Finding Michael Hussey, Winner of the 1993 Sabah - Malaysia Camel Trophy

8/19/2013

Finding Michael Hussey was relatively easy. It was Peter Vollers of the Vermont Overland Challenge (VOT) who "unearthed" him. Michael made a special appearance during the first night of the 2013 VOT to help kick off the event. The VOT was only over for a week when I initially emailed Peter, asking him if he could forward my info to Michael.

Peter was having dinner in Telluride, Colorado when he replied and was excited to hear about the project. The next day Michael sent me an email and said "I would be happy to sign your book in the company of an amazing group of guys you have compiled!" The day after that (8/21/2013) Peter sent Michael and I an email detailing a surprise encounter he had in the woods of Colorado.

"You guys are not going to believe this, but Peter Jr and I have been literally living on the trail here in the San Juans and just today, we were finishing up Poughkeepsie Gulch trail near Ouray and we noticed a pristine white brand-new Range Rover driving towards us. We are literally in the middle of the mountains and no one else is around.

I pull up to the Range Rover and the tinted driver side window rolls down and who is it but Daphne Green and Jim Swett out prerunning for their Land Rover adventure outing from Telluride.

I filled them in on the whole VOT thing and that I have unearthed Mike and they are just thrilled to hear all about it. What a small world!!"

Four weeks before Peter's encounter, Daphne and six other Cameleers were signing my copy of The Great Adventure.

Some of the very first items added to my Camel Trophy collection was a set of 24 slides, shot on location during the 1993 CT. There are a wide variety of images in the set, but one of them is a group shot of all the participants. With the aid of a light table, I was able to get pics of each slide and sent the group shot to Michael. They way he determines the location of the photo is classic.

"Looks like the send off photo at the resort in Kota Kinabalu. The Canary Island team mate does not have a cast on his arm so it has to have been before leaving. I am in the back row right with my arms raised - Tim is seated in front of me with one arm up."

Earlier that summer, what looked like the 1993 USA CT truck was seen on Expedition Portal, as well as the Camel Trophy Owners Club. It looked the legit, but knowing straight from the source was the best way of verifying its authenticity. Some pictures were sent to Michael and he was easily able to confirm it was the truck he used in Malaysia.

"Thanks for the update on the Disco. It certainly is the vehicle that Tim and I drove in Sabah '93 - I remember every nut and bolt. We brought it out of the jungle with nary a scratch on the paint. When it came back to the states it was being taken from car show to car show when, as I recall, someone - NOT Tom Collins!! fell asleep at the wheel and rolled it into a Bridge. Webb bought it, brought it back to usable condition, as only Webb can, and used it on his ranch in CO. That was the last I knew of it. I have the original CT Plaque from the roof rack as a souvenir after the roll over.

Feel free to post this on the expeditionportal forum - that vehicle DESERVES the proper story!"

The Saga of Webb Arnold and the 1993 USA CT Truck

Webb Arnold, team mate with Bill Burke in the 1991 Tanzania-Burundi Camel Trophy, has been the proper owner of the 1993 USA CT truck for many many years. The 1993 Camel Trophy is rather special because it was the only year the US had the winning team (Tim Hensley and Michael Hussey). Due to some bad timing and luck, the truck wound up in the hands of a rather unscrupulous person. While The Great Adventure was with Webb in late 2013, he contacted me about helping him get the truck back into his possession. This is his account of the truck's history and how it left his possession. The only change to Webb's account is the replacement of the current "owner's" name with Unscrupulous Person, since this case is still being decided in the courts.

Here is the story; Land Rover sold me the 1993 CT Discovery as a thank you for training the US teams for all of those years. Yes, it was in bad shape as it actually blew over on I-70 on the way to the New York Auto Show.  I didn't have the funds to repair the body to new, but cared for it's mechanical needs.  We used it for years as a snow plow and for training Camel Trophy Teams.  

I had the CT Discovery at my brother's farm as he was using it to pull a small disk plow in his horse arena. I didn't need it, as I was building a house at the time. A friend of his asked to borrow it, to use at a local mud bog. My brother allowed this, in exchange for the repair of the ignition switch.  Unannounced to me, it sat at this guys place for months.  

Without permission from myself or my brother, this now ex-friend of my brothers sold the CT discovery on Craig's list.  Unscrupulous Person was at the guys place within 12 hours of it appearing for sale, because he knew what a deal it was for a special vehicle.  Unscrupulous Person did in fact purchase the CT Discovery from ex-friend.  At this point Unscrupulous Person was a victim.  Unscrupulous Person then forged a bill of sale from me to the ex-friend, which was dated 2006, even before we had loaned my brother the discovery!  Unscrupulous Person was informed by a Mesa County Sheriff deputy and myself that the vehicle was in fact stolen, to which he replied, "Tough luck, it is mine now."

