Trans-Africa Expedition Stage I departed in the Spring of 2001 with 4 vintage Land Rovers and 8 team members. Led by Michael Ladden and Paul Shumway the team consisted of: Al Cornell, Pat Macomber, Jim Leach, Wilson Bullard, Shane Ballensky and Ed Messenger. 

Michael Ladden

"Because it's there!, is Michael's battle-cry when asked the reason for participating and organizing overland expeditions across the globe. Beyond this simple reason, Michael would like the opportunity to experience each and every culture and country of the world.

Michael Ladden, President of Drive The Globe | Overland Adventures is both well traveled and experienced in overland expedition planning. He has explored over 50 countries on 5 continents, including 20 in Africa.
Though Michael loves the warmer climates, he bundled up in his fleece and down coat and took on the sub zero temperatures of Northern Canada in Border To Border Arctic Expedition 99. His friends thought he was crazy for going where the polar bear roam, but Michael believes, " whenever you put a great bunch of people together to accomplish a goal, the memories alone are enough to make it worth it!"  He has also led overland trips to the Arctic Circle, Labrador & Newfoundland and throughout all of the provinces of Canada.

Michael graduated with a BA in English and Screenwriting from Keene State College in New Hampshire. He is the founder and former CEO of Keller Williams Realty Connecticut, the former President of  McLadden Restaurant Group and currently the Director of Marketing & Beverage Development for Bean Restaurant Group. Michael has 25 years of experience outfitting Unimogs, Land Rovers and Jeeps. He currently is an overland consultant, an instructor for Overland Expo & off road trainer. When not traveling, Michael is an avid cyclist and pilot.

Michael co-lead the Vintage Rovers Across Africa expedition with Paul Shumway and was primarily responsible for route planning, navigation, visa and legal issues and expedition communication.

Paul Shumway

Since he can remember, Paul has been afflicted with a beautiful condition called wanderlust. Born and raised near Boston, Paul's earliest memories of life itself are of car trips with his sister and parents in their orange Datsun station wagon to exotic places like New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York (and before you start, at least WE didn’t lose to the Marlins). These days, Paul is an avid and experienced traveler, having visited more than 50 countries around the world and all of the U.S. states.
A Stage I Expedition Leader and co-founder of Drive the Globe | Overland Adventures, Paul currently lives in Thailand. Paul has a BA in History from Wheaton College in Illinois.

Vehicle: 1965 Land Rover Series IIA 88

Owner: Michael Ladden
Make: Land Rover
Year of MFG: 1965
Engine: 2.25L 4 cyl
Wheelbase: 88 inches
Nickname: Madcow
Additional Equipment: PTO winch, onboard hot water shower, Overcamp roof top tent, IPF off road lights, oil cooler, electric fan, custom roof rack, adjustable Rancho shocks, dual battery system, onboard air compressor, heavy duty steel wheels. 

Al Cornell

Al has extensive travel experience in South America, Europe, Middel East & the far east & Pakistan. Born in BVI, he has resided in Panama. He has sporting experience in Alaska, Argentina & Canada. Al has bee married 21 years and has two children.

Al has owned his vintage Land Rover since 1980 when he purchased it from the original owner with only 22,000 miles on the clock. He has performed all restoration, upgrades & repairs himself. Currently there is only 80,000 miles on the odometer. 

Pat Macomber

Pat's a former banking executive who, after two buyouts, decided to take a break.  He's said that he's going to do something, perhaps part time, but that remains to be seen.        

Pat's taken extensive canoeing and kayaking trips in the US, Canada & Alaska.  His latest kayaking adventure was a three week trip in Alaska's Kenai Fjords National Park.  He recently participated in the inaugural Border to Border Trek in 1998 and later completed 'Arctic Expedition 99' to the Hudson Bay Lowlands in Canada. 

Pat's been married for 18 years and has two daughters at home, ages 11 & 13, and a daughter (22) and son (27), living in New York and Boston. 

His first exposure into off road expeditions was with a 1970 Toyota Land Cruiser.  Unfortunately it rusted away after seeing much dirt and many excursions.  He now has a 1998 Discovery and a 1997 Defender 90 ST.  His 13-year-old daughter has her eyes set on the Defender when she gets her license but he may add or replace the D90 with a Series IIA for her to take to the road.

Vehicle: 1973 Land Rover Series III 88 

Owner: Al Cornell
Make: Land Rover
Year of MFG: 1973
Engine: 2.25L 4 cyl
Wheelbase: 88 inches

Additional Equipment: Weber 2barrel carb, additional oil cooler, auxiliary cooling fan & new radiator. An 8000 pound winch, overdrive & electronic ignition were added for this expedition.  

Jim Leach

Jim began working on automobiles at the age of 12 in his fathers repair shop. He graduated to rebuilding big block Chrysler engines at 13 for his 1971 Super Bee. Jim began driving at the age of 14, practicing with wreckers and an old Renault 16 with column shift.

