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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 homicidal tendencies in Chile, how to bribe a cop in Thailand, the land of a million elephants, burned out tanks on the Plain of Jars, the mighty 'smoke that thunders' in Zambia, black cobras in the jungle, Maoists in Nepal, recycling bombs, riding through blizzards in Andorra and minefields in Cambodia, sleeping in horse stalls, dodging the Hmong Guerillas and much more...?

Then you're reading the right newsletter!

In this e-zine:

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Final Thoughts
Helpful People
Home Again
In Progress...
Leaving Soon
Motorcycle News
New Links
News Items
Quotable Quotes
Repair Shops on the

Seen on the road
Tech Tips and Bits
Travellers Community
Travellers' Tips
Travellers' Questions
Who Are They?
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Motorcycle Travellers' News Report

50th Edition, June 2004

Welcome to the 50th edition of the Horizons Unlimited E-zine! It's a big milestone for us. The first edition came out December 1, 1999, more because I thought it would be fun and interesting than anything else, and here it is 50 editions and 4 1/2 years later, still going, and bigger than ever. That first edition had seven full stories from travellers, and eight "shorts." A couple of Travellers Tips and links, and that was about it. Oh yeah, and it was a massive 36kb. Last edition was 218kb, with dozens of stories from all over the world. I had no idea it would grow to this size - if I had I might not have done it! As it is now it takes the two of us about a full weeks work to put it all together. Without Susan's help, and other editors we now have volunteering, it wouldn't get done.

As a reader said "I get far more out of Horizons Unlimited than any magazine I have a subscription to, so being a Member is an obvious way to help make sure it keeps coming." So please keep those supporting donations coming in. How to Contribute. We'll do our best to give you the best value possible for your money.

We've been extremely busy attending several HU travellers meetings and presenting at the BMWMOA rally in Spokane, Washington. It was great to catch up with old friends and make new ones - thanks to all of you for coming, sorry we can't thank you all personally!

The First Annual Eastern USA / Canada Meeting was held June 18-20, 2004 at Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge in North Carolina. We were both there. It was a huge success, everyone had a great time. Highlights included inspiring presentations by Deborah and Dave Welton, Bill and Sharon Berwick, Andrew Hansen, Chris Jones and Spice Griffith, and a special guest appearance by Lew Waterman and Punky (the little dog that could). Thanks to all the presenters for coming, you did a great job! Folks came from all over the USA, Mexico, Canada and Sweden, and on all kinds of bikes. One of the more unusual ones was a Honda Metropolitan 49cc scooter, en route from Baltimore to LA. Laird Vandyck had taken a week to travel 700 miles, but he made it, and was having a good time!

Laird Vandyck, Honda Metropolitan 49cc scooter, en route from Baltimore to LA.

Laird Vandyck on his Honda Metropolitan 49cc scooter, en route from Baltimore to LA.

Thanks to Richard and Karen Fawcett and Jim and Liz Donaldson for an amazing job organizing the meeting. The event story is here. The location was perfect, so we'll be back there again next year. 2005 date is June 17-19, so get it on your calendar now, it's not to be missed! You can even register now.

The Fourth Annual UK Meeting was held at Lumb's Farm in Ripley on July 9-11, 2004. Susan was there to meet the almost 200 attendees. Excellent presentations by veteran travellers Sam Manicom, Tiffany Coates, Harvey Gordon-Sawyers and Lisa Roberts, Simon and Georgie McCarthy, Cliff and Jenny Batley, David Lomax and Paul Pratt were well received by the enthusiastic audience - thanks to all the presenters.

Click for larger picture.

Glynn dragged them all out of the pub for the pic! Photo by Andy Miller. (click the pic for a larger version)

Thanks to Glynn Roberts, Andy Miller and Chris Bright for organising, and to our helpful volunteers at the event. The event story is here. The brilliant new location was great. The proprietors were very pleased with us, and we're doing it in the same place again next year! The 2005 date is June 24-26. We do expect to be fully booked, so register early.

Susan flew back from England just in time for us to leave for the annual BMWMOA rally, this year in Spokane, where we survived temperatures close to 100 degrees F/ 38 degrees C every day, and did two presentations in a stifling hot barn. Wretched facilities, but an intrepid group turned out to listen to us, so we figured they had the makings of serious travellers, and several already have done major trips - Ekke and Audrey Kok, who presented at the HU 2003 Revelstoke meeting, and several RTWers. We also caught up with Chris and Erin Ratay, Helge Pedersen, Ted Simon and Chris Scott. Lots of vendors there, some of whom are potential advertisers, which made it worthwhile going. But, oh that heat!

That's why this issue is a little late, again! But lots of great stories from intrepid travellers from all over, so worth the wait ;-)

Many of you will know Bernd Tesch, who has been promoting motorcycle travel for many years, and is a Horizons supporter. Bernd's 'Tesch Treffens' were an inspiration for our travellers meetings. Excerpt from a letter he wrote to us recently:

"Dear readers of the 50th edition of the newsletter of

I would like to be one of the hopefully many who want to thank Grant Johnson for his work / effort / help / fun whatever he brought to all of us! And of course huge thanks to his wife Susan: Imagine living with a man who is sitting day and night in front of a computer and telling her stories about who is starting next to travel by motorcycle....

Grant started with his website about Motorcycle-Travellers with now incredible 49 editions since December 1999. It is his effort, time, money and especially his passion and sustaining power that we all still have the advantage to read monthly about short and long distance mc-travellers. I am waiting... already for the next steps with online-movies in the newsletter and finally a direct constant-online-contact to worldwide mc-travellers via his newsletter with eye-in-eye-contact! What do you think, Grant, how long will this take to be a 'normal thing'?

With help of Grant 272 worldwide communities have been created. So the world of mc-travellers is growing together. This is what the world needs to survive: Getting closer! I am absolutely sure that to travel by motorcycle worldwide is one of the best ways to spread peace and friendship and to create understanding for each other.

Thanks Grant to help us by your newsletter, website and activities to make it easier to get information to travel! Produce another 500 newsletters.... but never forget to travel yourself instead of sitting in front of computers!

Bernd Tesch

Globetrotter and Motorcycle-World-Travel-Expert."

How to contribute

Become a Member - Support HU via PayPal

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Start your planning with travel books at the Horizons Unlimited books page, and use the Amazon search function for your region to look for what you want. Don't forget to visit the Souk for sweatshirts, mugs, boxer shorts and much more.

If you know anyone who should be advertising with us (anyone who sells motorcycles or motorcycle accessories, riding gear, camping equipment and clothing, transports motorcycles, organizes motorcycle tours, or has motorcycles to rent should be advertising), please let us know or send them to our Advertising page with your recommendation.

It's our advertisers, sponsors and product sales that make it possible for us to make the website and e-zine available to you. We hope you'll check out their products and services and if you plan to buy these products, do it from our site or links. If you do use the services of one of our advertisers/supporters, we hope you'll let them know that you're buying from them because of their support for HU - and of course that they have a great product or service! :)


If you've had problems receiving the e-zine due to spam filters or insufficient bandwidth, remember you can subscribe to the 'Notice' edition instead of the full HTML version. The Notice edition is a short, straight text message that contains a URL to bring you to the full text on the website. Because the Notice email is so small, it downloads in a flash, and leaves your mailbox uncluttered. Click here to change to the Notice version.

We now have an Syndicate this Channel RSS feed for the e-zine and all the travellers' blogs. If you're not sure what that's all about, there's a great RSS guide here, or a more detailed one here, and an RSS Q and A here.

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

We try to link to your website if you have one. And if you don't have a website, we can help, and it won't cost you anything.

This newsletter is provided as a complimentary service for travellers everywhere, both on the road and (temporarily of course ;-) off. Your support is greatly appreciated.

your editors, Grant and Susan Johnson, (about us, contact us)

up to top of pagespacerHorizons Unlimited Travellers Meetings...

Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meetings 2004 - time to plan ahead!

Upcoming Travellers Meetings

Make sure you've marked your calendar for these events - there's bound to be one on your continent!

Western Canada / USA, Third Annual Meeting, September 10-12 2004

Carol Palladino and Peter Cameron (see the ezine for their RTW) will be hosting this event again, in beautiful Revelstoke, BC. Some of the best riding country in the world, rides of every description, including one to a local hot spring. I plan to be there! I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of you in person for the first time, and catching up with old friends. Watch for new location in Revelstoke. Details and sign-up here.

Portugal, Second Annual Meeting, September 24-26, 2004.

Great new location, details and sign-up here! I am planning on actually being there! (I'm going to be at Intermot the previous weekend, and will fly to Portugal for the meeting.)

Australia, Second Annual Meeting, October 1-3, 2004

Same location as last year, Ulmarra, NSW. We have a lead organiser, JD (Jonathan Lawrence) and he could use a little assistance - volunteers? Last years meeting info, and registration for this year (partly done, you can register now)

Copper Canyon, Creel, Mexico, Oct 14-17, 2004

Yes that's 4 days - we're extending it - too much to do and places to ride! Main 'events' will still be Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night. I plan to be there! Come early, we'll point you in the right direction for a great ride!

Planning in progress, expect lots of exciting things, trail rides, tours of the area and more. If you wish to put on a slide show let us know! Final details coming soon, registration now available.

2003 Mexico Photos posted here!

Viedma, Argentina, December 3-5, 2004 - Details coming.

2003 event write-up here. Oscar Knecht, HU Viedma Community and organiser of the meeting says "...we will have some Argentinean moto travellers... very good asados and good wines on the river shore, or the beach, see some historic and interesting places..."

Oscar's is a favourite stop with traveller's on the way to Ushuaia - if you're headed that way be sure to add this event to your plans!

See the Meetings page for more details on all events.

Why not start - or finish - your cross-country or RTW trip from one of this year's meetings? We guarantee a great reception and a free t-shirt! Anyone from overseas who plans to be in North America this summer, we'd love to see you at a meeting. (Grant will also be at the Portugal Meeting this year, as well as Intermot for the big motorcycle show.) Bring your stories and pics and show us where you've been! For those of you who haven't been to a HU travellers meeting, it's a great experience, different from any other motorcycle event, described as a "...uniquely typical travellers atmosphere that's an odd ball combination of mellow, and tail wagging enthusiasm." Make 2004 the year to get to one, two or more events and meet your fellow travellers!

If you are planning on coming to one of the meetings this year, please register early. Also let us know if you'd like to show a few slides from one of your trips too - it doesn't have to be a fancy multimedia presentation, a few slides and a few words about the area is great. Length can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes.

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.

Horizons Unlimited Travellers' Meetings 2004

Lots of meetings planned for 2004, and we're starting on 2005 - visit the Meetings page and start your planning now! If you haven't been to one, this is your chance!

Western Canada / USA, Revelstoke BC, September 10-12, 2004

Portugal, September 24-26, 2004.

Australia, Ulmarra NSW, October 1-3, 2004

Mexico, Copper Canyon, Creel, Oct 14 - 17, 2004

Argentina, Viedma, December 3-5, 2004

Big Dog Ride, August 12-15, 2004

"Poseurs whimper and hide under the porch when the gathering of BIG DOGS collect to pound the ground during the annual BMW GS 'BIG DOG RIDE'. Known as the 'world's highest, toughest, meanest, dirtiest motorcycle ride,' the monster dual-sport event is scheduled for August 12-15, 2004, high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The theme for 2004 is 'Up Where We Belong' and will be the 15th gathering of the fraternity of like-minded aficionados. To celebrate the 15th birthday of BMW adventuring and GSing around the world, the BMW BIG DOGS are opening their exclusive event to any dual-sport motorcycle 650-cc and over. Event organizers say,
'Bring 'em on!'"
Details on the Big Dog site.

