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Russia - Mongolia - Geneva - Paris - Martinique - Mongolia - Russia - Kyrgyzstan - Kazakhstan



Day 22 - Mile 5133 - Orel

First day without rain, what a pleasure. I am riding 2 to 300 miles south of Moscow to get to the Baltic countries to avoid Ukraine. I found a little motel in a village. A neighbor took my sidecar in his garage for the night. I really wanted to take a shower.


Day 21 - Mile 4842 - Tambov

I am getting used to the slipt under my finger nail, but when I hurt it, it makes me jump to the sky. It rained again today but not that bad. I slept outside again. The sidecar is running good. I am just troubled by a grinchy noise I can hear on the front and I can't find what it is. In my mind, it has to be related to the bearing of the front wheel ? It's impossible to find a cafe Internet in the big cities on the road, it does not really exist ! I was able to squat a Wifi signal at a corner of a street by pure chance after several try. I was able to write a post on the guestbook. I received an email from Jean-Louis with the photo of his sidecar that just arrived at his dealer at Saint Remy de Provence, we are looking good !


Day 20 - Mile 4653 - Samara

A shitty day. First the 2WD get on by itself on a long bridge under the rain. When it happen on asphalt, the sidecar jump a few feet to the left !!! it was due to the rebuilt of the final drive at Irbit, the lever needed to be adjusted, it took me an hour under the rain. Later I saw that the big screw holding the bearings of the front whell is loose. No damage but scary at first. During the afternoon, I put a wooden split of 1/4" under a finger nail, it hurt like hell and I cant remove it.

I slept in the field but when I woke up, it was raining already !!!


Day 19 - Mile 4401 - Ufa

I had a good ride, it rained a lot, i found a trucker motel by night only !


Jean-Louis' sidecar just arrived at his dealer of Saint Remy de Provence, we are looking good !



Day 18 - Mile 4055 -Urman

I scew up by putting a 30A fuse unstead of a 15A on the position light that are still not working normally. I did repaired the exposed wire but then it does not switch off... until this morning when it work normally again !

I am approaching Ufa and will stop in an hour or so at Urman, Oleg's dad village.

I will check the tork on the cylinder after the first 1000km check the valves clearance and do a change of oil.

The temperature is dropping big time, it's like in the 50's only

It's the first time i saw a sign "Wifi" on the door of a gas station in Russia and on top of the it works !!!

I had an extraordinay evening at Oleg's parents house. The hospitality of these people living in a simple village is out of what we know in our countries. I did all the mecanic with Valery, Oleg's dad.



Day 17 - Mile 3823 - Chelyabisrsk

I am on my way west in direction of Linz Austria. Many people wrote me to tell me not to ride through Ukraine, do you know why ??? (i still don't know). I am sleeping in a Motel for trucker.



Day 15-16 - Mile 3685 - Ekaterinburg

It's been raining since I arrived here 2 days ago. Meteo predict sun for tomorrow. i am resting and will go the special "City fiesta of Ekaterinburg" today..



Day 14 - Ural Factory

I am leaving the factory, i will have dinner with my friend Oleg at Ekaterinburg -150 miles.



Day 11 - Ural Factory

Dimitry is working on doing all the maintenance needed on  my sidecar and I will have dinner with Iliya the president/owner of Ural who lives in Seattle.

I checked already on Jean Louis's sidecar, it is under fabrication and will ship next monday to Europe in container numbert 9.


Day 10 - Mile 3530 - Irbit at the Ural factory

Departure 7am

Under a beautiful blue sky, i had only 300 miles to do. I enjoyed the whole day riding slowly. I arrived at 4 pm at irbit. I had fish with the Ural Doctor that fixed my broken spoke last november and went to rest at the hotel.

During all these miles in Russia, I rode by the book and I was not stopped once by the police. The only glitch on the sidecar was on day 6 with all the rain, there was a short cut on the position light that i still have to fix. I dis a short on the brake light to have rear light and the high/low beam was still working.

My right annulaire is bothering me a lot with a lock-in syndrome, i will need a small surgery in france before africa.


