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Riding the globe...

Horizons Unlimited
Motorcycle Travellers'

in cooperation with
Quality Touring equipment worldwide.

Are you a TRAVELLER? Are you interested in Himba marriage proposals, overlanders' hell, the Pandrillus project, Egyptian customs scams, thanks to the Darien Gap, motorcycle goat-transport, roasted slimy rocks and chocolate mud cake, drugged in Iran, shaken cyclist syndrome, cuddling koalas, up close with mountain gorillas, touring with Charlie Boorman, the devilish density of Cairo... and much more?

Then you're reading the right newsletter!

In this e-zine:

Achievable Dream DVD Series
Final Thoughts
Home Again
In Progress.
Leaving Soon
New Links
News Items
Photo Contest
Repair Shops on the

Seen on the road
Travellers Community
Who's on the Road
Your Privacy

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Motorcycle Travellers' News Report

November 2011, 90th Edition

Welcome to the 90th Edition of the motorcycle travellers' e-zine! Truly into the season that, for us in the northern hemisphere, coined the term SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as winter depression! Vancouver is getting less than 8 hours a day of daylight (and still the days grow shorter!) Most days are cold and wet, though there is usually at least 1 day in a week that's cold but sunny.

On the bright side, it's the time of year when many of us are very productive, as there's not much else to do except work! And the holidays are coming soon, for the first time in many years we'll be home with family for them.

On the website front, we're using mega-menus to create a map of the site, hopefully with a structure that makes sense. We've had some great feedback from our volunteer reviewers, and have incorporated many comments in the most recent draft. We're always happy to get constructive feedback, so if you'd like to have a look, start here. Please do read the 'Notes to Reviewers' before diving in, and send us any comments. Thanks in advance!

We're still looking for volunteers over the next few months to give us feedback on designs, to try out the blogging and community features and tell us what you like and don't like, and later to help with testing. We need several teams for all this, we're not expecting anyone to be involved with all of it. If you have some spare time over the next few months and want to help, please get in touch!

Where are our intrepid travellers this month?

Lots of travellers out there this month, many of them trying to escape the northern winter and others caught in it! We've got great stories from Iran, Bolivia, Peru, Namibia, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Mexico, Egypt, Honduras, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Zambia, Panama, Australia, USA, Nigeria, Cameroon, Colombia, Tanzania, Canada and Argentina... 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! Seriously, there are so many travellers out there now that it's hard for me to keep up with them all. If you send me a couple of paragraphs and pics every month you'll have a much better chance of making it into the e-zine!

Susan Johnson, Editor

up to top of pagespacerHorizons Unlimited

How to contribute, and become an HU Member

As always, thanks to all our generous supporters for helping us to keep going. For those who haven't yet contributed, or haven't recently contributed, here's how you can help, and the benefits to you of becoming a Horizons Unlimited Contributing Member or Gold Member!

Please Support our Advertisers

Our advertisers and sponsors help us to make the website and e-zine available to you. We hope you'll check out their products and services and if you plan to buy these products, do it from our site or links. If you do use the services of one of our advertisers/supporters, we hope you'll let them know that you're buying from them because of their support for HU - and of course that they have a great product or service! :)

If you know anyone who should be advertising with us (anyone who sells motorcycles or motorcycle accessories, riding gear, camping equipment and clothing, transports motorcycles, organizes motorcycle tours, or has motorcycles to rent should be advertising), please let us know or even better send them to our Advertisers page with your recommendation.

Want to see your stories here?

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

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

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

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

Horizons Unlimited
New Links.

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.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!
Motorcycle Express
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

up to top of page A host of
volunteers for 'People en route!'

There are many 'Helpful People' listed on the Links page, a huge thanks to all of them. How about you? Or you can join a Community, or start your own!

up to top of pagespacer Repair Shops.

Do you know of a good shop 'on the road,'

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

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

up to top of pagespacerWho are they?

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

Thanks, Grant

Request for info

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

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


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

Travel Advisories:

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

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

Tea with Bin Ladens Brother, by Simon Roberts.

Just Released!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...

Road Heroes - Motorcycle Adventure Travel Tales - Part 1.

Road Heroes Part 1!

Get your Road Heroes DVD now for inspirational and funny tales from the road!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - Part 1 - Get Ready!

Part 1 - Get Ready!

Get the Achievable Dream DVD's NOW and learn how YOU can get on the road!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - Part 2 - Gear Up! 2-DVD Set!

Part 2 - Gear Up!

Get the Achievable Dream DVD's NOW and learn how YOU can get on the road!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - Part 3 - On the Road! 2-DVD Set!

Part 3 - On the Road!

Get the Achievable Dream DVD's NOW and learn how YOU can get on the road!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - Part 4 - Ladies on the Loose!

Part 4 - Ladies on the Loose !

Get the Achievable Dream DVD's NOW and learn how YOU can get on the road!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - Part 5 - Tire Changing!

Part 5 - Tire Changing!

Get the Achievable Dream DVD's NOW and learn how YOU can get on the road!

up to top of pagespacerWho's on the road, and where.

Wade Stubbs and Philip Atkinson, Australia, Circle to Circle tour, in Colombia, BMW

"Here's a mighty tough question. For a pick of the board, and a chance at $1000, what do the Bergalia Boys do for fun on a day off from riding? And no, as of yesterday it isn't fishing! That's right. We go riding. When 42 000 Km just isn't enough...

Bergalia Boys and bikes.

Bergalia Boys and bikes

So ride we did. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Just don't ask Roger. He may tell a different story!

The plan was to ride into a small town in the hills, explore some waterfalls and go for a swim. We planned the ride, we didn't ride the plan! We did manage to stop for a drink in the town, and then noticed an interesting looking trail disappearing into the hills and off the GPS.

Ride to Taganga, Colombia.

Ride to Taganga

'What do ya reckon lads? Shall we give 'er a go?'

Wade had to hold Smokey back she was so keen (left the panniers behind, which is like feeding a racehorse straight oats). Roger, well, all I can say is that he didn't say no. Perhaps he should have. 3 km and a broken clutch lever later, he definitely should have!

The next three hours were a blast! Massive bog holes (which at one point even had a land cruiser reaching for the shovel!), creek crossings, rutted out steep hills and slimy rocks. You don't have to be Gordon Ramsey to roast a meal of supreme pleasure with those ingredients. Just mix, serve, sit back and watch the smile grow.

3 more crashes later and Roger's absolutely chock-a-block full. Certainly no room for a chocolate mud cake for dessert! His knee was bent back at joint threatening angles during his last 'step-off', at which point he said enough was enough.

'It just isn't worth breaking a leg, again.'

Bergalia Boys get to Cartagena.

Posing in Cartagena

I ride ahead to scout the road. It was bad. Roger started walking, Wade and I taking it in turns to ride his bike. In one particularly snotty downhill section, which I might add I have already ridden twice on my scouting mission, I slow right down to show the others the best line. I must say, I did a bloody good job! After I lost most of my front wheel in a BMW swallowing trench and crashed, I was able to walk over and point out the correct line. If a picture is a thousand words, I reckon I just wrote a book with that little visual display! Gee, I'm a great bloke sometimes! Needless to say Wade makes it safely down. Damn!

It was the longest, most drawn out, boring crash yet. I think I actually fell asleep at one point! Already stopped but off-balance, I couldn't get the bike up right. I was hauling with all my might, battling bravely against gravity. Wade even had time to park his bike, take off his helmet and gently place it on the mirror, then get off and casually stroll 20m towards me before gravity, with gnashing jaws and a ferocious scowl finally landed the winning blow and poor old Aialik toppled over. Bugger!"

Brian Kennedy, Canada, in Colombia, Aprilia ETV 1000 cc CapeNord,

"The place was no more than a collection of a few cinder block houses, with trash strewed all around and dogs and pigs roaming about. I continued down the road that eventually ended a a few kilometers away near the water edge of the Rio Magdalena. I stood by and watched the men as they completed the unloading of the boat. There was a young girl down near the boat with a motorcycle, she told me that she was waiting to cross the river on the boat. The fellow who ran the boat came up to me and asked if I wanted to cross the river with my motorcycle. I shrugged my shoulder and said I was not sure, I told him his boat looked pretty small and my bike was big and heavy and that it weighed 3 times as much as the little 100cc motorcycle that the young girl had.

While all of this was going on I could hear the men in the truck talking, they must have assumed that the gringo did not understand Spanish. I head them say in Spanish 'The gringo looks nervous about his motorcycle, I do not think he will go across the river'. I ignored them and asked the boatman what the price was for the crossing, he said 3000 pesos then quickly corrected himself and said 4000 pesos ($2.00). I told him ok, he said that he would be ready to leave as soon as the men were done. I turned around looked over at the Colombian who had made the comment earlier and said 'The gringo and his motorcycle are going across the river'.

Boatman loading smaller 100cc motorcycle into boat.

Boatman loading smaller 100cc motorcycle into boat

I went over to where the Aprillia was parked and rode it down to where the boat was beached on the shore. I still was not sure about how we were going to about getting the motorcycle loaded into the boat. The boatman came over to me and told me to watch him as he loaded the smaller 100 cc motorcycle onto the bike. In a very choreographed series of maneuvers, he put the bike in neutral gear and then expertly rolled the bike backwards onto the 10" wide plank, over the top of the gunnel then held it there while his young assistant grabbed the back end of the motorcycle and held it in place while he got into position to maneuver the bike down a second plank inside the boat. It all looked pretty easy and I am sure that he had done this literally a thousand times or more before."

Ed. See Brian's story and pics in the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

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Panama Passage - Motorcycle and 4x4 guesthouse and shipping assistance in Panama City.

Daan Stehouwer and Mirjam van Immerzeel, Netherlands, Canada to South America, from Panama to Colombia, Africa Twins,

"Darien Gap? Rumour goes round they want to pave this missing 87 kms of impassable jungle. It would then only cost a few bucks of fuel and roughly one hour, boring! But hey, loading your motorcycle on a sail boat is something the average traveller will have sleepless nights about; at least I did. It is not 'just a car' or something, but your beloved bike dangling on a piece of rope above a salty ocean, or bouncing around in a small dinghy to get unloaded, which is maybe even more nervewracking!

Beloved bike dangling on a piece of rope.Mirjam waits for bike to arrive.

We shipped our bikes with the Stahlratte, not the only possibility but by far the biggest sailboat and 'non profit'. Mirjam is normally quite relaxed about our trip, but even she was getting nervous by the thought of her beloved Africa Twin on a sail boat.

