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Achievable Dream DVD Series
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Welcome to the 82nd Edition of the e-zine. This is the May/June edition (sharp-eyed readers will have noticed that it's even a few days late for June!) It has been a very busy couple of months! We went to our first ever Ireland meeting at the end of May, which was very successful with over 110 attendees, and Liam McIlhone, Drew Millar and all the Irish made us feel very welcome. More below.
The long-awaited 'Gear Up' DVD's finally arrived in early June and we shipped out over 800 back orders, a marathon task of labelling, stuffing, sealing and stamping for our shipping department - in case you were wondering, that's me plus some assistance from Grant with hauling boxes to the post office ;-) This entailed several trips wheeling large boxes on a cart down the road, quite the sight! As you can see below, feedback is already in and quite positive, so we're very happy and relieved :-) The fifth DVD in the Achievable Dream series, 'Tire Changing', has now gone to production, so we're almost finished the project we started back in early 2008! We're very grateful to everyone who pre-ordered and kept the faith that we would finally deliver!
Last weekend we were at the UK meeting, now the biggest motorcycle travel event in the world! We had 86 presentations over 4 days in 3 rooms plus we streamed presentations to a huge marquee out in the parking lot! Lots of happy campers, based on initial feedback! Of course, we couldn't have done it without Glynn Roberts and his crew, Sam Manicom, Iain Harper, 50+ presenters and 80+ volunteers - thank you all very much! More below.
We came home late Sunday night completely knackered, then shipped t-shirts and stuff off to Germany for the meeting this weekend. We're very sorry we're missing it, but Jens Ruprecht is ably looking after it! Next year we won't schedule anything for 2 weeks on either side of the UK meeting, to allow for recovery time!
We're now full-on into summer events, next weekend we'll be at the first HU Bulgaria Meeting with Doug Wothke and Poly at their moto camp, the weekend after that is the HU Italy Meeting in Lake Garda (Jens Ruprecht is also organising this meet). Meanwhile, we'll be shipping out 500+ copies of Tire Changing! and preparing for the HUMM (Horizons Unlimited Mountain Madness!), which is our unique two and a half (riding)-day, no GPS, motorcycle orienteering event in the Spanish Pyrenees from 27-29 July. We have 84 riders in 33 teams entered in 3 classes (under or over 645 off-road, and paved road), so it's going to be a great event, but we're not quite full yet. However, registration is closing soon so get in quick!
The next issue of the e-zine will be sometime in August, by which time we'll be in North America until mid-September. This year, for the first time, we'll both be attending ALL the USA and Canada events :-) So, hopefully we'll meet some of you there! See below for dates...
Before I shut up, I should mention that it seems I did strike a nerve with my comments last month. It wasn't my intention to make anyone feel bad, just to let you know we'd really like you to post your trip stories and pics on the HUBB (Ride Tales forum) or in a blog (Travellers Stories) on HU. It all helps to generate advertising revenue to keep the site going and makes us very happy!And just to be clear, it's absolutely not necessary to tattoo the HU logo on your arm, though it is a lovely thought ;-)
But enough from me. Where are our intrepid travellers this month? We've got great stories from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Greece, Guatemala, India, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Panama, Thailand, Turkey, USA and Vietnam. And those are just the ones we tracked down! What about you? Get out there on the road and make your own adventure, and don't forget to write!
Susan Johnson, Editor
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, 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!
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. The DVD's are not 'region-locked' and we have both PAL and NTSC (North America) formats stocked.
We do love to get your feedback, so keep it coming! If you have a problem, we want to know about it so we can try to fix it. And of course we're always very happy to get positive comments :-)
But we do have a favour to ask ;-) We're now selling Get Ready!, On the Road! and Ladies on the Loose! on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Gear Up will be there soon!), and positive reviews are always helpful for sales. So if you have enjoyed the DVD's and you're an Amazon customer (it's not necessary to have bought the DVD from them), we would really appreciate it if you could put a comment on Amazon. Here's the links:
Special thanks to our generous sponsors of the Horizons Unlimited Achievable Dream Series, Touratech and Michelin!
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 of becoming a Horizons Unlimited Contributing Member or Gold Member!
Please Support our Advertisers
Our advertisers and sponsors help 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.
Klim Adventure Rally Jacket
Speaking of advertisers, one of our new advertisers, Klim, who make top quality technical riding gear, are looking for feedback from our readers to inform their marketing strategy. Klim is offering a fantastic prize to encourage you to complete their survey form:
"We are looking for feedback from dual-sport and adventure riders. Take our short survey and be entered to win a Klim Adventure Rally Jacket (a $1,300 value)."
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This newsletter is provided as a complimentary service for travellers everywhere, both on the road and (temporarily ;-) off. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Too many to list! If you haven't checked out the Links page it's time you did - it's huge, and 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! From there you can request your link.
All sites will be considered for listing, but must be a MOTORCYCLE or TRAVEL site, useful or of interest in some way to travellers. We reserve the right to refuse to link back.
Do you know of a good shop 'on the road,'
. in other words, somewhere there isn't a large number of shops? (Also of course any shop that specializes in travellers equipment and repairs is of interest.) But we're particularly looking for those rare items, good repair shops in South America, Africa and Asia etc. Please post your info in the Repair shops around the world Forum on the HUBB.
There are now 100'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!
When you meet people on the road, and they haven't heard of this e-zine or the website, we'd appreciate it (and hope they would too!) if you'd get their names and email addresses and send it in to me.
Request for info
Wouldn't YOU like to know all about the border you're approaching - what it should cost, paperwork required, 'tips' needed, and who to talk to, etc.?
When you cross ANY border, take some notes, and pass them on to us. Thanks!
The US State Department regularly issues updated travel advisories, information and/or warnings.
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!
Part 1 - Get Ready!
Part 2 - Gear Up!
Part 3 - On the Road!
Part 4 - Ladies on the Loose !
