Getting ready for our 6 month trip has been one long catalogue of decorating the flat for renting out (yes, re-grouting tiles a bonus item), getting our gear sorted and checking that the bike (our lovely Africa Twin) is tip-top. I think we had assumed that it would all sort itself out as if by magic, letters would be forwarded, books would pack themselves, and the flat would be inhabited by lovely people willing to pay top dollar (well, pound). We hadn't even thought about a route yet, other than "heading south" and "if it has a flag, we're going there" (don't worry, it'll be fine).
To calm any worried parents/siblings out there, yes, countries have been checked out, books read, jabs porcupined into our arms and the general malarkey that is involved in heading off on any sort of trip. Obviously the first thing is the leaving party where we empty the flat of residual food and booze in the company of good friends, all bringing food and booze, so a new "drink-up the new stocks" evening was swifty organised. Note to self, try not to do massive amounts of bike maintenance the following day or self-doubt will creep in ("I'll never get it all back together again")
At the moment, our (vague) gear list is tent, sleeping bags, therm-a-rests (read following blogs for Imogen's back problems..) & chair converters, ground sheet, Trangia etc, maps, guidebook, spare bike parts, new toys (the mini speakers for the MP3 seem like a necessity at the mo), medical bits and pieces, a weeny pack for clothes (yes, one t-shirt only), Imogen's insistance on shampoo ("No, I can't use Fairy household soap on my hair") and James's many books on birds and butterflies, but at least Imogen managed to convince him that the uber tripod was really one item too much.
Just over a week to go, don't worry, it'll be fine.....
OK, so we managed to finish sorting the house and loaded up the bike. All our smug ideas on how little we have seem to have not quite materialised and the panniers are full to bursting. A wave off from Shirley, and Imogen runs to meet James, who has sensibly ridden up the ramp to collect her. A momentary embarrassment as Imogen can't quite get her 5'2" arse up onto the bike, but a good leg over secures success.
James weaves in and out of the Tunbridge Wells traffic, causing only a few vehicles to swerve out of the way as the Twinkies width looks a little like a hippo from the rear.
The trip to Sheffield was one of the coldest ever experienced by the southern pansies (look! no heated grips or lovely toasty jackets) and it turns out we were zipping along in minus 2 degrees.
Seeing the first signpost to Sheffield was one of the highlights of the day, and it's not often you hear someone say that.... luckily the legendry entertaining delights of the Pightlings warmed the cockles of the travellers, as we vowed never to have to do a night time frosty ride again....(cardinal rule no. 1 as we are often told, "never ride at night" - DOH!)
After 2 days of sleeping in, MASSIVE fry-ups, cakes and much dodgy Czech moonshine and bike tinkering (fitting the kozee komfort fleecy seat cover and securing Ganesh to the bike a must), we headed off through the Peak District (the A57 snake pass is fabulous) to our next comfort stop Glastonbury, home of the intrepid travellers John and Malgosia. Much pouring over maps of Africa and pouring of beer and wine down throats - a joy!
Don't ever let anyone tell you that England is a dull old country, we're really making the most of our last few days in dear old Blighty - the riding has been wonderful and the countryside is gorgeous and varied.
Next stop, le continent.....
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
- 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
- Germany Autumn: Oct 23-26
- 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!