We love to MARCH in the wilds of the world. Whether an ultraMARCH across a distant desert, a high mountain or something closer to home, getting out and going wild is the way to live – the way to MARCH.
And getting there can be half the fun! Travel is the destination and that includes the route you take there, as well as the route you take when you get there.
In this autoMARCH plog (picture blog) we are going to celebrate the first half of the journey – getting to the wild location chosen for the next MARCH! Finding out-of-the-way routes and inspiring automobiles to get us MARCHing.
(In the usual way, this will be live plog updated from time to time with the most recent posts at the top. So read from the bottom up if you are new to it)
18 December 2013 – Route 66 – Flagstaff to Barstow, USA
Flagstaff rocked. MARCHing the Grand Canyon was super special ( www.marchadventureracing.com/gnome-tour-wild-marching/ ) and the whole town had that frontier, athletic town feel we love. But it was time to start MARCHing Route 66 west. We’re goin’ ta California baaaabeeeee!
One of the first towns you get to is Williams – a town that was killed by the Interstate. Like a lot of these towns it has started to eek out a living through Route 66 tourism. Some towns manage to nail it, and Wiliams is one of those towns.
This old Buick was taking up pride of place on the High Street and there were a range of other auto treats and old skool bars and cafes along the way.
But other towns struggle to cut it….West of Williams you hit Ashfork. The MARCH applauds effort and we love rustic dereliction so we enjoyed finding Ashfork. But it’s clear they’re struggling to make it work.
But that doesn’t stop them trying!
And just out of town we found this peach. An abandoned, but now restored, gas station sporting some great auto action! Check out the old Chevy truck peaking out from the garage. Mini-MARCHer Master Finlay was particularly taken with this find.
MARCHing further west we made a huge find….
Driving in to a small town called Seligman Mummy MARCHer Nicola exclaimed instant recognition when we hit the first site on the edge of town….
Any ideas?? Here’s another hint….
Yep, it’s Radiator Springs!! The actual inspiration for the Pixar/Disney Cars movies! Awesome auto storytelling and this is where it all began. Very VERY big news for Mini-MARCHer Master Finlay.
Which brings us to the Delgadillo brothers Angel and Juan – true MARCH heroes. They didn’t just sit back and watch their town die in the ’50’s when the Interstate opened. No, no, no! Angel worked his barber shop while Juan opened the Snow Cap drive in diner – where the photo above was taken. Famous for their wit and practical jokes – and their food – the brothers kept the town going and now, all those years later it is humming. A gorgeous piece of well maintained Route 66 history – and still a working one. The late brothers’ families still run the businesses and others have spring up along the street.
Here’s a shot of Angel’s Barbershop:
And some other classic businesses along the main street:
And the connection to Cars? John Lasseter the Chief Creative Officer at Pixar met Angel while researching the history of Route 66 and hearing the story above modeled Radiator Springs and the story on Seligman !
Moving further west we discovered Grand Canyon Caverns.
A hotel and gas station but also, the location of the largest dry caverns in the US! A real low key spot in the middle millions of acres of Arizona desert – with lots of old auto exotica to keep the autoMARCH going!
Mini-MARCHer Master Finlay, striking his best cowboy pose, was quick to make friends with Dolly….
But some of those cowboys can be a bit scary it seems….Bumping in to a lovely local on the forecourt we were warned not to stop for any accidents or for anyone seeking assistance. Apparently the cowboys aren’t too friendly in these parts and enjoy a bit of auto jacking!!
Trying not to linger too long…we MARCHed off to find the final Route 66 towns before the California border and our destination of Lake Havasu City. And what a town to find – in fact, barely a town, more an outpost but what a spot…!
Yep, that’s an original 1950’s Corvette! Permanently parked outside the Hackberry General Store. A real classic piece of Route 66 history this old trading post. Re-opened in the 90’s, at one time the owner was the only town resident! And what a collection of auto history on show!
And the inside of the store is like an automobilia musuem!
What a way to end this autoMARCH !
Leaving Hackberry we turned South to head to our overnight spot on the shores of Lake Havasu – you can check out out ‘Gnome’ MARCH in Havasu, where we found the old London Bridge and other cool things – www.marchadventureracing.com/gnome-tour-wild-marching/
17 December 2013 – Route 66 – Flagstaff to Winslow, USA
We love to MARCH across hot arid deserts. So what could be better to autoMARCH than Route 66! The Mother Road, the black top, winding its way through the desert landscape of Arizona. So we piled in to our Heavy Chevy, fired up the 5.3 litre V8, and hit the road – foot to the floor!
