HU Travellers Meeting North Carolina 2013


Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting

Thursday Aug 8 - Sunday Aug 11, 2013 - Stecoah, North Carolina


It's All About Overland Adventure

Whether you're a seasoned veteran with wisdom to share or a complete novice hungry for ideas and guidance, it doesn't matter if you ride a motorcycle, a bicycle, or drive an expedition vehicle...

Horizons Unlimited meetings are for everyone who dreams of adventure along the road less travelled.

Horizons Unlimited North Carolina Event Schedule

The event is taking place from Thursday, Aug 8 to Sunday, Aug 11, 2013.

The Registration Tent will open for check-ins at 1 pm on Thursday, Aug 8, with the first presentations beginning at 6 pm. Last presentations will be Saturday night.

There will be slide shows and tech clinics on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, and all day Saturday. Come early and make it a great weekend! We recommend riding on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, and participating in the presentations and clinics in the evenings and Saturday.

As well as hearing inspiring stories of overlanding adventure from around the world, you'll get the low-down on preparing for your journey, navigation, first-aid, photography, filming and a host of other essential topics. Whatever your past experience or future plans may be, there's something for everyone.

Presenters at HU North Carolina 2013 include...


Jeffrey Polnaja.

Jeffrey Polnaja, Indonesia

Ride for Peace - Ride Til the Edge of the World

Ride For Peace is a continuous motorcycle riding Around the World. Solo ride, no crews, no supporting team. The journey is divided in two legs. The First Leg has been accomplished: start from Jakarta, Indonesia on April 2006, end up in London, UK... Explored Asia including conflict countries - Afghanistan etc, North Africa and Europe.

Jeffrey Polnaja in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Jeffrey Polnaja in Kabul, Afghanistan

Now he is running the Second Leg, riding from Paris, France back to Jakarta thru' Trans Siberia, Alaska, venturing North America, Central America, South America, Australia and back to Indonesia in 2015. Right now, Jeffrey Polnaja is in the USA, the 78th country that he has visited...

Peter Bodtke.

Peter Bodtke, Clockwise around South America

The Roads Less Traveled: My Latin America Sampler

Determined to see as much of South America as possible Peter Bodtke rode through countries and down roads not commonly taken by motorcyclist from the U.S., riding through Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. Visiting every country except Paraguay, Bodtke visited 21 countries in total, including Jamaica and Cuba, in only 9 months. The time flew by and a schedule sadly pushed me forward, so I call the trip a sampler, instead of an extensive immersion. This presentation will be the travelog, widest selection of stories and photos.

Oyapock River from Saint-Georges, French Guiana to Oiapoque, Brazil.

Oyapock River from Saint-Georges, French Guiana to Oiapoque, Brazil.

Peter Bodtke on Bolivia death road.

Yungas Road (the Death Road) Bolivia

Grant and Susan Johnson.

Grant and Susan Johnson, Horizons Unlimited

How it all began. The story of Grant and Susan's 11-year trip around the world, without a plan or a clue! Heaps of great pics!

"Grant and Susan Johnson are icons in the round-the-world (RTW) motorcycling community. The Johnsons host - or more appropriately write, edit, produce, manage and coordinate Horizons Unlimited - a global network of motorcycle travelers... and a bona fide adventure motorcycling phenomenon." Dan Hilton, Rider Magazine

Grant steers around a road hazard - aftermath of flooding on the Pan American Highway!

Mike Williams.

Mike Williams (ratbikemike)

7 months and 10,000 miles on the cheap

Wandering through Mexico and Central America solo. I went 7 months and 10,000 miles with no spanish, no gps, never used wifi before, nill computer experience, never owned a camera before little money, etc

Mike Williams on beach.

Mike Williams bike and tires.


David and Emy Woodburn

31 days in Republic of Congo

One of the top ten motorcycle journies in the world. We were, we believe, the last overlanders to cross Zaire, as it collapsed into many, many years of civil war. It took us thirty one days of toil, improvization and enormous uncertainty to travel 1,200 miles from Republic of Central Africa to Rwanda.

