Motorcycle Travellers' News Report - December 2014, 102nd Edition

Are you a TRAVELLER? Are you interested in taking the 'polar plunge' in Antarctica, the first 'guide-less' traverse of China, the original Trojan Horse, power barfing camels, ungrateful turtles, the hippie place in Patagonia, volcanoes and stinky birds in Ecuador... and much more? Then you're reading the right newsletter!

Introduction to this issue.

Welcome to the 102nd Edition of the overland travellers' e-zine! We hope everyone has had a wonderful, relaxing holiday. We have enjoyed the quiet time with our family and friends. We wish you all a happy, healthy and adventurous year ahead, and hope this e-zine will provide some inspiration for your next trip!

It has been a long time and many, many, many events since our last issue, when we were about to leave for Europe. We had a great time riding to the Touratech European travel events and the BMW Motorrad Days, plus HU Germany and HUBB UK of course.

We flew home in early July, and it seemed like no time to catch up with ourselves before we were heading off again! We actually got to ride through all the BC mountain passes from the coast to Nakusp for our CanWest meeting on our 'new' 2007 1200 GSA from our good friends at Touratech.
Happy travellers!

Grant and Susan with the GSA 1200 - thanks Touratech!

Grant and Susan with the GSA 1200 - thanks Touratech!

From September through November it was airplanes and rental cars - Ontario, California, Queensland, Perth, Victoria and NSW before flying to our first event in South Africa and then home in late November. We enjoyed all the events immensely, catching up with old friends and making new ones, and we even got to do a game drive in South Africa, but we were very tired little puppies by the time we got home, and confronted all the tasks that had been put on hold while we were travelling.

We know many folks think we are 'living the dream', but we'd really like to be doing more actual travelling and less flying and driving! Stay tuned... now we have a bike, we're making a plan - and you can help!

What's happening in 2015? Never let it be said that we're slackers - we've added more events! We're going to start travelling in February and not stop until December! Here's where Grant and Susan will be in the next few months:

Feb 20-21 - India Bike Week - we've been invited as guests and speakers to this major event in Goa. We'll escape the Canadian winter for a couple of weeks, and hope to meet some new friends during our first visit to India!

April 9-12 - Virginia - Steve Anderson is organizing our first meeting in Virginia near historic Appomattox in a great new lakeside facility.

May 13-16 - HUMM Morocco - After a hiatus of several years since we ran this event in the Spanish Pyrenees, we're partnering with Patrick Trahan (ex-Dahar rider) and Hana Ptackova of MotoAdventours to bring back the fun in the mid-Atlas mountains of Morocco! The HUMM trailer will explain it faster than I can. We are really excited about this, and it will actually be our first time in Morocco! We hope you can join us for a great intro to Morocco and fantastic riding.

Many more events from June through November - see list below. Most events are open for registration already, and early bird rates apply. We'll get to as many as we can, and we hope to see you at one of the events, but whether we're there or not our local organisers are all fantastic folks and they welcome all travellers, so do come along and meet your tribe!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.What else is coming up? The HU Photo Contest is closing at the end of Jan, so get your entries in soon - details below!

We have almost sold out of the 2015 HU Calendar, so thanks very much and we're sure you'll enjoy the great pics! If you haven't yet got yours, head on over to the HU Store and pick one up before they're all gone!

Where are our intrepid travellers this month?

We've got great stories from Antarctica, China, Russia, Swaziland, India, Peru, Turkey, Venezuela, El Salvador, Norway, Mongolia, Guatemala, France, Patagonia, Italy, Ecuador and Namibia!

...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!

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

Lisa Morris and Jason Spafford, UK, Argentina to Alaska, in Antarctica, BMW F650GS and F800GS,

"Sturdy, hardened to Mother Nature's ferocity and outwardly up-to-the-job, first impressions of our Yugoslavian-built seafaring vessel told me we'd be in capable hands. After an excited embarkation on the 'Sea Adventurer', I surveyed the scene aboard 100 metres of promenade-lined and plush surroundings: A gourmet dining room, library, personalised cabin service and a spacious lounge complete with an impressive coffee and cookie station. Punctuated mind you by a succession of sick bags, tucked into the ship's hand rails ubiquitously on every deck.

Lisa Morris and Jason Spafford with bikes.

...We set sail from the Beagle Channel leaving behind us views of the fjords past Puerto Williams, pushing ever south. Into the legendary Drake Passage we ventured, named after the pioneering Sir Francis himself. With a swarm of wandering, black-browed and light mantled sooty albatross catching the updraft of our ship – dominating the scene in and around a cluster of cape petrels – I had to pinch myself we were really doing this. We were bound for the Antarctic! The last place on the Earth. The thought alone nearly knocked me sideways – grateful that the gentle boat sway didn't.

The Antarctic is a generic term for the Southern Polar region, everything south of latitude 66.5 degrees whereas Antarctica refers to the continental land mass in that region. Conceivably, Antarctica is home to 90 per cent of the world's ice – the largest single piece of ice on Earth that's up to 19 million square kilometres – and 70 per cent of all fresh water.

Kayaking in Antarctica.

Time for reflection: Just kayaking off Antarctica, no big deal.

...Half Moon Island featured next on the itinerary; another supreme site for sea-kayaking. A prime location for penguins to amble across pebbled beaches too, beavering away at the construction of their homes. While whales occasionally spy-hopped, meaning they would poke out of the water 'nose up' for a stealthy peek at their prey, Antarctic terns dive-bombed for a quick bite to eat. The mountainside was a frozen region of towering ice with steep, jagged peaks. Some shed cold tears as they trickled down the ice face while my fingers marched a slow exploration of the sea ice, bobbing alongside us; exquisitely scalloped all over where waves and wind had intervened and left their design of existence. An audible and continuous 'snap, crackle and pop' diverted my attention away from anything else. I paused to take in the beauty of a world engulfed in crystal. Everything reflected light and contributed to the heightened brilliance of the late afternoon. I will sorely miss this place.

...Making it to Petermann Island was a sight to behold. Having taken its name from a German geographer and supporter of polar exploration, the island is home to 300 breeding pairs of Adélies and the most southerly colony of gentoos in Antarctica at around 2,000 breeding pairs. That's a pungent amount of penguin poop.

Gentoo penguins in Antarctica.

A busy colony of gentoos bustling about in the bay

...If the glacial temperatures of the Antarctic weren't quite racy enough for you, the staff offered a 'Polar Plunge'. Whether donning your bikini, budgie-smugglers or bathers, the idea of voluntarily jumping in for a head-to-toe dip seemed to hit a new level of crazy. My thought process rapidly established some mental balance: Tempting... but no. The 'before' and 'after' expressions were priceless on the 35 folks that opted in. Comedy gold mingled with just a hint of Schadenfreude – guys, you had my full respect. I felt only a tenth of their pain when volunteering to become an 'intentional swimmer', albeit in a dry suit. A mentalist I am not. In water less than one degree, I fully submerged and laughed hysterically in the watery process. Should've gone the whole hog!"

Lisa Morris dip in Antarctica.

Going for a dip in water less than one degree…that's going to be nippy on the knockers!

more »

Ed. Read more of Lisa and Jason's Antarctic adventures and fantastic pics on their blog!

