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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 the real Timbuktu, highway robbery in Baluchistan, psychotic killers and paralysing ticks, Cheech & Chong on motorbikes, the brothels of Rio, Chicken Run in Pakistan, death-pyramids, military street fights in Dhaka, riding knee-deep in muddy water, and much more...?

Then you're reading the right newsletter!

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Home Again
In Progress...
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Repair Shops on the

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Motorcycle Travellers' News Report

March 2009, 71st Edition

Welcome to the 71st edition of the HU e-zine! It's been a very long winter, and I know our loyal readers have been in despair that we've not published an edition since last October! I feel very guilty about it, but it's not like we've been sitting around on our asses, much less riding to all the interesting places that our fearless travellers get to! The sad reality of our lives is that for over a year now, and in earnest since last July, we've been utterly consumed with producing the Achievable Dream DVD series. (And keeping the website running, a full-time job in itself.)

The DVD series has been a much more ambitious project than we had envisioned, and finishing the DVDs has taken far longer due to the vast amount of content (interviews, presentations, video footage and photos) we have, which takes forever to edit. We've had over 250 hours of video footage to go through and reduce to 10 hours in total. Each of the DVDs will be around 2 1/2 hours, which is longer than a blockbuster Hollywood movie! We finally have the first DVD out (see below), and a second one nearly done.

This has taken all our spare time and money, to the extent that for six months I just handed my salary over to our video editor every month, and we ran up the credit cards to pay the bills!

However, our circumstances have changed just recently. I was working full-time for Microsoft Consulting here in the UK, but was made redundant during recent cutbacks :-( I'm hanging my shingle out again, so if you know of anyone who needs a privacy and information security consultant, send them to my website! (Susan)

The silver lining for Grant is that, for now, he has his full-time unpaid assistant back! This means we will be doing much more of the 'rough cutting' for the two DVDs yet to be finished, and also I have more time to devote to all things HU, including this e-zine! On the e-zine front, I will be ably assisted by our new Assistant Editor, my sis, Gerri Sombke. As the e-zine takes about 4-5 days to produce each issue, having both of us to work on it means we can get back to a monthly schedule, which will make you all happier!

As usual, our travellers are all over the map in this issue: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Patagonia, Peru, Thailand, Timor Leste and Turkey!

So, get out there on the road - we want YOUR adventure stories and pics! Remember, the only excuse for not travelling is if you're saving money and planning your next trip. :)

Susan Johnson, Editor

'The Achievable Dream' Video - sold out! But there's a new series available!
Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - DVD1 - Get Ready!

The first Achievable Dream DVD, produced in 2006, has sold out, and you've told us you want more information delivered this way. We listened, and we're producing a series of four high-quality DVDs that cover everything you need to know. We took what we learned from our own travels, and since then, from helping other travellers, to create this series.

We also asked the many veteran travellers who attend Horizons Unlimited meetings to tell us their stories, give us their opinions, and share their hard-earned knowledge from their amazing motorcycle trips to every country on earth. You'll hear from Sam Manicom, Chris and Erin Ratay, Greg Frazier, Austin Vince and many others. We've even interviewed Ted Simon in California, and Peter and Kay Forwood on location in Samoa!

What's covered? Everything you ever wanted to know about motorcycle travel!

  • Get Ready! aims to inspire you to take the plunge, and start to prepare for the trip. Topics include planning, travelling solo or with others, money, paperwork for you and the bike, off-road riding, health and medical.
  • Gear Up! covers the Kit - bike and other stuff, including which bike, preparing the bike, what to take and how to pack it.
  • On the Road covers shipping the bike, border crossings, language, culture shock, cultural do's and don'ts, food, accommodation, safety, dealing with emergencies, staying healthy on the road and much more.
  • Ladies on the Loose! Here, for the first time ever, is a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! An intrepid band of well-travelled women motorcyclists share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure - choose and maintain a bike, decide what to take and tackle tough terrain. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! This DVD is directed and presented by Lois on the Loose, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose' and a new book out now: 'Red Tape and White Knuckles'. Lois' husband Austin Vince (Terra Circa, Mondo Enduro) is her director and cameraman, and also wrote the music for the whole series!

For the new series, we have invested in professional filming, editing and production. Filmed in broadcast quality wide screen, incorporating multiple cameras and with custom written vocals and music.

Early feedback on 'Get Ready!' has been very positive:

" 60, I am not a novice traveller. But wow your DVD has, just on one run through, told me so much I did not know. I want to tell you what a fabulous achievement it is. Thank you very much. I shall watch it many times over, learn a great deal and enjoy my travelling all the more for having the extra skills. Hurry up with the next one please." Andrew, France

"It's very good, the production quality is excellent and it makes one salivate even more for the open road. Well done." George, UK

"Lots of very useful information and the people you have selected to interview are very knowledgeable and down to earth, makes you feel that 'I could do that'." Stephen, Australia

"I am very impressed and very, very pleased with it. It was everything I hoped for! The interviews with the riders are fantastic. You can't beat getting the answers to the questions you want from people who have 'been there and done it.' You just don't get such good quality information and guidance like this anywhere else!" Barry, UK

"…absolutely wonderful. You covered an amazing amount of material. The production and attention to detail were outstanding. As a 'wannabe motorcycle adventurer' - it really lit the fire inside me." Randy, Canada

When can you get it?

We are taking orders now for all DVDs. The first DVD in the series, 'Get Ready!' is available now. 'Ladies on the Loose!' is expected to be shipping by end-April, followed by 'On the Road!' in May and 'Gear up!' in June (we hope!). We will ship as they come available, and we're offering free shipping worldwide on pre-orders only (i.e. until all DVDs are in production).

Watch the trailer for DVD 1 'Get Ready!' and order now!

Special thanks to our generous sponsors of the Horizons Unlimited Achievable Dream Series, Touratech and Michelin!

Everything for the motorcycle traveller.    Michelin Tires, quality tyres for motorcycles and cars.

Note: Sponsor opportunities still available!

Horizons Unlimited Slogan Poll - what do YOU think says what we are all about?

You've all been fantastic at coming up with some truly great new slogans to express what Horizons Unlimited means to all of us. Our thanks to all who wracked their brains and offered some great ideas! There were so many submissions, over 130, that we had a very hard time cutting it down, so we've listed our top 16 (in no particular order), and we'd like your vote - which do you like?

The winning slogans will be on t-shirts, mugs etc, and used on the site. Whoever submitted the highest scoring slogan gets the first T-shirt off the press with their slogan, so be sure to vote - and no cheating! One (random) voter who chose the winning slogan as their favourite also gets the t-shirt!

Horizons Unlimited 2009 Motorcycle Travellers Calendar

The 2009 calendar is still available! Check it out and get your copy now, for some terrific travel inspiration! The calendars are available through CafePress, and the price is US$24.99 plus postage. The cost to us from CafePress is $14.99, and we split the $10.00 profit with the photographers.

2009 Photo Contest for 2010 Calendar

The contest is now an annual event, where you can showcase your best photos, and they can help inspire others to get on the road too. The best 13 photos will be used in the calendar, and those photographers will share equally in half the proceeds. Winners will also get a free 2010 calendar, and 1 year Gold Member status on the HUBB.

To be a winner, so we can publish the calendar, you must have available at least 2300x1800 pixel or greater files, at a high jpg quality. Either dimension - or both can be larger! Photos must clearly portray MOTORCYCLE Travel. The whole bike doesn't need to be in the picture, but it must be obvious that it's a motorcycle trip. Remember, contest closes September 1 2009, so get your entry in soon!

How to contribute, and become an HU Member

As always, thanks to all our generous supporters for helping us to keep going. For those who haven't yet contributed, or haven't recently contributed, here's how you can help, and the benefits to you!

Benefits of becoming a Horizons Unlimited Contributing Member or Gold Member!

Can't/Don't want to use electronic payment? Support HU via Snail Mail


It's our advertisers, sponsors and sales of the HU DVD series 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 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 even better send them to our Advertisers page with your recommendation.


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. Change to the Notice version here.

We now have an Syndicate this Channel RSS feed for the e-zine (you'll need an RSS Reader to use it) and all the travellers' blogs have their own feeds. The HUBB has a full RSS feed here. If you're not sure what that's all about, there's a detailed RSS Guide 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 ;-) off. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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

Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Please be sure to tell them how you heard about Touratech. Thanks!

Touratech - Touring Rallye Racing Equipment.

up to top of pagespacerHorizons Unlimited Travellers Meetings...

Argentina, Dec 6-8, 2008

Our thanks go to Oscar Knecht and his family for all the amazing help and the fantastic event that they put on every year - it's become the big event of the year for travellers in South America!

Travellers gather at the Horizons Unlimited Argentina 2008 Meeting!

Travellers gather at the Horizons Unlimited Argentina 2008 Meeting!

International motorcycle travellers meeting in Argentina.

Brought together by a common love for motorcycle travel!

Fernando Rusconi, Argentina, reports with photos: "Hello friends. These are some photos of the weekend, I went out to the Horizons Unlimited international meeting, organized every year by my friend Oscar in Vadodara. Travelers from around the world gather each year to exchange experiences and spend a few enjoyable moments of fun and companionship. I hope I can go next year. A hug to everyone!"

