Readers Respond

Here are some selected e-mails from readers. Thanks for writing!

[sic] always applies...

Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 19:56:55 -0800
From: John Macdonald
Hi Carla,

Glad you liked the pictures. I scanned them from photos on my HP 5100C scanner and then compressed them about 60% in .jpg format. You certainly may use them if you wish. That would be a good way to share them, as they won't see the light of day much around here.

I have a lot more from that trip, principally of Shekou area and our trip out to the Nan Hai Fa Xian, which is an FPSO (floating production, storage and offloading) vessel (coverted tanker) that treats and stores oil produced from nearby platforms in the south China Sea about 100 miles SE of Hong Kong.

The slogan was just outside the ferry terminal in Shekou. The Chinese love to encourage work. You must have seen things like this?

Next door to Splendid China was another park called Wonders of the World. You can see a not so miniture Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Niagara Falls, etc. We did not go there but it seemed very popular with the Chinese.

The final picture is of office towers in Shekou, with the short white one in the center holding Chevron's offices, soon to move to the tower just to its right. The amount of office building construction was astounding, only matched by the freshness and freedom of the architecture. Much more fun than California building designs!


Wonders of the World1.jpg
Wonders of the World2.jpg
Nan Hai Bridge.jpg
Nan Hai Production Facilities.jpg
Shekou Towers.jpg
Slogan to Encourage Work.jpg
Strong Guy Holding Platform.jpg

From: "masaaki-hada" <>
Subject: Please link to Sidecar Meetings in Japan
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 03:39:22 +0900

... I live in the western part of Niigata city Japan. It snows a lot in the northern districts of japan in winter. Niigta city is the northeast "the Tohoku district" in japan. "Sidecar Meetings in Japan" It is my Homepage. My hobby is traveleing on my sidecar. Watosonian GP sports is good condition. I want to drive across America someday on my own motorcycle. But it is&nbsp; a dream. Plerse look at my homepage. Bob & Mary parsons apper in this homepage and my video reports. Please Link to my homepage. It is Sidecar Meetings in Japan. URL English language Japanese language .

Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 21:42:16 +0800
Subject: Humble Commits

Dear King:
I have read your China Road, dispatch by dispatch. I got a mix feeling after the reading. I appreciated your courage to make this outstanding trip. It disappoints me, I think as well as most others that you actually didn‚t make your initial destination. The reason is not how hard this road is. As a Chinese and a motorcycle enthusiast. I think I am qualified to make commits on these two critical factors which eventually affected the outcome.

I learned that there are people who have rode their 125cc motorcycles traveling around China and making as far as Tibet and Shinjiang. The 750 BMW clone tricycle is not encouraged for suck kind of trip. Also, the lack of sufficient culture and geological knowledge also attributed to the failure. What you saw is quite typical for the Chinese west where
the economic is far less developed than the Southeast. Your experience vividly reflects the appearance to the outside world though in a foreigner‚s point of view. From this point, the book is laudable.

I strongly recommend you learn more about China. I believe this will be more helpful than a robust motorcycle if someday you want to ride back. You will realize by then that what you will know is quite different from you have now in mind.

Thanks for the good work.

Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 22:02:09 EST
Subject: American Borders

Dear Carla,

What an exciting and fulfilling read! One of the best motorcycle journeys I've had the pleasure of reading. I felt as if I was taking the trip myself.

Mostly I enjoyed meeting the people you met along the way, seeing the countryside roll past like a quick-brush watercolor painting, and delving into your thoughts and feelings as the miles rolled underneath those two wheels, or didn't. Your writing came from the heart, and that's what made it so powerful for me. You were vulnerable, yet resourceful throughout. A woman breaking down barriers, both personal and social. An intrepid traveler, not afraid of coming to that figurative "fork in the road" and taking it.

I'll be "hitting the pause button" myself shortly (May-June '99), and riding some of those same roads on a BMW motorcycle. Your story gave me the faith to know that even on a flat Texas road lined with hungry vultures, inspiration can be found.

I've commended your story to friends as a "must read" and, without exception, they too, felt inspired.

Great writing, Carla! And a heckofa good read! Get it published in hardback, if you haven't done this already.

Best regards,

>Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 12:45:36 -0500 (EST)
>Subject: Re: Road China

>Dear Carla,
>Happened by chance, I have read your article on Motorcycle traveling around
>U.S. boarder through Internet. Now your new adventure in China excited me
>even more. Because as a Chinese grown up in China and immigrated into
>Toronto, Canada in early 80s, your description of rural China arouse much
>of my happy and painful memory of my early days in there. China is
>developing fast, especially along the coast line. Cities modernized much
>faster than rural area, so much scenic site you have described already
>disappear. It is also my dream to travel along these scenic area with
>maximum freedom and without tourist guide. though the difficult you have
>met without doubt will
>happen to any body whether he/she is Chinese or foreigner. but that is part
>of the fun to experience all these adventures, isn't it?
>I don't know if you have already come back to U.S. or not, from your travel
>log, it seems you have not finished the whole trip yet. if not, wish you
>good luck on your adventure and hope there is nothing bad happen to you.
>I would imagine when you travel towards south, the chances are you have
>more and more opportunities to get trouble.
>Actually, I went back to China and stayed in there for a year in 1995. I
>planned to travel with a light weight motorcycle such as a 90cc or 100cc
>without success. Because there were too much obstacles and caused too much
>panic in between my relatives and friends. Though I am holding a Canadian
>passport, The Chinese still think I am local people, except when I travel.
>When I travel the airplane tickets, hotel etc will double charge me. In
>order to travel
>by motorcycle first I have to get a black plate, In China even traffic
>regulation have double standards, blue plates for automobile which only can
>be driven locally, one has to apply a sticker to travel to nearby city or
>province. Black plates are for the foreighners, and can travel over the
>whole country. But black plates are hard to get, only foreign investor open
>business in China, and with over certain amount dollars invested, the
>investor then have the privilege to have a free black plates, usually the
>rich foreigner will bring their own Mercedes Benz or Caddilac with a
>chauffeur, so black plate means power and money. you can see many prestige
>cars with black plate driven in Beijing or other big city like Shanghai,
>Only a few wild, wild westerners will buy a Chinese military or police
>motorcycle then with black plates and travel over China. Certainly I don't
>have a friend can loan me a black plate and a motorcycle (also I can't
>write such wonderful stories as you do, that is probably why I don't have
>the chance.)
>Many Chinese people would think westerners are crazy and rich. This can be
>proved by your friend's comment on many knives for westerner and Chinese
>only have one knife for all. My guess about what does he mean is that
>Chinese can not afford a trip like yours.
>Good luck and hope to hear from you
>Your reader
>From Toronto, Ontario

From: Carla King
>Dear Angus,

>Many thanks for your long and thoughtful email to me some months ago. I
>appreciate your perspective as a Chinese living in North America, you have
>a special vantage point from which most cannot perceive certain truths.
>People here have a difficult time imagining the blue-plate black-plate
>problem... westerners are not able to easily comprehend being so
>restricted. This is the situation that most amazes my western readers.
>Yes, it is difficult for most people to travel through China, though there
>is no longer the 2 price system so I encourage you to return and take
>advantage of that. I was very very lucky in getting the loan of a
>black-plate machine... very lucky, and I hope that because of that
>priviledge I am successfully conveying my experiences to those who wish to
>know what things are like, from a western perspective, that is.
>Do you know the Chinese writer Chiang Yee? He writes travelogues in English
>for Western readers. His perspective is very different than the western
>writer, and it is interesting and mind-expanding me experience San
>Francisco, for example, a city which I know very well, from a foreign
>perspective. Look at
>I hope that I didn't leave the impression in China that I was crazy and
>rich. I don't think I did, but one never knows. I needed help from so many
>people along the way that I think they got the idea that Americans weren't
>at all what they had imagined.
>It is very nice having your letter. I would like to publish it on my
>website, since it is so informative. Good luck with your travel plans, too.
>Best regards,
>Carla King

Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 12:45:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Road China
From: Angus

Dear Carla,

I am very sorry for the delay to reply your message, because my computer
crashed for the last few months. Now I only can rely on an obsolete 386 PC
to receive and send E-mail, this computer is too slow to web surfing to any
web site, so I haven't been able to read Chiang Yee's site or re-visit your
site again. But as soon as I have my computer upgraded or repaired, (may be
it is better to upgraded instead to have it repaired) I will revisit your
site again.

