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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 yurt hospitality, Motor Psycho, grizzly bear excitement, why they call it Coldfoot, invading Nicaragua, soul-ripping potholes, playing with tarantulas and spider monkeys, hairpinned down a cliff face, grotesque creatures, talking fridges, the home of werewolves, thrown off a cliff by a big fat monster, the danger lane in Malaysia, the real Trojan horse and much more...?

Then you're reading the right newsletter!

In this e-zine:

Community News
Final Thoughts
Home Again
In Progress...
Leaving Soon
New Links
Repair Shops on the

Seen on the road
Travellers Community
Who's on the Road
Your Privacy
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Motorcycle Travellers' News Report

October 2009, 75th Edition

Welcome to the 75th edition of the HU e-zine! Grant is finally back from his marathon North America stint. He was away since mid-August, leaving your editor to hold the HU fort. He made it to the North Carolina and Colorado meetings, but his long awaited off-road riding trip in Colorado didn't quite turn out as he had hoped. He fell off the bike and hit a large rock early in the trip, luckily the helmet saved his face, but he seriously sprained his left wrist and that was the end of his off-road riding adventure :-( Instead he headed to Vancouver for a visit with his mum, who chastised him for riding off-road 'at your age', then put him to work on the maintenance tasks she's been saving up for him since his last visit...

Then it was off to San Francisco and the wilds of northern California for the first HU California meeting. As usual, he brought a bad cold back with him to add to the 8 hours of jet lag, so it was a pathetic creature who arrived back here looking for sympathy and chicken soup. Still, it was very good to have him back :-)

We're heading to the HU Germany meeting 23-25 October and then on to Touratech's headquarters in Niedereschach, Germany at the end of the month to interview Herbert Schwarz as he prepares his bike for a long trip for the 'Gear Up!' DVD. While we're in Niedereschach, we'll be doing a presentation on the 28th October, at 7 pm, so look for us there. We won't be on the bike, unfortunately, it's not ride-able just at the moment.

Speaking of the DVD series, we can finally see the end in sight for 'On the Road!' As it's almost 6 hours of content, it will be a 2-DVD set. The content is locked and the onlining process will start next week for the first DVD and continue a couple of weeks later for the second DVD, so it should all be going to production in mid-November, inshallah. We're also very happy with the material - we've got a fantastic and entertaining bunch of contributors with many amazing stories to tell and hard-earned wisdom to impart, enhanced with demos, video clips and heaps of great photos. We hope it will strike the right balance between information and entertainment!

But enough about us. Our intrepid travellers are on the road, some of them probably regretting not heading to warmer climes sooner (Tiffany Coates in Siberia and Stephen Bray in Alaska come to mind). We've got folks in Mongolia, Siberia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Alaska, French Guiana, Suriname, Peru, Brasil, Paraguay, Russia, South Korea, Indonesia, France, Andorra, Kyrgyzstan, Australia, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Switzerland, Georgia, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Spain, Turkey, Thailand and El Salvador. And those are just the ones we tracked down! So, get out there on the road - we want YOUR adventure stories and pics!

Susan Johnson, Editor

The new 'Achievable Dream' DVD Series!
Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - DVD1 - Get Ready!

Have you been inspired by the stories you've read in this e-zine? Or perhaps you watched the 'Long Way' series and it's got you thinking of a motorcycle trip to distant climes – the markets of Marrakech, the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan, the salt flats of Bolivia, the Bungle Bungles of Australia, the Pan American to Tierra del Fuego?

Did you finally fork out for that dream bike built for high adventure, and you know every highway and byway within range of an annual vacation? Is something indefinable calling you farther afield… to the next country… the next continent?

But you've got questions:

* Is it safe?
* What do I need to know?
* Where and when should I go?
* And what the hell's a carnet anyway?

Answering these questions - and many more - is the goal of the new definitive 'how-to' DVD series, "The Achievable Dream - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide".

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. And they have lots of opinions, sometimes contradictory, so you'll get lots of great ideas. 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 while on location in Samoa!

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

  • Now Shipping - 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.Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - DVD4 - Ladies on the Loose!
  • Now Shipping - 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!
  • On the Road! covers shipping the bike, dealing with officials, language, culture shock, cultural do's and don'ts, surviving day to day, accommodation, safety, dealing with emergencies, breakdowns and bodges, staying healthy on the road and much more. This DVD has so much content (just under 6 hours!) that we will be releasing it as a 2-DVD set - no extra charge for prepaid orders :-)
  • Gear Up! covers the Kit - bike and other stuff, including which bike, preparing the bike, what to take and how to pack it. This DVD will also be a 2-DVD set!

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.

More press reviews in!

"The Ultimate Round the World Rider's How-to DVD - The founders of round-the-world riders' Mecca have produced a new DVD aimed at making epic bike adventures more accessible to ordinary mortals. The film is the first in a series – entitled 'Achievable Dream: The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide'. 'Get Ready' is available now and is receiving rave reviews. Visitors to include some of the hardest-bitten bike travellers in the world, so standards had to be high..." Guy Procter, MCN

"Having had an opportunity to view the entire DVD I can honestly say it is inspiring and extremely informative. It also radiates authenticity as Grant and Susan have been living the material they present for 20 years now. In this new version of the video the down-to-earth and factual nature of the material is reinforced by the inclusion of interviews and information from a number of different motorcycle travelers. The Achievable Dream is also very easy to watch. Not only are the production values of professional quality, but the organization of the material make it a pleasurable viewing experience. The different types of information are broken up into easily digestible bites which, for this reviewer who has the attention span of a flea, was extremely helpful.

If you are looking for information on long distance motorcycle travel Horizons Unlimited should be your first stop. If you want to get really fired up or just share in the adventure vicariously buy the video. I assure you you will not be disappointed." Cameron Weckerley, Road Show Magazine

More positive feedback on 'Get Ready!' and 'Ladies on the Loose!'

"Enjoyed it immensely!" David, South Africa

"Susan, Grant, and everyone else involved... I love this DVD." Gillian, Australia

"We really enjoyed the first two. They really motivated me into taking a motorbike trip. I had never considered it before. Thanks for the idea and inspiration!" Sandy, USA

"I received the DVD's today. One word: 'Excellent!'" Joe, Australia

"Good work, I really enjoyed them. Good quality footage and am certainly looking forward to the other two." Gert, Scotland

"These (DVDs) are especially valuable when you're having those 'this is too big for mere mortals, what the heck were we thinking?' moments, because they include plenty of interviews with regular folks, sans super-powers, who just chucked it all and hit the road." Michael, USA

"My girlfriend and I really enjoyed watching them - very well done!" Aleksandar, Germany

"Great viewing - I look forward to the next two." Bob, Australia

When can you get them?

We are taking orders now for all DVDs. 'Get Ready!' and 'Ladies on the Loose!' are shipping now. We will ship the others as they come available, and we're offering free shipping worldwide on pre-orders only (i.e. until all DVDs are in production).

'On the Road!' will be shipping in November if all goes smoothly. Our editor has gotten it down to just under 6 hours, so it will be a 2 DVD set (at no extra charge for prepaid orders). The content is brilliant and includes: language and culture, accommodation, surviving day to day, road hazards, dealing with officials, safety and security, emergencies, breakdowns and bodging (great British term for roadside repairs), shipping and alternatives, among other topics! We've also managed to squeeze in demos of tyre changing and building a shipping crate.

For 'Gear Up!', we will be shooting the final bit of footage with Herbert Schwarz of Touratech as he prepares his own bike for a trip at the end of October. It should ship about a month after 'On the Road'. It will also be a 2-DVD set, at no extra charge for prepaid orders.

We do appreciate the pre-orders, as the cost of doing all this has been staggering, and we're grateful for your patience. However, some of you have been waiting patiently for quite a long time! Since we don't want anyone to feel we took their money under false pretenses, if you don't want to wait and would like a refund, let us know and we'll be happy to provide it. We will then notify you when each DVD is ready so you can reorder at that time.

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.

Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travelers 2010 Calendar

Congratulations to the 2009 Photo Contest winners: Thierry Wilhelm, Izabela Frycz, Michael Taake, Dennis Vloet, Carrie Larose, George Guille, Tetsuyasu Sato, Mark Hammond, Gil Briones, Stefan Cedergren, Todd Lawson, Pablo Alvarez and Stephen Bray!

