Motorcycle Travellers' News Report - March 2014, 100th Edition

Are you a TRAVELLER? Are you interested in the back door to Machu Picchu, lemur encounters in Madagascar, crashed in Fez, motogringos in Ushuaia, crossing the Darien, Ted Simon on a Harley in India, a Romance Park in China, crazed by Aussie bushflies... and much more? Then you're reading the right newsletter!

Introduction to this issue.

Welcome to the 100th Edition of the overland travellers' e-zine! I've been strolling down memory lane, looking at the very 1st Edition in December 1999. There were only a few travellers to report on, but they included some familiar names: Ken and Carol Duval, Greg Frazier, Erin and Chris Ratay, Chris Bright and Peter and Kay Forwood!

From Grant's intro in 1999:

"Over the twelve years we've been travelling, we've met a great many people, motorcyclists and non, all of whom have renewed and strengthened our faith in the brotherhood of man. We have found that people are much the same everywhere you go, we all have much the same hopes and dreams, we all enjoy meeting others, and our curiosity about the world is only matched by our interest in the people we meet along the way. I hope that this newsletter will help to foster the community of spirit so evident in the motorcyclists we have met, enabling them to keep track of those they have met along the way, and meet new friends."

That edition went out to 170 subscribers, this edition is going to 8.5k subscribers, so I guess we're doing something right. Here's to the next 100 issues!

What have we been up to since the last issue? We've had the very enjoyable task of looking at over 600 photo contest entries, many fantastic pics. We've narrowed it down to our favorite 25, now we need your help to select the 2015 HU Calendar winners. Vote on the HUBB post.

Mostly, though, we've been up to our ears organizing HU events. OMG, we have over 20 events scheduled for this year, and still not finished! We're often asked, 'Do you go to all your events?' We'd love to, but it's just not possible financially - the travel costs would consume all the net income and we'd be unable to pay our rent and keep the website servers running! :(

Which ones will we get to in 2014? We'll be in France, Germany and UK from late May through early July, and we hope to see many of you there! Our good friends at Touratech AG are lending us a bike while we're in Europe, and we will be at the Touratech events in France and Germany and the BMW event in Garmisch, and of course our HU Germany and HUBB UK events. :) We are very excited about it all, especially Grant since he has not ridden a bike for three years!

After Europe we're at home until late August. Then we'll be at Canwest, Ontario and California, then in Australia for Queensland, Perth, Victoria and New South Wales, quickly followed by our 1st ever HU South Africa event!

We hope to see you at one of the events, but whether we're there or not our local organisers are all fantastic folks and they welcome all travellers, so do come along and meet your tribe! Early bird rates have been extended to April 7, so sign up soon!

Where are our intrepid travellers this month?

We've got great stories from Madagascar, Bolivia, Sudan, Lesotho, Morocco, Mexico, Italy, South Africa, India, USA, China, Botswana, Iceland, Kyrgyzstan, Ecuador, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Panama, Peru and Norway!

...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! We try to link to your blog/website if you have one. If you don't have a blog, 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)

Travellers on the Road

Technomadic Jim, Southern Africa, in Botswana, Honda CTX200,

"Soon after checking in at the Old Bridge Backpackers in Maun I met Dave and Marly who are riding two Honda Dominator (250cc) bikes. They come from Amsterdam and spent the last 3 years (with 1 year's break in between) travelling down the east coast of Africa. It was really cool to hang out with them.

Technomadic Jim with Dave and Marly in Botswana.

...As I neared Kubu island the road started to get more waterlogged and I began to worry that I might not make but I pressed on as it wasn't so muddy like before and the ground was quite firm underneath the water which wasn't so bad. I reached Makgadikgadi adventure camp with about 20 km's to Kubu island and stopped off to have a coke and chat to the manager about the road conditions. Again he told me no I wouldn't make it. He said two Kiwi's in a 4x4 tried and turned back the day before and stayed at his place. He told me the water level was above knee height in a lot of places but I suspected he might be exaggerating a bit in order to get me to stay at his place rather than Kubu island so I set off anyway. I was so close!

Tent camping in Botswana.

The water was deeper the closer I got but it had firm ground underneath and wasn't so slippery which was the main problem that stopped me before. Finally I could see Kubu island but I had to cross about 200 metres of mud to get there. It had also just began to rain. I took it slow and made it across to the staff house where I managed to get under their porch just as the rain came down. Nice!

Bike on edge of salt pan, Botswana.

The manager there was quite surprised to see me and impressed I had made it this time of year. I picked a camp site by some baobabs and as soon as I put my tarp up the rain came down even heavier and I had to scramble to keep everything dry and ensure the tarp was tight and secure. It lasted about an hour so I made some video and prepared my standard standard cold beans and pilchards in a mug for dinner. I watched an episode of Bear Grylls on my phone in my hammock and fell asleep happy I had made it.

Cattle on salt pan, Botswana.

I packed up and went on a short drive around the island and took some photos. Its a very cool place! It would have been nicer to have been able to drive on the pans but it was way too wet. Very different from the pictures I saw of a week previous when Dave and Marly had crossed it.

Water crossing on Kubu Island, Botswana.

As I left two of the staff members mentioned that if I did have any trouble there would be a 4x4 coming from the south on the same path I was taking in order to relieve them. They also said I should back track 20 km's and go round rather than taking the direct route south. As I left I got confused about where the path I came in on was and ended up heading down the short cut. Realizing my mistake I just decided to plough a path through the mud and water which was a bit touch and go when the bike ended up in water so deep it was nearly over the exhaust! Fortunately I made it back to the correct track and made my way. It was definitely deeper than the day before after all the extra rain.

Water crossing on Kubu Island, Botswana.

There were long stretches of water where you couldn't see any sort of dry exit so you just had to go for it and hope there was no unexpected trenches under the water."

more »

Ed. Follow Jim's adventures and great pics on the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

Jo Rust, South Africa, Circumnavigating Africa, in Khartoum, BMW F650 GS Dakar,

"We left Dongola just as the sun started rising and it was obvious that Obai was eager to get home as he led and pushed our average speed quite a bit. There was a sense of accomplishment in the air and I found myself riding with a constant smile on my face, as I was just so darn happy and excited to see Obai finish his journey. I loved watching the sun slowly bringing light upon the desert and people with sleepy eyes emerge as we whizzed by on our bikes.

Camel crossing the road in Sudan.

It's just over five hundred kilometers from Dongola to Khartoum and we made it into town by around 15:00. With a breakfast stop and refueling and hydrating breaks on route. A television crew was waiting for Obai a few kilometers outside of town and followed him in. We followed behind and when he finally reached the finish line there were a big group of family and friends and television crew waiting for him. Awesome!

...We hit the road early the next morning and the plan was to find a place to set up camp about fifty kilometers from the border. It's amazing how the landscape starts changing from Khartoum to the south. It starts getting greener and suddenly you're surrounded by thorn trees and more and more animals (donkeys and goats mainly). The road is good all the way through and makes for easy riding.

About sixty kilometers from the border we came to a checkpoint and I asked the officers if they maybe knew of a spot nearby where we could pitch our tents? They just shook their heads and said that it's not permitted to camp wild anywhere on the road.

Roadside camp in Sudan.

So we carried on for another ten kilometers and then we found a spot to camp anyway. Out of sight just next to the road."

