We are a middle aged retired Australian couple who enjoy travelling 2 up on our Yamaha Super Tenere's in Cairns, Australia and Romania, Europe and our 30 foot motorhome in Canada. Our trips so far-
1999- Asia and Africa
2002- South America
2004- Western Europe
2006- Eastern Europe
2008- Middle East
2010- Africa and Europe
2011- Alaska, Canada, USA
2012- Mexico, Cairns- Australia, Switzerland- Europe
2013- Sri Lanka, Cairns, Australia, Canada, USA
2014- Mexico, USA, Cairns, Australia, Brazil
We store our bikes "Miss Adventure III and IV and V" and come back to them around once a year and our motorhome "Miss Adventure VI". Freedom and Adventure are what we live for and we love meeting other bikers and RVers around the world.
We write a HU blog about once a month.. check out more details and photos below and enjoy!
Map of our trips so far:
Moving along up the coast of Brazil we stay in Pousadas near the beach and meet up with and are hosted by "WOW man" Dido, the president of a local M/C group around Teixeira de Frietas. We treat he and his wife to local pizza before leaving the next morning. Rui at Ilheus is our next host with his 18 year old son as our translator! Belinda tries a Grande Caipirinha and finds it hard to lift her head off the pillow the next morning!! Further up the coast we are hosted by Herberte and his wife Nastia in Maceio who passes us on to Gildo who forwards us on to Milton Omena a veteran compulsive bike traveller, living on a beachside estate just north of Maceio.
Omena as he is known is a very gracious host and shows us most of the touristy spots and his beautiful beachfront home. Having an extra SPOT GPS tracker, we offer to buy it and are now tracking as we go, so some of you will be receiving emails as to whether we are OK or not. The SPOT service offers evacuation in case of emergencies, but strongly warn that it is not for roadside assistance.
In Recife we meet up with Tacio, another veteren m/c traveller who has a huge club house with over night accommodation amongst his grand collection of vintage motorcycles as well as a few new ones. Natal finds 3 bikers fighting over us, so we spend a lovely evening with them all and lovely "Little Duck" takes us on a grand tour of the beaches the next day!
All of these contacts were made thanks to the creation of a facebook chat group created by a wonderful, caring gentleman called Ruiter Franco, whom we never met! He called the group "Support of Belinda and Patrick bikers through Brazil" and bikers would add their friends to the group and they would invite us to stay in their home, send us their address, which we would put in our GPS and we would advise them approx when we would arrive! It was always a magical connection and they never wanted us to leave after a day or two! Amazing Brazillian hospitality and friends for life!
North of Natal is a kite and windsurf beach named San Miguel do Gostoso where we met up with our Canadian connection Karl in Nelson BC who hosts us for a few days before we head north and east past Fortaleza to another famous kite and windsurf beach named Jericoacoara. Access is only by 4WD as the town is in a national park nestled between the waves and huge sand dunes, we park the bike in a secure carpark and catch a ride in a safari looking taxi for a wild 28 km trip in deep sand.
We are now seeing temps of 38C after noon, so a cool early start makes the days ride comfortable provided we find accommodation early enough. Winds are strongly from the east and off the water as they usually are, giving us a nice cool tail wind push.
It was mid afternoon when we arrived in Sao Luis and after locating the general location of tomorrow's ferry, we head past the historical centre toward the busier beach area hoping to find a cheap pousada amongst all the highrises. While caught at the lights an older gentleman on a new Triumph Tiger pulls up beside and in very broken english asks where we are from. Australia??!! Pull over to the side. Alexander not only finds us a nice cheap hotel but offers to pick us up in his car with his wife for an evening tour to the historical centre and around the town! Well that followed by a house warming dinner party at their sons new house with many friends and relations.
It was a night of charades because of our non existent Portuguese, but we still had lots of laughs and finally retired to the hotel at midnight completely exhausted. Awesome Brazillian hospitality once again!
A month to the day of our Rio arrival, 6000kms and 6000 lombardos later we arrive in Belem, the large city on the mouth of the Amazon river we are greeted by our new hosts, family of Jose de Alencar. Unfortunately Jose was away but his lovely wife Araceli and gorgeous nephew Mattheus (we call Matty) keep us company for the next few days and help sort out the Manaus ferry boat. Matty deserves special mention for his tireless efforts entertaining us with a museum day and a botanic gardens trip with fellow biker Vinnie and untold trips back and forth to the ferry office and dock. His english was superb, we really enjoyed our time with him and Belinda had a little cry on our departure. A real shame to have missed Jose!!
Our friends Chris and Erin Ratay had a hard time in Belem because they had no support as we did, spoke no Portuguese and had to work real hard not to get totally ripped off, hence missed the ferry and had to wait a while to catch the next good ferry.
GPS coords ferry dock and terminal:
S 01 26' 38.2" W 048 29' 38.9"
Ferry agents tend to hang around the passenger terminal and the one we chose did negotiate the posted prices because of low season but did misinform us a bit. He said the bike had to be there at 8:30am so we travelled through the hell rush hour to be told the bike can't be loaded earlier than 11:00. We hung around all day waiting for boarding at 5:00pm. The agent also informed us that we had to bring our own water and that there were no fridges available on board, so we brought a 20 litre water container and styrofoam esky loaded with ice only to see a fridge in our cabin and a passenger accessible multi facetted water filter on deck! No towel is provided but bottom sheet, pillow and pillow case are. The best ferry available at the time to Manaus was the "Amazon Star" leaving each Wed and Friday for the 1650km trip and takes 5 days going and 3 returning to Belem.
Our air conditioned cabin with ensuite (needs better ventilation) overlooking the water was 900 Reals ($450 Aus) and the bike costing 500 Reals ($225Aus)
The AMAZON trip was AMAZING with no rough water, no mosquitoes and daily stops in small towns.
A good book is a must and the scenery was so serene! Meals were good and very filling with lots of rice, pasta, beans plus a variety of meat, fish and chicken at 10 reals ($4.50Aus) each. We brought our own fruit, snacks and yoghurt, but snacks and booze can be bought at the kiosk at reasonable prices (beers $1.80Aus)
Despite leaving Belem 5 hours late due to a huge last minute shipment of tomatoes, we arrive at 6:00pm at Manaus, only half an hour late. With the tomatoes blocking the bikes exit, the captain agrees to us stay another night in our cabin.
We plan another early departure in order to miss the notorious Manaus traffic and are so happy in the morning to see that the crew had offloaded the bike during the night as the boat was now 2 meters below the dock and we had no way to get the bike off. Upon exiting the harbour, security demanded a US$20 tax. We were issued a receipt so felt the request was legitimate.
The Footprint Travel guide stated that there are good pousadas 100kms north of Manaus in Presidento Figueiredo, but since it is early, we hit the tourist info office for maps and distant accommodation info. They have neither and say that the nearest pousada north is another 400kms on the other side of the Native Reserve land. Even though the book informs us that over 200 army workers were killed by poison darts while building road through in the 1970s and we are concerned that there may be lingering resentment, we decide to push on! There is no fuel for this 120kms so we fill up. We have no incidents en route and our only inconvenience was dodging potholes while in the reserve. Roads are good and fuel although sparse is normally 100kms apart with new stations being built as we passed and we cross the Equator!
Luckily we stopped at a modern Hotel-Restaurant in Rorainopolis as there wasn't any the next day til nearly Boa Vista 300kms north. Boa was a fairly large, hot town with a hotel problem. It was the 9th one that had only one room left and we were a little stressed riding around slow moving traffic at 40C! Desperation was not strong enough to try some of the seedy and dirty looking Love Motels throughout the town. Anywhere near the equator we found temps between 35C-38C and find it reasonably comfortable while on the move, but we do begin to sweat when idling through traffic searching for accommodation. Well ventilated airflow clothing is essential while riding in the tropics.
Only another 285 kms to the Venezuelan border and as we have been forewarned to get through before noon we set off early, yet again!! We have never done 400-500km/day on a regular basis, but distances are great in Brazil, beaches are awesome and the people are the friendliest we have EVER encountered!! You rock Brazil, we will recommend you to the world!
After 23 hours flight time from Sydney, Australia we arrive in Rio de Janeiro into the welcoming arms of George and Denise Bunker, HU communitee members for Rio, living on the opposite end of the bridge from Copacabana beach and away from the hustle and bustle. They invited us to stay with them and their dogs while we explored Rio and graciously offered to drive us to Tubate, 4 hours south where the Vstrom has been stored in George's lounge room for the past 6 months!
George and Denise were the the best hosts that one could wish for with offers of tours around the area by car and bicycle to the hang gliding launch point for a different view of Monte Cristo and Copacabana.
We lunched at the local Yacht club as well as various churrascarias and cafes. We like the Brazilian custom of weighing your buffet food with you paying only for what you take, thus harnessing the desire to over eat and eliminating most wastage.
The bike started on the first try because George had been starting the bike periodically over the 6 month storage to charge the battery. After installing a K&N air filter, Scottoiler for the chain, a GIVI top box, new sprockets and a set of Metzler Tourance tyres, we set off northbound along the coast road back to Rio. Meandering slowly, we really enjoyed the scenery and took 3 days to get back to the Bunker casa.