From Pavel Mitryaev "ANGEL" in Irkutsk, Eastern Siberia, Russia

IV International Biker-meeting "Baikal-Shaman' 2004" Motorcycles, bikers and heavy music - on the coast of Great Lake Baikal! Every year we are calling our friends to this party! 16th July, little village Bolshaya-Rechka, 50km from Irkutsk to south by route M55L. Pre-meeting at 15 July, Irkutsk, near the hotel "Angara", 14:00 o'clock. We are waiting for our guests here on this place, and in 16:00 starting to general meeting place. Contact e-mail: Angel Contact phone number: 384514.

Bike-party near Vladivostok in August 2004

Shustrik from Ussuriisk writes on the HUBB: "Hi everybody! In August, 13-15, 2004, in Nakhodka (Russia, near Vladivostok) we'll spend a moto-festival "Facing the Ocean". We invite all bikers, travellers, and just good peoples, that to lead time at coast of Japan Sea. Clear water, many beer and full freedom. Come and find new friends! More information here: (Russian only). Or mail dvoalex or sinus.

Off centre Rally, 14 -15 August, Australia,

The Bi Annual Off centre rally is on again this year. Innamincka in the far NE of SA is the venue for this the 10th off centre Rally.

The Off centre rally is a meeting of mainly off road tourers (there are always some crazy roadies there) in a remote location, the rules for the location are: it must have petrol and beer and have 200km of dirt road from any direction. Usually there are 60 - 90 bikes at the meeting. All riders and all types of bikes are welcome. More details on the HUBB.

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

Susan has created

an excellent Information Security and Privacy for Beginners presentation that everyone that uses a computer should read and pay attention to - especially if you're using internet cafes.

Safety Lighting: Be Seen, Not Hit,

"I didn't see the motorcycle."


Get your website 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. We reserve the right to refuse to link back.

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up to top of page A host of
volunteers for '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,' other words, somewhere there isn't a large number of shops? (Also of course any shop that specializes 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. Please post your info in the Repair shops around the world Forum on the HUBB.

There are now 70 + shops listed in out - of - the - way places, from Abidjan to Ghana to Peru! Be sure to check out the HUBB "Repair shops around the world" forum if you need work done!

Matt Pope, UK, writes on the HUBB about Africa Twins in Guatemala

"Anyone with an Africa Twin running down through Central America should look at a service in Antigua, Guatemala. Why? The city is awash with them! A group of local guys ordered 7 new ones last year and have good mechanic contacts in the town. No problem with the main service parts.

I had my Twin serviced in Mexico City where the Honda mechanic had never worked on one before. Would have preferred to have waited! There are quite a few Twins in Guatemala City too but this is less fun to visit than Antigua.

Great bike scene in Guatemala. Ran into 100+ bikes doing a 'Poker Run' to various checkpoints and getting a stamp/card at each checkpoint."

Brian Coles, UK, adds:

"Guatemala City has a big Honda garage, got a lot done there for next to nothing, good guy called Francisco heads the service dept and speaks superb Ingles! Brian"

up to top of pagespacerTech tips and bits...

The myth of the warped brake rotor, by Carroll Smith, Stoptech Brake Systems

Excellent article on what's really happening, and breaking in pads and disks.

up to top of pagespacerWho are they?

When you meet people on the road, and they haven't heard of this e-zine or the website, we'd appreciate it (and hope they would too!) if you'd get their names and email addresses and send it in to me.

Thanks, Grant

up to top of pagespacerTravellers' Questions...

Pete from Berkeley writes on the HUBB about getting tires in Mongolia,

"I'll be in Mongolia for July (coming from Vlad). I had a question about tires. I have a BMW R-100 GS (17 inch rear), but I had someone else ask me about availability of 18 inch rear tires as well. Any advice?"

Scott W responds:

"Tires (any size) are tough to get here. The best bet is to have them sent in by DHL from Japan or Hong Kong. DHL is expensive but pretty fast and reliable to Ulaan Baatar."

Mike from Idaho asks about the TransSiberian Highway?

"I recently read that Russian President Putin has dedicated the TransSiberian Highway, now an all-weather road entirely across Siberia to Vladivostok. Does anyone know of sources for more information on this route, such as support services availability, road surface, etc.? Thanks, Mike"

Ed. Long thread with lots of info and some differences of opinion. If you're heading that way you want to read it!

Muzz from Thailand asks about road conditions in Cambodia

"Can you tell me, I plan to visit Cambodia from the Thai side. I have a TT250, what are the roads like in from Thailand (Pattaya way) going across to Sukhomville in Cambodia? Thanks for any advice. Muzz"

Richard Parkinson replies:

"Road is fine. Have just passed that way 2 up on a TDM850 - No worries."

Kirk from Colorado asks about road conditions in Alaska

"I'm leaving Colorado Springs May 25th 2004, intending to be in Fairbanks the second week in June. I plan on riding up to Deadhorse and wanted to know what type of road conditions to expect on the Haul Road that early in the season. I'll be on a V-Strom. I have 30+ years of dirt riding so dirt and gravel is fine, just wondering about the mud with this bike. Thanks for any info!"

Olee from Fairbanks responds:

"the 'haul road' is now paved for 70 mi. north of Fairbanks. Very fast paced with lots of twisties. Pavement ends in Livengood (which is nothing more than a few houses) and is gravel most of the way to Deadhorse. The road can be really dusty and dry or can get muddy and sloppy. I've found it to be a better ride when it was wet, even a little muddy as the dust isn't bad and when the truckers pass you full tilt the boulders they throw at you aren't as bad. Best to just pull off the road at first glimpse of an incoming truck as it is their road and they could give a hell less if they sand blast you or push you and your bike into the rhubarb.

You can usually get gas at the Yukon river bridge, which is the only bridge that crosses the Yukon in AK (125 mi. north of Fairbanks) then Coldfoot (250 mi. north of Fairbanks) the remaining 250 mi. north is nothing as far as stops go. Plan on packing gas if your range is anything less than that or close. Olee"

Chris Lockwood adds:

"There is only about 30 km of gravel on the Alaska Highway this year. No problems at all. Of course, construction can start any time..."

Plenty more questions and answers on the HU Bulletin Board! We've over 4,100 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 and advisories...

Beat "Sanchoz" Gisler, Switzerland, responding to a question on the HUBB about safe parking in Uganda for a year,

"Try the Red Chilli in Kampala. I don't know if they rent parking space but the place is big, safe and friendly! Beat"

Useful new goodies on the site,

An Africa spreadsheet - everything from Ken Keller's Africa trip: "Myself and my friend (Dominator and NTV650 respectively) travelled from Lagos, Nigeria to Dublin, Ireland in 2000, without any major problems. We travelled through Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Spain and France.

The spreadsheet (has) all the information regarding route, equipment, costs, etc. It won't 'fit' everyone's trip, but it might give people an idea of how to go about storing all their information in one place."

Download it in Zip format - 100kb. Unzips to an xls.

Which countries allow you to fly out without the motorcycle and return?

Very interesting thread!

Graham Rogers writes from Bangkok,

"Male pillion-riding in the south of Thailand (Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat) has just been banned. While this has often been the transport method of choice for assassinations in Bangkok (bike alongside a limo in heavy traffic) and elsewhere, recent problems in the south of Thailand have seen something of an upsurge of bike-related terrorist activities (although the Prime Minister does not like anyone to use the "T" word): machete attacks, arson, bombings and the more mundane shootings. Females are still permitted to ride as passengers on bikes."

Owain G, from Wales, asks about safety in Iran and Pakistan

"With the current worsening situation in Iraq and the level of animosity that seems to be developing is travelling through Iran and Pakistan anymore problematic than say 2 years ago. I know that bad things can happen, they can happen anywhere anytime but I still have faith in human nature and the hope that people can just get on with each other. Feel free to call me a hippy if you like."

Harvey, from the HU Community in Delhi responds:

"Owain, You're spot on with your belief in human nature. All the overlanders we've had stay with us who have come that way recently have enjoyed both countries and found the people very friendly. Although bad things can happen if you're unlucky, I think you're probably safer there than in London."

Richard Parkinson and Lisa Godfery add:

"We're riding UK-NZ and so far Iran and Pakistan have been the friendliest, most welcoming countries we have travelled through. Don't be scared by CNN."

China, from Butch,

G'Day ... Seems things are changing a bit and apparently import of brand new (originally crated) bikes is possible after a lot of paperwork. Met a fellow who imported a 2002 BMW R1150R and the whole progress ended up like 300,000RMB (approx. US$37,000 ) but he still has no registration. There are tons of unconfirmed rumours about changes due to WTO, but as usual nobody in China will confirm. As well, one more serious advice, Under no circumstance transfer lots of money in advance to some shady "wannabee" tour operator in Mainland China! Best regards & Seeya in the pub or on the road somewhere... Butch, Founder / Webmaster Red Devils MC Shanghai

Mike Stone, USA, writes on the HUBB re Central America border crossings

"I'm not sure how much this report affects us furrinners, it probably relates more to Central American residents at border crossings. The report is from Honduras This Week and La Tribuna: Honduras and Guatemala sign customs agreement - Customs offices are no more. Yesterday Guatemala and Honduras signed a customs union agreement which will facilitate the movement of business and people between the two countries. The agreement was signed by Honduran president Ricardo Maduro and Guatemalan president Oscar Berger at the border crossing at Agua Caliente on Guatemalan territory, where an agreeable atmosphere prevailed.

This is a mark in the advancement of the process of the Central American customs union. Honduras will later complete the integration of its three border checkpoints with Guatemala, Agua Caliente, El Florido and Corinto, and two with El Salvador, Al Amatillo and El Poy."

Ed. comment: At least it's a step in the right direction!

Scott Weinhold writes from Ulaan Baatar about new border crossings for vehicles in Mongolia,

"In an effort to promote tourism, the Government of Mongolia has announced that foreigners may now enter Mongolia by automobile or motorcycle at four additional land border crossings. The affected border crossings include: Tsagaan Nuur in Bayan Ulgii province, Altanbulag in Selenge province, Ereen Tsav in Dornod province and Zamiin Uud in Dornogobi province. These permanent highway checkpoints are open five days a week, Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Foreigners may present their valid passports with visas (if needed) to cross the Mongolian border at these points."

Martin Solms provides an update on Africa overland travel:

(primarily 4WD but certainly applicable to bikes)

"2004 has to be the year of route changes, as many current overland trips open up new routes South.

Over the last decade of overland travel every conceivable route has been traveled. During the early 90's a few Trans-Africa trips started in Algeria and headed South, compared to the majority that skirted West Africa eventually arriving in Nigeria before tackling Central Africa. Nearly all of the early documented overland trips entered the former Zaire (DR Congo) hoping to miss the wet season. And now finally, the DR Congo is seeing overlanders cross its muddy roads.

"Expedition Overland" and "Camel World" opened up West Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa (Angola) route a year ago, which has quickly been followed by Graham & Witt from "Africa Overland".

"Mobile Medics" have crossed from Central African Republic, through the DR Congo, Southern Sudan into Uganda. This route has not been traveled in years, as their website testifies to the bad road conditions.

The very stable Southern route from Egypt into Sudan is still currently open with "" having crossed from Egypt into Sudan about 4 months ago and more recently, "Red Buggy".

The only route causing a few issues at the moment is West Africa to the Chad / Sudan border."

Mosquito Repellents
(this perhaps should have been in the "Funnies" section, but who knows, they might work!)

May or may not be of any use whatsoever to anyone but the originator...

"Use Bounce Fabric Softener Sheets... Best thing ever used in Louisiana... just wipe on and go...

Bob, a fisherman, takes one vitamin B-1 tablet a day April through October. He said it works. He was right. The odour the tablet gives out through your skin (you cannot smell it) repels mosquitoes, black flies, no seeums, and gnats. It does not work on stinging insects. Hasn't had a mosquito bit in 33 years. Try it. Every one he has talked into trying it works on them. Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine Hydrochloride 100 mg.)