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Ed. Lots more fantastic pics on Jo's blog in the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

Dom Giles, UK, in the Lofoten Islands, Norway

"Where do you start a trip? Where better than at A. Or Å to be more precise. Pronounced half way between Ah! and Oh, Å lies at the southern tip of the wonderful Lofoten Islands. At 68 degrees north, Norway's Lofoten Islands sit above the Arctic Circle but don't let that put you off taking your favourite two wheeled machine for a spin around its twisty narrow lanes. Thanks to the Gulf Stream the weather on the islands is comparable to Scotland: average summer temperatures sit around 12 degrees although, when the sun is out, it can be much warmer. Disembarking from the Bodø -Moskenes ferry we rode the five miles south towards Å, my winter gloves packed away in my pannier as the warm Arctic sun shone down on us.

Dom Giles heading into A.

Å is a preserved fishing village, a living testament to the life blood of these islands: fish – cod to be precise. Lofoten is renowned worldwide for its Norwegian-Atlantic cod and is home to the world's biggest and most traditional cod fishery. Each spring millions of tonnes of cod are caught in the surrounding waters and dried in the sun on racks on land. The quality of 'Lofoten dried fish' has given it the same geographical protection as champagne or Parma ham. The main part of the fish is sold across Norway and Europe and the dried heads are sent off to Nigeria where they are made into soup.

Sandy beach in Norway.

...The beach at Ramberg was a picture postcard white which wouldn't have looked out of place in the Caribbean. Ditching the bike boots for a bare foot stroll across the sand we had to remind ourselves that we were in the Arctic."

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Ed: Dom's book 'Gone Riding' is out. Available at Dom's website and also Amazon UK.

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Ride in Tours is a motorcycle tours and rental company in France, we offer Guided or self-guided tours as well as rental and sell and buyback.

Ride in Tours is a motorcycle tours and rental company in France, we offer Guided or self-guided tours as well as rental and sell and buyback.

Mark and Carlie, Australia, Just out to get some milk - a three year RTW journey, in Peru, 650 V-Strom,

"Back on the bike and it was off now to Huaraz, 80kms down the valley to meet up with Zach, a fellow motorcycle traveller I met online. Our journey appeared to converge for the next 1500km so we thought to join forces with another intrepid soul and share the journey. I have to admit that this was not my first online date. I had dabbled in the dark side of internet dating once before with mixed results, my experience this time was one of pure enjoyment.

Zach proved himself an infectious source of optimism and adventure, not to mention numerous travelling luxuries including travelling slippers, a real folding chair and to my own joy, nutella! For the following 6 days we found our way through the Peruvian Andes along some amazing road through some even more amazing scenery.

Goats, bike, cliff.

Traffic jam, Peruvian style

Camping was high on the agenda, however for the first 3 nights we found ourselves unable, terrain, population or climate forcing us into the grittiness of Peruvian city life. Our first night was in the outstanding Huanuco, outstanding in its utter confusion, smog and overabundance of casinos! Next night was Conception, our choice of hotel so inspiring I wrote a story about it! Third time lucky we stumbled across a nice place in Ayacucho and the bikes even managed to evoke some jealousy from both Zach and I by spending the night in a fully stocked liquor store!

Bikes in liquor store.

...After spending a few relaxing days in Cusco wandering the streets, eating tasty food and checking out the Incan and colonial stone architecture, it was time to make it to one of the new '7 wonders of the world' – Machu Picchu. Some people travel all the way to Peru, just for the 'MP experience', but for us it was (not) just another destination on our long journey. Machu Picchu receives up to 4000 visitors PER DAY – people arriving there by train, by foot on the famous Inca Trail or, as we did it, 'by the backdoor'.

Bikes in Cusco.

It was a convoy of 4 motorbikes that left the hostal Estrellita (little star) on a drizzly Cusco morning. We had been riding with Zach, from California for the past week or so, south from Huaraz in the Cordillera Blanca, and we'd just met up with Frank (Florida) and Alex (Austria) in Cusco. It was a little tricky negotiating the wet, cobblestoned, one way streets, but once we were out of town and on the way, the rain cleared up and the roads dried off."

more »

Ed. Read more of Mark and Carlie's story in the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

Suhas 'Rocky', Netherlands, in India, Yamaha FZ 150,

"Turtuk is officially 'India's last Village' in the north. You can't go beyond Turtuk. 6 km from here is the line of control and the border. Across the border is Pakistan. So this is the last village of India for all intent and purpose.

Suhas Rocky with bike.

The road to Turtuk follows the Shyok River all the way. The Shyok flows further into Pakistan. It took me a good 3 and a half hours to reach Turtuk, with stops for photos on the way. One of my jerry cans started leaking fuel and I had to empty it into the tank. Luckily, I hadn't lost much fuel. I got stopped at the army check post and after production of my Inner Line Permit, I was allowed to pass.

Shyok River, India.

Water, or sand?

Turtuk is actually a line of houses on hills and elevations, and so, you have to climb quite a lot to get homestays, if you want the actual Balti experience. Or you can stay at the guest houses you find by the main road. The choice is yours. After getting a comfortable homestay for 350 rs a night, inclusive of food, I had a hot water bath. The family was very much excited about my trip and went gaga over the photos. I let them have a free run of the camera, and they looked at all pictures end to end. And when I told them I would take a family photo before I leave, they were excited beyond measure!"

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Ed. Check out the fantastic pics and story by Suhas on the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

John and Alanna Skillington, Australia, RTW in Argentina and Chile, Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom,

"The road out of San Juan to the Paso Agua Negra border post at Flores is a wonderful paved road with countless twists and turns, we refuel in Flores and leave Argentina for the last time on this trip, we have crossed in and out of this country no less than 15 times. This border crossing is delightful, everyone is so happy and friendly.

While Skill is doing the bike paperwork, I return to the bike, stare up at the mountains and reflect on our time in Argentina - we have loved this country that has welcomed us so warmly and let us come and go as we wish, we have loved the people, the asados, the scenery, the camping. And despite the bad press that Argentinian police and officials receive we have found them to be mostly very friendly and always beyond reproach.

...when all is said and done, we have treasured our time here and it is with a heavy heart we leave Argentina for the last time – on this trip at least.

Paso Agua Negra, Argentina to Chile.

It is a long bone shaking journey that takes us over the Agua Negra Pass at an altitude of 4775 metres (according to the guide book). It is in a word, stunning. Huge desolate peaks, enormous glaciers, melted ice sculptures and scree slopes everywhere you look.

Paso Agua Negra, Argentina to Chile.

The last 20km into Juntas is a bit of a nightmare, roadworks of thick deep rolly gravel on a hard packed surface, not what you want at the end of a long day on a heavily laden bike. Sometimes I really don't know how Skill keeps the space shuttle also know as a Vstrom (so named because of its size and non-manoeuvrability, not its speed or sleek good looks) upright. We arrive at Juntas, the Chilean border 4 1/2 hours after leaving the Argentinian border with only a quick 10 minute stop for food, it is now 4.50pm and the border post closes at 5.00pm. Phew just made it, by the skin of our teeth. We are processed pretty quickly although everything has to come off the bike and be scanned for food and other contraband."

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Ed. Read more amazing stories on John and Alanna's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

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Tiffany Coates, UK, in Madagascar, Suzuki DR350,

"I have a day and a half of riding on RN 7, although it's a major route by Madagascan standards, it's still not great tarmac and life around me continues how it has been for a very long time. I stop for a break and get the funny feeling that I'm being watched...

