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Riding the globe...

Horizons Unlimited
Motorcycle Travellers'

in cooperation with
Quality Touring equipment worldwide.

Are you a TRAVELLER? Are you interested in snake charmers in the Himalayas, a chicken boat to Sumatra, Indiana Jones in Cambodia, full moon parties in Thailand, fish-eating grizzly bears in Alaska, Frankenbike in Bolivia, the highest motorable road in the world, customs madness in Novorossijsk, restarting the Starship Enterprise, stuck in the Salar in Uyuni, wild Montenegro, crocodile infested creeks in Australia, luxury prison cells in Johannesburg, burning asbestos and the 'road of death' in Bolivia... and much more?

Then you're reading the right newsletter!

In this e-zine:

Calendar, Events 2001
Final Thoughts
Helpful People
Home Again
In Progress...
Leaving Soon
New Links
Prizes/New Quiz
Repair Shops on the road
Seen on the road
Tech Tips and Bits
Travellers Community
Travellers' Tips
Travellers' Questions
Who's on the Road
Who Are They?
Quotable Quotes
Your Privacy

On the Website

Home Page
Bulletin Board
Search the Website
Travellers Stories
Trip Planning

Don't forget, every newsletter is permanently archived online

Travellers' News Report

23nd Edition, September 1, 2001

Here in Vancouver the days are getting shorter, and in parts of Canada, night-time temperatures are reminding folks that autumn is here and winter is fast approaching. Good time to think about travelling to that part of the world where the seasons are reversed - anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere!

There are lots of travellers on the move this month, and many are sensibly heading for Australia or South America. The rest are heading for India, Southeast Asia and other equatorial regions as fast as they can get there before winter complicates the trip.

For us, the accidental death of Grant's sister Pam has reminded us sharply not to take relationships for granted on the assumption that family or friends will 'always be there'. Pam was a wonderful and warm person with many friends who will be greatly missed. The irony is that our mothers worried more about us than our siblings in the past, given our off-the-beaten-track travelling lifestyle. But statistics say that accidents do tend to happen close to home.

We've been starting to catch up again after the move and the funeral. But our main shipment has still not been delivered - it's here but Agriculture Canada required special treatment for shipments from the UK due to foot and mouth disease. We've been promised delivery for end of next week, 9 weeks after they picked it up in England!

Plenty of people from the area have written to welcome us, and we look forward to meeting all of you soon. Planning is underway for a Horizons Unlimited Travellers meeting in Vancouver / Vancouver Island area in late September. If anyone knows of a good location, or can assist, let us know!

Please submit news reports, web links etc. to me for inclusion in this newsletter.

I try to link to your website if you have one. And if you don't have a website, we can help.

This is a free service for travellers everywhere, both on the road and (temporarily;-) off. Your support is appreciated.

your editors, Grant and Susan

more about Grant and Susan Johnson

Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors! If Madagascar sounds like a great place to ride to you, (and it sure does to me!) drop by their website and make sure you tell Manfred how you heard about them!

Madagascar on Bike

Ever wanted to go biking in Madagascar?

You can ride this unique island continent east of Africa, meet friendly, humorous and unobtrusive people, and see the fascinating indigenous plant and animal life.

Take one of our Transalps and discover for yourself the highlands, the rain forest, the arid south, and it's tropical beaches.

Talk to Manfred at Madagascar-on-bike.

Special Events News

Deadhorse July 2001

"Six riders on five motorcycles made it to a surprised Jim Clark's birthday in Deadhorse, the top of the Alaskan haul road on the 12th of July.

Jim and his son Jamie had already settled into the rustic but expensive Caribou Hotel, haphazardly constructed from prefabricated modules and sitting on skids to prevent permafrost melt, when the other three motorcycles rolled in later that afternoon.

All had just arrived at the furthest north you can ride on public roads on the American continent, 480 km above the Arctic Circle. A town primarily there for the oil exploration and pipeline rather than for the tourist. Their numbers, though small, were a varied mix of bike and rider. Rocky from Wyoming USA, rode his KTM, Jose from Spain on a BMW GS 1150 on his way to Ushuaia for Christmas, Peter and Kay Forwood on a Harley-Davidson on their way around the world and Jim and Jamie Clark on two KLR's from Florida and California, just for the ride here.

But don't think the ride here is only for the ride as the road passes through picturesque mountains and treeless tundra with smatterings of local wildlife.

Caribou, beaver, moose, fox, Dall sheep were seen along the road and a grizzly bear was seen wandering the town of Deadhorse.

Dinner was enjoyed and those on tighter budgets left late into the evening, into the never setting sun to camp at Happy Valley, two hours down the road while the others settled in at the Caribou Hotel.

Two nights later a reunion was held in Fairbanks. The 'Top of Alaska' six plus Lew Waterman, the organiser, who unfortunately couldn't make the 12th July appointment.

All agreed it would be great to continue the 12th of July in 2002 meeting in Deadhorse. But it isn't a place to hang around, being cold and windy and expensive, with a return to Fairbanks for the real meeting a few days later where stories of the ride can be fully bragged about. Anon"

up to top of page Calendar

Plan where to be when!

If you know of any events of interest to travellers, send me a note.

Gieboldehausen 5th Annual Treff, Germany, 31 August to 2 Sept 2001

Great rally, well worth going! "This year we have better facilities, a bigger room for slide shows, international guest, news and products concerning motorbike travelling and a party with live-music." Details here.

Dargo High Plains Rally, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 8-9 September 2001

Another great rally in the Vic high country. The most amazing camping spot and only 3 hours east of Melbourne. Info here including a PDF map and flyer.

5th EAR Rally (European Airheads Rendezvous) Sept 3 - 8 2001,

For Airheads, (old BMW air-cooled twins) airhead-riders and their guests. It will be in the French departement Herault at a gîte rural north of Montepellier and south of Ganges. Gorgeous riding opportunities as well on tarmac as on dirt roads in a Mediterranean climate. The gîte offers plenty of campsites under olive and cork-oak trees, small separated areas stonewall surrounded, a few bedrooms, a bar and a restaurant. Our host, Madame Sanier, offers demi-pension (breakfast and dinner included) for a reasonable price. More info.

Clare Navigation Rally, 7 - 11 September 2001, Ireland

"...why not join us for the Clare Navigation Rally suitable for large capacity trail motorcycles, in the Burren Co Clare Ireland , also on at the same time is the Famous matchmaking Fair in Lisdoonvarna... rock on! Clare Navigation Rally C/O Philip Gunn, Watergrasshill, CO Cork, Ireland. Ph ++ 353 21 4889 462 Fax ++ 353 21 4889 516 Email, Website"

Roadrunner 1000 European Rally, 27 - 29 September 2001, Germany,

Starting from a US Military Base in Germany. IronButt type event. If you are interested, there will be a 100 rider limit, so it pays to get your name on the list.

Annual Outback Meeting, Tibooburra, Australia, November 3-4, 2001

A quick edge of the outback blast for a beer at the family hotel Tibooburra. Organised by the Oz Adventure touring list all off-road bikes are welcome. It will be hot but the beer is cold and the company great.

Australia BMW Safari, November 10-17, 2001

Sydney to Melbourne through the Snowy Mountains, along the Murray River and the Great Ocean Road. Organized by BMW Australia, information and downloadable registration form available on their website. For those from North America and elsewhere not travelling with their own bikes, check out the rental agencies on the links page.

OMM 2001 Rally, Canakkale Peninsula, Turkey, November 17-18, 2001

OMM is inviting all Riders and Friends to an Informal Rally on the Canakkale Peninsula. The place is full of historical, artistic and natural points of interest and we hope to have with us OMM Rider Sinan Sezer, an expert on the history of Gallipoli War, to show us around.

Accommodation will be available in Hotel, Pension and Camping around Abide.

We need to plan in details the logistic (accommodation and food) and for this reason we kindly ask to send your request of participation (passenger co-pilots are welcomed) well in advance to Taner Celik. The ride will not involve any OMM fee and you will pay only for your personal expenses.

up to top of page Horizons Unlimited New LINKS...

GET YOUR WEB SITE LISTED in the LINKS section by listing Horizons Unlimited on YOUR web site, let me know you've done it by mailing me a link to the page, and you may get listed here in the next newsletter and on the Horizons Unlimited web site Links page. To make it easy for you, we even have our logo and link code here!

All sites will be considered for listing, but must be a MOTORCYCLE or TRAVEL site, useful or of interest in some way to travellers.

Links will be rotated regularly as needed.

Charlie's Charity Caper

"Charity Motorcycle Ride from Bristol, UK, to Cape Town - The Grand Appeal is a local charity in Bristol raising money for a specialist children's hospital. Comic Relief is a high profile national charity that has raised considerable funds for long term projects combating poverty in Africa and the UK."

Goose on the Loose

Goose (Adrian Greygoose) and Lucy Gardner, UK, heading to Australia on an R1100GS - great looking site, good starting information

National Geographic Traveler's Calendar of Events

"All" the major events around the world.

up to top of page A host of
volunteers - 'People en route willing to help!'

There are many 'Helpful People' listed on the Links page, a huge thanks to all of them. How about you? Or you can join a Community, or start your own!

up to top of pagespacerRepair Shops...

Do you know of a good shop 'on the road,'

in other words somewhere there isn't a large number of shops? (Also of course any shop that specialises in travellers equipment and repairs is of interest.) But we're particularly looking for those rare items, good repair shops in South America, Africa and Asia etc. I will create a web page for them soon... eventually... real soon now...

up to top of pagespacerTech tips and bits...

Submit your tips and questions here, anything goes! Got a great idea for travellers, found a new solution to a problem? Send it in! If you're having a problem, just ask, there's a lot of people with a ton of experience out there to help.

up to top of pagespacerWho are they?

I've made contact with some of the people we were looking for last month, thanks! - but the following are still unaccounted for. If you know any of them, please send in full names and e-mail addresses would be much appreciated!

Lionel Marx, I have no e-mail for him...

Chris van de Goorberg, Netherlands, XT600, last seen in Mali...

a couple of riders from French Guyana, she's riding a Suzuki DR 350 and he's riding a new XR 650.

Rob Arnell, UK, in India

When you meet travellers...

on the road, please get contact info and let me know so I can add them to my who's who and where list! Grant

up to top of pagespacerTravellers' Questions...

From the Bulletin Board:

India into Nepal from the west:

"Does any one have any info on entering Nepal from the western border with India. We are already on the road and have decided that this could well be nicer than riding through northern India. Really just wondering if the boarder crossing is OK, i.e. can we get a visa there, and what the ride through Nepal to Kathmandu is like coming this way. Cheers, Walks, Amsterdam, Holland"

Excellent replies on the Bulletin Board.

And yes, you can get through!

Bike Rentals in Kenya / Tanzania,

I'll be arriving in Nairobi at the end of November (bikeless) and I'm dying to see if I can find a bike to rent for a week or two over there. I'll be in the Nairobi and Arusha areas mainly. I don't really care what it is - whether it's a moped, trialbike or an Africa Twin. Anyone have any good leads? Thanks, Wright Bagwell, USA"

Re Parking a bike in Guatemala for an extended time,

"Hi Grant and Susan, thank you Susan for a response to my request.

