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Horizons Unlimited
Motorcycle Travellers'
e-zine

in cooperation with
Quality Touring equipment worldwide.

Are you a TRAVELLER? Are you interested in robbing banks in Argentina, the worst job in the world, mauled by lions in South Africa, pyromaniac bikers, the bad-ass Diablo Negros, dog sledding in Tromso, the King Croesus Contempt for Death tour, shovelling shit in Patagonia, and much more...?

Then you're reading the right newsletter!

In this e-zine:

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

Seen on the road
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Who's on the Road
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Motorcycle Travellers' News Report

January 2010, 78th Edition

Welcome to the 78th edition of the HU e-zine! This month the main news story has been the death and destruction in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world even before the earthquake hit. Rescue and relief efforts have been hampered by the lack of infrastructure and institutions to co-ordinate the effort. Whilst feeling grief and sympathy for all those affected, I'm sure we also felt relief that it didn't happen in our country or city. But what if it did? Or what if you are traveling and disaster strikes?

A colleague of mine, Rob Slade, is a security and disaster recovery specialist. Rob sent this excellent advice to his list:

"Emergency response, in a major disaster, is not simply a matter of having water, generators, blankets, and rescue dogs. It has to do with organization, co-ordination, management, and, particularly, trained people. Most of them volunteers, since nobody can afford to pay for a full-time staff of all those you need to have ready in an emergency.

That's where you come in. Get trained. What do you need to survive the first 72 hours following a disaster? Do you know how much water, what type of food, etc, you need, in the event of a total failure of utilities and other factors we rely on?

Then there are the skills you need to help other people. Sometimes this might relate to first aid, or structural assessment of buildings after an earthquake, etc. However, there are many necessary skills that are not quite so dramatic. Most emergency response, believe it or not, has to do with paperwork. Who is safe? Who needs care? Do families need to be reunited? Documentation of all of this is a huge effort, which goes on long after the bottles of water and hot meals have been distributed. Then there are management skills, to co-ordinate all of the other skills. An awful lot of 'charity' gets wasted because some people get too much help, and others don't get enough. Someone needs to oversee the efforts.

Get trained. Volunteer. You'll get a wealth of experience that will help you plan for all kinds of events, not just for major disasters, but for the minor incidents that plague us and our companies every day. You'll be ready for the big stuff, too. You'll be able to keep yourself and those near to you safe. You'll be able to make a difference to others, certainly reducing suffering, and possibly saving lives. If and when something major happens, you will be a part of the infrastructure necessary for the response to be effective. You'll be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem."

Your editor is in Vancouver for a security conference. I'm sure business continuity planning and disaster recovery will be high on everyone's agenda at the conference this month.

Grant is holding the HU fort in London, working on the 'Gear Up' DVD, and of course, mailing out DVD orders since the shipping clerk is in Vancouver ;-)

On a personal note, Paul Pratt passed away January 10, 2010, at the age of 84. Paul was still riding his bikes last year, and entertaining audiences at the HU UK meeting with tales of his 13 years travelling by motorcycle in the 60s and 70s. We interviewed him in 2008 for the DVD series, and he features in a couple of them. Paul, like Simon Gandolfi and Ted Simon, is an inspiration to anyone who thinks 'I'm too old to do that'.

There's an interview by Sam Manicom with him, and an extract of the video of our interview for the DVD series on the HUBB.

We'll be at the Overland Adventure Day at the Ace Cafe in London 21 Feb., along with Nick Sanders, Sam Manicom, Paddy Tyson, Glynn Roberts and many more. Maybe we'll see some of you there!

Our intrepid travellers are on the road, most of them near the equator or in the southern hemisphere. We've got great stories from Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Egypt, Peru, Mexico, Easter Island, Chile, South Africa, Honduras, Cambodia, Thailand, West Africa, India, Syria, Iran and Brazil. For those who prefer colder climes (or reading about them from the comfort of a warm chair!), we even have travellers (confused? lost? GPS broken?) in Mongolia, Montana and Norway! 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!

  • Part 1- 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!
  • Part 2 - Gear Up! covers the Kit - bike and other stuff, including which bike, preparing the bike, what to take and how to pack it. This will be a 2-DVD set! Shipping late spring 2010.
  • Part 3 - 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!
  • Part 4 - 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! Now Shipping!

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.

Recent comments:

"You guys deserve a medal, or medals... How about something in the New Years Honours list? An MBE (Marvellous Bloody Endeavour)?, or an OBE (Outstanding Bikes Everywhere)?, maybe just a CBE (Completed Barmy Escapades)? Please keep up the good work, I haven't seen everything in the DVD series yet, but they are worth the wait - keep your sanity if you can! The end is in sight." Adrian, USA

"One of my best ever Birthday Prezzies I have ever bought myself." David, UK

"You've done a great job!" Marcel, Germany

"I am enjoying the DVD's very much and I'm very pleased that I paid for all four up front. A good move on the part of anyone who did that, I think." Geoff, UK

"I enjoyed the DVD tremendously! The only problem now is that I'm a year away from my next trip, so keep on sending movies so I don't get bored!" Martin, USA

"Thank you for the DVD’s Getting Ready, On the Road and Ladies on the Loose received just after Christmas. I sat down and hardly had a night’s sleep before they were all viewed thoroughly. I compliment you on a fantastic job of work which is truly motivating. I am looking forward to the Gear Up DVD." Tony, South Africa

"Thank you & well done on your Achievable Dream series. I found the content to be very informative & it was good to hear multiple opinions from a variety of travellers." Andy, UK

"The most enjoyable and tipful DVD I've ever watched for motorcycles was 'Get Ready'. Keep up the good work." Konstantinos, Greece

"I got my DVD's just now and like the guy with the photo printer, I'm drinking it all in. Thanks!" Bram, Belgium

"Awesome quality keep up the great work." George, USA

"Really enjoyed Ladies on the Loose, thank you!" Jasmine, Switzerland

"Get Ready and On the road are wonderful. It was especially invigorating to listen to the perspectives of the travelers on 'On the Road'. It brought back many feelings of what it is like to travel and certainly whetted my appetite do so again! Thank you thank you thank you." Patrick, USA

Where can you get them?

