HU Travellers Meeting North Carolina 2015


Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting

Thursday Oct 8 - Sunday Oct 11, 2015 - Stecoah, North Carolina

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It's All About Overland Adventure

Whether you're a seasoned veteran with wisdom to share or a complete novice hungry for ideas and guidance, it doesn't matter if you ride a motorcycle, a bicycle, or drive an expedition vehicle...

Horizons Unlimited meetings are for everyone who dreams of adventure along the road less travelled.

Horizons Unlimited North Carolina Event Schedule

The event is taking place from Thursday, Oct 8 to Saturday, Oct 10, 2015.

The Registration Tent will open for check-ins at 1 pm on Thursday, Oct 8, with the first presentations beginning at 6 pm. Last presentations will be Saturday night.

There will be slide shows and tech clinics on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, and all day Saturday. Come early and make it a great weekend! We recommend riding on Thursday and Sunday, and participating in the presentations and clinics in the evenings, Friday and Saturday.

As well as hearing inspiring stories of overlanding adventure from around the world, you'll get the low-down on preparing for your journey, navigation, first-aid, photography, filming and a host of other essential topics. Whatever your past experience or future plans may be, there's something for everyone.

Presenters at HU North Carolina 2015 so far...

Workshops and Tech Sessions below

Sam Manicom.

Sam Manicom

'One of the best story tellers of adventure in the world today'

Africa. Full on Adventure – Every Day!

Nuts or an ideal ride for a complete novice? After all, ignorance can be bliss! Disasters = off-days, & the rest, pure travel magic

When he planned to ride the length of Africa, Sam had no idea what he was doing. But he knew that though a novice motorcyclist, with luck, respect and common sense, he had every chance of making it. Suddenly it looked as if this mix wasn't going to be enough. Just 6 weeks before he made it to the fabled 'Dark Continent' everything went wrong. What would you do? He'd given up his career and had sold his house, it's contents, his car and just about everything that had value. Where Sam's previous life had been, was a large empty space…

From this rocky beginning, 8 years of travelling around the world, magazine articles and his 4 books evolved.

Sam Manicom at the Fish River Canyon, Africa.

Sam Manicom has travelled for most of his life but he is better known for his 8 year, 200,000 mile motorcycling adventures around the world.
Robert Echard.

Robert Echard

RTW the Easy Way - Think About Your Goals

In 2014 I rode through 14 countries, London to Magadan in 4 months, then 1/2 month in 2015 to cross the USA.

I have done adventure travel since the year 2000 but decided in 2013 to go RTW before I get too old. My goal was not to visit a lot of countries and experience a lot of cultures, but to go London to Magadan with the main goals to be Russia and the Road of Bones, then cross the USA on my trusty DR650. My first choice would have been to travel with one or two adventure riders I know and trust, but none wanted to go, and I didn't want to go alone. I didn't hook up with anyone on H U either, but a personal conversation with Grant Johnson had a lot to do with my selecting Compass Expeditions for the London to Magadan part. I got more than I bargained for, good and bad. I saw more of the world than I wanted, but had a wonderful education about history in many different countries. We visited 14 of them. Come to my presentation to see what I'm talking about.

Robert Echard.

Robert Echard has been riding 52 years. Raced MX, Enduros, drags, hare scrambles, and road races when young. Has ridden Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Alps, Ecuador, PA to Alaska and Prudhoe Bay. Began collecting books about RTW travel in the 90's. Met Helge Pederson and Ted Simon. Finally planned to go RTW himself.

Mark Carrera.

Mark Carrera

Kazakhstan and Life Choices - Not the Land of Borat AND
Two Newbies in Costa Rica on a 650GS - Sealing the 'Deal'

Kazakhstan and Life Choices - Not the Land of Borat

In fact, it's much better and more of an adventure. Mark Carrera, a world traveler, will give a presentation on adventures in Kazakhstan where he lived throughout the 1990's. His presentation will cover a little history, his travels from the Tien Shan Mountains to the Aral Sea, and what's currently going on in Kazakhstan's moto-adventure world. Mark will close his presentation with a very brief introduction to the GS Giants and a question and answer session. Lastly, as an average-Joe rider and adventurer, Mark has maintained that no adventure is without risk but the media sours the pool with too much fear mongering. Plan on attending his Round Table discussion on safety and security while traveling abroad, or at home!

