May 09, 2004 GMT
Norway - Part 2

From Kiruna, Sweden I followed the route along the railway which is used to transport the iron ore or pellets to the sea. In Narvik the product is loaded onto freight ships to be delivered to mainly European ports. Originally I had intended to spend a day or two in the City. Upon arrival, however, it struck me as yet another busy harbor town, I also was not overly impressed with the accommodation options. Since I arrived relatively early, shortly after noon, I decided to move on, towards the Lofoten Islands. If what I had read about it in preparation, then this should be a highlight of this trip.

I had to take two ferries to get to Svolvaer, the main town on the islands. While waiting in line at the harbor in Skutvik, four rugged individuals with 2 motorbikes (Honda ST Pan European, Cagiva Navigator) and Jeep stopped next to me - apparently Italians. I used the few Italian words I speak to say “Hello” and to pass the time (there war a fairly long cue of cars waiting to board the ferry). It turned out that these fellow travellers came from Taranto, Southern Italy. Coincidentally, I had been there (or at least passed the city) in autumn of 2000.

We seemed to get along quite well, and after agreeing on the superior quality of Italian coffea – or rather “caffé” - over what was available in Scandinavia in general and on the ferry in particular, I received an ad-hoc invitation to dinner that evening. What I did not know at the time was that these gentlemen had meticulously planned a several course dinner for each day of their three week journey! I was seriously impressed. The “linguini al tonno” at the campsite that evening were fantastic.


Fellow Bikers from Taranto, Southern Italy
Pictured above (left to right) are:
Rino D´Ambrosio (also known as) - “Il Priore”
Antonello Palazzo (aka) – “Il Combattente”
Pino Rondinelli (aka) – “Il Re” or “Pinosauro”
Alcide Passannanti (aka) - “Lupo”

My hosts that evening belong the motorcycle club “Birota”. Located in the city of Taranto in the Puglia region of Southern Italy, it has some 150 members (see their website and each year they do at least one major trip. This year it was Southern Italy to the North Cape. It lasted for 3 weeks and meant to distance of some 10.000 km. There website is in Italian, but it includes some very interesting pictures. During this trip they were mainly staying on campsites and sharing rides on the two motorcycles. The jeep was used as general storage facility for a seemingly endless supply of Italian food.


Birota Club Members on their ‘Adventure Raid’ 2003

(Click for a rough outline of the Raid 2003)

Following this culinary extravaganza the next day was spent to explore the sights of the Lofoten Islands. The trip along the coast line was arguably the most interesting of my whole trip.

The very interesting day on the islands also included a intensive discussion which some of my fellow travellers had with the Norwegian police. Seems that the tolerance for speeding is practically zero. I found that the going rate for such violation ( 10 to 15 km/h) is 1.800 Norwegian Kroner or about 225 Euro – I had made the same experience a couple of days before on the mainland. Because of this and the general cost of living, Norway was by far the most expensive country of my trip.


"Nice scenery - but watch out for speed traps!"

(Click here for a larger version of this picture)

Being a somewhat sobered group following the interaction with the Norwegian police, we continued our trip towards Trondheim. The route, chosen by my Italian fellow travellers, went along the coast. Because of the fjords this meant a combination of ferries and winding roads. For the most part we followed the Highway Nr. 17 which I consider a must. The views along this road both on the road itself and even more so from the ferries are fantastic. During the trip we also tried “free camping” in an open field which is perfectly legal in Norway. Since we could not make out a farmhouse anywhere in sight we felt okay to pitch our tent. After some time the owner of what appeared to be an uncultivated piece meadow showed up, slightly annoyed by our setting up camp on his land. In the end, however, we got his okay to stay for one night. The invitation to join us for a pasta dinner was declined (his loss, our gain…).


"Free Camping"

(Click here for another "Free Camping" impression)

On one of the many ferries

The next day we spent on the road towards Trondheim. My travel companions had checked out a campsite just south of the city. We spent the evening by checking out Trondheim and to absorb some of the local atmosphere.