Ring-tailed lemurs in Madagascar.

They come out from the bushes - I finally get to see some ring-tailed lemurs, probably the most famous of all the lemurs but somehow I hadn't managed to see any until now."

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Ed. Tiffany is leading a women's tour of Ladakh on Enfields in 2014 for H-C Travel. Contact her at tiff...@hotmail.com for more details and don't forget to tell them where you heard about it!

Hubert Kriegel, France, RTW, in Lesotho,

"I am at the foot of the 9200 feet Sani Pass. The steep uphill with a grade of 30% gravel road will be for me the ultimate 'Torque' test of the performance of my new set up on my sidecar with the new camshaft and the 18" rear wheel.

As soon as the weather clears, I will attempt to ride it and enter Lesotho to lose myself in the mountain's villages where people looked so joyous when we drove through briefly in November. They live an extremely simple life with no electricity and no running water... so don't expect too much communication from me when I will be there!

Hubert Kriegel, Sani Pass, Lesotho.

I made it to the top in the fog and then it started pouring rain. I stay tonight at the lodge where I met Yves, a bicyclist friend from France we met a few days ago. I got a 30 days visa so I have plenty of time to get lost in the mountains of Lesotho."

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Ed. Hubert takes fabulous photos, which are frequently HU Calendar winners! See his blog for more.

Issa Breibish and Nita, Canada, RTW, in Morocco, BMW F650GS,

"With the bikes packed, we say our farewells to the staff and begin our days short journey to Meknes and its medina. The route seems simple enough; heading west from the hotel we make a left and a right. Then straight along the N6 until Meknes where navigation through its densely populated streets sees the return of excitement. Unfortunately we don't have to wait for Meknes!

As I approach the roundabout, I notice a wide swath of water and, instinctively, head for an inside dry-line. As I exit the traffic circle I hear a surprised gasp over the headset and, as I look in the mirrors, I see Nita's bike sliding through the intersection with her behind it. Miraculously, the intersection that was buzzing with cars and trucks only moments ago is now empty and both bike and rider slide to a stop free of harm.

Bike slides in oil in Fes, Morocco.

Turn number one in Fès – 400m from the hotel

I jump off of my bike and run towards her. She's fine – she's telling me she's fine over the headsets. Two men are already attending to the bike and I thank them for their help. I tell Nita to shake it off by my bike while I gather up her motorcycle and ride it over. Looking at the ground, a closer inspection reveals the 'Water' is, in fact, coolant and oil from a large truck whose engine recently let go. When we look at the video later, Nita's tire is about two inches onto the slick when the front slides out from under her. She had no chance to save this one!

Back at the bikes Nita's spirits are still high; the upside of the situation is that her heart is still normal – no tachycardia! Perhaps a B12 deficiency is the culprit after all. We inspect her bike and, with the exception of some new dents and scratches on her panniers, it all seems quite fine. A tightening loop on her jacket is slightly torn and she's covered in oil and coolant, but she's totally fine which is all that matters. With our heart-rates returning to normal, we make a right onto Abu Bakr Ibn Al-Arabi and begin heading west."

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Ed. Close call, glad Nita's okay!

Wolfi (Germany) and Ilta (Finland) and dogs, Sauerkraut and Tofuwurst (vegan bikers trotting the globe), in Morocco, BMW R1150GS Adventure and Suzuki V-Strom DL650,

"We planned to stay in Aourir for 9 nights, in the end we were there for 17!

Market spices in Morocco.

...we explained the situation to the doctor and he did not hesitate a moment with his diagnosis. The best for Hertta would be to have an operation and cut away the tumors. Now Skippy had a hard time to face this fact. It is always a high risk to operate on an old dog (same as an old person). Weakness of the body, side effects and after effects might be tricky. Anyway, we agreed to the operation. Hertta stayed at the doctor as the operation would be performed in a few hours. We could pick her up by 5pm.

Even though we knew she was in good hands and we knew she will be back, the hotel room felt empty. Lyra felt our tension and gave us some company whereas Ulpu could not care less and only wanted to play. We could barely wait until it was time to leave the hotel for Hertta. We arrived a bit early and we were very relieved to hear her barking :)

We took Hertta back in the hotel and OMG she was high. Her eyes were all criss-cross and I can imagine in what kind of drug heaven she was right now. The same evening we realized that she was bleeding a bit and also lost some body liquid(?). It was too much for us and we called the doc. He was very kind and drove to the hotel to look after her. No life threatening emergency and the vet only changed the bandage.

The days went by and the focus was on taking care of Hertta. In the meantime I was waiting for my rear shock. DHL was very quick. Within two days the shock traveled from Netherlands to Morocco only to be stuck in customs for the next 10 days! Yes, 10 days!

So I went to the Wednesday market in Auorir."

Wall paintings in Morocco. Ilta enjoying papayas from the market.

more »

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Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Michelle Lamphere, USA (Sturgis Chick), in Mexico,

"...About 25 miles from Loreto, there is a lovely small village tucked into the Los Gigantes Mountains. The road has been washed away in many places because of heavy rains and steep, easily eroded walls of the canyons along the way. It's under construction for several miles as you climb up the walls of the canyon to reach the mountain plateau where this small village rests.

Bike trip to La Paz.

There are several water crossings, or vados, along the route and 7 of them have water today. They must have water most of the time because there is a layer of green algae growing on the concrete and makes for a slippery crossing. I get across them all fine, but on the way out the 5th one catches me and I drop my bike onto its left side. My poor bike.... but the water actually feels sort of good.

Missioin Church, La Paz, Mexico.

The village is very small, and has a hostel and a couple of shops and restaurants. In the heart of the town is the Mission, founded in 1699. It has taken on a few different incarnations, and this building has been here more than 250 years."

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Sara and Dan Pedersen, Canada, the Americas, in Ushuaia, BMW F650GS,

"Next we continued south and east to Cerro Sombrero on Wei's advice. The gravel road this way to the San Sebastian border is much cleaner and there is a 20 km paved section in the middle. Get gas at Cerro Sombrero and have Chilean pesos if you can. Of note the pumps are off from 12-1 and 3-330 everyday. We arrived luckily at 5 to 1. The road is pretty hard pack with little gravel except in a few short sections.

Protect the penguins sign, Ushuaia.

The drive into Ushuaia is very scenic, with snow capped mountains, lakes, and fjords.

The national park gate where you pay your 11$ to get in is 12 km west of the city on a good dirt/sand road. The 'end of the road' is a further 10 km down this road. We arrived just after 5 busses unloaded and were mobbed by people wanting photos of us.

It was quite a feat to try to get the bikes in front of the sign and get a photo before the warden kicked us out.

Sara and Dan Pedersen at the end of road, Ushuaia.

Leaving the park we saw 5 bikes and one had a huge Canadian flag on it so we had to stop and meet our fellow Canadians and Motogringos Peter, Anne, Kevin, Dieter, and Bill!"

Motorgringos and fellow Canadians at Ushuaia.

