March 08, 2004 GMT

Some good news. I have found the solution to the bike’s altitude problems. Sometimes the solution is staring you right in the face. Just go downhill. Big improvement. It works a treat.

After weeks in the sky I drop to under 1000 metres. The mosquitoes are man size, but it is great to be in the clouds. It is a joy to take on a cumulonimbus—see one on the horizon and then ride right through the middle. Spooky, mesmerising, unbelievable fun.


Ecuador is like Wales. The spectacular mountains, green hills, and lots and lots of rain. I swear that was a pint of Albright I had back there. I give the country two and a half days, which is unfair, but I am keen to get moving after all the delays. More the fool me.


Overlander conundrum time: you lose your keys. Thankfully you have thought to put a spare set in your left pannier. Trouble is, they are locked in the pannier. Get out of that sunshine. Answers by daybreak please.

I ask in town for some tools in order to break into the box. “It is not necessary” says Juan. He takes a hammer and a small screwdriver to my padlock, and gives the latter a gently measured tap. It springs open obligingly. “Te doy las gracias” says I, thinking that it is definitely time to rethink my security system.

We chat for a while. He wants to go back to the USA. “Why did you leave?”
“I was reported. Illegal”.
“Why would anyone do that? Who did it?”
“My wives”
“Yeah. They met.”


For a few days I cross paths again with Didier and Catherine. A familiar division of labour emerges. She takes the pictures, adding wry encouragement and quiet smiles. He throws a charming French version of Australian manhood into the mix, “no inquietudes mate”, and I have lots of obscure adjectives for sand. But they want to go east to the magnificent Inca ruins and onto Rio’s fantastic carnival. I want to keep south into Chile looking for solitude and altitude. It makes sense. Just doesn’t sound like it.

Easier to get in the sand...

...than to get out.

I find plenty. The open deserts pull together all those dissolute thoughts and creeping doubts around biking travel. Huge spaces; the feeling of covering miles without danger or difficulty; the sheer amount of nothingness. Just me and lots of absence. Motorcycle emptiness. I adore these vast landscapes: blissfully lost in my helmet, tracking kilometers on the map, enthralled by the thin black line winding forwards like a discarded leather belt. I am very happy.

Posted by at March 08, 2004 05:43 PM GMT

Hi Simon,

we have a saying over here in Germany. "Hut ab", translated could meen respect in front of your consequence and power.

I'm constantly playing with the idea to start my own trip. The desease is getting worse every travel report i see or read.

I have my bike, I have my experience, I do have my guts to get away from the live, boring uhhhhh!! I'm leaving.

The only point that keeps me back by now is the question of financing such a trip.
Simon, please let me know, what is your way to pay for gas, ferrys aso.
I'd be glad for every littel tip you could give me.

In the time being. Keep on going and my best wishes shall acompany you.


Posted by: Dennis on April 25, 2004 05:46 PM GMT
Posted by: Dennis on April 25, 2004 05:46 PM GMT
Sorry, due to heavy form spamming, Comments are OFF.

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.

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!