David Woodburn in Congo.

Crossing the Ubangi river from war torn Republic Central Afrique to Zaire. Two dug out canoes are lashed together.

David Woodburn in Congo.

Doug Wothke.

Doug Wothke, RTW Doug

Alabama Motorcycling Legend

I've done a few RTW trips on several bikes I built, as well as the cannonball across the USA on a 28 Indian. After the HU meet, I will head west, doing the Trans America trail on a Harley.

Doug Wothke.

Doug Wothke.



Lenn Rainwater.

Lenn Rainwater

Riding the Alps on your own!

Lenn Rainwater has ridden over 100,000 miles around the US and Europe. She enjoys planning rides and exploring on a bike. She has learned from others and likes to share her knowledge in return.

Lenn will be presenting two topics:

Riding the Alps on your own

Learn how to plan and prepare including renting a bike, when and where to go. Lenn rode the Alps twice in the last two years. She will discuss what to pack, things to consider in advance such as credit card notification, phone options, getting cash, trip insurance, accident insurance, ways to save money, what type of electronics to take, how to pack, and advantages/disadvantage to guided tours.

Lenn Rainwater in Slovenia.

Accident Scene Management

Whether you are riding alone or in a group and you find yourself in a situation where a rider has gone down, ask yourself honestly, do you know what to do? I would like to share some tips on how to avoid being a part of an accident and what to do should you happen upon one.

Lenn Rainwater.

Peter Bodtke.

Peter Bodtke, Clockwise around South America

9 months on the road, what works...

Some things work out well, some break down, others never get used...until you need them. On this second international trip I reduced the load, but things still sneaked into my luggage. Some items were invaluable, others were a waste of space. Stories of the few mechanical breakdowns and how they were dealt with. Making adjustments over the course of the trip to my kit and how I reduced the volume of stuff. Will talk about the value of maps and GPS, spare parts, paperwork, healthcare, clothes, rain gear, camping gear and losing many, many, water bottles...

Ferry to Lake Titicaca.

George Parker.

George Parker

Your Bike, Your Dreams, My Travels...

Alaska / Points Between: Slides, Stories, How To Discussion for Novice Travelers

George has been long distance riding since 1970; his longest trip: VA. to Artic Circle via west and northwest, 13,082 miles.

George Parker at the Arctic Circle.

"I will use slides and stories of some of my trips over the last 40 years to discuss prep and travel in North America and how the novice traveler can accomplish their dream trip. Many riders are hesitant to take a long trip because they lack confidence and/or feel they don't have the gear or bike for distance travel. Emphasis will be on the trip, how to use existing bike and gear, and how to gain confidence to ride anywhere. Discussion will center on how to plan, execute, and accomplish the trip from the novice distance traveler's perspective. Points of discussion will also include: expenses, route planning, camping vs. lodging, repairs, journals, and importantly for the novice, 'distance is relative'."

Grant Johnson showing tire changing.

Grant Johnson, Horizons Unlimited

Fix that flat! How to change a tire anytime, anywhere!

Grant's tire changing seminars are always well attended and appreciated. This seminar covers: how to prevent flats in the first place, and fix them when you get one; the best tools and how to use them for tube and tubeless tires; hands-on practical for beginners to experts, optional tire changing contest.

Grant Johnson's audience for Tire Changing at HU California meeting.

Grant's tire changing seminar at HU California meeting.

Grant and Susan Johnson.

Grant and Susan Johnson, Horizons Unlimited

4 Easy Steps to Overland Travel! You can do it - we can help! Finding your way around Horizons Unlimited, other resources. Lots of great pics and video clips.

How to navigate the site since the redesign - mega-menus, search, the HUBB. Includes 'How to' content from the Achievable Dream series and great pics from HU Photo Contest winners!

