Press story: Grant and Susan Johnson, "A hog wild ride"

Press story-Grant and Susan Johnson, and their 11 year motorcycle trip around the world

Monday, November 16, 1998...The Adventurers .The Province ..Take a break!...

We made it to the bottom of Africa, Cape Agulhas

Grant and Susan Johnson found themselves in L'Agulhas, the southernmost town in Africa, during their 11-year motorcycle trip around the world.

A hog - wild ride around the world

Reporter Dana Gee continues her series with the Johnsons, who took an 11-year motorcycle tour

For Grant and Susan Johnson, life has definitely been a highway.
In fact, it's been 100,000 kilometres of highways, roads and trails for the pair as they rode their buffed-up BMW motorbike through 39 countries.
"We planned to go around the world, and we thought it would take two or three years," said Susan, 48, of the 11-year journey. "We were a little off."

Described by a guide in Libya as "modern Bedouins," the Johnsons' only permanent address was their e-mail.

What few possessions they owned inhabited a storage locker.

"There was a woman at a rally in Denmark who couldn't believe we didn't have a chesterfield or microwave," laughed Grant, 49. "She just looked at us blankly and walked away."

Grant riding over a hastily built pipe bridge, crossing an instant rushing river, compliments El Nino

Grant Johnson rides over a pipe bridge in northern Peru

"You stop each other and talk, exchange information."

Susan, who has been married to Grant for 13 years, had never been on a motorbike before but wanted to travel.
`'I said, 'Let's go for a ride,"' laughed Grant, a former Canadian motorbike racing champion.
The trip began with rides through Mexico, Central America and South America.
But, about the third year, the couple ran low on cash. They took a two-year side trip to Toronto to fuel up on funds.
The pair earn a living as computer and telecommunication consultants.
After Toronto, it was off to North Cape in Norway before heading south to Gibraltar.
The next stop was Africa. From Tunisia, they headed to Libya, then Egypt. Kenya came next before gearing down in Cape L'Agulhas, South Africa.
The final leg of the journey had the pair back in South America, then Antarctica before they pulled to a stop in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.

What's more:
Check out the Johnson's Web site: http://

www.horizons The site offers lots of great pictures and stories, as well as links to other similar adventurers
If you know of an adventurous person, e-mail Dana Gee

As for highlights, they have saddlebags full of them. But, if pressed, they point to Ecuador and Namibia as favourites. On the other side of the scale was Egypt. Apparently, trying to bring a vehicle into the area is as easy as building a pyramid.
"Egypt was a nightmare," said Grant, rolling his eyes. "It took us seven hours to get through (the border) and, because we were Canadian tourists, we were fast-tracked."
In Victoria now, they are getting reacquainted with the things in their storage locker and busy refurbishing their bank account for a trip to Asia.
"It's no longer a trip, really," said Susan. "It's a lifestyle."

During their odyssey, the couple hooked up with those back home via their laptop.

"Back in '87, it was pretty tough to get online," said Susan.

"But now you can go into a small town in South America and there's an Internet cafe. It's unbelievable. You can stay in touch everywhere."

And staying in touch is paramount when it comes to safety. "Oh, yeah, we have a great idea of what's going on in the world," said Grant.

"You need to know what you're getting into and what to avoid. You have to in order to stay safe."

The Internet kept them abreast of world news.

Advisories from the U.S. State Department were also a part of the travellers' information diet, although they took the advice with a grain of salt.

"They're so conservative," said Susan. "If one American is killed somewhere, the area is automatically unsafe. It's funny, though, because Americans are killed in America all the time."

The most reliable source of information came from others who had been there.

"The motorcycling community that is travelling around the world is very small - everyone has heard of everyone else," said Grant.

Article copyright © Dana Gee and 'The Province' 1998. Reproduction Permission Granted.

Apologies for the layout - trying to duplicate a broadsheet newspaper layout in HTML is tough! This is pretty close.

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Grant says: ALWAYS read the policy CAREFULLY to be SURE you are covered on your motorcycle, there are exceptions and variations depending on home country and where you're going and a whole lot of other things. READ THE POLICY!

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