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Achievable Dream DVD Series
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Welcome to the 84th Edition of the e-zine. Although we're slightly late for September, we are back to a monthly schedule (Yea!) and will try to keep on schedule now through the winter. Our last edition was produced 'on the road' in Canada between HU meetings. Since then we were at the North Carolina meet, then flew back to the UK just in time for Sam Manicom's new book launch at the Ace Cafe. Next week we're heading to Germany for Intermot, then we hope to get away for a few days. The summer just flew by in a blur, but it was great to finally meet so many people and put faces to names at the meetings we got to.
We have a lot of catching up to do, including all the stuff we couldn't do while out of office as well as the paperwork for all the meetings. Since my part-time bookkeeper departed for a full-time job, the paperwork falls to me. (If anyone knows of a good bookkeeper, experienced with spreadsheets, who would like part-time work, please put them in touch with me, thanks!) If you became a Contributing Member at a meeting this summer and are still waiting for your HUBB upgrade, thanks for your patience! We have also ordered additional synth t-shirts and should have them by end of October, so if you're still waiting for a t-shirt, we haven't forgotten you!
If you've missed out on attending an HU meeting this year, there's still one major 2010 meeting left - the Germany autumn meeting is 29 Oct-1 Nov, same location as this summer. Registration here.
Many of the meeting and event dates for 2011 are now confirmed, although we haven't concluded negotiations with all the venues on pricing, so we can't yet start registering folks for some of them. At least you can mark your calendars now for many of the meetings, see below.
E-zine Achievable Dream DVD Special!
Regular readers of this e-zine will be aware that all 5 (yes, 5!) of the Achievable Dream Series DVDs are finally available. This 2-year project has resulted in 18+ hours of informative and entertaining content. The DVDs are selling really well, over 5,000 in 18 months, and we're already into our second PAL printings for 'Get Ready!' and 'On the Road!'. Feedback has been great, too, which is very gratifying! You can see the trailers and read the comments for all the DVDs here.
In case you haven't yet completed your collection, or if you're thinking about holiday presents for friends or family, e-zine readers can buy the DVDs at 10% off the retail price:
A number of people have requested a nicely boxed set - and your wish is our command, so the 'Collectors Box Set' is coming soon, in plenty of time for Christmas giving - for yourself or someone else! All 5 DVDs at a gift price of $129 in a custom box.
If you already have all the DVDs, and would like just the box to put them in, the Collectors DVD boxes will be available soon. The price for these is only $10, which includes shipping if you are purchasing any DVDs. If you are purchasing just the box, add $5 for shipping to anywhere in the world.
These offers are for orders during October 2010 only, so stock up now for Christmas! Note - for those of you who have bought the DVDs directly from us, check your e-mailboxes for an email offer from us. :-)
If you're new to this e-zine or have never heard of the Achievable Dream DVD series (perhaps living on a desert island with no Internet connection?), see more details and recent comments below.
Where are our intrepid travellers this month?
We've got great stories from Japan, Labrador, Paraguay, Turkey, Iran, Siberia, Brazil, Norway, Australia, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Russia, Austria, Italy, Ukraine, Texas, Colombia, Chile, Cambodia, Mongolia, Uruguay, Portugal, Spain, Bolivia, Alaska, Albania, Tunisia and Canada. 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
The 2010 Photo Contest is over, and the results are in! Congratulations to the 2010 Photo Contest winners: Hubert Kriegel, Eric Starling, Darius Skrzypiec, Peter Russell, Erdem Yucel, Iza Gamanska, Heike Pander, Adam Lewis, Martin Hák, Scott Kindleysides, Matthias Kuhlmann, Matjaz Prosen and Peter Cullen!
As always, narrowing down the hundreds of great photos to only 13 pics was really hard, but the winners really deserve their accolades. The small pics don't really do them justice, you'll have to buy the calendar to appreciate them in full size.
All winners receive a share of the proceeds from the calendar sales, a free calendar, and 1 year Gold Member status on the HUBB. In addition, Eric Starling (January) wins the Trackpicker Qstarz BT-Q 1000 X from Touratech, and Peter Russell (March) wins the Progressive Suspension 465 Series Shock Makeover.
The 2011 calendar is now available! Check it out and get your copy now, for some terrific travel inspiration! The calendars are available through CafePress, and the price is US$24.99 plus postage. The cost to us from CafePress is $14.99, and we split the $10.00 profit with the photographers.
2011 contest is now on!
The contest is now an annual event, where you can showcase your best photos, and they can help inspire others to get on the road too. The best 13 photos will be used in the calendar, and those photographers will share equally in half the proceeds. Winners will also get a free 2012 calendar, and 1 year Gold Member status on the HUBB.
Submit up to 6 photos, in high resolution jpg or tif format. To be a winner, so we can publish the calendar, you must have available at least 2300x1800 pixel or greater files, at a high jpg quality. Either dimension - or both can be larger! Photos must clearly portray Motorcycle Travel. The whole bike doesn't need to be in the picture, but it must be obvious that it's a motorcycle trip. If you are NOT THE PHOTOGRAPHER - please don't submit it!
Note: Copyright remains with the photographer, but Horizons Unlimited (HU) requires the right to:
Remember, contest closes September 1, 2011, so get your entry in! Anyone can win!
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.
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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.
Tea with Bin Laden's Brother, by Simon Roberts
An Adventure motorbiking graphic novel telling the gripping story of a solo ride through Iran, Pakistan and India to Nepal. Take a look inside...
Part 1 - Get Ready!
Part 2 - Gear Up!
Part 3 - On the Road!
Part 4 - Ladies on the Loose !
Part 5 - Tire Changing!
Tiffany Coates, UK, RTW, in Labrador and Maryland, BMW R80 GS,
"There was Something Big Outside my Tent. I woke up early yesterday morning on the west coast of Newfoundland near to the town of Cow Head. Something had woken me and I couldn't work out what it was. Then I heard it again, it was something big and it didn't sound human as there was a clumsiness to it.
I lay there thinking through my options, which, to be honest were somewhat limited. I had left the tyre levers on Thelma for the night so had no handy weapons, but I did have my bike helmet in the tent with me so I'd at least be able to protect my head. Eventually I decided to look outside, hoping it wouldn't be a bear. To my intense relief there was a huge moose standing next to Thelma, eating whatever moose eat.
By the time I'd dived back inside to grab my camera (and remove my helmet), the moose had moved away but was still within picture shooting distance, and obligingly stood there for a short time before ambling away.
