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Horizons Unlimited
Motorcycle Travellers'
e-zine

in cooperation with
Quality Touring equipment worldwide.

Are you a TRAVELLER? Are you interested in sleeping in culverts and brothels, underwater on a bike, losing screws in bad places, underboning in Laos, motorcycle-eating potholes, blown away in Patagonia, those awesome Egyptians, skinning horses on Ruta 40, war on centipedes and scorpions, Kalashnikov v. Leatherman, Singapore welcome mat... and much more?

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Motorcycle Travellers' News Report

May 2012, 91st Edition

Welcome to the 91st Edition of the motorcycle travellers' e-zine! It has been 6 months since the last issue. What excuse could we possibly have for such a long delay? Well, let's see, we had to move house and office (again!), launched a complete redesign of most of the website, oh and Grant has prostate cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy, which plays havoc with our productivity! But let's start at the beginning...

We have been working hard on the long-overdue website redesign since November, and we finally launched at end of April, so hopefully you've had a look at it! There's still much to do, but the feedback on the layout and the new mega-menus has been great so far :-)

Then we learned in early December that we had to move from the house we were renting, as the owners wanted to sell the house, and the move consumed several months over the winter, but we're in a better place now and much quieter, which we are now very grateful for...

The really bad news was that Grant was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer just before Christmas, after a sharp rise in PSA level and other indicators prompted a biopsy and other tests. Thus began several months of further testing, differing diagnoses and treatment recommendations, depending on which medical specialist we consulted with. Surgeons recommend surgery (cut it out!), radiologists recommend radiation (burn it out!), and chemical oncologists recommend chemotherapy (poison it!). Actually, because of the stage that Grant's cancer is at, the specialists all recommended 2 out of 3 - surgery and radiation OR radiation and hormones OR chemo and surgery! Look at where the prostate is located. It is in a very sensitive area, and all these treatments come with significant risks to QOL (Quality of Life) :-(

So, after a lot of anxious research and consultations, we were able to get him into a clinical trial in Vancouver. He was randomized into the group that gets 4 months of chemotherapy and hormone therapy followed by a prostatectomy. His surgery will be done by the best surgeon in Vancouver, one of the best in North America, so we're very encouraged, as the skill of the surgeon is key to reducing the risks to QOL...

He started the chemo in late March. Fatigue is the most significant side effect. He's on a 3-week cycle, and for 2 of every 3 weeks he has to stay away from other people because he's very susceptible to infection, and he's only able to work a few hours a day. Then the week before his next cycle he's got more energy and can work a normal day (that's a 7-8 hour day, not his usual 10-12 hours). He's had other side effects, including loss of beard and most of his hair, but he's tolerating them okay, and his PSA has dropped every cycle, so the poison is working! After a short time to recover from the chemo, he's scheduled for surgery at the end of August (the week after the Canwest meeting!), and we're hoping he'll be recovered enough to travel to California in October.

We have three reasons for sharing all this with you. First off, Grant won't have his last chemo treatment until early July, so that has completely messed up our travel plans! We won't be getting to any UK or European meetings this year. We're very thankful we have wonderful local organizers - Jens (Germany), Liam, Jochen and Drew (Ireland), Sam and Iain (Ripley), Dimitris (Greece), and Shane (Australia), plus lots of volunteers - so we know the meetings will be great. We'll try to do a Skype call just to say hi (though Grant hasn't been seen without a beard since he was old enough to grow one, so it may be audio only ;-)

The second reason is to encourage all you guys who are 40+ to get your PSA tested annually and keep an eye on the trajectory. A rising PSA level is an early warning that your prostate is unhappy about something, possibly prostatitis or a benign growth but possibly cancer. Most men will get prostate cancer eventually, but not all men with prostate cancer will need treatment immediately. It's usually a slow growing cancer and 'active surveillance' may be an option. Having a simple PSA blood test gives you advance warning, and knowledge is power. By the time your physician can feel the tumor it will be much further advanced and the treatment options will be much less pleasant!

Finally, you are our extended family, all over the world, and we thought it important that you should know why we've been so quiet lately.

The cancer has not been all bad news, we've found it has brought us closer together and made us more appreciative of life's joys. But for the next few months at least, we're not doing as much work as usual (caregiving takes a lot of time too). For those who didn't know, HU is not a big multinational with heaps of staff - there's just Grant and I, with very occasional part-time help on the newsletter and spreadsheets, and our local meeting organizers and volunteers. So we do what we can, and we're no longer beating ourselves up about what we don't get done.

Since we're homebound for awhile, our focus for the next few months will be on the website, which needs work on the Search function, enabling the new community features, blogging functionality and the shipping database. We will also be applying the new style to the existing blogs, meetings pages and the newsletter, but that's not as easy as you'd think! So still lots to do, and we still need volunteers to give us feedback, 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, and many just hitting the road! We've got great stories from Bolivia, Egypt, Malaysia, Singapore, Argentina, Lesotho, Kenya, Guatemala, Colombia, USA, Iran, Namibia, Philippines, Peru, New Zealand, Israel, Mexico, Greece, Turkey and Malaysia... 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

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How to contribute, and become an HU Member

Finances have been especially tight this year, so we are grateful 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, please start your purchase 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!

Shipping

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

Travel Advisories:

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

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









































































































































































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.

Daan Stehouwer and Mirjam van Immerzeel, Netherlands, Canada to South America, in Bolivia, Africa Twins,

"4x4 and 1x2(x2), a great combination!

Bolivia, not the easiest country to travel; especially in the rainy season! The Salar de Uyuni is under water, and so are the roads down south. We decided to travel together for a few days with friends in a big 4x4... turned out to be a smart move!

River crossings in Bolivia.

Mud, the version which sticks to your tyres, chains, suspension, fenders, etc. and which does not fall off by itself. Combine this with lack of power above 4500 meters altitude and one bike with dirt in the carbs and you'll understand how we felt at the end of each day.

Mirjam in Bolivia river crossing.

I have to admit, it is a strange feeling to skid through some car tracks to find out your front wheel isn't rolling at all! We took the fenders off which made a difference, but still it was a huge struggle and the help of our 4x4 friends was nice, lots of pushing!

Stuck in mud, Bolivia.

Along the way we felt guilty for slowing them down (with our lowest progress of 23 km's in one day!) but they made a mistake and slid off the road. Nobody anywhere near, so we got on with it and after 3.5 hours of digging, pulling and collecting rocks we got the car out; how nice to work as a team!

Scenery in Bolivia.

Bolivia is for sure nice and rewarding, it is very hard on the machine and ourselves; first time ever I cried like a baby while driving offroad!"

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

"If anyone ever complains about Egyptian people again, I will start a fight. Egyptian people are awesome. This time I really needed them. And they were there. Finally, after all those months I had my first motorcycle accident. But let's start the story at the beginning.

Currently I am in Egypt staking out options of how to get to Europe by bike from here. Mainly concerning the Libyan diplomatic missions or boats from Alexandria. While Martin is on his way to explore the situation at the Syrian border. The plan was that, if nothing works from Egypt I would spend some time with our Bedouin friends and then follow Martin to cross into Syria together. Living with Bedouin people sounded extremely attractive.

The entrance pylon to Edfu temple, Egypt.

The entrance pylon to Edfu temple

So I went and spent a couple of days in Alexandria. To my surprise it doesn't seem that hard to find a ship from there. There are ships to Turkey, to Greece and to Italy. No regular services though but they would still take motorbikes and passengers with them. I could have booked one leaving for Turkey on the day of my arrival in Alexandria. But that was too early for me, I wanted to stay in Egypt a bit longer and visit my Bedouin friends on Sinai. They kept inviting me daily on the phone.

Our safe bike parking in the Oasis Hotel in Luxor. The hotel's staff living room.

Our safe bike parking in the Oasis Hotel in Luxor. The hotel's staff living room.

The Luxor temple. In here you find heaps of statues, columns, obelisks, hyroglyphic texts - a true paradise for Egypt fans, archeologists and uneducated tourists like us. You can estimate the grandness of the temple if you compare the size of the statues to the size of the tourists walking inside the area.

The Luxor temple. In here you find heaps of statues, columns, obelisks, hieroglyphic texts - a true paradise for Egypt fans, archeologists and uneducated tourists like us. You can estimate the grandness of the temple if you compare the size of the statues to the size of the tourists walking inside the area.

So off I went on my little Suzuki from Alexandria to Ismailia. The road leads nicely through the Nile delta area, it is very densely populated and there is a lot of traffic on pretty bad quality roads. Just after the small town of MitGhamr, I was travelling next to a truck on a multilane road, all of a sudden this green car appeared in front of me. Inching across the road in front of the truck and into my lane. By then it was too late for me to do anything but hit the brake. I perfectly T-boned the green car into its driver door at around 40km/h.

Things I remember from the immediate moments afterwards were the loud bang, the world spinning around me while sliding along the asphalt and the grinding noise of my bike sliding along following me closely. Unfortunately back in Gondar, Ethiopia, my protective motorbike pants were stolen from my tent. So all my sliding now happened in my thin polyester tracking pants. No good.

Coming to a stop after what seemed like an eternity I was still aware enough to get myself off the road. Sitting there on the kerb, watching my poor little bike on the asphalt, fuel spilling out of the damaged tank. Stuff from my panniers littering the road. I was immediately surrounded by a group of shocked people. I remember seeing a lot of blood around my left knee.

As they carried me across the road to their house some others collected my stuff and pushed my bike across as well, fuel still spilling out. At their house I remember how I grabbed my first aid pack out of my panniers and found myself lying flat on a sofa soon. The first aid pack full of sterile bandages and plasters was probably the best medical help I would find for a while...

I could see a big flap of ripped off skin hanging from my left knee, muscles and tendons clearly visible. How could we fix this here, somewhere in small town Egypt? I found a big cut too on my back. And a lot of scratches on my left ellbow. But there was no pain. Just shock. I was surprisingly aware of what was going on around me. The family who took me to their house bandaged the worst wounds up nicely for me. I felt bad for staining their sofa with blood. They seemed to be just as shocked as myself but really made an effort to care for me. They brought me fresh apples cut in pieces. And water with a lot of sugar dissolved in it. I still remember the sweet taste.
They spoke no English. But somehow communicated the word 'doctor' to me again and again. Does it mean I need one? Or they will take me to one? Or one would come here? And indeed 15 minutes later an ambulance arrived..."

Ed. note: See the rest of Marco's story in the HUBB Ride Tales Forum about how some wonderful folks stepped in and helped!

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

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'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.'


Kevin O'Keeffe, RTW, in Argentina,

"The ride from Ushuaia through Terra Del Fuego towards Buenos Aires was a mix of emotions for me. I was glad to be heading north towards sunshine once again but sad that this was going to be the last part of this ride. I just want to keep riding, I don't care where, I could ride all the way back to Alaska no worries, then just keep circling the earth for ever until I have ridden every road in each direction.