Laura Pattara, Australia, in China,

"...some exciting news with you which could, potentially, revolutionise the overlanding route from Europe to Oceania. Myself and two fellow motorbikers (my hubby & a friend) have just successfully concluded a 2-month GUIDE-LESS traverse of China, from Kyrgyzstan to Laos.

Xinjiang province, China.

Xinjinag: straight & flat for over 1,500 kms

From everything we gathered, this is the first LEGAL self-ride and guide-less tour of China. It took us 18 months to organize, and over a year to find an agent willing to hear us out. The law changed in China in 2013 making it perfectly legal for foreign overlanders to drive unaccompanied... yet finding an agent willing to accept and 'test' this was the hardest thing we've ever done!

Laura Pattara posing with locals in China.

Posing for pics with the locals

But we did it, and the agent is so pleased that all worked out well that he is willing to start offering this service to anyone interested in crossing China.

If you're interested have a quick read of my latest post, where I detail all.

...Be prepared for last minute changes/restrictions/conditions etc. The fact that China is essentially a conglomerate of different laws means that no two country crossings will ever be the same. YOUR situation, YOUR price and YOUR restrictions will very much depend on where you enter China, where you want to go and where you wish to exit. It will also depend on what is happening at the time in the provinces you wish to cross.

I'll give you our example: we wanted to cross into China from Kyrgyzstan and exit into Laos. We wished to take the southern route, along the Tibetan Plateau and well away from all major cities. Due to the ethnic tensions in Xinjiang just a few weeks prior to our entry, the local authorities were quite strict. We had to be at a specific border crossing on a specific date, meet a specific fixer there, and exit the province of Xinjiang again on a specific date at a specific provincial border post. It made no sense, really, but it mattered not: these were the conditions imposed upon us when we put in our application through Ricard, and that's what we had to do. If you happen to get a different person processing your application, then you may get a different set of rules (and price!) to adhere to. That's China. No hard and set rules for all; just whatever the guy who processes your application feels he needs to do.

Laura Pattara and friends with new Chinese driver's licences and plates.

Michael (1st left), Chris (tallest) and I (shortest!) with a group of foreign overlanders in Kashgar…and our shiny new Chinese driver's licences & plates!

No matter what, understand that things can change at the last minute (for whatever reason) and you will just have to adapt."

more »

Seb and Kim Leeson, Belgium, Americas, Honda CB 1100s,

"We drove Peanut all the way east again towards the point where we started this trip, Halifax (Canada). We had been talking a lot the last few weeks and we had both come to the conclusion that we wanted to be on the motorbikes again, so we did the most illogical thing we could think of…

We shipped Peanut back to Belgium, we bought two Honda CB 1100 retro bikes and we are prepping them as we speak to fly them from Europe to Los Angeles to start the second stretch of our America's trip. A Honda CB some of you will think, that's not a proper adventure bike?! Well yes, we want to do something a bit more special on a one of a kind bike that once ruled the world of motorcycles!

Seb and Kim Leeson, all dressed up and ready to ride!

The bikes will be flown over to Los Angeles somewhere the second week of December by James Cargo services, another one of our partners. We just have to drop off the bikes and the keys and they will do the rest so we don't have any stress before we start, great service!

On the 7th of December we will fly from London to Los Angeles to start another epic adventure on our bikes and we will make our way further south, direction of Argentina!"

more »

Ed. Good on ya, guys - get back on your bikes! See Kim's great pic in the Horizons Unlimited 2015 Calendar!

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

James Cargo - Motorcycle Shipping Experts!

James Cargo is an international freight shipper specialising in International Bike / Motorcycle Shipping and more. All countries, sea or air, multi-bike shipments, containers to USA from the UK and back for events like Sturgis and more.
Be sure to mention Horizons Unlimited for the best service!

Sara and Dan Pedersen, Canada, the Americas, in El Salvador, BMW F650GS,

"...We braved a visit to the 'dangerous' Centro. Here we visited the architecturally interesting Iglesia El Rosario, which is on the Plaza Libertad. This is the most interesting Church we have seen in Latin America. It was was created in 1971 by artist and architect Rubén Martinez. The exterior looks like a derelict airplane hangar from the old Soviet Union.

Iglesia El Rosario, San Salvador.

Inside there are no columns and only 3-4 electric bulbs. The walls are slatted concrete which both allow light and air flow inside. Embedding hunks of colored glass into the concrete walls and ceiling have created stained glass windows. On one wall it creates a large 'eye' looking down on the congregation. The Stations of the Cross are depicted in abstract sculptures created by Martinez in carved stone, wrought iron and re-bar. During the war it was the site of a huge murder of student protestors and you can still see the bullet holes peppering the facade."

Iglesia El Rosario interior.

more »

Ed. See more great stories and fantastic pics from Sara and Dan in their post on the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

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

Ride in Tours is a motorcycle tours and rental company in France, we offer Guided or self-guided tours as well as rental and sell and buyback.

Ride in Tours is a motorcycle tours and rental company in France, we offer Guided or self-guided tours as well as rental and sell and buyback.

Mark and Lori, Canada, RTW, in the USA, Honda ST1300,

"...We were both sick of Vegas by the time we hit the road again, and when we rolled into El Centro later that day, I was literally feeling sick. We decided to stay put and booked into a motel for a few days hoping I'd feel better. I had an ear ache and my head felt like it wanted to explode, both of which only seemed to get worse. Unfortunately my ear was bad enough that simply putting on my helmet was painful so riding anywhere far was out of the question. Our next stop was supposed to be Mexico but neither one of us wanted to go anywhere till this was sorted.

Mark and Lori in Hollywood.

A visit to the local ER confirmed I had a bad case of allergies? Seriously? Allergies? Apparently allergies were the cause of some fluid building up behind my ear, which in turn caused an ear infection. Some Claritin and anti-biotic ear drops and I'd be right as rain. A few more days in El Centro it is then. What can I tell you about El Centro? It's the largest city in North America below sea level. It did also have a decent restaurant, Burgers & Beer, which was within walking distance and served up some surprisingly great food. Sadly those two highlights weren't enough to put it on the list of places to visit again. It's also incredibly dry here…how dry was it? In the time it took us to walk from the store to the motel, the grapes we bought had turned into raisins. You were lucky to actually feel water hitting your face when you turned on the shower, most of it would simply evaporate before it got to you. It was dry!

Outdoor market in LA.

We stopped by at an outdoor market, sure was perdy!

We had initially planned on heading down the Baja coast but after spending a lot more time than planned in California and with our 6 day stop in El Centro, we made the decision to skip Baja all together and ride straight to mainland Mexico. Because of this, Lori suggested we ride a bit further east before crossing the border. With that, we finally managed to leave California... again.

With a few last minute items to take care of before entering Mexico, we landed in Tucson for a couple of nights over Thanksgiving. Thanks to a mystery hotel grab via Priceline for $39/night, we ended up at the very lovely Hampton Inn. Nice! For dinner, we walked across the road to the R & R Grill. Real turkey, mashed potato, stuffing, gravy and cranberry jelly, about as close as we could get to a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner.