Daan and bike on beach.

The trip was wonderful, the crew very professional and I have to say: I had the feeling my bike was safe with them, even allowed them to move my bike around on the deck without my supervision; which is the first time I allow anything like that!

On board the Stahlratte.

Perhaps the movie shows what it is all about; of course I used the most scary footage so please don't be frightened by it; I would for sure do it again without sleepless nights. The shipment is really an amazing experience! Darien Gap, thanks for being there!"

Ed. Great YouTube video of the Stahlratte crossing by Daan and Mirjam.

Marco Hoffmann (BikingMarco), Australia/Germany, Sydney to Germany - the African way, in Tanzania, Suzuki DR650,

"It has been over one week now that I've been staying in Mwanza. I am stuck in Mwanza, partly by choice, partly by circumstances. And I love the place...

...once you stay in a place for longer you become familiar with the surroundings. Just opposite the guest house is a big market where you can buy food for dirt cheap. Consequently I am there many times a day. For breakfast, lunch and dinner. And in between. I hope eating Mangoes has no negative side effects because I've been eating loads of them (for just AU$ 0.10 a piece). And fresh oranges, avocados, bananas, pastries, Chai tea, local bread etc. - just paradise. And of course everyone on the market knows me by now. As the 'Muzungu'.

Mwanza bike taxi drivers, Tanzania.

Mwanza bike taxi drivers

And so does the group of young guys on their motorbikes (two-wheel-taxis) waiting in front of the guest house. It's hard to not stand out with my little Suzuki amongst them. But bikies stick together and so we often share a Chai tea together and I get introduced to the trade of being a motorbike taxi rider. Thing is that most of them have no bike licence, the bike is not registered for taxi business and they actually don't even own the bike. So business often ends at a Police checkpoint where the profit of the day is paid in fines. But if business runs well they make TSH20000 (AU$ 12) per day. Minus petrol. And minus the bike rental fee of TSH6500 per day. And that is considered good business! However, during the day there is not many passengers for them. So they give me free sightseeing tours. Sometimes walking. Sometimes riding on their little Chinese bikes. Or on my little Suzuki which is usually the preferred option. Which is fine with me, I get to see cool things and they get to look cool amongst their friends riding with the 'Muzungu' on his huge bike.

Canyon near Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Canyon near Dar es Salaam

Africa is a strange place. By now I can fully understand people saying it can make or break you. I find myself often in between. Africa extends your range of emotions to unknown limits. And often you go through the whole range within a very short time frame. I remember many times when I was just ready to keep riding, riding straight home, riding fast and long as to get home sooner. It's those days when every perfect dirt road ends in deep sand. Days when you just keep dropping your bike for stupid reasons. Or days when every step you make you are followed by an army of touts and there is not one quiet second. Or when inefficient procedures make you want to cry and keep you stuck for half a day. Or vital stuff breaks or gets lost. But it's hardly ever a full day like this.

Because when you feel down the most, ready to fly home the next day, something will come along and pick you up. And make you want to stay. Something simple like a woman walking along the road within her group of donkeys smiling and greeting you with a friendly 'Jambo'. Or the little kid who, with wide eyes and small hands explores your bike full of wonder. Or the friendly guy in one of the road stalls giving his best to make the best possible Chai tea for you and is proud as when you praise his efforts. There are stories of rain and sunshine, annoying mosquitoes and beautiful sunsets, chaotic cities and wide empty plains. It's mostly the people who cheer you up again and again and make you say 'it's all worthwhile'. So suddenly you realise that yes, the traffic is a hopeless mess but what a proud achievement it is to have negotiated a way through. And you find yourself smiling when you're stuck in a group of donkeys on the road because it's actually a cool feeling to be there. And yes, the road is all sand and sand sucks but the landscape around you makes you feel all warm inside. And so I guess it is this wide range of emotions which make us travel, make us explore places like Africa. Because at the end it's emotions which turn into memories and provide us with the fuel to live off for many years to come. And emotions of that magnitude are hard to come by when you stay at home.

Masai and bike, Tanzania.

Masai and bike

These Masai showed big interest in my huge 'Piki Piki' (motorbike), everything on it had to be touched and felt. Resulting in many Masai with very dirty fingers and a clean little Suzuki."

Ed. See Marco's story and pics in the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

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Uganda Bike Safaris for real adventure!

'The river Nile and the Great Lakes, mountain ranges and volcanoes, a pleasant climate all year round, and a wide variety of wildlife including the endangered mountain gorillas.'

Danielle Murdoch, Australia, Australia to Africa, in Iran, Suzuki DR350,

"My heart is beating fast, my breath is really shallow, my hands start to shake and I feel really dizzy and incoherent, in fact my head seems to be oozing from my soul. What could be happening to me? What the hell did he put in the chai? I start to freak out, wondering what this drug was, how it was going to affect me and how long will it last? My heart beats faster and harder, it feels as if it's working overtime.

How can I ask my new host what the hell did he put in the tea without being rude? How rude can you be if you have been drugged? I feel a surge of braveness and ask 'What did you put in the tea?' feeling incredibly foggy. 'Um, I'm not sure what it's called in English...'

I stand, maybe its opium I think to myself, I'm in the city known for its drug addicts. He stands with me and walks into the house closely behind me. I start to go to my room, trying to work out what to do before I become too foggy to think. Just before I shut the door he approaches with something in his hand. 'I put these things in, don't you like it?' In his open hand is a bunch of cloves.

'You must have put something else as well?' I said as I closed and locked the door. Looking about me, I try to think - there are two doors, one I can lock from the inside and one that only locks from the outside - shit - Ok, think Danielle, as I take in a deep breath, time to make a plan. I pulled out my phone with my shaky hands and I punch out a text message to the guest house owner who suggested I stay at his friend's place. Still worried about saving face I wrote 'I'm really sorry to disturb you, but I feel as if I've taken a drug, would your friend do something like that?' Instantly, I get a message back 'No'.

The next second, I hear the guy's phone ringing, man what have I got myself into this time, I'm too goddamn trusting. My breath was starting to return to normal, as the guy calls out 'The phone is for you'. I open the door to receive the phone. 'Are you ok? Maybe it's because you're sick? I'll come around now to make sure you're ok...' beep beep beep.

Get used to this look as this is how I have to make sure I am covered up in Iran.

Get used to this look as this is how I have to make sure I am covered up in Iran.

The guesthouse owner arrives and asks his friend what I've had to eat and drink and finds out I tried a piece the size of my thumb nail of this brown goo with a tan coloured outside. I had completely forgotten about that strange incredibly sour stuff, I was told Iranians use it in soups and women just absolutely love it - how harmless could that be? However, I'm not like every woman, this stuff was apparently making my blood pressure drop so low I felt as if I was walking on another planet.

I felt a lot calmer knowing it wasn't opium but it wasn't going away, every now and then it would flare up again but not as bad as the first round."

Ed. Great stories and heaps of pics on Danielle's blog.

Alex Papadopoulos & Ping-Yi, Bicycling Chile 2011-2012, slight detour to Bolivia,

"In my thoughts I am replaying all the pieces of advice we have been given by other cyclists in the past month - who have all cycled this same route, but from the other end. (Please excuse some paraphrasing).

'If you can do this route you can do anything (on a bicycle).' - Judit, Explore Pangea
'My butt is still traumatised from the sand and washboard road.' - Judit, EP.
'But I would do it again... just not right now!' - Judit, EP.

Ping-Yi on the washboard road.

Washboard road

'Ohhh, don't worry. You will be 10kg lighter by the time you guys come back from Uyuni.' - Yannick
'There are no vegetables or fruit to be found en route. You may as well forget it for two weeks.' - Yannick
'I took carrots and apples... and had to eat the last apple at the border of Chile!' - Marilli
'Ohhhh, you'll have to start getting used to powdered milk... there's no other way.' - Judit, EP.
'You have to knock on the doors, to get attention, and also order the bread for the next day... it's quite hard to get fresh supplies.' - Judit, EP.
'You should be able to get to refill points [for water] every second day.' - Martin
'You can always stop the tourist jeeps and ask for help/water.' - Yannick, Martin, Cesar (EP).
'You can always stop wherever you are when you run out of energy and camp for the night.' - Cesar, EP.
'The wind starts in the afternoon, it makes it a horrendous ride.' - Everyone!
'Actually the wind starts at 10.30am...' - Marilli
'I would really advise you to start early [in the day].' - Yannick
'The problem with starting early is that it's REALLY cold [at that altitude]' - Everyone
'We sleep with our water bags as pillows to prevent them from freezing.' - Yannick
'We pour out water for the morning in the pan [the night before] , so even if it freezes it's ok.' - EP
'We take our insoles [of shoes] into the tent with us.' When I wrinkled my nose, he added, 'It's much more preferable to having freezing feet in the morning, I assure you!' - Martin
'We sleep with a bottle of water on the mattress between us to prevent THAT from freezing.' - Marilli
'Martin just has a period every day where he swears profusely [on the route]. It passes, and everything is ok again.' - Marilli
'We cycle with a cloth over our nose and mouth - it helps at high altitude because of the cold, and also increases the humidity of the air we breathe.' - Cesar, EP. (Not to mention protection from the sun and wind and the dust from the jeeps)
'Cycling at high altitude means you get very short of breath very quickly, but your legs are not tired. Just keep pushing on.' - Judit, EP
'If you're going to camp on the Salar de Uyuni, you'll need to take a rock with you for the pegs.' - Martin
'Be careful where you camp on the Salar - the jeeps just run all over the Salar, and you could get run over in the middle of the night.' - Martin

Rest assured everyone, that at some point or another we made good use of every bit of the advice!

Annoying jeeps.

...It is COLD. All my fingers become completely wooden and the pain makes me cry out sharply even whilst cycling off road. The scenery is incredible but the jeeps are annoying. The dust clouds they stir up completely engulf us even whilst we get beeped or whistled at. We get much more of this over the next few days, but I still don't get used to having my photo taken by strangers whilst I'm breathing heavily and struggling with the road. If I had the energy I would stick my tongue out for sure!

My head begins to hurt from all the jarring of the road. I wonder, is there a 'Shaken Cyclist Syndrome?'

...We dress accordingly - i.e. put on almost every item of clothing we are carrying - and celebrate our success with a hot chocolate. Afterwards we carry everything into the tent that we have been advised to... and more, to prevent problems with frozen food and malfunctioning stove in the morning.

We go for a walk and discover that the geysers here are quite active, hissing and bubbling in the mud."

Alex and Ping-Yi in the thermal pool.

