Greetings, good people.
We’ve been very busy over the winter, working on our world of automotive adventure. Curious as to what we’ve been up to? We’ve just published a full update over on our Pub2Pub Adventures website – you can read it here:
Greetings, good people.
We’ve been very busy over the winter, working on our world of automotive adventure. Curious as to what we’ve been up to? We’ve just published a full update over on our Pub2Pub Adventures website – you can read it here:
This is pretty exciting!
We’ve teamed up with fellow TVR owner and automotive illustrator Mark Lacey to get Pub2Pub’s merchandise side rolling, by bringing the first of a range of fine art TVR designs to market. Our goal with this first tee was to celebrate the incredible reliability the TVR achieved in its 27,000 mile world tour, and we came up with the ‘TVR = Total Vehicle Reliability’ slogan to do this. Mark is an incredibly talented illustrator, and we think the results speak for themselves. And by teaming up with Mark, we’re taking Pub2Pub’s future merchandising in a direction which we feel is where we want to be – working with fellow enthusiasts to produce top-quality stuff for the wider petrolhead community.
You can get the new Tee in time for Christmas by clicking here…
Well, that’s one small step for a web designer, one giant leap for Pub2Pub-kind…
Yep, earlier today, the Pub2Pub Adventures website went live, offering online signup to the 2019 Eagle Rally, and other trips. Over the coming months, we’re going to be expanding the website to become a one-stop-shop for all things awesome in the world of road tripping, so feel free to check back over the coming months as we add in additional features and content, including the Pub2Pub merchandise range, and additional trips.
So, without any further ado, here’s the link:
Earlier this month, 14 fine cars and their gallant crews completed the first-ever Pub2Pub Adventures’ Eagle Rally. And you know what? It was an absolute blast. Such a blast, you need it in your life. So, here are five reasons why you should join the 2019 rally…
It’s quite something, being part of it. The noise as everyone drops a cog in the tunnels. The rush as the cars are unleashed on the autobahn for the first time. The hypnotic view of a dozen dream cars, sweeping left and right, up and down, as they reel in horizon after horizon. The banter on the CB radios as everyone pushes on, sharing the moment. And the way it totally dominates every place it stops. Yep, the Eagle Rally convoy is quite a sight…
It’s the tarmac beneath your wheels which defines a drive, and this drive has it all. Stacked hairpins teetering on the edge of the Alps. Open Autobahns just awaiting your stretched right foot. Sweeping, well sighted ribbons of rural tarmac. All served up with just the right balance, that every mile is a pleasure.
The purpose of the convoy is to move. But when it stops, that’s when some of the really interesting stuff happens. Think the Porsche Museum, in Stuttgart, and the glorious vistas of Lake Constance and the Alps. Think the Unesco protected city of Trier, or the fascinating, preserved steelworks of Volklingen. Think a museum with a concorde and a Soviet ‘Concordski’ on the roof, and Europe’s largest collection of F1 cars inside. Think a cable-car trip up a mountain for a morning beer in the legendary ‘Wank-Haus’, nights out hunting Steiners in Bavarian towns, and the incomparable Neuschwanstein Castle. And think back to the rally’s launch event at Gatton Manor, starring the new TVR Griffith. Yep, this is one road trip which isn’t just about the driving.
In southern Germany, where the rolling hills of Bavaria give way to the foothills of the Alps, there is a mountain six thousand feet high. On the summit of the mountain, there is a bar. To reach the bar, you must first negotiate the steepest road in Germany. From the top of this road, a tunnel takes you deep into the mountain, where brass elevator awaits. Powered by a U-boat engine, this elevator lifts you 400 feet through the heart of the mountain, to one of the most dramatic bars in all of Europe: the legendary Kehlsteinhaus. Better known as The Eagle’s Nest, this heady destination was first built as a fiftieth birthday present to none other than Adolf Hitler. Its marble fireplace was a gift from Mussolini, its walls eluded the bombs of the RAF’s Dambusters, and its slopes were finally stormed by the US 101st airborne division. It’s not only a spectacular spot to enjoy a beer. It’s a place of history.