...Au Revoir Canada - I had a final night staying with friends who are eccentric to say the least - they're not over keen on guests, but there's nothing like the persistence of a Coates I thought, as I negotiated my way past the nets strung out to prevent access to the front door and then just as I got to the door a water cannon sprang into action with a motion sensor that I had triggered resulting in a jet of water all over me - never mind, I had made it to the door - only to find the bell was disconnected. I proceeded to lay in wait until someone emerged.
...I was chased by wolves a couple of weeks ago in Labrador, and in my haste to get away from them, Thelma and I hit a rock in the ground at high speed, which made the speedo needle drop to zero. It has only worked intermittently since then, though I have mastered the technique of removing my glove, getting my hand under the dashboard and re-attaching the cable to the back of the speedo clock, all whilst riding along at 40 mph (don't tell my Mum).
The speedo finally refused to cooperate a few days ago, so the guys at Bob's BMW took a look and announced it was completely broken. They set to work and cannibalised another old clock, and somehow bodged a new one that fitted back onto Thelma. I can now measure my distances a bit more accurately.
I had a great time at Bob's BMW, lots of people interested in my presentation about my globetrotting travels with minimal heckling and many questions afterwards about how I do it and why a BMW. Always easy to reply as I have been riding Thelma now for 13 years and she has never let me down."
Ed. Check out Tiffany's tips and stories in the 'On the Road!' DVD, shipping now!
Sheonagh Ravensdale & Pat Thomson, 'Dusty Old Bags', UK, in Japan, Honda Falcon NX400s,
"Base camp for the first three weeks was Tokyo with our great friend Yuko Sugeta who used to head up WIMA Japan (Women's International Motorcycle Association). She also used to test ride bikes for all the major manufacturers and edit Ladies Bike Magazine. However now she runs her own acupuncture clinic and is mad about AcroYoga.
We got invited to the Japan World Touring Network weekend in April shortly after arriving. Do contact Chris Lockwood the HU Japan Community coordinator if you come to Japan to see if any meetings are planned - you will be very welcome.
It snowed that morning in Tokyo as we packed the tent... and it was a cold ride. But we met a delightful crowd of guys and girls - and were later able to tell a Japanese lady who was convinced that Japanese don't do overseas motorcycle travel about this guy who rode 280k round the world on his 1500cc Valkyrie.
I asked him what happens when he drops his bike in Mongolia and he said 'I wait and wait and wait till somebody turns up to help me pick it up!'
Best of all we met Paco - who is a Korean professional rice farmer living and working just north of Tokyo. A keen rider, he met his Japanese wife in Paraguay where he was working as a soil analyst and moved here to be with her and her family. His English is limited, and I speak next to no Japanese and no Korean - so we communicate in Spanish! Paco is his Paraguayan name. We also met Heeyon, a Korean girl on a Serow who had ridden 55k miles round Australia - tough lass - next time we saw her, her leg was in plaster from an accident and she was still riding - much to her doctor's disapproval and our admiration.
We rode up to Paco's a couple of weeks later on a cold and drizzly day and I got a puncture en route. Managed to pump up the tyre up and struggle on. Got lost and asked for directions in a small convenience store - they kindly phoned Paco who came to find us. Next day, Pat mended the puncture, aided by Paco's 8-year old daughter. Our new tube was flat again the next morning but fortunately Paco had a spare that fitted so off came the wheel again and finally I was on the road again.
Another highlight was the Women's International Motorcycle Association Rally (www.wimaworld.com) on the slopes of Mount Fuji at the end of April. About 130 foreigners and the same number of Japanese WIMA members made it through the cold and sleet to the site where cozy cottages awaited us. Japan WIMA put on a stunning rally - an amazing first night of entertainment with a brilliant team of girl drummers from the local town, an illustrated talk from the first woman motorcyclist to successfully complete the Paris-Dakar rally and a stunning sushi and sashimi buffet. The first two days' activities were wiped out due to appalling weather so we amused ourselves relaxing, chatting and learning how to carve bamboo chopsticks, with professional tuition from the woodworkers on site.
...Finally on the third day the weather miraculously cleared up and there was Mt Fuji in all her glory. Fuji-san is one of those places you cannot believe will be as wonderful as it is cracked up to be. Well, it exceeds all expectations and is understandably revered all over Japan. Officially classed as a dormant volcano, Fuji stands alone at 3776 metres and towers over the surrounding plain which is itself ringed with mountains.
...Getting tickets for the ferry to Korea is quite complicated as all the ferry companies insist you buy a return, which is double the single price. You cannot therefore book online and nobody speaks English on the phone. Two of our local friends had also tried to ring and explain our situation, to no avail. So I was delighted to find through the HU forum site that Nippon Travel Agency in Kobe had managed to get single tickets for some other travellers. A couple of emails and phone calls later and we were sorted. Phew! Not many travellers on bikes come this way and we were personally escorted by the Kampu Ferry Business Manager, who speaks English, to customs to export our bikes and then again onto the ship. He was very worried about Korean customs letting us in so insisted on faxing all our documents to them!
We could hardly believe our three months in Japan was over. We had a brilliant time, saw huge amounts of this wonderful country. Japan has just had the worst spring and summer in decades which was a shame, so we have few great landscape photos. But the good days were glorious. We experienced amazing hospitality and the food was wonderful. I now speak survival Japanese and Pat is a dab hand at reading maps in Kanji whilst riding along! We have caught up with so many old friends and made so many new ones - we have to return one of these days to see you all and get to those bits of Japan we missed. Thank you all!"
Alisa Clickenger, USA, to South America, in Paraguay, DR650,
"It took several moments for my eyes to translate the scene in front of me into coherent thought. It was morning, and I was going to the motorbike to pack up and travel for the day, yet my panniers were already open, the contents spread out all over the garage and neighboring benches. Why were my tools out, souvenirs strewn about, and my jacket already hanging on the windshield? Yikes, it finally hit me. I'd been robbed.
Looking back, I'd broken several of my personal rules regarding safe travel. For almost seven months now these rules had served me well. Why did I break them now and why, in the last week of my trip, had I overridden my intuition that had served me so well all along my journey? I suppose I can partially blame it on the weather - I'd ridden in over 10 hours of rain, and was tired of being soaking wet and miserable. I can also partially blame it on the fact that my thoughts were more focused on 'home' rather than my present surroundings.
The rules I'd ignored I thought were good ones. I never spent a night in a border town; because I was cold, wet, tired, and not wanting to cross the border into Argentina in the late afternoon, I made excuses to myself. I never left my bike in a car park far away from where I was sleeping; it was the first hotel I came to and so I made excuses to myself. And I never, ever had one thousand dollars in travel money; yet I needed fifteen hundred dollars, in cash, in four days, to ship the motorbike home, and so I was collecting money because of my bank's daily ATM limit. So I made excuses to myself about having that much cash.