I have made telephone calls to Guatemalan Customs in Guatemala City, as well as their embassy in Washington. The bottom line, so far, is that 30 days is the longest you can stay without obtaining an additional 30 day visa, in person. Although they do stamp the passport indicating a vehicle was brought in, I have been told that the customs officials usually do not look too close and we might get away without being caught. I nor my associates do not want to take a chance, we do have 'Plan B' which is leaving our bikes with another friend in Playa del Carmen, Yucatan, Mexico. We will then fly in and out of Cancun.

I enjoy your website very much. You have done a great job addressing issues of interest to all of us who travel on motorcycles. Keep up the good work, my friends and I visit your site regularly.

Best regards, John Brown (Kansas City, MO, USA)

Plenty more questions and answers on the Bulletin Board! We've just gone over 800 registered users on the Board, which I think is pretty amazing, and gives a huge resource of knowledge and experience to help you with anything you might need to know.

Check it out!

up to top of pagespacerTravellers' tips...

From a review in Cycle World of Adventure Touring Motorcycles (that are currently available in the USA, i.e. no Africa Twin, Transalp, etc.)

"Conclusion: Any of these adventure-tourers could make you a happy camper. It just depends on what you like in a bike, and how you plan to use it. But if you want a true do-it-all motorcycle, the BMW R1150GS should be your only choice."

from someone who obviously rides a GS, and signs himself 'My Bike Looks Like Bill The Cat'

From Jan Loesche and Daniel Sakretz, Germany, on Delhi to Thailand shipping, Shipping Date: 1 June 2001

"The Air India Office Address:

Air India Cargo
(Mr. Balbirvaid)
Import Bloc
Room Nr. 1
Cargo Complex
International Airport New Delhi

Cost: 23,000Rs (420US$) for 2 Bikes + 30,000Rs (550US$)for 2 guys

The procedure was very easy (except for the customs game). We didn't need a crate, only a palette! Our bikes were in the same plane. When we arrived in Bangkok we paid 3000 Baht (70$) without help of any agents to get our bikes out of the custom area.

Attention: The cheap Aeroflot-Connection (Ken&Carol) doesn't exist anymore!"

More on the Delhi to Bangkok route from Simon Kennedy, Ireland

"Dear Grant, Given the importance of this route I thought I best let everyone know the following.

The Delhi-Bangkok by Aeroflot route is no more (as of summer 2001). Aeroflot no longer do the route. The present option out of Delhi is with Indian Airlines. Unfortunately they assess the costs of a motorbike by volume rather than weight. This more than doubles the price it seems. Rajeev Bhatia at Aqua Travels was very helpful, and frank, in this matter. Note that his company has moved. New address:

Rajeev Bhatia
1211 Kailash Building,
Kasturba Marg,
New Delhi. Email"

Note that most air shippers work on a volume versus weight rule, which assumes a certain weight per x volume. In other words they say that every cubic meter should weigh for instance 50 kg. Unfortunately bikes usually work out to be too light for the measured volume, so end up going on a volume measure rather than a weight measure. So pack VERY tightly, make that crate tiny, and don't waste any space! Uncrated of course is terrible in this regard - I know it's less work, but it is more expensive. Balance the effort to the cost.

Buying a bike in Brazil, from Richard Hewitt, Canada, posted on the BB,

"I have a Brasilian built CB450 in storage there & a 1100 Gold wing here in Canada. I have ridden 3 seasons in Brasil attending many Moto Meets all over the states of RS & SC. The hospitality extended to a visitor is incredible!

I found it best to buy a Brazil built bike as parts and repairs are dirt cheap and available even in the smallest towns.

BTW Honda has built over 4 million bikes in Brasil.

It is easier to go there get a address, then go to the Banco do Brasil, get the forms to apply for a 'CPF' the Brasil equivalent of Canadian or American Social Security number and then go to the Federal Taxation Office and you can get the number while you wait.

With this CPF # you can legally buy & sell any personally owned property there.

A friend of mine came for 6 weeks last year, purchased a used bike, rode the hell out of it and sold it before he left for home for $100 less than he paid for it.

Much cheaper than all the paperwork, hazards and liability that you can encounter on a overland trip."

Chris and Erin Ratay, USA, around the world, in New Zealand, now on two BMW F650s, On shipping from New Zealand to South America,

"The Qantas deal to BA looks shaky, at best -- Aerolineas Argentina pulled out, so there are only 2 flights/week from NZ to Argentina. Qantas will no longer take Dangerous Goods on their route to BA as they have too much cargo going, and they make a bigger profit with non-DG goods. I've talked to many people, and get the same answer :-(

Other option is for bikes to fly United Airlines (AKL to LA, then LA to BA) -- price jumps from NZ$4.16 to NZ$6.50/kg, and we'll have to crate, but that will still have us at about US$1,600 for both bikes. We plan to get crate(s) to no more than 500kg."

Andy Gray, Holland, on camping in Kenya,

"Best camping for me in Nairobi is Nairobi Park Services, out of town past Wilson airport. Great food, and brilliant bar with good place for working on the bike. Ask for Dutch Pete if you need any help with sorting anything out. And fisherman's camp at Navasha is EXCELLENT. Green grass, tree shade and hippo's at night. Good rides are up north, even if you just get as far as Maralal it's worth it, those Samburu's certainly know how to dress."

Request for info

Wouldn't YOU like to know all about the border you're approaching - what it should cost, paperwork required, 'tips' needed, and who to talk to, etc.?

When you cross ANY border, take some notes, and pass them on to us. Thanks!


There is now a Shipping page on the site. It can be reached directly or from the Shipping link on the Trip Planning page.

If you have any information to contribute, there is a form at the bottom of the page which you can submit and we will put it on the page. Thanks!

Travel Advisories:

The Foreign Office in London's Travel Advice Unit advises against all travel to all sorts of places. Check out the listing before you start!

The US State Department has issued travel advisories, information and/or warnings.


up to top of pagespacerWho's on the road, and where...

Connor Carson, UK, UK to Australia, on the road again in Malaysia and Indonesia, XT600,

"... I had grown used to thinking of the bike in the same way as it was viewed by most of the people I met along the way: A technological marvel, impossibly big and shiny with undreamed of capabilities, no doubt able to achieve twice the speed of sound with a flick of the wrist.

'How much this bike cost in your country?' they would ask in awe, clearly expecting a sum of money more usually associated with moon shots or major hydroelectric projects.

'Or about fifty quid,' I thought in shock when I whipped the dust cover off the machine and wheeled it out into the light. It looked like shit. Nothing material had changed, the bike had been left completely undisturbed for three months, but inside my head I was holding this battered, oil smeared wreck up alongside all the latest pristine products of the Jap motorcycle industry that I'd seen humming smoothly about the streets of England. Through Asian eyes, it was still the Starship Enterprise. But in UK terms, it belonged in the back yard at Steptoe and Son. You would be hard put to decide whether to scrap it or compost it.....

Enough of this. I did my best to put my Asian head on, and thought Starship Enterprise.

It wasn't easy. When I thumbed the starter, it appeared that the warp drive was up the spout. Several fruitless attempts later, and the battery was flat. I had to resort to impulse drive: that is to say, I shoved the thing round to the back of Mr. Wong's shop where his team of mechanics lived. Although I was free to use any of his tools and equipment, Scotty and Sulu and all the rest were busily engaged in their own projects and I was on my own. Which, to be honest, is how I prefer it.

I did all the usual stuff like hooking the flat battery up to Mr. Wong's charger, a piece of equipment which would have been more at home bringing corpses back to life in Frankenstein's laboratory. Sadly, the power from beyond the grave availed me of nothing.

A new plug didn't help either, nor did cleaning the carbs out, although I did find some stuff in the venturi that looked like lurid green snot, which I'm nearly sure shouldn't have been there. I scratched my head. I rubbed my chin. I swore inventively. I frowned and made 'hmmm-mmm' noises and tried to look mechanical. I sniffed the exhaust (OK, OK, I know...).

Scotty glanced across from time to time, in a sympathetic sort of way. Spock raised an eyebrow. Chekov looked embarrassed and went off to fiddle with a clutch on a Honda 125. Uhura appeared briefly from behind the sales desk, giggled, and went away again, but otherwise contributed nothing.

In the end, the bike started. It didn't start in response to anything specific that I did, nor do I think that it was the cumulative effect of all my twiddling and adjusting and head-scratching. No, the bike just made the decision that it was time to start, and did so. Perhaps it felt that I had suffered enough. I know the dangers inherent in anthropomorphising pieces of machinery, but the plain fact of the matter is this: It was sulking. It was saying something along the lines of: 'Three months in the back of a sodding shed in some godawful humid tropical hole, with dust and rust and rats, look mate, all I'm saying is, if I don't go anywhere, you don't go anywhere. Capische? Point taken? Right then. Let's go.'

I changed the oil, and the chain and sprox, checked the valve clearances, and bought a Malaysia sticker for the windshield. Thus mollified, the bike ran perfectly, or as near as I was going to get beyond a complete rebuild.


… While waiting for the ferry, a teenage lad approached me, and I anticipated the usual series of questions. You sometimes get a little tired of the predictable nature of these exchanges. 'What your country?', 'What your name?', 'How much this bike cost?', the routine never varies much and you long for someone to ask you something original. Today, my prayers were answered.

'You married?', he asked. I said yes.

(I generally travel 'married', not that it stops people from offering you hookers, which they seem to do almost by reflex, in the same tone as you might say 'Fancy a cup of tea?'- but it does give you a plausible reason to say no. Attempting to explain that you have no interest in studying HIV first hand, in my experience, achieves very little.)

The lad continues: 'So - you zigzig with your wife everyday?'

I looked up sharply. He seemed completely serious. Finally, I had been presented with an original question, and I could think of nothing relevant to say. For shame. I think he sensed that I was on the ropes.

'Does your body smell?' he continued levelly.

I muttered something inane. What sort of textbooks had this lad been studying? I was impressed. 'Do you bat? I bat,' he pronounced with gravitas, and cycled off.

I only realised later that he'd been trying to say 'bathe', but despite the slip, his grave dissatisfaction with my personal hygiene, mud spattered and sweaty as I was, affected me deeply. I was chagrined and decided that I must bat at the earliest opportunity.

... I am still in Indonesia, but now without the bike! I ended up having to ship the bike rather than fly it, something I'm not overly happy about... I'll let you know the details once I recover the bike in Australia (or whatever fragments remain of it....) Connor " More stories ...

Steve Raucher, South Africa, around the world, in Cambodia and Thailand, BMW R1150GS,

"This story begins on a sad note: Ariella has gone back to South Africa. Due to a mixture of logistical nightmares and the amount of time any human can put up with the combination of me and overlanding through Asia, we decided a sabbatical would be best. We spent our last week together in Bangkok and then on a grey skied day my sister got into a taxi and headed for South Africa. The good news is that Ariella will be getting her bike licence soon, so who knows!

… We made it out of Vietnam, crossing the border there was more stressful than the roads we had encountered. There is nothing more disconcerting than a border guard with time on his hands. After being made to wait for at least 20 minutes for the final stamp in our passports we were free and clear of a country neither of us has any intention of going back to. I am sorry to be so blunt, but there is really nothing of any interest in Vietnam if one isn't a war historian (or a package tourist).

Cambodia on the other hand, offers the pure adventure of it all. Bad roads, threats of bandits (yeah right), and of course the intrepid backpackers.

The road into Phnom Penh was somewhat uneventful, bar a lovely little tourist halfway house/restaurant where we ate and Ariella doused her food in chilli to prove that she had what it takes to be an overlander.