About motorcycle travelling in China, seems it is even more difficult now
than before. It seems Chinese government adopted the policy to restrict the
growth of privately owned motorcycles in large cities such as Beijing,
Shanghai, Canton etc. Last August, in Canton, local government official
suddenly stopped issue any new motorcycle license plates, which caused huge
problems for dealers, repair shops, and many motorcyclists. Ironically,
since people have to ride their motorcycles for longer period before all the
motorcycles can be eliminated from the city, it causes even more
environmental problems, which is the official reason to eliminate all
privately owned motorcycles. Honestly speaking, I don't believe Chinese
government can solve the pollution problem in the large cities, whether they
eliminates privately owned motor vehicles (mostly small displacement
motorcycles and mopeds) or not. The situation of other cities are not much
better, Beijing never issued any privately owned motorcycle plates and won't
issue any.(the black plate on your motorcycle is actually for car, so
somebody paid more expensive price for a car plate and put it on a
motorcycle). Shanghai is the most liberty city in the country, so local
government auctions the motorcycle plates to the public. The average price
is equivalent to $2000-3000 U.S. dollars. So you see my dream is still a
dream. But Chinese are very patient people, I can WAIT. (Though I think the
central government of China made an unwise decision, since it is still an
authoritarian government, no body can do very much about it.)

Actually, I am wondering if any people ever thought about translate your
story into Chinese and let millions Chinese motorcyclist readers to read
your story. May be it will push the motorcycle travelling a bit easier...

Could you kindly let me know any of your future story about any travel in
Europe, North America, Asia or China etc?

Best regards

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 09:34:05 -0500
Subject: Happy Monday !


Please include me on your mailing list for updates on events and the
print version of your trip to China ...I have followed both China Road
and American Borders, hanging on every word. I want to be you, except
when you break down. Sure wish you'd buy a Honda, ha.

By the way, the Ural folks must really dislike you. You single-handedly
talked me out of buying one even though they look really cool. I see now
they have a three year warrantee which would be helpful too. Did you
keep yours ?

Where are you going next ? I'll look forward to the reports where-ever
you go !


From: Carla King <>
Subject: Re: Happy Monday !

Hey there, sorry about discouraging you from buying a Ural... mine was a prototype model, you know, just off the rack in Irbit and not built for American roads. Hence the road test. I understand from people who have them now that they're a lot more reliable, though still not BMW quality, but you get what you pay for, don't you? I can't believe the 3 year warranty! Very good. And I think Ural actually likes me, I advertised their existance, you know. I was just driving the Beast around Marin yesterday, it was a fairly nice day, not raining, but cold. She hadn't been started for a while but likes the cold weather, being from the northlands. Taught a friend how to ride. I hope to return to China to ride from Lanzhou to Yunnan and across the borders to Burma Thailand Laos, maybe as soon as this fall. It'll be on the website, whatever I do. Wish me luck!
Thanks for writing,

Subject: Re: ?
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 09:27:16 +0100

Hi Carla,

Don't know how I came there, but I greatly enjoyed your trip report on
China. The travel bug came creeping right out of the pc. Datong being
China's ugliest city, mmmmmmm. I should see that.

Hope to see more of this.



Travelogues on my homepage at (Ethiopia, Cambodia,
Hong Kong)

and very nice travelogues they are!

Subject: Exchang

Saw your website. Now, to find your stories....

Here, a website to compare mythologies (in case you are ever in the
Southern Andes during the austral summers):

best regards,


Date: Tue, 09 Feb 1999 16:46:24 +0100
Subject: Issue China Road Dispatches

Dear Clara,

Nice site You have got!
Quite impressive all you have accomplished.
I haven't been able yet to read all your memoires, but it sure makes me hungry to travel soon.
Every publication connected in some way with Tibet i'm interested. My twin sister herself was for 9 years a Tibetian nun and has been to the borders of Tibet and China back in the 80's. We Dutch seem to travel a lot. I have a small mororfiets with witch I travel so far only in Europe, which is somehow enough, I hope.

China has it's own mysteries, culture, adventures. Who knows... someday. Let's say, it's good to have dreams.

I hope you will find someday some time for me to tell me if you have published already your " China Road Dispatches ".

You are/have a remarkable personality. (sorry for my bad US-English). No offense meant.

Keep well,
Yours sincerely,


Subject: Re: Issue China Road Dispatches

Hi Jan,

You know I lived in Holland for 8 months, Vinkeveen. Lovely place. And I rode with the International Women's Motorcycle Association sometimes. I really like it there, and would like to come back someday for a visit.

Yes, I often meet Dutch people traveling. they are very adventurous. I met a Dutch woman in Beijing, in fact. She was traveling all over the country by herself, by train and bus.

My friend Alison Wright writes and photographs Tibet and Tibetans, her latest book is called The Spirit of Tibet, you can look at it at Also look at my links page on the website, and you will see the adventures of Pamela Logan. Very interesting people.

Thanks for writing, and I have put you on my mailing list for the book release information. And your English is good! Much better than my Dutch (the Dutch people wouldn't let me speak it, you all speak English so well!).


Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 10:42:47 +0100
Subject: Betreft: Re: Issue China Road Dispatches
Beste Carla,

Bedankt voor je aardige reactie. Vinkeveen will still be there whenever you visit our small country. If not physical maybe someday in spirit. May I ask you a personal question? Is there still enough privat life left since you became known to so many people on this planet?

As for languages: I'm engaged to a German woman and I have difficulties in not speaking German, so used I'm to the existence of people with less interest for my language. She makes me proud of my Dutch identity. Someone trying to speak a language which is not his own should be encouraged, not be stopped. Americans speaking Dutch, how nice! Next time: insist on it not to be helped. To let you be.

We Dutch can be very narrow minded sometimes. We're liberal but "freedom of speak" has difficult meanings.

Keep well and healthy,



From: Carla King <>
Subject: Re: Betreft: Re: Issue China Road Dispatches

Hi Jan,
Thank you for the invitation. I no longer know anyone in Holland, my friends were all expatriats and have moved elsewhere by now. And yes, my life has become less private. In fact I have changed my phone number and now I am thinking I will soon be unable to keep up with the email correspondence. But there are many rewards.
Aushdeblieft (?)

Subject: Me Too
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999 15:34:54 -0800

Super cool to find your web site as I sit idle, grinding out my last
week of gainful employment before setting out on an around the world
motorcycle trip. I fly to Germany on March 1 to rendezvous with a
German biker I met on the net, (he's lining me up with a used BMW R
100 GS for my trip). Three weeks to go and I'm out of my skin!!