In my own defense, I am a squirrel when it comes to money. I had some money on my person, some money in my luggage that came into the hotel with me, and unfortunately the bulk of the money on the motorbike. My theory had always been that I look like a gringo, so if someone wanted to rob my person, I'd be an easy target. I always carried a 'fake' wallet with me with only about the equivalent of twenty dollars in it, with some expired credit cards and a fake driver's license - just enough to satisfy robbers but not lose anything meaningful.
I'd spoken to several travelers that shared tales of their items being stolen from hostel dorm rooms and private hotel rooms while traveling, so I always left the important stuff locked in the panniers locked to the bike. I suppose, in hindsight, that I should have taken better precautions and perhaps hidden the large stash of cash in a better place than in my passport holder, which was not at all well hidden amongst my souvenirs in the top box.
My intuition had tickled me when I checked into the hotel... something about the large number of people milling about, and the sketchy living quarters out back of the hotel bothered me but I overrode the concern. My intuition was tickled again when I came back from dinner at 9:30 p.m. and noticed that the car park was still not locked up, but again I squelched my concerns. A pro-active me should have gone to the front desk and insisted that they lock it since it was after dark.
Warning bells aside, I now had to deal with the consequences of the robbery. I dutifully called the police, filled out a denuncio (statement) and took an inventory of what was missing. I suppose I should consider myself lucky in that while they stole my money, USB sticks, and all my cold weather clothing, they did leave my passport, spare motorbike parts and credit cards behind.
It cost me a whopping six dollars to have the locks on my panniers fixed, and most of the afternoon. Could I have done anything differently? Could I have prevented the robbery? Absolutely. Hindsight is 20/20. There are hundreds of things I wish I could go back and change. Most of all I wish I could stop beating myself up over the huge amount of money lost. The amount lost equaled almost a tenth of my entire travel budget, and left me pretty much broke. (I was already stretching my budget by flying my motorbike back to the United States.) At the end of the day, however, I am safe, my motorbike still runs, and I now have yet another moto-adventure story to share. I still consider myself an extremely lucky traveler."
Ed. Very sorry to hear your news, but a good warning to other travellers about breaking those common sense rules :-(
Mark and Bronwyn Hosking, Australia, Europe to India 2010, in Turkey and Iran,
"We had organised some tyres to be put on the bike in Bandarrama or Urdek. This was done through Bora who I had contacted through the Horizons Istanbul group. This was another wonderful experience of what Turkish people are like. He couldn't do enough to help us. He organised fitting and balancing, found us a camp site, and brought us lunch. He was a really nice guy to chat to, he showed us through his photos of his bike trips and couldn't do enough for us.
We travelled to Ephesus this place is amazing. It was stinking hot 42 deg C and was quite expensive but worth seeing as one of the better preserved Roman ruins around.
From Ephesus we traveled to Pamukkale. When I was here 24 years ago this was a wonderful natural wonder but now it is something that typifies the western part of Turkey. I know that the amount of tourism that the western side of Turkey gets means that some controls need to be put in place but mostly what has been done I feel is ridiculous and seems more about ripping off tourists than any real control measures.
Bam was and still is a frontier town. Its existence was based around it. It feels like a frontier town still. We went up to the old Adobe mud brick fort that was all but destroyed in an earthquake in 2003, (so was the town of Bam) and they are slowly rebuilding it as it was. But it will be so difficult to get it looking original, its hard to put a few hundred years of weathering into the rebuilding.
I loved Iran, Bron may disagree as she had the restriction of having to wear the scarf whenever, wherever we stopped and I know that was difficult for her. The highlight for me was the people. Being invited into someone's home with the welcome we received was what I will always remember. I don't think there was a day went by (except the last one) that we were not invited to someone's home to stay or for a meal. The friendliness of the people on the street, that is Iran for me. Sure there are some beautiful sights, some nice terrain but the people and their welcome are far beyond any sight for me. Wonderful."
Ed. See Mark and Bronwyn's blog here on Horizons Unlimited for more great stories and pics!
Sherri Jo Wilkins and Walter Colebatch - Sibirsky Extreme 2010 journey from Magadan to Irkutsk,
"Viluisk - Wonderful Nina took such good care of us that night. She took Walters' and my laundry. Which was seriously dusty dirty I might add, and put it in the washer and then into the bana (dry sauna) with promises it will be dry by the morning. She brought me her special shampoo AND conditioner for the shower - whew! I love conditioner getting the knots out of my hair, but can't afford to carry an extra bottle in my pack.
Walter had a beer, but I took a shower and quickly laid down on my little bed and went to sleep. I felt guilty Nina was staying up to do our laundry, but I did not complain!
We plan to leave in the morning. Walter had warned me that there is a difficult sandy section coming up. As I am doing well with the straps, I know from the night before that they could turn out to be a bit dangerous in a long stretch of deep sand. I ask him if we might make an effort to get the bolts fixed here. He goes and asks Nina, and she comes back and says to wait a bit. She goes away and actually turns up at our door with a mechanic! Gee whiz I like this lady!
It's time to go, and we ask to pay for the room and meal. She says no way. We understand the lunch invitation, but surely we can pay for the room and laundry! She very much insists - Nyet! Gee whiz, the mechanic wouldn't accept payment... Nina wouldn't accept payment. How do these people survive!? Could you find any kinder people on the planet? Most grateful, this is Hospitality to the greatest extreme. And she has been well remembered ever since leaving Viluisk.
We make it to our next ferry-crossing village. Pull in for much needed fuel. And discover the electricity is out. Many cars are lined up. We wait for a while, and still no electricity. Many people come and go... many camera phone photos taken of us. Walter decides to do a little excursion rather than wait at the pump. He had learned from Arnaud about a photo opportunity spot.
We go down the funkiest road... doesn't surprise me here! It had the deepest darkest black mud ruts ever! There is a skinny top bit that is dry that we have to keep the tires on... Knowing my balance sucks, I still follow the leader. If I had been given this road earlier in the trip, I'd tell him 'You're dreamin'... But these days, I just go in and do it. I didn't know what we were heading to, but I found myself at this old crashed airplane.
Walter has certainly made his mark! He's branded it with his Sibirsky Extreme sticker as he did my jacket... We are all Colebatch victims here! ;-)
Back up the funky road to the gas station, and still no electricity. We decide to risk the fuel and go on down to the ferry. While waiting, I ask Walter how far to the next village. He said 180 km. I mention that it's after 8:30 pm; by time we get there it will be dark, etc. We had such a late start from leaving Nina's. So it turned out to be a short run, but he thought it might be worth seeing if there is a place to stay in this village.