The road into Phnom Penh was somewhat uneventful, bar a lovely little tourist halfway house/restaurant where we ate and Ariella doused her food in chilli to prove that she had what it takes to be an overlander.

… Holding true to form we ducked all the tourist traps and headed for Angkor Wat in Siam Reap. We were told that attempting the road from Phnom Penh to Siam Reap was crazy and to do it two-up on a bike was sheer stupidity. It took us over 4 hours to cover 180 kms and we lost one of the rear foot pegs after a nasty bounce. Not nice at all. To those who were predicting failure let me at least come clean to dropping my bike a few (3) times in the process. Definitely a learning (read humbling) experience. As if to make up for what the Roads Commission of Cambodia had done to me, the last 15 kms into Siam Reap were beautifully paved. Thanks a lot.

Cambodian bridge - mind the gap!

Cambodian bridge - mind the gap!

Everything you have read about it (Angkor Wat) is true. An awe-inspiring place. Most folks spend a bit of time here, picnicking and sketching etc. etc., but I was suffering from temple burnout having been all through the Subcontinent and SE Asia. I need a holiday! We quickly made a plan of attack. Instead of bumbling our way across these hundreds of ruins we would hire a certified guide and see all the important stuff in a day. At 5 am the next morning our alarm woke us in time to see the sun rise at Angkor and then breeze through the other monuments and ruins.

I think my guide was slightly unnerved by my having told him not to give me too much information, does it really matter who carved this bas relief or that one? I think not. Definitely not at 6 am in the morning! For most people it is the same. The jungle temple is the highlight, trees overgrown everywhere, you get a real Indiana Jones feel for the place (ps Tomb Raider was filmed here). So after a mere 5 hours we had finished the entire site with more inside info from our guide than I could bear!

Gate at Angkor Wat.

Gate at Angkor Wat.

… I left Bangkok with my old travelling buddies, Richard and Rachel of the Brit Biker pack, after an hour of finding our way out of Bangkok we stopped for an Oriental overlander brekkie of Coconut fish curry and Chicken Fried Rice. That was the last I saw of them, I sped up to make it to the ferry 700 odd kilometers away.

While I was in Bangkok I finally managed to meet up with Daniel Todd a veteran overlander who I had been in email tag with for a long time. He had left Bangkok the previous day and was heading to the Islands too. So you can imagine my surprise when he turned up at the ferry 45 minutes after me! Apparently doing 750 kilometers before teatime isn't playing fair!

Cyber cafes are everywhere in paradise.

Cyber cafes are everywhere in paradise

The following evening we spent our time at the full moon party hopping between bars and dancing in the ocean, well I did anyway, but where did Daniel go? Ahem! The full moon party is as I expected - overrated. Unless you are on pharmaceuticals, you have no real chance of partying too hard. We tried our hardest with buckets of Rum and Red Bull but were ready for bed by 4 am."

Mariola Cichon, USA, aiming to be the first American woman to ride solo around the world, in Alaska, USA, KLR650

"Few hundred miles south of Watson Lake there is a west turnoff to Steward and neighboring Hyder. I was advised by several people to visit Hyder, since this place is famous for observing bears fishing. … What a show it was! About 3 miles out of Hyder there is a place called Fishing Creek, where people can watch the beasts from the safety of viewing platform. The best time to do this is in the evening hours between 6 and 10 PM. Properly equipped with lots of film and a bit sceptical, I joined the remaining 80 people or so, impatiently staring in the bushes while admiring many salmon clearly visible in crystal clear water few feet below.

Suddenly a murmur went through the crowd... a bear is spotted. Everyone runs to the far end, and sure enough, grizzly comes out! Totally ignoring all of us, he leaps into the water, and in a very 'doglish' manner jumps with its front paws nailing one of the unfortunate fish. Seconds later the pinkish body of the fish ends up in bear's jaws and we hear a not so nice 'crunch'... and Teddy walks away to consume its dinner. About 15 minutes later mama and a cub show up. Apparently she teaches him how to fish. The youngster is having a good time catching the fish, dropping it to pick it up again, all the time running around and joyfully splashing in water.

... During the entire trip I must have seen well over two dozen wild bears, both grizzlies and black, half of them by the road. Never did I have any close encounter with anyone of them, but couple of times I did do stupid things like cooking fish next to my tent. After realizing my mistake I ended up moving my entire camp to the safer grounds. What do you want ? - I am still sort of a city slicker ;-), learning fast though.

August 29, 2001 I am resuming the trip today. Took a 2 weeks break to see my family in Chicago. I am flying to Seattle this PM, where my bike is, and then resume the ride to Central and South America."

Stephan and 'Chenda Solon, UK, in Australia on a Honda NTV650,

"The last hour before we got to Yulara was really good with us being treated to alternating views of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) between rises in the dunes. I never managed to be able to see both of them at the same time. These rock features are massive as we were seeing Uluru from about 50kms and Kata Tjuta from at least 70kms. Earlier on after Curtain Springs we had been enjoying a great view of Mount Conner, an Uluru sized feature but not as pretty, for at least 10 minutes before the road changed direction.

Stephan Solon in Australia.

… Barbara gave us a good tour of Uluru and although we didn't climb it we did walk around the rock. Our preconceived image of it was the much photographed long view but there is a lot of interest close up. Two large waterholes, aboriginal rock paintings, a strange feature which looks like a human skull and another like a laughing face. Lots of aboriginal stories have been built up around the various features of the rock which is of course a sacred site. We were in two minds about climbing but in the end our minds were made up for us. The climb was closed due to the weather forecast being for temperatures over 36C on the days we might have climbed.

… Looking back we did have a very good time in Australia and there are huge parts of it we never got to which we still want to see. Despite some hassles the best bit of Australia for me has to be the people there. A more friendly bunch of people would be hard to find even if we don't always see eye to eye." More Stories ...

Babe and Yahoo, (Jane Norris and David Banbury) UK, in Bolivia on Honda Transalps,

"… As we climbed the thick air around us became cooler and started condensing on everything. It condensed on our visors, it dripped from the trees, it soaked our clothes and it settled the dust on the road. The higher we got the wetter it became and the clay and dust on the road became as slippery as ice in places.

We had nearly new knobby tires on which coped well but Gerhard got a bit over-enthusiastic at one point and slid out of control on a corner heading for the precipitous edge. He fell and just kept sliding until his back wheel was just hanging over the edge! Luckily he wasn't hurt.

… We were back on the road North… until Jane got a puncture. This was not going well but at least the afternoon heat made the tyre supple and easy to remove. We swapped bikes after this. Jane rode my bike with all the bags and I rode hers, which made the rough road feel a lot worse than it was. Then it really got worse. Trucks use this road and when they get stuck after rain they have to dig themselves out. Once moving again they don't stop to fill in the hole, which just becomes another in the network of pot holes nearly a meter deep and several meters across.

Jane on a sandy road in Bolivia

Jane on a sandy road in Bolivia

... With about 50km to go daylight faded to dusk. I was riding standing up on Jane's bike to get out of the bucking saddle. The road ahead looked clear in the half-light until I suddenly realized a low crest ahead hid a massively cratered dip down to a small stream. I hit the first bump doing about 40km/h and bounced unable to do anything as the undamped back end flew into the air pointing me at the ground. A few meters further on I hit the next ridge at an awkward angle still on the bike but bottoming out everything and totally out of control. The third time the ground hit me from the side and I let go of the bike. I imagine I looked quite funny as I staggered to my feet and wobbled around in a couple of small circles before stumbling back up to the crest cursing and trying to get my helmet off. I was a bit dazed but wanted to warn Jane who was behind me. She nearly ran me over but managed to stop in time. The headlight on her bike now pointed up to the trees and the steering only worked in one direction but it was rideable. We limped the last 40km into Rurrenabaque slowly in the dark sharing one headlight between the three of us as Gerhard had electrical problems and could have usefully supplemented his headlight with a candle.

We should have been continuing North the next day but dawn found us examining the damage. Smashed fairing, bent brackets, buckled wheel, broken instruments and a couple of grazes on me and my helmet. We were going nowhere. Well, it was raining anyway, that would make it interesting. Would we ever get out of Bolivia? A crash like that at home would have been cause for much anguish, vast expense and a wait of weeks for spare parts and repairs. It is different on the road; it's amazing what you can cope with if you have to. I spent the day stripping the front of Jane's bike while Gerhard attended to his wiring. Jane brought us food.

I levered and hammered the bracket straightish, stitched the plastic fairings back together with wire, glued up the instruments and reassembled it all. It actually fitted better than before but the wire stitching makes it look like a Frankenbike and the front wheel wobbles comically." More stories...

Harald and Udo Lamers, the Bike Brothers, Netherlands, through Asia on Suzuki DR 600s, in India

"We cross the border to India at Amritsar. But something is wrong here. Where are the people? We thought that India was overcrowded. The only traffic that we see is an old man on a donkey and a boy on a bicycle. But when we drive to Amritsar it becomes crowded. We hear that the border at Amritsar is only opened for foreign travellers. That's why it was so quiet. In Amritsar the traffic is very chaotic. Slowly we zigzag through the traffic on the way to the Golden temple. In the middle of the street cows are standing and blocking the traffic.

In the city we visit the Golden Temple. This is the holiest place of the Sikhs. The Sikhs are easy recognizable with their long beards and coloured turbans on their head. They take the turbans only off when they go to sleep. In the Golden Temple is the Adi Granth. This is the holy book for the Sikhs. The whole day they are reading from this book with spiritual music as background. It creates a relaxed atmosphere. It is impressing to see and with our heads covered and barefooted we walk clockwise around the temple.

At night we go back to see the temple once more. Now the Golden Temple reflects in the surrounding water. Beautiful.

Golden Temple at Amritsar, India.

Golden Temple at Amritsar, India

From Amritsar we drive north into the Himalayas. The Kashmir district is still unstable and therefore we see a lot of military vehicles on the road. Every 300 metres one militair is checking the roadside for mines. We have only a few police checks and feel no threats.

... Just before we enter the city Leh, the Suzuki from Udo stops. Nothing works anymore. We check the electric system and find out that the dynamo is broken. It can take some time to fix this problem, but we are luckily that it happens near the nice city Leh.

Stupa in Leh, India.

Stupa in Leh, India

We order a new dynamo in Holland and it can take 5 days to get it here. Top of the world. While we are still waiting for the dynamo we decide to go together on Harald's Suzuki to the Kardaung La. The Kardaung La is with 5602 metres the highest motorable road in the world. It will be the ultimate test for the bike. Can she drive up to the top with 2 persons?

Harald kicks on his bike and Udo jumps on the back. We leave Leh (3522 m) and start to climb. There is a lot of traffic and carefully passes Harald the trucks. Slowly we go higher. The mountains have different colours of brown, which gives a nice contrast in the blue sky. Our GPS gives 4563 m. We already climbed one kilometre. From here we have a nice view on the snow-capped mountains. On the steep slopes we see some yaks grazing. After a few hairpins we see a glacier. White ice surrounded by black rocks in blue sky.

5041 m. The air gets colder and the bike is still pulling up. At this point the road deteriorates. A lot of holes and gravel. Harald drives constantly in the first gear. Every hairpin takes us higher. 5218 m. and 4 kilometres to the top. We feel that breathing is harder. At every hairpin Harald blows his horn (is usual in India). He doesn't want to stop because it can be difficult to start riding again. At this altitude the bike looses a lot of power because of the thin air. A few more curves and then we see the summit of the Kardaung La. 5602 m. We made it. Our Suzuki made it. She took us to the highest motorable road in the world. We are damn proud of this bike..."

