Are you a TRAVELLER? Are you interested in the Chapel of Bones, a traffic standoff in Peru, a Ural convention in South Africa, biker gangs at Latitude 20, the road to Batopilas, ziplining in South Africa, encounters with grizzlies, snarling dinosaurs and Tasmanian devils, mugged in Ulaanbaatar... and much more? Then you're reading the right newsletter!
Welcome to the 101st Edition of the overland travellers' e-zine! This is a shorter than usual issue because we want to get the news out to you before we leave for Europe in a couple of days! Yikes! I mean yippee! It's been a challenge to get everything organized so we can be away from home and out of office for so long, but we're almost ready. :)
Our good friends at Touratech AG are lending us a bike while we're in Europe, and we will be presenting '4 Easy Steps to Motorcycle Travel' at the Touratech travel events in France and Germany, Switzerland and Spain, the BMW Motorrad Days in Garmisch, and of course most importantly our HU Germany and HUBB UK events.
Jens Ruprecht is our local host for HU Germany. Jens says, and we agree: "The size is perfect, people are great, interesting workshops and fantastic presentations! The area is really nice for motorcycles too - maybe some of the best roads in Germany! It is always like a big family, really nice atmosphere. We have a lot of repeat visitors - all of them say this is the best travellers meeting..." Online registration is closing very soon, so sign up now!
We're also looking forward to HUBB UK, which will be awesome! Sam and Iain have outdone themselves again, we have a fantastic group of presenters including Ted Simon, and heaps of vendors. HUBB UK is the premiere event for overland adventurers. It doesn't matter if you ride a motorcycle, a bicycle or any kind of expedition vehicle, we promise you will be inspired by the talks and encouraged to get out and make your own adventure! Hope to see you there.
We'll be riding from Germany via Dover to Donington on 18 June, so come along and join us for the ride! The whole schedule is here in the HUBB post.
After Europe we're at home in Canada 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!
All 2014 events are open for registration now, so mark your calendars and plan your travels around the schedule. 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!
What else has been happening? The votes are in and the HU Photo Contest winners have been selected! Check out the fantastic pics below and pre-order your 2015 HU Calendar now!
Where are our intrepid travellers this month?
We've got great stories from Tanzania, Peru, Argentina, Malawi, South Africa, Madagascar, Mexico, Belize, Portugal, Italy, China, Mongolia, Ecuador, Australia, Bolivia, and the USA!
...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!
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)
Jo Rust, South Africa, Circumnavigating Africa, in Tanzania, BMW F650 GS Dakar,
"From Morogoro I made my way down to Mbeya via Iringa and stayed in a hotel right on the outskirts of town, overlooking the main roundabout that leads you to the Malawian border. On route I passed through 'Baobab Valley' situation between Mikumi and Iringa on the edge of the Udzungwa Mountains National Park – it was stunning! All these baobab trees for as far as the eye can see! It was a very welcome surprise, as I didn't even know about the existence of 'Baobab Valley'. Lovely!
That thing of: 'You have to be extra careful nearing the end of a journey', is very true! Although I was still some way from home, I was now in the home stretch and wouldn't have anticipated that I'd come off for the first time ever on tar...and hard!
It was raining a lot whilst I was riding through Tanzania and on route, just before getting to Mbeya I was riding up this beautiful mountain pass. Right before getting to the top I was in the final corner, a tight hairpin bend to the right. I didn't see the spilled diesel in the road though and next thing I knew I was high-sided and skidding across the road on my stomach. I hit my chin on the tarmac first (thank goodness for protective gear!) and then felt myself sliding off the other side of the road. Amazing how many thoughts go through your mind in a split second! First thought that went through my mind was: 'Shiiiiiiiit'. Second thought was: 'Please let my bike be okay'. Third: 'Please don't let me break any bones!'
