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Achievable Dream DVD Series
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Welcome to the 83rd Edition of the e-zine. This is the July/August edition, and even later than the last edition! I thought May and June were busy, but July and August have been pretty crazy! The schedule didn't look that bad when viewed on a calendar last year...
The fifth DVD in the Achievable Dream series, 'Tire Changing', shipped in mid-July, just before we headed to Spain for the HUMM. After the HUMM, we drove home to the UK and had 1 full day at home to get errands done before flying to Canada.
The past 3 weekends we've been to 3 meetings: Canada, California and Colorado, all involving airplanes and rental cars, not nearly as much fun as travelling by bike! Lest you think that means we travelled in luxury, I must point out that we slept in a barn with bats in California, and in a closet with mice in Colorado, just to keep costs down ;-) We've really enjoyed the meetings, though, and the smaller turnouts allowed us to meet and chat with more people, so that was great.
Many thanks to our local organizers - Ekke and Audrey Kok (Canada), Stephen Leblanc (California) and Brad Tutor (Colorado); and to all the presenters and volunteers who make the meetings so special. Can't remember who said it: "It feels more like a family reunion than a bike rally", but I like the sentiment.
On Wednesday we fly to Atlanta for the North Carolina meet, then back to the UK next week, where we're really looking forward to sleeping in our own bed again! We'll be at the Ace Cafe on 18 September for Sam Manicom's new book launch. Then we hope to get a long weekend in Scotland, thanks to the generosity of the UK meeting attendees and Linzi, who decided we needed a rest - you're right!
But enough from me. Where are our intrepid travellers this month? We've got great stories from Alaska, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Norway, Peru, Poland, Siberia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe. 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 all the DVDs on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, 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!
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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:
"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.
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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, Mexico and Japan, Honda Falcon NX400s,
"We're off to see the Mariposas – the Monarch butterflies, one of nature's most amazing phenomena. Millions of butterflies make the hazardous 4000km journey from the Great Lakes region of the US and Canada to winter in the warm forests of Michoacan state – it takes five generations of butterflies to complete the journey. Sod the elusive resplendent Guatemalan quetzals – for once we're in the right place at the right time! However the rain that imprisoned us in Taxco wrought havoc in central Mexico. Severe floods had wrecked roads and bridges and the nearest village to the butterflies suffered a landslide; thirty people died and the sanctuary was closed.
We cautiously rode along an officially closed road (large chunk missing), nervously skirted some very sinister-looking masked police, all in black and armed to the teeth, outside the local tourist office in a nearby town. With a wide detour, we got to the unpronounceable but lovely little town of Tlalpujahua, spitting distance from another butterfly reserve. We got to see the butterflies after riding up a slippery dirt track and then hiking through the forest with our compulsory guide, who was grumpy because we insisted on walking rather than hiring horses (unpredictable brakes) with other tourists. In a sunny clearing, suddenly the path was blocked with a living carpet of brown and golden Monarchs. The trees, green everywhere else, were brown and gold. The air was full of them. They landed on our hats, on our clothes, on our hands. We were spellbound.
Japan... Our first challenge however was the loo.
And of course there is the slipper routine. Take your shoes/boots off at the entrance of every house and most restaurants. Put slippers on (provided) or make sure your socks don't have holes in them. Pad around till you get to the bathroom. Take slippers off, put on 'toilet slippers' and when finished grappling with the technology above, reverse the procedure. Do not forget to take off toilet slippers as they are generally plastic and sometimes have 'toilet' stamped on them, so everybody knows you've made a mistake... There is no excuse for being dirty in Japan, even if you wild camp. There are public loos everywhere, mainly the squat type, but they all have loo paper, and most are extremely clean, and they are all free. Such a delight after Central America as riding with crossed legs is quite difficult. There are also very cheap public baths in case you don't have one at home or are just passing through.
However best of all, because Japan is such a volcanic country, there are hundreds of 'onsen' or hot springs. The hot water varies from simple spring water to mineral rich or sulfurous – one amazing onsen in the Japanese Alps turned our white gold rings yellow for a time.
The onsen are mostly segregated – women one side and men the other – memo: learn the kanji for men and women so you go in the right door.... Having taken your shoes off at the entrance and bought your ticket from a machine (helped by the staff as you have no idea which button to press), you hand your ticket to the same staff who give you a locker key. Once safely inside the women's section, you strip off and take a seated shower (body wash, shampoo, conditioner all provided) in a row with all the other women. Alarmingly there is a full length mirror in front of you as you shower. Once squeaky clean, you hop naked into the first hot pool. Bliss - unless it's too hot and you have to jump out and find a cooler one."
Ed. See Sheonagh and Pat's blog here on Horizons Unlimited for more great stories and pics! Now in Korea, they promise updates coming soon!
Björn Holland, Germany, RTW, in Bolivia, BMW F650 Dakar,
"...I've recently had my '2 Years On The Road' jubilee, so went through images from the past 2 years. A lot of things have changed since 2008, and travelling for such a long time certainly moved energies and the general 'travel-mood'. I often think back to friends & family I left behind. And in recent months, whenever I went to see a so-called 'tourist highlight', I sometimes felt a bit 'over-saturated' and was missing the 'Wow!' experience. So it was good therapy for myself to look at some of my old images, which brought back some memories of people, places, food and other things.
On the way from Sucre to Uyuni, we spent the night just 20km outside Potosi to visit the Hot Springs there. Nothing better than a warm bath to start the day!
