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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 homicidal buses, mosquitoes as big as labradors, Mad Max, the world's highest lake, living on home made islands, sleeping in ditches, one pony mezcal production, grazed and bleeding in Cambodia, escaped lunatics on motorcycles, sardinisation in India, smug drugglers and much more...?

Then you're reading the right newsletter!

In this e-zine:

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Home Again
In Progress...
Leaving Soon
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road

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Who's on the Road
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Motorcycle Travellers' News Report

February 2010, 79th Edition

Welcome to the 79th edition of the e-zine! As I write this, news is of an 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile, triggering tsunami warnings along the entire Pacific rim. There have been hundreds of deaths, and the extent of the damage isn't fully known yet. If any of our travellers are in the region, please let folks know as soon as possible that you're safe through your blog or by e-mail, because people do worry about you when they hear bad news, especially if they haven't heard from you for awhile. I remember when we were travelling in Kenya, there were riots reported in Nairobi. Our relatives were flapping because they hadn't heard from us, but we had already moved on and when we surfaced in Tanzania a week later, were surprised by all the fuss from the family.

It's almost the end of February, and although the weather is still mostly crap, the bulbs are up and the trees are trying to blossom. So, signs of spring are finally here! That is, unless you live in Ottawa, where my sister-in-law recently responded to reports on the 'chilly' weather at the Vancouver Winter Olympics: "Speaking as someone who doesn't expect to see a green leaf or twig for three months, I'll see your chilly and raise you 24 inches of ice on the Rideau Canal." My new mantra is: think of the poor people in Ottawa (and much of the northeastern USA and Canada) and don't whine about the weather ;-)

We spoke at the Overland Adventure Day at the Ace Cafe in London, along with Sam Manicom, Paddy Tyson, Walter Colebatch and many more travellers. Thanks to all who came along, it was nice to get out and to see so many familiar faces!

We're still editing 'Gear Up!', but we've whittled the footage down from 10+ hours to 6 hours, and we expect to lock the content in March. The onlining, authoring and production stages will take 6-8 weeks (from past experience), so we're still advising a ship date of late spring (May/June). We really can see the end in sight now, 2+ years and £125k later... It's probably a good thing we didn't know the magnitude of the project back in the spring of 2008, or we might not have started, but the response has been so positive that we're glad we did :-)

So, where are our intrepid travellers this month? Most of them are near the equator or in the southern hemisphere. We've got great stories from Panama, Peru, Bolivia, Portugal, Egypt, Sudan, Argentina, Mexico, Cambodia, Brazil, India, Colombia, Jordan, Lanzarote and Vermont! And Hubert is still in Mongolia! And those are just the ones we tracked down! Remember to send us your stories and pics from wherever you are, even if it's just in the next country. This e-zine goes out to folks all over the world, so 'right next door' to you might be a really exotic location to someone from half way around the world! If you're out there having fun, tell us about it!

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, tyres, panniers and top boxes, riding gear, GPS and maps, what to take and how to pack it. This will be a 2-DVD set, approximately 6 hours! Shipping late spring 2010 (May/June).
  • Part 3 - On the Road! What is it like to spend weeks, months or years on the road? In this 2-DVD set (5.5 hours!), 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:

"My wife and I have just finished watching the 3 DVD's (breathless for the fourth) and are now completely distracted from our 'normal' lives. It's like you flicked a switch within us! Our daughter thinks we've gone mad!" Peter, Canada

"Really enjoying the DVD series, they are great." Simon, Australia

"We have begun watching and learning. Lots more to think about than I had thought of before." Luke, USA

"I have just finished watching 'On the Road'. Well done. It is great." Paul, South Africa

"The episodes are of such duration that one can sit down and watch the whole thing with a lot of popcorn and have a real full feeling of satisfaction, or make it last over many days like one would enjoy a fine stew. Personally I found myself excited each night, after supper, to watch 1, 2 or 3 episodes and get more ideas for my trip." Alain, USA

"I've watched the Achievable Dream DVD's and I'm pretty damned impressed, and feel like I've taken on massive chunk of information even before going to an HU meet... many thanks." Drew, UK

"I have loved the last 3, fantastic stuff. More more more." Bob, USA

"I *love* what I've learned in your documentaries. Having been a huge fan of both 'Long Way Round' and 'Long Way Down' for the variety of flavors it offered from travelling on a bike, Horizons Unlimited was the ultimate best discovery to mend both those fantasies and real-life ventures. Thank you so much for the website and the DVD series!" Joel, Canada

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 and we have both PAL and NTSC formats stocked.

'Gear Up!' is being edited now, we expect to lock the content in March, followed by onlining, authoring and production. We expect to ship in late spring (May/June), but we'll keep you apprised of its status. It will also be a 2-DVD set, approximately 6 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, so saving $12 plus shipping by pre-ordering, which hopefully makes it worth the wait...

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 still 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. Registration open now!

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, we're already two-thirds full by mid-Feb, 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 Register here!

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 - 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 - Nakusp, BC. 12-15 August. (NOTE date changed!) Ekke Kok and Andy Miller are the local organizers for this event. Grant and Susan will be there. 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.

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...

Sheonagh Ravensdale & Pat Thomson, 'Dusty Old Bags', Central America & beyond 2010, in Panama, Honda Falcon NX400s,

"'Is there a lot of snow in Ukraine?', asks the policeman in Spanish at the roadblock on the Pan-American. I look at him blankly and his colleague asks 'What's the capital of Ukraine?' I go even more blank and the first cop says confidently 'Kiev'. They're looking at our 'Importacion Temporal' documents for the bikes.

Pat unpacking bike at airport in Panama.

Pat unpacking an early Christmas present at Panama Airport.

The one-fingered novice customs officer at the airport had typed in 'UK' for the bikes' origin. Unfortunately the Panamanian computer thought this meant Ukraine and the officer refused to change it to GB. Indicating way above my head, I assure the cops that there's a huge amount of snow in Ukraine and that it's much nicer in Panama (getting hotter and sweatier by the minute in all our gear out there in the sun on a baking motorway.) They wave us on cheerfully. We begin to worry about exiting Panama on Ukrainian papers.

We like Panama – it feels safe, people are very friendly and the food's great – we gorged on pineapples at 50 cents and more prawns than we could eat for about a dollar. The Panamanian Balboa is effectively the US dollar – all the notes are dollars.

Panama looks like Miami.

The approach to Panama City looked like the arrival into Miami or New York with reams of skyscrapers on reclaimed land,but the area around the brilliant Mamallena hostel was purely local: bustling fruit, veg and fish markets, pavement stalls selling Christmas frippery, homicidal buses...

Know your enemy - Panamanian bus.

Know your Enemy! One bus had 'No Mercy!' on its bumper...

and tiny Kuna with their bright orange beaded legs and nose rings standing around on the corners. The Kuna are the indigenous people from the San Blas islands and the Caribbean coastline which runs down to the Colombian border. Rarely amongst the indigenous in Central America, they've managed to wrest control of their own territory from the federal government.