I'm interested in supplementing my meager travel account by writing
free-lance along the way. I was hoping that you could pass along a
few words to get me pointed in the right direction. My original plan
was to design a web page, update it frequently with downloaded photos
from a digital camera, plenty of tales from the rotten road, and links
to any companies who had donated any gear or made contributions. friend with the Front Page program gathered his 'get up and
go' and 'got up and went' sailing off the coast of Belize, (I know
that I can convert a Word document into HTML, but this would result in
a real lack luster web page). Unfortunately, I'm stuck in a 'Chicken
or the Egg' scenario; I need a lap-top and digital camera to get
everything up and running, but need a top rate web page and some
documented road miles behind me before I can legitimately solicit any
sponsors. Again...any words of advise.

I'm at a bit of a disadvantage as I have really no foundation in the
travelogue industry. I do have a considerable amount of travel
experience, but no concise body of work that is free of profanity and
illicit drug references.

Enjoy the rest of your trip, perhaps our paths will cross on the


PS: What travel insurance companies do you use for medical insurance
and insurance on your bike?

From: Carla King
Subject: Re: Me Too

Hi Ward,

Wow, the best of luck and fun to you on your trip. Don't know if I have any advice for you on the publishing front, other than the usual suspects. If you get your own website you get your own audience... profanity and illicit drug references are especially popular on the web so I spose you'll have no problem there.

I didn't have international insurance, but then I didn't take my own bike on a trip. Wow, I'm no help whatsoever, am I?

I'm sure a lot of pubs will take your words for free, but it is very difficult to break into paying gigs with travel writing, most people want to do this kind of job so it's got a lot of competition. Same for sponsors. Sorry.

Why don't you just download the html source for a site that you like the looks of and replace the content with your own, that way your formatting will be that of the model, the words will be that of your own. All you need is an ISP and a FTP program... and, of course, a telephone line.

As for medical insurance and all that, there are a lot of travel advice websites (look at yahoo!) that give you that info. I wouldn't particularly recommend mine.

Let me know if you get a site together and I'll check in!


Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999 02:17:35 EST

Hello Carla King,
I found your site off of the NARMA site. Will you make it to Minnesota this

Here is a web project I have been working on since Aug. 10th:

Keep the rubber side down,
Tom Taylor

From: Carla King
Subject: Re: hello

Hi Tom, Great! An activist! Very good... and congratulations for getting it all on a website. Don't you just have to love the web?
I hadn't thought as far as August, yet... except for vague notions of a return trip to explore southern China in fall. But Minnesota might be good. Thanks for the reminder,
and the shiney side up, to you....

Subject: Milk River in My Blood


I first learned about you this morning on the GS List. I am planning to be
at your next open house in San Francisco on Feb 18. I have browsed through
you China Road dispatches and just started to look at your American Borders
stories, when I came across your story about Renata and then about Milk

The Milk River reference and scenes clutched at my heart, for I used to live
in Calgary and I love the Foothills country of Alberta. Although I have
been in California for 11 years, Alberta still feels like home. This
additional reference to it today adds to my homesickness, which has been
festering well the past few weeks.

It all started with a trip to the BMW National Rally in Bozeman Montana last
summer. I made a side trip to Calgary and visited some dear old friends,
who welcomed me into their home as if I had only been away a few months. Of
course little kids were involved, who got to ride on my R1100GS and learn
about the motorcycle world. When I entered Alberta at the Carway border
station and rode north across the rolling wheat fields, so many memories and
the sheer joy of the open plains flooded back to me.

Then, a few weeks ago, another reminder in the form of a reference to Ian
Tyson, an old cowboy singer from west of Calgary. I loved his work long ago
and so, on the spur of the moment, I searched up Amazon and ordered a few
CDs. Ian's music has been infecting me again with lonesome songs of
cowboys, eloquent descriptions of Alberta, and rousing celebrations of the
western lifestyle. In particular on song, Milk River Ridge, struck me the
other night. It is about a man, a woman, a soon-to-be-born baby, a big
strong horse, a snow storm and a Chinook Wind. In many ways an elemental
song about life's cycle in the Foothills of Alberta.

Thus your writings on Milk River seem a fitting new piece a circle of
coincidences and references to Alberta for me.

Thanks for adding to the mystery.

San Ramon, CA

From: Carla King
Subject: Re: Milk River in My Blood

Hello Jay,

Thank you for relating your story to me. Milk River always comes up when people ask what was my favorite place during the Borders trip. The Canadians are wonderfully friendly, the days there with that Canadian family who adopted me made the stop amongst my most cherished memories. And the place itself, historically and geographically... what drama has been caused by that sudden dip in the prarie!

I had so many letters from Canadians who wanted me to have a better time in Canada. They wanted me to dump the Ural and ride further up into the country, and I had dozens of invitations to stay in people's homes everywhere from BC to Quebec

Alas, I could not go, for I was exploring "borders" on that trip, but it gives me an idea to do a travel book on the juxtapose of the USA border countries again, riding in Canada in Part I, and Mexico in Part II.

I hope you do make it to the slideshow on the 18th. It has been advertised so I hope there is room for everyone this time, but I think it will be standing only... I MUST get a larger place! And I gotta get these books published!

Please introduce yourself, it's a bit crazy at those things so remind me that you're the misplaced Canadian.


PS: What is the GS List and where do I find it? And can you give me the specifics on that CD with the song Milk River Ridge? I may do some multimedia with the website, and that would be a nice touch.

Note: I had a wonderful time at the slideshow at Get Lost books in SF, and enjoyed meeting Jay and others very much. I am finding that the audience of these slideshows are adding quite a bit to the show itself... many have been to China, many are experienced motorcycle travelers, many are academics and some are even Chinese! So all those questions I can't answer get answered somehow. It has been suggested that a realtime discussion group get going here in the Bay Area, someone is going to organize a real Chinese Tea Party. If you'd like to be included please let me know via email.

Subject: g'day from Australia
Date: Sat, 6 Feb 1999 23:22:23 +1000

Just read some of your story, fantastic.
Rode overland from Southern India to europe in 97 myself.
Any idea if it would be possible to purchase a m/c in China and sell it back
to the dealer?
Any idea of the price.
I am planning to quit work at the end of this year and take off again, but
now for a few years,your story has stirred me up .
I know it is very difficult to take my own bike into China- buying and
reselling is an alternative.
hope to hear from you

From: Carla King
Subject: Re: g'day from Australia

Hi Richard,
Ahhh, a fellow adventurer. Glad to hear from you, glad you like the story. Probably not likely you will find a motorcycle buy in China... you need a Chinese driver's license, you need black expat plates, all which means you have to live and work in China. My entire trip was illegal but I was between the non-tourist and tourist regimes... they have a bit of a clue, now. If you don't have black expat plates you are limited to riding the bike in the province in which you bought it, so it's not an option to have a local buy one for you, either. Maybe China will open up a bit more next year! In the meantime there are some companies who will rent and lead bike tours for about $100 a day or more. I'm exploring that possibility, maybe will ride with some friends later.
Best of luck to you,

To: "Carla King"
Subject: Re: g'day from Australia
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 07:52:21 +1000

Thanks for the information , maybe things are better in the future.
I have put a link to your page on my travel home page.
Maybe you can return the favour.
Kinds regards
Where there is no will,There is no way

Date: Sat, 6 Feb 1999 01:53:36 EST
Subject: Thanks for the nice slide show at Stanford Shopping center.

