Return ticket! Strangers who took bus around world reunited after 50 years
THe last time the Daily Mail saw a group of intrepid travellers trying to take a double decker bus around the world, it was marooned in Peru.
Now more than 50 years after their journey came to an ignominious end, members of the hardy gang have reunited to remember their experience.
The 11 men and women, aged 19-34, were strangers when they answered an advert to travel across the globe in an iconic red london bus.
Their trip – which bore a resemblance to the cliff Richard film Summer Holiday about the adventures of a group of young friends as they take a london bus across europe – began in Bristol in March 1970.
over the next two years they travelled around 40,000 miles in their bus, which had beds and living space on the top deck.
From Montreal in canada, the bus travelled down the east coast of the US via New York to Texas – crossing the border into Mexico in time to see it host the football World cup that summer.
The group then headed back into the US through california and up to the canadian prairies before returning south again.
But two years into the epic journey, the double decker sank after hitting a sandbank while
‘Sank after hitting a sandbank’
being carried over a Peruvian river on a hastily- built raft, made from two barges that had been lashed together.
The sinking was covered in a Daily Mail report from April 6, 1972, with our man in Peru, Nicholas Asheshov, writing: ‘Goodbye number seven, your time is up. All because it hitched a lift. Number Seven buses shouldn’t hitch lifts; not from do-it-yourself rafts, anyway.’
The report described how the group were then hit with a £5,000 demand from local customs for importing a bus into Peru and not taking it back out
of the country again. The vehicle was later shipped home. By that time, only five members of the travelling party remained and they too returned home.
The trip was the brainchild of newlyweds Roger and Joan Poole, who advertised for people to join them on the adventure in a local newspaper. The couple
have since died. Now five of the group – Mike conway, Sally Mears, Bernice Poole, David Mclaughlin and John Winter – have reunited in Bristol.
They met up for the first time in 50 years on Tuesday at Aerospace Bristol, arriving on a similar bus. The event was held to help launch a book Bus To Bust by ex-journalist Mr Winter, who tagged along for nearly a year.
Mr Winter, 79, who now lives in Derbyshire, said of the ‘lifechanging’ journey: ‘ With so many people together in such a confined space there were inevitably arguments. But it was unlike anything any of us had ever done.’