Get Inspired on Horizons Unlimited.

Grant Johnson.

Grant Johnson, Horizons Unlimited

Motorcycle Ergonomics!

When you picked up your new bike, did they take the time to make it fit you? You'll learn the amazing difference a properly setup bike makes to your riding fun.

Ergonomics demonstration at HU Canada West meeting.

Ergonomics demonstration at HU Canada West meeting.

LOTS of presentations to come! As people register to present we'll list them here.

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 etc, lasting 20 minutes or more, would be great. Please contact me here to volunteer.


Horizons Unlimited North Carolina 2013 Ride-outs


A guided ride, Saturday:

"The ride mapped out is 140+/- miles. It is very tight both gravel and paved roads for the most part except for a couple 6-8 miles sections. There will be a number of 'bail out' points to return to Ironhorse. Best suited for XR650, KLR, 640 Adventure, DR650, DRZ400. I have ridden all these roads on 950 Adventure as well and the big Tigers, GS's etc should be fine for anyone but novice off-roaders. All on roads, no single track. Plan on min moving time of 4-5 hours. The roads are tight and mostly 2-3-4 gear stuff."

We'd like to have a volunteer to lead this ride. Let me know here if you can. Thanks!

And there'll be more too! Book your place as soon as you get there, numbers will be limited.

Ride leaders and sweep riders wanted!

Do-it-yourself Ride information.

Self-guided Ride details

Ian Schmeisser has written a great article on the best roads and backroads of North Carolina and Tennessee - enough to keep you well occupied for a couple of weeks!

Tail of the Dragon / Cherohala Skyway Loop ride

Great information on the "Tail of the Dragon" - otherwise known as US129, near Deal's Gap, with 318 curves in 11 miles, can be found on the "official" Tail of the Dragon website. An awesome road! We will have a few maps from the website, but it would be wise to print your own in advance. Available here. There is also info on Deals Gap, Cherohala Skyway and 2 Dual Sport rides.

More ride info to come. Send in any you have!

Facilities for a Fantastic Four Days

Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge, Cabins and Campground
1755 Lower Stecoah Road,
North Carolina 28771

For more information:
Telephone: 1-828-479-3864

John & Charlene Powell have been welcoming Horizons Unlimited to Iron Horse since 2004, and a friendlier bunch of folks we've yet to meet!

From their Website:

"Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge and Campground is a secluded 39-acre resort on Stecoah Creek in the smoky mountains of western North Carolina. We are surrounded by the splendor of the Great Smoky Mountains, which provide some of the best motorcycle riding in the world. Iron Horse is within minutes of the famous Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap, the scenic Cherohala Skyway, Blue Ridge Parkway, Cherokee, Fontana Dam, and the Nantahala River Gorge. Gather around the fire at the Iron Horse Pavilion and enjoy a home cooked meal.

Fireplace in Ironhorse pavillion, Steocah, North Carolina.

Great ambience for presentations - of course it will be air-conditioned in August!

The Pavillion includes a large screen surround sound TV with satellite/VCR/DVD, pool table, karaoke, camp store, and your favorite T-shirts and souvenirs. Check your email or browse the internet using our high speed wireless internet service. Connect with your own wireless laptop or use our public computer located in the Pavilion."

Solarium for smaller presentations, Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge, North Carolina.

Solarium for smaller presentations and casual meals

Upstairs in the pavillion.   Pavillion from creekside, Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge, North Carolina.


Accommodation is NOT included with your registration fee.

Iron Horse offers full cabin rentals, comfortable cabin rooms, creekside tent camping, RV hook-ups, and bunkhouse accommodations.

Covered bike parking and an unloading ramp are available. Guests have use of the spacious and clean wash house with showers and washer/dryer. See here for more details and rates.

