Another trip where things went well was CA131 with Ken Phelan in 1977.
Ken and I were both drivers, and we were driving a bus neither of us had driven before. It was SMJ255J, and I think it was Col Schoefield’s. We picked it up in Kathmandu, and tried to work out who was the courier and who was the driver.
What ever we worked out became irrelevant on day one, as one of our couriers asked for a ride to Pokhara, so he could kill some time before his trip. The Diplomat (Bruce Ryall) was due to go out with Ross Ruff some weeks later, and figured Pokhara was a pleasant place to be. It was a spur of the moment decision, and he got on to the bus carrying his passpaort, wallet and a small bag with a t shirt and a change of undies, and that, literally, was all he had.
Being a courier came naturally to Dippy, and within two minutes he took the microphone, and became our stand in courier for the day. The trip to Pokhara went well, and we had a really good group of punters. When it came time to leave Pokhara, Dippie figured that he had time to come to Varanasi, and so he did. And Agra, and Jaipur, and Delhi, and Jammu and Srinigar. At that stage he had to leave as we got word that Ruffy was a bit worried about his courier, who was due to leave Kathmandu in a few days, and was nowhere to be found.
The unscheduled courier set the tone for the rest of the trip, and we had a good one.
Col had left the bus in good nick, and it had plenty of parts and all the things needed to make a good trip..
We arrived back in London, and Wilko said, go to Leeds lad, pick up a new bus, and go back to India. And that is the story of the trip with Vicar in the “Breakdowns” section.
Rocky and I were punters on ca 131 and with dippie being an old Rockdale Rugby boy we were well acqainted( Dippy by his own admission is the best fullback Rockdale ever had, although in our Rockdale days he was known as OCKER ) Kits memories are correct , except that my memory tells me that the diplomat was living out of my suitcase in those days we were about the same size, I have since outgrown him. At one stage I was involved in a swap of clothing with our infamous fullback he gave me a dirty pair of socks I gave him a much needed pair of clean undies, Rocky and I as well as Bruce were overjoyed to arrive in Kashmir, at this point our beloved driver and courier had allocated us to the same houseboat along with 3 fellow punters , I must end this story at this point under the rules of what happened on houseboat stays on houseboat.