Mark Carrera before.

Two Newbies in Costa Rica on a 650GS - Sealing the 'Deal'

Mark and Luisa spent two weeks on a 650GS rental, and they had only been together as a couple, less than a year when Mark asked Luisa is she wanted to ride a moto in June in Costa Rica. A beginning to a long lasting relationship, the two enjoyed the ride, the company, and the adventure of riding through nearly all geographic regions. Their adventure together as 'two up newbies' sewed the seeds for the adventure spirit. Since Costa Rica, Mark and 'Lu' have ridden together all over New England, down into Virgina, and as far north as Newfoundland and the top of Lake Superior. Come and share some memories and get familiar with Costa Rica as a destination for your first time two up or solo moto-adventure.

Mark and Luisa in Costa Rica.

Lastly, as an average-Joe rider and adventurer, Mark has maintained that no adventure is without risk but the media sours the pool with too much fear mongering. Plan on attending his Round Table discussion on safety and security while traveling abroad, or at home!

Lorry and Kelli Gombos.

Lorant (Lorry) and Kelli Gombos

Two up on Pamir Highway in Central Asia - Time travel to the post Soviet states

Our plans for a Central Asian trip were pretty shaky but everything worked out for the best. The idea of riding this remote corner of the world was a combination of dreams, opportunities and very little plans when Kelli and Lorry were living in Taiwan. Something had always attracted Lorry to ride the vast planes and one of the highest mountains of the world. It's a desire that only the most adventurous people can understand. Luckily Kelli is one those and it made the journey even more exciting.

Lorry and Kelli Gombos.

Kelli and Lorry have traveled on two wheels quite a lot around the world despite their young age (this passion is not age related anyways). Lorry has been riding for almost 2 decades and has always itched to go off the map, whether it be on a sports bike, dirt bike or big dual sport. Kelli has done most of their motorcycle adventures as a pillion.

Merrill Glos.

Merrill Glos

Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan 2014

Riding the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and the Altai Mountains in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan as part of my RTW.

I left the front door and traveled in a Westerly direction until I reached the back door... N. America, Asia, Europe and Africa... 4 continents, 34 countries 27 weeks, 4 rear tires and 5 haircuts.

Merrill Glos.

I will concentrate on riding the Southern Route through Mongolia's Gobi Desert, also, riding in Kazakhstan and the Altai Mountains of Kyrgyzstan. Leave your prejudices at home.

I'm a solo rider and have ridden to Ushuaia Argentina, Prudhoe Bay Alaska and did an RTW in 2014.

Tony Lucente.

Tony Lucente

The Himalayas - The story of my ride to Khardongla

A short adventure in the Himalayas.

Tony Lucente at Khardongla in the Himalayas.

Tony describes himself as a 'slightly overweight man of adventure with dreams of riding around the world (or even just South America) . In the meantime I've been riding to the Arctic Circle in Alaska and Finland and to Khardongla in the Himalayas.'

Workshops and Educational Sessions

...because Horizons Unlimited meetings are about information, not just inspiration!


Greg North

Personal thermal and hydration management

Risk awareness, understanding signs, stategies & gear for managing/mitigating risk of heat stroke, hypothermia and dehydration.

I'll present a brief presentation that outlines discussion points, and have a variety of gear on hand as examples of the tools available to riders to manage their health in different environments.

Greg North in the Oregon backcountry.

Greg North has 700K+ miles as an avid motorcyclist and backcountry enthusiast, 10 years as advanced moto instructor (300+ classes conducted, MSF and beyond). Currently BMW Brand Manager at Charlotte BMW.

Shane Stoehr.

Shane Stoehr

Design Your Own Gear!

Design Your Own Gear: an Introduction

Have fun learning about the design process and gain the confidence you need to complete your own product design journey.