We are taking orders now for all DVD's 'Get Ready!', 'Ladies on the Loose!' and 'On the Road!' are shipping now.

'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. 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. Once it's in production, it will be $36.99 plus shipping, but for pre-orders it is only $24.99 and free shipping.

We do appreciate the pre-orders, as the cost of doing all this has been staggering, and we're grateful for your patience. However, if you don't want to wait and would like a refund, just let us know and we'll be happy to provide it. We will then notify you when 'Gear Up!' 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

Advertisers

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.

Administration

If you've had problems receiving the e-zine due to spam filters or insufficient bandwidth, remember you can subscribe to the 'Notice' edition instead of the full HTML version. The Notice edition is a short, straight text message that contains a URL to bring you to the full text on the website. Because the Notice email is so small, it downloads in a flash, and leaves your mailbox uncluttered. Change to the Notice version here.

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

Please submit news reports, web links etc. to us for inclusion in this newsletter.

We try to link to your website if you have one. And if you don't have a website, we can help, and it won't cost you anything.

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

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

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!

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. 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 here!

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

New for 2010! Bulgaria - 9-11 July. 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! Registration open now!

HUMM - 27-29 July. 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 - oads 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 - Nakusp, BC. 12-15 August. (NOTE date changed!) Ekke Kok and Andy Miller are the local organizers for this event. Full details and Registration open now!

California - 19-22 Aug, 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, 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, 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. Alison Makin is the local organizer for this event. Registration coming soon.

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

Past Meetings

Thailand - 16 Jan, 2010 - Mini-Meeting in Chiang Mai. Michael Lloyd reports:

"Travellers and attendees at the Thailand HU Mini Meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand, January 16, 2010 traded information and plans until well after midnight. This was the fourth HU Thailand Travellers Meeting and again the majority of questions were about crossing Burma, entering Vietnam, border crossings into Cambodia, Laos, and shipping to points outside of Thailand.

The meeting was attended by a wide mix of travellers and local experts on motorcycle travel throughout Southeast Asia. The 48 attendees exceeded the space at the Chiang Mai Saloon #2 and spilled out into the street during the evening. While some were trading information on where to acquire tyres before entering Cambodia or Laos, others were mapping routes around Burma, trading the names of reputable freight forwarders out of Bangkok, discussing which maps were best and updating fellow travelers about transit status in other countries throughout the world." More details and pics here.

Presenters

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,'

...in other words, somewhere there isn't a large number of shops? (Also of course any shop that specializes in travellers equipment and repairs is of interest.) But we're particularly looking for those rare items, good repair shops in South America, Africa and Asia etc. Please post your info in the Repair shops around the world Forum on the HUBB.

There are now 100's of shops listed in out - of - the - way places, from Abidjan to Ghana to Peru! Be sure to check out the HUBB 'Repair shops around the world' forum if you need work done!










up to top of pagespacerWho are they?

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

Thanks, Grant

Request for info

Wouldn't YOU like to know all about the border you're approaching - what it should cost, paperwork required, 'tips' needed, and who to talk to, etc.?

When you cross ANY border, take some notes, and pass them on to us. Thanks!

Shipping

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

Travel Advisories:

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

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





















































































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





















































































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 Ecuador, Harley-Davidson,

"Our mates in Cali were all heading down to Ambato for a big bike meeting, as was our pal Ricardo from Quito, so we had decided to ride back up to meet them all before heading out of Ecuador...

The Bikes and the set up for dinner at the Ambato Bike meet, Ecuador.

The Bikes and the set up for dinner at the Ambato Bike meet

We ate, drank, danced and partied, and it was really good to see familiar faces, something that doesn't really happen a lot when you are on the move as much as we had been for the previous year. We arranged to meet up the following day for a group ride up to Chimborazo, and shuffled off to bed, leaving the band playing 'Born to be Wild' for the third time, and a hundred or so bikers getting drunker.

Chimborazo...again! This time in the sunshine and with mates!

Chimborazo ...again! This time in the sunshine and with mates!

We hugged, and all made our way to Chimborazo. We rode up the dirt road to the base camp at 5,000m, and played in the snow as close to the top as we could get on the bikes. A few of the riders, including Jacquie, felt ill with the effects of the altitude, so we slowly rode back down, regrouped, and continued riding around the base of the volcano, stopping here and there for more pictures.

Jacquie trying to recover from a bout of altitude sickness.

Jacquie trying to recover from a bout of altitude sickness

We rode with the group for a few hours, before saying our farewells and splitting off and heading on towards Alasui."

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 and Chile, Triumph + sidecar,

"We stopped in Viedma to rob a bank and to stock up with some healthy food and beer. Back at the bike we met 2 Canadians, Brian and Mary (later on we called her cave woman, but I can't tell you all the details about why). We drove together to the camp site in El Condor, where Kevin and Lorraine were already settled in. It ended up in having a big asado together.

From that day on other bike travellers arrived. There was another sidecar as well! Tony from East Germany. He had had a bike accident and has to use a wheel chair. It doesn't stop this happy guy going where he wants to go, together with his lovely girlfriend Ina, who rides her own bike.

HU Argentina meeting, Viedma.

HU Argentina meeting, Viedma.

HU Argentina meeting, Viedma.

Old friends turned up, Sandra and Xavier from Dakar Motos and John (without Annette unfortunately). Finally we met Smelly Biker, Bob Morley, who wasn't smelly at all but nice company and also Ken and Carol Duval. They had had a bike accident and had visited 3 hospitals in Buenos Aires to find a doctor who would have no problems to let them go of to Viedma! And there they were! They came by bus and were very happy company.

Oscar and Nancy hosted the whole meeting in a great way. The asado they organized was perfect as also everything else.