More photos here!

New Zealand, 21 Feb 2009 (Peter and Kay Forwood report)

"Nigel's garage was emptied of his collection of motorcycles, replaced with tables and chairs just in case the rain continued, but the afternoon cleared and their sunny garden was often enjoyed. Lee was out collecting the roasting spit, making salads and preparing vegetables, and by lunch time the place looked like a rally was about to start. The first people to arrive were given jobs, finishing touches, and a whole lamb was placed on the spit. We had our static slide show running all afternoon and after a brief introduction by everyone present, their nationality, their travelling experience, etc, we did a presentation on selected aspects of our trip.

People introducing themselves in the garden.

People introducing themselves in Nigel's garden at the HU mini-meeting in NZ

The lamb, cooked to perfection, and literally falling off the spit, was carved and consumed in the evening. A keg of beer had been tapped earlier and was flowing freely and as far as we could tell everyone was having a great time. Jo, the other half of the Jo and Gareth Morgan team, spoke after dinner of their travels and was followed by a few other motorcycle travellers who had much to contribute. The almost 40 people that were in attendance were a mix of current travellers, past travellers, and people wanting to travel, and was well balanced and small groups gathered, asking and answering questions and telling their stories. By late evening almost everyone departed, a travelling German couple set up tent on the garage floor and we retired to Nigel and Lee's caravan."

Ed. Many thanks to Nigel and Lee for hosting this event, and great to hear that Nigel's on the mend. More details on the HUBB thread. If anyone has any more pics, just post them up!

Australia, 13-15 March 2009, Mitta Mitta

They had a nice turnout for the Oz meeting. A few logistics problems with t-shirts (Grant messed up) and blown projector bulbs didn't dampen the spirits of the intrepid travellers ;-) But the rain did dampen the campsite - all part of the adventure! A big Thank You to David Breedon, our local host, for making this event happen, and to all the volunteers and presenters.

Dave adds: "Thanks to all the presenters as well as Kim and her team from the pub for looking after all us with great food (especially the spit roast) and a place to mingle and not to mention she let a lot of guys Free camp at the back of the pub. Must also mention the great work Sian did with all the paperwork with registration, and Ann and Chris who manned the desk most of the weekend and sorted all the registrations, my mate Dove for his helping hands all weekend, and Grant and Susan for the site without which we would not have these get togethers. The best thing about these meetings is the people you get to chat to and swap a few travel stories, so hope every one has safe travels this year and see you next year. I'm off to South America for 6 months in May. Cheers Dave"

Ed. More details and pics on the HUBB thread. If anyone has any more pics, just post them up!

Why Come to a Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers Meeting?

You can meet people who don't think you're crazy for wanting to ride your bike to South America or Africa or across Asia, or even around the world! Admit it, all your 'normal' friends and most of your family fears for your sanity! So, this is your opportunity to meet the people who will encourage you in that craziness, share their experiences and advice on how to do it, and maybe you'll meet them again in Mongolia or Timbuktu!

Meetings and Events, 2009. Mark your calendars and sign up now!

Deutschland, May 21-24, near Heidelberg! Special guests - Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries on a Harley!). Registration now open!

UK Spring, June 18-21, Ripley. Almost 300 registered now, so get yours in soon! The social event of the motorcycle traveller's year! This year we will have as special guests Ted Simon and Peter & Kay Forwood (193 countries on a Harley!)- don't miss it! Register here!

Horizons Unlimited Mountain Madness (HUMM) - July 20-22, 2009. This is a unique event - motorcycle orienteering in teams. Fantastic on-road and off-road riding in the Spanish Pyrenees - not to be missed! Register now, limited spaces and we're almost full!

Canada West: We are working on it - but getting the venue sorted is proving to be tricky! Tentative date - August 7-9, details to come.

USA East - August 20-23, North Carolina. Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge is located near the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap and the scenic Cherohala Skyway, two of the best motorcycle destinations in the United States. Registration now open!

USA Colorado - August 27-30. New location! Registration coming very soon.

Spain, Malaga, September 11-13. NOTE: There will be a One Day HUMM (or is it a HUMMM?) on the 13th!
Registration coming soon.

USA California, September 24-27, the 'Lost Coast', details to come - get it on your calendar! Special Guest - Ted Simon!

UK Autumn, October 2009, location and exact date to come. Likely venue is the southwest coast.

More dates to come as we get them.


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

Volunteers and Hosts

Volunteers for all meetings are needed, just a couple of hours of your time makes it all a lot easier - and fun - for all. You can volunteer a few hours of your time for any meeting here.

If you'd like to host an HU Meeting in your area, please see the How To Host a Meeting page for details.

See the Meetings page for more details on all events.

See you there! Grin!

Grant and Susan

Horizons Unlimited
New Links...

Too many to list! If you haven't checked out the Links page it's time you did - it's scary long, but it's a fascinating browse.

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 !'

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 pagespacer Repair 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 100's of 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!

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

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.

Motorcycle Rental, hiring Honda's Transalp for touring Argentina and Chile. Ride across the Andes, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, lakes, deserts, salt pans, waterfalls, beaches, rain forests, glaciers...
Motocare Argentina

Motorcycle Therapy, by Jeremy Kroeker.

Motorcycle Therapy, by Jeremy Kroeker

From the Canadian Rockies to the Panamanian Jungle, Motorcycle Therapy rumbles with comic adventure as two men, fleeing failed relationships, test the limits of their motorcycles and their friendship. Get it here!

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


Peter and Kay Forwood, Australia, around the world since 1996, 193 countries two-up on Harley Davidson, in New Zealand,

"The Forgotten World Highway winds out of Stratford through mountains towards Lake Taupo and following this magnificent road across a few saddles. The republic of Whangamomona, a breakaway part of New Zealand through tree fern forests, high pastures it is inevitably more damp than the already wet NZ.

The republic of Whangamomona

The republic of Whangamomona, a breakaway part of New Zealand

The little town of Whangamomona decided to secede from New Zealand a few years ago and formed its own republic, well at least unofficially, along with passports for its citizens, and as we stopped in at the local pub we could have had our own passports stamped having visited another 'country', well it might be a while before the United Nations recognises the little republic so we will not be in a hurry to add it to our list.

...The greens hills, covered with grazing cows, milkers, are so lush in the spring growth that it can be hard to look at. Wild flowers often dot or cover hillsides, snowdrops, daffodils and calla lilies mostly but also many native flowers we can't identify. We headed further north on great twisting roads, mountains on each side and riding along a ridge, almost no traffic, a ferry ride from Rawene, and into Kaitaia, visiting another Kauri shop. These trees had recently been dug up from swamps, some buried. Camped at Waitiki Landing for over 45,000 years, and still the timber was millable. One enormous tree, over five metres diameter, has been carved with an internal staircase and was the centre attraction.

An enormous tree carved with an internal staircase

Stairway built up the middle of a 45000 yr old swamp Kauri tree

At low tide vehicles can enter 90 mile beach, actually about 90 km's long, and travel on the hard sand. By mid afternoon the tide had receded enough for the motorcycle to have solid traction and we rode comfortably from Waipapakauri to the Te Paki creek, passing just a few tourist buses and one car. The steep sided sand dunes make breaking down in this region fatal for motor vehicles and a couple of cars were half buried in sand, and were slowly rusting away.

Cars half buried in sand, slowly rusting away

A car caught by the tide on 90 mile beach

We rode mostly on the hard sand but the exit was up a creek bed, leaving behind the ocean to get back to civilisation. Riding in the water was comfortable but patches of deep sand around reed beds gave us problems and we needed to push the motorcycle a couple of times, but the creek bed ride washed all the salt water from the motorcycle.

The signposts at Bluff, almost the southern point of New Zealand.

The signposts at Bluff, almost the southern point

We learnt a bit about the water deflection of Honda's, particularly the one Frank and Rita are riding, an ST1300, compared to Harleys. We arrived at a roadside stop wet, boots, gloves and faces. Frank and Rita arrived pretty dry. Their water cooled engine allows for fairing aerodynamics, plus an electric height adjusting windscreen, where the air cooled Harley has to have good air flow, which also allows good water flow, wetting everything. Even though Frank offered us a ride on the Honda we declined, not game to experience the smooth running motorcycle 15 years the junior of ours. Anyway we like the vibration and 'real' riding experience of the H-D, don't we? It was a good lesson in rider comfort. Stayed at another backpackers, this country has some of the best we have seen anywhere, Turangi for the night.

We had shaken the snow off the tent but not the motorcycle cover.

We had shaken the snow off the tent but not the motorcycle cover

(near Te Anau) …The afternoon turned cold and wet, the evening wetter and by late evening snow had started falling. Our tent slowly collapsed upon us as the wet snow's weight bent its poles. Regularly, every 30 minutes or so, we needed to violently shake the tent to dislodge build-up until it finally stopped falling around 2am. Nearby tree branches could be heard breaking, mostly newly leafed birch, weighed down by the wet snow, and the electricity in the campground went off leaving motor homes and cabins cold without heating, but our down filled sleeping bags kept us warm in the snow covered tent."

Horizons Unlimited is proud to host Peter and Kay's complete RTW story and pictures here!