Hi Carla You may not remember me, I was the guy that came up to you and was
asking you if you met a particular German with a Chang Jiang. He has it in
Hamburg now. I go Germany every year usually with a bike. I rented a HOG
bike and took my Dyan Wide Glide, and took an old Honda 500. I sold the Honda
there and brought back a Eisenacher with a Stoya 1 side car, Its an old East
German bike designed by BMW. I really enjoy riding in Germany except for the
rain. I took the Dyna through 9 countries and It rain just about all the
time, I am now working my 1200 Sportster. I am making it look like the
Captain America bike. I am not extending the front though. The license plate
is: CAP USA. I plan on showing it at the largest biker jamboree in Germany,
called Biesenthal. This will be my 5th year to go there. My German neighbor
told me about it and we were going to go but he backed out so I went by
myself. Now I have a lot of friends there. We are now making a bike there
into a rat bike. Its an old Simpson AWO with a Stoya 2 side car. Its sort of
like my 350 single EMW. We named it Gentleman Jack after the US whisky made
by JD.
Anyway I thought you might find this of some interest to you. I work for
United Airlines and I also take pictures and do articles for an Australian
magazine called OzBike.

From: Carla King <>
Subject: Re: Thanks for the nice slide show at Stanford Shopping center.

Hey Darryl,
I'm sorry we couldn't meet. It's so strange to know people online and not their faces. I think I might remember you, but that crowd just blew me away, you know! Bummer about your rain trip -- I am such a fair weather rider. I remember in Brittany in France one summer it rained all the time, the air intake sucked in all the water and the bike just sputtered along, finally found a nice campground and parked it for three days, wandered on the beach, clammed, drank coffee and wine...
You sound quite creative with the mechanics and body work... sounds fun, have fun your next trip in Germany, yeah, there sure were a lot of Germans in Beijing with those CJ's, saw them all the time on Sanlitun. So many expats there!

PS: couldn't get the pix up, crashed my computer... if you ftp it up to the web give me the website name... thanks
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 17:25:56 -0800 (PST)
From: E Burns
Subject: Thanks

Hi, Carla--Just a few lines to thank you for your fine presentation last
Wednesday and for the great launch you gave me into the Net. That jam-packed
crowd at Phileas Fogg's was such a mix of old China hands and bikers of
every stripe, all wanting the straight skinny on China, and you delivered,
so personably and unassumingly, though your trip required extraordinary
fortitude and world travel skill. I felt so lucky to hear it from you in
person. That after Renata's stories and the Net. ...
Subject: Missed the boat
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 08:18:02 -0800


Thanks for the update and the hope of maybe catching the show from
the inside. Although, it looks like those of us who were busy
putting nose prints on the window last night were in good company.

So I don't miss getting to the other side of the looking glass the
next time, would you toss my helmet into the ring of those you notify
as to when and where?


#10 of the nose printers union

Subject: Next slide show...

I was one of those whose noses were pressed against the window,
distracting you! I did talk to, and otherwise eavesdrop upon, two other
China travelers, so all was not lost. Please 'E' me if and when you do
another presentation.
I had read the City Bike article, and was particularly taken by the
quotation sidebars... your idea? I was inspired enough to write each one
down and pass them along to selected loved ones. Thank you for that
lifting experience. Paul

I was both pleased at the crowd that showed up and terribly dismayed, because I knew that people had ridden for more than an hour, even two, to Phileas Fogg's. Only a handful of those 100 that didn't get in made it to the Get Lost Show. I hope to arrange a bigger show, and will probably include information on the American Borders trip on a Ural, the Europe trip on a Honda, my rides in Jamaica, and maybe even my bicycle rides in France and West Africa.

Date: Mon, 01 Feb 1999 14:05:19 -0800
Subject: saw yours, see mine ;-)

Hi Carla,

you don't know me (I think!)
I am an Irishman living here in the Bay area since 1989 when I was
transplanted on a tekky ticket.

Anyway, I was posted in Singapore for the first 6 months of last year
and enclose the url of an account of a
trip up into Malaysia in May'98. Hope you have the time to read it, and
maybe enjoy it... and maybe critique if appropo.

I hope to make it to your "show" on Wed at Phinneas'

btw, I loved your accounts in CityBike, especially the kissing monk!
You describe it so well it was like being up there on the hill beside you!

have fun!


p.s. the first foto is my monster on I395 with the eastern slopes of the
sierras in the background... down by Lone Pine, or Big Pine, or one of
them Pines! the rest of the pix are genuine Malaysian.

Subject: hello from tel aviv
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999 15:39:52 +0200

hi i love traveling aii over with my bike if u come 2 town i would love 2 join u on a trip i think u will love my country bye Aloni im 33 yrs and i have a suzuki 650 bye....

Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999 05:35:14 EST
Subject: your dispatches


Just started reading your dispatches. Very interesting stuff!

I was a tour director to China back in the early '80s. Do you speak Chinese? I
can't imagine trying to ride a motorcycle through China without speaking the

Talk to you soon,


Subject: Thanks for the great article in City Bike!
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 22:09:11 -0800

I really enjoyed your article in the January '99 issue of CityBike. I was
in China last May, and those "CJs" caught my eyes immediately. I never saw
one without a sidecar. (Are motorcycles with that much displacement allowed
without sidecars?)

If you go back to China, there's a really neat island off the coast of
Zhejiang province called Putuo Shan Island. There are no cars on the island
except for a few construction and navy vehicles. It is one of the few
places in coastal China where the air is clear. (That's probably an
exaggeration.) The island is famous for its giant gold statue of Guanyin
(?) (the goddess with a thousand hands).

I'm looking forward to seeing your presentation next Wednesday.



To: "Carla King"
Subject: Language...
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 22:48:43 -0800


How much Mandarin do you speak? I got the feeling from your article that
you have a few phrases pretty well figured out. Or is your vocabulary much
greater? Without a guide, I'd be freaking out over there!

I too was amazed at how the Chinese don't seem to appreciate the beauty of
various places. Definitely a different mind set. But I was impressed how
most of the people were quite friendly and usually helpful. This was
especially true for those who were "friends of friends". But don't you
just love the questions "Why you not married?" "Why no children?"



Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 19:25:01 EST
Subject: Re: thrills, love, adventure....they're all good, yes!

Hi Carla! The other day my wife Monica was cuddled in bed with Jimmy and
Shane reading your China adventure for their bedtime story. I was in the next
room listening in, and re-enjoying your tale, when the part about your stay at
the brothel came up.

"Mom, what's a brothel?"

"It's a place where people trade sex for money"

Several moments of silence, wheels turning, gears gnashing . . . .

"Why the HECK!!! did she stay there?"

"Because it was the only place she could find where they had rooms to rent."

Some more moments of silence with the strong wish, but not entirely confident
belief, for your virtue . . .

"What the heck would they need rooms at a brothel for?"

Because I was still engaged in pondering the first HECK! I missed the rest.

I was reading your discription of your personal relationships, and your lovers
reactions to your solo travels, when a quote attributed to Low-Riders (those
folks with them crazy cars) popped into my head. I think it goes, "Soy quen
soy" - translated it's, "I am who I am". I guess it could be mis-interpreted
as harsh or selfish but I don't see it that way. We are who we are. Thanks
and we hope to see your talk soon!


Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 23:09:07 -0700
Subject: outrageous!

I read most of your "American Borders' series a year or so ago and loved
'em. Now you've ridden in China. Cool! Can't wait to read your book.

If you have time, you might enjoy my rides in India and Sri Lanka. Cycle
World published them a few years ago. They're at:

"For the Ride" is the longest, "The Lucky Logger" and "Peaks" are the

Still like the Ural? :)

Vancouver BC

Yep... still like the Ural, it's sitting outside enjoying the cold weather right now. Starts right up!

Date: Sat, 09 Jan 1999 09:54:30 -0800
Subject: Doing it the right way

Ms. King,

I'm jealous. Sooooo jealous. I lived in China from September 1996
to December 1997, studying, traveling and attempting to find one of
those legendary ex-pat jobs that your friends were so lucky in landing.
I spoke with a number of Chang Jiang riders, but never did find a place
that could sell me one.

I wondered what type of advice you got from Jim Rogers before you
left. Did you view his videos of riding through China and Russia? I
met him at a Beemer rally in Colorado where he gave a presentation/slide
show. I have to say, the man is arrogant, but he's spot on when it
comes to analyzing a country's fortunes (or lack thereof).

I'm excited to say, and find it somewhat coincidental, that Ted
Simon will be giving a presentation here in San Francisco on January
22. The coincidence is that I read "Jupiter's Travels" while a student
at the Beijing Language and Culture University. Sadly, I missed Helge
Pederesen's recent presentation, but I look forward to seeing yours in

I don't know what, if any advice I could offer to you about China.
If you have a chance to make it to Yunnan province and down into
Xishuangbanna and then into Burma, you won't be disappointed. Look for
a small eatery with a sign "Cold Beer" on the Burmese side. My British
friend while pedalling around gave them that marketing tip. ;-)

I wish you continued success on your travels. Keep the rubber side



Date: Fri, 08 Jan 1999 18:38:37 -0800
Subject: time inside the helmet

Hi Carla,

A friend of mine found the URL of your Chinese travel-log, and forwarded it
to me because he knew I'd be interested. I did a contintal US motorcycle
tour in the summer of '97 and have been itching to do another
internationally ever since.

I was amazed at how your writings evoked memories of my trip that I wish I
could conjure up at will. Especially what you wrote about emptiness. Maybe
it's because you spent more time on the road than I, or because you were
riding thru a land where virtually no-one could communicate with you, but I
found the emptiness I experienced quite enjoyable. I refer to it as time
alone inside the helmet, a chance to explore and get very (un)comfortable
with what's in there while being exposed to all sorts of stuff that wasn't
in there the day (or hour) before.

A few months after I got off the road and settled down in SF i started
noticing -- with alarm -- that the emptiness was being filled in by the
hubbub of day-to-day life. The alarming part was that the filling didn't
really have the fullness that the emptiness had.

I don't know if that makes sense to you, but it's the only way I have of
describing it. None of my friends understand it, but they've never done a
serious motorcycle trip. Cars are different -- radios, glove compartments,
passenger seats, dashboards, and all sorts of other distractions that let
you get out of your head. On a motorcycle, it's just the road, the machine,
and whatever's inside the helmet.

Though I can imagine that if the trip took five months rather than five
weeks I might not have been so keen on regaining the emptiness.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for reviving some memories that I don't
dust off often enough.

Maybe we'll bump into each other in the city.


PS Have you ever read Jim Rogers' _Investment Biker_
2859215-0044252)? It is a bit too business-oriented, but at the time I read
it (a few months before my trip) I liked it. I suspect the trip has made me
a good deal less business-oriented, so I might not like it as much anymore.
But he made several cross-China trips, so it might be worth reading just to
see if his experiences evoke any memories that you miss.
ICQ UIN: 2281445

The nice thing about having become a cynic is that I now
enjoy being wrong.

From: Carla King
Subject: Re: time inside the helmet

Hi Leon,

Thanks for your letter. It's so nice hearing from people who really know what I'm talking about. You know I did a US tour in '95... same sort of thing, only I could speak the language. Not that it mattered much. It's at

I'll be doing a slide show on Feb 3 (wed) at Philias Foggs in the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, 7 or 7:30, I forget. It's about China... maybe I'll throw a few US trip slides in there, though.

Yeah... car's just don't do it. I suppose you could get near the same feeling doing a Kerouak back of pickup truck hitchhiking, but I like being my own pilot.

I hope to see you at the Fogg's thing. Not many net correspondents so nearby.

And I hope you'll get to get away again soon.


PS: Yeah, I read Jim's book, met with him in Vancouver. Interesting guy. He's made a LOT of money. Well, some of us have to. ITed Simon, too, his book Jupiter's Travels ( for the contemplative time you described. Imagine, 4 years alone around the world on a Triumph! Yeeks.

Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 00:58:18 +0800
Subject: Hey Carla.

Hey Carla,

Thank you for putting your adventure in China on line. I've tried hard
to find a website about China on line. I have friends that who have
never been to China, and I want them to know what China's about. Your
website gives me this opportunity. I just want to say thank you.


From: Carla King
Subject: Re: Hey Carla.

Hi Kevin,
Thanks for the note, and you're very welcome. I'm glad you and your friends are reading China Road. There's also another site you might find interesting, a guy from the USA who is teaching there. It's at

Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 12:31:33 +0800
To: Carla King
Subject: Re: Hey Carla.

Hey Carla,

> Thanks for the note, and you're very welcome.

It's me who should say thank you. I've been living in China for my
whole life, but never have the guts, and the time that you devoted into
the trip. For me, I want to know what a foreigner will do and think
about China, and your website is the place. For my friends, it's very
good to let them know more about the country. I love China, but I need
to "prove" that the country is as good as I told them.

I learned about your website from a TV program. They didn't mention
your website URL, and the only thing I know was your first name. I'm
glad that I could still find it from Yahoo by typing just "Carla".

Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 11:22:15 -0500
From: Ontario Dual Sport Club - Online <>
Subject: Greeting from ODSC

Hello Carla,

Nice site and remarkable trips. It is people like you who encourage and
create the future riders.

I had a question for you. I used to live in Kenya and knew a Carla King
there. Most probably coincidence but it was a long time ago and we were
just kids. We never had any contact and with the physical changes that
take place, it becomes hard to recognize.

Anyway, please check out our site, it may prove interesting to you.


Sham Kanji - Founder

Email only:
Mailing list address:

nope, not the same Carla, but thanks for writing and for the site lead...great info on that!

Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 08:33:23 -0600 (CST)

You are an exceptional lady you've experinced what i have always dreamed
of doing and at age 50 my dream probably will never be realized . Your
writeing of your own exploits makes it seem as if i were there also
thank you

Subject: your tales

Hi Carla-

I find your writing wonderfully entertaining and self-reflective. An
interesting pleasure and an informative read.
Would that all long distance riders took mandatory (and thereafter
productive) writing courses!

Thanks for the chronicling-



Date: Tue, 03 Nov 1998 00:34:59 +0000
Subject: but weren't you scared?

I just read that essay, it was so wonderful. I'm not a scooter lady, but
did go to Europe with the same questions - who am I and what is the
difference betweeen me and that one? The story about black-teeth,
French-speaking Bob made me laugh my ass off - do we not all have
problems with these misconceptions and assumptions, no matter where we
are from? I do not know much about mid-west America, but the way you
tell it, perhaps there is something to look for.
At any rate, your pages are exquisite, articulate, and filled with
heart, and with spirit. Your pages make me proud as a woman, a human
being, and last of all, an outlaw.
Keep up the good work. I'll be in touch soon.
Peace, Lela

From: Carla King <>
Subject: Re: but weren't you scared?