Dat 9 - Mile 3197 - M51

Departure 6:10am

I stopped at 6:20am seeing in front of me a major thunderstorm developping with a very black sky. I had the choice to go back to the motel but I would have lost the possibility to arrive at irbit sunday. I got dressed for the rain and I decided to go throught the storm. It started to rain 10 mn later. It was violent, all i was doing was to follow the white lane on my right that I could only see a few yards away. I was like that for half an hour. Then it just rained for an hour. I did good, againg with my plastic bags, i managed to stay dry and keep going. At the end, it was my longest ride in one day. I was in good shape to arrive tomorrow at Irbit.


Day 8 - Mile 2665 - Novosibrisk + M51

Departure 6:30am

Some rain at the end of the afternoon. Stopped in a motel an hour before night, washed the sidecar. I am on schedule to arrive sunday night at Irbit with a little over 800 miles to go !

Needless to say, the only thing i do is riding my sidecar all day long. I don't go inside big cities where I would find internet. I think I will be able to post this when I arrive at Irbit.


Day 7 - Mile 2249 - Krashnoyark M53

Departure 6 am

A great day, lots of miles. Slept in the field, did a mushroom ommelette for dinner, was delicious.


Day 6 - Mile 1770 - Taeshet M53

Departure 7 am.

I did good with what I had with me considering the circumstances. It rained the whole day and I managed to stay dry. I did most of the unpaved road section in the mountains. The bad news is that my computer crashed and is dead ! I will need an Apple store somewhere in Europe either to fix it or to buy a new one !


Day 5 - Mile 1441 - 80 miles North of Irkutsk on M53

Departure 12 pm.

The immigration office is closed on tuesday morning but I learned an other way to register by the post office ! I left Ulan Ude by noon. I love this feeling of riding all day long. I passed through Irkutsk without stoppind and find a "Gastinija" (motel) at 10 pm. Life is good.


Day 4 - Mile 1095 - Ulan Ude, Lake Baïkal

Departure 8 am.

Passing the border, the Mongols made me pass a line of 20 cars for no reason. Then the Russian were smily and nice but every one was slow and it took 3 hours. Anyway I arrived at Tania's guesthouse end of the afternoon and it was too late to do the visa registration that must be done within 3 days after entering Russia. It was the 3rd times, I visited Tania's guesthouse. Last time was in March with Chinzo when crossing Lake Baïkal and all was normal, this time Tania has a little daughter of 2 months old !!!


Day 3 - Mile 878 - 15 miles north of Ulaanbaatar.

Departure 8 am.

I slept like an angel and wake up  under a beautiful blue sky. I started riding at 8am and by 3 pm everything was dry except my tent. Did good to arrive just 80 miles away from the Russian border.


Day 2 - Mile 534 - Moron +

Departure 7 am.

I was raining slightly when I woke up and it stopped when I had finish packing. 50 miles of very bad track along the road under construction. Arriving in Moron, I lost the gas tank cap. Then the locals Mongols told me of a river crossing an hour away of 3' high !!! it's too much for me. Having 600 more miles to ride in the Mongols mountains with many more river crossing, I decided to U-turn and enter Russia by the Northen border. A montain storm drench me very bad. All my body was wet except my foot. I was able to set up the tent in the mountain between two rain storm.


Day 1 - Mile 331 - Bulgan +

Departure from Ulaanbaataram at 11 am on August 6 after the last visit to Gana my dentist.

My goal is to be at the Ural factory of Irbit no later than Tuesday 17 to have dinner with, Iliya, the president and owner of Ural I already met last year in Irbit. Iliya who lives in Seatle will be there for one day only. The factory wil do a check up of the sidecar and retrofit the 2010 improvements. I will also pick up a few spare parts for Jean Louis and myself in preparation of our African ride next winter.

I took the North track to the Western border of Mongolia.  Slept in my tent after Bulgan on the side  of the track next to 2 gers and 2 other tents occupied by Mongols.



Day 3 - Mile 878

This is day 3 since I left Ulaanbaatar and I ride 878 miles.

I went half way west by the north route, then, at Moron, I learned that due to a lot of rain, the first river passing an hour away is about 3 feet high !!!

