Motorcycle Travellers' News Report - May 2013, 96th Edition

Are you a TRAVELLER? Are you interested in bondage in Peru, interrogation by the secret service in Iran, driving across the Panama Canal, friending an elephant, a bathroom office with wi-fi, three years to get milk, lunching with llamas, playing with butterflies... and much more? Then you're reading the right newsletter!

Introduction to this issue.

Welcome to the 96th Edition of the motorcycle travellers' e-zine! Update - we're back in Vancouver and recovering from HUBB UK! We got great weather and a record crowd, and had a fantastic time - our thanks to all who came, and most especially to Sam and Iain for making it happen! See a few more pics below.

Travellers setting off on long rides!

What a great way to start your trip!

Still adding meetings to the schedule, we're now up to 18+ this year! We've just added a Perth meeting to our Australia roster, so we'll have three in Oz this year: Dayboro in Queensland Sep 26-29; Cavendish in Victoria from Oct 11-13; and just north of Perth from Oct 18-20! We've applied to renew our Australian passports, and if the powers that be let us come back, we'll be at all of them. Hope to meet you there!

Although our focus is on meetings for the next five months, we also are aiming to implement some wiki functionality by the end of June. We have two main wikis in mind initially, and there is a linkage between them. We've been working on a 'Destination' wiki, aka the 'overland bucket list'. We envision travellers (places you've been that you'd like to share) and HU Community members (someplace near home that you think other travellers should visit) creating these. We will be seeding the list to get the process started, as our dear friend Dee Masters has been working on this in her spare time and has done over 100 already!

Of course, Destinations are located in Countries, and the 'Country' wiki will contain lots of useful information for overland travellers, such as bike-friendly campgrounds and helpful people. We already have quite a bit of information for a few countries, such as Turkey and Norway, so they have served as templates. Importantly, the structure will be in chunks, so anyone who knows a bit about someplace can just add the bit they know rather than having to tackle a whole country!

As I mentioned last issue, we are looking for help to expand HU:

  • by running additional travellers meetings in various geographies;
  • by running other types of events with more of a rider training or competitive flavour (HUMM?);
  • by producing new DVDs, translating current DVDs into other languages and excerpting for other media, such as iTunes;
  • by adding products (various distribution possibilities) to the HU Store and to our stores on Amazon; and many more!

We can't commit to paying a salary, but we're happy to share profits on an equitable basis, or pay commission on revenues, whatever makes sense. Get in touch and help us grow!

Where are our intrepid travellers this month?

We've got great stories from Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Thailand, Iran, Italy, Colombia, Panama, Turkey, Belgium, Morocco, Guatemala, New Zealand, Germany, Argentina and even Vancouver!

...And those are just the ones we tracked down! What about you? Get out there on the road and make your own adventure, and don't forget to write! Seriously, there are so many travellers out there now that it's hard for me to keep up with them all. If you send me a couple of paragraphs and pics every month you'll have a much better chance of making it into the e-zine! We try to link to your blog/website if you have one. If you don't have a blog, 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)

Travellers on the Road

John and Alanna Skillington, Australia, RTW in Bolivia, Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom,

"Arriving at Argentinian immigration and customs is a breeze and we are processed pretty quickly, then it is on to the Bolivian side, immigration is quick, but there is always a catch, Customs. Where is our segura (insurance), well we don't have any, our inquiries of other travelers indicated we didn't need it for Bolivia. Where can we buy it? From La Quaica, NO. From Villazon, NO. On the Internet. NO. So we need it but we can't get it? So what do you want us to do?

He motions for Skill to step inside the office and quickly intimates if he slips Sesenta US, $60.00 US inside the passport, then 'No problemo'. Skill declines and the amount drops to $50.00 US, then to $40.00 US in quick succession. Skill comes out to the bike to talk to me as I am trying to get the camera out to take this joker's photo and tells me that apparently $40.00 US will make the problem go away. 'Bull****', I say and walk into the office and smilingly say, 'No, no, no, you are naughty, this money is for you' and point at him. Still smiling and laughing, meanwhile secretly wanting to hit the slimy little git.

Then all of a sudden he waves Skill to the front desk and the bike is stamped in, the problem has gone. Apparently whatever I did seemed to do the trick, wish I knew what it was. Then after a bit of a broken conversation we ask if he has children, 'Si' and we plonk a couple of koalas on his desk. After that everything is fine and as we are repacking the bike, he comes out and jokes with us to 'Hurry up'. Nothing like being bribed with a smile.

Koala bribes.

Chinese made Aussie Koala 1 - Slimy little Bolivian Customs Guy 0

After this we are extremely wary and get on the bike and ride, not even bothering to get out money in Villazon. At the first checkpoint (a piece of rope across the road) the rope is down, as a mini bus is stopped so we just ride around the bus and wave, no one stops us so we continue on. At the second checkpoint about 40 km further on the rope is down again and we just ignore the guys who are in their hut. (Apparently these guys gave Paul – English guy we met in Salta - a hard time). We arrive in Tupiza after negotiating our way through a landslide on the highway. We find the Hostel Valle Hermosa (recommended by the Copacabana Hostel) easily, but as usual we are on the top floor and have to lug everything up the stairs, it is only 12.30 and we are stuffed, must be the altitude?

Another moon valley, Bolivia.

Tupiza's claim to fame is its dramatic desert landscape and in the early 20th Century Tupiza was home to one of Bolivia's biggest mining barons, Carlos Aramayo. His mines and their payrolls were rich enough to attract the interest of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, who apparently died in a shoot out in the town of Saint Vincente, 100 km Northwest of Tupiza.

Lunch stop with llamas in Bolivia.

Lunch Stop - Lan with the Llamas, what a magic place

...We head off to refuel, we only need 5 litres, we arrive at the first service station but they refuse to serve us as we are foreigners and they don't have the government receipt books for the foreigner priced fuel, so we head to the next service station that does have the receipt books but they are out of gasolina (it is not a ploy, they really are out of fuel), back to the first service station where a lovely English speaking Argentinian family try to help us and do a big translation for us. To cut a long story short, the manager will not back down for any money, he refuses to sell us fuel and keeps saying camera camera. OK what to do next.

We ride back into town, wave a $50.00 Bolivano note at a taxi driver for 5 litres of fuel. He accepts the challenge, he and Skill disappear in the taxi, go back to the same service station we have just been at. The taxi driver buys 5 litres of fuel in a jerry can and he and Skill return to the bike. Fuel goes into the bike and the taxi driver pockets $30 boliviano profit. It would have cost us 45 Bolivianos at the foreigner price anyway. What a bloody rigamarole."

more »

Ed. See more of Alana's amazing photos of their Uyuni Salt Flats tour on their blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

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Motorcycle Touring On Small Hidden Roads Through The Heart Of The Alps!

Next Tour Dates: July 16 - 25, 2013 | August 09 - 18, 2013 | September 21 - 30, 2013

Experience the European Alps at their best on the Ultimate Alps motorcycle tour. This is the measure by which all other adventures are compared. Every mile of these roads, every menu, every hotel, every roadside, lunch spot and camera opportunity are etched in our memory, ready to be shared with you!