Adrian Blake on a 17 day ride through South America with Compass Expeditions writes from Patagonia:

"...The gravel road winds through Parque Nacional Los Alerces. We're rewarded with spectacular views for all our hard work. By late afternoon, we reach bitumen again and then a last stretch of gravel. We're less than 10 km from our hotel in Esquel.

I start descending a particularly nasty corner but my concentration has waned. The front wheel pulls right, then to the left as I desperately try to correct course. It's no use. I lose my balance completely, the gravel like roller bearings.

And then I'm down in a cloud of dust, the bike landing on my right leg, the engine still running. I feel pain in my elbow, hip, ribs and calf, but nothing seems broken. I'm a little disoriented from the bounce my helmet took from the impact. The group gets me into the support truck and Jerry rushes us to our hotel.

A doctor is summoned and he arrives quickly to check me out. Through my haze and pain, I somehow can't help thinking about the Cheech & Chong bit called Brave Motorcycle Rider. It makes me wince and laugh at the same time.

Dr. Gustavo Vidal is a kindly and soft-spoken man. He prescribes anti-inflammatories and says I'll hurt for the next three weeks. (The bike sustained some scuffs, a cracked top cover and bent right peg. The handlebars were also thrown out of alignment.)

Before the fall, Patagonia.

Before the fall...

... Back in the saddle the next day! You just gotta get back on the horse that throws you. I woke up a little stiff and sore, and already a bruise wider than my outspread hand is making itself known on the back of my right thigh. It's a hideous shade of black and purple. But I'm ready to take on the road once again.

We jump back on Ruta 40 and the smooth asphalt soon runs out: fin de paviment. It's back to gravel, but this time it's finer with hard-packed ruts to follow. The group spreads out, riding at their own pace. All I see is a cloud of dust in the distance.

I'm not going to rush and do anything foolish. Just when you think you're doing alright and flying along the gravel at 80 or 100 kph, it can suddenly change without warning and things can happen mighty fast. The gravel twists and turns and there are more than a few signs warning 'perito' (danger) and precaution. It's my first-ever crash. What better place to do it than Patagonia."

Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Please be sure to tell them how you heard about Compass Expeditions. Thanks!

Discover the extraordinary with Compass Expeditions.

Nathan Thompson and Akiko Nishikura, Taking the slow road round the world, on the cheap, on a postie-bike... 2-up.

"...The unbelievable generosity of Bangladesh and it's inhabitants has truly touched us... And we have been here just 4 days.

Dhaka was in lock-down the day we arrived, a dispute over pay erupted into two sides of the military fighting each-other in the streets. Luckily we didn't see any of it and as a result we also didn't see any of the famous traffic congestion this city is famous for, the streets were completely empty for the first two days...

We have been offered a room free of charge in a very safe neighbourhood, been taken out to dinner without mention of payment, welcomed where-ever we go and waved at by smiling locals every step we take.

How many can you fit on a motorbikeÉ

We have completed the convoluted process of taking possession of our 'motosikle', it cost us a lot more than we expected but are happy have it close by at last. Will give a full report on the experience soon.

At the moment we are happy to just walk the streets and take in the Bangla atmosphere. A very big change from the scenery that has surrounded us over the last few months. I guess this kind of sharp, abrupt change is what is normally accompanied with plane travel. For us it's something of a novelty to be dropped into a completely alien environment.

All the things we need are here, we just have to tune our eyes to see them..."

Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Please be sure you tell them how you heard about Riding Iceland
. Thanks!

Rent a motorcycle and see some of Icelands most stunning attractions.

Robin Breese-Davies and Rik Davis, UK, RTW, in Brazil, BMW R1150GS,

"Started off great with tarmac but then turned to dust & sand, all well graded so no problem, until Rik had a lapse in concentration and dropped his bike going over a wooden bridge, luckily for him his bike didn't go over the side like mine did in Bolivia!

Rik tumbles crossing one of the wooden bridges.

Rik tumbles crossing one of the wooden bridges

...After very little sleep we made it to Vitoria which we are simply using as a mid-way stop to break the journey up to Rio, we failed to find a hotel anywhere so we were forced to stay in a brothel which normally charges by the hour but we managed to negotiate a 12 hour rate which was surprisingly cheap!

Beds rent by the hour in the brothel.

Normally rents by the hour!

The weather was not the best but we still managed to walk along the Copacabana beach, walked the sights in downtown then went to Corcovado (Christ the Redeemer) which is one of the most famous landmarks in the world, set 710m above the city the looming statue gazes placidly out over the amazing views of Rio & its beaches, you can see why this is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, incredible.

Rio - view from Corcovado

We are loving our time in Brazil, people are very friendly and always try to offer help, we feel safe, the weather is great but so far it is not the best riding, the roads are long and straight but don't go directly to where we need to go, the speed bumps are huge and not in the most logical position, on most occasions we stop for fuel we see truck drivers buying beer, downing them then hitting the road again which is not very good for our confidence in other drivers! We both feel we have the best to come though down the east coast."

Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Please be sure to tell them how you heard about StarCom1 Bike Communications . Thanks!

Starcom1 Communications, crystal clear at 100mph+ - you can't buy better.

Simon Roberts, UK, The Road to Kathmandu - the comic strip - in Pakistan!

"Pakistan. Pakistan! How many people can say they've ridden a motorcycle overland to Pakistan?! I was e-lated!…and then, very nearly e-longated. Pakistan's traffic drives on the left. I was riding on the right. One learns quickly.

My route was to take me across Baluchistan to the 'wild frontier town' of Quetta near the Afghan border then on south.

Three days later my world would be turned upside-down on the wind swept desert road south to Sukkur - '…not recommended if you are traveling independently.'

The sun beat down on the road south. The tarmac shimmered, deserted. Quiet. Quiet that is, except for a nagging rumble coming through my foot pegs. I'd felt it in third gear over the previous days but now I was picking it up in all gears...and now louder ...and Louder! I stopped. Checked oil. OK. Started the engine, engaged first gear... kkkeeeerunch! What the F*!#? Gearbox? Shaft drive failure? This is it. It's all over. I slumped to the ground and lit a cigarette. It should have been a Hamlet cigar...

on the road to Sukkur

As the bike cooled down, the silence grew. The desert road seemed…deserted. It was. Almost. A speck on the horizon grew and two armed men pulled up… on a moped. Baluchistan frontier police. Saved! Or was I?

They'll call a pick-up truck and I'll be in a garage within the hour. No. An hour passed as they tried my helmet and sunglasses on, read my magazines and took photos of each other. We eventually got our act together and flagged down an empty flat bed truck which slid to a halt in front of us.

Now the only problem was how to get the bike up onto the truck...

'No Problem Salmon!' (my name for the next few days). The truck was backed down into the scrub and we eased the bike across a plank onto the truck - 'On the road again...' Yes!

What I hadn't realised was that I'd just signed up for Pakistan's favourite Driving Game - Chicken Run. Overtaking. This meant more points the longer you stayed out on the other side of the road while overtaking. Double points if you could run them off the road too. Luckily I was assured 'Don't worry Salmon, Allah is with us!'. Unfortunately he was with everyone else too. The only thing in our favour was that we were the biggest truck on the road. I then found out I was down for the Advanced version of this 'game' -The Night version. Aaarrgghh!

These guys were going straight through - literally - until Lahore. Horns constantly blasting it was nightmarish. I quizzed one of the overtaking moves and the driver, Sedaq, looked at me, threw his head back and howled with laughter... I crouched behind the seats and braced myself for the inevitable head on collision.

To cut a l-o-n-g story short, I spent four l-o-n-g sleepless days and nights with these crazy guys (at around 30 mph due to a heavy load of rice picked up en-route) who got me all the way to Pakistan's only 'heavy' bike mechanic in Lahore. It involved switching vehicles so we could get the bike into the congested streets of Lahore ...arriving at 4 o'clock in the morning. Try arranging this kind of 'hospitality' in a European country.

Mr. Waheed's bike shop on the Grand Trunk road. A remarkable establishment with a distinctly 'Dickensian' flavour. Full of small spanner wielding urchins. Go there if you get the chance. It should be included on a tour of Lahore. I was given one by Usman, Mr. Waheed's nephew whose own 'white knuckle' driving style certainly shortened my life expectancy. Oh how I laughed as we drove into an unlit busy underpass - the wrong way and then, realising he'd taken us in the wrong direction, promptly did a 3-point turn. What joy.

But time flew by and within a few days I was bidding farewell to Mr Waheed and his young mechanics who (amazingly) had found the necessary spares to get me back on the road. I asked no questions. I was just glad to be back on my way to the Karakoram Highway. Thanks be to Allah. Thanks be to Visa."

Ed. See Simon's 'Road to Kathmandu' comic strip on Horizons Unlimited.

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Nick and Lesley Poole, in Thailand,

"...Whilst in Chiang Mai we managed to get a few jobs done, met some very interesting people and prepared for our next country - Laos.