This HU meeting was a very cozy one, we enjoyed it a lot!

Before we hit the road again, we parked our sidecar in Viedma in front of a radio station and before we had discovered what we had done I ended up in a real studio with micro phones and 3 interviewers, all asking questions at the same time. It was a good opportunity to thank Oscar and Nancy. I hope everybody has heard that.

Christmas was well celebrated with our friends Tony and Hazel in Esquel. We had a real Christmas dinner, even champagne for breakfast. This would be the last treat for a while. The plan is to go south, following the Carretera Austral in Chile and Ruta 40 in Argentina, all the way to Perito Moreno (an enormous glacier). It means we have to wild camp a lot and eat noodles...

Carretara Austral, Patagonia.

The Carretera Austral showed me one day 12 waterfalls in one view! Yellow bushes and blue lupines in front of emerald lakes and rivers made it all look like a postcard picture. The road was often full of potholes and deep ripio, but my eyes were everywhere and popping out all the time. We saw a hanging glacier and a huge waterfall with a rainbow...

...Travelling with us must be sometimes very hard for Tony and Hazel. We travel most of the time through very remote areas with bad, bumpy and dusty tracks. The Patagonian winds are very, very strong, so to build up the tent is a challenge.

Often it's difficult to find some civilization with a supermarket, a camp site or a bank. But we see beautiful scenery and visit extraordinary places. A highlight for Tony and Hazel was seeing the Perito Moreno Glacier, which showed them the blue beauty only for them, at the end of the day, when all the tourists were gone. They saw icebergs floating by or popping out of the water! They studied a lot of wild life and followed the mighty condor with their eyes.

One evening we couldn't find a decent place to camp. We were in the middle of nowhere, hundreds of miles away from everything, but we found a derelict building surrounded by some bushes. Andy and I call these places 'Hotel Patagonia'... It was full of dry cow shit, to Hazel's big surprise. After some comments she invented a shit shovel out of a rusty iron plate and cleared the area, so they could build up the tent!

Tony must have been a boy scout or a pyromaniac in his former life. The campfires he builds are pyramid shaped to start with and burn like hell. Always good to warm up Hazel's cold hands and feet. He is also specialized in haute cuisine camping cooking. Give him some noodles and a bag of cheese sauce and it will taste great!

Thomas and Astrid, Germany, on Triumph Tiger with sidecar.

Thomas and Astrid, Germany, on Triumph Tiger with sidecar

...While we were on a campsite in El Calafate, near the glacier, we heard about other travellers with a sidecar... A Triumph Tiger! When we met we found out that it was Thomas with his Astrid from Germany. We had met Thomas 3 years ago when he travelled on the Carretera Austral with a solo bike. It was super to meet them and from that moment on the boys were upside down under the sidecars to study and discuss every part.

Sidecar in the rear view mirror.

The 14 of January, Andy's birthday. He had forgotten all about it (a result of his age), till I started to sing the Happy Birthday Song in his ear!

Andy and Maya.

We are still on the Carretera Austral, on our way to Futalafu, to cross the border into Argentina again.

Andy wants a big Argentinean steak. I want a shower. Hopefully we will find this in Trevelin or Esquel."

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

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

"What are you rebelling against? What have you got...?

In which, after years of solo motorcycling, I become a member of a motorcycle gang.
With a bad-ass name.
With a logo with a skull.
In Bolivia.

And they are not just any gang; they are into Vintage Japanese and European bikes from the 70s.

Initiation Ceremony, won't say what I did to earn that patch, let's just say that I'm staying out of Bolivia for a while.

Initiation Ceremony, won't say what I did to earn that patch, let's just say that I'm staying out of Bolivia for a while...

Yep that is a screaming skull and yes I am a Diablo Negro (that's Black Devil for you gringos) straight outta Oruro, Bolivia.

Yep that is a screaming skull and yes I am a Diablo Negro (that's Black Devil for you gringos) straight outta Oruro, Bolivia.

We are Tough and we ride old Hondas with 350cc engines... these are my type of people! Philippe happened upon these guys while looking for a seal in a shop in Oruro. They started talking to him, and next thing he knew, they had his entire bike apart, engine and all, were making him dinner, finding obscure bikes parts in a city in the middle of the desert in Bolivia, and furthermore, after they miraculously fixed the oil leak despite there being no replacement part, gave him a bandanna with the club logo, and patched his jacket, they gave him cookies to take home!

We have been living off those cookies for a week. Oh they also treated us to lunch the next day, and let Philippe ride a pristine 1973 CB350 that could be in a museum. That is trust. Between brothers.

After my less than stellar experience coming into Bolivia, the Diablos Negros made me feel welcome."

Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, around the world since 1996, 193 countries two-up on Harley Davidson, go dog-sledding in Norway,

"It wasn't sunrise when we awoke in Tromso at 8.30am. In fact it wasn't even sunrise at noon. In fact the sun hadn't risen in Tromso for many weeks and wouldn't fully rise again here till the 21st of January when the residents celebrate 'SUN-day', after not having seen it for nearly two months. Hot chocolate and special buns would be served to celebrate that occasion. The day did lighten significantly though, and street lighting went off mid morning to leave a grey hue, similar to a cloudy evening after sunset. It wasn't long though before snow started falling. Mid afternoon we wandered into town, wearing rubber pull on crampons on our boots to stop them slipping on ice. It is a lovely town, lit up in the darkness, white snow covered streets, fairy lights in trees, large windows in shops giving the whole place a fairyland appeal.

Tromso in winter.

Arctic Adventure Tours offer a dog sledding experience. 30 minutes out of Tromso their 80+ dogs are housed and after donning padded rubber boots and snow suits we were introduced to the friendly animals. They are Alaskan Huskies, not really a breed, but the descendants of the fittest survivors of the Alaskan gold rush era that demanded every dogs utmost to survive. Following five minutes of instructions, basically where the brake is and to lean into corners, we were each given a team of four huskies and a sled and headed out after our guide. The dogs naturally follow each other so our main effort was not looking after the dogs but just staying upright on the sled.

