Newsletter

  • 46th Edition, September 2003

    "...Now the road got really interesting, the hard earth sank deeper and deeper under the sand and we were ploughing our way through soft deep stuff in the ruts left by the trucks. ...For the fourth, or was it the fifth time, I ended up in the sand, my bike complaining loudly beside me. 'The truckies didn't tell us there was sand' I muttered for the hundredth time. 'We didn't ask' came the reply as Arno helped me get the bike upright."

    Sian Mackenzie, UK, and Arno Backes, Germany, in Bolivia

  • 45th Edition, July / August 2003

    "...My last 300 kilometers across the desert before I reach the Pakistan/Iran border. The morning starts out good but soon the wind picks up. It's blowing so hard that my jaw hurts from the pressure of my helmet. Sand stings my neck and wrist where my skin is exposed. After another stop for roadside fuel my bike again starts to act up. This time it is really bad. I stop and check the oil - the level is still good. When I start out again I only get a few meters and it dies! Here I am in the middle of the desert, temperatures close to 50°, 100 kilometers from the border and my last fuel stop, and my bike dies! Now what to do??"

    Doris Maron, Canada, RTW in Pakistan

  • 44th Edition, June 2003

    "...It seems every time I leave, I return further away. The horizon is cluttered with mountains I have climbed that no one knows the names of. Everyone always wants to know why it is I do what I do and I respond with, why don't you? I am compelled to keep moving on, each time further away. With every new land I experience, an avalanche of fresh ideas comes tumbling down around me. I can hardly think of a place that didn't grab me and demand more of my time. I can't begin to predict where this all leads, I know the dangers and pitfalls, probably better than most, yet still these distant lands and exotic cultures lure me with a smoky magic I cannot define."

    Glen Heggstad, USA

  • 43rd Edition, May 2003

    "... Pierre and I want to cross 600 miles of the Sahara on our bikes. Pierre and I have ridden a total of 3 hours in sand. The idea is ludicrous, but today we go out with Lorenz to learn a thing or two. Lorenz is an amazing desert rider and Pierre and I have a newfound belief in angels. He keeps telling us 'Stand Up!! GoFast!!!' Which of course for neophytes is the last thing your good senses tell you that you should do. But eventually we give in and start getting into riding in the sand. Lorenz is a 5th gear rider and it's obvious riding 100 mph in the sand is the ideal of fun to him. I am at my all time high speed of around 40 mph when I hit deep sand, my wheel twists and I fly over my handle-bars and smash my brains 10 feet from my bike..."

    Merritt Grooms, USA and Pierre Saslawsky, France, in Algeria

  • 42nd Edition, April 2003

    "... And into the Friday night Bangkok rush-hour. We felt like a fat bloke going pot-holing (caving). As we entered Bangkok the roads got narrower, the traffic heavier and the traffic lights more numerous. Three lanes became two and the gaps we were squeezing the (fully laden) bike through got narrower. Then we'd get stuck - too wide to weedle through the gaps, stuck down a cave until we could lose some weight. Then eventually the lights would change and the cars that surrounded us would unjam and we'd roar and weedle through to the next choke point, where we'd get stuck again. The local bikes by contrast were small, light and narrow, many with their handlebars turned in and few with mirrors. We were a fat badger down a termite nest, awaiting extinction..."

    Simon McCarthy and Georgie Simmonds, UK, in Thailand

  • 41st Edition, March 2003

    "I left El Goleid and it was 4 hours and 80 km of pure pain. Deep sand, with tracks of trucks and cars making my front wheel climb out of the track all the time turning my bike 90 degrees around and so on. I fell 5 times but with low speed in soft sand. I must thank my nice diving instructor Emy for teaching me Rescue diving and EFR, in which you learn when something happens underwater to Stop, Breath, Think and Act. When it is 32 degrees in deep sand, after you fell with a heavy bike, you just change the line to: Stop, Drink, Think, Act and its all going to be okay..."

    Frank Schellenberg, Germany, in Sudan

  • 40th Edition, February 2003

    "Close to Calafate, things got nasty when I hit a rock (don't ask) and smashed two big holes in my engine cover -ooops! A pick-up truck stopped to see what was up; once they had ceased scanning the horizon for some errant husband or boyfriend to appear on a bike and actually started to believe me that I was on my own, they took things into their own hands. There was only one option according to them, they would tow me to the nearest house - two miles away. I was understandably hesitant, and how right I was. Before I knew it, I found myself being dragged at 20 mph on a woefully short piece of rope through the gravel and sand, buffeted by the winds, while the driver spun his steering wheel - occasionally remembering to look back and see if I was still there and amazingly I was."

    Tiffany Coates, UK, in Argentina

  • 39th Edition, January 2003

    "Rich Kickbush and David Unkovich decided to try some Hill Tribe booze I had given Sharon which had a large, poison filled snake in the bottle. The snake head touched their lips and the booze tasted (they said) like battery acid. Sharon would not be out done by two Aussies, so licked the snake lips too. Dun Duvall, one of my jungle riding buddies from the USA who is doing the world with a Honda tied to the front of his sailboat, went a bit further and lipped the serpent twice. I hate snakes (had to wrap the bottle in newspaper while I carried it five days on the motorcycle so I could not see the ugly thing), so passed on the challenge (the dead snake might have tried to kiss me back)..."

    Greg Frazier, USA, in Thailand

  • 38th Edition, December 1, 2002

    "We were issued coca leaves to chew, and explosive materials to give to miners to blast when in the mine. Since Wilson was unable to find a miner actively blasting, we took our purchased material outside and Wilson and Victorio mixed up some plastik and ammonium nitrate (fertilizer of Oklahoma bombing fame), stuck in a blasting cap, crimped on a 18' fuse with teeth, lit it, and ask if anyone wants to hold the deadly package. I volunteer, giving my camera to Laura for evidence of how stupid I really am. Victorio then scampers across the slope and lays the charge down on the ground about 100 yards away. Now, this is a public place...dogs sniffing around, children about, and taxis from town driving by... there is no 'fire in the hole' yell. Nothing. Minutes later the blast sends debris 40 feet into the air and a shock wave to the marrow. We all agree it's the best tour we've ever taken."

    Alon Carter, USA, in Bolivia

  • 37th Edition, November 1, 2002

    "... From Tehran we went to Esfahan and camped in the park with the locals as the hotels were either fully booked or had only their most expensive rooms available. We pitched our tent amongst them (them being around 100 or so others, although they slept on carpets without tents). Within 5 minutes we had tea served to us by a family who stayed with us for the evening sitting outside our tent. They had no English except 'we love you' but with the help of pen and paper we talked. They left the next day leaving us at the mercy of the other Iranians using 'Hotel Park'. After 3 nights we were glad to leave - the friendliness of the people was overpowering. We had no time to ourselves - as one group would leave after speaking to us another would run over. We have really enjoyed Iran and been surprised by how unlike what we expected it has been. The women here are much more forward in talking to tourists and everyone is genuine when they say that they hope you have a pleasant time and if there is anything they can do to help just ask."

    Cliff and Jenny Batley, UK, in Iran



Newsletter feedback...

"Thanks for the latest newsletter, received in its full glory and excellent as always!" Keith, UK

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