Next stop…Mexico. GULP!"

more »

Ed. Mexico is really not that scary, guys! Just keep smiling and you'll be fine! See Steve and Janette below.

Steve and Janette Douglas, UK, RTW, in Mexico, Triumph Tiger 800,

"Before we knew it we'd ridden past all the guards, over the traffic calming measures, past customs and ridden straight into Mexico, without showing anyone our passport or bike documents! Knowing the formalities that we should have completed we knew this couldn't be right and it seemed almost comical that we'd managed to do so and I'm still amazed that we weren't challenged at all. The easiest and quickest border crossing in history. OK, so now we're in the middle of a bustling border town in Mexico with no official paperwork. Only one thing for it, Janette walked back to the border crossing to find someone to speak to and was told to park up and return on foot to the white building behind us to sort the documents. Taking turns to watch the bike and our stuff and armed with all the appropriate paperwork we quickly arranged and paid for our tourist visas and do the Temporary Import for the Bike. It was a little confusing but the staff clearly knew what they were doing and one of them spoke English which helped a lot. After about 45 minutes we had all the documents we needed and passports stamped so were able to hit the road.

Janette and Steve Douglas with Tigger.Janette and Steve Douglas.

The main carretera 2 (road) we were following had miles of construction work. The diversions are hastily prepared dirt 'tracks', sometimes watered to keep the dust down, and we tested Tigger's new boots taking him onto these often very muddy sections. This really slowed progress and it was beginning to get dark when we reached the first town where we had intended to stop for the night. Unfortunately the town did not have a bank and you often can't buy food or pay for a hotel on a card and we had to move on. One of our unwritten rules is don't ride at night and here we were, day one in Mexico, breaking that rule as we rode on to Magdalena de Kino where we able to check into a modern motel that took cards. There were also a number of banks/ATM's in town where we finally got some Mexican Pesos.

Magdalena de Kino Hotel.

Due to Dave overfeeding us in Tucson, we didn't need to go out for many meals, but Janette was starting to get the feeling that being a vegetarian in Mexico was not going to be quite as easy as we had thought as pretty much everything had meat or fish and restaurant owners look at you blankly and eventually come up with 'ensalada' (salad) when asked if they have vegetarian food.

...Our next stop was Bahia de Kino Viejo – the old fishing town not the new part with RV parks for the snowbirds from Canada and USA. The Hotel Hacienda owned by John, a Californian expat, was our base. The hotel is built round a pleasant courtyard with a swimming pool and palm trees. We were the only guests in the hotel and I think in this part of town.

Hotel Hacienda in Bahia de Kino, Mexico.

Old Bahia de Kino is a poor fishing town, people live simple lives catching fish, cleaning fishing boats, and generally scrape a living any way they can. There are a few simple fish restaurants or food stands if you want to eat out, certainly nothing fancy. Many of the roads are unpaved, there are lots of wild dogs, litter and broken pavements. Some of the houses are not much more than sheds being constructed from corrugated iron or plywood. However, having said that, we found people to be friendly, no-one pesters you to buy things or go on trips or give them money. It is just normal people going about their lives trying to do the best for themselves and their families. We really liked it.

Spending hours at the beach we were able to watch the pelicans and other birdlife fight for the unwanted scraps of fish the fisherman discarded back into the sea. Total birdy war would break out as every last piece was fought over. Once the din had died down the birds would just hang around until the next bucket of scraps was thrown into the sea, no hunting necessary.

Sunset at Bahia de Kino, Mexico.

The pier had obviously seen better days and back home would have been closed years ago. The shore end section was not too bad, but the second half was missing at least half of its decking and would necessitate jumping gaps to get to the end – we decided against it in order to preserve life and limb. The sunsets, with the island that the locals call Alcatraz, in the background we amazing. We have never seen such a deep red sky, it was absolutely wonderful."

more »

Ed. Congrats on getting to Mexico! See Steve and Janette's list of kit for their 2-up RTW trip here.

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

Technomadic Jim, Southern Africa, in Swaziland, Honda CTX200,

"...I was still having trouble with my speedo and noticed Carson Motors just outside Manzini so I popped in the next morning and they replaced the special washer inside for 90 rand. Below is a picture of the old one. You can see how it's worn away where it wasn't seated properly. Unfortunately though this didn't totally fix my problem. The speedo is fine when you are accelerating but when you engine brake or cruise it's all over the place. I'm due a service soon so will have it sorted properly then. I reckon the part this washer meshes with is worn too.

Worn bike part.

That evening I had a few beers and a chat with Sergio the owner who rides a GS 1200. Also staying at Sundowners was Max who rides a KLR 650. We all agreed to head out the next day to explore one of Sergio's routes in the South West of Swaziland."

Sergio, Max and Jim in Swaziland.

South West Swaziland

more »

Ed. Follow Jim's adventures and great pics on the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

Hubert Kriegel, France, RTW, in India,

"I completed my Hindi booklet, it is a marvel! Thank you Tania, Joel, Chou, Lamyah and YMCA for your help.

Hindi booklet.

...Bright and early Sunday morning we all met under a freeway pass for our Sunday breakfast ride.

Preparing for a Sunday morning ride in Mumbai.

I first thought I couldn't wait to be out of the Mumbai traffic, but it never happened.

Sunday morning ride in Mumbai.

Tomorrow morning, I start riding south by the coastal road from fishing village to fishing village..."

more »

Ed. More of Hubert's great photos on his blog here.

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

Classic Bike India - Guided Motorcycle Adventure Tours To Ladakh - Sri Lanka - Bhutan - Rajasthan - Nepal - Thailand - Tibet - Goa & South India.

Guided Motorcycle Adventure Tours To
Ladakh - Sri Lanka - Bhutan - Rajasthan - Nepal - Thailand - Tibet - Goa & South India

Tiffany Coates, UK, in India, Enfield,

Buddha statue.

We've ridden across the valley to the Maitreya Buddha statue at Diskit Monastery in Ladakh, northern India.

"...Like desert areas in most parts of the world, there are camels here (admittedly it seemed a bit odd as we'd been admiring the yaks just the day before). The camels here are Bactrian ones - with two humps which is very rare in Asia, only the single humped camels live in this part of the world. This random group have descended from strays from the Middle Eastern camel caravans which followed the Silk Road in Marco Polo's times."

Camels waiting patiently for riders.

Camels waiting patiently

Cute camels.

Who says camels aren't cute?

more »

Ed. See Tiffany's great January pic in the Horizons Unlimited 2015 Calendar!

Michelle Lamphere, USA (Sturgis Chick), in Peru,

"Other riders and ride reports have been warning us for months, suggesting we 'avoid' Lima if at all possible. I've heard more warnings about Lima than any other city, including Mexico City. The traffic along the PanAm Highway and within 30 miles of the city of Lima is horrendous and has a well-deserved bad reputation. Buses and trucks cut us off left and right, cars are zipping all over the place, everyone honks and swerves without warning... it's crazy. I even take a photo of a bus that swerves and nearly hits Brian because I intend to write a letter to the government about it, but never take the time.

The drivers are crazy everywhere in Peru! And we see a car accident on a side street of Lima the morning after we arrive.

