep that 80 octane fuel out of her tank. Considering the soft landing, I think I can consider it a good wreck."

Javier Martin, Spain, writes to the HU Lima Community,

"Hello moteros of Lima! I am traveling alone with a BMW 1200 from Buenos Aires and arriving tonight to Lima. I want to continue the trip towards the north of the continent but a family problem has arisen that forces to me to return urgently to Spain. I would like to leave the motorcycle in Lima to continue the trip in a few months once I solve the problem. Or perhaps to make a segment of the Paris-Dakar Rally next January.

I don't know whether it is possible to extend the motorcycle visa by three months. I also need to take the motorcycle to a shop for some repairs. And if you could recommend some place for accommodation or where to go to eat with atmosphere motero... Thank you all very much."

Harry Jones, USA, writes to the HU Lima Community,

"Very good day to all motorcycle riders in Lima. My name is Harry Jones. I live in the USA. My friend and I are travelling to Lima in February 2009 on two BMW R1200GS. We need assistance with tires for the bikes. Is it possible to buy Continental TKC80 (front 110/80-19 and rear 150/70-17) in or near Lima? And how much would it cost? If it is possible, please advise contact details. Many thanks, Harry"

Matt Desloge, USA, in Chile, writes to the HU Santiago Community,

"Hi, I'm arriving in Santiago on 14 Sep for 4-5 days, and I need to find a bike shop for a few things - new tires and repairs to the carburetor."

Ed. Tomas Karstegl responded with contact details and addresses for bike shops and offers of help.

Peadar Kelleher, Ireland, writes to the HU Quito Community,

"Hi, I will be driving to Quito from Peru in early October. I need somewhere safe and secure to park my motorbike and luggage in Quito for three months. Do you know somewhere that can do this? Thanks, Peadar"

Goetz Stahlschmidt, Germany, writes to the HU Quito Community,

"Hola Quito. We are a pair of Germans (m+f) with two BMW F650 GS Dakars travelling in Latin America. We have to return to Germany at the end of November 2008. We would like to store the bikes in Ecuador for 3-6 months in a secure location. Is there a possibility of renting a space or a garage? Or any other possibilities for storage? With thanks, we wait for your response. Karen and Gotz"

Ed. To all travellers - please let us know when you connect with a community and what the result is.

Motoqueros

by Arno Backes

"Motoqueros - Mit dem Motorrad durch Lateinamerika

"Written by Arno, with contributions from Sian and others, this book is in German, and follows our 18 month trip of 55,000kms, from the beaches of California to the most southerly city in the world. As we ride down Central America, past Mayan ruins and steaming volcanoes, read how we then cross into South America, battle through the endless Pampa in Patagonia, along the Altiplano to the heart of the Inca kingdom, ending after 18 months in the city of tango.

At almost 340 pages and with over 150 photos, both colour and black and white, the book really gives you a feeling of participating with this journey, even if you can't read German! Some photos have been used previously in Sian's blogs, but most are brand new."

in German only, €14.95 plus shipping and packing
Order details.

Carlos Acosta, Ecuador, in USA, writes to the HU Quito Community,

"Hello, I am an Ecuadorian planning a motorcycle trip from Ecuador to Bolivia with my brother who lives in Quito. It is our first time and any information, advice, or assistance will be appreciated. If we can stay in contact I will be eternally thankful. Carlos"

Merrill Hartman, USA, writes to the HU Guatemala community,

"I'm traveling through Guatemala on my way to Panama. I'm looking for cheap, motorcycle friendly accommodations. I plan to be in Guatemala in November, 2008. I have a GPS so coordinates are useful. Suggestions would be appreciated."

An interesting variation on the motorcycle taxi.

An interesting variation on the motorcycle taxi

Ed. Merrill is in the Yucatan right now, according to a recent email.

Adam Lewis, UK, writes to the HU Singapore community,

"All being well I'll be rolling into Singapore on Monday, directly from the Moto GP at Sepang. After 2.5 years on the road on my F650 it's time to send my bike to Chile and continue my journey through the Americas. I would very much like to attend the Horizons meeting in Argentina in December but to have a chance this means shipping my bike out of Singapore asap. I have a shipping agent lined up but any help anyone can offer would be gratefully appreciated. Especially somewhere to stay with my bike for a night or two prior to going to the agent. I'll be staying on in Singapore until 31/10."

