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Riding the globe...

Horizons Unlimited
Motorcycle Travellers'

in cooperation with
Quality Touring equipment worldwide.

Are you a TRAVELLER? Are you interested in the Devils Spine, trolley-jacking down a mountain, fat old blimp on a Stunner, bio-hazards in Argentina, abominable rickshaws, stoplight bingo, riding South America's longest skating rink, millions of beating butterfly wings and much more...?

Then you're reading the right newsletter!

In this e-zine:

Community News
Final Thoughts
Home Again
In Progress...
Leaving Soon
New Links
Repair Shops on the

Seen on the road
Travellers Community
Who's on the Road
Your Privacy
Become a Horizons Unlimited Contributing Member or Gold Member!

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Motorcycle Travellers' News Report

December 2009, 77th Edition

Welcome to the 77th edition of the HU e-zine! This is also the 10th Anniversary of the e-zine, and our 24th wedding anniversary. Oh, yes, and the last day of 2009!

The first edition of the e-zine was published in December 1999, and Grant's editorial says:

"Over the twelve years we've been travelling, we've met a great many people, motorcyclists and non, all of whom have renewed and strengthened our faith in the brotherhood of man. We have found that people are much the same everywhere you go, we all have much the same hopes and dreams, we all enjoy meeting others, and our curiosity about the world is only matched by our interest in the people we meet along the way.

I hope that this newsletter will help to foster the community of spirit so evident in the motorcyclists we have met, enabling them to keep track of those they have met along the way, and meet new friends."

That opinion, and the philosophy behind this e-zine, hasn't changed 10 years later. The 1999 issue is a very short read, no pics back then, and only 15 travellers. Amazingly, among them were Chris and Erin Ratay, and Peter and Kay Forwood, who are still travelling now! It just shows how addicting this whole motorcycle travel thing can be. Don't say we didn't warn you! Chris, Erin, Peter and Kay are among the many veteran travellers who share their travel tips with us in the Achievable Dream series DVDs, and they also have great stories to tell.

Speaking of the DVD series, our Christmas present was that we finally shipped 'On the Road!' on the 17th of December, to over 500 patient souls who pre-ordered, many of whom actually got it in time for Christmas and most of whom will be able to watch it this weekend, all 5.5 hours of it. First comments are in, and they're positive, so we're very happy. Thank you all for having faith in us, and we really appreciate your kind words, even if we can't respond personally to everyone. Three down, and one to go (well, two including tire changing)!

But enough about us. Our intrepid travellers are on the road, most of them near the equator or in the southern hemisphere. South America is very popular this time of year! We've got great stories from Colombia, Iraq (yes!), Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Malaysia, Thailand, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Australia, Iran, Tanzania, Egypt, India, Mongolia and Panama. And those are just the ones we tracked down! So, get out there on the road - we want YOUR adventure stories and pics! Here's to a happy and adventurous 2010!

Susan Johnson, Editor

The new 'Achievable Dream' DVD Series!
Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - DVD1 - Get Ready!

Have you been inspired by the stories you've read in this e-zine? Or perhaps you watched the 'Long Way' series and it's got you thinking of a motorcycle trip to distant climes – the markets of Marrakech, the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan, the salt flats of Bolivia, the Bungle Bungles of Australia, the Pan American to Tierra del Fuego?

Did you finally fork out for that dream bike built for high adventure, and you know every highway and byway within range of an annual vacation? Is something indefinable calling you farther afield… to the next country… the next continent?

We took what we learned from our own travels, and since then, from helping other travellers, to create the new 'Achievable Dream - the Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide' series. We also asked the many veteran travellers who attend Horizons Unlimited meetings to tell us their stories, give us their opinions, and share their hard-earned knowledge from their amazing motorcycle trips to every country on earth. And they have lots of opinions, sometimes contradictory, so you'll get lots of great ideas. You'll hear from Sam Manicom, Chris and Erin Ratay, Greg Frazier, Austin Vince, Lois on the Loose and many others. We've even interviewed Ted Simon in California, and Peter and Kay Forwood while on location in Samoa! We've got a fantastic and entertaining bunch of contributors with many amazing stories to tell and hard-earned wisdom to impart, enhanced with demos, video clips and heaps of great photos. We think it strikes the right balance between information and entertainment!

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

  • Now Shipping - On the Road! What is it like to spend weeks, months or years on the road? In this 2-DVD set, our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure. You'll get the advice you need to help you cross borders, break down language barriers, overcome culture shock, ship the bike across oceans or war zones, and deal with the 'stuff' that happens such as breakdowns and emergencies. Demos include building a shipping crate and first aid for bikers. See the trailer here!
  • Now Shipping - Get Ready! aims to inspire you to take the plunge, and start to prepare for the trip. Topics include planning, travelling solo or with others, money, paperwork for you and the bike, off-road riding, health and medical.
  • Now Shipping - Ladies on the Loose! Here, for the first time ever, is a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! An intrepid band of well-travelled women motorcyclists share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure - choose and maintain a bike, decide what to take and tackle tough terrain. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! This DVD is presented by Lois on the Loose, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose' and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles'. Lois' husband Austin Vince (Terra Circa, Mondo Enduro) is her director and cameraman for this production. Read viewer comments and see the trailer here!
  • Shipping late spring 2010 - Gear Up! covers the Kit - bike and other stuff, including which bike, preparing the bike, what to take and how to pack it. This DVD will also be a 2-DVD set!

For this new series, we have invested in professional filming, editing and production. Filmed in broadcast quality wide screen, incorporating multiple cameras and with custom written vocals and music.

Press reviews!

"Inspiring and Motivational DVD - You don't have to be a rider interested in cross-country or global rides to enjoy this DVD (Ladies on the Loose). It's for every woman who enjoys a good human interest story about real women doing what they love. It's about women being women dealing with challenges that come up when riding in a foreign country. If by chance you want to do what these women do, you'll certainly learn a few things as there is plenty of advice packed within the 2.5 hour DVD. But more than that, it's downright entertaining with great footage and interesting interviews. I think every woman rider should own this." Genevieve Schmitt, Editor,

"The Ultimate Round the World Rider's How-to DVD - The founders of round-the-world riders' Mecca have produced a new DVD aimed at making epic bike adventures more accessible to ordinary mortals. The film is the first in a series – entitled 'Achievable Dream: The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide'. 'Get Ready' is available now and is receiving rave reviews. Visitors to include some of the hardest-bitten bike travellers in the world, so standards had to be high..." Guy Procter, MCN

"Its tips will save you money, help unravel the red tape and might keep you out of jail. The DVD is also inspirational and makes the point that you don't have to be a super rider, super fit or have loads of dosh to give it a go." Motor Cycle Monthly, UK

"The 'Achievable Dream' part one DVD is a heart-warming and inspiring video. It simply makes you want to chuck it all for an adventure. Immerse yourself in the Achievable Dream for a few hours and I'll guarantee that you'll watch it way more than once. I am positively salivating for the next instalment. Two dusty riding thumbs up!" Motorcycle Mojo, Canada

"It is inspiring and extremely informative.The down-to-earth and factual nature of the material is reinforced by the inclusion of interviews and information from a number of different motorcycle travelers. The Achievable Dream is also very easy to watch. Not only are the production values of professional quality, but the organization of the material make it a pleasurable viewing experience. The different types of information are broken up into easily digestible bites which, for this reviewer who has the attention span of a flea, was extremely helpful." Cameron Weckerley, Road Show Magazine, USA

First comments about 'On the Road!'

"Got the DVD on Sunday (27/12) morning and immediately spent the next 5 1/2 hrs glued to the TV. Didn't get anything done that day... at least my wife was understanding. Once again, you have produced a fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD. It was great to hear from other travellers about life on the road, sharing experiences that I hope one day I can have. I particularly enjoyed the section about 'bodge jobs'. It was also very enlightening to be presented with opposing views on the different subject matters. Truly, you have both done the biking, in particular the adventure motorcycling community a great service with these DVDs. It inspired me to get on a bike again after 15 years!" Elvin, Singapore

"What a great Christmas present!" Tommy, USA

"We have just received the latest double DVD. Although we were going to 'save' watching it until Christmas Day, we couldn't wait, and have started watching the first couple of parts of the first DVD, and it is up to your usual very high standard." Celia and Ted, UK

"Have just finished re-watching the first two in the series just to prepare myself for the arrival of the third!" Nick, Australia

"We received your DVD on the 24th, spot on and it's been delightful to see all you guys faces again and hear more of your exciting stories... but why didn't Karim burn the fuel he had with him to signal his presence in the Sahara desert or have we been watching too many episodes of Man vs Wild? This third section is probably the most evil of them all! The last part about coming back just made me feel I won't, ever. Thanks a lot for your hard work, it's great, it's needed and it's totally helpful and encouraging. (we take lots of notes!) Please try your best to finish the 4th DVD by next spring indeed because I won't delay my trip and that's all your fault! :)" Nish and Abby, Hong Kong

"I received the DVD, On the Road and I think it's brilliant - thank you very much." Michael, UK

"My wife keeps shouting at me to come to bed, but am only halfway through viewing Disc B of 'On The Road', having viewed all of Disc A this afternoon. I am extremely impressed with the quality and content." John, UK (time-stamped midnight!)