Getting the dogs ready to sled.

About a 12km run, we headed uphill first, across a packed snow base topped with 20cm of new powder, taking in the beautiful scenery of snow covered islands and fjords. The trip uphill was uneventful, with riders getting accustomed to their sleds, but when we turned downhill and speeds increased there were tumbles into the soft snow, and on one fast downhill three of the four novices were jettisoned, with a short walk back to their dogs and sled.

Just stay upright on the sled.

Just stay upright on the sled!

It was a great afternoon finishing in a timber hut over a log fire, coffee and cake. For us it was a fair workout, unused to the sport, for the dogs, they were just out for a bit of a run, a bit of exercise in which like most dogs, they had a great time."

Ed. Horizons Unlimited is proud to host Peter and Kay's complete RTW story and pictures here! Check out their travel tips in the 'On the Road!' DVD, shipping now!


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

"Our route around the Western Desert took us through El Kharga and then onto the direct Luxor road, only recently opened to foreigners.

Years ago there were fatal attacks on archaeological sites in both these towns with devastating effects on the tourist industry, which still hasn't recovered. Many hotels and camp sites are pretty empty and appear to be struggling to survive. So as we approached this general area the present security situation started to become apparent to us.

Firstly, in Farafra, once we had parked up outside our hotel another biker arrived. A Swiss rider going in the opposite direction to us, Cape Town to Switzerland. He was on an old Ducati air-cooled 750 with Cagiva Capo Nord bodywork, tank and luggage. His frame had broken on the dreaded northern Kenya road - he showed us with some pride the emergency welding and repair struts. But he did admit to tackling that road at about 120 kph - he had to be back in Switzerland by 2nd February!

Our campsite, under 'The Acacia Tree'.

Our campsite, under 'The Acacia Tree'

So there were now four bikes outside the hotel and a police car cruised slowly past taking a good look.

In the morning a tourist policeman arrived to ask the usual questions we get asked at the numerous checkpoints between towns: Nationality? Where headed? Number on the Egyptian number plate? And in addition, what time will we be departing?

In El Qasr, after camping in the White Desert and now installed in our hotel, the ebullient Mohamad walked through the bar carrying a big pile of blankets. 'As I have tourists here now, I have to make sure the police will be comfortable. They guard the hotel overnight whenever there are foreigners staying.'

Because of the upset stomach situation we stayed there three nights, so on the second night, just for a change, the armed night policeman set up his blankets in the back yard right next to our parked bikes. What service!

Tea in the desert.

Making tea in the desert

In the next town, Kharga, there seemed to be only one budget hotel. But with nowhere but the dingy dark street outside to park the bikes. So we tried a couple of more expensive hotels. Each time, once we had decided it was too pricey, and with foreigners already booked in, the on-duty tourist policeman asked us which hotel we were going to try next. So then we realised we needn't worry about parking outside the cheap place. We told the policeman we were going to the Wahid hotel, booked ourselves in there, and sure enough when we came down to the entrance foyer to go off looking for a restaurant, there was the armed policeman installed for the night, within sight of our bikes. No worries!

And now, at our camp here in Luxor that always has foreigners staying, there's a policeman permanently stationed on site, taking care of us all and our vehicles. In fact, as the food is so good (the owner is also an expert chef), there always seems to be quite a few policemen here at mealtimes!

But all in all it's a little sad, seeing a wonderfully friendly country so desperate to protect its tourists and regain its reputation that we almost have personal bodyguards in those areas where visitors are few and far between. You'll be Welcome in Egypt!"

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


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

"The final screw went in at around noon on Wednesday 6th January 2010 and the first kids were skating on it about 5 seconds later.

The ramp complete. Llama at Machu Pichhu.

I haven't seen the list of worst jobs in the world but I hope that silver mining in Potosi is up there. It's definitely one of the worst jobs I've witnessed.

Outside the mine in Potosi, Bolivia.

Outside the mine in Potosi, Bolivia

To give you an idea of how tough/mad these guys are. They only eat before entering the mine. Once inside they sustain themselves by chewing coca leaves, smoking the roughest cigarettes I've ever seen and drinking 93% proof alcohol. (I couldn't comprehend that anyone would choose to drink 93% proof alcohol so I thought they used it to clean something. When I checked with my guide she explained in English that it was for drinking.) They stay down for between 12 hours and 3 days. That's up to 3 days of hard physical work without eating. If they stay more than a day they sleep down there.

Inside the mine in Potosi, Bolivia.

Either chiseling and blowing rock away and constructing supports or pushing 1 tonne trolleys of mineral out of the mine all day. The trolleys frequently come off the rails so the miners have to manually lift them back on. In fact everything down there is manual. The deeper into the mine, the hotter it gets. Up to 40 deg C in some places. As you can imagine the incidence of respiratory conditions is high and life expectancy low. What I found more depressing was the presence of 12-14 year olds down there, helping their dad or uncle. The mine is run as a cooperative and everyone is there by choice so I can't get on my high horse but bloody hell. What a hard life!

I felt a little uncomfortable poncing around with my camera and bag of 'compulsory' gifts for the miners (coca leaves, cigs, alcohol and explosives) whilst these exhausted looking men pushed 1 tonne trolleys past me. However, my guide assured me that they welcome tourists because we boost the income of the mine, by paying to enter, and also give them the gifts I mentioned. She also said that sometimes there are more tourists than miners but I'm not sure that's true.

La Paz, Bolivia.

La Paz, Bolivia

Market vendors with cell phones, Bolivia.

Anyway, if you're in Bolivia (or going to be), go see the mines in Potosi. It helps the miners and if, like me, you've had a sheltered Western upbringing it'll open your eyes a little."