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Ed. See more great stories from Sara and Dan in their post on the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

Gary and Monika Wescott, in Tuscany, Italy, Ford Super Duty F-550 (w/Tortuga Expedition Camper)

"Leaving Pisa behind us we followed secondary roads through beautiful Tuscany of Italy. The scenery was truly everything we could have expected from this famous region, even in wintertime. Chief navigator Monika was searching the map for a small village as a friendly place to hang out. By chance she found San Gimignano and the nice Santa Chiara campground within walking distance. Even now, the day before Christmas, there were several other people traveling who had discovered San Gimignano, a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena, Tuscany, north-central Italy. Famous for its medieval architecture and well-preserved towers, its hilltop setting and encircling walls formed an unforgettable skyline.

San Gimignano, Italy.

...On Christmas Day Santa Claus had some inventive ways of making his deliveries including ladders up the back of several motorhomes and climbing ropes to balconies.

Santa in San Gimignano, Italy.

We took the opportunity to stroll around the cobbled streets of San Gimignano without the hordes of tourists that crowd this World Heritage Site town during Summer."

more »

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Extreme Bike Tours India, Raasthan, Bhutan

Extreme Bike Tours - India, Rajasthan, Bhutan

Julian Quinton, UK, in South Africa,

"What a pass, steep and tight with stunning views over the edge. Speed limit of 60KMH, no overtaking. No roadworks on this stretch but lots of gravel on the roads and bends. Got down and headed into Vanrhynsdorp, the museum was closed so filled up and turned onto the N7.

Cederberg Rocks, South Africa.

Cape to Namibia highway, did the other end a few months back. Guess what, roadworks all the way along to Clanwilliam. Got there at two and found a place to lay my head. Unpacked the bike and headed for the Pakhuis pass. Nearly 30km long and a long high climb through mountains that look like massive boulder piles. The road has only recently been tarmacked, would hate to do it dirt with rocks that size. Even with the nice surface I was down to 40kmh on some bends as the road stops at the edge. Target fixation could cause a bad off when looking at the views. Very windy as well, the wind was hitting the hills and following the road up, kept changing direction."

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Ed. Read more of Julian's story in his blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Wojtek, Poland, 'Backpackista', in Latin America, Honda CGL125,

"Hi! I bought my first motorbike Honda CGL125 in Tulum, Mexico. After a long backpacking trip I decided to travel the whole of Central America (or even further) on a motorbike. Shortly after I fell in love with it and the freedom it gave me. With a little motorbiking experience (2h) I rode all the way down to Panama City and then took it to Colombia.

Honda on beach, Mexico.

I am looking for 'off the beaten path' experiences and this is what made me continue my travels on a motorbike.

Today I uploaded a video that shows a story about taking the motorbike from Panama to Colombia."

Wojtek crossing Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia.

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Ed. Wojtek has also reviewed backpacker's hostels on his blog here.

Ted Simon and Jay Kannaiyan are in India for India Bike Week,

"Riding a ferry with Ted Simon across a channel to Goa for India Bike Week. It's been an excellent ride on Royal Enfield Bullets down from Bombay along the coast with the Helmet Stories crew. Discovering beach roads, gorging on fish and enjoying Tedisms - the man is full of quirky sayings. What a pleasure to hear stories from both his round the world motorcycle journeys :)

Ted Simon on ferry in India with Jay Kanniayan.

This sums up Ted Simon's view of Harleys.

On the Helmet Stories 'Ride with the Legends' from Bombay to Goa for India Bike Week, Harley-Davidson, being a major sponsor of the event, wanted Sir Ted to ride this new Sportster Super Low. He took one spin on it, jumped off and said, 'Jay, you ride the Harley, I'm riding the Enfield.' The seating position is not kind to the knees and the handlebar position isn't the best.

Ted Simon with bikes in India.

But, I'm good at riding anything on two wheels fast, so I enjoyed the Harley with its torquey engine and well-balanced chassis; first time to ride a belt-driven bike! Its super short suspension kept bottoming out on the rough coastal roads we were on and I resorted to standing on the pegs and riding it like a dirt bike. Ted quipped that India is the only place where you can ride off-road on tarmac ;)"

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Classic Bike India - Guided Motorcycle Adventure Tours To Ladakh - Sri Lanka - Bhutan - Rajasthan - Nepal - Thailand - Tibet - Goa & South India.

Guided Motorcycle Adventure Tours To
Ladakh - Sri Lanka - Bhutan - Rajasthan - Nepal - Thailand - Tibet - Goa & South India

Paul Nomad, Australia, RTW, in USA, 1200 GSA,

"Hey hey hey, I'm in LA... and so is Ziggy! Quite simple really. Travel nineteen hours including five in Nadi airport, Fiji (almost large). Breezed through US customs etc in under an hour, was directed to the wrong place by a taxi driver who put me on a bus. Walked 2 miles... yes MILES... to Qantas Freight. They had the bike... Yay! I still had to clear customs in an office past where I caught the bus.

One SUPER helpful Qantas guy drove me in the company van to customs, filled out my paperwork, talked the jargon, and in 20 mins it was cleared. Then his bosses didn't want me to work in the workshop because of safety issues. After a few tears (not really) but I told them I had to leave the bike there forever because I don't have a truck. My helper argued for me!

They finally let me uncrate the bike in the warehouse, did I mention it was 14 degrees and raining? All the guy's eyes popped when they saw Ziggy crammed into the box and watched with wonder as she emerged almost total... still have to fit the windscreen.

Excellent! Still have to get to the hotel. Rode out into the now dark streets, pouring with rain, and took the wrong road and it threw me into a huge overpass, over the top of where my hotel was, and towards Long Beach. Through the rain I took the first exit, and after several petrol station stops for directions, pulled up soaked at the hotel.

Los Angeles.

I had left Brisbane at 11am and was in my LA hotel room at 7pm the same day. Easy, eight hours you may say! Well thanks to my new found time travel ability it was more around 28 hours. I'm off to bed!

Vincenzo from the HU Los Angeles Community.

Paul and Vincenzo

I decided to spend four nights in LA to let the jet lag settle and catch up with a fellow HU Hubber, Vincenzo from the LA Community and check out a few of the tourist hotspots."

more »

Ed. Read about Paul's adventures in the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

TBR-China, in China, (various bikes),

"Massive construction projects everywhere including water & amusement parks, a very large multi- floor Haitang Bay duty free shopping mall. Atlantis Hainan: Atlantis Sanya, Hainan and Sea World Hainan (similar to Australia's Sea World / Wet n' Wild at the famous Gold Coast) are under development and construction as well.

Romance park statue and bike in China.

Partially operational, weird Romance Park Sanya between Yalong Bay and Sanya under heavy construction

Some random Hainan Island pics, as usual the works = very good mates ~ excellent food ~ brilliant solid bike cruising, hanging out at the pool and awesome relaxing days… just as always ~ time flies..."

Hainan Island, China.

more »

Ed. Few words but lots of great pics from rides in China on TBR-China's posts in the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

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

Ferris Wheels Motorcycle Safaris.

Ferris Wheels Motorcycle Safaris are one of the pioneers of the motorcycle tour industry. We have been taking clients professionally to the highest road in the world several times a year since 1994; over 50 times now! Other exotic destinations include Morocco, Turkey, Bhutan, South America, and the Dalmatian Coastline.

All fully-detailed itineraries can be found at www.ferriswheels.com.au where you may also find countless client accolades and many press articles endorsing our tours over the past 15 years or so, and request our free DVD!

Adam Lewis, UK, Short Way Round, in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, BMW F650,

"It was a slow, snowy, slushy, muddy descent from the pass and I was conscious of the pain in my back after picking my bike up off the ground at the border. Unsure if I had the strength to pick it up again should I fall, I descended cautiously through the cloud.