Sheonagh Ravensdale & Pat Thomson, 'Dusty Old Bags', Central America & beyond 2010, in Guatemala, Honda Falcon NX400s,
"We were feeling pretty spooked when we went into Guatemala. Everybody we'd met so far regaled us with tales of violence. Checking it out on the internet only added to our concern. The US government website lists in detail over a hundred serious armed robbery and assaults on US citizens alone over the last year, the last being a couple of weeks back – all in the areas we planned to visit.
However we'd been told about a big motorcycle meeting and blessing of the bikes at Esquipulas just over the border and we thought... well they'll be ok and we might get some useful info from them. The town is famous for one thing – a black statue of Christ in the main church, which is a mega pilgrimage site from all over Guatemala and beyond. A huge, vibrant street market sells everything from socks to holy images and cheap souvenirs and huge queues of indigenous faithful come to pray at the statue.
In the morning we woke up to find hundreds of big bikes in the church plaza, so we loaded up and joined them and were immediately surrounded by bikers chatting and taking our photos. My attention was caught by the sight of four burly, shaven-headed, heavily tattooed bikers, heads bowed as they and their bikes were blessed by a diminutive priest. However, something told me not to get my own camera out at this point...
A law was passed in 2009 forbidding pillion passengers on bikes and stating that all riders must wear a vest with their bike registration number on the back and also have the number plastered on the back of their helmets. This is because of the number of assassinations carried out by motorcycle riders in Guatemala City.
... back in prime tourist territory in the beautiful Spanish colonial town of Antigua. The history of most of these towns seems to be built, destroyed by earthquake, rebuilt, destroyed by earthquake and so on – so you get to see a lot of ruins. The way up to the view over the town is considered too dangerous to walk up so the tourist police run their own free tours up there. We were the only takers that day so they took us by bike – breaking the no helmet, no pillion and no number plated jackets for starters. They were delightful and gave us a lift right back to our hostel so they could see our bikes!"
Ed. See Sheonagh and Pat's blog here on Horizons Unlimited for more great stories and pics! Now in Japan, they promise updates coming soon!
Pete and Caf McGuire, UK, Europe to India and back in search of perfect curry, in Greece,
"The ferry from Kos was hellish, we decided not to have a cabin to save money, even though it was an overnight crossing, and instead used the 'reclining' seats, they had TVs blaring Greek out until god knows when and then a load more passengers boarded halfway through unbeknownst to us off another island, so what with the impossibly uncomfortable seats along with the TV going and being interrupted by people desperately scrambling for space we didn't have an overly restful night (massive understatement). It was almost a relief when the bloody thing docked so we could find the BMW dealer that would be sorting Pete's bike out. 3 hours later we found the place (a mere 10 miles away) and found out it wouldn't open for another hour and a half, aaaaaaaaargh! By this time we were both exhausted, hungry and homeless. Kostas and the team were brilliant though, when they turned up (early and some even on their day off) they took Pete's bike in, gave us coffee, found us a hotel, led us there and told us to come back Monday to collect, phew. I had totally lost track of time and can't believe we did all that in one morning and had to slap myself occasionally to keep up and awake.
Never mind, they do fab and cheap kebabs here (gyros) so we'll be living off them for the next week and the supermarket over the road does decent local beer for under a euro, the tourist bars and cafes are far too expensive at 6€ a pint! Just a shame there's nuthin but a load of old ruins to look at (yawn).
We did find a smattering of oddities on our meanderings around town, a lot of unsightly tags on every available surface plus the odd decent bit of graffiti, pavement markets selling everything from table cloths to snide Louis Vuitton handbags (with the sellers legging it each time a police patrol went past), the occasional riot complete with projectile beer bottles (thankfully only aimed at police) and some very suspicious loitering types exchanging money for something under the cover of lotto tickets, this last one kept us intrigued for hours.
At the end of our 3 day sojourn in Athens we were relieved to be guided back by Kostas to the sanctuary of the BMW dealer and as this picture demonstrates they made us two very happy customers."
Daniel Shell, UK, in Argentina, Harley-Davidson,
"... Calafate proclaims itself to be the Glacier capital of the world, and in this respect, it doesn't disappoint. On our second day together we rode in convoy to the Moreno Glacier.
The sky was a light shade of blue when we left the hostel, but soon the clouds rolled in, and then the rain came. Toni and Carlo had come with out any waterproofs, and as the water seeped into their shoes and clothes, it also dampened their spirits. We pulled into a café in the grounds of the National Park that contains the Glacier, and we all hung our clothes and wet socks in front of the fireplace while we drank hot coffee in an attempt to shift the chill from our bones. There was one more boat that day that could take us to the edge of the glacier, and we decided to go for it.
We finished our drinks, squelched back into our damp clothes, and headed off to the boat dock. We arrived just in time to eat our packed lunch, glug a bottle of wine, straight from the bottle, and get aboard. As the boat made its way towards the glacier, the rain stopped and the sky brightened up.
The Glacier, one of the only advancing glaciers in the world, was extremely impressive, and made the three days of hell we had endured to get here so worthwhile. The boat chugged up and down in front of the glacier, and we were lucky enough to see a house-sized block of ice fall from it into the lake.
The next day we went our separate ways again, Frank, Carlo and Toni headed back into Chile to visit Torres del Paine, while Jacquie and I headed North to El Chalten to hike to another glacier.
... I hired a walking stick, Jacquie hired a pair of hiking trousers and a backpack, and we arranged to meet at the agency at 5.30 am for a 6am departure. What had I let myself in for?
I slept badly that night, worrying about the day ahead of me, and at 5am, I got out of bed and into the shower. We packed up our stuff, camera, layers of clothing, video camera and our sandwich lunch, and stepped out of the hostel. Outside, the light was just beginning to overcome the dark of night, the air was chilly and fresh, and I couldn't figure out if I was more excited or nervous. We met up with our fellow hikers and the guide explained the route we would be taking. We were all measured for crampons, sharp metal spikes that would clip on under our boots to help us walk on the glacier, and then we were off.