As always, narrowing down the hundreds of great photos to only 13 pics was really hard, but the winners really deserve their accolades. The small pics don't really do them justice, you'll have to buy the calendar to appreciate them in full size. All winners will receive a share of the proceeds from the calendar sales, a free calendar, and 1 year Gold Member status on the HUBB. Many of the contest photos will also appear on the Achievable Dream DVD series, so look for them there too.

The Grand Prize winner is Stefan Cedergren, Sweden, for his photo of the narrow and winding roads of Dades Gorge in Morocco. In his words: "I better let the truck pass first or I may end up in the river."

by Stefan Cedergren, Sweden. The narrow and winding roads of Dades Gorge in Morocco. I better let the truck pass first or I may end up in the river. BMW R1150GS.

Grand Prize winner: Stefan Cedergren, Sweden, for his photo of the narrow and winding roads of Dades Gorge in Morocco.

by Thierry Wilhelm, Switzerland. Camping on the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia, on RTW-tour.

by Thierry Wilhelm, Switzerland. Camping on the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia, on RTW-tour.

by Izabela Frycz, Poland, of Kamil Gamanski Riding towards Hushe in Pakistan, on our RTW 2008, Africa Twin.

by Izabela Frycz, Poland, of Kamil Gamanski Riding towards Hushe in Pakistan, on our RTW 2008, Africa Twin.

by Michael Taake, Germany. Near Sary-Tash, Osh Province, Kyrgyzstan.

by Michael Taake, Germany. Near Sary-Tash, Osh Province, Kyrgyzstan.

by Dennis Vloet, Netherlands. Frits Engelaer discusses greener methods of transportation in southern Angola, on Nijmegen-Cape Town tour, Yamaha XT600E.

by Dennis Vloet, Netherlands. Frits Engelaer discusses greener methods of transportation in southern Angola, on Nijmegen-Cape Town tour, Yamaha XT600E.

by Carrie Larose, of Brent Larose, somewhere in Guyana jungle, on two BMW F650GS's through 24 countries.

by Carrie Larose, of Brent Larose, somewhere in Guyana jungle, on two BMW F650GS's through 24 countries.

by George Guille, Channel Islands, of Veysel Bayam picking up hitch hikers in the Omo Valley, Ethiopia.

by George Guille, Channel Islands, of Veysel Bayam picking up hitch hikers in the Omo Valley, Ethiopia.

by Tetsuyasu Sato, Japan. Strange rocks in Bolivia, on my RTW tour, Africa Twin.

by Tetsuyasu Sato, Japan. Strange rocks in Bolivia, on my RTW tour, Africa Twin.

by Mark Hammond, USA. Geoff Shingleton, UK pauses on a war-ravaged bridge west of Mindouli, Republic of Congo, Morocco to Cape Town ride, Yamaha XT600.

by Mark Hammond, USA. Geoff Shingleton, UK pauses on a war-ravaged bridge west of Mindouli, Republic of Congo, Morocco to Cape Town ride, Yamaha XT600.

by Gil Briones, Brazil, of Raphael Karan, on the road in Ghana, on 5 Continents Project, Honda Transalp.

by Gil Briones, Brazil, of Raphael Karan, on the road in Ghana, on 5 Continents Project, Honda Transalp.

by Todd Lawson, Canada. Christina Tottle of Motos Against Malaria lets the great camel roadblock walk. Northern Kenya.

by Todd Lawson, Canada. Christina Tottle of Motos Against Malaria lets the great camel roadblock walk. Northern Kenya.

by Pablo Alvarez, Spain. Miguel and John, riding  near Sarchu Manali Leh road, Ladakh, India on Rakatanga Tour, Royal Enfield.

by Pablo Alvarez, Spain. Miguel and John, riding near Sarchu Manali Leh road, Ladakh, India on Rakatanga Tour, Royal Enfield.

by Stephen Bray, Ireland. Polar winds freeze Argentina's San Juan Province, BMW F650.

by Stephen Bray, Ireland. Polar winds freeze Argentina's San Juan Province, BMW F650.

The 2010 calendar is now 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.

2010 contest is now on!

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, 2010, so get your entry in soon! Anyone can win!

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)

up to top of pagespacerHorizons Unlimited Travellers Meetings...

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 fear 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!

Also importantly, the meetings help to make HU more than just a website, but a community of motorcycle travellers - real people, not just e-mail addresses ;-) And last but not least, they make a significant contribution to HU revenue, thus helping us to keep the HUBB and website going! So thanks to everyone who comes!

Meetings and Events, 2009/10. Dates are firm unless indicated as TBC. Mark your calendars and sign up now!

Germany - 23-25 October, 2009 . This is the last major HU meeting this season. If you're heading south this winter to Africa or South America, or heading off on your big trip in the spring of 2010, this will be your last chance to meet fellow travellers and pick their brains about the places you want to see. See the meeting page for more details and to register.

Viedma, Argentina, 11-13 December, 2009 - Mini-meeting

Thailand - 16 Jan, 2010 - Mini-Meeting

Germany - 20-23 May, 2010 (TBC)

New for 2010! Ireland (North) - 28-30 May, 2010. Liam McIlhone and Drew Millar are organising this event near Enniskillen.

UK - 24-27 June, 2010. This is the event of the year for motorcycle travellers - with 50+ presenters, demonstrations in 3 separate rooms over 4 days, and of course, activities like Yoga for Bikers and the Road Kill Cookout that you won't find anywhere else! Numbers are limited to 500, and we always sell out, so register and pay early to avoid disappointment -we really hate to see grown men cry ;-) Register and pay before 31 December for early bird rates!

New for 2010! Bulgaria - 9-11 July, 2010. Doug Wothke is our local host, at Moto Camp Bulgaria, near Idilevo.

HUMM - 27 - 29 July, 2010. The 4th Annual Horizons Unlimited Mountain Madness (HUMM) event. A two-day, no GPS, orienteering event in the eastern Pyrenees of Catalunya, Spain and Andorra. Test your map reading and navigation skills, find hidden secrets and enjoy the fabulous riding. This event is presented in partnership with Austin Vince (Terra Circa/Mondo Enduro) and Lois on the Loose (Red Tape and White Knuckles), who lay out the off-road course. As usual, Austin and Lois have outdone themselves again in 2010 and laid out even more markers for the off-road HUMM in an all new area!

Austin indicating off-road HUMM checkpoint.

Susan and I laid out the HUMM on-road course, two up on our ancient R80 G/S, riding the many well-paved, twisty and fantastic paved roads in the area for over two weeks, loving every minute. Awesome twisty roads, from first gear slip the clutch hairpins to high speed sweepers, with amazing views, minimal traffic, some roads you'll see one car in 10 minutes or more - and some less than that - roads you dream of...

Fabulous views in the Spanish Pyrenees.

OFF or ON road, it's the most fun you can have on two wheels ;-) Registration is open now and numbers are strictly limited!

California - 19-22 Aug (TBC)

Colorado - 26-29 Aug (TBC)

North Carolina - 9-12 Sep

Still working on dates for Australia, Canada, Portugal and Spain. 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

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

The Rukka brand name has become a synonym for high quality textile motorcycling apparel, and year after year the Finnish manufacturer has caused sensations pioneering highly innovative solutions for those looking for maximum quality, comfort and protection.

Adventure motorcycling clothing for the demanding traveller
Grant: We've been wearing Rukka since 2002 and highly recommend it!

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.

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!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - DVD1 - Get Ready!

Get the Achievable Dream DVD's NOW and learn how YOU can hit the road!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - DVD4 - Ladies on the Loose! Get it now!

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

Tiffany Coates, UK, in Mongolia and Siberia,

"I spotted a lone herdsman herding his cows and asked him about petrol (benzine) - but despite smiling nicely the answer was ugui (no in Mongolian), 500 metres further on and I completely ran out of fuel. Evening was fast approaching so I put up my tent and waited for someone to pass- nothing came. I wasn't too worried as I always carry a few days food and water with me and also the horseman's ger wasn't too far away if I did need something (as long as it wasn't petrol).

In the end it was 18 hours until a vehicle appeared - a slow, lumbering bus.