Ed. Harald and Udo have published a book about their travels in Africa (Dutch only), available through their website.

Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors! Nice people, so drop in on them if you're in the area, and make sure you tell them how you heard about them!

Casa de Koshare, Motorcycle Friendly B&B located in historic Corrales, New Mexico

Motorcycle Friendly B&B in historic Corrales, New Mexico. 15 minutes from the intersection of Interstate 40 and I25 in beautiful New Mexico.


Gerald and Austin Vince, Dave Greenhough, Charlie Benner, UK, Terra Circa, around the world on 350cc Suzukis

"Our journey from Istanbul was a somewhat convoluted affair. Original intentions to travel to Iran were soon stopped in their tracks by visa bureaucracy and long waits. Erzurum, was the city of choice for all paths to meet and finally depart. This city, high up in the eastern Turkish interior is the gateway to central Asia.

A new mission was devised, to by-pass Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and re-route from Samsun (Turkey) to Novorisiisk (Russia) across the Black Sea. The scheme was that if we got into Kazakhstan via Russia we would save hundreds of dollars in expensive Central Asian visas and weeks of waiting time. However certain administrative hurdles were now in our path. Namely an extra visa for Russia and a visa for Kazakhstan. Each one expensive and elusive thanks to the anomaly of the official 'invitation' letter. This paper chase was all carried out in Ankara, Turkey's capital.

Once the visas were secured and in our passports, Terra Circa stormed forward towards Samsun, one of Turkey's chief shipping ports. We were to be the spanner in the works for the port officials, as they were only used to dealing with containerised lorry cargo. As a result, it only took nine hours from the check in till we were finally allowed on board. The Northmoon, a transporter ship would be our home for the sixteen hour crossing.

Arrival in Novorossijsk, Russia, and our first taste of Russian officialdom. The customs madness that was to follow meant that it took 26 hours to process us. This bureaucratic limbo was even worse for our new Turkish lorry driver buddies. THEY could expect several days in bond before being allowed to drive out the dock gates. We had to overnight in the docks but finding somewhere to sleep presented no problem to the team. A whole yard of 'confiscated' empty articulated lorries lay waiting, once a vinyl tail-flap was freed up we were bundling into the back of a four star eight wheeled hotel. Leaving Russia's allegedly busiest southern port we set off for Volgograd 600 miles to the east.

Subject to previous experience of the former USSR, we were all in for a big culture shock. Welcome to a land of plenty. A warm, pleasant and friendly environment. Availability of western goods, fresh fruit and vegetables was widespread. The previously precious 95-grade gasoline was readily available. Rejoice rejoice! Since Mondo Enduro's adventures in 1995, there has been a transformation in Russia. Capitalism has certainly infiltrated this section of the huge country.

So here we are in Volgograd, a fantastic riverside location, swamped in history and holiday culture, a fitting place for the team to wait. Not for visas this time but for motorcycle spares. Austin's bike (W14) had overheated on our journey, and consequently burned a small hole in the piston.

Ahead for the team lies the desert steppe of Kazakhstan and then back into Russia for the Siberian assault. However, there still is 8000 miles to get off this continent alone. Keep your fingers crossed, keep your ear to the ground for the rumbling of our motorcycles, we're coming." Dave Greenhough (TERRA CIRCA)

Ricardo Rocco Paz, Ecuador, 'Around the World for Peace,' in Bolivia,

"... I'm off to the Salar after sleepless night. I decide not to join any organized tour. Let's tempt adventure. I ride some side-tracks to get close to the edge of the Salar, to take the first photos to look around and just to feel it. I keep riding slowly, as close as possible to the edge of the Salar, gazing at amazing, ever changing views. I get to Chilcani, a little village that stands at the entrance to the Salar de Uyuni.

I ask for directions and ride directly to the entry point, marked by an abandoned clay brick hut and a cement sign, where a hand painted 'map' of the place welcomes the tourists. A little farther down the road, a huge lagoon of shallow blue water has to be crossed to keep advancing. I stop to enjoy the magnificence of the spot and to decide which way to take, then think to better wait for other vehicles to show and see where they cross the water. Meanwhile, I walk around, the salt surface seems to be pretty hard, I don't think I'll have trouble riding on it. Soon enough, a tour company, loaded with a bunch of 'adventure tourists', cruises by and stops. I ask the driver which is the right way to the famous Salt Hotel. He points to the middle of the huge lagoon. I decide to let him cross first, then follow, but then, as I'm getting on the bike, I spot some tire tracks circling around the water, to the left, where the lagoon ends and where only a few puddles of water seem to be on the way.

I go for it. Bad mistake. After a few meters, the salt crust breaks and I get completely stuck in salty mud. I look back and see all the tourists and the driver staring in amusement. This is embarrassing, man! I click second gear, hit the throttle and pushing the bike with my feet, manage to make a desperate U-turn, till my boots get completely stuck in the mud and the bike starts to make an ugly clanky noise repeatedly. I get off the bike; she's standing all by herself, stuck up to the axles, deep in the salty muddy shake.

When I arrived last night, into Uyuni, I felt the impulse to buy a few meters of rope, just in case, you know. What a wise urge it was. I walk and humbly ask the jeep driver to pull me out. The jeep pulls back and I hook the rope between the two vehicles, only to see the jeep get stuck too. And the driver is blaming me! The tourists push the jeep free and jump in leaving me stranded. Hey, thank you guys, thank you very much. Another jeep shows up, this time the driver turns around, looks for harder ground and pulls me out, not before I drop the bike and get my left foot stuck underneath the heavy weight of the luggage rack. What a show must be for the 'spectators'. They help me up, and a last pull of the jeep sets me free. I thank them and distribute Around the World for Peace stickers among everybody.

… I'm riding the side tracks back to the town of Uyuni. A deep feeling of frustration invades me. Well, I could always join one of the 'adventure' jeep tours to see the Salar. I could unload the bike, try to waterproof it, and ride in again, risking my electrics to get fried by the high conductivity of the salty water. We'll see, while there are choices, there are ways to do things. While I thinking about my next moves, the front tire locks catching a huge sand barmy and I crash heavily, getting my foot stuck again underneath the bike, only this time, there is nobody in sight to help me out. I try desperately to free myself off the weight, only to let all the scarce oxygen exhaust from my lungs, rendering me powerless. I'm laying on the sandy track, with the bike on top of me, and feeling all the weight of failure.

After catching my breath, with my free hand I dig the sand around my stuck foot, manage a weird contortion with my stiff body and, somehow, by pushing the bike with my right foot, am able to get free of the sand lock. I have to unload the bike in order to get it to the upright position. Load it back and ride into town to find a place to wash her out of the mess."

Angela Brandl, Germany, Germany to Australia, in Malaysia, on a Honda XLV650,

"My name is Angela Brandl from south-Germany, around Munich. At the moment I am riding a Honda XLV 650. I bought my first bike when I was 16. From that time on, I discovered Europe on different bikes.

1990 - I wanted to go to India and Nepal. I went the first time overland with my Honda Transalp. Europe, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, down to south India and up to Nepal. Two years later I went overland to Egypt for a 6 week trip, but for some reason, 8 month later I ended up in South Africa. Also on a Transalp.

1998 - I bought a Honda XLV 650 crossed down to Spain, over to Morocco, Mauritania, these West African countries up to Togo. It took me almost half a year.

Now I am on the road again. I started in September last year, went through Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal, from there I flew the bike to Thailand, discovered Cambodia, Laos and now, Malaysia. My plan is, to go to Indonesia afterwards, heading up to Timor and try to find a ship to Australia... All the best, Angela"

Peter & Kay Forwood, Australia, around the world, in Canada, Harley-Davidson

"...Canada and the 20 border crossing questions this country asks us at each entry. The official parrots them off. Carrying any alcohol or tobacco, weapons, mace, pepper spray, bear spray, drugs, do you use drugs, if I search your bags would I find any butts or leftovers, are you carrying anything for anyone else, would you tell me if you were a drugs user and have you ever been arrested. The last are the most important particularly for Americans because if they have a conviction even for drink driving or marijuana use at any time, even 30 years ago, Canada has those records now and can check and you aren't allowed into the country. However if more than five years ago you can clear your record by paying a rehabilitation fee of $200 Canadian, then you are allowed in. You may have paid your debt to society 30 years ago in America but, you aren't good enough to come to Canada, but if you pay us 200 dollars you are now good enough to come here. Not even in Africa would they try to get away with such a ridiculous charge.

Ron and Lou Lores, Peter and Kay Forwood, Vancouver.

Ron and Lou Lores, Peter and Kay Forwood, Vancouver

... We are in Vancouver. Down alongside the scenic Fraser Canyon. Our deadline to meet Ron and Lou, two Australians who shipped their new BMW GS 1150 over here to ride Canada for the next two months. We are a day earlier than planned, always allowing one day for unforeseen problems, and surprise them at their campground. They are from our home town in Australia and Ron travelled with me in India four years ago. This time the wives are along. For couples used to living semi separate lives to be thrust together for two months will be a different experience. Just the newness of camping every evening and being on a motorcycle every day. Cooking on a one burner stove, showering when water is available and not knowing where you will be tomorrow all add to the adjustment. Working together and relearning each others particular idiosyncrasies..."

Aviv Rabinovich, Israel, cruising Europe, in Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia, KLR650

"I'm in Croatia again. In beautiful Dubrovnik. The queen of cities on the Adriatic Sea, no doubt. But I'd like to share the Yugoslavian experience that I had till yesterday. Start with Belgrade. Sure was worth it after travelling in west nice and complete Europe. With its bombed center on one side (I'll send pictures once I'm home) and good atmosphere on the other, plus the memories of the people from the few days of the bombing.

Boris, a guy I met and that invited me stay with him, said that during the bombing his mother used to play some war game on the computer and one real bomb fell down exactly when she blew up something on the game. She actually asked 'was it me or them??'

He said they weren't afraid any more or go to the shelters since one night while they were in bed Nato bombed some power place which is just across the street of their house. His mother deliberately didn't lock the windows so they didn't break but she and her husband did fly off their bed.

After that they didn't care any more. So do the rest of the city people. But all the people I talked to said that hearing the sirens and the sound of the planes coming was the worst thing.

Boris convinced me that I must go see Montenegro. Saying its got a beautiful coast and landscape. So I went there. Wasn't an easy choice since Romania and Bulgaria had to wait for another trip since it's exactly the other side to go to. What can I say, I sure had some second 'high' point of my trip after Norway.

… After I left Belgrade, not sure that going to Montenegro is the right thing, when evening came I looked for a place to camp (wild camp). I found a hill, green one with pine trees and few locked cabins and no one around. The moon is up and top quiet. Perfect. Then suddenly I see a car come and stop. It's a couple from Belgrade. They have a cabin of their own over there. They told me that in 50 years that they have this cabin I'm the first one to show up. They told me to leave the bike by their cabin and invited me to go with them to some village, eat something and stay with them in the cabin.

Montenegro is wild. Wild roads, wild view, deep canyons, beautiful lakes with clear water (I went fishing with fishermen there) and excellent coast. The coast is better before or after July-August because all Serbia go there in their vacation since Croatia closed the border for Serbians so they cant go to the beautiful and long beach of Croatia.