Well deserved reward for all that work!

Ed. See video on Flickr, and lots more on Alex and Ping-Yi's blog on Horizons Unlimited!

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Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures offers affordable motorcycle adventures in the wild west of South America, Bolivia.

Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, RTW (193 countries), in the USA, on Harley-Davidson,

"...Heading north along the coast for the Californian Horizons Unlimited meeting in Cambria. Another stinking hot day till we were right in Cambria where the effects of coastal fog, a regular feature of this area, blew in late afternoon dropping temperatures significantly. The cooler oceans bring in elephant seals and sea lions to the beaches as well as surfboard riders. Our hotel in San Simeon a mecca for weekends away from the city. The rally grounds overlook the ocean, campsites nestled in sphagnum moss draped pines, cabins and meeting rooms dotted between trees, a lovely, if not little untidy setting. There were two indoor presentation rooms plus two amphitheatres, plenty of room for the expected 200+ participants.

Not having been to a US Horizons rally we weren't sure what to expect. The rally didn't start till tomorrow but the volunteers had arrived and were setting up. We were long time friend welcomed by Grant and Susan, the organisers, and first time met many other similarly interested motorcyclists. An after set up dinner down town gave us a better chance to mingle.

Peter and Kay and Greg Frazier at the HU California meeting.

Peter and Kay and Greg Frazier

...We sat in on Carla King's presentation on her trip in China. She has been a long time motorcycle traveller, written a few books on her travels and we have long followed her exploits, and it was great to finally meet up. Sat in on Greg Frazier's, an old friend, talk on his various round the world trips and it was during his talk that we realised one of the identifiable milestones of becoming a motorcycle traveller is taking the first photo of your motorbike lying down. Most people hurry to pick up a fallen motorcycle but when you are relaxed enough to wander off, take a photo, you have indeed become a motorcycle traveller.

Yosemite's granite formations with El Capitan way off in the background.

Yosemite's granite formations with El Capitan way off in the background

...Earlier to the rally grounds for the clean up and farewells, each of us going back to our individual lives and whether it was, as with Ted Simon, a trip to San Francisco to collect his newly American accepted Ukrainian bride, or Greg Frazier, who is heading to Thailand for the summer to reunite with his wife, Grant and Susan, a long drive back to Vancouver Canada to get heads down in front of the Horizons Unlimited HUBB computers, or Mike and Sandy Dimond, the event organisers who start a normal life's working day tomorrow, we all headed out leaving the campground empty except for individual memories."

Ed. Horizons Unlimited is proud to host Peter and Kay's complete RTW story and pictures here! See their story on the new Road Heroes DVD!

Ronnie Borrageiro, South Africa, RTW, in Australia, BMW 1200 GSA,

"...After a nightmare experience with Sydney's early morning rush hour traffic, I managed to get the Big Fella up close and personal, to the Sydney Opera House! This took some doing, as the area is closed off for renovations...

A bit of sweet talking got me past the security and although it was not the 'iconic shot' I would have have liked, the photo will show, without doubt, that the Gypsy Biker and his faithful steed DID make it to Sydney!

Sydney Opera House and bike.

...With time to spare... we popped into the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary close to the city, where I was able to cuddle up close to a Koala Bear...

Smelly things, Koalas! Reminds me of the public toilets in Park Station on a hot day! Not pleasant!

Mark avoided touching one for this very reason, wrinkling his nose as the strong acidic smell filled the air near the Koala enclosures!

Ronnie cuddles a koala.

Ronnie cuddles a koala!

But it was a thrill to hold the little female, and feel her sharp claws digging into my shirt as she hung on! I stared into her intelligent little eyes for a while, wondering what she made of all this attention!

I would have liked to take her home for a quick shampoo, and then spend some time studying her more closely, but the rangers would probably not have agreed to this request, so I did not bother to pass it on!"

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Alex Smith (bigalsmith101), USA, Central and South America, in Peru, Suzuki DR650,

"Sooner than later, I arrived in Trujillo, Peru. I hopped onto an internet café computer, and found out that Frank, who I met via Horizons Unlimited, would be in Haunchaco, on the beach that night. I made plans to park where he would see me on the way into the small beach town. It worked a charm, and he found me right on his way in.

Frank and Big Al with bikes in Haunchaco.

Frank and Big Al with bikes in Haunchaco

That night, my second in Peru, was full of beers and good conversation. Frank has been in South America for 5 years almost, and has ridden over 50k kilometers. He's moving north now, with plans of Alaska and Prudhoe Bay in the summer of 2012. Hopefully he'll find his way to my parents' house for a night!

...(After leaving Lima) Alongside the highway there were many fruit stands, and about an hour after leaving Lima I stuffed a banana into my mouth and kept riding. The fruit down here is great, and really helps keep me energized on the road. I don't find myself getting hungry, and I feel great when I stop every so often and scarf down a piece of fruit.

Another hour later I stopped again and had an apple and bottle of coke. I had ratchet strapped my new TKC 80 tires to my top box in Lima, and they were holding on well.

Bike rural Peru -fruit stand.

Bike rural Peru -fruit stand

I came across an alpine lake with flamingos standing in it and flying around. Cool! I decided to take a path off the highway and go down to get a closer photo. However... I got stuck!

Stuck in the mud in an alpine lake, Peru.

So, I tried for about 5 minutes to get it 'un-stuck' before realizing I was being insane, and 'trying the exact same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.' So I took off the right side pannier.

Then I took off the left side pannier.

Next came the tires.

Damn you Flamingos for luring me down here!

Flamingos that lured Big Al to his fate!

However, with excess breathing and panting in the thin air at nearly 15k feet, full throttle tire spinning, and a bit of grunting, the bike was free, and I began the relatively quick process of re-installing the panniers and loading the tires on."

Ed. Read more of Big Al's stories and great pics in the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

Tania and Francois Steyn, South Africa, crossing Africa, 200cc Motomia road bikes,

"It has always been a dream of ours to travel through Africa one day. In 2009 we travelled 6,000 km around the border of South Africa on two 125cc Motomia Enzo motorbikes without any problems and this inspired us to see if we can go even further on small bikes. On 5 September 2011 we departed from Killarney Race Track in Cape Town to ride all the way to Cairo. This time we decided to take on the journey on two 200cc Motomia road bikes and set aside three months for the trip.

Our route took us all the way past Springbok, into Namibia and through the Caprivi strip where we saw our first elephants roaming freely next to the road. In Divindu, a small town in Namibia we stumbled upon Charley Boorman, UK-based actor in the series 'Long Way Down'. He was busy leading a tour group from Livingstone to South Africa. They were very impressed with our small Chinese bikes as they were all travelling on big 1200cc BMW off-road bikes.

Francois and Tania meeting Charley Boorman in Namibia.

In Zambia we visited the spectacular Vic Falls and then passed through Lusaka and Chipata and into Malawi where we made sure that we had extra fuel in our tank bags to see us through. Luckily we never struggled to find petrol contrary to what people told us before entering Malawi. We travelled North towards Tanzania visiting a few beautiful beaches along Lake Malawi and snorkelled in the clear waters. In Tanzania we decided to try something different and headed West towards Sambuwanga where a gravel road (a good one we were told by many locals and travellers) leads North all the way to Rwanda. It turned out that the gravel road was not so good and with a few days of rain we challenged the Motomias through some rough terrain.

Slip sliding away in western Tanzania.

This was one of the less-travelled tourist routes through Tanzania and most of the people could not speak English, but here we truly experienced the hospitality of Tanzanians. In Kasulu, Francois' bike gave some problems and we had to seek the help of some locals, which turned out to be loads of fun as they easily replaced a part in the carburettor. Tanzania is full of Chinese bikes which look a lot like ours, a good reason why it makes sense to travel with a small bike.

Francois and Tania with the mountain gorillas.

In Rwanda we had the opportunity to visit the mountain gorillas in their natural environment, an experience that we will never forget. We then travelled through Uganda all the way to Jinja, renowned as the source of the Nile and the adventure capital of the country. It was here that we met the South African 'Voetspore' TV crew for the first time. They also left South Africa in September and are busy filming their trip from Cape to Cairo. Shortly after we entered Kenya we had our first flat tyre on this trip and had to spend the night in Webuye in a local hotel where we experienced the friendliness of the Kenyan people once again. We then set off towards Nairobi to organise our visas for Sudan, which turned out to be a straight forward process and they were issued in the same day that we applied.

From Isiolo to Moyale at the border to Ethiopia is one of the most challenging and feared roads by all travellers doing a Cape to Cairo trip due to a very bad gravel road and reports of bandits in the area. This stretch of 260 km gravel presented to us - rocks (many!), sandy patches, desolate desert scenes, even green valleys with trees, camels, donkeys, a jackal, bushbaby, mud and even some rain! The terrain is really harsh and we marvel at the fact that people can survive in this area. We managed to successfully complete this section in three days and the bikes survived the battering with only one flat tyre along the way. Nevertheless I was very relieved when we finally crossed the border into Ethiopia.

The rocky road to Moyale in Kenya.

Ethiopia is a very beautiful, but challenging country. We travelled through Addis Ababa on the way to Lalibela where we had the opportunity to visit the famous rock-hewn churches built in 1166. In general people were friendly, but we got quite tired as there are so many people and animals on the road to watch out for.

We fell in love with Sudan and its people as we travelled for two weeks through the country spending a few nights camping wild in the desert. Everywhere people gave us things – free tea, tomatoes, water and more – the hospitality of the people was amazing. In Wadi Halfa we jumped on the ferry to Aswan, Egypt where we are currently waiting for our bikes to arrive on the barge. As soon as they are here we will be heading off into the Western Desert to complete the final stretch of our journey to Cairo. So far we have driven almost 14,000 km over 80 days and we are very impressed with the capabilities of these small Motomias so far."

More stories below...

up to top of pagespacerHorizons Unlimited presents...

E-zine DVD Special ends soon!

Just in time for holiday presents for friends, family (or yourself!), E-zine readers can buy all Horizons Unlimited DVDs at 10% off the retail price.

There's Part 1 of the new series - Road Heroes - Motorcycle Adventure Travel Tales, featuring tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (Challenges of travelling to 193 countries 2-up on a Harley Electra-Glide), Dr. Gregory Frazier (5 times RTW on a variety of bikes), Tiffany Coates (RTW traveller recounts her Mongolia Mayhem) and Rene Cormier (5 years in the University of Gravel Roads).

Road Heroes - Motorcycle Adventure Travel Tales - Part 1.