I ran out and flagged it down- it was already very over-crowded but the driver let me squeeze on - everyone moved along a bit for me and I was given the second step to sit on - sharing with a plump, middle-aged Mongolian woman who kept falling asleep on my shoulder - luckily I only had about 30 miles of this until we reached town.

Tiffany fills up

Something about that petrol!

At the petrol station the woman doing the pumps grasped my situation quite quickly - she found a container and then pointed me in the direction of the next bus to depart - there was a veritable multitude of buses revving up -not sure which route they were all taking but it certainly was not the main road past my tent.

I got on to find there was plenty of space - I even had a whole seat to myself, and there was a bit of a party atmosphere on board - a communal bottle of airag (fermented mares' milk) was doing the rounds - it seemed rude to refuse so I had a few swigs of it.

When we reached Thelma - standing on her own in the desert, the whole bus disembarked to have a look and comment on this strange foreigner and her mini ger.

Tiffany in Kyrgyzmanon

Fuelled up once more, off I headed- determined not to lose the track again. Just as a cold north wind started to blow.
I froze coming over the mountain range out of the Gobi - with banks of snow reminiscent of the high mountain passes in Tajikistan.
I have limped back into Ulaanbaatar and will be here for a few days.

Tiffany in a snowy pass in Tajikistan

... Having spent several days riding non-stop and camping I am currently over a thousand miles from the Mongolian border and staying in a flat in Magdagachy, with several Russians hanging over my shoulder as I attempt to update my blog, I don't think I am going to get far.

The pivo (beer) is being freely poured and it looks like there will be four of us sleeping in this room tonight, it might be more comfortable than last night when I was sharing my tent with an Armenian cyclist who had nowhere to stay and to convince me of his trustworthiness in the tent-sharing department, used his only English phrase - 'I love you Jesus'.

I survived the night unscathed."

Ed. Tiffany shares her top tips for travelling in the new 'Ladies on the Loose!' Achievable Dream Series DVD - shipping now!

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.

Oliver Abrahams, UK, in Central America, Honda XL650 Transalp,

"Usually when I travel to a new town or city I use my map and GPS to get there, follow signs to the centre (sign-posted 'El Centro') and then find a suitable place to stay on foot. Until yesterday it has been a fairly effective method. Unfortunately this time I arrived at Managua (the capital of Nicaragua) to find that the city had two centres and almost no sign-posts or street names. Great for confusing invaders. Awful for tourists.

Sandino's silhouette - still found everywhere in Nicaragua.

Sandino's silhouette - still found everywhere in Nicaragua

The irony was that although I'd left it late to leave Leon (because Managua is only 60 miles away), this time I had in fact picked a hotel to stay in before I'd left. I just couldn't find it. After asking numerous pedestrians, petrol attendants and taxi drivers I still couldn't find what looked like a centre or my hotel. I even had a police escort to a major land mark and one point! By now it was dark and I'd been riding around in circles for close to two hours. In a last ditch attempt I tried the old 'stop at an internet cafe and ask them to show me where I was on Google Maps' technique. Turns out I'd stopped just round the corner, 30 metres away from my hotel I was so relieved I nearly hugged the guy.

Managua - new Cathedral roof with 63 domes.

Managua - new Cathedral roof with 63 domes

The city is less confusing in daylight and on foot. It's a strange place though. A mixture of grand government buildings, ruins that haven't been restored after earthquakes or civil war, well-to-do housing and shanty towns. I often found that within a couple of hundred metres of a museum or main road I'd wandered into areas of housing built with corrugated metal, plastic sheet, barbed wire, rope and anything else they could get there hands on. I'm afraid I have no photos of these amazing structures because I didn't feel safe enough to take out my camera out of my bag at the time. Some of them were fascinating though. I guess it's the purest form of recycling."

Road hazard in Honduras.

Road hazards in Honduras

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Daniel Shell & Jacquie Brazier, USA, in Costa Rica,

"A friend of mine from Samara had told me that I could stay with her brother when I was in San Jose, so, after a beautiful ride up to San Jose, I headed straight to Tak's.

First river crossing in Costa Rica.

First river crossing in Costa Rica

I had met Tak through Paulo, the Italian who had put us up in San Jose on our first visit, and he was a great guy. We had also visited Tak's place, 'Motor Psycho' after the ride out with the Costa Rican HOG Chapter.

Tak was a Canadian bike builder, who had moved to Costa Rica some 15 years previously. Now he had a Biker bar/restaurant with a chop shop in the back where he built his custom bikes. We got on well when I first met Tak, and I was really looking forward to hanging out with him some more.

I pulled into Motor Psycho's lot around 3 pm, Tak turned up a little while later, and we sat at the bar, sank a couple of beers and shot the proverbial shit. Before we knew it, it was 5.30pm; we were too late to go to the garage to take the old tyre off and put on the new one, so, we decided to fit the tyre the next morning, even though Tak didn't generally do mornings!

... I was really enjoying the whole wrenching process, being in a workshop surrounded by custom projects, and hanging round with other bikers. A litre or two of sweat later, the wheel was back on and the bike put back together, we went to push the bike out of the shop, but it would not budge. On closer inspection we found out why. I had out the axle spacer in the wrong place, we looked at each other, and my face went even redder than it had been.

Tak, just after I told him that I had put the spacer on the axel wrong...oops!

Tak, just after I told him that I had put the spacer on the axle wrong...oops

I apologized profusely, but Tak, taking it all in good humor, just told me not to worry, and we started the whole process again. We took off the mufflers and pannier bags once more, extracted the axle, put the spacer where it should have been, and put the bike back together once more."

Panama, a city of contrasts, the shiny modern high rises dwarf the crumbling former glory of the colonial days.

Panama, a city of contrasts, the shiny modern high rises dwarf the crumbling former glory of the colonial days

Ed. Lots of great pics and stories on Daniel and Jacquie's blog, here on Horizons Unlimited!

Stephen Bray, Ireland, Argentina to Alaska, in Alaska,

"We had crossed the highpoint in the road north, the Atigun pass and beyond this was treeless terrain all the way to the ocean. There was a little snow, but nothing worth mentioning especially in the light of what was to come the next day. Counting down the final miles I was standing on the pegs, then standing on the  seat. weaving and beaming with a big smile. There was suspicion in my mind, 'Is he gonna gun it and claim some sort of victory?'. but no, we drove into Deadhorse side by side. After all the beautiful scenery it is a shame to end in an oilfield but if it wasn't here, there wouldn't be a road. Alas, there was no dancing girls or brass band! I mean, come on! we just drove the length of the planet! We took some photos, popped a bottle of cheap bubbly and found a place to camp for the night, ate, drank porter, champansky and went to bed. The End!

End of the Dalton Highway, Alaska.

We were so glad and lucky to have the mild sunny final day on the end of our trip north, but on the day we had to turn around and head back south we got a real taste of what it's like to ride a bike on a bad day in late August inside the Arctic Circle...

Finally we headed out at about 2pm into the freezing rain. The roads had lots of slick mud on it but they still weren't challenging to ride, the challenge was to trying to keep positive. 'Well, at least it's not snowing'. Then came the snow.

Cold in Alaska.

At this point the only thing I had left to hope for was that we got no more punctures and that there was no bike drops or crashes. If that had happened I think I would have been pushed over the mental edge I was clinging onto. The trucks still hurtled by at great speed and threw mud onto our visors, wiping them clean was impossible. With the visors up the cold rain and snow got in but it was safer than trying to look out of the smudged muddy visor. Hands got colder and colder. A while back I had made plastic covers for the handlebars and even tried a pair of marigolds under the leather gloves but it was no less cold. I stopped and heated the soaking wet leather gloves and my hands on the exhaust but it was of little help. When we made brief stops we could hardly speak to one another, we trembled and tried unsuccessfully to shake off the cold.

I've never been this cold but I've been here before, you want to give up but you have no options, you're on your bike in the middle of nowhere, there is nothing to do but battle on, to move forward mile by freezing mile. It's now three days later and the tips of my fingers are still not back to normal.  There were times when the weather eased up (when I managed to take my camera out) but it came back again and once that cold is in you it takes a lot of coffee, dry clothes, indoors and showering to get rid of it, and eventually that did come but only six hours later, two hundred and forty miles on at the perfectly named gas station-hotel of Coldfoot."