Only problem of Montenegro is the people that live on the coast, major attitude problem and no English. I ended up being thrown into a police car, violently, and been taken to a police station simply because... I'm still not sure, they didn't speak English at all. Even the investigator who was nice and spoke English didn't really understand and even took me back to the bike.

This plus general shitty attitude (in restaurants, on the street) sure spoiled some of the party (other tourists I met, too) so back to Croatia and up on a boat tomorrow to Italy and to Greece."

Mika Kuhn, Germany, around the world, mellowing in Cairns, Australia, Yamaha Tenere,

"Cairns / Australia. G'day. Now, after my four visitors are back in Europe at their desks, I need a rest - So I decided to stay here for some time. And could there be a better place in Australia than Cairns at this time of the year?

The town is full of tourists, mainly from Japan. For the Japanese Cairns is like the 'Costa del Sol' in Spain for the Brits and Mallorca for the Germans. The Great Barrier Reef is just a few minutes by boat away and good roads for a weekend journey by bike are nearby in the tablelands. And of course the weather, nothing like the cold in Melbourne.

Together with the Dutch biker Mark Fakkeldij I share a flat near the city and after all the camping out in the bush it is nice to have a fridge for the beer. We were lucky to get this flat because the landlord is the former bike maniac and mc mechanic Rob McCollough.

From Melbourne I traveled with my sister Katja along the coast up to Brisbane, where the nights were not too cold anymore. Katja enjoyed riding the XTZ660 and after a few days she got used to the traffic being on the wrong side of the road - the left. She even plans to come back to Australia, if she can get enough time off work next year.

In Brisbane I met my Estonian friend Siim, and he first had to get used to ride a big bike like the Tenere, because in Estonia he just rides a 50cc scooter around the old town of Tallinn in the summer. We both enjoyed camping out in the bush with a small bonfire and sausages, listening to each other's stories of the last two years. From Cairns he started his long journey back home, after four weeks and more than 3000kms by bike in Down Under.

Stefan, a friend from my navy days in Germany, was last to come over and we went to the Cape York Peninsula to see some crocs and to explore the Lakefield National Park. Mark Fakkeldij, who I met first in 1999 in Turkey, joined us and we had a wonderful time - but didn't see any crocs, so Stefan had to go to the croc farm to take a few close up pictures.

After more than three months in Australia, I still have sometimes problems with the language (yes, I am also talking about you Simon!) because it has nothing to do with the English I learned. Or can somebody explain why dinner is tea down here?

So what are my plans for the next few months? Maybe stay here until mid of September and than go along the Gulf Track west to Darwin. Let's see, maybe somebody offers me a job here and I stay longer. Greetings to all of you, wherever you are at the moment..."

Martin Rooiman, Netherlands, in Thailand, on R1100GS

"Thailand was great to arrive in. After all those (10!!!) months on the Indian subcontinent it was good to experience something completely different. Or as Jan, a German biker, wrote me a couple of months before: 'You going from the third to the first world!'Everything was much cleaner, traffic was organised again, all products you could think of were available. But most of all: people were much nicer and weren't approaching you every time. It was possible to sit at a little food stall along the street (another good thing here!) without people asking you 'What's your country', 'How much cost that motorbike' etc. Yes, Thailand left a very good first impression to us.

We spent a couple of days in Bangkok together but then I decided to leave for the beaches in the south of Thailand at Ao Nang. A Dutch couple on motorbikes were there and I wanted to meet them before they left for Malaysia. So I drove down the 850 kms in one (long) day, and it felt sooo good to be able to drive 120 - 150 kmh. again! Something that was impossible to do in India. The roads were in excellent condition. I wasn't able to arrive before dark but I drove on without any problem. In India I never drove in the dark, as it was too dangerous.

It was nice to meet the Dutch couple and there was also a British biker, Nick, who shipped his bike to Sydney already and was spending here his last days waiting for his bike to arrive in Sydney. Ao Nang is a really relaxing place and that was just what I needed after the last couple of weeks, or maybe after the last couple of months in India. Whole days I spend just laying in the hammock writing on my reports and I really enjoyed it.

My plans have been changed already hundreds of times. But the last one is that Jeannette is now going to join me for the rest of the trip. From October, when she's flying in to Bangkok, we want to do the loop Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand. The rainy season should be over by then as well. We will then drive slowly towards Australia. So now we probably be won't be in Australia before somewhere (early?) next year. Yes, I know it's all very vague but that's the way we like it! Wishing you all the best, Martin" More stories ...

Lew Waterman, USA, North and South America 2001-2, KLR650, travelling with Punky, his Yorkie dog,

"Punky is doing very well and we took advantage of good weather and rode out of Fairbanks on the Alaska Highway to near Watson Lake and south on the Cassiar Highway and down to Vancouver as quick as we could. After sitting in Fairbanks for an extra few weeks, I was gratified to be on the road again. We covered more miles/day than usual and arrived in Vancouver, BC, at Rich Kickbush's place, 2 days early. If anyone is contemplating a ride to the North Country, by all means do it. Only drawback is you may possibly go into sensory overload from the seemingly endless beautiful natural wilderness. British Columbia has roadside signs with the slogan 'Super Natural' aptly describing BC, which has mountains, lakes, rivers and trees everywhere.

Punky in position, looking for bears!

Punky in position, looking for bears!

The Cassiar was a great ride that kept my attention focused on the sometimes tricky road and my eyes peeled for wild animals, which could suddenly pop out of the heavy woods very near the road. We came within about 6 feet of hitting a black bear, one of three I saw on the road. Hitting wildlife on the road is a particular hazard to speeding motorists, of which I am one."

Ted Simon, UK/USA, 'Jupiter's Travels,' around the world, again, in South Africa, on a R80GS Basic,

"Apartheid has gone. The difference is palpable and very pleasing. People are scared of crime, with reason, but it was inevitable and they had it coming. It's what the black people here have been living with for decades. I think it will work out in the end.

I stayed near Johannesburg for a few days, trying to catch up on things, and visited a few people in the luxury of the prison cells they call home. Then I made my way back into Mozambique to see what had happened to Laurenco Marques since it became Maputo.

… I came back into South Africa from Swaziland, to meet a friend, Emerson Milenski, who wanted to ride to Cape Town with me, and we had a pretty good time together doing that, with stops at Durban, and Port Elizabeth along the way. The day before we arrived here it rained and blew like crazy, and it depressed me to remember how beautiful the weather had been the last time I came over the pass from de Toit's Kloof to Cape Town, and saw the land spread out in fairy-tale style below me - but fate favoured us. Overnight, the weather changed dramatically. We rode inland a bit to Worcester, and I was able to repeat the same arrival, again in glorious sunshine, winding down from the mountains to the edge of the southern ocean.

Ted Simon in Cape Town.

Ted Simon in Cape Town

A great feeling. I'll write more fully about all this (and the other missing stories) some time soon. Next week, the bike flies to Rio by South African Airways, and I'll follow it there. YES, I MADE IT."

Andrea Mueller and Bernie Zoebeli, Switzerland, South / North America, in Alaska, R80G/S's,

"By ferry we left Kodiak for Homer. There the weather was changing and we had beautiful four days. From our camp we could see the bay with a lot of otters swimming around and bald eagles flying over our heads. We took a tour to watch the sea otters and puffins from near. On this tour we saw two oyster catchers attacking an eagle and out of the woods came a black bear with its two cubs. They live on a very small island and nobody knows how they can survive. It was a great and cheap tour.

The next stop was Soldotna where Bernie could go fishing. The next few days we ate a lot of salmon! To see even more of this country we rented a canoe and paddled in the swan lake area. Sadly we only saw one moose and after two beautiful days it started to rain again.

… In the Denali NP we took the bus to the Eielson visitor center and then further on to Wonder Lake. On this tour we saw three grizzlies right beside the bus and about ten further away. The day was a caribou day. We saw a lot of them and two were walking on the road so that the buses had to stop and wait. This was the most beautiful day we've had in Alaska. We've seen Mount McKinley or Denali all day long in its white beauty.

From there we went on to Fairbanks where we found a very good mechanic although the shop looked like a shop in South America... we felt like at home! Bernie could work on his own with the help of the mechanic so it was quite a cheap service. We now stay in a campground where beavers are swimming by and have their dams in the city center. First we wanted to leave for Prudhoe Bay today but it started to rain yesterday and the weather forecast is bad for the next few days. We'll see if we do the highway up to the Brooks Range or not."

Chris Bright, UK, Around the world, in South America, R100GS

"I know I said I wouldn't write, but thought I'd fill you in on what's new and approved here anyway. (rats...)

...the journey has begun... arrived in Uyuni, Bolivia today after 3 days of the worst 'road' I've been on. How do I know: snapped rear subframe, 2 broken hand-protectors, 1 fallen off indicator, 1 smashed spotlight, the biggest dent in my engine-bashplate I have ever seen, 1 shock absorber p***ing dampener oil, but NO smashed mirrors (I took them off before I left San Pedro de Atacama :-)). I already knew what burning rubber smells like; now I know the smell of burning asbestos: namely the clutch trying to get up the 4 metre bank of a dried out river.

However, the views and the experiences have been superb. The most vivid breathtaking (literally - most of the way over 4000m - and figuratively) sharp peaks, deserts, sand, rocks, sand, rocks, rocks, river crossings, a green lake, a red lake, ice covered lakes, minus 20 degrees Celsius at night, flamingos, llamas, other furry looking things, white rabbits... the ultimate un-chemically or un-wine induced-high ever. Also, hour upon hour of grind in first and second gear (although I got into third twice today!).

1. paid a nice man 12 bucks for 5 hours of welding and tarting up the old goat. She weighs a few pounds more and her arse will never fall off again. Also affixed the spare shock. Let's see how long that holds. So far 4 days and 350 km, which ain't bad considering it's a BMW original.

2. took a landcruiser tour into the Salar de Uyuni. Just as well, because it's very salty and very damp. Superb views. (Ed. Was Chris Bright in the tour group that pulled Ricardo Rocco out of the mud in the Salar?)

... 22-8-01 hello, it is I once more. This time no witty comment in the subject line. Am all witted out at present. You find me in La Paz, Bolivia. Will drive to Coroico in the Yungas tomorrow. The road there is known as the 'road of death', so if I don't write again, you know what happened."

so much for no more correspondence...

James Richmond, Canada, started travelling in 1998, heading around the world (eventually) currently in India, heading for UK, on a Royal Enfield 500,

"The drive from Delhi to Chandigarh, at the base of the mountains, is on India's version of an expressway, which means the pavement is smooth and at times four lanes, but drivers must still contend with cows, carts, rickshaws and other dangerous impediments throughout the ride.

Soon we were tracing our way slowly up majestic hills deeply carpeted with perfect pines of amazing green, and eventually we were enveloped on all sides by the sloping fields of timber, slicing a narrow path deeper and deeper into the mountains.

To be so immersed in Nature at last, a world away from the blaring horns, pollution and the constant roaring of crowds, I almost felt a trespasser. And the boom of the bike engines reverberating off the earthen walls must have terrified any animal within a half-kilometer of our small juggernaut, but we, like the sunrise, were fleeting; small thunderclouds of steel storming past, taking nothing but memories, leaving nothing but echoes.