What a place to drive to!
While all of the above – the driving, the sights, the whole journey, in fact – are what the Eagle Rally is, what really defines it is the camaraderie. The coming together as strangers, taking on the challenge of driving to Hitler’s beer garden, and the friendships which are forged and jokes shared through the challenge. That’s what makes the Eagle Rally truly special, and why you need it in your life.
You can read more about the 2019 rally here. Sign-up opens on Sunday 21st October, so hopefully we’ll be seeing you on the road soon…
Last week, Pub2Pub Adventure’s inaugural event took place – a 14-car convoy from England to the Eagle’s Nest, in deepest Bavaria. As our first ever organised event, the learning curve was steep and the challenges big, but we’re delighted to announce that all 14 cars made it to Bavaria and back, and their plucky crews all returned to the UK with smiles on their faces, and memories which will last a lifetime.
So, what memories are these in particular? Well, obviously every participant takes something different from a trip like this, so each person’s favourite moments will likely differ. However, here’s our list of what we consider to be the top ten Eagle Rally memories, in no particular order:
Every story needs a beginning. While the Eagle Rally story could be considered to have begun years before when we were wondering how to follow up the Pub2Pub Expedition, the rally’s ‘real-life’ beginnings happened on a sunny Saturday at Neil Garner’s yearly open day. Around 100 TVRs were present, with many other fine machines also making the trip to bask in the last of the summer sun, making for quite an impressive event.
And in the midst of that event, at 11:30am, the organisers waved a union jack and our convoy surged out onto the roads, V8s roaring and straight-6s singing. We were underway, with the Eagle’s Nest in our sights…
2) The first-ever Pub2Pub drive-in, at Gatton Manor, Surrey
This was quite a coup – Pub2Pub had never organised a drive-in before, and we’d decided to aim big with this one. Think around 50 cars, a manor house, buffet lunch, and even an appearance from the new TVR Griffith, and much of TVR Engineering’s top brass. As the first pit-stop on the trip, it was definitely a special moment. Stickers were applied to the cars, beers distributed, impressive metal admired, and the last of the summer sun soaked up, before the evening dash to the ferryport.
3) Lunch with the Belgian TVR Car Club
One of the great things about both Pub2Pub, and the TVR brand, is that they bring people together. Over the past year, as we’ve watched Pub2Pub grow, and become ever more intertwined with TVR, doors have opened to friendships and experiences which we couldn’t have otherwise made happen. Sunday lunch near Brussels, which was organised for us by the good folk from the Belgian TVR Car Club, was a case in point. The carpark dazzled, the food was great, the air filled with talk of motors and adventure. And after lunch, we entertained all those present with a talk on the adventure which had started this whole affair – the Pub2Pub Expedition.
Predictably, we were running late as we hit the road for the afternoon’s drive, but it was worth it for the shared experience with like-minded enthusiasts.
4) Convoying along the snaking tarmac of Luxembourg and the Ardennes
After the ironed-smooth landscapes of northern Belgium, the first ripples on the horizon which marked our entry into the Ardennes were most welcome. The roads responded to the intrusion, sweeping left and right in deference to the terrain, plunging along river valleys, and sometimes hairpinning their way uphill from village to village. This part of the world is relatively unsung when it comes to driving roads, but rest assured, the lack of hype didn’t equate to a lack of quality – the smooth tarmac spoke for itself.
5) Taking in the ‘Technik’ museums of Sinsheim and Speyer
When you rock up to a museum and it has both a Concorde, and a Soviet TU-144 ‘Concordski’ strapped to the roof, you know you’re in for something special. And when you hear that the sister museum just up the road has a Soviet ‘Buran’ space Shuttle and a U-boat, you have a decent afternoon in the making. And those headline-grabbers are just the tip of the iceberg of what Monday on the rally offered. Between them, the museums also housed Europe’s larges collection of F1 cars, the Blue Steel land speed record car, 27 locomotives, an iMax cinema, 50 more aircraft, and a load more classic cars, tanks, motorbikes and other engineering goodies. Not a bad day, if you’re into that sort of thing…
6) Bantering our way through the Porsche Museum, Stuttgart
Take a feisty bunch of TVR owners, mix in a few folk more partial to pork, and take them to that lodestar of German engineering – the Porsche Museum, in Stuttgart. What could possibly go wrong? As it happens, nothing. The banter and joking flowed freely as we wandered the clinical halls of Porsche’s past, and the art and engineering on display was enjoyed by all – even if a significant proportion of the group were loathe to admit it at the time.