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Ian Moor, UK, Wrong Way Round The World, in Montana, F650GS,

"On my way to California for a Horizons Unlimited motorcycle weekend from Alberta, I got an email about a position to look after the summer pasture for a ranch in Montana. I phoned and agreed to go for an interview without realising that it was 860 miles in the wrong direction for California. I decided to skip California as the position in Montana was exactly what I hoped for as a place to spend the winter except it is 300 miles south of Canada rather than in it. I was offered the job on Saturday and as the couple who had been doing it were leaving on the Monday I started straight away.

As the cattle have all been moved I will be here on my own through the winter keeping an eye on the property, deterring poachers of the abundant wildlife, checking and repairing fences and any other odd job that crops up. I haven't worked out how big the place is yet but it took four hours to walk the perimeter of the second largest pasture (field) and there is about seven pastures in total.

Montana pond and cabins.

Montana pond and cabins

I have a two bedroom log cabin with gas and electric for myself. There is another cabin next door with a PC and telephone internet access, the only primitive thing about the place. There is an ATV and I may get a four wheel drive vehicle to enable me to get into town once it is too cold to use the motorbike. The cabins are 2.5 miles down a track at the head of a valley. The scenery is fantastic.

I intend to stock up on books and food in case I can't get off the property for a while. It will be too cold to use the bike throughout the winter and the track to the cabins will get blocked by snow to all vehicles for up to two weeks at a time. I see deer and wild turkeys all the time. I saw seven elk yesterday, one male had enormous antlers. I saw signs of a bear this afternoon and a mountain lion was seen walking across the lawn beside my cabin a couple of years ago. The cabins are at 5600 feet in the Crazy Mountains. It is cold in the early morning but hot by 10am at the moment. The land is very dry and until the snow arrives I have to keep moving sprinklers around to keep the grass near the cabins green to reduce the chance of them burning in a wild fire. It may be off the beaten track but visitors are welcome if you want to come. I have done 15,000 miles since leaving Miami in April and had a fantastic summer. I'm looking forward to winter on the ranch and continuing the travels in the spring of 2010.

It may be off the beaten track but visitors are welcome if you want to come.

Grizzly bear warning, Glacier Mountain Park, Montana.

Beware Of Grizzly Bears

Grizzly Bears don't seem to obey the rule of most wildlife - 'If you leave them alone they will leave you alone'. Still the chances of seeing one are fairly remote and the likelihood of one attacking is even slimmer. In England we ensure there is a fence between us and anything that can eat us. This reduces the excitement but does wonders for our peace of mind."

Ed. See Ian's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

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Carol and Ken Duval, Australia, RTW (again), in French Guiana and Suriname,

"The Ariane Space Base tour (in French Guiana) is free and worth every minute. All reports advise the tour is only in French and it probably is but both our guides spoke English and went out of their way to ensure we understood all that was being spoken of and shown. Optus was sending a new satellite into orbit on the 21st August so the Australian flag was flying as the next paying customer along with Japan who also had something on board.

Ariane Space Centre

Ariane Space Centre

Carol and I have ridden some rough paved roads in our lives but the road from Albina on the river border to Paramaribo, Suriname would have to be the worst. It is a patch work of uneven repairs and severe potholes that can rip the soul out of any vehicle. Cars and mini buses passed us banging and scratching on the uneven highway. We wandered from one side on the road to the other looking for a better surface. Potholes slowed the most hardened driver although the taxis remained undeterred as they bashed their late model vehicles into rattling wrecks.

Road to Paramaribo, Suriname.

Road to Paramaribo, Suriname

A tarantula crossing the road stopped us. The first one we had seen in the wild. It seemed quite tame and I was almost tempted to let it run onto my gloved hand much to Carol's horror."


Did you say 'cute little thing' Carol?

Ed. See all Ken and Carol's stories and great pics on their blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Robin Hunt-Davis - Cape 2 Cairo, in Botswana and Zambia,

"Today had a great ride though some stunning scenery (although very hot, over 40 degrees C), through Nelspruit to Sabie to Graskop to Zaneen via Gods Window and the Blyded River Canyon. The only minor setback was that when I wanted to take some pictures I realised I had left my camera behind! So tomorrow I am in the market for a cheap digital camera.

Robin contemplating where he lost his camera.

Where did I leave that camera?

... First day of the three of us riding together, very pleased to see that the pace was nice and relaxed, especially as the road was badly potholed in places with short dirt sections.

Not my favourite type of riding.  Again another hot day and still battling to keep hydrated.

Not my favourite type of riding. Again another hot day and still battling to keep hydrated.

The ferry across the Zambezi as always was a nightmare. Leaving Botswana was dead easy; all that was required was having our passports stamped. Zambia however was another matter; as soon as we boarded the ferry we were swamped with 'clearing agents' (AKA rip off artists de luxe). An hour later after paying road tax, carbon tax, third party insurance, council tax and having our passports and carnets stamped, all at different counters, none marked or even in the same building we were on the road to Livingston, a short 65km away. We checked into the Marimba River Lodge for the next 3 nights.

Miles and David together with Martin a travelling Priest at the Zambezi Sun Bar.

Miles and David together with Martin a travelling Priest at the Zambezi Sun Bar.

On Saturday Omar an Egyptian and his Australian girlfriend Bridgette arrived on the most heavily loaded Honda I have yet seen. He is hoping to join us for most of the trip up. Could be a very useful person to have around after my last experience of Egyptian customs, 27 hours sitting at the border! It's interesting to note that he flew his bike into JHB and reckons it took him 7 days and R18 000 to clear? Almost a case of poetic justice.

Sunday morning saw the 3 of us on the Zambezi. Miles and myself decided (in a moment of madness) to boogie board down the rapids. We were the only 2 fools out of a group of 18 rafters. The biggest rapid we did was a grade 5 the highest allowable rating for commercial operators. Needless to say it was awesome, exhilarating but frightening at times. We had absolutely no control and I held on for dear life at times. That evening I paid the price, I could not lift my arms above my shoulders. I spent a night in agony and most of the next day trying to book a massage."

Ed. See Robin's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Andy Berwick and Maya Vermeer, in Peru, Brasil and Paraguay, BMW R100GS+sidecar,

"The hostel in Puerto Maldonado was so noisy that we checked out some other places to stay. Nothing fancy. Then we found a place called 'The Anaconda Lodge'. It has wooden huts in an enormous jungle garden. All the howler and spider monkeys came to greet us and wanted to be stroked.

Howler monkeys want to be petted.

Gunnar and Wadee, the owners, are lovely people. We stayed there for 3 nights to dry our gear. What a great excuse to play with these monkeys! One is stealing my pegs, so the wash is falling in the dirt again. I try to chase it, but I saw the peg never again. One doesn't want to come off Andy's head and we have to ask Wadee to take it off. When I am reading in a hammock they come over to sleep on my lap. If paradise exists, this comes very close to it.

Monkey in hammock.

The ride over the Transpantaneira into the Pantanal, over more than a hundred wooden bridges, was fantastic, birds everywhere... storks, herons, toucans, parrots and many more, a real bird paradise with pink trees.

Birds in trees in Pantanal.

One morning, we were just on the road, we got a flat tyre. Luckily we were driving not fast at all, but we had to repair it in an awkward place. People stopped to take pictures... and then Marcelo stopped his bike and offered us his help. He even got us a cold drink, that made our day!

Tire change, Brazil.

Helpful Marcelo.

Muchas obrigado Marcelo!

That night we stayed in a lovely love hotel, it even had a couch and a table and chairs, very comfortable. We didn't need the mirror above our bed, but it was not in the way. Outside a thunder and lightning storm went on all night.

All the way to the border we had rain. To check out of Brazil was weird, you have to find the Police station first, which is in town. It was Sunday and the officer was sleeping, so we had to come back twice. We had to stay in town, Punta Pura, because the Aduana at the Paraguayan side was closed. The next day we found out that we didn't had to go there anyway. In Paraguay you don't need to arrange a temporary import paper for the bike. Very strange, because you need it in every other country. In case we would have a problem, we got a card with the name of the border office boss.

In the room I colored my hair and I changed in 45 minutes from a Red head into a Burgundy Brown one, because I didn't understand the Portuguese on the package.

Mountains and road.