... We awoke and were on the road by 6:00 AM. The roads were the worst so far as we followed the snaking river; many stretches were first-gear-only, rocky, pitted patches that made me understand why we were wearing kidney belts. But, it was beautiful, looking across the water at a massive wall of green; so solid, so high that you're forced to crane your neck to see the sky.

The drive up was absolutely phenomenal. Up unto this point the beauty we'd been faced with was on such a mammoth scale that even without moving, and staring at only one spot, it was still almost too much to take in. But here, in this narrow valley, the primitive senses can appreciate all the little details bestowed on this magical place; the intricate shades of green that fill the air, from the wild grasses to the maturing rice to the pine trees on the borders, the twists, turns, dips and pools of the bubbling river, the gorgeous silver sheen on the rocks at your feet, only the sounds of wind, river and birds to distract you from the visual beauty that surrounds.

Kamal (safari leader) estimated the slope of our road to be an incredible seventy degrees, and it soon proved to be too much for our mighty 500 c.c. steeds, and even in first gear the engines couldn't cope with the challenge. The motors were quite literally smoking as we pulled off to the side of the narrow road, but this gave our group the perfect reason to drink in copious amounts of Nature's beautiful visual draught.

After a twenty-minute rest we resumed our upward journey, and as we neared the summit we came across small groups of people ascending the mountain. There was nothing around, no houses, schools or shops, and I couldn't figure out what all these people were doing in the middle of nowhere. Then we caught up to what proved to be the main body of a religious parade. Drums were booming, those peculiar Asian 'snake charmer' flutes were wailing, some people were singing, and eight young boys were bearing two religious floats of wild colours upon their shoulders.

Himalayan pageant.

Himalayan pageant...

The next day we hit the 'real' Himalayas, and were surrounded by snow-capped peaks. The roads wound up and down incredibly quickly; at times we'd cover a distance of a thousand vertical meters in the span of less than an hour.

To build these roads is an amazing feat of engineering, and is a spectacular example of Man v. Nature. It is only with constant upkeep that these roads remain passable, and those who do this construction and maintenance deserve a grand salute. Thanks to these brave men and women, it almost felt too easy for me to access all the secret charms of the plains and valleys I was witnessing. One of the greatest drives, and accomplishments of the road crews, was the famous '21 Gata Loops,' a road that curves and winds almost straight up a mountain side in a series of entertaining 180O hairpin turns, that did get a little hairy at times.

All in all, I was fortunate to be spectator to some most incredible sights, things my imagination could never have dreamed up, and things I never dreamed I'd see. Like driving down a road, looking to my left and having a half dozen majestic waterfalls fall into view. To stop and caress some Tibetan prayer flags, and hope that their wishes would carry me safely to the next pass. To safely climb the pass of Khardungla, and stand at about 5570 meters above the sea; the peak of the highest motorable road in the world.

And of course, to drink in one of the most splendid sights of all: a Himalayan sunset."

(Ed. James is now the official Horizons Unlimited Poet Laureate. See below)


up to top of pagespacerBooks

Looking for a travel book? you can go to our Books pages, where we have listed some of the best motorcycle travel books, as well as a number of BMW books, general motorcycle books, and travel guides.

Very much in progress, with hundreds more to come, but there is a good list to start with now. There's links to Amazon USA, Amazon UK, and Amazon Deutschland, so no matter where you are - Aussies order from Amazon USA;-) you can order books at great prices, and I'll make a dollar or a pound, which goes to supporting this e-zine.

There are links to search Amazon sites for all their products, books, CDs etc., and yes, we get a tiny piece of that too. We really appreciate it when you start your book search from our website! Thanks for the support.

Book suggestions please!

If you have a book or want a book that you think other travellers would be interested in please let me know and I'll put it on the site. Thanks, Grant

Quotable Quotes...

"A traveler must have the back of an ass to bear all, a tongue like the tail of a dog to flatter all, the mouth of a hog to eat what is set before him, the ear of a merchant to hear all and say nothing."
Thomas Nashe (1567 - 1601)

"A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it."
John Steinbeck

"We will travel as far as we can, but we cannot in one lifetime see all that we would like to see or to learn all that we hunger to know."
Loren Eiseley

up to top of page Some nice comments...

"How the 2 of you manage to keep Horizons so great all the time remains a mystery to me. Congratulations, it is a privilege being a part of it."
Mariola Cichon, USA, round the world

"LOVE THE SITE! Kudos on not just maintaining such an informative, useful site, but doing it in such style! Such a great resource for riders and wannabe riders alike. I just wanted to congratulate you on a job very well done. This site has proven inspirational; it's the reason I'm off to Europe overland instead of flying..."
James Richmond, Canada, in India

"What a fabulous site. You both do a wonderful job of bringing so many people together. I just sold an 1100RT 1996 and am doing research for a bike more suited for adventure touring....excited about F650...Texas hill country. Mexico. Central & South America, Europe and New Zealand. Please include me in any general distributions. If memberships and fees required that would be perfectly OK. Thank you for so much information."
Dick McNamara, Texas, USA

"Blown-away by the huge amount of info!"
Dean King, California, USA

"Feeling more and more that this is exactly what we should do with our lives while we can - thank you for an inspirational site!"
David Healy, Edinburgh, Scotland

"I love your website - many thanks, I have read and exchanged useful information on it."
Kit Constable Maxwell

"Thanks Grant. Great service you're providing!"
Anne Henderson & Jason, in Guatemala

"I am already a subscriber to your fascinating e-zine and am the one who told brillisour about it. Thanks for being there. I travel via KLR in Mexico in Winter and am planning a trip to Aus/NZ Winter 2002-03 so am learning A LOT from your web site. I am amazed at how well it works. I have not tried a 'link' that didn't work, it loads rapidly (and I'm not state of the art in power), the photos are excellent. It's just a very cool thing and I hope you're making money at it!! Thank you"
Rick Goacher, Montana, USA

"I have really enjoyed your website as it has allowed me to waste countless hours while waiting to leave work!!!"
Patrick Harkness, Vancouver, Canada

"Also a word of thanks for your fantastic site which is a mine of information. If it is worth knowing it's on your site!"
Charlie Money, UK, en route to Cape Town

"just few lines to thank you for the splendid job you keep doing and for wishing you both an happy stay in Canada."
Paolo Volpara, Italy

"Thank you for taking the time to put together an all inclusive, very informative web page".
Vince Gibbons, Virginia, US

"I got more out of this first article I read on your site, than I have in any magazine article in the last year. Informative, entertaining and so true - no playing around. You're gonna give me the courage to go to Labrador! Keep up the great work & best of luck in your new home!"
William Koch, New York, USA

"No reply necessary - your hard work is enough for me! Thanks!"
Michael Hardtmann, Germany

"This appears to be a really good site. Congratulations."
Mike Sullivan, BC, Canada

"Thanks for a good info site."
Curt Prentice, Nebraska, USA

"Great page and you must keep it up."
John Nunes, Gauten, South Africa

Thanks a million for HorizonsUnlimited - I seem to be spending some time there nearly everynight - My trip starts in Nov and hopefully I'll be able to be featured on it then instead of surfing it!
Grant March, Ireland

"I can offer to help any Club members and friends who are planning a 'long ride' somewhere on the globe. As a start I can suggest that anyone with these kind of dreams should sign up for the ezine for motorcycle adventurers: Horizons Unlimited. There is nothing on the net like it."
Gregory Frazier, USA, motorcycle adventurer

up to top of pagespacerFunnies...

Mechanic's Tool Guide

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive parts not far from the object we are trying to hit.

MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing seats and motorcycle jackets.

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning steel Pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age, but it also works great for drilling mounting holes in fenders just above the brake line that goes to the rear wheel.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar callouses in about the time it takes you to say, 'Ouc....'

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool that snaps off in bolt holes and is ten times harder than any known drill bit.

BATTERY ELECTROLYTE TESTER: A handy tool for transferring sulfuric acid from a car battery to the inside of your toolbox after determining that your battery is dead as a doornail, just as you thought.


SPANNER WRENCH: a bedevilling wrench that causes you to improvise with a pair of Craftsman needle-nose (see NEEDLE NOSE PLIERS) freeing you up to waste several hours attempting to get the Spanner nut off but breaking the needle-nose and causing you to drive 3 times to 3 different Sears stores to replace them. You forget to buy a Spanner Wrench while you're there each time.

SNAP RING PLIERS: see SPANNER WRENCH. Causes all above the same effects with the addition of finally getting the ring off, but at 450 mph straight into left eye.

NEEDLE NOSE PLIERS: see SPANNER WRENCH and SNAP RING PLIERS. Useful for breaking while attempting to remove spanner nuts and snap rings.

up to top of page Your Privacy

Please be assured that we will NOT under any circumstances, rent, lease, sell, or give out our mailing list, and/or your name and e-mail address, to anyone for whatever purpose. Your privacy is assured, and personally guaranteed.

Grant Johnson

up to top of page Administrivia

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Feel free to use the Bulletin Board for questions and suggestions.


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Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' e-zine - Copyright 1999-2001, Horizons Unlimited and Grant and Susan Johnson. All rights reserved.

REDISTRIBUTION is allowed, indeed encouraged, but other than the following requirements, only with permission. You may forward copies of the Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' e-zine by forwarding it yourself by hand. You must forward the issue in its entirety, no fee may be involved, and you can forward no more than two issues to any one individual. Please suggest they Subscribe!

Legal gibberish disclaimer: (particularly for those in countries that have more lawyers in one town, just for instance, New York, not to name any names, than some whole countries, as another example, Japan. Again, not naming anybody specifically you understand) Recommendations are based on positive or negative experiences of somebody, somewhere. Your mileage (kilometrage if you insist) may vary. We are not responsible in any way for any product or service mentioned, and do not warrant any such mentioned product or service, and are not responsible for any bad things that may befall you. You are responsible for yourself! Act accordingly. We check all links and information given as close as possible to publication, and all info is correct as best we can determine at that time.


up to top of pagespacerNew Quiz!

Although we were unable to run a quiz due to the moving chaos, we do have an August winner from our Recommends Contest (random draw from the list of people who have recommended us to others). Haydn Durnell from Australia wins the prize. Hint, hint, recommend us! You could win too!

September's prizes include great books from Greg Frazier, round the world traveller and author extraordinaire, or a US$25 gift certificate from, or the equivalent in GBP or DM if you prefer or

All of the answers can be found in this newsletter, so no excuses! First correct answer we receive WINS.

Have fun!

Susan, Quizmeistress...

Here's the September Quiz! Rules on the Quiz page.

Here's what you get to choose from when YOU win!

Choose from A:

US$25 gift certificate from, or the equivalent in GBP or DM if you prefer or

or B:

Dr. Gregory Frazier has very generously contributed a FREE book (or video) a month.

Gregory Frazier's books:

-New Zealand By MC
-MC S*x, or 'Freud would never understand the relationship between me and my motorcycle'
-Alaska by Motorcycle
-Europe by Motorcycle
-Poems by the biker Poet
-Two Wheel Wanderlust (NTSC Video)
-Motorcycling To Alaska, (NTSC Video)

Visit Gregory's website, find out more about these great titles, and have a look at some of his many other books and videos, there's sure to be one you can use.

Thanks Greg!