The next day we decided to push on a bit harder as we had spent 8 days in the Rio area and we had the time line of getting to Colombia in time for our daughter Kate's arrival in Bogota Colombia mid December. 6000 kms lay ahead of us just to get to Belem at the mouth of the Amazon, taking the coastal route. George had emailed a number of bikers living along our proposed route, and thus started what was to be an amazing dose of Brazilian hospitality amongst the biking communitee. Most nights we were welcomed to the homes of fellow bikers and although we didn't speak Portuguese and they didn't speak much if any English, we still had fun and could resort to Google translator if we got stuck. It really takes a special person to invite a total stranger into their home, especially when most Brazilians are afraid of the all too common street crime. We hear many first hand stories but have had no bad experiences to date. We follow a few rules like no driving at night or staying out late at night when most crime occurs.
The next bikers we met was Eugenio and his sidekick Diiego.
When we arrive at their motorcycle repair shop they had already received a photo of us travelling through Vitoria, taken by a taxi friend who spotted us, taken the shot and forwarded it to Eugenio, so he was expecting us within minutes of our arrival. The view from the Vitoria bridge would rival any views we saw in Rio. After much fanfare and greetings they escorted us to their "Bikers Clubhouse" one block from the beach, which was nicely accommodating for extended overnight stays. The next morning being Saturday, the boys show up to guide us on a tour of the surrounding area.
Next morning we are up at 5:00 for an early start as the days can get hot and we had a lot of kms to cover that day. About two hours out I notice my ABS light is on, but what could I do about it on the road and nearly all my riding is without ABS, so I'm not too worried. 5 minutes later while passing a long line of traffic, the engine quits. Now my EFI (fuel injection) light is flashing and I've got to get back in my lane before the oncoming car arrives. Belinda gets the idea and frantically motions the car beside to back off. We make it back in and coast to a small parking area and start the job of exposing the bikes electricals to determine the problem. Within 5 minutes a small truck with "Eco101" written on the side pulls up beside us and in Portuguese asks us if there is a problem and do we want a battery boost? The boost didn't work so he got on his phone and within another 5 minutes a large flatbed tow truck arrives and lifts us aboard for a ride to the next town.
He was nice enough to call our friend Eugenio who offers Diiego to come with a charged battery as we had wrongly concluded that our problem was a faulty battery.
What we came to realise was that Eco101 is a free government funded rescue service for stranded motorists similar to the Green Angels in Mexico. Diiego eventually arrived and installed the new battery. The bike started but when he checked the charging system, no current was being generated. Being a bigger problem than we expected we had to make it back 100km's to the shop. As the battery would soon discharge while running we needed another ride. Within 5 minutes Diego introduced us to a fellow we hadn't seen before. This well groomed young man named George was the driver of an empty long haul car carrier offering to transport our bike back to the Eugenio's shop in Vitoria for free.
He had noticed that we were having trouble and offered his services- the Brazilians are GREAT.
In the shop we discover that the problem is the stator which generates the electricity - a big job to fix and very rare problem with Vstroms. Many of our friends have this model with absolutely no problems, we just had bad luck! We were EXTREMELY lucky where it happened though with so much support!
The bike is back in another truck (the third that day!) and off to the specialist for surgery. We replaced the stator and the regulator, the whole job costing US$500 and was all ready that night, so we were off for another early start. Eugenio did not want to charge for his work and Diiego's time and fuel so we forced it upon him.
The small coastal roads were our preference for the scenery but all towns no matter how small always had speed bumps called lombardos. Most are signposted or painted but about 10% are not. Many are hidden in the shadows of trees and are nearly impossible to see. My next set of brake pads will be replaced due to emergency braking 2 meters before lombardos! Sometimes we are compelled back to the main highway BR101 which is impossibly overcrowded with trucks going one speed and cars trying to go another, mostly on only two lane roads. Crashes are frequent and colossal. The agility of the Vstrom allows us to make much better time than a car and is in most circumstances safer, but the object of the trip is to experience the scenery and not to have to concentrate on the road ahead. With Belinda doing all of the onroad navigation, I can stay focussed on bike manouvering and keeping us safe.
Fuel stations are abundant and our 20 litre fuel tank is more than adequate with the bike averaging 22kms per litre. Most large fuel stations on BR101 have churrascarias which are buffet BBQ restaurants and the food is really quite good and relatively cheap. Many Brazilians recognise us as Foreign tourists from a long way off because of our panniers and are constantly offering a friendly wave and a flash of their lights as we pass. Brazillians are so loving and friendly and we are so happy to be back on 2 wheels again! This is Tacio and his friends in Recife with his world trip on the map!
Introducing "Zora"... our Susuki Vstrom 650 currently travelling from Rio to Amazon River in Brazil with very helpful Rio HU members George and Denise Bunker.
Over the last few years we have been travelling in Canada US and Mexico in an RV/ Motorhome. We loved every minute of it, but miss the freedom and comradery that motorcycle travelling gives us!
So, we did a worldwide horizonsunlimited search for a travellers motorbike to buy in South America! The bike we found, the owners could have come from anywhere, but they come from the very same suburb in the very same town we live in! That is amazing, but what really is amazing is that their helmets fit us, jackets, pants and even boots fit us! How easy is that! We will fly to Rio at the end of Sept, pick up "Zora" our 2012 Suzuku VStrom 650, pack our underwear and we are off!
We will be heading north along the Brazillian coastline towards the Amazon River, then into Venezuela (hopefully!) then Colombia, down to Ecuador, Peru and Chile where we will either store the bike or sell her to another traveller in March 2015!
Check out Mark and Carlie's website and Zora the bike:
As usual, we love to meet other travellers on the road and encourage knowledge and feedback for the road ahead! This trip will test us physically and mentally... pray for good weather, open borders and no robberies! Yikes, hang onto your hat and come for a ride with us! We will try and do updates from the road, but think wifi might be rare!
Thank you for following us and we hope to meet you all in person again somewhere sometime real soon!
Howdy folks! You haven't heard from us for awhile, but you are about to regularly! hehe
We have just spent an awesome 3 months at home in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Catching up with family, friends, health issues, health tests, get fitter, financial stuff etc and planning the next trip!!!
Happy Davis-Peck Clan! Nephew:Daniel (12), Brother:Paul, Sister in law: Jacqueline, Belinda, Neice: Hannah (7) and Patrick!
Canada, USA and mainland Mexico are our next destination in our 30 foot Winnebago motorhome fondly named "Miss Adventure 6". She has been stored nice and warm in John and Jerry Burden's heated shed on their farm outside of Edmonton, Canada and they have used her as a spare bedroom mainly!
She is about to go an another adventure with us!
John and Jerry Burden and Pat relaxing in Baja, Mexico 2 years ago!
We will be doing a presentation about Montenegro and Rules for the Road at the HU meeting August 22-25 in Nakusp, BC, Canada. Vancouver and Vancouver Island will be our next destination and we hope to cross into USA mid September. Heading South through as many national parks in USA as possible along the middle and West coast of USA, we will check out whether it is safe enough to spend winter in mainland Mexico or not.
Our plan is to travel slower this time and catch up with other friends and HU members along the way. We will zig where we zagged 2 years ago!
Pat is already in Canada doing a motorcycling trip with his brother Bernie in the Banff/ Jasper area. Belinda will be in Edmonton, Canada 12 July, when we will pick up the motorhome and head West!
We hope you are all healthy and happy and living the life you dream about!
Motorcycle Travel Hints
- Only ride at night or in the rain if it is unavoidable, due to poor visibility for you and other traffic.
Poor road conditions are magnified exponentially.
Beautiful surroundings are not visible. Remember that travel is not all about just getting there.
-Constantly check your turn signal switch.
Itís something simple, but it can KILL you if you don't.
-Relax your shoulders continually as tension will exhaust you on long rides.
Your reflexes are much quicker in emergency manouvers if you are relaxed.
-Be very aware of your blind spot and the blind spot of other close vehicles.
Never ride in someone else's blind spot.
-Learn to read the "body language" of other vehicles and assume they cannot see you.
Use head movements and wheel directions to help you to predict if a car will cross your path.
-Never drink and drive a motorcycle.
Even a small amount will effect your balance and coordination.
-Get in the habit of shoulder checking EVERY time you change lanes or cross a lane of traffic.
Remember your blindspot.
-Know when you will go to reserve and how far reserve will take you. Zero your trip meter at fill up and know your fuel capacity.
-Know when your next service is due.
Carry spares like oil filters, sprocket and brake pads.
-Cold start- Idle your bike for at least a minute.
Most engine wear occurs in that first minute from a cold start.
-Cross railway tracks and road ridges as close to right angle as possible.
You never know if oil or water has made them slippery.
-Keep your visor clean.
I use water and my bare hand to clean.
Setting sun on a dirty visor is blinding.
-Avoid distractions like map or GPS reading on the move.
Things will come for you when you are not looking.
-Try to keep up with traffic to avoid being an obstacle to other traffic.
We all know the dangers of passing a slow vehicle.
-Constantly watch for sand or oil on the road when cornering, or anything else that may cause you to loose traction.
-Stand up on your pegs while crossing rough terrain.
It's easier on your back and stops the catapult effect as well as lowering your center of gravity.
-If you fall off your bike, get off a busy road.
Do a quick check of you and your bike and ride on to a safe area.
-Always drive with your headlights on.
You are so much more visible to drivers only looking for other cars.
-Try NOT to brake strongly and suddenly.
The vehicle behind may not react quickly enough.
-Keep your distance from the car ahead.
They may do an emergency brake.
-For emergency braking use your front brake in stages.
Full on front braking may lock your front wheel and down you go!
-Never ride with your foot resting on your back brake pedal.
It wears out your brakes and keeps you brake light on.
-Avoid passing a slow vehicle that could be slowing to make a turn, possibly in front of you.
-Never pass a vehicle indicating across your path.
In some countries, this is a signal from the driver that it is clear to pass!
-Think ahead and use your engine and gearing to slow you down rather than your brakes.
A set of pads will last you a lot longer and you get better fuel consumption.
-Watch your mirrors about 5% of the time as 99% of collisions come from the front.
Still, know whats coming up behind you.
-Check tyre pressures regularly.
This will save fuel , make your tires last longer and may save you from a fall!
-Always cover your bike at night or long storage.
It stops rust and corrosion and hides the bike from thieves.
-Don't ride in salt water.
Rust will quickly disintegrate your bike.
-Check oil at each fill up until you get a usage pattern for your bike.
-Wear protective clothing for the season.
If you are too hot or too cold it will affect your judgement.
We find that layers is the answer.
-Drink lots of water on the road.
Dehydration will also affect your judgement and energy.
-Don't get angry if someone cuts you off.
You need full focus and concentration .
Just practise collision avoidance and stay mentally positive.
-Count to 5 at the intersection when the light turns green.
How many times have you seen people run the RED?
-Be obliging and respectful to all police officers.
They have the capacity to make your life a misery.
-Keep a record of all services and maintenance so you know what to
do before your next trip or for the next owner.
I will pay more for a bike that I know is maintained properly.
-Many nice things are always at the end of a gravel road!
Don't be afraid, just adjust your speed to suit your bike.
-Stick with your mates:
Keep them visual in your mirror- If you haven't seen them within in a few minutes, slow down for a few minutes and if you still haven't seen them then stop for a few minutes. If still no sight then turn back to the point you last saw them. No contact then phone, if out of range then go to a phone reception area or the original destination and call or email your friend.
-Keep the lead guy in front in sight.
Never turn off the road if the guy behind cannot see you. Stop and wait.
Which country do you visit?
- Choose a cheap and safe country as your daily budget will be lower and the trip can be longer.
It may not be cheap or safe the next time you travel.
-Time your visit to avoid the cold or wet season.
-If your time is specific then choose a country for the season.
-Shipping is expensive and a hassle, so choose a country that is easy to get to.
-Make sure you have valid 3rd party insurance for the country of travel.
A lawsuit could ruin your life.
-Choose the lightest bike possible to do the job.
No one has ever complained about having a bike which is too light!
-Choose a bike first for it's reliability.
-Choose a bike that has many dealerships in the country of travel.
Bring a parts manual (on a CD or USB) as dealers can order your parts even though they didn't import the bike.
-Contact the H/U community members ahead of your travel.
They are like minded people wanting to meet fellow travellers.
-NEVER BORROW MONEY TO TRAVEL!
Enjoy every moment, sometimes riding can be like a computer game, but in this game you only have one LIFE!
We are now back in sunny Australia and will attempt to summarise our 3 months motorcycling around Sri Lanka! Having searched the season weather for Sri Lanka, we were mentally prepared for the wet November that is expected each year, but the following two months of predicted sunny weather would make it worth while (or so we thought!!)
Alfons Van Hoof the Horizons Unlimited community member for Sri Lanka met us at the airport and found us great accomodation near the Nagumbo beaches not far from the Airport. He was an incredible host, providing us with local knowledge of where to go and what scenic roads to take as well as GPS software for our Garmin handheld. Alfons was nice enough to rent his second Bajaj cruiser 180cc bike and fitted it with any extras and mods needed for a 3 month overland trip. This Indian built Japanese design bike never gave us a moments grief and disproved our doubts in Indian machinery. An added bonus was the 43.5 kms/litre fuel economy, giving us a 500km range before reserve making it a total of 600kms range.
Alfons also provided us with soft panniers big enough to carry everything needed for three months of blistful touring 2 up.
Our first overnight stop enroute was the elephant sanctuary on the way to Kandy. Most of the Elephants were orphans from the landmines of the Tamil Tiger civil war that had been raging for more than 20 years. One adult had lost the bottom half of one leg and the other front leg was badly disformed from the explosion. Another more fortunate occupant was a 95 year old mammoth tusker. The guide tried to temp Belinda into stroking his enormous donger that nearly had the circumferance of one of his legs and nearly hung to the ground! We heard he died a few weeks after our visit.
The roads are really quite good for motorcycles, providing you stay off the main busy roads, as they are mostly asphalt and wind thier way through rice paddy fields and tea plantations with little traffic.
The main roads take a bit of getting used to if you are from a first world country where "might is right" and buses are at the top of the foodchain. Locals refuse to use their mirrors and use their horns to make their presence known.
If you see a local with his right indicator (turn signal) on it could mean a number of things: They may want you to pass them on the right or they want to turn right themselves or they really want to turn left but forgot thier indicator was on!
All western driving rules are "out the window" with vehicles and obstacles coming onto your path of travel from all directions and various speeds. A driver needs 110% concentration as if in some fast action computer game. Its all about collision avoidance and in our 3 months although we had many close calls, we didn't see one accident, so the system does work.
The city of Kandy was not as nice as its name may indicate with a lot of slow moving taffic congestion and a lot of noise and air pollution, although we really did enjoy the walk around its central lake and a visit to the Tooth Temple.
From Kandy's central highlands we meandered slowly through manicured tea plantations toward the national park of Yala near to the southeast coast to see our first wild Indian Elephant (which is much smaller than its African relations)
Before picking up our daughter Kate at the Columbo Airport we stopped into nearly all of the beaches along the southern coastline and there are many!
Belinda and I felt very fortunate to have Kate accompany us by motorcycle for nearly a month. We rented a DR 250 Suzuki to accomodate her long legs and some rough terrain we had experienced from time to time for around US$15 per day.
With the monsoons persisting, we became good at reading precip forcast maps on the internet and dodging looming thunderstorms on each horizon. As good as we thought we were, we still got a good drenching on a few occasions.
Together we travelled to the north along the west coast which took us past many abandoned beach towns and fishing villages. We spent our first travelling night together on the sandy peninsula town of Kalpitiya.
The next day would take us to the ancient ruined cities located in the central north and closely accessable from the more mdern city on Anuradhapura.
A relatively short flight from Greece to Oman took us to our Muscat based friends from our home town Cairns, Chris and Dale Bartlett. Now did they have an action packed agenda for the next 2 weeks! From porsche drives through the country to a 4 day desert and mountain 4WD camping trip.
We explored ancient Arabic ruined cities, abandoned cliff dwellings, wadi bashing (driving up dry, rocky river beds) as well as a motorcycle day trip with a loan bike (BMW1150GS) from Tim Seed, The HU community member in Muscat. Tim is our hero as he located our lost motorbike from our previous trip to Oman. The freight forwarder took our money and our bike with no intention to ship it to Zanzibar. Tim forced the forwarder to ship the bike, thus saving us one huge monumental hassle and a ruined trip!
We were very impressed with Chris and Dale's adventure equipped 1998 Moto Guzzi Quota 1100ES ready for their upcoming trans Africa trip two-up.
We went hiking at the Grand Canyon of Oman, boating along the scenic coastline, beach combing and photography club at sunset, souk shopping for frankincense, cocktails at awesome palaces, met lots of their friends, BBQ's on the beach and had a fantastic time!
The fuel prices at .24 Euro Cents/litre made the touring cheap!
We found the Omani's extremely friendly and tolerant to the Western ways. Our two weeks were up before we knew it and we were on a plane to our next destination ....four months motorcycling around Sri Lanka!
With only days left on our Schengen visa we must leave our beloved Switzerland to enter Croatia (which is scheduled to join the Schengen programme July 2013). We had heard many great reports on the Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps and as it was on route the accent was a must. The switchbacks were so tight that you had to carefully plan your approach to each 160 deg turn and it was to our amazement that we passed a few medium sized motorhomes creeping up and down the slopes! We still dont know how they did it.
A response to our email to the members of the HU community in Croatia came from Goran Radetic in the small town of Porec on the West coast of the Istrian peninsula. He invited us to stay at his house with his new bride Jelena. They were so kind as to escort us around the peninsula showing us and telling us about the Greek and Roman history.
Heading south to the island of Krk we all met up with Nikola Mrakovcic, another HU community member. We had visited Nikola on our first pass through in 2005 and found him a wealth of knowledge on most Slavic countries as he writes motorcycle travel articles for the Croatian Bike Magazine.
Nikola instructed us to make contact with his friend Anton Rozic on the island city of Trogir. He and his wife Marija and daughter Paulina were fabulous hosts and treated us like family! Once again we had a local tour guide in Anton and he really showed us around the mainland on some fantastic roads.
He was kind enough to organise a 5 day inter island boat trip for us and store our bike til our return. One island visited was Korcula, the claimed birth place of our hero Marco Polo.
South of Croatia, along the Adriatic Coast is the magnificent country of Montenegro. We had no idea how beautiful this country really was when we took 24 hours to pass through along the coast in 2007. Having no expectations we were in for many surprises: from the cliff chiseled Monastery of Ostrog to the Pivsko Jezero Canyon with a section of road containing 67 rough tunnels in a 20km stretch leading to Durmitor National Park. This road was made to literally hug the canyon wall. The mountainous interior is dotted with ski areas and associated ski towns. The small windy interconnected roads made for some real "magic carpet rides".
Along the coast was just as jaw dropping with the island Monasteries surrounded by coastal mountains. We were lucky enough to find an apartment just opposite and overlooking these monasteries in Perast and that was enough to stop us in our tracks for over a week! From Perast there were too many spectacular biking roads to mention. Every day we would do day rides, only to return to our apartment on the water at night. The fortified town of Kotor, with its walls stretching for over 2 km's kept us enthralled for 2 days. Our thought was that Montenegro is the Switzerland of Eastern Europe.
Just to the south lies Albania and we were pleasantly surprised at the upgraded condition of the roads compared to our previous ride in 2007. Two worthwhile forts to visit are Rozafa Castle and the UNESCO listed Berat Castle. Fuel in Albania is considerably cheaper than the other European countries that we visited.
Heading east to Macedonia we entered Macedonia at Lake Ohrid and spent the night in a modern guesthouse on the overcrowded shoreline of Ohrid city. Thank goodness we fueled up before the border as Greek fuel prices rate amongst the highest in Europe. We had made arrangements to meet up with our old friend Orestis, the HU member for Athens at the picturesque town of Kastoria.
We celebrated our 3 year reunion with many bottles of wine on our penthouse verandah overlooking the Lake. The windy mountain rides and great Greek food, with great company made for an awesome 3 days. Sadly it all came to an end when we heard from HU community members and our bike partners Csilla and Oli, that a truck had been booked to take the bike back to Oradea, Romania. Upon leaving Greece the Immigration Officer thoroughly checked our passports for Schengen overstay.
Next stop.... Muscat, Oman.
Pat and "Miss Adventure 3" in front of an awesome Swiss House...just cant get enough of them...so unique!
The beginning of our trip...Belinda, Patrick, Oli, Dominik, Erik and Csilla, with Miss Adventure3 on the trailer.
Brian and Sandra Smith and Patrick in Southern Germany celebrating their 40 years Wedding Anniversary
Gday from our beloved Switzerland! We have just found out about the "Schengen Agreement" which means non Europeans can stay in Western European countries for ONLY 90 days in any 180 day period.., so a slight change in plans is required!
Early June, after a too short a stay in our beloved Cairns we headed to Greece to meet up with Csilla and Oli and our shared European motorbike "Miss Adventure3" from Romania. We met at a beachfront resort near Thessalonika, Greece and spent a week relaxing and enjoying their company and getting to know their 2 young, energetic boys. Oli had our Yamaha Super Tenere motorbike serviced and a few other changes made, so getting the bike ready to go was easy.
Our next stop was a seaside village south of Volos, Greece to visit our nephew Duncan Peck who is studying archeology and doing field work at a remote site nearby. Heading west through Meteora, Greece to Igoumenitsa we caught a 20 hour ferry to Ancona, Italy. We cruised through Tuscany to Cinque Terre. Amazing scenery and awesome pizzas, but very sad to see the damage sustained by a number of villages from the landslides from last winters rain.
Using precipitation websites we avoided a lot of rain:
The Dolomites Mountains in Northern Italy is a real highlight and we stayed in gorgeous little Italian villages in the mountains. We arrived on time for our housesitting "job" near Annecy, France looking after 4 rescue dogs for an English couple living in a gorgeous stone home in a little village in the Alps. Ten days of having a base, walking 4 dogs through the countryside, getting to know the neighbours and going for Menu de Jour for lunch for 13 Euros each, including wine and coffee was hard to take! We were spoilt for choice where to go for day motorbike rides, walks and lunch everyday! This was our first experience at French living and we liked it a lot.
Only a short distance away over some mountain passes to Lake Geneve, Switzerland we next went to where our good friends Nathalie and Patrick live. The famous Montreaux Jazz Festival was going on, so we thoroughly enjoyed the carnival atmosphere and some free shows during the day. The famous bands were on at night, but at up to $300 per person, we didnt go to any!
Celebrating anniversaries with friends is always fun, but meeting in a foreign country, travelling together, exploring and partying for 3 days and nights was an awesome way to mark 40 years of Wedded Bliss for Canadian friends Brian and Sandra Smith. Pat set out on his first long distance motorcycle trip with Brian from Canada to Mexico back in 1971! This trip we saw a part of the Tour de France with them and in one day visited 3 countries! Phew! It took us 2 days to recover after Cyclone Smith's departure! We relaxed in thermal pools in the spa town of Baden Weiler in Germany's wonderful black forrest.
Our next housesit was overlooking Lake Murten in Switzerland for our good friends Franziska and Romano. We looked after their wonderful home 2 years ago and "Peti" the cat remembered Pat's very attentive, gentle brushes...He purrs so loud! Every day we went cycling or motorbike riding on the small country roads and over mountain passes in the great summer weather. Our GPS tracking looks like a spiders web! Most single lane roads rolling through the hills and forrest are paved making very relaxing and entertaining rides. The old architecture of Switzerland is everywhere and we assume its because Switzerland wasn't involved in the last 2 world wars! Every scene is a screen saver...so pretty and perfect...we just cant get enough of it!
Just by luck, we were informed that a couple we knew from Cairns (Ted and Vicky Riddle) were housesitting in the area, so we spent a couple of days touring the area swapping stories and travel info. It was an unexpected treat and we will keep in much closer contact from now on.
Just around the corner near Murten our old friend Mika Kuhn is working between motorcycle trips around the world. We met Mika and Ian Coates in Cairns in 2001 and they told us about horizonsunlimited.com and answered our many travel questions. After a few dinner parties with them we decided to travel the world too by motorcycle!
Murten, Switzerland really feels like our second home as we have now spent 6 weeks in this area!
Our time is almost up to leave here! We are off to see Patrick and Nathalie near Vevey again; then visit Claudia and Ingo in Zurich and then we must leave our beloved Switzerland before our 90 days are up!
The plan is now to spend the next 6 weeks out of Schengen countries, so we will visit Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria before popping back into Thessalonika, Greece for our flight to Muscat, Oman mid October.
Explorer Roy Chapman Andrews, who led the Central Asiatic Expeditions in Mongolia in the 1920s had a great quote that we like a lot. He said: "Always there has been an adventure just around the corner... and the world is still full of corners!"
Its been a while since we wrote last! We had an absolutely amazing time in our motorhome in the Baja, Mexico and would thoroughly recommend it! We didn't feel unsafe for one minute..in fact we haven't felt so relaxed and welcomed in a country as much as the Baja! It is right up there as one of our favourite destinations and by motorhome has to be THE best way to experience it!
John and Jerry Burden, our partners in the motorhome, flew from Canada to Cabo San Lucas and we spent an awesome week with this awesome couple! We then flew back to Vancouver direct via Westjet for $400 each....bargain hey! J+J drove "Miss Adventure 6" safely back to Edmonton, Canada to commence their year of motorhome heaven!
We then commenced our journey home to Cairns after an amazing catch up with the Peck-Paddon clan in Vancouver and Paul's family at Ocean Shores, NSW. Belinda's Mum and Cairns welcomed us home and presented us with an awesome apartment to lay our heads in for 10 fantastic weeks (way too short) Special mention has to be made of the wonderful visit we had with Kate, Johnathan and the lovely Michelle and the bike share we have with Annette Cooper and Mike Mabbutt! You might have gathered we like to share when it comes to owning travel vehicles! We have caught up with most of you in Cairns..those we haven't, we better catch up soon, if not see you next time round!
We will be back on 2 wheels again this trip. Our great friends Csilla and Oli will deliver our European Super Tenere (that we own with them) to Thessaloniki, Greece where we will stay with them at a bargain 5 star resort with everything included (including cocktails apparently!) for E100 per ROOM in early June for 8 magic days with their 2 young boys!
The bike is set up and ready to cruise to amazing Annecy, France (via Italy) where we will housesit 4 dogs for 10 days, then we will meet Brian and Sandra Smith in Southern Germany for their 40th wedding anniversary on 8 July. (Pat introduced them to each other, so we just HAD to be there!)
Next destination is another housesitting "job" in Switzerland near Bern for 3 weeks (the same wonderful couple that we housesat for 2 years ago- Franzisca and Romano!)
We will then ride the bike back to Thessaloniki, Greece mid Oct where we fly to Muscat, Oman to see good friends now living there...Chris and Dale Bartlett...enter the scene again! They will show us the REAL Oman for a couple of weeks.
End October we will be on our way to wonderful Sri Lanka. We have heard great reports of this place and cant wait! We would love to housesit there too. Bin's cousin Olivia is marrying Nick and honeymooning in Sri Lanka so it would be great to see them, but give them some time alone...hehe! We will probably drop into India as a visa run..maybe check out Goa and a few other "must see's in India". The next flight is back to Jill's arms in Cairns end March 2013 from Sri Lanka via Ocean Shores to catch up with 2 kids that are growing up WAY TOO FAST for their wayward Aunt and Uncle's liking!
We will have our Australian phone with us for sms (text) ONLY 0061 419 309 309 and our NEW ADDRESS: patandbin (at) gmail (dot) com Please delete the old one's as we dont check them anymore!
Keep in touch and we hope to meet up with some of you on this trip...these moments are always highlights for us...and remember...life is full of moments...just make them magic ones!
We are getting ready to get back on 2 wheels on "Miss Adventure III" in Europe...leaving Cairns in just over 2 weeks!
We are writing to let you know we have fallen for a yahoo look alike email to upgrade. We clicked on it, put our email address and password in and wham..they had everything they needed to delete our contacts, inbox and folders with all our details! Somehow they also got into our hotmail account as well.
They also wrote to all our contacts saying we are in Manila and in trouble and need money. This is a scam. We are in Mexico, not in trouble and do not need any money...
We have no other way to contact our friends to tell them not to worry..please tell anyone we know in case they also got the email and are worrying about us!
We will not be using the yahoo or hotmail accounts any more. We now have a gmail account with the same beginning as our old accounts.
We hope nobody else ever falls for this trick...believe us...its a real pain!
We have just found paradise in the Baja, Mexico and we must describe this place to you!
About a 1/3rd of the way down Baja we were driving along the coastal mountain roads when we looked down to see this big horseshoe bay with small islands and yachts anchored just offshore. We couldn't resist it...100metre wide beach stretching for 2 km. Getting closer we noticed a tropical restaurant at one end and a couple of RVs parked next to palm sun shelters just above the high tide mark and facing a waveless shore line.
The few people that are here are all Canadians and are so relaxed and friendly and help with any questions we had. The regulars say there are better spots only a few km's down the road, but we are finding it hard to weigh anchor!
Walking around the headlands we have never seen such an abundance of colourful and multi shaped sea shells. While having our morning coffee in our arm chairs we watch countless birdlife, like pelicans and ospreys dive bombing for fish. Egrets, sandpipers and herons strolling the beach, while vultures spiral the updrafts.
Each morning the local Mexicans come around selling fresh fish, fruit, vegies, bakery and handicafts. The American who runs the restaurant and collects parking fees charges $5.50 per night. The climate here is so mild with the days hitting 25 deg C and down to 15C at night.
The downside is no telephone, internet, TV and electricity.
Today we took our bicycles to explore the beach villages down the coast. At our first gringo style village a lady came out to chat, next thing we found ourselves having tea on her patio when her husband roared up in his fishing boat, yelling for us all to get in to see the 200-300 dolphin pod in the next bay.
It was an unbelievable site and the dolphins were attracted to us by curiosity and to the sound of our outboard motor. They swam just under the boat and surfaced an arm span off the bow and Belinda could nearly touch them as they surfaced. After half an hour we headed back to the cottage for a beer and barracuda tacos that Bob had just caught. We eventually had to force ourselves to leave as there was a live band playing at our beach restaurant and we had to shower up for the party that followed. What great serendipity! All of the gringos living here are so friendly to open up their home to strangers.
Next morning we rented 2 kayaks to venture to the gringo village in the opposite direction. Only to find equally inviting residents there. Such a relaxed atmosphere. On this adventure we spotted frigate birds, oyster catchers and many hummingbirds, as well as all the others we mentioned before.
For a change of scenery we decided to change beaches to a free camping sand spit beach, some 20km down the road to meet up with some new friends. We only made it 2 km to the next picturesque beach as we just couldnt drive past it.
Next morning ....off to the spit. We only made it another 2km to the next postcard beach. Tomorrow..off to the spit..we hope!
Each beach we kayak out to circle the islands. Some beaches have kayaks for rent, at some the neighbours lend us theirs. The whale sharks are in the area, so we soon hope to paddle amongst them.
Last night we were invited to a pot luck dinner on the beach put on by some of the other RVers. Some return each winter since the 90's. A few had guitars, so the entertainment started shortly after dinner and finished about 9pm, which they call Baja Midnight!
This morning we must leave, but it is already 2pm and we are having trouble getting the energy to move the RV! Our biggest concern is how to keep the beach sand out of the RV!
Ths Spit...with 360deg views...eventually!
We entered USA near Vancouver mid September 2011 with the aim of going down the Rockies to Mexico and then coming back up the West coast in Feb 2012 as far as the weather will allow us. Our RV partners John and Jerry will then have a holiday in her, drive her back to Edmonton and we will fly back to Cairns via Vancouver early March 2012.
One of the best buys in the USA is a year long National Parks pass for $80. When its $20 per entry, thats a great deal! So that was our plan National Parks here we come. Now we don't need cities and hotels we can wake up in the middle of national parks, watch sunrises and sunsets, do some great hikes and bicycle rides...not to mention the stars at night...awesome!
The first state we travelled in was Washington and our goal was small country roads, away from big cities, so we followed stunning route 20 to Sandpoint in Idaho. We wanted to do Waterton National Park- Highway to the Sun Scenic Road, but it was closed for the season already...we had to get moving! So we headed more SE along highway 200, 90 and 191 to Yellowstone National Park. We were late in the season, lots of campgrounds had closed, but the weather was perfect! With an RV you have to watch freezing temperatures and snow as your pipes can freeze and crack...picture the sewerage pipe doing that??
We heard about a great motorcycle road called Bear tooth pass, so we did that at sunset...awesome and ended up in Cody, home of Buffalow Bill. While travelling we don't do any homework, just wing it...we never know what to expect and whats around the corner! We ended up in a gun fight in the main street with prostitutes and drunk men everywhere...it was all a show..hilarious!
Then back to Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park and Jackson. By now it was definately end of summer tourist season, early Oct, and all the sales were on! We bought hiking boots, Chaco sandals, warm jackets, all for around 60% off!
We then headed West on route 20 towards Craters of the Moon and Sawtooth National Park. We stopped for lunch at Sun Valley and were still there 2 days later! Sun Valley is a gorgeous, upmarket ski resort town where the rich and famous ski. While we were there the weather was gorgeous, so we parked right in the centre of town and cycled everywhere. Pat gets Belinda to knock on the door of the house we are parked outside of and asks if its OK to park there the night...they are all so friendly, one lady even offered to do our clothes washing!! We found a great thrift shop that had lots of jackets, warm boots, waterproof jackets, thermal underwear, all for bargain prices..heaven! There was a great wholefoods supermarket and the library had wireless internet...its a wonder we ever left!!
A big storm was coming so we decided to try to outrun it and head East towards Salt Lake City heading along route 80 past the salt plain. Mistake! Never try to outrun a storm...you would think we had worked that out by now! Well, we thought we were going to beat it, cruising along the Salt Lake when a mini tornado (that we didnt see coming) blindsided us and ripped our awning to threads..it was old and rotten anyway! It was the scariest 5 seconds (felt like 5 minutes) of our lives and Pat heroically kept the RV out of the salt lake and out of the way of oncoming traffic til we could get to the Salt Lake City Library where we camped for the night with free wifi internet and a stiff rum! Next day saw us headed up to the gorgeous ski resort town of Park City, then highway 40 east towards Dinosaur National Monument.
Our goal was to get to Boulder, Colorado to see Chris and Erin Ratay before Chris went on a rafting trip. We got there on time and Chris asked Pat to go on this BOYS only trip, so off they went! Erin and I stayed home waiting patiently for their return!! NOT..we painted the town RED! Boulder is a gorgeous University town with bike paths, coffee shops, gyms and great outdoor shops!After about 10 days...completely breaking our 3 day guest rule, we reluctantly left our very comfortable American home base and headed for Aspen via gorgeous Independence Pass. We camped (in the RV) in the front of a vacant house in downtown Aspen, a holiday home of some rich and famous person and rode our bicycles all over town, even did a guided historical society tour by bicycle! We loved it, the Aspen leaves were changing colour (amazing rainbow of colours) but it was getting cold -6deg C in our RV at night and we didnt want any frozen pipes!
South we continued to gorgeous Crested Butte, Black Canyon National Park, through Silverton to stunning Durango, Colorado. Colorado really is stunning and if you like hiking, biking or just driving...it doesn't get must better than this! Scenery to rival Belinda's favourite country Switzerland.
West we headed towards amazing Mesa Verde National Park, back up the mountains to Telluride (another gorgeous ski town) and down before it snowed to Moab, Utah. Snow was on our tail and keeping us moving! Moving is expensive when your RV runs at 4km/litre!
Utah has got to be USA's best kept secret with Arches and Canyonlands National Park, camping alongside the Colorado River, cycling around Natural Bridges National Park and driving down through Monument Valley! Our eyes and camera were working overtime!
The grand finale was the Big Daddy Grand Canyon! We saw it from the north and the south rim. They closed the north rim for the season the day after we left due to snow...we had to keep moving..damn snow!
Zion National Park was stunning on a gorgeous sunny day. The next day a huge storm came with lots of snow and we couldn't get up to Bryce Canyon National Park...time to head south towards Las Vegas. We stayed at Circuscircus resort from Mon- Thurs for $33/night, cheaper than the RV park at $45/night and free camped at Walmart during the weekend when the price went up! Vegas is an amazing place with lots of deals and not so FREE shows! We loved it and checked it all out!
Chris and Dale Bartlett, long term friends currently living in Muscat, Oman had arranged holidays before their conference in Vegas, so we picked them up in our RV and raced them off to Red Rock Canyon to cycle the scenic loop. They travelled with us for about a week and we visited Death Valley, Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Park. We even got up to Lake Tahoe and dropped them off at the airport at Reno. It was great seeing them again and we loved having them for every kilometre of the 2,000km we did together.
Chris and Dale in Yosemite, California.
We then came down scenic 395 back to Death Valley before another huge snow and wind storm closed route 395. We arrived at Tecopa Hot Springs RV park 5 minutes before a huge windstorm that lasted 2 days. We had died and gone to heaven. There were 2 indoor private 2 person spas, a communal hall, a huge DVD swap collection and THE friendliest people we have met yet! They are all snowbirds, have been coming to this place for years and we were the new (and young) kids to arrive! They made us feel so welcome, with happy hour at 4pm, early morning coffee together, music jam sessions, Date Farm tours...unbelievable! We didnt really care about the 80km/ hour winds outside! But...we had to keep moving!!
Still heading south in California we went through the Mojave Desert, then along the famous route 66 to the Colorado River, then to Joshua Tree National Park, Palm springs, Borrego Springs and finally to the famous"Fountain of Youth Resort and RV Park" near Salton Sea. Its a mini city with amazing activities and facilities and more friendly people with lots of time on their hands! We could have stayed there for a week, but we only had a few days left on Belinda's 3 month visa so had to keep moving...we will be back!
Yesterday we crossed the Mexican/ Californian border at Tecate and will finally slow down and spend the next 2 months in Baja, Mexico. We have put on 25,000km since Edmonton (6 months) and have thoroughly enjoyed every moment and have never felt so free in our lives! Retirement has just become a reality for us and we intend on making the most of every day that we are blessed with together.
As usual its the people you meet that make a trip and a life and we have the good fortune to have met some great people, but then you make things happen don't you.
Wow, what an awesome 6 months its been!
We arrived in Edmonton, Canada early June 2011 to see our new purchase, a 30 foot Winnebago motorhome (fondly named "Miss Adventure VI") that we had just purchased sight unseen from www.craigslist.com. Pat was born in Canada, so knew that cold wet rainy weather is always in the forecast. As we have developed into fairweather riders an RV was a great alternative to a motorcycle.
We have many friends and family who checked out Miss A for us. Thanks heaps to Doug Temple, Kathy Jones (Pat's sister) and Bert Walker! The sellers, Gwen and Gerry were extremely helpful and patient and John and Jerry Burden (Pats friends from University days) decided to share the purchase and use of the motorhome with us. The main stumbling block was insuring the motorhome with an Australian drivers license... so Pat got a Canadian license, we got insurance, registration and we were off!
First priority was to bury Pats Moms ashes in Fairview, Northern Alberta. All of Colleens 4 children and 2 daughter in laws were at the burial and then we had a wake in our RV....she would have enjoyed the party!
Colleens family: Kathy, Pat, Loraine, Bernie, Jocelyn and Belinda at the burial.
Alaska was our next goal! It was a long drive from Edmonton to Anchorage, but we did it in a week (600km days) and met good friends Nevione and Don Crawford who were finishing a cruise there. Anchorage is a wonderful place and we free camped on the city streets from 6pm-9am when the meters were not working!
Fairbanks, Alaska was our most northern point, as the road further north is a rough, dirt road- no good for an RV! Valdez was a highlight in Alaska..watching the seals, sea otters and brown bears all catching the poor salmon trying to get upstream to mate.
Alaskan dogs love to run!
We got a big fright while camping at the end of Homer Spit one night. A Police car had it's sirens blaring and announcing to all that a tsunami was on its way and that everyone must evacuate immediately! The only road in or out was instantly blocked and no vehicles (except motorcycles) could move. We could only sit and wait our fate. It took an hour to make the 2km journey and once we reached the safety of the mainland it was announced that it was a false alarm!!
At Haines we caught a ferry (with the RV) to Prince Rupert via Juneau. It was very expensive due to the size of our RV, but we heard it was a beautiful stretch of water with amazing scenery. Usually we are lucky when it comes to weather...this time we were not, a strong storm followed the ferry for the whole 2 days and we didnt get to see much scenery..oh well! Another time!
Back in Canada, the same storm followed us all the way to Jasper and by then we realised that we had made the right decision to leave our motorbike at home.
Pat lived in Jasper for 10 years (Kate was born there) and has many awesome friends there, so we had a great time. Duncan (Pat's nephew) and Suraya got engaged, so we went back to Edmonton to help them celebrate. We went to Lorraine's (Pat's sister) lake cabin and Doug + Barbs cabin to celebrate Bernie's (Pat's brother) birthday hooning around on Doug's ATV's.
Barb, Doug, Jocelyn, Bernie and Pat on Doug's toys!
Back to Jasper, along the top of the Rockies (gorgeous drive) to Banff. We spent the next 2 months cruising around Calgary, Sparwood, Nelson, Kamloops, Mara, Kelowna, Whistler, Vancouver Island, Vancouver catching up with friends, (I wont mention everyone's name) some Pat hadn't seen in over 30 years!
British Columbia is really picturesque, very lush, green and mountainous, we will be back! Our Cairns neighbour, Caleb travelled with us for a fun filled week and we attended our first HU meeting in Nakusp where we finally met Grant and Susan Johnson. Good friends from Cairns, Skip and Rach were there as well and John and Jerry camped on our couch! We had 5 sleeping in our RV one night (all 3 men snoring and over 6 feet tall!!)- people were amazed how many big bodies piled out of the RV in the morning!! hehe
We crossed into USA mid Sept 2011. Pat is travelling on his Canadian passport, no problem can stay 6 months. Belinda with Australian passport only 3 months! Oh well, lets see as much as we can, then Mexico for Christmas! Next installment...our USA adventures..our goal..to see as many National Parks as we can with our yearly pass.
Our route through Alaska, Canada and USA from June-Dec 2011.
We are now in Baja, Mexico heading south to La Paz, Mexico over the next 2 months. It would be great to catch up with any other travellers in the area.
We have just celebrated 6 months travelling around Canada, Alaska and USA in our wonderful 30 foot RV! Next destination: Baja, Mexico for 2 months and then back into USA early Feb and Vancouver early March...to fly home to Cairns, Australia for a few months.
Belinda, (HU members) John and Jerry Burden and Pat...new joint owners of "Miss Adventure VI" in Canada, USA and Mexico!
Pat, John, Jerry and Belinda at our RV warming party!
PatandBin and our wonderful RV in Death Valley, California.
Moving party with Pat, Caleb (our neighbour from Cairns), Linda, Con and Belinda in Nelson, B.C, Canada...always moving and always a party..hehe!!
Skip, Lorraine, Kevin, Pat, Caleb, Rachel and Belinda at HU meeting at Nakusp, BC, Canada in August 2011. Awesome to catch up and get together, plus learn heaps about motorcycle travelling. Skip and Rach are also Cairns HU members and great friends.
Bin and Chris Ratay in his toy car in Boulder, Colorado! We had a great time with Chris and Erin and thoroughly love Colorado!
Our rear end sticker collection of cheaky stickers... lots of people comment and take photos!
A big apology to all our diehard motorcycle travelling friends, but we have jumped ship! We are now travelling in Alaska, Canada and USA in a 30 foot Winnebago luxury motorhome and its awesome!
Currently, we are near Anchorage, Alaska. Our rough plan is to drive around Alaska for a few more weeks and then head towards Jasper, then Vancouver 19 Aug when we pick up our neighbour Caleb to travel with for awhile, then south into USA for about 5 months. We will fly back to Australia from Vancouver 4 March 2012.
We would love to go to as many Horizons Unlimited meetings as we can, we are going to the Nakusp, Canada meeting in August to catch up with as many friends as possible on the way to nowhere!
When we last wrote we were leaving South Africa and finally heading for home, Cairns, Australia. We eventually sold Miss Adventure II (our Yamaha XTZ750) and ALL our gear to Chad and www.wilddog.za.net members. If you are riding in South Africa you HAVE to join this group of passionate bikers! We love em..they are awesome! We hopped on the plane home with hand luggage only after 18 months of riding in Africa and Europe with big smiles on our faces.
The last 2 months we have been living in an apartment on the Esplanade in Cairns catching up with family and friends, having health check ups, trying to fix up Belinda's frozen shoulders (which are coming along nicely, though slower than she likes, thank you for asking!!), doing taxes, going through 18 months of mail, trying to get fit, studying about the stock market (with the help of Rich Dad, Poor Dad coaching programme) and helping Bin's Mum maintain her house and garden!
Pat's brother Bernie and his wife Jocelyn from Edmonton, Canada have stayed with us for 2 weeks and we think they now know why we live in paradise ..oops Cairns! HU members John and Allana Skillington also stayed for a few days of eat, meet and greet!
We are now 5 weeks away from departing Cairns again (2 June) ...destination ... Edmonton, Canada.
Our butts are taking a break from motorbike riding and we will spend the next 9 months travelling in a motorhome.
We plan to go from Edmonton, Canada to Alaska and then down to Boulder, Colorado to catch up with Chris and Erin Ratay and then head further south, maybe into Mexico.
We have bought a 30 foot Winnebago in partnership with our Canadian friends John and Jerry Burden.
Our plan is to use it every second Canadian summer.
If anyone is heading for Canada or USA soon, we would love to catch up!
All travellers know that this awesome life is not possible without a hardworking back up team! Thanks heaps to Bin's brother Paul for looking after our rental properties and tenants and a BIG thank you to Bins Mum, Jill, for checking our mail and a MILLION other jobs! What would we do without you!
Look out Canada.. Cyclone Peck is heading your way!
Super Tenere XTZ750 COMPLETELY set up for touring for sale in South Africa
This is a great opportunity for someone who doesn't want to ship their bike into Africa.
For the price of shipping from almost anywhere, you can buy this bike already set up.
She is a 1996 maroon Super Tenere. We have done tonnes of modifications and really looked after her.
She has an Ohlins shock, super strong and reinforced GIVI racks, Bagster tank protection, very comfortable modified gel seat with Australian sheep skin cover, custom made tool box under engine, with all the tools you will ever need!
The mileage is just over 100,000 and we have maintained and serviced her regularly. We don't take her on bad dirt roads.
We will sell Miss Adventure II for US$5,000 and will contemplate selling everything else, ie 3 GIVI boxes, helmets, jackets, pants, gloves, everything needed to do a trip for not much extra.
Belinda is size small and Pat is size large.
Check out lots of photos on www.horizonsunlimited.com/tstories/peck
We are currently driving around Capetown if you want to see the bike.
We will be leaving Capetown and finished with the bike approx 20 Feb 2011. If we don't sell her we will probably store her with HU member Johan Naude, on his wine farm in Worcester, 120 km from Capetown.
Call on 0727 099 042 (South Africa +27) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The bike has been maintained well and given us NO PROBLEMS.
The bike does not use any oil between its 8,000km services.
She is ready to keep going another 100,000km.
The cost to ship her back to Australia prevents us from shipping her home, as much as we would love to keep her.
Let us know if you are keen! We are running out of time and we have to sell her!
Check out our daughter Kates blog of our trip: www.charitysafari.com
MODIFICATIONS and recent upgrades All INCLUDED in the price:
(US$ cost to replace!)
Ohlins Shock absorber US$1,100
Very comfy custom made touring gel seat with Australian sheep skin cover $500
Scottoiler automatic chain oiler and tube reservoir $300
K and N air filters with pre filters $150
Engine protection bars $285
Plastic protection coating on tank and panels $200
Extended fuel tank 30+ litres
Side stand pad $50
New brake pads (15 Dec 2010) $150
New battery (22 Dec 2010) $85
New X-ring chain and sprockets (10 Jan 2011) $200
Aftermarket handle bars with comfortable foam grips $150
Headlight protectors $30
Heavy duty regulator
2 wrist rests $30
bike cover $60
12 volt adaptor $50
Heavy duty luggage rack and frame strengthener $600
3 GIVI connection plates $400
Barkbuster hand guard and lever protection $250
Bagster tank cover and tank bag $400
aluminium tool box attached to bike and extensive tool kit $250
bicycle speedo $50
Modifications only TOTAL=US$5,290 (36,100Rand) Bike is therefore free!
EXTRAS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE:
2 X SHOEI syncrotech flip face helmets size XS and XL US$150 each (R1050) US$600 NEW and VERY hard to find here
2 X Summer motorcycle jackets L US $50 (R350) and XL, newer US$100 (R700)
2 X BMW Rallye 2 motorcycle pants S and L US$200 each ($600 new) (R1400)
1 X brand new one piece rainsuit US$80 (R500)
Assortment of gloves
2X trekking boots, good quality small and medium size
New battery (22 Dec 2010) suit Super tenere or similar!
Brand new clutch cable and carburetor cable for XTZ750 -- SOLD
XTZ750 starter motor --SOLD
1X spare front sprocket and a few other spares for XTZ750
Wow, how do we sum up the last 3.5 months in a readable form!? When we last wrote we were leaving Switzerland and following the Alps along the Austrian, Italian, Slovenian border...AWESOME Alpine riding..the best in the world! We also followed the Croatian coast road to Dubrovnik to avoid a huge storm!!! Slowly we cruised back to Romania to deliver our 50% share of Miss Adventure III (the super tenere) to Csilla and Oli. They were anxious parents, not for our return, but for the arrival of their second boy, Erik, who was born a few weeks after we left Romania! Well done Csilla and Oli too!
Next leg of the journey, we flew to Johannesburg to travel with our son, Johnathan for 7 weeks and then daughter, Kate for 7 weeks on a KLR650 that we bought for them when we were in South Africa last! The KLR and our Super tenere (Miss Adventure II) were both stored in Potchefstroom, near Joberg with our wonderful friend Dries Van Schalkwyk while we were in Europe for South Africas winter. Thanks heaps Dries and Jimmy for all your help and support.
We had a wonderful time travelling with Johnathan in amazing Lesotho, Swaziland and along the Garden route up to the Hell, Baviaans and most of the South African passes, putting on 8,500km on the bike!! He is such a great guy and a pleasure to travel with...so positive and happy and easygoing. The kids had a great week together, so we had 2 bikes 2 up which was a hoot and they went cage shark diving, did winery tours, rode the bike around the Cape of Good Hope and checked out our beloved Capetown. Johnathan then handed the keys over to Kate to ride the KLR on her own! She is so confident and willing to learn and will try anything...also a pleasure to have around! How are we so lucky to be blessed with such wonderful travel companions and friends in our kids!
We are now in Namibia with Kate..its too hot here around 45 deg C, so we will head back down to Capetown where we are housesitting a Wilddog bikers home from 20 Dec to 9 Jan. Kate is raising money for YGAP, (Y Generation Against Poverty) check out her website that she is updating regularly...more than us...of her trip and lots of photos: www.charitysafari.com Feel free to donate to feed a poor family for Xmas if you can on her site! Kate leaves end Jan and we will sell the KLR650 2007 with just over 15,000km on her for around US$5,000 if you know of anyone!! wink wink!
While Im doing a sales spiel...we have decided to sell our beloved Miss Adventure II Yamaha Super Tenere XTZ750 1996 fully set up for travelling. We will be finished with her end Feb 2011 and will sell her for US$5,000. Bargain! Enough selling..cant help myself...we have thoroughly enjoyed Africa and seen what we want to see, hence the sale.
We hope YOU have a great Xmas and are REALLY looking forward to coming home to Cairns 27 Feb 2011. Yeahoo!
So here we are having fun in South Africa! Very busy, story coming, first photos!
Peck Family travelling together!
The Pecks travel with the Ratays!
The Baviaans Boys, Dries, Jimmy, Pat, Johnathan, Neville and the rest of the crew!
When we wrote last we were just leaving the arms of Csilla and Oli (H/U members in Romania) and taking off for 5 months on a tour of Europe on our half share Super Tenere, fondly named Miss Adventure III. It is now 8,000km later and we have had many wonderful experiences and made many friends for life.
We followed the Danube River, which was in flood, so a bit tricky in places, from Romania, Serbia, Hungary and into Austria. We had fantastic weather until we arrived in Vienna and the bad weather set in for a few days! That was OK as we were tucked up nice and dry at HU memebers near Vienna, Hanka and Eriks little love shack with their 2 year old son, Mika. We did many rides around their house and went into Vienna many times to check out some of the fantastic museums.
We love Austria and Austrians and then slowly headed west towards Switzerland. From past experience we knew Switzerland was stunning and VERY expensive. Through www.housecarers.com we arranged to look after a house, cat and garden near Murten for 3 wonderful weeks. Franziska and Romano Hunger are the owners of this gorgeous home and became dear friends. Everyday we would either ride their bicycles or our motorbike and discover the area. We really like this way of travelling, it takes away the stress of looking for a place to sleep every night and you can get to know an area and the people better...we will do more of this housecaring. During our 3 wonderful weeks in Murten we met many Horizons members and shared many meals and many miles with them.
We shared a few meals and miles with Patrick and Nathalie (H/U members) from La Tour-de-Peilz, on Lake Geneva. They mentioned that they were going on holidays for 10 days, would we like to stay at their place and water the plants! So off we went to our next near new house with lake views! Lucky hey!
We then visited an amazing guy called Ben Ischer (H/U Member) who lives in the mountains in a lovely village called Frutigen, which is close to a very popular town called Zermatt. Ben had just returned from 3 months working in India and enthralled us with stories of his amazing life and upbringing in all sorts of developing countries. Such an amazing spirit and only 30 years old..it was a real pleasure to meet him and his friends and great Mum.
Next, we moved to Marcel and Flavia Wolfs home near Lucern. They spent 3.5 years riding their motorbike around the world and we have many friends in common. We spent a wonderful week with them, went on some amazing rides and had some great parties, we even had our good friend from Cairns- Anna Marie Minchau and Walter Frey over for dinner one night! Such a busy couple, yet so loving, warm and inviting to 2 fellow bikers!
We are now in Lenzburg with Claudio Angelini and Sabine Salm in their family farm house. Claudio also travelled around the world for 2.5 years and is now working for Moto Mader, the largest BMW and Yamaha dealership in Switzerland.
Next, we are off to meet Dieter Zerndt in St. Gallen for the weekend and then we will have to leave our beloved Switzerland after 6 wonderful weeks. We LOVE YOU Switzerland and will return again one day!
While travelling in South America and the Middle East we hardly saw any other bikers, but in Switzerland on a sunny day there are thousands of bikes out, so many that our wrists get sore from constant waving..Pat wants to get a plastic hand on a spring!!
Miss Adventure III has done her job admirably and now its time to give her some attention, so we are going to Kerstin and Volker (H/U Members) near Stuttgart, Germany to give her new tyres, a service and check the shimms.
Our route back to Romania over September will depend on the weather. We are hoping to cross the Alps again early September and spend some time in Northern Italy, slowly making our way east to Romania early October. We will then fly back to Johannesburg October 8 and cruise around Southern Africa area til March 2011, when we return to the Davis Clan in Cairns, Australia. Cant wait...bring it on!
Every day is a pleasure and a joy, with so much freedom and beauty surrounding us. We absolutely love this life and wouldnt change a thing. We are very lucky that we both love the same things and are both very sociable people...we love meeting new people..chatting to complete strangers and finding out about different cultures and, if we can, helping people to make their dreams happen too.
Super Tenere XT1200Z personal ride review June 23 2010 Vienna, Austria by Patrick Peck
My view of the bike is derived from my years of riding the XTZ 750 since 1990 continually to today over 250,000kms with seven personally owned Super Tenere's. With a 15 year gap between models I have plenty of time to make up my wish list and the new Super Tenere has most of them.
It appears that Yamaha is being very subtle with their marketing as this was claimed by our salesman as the only XT1200Z demo available in all of Austria and it was first released in Istanbul mid Feb 2010. It will not actually be available for sale till mid July.
The bike looks much heavier than it feels at speed and stationary. The salesman went into panic mode when I dropped the bike down as low as I could get it without actually touching the carpark asphalt. It came up faster and easier than I expected. Apparently the sidemounted radiator has allowed the motor to be positioned a few centimeters forward which will give better balabnce to the bike with a pillion and luggage.
Many of my questions to the salesman were unanswered as he didn't speak English and he really seemed unaware. He said that there was a catalytic converter, but it must be hidden in the muffler. If so, leaded fuel countries would be off the list to travel.
With 72kms on the speedo we headed out 2 up, into rush hour traffic of Vienna. Seating was the most comfortable of any bike we have ridden with plenty of room for both me and my wife. The adjustable seat was at its lowest and my feet were planted firmly on the road and my knees were not extended. My height is 183cm.
It wasn't long before the fan came on to cool the engine down, but the heat light had not come on and there was no temp gauge, so I couldn't judge how hot the motor really was.
The minimum walking speed without using the clutch is important for tough terrain and traffic congestion. 20kms/hr indicated was as slow as possible without clutching where the XTZ750 is 12kms/hr.
Finally, heading out towards the open road the bike cornered onto the freeway as confidently any road bike I have ridden and accelerated as you would expect quite exhilarating from 110 horsepower, the XTZ750 has 69 hp. In fact, it had great acceleration at any speed up to our top at 168kph and would have a lot more speed up its sleeve. Redline was 7800rpm and showed 4500rpm at 145kph. Our GPS showed a 9kph over error. Vibration was as low as you will find on any big twin and the bike felt ultra stable including the 3 kms of dirt road that we found which was surprising considering it was fitted with full on road tires.
Gears were very smooth shifting both up and down. Wind seemed to catch only the top of my helmet at all speeds and if it is of concern, there is a larger windscreen available. Braking was very strong but never really put the ABS to use for fear of being overridden by some big Merc. By the end we had 165kms on the clock and the fuel warning light was flashing!!
In the parking lot I measured the ground clearance to the centre of the bashplate while on the sidestand: 23cm where the published stats are only 20.5cm. I spotted a BMW F800GS in the parking lot that measured 25.5cm and my 1994 XTZ750 measured 30cm with the standard rear shock. Front forks were upsidedown, very substantial and adjustable. Rear shock had an easily adjustment, Hard - Soft. Lightweight faring protectors were mounted midway up the faring but it is hard to judge how effective they will be.
The engine has a Dry Sump Oil System that will not allow all of your oil to drop on the road should you knock a hole in the sump from a rock or other hard object.
My wishlist from the old XTZ that are on the new bike:
Good riding lights
12 volt adaptor
Traction control (hadn't really thought of that one)
Adjustable front and rear shocks
Easy access oil filter
Lightweight luggage racks
Stainlees steel exhaust pipes
Very comfortable rider and pillion seats
More horsepower (110hp may be excessive for my style of riding)
Stability at high speed
Six speed gearbox
Heavy duty bashplate
Twin spark ignition system for fuel efficiency
Smaller fuel tank
19 inch front wheel
No easy access for airfilters
Low ground clearance
Lefthand faring seemed loosely attatched
High price tag at 14,750 euros
Shortcomings are few in number and can all be changed with time.
It would be nice if they would release an Adventure model as BMW has done with its 1200GS
From what I have read on the Super Tenere club forums around the world, members would like a smaller version with the TDM 900 bulletproof engine, brakes and lights. Original 26 liter fuel tank of XTZ750 and suspension of the WR450. By using components already in production the retail price could be a lot lower and Yamaha profit could be higher without the risk of experimentation that comes with a totally newly invented bike. Are you listening YAMAHA??!!
Would I buy the new Super Tenere? Yes, but it would live a much more subdued life than my XTZ750 have lived. I have been a passionate Super Tenere owner for the past 20 years because the bike has been strong enough to carry me, my wife and 12 months luggage without mishap or brake down and Yamaha has service outlets in even the most "out of the way places". As long as you carry a parts list to present to the dealer, you can get that much needed part anywhere in the world!
My wife says I am obsessive about Super Teneres, at the moment we own four XTZ750's placed in as many cities around the world, so perhaps I am!!
This is a list of our luggage- we need ALL of this, we dont leave any out or bring any extra, as there simply will not be any room.
Some of this you will not have, so you will need to buy it from a good outdoor, camping shop. Good stuff is expensive, but will last you a VERY long time and you can use it for lots of other outdoor pursuits.
This is a list of our luggage PER PERSON as requested by others!
Our motto is wash one set, wear the other, anything else is too much!
2 pair undies!
2 pair socks, one thin, one thicker
1 pair hiking sandles
1 pair hiking boots
1 pair riding gloves
1 riding jacket (summer)
1 pair riding pants or long pants and knee protectors
1 thin rain jacket
1 fibrepile warm and windproof jacket (quick drying and compact)
1 long sleeve shirt or long sleeved thermal underwear (quick drying)
1 pair zip off long pants (quick drying)
1 singlet for really hot weather
2 pairs quick drying tshirts
1 pair swimmers
1 pair swimming goggles
1 pair running shorts (quick drying and compact)
1 pair sunglasses
1 small compact sun hat
International drivers licence from RACV (very important)
photocopy of eticket from travel agent
photocopy of passport and all other important documents,
plus leave a copy at home
toiletries, all in bottles less than 100ml for the flight
Injections for the country going to
Bring injections book from Dr, plus leave a photocopy of this at home
mobile phone and charger
All of this should fit into a stuff sack in a day pack, with the bike gear in a larger back pack or soft bag, no suitcase!!
Introducing Miss Adventure III that usually resides in Romania! note the flooded Danube River in Hungary in the background.
Brand new Super tenere XT1200Z we took for a test ride in Vienna.
Hanka and Erica riding Miss Adventure III at their place close to Vienna.
Pat on an ATV in Groote Island, Australia
Pat and Murray on hired bikes in the Philipines.
Pat on Miss Adventure II in Oman
Belinda sitting on a rock, instead of a bike in Ethiopia with Gelada Baboons and amazing scenery.
Belinda and some Swiss bikers we met in Ethiopia.
Pat helping a Zambian local get his bike down a steep hill!
Us at the latest BMW at a launch in Windhoek, Namibia
ATVs again in the Namibian desert.
Pat and Johan and Dries in South Africa..playing in the dirt!
We have thousands of photos of us and others on bikes...this will give you enough of an idea!
Quick update! We are now in Romania with our wonderful friends Csilla and Oli and little Dominik (2 years old) Schul. We have bought 50% share in their Super Tenere and Pat is now putting on a Scottoiler and converting her to Miss Adventure III. We now have a Super Tenere in 3 continents in the world- we are getting close to Pats goal!!
We left our beloved Miss Adventure II tucked up nicely for South Africas winter with our great friends Dries and Erica Van Schalkwyk in Potchefstroom, near Joberg, South Africa.
Next step we spent 2 wonderful days in Rome with Bins Mum and Aunty Pam, then a fantastic time with David and Ruth in Holland. Next, was the most magnificent experience in our lives so far!! We did a 15 day river boat cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest with APT tours with Dad and Maz to celebrate Dads 70th birthday. The boat had 145 Australians and New Zealanders on board, average age about 70 years old!! We partied on day and night and 15 days later were absolutely exhausted! I hope we have as much energy as some of those 85 year olds had when we are that old! Pat wasnt so keen on this idea, but loved every minute of it and said if this is as good as Heaven is, then he can hardly wait! Cruising on a luxury riverboat along the Rhine and Danube Rivers, eating 3 times a day the food and drinks of the countries we were passing through, it doesnt get much better than that! It was wonderful travelling with energetic, entertaining Aussies and we just love the Aussie sence of humour! We stopped at many villages and did walking and bus tours around as well. Everything was organized, we didnt have to make any decisions, we didnt have to pack and unpack everyday, it was pure heaven and a real break from roughing it in the last 6 months in Africa!
Csilla and Oli picked us up off the ship in Budapest and hand delivered us to Romania! Amazing friends, hey! Next leg is by motorbike again from Romania to Switzerland following as many rivers and mountain ranges as we can find! Mid July- mid Aug we will spend in Switzerland, then drive the motorbike back to Romania (via Denmark maybe) end September.
October 8 we will be back in Joberg, South Africa with our son, Johnathan (22 years old) riding behind us on a KLR650. Six weeks later our daughter, Kate, 23, will join us in Capetown, South Africa for her turn to ride the bike behind us!! As usual, bring it on!
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