AN intrepid explorer from Penryn who already has four so-called “Bumpy Road Expeditions” under his belt, is preparing to set off on another adventure.
Last year pensioner Tony Clarke spent three months travelling through countries including Slovakia, Estonia and Finland, and before that had journeyed through Europe, across the Russian steppes and on through Kazakhstan into China and beyond, toured Australia and driven from South America up to Canada.
Last year, Tony, 68, kept Packet readers abreast of his adventures and he has promised to provide regular up-dates when he embarks on his next expedition to Africa.
Tony said: “The anxiety is getting to me now. The anticipation is building. After almost two years of planning, I am now only a couple of weeks away from the start of a new “Bumpy Road” adventure.
“This time my plan is to drive all the way around Africa, keeping as close to the coast as possible.
“I will then go right across the middle from one side to the other. It will be a huge journey on a massive continent, taking me to over 30 countries. Needless to say, it will take as long as it takes.
“My entire pension pot has been spent on restoring and fitting out my 21-year-old Land Rover Defender 110. There has been a fantastic amount of preparation involved, and with the date for my departure drawing ever closer I’m like a wound-up rubber band; if released, I wouldn’t need the Land Rover, I could fly to Africa.
“I’m now 68 and have undertaken overland excursions and world trips for many years, and I do love them.
“Although I cannot remember ever being ready on the intended day of departure, once I achieve that first mile everything falls into place or ceases to matter.
“I have driven to Africa before, but that was over 30 years ago when I was much younger and stronger.
“I was also very inexperienced, and foolishly I went without a compass. I had not realized how huge and wildly barren parts of that vast continent are, and before long I ran into serious trouble.
“With no road to speak of, just a sand-ribbed track, I was soon lost in one of the world’s largest deserts, the Sahara.
“It was a very frightening experience, and it was only with luck that I got out alive. I certainly won’t make the same mistake again – this time my truck is equipped with a compass and GPS.