After I'd come to a halt, I jumped right up as I knew my bike was lying right in the turn and wouldn't be visible to oncoming traffic! I could immediately assess that I hadn't broken anything. Well all my limbs were functional so I figured I came off lightly! I hobbled across (okay I was hurting a bit), to my bike that was now lying in the road and facing the wrong way. There was a man that had been standing at the top of the hill. He saw it all happen and ran down to check if I was okay. All I could say was: 'Please help me move my bike!' Once we got Dax out of harm's way I started with damage assessment. Dax seemed fine, apart from a new dent in the right hand side pannier, a few scrapes and the handlebar guard was loose. My left arm was in a great deal of pain. I hit my elbow coming off and my arm got stuck under my body as I was skidding across the road. My left shoulder was killing me! I didn't think anything was broken though.
After five minutes of going over Dax and myself, I thanked the Samaritan and then I was on my way again. By the time I reached the hotel I had such a headache from a) the knock on the road and b) the adrenalin that had worn off...and I couldn't move my arm. I took a hot shower and plonked myself down onto the bed and promptly passed out after I'd ordered some food. A feeling of urgency started to fill me. I guess because I was now so close from the finish line, and yet so far! Just two more countries to go and I'd be back on home soil! I found myself in two minds. I just wanted to get to that finish line...but at the same time I didn't want this journey to end just yet!"
"...Canon del Pato is a glorious Canyon ride passing through over 40 hand cut tunnels...You can't wipe the smile off our faces, it is glorious ...that is until about 4 km before Huallanca. Cars and buses are stopped for roadworks.
Even if you don't read Spanish, you get the gist of it. The road is closed for roadworks from 7.00am – 12.00pm and then again from 1.00pm – 5.00 pm It is now 9.45 am so here we go again, sitting around for hours waiting for roads to open at midday. We don't seem to have had a lot of luck with the roads since we have come back to Peru, although I shouldn't complain, we have heard of people waiting up to nine hours.
...Finally at 12.10pm after 10 minutes of deafening horns being tooted by impatient drivers they take down the traffic barricade, and we are off and racing, well for at least a few hundred metres when everything grinds to a halt... again. In their highly intelligent and organised minds the traffic controllers on both sides of the roadworks have let the banked up traffic go at the same time. On the very narrow canyon road with one way tunnels, this results in utter chaos with no one willing to give in, so we are now in a huge traffic stand off.
Finally a policeman who is actually in a police vehicle in the line of traffic starts issuing orders and eventually the traffic on our side has to move to one side or back up, there is much consternation, anger and arguing. What a performance, another 45 minutes later we can move.
Click on the graphic below to see what happens when both sides of the roadworks are let go at the same time.
However this doesn't prove to be a great joy as we are now in a huge line of traffic negotiating the tunnels on this amazing scenic road in a huge haze of dust and this continues for the next 20 km. We are caught behind a totally crazy bus driver who refuses to let us overtake him, in fact he does everything in his power including swerving from side to side to prevent it - idiot.
At the next village he swerves with no indication onto the wrong side of the road and slows down to a snail's pace, we assume he is pulling over to stop and let passengers off/on, so Skill accelerates to get past him (on the correct side of the road) only for him to suddenly swerve back in front of us making a un-signaled right hand turn onto a small dirt road.
How we managed to avoid a collision is still beyond me. That has to be our closest call for the whole of this trip. Everyone had warned us about the taxi/collectivo/bus drivers in Northern Peru and to date we have been able to avoid disaster by riding defensively and constantly second guessing their crazy erratic driving but today was on a whole new level.."
"Come discover Argentina and South America with me. A pioneer in moto tourism in Argentina since 2004, I organize and guide my tours to show you the wonderful places of our region. You will get to know the history, gastronomy and culture of Argentina as only a local guide can show it to you. Always the same standards of quality as the big motorcycle tour companies of the world, but with personalized attention in order to make your trip an experience of a life time.