If you've been inspired by the stories you've read in this e-zine and are keen to get on the road yourself, the Achievable Dream is the definitive 'How To' series on long-distance motorcycle travel.

The Achievable Dream Series - the Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide!

The 'Collectors Box Set' is also available - all 5 DVDs (18 hours of informative and entertaining content!) in a custom box at a gift price of $124.99.

Achievable Dream Collectors Box Set - 5 Motorcycle Adventure Travel DVDs!

This offer is for orders until November 30, 2011 only, so stock up now for Christmas! You must start your order from this link to get the e-zine special. After selling over 6,000 DVDs, we're pretty confident you'll like them. If you're not completely happy with them, just let us know within 30 days of purchase for a full refund or exchange. And you don't even have to send them back!

If by some chance you've never heard of the Achievable Dream and Road Heroes DVDs, you can see the trailers and read the comments for all the DVDs here.

Ionut and Ana, Romania, Trans-Africa, in Nigeria and Cameroon, Yamaha Tenere,

"There are 3 ways into Cameroon: the good tar up in the north, through Maiduguri and the highly unstable Boko Haram territory. The overlanders' hell, the dreaded Ekok-Mamfe piste, marred by lorries and loggers' trucks and potentially hazardous during the last weeks of the rainy season. Or the ferry from Calabar to Limbe, that we could not afford.

The eastern Nigerian states are visibly more lively and prosperous. Small, colorful villages, mud brick houses with zinc roofs, fresh food markets, streetside restaurants with delicious food, plantations. People are friendly, food is cheap and we zoom by police checkpoints without being stopped.

Bad roads in Nigeria.

The roads are bad though, so after Obudu we decide to crash overnight at Afi Drill Ranch. Emi and Oli, the Brits overloading in a Landie who we'd met in Lome and who are ahead of us in Gabon, told us to stop in Afi, if we had the time.

The air is moist, the forest is soaking and we are rolling through dense high vegetation that hardly allow any sunlight in the undergrowth. The track is narrow and goes up and down for 15 km into the dark heart of the rainy forest. It rains every day, sometimes even more times a day. The tires slide easily on the sticky mushy clay, so a fall is imminent. We bite the mud two times, but we arrive in one piece, yet covered in dirt and with rivers of sweat flowing from the forehead to the boots.

Falling over a lot in Nigeria.

We're in the deep bush. There is no GSM network, no electricity and no running water. Afi Drill Ranch is the research camp of Pandrillus, a conservation project dedicated to saving the primates and the forest of Cross River state from extinction. The camp is bordering the wildlife sanctuary established together with the state government. The project receives short term visitors who can witness the daily work and learn about primates conservation. We are welcomed by 2 American long term volunteers, Amanda and Jens, who show us around. We are completely exhausted. Soon we lay down in our tent, pitched in the bamboo shed.

Bamboo shed at Afi Drill Ranch, Nigeria.

The night is magical. The darkness burns the eyes and is hardly interrupted by myriad stars and immense fireflies. A choir of forest sounds - amphibians, insects and nocturnal mammals - completely new to our ears. We let this new energy burn its imprint into our DNA."

Ed. Fantastic pics and stories on Ionut and Ana's blog.

Mike, USA, RTW, in Namibia, BMW R1150 GSA,

"Heading east back to the dirt roads towards the mountains, I was now on my way to Damaraland and the ancient rock carvings of Twyfelfontein. I toured the 2-6,000-year old carvings with Günter and Barbara from Germany. Over a couple of Jamesons and water at Günter's campsite, he told me of an unmarked Himba orphanage a day's ride going north.

Namibia dunes.

I found the village and was met by a young man who would be my guide and translator for N$200, and two young boys in braids and loincloths agreed to watch my bike. It was incredibly hot in the midday sun. There were 35 children at this orphanage started by a couple that have a farm nearby. Six resident women share the responsibility of raising the orphans and their own children. Only five of the children are enrolled in school due to cost and their desire to preserve the Himba culture.

Himba orphanage, Namibia.

I ended up meeting several of the women there and found them incredibly genuine, very friendly, and even a bit 'sassy'. Three women sitting on the ground, one getting her hair done (a two day long process) and one making jewelry, were quick to pester me about not being married. 'But why, you are gorgeous?' They could not understand why I was not married, and quickly ask me to choose one of them. Now, most times when I visit an indigenous village like this, the people are withdrawn, shy and rarely make eye contact. These girls, all in their early 20's 'stood tall' and looked me directly into the eye sometimes rather intensely. I tried to be diplomatic and joked about marrying all three, but they would have none of that and prodded me to basically declare who I thought was the most beautiful.

At the core of the 'dress' is the practice of crushing the rust red rock, or ochre, to create a fine powder. The powder is then mixed with butter and bush-herbs and smeared all over their bodies. Not only does this change the color of their skin, but acts as a sunscreen and insect repellent. The same compound encases their braids. Himba women do not shower - ever. They create a mild steam room in their huts and then reapply the ochre mixture. Their dress is made up of a head-dress made of an animal hide, an elaborate system of jewelry around the neck, a belt or waist piece, loin cloth of leather softened by the same butter mixture, anklets made of metal wire beads, multiple bracelets and thin leather soled sandals. Almost everything they wear has symbolic meaning behind it.

Himba woman, Namibia.

Later, I had another marriage proposal (one that I briefly considered) and got teased some more, but enjoyed all the attention. On the drive back to the campground, I could still smell the earthy butter mixture in my nostrils and had a smile on my face.

It is hard to describe, but this day was one of the best travel days that I have had. I passed a group of the seldom-seen desert elephants, while around another turn eight ostriches sprung up from the grass and rustled their 'Vegas showgirl' plumage as if on cue, seemingly, just for me. Later a jackal crossed the road in front of me. After my time in the Himba village, I capped off the day with a medium-rare T-bone and a cold beer in a campground catering to overlanders. It does not happen like this often, but I sure appreciate it when it all comes together. Life is good."

2012 Calendar is now available, just in time!

The calendar, featuring the 13 best pics from the annual Horizons Unlimited photo contest, is available on CafePress for $26.99. The cost to us is $14.99, and we split the $12.00 with the photographers. Get yours now! See all the winning pics here.

2012 Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers Calendar.

Chris and Chloe Granger, UK, Buenos Aires to Vancouver, in Argentina, F650GS DAKAR and F650GS,

"...After 4 days of gravel roads and an overdose of nature, we made for the 'valleys' of Trelew and Gaiman. Named, along with Trevellin in the west, by the Welsh settlers of the late 19th century.

The history of the Welsh settlers is clearly illustrated in many of the original buildings of the town. In the old railway station is a small museum manned by a Welsh, (and English), speaking Argentine who eloquently describes how the Williams and Jones's came to establish farming and built traditional-style stone and brick buildings in the Argentina we know today. The welsh tea rooms are a highlight, if not excessively over-priced, as are the many chapels which line the road.

Night camp near Gaiman.

Night camp near Gaiman

...Morning after the night before; warmed by blue skies and kitted up, we headed west via Dique (a dam), and then south and back to the coast via the most scenic riding yet.

...The next day was mostly a washout, with rain, rain and more rain - why did we bother leaving the UK?! Once the rain stopped, we hit the streets of Viedma.

After aimless wandering through the town, we found a rickety-wooden-boat service that crossed the river to Carmen de Patagones - the original historic township settlement and as such, by far the more attractive of the two towns.

Viedma-Bahia Creek.

Next morning, some 100miles later, on ripio roads (ripio = unpaved, usually gravel mixed in with sand & dirt), we had taken in two sea lion colonies, (although the first one was missing the sea lions), several beaches and a tumble or two."

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Greg Powell, Canada, exploring the Americas, in Mexico, Honda Varadero,

"Thirty-four kilometers later was a 'Policia Federal' road block. A big, expressionless officer carrying a M16 approached, he made me a bit nervous. He extended his hand and as we shook hands he smiled, asked me some basic questions and laughed hard to my answer as to why I was travelling alone: 'I have no crazy friends'. Another customs checkpoint, another Policia Federal stop and I was finally in Tampico. Once in Tampico I was given a traffic 'ticket' for running a red light (the light was yellow not red) but after some negotiating 200 pesos got me sent on my way. I made it to Veracruz the following day after a long and uneventful ride where I met with fellow Canadian and motorcycle enthusiast, Mike. I made contact with him through the Horizons Unlimited web site 'communities' section. Mike has been living and riding motorcycles in Mexico since the early 1990's and proved to be an invaluable resource. Together we planned the rest of my route...

...Needing Pesos I decided to stop in the next big town and find a bank, which turned out to be only 50 kilometers down the highway. The town was busy and had a festive feeling, which was until the police pulled me over. Two police on a 650 Suzuki V-Strom motioned for me to pull over and started speaking Spanish. They were both inspecting my bike and I was expecting they were going to ask for my vehicle import papers. Both officers really seemed to like my Denali spot lights. Instead of asking for my license or papers they just said 'adonde vas, Amigo' (where are you going my friend) and shook my hand. I showed them my route on a small map I now carry of North and South America. I eventually asked them why they stopped me (as best I could in my limited Spanish) to which they indicated I was going the wrong way down a one way street. I told them I needed Pesos. The next thing I knew I was getting a police escort to the bank.

Police escort to bank.

Police escort Greg to bank

I managed to get an early start to what turned out to be one of the scariest rides so far. I started off in light rain for San Cristobal de las Casas, only a short distance away. The fog grew really thick and I could barely see in front of me, the road was also very slippery. I was able to follow the car in front of me but he eventually turned off. At one point the entire right lane had been washed out, there was no guard rail or warnings, there was also no place to pull over. As I started to descend the fog started to lift, the road was less slippery and my path was clear again.

50,000 km into the trip.

I spent the rest of my time exploring Mexico, relaxing on the beaches and riding some amazing roads, such as highway 175. Parts of highway 175 made Deals Gap - Tail of the Dragon look like child's play. I took two days to ride the 175 and it was two of the best days of motorcycle riding that I had in over two months on this adventure. The beaches were clean and not too crowded, snorkeling was great fun and there were plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing. The Mexican people were friendly and helpful and took the security of my motorcycle seriously. I never had any problems."

Fang Yi (China) and Rupert (UK), RTW, in Tanzania and Egypt, reporting on transport arrangements, KTM 990s,

"Like many others in the same situation, we have been researching forums and making enquiries about getting from Egypt to Turkey or Greece for a few months. Of course when we started we planned to ride through Jordan and Syria... or perhaps through Libya or even take a ferry from Egypt. All the above pretty much impossible at this moment. The real options available are to ship or airfreight bikes onwards. Luckily we have a Chinese SOE cargo ship taking our bikes from Alexandria to Mersin in December (thanks to Chinese Ambassador to Egypt helping Fanny... the British embassy was no help to me), and we will have to fly or swim over to collect them.