Unscrupulous Person's forgery and then perjury on the stand this last week, verified that he was no longer a victim.  He stated under oath that a Camel Trophy Discovery was worth no more than a "dime a dozen Discovery."  I certainly no longer consider him a victim.  

I am just trying to recover my Camel car...  My son, that was involved growing up very involved in the Team training every year wanted it to stay in the family.  

One thing that might help is, a real world +- value of a The Camel Trophy Discovery the winning car for the 1993 Camel Trophy. This is so rare a car that worth is very hard to determine. The guys with in Land Rover Club's are the only people that would have an idea of its value.

Thank You for Your help,

Webb Arnold

Team USA Camel Trophy 1991

Webb Arnold in the 1991 Tanzania - Burundi Camel Trophy

Webb Arnold in the 1991 Tanzania - Burundi Camel Trophy


Updates will be posted below:

2/18/2014 Mediation date with the court 

Finding Carl Guffey, 1986 Australia Camel Trophy

Tracking down Cameleers can be a daunting task. All you have to start with is a list of names from each country, from 1980 - 1998. After sorting through all of the years in which the US was represented, you wind up with a list of 26 people. Knowing where they were from can really help too. Trip reports in magazines usually list the name of the city and state where each team member was from. However there was very little press coverage in the US for the Camel Trophy, especially in the early years. Any information like that, or even a picture of the person, helps narrow down the search when you're faced with 1000's, if not 10,000's of people with the same name. This couldn't be more to the point than with Frank Smith from the 1986 Australia event. That was going to be a futile search so I instead focused on his team mate Carl Guffey.

After scouring through many, many pages of search results for his name, all of a sudden my eyes catch two words. Camel Trophy. The link goes to a post on the Chattanooga (Tennessee) Fishing Forum?! Someone from Australia had just signed up and was making his introduction. A few replies later and someone with the username Carl Guffey simply said:

"Welcome aboard. I haven't thought about Oz in a while. I was down in 1986 and drove the Camel Trophy from Cooktown to Darwin. Also made it over to Alice Springs and down to Melborne. Great days."

That was posted 2/3/2011, three years and roughly two weeks ago from this writing.

And with that I knew the right Carl Guffey was found. However, to view his profile, you have to be a member of that forum. After going through the registration process, I was able to see his email address and promptly told him of my project. He was excited that I contacted him and wanted to be part of it. 

Looking for any help in locating former participants, I always ask the Cameleer if they have contact info for their partner. Carl had this to say about Frank Smith:

"I have not heard from anyone since 1990 or so. Frank will be difficult at best to find. He was trying to find a way to stay in OZ. He did not want to go home and face his wife or the divorce case that was going to cost him the family farm."

To this day, the original Australian poster only has 3 posts on the fishing forum, all of which are in that same thread. It was nice of him to leave just enough of a web trail for me to find Carl Guffey.

CarlGuffey.jpg

The Day Daphne Greene and Six Other Cameleers Signed The Great Adventure

July 23, 2013

In my search for Cameleers to sign my copy of The Great Adventure I found a link from MSN Auto talking about the 1995 Camel Trophy. In it, there was some background info about Daphne Greene and it mentioned her website Twende (Swahili for "Let's Go!"). I visited the site and sent her a message, but the website didn't look very current so I did some more digging. Eventually I came across a site that had the domain registration info for Twende. There were a couple phone numbers and an address. I copied anything that looked useful into my spreadsheet of contact info for Team USA Camel Trophy participants. I then moved on to researching the next Cameleer.

The first person to get my copy of The Great Adventure was Bill Burke. He was the special guest at the NCLR's Annual Event in 2012, and since we met in person (and he's a great guy to boot!), I felt confident that the book would be returned to me. Given the shipping time to Colorado, Bill's work schedule and then shipment back to California, it took about one month for the book to make it back into my hands. That day was Friday, July 19, 2013. That weekend, I relished the fact that I had my first signature, in what was (and still is) to be a long journey of searching, emailing and sending to get as many signatures as possible.

The following Monday, (July 22, 2012) I woke up and checked my email as I do every morning before getting ready for the day. To my surprise there was a reply from Daphne! She apologized for not getting back to me sooner, and wanted me to know that it wasn't from a lack of appreciation regarding my book. Daphne mentioned that LR dealers were coming to the Bay Area to celebrate the introduction of the new Range Rover Sport, and some former CT driving instructors were going to be there for the off-road driving portion of the event. She said to give her a call and leave a message as she wouldn't be able to check email that day, and that afternoon, we could go over the specifics of getting the book to her. There was only one small problem. She didn't leave her phone number, and I only had her email address!

At this point I started to mildly freak out. Somehow, someway, this was going to work. The spreadsheet with the CT contact info was pulled up and voice messages were left for both phone numbers I had for Daphne. My hope was that one was her house phone (where she would get the message too late) and the other her cell. But there was no way to tell which was which. They both had a female voice (promising) and one said it was Daphne (bonus). However, that wasn't enough for me. I needed some backup in case we didn't make contact again.

I knew Lea Magee was part of the Camel Trophy "squad", but wasn't sure if he would be part of this dealer event. It seemed logical that he would be given his relatively close proximity to the Bay Area. He was going to be my backup, even though he didn't know it at the time. During my intense research phase (there is more to do) of US Cameleers, I came across a county housing plan for what looked like an addition to the Magee residence. There was an address and phone number so those were copied into the CT spreadsheet. Around that time, a former President of the NCLR Club (Astateofmike) sent me Lea's number and it was filed away in the spreadsheet for future use as well.

By this time I was at work, but my task of the day was just starting. Just in case something materialized, The Great Adventure was with me. I called the two phone numbers I had for Lea. The first was out of service, and the second went to voice mail. Not knowing if this was the correct phone number, I left a quick message and said if this isn't the Magee's to please disregard this message. About an hour later my phone rings, and it's Lea's wife! She was calling from the house phone and gave me Lea's cell number (the one that was out of service). It turns out there was one incorrect digit.

I tell her who I am and what is going on. She was aware of the LR dealer event, said that Lea and Jimmy (Jim Swet) will in fact be part of it. When she heard that I made initial contact with Daphne, she said everything was in good hands and would pass my info to Lea.

After that Daphne called me and said an LR rep (and the rest of the dealers) were staying the St. Regis Hotel in downtown San Francisco. If I could get my book to her before 6 am the next morning, she could take it with her, hand the book over to Daphne who would then pass it around to the other Cameleers.

Lea did call me a little later and was curious what my project was for. He sounded leery at first, probably thinking I was just going to turn around and sell the book. I reassured him by saying if my house is on fire, The Great Adventure and one of my Les Paul guitars would make it out with me. He chuckled and seemed happy with that answer. Since everything had been worked out with Daphne before that I told him what was going on and he was happy to help out.

I get the address to the hotel, which was a 2 minute diversion from my usual way home. At the concierge desk I see some LR gift bags and know that I'm in the right place. I give the name of the LR rep from Daphne and leave with eager anticipation. Later that night my head was still swirling from everything that went down that day. The next morning as I was walking the dog, Daphne sent me a text that the book was all signed and would be available to pickup after 6 pm. Already? It was already signed and I hadn't left the house yet. Thinking back I probably could have convinced Daphne that it would be no trouble for me to get down south (it sounded like the event was in Redwood City) and meet everyone to thank them in person. But I didn't want to overstep my bounds and wasn't sure of their schedule for the day.

On the way home that night to pick up the book I was still in shock. After a little bit of searching the concierge person found the book, I showed them my id (a big relief) and opened the Pelican case. I wanted to be sure the book and collector CT pen was still there, and make a quick check of the signatures. Patiently waiting until I got home to really look at the book wasn't going to happen. What should have been a 15 minute drive took me about 5 minutes, even in rush hour traffic!

Once home, it was time to finally enjoy what had transpired over the last 36 hours. There they were, signatures from Daphne Greene (CT '95), Jim Swet (CT '95), Fred Monsees (CT '90), Lea Magee (CT '90), Don Floyd (CT '87), Jim West (CT '92), and Tim Hensley (CT '93). Since I didn't get a chance to meet anyone in person, I'll be heading to the 2014 Overland Expo this May to do that. There will be a few more Cameleers to add including Duncan Barbor (Event Manager), Ken Cameron (CT '96), Tom Collins (CT '87), Andrew Dacey (UK Team CT '90), and Bob Burns (LR training team and events coordinator).

Daphne and Jim in next to their 1995 Mundo Maya truck

Daphne and Jim in next to their 1995 Mundo Maya truck

Daphne Greene,1996 Kalimantan Camel Trophy

Daphne Greene,1996 Kalimantan Camel Trophy

Lea Magee_small.jpg