If ever there was a place on earth that was made for the eye, the camera and our bikes, it is surely the Alps. We have chosen the very best of those roads and selected the choicest hotels. We know what is here, this is our home, and we offer it to you! If you could take only one motorcycle trip in Europe in your life, this is the one we would suggest.

TOUR DESCRIPTION: START/FINISH: Mieming, Austria | NEAREST AIRPORT: Innsbruck | DURATION: 10 days vacation, 8 riding days | ROUTE: Total distance 1160 - 1370 miles (1870 - 2200 km). Daily rides 73 - 175 miles (116 - 280 km). The entire route runs on good asphalt roads. | ACCOMMODATIONS: Comfortable middle-class hotels with a special Alpine touch. | REST DAYS: Bolzano | HIGHLIGHTS: Lucerne, Matterhorn, Menaggio, Lakes Maggiore and Como, Lake Garda, Dolomites, roads and passes of the Western Alps.

Mark and Carlie, Australia, Just out to get some milk - a three year RTW journey, in Peru, 650 V-Strom,

"Is the HUBB the seed or the fuel? I think that for most of us it's the fuel. We learn of the HUBB's existence once the thirst for information has formed and slake our need at the forum font of textual adventure and possibly the best Q & A sphere on the planet. For me this is no different.

But everyone has their own seed. A sentence or phrase, a chance meeting, a documentary, it comes in a variety of genres. Mine was a chance meeting in Turkey with a couple of German overlanders in 2003. I can't remember their names only that they were riding Africa Twins and that they had journeyed from my own homeland, Australia. At that time, I was riding around Europe and Turkey by bicycle doing 3 month stints at a time. The concept of one continuous trail from A to B by motorbike seemed amazing to my 27 year old mind. The seed had been sown. But, as many on this forum would attest to, this seed needs nurturing and time, maybe this is what baffled my younger self!

Skip forward to today, ten years, 10kgs and baldness later and here I sit, joyfully about to reap the fruit of that seed sown so long ago. The plan is to ride from my home that I just sold in Cairns down to Brisbane. Ship the bike to Peru, learn Spanish while travelling for a year in South America before heading up through Central America and into the North. Gently meander towards the east coast before another freighting to Europe. Walk the Camino De Santiago De Compostella, mosey on through France, Germany, Austria, Italy and into the Baltics before once again revisiting Turkey. Hopefully skip across to Egypt, Israel and Jordan before making our way through Iran, some of the Stans, China and through the Karakorum Pass and into Pakistan. Another visit to India then into Kathmandu before the flight to Bangkok where we hope to island hop to East Timor and the final flight home to Oz.

I have sold my house, my business, my car and most of all my belongings apart from the sentimental stuff, lets see how far this can take us? And I say us as my wife has decided to join me for this adventure. It was either that or get a divorce, there's no way she would let me go without her! So, to be honest, it's our adventure but with me doing the piloting! By the way, her name is Carlie!

Getting our yellow fever shots, don't worry, it was cleaner inside!

Getting our yellow fever shots, don't worry, it was cleaner inside!

... I had the bike booked in to be crated up for its journey across the Pacific but from the moment of meeting this filthy creature in charge of this most important of tasks my heart sank. And I knew it was too late to change. Rather than accepting my offer to assist and pull the bike apart he demanded that he be left to do it, saying that there was no need to remove the front wheel or even the panniers. What? With no option but to leave my beloved motor with him I knew that the shipping agent would have a field day with this!

The bike was booked on a 48 day voyage from Brisbane, Australia, to Callao, Peru with the sailing date for the 18th Feb. Emails and phone calls to the agent to ensure that things were running smoothly put my mind to rest. That is until the 19th when the agent calls to tell me that it missed the boat. My second 'What?' moment. Excuse making aside I really couldn't believe that this had occurred. I was due to fly out the next day, all these bookings had been premeditated and paid for.

OK, so now my guy tells me that it will be on another boat now heading via Singapore and Busan, Korea and should arrive only 2 weeks later than planned. Skip forward to today, now 60 days past the original date of departure and I have just been informed it will be another 3 weeks.

We should be on our bike by now, getting the adventure underway. It's hard not to get angry at the shipping agent but I have been misled by him now on more than one occasion and now he is threatening to withhold the bike in Peruvian customs. I read other reports of folks saying how great their shipping process was and can't help feeling resentment that I picked a lemon!

But I have a favourite saying, 'I have the patience of Gandhi, the optimism of the Dali Lama and the bank balance of Mother Theresa'. I try to live this rather than just jest with it! And so, to fill in the time we have been living in Arequipa for the last 8 weeks in a Spanish language school. Whether or not I can speak the lingo or simply murder it with a level of finesse I will reserve judgement on. We also took the opportunity to visit the local Colca Canyon, an incredibly amazing crack in the earth for a 4 day trek.

Colca Canyon, Peru.

Colca Canyon, Peru.

...Finally, after more than 90 days and continual misrepresentations and frustrations later, our bike arrived. The crating performed by the agent's guy in Australia was abysmal. I paid 450 valuable dollars and was able to pull it apart by hand. It only had two sides, was open at the top and seriously, held together with clingflim, it was industrial type however! My pride and joy arrived filthy dirty with bags of belongings just thrown in haphazardly.

Bike released from bondage in Peru.

The Peruvian customs was a 4 day nightmare but the karmic gods kicked in with the good stuff and smoothed over the warehouse procedure by providing me with a lovely young lass with perfect English, spare time and a staff pass that jumped all the queues!

Released from bondage and it was time to wrestle with the traffic that I had been a passenger to for the last 3 months. Let it be said that the Peruvian driving technique is a blend of bumper cars, telepathy and blind faith. Here we go, into 6pm nighttime peak hour traffic into the centre of Lima from the very dodgy port suburb of Callao to our hotel. I needn't have worried, the 12 kms were almost bumper to bumper, horns blaring, exhausts exhausting. I didn't have a crash nor even get lost, I might have gotten lung cancer though!

Next day we pulled all our belongings apart and for the very first and very exciting time packed the bike for her truly maiden voyage right in the courtyard of our hotel of course. Then program the GPS while muttering a short prayer to the gods of satellites and out into the world we headed."

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Ed. Sorry you had such a bad experience to start your trip, here's hoping it's smooth sailing now! Remember to check out the Shipping section for all the shipping do's and don'ts, as well as experiences by travellers with shipments all over the world. Read more of Mark and Carlie's story in the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

Sherri Jo Wilkins, Australia/USA, RTW, in Brazil, KTM 690 Enduro,

"We'd learned early on about riding a really pretty section of road, called the 'Serra do Rio do Rasto'. or SC-438. So we didn't waste our travel to Florianopolis as this road was a treat in itself! And we can ride straight on from there to the Foz do Iguazu (Iguazu Falls).

Brazil roads - how pretty is this!

How pretty is this?

Furry friends.

At the top of this road is a look out.. with some very furry friends!

Border crossing to Paraguay.

Border crossing to Paraguay

Check out the curl they put in the motorcycle lane. Easy on the little bikes, but a little harder for us! This is what the border from Brazil to Paraguay looks like. Can't wait until tomorrow! Not. ;-(

This being our second visit, we wandered on to the walking trails a bit. Lots more falls to see, but what I really enjoyed more I didn't expect... butterflies! Lazy ones too, they're hitching a ride on me!

Butterflies and Iguacu Falls.