What colour was that hair, Maya?

Paraguay is different, more hills and rocks, very clean farms, good roads with almost no traffic. We got stopped by the police and after they had checked the paperwork Andy started the bike with a BIG bang. The police officer jumped in the air and everybody around us had to laugh.

Bike and sidecar.

The wind is very strong and at one point a dust devil is coming towards us, it's trying to lift the whole sidecar up. It takes only a few seconds, but it feels like if a big fat monster wants to throw us off the cliff. Finally we reach the top and I am screaming 'Well done Berwick!', but he can't hear me, the wind is howling.

Mountain pass.

All the way up and at the pass the looks are stunning. A lot of work to get there, but it was worth it.

In a very dusty mining town, called San Antonio de Los Cobres, we stay inside. The next morning we both feel like somebody has beaten us up. Everything hurts. Our faces are red from the sun, our skin feels like leather. We want to go west and then south again, following a track though mountains and over another bloody pass. Then we follow route 40 for a while we are traveling to San Rafael, to meet our friends John and Annette."

Ed. Read Andy and Maya's stories here on Horizons Unlimited!

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Annette Pearson, London, UK, in Peru,

"Debunking the Myths of the Inca Trail - It isn't really that hard if I managed to do it after ten months of inactivity on a motorcycle. Though that is if you don't carry all your own stuff. And don't think that hiking for three days and getting up at three in the morning on the last day will get you to Machu Picchu before the rest of the tourists as it won't.

Hiking in the Andes.

But hiking through the mountains while having porters carry all your stuff, put up your tent and dining tent, cook all your meals and bring you a cup of hot tea in the morning is pretty cool.

Machu Pichu resident.

Just to go on the train/bus and the entry fee to Machu Picchu is $100US. Worth it? You decide! Afterwards we went to the local town for a coffee and a soak in the hot springs."

Machu Pichu.

Erdem Yucel, Turkey/USA, RTW, in Russia and South Korea, Suzuki V-Strom 1000,

"The Dong Chun itself is like a piece of the far eastern land. The ship and the crew is very Chinese. It operates between Zarubino, Russia and Sokco, South Korea. For me, it was a way of skipping North Korea as there is no way of riding a motorcycle as a foreigner in this weird country. The lights of the seaside towns was all I could see of it.

The voyage takes about 16 hours excluding the amazingly long waiting time as they load and unload cargo. It took about 7 hours to leave the port of Zarubino.

Boarding Dong Chun in Zarubino, Russia.

Boarding Dong Chun in Zarubino

It's not cheap. Customs fees on both ends, freight, passenger ticket, insurance, document preparation, import tax and even something called stamp fee, totals up to nearly 700 dollars. That is with the economy class, where you sleep on the floor...

Sokcho surprised me. I was expecting a small fishing town dominated by a large port. What I saw was a clean-cut, modern city with banks, shopping malls, parking lots etc... I needed to pay a rather large amount of cash to the shipping company. One of the agents drove me to the nearby bank in his brand-new super-silent Hyundai. The large GPS screen displayed something that looked like a 'Hello Kitty meets Sim City' version of a navigation software. There was an animated character who was constantly happy that we were driving to the bank. This was my introduction to the ridiculously happy anthropomorphic grotesque creatures dominating the S. Korean urban cultural landscape. Elevators, advertisements, warning and traffic signs, newspapers, t-shirts and everything else you can imagine features some species of these creatures. Even big and serious companies had to give up and create their own versions to survive in the Korean commercial world.

Anthropomorphic grotesque characters rule South Korea. They are everywhere.

Anthropomorphic grotesque characters rule South Korea. They are everywhere.

Having been in the CIS countries and Russia for so long, this was sort of a cultural shock to me. The roads were super nice. So nice that motorcycles were not allowed on the highways. But even the village roads were better than anything I had seen for the past few months. Long illuminated tunnels pierced through rocky steep mountains. Everything looked so different and interesting, I wanted to have more of it. But crossing the country takes less than a day no matter what you do. I was watching the km displays to Seoul counting down; 160. 120, 95, 67. etc... I had to do something about it before I found myself in the capital. I stopped at a roadside rest area to spend some time with the people and have some real Korean food.

I took off my shoes and entered the dining area. I sat on one of the pillows by the table. Each table had an individual cooking set-up. I didn't have difficulty ordering food because they served only one kind anyway. Steamed rice with some rich soup and lots of delicious side dishes. It didn't taste anything like what I had been having in the Korean restaurants back in LA. The spices have a much wider spectrum. Vegetables are much more dominant and some of them are cooked very little to keep their aroma. Most side dishes were cold. Everything was delicious. I had really good time in this small roadside place.

This is a traffic sign. If you film a horror movie on this location you get a fine.

This is a traffic sign. If you film a horror movie on this location you get a fine...

The inevitable happened and I arrived in Seoul within a few hours. When I arrive in a big city, I follow my GPS to the center, before starting to look for a place to stay. I did the same with Seoul. It took a while to get to the center, as it's really a huge city. I noticed some bikers and asked for their help to find a cheap hotel. They were happy to help me.

Seoul, South Korea.

Seoul, South Korea

The hotel room had too much electronics per square meter. My television was a little larger than half of my bed. When I turned it on, I had to turn on the AC to compensate the heat generated... There was a computer, remote controlled lighting, a talking fridge, an electronic sanitizer, and a few other devices I couldn't figure out. That's the other thing with Korea. Technology is cheap and people like it. I had to unscrew the rotating Red Green Blue halogen bulb to reduce the karaoke bar effect in the room."

Ed. Check out Erdem's site for lots of good pics and video as well as really good writing!

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Peter Hendricks, in Indonesia, Malaysia and Laos,

"Our Timor Leste visas were running out, so we handed our bikes to a shipping agent to get them back to Singapore while we moved to Bali to wait for them to arrive.

Bike on boat.

Having retrieved our bikes we have travelled up the West coast of Malaysia to Melaka, where we will wait out the end of Ramadan, so we don't get stranded with all hotels being full.

It only takes us two days to ride from Cherating to Georgetown. I had read about Malaysian motorways: there are rain shelters for bikers and bike lanes go past the toll booths, so we don't have to pay. What people didn't tell us is the other half of the story: the bike lanes continue all along the motorway, at half the width of an emergency stopping lane. At the entrance you have to dodge a steel barrier. Most bikes in Malaysia are small and slow, but it's quite dangerous to overtake them, as two bikes barely fit past one another. Either side of the lane is lined with solid crash barriers and sometimes trees. If you crash you will be chopped up by the crash barrier supports and what's left will be smashed by the trees. But it gets worse: at every exit there is a speed bump and a stop sign. Bikes must leave the motorway, stop at the lights, then ride up the ramp with the cars and enter the next section of bike lane. We ask people and apparently the cops will give us a ticket if we don't ride in the danger lane. 

Riding lanes, Malaysia.

It's a quick ride down the excellent and empty highway to the Cambodian border. On route we stop at the big Khone Phapheng Falls. It isn't the Niagara Falls, but quite nice all the same. What irks me again is that after paying the entrance fee they then sting us again to park our bikes. At Lao customs we are finished in record time, but we do have to pay overtime charges for crossing on a Saturday. At the Cambodian shack we are met by a sour-faced man who takes us to the customs building. First, he asks for a Carnet de Passages, which we don't have. He then shows us a 'Customs Permit', which we apparently need to get from customs in Phnom Penh for 20$. Without it we can't take our bikes into Cambodia. He then sits around, staring into blank space. It is immediately clear to us what he wants: baksheesh. After a while he produces a standard customs declaration form and says that with this and 20$ each we can go. We refuse and after more waiting and staring into blank space on his part we leave, get our Lao exit stamps cancelled and head back to the Thai border at Vangtau.

We don't know whether this requirement for a permit is real or merely a scam to extort money from tourists. In any case, it is Cambodia's loss. Our trials are not quite over for the day, though: the Thai customs computer has a problem with my bike, which turns out a failure by customs staff in Mae Sai to do their job. They forgot to cancel my permit when they issued me a new one. We have to wait a long time while customs ring their colleagues in Mae Sai, who then have to search for my old form and punch it into their system before a new permit can be issued. It is almost dark when we finally get away."