There are an other 600 miles before the border crossing with many more rivers to pass. I decided to U-turn and pass the border above Ulaanbaatar where i am now 80 miles from it.

Yesterday, was not my day, after learning the over size river and I decided to U-turn, I lost the gas tank cap, then it started to rain very bad with a mountain storm. As much as I am ok on how to handle the cold, I lost all my technic to handle the rain. I was miserable, in 40 miles, I had water inside me everywhere except in my boots !

I was able to set up the tent in the mountains between two rain storm, I slept like an angel and today was a sunny day. By 3 pm, everything was dry (as I was riding) except my tent that is drying in my hotel room where I am tonight.

Tomorrow is the Russian border crossing and Lake Baïkal.

With 3' of water, even if I succeed to cross the river, all my stuff will be damped !



3:00 pm: I took the norh road in Mongolia going West and I will pass the Russian border next to Olgiy. I am already at Moron and even if the road is not difficult, since this morning, it is very slow, I did 150 miles since 8 am. North of Mongolia is filled with wooded mountains... what a change for me.



7:45 am: I am gone.




It is very impressive, it has 3 tooth and I can bite very hard on it and don't feel a thing. Tomorrow will be the check up and I will hit the road.


7:00 pm: The sidecar is packed. I have the last dentist appointement for check-up tomorrow morning at 9:00 am and I will go on the road from there.



I was able to find Pourou and spend the weekend with them. I came back this morning early, got a visa extention (just for in case), had lunch with Al (one of my Australian friend), coffee with Chinzo (his trip around the world starting in september with his wife and 2 yound kids is confirmed).

Tomorrow, I will have lunch with Vince, an other Australian friend and a last visit with Gana my $3/visit that I saw 3 or 4 times this winter.

I will take the road to France Wednesday morning.


When I was in Switzerland last week, I went to see a dentist to modify a denture because so it goes in life ! The dentist told me that he would not touch my denture and that in Switzerland they do only the "Rolex of the teeth". I told him that I did not needed the denture to eat caviar but to eat boiled sheep in Mongolian ger  !

This afternoon I was able to see my Gana the Mongol dentist who helped me a couple of time this winter. She is making me a new denture, we did the first print on the spot, tomorrow morning is the first try with a "Bite pring" and thursday it will be done. The price is $25, I cannot loose !!!



Yesterday, I changed the oil and i changed the clip for the gas exhaust I bring back from geneva then i had a long nap. The sidecar is ready. I go to extend my Mongol visa from 30 to 60 days just for in case and I go visit Pourou in the Gobi.



Just arrived in Ulaanbaatar. Waiting for my Australian friends to open their business and get my sidecar.

Until 2 days ago, my mind had totally forgotten Mongolia, I was fully in France and geneva, but since I landed a couple of hours ago, my mind is back in Mongolia ready to visit Pourou !


PS: the sidecar started at the first kick, life is pretty good !



On my way to the airport for Moscow and Ulaanbaatar. Friday or saturday, I will be sleeping at Pourou's ger !!!



Fabrice birthday was great, he cooked a sheep Patagonia's style, it was excellent. All his friends knew me from the movie he shot in Patagonia 3 years ago. Raoul who live a few miles away joined us with his family. We had breakfast together this morning. We are back in Geneva just on time to watch the F1 Grand Prix of Germany.



I just put online the Sidecar cross world championship story with the video at the end of it.

We are going next to Belfort in France to surprise Fabrice (I met him in Patagonia) for his birthday.



I loved seeing Laetitia and  Cedric with their 1 year old Paul.

I am back in Geneva with Giorgio. We found a new regulator for sidecar in Switzerland for $400 !!! so i bought it on ebay for $50 with shipping.



I go see a play in Avignon at 12:30 pm with isabelle and then I will ride to Albertville (200 miles) visite Laetitia Huber.



I had a great dinner with Brigitte Denis, Gaelle and Stephanne at Arcachon last night. Today I drove to Avignon - 450 miles - I had dinner with Isabelle and her friend Claudie inside the fortified city. We are in the middle of the festival d'Avignon, and this will be the "cultural moment" of my trip in France.