There is now (allegedly) a ferry route from Tripoli to Malta and then onwards to Italy, but of course Libya is still reeling from the war and there are too many hyper loons around with guns. But it's doable I think, perhaps, maybe... depends on luck I guess and one's appetite for risk. We did meet some people who blagged their way into Syria at the Turkish border and rode through in a couple of days. Also a group of Europeans who already had valid Syrian visas and got through with no hassles. However, we could not apply for Syrian visas and it's likely things will get worse in Syria in coming months with tighter sanctions from EU, UN, US and Arab League and threat of civil war looms nearer.

The email we received about Malta - Tripoli is below, details here.

11/2/11 4:57 PM Shipping operations between Malta and Tripoli to start on Wednesday

  • The newly set up Mediterranean Maritime Service will be organising its first trip to Libya on Wednesday and will be offering two weekly services thereon.
  • The company, made up of the Maltese companies Zammit Group and BH Group and the Turkish company Fergun Shipping will be offering ro-ro services for vehicles and passengers.
  • The trip to Tripoli is 14 hours and will be organised at night.
  • The trips will be on board the six star Azzurra, which can take up to 700 passengers and 170 cars. It is 99.8 metres long and has 38 cabins. During the conflict in Libya it was used to evacuate people from Libyan ports to Tunisia, Egypt and Syria.

Fanny enjoying breakfast in Tanzania.

Fanny enjoying breakfast in Tanzania

In the meantime we rented an apartment in Dahab, in Sinai... relaxing and having fun in glorious sunshine next to the stunning Red Sea. We used our time and learnt to free dive and wind surf and serviced bikes at KTM in Sharm El Sheikh who did an outstanding job. BTW - very easy to extend visas and carnets and stay in sun. EU passports can extend up to a year for 152 Egyptian Pounds and Carnets for 50 Pounds (for duration of visa period). Fanny being Chinese had to be interviewed by security police in Nuweiba who were thoroughly professional and granted her another three month extension to her Chinese passport visa if she needed. A bit of a faff but doable and builds in flexibility just in case.

As reported by many, the customs in Egypt operate a huge scam (I know as I am a forensic investigator by trade) and so you need to make sure all paperwork is accurate to the digit otherwise it's an excuse for them to impound your bike/car. They have also cottoned on to the fact that adventurers and travellers are between a rock and a hard place and so they are abusing their authority and collaborating with their friendly 'fixers' and others in a conspiracy to defraud. Just a visit to Cairo airport customs and their 'car graveyard of misery' where we extended our permits proved how many vehicles get confiscated each year - literally hundreds, mostly German and South African judging by the registration plates.

Rupert in Tanzania.

There seem to be no ferries at all and the country, and many public services seem to be grinding to a halt and a sort of apathetic anarchy prevails. There used to be a ferry from Hurghada to Sharm El Sheikh in Sinai, but it was broken down and so we took the route via Suez. Actually the 1000km + route was cheaper than than ferry cost as petrol is less than 2 pounds a litre, or less if you want 92 octane and below, and the ride across the Sinai is stunning, perfect motorcycle country.

Any advice on safe routes in Iran and Pakistan, or any bikers or other adventurers wishing to join us and group together through Iran and Pakistan in April/May 2012 very welcome. Please reach out to us any time. Fang Yi and Rupert KTM 990 Adventures"

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Jordan and Michelle, USA, Texas to South America, finishing the trip in Peru, 2up on Ninja 250,

"For the first time in months I was afraid. Not since my first timid miles in Juarez, Mexico had I felt any anxiety about riding in 3rd world countries, every near miss was just a part of the experience. Now, with the finish line so close in sight I was terrified that our luck would finally run out and we would be struck down by the inevitable hand of fate, leaving ourselves wounded or the bike unsellable. The traffic in Lima, Peru was by far the craziest of the entire trip, and the last 50 miles through the city dragged on for an eternity. Eventually, thankfully, we dug our way through downtown and made it without incident into welcoming arms of our friends at Club Peru Moto Turismo.

...The buyer and I had settled the price for the motorcycle previously, so the only thing left to do was the paperwork. The agreed upon price was fair for me (an EX250 in that shape would go for a similar money in the USA), and him (rare bike but 40% import tax plus other fees). Paperwork was handled no problem.

Before the sale I spent a few hours disassembling and cleaning the beautiful motorcycle that I was leaving behind.

Jordan cleaning the bike for sale, Peru.

It had been a brutal 15,000 miles and 6 long months since we left Austin, TX. There were many skeptics, but the bike had surpassed every expectation. It pushed itself through gridlock Guatemala traffic, blasted down the Atacama desert at 80mph and crawled up Andean mountains. It was crashed, neglected and overloaded. It had never left us stranded.

My love for that bike was surpassed only by Michelle's. In her mind there will never be a more perfect motorcycle and I don't think she will ever form an emotional attachment to any other bike. When our friend expressed his plans to paint the motorcycle black she begged him to reconsider and repaint in the original yellow. One consolation was that we were selling to a trusted friend who would take good care of the bike. It our hope that someday we will be able to buy back that motorcycle and bring it back to Austin."

Ed. See Jordan and Michelle's story and pics in the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

Ian Moor, UK, Wrong Way Round The World, in Colombia, BMW F650GS,

"We were taken aboard in an inflatable dingy with all our luggage but had to wait several hours as the afternoon heavy rain and wind whipped the sea up preventing us from pulling alongside the jetty and winching the bikes aboard. Once all the bikes were securely tied down we motored to a nearby island and dropped anchor for the night.

In the evening we went ashore on the small island for a chicken barbecue with traditional pan pipe music and dancing provided by the Kuna inhabitants. The Kuna who live on the San Blas coast are semi-autonomous from the rest of Panama and their lifestyle isn't influenced much by so called western 'civilisation'. They sell fish and coconuts to cruising yachts and catch fish and grow crops on the mainland for themselves. The small island we visited was literally covered from shore to shore with narrow rows of small timber and thatch houses.

Caribbean island.

We were all expected to help out with technical sailing chores, I got to swab the decks when the anchor was lifted bringing a load of mud up with it. Swabbing the decks was remarkably similar to sweeping a floor and not as exciting as I thought it would be. I also got to help peel potatoes for 22 people twice which was about as thrilling as peeling potatoes on dry land. I volunteered myself to stand watch while we were sailing from midnight to 3am with Rolli the Austrian crew member. There didn't seem much point in being on watch during the day when there were so many people on deck anyway; although most of the time nobody seemed to be looking where we were going during the day. Having two people on watch isn't really necessary but we helped keep each other awake and when Rolli went below I was the only person on deck for a full ten minutes, thankfully no stray icebergs appeared during my ten minutes in command. We were hit by a squall while I was on watch which sent everything sliding off the table and bodies that had been sleeping on deck appeared from all kinds of nooks and crannies including under the table. As the others scurried below out of the rain Rolli and I checked the decks picking things up that had fallen off the table or were in danger of being blown overboard.

Cartagena defenses.

Cartagena defenses

We arrived in Cartagena, Colombia about 6 am although I was sleeping having been on watch until 3 o'clock. It was after lunch before all our passports were cleared by immigration and we were taken ashore to find accommodation. The Chinese TV film crew, Kyle and David and I walked into the old walled city of Cartagena in the afternoon and watched a group of drummers and dancers performing in one of the squares. The music and dancing was completely different from any other performances I have seen in Latin America, very lively with obvious African roots.

After two and a half years of travelling in North America I now have a brand new continent to play with."

Ed. Congrats on getting to South America! Follow Ian's adventures in his blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

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More stories below...

up to top of pagespacerHorizons Unlimited Travellers Meetings.

Why Come to a Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers Meeting?

You can meet people who don't think you're crazy for wanting to ride your bike to South America or Africa or across Asia! People who will encourage you, share their experiences and advice on how to do it!

Also, 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!

Remember, early bird rates for most meetings will be ending soon. If you can commit to the event and pay early you get a bargain, if you wait until the last minute it will cost you more. We really need the cash flow, so the early bird registrations benefit us too :)

Meetings and Events, 2011 and 2012. Mark your calendars and sign up now!

Argentina - Viedma Mini-meeting, December 8-10 2011. Registration open now!

Thailand, Chiang Mai Mini-meeting, 14 January, 2012. Registration open now!

Australia, (within 1 hour of Brisbane - Dayboro showgrounds), 8-10 June, 2012. Registration open now!

Germany, 7-10 June, 2012, Registration open now!

Ireland, 29 June - 1 July, 2012. Registration open now!

UK Summer - Ripley - the big one! 5-8 July, 2012, Registration open now! Early bird rates only until 1 November 2011.

Canada West, Nakusp, BC, 23-26 August, 2012. Same great location! Registration open now!

UK Autumn - Mendip, 31 Aug - 2 Sep, 2012 - TBC if we can persuade Gabe and Char to do it again!

North Carolina USA, Stecoah, 7-9 September, 2012. Note: New dates, a month later and hopefully cooler weather ;-) Registration coming soon!

HUMM Morocco, New Location! 17-21 Sep, 2012 - TBC.

Ontario New Location! Dates and details still being finalized, planned for late September to early October.

California, 18-21 Oct, 2012 - TBC. Note: We are planning to extend this event by 1 day (starting Thursday) to accommodate the number of presentations! Registration coming soon!

Dates subject to change, more dates and locations to come as we get them.


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 the Meetings page for more details on all events.

See you there! Grin!

Grant and Susan

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World-Wide Motorcycle Adventures. Motorcycle Rentals in Alaska.

up to top of pagespacerBooks

Tea with Bin Ladens Brother, by Simon Roberts.

Just Released!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.

Motorcycle Therapy, by Jeremy Kroeker

From the Canadian Rockies to the Panamanian Jungle, Motorcycle Therapy rumbles with comic adventure as two men, fleeing failed relationships, test the limits of their motorcycles and their friendship. Get it here!

Red Tape and White Knuckles: One Woman's Motorcycle Adventure Through Africa

Lois' adventures in Africa!

'Alone. No support vehicles, no fancy GPS and no satellite phone. Leaving from London, finishing in Cape Town - and the small matter of tackling the Sahara, war-torn Angola and the Congo Basin along the way - this feisty independent woman's grand trek through the Dark Continent of Africa is the definitive motorcycling adventure.' Get it here!