Trying to not forget I'm here to see the falls.. I'm not sure now which I'm loving more!

We really should go... one last look at Iguazu Falls. This place has become one of my favorite highlights of my entire world tour."

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Silk Riders, the documentary of Jo and Gareth Morgan's incredible journey in the footsteps of Marco Polo.

SILK RIDERS, Jo and Gareth Morgan's Incredible Journey in the footsteps of Marco Polo

Marco Polo's legendary journey overland from Xanadu in China to his home in Italy has fired the imaginations of travellers for 700 years. Even today, traversing the 20,000km Silk Road between Europe and the Far East is a perilous undertaking. But it sounded like just the challenge for Wellington economist Gareth Morgan and his intrepid wife Jo.

With five friends, they set off to travel the ancient route by a very modern mode of transport - motorcycle.

Starting from the historic port of Venice, the Silk Riders crossed some of the most remote, inhospitable and politically unstable terrain in Eurasia, from the Balkan states, Turkey and Iran through various 'stans to the isolated western reaches of China, and along the Great Wall to Beijing.

Get the book now at Gareth's World by Bike website,,,, or Apple Store

Ekke and Audrey Kok, Canada, Circumnavigation of Asia, in Thailand, R1200GS, F650GS,

"The road north up the coast to Hua Hin was pretty similar to the highway the day before, busy, with many drivers going too fast for highway conditions. We came across a truck overturned on the road, and how it happened I have no idea.

Overturned truck, Thailand.

But, we made it to Hua Hin unscathed. The city was a busy place, chock-a-block with tourists and locals, tuk tuks and taxis. A huge portrait of the king greeted us on almost every street corner. The royals have been coming here for years, building summer palaces at the edge of the ocean. We rode like the locals, or at least like the scooter-riding locals, splitting lanes and heading right to the front of the pack of vehicles at stop lights. There was a countdown timer on the traffic lights: 3,2,1, go. The result was reminiscent of the start of a MotoGP race, but we usually won, having muscled our way into pole position.

Roadside statue, Thailand.

The hotel staff greeted us with a cool beverage and cold, jasmine-scented towel, always a welcome sight for dusty motorcyclists. A long, very cold swimming pool awaited us.

Elephant at the roadside, Thailand.

...At the Thai passport control office, we asked if we could take our bikes over to Burma. No. Then, the border official noticed that our visas in our passports had expired the day before. Really? The fine was 500 baht ($17) each. I tried very hard to argue our way out of it, of about how they should have given us a 30 day visa at the Malaysian border, how our motorcycles were valid for 30 days, but no luck. We paid the 1000 baht. The official also explained that for every day our visas were invalid, we would have had to pay the 500 baht. Good thing Ekke noticed the expiry date when he did. We had visions of leaving Thailand in two weeks with 14 000 baht ($484) worth of fines for invalid visas. Phew. We did check our guidebook later for what the rules are for land border crossings. While issuing 30 day visas at Thai international airports, they do just issue 15 day visas at land border crossings. Never assume that if your bikes can stay in the country for 30 days that you can, too."

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Ed. We are hoping Ekke and Audrey will be back in time to regale us with their stories at our Canwest meeting end of August - hint, hint! ;-)

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Please be sure to tell them how you heard about Ride Cambodia. Thanks!

You'll be taking on some of the finest enduro terrain in the world. With an expert team at your side you'll pass through jungles, cross the Mekong, climb mountains and stand in the shadows of the ancient temples of Angkor.

'You'll be taking on some of the finest enduro terrain in the world. With an expert team at your side you'll pass through jungles, cross the Mekong, climb mountains and stand in the shadows of the ancient temples of Angkor.'

Moritz (hellcoder), Germany, Munich to Vladivostok, in Iran, Transalp,

"It was that day when I left Semnan to drive through the Dasht-e Kavir desert.

...There is basically only one road that goes through the desert, but 3 roads lead to the beginning of that road.

Map of Iran.

Looking at this picture I think it makes sense that I decided to take the shortest one.

After riding about 40km with nothing but desert around me I reached a checkpoint. I didn't think of anything bad, so I just asked the guy if I could pass. He looked a bit surprised and asked me to write down my name and sit in his little hut. I should wait he said. After about an hour someone who looked important but couldn't speak english came by, a few phone calls and about 30 min later someone with fair english came to ask me some basic questions, who am I, where do I go, where do I come from...

Iran in the desert.

...a bit later I got an escort back to Semnan (I was not happy about that but did not really understand what was going on yet). After getting carried to many different police/military buildings around Semnan, meeting different people that got more and more unfriendly, telling my story all over again, it appeared to me that I'm in some kind of trouble. Yes I was, in the last place they brought me to (I call it the interrogation station), people got really unfriendly, all my electronics got confiscated and I had a 3 hour interrogation with 2 guys from the secret service (at least I believe they were). This was NOT nice, I got asked about every photo on my camera, 'where is this', 'who is this, name!', 'Why did you take this road?''. I told them what they wanted to know (except for other persons names), 10 times, 1 time was apparently not enough, and my answer 'This is the obvious road to take if I want to go through the desert!'' seemed not to be understood.

At some point, when I was explaining my planned route, they asked me for my Pakistan Visa. Right, that is a valid question as I should have one. And I had one, but it was in my second German Passport (under certain circumstances it's possible to get a second valid passport in Germany). The situation was tense already, I really didn't want to show them that I have a second passport. But what should I do, so I showed them. One guy freaked out completely, took my second passport and threw it into the corner of the room. He was angry, he said he has never seen such a thing before. After a bit more 'talking' he said he is gonna call my embassy and left. After some time someone came to bring me my electronics, but not that I could take them back, I should put them into a locker. I really thought I'm going to jail now, but luckily another hour later someone told me I'm free to go, and hell yeah I left as fast as I could.

The whole thing took about 8 hours! I forgot to turn on my GPS when I left, that's why there is no GPS track of the road to Damghan.

After checking a bit on the internet it seems like this road leads to one of the most sensitive military zones in Iran, where they have aerospace programs and long range missile tests. Also I've not been the first who blundered into this. The German embassy issued a warning about exactly that road and I found another motorbike traveller blogging about this. If they would put a simple sign on the beginning of this road nobody would take it, but there is none.

Interior of house in Iran.

...2 Days later in Yazd i was just writing about the incident in Semnan, a staff of the hotel pointed at me, two well dressed guys standing next to her. Hello again. All my electronics got confiscated. This time they were quite friendly and explained me 'you went through the desert, it's illegal to take pictures of the desert, we have to check everything'. They said this has nothing to do with what happened 2 days earlier. So after all, this was not so bad, I just had to stay longer as planned and all my storages (MMC's, USB's, HDD's...) got infected with viruses. But I'm a programmer, so not a big deal for me.

From here on I didn't get into problem with the police anymore, so I could fully enjoy beautiful magical Persia."

more »

Ed. Read more of Moritz' story on the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

Issa Breibish and Nita, Canada, RTW, in Italy, BMW F650GS,

"After falling asleep in the sun, we return to the cool stone of the cabin where we discover that the internet is only reachable on the toilet! Setting up an office in the loo provides some giddy laughs and plenty of adolescent jokes but, to be honest, the set-up is pretty comfortable. We send a note to Giorgio mostly out of humour but a little while later he arrives at our home with a new router which allows us to work in places other than the bathroom – but not before we get some pictures of the mobile office.