We headed up the hill out of town, and just as we reached the top, the sun lit up the town below in a glorious golden light. We walked on and on, through the woods, up and down hills, through amazing scenery until, 3 hours after leaving base, we came to our first challenge, the river crossing.
There was a set of ropes tied above the river, and our guide attached us one by one to the ropes before we pulled ourselves across to the other side.
We rested on the other side of the river, ahead of us in the distance we could see the glacier riding up from the lake, and revitalised from the view, we set off once more.
After a scramble down a precariously rocky decline, we were at the foot of the glacier. We stopped to attach our crampons and were given a quick demo on how to walk with the crampons, and told what we should and shouldn't do while on the glacier.
Slowly, we began picking our way along the surface of the glacier. It was like being on a different planet. As our guide led us over the glacier, she pointed out waterfalls within the glacier, huge crevices, and small streams. We stopped to fill our water bottles from the stream, and then came to an ice cliff. This was to be where we could try our hand at ice climbing.
The guide's assistants made ready the ropes, and two by two, we donned hard hats, and with an ice pick in each hand climbed to the top of the cliff. It was an awesome experience.
We broke for lunch after the ice cliff, and then turned around and walked back over the glacier, and slowly started our way back to the town. The sky was wonderfully blue now; the morning's clouds burnt away by the sun, and the views of the distant ice-covered peaks were spectacular. The day had been perfect, and the guide told us how lucky we had been. This trip had been cancelled due to bad weather everyday for the last week, and today had been the best day for the hike that she could remember.
After a good 10 hours of walking, we were all flagging. The beauty of the scenery kept us going, and we finally arrived back at the town just as the sun was setting. We returned with our guide to the agency where we dropped off our gear before limping back to the hostel for a hot shower and rest."
Ed. See more great stories and pics in Daniel's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!
Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, RTW (193 countries), in Greece, on Harley-Davidson,
"... Kalamata was only known to me for the great olives we get with that name in Australia, and yes as we ate Kalamata olives near Kalamata, part of our picnic lunch, and we noticed they taste almost exactly the same as the Australian ones, such is the shrinking travel world. Most of today was riding through the Mani Region of the Peloponnese, in springtime, where wildflowers are everywhere in this rugged and barren part of the country. The stone built houses, many new ones, mostly now for tourist apartments, dot the countryside and overlook the sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean. Olive groves, the most prolific agriculture that we have seen in Greece, run up terraced hillsides, and with all these features combined, made today's riding stunning.
We ended the day in Gythion, a medium sized waterside town that fills up with busloads of day tourists on weekends, as today, and where we had made an unfortunate hotel booking mistake. We thought we had booked for two nights, were surprised at the economical price, but on arrival realised the price was for just one night, and whilst the hotel and its oceanside view were lovely, and our booking was non refundable, we didn't enjoy it as much as we would otherwise have done.
It is finally time to leave Crete, our last breakfast on the terrace overlooking the quiet Bali sandy bay, leaving behind friendly locals now more concerned with the imminent influx of tourists than quietly enjoying their own relaxed lifestyle. As our boat wasn't due to leave till 11.00pm we checked out of the apartment as late as possible before riding back to Iraklion, looked around the old port, watched Sunday luncheoners seemingly unconcerned with the current economic crisis, while we waited over a coffee, boarded the vessel, and left on time and slept in a couple of easy chairs for the night.
... About the 9th century a number of monks started living in caves in the sandstone pinnacles in the Meteora area. A few centuries later monasteries were built on top of some of the more inaccessible pinnacles to avoid persecution from a rolling variety of controlling governments. At their peak there were 20 such monasteries but now only 6 remain, and although still partially occupied, they have primarily been turned over to tourism, which was obvious by the busloads that were arriving as we toured the area."
Ross and Jan Moorhouse, in Vietnam, Yamaha YBR125 ,
"1973. An English man, Ted Simon, set out to ride around the world on his Triumph motorcycle. When he had finished this journey he wrote about it in a book, Jupiter's Travels. Around 1979 I bought this book and read it. I was riding a Yamaha 125 at the time. This book gave me the dream of one day riding overseas. Maybe even around the world. This dream has never left me.
Let's roll forward over 30 years. I have ridden up and down the eastern side of Australia lots. The dream was still deep within me. I read books by people who have ridden overseas. Joined forums for like minded riders. Went to the Aussie Horizons Unlimited meeting last year and met with riders and pillions who are either on a round would trip or have ridden overseas. The dream is closer to becoming real for me.
Last year Jan and I decided to do a trip overseas. I suggested Vietnam. We talked about riding from Hanoi to Sapa up near the Chinese border. We decided to wait till we arrived in Vietnam before committing to this type of trip. We wanted see what the traffic is like for ourselves.
April 8th 2010 we arrive in Hanoi. The traffic is overwhelming. It is so chaotic for my western mind and riding style or so I think. Plus they drive not just on their side of the road but anywhere on the road. Am I up for this? Can I make my dream come true?
We take a bus trip to and from Ha Long Bay. This is good not just for the cruise we did on a Junk around the thousands of islands but it gives me a chance to study the traffic and get used to being on what is the wrong side of the road for me.
Back in Hanoi we book a bike through Flamingo-travel. They are recommended to us by some ex-pat friends that live in Hanoi. We are going to ride to Cuc Phoung National Park. That's the plan till the weather turns nasty with heavy rain and thunderstorms. We don't have our riding gear with us and I am not willing at this stage to risk Jan's and my safety. So we postpone the ride. Maybe my dream will not come true. Have I really got the guts to do this?
We head north to the mountains by night train to Sapa. The weather there is not good either. Pea soup fog rolls in. We are at cloud level in our hotel and its is a grey out. We spend three days there. We have done a walk through some villages. Been to the markets. Fought off the native village women that hound you to 'Buy from me... ' We have had a great time. Last day there we find out that the hotel rents bikes. The traffic here is very light.
