2011 West Coast Gathering Of World Riders

Article By: Tim “Buzzy” Bussey

Photos By: Rob Jones, Buzzy and Gillo

Originally Published In The January 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

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I first came across the Horizons Unlimited Website back in 2002 when I was researching a ride I was planning to take to Central America. The HU Website is the creation of Grant and Sue Johnson who began the site as an information center for motorcycle travelers who like them, hear the calling of the open road and want to ride to the ends of the earth. The HU site contains information on border crossings, motorcycle shipping, route planning, travelers’ stories of life on the road and anything a traveler would need to know on riding the planet on two wheels. HU also has meetings scheduled at different locations around the world where riders get together to share experiences and technical expertise. This year’s West Coast meeting was held south of Big Sur, California at Camp Ocean Pines overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the small coastal town of Cambria. Located on I what is considered one of the most beautiful roads in America, the Pacific Coast Highway. By Friday night, 200 plus riders had filled the campground. The HU meetings have the feel of a big family reunion. People came from all over the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, Mexico and many other far off places. This year’s meeting was different in that so many legendary riders were in attendance. Ted Simon, Dr. Greg Frazier and Pete and Kay Forwood all gave presentations on their travel adventures.

At any gathering of long distance riders, the parking space looks like a sea of dual sport bikes: Kawasaki KLRs, BMWs and KTMs are most riders’ choice for longdistance riding. Look a little closer and you also find riders taking Harleys, Indians, Triumphs and anything else you can think of that has two or sometimes three wheels. My wife Gillo and I rode into the campgrounds on my Electra Glide. At the welcome tent, Kay Forwood greeted us. Kay smiled, showed us where to register and said, “It’s nice seeing some more Harleys around.” Kay and her husband Pete are true legends of the road. They left Australia in the early 1990s on a Harley Davidson Electra Glide and have been riding ever since. They have rode to every country on the planet. At last count that was 196 countries, and now that two additional countries have been recognized, Pete and Kay are going to hit them too. Their bike is known as “The world’s most traveled motorcycle” and has undoubtedly seen more border crossings and miles than most of us can even dream of. Pete and Kay’s travel journals can be found on the Horizons Unlimited Website and are fascinating to follow as this fearless couple rides from country to country and into motorcycle history on a Harley.

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Dr. Greg Frazier, the only person to ride around the world five times, gave a presentation on his adventures that so far have covered over 1,000,000 miles. Dr. Frazier has published several books and videos on motorcycle adventure travel. I grabbed a copy of his latest book: Motorcycle Adventurer – Carl Stearns Clancy: First Motorcyclist To Ride Around The World 1912-1913. The book is the result of years of research by Dr. Frazier in which the story of the first person to circle the world on a 1912 Henderson is brought to life. Carl Stearns Clancy was 22 years old when he completed the first around the world ride in 1913. The book is a must read for anyone who has ever thought of what it’s like to be the first person to challenge the world from the seat of a motorcycle. I also had the privilege to meet the man who has been the inspiration for so many long distance riders in our time: Ted Simon. Ted was a writer for the Sunday Times newspaper in England back in the early 1970s. At the age of fortysomething, Ted decided to ride around the world on a motorcycle. Only thing was, he had never rode before. Ted got hold of a 500cc Triumph Tiger 100 and with backing from his paper, he began a journey that would take four years and covered fortyfive countries. Ted’s book, Jupiter’s Travels, chronicles his amazing journey as he finds himself trapped in Egypt during the six day war with Israel, jailed in Brazil as a spy and countless other encounters that make his book a timeless story of self-discovery and the unbeatable human spirit. In 2001, at the age of 70, Ted retraced his route and wrote Dreaming of Jupiter.

Well-known motorcycle adventure author, Carla King, was also at the meeting. Carla has penned several books on motorcycle travel covering her travels across America, Europe, India, China and Africa. Her adventures, or as she describes them “misadventures,” are both filled with humor and insight as seen through the eyes of a solo woman rider roaming the earth. Another woman rider, Sherri Jo Wilkins, also came to the meeting. Sherri Jo grew up in Indiana before migrating to Australia. Sherri Jo has been on the road for over 500 days having left her home in Australia crossing Japan, South Korea, China, Russia, Eastern and Western Europe, Canada and the US. Sherri Jo is riding a 650 KTM solo around the world on what she calls her “Because I can world tour.” After California, Sherri Jo will be crossing into Mexico and head south as she takes the long way home. Another Harley rider, Rob Jones rode up from LA on his Road King. Rob had no real interest in motorcycles thinking they were just too dangerous until three years ago when he visited a Harley dealer with his brother.

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While walking around, Rob dismissed most bikes as impractical or silly, that is until he came across a black and chrome Road King Classic and as he explains it, the world simply slowed and he was in love. So at the age of 31, not knowing how to ride, Rob bought the Road King and had his brother ride it home for him. After three months of owning his Road King and 600 miles of riding, Rob set out for a road trip to Sturgis and then on to New York before heading back to LA. It was somewhere around the 200th turn while riding the Dragon’s Tail in North Carolina that Rob had what he describes as a holy experience and he became one with his machine. Ten months later, Rob was on the road again this time just riding “north.” That is north until the road ended in Deadhorse on Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. By now, Rob was a true addict of twowheel travel and he began planning a ride south. In 2010, Rob crossed Mexico and Central America on his way to the southern most tip of South America, Tierra del Fuego. During the journey, Rob crossed rivers in El Salvador, broke a shoulder bone in Ecuador, 72 January ‘12 Cycle Source rode the salt flats of Bolivia standing on his floorboards, arms stretched out to the sky, crossed hundreds of miles of desert on his Road King before finally making it to the southern hemispheres “end of the road.” A truly amazing feat and from someone who once thought bikes were just too “dangerous.” Rob’s adventure in his own words can be found at www.advrider.com.

The ride to California was also the first long ride for my wife Gillo. We had met when I was riding in Africa. At night, Gillo would often walk along the beaches of Dakar and look out across the ocean and dream of traveling to far off lands. At the time, she didn’t know she would soon be riding along the California coast on a Harley looking out across another ocean but she always believed and never stopped dreaming. The ride took us up the coast to Monterey then down to LA seeing places like Cannery Row, Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Hollywood, Disneyland, Beverly Hills and Venice Beach around LA before heading back to Arizona. In the fifth century, the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” What was true then is just as true today. All great journeys begin first with a dream then with a small action. So as another riding season comes to an end for many across the country, it’s now a good time to kick back, grab a good book and start dreaming or planning that next or maybe first road trip of spring 2012.

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