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

"We are enjoying France. Perhaps it is getting back our trip, having completed our agenda of visiting friends. Perhaps it is the slower pace of travel. Perhaps it is the easy going people of France. We are finding them helpful, offering us assistance when asked, in supermarkets, looking for the laundry, or even using their credit cards in exchange for our cash, when approached at the unmanned petrol stations we are encountering everywhere. Another lovely day of sunshine as we packed up the tent. Guillestre to St Martin-Vesubie for today's ride.

Rugged mountains of France, could be Pakistan?

Rugged mountains of France, could be Pakistan?

Still in the mountains, more great scenery the day's highlight plus a couple more above 2000 metre passes. Motorcycles are not much on this section, perhaps it is a little narrow with tight corners meaning the going was a little tight rather than smooth, but we met a tour group of nine Americans riding the mountains. Many campgrounds are already closed and tonight we arrived at one, its last night open for the season. Like our last camp it is in an old orchard, apples and pears, now ripe and dropping from the trees, so we collected a few and stewed them for a tomorrow roadside snack.

Along the Route de Grandes Alpes.

Along the Route de Grandes Alpes

This morning's ride was on narrower roads, single lane for much of the day, alongside mountain drop offs and narrow gorges, through forests now in full autumn colours. A detour had us riding hairpinned down a cliff face to the valley below where now near sea level we were finally at the Mediterranean Coast, and headed for Monaco to see if it had changed in the eleven years since our previous visit. It had, it was more crowded if that was possible, the streets jammed with cars and motorcycle couriers, sidewalks with tourists.

Cram packed Monaco has lost its appeal.

Cram packed Monaco has lost its appeal

More buildings crammed onto the small, less than 2 sq/km area, its tax haven status drawing more and more residents. In the crowdedness it had lost its appeal we experienced on our first visit and we contented ourselves to taking a spectator view of the place overlooking the yachts in the harbour. Mid afternoon we were in Nice, our Lonely Planet chosen backpacker hotel was full, something we have encountered more and more. Backpackers, all using the same book, now plan ahead, use the internet to book their accommodation, removing flexibility but guaranteeing a place to stay. We moved on, taking a room at the B&B Chain, a workers hotel, basic like Formula 1, but a little more comfortable."

Horizons Unlimited is proud to host Peter and Kay's complete RTW story and pictures here! Their motorcycle has visited over 357 countries, states, territories, isolated parcels, atolls and disputed territories...

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Hubert Kriegel, France, Sidecar-ing the world, in Kyrgyzstan,

" I have my Kazakhstan visa registered - took a shower - ate good food last night - had a nice chat with 3 UK travellers on the road for 5 months and 2 years for the couple  - did my web site - slept well - wake up late - I feel good!

At the animal market (in Kyrgyzstan), it is shaving time for the sheep.

At the animal market (in Kyrgyzstan), it is shaving time for the sheep

Yesterday, while riding in front of a bank I found out that I made a mistake in the change between US$ and Tenge (Kazakh money). It was not the equivalent of $50 I gave to the cop but $75! I was very upset at myself. No wonder why the cop agreed so quickly. Later as I was resting on a bench, I realised that due to my dyslexia the $50 was not $75 but $33. Woh did I felt good suddenly. It's stupid but it helped. All this is behind me now.

At this time of the year, the herds came down from the mountain for the winter. Except the yaks, I am still not sure where they will stay?

At this time of the year, the herds came down from the mountain for the winter. Except the yaks, I am still not sure where they will stay?

As for the motor problem consuming way too much oil. I have emails from the people at Ural telling me 'The door of the factory at Irbit are open for you, when will you get there ?'. This is great, I have a permanent solution to my problem in front of me, thank you very much Ural.

The thing is that with a Ural sidecar, the mechanic is simple and easy to fix and even if it does not run like I would like, the motor still run. I am going to the Ural factory and based on all the email I received, if I keep watching the oil level, I will have no problem getting there.

Life is pretty good.

Horses coming down from mountain.

At the end of the day, (my daughter Jessica and I) arrived at lake Song Kol and stopped at the first yurt asking for their hospitality."

Yurt hospitality.

Ed. Check out Hubert's website for lots of great pics and a video made by his daughter!

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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

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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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

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!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - DVD1 - Get Ready!

Get the Achievable Dream DVD's NOW and learn how YOU can hit the road!

Achievable Dream DVD series - The Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - DVD4 - Ladies on the Loose! Get it now!

up to top of pagespacerShorts...

Robert Thode, USA, to South America, in Bolivia,

"Just into Bolivia I stopped for fuel and when I got back on my kick stand bolts broke again, will redesign when I get home. My understanding was that the town was 20 K, it turned out to be 85 K and all of it under construction. Now when they do construction here they just run a cat trail along the side or whereever they can get through. These are dirt (which turns to 4 inch deep dust in spots and mud when they water to keep the dust down) and every now and again they would let us run on the unfinished new road bed. This was usually a brutal washboard.

Muddy road in Bolivia.

Detour road, Bolivian style

It turned dark before I got to the town and really slowed things up. Then the road comes to a river, I stop thinking I must be lost. But soon a truck comes along and into the water it goes. This is great my first water crossing, in the dark. The stream was about 20 feet across and 10 inches deep. For the next hour I went back and forth across the river and was sure I was lost at one point. Here I sit in the dark, no kick stand (can't get off to pee) but soon a bus came along and I followed it finally to the new road bed. All this time I could see the town was within 5K on my GPS. More delays on the new road and finally into town at 9:45. Found a Hostel and collapsed. Had started at 7, was a little too much adventure for me."

Ed. See Robert's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Johan and Charmaine Claassens, South Africa, RTW, in Australia,

"We've been looking for a bike for Charmaine, and it seems that we have found one. We've decided to use two bikes travelling through Australia. This will be more fun for Charmaine and also will let us go on more adventurous trails in the Big Red centre. We're looking at a Suzuki DR200 for her, got hold of a very neat DR, and the price suits our budget just perfect. It will also be cheap to maintain and run, so should not affect our overall travelling costs too much.

Melbourne, Australia.

Melbourne, Australia

Modern building in Melbourne, Australia.

Modern building in Melbourne, Australia

We are also in the privileged position to do work legally anywhere in the country if we run short on money further down the road. At this stage our aim is to get ourselves to Perth by the 8th of October. It should give us about two weeks to ride the 4000km across the country. Once we reach Perth, we will try and get some work in order to stay in the southern part of Western Australia for a few months before we will plan to continue north."

Alastair Todd, Round the World, in Canada,

"Have arrived in Toronto. Last ride on foreign roads complete! Change of plan. Flying back from Toronto instead of New York. Faster, cheaper."

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

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

Xander and Tam Kabat, UK, in Switzerland and France,

"Once we were actually in France, we passed though Chamonix, under Mont Blanc a tourist town in the Alps that we spent some time in 10 years ago. It has changed little, and what changes there have been have not been for the better. Tam commented on how during that trip a decade ago we went Britain, France (including Chamonix), Spain. Oddly similar to how we are going now.

We continued on the smaller roads, to avoid the tolls, until we hit St-Nazaire-en-Royans, a little village that was very pretty and was dominated by a huge aqueduct.

Aqueduct in St-Nazaire-en-Royans, France.

We decided to head to the home of the werewolf legend, Gevaudan. Although it is no longer referred to as a wolf but the more PC name of the beast. La bête of Gevaudan. This was the inspiration behind one of our favourite films The Brotherhood Of The Wolf ('La Pacte des Luope')."

La bête de Gevaudan, France.

La bête de Gevaudan

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

"Yuhu! today Jane got her visa for EU! We'll be staying 1 more week in Georgia, then 2 weeks in Turkey and enter EU on the 15th of October! We're celebrating right now!"

Goereme at night.

Goereme at night

Sumela Monastery - Turkey.

Sumela Monastery - Turkey

At the jvari pass, Georgia.

At the jvari pass, Georgia

Ed. Not many words but lots of pics on Darius and Jane's trip in their blog here on Horizons Unlimited.

Albert and Marilyn Sollini, UK, North to South America, in Mexico,

"We left San Felipe to ride to Guerrero Negro by the road that follows the Gulf of Mexico and then turns across mountains to join the main road south. We decided on this shorter route for the scenery and because we were told locally that the road was OK to travel on. The first 70 miles were on good tarmac on a new road being built. However we then reached the construction site for the new road and it was in very poor condition, hoping it would improve after the construction phase we carried on only to find a corrugated loose gravel road with large rocks and several deep sand areas.

