In November 2006 Darren went out to South Africa to take part in Enduro Africa with the Charity Riders for Health.
We thought this would get the travel biking bug out of his system but that obviously didn't work! So here we are with a few days until our big adventure starts...
What can I say about getting this show on the road?
Well it's been a complete rollercoaster over the last 6 months, from excited highs to total despair when everything went wrong and the trip itself was in jeopardy.
There hasn't been a day gone by when we haven't been doing some task involved in this trip - I just know it is going to be an amazing experience and worth all the hard work and sacrifices we have made.
The first shakedown we embarked upon was to see our good friends in Almeria, Southern Spain. This will be easy we thought - just ride through France and Spain and we'll be there by tea-time!!
We ignored the sane advice from friends suggesting we ferry it to Bilbao and instead opted for the Normandie Express from Portsmouth to yes, you guessed it Normandy.
From there we took one 13 hour day in the saddle down to St Jean de Luz, just outside of Biarritz, and a welcome break in the highly recommended Hotel Campanile.
I have to admit that as a fair weather, occasional sports bike pillion I was dreading the familiar pain in every joint and numb crutch that usually occurs after the first 20 mins on a bike, however I was pleasantly suprised by no such side effects on our trust new beamer. France was a joy to ride through with clear road signs and friendly french people waving at us the whole day (at least I think they were waving...).
We woke up with excited anticipation for our next day through Spain, oh how different two days can be!
The first hour was fantastic with beautiful scenery akin to the Pyranees, with fast sweeping bends and tunnels through Mountains. We weren't sure when we crossed from France into Spain as there was no border point to cross. The washing hanging out on every balcony was a giveaway - we were definately now in Spain.
After a scenic tour through Bilbao town and the ensuing argument about who's navigational cock up that was, the autocom fell silent, that is until we hit Madrid.
We took a second scenic tour around Madrid, oh what fun, then missed our turn off for Murcia and continued to Valencia at 90mph for an hour until we ran out of petrol. Realising our cock up at this point and that we couldn't turn back, we headed on to Valencia (Darren's always wanted to go there anyway!), then followed the coast road to Alicante, then Murcia and finally Los Gallardos, Almeria.
Needless to say we didn't get there for tea time, we got there at 11.30pm (16 hours in the saddle) and our kind friends had tea and more importantly wine ready for us, after which we had a lively debate into the small hours on how 'you can't get lost in Madrid'.
After 4 days of relaxation, pampering, great food, great company and lots to drink, we headed back, again taking two days to get to Cherbourg. And yes we did get lost in Madrid on the way back!
Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.
"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."
"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.
Next HU Events
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
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
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!
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 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.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.
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 © 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!