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Carol and Ken Duval, Australia, RTW (again), in Peru after travelling up the Amazon,

"It was time for the bike. Entering the covered cargo hold the stench was a little strong to say the least. Damage to the fairing revealed the bike had been moved from its original position and dropped at some point, just a little paint though. Hands appeared from all directions. A hand on the back box meant they helped unload thus entitling them to payment. Carol did her best to keep them away from the bike as I wheeled through the throngs of people with the horn and siren screaming for clear passage.

Getting the bike through the crowd.

Reaching the end of the boat two planks were positioned and I quickly disembarked leaving our helpers on the boat. During the drama 'assisting hands' that were on the bike almost pushed me off the board, and I screamed at them to leave the bike alone. On terra firma I started the bike and rode up the bank with no assistance and subsequently we made no offer of payment for any unsolicited help."

Ken's new bike – Iquitos.

Ken's new bike – Iquitos

Overhanging cliff – road to Cajamarca.

Overhanging cliff – road to Cajamarca

Death road in Peru.

Death road in Peru


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

"We are getting hit from the left, the right, the front and the back, and it is the strongest wind we have had yet, with the wind coming from the front I have to knock it down to 3rd gear more than once to keep the bike going forward. We are leaning into the wind coming from the left then it changes direction, the bike nearly hitting the deck we are leaning over that far. Experiencing going around a right hand bend while you are cranked over to the left is something else!

Lago Sarmiento, Torres del Paine.

Lago Sarmiento, Torres del Paine

A Transalp passes us, two up, going in the opposite direction, he is nearly scraping his pegs with the lean angle. We both manage to flash our lights but neither of us are going to take a hand off the bars to wave, we leave that to the pillions! At least he is nearly out of the worst of it, we still don't know how long we are going to be punished.

The battering carries on for 120KM's or so, my wrists, elbows and shoulders burning from the effort to keep the bike upright and going. Truckers and bus drivers on this stretch weren't so thoughtful either and most didn't slow down which was an extra battering we didn't need. Even worse when we passed a convoy of four trucks, pass one and get blown away with no time to recover before the next blast hits us, by the time the fourth truck passed we were really lucky not to get blown off the road.

Off the bike for awhile.

About 30KM's outside of El Calafate as we start to climb into the mountains the wind drops a bit (and the temperature, down to 6 DegC) and I realise how much I ache! Pulling into a Police checkpoint just outside town I can barely move my feet off the pegs I have been gripping the bike that hard with my legs and just manage to get the side stand down before the bike's weight succumbs to gravity. We arrive at the campsite and I need a coffee and a lot of smokes before we even start to put the tent up."

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego.


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Bill Atchison, Alberta, in Mexico,

"I have mentioned it before but it bears repeating: 'Beware of the Belmar spell'. Perhaps it creeps up on you silently in the night or perhaps it is in the air of the old place but no one is immune. Everyone you talk to has the same story. 'We stopped overnight and have been here a week/month/year...' This is just such a comfortable place it is way too easy to stay and way too hard to leave. I arrived on Tuesday and planned on leaving Thursday. Today is Friday and I definitely plan on leaving tomorrow, probably, I think, if nothing comes up that is.

Sunset – Belmar – Mexican Riviera.

Sunset – Belmar – Mexican Riviera

Being Sunday morning the traffic was light and soon after loading up I was on the road to San Blas. I picked out a route along highway 28 with the intention of taking a dirt road short-cut through a little village called Mecatan. On the map highway 28 looked like a very good road, full of tight curves. What did not show on the map is that it is newly paved, has banked corners and takes you through some absolutely gorgeous scenery. This area is like my vision of paradise with lush vegetation of all sorts and huge trees overhanging the road. Not far into the ride I came across some fruit stands that looked very inviting so I stopped, planning to supplement my Oxxo coffee breakfast. I asked if I could buy a couple of oranges to eat on the spot and they asked if I would rather have orange juice. You bet I would. So, the lady picked out half a dozen oranges and went into her house. In a few minutes she emerged with a tall tumbler of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Fruit stand – road to San Blas.

Fruit stand – road to San Blas

A wonderful road, 25 deg C, lush vegetation with flowers everywhere and now a huge glass of the best orange juice I have tasted for a long time. So how did you spend your Sunday morning?"

Annette Pearson, London, UK, back on the road, in Easter Island, Chile,

"Easter Island is the world's most isolated inhabited island – Chile is 3500kms to the east and Pitcairn Island is 2000kms to the west.

Statues on Easter Island.

But what really makes it an enigma is that the Polynesian society that lived here almost drove themselves extinct due to the deforestation of the island including the giant palms that they used for ocean going canoes so they could no longer catch deep sea fish that had been an important part of their diet. Also the island is littered with moai which are giant heads weighing up to 120 tonnes which are all over the island and historians are still guessing how they transported them around their 24km by 12km wide island.

I was lucky enough to have a lovely Polish couple where I was staying allow me to hire a jeep with them and drive us around the island.

Red hat statues on Easter Island.

As well as transporting these 120 tonne statues all over the island a lot of them are wearing these red stones as top hats that weigh several tonnes.

Wall paintings in Valparaiso, Chile.

Wall paintings in Valparaiso, Chile

There is a city 100kms from Santiago called Valparaiso which is the cultural capital of Chile and has steep streets, elevators and lots of graffiti. When I mentioned to Roberto and Daniela that all the tours were booked they said that they would take me and Myles."

Ed. More great pics on Annette's blog.

Chris and Erin Ratay, Ultimate Journey, in South Africa,

"We began our ride south from Graaf-Reinet after a brief visit to the 'Valley of Desolation', an area with interesting rock formations just a few miles outside the city. Anita, the guesthouse owner strongly suggested we visit a cheetah breeding reserve and rehabilitation center, which was on our way to Port Elizabeth. Terry, a rider from PE was going to meet us along the road, and we decided to meet at the reserve, and what an experience it was!

First off, it was a stop on the side of the road, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The place was attached to an old farm, and we weren't sure what to expect. We paid our R40 (US$6) each and a young guide took us back behind the high fences. She explained that the purpose of the center was to breed cheetahs for the wild, and to take domesticated big cats and rehabilitate them for the wild. Unlike many other animals, the cats have deep-routed instincts about hunting, so getting food in the wild is not a major concern for the staff. Their primary job is to make sure the cats can assimilate and get along socially with their wild cousins.

