We caused a stir as we rode into the showgrounds at Dayboro and barely had time to climb off the bike before we were surrounded and the questions started. It was to be expected we were after all at a motorcycle travellers rally, Horizons Unlimited was set up by a Canadian couple Grant and Susan Johnson who travelled the world from 1987 to 1998 and shared their experiences via the net. http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/ It has grown and gone global and is the place to look if you are planning any big trip.
It was our first HU rally as we have never been in the right place at the right time before. John and Alanna (two of the organisers) came over to welcome us, we have been in email contact already and they were really helpful.
There was lots planned for the three days, loads of presentations including ours, rides out and dinner on Saturday night.
Our tipi stood out in the camping field and got a few questions in it’s own right but it was the Guzz that stole the lime light, so much so we asked John if we could juggle the schedule and squeek us in early Saturday this saved us repeating ourselves too much. The cheeky bird on the roof was a butcher bird, so called because it wipes it’s beak like a butcher stropping his knives. Our roof straps were his favoured strop.
The presentations were varied and interesting Dorothy set off to tackle most of route 66 in USA on a XV650 cruiser, she was a late starter to biking we were behind her on the Sunday morning ride out and we were both impressed with her confidence on a relativley new bike..
Richard had sampled the delights of Central and southern America. This was useful to us being our next destination.
We decide for our presentation to let the Guzz do the talking and just wheeled her into the hall for a show and tell of our own, we explained all the modifications with questions at the end. We also mentioned our experience with Neds and handed out some flyers.
We had a very informative talk by a first aid officer although some of the slides brought the reality a little too close to home, most points he raised we had covered but we still gained some useful pointers.
Luke was an interesting young kiwi with a great dry sense of humour he now lives in Australia and with two friends went down the west side of Africa from UK to Cape town.
Bron and Mark travelled from the UK to Nepal via Iran and Pakistan. What was interesting about their trip is they started the same time May 2011 only they did the whole trip in three months.They did feel the escort in Pakistan was restrictive partly why we chose not to do this route.
I regret to say the only presentation we missed was the talk on the sidecar trip as we were bringing the Guzz back down to the campsite before it got dark. It was a shame as would have been interesting to find the challenges facing a sidecar sometimes it’s hard enough to get through somewhere on two wheels let alone three.
Via skype we hooked up live to Danielle a young sounding lass currently on her travels. She called from Pakistan and painted a colourful picture of her trip so far.
HU has a featured charity each meet and this year it’s Angel Flight, this we discovered is a worthy cause. Australia is a massive country and if not life threatening travel to hospitals can take days and cost hundreds, think of someone on dialysis. Step in Angel Flight who work by finding volunteer pilots who just love flying and ground Angels who will collect from the airport and deliver them to the hospital or home etc they are able to take thousands of people for treatment. Please take some time to check out their website. http://www.angelflight.org.au/
The meal on Saturday was a real social affair and a great chance to talk to someone new and the food was great too. We opted for the road ride Sunday morning and were soon taking in the delights of the twisty roads up Mt Mee, lake Somerset and Mt Glorious our only regret is that we could not stop for the thousand photo opportunities we passed, one reason why we travel alone.The riding was great fun though and the Guzz surprised a few people with it’s handling on the twistys.
The rally was huge fun and worth the hours of pouring over the laptop earlier in the week.The presentation was a little nerve wracking standing up in front of all those people but we were pleased with how it went and it seemed to be well received. Meeting other travellers gave us a chance to feel human again and know the problems we faced are the same for most long term travellers hopefully we also inspired some others to take the plunge and go for it. We are living proof that you don’t have to be rich or have a fancy bike.