He pulled up the first lot of people and they said, 'Yes, follow us!' We follow as we did in Viluisk, and sure enough, we are driven to the family home as their guests! Lovely lovely family, they have us park the bikes in the yard behind locked gates, and show us inside for a nice meal (again this day!), and gorgeous rooms to stay in.
We have a wonderful night there. And we leave early in hopes the electricity is on at the gas station in time to catch the ferry. It is! Fill 'er up! And down to the ferry we go. Lena knows the ferry guy, and she follows us in her car to tell him to take us over free of charge.
If you ever want to experience total hospitality, travel the Viluisky Trakt! I am overwhelmed how good every single person is to us no matter where we are!"
Daniel Shell, UK, in Brazil, Harley-Davidson,
"The 125cc couriers in Sao Paulo were without doubt, the most nihilistic, death defying lunatics I have ever seen! We sat in the traffic, slowly melting in our riding gear, and making very little progress. Local couriers whizzed by us on their little 125's, going through gaps millimetres wider than their handlebars, and far too small for us. When we did manage to find a gap in a lane that could accommodate Garth's girth, we were soon being honked and tooted at by the stream of smaller bikes we were holding up behind.
I guided Garth as quickly as I could between the lines of stationary cars. The 125's were darting all around me like flies, in death defying feats of lunacy and daring. They threw their bikes about so wildly, it was a wonder they lived as long as they did. We had come across a couple of accidents where couriers had been knocked off their bikes.
Luis and I helped a young guy who had been side swiped and knocked off his bike while undertaking a small truck. I was surprised at the time that it didn't happen more often. The couriers often wore their helmets resting on top of their head, and not pulled on or fastened. Packages were sometimes ridiculously large, balanced precariously on the postie bikes favoured by most of the couriers.
We saw a rather portly gentleman wobbling along on his scooter with a huge sack of corn on his lap that was so wide, he could barely get get his arms around it and on to the handlebars. Once he did manage to grab them, and twist the throttle, he had no way of steering the bike as the sack was wedged in behind the handlebars so that they could not be turned either way.
Come to think of it, you never really saw any old motorcycle couriers. You can draw your own conclusions from that!
Sao Paolo, however, was merely a stop over on the way to Paraty, we were heading back to the beach, and weren't much in the mood for a city. We had no interest in checking out the museums, nor the malls, nor the art galleries, we just wanted some sand and some sea. After getting sorted in the hostel, we went out in search of a bank that would accept our cards, not an easy task in Brazil, and took the opportunity to have a mooch around our immediate vicinity.
We rode out the next morning, and Brazil revealed itself to us a little more. We headed out of the city and took the shortest route we could find to the coast.
There were a couple of things worth seeing around Paraty, and not surprisingly, the first place on my list was the local Cachaca distillery. Jacquie and I ate breakfast at the hostel, and together with Dan and Sarah, the other English couple staying at the hostel, we walked into town and got on the bus for Penha. We had a bumpy ride on the cramped local bus, and our route took us past several areas where the road was still half covered with earth from the recent mudslides.
We got off at the entrance to the falls, which were directly opposite the distillery, and decided we would check the distillery first, then go visit the falls.
The Engenho D'Ouro distillery is a small family owned affair, which produces organic Cachaca from the same water that fills the waterfalls across the way. We met Jorge, who gave us a quick tour of the site and a brief explanation of the distilling process. After the tour, Jacquie, Sarah and Dan went over to the waterfalls, while I stayed a little longer with Jorge, who had invited me to taste some of the different types of Cachaca made at the site.
We tasted aged, oak barrelled Cachaca, the regular silver Cachaca and a selection of delicious Cachaca liquors, honey, basil, strawberry, mint and orange were just a few that we tried. By the time the tasting was over, I was a little the worse for wear, it was, after all, barely past 11am. I walked over to the waterfalls and met up with the others, and joined them watching the locals sliding down the waterfall.
The water coursed over rock that had been so smoothed down that the locals had taken to using the falls as their own water slide. The coolest of the locals had the perfected the art of descending the waterfalls whilst standing upright, barefoot skiing down the falls. Dan went and had a go with the young guys from the village, whilst the rest of us walked up the side of the waterfall to the top where we sat in the pools above the cascades."
Ed. See more great stories and pics in Daniel's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!
Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, RTW (193 countries), in Norway and Australia, on Harley-Davidson,
"We headed south, in increasing sunshine, towards the town of Å, pronounced Aw, at the bottom of the Lofoten Islands, leaving behind the fog cloud that was hiding sunshine in Svolvaer. If it is possible the scenery improved the further south we went till it reached a pinnacle at Sakrisoy, a small fishing village, backdropped by sheer mountain cliffs sliding into a mirror bay. We turned around at Å and headed north late evening taking a roadside camp, in full sunshine, drying our humidity-damp sleeping bags on the rocks, and watched the sun move horizontally across the sky, setting slowly.
We are returning to Australia this time a bit earlier than normal as it is my mother's 80th birthday and Kay's mum's 87th birthday soon after our arrival, and we will be having family celebrations for both. We are also staying in Australia longer than we would normally for a number of reasons. As mentioned above, our first and only grandchild, Sam, was born in October last year and it will be great to spend more time with him and his parents. Our youngest son Michael is to be married to his fiancé, Kristy, on the first of May 2011, and our daughter has just bought a house with her 'significant other', so there will be plenty to catch up with our growing family.
In the past when we have returned to Australia for two months between trips we have stayed a week or more with each of our children and mothers but an eight month visit required a place of our own and not wanting to be crammed into suburbia after having the whole world at our disposal we purchased a 64 hectare block of land 100km's to the north of Brisbane, inland, a subtropical eucalypt forest, a very steep valley of totally undeveloped land, no electricity, no buildings, no phone, just grass and trees. Initially we will just be wild camping on the block but hope to establish a rough structure during our eight months in Australia.
Should any of you feel like visiting us at our chunk of Australia please feel free to drop by and stay for a while. Whilst we can't guarantee luxury we will make up for that shortcoming with welcoming hospitality. Please if you are in the area, let us know, we would love to see you."
Dom Giles, UK, Alaska to Panama and then some... in USA, BMW 1200GS,
"Beartooth Pass. With a name like that it surely couldn't disappoint – and it didn't. I hit the road in early morning sunshine and just knew today was going to be a good day.
And it was. Mile after mile of twisting, turning asphalt and wonderful views. As I started to climb the road just kept on snaking up the pass. I reached the top in glorious sunshine and parked the bike in order to take in the view. I was 10,947 feet (3,300m) above sea level and surrounded by snowcapped mountains, and this was only the start of the day. Getting back on the bike I headed down the other side of the mountain. Going down was just as much fun as going up. With the added advantage that at the bottom I was going to enter Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone is, perhaps, most famous for its geysers but it was the wildlife I was most excited about. I'd seen elk and deer and bears already on my trip but I had not yet come across the 'Hummer' of the animal kingdom and within half an hour of being in Yellowstone all that changed. Coming round a bend I saw a huge black rock to my left which seemed to be moving. A second glance confirmed that it was moving, but, of course, it wasn't a rock - it was a bison.