Giorgio's sidecar - Goldwing 1978 - is running quite well at 90 mph with just a few of  minor problems:

- Electricity:

the regulator of the alternator broke, the battery overcharged,  overheat and swallowed a lot. I disconected the alternator, shut down all the lights and disconected the brake light from the rear wheel to ride only on the power of the battery.

The solution consist to disconect the alternator and reconnect it for 20 miles every 50 miles to recharge the battery without cooking it. I now kick start it and I removed the side cover of the motorcycle and check regularly with my hand on the battery if it is not too hot.

- Gas:

The gas tank from the sidecar stop sucking the gas after the first 50 miles.

The solution consist of making a few zig-zag to reset sucking the gas.

- Oil:

The warning red light come on regularly but there is not dipstick to check the level of oil

The solution consist to pull the clutch, and brake abrutly at low rpm to see if the red light come on and then refill 1/2 a liter of oil.

Conclusion when ride in zig-zag while braking violently with my hand on the battery, I have no problem !!!


I go sleep in Arthur's bed, good night everybody.



The World Championship of Sidecarcross in auvergne, France was a rich in emotion for me. The spirit did not change from 30 years ago, just an elite invest all they have in their passion. I have many photo and I will put together a video as soon as I can. I slept in the field saturday night, I suffered from the cold more than I can remember. I lied on the grass, only dressed with a jean an my primaloft jacket under my rain suit for the dew. My whole body was shacking from 1 am when I wake up until the sun rise up !!!

The regulator of the Goldwing sidecar from Giorio broke, the battery overcharge and loose it's cranckpower. I disconected the alternator and ride only the power of the battery. I drove to Montauban and had a great evening at my cousine's house, Christine with her daugther Manon. Today I drove to Arcachon to visit Brigitte and Denis. Gaelle and Stephanne will came to have dinner with us. Since the 80's (when I left) France distance has divided by 2 with all the highways crossing it

Sidecar-cross racing is a sport that required an extremely violent effort during the 34 minutes of each race !!!



I had 2 great days in dordogne at Pelonier. Alain and Martine from les Cantaysses are doing very well in their organic fruits and vegetable. I was able to see Pierrot and Jeannot who now lives in Eymet. I visited this afternoon Eve and Lucie's mom, Francoise who is doing well also. Lucie delivered her little Mael.

Tomorrow I go see the "World championship of Sidecarcross" at Saint-Mamet-la-Salvetat in Auvergne.



I am on my way to Dordogne.



Last saturday, I drove with Giorgio from Geneva to Leotoing, auvergne, France for the "Kouzinades". We left at 6 am had breakfast with Pierrick at 9 am, had lunch at Est-Motorcycle with Dan and a few other friends including Alain who drove from Paris for the occasion, we arrived at Leotoing at the end of the afternoon.

The "Kouzinades" is a cheerful event. We are about 40 cousins reunited for one time not at a cimetery. It's the 4th day we are together, sharing family memories and typical french food...


I did not have one minute to do my many stories I still have to do from my stay at Pourou's ger in the Gobi desert.



Since arriving in Geneva, beside eating, i got the keyboard of my mac replaced, bought a spare mail box lock for the sidecar rear door, a metal bross for spark plug, ordered a new small gaz tank bag for my camera (the zipper broke on mine) and I got a gaz exhaust pipe "Clip" to replace the one I have.

I leave Saturday am early to have lunch with Dan from Manzat (Ural dealer) in Auvergne and then to my sister house not far from there where we have the family reuniong the next 5 days.

I will drive Giorgio's Honda Goldwind sidecar and he will drive a demo Honda VFR 1200 (172hp) from Louis !



I stayed less than 24 hours in Paris and I ate:

- 250g de crevettes grises (grey shrimps)

- Andouillette AAAAA

- 6 Churos (hot)

- 5 Croissants

- 1 Saucisson a l'ail

- Hot dog (like in the 50's at Gare St Lazarre)

It was all delicious, I loved each of them

I am on my way to Geneva.