Bathroom office in Sicily.

...eventually we make it into the town and really, we could have walked – though it's all up a steep hill and since we're planning on a day in the Valle dei Templi tomorrow we're both saving our legs. The city is beautiful and, off the beaten track, are a few cafés with amazing views of the valley below. The condition of the Temple of Concordia is amazing even from this distance and provides a wonderful insight into what the views from this point would have looked like in 440 BC(!).

View of valley, Sicily.

Modern-day Agrigento is a beautifully vibrant city. The streets are filled with people of all ages, street vendors and fantastic architecture. We're starting to see the mix of cultures that people had told us about along the way – African influences on dress and food, stirred into a pot of Sicilian roots, ancient Greek struggles and Carthaginian rule. It's fantastic.

Bike parked outside, Sicily.

...On the last leg of our walk back to the hotel we find a motorcycle shop right by our hotel and are fortunate enough to meet two couples who are planning a ride to Tunisia after us. They've been a few times before and their excitement about the upcoming adventure helps ease our nerves. In fact, by the time we're done talking with them all we feel is excitement. People sharing stories and their love for travel can have a powerful effect on those willing to listen."

Streets of Palermo.

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Willi Motos - Safe, legal, long term bike storage in Uruguay!

Pete Foulkes and Jon Brookbanks, UK, RTW, in Colombia, Suzuki DRZ 400S

"Seriously, if you're planning a trip around this region at least double the amount of time you have already given yourself for Colombia. You will not regret it. The one morning we did manage to wake without too much of a painful hangover, Senorita Leyenda insisted that we visited Guantape, a unique rock formation offering some incredible views.

Guantape, Colombia.

...The hostels in Central and South America have always been good enough to find a safe place for us to park the bikes during our stay. Our hostel in Medellín was no exception and we rode the bikes in to the locked compound and parked the bikes up on the football court out the back. Despite believing that everything was fully secure, every single tool that we owned was stolen off the back of Jon's bike during our first night's stay.

It was a gutting moment when we discovered what had happened but despite there being a sign up stating that the hostel will not be responsible for any stolen goods, the Irish owner of the hostel was genuinely disappointed when he realised this had taken place from within his own hostel. He insisted that he took us out the following day and replaced absolutely everything that had been taken. He also refused to charge us for the nights we spent in his hostel. A very kind gesture that will never be forgotten.

...Reluctant to cross the border late in the afternoon, we'd agreed to aim for a town called Pasto that day and cross at first light the following morning. We'd been having a decent day. The traffic was much lighter than the previous day and the road provided some excellent views.

Bike crash in Colombia.

We were no more than 80km short of our destination when the afternoon took a nasty turn and I had a high-speed off. I can't be sure what happened during the moments before it occurred, perhaps my mind had slipped back to the girls of Medellín as it had done so many times previously that day but I found myself in a deep water ditch on the side of the road at around 60 or 70mph. As I was just about feeling like I had re-gained control again, I hit a huge concrete block which sent me and the bike flying. It was the only concrete block in sight so it was an unfortunate place for me to find myself wrestling with the ditch. It was a big old drop on the right hand side so thankfully the barrier stopped me from going any further."

more »

Ed. see their blog for the story of an incredible bike repair by a terrific mechanic in Pasto!

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. Thanks!

Ferris Wheels Motorcycle Safaris.

Ferris Wheels Motorcycle Safaris are one of the pioneers of the motorcycle tour industry. We have been taking clients professionally to the highest road in the world several times a year since 1994; over 50 times now! Other exotic destinations include Morocco, Turkey, Bhutan, South America, and the Dalmatian Coastline.

All fully-detailed itineraries can be found at where you may also find countless client accolades and many press articles endorsing our tours over the past 15 years or so, and request our free DVD!

Sara and Dan Pedersen, Canada, the Americas, in Panama, BMW F650GS,

"...we decided to go Coast to Coast and rode over to the Locks at Gatun lake and then on to the ruins of the Spanish Fortress at San Lorenzo. After a long somewhat rainy drive we arrived at the Gatun locks when a large tanker was in transit. We sat along the shore and had a lunch break while the tugs guided several ships to the canal locks. What is really cool here is once the doors are closed and the vessel is raised in the lock you can drive across the canal towards the Atlantic."

Canal crossing, Panama.

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Ed. Great pics, guys!

Heike Fania, Switzerland and Filippo Fania, Germany, Europe to Australia and beyond, in Thailand, BMW F650GS and BMW R1150GS,

"We experienced a major culture shock, when we arrived at the airport in Bangkok. After several months in third-world-countries we had the feeling that somebody had transported us right into the future. We sat in the taxi on the way from the airport to our friend Joerg's house in the city, and couldn't believe what we saw. With open mouths we sat there gaping at the skyscrapers, the illuminations, and the well-regulated traffic. All cars had doors, and even air conditioning. The next morning, when we visited the supermarket, we were completely lost – a whole aisle only for muesli, one for wine, chocolate, cheese, and so on. This selection was unbelievable!

Temples at Watarun, Thailand.

Temples at Watarun

Riding on a beach in southern Thailand.

Beach in southern Thailand

...Somehow we weren't very lucky with our motorcycles during our time in Thailand and the neighbouring countries. We had several problems and Filippo's 1150 had to return to Bangkok on a pick-up truck twice. One time, it was because of a broken Wilbers shock in Burma, and the other time the rear wheel bearing broke on the way back from Cambodia.

Bike being loaded on truck in Thailand.

Not the way you want to travel!

Also Heike's 650 now caused problems for the first time: the steering head bearings had to be replaced, and the water pump stopped working. Well, that's the price you have to pay after so many kilometres..."


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HU Events

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! People who will encourage you, share their experiences and advice on how to do it!

Also, the meetings help to make HU more than just a website - 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!

We have a record number of events this year, and registration is open for all of them! We're getting to as many of them as we can - looking forward to seeing old friends again and making new ones!

You missed them!

Jens Ruprecht hosted the 10th HU Germany Spring Meeting - May 17-20, 2013 at Ober-Liebersbach.

"Conclusion of my first HUBB meeting: Great people, great stories, learned a lot and I'll be back." Pamploniko

There are always interesting bikes at an HU meeting!

"We want to thank Jens and his fellow helpers for organizing this meeting and all the others for contributing. We had so much great input for our future travels." Lena and Arne

Bikes and the main tent, HU Germany 2013.

Jens Ruprecht demonstrates tire changing to an appreciative crowd at HU Germany 2013.

Jens explains how to change a tire!

See more pics from Pamploniko and Dominik Hellweg on the HUBB thread.

HUBB UK - May 30-June 2, 2013 - New venue at Donington Park. Sam Manicom and Iain Harper hosted this new event for overland adventure travellers including motorcyclists, cyclists and expedition vehicle drivers. A small selection of photos - see the HUBB UK event review page for more pics and comments:

A variety of vehicles at HUBB UK 2013.

They came on 2 wheels...

A variety of vehicles at HUBB UK 2013.

And 3 wheels...

A variety of vehicles at HUBB UK 2013.

And 4 wheels...

Always a warm welcome from Dee Masters at HUBB UK.

