Today marks the 105th birthday of the Ford Model T. It was on October 1, 1908 that the vehicle was introduced, and how we travel has never been the same since.
Between 1908 and 1927, Ford would build some 15 million Model T cars, making it the longest production run until the Volkswagen Beetle came along. The car was meant for ordinary people to be able to drive every day, and so they did.But it was not just for driving to work. As cars became more and more ubiquitous they paired with the American spirit of independence and adventure, and the road trip slowly worked its way into American culture. There was freedom in the open road, and Americans wanted to experience it first hand.
Cars became the symbol of travel and exploration.
In honor of the 105th birthday of the Model T, and the trips that it inspired, here is a selection of vintage posters, maps and images embracing the spirit of the open road.
There are many ways to road trip. The first is in a car, paired with dodgy motels along the highway. The second is more picturesque and for the outdoor lover, packing a tent in the trunk and pitching it at camp sites along the way. The third is a combination of the two, driving a vehicle that allows for mobile sleeping options. Some go for a motorhome, some a camping trailer, some a Winnebago and some a vintage Airstream.
But if you though that mobile camping vehicles had to be large and bulky, think again: you can now buy your very own Mini Camper. Thanks to the British subsidiary of BMW Group there is a new trio of cars, all in the Mini family, intended for the weekend warrior. A pop-up camper on one of the smallest cars out there? Yes. Hey, if your kayak fits in the back, even better.
Compared to a traditional RV or Airstream, it’s good for the budget. Depending on the size of an RV, you’ll get somewhere between 6-10 miles per gallon. Newer Airstreams will do slightly better, and even more so if you run them on diesel, but that’s nothing compared with a Mini. The new Mini Countryman All4 Camp is quoted at about 40 miles per gallon, and even if you’re driving it hard and getting half of that, you’re still well beyond the classic mobile camper options. And you can still make it your city car.
Will the new miniature sized camping vehicles win over the Airstream and combi van lovers? That remains to be seen. In the meantime, better start downsizing your camping gear.
The road trip: that iconic form of travel that lets us explore at a different pace. If you have ever crossed the country on four wheels, you know the role that gas stations play, both for keeping your vehicle going, and for strong black coffee and snacks. If you are lucky, there’s even a good diner attached. But as more and more people fly to complete their trips, is the iconic middle-of-nowhere gas station a thing of the past?
For today’s Photo of the Day Flickr user smallscreen gives us a great look at a piece of Americana, a ghost-like gas station in Chloride, Arizona, that’s reminiscent of a time where gas was 35 cents a gallon and people were cruising in old Chevrolets.
Do you have an interesting look into your travels? Add your photos to the Gadling Flickr pool to be chosen for the Photo of the Day feature.
The holiday season inevitably means congested roads and back-to-back traffic as Americans go about their holiday shopping, party hopping and trips home to family. But with the rising cost of gasoline, this hustle-and-bustle can come at a significant cost.
Why not try carpooling? According to this infographic from Carinsurance.org, just one day of carpooling can have an impact not just on your wallet, but also on the environment. Here are some highlights:
There are more than 250 million cars on the road in the United States, which is more than one per American adult.
The United States uses one-fifth of the world’s oil to fuel those cars.
Just 10 percent of Americans choose to carpool, saving a collected 85 million gallons of gasoline, avoiding 56,000 miles of traffic and saving $1.1 billion on gas and car costs per year.
For more carpooling facts, check out the full infographic after the jump.
Despite my awareness of sweatshops, I was shocked while flipping through the July issue of Marie Clare on a recent flight, when I came across an article entitled, “What’s Your Slavery Footprint?”
According to slaveryfootprint.org, (which is backed by the U.S. State Department), there are up to 27 million slaves worldwide, many of whom work in the mining and agriculture industries. The result? A lot of our everyday household goods, including shoes, cosmetics, and toiletries, raw materials for cars, and the seafood industry utilize slave labor.
Some of the worst offenders include China, parts of Southeast Asia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (definition: irony) and India. You can actually add up the “slave footprint” in your home by utilizing the website, or by downloading its “Free World” app, which also enables you to send letters of protest to major chain stores known to use products made with slave labor. You can also make donations to Slavery Footprint to help enslaved workers.
As Alison Kiehl Friedman, deputy director of the U.S. State Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, says in Marie Claire, “[businesses] should be transparent in their practices.” We all need to pick our battles when it comes to purchasing power, but it’s fascinating, as well as chilling, to find out just how much of what we own is made using forced labor. Knickknacks for thought.