7) Driving the glorious 280 mile Alpenstrasse, in southern Germany
This 280-mile sweep of tarmac stretches from the shores of Lake Constance almost all the way to the Eagle’s Nest. And it packs a lot into its miles – lush alpine meadows, snow-clad mountains, dense forests, chocolate-box villages and glorious lakeshores. We spent two days traversing the road in its entirety, always on perfect twisting tarmac, generally without much in the way of other traffic, and often with a hangover.
And as ways to spend a few days go, driving this route in a charismatic sports car isn’t easy to top.
8) Savouring a morning beer in the ‘Wank-Haus’
Halfway along the Alpenstrasse, there is a mountain over a mile high. A cable car takes you to the summit, where a restaurant awaits, ready to trigger the titillation of any less-than-mature English speaker. For this is Mount Wank, and the restaurant, which commands stunning views across an alpine vista, is the legendary ‘Wank-Haus’.
Just occasionally, maturity is overrated. This was one of those occasions…
9) Achieving our goal upon the heights of the Eagle’s Nest
We’d driven for 1,300 miles since leaving our starting point in England. We’d covered many hundreds of miles of twisty roads, visited 6 different countries, partied the nights away with glorious determination, created friendships and memories and finally, after 6 days on the road, we’d reached our goal. Hitler’s mountain stronghold, on a rocky summit which towers over deepest Bavaria.
They say that beer tastes best when it’s been earned, and by that measure, this was one of the best beers we’ll ever have, because of everything we’d achieved in the journey to the bar which served it.
10) The infamous ‘Service Station Party’, near Wurzberg, Germany
When it comes to adventures, there’s a saying which goes something along the lines of ‘if nothing goes wrong, then everything has gone wrong’. And given that this first running of the Eagle Rally represented our first step on the steep learning curve of organised road trips, it’s inevitable that something wouldn’t go quite according to plan. However, often, it’s these accidental moments which form the gloriously random memories which stay with you for long afterward.
For us, everything seemed to go wrong around the hotel we booked near Wurzburg, on the drive home. On paper, it seemed an ideal choice – a well rated place with clean rooms, a restaurant and a bar, in which to break up the long haul home. In reality, the restaurant and bar turned out to not exist, forcing us to down a few beers in the neighbouring service station – not exactly what we’d planned, but fortunately we had such a fun group of people on the trip, that the sheer comic randomness of the evening will live on in the annals of the Eagle Rally for years to come.
Oh, and no, we’re not planning on laying on a similar experience for the 2019 rally…
So there you have it. It’s not been easy to cut down such an intense week into only ten stand-out moments, and many of our ralliers’ experiences have had to be left out – exploring the historic town of Trier, lapping the Nürburgring, the fantastic driving roads of the Mosel Valley, the Unesco-protected ironworks of Volklingen, that night out in Oberau, grabbing lunch in the gorgeous town of Cochem, Driving the ‘Panorama Strasse’, having the entire convoy pulled over by Bavaria’s police, pummelling tunnels with the sound of a dozen sports exhausts…. and most of all, coming together on the trip as strangers, and leaving as firm friends.
Yep, it was quite the week…
Sign-up to the 2019 Eagle Rally will open later in October – if you’re tempted, watch this space.