Keen said NPR reports that if you eat bananas, the mosquitoes like you, something about the banana oil as your body processes it. (Maybe they need the potassium too- lol) Stop eating bananas for the summer and the mosquitoes will be much less interested.

This is going to floor you, but one of the best insect repellents someone found (who is in the woods every day), is Vick's Vaporub.

Plant marigolds around the yard, the flowers give off a smell that bugs do not like, so plant some in that garden also to help ward off bugs without using insecticides.

Special forces who spend a great deal of time "camping out" say that the very best mosquito repellent you can use is Avon Skin-So-Soft bath oil mixed about half and half with alcohol.

Mix your own: 20 drops Eucalyptus oil 20 drops Cedarwood oil 10 drops Tea Tree oil 10 drops Geranium oil 2 oz. carrier oil (such as Jojoba ) Mix together in a 4 oz. container. Apply to skin as needed avoiding the eye area. Keep out of reach of children. Test on a small area of skin for sensitivities. Experiment with different percentages of essential oil [Caveat: I've found it always saves time and frustration to avoid any recipe with more than two ingredients].

One of the best natural insect repellents that I've discovered is made from the clear real vanilla (not the grocery store vanilla extract which is mostly alcohol). This is the pure vanilla that is sold in Mexico. It's cheap there if you know of someone that lives there or in the US close to the border. If not, health food stores usually carry it or can order it for you. I use it half vanilla and half water and find that it works great for mosquitoes and ticks, don't know about other insects. when all else fails--get a frog."

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!


The Shipping page on the site is HUGE! It can be reached directly or from the Shipping link on the Trip Planning page.

If you have any information to contribute, please go here, and register (or just login IF you have used this system before) and you can then submit your information. Thanks!

Travel Advisories:

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

The US State Department regularly issues updated travel advisories, information and/or warnings.

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

Daniel Todd, USA/Puerto Rico, second around the world tour, in Thailand and Laos, KLR650,

"This was my fourth and final ride across SE Asia before shipping my bike back to South America. My plan was to spend most of my time on or near the Mekong River. This would allow me to get off the main roads and see many areas that I had not seen on my other journeys. In spite of the many travel restrictions, it was the most fascinating of two-wheeled journeys.


... While combing the back streets of Chiang Mai, I found an overlander's bike and luggage abandoned on the side of the road. I waited for several minutes before the owner appeared and introduced himself as Philippe Janowski. Of course I had heard about him since like myself, he too had taken affection to this part of the world and spent the last five years riding the most obscure places in SE Asia. During the next week while spilling many stories (and beers), I also had the pleasure to finally meet Dr. Gregory Frazier, Peter Cameron and many of the others left over from Thailand's bike week.

... I found myself on the 'Nan Loop', an incredibly scenic mountainous region that sees little tourists. I attempted to use the local border crossing here but was denied access. With only 24 hours left on my visa, I tried another crossing to the South near the Mekong River, but got lost before being told that no foreigners were allowed to pass through this remote area of Thailand due to guerrilla activity coming from Laos. I turned around and raced to Chang Kong in the far North where I caught the last ferry across the Mekong River and into Laos.

Laos, Karst Kids

After 200 kms of dirt tracks and river crossings that yielded excellent opportunities to study the local hill tribes, I arrived tired, muddy and broken in Luang Nam Ta. I spent the next two weeks riding along the Chinese Border on similar dirt tracks through many villages that had no electricity or running water. Chickens were constantly bouncing off the side of my bike and on one occasion, I even hit a large pig!

It is said that this is the only place left where one can see the 'Old South East Asia': gigantic limestone karst formations and the rivers below as the only means to transport the locals to many of these remote villages. Some areas along the Vietnamese Border were so rugged that I often underestimated the time needed to make it to my destination, and found myself bouncing over rocky roads at night with very limited vision, run off the road by trucks that used up the entire road and kicked up a thick cloud of dust in the process. Most of the guest houses looked like horse stalls with an outhouse 25 meters away and no shower even if you were brave enough. This was usually the only option, but at one dollar a night, who would complain?

Laos, Karst road

I finally emptied out onto the Plain of Jars, a province pockmarked with bomb craters where little or no vegetation grows, one of the areas most devastated by the war. Virtually every village here was bombed between 1964 and 1973. Northern Laos is so rugged that this is one of the only areas that the Viet Cong and Pathet Lao could move their war machinery into Neutral Laos, hiding in the many caves during the day and moving at night to avoid the many bombing raids. In many of these caves I found burned-out tanks and destroyed anti-aircraft artillery. This was one of the hottest parts of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Plain of Jars is more rightly known for the many meadow-like areas littered with large stone jars said to be 2000 years old. Theories abound as to the function of these stone structures weighing up to six tonnes. Were they used for rice storage or to ferment wine?

The section of Highway #13 around Kasi is a dodgy area known for rebel attacks by Hmong Guerillas. While stopped on the side of the road along this mountain ridge, admiring the excellent views of the amazing karst topography, lots of scraggly families materialized out of the bush armed with assorted guns, but none of them were aggressive and a few even posed for my camera.

Lao Woman

... After Vientiane I resumed the Mekong's company the rest of the way through Laos and into Cambodia, exploring many of the ancient Khmer temples and ruins on the river banks. These lost cities don't have the mass tourism of those like Angkor Wat in Cambodia and often times I even had these temple structures all to myself.

The Mekong exits Laos spectacularly, falling through a six-mile-long run of cataracts known as Knone Falls. At the Cambodian Embassy in Vientiane I was assured that I would 'never be allowed to make this border crossing on the bike'. But this all changed shortly after everyone gave me their name cards so that the border officials would 'know who I was' and 'who sent me'. The border formalities were very straightforward except the 'gratuities' that were expected on both sides. The border area itself was surreal; there was only one small shack on each side of the border in the middle of a deep forest with only a dirt path as the 'highway' and a barber pole gate to politically divide the two Countries."

Mika Kuhn, Germany, around the world, in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and South Africa, Yamaha Tenere,

"From an internet cafe in a shopping mall in Randburg, near Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa - cold but sunny.

... Going further north from Kourou and instead of mud I find dust and a newly graded dirt road. Logging and gold mining continues to destroy this part of the world. Crossing back into Brazil, the customs officer told me to go back to Georgetown to get a permit for the bike from the Brazilian embassy. I rode into Brazil to Boa Vista without this permit and crossed the next day riding past the customs building into Venezuela. No more Brazilian officials for the rest of my journey.

After crossing the Gran Sabana I continued North to the coast. Following the coast further north I crossed into Colombia. None of the airlines flying to Havana would take a motorcycle, classified as dangerous goods. Only after my customs agent Omar had the idea of bribing the guys in the warehouse, would they accept the bike and fly it to Havana. On Easter Sunday I left South America, after twenty months and 79.000 kms. I have visited all countries in South America and all capital cities. A few hours later I arrived in Havana on Fidel Castro's island.

It did not take long for me to realize that nearly everybody was lying to me and trying to rip me off, but I also realized that Cubans are afraid of talking openly to tourists and they never have an opinion.

The US Dollar seemed the only thing nearly all Cubans I met were interested in; the Peso is only good to buy bread and fruits. And the only way for them to get US Dollars is from tourists - I often felt like a walking ATM.

In the South, in Santiago de Cuba, I met two French sailors and they agreed to take the bike and me to the Dominican Republic on a sailboat.

To clear customs in the Dominican Republic for the bike was an absolute paperwork nightmare and even if I paid an agent, it would take three full days to get a one-month valid permit. Don't ever think of taking your own bike to the Caribbean, renting one will save you a lot of hassle and money. The Dominican Republic is a lot more relaxed than Cuba. A contact person I had for shipping the bike in Santo Domingo - thank you Daniel Todd! - Gave me a reasonable quote to fly the Tenere to Johannesburg in South Africa. It took more than a week to arrange it all, but it worked out well. If you ever travel to Santo Domingo, than go to Moto Butler for all your motorcycle needs. George Butler, the owner, helped me so much and invited me to eat the best German sausages I had in years. Thank you George.

Another week or so I will spend here in Johannesburg, before I travel down to Cape Town. I am staying with Jan and Leone, fellow travellers I had met in Russia in summer 2000, in their big house and I am having a rest after travelling too much in the last months.

Damaris, my girlfriend, is coming in about a month to Cape Town and than we will travel together up North. She is going to ride her Suzuki DR350. The Tenere is in good condition, only a few things before it is ready for the way back to Europe. The plan is to travel together up North along the West coast of Africa and return to Europe next year in summer."


Patrick and Belinda Peck, Australia, RTW, in Andorra, France, Yamaha Tenere,

"After two days of dodging rainstorms in France we made the mountain pass to Andorra. Waiting for us at the edge of the mountains was a horrific snow blizzard, which brought all traffic to a crawl. Both the visibility and the temperature dropped to uncomfortable levels and our main worry was that the roads would freeze creating an icy surface not conducive to keeping a motorcycle upright or from going over a cliff! The wet snow built up on our visors, boots and really any surface facing forward. We finally made the pass with only a couple of degrees before the roads froze. The road descended into clearer and warmer air, although the roads were wet and our boots were soaked.

Waiting for us was Luis (Nacho) and Carina Martinez. Their last around the world trip on a Super Tenere lasted six years and covered 170,000 kms. Nacho made contact with us through a Super Tenere club website based in England and invited us to visit for a few days. It is amazing that you can make long-term friendships through the Internet. Andorra is a modern ski and tourist town where people come to buy tax-free items. Our Shoei helmets and Casio watch are half the price of Australia. Motorcycle shops are numerous and we can order accessories specific to our XTZ750. We spent hours going through photos, magazine articles where Nachos trip was featured and just telling each other our motorcycle tales.

From Andorra we headed to the bustling city of Barcelona to catch a ferry to the large island of Mallorca to visit our Australian friends Peter and Hella Lea. Peter has the exciting job of being the Captain of a luxury 30mtr yacht and escorts the owner to holiday spots around the Med during the summer. He actually gets paid for it! During the off season he maintains the boat and makes it ready for the next season. Peter and Hella have a bedroom on the top of their house for us with views of the water, cathedrals and three old windmills. We will spend the next few months checking out Spain and Portugal before heading off to Italy...

Palma, Mallorca's capital city, has an old city area surrounded by fortified walls with turrets on all corners. Inside is a medieval city with narrow cobblestone streets, stone buildings and modern shop facades, tapas' bars and small restaurants flow their tables right onto the streets. Windy asphalt roads took us to all extremes of the island to explore resort beaches, old hillside towns and the sheer high cliffs. It was strange to see Dutch style windmills scattered throughout the island that were once used for crushing grain and pumping water from low lying areas. There were hundreds, where there used to be thousands. We hiked to castles on mountain tops and trekked cliff faced trails to catch sea views...

A young professional couple, Marta and Roger, who opened their home and hearts to us, hosted us. We met through the Internet webpage - They welcomed us strangers into their home and showed us the sights of their home town, Sabadell.

Wherever we go in Spain the roads are great and even the 'bad' ones are supreme compared to parts of Ruta 40 in Argentina. Everything here is so civilized, organized and well signposted. The Spaniards are very friendly when approached, but the Spanish Argentineans would approach us to invite us into their lives. We love driving through the rolling countryside, through whitewashed villages and spotting the castles on all of the tallest hills. After having been in many castles we have decided that they look the best from the outside, so seldom venture in except for castles like Alhambra in Granada..."

Ed. See Patrick and Belinda's blog here on Horizons Unlimited.