Where can you get them?

We are taking orders now for all DVDs. 'Get Ready!' and 'Ladies on the Loose!' are shipping now, at $24.99 each. These DVDs are approx. 2.5 hours each, so terrific value for money.

'On the Road!' is also shipping now. It's a 2-DVD set, almost 5 1/2 hours of content. Note - until Grant updates the payment page, you can still buy it at $24.99. After that, the price for new orders will be $36.99 to reflect the additional content. If you buy it on, it is $36.99.

'Gear Up!' is being edited now, and we have quite a lot of footage to review for it, but we need to shoot more footage to complete some of the chapters, so it will be the last to produce. Unfortunately, we don't expect to ship it until late spring, but we'll keep you apprised of its status. It will also be a 2-DVD set, over 5 hours of content, and will also be a higher price for new orders once it's in production.

We're offering free shipping worldwide on pre-orders only (i.e. until all DVDs are in production).

We do appreciate the pre-orders, as the cost of doing all this has been staggering, and we're grateful for your patience. However, some of you have been waiting patiently for quite a long time! Since we don't want anyone to feel we took their money under false pretenses, if you don't want to wait and would like a refund, let us know and we'll be happy to provide it. We will then notify you when each DVD is ready so you can reorder at that time.

Watch the trailers and order now!

Special thanks to our generous sponsors of the Horizons Unlimited Achievable Dream Series, Touratech and Michelin!

Everything for the motorcycle traveller.    Michelin Tires, quality tyres for motorcycles and cars.

Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travelers 2010 Calendar

The 2010 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.

2010 Photo Contest is now on!

The contest is now an annual event, where you can showcase your best photos, and they can help inspire others to get on the road too. The best 13 photos will be used in the calendar, and those photographers will share equally in half the proceeds. Winners will also get a free 2010 calendar, and 1 year Gold Member status on the HUBB. The Grand Prize winner will also receive a Trackpicker Qstarz BT-Q 1000 X (value €119 Euros) from Touratech.

To be a winner, so we can publish the calendar, you must have available at least 2300x1800 pixel or greater files, at a high jpg quality. Either dimension - or both can be larger! Photos must clearly portray Motorcycle Travel. The whole bike doesn't need to be in the picture, but it must be obvious that it's a motorcycle trip. Remember, contest closes September 1, 2010, so get your entry in soon! Anyone can win!

How to contribute, and become an HU Member

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 how you can help, and the benefits to you!

Benefits of becoming a Horizons Unlimited Contributing Member or Gold Member!

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


It's our advertisers, sponsors, and sales of the HU DVD series that make it possible for us to make the website and e-zine available to you. We hope you'll check out their products and services and if you plan to buy these products, do it from our site or links.

If you do use the services of one of our advertisers/supporters, we hope you'll let them know that you're buying from them because of their support for HU - and of course that they have a great product or service! :)

If you 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 even better send them to our Advertisers page with your recommendation.


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)

up to top of pagespacerHorizons Unlimited Travellers Meetings...

Why Come to a Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers Meeting?

You can meet people who don't think you're crazy for wanting to ride your bike to South America or Africa or across Asia, or even around the world! Admit it, all your 'normal' friends and most of your family fear for your sanity! So, this is your opportunity to meet the people who will encourage you in that craziness, share their experiences and advice on how to do it, and maybe you'll meet them again in Mongolia or Timbuktu!

Also importantly, the meetings help to make HU more than just a website, but a community of motorcycle travellers - real people, not just e-mail addresses ;-) And last but not least, they make a significant contribution to HU revenue, thus helping us to keep the HUBB and website going! So thanks to everyone who comes!

Meetings and Events, 2010. Mark your calendars and sign up now!

Thailand - 16 Jan, 2010 - Mini-Meeting in Chiang Mai. Register and details here

Australia - 23-26 April, Cooroy, Queensland. Details here.

New for 2010! Ireland (North) - 28-30 May. Liam McIlhone and Drew Millar are organising this event near Enniskillen. Registration coming soon.

UK - 24-27 June, 2010. This is the event of the year for motorcycle travellers - with 50+ presenters, demonstrations in 3 separate rooms over 4 days, and of course, activities like Yoga for Bikers and the Road Kill Cookout that you won't find anywhere else! Numbers are limited to 500, and we always sell out, so register and pay early to avoid disappointment -we really hate to see grown men cry ;-) Register and pay before 31 December for early bird rates! (Note - Grant will eventually get the payment page updated for this, but you may have a couple more days to sneak in at the low rate ;-)

Germany - 1-4 July, 2010. Jens Ruprecht is our local host for this event, near Heidelberg. Full details and Registration open now!

New for 2010! Bulgaria - 9-11 July, 2010. Doug Wothke is our local host, at Moto Camp Bulgaria, near Idilevo. Details to come very soon.

New for 2010! Italy - 15-18 July, near Lake Garda. Details to come very soon, but get it into your calendar and be sure to register early, it's a small venue and the numbers will be very small, only 60 people. The riding in the area is truly spectacular, so if you've never been, now's a great time!

HUMM - 27-29 July, 2010. The 4th Annual Horizons Unlimited Mountain Madness (HUMM) event. A two and a half (riding)-day, no GPS, orienteering event in the eastern Pyrenees of Catalunya, Spain and Andorra. Test your map reading and navigation skills, find hidden secrets and enjoy the fabulous riding. This event is presented in partnership with Austin Vince (Terra Circa/Mondo Enduro) and Lois on the Loose (Red Tape and White Knuckles), who lay out the off-road course. As usual, Austin and Lois have outdone themselves again in 2010 and laid out even more markers for the off-road HUMM in an all new area!

Austin indicating off-road HUMM checkpoint.

Susan and I laid out the HUMM on-road course, two up on our ancient R80 G/S, riding the many well-paved, twisty and fantastic tarmac roads in the area for over two weeks, loving every minute. Awesome roads, from first gear slip the clutch hairpins to high speed sweepers, with amazing views, minimal traffic, some roads you'll see one car in 10 minutes or more - and some less than that - roads you dream of...

Fabulous views in the Spanish Pyrenees.

OFF or ON road, it's the most fun you can have on two wheels ;-) Registration is open now and numbers are strictly limited!

Canada West - 19-22 Aug, 2010, Nakusp, BC. Ekke Kok and Andy Miller are the local organizers for this event. Full details and Registration open now!

California - 19-22 Aug, 2010, the 'Lost Coast' north of San Francisco. Grant will be there, and we hope, Ted Simon, after missing last year due to illness. Full details and Registration open now!

Colorado - 26-29 Aug, 2010, Silverton. By popular request, and after a lot of negotiating with the venue, we're returning to Silverton! Grant will be there. Full details and Registration open now!

North Carolina - 9-12 Sep, 2010. Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge is located near the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap and the scenic Cherohala Skyway, two of the best motorcycle destinations in the United States. Full details and Registration open now!

Malaga, Spain - 9-12 Sep, 2010. Alison Makin is the local organizer for this event. Registration coming soon.

Germany (Autumn) - 29 Oct - 1 Nov, 2010. Same location as summer event. Registration coming soon.


How about you? We're all here to learn, and there's LOTS to learn! We want to do more presentations and seminars - but we need volunteers to give them! Any topic you can contribute having to do with motorcycle travel, maintenance, planning etc, lasting 20 minutes or more, would be great. Please contact us here to volunteer.

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

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,' 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!


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

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.

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

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!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - DVD1 - Get Ready!

Get the Achievable Dream DVD's NOW and learn how YOU can hit the road!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - DVD4 - Ladies on the Loose! Get it now!

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

Daniel Shell, UK, in Colombia, Harley-Davidson,

"The ingenious villagers living in the mountains had managed to create a routing system for the water coming down off the mountains to put it to good effect. Around every corner, huge trucks were parked by the side of the mountain, and the locals were using the diverted water to wash them. The men would spray the trucks down, and the kids would climb all over the trucks to wash them down with soapy water.

Truckwash in Colombia.