Lions nibbling on your toes in South Africa.

Lions nibbling on your toes in South Africa!

Our last stop was a surprise -- we walked into an enclosure that housed two 5.5 month old lion cubs. They were big and very cute, and while we first were hoping they would come and play with us, after 10-minutes we were trying to figure out how to get away from them. They gnawed on our pants and boots like teething children, and jumped up on us while trying to play. The problem is they don't realize their power, and at 25% of their adult size, the thought is amazing.

The cubs would wrap around our ankles, each with 4 large paws and a large jaw gnawing away. Our thick leather boots gave great protection while the animals played down low, and our knee pads worked well when they reached up, but when they got over the boots or behind the pads and could touch skin... Owwwwch!

The more we screamed, the more excited and playful they got! We talked to the guide and she said they would not be able to have tourists visit much longer, and that they would start preparing the lions for release into the wild."

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!

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

Book suggestions please!

If you have a book or want a book that you think other travellers would be interested in please let me know and I'll put it on the site. Thanks, Grant


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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.





















































































Motocare

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

Motocare Argentina





















































































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...

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

"The plan was for me to meet up with fixer at border to help me thru (Bribe). The prob was I got the wrong fixer. My mistake. He disappeared with my papers passport etc to sort it out telling me to stay hidden in this back alley till he came back. Yes what a prat I was. Should have rang his number when a guy said he was Ifrane. Standing there waiting in the back alley my phone rings. It's Ifrane here, where are you? The penny drops. I'm here where you told me to wait, Ifrane. But I've not met you!

My heart sinks. I'm here hidden in a back alley on my own and some stranger has all my papers! Shit, felt like a donkey he haw. Just as I feel I may just have a blood pressure problem again, the fake Ifrane appears with papers. Thank God. I snatch them back not waiting to argue I head in a direction I think will take me back into main street."

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

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

"Swim along a coral reef and all you'll see are the big fish and the big coral. Stay still, the more you notice. It is an unpeeling process. Detail by smaller detail emerges, fish small and bright as small jewels. Traveling is the same. I have been seated here on the parapet beneath this tree for close on two hours. Enough sun filters through the leaves to keep me pleasantly warm. Mostly I have been looking upward. Rather than separate, the fortress appears to be a continuation of the precipice from which it grows, rock on rock, up and up, the highest levels honeycombed with decorative caves and balconies and topped with a filigreed crown of carved marble.

The sky beyond the fortress is a clear royal blue of extraordinary depth. Tilting my head to the left I can view the sky and the fortress though an old stone arch and over a newish building of golden sandstone. The contrast between golden sandstone, grey rock and sky is of a beauty to be enjoyed and enjoyed and be blown away by. Who needs psychedelics? And why move until the sun sets? Such blissful peace is hard to come by when traveling in company..."

I had thought that the 60s died. They simply moved to Pushkar.

I had thought that the 60s died. They simply moved to Pushkar...

Graham Holden, UK, RTW, in Cambodia, R100GS PD,

"We stayed at the Monkey Republic, good food, clean and easy going. On our short walks around we came across some wonderful culinary delights, small bird or maybe snake takes your fancy, personally not for me!"

Frank Butler, Papua New Guinea, RTW, in Argentina, writes to the HU Montevideo Community,

"... I am in Buenos Aires at the moment and will be heading up toward Iguazu falls through Uruguay and would like to say have a chat with some local riders."


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David Radford, Canada, in Syria, BMW R1200 GS Adventure,

"I wasn't sure what to expect from my Syrian crossing. It was the first time I would have to use my Carnet (bike passport) and I didn't have the mandatory visa. I figured the Carnet part would be easy, but I was a little worried about showing up at the Syrian border without a visa. All the guide books say you NEED a visa issued in your country, unless your country doesn't have a Syrian Embassy, in which case you can get one in Ankara. A number of overland travellers have reported that you can get a visa at the border if you've been out of your country for a long time and the border guys are in a good mood. In this happy case, the crossing takes 6-10 hours as they wait for permission from Damascus and such.

So, I arrived at the border, went through Turkish formalities without any problems and then hit the Syrian side and... It was a breeze! No visa? Spend 30 minutes carrying pieces of paper from one window to another getting insurance, bike stamp, pay your taxes, and voila! I was through in less than an hour all told. It was odd- almost deflating. I had made sandwiches, prepped my kitchen stuff to make a hot meal for later, had books ready- everything. And, nothing- I just went through without causing a ripple. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, but, well, you know- just, but."


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Adventure motorcycling clothing for the demanding traveller
Grant: We've been wearing Rukka since 2002 and highly recommend it!


Robert Thode, USA, to South America, in Mexico,

"The road north seems to zigzag back and forth from east side to west side. Contrary to Mike's gloomy estimate of riding the Baja, I found it enjoyable, had some good sections and the flat straight roads allowed for the mind to wander a bit. Even had one section where I got up to 700 meters high, not the Andes but still twisted and turned a bit."

Funny birds on cactus.

Funny birds on cactus

This guy has been following me like forever.

This guy has been following me like forever.

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

Alexandros Papadopoulos, UK to India, in Iran,

"I visited the ex-magnificent, now-demolished and under re-construction Bam é Arg (Citadel/Castle).

Citadel at Bam under reconstruction.

Fellow travelers to the Pakistan/Iran border.

Fellow travelers to the Pakistan/Iran border

Wind tower to cool the water reservoir below – Yazd.

Wind tower to cool the water reservoir below – Yazd

Yazd – the joker of goats.

Yazd – the joker of goats"

Ed. See Alexandros' blog here on Horizons Unlimited for lots of great pics!


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


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

"Spectacular y impressionante.

I love waking up in this kind of environment. It was -22ºF that morning.

