50 Years Later: Friends Reunite After 40,000 Mile Bus Journey


A group of friends who embarked on an epic 40,000-mile journey around the America on a London double-decker bus in 1970, have reunited 50 years later to celebrate the release of a travelogue of their adventure. Of the 11 that set out, five reunited in Bristol to reminisce about their trip.

The Journey

In March of 1970, the group set sail from Bristol to Canada before embarking on their journey. Over the course of 22 months, they traveled thousands of miles, braving blistering desert heat and bone-chilling cold in the prairies. They even had to negotiate tricky routes and mountains, as their bus was too big for US roads, causing damage to bridges and overhead wires. However, despite these challenges, the group worked along the way, picking fruit, planting lily bulbs, cleaning restaurants, and chauffeuring cars.

The Encounter with Ronald Reagan

The group also were stopped by a determined policeman in California, who wouldn’t let them go. However, they were eventually given permission to drive on by Ronald Reagan, who was Governor of California at the time.

The Final Stretch

Their final stretch was fraught with danger and obstacles, as only five members of the group remained. The bus was lost in the River Chira after they came across a low-lying bridge that the double-decker could not pass. However, the group stayed resilient, and they floated the bus on the river using a special raft. Unfortunately, as it drifted across, it slid into the water. Everyone came home on a container ship in 1972.

Reunion and Reflection

Despite the challenges, the remaining crew members reunited to reminisce about their epic adventure. The bus had been the hero of their story, and they had torn out the upper floor to fit beds and living space. John Winter, who had tagged along for one year, published a travelogue of their journey titled “Bus to Bust.”

Sally Mears, who was also a member of the crew, shared that her heart sank when she saw the bus go down. “I knew it was the end of a journey of a lifetime,” she said.

The story of the group’s adventure on the double-decker bus remains an inspiration, 50 years later. Their journey is a testament to the power of human perseverance.