With no other traffic around I pulled over to the side of the road and starred in awe at this wonderful beast. Of course I knew what a bison was, I'd seen pictures of them and I even knew a little about how Native American Indians had hunted them and used every part of their body. But I had never seen one. And for me, 'seeing is believing' I guess that's what travelling is all about – seeing things that I may already know but haven't witnessed with my own eyes. In a sense they don't exist until I've seen them. I mentioned this to my wife when we first saw Iguazu falls in Brazil. How the water had been pouring over these falls for centuries, but for me the place didn't really exist until I actually saw it. She looked at me and just laughed!
I took several pictures of my first bison, in case it was the only one I saw. I needn't have worried. It wasn't long before I saw several other lone bison and then, as if I'd ridden into a Western film, there were hundreds grazing on the plains near a meandering river.
This was definitely going to be a day to remember. Which is just as well because I was still getting over the fact that I had just spent two days in Missoula getting the bike fixed. I'd only gone in to get an oil change on the final drive but in the process they had discovered that the drive was corroded and on its way out. I had to replace it with a whole new one. Long story short - two days at the BMW dealership and $4000. What is it everyone says – take half as much luggage and twice as much money? The $500 emergency money I'm carrying with me seemed just a little inadequate to say the least.
But that was behind me now and Yellowstone was clearing my head of all negative thoughts. I had a wonderful time in park – not least because I managed to survive a night under canvass. Those of you who have been following my trip will be well aware of my 'concern' over bear attacks and I was well aware that Yellowstone has something of a reputation for a bear hot spot. Someone was killed in July by a bear so I was just pleased to have made it through a very chilly night. Yellowstone is also a dangerous place for bikers, simply because there is so much wildlife crossing the roads. I had heard of a Harley rider hitting a deer the previous day and breaking his leg in several places, and literature in the park highlights the fact that over 100 animals are killed on the road in the park every year. I know a BMW 1200GS is a big bike, but I'd hate to think what a bison could do to it.
So, it was with mixed emotions that I left Yellowstone, turned west into Idaho and headed for the Oregon coast. I was aiming for the 101 coast road and the next stage of my big adventure..."
More stories below...
Tea with Bin Laden's Brother, by Simon Roberts
An Adventure motorbiking graphic novel telling the gripping story of a solo ride through Iran, Pakistan and India to Nepal. Take a look inside...
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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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 !
Part 5 - Tire Changing!
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 - 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, 2010-2011. Mark your calendars and sign up now!
Germany (Autumn) - 29 Oct - 1 Nov. Same location as summer event. Registration open now!
Viedma, Argentina, Mini-meeting. 10-12 December 2010 Registration open now!
Chiang Mai, Thailand, Mini-meeting. Note: date changed to 8 Jan. 2011 Registration open now!
Ireland - 27-29 May 2011. Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. Registration open now!
UK - 23-26 June 2011. Ripley, Derbyshire. Registration open now!
USA East - 5-7 August 2011. 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. Registration coming soon!
Canada West - 25-28 August 2011, Nakusp, B.C. Registration coming soon!
California - tentatively scheduled for mid-October on the Central Coast near Big Sur. More details and registration coming soon!
What's a Mini-Meeting?
Dates subject to change, more dates and locations to come as we get them.
You missed ...
Portugal - 3-5 Sep, Gois. António Caldeira and the town of Gois welcomed 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!
Spain - 9-12 Sep, Malaga. Alison (Dakota) Makin is the local organizer for this mini-meeting - thanks Alison! "If people ask me, 'Why do you go so far for such a small meeting', I can always say: 'because I know that I am going to meet wonderful people over there, and then it makes no different how far I have to travel. If I go 150 km to my dealer for service and a coffee, I easily can go 2.500 km for a good week-end.' Thanks again, Chris" See the HUBB post for other comments.
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. Many thanks to Mike and Janet Kilpatrick for organizing the event and providing a fantastic southern welcome. Typical comment: "Outstanding venue, superb riding, great presentations and just fantastic conversations with good laughs..." More comments and pics here on the HUBB.
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.
Vendors/Traders sign up here to join us at a Meeting.
See you there!
Grant and Susan
Heike Pander and Matthias Kuhlmann, Germany, in Southern and Eastern Africa, Honda Dominator NX 650, BMW R80 GS,
"It was raining cats and dogs when we left wintry and cold-front beaten Stellenbosch to escape the cold and to start exploring South Africa. 6 hours later we found a nice little guesthouse near the N1 in Lainsburg in the Karoo region- ourselves being soaking wet and freezing cold as the rain had continued for 250 kilometers. Funny enough our little new home was located a few kilometers after the end of the dark cloud layer which had accompanied us throughout the journey. Finally the sun was smiling at us again and the small but cosy 'De Blockhuis' ('The Blockhouse') was our home for the next four days. The 76-year old owner and his wife had - besides their bed and breakfast business - still 650 olive trees in full production and supplied us with tasty olives, olive oil and olive tree firewood!
We could get first gravel road experience in the Karoo area on unloaded bikes and continued our trip visiting the Karoo National Park for a few days. The park is still one of the few where motorcycles are allowed to enter. This may understandably change in a few months as lions will be introduced to the park shortly."
Ed. Heike and Matthias are both winners in the HU 2010 Photo Contest, so well done to you both!
Ken Thomas, UK to Cape Town, in southern Africa, Yamaha TTR,
"After a few days in Maun it was off to Ghanzi. A little more colour in the scenery with the trees, but really, another long boring straight stretch. We crossed the Ngwanalekau Hills (why should I be the only one trying to pronounce these names?) and Tsau Hills, but as far as I could see, all was as flat as a pancake. Which was not surprising as we were back in salt-pan country, one of them being called, according to my whimsical map, Peter Pan, just inside the Kalahari Game Reserve.
On average, one western film crew per month descends on the villages on the north-western edge of the Okavango Delta, to film advertising material, glossy magazine features or TV travelogue footage. The usual set-piece demand is for the villagers to dress up in their tribal costumes (which they do anyway), and walk across the salt pans for the cameras, armed with ceremonial spears - which they normally never do.
'Why would we do that, there's nothing out there on the pans. We don't live near them and they're empty except for tourists on quad bikes!'
Quite! But the enigmatic image is of a 'San Bushman' walking across a salt pan in his tribal garb. And like everyone else, they need to earn the money that makes this world go round so they accept the film companies' fees."