This is a common scene throughout Bolivia: all fresh tarmac, but you're not allowed to go on it. (I did in one instance, and the result was that my bike was covered in tar). I really like going off-road, but the constant change between tarmac and gravel every few kilometers (about 50 times a day) was soon going on my nerves - mainly because of the abundance of trucks that were either coming my way or needed overtaking.
After two nights in Potosi it was time to move on again. Ben and Mark went to Sucre, and I made my way back to Argentina and then San Pedro de Atacama.
I had heard various reports about temperatures on the salar, ranging from '-5' to '-20' degrees at night. So I bought some extra blankets for a few bucks down the local market."
Mark and Bronwyn Hosking, Australia, Europe to India 2010, in Bulgaria,
"Unfortunately we were unaware that to get from Romania to Bulgaria we had to go through Ruse. We though we would meander down the road that looked like it continued across the Danube. But when we got there and asked where and how to get to the other side we were told we had to go through Ruse. This meant another 2-300kms of rough road. It was interesting riding along the road next to the border. It was Friday afternoon and all of the local villages were full of people out on the streets talking with the children playing on the road. The occasional horse and cart about to add some visual impact to what we were seeing. It was a lovely scene, such simple lifestyles, no supermarkets, nothing other than corner stores (milk bars) such a simple life these people have yet some of them probably yearn for 'a better life'. I wonder.
We got to Georgiana on the Romanian side of Ruse and there were no signs to say how to get to Ruse, amazing. After asking a multitude of people and riding around in circles a couple of times we managed to find our way across and into the border guards' clutches for half an hour or so then onto Ruse for a hotel room for the night.
Our first posh hotel. ($40 Aus with breakfast) was nice but Ruse was a bit run down to say the least. A hot night, hot and muggy. Got up late and had our breakfast, (average for a posh hotel) then off down the road towards Idilevo. The amount of police on the roads was unbelievable. Seemed like they were everywhere, if only they could reallocate them jobs fixing roads, and putting direction signs life would be heaps better. We had another tough morning navigating, we got into the town where we had to turn right and the roadwork people had blocked the main road through the city as they were working on the roundabout in the middle of town. But no-one had thought to tell you how to get around the roadwork and back onto the main road. We did about 10kms trying to get back to that damn road and ended up in woop woop on a road that felt like more of a 4wd track. (lovely scenery though). Finished up getting back on the main road then there were no signs telling us where we had to go. It seemed like we rode around and through that town for hours. After 2-3 hours we completed the 120kms and got to the 'Motocamp Bulgaria' in Idilevo. It felt like a haven from all of the ills of everything that had gone on for the past couple of days. We were fortunate to meet Doug and Poly (who run Motocamp Bulgaria) and also Grant and Susan.
It was a fantastic meeting, we got there a bit late and missed some of the talks but the talks we heard were great (tyre changing, ergonomics, Doug's trip through Russia, Turkey trips, Women only) The Horizons' videos were going as well and it was fantastic to watch them again as I took so much more in as the information feels more experiential for us now. It was fantastic to meet some local Bulgarians, such a wonderful lot of people. There were other travellers there, some from the UK (Anita (Brons lost twin) and partner Mathew) a couple from Iceland (on Vstrom 1000, and 650) a couple from Switzerland on BMW R1200GS's
We had a fantastic time there and I am sure we will meet some of the people that were there again. The camp was a real haven in a foreign land. I suppose it is because there are people there that you can speak freely with in english so it makes it all so much easier."
Sherri Jo Wilkins and Walter Colebatch - Sibirsky Extreme 2010 journey from Magadan to Irkutsk,
Walter: "Now that I had found my bike, I set about finding Sherri, my co-rider. As recently as 6 weeks ago I had 5 people coming along on the trip - 4 guys and 1 girl. Slowly but surely, all the guys pulled out citing a variety of reasons, leaving me with a single female co-rider. Tiffany Coates had suggested to me last year I should lead an all girl ride on the Road of Bones and that guys couldn't be relied upon! As it turns out, that's what I have now. I found Sherri at the hotel / hostel place near Sokcho port where we had agreed to meet. She is on a kitted out KTM 690R.
Sherri has recently departed from Australia to ride solo around the world. Leading up to this point, she has crossed Australia, then Japan and now Korea. So it's still early days for her. She was bold enough to want to take on the Road of Bones, so I am happy to help her get a grip with how things are done in Russia."
Sherri Jo: "Leaving Magadan, my first day on the dirt roads, incredible people living a really rough life who housed us for the night... of coarse the Gulag visit which I have posted on facebook.. that was a really big deal... many more photos of the big track to get there... biggest challenge for me ever! (I hope there are no English teachers critiquing my sentence structure!)
We rode last night until Midnight... really pushing my limits.. Exhausted both mentally and physically from the rough roads, but we got there.. I get slower as I get more tired.. and poor Walter is very very patient with me.. he will deserve a medal if I can make it to Irkutsk ;-) He is a really good teacher, and I have learned so much riding in the last 2 days."
Gareth (Bok) Davey, Trans-Africa, KTM 990,
"On 9 June 2010, I reached Cairo, just a few hours before sunset. My quest had lasted 14 weeks and taken me through 10 countries and kingdoms: South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt. By my daily GPS record, I have traveled over 14,000 kilometers. I fought through rain, hail, thunderstorms, sandstorms, extreme heat and fatigue to be able to finally say that I have conquered this continent. The last few days of the trip were emblematic of the entire expedition, with highs and lows, solitude and joy, and encounters with both the natural wonders and teeming societies of the ancient and modern day African life.