Distant Suns, by Sam Manicom

Adventure in the vastness of Africa and South America

'Sam Manicom's dynamic third book transports you to Southern Africa, South and Central America in an action-packed three year voyage of discovery. a thought-provoking mix of scrapes and encounters with people which illuminate some moments of true darkness. acute observations on everything from human behaviour, to remote and stunning locations. Distant Suns grabs you, enthrals you and spits you out as a convert to the dream of overlanding these amazing continents.' Buy direct from Sam here!

Adventure Motorbiking Handbook.

Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, by Chris Scott

Into the Den of the Bear and the Lair of the Dragon on a Motorcycle.

Into the Den of the Bear and the Lair of the Dragon on a Motorcycle. Werner, 66, was born in Germany and worked in Canada until his retirement. He has authored a number of books since getting bit by the motorcycle travel bug, including

-8 Around the Americas by Motorcycle,
-Into the Den of the Bear and the Lair of the Dragon on a Motorcycle
, and
-Africa Against the Clock on a Motorcycle
All his books are available directly from Werner. Tell him we sent you and get US$5.00 off the regular US$20 price!

For details on his books see here.

video cover picture

The Producers of Mondo Enduro present Terra Circa, Around the World by Motorcycle
(6 x 20 minute episodes).

Regular readers of this newsletter will remember Terra Circa's adventures around the world, and especially the Zilov Gap. Now's your chance to see it in video. Austin Vince is a very funny guy and the video is hilarious, as he leads his intrepid crew through misadventure after misadventure.

'This is adventure motorcycling' says Chris Scott, who wrote the book, so he ought to know!

Looking for a travel book for someone special?

Go to our Books pages, where we have listed some of the best motorcycle travel books, as well as a number of BMW books, general motorcycle books, and travel guides.

There's links to Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, and Amazon Deutschland, so no matter where you are - you can order books at great prices, and we'll make a dollar or a pound or a Euro, which goes a very little way to supporting this e-zine.

There's also links to search Amazon sites for all their products, books, CDs etc., and yes, we get a tiny piece of that too. We really appreciate it when you start your book search from our website. Thanks for the support!

NOTE: If you buy a book starting with one of our links below, we get a little bit to help support the website!

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

Book suggestions please!

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

Help support your favourite website! Here's how!

Road Heroes - Motorcycle Adventure Travel Tales - Part 1.

Road Heroes Part 1!

Get your Road Heroes DVD now for inspirational and funny tales from the road!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - Part 1 - Get Ready!

Part 1 - Get Ready!

Get the Achievable Dream DVD's NOW and learn how YOU can get on the road!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - Part 2 - Gear Up! 2-DVD Set!

Part 2 - Gear Up!

Get the Achievable Dream DVD's NOW and learn how YOU can get on the road!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - Part 3 - On the Road! 2-DVD Set!

Part 3 - On the Road!

Get the Achievable Dream DVD's NOW and learn how YOU can get on the road!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - Part 4 - Ladies on the Loose!

Part 4 - Ladies on the Loose !

Get the Achievable Dream DVD's NOW and learn how YOU can get on the road!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - Part 5 - Tire Changing!

Part 5 - Tire Changing!

Get the Achievable Dream DVD's NOW and learn how YOU can get on the road!

Support Horizons Unlimited - check out the HU Souk for DVD's, map stickers, jumpers / pullovers, mugs, steins, t-shirts, hats and other products with a variety of slogans!

Baby doll T-shirt - front.Check out t-shirts and other goodies at the HU Souk. Support your favorite website!Check out t-shirts and other goodies at the HU Souk. Support your favorite website!

Thanks! Grant and Susan

Motorcycle Therapy, by Jeremy Kroeker.

Motorcycle Therapy, by Jeremy Kroeker

From the Canadian Rockies to the Panamanian Jungle, Motorcycle Therapy rumbles with comic adventure as two men, fleeing failed relationships, test the limits of their motorcycles and their friendship. Get it here!

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See our complete Privacy Policy here.

Grant & Susan Johnson, Editors

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

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All comments and suggestions are carefully read, and where possible will be acted on. Your help will make this a useful service for all travellers.

Please use the Bulletin Board for questions and suggestions.


If you would like to advertise your product or service in this newsletter or on the website, please contact me. Ad rates are very reasonable. Details at this link.

ISSN 1703-1397 Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' E-zine - Copyright 1999-2011, Horizons Unlimited and Grant and Susan Johnson. All rights reserved.

Redistribution - sending it on to friends is allowed, indeed encouraged, but other than the following requirements, only with permission. You may forward copies of the Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' e-zine by forwarding it yourself by hand. You must forward the issue in its entirety, no fee may be involved. Please suggest they Subscribe!

Legal gibberish: (particularly for those in countries that have more lawyers in one town, just for instance, New York, not to name any names, than some whole countries, as another example, Japan. Again, not naming anybody specifically you understand).
Recommendations are based on positive or negative experiences of somebody, somewhere. Your mileage (kilometrage if you insist) may vary. We are not responsible in any way for any product or service mentioned, and do not warrant any such mentioned product or service, and are not responsible for any bad things that may befall you. You are responsible for yourself! Act accordingly. We check all links and information given as close as possible to publication, and all info is correct as best we can determine at that time.

up to top of pagespacerShorts.

Troy from Texas, USA, Tejas a la Tierra, in Guatemala,

"Some travel guides claim that the largest outdoor market in Latin America takes place in Chichicastenango. I don't know if it is true, but I went to check it out.

Chichicastenango is well known for its famous market days on Thursdays and Sundays where vendors sell handicrafts, food, flowers, pottery, wooden items, pigs, chickens, machetes, and other tools. In the central part of the market plaza are small comedores (eateries).

Chichicastenango Market.

Among the notable items sold are textiles, particularly the women's huipiles (blouses) and masks, used by dancers in traditional dances, such as the Dance of the Conquest.

Blankets in the Chichicastenango Market.

There are lots of these stalls... Stall after stall of textiles... Colorful weavings... Brilliant colors... Intricate weavings... Carved wooden masks with whimsical designs... And the market goes on and on and on."

Ed. See Troy's story and pics in the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

Andrew (Traveling 250), USA, Americas and beyond, in Colombia, on Yamaha SR-250T,

"I rode south west from Bogota, heading generally back for the Pan American. There is a spur that leads from Medellin to Bogota, but I didn't try to find it, and despite reading the road to Ibague was awful I went that way.

Road to Ibague, Colombia.

Road to Ibague

The road started out as a four lane highway, which let me make some miles, but soon turned into the small, twisty two lane road through the mountains I was looking for.

I had planned to stop in Ibague, but it was still early when I got there, so I kept riding, thinking I might make it all the way to Armenia (in Colombia, not Europe). As the day wore on, and I realized I didn't want to still be riding at 6pm. I rolled into a little town with a lot of restaurants and a hotel with a big lobby (for motorcycle parking)."

Coffee machine.

I was still in the Coffee Triangle (I think), those are roasted beans shooting into a bucket.

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

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

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

Darius and Jane Skrzpiec, RTW, in Kenya,

"Finally we were able to upload some pics on our blog... we've made it back to Nairobi and will be heading towards the Ethiopian border soon. We were thinking of visiting south Sudan at some point but our Ethiopian visa is due to expire (and it is pretty difficult to get...)"

Coast Pride Hotel, Kenya.

Coast Pride Hotel, Kenya

Miles and Tracey McEwing, Canada, to the end of South America, in Honduras, Ural Sidecar

"So, what have we learned?

Lesson One: The best way to improve our Ural's braking ability is to leave a wet towel hanging off the back to dry, allowing it to drop into the driveshaft while zipping along. Stops the bike much more quickly than the brakes. There is a side benefit as well - a nicely polished driveshaft.

Miles updating the blog.

Miles updating the blog - what an expression!

Lesson Two: The world is full of information, sometimes accurate and sometimes not. Honduras is a country we were warned about by every fellow traveller - military shakedowns for money, corrupt police, and unfriendly people. Nobody seemed to have a good story to tell. Well, some lessons you just need to learn for yourself.

We were leaving town one morning when two motorcycle police pulled in behind us. They began to follow us and eventually slowly passed us on the right, continuing down the road. My spidey senses started to tingle. I made a quick detour for unnecessary fuel... eventually, we pulled back onto the road and continued... about two kilometers down the road on a blind bend with jungle on both sides, a motorcycle was parked across our lane and two policemen lay in wait for us... one of them motioned us to stop and we thought the gig was up... slowly he looked around and approached us.

He extended his hand to mine and said 'Welcome to Honduras! We just saw you back there and wanted to tell you to have a safe trip and enjoy our country' Then he went around to shake Tracey's hand and we were off. This same scene was repeated less than an hour later with the same results. Honduras treated us well."

Hubert Kriegel, France, Sidecar-ing the world, in Burkina Faso,

"f you don't know how to put your cows on and off the roof of the van, don't worry about it...

Cow on roof of van, Burkina Faso.

Cow on roof of van

just put it on your motorcycle!

Cow on back of motorcycle, Burkina Faso.

Cow on back of motorcycle

But if you transport 'live' goats you can put 24 of them on your motorcycle like this guy.

Goats on motorcycle, Burkina Faso.

Goats on motorcycle

They were braying loudly when we took the photo. A dead goat would only be worth the value of its skin!"

Ed. Fantastic pics on Hubert's blog!

Tortillas to Totems

by Sam Manicom
Tortillas to Totems by Sam Manicom.

The latest Adventure Motorcycle travel book by Sam Manicom
Motorcycling the magnificent landscapes of Mexico, the USA and Canada. 'Sidetracked by the Unexpected'

'One of the World's leading Motorcycle Authors' - Motorcycle Sport and Leisure
'Sam's descriptions are in Technicolor.' - The Riders Digest
'Inspirational reading.' - World of BMW
'Superbly entertaining travel writing.' - BM Riders Club
'Few travel writers can conjure up sights and smells so provocatively as Sam.' - Daily Record - Scotland

Signed copies available directly from the Author here.
Order your copy now!

Sherri Jo Wilkins, Australia/USA, RTW, in Canada, KTM 690 Enduro,

"So... the Dempster experience continues. I'm still just doing my little test of the road.. and still have Not a Clue why people tell me it's too dangerous! This road is, at least this far, one of the nicest easiest dirt roads I have ever been on.. anywhere.. even in the rain! They certainly look after it and maintain it very well.