Thankfully we are off the bikes for a few days and enjoy the beautiful city of Lima. We wander along the clifftop walk near the seaside and watch surfers down below and paragliders above, even as they launch from the cliff."


From the Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travel page on Facebook, Michelle posted this note:

"Grant and Susan - I took this pic in the Cordillera Blanca this week after having ridden here from South Dakota. Just a couple of years ago was sitting at an HU meeting in Ontario learning how to be able to make this adventure possible for myself. Thank you for being an inspiration for those of who want/wanted to see and experience our world on a deeper level and for supporting and educating me on my journey. I'm eternally grateful."

Michelle Lamphere in Cordillera Blanca.

more »

Ed. If you haven't checked out our Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Adventure Travellers Facebook group page yet, it's growing fast. Come join, like and share us!
Photo Contest

Photo contest closing soon!

The Photo Contest for the 2016 Calendar is closing end of January! The Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Adventure Travel photo contest is an annual event for travellers to showcase their best photographs from their travels around the world. Enter to win!

Photo by Craig Wessner, Canada; Riding a floating bridge across Song Ba Ren River, Vietnam, on a Soviet Minsk.

Grand Prize 2013 Winner (and Cover) - by Craig Wessner, Canada; Riding a floating bridge across Song Ba Ren River, Vietnam, on a Soviet Minsk. Craig wins the Compass Expeditions 9 day tour of Chile and Argentina valued at almost $4,000!

Contest Prizes are...

The Grand Prize for this contest is a Touratech Companero Worldwide riding suit, in mens or womens, in a wide range of sizes and fits, shipped anywhere in the world!

Companero Worldwide riding suit, modeled by Herbert.Companero worldwide ladies riding suit, modeled by Ramona.

Second Prize - an Individual Annual Medical & Security Membership (up to 45 days per trip) from Global Rescue, value of $655. 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!

Global Rescue.

Alternate Second Prize - Progressive Suspension has generously donated a Suspension Makeover, using their fantastic new 465 Series shock! The winner of this prize is the highest scoring photo that is taken by a photographer resident in USA or Canada, and rides a bike that PS has a shock for. Approx value US$650.

(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 Horizons Unlimited calendar, and we will share the profits with the photographers. 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 or on the website! Time to get famous!

2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013's Photo Contests were very popular, with hundreds of entries. The winning photos go into the HU Calendar, and the calendars have proved to be very popular too! Photos from previous years will continue to be available in 2013 and beyond calendars in case you really like the photos from a particular year.

Nick and Mary Jane Hese, Australia, in Turkey,

"Didyma (modern name is Didim) is south of Miletus which used to be a ancient port and was at the other end of the Sacred Way between Miletus and the Temple of Apollo. Apart from being the fourth largest Sanctuary in the Greek world, it was also the location of an Oracle who was seen as being second to the Oracle of Delphi. The temple has been the victim of earthquakes in the centuries since it was built, and because it was an important temple in the area, it received many gifts from King Croesus (heard the expression 'As rich as Croesus'?), and therefore it was also raided by people like Xerxes of Persia, but then the Temple was rebuilt by Alexander the Great around 300BC.

Mary Jane at the Temple of Apollo in Didyma, Turkey.

It's an awesome experience to walk around the remains of the Temple and unlike in Greece, you can walk through the Temple to see as much as is possible. We were in awe of the craftsmen who had been responsible for the carving and building work, the intricacy of the carving and just the sheer magnitude of building such a huge structure with the limited materials that were available to them in those days.

...we were warned that there wasn't anything to see in Troy and we would be disappointed, but having reading the Illiad and the Odyssey (that would be MJ not Nick), how could we be so close to Troy and not go there. Yes, there isn't a lot to see as you walk around the old city, you can see that Troy has been rebuilt ten times in it's 4000 years of history and in the Troy VII level (1250BC), there is evidence of widespread destruction by fire, which has been linked to the destruction of Troy at the end of the Trojan War when it was set on fire by the Greeks when they came out of hiding in the Wooden Horse. And, of course, there is a huge wooden horse that you can climb up into for the obligatory photo opportunity."

Obligatory photo opportunity at Troy.

more »

Ed. More stories and great pics in Nick and Mary Jane's blog!

Belinda and Patrick Peck, Australia, in Venezuela, Yamaha Super Tenere,

"Isla Margharita is beautiful and we drove the full circumference of the Island. We loved El Yaque the windsurfing beach best as it had a safe, happy vibe and lots of choice of nice hotels.

Belinda and Patrick Peck on Isla Margarita, Venezuela.

After 5 days of exploring we try to leave on the 8am ferry, but find it and the next one are full! Luckily there was space on the 3rd one out... the luxury one to Puerto La Cruz and cost twice as much at $10! Our goal that day was to reach the highly recommended beach area half way to Caracas called Boca de Uchire. As we were delayed by the ferry, we arrived in the dark to Posada Sonho Meu. This is against one of our cardinal rules of travel, especially on a small, dark, deserted road that seems to deteriorate with every kilometre!

After going down many dead ends in the dark we finally find the right one to a warm welcome from the proprietor Nella. This enterprising lady really knows how to treat her clients with no request being too much trouble, therefore it is not surprising that the posada is full from word of mouth only. She even supplied us with a 2 way radio while we were on the beach so we could order 'Dos mas Pina Coladas Por Favor' from the posada 100m back!

Colonia Tovar, Venezuela.

...That day's destination was the highly recommended town of Colonia Tovar that was settled by the Germans in the late 1800's and still has a real German feel and Swiss German architecture built on the mountainside.

We have heard many bad stories about the city of Caracas, in that it is not safe at any time. So we plan our departure from Boca at 6am Sunday morning, thinking that any self respecting Bandido would be sound asleep at 9am while we slip quietly through. If there was any other reasonable route around Caracas we would have taken it. All the stories had our anxiety levels at maximum.

Colonia Tovar is only a 30 minute drive the other side of Caracas. All is going well as we are making our way on the highway through Caracas, when Belinda shouts 'OH shit, we have just missed the turn' This leaves us no choice, but to drive the last third of Caracas through local streets and traffic congestion! To say that 'Pat was pished off to the max' would be an understatement! As we drove through the worst areas imaginable, with garbage piled up on the streets and many dero's huddled up to burning drums of trash for warmth. It was the longest and most tense hour we have EVER had on a motorbike.

Colonia Tovar was like an Island paradise having German restaurants with fire places and hot chocolate. Our recommended Hotel Bergland was a real prize and the best accommodation of the whole trip. Our room was very modern, with a huge ensuite and great views from the balcony of the surrounding hills that looked like Switzerland a hundred years ago.

Views over Colonia Tovar, Venezuela.

...We were quite concerned about safety travelling in Venezuela, but we found the locals very friendly and happy to help. Venezuela was 1/4 the cost of neighbouring countries due to the black market situation. Every one was willing to change money on the black market rate as they are all keen to have US dollars. We never drove in the afternoons or evenings, especially Fri, Sat and Sunday as there were many drunk drivers on the road. We played it very carefully, not going out of our Hotel after dark and didn't have any trouble. In fact we felt very safe and really loved Venezuela and its lovely warm, loving people. Venezuela has some issues which have stopped many international flights coming into the country and the border crossings were difficult and frustrating, but it's a beautiful country and we loved every minute of our time there. Would we go again? Absolutely and you should go too! Especially with your own transport!"

more »

Ed. See Belinda and Patrick's blog on Horizons Unlimited for more stories and great pics!

