Travels With King Kong: Overland Across Africa

Travels With King Kong: Overland Across Africa

by James Henderson

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In 1974 my best friend John talked me into joining him for a trip around the world after I completed my Master's Degree. Our journey really began when we stepped off the ferry in Tangiers and found ourselves surrounded by an army of small children hustling us with places to stay, places to eat, and things to buy. A few days later we met up with an overland expedition traveling from London to Nairobi in two old British Army vehicles. One of the vehicles was an old bus named King Kong, and over the next two months we experienced almost daily mechanical problems that slowed our pace of travel significantly. And then the day came when Kong died in the middle of the Sahara Desert when a valve went through the top of a piston. Suddenly we were stranded 200 miles from the nearest town. It took two weeks to get replacement parts flown out from London and to rebuild the engine. Not only was this a monumental mechanical breakdown, it was also a physical and mental breakdown for many of us on the trip, having already suffered from the oppressive heat in the desert, sickness, and unsanitary conditions.

Back on the road we made our way through the Sub-Sahara Sahel, the thick jungle and mud of the Congo, before arriving on the plains of East Africa, with the ghost of mechanical failure ever lurking around the next bend in the road. Along the way there were unforgettable people and places that constantly challenged our curiosity and emotions. There was the enjoyment of savoring fresh chocolate served on a banana leaf, shopping in colorful local village markets where everything from beetle nuts to insect larvae were for sale, a celebration for a new village chief in the heart of the Congo, camping below Stanley Falls, the sounds of lions in the night, and a hundred other special moments that I captured with my pen and camera.

It was literally the experience of a lifetime that I want to share with all those who dream of visiting strange and far off places!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781953584359
Publisher: Lime Press LLC
Publication date: 11/04/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 276
File size: 39 MB
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About the Author

I was born in London, England at the end of WWII and 18 months later my mother and I boarded a flight to New York and then a train to Illinois to join my father who had been stationed with the US Air Force in England. I grew up on a farm in the middle of the "corn belt" where I spent some of the best times of my life. That lead me to study Forestry at the University of Illinois. During the summer of 1966, I took a job as the fire lookout on Selway Mountain in the Beaverhead National Forest of southwest Montana. I loved the experience of living on top of the 10,000-foot mountain with views in every direction for 100 miles, and I had only two visitors the entire summer. Then graduate school at Oregon State University before I was drafted into the Army and sent to boot camp at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. After boot camp, I was assigned to ADM (Atomic Demolition Munitions) school at Fort Belvoir and served 18 months at a remote post along the East German border in the Rhon Mountains. After discharge from the Army, I worked for the US Forest Service in northeast Washington State before returning to graduate school at the University of Washington for a Master's Degree in Environmental Planning. Upon graduation, I joined my best friend John on a trip around the world that took us on an overland expedition across the continent of Africa that was to change my life forever. I met my wife to be on the journey and we eventually moved to London and from there to Seattle where I worked as a research associate for the university. Three years later I was offered a position with the US Fish&Wildlife Service in Alaska for seven years before moving to Vancouver, BC to study for my Ph.D. in satellite image analysis. Then I was offered a job with Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) in southern California where I taught software training classes in more than 80 countries, as well as managing the International User Conference attended by over 15,000 people. I retired two years ago to pursue my passion for travel and photography, as well as writing.

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