I also offer the most reliable bikes for rental so you can do your own tour. BMW's provided by the BMW Motorrad Official partner for Argentina."
Sara and Dan Pedersen, Canada, the Americas, in Argentina, BMW F650GS,
"La Falda - We went for a drive over the mountain on this bad washed out dirt road. What was surprising was this was the 'Camino de Artesanias' along which there is a hundred year old farm where they make sweets and chocolates, an Irish Pub, and various shops. There was also an incredible nursery farm here too.
There was a local motor-cross race going on too.
This will get us warmed up to see Valentino next week in Rio Hondo!"
Technomadic Jim, Southern Africa, in Malawi, Honda CTX200,
"My front tire was a little flat and there's not one electric air compressor in Nkhata bay. This lad used his bike pump and the promise of 300 MWK to sort it out.
I paid my bill said my goodbyes and headed south down the lake side road towards Lilongwe. After about 300 km's I reached Nkhotakota. I rocked up at a place called Fish Eagle Bay. For 4000 MWK I strung my hammock up under some thatching right on the beach. The food there was excellent and I had some perfectly cooked fish and rice and settled in for the night.
It was incredibly windy that night and I ended up re-orientating the hammock so it faced the wind head on instead of side on. Made for a much more comfortable night's sleep. I then set off for Lilongwe and made it in time for lunch at Chipiku supermarket using my bike as a table I ate outside the supermarket for about 1000 MWK. I then checked into Mabuya Camp like before and took a dorm bed.
This morning I drove to the Mozambican embassy to apply for a visa but was told to come back tomorrow. My plan is to try for the visa tomorrow and if its available the next day I will stay. Otherwise I will head to Monkey Bay and stay for a couple of nights. I only have 9 days left on my visa so I have to be careful. I may try and get the bike serviced in Blantyre. They also have an High Commission there where I can try for the visa again if I need to. I can probably get the visa on the border but I would feel better having it in advance just in case but I'm not waiting around for it. If it takes too long I will just try for it on the border.
I plan on crossing over at Zobue and heading to Tete. Next I'm going to make my way down to Vilanculos via Chimoio. I may only spend two weeks in Mozambique as I know there's a lot to see still in South Africa."
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.
Hubert Kriegel, France, RTW, in South Africa,
"After meeting Ryno's Ural sidecar team in the Drakensberg, I saw that I damaged the large gear of the final drive again due to the harsh condition I had in Lesotho. Ilya send me the part by DHL that I expect to be delivered at Ryno's shop today.
Ural convention from Ryno's sidecar team, Amphitheater, Drakensberg, South Africa.
Doing my maintenance under the hospitality of Ryno's near Johannesburg
Within a day or two, I will take the road to Cape Town to drop my sidecar to Duncan from African Overlanders who will ship it to India. As for me, I will fly to France to be with Lorraine for the renewal of her French green card - we hope to have a 10 years renewal this time.
In May, I will fly to Namaibia with Lorraine, Jessica and Giorgio for a 2 weeks camping safari with François from Walvis Bay. Then I will fly to my sidecar waiting for me in Munbai, India..."
"...I'm heading towards the Vanilla Coast in the North East. I pause to have a chat with a guy running a motorbike repair place - not quite how they look back home, but he seemed to know what he was doing.
Suzi was kept parked overnight in the hotel reception.
The guys cheered when I rode out straight down the steps - I have to admit I may have looked more confident than I felt, I can't stand it when I know my feet can't reach the ground at all!"
James Cargo is an international freight shipper specialising in International Bike / Motorcycle Shipping and more. All countries, sea or air, multi-bike shipments, containers to USA from the UK and back for events like Sturgis and more.
Be sure to mention Horizons Unlimited for the best service!