With approximately ten weeks remaining until the Eagle Rally pummels mainland Europe with the glorious soundtrack of a dozen exhausts roaring in unison, we figured it’s high time we put out an update on the forthcoming trip. So, with a deep breath, here we go… shortly. First, I’m going to give you an update on the Pub2Pub project in general, as it’s now three months since Kermit’s little drive came to an end, and I’d hate for you to all assume we’ve just been sat in the pub boring people to death with the story of that time I drove to a crap bar in rural Chile…
Ironically, boring people to death with the story isn’t far from the mark, because as you may have noticed, much of those three months has been taken up with writing and spreading the Pub2Pub word far and wide. We’ve had features appear in many places, from Octane Magazine to Sprint, from Top Gear to Petrolicious, from Pistonheads to Norwegian glossy magazine Finansavisen Premium. The writing commitments are continuing to roll in, and you can expect to see the Pub2Pub Expedition featuring in a variety of further media over the coming months, including glossy magazines, podcasts and YouTube channels. So as you can see, the expedition’s PR workload remains as heavy as ever, and that’s even before you consider that we’ve signed a book deal with leading automotive publisher Veloce Publishing, with the fruits of this mildly intimidating undertaking due in 2019.
In total, the expedition has now generated well over 100 articles and features in the press since we reached the southernmost pub, meaning we’ve been averaging a feature a day, and thanks to content in such high-profile places as the BBC, Daily Mail, Jalopnik and the Mirror, the expedition’s ‘TVR = reliable’ message has now been read by tens of millions of people around the globe. We’ve also shown Kermit to the world at a wide range of events from Bicester Heritage to the pre-race driver’s parade at Le Mans – not bad for a little jaunt across a few continents in an old piece of fibreglass, hey?
But that’s not all! We’ve attracted support from a range of businesses for our ongoing adventures, most notably Classicline Insurance, who are Pub2Pub’s official insurance partners. We’ve teamed up with Dartmoor Brewery to launch the rather thirst-quenching ‘Pub2Pub Expedition IPA’, and we’ve not forgotten Kermit either, with the mighty steed receiving a lot of TLC from Racing Green TVR and TVR-Parts Ltd, and a fancy new cherrybomb exhaust courtesy of ACT performance, meaning it’s running – and sounding – better than ever.
If you’re still awake, you might be wondering what else we’ve been up to here at Pub2Pub HQ? Well, even ignoring the writing and the other PR stuff, we’ve been busy, that’s for sure. Firstly, we’ve put together a full business plan for this ‘ere venture, which should see us hopefully going from zero to world domination quicker than the original Griffith did in the early ‘90s. This business plan encompasses everything from trips like the Eagle Rally to merchandising and even track days under the ‘Pub2Pub Racing’ banner, so expect to see much more of the brand in the future.
And speaking of the brand, we’re now registered as a genuine limited company, we’ve registered the associated web addresses, and will be bringing you the full, all new Pub2Pub Adventures website in a few weeks time. We’re also currently working on the initial merchandise range, and will be revealing the results of this work through the new website shortly.
So… if you’ve been wondering how planning for the Eagle Rally has been progressing, sorry about the silence, but as you can see we’ve had quite a backlog of things to get done before we’ve been able to go full steam ahead on the planning. However, don’t for a minute assume that nothing has been done – far from it. For any trip like this, much of the initial work is research, and we’ve spent many long days pouring over maps, books and Google researching potential routes in obsessive detail, much like we did for the Pub2Pub Expedition – except this time, we’re hoping to produce a European route-plan with a substantially larger serving of awesome.
‘But how?’, I hear you ask. Simple – knowledge is king. So we’re currently becoming experts on a variety of European subjects, such as the driving roads of southern Belgium, the breweries of Bavaria and the petrolhead culture of the Stuttgart area. And so far, our research has turned up everything from Europe’s largest collection of F1 cars to a Soviet ‘Buran’ Space Shuttle, from a potential visit to Red Bull’s ‘Hangar 7’ toy box to a splendidly named bar in Bavaria called the ‘Wank-Haus’. In fact, our research is turning up so much good stuff that it’s going to be more a question of what to leave out of the itinerary, rather than how to fill it.
We already have a provisional route drawn out in all its glory, which we’re slowly filling in with outstanding memories at every turn, and 12 cars currently participating in this inaugural running. Fancy joining the action? You’ll have to be quick, as entry to this Autumn’s Eagle Rally closes at the end of July. If you’re interested, drop us an email at bencoombs998(at)gmail.com, and I’ll get you onboard.
There, I think that just about covers where we are right now – hopefully we’ll be seeing you on the road soon enough…
It’s now almost four weeks since the Pub2Pub expedition’s mighty Chimaera rolled across the finish line on Dartmoor, its 27,000 mile trip across the globe complete. And I can tell you, it’s a strange feeling, readjusting to the ‘real world’.
For the first time in eight months, home is a house, rather than an abstract memory from what feels like a previous life. The daily routine no longer involves driving long distances across unknown lands, researching road conditions, negotiating red tape and bureaucracy, and willing the car not to break down. To move from that life to the grounded existence of normality is a jarring change, even if it’s not an altogether unwelcome one, for eight months away makes even the simplest of home comforts a thing to savour.
But life hasn’t completely returned to normal. The existence I’ve returned to is a far cry from the one I left behind last July. In short, Pub2Pub has changed my world. Such is the level of publicity the expedition has achieved, that I seemingly can’t drive the TVR anywhere without it being recognised. Despite being the scruffiest TVR in the land, it’s received rounds of applause from passing vans on the M6, invites to car shows across the country and the attention of countless camera-phones. Even now, seldom a few days go by when the trip doesn’t feature in the media somewhere, adding to the 100+ articles which have already reached a global audience in the tens of millions, everywhere from Das Spiegel to the Hindustan Times. And this is all lending a slightly surreal tint to life at the moment. Effectively, my return to a daily routine is anything but routine…
In what way?
Well, Pub2Pub has opened doors to some incredible opportunities. Earlier this week, I signed the contract to produce the expedition book. Requests for written content for magazines and websites continue to pour in, while tomorrow will see the launch of ‘Pub2Pub Expedition IPA’ – a beer inspired by the journey. Public speaking engagements are beginning to appear, and a series of high profile appearances are falling into place. How high profile? Well as an example, you can’t really beat an invite to the Le Mans 24hr race, by TVR themselves. And finally, even though the expedition may be over, sponsorship continues to roll in for Kermit’s future adventures, from everyone from Classicline Insurance to TVR-Parts.
So what are these future adventures?
Well, there are plenty in the pipeline! As well as meeting all the above commitments, you may be aware that so many people have been inspired by our trip, that I’ve been working on the launch of ‘Pub2Pub Adventures’ – dedicated to bringing Pub2Pub-style adventuring to everyone.
We’re kicking this off in the autumn with the Eagle Rally; an event which has caused quite a stir among those who’ve been following Pub2Pub’s progress across the globe in recent months. And to get Pub2Pub Adventures off to a flying start, we’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign to make it easy for people to get involved.
Ultimately, this crowdfunder will enable us to run a range of events across the globe, which combine elegance and eccentricity in the glorious fashion we pioneered with the Pub2Pub Expedition. We’ll be backing these journeys up with a range of merchandise and other UK-based events which mean that Pub2Pub should be able to offer something back to everyone who’s followed the journey so far.
Because trust us, crossing the finish line 4 weeks ago wasn’t the end of the Pub2Pub story. It was just the beginning…
To read more about the Eagle Rally, click here
To visit our crowdfunding campaign, click here
With over a decade of mildly preposterous road tripping behind us, encompassing around 90,000 miles across 80 different countries, there are bound to be a few stand-out moments. Moments which make you smile every time you recall them. I’m sure you already know about the highs of the recently completed Pub2Pub Expedition, but we have plenty of cherished memories from the trips which went before; the trips which inspired Pub2Pub. We’ve whittled the list down to ten – here they are:
10 – Rolling into Marrakesh, in the ‘Marrakesh Express’
‘I believe that Marrakech ought to be earned as a destination. The journey is the preparation for the experience. Reaching it too fast derides it, makes it a little less easy to understand.’ – Tahir Shah
It was dusk, but the dry air still had a velvety warmth about it, and was filled with the intrigue of a great city. Dust wandered on the breeze, mingling with the smell of roasting kebabs and the soft sounds sound of an earlier age, drifting across from the nearby Jemel el Fna. I stood next to my Classic Rover P6, heat billowing from its engine bay as its exhaust ticked contentedly, as it always did at the end of a long day on the road.