It was quite a sight. Water jets sprayed up from the side of the road round every twist, I rode through one just to get a quick shower and cool down, before continuing winding and twisting along the mountain road.

There was a lot to see on the road apart from the amazing scenery. I passed a bunch of not so young kids riding a trolley jack down the side of a mountain, more kids were clinging onto the backs of lorries getting free rides to the top of the mountains on their bicycles, then freewheeling down to the bottom.

Trolley jack in Colombia.

Our next stop was the Zona Cafetera, Colombia's coffee growing region, we left the wet and cloudy Bogota behind us, and rode through even more breathtaking scenery until we reached Armenia, a short ride from Salento

Coffee jeep.

Coffee jeep

We met up with a local biker friend from the ever useful Horizons Website, shared a delicious coffee served to us from the back of a Willys Jeep parked in the town centre, and then followed him out of town and on to the road to Salento.

Cali, Biker heaven! We had been in contact with another group of riders who were listed on Horizons, and headed straight for the Asturias bike shop in the town, where we met Jorge, the gregarious owner, and Harley rider, his wife Sory, and their French friend, Alain, who came to the shop when Jorge phoned him to inform him of our arrival.

Asturias bike shop in Cali.

Asturias bike shop in Cali

... Alain the Frenchman came to the hostel the next morning to take us out to the afro Caribbean port town of Buenaventura, and after a fresh fish lunch in the colorful market, he dropped us off in the village of Cordoba. We left the bike at the house of one of his friends and said goodbye to Alain, while we walked down to the railroad.

The trains no longer ran along these tracks, but instead, the locals had come up with a novel form of transportation-the Moto-Rail.

Motorail in Colombia.

The front wheel of a common 125 motorbike was bolted onto a wooden platform, which had a runner on one side, connecting with the old train track, while the rear wheel sat on the track and drove the contraption. We sat on a little wooden bench on the platform, and the driver started the motor and off we went. It was an ingenious mode of transportation, and as we rode along the tracks, Jacquie and I couldn't suppress our maniacal grins. We passed over old railway bridges and looked down into the dense jungle below.

Motorail in Colombia.

Motorail in Colombia

We rounded a corner, and coming in the other direction another moto-rail contraption approached. This was a single-track railway and someone had to get off. Our driver asked us to get off the platform, and he and his co-pilot swiftly picked up the whole bike and platform combo off the tracks and on to the side of the railway, the other bike passed us, and we picked the bike back up and placed it back on the tracks, this happened another two or three times on the way to our final destination, some 25 minutes down the tracks, San Cypriano."

Derailed in Colombia.

Temporarily derailed!

Ed. See more great stories and pics in Daniel's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

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

Free Manual which will help you anticipate, repair and prevent the most common motorcycle breakdowns on long distance tours.

Andy Berwick and Maya Vermeer, in Argentina, Triumph + sidecar,

"We follow route 40, great fun, the ripio (wash board) isn't bad. We are riding through red mountains with cactus everywhere and because it has been snowing there is snow on top of them!

There is a check point, but we didn't get checked. What we did get was getting sprayed. It might have been the purpose to avoid fruit flies and other little creatures to go with us into a new Province, but all what happened was that, totally unexpected, some biting wet stuff got out of two poles next to us. My helmet was open so it got right into my face, nowhere else. Luckily I was wearing sun glasses, I was cursing in all the languages I know, trying to wipe it off my skin, using baby wipes.

The road to San Rafael is so boring that I am using, for the first time on this trip, my I-pod. And while I am listening to Rory Gallacher I see more farms and vineyards, we are back in the wine and fruit area. We are excited, we are looking forward to being back in San Rafael, to see John and Annette. They have been traveling around the world on their motorbikes, couldn't settle down again in Britain and bought Finca Rita, a farm in Argentina. We have been at their place before. We are looking forward to sleeping in a real bed and eating good food. Annette's kitchen qualities are excellent and so is the Argentine meat!

Travelers can stay at their place and have free food and board in exchange for giving them a hand on the farm. So here we are. There is something in the coke here that makes us wobbly and we should lose weight, we move around a lot, but we are probably putting on weight. Wonder why that is.

The builders.

The builders

The farm looks great, neat. There is a new vegetable garden, a camping area, a duck and chicken house, 2 more dogs and a snobby cat that fights with the dogs. The house is painted, new tiles on the floor (Phil you did a wonderful job!), Internet and a swimming pool!

Annette managed to organize a birthday party (I got 50 in August, but we were in the Amazon), without me having any clues about it... and there are many people we have met before. That was such a nice surprise!

Travels to date.

Till now we have traveled 32.000 happy kilometers...

Every morning I go to the field to tie up the vines, followed by 5 dogs, a chicken and a cat and Andy is creating a galleria from real Argentine wood, banana shaped it is, so it's difficult to build something that is accepted by high British standards. But it looks very good to me. It's fantastic to be 'normal' for a while, to enjoy the spring here. All the trees have changed their fragile green into darker green and the buds on the plum trees are coming out. There is still snow on the mountain tops far away, but some days it's hot already. What a bad life."

Ed. Happy Birthday, Maya! Read Andy and Maya's stories here on Horizons Unlimited!

Obadiah Mazo, USA, New York to Argentina, in Peru,

House tarantula.

House tarantula

"A short list about Peru and Driving (Parents and Loved Ones - skip this it will just stress you out!)

Moto-taxi, Peru.

Abominable rickshaw!

  1. There are about 6 billion mototaxis in each small town. And each drives as if it is a military tank.
    A mototaxi is the back of a rickshaw attached to a 125cc motorcycle. I blame this abomination on the Piaggio corporation, though now the main perpetrators are Bajaj of India, and various Chinese companies.
  2. Headlights and brake lights appear to be optional.
  3. Horns are NOT optional, and besides your normal horn noises, taxis also use police sirens, car alarms, and the beep beep of a large truck backing up.
  4. Stoplights don't go green, amber, red here. They go amber, green, red. This means that everyone drives through the red, as they don´t have an amber warning to slow down, and everyone drives through the amber because they see it as a warm-up your engine and peel out alert as the green is coming. Well most of the time. Sometimes no lights lit means green, sometimes no lights lit means red, and sometimes amber and green light up at the same time, I still have no idea what that means.
  5. Pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way.
  6. Might makes right, so the smaller you are, the more you get cut off.

So, despite all that madness in the streets (we arrived in Piura during rush hour, so I saw Peruvian traffic at its worst, to be fair) I got berated by a police officer for jay-walking. For like 5 minutes! For a moment I was unsure whether I was in Peru or San Francisco.

Ecuador-Peru border crossing.

Ecuador-Peru border crossing

The good bit about Peru and driving is that outside the towns, the roads are very good, well marked, and there is very little traffic, because most people can't afford cars, and gasoline is incredibly expensive. You often have to drive onto the edge of the road because trucks like to pass each other and force you off the road, but the edge of the road is quite wide, so there is space to be forced off onto. This is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Rather than make the roads wider so there could be passing lanes (much safer) they just make the sides of the roads just as wide, so the roads become unofficial passing lanes."

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Oliver Abrahams, UK, in Peru, Honda XL650 Transalp,

"Firstly, thank you very much to all those that have dug deep into their pockets and donated to the skate ramp project. I'm truly touched by your generosity and perhaps misguided faith in my abilities. I generally don't do things by halves so I can assure you I'll do everything I can to make it a success. Now that you've forked out I guess I should give you a quick progress update...

As any Las Vegas gangster will tell you. Digging holes in the desert is hot and tiring work and generally speaking you should not dig them unless you're going to use them. Unfortunately it feels like all I've been doing this week is digging holes I don't use.

Digging holes in the desert.

Digging holes for the skateboard ramp

Just over a week ago Hannes got caught short at the skate ramp site and had to use a torn up cement bag for loo roll. Oh how I chuckled in the knowledge that cement is an irritant to the skin and who knows what would happen if he cemented his arsehole shut! Well, sure enough a couple of days later it was me crouching over a ditch in the corner with nothing more than a handful of shiny brown cement bag. As further penance for my schadenfreude this was the start of a rather unpleasant 48 hour stomach bug that had me curled up in bed with cramps and more for much of the run up to Christmas. Cement bag is not the most absorbent of materials...

The skateboard ramp.

In the fear that everything would be closed from 25th to 28th Dec I dragged myself out to Trujillo during a lull in bowel activity to buy wood for the the skate ramp. This lull was in fact just another calm before a storm that confined me to bed and bathroom for another 16 hours, missing the Peruvian celebrations on Christmas Eve. They do it all on Christmas eve here. Fireworks and church at midnight, followed by eating and drinking into the small hours. Christmas day is generally meant for sleep. Thankfully, Santa gave me a new digestive system for Christmas so I didn't miss the Otra Cosa volunteer Christmas party and I feel back to normal now.