I love waking up in this kind of environment. It was -22ºF that morning in the Gobi.

The rider is carrying a large goat behind him.

The rider is carrying a large goat behind him

And his wife on the back.

And his wife on the back

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

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 enrol 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!

Ian Moor, UK, Wrong Way Round The World, spending the winter in Montana, F650GS,

"There are a number of novel features about living in sub zero temperatures:
1. You can leave frozen groceries in the car and they won't thaw.
2. If you don't collect the hen's eggs promptly they will freeze.
3. If you try to wash windows hot water freezes on contact with the glass.
4. If you touch a metal object with a damp hand it will stick like glue."

Frozen waterfall on the ranch.

Frozen waterfall on the ranch

Dominik Retz, Germany, to South America, in Chile, XT600E,

"We have briefly met in Germany in autumn (I am the one who wanted to travel South America with the old XT600E) and would like to wish you and Grant a happy new year 2010. I am actually writing from Santiago de Chile to you and can confirm that it is easier than expected to make such a trip. You have stressed this out several times in that DVD (Get Ready) and I would like to thank you for that, because it calmed down my worries and fuelled my enthusiasm. Now, on the road, I see how rewarding such a trip is. Actually, a dream has come true. I should have done that much earlier. Thanks again for producing this great DVD and looking forward to seeing you at another HU meeting! Best regards, Dominik"

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.'

Reviews

"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!

Iza and Kamil Gamanski, Poland, in Brazil, Honda African Twin,

"It was supposed to be so easy... That's what we thought anyway... but the customs clearance of the Africa Twin has turned into a nightmare! In fact, the bike is not even in the port it was supposed to be, but 1,000km away! Thankfully still in Brazil We tracked it down to the port of Santos, not far from Sao Paolo.

Airplane landing on the beach, Brazil.

That's where we are now, daily pounding on the door of our broker. It seems to have had an effect and at least the paperwork has been submitted to customs. When the process will end and how much it will cost is still a mystery however. We hope to have more news in a day or two. Stay tuned..."

Astrid and Thomas Brösch, Germany, write to the HU Santiago Community,

"We have to fly home for a fortnight in mid February from Santiago and are looking for a place to stay with a safe parking for our motorcycle with sidecar. If possible we also would like to do some work on the bike, but we don't need a workshop necessarily. If you can give us any information that would be more than great. Thank you very much. Astrid and Thomas. Safe and wonderful trips to all of you."

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.

Synopsis:

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.

Review:

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

£9.95

 

Mart Heijnens, the Netherlands,

"...is in Nigeria, looking for new tires and a reliable motorbike dealer in Abuja."

Alisa Clickenger, USA, to South America, in Honduras, DR650,

"I arrived in San Pedro in a 'state'. I'd ridden for more than an hour after dark, I had no idea where I was going, and finally just quit riding. I called George, asked him to come and get me.

On the way to the Copan ruins.

On the way to the Copan ruins

Bikers at S'Tragos Bikers Saloon, Honduras.

I had a great time with the other bikers at S'Tragos Bikers Saloon, and fortunately they'd changed my point of view on Honduras."

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...

Gareth 'Bok' Davey, Australia, Trans-Africa, KTM990 Adventure,

"On 26 February 2010 I will be heading from Australia to South Africa for the beginning of a Trans-Africa motorcycle trip. The plan is to start from South Africa and head up the east coast of Africa eventually ending up in Egypt. I expect that the trip will take about 4 months, span over 16000km's and will cross through at least ten African countries (South Africa / Mozambique / Zimbabwe / Malawi / Tanzania / Kenya / Uganda / Ethiopia / Sudan / Egypt). Most of the trip will be solo, but some South African mates may join for some of the way - they have still not yet decided :-)

I have been wanting to do this trip for ages. In my opinion Africa is a 'must see' continent with such spectacular scenery and some absolutely amazing people. I was born in Rhodesia and grew up in South Africa, so Africa is in my blood. For the past five years I have been living in Perth, Australia and really love Australia but have had this constant urge to return to Africa and try and document my Africa travels through this website and with plenty of photos.

Together with AMEC Minproc, I will also be taking this opportunity to raise funds for charity. 'Riders for Health' is an organization that provides health-workers with motorbikes and medicines to ensure that millions of people in the remote areas of Africa receive regular, reliable health care, often for the first time in their lives. The result - 10.8 million people are now accessing vital health care in Africa. AMEC Minproc have very kindly offered to match any donations that I manage to raise."

Henry Rekers and Renee Davy, Quinten and Tanner, Canada to Central America and beyond,

"You may or may not know that we are travelling as a family - hence the name four-up. To do this, we are pulling the kids from school for 5 weeks. But, much to their disappointment, they still have homework to do. Their English homework is to write and maintain their own personal journal. What we have chosen to do is to use this blog format so that the kids in their respective classes can keep updated on all of our progress. And, they will be graded...heh, heh, heh!"

Custom Defense Sticker.

Custom Defence Sticker

Dale Boisclair, Canada, writes to the HU Guadalajara Community,

"Hi there. My wife and I are riding two-up from Phoenix AZ to Veracruz, starting on Feb. 12th. If anyone would like to join us for a beer along the way we'd love to meet you. We'll be riding through Chihuahua around the 13th and should be in Xalapa by the 20th. Just drop us a note at our e-mail address. Cheers Dale"

Peter Russell, Canada, to South America, KLR's,

"We needed to get two KLR's to Buenos Aires for February 2, 2010. Following a number of initial quotes for air shipments (some as high as $17,000.00 CDN) we were forced to consider a sea shipment, although with a tight itinerary and concerns about potential delays and corruption on the docks in BA, this was not preferred. Having seen a thread from a HUBB member in Calgary dealing with an air shipment with Hellmann, we gave them a call. The result - two KLR's in one crate 78"Lx48"Hx50"W (545KG with assorted gear tucked into the nooks) shipped overland from Toronto to Miami, and then by air from Miami to Buenos Aires arriving February 1, 2010.