Made it to Ushuaia.

It was only a short 3040km from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires. We rode the 500km to Rio Gallegos in one day, most of it on dirt and gravel roads which were great fun to ride on through the howling winds of Patagonia. The wind has been kind to me all along, just the odd gust here and there but now they were making up for it by blowing me all over the roads. It reminded me of riding through the deserts of Iran but in Iran the roads are good. Here it's downright dangerous especially when you try to overtake trucks and almost get blown underneath the wheels. Exciting all the same.

On the road in Argentina.

From Rio Gallegos the road was all paved, mostly flat and really boring. We averaged 500km a day sleeping most of the way to Buenos Aires and camped most nights. Thankfully the winds died down as the km fell. On route we diverted to see penguins and Orca whales in the national park on peninsula Valdes. These whales snatch meals in the form of seal pups from the beach. Sadly though, we were a week or so early to see the Orcas in action. There were plenty of pups playing in the surf but the whales hadn't shown up yet. Nat Geo made a great documentary at this beach which is well worth a look.

Seals on the beach in Argentina.

The ride to the peninsula was interesting given all the rain in the area before we arrived. Parts of the dirt road to the coast had turned to mud so it was nice and slippery and great fun to ride on. My back wheel decided to pass my front out again in a particular bad section. Luckily for me I managed to stay on my feet as my bike took a mud bath. After this spill unbeknown to me my spare tires began to rub on my rear tire which resulted in me ripping some knobs off the rear tire and burning a hole right through my spare front tire. It was lucky I didn't go too far before noticing. I was given full run of a tire repair place to change out my now destroyed rear, the shop was closed but the guy didn't mind as long as I did all the work. From here we rode to a place called Azul and spent the night with a fellow biker named Jorge who left us camp in his garden, cooked up a massive BBQ and stuffed us all with meat. Thanks Jorge.

I'm now sitting in a hotel in Buenos Aires in the nice 30 degree heat. I'm going to be here for a while so I can arrange shipping for my bike and get to know the city and its people. So far it's been fantastic and I'm actually learning to sit still again. Waking up in the same bed four mornings in a row is somehow strange to me. Every morning I feel the urge to ride, the urge to explore, the urge to get lost, to go some place new. On the other hand it's been nice to have somewhere to lay my hat, maybe I'll be able to assimilate after all.

Given all that's happened in the last seven months I've decided to return to Australia for a while before tackling the African part of this trip. It will be good to spend some time with my family and friends and to have some time with my girlfriend Trish who has been very supportive of my trip. I know she's only ready and willing to help me plan the logistics for the next leg of this journey. Your ground support has been great baby, thanks for everything.

This ride has been a wonderful experience for me, a wonderful experience in simple, natural living. What I'm going to miss most is the freedom, the freedom to get up each morning, jump on my bike and ride off in any direction. The freedom to ride all day set up camp and sleep under the stars. The freedom to go wherever, whenever I chose. The freedom from unnecessary possessions and unnecessary burdens. The freedom to get lost and the freedom not to care. You quickly realize what the essentials of life are when you're on the road, such as warmth when you are cold, shelter on a rainy day, food when you are hungry and beer when you are thirsty. You soon put material things in their proper place, realizing that they are there for use, but relinquishing them when they have served their purpose. You soon experience and learn to appreciate the great freedom of simplicity. Over all I'll miss the adventures and the adventurers I have met along the way.

A big thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement along the way. There were two times that without it I might have thrown in the towel. Thanks to all the riders I've met and ridden with along the way, you know who you are. Hopefully it won't be too long before I ride again. I'm looking forward to sharing the journey already."

Taylor/Byett (John, Mal, Julian and Shannon) - 4 Bikes 4 Singapore - A family motorcycle trip from Cape Town to Singapore,

"...After driving for exactly four months, our big day was finally here. We were now just a few hours drive to the border, a few hours from the goal that we'd been aiming for. It was strange packing the bikes for the last time, knowing that this was our last day of riding. After this, there was still some more admin to do, a ride down to the docks, no doubt, but as far as our journey was concerned, we would be done by the end of the day.

We have travelled 22,200 km, across 17 countries and three continents in these past 123 days. We have slept in beds in 64 different towns, once on the side of a Pakistani highway, the floor of an Ethiopian bar another, on the deck of a ship, inside a Turkish bus while the snow and icy air brought the surrounding temperatures to minus twelve degrees, in the back of a truck wedged beneath four motorcycles, on an airport floor, on a unbearably long train ride in 45 degree temperatures, and three times in tents when alternative lodging could not be found. We have had days of no food and days of plentiful generosity. We have experienced over 17 flat tyres, eight broken shock absorbers, snapped clutch and choke cables, re-welded a shock attachment and clutch pedal, jump-, push- and tow-started bikes on countless occasions when the batteries have failed, replaced an entire battery, replenished the acid when it's run dry on us, tinkered with engines and carburetors... and in fact, just so much more! What a phenomenal privilege.

John, Mal, Julian and Shannon, 4 Bikes 4 Singapore.

Mal, Julian, Shannon and John

...That was when the problems started. Upon presenting the customs official with the documents, he gave us a dubious look, and asked us for our third party insurance. Now this is pretty standard in many countries, and there is always a place to get it at the border. But not in Singapore, baby. It seems that one has to either take a bus through into the city (which we were not allowed to do, as we had to stay with our bikes), or one had to find a broker in Malaysia somewhere to organize it.

On top of that, there was another document required, called an International Circulation Permit (ICP). True to form, this could also not be obtained at the border, but should have been obtained before arrival. Before we had left South Africa, we had spoken to the AA to make sure that we had all our documents for each country in order. They assured us that only the carnet was required (and a subsequent e-mail apologizing profusely for this oversight was about as helpful as a PowerPoint presentation at a conference for the blind).

Welcome to Singapore! But not without your paperwork!

Welcome to Singapore! But not without your paperwork!

And Singapore being Singapore, there was nothing we could do. At any other border post we would have been able to make a plan, but here, inflexible bureaucracy is the name of the game. We pleaded, we begged, John and Dad even screamed (but seriously, they actually screamed – personal mental highlight for me) but nothing. And so with that, we had no choice but to turn around and make our way back to Malaysia."

Malaysian women (and bike).

Malaysian women (and bike)

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

"Getting into pickles does seem to be Chloe's forte, so the morning would not be complete without getting into a scrape. The wide ford that we had to cross would be her undoing. We stopped at the river to assess – all looked smooth and simple. The flow was perhaps a little quick, and the stones perhaps a little large and rounded, but the water was shallow and besides, we'd been through several rivers that morning albeit they were much smaller. Confidence high, Chloe opted to go first.

Lago Queni, San Martin de los Andes, Argentina.

A mere five seconds later she was in the middle, caught by a sudden increase in depth and flow, and was down. Bike on side, Chloe mostly submerged, camera around her neck briefly submerged. Between Chloe fighting to get herself up from the water, trying to save the camera and trying to turn off the bike, plus Chris bellowing from the side lines 'turn off the bike!', the bike promptly cut itself off and died. Uh-oh.

A displeased Chris comes wading into the water to lift up said bike from its watery grave. After wheeling it out and establishing that the engine won't start, Chris set about dismantling the bike to try and rescue the situation. Feeling guilty and like a spare part, Chloe mills hopelessly about, offering up screw drivers and getting tangled in toilet roll while drying parts of the bike that had been dismantled.

Now what?

Somehow(?!), water was everywhere and in everything… after removing and emptying water from the air-intake box, the air filter, the air box, throttle body, the manifold, we were not surprised to see that the cylinder was also full to the brim. Easy solution – we just had to turn the bike upside down. Not a problem for a couple of guys! Thankfully there were grassy banks a plenty so by utilizing a bank, we could tip the bike over and let the water run out. Lastly, the spark plugs also had to come out to let water out of their sockets. Back upright, everything was dried off and slowly put back together. We were both secretly crossing all fingers and toes, not willing to voice the potential for hydrostatic lock, which in simple terms means an irreparable, internally broken engine. After a dozen tries of starting the engine, and much water being spurted out of the exhaust pipe, the bike finally spluttered to life – Chris's former research into 'what to do when you drop a bike in the water' had paid off! The only problem now was the oil, which had turned into a creamy milky substance and needed changing imminently before it did more damage to the engine. That would have to wait till we got back into town.

After the trauma of the morning and an hour and a half of torment with a half broken bike, we finally agreed we needed some therapy and so should continue to the thermal springs. Only 200 yards away from the river crossing was the end of the road – that we could have left the bikes on the other side of the river, out of harm's way, and walked by foot did not escape our notice!

San Martin de Los Andes, Lago Queni, Argentina.

We still had a one hour trek through the forest in front of us – Chris arrived fully unscathed while Chloe managed to twist an ankle and then cut her knee on a particularly vicious tree branch. The omens had not been good, but definitely worth it!"

Ionut and Ana, Romania, Trans-Africa, in Lesotho, Yamaha Tenere,

"Landlocked Lesotho (which translates roughly into the land of the people who speak Sesotho) is the only independent state in the world that lies entirely above the altitude of 1,000 metres (3,281 ft). Its lowest point of 1,400 metres (4,593 ft) is the world's highest. The kingdom's geological exuberance is possible thanks to massive tectonic events, that left the land disfigured by a jumbled mass of mineral scar tissue, peaking over 3000 meters. The most popular entrance to the kingdom is via an off-road legend, Sani Pass. This was to be our second attempt to tackle it, after having to forfeit with a faulty tyre. This time would be different: fully loaded bike & gear and on a road oriented back tyre, but what the hell!

Tipped by John @ Gear Up Umhlanga, we took a different, more scenic route, via Hella Hella Pass. The brisk morning and the empty bends cheered us up.

South Africa at Hella Hella Pass.

South Africa at Hella Hella Pass

The Sani Pass is as beautiful as they say it is, it's not the hype, it's an addiction. Many succumb to it. As it was the 27th of April, so public holiday in SA, celebrating the first multiracial democratic elections, the place was swarming with four-wheelers and bikes. Many 1200 GS and enduros, some of the guys visibly enjoying the ride more than me, on light set ups and full taps all the way!

Sani Pass, Lesotho.

Sani Pass, Lesotho

Our beef was with the wind: blowing so hard that several times I was about to drop down on the loose rocks. It was a bit unnerving having the tour operators' 4x4s rumble and come past the bikers (and us) on the steep bends, clearly less affected by the strong winds. About 2 km before Sani we met a biker who was catching up his breath after the descent and kept worrying about his mates who had already taken a couple of tumbles and were lagging somewhere behind."

Homes in Lesotho.