The lands I have visited mixed natural beauty with the harshest living conditions that Africans, through the centuries, have managed to endure. If they can endure this, they can endure anything. I have experienced the beauty of the Mozambican coastline, the mouth-dropping setting of Lake Malawi, the open plains of the Serengeti, the majestic Kilimanjaro, the abundant Kenyan wildlife, the thunderous source of the Nile, the solitude of the 'Road to Hell', the dramatic Ethiopian highlands, the unrelenting heat of the Sahara, the life-giving Nile Valley and the overwhelming chaos of Cairo.
Every location along the way provided its own challenges and held a unique reward that is embedded forever in my heart. This has not only been a journey through Africa but it has also been a journey deep into my soul. I left expecting to only discover Africa, but have returned having also discovered myself. I have become my own best friend.
More than ever, I am committed to the African land and its people that I have come to know and love. The international community, ever embarrassed about Africa, has turned its eye away from this wonderful continent. Hopefully my story will help in some small way to prove that Africa and its people will succeed. We don't need help, we just need time ... "
Daniel Shell, UK, in Brazil, Harley-Davidson,
"We left for the falls bright and early, and arrived at the park just after the gates opened. As we had been directed by previous visitors to the falls, we took the train out to the first walkway that led directly over the main waterfalls, named the 'Devil's Throat', the largest of the 270 odd falls in the series. I had been slightly jaded by our travels, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to be blown away, or even surprised by many of the sights we visited, but Iguazu did not disappoint.
The view was breathtaking, and the roar of the water rushing over the edge of the falls and into the deep canyon below was awesome. We stopped to take it all in, then we took the obligatory photos, and then we looked again. It was too much to comprehend. The power and force of nature, once again reducing us as nothing more than fragile human beings, temporarily residing on Mother Earth.
We spent the rest of the day walking around in the searing heat, occasionally getting a good soaking from the falls, spotting Toucans in the trees, and exploring the falls.
The following day, we took the bus from Puerto Iguazu to Cuidad del Este, a tax free zone on the triple border between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.
We booked ourselves on a trip to see the largest favella in Rio, Rocinha. We wouldn't usually for the organised group tour, but an unguided stroll through a Favella of some 250,000 inhabitants, policed and run by machine gun toting drug lords and narcos didn't hold much appeal either.
We were picked up by a mini bus, and joined a group totally 14 or 15 other gringo tourists, eager to catch a glimpse of life on the hillside residences that peered down onto the white sandy beaches and high rise condos of the more fortunate Cariocans.
Over time, the wooden shacks were replaced with concrete and brick, with homes being built literally one on top of the other, sometimes up to nine stories high. The land being built upon was, and still is owned by the government and is part of Rio's national parks network. Most of the residences, and in turn their inhabitants live there illegally, under the radar. The water company runs water through the favella for half an hour in the morning, and half an hour in the afternoon, and the residents who are not plumbed in directly to any source of water go out to the street and collect water from the pipes.
A few of the residents have addresses and are registered, giving them the opportunity to vote, but the vast majority simply don't exist."
Ed. See more great stories and pics in Daniel's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!
Mike and Ruby, Canada, in Uzbekistan and Siberia,
"We have updated the website with the Uzbekistan photos and journal. The country overwhelmed us with all the beautiful, unique and well preserved historical structures. We saw the ship wreaks at the Aral Sea in the most western part of the country, then passed through the ancient silk route settlements of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand and ended up at Margilon in the Ferghana Valley the most eastern part. The highlights beside the incredible historical structures were the homemade food, friendly and helpful Uzbek people and the Silk Production Factory in Margilon. The low light was the consistent shortage of Benzin (fuel).
After 25,000km from Germany through the Caucasus countries, Central Asia, Mongolia and Eastern Siberia we have arrived in Vladivostok. The last 3500km we have been trying to nurse a failing rear drive, the front shock on Mike's motorcycles is gone, as is the rear shock on Ruby's motorcycles. To add to it all we believe that the frame on Mike's motorcycle has cracked. To make a long story short, we have come up with an alternative plan, which is something we had planned for the future anyway.
Both motorcycles were dropped off with the shipping company and will be making their journey across Russia from Vladivostok to Moscow on a three (3) week train trip. We will be boarding the Trans-Siberian Railway tonight and travelling the 10,000 famous route via train from Vladivostok, stopping at Lake Baikal, continuing to Moscow for some sightseeing and ending up in St. Petersburg.
We will pick up the motorcycles in Moscow and attempt the last few thousand kilometers back to Germany. In addition we have updated the website with the Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan pictures and journal. This is it for all the 'stan' countries.
The highlight of the trip, Mongolia, is still a ways away..."
Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, RTW (193 countries), in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Norway, on Harley-Davidson,
"Europe has expanded compared to our previous visit eleven years ago. The large structures, once designed to isolate a country, checking goods for customs and people for visas still remain at each border, but the are now empty shells, empty of officials, just the money changers remain, and they will slowly disappear as the Euro spreads.
Torun is a lovely city of enormous red brick buildings. Its old city centre, like many in today's Europe, has been pedestrianised, giving that quiet old worldly appeal of life before the motorcar, and yet just a few hundred metres away there is the bustle of modernity. There are the church squares, now sprouting summer outdoor restaurants and bars, the buskers providing ambiance, and children playing in the streets. Of course there are the few street dwellers, disheveled and drunk, like in most cities, but Torun, even though it attracts some tourists, is not on the major hit list, and keeps a lovely appeal.