Michelle Lamphere, USA (Sturgis Chick), in Mexico and Belize,
"...Brian and I are heading east on the Yucatan toward this resort town in hopes we will get the chance to meet up with some friends from the road. Ken and Carol Duval have been on the road for several (is it 7?) years (and that's just for this trip…there have been others before). They are preparing to put their bike on a boat to Cuba and add that to their 'been there' list. Brian and I met them in Canada at a Horizons Unlimited meeting a couple of years ago and have kept in touch ever since. They are incredibly nice people, with fun stories and a wealth of experience and good ideas to draw from.
Little did we know that we aren't the only riders descending on this part of the world right now. And lucky for us, Ken and Carol are the common link that connects us with several new friends. Simon and Lisa Thomas are here as well. We've met them before – I think at an Overland Expo. They have a new friend Christine who is riding pillion with her husband who sadly was back in the States working while we were visiting so we didn't get to meet him.
Kevin and Kathy, another couple, are in the area and thankfully we get to meet them as well and an Englishman named Peter, who is headed south like us. Ken and Carol host us for a few days (we hadn't been planning on it but Ken and Carol took us in like the weary travelers we were) and we enjoyed a wonderful bit of time together.
One morning a local rider from Mexico left a note on one of our bikes inviting us to stop at a local restaurant bar, Latitude 20, for a beer. And then there were 12 (or something like that)… He and his wife, Pamela, became fast friends of this informal biker gang and we all enjoyed a great night of great food and conversation, swapping stories, shooting Muppets (it's a story in itself), and stargazing."
"...we make our way to the right of the cathedral, down a narrow pathway toward a quiet courtyard that leads us to Capela dos Ossos, or the Chapel of Bones.
It's fitting that the walkway towards the chapel is quiet. There's a peacefulness about this place that takes both Nita and I aback. The entryway hides any hint at the chapel's grim brickwork; rather its bright white walls are adorned with richly colourful tiles and its ceiling are covered with intricate flourishes painted in gold creating a sense of almost extreme opulence.
Walk a little further and all of that changes. An ornate entryway into a dimly lit room greets its visitors with a rather foreboding welcome: Nós ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos, (We Bones in Here Wait for Yours). Hmm. With a little reticence in our hearts, we head in and are witness to the remains of thousands, used to create one of the most unbelievable places either of us has seen.
Everywhere we look there are bones. Pillars of skulls, walls of femurs and archways of radii and ulna; we're surrounded, at first, by death. It's all very macabre. To our right hang two complete skeletons, one a man and the other a boy. It seems that no one actually knows why they're hung on display though a popular folk tale has it that the man, a habitual adulterer, was cursed by his wife to hang with his heir here for eternity. A woman scorned indeed. The truth could be far less interesting but we'll never know.
In actuality the chapel's creation is much less macabre than we think. While we may believe it's some secret temple to the dark arts, it's actually a dedication to the transitory nature of life – a temple to offer its visitors a reminder that life is fleeting. In that context this place somehow feels far less sinister and far more introspective. Still, it's quite difficult to entirely wrap our heads and hearts around this place, and when we do finally leave it's dim walls it's with a gentle sigh of relief. The late morning light, the open streets and the living are calling our names."
Gary and Monika Wescott, in Italy, Ford Super Duty F-550 (w/Tortuga Expedition Camper)
"Having spent a couple of days exploring the excavated ruins uncovered after the Vesuvio volcano wreaked its wrath on Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD, we felt obliged to see what this monster looked like up close. We made the fortunate choice to NOT drive The Turtle V to the trailhead on the mountain. Hopping into a collective van, we headed up through countless hairpin corners.
The climb from the parking area to the volcano's rim was steep but not too difficult."
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!
Germany Summer Meeting - May 29 - June 1. 12th Meeting! Ober-Liebersbach. We'll be there and hope to see you! Online registration closing soon!
Greece - 5-8 June. New team and new location at Mt. Taigetos near Kalamata. Lots of great presenters already signed up, and superb riding. Online registration is open now!