Boot dryer.

Boot dryer

After negotiating several switchbacks I came to a group of buildings surrounded by numerous trucks all with their bonnets open and presumably in various states of repair. I was approached by a guy and asked if I'd deliver a 1.2m long steel spike to some guys that were working on the road further down the mountain. I agreed, but failed to see that one end was covered in a thick, oily deposit that slowly found its way onto everything – including my tent!

Kyrgyzstan from Tajikistan.

Kyrgyzstan from Tajikistan

I dropped the spike off and continued along what must be the longest 'no-mans land' I can ever remember crossing. Eventually I came to the Kyrgyzstan border where the first guard looked at my passport and sent me to the immigration office. Within seconds my passport was back in my hand having been stamped and I was ushered off to customs. I found them eating lunch and expected to be in for a long wait. All I got was 'You go Osh?' 'Da' I said and was told to 'GO... GO!' I've never crossed a border so fast!"

more »

Gail Baillargeon, USA, to wherever, in Ecuador, BMW R1200GSA,

"Spent the evening to the 29th in Atacames, a tourist beach town, however it's low season so not much is going on. Got on the road early thing morning and took my time riding south to Canoa along the coast. The route is all coastal jungle, mostly small villages and scattered homes.

Don't ride at night in Ecuador.

Don't ride at night

Most of the villages had dirt roads and many were flooded or very muddy.

Ecuador village.

Freedom Bike Rental in Quito is a must stop for travelers looking for information and assistance.

Freedom Bike Rental in Quito.

Court and Silva

more »

Ed. See more great pics on Gail's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!
HU Events

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 and a roof over our heads! So thanks to everyone who comes!

You missed it!

Brazil, February 22-23 - Iguassu - Rodolfo Datsch hosted this event again, over 100 travellers attended this time! See the comments and pics on the HUBB post.

Inspiring presentations at HU Brazil 2014.

Not sure what was 'Top Secret'!

Group photo at ITAIPI dam tour, HU Brazil 2014.

Group photo at the ITAIPU dam tour

Meetings and Events still to come, 2014. Mark your calendars and sign up now!

Germany Summer Meeting - May 29 - June 1. 12th Meeting! Ober-Liebersbach. Online registration is open now!

Greece - June 5-8. New team and new location at Mt. Taigetos near Kalamata. Mark your calendars. Online registration open soon!

Bulgaria Mini-Meet - June 13-14. Doug Wothke and Poly are hosting the 6th Annual event at Motocamp Bulgaria near Idilevo. Details here.

Montenegro - June 26-29 near Kolasin. Blazo and Tonko are hosting this 2nd Montenegro event in a fantastic location! Lots of presentations and tech sessions plus some great rides planned. Online registration open soon! Meanwhile, check out the pics from the 2013 event on the HUBB thread!

HU Montenegro 2013 tour.

HUBB UK 2014, June 19-22, 2014. Donington. Sam Manicom and Iain Harper host the premier event for overland adventure travellers on two, three or four wheels! Online registration is open now! Check out the video from HUBB UK 2013 for a taster.

Canada Maritimes - July 4-6 in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Craig Cairns, Philip White and Clarence Tidd are organizing this event. Online registration is open now!

Colorado - July 11-13. Greg Frazier is hosting this Campfire and Ride Mini Meeting (and Dave Rankine and Chris Kelly are doing all the work!) Plan to RIDE! Online registration is open now!

Ireland - July 18-20. Enniskillen. Liam, Naomi, Jochen and the team already have a bunch of great presenters lined up, including Sam Manicom, and of course Liam and Naomi will tell you about their South American adventures. Online registration is open now!

Canada West - August 21-24. Nakusp, BC. Ekke and Audrey are back to regale us with their adventures, we'll be there too! Great riding in the area, friendly town and lots of great presentations and workshops lined up. Online registration is open now!

North Carolina - Sep 4-7. Stecoah, NC. Moved back to September and cooler weather! Southern hospitality provided by Mike Kilpatrick, assisted by Steve Anderson, John and Charlene and the team at Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge. Great riding in the Tail of the Dragon, Cherohala Skyway and Blue Ridge Parkway. Online registration is open now!

Camping at Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge, North Carolina.

France Mini-Meet, Sep 5-7. At 'Camping Les Tours', St Amant-des-Cots, Aveyron. John Whyman (Pongo) is organising this 2nd event with Mark and Gemma in the same location. Last year had folks from all over Europe and as far away as Australia, see the HUBB post here. Details to come soon!

Ontario Canada - September 11-14. Fantastic location on Lake Manitou near Parry Sound! Bill Hooykaas is our local host for this event, with a great team of volunteers! Online registration is open now!

New! UK - Haggs Bank, Sep 19-21. 2nd Horizons Unlimited Adventure Weekend in Cumbria - England's Last Wilderness! Danny Taylor of HU 'Road Kill Cookout' fame is hosting this event at his beautifully restored bunkhouse and campsite. Comment from the 2013 event: "The hospitality, scenery, campsite and amenities, the food, drinks, good music and the people were simply first class." Online registration open soon!

Haggs Bank Campsite sits in part of a 4.5 acre wildflower meadow with terraced pitches and stunning Pennine views.

California, Sept. 25-28. New! New location - Yosemite! Lots of camping space, several large presentation rooms, and a very friendly town! Flip Morton and Nicole Espinosa are the local hosts for this event, which will be awesome! We'll be there! Online registration is open now!

Yosemite, California.

Australia QLD - Oct 3-6. New! New location - Beaudesert, Queensland! Shane Kuhl and Helen Black are hosting this event, supported by a great team of volunteers. We'll be there! Online registration is open now!

Beaudesert camping.

Australia WA - Perth, Oct 10-12. New! New location - Fairbridge Village! Tamara and Xander Kabat are hosting this event, supported by a great team of volunteers. We'll be there! Online registration is open now!

Australia VIC - October 24-26. Cavendish, Victoria. Anthony and Janet Morrison are the local hosts for this event in the beautiful Grampian Mountains. Strictly limited numbers, so don't miss out! We'll be there! Online registration is open now!

New! Australia NSW - October 31-Nov 2. Riverwood Downs resort, in the foothills of Barrington Tops World Heritage Wilderness Area, NSW. We'll be there! Mark your calendars now. Online registration open soon!

New! South Africa, Nov 14-16. Near Potchefstroom. Kobus Fourie is hosting this event at his fabulous Elgro River game lodge and conference centre. We'll be there! Online registration is open now!

Elgro River Lodge, Potchefstroom, South Africa.

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. We love people who have done trips and taken pictures to come present, but we also are interested in practical how-to sessions such as roadside cooking, navigation/GPS, trip prep and planning, adventure motorcycling medicine, packing light, setting your bike up, bodging/bike maintenance, tire repair, communications/blogging from the road, photography, videography, self-publishing your story, self-defense, safe riding techniques, picking up your bike and off-road riding. Please contact us here to volunteer.

Had a great trip? Got good stories and pics of it? Never presented before? Tips for putting on a successful Travel Slide Show!

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 Events page for more details on all events.

Hope to see you there! Grin!

