Rifugio Spinella. Italy. Horizons Unlimited 2019.

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They know how to pick a spot! Rifugio Spinella doesn’t have a road to it according to TomTom. Of course my battery failed on the way up the steep gravel road which was 6km of broken concrete, gravel, bedrock and lots of hairpin turns. We made it though, 974m altitude. What a spot for a motorcycle meet!

The two young organisers. ( ha ha! We’re so old!) Alessandro Forni and Chama Sirvent picked a beautiful site. It was so relaxed and peaceful. We loved it so much that we stopped on the Sunday night too with our new friend John Wyndham from Vancouver Island.

We arrived At the refuge on the Thursday before the event. Only one other got here before us, that was John and we were soon joined by Randy and Roger. There were just five of us that night so we were able to sit through the evening and become friends.

It’s amazing how a few hours can lead to such camaraderie. We swapped stories as we got set up and then sat in a circle as dusk turned to night. Just five of us on a hill in Italy. Well except for the damned fox who took off with a six pack of crisps.

Sunset over Sansepolcro.

Friday afternoon saw the start of the event. As Alessandro and Chama setup in the morning, we all pitched in with a little help. Bikes started to arrive, coming along the dusty track to the refuge. Some were slow like us, some were experienced and were pretty quick. New faces started as strangers but many becoming a little more than that as the weekend progressed. Over the next two days there were quite a few presentations.

Each presentation was in English with lots of translations going on between French, Spanish and English. Between me and Clair, we sat in on everything with talks from making soap, camping stoves, crossing borders to adventure in many parts of the world. I can safely say I learned something in every one and got some good ideas on our kitchen box with all our cooking kit in. Each talk had its own merits and I learned something in every one of them.

Friday evening included an optional meal. Prepared by two wonderful people, 35 of us sat to eat in a cacophony of noise as strangers became neighbours. We had Gunnar from Sweden, Johann from Norway, John from Canada, Randy from the US, Graham from England, Roger from France, Chama and Alessandro at our table. Saturday Breakfast, lunch and evening meal were just as good and everything was finished off with Sunday lunch for the few of us who didn’t need to leave too early.

For me the best presentation came from Graham Field who was very funny, explaining how an offhand comment when he appeared on Deal or No Deal ended up with him writing 4 travel books and covering a large part of the world on his bike.

But all good things must end. People started to leave after breakfast until the last few of us were left. The team cleared up after dinner, the last few riders left and then it was just me, Clair and John. We enjoyed a peaceful Sunday afternoon and evening before we packed up on Monday morning and made our way down the hill.

Graham, Randy and Gunnar who had just met all rode off together.
Just the three of us left on Sunday evening.

So, if you havennt been to a Horizons Unlimited event I can highly recommend it. They are universally friendly and literally held all over the world.


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