There’s a mysterious beauty in decay. An enchanting intriguing sense of wonder built over a layer of sadness. And at its very best Route 66 delivers all of that. But also a little more. Route 66 is also a story of survival. Old battling new as some of the old ways find a way of surviving against the modern ways of the Interstate. Like so much that was great it wasn’t all appreciated in its time. Large parts of the route have been lost. To destruction or subsumed within the modern interstate system. But take the time to stop and sniff around a bit and you can find plenty to amaze. And with that amazement comes appreciation – and that is what drives survival.
Turning a few metres off Interstate 40 just East of Flagstaff we found Twin Arrows Trading Post. With parts of the old highway still present on the forecourt and twin arrows marking the spot it was easy to imagine a bustling stop off point not too long ago.
The Trading Post probably dates from the 50’s just after 66 opened. Parts of the building are original with updates (including modern pumps) progressively added until it was finally beaten to the ground in the late ’90s by the thumping and impervious Interstate.
Moving on from Twin Arrows the next spot we found on our Route 66 autoMARCH was Two Guns!
A cracking spot with plenty to enchant. And a wild west heritage! The site of a big fight between the Navajo and the Apaches in the 19th century where 46 Apache were burnt to death the place really has a strong feel about it.
Old Two Guns himself, who ran the place in its heyday, shot dead the owner of the land and turned what was a key section of Route 66 (providing the best route across Diablo Canyon) in to quite a spot.
He even set up a zoo where he kept Mountain Lions and other Arizona critters. And as you can see, parts of that still survive.
Above you can see the cages out the back where he kept the Lions!
And the old Route 66 bridge across the canyon is still in place!
But while the sign still welcomes visitors the town ultimately succumbed like so many other spots along the Route. The curse of Two Guns got the old boy in the end – bitten by a Gila monster and mauled by his mountain lions twice – and the Interstate did the rest to the town.
Moving further east we really went back in history and outta space! The best preserved meteor site in the world! Nestled a few miles off the side of Route 66.
And she made quite an impact! If we could take a fraction of that energy in to our next MARCH we’d be setting world records!
Our next discovery of decaying charm was Meteor City. We just love this shot. The old sign still just telling the story, against the silhouette of a passing freight train in the desert landscape. Classic autoMARCH scenery this!
And this next shot really completes the story, with a heavy sense of tragedy. The Indian dream catcher sits beside Route 66 as it comes to a physical end. So many people passed this way in years gone by following their dream of a new life in the West. Here that very road now ends – and ends beside what once magically caught those inspired dreams.
There is no trading at Meteor City these days. We poked our head inside – it wasn’t locked – and were faced with an abandoned business giving itself up to the dust and dirt. Quite eerie!
The final stop in our autoMARCH today – or rather, a corner….
Whether MARCHing or autoMARCHing good tunes help – and the Eagles must be up there for those chilled out cruises. Here you see Camo ‘Standin on a corner in Winslow, Arizona’….And it sure was a fine sight to see!
And god damn there was even a flat bed Ford!
It sure does make sense to ‘Take it Easy’ sometimes and we were stoked to finish our autoMARCH on this corner.
Route 66 is a fascinating journey through America. A journey you take at so many levels. We have about 7 days autoMARCHing the Mother Road and we’re looking forward to learning a lot more about the current and past history of this place. Learning and being inspired – and finding time to slip on our runners and MARCH a bit of the route too!
15 December 2013 – a dusty road off Interstate 17 – somewhere North of Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Heading East from Palm Springs we MARCHed out of California and said farewell to our Southern Californian dawn MARCH (http://www.marchadventureracing.com/gnome-tour-wild-marching/). It was time to find the Arizona desert and our next location for some serious outdoor fun!
Oh yes! Yes, yes, yes!! That’s what we’re talking about. The journey, the MARCH, can start with the automobile. And we were pretty stoked to drive in to this kind of scenery. Every western, and half the cartoons we’ve ever seen must have been filmed here. Can it actually be real? A perfectly formed cactus satisfying every expectation!
Camo was so pleased he pegged off in to the desert in his jeans! He was lucky to be wearing a pair of La Sportiva offroad runners but would have started MARCHing whatever he was wearing when he found a desert scene like this!
And there’s something magical, mystical, intriguing and sad about chancing upon ghost towns and ghost buildings too. Particularly in the desert. Someone’s dream, once? Was there a Jack?
Lasting memories and moving scenes as we continue our autoMARCH north towards Flagstaff.