A couple of issues have delayed progress. The first was Najin (the Otra Cosa manager) asking me to organise the painting of a volunteer house. The second was the recently mentioned stomach bug. However, they are both now over and in the time I wasn't painting or being ill we managed to get the foundations filled with concrete (with the help of Hannes, James and Morgan) and over half of the ramp frame measured and cut. It looks rather large."

The skateboard ramp from the air.

It does look rather large!

Ed. Note: See the details on Oliver's blog about the skate ramp project to help the children of Las Lomas.

Frank Butler, Papua New Guinea, RTW, in Colombia and Peru,

"I went to see Fernando in Turbaco, a little town twenty kilometres south of Cartagena. Fernando and his son Phillipe were very relaxed hosts, they both had Suzuki V-Stroms parked out front, But Fernando was not riding as he had just had a small operation and the doctor thought it best for him to keep both feet on the ground.

I spent most of my time there trying to sort out a place to get Beem looked at. He had been grumbling for the last few weeks in a most un-germanic way, and was becoming a pig to ride, no power and uncharacteristic noises, I had diagnosed the problem as crankshaft bearing, based on the engine noise under load. So I was trying to find a place to get a good engine rebuild... cheap.

I sent out a call for help on Horizons Unlimited and a flood of replies came back with various recommendations, but most were to take the bike to Ruta 40 in Medellin about six hundred kilometres away to the south.

Carlos Gomez sent a message that he and a bunch of friends were coming up to a little holiday town called Rincin del Mar about a hundred kilometres south of where I was and that I could ride down and meet them there and ride back to Medellin with them. So that is what I did.

Hotel in Rincin del Mar.

Hotel in Rincin del Mar

I said farewell to Fernando, Philippe and the Argentineans and headed down the road in cool afternoon sunshine. After a hundred odd kilometres the road turned to dirt so I carried on for another fifteen k's and came to the sandy main street of Rincin del Mar a small fishing village recently trying its hand at tourism. I met Carlos, his brother Andres, a couple of Albertos and a whole gang of beautiful women, at the little hotel right on the beach.

Next morning at six o'clock we were all packed up ready to leave... it had been raining through the night, not a lot but not a little, so the road that I had enjoyed cruising in on had now turned into South America's longest skating rink, It wasn't that it was rough, it was that it was as slippery as hell, you could hardly stand up on the bloody thing, much less ride a heavy motorcycle on it.

Ice road, Colombia.

Having said that this is one of the rare times when I had just the right tyres on Beem, the other bikes were V stroms and big BMWs and they were suffering, the V-Stroms particularly were collecting mud on the front wheel to the point where it was locking up. That fifteen kilometres took us two hours with just about everyone taking a fall, it was a bad start to the day. Once we hit the tarmac there was much back slapping in that particularly South American way.

Back on the sealed roads the big bikes were off and running, once more back in their element, and me and Beem were tail-end Charlie again, poor old Beem coughing and wheezing but trying his best. Nine o'clock that night we all arrived in Medellin safe and sound if a little wet, the Medellin boys had got us there in one piece...

I never take for granted the extraordinary effort that bikers will go to to look after their own, it makes me proud to be part of this small band of brothers.

Medellin bikers.

Medellin bikers

... Now I am in Trujillo on the coast of Peru about five hundred kilometres north of Lima. All is well. I am waiting for Fernando and Isi to catch up they are on their way from Cartagena. Should be here in a couple of days.

Peru is lousy with Police I was stopped five times yesterday. Mind you one of them was for going around a roundabout the wrong way... long story, no fine.

Beem is going like a champion and I am well... losing a few pounds getting ready to go home and face the crowds. I have a new plan... surprise, surprise. I am going to mount a major expedition around PNG going up the Sepik River and down the Fly River and circumnavigate the coast."

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Alisa Clickenger, USA, to South America, hanging out with butterflies in Mexico, DR650,

"My bike was not happy climbing the last 1000 feet up into Angangueo, so this morning I sucked it up, and did my first on-my-own chain adjustment. After double, triple, quintuple checking, I thought I had it right, and left this still-sleepy (and really freaking cold!) town at 9000 feet elevation.

Turns out my carbureted bike likes altitudes under 8000 the best. It tends to protest anywhere above that-not vociferously, mind you, just like a whiny child in a I-don't-really-like-this-but-I'll-humor-you-anyway kind of way. So I ride this really great road up to the monarch butterfly preserve, and I'm pretty damn proud of myself. First chain adjustment, totally empowered to take on the world, energized by the cold (and darned happy I have heated hand grips on my bike!). I pay my 15 pesos to 'park', and ride in. I've been told by Francisco in the tourist office in Angangueo that the last 800 meters of the driveway are a little rough, and I figure he knows what he is talking about since he owns three bikes (turns out they are scooters, not bikes).

Butterfly Reserve, Mexico.

Butterfly reserve, Mexico

Easy road, pass some huts on the left with no signs of life (houses? ghost town?), keep going. And going. Hmm. longer than 800 meters? Then the road dips down, steep down, and I think to myself 'this is not right-the butterflies like elevation'. So I get myself turned around, and take my next right UP. Groovy. Up. And Up. and UP.

OK, Altimeter says 10,000?, 10,200?, 10,300? etc. until I am over 11,000 feet, and remind you my bike doesn't like to be very high up, so it's protesting more and more, and just about the time the altimeter says 11,200 feet (really now, how high do these butterflies really like to live anyway?), and about the time that the road turns into a Billy goat path about as wide as my bike, and about the time that the heavy dews make the mud in between the rocks totally slippery, and about the time I almost pass out from holding my breath, the bike will not move forward (too little power, too much gear, too high up, etc.) I realize I think I may have made a mistake.

My heart is beating frantically, my bike is stuck on a path about as wide as it is (which seems exceedingly narrow at this point), my rear wheel is stuck between two rocks, and I am beginning to think I may have made a wrong turn...

Oh well, I am in the middle of nowhere, in a beautiful lush forest, my motorcycle stuck and I have come to see the butterflies. So what's a gal to do? Put the kickstand down, get off the bike, lock the helmet onto the seat, and decide to deal with the motorcycle later.

I have come to see the butterflies, and I will see the butterflies. I must have been quite a vision in reflective motorcycle gear to the high altitude cows chewing their cud along the billy goat path. So I continue up the cow-and-billygoat path, and after a half hour of steadily climbing, in full-out motorcycle gear (hey, at least I am not COLD anymore!) I am rewarded with a couple of butterflies.

What? There must be more. Then I get lucky, and realize the orange moss on the pine trees? Butterflies!

Butterflies on trees, Mexico.

That's not moss, that's butterflies!

Butterflies everywhere!

I walk towards the butterflies. They are on everything. Cover practically everything. It's the coolest thing I have ever seen. And the sound? The sound of rain in a lush rainforest? No. The sound of Millions upon Millions of beating butterfly wings.

May I present to you these delicate creatures that have flown across the Gulf of Mexico, to do their butterfly thing here in the high mountains of Morelia, Mexico.

I have to be very careful not to step on them as I move around. They are everywhere! Feeding. Flying. I am in awe. I take my time walking amongst them, listening, wondering, taking pictures."

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Kev and Lorraine Hatchett, UK, Round the world, in Argentina, BMW R1200GS Adventure,

"Whale day today. Speaking to the German guy camped next to us, he recommended taking an afternoon boat trip as there would be fewer people on the boat. 14:00 we set off for Piramides, about 100 Km's back up north. As the Peninsular is a national park we had to pay entrance fees to get in, we should have thought about that earlier and could have had the whole day there, not to worry, as long as we get to see whales.

Fuelled up then had a wander around the port before going to book the trip. The girl in the office said that even though the 15th is the date that the season is supposed to finish it is only approximate and guaranteed we would see whales, through the day other trips had seen up to a dozen whales with their young, so on that we booked the next trip in 30 minutes. The time came to get on the boat, 7 of us on a boat that could carry 60, loads of room to move about. 10 minutes after leaving the shore we spotted the first whales in the distance, so far much better than we saw at Hermanus Bay in South Africa, and it got even better as we pulled around into a small bay, at least 10 whales and all coming very close to the boat, you could nearly reach out and touch them. We spent over an hour watching them and took 240 pictures. I managed to get a couple of classic tail splash shots but no shots of them breaching the water. An amazing day.

Whale watching in Argentina.