Homes in Lesotho

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

Alex Papadopoulos & Ping-Yi, Bicycling Chile 2011-2012, Crossing to Argentina, the Stylish Way,

"So here we are, in Villa O'Higgins, the end of the Carretera Austral. All this vibration has made a number of screws from our panniers and racks to loosen up. Some of them we don't notice in time and therefore lose. The end result is that we have depleted our stock of spare screws and are asking around Villa O'Higgins for anywhere we might be able to buy some. The answer is a resounding 'no', but, as it happens in this part of the world, a rather touching (if not very effective) 'solution' appears out of thin air: One of the customers of the shop where we had asked for screws overhears us, and later in the afternoon turn up at our campsite and gives us some screws from old bikes he had! Doesn't fit our bikes, full of rust, odd sizes - but still a touching gesture. People really go out of their way to help us here - warms up one's heart.

Bad bridge, Chile.

Bad bridge, Chile

We do some research as to how to proceed from here and confirm that there is a boat across the lake (Lago O'Higgins), which takes one to a path, which should be rideable, which takes one to the border, after which you're in Argentina and then you get another boat, cross another lake (Lago Del Desierto) and then you're on regular roads again and can ride on.

We ride the last 8km from Villa O'Higgins to the lake at some ungodly hour (the boat leaves at 8am) and board the vessel.

There we meet Micha and Sarah, the German couple we had met almost 1,000km back north, and Bernard, a Swiss gentleman who is touring Patagonia solo for 3 months. We make a nice neat pile of our luggage on board... which is then unfortunately scurried away in the hold. So naturally I become increasingly grumpy - I don't like it when people deprive me of my breakfast!

Uphill climb - Chilean side.

Uphill climb - Chilean side

Ping is feeling a bit stressed about cycling with the others. We had heard this was a demanding stretch, and we had never travelled with these people. What if they are too fast? What if they are too slow? What if their feet smell?

The boat drops us off on the other end of the lake and we start the struggle uphill. It's quite gravelly/rocky and, save for Micha who seems to really know what he's doing on a bike, the rest of us push a good chunk of the way."

Ed. Lots more on Alex and Ping-Yi's blog on Horizons Unlimited!

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

"My ride on the fifth continent of the Gypsy Biker World Tour has been completed! I have received messages telling me that I am now on the home stretch... Well, it has to be the longest 'home stretch' in history! My ride on the 6th and last continent of my journey, will encompass Central and North America, and cover about 30 000 km by GiGi's reckoning!

South America has been all of the ride people said it would be, and more! I could have spent a year there and still not seen and did all there was to do!

I spent exactly 100 days on the continent, visited 9 countries and rode over 22 000 km on my trusty companion, the ever willing Big Fella...

Riding through ash clouds in Chile.

Together we experienced clouds of volcanic ash in Chile and Argentina; the bleak and beautiful scenery in Patagonia, to go with the tough dirt conditions of Ruta 40 and the dangerously high winds on my way down to 'The End of the World', on the continent's southern tip...

Repairing only the 2nd puncture we have had so far... This one on Ruta 40, Patagonia.

Repairing only the 2nd puncture we have had so far... This one on Ruta 40, Patagonia

We witnessed the splendour of Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian/Argentine border; the dizzyingly high climbs to almost 5,000 m to get up over the mighty Andes, and the thin air and icy, near freezing conditions that waited for us up there...

The End of the World with Tres Machos.

The End of the World with Tres Machos

We rode through one of the driest places on earth, Chile and Peru's Atacama Desert; along the wild and desolate coastline of northern Chile; into mountainous Bolivia and around the world's highest lake, Titicaca; then stood looking down on the magnificence of Macchu Picchu, a place that re-ignited the passion for life and living within me...

Machu Picchu... Perhaps the highlight of my South American tour.

Macchu Picchu... Perhaps the highlight of my South American tour.

We battled the traffic in the capital cities of Santiago, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Asunción, La Paz, Lima, Quito and Bogota...

Mishaps were far and few between... The Big Fella had only his second puncture of the entire journey so far, and then inexplicably lay down for a short rest on the torturous Canon del Pato pass in northern Peru.... Guess we all need to take a break some time!

Along with all the above, what made South America truly special, was once again the people I met and rode with along the way... People who touched my life and left indelible impressions that will be with me forever...

As always, to my family and friends all over the world, who continue to send me messages of support, and follow my journey around the globe... You are all part of what has made this trip so memorable, and what keeps me focused on completing this 'dream ride'...

And lastly, to my gorgeous wife-to-be, Patricia, whose love, support and understanding, keeps the fire burning brightly in my soul, and with whom I look forward to a long and happy life together... I can't wait Babe! I can't, I can't!

As I enter Central America, and begin the long rides that will take me to the northern most part of Alaska, I feel a quickening of my pulse and an even deeper desire to complete what once began as a self-imposed test of my determination and will-power; my stamina and endurance; and a burning need to redefine myself in my own eyes; and I now know, will end with a better understanding of what has gone before, and make me a better person than I could ever have hoped or wished for...

With the expending of my energies over the past few years, I have gained a new and inner strength...

The 'Final Chapter' has begun..."

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

"I split my time up in western Kenya by taking a 10-hour ride up to the Lake Turkana region to visit the Turkana people that I had heard so much about. The road had once been paved, but that must have been when dinosaurs roamed. Seven of the ten hours were on corrugated roads that rattled me and made the already leaking rear shock sizzling hot. The road commanded constant attention, as I was always looking for a four-inch smooth path to ride on - and never finding it. The road had a steep crest to it and I was forever crossing over the top of it to find better road. On one pass, the rear wheel slid out from under me. Before I knew it, I was 'here' and the bike was a few feet over 'there'. The right pannier was stripped from the bike and mangled up pretty badly. I would not be able to remount it to the bike until it was fixed - Argh!

Mike with broken bike, Kenya.

Argh!

It was close to 120-degrees with no shade in sight. I was four hours away from Lodwar, the next town and my destination. Twenty minutes later a truck stopped. Luckily the truck needed to change a shredded tire. Out of the cab came three men and an armed askari carrying an AK-47. The men helped me get the bike to the side of the road. They too were going to Lodwar on their way to Sudan. They offered to haul the wounded pannier into town for me and drop it off at the local gas station. Meanwhile, a herd of camels passed through and the two herdsmen stopped to talk with the men from the truck. The younger herdsman also carried a Kalashnikov and compared ammo clips with the guard of the truck - I was beginning to feel a bit inadequate with just my Leatherman.

The truck's tire was repaired and ready to go. I started to second guess my decision as I said goodbye to computer, hard drives containing almost every photo of the trip, all my important papers including my carnet, and my toothbrush as truck moved on down the road. 'Oh God, what have I done?'

Lodwar was a dirt clod of a town and hot beyond belief. My hotel room had roaches, mosquitoes and a wobbly ceiling fan that squeaked. The slats of my bed collapsed more than once sending me to the floor during a deep sleep, but I sort of warmed-up to the place. The town had an aura of the Wild West and the absolute shit road required to get there kept it isolated from the tour buses (to the detriment of local businesses). I found a young Turkana man who could speak English and we toured some of the nearby villages together always taking peanut butter and bread to pass around sandwiches to the kids and parents. I loved it! This is the kind of traveling that I enjoy the most, so much more memorable than spending time in a popular tourist destination like Zanzibar, for example.

Lodwar, Kenya.

In Lodwar, one may think it was rather miserable, but I enjoyed it while I was there, and even more so when reflecting upon it. I got to know many of the locals - being the only gringo in town, I sort of stood out, and stayed a couple of days longer than I expected to, but the children from Alex's school never left my mind and I eventually made the return trip south to spend more time with them.

Oh yeah, the pannier eventually made it to town a little after midnight, four hours after I did. I have yet to be disappointed by the generosity and honesty of strangers here (or anywhere else on the trip), but I must admit to a few tense hours waiting to see if the truck was going to show up. Later, for $3 the aluminum box was pounded back into a rectangle and the bike was ready to go again."

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Fletcher Haver, Cooking and Braaaaping around the world, in Guatemala,

"I think Guatemala translates to 'Fletcher you're going to get lost a lot!' Haha It took me a lot of wrong way on one way streets, illegal U turns, and a little sidewalk usage to finally get out of the city and get on my way. 'Let's make sure I am going the right way' Stopped at a gas station... yup that's a negative turn around try again. Finally after a few circles I am on the right road heading in the direction I want to be.

Neptune statue.

Neptune statue

The road is a freeway 4 lanes we are moving along zigging and zagging through cars and taking nice smooth turns on a nice smooth road. It was a lot quicker than I had expected to my turn off toward a scenic detour that looked nice in my book. I headed down toward Lago de Atitlan a beautiful lake surrounded by Volcanos. I passed through the lake town of Panajachel, the road started to climb with very twisty switch backs everywhere. The road was like glass extra smooth and no traffic. I was ripping through the turns and all of a sudden the road started to get gnarlier, crazy U turn switch backs that had a steep incline ramp in the middle of the turns, road was rough and then turned into Motorcycle-eating Potholes you had to swerve. The road went from a nice 2 lane mountain road to gnarly single lane to a 1.5 lane road. I came up to a detour the road had fallen into the river below, so you had to jump onto the dirt, then all of a sudden around a turn the road dropped down and vanished into the river.

Road dropped off.

Road dropped off

I stopped checked out how deep it was, watched a truck go through and then gave her a little throttle and made it through without a swim. The road just danced through the mountains / volcanos, hands down the raddest road I have ever ridden, so much fun I was just laughing the whole time from the twisties to just the incredible views. All along the road today kids would either just sit there waving or run with you laughing and waving at you.

I wasn't sure my sweet detour would actually work and get me to Antigua, but all of a sudden I was 60km from it and was home free. I blasted through the next big city took my turn and raced through the forest, I pooped out at a T and kept heading south, stopped for lunch and made sure I was going the right way. Nope past the turn off about 15km ago, ha ha well lunch was at least really good and a nice break. I finally made it to Antigua."

Jordan and Sandra Hasselmann, Canada, From Calgary to Argentina, in Chile,

"It was a warm and sunny day and we anticipated a perfect day for riding. We'd heard that southern Chile and Tierra del Fuego in particular could be a bit windy, but we're from the Canadian prairies so we thought were familiar with wind. A -40 C Winnipeg winter wind at the corner of Portage and Main can teach you everything you need to know about wind, at least that is what we'd been lead to believe. We were so naive.

Everything seemed completely normal as we left town, however that all changed as we rounded the 1st bend and were slammed by an invisible force so strong that it nearly pulled us out of our saddles. We were both blown over the yellow line and clear across the road, luckily there was no oncoming traffic. And that is how things went for the rest of the day – we fought the wind constantly, leaning our bike as far over as we could to keep them going in a straight line. Half way to Punta Arenas there is a large 'Monument to the Wind' sculpture, but we did not stop to pay our respects.

At least we had some company along the way. There was hardly any traffic but the fields were filled with wild Guanacos (the llama's bigger, more graceful and undomesticated brother), sheep and rheas. Rheas are large flightless birds, they look just like emus and ostriches, (like a massive feather dusters). At least the guanacos had the decency to keep their distance, the rheas, on the other hand were running all over the place, including across the road in front us. Actually we couldn't tell if they were running across the road or being blown across – either way they can move pretty fast!