The Fine Print: Free shipping is included with the winning prize. Local Taxes and Duties, if any, are not included, sorry. Gift certificates will be e-mailed. A gift certificate claim code is provided for use when you order from Amazon. Gift certificates must be redeemed at the appropriate Amazon site, so you must specify which site you wish the certificate for. If the order exceeds the amount of the gift certificate, the balance must be paid by credit or debit card. Gift certificates are valid for one year.

up to top of pagespacerShorts...

Daniel Todd, Puerto Rico, USA, on his second around the world tour, in Malaysia, 1998 KLR650

"Chicken boat to Sumatra. Guys, A quick one, leaving in half an hour from Melaka, Malaysia and email is scarcer on the other side in Sumatra. Got a great deal with another company right next to passenger ferry terminal. Only 200 rigget instead of 400 with the other company that everyone else used. Not only that but they will deliver my bike to the passenger terminal in Sumatra instead of far away in the other port, which is a pain in the ass.

Daniel Todd (photo by Steve Raucher).

Daniel Todd (photo by Steve Raucher)

The only catch was I have to leave immediately, as this is a chicken boat instead of timber. When the sea gets really rough (and its really bad now, they throw the timber overboard to save the ship!!) So I will take the 'chicken boat' instead of the heavy timber boat. The other company hauls vegetables so your bike gets packed with onions. Hope the bike makes the rough crossing!! I have to take the passenger ferry so I will meet the bike on the other side, wish me luck, so long to all the guys going on to Australia!! Daniel"

Dorothea and Rene Landsee, Germany, round the world, in Kurdistan and Turkey, on two BMW R80 G/S's,

"... We are leaving the American sector soon and are now in Dogubeyazit, after a marvellous ride through Kurdistan. The other nemrut (?) near Tatvan was super. You can go into the caldera dirt track to some crater lakes and camp there. P.S. some stone throwing kids on the way from van-lake to dogu - watch out!"

Liam McCabe, northern Ireland, in Australia, on an Africa Twin

"Uluru really was something else, it's one of those places that remind you what you're doing and where you are. I crossed to the East coast via the Plenty Hwy, and made it to the Rodeo in Mt Isa and got out of town before someone put a 10 gallon hat on me. Hit the Gulf and started to take it easy, left the Gulf and hit the Bull Dust and the ground, with Catriona on the back. We're both OK but the bike is starting to look like something Chris Bright would have, I've even got the smashed mirrors. We'll be in Cairns tomorrow, Mika Kuhn, it's your round! Liam"

Antony Kingston, UK, to Australia, on an Africa Twin,

"I'm in Rohtak (100km NW of Delhi) - 21st August! I'll be around for another 3 weeks, then Thailand... I'll be in Darwin at the end of October/beginning of November - hopefully arriving on the ferry from Singapore."

Oliver Kams, Germany, to Australia, in India, on a Transalp,

"In the moment I'm sitting in Vashisht near Manali (India) and waiting for better weather to drive up to Lee in the next few days. Fixed my bike: new brake pads, Air filter (finished after 4000 k. never seen something like this), cleaned the chain in this monsoon often necessary. My hole in the engine is fixed like Connor told you. Just relaxing. I want to go from Lee not back to Manali but straight into Siti and down to Shimla and than Rishikesh before I drive to Delhi and fly to Thailand. That's the plan but you never know. Write you again when I can."

Joyce and Mark Groucutt, Manchester, UK to Australia, on the North Aegean Coast, Turkey

"We left the UK on July 30th from Dover. Travelled through Europe, Czech, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria and are now in Turkey. Departed in the car due to accident as mentioned in last month's ezine. The injuries are improving, Mark has some pain from his wound but it is healed and he is able to ride. I have 80% use of my right hand and most days are pain free I expect full use of the hand within a month.

Romania was by far our favourite country although the government could do with improving the roads; the potholes were unbelievable. The landscape was very unexpected, lush and green, the houses pleasing to the eye, the people - we saw no evidence of the poverty that we read about in UK papers, yes they have not moved with the times, they are probably stuck in the '50s, but does the use of horse and carts mean poverty!!?

Anyone that intends to follow the route we have be sure to have at least 75 US$ available (for bribes and taxes) for the Romanian/Bulgarian border plus another 60 US$ for the Green card (10 days). We only had enough dollars left to buy two days Green Card for Bulgaria, so it was a whistle stop tour.

If any other travellers are in Turkey, please get in touch, we will be here until approx. the 27th September. We are looking forward to getting back on two wheels in Thailand on October 1st. Joyce & Mark"

Patrick Lüth and Lorenz Kerer, Austria, through Japan, Russia and Central Asia, in Siberia and Kazakhstan, on BMW R100GS Paris/Dakars,

"17.08.2001: A few thousand kilometres later, a few less litres of gas, and the ability to sit still, but without problems , we biked into Siberia's largest city, Novosibirsk. Once again, by chance, we met a French-German couple, Martina and Peter. They are travelling through Russia with their Ural-sidecar-combination and shaggy dog 'Pitschu'. For two days we travelled together, chatted together, and drank together... Our paths separated all too soon. We are now in the very pleasant city of Barnaul and tomorrow we are headed out for Kazakhstan. The Orient, Mosques, The Silk Road... we are on a high, and very curious about what's waiting for us down the road.

27.08.2001: The easy entry to Kazakhstan was like a breath of fresh air. We crossed the incredible expanse of the Kazakhstan steppe for the first time. Memories of this stretch of our trip will always be the 'dreamlike' spots we found for camping, but many, too many, police-checks and they all wanted 'presents-for cops'. We have been relaxing for a few days now in the Children's Village in Almati and catching our breath after all that 'kilometer-eating' of the last few weeks. We are enjoying the atmosphere in the Children's Village as well as this interesting city."

Jose Garcia, Spain, Alaska to Ushuaia, R1150GS

We just missed meeting Jose in Vancouver;

"Right now I am in Seattle with my brother. We will have to meet some other time. I was there (in Vancouver) yesterday and I really liked the city. I know you have a meeting on July 7, Kay and Peter told me but it will be impossible for us to attend. If we want to be in Ushuaia for the New Year, we can not lose too much time. Please, say hi to Peter and Kay. Jose"

Anke Eggengoor and Jan Lucas, Germany, around the world, in Canada, R1100GS's,

"...hopefully you can remember us. Anke & Jan on two R1100GS from Germany still in Australia. Anke has recovered very well after her accident on the Stuart Highway in May 2001. Today we finally organized our transport from Sydney to Vancouver. We will arrive 14-08-01 in Vancouver. Anke & Jan"

Chris and Erin Ratay, USA, around the world, in New Zealand, now on two BMW F650s,

"My replacement F650 arrives here tomorrow (so the trucker says) US$80 from Levin (north island) to Queenstown (south island), 1,000kms away. Cheaper to have trucker pick it up then for me to go get it.

We're here for another week, then we're back on the road. We head back up to Auckland, then fly out on September 28th. I'll send you a complete update for the next Ezine. Tick-tock, tick-tock... Looking forward to eventually meeting you guys."

Jim Hair and friends, USA, Missouri to Alaska, BMWs,

"Three couples in our local BMW club (Springfield Mo. Road Riders) had been talking and planning since last fall to ride to Alaska this summer. ... Some members of the group had debated whether or not to take 'electric's in July'. One of the reasons was that we were all planning on camping and carrying full loads so every extra piece added up. It was well that we had them as we used them every day on the way up and most of the time while in Alaska, BC and the Yukon...

... I really liked the country in BC, Yukon and Alaska. It is the last place in North America where you could park your bike and walk off the road and no one would stop you. However it is going away. The contrast between what it is now and what it was 17 years ago is amazing. So if you want to ride your bike to Alaska (or BC, Yukon, Northwest Terr.) DO IT ! ANY motorcycle in good shape can make the trip. I saw everything from a Goldwing to a Helix scooter. Jim Hair"

From Grant March, Ireland,

"By the way, my friend Maria, on the Virago 250, she should be entering India this week. The only trouble she's had so far was a grope from an over keen Iranian border guard. She went ballistic and hurled a torrent of verbal abuse at him and the man backed off! She's also had one puncture! (Big deal!) She was, at one stage, gonna make several hundred mile detour to the Australian Embassy in Islamabad (I think it was) cos it was reported that they had an 'open day' every Thursday when all foreigners were welcome to come and have a beer on Australian territory! But in the end she didn't go. I cant wait to get on the road!"

From a post in the Bulletin Board

Dan Walsh, UK, around the world, in Africa en route to Kenya from West Africa

up to top of pagespacerSeen on the road...

Simon Milward, UK, in Canada, by Pete and Kay Forwood

"... the motorcycle passed its quarter of a million km mark as we headed south to camp roadside near Liard Hot Springs. The map is small but the distances vast in Canada. Still meeting long distance travellers. Simon (Milward), a Brit, just ridden his home made piecemeal motorcycle over Russia to Magadan and flew it to Anchorage, now heading south to South America."

Peter and Kay Forwood, in Canada, by us!

"Peter and Kay Forwood dropped in for a visit to Horizons Unlimited Canadian headquarters (temporary), while touring western Canada. While they were here, we went out for a great steak and lobster dinner (Thanks, Peter!) with intrepid travellers Gail and Eric Haws from Seattle, and Ron and Lou Lores, newbies from Australia who are travelling with Peter and Kay for a few months to learn from the pros. We traded stories until the wee hours of the night, swapped travellers tips and solved the problems of the world. The next day we said goodbye to them and went back to work, jealous and restless!"

Grant, Kay and Peter enjoying a Harley oil change.

Grant, Kay and Peter enjoying a Harley oil change

Rene Bakker, Netherlands, crossing North and South America, Yamaha, by Mike Sonzini, Park City Utah, USA,

"I just met traveller Rene Bakker from the Netherlands on his Yamaha XTZ660 at Flaming Gorge, Utah, USA. Click on 'Crossing America'. Page is mostly in Dutch for now. He is doing well but having a hard time avoiding speeding tickets."

there was even a note in his guestbook from a (female) police office he was stopped by, so he is making an impression...

from the website:

"... left his hometown Broekerhaven (Bovenkarspel) in the Netherlands, on the 22nd of July 2001 and started his journey at JFK airport in New York. His goal will be to reach Cape Horn within 1 Year. On his Internet site people will be able to follow his trip. Rene will send some stories and pictures and they will be shown on his site on a regular base. Unfortunately the language we use is Dutch but depending on the amount of visitors from the United States the site will be translated. It’s possible to leave a message to Rene here."

OK everyone, send Rene a note asking for translations, and remind him of the other English speaking countries out there... ;) Grant

up to top of pagespacerLeaving soon, or just left...

Merv and Ruth Homer, UK, Around the World, on BMW R1150GS, leaving September 1.

"Merv & Ruth are both forty-somethings with a large appetite for travel and foreign culture. So we decided to sell our 4-bed detached house in Coventry, UK, and downsize to a 3 bed-semi and use the surplus to circumnavigate the globe! Although we have a route mapped out we will most likely be hurrying through some countries quicker than we planned and staying longer in other places. Flexibility is what we've been advised.

Merv and Ruth ready to go.

Merv and Ruth ready to go

This is our first serious bike tour - so it will be a new experience for both of us. If all else fails we could always park-up and live in Greece for a year! Follow our travels on and see how far we get."