Dave Petersen, USA, writes to the HU Pattaya community,

I'm Dave Petersen, on a RTW trip. I'm in BKK at the moment, heading to Pattaya on Sunday or Monday. I might need a mailing address in Pattaya as I am having some documents sent to me there. Also, any good advice about a nice place to stay would be appreciated. I plan to spend a week or 2 in Pattaya. Many thanks."

Ed. Dave is on his second RTW - two months in between the two trips!

Paul Read of Oxford, UK writes to the HU Delhi community,

"Hi I'm riding my trusty old Honda from the UK to Australia - but having left the Honda in Dubai for a while it is playing up and I am having trouble sorting out shipping to India. So instead of bring the Honda in I am planning to fly to Delhi on Wednesday and hire/buy a Bullet or a Hero Honda and explore India on that instead.

So just wondered if anyone can recommend a good bike shop to visit. And if anyone would be interested in meeting me or even maybe letting me have a bed for a few nights while I get sorted. Hope to hear back soon. Paul Read aka karter257"

Graham Holden of Bolton, England, writes to the Goa community:

"Hi, I'm currently on a RTW trip and entered India yesterday from Pakistan, I will be making my way down to Goa soon and wondered if there was anyone I could meet up with? I'll be in India for around six months so I'm not in a hurry!"

Chris Bright, UK, in Romania,

"Chris spent 3 weeks in Romania in July 2008. What a superb country: super friendly people, great off road riding, spectacular scenery, good beer and tasty food.

Recuperation from Enduromania.

The route included a 2 week ride through the western Carpathanian Mountains between Timisoara, Brasov and Sighisoara. Another week was spent riding the EnduRoMania event at Brebu Nou, near Resita. It was really, really good as the video and still pictures hopefully show."

Under Asian Skies

by Sam Manicom
Click for an enlarged view of the cover.

"A year of dramatic adventure evolved into an eight year, 200,000 mile journey around the world. Sam's first motorcycle adventure travel book 'Into Africa' received high acclaim from reviewers and has sold all over the world.

Novice biker Sam Manicom left his job and sold his house to ride his bike the length of Africa. But, once the travel bug bit, he couldn't stop. Under Asian Skies is the sequel to his first book Into Africa, and is similarly packed with adventure. Sam narrowly escapes a serious wipe-out in the vast Australian Outback, falls critically ill in Thailand and is rescued by a prostitute, gets arrested in Madras, dodges the manic traffic of India's Grand Trunk Road and rides sheet ice on the road home through Turkey.

To make ends meet, he works as a fruit picker in Australia. He meets hippies, aborigines and escapees from the law, gets involved with smugglers and falls in love."

Sam is now taking orders directly on his website. Don't forget to mention Horizons Unlimited for a 10% discount on the price.

 

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

Geoff Shingleton, UK, RTW, in Morocco and Mauritania, Yamaha XT 600E,

"I'm hopefully going around the World from the UK via the west coast of Africa, across to South America continuing to Alaska and finding some way across to Russia and back to the UK! Sounds easier to say it now but it'll take a least a year, if not two. I only hope my finances and work opportunities allow it to happen.

Well, I finally managed to set off from the UK after so much faffing about, getting the bike ready, quitting the job in Iraq and leaving the loved ones behind. Setting off with a lump in my throat to the adventure ahead.

Having a good send off from Edinburgh, my adopted home town, from the HU Edinburgh Community was excellent and the ride out was fun. With the obligatory cheesy photos in view of the castle. Brilliant! Thanks guys! I even had a member of the public enquire and after telling him about the RTW on the bike, he looked at me strangely and said 'On that...!?! Good luck pal!' Erm, Thanks mate...

After setting off from the ferry at Santander, Spain with a couple of riding buddies, we headed off for the HU Meeting in Malaga, Mike with his XT600e and Dai with his BMW1150GS. What a good crack that was!

After getting down to Malaga with the boys and taking part in the HU meeting, I did a presentation on first aid for bikers and really enjoyed it. With the expert assistance of Elle as the casualty and the nerve wracking feeling of being filmed I managed to settle into it and even have a laugh or two, if it gets on the dvd the out takes will be hilarious.

Once we got into Morocco it was a blast down the coast through Rabat and Casablanca where we met up with Migo: another rider for the trip to Cape Town. A cool German on his KTM 950 Adventure.