Guancos in Chile.

...We didn't sleep much that night. Not because we shared a dorm room with 4 other travellers (& one who needed to investigate the contents of her crinkly plastic bags a surprising number of times during the night), but because the intense winds outside rattled the windows, the house and howled all night long. When we woke the winds were still going strong.

Despite the winds, we packed up and headed out. We drove to the end of the block, and still, the wind seemed to be under control. Then, we turned the corner and we felt its full wrath – as we pulled away from a street light the wind blasted us, knocking Sandra and her motorcycle to the ground. I barely made it across the intersection.

Mud in the streets of Punta Arenas, Chile.

Mud in the streets of Punta Arenas, Chile

I pulled over and ran back to help her pick up the bike and as I made my way back to my bike, I could see tire tracks I had left in the mud-coated street. Because of the extreme wind, I had actually left diagonal tracks in the mud with both my front and rear wheels. I didn't even know that was possible. We rode directly back to hostel, unpacked and stayed another night. Total distance traveled: 1 km."

Tiffany Coates, UK, RTW traveller, in USA,

"I was heading towards Albuquerque, keen to get there before dark.

Someone stood by the side of the road and pointed at the ground as I went past. At first I assumed he was pointing out something on the road, so I checked, no snakes or holes, nothing there, not even a dead one of these.

Moose road sign.

Then I thought he is probably just a biker himself and greeting me so I relaxed again. But my brain was still thinking about it, and finally, I suddenly thought, is my light working? I stopped the bike and checked, whoops, no headlight, the sun was setting rapidly and the light had quickly faded.

Damn, usually not too much of a problem, as I'm generally looking to stop riding and put up my tent at this point. But I had an invite and a destination tonight. Albuquerque was awaiting me.

Man that's hot!

First day on the road and to be honest, my panniers are in a state of disarray (somewhat like my life) and I am really not sure where my spare bulbs are. I'm used to automatically carrying some because in some European countries it's compulsory to have them on or in every vehicle.

I started unloading with a sigh. I was lucky, in the first pannier, there they were and even more lucky as there was a headlight bulb in the set, I had no idea if I might have used it up previously. Not forgetting, Thelma and my gear have been in storage for quite a while.

The headlight is a bit tricky to replace, I put my hand in to get the old one out, fiddled around a bit, found a loose wire and 'hey presto' the lights came on, it was just the connector and not the bulb. Quickly reloaded my case and get back on. By the time I reached the main highway (interstate) it was dark and not a pleasant ride with the trucks roaring past and all sorts of debris on the road. I arrived in time for dinner at 9.00pm except... it wasn't 9.00pm it was 10.00pm! I felt bad, I had no idea their clocks were different from Arizona and they had waited on dinner for me.

Alon and his wife Ann made me very welcome as did their labradoodle - that dog is crazy!

Alon and his wife Ann made me very welcome as did their labradoodle - that dog is crazy!

Time for a chat and a catch up, I first met Alon when he was travelling on his Honda TransAlp and was in Ecuador, we also met up in Bolivia and crossed the Salar de Uyuni together, a lot of fun. The next morning we set off, Alon was 'escorting me off the premises' and setting me on the road out of town."

Ed. See Tiffany's story about Mongolia Mayhem on the Road Heroes Part 1 DVD!

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Jay, Mercedes and Erik, Canada, A year in the Americas, in Brazil,

"We are a happy little group of 3 going on a trip. Our members are: Jay (Jerome) who is a nice french guy with dreadlocks. Mercedes who is a mom with a talent for making bad cupcakes. And Erik who is a boy who talks too much.

Alex, Jay and Mercedes in Belem.

Alex and us

...Mother Nature gets revenge for Big Snail by dispatching a Big Centipede to M's riding pants. The fields echo with Mercedes' screaming who thinks she sees a scorpion biting her knee. We fail to capture the pesky critter. We read The Bite and Sting Book in our Sawyer's Bite and Sting Kit. The book lists some snakes (among them the corral snake) and critters that can seriously harm a human. Reading the Sawyer's Book would discourage anybody from spending any time outdoors. We guess that spending less time outdoors would decrease the chance of being bitten and stung. Therefore the Sawyer's Bite and Sting Kit is highly effective in preventing Bites and Stings.

Big Cockroach sneaks into M's riding boot overnight. Fortunately Jay sees it (he thinks it is a scorpion). In the morning M and J force the stubborn cockroach out of the boot. M kills it and declares WAR on terrorist insects!

Expedicionarios Do Para, in Belem, Brazil.

Belem, Brazil

The ride is uneventful. We bypass Fortaleza and we cross into Piauí State. We camp at a gas station again (most have restaurants and showers). Jay spends the evening removing foot parasites from his feet. He picked these freeloaders up on the sandy beach.

We make our way northwest on BR316 with stops in Bacabal and in Boa Vista do Gurupi. The road takes us between farmlands dotted with big, shaggy palm trees. Floppy-eared cows graze on the fields. Many rude animals use the road carelessly. Among the goats and donkeys are exotic green lizards and snakes. The vultures act as the road clean-up crew. Ironically, some vultures also get hit by cars.

Jay and Tiger brusing their teeth.

Jay and Tiger brushing their teeth, Belem

Brazil is an enormous country and we are very glad when we safely reach Belém, the capital of Pará state. From Belém we are going to take a ferry boat to Macapa."

Henriette and Lars, Americas, in Argentina,

"Just as we were entering the most remote part of Ruta 40, only 40 km south of Perito Moreno going 100 km/h on a perfect road, the Suzuki suddenly made a loud crack or snap and then loud metallic scrambling noises. I lost compression and the bike died! Damn! I tried to start the bike again, followed by ugly sounds and then I couldn't start it any more.

Hm! Judging from the sounds, this was not a harmless breakdown. We spend some time discussing what could be the problem but we really didn't have a clue. We decided to tow the bike back to Perito Moreno where, if we were lucky, someone a bit more mechanically inclined could help us with a diagnose.

That certainly looks broken!

We dragged the Suzuki behind the KLR a few miles when the bike made more bad sounds and I couldn't keep it in neutral anymore. We were afraid that if we kept dragging it, we would do more damage to the poor bike. Later several people wrote us that we should have just taken the chain off the sprocket! Well of course :-)

However we were also worried if 40 km would be too far to put the extra weight on the KLR. The weather was warm, the wind was strong and making it even worse and since we didn't go faster than 2nd gear, we were uncertain if the KLR would overheat.

We decided that I should park there on the side of the road and Lars would ride back to Perito Moreno to find a truck that could pick up the bike. I would also try and flag passing trucks down and see if someone would give me a ride. So Lars left and I prepared to spend the rest of the day on Ruta 40. The wind on the road was strong, but down in the ditch I had a bit of shelter and made a little camp.

Henriette with the boys, on Ruta 40, Argentina.

Poor me, stuck on Ruta 40, all alone

...I was having a blast on Ruta 40. A Brazilian rider had stopped and refused to leave me before someone picked me up. He entertained me with crazy adventure stories and experiences with corrupt Brazilian police and jungle adventures. Later 3 young guys in an old Renault 12 stopped and chatted and offered us a drink of the popular mix Fernet Branca and Coca Cola. They also offered to come back with a truck and pick me up, but first they had to skin a horse! One of the guys was taking care of his brother's horse and apparently he hadn't done such a good job, because the horse was dead, and now the brother was accusing him of lying and wanted proof of the dead horse. So they had to get the piece of skin with the brand mark on it. But after the skinning job they would come back and pick me up. They left but promised to be back soon with a truck."

Ron Fellowes, The Old Bloke on a Bike, in Iran, on FN,

"From Yazd I had a reasonably good run until 80 kms before Nain on the way to Isfahan. Then, another blowout. The back tyre sidewall collapsed causing the bike to weave all over the road. Each time this has happened I've been lucky I didn't end up in the path of oncoming traffic. As a result seven spokes were broken and it took 3 hours to replace the tyre, true up the wheel and replace the spokes. On the front wheel is a 30 year old tyre still hanging in there. Because it is very light in the front there is no pressure on it like the back wheel.

Tire repair by side of road, Iran.

I managed to get 3500 kms out of the back tyre this time, more than I'd expected, so I can't complain. Too tired and too late to continue I spent the night sleeping in a concrete drain. Not the most comfortable of places but sheltered and when you're knackered I find you can sleep just about anywhere. At 2,200 metres it was pretty cold and I was grateful for a warm sleeping bag and mattress.

Next morning after seeing oil on the ground a closer inspection revealed a broken oil pipe to the engine. Only 11 kms into Toudeshk and Mohammed Jalali opened up his shop to make me a new pipe – all as good as new in no time, and he wouldn't accept payment. Mohammad runs the Tak –Taku Homestay, a legendary place when it comes to accommodation. Mohammad was a fantastic host and guide, giving me a great insight into the area and village life.

Sometimes the body is just so tired it doesn't seem to matter where I bed down for the night. In the past three months I've slept on charpoys, in a tent, a prison, abandoned buildings, police posts, a few lovely guest houses, the odd memorable hotel and a few establishments that are struggling to reach even a one star status.

Tent and bike in Iran.

I've shared my space with other travellers, lain in the desert under the stars alone and been ground to a paste in a sandstorm during the night. I've had a whole dormitory to myself and slept in a room so small it contained only the bed. When the urge to crash hits me, forget looking for a hotel…it's hard enough to find one at the best of times. Sometimes anything that even barely resembles a bed can be inviting enough to crawl into – a roadside culvert for instance."

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Ant and Nikki Robinson, UK, RTW, in Italy, BMW R80,

"Thursday was Ant's birthday and his pressies were mostly food. Really chunky chocolate and a big squidgy cake. I also bought him some glue so he could stick the soles of his boots back on, as they had started to peel off in the cold and wet. Checked the weather forecast and although we had blue skies and sunshine it was still snowing almost everywhere else. It looked like Friday was going to be the best day to get through the mountains to Bari, so we decided to make a break for it tomorrow. We returned to the bungalow to start packing up our stuff and the realisation slowly dawned that the campsite wasn't busy, but that we were actually camped in a brothel!

While we were in the bungalow every couple of hours a different car would pull up and out would get a lady and a gentleman, invariably wearing dark sunglasses. After they had vacated the bungalow the cleaning ladies would come round and change the sheets and another car would pull up! But what really gave it away was what we could hear through the extremely thin bungalow walls. We have never been so glad not to speak Italian, although si...si...si doesn't leave much to the imagination.

Friday morning we were packed up early. Ant went to check out as one of the stream of cars was pulling in and it seems we were getting a cheaper daily rate than the hourly one, so that was good. Got lost getting out of Pompeii and took the road to Sorrento rather than Salerno, lovely scenery though. Got the right road in the end and immediately started climbing. The temperature dropped and eventually we came to a police road block. They were diverting heavy traffic off the motorway. We became a bit worried when they looked at the bike and started laughing. Then they asked about snow tyres. They let us carry on, but made us promise to go slowly.