Hi Lela,
You made ME laugh... I had forgotten about Bob. I may drive back up that way around Christmas, bet he's not there though, probably doing someting fantastic in Europe. Becoming a brain surgeon or something.
Thanks so much for your email. I get so few from women... most of my readers are men, a lot of bikers... as if motorcycling has anything to do with anything... just a vehicle for me, to travel nearer to the road, to capture the place more accurately.
Your letter is very encouraging, thanks again outlaw girl... I'm struggling with an article about my China trip and now I think I know where to start.

Date: Tue, 03 Nov 1998 22:14:38 +0000
To: Carla King <>
Subject: Re: but weren't you scared?

Dear Carla,
Thank you, that was a great letter. I wanted to let you know I've got
you linked to my home page under "Hot Spots" at
That's weird that you don't get that many letters from women; I really
don't know what to read into that. There's nothing "threatening" about
you - unless it's the fact that you're intelligent, sensitive,
attractive, and capable of taking care of yourself. Yeah, I can see how
that would be threatening. :)
I'll be reading more of your essays, so you will hear from me again.
Good luck on the China story.

Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998 19:18:44 -0400
Subject: 50 Mile per Hour Flashbacks

Hello Carla King-

I wish I could come up with the 1000+ words it would take to adequately
thank you for sharing with me (and anyone else on the internet!) the
stories of your wonderful adventures. I have been captivated for the past
week by the 25 episodes of your American Borders tour.
Captivated! Entranced! Speechless! Transfixed!
I laughed,
I cried (I did!),
and I flashed heavily back on my home on the Peninsula.
and on various hitch-hiking tours through Europe.
and on the relations and elations of being a Ural owner.

My only regret is not having met you in 1996! I could have warned you
about the gas tank problem... and many of the other problems! I could have
read your dispatches as they came in! Ah, but back then I wasn't as
connected as now. A university student has very good access, these days.
Especially one who works in a not-so-well-frequented computer lab on
campus. I did manage to pass my midterms Friday and today, in spite of the
time I spent reading your accounts!
I am so glad to have accidentally found the verbum site (late as I am...).
Soon I'll start reading about your trip through China. Such an adventure
is a beauty to behold! I can't wait for a continuation of your poetic
descriptions of your daily trials and tribulations.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I'm dreaming of new adventures! It's such a shame that my Ural is sitting
back in California, a victim of the tank-crack-syndrome (among other
things). 'Recent fluctuations' in my life have led me to Ohio to study and
the short summers at home aren't long enough to allow me to make any
repairs on the Ural. Heck, I didn't even get to ride the bike that _does_
run last summer, my 1967 BMW R50/2- my baby! Its restoration while I lived
on an island along Germany's Baltic coast is another adventure... If I had
the Ural here... I could try it out in the snow! What a blast that would be!

Give my regards to Santa Cruz, I'll visit friends there (from the scooter
contingent) when I return home for the holidays.

Do you still have the Ural? Or have you settled back in with the Yamaha?

From: Carla King
Subject: Re: 50 Mile per Hour Flashbacks

Hi Stew,
It's not often I get such an articulate and complimentary e-mail. I hope you are enjoying the China stories, the CJ didn't have the tank crack problem... yes, I know why the Ural had it -- they fixed it at the factory in Irbit -- rather a dangerous little defect, isn't it? But mine is still mounted with rubber washers and a plastic tie. I do have it up and running and am enjoying just tooling around SF and Marin. No long trips planned... those I'll save for a more reliable machine.
I'd go on but I've got this tech manual due this week. Keep an eye on the Jaunt site, I'll probably be doing some more travels, and plan to add more adventures by others.

Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 17:10:43 -0500
To: Carla King
Subject: Re: 50 mph Internet

Hi Carla,
Yes, I've got the Jaunt site bookmarked and will watch for additions.
Meanwhile, I've been reading Sheldon Aubut's accounts, too. He seems like
quite a nice guy. I'm thinking about joining Narma- I'd love to get to the
meet in Minnesota next summer. Alas, I don't think the Ural will be even
ready to leave CA before then. We'll see what happens.

More reliable bike for long trips? Yeah, there are advantages to that...
Urals have taught me a love for sidecars, but I'd like something hardier,
too. Right now, I'm dreaming about finding a cheap Honda Hawk GT and
engineering a swing-arm front end and sidecar mounts. I might be able to
do it as a senior project in the Welding Engineering Department here. It
would be fast, sporty, unique, *and* reliable. Just push a button and
go... something I've never had in a motorcycle and a point of contention
between myself and my previous girlfriend.
"Buy something _reasonable_!" she said after Ural #1 shat itself on the way
to a Nor-Cal BMW weekend (discover old-town Martinez via Ural and tow truck!)
Even my current girlfriend had a hard time coping with a couple of
'spontaneous maintenance sessions' while underway from CA to OH in my MG.
I was pretty proud that the thing held up as well as it did; she was
I think a vehicle like a Ural (or an MG) can teach a person quite a bit
about independence, attitude, and perspective. For all the 'stress relief'
(read 'fun') a Ural can bring, it certainly can aggravate, too- a lesson in
patience like no child ever was.

Good luck with the manual.


Date: Sun, 01 Nov 1998 17:46:07 -0500
Subject: One Serious Wow

Dear Carla,

I've just finished China Road #20.





and back to...
A very serious WOW.
Your stories simply blow me away. And then I have to think that you spent
much of your time in China being blown away yourself. Sort of a constant
state of 'blown-ness', I guess. It seems all a bit much to handle, and
indeed, you needed a break from it sooner than originally intended.
Congratulations on surviving! Thank you for revealing China to me. The
digital camera was a great idea- the photos compliment your wonderful

I wonder how a male westerner would fare? Do you think that you, as a
strange foreigner, were more easily approachable because you are a woman,
or less so approachable? I mean (romantic aspirations of certain monks
aside), how much of your experiences with locals (business, police, or
friendly) were affected by your gender?

Hmm, I don't know if I'm able to correctly formulate the sentences required
to communicate my thoughts...

As I read your dispatches, I couldn't help but try to put myself in your
shoes. I wonder if anything would be different for me. Would the cops
have acted differently? Would the evil motorcycle--crashing mechanic have
been even more arrogant? Would people be so welcoming towards me?
I can see certain 'attention-drawing' factors which you inherently took
with you:
age of independence (my term- I can't stand the others)
good disposition

I can match all but one (well, ok, my hair is red), so I really have an
easy time relating to your writing. (Perhaps you would describe yourself
with a few other terms, too, or different ones. Feel free to add what I've
left out!)

I look forward to checking in on the photo gallery as it is expanded and
you add comments. What about number 9 and 15? Are they really lost?

I hope your thumbs are back to normal, your psyche remains undisturbed, and
you have found peace again 'in the ivory tower'. :)

Till the next time- keep the shiny side up!