Birota members exploring the Trondheim “in places”

(Click here to see Birota members striking a pose “Bella figura”)

All good things must come to an end. On the morning of July 21st my Italian travel mates left Trondheim to catch a ferry from Oslo to take them to Northern Germany from where they would continue on to Italy.

I spend one more day in Trondheim and then went to Bergen on the Norwegian west coast. The ride would have to be done in two days and I decided to stop on the shores of the Sognefjord, known to be Norway’s longest fjord with a length of over 200 km. The ride towards Kaupanger took me across a mountain region with which offered more dramatic scenery:


I spent the night at a campsite near the ferry terminal at Kaupanger. The ferry for Gudvangen left the next morning at 9:30h. It was crowded with tourists from all over the world. Not having bothered with prior reservation, I counted myself lucky to get on board. I was literally the last person to be allowed on.

When I arrived at Bergen, I felt that I had had enough of beautiful landscapes. So when I found out that I would still make the 5 p.m. ferry to Newcastle, UK I did not hesitate to buy the ticket and leave.


Goodbye Scandinavia

(Click here for another "Farewell" picture)

Posted by Heiko Neumann at 08:24 PM GMT

So I arrived in the U.K. -

It sounds a little like a stereotype but somehow I was not surprised to see it raining when I arrived in Newcastle, on July 25. Grey skies, hard rain, late in the evening, traffic on the left side of the road, tires with minimal thread left…..I was not really feeling happy.....

I had not pre-arranged accommodation. It was getting late, and since Newcastle did not strike me as being an outright tourist attraction, it turned out to be somewhat difficult to find an affordable place to stay for the night. Using the old “damn the torpedoes – full speed ahead” approach, I decided to try my luck heading for Edinburgh, some 120 miles/180k away. Hopefully, I would find some Bed & Breakfast or campground along the way. Not that I really wanted to set-up tent that evening but I was willing to take anything.

By chance or intuition, as I was about to leave the Newcastle, I drove past a hotel which belongs to chain of French economy hotels (Formule 1). I had used these before, travelling in France. While offering very basic accommodation, these places are usually clean, efficient and affordable. Pretty much like the “Mc Donalds of hotels”. You know what to expect. Same here.

After having spent the night in relative comfort, I took the road towards Edinburgh. My route took me across the English/Scottish border. It was interesting to note, the importance that was apparently given to the national identity (no passport control though …. ;-) ). So, after about 2 hours and roughly 100 km of leaving Newcastle, I came to the “first town in Scotland” named Jedburgh (dating back to the 12th century). It struck me as a very touristy place (the largest space being the parking lot). But, I needed something to eat and to find a gas station, so Jedburgh served a purpose.


“Edinburgh Castle”

Afterwards I went on toward Edinburgh, the Scottish capital. It took me another couple of hours on some very pretty country roads to get there. Along the way, it dawned on me that going forward, I would be facing a problem which thus far had been less of an issue: accommodation, or rather, affordable accommodation within the constraints of my budget.

Scotland, with all of its tourist attraction, tends to be rather pricey. Okay, it was probably less expensive than Norway, but there was a key difference: in Norway, especially in the north, one could always find a camping site (at reasonable prices). My first impression in Scotland was, that such places were rare (or maybe I simply had not yet developed and eye for them). The alternative being a Bed & Breakfast place. But you had to count yourself lucky if you found anything for under 30 Pound (roughly $45).

While I got somewhat apprehensive, I had no need to worry. Approaching Edinburgh, I started to follow my intuition (and a lonely sign saying “Campground”) and found the Mortonhall site, just 5 km south of Edinburgh. This campground was nice: it was well-kept, had a small general store and a pub – and the weather had improved too.


