Thank you Captain, I’ll take her from here…..

It’s now more than five and a half years since I had the idea to buy an overland truck and travel around Africa. For the next four and half years that’s all it was – an idea, albeit one I was determined to realise. Finally, in late 2015 everything fell into place and my finances permitted me to take that leap of faith. Now, a year and a couple of weeks after I placed the order for the chassis and cabin, the NYK Castor Leader RoRo vessel is steaming around the Strait of Hormuz as I write this, and will tomorrow dock at Jebel Ali port – just a few hundred yards from where I first started working in Dubai 25 years ago, when there were only 300 companies in Jebel Ali. Now there’s more like 30,000; how times have changed!

The NYK Castor Leader's position at 20.30 Dubai time
My truck is aboard the NYK Castor Leader, just 8 hours away from home. At last!!

Last week I spent a few hours at the Road Traffic Authority offices in Dubai trying to meet the right people, ask the right questions, and gather the right information, which would allow me to tackle the issue of registering the vehicle for private ownership in Dubai – not a straightforward task when the chassis builder is almost unknown to them, the cabin is not something they normally deal with, it’s truck sized but not, by their definition, a truck because they classify Sprinters as vans, and it’s six wheel drive but the only records they have of Sprinters here are two wheel drive. So next week should be ‘interesting’ to say the least.

While I was at the RTA I was delighted to hear that just a week earlier they had started issuing the “T” suffix number-plates, which was perfect timing and I decided was too good an opportunity to pass up, so I treated myself to a personal number plate.

T  Tim’s Travel Truck

1  Life

2  Eyes

5  Oceans

6  Continents

3  Axles

Yes I know you can argue there are 7 (or 5, or even 4) continents but that number has other, personal significance for me, so feast your eyes on the plate that will adorn my truck from next week and for the next few years. “Truck” still doesn’t have a name yet, but I’m giving it a lot of thought. Tomorrow I hope to drive down to the port and sneak a quick look at my vehicle on U.A.E. soil for the first time. I should actually get to drive it (him? her?) on Sunday next week, for the first time in Dubai. Woohoo!!

6 comments on “Thank you Captain, I’ll take her from here…..

  • Have fun!!! – no wonder you are not on SKYPE anymore 🙂 actually asked you about when you get your truck – should look at your blog more frequently.
    Time to move from the virtual world of planning and looking at truck pictures into the real world of enjoying and driving your truck…
    And again – Have fun!!!

    • Ha, sorry Dirk, I’ve been planning for the arrival and registration process, dealing with the hand-over of my company, had a few writing commissions to deal with, even working on “The Grand Tour” filming in Dubai (look out for my grey Jaguar XF behind the tank – you’ll see 🙂 so Skype has been low on my priorities!

      Oh and for good measure I’m now getting my motorcycle license – got my theory test this morning, then the practical lessons begin a week later, giving me time to get the truck registered…..I hope. AND it’s the Dubai 24 Hours this weekend and I’m shooting that for Audi. I shall be glad to get to Africa for a rest!

  • Hi Tim, I couldnt believe it when I just stumbled across your video…a fellow Englishman, also living in Dubai and also with a plan of a 4×4 (ok so not 6 wheels) Sprinter, with a box on for living in and travelling the world.

    So much in common, but youre many stages further down the line. Its not much more than many hours spent online and youtube and various sketches and ideas stuck to my bedroom walls at the moment.

    Anyhow, I would love to meet/have a chat with you as your knowledge and experience will be so insightful and you could probably tell me things in a few mon that would save me days and days of fact hunting/decision making. I may have contacts you need for various things in Dubai that might be helpful for you also.

    Would be great to hear from you. 055 7770271

    • Hi Nick, glad you found the site! Right now the truck is outside my office in Al Quoz, sitting forlornly with a broken drive shaft, the result I suspect of the inadvertent use of diff locks at some point in its transport to Dubai. Ho hum, stuff happens! I’ve a new shaft on order, and need to get it fixed before I can register it. You’re more than welcome to drop by, I’ll give you a call and we can meet up. Mine took 4 years of planning, all involving hours (weeks?) in the internet, plans in Sketch-Up, discussions with other builders etc, so I’m sure we have plenty to chat about.

  • Hi Tim. I was talking with the Vendetta boys in the weekend at the Baja and they mentioned you had built this awesome camper truck. Great effort on getting it finished and more importantly registered in Dubai. I am interested in a similar project in the future and would love to have a look over it before you head off on your journey and pick your brain a bit on all the finer points that are likely to trip you up. Thanks. Steve

    • No problem Steve, though if you are a friend of Mabbsy and Boyter I’m not sure I can trust you ;-). Ha, if I knew what would trip me up I wouldn’t leave! Welcome to pop by anytime, I’ll be at the Caffeine & Machine meet on April 14th if you are going?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *