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Old 02-13-2024, 04:33 PM   #1
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Capetown to Cairo caravan, where one truck is today.

In my garage! I recently acquired this 1958 International A-120 travelette. It has been confirmed to be one of the tow vehicles of the Capetown to Cairo caravan, but prior to that, I was fairly certain it was one of the vehicles based on all the clues and photos. 17 crew cab 4x4 travelettes were produced for this model year, 3 I know of with the utility bed, and only 1 of this color combo. It has come a long way since I picked it up a little over a month ago. It was a mess, but It is coming back to life pretty quickly.

I have been down a lot of rabbit holes researching this old truck, and the trip it was a part of, inspiring stuff. Itís future will likely be much milder adventures, but how cool would it be to match it up with an Airstream of that era? Yes Iím currently looking for one! Haha. Anyhow, figured some folks would like to see where one of the trucks is today. And if thereís any other little known facts of the trip, Iíd love to hear them
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Old 02-13-2024, 04:35 PM   #2
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And what it looked like many years ago
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Old 02-13-2024, 06:14 PM   #3
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Welcome to these Airstream forums: Airstream International club has a historian who has done a lot of research on these long caravans of long ago. He may be able to identify the Airstream that is being towed by your old International truck.

His username is Overlander64 and first name is Joe. I'll send him a private message and invite him to join this thread. It could be fun.

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Old 02-13-2024, 06:21 PM   #4
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What a wonderful find!! Please, please keep us posted!

Anyone who can figure out how to properly post photos in their post #2 can probably figure out how to fix anything……..
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Old 02-13-2024, 07:37 PM   #5
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Great to hear. I think Historian Joe will be more than happy to check things out. Keep us posted on your International progress. Good kuck
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Old 02-13-2024, 09:54 PM   #6
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Hi all, Thanks for the invite to the thread. I have communicated with the current owner of that truck. I provided the positive identification of it for the previous owner and provided many of the African Caravan photos of that truck to the previous owner.

It is great to see that the current owner has gotten the truck running, but does not intend to restore it to "as new" or better condition, instead keeping the patina of it's long and adventurous life on the truck.

This 1958 Travelette was taken on the 1959-60 African Caravan by 85 or 86 year old Dr. Duncan Monroe, Big Red Number 608, with his much younger (2nd? 3rd? 4th?) wife Alberta, along with his 14 year old daughter Frances, and this 21 year old granddaughter Ann. Ann served at the tutor for Frances during the African Caravan. Reportedly Alberta did all of the driving and towing during the African Caravan. Dr. Monroe was the oldest participant on the African Caravan by a pretty good margin.

Interestingly, the Monroe's not only made it all the way from the start in Capetown, South Africa in July 1959 to Cairo, Egypt in February 1960, but they continued with the African Caravan all the way thru the Middle East to rendezvous with the 1960 European Caravan in Trieste, Italy in April 1960, though they did not join the European Caravan, instead sailing back to the USA shortly after the rendezvous.

The Monroe's Airstream during the African Cravan was a 1959 24' Tradewind built in California. It is not currently known to still exist, but may just be waiting to be rediscovered.
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Old 02-13-2024, 10:16 PM   #7
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Hi again, I promised the owner some more photos of his truck on the African Caravan when I had time to look for them, but I haven't had much time to do so yet. Here are a few I am sure he (and likely y'all) have not seen before. If you look closely in each of these photos you will see the Travelette and/or the Airstream bearing BRN 608, though it may not be the rig closest to the camera:
  • Waiting in line to fuel up in Northern Kenya
  • On a mountainous road in Northern Ethiopia
  • At a campsite in Eritrea
  • Waiting for the Ferry to cross the Bosphorus Straight to Istanbul, Turkey, a crossing from from the continent of Asia to Europe
  • Caravanning past a Mosque in Istanbul after crossing on the Ferry
Enjoy this gave of "spot the Travelette"!!! (Sometimes the Airstream is more visible than the Travelette.)

P.S. I know I have more photos of this rig, but these were quick to find.
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Old 02-13-2024, 10:41 PM   #8
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This is wonderful! It gives me chills to think the trailer could still be out there and they could be reunited someday
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Old 02-14-2024, 05:05 AM   #9
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I absolutely love this thread. Long ago.... Before I got into Airstreams, I was into old Land Rovers and Jeeps (the wife once made the comment that I have a penchant for ugly old 4x4s)... Old Internationals are one I haven't owned but still love. The fact you can tie this one to such a historic event for Airstreams is pretty darn awesome.
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Old 02-14-2024, 06:14 AM   #10
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Wow, what an awesome thread. And finding the TV used in such an historic event is so exciting. Thanks for sharing all this information.

Please keep us informed about the restoration of the International.

Also thanks for the pictures.

Does anyone know if National Geographic did an article on the Cape Town to Cairo caravan like they did on European caravan in their June 1957 issue?
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Old 02-14-2024, 06:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LNBright View Post
I absolutely love this thread. Long ago.... Before I got into Airstreams, I was into old Land Rovers and Jeeps (the wife once made the comment that I have a penchant for ugly old 4x4s)... Old Internationals are one I haven't owned but still love. The fact you can tie this one to such a historic event for Airstreams is pretty darn awesome.
Same here, I have a collection of vintage 4x4 trucks, but never had an international until I saw a few old International trucks through a fence, became friends with the guy that owned them, and finally talked him out of one. Took a couple years.
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Old 02-14-2024, 06:23 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
Hi again, I promised the owner some more photos of his truck on the African Caravan when I had time to look for them, but I haven't had much time to do so yet. Here are a few I am sure he (and likely y'all) have not seen before. If you look closely in each of these photos you will see the Travelette and/or the Airstream bearing BRN 608, though it may not be the rig closest to the camera:
  • Waiting in line to fuel up in Northern Kenya
  • On a mountainous road in Northern Ethiopia
  • At a campsite in Eritrea
  • Waiting for the Ferry to cross the Bosphorus Straight to Istanbul, Turkey, a crossing from from the continent of Asia to Europe
  • Caravanning past a Mosque in Istanbul after crossing on the Ferry
Enjoy this gave of "spot the Travelette"!!! (Sometimes the Airstream is more visible than the Travelette.)

P.S. I know I have more photos of this rig, but these were quick to find.
Thanks for the pictures and additional info. I really enjoy digging into the history of this truck and the trip.
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Old 02-14-2024, 06:35 AM   #13
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I’m not great at the YouTube, but here’s some video and pictures of the truck in the short time I had it.
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Old 02-14-2024, 07:53 AM   #14
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Very interesting thread. I am curious about the rear portion of the cab, was there an auxiliary fuel tank back there? It looks like a fuel filler down there on the rear section. I have wondered about the fuel availability on a trip like that in 1959 and if the participants had to carry extra fuel somehow.

They were probably all gasoline powered tow vehicles and I wouldn't think they would even get out of single digit MPG territory, unless the slower travel speeds helped much.
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Old 02-14-2024, 08:39 AM   #15
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Very interesting thread. I am curious about the rear portion of the cab, was there an auxiliary fuel tank back there? It looks like a fuel filler down there on the rear section. I have wondered about the fuel availability on a trip like that in 1959 and if the participants had to carry extra fuel somehow.

They were probably all gasoline powered tow vehicles and I wouldn't think they would even get out of single digit MPG territory, unless the slower travel speeds helped much.
That is the factory fuel fill location. Oddly placed by todayís standards. And it isnít a large tank, little less than 20 gallons I believe. The bit of research I have done, it appears they did a little planning to meet up with trucks for fuel and I imagine there was plenty other creative ways to fuel the trucks.
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Old 02-14-2024, 09:17 AM   #16
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Really fascinating! Such a shame that equivalent adventures through parts of the world are no longer possible today. Driving the length of the African continent is one such impossible adventure now. There were certainly social and military problems 80 years ago, but many aspects of civilization were much more...hmmm...civilized.
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Old 02-14-2024, 09:40 AM   #17
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Really fascinating! Such a shame that equivalent adventures through parts of the world are no longer possible today. Driving the length of the African continent is one such impossible adventure now. There were certainly social and military problems 80 years ago, but many aspects of civilization were much more...hmmm...civilized.
Hi

If you look at the dates (July to February), that's just the "on the ground over there" time. Toss in 2 months of shipping on both ends and you are looking at May to April. More or less it's a 1 year sort of adventure, even if you don't tag on fun at the start or end of the caravan.

That's a whole lot of time. It's not at all clear that many folks in this day and age *have* that sort of time to put into something like this.

That's before you get into the mind boggling cost of one that is not subsided and organized by a corporation. AS put a *ton* of effort (and cash) into these adventures.

There are still *lots* of routes a journey like this could run over. Folks travel here and there far more often than you might think. The issue of "why no more" follows more closely with "would two dozen of you each you pay $500,000" than with any other factor. (and no, that cost is not anything more than a random number. It could easily be *way* low).

Crazy!

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Old 02-14-2024, 02:02 PM   #18
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I must apologize to Joe who is 66Overlander and the international club historian. I got his username mixed up with user Overlander64. The edit function timed out by the time I realized I made a mistake.

66Overlander made a very valuable addition to this thread, which I guessed he would. Thank you Joe.

By the way, the Airstream International Club sponsors Airstream caravans every year. Visit their website and see if there is one you might be interested in. It is a great way to get out with your Airstream, meet some very nice people, see some wonderful places in our country, and not have to worry about reserving campsites or even minor maintenance issues. My wife's folks used to do caravans with their 86 Limited 34' and really enjoyed them. We inherited their trailer and it is still going strong.

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Old 02-14-2024, 02:44 PM   #19
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That is so cool!
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Old 02-14-2024, 02:51 PM   #20
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A book that’s been mentioned in these forums some years back: “Cape Town to Cairo” by Lillie Douglas. The author was on the caravan and chronicled the adventure in this book. I found it very interesting. My local library was able to locate a copy to borrow. I recommend it for your next camping trip!
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