Travellers always get a warm welcome from Dee Masters

Masai dance troupe at HUBB UK 2013.

Special event - a Masai dance troupe joined us!

Lolo and Scott celebrating their honeymoon at HUBB UK 2013!

How to celebrate your honeymoon! Congrats to Scott and Lolo!

Meetings and Events still to come, 2013. Mark your calendars and sign up now!

New!Montenegro - June 27-30, 2013. Near Kolasin at a park high in the mountains! Local hosts Blazo Milic and Tonko Nisavic already have heaps of presentations, a First Aid course, technical sessions and some great rides planned in a fantastic location! Pre-registration is open now!

Tour planned for HU Montenegro travellers meeting.

Ireland - July 12-14, 2013. Enniskillen. Note the later date - hoping for summer ;-) Liam, Naomi, Jochen and the team already have a bunch of great presenters lined up, including Sam Manicom. Pre-registration is open now!

New!Colorado - July 12-14, 2013. Campfire and Ride Mini Meeting. Greg Frazier is hosting this event. Plan to RIDE! Pre-registration is open now!

North Carolina - August 8-11, 2013, Stecoah, NC. The 10th Anniversary of this meeting will be hosted by Mike Kilpatrick, assisted by Steve Anderson. Pre-registration is open now!

Camping at Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge, North Carolina.

Canada West - August 22-25, 2013. Nakusp, BC. We'll be there! Pre-registration is open now!

New!Kyrgyzstan Mini-Meeting! - August 31, 2013. No charge, but please sign up here!

Ontario Canada, September 12-15, 2013. New location on Lake Manitou near Parry Sound! We'll be there! Pre-registration is open now!

Camp Manitou dock and lake.

Australia QLD - September 26-29, 2013. Dayboro, Queensland. Shane Kuhl and Helen Black are the local hosts for the 10th Anniversary of HU meetings in Australia! We'll be there! Pre-registration is open now!

New!Australia VIC - October 11-13, 2013. Cavendish, Victoria, in the beautiful Grampian Mountains. We'll be there! Pre-registration is open now!

Grampian Mountains, Victoria, Australia.

New!Australia Perth - October 19-20, 2013. In Yanchep National Park, near Perth. We'll be there! Pre-registration is open now!

California - October 24-27, 2013, Cambria. We'll be there! Pre-registration is open now!

Argentina, Viedma - first weekend in December usually - details to come.

Thailand, January 10-11, 2014. Chiang Mai - Greg Frazier hosts this event, which is expanding to 2 days - details to come! See the HUBB post for pics from the 2013 event!


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, first aid, etc, lasting 20 minutes or more, would be great. We love people who have done trips and taken pictures to come present, but we also are interested in practical how-to sessions such as roadside cooking, navigation/GPS, trip prep and planning, adventure motorcycling medicine, packing light, setting your bike up, bodging/bike maintenance, tire repair, communications/blogging from the road, photography, videography, self-publishing your story, self-defense, safe riding techniques, picking up your bike and off-road riding. 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. And volunteering is always a great way to meet a lot of people!

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

Vendors/Traders sign up here to join us at a Meeting.

See the Events page for more details on all events.

Hope to see you there! Grin!

Grant and Susan

Brian Foster, Australia, RTW, in Turkey,

"As I neared Istanbul I caught my first glimpse of the Sea of Marmara – the large body of water that links the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. The Sea of Marmara has been the scene of some of the greatest naval battles in the entire history of human civilisation; Greeks against Persians, European crusaders against Byzantines, Ottoman Turks against anybody that came close for 500 years. It is a living textbook of history.

At the north-eastern end of the Sea of Marmara is the Bosphorus Strait that divides the old European part of Istanbul from the modern Asian part. The two parts were only linked for the first time in 1973 by the original Bogazici (Bosphorus) Bridge and then again in 1988 by the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge.

Sea of Marmara, Istanbul, Turkey.

Bogazici Bridge over the Bosphorus – Europe on the left, Asia on the right!

In an email my contact at IBMIK, Mehmet, had advised me against taking either bridge due to the nightmare traffic and suggested that I take one of the many ferries plying the crossing. But I decided against taking Mehmet's advice for a couple of reasons. Firstly, ferries involve timetables (which I dislike) and waiting around (which I dislike even more). Secondly, but more importantly, this would be a defining moment in my trip – leaving Asia and entering Europe. And I was determined to do it on two wheels NOT on a ferry."

more »

Chris and Chloe Granger, UK, Buenos Aires to Vancouver, in Belgium, F650GS DAKAR and F650GS,

"Back in Europe, we were feeling a little deflated, but that soon changed once we saw Robbie and Roxane – we chatted about our joint ventures back in Argentina, their new ventures, and our plans. Roxane performed duties as tour guide around Brussels, and by jove, what a sight! Having spent 18 months travelling between modern cities, mud huts, deprived concrete slums and old Spanish colonial, the European Medieval suddenly emerged in all its glory. The ornate carvings, stained glass windows, gold leaf over everything and twiddly little spires just oozed European opulence!

And of course we had the coffee shops, chocolate shops and the infamous mussels-and-chips with a good ol' Belgian beer!

Brussels chocolate shop.

Leaving Brussels, we then moved onto Gent where we met one of great travelling partners, Pete, formerly known as big Pete on the tiny 125 Honda. With Pete we had shared the ruins of Machu Picchu, mountain passes in the valley of the Incas, surfing in Huanchaco, ancient civilisations in Kuelap, waterfalls, insane river crossings, the driving rain and the stifling heat, as well as sharing a room for almost a month! Now, back in Belgium, Pete offered us his bed while he tried to stretch out on the sofa.

Storehouse market, Gent.

Gent store house

In our last few days while waiting for the bikes, Pete was a star. He took us on a guided tour of Bruges and amazingly knew a huge amount of its history, (knowledge retained from school trips apparently!), as well as showing us the delight of Gent's Irish Pub interior, although that was at the request of Chris who needed to watch the Six Nations."

more »

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Extreme Bike Tours India, Raasthan, Bhutan

Extreme Bike Tours - India, Rajasthan, Bhutan

Barbara Halter and Harry Jackson, Ireland, in Morocco, F800GS and R100GS,

"The Todra Gorge - When it got time to head north again towards the Atlas mountain we had the option to visit the Dades or the Todra gorge. But due to the delay caused by my bike breakdown we choose the Todra gorge.

Thursday evenings are always busy in Moroccan towns, Friday is their day of rest (like Sunday in Europe) and most men head to the mosque for their evening prayer.

The roads in Tinghir were crowded and we just got to an ATM and then out of town towards the gorge. It gets dark very quickly in North Africa, time is 2 hours behind Ireland.

So we decided to head for the nearest hotel we found on the sat nav we saw the very inviting Kasba Amazir, right beside the Todra river. An oasis of peace, with a lush garden, pool and as usual they served the traditional very delicious evening meal.

Todra River Hotel, Morocco.

It was time to check the bikes and the hotel manager came out for a chat, people are very relaxed in this part of Morocco. They also share all the tasks in the Kasba hotels, many of them have only a few rooms and not a lot of staff. Cooking, serving food and cleaning is all done mostly by men, woman work mainly in the background and not directly with the guests.

River gorge, Todra Morocco.