Chiang Mai temple

Chiang Mai temple

It has taken nearly 80,000 miles before we've managed to instil some degree of comfort in our bike's saddle! Gone are the tack-on, tatty looking but practical Air Hawk saddle covers. I wasn't too perturbed mind you as mine had a puncture anyhow! John, from the 'Jonadda' guesthouse took us in his sidecar to a hole-in-the-wall upholsterer situated in the back streets of Chiang Mai where we met the 'artist with foam plastic'! He had a big project on at the moment rebuilding several 'tuk tuk' seats but would fit us in ASAP. To make things easier he produced the saddle off a Harley Davidson. He would then sculpt our existing foam saddle and bond it with the Harley one to create something really special and which would suit our requirements perfectly. Les had always wanted to be able to see more scenery over my shoulders. We would now have something unique - a 'King and Queen' saddle on a BMW GS - A first perhaps? We collected the saddle after a couple of days and wow! It was now much taller at the back for Les but I fear she'll now need a step ladder to climb onboard! The stitching and general workmanship of the saddle was brilliant, but more importantly, it used softer foam which should be kinder to our backsides, and all for only 800bht, about £13.55!

New Saddle

We later met 'Mr', David Unkovich, in a small bar. David, an Australian who's lived in Thailand for several years and has published a map covering Lao, amongst others, had just returned after several weeks in the country gleaning information for his guide book. He had just got off his Honda Africa Twin for dinner when we arrived. In between mouthfuls of dinner he passed on valuable information on this little-known country we were about to explore. He was a mine of very useful information and a great bloke to talk with.

Always in search of live music, we visited the 'Guitar Man' bar in Chiang Mai and enjoyed an entertaining evening listening to our host. John was playing guitar and singing with his band as they played a selection of rocky, bluesy numbers while we quaffed a few beers and tapped feet and fingers in harmony!

We both liked Chiang Mai a lot, as did many other ex pats who have settled here, most with Thai wives on their arms. Because of this obvious multiculturalism I wasn't too surprised to see volunteer English policemen with small Union Jack badges on their uniforms and working with the local community.

With the obvious benefits of a comfortable city, a BMW bike dealer and some of the best motorcycling roads we'd seen in a long time, this could be a place to return to for a long-term stay at a later date; and with a studio apartment costing only £144 a month, it was also very tempting.

We spent a pleasant six days here now but Laos was beckoning and it was once again time to move on.

Jungle reclaiming its territory - Cambodia

Jungle reclaiming its territory - Cambodia

Winding our way north on Highway 118 to Chiang Rai we found to our pleasure that the saddle was excellent. Gone is that bum-numbing feeling of sitting on a board, now we're riding on a cushion. The only problem is that Les now has to engage in a gymnastic exercise to get onto her much-taller saddle! I now have a definite ridge to push the back of my bum into, a comforting feeling much like the hump on a racing bike!"

Editor's Note: We'll catch up with the Pooles in Greece next time, but wanted to include a few of their photos of Thailand and Cambodia in this issue. See more on their website.

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Graham Shee, UK, Alaska to Argentina, in Ecuador, Peru and Chile, Kawasaki KLR 650,

Guayaquil City Monument

Guayaquil City Monument

" ...within sight of Huaraz I find the road closed due to construction work. Judging by the queue of traffic it's been closed most of the day. I wait for 3 hours by which time it's dark - well at least I know my lights are working. We proceed in convoy once the road is open. It's horrendous. The first part through a village has mud 10 inches deep - no more tarmac. I have to paddle with my feet to keep the bike upright, while trying to keep it in the ruts and moving forward.

Snow on the Andes

Snow on the Andes

Once we clear the construction site its downhill all the way. The road is narrow, wet and extremely muddy (for muddy read slippery). At times I can barely see through the diesel fumes from the trucks. The fumes are choking but I'm used to that by now. I have to stop twice and try and create a gap in front. On one part the bike nearly gets away but I somehow catch it and keep it upright. However it's now sitting jammed at right angles to the track with the rear wheel deep in a rut. I think the sump guard is bellied out. Again I find it hard to hold the bike steady with my feet slipping from under me. My boots are carrying a thick layer of mud. Getting it out and pointing downhill is awkward to say the least, but fully realises the benefits of the lightweight KLR.

very rickety looking bridge

(very rickety looking bridge)

By now there is a queue behind me - but they can wait. Eventually I get to Huaraz. In reality it's 95 miles on the bike. Sitting in the hotel afterwards, reflecting on the day's activities I am in a buoyant mood. It's probably one of the best days I've had so far, providing a reasonable level of challenge. It certainly beats driving directly south on the main road.

Road sign - No Burning Rubber on the Road

No Burning Rubber on the Road

I get up the next morning and wash the bike. The weather's good. The run back to the coast should be straight forward on what I believe is good tarmac. Leaving Huaraz, the road seems to climb higher. It's getting cold and the distant mountains have snow on top. I can see rain in the distance. The rain starts but quickly turns to hailstones - I certainly wasn't expecting that. The road is white. I run in the tracks of a bus. On a corner the tracks run right to the edge - the bus had hit the armco barrier and clearly fish tailed its way up the following hill. The bike is squirming and for the second day in a row I realise that the road is slippery. I decide to park up and let it pass. That afternoon at the hotel I wash the bike again. Tarmac here doesn't necessarily mean a clean road.

Tiny Peruvian girl and llama

It's a Llama!

The approach to Lima is pretty spectacular. The road hugs the coast, but runs high up on the edge of a steep hillside - except it's not a hillside, it's the largest sand dune imaginable. The sign at the last junction reads 'No Motos' - not sure why but I ignore it. Do I have a choice?"

Ed. Follow Graham's trip in his blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

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Johan Lundin, Sweden, in Brazil, KTM 640 Adventure,

"Johan Lundin writes from Veracruz, Mexico 'It is now about a year since I started this mission down in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During this time I have travelled 43460 kilometers, or to put it in perspective, a bit longer then the length of the equator. The last episode is now online.

(After Christmas in Sweden) I flew back to Santarem where I to my delight found my bike untouched under a few layers of spider web. Since it is now the rainy season it wasn't an option to take the dirt road to Manaus so instead I jumped on a river boat for two days.

In Manaus I caught up with Simons's old friend Genghis (yes, his mom named him after the 'Khan') who showed me around Manaus. I then headed off north towards Venezuela which is quite different from Brazil. In Venezuela things are a bit more expensive but the gas is very cheap although there are also shortages so the lines to gas station are hundreds of meters long. The nature is more of savannah than the tropical rain forest in Brazil and there are plenty of waterfalls all over.

People are also very generous. I've been stopping roadside to sort out my bike and been given beer. I've stopped to get breakfast only to be getting it paid for by fellow customers. I've pulled in to gas stations and after hearing what I'm doing they didn't bother charging me.

Unfortunately I'm on a bit of a fast schedule at the moment so been going a bit too fast. However, the three last days I have taken detours on small mountain roads which are very cool. It is quite high altitude; some parts over 4000m, and plenty of charming small villages. The villages are so small so many of them don't have hotels and it has been interesting to ask around for places to sleep and many times someone has a room for hire.

The capital Caracas is nicely situated in the mountains and has its nice parts but also some slightly dangerous areas. At one restaurant the owner wouldn't let me out unless I took off my scratched plastic watch or he said I would get robbed outside. Well, maybe it did the trick and no problems encountered so far."

Ed. Follow Johan's trip on his site! Click on the video icon for on-the-road footage.

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Carol and Ken Duval, Australia, RTW (again), in Argentina,

'...A fresh, fine morning greeting us as we raced to Corrientes. Carol has been busy again contacting the Horizons Unlimited communities and we had the pleasure of meeting Gerardo and Patricia on our arrival to this river city. They escorted us to a budget hotel on the outskirts of town and it was then we noticed how hot the weather had become. We had definitely arrived in the tropical part of Argentina.

General Belgrano bridge over the Rio Parana

Corrientes is dominated by the Rio Parana and is crossed by a huge bridge 'General Belgrano' linking the two provinces of Chaco and Corrientes. Ships use this river ferrying cargo to Paraguay. The lifestyle of the people appears to be also dominated by the river with trees lining the banks, restaurants, sidewalk cafes and hundreds of people walking, running and cycling. A great place to people watch and take in the cool breeze drifting off the river. The constant flow of people along this esplanade does not diminish even when night falls.

Dakar Fans and Javier at the campsite in Santa Rosa

Dakar fans and Javier at the Campsite in Santa Rosa

Gerardo and Patricia guided us to the city's tourist office to gather some tips on places to see then ventured down to the water front to soak in the atmosphere. Our first night we enjoyed dinner at a restaurant near the river with a few of Gerardo's bike riding friends.

Carol and Ken Duval, Gerardo and Patricia and friends

Dinner with Gerardo, Patricia and some of their bike friends

The following day we were left to do our own thing as Gerardo has a business that is all consuming in summer. Ice making! We road the city sight seeing for most of the day then retired to our sidewalk café by the river trying to ease the summer heat with a cold drink. Gerardo and Patricia joined us a little later for dinner...

Iguacu Falls

However it was (at Iguazu Falls) we experienced our lowest moment of our 14 months and 33,000 kms journey. On returning to the bike we removed the cover to reveal our helmets were missing. No trace… The cable, lock, bag and helmets were gone. These were new Shoei Multitec helmets purchased in June 2008 along with the headsets for our new Autocom intercom. Carol stayed with the bike and I walked the 50 metres to the entrance and reported the theft. We were informed that there was no security in the car park despite us hearing to the contrary, and the rangers were surprised we had parked there. A sympathetic hearing plus a typed report were given and a recommendation that we report the incident to the police. Carol searched the area for any residue of the bag, cable and lock to no avail so we rode the 20kms into town to report the theft.