A bit blurry but you get the drift!

A few miles on we couldn't do anything but go slowly as it started to snow really heavily. A few minutes later the road was covered and we were skating along. Through will force and iron bum muscles Ant managed to keep us upright, we wobbled off the motorway at the next junction and took shelter under a bridge. A policeman came to see if we were alright and said there was a hotel in a couple of kilometres. Unfortunately it was a down a steep twisty hill, so I walked and Ant slid down the road as best he could."

Ed. Read Ant and Nikki's stories in their blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Susan Jehne (FatMeercat), Australia, in South America,

"I've been on HUBB since April this year when I...
* met a Colombian guy in Argentina riding a Chilean 200cc Chinese bike
* ditched my backpack (that I'd been travelling 4 months with), rode 2 up across the Andes with him
* learnt how to ride the bike in Santiago de Chile, (turnaround moment on gravel in the Cajon del Maipo)
* then bought the bike, got it outfitted with panniers, then
* rode 2 up for 1000kms then went off... solo into the Chilean desert and Andes! Definitely passing 4700m on gravel/dirt/sand on less than 1 month's riding experience was a pretty damn cool achievement I think!

Susan with Chilean 200cc bike.

Now over 7 months later, I've crossed the endless horizons of sand and red lakes of south western Bolivia, rode through beautiful rock formations in northern Argentina, slipped and skidded my way through mud in northern Argentina and the jungle and Bolivia, been awed by the gorgeous Lago Titicaca, crossed enough high altitude planes to know that my lil 200cc bike does make it albeit at a leisurely speed:) and absolutely have fallen in love with life on 2 wheels on the road. And yes, I've learnt my fair share of mechanics!

Susan Jehne in restaurant.

I've not been into biking for long, and I didn't travel to bike.. I started traveling just with my backpack, and then fell in love with the idea of taking any road that I could... and being in the elements and seeing a different side of the countries I was in. A serendipitous (my favourite word) meeting with Diego from Colombia and his red bike changed my course of travel... definitely for the better.

I'm 30y/o Australian girl, and I've actually not yet met in person any other female riders alone.. I've heard of some scattered around, but i do seem to meet my fair share of middle aged German men:) of course riding rather substantial BMWs. I actually rode with 3 of them around the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, and it felt awesome to be a 200cc Chinese bike leading out these 3 big boomers. Ciao Susan Jehne"

Colin and Re (Underboning), USA, RTW on 100cc underbones, in Laos, on SYM Symbas,

"While we waited in line to board the ferry (which only held three trucks and four motorcycles for our trip), we met Hubert, a German rider who has already done 18 months on his Tourateched 1100 GS, and Herbert, an Austrian tourist who was doing a couple of weeks of riding on a rented Honda AX-1. We chatted for a couple of minutes, and then it was time to board the ferry.

They loaded two of the trucks first, then Hubert, then the third truck, then Re and I followed Herbert down the wet, concrete ramp that turned to dirt before it reached the water's edge. The deck of the boat did not actually reach the shore and required us to ride through about a 3-foot stretch of water about 18-inches deep to the edge of the boat. A little unsure as to how riding off the mud, through the water, and onto the wet, steel deck was going to turn out, I did what all the best motorcycle riders do, and gassed it and hoped for the best. (When I was racing, we had a saying - When in doubt, gas it! You may not save it but it will end the suspense... ) I picked my feet up off the pegs as I hit the water and powered the mighty Symba onto the deck. I pulled in next to Herbert and turned in time to see Re do the same.

We both made it without issue and were glad to be safely on board. The Mekong might be a half mile wide here, and it does have a substantial current, so once the ferry pulled free from the shore, we soon found ourselves heading downriver. Then the boat captain floored it, and we took about a four mile long, half mile journey. Maybe ten minutes later, we reached the other shore, and the crew held me, Re, and Herbert, while the trucks drove off the ferry and up the steep riverbank. When it was my turn to ride off the ferry, I was surprised to see that the ramp was not actually on land, but there was a several inch gap between the steel of the boat and the dirt. The captain was fighting the current, but the boat was slowly inching its way downstream. I heard the captain throttle up and decided to do the same. As the edge of the boat pushed into the shore, I scampered across to terra firma. Re followed quickly, and we rode up the bank to the top of the hill to Customs.

The nice lady from AGL Insurance explained which buildings we needed to go in and in what sequence. The funny thing about Laos is that it is not a Carnet country, and you're supposed to need to do a temporary import permit (TIP), but I had read reports that a couple of other travelers had used their Carnets in lieu of a TIP. I wanted to try this, since the TIP in Laos apparently only gives you 14 days, while your visa is good for 30 days and a Carnet admission is good for the duration of your visa. While we waited in line, I mentioned this to Hubert, who was also traveling with Carnet, and since he was ahead of us in line, he tried it first. The officer stamped his Carnet, tore out the souche, and told Hubert he didn't need to get a TIP. Oh, and it didn't cost a dime. Awesome! I handed our Carnets through and got the same results. We stopped at the final office, where we needed to be entered into the computer. Here, they asked for our TM-2 and our TM-4, which we did not have. The officer here did not speak enough English to explain the situation, so he flagged down some guy, who explained it to us. Since we didn't have our paperwork, we had to pay a mysterious 100 Baht (3.33 USD) fee per bike. Apparently, Re and I must have looked skeptical, because the guy assured us that it would, 'go to the Lao Government.' Perhaps, it will, if the Laos Government owns the company that makes Beer Lao... Oh well. Having heard bad stories about riding in Laos without insurance, we did stop at the AGL office to become legal. While I dealt with the other paperwork, Re spoke with the insurance agent, and we were able to get 30 days of minimum coverage for 10 USD per bike."

A bamboo bridge.

Imagine, if you will, a bridge, approximately 3 feet wide, whose surface was made of lengths of bamboo, with no guardrails, and the bridge supports appeared to be large, woven, bamboo baskets!

Ed. See Colin and Re's story on the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

More stories below...


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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!

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

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

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

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

UK Summer - Ripley - the big one! July 5-8, 2012, Registration open now!

Greece New Location! Thursday 26th July - Sunday 29th July 2012 - it's ON! Location is the "Mountain Cabin Pramanton" on Tzoumerka Mountain, Greece. Details and registration open now!

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

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

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

Ontario, Canada New Location! - Details still being finalized, planned for September 13-16 2012 (NOT confirmed 100%).

California - 18-21 October - 1 day added = 3 very full days, Thursday noon to Sunday noon! Great location on the Central Coast near Big Sur. Camp Ocean Pines in Cambria, CA is set in 13 acres of Monterey Pine forest overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We'll have over 25 presenters, plus lots of useful 'how to' sessions! Numbers are strictly limited! Registration open now!

Argentina - 7-9 December, the 10th Anniversary meeting!

Brazil (mini-meting) is in progress for 2012! Contact Grant if you're interested in helping out.

Dates subject to change, more dates and locations to come as we get them. Check back here before you plan a trip!

Presenters

How about you? We're all here to learn, and there's LOTS to learn! We want to do more presentations and seminars - but we need volunteers to give them! Any topic you can contribute having to do with motorcycle travel, maintenance, planning, 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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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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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.

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

"...I knew I slightly cracked the crust of the sand when I arrived a week ago, so I backed up before loading the sidecar...

Hubert Kriegel on beach in Namibia.

On a beach in Namibia

When the wheels spun in the, now, soft sand in 2WD reverse, I heard a strong unique metal snapping noise. My blood froze! I had to push myself to think methodically in order to install the sand tracks... I knew the noise I heard would not just disappear... I was able to move back only a few inches until when I heard a bad grinding noise! I was out of the ditch but not out of trouble. The gearbox was stuck in reverse, the final drive was grinding, my blood was still frozen. It took two and half hours before a fisherman drove by to pull me out of the ditch in the direction of the main road 2 miles away. But after 500 yards, the wheels blocked and that was the end of it!

Broken down in Namibia.

The fishermen went to the next small town to get me help leaving me in my misery. I worked to move the wheel on its axle to disengage if from spinning the final drive so I could roll the sidecar again. The tow truck arrived 2 hours later, before I was finished. Needless to say, the tow truck guy ripped me off me big time!"

Ed. Hubert is waiting for parts in Namibia. See the rest of the pictures on his blog!

Miguel Silvestre, Spain, RTW, in the Philippines,

Miguel Silvestre, video clip from travels through Indonesia and Phillipines.

Ed. Miguel is filming his trip and posting on YouTube. See his travels through Borneo, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Kurt Nugent, USA, in California,

"I'm back on the road! This is my old final drive. The part in front is the part that failed. There are splines on the bottom shaft that you can see if you look closely. Near the gear in the center the spline were worn beyond belief. For this part to disengage from the unit it is usually necessary to heat it to 200 degrees C. The tolerances are that tight. Mine just dropped out cold.

Old drive repairs.

This part wobbling also caused damage to the brake rotor and it also had to be replaced. Parts, labor, and CA taxes... $3100 out the door!"

A different kind of ride!

Rocky and Paula, Canada, two earthlings ride around the world, in USA,

"Paula and I spent the next day riding around Canyonlands National Park. We arrived shortly after noon and decided that we'd ride along Potash Road. We took the route that lead along the edge of the canyon and rode down a switch-back that descended into the canyon. Halfway down, Almeida's rear brake completely failed, leaving me only with front braking power. After safely making our way to the bottom of the canyon, I allowed the bike to rest. I assumed that the heavy use of the brakes had caused the fluid to overheat and fail. It was a good opportunity to take a few photos, and, after a short cool-off period, the rear brake seemed to return to normal. Potash Road is an unpaved dirt and rock road that cuts through the canyon and leads back towards Moab.

Rocky and Paula in Arches National Park, USA.

Having not had the time for the hike to Delicate Arch the previous day, Paula and I decided to return to Arches National Park. The walk from the parking lot to the arch took almost an hour.

Rocky and Paula, canyonlands, Utah.

We took some photos and hung out around the arch for a while. With very little daylight left, we decided to return to the bike and head for dinner."

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

"Exploring the ruins of Pisaq in the late afternoon is a pleasure after all the tourists have gone and only the locals are left...

Peruvian children on bike.

Peruvian children on bike

Finally another major life goal reached! I have wanted to see Macchu Picchu since high school... and well worth the wait... love it!

Llama at Macchu Pichu.

Llama at Macchu Pichu

Sherri Jo Wilkins at Macchu Pichu.

Looking down at Macchu Pichu

Ed. Read more on Sherri Jo's blog!