Panama's wealth and stability is all down to the Canal. And now that the Panamanians have taken it back from the Americans, they're investing it in social infrastructure such as pensions and hospitals. Every taxi driver will proudly tell you the biggest ships have to pay $350,000 for their 8-hour transit – in cash and in advance, so it's very profitable. It's based on weight, and the record for the least expensive transit went to an American who swam through in 1928 and was charged 36 cents.

Canal transit.

We watched massive cargo ships inch their way through the lock being dragged by little trains. One ship can displace 50 million tons of water and the whole system is managed by gravity alone – ships are raised and then lowered 26 metres through three locks. Thousands of labourers died in the construction, felled by disease and accidents before it was finally completed in 1914. The Panamanians are busy constructing an extension right now to take the world's biggest vessels in time for the centenary celebrations.

We're rather glad we left home at the end of November and not earlier, as Panama does serious rain and the rainy season is supposed to be over... The day we set off from the city heading westwards (Pat having refused to let me brave the Darien Gap which is infested with guerillas, smug drugglers, unfriendly indigenous people, swamps and mosquitoes as big as labradors and numerous other bitey things), we met with a massive thunderstorm on the motorway.

No time for waterproofs, we were soaked in seconds. The storm cracked and crashed above our heads for four hours as it crept along our road somewhat more slowly than we were riding. We sought shelter whenever we couldn't see the surface any more and at one point hid under a bridge with two cars (one parked in the fast lane) and a dry but morose man who assured us it would go on for the rest of the day. When I unlaced my boots the water inside was above my sock level.

Emptying boots.

We could see blue sky off to our left but unfortunately there was no road to escape to. From under that same bridge we watched waves of water from vehicles on the other carriageway swooshing over the wall onto our side.

We eventually admitted defeat and baled out at the next exit to an expensive hotel on the coast with fierce air-conditioning and dried out. It hadn't rained there at all.

...The day before we left the country, the Banco de Panama swallowed Pat's card, deducted $300 from her account, spat the card out but no money... Bank was open so we went in only to be told to come back next day when they'd done their reconciliation. We did so and the Rosa Klebb-like female manager told us their accounts were correct and we must have left before the money was delivered... so not their problem. The nice man we'd first spoken to told us there had been problems with this machine before and a girl in our hostel told us her friend had lost money from the same bank, so we went to the police and made a 'Denuncia'... All this (plus phoning Nationwide) took three hours so instead of arriving at the border nice and early, we arrived in the heat of the day..."

Ed. See Sheonagh and Pat's blog here on Horizons Unlimited for more great stories and pics!


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

World-Wide Motorcycle Adventures. Motorcycle Rentals in Alaska.


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

"The second day of the coastal road through Peru was the same as the first. We rode on, more of the brown stuff to our left, and the blue stuff to our right. The road occasionally left the coast and we wound up into the mountains, where we totally surrounded by sand, rocky mountains, and more sand. It felt as if we were totally isolated from the rest of civilization. Nothing living around for miles; we didn't even get any insects splatting on our windscreen. There was just nothing... at all. It reminded me of Mad Max, post apocalypse, driving through the deserted desert.

Roadside vendor.

Roadside Vendor

...We were on the world's highest lake, 284 m deep at its deepest point, and has a surface area of over 3,800kms. The inhabitants of the floating islands make the islands from reeds, and live for free, and there is no land tax on home made islands.

Island in Lake Titicaca.

One of the many floating islands on lake Titicaca

Island up close.

The islanders waved us over to their island when they saw our boat approaching, and greeted us with songs when we landed. It was all very touristy, but also a very different experience. The islanders used no money, but instead used a barter system for trading with each other, but the cash brought in by tourists help them buy other essentials, like mobile phones!

Inside one of the tents on the island.

Inside one of the islanders' houses

We had a wander around the tiny but interesting island, and then were sent on our way with more with local songs, and renditions of 'Row, row, row your boat' and 'Vamos a la playa' in a cringingly well-choreographed way.

Daniel in festival mask.

Festival costume - outskirts of Puno

...Cusco was a bustling city, where tourists rummaged for bargains and touts plied their wares, mainly massages and trips to Macho Picchu.

Lady with llamas, Cusco, Peru.

Click-that'll be $1, thank you!

Traditionally dressed women walked around with Lamas, while their daughters carried lambs, ready for a tourist to point their camera at them so they could then demand $1."

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

Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, reunited with their Harley Davidson, in sunny Portugal,

"Another lovely sunny day, temperatures in the mid teens. A walk to town, Albufeira, along the coastal walkway, meeting more northern Europeans than locals, sitting looking out to sea, buying groceries, coffeeing in restaurants, it is easy to see why they are here.

Our regular coffee spot overlooking the ocean, Algarve, Portugal.

Our regular coffee spot overlooking the ocean

Booked in for another week, can't move on while the price is so low. Thinking back over our entire 14 years of travelling we can't find any accommodation that has provided so much for the price, value for money. It's not just the location, on the beach, nor the facilities, or the room service each day, but the Monica Isabel Beach Club, where we are staying, provides a reasonable cooked buffet breakfast, and free internet in the reception lounge area. Our apartment has a kitchenette, fridge and stove, cutlery and crockery, linen provided, and a balcony to sun bake in the sun.

Part of the rugged windswept coast, Portugal.

Part of the rugged windswept coast

There are certain signs warning travellers to move on. Waking up in the middle of the night and finding the toilet without fumbling. When none of the travellers you saw on arrival are still around. When staff at the hotel or local bar call you by your name. Doing washing twice at the local laundry. Finding items easily on the supermarket shelf. As we have sinned on almost all the above accounts we can no longer be considered travellers, and have dangerously become sedenters, (sedentary people). Luckily we saw the signs and have moved on."

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!


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

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


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

"Mr. Salah's secret society of the Aswan Customs Office, and the port, certainly did keep us busy for around five hours. But it was entertaining.

The port is tucked away in a little bay on Lake Nasser at the eastern end of the Aswan High Dam about eight miles from Aswan town.

The purchase of vehicle tickets was a small storm of paperwork - an hour and a half for all of us with very large quantities of Egyptian banknotes flying to and fro, the vehicle tickets costing thousands of Egyptian pounds for each car and truck. Cash only. Then off to customs, three motorbikes, four overland trucks plus the two trucks of the Tour D'Afrique group.

This was a large storm of paperwork. Forms, papers, passports and carnets flew back and forth, stapled furiously and rubber-stamped violently, the desk trembling with the constant energetic pounding of rubber stamp on flattened ink-pad. At least half a dozen loud thumps on the pad for each stamp on a form added thunder to the storm.

The customs man was quite a jovial character, and had obviously met one of the Tour D'Afrique drivers before. When he joked about baksheesh, the driver promptly emptied his pockets and scattered a good kilo of children's sweets all over the customs man's desk and amongst papers and passports. Joviality went up a level and I wished I'd brought a bottle of ink for his rubber-stamp pad. It might have trumped the sweets.