Ed. Follow the adventure at Ken's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!
Bob and Sheila Oldfield, UK, ATW 2010-2011, in Australia,
"Decided to get the ferry over the river, and have a day at Perth Zoo. The Australian Bushwalk was very enjoyable, enabling Bob to get up close and personal to a kangaroo. We'd only seen dead ones by the side of the road, so far. No Skippy impressions please - we've done them all. Bob was amazed at what a wombat looked like - he'd obviously never seen Flying Doctors!
Got a call from the Shippers at Fremantle asking us to fill in some Personal Effects forms, as they aren't covered in the Carnet apparently. Wanted us to go and collect the forms - had to remind them we had no transport, since the bikes were still stuck at Customs. More delays, more frustration. Decided a 4-litre box of wine was the best thing we could do - at least we wouldn't care for a while. Well that combined with 'Grease' and 'The Living Daylights' on telly.
Tried kangaroo meat - very tasty (farmed and not road-kill). Bikes are now in Quarantine, awaiting inspection. We have an appointment for Monday 16th, but that doesn't mean they'll be released then. How boring is it to be stuck somewhere with no money to enjoy the finer things in life? We're doing a lot of hanging round parks and gardens, just to kill time and get out of the hostel."
Hubert Kriegel, France, Sidecar-ing the world, in Russia and Austria,
"Finding internet in Russia is not easy, here I was lucky to spot a Wifi signal at a corner of a street.
The rally is at the Castle Piberstein, 30 km north of Linz in Austria. For me, a sidecar is an emotion so being at the Ural Rally is a fantastic feeling. All together about 150 people were there from many European countries and even one came from Canada."
Ed. Hubert is a Horizons Unlimited 2010 Photo Contest Winner, and his winter photo on Lake Baikal will be on the cover of the 2011 Calendar! Check out Hubert's website for lots of great pics!
Markus W, in Italy,
"...I entered the Sistine Chapel, and it was completely filled with people looking up. There was nowhere to stand without being in the way, so I just kept shuffling forward, taking glances here and there, but mostly watching all the people taking pictures, and the security saying loudly, 'No pictures', and the other security saying 'Shhhhh', and the intercom preaching softly, 'Please taking pictures is forbidden, and please be very quiet in this holy place'.
My aim was at this point not to see anything but to leave as quickly as possible. I didn't take a picture, because I didn't want to be like all the other people who were taking pictures against the wishes of the Vatican, but mostly because I didn't want to annoy the security, who must never want to do the Sistine Capella duty. Then finally I got out of there, found some space to meander out the door and had a quiet cold pasta with the owner in a two chair place, and only one seat taken.
I went in all excited to see more of Rome and its rich history, but wrote this in my journal today: Too much is all I can say; too much to see, too many people, too little space, too little time, too many cameras, too much of everything all at once and no place to go but the long way out."
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Frank Butler, PNG, RTW since 2002, in Australia, BMW F650 GS Dakar,
"Arriving back in Sydney was like coming home... but to a home I no longer knew. I recognised the 'bridge' and the Opera House, and a few of the streets but everything else was a stranger.
I felt like an absent uncle who had come to visit his nieces and nephews after a long interval and was amazed by how much they had grown up, how beautifully they had turned out, how well mannered and smart, with such a zest for life... I was, for want of a better word... proud. I first came to live in Sydney when I was twenty-one years old, and on our first meeting I fell in love... in love with Sydney and a girl from Sydney... I stayed until I was twenty six, when I left for PNG... I never stopped loving either of them.
I went to Western Motors, where I bought Mr Beem in February 2002 - and they gave him a big service for free - They were very pleased the bike had had such an adventurous life.
Then for Beem and I it was up to Queensland and Northern Territory, seeing some good mates on the way, and then.... back to PNG."
Ian Moor, UK, Wrong Way Round The World, in Texas, BMW F650GS,
"Texas is my thirtieth and final state of the USA on this trip. I entered Texas from New Mexico on a series of back roads to arrive at Dell City, a small quiet place built around a road junction which qualified it as a two street town. I bought some fruit and a cold drink at one of the two stores for lunch then headed on to Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
I have seen more 'Nodding Donkey' oil pumps in Texas than any of the other states. They churn away twenty four hours a day sucking from the depths of the earth the raw ingredient to lubricate and fuel my bike which I'm very grateful for despite the odd pang of guilt about my carbon footprint as I leisurely cruise (hopefully) around the world.
An overhauling of my security procedures was required before entering Mexico. I had been carrying my passport, driving licence and bike documents inside my 'Filofax' diary which was usually left on the bike. I wanted somewhere to carry the documents on me at all times without having to transfer them to different pockets depending on what I was wearing. I hit on the idea of a document pouch worn round my neck and fashioned one from a pair of trousers bought at a charity (Thrift) shop for $1. By cutting everything away except the waistband and a large rear pocket I had what I was looking for although I found it more comfortable to wear it bandolier style with my head and one arm through the waistband rather than round my neck."
Ed. Follow Ian's adventures in his blog here on Horizons Unlimited!
Ronnie Skarner, Sweden, in Ukraine,
"We want to share our experiences with you, on traveling by motorcycle in the Ukraine if an accident happens. The first week was great with visit to Kiev and Poltava (historically interesting with Swedish King Charles XII, 18th century). The second week, we wanted to travel south to the Crimea and the Black Sea for relaxation. In the city of Simferopol it happened that should not happen, a car drove right into the side of us despite that we had green light going into a crossing. For my fiancee and passenger Jeanette, it went reasonably well as she hit her knee when she flew over the car bonnet and landed 'softly' on the asphalt ...
For me as the driver, it went worse as my leg got caught between the car and motorcycle. It took about 10-15 minutes for the sparsely equipped ambulance to come but then the police wanted to have data and documents. I gave him my passport and driver's license which was a big mistake. Bring copies of everything instead!
It took about 45 minutes to get to the hospital #6 in Simferopol but once there, the reception was warm and so very friendly. The open wound on my knee had to be cleaned again and sewn up, the fibula was broken and the foot was 'crushed'. The day after we were offered a private clinic but it was in the same building one floor up. For about 40 Euro or 50 USD per day, we got wallpaper on the walls, a TV and fridge and toilet paper! To eat we got the same terrible porridge three times a day for seven days. Seven days was a combination of missing travel documents (handed over to the police) and SOS Copenhagen!
They had very poor equipment but did what they could, they missed that several bones in my foot was also broken, which doctors discovered in Sweden and now I cannot put any weight on the foot for 12 weeks.
Unfortunately, we could not visit Zmijevka or 'Gammalsvenskby' where emigrated Swedes still speaks Swedish, after 300 years!