Bulgaria Mini-Meet - 13-14 June. Doug Wothke and Poly are hosting the 6th Annual event at Motocamp Bulgaria near Idilevo. Details here.
Montenegro - 26-29 June 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 is open now!
HUBB UK 2014 - 19-22 June. 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 - 4-6 July in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Craig Cairns, Philip White and Clarence Tidd are organizing this event. Online registration is open now!
Colorado - 11-13 July. 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 - 18-20 July. 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 - 21-24 August. 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 - 4-7 Sep. 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!
France Mini-Meet, 5-7 Sep. 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 here!
Ontario Canada - 11-14 Sep. Fantastic location on Lake Manitou near Parry Sound! Bill Hooykaas is our local host for this event, with a great team of volunteers! We'll be there! Online registration is open now!
UK - Haggs Bank, 19-21 Sep. 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 is open now!
California, 25-28 Sep. 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!
Australia QLD - 3-6 Oct. 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!
Australia WA - Perth, 10-12 Oct. 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 - 24-26 Oct. 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!
Australia NSW - 31 Oct-2 Nov. Riverwood Downs resort, in the foothills of Barrington Tops World Heritage Wilderness Area, NSW. We'll be there! Online registration is open now!
South Africa, 14-16 Nov. 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!
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!
Grant and Susan
Paul Nomad, Australia, RTW, in Copper Canyon, Mexico, 1200 GSA,
"...I ended up in a little town called Bahuichivo where I hotelled up for the night.
But not before I found myself facing downhill with nowhere to go. I didn't have the space to turn around so I lay Ziggy down for a well earned rest, spun her around so the front wheel was facing where I wanted to go, then picked up and kept going.
The road to Urique was more of the same and the road to Batopilas from there was one of the most challenging roads in Copper Canyon according to Ivan from 3 Amigos Tours. I decided it was beyond me and backtracked to Creel. I like going off road but these were a bit beyond my experience."
Extreme Bike Tours - India, Rajasthan, Bhutan
TBR-China, in China, (various bikes),
"Another beautiful Hainan Island day, cruising up the mountain roads through the green forests...
A very common sight all over Hainan = vegetable and fruit harvesting / trading... "
Hainan Island trucks
Julian Quinton, UK, ziplining in South Africa,
"Got up at 6, had breakfast at 8 and went out to see about a canopy tour at 9. Got booked onto the 9-30 tour and went for safety talk, (do not fall, remember to lift legs when approaching landing, brake to slow yourself down using your strongest hand (grab the wire behind the pulleys), once you are up there the only way down is the bottom of the last wire. There were 10 slides of varying length, some over 100m and 10 platforms high up in the trees. You will be 30 metres above the forest at the highest point. Oh yes and there will be 2 connections to the run wire and one to the safety wire. When on platforms 2 safety lines will be attached at all times.
Think that was it, except order breakfast/lunch for after the trip. Off we went in a van to the start.
Onto the first wire and re run of the safety etc., then attach and off, was not actually scary, but views were fantastic, if you stopped mid wire which I managed 3 times you just pull yourself to the end hand over hand.
As you can see even done in bike trousers and boots, flip flops not allowed (no idea why)."
"We are about 2 weeks into the trip on the bikes and can't believe the diversity of scenery that we have have passed through. Almost every day has been an epic ride with constant changes in altitude, vast plains, national forest, canyons and alpine mountains all thrown in. We are trying to get into a rhythm and settle down to a comfortable 3 hours per day on the bikes. This hasn't been easy due to the distances between towns and places of interest with not a lot of facilities in between. This has meant some pretty long days on the bikes, but I think we are getting a little better at judging and breaking up the big days with a day off or a smaller ride.
While we have been getting into the swing of things and trying out camping gear and fine tuning luggage etc we haven't had chance to update the blog. Also juggling charging phones and cameras etc etc when we do land in a motel. We had no AT&T reception on our mobiles in parts of Arizona and some motel wi-fi I can download emails but not able to send? All pretty insignificant really when you travel through some of the vast panaromas that we have ridden through.