Eventually all paperwork was done and the adventure of loading the barge started.

Aswan loading ramp.

The big trucks had to manouevre back and forth to get wheels in the right place to avoid driving straight into the lake.
We didn't have that problem.

Next, the massive steel loading ramp onto the barge had been through some serious adventure, the entire left hand corner was bent upwards by a foot or more.

loaded barge - off we go.

All safely gathered in and cast off for Sudan. Our bikes are on there somewhere...

...I ventured out to the upper deck roof to see how Caroline and Beau were doing. They had sleeping space OK, but were squashed in tight by other sleepers on three sides and fifty bicycles on the fourth. Actually on two sides there were railings, but passengers had put down mattresses on the other side of them directly on the edge of the deck overhanging the waters of the lake below.

Floor space was so rare that the largest pieces I could find would just about accomodate a single foot. To stand with two feet together was pretty well impossible. And there were still passengers trying unsuccessfully to do that, carrying bags as well.

Shortly after midnight complaints must have been listened to. An authoritative-looking man entered our lounge and screamed orders in Arabic, waving his hands all around, exhorting everyone to get off the floors, sit on the seats properly, as others were still stranded on the few one-foot-sized pieces of empty floor that remained outside. He grabbed the life jackets that had been strewn around the floor as makeshift mattresses, stuffing them furiously back into their lockers.

Then peace broke out and an interesting night continued...

Wadi Halfa turned out to be a very pleasant small town with excellent and cheap restaurants. There we met a Russian rider heading north who had been in town almost a week, he liked it that much. Not only that, this was his fifth motorbike journey between Cape Town and St. Petersburg, so he was a mine of information for us.

With bikes finally on Sudanese soil the next day, we assembled outside the previous night's restaurant. Here, a magnificent piece of fish with complete Sudanese loaf of bread was around a pound I think, and what's more, it was served on newspaper! On a steel dish.

Wadi Haifa.

Ready for Sudan, Wadi Halfa shopping mall in the background.

Wadi Haifa custom house.

And the bank and customs house.

Fibre optic cable sign in desert.

One for the telecom engineers, retired or not: Surreal road sign halfway across the Bayuda Desert. If it's not clear, it says, 'Fibre Optic Cable.' Why?"

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

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

"The (Perita Moreno) Glacier is quite amazing, it is the only one in the park that is still growing. With a 5KM frontage and 60mtrs high, hard to appreciate the size of it from the walkways. Standing there in the quiet for half an hour or so we could hear the cracks as it moves, sounded like explosions, then all of a sudden a huge bang and a large chunk of ice breaks away and we hear the splash as it falls into the lake, out of sight of us! Then more explosions and more splashes until we actually get to see a chunk falling off. It didn't look that big but the noise from the splash and the under current it caused, that lasted at least 5 minutes, said it was no ice cube. We stayed there for about 3 hours listening to the Glacier and watching more bits fall off, it must be moving at a rate to lose that much and still be growing, we were lucky enough to manage to video one small piece coming away. Back to the top and into the restaurant for a coffee, just in time. The first of the tour coaches had pulled in just before we headed back, we could hear them in the car park chatting and whatever from where we were on the bottom walkway, as we got back to the top more and more coaches were arriving, soon you wouldn't be able to hear a thing from the Glacier.

Perita Moreno Glacier.

Met Sandra and Roel, a couple from Belgium travelling in a camper van, they are heading South to Ushuaia then coming back North again. Speaking to them we discovered that they had travelled over on the same boat as Swiss Chris and Sylvia, who we met at Viedma. They had also bumped into a couple of others from Viedma, Andy & Maya and Brian & Marie, small world.

...Roel & Sandra had received an email from Swiss Chris & Sylvia, they are in El Chalten and are heading to El Calafate tomorrow, we were all going to move on tomorrow but decided to stay another day and wait for them.

Chris and Sylvia arrive, they have more problems with the bike (broken pannier frame in Viedma) and were looking for a welder before camping up, luckily they found one next to the campsite. The gear shifter has broken and Chris wanted that done right away so he left it with the guy to repair while they put up their tent. Taking the gear off the bike Chris noticed that his pannier frame had broken again in a couple of places, if the guy does a good job on the gear shift he will get a bit more work! We spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and catching up with news. Bad news for us was that Chris, who is a competent off road rider, said that the Ruta 40 which we are planning to do is the worst riding he has ever had. Great!

Campsite photo - Sandra, Lorraine, Kev, Sylvia, Chris, Roel.

Sandra, Lorraine, Kev, Sylvia, Chris, Roel

Asado again tonight, into town for some nice steak and pasta left from last night with a few beers supplied by Chris and Sylvia to wash it all down. One of the campsite dogs joined us so we gave him what little bits of fat were on the steaks and some of the pasta but he wouldn't eat it off the dirt so we had to plate it up for him on a bit of newspaper!

Again we were treated to a free music show while we ate with traditional Gaucho music this time, although I thought I heard some Simon and Garfunkel in there, watch the video when I manage to upload it!


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Bill Atchison, Alberta, in Mexico,

"I stopped at a roadside Mezcal operation, and it was a highlight of the day. I had heard that some of the best Mezcal in the valley comes from small operations in these hills. This was as small as it gets.

I first spoke with the 'Production Manager' when he paused to take care of some emissions (from the pony). The agave cores are chopped up by hand with an axe and placed in a small grinding pit. The fibres are crushed using a stone wheel that is rolled over the pit by the pony. From there the ground fibres are placed in a wooden vat to ferment for 10 days. The result is transferred into a copper kettle sitting over a wood fire and boiled. The captured vapour condenses and there you go; Mezcal.

One horsepower still.

This is a two man/one pony operation sitting on a little patch of gravel at the side of the road.

The 'Quality Control and Marketing Manager' ushered me into the 'tasting room' and offered me a sample from a little keg they had set up. It was very strong but surprisingly flavourful. I asked if they sold the product right there and the reply was 'Si Senor'. Then he dug around and found an empty pop bottle. I dumped the remains from the water bottle I had in my tank bag and had him filled it instead; only 50 pesos for about half a litre.

There are several markets to visit in Oaxaca de Juarez. The Mercado Benito Juarez is located 2 blocks south of the Zocalo and takes up an entire block. It is geared to both local shoppers as well as tourist and contains all the commodities you will find in a local Mexican market from fruits & vegetables, meats, electronics, clothing , shoes, etc. etc., etc. You can easily spend an hour or two just wandering through it.

Then there is the other market; the BIG one. Mercado de Abastos is a huge regional market and by huge I mean HUGE. It is a full ½ kilometre long and ¼ kilometre wide, not counting the stalls and shops adjacent to it. It is located southwest of the Centro Historico on Periferico.

This is where all the produce and goods are brought from far and wide for distribution all over the city and the state. If you can't find it here it is only because you quit looking. It is quite an amazing place but you might be well advised to carry a personal GPS to find your way back out of the maze of aisles. And of course, because of the tight quarters, keep close track of your wallet and other valuables or better yet, don't bring any with you.