Harvey Gordon-Sawyers & Lisa Roberts, UK, Round the World, Harvey on a BMW R100GS and Lisa on a BMW R80ST

"Our plans are progressing well and we're looking on schedule to leave the UK mid-September. Our route currently looks something like this:- overland through Europe, Turkey and the Middle East - on to India through Pakistan and Iran. Then fly to South East Asia taking in at least Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. Then over to South Africa and all the way up the east coast into Egypt and, visas permitting, across the Northern coast to Morocco. Finally we plan to spend next summer in South America!"

Lisa on the ST and Harvey on the old R1100S that got sold to finance the new bike!

Lisa on the ST and Harvey on the old R1100S that got sold to finance his new bike!

Andy Miller, UK, Pete Thompson, UK, Sam Beasley and Dave Ward, UK, Ruth Mandeno and Paul Doone, NZ, heading across Asia. Leaving early September.

Andy Miller ready to ride.

Andy Miller ready to ride

Richard Watton and Tim, UK, to Australia and Nepal, Honda Dominators,

"...we are leaving UK Sept. 9th for Nepal riding Dominators. Tim is returning to the UK, and I intend to continue to Thailand - OZ."

Patrick and Helen Watson, UK, around the world, or at least to Dover, R100GS,

"Just to let you know that my wife and are setting off Sept 15 for a round the world trip UK - Estonia - Middle East - South Africa - South America - North America - South East Asia - India - an assortment of 'stans - Europe. Web site under development. Only just been pointed towards this site, so no chance to develop an opinion and so no feedback I'm afraid. Keep it up though!"

Chris Burt and Kirsten Latimer, UK, around the world, Triumphs,

"... We are expecting to leave next week. There has been delays with our Carnet. However we did do a test run up to Scotland and back last week with the Triumphs fully loaded and everything went well. Too much stuff though!! I gather you and Susan have moved back to Canada for the time being. Hope you are happy there - Summer has disappeared in England so definitely time to leave! Hopefully will have something more interesting to say once we are on the road. Cheers again Kirsten and Chris"

Goose and Lucy, (Adrian Greygoose and Lucy Gardner), UK, around the world, R1100GS, leaving 16th September 2001,

"The little lizard had been licking the Malibu pouring spout since our arrival, clinging fridge magnet style to the wood panelled bar wall. The barman returned with our sixth round of VB's and noticed my observation 'oh, don't worry about him, always there, only ever drinks Malibu though'.

Like many great ideas, ours was formulated over a couple of beers. We had had a long trip on the bike which had seen us ride (and crash) through subtropical forest, crocodile infested creeks and the arid Queensland outback. We found ourselves in a wood and corrugated Ozzy watering hole, stereotypical right down to the residential Malibu drinking lizard.

Several beers down the line I had an idea, lets ride the bike back to England! The plan was to ride across S.E. Asia, The Middle East and Europe. It was the cause of much excitement - even the lizard looked up from his tipple - needless to say we didn't do it!

Four years (and many beers) later we're back in England but this time the money is saved, the date is set, the 1100GS is on the drive and ready to roll - the target is Australia and we're definitely doing it. Goose & Lucy"

Charlie Money, UK, from UK to Cape Town, on a Cagiva E900 Elefant,

"On August 27th 2001, I will be setting off by motorcycle from Bristol in the UK, heading for Cape Town in South Africa. This trip through Europe, the Middle East and Africa will cover about 12,000 miles. My plan is to head fairly quickly through Southern Europe to Greece and Piraeus to take a ferry to Cyprus and then another ferry to Beirut in Lebanon. From Lebanon it is a relatively short trip to Damascus in Syria, and then onto Jordan for another ferry from Aquaba to Egypt, my entry point to Africa.

My route to Cape Town will then take me down East Africa to Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and finally South Africa, hopefully in time for Christmas. I plan to celebrate New Year 2001/2 in Cape Town. The trip is also a fundraiser for Comic Relief and the Grand Appeal, a local charity in Bristol raising money for the Children's Hospital."

Ed. We're struck by the fact that all the folks leaving are Brits. What about all the rest of the world? All you Germans, Dutch, Aussies, Yanks, Canucks, Italians and the rest of the world - are you going to let the UK dominate RTW travel for the next year? Get on your bikes! And tell us about it!

up to top of pagespacerHome again...

Dag and Bente Jenssen, back home in Norway, summarize their thoughts on travelling

"Looking at the big picture, one word comes to mind: Open-mindedness. If you want to try what we have tried, you'll be much better off if you're open-minded to your surroundings. Leave the preconceptions and 'I know better' attitude back home and accept that people think and act different from the well-organized society you come from.

...People are kind hearted everywhere. Why? I think that if you meet strangers with a smile and a polite greeting, people return it with a welcoming attitude. Over the year and the sixty thousand kilometers we left behind us, not a single negative experience with people sticks out. I mean, yes, people could sometimes be impolite, inpatient, overly patient, slow, drunk and so on, but so can we. Not once did anyone try to steal our bike or anything on it, not once did people try to screw us big time on money, and the only possessions stolen from us were two used tooth brushes and a pair of gloves we forgot on a camp ground table. They left us the toothpaste.

Of course bad things can happen, but they do in our hometown Porsgrunn as well, a small industrial town of 35 000 people. If you choose wrong you can end up in an alley you shouldn't be during dark hours, and, yes, you can get robbed. I think we tend to draw our conclusions on grounds that are way too thin, simply because we want to have opinions on everything. A Dutch woman we met in Honduras said she hated Mexico. She had an experience so negative in the capital because of taxi drivers who overcharged, hotel receptionists who didn't give a rats ass about her, and so on, that she would never ever return to that miserable country. I don't doubt her experience, but suspect that she made up her mind while still in Mexico, and therefore faced people with a negative attitude. You give and you get back. Later she probably told the same story to friends back home, maybe to people who never had been over there, and then it's easy to plant a seed of negativity among her friends. I think this happens again and again, and that's why we try to be careful in judging a whole country from a short visit.

Another funny aspect of people's versions of their own travels, is the exaggeration we tend to use. Everyone wants their own adventure to be something out of the ordinary. Many travelers exaggerate to such an extent that if you're in doubt you could do something similar, you'll be convinced after the story is told that you never will. That's why I state here and now: Bente and I are not thrill seekers. We are regular people who get scared when the going gets tough. So if we can do this, so can you.

The subjectivity that forms opinions, also works in a positive way, of course. Most people have nice experiences and fond memories from travelling in Latin America. Incredible people, fantastic nature, beautiful colonial cities, vast stretches of unspoiled nature, natural wonders like glaciers, waterfalls and volcanoes, relaxed lifestyle and, for us westerners, dead cheap living costs, are some aspects that come to mind. Call it adventure. But don't call it dangerous just because there are certain areas which are riskier than others. Just like in Europe, it's up to you how far into the thrill seeking you want to go.

... There are no substitutes for an adventure like this, and if you don't do it now, then maybe you won't get the opportunity to do it later in life. In our experience, the first time you close the door behind you and leave on a longer journey, is the most difficult. When you have done it once, it's easier. You learn that the world survives without you for a period, that career isn't everything and that a year is only a few pages in your book of life in the long run."

For more thoughts on this topic, plus advice on what bike to take, packing and the highlights of their trip, see their website.

Jason Koch, back in the USA, Central and South America, R100GS

"Ending my journey of seven months with over two months in Brazil exceeded my wildest expectations. And I barely scratched the surface. I lack Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. But leaving something for the future ensures a reason to return, and I have assured myself that I will return. My adventure replaced dreams of 'what it might be' with memories of 'what it really is.'

I learned about the United States and perceptions thereof. I found continuity in the rhythms of life from Mexico to Brazil. I saw places described in history books, and others that had never been described. Above all, I reaffirmed my feelings that at any time in any place, you can breathe fresh air into your life.

Brazil's most renown sculptor, Alejadinho, produced his most magnificent works of art after losing both hands and feet to leprosy. With a bit of drive and ingenuity, he strapped hammer and chisel to his arms and continued on his path to create statues that glorify God. But at the same time, he realized his full potential as a human being. It is an inspiring story. Self-realization is the holy grail, isn't it? To believe in yourself and others, even if it appears that they don't have hands…" More stories from his website.

up to top of pagespacerTravellers Community...

We've had a fantastic response to the 'Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers Community' idea.

There are 99 Communities in 27+ countries running already. Will your new Community be number 100?

A big thanks to all those who took the first step and established the Community in their area.

For details on how you can join or use the Community to get information and help, or just meet people on the road or at home, go to the Community page.

Send me some photos - with captions please - and a little text and you can have a webpage about your Community!

Translations of the Community page into other languages

French and Spanish translation has been done by Jean-Pierre Poitras, Ottawa, Canada. Thanks very much Jean-Pierre! Dutch is posted, thanks to Jan Marc Staelens, Australia. Polish is also posted, thanks to Micha³ Biernacki! German is in progress!

We have just done a complete redesign of the Community pages as they seemed to be confusing many people, so the translations are once again incomplete, but hopefully we will be able to get that sorted soon.

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up to top of pagespacerIn Progress...

I am working on a listing of people who have ridden around the world, as well as what I call 'significant journeys' e.g. the first across Africa. Any information you may have on this topic, please let me know. Preferably e-mail me direct. I currently have information on over 100 world travellers listed, but there are many more. See Bernd Tesch's page for more. Bernd lists around 245 long distance travellers. And there's at least 20 enroute to an around the world. Have YOU done it? Let me know!

up to top of pagespacerFinal thoughts...

"'Why do you do it?' friends often ask, perplexed,
Brows raised, minds sorely vexed.
'The world out there is dangerous!
Aren't you scared? Why do this?
You need steady work, a house, two cars!
You have only a motorbike, and sleep under stars!'

Dear friend, if you must ask, you cannot know
This curiosity that drives me so.
To you it is hidden; in me rises unbidden!
But one day the world I'll have ridden
By iron steed, then perhaps this need
Will have vanished, finally vanquished!
That day will find me on deathbed,
With no regrets for the life I led.

Will you be able to say the same?
Or will you despair a life worn plain?

I will stake my Himalayan memories
Against your estate of a thousand trees.
Pit my Thai sunset
Against your private jet.
Weigh my horse rides at sunrise
To your Italian suits and ties.
I'll rejoice in friends before I go,
Not the figures of my stock portfolio.

And, amazingly, there are more like me;
They reject slavery, and are truly free.
They took the chance we all had,
And honestly it makes me sad
That you didn't.
You thought you couldn't...
Live without the luxuries
Of all our modern amenities?
You choose the bonds of mortgage, but claim to be free,
Wasting a lifetime absorbed by TV.
Why watch it? but live it!
One life's all you get!
Don't put off 'til morrow and continue to borrow
The lives of strangers; 'tis the greatest of dangers
To the soul
Which grows old
Before its time.

Hercules, Columbus,
Guevara, Odysseus,
Champlain, Agamemnon,
The list goes on...
What have they in common?
Regardless man or god,
The soil of continents they trod,
Not in search of gold but adventure!
Not growing old 'cause they ventured
Far from safety; but far be it from me
To Judge...
The pitiless pity us
With souls black pitted.
Pray! save it for those less spirited.
For us... our horizons are unlimited."

by James Richmond, Canada, in India

We hope you've enjoyed this issue, and do please let us know your thoughts. It's your newsletter, so tell us what you want to know about!

It is not the unknown, but the fear of it, that prevents us from doing what we want...

Riding the globe...

Grant and Susan Johnson

Live the dream! at:

All text and photographs are copyright © Grant and Susan Johnson and their respective authors or creators, 1987-2001.

All Rights Reserved.

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