"The Scottish National Gallery"

I spent the next few days in Edinburgh: the city center around Princes Street and the Royal Mile. I managed not to visit Edinburgh Castle. The tourist season had started and if anything I wanted to avoid the regular holiday crowd. There where two places I became to like a lot: for one there were the National Galleries of Scotland (both historic and modern paintings – very interesting) and the Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre. The latter is just another modern shopping mall and as such is probably something that can be found in any major city. What made a visit interesting was the fact that this place became the home of the royal yacht “Britannia”.

I am not an outright royalist, but everything to do with the British Royal Family has always held a strange kind of attraction for me. Maybe, coming from Germany with its matter of fact constitutional set-up, I am somehow overcompensating something. Be that as is may, I spent a wonderful morning and afternoon on the “Britannia”.

(Click here for a view of the sundeck)

The next place on my schedule was Stirling – as small town some 60 kilometers northeast of Edinburgh. I had come across this place doing some research on the internet. Stirling is an interesting place with the attractive Stirling Castle, the Wallace Monument (the original “Braveheart”, made popular in more recent time by Mel Gibson in the film with the same title).


"Stirling Castle"

(Click here for some historical information about Stirling Castle)

"Wallace Monument"

(Click here for some historical information about the Wallace Monument)

I also found the campus of the University of Stirling to be very attractive. In addition to being located in what could be called a country club, it also has a very nice cafeteria (and very good cappuccino by the way).

At this point, I had be on the road for some 13,000 km, I needed new tires for the BMW. After asking a few people and some running around Stirling, I finally met "James" of

J.K. Motorcycles
Unit 4
Springkerse Ind Est
Munro Road
+44 (0) 1786 450249

James runs a small garage and was very helpful. A brief telephone call to the tyre wholesaler and new Metzler Tourances were ordered and delivered an fitted within 24 hours. Interestingly enough, James outed himself as another BMW R 1150 GS owner and we had a good time talking about the pros and cons of this motorcycle. Thanks to James’ efforts I was able to continue my tour the next day on new tires.


"James" and his wife

The next stop was to be Loch Ness. The one thing I felt I had to do was to at least try and get a glimps of “Nessie”. Needless to say that I was unsuccessful. From Stirling I went to Inververness, some 200k to the north. The trip across the highlands was pleasant except for the weather, which -once again- had turned cold, wet and windy. I did not spend too much time near Inverness. My first impression was that of a fairly busy industrial town. I decided to go the countryside in an effort to find a place to stay for the night.

I did so in the village of Drumnadrochit. Not only struck me the name of the place as very Scottish, I also ended up in the traditional “Riverbank” Bed & Breakfast run by a very nice couple, Ruth and Gordon, who made their guests feel very much at home ("haggis for breakfast" - as an option).


“From the internationalized menu of the local pizza place – I was struck by No. 4….”

By now it was the end of July and I was eager to go south again. I left Drumnadrochit on August 1, heading towards Glasgow. There was one last look at Loch Ness (again, no Nessie to be seen) from the parking lot at Castle Urquhart.


"Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle ruin"

My intention at this point was to get to some place on the Irish Sea, in order to catch a ferry to the Isle of Man. I followed a route which led along a number of “lochs”: Loch Ness, Loch Lochy, Loch Linnhe, Loch Leven, Loch Tulla, Loch Lomond and ended up on the eastern banks of the Firth of Clyde, on a campside near the village of Meigle (some 40 k west of Glasgow). The campside turned out to be of the "rustic" sort: meadow-type green (fortunately the cows had been removed before) and very basic sanitary installations. This location was not my first choice, had I had any. It was getting late, it looked like raining and the general area did not seem to offer a lot of alternatives.


"A very basic campground near Meigle Village"

I left early the next morning, heading south. I decided to follow the coast line, hoping to find a somewhat nicer, more accommodating place to stay. With some luck, helped by comments from a passer-by on the parking lot in Kilmarnock who engaged me in a conversation, I found the small port of Stranraer on Loch Ryan.