Mercado - Oaxaca.

I spent a couple of hours wandering Mercado de Abastos and thoroughly enjoyed it. The excitement, colour and fragrances as you walk through are incredible. (Of course not all that reaches the nose could be termed fragrances but most are agreeable). If you get the chance, take an hour or two and visit this market. It is certainly authentic Mexico with no polish.

I have had an offer I just couldn't refuse. A fellow motorcycle traveler, Garry Dymond, lives in Mexico City and contacted me through this website:

'If you want to come to Mexico City we will lead you in, put you up and show you around.'

How nice is that! I always said I would never attempt to ride into Mexico City but with this much help I can hardly wait. I understand that about 20% of Mexico's population lives there. I have also heard that Mexico City is like the sun; everything else in Mexico revolves around it! To say you have experienced Mexico without visiting Mexico City is kind of lame so - why not!

...Once we got deeper into the city I realized that navigating on my own would have been very tricky indeed. There is definitely a huge, confusing maze of streets and expressways that seem to go every which way to the uninitiated.

Eventually we did hit grid-lock on an expressway but did our best to weave in and out of the cars. Eventually we got stopped dead. A couple of other motorcycles jumped the curb and into the transit only lane, which is for express buses. We followed suit but I could tell by the reluctance of the first riders as well as the hesitation by Gary that this was a move that could potentially get us into trouble.

Bikers heading into Mexico City.

We eventually got to the head of the traffic and jumped back to a proper lane with-out being arrested. There we discovered the source of the back-up; There were at least a couple of thousand motorcycles lined up and beginning to move onto the expressway. We pulled up on the sidewalk and got off to watch."

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

"On our second day we decided to look up some pre-Ankor temples, we searched, searched and searched, but were unable to find them, tourism hasn't been heard of here and there are no signs, the locals pointed this way, that way, but in the end we gave up and headed back towards Kampong Cham.

Riding along the road about thirty five MPH and enjoying the potter back, then without warning two girls on a scooter going in the same direction as us just pulled straight across in front of us, I didn't even have time to brake, crash, bang, wallop!

Before I could react I was bouncing up the road, as I got to my feet the father of the girls had run out, picked the girls up and sent them to hospital, I checked on Jeab who said she was OK, but clearly this was not the case, grazed and bleeding, her glove had split and taken the skin off her small finger, blood was dripping everywhere, I was a bit battered and grazed and my left knee was swelling nicely!

The police arrived and started talking to the father, we had great difficulty talking to them as no one spoke any English.

We asked to go to the hospital, but they kept us on the side of the road for four hours! Eventually I had to pay to get my bike taken to the police station as they wanted to impound my bike!

At the police station a local teacher appeared, so now we could communicate with the police, they eventually took us to hospital in Kampong Cham, allowed us to pick our things up from our hotel and take us back to Suong, so in the morning we could come to some arrangement to get my bike back.

In the morning we were pretty sore, we walked up to the police station and were met by the teacher again and the chief of police, the family turn up in numbers and we all sat in a dirty, disgusting room around a large old table.

The day of the accident the family asked for a thousand dollars, so I knew we were in for some serious negotiations, we must have been discussing everything for around two hours before the the question about money raised its head, I offered $250, again the language barrier was frustrating, as we didn't know what was being said, only what we were being told, for some reason the police really didn't want the embassy involved, they came back that they wanted $500 which I just refused, as although I wanted to help the family I felt we were not to blame and were being forced into a corner, eventually Jeab insisted we contact the embassies and got very upset, I can't put in to words the discomfort and anguish we went through, I settled for $300, then the police chief asked for his tip, I just laughed and told the teacher I don't bribe police, but I don't think that's what he told him!"


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

"I spend a few outstanding days at the freezing Temujin Hotel. I arrived at the time of Tsangat Tsar, the Mongolian New Year. Everything was closed. I dug some of my survival food I keep in the sidecar. Mostly soups. I stayed enclosed in my bedroom most of the time, writing the Genghis Khan story, having naps when I felt like it. The first 2 days, I was alone in the hotel meaning there were no other human being in the building. Then people came back slowly from their celebrations in their families. I felt like when I passed the 3rd lock of the Panama Canal in the middle of the night, I was lying down on the bench of the dining room on my tug boat. My eyes were closed the whole time, and I was visioning the maneuvers of the tug boat with me inside like if I was on google earth, it was magic. I had the same feeling these last few days in my frozen room in the middle of the snowy steppes of Mongolia. I had nobody to talk to, and nobody was talking to me, I was literally alone with nobody to respond or to be polite to. I fully appreciate this life of simplicity.

Hubert at Temujin Hotel in Mongolia.

In my hotel Tamujin in the middle of the snowy Mongolian steppe, I was in heaven by 45ºF in my bedroom.

Answering many questions people ask me regularly:

In November 2004, the year Jessica was to complete her college education in Madison, Wisconsin, I had dinner with my friend Jean-Louis at l'Orange Bleu in Manhattan. At the end of that dinner, we clarified a few things that influenced greatly my future.

For ordinary people like me, no matter how much $ you make, on December 31, your pockets are empty because with the lifestyle of a big city like New York, you spend it all. If I was to sell everything I had, I would have enough $ to travel for 10 years on my sidecar. I had 2 choices and it took me seconds to apply common sense and take a decision:

1 - I keep working for 10 years in New York and I will be poor after that!

2 - I sell everything I have, I go travel for 10 years and I will be poor after that!

Three month after that dinner, on February 16, 2005 at 6:04 am, I left New York for my 'Ten Years on the Road!'

I am not doing a RTW (Round The World) because I don't have to. I just go horizontally and vertically wherever it works better for me on a day to day. I don't have to see every country or everything in each country I travel. I prefer to spend time in remote places than in big cities.

The most valuable item I have with me is 'Time', I appreciate it every single day, I don't have to rush for any reason. My second most valuable thing I have now is 'I don't have to sell anything anymore!'. I was selling in my little businesses all my life and if I did not succeed, it was simply because I was never good at it and I did not know what else I could do. There is only one reason why people don't buy from you, it's because they don't trust you! People always liked me, but they never trusted me!

So when several times a week people ask me 'Are you writing a book?' My answer is 'No' and that is simply because if I want to write a book, I will have to sell it in a matter to please a publisher and go through the same system I used unsuccessfully all my life. I always complete my answer by saying 'But I write a web site'. I do it very carefully and completely as I can because I don't have to sell it, it's free!

Now more and more people ask me 'At the end of your Ten Years, you can do a movie with all the material you have'. I still answer no, because I don't want to sell anything anymore. Then came the $ question 'But you could make some $ out of it!'. It is true, I could make some $ out of it, but I don't need it, I would call that 'Greed', because I sleep quite well in a ditch and I don't need much to be happy!

And this is my recipe to live fully my newly acquired Freedom!

Sidecar repairs.

Sidecar repair-New wheels, new tires, new shocks absorbers, new brake pad, I feel the bike is almost ready!