Grant and Susan

Rockwell (Rocky and Paula), RTW, in Iceland, KTM 990 Adventure

"While hanging out in Keflavík Library that first week, we also met a man named Gylfi Jón. Gylfi Jón was the director of education in the area of Reykjanesbær. Gylfi Jón approached us at the end of the week while we were sitting in the library, and invited us out to his 'hut' the following day for lunch. Gylfi Jón picked us up in front of the library the next day and cooked us a delicious dinner of lamb chops and potatoes. He also offered us a place to stay at his hut, which is a small cottage next to the ocean, complete with electricity, a fridge, a stove, a bbq, hot water, a wood fireplace and the best outdoor shower we have ever seen.

Iceland cottage.

The area in which Gylfi Jón's hut is located, called Hafurbjarnarstadir, is home to many Icelandic horses roaming and grazing in the fields.

Feeding horses in Iceland.

The shower at Gylfi Jón's hut was on the outside of the building. The combination of the hot water, cool breeze and the view of the sunset over the ocean and the Icelandic horses in the fields is why Paula and I have deemed it the greatest shower on Earth."

Iceland shower.

more »

Ed. See Rocky and Paula's pics and read their great stories in the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

Liam and Naomi McIlhone, Ireland/UK, in Bolivia, 4WD,

"Originally, we intended spending only a few days in Bolivia, on our way south towards lower altitudes and warmer weather. We have now been in the country for six and a half weeks, and, while the mechanic assured us again today that the Disco will be ready 'mañana', we are beginning to wonder if we ought to look for more permanent accommodation and put down roots! Everyone to whom we speak, from our good friends, to hotel staff, to Tony who owns the corner shop, tells us that this is how it is in Bolivia. Jorge told us it took three months to have his car resprayed; Tony says he once left his car with a friend for a minor repair, which was to take one week to complete, and he got the car back six months later.

Why should this be so? We are puzzled and perplexed. We have variously been advised to consult a lawyer; report the garage to the consumer council; go to the police, but we do not believe that any of these actions would bring about the desired result. We just want the Disco back, so we can get on with our journey.

Happy sunflowers at the Children's Caranval in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

...The following day we took to the main avenue close to our hotel for the Children's Carnaval. Imagine a fancy-dress parade, taking place during a street party, where children are armed with giant-sized water pistols and aerosols of party foam, and you will get an idea of the goings-on. Little children, and teeny tiny children, proudly paraded in their costumes, which varied from clever, home-made outfits, to off-the-peg Disney regalia. SpongeBob Squarepants, the Smurfs, Mickey Mouse, Angry Birds and at least a dozen Snow Whites all strutted their stuff before the crowds, who mercilessly spayed them with water and foam. Our favourite participants were the ones where parents and children had dressed in matching costumes. Groups of dancing sunflowers, clowns and jugglers were interspersed with brass bands, the whole slow-moving cavalcade taking over four hours from start to finish."

more »

Ed. Fantastic pics on their blog. Liam and Naomi will be home in time to share their adventure at the HU Ireland meeting!

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

You'll be taking on some of the finest enduro terrain in the world. With an expert team at your side you'll pass through jungles, cross the Mekong, climb mountains and stand in the shadows of the ancient temples of Angkor.

'You'll be taking on some of the finest enduro terrain in the world. With an expert team at your side you'll pass through jungles, cross the Mekong, climb mountains and stand in the shadows of the ancient temples of Angkor.'

Heike Fania, Switzerland and Filippo Fania, Germany, Europe to Australia and beyond, in Australia, BMW F650GS and BMW R1150GS,

"...From Alice Springs we of course went to Ayers Rock, the famous piece of red stone in Australia's centre. We actually hadn't expected very much from it, but we were positively surprised. From sunrise to sunset we watched the light change constantly on the rock, and we explored it from all sides – also from the top! The climb early in the morning, when the temperatures were still cool, was extremely steep, and quite strenuous, but worth all the effort. The view from the top is amazing, and the whole scenery unique.

Climbing Ayers Rock.

...45° C in the shade, the sun burned down on us mercilessly – and since about 300 kilometres we hadn't really noticed a change in the landscape. We had arrived in Western Australia – hot, dusty, and only very scarcely populated. We couldn't be bothered to stop somewhere, and to go exploring – the weather was 'hot hot, and damn hot', as we were informed by a sign at a roadhouse.

We had definitely chosen the wrong time of the year to explore Western Australia. Temperatures were only bearable when we were near the coast, where they dropped below 25° C at least during the nights, so that we could find some sleep. But the beautiful coast made up for the stress and strains. We enjoyed the endless beaches, the reefs that provided great snorkelling spots, the fishing, and fantastic wildlife.

Hot, hot and damn hot!

But most annoying were the billions of bush flies that lunged at us as soon as we stopped somewhere, and that sometimes nearly drove us insane, crawling into our nostrils, ears, eyes. More than once we had to leave because there were simply too many of them.

Bush flies in WA.

Besides the bush flies we also saw lots of kangaroos and emus. Of course, they are not so annoying, but they are also not only nice to watch – especially when they run out on the streets right in front of you, or when they raid the campsite in the middle of the night searching for water and food."

more »

Ed. Heike and Filippo told some great stories at the HU Queensland meeting!

Gene and Neda, Canada, 'Lightcycle', RTW, in Colombia, R1200GS and F800GS,

"San Gil is a nice town, but nothing too special about it. Most people use it as a base to go on to do other activities in the area. We're here primarily for the hiking. Actually, Neda is here primarily for the hiking. I'm here because I followed her motorcycle...

The Camino Real trail is a 9-km hike that typically takes a couple of hours, and follows a rough stone path originally laid down by the indigenous Guane people, and then later used by the early Spanish colonizers. Unfortunately, very few of the Guane people are around as the conquistadors wiped the civilization out.

Camino Real sign, Colombia.

We took a bus 45 minutes out of town to Barichara, which is called 'the most beautiful town in Colombia'. Funny how every town or city has to have some kind of distinction around here, but in this case, it is definitely the prettiest town we've visited in the country so far.

Barichara Hill, Colombia.

Smooth cobblestone streets and a tranquil approach to life

...For the last few days, we've been debating whether to ride into Bogota or not. I didn't really care whether we go or not, there's nothing there that I am interested in seeing, plus I've heard the traffic is brutal! The city's population is a densely-packed 8 million people - 4 times larger than Medellin, and we weren't too happy about that traffic.

However Neda heard that the old city was very pretty, so as always, on a last minute decision just as we are leaving Honda, we decided to dive headfirst into MegaBogopolitan traffic.

The weather is changing once again. As we climb from Honda's relatively low elevation of 750 feet all the way to Bogota at 8600 feet, the temperature goes from scorching to chilly in just a few short hours. Neda tells me we're at 15C, almost a 20 degree difference! The air is misty because we are now riding into the clouds clinging to the mountains around Bogota.

As if it wasn't cold enough, it starts to rain cats and dogs on us. It takes us an hour to traverse the heavily congested 25kms from the outer ring of Bogota's residential suburbs, through the very modern downtown city core, all the way to the historical centre of La Candelaria, where Neda wants to stay. The moment we arrive, the rain stops. Of course."

Old town, Bogota, Colombia.

We heard Bogota was a dangerous place. So while Neda looks for a hostel, I guard the bikes against... um, curious schoolchildren...

more »

Ed. See Gene and Neda's story and great pics on the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!
HU Presents...

Achievable Dream and Road Heroes DVDs!