Dean Bordigioni, USA, to South America, in Chile and Argentina, Harley-Davidson,

"Chile was fantastic, a long, wide and wild California decades before some misguided fools created suburban sprawl and unimpeded growth. Think of the Wine Country without miles of gridlock on route 29, or Yosemite in Ansel Adams day. It is long and coastal on the Pacific shore, then guarded on its eastern flank by towering mountains that capture the gift of water to nourish the desert below; lush farmland and vineyards amongst a dramatic backdrop of coast and sea and mountain and sky.

My original plan had been to follow the gravel roads that weave their way North while crossing back and forth between Argentina and Chile, but the 2000 miles of bad road and rock gravel since Buenos Aires had belt sanded my rear tire down to threads. My only option was to hang with the Swedes to Puerto Natales, then catch the inland ferry to Puerto Montt, packed with everything from backpacking European tourists to open air 18 wheelers stuffed to the gills with either horses or cows in an inhumane, pathetic efficiency that chased thoughts towards becoming a vegetarian. The ferry was actually a nice time, however, and a welcome, five-day respite from the road.

... The road to Puerto Natales was an epic ordeal of dealing with three bikes that were just plain tired. The rented dirt bikes were throwing chains and breaking down left and right, as poor little Bocito daintily pranced along trying to avoid the larger sharp rocks on a gravel road. What had begun as an instant friendship was fast becoming a need to ride together. My rear tire finally gave out at dusk on a road so remote and cold and windy that the three of us were yelling to try and hear each other and find a solution. The Swedes had an electric pump and we kept filling the tire for a couple of hundred yards or so of traveling in an insane, homicidal tendencies provoking ordeal that finally found us in the metal shed of a toothless old tire jockey with the wind howling and the light gone. When gusts broke the 60-mile per hour or so normality of the all day, all night wind, it would rattle the shed and burst open the door; God's own hand testing our resolve to not kill each other.

The final day to Puerto Natales and the ferry ride may have been the coldest day of our lives, blasting down the nowhere road, Tommy and Gustavo in front and being thrown about like butterflies in a storm, while blowing, drifting snow races vertically across the road. It looked as if we were riding through piano strings. I had wanted to stop and take a picture of the absurdity of our situation, but visualizing stopping the machine and impeding progress, let alone taking off my gloves and grasping the cold steel of the camera, was too disturbing. It was the type of riding whereby once you see a dwelling or a shelter of any kind, you make a mental note as to the miles ticked off and your ability of possibility seeking shelter there if you do break down.

... The 'thin' country was turning out to be a rather compelling natural wonder that was a true joy, even with a rear tire running half inflated that seemed ready to pop when contacting any pebble in the road. And, of course, it popped 'nowhere', as it should for fine adventure travel fodder.

Walk/riding a 1000 lb. motorcycle (including gear) with a decidedly flat tire on a recently graded gravel road in full motorcycling gear is such a joy. Picture a shopping cart full of Campbell's soup cans, with one of those wobbling bad wheels that drag and take their own direction, then add a clutch that is far too demanding for most women or men with small hands to compress in normal motorcycling conditions, as you make your way to some poor peasants door in Latin America that knows you are a Gringo from another planet and there is nothing that can be good about this situation. She had the dogs, insanely barking dogs, the fence and now grandpa coming out of the lean-to barn with an axe handle in his business hand.

Harvard Business School could certainly do a case study on the selling skills that enabled a language impaired monster white boy to not only enter their compound with the wobbling shopping cart, but also tether Bocito to the barn's roof rafters with my tie down's, lift the bike onto a railroad tie utilizing a tree stump and a large crowbar as a fulcrum, remove the rear wheel, change clothes on the side of the barn with the sad knowledge that I wasn't wearing underwear because all three pairs had become biological waste and finally expressing profuse gracias as I departed once again in search of a rear wheel with nothing save my camera bag, toothbrush, baby powder and Walden.

I left my world with dirt-poor strangers on the side of the road. The bike, my gear, everything was left to their whim and kindness, and humanity won again. When I returned for the two hour ordeal of mounting a rear wheel on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle designed to be pretty, in a barn with decades of caked cow shit as a floor, grandpa tried his best to aid me, even attempting to lift the rear end higher as I pushed in vain to slip the wheel under the well. He didn't know me, had never even seen anything like me and he took me in and helped a stranger from El Norte; something we maybe don't deserve. The whole of the experience was magnificent."


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Ride across the Andes, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, lakes, deserts, salt pans, waterfalls, beaches, rain forests, glaciers...



Richard Parkinson and Lisa Godfery , New Zealand, UK to NZ, in Thailand and Laos, Yamaha TDM850,

"Finally, after 10 months and 30,000 kilometres we learned how to bribe a cop. Coming back from Cambodia we somehow found our way on to the motorway into Bangkok. We knew we weren't allowed on the Bangkok city motorways but weren't sure about the rest of the country. There were no signs in English to say 'go away' and we got through the first toll booth, paying our 30 Baht and getting a receipt ticket. At the second toll booth they weren't so friendly and summonsed a cop while we held up a long queue of Sunday afternoon traffic. A charming Frenchman and his Thai girlfriend stopped to help translate. The cop in his tight brown uniform approached with the compulsory shades and the knowing smile. We explained our innocence; his smile grew wider, the Frenchman said to pay even though there was no demand. The cop asked for our driver's license but didn't look at it. He started writing in his ticket book and talking about his boss at the next exit and a 2000 Baht fine. The Frenchman slipped him some money - they had big, nervous smiles on their sweaty faces. The cop walked away, we slipped the Frenchman some money, said farewell and were off, attempting to find our way through the outskirts of Bangkok on a late Sunday afternoon.

Thai bike cops

Lovely Laos. 'The Land of a Million Elephants', or so they say. Personally, I saw two. It is however, at this time of year, the land of umpteen trillion butterflies which are very beautiful except when you have to constantly clean them off your visor. The country is stunningly beautiful - verdant jungle, misty mountains and spectacular waterfalls abound.

And we thought our bike is carrying a big load.

The roads are great, or at least most of them are, there are also some mud-pits from hell during the rainy season, which has definitely affected the route we have taken. Despite the dual-purpose tyres a fully loaded TDM ain't no dirt bike.

Tat Lo Savannahkhet ride

Laos has the dubious distinction of being the most bombed country, ever. During the inaptly named Vietnam War more bombs were dropped on Laos than all the bombs dropped by all the combatants in World War II. The legacy of this is lots of UXO (unexploded ordinance) - an estimated 20% failed to explode and still lies scattered in the fields and forests. Sadly this still leads to hundreds of deaths each year 30 years after the war finished, but the bonus is that it provides a free source of scrap metal. We've seen bombs recycled in many inventive ways - used as everything from boats to flowerpots to fence posts.

Lao billboard

Despite my cunning planning before we started our voyage we've managed to arrive in Laos during the start of the rainy season - not a time I would normally choose for motorcycle touring. We have however been very fortunate with the rain - for the most part we have had lovely sunny days and the fact that there has been some rain around has meant the air is clear and cooler. We have often seen towering thunderheads looming ominously in the sky around us and have on occasion been treated to some spectacular lightning storms.

Pakse rush hour

...In the north of the country we found some of the best riding so far on our trip. Or at least I thought so, Lisa started to suffer a bit of motion sickness from the constant cornering. The road out from Route 13 to Phonsavan is a riders dream - 100 miles of perfectly surfaced winding black top following ridge lines through scenic villages with smiling, waving children and a slalom through the cows, pigs and chickens that seem to spend most of their time on the road. I had a smile on my dial the whole way."

Simon Milward, UK, around the world, in South Africa and Zambia, home built Rotax,

"The Battle of Rorke's Drift was recounted by David Rattray (Royal Geographical Society Ness Award in 1999) at the site and he invited me to join his tour. I spend a few nights at his palatial lodge (

Zulu children in South Africa, near Rorke's Drift.

Zulu children in South Africa, near Rorke's Drift.

I left Argentina with a farewell to the many friends I had made, in particular Jeremias Cifarelli who had me as a house guest a lot longer than he bargained for! I will wait for you in Europe Jeremias. US$900 all in got me to Cape Town with Malaysia Airlines, at about half price, and South Africa customs waived all import charges. South Africa has eleven official languages, one of which is English, another Afrikaans, and the rest are indigenous languages. For the next few months at least I shall be in countries where English is well understood. I spend a week in Cape Town, at a backpackers in Long Street then with Greg Perkins and family who runs the Ulysses Motorcycle Club. They are over-40-year-old riders 'growing old disgracefully'. I ride up the beautiful Garden Route on the Indian Ocean coast and stop in East London to meet the Ulysses chapter where I stay with Rodney Hiles.

The Ranger is a motorcycle and sidecar outfit available in several forms. Development workers can use it as an ambulance, a media and education unit, for a range of agricultural jobs, for medical outreach and immunization and by police and the fire service. Local government has just ordered a batch of 20 units.

Further inland I visit the small country of Lesotho, the Kingdom in the Sky. Later I ride past the Highlands Water Project which supplies much of South Africa and Lesotho with water and cross the middle of the country, the mountain passes reminding me of remote Peru. Democracy is only 10 years old following the demise of apartheid, under which racist beliefs were enshrined in law for 50 years. The people, both blacks and whites, have great respect for Nelson Mandela.

Crime is the number one complaint of South Africans. Of course it comes from poverty. Poverty also breeds HIV/AIDS, with women turning to commercial sex after husbands die of the disease.

Africa is animals. I've seen hippos, giraffes and zebras, and African music is very rhythmic with a beautiful soft beat. We came from Africans originally, and I feel mother Africa is opening up her arms to welcome me on my final continent. Morocco here we come.

Livingstone, Zambia, 19 June 2004

The mighty smoke that thunders...

The road leads south out of Livingstone in Zambia into the desert. Five kilometres away I see the 'mighty smoke' rising. Is it a herd of elephants kicking up a dust storm, or a giant cauldron of maize being cooked? No, it's Victoria Falls. I like Zambia. It is the least developed country I have visited so far in Africa. I've said it before, these sorts of places really twang my heartstrings, it's the people. The beautiful and handsome Zambians have been treating me really well, from the rush of people to help me pick up the bike after I fell off on arrival in Livingstone (I do this every so often just to test reactions!), to the kind folks at the Fairmont and the Zambezi Sun International hotels who are putting me up for free.

In Johannesburg I stayed with Ray Collett of South Jo'burg Ulysses club, and tied up again with Mika Kuhn, my German friend going round the world on his Yamaha Tenere, newly arrived from the Caribbean. The way I was treated in South Africa was absolutely first class and am lucky to have many friends all over the country. From South Africa I headed West and made a huge circle round the Okavango Delta. I stayed at Drotsky's Camp on the delta, where the guard dogs had been eaten by crocodiles, before heading northwards to Namibia. If you know Africa you will see that I'm snaking my way through the continent.
Simon Milward, on the road, a solo fund-raising round the world ride on a handmade motorcycle. Supporting Doctors Without Borders, Motorcycle Outreach and democracy."


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Kerstin Gaeckle and Volker Aldinger , Germany, to Australia, in Cambodia, Yamaha Ténérés,

"We had 150 km across the Kardamom mountains. The vegetation is very sumptuous and beside the roadway we find exclusively close, impenetrable rain forest. The national route is a red dirt road and drained by the glowing sun. Red dust hangs in the air and passing cars are hard to see. By ferry we cross the 4 large rivers. But the ferries themselves and not the travel are the actually interesting thing. They consist of two punts, which stand parallel to each other, over it are crosswise boards attached. A car engine is installed and at the drive shaft hangs the marine propeller.

Cambodia ferry

Cambodia Ferry

... When driving through the jungle suddenly a black cobra emerged beside Volker. Exactly at his height it straightened up in full size. Volker evaded it just in time. I drove straight behind him and admired the cobra for 1 second, before I also had to evade it. After it we stopped immediately and Volker ran back with the camera armed. Nothing, Nada - no more cobra. We really tried to make a proof photo, but the cobra did not wait!

