April 25, 2008 GMT
1. The Beginning

My trip started with an Application for a US Visa as my stay was going to be longer than 3 months. I also applied for an Electronic Australian Passport as it is supposed to make things easier

I followed the very detailed instructions on the US Visa web page, jumped through all the hoops and everything worked out, they finished up giving me a 5 year multiple entry visa. This will save me having to go through this expensive ($350) and time consuming (2 months) process again within the next 5 years.
The only hiccup was with my photograph, it was not exactly 5cm x 5cm. They have a list of Photographers that know the US visa requirements and one was conveniently located right outside the consulate in Perth, it only took a few minutes to get some new pictures taken.
And make sure your fingerprints are in good condition because they get taken about 43 times.
Next job was to crate my bike. I used a Ducati ST3 crate, its made of steel and looks strong. A crate made of wood would have to be fumigated.
I got the crate from Causeway Ducati in Perth in exchange for a carton of Tooheys Extra Dry. It came complete with all the nuts and bolts and straps needed to secure the bike. Thank you Grant.
Squeezing it all in, the 2 panniers just fit in front of the headlight.
On the way to the Airport ($80 by Bike Lifters - 0412 917 959).
On the scales at Dangerous Goods.
You are allowed to have a quarter tank of fuel and the Battery leads must be disconnected and taped up.
Total weight was 260kg but it was cheaper to send it at the 300kg rate.
The Crate was shrink wrapped in black plastic before shipping.
It left Perth on Thursday 24 Apr 08 and arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday 26 Apr 08
EXPORTAIR did the job. Thank you Phil Drake.
Ph: 08 9477 1080
Cost $2,331.
I flew out on Friday at 0105 via Singapore and Tokyo to Los Angeles, arrived the same day at 1255 , 23 hours of misery, you guessed I don't like being cooped up in a tin box.
I amused myself by taking pictures of the flaps.
Flaps over Singapore.
Air Brake over Japan, I think the pilot hit the wrong button.
Japan in neat little squares.
Rough Landing in Japan, Flaps, Airbrake, Bounce, Swerve, I think the pilot must have been watching the in-flight Fast and Furious movie.
The N stands for NIPPON, there were hundreds of them.
First view of the USA, that's the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco in the middle, its my out of focus camera not the smog that's making things blurry
Enroute to LA
LA from the air
Temple to the Automobile
Downtown LA
Another Temple to the Great 4 Wheels

Posted by Chris Desmond at 09:10 PM GMT
April 26, 2008 GMT
2. Los Angeles

City of Angels
Though the city of Los Angeles, California is the second largest metropolitan area in the United States at almost 18 million souls, it is a relatively young city, not founded until the mid nineteenth century.
And there is more here........
Los Angeles History

Arrived totally stuffed at LA after 23 hours cramped up, huge airport with planes, cars and trucks going every which way all on a runway with round-a bouts.
Took about an hour to get through Immigration, big queues.
Got the crazy money mixed up, all the notes are the same size and colour, taxi driver must have thought Christmas had come early.
Rang Qantas and they said my bike would be there tomorrow (Saturday), I was not expecting it until Monday and they were actually open Saturday and I could come and pick it up, even Customs were open on Saturday.
The Qantas office/warehouse was only about a kilometer away so I walked using my invaluable GPS to guide me.
They processed my paperwork in 5 minutes ($30) and then drove me to Customs
and waited while Customs took their time stamping the documents. I had to fill in an EPA form promising not to add to the pollution (no charge).
Back to the Warehouse where they allowed me to unpack and reassemble my bike while everyone stopped by to chat and wish me luck even if it was in Spanish.
Thank you Qantas.
What a relief I was mobile again, even if it was on the wrong side of the road and in the LA smog and lunatic drivers.
No one sticks to the speed limit, what speed limit, is there a speed limit, this is a Drivers city, no speed cameras, Police are too busy trying to stop people from shooting each other.
Some interesting stats here
LA Crime

Santa Monica Beach South
Santa Monica Beach Lifeguard (I think)
This man is looking for buried corpses
Santa Monica Pier, The Tip
Santa Monica Pier Rides
Santa Monica Pier Sideways
Santa Monica Beach North
Santa Monica Pier Looking Back from the Tip
Santa Monica Pony Rides
It is not a Stage Prop, it really does exist
The Metro has a $5 all day Bus and Train Pass, unbeatable value and you get free entertainment from all the crazies
Long Way Down
The Train
Special Earthquake Proof Tracks
Yes, his siren and lights were flashing, that's more like it
Not exactly sure what these guys were doing
The Union Station
The Post Office
The oldest house in LA, about 3000 years old, I Think
Shooting an Episode of Criminal Minds down a Broadway Side street
Criminal Minds Again
Broadway Again
Hill Street - The Diamond street
Brave men built these Towers
More Tall Buildings
Glass and steel
Stars, everywhere, even down the side streets
Stars Hands and Feet
Real Stars hands and feet
Hollywood Mall
Hollywood Blvd
The Chinese Theatre (where all the hand and foot prints are recorded)
Capitol Records
Hollywood Subway
Universal City
Universal City Shuttle
The Globe according to Universal
Universal City Walk, a bunch of shops
The Entrance where you stand in a queue to buy a ticket, pickup a pamphlet at any Vistors centre for an $8 discount
Not sure what this is
The Simpsons
Too scary for me
Lots of Cartoon Characters wandering around, the kids loved them and some adults?
Another one
Hollywood Smog
Studio Tour Queue, 45 minutes and they have a Spanish Language Tour as well
Stage 25, where they make movies
Fake Town, there were lots of them, different themes
The Back of a fake Town
Special effects
Fake Boat, these guys can do anything
Another Town
House in Stephen King Movie where the Writer gets his legs chopped off
The Latest Mouthwash
Exploring LA's racetracks which become Car Parks during Rush Hour
In 3D
LA Bike Shop, as Large as LA itself
I bought some oil from here, time to hit the road.

Posted by Chris Desmond at 11:59 PM 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!

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.

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!