Band of Brothers (and Sisters)

150+ adventure motorcyclists came to the Horizons Unlimited meeting in Cambria, California for a weekend of presentations, how-to clinics, bike goggling, and old fashion story-telling.  It was heaven.


 This past weekend I felt like I was arriving home, even though I was hanging with 150+ motorcycle adventurers, most of whom I’d never met.  This was  the fifth Horizons Unlimited USA meeting that I’ve gone to in the past four years.  Those regular TRT readers will remember that it was the 2008 HU meeting in Silverton, Colorado that started this whole “we gotta get out of here” thing for KR and me.  This s a meeting of,  for and by serious adventure bikers.

For those of us who dream of adventure travel on a motorcycle, there isn’t a  more interesting group of people to hang with.   For those who don’t have such dreams,  this might be a painful weekend.  I was even smiling while watching Grant Johnson (the founder of HU) give his “how to change a tire” seminar for the fifth time.   Knowing the right wrench to break “the bead” during a tire change is interesting:)   Over a two day period, there were about 50 presentations on everything from trip reports to how-to-tune your suspension.  This is heaven, beaten only by actually taking a trip on a m/c.

I counted no fewer than ten people/couples who had or were in the process of traveling around the world on their motorcycle.  That’s a pretty high concentration even among a group of 100+hardcore adventure bikers.  These meetings become destinations for people in the middle of their trip.  There “local” travelers  from North America on their way to South America and points East and West.   There were lots of accents around the dinner table too with bikers from Wales, Australia, France, and Spain, among others.  This year’s crew was noticeably different than past years’, as the age mix was broader and there were a lot of families with children.

I felt a bit like a charlatan amongst this crew as we’ve not taken a serious bike trip since South America, almost 18 months ago.  Yet, I was asked to give two presentations this year.  One was the “2 Up, 9000 Miles in 90 Days” presentation on our South America trip that I’d given last year.  For some reason, this year’s presentation was given to a standing-room-only crowd and got lots of laughs and questions.  It was a lot better feeling than giving an LACI presentation to a group of politicians in LA.

I had to write a new presentation for this meeting, “Rewiring Your Life for Travel: A Work in Progress” which I was pretty apprehensive about because I didn’t feel much like a real expert in Rewiring.  I wondered if anyone would come as it wasn’t about the fun stuff of travel, but the more mundane part of getting your act together so you can travel.  I was really surprised with a standing room only crowd and lots of applause again.  I even picked up a new consulting client for TPG from the audience!

It’s been a while since Now Voyager got to stretch his legs.  This is on Hwy 58, a terrific road from the San Joaquin Valley over the mountains to the Coast.

Lunch on the first day.  This camp ground on the cliff overlooking the Pacific is the best HU facility so far.  Food was always good, if a bit on the “family style” side.

Typical presentation room.  This guy was giving a talk on how to travel cheap, real cheap.  It was well attended and full of good ideas.

An outdoor amphitheater serves as the “big room,” reserved for well known authors and famous travelers.  This is not where I presented: )

A “for women only” seminar on traveling by bike lasted for two hours.  Closed session, so I don’t have the slightest idea of what they talked about.  I’m sure it was something long the lines of  “How to make your man happy while on the road”

Must be a Republican

Nor do well behaved men

I liked this guy as he’d traveled a lot south of the border

My kind of license plate.  I think I’ll get one for KR at Christmas

Couple from Wales going around the world.  I was envious of all the space to store stuff on a sidecar versus Now Voyager.  It’s the first time I actually thought about owning a sidecar.  For a brief moment.

All kinds of motorcycles show up. This is an old restored Indian

And this is Craig Vetter’s latest design.  Vetter is a m/c pioneer as he was one of the first people to sell fairings for m/cs.

This is a BMW like Now Voyager, but with a backup mode of transportation in the back.  We could have used something like this in South America.

Lots of fog surrounds the “dining hall.”

Grant Johnson demonstrating the right types of wrenches to use changing a tire.

This is another old Indian, in slightly rougher, but more patriotic condition.

“Lucy” was ridden all though out Vietnam.

After dinner cocktails on the patio overlooking the ocean.  Some of us were smart enough to bring a thermos of Screwdrivers…


The sun sets on another great HU weekend.

My kind of Sunday breakfast;  a cup of coffee, a bear claw and a NYT perched on NV.  I was awaiting the sun so we could get on the road again.

Roads through the hills of Paso Robles are made for bikes and bikers.   Five hours door to door, including getting lost in said roads and having a sit-down breakfast in a diner on Petroleum Blvd, in downtown Taft.




7 replies
  1. Chuck Brown says:

    Planned to be there but a month in the hospital slowed me down. Went to one in Creel,MX many years ago. Loads of fun.
    Sorry to miss catching up with you.
    Take care, Chuck

  2. Gary Wescott says:

    Hi Fred,

    Interesting group. Gives me memories of when if road my Honda 750. Never left the country, but many short trips. You really need to check out the 2013 Overland Expo in Arizona. Same type of overland travelers. Half in vehicles like us and half on motorcycles Lots of seminars on travel and how-tos. Check out the web site when you have a moment. They will likely want you to give a talk. Roseann Hanson is the organizer.

    5,000 people came last year.


  3. FHW says:

    Chuck – It’s good hearing from you. I think you would have liked this crew. How are you feeling now? fred

  4. Craig says:

    Good pictures and write up – though I am not that Iain and Debz would like to be described as from Wales 🙂 Iain is from England and Debz is Scottish. (Though I think it all the same).

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