... Someone told us of a 700 year old, paved Khmer road , which interconnects the temples Prasat Bakan and Beng Mealea. At the alleged branch we had our doubts and I stopped a moped driver. I pointed to the branching road and asked whether this leads to the temple. 'Yes'. Then I made the sample and pointed to the direction from which we came and repeated my question. 'Yes, Yes' was again the answer. We stopped someone else and he spoke a little bit English. 'In no case this branch, in the back is a minefield!' Uff - what luck. Here began the fiasco - no more dirt road, only two lanes in the deep dust. We pushed ourselves forward, meter by meter. I tilted 3 times and one of my mirrors broke. Again and again we wanted to give up. It was hot, 40 degrees C and our 2 water bottles were empty. I was at the end of my strength. Sand is not one of my passions. But it was not the sand alone, we had to go over stick and stone and over deep channels.

A sandy road to the temple

A sandy road to the temple

After 20 km we did turn, it was too much. We went back for 200m and met a small tractor and a moped. Immediately we bought 4 bottles water from them and drank it nearly all at once. They told us it is only 10 km to the village and one of them operates a guesthouse. We turned again and now formed a small convoy. Then I saw a sawed off trunk and slammed fully with my right suitcase against it. My bike was hurled around and I fell. The suitcase plate was totally bent. We pack the suitcases on the tractor.

At the village we were surrounded immediately and admired. The adults laughed with us and the children always held a distance. We were at 8.00 p.m. in our simple bed, dead tired. It was dark in the village, no electricity. But the bar next door was supplied by a generator and the visitors diverted themselves with Karaoke! The 2nd day did not begin better. After 5 bad kilometers we reached the 1 Temple Prasat Bakan. This plant lies in the midst of evergreen jungles. It is really impressive.

Temple in the jungle of Cambodia.

Temple in the jungle of Cambodia.

Kerstin and the Cambodian temple lions

Kerstin and the Cambodian temple lions.

For the following 35 km we needed 4 hours and all our strength. In the lanes of the deep sand, we made a nearly impossible ride. We balanced our heavy motorcycles. The heat became intolerable and then suddenly emerged an oasis before us - a crossing with shops, gas stations and ice-cooled beverages. For us it was no more a question of the decision. This stupid Khmer road can go to hell - but without us. We took the good dirt road to the national route. Without further problems we reached Siem Reap and the really breathtaking temples of Angkor."

Rene Cormier, Canada, and Amy Bruning, USA, around the world, in Ecuador, F650GS's,

"My girlfriend Amy and I are in Ecuador now and will be heading to Peru in a few weeks."

Amy writes: "My experience of new sights, smells, sounds and ideas, since I left the airport boggle my mind. I've been writing nearly everyday attempting to capture the highlights, so that they don´t slip into the void of forgetfulness.

I spent the first few days slipping back into the ease of my relationship with Rene. He acquired a working knowledge of Spanish during his travels and I relied wholly on that for food, water and shelter. I enrolled in Spanish lessons and began with two hours of class at the hostel. My teacher, Narda Vacas, (she explained that vacas means cow, when we were talking about names)patiently gave me a crash course of 20 hours over the next six days. I now have a rudimentary knowledge of Spanish and can speak like the smartest of cave girls in Ecuador.

The hostel is a wonderful haven of travelers: sharing stories, practicing Spanish and drinking beer. Called the Secret Garden, it lies on the eastern side of La Ciudad Antigua or Old City, Quito. An open stairwell in this townhouse allows rain to enter the structure, which is one of the most magical qualities of the building. A rooftop terrace provides ample room for Spanish studying, novel reading, journal writing and yoga practicing, during the day and socializing at night. Artists graced the walls of this small hostal with fantastical original paintings that include images of fairies, a unicorn and peaceful hobos. The owners and employees are extremely cordial and have made our stay very pleasant and easy.

Despite these positive encounters, Rene and I were not anticipating such a long stay in the capital of Ecuador. My motorcycle was held up in Miami customs for more than one week. Because I was not present in Miami, BDP International forwarded an Export Power of Attorney document to a consolidator in Quito, which I signed to release my vehicle from US customs. 72 hours later the bike was cleared and on its way to Ecuador. That was Wednesday. The folks at BDP kept in good contact with me updating the progress of the procedure.

Yesterday, Rene and I collected the airway bill from Claudio at Calvima and rode the bus to the customs office at the airport. We arrived at 11:15 and left with the bike by 3:30, not bad timing considering we put the bike together, strapped the extra gear on the back and shuffled through customs with hardly a scratch. While unpacking the bike we met and chatted with a number of folks very interested in the bike and trip. Overall, people have been extremely generous with their knowledge and patient with our attempts at conversation. The time spent in the city has been a wonderful introduction to the history, geography and culture of this country."


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JD Smith, USA, to South America, in Peru, R1150GS,

"When I pull into town at nighttime I will drive to the center. There is usually a plaza where families and couples are. It is also the center of activity so I can park my bike at a hotel and walk to phones, Internet, food and other important items. When I crossed from Colombia to Ecuador I stayed the night in a border town in Ecuador and stayed in a hotel for $6 that had a nice bed, hot water, English speaking TV, secure parking and Breakfast for $1 that had meat and eggs and coffee - that was the best value in hotels to date - not the cheapest though.

I drove through a town called Llave, Peru (Llave means key in Spanish). As I passed through the eerily quiet town all I saw was pedestrians, roadblocks and trash in the streets - there were no cars. I got through town to the only bridge and it was welded solid shut. It turns out the local Indians are pissed about something. I had to cross a river where there were 4 stuck vehicles in the sand and water and an angry Indian woman said that I was crossing her 'line in the sand - literally'.

in the Llave River.

In the Llave River

When I was traveling from Nazca to Cusco I crossed 3 passes that nearly topped 15,000 feet. One had melting snow on the roadway and wild Alpaca and earring-wearing tame llamas. I also ran into the Kiwi Motorcyclist traveling from New Zealand to England for a job. Talk about taking the long way to work.

Near Cusco and part of Machu Picchu is the Sacred Valley of the Incas. There were fascinating salt pan structures and Inca Fortresses built into the hills with the same designs as Machu Picchu.

Sacred Valley Salt Pans.

Sacred Valley Salt Pans

When I crossed the Andes from Chile to Argentina I stayed in a lakeside community for the first night. As I was parking my bike to check on a hotel's rates I noticed a couple checking out my plates. It turns out they are from Prescott and are spending 7 years bicycling around the world -

In Torres Del Paine national park in Southern Chile I saw tame foxes, llamas, extreme mountains set near breathtaking cascades and lakes.

Torres del Paine Mountain Lake.

Torres del Paine Mountain Lake

I also traveled to one of the worlds few advancing glaciers - Moreno. It is over 150 feet tall on the face and advances 6 feet each day.

Moreno Rainbow.

Moreno Rainbow

... I am currently finishing a forced break in my travels because I did not realise Brazil requires US Citizens to obtain a visa. I was turned back at the border on Friday afternoon so I have to wait until Monday to get the Visa - Hopefully all goes well.

From Iguacu Falls in Northern Argentina I plan to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia (Capital), Manaus (Amazon), Caracas - Venezuela, Cartagena - Colombia walled sea village and then home."

Chris Smith, Australia, Around the world, in Cambodia, KTM 640 Adventure,

"Kompong Cham... Here I stayed in a temple with Buddhists monks for the night, trying to teach them as much English as I could and them trying the same in Khmer. I woke the next morning to many kids surrounding my bike and staring at me as I walked out of the temple. Looking into these kids eyes I could see that they had never seen such a motorcycle before and were very interested.

That morning I let one of the children start my bike up and left a huge grin on his face that will last with me forever. He gave the throttle a little rev before I rode off waving goodbye to the monks and children who were all smiling and waving at me. All the roads were sealed along this stretch of the country until I reached the hideous highway 13 which starts to become badly corrugated after Krachie. It would have been a better and easier choice of travel if I had taken a boat through to southern Laos as it took me 2 days to complete 500 km. After staying with farmers along the way I reached the border of Laos in the midday. The Cambodian immigration man came out in his pajamas and stamped me out, but not before asking for a monetary bribe. I handed him some Cambodian reil and stepped back onto my bike to front the Laos officials."


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Gail and Eric Haws, USA, in Argentina and Uruguay, BMW R100GS,

"In March we returned to our South American moto which was stored at Dakar Motos on North Mitre in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A good place to have work done and store your moto. We have referred many people there and when we went to the home of Sandra and Javier, owners of Dakar Motos, we met several other around the world travellers, including Maarten (Munnik) from Holland.

The real reason that we came back to BA was because our friend Gabriel invited us to the christening of his second son, nicely named 'Eric'. After the christening, there was a small party where we met Simon Milward, again, who is traveling around the world. We first met him at Bernd Tesch's before he started his journey, about five years ago. From the party we, Gabriel's family, friends, and we two went to a biker's bar called 'Costello's' which we assume was named after Abbott and Costello, two famous American comics. But the picture on the sign was that of Oliver Harding, another American fat comedian, but after a few beers, who cares. Then off to a midnight asado. A typical Argentine schedule.

Argentina to Uruguay border on our third trip to Uruguay we took the ferry from BA to Colonia Del Sacramento. After the hustle and bustle of BA, the fast traffic, the potential for crime, the late night activities, Colonia was quite laid back. When the Argentine economy was booming, this was where all the Argentines came by ferry for a day. Now only more well-to-do ones come.

This town actually has three visitor's centers, one at the port and two in town. The port facility was geared for tourists. Change money, tourist info and permits, all in one building. When one enters Uruguay one automatically gets a one year permit for the moto. We stayed in Colonia a couple of nights before continuing. This is a nice town in which to relax and there is a campsite just outside of town.

Uruguay to Brazil border

... We entered Rivera on Sunday, without a map but finally found the customs where again there was a joint customs office. This is the first customs office we have been in that had people to offer assistance. They directed us to appropriate windows, told us how to find the next office, drawing a little map to be sure we understood. But, for the moto we had to go to the Brazilian Federal Building and since we are US citizens, make another stop at the police station to have our fingerprints and photos taken. Due to the difficulties with the forms, we think we may have been the first Americans to use this crossing since implementation of the new procedures. The police, or more correctly, the policeman, since there was only one on duty, was very friendly. As we left he gave us his name and phone number in case we had problems. Anyway, the town of Rivera and the Brazilian town of Santana do Livramento are some of the nicer border crossing towns. It would maybe have been quicker if it had not been Sunday."

up to top of pagespacerBooks

Arno Backes and Sian Mackenzie's story of their around the world trip, see their blog. Book available from them for €14.95 + p&p. Contact Arno and Sian directly.


La Vuelta al Mundo por la Paz - Un Sueno que se hace Realidad,

by Ricardo Rocco Paz,

Ricardo's adventures in South America, in Spanish. There's two tapes and a book, contact him for details. Some photos here.

One Year on the Road, Cinq Continents en Moto, by Manou Emringer and Ellen Spencer, in English and French. Flag of France "This travelogue, illustrated with over 400 photos, follows their journey through North and South America, West Africa, Europe and Asia."

Available through Manou and Ellen directly, 38 Euros plus shipping, or in North America from HU. Don't forget to tell them where you heard about it. It's a very nice book, well done - I have one! Grant


book cover

From Nordkapp to Cape York on a Motorcycle, by Werner Bausenhart. Werner, 66, was born in Germany and worked in Canada until his retirement. He has authored a number of books since getting bit by the motorcycle travel bug, including 8 Around the Americas by Motorcycle, Into the Den of the Bear and the Lair of the Dragon on a Motorcycle, and Africa Against the Clock on a Motorcycle.