The shipment leaves January 26, 2010, so we will update you on how it goes later on, but for now we can say Hellmann has been incredibly helpful, knowledgeable, professional and affordable. Total cost on the ground in Buenos Aires - $2910.00 CDN."

Ed. Thanks for the info, Peter!

Tormod Amlien & Klaus Ulvestad – King Croesus Contempt for Death Tour,

"We're preparing for the Cycle World's motorcycle show in NYC 22-24th of January. We got invited to have a slide show and exhibit the bikes. Not sure if the organizers really have thought through all potential consequences of inviting us, but we'll do our best to behave."

And assembly goes fast when you got the right special tools.

And assembly goes fast when you got the right special tools.

Craig Dolick, Canada, writes to the HU Bogota Community,

"Hola, I am considering shipping my bike to Colombia for my second visit and would like to leave it there for possibly as much as 1 year if possible and then come back and ride sur to Ushuaia. Does anyone know how long a gringo can leave a bike in Col. and secondly what might I expect to pay for storage fees to do this? Gracias por tu ayuda, Craig"

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

Tiffany Coates, UK, to Siberia, Mongolia and Japan, back home in the UK, BMW R80 G/S,

"The final weeks of 2009 saw me homeward bound from Mongolia via Japan, LA and then inexplicably Mexico and Guatemala on someone else's bike. I'd come across Savaş in LA, a Turkish bike traveller who was having problems with Mexican customs about taking his bike across their borders. I immediately volunteered to help out and ride his bike for him (sort of legally I think), with him as a co-rider to Guatemala to continue his RTW. Thelma was out of action for a few weeks anyway as she was onboard a ship from Tokyo.

It turned out to be quite an adventure as we made our way down Baja and southern Mexico, sharing the riding on his KLR as I introduced him to wild camping and how to ride pillion on off-road tracks with a woman on the front who can barely touch the floor with tiptoes! My main tip was just close your eyes as there is nothing you can do about the fact that we're heading through sand. The macho Mexican men could hardly believe the sight of a man climbing onto the back of a bike, while the senorita rode up front. The only downside for me was the firmness of the saddle - it became a bit of a Princess and the Pea situation and when I rode pillion I needed a folded thermarest under my backside to ride in any comfort. I've obviously been spoilt by the German upholstered seat on my BMW.

Big cactus in Baja California, Mexico.

We both survived and had a final drama at the Guatemala border when it looked like I was going to have to deliver him onward to El Salvador. Luckily a swiftly-placed wedding ring and a claim of married couple's shared possessions allowed us to change the vehicle travel permit back into Savaş's name.

I then hot-footed it back up to LA using public transport arriving just in time to clear Thelma through US Customs and into storage. I'm now at home, having flown via Iceland where Horizons' contacts at Blue Mountain Bike Tours had offered to take me off-roading on my 10 hour stopover. Unfortunately the poor weather had followed me from LA (where there had been snow on the hills around the city) and Iceland was storm-bound without any chance of getting on a bike to explore. I've promised (threatened?) the guys that I'll return one day with Thelma on the ferry from Europe.

Instructions on how to use a public toilet.

So now I'm home and working hard to save the money to get back to the States once the weather is warmer and ride Thelma across to Nova Scotia and then ship her home - it's certainly been an unusual trip back from Mongolia."

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

Remco Van Stappershoef, the Netherlands,

"I have to finish my motor tour through Latin America early, unfortunately. Hence I am trying to sell my bike. I rented out my property, with approval from government, but apparently there are other institutes questioning the permission authority of the government. It would be a tip to all travelers renting out the house, really do 3 times screening of people. And get permits double checked by lawyers/ specialists as well. Anyway, the ride was great. Next time I just sell my house, burn all bridges, but I will ride again!"

Miquel Silvestre, Spain, through Africa,

"Hi. This is Miquel Silvestre, a Spanish Hubber. I need some help and I will appreciate any kind of information of support you can provide me. Few months ago I rode alone from Nairobi to Cape Town on a 1992 R80 G/S. I did Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, SA (Pretoria), Botswana, Namibia and SA again. I had some small problems but I arrived safe and happy. I kept the bike in an storage near Cape Town.

I am planning go back to South Africa in November (about the 15th) and ride her back to Kenya through Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania. I guess after 8 months, the bike won't work perfect, especially the carburetors, and I'd like to know where I can go in CT (I don't think the BMW dealership beside the Decks is the best option) to make a good service, how to arrange an appointment and where are the best routes to go to my destination. I need to visit the Riders for Health project in Lesotho. Thanks a lot. All the best."


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...

Shawn Hill writes to the Hong Kong Community:

"Dear HK HU Community (and any other serious travellers and would-be travellers), I would like to find out if anyone is interested in getting together in a few weeks to share some stories and pictures from recent motorcycle trips folks have taken. I believe there are 7 people registered in the HK HU community and some of them have already expressed interest in getting together.

Some people are on tour right now and some people will soon be taking trips or have recently returned from trips including: - Vladivostok, Russia to Edinburgh, Scotland - Motorcycle tour through Argentina - Father and son 7,000 mile trip through the US - Journey through Africa (upcoming)

The tentative date for the get-together is Saturday, February 20 and we could meet late afternoon and have plenty of time to eat, share photo slide shows and chat with each other about technical tips, border crossing hints and plans for future trips. If anyone is interested please let me know the following:
- if the date works for you or alternate dates
- if you have any venue recommendations
- if you would be willing to share some stories and photos with everyone from your recent trip"

Ed. Join the Hong Kong Community or write to Shawn and let him know you're coming.

New Communities:

We've now reached an amazing 635 Communities in 105 Countries as of January 25, 2010!

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

   

up to top of page Subscribe!

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

up to top of pagespacerIn Progress...

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

www.HorizonsUnlimited.com

Riding the globe...

All text and photographs are copyright © Grant and Susan Johnson and their respective authors or creators, 1987-2010.
All Rights Reserved.

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