This would be perfect for getting our biking legs wet as it were. So we hire a Honda 110 for an hour. We head out of town on the tiny Honda 2 up. The road we chose winds its way up to the Silver Waterfall and a very high mountain pass.
I am so overwhelmed with the utter amazement that I am living my dream at long last. Having that little bike under me, the road twisting up the mountain, Jan on the back and the beauty of Vietnam laid out below us. I am glad I had the wind in my eyes as I had tears of sheer joy welling up in my eyes. So I could blame the wind for the tears. In a small way I am now Ted Simon.
The views once we got above the clouds are breathtaking. We went up past the Silver Water Fall. Locals waved to us as we rode past. Two big westerns on a tiny Honda must have made them laugh. My red beard in the breeze. We pass two other westerns on a scooter. The grins on their faces match ours. Maybe they too are living out a dream?"
Ed. Lots of great pics of bikes in Vietnam on Ross (Future's) ride report on the HUBB.
Cam Brookes, Australia, in Nepal, Royal Enfield Thunderbird Twinspark,
"... The next day I passed through Bardia National park where I watched nervously as a Rhino butted against a flimsy fence beside the road, with local children standing armed with large rocks ready to fend it off if necessary.
The park was peaceful and isolated, but I needed to escape isolation for a little so I kept moving. The quality of the Mahendra Highway towards the western border with India at Mahendranagar was mostly good and progress was quick.
At the Nepali border post I was sent into customs where the official promptly told me that if I was heading to India I didn't need to talk to him and should proceed to immigration. I was happy with this because I didn't know if there would be scrutiny over the Indian registered bike I had brought into Nepal.
India's new rule (as of January 2010) stating that, even with a multiple-entry visa, one must be outside of India for a period of two months before being allowed back in caused me some problems. I had scrutinised the statement issued by the Department of Immigration and seen that:
1, Any immigration check post has the authority to issue a re-entry stamp;
2, the re-entry stamp will be issued if the candidate can produce an onward flight ticket and an itinerary.
So I had printed off a copy of a cheap Air Asia ticket I had bought from Kolkata to Kuala Lumpur in June, and written out a rough itinerary thinking that I would be fine. Then the saga began.
Long and short of it, they talked up just how big a problem it was that I didn't have re-entry permission, that they couldn't issue it and that it would be very costly for me to go back to the Indian embassy in Kathmandu. So did I want to go to India, or back to Kathmandu? They were asking for a bribe and I told them this made me unhappy and that I was losing faith in India. I tried to reason with them and appeal to their consciences with references to Spiderman and 'with great power comes great responsibility' etc. Eventually I handed over the Nepali rupee equivalent of the 700INR re-entry fee that I would have been charged in Kathmandu, and headed on my way.
Having eventually escaped the border I headed towards the only town that I could remember the name of without pulling out my maps – Naini Tal. It turns out that the place is a little gem of a hill station built around a pretty lake at about 1940 meters altitude. Accommodation was not cheap as this is the beginning of the peak tourist season when thousands of Indians retreat from the oppressive heat of Delhi et. al. to the relative cool of the hills."
Ed. See more of Cam's stories and great pics here on Horizons Unlimited!
Chris Sorbi, USA, RTW, in Arizona, Suzuki GS850,
"... Cynthia was quiet and all I could hear was the spinning of the tire. I turned my head to look at her, but a cloud of dust was all I could see. The rear wheel finally stopped spinning and I felt the bike disappearing underground. We were stuck in the deep soft sands of the Colorado River bed. It was already dusk and not a soul around.
That morning we had departed Barstow headed for the Grand Canyon, but the wind didn't ease up. And neither did the temperature which kept sky rocketing to 98 degrees by only midday. I grew up in desert and seeing triple digit temperatures is not alien to me, but wearing two pairs of pants, a black riding jacket and a giant helmet is not exactly hot weather attire. Sweat kept coming down my forehead into my eyes, and I could taste the salt every time I licked my lips. We stopped in a shade to get out of the heat for even a second, and Cynthia almost passed out from exhaustion.
We found a nice campground on the river close to the Parker Dam but at $26 a night, my immediate reaction was to turn around and look for a free site on the opposite side of the highway which was all BLM lands. We took the first passable dirt road that we could find off the highway. The road started with hard packed dirt, turned into loose gravel which grew larger, and then turned into shale. At that point Cynthia wanted to get off the bike as we were fishtailing all over the place. In the distance I saw a scraggly tree, more like a large shrub which I hope would provide a smidgen of shade, and a relatively flat spot so I stood on the pegs to ride the bike down to the good spot. I was all happy until I tried to put the bike on the kickstand and get off. My feet started sinking, and I knew then and there we were in deep s***.
With a block of wood under the stand, I got off the bike and started unloading our gear with the hope of making the bike a little lighter, and I aired down the tires a few pounds for better floatation. All I had to do was to cover 100 yards of a loop to get back up to the solid ground, but the ground turned into powder that swallowed everything. With all my might I completed the loop almost home free, but the last section was the worst, and the bike didn't move an inch forward but kept on sinking down.
We were almost a mile from the highway and no one in sight. The bike went so far down that the rear wheel stopped spinning, and the exhausts were getting buried in the sand. The good thing was that the bike stood upright without needing the kickstand so I could get off of it. Cynthia suggested that we should dig the bike out of the sand. I looked at her like she was crazy and told her so. It seemed like the sand went all the way to China. My master plan was to get AAA to come and pull us out, but that all ended when they informed us they are not responsible for anything more than 100 feet off the closest paved road. My next plan was to go back to the main road in the morning and find someone with a truck to pull us out. Cynthia kept insisting that we try to dig it out. I told her that if you want to dig it out go right ahead, and I got on the phone to talk to commiserate my woes to my friend Andy.