Ever have a great idea, only to hesitate and fall victim to "someone beat me to it?" In this seminar, the leadership of Journeyman Products, an adventure-centric design service bureau, will introduce the six-step process used by successful product developers: Ideation, Research, Sketching, Modeling, Prototyping, and Funding. This introductory class will help you to move your personal product design from out of mind and into hand.

This class is delivered seminar/lecture style with Q&A and can be taken stand-alone or as Part 1 of the Design Your Own Gear (DYOG) series.

Shane Stoehr.

Design Your Own Gear: Ideation

Feeling inspired by a new product idea? Come join us for this hands-on workshop, and take the first steps towards making your idea real.

Have an idea for a new adventure or overlanding product? Bring it here! In this interactive workshop, you will move your product idea through the ideation process by defining the design problem, considering multiple paths to solution, identifying desired features, and summarizing the product design concept. Finally, we will develop a list of keywords to be used in the next step of your personal product design journey- research. This class can be taken stand-alone or as Part 2 of the Design Your Own Gear (DYOG) series.

This class is an interactive workshop and can be taken stand-alone or as Part 2 of the Design Your Own Gear (DYOG) series.

Product design, 3D modeling, and fabrication are well worn tools within Shane's wheelhouse. Shane is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and retired instructor of digital manufacturing and prototyping at a public vocational technology center. He is a professional ski patroller, classic 4x4 enthusiast, and avid motorcycle adventure tourer.

Andrew Pain.

Andrew Pain

Practical Minimalism - Budgeting, Finding Time, Medical, Packing

Practical Minimalism - Budgeting

How to find the money, how much you need, and how to spend it. It's one of the most common questions asked of overlanders - how to pay for it? Andrew breaks down what needs to be planned for to build an overlanding budget, how to find the money, and how much you actually need for a long overland journey.

Practical Minimalism - Finding Time

How to find the time to take the Big Trip. It's one of the most common questions faced by overlanders, and perhaps the biggest hurdle that prevents people from taking long journey of their dreams. Leaving work, home, and loved ones to travel is a huge change, and Andrew works on how to approach finding the time to travel, dealing with the obsticles and delays, and how to come home and start again after the trip is over.

Andrew Pain.

Practical Minimalism - Packing

From what to carry to how and where to carry it - everything about packing

It's easy to become overloaded, but not having the correct gear and supplies while traveling only increases costs, adds stress, and makes it hard to relax while traveling. Andrew Pain reviews not just the things he packs while traveling on his 250, but how to establish a packing plan and make your own good packing decisions.

Knowing what to pack is only part of the problem with overland travel by motorcycle. Knowing how and where to carry your gear and supplies is as important - and often overlooked - as what to carry. Andrew breaks down types of luggage, weight and load, and where to carry your equipment so you have what you need, when you need it (without starting a yard sale on the side of the road).

Practical Minimalism - Medical

What medical and first aid supplies should you carry while on the road? No one wants it to happen, but injuries and illness happen? while on the road. Packing all the gear and medications to face every possible scenario is impratical at best and impossible at worse. Andrew has worked as a paramedic in Milwaukee for 17 years, and traveled around North, Central, and South America on a small motorcycle. He explains what you don't need, what you should have, and where you should get it, as well as a few simple tips for dealing with the things that go wrong.

Andrew Pain started riding motorcycles in 1991, riding over 300,000 miles around the United States before quitting his job and traveling through the Americas on a 30+ year, 250cc motorcycle, with a stuffed teddy bear named Blue. Back in the United States, he's written books on traveling on small, lightweight motorcycles, packing, and how to travel inexpensively. He now givens talks encouraging people to focus more on travel, and less on the planning and preparation. The trip should always be the goal, to Just Go.

Andrew is also a published author. Below are just some of his books, which are available on Amazon.

Andrew Pain - Pain, Curiosity and a Bear. Andrew Pain - Ten Things You Should Know.

LOTS of presentations to come! As people register to present we'll list them here.