... finally ready we drove in to the Todra gorge and the narrow road was busy with cars, buses and 4x4s. The shallow river attracts not only visitors but also the local woman who come there to wash their clothes and carpets in the water."

more »

Ed. See Barbara and Harry's story here on Horizons Unlimited!

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Active Travel Asia offerrs a wide selection of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia adventure tours.

Andi & Ellen Delis, New Zealand, Alaska to Ushuaia, in Guatemala,

"Fuentes Georginas is a neat hot pool centre sitting at about 2800 metres up in the cloud and fog line.

Time to break out the moto and take a 16 km ride, out of town was hard work as most centros are but once out of town and up to the access road that was as wide as one car in places it was neat fun.

Road to hot springs, Fuentes Georginas, Guatemala.

Road to hot springs

The hot pools (Aqua Caliente) are in an amazing setting, the first pool at the top is a little too hot to start with and you have to get in quietly and can only stay in for a short while.

Hot springs, Xela, Guatemala.

The next pool down is very comfy and can turn you into a prune cos you realize how long you have been sitting in there, then there is a kids pool which is shallow.

Lightning storm over Xela, Guatemala.

Wednesday night we were treated to a lightning storm, we were about 15 minutes late back to the casa to catch the storm on top of Xela but it did provide some neat backdrops again the mountains. Muy bonito (very beautiful)."

more »

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Quality travel insurance by bikers for bikers, single trip, annual, longstay, Europe, worldwide.

Ian Moor, UK, Wrong Way Round The World, in New Zealand, BMW F650GS,

"Arthur's Pass is the main route over New Zealand's Southern Alps between Christchurch on the east coast and Greymouth in the west. The road rises to an altitude of 920 metres (3000 feet) before dropping into Arthur's Pass Village then back to sea level on the west coast.

Arthur's Pass, New Zealand.

I left Christchurch having plotted a route that took in two gravel road detours and with no particular destination in mind for somewhere to stay that night headed for the hills. Accommodation is easily found, for me that means a campsite or occasionally a hostel. The route out of Christchurch was interrupted by a number of diversions around closed roads that were being repaired following the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. The severe structural damage to Christchurch looks like it will take many more years to repair.

...Approaching the end of my trip around New Zealand I started looking into selling the Honda CBR 250R motorcycle I had bought in Auckland three months earlier. The first place I tried was the Honda dealer in Invercargill but discovered that there was very little demand for road bikes in the area. The dealer estimated that 90% of their turnover was in motorbikes and quad bikes for farm use, another 6% was for motocross bikes, leaving a mere 4% of bikes sold for the road. The dealer recommended that I tried selling the bike somewhere 'further north', advice I couldn't help but follow as there was nowhere further south in New Zealand to go!

Burt Munro's Shed, New Zealand.

Burt Munro's Shed Interior With His 'Offerings To The God Of Speed', His Collection Of Blown Engine Parts

...Baldwin Street in Dunedin claims to be the steepest residential street in the world. With an average slope of over 1:5 and a scary 1:2.86 on the steepest section it does look pretty awesome. Before I got there I thought I would potter up in first gear but once I saw the hill I wasn't sure the engine would have enough torque so I took a hard run at it in third. The street ends at a tee junction and there isn't much space for braking once you get to the top. I overtook the postman on the way up who was walking up carrying his bag of mail. Does he have to do that every day? If so I guess the round keeps him fit."

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, New Zealand.

more »

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

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'Giant Loop - Performance Off-Road Motorcycle Luggage.

Gene and Neda, 'Lightcycle' from Toronto, RTW, in Colombia, R1200GS and F800GS,

"On the second day of travel, most of the passengers emerged from the hold of the ship feeling human again. We were landlubbers no more, and greedily shoveled down the hearty Stahlratte breakfast laid out on the top deck. For some of us, it was the first real meal we ate in over 24 hours!

Bike offloading in Colombia.

Our newfound sea legs were not going to be put to use, as the skyline of Cartagena emerged on the horizon in the early afternoon. South America beckoned to us! For most of the passengers it was the first time on this continent. The Stahlratte anchored down a few hundred meters away from the shores of Manga Island, where the Aduana offices were located. Because it was expensive to rent a commercial pier to off load the bikes, we used a small public pier and dinghied the bikes to shore. It was a wild process to get the bikes on land and it's a testament to the crew's experience that we timed the off load to coincide with high tide as you can see in the video.

Heading out of Cartagena, Colombia.

...After a few days in Cartagena, the Stahlratte Motorcycle Club decided to split ways. One group was heading to the north to the beaches of Santa Marta, while another was headed south to Medellín. We rode with them out of the city, 8 adventure bikes zipping in and out of Colombian traffic, the Caribbean Sea blowing warm air on our already hot and humid group ride."

more »

Ed. See Gene and Nada's story and great pics on the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!
HU Presents...

Achievable Dream and Road Heroes DVDs!

As a thank you to our loyal e-zine subscribers, we are giving a 15% discount on any Store order over $20. The discount code (enter when you checkout) is 'ezspec' (case is unimportant).

Road Heroes - Motorcycle Adventure Travel Tales - Part 1.Road Heroes - Motorcycle Adventure Travel Tales, features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (Challenges of travelling to 193 countries 2-up on a Harley Electra-Glide), Dr. Gregory Frazier (5 times RTW on a variety of bikes), Tiffany Coates (RTW traveller recounts her Mongolia Mayhem) and Rene Cormier (5 years in the University of Gravel Roads). Not to be missed!

If you've been inspired by the stories you've read in this e-zine and are keen to get on the road yourself, the Achievable Dream is the definitive 'How To' series on long-distance motorcycle travel.

This insanely ambitious 2-year project has produced an informative and entertaining 5-part, 18 hour DVD series: "The ultimate round the world rider's how-to DVD!" MCN UK.

The Achievable Dream Series - the Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide!

The series features interviews with veteran travellers, such as Ted Simon, Austin Vince, Greg Frazier, Lois book., Chris and Erin Ratay, Peter and Kay Forwood, Tiffany Coates, Sam Manicom, and many others. Over 150 contributors from all over the world tell their fantastic and entertaining stories, sharing their hard-earned knowledge from amazing motorcycle trips to every country on earth. Includes thousands of great photos, video clips, presentations and demos by experts.

The series was filmed in broadcast quality wide screen, with multiple cameras and custom written music. Filming took place at Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers meetings and on location in the USA, Canada, UK, Switzerland, Spain, Germany and the South Pacific.

Achievable Dream Collectors Box Set - 5 Motorcycle Adventure Travel DVDs!The 'Collectors Box Set' is also available - all 5 DVDs (18 hours of informative and entertaining content!) in a custom box at a gift price of $139.00. "The series is 'free' because the tips and advice will save much more than you spend on buying the DVD's."

After selling over 6,000 DVDs, we're pretty confident you'll like them. If you're not completely happy with them, just let us know within 30 days of purchase for a full refund or exchange. And you don't even have to send them back!

If by some chance you've never heard of the Achievable Dream and Road Heroes DVDs, you can see the trailers and read the comments for all the DVDs here.

Jeffrey Polnaja, Indonesia, RTW for Peace, in Vancouver,

"Jeffrey Polnaja spoke to a crowd of about 100 Canadian motorcyclists at the most recent 'Horizons Unlimited Adventure Evening' held at the Holeshot Motorsport in Langley, BC. Jeffrey reveals the journey of Ride for Peace (RFP) is being lived today.