Paul and Angie, UK, RTW, in New Zealand, Yamaha XT660Rs,

"...Next stop and only 30 miles south east of Dunedin we headed to the Otago Peninsular hoping to see some albatross, sea lions and Blue Penguins. The coast road out to Portobello on the tip winds its way beside the sea and just the ride needed to get us back in the saddle again. We spotted some sea lions but the albatross and penguins were out to sea. We found a nice gravel road to take us along the western side which as luck would have it spat us out onto the tarmac and into a nice camp ground with cheap winter rates. The first night in the tent in NZ was pretty cold but cosy in the sleeping bags. Angie knocked up an excellent breakfast, egg and bacon sarnie and a mug of tea. Only managed five miles before I got a puncture in my back tyre, the first of the trip so couldn't complain.

Paul and Angie, puncture in back tyre, New Zealand.

At least we had a view out to sea while I fixed it and Angie got the stove going for a quick cuppa. All squared away and 45 minutes later we shoved off again. I had found a gravel road route along the south coast to Invercargill while researching the south island so we headed out of Dunedin toward the coast road at Waldronville."

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

"With my gear now packed up on the bike and ready to ride away, a few of the hotel employees came out to see me off and take a few souvenir photos of the foreign motorcyclist. I followed Hwy 45 south out of town stopping at the first gas station along the route. While I was fueling up a bike another rider on a Suzuki VStrom 650 rode into the gas station and pulled up along side me. we got to talking, he was an American working down here with an American based mining company involved in gold exploration. There was a little coffee shop across the roadway from the gas station, I invited him to sit down and share a coffee and a few road stories.

I told him that I was heading down to San Agustin, but was not sure if I would first make a trip over to La Plata and then make my way up to see the archaeological ruins around Tierradentro. When I mentioned that I had planned on taking route 45 down to La Plata and from there ride up to Inza to visit the archaeological at Tierradentro before heading for San Agustin he mentioned that he had taken the road out from Popayan to Inca and down to La Plata and from there took route 43 north to where we were presently stopped. This was the same route I was planning on taking. He told me it had been two days of hard riding over absolutely miserable road conditions.

Some sections of the road from Inza to The ruins around Tierradentro were nearly impassable. Route 45 North of La Plata was under construction and with all the frequent stops because of the construction activities and poor road conditions, it made for a long day's travel. His comments and advice were enough to alter my travel plans and instead continue along route 43 to San Agustin. Instead of only spending 2 days in San Agustin, I would add another day to my sight seeing around the San Agustin area.

Alternate route to La Plata and Tierradentro, Colombia.

Alternate route to La Plata and Tierradentro

Route 45 down to Pilalito and San Agustin is along a very good paved road. Traffic for the most part was light and the traffic that I did encounter was usually some slow moving truck or bus. Route 45 parallels the course of the Magdalena River or the Yuma River as it is also called in these parts. Pass the town of Altamira the roads starts to get interesting as the roads starts to climb in elevation and the scenery becomes more interesting."

Stop for lunch along the way, Colombia.

Stop for lunch along the way

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

Brad Cougle, Canada, Calgary to Argentina, in Peru, Suzuki V Strom 650 ABS,

"...Connor and I joined an underfoot grape crushing wine tour. Sounds gross…and it is. The crushing is ok once you get dirty, but the fact you are drinking foot pressed wine from the group the week before, yuck! Just pisco (super fermented wine about 40% alcohol) yourself up and you'll forget everything. Highly recommend!"

Nadja (Latvia) really jumping into it!

Grape stomping tour in Huacachina, Peru - Nadja (Latvia) really jumping into it!

David Bailey, UK, Single ticket to Sarajevo, in Netherlands and Germany, Aprilia Pegaso,

"Today has been a steep learning curve. You should never leave things in your cabin when you leave the ship. If you are going to do this, make sure it is something inconsequential, like socks, not your wallet. If you do do this, then remember to go back before you have covered 20 kms.

I think you can see where this is going. So I returned to the ferry and the people at reception went to have a look. I was thinking my trip is going to be very short, but I was soon reunited with my wallet and the 600E that was in it! Absolute plonker I know, should of got up earlier.

...Into Germany and after 10 minutes of going silly on the Autobahn, I settled down to a steady 130kph which was just about comfortable. I was amazed at how many wind turbines there were, even more than Holland. Mid afternoon i noticed Betty was dancing a bit and a quick look at the front wheel confirmed I was losing pressure fast.

We limped off the motorway and parked up. Poor old Betty, this was hardly her fault but there she was no front wheel and sat on my topbox for all the world to see. Henerick stopped to offer help but then I was saved by Spencer. I had found a great translator, with a car and with all the time in the world!

So my luggage, my wheel were loaded into his car and off we set to find someone who could help me. Eventually we found a bike shop run by an old fellow and his wife, in what looked like, his front room! Whilst he put a new tube in, I was treated to coffee and an entertaining chat with Spencer. We finally returned to Betty who looked so forlorn sat on her forks, but I think her mood changed when we replaced the front wheel.

Spencer would have nothing for all of his troubles and made sure I got back on the Autobahn OK. It is a humbling experience to be treated so well by complete strangers. Very good for the soul I do think! Spirits lifted, I was back on the road again...

So I finally arrived at my campsite at Hargen, just south of Bremen. It was a little way from just about everywhere, so quiet, too quiet really. I chatted to a fellow with his little son who had travelled around the country in an ingenious motorcycle combination. There was enough room for the child's bike on it!

I needed an early night, the missing home stage has begun to kick in!"

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

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!

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

"Long before we hit the outer city ring of Nairobi we were already crammed between hundreds of cars travelling at five kilometres per hour. This was going to be a killer for the bike. I could not only feel the temperature rising from under my motorcycle gear, I could feel the heat rising from beneath me. I wanted to look for a faster way through the traffic but I didn't have the directions to the infamous Jungle Junction camp site plus I wasn't on my own, I had to think about the two other motorcyclists...

I needed another escape route. I spotted one on the far side of all the traffic. The guys thought I was crazy, but I knew what the trick was.

Crossing the Equator just north of Nairobi.

Crossing the Equator just north of Nairobi

Standing on my foot pegs, I make eye contact with each driver, mouthing "Jumbo Brother, Can I go in front of you?" A massive smile breaks across their faces when they realise I'm a woman and then they nod vigorously. A few minutes later a path has been opened up for us and we jump to take the chance to inch not only forward but across the traffic. We repeat this action until we are sitting next to the foot path, where I had seen a bus lane under construction. We followed a stream of traffic that already had the same idea as me. But something was wrong, the troublesome bike was becoming more and more stroppy... "

Ed. Great stories and heaps of pics on Danielle's blog. Danielle will be interviewed (from Africa via Skype) for the HU Australia meeting!

Darius and Jane Skrzpiec, RTW, in Israel,

"The first and only sign 'Israel' in Jordan is located right at the border...

Road sign for Israel.

Following the steps of Jesus, we camp a few days at the sea of Galilee and proceed to Nazareth. Of course we have to walk along the Via Dolorosa and see where Jesus supposedly died. Also we spend some time at the Western Wall and watch the Jews pray.

Modest clothing sign, Israel.

Modest clothing sign

Israel is a crazy place. You could be amongst the Ultra Orthodox Jews in the morning and find yourself in between religious Moslems within 15 Minutes. and be assured that you'll step upon plenty of Christians too!

Night shot, the ancient port Akko.

Night shot, the ancient port Akko

Finally we find a possibility to reach Europe by cargo ship and we're enjoying the 3 days passage!"

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!

 

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

"Life gets pretty scary when you suddenly find it necessary to look up the Spanish for 'Why did you have to split the crankcase?' I went to the workshop to see if the ordered parts had arrived and... they hadn't. Then I noticed that the engine was now out of the frame. I found it under a dust sheet in many many pieces spread across a workbench with the crankcase open and no sign of the barrel, piston or rings which I wanted to have a look at to see exactly what had failed and hopefully why it had failed. Dates for the parts to arrive come and go without the parts making an appearance. The mechanic working on my bike is rarely in the workshop and none of the others really know what is going on but they confidently give me a new date for when the parts will arrive and ask me to check back then.

Cusco Traditional Dance Carnival.

Cusco Traditional Dance Carnival

Cusco is as good a place as any to be stuck in while waiting for the bike to be repaired. It's small enough to walk everywhere but big enough to offer a variety of walks and places to visit."

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

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

"After spending four days relaxing in Rio Gallegos it was decision time, do I head down to Ushuaia and risk more damage to my shoulder or head north on the sealed roads, for once I think I made the right decision and headed north, it was still hard on the shoulder, with the winds and some rain.

Young rider, Argentina.

Young rider

I'd been given a some directions to a Moto bar in Comodoro Rivadavia, so after a long day in the saddle, I reached the bar with the help of a local rider, Marcello invited me in, gave me a bed and fed me. His family was great, he wouldn't let me leave till my shoulder had recovered enough to ride the bike more comfortably, he got me drugs and cream for the shoulder. It is a great place, but it only came to life after eleven, then the place began to rock, one evening they had a live band on, the first set started at two in the morning, needless to say I didn't get to bed till gone five in the morning, not your usual travellers schedule."

Eric and Gail Hawes, USA, in Greece, Turkey, Armenia and Georgia,

"Every time we travel in Turkey, and this is the third time, we either get a ticket or breakdown, or both. Two days it rained at noon and so we found shelter in a restaurant. Once a policeman was there and purchased for us a candy bar. Very nice but the next time we saw a policeman it was something else.

This time it was a ticket, we know not for what? Some radar offense. They just gave it to us and told us to pay at the border. They put it on the computer. But when we reached the border they asked for no money and we gave none.

Getting out of Turkey was much easier than getting out of Greece. In exiting Greece they wanted to see our Green Card. We had none as we intended on buying it in Turkey as we had done before. They finally let us go. When in Turkey getting a visa was very easy, just a small sticker on the passport. But no green card as it was the weekend. So the customs agent took us to an insurance agency where he helped us get Turkish insurance. He was very helpful.

Armenia and Georgia were not helped by 70 years of Soviet rule. They are even behind the Baltic States but of course more isolated.
Some of the roads here are very bad and we rode on a few. Very slow but Gail has seen places in Armenia that no American woman has ever seen and probably wouldn't want to see.

We have been in Russia 3 times on our moto and still remember 10 words. Still very helpful when speaking to older persons who were forced to learn Russian.

Here there are very few two wheeled vehicles. Few bikes, scooters, or motorcycles. But this makes riding much easier then riding in Athens or Rio, Brazil.

Now we plan to leave our moto in Tbilisi and return next year. Want to join us? Don't forget to come and visit us in Oregon. Our moto rally this year will be 23rd to the 25th of June. But you are welcomed anytime. Eric and Gail still on the unpaved roads."

Seán Patrick Dillon, Ireland, Alaska to Argentina, in Mexico, Honda Cub,

"...Taka my Japanese motorcycling amigo and I set off for the rebel controlled town of Obentic about 45 minutes ride from San Christobal de Las Casas where we had been staying.