Passing through the outskirts of the town, I saw a sign for the Aird Donald Caravan Park. I had found what was easily the best-kept campground on my whole trip. The town with it supermarkets and restaurant was nearby, the weather had improved, so I decided to stay for two or three day.


"The most civilized campground yet"

(Click here for another impression of Aird Donald campground)

The area around Stranraer and Loch offered may attractive sights. On a trip trip around the North Rhins peninsular to the west of the town and the loch, I found another favorite sight: the Corsewall Lighthouse. It has been converted into a small hotel overlooking the Irish See.


" Corsewall Lighthouse"

On my excursion through the town I saw a number of traditional shops. One of these ( or rather the name of it), caught my attention – probably because is reminded me of my last employer:


“ser-en-dip-i-ty n. an apparent natural gift for making fortunate discoveries by chance”

After an enjoyable 3-day stay in Stranraer it was time to move on. I was heading for the port of Heysham some 200 k southeast. From there a ferry would leave for the Isle of Man. I had not made reservation for the crossing and was hoping that it would not be a problem. I was not disappointed. I did get a ticket but had to wait for almost 2 hours in the bright sun in full gear was not pleasant. – Ah … the joys of motorcycling!

Posted by Heiko Neumann at 09:37 PM GMT
The Isle of Man

The ferry crossing from Heysham to Douglas (the capital of the isle) took just under four hours. I left the ferry at around 7:00 pm and began looking for accommodation. Douglas struck me as being moderately touristy, with a number of rather expensive-looking hotels on the promenade. I did not see any signs for B&Bs or for campgrounds or for that matter a tourist information office. Consequently, decided to try my luck in the countryside – without success. A friendly attendant in a gas station, with the help of some customers, suggest that I try Douglas again. As far as he knew, there should be a large camping facility near the grand stand and pit lane on the TT course. Okay – back to the city.


"Douglas Promenade & Beach"

I took me another full hour or so, but then I was in luck: I did not see any signs riding through the centre of Douglas. It was by chance that I noticed this location:

“TT-Course Grand Stand in Douglas”

Just behind this facility is a large camp ground (but not signs giving directions). The reception was already closed, but other campers said that the receptionist would back in the morning; these campground neighbours also gave me the code to the lock on the door to the shower facilities and toilets. That was helpful.

I spent the next couple of days exploring the famous Tourist Trophy course: 60 k around the island. A combination of country lanes, passages through small villages, and a good stretch through Douglas. The really interesting part is that most of the turns and bends are marked and the bales of hay which are to protect racers in the case of a cash are never removed. Must be part of the local tourist authorities’ marketing ploy. The TT course is omnipresent throughout the island. On the course, in the mountains there is the Isle of Man Motorcycle Museum. In my opinion a must. It includes numerous motorcycles memorabilia and it is a place of homage to Joey Dunlop, “Mister TT”, 26 times TT winner.


"“Joey Dunlop – 26 times TT winner”"

(Click for the course outline)

Posted by Heiko Neumann at 10:40 PM GMT
The Cotswolds & London

On August 10, after 5 days in motorcycle heaven, it was time to leave. Since the ferry for Liverpool was leaving at 6:30h it meant a very early rise. Packing your camping gear before dawn with rain clouds looming overhead is not really fun. Fortunately, boarding the ferry and the 3 hour or so boat ride was okay. But the following ride from Liverpool south via Birmingham to Gloucestershire was not. For the first hour or two it was heavy rain, in combination with heavy weekend/holiday traffic. Reading the GPS was not really possible, and I spent over an hour finding my way out of Liverpool.

Somehow I made it to Bourton-on-the Water, a quaint Cotswolds village in Gloucestershire, the goal of countless buses carrying foreign tourist on their search for the real English countryside. So, how do I fit in? – Bourton-on-the-Water is the home my aunt and uncle Thea and Eric Cook. I had spent many a summer holiday during my school years here.