We’d left the UK ten days previously, and travelled 1,500 miles to reach Marrakesh. En-route the Rover had taken us across the High Atlas mountains to the fringes of the Sahara, through the Todra Gorge and the imperial city of Fez, and even to the Kasbah-town of Ait Benhaddou. It had taken all this in its stride, and carried us to the most evocative Saharan town of them all. Marrakesh. As the soft light faded to black and the temperature dropped to comfortable, Marrakesh came alive around us. It was certainly a moment to cherish. And the best bit was, we’d earned it.
9 – Being miles from shore on the frozen Baltic Sea in a classic Jaguar
‘The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.’ – Eleanor Roosevelt
Our Jaguar XJ6 purred along the smooth surface, with only the smallest of vibrations from the unusual surface beneath its wheels making themselves felt. Several miles behind us, mainland Europe had receded to the horizon; ahead we could just about make out the island of Vormsi in the distance. To our left, a ferry plied its trade through a passage in the ice, and beneath our wheels, 25cm of frozen ice was all that separated us and out 2 tonnes of Jag from the icy waters of the Baltic.
Surreal doesn’t begin to describe the sensation…
8 – A dream 7 years in the making – reaching Saigon at the end of the V8Nam Expedition
‘The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.’ – Christopher McCandless
We looked out across the city – one of the great cities – from the 23rd floor of the skyscraper. Saigon bustled all around us and stretched away into the distance, until it merged with the spectacular monsoon sunset to our west, where we’d came from. Seven years previously the idea had formed. A simple idea; V8Nam. Get a couple of cars with V8 engines, and drive them from England to Vietnam. And we’d just done it. In the previous eight weeks and 12,000 miles we’d travelled half the world. We’d crossed mountains and deserts, forded rivers and red tape, and refused to believe there was any chance we wouldn’t make the finish. And at that moment, on the 23rd floor of the Saigon Sheraton, as we chinked mojitos against the sunset, all the stresses, trials and hardships of the previous 12,000 miles faded to nothing. At that moment, we realised we’d done it.
7 – Summiting El Naranjo, a 2,500m mountain in Spain, after driving there from England in a 1974 Mini
‘Because it’s there.’ – George Mallory
We perched on the summit of El Naranjo des Bulnes – the Matterhorn of the Iberian Peninsula – as a cloud inversion rolled in from the Bay of Biscay, flooding the valleys of the Picos de Europa and turning the mountain summits into islands in the sky. We were exhausted. We’d taken far too little food and drink for the arduous 350m rock-climb to the summit, and were dangerously dehydrated. We still hadn’t recovered from the 1,500 mile drive from the UK, cooped up in a 35 year old mini. And we still had to get back down of the mountain alive, and navigate through the cloud back to the refuge. But as we gazed out across the spectacular mountainscape which rose from the clouds, none of this mattered. That single moment in time, shared between friends, was all that mattered.
6 – Escaping the fuel shortages and Maoist strife of Nepal during the Rickshaw Run
‘One thing I love about travel is feeling disorientated and removed from my comfort zone.’ – Sarah Glidden
For the previous four days, our fate had been in he hands of Nepal’s Maoist rebels. We’d had to talk our way through their road blocks, swerve our humble rickshaw past their barracades of burning tyres and try to ignore their nervousness as they fingered the triggers of their automatic weapons. We’d been stranded in Kathmandu by their fuel blockade and forced to drive through the night to reach the Indian border before they closed it. Through the darkness, rural Nepal had flickered past our flimsy steed, as clouds of gangly insects made for our headlight. And then, with daybreak, there came the border, and the moment we’d been waiting for. The sound of a stamp impacting a passport. We were back in India.