NOTE: You should book early for camping and cabins. For rooms or bunkhouse there is a Horizons Unlimited special -  stay 2 nights get 3rd night free. You must book directly with Ironhorse before May 31, 2013 to reserve rooms at the HU Special rate. Call them at 1-828-479-3864 or e-mail:

Camping facilities at the HU North Carolina meeting.

Camping facilities at the HU North Carolina meeting. Does it get any nicer?

The Iron Horse Lodge and grounds, camping on the right.


Meals are NOT included with your registration fee.

"Breakfast and dinner is served daily. We serve quality home cooked meals and fresh baked desserts. All meals are served in the pavilion with comfortable indoor dining, creek side on the deck, or gather round the group campfire. Dining is available for our guests only. Guests should call ahead or sign up for dinner in the morning or at check-in."

Saturday night special: Prime Rib or Fish, includes Salad Bar, Baked Potato, and Dinner Roll

Susan notes: Meals are great, and you will not go hungry! The prime rib is awesome!

Dining indoors at Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge, North Carolina. Dining outdoors at Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge, North Carolina.


More info on their website, and a review of Iron Horse in "Motorcycle Consumer News." (128kb .pdf).

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

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!


Join the Volunteer Crew

From welcoming travellers at the gate, to taking care of the campsite and making sure all the presentations run smoothly, the success of every HU event relies on the enthusiasm of its volunteer crew.

"What a wonderful bunch of people. I had no idea how much fun I'd have by helping out!"

"It was my absolute pleasure to be able to give something back to the HU community and working with such great folks really made the event special."

Volunteering is a great way to make new friends, get more involved with Horizons Unlimited and have loads of fun! You can sign up to volunteer when you register for the meeting, OR click here if you have already registered and want to add volunteering.

What happens at HU events?

HUBBUK 2013 - Donington Park


Be a Presenter

We're inviting submissions for presentations, so whether you're attending the event or exploring a distant continent, if you've got a story to tell or expertise to share we'd like to hear from you.

We love to hear stories about your travel adventures, especially if you have great pics! Also, practical how-to sessions such as roadside cooking, navigation/GPS, trip prep and planning, adventure motorcycling medicine, packing light, setting your bike up, communications/blogging from the road, self-publishing your story, yoga for bikers, bodging/bike maintenance, self-defense, photography, videography, tire repair, safe riding techniques, how to pick up your bike, off-road riding, all are of interest.

There are 40 and 90 minute sessions available for talks, workshops, demos and live web chats, plus a new Pecha Kucha option (20 slides x 20 seconds each).

Click here to submit your ideas

Comments about HU Events

"I don't even have plans to go ride around the world, but the presentations and people were great and you guys did an awesome job!"

"It was wonderful!! Loved the chance to rub elbows with experienced rtw'ers, and get their experiences/ views/ perspectives. The mantra I took away was 'just do it'."

"I have picked up so much information... and met some new friends and wonderful people."

"A superb event that was really well organised. I found the atmosphere amongst the attendees to be very positive too."

"I have not done much travelling so it was like visiting with a world traveller - Presenters were very approachable."

"Great atmosphere and camaraderie, especially at dinner time, and interesting presentations."

"Folks were all great and the most amazing thing was there was NO ATTITUDE."

"I have learned so much, made some great mates and met some of the best people. I was buzzing by the time I got home. I have a little trip planned and just can't wait to get out there."

You can help!

If you have a few minutes, please download the poster (Adobe pdf format) and print off a few and hand them round your club or your local bike shop or anywhere seems like a good place.

Poster in pdf format (500kb) full colour Event poster:

HU North Carolina 2013 poster.

You may need to right click and choose "save target as..."


Departing or Returning?

If you're planning an expedition in 2013, why not make the Horizons Unlimited meeting your official start point? Or maybe you're nearing the completion of a journey and would like a very public welcome home? Of course you might just be passing through and fancy marking a key stage of your travels?

We'd love to make you a big part of the meeting, so feel free to get in touch and tell us your plans.