So, after almost 3 Months on the road, I was finally back with “family”. During the following week I indulged in the almost forgotten pleasures of a “real home”: hot shower, cable TV, regular home-cooked meals, fridge/ice box with an endless supply of cold beer and more….


“Your typical Cotswolds Pub”

(Click for larger version of this picture)

At this point it became apparent that this particular trip was getting closer to the end. Before getting back to the continent, I stopped over with Eileen and Dennis Ashbolt in London. I had first met Eileen and Dennis years ago in Frankfurt through other friends. When their learnt about my trip, they invited me to stay with them in London before heading to Dover to catch the ferry to Calais.

So, from family in the Cotswolds to friends in London. Since I had been in London regularly before, I limited my “tourist program” to the Tate Modern Gallery, a former powerplant converted into a museum for contemporary art. An interesting way to display modern art.


"The Tate Modern Gallery – a former powerplant"

(Click for an inside view)

There was must other “must” while being in London. I had never managed to visit the “Ace Café”. This place was a famous hangout for motorcycle aficionados in the fifties and sixtes, that was re-opened a few years ago

Posted by Heiko Neumann at 10:51 PM GMT
May 11, 2004 GMT
Offroad in Romania

Once a year, my friend Klaus Schrader (second from right below) in cooperation with Tiberius (“Tibi”) Erdelyi (far left) arranges an enduro offroad adventure in Romania. One week of gravel roads, trial sections, mud patches and a glas of vodka to complement breakfast (an old Romanian tradition I am told). – Tiberius has a Romanian background and owns a small farmhouse in a village near Arad, close to the Hungarian-Romanian border.


"Arad - City Hall"

(Click here for map - red arrow indcates approximate location)

This year, that is in 2003, the event took place in late September. I had just returned from my European tour and this was an opportunity to add another country to my list and to see whether my off road riding skills had improved since last year.

There were five participants: Klaus, Tibi, Sven (son of Klaus), Gerold and myself. The primary idea was to enjoy offroad riding in the woodlands of the rural area of western Romania; tourist activities were and were limited to the odd sight along the way and -of course- visits to local restaurants.

"Offroad in Romania - 2003 Participants"

(Click here for larger picture)

Our motorcycles (1 KTM, 3 Suzukis, 1 BMW G/S, 1 vintage Kawasaki) were transported by trailer. Otherwise the road trip of about 1,250 km from Frankfurt to Arad on offroad/enduro bikes would be a little demanding.

We stayed in Tibi's place and went for daytrips of between 50 and 80 km. This may not sound like much, but the average speed is relatively low, and serious offroad riding can be physically demanding (and that without having to pick-up fallen bikes).

While a fair portion of our daily excursions was on gravel tracks



the terrain could soon become rough and what looked like a fairly easy stretch could momentarily turn into a slippery surface



or you might have to face a tricky trial-like section



And if you were really unlucky (some of the more experience riders in our group might have thought themselves lucky) you had to confront a "muddy trial section". In reality, the last two situations shown above had been considerably more scaring than they appear on the pictures. - Rescue operations were frequent:



The area around Arad has not yet been discovered by tourists and getting around, especially in the far off villages, can become interesting if you do not speak the local language. In the city or town (Arad for instance) this in not really a problem (you can always go to Mc Donalds). However, in the small villages hidden in the woods, getting something to eat and drink, could be challenging without local language skills:


"A typical village scnene"


"The Village General Store and Bar"


"Refreshments the Romanian way: Vodka - served in water glasses"

Compared to the other eastern countries I had been too recently, Romania seemed noticeably less wealthy and often you would find that people have to make do with whatever means are at hand. Improvisation skills rule.



After one week in the woodlands of western Romania, we had go back to Germany where such offroad trips are strictly forbidden. This was my second enduro experience and I noticed progress: after having broken off all possible levers (with the exception of the gear shifter) last year, the only casualty this time war a slightly bent break lever. So - there is hope.