The majority of the traffic on the road are truckers who travel back and forth to the mine at Inuvik, right up at the top of the world.

Once the big pour of rain calmed down I was able to take a somewhat photo.. and have a look! This road really is as good as any paved road. I'm always on alert though waiting for this greasy icy part to start. There were far too many people who told me the horrors and if it was only one, I'd say I found a crazy person. But with many warnings, I'm guessing that I just haven't reached it yet. So I'm still prepared to check it out and if it gets really bad, I'll turn around.

But I just can't 'bear' to do that yet. I'm loving it too much. Those mounds look interesting ahead, more motivation to continue.

Grey mounds on the Dempster Highway, Canada.

I've honestly never seen a mound of rock like this... like one big solid rock and smooth.

So I go a bit farther and still the road is good.. but I need to make an important decision whether I like it here or not. I have to turn around right now to make it back to the fuel station at the beginning of the Dempster Highway. Or else, I disregard the warnings for good and continue through whatever must be so horrible about this road until I reach Eagle Plains (the only midway stop on this road with fuel)."

Ed. Read more on her blog about how Sherri Jo talked herself all the way to the Arctic circle!

Alexandra & André Klier, Germany, in Australia, Africa Twin,


Australia road sign.

"...The actual reason for us coming here is the rear suspension of our bikes. Both shock absorbers are leaking oil since some time and the one from the Domi is from Wilbers and still under warranty. The dealer where we purchased it, K&S Parts, finds for us a Wilbers partner right near to Melbourne in Rosebud on the Mornington peninsula. So we go and have a look. ASR Suspension makes a superb impression. The workshop is clean and tidy, nothing chucks around and Greg takes his work seriously. He was racing before and knows about the importance of good working suspension.

ASR Suspension workshop, Melbourne, Australia.ASR Suspension Workshop, Melbourne, Australia.

Perfect workshop, super service. Makes bikers and engineers happy.

The defect is repaired and the hydraulic cylinder for the preload adjustment is changed on warranty. And since the shock absorber is out of the bike we take the chance and Greg gives it a complete service. Greg was selling Oehlins-suspension earlier and still offers the repair service. So we give the shock absorber of the Africa Twin into his hands too. The hydraulic preload is the problem here too and the leaking hose is replaced. After the final complete service, both absorbers are like new. He solves the problem with the damaged thread in the front fork too, which was repaired half a year ago only temporary and both bikes are ready for the further journey. Absolutely professional service and no comparison to the butchers we met on our way before."

Miguel Silvestre, Spain, RTW, in Egypt,

"The road to Cairo is a long highway of devilish density. In addition, it fosters the dangerous phenomenon of sympathy I know so well. Drivers approach us as much as they can to observe the rare object that we are to them, and honk their horns over and over again for us to look at them. Then they greet us with a thumbs up. That is a warm salute habit that can cost us our lives.

Today is October 5, Alicia's birthday. But there is no time for celebration. We have to obtain visas for Sudan. In addition, Continental Spain has sent us two sets of TKC 80 tires through the agency ASM BDO's office. We have to pick them up and find a mechanic that I know from a previous visit so he can replace the Trail Attack tires that had worked so well in Europe. And we must do everything in just one day since tomorrow is the beginning of a long weekend."

Ed. Read about Miguel's travels in his new book, which you can buy from his website.

Un Million de Piedras, by Miguel Silvestre.

Graham Holden, UK, RTW, in Brazil, BMW R100GS PD,

"...On arriving in Porto Velho we were confronted with getting the bikes off the boat, it was a massive drop down to the landing, on top of that there was a building opposite, it was scary watching them take German's bike off, but I realised that if I shortened the plank it would be easier to get my bike under the building, so eventually it was accomplished, just the hundreds of steps to negotiate now with many bodies!

Getting the bike off the boat in Porto Velho, Brazil.

Once we had a quick drink and found a bank in Porto Velho we were approached by the local bike club precedent, Papa L, he invited us to stay at his home for the evening, which we duly took up his offer in the heat of the day. A quiet night and rest before we headed south down to Ji-Parana, here Papa had put us in touch with another biker group, so we were warmly welcomed into the home of Marcela, and his family. On our way down I completed 70,000 miles from home on this adventure on the open plains of the Amazon!"

Brazilian biker.

Paul Griffiths, UK, UK to New Zealand, in Eastern Europe, BMW F650,

"I was very concerned about the weather in Slovenia, It was so cold, Not a damp bone chilling cold but freezing all the same, White trees and all that stuff. I just had to keep going as I didn't want the trip to end in Europe.

Had a bit of trouble at the Macedonian border, I thought they were in the EU. They're not so I had to cough up 50 Euros for bike insurance, but found a nice hotel for 25 Euros. It was still freezing but with a little sunshine which makes you feel so much better.

Roads in Serbia are bad and this is the motorways. My rear shock has had a hammering so I only travel at 60 mph and keep my eyes peeled. Chickens are not an everyday sight on motorways, and goats are often seen grazing on the side of the road, but they must be used to traffic noise as they don't seem to care. So today I've come from the north of Macedonia through Thessaloniki East past Kavala to this town of Xanthi. It was dark when I arrived, not a good idea to ride in the dark with stray dogs everywhere. I am pleased to report that it is 13 degs C. The warmest I've been since France, and for the time being a successful start to the trip.

I won't talk too much about the bike, but it's OK. The temperature of the oil has gone from 60 degs to a more normal 80 degs so all is well there. I just hope the rear shock is OK. Next I'm off to Turkey, turning south at Malkara to Troy and Izmir, to catch some more warm weather, then it's off to Iran."

Paul and Angie, UK, RTW, in Mexico, Yamaha XT660Rs,

"After a large egg and bacon breakfast we left San Diego heading for the Baja border of Tecate, the grey sodden clouds following us all the way. We reached the quiet border checkpoint about 9:30am expecting to tag on to other Baja bound vehicles; instead we pulled up to the barrier Paul first then me, it lifted and we were through.

We had previously done our research on the border crossing so Paul went to the office to get the paperwork, I went to the bank to pay the fees ($20 each) and exchange money then Paul went back to the office with the receipt and walked out with two six month visas. One hour had passed; we were on the quiet bumpy roads of Tecate still running from the grey clouds. Heading east on Mex 2 we soon came to a toll booth, (18 pesos/$1.50 each) the dual lane road took us through the rock covered mountains and down the sweeping bends into the desert and warmer conditions far below.

Baja California.

We were looking out for a turning that would take us along the El Compadre Trail, with not many road signs we must have ridden straight past it, the wind had picked up and it was getting much colder, we stopped to put on some warmer clothing and look at the map but the wind was blowing it out of Paul's hands.

We came to the conclusion that we had passed the trail so rode back 6 miles and found the turning, 1/2 mile along the trail it turned to hard packed sand, still very windy we continued along the sandy wash board and broken tarmac surface, by the time we had ridden five miles it had started to rain with sand blowing across the track, we stopped, with no signs, rain and gusts of wind we decided to backtrack and get back onto Mex 2 and ride straight down to San Felipe, by this time we had shirts, jumpers, jackets and waterproofs to protect us from the cold wind - everybody had told us it would be sunny and warm in Baja, perhaps we were in the wrong Baja!"

Overland to India

Overland to India book by Gordon May

by Gordon May

Paperback, 21x14.8 cm 234 pages incl 8 pages of colour photographs. £9.95.


In 2008, Gordon May set off on an 8,400 mile ride from Manchester, UK, to Chennai, India, on his 1953 Royal Enfield. Despite encountering intense heat, suffering a crash in the Baluchistan desert and battling against some of the worst roads and driving standards on the planet, Gordon and his old Bullet did make it to Chennai.

In Overland to India Gordon describes how he restored his beloved motorcycle, the build up to departure, the larger-than-life characters he met and how he tackled the many challenges that came his way. He also recounts the more personal highs and lows of life on the road. Above all, Overland To India is a heart-warming book that reveals that there is much human kindness and hospitality to be found, sometimes in the most unexpected places and situations.


What I really liked about Overland to India was the sheer determination of the rider. Gordon's love of his motorcycle shone through too; he often thanks it for getting him to his various destinations along the gruelling route and I liked reading about his running repairs. I felt his joy, his euphoria, at being out on the open road. I also felt his exhaustion. When Gordon suffered a crash I could almost feel those bruises and also his fear following an attempted highway robbery. What was also really striking was the generosity, friendliness and humility of many of the people he met along the way, who Gordon describes with real warmth. It's uplifting to discover that it's a welcoming world out there. Overland to India is a lesson to all of us who have a dream and want to pursue it. Inspiring. Judith Coyle


Leaving soon below...

up to top of pagespacerPhoto Contest!

2012 Photo Contest is now on!

The contest is now an annual event, where you can showcase your best photos, and they can help inspire others to get on the road too. The best 13 photos will be used in the calendar, and those photographers will share equally in half the proceeds. All winners get a free 2012 calendar, and 1 year Gold Member status on the HUBB.

Grand Prize for 2012 is a South America Tour with Compass Expeditions! 28th Dec 2012 to 5th Jan 2013 - This wonderful 9 day tour by Compass Expeditions explores the scenic wonderland of the famous Chilean Lakes District, the frontier lands of Chiloe Island and the epic riding experienced as you cross the Andes and ride into Argentina. As with all Compass Expeditions rides the lucky winner will be aboard a BMW F650GS Twin. Approximate Value at time of writing: $3,990.

First Prize - For Suzuki DL1000 / 650, Kawasaki KLR650, BMW F650GS / F800GS entries wins a Progressive Suspension Makeover, approx value US$650, shipped to your door.

To enter the 2012 contest, start here!

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

Discover the extraordinary with Compass Expeditions.


up to top of pagespacerLeaving soon, or just left.

Petar Weigand and Irena Krajnovic, Croatia, RTW, Moto Guzzi Breva 750 ie & Yamaha Fazer FZ6,

"Hi everybody. We (my girlfriend Irena and I) are on a RTW starting from Croatia on two road bikes Yamaha FZ6 and Moto Guzzi Breva 750. We are already here in NY but have some problems with customs etc but if all goes well we'll get our bikes this Friday and then we'll head down the East coast (Florida, coast of Mexico gulf) and then Mexico and further south. We would really like to group with someone when we get somewhere near Mexico border since everybody here in NY is saying that it can get quite dangerous...

We've been looking around this thread but we didn't know when we'll get our bikes so we didn't contact anyone. What are your final plans? Maybe we can catch up with some of you since we don't have any hard set plans."