Ger with satellite dish.

In that ger, they have it all! The solar panel for the dish TV, and running water... All they have to do is cut the blocs of ice from the frozen river, carry them home, cut some wood and burn it to melt the ice!

Vehicle with wolf.

Vehicle and wolf - At Naraantul, in the middle of Ulaanbaatar, just an ordinary scene. Because the wolves lives in the steppe, hunting them, exhibiting them as well as eating them is totally honorable.

Ed. Check out Hubert's website for lots of great pics and new videos he's working on!


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

"We took matters into our hands again and went to the customs guys directly, our best 'desperate tourist' faces on display. The custom guys turned out to be a fantastic bunch and expedited the issuance of our Temporary Import Permit. We thought we finally had our golden ticket - but it wasn't to be. That was on Monday. On Tuesday morning we turn up at the port only to be told our paperwork was sent to the wrong place. Arrrggghhh! A few more hours of rushing between offices and we finally succeeded in getting a customs inspection. The dusty Africa was still in one piece and all our luggage there too. We were getting somewhere...

...It was too late in the day to pay the storage charges and port fees, so we had to leave it until Wednesday. We spent half a day waiting for the final invoice which almost knocked us off our feet! Begging and pleading our case with the senior management (that it wasn't our fault our bike was still here and that we cannot afford to pay such a high sum), we managed to get the price reduced by about 70%. It was still a lot of money and frustrating to be paying for the mistakes of somebody else, but what can you do when you get taken for a ride... Back at the port we're told at the last minute that there was still one document missing - a declaration that we don't have to pay VAT. This was costing us grey hairs, but we had no choice and again went back home without the Africa.

Brazilian customs.

Thursday finally turned out to be the day. Our briefcase full of documents in hand, we once again charged the fortress of Port Santos. This time, after another 1-2 hours of paper checking we were starting the bike. Initially the engine didn't want to turn over, not surprising given it was sitting in a crate for four months, but after a change of spark plugs it finally roared into life and we were on our way!

...We've spent the last two days servicing the bike and washing/mending our riding gear. After 2 years on the road (including a loop of Africa) our stuff looks like it belongs in a bin rather than on us, but we've grown attached to it and besides, now is not a time for us to spend money on anything other than petrol and food.

Brazilian beach sign.

So far, Brazil has failed to captivate, although most of our time has been spent in offices. Apart from the beaches, it's quite developed and resembles Europe in many ways. For example the prices! On the other hand it has its own special atmosphere - the whiff of Carnaval is in the air, everyday is a beach day (i.e. air temp = 40deg celsius & water temp = 27deg celsius) and the people are very laid back. There's plenty more of Brazil to see and we plan to re-enter in the north, in the Amazon. Reynaldo says he will join us - we will hold him to his word."

Peter Russell, Canada, in Argentina, KLR's,

"We are on the road! Finally. The day started with an early taxi ride to EZE to attempt to clear the bikes - things did not look good for most of the day starting when the cabbie (attempting to be helpful) dropped us, and our 240 lbs. of gear in the middle of the staff parking lot. We had to leapfrog everything to the closest tree (a Charlie Brown Christmas specimen) in the 33 degree 99% humidity and then hunt for Sandra, our customs broker.

By 11:00am we had learned that the flight manifest had not closed and therefore we would not be able to get the bikes today, but would have to come back tomorrow. Sandra was unperturbed, and we were not inclined to give up easily either, and pretty soon we had all the warehouse staff onside and searching for the crate.

By 2:30 we had the crate, and a couple of helpful staff willing to give me a hand dismantling the crate and assembling the bikes. It took all of us, working in the 40 degree heat of the warehouse to get everything done - and we were finally putting on our helmets and getting underway by 5:30pm.

Leaving the cargo area, we had a final checkpoint for customs clearance, and we were under the impression that we would have to exit thru the paid parking area - I pulled up to the ticket booth and explained vociferously that we had not parked in the lot but had 'importaciones dos motos! dos motos es cargomiente!' Following a few moments of blank stares, they raised the gate and let me go, although they dropped it promptly on Petra's front fender, at which point she explained 'I'm with him!' and they reluctantly let her go too. It was only about 500m later that I realized that wasn't the parking lot attendant - but was in fact a National Highway Toll Booth! Police in Buenos Aires tonight are on the lookout for two escaped lunatics on motorcycles. We need to get out of Dodge.

Following a quick fuel stop - and a few unintended directional disorders (getting lost, which I blame on severe dehydration) - we are out of Buenos Aires and stopped in Canuelas for the night.

We need to rehydrate (I think I lost 10 lbs today), and repack our gear for long term travel. We're going to try to get an early start tomorrow and see if we can make it to Bahia Blanca (some 600+ km's away)."


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Tormod Amlien & Klaus Ulvestad, Norway, King Croesus Contempt for Death Tour, RTW on 1937 Nimbuses with sidecars, in Vermont,

"I'm obviously getting old, and far from as hard as I used to be. Last night I actually felt like a terrible pussy when I aborted the driving due to health concerns. It would never happen in the good old days.

When I took the detour from Vermont to NYC it was quite nice weather, and as it's only 350 miles I didn't bother to bring all the worst case clothes. This turned out to be not too clever. It became quite cold when I finally left NYC, and temperature just kept dropping. To make matters worse, my electric gloves and chaps were also down.

The first 70 miles went quite ok, but after that it went quickly down with both outdoor- and body temperature. It became longer and longer between each ten mile mark. Dusk fell, and two deer crossed the road ahead of me. I tried to brake, but my knee could not be moved so I had to carefully lean my body to the left and lift the entire leg. The braking was not too efficient to say it that way, but luckily the deer crossed with good clearance.

King Croesus Contempt for Death Tour.

I pushed on 60 miles from the last stop, and parked again at a gas station about 60 miles from Jerry's house in Albany, where I was going to stay for the night. I spent a minute on the bike to exercise the legs so they could handle the weight of my body. I managed to get off, but then I could not remove the helmet. It was 30 miles since last I had felt my fingers. A police officer at the gas station was kind enough to take off my helmet.

A little later another police officer came and informed me that he could arrest me for mental disorder; long distance riding in 3 Fahrenheit (-16 centigrade) was waterproof evidence enough. I politely said 'yes please' and hoped to get a warm place and - even more - an excuse for aborting the driving. He got a bit grumpy as he apparently wasn't very happy with coming up with such a good joke.

Are we having fun yet?

Are we having fun yet?

The first cup of coffee I had to drink with two hands. The shaking was not possible to control, and with two hands I spilled only 30 percent of the coffee instead of probably 70 percent if I had used only one hand. As the feeling in the fingers came back I got this major pain, a bit like sticking yourself with needles. I've always liked to suffer a bit for a good cause, but at this point it was just a little too much.

The second cup of coffee was slightly easier to drink, but I still had to use two hands. I was defrosting slowly, and after a half hour and two cups of coffee I could again speak in complete sentences and walk quite normal, now I was only terribly cold and tired.