Two border crossings, 1 Ferry crossing and 140Km's of Ripio to get through today. Let's just see how it goes. We have been told that it is best to get to the Border crossings early to miss the buses who have priority and could cause delays. We still have 122Km's to the first crossing so probably means an early start. As it is nice and warm in the kitchen we decide to take our chances with the buses and leave at our normal time. We got to the first border and no buses, 30 minutes later we are cleared and into country number 19, Chile, albeit only for a short while.

Next is the ferry across the Magellan Straits into Tierra del Fuego, they run every 40 minutes so we are bound to have just missed one. We arrived at the ferry and our luck is holding, there is a one just coming in, the book says the crossing is US$25 per vehicle, nobody even approached us for money. Off the boat and into Tierra del Fuego. We have 22Km's of tarmac and then we are on the ripio, which we are not overly sure about. No need to have worried, it was really good for around 120Km's, with two sections of road works, at the first we were held up at until the bulldozer had got half way through then we were directed to drive slowly in its tracks, easy.

The next stretch of road works was a bit different, again we were held up until the grader had gone through and sort of levelled the surface. The grader wasn't as heavy as the bulldozer and didn't compress the dirt leaving some nice tyre width grooves filled with loose dirt, front wheel hits one and the back wheel hits another and we are all over the place, just managing to keep the bike upright. The last 7Km's before San Sebastian is bad washboard nearly all the way to the Argentine border, my hands are tingling with all the vibration.

At the border there are again no buses and we sail through in less than 30 minutes. The wind has picked up again while we were clearing the border, this time quite strong. The bike would have blown over if I wasn't watching it, the wind was rocking it on the side stand, glad we are back on tarmac in this wind and not the ripio!

Arrived at Rio Grande and another problem with co-ordinates on the GPS means a bit of running around looking for the canoe club we had been told about that we could crash out in upstairs in the gym and park the bike indoors. We found it after a bit of traipsing around and asking some local cops. From the outside it looks a bit of a dump but inside it is warm, clean and tidy and free internet.

Puerto Madryn, Argentina.

Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Final day and the last push, shouldn't be too bad if the wind stays away and it is tarmac all the way.
The scenery is changing, from desert, flatlands and coast line to the jagged peaks of the snow capped mountains. The weather is also changing, glad we didn't take the liners out of the suits as the temperature is dropping by the mile. We were recommended to stop at the Panaderia (Bakery) at Tolhuin for our lunch and had some nice Empanadas. Riding along past Lago Fagnano and over the mountains, we kept stopping for pictures and a two hour ride turned into four, one of the best rides so far.

A boxer with a boxer.

A boxer with a boxer

Now we are here, Ushuaia, the Southernmost city in the world, Fin del Mundo, End of the World. We are staying here until Jan 3rd 2010 so hope to meet up with some of the other people we have met on the way while we are here."

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Bill Atchison, Alberta, in Mexico,

"... As I begin writing this entry I am sitting in the airport in Mazatlan waiting for a flight home for Christmas. I expect to see a change from about 28 deg C to perhaps -18 deg C. It was an easy decision though, I really miss Janine and it will be good to be at home over Christmas. I have the motorcycle stored securely in Mazatlan.

The past three days in Mazatlan have been fun. I met Mike, from Scotland, who owns the BMW 1200GS that was sitting in the lobby of the Belmar when I arrived. I believe he has been traveling on that bike continuously since 2004 or 2005, with the exception of a total of 18 months during that period. He is a fascinating guy, retired from the Royal Air force. We spent a couple of evenings chatting and he can give you precise information about just about every motorcycling road in the world, from South America to Africa to India to Asia and beyond.

On the first evening we met, we were sitting in from of the Belmar and next thing you know Casey & Sheila Boyle, a couple I had met at the Horizons Unlimited meeting in Nakusp last summer, walked up and joined us. They are on their way to Central America. Another fellow on an old BMW R100 from Arizona also showed up and joined us. He is on his way to southern Mexico and Guatemala.

On Saturday night a guy on a Honda from Alberta showed up, on his way to South America. I went to introduce myself and found him sitting with a fellow who used to work for me and had just finished working for my brother James, at a gas plant shut-down in Alberta. The world really is getting smaller all the time.

Feliz Navidad from Durango, Mexico.

Feliz Navidad from Durango, Mexico

Last night there was a delightful fiesta in the Old Plaza. There was a Beatles music cover band playing for a while, then a blues group. There were all kinds of things going on in the square including a group twirling blazing batons while doing acrobatics. The square is surrounded with sidewalk cafes and it was fantastic having dinner there and taking in all the excitement.

This morning I said goodbye to quite a few people. It is surprising how many people you get to know in such a short period of time here. The old Belmar is just like that I guess.

I have no firm plans on when we/I might return other than I expect it will likely be mid January. I also have no plans as to where we/I will head when we/I do return. So much will depend on how Janine is feeling and if she will be able to come south sometime soon. Hasta Luego. (Until Then)

P.S. After arriving in Calgary at midnight it was almost 2 ½ hours of white knuckle driving through a blizzard to get home to Red Deer. We passed several transport trucks and cars in the ditch. At home there is perhaps 2' of snow but the bright side; it was only about -13 deg C."

Graham Holden, UK, RTW, in Malaysia and Thailand, R100GS PD,

"Ok it was decision time, do I risk the heat of the northern territories in Oz, or head back up to Thailand, visit Cambodia then return in the New Year.

So after careful consideration my decision was made and spending the last couple of days in KL with Oliver and Tino was coming to an end. Oliver was shipping his bike to Canada and was about to embark on a new line of work, teaching in Korea. Tino was shipping his bike home, then flying to Oz, little old me, going north and wait out the Oz summer.

On the morning of my departure we arranged to meet up at Sunny Cycle's for a photo session, we arrived at 9.30 but he was still locked up, then he arrived, a quick photo call and said our good byes and I was yes you guessed it on the road again. The roads here in Malaysia are fantastic, which I think I may have mentioned before. I made good time heading north and just after Penang I recorded 30,000 miles on the road since leaving the UK.

In the garage at Sunny Cycles, Kuala Lumpur.

Sunny helps out a lot of overlanders and keeps a book and picture as a record.
Sunny Cycle, 37 Jalan Pahang, Setapak 53000, Kuala Lumpur

The border once again was straight forward and I was into the chaotic road systems in southern Thailand. It's difficult getting into a good rhythm on these roads, just as you get going there will be traffic lights or a crazy junction.

Time was passing by, but I was making good time, the weather was shinning on me, what little rain that was about seems to have been one step ahead of me, so apart from a few damp roads everything was going well.

My plan was to stop around half way between KL and BK, but as I approached halfway the sun was still sat in the sky, the bike was running sweet and I felt good. So onwards I rode, the roads seemed easier now and I got into the zone, miles were just being eaten away, then little voices in my head kept saying maybe you can get to BK in the day, no that's crazy, night had fallen and still the wheels were rolling, the roads were a lot quieter now apart from the trucks, which all seem to labour along.

The signs for BK appeared and the mileage seemed doable, so I just carried on, stopping for a rest here and there, filling the bike with the not so good Thai petrol, when I rode around Thailand earlier I notice my fuel range was about forty miles shy to when I was hitting reserve throughout the rest of my journey to date, I thought maybe the bike was just getting worn or I'd altered something, but no it's the lousy petrol here in Thailand, and that's the petrol not the plant fuel they are trying to make everyone use, I know because in Malaysia the bike was back to normal before hitting reserve!

Anyway after that ramble, BK was getting closer and closer, I thought I can do this, yes break the rule of not riding at night, but on the highways in Thailand it's much safer than India or Pakistan or so I convinced myself.

So fifteen hours after saying good bye to my friends in KL, I was entering the mind blowing road system in BK, not bad for a 16 year old classic BMW, I'm sure you guys with the ultimate sports bike would have knocked spots off the time, but for my old girl it was pretty good!

Bangkok, what a nightmare, the GPS kept trying to put me on the toll roads, where bikes aren't allowed, one way systems and multilane junctions, aahhhhh! Anyway after arriving at one in the morning in BK, I eventually found Jeab's home around three! And that's thanks to the roads being pretty empty.

I think the longest ride I've ever done in one day - 1465k (915 miles), To put in perspective, Lands End to John O Groats is 837 miles. But not the craziest!"

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Chris and Erin Ratay, Ultimate Journey, now in southern Africa,

"Namibia - It was another HOT day, somewhere around 110F. It's times like these that we envy vehicles with air-conditioning! We arrived in the 'town' of Divundu around 4pm, and we were tired. It was another 14km to the campsite, which we knew was down a sandy road requiring 4x4 for access. With a full tank of gas and some hydration, we headed out. By the time we arrived at the remote camp ground, we were exhausted and sweaty. What awaited us, however, was paradise. Ngepi is the name of this paradise of a rest camp, and it means 'How are you?' in the Mbukushu language.