Werner's latest book describes his travels from Nordkapp to Australia overland, and back to Canada to complete the RTW trip. Should be an inspiration to any of you who have been thinking you're too old to go around the world on a motorcycle!

All his books are available directly from Werner. Tell him we sent you and get US$5.00 off the regular US$20 price!

For details on his books see here. Contact Werner via this link to get the deal.


video cover picture

The Producers of Mondo Enduro present Terra Circa, Around the World by Motorcycle (6 x 20 minute episodes).

Regular readers of this newsletter will remember Terra Circa's adventures around the world, and especially the Zilov Gap. Now's your chance to see it in video. Austin Vince is a very funny guy and the video is hilarious, as he leads his intrepid crew through misadventure after misadventure.

"This is adventure motorcycling" says Chris Scott, who wrote the book, so he ought to know!

Contact Terra Circa video distributors for the PAL video or all format DVD. Don't forget to tell them you heard about it on HU, we'll make a bit, and it won't cost you any more.


Looking for a travel book for someone special?

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.

There's links to Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, and Amazon Deutschland, so no matter where you are - you can order books at great prices, and we'll make a dollar or a pound or a Euro, which goes a very little way to supporting this e-zine.

There's also 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!

NOTE: If you buy a book starting with one of our links below, we get a little bit to help support the website!

buy from Amazon USA buy from Amazon UK buy from Amazon Deutschland Shop at Amazon Canada

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

up to top of pagespacerFunnies...

From Motoroads website: Motorcycle wisdom of the roads

"Saddlebags can never hold everything you want, but they can hold everything you need.

Home is where your bike sits still long enough to leave a few drops of oil on the ground.

If you don't ride in the rain - you don't ride.

Young riders pick a destination and go. . . Old riders pick a direction and go.

Maintenance is as much art as it is science.

Gray-haired riders don't get that way from pure luck

There are drunk riders. There are old riders. There are NO old, drunk riders.

No matter what marquee you ride, it's all the same wind.

Only a Biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window."

up to top of pagespacerQuotable Quotes...

"The trouble with being in the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat."
-- Lily Tomlin

"If you don't learn to laugh at trouble, you won't have anything to laugh at when you're old."
-- Ed Howe

"Some people are making such thorough preparation for rainy days that they aren't enjoying today's sunshine."
--William Feather

"Little people with little minds and little imagination jog through life in little ruts, smugly resisting all changes which would jar their little worlds."
-- Marie Fraser

"The two quickest ways to disaster are to take nobody's advice and to take everybody's advice."
-- Dublin Opinion

up to top of page Some nice comments...

"Hello guys; I've been reading your great web page these last few days and just wanted to say thanks and maybe offer my services. I've been riding bikes most my adult life (I'm 41) and have some experience with long trips (here in Greece and around Europe and Canada). I thought I'd check in with you first to see how I might help out. It's such a helpful site and I just feel that I'd like to somehow be a part of it. I'm planning a round the world tour right now for the spring and the information here has been simply priceless. Once again, thanks very much and let me know what I can do. Cheers!"

George Cham, Greece

Thanks for your support and for starting the HU Community in Lesvos, Greece, George!


"Hi guys! I really love your site and work - it's an indispensable info source for touring!"

David Katz, Germany


"It is really THE source for travel information."

Ulrike Teutriene


"A Travel Encyclopedia"



"Hi, I love the site and check it regularly. I am planning a big trip for next year. Thanks for all the work and the great resource."

Jason Steeghs


"Thanks for the fantastic service your site renders!"

Martin Solms

You're welcome, and thanks for your support!


"I've been a big fan of your site for many years now. Whenever I would start to have second thoughts about taking this little trip I would log onto your site and get motivated all over again. Thanks again and keep up the good work."

Geoff Siehr, USA


"You've got a fantastic site here, very informative and full of useful material. I can only say that you're doing a good service to anyone who loves biking in general and real adventure biking in particular."

George Berrill, UK


"I find it fascinating to read so much valuable information because I want to eventually get on the road. I am 61 and want to achieve a life time ambition of visiting some parts of the world on a bike."

Christian Wibaux, Australia


"When I was traveling in India, I found your site a great resource."

Cat Syrbe, USA


"I've used your site in the past - to plan a motorcycle trip through South America. Now I read it with nostalgia and lots of future hopes."

David Fernandes, USA


"Great website. Someday..."

Rudolf Burger, Canada


"Great site, lot of information, travelers comments, adventures and stories. Inspiring and encouraging. Good work, keep the spirit."

Yonatan Rozen, Israel


"Very informative, easy to read, congratulations on a brilliant product."

Daryl Petch, Australia


"Had a super time in Creel -- Best part was meeting all the great travelers. Here's to new friends! Thanks Grant & Susan, Juan Carlos & Gerardo. Am looking forward to next year when I can spend more time exploring the area."

Jim Donaldson, USA

You're most welcome, Jim, and thanks for co-hosting the first HU USA Travellers Meeting in North Carolina ;-)


"Grant Susan and everyone else who takes part in this little adventure of ours, a huge thanks. I have now finished riding the bike in Southern Spain and sent the Uber bike back to Australia via the UK. I cannot describe how much I have enjoyed myself...frustrations included. I used the site to plan (too short), ask questions (mostly obvious), meet people (excellent) and get help for the bike (what language do they speak in the UK)..."

Alec Simpson, Australia


Help support your favourite website! Here's how!

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See our complete Privacy Policy here.

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ISSN 1703-1397 Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' Ezine - Copyright 1999-2003, Horizons Unlimited and Grant and Susan Johnson. All rights reserved.

Redistribution - sending it on to friends 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. Please suggest they Subscribe!

Legal gibberish: (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 pagespacerNews Items...

June 17, 2004 - Russia - Globe Riders RTW tour

"Dear GlobeRider Friends; As some of you may have heard, there was a serious motorcycle accident... near Rostov, Russia, involving three riders on the GlobeRiders 2004 World Tour: Mike Paull, Pawel Chrobok and Dennis Bishop. The intention of this email is to inform you about the accident and to provide information so you can offer your support and condolences, from one GlobeRider to another.

Mike, Pawel and Dennis were riding together on a narrow road. It is unknown at this time, but somehow a vehicle ended up head-on in their lane, (possibly sideways in a curve on a hill), causing collisions and serious injuries. They were assisted on the roadside by Russian motorists who did the best they could given the nature of the rider's injuries, until transportation to a small hospital could be arranged.

In spite of all of their best efforts and that of the American Medical Services medevac trauma team, I regret to inform you that Dennis Bishop did not survive his injuries. He passed away in flight, approximately one hour before arriving in his home state of Alabama. Certainly, his family is devastated by the loss of a person who is described as optimistic, easy-going and tolerant. If there was a GlobeRiders popularity contest, Dennis would have won the trophy by a landslide. Helge and Mike often commented about how they would love to clone him and run a tour of just Dennis's. He took changes to the touring schedule in stride, had an excellent sense of humor, participated in every experience with childlike enthusiasm, and could have taught a "Patience When Traveling" college class. To add to the family's pain, Dennis's mother also passed away unexpectedly, just one day after the accident. They were buried together Thursday, June 17th, in Opelika, Alabama. We are so saddened by this tragedy. We would ask that each of you take a moment from your busy lives, to write a note of support, make a reassuring phone call or send a lovely bouquet of flowers to Dennis's family. It will help them heal.

Contact Information:
Darrell Huff (Dennis's brother-in-law. He is handling communication for the family:
2278 Country Road 157
Enterprise, Alabama 36330

Mike Paull and Pawel Chrobok are still in the hospital. Pawel is coming along. Yesterday's surgery on the shattered bones in his leg begins the months of healing. Most of the information we have pieced together about the accident comes from Pawel's recollections. While his spirits have been improving, emotionally it has been difficult for Pawel to learn about Mike's injuries and Dennis's death and he may wish to decompress from his experiences in conversations with you. Right now, he's still in the hospital. Eventually, he'll be staying with his parents in New Jersey for a while. I know he would appreciate your support.

Contact Information:
Pawel Chrobok
Rehabilitation Institute
Morristown Memorial Hospital
95 Mount Kimble Road
Morristown, New Jersey 07960
Phone: 973-971-8782.

Mike Paull remains in critical, but stable condition at Harborview Medical Center. Mike sustained multiple injuries, lost a lot of blood, has undergone several surgeries, (and may have a few more), and is currently still in ICU. At this time, there are no guesses as to when he will leave ICU or be able to see his friends. Mike has a long road ahead of him in terms of healing, but we are heartened to know he will get better with lots of care.

Eileen is asking that people refrain from visitation at this time. When Mike is feeling better and ready to see his friends, we will let you all know. Your support will make all the difference. She also wants you to know that she is sorry if she can't return all of the phone calls she has been receiving. Her attention is focused on Mike. You can call me for updates if you wish, (206-782-5609), and we'll pass it along the phone or e-mail tree.

In the meantime, you can send cards and well wishes to:
Harborview Medical Center
325 9th Avenue Seattle, WA 98104

Because he is in ICU, flowers cannot be displayed in his room. They will be left at the nurses station and probably transferred with him when he finally leaves ICU for another room.

Warmest Regards,
Karen Ofsthus for Helge Pedersen GlobeRiders"

Ed. This is Mike Paull's second serious accident - last time it was in China two years ago. Latest news from Helge is that Mike's leg has been amputated (well below the knee fortunately), and he's having trouble with his right arm. Our prayers are with him and Pawel, and with Dennis Bishop's family.

Ecuador land border entry problems update

Ricardo Rocco, our Ecuador Community member who has been very helpful to many travellers passing through, is currently trying to solve the inconsistent and troublesome Ecuador land entry procedures with a petition to the government and all appropriate parties.

We fully support the petition, so we have created a web page here detailing the whole thing. Please have a look and sign it so that we have a large number of people from all over the world protesting. Your signature counts!

Just in from Ricardo Rocco:

"A great triumph of the world motorcyclist community

After a sustained national and international protest campaign, the Ecuadorian motorcycling community with the support of their tally at world level, achieved a very important victory, when getting the Government of Ecuador to take into serious account the reasons of the protest and find the solution to the serious problems that the international moto tourists were having upon entering with their vehicles into Ecuadorian territory.

Economist Eddy Astudillo, of the Planification Department of the Ecuadorian Customs Corporation, a very efficient and honest official, expressed via phone that the Ecuadorian Government has requested from Customs officials a prompt solution to this situation. Once the President of Ecuador signs the respective ordinance, the serious situations experienced by several international moto travelers in the borders of Ecuador will be history. According to this ordinance, the same vehicle, be this automobile or motorcycle, will constitute enough guarantee so that the tourist who enters the country will get an official document that allows him or her to circulate in Ecuadorian national territory for tourist purposes

This fact demonstrates how an internationally organized group of citizens can influence authorities to solve incongruities in the laws. It also exposes how the joint effort by an international community provides the wanted effects, since it was mainly the great quantity of protest e mails received by the Ecuadorian government agencies and the media, coming from most cities in Ecuador and from all the corners of the world, what caused the Government to finally reach a definitive solution.

It is necessary to highlight that thanks to the initiative of the Motorcycle Touring Commission of the Ecuadorian Motorcycling Federation and the group of motorcyclist Ecuador Moto Turismo, for the first time, several international motorcyclist groups united in a single voice of protest. Horizons Unlimited, Globetrott-Zentrale, Rutas y Motos, F.A.M.A., Federación Argentina de Motociclistas Asociados, ACOMORE, Asociación Costarricense de Motociclistas Asociados, APM, Asociación Panameña de Motociclismo, FEMA, European Federation of Associated Motorcyclists, AMA, (American Motorcyclists Association), Ducati Club Australia, and motorcyclists from all over the world."