When I was done with my phone call, I noticed that Cynthia was on the ground under the bike with a flat rock digging out sand. She was covered in sand and dust, but to my astonishment she dug the whole tire out and kept on placing small rocks under the tire to give it some traction. Finally I agreed to give it a shot and after spinning the rear tire on and off and digging it out a few more times, we managed to get the bike onto semi-solid ground. Cynthia got a Girl Scout badge and was honored with a medal for saving our butts. I made up for the efforts for setting up the camp with the most comfortable sleeping pad (check out the picture). It looked hillbilly but hell it was comfortable. It's hot out here; by 7 a.m. we were baked out of the tent. We need to get out of Arizona soon. Stay tuned."
David Radford, Canada, in Malawi, BMW R1200 GS Adventure,
"Riding through Malawi is a treat- the main road runs along the coast of the lake, except for some runs up into the hills where some fantastic twisty riding is on offer.
Most of the cool places to stay are right on the lake and make for dangerous stops if you're on a schedule- one day turns into three in the blink of an eye. The view from my banda (hut) and a place to spend a few hours reading at one such place will give you an idea.
Things didn't seem that they could get better, but at least one of the gods was in a good mood when I pulled into a place and found a bike I'd met a few times since Sudan and a private overland truck I met in Kenya.
Riding/Driving gives you more freedom to go to out of the way places, while it also keeps you out of places where a vehicle makes life more difficult. This push to a specific segment of the market means that we tend to stay in the same places and so have the fun of random encounters and re-encounters fairly often. So, another great day of riding... Ends with another bike in the parking lot...
And a great chat over a couple of beers with a guy I've been randomly meeting up with along the last 15,000km of my ride... "
Ken Thomas, UK to Cape Town, in Kenya, Yamaha TTR,
"... We arrived at 'Jungle Junction', the Nairobi stop-over used by just about all overland travellers passing through Kenya, the same day as the clutch.
...It's the middle of the day here at Jungle Junction and I've just made some tea in the kitchen with the help of a torch. This is now the serious rainy season.
A noisy thunder storm is circling overhead blocking out all the daylight, the power has gone off, and there is no mains water.
But never mind, I'm no longer camped in the grounds - they flooded out a few days ago. So I'm in a proper bed in a proper room. And the wisdom of rolling up the lounge carpet is there for all to see. The night before last, the rainwater was two inches from entering through the back door, which is about ten inches above the garden path outside. Making eight inches of flood water, at its height, across the camping area.
So the occupants of the three tents, crazy enough to be camping in this season, including me, found space in the lounge for that night. The difficulty was wading through the floodwater to reach your tent to retrieve whatever you needed for the night. Like mosquito repellent, which was badly needed in the lounge that night. There was no way to be sure of walking on the zig-zag pathway, hidden by the water, rather than in the squelchy muddy flower beds either side.
But, all three tents stayed dry inside during the night, which they wouldn't have with people inside them.
... Last night wasn't quite so bad. Still not possible to see the pathway under the water, but the tents were on grass once again instead of on water.
And again, the inside of my tent stayed dry, but was invaded by hundreds of tiny ant-like creatures that seemed to be multiplying ferociously in this wet weather. A similar thing had happened a few days before, and they had invaded my tent through two small holes in the floor. I repaired those, but it was a mystery how the holes got there. They were definitely not caused by thorns or spikes or anything similar.
This morning there were five new holes, allowing hundreds of the insects inside, and still a mystery as to how the holes get there. It was lucky the rain stopped during the night before the floodwater reached the tent floor. It looks to me very much as though the creepy-crawlies are chewing the holes themselves, which is pretty bad news if the floor of the tent isn't proof against such activity. So I took some photos which I'll email to the makers in Derbyshire and ask what they think. Whatever that is, the tent is pretty useless for now in wet weather, or anywhere these insects exist - which could be everywhere in southern Africa for all I know - and is now packed away.
Just as well maybe. In the time to write this, the water has risen about four inches on the grass outside. Time for more tea..."
Ed. Follow the adventure at Ken's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!
Ian Moor, UK, Wrong Way Round The World, in Arizona, BMW F650GS,
"Following the sandstorm at Monument Valley I carefully checked the weather forecast before heading for the south rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. A cool 53F (12C) maximum with isolated thunderstorms was predicted.
It snowed on the way to the Grand Canyon. As I rode across the flat lands I could see a number of what looked like heavy rain showers scattered around and hoped the road would steer me between them which it pretty much did for the first half of the journey. I stopped to put on the waterproof oversuit just in case I ran into a storm but caught some light rain which turned to sleet then snow. Some sections of road were white with slick ice sheets and my visor was building up a thicker and thicker layer of ice which got harder and harder to wipe away. As I arrived at Grand Canyon the small central portion of visor I had managed to keep clear of ice was insufficient to maintain peripheral vision for the side roads and I stopped to scrape it clean.
I had intended to camp at Grand Canyon but having ridden an hour and a half in snow I chickened out and booked a couple of nights in a motel. The next two days were of course fine so I moved into the campsite for the remainder of my stay. The temperature the first night in the tent got down to 20F (-7C), probably the coldest I have camped in but it was fine. I awoke to what I thought was the sound of rain on the tarp but when I looked out it was yet more snow.
One of three words spring to mind when you first see the Grand Canyon, WOW and two naughty words. Fortunately for the Horizons Unlimited censors I'm more of a WOW kind of guy. I like the way the National Parks allow you to take responsibility for your own safety. If you want to stand or sit on the edge of the canyon rim you're free to do so.
The temperature changes during a day in this part of the world are extreme. On my last day at Grand Canyon I awoke at 7am feeling a bit cold in the tent so lit a couple of candles (Don't tell the camping health and safety executive). At 8am the sun was warming the tent and the bike panniers were warm to the touch although a loaf of bread inside was defrosting and still frozen in the centre from the overnight 18F (-8C) and by mid afternoon it was 96F (35C)."