...From Latvia, an early start to avoid the expected over 30 degrees. Daylight is at 4.30am, so it was easy. In fact it seems that the longer the daylight the less sleep we need in these regions. The locals sleep longer in winter, shorter in summer, almost a sort of mini hibernation. Nearing the border our road turned to dirt, a small border crossing with little indication that it was indeed a border, just one signpost.
... Sometimes the motorcycle's problems get to us. It is old, has had a hard life, owes us nothing, but still when we get a series of rapid problems, one after the other, we wonder is it really worth continuing with the same vehicle. There are thousands of components to the motorcycle and each one has a limited life. Some, like oils, it is 4000 km's, tyres perhaps 20,000 km's, a belt for us averages 55,000 km's, an engine rebuild 220,000 km's, the clutch 280,000 km's, but eventually everything wears out, so while we are still maintaining and replacing the more regular maintenance or shorter lived components, new ones, ones that have never broken before, are still wearing out. Recently it has been the stator, then the oil seal problem, the rotor, and yesterday when we arrived in Kaunas we noticed the slightly leaking rear shock had completely given way and had dumped most of its oil, some onto the rear brake disk, the rest sprayed up over the back of the motorcycle. When is it time to retire the motorcycle?
...Nordkapp is on an island and since our last visit, where we had to take a ferry, they have now built a tunnel, almost 7 km's long, under the ocean. Still charging what seems to be ferry prices they charge for the vehicle and each passenger, almost 15 Euro for us.
The price to enter the ever increasingly commercial Nordkapp enclave has risen to almost 30 Euro each person but it hasn't deterred most travellers, busloads of whom were parked up there along with motor homes and cars. We again chose not to enter, having better things to do with 60 Euros, and watched the midnight sun hover over the water from the roadside just short of the top.
Nordkapp is busier than on our last visit, much busier. Last night, just after midnight, it was bumper to bumper traffic leaving the Nordkapp expensively commercial site. More vehicles, more buses, and many many more motorcycles than on our last visit. It has almost become a pilgrimage. In contrast to Finland most of the vehicles here are out of country registered, so despite the cost, Norway, its scenery and nature, are still drawing tourists. We are at a comfortable campground in Skarsvag, less than 20 km's from Nordkapp, over 400 km's above the Arctic Circle, further north than Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, but the weather is forecast for heavy rain tomorrow so we decided to hold up here where there is internet and a comfortable camp kitchen to use it in.
A sea fog rolled in across the hills around lunch time, clouding the coast and cooling the already cold air. At first we attempted to ride to the top of nearby hills for sunshine but gave up late afternoon and settled into the camp kitchen, taking an evening walk, still in fog, just for a bit of warming up exercise before dinner."
Jay Kannaiyan, USA, Latin America and Africa, in Bolivia, DR650,
"This is it. The big one for me. I left the US in early March on a 2+ year journey through Latin America and Africa. It's one way and don't know when I'll be coming back to the US. I've sold everything off and my only possessions will be my DR650 and what I can carry with me.
Thanks to everyone on HU who's helped with trip planning questions over the years, and to everyone who has gone before me and provided inspiration and information through your ride reports. I'm about four months into my trip and currently in La Paz, Bolivia.
We had wave swells of 3-4 meter (10-13 ft) and the ship was pitching quite aggressively; more fun than any roller coaster ride I've been on.
View of our island for the day at Cocobandero in the San Blas Archipelago on the way from Panama to Colombia."
Ken Thomas, UK to Cape Town, in Tanzania, Yamaha TTR,
"The next morning, departing Kibondo, I knew immediately why I nearly abandoned my visit to Kigoma last week. The nice dirt road of the previous day had changed into a mass of loose stone chippings and thick soft dust taking the form of deep holes, corrugations, transverse ditches, ruts and every other possibility you can imagine.
I was careful this time to look out for those deep channels right across the road, cut by the rains and filled with stones and thick dust. But distracted by the concentration needed, I found myself a couple of times in a concealed rut which I could see became deeper and deeper ahead, and it was too late to steer out. And braking wasn't really an option either. These ruts are the width of a double truck tyre, filled with loose stones in the bottom with a layer of soft dust, maybe three inches deep, on top. The nearest you can get, I think, to the ubiquitous 'riding on marbles'. So I quickly made sure to identify those in good time.
I found this pretty tiring on top of yesterday's relatively easy (but 140 miles) dirt ride. So I was persuaded to stop a couple of times for photos, when I could find a spot to park the bike without too much paddling about in deep powder on the edge of the road.
...This central part of Tanzania was alive with volcanoes millions of years ago, which showered the land with rocks and boulders as well as lava. Consequently massive, strangely shaped boulders dot the landscape, some on their own, many in huge piles and clusters. Somehow or other, most of the largest boulders ended up balanced on their ends on top of piles of stones, or on one single even larger boulder. A strange landscape.
At the top of the ridge towards Dodoma the road skirts round two volcanic rock sentinels. An enormous bolder perches on top of a cone of boulders on the left.
There were four or five separate systems of alternate one-way working around the mountainsides, each about two miles long, controlled not by traffic lights but by enormous gates across the road and a system of walkie-talkies. There were many long queues of resting truck drivers and impatient bus drivers, but I was waved through every time, sometimes having the whole gravel road, or whole new tarmac road, to myself.