"Moi – after a week of fun in the wilds of Romania"

Posted by Heiko Neumann at 11:53 AM GMT
May 15, 2004 GMT
The Experiment Continues

I am about ready to leave again. Having completed my trip around Europe last September, I am in the process of starting Stage Two of my experiment: the tour across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

The trip will start in Chicago (arrive on May 20) and end in Denver (leave on September 6). From Chicago I shall go west, likely to come to Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana. From there I intend to turn north, into Canada (Alberta, Br. Columbia, Yukon). Then further into Alaska, with the goal to make it to Deadhorse/Prudoe Bay, which would mark the northernmost point of this trip. I have not yet made up my mind about the route south from Anchorage. I am still looking into the possibility of a ferry ride from either Anchorage or Skagway to Vancouver (on the Marine Highway Ferry System).

From Vancouver/Seattle it will be the Route 1 all the way along the west coast down to San Diego and into Baja California, then cross north-western Mexico, back into the U.S.. I shall work my way through Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado toward the final destination, Denver.


"Experiment - Part 2 – planned route"

(Click here for larger map)

So much for the plan. Changes to the route may occur, as I listen to recommendations and/or intuition whichever the case may be. But that will be part of the experiment and I hope that I can let the reader of the blog participate. From the feedback of some of you, I gather that people are more interested to be “close” to what is happening to me (rather than read about it long after its over). Well…some of the problems I had to face during my last trip was the availability of adequate Internet access.

Finding an internet place is one thing, but since I keep my texts and photos on my laptop transferring the data onto the internet computer proved to be “challenging”. In the meantime I have equipment that should allow me to use so-called “hotspots” to access the internet via wireless LAN directly from my laptop. A test-run in Germany suggested that this should work. – Now I only have to find a couple of the 4000plus hotspots, listed on the website of my provider.

In the meantime, the motorcycle has been shipped. I had chosen DHL Danzas in Frankfurt as my shipping agent. Martin Schweizer, Manager Automotive/Motorcycle Div., has been very helpful in the process. We had a great time at the cargo facility of the Frankfurt Airport, putting the BMW 1150 GS on the shipping rack. (I am told the bike would be “star” in a promotion clip for DHL’s bike shipping operations which was to be taped the following day.)


"Martin Schweizer (right) and his crew at the DHL facilities at Frankfurt Airport"

(Click here for a larger version of this picture)

The bike remains largely unchanged compared to last year. I did, however, switch to Touratech aluminium boxes for better use of space a increased “ruggedness”.

Well – that is it for the time being. The next report will be from the U.S.

Posted by Heiko Neumann at 10:59 AM GMT
May 30, 2004 GMT
Going West

I have made it – to Chicago and on. The trip across the Atlantic was smooth. Even immigration in Chicago was such that within under 1 ½ hours after touchdown, I was in the hotel near O’Hare airport (and that included certain disorientation problems of the taxi driver). The hotel (Best Western in Des Plaines) even offered free internet access. Everything up to that point had gone surprisingly smooth – what did I miss?

Well, the answer came later that day when I called my contact person at the freight forwarder, merely out of kindness and because I like to think that in critical situations Neumann’s Law, a variation of Murphy’s, applies (Neumanns’s Law: “Murphy was an optimist”). I had been working on the assumption or better on the statement my by contact in Frankfurt that my bike would be ready to be picked up a day after my arrival.

Imagine my surprise when I learnt that my contact at DHL was surprised that I would want to pick up the BMW the next day -- the paperwork with the customs authorities had not be initiated. After that we had several telephone conversations, and after some nail biting on my part, I received the bike one day later than planned. – Oh well – large organizations and their internal communication…..

The positive of the unplanned delay: I avoided a series of thunderstorms and heavy rain in Illinois. On Saturday, May 22 my trip really began.