Ed. Follow Ian's adventures in his blog here on Horizons Unlimited!
Mike Rafferty (and daughter Heather), USA, South America, in Argentina, BMW R1200 GS 'Sport' and BMW F650 GS,
"We left Puerto Iguazu with storm clouds blanketing this whole part of the continent. Locally, the piece of Argentina that extends up toward the junction with Brazil and Paraguay is referred to as Mesopotamia, as it is bounded by rivers that define the national boundaries. Water was rolling in from the South Atlantic in boiling torrents of rain that fills those rivers, and we got up close and personal with a whole lot of it. Our 'rain gear' was almost a joke – this was something well beyond mere 'rain'. Soaked and chilled, we finally broke out near the end of the day and stopped at a great little posada (B&B-like small hotel) in the small town of Gobernador Virasoro. This is the region where Argentina grows the tea they are all so fond of, and the beautifully manicured fields surrounded us.
The next day, we split the distance to Buenos Aires and stopped at the town of Federacion, which is a tourist destination popular with the hot spring/bath crowd. We really were just making miles to get to BA, but did take the time to stroll the town and get a feel for the place. Pleasant on the river and filled with a crowd edging toward the elder set, walking from the baths to hotels in their fluffy white robes. But again, a nice place to stay the night, and we were well positioned for the run to Buenos Aires the next day.
A short note about the road we were on: this is the infamous 'Ruta 14' that is really the only good choice for the destination we had, and it is well known as a place where the police are... economically motivated. There are plenty of stories to be found on the internet about motorists (and motorcyclists) who've contributed to the well-being of these gentlemen. And there are a LOT of police on Ruta 14. Only once did we have the pleasure of their company.
Our two gents were the warm up, and they deferred all real negotiation to their boss, who would be with us 'soon'. They talked about how dangerous the road was, how we must have been speeding, and how the fine could be as much as 2000 pesos ($500). But we kinda spoiled their their gig when we came off our bikes with friendly smiles and handshakes, and Heather asking if she could get a group photo of us all (that REALLY made 'em skittish), and then the waiting game ensued. We hung around maybe fifteen minutes while their boss dealt with a very animated 'client' who was apparently not having it. And we were taking photos, playing the happy tourists... so when he finally got to us, I think they had all decided we weren't the right game for their hunt. We got nothing more than a 'be careful' admonition and we were on our way, none the worse for wear, and very glad we had NOT let the tales of bad cops on Ruta 14 keep us from seeing Iguazu Falls. It is a shame, but I'm certain there are riders who give the Falls a pass just because of these knuckleheads."
More stories below...
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!
Lois' 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
"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!
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,
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?
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!
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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Grant & Susan Johnson, Editors
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ISSN 1703-1397 Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' E-zine - Copyright 1999-2010, 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).
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!
Part 1 - Get Ready!
Part 2 - Gear Up!
Part 3 - On the Road!
Part 4 - Ladies on the Loose !
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!
Ireland - 28-30 May. Many thanks to Liam McIlhone, Naomi Hodgins and Drew Millar for stepping up and organising the first HU Ireland event near Enniskillen, and thanks to all the presenters and volunteers. And those Mummers! 'Glenboy' sums it up: "Fantastic weekend. Everything about it was first class. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks also to the presenters for sharing their great experiences. I hope it's the first of many." See the HUBB for more comments. Ireland 2011 Registration is open now!
UK - 24-27 June. The 10th Anniversary event. Over 600 folks came out to what is now the largest motorcycle travel event in the world - with 50+ presenters telling their stories and giving their best how-to 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! Many thanks to Glynn Roberts, Iain Harper, Sam Manicom, all the presenters and the 80+ volunteers. You make the meeting! 'Crusty reports': "It was our 4th meeting and I'd say it was the best yet." See the HUBB for more comments. UK 2011 Registration is open now!
Germany - 1-4 July. Many thanks to Jens Ruprecht, our local host for this event, near Heidelberg, and to the presenters and volunteers. They've had 36 degrees (Celsius, that's almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit!) and sun all weekend. See the HUBB for comments.
Bulgaria - 9-11 July. Doug Wothke is our local host, at Moto Camp Bulgaria, near Idilevo. Grant and Susan will be there. Registration open now!
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 (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!
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.
OFF or ON road, it's the most fun you can have on two wheels ;-) Registration is closing soon so get in quick!
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. Stephen Leblanc is our local organizer. Grant and Susan 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! Hal Johnson and Brad and Judy Tutor are the local organizers. Grant and Susan will be there. Full details and Registration open now!
Portugal - 3-5 Sep, Gois. António Caldeira, our local organiser, and the town of Gois are welcoming motorcycle travellers back to this great venue in a very scenic part of Portugal. Austin Vince (Terra Circa/Mondo Enduro) and Lois (Red Tape and White Knuckles) will be featured presenters! 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. Mike Kilpatrick is the local organizer. Grant and Susan will be there. 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 open now!
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. And volunteering is always a great way to meet a lot of people!
If you'd like to host an HU Meeting in your area, please see the How To Host a Meeting page for details.
See you there!
Grant and Susan
Alexandros Papadopoulos, UK to India, in India,
"Leaving Gandhinagar for the south was frustrating. To begin with, I had not ridden in a few days and my face-your-death-around-every-corner skills were a bit rusty. I was too wound up and could not relax for a single moment on the bike. I was also not allowed to use the expressway that leaves Ahmedabad for Mumbai, being stopped at the toll booths and told 'no two wheelers'. I got pretty angry with this system, because nobody could give me a better 'reason' than 'government rules'.
As a consequence of these stupid rules I was being thrown into the lion pit, the busy national highway connecting Ahmedabad with the towns south. This reminded me of a presentation about Simon Milward I attended before starting this trip. I remember how he fought for the right of people to travel with motorcycles on all roads and remember thinking 'what an odd thing to do - surely motorcycles, like all vehicles, can travel anywhere!' Well, not so. On this trip I had already been in three places (expressway connecting Tehran with the Caspian in Iran, M2 connecting Lahore and Islamabad in Pakistan, and this expressway leaving Ahmedabad south towards Mumbai) where my bike was not welcome.