So be extremely cautious on the roads in Ukraine, if you are planning to drive there. The traffic is mad, overtaking despite oncoming traffic is normal. Much worse than any other country I've travelled through in Asia, Africa, South America. Health care and equipment is about 50 years old and the 'bureaucrazy' is extreme. For example, our motorcycle is still at the police station in Simferopol."
Adrienne Denham of Vancouver, Canada, writes to the HU Cartagena community:
"I have just arrived in Bogota from Vancouver and thinking of heading north. I've heard the weather isn't so good up there right now. Can anyone let me know what the forecast is looking like and I would love recommendations. Perhaps I should head in another direction? Please advise."
Chris Soland of Switzerland writes to the HU Vladivostok community:
"Hi there, I'm a 27 year old Swiss motorbiker who is heading to Vladivostok at the end of September 2010. Right now I am in Ulaanbaatar / Mongolia. My plan is to go via ferry to Japan an then somehow further to Australia.
Now I have some questions and hope somebody can answer:
1) Does somebody know a cheap ferry line between Vladivostok and Japan? So far I know 'dbs cruise ferry'.
2) Do you know a low price hotel (still where the bike can be locked away somewhere) or are there campsites?
3) Do I get spare enduro tyres for my motorbike (Yamaha TT Year 94) in Vlad:
Ben Massicotte of Quebec writes to the HU Santiago community:
"Hi, my name is Ben. I'm travelling from Canada to South America, and am currently in Colombia. I'll be in Santiago the first week of November. I need to change my tires, oil and do some work on the bike to prepare for my trip to Tierra del Fuego (Ushuaia). Can you tell me: Where can I stay (hotel or other) that has secure parking for the bike and where can I work on the bike? I have a KTM and I'm sure I'll need a KTM shop. Thanks for the information, Ben!"
Markus Mueller of Reimlingen, Germany writes to the HU Moscow community:
"Hi I'm Markus. I'm here in Moskau to get new documents (Passport...) from the German embassy. I don't know how long it takes to get them. I stay now in the nice but for me too expensive Hotel Astrus in the Lelinsky Pr. near the German consulate. Does somebody know a cheap place where I can stay and maybe there are some friendly people and bikers I can meet. Look forward to hearing from you, thanks Markus"
Tam & Xander Kabat from Australia write to the HU Savannakhet community:
"Hi there, we are two people travelling on a Honda Africa Twin. We've been through Europe and western Africa and are now touring SE Asia. We are heading to Laos in a few days, currently in Kratie, Cambodia. We'd love to met up with anyone living in Laos for a meal or drink. Let us know if you are around, we'll be in your area in about 1.5 to 2 weeks. Cheers, Tam and Xander"
Margarita & Fernando Pareja, from Ecuador and Colombia, write to the HU Santiago Community:
"We are a couple (I, Ecuadorian and Fernando, Colombian), who are planning a motorcycle trip to South America. We had in mind to leave in November and travel for 3-4 months. Unfortunately, for reasons of work, we need to cut the trip. For this reason, we think we can send the bike by boat. We prefer to send the bike from Chile to Ecuador, versus sending it from Ecuador to Chile. The purpose of this message is to receive your advice on how to send it by ship. Any information you can provide will be very valuable to us. Thank you very much! Margarita and Fernando"
Mike and Ruby, Canada, in Mongolia,
"The worst stretch of road is between Altai and Bayankhonger. The desolate landscape and a Petrol Station in nowhere.
We come upon our biggest and deepest water crossing on this trip. Mike tests the depth of the water first to determine the best route to take. Then he confirms with the locals that we are heading in the right direction. The locals watch with great interest as Mike starts the crossing. We did not realize how far the motorcycles were submerged in the water until watching the video. Luckily the motorcycle does not suck in water or stall."
Gosia Woynarowska and Andy Woynarowski, Poland, RTW, in Uruguay,
"Currently in Uruguay at Colonia del Sacramento where we stay in a little hostel. The bike sleeps in the middle of a patio between tables where we'll be eating our breakfast tomorrow. Cosy and safe. The town itself is very pretty and peaceful. Nobody is in a hurry - everybody's waiting for their siesta."
Ernesto Grunauer of Ecuador writes to the HU Santiago community:
"Hi Folks, I'm going from Chile to Argentina, I cross the pass of Jama from San Pedro de Atacama to Salta on October 23. I would like to know if I can get gas in this step and will have no problem to cross. My information is that from Calama to Salta is 700 km, am I right? I worry about the fuel for my motorcycle, traveling alone. I'm fine from Arica to Calama (614 km). I will be grateful for any information you have."
Pascal (Nish) and Abby Leclerc, Hong Kong, RTW, in Portugal and Spain, Kawasaki W650,
"Forget the highway today, we have time, Sevilla, our next destination is only 250km away. We decide to listen to Pedro and take the national road to exit Portugal. The sights were amazing, crossing fields of olive trees and vineyards, passing through small villages with colorful houses, watching little churches that looked as if we were in Mexico, horses in the fields, bulls that looked ready to fight in a 'corrida'. I slowed down to a cruising speed, enjoying a sense of freedom I had not yet felt for the entire journey. We were almost alone on that road, I began swinging the bike from left to right. Abby sitting in my back was feeling the same emotion. She yelled 'I love you!' all of a sudden and I yelled back a 'me too!' that was too short for what I was feeling: Pure bliss!
It took that long to reach that precious feeling we were seeking but there it was at last. We really were on the road, on our own, like Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper when they reach that community in that dry land up the mountains. I finally had made my dream come true. I was 16 when I first saw 'Easy Rider' and I was so stunned by it that I watched it three times in a row that day, knowing that this stuff was something for me, something I needed to do one day, even if I had to die at the end. Today, my dream came true, I'm a happy man... and I didn't die."
Tormod Amlien & Klaus Ulvestad, Norway, King Croesus Contempt for Death Tour, RTW, in Bolivia, on 1937 Nimbuses with sidecars,
"In the mountains from Sucre there were a few houses every now and then, but except from that nothing. If they first had used any paint, it was on things like making a rock into a car sculpture. At least they are creative."
Dave Hulse and Ron Korsch, USA, Colorado to Prudhoe Bay - on the way home,
"The weather was good with partly cloudy skies. Not many miles today because speed limits were lower and we stopped a lot for pictures. We traveled through Jasper and Banff National Parks today. This seems to be a ritzy area for those from Calgary and other points east. The traffic heading east was very heavy. We set up camp at the Spruce Grove Resort RV Park and got a soak in the Fairmont Hot Springs.
Back in the lower 48. It rained hard during the night so we put the tent away wet again. It turned out to be a nice day though. The valley down into the border crossing is very nice, lots of lakes and the Kootenay River, as well as Columbia Lake which is the head waters of the Columbia River that Grand Coulee Dam is on."
