If you’re looking for an excuse to go to Mexico City, there are plenty. Although there are no beaches around for hundreds of miles, North American’s largest metropolis claims to have more museums than any other city in the world. The region is renowned for amazing food and I proved that, eating more tacos than I should probably admit.
Distrito Federal is also a goldmine for architecture lovers, highlighted by art deco apartment buildings, and intriguing 20th century landmarks like Torre Latinoamericano, Museo Nacional de Antropologia and the art nouveau Palacio de Bellas Artes.
But the sprawling city is also home to a piece of automotive history that is slowly fading away – Mexico’s beloved vocho, the Volkswagen Beetle. Continue reading “Volkswagen Beetles in Mexico City – the last of the beloved vocho”
Ever since building my ’67 Volvo Amazon for the Canada 5000 rally-inspired road trip last year, I’ve been itching to get it into a proper TSD to see how it performs. When Tom Chichak asked if I wanted to compete in the Edmonton Rally Club’s Northern Loon Rally with him, I couldn’t pass up the chance.
As is always the case when I enter any type of motorsports event, the car preparations went on right up until the last minute. The biggest challenge was getting a working odometer in the car and I left that in Tom’s capable hands. After trying unsuccessfully once again to get my TerraTrip working, he moved on to installing an Alfa Pro. After some last-minute calibrations, he got it working beautifully on the Friday night before the Saturday event. Continue reading “Mud, rain, hail and a torrent of fun: Northern Loon Rally recap”
Many people have driven across Canada, including several who did it long before Edward McCourt set out for his journey from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Victoria, B.C. But nobody has ever chronicled their trip in such a beautiful fashion as McCourt did in The Road Across Canada.
Full disclosure: this book was published in 1965, so it’s more than 50 years old and has been out of print for decades. But there’s still plenty of copies floating around. I found an ex-library copy for about $5 on AbeBooks.com.
McCourt made the trek with his wife in 1962, the same year the Trans-Canada Highway was officially opened, although it was far from being completed at that point. The book is broken down into chapters on each Canadian province that McCourt drove through. Along the way, he masterfully intertwines relevant tales of Canadian history to the regions he is passing through. Canadian history can be a bit dull, but McCourt finds a way to make the tales interesting and engaging. Having driven many of the same routes over the years, I am quite familiar with the towns and cities he visits. He paints each stop wonderfully and with great accuracy, which isn’t always flattering. Continue reading “Book Review: The Road Across Canada by Edward McCourt”
By Dave S. Clark
My father-in-law, Carlo Marrazzo, proudly displays his crash helmet in his living room. It’s the helmet he wore in the late 1970s, when he raced a Volvo 142 at Speedway Park in Edmonton, Alberta. While he still has his helmet, the car he raced and the track he raced at are long gone. For more than three decades Speedway Park has just been a memory, long since bulldozed to become a cookie-cutter residential development.
I had seen several black and white photos of the car, since Carlo was an aspiring photographer during his racing years. But he sold the 142 decades ago and lost track of it after leaving the racing scene. Then one weekend a couple of years ago, while Carlo helping me swap a new engine into one of my cars, we got talking about memories of his Volvo racing adventures. It got me wondering if the car was still out there somewhere. Continue reading “Long lost Volvo: Tracking down my father-in-law’s old race car”
Dave S. Clark
For me, travelling has always been a slow process of pushing my personal boundaries. Growing up, I travelled Canada, where I knew the culture and the language and felt pretty much at home. Then I made the jump to Europe and the Caribbean, then to Asia and Africa, pushing myself to explore regions that were much different than back home. I began to discover things I loved, which gave me the urge to explore them in more depth. For example, I loved the Moorish architecture of the Hotel Sevilla in Havana, which we stayed in a couple of times. That prompted a trip to the Andalusia region of Spain. That spawned the idea of a trip to Morocco.
