American Patriots Unsung Magazine Issue 6 - Page 81

transport. Within the middle of the last century, four-wheel-drive vehicles like Jeeps and Land Rovers have made overland travel exciting and affordable to many. In 1949, Colonel Leblanc drove his brand new 80-inch Series I Land Rover from the United Kingdom to Abyssinia. That same year, the Automobile Association of South Africa published a travel guide titled Trans-African Highways, A Route Book of the Main Trunk Roads in Africa. The first edition included sections on choice of vehicle, choice of starting time, petrol supplies, water, provisions, equipment, rules of the road, government officials and rest houses. These were serious folks who were engaged in serious and often dangerous overlanding adventures. These early treks were the beginning of overlanding in Europe and Africa. An early Overlander, Barbra Toy, soloed overland journeys in a Land Rover, including a trip from Tangier to Baghdad (1950-1941), and London to Singapore (1955-19566). Overlanding has increased in the past couple of decades and is getting ever more popular in large part by the capabilities of the vehicles, and even some of the creature comforts they can offer those who like the idea of an adventure but with a shower, comfortable bed, and a flushable toilet. Not every overlander drives a Jeep or Land Rover. Jason Ramos is a professional aerial delivered firefighter - a smokejumper - and the owner of Product Research Gear. As a business entrepreneur he travels all over the United States, Baja Mexico, Canada, Alaska, and other places in search of innovative products to test and profile. Years ago, Ramos purchased a Sportsmobile (Class B) van not only as a means of travel, but as a place to 81 grazing and water sources. Many of the first cross-continent routes established by early “Overlanders,” like Len Beadell, became the roads and highways used by travelers today. But overlanding isn’t unique to the Australians or the Outback. Called by many names, the migration of people in search of better land, better living, exploration, and adventure has been around since the beginning of time. Overlanding isn’t new, only the methods and the means have changed. The Children of Israel roamed the wilderness in search of a Promised Land, the early settlers and pilgrims “overwatered” and “overlanded” in search of liberty and freedom, and Lewis and Clark and early pioneers crossed the American continent in search of adventure and a better way of life. In fact, two major DNA studies in the last few years suggest an Australo-Melanesian migration from Australia and Siberia across the Bering strait in the genome of those who inhabit the North and South American continents. Some of the oldest Native American remains recovered present DNA evidence of this migration. While scientists and naturalists argue the when and how aspects of this early migration, they seem to agree on the who. Overlanding today is part sport, part hobby, and part adventure enthusiast. It’s comprised of people who enjoy the exploration of places well off the beaten path using mechanized