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

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

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

"The camp at Grindafjord is dead-still and, after packing the bikes, we take a moment to enjoy the gentle frosting on the grass, the quiet, and the beauty. Everything in us wishes we could afford to spend more time in Norway.

In many ways it's the quiet before a mild storm; we're meeting family friends from the UK in Bergen and there's a real excitement building for us both; reunions on the road offer a taste of all we've left behind. Home comes to us for a moment and in its beauty we're reminded of the parts we miss and, sometimes, why we left. Usually it's a healthy dose of both.

Bergen, Norway.

...The closer to Bryggen the more touristy the streets become and, in the distance, giant cruise-ships dot the view. Much to our surprise, one of the largest ships that graces Bergen's docks is Holland America Line's Eurodam, the same ship we saw docked in Halifax over a year ago. While the world may seem smaller to us now, the ship still appears as massive as it did back then!

We pass mountains of regularly-sized Legos left for children to use and plenty of hanging sheepskins in a nearby market ready for cruise-shippers to take home. There are plenty of North Americans in the mix today and the air is filled with a surprising drawl as we move past the stands.

Bryggen area of Norway.

Past the quay and alongside Bryggen's famously colourful wooden houses it's not hard to imagine why people flock here; it's a beautiful spot to spend a sunny day. A UNESCO Heritage site, many of Bryggen's original Hanseatic buildings burned in the fire of '55 but this handful remains, allowing us to imagine what the city would have looked like during its giddy heyday as the centre of export for dried fish.

No motorcycles sign, Bryggen, Norway.

...soon enough, we're on the road heading out of Bergen. Well, trying to head out of Bergen.

As we make our way past the city we notice a 'No Motorcycles' sign and jump to an exit lane which leads us back towards the water. Through a residential area we rejoin the highway only to be presented by another 'No Motorcycles' sign which seems to block our only exit along the E39. We take another clover leaf and another residential road while trying to continue north, hoping to pass the strange impasse.

Back onto the motorway we emerge before a third sign, this time electing to ignore it. Into a tunnel, Nita and I talk back and forth about what it could mean and hope we don't have a run-in with the law since traffic fines in Norway are exceptional.

If we spoke Norwegian we'd have discovered that the words 'gjelder ikke motorsykkel' beneath the red-slashed café-racer mean 'Does not apply to motorcycles.' So, the signs meaning appears to be 'No motorcycles'. It really means 'Does not apply to motorcycles.' Existentialist road signs are so not cool."

more »

Ed. Tricky signs!
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!

Gary and Monika Wescott, in Mongolia, Ford Super Duty F-550 (w/Tortuga Expedition Camper)

"...What's a birthday? Just another number on the calendar right? Not for Monika! Her birthdays are special and can last for days, depending on what she dreams up each year...This year was no exception. She was set on a camel trek in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia. Fortunately, we were already in Mongolia in the Altai region of the Gobi, and there were plenty of camels.

The camels were not too happy about having their morning interrupted and showed their discontent by belching and spitting, (really more like a 'power barf') of half chewed sour smelling grass, spraying our guide, Arman, and us with whatever else makes up camel cud. The cute little stick poking through their nose with a rope tied to it was the method of control. Hey! What would you do if you had a stick though your nose and your wife/husband etc. yanked on the rope and said, 'Get down on your knees or I'll yank on the rope again?'

Camels in Mongolia.

Our camels arrived in full dress except for thicker pads and a saddle.

So they knelt and we climbed on, and off we went for a 3–hour ride across the lumpy grasslands, splashing through creeks & mud holes and weaving our way around herds of sheep, goats, cows, yaks and horses as the camels lurched behind our 'guide'. We think he was a great guy and a talented golden eagle hunter, but leading tourists on camel treks was not really his business and his English was zit. It took about five minutes for him to understand that Gary wanted to stop and get off the camel for a few minutes.

Camel kneeling.

We quickly noticed that something was missing-like padding! There was no saddle as we had seen in museums and even on the cover of our Lonely Planet Mongolian guide book. One of us sat painfully on a cover the thickness of a cheap beach towel. The other had a slightly better felt pad suitable for a ten minute tourist ride around the paddock. The bony backbone of a camel is rock-hard (think dinosaur). The extremely uneven terrain made the stride of the beasts even more pronounced as they stumbled along."

more »

Paul Nomad, Australia, RTW, in Guatemala, 1200 GSA,

"I had been told there was a bit of gravel road to get to Semuc Champey. I was keen to follow up the recommendation for Utopia, a hostel in the area. It was a fun and scenic ride into the mountains on well-maintained bitumen, winding along the side of a mountain. Until... suddenly there was a hairpin turn and a winding downhill, loose-rock and gravel road. It was ok and well maintained and wide enough for two vehicles, good for the cars and buses coming the other way.

Challenging road in Guatemala.

The road wound its way down and down becoming steeper and narrower in places and finally not getting any wider after the small town of Lanquin.

Eventually it became a crumbly single lane winding down then up with each becoming steeper than the other. Some of the downhill sections were so steep they had a pair of parallel concrete strips for car wheels. One driver in a four wheel drive started driving up the strips as I was coming down. It was gravel and a drop off to my side so I had nowhere to go off the concrete. Finally he veered off the strip to let me pass. The vehicle after him blindly followed and simply smiled at my annoyed blaring of the horn in his face.

At this stage I was too glued to the bike to stop and take photos. After about twenty kilometres of deteriorating road and near misses with vehicles coming the other way I saw a sign for two kilometres to Semuc Champey and one to Utopia the other way. Excellent.

I took the Utopia turn and incredibly the road became worse. The surface was rough and sharp stone and the ascents and descents became even steeper with sharp and blind corners.

Better road in Guatemala.

This was some of the better road

I was in first gear on the foot pegs going up and down. Every precipice before a descent was like looking over the edge of a cliff. Finally after a particularly loose and challenging ascent I came to a right hand turn to Utopia. I hope it really is Utopia after that ride. Without doubt the most challenging and scary ride I have ever done."

more »

Ed. Read about Paul's adventures in the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

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

Extreme Bike Tours India, Raasthan, Bhutan

Extreme Bike Tours - India, Rajasthan, Bhutan

TBR-China, in China, (various bikes),

"Farewell and good-bye to Capital City Beijing, the MTS arrived safely back home in Shanghai just before the China National October Holidays and a traffic ticket free adventure once again..."

China bike with gates.

Switchback road in China.

Great twisty road going back to downtown Beijing.

more »

Ed. Few words but lots of great pics from rides in China on TBR-China's posts in the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!

Pam and Dave Hyde, Australia, in USA, Triumphs,

"On our way north to Alaska we went to Glacier National Park to ride "The Going to the Sun" road, but alas we were too early and the pass was still closed due to significant snow. We could only ride the first 14 miles, snow ploughs were still trying to clear the road. Ever since people we bumped into kept mentioning did you ride the sun road? Well, on our way back down we made sure we picked it up. It makes Pam and David's greatest motorcycle rides, number__, lost count of where we are up to!