The big gate was closed behind me as there was no traffic following, but a long line of traffic ahead of me. I stayed there a while before realising the heavy lorries that were in front had disappeared into the distance. And the road here was just one bus-width wide. If the last lorry ahead got through the distant gate without me in sight, the gate man there would unleash a roaring hoard of angry buses right into my path. Oh dear, I had better get a move on, and hope nothing came round the tight turns hugging the mountainside. Well, luckily this section was quite a few miles long, so I caught up the freight ahead OK, followed it all through the exit gate and the short way up to the next gate, where I was waved past it all to the front. So that was alright then.
It looked as though I would reach Mikumi town in good time, so I stayed on the road as it went straight through the middle of Mikumi National Park on the way. First on the bill were baboons wandering all over the road, they certainly like the tarmac. Followed by antelope with long horns, don't know the name. I had to snap them as soon as I stopped. If I get off the bike they scamper away."
Ed. Follow the adventure at Ken's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!
Dom Giles, UK, Alaska to Panama and then some..., in Alaska, BMW 1200GS,
"Dalton Highway - Failure is the new success. Two days after flying in to Anchorage I was on the road on my 1200GS and heading for Fairbanks. It had been incredibly easy to buy the bike in Alaska. I had the bike registered and insured in one afternoon and I was on the road the next day. As Anchorage had been wet and Fairbanks promised sun my six month trip down North America to Panama was going to start with a 350 mile trip north.
Fairbanks was nicer than I expected and full of motorbikes. The Dalton highway (to Prudhoe Bay) clearly beckoned bikers from all over, and every time I stopped there were BMWs, KTMs and Harleys all over the place. I hadn't given much thought to heading up to Prudhoe myself, and had heard that the road was notoriously tricky, but the longer I was in Fairbanks the more it appealed. Discretion being the better part of valour, however, I decided that with two days of riding experience on this bike it would be somewhat foolish to head 400 miles up this cul-de-sac.
I did however decide to go part of the way, up to the Arctic circle. The road this far was supposed to be in good order and one sunny morning, I pointed the bike north and headed for the Circle. The road is paved for the first 80 miles out of Fairbanks, the rough stuff only started at the very 'stickered', official Dalton Highway sign (now adorned with a Horizons Unlimited sticker alongside the dozens of others). The next 55 miles, to the mighty Yukon river and bridge was easy going packed mud and gravel and I was cruising along at 50 miles an hour. All the stories of huge trucks overtaking me and pushing me into the mounds of gravel on the sides of the road were just, well, stories.
Crossing the Yukon the road got a little rougher in places, but never really bad and there were even stretches of tarmac. 60 miles on and I reached the Arctic Circle. In fact, to be honest, I missed it. I was having such a good time, the bike was purring, the scenery amazing and the road actually quite good, that I missed the rather large sign announcing my arrival at the Arctic Circle. I knew the Circle was at mile 115 and when I passed mile 122 I realised that I'd gone too far and I pulled off to the side of the road. Dismounting, I felt a little silly that I'd gone too far. I stopped for a few minutes to soak in the enormous scenery and silence. Contemplating the fact that I was about to turn the bike around and head south, all the way to Panama, I may have inadvertently shouted something silly in my helmet ('Panama here I come' - you know the kind of thing) and headed south for the Arctic Circle ( not many people can say that!)
Do I regret not carrying on to Prudhoe Bay? Well, yes and no. It was never my intention to get there and as I was just starting my trip I didn't feel the need to. Having only ridden this bike for two days I thought it a little risky to head up there and I certainly didn't want my round the world trip to end in the first week with a broken ankle on the Dalton. Could I have made it? Probably. By all accounts the road up to Coldfoot (60 miles north of the Circle) was absolutely fine. But then it was another 240 miles to Prudhoe Bay and some of that road was certainly tricky. 'It's like riding on snot and marbles' I was told. I met many people who had made it. Mainly on BMWs but one on a Kawasaki 1400 road bike, and even a Ducati. But, of course, you don't meet the ones who didn't make it as they are in hospital!
Later that week as my confidence grew, I crossed the 135 miles gravel and dirt Denali Highway, and went 60 miles down a really bumpy dirt track to McCarthy, so I suppose, yes I could have made it to Prudhoe Bay. Certainly, after 10 days and 2500 miles riding in Alaska by the time I left and entered Canada I certainly felt confident enough to have tackled the Dalton. Alaska has taught me that I need to be a little more adventurous and confident that I can do more than I might at first think I can. And if life and travelling are all about learning new things then the whole experience has been a huge success. (That's what I'm telling myself anyway)."
Bob and Sheila Oldfield, UK, ATW 2010-2011, in Mongolia, Cambodia and Thailand,
"The shipping company are messing about. They don't seem to have any idea of how to ship the bikes, and have just printed off the Internet a 'how to prepare a bike for air-freight' document. It's all so frustrating.
...Although we both had serious reservations about leaving the bikes without knowing they were on their way to Thailand, we knew we had to let the shipping company deal with it all. So we're off to the airport for a flight to Beijing, China, while the bikes are expected to leave on 7th...
...The shipping company operative has now decided that the fuel tanks should have been emptied, and that it's too difficult for him to empty them, and would we like to post the keys, or return to Ulan Bator to do it ourselves! What an idiot this guy is -we sent him a youtube video of how to siphon fluids. Decided to go to Cambodia for a couple of days, since the bikes seem to be going nowhere still.
Another absolutely incredible sight - it covers such a wide area, and is just amazingly beautiful. Apparently some of 'Tomb Raider' was filmed here, but it's a very peaceful place, and the guide is very enthusiastic and knowledgeable.
