June 10, 2006 GMT
Rampaging flowers broke my screen

The Old Dear has lost weight as well. She weighed in at 292kg on the warehouse scales in Bogotá, bless her.

The whole shipping procedure is completely different every time one does it. The Bogotá-Panamá procedure is as follows:

1. Arrive at the cargo terminal at 9am.
2. Get the chaps to find a couple of pallets because the two sets of steps up to the warehouse floor are really too steep otherwise.
3. Pretend I'm an ace motocrosser, and get a round of applause when I manage it without falling off or hitting anything.
4. Ride her on to the scales.
5. Ride out on to airside, negotiate around the nosewheel of an inconveniently-parked 747, and into the bonded warehouse.
6. Disconnect battery and drain tank; move mirrors and screen out of harm's way.
7. Have a cig and a breather; wash hands (again).
8. Clutching airwaybill, import documents, passport and any other bits of paper which come to hand, trek across the bog between the two access road carriageways to the customs office.
9. Return across bog with nice young man from customs to check the frame number and receive sundry signatures and stamps on various bits of paper.
10. Trek in the other direction to the Police with ditto bits of paper for more stamps.
11. Trek back to bonded warehouse for antinarcotics inspection.
12. Unload all three boxes completely.
13. Reload all three boxes and manage to fit everything back in again (always a miracle).
14. Receive yet more stamps and signatures.
15. Proudly present all stamped and signed bits of paper to Carolina, who in turn presents me with the invoice - $351.26, which seems a bargain.
16. Get taxi to air terminal and chill out in the VIP lounge for a couple of hours with free beer.
17. Fly to Panamá.

Yesterday morning I went to the cargo terminal at Tocumen airport here in Panamá to do the entire procedure in reverse. Except that there was a quarantine inspection instead of antinarcotics. But, like Bogotá, everyone was incredibly friendly and helpful. They get three or four bikes through a week so are used to it - this is more or less the only sensible way to jump the Colombia-Panamá border unless you want to be shot or kidnapped.

When I got to the lounge in the airport I even had to remove all the armour from my riding jacket for inspection. They weren't very sure about the helmet but it was in a zipped bag so that satisfied them, more or less. I did at least remember to put the Swiss Army knife in my tankbag as it was checked baggage.

Oh, and the screen got broken, which is odd as the only cargo the plane was carrying other than The Old Dear was flowers. And remind me to tell you all about Alfredo the gay Nicaraguan - such a nice boy.

Posted by Cynthia Milton at June 10, 2006 08:40 PM GMT

HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

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.

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!