Going to the Sun Road, by Pam and Dave Hyde. Going to the sun road, by Pam and Dave Hyde.

Not a lot of commentary here... the photos say it all!

Glacier National Park is back in the US. We crossed the Canadian/US border heading south. The idea is to make the long trek from west to east on the US side. Accommodation and petrol (gas as it is called in the States) is much cheaper. It is a long and boring crossing over the prairies by all accounts. We hope to do it in 4 days or so then pop back up to Canada and Montreal."

more »

Help support the Horizons Unlimited E-zine - visit our sponsors!
Please be sure to tell Laurent Bendel how you heard about his L'Aventure A Moto book. Thanks!

One of many great pics from Laurent Bendel's L'Aventure A Moto book.

One of many great pics from Laurent Bendel's L'Aventure A Moto book! Book available in French only.

Craig, Bermuda Rover, in France, Land Rover Defender,

"It took us 8 hours on Saturday to drive from Eze Bord de Mer to Lyon. The last 50 minutes were inside the city limits of Lyon, stuck in rush hour traffic! Fortunately, our hotel is at the edge of the historic old town, so once checked in we were able to walk a short distance to the 'action' First up was the Elephant & Castle English-style pub for a pint (for me) and a wine (for Bev). With our thirsts quenched, we had dinner and then walked around the old town for a while to get acquainted.

On Sunday, we walked up the hill to visit the Basilica, a Catholic cathedral that overlooks Lyon.

Basilica in Lyon, viewed from the old town below. Interior of traboule, Lyon France.

Basilica, viewed from the old town below.
A stone spiral staircase accesses multiple floors inside a traboule.

After walking back down the hill, we walked around the old town trying to find some of the many traboules that still exist. Traboules are passageways within the old buildings that date back to the 4th century. They were used by silk merchants to move their merchandise quickly whilst keeping out of the weather. In the second world war, the trails were used by the Resistance fighters to help prevent the Germans from taking total control of the city."

more »

Gail Baillargeon, USA, to wherever, in Patagonia, BMW R1200GSA,

"Between Brazil and Uruguay - This guy was in the middle of the road so I stopped to put him over the bank, he wasn't happy about it. I did manage to get a quick photo before chasing after him again. Turtles can be so ungrateful.

Turtle and bike.

I was planning on riding further south in Chile however I made a change in plans and decided to cross back into Argentina and ride Ruta 40. I've been looking forward to that part of the journey and I just couldn't wait any longer.

Bariloche to Esquel, Ruta 40.

The hippie place, Patagonia.

Just south of Bariloche is the village of El Bolson, people call it the hippie place.

Good wifi has eluded me for some time now, however here in Rio Mayo things are working great. I decided to stay here for the day and catch up on the blog and take a rest day. I'm a bit dehydrated, the cold wind is taking it out of me and I haven't been drinking enough.

My SPOT tracker is having a difficult time finding satellites this far south, Rio Mayo might be the last mark."

more »

Ed. See more great pics on Gail's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!
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 and a roof over our heads! So thanks to everyone who comes!

Meetings and Events, 2015. Mark your calendars and sign up now!

Thailand Mini-Meeting - Jan 9-11. Chiang Mai. The 9th Annual HU Thailand Mini-Meeting will be at Rider's Corner in Chiang Mai. Hosted by our own Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW) - thanks Greg! Online registration is open now!

New! Virginia - April 9-12. Horizons Unlimited is holding our first Travellers Meeting in Virginia! Steve Anderson has found a great venue near Appomattox! Online registration is open now!

New! The HUMM is back! Horizons Unlimited Mountain Madness - Morocco - May 13-16. The HUMM is a unique three-day, off-road motorcycle orienteering/geo-caching event. Previously in the Spanish Pyrenees, for 2015 we are near Ifrane in the mid-Atlas mountains of Morocco. Test your map reading and navigation skills, find hidden secrets and enjoy the fabulous riding. All the details and registration here - early bird rates until Mar 31, 2015!

If a picture is worth 1000 words, how much is a video worth?! Check out the HUMM 2015 event trailer!

HUMM Morocco 2015 trailer.

Thanks to David Hodgson, Ashley Moule and Patrick Trahan for video clips!

Germany Summer Meeting - May 14-17. New! Great New Location - Campingplatz Pfrimmtal is located 35 km west of the Rhine river, about 50 km south of Mainz, just at the entrance of one of the best riding areas of Germany - the Pfälzer Wald! Great facilities - even showers! Jens Ruprecht is our local host for this event. Jens says, and we agree: "It is always like a big family, really nice atmosphere. We have a lot of repeat visitors - all of them say this is the best travellers meeting..." Online registration is open now!

Canada Ontario - June 18-21. New! New Date and Great New Location along the shores of beautiful Lake Couchiching, only 1 hour north of Toronto. Fabulous facility in a great riding area! Bill Hooykaas is our local host for this event, with a great team of volunteers and heaps of presenters already lined up! Online registration is open now!

Lake Couchiching, Ontario.

Ireland - June 26-28. We're back in Enniskillen, what a fantastic venue and the friendliest people you will ever meet! Liam, Naomi, Jochen and the team already have a bunch of great presenters lined up! Online registration is open now!

USA - Colorado - July 17-19. Dave Rankine and Chris Kelly are our local hosts for this event, when they're not off travelling! Greg Frazier found us a great venue, in the mountains in Grant CO, with camping along a nice creek. It's different from the usual HU Meeting, so read the page carefully - it's all about RIDING! Online registration is open now!

Canada West - August 20-23. Nakusp, BC. Super riding in the area and very friendly town. Online registration is open now!

Nakusp Lake.

Australia QLD - Sep 24-27. Beaudesert. Note the earlier date! Helen Black is hosting this event, supported by Scott McMurtrie, Shane Kuhl, Karen Lewis and a great team of volunteers. Online registration is open now, with early bird rates until Jan 31!

California, Sep 24-27. Great location - Yosemite! Lots of camping space, several large presentation rooms, and a very friendly town! Flip Morton and Nicole Espinosa are the local hosts for this event, supported by Craig Haggart, Bill Miner and a great team of volunteers. Online registration for early birds is open now, with early bird rates until Jan 31!

Yosemite, California.

USA - North Carolina - Oct 8-11. Stecoah, NC. Moved back to October - cooler weather and awesome fall colors! Southern hospitality provided by Mike Kilpatrick, assisted by Steve Anderson, John and Charlene and the team at Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge. Great riding in the Tail of the Dragon, Cherohala Skyway and Blue Ridge Parkway. Mark your calendars now, online registration opens soon!

Australia WA - Perth, Oct 9-11. Great location - Fairbridge Village! Mark your calendars - online registration opens soon!

Australia VIC - Oct 23-25. Mark your calendars - details coming soon!

South Africa, Nov 12-15. Near Potchefstroom. Kobus Fourie is again hosting this event at his fabulous Elgro River game lodge and conference centre. Kobus plans a Game Ride for 2015! We'll be there! Mark your calendars now, online registration opens soon!