The road, being close to the sea and the desert, was deep sand that then became deeper and very rocky. I was unable to keep the bike upright and after only 4 miles we came off again. The bike fell on Marilyn's right foot, the pannier trapping her ankle against a large rock. Marilyn knew immediately that we couldn't go on and we returned to the hotel of the previous night, Marilyn riding in a pick up truck that passed us.

The following day we went to the local health centre where the X-rays showed no break to her ankle. The helpful staff fitted a splint cast to her right leg. We discussed what our options were and after much discussion and soul searching decided that I would carry on with the trip and Marilyn would return home. We organised a flight from San Diego to London for Marilyn. She has since been to the Hospital in Lincoln and they have confirmed the ankle is broken.

I will continue the journey, and will see if I am able to do it alone. "

Ed. Very sorry to hear your news, and here's hoping for a speedy recovery and reunion. See Albert and Marilyn's 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!

Jonathan Yates, UK, Russia to Kazakhstan,

"We rode East from Shymkent to a place called Zhambyl and we have basically gone through the city.  We set up camp at the foothills of the mountains with separate Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.  Cracking camp tonight, brilliant sun set, full moon and the mountains in the back ground are just stunning. 

Filling up in Kazakhstan.

Really easy ride, really steady through lots of villages, we stayed off the main roads, we have a bit of time to get to the Kyrgyzstan border."

Ed. Lots of pictures on Jon's site!

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!

Simon Fitzpatrick, UK, Americas, in Colombia,

"If there's a better feeling than rolling into somewhere called 'Planeta Rica' at 4pm on a sweaty, sea-level Saturday, parking 'Er Ladyship in the dining hall of a six-pound hotel and settling down to enjoy numerous roadside Aguilas in a pair of relatively clean shorts, I haven't discovered it. By the way, six quid hotels in PR come with 3 beds, a telly, a ceiling fan and a bathroom.

Hotel in Planeta Rica, Colombia.

If you're at all interested in 'fun', particularly the kind that tends to crop up between opening time and bed time, I strongly recommend Medellin. Bring plenty of cash. It ain't cheap, but it's worth it."

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

Bruno Ebner, Santiago, Chile, RTW, in Spain, Kawasaki KLR 650s,

We are 2 Chileans traveling around the world. We left in December 2008 from Santiago de Chile, going to New York from where we took a boat to Bremen. We are recording a Chilean television documentary about our trip, and we are already 25 episodes to air in our country. We took a month and a half in Europe and now we will take our bikes to Kawasaki in Madrid for service before crossing into Morocco and continuing the adventure."

Gert Stevens of Antwerp, Belgium, writes to the HU Kayseri Community,

"We're a Belgian couple riding a Weestrom 2-up to Nepal. Currently we're in Cappadocia. Saturday we come to Kayseri. And we need some help. Sunday we need to go to Ankara to apply for our Indian visa. We wanted to go by train from Kayseri. Not by motorcycle because it's a long way, the petrol is expensive and the motorcycle is of no use in such a big city as Ankara. We would like to park the motorcycle somewhere in Kayseri. A safe place, for about 4 or 5 days. Is there someone who has a good place to store the bike? Or does someone know such place? Thanks for your help!"

Gabriel Bolton, UK, RTW, on the Road of Bones, Siberia,

"So off we go, getting darker as we start the 100 mile ride to the only reasonably sized village on this route. To kick things off, we're instantly confronted with a large wooden bridge that looks like it collapsed a long while back. I should be wiser after all the previous river crossings, instead I head straight in without first walking through to find a sensible route. It's deep, and more importantly, the current is strong, I'm lucky to make it to the far bank without incident.

Wooden bridge on the Road of Bones.

Simon isn't as lucky, falling in the deep water. We wrestle the overloaded KTM upright, and a Kamaz 6 wheel drive truck takes pity on us, leading a shallower route across the rest of the river. Again Simon falls in a deep section close to the bank. It can be hard work fighting against the current to right these heavy overland bikes."

Ed. Gabe made it to California in time to tell his Road of Bones story at the HU meeting and is now touring the USA with Charlotte Moore.

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


Dave Petersen, USA, RTW, in Thailand, BMW F650,

"I'm on my second RTW and in need of a mailing address in Saigon. I have some documents being sent from the US and Canada in the coming weeks. I am in BKK now and off to Cambodia in a couple days. Any info on crossing from Cambodia into Vietnam would be appreciated (specific crossing point, etc). I know of 2 other riders riders that have taken their 'big' bikes into Vietnam during the past few weeks. Many thanks! Dave"

Frank Butler, Papua New Guinea, RTW, in El Salvador,

"My plan had been to ride straight through El Salvador and get to Nicaragua as quickly as possible, after all El Salvador is small and there is really nothing in it. or at least that is what I had been hearing in Guatemala.

But Julio sort of insisted that this was a bad plan and to make sure that I didn't commit the crime of dismissing a country without having ever been there. He arranged to see me across the border and introduce me to Mario Lecha.

El Salvador BMW Club.

I had an escort of three bikes across the frontier, all BMW GS 1200's. I did feel rather important and with Julio's help the crossing was smooth and reasonably quick ...quick enough for us to join the rest of the gang on the Salvador side before they had ordered breakfast."

Kamil Gamanski, Poland, RTW, Africa Twin, writes to the Horizons Rio Community

"We are a Polish couple traveling around the world on our Africa Twin. We are currently in Casablanca - Morocco organizing (sea freight) transport for our motorcycle to Rio de Janeiro. We will not be traveling with the bike and will only arrive in Rio a week or two after the bike does.

We are therefore looking for somebody to help us with collection of the bike from the port in Rio and storage until we collect it. We are obviously looking to keep the costs down and do not want to use expensive agents or port warehousing. Any help advice is really appreciated!"

Ed. Izabela Frycz, who is travelling with Kamil, is a 2009 photo contest winner - see her pic of Kamil above! Check out their website for more great pics and their travel story in Polish and English.

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.


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

Alexandros Papadopoulos, UK to India, in Turkey,

"After leaving the south coast of Turkey a little after Antalya, I crossed the mountains towards Konya. Immediately the temperature dropped significantly - initially it was a welcome change, after the altitude hit 1800m I started thinking about stopping to wear something warmer, as I headed north things certainly didn't get much warmer... to the point of reaching Sultanhani (a few km east of Konya) and telling the guy I wanted to camp and him saying 'Are you sure? It's cold at night!' I couldn't be bothered to relay the feeling of smartassiness my (by my usual standards) exotic equipment gave me, so I just nodded to the effect of 'You don't know who you're talking to...' (feel free to applaud or throw yoghurt). Anyway it was fine, it went as low as 6C at night and with a -5C sleeping bag and other stuff I can afford to act cool.

Entrance to karavanserai at Sultanhani, Turkey.

After walking around the village and asking people for a 2L bottle made of tin or aluminium (for petrol) and exceeding myself each time with the charades/pantomime which produced plenty of plastic bottles, but none of the desired material, I visited Sultanhani's famous karavanserai. What is it famous for, I hear you ask? Well, Wikipedia has the answer I'm sure, I wouldn't know. I just took pictures of the light as it came in the huge domed area through high and thin windows."

Ed. See Alexandros' blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Jude and Johannes Schonborn, Anchorage to Ushuaia

"This is the beginning of a 5 month trip from Anchorage, Alaska to Ushuaia in Argentina. Picked the trusted Beemer up from the Motorcycle shop in Anchorage. Thanx Keith. Our generous hosts Larry and Allan at Wildflower Inn in Anchorage have been fantastic! Definitely recommended for bikers and anyone who likes a homely stay.

Salmon Glacier, Alaska.

Salmon Glacier, Alaska

We took our new toy for a trial run to Seward. Magic snow capped mountain vistas even in the rain! First sight of Mt Mc Kinley in the rear mirror. Awesome. Daneli National Park was too busy to stay, but Deneli Hwy is highly recommended. Good dirt if dry with the mountain ranges all along. Helgas 'Off The Road Roadhouse' B&B made for a great retreat in the city of Tok.

