Map of Frank and Helen Schreider’s Indonesian Adventure during 1961.
In 1954, Helen and Frank Schreider drove a Ford GPA (amphibious jeep) named Tortuga from the Arctic Circle to the southern most town in South America, Ushuaia, Argentina. They published a book about their adventure called 20,000 Miles South: A Pan-American Adventure in a Seagoing Jeep from the Arctic Circle. It was a book I enjoyed.
In 1960, Helen and Frank began a new adventure in India. For unknown reasons, Tortuga was replaced by the Tortuga II (Amphibious Vehicle website has a great comparison information between Tortuga I and Tortuga II). Perhaps the original Tortuga was too damaged to undertake another long trek. The goal of their Indian adventure was to explore the Ganges river plain and write an article for National Geographic (which appeared in the October 1960 issue). I have the article, but have yet to read it.
In 1961, following their India adventure, the pair undertook an even longer expedition. They wanted to explore Indonesia’s Lesser Sundas, a chain of islands stretching 3000 miles from Bali to Timor. Their adventure filled two large articles for National Geographic (Indonesia: Young and Troubled Nation in the May 1961 issue and East from Bali by Seagoing Jeep in the August 1962 issue). They also published a book in 1963 called the Drums of Tonkin: An Adventure in Indonesia.
Both the National Geographic articles about Indonesia and their Drums of Tonkin book are dense with cultural references and photographs. Unfortunately, both the articles and the book over-burdened me with local references to such a degree that for me the story was less compelling than their 20,000 Miles book. This likely reflects a larger emphasis on anthropology, geography, and biology, a result of their funding by National Geographic.
Despite the compelling prose, there were plenty of photographs to enjoy. Here’s just a few. This first one is pretty self-explanatory.
According to the New York Times obituary for Frank, who died in 1994 in Crete, the couple joined National Geographic in 1967 and continued to have additional adventures by vehicle, foot and boat. However, there is no record that they ever traveled by GPA.