North Carolina 2013 Venue Location

Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge,
Cabins and Campground
1755 Lower Stecoah Road,
North Carolina 28771
N35 deg 23' 20", W83 deg 40' 38"

View Larger Map

Iron Horse is located in Graham County, North Carolina, on Lower Stecoah Road just north off Highway 28. A short 30 minute ride to the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap and the scenic Cherohala Skyway, two of the best motorcycle destinations in the United States.

Click to enlarge the map.

more maps here

Other Accommodation

Camping is NOT included with your admission to the meeting.

NOTE: For Ironhorse, you should book early for camping and cabins. For rooms or bunkhouse there is a Horizons Unlimited special -  stay 2 nights get 3rd night free. You must book directly with Ironhorse before May 31, 2013 to reserve rooms at the HU Special rate. Call them at 1-828-479-3864 or e-mail:

Other options:

Phillips Motel, Robbinsville, NC

Two Wheel Inn, Robbinsville, NC

Suggestions anyone?

Information about the area

Can you supply us with links, and other info on the places to ride, and interesting things to see in the area? Let us know here.

  • Ironhorse is in Graham County, NC. promotes the county and has driving directions to Graham County from Asheville, Atlanta and Knoxville. Even though the directions are not directly to Ironhorse, this site might be useful.
  • North Carolina's 'Scenic Byways' website has a lot of great information on various scenic roads in North Carolina. They also sent Karen a book she says is great. It will be on display at the Meeting. Viewable online in pdf format or can be ordered from their website for only $5.00 each.
  • Wheels Through Time Museum a "35-year collection of rare American motorcycles and automobiles...230-vehicle collection in the lovely community of Maggie Valley, North Carolina, located just a few miles off of I-40 and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Maggie Valley is a quiet community of 400 people nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains." Owner Dale Walksler has very generously donated door prizes for our meeting, and wants to invite you to come visit the museum - he'll be delighted to meet you!

Any info you have on the area, rides etc, please let me know.

Local Bike Shops

Let us know any good dealers nearby!

New BMW Dealer in Asheville

And a special thanks to all the local sponsors and supporters!

  • Mortons BMW, Fredericksburg, Virginia. Mortons have been a long-time Horizons Unlimited supporter, so a special thanks to them, and for coming all the way to the meeting! Say hi to Steve, he'll be wandering around the meeting...

  • Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC - "rare American motorcycles and automobiles"

  • Bluemoon Cycle in Norcross, GA. - "one of the largest volume BMW motorcycle dealers in the Southeast."

  • Fraziers Harley Davidson in Buford, GA. - "Our goal is simple. We want to keep everyone happy."

  • Precision Cycle & ATV Sylva, NC. - a full-service shop - "Mechanics are the backbone of the business"

  • BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta, "the leading BMW dealer in the southeast, with all the latest models, genuine BMW accessories and your exclusive source for BMW clothing in Georgia"

Please drop in for a visit and thank them for their support.

Save the Dates

2014: SEP 4 - 6

Local Hosts

Mike Kilpatrick, local organizer for HU North Carolina.  Steve Anderson, Mortons BMW.

Mike Kilpatrick is the local host for this event, assisted by Steve Anderson of Mortons BMW. We're VERY grateful to them for stepping up and making it happen with a lot of legwork and effort.

We can always use help on the day - please volunteer to help out for a couple of hours when you register!

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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.

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

Next HU Eventscalendar

  • South Africa: Nov 13-16
  • Thailand: Jan 9-11, 2015
  • NEW! USA Virginia: Apr 9-12
  • NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16
  • Germany: May 14-17
  • Canada Ontario: Jun 18-21
  • Ireland: June 26-28
  • Colorado: July 17-19 TBC
  • Canada West: Aug 20-23
  • USA California: Sep 24-27
  • Aus Queensland: Sep 24-27
  • USA North Carolina: Oct 8-11
  • Aus Perth: Oct 9-11
  • Germany: Oct 22-25

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