A newsletter for all the ex Overlanders
Magic Bus by Rory Maclean
A good read - here's a sample to whet your appetite

Spirals of dust trailed away from Istanbul, kicked up not by nomadic traders' caravans but by Hog Farm commune coaches. Ancient Austins and retired Royal Mail vans staggered on to the Silk Road. Born-again hearses were spurred easy by seekers in sandals. Mountain freaks leapt towards Himalaya in rainbow coloured Jeeps. Banners fluttered from rear windows. Pop music tumbled out of open doors. Overlanders called Blossom and Wombat piloted three-ton Bedford lorries through one-mule hamlets. Aboard clapped-out Turkish coaches and converted Top Deck Routemasters, the Intrepids lit sticks of incense and settled back on Habitat cushions, riding in the weirdest procession of unroadworthy vehicles ever to rattle and rock across the face of the earth. "Whooee, here we go".

Rudy was a bus driver. Forty years on - with kids grown up, wife enrolled on an Open University course and his Cornish tourist coaches sold to a local entrepreneur - he, like Penny, has returned on a sentimental journey. "My Bedford was a tatty Barnstable school bus with bad brakes", he tells me. "The idea was to drive to Pakistan and flog it for a profit. I got to the Maidstone bypass and the brakes caught fire. Bam! "How far you going in this thing?", the fireman asked. I told him Lahore. He said "You won't reach Southend".  "So the Silver Dart didn't make it?". "It made Istanbul," says Rudy, flourishing his hands, uttering wide mouthed automotive sounds. Narcotics alone could not account for such frenetic energy. "I was about to leave for Pakistan when I noticed the other buses driven by Europeans were taking passengers. I thought, just  a minute, never mind selling the blinding vehicle, I'll fill it to the gunwales with freaks. $25 to Tehran. $50 to Kabul. I mean, we're talking about absolute nu'pence but when you've got thirty or forty people onboard and you're doing your backwards and forwards, you can make beaucoup bucks."

' A magic journey - lyrical, sympathetic but gently sceptical - perfectly suits MacLean's many gifts. He resurrects the hippie trail in all its zany idealism' Colin Thubron - Published by Penguin

I'm half way though rory's book and finding it has lots of interesting observations! - Derek

"Road to Kathmandu"
After a lead from Diny Heegers I have tracked down a promotional film made in the 70's by Exodus. The film has not been shown for 10 years but it is still in good enough condition to convert to digital. As this film is in 16mm the quality should be better than any other film so far. A thank you to Phil Normanton at Exodus for allowing the film to come to Australia for conversion. He say the sound track is bit "Cheesy" but we can fix that.

Ah, the joys of the open road......!!

Hi Derek,

I uncovered your web the other day and it sure brought back memories....I started with Frontier in the early '70s and, after they went broke (whilst I was half-way across Africa, en route to Nairobi..!) I joined Hughes Overland/Intertrek/Asiaman and did a bunch of tours to Kathmandu,. I was "lent" to Siafu to run one of their trips from Nairobi to UK....but they went under and we spent a wonderful month visiting every game park in Kenya whilst waiting for a bailout from IATA..
Then I flew home and went out to South America where I spent about 4 years running the Rio/Bogota/Rio trips for Hughes/Treasure Tours........When they finally folded (by now I was getting pretty used to this..!!) I flew to US and joined Trekamerica for a couple of years..........Now retired and running a small horse farm in Florida.  Still in contact with quite a few of the drivers from the old days.....hope to have a re-union one of these days, if we can ever manage it......Would love to hear from any of the "punters" that endured my "leadership" all those years ago.......I've got some pics from South America, but only a few from my India and Africa trips..........
Look forward to hearing from ya'......

Jon Vincent
To see these pics full size goto

Sex, Drugs & Rock n Roll in Asia

Are there some German fellow travellers or readers among your members?

I wrote a book about the hippies in the 70s and their search for paradise, sex, drugs &  Rock n Roll in Asia…….
But it’s in German, is anybody interested? Then he (or she) can email me at wolfgang.glebe@wanadoo.fr

Hughes Overland 1972 - London to Kathmandu

Thrilled to find this site! I went with Hughes Overland 1972 – London to Kathmandu £105; some of the other passengers were going all the way to Australia. My single name then was Janet Klein. Do you have contacts for any other Hughes passengers? attached are some photos from my trip – the one of sunbathers includes Polly Basha (Australian) lying down, maybe Richard Hill on far left. The drivers were Jeff Hewitt and Alan Richmond (no pictures), other than that I can only remember a few first names. Picture around the bus taken at Quetta, possibly Richard Hill in red hat, some other passengers also there – can’t remember their names! I have very few photos of people, sadly!

Be glad of any contacts Cheers, Jan Miller

Sundowner Trip AL 181 Departed Kathmandu 6th March 1978


I stumbled on your website yesterday and have found it really informative and so interesting.  The Sundowner brochure you have on the Sundowner site is the same one I poured over for months before departing on 6th March 1978.  Our trip was  AL181 -  Kathmandu to London and took 81 days.  I have a list of the people on the trip and also photos (and heaps of slides).

I have a list of most of the people who were on AL181 in 1978 they are as follows:

Driver: Gary Green, Courier: Peter Fraser, Kathy Brooks, Paul & Margaret Carman, Marion Chambers, Garry Cowls, Frank & Pam Derham, Paul Dilley, Leon Flack, Eva Foldager Larsen, Jenny Heyward, Jane & Julia Maffey, Peter Noonan, Cheryl Mallick, Tracy Markowski, Pete & Kate Marshall, Tom O’Shea, Liz Rockel, Jenny Sayers, Gary Schuberg, Tom Steel, Ann Snowdon (me), Andrew Thiele, Helen Tiley, Rod Warren, Glenn Zimmer.

Given that it is 30 years next March since we departed, I thought I would post this information and would really love to hear from anyone else who was on that bus!!

Kind regards Ann Ryan

Geoff Lawrence - Swagman Driver

Still on the road but doing it in style these days, Geoff drives Bands on tour around Europe in his very flashy Scania. Gone but not forgotten are the days when Geoff could be seen in his battered black hat, pipe in hand enjoying a chai, without sugar (cheni nay - nay cheni). I can still hear him berating the chai shop owner for putting sugar in his tea. He lost his hat somewhere on the trip and mourned its passing for years.

Penn Overland Driver - Brian Stanley

I am sad to report that Brian Stanley, a longtime Tour Leader with Penn Overland died peacefully in his sleep on 12 September. He made many, many, trips between London and Kathmandu. Brian was challenged over the last 5-6 years by the increasing effects of Arthritis which made it difficult for him to walk. I last visited him at his home in Wolverhampton three years ago when I was in the UK and at that time he was still able to get around with a cane. About 18 months ago it became increasingly difficult for him to take care of himself and he finally entered a nursing home. Like all of us, Brian had many opportunities to settle down but never did, he had that wanderlust.
 Without family, his executors were long time friends who willingly took on the task of arranging the funeral and settling his estate. He will be missed as a colleague and as a friend.

John Myers

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.
If you would like to be removed from this newsletter please send an email to remove@indiaoverland.biz. Make sure you ask me to remove the email address that it was sent to not one it is redirect to, thanks.

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