Ed. See Alexandros' blog here on Horizons Unlimited for lots of great stories and pics!
Graham Holden, UK, RTW, in Malaysia, R100GS PD,
"Well here's my gaff in KL, I'm on the 28th floor, opposite the KLCC (Twin Towers), thanks to my new friend KS, it is the most luxurious place I've had the pleasure of staying in on this trip, but for the kindness shown to me by KS I would be staying in a 28 Ringgit (5 pounds) a night guest house in some dodgy area of KL. So sometimes the sun does shine, but not often!
I remember seeing a programme on the building of the towers, they looked amazing on TV, but in real life they are truly stunning, towering over the city skyline, especially at night when all the steel reflects under the lighting, I just wish I could capture it better on my camera.
One of the great things about them, is I can find my way home each evening as they are such a great landmark to aim for, when I'm lost on the mind blowing network of roads that link all parts to the very clean city.
So if you ever read this KS, thank you for your generosity, you are a true gentleman and a fantastic ambassador for your country and the Malaysian biking community!"
Jon Yates, UK, mused in Sydney while waiting for the bike to ship from Australia to Buenos Aires...
"... It is amazing really when I look back at all the different places I have been I can't believe I am here in Sydney on the motorbike. I have seen some fabulous sites, met some great people, seen some remote villages, been in busy cities like Sydney and villages where there are only 20 people living in Timor. Seeing the contrast from neighbouring countries is sometimes staggering - Timor to Australia is completely different but going into Bosnia after riding through Italy, it was like going back 100 years really and they are only hours away from each other (via Slovenia). Also seeing village people in China working hard (also Indonesia) farming by hand and then you go to Australia for example (same in UK) and people are doing the same sort of tasks but for pleasure on an allotment. Not sure what my point is but there is a lot to take in as I ride through these different places."
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Grant says: "The Omega system is simply a must-do for all airheads" (And I have the starter too!)
Frank Butler, PNG, RTW since 2002, in Australia, BMW F650 GS Dakar,
"I am in Brisbane headed north and falling in love with Australia more and more with every mile I travel. I hope all is well back at Horizons H.Q, my very best... Frank"
Alisa Clickenger, USA, to South America, in Argentina, DR650,
"I need gas, and I am told this is the only place to get it. How many liters do i want? (Um, how many liters to a gallon?)
I am currently in Buenos Aires and done riding in South America (this trip!). I packed up the Twisted DR and delivered it to the airport yesterday, and now I am just hanging out at Dakar Motos with other travelers and trying to catch up on my blog. I arrive in Seattle May 19th in the morning. Hopefully the DR will arrive the same day and I can go directly to customs and retrieve her. I'll spend a couple of days visiting friends in Seattle and Jeickerman has hooked me up with a hand specialist. Then it's an 800 mile ride to meet up with my hunney in Rigby, Idaho... "
Bas, Roel & Steve (Dutch Dangleberries), Netherlands, Americas 2010, in Panama, XT Yamahas,
"Bas van Heeringen to Panama City community - Hey, we're travelling South- and Central-America and we're planning to cross Panama to Colombia next month. Do you have suggestions and tips for us? We would like to cross via a boat to Cartagena, but flying is also an option. Thanks and greetz,"
Iza Gamanska, Poland, in Bolivia,
"Boulders, telephone poles, burned tyres and groups of protesters greeted us on the road out of La Paz. Apparently it's the only way the poorer class of Bolivia can demand equality and a 'piece of the pie' from the ruling elite. With no option but to ride through and around the barricades (if we wanted...)"
Björn Holland, Germany, in Bolivia, BMW F650 Dakar,
"There were 4 hotels in Epizana – all of which were closed. Luckily, the 'Hilton' family had a heart, some spare mattresses & a spare room next to the chicken yard.
Monteagudo was a nice little mountain town – and the first encounter with the more 'traditional' South-America I had been hoping for.
Simon Gandolfi, Old Man on a Bike, in Darjeeling, India, Honda Stunner 125,
"... I depart with a warning that the road is bad. Bad is a ludicrous understatement. Two hours to cover the first ten Ks is good progress through a mess of slush, mud and boulders. Two locals ahead of me take falls – mud from head to foot. My survival is luck – and following outriders. I know through most of those two hours that I should turn back. Turning back makes for a poor last Hurrah. So on I go. Yes, I am aware that I am repeating the idiocy that earned me a smashed ankle in Tierra del Fuego. However I remain what I was then: the only septuagenarian teenager.
Clouds close in. Visibility 30 feet. The road is narrow two-lane. No safety parapet. Trucks loom out of the fog. I crawl for an hour, stop for tea at a shack with a jeep and two trucks parked outside. The drivers crouch over a stove in the kitchen. One driver speaks a little English. 'No good,' he says of the visibility.
'No good,' I agree.
Ed. Simon was last seen at the HU UK meeting regaling his audiences with his Indian adventures!
Hubert Kriegel, France, Sidecar-ing the world, back to Mongolia,
"After 5 weeks in Martinique, France and Switzerland, I am back in Mongolia just on time to enjoy Spring ! My first visit was to my good friend Chinzo. He originally wanted to sell his Tenere motorcycle but after our ride on lake Baïkal, he decided to keep it... Just for in case !.
Living in a ger in Ulaanbaatar will give you all the disadvantages but no advantage of a big city.
... I opened all the electrical connectors. None of them had corrosion, thanks to silicone grease."
Ed. Check out Hubert's website for lots of great pics!
Jay Kannaiyan, USA, in Latin America and Africa, writes to the HU Cartagena Community:
"Hi, my name is Jay and I'm currently on a 2 year trip thru Latin America and Africa. I'm in Panama now, taking a sailboat across to Cartagena this Monday. I'll be arriving in Cartagena on Thursday, 13th. Is there someplace you recommend that I can stay?"