How about you? We're all here to learn, and there's LOTS to learn! We want to do more presentations and seminars - but we need volunteers to give them! Any topic you can contribute having to do with motorcycle travel, maintenance, planning etc, lasting 20 minutes or more, would be great. Please contact me here to volunteer.


Panel discussions at most HU events include...

Border crossings - How to get through borders with minimal stress and cost!

Packing light - Tips and techniques from experienced travellers to reduce weight and bulk.

Regional discussions - e.g. travelling in South America or Asia.

For Women Only - A must for the ladies, so be sure to plan on being there! A chance to talk to experienced travelling women without the men around!

Experienced Travellers Panel - ask the experts anything you want!

Walk arounds / Show and tell!

Tents and Bedding discussion (in the camping area) - What works, cheap vs dear and which ones keep you dry, warm and comfy!

Bike mods - Show off your best bike mods - homemade saddle bags, toolbox mounts, GPS mounts, seats, side stands, tank panniers, cup holders, etc.

Horizons Unlimited North Carolina 2015 Ride-outs

Do-it-yourself Ride information

Self-guided Ride details
Tail of the Dragon / Cherohala Skyway Loop ride

Facilities for a Fantastic Four Days

Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge, Cabins and Campground
1755 Lower Stecoah Road,
North Carolina 28771

For more information:
Telephone: 1-828-479-3864

John & Charlene Powell have been welcoming Horizons Unlimited to Iron Horse since 2004, and a friendlier bunch of folks we've yet to meet!

From their Website:

"Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge and Campground is a secluded 39-acre resort on Stecoah Creek in the smoky mountains of western North Carolina. We are surrounded by the splendor of the Great Smoky Mountains, which provide some of the best motorcycle riding in the world. Iron Horse is within minutes of the famous Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap, the scenic Cherohala Skyway, Blue Ridge Parkway, Cherokee, Fontana Dam, and the Nantahala River Gorge. Gather around the fire at the Iron Horse Pavilion and enjoy a home cooked meal.

Fireplace in Ironhorse pavillion, Steocah, North Carolina.

Great ambience for presentations - of course it's air-conditioned!

The Pavillion includes a large screen surround sound TV with satellite/VCR/DVD, pool table, karaoke, camp store, and your favorite T-shirts and souvenirs. Check your email or browse the internet using our high speed wireless internet service. Connect with your own wireless laptop or use our public computer located in the Pavilion."

Solarium for smaller presentations, Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge, North Carolina.

Solarium for smaller presentations and casual meals

Upstairs in the pavillion.   Pavillion from creekside, Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge, North Carolina.


Accommodation is NOT included with your registration fee.

Iron Horse offers full cabin rentals, comfortable cabin rooms, creekside tent camping, RV hook-ups, and bunkhouse accommodations.

Covered bike parking and an unloading ramp are available. Guests have use of the spacious and clean wash house with showers and washer/dryer. See here for more details and rates.

NOTE: You should book early for camping and cabins. For rooms or bunkhouse there is a Horizons Unlimited special - stay 2 nights get 3rd night free. You must book directly with Ironhorse before May 1, 2015 to reserve rooms at the HU Special rate. Call them at 1-828-479-3864 or e-mail:

Camping facilities at the HU North Carolina meeting.

Camping facilities at the HU North Carolina meeting. Does it get any nicer?

Camping at Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge.


Meals are NOT included with your registration fee.

"Breakfast and dinner is served daily. We serve quality home cooked meals and fresh baked desserts. All meals are served in the pavilion with comfortable indoor dining, creek side on the deck, or gather round the group campfire. Dining is available for our guests only. Guests should call ahead or sign up for dinner in the morning or at check-in."

Saturday night special: Prime Rib or Fish, includes Salad Bar, Baked Potato, and Dinner Roll

Susan notes: Meals are great, and you will not go hungry! The prime rib is awesome!

Dining indoors at Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge, North Carolina. Dining outdoors at Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge, North Carolina.

More info on their website, and a review of Iron Horse in "Motorcycle Consumer News." (128kb .pdf).


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