Desert AT LAST - Them Thar Hills over Yonder.

Desert AT LAST - Them Thar Hills over Yonder...

After leaving Ouzazate we headed down south to Tata and Foum Zigoud it was starting to get interesting in the scenery, being dryer and more arid. I was enjoying with the bike the hill climbs and the awesome views around each corner but felt the bike was struggling somewhat carrying my fat arse and the 1/2 ton of kit I've brought with me, I need to dump some of this and give the bike a break.

I've been looking for maps again and as usual come up with bugger all for africa, only Morocco and Spanish maps on offer. Thats even in the main cities which was surprising.

After evening meal we went to a town hotel for a beer and am not sure if the credit crunch has anything to do with this trip but it's gonna be the killer of me and my thirst for beer as after paying exorbitant amounts for a beer and asking why it's so expensive, the answer was... Credit crunch in the world. ha, cheeky git!

Pushing further south from Morocco I was aching to get away from the place and into the desert areas and into 'real' Africa, not its european wannabe brother. So firstly Western Sahara had to be crossed and the bugger all nothingness inside it. Good tarmac roads but I was glad when it was finished. When I worked in Iraq there were many days on the roads with nothing to look at but straight roads and the chance of devices left for the unsuspecting and found myself in exactly the same train of thought in the Western Sahara. (I was tempted to go counter flow ha ha ha).

Mines!

Mines!

what next.... a london cab?

what next... a london cab?

Just before we hit the border we stayed at a the town of Dakhla and I felt as rough as a dog, waking up with D&V and as the day progressed it was getting worse, with the shivers and sweats. Obviously something I had eaten the day before which was kicking the hell out of me and riding the bike was a real struggle having to halt, hop off and either try and rip the pants down at the side of the road, luckily it was the desert, or spew like a Saturday night 4am lager lout! I was rough so a hotel was required instead of a campsite so I could die in peace.

I had to go to a chemist and drug myself up for the forthcoming crap nights sleep and amazingly found a store that sold GPS car charger cables! As my GPS was going through batteries like a tramp eating chips then I shelled out the 200DhM's and went to bed feeling a little better with myself."

Ed. Good luck on your trip and thanks for the first-aid demonstration. It will definitely be on the DVD! Follow Geoff's trip in his blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Neil Smith and Kevin Avery, UK, to Scotland from the Cape, BMW R1200gs,

"In January 2009 we will start our journey from South Africa to Scotland. Our mode of transport will be motorbike with no support vehicles (or film crews).

My first thought was to ride from Scotland to The Cape, but this is a well worn route for adventure motorcyclists travelling from Europe, so I decided to be different. We are taking a route that is less travelled by Europeans, going from South to North.

From Cape Agulhas the most southerly point of Africa,we intend to follow the more challenging western side of Africa up to Morocco or Algeria, through Europe, and back home to Scotland.

We have planned 120 days to make the trip back to Scotland. Although this sounds like plenty of time, the ever changing weather, political and road conditions mean I have to be as flexible as possible.

To give more meaning to our adventure we will also be trying to raise some money for two charities: Riders For Health and Scottish International Relief. Both are working to make a huge difference throughout the African continent."

Janice Kelly, Ireland, writes to the HU Santiago Community,

"Hi we are two 31 year old women who wish to travel South America by bike in 6 months. We have no real experience with motorcycles apart from lessons but are looking forward to the adventure. I have done a lot of research into the different options and think the best thing to do on our small budget is fly to Chile and buy a bike and during the month we are waiting for the papers use the time to get familiar with the bike and get ourselves ready for the trip.

From what I have read it seems pretty straightforward to do this but was just wondering if there is anything in particular we need to know before we leave. Also as we do not own bikes and have to buy all the gear we need is there a place in Santiago that we can get boots, jackets, helmets etc. for a good price as on websites like procircuit.cl they seem to be expensive. We were thinking maybe we should buy them here or fly via USA to get them cheaper.