He received his license at 16 and began to learn the ropes of vehicle recovery while running the wreckers with his father. Jim began a complete frame up restoration on a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere, which he still owns today.

Jim studied photography in school where he learned the film process from start to finish. After graduation Jim was accepted into the Spirit of America marching band & participated in a multi week tour of Europe over several summers.

Five years ago Jim purchased a badly neglected Land Rover and completed an 11 month frame up restoration. Every component was either removed & completely restored or replaced. With this vehicle Jim became involved in the off road community & learned the skills of wilderness driving and what the capabilities of these trucks actually are. 

Jim has recently been accepted into the International Freelance Photographers Association.


Wilson Bullard

Wilson has always looked for adventure in remote areas of the world.  He has traveled to Kenya in 1986 to assist in the construction of a 1 room schoolhouse on Lake Victoria.  The following year he participated in classes on the history & culture of Brazil which culminated in a two week tour throughout the state of Rio de Janeiro.  Wilson then traveled to Iceland
experiencing geysers, newly created volcanic islands, and the devastation an eruption one can unleash on a nearby town.  Wilson spent one semester during college as a student at Macquarie University in NSW Australia.  While there he traveled the east coast from Cape Tribulation (Cairnes) to Sydney visiting
the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, the Whitsunday Islands, Surfers Paradise and multiple wineries.  

For the last six years Wilson has lived in Boston, MA and has worked for a large regional bank undergoing many mergers ending up with Quick & Reilly.  The corporate world has effectively stagnated much of Wilson's latest travels.  Last year he was able to participate in TransAmerica Trek '99 with the Border to Border Expedition Society and travel from Tecate, Mexico to Inuvik, NWT Canada over the course of a month. Wilson's co-driver throughout this expedition was his sister Caroline.  She is currently a volunteer in Southwest England with plans to attend complete post graduate work in Madrid. 

Vehicle: 1971 Land Rover Series IIA 88

Owner: Jim Leach
Make: Land Rover
Year of MFG: 1971
Engine: 2.25L 4 cyl
Wheelbase: 88 inches
Nickname: Land Roacher
Additional Equipment: Ramsey winch, onboard shower, Overcamp roof top tent, IPF off road lights, military fan, custom roof rack, Old Man Emu shocks, 1 ton springs, onboard air compressor, custom winch bumper. 

Shane Ballensky

Shane has been into all different types of autos since he was born. When he was in first grade he started taking  toy trucks apart and put bigger tires on them and he hasn't stopped modifying his toys since.  Shane started four-wheeling about seven years ago, originally with an Isuzu Trooper, then a Jeep Wrangler.  Shane started getting pretty serious.  Now he has two 94 Land Rover Defender 90's and the 101 he will be driving across Africa with.

Shane has done the Rubicon trail six times, including twice in the snow and the Sierra Trek trail twice. He is the president of the Redding Jeep Club. Member of the California Association of 4wd Clubs Inc. and a  Member of the Northern California Rover Club
Shane loves the outdoors, hot weather, and he loves four-wheeling.   "I think getting stuck in the middle of the jungle in three feet of mud in 120 degree temperature sounds like fun." he says.  

Ed Messenger

Ed was married just 3 months before leaving for Africa. Hopefully the  wedding won't interfere too much with preparing for the trip! Ed's supportive 
bride Caroline will be staying home to pay the bills, and help coordinate the educational portion of the expedition.  Ed has owned a total of four rovers.  Currently he has a NAS 1988 Range Rover daily driver/offroader. Ed also has a 1973 Range Rover that is roughly the 5,000th LHD rangie made. When it is all fixed up,(and the African expedition is paid
off!)  he plans to take it on a Pan American expedition from Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego. Ed is a native of Connecticut, though he has also lived in Delmar, NY, and Haverford, Pa. He graduated from  Rochester Institute of Technology in 1994 with a degree in  photojournalism.

Vehicle: 1971 Land Rover 101 Forward Control Radio Body

Owner: Shane Ballensky
Make: Land Rover
Year of MFG: 1971
Engine: 4L 8 cyl
Wheelbase: 101 inches

North American Support

Bruce Kinzer

Bruce spent the better part of his first 18 years living in the Rift Valley of Kenya. He has traveled extensively and  had the opportunity to visit more than 30 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and North America playing soccer.  Bruce lives in Eastern Connecticut with his wife and four kids.

Bruce has been an invaluable resource to the Expedition and a true part of the team.  Beside serving as the alternate vehicle and driver, Bruce has coordinated much of the custom design work on the expedition vehicles. As the cold weather approached he  opened up his enormous garage to facilitate last minute work on all of the vehicles. 

Bruce will serve as our North American contact and coordinator while we are in Africa and will be responsible for organizing any emergency operations or part shipments to Africa.  

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