In 1994 a group of rebels taking their name from Emilio Zapata the deceased Mexican revolutionary leader from the early 1900's, staged an uprising in an attempt to form an autonomous state of Chiapas and to highlight the plight of the indigenous people; the direct descendants of the ancient Mayans. The Zapatistas seized control of 5 cities in Chiapas as well as the government buildings in San Chrisotobal de las Casas. The Mexican government responded with superior military force but the uprising was not fully quelled. To this day they operate an autonomous area and government separate from Mexico. Though this is not officially recognised by Mexico of course.

Bikes outside Zapatista village.Inside Zapatista village.

Zapatista village, Mexico

...We arrived at the gate to the village and are met by two men in balaclavas looking very menacing. They ask us what we want. With my limited Spanish I ask for permission to enter the village. A clip board is produced and we are asked to provide our personal information and the reason for our visit. Being from Ireland appears to hold some sway with them as they acknowledge Ireland's historical past."

Overland to India

Overland to India book by Gordon May

by Gordon May

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

Synopsis:

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

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

Review:

What I really liked about Overland to India was the sheer determination of the rider. Gordon's love of his motorcycle shone through too; he often thanks it for getting him to his various destinations along the 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

£9.95

Belinda Sinclair, UK, Scooters Ride the World, in Greece and Turkey,

"We've done heaps today... including sorting out the bikes properly this morning before we left. Mine wouldn't start though,and Nadine had to push me round the hotel car park so that I could bump it. Still wouldn't start though, by which time we were both dripping with sweat. Then I remembered that I'd leant over the bars to check a strap ...and knocked the kill switch. (Note to self - don't do that again as it makes Nadine swear - a lot - and call me rude names) But the exercise can only have done her good.

The road to Turkey.

So after that, we got back on the motorway and headed for Turkey, 140kms away. Like yesterday, the roads were virtually empty, and we ate the miles.

Riding with the scoots unloaded is very good. They are so light and flickable that it just makes you want to ride them into inaccessible places, which I tried this morning but fell off and broke the one remaining mirror. The ground was just too soft after a landslide.

But at least I didn't do this.

Scooter in the mud.

We spent the next 10 mins pulling it out of 30cms of mud. Couldn't have done that with a bigger bike. Got a bit muddy ourselves too, esp. the boots."

Ed. Lots of great pics on Belinda's blog.

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

"'Don't go there, it's dangerous' - stranger on the street when I told them I was going to La Boca.

Che Guevara statue, La Boca, Argentina.

Che Guevara statue, La Boca, Argentina

I am so tired of hearing this 'Don't go there, it's dangerous' and then the rants of all the bad things that are going to happen to me. Ever since I pulled out of my drive way 8 months ago I have been bombarded with warnings of my inevitable death. Nobody trusts their neighbour, in the next place I will surely die, but first I will be tortured. One day I will die, but first I will live.

'Don't go there, it's dangerous' - that expression makes me want to go even more. I always go, I always meet the best and most interesting people and I am always warned against the next place, but never the place I am in. I ask people 'what happened to you when you went there' and the answer is always the same 'I have never been there'.

La Boca, Argentina.

La Boca, Argentina

La Boca was a fun and interesting place bright and colourful with lots of street shows and endless opportunities to be entertained. I felt safe, so many tourists, all bussed in because they were afraid. I walked the 30 minutes from my hostel and got a blister, I need new shoes, next time I will ride over."

Ed. Greg, we've heard that line 'Don't go there, it's dangerous' so many times over the years, and almost always the person has never been there!

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.

Ekke and Audrey Kok, Canada, Circumnavigation of Asia,

"Hello fellow Horizons Unlimited community members! Audrey and I are leaving for a one year circumnavigation of Asia at the beginning of July and we would like to have a Bon Voyage BBQ in Redwood Meadows. It would be great if you could make it out on Sunday, June 10 at 1:00 PM for some burgers and hot dogs. Please let me know if you can make it so that we can order the right number of burgers. Jordan and Sandra may be back from their trip to South America at about that time so it could be a Welcome Back BBQ as well. Ekke"

Ed. Many of you know that Ekke and Audrey are the organizers for the HU Canwest meeting, which they will miss this year, but for the best of reasons! We are hopeful that others will help out to make the meeting a great success again!

Heike Wanner, Switzerland and Filippo Fania, Germany, Europe to Australia and beyond, BMW F650G and BMW R1150 GS,

"I have to tell you a story. It is a romantic story. It is a happy story. It is a story with coincidences. It is my story. And it is now our story.
... and a lot of it is the fault of two people: Grant and Susan Johnson from Horizons Unlimited.

Prologue

During the last few years a lot changed - inside me, and in my life. I lost loved ones, I got desperately disappointed and deeply hurt by people, I was searching furiously for a way and a meaning in my life. But during this difficult time I also had great experiences showing me the best (and the worst) in some people, and showing me my true friends.

At one point, I realized that I eventually had to do what I was always dreaming of since I was a child - to 'throw off the bowlines', to 'sail away', to explore different cultures and countries, to meet people and to find adventures. At the same time, I gave up finding the right partner, my other half with whom I could share life, thoughts and ideas; the one, that would care and love me, that I could love and care for in return, and that would give me a meaning in my life.

Heike Wanner on the trails at HUMM 2011.

Heike on the trails at HUMM 2011

Part 1 - where two like-minded people meet

So, I started planning the trip - my adventure - alone. I was looking for information and I came across Horizons Unlimited - a website with lots of information for motorcycle travellers. Grant and Susan, who are behind it, also organize travellers meetings around the world. And it was at a Horizons Unlimited meeting in Germany that I met Filippo. A big coincidence, because Filippo had spontaneously decided to go there only that day - without this decision we would have never met.

I admit, I didn't fall in love with Filippo immediately - mainly, because I had decided for myself that the other half to complete me, the right partner, simply doesn't exist - so I didn't expect to find him suddenly standing right there in front of me. But Filippo fascinated me from the beginning, and I couldn't get him out of my mind after the meeting.

Part 2 - where it gets serious

We were exchanging emails, and we decided to go to the Horizons Unlimited Mountain Madness in the Pyrenees together. It was whilst travelling down to this meeting - organized by Grant and Susan, of course - where we finally and entirely fell in love. We found out that we have the same dreams and ideas - and so it didn't take long after we had returned home until Filippo suggested that he could come with me on the trip.

Filippo Fania, squashed into sidecar after his bike broke at the 2011 HUMM!

Filippo, squashed into sidecar after his bike broke at the 2011 HUMM!

Part 3 - where we grow together

I was really happy when Filippo said that he would like to join me. Although, I had always enjoyed the freedom of travelling alone, to do what you want to do without asking anybody, I also desperately missed somebody to share the experiences with, especially the very beautiful and the very bad moments. At the same time, I was also a bit scared - I mean, we didn't really know each other very well then - and for doing such a big trip together you should be sure to have the right travel partner.

But on the other hand, it just felt so right to go with Filippo. So, I didn't hesitate long, and I was simply happy to have him with me.
From two single travellers we turned into two that are sharing a dream, and that are going to live it: 2 live the dream.

Part 4 - where it gets really serious!

As I said, it just feels so right to be with Filippo - he is really like the other half that is completing my life. I have the feeling that we together can go through everything - and he is the most loving and caring person I have ever met.

I love him so deeply and without doubts that it just felt right to ask him only five months after we met, whether he would marry me. Something I had never even thought about before! And I had tears in my eyes when he said: yes! We are now going to get married in January 2012.

Epilogue

I personally want to thank Grant and Susan for setting up the website, the traveller meetings and the HUMM - not only because they provide very valuable information and a great network, but also because without all this Filippo and I would have never met.
This is not the Happy End - this is just the very Happy Beginning - everything is just starting, and we are now really looking forward to share our lives, to share our dreams and 2 live the dream together!"

Ed. The only thing better than a motorcycle travel story is a romantic motorcycle travel story! Congratulations to Heike and Filippo, and we're very happy to have played a part in bringing them together :-) They have just left Europe for Asia and we will look forward to reading their travel stories!

BugsonmyBoard, Baja Motosurf 2012,

"Funny how some things you just don't think all the way through until enthusiasm pushes you to a place where it's tough to turn back. I was in my driveway, trying to figure out how I might lash 4 days worth of water to my bike with everything else that I've got attached. In a week I would be riding into the Baja desert alone and I only just then started thinking about such basic practicalities.

Getting the bike ready for Baja.

...I did some preparation for things most likely to break. I installed heavy duty tubes and carried a spare front and rear tube along with my tire repair gear. These things are way thicker than the stock tubes, but I imagine that nothing will stop a long enough cactus spine or a nail from piercing your tube if it is so determined. I've used thread locker on lots of bolts that could vibrate their way out after days on rocky tracks. My buddy Rob in New York mailed me some wider foot pegs that he had kicking around to keep my dogs happy during long standing stretches. I also mounted a spare set of clutch and throttle cables zip-tied right alongside the functioning ones so that it would be a piece of cake to fix when one breaks on a hot, dusty track somewhere.

Bugsonmyboard, bike with surfboard.

Have board, will travel!

Time to load her up and give it a go..."

Neil and Clarissa, Australia, RTW, in Malaysia,

"Three buckets of beer later, (1 bucket = 5 beers) we met Joe 'Fingers' a New Zealand bloke with a great personality with awesome shirts to match... This is also where we met Nigel a British fellow who ended up chatting about motorbikes. At this stage he questioned whether or not we had met the French bloke who has the BMW GS down the road, who was also travelling around the world. The thought of another BMW nearby was too good to pass up. So after a great feed and icy cold beers (the only way to combat the Malayan heat), we went for a walk, found the BMW but no French man. Due to the amount consumed that afternoon and night before we decided to stay another night... That's the thing about Melaka. We just keep saying yep another night.

Neil and Clarissa with bikes.

Later on that afternoon Neil came in the room informing me of how he had met the French man along with some other local and internationals at the Honky Tonk Haven Cafe. So he headed back while I had to complete a few more things. Around an hour later I headed down to see Neil sitting there with some lively characters surrounded by buckets of beers. I knew this would be a fun night. Dinner was all you can eat Indian for only $12 ringgit! Which they do once a month or so I was told. They also had live Jazz music which was so lively."

Some of our new Malakian and International friends.

Some of our new Malakian and International friends

Julio (Guaterider), Guatemala to Alaska, BMW R1200 GS ADV,

"Two more days and the long expected day arrives: I will be leaving from Guatemala with the hope to make it to Alaska. After years of meeting so many of you guys on your way down south or up north, now finally it's my turn.

My wife will meet me next month in northern Mexico and from there on we will be two up on our R1200 GsAdv.
We have no fixed route and a very almost no time limits; any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Looking forward to meet some of you guys on the road! Julio"

Ed. Follow Julio's trip in the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

Fern, UK to New Zealand,

"I live life on the edge... (of the Fens, and the Brecks, so in the middle of East Anglia, United Kingdom). I work a little more than 9-5 in an office, in deepest Norfolk, and when I'm not doing that, I like to be out and about on my Motorbike.