Apologies for the long winded message it's just getting so close to leaving and we don't have anything done so we're getting nervous! I appreciate any help you can give us and hopefully will get to thank you in person some day, Regards, Janice"

Doug French, USA, writes to the HU San Jose Community,

"Hello I'll be in San Jose for the month of November. I'm riding my bike down from Michigan, a vulcan 750. while I'll be busy during the week I'd like to do some riding and touring on the weekends. If you would like to get together or have any suggestion for either the ride down, or rides while there I would love to hear them. Thanks, happy rides. Doug"

Samuel Broomfield, Australia, writes to the HU Quito Community,

"Hi a short history. My friend and I have been traveling through central America for the last 5 months and have and are extremely interested in buying a bike in Ecuador and traveling the rest of South America. Although we are struggling to find the info that we need to make this possible and it is becoming frustrating. We met a biker in Cartagena a couple of days ago who advised us about this web site and it is marvelous. If you could help with any information on the purchase and registration of the bikes and perhaps a general set up costs in your country and how easy the border crossing are. Neither of us have undertaken a trip of this magnitude but are very willing and excited to do so. Thank you for your time. Samuel"

Chris and Erin Ratay, USA, RTW 1999-2003, write to the HU Santiago Community,

"Hola! It's been several years since we were in Chile. We are returning to Santiago on Nov 18th, our KTM 950 Adventure arrives at the airport around the same time.

1) Do you have a physical address and phone number we can use for our shipping paperwork?

2) There are 3 of us, do you have a hospedaje (not hostel) you can recommend with parking for 2 motos? Bueno, Bonita, y Barato! :-)

3) Is there a pre-pay phone you recommend for use in Chile and Argentina (mostly northern Patagonia).

Gracias amigos! Chris and Erin Ratay"


Support Horizons Unlimited - check out the HU Souk for jumpers / pullovers, mugs, steins, t-shirts, hats and other products with a variety of slogans!

Baby doll T-shirt - front.Check out t-shirts and other goodies at the HU Souk. Support your favorite website!Check out t-shirts and other goodies at the HU Souk. Support your favorite website!

Thanks! Grant and Susan


up to top of pagespacerTraveller's Community News...

New Communities:

We've now reached an amazing 568 Communities in 97 Countries as of October 15, 2008!

A big thanks to all those who took the first step and established the Community in their area. New Communities are too many to list - it has been a while!

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.


More ways to support your favourite website!

How to Link to Horizons Unlimited

Contributions
To help with the cost of creating and distributing the newsletter and running a huge website, we gratefully accept contributions via PayPal, credit card, Amazon, and Letter Mail. For more information on donations:

Support this Newsletter by Donating Today, by PayPal, credit card, Amazon, or cheque.

If you want a t-shirt or other logoed merchandise, go to the Store. Also, you can just click on any Amazon link on the site and we'll get a small commission on your purchase of any Amazon merchandise - and it won't cost you any more!

Support Horizons Unlimited with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!
Click to Support Horizons Unlimited!

All contributions will be acknowledged and gratefully accepted. If you later decide you do want an item from the store, let us know and we will arrange it.

Thanks, Grant and Susan

up to top of page Subscribe!

To subscribe, or even UNsubscribe 'now why would you want to do that?' to this e-zine.

up to top of pagespacerIn Progress...

I am working on a listing of people who have ridden around the world, as well as what I call 'significant journeys' e.g. the first across Africa. Any information you may have on this topic, please let me know. Preferably e-mail me direct. I currently have information on over 500 world travellers listed, but there are many more. Have YOU done it? Let me know!

up to top of pagespacerFinal thoughts...

We hope you've enjoyed this issue, and do please let us know your thoughts. It's your newsletter, so tell us what you want to know about!

It is not the unknown, but the fear of it, that prevents us from doing what we want...

We'd like to think that Horizons Unlimited; the website, the HUBB, the Communities and this newsletter help to push back the fear through knowledge and connecting with others, and teach all of us about the world and it's wonderful people.

See you on the road!

Grant and Susan Johnson

Live the dream! at:

www.HorizonsUnlimited.com

Riding the globe...

All text and photographs are copyright © Grant and Susan Johnson and their respective authors or creators, 1987-2008.
All Rights Reserved.

Top of page Top Home Shop the Souk Grant & Susan's RTW Trip Subscribe to the E-zine HUBB Community Travellers' Stories
Trip Planning Books Links Search Privacy Policy Advertise on HU

Your comments and questions are welcome. Contact Horizons Unlimited.
All text and photographs are copyright © Grant and Susan Johnson, 1987-, or their respective authors. All Rights Reserved.