Seán Patrick Dillon, Alaska to Argentina, Honda Cub,

"My name is Seán Patrick Dillon. In August 2011 I will fly myself and my Little Honda Cub to Alaska. From there I will travel North inside the Arctic Circle, where I will then turn around and make my attempt at traveling to Tierra del Fuego in the Southern most tip of Argentina, and if I can manage it; get it to Antarctica itself! A trip of over 20,000 miles.

The motorcycle I have chosen to undertake this will define my journey, both in the actual limitations of travel and transportation but also in the experiences. We've all heard the expression using a sledge hammer to crack a nut, well this is the complete opposite end of the scale; this is like using your fingers to massage the nut until it slowly opens up and reveal its contents, with the inevitable addition of the sore fingers of course.

Sean and his Honda Cub.

I see the bike as being an extremely important part of the trip as it will set the tone for the entire trip and what I hope to achieve from the trip. I have chosen this bike not to travel the world but to experience it. I have chosen this bike to allow me to see and experience things, things that you will never see or smell while traveling in your car or at speed on your GS1200. I have chosen this bike to bring me closer to environment in which I'm traveling and to the people, and their cultures. I chose this bike as I expect along the way to have some problems and these problems will inevitably lead me to interactions with people and will involve me relying on the generosity of strangers in order to over come these problems For me, I am hoping that this bike will open doors for me...

My trip is not so much a test of human endurance but a voyage of adventure and discovery. Along the way I hope to meet Honda enthusiasts and meet the people who love these little bikes and also to explore my own personal interest of housing and shelter. More specifically I hope to look at how the climate and environment has dictated the kind of accommodation and shelter that people have built using the materials available to them, and as I will be traveling through many different climates and environments it should make for some very interesting contrasts."

MedjetAssist is an air medical evacuation and consultation membership program and is HIGHLY recommended by us and many others for all travellers. The regular MedjetAssist program is for citizens or residents of the US, Mexico and Canada, and gives hospital of choice protection virtually anywhere in the world and air evacuation as needed. (See below for more on the Foreign National Plan) Click the logo below for US, Mexico and Canada citizens to find out more. (NOTE: It's still in progress for the final HU version, but you can get MedjetAssist now!)

Get MedjetAssist for your next trip!

For OTHER nationalities it is currently a little more complicated. There IS a Foreign National Plan, but you can't enrol online. It's a faxable enrolment and subject to underwriting approval. The rates are the same, but transport is restricted to 'back to home country - hospital of choice' rather than 'anywhere in the world - hospital of choice'. We are working on improving that, but at least it IS available! Go here to contact MedjetAssist and inquire about the Foreign National Plan. Be sure to mention Horizons Unlimited.

Michael Paull adds his endorsement of MedJet (and he DID use their services - twice!):

'. After an additional three days in Beijing, I was deemed stable enough for air evacuation back to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, WA, in the company of my wife Aillene (who had flown in from Japan), and an air transport trauma nurse provided by the company that I had procured medical evacuation insurance from, MEDJET Assistance - without doubt, the best insurance coverage I have ever purchased in my life. A small plug here - these people were remarkable. If there was ever a better case for '. don't leave home without it.', MEDJET Assistance is at the top of my checklist, no matter where I travel (and I hope to do a LOT more).'

Note: Per the Medjet Assistance site: '. a medical transport between Europe and America can run more than $35,000. Middle East and South American flights range from $60,000 to $80,000. Transport from Asia often exceeds $100,000.' Sounds like $205.00 for a single is pretty cheap insurance!

up to top of pagespacerHome again (or at least off the road temporarily).

Colin and Dee Masters, UK, Wrinklies Wround the World, getting home from Turkey, BMW 1150 GS,

"...Bitterly cold at 6.30 pm and Colin went into the weather for Switzerland - and its warmer there than here! Apparently the weather is meant to be getting better - but do we trust the forecast? - I think not! It started to snow at 7 pm-so what is tomorrow going to bring?

17 Oct and on to Markovac in Serbia - 210 miles. 2 degrees on leaving and up in the mountains went down to minus 7 - and I barely felt the heated jacket. We were not impressed at all but thanked our lucky stars that it wasn't snowing. We were 70 K from the border and passed through quickly. When the young lad checked the passport- he looked at Colin and said: 'You are an old man to be doing this' - didn't do Colin's morale a whole lot of good!

We gained an hour here. It started to warm up a bit and when it got to 9 degrees we cheered. Colin was extremely cold and has ended up wearing one of my thick jumpers for warmth - that's made it a bit better but still not good. We stopped at Nis for a warm meal break and he got off the bike and was literally shaking and his fingers were blue - and that was with the heated grips on.

This is not a trip to be experienced again and one that we're not likely to forget - let's just hope that we get a few days of sun. The motel tonight is barely warm and no heat at all in the bathroom - no shower tonight - we'll stink instead!

Driving into hotel courtyard.

Bike into hotel

The days are a complete haze now, the tarmac is the same but every mile is 1 nearer home. We have got to the stage of: 'its Tuesday- must be Serbia, its Thursday, must be Germany'! Still, each day, snow is forecast for the next day – let's hope that we can outrun it still. We are tired and counting the days to home now...

Don't think there will be any more long adventurous trips for us. Europe and Gibraltar, perhaps Canada, yes. - But the next big trip will be like a snail - in a camper van with our home on our back in the warmth and comfort of Australia. Colin has had enough of worrying over hotels that, this time, seemed to be harder to find in certain countries.

And the parade they put on for us -- in the howling wind.

And the parade they put on for us -- in the howling wind

Colin has had 11 days of driving and covered 2833 miles without a break - he was very tired when we got home but is getting better now. All thanks to him for a safe drive under extreme circumstances - it was him that got us home safely.

The bike was faultless and is need of a big service and deep clean! The back tyre that Colin thought he would have to change in Europe actually saw us home and all credit to Dunlop - the tyres have been brilliant under very difficult terrains.

(P.S. He started the service on the bike yesterday - after a power wash and there was a wasp's nest starting under the instrument panel!)"

Ed. Glad you're safely home and warm! See Colin and Dee's blog here on Horizons Unlimited for more stories and great pics!

CaperMike and Beverly, USA, Eastern Europe on two V-Stroms,

"2,500 miles in just under a month. (Mike did 800 more picking up the second bike in Barcelona.) On this trip, as usual, my favorite experiences were meeting people. It is amazing to me how people are so eager to talk to you if you are riding a motorcycle. The people who live there can give the best accounts of the history. For example, my understanding of Yugoslavia was improved after a ten minute conversation with a Croat at lunch in a small café on the beach. And I learned a great deal about Bulgaria in another conversation. We met people who I am certain would become our friends if I stayed.

My next favorite thing is a feeling of accomplishment - that I did it on a motorcycle. Oh, and did we say how much we liked swimming in the Adriatic?


We settled into a schedule of getting up, having breakfast, doing our blog, emails and research on where we were headed. Often we would not leave until 11 am. When we knew we had a long day, we would leave earlier. Quite often, with traffic, the speed the roads could be traveled, meeting people, getting lost, etc. the riding day was longer than expected. Only a few days did I arrive at the hotel really beat.

Our idea of riding in the off-season was to just ride into town and find a hotel. But we found that it suited our travel style to find a place to stay before we drove into town. We still wouldn't make reservations days in advance - just same-day reservations.

Sometimes our agenda didn't include riding at all; where we were headed was out on the town, walking or using public transportation. We wanted to see some of the sights along the way and meet the people. It is a challenge to strike the right balance between moving on and sticking around. With our time restrictions, I think tend towards the 'move on' side, or as Mike would say, 'trying to put three pounds of s**t in a one pound bag.' Nevertheless, we did manage to enjoy several areas we visited.

I was particularly impressed by the scenery in Montenegro, a country we road through without stopping to smell the roses. I feel we missed something there.

Riding my own bike gave me a larger sense of participating in the adventure. The scenery was even more awesome. It was a challenge at times and I did find myself a few times beyond the limits of my skills in low speed maneuvering-I just had to figure out how to get through it. But that is all part of the adventure.

Having two bikes after our 2-up trip, we had lots of packing room. We carried drinking water, wine, and food and still had extra space. I still haven't given up two-up travel - it is more relaxing. Our next trip - next year in Scandinavia."

up to top of pagespacerTraveller's Community News.

New Communities:

We've now reached an amazing 702 Communities in 109 Countries as of November 14, 2011! A big thanks to all those who took the first step and established the Community in their area.

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.

Remember that although some HU communities are very small, many others are large and could be more active in getting together for rides (even just to the pub!) or other activities. It's a great way to meet other travellers in your area - who knows, you could meet your next travel partner! All you need is for someone to suggest a place and time, kick it around a bit and make it happen. If there aren't any HU Travellers Meetings in your area, perhaps it's time there was one? A Community could do a Mini-Meeting, (just a get-together in someone's backyard or at a restaurant), or a full meeting! Let us know about it and we'll help promote it :)

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.

Book special just for Horizons Unlimited Readers!

'Into the den of the Bear and the Lair of the Dragon on a Motorcycle'
'8 Around the Americas on a Motorcycle'
'Africa Against the Clock on a Motorcycle'
'From Nordkapp to Cape York on a Motorcycle'

Werner Bausenhart has written several books on his travels around the world, and has offered them to HU readers at a great price. Tell him we sent you and get US$5.00 off the regular US$20 price!

For details on his books see here. Contact Werner now via this link to get the deal.

Become a Horizons Unlimited Contributing Member or Gold Member!

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Support this Newsletter by becoming a Contributing Member today, by PayPal, credit card, or cheque.

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Thanks, Grant and Susan


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up to top of pagespacerIn Progress.

I am working on a listing of people who have ridden around the world, as well as what I call 'significant journeys' e.g. the first across Africa. Any information you may have on this topic, please let me know. Preferably e-mail me direct. I currently have information on over 800 world travellers listed, but there are many more. Have YOU done it? Let me know!

up to top of pagespacerFinal thoughts.

We hope you've enjoyed this issue, and do please let us know your thoughts. It's your newsletter, so tell us what you want to know about!

It is not the unknown, but the fear of it, that prevents us from doing what we want.

We'd like to think that Horizons Unlimited; the website, the HUBB, the Communities and this newsletter help to push back the fear through knowledge and connecting with others, and teach all of us about the world and its wonderful people.

See you on the road!

Grant and Susan Johnson

Live the dream! at:

Riding the globe...

All text and photographs are copyright © Grant and Susan Johnson and their respective authors or creators, 1987-2011.
All Rights Reserved.

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