We were unable to buy suitable helmets in Iguazu so our recently acquired friends from the HU community in Corrientes, Gerardo and Patricia, came to the rescue and freighted two helmets to us by bus. From here we rode to Buenos Aires where we hoped to be able to purchase new ones or even arrange to have some brought in to Argentina."

Ed. See all Ken and Carol's stories including details of the Dakar rally and great pics on their blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

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Rick McDermed, USA, in Australia,

"I got Corey and about a ton of gear (I have TWO tons to contend with later) on the airport bus and headed off for some back roads riding on the way to Sydney. I worked my way south and east of Melbourne on some really great two lane roads thru farming and ranching country and hit the coast again for some more beach riding. Stopped at the nice little town of San Remo for the night. San Remo is the 'gateway' to Phillip Island. Since it was raining again I stayed on the mainland!

Detour and road signs

Headed via more back roads toward Lakes Entrance. Several people had told me that this was very nice harbor area where several big lakes connect to the ocean (thus the name). I had time, so took some very minor roads that folks had told me about. They did NOT tell me about the bridges that were out and all the detours. These roads didn't show on the map and the GPS said I hadn't even been on a road for a long time :=) I would never say I was lost but I was 'unable to confirm my position' for a couple of hours. :=)

Loading for the voyage to Tasmania

Tasmanian Devil

Can't go to Tasmania without getting a picture of a Tasmanian Devil!

...We stayed at a very interesting underground motel. The owners bought an old mining claim, opened it back up and started digging out the motel. They struck it rich with more new veins of Opals. They financed the completion of the motel with the profits.

Underground motel in an opal mine

Our room was very nice (once you got used to being in a cave) :=) I ask about the two umbrellas, and was told that there were two air shafts to the surface and when the wind blew hard, small pebbles would come down the shafts. Another interesting thing about the room was that when you turned out the lights, your eyes NEVER adjusted because there was NO light from the outside. Night lights were required."

See Rick's blog here on Horizons Unlimited for lots of great pics!

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Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and South Africa - A truly memorable African Adventure!

Peter Hendricks in Malaysia

"...The reception by the local biker community has been overwhelming, starting with phone calls while we were still in Thailand! It's a little humbling at times...

We are now in Kuala Terengganu in the NE and will head inland again tomorrow to meet up with some bikers from Kuala Lumpur.

Honda Chaly with bench seats attached
I wonder how many people this Honda Chaly can carry.

First, an excursion to Three Pagodas Pass. The border is said to be closed. There is a stark contrast between the small, but modern Thai border post with a very large computer visible and lots of video cameras and the obviously primitive arrangement on the Burma side. Not much to see here. On the way back I make a small detour to a waterfall, but as there is a toll gate I turn around. I ride back along the reservoir to a viewpoint, where I take a wrong turn and thus meet a local, or rather, one who is becoming a local: a young man from Bangkok who made the mistake of falling in love with a Mon woman. The Mon are tolerated in Thailand, but have no ID and no Thai nationality, so they can't leave the border area, even if they are born here, like she is. They can't even officially marry, so he has to move to the area and become a fisherman. There are said to be not much fish left in the reservoir...

Jungle road deteriorating

Going North again I find the right road, which soon turns into a dirt road. When I ask for the way at a national park toll gate people look at me strangely. I don't take the hint. They seem to confirm that I'm on the right track, but speak no English. I get to a fork in the road and make mistake number two: I choose one direction. A few metres further there is a farmer and I make mistake number three: instead of asking 'which way to Phu Joe?' I ask 'is this the way?' to which in Asia there is only one possible reply: Yes. Now the track is proper 4x4 stuff, going through a big mud hole, but without too much trouble. Then I face a major obstacle: a large ford. I hear a bike on the other side and so I wait to see how the rider handles this. He doesn't: he just passes the ford on the opposite river bank. Looks like the correct way would have been not to turn back there, at least on a bike. Now I make the final mistake: Not wanting to go back and the ford not looking too bad I try to cross. It turns out to be knee-deep with a decent current, holes and large boulders in the water. I get about to the middle until I drop the bike. The right pannier goes under and fills with water. I manage to get most of the other luggage off the bike more or less dry and get the bike up.

Bike tipped over in river

I get about to the middle until I drop the bike

A quick try confirms my worst fears: the starter can't turn the engine, full of water. It takes 4 people from a nearby village to push the bike back out, I pitch my tent for the night in the jungle, the next morning dry out most of my stuff and attempt to dry out the engine. It doesn't work and I have to organise a pickup back to town, where a workshop cleans out the carburetor with compressed air. I think I negotiated the fare at 600 Baht, but perhaps the driver meant he was leaving at 6PM, which we did. He doesn't want to accept any money at the destination, but eventually takes half. He also gives me an amulet. Perhaps I'm going to need it if I keep on blundering like this.

Drying out at campground

Drying out

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Mark Hammond, USA, from Morocco to Cape Town, in Mali and Cameroon, Suzuki DR650,

"My Michelin map designated much of it as a 'major roadway,' yet it was one of the worst roads I had ever ridden. I had seen photos of it on the Web, and knew what to expect. Trucks had gouged deep ruts through mud, leaving walls as tall as 10 feet on the right and left. The protective bark busters on my Suzuki’s handlebars banged against dense rain forest foliage hanging over this primitive track.

Jungle track in Cameroon.

The main road from Nigeria into Cameroon

I negotiated around rocks and timber embedded into the trail. Then the piste would fork, with two alternative ruts for the next 100 or 200 yards. I would stop and analyze which track would be easiest. I was enveloped in glorious green and deafening silence, save for the birds and insects clucking and chirruping in the rain forest. Bright sunlight pierced the jungle canopy and dappled splotches of gold on the red-mud earth.

Very old walled door in Timbuktu

Timbuktu, Mali

The name is synonymous with remoteness and mystery and enigma and the ends of the earth. It looms large in the human imagination as the most distant point on the planet, though many Westerners could not tell you exactly where Timbuktu is supposed to be … or even whether it actually exists.

My mother didn't believe that Timbuktu was real. 'Oh, there's no such place,' she told me as I prepared to set off on my motorbike journey through Africa. A childhood friend, too, thought that Timbuktu was only a myth – a faraway Shangri La that you heard about back in elementary school.

Timbuktu is a real place. It's a poor, dusty, unremarkable town of mud-brick buildings and wooden shacks and about 32,000 people in central Mali, near the large and sustaining Niger River. It was settled in the 11th century by Tuareg nomads and is said to derive its lyrical name from an old woman called Tomboutou, 'the woman with the large belly button,' or so I read in my Rough Guide to West Africa.

In subsequent centuries, Timbuktu (or Tombouctou, to use the proper spelling) grew to be a fabulously wealthy city for trading gold and other commodities, where salt caravans from the desert north met merchants from sub-Saharan Africa to the south. It wasn't until the 19th century that European explorers reached the fabled city. Now it was our turn. No motorbike adventure on the western side of Africa would be complete without a ride to Timbuktu. For months, the name had captivated my imagination – perhaps the name that most singularly defined this Africa ride.

Road to Timbuktu, Mali.

...The allure of Timbuktu is enhanced by its inaccessibility. To get here, the adventure rider has a choice of four routes – through Lere from the southwest (with four ferry crossings and rumors of banditry), from Gao to the east or through Nema in Mauritania (both long and sandy and little traveled tracks), or from Douentza. Our research told us Douentza would be the easiest route – but easy is a relative term.

A pair of older Belgian women at Auberge Gouma in Douentza had traveled by 4x4 from Timbuktu a day earlier. They watched with a mixture of admiration and concern as we packed up the motorbikes for our ride north. 'Good luck,' one of the women told me. 'You'll need it - the road is very difficult.'

... I stopped several times for a rest, photos, water, and to enjoy the scenery that I could scarcely see while riding, what with one's laser focus on the 50 yards of piste ahead. The quiet was sublime. The landscape had changed by turns, a yellow and then orange sand and sparse acacia trees and low bushes and pale green foliation across the land, like peach fuzz on a teenager's face, and the low and gently rolling hills sprawled out on all sides.

Handfuls of sand on the road to Timbuktu

And the road. I picked up handfuls of its fine, soft sand and studied the grains and let it flow, sun-baked and warm, through my fingers. I looked north to the horizon, at the road snaking artistically across this marvelous terrain. I felt like an extremely fortunate man and I gave my thanks.

And I slapped myself to be sure that I was indeed on this challenging piste, on this unforgettable day -- the road to Timbuktu."

Read the rest of Mark's ride to Timbuktu on his blog.

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Santiago Lema, Colombia, in Andes and Patagonia, Suzuki DR650,

"The first day I went to Cumbe Mayo (meaning Narrow River, or Fine River, that is: channel). It is a channel 9 km long beginning high in the mountain at 3,600 m to transport water to far away lands. When the Incas ruled this land, the channel was already built. It crosses earth zones, some parts with retaining walls, but also it cuts the rock in perfect straight lines and perfect vertical planes. Other kind of rocks were used to cut the channel because the pre-Incas didn't work hard metals.

