When we introduced the Fiesta World Tour 2010 on August 23, 2010, the group had just motored their way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. You can see their desert hood cooking and mock marriage antics by clicking here.
Since then, the Fiestas have been hard at work, carrying the group of bloggers and journalists through the American Southwest, into the heart of Dallas and on to Nashville. You don’t appreciate how big the U.S. is until you drive across it. By the time the expedition had reached the Music City, they had driven well over 2,000 miles, spent 13-hour days on the road, checked into numerous hotels well past 11 p.m. and been up most days by 7 a.m.
Here are some of the highlights from the first week on this 60-day journey around the world in the Ford Fiesta:
Eventually, after making our way down Highway 90, we were on the outskirts of Marfa. It’s here in a trailer park that we’d be spending the night – although El Cosmico, on the outskirts of Marfa isn’t your average trailer park. For a start, all the trailers are the vintage Airstream-style, glinting like flying saucers in the last of the sun’s rays, while tee pees are available if you’re seeking a distinctly more Old-World feel to your accommodation. All of our Airstreams are fitted out with a shipshape double bed, a single bunk, a cooker and fridge, a diminutive toilet and a little desk. Mine has a claw-footed bathtub on the deck outside.
San Marcos, Texas
We made it to San Marcos in plenty of time for a man called Scott Wade to do his thing. The urge to draw on a dirty car is almost irresistible. But most of us are content to scrawl ‘wash me’ and leave it at that. Not Scott Wade. This self-proclaimed ‘dirty car artist’ actually draws on cars professionally.
Wade is primarily a graphic artist – started doodling on cars some seven years ago when he lived “on a long dirt road where you just couldn’t wash your car every day”. What started as doodling turned into something of an obsession, and now Wade can spend hours at a time drawing the most intricate of artworks in dust.
We pitched up with the Fiestas to see what he could do. And, having dirtied the car sufficiently with a special blend of thick dust stuck on with oil, he got to work, scratching an outline with a whittled stick then filling in more detail with fine sable brushes. Just over an hour later, one car was adorned with the most intricate drawing of two Texas longhorn cattle, staring mournfully out at the world. It was fabulous.
At the new Dallas Cowboys stadium, which opened last year and has already hosted Chelsea FC, U2 and, of course, a few football games, you get both jocks and mosaics. As Phil Whitfield, the self-proclaimed ‘stadium ambassador’ and our tour guide today put it, “we wanted something more than a football stadium.” So as well as a state of the art Astroturf pitch, a retractable roof that closes in 12 minutes when it rains and a viewing screen hanging above the pitch that is seven stories high, there’s also 15 pieces of original art dotted around, swanky chandeliers in the shape of footballs and, of course, those mosaic walls (silver studs embedded in concrete, since you ask).
We were pretty wowed. Even more so when we had a look round the all-new field-level suites, a series of dugout-style party rooms where those rich enough to rent them can watch the game at eye level. For those not earning that sort of money, you can buy a standing room only ticket for a mere $29. And, as Whitfield puts it, “there are no bad seats”. Even the Ford Fiesta got a good view – we drove it into the stadium to take a few photos.
One thing’s for sure, however – America loves country. It’s fully made the crossover to the popular charts and now it sells, every week, for 52 weeks of the year. After visiting today, we’re even getting converted. So much so that we headed to the historic RCA Studio B, where such legends as Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison have recorded, to see if we couldn’t put down a track of our own.
After arriving at the studio, a mere 40 minutes later and we had a record – yours truly singing a rather deep-voiced version of Elvis’s Amazing Grace. And actually, it sounds pretty good – once they’d mixed in the lush backing track, that is.
It was a great experience. The studio, with its slightly peeling paint and air of faded glamor was where Elvis recorded for 13 years, including all his Grammy Award-winning songs. During the period 1957 to 1977 over 35,000 songs were recorded there, over 1,000 of which became top 10 American hits, which made it arguably the most successful studio in the world during that 20-year stretch. Although it was out of action for a while, in 1996 Studio B re-opened as a recording premises, and since then it has hosted the likes of Cliff Richard, Harry Connick Jr and Elvis Costello.
“It’s a pretty amazing place,” said Keith Ryan, national tourism sales manager for both the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville and the historic RAC Studio B. We had to agree. And we reckon our CD is a potential Grammy Award-winner too. But then, a week into the Ford Fiesta World Tour 2010, and you’ll forgive us our somewhat warped sense of judgment.
About Fiesta World Tour 2010
Between now and mid-October, Fiesta World Tour 2010 will cross the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Middle East, China, Southeast Asia and finally Australia. This is an epic around-the-world expedition to mark the launch of the Ford Fiesta in the U.S.
The expedition will cover more than 15,000 road miles on four continents and through 20 countries. It is an acknowledgment of the global nature of the Fiesta, which is sold all around the world and will celebrate its one-millionth sale in September 2010.
After finishing the American leg in New York city, the tour will cross the Atlantic to kick off the European leg, then through Asia and on to Australia.
To make the most of the Fiesta’s global presence, each leg of the expedition will use locally built cars – on the European leg, journalists will be piloting left-hand drive Fiestas built in Cologne, Germany. Those cars will travel with the expedition until it reaches China, where a new pair of Fiestas will replace them there and again in Thailand. The last swap will happen in Darwin, Australia.