Quite some people came by and spoke to me. 'God bless you' said a few, but I was not convinced it would help me from freezing the tissue in my thumbs. Another guy warned me about the deer on the Taconic State Parkway, as he had lost a motorcycle friend to a deer just a few miles up the road. Déjà vu all over again.

I had the third coffee and tried to convince myself that the last 60 miles would be easy. But I just couldn't. I didn't want to arrive Albany with serious frostbite, or a half deer spread all over the bike because I was too stiff to brake, if I should be lucky enough to see it. I found a motel close by and spent the night feeling old and useless, but at least warm with all ten fingers intact."

Oliver Abrahams, UK, in Argentina, struggling with tire changing, on a Honda XL650 Transalp,

"Now changing motorbike tyres manually can be rather tricky and there seem to be two schools of thought on the subject. 1) You should practice changing tyres yourself as much as possible so if you do get a puncture in the middle of nowhere you can fix it. Or 2) It's too much hassle. Get a tyre repair shop to change the tyre and just hope you never get a puncture or if you do then you can transport the bike easily to the repair shop. Unfortunately the mechanic that taught me motorbike maintenance had me firmly in camp 1 (although after today I must admit I'm moving towards camp 2).

Working on getting the rear axle out.

Roberto's parents run a hotel and my motorbike was parked in their hotel garage. On Saturday morning I had to clean the chain and rear of the bike before changing the tyre so thought it best to move it from the garage to the street to avoid creating a mess in their garage. After wheeling the bike out I put it on the centre stand in the only available street space near the entrance, behind a self-standing sign for the hotel. So far so good. The rear axle was sticking in the rear swing-arm so I used the handle of a multi-screw driver to try and push the axle out of the hole. Now imagine holding the handle of the screw driver in the palm of your hand and pointing your index finger along its length towards the axle in the hole. Then imagine pushing that screw driver as hard as you can so it will push the axle away from you in the direction your index finger is pointing. Now imagine the axle suddenly giving and sliding out of the hole, to be replaced by the length of the screw driver and your index finger, except that the nail of your index finger catches on the edge of the hole and whilst your finger goes inside your nail refuses to and bends back on itself. It took a couple of seconds of staring at my bleeding nail for me to realise what I'd done before being consumed by pain and then rage at my own stupidity. Still, there was nothing that could be done so I cleaned it as best I could, taped it back down, moved all the loose parts from the bike into the garage and then went to buy some breakfast in order to regain some composure before starting the nasty job of changing the tyre (now made all the more difficult by the inability to use the most important finger of my right hand)!

The tyre.

On returning from buying breakfast I was greeted at the garage entrance by the hotel receptionist and a guest. Turns out the space I'd parked my bike was clear for a reason, as was the location of the self-standing sign. It was the entrance and exit to the hotel garage. The guest needed to get his car out, past a motorbike on its centre stand with no rear wheel. Now what I should have done was made him wait whilst I put the wheel back on and moved the bike. However, he seemed in a hurry and I couldn't face touching the rear axle again so we decided to try and lift the rear of the bike and move it up the kerb and out of the way. Unfortunately, as soon as we lifted the rear the centre stand flipped up and we both immediately realised the bike was far too heavy to lift with one arm and steer with the other. We couldn't even lift it high enough for me to flip the centre stand back down. So whilst the receptionist went to get Roberto to help we had no other option than to lower the rear to the ground, or more precisely onto the middle toe of my right foot (I was wearing flip-flops). I uttered an expletive, up went the bike, out came the foot and down went the bike. When I looked down to inspect my foot I saw that that bike was actually resting on the chain guard, which was now bent out of shape. Looking back on it, I feel slightly sorry for the poor guest. All he wanted to do was take his car out of the hotel garage and now he had to hold a motorbike upright whilst this mad Englishman opposite him turned the air blue with every expletive he knew (and a couple he made up on the spot). I'd calmed down by the time Roberto arrived and the three of us managed to move the bike out of the way and onto its centre stand.

Partway through!

So now I had a bleeding fingernail, a bleeding toe, my chain guard was busted and I still hadn't started to change the rear tyre. I should have given up then and just waited for the tyre repair shop to open at 11am. But no, I'm a stubborn bastard and I thought I could still get everything changed and fixed and be off before then. The lack of right index finger slowed things up somewhat but after much pushing, pulling, levering and sweating I managed to change the tyre and inner tube and pump it up; only to discover I'd pinch-punctured the new inner tube during the change. I couldn't use the other tube because it had the three slow punctures from riding on a bald rear tyre. BUGGER! At this point I admitted defeat and waited for the tyre repair shop. Of course, they used a machine to remove the tyre in seconds. They fixed the puncture and had the tyre back on within 20 minutes. In fact the more I think about it, I'm definitely moving to camp 2 with regard to tyre changes. Forget all this 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' crap.

I did manage to get away and I'm writing this whilst camping on a beach, somewhere off Route 5, on the way to La Serena. My finger and toe still hurt like hell but I reckon they'll survive. My pride, I'm not so sure about."

Ed. Here's a shameless plug for the new 'Tire Changing' DVD, coming in the spring! Filmed in Spain, Germany and Switzerland, the DVD distills all the best advice from Grant's 40+ years of changing bike tires, much of it learned the hard way!

Alexandros Papadopoulos, UK to India, in India,

"..A conversation ensued with one of the more daring patrons and I was told that 'I must' go see the border ceremony later on that evening. I must have been in really good spirits because I would not usually backtrack without a very good reason and the border was already 20K behind me, but I thought '"what the heck, when will I ever be here again?' - so I went.

The ceremony itself is like a football match, but instead of sheer hooliganism you get a healthy (over)dose of nationalism, showing off, flag-waving routines etc. All very adult and civilised stuff that I really enjoyed. After being pushed, squashed and trod on on our way to the 'stage' right next to the border line I chose a spot, trying to optimise for least possible constant pressure (read: shoving) from all directions.

Border ceremony lineup.

At this point, I had a blatant demonstration of the difference between a 'tourist' and a 'traveler'.

This is how the tourists experience the ceremony:

Border ceremony - tourists.

Removed from the real event, treated specially, standing out like sore thumbs, just quickly showing up, taking plenty of pictures with camera equipment worth ridiculous amounts of money and then disappearing in a minivan driven by a local.

On the other hand the traveler (yes, I am blatantly beating my own drum here) is *IN* the events. Tries to become part of the real deal, to experience this brave new world to the fullest, truest extent.

Border ceremony - traveler.

The traveler also knows how to act diplomatically because he/she inevitably has to deal with all social/cultural differences. Being blatantly shoved around by people for more than an hour is a challenge for someone who does not enjoy sardinisation. One must learn to adapt quickly to the utter lack of any respect for your personal space. After having people use me as a platform to just jump higher to see the ceremony better, I noticed this and realised it was good to be stoically diplomatic and just smile about the whole thing.

No spitting sign.