Cumbe Mayo river channel

In some parts the channel has 2 or 3 90° bends, believed to slow down the water speed. It is said to be the oldest man-made construction in South America.

Marcahuamachuco is an archaeological site of special beauty, unknown for almost everybody. It ranks among the 10 top sites in Peru and dates to 2,300 years ago.

Triple wals in Marca Huamachuco

In some places the wall is triple

ruined walls

These walls used to protect a big city. I ask myself: How many people used to live here to build these kind of fortresses, and how bloody would be their neighbours to make them to build double walls up to 15 m high?

It is boring that mainly Machu Picchu gets all the attention from tourism. The value of Marcahuamachuco is its age, 2300 years compared with only 600 hundred of Machu Picchu.

Cueva de las Manos in Patagonia

In Patagonia: Cueva de las Manos, 50 km away from Bajo Caracoles perched in a cliff along Rio Pinturas.

More than 700 hands on different colours were aero-painted between 9,300 and 7,000 years ago
Almost all of them are delicate and fine, as feminine; some are really big and some of children; only 25 are right-hand; all of them painted in negative, this is, coloring the contour."

Ed. Check out Santiago's blog in English and Spanish on Horizons Unlimited!

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Harrison Billet - for when you REALLY want to stop!

The place to go to get good brakes for that overloaded world touring bike.

I'm running a 6 piston caliper from Harrison on my R80G/S, and it works REALLY well! Grant

Oliver Francis, Wales, in Nepal, posts this ride report on the HUBB:

"So Gubi finally got his ass out of India and we met in his hotel a week ago. He is travelling on a Yamaha Tenere which makes my bike look like it was built for track days instead of world travel. After trying to persuade me to go for a 4 day hike we came to a compromise and agreed on a 5 day ride to Muktinathin the Himalayas.

Gubi riding through water.

... It's pretty hard to describe the riding conditions because they changed so much, sometimes it would be good gravel and sometimes deep sand. Mix up very fine, deep sand with big rocks hidden beneath it or just big rocks. Up and down, left and right rocks bloody everywhere. It took 1 hour to ride the first 21km from Beni to Totapani. The view here was pretty boring but the road kept our minds occupied. We stopped in Totapani for lunch and to work out how far we could get before it got dark. We were told we could make Jomsom easily and so set that as our goal. It was 60km and maybe 4 hours. We were also warned that the road got worse! It was kind of like rally stages, 20km of rocks the size of your head and then 5km alpine, 20km fast gravel and then 15km of riverbeds and pebbles. Throw in the odd river crossing or muddy section and you're well on your way to getting the feel for the ride.

When we arrived in Jomsom I was shattered and so was Gubi, We found a hotel pretty quickly, found out how cheap it was and moved the bikes into the garden and here I have a puzzle for you, how do you get a 95cm wide bike through a 85cm wide gap?

How to fit a 95cm bike through a 85cm gap.

I practised my drumming on a pillow, we ate, looked for other tourists, realised there were none and went to bed. It was a cold night at 2300m but the hotel had blankets so it was not uncomfortable and after the long ride I could have slept anywhere. The alarm woke us at 7pm to catch the sunrise and we headed to the roof of the hotel for breakfast (my omelet came with free fried cockroach) and pictures.

We slowly progressed along the road and in a surprisingly short amount of time we had covered the 14km and were looking up at a twisting gravel road climbing the mountain. Gubi's bike had been struggling already with low oxygen and a weird sprocket setup. On sections where I was in 3rd gear he was in 1st and when I was in 1st he was running on the clutch. Now we had this climb and it was 2nd all the way for me and clutch control for him. I went ahead again and paused occasionally to get photos and to check that he was ok.


I had to stop at one point and go look for Gubi, he had stopped to let his engine cool and to give his clutch a break. I tried to tell him to turn round but he was determined to make it and we pushed on again. I reached the pass about 10 minutes after the stop and had a cuppa tea while I waited. Soon bored I turned round to see what was holding Gubi up. 300m from the pass he had given up. His bike was out of power. Refusing to accept defeat I parked up my bike and pushed while he gunned the engine.

Go to Mukinath.

We made it, 100km of hard riding but we both made it to the top. Grinning like idiots we sought out the Bob Marley guest house for a photo shoot and something to eat. Bob himself apparently stayed there and it is also the highest point in the village."

ED. Read Oliver's blog on his website.

up to top of pagespacerBooks

Motorcycle Therapy, by Jeremy Kroeker.

Motorcycle Therapy, by Jeremy Kroeker

From the Canadian Rockies to the Panamanian Jungle, Motorcycle Therapy rumbles with comic adventure as two men, fleeing failed relationships, test the limits of their motorcycles and their friendship. Get it here!

Red Tape and White Knuckles: One Woman's Motorcycle Adventure Through Africa

Lois' new adventures in Africa!

"Alone. No support vehicles, no fancy GPS and no satellite phone. Leaving from London, finishing in Cape Town - and the small matter of tackling the Sahara, war-torn Angola and the Congo Basin along the way - this feisty independent woman's grand trek through the Dark Continent of Africa is the definitive motorcycling adventure." Get it here!

Distant Suns, by Sam Manicom, coming soon!

Adventure in the vastness of Africa and South America

"Sam Manicom's dynamic third book transports you to Southern Africa, South and Central America in an action-packed three year voyage of discovery... a thought-provoking mix of scrapes and encounters with people which illuminate some moments of true darkness... acute observations on everything from human behaviour, to remote and stunning locations. Distant Suns grabs you, enthrals you and spits you out as a convert to the dream of overlanding these amazing continents." Buy direct from Sam here!

Adventure Motorbiking Handbook.

Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, by Chris Scott

Into the Den of the Bear and the Lair of the Dragon on a Motorcycle.

Into the Den of the Bear and the Lair of the Dragon on a Motorcycle. 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
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.

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 Aimimage 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 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

Help support your favourite website! Here's how!

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See our complete Privacy Policy here.

Grant Johnson, Editor

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ISSN 1703-1397 Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' E-zine - Copyright 1999-2009, 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.


Motorcycle Rental, hiring Honda's Transalp for touring Argentina and Chile. Ride across the Andes, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, lakes, deserts, salt pans, waterfalls, beaches, rain forests, glaciers...

Motocare Argentina

up to top of pagespacerShorts...


Darius and Jane Skrzypiec, RTW 2008-2011, in Nepal, Africa Twin,

"Unable to cross Burma or China with our bike we are forced to take a plane from Bangkok to Kathmandu. Instead of flying with Thai Airways, we're challenging our luck and hitch a ride with the cheap Royal Nepal Airlines. The plane definitely saw better times already but the service is excellent and, hey, we land in Kathmandu without any incidents!

Holy Cow at the Durbar Square

Holy Cow at the Durbar Square

At first I don't like the idea of arriving 1 day before the bike but it is actually by far better. This way we're getting picked up by the staff of the hotel we booked in for the first 2 nights and can have a brief look around the area we're staying before heading off for the airport again."

Ed. Follow Darius and Jane's trip in their blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Marie-Christine and Alain Arnaud, France, world tour, in Australia

"A voice on the speaker wakes us from our sleep. 'The ship will dock in forty-five minutes in Devonport, Tasmania.' Just enough time to prepare to go on deck at our next destination. Disillusionment... The light of day is born unable to pierce the thick black clouds that clings to the coast and prevents us contemplating the landscape that we were promised. The 'Cradle Mountain' remains invisible."

Momma and baby kangaroo

Follow Marie-Christine and Alain (in French) on their website.

Brad and Jolanta Glabek, USA, in Arizona, Honda Africa Twin,

"...Our first stop in the states was a gas station. We had to celebrate and could not find a proper bar so we splurged on Nachos, with that yummy creamy yellow plastic cheese, an Arizona Ice Tea, since we were in Arizona, and a Sparks. We were in complete shock to be back after a year and half and to see Chevron again. It was so peaceful and clean and people spoke English, while we still were trying to talk to them in Spanish, but felt really good to be back. It was getting late so we spent the night in Yuma at the nicest hotel we have had on the entire trip, besides Brazil when we had to stay by the airport hotel while trying to get our bike out of customs, but the most expensive one as well, $89. That's where we realized we should have not felt so bad about spending $25 a night in some other countries. Man this room had AC, a bathtub, towels, washcloths, which we had not used in a year and half, yah yucky, free soap and shampoo, coffee, a huge TV, huge bed, pool, jacuzzi, and free breakfast, and it was only a Comfort Inn. Crazy! You get so used not to having any of that it's such a treat when you do have it."

Chris Desmond, Australia, RTW, in New York,

Panorama of Times Square

Times Square

View of tourists at the top of the Empire State Building

Tourists at the top of the Empire State Building

Ed. Few words but many great pics on Chris' blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

MedjetAssist is an air medical evacuation and consultation membership program and is HIGHLY recommended by us and many others for all travellers. The regular MedjetAssist program is for citizens or residents of the US, Mexico and Canada, and gives hospital of choice protection virtually anywhere in the world and air evacuation as needed. (See below for more on the Foreign National Plan) Click the logo below for US, Mexico and Canada citizens to find out more. (NOTE: It's still in progress for the final HU version, but you can get MedjetAssist now!)