5 – Regaining tarmac after days spent cycling across Iceland’s unforgiving interior during the Credit Crunch Roadtrip
‘Never stop just because you feel defeated. The journey to the other side is attainable only after great suffering.’ – Santosh Kalwar
It was a line across the road. Behind it, to our side, was gravel. But beyond the line, which took the form of a small ridge, lay tarmac. Smooth tarmac, which signalled the end of our cycle ride across Iceland’s barren, uninhabited interior. Ahead lay an easy 100-or-so miles to journey’s end at Reykjavik. Behind us, we had put 750 miles of bad weather, sore legs and tested willpower. We knew then it was in the bag. We’d done it.
4 – Gatecrashing a party just after arriving in Brazil
‘You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.’ – Henry David Thoreau
Brummy and I chinked our Antarctica beers and took in our surroundings. Music pumped out from behind the bar, while climbing videos rolled on the wall-mounted projector screen. The room was filled with Rio de Janeiro’s hip young things, partying the night away. 48 hours previously, we’d been sat in our local Dartmoor pub, unsure what to do with our week off work. A snap decision, a toss of a coin, and there we were, gatecrashing the party in Brazil.
Just occasionally, life is awesome. That was one of those moments.
3 – Driving off the ferry at Calais, at the start of the Mongol Rally
‘There is your car and the open road, the fabled lure of random adventure. You stand at the verge, and you could become anything. Your future shifts and warps with your smallest step, your shitty little whims. The man you will become is at your mercy.’ – Dan Chaon
Daylight flooded the car deck as the ferry doors opened. I sat in my classic Mini, anticipating the long road ahead. Around us on the ferry, other teams were waiting to race off the ferry and attack the long drive to Mongolia. One of the cars started beeping its horn impatiently. Other rally cars joined in. Engines were revved, and the car deck echoed to the sounds of several dozen rally cars signalling their enthusiasm for the adventure which lay ahead. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up as the noise grew louder, and the imminent adventure became real. I’d never done anything like an adventurous road trip before, and I had no idea where the experience would lead me. The future had arrived, and I knew life would never be the same again.
2 – Glimpsing the Northern Lights, having driven all the way to the Arctic in a Fiat 126
‘We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.’ – Jawaharlal Nehru
For a week, 3 of us had been crammed into the rickety, drafty Fiat 126, heading for the Arctic. We’d been chilled to the bone, nearly died in an icy fjord, and broken down more times than we could remember. We’d seen in the New Year in Trondheim and crossed the Arctic Circle beneath the charcoal grey night sky, and had given up hope of seeing the northern lights, but carried on pushing north anyway. And as we did, the clouds parted to reveal a great starscape. And then an emerald curtain draped itself across the sky, as nature decided we’d earned the right to experience its most stirring theatrical display.
We’d driven to the arctic, and been rewarded with an aurora – what a memory!
1 – A moment in southern Africa, during the AfricanPorsche Expedition
‘I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.’ – Mark Twain
And so we come to the most memorable road trip moment since we started undertaking these preposterous journeys a decade ago. The only problem is, if I announce it here, I’ll give away the end of ‘Survival of the Quickest’ – the book about the African Porsche Expedition. But here’s a clue – it’s on page 386 of the book, and takes place in Southern Africa…
To read the full story of the African Porsche Expedition, get a copy of ‘Survival of the Quickest’, the expedition book, available on Amazon.
Having left Dartmoor a week ago, we’re currently 2,750 miles down the road, at Tromso, Norway, from where we’ll be flying to Svalbard – and the world’s northernmost bar – soon. A lot has happened in the intervening week – for further details on our adventures so far, check out our live tracking on the website, or head over to www.facebook.com/pub2pubexpedition to stay up to speed with developments on the Pub2Pub Expedition as they happen…
Pub2Pub got underway yesterday, with a convoy across Dartmoor, organised by the TVR Car Club:
For regular updates, your best bet is to follow our Facebook page, at http://www.facebook.com/pub2pubexpedition – enjoy!