Miguel Silvestre, Spain, in Albania and Tunisia, BMW 1200GS,
"I am in Albania, the most secretive country in Europe. Full of bunkers, children, bad roads, ruins, and all the stolen Mercedes Benz, it seems to be an adventurer paradise.
I think I am totally mad because it is here where I am having fun. My European loop was like wearing silk and drinking Moet Chândon. But this is real stuff again. Why is it so real? Because food is real, people are real and also the risk of riding a motorcycle.
No more well cooked ruins for tourists, no more 'No smoking, respect speed limits or do not drink and drive'. All of these western world rules for weak owls who like to scream at night. The command is just: 'You, small kid on a motorcycle, survive or die, but get off my way, I got no driver license but I have a stolen Mercedes Benz strong as tank!'
I love it or hate it. I do both. Come here to have fun, if you can be still alive.
Then on to Tunisia, where... I am gonna be a good tourist and post the typical images any good tourist wants to see in Tunisia, like a camel.
A guy sunk in Sahara sand.
A palm trees oasis.
A Roman ruin.
An archaeological site Unesco protected."
Leaving soon below...
|Part 1 - Get Ready!||Part 1 - Get Ready!|
|Part 2 - Gear Up!||Part 2 - Gear Up!|
|Part 3 - On the Road!||Part 3 - On the Road!|
|Part 4 - Ladies on the Loose!||Part 4 - Ladies on the Loose!|
|Part 5 - Tire Changing!||Part 5 - Tire Changing!|
"First there was a silent wish. Then we began to talk about it. It was always there, in every thought. We started to believe in it. Finally, things went in the right direction. We were left without a job or a flat; and so we moved on a bike. We will start in our home country, Slovenia, riding from in front of Zoran's workshop in Ljubljana towards India, via Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India (?). This is as far as we know it at the moment. We will do everything to visit also Nepal, but it depends mostly on weather. Our wish is also to go to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, so we might leave the bike in India and fly to Thailand or ship the bike to Thailand or Malaysia (if it is not too expensive). We will probably return through the same countries but on a different route. We plan to travel slow, allowing to see the countryside and getting to know local people. It will take 8, maybe 10 months (depending on money, as we are travelling on our savings).
We entered Turkey at Kap. Andreeevo, between Svilengrad and Erdine. It all went without too much waiting and bureaucracy; all they wanted to know was a motorbike registration number. Already at arrival a big mosque awaits you, letting you know which country you have come to. We stopped in Erdine to have a kebab. People are friendly, curious, hospitable and helpful. We left the bike on a street while we went in the restaurant; men on the street assured us to look after it. We felt relaxed and comfortable.
We managed to find a patch of freely accessible beach somewhere near Edremit, a sort of picnic area, where we parked our bike; we decided to stay overnight after asking some local people who were there, having picnic, if that is ok. Nobody seemed to have problem with that, so we cooked our dinner and washed the dishes. The locals slowly went home and for few minutes we were alone. Then the car came and 4 men got out with heaps of food and blankets, placing the things just about 30 metres from us. Hmm, yes, it is Ramadan, when it is forbidden to eat between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m., so this is probably going to be a picnic. A night picnic. Second car arrived with women and children. We were hoping it won't last the whole night. After praying they began with the dinner. We quietly sat on our panniers drinking tea. Soon a man reached us, holding a plate with a meal and two forks, giving it to us. Really nice. However, the picnic was quiet and it didn't last the whole night, so we had quite a peaceful night.
Escaping crowdedness, we turned inland the next day, towards Pamukkale. Following the shortest way found by GPS, at first wandering in a labyrinth of some village streets, finally we find the way out, which took us to the hills, away from touristy coast. All around are plantations of olive trees. Or the hill-sides are covered with pine trees. We cross some small old Turkish villages. It feels so good to be in the nature again. It is so peaceful and beautiful.
The next morning we find out that the oil from right fork is leaking. Quite bad, because we are in the middle of nowhere, so we have to think of something on our own. Good thing is that Zoran knows every piece of this bike, so he puts the fork apart, finds out that a small part of oil seal is rolled up. Luckily, it is possible to straighten it up again, so the problem is fixed in about 2 hours. We hope it works."
Ed. See Zoran & Tamara's blog here on Horizons Unlimited for more stories and great pics!
"Touched down in Toronto just before 17:00 local time (22:00 GMT), pretty uneventful flight, smooth, on time (heck we actually had a plane!) and food as well.
Customs form had an entry for 'cargo not traveling with you', so we had to tick that. Which obviously led to questions, a lot of form marking at the 1st custom post and then being asked to carry on.
Then we were diverted to another immigration area, where we were asked some more detailed questions about the trip. We must have done ok, as the nice man did not ask to see any proof of flights out of South America, in fact he said we were cool and his heroes for undertaking such a trip. Obviously not many people start from Toronto :-) And he stamped us a visa for 6 months in Canada.
Then at the 3rd custom checkpoint they were concerned we had forgotten to collect our bags...
We wandered off to find the cargo terminal and see about collecting the bikes, but the company we were looking for was not at the address given. So we asked at Lufthansa and the nice clerk contacted the relevant company and confirmed the bikes were in, but that they were the other side of the airport. Stuff it, we will have to get a cab and collect them tomorrow.
Checked into hotel, and trashed room. After being hit with $25 taxi fare to go less than a mile (as the crow flies) because no one would let us walk across the runways, these were the words we were met with on Thursday morning when we did find them. That will be $1432 please sir. Yes, nearly £1000.
I'm still not sure what had gone wrong, but the bikes had been put into storage, at a cost of $596/day, they had been there since Monday. We got James Cargo on the case while we went to sort out customs clearance and it has been 95% resolved, I am still awaiting a refund from JC.
It took about 3 hours to do the clearance and unpacking, then we headed East, to a beautiful well sited campsite on a sandbank near the town of Picton.
Where we have only just left as the people and area were so welcoming. We even visited the town fair before leaving today. Cleaned up in a Motel tonight, and will drop into the US tomorrow, we will head over towards Maine before turning back towards Woodstock and heading south.
Currently much further south, down near Gettysburg, 1st really wet day. It felt tropical.
On the waterproof front the score is Hein Gericke 1 - Dainese 0."
Ed. See more great stories and pics in Bruce and Jean's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!
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Thanks! Grant and Susan
We've now reached an amazing 659 Communities in 106 Countries as of July 21, 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!
Sheonagh Ravensdale and Pat Thomson write: "We wear our HU teeshirts on every occasion - it has opened so many doors for us."
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!
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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.
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Thanks, Grant and Susan
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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.