NOTE - They haven't actually done anything yet, so if you haven't done so already, please sign the petition and make sure that something happens.

In response to a post on the HUBB about "Problems in Peru"

Maarten Munnik came up with a great response to be taken to heart:

"Newspapers and journalists have degraded in my opinion since I started traveling... I crossed about 25 roadblocks getting from Bolivia to Peru... and the worst that happened was I had to help at one roadblock to 'earn' my passage.... So I shoveled for about 5 minutes and became the hero of the day. I made it through most of them just by smiling and sharing some coca-leaves... It's all a load of.... ehhhh...

I had much the same experience when there was a fuel price strike in Ecuador. Blown up by the media into "riots" - I never saw any such thing, and went through a number of roadblocks with no trouble.

up to top of pagespacerMotorcycle News

From Chris Scott, Sahara Forum and Adventure Motorbiking Handbook, on the HUBB

"I've been doing some analysis of the World Trip Reports sent in by Adv riders from all over to my AM Website over the last 7 years or so. Guess what the most popular bike is? Wrong! but while you're working it out you may like to know the popularity by brand in the Trip Reports (that is not so surprising):

BMW 26.2%
Honda 25.6%
Yamaha 17.4%
Suzuki 8 %
Kawasaki 8.4%
KTM 4%
Others 10.6%

Among the BMs the ranking is:
100GS (including GSPDs) -23
1150 (incl Advs) -22
650 Funduro carbs -19
1100GS - 18
80 GS (not incl.G/S) 14
EFI 650s 11

By far the most popular Honda:
Africa Twin (32) of course
Transalp (18)
Dommies (14)
Wings and XR650Ls (6)

Yamahas, no surprise here:
XT600E (some Tenerised?) 18
Teneres 17
XT500s 14
XT660 6

Which brings me to currently the most popular bike on the AM Trip Reports:

33 KLR 650s beating the Af Twins by one - and with of course no other Kawas in sight. Only still available in North America (mostly) but that's what you get for sticking to one model for 17-odd years!

Note: some riders put in a few reports and not all of them (e.g.: Wings...) are truly AM-ing to the ends of the earth, but it's interesting to mull over."


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up to top of pagespacerShorts...

Heiko Neumann, Germany, Europe/North America 2003-2004, BMW R1150GS,

"I had briefly mentioned in an earlier piece on this weblog that I might be visit Canada. Brian Smith of the Calgary community had picked this up and sent me an E-mail offering to be of assistance if I needed help finding things, looking for accommodation or else. After a number of E-mail exchanges, he even offered me to spend a day or two at his home.

So - following a first meeting in the hamlet of Priddis southwest of Calgary (I called him, Brian then met me on his motorcycle), he took me to his home. He and his wife Sandra were extremely hospitable. The guided tour through Calgary (with a skyline not unlike that of Frankfurt, Germany) was enjoyable, but the grilled salmon, the home-made pizza and the curry chicken soup which they served during my two-day stay were excellent. I was also impressed with Brian's home-made red wine. I mistook it for some very decent Italian merlot.

Sandra and Brian Smith - bidding me farewell

Banff National Park and Jasper National Park were next. The whole scenery is fantastic. Columbia Icefields (several glaciers forming a gigantic icefield) somewhere in the middle between Banff and Jasper should prove to be a highlight. Again the sight was fantastic but the real excitement came just before arriving there: a veritable snowstorm."

Ed. See Heiko's blog here on Horizons Unlimited.

Gary Nunan (Galloping Gazza), Australia, in Ghana, KTM 640,

"Hi all, I am in Ghana at the mo after 20,000 K's and 6 months in west Africa. Sights to see in Ghana: Wli waterfalls and Aksombo dam around Lake Volta, Mole wildlife reserve is great, lots of elephants etc. within easy viewing, but it's a fair drive to get there. Busua beach, the coast etc.

I am planning to ride from Perth to home in Darwin in late May, June. Haven't decided yet what route but the Canning could be on the cards, along with the Pilbara region, Kimberly etc. Exporting the bike KTM 640 out of Accra Ghana at the mo and awaiting the Approval paperwork. Does anyone know of a good KTM dealer in Perth or Fremantle?"

Gareth Price, UK, Australia to UK, R1150GS, writes to the HU Islamabad Community,

"My name is Gareth and I am on a bike trip from Australia back to the UK on an 1150 GS. I am at present in Delhi waiting for a Pakistan Visa. I am planning to come to Lahore in about the first week of June. I have a friend of mine, a Doctor from the UK who is coming to join me for two weeks. I am writing for advice to see if you think its possible to hire a bike for him so as to do a trip up to the KKH. Also if you could recommend a place to stay for a few days when he arrives until we sort a plan out. Any advice would be much appreciated."

And in Kathmandu...

"...I was planning to leave Kathmandu, Nepal today however these latest strikes in the country have delayed me, 8 people were shot yesterday, two were children on the road I was going to take. An eerie silence has descended on the city that I have never experienced before. Normally the hustle and bustle of the capital is almost defining with the continued sound of bikes and cars madly racing around. Street sellers shouting their sales pitch at the tops of the voices, Shops, schools, public buildings all shut for a silent protest by the people.

Army solders are patrolling the streets in full combat gear, semi automatic weapons at the ready with concerned expressions, you can't blame them, the Maoists shot 5 of them dead yesterday also. Police are on nearly every corner being taunted by the protesters who head off for their daily party speech on democracy."


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Charlie Miller, Australia, around the world, eventually, on the Isle of Man, R100GS,

"G,day Grant, am on the Isle of Man at the T.T. Races as I think this will be my last year in Europe. Went in the David Jefferies memorial ride this morning /afternoon - would have been more than 5,6 thousand bikes in the ride. I guess his mum and dad would have been pleased to see so many pay their respects. Grant, are you going to the Portugal Travellers Meeting as I'll try to make it if you are. If yes send me details where and when please, hope all is well Charles Miller"

I replied to Charlie that YES I will be at the Portugal Meeting. See you all there!

Jeff Nicholls, Canada, Canada / USA loop, Harley-Davidson,

"I am starting from Owen Sound, Ontario. Driving towards eastern Canada on my 2004 Electra Glide Classic with all my camping gear, no real expectations, just to live, feel, explore & breathe. Friday May 28 2004- A very good feeling to hit the road and drive eastwards, the weather is cold and gusty, but it doesn't really matter! Good to feel the wind in my face, as they say!

I take the scenic route to Algonquin Park (Hwy's # 26, 11 and 60), one of Ontario's best and most well known parks. One warning, beware of the moose in the park along the sides of the roads, in the puddles and swamps and on the roads! They will stop you very quickly; I don't want to envision that. The black flies are so thick this time of year that it drives the moose out onto the roads and the salt that they use on the roads in winter gets washed to the sides in spring. The park is beautiful, nice sites (approx. $20.00 per site) lots of trails to hike, a real paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Fuel prices are quite high just now. I use premium (91, 92 octane and up), it costs over $1.00 CAD and up per litre. I will have my little digital Canon A80 camera with me this time, I hope it works out and will post some photos on this site sometime soon.

I am using libraries, Internet cafes as my Internet link to send, receive mail and contact family and friends. I want to thank Grant & Susan Johnson for the best Motorcycle Traveller's Website on the Internet, bar none! I will be sending in a donation to their site to say thank you for the opportunity to tell my travel story. Keep tuned for more entries."

Jim Oliver, R1150GS, and Dennis, on ?, USA, RTW in 60 days, in Russia,

From Vera -

"I listened to Jim on the radio this a.m. and he sounded exhausted - had gotten only an hours sleep, because of minor problems. Dennis had put diesel in his tank and of course the bike refused to run. He (Dennis) had a flat tire. They experienced being victims of a robbery. Dennis had his helmet stolen ($450!) and they were encountering some exciting potholes, mud and rocks.

I can't begin to remember the names of the towns he told about in Russia where they are traveling. He sounded extremely positive (that's Jim). They were hoping to encounter better roads in about a thousand kilometers. If you are in possession of an extremely good radio, he is on the air each day from Goodland, KS. at 730 on the AM dial, and his broadcast time is between 7:30 and 7:45 each week day morning Central time. That satellite phone must be a good one, because he sounded like he wasn't very far away. You can also hear him on 102.5 on the FM dial at that same time. I'm just the lowly secretary, checking the mail, e-mail and trying to make sure it's smooth on this end of the globe, and I hope this gives you the up to date information you needed to know about Jim's trip."


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Terry Schmidt, USA, in Panama, KLR650,

"I'm currently in Panama riding south, getting ready to arrange shipping from Panama to Bogota."

POB/London (Lewis Miller?), UK, in Tunisia,

"Am in Gafsa today, Tozeur and Douz - to meet the famous Momo and stay in Oasis Camping - over the next coupla days. This place is totally deserted, despite the weather being good - even some light drizzle to firm up the pistes a bit. I have seen One French land cruiser crew cab thing, including the boat. Geoff, I see what you mean mate."

Sean Howman, Australia, India to Netherlands, in India, BMW R65, writes on the HUBB-

"G'Day all, I'm in southern India at the moment, and it's hot! I recently escaped the clutches of Chennai customs with my R65 and will be heading up the west coast of India to Mumbai before getting some visa's in Delhi. If anyone is in the vicinity drop me a line, it would be good to catch up. Sean."

Doris Maron, Canada, RTW, in Peru and Ecuador, on 750cc Honda Magna,

"I met up with Norma in Copacabana and after a great fish lunch we crossed the border into Peru... May 23rd we rode a most spectacular road from Cuzco to Chalhuanca. It was over 300kms of continual curves. I haven't seen another road like it! After 100kms Norma was wishing for straight roads - I loved every minute of it. The next day was more of the same, not quite as twisty but a great ride.

May 29th we crossed the border into Ecuador. Exiting Peru was a snap, entering Ecuador was a challenge. No problem for ourselves, but the bikes were an issue. The customs officials didn't know how to handle it so they kept sending us on to someone else. After 3 1/2 hours of being chased back and forth to see different people, we finally got assistance from a nice customs guard. He told us the customs officer was new and didn't know what to do, so he rode behind me on my bike and took me to the check post to get our stamps. They should have made out a new document for the bikes, but instead stamped the copies of our Peru papers. I didn't argue! I just wanted to get across the border."

See the News Item on Ecuador for what's happening on this problem, and add your name to the Petition to solve it! Doris got off easy, many have much worse problems.


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Story Leavesley, USA, RTW, in Bangkok, BMW R100GSPD,

"I expected the Thai border crossing to go smoothly, but I was in for a surprise. I was hoping for a quick crossing since I had a long way still to go to Bangkok. For some reason, Thai customs at this border decided that they didn't want to accept my carnet. Now it's true that Thailand officially does not accept the carnet, but every other Thai border crossing had happily accepted and processed the carnet. Here they gleefully pointed out that Thailand is not listed on the back of the carnet as a country that accepts it, then proceeded to fill out several customs declaration forms in the slowest handwriting I've every seen. All this while I'm standing in the sun, fuming because they could have just stamped my carnet and sent me on my way. And for the pleasure of all this, I had to pay 10 Baht because it was a holiday (Sunday?) And yes, I did get a receipt for the holiday charge so I assume that the extra charge was valid. I wonder if any of this was payback for running the customs gate earlier in the week?! Regardless, throughout it all I stayed pleasant and thanked them when they were done.

After about 1.5 hours I was through with Thai customs and heading to Bangkok again.