Dave Petersen, Canada, RTW, writes to the HU Bangkok Community:
"Dave Petersen here in BKK at the moment. I am on my second RTW ride on the same bike (riding since 2005). My bike and I plan to fly to Nepal next week. I need to remove the catalytic converter from my 2002 BMW F650 Dakar. Too much leaded fuel over the years has destroyed it. Can anyone suggest a good shop to do this at a fair price? I know of Barc BMW and Dirt Shop. Thanks, Dave."
Ekkehard Lange, Germany, writes to the HU Lima Community:
"Hello! We are a German family on a trip around South America. We need a company, that ships our motorbikes from Lima to Germany. Can you recommend one or help us to find one? Thanks in advance, Ekki"
Sherri Jo Wilkins, Australia, writes to the HU community in Japan,
Looking for guidance on the best route to take from Tokyo to Fukuoka. (prefer not to travel by freeway). Also advice on accommodation and/or camping spots along the way? She received this detailed response back from Akira:
"I'd advise this basic idea:
Ed: Thanks, Akira. The communities are such a valuable part of the Horizons Unlimited experience, be sure to benefit from their collected wisdom.
Haydn & Dianne Durnell, Australia, RTW, currently in Apia, Samoa saving up for the next leg of the trip,
"... After 5 days we've had enough of the narrow roads and pollution in Kathmandu and need to get out and on the open road again. Leaving town the traffic was probably the worst we've seen in all our travels.
Not only is the congestion really bad but the roads are just a series of huge potholes and disintegrated black top. This makes it difficult enough for us but we have to be really careful of oncoming traffic veering into our path as they try to avoid the bigger, deeper holes and the pedestrians and sacred cows weaving and wandering through the traffic.
Buses are our biggest hazard. If they are oncoming they can and will swerve into our path violently to avoid potholes, cows or pedestrians. If we are following them, we can't see the potholes and they can and will stop at any moment to pick up or drop off passengers. Passing them is an exercise in bravery and foolhardiness as we pull out, peer through the dense smoke haze of the exhaust and do some quick mental arithmetic regarding the acceleration rate of the bike versus the speed of the oncoming vehicle divided by how long we can hold our breath."
Ed. Haydn & Dianne gave a presentation at the Australian HU meeting about their experiences in the streets of Kathmandu. Thanks guys!
Leaving soon below...
With both bike and rider finally back on British soil I feel that my Latin American motorcycle adventure has come to an end and although the bike needs a lot of love and my right ankle still occasionally aches and bruises I reckon we did ok. It's good to be back and I'm actually looking forward to knuckling down to a bit of normal life for a while. I've even started to make a living...
However, whilst the wanderlust is quelled it is by no means extinguished. In a previous post I mentioned a couple of ideas for future travels and I'm pleased to say that my dad is up for one of them so we're looking into it. The planning and preparation involved will be considerably more than that needed for riding a motorbike across a couple of continents so I can't guarantee that we'll make it. I am fairly sure though that father and son travelling over strange lands in a confined space will be anything but uneventful. If you thought I was absent minded at times you should meet my dad! Got to go now as I have quite a bit of work to do. Thanks for reading and good luck in any future adventures of your own."
"From Stoney Creek we rode to Mississauga to stay at my folks for the night where we shared lots of stories and pictures from the journey, before heading north to Essa by midday the next day. We had a drink (and I had a cigar!) to toast our safe arrival home, before Petra's folks came over to celebrate and suffer through our stories and pictures!
Our ride took us to 14 countries in 89 days with a total distance of 24,145 km's. With only 65 days on the bikes, that's an average of over 370km's per riding day. We've seen remarkable landscapes and incredible diversity, met fascinating people, been awed by the kindness and generosity of strangers, challenged by roads, rivers, heat, cold, wind and natural disasters... in all a fantastic adventure.
In some ways it will be difficult to adjust to a normal life, but in other ways we are just on a journey of a different kind... each day may bring new challenges to adapt to, obstacles to overcome and sights and sounds to enjoy - but I think we're up to it!"
Support Horizons Unlimited - check out the HU Souk for DVD's, map stickers, jumpers / pullovers, mugs, steins, t-shirts, hats and other products with a variety of slogans!
Thanks! Grant and Susan
We've now reached an amazing 652 Communities in 106 Countries as of June 24, 2010!
A big thanks to all those who took the first step and established the Community in their area. New Communities are too many to list!
If you are on the road, do check out the Communities - don't feel like you're imposing on people! They signed up for a Community because they want to meet travellers - that's you! You'll have a great time, so go to the Communities page and let them know you're coming. Please remember that they are volunteers and offering to help because they're great people - common courtesy helps! When you write, tell them who you are, that you're passing through, and would like to meet them. Let them know if you need anything, and I'm sure they'll help as best they can.
For details on how you can join a Community in your area, or use the Communities to get information and help, or just meet people on the road or at home, go to the Community page. Send me some photos - with captions please - and a little text and you can have a web page about your Community! A few links to web pages about your area would be useful too.
Just a reminder to all, when you Join a Community in your area, send a note to the Community introducing yourself and suggesting a meeting, or go for a ride or something. It's a good way of meeting like-minded individuals in your own town.
Become an HU Contributing Member!
If you want a t-shirt or other logoed merchandise, go to the Store.
All contributions will be acknowledged and gratefully accepted. If you later decide you do want a t-shirt or other member logoed merchandise from the store, let us know and we will arrange access to the Members Private Store.
Also, you can just click on any Amazon link on the site and we'll get a small commission on your purchase of any Amazon merchandise - and it won't cost you any more!
Thanks, Grant and Susan
or even UNsubscribe
'now why would you want to do that?' to this
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!
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!
All text and photographs are copyright © Grant and Susan Johnson
and their respective authors or creators, 1987-2010.