Jeffrey Polnaja at the HU Adventure Evening in Langley, Canada.

On the occasion, Jeffrey was the only adventurer rider from Asia who has appeared on the show. 'It's good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end,' said the man who is familiarly called Kang JJ."

more »

Ed. Jeffrey dropped in for lunch with us and Kevin and Karen Browne and David Barrett before heading to Alaska to continue his journey. Safe travels all!
Tortillas to Totems

by Sam Manicom
Tortillas to Totems by Sam Manicom.

The latest Adventure Motorcycle travel book by the legendary Sam Manicom
Motorcycling the magnificent landscapes of Mexico, the USA and Canada. 'Sidetracked by the Unexpected'

'One of the World's leading Motorcycle Authors' - Motorcycle Sport and Leisure
'Sam's descriptions are in Technicolor.' - The Riders Digest
'Inspirational reading.' - World of BMW
'Superbly entertaining travel writing.' - BM Riders Club
'Few travel writers can conjure up sights and smells so provocatively as Sam.' - Daily Record - Scotland

Signed copies available directly from the Author here.
Order your copy now! Be sure to tell Sam where you heard about him!

Weronika (LadyCruiser), Poland, across Europe, Suzuki VanVan

"Yesterday I crossed German border. This country welcomed me with wind, rain, hail and storm! Not bad. And in the evening I couldn't find accommodation. All hostels were booked. I was tired, exhausted and wet. For the first time I've had enough of riding. No! I was fed up with it! But thanks to one lady I found a warm bed in another city.

Weronika, Lady Cruiser.

Next day I wake up at dawn, according to the rules of the pilgrims house... I jump on a motorcycle at 9:00. Before starting the engine I looked at the sky and I asked myself would it be gracious to me today? I decide to take a chance and I didn't put on a rain suit and shoe protectors.

As soon as I go out from the hostel I saw dark clouds ahead and my comment was brief: 'oh shit Shogun... again!?' Fortunately after a while GPS showed me the road into the sun, which shone only for the first 30km then I begun to struggle with temperature, which was 5C (as it seems to me, 'in the sun', which have been overshadowed by the clouds... wet asphalt, moisture in the woods that I passed made it feel like I rode in the frost.)

After every 60km I tried to make a short stop at a petrol station, to drink something hot. At some point after 90km (losing hope for the station) I stopped in shares of desperation at the roadside bar I asked for tea, lady nods in the negative way, but then she proposed: 'maybe soup?'. I chose goulash, as this looked the most 'human' dish in this place... just to warm up.

Lady Cruiser in Berlin.

And so from stop to stop I reached Berlin! When I saw in a front of me the Brandenburg Gate on my face again appeared a smile, because I recall why I decided to make this trip... not for an 'exclusive' all-inclusive vacation with 'guaranteed' weather."

more »

Ed. See Weronika's great story and pics in the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

Alex (AnjinSan), Romania, across Americas, in Argentina, Suzuki SV650,

"...Before reaching Buenos Aires we spent two nights in random but interesting places. First one, a resort by the Atlantic Ocean (I always loved the resorts off season) with colored buildings and interesting messages.

Near Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The other one was Azul, a small city 300 kilometers away from Buenos Aires, in a place called 'La Posta de viajero'. People there own motorcycles and are passionate about motorcycle travel so they decided to offer a place to camp for the other travelers. And now it's not just a place to camp in a yard full of rabbits. It is so much more.

You find good advice, someone to listen, tools if you need to make any repairs and there is a big chance to meet other fellow travelers. There is no price list or bookings, everything is based on donations. There is a box where you leave as much as you want if you want and if you can. Jorge, the owner, convinced us to stay one more day, what was the hurry anyway? Why hurry to get to a big city when you can camp and get visitors like this!"

Rabbit visitor to camp, Argentina.

more »

Ed. See Alex's story and great pics on the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

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Motocare Motorcycle Rental.  Motorcycle Rental, hiring Honda's Transalp for touring Argentina and Chile.

Motocare 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

Sean Patrick Dillon, Ireland, Alaska to Argentina, in Tierra del Fuego, Honda Cub,

"After 1 year and 7 months, some 578 days and 27,134 miles/43,414 km I have reached my final destination: the southernmost tip of Argentina in Tierra del Fuego.

Mission Accomplished.

...Though without doubt the biggest decision I have faced on the trip was to undertake the trip itself – to give up my position of comfort to pursue something of unknown consequence, but throughout my trip I have felt the guidance of something greater and this has been borne out in sympathy with the famous quote attributed to Goethe:

'The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.'"

more »

Ed. Congrats Sean - well done you!

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Touratech - Touring Rallye Racing Equipment.

Become an HU Member

Become a Horizons Unlimited Contributing Member or Gold Member!

To help with the cost of creating and distributing the newsletter and running and maintaining a huge website and forum, which has been a full time job for Grant for ten years, Susan for almost 4 years, plus occasional part time assistants, we gratefully accept contributions via PayPal, credit card, and cheque.

Finances have been especially tight this year, so we are grateful 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 of becoming a Horizons Unlimited Contributing Member or Gold Member!

Become an HU Contributing Member!

Check (or cheque ;-)

$20 Contributing Membership Payment:
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Your choice of amount Payment:

All contributions will be acknowledged and appreciated.

Please Support our Advertisers

Our advertisers and sponsors help 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, please start your purchase 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.

More ways to support your favourite website!

Thanks, Grant and Susan

Support Horizons Unlimited - check out the HU Store for DVD's, map stickers, calendars, t-shirts and more!
As a thank you to our loyal e-zine subscribers, we are giving a 15% discount on any Store order over $20. The discount code (enter when you checkout) is 'ezspec' (case is unimportant).

Road Heroes - Part 1. Baby doll T-shirt - front. HU Mug. 2013 Horizons Unlimited Calendar. Pannier map.

Muchas Gracias! Grant and Susan

Home again, or off the road temporarily...

Troy from Texas, Tejas a la Tierra, home again,

"After a couple of days in Houston, it was time to hit the road once again for my final ride to my home in Austin. I decided to not take the most direct route along the interstate highway, but instead opted to take the alternate route that would take me along some of the back roads through central Texas. I headed down highway 90.

Texas oil rig.

And yes, we have oil in Texas. This oil pump just happened to be decorated as a see saw with kids on top.

...Finally I arrived at my home in Austin, Texas.

Home again, what an adventure!

27,549.6 miles or 44,336.8 km... 14 months... 16 countries... 3 continents... what an adventure!"

more »

Ed. Fantastic pics, videos and stories from Troy on the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

Nacho Vaca Arenaza, France, RTW, in Argentina,

"I'm on a break. After a gruelling 14-hour day, I arrived to my parents' apartment in Buenos Aires and I've been resting ever since, gathering energies for the next part of my voyage: riding all the way to North America (voluntary vagueness here, don't know if I'll end in Southern Mexico or in Eastern Canada)."

Cafayate, Argentina.

more »

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Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

Ionut Florea and Ana Hogas spoke at a local TED conference in Bucharest about their travels...