When travelling, I’ve always tried to find great hikes, whether it was partway up the side of a mountain to Second World War-era pillboxes in Oahu or along an unrestored section of China’s Great Wall. One thing that I’ve always wanted to do was hike to the top of a mountain. The challenge was I only wanted to hike, not climb. Actually climbing things and using my arms and legs in unison to ascend a chunk of rock is still terrifying to me. I’ll hopefully get there one day, but I like to take baby steps. Continue reading “Alberta Adventure: Pushing personal boundaries to hike Jasper’s Sulphur Skyline”
By Dave S. Clark
When it comes to winter in Canada, there are two options. You can stay inside and hibernate for four to six months, only appearing to go to work or to get groceries, or you can bundle up, embrace the weather for what it is and enjoy the great opportunities the northern wintery world has to offer.
Usually, I do a little of both – hunkering down and staying indoors when the mercury drops really low, and lacing up the skates for the outdoor rink or going for the occasional snowboarding trip when the weather is bearable.
As an Edmontonian, I’m lucky to have an incredible winter escape in Jasper, which is just four hours west. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Jasper is a blessing in both the summer and winter for those with the outdoorsy or adventurous spirit.
If you plan on heading to Jasper in the winter, there probably isn’t a better time to do it than Jasper in January, an annual festival full of activities, which is celebrating its 27th year in 2016. I’ve lived in Edmonton for almost all of those 27 years, yet had never experienced the festival until this year. Continue reading “Alberta Adventure: Jasper in January is the perfect winter escape”
There are many destinations that have a bad reputation or stigma that they can’t seem to shake. These places get slammed by the travel media, bloggers and tourists who can’t get past the outdated, inaccurate or superficial criticisms. Not every destination is created equally, but I can always find qualities I like in every place that I visit. There have been many times when I’ve told people that I’m heading to a country, for example, Morocco, Bosnia or Cuba and people question why I would ever go there. They are dangerous, war zones or the food is terrible, they tell me.
Below is a collection of posts from travellers who have had positive experiences in destinations that have had a bad reputation over the years. One of them is about Istanbul and since this was written, the city has been a victim of a suicide bombing that killed 11 foreigners in Sultanahmet district. I visited Istanbul in 2014 and would do so again, despite the attack. So, while these stories are positive, remember that any place in the world has its own dangers and no traveller is immune to that. But with common sense and an open mind, most of the world can be experienced in safety.
– Dave S. Clark Continue reading “Breaking the stigma: Travel destinations that proved their bad reputations wrong”
By Dave S. Clark
It’s easy to travel anywhere in the world these days, with the ability to book anything online, an abundance of information on every possible destination and technology to keep in touch with everything that’s going on back home. But with long distance travel now so accessible, it’s so easy to forget about what’s going on in your own backyard.
For years, I have driven across two and a half provinces to swim, canoe and boat around my favourite lake, which is just a few kilometers, as the crow flies, from the Manitoba-Ontario border. Twenty minutes into that 15-hour drive, I’d pass through Elk Island National Park. I’d be driving around 110 km/h, trying to make good time, and, if it was early enough, I might see some bison. They’d flash by as large, dark blobs that I never gave much thought to.
It wasn’t until I was standing on the beach of Astotin Lake, as the sun set over the mirror-still water which was only broken by two canoeists, that I realized I had been speeding by a gem right in my own backyard. I could do nearly everything I was doing in Manitoba – canoeing, sailing, hiking and just breathing fresh air – without even having to drive half an hour from my house. Continue reading “Alberta Adventure: Exploring Elk Island National Park”
I’ve just launched the official TravelDriveRace store! Currently, I’m selling one pretty badass shirt that is based off the Volvo Amazon’s speedometer. The speedo has a pretty cool design… I just wish it was more accurate, or somewhere even close to being accurate. Oh well, it looks cool!
If you’d like one for yourself, please visit the official TDR store!
By Dave S. Clark
It can be painful, excruciatingly so, to find great roads to drive on through the prairies. The roads are long, flat, straight and beautiful in their own right, but they can be a bit boring if you want to go for a spirited drive. But it’s not all flat and boring. Sitting right on the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan and only a short hop from the Montana border is an ancient island rising up from the sea of surrounding plains – Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.
When I think of driving in Alberta and Saskatchewan, I think of telephone poles being the only thing that resemble trees and arrow straight roads, dotted on either side with cattle. Cypress definitely had the cattle, free roaming all over the park, but none of the roads were anything but straight. Continue reading “Alberta Adventure: Cypress Hills road trip – An island of amazing drives among a sea of prairies”