A newsletter for all the ex Overlanders
New - "Overland Kathmandu" - with Hughes DVD

Filmed on a Hughes Overland trip in 1970. The original film was shot by John Bruce, with a voice over by John. Film re-edited in 2008 as part of the indiaoverland.biz project. DVD runs for 45 mins & is now available on the website. For preveiw etc Click Here


New Budget Bus slide show - Images by Paul Whitehead
Click on picture to see the show

Overland from London to Dehli 1974 (Budget Bus)
This is an excerpt from a story by Charles Wright, full text can be found on the forum in Budget Bus

This is dedicated to all those who made the journey from London to Dehli at the height of when the overland route was a myriad of colourful characters travelling from west to east or vice-versa.
The basis of this is of course, my memory of all that happened, and the dates are taken from my diary.
The original was written on the twentieth anniversary in 1994. Thirty years has now passed since I made this trip and its November 2004. 
The overland road from London to Delhi not possible any more the era of the hippies is no more and we now live a world, which has changed since the free and easy years of the seventies.

There was civil war in Yugoslavia in the mid nineties with the split of the country into independent states.

The Ayatollah Khumani took over the rule of Iran in 1980 and the Shah died in exile in France in 1980.

Afghanistan has gone through two wars, been ruled by the Tali ban and is now ruled by a puppet American backed government.

CHAPTER 1

London to Istanbul
Every child at sometime or other in their childhood spends a proportion of their time day-dreaming about adventure, whether it be sailing on the sea, climbing mountains, sky diving or even some other subject that has captured their imagination. Most of the time they are just dreams and forever remain so. Sometimes dreams do turn into reality, which undoubtedly leaves a marked impression upon the mind, and to whose destiny it will effect later in life.

My earliest recollections are of daydreams about India, I don't know why this was so? Maybe in my past life I was an Indian, or a soldier serving during the time of the Raj. It was as though the smells, culture and cuisine were deep in my blood. The map of the subcontinent seemed engraved on my forehead and this was to become a magnet drawing me closer and closer to this land of contrasts.

Such magical names appear in its history. The Khyber Pass of the North West Frontier, and the fierce Pathans. Clive of India, the Indian Mutiny of 1857, Mahatma Ghandi and the struggle for Independence. Bombay gateway to India, Calcutta, Delhi and Madras. Cities whose names were famous throughout the world but seemed to hold that eastern attachment. Other names also synonymous with the subcontinent, the "Taj Mahal" and the mighty Himalayas.     

It is impossible of course to provide any satisfactory explanation of why I should want to go to India. The predominant motive seemed above all in my view to be - "Because it's there".


New Penn Overland slide show - Images by Paul Robinson

Click on picture to see show


An early Overland Image from 1958
Thought this might be of interest. Guy Vixen in 1958 on the Zigana Pass, south of Trabzon, Turkey. This was effectively a half cab with a full front, with a full width partition behind the driver. Four cyl oversquare Sunbeam petrol engine, with a vacuum pump to a two gallon tank above and beside the engine, gravity feeding the carb. Had twenty nine seats, same as the OB.
 
Norm Harris - Asian greyhound

Mail Bag
My name is Francien (Teunisse) de Vries from Rotterdam, Holland.

In the early seventies I did several trips with Frontier International, Suntreckers and Transit. In June 1971 I was a passenger on a Frontier trip to Morocco. We drove around in an old Belgium coach and a Belgium driver, Dick ( English, also pilot ?) as the 2nd driver and Gus Fraser as courier. We had a bad accident on the way home in Burgos, Spain.  Lost the coach, 25 of us ended up in hospital and I was one of the 5 badly wounded who ended up in a maternity hospital ( BIG fun) for 2 weeks treatment. Driver Dick was one of them, one Dutch guy and 3 other Dutch girls, beside myself.
Gus Fraser coordinated everything before he took the rest of the group back to the UK, leaving us in the hands of a Mike / Michael, an Irish guy he happened to meet in the streets of Burgos and who was a teacher at the Burgos' Language Institute. We had a Party of the Cripples in Oct. 1971 at the basecamp in Bruges, Belgium. I spent lots of time at that basecamp later on and met several people and became befriended with e.g. Bob Hafkamp of Hughes Overland. Visited him and his wife later on in London. Also I spent most of my time at the travel agency  "Reisbureau Columbus"  at the Meent in downtown Rotterdam. Jeannette Hildersley - Kort used to work there at the time. She married Les Hildersley, who used to be an overland driver for quite a few overland companies,  like Hughes Overland, A-Trek, Tenttrek  and some others.  He also did the London - Katmandu trip many times as a driver. Jeannette did many trips as a courier on trips through Europe. Unfortunately Les died in 1983 of a heart attack.  We've been friends through all those years. We still meet very frequently. Diny Heegers followed her up at the travel agency. Diny and I have been friends for many years as well  and I also helped out at the big Holiday Fair in Utrecht each year, where Hughes Overland had a stand and we did a lot of promotion tours around Holland.
In 1972 I did my 2nd trip with Frontier International to Greece and Turkey  and somewhere around Thessaloniki we arranged to meet Gus Fraser on his way back.   As I travelled with another girl from that Burgos accident group ( Liesbeth ) we were really anxious to meet him again.  Gus was very pleased to meet us again, well and alive !!  So we had a BIG PARTY at the side of the road !!! In 1973 I did another trip, but this time with Suntreckers to Morocco. In 1975 I was asked to join a group (Hughes Overland ?? I cannot remember) to travel the Sahara and find new routes and places for a new trip to do, but unfortunately the war situation was too dangerous for us to travel around there and the trip was cancelled. Instead I filled up the last seat on a 5 weeker Transit tour through Holland, Denmark,  Scandinavia , Russia, Poland, both Germanies, Belgium and back to London. A great trip with great people! In the meantime I met Charles Pulsford, who also drove up and down Katmandu in his own German oldtimerbus.
In 1977 I went to Kenya for 6 weeks to work and travel around and then I nearly met Gus Fraser again, who worked there at the time as a safari-driver. In 1979 I went to Australia on my own for 6 weeks to meet all my Aussie friends from all my Overland trips:  I took buses from Sydney to Perth and back again and saw lots of the country. I'm still very good friends with most of the people and I still get visitors from Down Under, themselves or their kids, parents, sisters, friends !!   It makes me feel young again !!!I'd love to hear from anyone who maybe able to tell me where to find Gus Fraser.............I know he probably doesn't live in the UK anymore Wishing you all the very best and hoping to get a reply !  
Francien de Vries