... Another interesting journey, back to Thailand. First a minibus into Siem Reap, then a coach to the border. There was supposed to be someone to meet us to help us through the border procedure, but no-one appeared. Just as well I had the presence of mind to pick up one of their brochures while we were sat waiting to be told what to do 2 days ago. We called the lady, and she said she'd be there in a minute. An hour later she turned up, and then palmed us off onto another cramped minibus which happened to be going somewhere in Bangkok. There may have been room for 2 people, but not room for 2 people with 2 rucksacks! But if you can't argue in their language, they don't want to know, and play dumb. So eventually we got dropped near Bangkok main train station, and told to get a taxi back to the hotel. We were just so relieved to get back to Bangkok, that at the time we didn't notice that our 30-day visa for Thailand has been converted to a 15-day visa now.
Got a taxi out to Bangkok Airport early, expecting to spend all day doing paperwork, or sitting around doing nothing waiting for other people to pull their fingers out. In the end, we did 10 minutes of paperwork, and then had to wait for Customs to have lunch. But then they released the crates at around 14:30. We hadn't expected we would have to put them back together again, and drive them back to Bangkok today - we're in a hostel right in the middle of the busy market/gay area, with nowhere to park them, no maps of how to get back to the right area, and no real idea of how to get the 30km back to Bangkok without using the Expressway (which motorbikes are not allowed on!)"
Hubert Kriegel, France, Sidecar-ing the world, in Mongolia,
"When I was in Switzerland last week, I went to see a dentist to modify a denture because so it goes in life! The dentist told me that he would not touch my denture and that in Switzerland they do only the 'Rolex of the teeth'. I told him that I did not need the denture to eat caviar but to eat boiled sheep in Mongolian ger!
This afternoon I was able to see my Gana the Mongol dentist who helped me a couple of times this winter. She is making me a new denture, we did the first print on the spot, tomorrow morning is the first try with a 'Bite print' and Thursday it will be done. The price is $25, I cannot lose!
Ed. Check out Hubert's website for lots of great pics!
Brendan Seaton, Canada, Wiped out on the Dempster, DL650,
"I can't say I wasn't warned. Its well known that the gravel on the Dempster Highway from Dawson to Inuvik is a killer... as I learned 70 kilometers south of Inuvik. You would think that after having driven almost 700 kilometers in the stuff I would be used to it. But no... every patch of loose gravel on the Dempster is different. I was riding my fully farkled DL650 with TKC80 tires.
It wasn't speed... I was only doing 60 or 70 kms/hour when I hit the gravel patch. It wasn't weather... it was a beautiful day... about 24 degrees Celsius - 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
The back end started to fishtail, the bike went into an uncontrollable wobble and went down low side. In the process my foot went down and I could feel the bones in my ankle snapping. Then it stopped. The engine cut out and there was silence. Total silence. I was in the middle of the road. I knew my leg was broken, but everything else was OK. ATGATT. Never compromise. I was under the bike but not pinned. My Caribou cases kept the bike up off the injured leg.
Fortunately I had decided to bring a satellite phone with me and got the number of the RCMP communications centre in the Yukon before I left. It worked perfectly... Though I was now in the Northwest Territories. It took a few seconds to transfer the call to the RCMP detachment in Inuvik. From my GPS I was able to tell them how far down the road from Inuvik I was, and was able to give them the precise GPS coordinates. While on the phone a camper van from Washington State driven by a really nice chap named Ralph pulled up. Though you're riding alone on the Dempster, at this time of year you can count on another vehicle coming by every 10 or 15 minutes. The RCMP asked to speak to Ralph just in case I passed out. He agreed to stay with me until help arrived.
It took the RCMP about 45 minutes to get to me. 50 minutes for the ambulance. In the meantime, a couple from Inuvik on the way home stopped and helped get me to the side of the road and get the bike off the road. Several other vehicles, including one biker, stopped to offer assistance.
Inuvik has a little hospital with very kind and competent medical and nursing staff. They X-rayed my leg and sent the X-rays electronically to an orthopaedic surgeon in Yellowknife. It was decided to Medevac me to Yellowknife on a fixed wing air ambulance.... Oh... Insurance.... Don't leave home without that either. The Medevac bill was $15K.
And the best motel I 'never' stayed at? I was heading for the Arctic Chalet in Inuvik. When the proprietor learned that I had been in an accident, she came to the hospital to see me, but I had already been airlifted to Yellowknife. She tracked down my wife in Toronto and offered to help in any way. She and her husband are now making all the arrangements to get my bike, gear and luggage shipped home. If their accommodations are half as good as their kindness..... its unquestionably 5 star.
And a plug for Caribou cases... the laptop this is being typed on was in the case that hit the ground the hardest. The mountings on the left side are bent up, but the cases themselves are still intact and will be on the bike for the next trip.
I was told by the RCMP that the bike is in pretty good shape. Only real damage is bent handlebars, and a broken side mirror. Crash bars and barkbusters helped there.
Yeah... I crashed my bike.... I broke my ankle.... But I made it to the Arctic Circle and had my faith in humanity restored. Check out the video..."
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
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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!
Registration is open for ...
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 (Dakota) Makin is the local organizer for this mini-meeting. See the HUBB post and just let her know if you're coming.
Bulgaria mini-meeting - 24-26 September. See the HUBB post and just let Doug and Poly know if you're coming.
Germany (Autumn) - 29 Oct - 1 Nov. Same location as summer event. Registration open now!