"Vagabond architects@TEDxBucharest 2012 - 18 emotional minutes and 3 stories from our journey around Africa. Cheers for watching and sharing that with others who might find inspiration in this for their own projects.

Ionut and Ana at TED Conference in Bucharest.

Note from Ana: up on the stage, blinded by the lights, I lost contact with the audience and froze a little. Normally I am not as bitchy and arrogant as in this video, sorry people, I had stage fright :) Talking about how fear? should not stop us pursue our objectives was liberating..."

more »

Ed. Fantastic pics, videos and stories from Ionut and Ana on the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

Looking for a travel book for someone special?

Here's a few of our favorite picks! Check out our Books pages, where we have listed hundreds of the best motorcycle travel books, as well as overland travel stories, BMW 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!

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

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

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

Lois' 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.'

American Borders - A Motorcycle Misadventures Journey

American Borders
A comedy of breakdowns...

by Carla King

Excellent! Well-written - Carla's easy and engaging style sucks you in to the adventure and keeps you going right to the end. Highly Recommended - Grant

Obsessions Die Hard

Obsessions Die Hard:
Motorcycling the Pan American Highway's Jungle Gap...

by Ed Culberson

"For the die-hard motorcycling adventurer... both a riveting adventure story and a practical guide to this exotic and dangerous sport." 

Into Africa

Into Africa:
Channel Islands to Cape Town by Motorcycle

by Sam Manicom

"Whether he's thrust into a brutal jail cell in Tanzania, being shot at, or knocked unconscious in the Namibian desert, this eye-opening tale catapults you into Africa. He lives in a remote village, escapes a bush fire and climbs a mountain. This is a captivating book."


Old Man on a Bike

Old Man on a Bike: A Septuagenarian Odyssey
by Simon Gandolfi

"Outrageously irresponsible and undeniably liberating, Gandolfi's travels will fire the imaginations of every traveller, young or old."

Tea with Bin Ladens Brother, by Simon Roberts.

Tea with Bin Laden's Brother
by Simon Roberts

"Evocative, honest and inspiring, it's all brightened up by a great design and amusing comic book graphics which all help set Simon's book above the average motorcycling travelogue". Chris Scott

Mi Moto Fidel

Mi Moto Fidel:
Motorcycling Through Castro's Cuba

by Chris Baker

"A unique, exhilarating solo adventure into Cuba astride a cherry-red, 1000cc BMW Paris-Dakar motorcycle."

Motorcycle Adventurer

Motorcycle Adventurer - Carl Stearns Clancy
by Greg Frazier

"The longest, most difficult, and most perilous motorcycle journey ever attempted." In 1912, there were no GPSs, ATMs, Internet, and often no gas, roads or motorcycle repair shops...

One Man Caravan

One Man Caravan
by Robert Fulton Jr.

RTW in 1932! Grant: "A terrific book, right at the top of the list. Recommended."

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.

The Road to Getting Yourself Out of the Way

The Road to Getting Yourself Out of the Way
by Annette Birkmann

The book is about the author's solo motorcycle journey through Latin America and her search for an effortless approach to living. It describes the lessons she learned living her dream and her realization that in every experience there was something familiar: herself.

The University of Gravel Roads

The University of Gravel Roads
by Rene Cormier

Rene runs out of money half way through the tour and ultimately takes five years to cover his 41-country, 154,000-kilometre route. The ride of a lifetime, the old-fashioned way; no sponsors, no support vehicles, and no idea about what he is going to learn along the way.

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 we'll put it on the site.

Photo Contest

Update on Contest dates - Please note!

In the past we have used Cafe Press to print calendars on demand. However that is quite expensive for the buyer, and there is very little profit to share with the photographers! :-(

We were approached by Octane Press, a company with a large distribution network, who are (rightly!) impressed by our calendar photos. They have offered us an opportunity to produce a bigger, better calendar at a lower price, with worldwide distribution and potentially a larger profit to share with the photographers.

The catch is the timing - in order to have calendars printed well before the peak autumn sale season, for the 2014 calendar, the deadline was early May! So, the calendar producer has selected 12 winners from previous years to produce a 'best of' calendar for 2014, and those photographers will share the profits from the 2014 calendar sales.

What about this year's contest? We've decided to extend the entry deadline to Jan 31, 2014, which will allow enough time to properly put the 2015 calendar together. Prizes are unchanged, just the time frame for calendar royalties will obviously be later.

2013 Photo Contest is now on! You can still get the 2013 Calendar here!

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.

Grand Prize is a South America Tour with Compass Expeditions!

Compass Expeditions - trips of a lifetime!

Dec 2014 to Jan 2015 - This wonderful 9 day tour by Compass Expeditions explores the scenic wonderland of the famous Chilean Lakes District, the frontier lands of Chiloe Island and the epic riding experienced as you cross the Andes and ride into Argentina. As with all Compass Expeditions rides the lucky winner will be aboard a BMW F650GS Twin. Approximate Value at time of writing: $3990. You are responsible for your transport to the start point of the Tour. Airfares and transport are NOT included.

First Prize is a Progressive Suspension Makeover, approx value US$650. (This prize is ONLY for winners in the USA and Canada.)
(The shock is available for popular models only, not all. Winner is responsible for any customs and duties payable. Progressive Suspension is awarded rights to use the Photo in promotion and advertising).

PSi - 465 Series Shock

The new Progressive Suspension PSi - 465 Series Shock

ALSO: The best 13 photos will be used in the 2015 calendar, and those photographers will share equally in half the proceeds. All Winners will also get a free calendar, and 1 year Gold Member status on the HUBB! Your photos could also be in an HU DVD!

To enter the 2013 contest, start here! Ends January 31, 2014!

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.

Traveller's Community News

New Communities:

We've now reached an amazing 752 Communities in 114 Countries as of April 22, 2013! A big thanks to all those who took the first step and established the Community in their area.

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.

Remember that although some HU communities are very small, many others are large and could be more active in getting together for rides (even just to the pub!) or other activities. It's a great way to meet other travellers in your area - who knows, you could meet your next travel partner! All you need is for someone to suggest a place and time, kick it around a bit and make it happen. If there aren't any HU Travellers Meetings in your area, perhaps it's time there was one? A Community could do a Mini-Meeting, (just a get-together in someone's backyard or at a restaurant), or a full meeting! Let us know about it and we'll help promote it :)

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.

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!

Final Thoughts.

Grant and Susan at Ripley 2011 by Dan Walsh.

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 its wonderful people.

See you on the road!

Grant and Susan Johnson
Inspiring, informing and connecting travellers since 1997

Subscriptions, Privacy and Administrivia

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Reader comments

All comments and suggestions are carefully read, and where possible will be acted on. Your help will make this a useful service for all travellers.

Please use the Bulletin Board for questions and suggestions.


If you would like to advertise your product or service in this newsletter or on the website, please contact me. Ad rates are very reasonable.

ISSN 1703-1397 Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' E-zine - All text and photographs are copyright Grant and Susan Johnson, 1987-2013, or their respective authors. 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!

Every newsletter is permanently archived online. Back issues here.

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.


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Thinking about traveling? Not sure about the whole thing? Watch the HU Achievable Dream Video Trailers and then get ALL the information you need to get inspired and learn how to travel anywhere in the world!

Have YOU ever wondered who has ridden around the world? We did too - and now here's the list of Circumnavigators!
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