Elgro River Lodge, Potchefstroom, South Africa.


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.

Had a great trip? Got good stories and pics of it? Never presented before? Tips for putting on a successful Travel Slide Show!

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

Maria and Alistair Robinson, UK, in Russia

"...Alistair's bike was playing up more and more, going slower and slower. That was a big concern as we cannot leave a bike in Russia. If we leave a bike behind we would get in big trouble with customs. The bikes only have a temporary import permit and must leave within 3 months!

With the difficulty of finding hotels or places to stay in this part of Russia, we decided to stop at Staraya Russa, as it is the main town around and had 2 or 3 hotels. We came across one that looked very nice and stopped to make enquiries. It had space for one night and was reasonably priced, so we took a room.

Staraya, Russia.

As the town was pleasant we decided to stay another day, although we had to change hotel, and for the same price than our nice first hotel, use the old soviet block style hotel. Never mind.

We spent Saturday exploring the huge park and the town.

City walls in Pskov.

Then the Sunday morning, we loaded the bikes and rode out of town. We stopped at a fuel pump on the edge of town to get fuel, then rode off... Suddenly, I heard three huge Bangs! My simultaneous thoughts were:

- WTF!
- OMG, someone is shooting at us? No way!
- OMG, my bike exploded!

I stopped, looked around, no one with a gun (!) and stared at the front of my bike and at my engine...
Alistair had stopped too... He asked me what the problem was. I told him 'what was THAT?'
He told me his bike had died. Again!
Apparently I did look shaken... But those three explosions were terrifying!

We decided to go back to the hotel and look for a motorcycle mechanic or find a solution. So, as so many times before, Alistair pushed his bike out of sight, away from the main road, and we rode my bike two-up.

I explained our predicament at the reception desk of the hotel and the security guard drew a map to show me where I may find a workshop. While Alistair went to get his bike and push it back to the hotel (a good three or four miles!), I walked to the location of the workshops. It was a row of few garages, on a back road, with no sign of life..."

more »

Ed. Check out Maria's blog to see how they made it out of Russia!

Gene and Neda 'Lightcycle', Canada, RTW, in Italy, R1200 GS and F800GS

"There are places that we stumble upon as we're traveling that just pop up on our radar as we're planning our next day's ride. Pompeii was one of them. I had no idea it was this close to Napoli. We had planned to stop in the area to try some authentic pizza Napoletana and ended up visiting the ruins that had captivated my imagination when I was a kid.

Pompeii entrance with Mount Vesuvius in the background.

Pompeii entrance with Mount Vesuvius in the background

...One of my favorite TV programs growing up was a sci-fi-documentary series called In Search Of... I remember being transfixed for a whole half-hour every week as Mr. Spock himself spun tales of pseudo-science explaining how the Mayans worshiped Ancient Astronauts and how Mount Vesuvius erupted blanketing Pompeii in a layer of thick hot ash, instantly preserving everything it covered. I remember vividly the plaster casts of the bodies caught in their last moment of anguish and how that both haunted and fascinated me at the same time.

Bodies in ash in Pompeii.

Over 1,000 bodies were found preserved in the ashes of Pompeii

The biggest mystery was why Pompeii was the only city that had human bodies preserved in such detail that even the folds of their clothes can be seen in the plaster casts made from the hollows of the ashes. Other cities near Vesuvius showed no such preservation, only bones and teeth remained of their citizens as the pyroclastic surges of hot toxic gases and ash incinerated their bodies."

more »

Ed. See the rest of Gene's post on the HUBB Ride Tales Forum!
HU Presents...

Achievable Dream and Road Heroes DVDs!

Winter Special! Buy the Achievable Dream Collectors Set at $119 and we'll include Road Heroes Part 1! Cooped up indoors in crap weather? Binge watch over 20 hours of inspiring, informative and entertaining stories and tips from 150 travellers! Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to order them both and use Coupon Code 'BoxSet+' on your order when you checkout. Valid until Jan 31/15.

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.

Achievable Dream Collectors Box Set - 5 Motorcycle Adventure Travel DVDs!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.

The 'Collectors Box Set' is also available - all 5 DVDs (18 hours of informative and entertaining content!) in a custom box for only $119). "The series is 'free' because the tips and advice will save much more than you spend on buying the DVD's."

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!

We've sold thousands of these DVDs, so 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.

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

"We decide we have spent as much time in Banos as is needed and we will head out to a campground/hostel run by friends of friends in the form of Marc and Sue, ex professional overlanders themselves. We leave Banos in driving rain (using the phone as a GPS, it seems to work well) and arrive at Rio Verde 30 km up the road in even worse conditions, the rain is torrential. Marc rescues us and gets us settled into a room. The rain finally abates and we wander the 2kms back into Rio Verde where we encounter some local kids walking home from school.

Careful Kids! The drop off from the wall goes down into the Canyon.

Careful Kids! The drop off from the wall goes down into the Canyon

That afternoon we return to the hostel and introduce ourselves to our fabulous hostess Sue. We share a pleasant afternoon with this couple before Marc exclaims that Volcan Tungurahua is erupting and indeed it is, there are a few good belches of ash before it again settles down. We still didn't actually see the Volcano as it was completely shrouded in mist and cloud. The evening starts off bright and clear with a starry night but by eight o'clock it is bucketing down, well I suppose we are in the Cloud forest and it is the wet season.

Tungurahua Volcano, Ecuador.

Tungurahua Volcano

It is also during this time that we meet Gail Baillargeon, a fellow motorcycle traveller and HU Member. One evening at the hostel we share a late night, many bottles of beer, a famous Casa Helbling meze platter and a great many laughs. Gail has been on the road for a year, after retiring from the US Navy. He plans to travel until he gets tired of it. He was great company and we thank him for his 'going North' information.

Gail Baillargeon and John Skillington.

We return to the hostal late in the day and get chatting to Klaus (the hostel owner) about our dilemma. What should we do for the next week while we wait for the bike? After a quick chat and on his recommendation we make a snap decision to book a tour to Cuyabeno Reserve. Within 10 minutes we are booked into the Siona Lodge for a 5 day jungle tour. While we are just finishing off our booking and organising a return flight with Klaus another couple Michel and Iona (pronounced Joanna) from Montreal also get a rush of blood and decide they will book the same tour. They are a lovely couple and we are looking forward to having some travelling companions.

It was then a 2 hour bus ride to Puerto Bolivar where we had a quick lunch before getting into our canoe and heading downstream for two hours. It was a fantastic ride with Jacob and Benisio (our canoe driver although he was almost another guide) pointing out all manner of birds, monkeys and even a baby anaconda.

Stinky bird, Ecuador.

Locals call this the Stinky Bird

These two guys were amazing, their knowledge and passion for Cuyabeno was infectious, they could spot animals that were completely invisible to we mere mortals."

Amazon River boa.

Amazon River Boa

more »

Ed. Read more amazing stories on John and Alanna's blog here on Horizons Unlimited!

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

Discover Argentina as only a local guide can show you. Since 2004 offering tours, rentals and customizable tours for groups.