Okavango hippos.

Our campsite was right along the Okavango River, with soft grass surrounded by large shaded trees, and about 100 yards from the pool and community hang out area. While we weren't sure how long we would stay, we managed 3 days of 'hanging out' barefoot, no internet access, and lots of hammock time reading (and snoozing!) while listening to the constant calls of the hippos in the river.

To help you 'get in the mood', the bathroom facilities were very 'out-doors'.

To help you 'get in the mood', the bathroom facilities were very 'out-doors'

Zimbabwe has been printing money for years - when the $1,000 note was losing value, they printed then $10,000, then $100,000, then $1,000,0000, then... Well, you get the idea. We saw a real/official note valued at $10 Trillion Dollars! It was a strange way to fight inflation. What took us awhile to understand was that the number of zeros doesn't matter, each piece of paper was worth US$1!

Negotiating currency exchange in Zimbabwe.

Negotiating currency exchange in Zimbabwe

In March of 2009, the Zimbabwe currency was terminated, and the US dollar became the official currency. They have access to paper bills, but no coins. It's a bit odd, and when change is due back to you, you are given your choice of pieces of gum, lollypops, or chocolate as change. At gas stations, drivers request a specific dollar amount, and don't say 'fill it up' as we are used to. BTW, fuel costs $1.30/liter, or $4.95/gallon!"

Ed. Chris and Erin's recent stories can be found here! Also, check them out on the new 'On the Road!' DVD where they share their travel tips from 4 years RTW.

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up to top of pagespacerBooks

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!

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

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." Buy direct from Sam here!

Adventure Motorbiking Handbook.

Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, by Chris Scott

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!

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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

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ISSN 1703-1397 Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' E-zine - Copyright 1999-2009, 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.


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

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!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - DVD1 - Get Ready!

Get the Achievable Dream DVD's NOW and learn how YOU can hit the road!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - DVD4 - Ladies on the Loose! Get it now!

up to top of pagespacerShorts...

Goh and Sam, Singapore, RTW, in Australia,

"We arrived on 28 November 2009. Our fund is almost dry, so we wanted to cross Australia as fast as possible to Darwin and go to East Timor and Indonesia where the standard of living would be much affordable for us. But, going north now is the worst season. Rain, flood, extreme dry in certain places, cyclone and terrible roads. No bikers would want to go north now till mid March 2010.

Bike arrives in Australia.

Hope Too arrives in Australia

Goh and Sam get to Sydney!

And so do Goh and Sam!

We are at Steve Smith's home, north of Brisbane. Lots of things to do here. Every day we are busy with Steve. He's training me on chainsaw while we stayed here. We are waiting for the season to be better in the north which it's having cyclone now. Will wait till March."

Ed. Lots of pics and stories (good times and bad times!) on Goh and Sam's site.

Gabriel Bolton and Charlotte Moore , UK, RTW, in the USA,

"We're hitting the road again. Having spent well in excess of a month at our 'home' in Washington it's odd to be moving on, to ride South indefinitely. Our hosts Don and Joni Siewert have shown us kindness beyond words. I just don't know where to start. We were initially invited for an evening meal, and stayed for weeks. We have been shown incredible generosity, by any standards.

Don has spent countless hours of his free time helping me with the appreciable task of getting Honda back to a roadworthy state. Sourcing a welder, parts, materials and giving me free reign over his extensive armoury of tools. It was a pleasure to work with someone so mechanically expert. I couldn't ask for more. Joni played hostess for these past 5 weeks with the patience of a saint. She put her heart and soul into our stay, and treated us to a wealth of fine fine cooking. Even going to the effort to lay on a mock Thanksgiving meal."

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Adventure motorcycling clothing for the demanding traveller
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Robert Thode, USA, to South America, in Mexico,

"The road from Durango to Mazatlan was on the 'bucket' list as a must do ride. Have been told that this is one of the best roads in North America. 'El Spinazo del Diablo', (The Devils Spine) runs from the Alto Plano (2000 to 3000 meters) down to the sea. The first section was nothing special making me wonder what all the hullabaloo was about, then I came to the twisties.

Spinazo del Diablo.

Spinazo del Diablo

Corner after corner cut into almost vertical mountains and winding through beautiful pine forests. The weather was perfect, a little cool on top but I prefer it that way. If you ever ride the El Spinazo be ready for four hours of an exhilarating roller coaster ride. What really puts this road in the top five I have ever run is the well banked corners, as the road twisted back and forth the banking would follow. If the shock had not blown on my moto I could have done a little knee dragging around these corners."

Ed. See Robert's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Annette Pearson, London, UK, hospitalized in Rio Grande, Argentina,

"Enough of this natural optimism. I have spent two waking days in the hospital and I am over it. Everyone else is celebrating Christmas in Ushuaia and I am staring at pale green walls trying to figure out how to get news on the condition of my bike and what I will do for the rest of my trip.

My back is in agony and yesterday I was told I would see a bone specialist today and today they are telling me tomorrow.

After a day of lying in my hospital bed I have had time to reflect on my situation. I can barely walk (dizzy from inactivity) or use one side of my body (tube to lungs or broken collarbone - not sure).
I have talked to my mother who says I am lucky to be alive at all - true.
I have a slow internet connection (whoopy!) and my laptop for music (nick drake on xmas day).
I might not be able to fly or ride for 30 days. Bad - diving Easter Island is out. Good - no pressure to do Ruta 40 (gravelly windy road through mountains which I have been worried about) Though disappointed not to finish trip.
I still have no idea what happened or what condition my bike is in.

It is Christmas Day and even though I am an agnostic breeding does encourage a certain expectation for this time of the year.

Annette Pearson in hospital in Rio Grande, Argentina.

Still better than some years. Still have this huge scab on my chin, elbow and knee with some pretty fantastic bruising down my side.

Thank you to all the people that have visited and kept me sane. I have nothing better to do than reply to emails if you feel like writing one it would be welcomed."

Ed. Annette, we are thinking about you. Write to Annette directly here.

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David Radford, Canada, in Kurdish Iraq, BMW R1200 GS Adventure,

"On and on to Arbil - or Hawler. That's one of the things you learn quickly in KIraq- spellings change. Usually it's something easy like Amedi to al-Amadiyah on the road sign (assuming the sign isn't in Arabic script), but some places it can throw you for a loop. Arbil, or Erbil, or Irbil also goes by Hawler and the various names are used interchangeably on road signs. That being said, it was never much of a problem, though I did regularly confirm my direction at checkpoints.

After Amedi the riding and the views turn the volume up.

Riding in Kurdish Iraq.

Riding in Kurdish Iraq.

Though, even with all this goodness and excellent roads, an eye always had to be on the lookout for the unexpected."

Kurdish Iraq.

On the road in Kurdish Iraq

Archie Taylor, UK, to West Africa, Honda Transalp,

"Have I enjoyed trip up to now yes with a few reservations. Got a bit lonely at times you continually worry about accidents breakdowns or punctures on your own in the middle of nowhere travelling 2 or 3 bikes would solve the problem but you would have to pick your companions carefully. Scenery great, experience great.

You meet amazing people. One guy I met had just cycled over Sahara on way to South Africa, people too numerous to mention all great companions all of us have a lot in common. I'm the oldest I've met and it's got me a few free beers on the way and some 10 minutes of fame."

Ed. Follow Archie's African adventures in his blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Alexandros Papadopoulos, UK to India, in Iran,

"The trip has evolved as follows: After entering from Bazargan (Turkish border) I headed south to Tabriz. After spending the first night in a hotel, receiving my initial shock at the friendliness of people and rummaging around Tabriz's vibrant bazaar, I spent most of the next day marveling at the Orumieh/Urmia salt lake.

Salt formations, Iran.

Salt formations, Iran

The next day I greeted my hosts, admired their (simple but undoubtedly more reliable than mine) panniers (see below)

Iran panniers.

and headed for Esfahan. I got there in the early afternoon, ran straight into a guy beating the living lights out of a poor car driver (punches in the face in broad daylight in the middle of the road - sensational stuff) and marveled at the continuing extreme resourcefulness of fast food restaurants to whet their clients' appetite.

Arses Restaurant, Iran.

Arses Restaurant

Building in Esfahan, Iran.

Esfahan - building

Iran - no bikes sign.

More places around town that motorcycles are not welcome. Grrrrr...

Luckily another very kind couple was available to host me and they stopped whatever they were doing and came out near the river to pick me up and take me to their home... I spent a week in Esfahan, meeting lots of people, drinking a lot of tea, walking as I haven't walked in years, trying to take in the magnificence of its buildings..."

