American Adventure

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SINCE Columbus Discovered, or re-discovered, the American Continent there has been a continuous flow of people over the Atlantic, the rich making expensive return trips while the poor emigrated and .settled.

In the last few years air prices have been falling for group travel and finally this year individual travel has reached a point where London-New York on a Jumbo is cheaper than a scheduled return to the Spanish beaches.

The gap between Canadian and US Grands Prix gave a 10-day excuse to see what a motorist (a man who does not like to move more than a few yards from his car) could see of this vast country. To increase speed of movement and save waste of time the great American machine was put in gear. TWA flew us across the Atlantic, Eastern, United and National airlines interlocking services carried us from East to North, to West. to South. and back to the start with remarkable efficiency. At each airport a Ford car was laid on by Hertz Rent-a-Car and, using their Number One Club service, there was no watt and no fuss before driving out of the airport into the “Big Country” beyond.

The last requirement for the comfort of the traveller is a clean, airy room with a comfortable bed and well-fitted bathroom. also an Innkeeper who is interested in his or her client. With a trip which covered so much ground there was only one group which could provide this type of accommodation everywhere and that was Holiday Inns. With their instant booking Holidex system a traveller can know that at the end of a hectic day a room and welcome is waiting for him, and with around 2,000 hotels to pick from, he will never be far from where he wants to be.

Holiday Inns more than lived up to their reputation and on several occasions surpassed it, i.e.. the fish dishes at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco were better than the high-class restaurants that abound in the area. The old river steamboat in Las Vegas slots the Inn into the Neon Nightmare with great character, and the setting of the Inn on the sea edge in Key West is superb.

From Europe the gateway to the States is through New York. a City referred to by many as a concrete jungle and one that the visitor Will have difficulty liking. However, Manhattan Island is impressive and on a Clear day the view from the top of the Empire State Building is superb, to say the least. The picture taken looking

North along Fifth Avenue from over 1,000 feet. is filled by yellow taxis at street level and ugly air-conditioning units at roof -line level, The Ford LTD below is pictured by Lake Long in the Adirondacks in upper New York State. This area is at ItS best in the Autumn with the colours changing to bright reds and yellows and the whole setting Is very similar to the Lake District in England. . .

. . . . What a change San Francisco is from New York! After a flight from Buffalo to San Francisco International theyellow Capri was soon speeding into a clean, bright city. A city with an impressive skyline of clear cut buildings visible from the many hills that surround the down-town business area. The Capri below is perched on the edge of one of the steep descents (1 -in-4 not being unusual) that with the cross-roads give a switch-back effect wherever you drive. These roads have been used frequently in the last few years by film makers to produce car chase spectacles, such as “Bullitwith Steve McQueen yumping his way up and down the hits.

One dominating spectacle that must be seen is the Golden Gate suspension bridge which spans the entrance to the Bay. Most of the drivers in the six lanes of traffic which flow across at all hours have possibly never looked at it with the eyes of the visitor, who sees a majestic structure against the rugged hills and not a mundane utility linking points A and B.

The city has water on three sides which has advantages as well as disadvantages. To take the latter, first sea mists are not uncommon but the clarity of the air last September was fantastic for one of the advantages. the sea breeze had blown away all the industrial fumes prevelant on much of the Californian sea board. Next is the fresh sea food, and you don’t have to be a gourmet to appreciate the restaurants in the famous Fisherman’s Wharf area. Counters similar to those below are crowded with crabs, shrimps, etc., all of which are cooked and prepared in the open. This is only a brief glimpse at one of the most pleasant cities in the Western Hemisphere, which really needs two weeks to understand its character. However, a flight was waiting and the next stop was . . .

. . . Las Vegas, the Neon Nightmare in the Nevada desert. Top left one of the continuous 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, casinos attached to an hotel. The way this conventional Holiday Inn fits into the brightly lit background is near perfect. The lights from the Golden Nugget more than turn night into day as the light meter showed before this was taken. The two comparative scenes on the left show that the beauty of this desert city emerges at night. Most visitors sleep the days away in preparation for night-long sessions at the tables, or they are busy starting marriage after a ceremony at one of the 24-hour Marriage Churches, and are not interested in what lies outside the City limits. For those who are prepared to motor, the surrounding country has much to offer. Nearby is the vast Hoover Dam and a bit farther afield, Death Valley, hot and arid, with a beauty that is just waiting to be discovered. The road above points for 10 miles to the edge of the hills, beyond which is the waterless waste that was christened so aptly by the early pioneers. One of the occupants of the fringe of the Valley caught before he could slip away by the Nikkon F2 with a 185 mm. lens and Ektachrome X. The Las Vegas car, a huge Mercury Monterey station wagon, had very efficient air-conditioning and the outside temperature of around 110 F was easily bearable inside at a reasonable 70 F. .

. . . These Death Valley rock formations that rarely see water, almost glow in the hot dry air. The above shows part of the southern end of the Valley where the road and salt pans are well below sea level. The righthand picture is taken at the lowest point in the United States and half-way up the hill in the background is a board indicating where sea level is.

From Death Valley east back to Las Vegas and then south-east into Arizona for a look at another fantastic natural wonder. The Grand Canyon pictured right is the result of millions of years of erosion as the Colorado River has cut its way through the Arizona plateau. The Canyon rim from where the photograph is taken is 7,000 ft. above sea level while the river, which can be seen at the very bottom of the Canyon, is only at 2,000 ft. above sea level. For non-mountaineers this view and the many other viewpoints gives a better scene than climbing, say. Snowdon, which would be 1,500 ft. below the rim if dropped into the Canyon.

The depth of the Canyon, ranging over 5,000 ft., gives a very wide climatic range and for the intrepid non-motorist, mule trains leave regularly for the bottom ; from the temperate to the tropical desert climate at the bottom.

Travelling further east another gash in the ground is stumbled over and that is the Little Colorado Gorge, which, although only 2,000 to 3,000 ft. deep, is very much narrower and has completely sheer sides. Below, the car is parked near the edge of the 2,000-ft. drop while the otherside is only a stone’s throw away. It is difficult to believe that there could be more breath-taking scenery than the Grand Canyon but next month we will show photographs of an even more incredible scene which, by its size. scope and silence. must leave a deep impression on anyone who cares to visit it. . . .

RAC RALLY

DESPITE suffering from a heavy cold throughout the. event, Britain’s Roger Clark (left), driving a works Escort RS1600, was placed second overall behind team-mate Timo Mäkinen. In third place was the young Finn Markku Alen (above) who,

despite leaving the road tor five minutes in the early stages, fought back to set faster times than many more established stars. Holding second place for much of the event was the works BMW of Björn Waldegård (below tight), but an excursion into the trees on the penultimate stage dropped him down the top ten to seventh place, while Per-Inge Walfridsson driving a Volvo 142 (below left) took advantage of the final few stages to pull himself up into fourth overall. His handling of the big car on the loose surfaces was one of the features of the rally. Of the other foreign teams and cars entered, the sole remaining works Renault Alpine at the end of the rally was that of Jean-Pierre Nicolas (bottom left), his team-mate having retired with electrical failure, and the highest placed Opel Ascona was the privately entered car of Gunnar and Ingelöv Blomqvist, who finished sixth.

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