Get MedjetAssist for your next trip!

For OTHER nationalities it is currently a little more complicated. There IS a Foreign National Plan, but you can't enroll online. It's a faxable enrolment and subject to underwriting approval. The rates are the same, but transport is restricted to 'back to home country - hospital of choice' rather than 'anywhere in the world - hospital of choice'. We are working on improving that, but at least it IS available! Go here to contact MedjetAssist and inquire about the Foreign National Plan. Be sure to mention Horizons Unlimited.

Michael Paull adds his endorsement of MedJet (and he DID use their services - twice!):

"...After an additional three days in Beijing, I was deemed stable enough for air evacuation back to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, WA, in the company of my wife Aillene (who had flown in from Japan), and an air transport trauma nurse provided by the company that I had procured medical evacuation insurance from, MEDJET Assistance - without doubt, the best insurance coverage I have ever purchased in my life. A small plug here - these people were remarkable... If there was ever a better case for '...don't leave home without it.', MEDJET Assistance is at the top of my checklist, no matter where I travel (and I hope to do a LOT more)."

Note: Per the Medjet Assistance site: "...a medical transport between Europe and America can run more than $35,000. Middle East and South American flights range from $60,000 to $80,000. Transport from Asia often exceeds $100,000." Sounds like $205.00 for a single is pretty cheap insurance!

Craig Carey-Clinch, UK, in Mauritania and Mali,

"… The temperature, even early in the day is a steady 39 degrees C, and we're all drinking huge quantities of water. The sunsets are gorgeous, and as dusk cooled the heat of the day, we relaxed on the old wooden river jetty, chatting and raising glasses as the Cattle Egrets flew along the murky surface. On retiring for the evening I stumbled (quite literally) over a tiny hedgehog. Apparently common here, the fellow was only the size of a rotund field mouse, yet complete with sharp spines and wobbly scamper.

At our next stop in Ouro Sogui, there were frogs everywhere. This is a dusty lonely one horse town with intermittent water and power, and the 'O' missing from the flickering 'Hotel' sign. Nevertheless, as is often the case in areas of poverty, the local people are embarrassingly generous, and we spent an entertaining evening in a dusty roadside bar.

Moving further east, the roads have deteriorated markedly. Poorly laid tarmac on insufficient base stone has resulted in rough roads with frequent pits that demand complete attention.

Two bridges have collapsed along our route, and we ply our way between vehicles that have become beached and stranded as they attempted to cross the river.

Crowds flock around the trucks, scrambling to save the loads of fish and produce, in a frenzy of dust, heat and shouting. As the goods are transferred to another lorry, the sun beats down and the smell is overpowering.
Our crossing into Mali is quick and hassle free, and we only interrupt the remaining 50 miles to our night stop in order to pay our respects at the spot where Simon Milward, founder of Motorcycle Outreach, was killed in March 2005.

We ride on through shimmering heat and forests of strangely shaped Baobab trees, evoking visions of Tolkien's Ents."

Ed: Check out Motorcycle Outreach site and contribute to the work bringing health services to remote parts of Indonesia via motorbike.

Doug French of Michigan, writes to the HU San Jose community:

"I made it to San Jose, I'm taking Spanish classes during the week till noon and also getting some dental work. Looking for some afternoon touring trips on my bike as well as weekend get-a-ways. Preferably camping, or a cheap, safe hostel on Caribbean for one, or other ideas. Wondering about the day tours advertised and also looking for the Kawasaki dealer in town. Thanks loads, Doug"

Book special just for Horizons Unlimited Readers!

"Into the den of the Bear and the Lair of the Dragon on a Motorcycle"
"8 Around the Americas on a Motorcycle"
"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.

Mathias Schmid, Switzerland, RTW since 2005, in Peru,

"I am still on the road south, little bit fast, because too long time in LA, because I meet 'Supergirl' there on the way to Sequoia NP... She has 8 motorcycle in Manhattan Beach LA... it was amazing time, until my visa expired and I became an illegal...

Exiting the cargo area at Bogota Airport

Exiting the cargo area at Bogota Airport

So now in Lima, selling a Honda XL600R 1986, that I had stored for 8 years. A lot of greeting, and stay safe dude. Maets"

Ed. See more of Mathias' journey on his website - lots of pictures, commentary in German.

Overland to India

Overland to India book by Gordon May

by Gordon May

Paperback, 21x14.8 cm 234 pages incl 8 pages of colour photographs. £9.95.


In 2008, Gordon May set off on an 8,400 mile ride from Manchester, UK, to Chennai, India, on his 1953 Royal Enfield. Despite encountering intense heat, suffering a crash in the Baluchistan desert and battling against some of the worst roads and driving standards on the planet, Gordon and his old Bullet did make it to Chennai.

In Overland to India Gordon describes how he restored his beloved motorcycle, the build up to departure, the larger-than-life characters he met and how he tackled the many challenges that came his way. He also recounts the more personal highs and lows of life on the road. Above all, Overland To India is a heart-warming book that reveals that there is much human kindness and hospitality to be found, sometimes in the most unexpected places and situations.


What I really liked about Overland to India was the sheer determination of the rider. Gordon's love of his motorcycle shone through too; he often thanks it for getting him to his various destinations along the grueling route and I liked reading about his running repairs. I felt his joy, his euphoria, at being out on the open road. I also felt his exhaustion. When Gordon suffered a crash I could almost feel those bruises and also his fear following an attempted highway robbery. What was also really striking was the generosity, friendliness and humility of many of the people he met along the way, who Gordon describes with real warmth. It's uplifting to discover that it's a welcoming world out there. Overland to India is a lesson to all of us who have a dream and want to pursue it. Inspiring. Judith Coyle


Adam Lewis, UK, RTW, in Timor Leste, BMW F650,

"...Eventually I made it to Viqueque where I spent the night. Leaving the following morning though proved difficult. Despite asking for directions several times, I must have ridden through town half a dozen times before eventually being shown the right way by a Portuguese NGO.

Adam Lewis

Adam Lewis

Adam Lewis

The Filipino policeman I'd played table tennis with had said the road from Viqueque to Suai was good – my arse! Ok, it did have its good bits but it also had potholes, no surface at all, dried rutted tracks from the wet sand, stones, rocks, river crossings and at one point cut logs filled a void in a bridge."

Timothy Brown, USA, writes to the Istanbul community:

"Hey Guys (and gals of course!) - My name is Tim, and I'm doing a big trip around the Middle East region (Greece to Israel by way of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan), and have made it into Istanbul. I was wondering if any of you might know a good place (cheap) in or around Istanbul to get a Metzler rear tire. I'm thinking I will go with the Sahara 3 - I have one up front and its pretty good. I just want a spare to cary with me as they will be practically impossible to find I think after I leave Turkey.

Anyway - let me know if you have any suggestions, and of course if you want to go on a ride! I love to ride with others! Cheers, Tim"

Simon Fitzpatrick, UK, Americas 2008, in Chile,

"'The second-best cemetery in South America', says the guidebook, so off I trot in search of mortality kicks. It's cool, but a definite second to the 'best' one - Recoleta in Buenos Aires, a mini-city of 20 foot tall death-pyramids and granite stiff-houses.

The second-best cemetery in South America

I *heart* Castro. The whole island is a wee bit like Cornwall (fishing villages, brightly-hued boats etc) and a lot like nowhere else (Curanto is a steaming bowl of shellfish, fish, pork, beef, chicken and lamb, all smoked*).

Richard, last seen in Viedma

Arriving here yesterday and pootling around town in search of a hotel, a dusty old BMW R100 with UK plates pulls up next to me. It's Richard, last seen in Viedma 9 weeks ago. Tea and smokes at his riverside cabin are in order, and, later, fine wines and seafood at the harbour. Brilliant."

Ed. See lots of pics and stories on Simon's blog here on Horizons Unlimited! Warning, some profanity!

Marcus Best writes to Grant:

"This is Marcus, the guy on the R80 G/S you met at the Colorado Horizons meeting last summer. I've made it across Asia to Syria, and I'm on the way to Africa. It's been an amazing trip so far; the people have been fantastic, the bike is holding together well, and I'm feeling more and more at home on the road... Thanks for your help, Grant. I'm sure you'll see me asking all kinds of questions on the HUBB as I make my way through Africa."

Chris and Erin Ratay, USA, RTW 1999-2003, in Santiago

"...We arrived at our B&B around 11am, a terrific little place in the city center, surrounded by parks and quaint streets. It feels more European here than one might imagine, so we knew we were in another place, it didn't quite 'feel' like South America. OK, into travel mode I'm striving for and although $40/nt is above our normal budget, we wanted a good place to get ourselves organized. The little old lady who owns the place said we could catch the WiFi from the fancy hotel next door!, although she didn't understand what that meant. The hospedaje is also across the street from the French Embassy and down the street from the Homicide Detective's Precinct.

Santiago - Fort Santa Lucia

Fort Santa Lucia in the center of the city

After a simple meal in a local lunch place, we spent the afternoon wandering around the busy streets and climbed a mountain fort/castle that over-looks the city. In the evening we headed to an eclectic part of town for a huge dinner accompanied by a couple of local refreshments. It was a good finish to the start of our trip!