"Come discover Argentina and South America with me. A pioneer in moto tourism in Argentina since 2004, I organize and guide my tours to show you the wonderful places of our region. You will get to know the history, gastronomy and culture of Argentina as only a local guide can show it to you. Always the same standards of quality as the big motorcycle tour companies of the world, but with personalized attention in order to make your trip an experience of a life time. I also offer the most reliable bikes for rental so you can do your own tour. BMW's provided by the BMW Motorrad Official partner for Argentina."

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 over ten years, Susan for over 5 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!

Cheque (or check ;-)

$20 Contributing Membership Payment:
$45 Gold Membership Payment:
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!

Road Heroes - Part 1. Baby doll T-shirt - front.

2014 Horizons Unlimited Calendar.

Buy the 2015 Calendar
soon - almost gone!

Pannier map.

Muchas Gracias! Grant and Susan

Danielle Murdoch, Australia, Australia to Africa, in Namibia, Suzuki DR350,

"...My eye followed the line forward through the sandy dust until I came across Mike's bike, just a few meters ahead of me. The once deep but tidy straight tracks became wobblier and wobblier as the depth of the dust increases. Sucking in a deep breath, I felt pounding in my chest. I know in advance what I am about to hit. I hoped I would make it through and out the other side still astride my bike. Dust billowed up and around me, blinding me and locking me into my own brownish world. I could not see if anyone was approaching from the front, let alone what was happening behind me. When I entered this cloud, I could see a 4×4 not far behind me. Just knowing that in this sunless world made me apprehensive. I hoped this guy was giving me enough space in case I fell off. I didn't even want to think of the outcome if it all goes wrong.

I pulled back on my throttle, increasing my speed just as I hit the worst of Mike's wobbly tracks. I felt my bike's rear end start to slide back and forwards. I held my front wheel steady but loose under my hands letting it float. At first it was just a small sideways movement, but left unmanaged it grew until it's too hard to regain control. By now my bike was bucking to and fro, like one of those coin operated bulls you see in the movies. I took another deep breath, feeling the instant benefits, I relaxed and opened up my throttle more, in an effort to rein in my bike. Finally, I felt a change in surface under my tires as it becomes slightly harder and I get my composure back. I let out a big sigh. 'That was close' I say to myself.

Oryx in the desert, Namibia.

...It's funny how sometimes a mere thirty kilometers can feel like a hundred. This was one of those times. I can see the pattern emerging. When I'm cold, tired and hungry I just want the day to be over and done with. That's when the kilometers draw out further and further apart and I feel every centimeter.

We finally arrived into the town of Swakopmund. I pulled up to the first four way stop (where everyone is forced to stop and first in first goes – it's a strange and complicated intersection that I've only seen in South Africa and here in Namibia). As I took off from the intersection I felt my gear shifter rotate with my boot but I couldn't change gear. That's odd, I look behind me and changed lanes slipping the clutch to keep control and not stall the bike."

Bike gear shifter.

more »

Ed. Read the rest of Danielle's post here about how the need for that one part led to 7 weeks in Swakopmund!

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

Touratech - Touring Rallye Racing Equipment.


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 HU.

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

Down and Out in Patagonia, Kamchatka and Timbuktu.

Down and Out in Patagonia, Kamchatka, and Timbuktu
by Greg Frazier

A little over 40 years ago, a man named Gregory W. Frazier got on his motorcycle, went for a ride, and never returned. He's still out there, circumnavigating the globe: exploring the jungles of Asia in the winter, trout fishing in Alaska in the summer, and covering all points in between during the rest of the year. He's been shot at by rebels, jailed by unfriendly authorities, bitten by snakes, run over by Pamplona bulls, and smitten by a product of Adam's rib. He's circled the globe five times and has covered well over one million miles (and counting).

Circle to Circle, by Shirley Hardy-Rix and Brian Rix.

Circle to Circle - a journey through the Americas and beyond
by Shirley Hardy-Rix

Brian and Shirley rode from the Antarctic Circle to the Arctic Circle, over 5,000 metre mountain ranges, through snow and ice, through deserts and tropics, enduring altitude sickness and a near catastrophic breakdown in the heart of bear country.

Circle to Circle is an inspiring and engaging account of the travels of an adventurous couple. It will entertain you in your armchair, or it may even inspire you to get up and go.

The Road Gets Better From Here.

The Road Gets Better from Here, by Adrian Scott

With virtually no experience and absolutely no support, Adrian rides a basic stock motorbike 20,000kms across nine countries in three months to fulfill a lifelong dream.

Adrian is adopted by a vast array of characters, each with stories to tell, each insisting that he join them in their homes to share their lives and most of their provisions. It is these encounters which provide such a rich and compelling subtext to his extraordinary journey.

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.

Rolling through the Isles, by Ted Simon.

Rolling through the Isles
by Ted Simon

From the bestselling author of Jupiter's Travels and Dreaming of Jupiter comes an entertaining and inspiring new journey round Britain. Having crisscrossed the globe twice, Ted returns to the British Isles to rediscover the country of his youth. The result is a revealing portrait of modern Britain. It is also a witty and affectionate journey back to the past.

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.

Traveller's Community News

We've now reached an amazing 768 Communities in 113 Countries as of Jan 5, 2015! 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

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

Subscribe / Unsubscribe

Please note that you are receiving this newsletter only because you requested it! We are 100% opt - in only. To remove yourself from the list, please go here. To subscribe, or change the format you receive, go here.

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.

Get the RSS feed for this e-zine Syndicate this Channel Errr, what's an RSS Feed? there's a detailed RSS Guide here.

TIP: If you like to print the e-zine, in Outlook Express or Outlook go to View / Text size (or Font size) and select smallest. If you're reading this online, in IE select View / Text Size and set it to 'smallest.' Then print it. The smallest font size is just right for printing, and saves a lot of paper. Netscape, Firefox, Mozilla and Opera etc. are similar.

Your Privacy

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

See our complete Privacy Policy here.

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 HUBB 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, 1987-2014, 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.


Member login


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!
Check it out now
, and add your information if we didn't find you.

Are you an Overland Adventure Traveller?

Does the smell of spices wafting through the air make you think of Zanzibar, a cacophony of honking horns is Cairo, or a swirl of brilliantly patterned clothing Guatemala? Then this is the site for you!
Hosted by Grant and Susan Johnson, RTW 1987-1998

Next HU Eventscalendar

HU Event and other updates on the HUBB Forum "Traveller's Advisories" thread.
ALL Dates subject to change.


Add yourself to the Updates List for each event!

Questions about an event? Ask here

HUBBUK: info

See all event details


HU Achievable Dream is Online
and available now to stream on Vimeo!

ALL 15 chapters of the HU Achievable Dream Guide are available to download on Vimeo!

Achievable Dream - The Whole Enchilada!

Binge watch over 18 hours of inspiring, informative and entertaining stories and tips from 150 travellers!

"a cross between entertaining stories, tech tips, and reference guide"

"A timeless introduction to Motorcycle Adventure Travel!"

Originally launched as a 7 DVD set, The Achievable Dream series can now be downloaded anywhere. OVER 18 hours of solid info take up zero space in your panniers. How convenient!



All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
NOTE: As an Amazon Affiliate we earn from qualifying purchases - thanks for your help supporting HU when you start from an HU Amazon link!