...I must mention this little oasis in the middle of Bangkok craziness. About a year ago I read a review of the Atlanta Hotel in the Denver Post Travel section. They raved about it's friendly staff and excellent vegetarian food. I took note of the hotel and decided to give it a try when in Bangkok. After having stayed at the hotel for several nights now, I can say that it is an excellent place. At one time it was a premier hotel in Bangkok. It's a little tired now, but still provides all the amenities I need, and the staff is very friendly and helpful. They allow me to park my motorcycle on the sidewalk in front, locked to a street sign, and watched by the receptionist. But the thing I enjoy most about the hotel is the food. They've got a menu full of vegetarian meals, all in authentic Thai style, such as red curries, dry curries, musselman curry, etc. The meals I've had at the hotel have been the best vegetarian food I've eaten in SE Asia. What a pleasure! And as an added bonus, the hotels and meals are both reasonably priced - the room costs about $12.50 a night and the meals with a large beer are about $4. The hotel has a strict anti-sleaze policy which keeps the unsavory characters away. If you're looking for a budget hotel in Bangkok I would recommend the Atlanta."

Rupert Wilson-Young, UK, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Yamaha Vino 49cc,

Progress is made...

Rupert's a man of few words, but thousands of pictures. Check out his website for more.

Mick Mewster, writing to the Viedma Argentina HU Community,

"Hi Oscar Surprise! Today on my way to Bahia Blanca from Neuquen I changed my mind and came to Viedma..."

and that's all we know about Mick!

Glen Heggstad, USA, around the world, R1150GS,

"...The shipper picks up the bike this Monday morning. I arrive in Tokyo June 24 and need to catch the Monday ferry for Russia. I am trying to get to the Mongolian border by the 10th of July for the festival. I'm lugging a video camera to get some footage for Discovery Channel. (If it is good enough) Several major news organizations are in contact with me for updates along the way.

This was supposed to be a laid back cruise around the globe with no schedules. Zeeeesh! I am trying to figure out how hard it is to mount a new shock on the Dakar, it looks complicated--maybe too complicated to attempt in Vladivostok?

Thanks for writing to me, Glen"

Chris Bright, UK, in India, Royal Enfield,

"...all is well in Manali. Driving towards Leh/Ladakh tomorrow/thur. Hope to get there by Saturday... touch wood, the bike (2003 Enfield 500cc) is going well. Had to run in a new piston and rings. Rode 300 km in a straight line (Great Trunk Road) from Delhi to Chandighr. Hot and straight and smooth, all at 50 km/h! Up here in the hills it's cooler, which is great. Drivers are still as insane as ever."


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"Africa Against the Clock on a Motorcycle"
"From Nordkapp to Cape York on a Motorcycle"

Werner Bausenhart has written several books on his travels around the world, and has offered them to HU readers at a great price. Tell him we sent you and get US$5.00 off the regular US$20 price!

For details on his books see here. Contact Werner now via this link to get the deal.


up to top of pagespacerSeen on the road...

Simon Richard James, UK, R1150GS, around the world,

"I am currently riding RTW from the UK and need to get my bike serviced in KL, can anyone recommend a suitable place?"

by Heiko Neumann,

"Martin and Katja Wickert from Hildesheim, Germany on two African Twins, currently in Canada. On a two year trip through Canada, Alaska, then all the way down to Patagonia.

Martin and Katja Wickert

We met after the snow shower on the Columbia Icefields and went to Jasper together. Their website (great picture gallery)"

by Shustrik, of the HU Vladivostok Community

"Two travellers from Finland arrived... BMW and Honda FT500. Name of one of them - Salo Pekka. They already know taste of Russian beer ;-)

I'll be in Vladivostok tonight, so more information later..."

by Grant Johnson,

Mike Oughton, UK, through USA, Canada, NZ and Australia, R1150GS Adv, checked in here at HU headquarters in Vancouver as he was heading north, and reports he's having a great time on the road. He's learned one of the real "secrets" of travelling that I keep telling people - you need a break every once in a while! He says he takes a couple of days off once a week or so and doesn't 'travel' at all, in fact tries to stay off the bike.

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

Numerous UK travellers heading to Spain, Andalucia, North Africa in October 2004, including Alan Hopkins,

"I've been planning a trip into north Africa in Oct on my BMW 80g/s. Plan to plod thru Spain to check out bike and kit for a couple of days then into Morocco and meandering down towards the Gambia for a lazy couple of days then make my way back. By the same route or other, depending on politics, enthusiasm, cash etc. No concrete plans really just a lazy trip into new territory to experience a different way of life. Done lots of continental biking but this is a first."

Lodewijk Cornelis, Luxembourg, to SE Asia, R80GS Basic,

"Hi, I am off on my second world trip on my R 80 GS next week which will bring me to the Middle East, Caucasus, China, SE Asia. I will activate my website next week, which should contain all the travel stories as well as the preparation done. I had a lot of help with your website info. Great stuff. Lodewijk"

Trans-Americas Guinness World Record

dvd pic

video pic

book pic

"The first people to ever hold Double Guinness World Records™ of 'Around the World by Motorcycle' and the 'Trans-Americas by Motorcycle'.

On 22 September 2003, a rugged, mud caked BMW R1150GS Adventure armed with battered metal panniers and a buckled back wheel, crawled into the town of Ushuaia, the most southern city in the world that can be reached by road. An exhausted couple, having just slid their way treacherously through a snowy Paso de Garibaldi, finally reached the very end of the road, beyond which lay Antarctica. The bike was ridden by Kevin Sanders, with his wife Julia on the back, and the husband and wife team had just completed what had never been done before. Starting from Deadhorse, Alaska, they had ridden the length of the Americas Continent, some 27,200 kms, in less than 35 days and in doing so, rode into the Guinness World Record™ Book for a second time. Unaided, with no back up team, no support vehicle and only their spirit of adventure to bring them through, they smashed the existing record by over 12 days.

Filmed by Kevin & Julia as the record unfolded, this is an inspired account of the challenges they faced, braving the remote wilderness of the Arctic tundra, riding over 1,000 miles day in the USA, facing border bureaucracy through Central America, kidnap risks in Colombia, Ecuadorian civil unrest, and the icy wastelands of Patagonia, but ultimately winning through to claim their second Guinness World Record."

Special for Horizons Unlimited - 15% discount - Just use the Promotion code "Horizons" when ordering. DVD, Video, and a book coming. Order details on their site.

Norm Ness, Canada, to Panama, Honda VTX1800,

"Hi, I'm currently in Ashland, North Carolina on route from Montreal to Panama, Central America on a Honda Cruiser VTX 1800. I should be in Dallas around the 15th of June (weather permitting). My route will take me through Memphis, TN. After a tire, oil, filters change and a general tune up in Dallas, I will be heading to Presidio where I will cross into Mexico."

Bryan Garner, UK, Alaska south or ? to NZ? R80G/S,

"I am flying into Calgary with my bike on 24/6/04... riding a modified '86 G/S ,you know the good one ;), I'm visiting friends in Edmonton, then up to Alaska, back to the States and then decision time, LA to NZ or down to S. America."

William (Nick) Palmer, USA, Round the World via Europe and Russia, BMW R80G/S,

"I depart for London Monday evening (June 14) at 11:00 PM Ottawa time arriving Tuesday morning around 11:00 AM London time. Both bike and I are on the same plane."

Search for maps and guides:

up to top of pagespacerHome again...

Chris Jones and Spice Griffith, USA, RTW, Home Again, Temporarily

"Sorry for the long delay between updates but Spice has just posted some of the stories and photos from the road in Chile and Argentina. You will find them in the "Journal and Pics" section of

We are back home in Atlanta right now for a little while longer but anxiously looking forward to getting back on the road. If all of our plans come to fruition we will be back on the road in Europe in an effort to catch the brief summer in Scandinavia. From there we will make our way south to Africa where we hope to see a couple stages of the famous Paris-Dakar Rally. If we are still on the right track after New Years and the bikes feel up to it our route will take us south following the east coast of Africa down to the Cape of Good Hope. Possibly a little ambitious but that is the goal for now."

Chris and Spice presented a slide show of their ride on the Trans Am Trail at the North Carolina Travellers meeting June 18-20, and did a great job of it. Their website is well worth a look.

Rayko Moritz and Markus Rohling, LoMo Expedition, Germany to Shanghai and back, in Italy, and home again May 1, XT600's,

"...The fruit trees are in bloom and the dandelion is shining in a dark butter yellow from the green meadows of the olive plantation. A mild breeze is spoiling our noses. Together with our security guide Steffen we are riding north. From Apulia via Basilicata and Campania we get to Lazio. It doesn't matter where we are here, the scenery is fascinating: soft hilly panoramas with olive trees planted on grids; compact townships on mountain slopes; ld huts in green meadows - all have a strong Italian flavor. Unfortunately the weather is not good, dark clouds threaten, soon turning to continuous rain, and heavier rain wakes us next morning. Resigned to the change we ride on but the rain doesn't let up. We camp near a small river, only leaving the tent to cook and it's still pouring with rain the next day. It's so bad there's flooding and the water level is now rising rapidly, threatening our tent. We move further up the hill but when the water reaches here we have to move again. Everything is soaked, but something is missing.

The motorcycles! We wheel them to safety and ride on the next day, still in heavy rain. No hope of a dry campsite but Lo had a great idea: we had passed a highway tunnel, still closed to traffic but three German motorcyclists disappeared inside. That was probably our most extraordinary campsite.

With dry clothes and warmer weather everything seems so much better.

Now, our journey is in its last stretch, through magnificent scenery over the Brenner Pass, Austria and finally, Germany. Home at last."


Support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - check out the HU Souk for jumpers / pullovers, t-shirts, hats and other products with the new logo and a variety of slogans!

Baby doll T-shirt - front.Check out t-shirts and other goodies at the HU Souk. Support your favorite website!Check out t-shirts and other goodies at the HU Souk. Support your favorite website!

Thanks! Grant and Susan


up to top of pagespacerTraveller's Community News...

From Shustrik in the Vladivostok Community, which has become a very popular place:

"June 20 -Today two travellers arrived in Vladivostok from Japan, Daniel Toader and Pete "pete from berkeley". Tomorrow we'll have a hard day in Russian customs.

June 23 - OK, last news. Guys while in Vladivostok, also with us 3rd traveller, from Japan - Ishibashi Jun (Suzuki Djebel 200). Daniel's KTM has a problem with electrical system, and now it's under repair in Vladivostok. All travellers live in home of our friend Grandy. Thank him very much for that."

Absolutely, and to you Shustrik for helping out the travellers coming through, I'm sure everyone appreciates your and Grandy's help enormously!

New Communities:

We've got 282 communities in 70 countries as of July 1, 2004!

A big thanks to all those who took the first step and established the Community in their area. New Communities are in Berkhamsted, UK; Bucharest, Romania; Hazyview, South Africa; Banjul, Gambia; Las Heras, and Rosario, Argentina; and Kathmandu, Nepal.

If you are on the road, do check out the Communities - don't feel like you're imposing on people! They signed up for a Community because they want to meet travellers - that's you! You'll have a great time, so go to the Communities page and let them know you're coming. Please remember that they are volunteers and offering to help because they're great people - common courtesy helps! When you write, tell them who you are, that you're passing through, and would like to meet them. Let them know if you need anything, and I'm sure they'll help as best they can.

For details on how you can join a Community in your area, or use the Communities 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 web page about your Community! A few links to web pages about your area would be useful too.

Just a reminder to all, when you Join a Community in your area, send a note to the Community introducing yourself and suggesting a meeting, or go for a ride or something. It's a good way of meeting like-minded individuals in your own town.

Three (3) ways to support your favourite website!

  Click to Support Horizons Unlimited!

Thanks! Grant and Susan

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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 100 currently enroute to an around the world. Have YOU done it? Let me know!

up to top of pagespacerFinal thoughts...

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...

Grant and Susan Johnson

Live the dream! at:

Riding the globe...

All text and photographs are copyright © Grant and Susan Johnson and their respective authors or creators, 1987-2004.
All Rights Reserved.

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