Ireland 2011 - 27-29 May 2011. Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. Liam McIlhone and Drew Millar are the local organizers for this event. Registration open now!
UK 2011 - 23-26 June 2011. Ripley, Derbyshire. Registration open now!
You missed ...
Italy - 15-18 July, near Lake Garda. Jens Ruprecht hosted this event. "Terrific meeting. Many thanks to all who worked so hard to make this happen, great weather, magnificent people could not have asked for more." More comments and pics here!
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. See the HUBB posts for comments and links to videos!
Canada West - Nakusp, BC. 12-15 August. Ekke and Audrey Kok were the local organizers for this event, which had a record 180 attendees! Grant and Susan were there. Comments here!
California - 19-22 Aug, the 'Lost Coast' north of San Francisco. Stephen Leblanc is our local organizer. Grant and Susan were there. Carla King writes: "Fun, informative, so amazing in many ways, exceeded all my expectations. Loved meeting the tribe - thanks for organizing!" See the HUBB posts for more comments and pics!
Colorado - 26-29 Aug, Silverton. By popular request, and after a lot of negotiating with the venue, we returned to Silverton! Brad Tutor was our local organizer. Grant and Susan were there. Comments to come!
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) were featured presenters! Comments here!
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, first aid, 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
Darius and Jane Skrzypiec,
"Hi, friends, we added some countries to our list and visited some great places too.
For sure is Vienna one of the highlights of the trip due to the awesome 'tour' with our friends Irene and Stefan, who spent lots of time and effort to show us 'their' city.
I apologize for being not up to date with our story... but, at least I was able to upload some pics. Many thanks for following up on us."
Cam Brookes, Australia, in Zimbabwe, Royal Enfield Thunderbird Twinspark,
"Towards the end of my time in Harare I open a briefcase filled with wads of cash and carefully select half a dozen notes, totaling a few hundred million Zimbabwe dollars, to take as souvenirs. Now that the country has moved to US dollars as their legal currency touts pedal the old notes to tourists for US$5 each, significantly more than they were worth when they were taken out of circulation (2008ish?).
I'm enthralled by how a country could get to the point where they were printing 100 trillion dollar notes and these were devaluing so quickly that people were paying for goods with sacks of notes! I spend a bit of time listening to stories; of how wives were told to spend every dollar as soon as it was earned, before the cash became worthless; of truckloads of fuel being brought in from Sth Africa, paid for with a ute-load of cash which was quickly used to buy gold from small time prospectors (who had no choice but to sell for Zim dollars), and in turn the gold could purchase another load of fuel from South Africa; of queuing for 5 hours for petrol but only being allowed to take 10 or 20 litres; of how supermarkets were forced to stay open and keep staff on though they only had a few lines of stock to spread out across their shelves; and of people bringing basic supplies from South Africa and selling them out of their houses on the 'black market' as US dollars were not legal currency.
Without these conversations it might be hard to know that the problems ever existed as life in the capital appears to have returned to some semblance of 'normal'"
Ed. See more of Cam's stories and great pics here on Horizons Unlimited!
Ian Moor, UK, Wrong Way Round The World, in Colorado, BMW F650GS,
"Having crossed the continental divide (again) at Willow Creek Pass (9683 feet - 2970 metres) I continued on towards Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. I was in Colorado in April but it wasn't possible to get up to Rocky Mountain National Park that early in the year due to the snow and low temperatures.
I had only been in the south west corner of Colorado to Mesa Verde National Park and coincidently Silverton and the San Juan Mountains where Horizons Unlimited are hosting a meeting towards the end of August (26th - 29th). As I have an invitation from the Department Of Homeland Security to leave the USA on or before the 9th September 2010 I am unfortunately unable to attend the Silverton meeting but I'm sure all that do will have a good time."
Ed. We're sorry you missed the HU meeting too! Follow Ian's adventures in his blog here on Horizons Unlimited!
Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Grant says: "The Omega system is simply a must-do for all airheads" (And I have the starter too!)
Peter and Brucella Ridley, in Peru,
Raul Cobelo, Argentina, in Los Angeles,
"Here I will be enjoying this part of the American West for 3 weeks. I will put up some photos and news so you that are in the cold parts of the globe can enjoy the hot news from here. Recharging batteries for the next phase - ¾ of the way to Alaska. I'll be organizing roads and places of interest to know because there are several ways to get north. I have some photos and video of the last mile that I'm going to put on the website soon. I send a big hug and thanks for following me."
Adam Lewis, UK, RTW, in Alaska,
"It would have been nice to have passed the 100k miles marker on the same bike I'd left home with but it wasn't to be; and so with Lady P (my BMW F650) taking early retirement the task was left to the newly named 'Rosie'* (my Suzuki DR650). And so it was on August 11th 2010, somewhere on the Alaska Highway west of Tok, Alaska I rolled over 100,000 miles since leaving home on St. Patricks Day 2006. And what a 100,000 miles it's been - 4½ years, 5 continents, 38 countries.
* Why Rosie? DR=Desert Rose. Rose Tyler was Dr.Who's best ever assistant and was played by top bird and my beautiful niece's namesake - Billie Piper. So 'Rosie' it is."
Frank Butler, PNG, RTW since 2002, in Australia, BMW F650 GS Dakar,
"I am still running around Australia, doing some big distances and seeing a lot of Gum trees...but everyday I have to say to myself...what a fantastic place... adventure on a grand scale... bring your wallet... it's not cheap, but well worth the money."