I was told several years ago that I wouldn't be able to ride a motorbike due to health reasons, and that was a red rag to a bull (I reckon these doctors tell you these things either because they are incompetent or as a genuine attempt to get you going), and I had to prove a point, get better and take my full test.

I have bikes in my blood. Since I could walk I have sat and watched plenty of bikes being pulled apart and re-built, and dragged around many an autojumble.

Fern, pic by James Owens.

Fern, pic by James Owens

I have been inspired by other bikers, especially women bikers. Now that my back is healing, I have been testing it out gently, firstly by going to weekend bike rallies to get it used to camping for one night, then two. This took about a year, and then I decided to do 15 days in Norway, Denmark, Germany and Netherlands. This was fantastic. I was lucky enough to visit China (Xiamen) in January for work, and this really opened my eyes up to a world beyond the autobahn.

Next plan is evolving at a rapid rate of knots, I'm now looking at London to New Zealand either through the 'Stans' or via Iran, depending on current diplomatic shenanigans, culminating in working in NZ for a while. There is only so much staring at maps, I will have to pull my finger out and actually live the dream so to speak. What better time than now, I am single, have no kids, no mortgage. Yay! Watch this space."

Shigenori Morishima, Japan, to New Zealand,

"Hi Susan-san, I am Japanese biker. I will go New Zealand next February. Yesterday I shipped my bike from Yokohama.

Shigenori Morishima bike.

This is my first motorcycle adventure to another county. I am very excited! Thanks. Shigenori Morishima"

Are you leaving soon? Want to make a difference on your trip? Read on!

Muskoka Foundation.

"Hi there, My name is Alice, I'm the co-founder of The Muskoka Foundation. We are creating a network of international overlanders that 'use what they know, to do good as they go.' We don't charge overlanders anything to volunteer, we leverage their skills to run training workshops with at-risk youth around the world, and have close partnerships with local organizations that serve these youth in USA, Canada, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Our dream is that a very intentional, coordinated form of sustainable volunteering is part of every overland trip! Every overlander participates in making the programs a 'long term' volunteering effort with each interaction furthering the experience, everyone learning about the local communities and the global overlanding world. All of our programs focus on really listening to the local communities, identifying their needs - all done by overlanders on the road, then the next overlanders go to the same communities and conduct workshops and also learn a lot themselves! This continues and expands with each set of overlanders going to those communities. Our foundation coordinates the whole thing and we're mostly run by volunteers too!

Again, we are not charging overlanders anything or trying to make a buck out of this (in fact we pay for all the equipment required for the workshops ourselves), we really just want to get more people to contribute to the communities they visit, build stronger relationships.

We also have a presentation here for overlanders to think about it. By the way, we have a whole bunch of sponsors supporting those overlanders that become our Muskoka travelers, here's a link to our sponsors and what they offer. It would also be great if we have overlanders on bikes sharing their volunteering stories with you?

We've had so many travelers tell us that they wish they heard about us before their trip!

Thanks again for all your support! Alice Gugelev"

Ed. You're very welcome, Alice, and keep up the good work! Travellers, don't forget to post relevant info in the HUBB 'Make a Difference' Forum!


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). Follow 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).

Fang Yi (China) and Rupert (UK), RTW, in Europe, contemplating travel options, KTM 990s,

"After a lot of discussions, checking our increasingly meagre finances and conducting feasibility and risk assessments (after all that is what Fanny and I normally do for a living) we have come up with the following options for the rest of our expedition:

a) Finish our trip when we reach the UK and ship our motorcycles back to South Africa, or perhaps re-register them and sell in the UK.

b) Secure sponsorship and continue with our original plan to ride our KTMs to China, or ride bikes donated by Chinese sponsors.

c) Ship the bikes to America and ride the 'very long way down' to Argentina and then to Cape Town from Buenos Aires.

d) Ride our bikes through Spain to Gibraltar and across the straits to Morocco and then follow the Dakar Rally route through the Sahara Desert and along the challenging west coast of Africa back to South Africa.

Dakar route.

Dakar Route

Fanny is still keen on plan b) and to ride back to China as we had originally planned. She has a huge following and fan base in China and there has been some expressed interest to support us from some potential sponsors, but to date nothing concrete has been agreed.

I am not so keen on this option... not least because the East Europe, Russia and Kazakhstan route to get to the Chinese border in Xin Jiang is very long and not particularly interesting. Also, during the latter parts of Autumn it is going to be increasingly cold. Mostly I feel the administration fees for entering China and the costs of shipping our bikes from Hong Kong or Shanghai back to South Africa are far too high. We really wanted to ride through the stunning mountains of Iran and Pakistan and ride along the Karakoram Highway which crosses the Himalayas into China, but sadly this part of the world, especially along the border with Afghanistan is notoriously dangerous and although some people have travelled this route, the security risk has grown significantly in recent months.

I am increasingly keen on plan d). The idea of riding along the Dakar route through the Sahara and into the Heart of Darkness is massively appealing and the costs will be the least of all the other options. It is the ultimate motorcycling adventure.

Of course there are some issues. I am not that keen about Fanny or myself being taken hostage and paraded by some nutty Islamists on YouTube, and less enthused about getting shot. Also, I am not sure (and I am being bluntly honest as an accurate risk assessment should be) that Fanny can handle the sand of the Sahara or the mud and challenging riding conditions of Equatorial Africa, the Congo and Angola. And last but not least, Fanny is going to need a visa for all the African countries yet again, some of which can only be applied for in person back in her home country of China.

All these problems are solvable... with money... and basically I don't have much of that left."

Jordan and Michelle, USA, Texas to South America, 2up on Ninja 250,

"I was talking to a friend the other day about the conditions on the trip, and he, like many other people, told me he didn't think he could handle it. But he is wrong. Yea, it's nice to have A/C, running hot water, and clean clothes, but familiarity and routine do not equate a necessity, it's an illusion. Within a short amount of time anybody will naturally adapt to new circumstances. When entering Mexico, realizing that I would not be returning for months, I quickly forgot about what I was 'missing' and my standards conformed to the reality of the journey. Within a few days of leaving home it seemed as if we had never known anything else.

There is nothing remarkable about me, Michelle or the trip. It was an idea of traveling, and we simply followed it day by day because we loved it. The idea was the important thing, anyone who has that is capable of the pursuit.

This attitude applies to the motorcycle as well. There is nothing remarkable about taking a 'little' sports bike on a large journey. No matter what motorcycle you're riding the process is the same. Pack up, get on the bike, ride the bike. From a Honda 125cc to a Harley road king the process is the same. Having the 'perfect' adventure motorcycle is nice, but putting off the adventure until you have the perfect adventure bike (or farkle, or budget) is counterintuitive. Unless you're planning on extensive single track you really don't need a specialized motorcycle. Besides, Adventure bikes are not built in a factory, they are made by the adventure.

Jordan and Michelle at airport.

Adapting back to a first-world lifestyle was not difficult, within a week I could hardly believe that a month ago we were battling our way through the mountains of a country halfway around the world. What was most amazing is that although I been on the trip for an intense, life-changing eternity it seemed like almost nothing had changed back home. I was almost a little sad when I left on the trip because I really do love Austin and my life here. Well, everything was waiting for me exactly as I left it. Michelle and I are doing great. We had only dated a few months prior to the trip, so it was a risky relationship move. Certainly a trial by fire, but we came out great so things look bright. We had no worries about a long-distance relationship when Michelle had to move to Houston for 5 months. If we can make it through being together 24/7 for 6 months, we can handle almost anything.

The world certainly seems a smaller place now that I am back. Living in America you routinely see images of people living in conditions very different from your own, and it seems alien and foreign. Go to these places it strikes you that everywhere it's just other people. It happens gradually and suddenly you realize that different educations, different cultures, different languages, but we're really all the same. You are sitting on a street corner in a little highland town talking to somebody straight out of National Geographic... it seems so amazing and so ordinary at the same time.

Many years ago I came to the conclusion that my goal in life is the accumulation of experiences and memories. This trip has cemented my hunch that traveling is the most efficient way to accomplish this goal. Meaningful experiences can be found anywhere, but they are guaranteed on a trip like this. Every older person I have ever talked to that took some trip, some adventure during their youth, always treasures those memories. I know it's cliché, but Twain's quote: 'Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do' has to be the most accurate, convincing endorsement of adventure that has ever been written. We are so thankful we took this trip and eagerly look forward to the next.

Thanks for reading, Jordan and Michelle"

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

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

"I am home now. I'm currently in Ellensburg, Washington doing absolutely nothing physical for the next few weeks while Kristi goes to school full time. Tom and I will go the docks on Wednesday and get his motorcycle, and get the bike running again. I will probably re-read my entire ride report and then edit it. I'll gather my favorite photos and compile them.

Big Al Smith and Mike.

...and then I'll begin planning No Job, No Responsibilities, No Better Time Than Now. Round 2. Can you say Africa? Onward amigos!"

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

up to top of pagespacerHorizons Unlimited presents...

Achievable Dream and Road Heroes DVDs!

Road Heroes - Motorcycle Adventure Travel Tales, features 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). Not to be missed!

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 $139.00.

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

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.

up to top of pagespacerTraveller's Community News.

Alexandra & Andre Klier, Germany, in Japan, wrote to the HU Seoul Community:

"Dear all, we are a German couple, travelling with a Honda Africa Twin XRV750 and a Honda Dominator NX650 from Australia, via SEA, Japan, Russia... back to Germany.

As we have to leave Japan mid of May because of the expire date of our carnets, we are very limited in options.

There is only 1 ferry running from Japan via South Korea to Russia/Vladivostok (DBS ferry, quite expensive).

We found out, that there are lots of ferries between Japan and South Korea (Busan) and also lots between SK (Sokcho) to Russia. This would be cheaper, but we are Germans! Somehow our country missed to sign a contract in the 40s and so we are not allowed to ride our in Germany registered bikes through South Korea ourselves.

Now the question:
1.) can anyone help us finding out, if it is possible to transport the bikes from one customs/harbour to the other (possibility, costs, customs request)

2.) would it be possible, that 2 MC riders in South Korea could ride the bikes from 1 harbour to the other (customs requests, costs), at least out of the harbour/customs.

We already contacted some transport companies, but so far without response.

With DBS Ferry we are facing costs for us and the bikes in total of 3000,- USD and have to wait 3 days in Vladivostok until we get them from customs. So we try to find a cheaper and quicker solution.

Maybe someone of you can help us or has some other idea.

Thank you in advance
Alexandra & Andre"

Ed. SeoulJoe and Daniel replied to Alexandra & Andre with useful information about transport options. Thanks guys!

New Communities:

We've now reached an amazing 719 Communities in 109 Countries as of May 27, 2012! 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.

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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.


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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:

www.HorizonsUnlimited.com

Riding the globe...

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