Spring Special! Buy the Achievable Dream Collectors Set and get Road Heroes Part 1 Free! Spring rains keeping you indoors? Binge watch over 20 hours of inspiring, informative and entertaining stories and tips from 150 travellers! Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to order them both and use Coupon Code 'BoxSet+' on your order when you checkout.

Road Heroes - Motorcycle Adventure Travel Tales - Part 1.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!

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.

This insanely ambitious 2-year project has produced an informative and entertaining 5-part, 18 hour DVD series: "The ultimate round the world rider's how-to DVD!" MCN UK.

The Achievable Dream Series - the Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide!

The series features interviews with veteran travellers, such as Ted Simon, Austin Vince, Greg Frazier, Lois book., Chris and Erin Ratay, Peter and Kay Forwood, Tiffany Coates, Sam Manicom, and many others. Over 150 contributors from all over the world tell their fantastic and entertaining stories, sharing their hard-earned knowledge from amazing motorcycle trips to every country on earth. Includes thousands of great photos, video clips, presentations and demos by experts.

The series was filmed in broadcast quality wide screen, with multiple cameras and custom written music. Filming took place at Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers meetings and on location in the USA, Canada, UK, Switzerland, Spain, Germany and the South Pacific.

Achievable Dream Collectors Box Set - 5 Motorcycle Adventure Travel DVDs!The 'Collectors Box Set' is also available - all 5 DVDs (18 hours of informative and entertaining content!) in a custom box for only $139). "The series is 'free' because the tips and advice will save much more than you spend on buying the DVD's."

We've sold thousands of these DVDs, so 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.

Leaving Soon or Just Left...

Steph Jeavons, UK, RTW, Honda CRF 250L,

"Tomorrow is the day and for once I am a little lost for words. The last few days have been surreal! Of course they have. I am about to attempt to ride an overloaded top heavy 250cc motorbike around the world on my own. Not only that, I am going to try and sail it to Antarctica in 10 months time across rough seas on a small yacht! I don't even like being on the sea! In fact I get sea sick! Wont it be worth it though? What sights await me?"

Steph Jeavons with Honda CRF 250L.

more »

Ed. After a send-off from the Ace Cafe last week, Steph is on her way! Safe travels, and keep in touch!

Alessandro Altomonte, Italy, on an adventure in Italy, BMW R1200R,

"I was on my way through Turkey when I met an Austrian biker who, after realizing I was Italian, asked for advice about his route back to Austria passing through Italy. Well, I was unable to tell him / suggest anything special. How embarrassing? That day I sadly realized that riding beyond my national borders, willing to discover the rest of the world without properly knowing my own country didn't make any sense at all.

Alessandro Altomonte, in the Cote D'Azur.

So, I threw away my round-the-world-plan in favour of an Italian adventure. The idea is to begin my journey with no planned out route and being directed by Motociclismo magazine users. In fact, they will suggest which roads to ride on, places to visit, bikers to meet along the way plus offering their hospitality for the night or even join me for a day or two on their bikes. Some say the so called bikers' brotherhood is just a myth. Well, I want to prove it does exist!"

more »

Ed. Alessandro is leaving on 1 June. Good luck with your adventure, Alessandro, and keep in touch!

Pam and Dave Hyde, Australia, the Americas, Triumphs,

"About 2 years ago we started dreaming of riding our bikes around the USA. We were very excited as we pored over maps and figured out a route that included Alaska, Canada, North America, Mexico and Central America. Our 2 boys had left home and we were well and truly ready for a break after many years in the corporate world.

We were apprehensive about such a huge undertaking and had discounted South America as being 'too dangerous' from reports of kidnappings and drug cartels that seemed synonymous with this region. To be truthful we were also unsure about Mexico and Central America, plus the cities of America... and what about the traffic we would encounter and all the lunatic drivers! Perhaps it is easier and safer to stay at home, why put ourselves at such risk? Then a job opportunity came up that was too good to refuse and the trip was postponed.

Pam and Dave Hyde with bikes.

We had become members of HU Perth branch and involved ourselves on the committee to organise the inaugural Perth Horizons Unlimited weekend meeting. Thus we soaked up many stories of incredible journeys that had been undertaken from our new friends in this inspiring community. (We also met Grant and Susan at the inaugural Perth meet). Thus the spark of the dream never extinguished but continued to be fanned by these 'crazy people' and continued disenchantment with work life.

I don't know what made the difference, no single event, I guess we had been at this point before, wanting to change our lives but not having the courage to venture into uncertainty and the unknown. Searching and reading ride reports on the Web had become a weekly event as we lived through the eyes of other adventurous souls who ventured out there and did it. Our time had come!

Forget me not elephant mascots on Triumphs.

Forget me Not Elephants from Karen

The dream – 18 months around the Americas on our Triumph motorcycles. 50% camping, 50% motels (to make the budget stretch). We are overcoming our fears and intend to ride the length and breadth of North and South America, from the top of Alaska to the bottom of Argentina.

...Bikes get loaded onto the ship on Monday, sails on Wednesday and berths in LA some 40 odd days later – See you soon on the start of our adventure!"

more »

Ed. Good on ya, Pam and Dave! Have a great trip, take lots of pics and keep in touch!

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

Motocare Motorcycle Rental.  Motorcycle Rental, hiring Honda's Transalp for touring Argentina and Chile.

Motocare Motorcycle Rental, hiring Honda's Transalp for touring Argentina and Chile. Ride across the Andes, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, lakes, deserts, salt pans, waterfalls, beaches, rain forests, glaciers. Motocare Argentina

Paul and Angie, UK, RTW, Yamaha XT660Rs,

"Only 15 more sleeps until I head off back to New Zealand, only three months later than planned! Angie is hanging back in the UK for ten days after I leave to finalize a few things and my job is to get the bikes prepped and ready after two years in storage for when she arrives.

Due to our late arrival back in NZ we probably won't linger as winter will be well on the way so all the back country tracks that we couldn't ride last time will be shut for the winter again – bugger!

Angie & Paul, two bikes running.

It's a right shame Angie won't get to see the country in summer – just have to make up for it in OZ I guess. We have a few outback adventures planned for OZ, a lot of sandy tracks and a few croc infested river crossings – the bait, I mean Angie can go first! Australia is expensive for us so we expect to camp for more than 110 nights, but we like it. Back on the road, back in the tent, big skies, bush camp sunsets, camp fires, starry nights, sun rises and the sound of the stove hissing – fan bloody tastic!"

more »

Craig, Bermuda Rover, to Europe, Russia and Central Asia, Land Rover Defender,

"I'm undertaking an overland adventure to Europe, Russia and Central Asia in my Land Rover Defender. I have travelled to 30 countries so far during my lifetime. My travels have included a 6 1/2 week around-the-world trip (by air) and a one-month 'overlander' trip in southern Africa. This expedition will be my most significant trip to date and will significantly increase the number of countries that I have visited.

I encountered some challenges getting a Land Rover prepared for the trip – and had to start fresh with a second Defender, learning a few hard lessons along the way! The Defender has been prepped for overlanding and is now having a few adjustments made prior to the 2014 adventure...

Craig and the Land Rover.

...After a couple of years of planning, it's finally time to start the adventure. I'll be on the British Airways flight tonight and will arrive at Gatwick in the morning. I'll be reunited with my Defender by Monday afternoon..."

more »

Support Horizons Unlimited - check out the HU Store for DVD's, map stickers, calendars, t-shirts and more! 20% off on all DVDs until Jan 31, 2014! Remember to use Coupon Code 'EZSPEC' on your order. New 2014 T-shirts now available!