No spitting sign

In case you think the artist is being a little too generous with the size of the spit depiction, allow me to inform you that this is not the case. Indians seem to enjoy chewing coloured tobacco (or something like that) and spitting it all over the place. It appears to be a very macho gesture because people do it with pride. Every day I see people open their car doors and spit, pull up their helmets and spit, walk on the road and spit, talk on the phone and spit, and it's always a disgustingly impressive quantity of stuff that comes out. There seems to be a campaign to educate people that this spitting business is not the best public health habit (especially factoring in that many people walk barefoot on the streets and most in homes and some offices). All I can say is good luck to the campaign.

Tailgate sign.

Tailgate sign

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


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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


Help support your favourite website! Here's how!


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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...

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

"Hi to all. I've ridden 4000 Ks so far. Bike is great and no falls yet (touching wood). Road conditions far better than much of the stuff I rode in Hispanic America. I'm here in Goa to celebrate my 77th birthday. Last time I was here, I was celebrating my 37th. Goa has changed - not for the better. However anyone out there free and in Goa on the 11th, and would like to drain a jug or six, message me. Otherwise see you at the Derby meet. Heading down to Cochin next. Cheers to all... Clapping.

A bike race on the seashore - Murud.

A big hurrah for Ben Hur at the rear

Murud - Dawn in the garden at the Seashore Resort. A cool breeze off the sea stirs the palm fronds overhead. Crows pick through the night's rubbish discarded on the beach. Bath water heats on an open fire. The Resort's henna haired jack of all trades brings coffee and chai. The tide is out and the German family and I watch bullock carts race each other along the glistening sand. Drivers whip the beasts and yell – all but a young lad bringing up the rear. Of his two bullocks, one is big and grey and staid. The second is small and young and tries to trot whilst the elder plods. The driver leans right forward and whacks the young bullock. For trotting or for not trotting fast enough? The driver ignores the old bullock. The older bullock ignores the driver."

Ed. Belated Happy Birthday, Simon! Hope it was a good one and you found some friends to spend it with!

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

"The road from Uyuni to Chile, that really crosses the desert salt flats, is the one we were really worried about. Ingo and crew had hired a 4×4 jeep to carry all of their luggage, the pillion passengers, and extra fuel and water across the desert as a support vehicle.

We decided to worry about that once we got to Uyuni. And so, fresh from a few nights in Potosi, the highest city in the world, at nearly 4,000 meters, which means you are always tired and cold, woohoo, we filled our tanks and headed out of the mountains...

Dances with wolves...Rides with llamas.

Dances with wolves, swimming with dolphins... driving with llamas...

Having not dropped Thumper once in all of South America, I was feeling pretty confident about driving. Sand, gravel, dirt, mud, I wasn't concerned. Thumper and I could handle it! I was so confident I didn't even check over all of Thumper's bolts before we left. I have since replaced the 4 missing bolts and screws that vibrated off with zip ties and baling wire (thanks Pat, you were right!)."

Best of roads.

It was the best of roads...

Worst of roads.

It was the worst of roads...

Tierra del Fuego.

But they finally made it


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Simon Buckley, Australia, RTW, in Panama, KLR 650,

"I was tired and needed a bed, but didn't want to pay a fortune. There was also the issue of parking for the bike. We found a place that was well priced with a secure place to park the bike. The place was awesome, glass missing from the windows, one sheet between two beds that both sagged in the middle in some kind of cross between bed and hammock. The bathroom was right next door, and there were a couple of American guys in the next room having a conversation about how cool they were at the top of their voices. Bless.

People are very friendly, as a general rule, but it takes a special type to go that extra step to put two and two together. I never met one of those extraordinary types and consequently when asking for directions to La Fortuna, we ended up in the wrong La Fortuna. One, a backwater local town with a thermal power plant, and the other, a turbo charged tourist town with hot springs and all manner of adventure trips and the associated riff raff. They were only a few hours apart, but the riding in Costa Rica is not particularly interesting so it feels longer.

After sampling the local helado we bedded down at La Virgen hostel in La Fortuna, one of the best examples of a small backpackers I have seen. Over the next couple of days we swam in hot springs, visited all sides of a volcano and ate helado. Although I had wanted to see lava flowing before I got to town, the way that the idea had been commercialized and marketed in town, made me start to wonder why I wanted to see lava at all. As it turned out, there was none to be seen whilst we were there anyway.

Bald.

The last stop in Costa Rica was at Cahuita on the Caribbean coast. If La Fortuna was anything to go by, I was not interested in heading down the Pacific coast through American holiday resort after resort, and either way, Karen had a family friend with a summer house in Cahuita, and we stopped with Marie and her family for a couple of days before making the move into Panama."

Frank Butler, PNG, RTW since 2002, writes to the HU Asuncion Community,

"Hola My name is Frank Butler I have been on a round the world trip since 2002 covered 267,000 kilometre and visited over 120 countries. I am in Uruguay at the moment and will be on my way to see Iguazu falls shortly I will take a route through Brazil, I would like to visit Asuncion before heading south again to Ushuaia and then to Santiago. If there will be anyone around I would love to meet for a coffee or a beer and hear all about your town and your country, things to see places to go...things like that I hope to hear from you soon My best regards... Frank"


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. Thanks!

The Rukka brand name has become a synonym for high quality textile motorcycling apparel, and year after year the Finnish manufacturer has caused sensations pioneering highly innovative solutions for those looking for maximum quality, comfort and protection.

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


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

Medellin Metro.

Medellin Metro

"Medellin was promoting cleanliness, and let me tell you: It is the cleanest city I have every been in, and I am usually a harsh critic of cities. It is Definitely cleaner than NY City – we could learn a lot from these folks.

Medellin - mural.

Medellin is the former drug capital of Colombia, but it seemed pretty tranquilo from my vantage point. Other travelers reported having a really good time there.

Simon Bolivar - el Condor.

Statue of Bolivar (liberator and uniter of northern South America (Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador). He was referred to as the Condor, and in this sculpture the mask has been taken off and he wears the head of a condor. This is in the main square in front of the municipal building."

Cicadas on the road near Manizales, Colombia.

Cicadas on the road near Manizales


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

"Pick up almost any travel book, website, or blog and you'll be drowned in flowery words and photos of Petra. And each word or pixel is well deserved- it is really one of the most stunning sights I've seen on my trip. It doesn't get its own post since bikes aren't allowed anywhere inside, but despite that, it really does live up to the hype.

Get there early when the sun hits the treasury to get the classic photo.

Petra, Jordan.

The site is sprawling and really deserves a couple of full days to properly explore. So, since it's been written about so often, I'll leave it at that.

The only problem with Petra is that it really isn't independent traveller friendly. The campsites are far out of town and wild camping is not allowed anywhere closer. Everything is really geared to people arriving on a tour bus or some other package type trip. So, after seeing the old city you are pretty much done with the area and ready to hit the next must see - Wadi Rum.

But, before we go, here's a couple more from Petra.

Petra, Jordan.

More from Petra

Petra, Jordan.

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!

 

Miquel Silvestre, Spain, in Lanzarote,

"Sometimes winter is not that bad. Recently I flew to Lanzarote, one the Canary Islands, real Africa in Europe. I joined the 40th Birthday of one of my best friends, Mario Izquierdo, who works in Arrecife as a lawyer. We are friends from the University times. It's been a long journey since then. He has got a wife, Alba, the best one, and two beautiful children: Patricia and Marta. Meanwhile, I grew up a lot of miles.

Lanzarote - devil.

Lanzarote - devil

As I cannot be far from a bike, I hired a Honda Transalp and got lost on the dirt paths. Away from the beaten tracks, that island is incredible. I highly recommend it. The bike was pretty ok to ride those gravel roads. The small Honda 600 is much lighter than Little Fat, but that motorcycle was in terrible condition. In some way, a motorcycle for hire is always a princess forced to act as a whore. Nobody loves them."

Lanzarote - sand trap.

I am sad to say, but I left it even worse.

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!


Peter and Brucella Ridley, UK, writes to the HU Santiago community,

"Hi we will be arriving in Chile in about 6 wks, we are shipping our bikes from Australia, do you know of a customs handling agent who can help us clear the bikes from customs at the airport? We are a year and a half into our RTW trip on 2 XT600 Yamahas. Also do you know of any bike friendly hostals for us to stay at whilst we plan our routes? It would be great to meet up for a beer, we have used the community in Africa, Thailand and OZ and it's been great. Many thanks in advance. Peter and Brucella Ridley"

Bjoern Holland, Germany, writes to the HU Montevideo Community,

"Hi, I'm currently on a round-the-world trip and will come to Montevideo for 1-2 days next week, to do some work (photography job – need to earn some money for the travel funds...)

I need to photograph a 360 degree panorama image on Plaza des Armas for a customer. For this, I would need help for about 1 hour – someone to help me with language. (I can pay about US$50-75 for that). If there's anyone from the HUBB community in Montevideo, who could help me with this (or who knows someone who can help me), please get in touch! Thanks a lot! Bjoern"

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

 

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

Tarantula.

Found a pet but did not have a spare helmet that fit so left him to grow up a bit.

Once I got back to the coast I tried to get close enough to Acapulco that my phone would work. It was Thanksgiving and Martha's birthday and I wanted to call home. Pulled into city about dark and started looking for a hotel but there was something going on as all five hotels I stopped at were full. Rode another hour north to a town and found a hotel for the night, but still not close enough for phone to work.

Acapulco taxi.

The next day I rode through Acapulco, big confusing city with way to much traffic along with construction on main route in. All the taxis were VW bugs painted white and blue on the other side of the hill they were red and white so they must have a territory that they stay in. Cannot understand why they put up a dozen signs telling you which way to go then don't put one up where you have to make a turn, someone watching and laughing 'hey look we caught another one'. The GPS is not too accurate here but it sure helps in knowing the general direction in which one needs to go."

Ed. See Robert's blog 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...

Bas, Roel & Steve (Dutch Dangleberries), Netherlands, Americas 2010, XT Yamahas,

"Landed safely in the USA and we were welcome as well. We arrived at Schiphol Airport at eight. Really nice to see a lot of friends and relatives for a final goodbye. Some of them were already worried about the whole trip, because within half an hour we already lost one of the boarding passes.

Next day (saturday) we got our crates and we were allowed to open them at the logistics centre. We thought this would take an hour... We thought it was only getting the front wheels in and start... But none of the bikes wanted to start quickly and this took quite some time. After jump starting them all, we thought we were okay. But there was a great imbalance in Bas' bike. It appeared that his rear tyre was damaged, and needed to be replaced.

Putting the bike together.

Putting bikes together

We covered 470 kilometers (294 miles) since our start in Houston, Texas! On Feb 18, 2010 Steve writes: So Monday we left Houston. In the morning we got rid of our rental car and after that it took some time to get all our gear on the bikes. First time we saw it all together... and we might need to get rid of some items in the upcoming weeks in order to travel 'light'. It's either Roel's nose hair trimmer or the toolbox."

Traveling light?

Traveling light?

Susan Watson, USA, writes to the HU Lima Community,

"Tenemos 3 semanas vacaciones en marzo en Peru. Quisiéramos al alquiler una moto o haríamos una ruta. ¿Qué usted sugiere? Lo siento que mi español es muy malo.
Many thanks, SRW"

Taz and Joel Hirani, Canada, write to the HU Quito Community,

"My husband and I just arrived in Quito on two Kawasakis (250 cc). If you have any information on the following, we would greatly appreciate it:
1. We want to rent an apartment for 2 - 4 weeks in the Mariscal area or nearby,
2. Is there a place to store our bikes while we visit the Galapagos?

Thank you so much! Taz and Joel"

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

 

Ian Moor, UK, Wrong Way Round The World, not quite home but spending the winter in Montana, F650GS,

"There was a herd of pronghorn 'antelope' on the dirt road near the ranch one afternoon as I returned from town. They are a regular sight but this time they took off running up the road ahead of me. They are the second fastest animal in the world (after the cheetah), capable of bursts of 60mph and a sustained 50mph although they were only doing 25mph running ahead of me.

Pronghorn Antelope.

I saw a bobcat on the ranch and even managed to get a photograph. I spotted it as it ran to hide in a ditch close to the drive as I was returning to the cabin. I stopped the car and set my camera (mobile phone) before getting out. As I walked towards where it had entered the ditch it ran off towards the creek and I managed to get a single photograph. I saw it again in the distance walking up the frozen creek as I continued driving towards the cabins. I stopped ahead of it and walked down the creek hoping to get more photographs but didn't see it again.

Bobcat at the ranch.

I have been in North America since March 2009 but intend to make a concerted effort to leave and get a bit further round the world before the end of 2010. Progress could be hastened by a letter I received this morning from the US Department Of Homeland Security. I applied for a visa extension in November to stay in Montana until it was warm enough to travel by motorcycle then tour round the north west of the USA until it was warm enough to head up to Alaska. I then intended to travel south again down the west coast to Mexico leaving the United States in the autumn.

The application was turned down because my travel plans weren't detailed enough and copies of my bank statements weren't sufficient evidence that I had the funds to support myself. I had thought the visa extension application which cost $300 would be a formality. They returned the visa I sent with my application which expired at the end of December with a covering letter saying that if my visa has expired I should leave immediately and that if I have overstayed future visits to the USA might be jeopardised. I have been here illegally for five weeks without knowing it! This trip is literally a 'trip of a lifetime', It's unlikely that I will be able to afford to come this way again. I was looking forward to travelling to Alaska but now there is a chance I wouldn't be allowed in once I got there and may not be allowed back into the 'lower 48' from Canada to ride to Mexico. I haven't decided what action to take yet. It's still too cold for me to enjoy riding the bike far."

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


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Thanks! Grant and Susan


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

 

New Communities:

We've now reached an amazing 639 Communities in 106 Countries as of February 17, 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.


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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:

www.HorizonsUnlimited.com

Riding the globe...

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