From: Carla King
Subject: Re: One Serious Wow

Well, this is the reason I write... I'm so glad you could identify with the situation, with the "otherness" of it, the positives and the negatives. I have no idea how the Chinese perceived me, whether they even considered me a woman... they didn't in Africa when I bicycled from Dakar to Abdijan, through the bush around Sierra Leone and Liberia where they'd never seen a foreigner either, and I was treated as an "honorary" man, had access to the men's world and the women's.... I think I could have been purple with green spots and 5 legs for all the surprise they showed... but the Africans showed delight and they wanted to interact. The Chinese just stared. It was difficult to tell.
Yes, my thumbs are well back to normal, thanks, but I'm riding the Ural a lot so I expect they'll be out of joint soon!

Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 08:21:13 EST

"The other is the perfect vehicle, the bike of the mind. this is the
motorcycle that is lavish in its gifts and lessons.
Sometimes I fear it; often I dream about it; sometimes I love it with the
longing as if it were already gone."

"'s suddenly there, bobbing at the surface of consciousness, along with
a ghost perception of the temperature and smell of the air. This is the
perfume of the past. Future scents wait by the road."

Carla, thanks for giving me the suggestion...i got it from the library and
now i might buy it....something worth keeping....almost makes me want to go
out and buy another bike....but i think i want a sea kayak first....
yours....Stan Raymond.

Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 06:07:08 EST

I looked at your web page about your trip around the country. And I couldn't
help but wonder how you liked your Ural. I have been following Ural since
there introduction several years ago. They don't get much press, but I drool
on their web page often. What are your thoughts after being one of the few
folks who have had the opportunity to put a Ural through the ringer here in
the U. S. I really like the look and design but can't find much info

Ed Battles

From: Carla King
Subject: Re: Your Ural?

Hi Ed,

Well, I had a lot of trouble with mine, as you saw, but they've improved since then because the Ural people go to Siberia to oversee the factory. I'm going to China next month to ride a similar bike, the Chang Jiang, from Beijing to Burma. I like the WWII BMW copies just because they're retro, easy to fix when they break, and they do break, and because they're social - you can carry 2 people or 3 kids - plus people like to talk to you when you ride them. Oh. And they're cheap. Worth every penny. The ones in Seattle are 6 or 7 K, right? But the ones in China are $1500. Can't get them approved for American export, though.


Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 19:58:13 -0600
Subject: how to cross the border at international falls

I know that this is a simple question but i am going on a road trip to
International Falls and your homepage was the first place I stumble on to.
I anly need to know how to cross the border. What do we need and what
should we expect. I am sorry if this is too simple of a queastion but I am
just starting the prosses of finding the info out. We are leaving on WEDs
so if this does not get to you in time then that is ok. I hope that your
travels go well and god is with you. thanks abunch.

From: Carla King <>
Subject: Re: how to cross the border at international falls

Hi Donna!

All you need is your drivers license or passport. And a little patience.... there were about 20 cars in front of me. The legality is no problem. People regularly cross the border, grocieries are cheaper on the USA side and liquor is cheaper on the Canadian side!

Happy travels,

Date: Fri, 03 Apr 1998 21:27:42 -0500
Subject: ural dealership

Dear Carla,

Learned how to use the shift key but it messes with my
concentration..being from North Carolina and all.... I wanted to know if
there was any possibility that you may be near Columbia, SC within the
next few months to help with the grand opening of our dealership. I have
been turning folks on to your website and you sorta have become a local
legend being from NC and I think you may have a fan club in the works.
Me being one.

Best Rgds,
Bob Bullock

From: Carla King
Subject: Re: ural dealership

Hi Bob,
Gee whiz, a legend? I'm not even 40 (yet). Thanks for the invitation and congratulations on the opening of your dealership. If you have your computer running maybe I can join you remotely from China for a chat session. Send me email when the dates are firm so I can keep it in mind. Really. If I'm in a big town it might work.
I'm going to ride a Chang Jiang sidecar bike from Beijing to Burma. I'm leaving on April 22 and I don't know when I'm coming back. June, maybe. Of course I'll be sending reports from the road, to I'll be spending my 40th birthday in the mountains near the Tibetan border, that is, if that Chang Jiang runs well. It's got a side-valve and it's an 850... otherwise it's a Ural.
I sure do wish I could come, though. Sounds like loads of fun. And it would be nice to see my cousins. I just don't get there enough. Almost forgot how to drawl.
Best to you, Bob. Thanks for the fan club. And for learning how to use that shift key.

To: "'Carla King'"
Subject: Thanks
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 13:24:43 +1000

Congratulations ! "American Borders" was a great read. I'm looking
forward to reading more from you and joining in on your next
cyber-adventure. Your stories are a considerably more exciting than
peering out this office window at the railway line and parking lots. I
enjoy bushwalking & camping when I can get away and can't wait to get my
old 1957 BMW on the road so I can get out and do some touring myself.
You would love touring Australia. Praying you find success in everything
you do.
Cheers !
Graeme Cooke

To: "''"
Subject: Thanks
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 19:36:30 -0400

Hello Carla,

I was searching the web for motorcycle routes on Long Island for a trip I am
putting together and one of the hits returned from Metacrawler was your
American Borders site. An aficionado of both bikes and adventure travel, it
wasn't hard for me to get side-tracked. For the last two weeks I have spent
all my spare time reading your adventures instead of planning my trip. (OK,
so I don't have a lot of free time)

Thanks for the stories, I really enjoyed reading them. I will be living
vicariously for a while as baby No. 1 is on the way
( Your adventures brought
back great memories of trips my wife and I have taken. That has helped to
scratch my adventure itch (kind of).

I recently finished a book titled "the perfect machine." The authors name
escapes me, but if you haven't heard of it or read it yet, I think you would
enjoy it. It is about a woman and her involvement with motorcycles. I
don't want you to think I go around seeking out stories on women and bikes,
the book was a gift and, well, you know how I found your site.

My sister is living in San Fran, I'll have her keep her eyes out for the
Ural, there can't be too many Russian motorcycles there.

Thanks again for the trip. I had a blast...

East Haven, CT

Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 00:50:07 EDT
Subject: Rio Grande

Hey Carla,
I just wanted to drop you a note and let you know I enjoyed reading about your
adventure in the Rio Grande. I have visited all of the places you mentioned.
My adventure was in 1976. I visited Luckenbach on a sunny laid back June
afternoon. I remember the hippie cowboys playing their guitars and singing
Jerry Jeff Walker and Gary P Nunn tunes. There were old men playing dominoes
and sipping Budweiser. (funny thing I did not see any Lonestar ) Hippie
cowgirls bbqing and their kids running around having a great time. I am
sitting here seeing it just like it was yesterday. It really makes me long for
the road and Texas.I also have taken the leaky boat ride across the Rio Grande
but that is another story. Keep up the good stories of your adventures.

Date: Sun, 24 May 1998 13:15:03 +0000
Subject: American Borders

Hi! Just finished reading Am.Borders. I just couldn't put it down
(I printed it out, thinking I would read it at my leisure) Well,
there is no leisure when one's imagination is totally engrossed.
Your adventure on the Ural certainly fired up my imagination! I found
your website quite by accident while surfing for technical info
about Russian Automobiles, as I am an enthusiast of East Bloc cars
and motorcycles. Nuff said. I am again enjoying your Asian
adventures, and look forward to reading more of your work.

From: Carla King
Subject: Re: hip hip hip URAL

Monsieur Zotter,
Pas de problem... vous avez ma permission publier les histoires si vous aussi publier le nom de la site:
Bon chance avec votre Ural, et j'envoie l'esperance que vous avieiez les bon temps l'avec votre machine nouvelle...