One of Pam's fears with us camping on this trip was the posibility of an encounter with bears. So for our first night camping out we stayed at Big Bear Lake...
No real bears! Apparently the area was full of Grizzlies but they were hunted down many years ago. Stay tuned though as for one of our later camping excursions we were right in the middle of bear country!"
Craig, Bermuda Rover, in Mongolia, Land Rover Defender,
"This afternoon, we went to the Black Market in Ulaanbaatar – a large open marketplace. Based on what we'd read, it sounded like an interesting place to visit with unusual Mongolian items for sale. We had been advised that pickpockets operate in the market, so we took precautions to ensure that any cash or valuables that we had on us were well secured.
Monks blow on shell-horns to announce morning prayers
Within minutes of entering the market, I saw three men watch us and then fall in behind us. We pulled to one side so that they had to pass and kept an eye on them. We were the only Europeans in the whole market and were obvious targets for pickpockets. A little while later, another 2-3 men closed in on Klaus and began to bump into him but he was able to move away and thwart their efforts. Then a woman tried to pick me twice in two different locations. Each time, she moved in close with a scarf covering her hand and her own bag but I was onto her as soon as she came close and was able to create distance and I give her a hard look to let her know I was onto her. The efforts of one, two or three individuals weren't working, as we were vigilant and immediately aware whenever anyone got too close or any touching or bumping occurred.
The thieves then came at us in numbers! We were suddenly surrounded by 5-7 of them and immediately realised what was happening. A couple of guys bumped me and as I avoided them, an old woman pulled on my upper clothing. I pushed her arm away from me and gave her a few stern words and turned and moved aside to prevent further contact by others who were behind me. Klaus and I closed ranks, acknowledged that things were getting too hot and moved rapidly out of that section of the market. The zipper on a pocket on my fleece jacket had been unzipped (probably by the old woman who I pushed away). They would have been disappointed had they managed to pick the pocket – there was only a Mongolian phrase book in it.
Entrance to the Black Market, Ulaanbaatar
We were just too tempting of a target and the thieves were determined. We'd already been in the market for about 20-30 minutes and realised that there was nothing of interest there – unless you want to buy clothing, boots, fabric, washing machines or televisions (nothing for tourists). Having to constantly fend off pickpockets was becoming a real nuisance so we left the market and headed back to the hotel.
Tomorrow we leave UB and begin our trek west through rural Mongolia. "
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!
"...Since my last post I've been mostly in Banos holding up on weather. I did some local riding and then made a trip out to the coast. Been getting rained on most everyday.
Late afternoon, 6pm, on 04 April 2014 Mt Tungurahua (near Banos) erupted sending ash 10k into the sky:
I'm now back in Quito, I had a couple things sent to me from the USA and should have them in a day or two and then I'll head south to Peru. Ecuador is a great place and I've enjoyed the people and my time here however I'm ready to move on."
2015 HU Calendar Winners have been selected!
The 10th Annual Contest is open for the 2016 Calendar, prizes to be announced!
The Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Adventure Travel photo contest is an annual event for travellers to showcase their best photographs from their travels around the world. These are the 9th Annual contest winners. The 10th Annual contest is on now - enter to win!
Grand Prize 2013 Winner (and Cover) - by Craig Wessner, Canada; Riding a floating bridge across Song Ba Ren River, Vietnam, on a Soviet Minsk.
Craig wins the Compass Expeditions 9 day tour of Chile and Argentina valued at almost $4,000!
First Prize 2013 Winner (February) - by Alexandre Eggermont, Belgium; Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia), on a Honda AX-1. Alexandre wins the Progressive Suspension Makeover prize valued at $650!