Swagman bus (OWX 136)  in the autumn of 1976 - Janet MacLeod Trotter

The driver of my trip leaving end of Sept 76 was Geoff Lawrence.  We had a very wet start through Europe and the rain pursued us into Turkey - didn't dry out (in more than one sense!) until Eastern Turkey.  It was a good crew - quite a few Aussies (including Fred fisher who we picked up on the Continent somewhere and who teamed up with another Jan).  There were three Jans all in the same tent - me, Aussie Jan and Janice, a nurse from London I think.  Apart from the Brits, there was an older Canadian couple called Shirley and Bill, a German called Heidi, a big silent Dane called Hans and a well travelled New Zealander called Mary, who joined the trip later on.

It was a very sociable bunch.  I was the youngest at 18 and the eldest was a retired Scot called Ian who kept in contact with his secretary from the remotest places!
We all stayed together for Christmas in Kathmandu and then I and a girl called Nikki headed back to Delhi to fly home only to discover there were no plane tickets waiting.  We had a hair-raising couple of weeks with very little money trying to contact Asian Greyhound, etc only to be told AG had gone bust!  It was a long saga but both of us did eventually get home.
All the best
Jan

Chaps,

          I am so glad Al Gore discovered the Internet, if only he had not invented global warming. I was an Overland Expedition Leader (driver) for Intertrek in 1973/74 did the Everest and  Jomsum? treks, also worked for TrekAmerica for Jeremy Francis Hall James in '75 and 76
I tripped across your site messing around looking for Land Rover info. also through www.magicbus.info ;
found my stolen identity (attached). Bobby Hughes (don't remember him) claiming to be me, with a very early "man bag". Photo taken by Chris Weeks- I know him. (photo on forum)
It is really great to walk down this memory lane after living a cushy life in the US of A for the past 30 odd years.
 I was very sad to see the news of GT Ambler, I took great pleasure in always pulling Guys leg at every opportunity. He was in the graduating class after me. He was a lot older than us guys and we figured he helped Clive discover India. Please remember me to Guy and say HEY UP from a native of Northern England. He was always a ladies man and after seeing him in the Public Lavatories I realized why, if you tell him that he will know the legitimacy of this letter..
Other chaps we mutually know are, Kevin Woodgate (house), Martin and Dominque Hayes, Allsion Davis, Peter McKay (founder I'trek) David Burlinson (Hurly Burly), Keith Miller (zip boot), Martin Greaves (Mr Charm), Steve Buck, Dave Gilliespie (dirty Dave), Ian Shaw (the wild welshman), plus some others if you bought me a beer I could remember.
God bless you for being there and documenting a very interesting and unnoticed saga of our youth. I look forward to hearing about Guy and would love to add some stories of the way it was.

Cheers. Nigel Leach AKA FL (fearless leader)


Africa & South American images & stories wanted!

Any of you ex overlands who have images you would like to share, I need to add to the site some info about the other 2 overland trips. This site may have started out about overland to India but so many of you did more than that so lets document the other great trips!


To help premote the India Overland website would you please Recommend us to a Friend. Just use this link to spread the word
If you have any stories or pictures related to the Overland I would love to get a copy. Lists of passengers or just the ones you can remember would be a great addition to this project. To view back issues of this newsletter use this LINK. You can post anything to the Forum if you prefer, all info would be greatly received.

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This news letter is produced by Derek Amey - Gold Coast Australia.

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