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A New Beast, a new Beginning 

… and this one isn’t blue.

Stay tuned for news on our new truck, where it came from, why we chose it, and how we are adapting it to suit our travel needs. Just have to find my spare “Ndeke Luka” decal for the door.

TruckAngle 003  72Blazer 006

It All Began a Long Time Ago …

I remember that, as a child, I was dumped in the back of a Jeep Station Wagon for the long grind over the ancient King’s Highway to Petra. It was a long day’s drive, much of it in four wheel drive, but, at the end, we slept in the caves and visited all of the sites. The road is paved today and you will probably have to stay in the Marriott, but the germ was planted. Updated to add, and, many years later, I was finally able to return to Petra. Sadly, the political situation in Syria meant that we could not do it in the Tiger, but return I did. You can read more here: https://diplostrat.org/2016/08/13/and-on-to-petra-part-one/

Later, aged about eighteen, I threw my stuff into a suitcase, grabbed my Brownie Instamatic camera, and boarded the train from Djakarta to Bali. By the time the trip was over, I had been cold, wet, altitude sick, and I had seen volcanos, temples, plays, and all manner of other wonders. I was hooked for life.

But, I also made a few resolutions. The NEXT time I wanted:

— A backpack, not a suitcase.

— A real camera, not an Instamatic, and,

— A 4×4, not just my feet.

And, with only a few exceptions, that has been the case ever since.

This site covers the tales of our travels, past, present, and future. Welcome!

Ndeke Luka?

Why Ndeke Luka?

Ndeka Luka is is Sango for “Freebird.” Sango is the most commonly used language in the Central African Republic. There are several meanings here:

– Radio Ndeke Luka is an independent radio station in the Central African Republic; one that I worked very hard to support. Now, more than ever, Radio Ndeke Luka will be a voice for peace and reconciliation in that troubled land.

– “Freebird” is, of course, a song by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Southern Rock Band and Freebird is a good name for a camper.

And thus, our camper is named “Ndeke Luka.”

Other and Older Travels:

Our photo site is: http://www.pbase.com/diplostrat/root

14 thoughts on “Home

  1. Trev

    I’m lurking on your progress since you and mom turned off your phones. Please do give me a call when to return to civilization.

    Reply
    1. DiploStrat Post author

      Mike,

      Welcome! We had two Blazers, a 1972 which we used in Cameroon, trans Sahara, Ecuador, and for a trip to Bolivia, and a 1977 which we kept for fourteen years. The ’77 was used in Panama, the US, Liberia, and Botswana.

      Both were showcases for the Hickey Enterprises catalog, with extra fuel tanks, roof racks, etc. Almost everything I know about overlanding I learned with and in those two vehicles.

      Ndeke Luka is the result.

      Reply
  2. david Schurr

    Great blog and beautiful photos. I noticed your awesome RV today and stumbled upon your blog. Enjoy your travels, very inspiring. Thank you for visiting today.

    Reply
    1. DiploStrat Post author

      David, sorry we could not give you a tour. If you read this blog, you will note that we are stately home freaques and have visited a lot of them. Happily, a tour of Ndeke Luka is a lot shorter than a tour of Winterthur!

      Reply
  3. Jim Chubb

    Foreign Service, #2 in Moscow in 1970s (’80s maybe?) final ambassador to Tito’s “Yugoslavia.”
    More importantly I’m musing heavily about a Malayan….

    Reply
  4. Dave & Linda Gresham

    In view of your recent comments on the Tiger Owners’ blog, you were recently in Columbia and checked in on the progress being made on Tortuga. . . . If so, you might well have seen our Malayan LT being built (Ram, diesel, silvergray). Trevor sends us pictures every couple of weeks (Is Trevor a relative of yours). . . .. You met us two years ago at the Arizona Overland Expo. We hung around the Tiger site quite a bit, tried to make a deal on the Ford Malayan LT next to you, but nothing happened. So we have now been waiting about a year and half for our Cummins-based Tiger. Did you see anything??

    Reply
    1. DiploStrat Post author

      Did indeed see your beast; looks lovely. I confess that I did not look inside, but it is progressing nicely.

      Trevor is our son. He got his MBA after leaving the Army and Mark hired him last year. He will be in touch with an update.

      Reply
  5. joea307

    hi diplostrat,My name is joe archuleta I run a 1969-1972 blazer group on facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/19691972k5blazerjimmy/ .I’m not sure if you do that stuff ,but people really enjoy the pictures of your trips with your 72 blazer (I posted a link),such great pics.I noticed after the great scenery the hickey mods on your blazer.If you have any stories you would like to share let me know.Oh by the way I have a two blazers a 72 ochre color that is mainly original with 160k miles and a 71 blazer with a four wheel pop up camper(bet you would have loved it when you owned the 72).My mom and dad have a tiger van similar to your tiger but a vary early version, theirs is a 1989.My dad had a four wheel pop up on his 76 blazer that he took off and put on his 82 blazer when he bought it in 82.Well anyway the man that came up with the four wheel pop up had a split with his wife and she got the business and he started pro van that made what are the tiger vans and eventually what you have.I guess in the lae 90’s the company move out east,i think north Carolina.

    Reply

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