Santiago Fountain at night

Santiago Fountain at night

Unfortunately, the bike has been delayed again for some document problems, but Lufthansa promise it will start its own journey tomorrow - at this rate we'll be here through the weekend. Not to worry though, we'll do a tour of the local vineyards and probably hit the beaches in Vina del Mar...

Mercado Central - Santiago
Mercado Central - Santiago

Chicklettes and ducklings

Chicklettes and ducklings

Latest: The shipment is delayed and customs is now on strike, so who knows when we'll get on the bike."

Ed. Chris and Erin did eventually get their bike, and got to experience the finale of the Dakar Rally in South America. See their new blog for details.

Rob Jardine, UK, Melbourne to London, in Australia, on Honda Transalp,

"The trip began on 27 December and I celebrated New Year's Eve in Sydney. My plan is to spend January riding through NSW, Queensland and NT to Darwin, February in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, March in India and Nepal, April in Pakistan and Iran, May in Turkey and the Middle East, and June in Europe. I would be happy to meet up with fellow bikers along the way to share the adventure.

Australian road sign - Slasher ahead

From Banana Shire, Australia - I left the coast and headed into the interior, ignoring all the warnings about deadly snakes, deadly spiders, paralysing ticks... at least the psychotic killers are well signposted."

See Rob's blog for more stories and pics.

Nick Ison, NSW, Australia writes to the HU Buenos Aires Community:

"Hola, I am traveling around South America with two good friends for the next 4 months and will be passing through Buenos Aires in about 3 weeks time. Does anybody have a back yard we can camp in? We are 3 enthusiastic riders. Can anybody recommend a Kawasaki mechanic? We speak very little Español, but we are learning!"

Annette Pearson, of London, UK, writes to the HU San Salvador Community:

"I am currently riding my DR650 from Alaska down to Argentina to raise money for Casa Alianza, a Latin American street children's charity. I am heading into El Salvador tomorrow or Monday (March 9th) and would love to meet up with fellow motorbikers for a ride.

Or if you can suggest places that I could visit that would be great. Also I wanted to exit the country near Perquin but I understand it doesn't have an El Salvadoran customs so do you know if I will be able to leave on a foreign bike?

I have just finished my second week of Spanish lessons and so try hard to speak Spanish but it isn't good enough to write in yet.

I have heard lots of good things about El Salvador so I am looking forward to my visit."

Stephen Bray, Ireland, writes to the HU Cartagena Community:

"Estoy en Playa Blanca Ahora... pero Necessito la direccion de bien mechanic y un lugar por un Nueva Nuematico, tengo un BMWf650 (17 Atras).. Estare en Cartagena en un semana mas o menos. Suerte Stephen"

Arja Gullvik and Pascal Bosshard, Australia, writes to the HU Bangkok Community:

"My partner and I are on our grand motorcycle world adventure riding two-up on a BMWR1200GS. We have spent three months now riding around the South-East Asia region and will now be arriving in Bangkok on 2 March.

We will need to spend 10 days or so in Bangkok to organise the air freight of our motorcycle to Kathmandu. However, we are finding it difficult to find affordable accommodation in the central Bangkok/Sukumvhit area WITH secure parking. Does anyone know of or can recommend a guesthouse that can provide the above? We are looking at no more than 1000 baht a night.

Secondly, can anyone suggest the best way to get into Bangkok from the north (Ayatu.. way) avoiding the expressways? We will most likely get lost but it doesn't hurt to ask anyway.

Last but not least, does anyone know if it is possible to get Tourance tyres in Bangkok and who from?
We thank you in advance and look forward to hearing from you."

Fast Guido, Switzerland, writes to the HU Kathmandu Community:

"...Around the world on 2 bikes with my Swiss girlfriend, 4 years on the road, we're coming to Nepal in late March 09. We want to do Annapurna Trekking, do you have a good idea where we could leave the bikes for a couple of days? Best regards from Bangkok - Fast Guido"

Chuck Quast, USA, writes to the Istanbul Community:

"I am in Jordan now, hoping to pass through Syria into Turkey in another week or so. I have been on the road for 3 years, riding through South America, then up through Africa from Cape Town.

Can you advise on a good route through Turkey, on my way to east Europe - warm and dry would be my preference? I'm lacking in warm clothing, have no maps for my GPS (Tracks4Africa stopped in Egypt), or even paper maps for Turkey, so until I can get maps, I'm a bit 'lost' at the moment. Thanks in advance. Chuck Quast - On the road in Amman, Jordan"

Peadar Kelleher, Ireland, writes to the HU Austin, Texas Community

"I am an Irish biker travelling from Argentina to Alaska. I am in Belize right now but hope to be in Austin in about a week or so, to spend Paddy's Day and check out that music festival. I may need a mechanic also, can you guys recommend a good one in Austin that is not too pricey, I am driving a 1998bmw f650. Also, are there campsites in Austin where I could put up my tent, I have searched online but have only found rv parks. Thanks, Peadar Kelleher."

Distant Suns

by Sam Manicom
Distant Suns by Sam Manicom.

Sam Manicom’s dynamic third book transports you to Southern Africa, South and Central America in an action-packed three year voyage of discovery... a thought-provoking mix of scrapes and encounters with people which illuminate some moments of true darkness... acute observations on everything from human behaviour, to remote and stunning locations. Distant Suns grabs you, enthrals you and spits you out as a convert to the dream of overlanding these amazing continents.'


"It's been a pleasure to read as it makes me feel as if I'm there seeing the people and landscape that Sam describes. He has a gift for painting pictures with words, which is rare amongst long-distance riders… In summary, a damn good read, not to be missed." Dave - BMW Club Journal

"…as the book progressed and the story unravelled, it developed into a truly involving and enthralling read. Distant Suns doesn't just document the journey, Sam also describes cultural differences, traditions and lifestyles of the various countries they cross, whilst painting a vivid picture of the terrain they cross… A really great read that'll doubtless give you itchy feet…" TBM - Trail Bike Magazine

"Distant Suns' is based on what Sam acknowledges are Birgit's wonderfully descriptive diaries. The result is a strangely powerful combination of Sam's already masterful writing with the added perspectives of a travelling companion who is both in-tune and adding a different melody line to the rhythm of their journey together." Nich Brown - The Road Magazine

Signed copies available directly from the Author here.
Order your copy now!


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

Hubert Kriegel, France, RTW, in Norway,

Don't worry about the snow, it'll blow away!

Don't worry about the snow, it'll blow away!

Ed. Hubert is off again! Check out his website for lots of great pics!

Brian and Sandra Robinson, UK, write to the HU Vancouver community:

"Hi we are Sandra and Brian Robinson. In June we are starting our adventure and will be arriving in Vancouver on June 8th please see our website... We are planning our route to Alaska and then back south. Could you please help out where possible regarding places of interest you think we might like to see. We will be camping so great campsites recommendations would be good. Thanking you all in advance"

Peter Waller of Auckland, New Zealand writes to the HU Los Angeles Community

"...I am just about to resume my world trip with my next stop being the USA for 6 months. I plan to arrive in LA at the end of May where I will collect my bike before heading north to Alaska. I would like to stay in LA for about a week while I wait for the bike and do all the touristy stuff.

I am looking for biker friendly accommodation for the week. If you can point me in the right direction I would be grateful. I have a blog. Many thanks, Peter"

Peter and Kim Dasko, Australia, write to the HU Innsbruck Community:

"My wife Kim and I are Aussies who will be riding our motorcycle around Europe for 2 months and we will be heading your way in June 2009. We are hoping to meet up with fellow HU members for a drink and chat. Is anyone interested?"

up to top of pagespacerHome again (temporarily) ...

Belinda and Patrick Peck, Australia, now back in Cairns, Australia and back at work :), Yamaha Super Tenere XTZ 750,

The Peck flag hoisted everyday

Introducing you to 'The Peck Flag', that we hoisted everyday in our hotel rooms to let everyone know we have arrived!

Belinda Peck and HU member David Mildwater in Abu Dhabi

As for our news, it's bum up and head down for the next 10 months while HU member David Mildwater in Abu Dhabi is kindly storing our bike for a year."

Support Horizons Unlimited - check out the HU Souk for jumpers / pullovers, mugs, steins, t-shirts, hats and other products with 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...

New Communities:

We've now reached an amazing 591 Communities in 100 Countries as of March 16, 2009!

A big thanks to all those who took the first step and established the Community in their area. New Communities are too many to list!

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.

Become a Horizons Unlimited Contributing Member or Gold Member!

To help with the cost of creating and distributing the newsletter and running a huge website, which has been a full time job for Grant for ten years, Susan as much as she can, plus a couple of part time assistants, we gratefully accept contributions via PayPal, credit card, and cheque. Members also get additonal privileges on the HUBB, such as more PM's, custom avatars, and more photo space.

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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 700 world travellers listed, but there are many more. 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...

We'd like to think that Horizons Unlimited; the website, the HUBB, the Communities and this newsletter help to push back the fear through knowledge and connecting with others, and teach all of us about the world and it's wonderful people.

See you on the road!

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, 1987-2009.
All Rights Reserved.

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