Just back from the Horizons Unlimited Travellers meeting in Cambria, California and a friend told me, "You're glowing!" Yes, I am, because there is nothing like being among people who don't think you're crazy for planning to pack up and head down through Mexico and Central America to South America on a long camping trip because you have been invited to visit a friend who lives in Chile -- who I happened to meet at the last HU travelers meeting.
See the Misadventures Media Facebook page for photos of the weekend HU meeting. Again this year I met many people I'd only known by reputation or online, and reconnected with motorcycle traveling friends, and met many new friends I look forward to staying connected with. Here's a quick rundown of a few you'll enjoy following through their blogs, books and articles.
Sherri Jo Wilkins is a belle on a bike who is smack in the middle of a world tour on a KTM. Her duct-taped windscreen is a souvenier from Russia, why bother to get a new one, it works fine, and all those memories!
Zig Kaluzny is a professional photographer (People, Forbes, etc.) who shares his pro tips with us even if it does mean riding with one hand and letting rocks ding your lens. He also shared his system for traveling light - really great advice - and his experiences riding around the world. A true bon vivant and okay, an incorrigible flirt.
Speaking of incorrigible, Gregory Frazier rode his KLR up and brought his new book Motorcycle Adventurer, Carl Stearns Clandy: First Motorcyclist to Ride Around the World 1912-1913. I guess after riding around the world five times now he figured he could settle down and learn about the guy who pioneered his passion. It's a great trip back in history, Greg has been researching this book for years.
The array of motorcycles was stunning, all the usual suspects from KLRs to GSs and KTMs and DR650s and VStroms and even Harley-Davidsons including not one but two huge Harleys that have visited more countries than any other bike in the group. Go figure! That would be Peter & Kay Forwood from Australia (193 countries) and Tim Bussy who wrote this great story about his world travels.
As always, it's fun to connect with Moto Adventure Gal Alisa Clikenger, who presented on South America. She's been writing for Adventure Motorcycle magazine too - check it out. Editor Paul Smith and contributor Nicole Espinosa, aka Nicomama of RuggedRider.com were there, too. Paul is test riding the new Yamaha Tenere adventure motorcycle, so far so good, he says, heavy, but on the bottom end, so it doesn't have that GS1200 top-heavy feel. Don't quote me on that. Nicomama did some magical demos with home-dehydrated food (lighter, healthier, packable!) and just-add-water or heat ready-to-eat stuff from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Yum!
The last night of the event Clement Salvadori gave a great slide presentation of the off-road Continental Divide ride, and then Ted Simon closed it out with a wrap-up of his world journeys including a narrated video slide show of Jupiter's Travels.
Next morning there were a few more presentations and then parade of travelers on two wheels rolled out, some of them in newly-formed groups to camp in Yosemite, or zoom to Malibu, or up to the San Francisco Bay Area where the October sunshine beckons. Those of us in the SF Bay Area have promised to get together for a mini-Horizons Unlimited meeting soon.
The grounds were stellar. Camp Ocean Pines is by the sea, and has lots of bunkhouses and tent spaces, a big mess house and good presentation rooms. There are also some nice motels and B&B's around, it being a tourist destination and all. I think I heard Grant say that they'll need to cap the event at 300 participants next year. The weather was sunny on Friday, foggy on Saturday (the day we were mostly inside with the presentations), and sunny again on Sunday for the ride out. Yay! Those who are camping sleep to the sound of the waves and the sea lions barking. Since October is mostly sunny on the coast we'll hope for nice weather again in 2012. Sign up early, I know it's going to fill up.
Also, you gotta love a crowd who doesn't scold you for buying a Guzzi Cruiser when you were really shopping for an adventure bike, and furthermore completely understand how that when that engine turned over your heart did, too. And who can have too many motorcycles, anyway? Jonathan Ehly of Xpedition Tech may have convinced me that the BMW R100 should be my next bike. It's carbeurated, air cooled, light, maneuverable, a great ride to South America, which is maybe my next trip. Maybe. Unless it's Mongolia.
Well, we'll see. And I hope to see you next year at an HU meeting somewhere!