Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting

All sorts of motorcycles were on hand, but the dual-purpose bikes predominated, with lots of KTMs, BMWs, and Japanese singles.

Motorcycle events are proliferating – which is a good thing. I was especially tickled when Horizons Unlimited (HU) called me up to say they were having a meeting in Cambria, 35 miles from my home. And would I like to give a presentation?

1994 Harley-Davidson
This 1994 Harley, ridden by Peter and Kay Forwood, has clocked nearly 400,000 miles and visited 193 countries.

Many readers might never have heard of HU, which is a collection of motorcyclists who have been long distances, or aspire to join that group. I first heard of the outfit back in the late 1990s, when it was an internet gathering where long-distance travellers could post information about recent trips, or find out about places they were headed to. This is all thanks to Grant and Susan Johnson, Canadians who began wandering on an R80G/S back in 1987, and by 1998 had been to some 40 countries. Realizing they possessed a lot of knowledge they wanted to share, and being computer-savvy, they set up a website, which grew into HU and now has many thousands of members and an incredible amount of useful info. Rider ran an article about them in October 2005.

Horizons Unlimited headquarters at Camp Ocean Pines
The Horizons Unlimited headquarters building at Camp Ocean Pines, where all questions would be answered.

In 2001 the Johnsons decided that along with all this internet interaction it would be nice to have face-to-face meetings, and the first one was organized in England. Now these meetings are on every continent, and all an HU member needs to do to set one up is a helluva lot of work. Camp Ocean Pines, where the event was held, has been around for over 60 years, with bunk space for 100 or so people, lots of room for tents, good facilities, great cook, and for the softies the town of Cambria had a couple of dozen motels.

Over 200 travellers showed up, mostly Americans, but a half-dozen countries were represented, including a French couple in the process of riding around the world. I learned about inflation. When I rode round the world in 1973-’75, living cheap, my costs were a little more than $10 a day; the French fellow said they were spending $60.

Horizons Unlimited vendors
Though this is not a typical meeting for vendors, half a dozen businesses dedicated to the long-distance riders were on hand.

HU had 34 presenters to line up from Friday afternoon to Saturday night, with four on-site locations. Rider‘s own tech guru, Chris Sidah, gave a talk on fixing roadside problems. And it ended with noted author and raconteur Ted Simon, who had just come back from England where he has set up the non-profit Ted Simon Foundation, intended to assist travellers in telling the world about what they have seen.

Anybody interested in attending an HU meeting, one will be held in Argentina in December. In 2012, meetings will be held in Thailand (January), Australia (June), Germany (June), Ireland (June), United Kingdom (July & August), British Columbia (August), Morocco (September), North Carolina (September), and back in Cambria (October 18-21). For more information, visit www.horizonsunlimited.com.


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