Issoire le 03/10/98
M. ZOTTER Philippe 23 chemin de la chaux 63500 ISSOIRE E-mail :
To Carla KING
Hello Carla&hellip; As motorcyclist since more of twenty years, lover of OURAL since five years and owner myself of a OURAL since five days ( I come just to buy it, I it have not even again drive it&hellip;), I am concerned by your WEB page. In France, I am member of " friendly DNIEPR-OURAL of France " (approximately 80 memberss&hellip;) and I try to find on the WWW some articles that can concern members of the club. To thissubject, I ask you the authorization to translate and publish some parts of your article in our newspaper, I promise you that that will not bring you anything, if this is not a relative celebrity, but that would be truly nice... I wait for your reply with impatience, prudence and good road Philippe.

From: "Sheldon T. Aubut" <>
Subject: NARMA ListServe
Date: Fri, 9 Oct 1998 13:47:25 -0500
MIME-Version: 1.0

The North American Russian Motorcycle Association (NARMA)Mailing List
(ListServe) is now up and running. This is a, mostly free, sociable
correspondence mailing list for enthusiasts of motorcycles produced in
Russia, China, India and other Eastern Block or Eurasian countries.

At this time, you do not have to be a member of NARMA to be a member of the
List!!! The list is operated by NARMA but is hosted by who
only asked for an initial donation up front, which has been paid by NARMA,
and the opportunity to solicit donations for operation of the list once or
twice a year from the membership of the list, but donation is purely
voluntary. Because we are not restricting the membership to the list it
should open up the whole world to like minded motorcyclists.

What will I find on the list?
The NARMA List is a sociable correspondence mailing list for the enjoyment
of motorcycle enthusiasts around the Globe. Content may include; ride
reports, rally information, mechanical advice, and general motorcycle
related information. We will strive to keep discussion on a helpful,
and fun nature. We are comprised of mixed races, religions, ages, genders,
and International Cultures.

To subscribe to the list send an e-mail to and in the
body type:
subscribe narma your_e-mail_address

Any of you who sign on right away will be the first ones so please introduce
yourselves to the list and lets get this thing off the ground. To send a
message to all subscribers you just address it to:

Any questions or problems please e-mail me. I hope I didn't send this to
anyone who is not interested in these kinds of bikes and if I did I am

Sheldon T. Aubut
Duluth, Minnesota USA

From: (Chuck Sherman)
Subject: The Final Dispatch
Date: Sat, 10 Oct 1998 20:13:17 -0400

Dear Carla-

In the few humans on this planet who are truly aware, there comes a moment
in their life where they realize their own limitations...It is a humbling empty moment...a moment where crying is the only response that
makes sense.

It's's normal. From this gestalt, a greater awareness of the
world emerges. I felt it in your earlier were a Watcher,
reporting out on what you saw/experienced, yet not allowing it to penetrate
the paradigms which were the foundation of your psyche.

As a world traveler, I found that it easy to slip into the "been there,
done that" allowed me to function in foreign places without
truly experiencing the texture of the locale. I wish I could go back to
some of these places now, and truly "be" there..ah, c'est la vie.

The realization of it all is a BIG THING...your mind and the quality of
your work will expand greatly as a result. Take some time off...let it sink
in...then write about the old man on the park bench across from the beach,
just for yourself as an exercise. I suspect you'll have more to say about
him than both of your series combined.

Okay, I'm off my lectern now...You may dismiss this as yet another goof
sending you wacky E-mail...

But then again..

Chuck "URALTech" Sherman.

To: "" <>
From: Carla King
Subject: RE: Thanks

Hi Chuck,
Well, I brought the beast to Sausalito, ran her around the Bay Area for a few weeks and then it started raining. It stopped raining, but then it was cold. Well, not cold like you call cold, but I'm a southern girl moved to CA so for me it's cold. She's sitting under a cover right next to the water and though I've gunked her up with some spray that swears it'll keep rust off boats I havn't had the nerve to take a look. Maybe tomorrow. Meanwhile my Dad's up in Portland bugging my sister about her vehicles and her kids, so at least he's distracted.
Went to the book fair, there's some interest in China Road becoming an actual published book... maybe.
What' sup with you?

From: (Chuck Sherman)
Reply-To: "" <>
To: "'Carla King'
Subject: RE: Thanks
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 08:17:31 -0500


Nie to hear from you. I had begun to think you were amidst the life of the
int'l superstar that you are:) It's funny how we end up larger than life to
some folks...If you've been following the Chat Site, you'll find a whole
group of 'foil heads' (people who line their helmets with tinfoil whilst
riding their URAL) who think I'm the neatest thing since sliced bread...go

I'm glad to hear you didn't give the Beast up for adoption. So many times
I have given up a mechanical thing, only to regret it later in life.
Everyone who likes 'stuff with motors' has a story like your
case, the Beast actually helps define who you are.

GO CARLA! Get that book in print! WHEN you do, there should be a backfeed
in to the American Borders piece also. People who I have referred to the
Site have been most impressed with your body of work...It deserves to be a
tome of record.


From: Carla King
Subject: Re: your URAL

Hi Zsolt,
The bikes imported by Ural America are good because they're modified to comply with U.S.A. regulations, which are very strict. I think the ones sold in Europe don't need to be of a certain quality so I couldn't a

> Hi there, I enjoyed reading your Web page. Since I am looking for a motorcycle with side car I'd like to know what is your experience with the URAL today? (Growing up in Hungary, I have been exposed a wide range of Russian built stuff and the quality is just not there.) So how are the URAL's now days? Thanks for your time Zsolt

Date: Wed, 28 Oct 1998 14:24:00 -0500
Subject: American Borders


I just started to read your "American Borders" travelogue today and
wanted to express my appreciation for making this type of journalism
available on the internet. I've only read the "Aren't you scared" entry
and I already enjoy your writing style and insight into your

I can't wait to read on - but, first I have to get back to work - Big
Brother may be watching!


Date: Thu, 31 Dec 1998 17:24:02 EST

Hello Carla.
While looking at the links to 'Santa Barbara' and 'castles' in the final
installment of American Borders, about 3 or 4 porn sites appeared on screen.
After enjoying your stories it seemed apparant these sites were not your
I felt you would want to know. I've listed the link info as it was reported
by AOL
following this message.

...While at this location [ ]
...and viewing the final "borders" installment, the following links were
towards the end of the article.
This one was for "Santa Barbara"
And the following was for"castles"
[ ] I selected these sites 3 or 4 porn web sites appeared on
Sorry this happened to your story and hope this helps.

Subject: Ural Covers

I saw your posting on the Ural site asking about a cover for your Ural.
I use a Jeep CJ-5 cover. Weather proof, cheap and avaliable from any
auto parts store or JC Whitney for about $60.00. Its big enough to cover
the entire rig with a little spillover to tuck in.

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 21:56:37 EST

Just finished reading American Borders, and am amazed. I would have scrapped
that pile of junk at the second or third breakdown. I ride a Wing, and have
gone over a 100 thousand miles sans a breakdown. I have a friend with 530,000
miles on his 1984 Wing. Why, Why, Why would someone put themselves through
that kind of torture just to ride something unusual. You must be from
California, I don't believe the part of you being from North Carolina. I think
that what they say about people from California is TRUE.
Your new friend,
Daytona Beach

Motorcycle Misadventures | © 1995-2007 Carla King, All Rights Reserved Worldwide