January 12, 2006 GMT
Katie M, get dressed!

"So, what do you pack?" I asked Bob one day over girlie-man lattes.

"I've worked up some lists. l'll email you. But don't take everything you own, keep it simple." Bob smiled like it was an inside joke. I didn't get it. Yet.

Next day a MicroSoft ding on the laptop announced the arrival of a 9 page Complete Packing List , a 3 page Cost Estimate ($22, 247CAD), a 3 page line-by-line Trip Itinerary (Abancay to Cuzco, 1 day, 491 km), with 70 GPS routes to follow in the next email. I soberly scanned the lists, feeling a wee bit overwhelmed. Geez, I'll need two men and a boy to carry all this stuff! But to be fair, I was also impressed as hell. Bob is not a man to take things lightly - he'll be a damn good travelling companion. And besides, we toured the Arizona desert together February last year and got along great.

The original plan was this: after 31 years retire from the Calgary Fire Department, then travel to New Zealand, Australia and South America for two years. Just the three of us: Joyce, our son Chris and me, by motorcycle. Part One of the plan, NZ and Oz, shared with family and friends on the website lifeinatent.ca, came together in 2002 - 2003. It was a very good year. Like the website, it came and went. Then it was back to work for the three of us, all in new careers.

Now it's time for Part Two: South and Central America. Joyce and Chris still have other commitments so this time my companions will be Amigobob and Katie M. Let me explain. Amigobob is Bob Bielesch, motorcyclist and experienced traveller to points as far south as Ushuaia. Bob likes South America. Katie M is my KTM 950 Adventure. Katie M has been no further than Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Katie likes airplanes.


So now that I have The Lists, what to put in, what to leave out? And what to do first? Well Murray, says I, let's start with Katie, 'cause that's more fun.

Katie M needed some practical clothes, nothing fancy, for this wee jog will include a cruise down the Bolivar, not down the boulevard. So what does an Austrian 200 kg mama wear for a seven month trip in Latin America? Well, considering the journey would include pavement/gravel/sand/no road/passing through narrow doorways and ship hatches, the clothing would have to be, like practical shoes, less than stylin'.

After some months dressing Katie in engine guards, high fenders, big Jesse panniers and other bulk I now have a bike that looks more like an Austrian extra in an B grade gladiator movie. Don't worry Arnold, your Terminator image is safe. And so are you no-fear teens that drop garage roofs with freestyle bicycles. The only thing I'm likely to drop is Katie.

With departure date set for January 24, 2006, lists transmogrified into loaded panniers (luggage 43 kg), documents collected, GPS loaded, and I've been injected, inspected, rejected and all kinds of mean and nasty stuff, I'm ready to launch.

As Amigobob says, "My take on the trip is to travel and see as much as possible historically, culturally and geographically, as well as to try to understand what we are looking at and "what happened here." I am hopeful that with inquisitive minds we can raise enough questions and have meaningful discussions about the whole experience. Questions we can't answer will be carried home for further research."
Katie_M_on_ Christmas_Tree_Pass.jpg

Stay tuned.

Posted by Murray Castle at January 12, 2006 07:47 AM GMT

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!

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

See all events


Latvia to Australia, an inspirational 5 month journey full of unexpected adventures!

Circle to Circle by Brian and Shirley Rix.

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

"Well written, funny and informative."
"Thoroughly entertaining!"
Available NOW from the authors' website!

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

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

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!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

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

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!