I feel fully rested, ready for a good ride in France. I will fly early tomorrow morning to Paris with one stop in Moscow.

I did 3 stories on Pourou and I have many more to do, I miss them !



Last night I wetnt to Pourou's wife ger to drop her a 100 printed photo. Pourou was there relaxing, we had a great looking a them together.

I did all the maintenance on the sidecar, and I dropped it at my Australian friend Vince and Sam. I sorted all my stuff and will bring back in France a bag of winter clothing.

I can finally start doing my stories !!!




It's amazing how exhausted I am and how much I needed to rest. It's not that I was doing that much at the gers with Pourou, but I was always on the lookout and in a ger there is no place to rest comfortably except lying down on the floor !


Here is my plan (wooh!, that's scarry for me) for the coming months:

- Monday July 5, I will fly to France and go directly to Geneva still a sidecar from Giorgio.

- July 10-14 big family reunion (100 cousins from my father side) in Auvergne at my sister house in Auvergne. For one time we are not going to meet at a cimetery!

- Visit to Dan, Ural shop in Manzat Auvergne

- Last 2 weeks of July, sidecar-ing France lke a buterfly

- July 28, I will fly from Geneva to Ulaanbaatar Mongolia.

- August, I will  ride west of Mongolia go to Russia and ride to the Ural Montains.

- Mid August, last visit at the Ural factory of Irbit

- September 10-13, 3rd European Ural Rally of Linz, Austria.

- Back to France where my good friend Jean Louis (French) from New York who rode with me in the Andes 3 years ago, is currently buying in France a Ural Sportman 2010.

By mid october we will go to Africa and cross it during the winter to find a boat somewhere to go to India and spend times there.

That is the plan and I am very excited about it !!!



3 weeks witnessing the nomad's  lifestyle with Pourou's family. Pourou has 4 children, 25, 21, 15 and 14. The 25 year is married with 2 daughters of 2 and 5 and live in his own ger next to us. The 21 year daughter is married and pregnant. There were an other family of 5 in a third ger next to us. That made a community of 14 people. I went to visit Pourou's wife who lives a few hours away with the kids in winter. She will be with Pourou and her children in July.

I shared their their lifestyle, going at their rythme for the last 3 weeks. Half way through I was accepted by all of them. I never told them how long I will stay, when a visitor was passing throught and they were asking me were I was going next, my answer was "I stay here with Pourou". I left them this mornig and it was very emotional for me. These people touch me by the value of the lifestyle and their generosity and hospitality.

I have many images in my mind from this last 3 weeks and a few photos also.

From the first day, I teach the 14 and 15 year old how to use my nikon cameras. The cameras were always at the open for them to grab as they pleased. It worked great, they were very respectfull of the few rules i gave them and they shot as many photo as I did.

It will take me a little time to sort out all the photos and make the stories. There is so many things I would like to say...

As I arrived in Ulaanbaatar, I received the story Shalimar made from the 3 weeks we had together. I did not changed anything on her photos or copy and I just put it online.


As for the guestbook I want to thank's everybody who participate on it and here is how it works.

In 1993 internet was just begining, we were living in NYC, we had an AOL account at home until one day it was shut up !!! After countless hours on the phone, we learned that our account was "Censured" by AOL because Jessica (10 year on that time) wrote in a chat room "Why don't you just shut up" to someone she obviously did not like.  From that day, AOL was banned from my language.

In an other experience, in the mid 90's, I was parcipitating in a Formula One forum. I was banned there because I was treating Ralph Schumaker of "Jerk" (I still maintain he is on my opinion). I cannot stand it when idiots who pretend to have an "Open forum" are in fact only ready to read what pleases them.

This is why I don't want to censure my guestbook. There is no password to write on it and anybody can just jump on it and "Say it all"

For years, we had up to a few hundreds spams posted daily on my guesbook but with the help of Claire in France, we were cleaning up the spams  so anybody could write on it without asking anyone the permission to do so !