Ed. See Alexandros' blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Tomas Harrison, Chile, in Europe, writes to the HU Rome Community,

"Hello, I am from Chile and I am making a world trip on a Kawasaki KLR 650. I rode all the way from Santiago de Chile to USA and then I ship the bike to Germany and now I am in Fiorenze, Italy. I started the trip last December 6, so am a year on the road and 52.000 kms from Chile to here. I am planning to go to Rome in a couple of days, and my question is if somebody can tell me something about a good and cheap place to sleep. And would be great if I can meet somebody from the community. Cheers and see you on the road Thanks!"

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Robin Hunt-Davis - Cape 2 Cairo, in Tanzania, BMW 650 Dakar,

"Again sitting at a beach bar which doubles as the local diving centre killing time waiting for supper. Yes, fresh fish and chips. I am at a dive resort in Kilwa which has some ruins on a nearby island dating back to 800 AD, and is a world heritage site. Unfortunately I was unable to visit them due to time constraints.

Beach warning sign, Tanzania.

Beach warning sign, Tanzania.

The ride down from Dar Es Salaam was uneventful except for a section of 60km which was under construction and the detour road consisted of sand and more sand which on a motorbike is extremely stressful. It's a question of when and where will I fall! As anticipated I had my first tumble of the trip and fortunately there was a truck behind me and they helped me to pick the bike up, no easy matter.

Tanzania beach.

Life's a beach!

First order of business on my arrival was to dive into the sea. The water is room temperature and crystal clear. Across the bay there were traditional Dhows sailing with their tattered sails. A picture fit for a postcard."

Ed. See Robin's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Helen Davis, Canada, in Mexico,

"Dear Grant and Sue, Season's Greetings to you and yours. All the Best in 2010. Although we have not met in person (I attended the Nakusp Rally with my girlfriends from VIWMC and Hosted the Women's Gab Fest), I want to thank you for all the work you do in connecting people to their dreams. 

Arriving at Puerto Penasco, Mexico.

Arriving at Puerto Penasco, Mexico

I am riding solo through the US and Mexico and without chatting to others on your HU site, I would have missed so many good people and places. Keep up the great work. Hope to meet you one day."

Ken Thomas, UK to Cape Town, in Sinai, Egypt, Yamaha TTR,

"We departed the Softbeach resort yesterday for a ride through super-dramatic scenery across the Sinai desert to St. Catherine's Monastery and Mount Sinai. There was a sand-storm on the coast to contend with as well.

Krakriders, Syria.

So, we have just returned from climbing Mount Sinai. But big disappointment - we have no space for the Tablets of Stone, so left them up there..."

Ed. Follow the adventure at Ken's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

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!


Simon Gandolfi, Old Man on a Bike, in India, Honda 125,

"I was threading my way through the crowd this morning in the Main Bazaar, Paharganj, Delhi, when an Australian (I think) drew up alongside on a big bike with panniers and top box.

'Hi,' he said, 'I saw the badge...'

He was heading for Agra and I was heading for a street children's haven.

...I was at the Honda factory today outside Delhi. I sat on my bike, a 125 naturally, but what a 125, a new model red Stunner with electric start and fuel injection - 64K to the litre and only 2000Ks on the clock. I started the engine. Brmm Brmm sweet!

OK, so I hear you middle-aged BMW crowd tittering in the back ground. A 125 again! Sad old guy, what can you expect from a septuagenarian?

So let me set you straight: Honda designed the Stunner as slick kid's cafe racer. It has style! Though wrecked somewhat once the fat old Blimp takes to the saddle.

Simon's new Stunner.

Simon's new ride...

Honda are trying to fit panniers to it and find me a suitable helmet plastered with Honda decals. Sadly I couldn't find my Mexican scarlet and white Honda racing shirt. I think my sons burnt it. Anyone coming to India, please bring me a couple of HU stickers.

Anyway here's a big Hi to the Franglais riders and all those other friends from previous times and from Derby. I'll be back in time for the meet this coming June (if I don't snuff or get run down by more trucks).

Cheers - and, as usual, thanks to Susan and Grant"

Ed. Watch this thread for more on Simon's adventures in India!

Johan and Charmaine Claassens, South Africa, RTW, in Australia,

"After 4 days and about 1200km we have made it safely to Adelaide. The route we took along the coast from Melbourne is absolutely stunning. Parts of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria remind us of the road next to the Med in Turkey. We had good weather up and until yesterday, when the temperature shot up to over 40C as we got closer to Adelaide. Yesterday we saw lots of bikers too, mostly local Adelaide bikers going out on a Sunday ride. At one fuel station there were a large group of club bikers on their cruisers and they made some kind of a remark about the amount of luggage I had strapped on the GS. As we saddled up to get going Charmaine told them we're heading to Perth (another 3000km away), well, you must have seen the looks on their faces when they realized she was only riding a 200cc bike.

We've heard all sorts of interesting remarks before, I remember when we pulled up at a pub/cafe in New Mexico (USA) and a couple of local bikers asked us where we are going, as bikers do to start some kind of conversation. Without hesitation I answered Argentina (as that was the case). He immediately replied 'ok' in a tone that would have been the same if I said we're just riding to the next town. That was the end of the conversation and he turned to his buddy to continue talking. I knew the guy did not realize what I said, or maybe he didn't know where Argentina was, or maybe he thought I was pulling his leg or something. Nevertheless less, it was one of those priceless moments that will stay with you the rest of your life.

Johan and Charmaine in South Australia.

Johan and Charmaine in South Australia

Along the road we were blessed with many great scenery and wild life. The road was full of colorful birds and we saw Koala, Wallaby, Kangaroo, Deer and Emu so far. We love this country already.

The GS, as always is performing 100% and the DR has also proved to go well. Charmaine is smiling all the way and is enjoying herself tremendously. We're riding at about 80-90km/h on the open road, a speed that seems to suit both bikes. So far we had our longest day (In Australia) yesterday with 400km.

...We are in Mandurah, Western Australia,  after riding 4,300km in 10 days, this might be the end of the road for our round the world tour too! We have done 116,000km from Cape Town to Perth the long way up, down & around."

Kevin Hubbs, Canada, writes to the HU Medellin Community,

"Feliz Navidad Medellin! I arrived in Medellin yesterday (December 24) and will be here for 2 or 3 more days before moving on to see the rest of beautiful Colombia. I will be replacing my rear tire which lasted from Canada but is almost done. I am having trouble finding a book store with English travel books and maps of Sudamerica. If anyone can offer advice it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!"

Distant Suns

by Sam Manicom
Distant Suns by Sam Manicom.

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.'


"It's been a pleasure to read as it makes me feel as if I'm there seeing the people and landscape that Sam describes. He has a gift for painting pictures with words, which is rare amongst long-distance riders… In summary, a damn good read, not to be missed." Dave - BMW Club Journal

"…as the book progressed and the story unravelled, it developed into a truly involving and enthralling read. Distant Suns doesn't just document the journey, Sam also describes cultural differences, traditions and lifestyles of the various countries they cross, whilst painting a vivid picture of the terrain they cross… A really great read that'll doubtless give you itchy feet…" TBM - Trail Bike Magazine

"Distant Suns' is based on what Sam acknowledges are Birgit's wonderfully descriptive diaries. The result is a strangely powerful combination of Sam's already masterful writing with the added perspectives of a travelling companion who is both in-tune and adding a different melody line to the rhythm of their journey together." Nich Brown - The Road Magazine

Signed copies available directly from the Author here.
Order your copy now!

Hubert Kriegel, France, Sidecar-ing the world, in Mongolia,

"I started with the beginning, Genghis Khan being a kid raised in these mountains by his mother with his brothers and sisters.

How did they cope, in the 13 century, with the harsh temperatures of their frigid winter.

How did they cope, in the 13 century, with the harsh temperatures of their frigid winter.

How did they cope, in the 13 century, with the harsh temperatures of their frigid winter?

Main square, Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

On the North side of the main Square, Genghis Khan is seated on the marble parliament and on the left is the statue of Sükhabaatar who declared independence from the Chinese in 1921.

Black market, Mongolia.

If you need a motor for your vehicle, there are plenty of them available.

That night, I went to Yenjinkhojl's house to choose the sheep skin and to finalize all the details for my del (coat).

Making a coat, Mongolia.

New coat.

New dictionary.

I have now a fantastic tool with the 800 words and sentences booklet that I keep in my back pocket and that makes me very happy.

Modern conveniences.

Visiting Dondov and his wife and son in a ger (yurt) in Mongolia."

Ed. Check out Hubert's website for lots of great pics and a video made by his daughter!