Should have waited for the rain to stop before tackling the Top Of The World Hwy. Got cold and miserable. Should have gotten gas in the town of Chicken instead of a chicken burger. Got to Dawson city in the Yukon with 5 miles to spare. Lesson learned. Take heated jackets if you can."

Ed. See Jude and Johannes' blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Ken Thomas, UK to Cape Town, Yamaha TTR,

"The cast of this travelogue are: Ken (aka 'Rambling' Rustus McCrankpin), his daughter Caroline, and her husband Beau.
Ken was born within the sound of Bow Bells a long time ago, started work on 14th September 1964 and is now retired, no longer knowing how on earth he ever had the time to go to work anyway, as things are sooooo busy with this journey looming.

Caroline was born in Essex, if that still has any significance these days, has lived in London, southern Spain and Canada, and is working like fury as a teacher to pay for the trip.

Beau was born in Canada, met Caroline in Toronto, now lives in England, teaches English, music and percussion like fury to pay for this trip, and is aiming to work on his PhD in African Music along the way.

And the significance of 14th September? The career that Ken started with the GPO (remember them?) on that date was pretty successful, so the trip to Cape Town also starts on 14th September (2009). We all hope the date will work twice.

Ken, Beau and Caroline with Oliver (non-rider).

A confident Beau announces his plan to be the first human to cross the Sahara riding a drum kit. Oliver tells Grandad an off-road push chair will be much more fun.

... The day before yesterday we arrived safe and sound in Istanbul, after reaching the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast a few days before.

They say you should never return to places visited in the past. That Black Sea coast is just such a place. Anyone driving this way expecting to see the road skirting around endless empty sandy beaches, as it did thirteen years ago when Caroline and I were last here cruising along on a Ducati V-twin, will be seriously disappointed.

Our maps still show campsites dotted all along those beaches. But when we enquired at the endless concrete hotels now crowding out completely the old sandy coastline (with the road shoved back inland maybe a kilometre or so), the replies we received were all the same. Shrugged shoulders, waved arms, and sufficient words to confirm that all those campsites, and most if not all of the sandunes, have been covered with concrete and glass.

Bulgarian high rise hotels.

And not even providing employment for these local people. It's only the first week of October, the sun is warm and reliable, but everywhere is closed and empty. Closed hotels (many 'For Sale'), empty apartment blocks, closed bars and restaurants, stagnant swimming pools, and a half-built-and-abandoned selection of all of these as well.

Beau and Caroline in front of Blue Mosque.

Here in Istanbul, Caroline and Beau outside The Blue Mosque

Last night we met a young Australian on his way home from London on a Honda CG250. He left England the day after us and is an old hand at this sort of thing having done London to Egypt on the same bike 18 months ago. He's obtaining an Iranian visa here, we, Syrian visas. So it's likely we'll depart Istanbul for the south on the same day. We stay in touch."

Ed. Follow the adventure at Ken's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Archie Taylor, UK, to West Africa, debunking myths in Morocco, Honda Transalp,

"As most bikers would have heard various tales about Morocco I thought I would put a few things correct. I crossed from Algeciras in the last week of Ramadan in September.

Myths - It's a hassle getting a ticket at Algeciras
Rubbish - it's straight forward

Myths - It's a hassle getting out of customs in the Spanish enclave of Cueta
Rubbish - it's easier than Dover

Myths - The paper work on the Morocco border is a nightmare
Well I used one of the fixers it cost me 5 euros and was painless and took 5 mins at most

Myths - Coming out of the customs was horrendous
I found it no diff to coming out of Dover

They say driving on their roads is awful. Bit like London really. Now I know I've come at a quiet time of the year but I certainly found it less painful than say Romania Hungary etc. 3 years ago I was put off coming here amid lurid tales from people who have never been here.

Oh but they say they will rob you blind - they will in any country if you are careless. Try leaving your bike unattended over night in say Bristol. The A roads are pretty decent and the scenery stunning, the people very friendly and courteous. Having found Spain pretty pricey nowadays, Morocco is real value for money. So there BOO.

Come to Maroc, it's worth the trip. Oh bring a Bottle of your favorite tipple off the ferry. Drinks hard or expensive here. I've still got the best bits to see yet. Only come to Rabat if your after a Mauritania visa. Its not a touristy city, really nice but there's better places in Maroc In all its made for bikers of all types."

Ed. Follow Archie's African adventures in his blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

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

Mark and Maggie Allenspach, Australia to Switzerland, home to Switzerland, BMW 1150 GS,

"We continue north towards Mermaris stay just outside the town at Turunc for a couple of nights and then on to Detca from where we take a ferry to cross over to Bodrum and on to Yalikavak another great fishing village along the Turkish coast.

Then it's on to Foca, Canakkale and the Trojan Horse and finally into Bandirma where we take the fast ferry over to Istanbul.

Trojan horse.

We leave Turkey via the main Highway into Bulgaria where we spend the first night at the Sakar Hill Camping Ground in Biser just inside the border.

Martin Sherley and Matt welcome us with a cold Beer, Olives and Cheese. We all sit around and have a good chat, exchanging travel stories and getting tips on where to go and what to see. Then a few more Aussies pull up in a camper van and some more members of Martins family and friends join us for a BBQ and a good time. What a great welcome to Bulgaria.

Sharing stories.

Our next stop is Sofia where we happen to cross ways again with Pascal and Aria. From here we head straight up to Croatia. We visited the Plitvice National Park with its amazing Limestone Lakes and waterfalls. We head west along the Donau valley to Wachau, Strasbourg and then the ultimate Austrian road, the Gross Glockner a mountain pass over 3000m with roads that are spotless.

Next was the Dolomites in Italy and then back into Austria and finally on the 25th of August we entered Switzerland.

So after 8 1/2 months and 37000 km 3 sets of tyres, 2 flats, 1 battery, 6 oil changes, a never ending sore butt, many smiles and a few tears,countless potholes and close to 6000 photos our journey has come to a end. We are not sure if we should be happy or sad.

We've made it! Now what? TBC :)"

Ed. See Mark and Maggie's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

Robin Breese-Davies and Rik Davis, UK, RTW, back home in Wales,

"Mongolia is a unique country, simple as that. No walls, fences, hedges or boundaries just open country for you to travel where you like, though the people thought we were aliens and stared at us with open mouths as we passed. The wild camping every night was an absolute highlight of the trip and even though we thought we were in the middle of nowhere someone would always come over and look on as we made camp for the night. Rik's frame snapped right in the middle of the country but we managed to hold it together with cable ties & tyre levers. Because of visa reasons re-entering Russia after Mongolia we had 10 days to cross the world's largest country, visit its sights and nurse two very tired bikes. From Vladivostok to St Petersburg via Mongolia we clocked up 8,000 miles in three weeks, 3,000 of those miles were unpaved, without doubt this pushed our endurance levels more than any other part of the trip.

After 3.5 years travelling around the world, five continents, fifty countries, 110,000 miles, 110 border crossings, the most northern & southern roads in the world, from +50 to - 30 degrees centigrade, altitudes of 5000m to - 100m, 1208 days or 174 weeks later, we have done it! We have returned home safely, proud, happy and with smiles on our faces. We both agree that it has been the best period in our lives to date and that the trip has given us more friends & memories than we could have hoped for in our life time. There were definite challenges & tough points but looking back we can only take positives from those experiences."

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 615 Communities in 101 Countries as of October 8, 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 additional privileges on the HUBB, such as more PM's, custom avatars, and more photo space.

Support this Newsletter by becoming a Contributing Member today, by PayPal, credit card, or cheque.

Become an HU Contributing Member!

Support Horizons Unlimited with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!

If you want a t-shirt or other logoed merchandise, go to the Store.

All contributions will be acknowledged and gratefully accepted. If you later decide you do want a t-shirt or other member logoed merchandise from the store, let us know and we will arrange access to the Members Private Store.

More ways to support your favourite website!

How to Link to Horizons Unlimited

Also, you can just click on any Amazon link on the site and we'll get a small commission on your purchase of any Amazon merchandise - and it won't cost you any more!

Thanks, Grant and Susan


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To subscribe, or even UNsubscribe 'now why would you want to do that?' to this e-zine.

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 800 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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