28 July 2013 – London, UK
We had some great responses to this plog! The Head of Marketing for Airstream UK got in touch (and commented on the plog as you’ll see below) and it was posted on Airstream USA’s official Live Riveted website! Fellow ‘Streamers truly do rock! So, we have decided to keep this plog live with updates from time to time. We have kept the original post immediately below, but if you scroll down, you will find subsequent updates!
Plog 1 – 17 June 2013 – MARCHing and living with rivets!
Some brands are just cool – end of.
And some brands aren’t just cool, they also rock the same values as the MARCH.
Which brand? Lets check out some of its core mission statements…
“Dream. Travel. Explore. Live.”
Yep, we like the sound of that!
“To strive endlessly to stir the venturesome spirit. To open a whole world of new experiences.”
Whoooooa there – what a line!
“Doing. Being. Seeing. Experiencing. Overcoming. Loving. Risking. Living riveted is about discovery. It’s the exploration not only of places and spaces, but also of people and ourselves. It’s the invitation to…Stop… and breathe.”
Dang! These guys sound cool! And they sound like fellow MARCHers to us!!
Who are we talking about?? And how do we Live Riveted??
Our American friends over at Airstream – home of the classic American silver bullet trailer & motorhome – are leading the charge!
If you plan to MARCH off beyond the horizon. If you are searching to go Harder, Higher, Further & Faster there is no better mothership than a classic piece of iconic aluminum motoring nirvana. And at the MARCH, we have the best example in the UK!
So, what makes the Airstream so cool? Well pretty much everything!
Founded by a bloke called Wally (& latterly saved by a Kiwi!) they’ve been around longer than anyone else still going. Based on designs by the chief designer of the Spirit of St Louis it’s no wonder they look like an aircraft – and they’re built like one too! That sweet silver bullet shape is created using a twin skin of aluminum riveted over aluminum ribs just like an old aircraft fuselage.
Planning on heading in to space? NASA uses a 1983 Excella motorhome (that would be the same model as our one!) to transport their astronauts to the launchpad! And the first chap back from space in 1969? Yep, they quarantined him in a modified airtight Airstream! She looks like a spaceship & practically is one!
But what really makes them cool is the potential they promise. It was Wally who coined the phrase above about “stirring the venturesome spirit”. Here’s a guy who founded a company based on “dreaming, traveling, exploring, and truly living”. Nice! Those are the rivets that make Airstream, and they’re the motivation for Live Riveted – more on that later….
For the moment, here’s our tribute to how much fun it is to MARCH further alongside your Airstream!
1. Travel & exploration:
There is no better auto to help with your travels than a classic silver bullet Airstream!
Golden Cap – Dorset, UK. At 191 metres the cliffs are the highest point on the South Coast of Britain & an awesome way to start the training run! Having pegged it to the top we MARCHed along the coastal path to the seven sisters & back for a cracking 2.5 hour jaunt.
Looe – Cornwall, UK. Better than any 5 star hotel we’ve been in. Parked up for a couple of nights alongside the South West Coast Path. Fancy lunch in town? You’ll earn your pudding!
Lake Windermere – the Lake District, UK. And it’s not just a great mothership for a cracking long MARCH – an Airstream & a push bike were made for each other too! And here you see her alongside our Pashley’s (the oldest bicycle manufacturer in the UK!). Camo is particularly proud of his handmade Pashley Guv’nor – based on a 1930’s path racer!
2. Family fun
Getting out n’ about is great for your soul and with a ‘streamer it’s great for the family too!
Mini MARCHer Master Finlay & MARCH Mummy Nicola heading out for an adventure in the Lake District, UK.
Camo & mini MARCHer Master Finlay relaxing with a glass of wine looking out over the ocean from the Roseland Peninsula, Cornwall, UK.
3. A metaphor for life
But like life, there must be bumps along the way….She’s 27 feet long which makes this a pretty big low loader! (A small problem with the air suspension – a distant memory!)
So, what’s all this about living riveted?! Well, as you can see – there are a lot of rivets holding an Airstream together & a lot of adventure to be had with them! But it’s more than that. Living riveted is a movement kicked off by the factory. This is how they describe it:
“This is a movement, but it’s a movement you may already be a part of. If you’re a member of the Airstream community, you live riveted. If you go for a hike in the woods, you live riveted. If you get out and discover – nature, places, other people, yourself – you live riveted.
Dream. Travel. Explore. Live. These are the cornerstones, the rivets, upon which founder Wally Byam built Airstream and challenged us, “To strive endlessly to stir the venturesome spirit.” He encouraged all “to open a whole world of new experiences.”