Road Heroes - Part 1. Baby doll T-shirt - front. 2014 Horizons Unlimited Calendar. Pannier map.

Muchas Gracias! Grant and Susan

Interesting threads on the HUBB:

Just wanted to call your attention to the wealth of information out there!

more »

Ed: Lots more topics, so check it out. All opinions posted are from their respective owners and your mileage may vary etc.

Become an HU Member

Become a Horizons Unlimited Contributing Member or Gold Member!

To help with the cost of creating and distributing the newsletter and running and maintaining a huge website and forum, which has been a full time job for Grant for over ten years, Susan for almost 5 years, plus occasional part time assistants, we gratefully accept contributions via PayPal, credit card, and cheque.

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!

Become an HU Contributing Member!

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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.

More ways to support your favourite website!

Thanks, Grant and Susan


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Books

Looking for a travel book for someone special?

Here's a few of our favorite picks! Check out our Books pages, where we have listed hundreds of the best motorcycle travel books, as well as overland travel stories, BMW 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 HU.

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!

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

Tortillas to Totems

by Sam Manicom
Tortillas to Totems by Sam Manicom.

The latest Adventure Motorcycle travel book by the
legendary 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! Be sure to tell Sam where you heard about him!

Down and Out in Patagonia, Kamchatka and Timbuktu.

Down and Out in Patagonia, Kamchatka, and Timbuktu
by Greg Frazier

A little over 40 years ago, a man named Gregory W. Frazier got on his motorcycle, went for a ride, and never returned. He's still out there, circumnavigating the globe: exploring the jungles of Asia in the winter, trout fishing in Alaska in the summer, and covering all points in between during the rest of the year. He's been shot at by rebels, jailed by unfriendly authorities, bitten by snakes, run over by Pamplona bulls, and smitten by a product of Adam's rib. He's circled the globe five times and has covered well over one million miles (and counting).

Circle to Circle, by Shirley Hardy-Rix and Brian Rix.

Circle to Circle - a journey through the Americas and beyond
by Shirley Hardy-Rix

Brian and Shirley rode from the Antarctic Circle to the Arctic Circle, over 5,000 metre mountain ranges, through snow and ice, through deserts and tropics, enduring altitude sickness and a near catastrophic breakdown in the heart of bear country.

Circle to Circle is an inspiring and engaging account of the travels of an adventurous couple. It will entertain you in your armchair, or it may even inspire you to get up and go.

The Road Gets Better From Here.

The Road Gets Better from Here, by Adrian Scott

With virtually no experience and absolutely no support, Adrian rides a basic stock motorbike 20,000kms across nine countries in three months to fulfill a lifelong dream.

Adrian is adopted by a vast array of characters, each with stories to tell, each insisting that he join them in their homes to share their lives and most of their provisions. It is these encounters which provide such a rich and compelling subtext to his extraordinary journey.


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

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.'

American Borders - A Motorcycle Misadventures Journey

American Borders
A comedy of breakdowns...

by Carla King

Excellent! Well-written - Carla's easy and engaging style sucks you in to the adventure and keeps you going right to the end. Highly Recommended - Grant

Obsessions Die Hard

Obsessions Die Hard:
Motorcycling the Pan American Highway's Jungle Gap...

by Ed Culberson

"For the die-hard motorcycling adventurer... both a riveting adventure story and a practical guide to this exotic and dangerous sport." 


Into Africa

Into Africa:
Channel Islands to Cape Town by Motorcycle

by Sam Manicom

"Whether he's thrust into a brutal jail cell in Tanzania, being shot at, or knocked unconscious in the Namibian desert, this eye-opening tale catapults you into Africa. He lives in a remote village, escapes a bush fire and climbs a mountain. This is a captivating book."

Old Man on a Bike

Old Man on a Bike: A Septuagenarian Odyssey
by Simon Gandolfi

"Outrageously irresponsible and undeniably liberating, Gandolfi's travels will fire the imaginations of every traveller, young or old."

Tea with Bin Ladens Brother, by Simon Roberts.

Tea with Bin Laden's Brother
by Simon Roberts

"Evocative, honest and inspiring, it's all brightened up by a great design and amusing comic book graphics which all help set Simon's book above the average motorcycling travelogue". Chris Scott


Mi Moto Fidel

Mi Moto Fidel:
Motorcycling Through Castro's Cuba

by Chris Baker

"A unique, exhilarating solo adventure into Cuba astride a cherry-red, 1000cc BMW Paris-Dakar motorcycle."

Motorcycle Adventurer

Motorcycle Adventurer - Carl Stearns Clancy
by Greg Frazier

"The longest, most difficult, and most perilous motorcycle journey ever attempted." In 1912, there were no GPSs, ATMs, Internet, and often no gas, roads or motorcycle repair shops...

One Man Caravan

One Man Caravan
by Robert Fulton Jr.

RTW in 1932! Grant: "A terrific book, right at the top of the list. Recommended."


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.

Rolling through the Isles, by Ted Simon.

Rolling through the Isles
by Ted Simon

From the bestselling author of Jupiter's Travels and Dreaming of Jupiter comes an entertaining and inspiring new journey round Britain. Having crisscrossed the globe twice, Ted returns to the British Isles to rediscover the country of his youth. The result is a revealing portrait of modern Britain. It is also a witty and affectionate journey back to the past.

The University of Gravel Roads

The University of Gravel Roads
by Rene Cormier

Rene runs out of money half way through the tour and ultimately takes five years to cover his 41-country, 154,000-kilometre route. The ride of a lifetime, the old-fashioned way; no sponsors, no support vehicles, and no idea about what he is going to learn along the way.


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 we'll put it on the site.

Photo Contest

2015 Calendar voting has started - Get your votes in for your favorite pics!

Help choose the 2015 calendar winners! It's time to vote! We've narrowed down the 600+ entries to 25, now we need your help to select the 13 pictures that will be 2015 calendar winners! Start at this HUBB thread.

Note: Each picture has its own post. Posts are numbered, but in no particular order. To vote for that picture, just 'Like' the post: (bottom right beside 'Share'). Note: You must be logged in to vote, and you can only like a post/picture once.

The 2014 Contest is open for the 2016 Calendar, prizes to be announced!

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Discover the extraordinary with Compass Expeditions.


Traveller's Community News

New Communities:

We've now reached an amazing 772 Communities in 117 Countries as of Mar 20, 2014! 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.

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!

Final Thoughts.

Grant and Susan at Ripley 2011 by Dan Walsh.

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
Inspiring, informing and connecting travellers since 1997
www.HorizonsUnlimited.com

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

Please use the Bulletin Board for questions and suggestions.

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ISSN 1703-1397 Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' E-zine - All text and photographs are copyright Grant and Susan Johnson, 1987-2014, or their respective authors. 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!

Every newsletter is permanently archived online. Back issues here.

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.



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Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

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 Services and get your HU $15 discount!

 

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Are you an Overland Adventure Traveller?

Does the smell of spices wafting through the air make you think of Zanzibar, a cacophony of honking horns is Cairo, or a swirl of brilliantly patterned clothing Guatemala? Then this is the site for you!
Hosted by Grant and Susan Johnson, RTW 1987-1998

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers P