October 18, 2008 GMT
IRAN- Oct 2008

Salam from the Middle East!
Last time we wrote we were in Greece. We spent a wonderful week riding around the Greek Island of Lesvos Island, a lesbian pilgrimage island, with wonderful scenic rides.
Next appointment was with our Turkish friend Baha in his summer holiday apartment! Its amazing the people we have met this trip! We travelled with Baha along the west coast of Turkey for a week and then we drove back along the Black sea coast of Turkey to Trabzon to pick up our Iranian visas from the Iran embassy there. Very easy, US$50 each but it took them 3 weeks to approve us!
Iran....wonderful Iran....how do we tell you about our fantastic time there?
Firstly, its law that women are covered up in public from head to toe. In 40deg heat, its a chore, but its a jailable offence, just like dancing in public or showing affection in public!
Ramadan, a Muslim tradition of not eating or drinking during daylight hours in public for a month was half way through when we entered Iran, so food was very scarce.
The people of Iran have to be the friendliest in the world and we felt very safe, in fact we felt like movie stars and everyone made such a fuss over us to make sure we were happy and everything was OK. One day we had a homeless kid offering us some of his meager rice as a friendship gesture. When we would arrive in a town the "flies"- young guys on motorbikes would drive really close to us to talk to us and touch us and show off doing wheelies in front of us. They would then escort us to the Hotel we were looking for...not bad service and they didn't do it for money...which was refreshing.
Following a group of older Iranian women is like being behind a flock of penguins, all in black.
The food was very boring on the whole... kebabs and rice or kebabs and rice...for 30 days, twice a day....uurrgghhh so dry!
Highlights were Esfahan..the jewel of ancient Persia and one of the finest cities in the Islamic world. Imam square and Imam Mosque are to be seen to be believed, one of the most beautiful mosques in the world.
Yazd in the desert is the best old and still inhabited city in the country and one of the oldest towns on Earth according to UNESCO. Buildings there are made from mud brick plastered with more mud and mixed with straw- no problem as it hardly ever rains in the desert. We stayed at the famous travellers meeting place: Silk Road Hotel for 5 nights and had to drag ourselves away. There were lots of other cyclists and a Turkish biker there and lots of other travellers to share tales with!
Fuel for locals was .10c/litre for locals, but tourists have to pay .40c/litre for leaded and .55c/litre for unleaded if you can find it. We were told that the average income in Iran is US$4000/YEAR, which is half of the average wage in Turkey.
Crossing from Iran to UAE was a long and expensive process. When the boat arrived at 4pm customs was closed, so the bike had to stay and we had to go- we hate leaving her alone! Next morning Pat returned to pick up the bike, 4 hours and US$230 later, we were on our way again, one of the worst and most frustrating border crossings ever!
We then went to Abu Dhabi where HU member David and Rita Mildwater kindly offered to store our bike and gear for a year. We also caught up with Dave, Lynne and Harri Mollenhauer, friends from Cairns now living in Dubai. Oman for a few days was our next destination, then Hong Kong to see Murray and Lieve Frame for a few days and go sailing on their new yacht, then home to Cairns tomorrow, Nov 2, 2008.
What a year it has been! Full of fantastic memories, we met amazing people and survived the dreaded Middle East. Not for one moment did we feel unsafe, except a few close calls driving in Iran and Turkey,where there are not many road rules except avoidance driving and "fill that gap"! As usual people are what made the trip. Travelling to us is not about ticking off places seen, but magic moments shared with new and old friends. Saying that we have now been to 76 countries over the last 5 year long trips!
See ya tomorrow morning Cairns! Cant wait.

Posted by Patrick Peck at 12:59 PM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!