And that's the way it is !!! - Hubert



I went to the dentist yesterday, printed photos that I will give to Dondov, Pourou and the Mongolvitch. I am packing and will leave this morning for the Gobi desert to find Pourou and do the sumer transhumance with him. I hope to stay with him as long as possible, meaning may be several weeks if possible. Pourou is the most authentic nomad I met, he has no electricity, no TV, no cell phone, no motorcycle and do all his work from the back of his camel...

So, the longer I stay silent, the better I am doing !!!



Yesterday, I was able to do the reinforcement of the rear seat holding my toolbox (or Shalimar). I have a dentist appointment monday then I go south to the Gobi find Pourou.


In the guestbook, Richard asked me "What size are your photo files when you post them on your website? ... I'd like to learn how to make a website like yours."

I started my web site a few month after my departure in 2005 and it was the first one I ever made. I wrote a list of the imperatives I absolutlely wanted:

- Large photos (I am a visual kind of guy)

- Minimum copy (only your mom will read a paragraph)

- Downloading speed (if it does not open immediatly, people switch website)

- No scrolling (I really hate that)

- Page consistency (I hate when the menu or column change at each page)


I choose the software Dreamweaver from Macromedia. A very heavy duty software with a long learning curve that would let me built my own web site architecture (for my web site, I used no more than 15% of Dreamweaver capability). I realized that all the automated softwares where you drop a load of photos and they appear by magic on your web site did not fit my requiremtns and  would not let me expand the way I wanted in the future and I was right.


Today, it takes me 4 to 6 hours to do a single story and here is the process:

- Selection of the photos (there are so many, it's free !)

- Resizing of each photo in Photoshop

   - regular page   800 x 530 pixels

   - opening page 900 x 600 pixels

- Optimizing each photo for the web, average size 100 KB per photo

- Construction and placement of one photo per page (for speed of downloading)

- Link of each photo to the next page (a process rarely used in 2005)

- A few words on each photo to understand the situation - sarcasme does not hurt.


I always built the story in English and put it online after I check it carefully, then I duplicate the pages on the French version and translate each page.


Through the years, I cleaned the pages and their links but I did the 2 most importants improvements when I was in Panama 2 years ago:

- I created a more up to date structure of the pages - the menu is now on each and every pages - with the same principal, and was able to have a transparent way to navigate between the old and new system.

- Creation of the magic menu that gives access to each coutry's story in one click from any page - like mousing on "Eurasia" give you access to click on either "Scandinavia - Western Russia - Central Asia - Siberia or Mongolia"


And that's the way it is Richard !


PS: Because I never knew how to spell either in English or in French, after I publish a story, Jessica in the USA and Claire in France will send me an email with the corrections for the English and the French version that I do immediatly not to look too stupid !!!

Merci Jessica et merci Claire.



For the 40 miles ride with Pourou, all I can tell you is that he has a little truck where I suppose he will stack his ger and equipement but the herd will walk for about 3 days to get to destination.

Each ger in the steppes has a solar panel charging a 12V car battery
used for the light, the TV or for chargning the batteries of the cell phones.



After I dropped Shalimar yesterday morning very early, I came back to the guesthouse and needed to re-learn to be alone and it did not took me long. I enjoyed spending the day not talking to anybody, and not doing too much either.

Today, the normality is coming back and I started doing my web site.



Shalimar took her plane early this morning, I had great pleasure to share my travel with her the last few weeks.

I go on my computer to do the photos stories and Shalimar will do her own story with her photos in a couple of weeks.



I did my tires management and got an 80% avon on the front, a 70% Heideneau at the rear, a 50% Avon on the sidecar wheel and a 40% Heideneau at the spare wheel. I still have with me in Ulaanbaatar a new Duro HF308 excellent tire for the road, expect 10,000km that Heindl Engineering, a Ural dealer in the state of Ohio gave me for Christmas, and a new Russian road tire that the Ural factory gave me in Irbit last winter.

Tomorrow morning Shalimar is flying to Paris and I will work on my stories during the weekend.

The bag on the front of the sidecar destroyed the sticker map...
I had a spare and with Shalimar, we were able to put it straight and without bubles !

I found the needed 63mm tube to extend the air intake of my air filter that I put only to cross deeper river.

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