New experiences and possibilities are everywhere. They are found in the opportunity to learn to play the guitar or write a memoir. In the opportunity to practice yoga on a mountaintop or take a hike with a loved one. They are found in the opportunity to make a change or keep going. And when we awaken our venturesome spirits, we come alive. We feel hopeful. Passionate. We not only feel inspired, but we want to inspire others. We’re engaged. Present.
Doing. Being. Seeing. Experiencing. Overcoming. Loving. Risking. Living riveted is about discovery. It’s the exploration not only of places and spaces, but also of people and ourselves. It’s the invitation to…Stop… and breathe.
It’s the drive to open a whole world of new experiences. It’s recognizing and believing that there is no wrong way. We may have no control over where we’re from, but we can decide where to go from there… and the action we take to get there is what creates a riveting life.
Dream. Travel. Explore. Live. Live Riveted”
We founded the MARCH based on a drive to enjoy all of the above & encourage others to get out there too. We own a cracking Airstream that has partnered us (& many others) on the adventures above. And now we find the product isnt just cool, but the company is too!
MARCH on & Live Riveted!
Plog 2 – 28 July 2013 – MARCHing out for a riveting summer!
With the UK heading in to another summer without sun we decided to hit the road anyway. 10 days MARCHing about in the UK, with the best riveted transport there is!
But before we headed off, we got in the mood by posting some cracking photos on our facebook – www.facebook.com/MARCHAdventureRacing – some of our own from previous ‘streaming adventures and some others kindly provided by the Head of Marketing for Airstream UK. Let’s check them out (we’ve included the original narrative from the FB posts too)!
(i) Here’s a great shot of Living Riveted – the drive to explore & discover whatever the conditions….Why the hat & puffa? It’s the middle of a Welsh winter & Camo has taken MARCH Mummy Nicola & 2 month old (!) mini MARCHer Master Finlay camping in St David’s – at the most western tip of Wales!
(ii) KAPOW! Get this….The head of PR for Airstream UK has seen our plog & commented on it!
And he’s sent us a bunch of cracking photos having just MARCHed to Morocco with a new 28ft Airstream & 15ft Range Rover!!! We’re going to feature them over the come days!
Here you see him parked outside the amazing (& appropriately) aluminium structure that is the Marques de Riscal, a Luxury Collection Hotel. Stunning photo by Matthew Howell.
(iii) SWEET! Here’s another great photo from Matthew Howell, passed to us by the Head of PR for Airstream UK following our Airstream plog
28 ft of Airstream passing a typical Berber village on the descent from Oukaimeden, Morocco!
After the shots above to get us ready to groove we hit the road! First stop was the the front drive of good friends Oliver and Helen in Ampthill, for their daughter Darcy’s christening. Easy camping when you’re next to a 3 bathroom house!
Then the real ‘streaming began. With running shoes packed and the hope of some epic MARCHes we buckled in for a riveting adventure! We cruised off to the Norfolk coastal town of Wells-Next-The-Sea. Here are the plogs:
(i) 2 American icons??! The Riveting Life continues. A 7 day Airstream & adventure running MARCH has just begun! Following a quick, ahem, refreshment stop we have arrived at Wells-Next-The-Sea, Norfolk, UK for 5 days of sand training on the awesome North Norfolk beaches – with our mighty Airstream as our MARCH mothership of course!
(ii) Here you see a Mummy MARCHer and some mini MARCHers (including a superMARCHer) enjoying a BBQ!
After a cracking 4 nights in Norfolk it was time to ‘stream south to a clifftop spot on the south coast, just outside Folkestone. We already had some awe inspiring beach runs in the bank but we were happy to be searching out a new area to explore. These shots were never posted to FB – so they get their creative airing now! If you fancy catching up on one of our MARCHes while we were there check out our plog here – http://www.marchadventureracing.com/battle-scars-faded-grandeur/
(i) Arrived happily and watching the sun set being the Silver Bullet!
(ii) Parked up for the night – mini-MARCHers happily asleep!
(iii) There is something about the doorway – or should I say hatch – of an Airstream. The shape, the feel. Waking up with the sense of stepping off on to a new planet. Here with a view of the English Channel!
(iv) There isn’t a bad line on an Airstream. From every angle she’s a beauty – riveted to perfection!
And there it was ! 10 days living a truly riveted life and MARCHing hard. There can be no better way to start your outdoor adventures than starting them in a Airstream!