Second Prize 2013 Winner (May) - Photo by David Kyle, Ireland; of some GS riders in Canyon del Pato, Peru. David wins an Individual Annual Medical & Security Membership from Global Rescue, value of $655
Other Winners (Free calendar plus HU Gold Membership, and share in the 2015 calendar profits)
January - Photo by Abi Coates, of Tiffany Coates, UK; Avenue de Baobabs, Madagascar, Suzuki DR350
March - by Ellen Delis, New Zealand; of Andi Delis Riding KTM 950 SE In Canyon At Tomas In Paisa Jistica, Peru
April - by Seb Leeson, Belgium; of Kim Van Aerde. Tire changing with an audience in Mongolia on our ex-USSR tour. Suzuki DRZ400E.
June - by Benoit & Angela Martin, Canada; Our bike taking a rest, National Park Huascarán Peru, Canada to Ushuaia, BMW GS 1150 Adv
July - by Maximilian Volders, of Marianne De Leeuw, Belgium; meet and greet with an elephant in South Thailand, on our 3 year honeymoon trip, KTM 950 Adventure.
August - by Ellen Delis, New Zealand; of Andi Delis Riding KTM 950 SE On The Peninsula At Playa Paracas, Peru
September - by Brian Gohery, UK; of Andy Vela & his trusty Suzuki DR650 'testing the waters' on the road to San Vincente, southern Bolivia, in search of Butch & Sundance's last stand
October - by Anton Stadler, Deutschland, on the Way, Kirgistan, BMW 1150 GS
November - by Claudia Sabel, of Werner Steffens Germany, riding the mud on the BR 319 from Porto Vehlo to Manaus Brasil, on our SA trip, R100GS
December - by Oscar Ayala (Papayaco), Mexico; of the Adventuress (my bike), Coyote Beach just 70 kms to the end of my RTW, F800GS
Honorable Mention (Receives free 2015 Calendar plus HU Gold Membership)
Photo by Stephen Hogg, New Zealand; Camping in the Mojave Desert after a long day of towing. Alaska to Honduras on 2 Bajaj Chetak scooters.
9th Annual Contest Prizes were...
Grand Prize - a South America Tour with Compass Expeditions!
Dec 2014 to Jan 2015 - 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: $3990. You are responsible for your transport to the start point of the Tour. Airfares and transport are NOT included.
First Prize - a Progressive Suspension Makeover, approx value US$650.
(The shock is available for popular models only, not all. Winner is responsible for any customs and duties payable. Progressive Suspension is awarded rights to use the Photo in promotion and advertising).
The new Progressive Suspension PSi - 465 Series Shock
NEW! Second Prize - an Individual Annual Medical & Security Membership (up to 45 days per trip) from Global Rescue, value of $655. 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!
ALSO: The best 13 photos will be used in the 2015 calendar, and those photographers will share equally in half the proceeds. All Winners will also get a free calendar, and 1 year Gold Member status on the HUBB! Your photos could also be in an HU DVD or on the website!
"One of our highlights was the crossing of a densely forested area in the north-western part of Tasmania. One of the roads there was closed, and so we tried to get through on small 4×4 and foresting tracks. Giant fern trees, deep mud, plenty of birds and insects, mosses and beard lichen made the area look like a scene from Jurassic Park – after every corner we expected to find us eye in eye with a snarling dinosaur... we definitely had some fun there!
Through the mud...
And we had some more off-road-adventures: one was a little 'shortcut' through the mountains, not far from the capital Hobart. We had to fight our way through some really long and deep mud holes, over rocks, through deep ravines, and down steep slopes…. Sounds more like a nightmare? No, we loved it – but it was strenuous...
Breakfast with a view
Oh, yes – the Tasmanian Devil! We almost forgot to mention him, even though we received a lot of questions, whether we've seen him. Well, yes – and no. We saw the little marsupial predator, which can be quite aggressive – but unfortunately only as road kill, and sometimes we discovered its tracks around our campsites in the morning. And of course, we met him in many variations in the souvenir shops, on shirts, as toys..."
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
"Our earlier attempts to leave Cochabamba in the Disco had ended miserably.
Rescued once again from the roadside following another mechanical breakdown, we took stock of our situation. Recognising that time was slipping swiftly by while the mechanics made fresh diagnoses almost daily, we took the considered and difficult decision to part company with the Disco and continue our journey by other means. Our kind friends had recommended a trip to the Bolivian Amazon, which would give us a complete change of scene, a chance to relax and the opportunity to plan the rest of our trip.
So here we were in a new environment, very different from anything we had experienced to date in Bolivia. Only a few minutes' drive from the airport, the taxi driver stopped to show us a little public park, where a tapir was waking up for the day, on the veranda of the park office. The damp town of Trinidad, with its mildew-stained buildings, contrasted sharply with the pristine cleanliness of Cochabamba, a short flight away.
Our destination, in the Amazon, was a floating hotel, the Flotel Reina de Enin (Queen of Eden), which takes tourists into the jungle via the Rio Ibare (river of birds) and the Rio Mamore (mother river). The Rio Mamore is Bolivia's largest river, which eventually flows into the Amazon about 800 kilometres north of the town of Trinidad."
Support Horizons Unlimited - check out the HU Store for DVD's, map stickers, calendars, t-shirts and more!
Muchas Gracias! Grant and Susan
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!
||$20 Contributing Membership Payment:
|$45 Gold Membership Payment:
Your choice of amount Payment:
All contributions will be acknowledged and appreciated.
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.
More ways to support your favourite website!
Thanks, Grant and Susan
Summer Special! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - Gear Up! 2-DVD set until June 30 only: Which bike, how to prepare it, what else to take, how to pack it all in! "It's really professional and full of useful information, a must for any traveler." Remember to use Coupon Code 'GEARUP' on your order when you checkout.
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 series features interviews with veteran travellers, such as Ted Simon, Austin Vince, Greg Frazier, , 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.
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.
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
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
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 - 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, 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
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.'
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:
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."
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: 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 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:
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 - 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
by Robert Fulton Jr.
RTW in 1932! Grant: "A terrific book, right at the top of the list. Recommended."
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
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
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.
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
We've now reached an amazing 758 Communities in 114 Countries as of May 1, 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.
Adventure motorcycling clothing for the demanding traveller
Grant: We've been wearing Rukka since 2002 and highly recommend it!
We hope you've enjoyed this issue, and do please let us know
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
Please note that you are receiving this newsletter
only because you requested it! We are 100% opt - in only. To remove yourself from the list, please go here. To subscribe,
or change the format you receive, go here.
If you've had problems receiving the e-zine due to spam filters or insufficient
bandwidth, remember you can subscribe to the 'Notice' edition instead
of the full HTML version. The Notice edition is a short, straight text message
that contains a URL to bring you to the full text on the website. Because
the Notice email is so small, it downloads in a flash, and leaves your mailbox
uncluttered. Change to the Notice version here.
the RSS feed for this e-zine
Errr, what's an RSS Feed? there's a detailed RSS Guide here.
TIP: If you like to print the e-zine, in
Outlook Express or Outlook go to View / Text size (or Font size) and select
smallest. If you're reading this online, in IE select View / Text Size
and set it to 'smallest.' Then print it. The smallest font size is just right for
printing, and saves a lot of paper. Netscape, Firefox, Mozilla and Opera etc. are similar.
Please be assured that we will NOT under any circumstances,
rent, lease, sell, or give out our mailing list, and/or your name and e-mail
address, to anyone for whatever purpose. Your privacy is assured, and
See our complete Privacy
All comments and suggestions are carefully read,
and where possible will be acted on. Your help will make this a useful service
for all travellers.
Please use the Bulletin
Board for questions and suggestions.
If you would like to advertise your product or
service in this newsletter or on the website, please contact
me. Ad rates are very reasonable.
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.