The first leg led me to Madison, WI. My former colleague in Frankfurt, Renate Labak, had arranged for me to meet with friends of hers who live in this beautiful location. – Thanks to Kris and Fritz Gruetzner, for a wonderful “coffee and cake” treat at their home. And also for Fritz’s ad-hoc tour of Madison, the capital of Wisconsin. The visit to the campus of the University of WI (incl. the replica of the Munich “Hofbraeuhaus”) and the thrill of a real tornado warning (loud sirens in the whole town) while checking out the family’s sailboat on Lake Mendota were memorable and exciting. (N.B.: the tornado, luckily, decided to go another way.....)


"In front of the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin"

The next day I moved on west, and following Fritz Gruetzner’s advice, I went along the Mississippi river (towards La Crosse, WI). A very scenic ride, somewhat similar landscape at the Rhine river near my hometown of Frankfurt, but much bigger. I stayed for the night in Rochester, Minnesota.

My next stop was Sioux Fall, South Dakota. On the way there I got my first impression to the vastness of the North American continent. The straight highways for miles on end, along seemingly endless fields is something to be experienced. I took some comfort from an extra gallon of gas carried in a canister; it was quite surprising to see the change in the general infrastructure. In the metropolitan areas one will find a gas station on virtually every street crossing. In the countryside of the Midwest, it is not unusual to ride for 30 or so miles until one can fill up again.

Next on my trip was Pierre, the capital of South Dakota. It meant more long stretches along vast fields (e.g. corn, wheat). It was in Pierre that I had one of those encounters, which makes motorcycle travelling so interesting.

I was checking out a campground on Lake Sharpe, near Pierre, and testing the restaurant when I was greeted with in German with “Guten Tag”. The greeting came from Judy and Kirk Miller, residents of Pierre who had come to the restaurant for drinks. Judy and Kirk run a small family business “Weston Air, Inc.”: Kirk is a veritable crop duster and Judy helps with the administrative side (she had been to Germany some 25+ years ago, hence the greeting – they had seen my bike parked in front of the restaurant).


"My ad-hoc hosts in Pierre: Judy, daughter Drew, Kirk Miller"

“Click for a larger version on this photo”


"He, too, dropped in at the Miller Residence"

They were interested to hear about my undertakings and generously offered me to stay in the garden house of their estate nearby. Kirk turned out to be a real aficionado of anything mechanical. His vehicle collection included – among others - two VW Kuebelwagen, two vintage Toyota Landcruisers, and a 1959 VW beetle is in the process of being restored. We also ended that day with a little trip around his estate on two quads.

Kirk on Quad.jpg

"Kirk Miller – proficient on a quad ..... "

As I left the next morning for the Black Mountains in South Dakota, I was really overwhelmed with the Miller’s hospitality to a total stranger. Kirk, on his way to work, flew over the house, to wave good-bye.


" ..... and in the air"

Food Feature - No. 1

This is an experiment within the experiment. Following the suggestion of my friend Annette in Frankfurt, I shall attempt to write about “food” in each of my trip reports - “food” in the widest sense. It could be about special types of food, or drinks, or restaurants, or recipes or whatever could be summarized under “food”.

I shall start out with this:


"Starting the culinary trip"

The place directly across form my hotel in Des Plaines. It is a tradional American diner and seemed to have been in this condition for at least 30 or 40 years, with very little renovation apparent. But the food, all diner classics, was amazing: the half pounder hamburger was good, but the hot pastrami on rye was perfect (the rye bread slightly toasted, the meat lean and the right quantity – not too much, not too little). A perfect beginning to the culinary trip.

Posted by Heiko Neumann at 10:10 PM GMT

HU DVD Spring Special!

Buy the Achievable Dream Collectors Set and get Road Heroes Part 1 FREE!

Achievable Dream - The Whole Enchilada!

Cooped up indoors in crap weather? Binge watch over 20 hours of inspiring, informative and entertaining stories and tips from 150 travellers! Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to order them both and use Coupon Code 'BoxSet+' on your order when you checkout.

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!