Suddenly there were motorcycles everywhere, a stark contrast to the empty roads further east. I could say a lot about the many Austrian alpine resorts and the Grossglockner Road, but obviously it would be old news to road travellers. But it was all very nice. At the same time everything became very straightforward, and when stuck for a few days in the tent in rainy Lichtenstein I made the decision to do a U-turn and continue the excursion to some more far away places. It had to be a new continent. Yes, why not really go to Asia, to Istanbul and do the classic overland route to Kathmandu.
Bliss in Austria
A lot had to be done before I could do the U-turn. After a quick look at Switzerland I parked the bike at Knopf Tours (www.knopftours.com) in Heidelberg, Germany. Then I flew home, not without problems, because a can of WD40 had emptied itself in my luggage bag and mysteriously erased all ink print on the airline ticket. I worked at the Arctic stations to save some greens, and I applied for the necessary visas. A new international driver’s license was necessary too. So was the green card. Not to forget the Carnet de Passages that was obtained at the Norwegian Automobile Association. The trip would for sure last longer than the six week limit on the travel insurance, so a costly extension was made. A vast number of vaccines were taken. Some back-up medicines was provided by my doctor, and a letter of content was written by the pharmacy. My Dad volunteered as manager of the Bureau of Domestic Affairs, and Torger and Christina agreed to quickly forward all mail from my home address in Tromsø. Finally, Grant and Susan kindly provided me with this web log so that friends and family knows what’s going on. Thanks! And while all this was happening, Knopf in Heidelberg made sure that Balto the bike was safe and given a full service. Grrreat work!!!!
Knopfs: The garage every motorcycle dream about
The first drive on the second stage took me to Frankfurt where I met the legendary Ingo the Raumfahrer. He told some exciting stories from recent trips in Venezuela and Ecuador, and in the spirit of travel I gave him a bottle of Linie Aquavit, a Norwegian specialty famous for being shipped around the world before being offered to customers. Ingo insisted he would not open the RTW bottle before I returned.
OBS: TO ALL OWNERS OF XT600, XT660, TT600 etc...
I continued to Köln for an appointment with Off The Road AG, a company that promise to make your adventure bike better. Don't be fooled. They mounted a vacuum fuel pump (which loosened and caused oil spew through an engine gasket), a chain lubrication system (which fell off), and an oil cooler (which fell apart and caused the loss of half of my oil reserves). Thank God these things didn’t happen somewhere remote like in a desert. In addition they recommended their so-called 30 litre aluminium tank which in reality was smaller. Petrol was leaking from it when new, and the tank was still dripping like a coffee machine after they repaired it. At this point I expected some efforts on their part to solve the situation. After all, they made the thing and I had not yet been able to drive a single meter with it. But their suggestion was that I buy some glue and fix the problem myself. Say again???!!! Naturally I returned the thing with request for a refund or a replacement. Bizarrely they refused to pick up the parcel at the post office in Köln. After a week of no reply I received this mocking message by email (quote): "It is not possible for you to say: Oh, I do not want the tank anymore."
They claimed no responsibility whatsoever. The only comfort was their promise to send the repeatedly asked-for receipes for the tank payment and the job. They never did.
This bulky thing is a new product from Off The Road AG. They pretty much work like the carpet salesmen in Istanbul. After some fancy talk they make you pay a lot for rubbish. Some people call it swindle.
The so-called repair
It’s sad. I trusted these people with more than a thousand euro from my travel budget. But I received zilch benefits, just hassle, and I regard the money as stolen. I wish I knew then that you’ll find a much wider collection of Yamaha TT and XT stuff at www.kedo.de , more reliable wünstertanks at www.rikycross.it , and better travel gadgets at www.touratech.comPosted by Erik Saue at October 27, 2005 12:12 PM GMT
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!
"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!
Next HU Events
- UK Haggs Bank: Sep 19-21
- USA California: Sep 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Germany Autumn: Oct 23-26
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! USA Virginia: Apr 9-12, 2015
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
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).
"Inspiring and hilarious!"
"I loved watching this DVD!"
"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
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!
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 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.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.
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 © 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!