Overland to India

Overland to India book by Gordon May

by Gordon May

Paperback, 21x14.8 cm 234 pages incl 8 pages of colour photographs. £9.95.


In 2008, Gordon May set off on an 8,400 mile ride from Manchester, UK, to Chennai, India, on his 1953 Royal Enfield. Despite encountering intense heat, suffering a crash in the Baluchistan desert and battling against some of the worst roads and driving standards on the planet, Gordon and his old Bullet did make it to Chennai.

In Overland to India Gordon describes how he restored his beloved motorcycle, the build up to departure, the larger-than-life characters he met and how he tackled the many challenges that came his way. He also recounts the more personal highs and lows of life on the road. Above all, Overland To India is a heart-warming book that reveals that there is much human kindness and hospitality to be found, sometimes in the most unexpected places and situations.


What I really liked about Overland to India was the sheer determination of the rider. Gordon's love of his motorcycle shone through too; he often thanks it for getting him to his various destinations along the grueling route and I liked reading about his running repairs. I felt his joy, his euphoria, at being out on the open road. I also felt his exhaustion. When Gordon suffered a crash I could almost feel those bruises and also his fear following an attempted highway robbery. What was also really striking was the generosity, friendliness and humility of many of the people he met along the way, who Gordon describes with real warmth. It's uplifting to discover that it's a welcoming world out there. Overland to India is a lesson to all of us who have a dream and want to pursue it. Inspiring. Judith Coyle


Trale Bardell, USA, Ride to Aconcagua, Crossing from Panama into Colombia, DR650,

"This is the sticking point for most journeys of this kind; this is the bottle neck where there are a limited number of options and though many people do it every year, it is still the section of the trip that requires a good bit of effort and resources to complete.

There are several ways to go about taking bikes across into Colombia (or from Colombia into Panama). Most headache-free and secure might be booking a place on a sailboat. There are several people that routinely make the run from the north coast- Puerto Lindo, Portobello, Isla Grande- down to Cartagena. This is typically a five day trip, and quite the accepted method for many travelers. Boats fill up, so if you have an idea of when you will be making the crossing, it's best to book ahead.

There are several good contacts for arranging this: Guido and Sylvia at the Wunderbar in Puerto Lindo have lots of experience and book a lot of people going across. Another good place to find out about going across (But they are not online, as far as I know you need to go in person to arrange things) is the yacht club, also there in Puerto Lindo. The restaurant down on the shore is a favorite hangout for the captains of sailboats there, and the man of the house, Hans, will be a helpful contact. Again, the only concern with this option is that you need to go and be willing to wait days (weeks) to find a boat that is going and that will take bikes. Marco, a Canadian-born localized character in Portobello is also a good contact there on the north coast, who has experience on the Caribbean sea. Although he is not actively sending people all the time, he knows some captains in the area, again if you are willing to figure things out along the way, go to Portobello and ask for Marco, most people in town know about him as he is a bit of a legend in that small town.

...A funny thing that we learned not long after embarking is that there is a confirmed route over land to Carti, a small port about halfway from the Colon area to the border. To reach this port over land, one would need to drive along the principal route (interamerican highway) past Panama City toward Darien, then turn off to the north at some point. This would without doubt save on the boat fare, but not really make the details of crossing out of Panama into Colombia any easier."

Ed. Follow Trale's story here on Horizons Unlimited!

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.

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

Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, around the world since 1996, 193 countries two-up on Harley Davidson,

"We are back in the UK on the 28th Dec. A few days near the HD dealer who has been storing our motorcycle. We have some new parts to attach, and he is letting us do that in their workshop, then we have booked flights to Tromso in Norway, above the Arctic Circle, for a week hopefully watching the northern lights, back in the UK on the 12th Jan to ride south towards Spain and Morocco..."

Ed. Horizons Unlimited is proud to host Peter and Kay's complete RTW story and pictures here! Although they haven't finished their book yet, Peter and Kay have shared their stories with us on the new Achievable Dream DVD series. Check out their travel tips in the 'On the Road!' DVD, shipping now!

Frank Feliano, USA, writes to the HU San Salvador Community:

"Hola, I will be traveling from Florida to Panama come January and would like to meet fellow riders & new friends along the way. Enjoy the ride! Frank"

up to top of pagespacerHome again (temporarily) ...

Tiffany Coates, UK, home in the UK for Christmas, BMW R80 G/S,

"I'm finally home (or at least for the moment). I've arrived back to find Arctic style weather conditions and to discover that the airline have lost my bag. This is a bit of a problem as it means I only have the clothes I was wearing when I landed, plus full bike gear. Though I am still luckily in possession of the seven pairs of knickers...

The major issue is that my photos are all in that bag. I had been somewhat anal during this journey about always backing up my digital memory cards onto memory sticks and then had a completely brain dead moment in Seattle whilst packing (I must admit my mind was more thinking about Iceland than packing) and I rather stupidly put both all the memory cards AND the memory sticks in one bag. Doh! I've been waiting to hear what the airline have to say about tracking it down."

Ed. Tiffany shares her top tips for travelling in the new 'Ladies on the Loose!' Achievable Dream Series DVD - shipping now!

Darius and Jane Skrzypiec, RTW 2008-2011, in Europe, Africa Twin,

"Greece welcomes us with 2 degrees Celsius at night and only 6 degrees during the day. Within few kilometres my fingers are frozen and turning blue. Luckily we're able to buy some ugly but warm camo gloves. These gloves and my camo raincoat let me rather look more like a warrior than a traveller.

As soon as the Greek customs find out that the bike isn't registered in Germany, they start to be suspicious about our bike papers, especially our green card. Additionally Jane's Schengen Visa is being inspected under UV light with a magnifying glass. Finally I can convince an Austrian border guard to let us pass through our last border so far. We're entering Europe!

Our plan was to explore Greece for about 2 weeks but the cold and rainy weather quickly changes our decision. In only 3 days we're crossing Greece and arranging the ferry tickets to Venice. Not willing to spend 40-50 Euros for a room, we're looking for Igoumenitsa's camp ground, which is closed already. Well, eventually we end up camping close to the campsite, just below a 'No Camping' sign. It is raining; it is cold, we're very happy to board the ferry and rest in our Pullman chairs. 24 hrs later we're entering the magnificent Venice harbour. It is very cold but no sign of clouds. Amazing clear sky allows a view of hundred kilometres or more.

The remains of our AT.

The remains of our AT

Germany - No time wasting, I start to strip the bike. Very soon there are parts all over the place and the frame remains standing solitary in the garage. For the next weeks, if not months, I'll be busy working on the bike and make it fit for the next part of our RTW adventure.

Jane cleaning parts.

Jane cleaning parts

...White Xmas 2009 - dear all, we wish you merry Xmas and happy new year 2010. for the first time in many years (for Darius) and for the first time ever (for Jane) we'll celebrate white Xmas in bloody cold Europe.

We had -15 degrees just yesterday, it's snowing permanently and Jane is thinking of using crampons for walking in the streets. Well, for now we're busy decorating our Christmas tree and shopping for presents, which fit underneath the tree, hehehe. Right after Xmas we'll finish working on our bike and hopefully make a test ride. It depends on the weather though. Many thanks to all of you for supporting us or following up with our progress!"

Ed. Not many words but lots of pics on Darius and Jane's trip in their blog here on Horizons Unlimited.

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 629 Communities in 103 Countries as of December 14, 2009!

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!

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.

Become a Horizons Unlimited Contributing Member or Gold Member!

To help with the cost of creating and distributing the newsletter and running a huge website, which has been a full time job for Grant for ten years, Susan as much as she can, plus a couple of part time assistants, we gratefully accept contributions via PayPal, credit card, and cheque. Members also get additional privileges on the HUBB, such as more PM's, custom avatars, and more photo space.

Support this Newsletter by becoming a Contributing Member today, by PayPal, credit card, or cheque.

Become an HU Contributing Member!

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

If you want a t-shirt or other logoed merchandise, go to the Store.

All contributions will be acknowledged and gratefully accepted. If you later decide you do want a t-shirt or other member logoed merchandise from the store, let us know and we will arrange access to the Members Private Store.

More ways to support your favourite website!

How to Link to Horizons Unlimited

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!

Thanks, Grant and Susan


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up to top of pagespacerIn Progress...

I am working on a listing of people who have ridden around the world, as well as what I call 'significant journeys' e.g. the first across Africa. Any information you may have on this topic, please let me know. Preferably e-mail me direct. I currently have information on over 800 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:

Riding the globe...

All text and photographs are copyright © Grant and Susan Johnson and their respective authors or creators, 1987-2009.
All Rights Reserved.

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