Alexandra and Andre Klier, Germany, in Australia,
"It's a real pity that we can't be at the HU meetings this year, as is really great with Jens, you and all the other travellers in this familiar atmosphere. We actually started our own journey and got stuck right in the beginning in Darwin, Australia, waiting for our motorbikes, which were delayed more than 2 weeks. It is very hot up here, but through the HUBB we have been invited from a nice Australian guy here to stay at his place. So thank you very much for your homepage with all information given and provided from other travellers. As soon as we have all transport cost together we will add it in the travellers section. Greetings to everybody at the HU meeting in Germany. Alexandra & Andre"
Ed. Travelling is always a valid excuse for not coming to an HU meeting ;-)
Luc Michel, from Paris, France writes to the HU Community at UlaanBaatar, from Ulan-Ude,
"I am a 48 year old french citizen travelling to Vladivostok on an old overloaded Honda TransAlp. I will drive to U.B. tomorrow. Kind of a last minute idea. As usual, I am looking for a cheap/reasonable priced place to stay a few days with safe storage for the bike. Any recommendations are welcome. Thanks for your time. Luc"
Gary Deeks, from Brisbane, Australia writes to the HU Community in Kuala Lumpur, at the start of a solo RTW trip through South East Asia,
"I will be air shipping my bike,a Suzuki DL650 to KL. I would appreciate knowing of the best road maps for Malaysia, a contact where I could buy them and if there are GPS maps available for my Garmin Zumo."
Jessica Guida, from Norwich, UK, setting out on a road trip of BC, Yukon and Alaska,
"Any advice on good spots to visit or information that will be useful would be very much appreciated. I'm on a shoe-string budget, camping wherever I can find a safe spot in this beautiful part of the world and so if you know of good (and free) camp spots please let me know.
I'm doing this solo at the moment - but if anyone wants to join at any point then please get in touch. (Although I'm on a small bike, 250 cruiser, and so covering big distances per day in not my aim). I enjoy hiking and observing nature and the bike is a wonderful and economical way to get me places where i can discover the awesomeness BC. Again, any info on cool hikes/walks please get in touch. And some company would be great at any time -I'm doing this alone because none of my friends were able to come too and I'm not too keen on my own company all of the time."
John and Jane McComb, UK, RTW, writes to the HU Los Angeles community,
"Hi, I'm John McComb. From July this year my wife Jane and I will be on a rtw trip and we plan to arrive in LA this coming September 2010. I have a couple of questions that I hope you can help with. I need to prepare our bike for air shipment into Australia (Flying out of LAX) and are looking for information on places you may know that has cheap accommodation and I can work on the bike safely that are local to the shippers in LA? The shippers are at: 550 W. 135th Street, Gardena, CA 90248. Any information you have would be very helpful. In any case it will be nice to get in touch with you. Thanks, John"
Ed. John and Jane were at the HU meeting in Silverton, Colorado - good to see you both again!
Mark Davies and his wife, from Bordon, UK
... are starting their RTW trip in Nov 10. They are flying into India then travelling down to Goa. They would like some tips on the area and good places to stay.
Alisa Clickenger, USA, to South America, in Argentina, DR650,
"It was a Monday and there wasn't a soul around. I started walking in what I thought was the right direction, and then, RrrrOoooAaaaaRrrrr! RrOoAaRr. Roar. Now I knew which way to go. Curious thing about travelers, we all like to share cool information. Another motorcyclist had told me of a place that someone had told him about, a place where one might be able to pet the tigers. 'I'm in!' I declared, and I set off on the Internet to find out where to go.
Lujan Zoo is located outside Buenos Aires. Since I had time on my hands waiting for my passenger flight back to the USA (my motorbike had been shipped a few days prior) I decided to check it out. Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed I'd get a change to cuddle up to a tiger.
Because the zoo was virtually deserted, I was able to enter the habitat for almost an hour. At first I was extremely nervous being in a cage with four tigers. They were all about six months old, and had been habituated to humans since birth, I was told. One male was super playful and an instigator - he kept trying to engage the others in play, but for the rest of his siblings it was nap time, so he soon followed suit. Being the odd human out, the handlers encouraged me to join them in the hay for a little cuddle. It was certainly against my instincts, but it was the experience of a lifetime."
Dave Hulse and Ron Korsch, USA, Colorado to Prudhoe Bay with too much stuff,
"Tuesday evening a guy from the Czech Republic living in Vancouver rode in on a Ural with side car and camped next to us. He had come up the Cassiar that day and had seen 8 bears on the way up. The Ural looked kind of fun but he said it gets poor gas mileage and the side car makes for a rough ride. It did have two wheel drive which came in handy when he got stuck in a construction area.
On Wednesday (I think, the days are running together) we rode from near Watson Lake down the Cassiar to Hyder Alaska, 399 miles. I only saw two bears which ran off the road when they saw me so Ron did not get to see them. We did see a truck on its top. We can not figure how it ended up where it did.
There is a place on Fish Creek where the Forest Service has build a viewing area for when the Salmon are running and the bears feed on the fish to put on weight for the winter. It begins sometime in July and ends in September. We happen to be early. There is a report that four fish made it upstream and a bear made short work of them but that has been all. We rode up to the Salmon Glacier and Ron changed his oil while I looked at my air filter.
We are camped behind the bar/campground and put our food in the laundry room at night so the bears will not come around, hopefully. We are armed though, rocks, a hatchet and a machete make up our arsenal. We will head over to the town dump to look for bears later."
Ed. Dave and Ron presented their story to the HU Colorado meeting this year - thanks guys!
Leaving soon below...
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.