If you’re an adventure travel buff, you’ll definitely want to know about an annual retreat called the Aether Rally.
A few weeks ago we headed south – to the heart of Yucca Valley – for this fun-filled, weekend-long celebration. Hosted by the upscale recreation apparel brand, Aether Apparel, this 3-day gathering this year was held in Pioneertown, California.
The Aether Rally
Just a stone’s throw away from Joshua Tree National Park, this picturesque setting was a fun backdrop for an exciting weekend of activities. Pioneertown is a rural town just 40-minutes away from sunny Palm Springs. Created in the 1940s to resemble an authentic western town, it’s been used (as a live set) by film companies and commercial productions for decades. It’s also home to a few must-see spots (including Pioneertown Motel and Pappy & Harriet’s), which are known for their “rugged charm and unique character”.
Since you’ll usually find me at glamorous events (like gourmet food & wine festivals), you might be wondering how I ended up in the middle of nowhere. Well, at times I need to satiate my adventurous side, so here’s the back story…
As my boyfriend is a motorcycle and outdoor enthusiast, he’s also a customer of the Aether brand and had attended an Aether Rally (held in a Paso Robles winery last year). He raved about enjoying interesting conversations, fun group activities, and a great BBQ dinner. Not to mention – he said that the location was an “epic spot” for the retreat. So, when he invited me along on this year’s trip, I was up for the adventure!
Aether prides itself on creating “technical outerwear with a clean modern aesthetic.” While they mostly focus on menswear, they have started venturing into women’s apparel too. As examples, their pieces have been spotted on popular style bloggers such as Blair Eadie (of Atlantic-Pacific) and Krystal Bick (of This Time Tomorrow).
With the vision of inspiring their customers to understand the #intotheAETHER motto, they created this annual weekend-long retreat, as a way to connect with their biggest fans while bringing together a community of upscale, recreational enthusiasts.
From complimentary breakfast by The Goods Mart and coffee by Verve Coffee to an on-site taco truck, BBQ dinner with Highland Hickory BBQ, DJ’d music and S’mores by the campfire, the event promised lots of fun activities and great food to nosh on. Not to mention – shopping in the AETHERStream.
After driving for hours through the desolate desert, we finally arrived at the bustling venue. The friendly Aether staff warmly welcomed us with a swag bag and a weekend itinerary. We were then guided toward our “glamping” Springbar tent (a pre-setup stand-up deluxe canvas tent that included comfortable padded cots, a dimmable lantern, and even a wooden crate for our belongings).
Throughout the weekend, Aether Apparel had planned a number of thrilling adventures for us.
From autocycle rides with Vanderhall and electric bike rides with CAKE and Vintage Electric, to off-roading adventures and a guided motorcycle ride through Joshua Tree – there was no shortage of fun activities to do. Plus, guests could go off-site for hikes and even horseback rides.
Plus, the social aspect was especially engaging, as everyone was friendly and outgoing. Not to mention – I met the most interesting people! From tech experts (like Tesla designers) to film producers (like Trina Turk’s go-to guy for fashion videos), the attendees at the event came from a variety of successful backgrounds, which led to riveting conversations and warm camaraderie.
Since we’re auto-enthusiasts, we took one of the Vanderhall autocycles (shown above) out for a spin.
While this distinctive line of autocycles (otherwise called “3-wheel motorcycles”) exudes a retro vibe, they’re nothing like your grandpa’s wheels. The top speed on these bad boys is 135 mph. Plus, they do 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds!
As Daniel Boyer (Director of Marketing for Utah-based Vanderhall Motor Works) explains, “Vanderhall Motor Works was founded by the innovator, Steve Hall. His passion for all things motorized led him to begin designing his vehicles. In 2015 he brought his first Vehicle to market and continues today to bring life and ingenuity it the motorsports realm. Vanderhall Motor Works delivers the feel of yesteryear with modern performance in a unique package. Vanderhall aims to remain timeless while appealing to the Sunday cruiser and aggressive canyon carving driver alike. Our roadsters accomplish this with style and presence that leaves driver and passenger alike yearning for their next outing.”
During the weekend, we test-drove the Vanderhall Venice (as shown above), and had a truly thrilling ride. As we barreled down a wide open road, taking in the majestic sights of the desert landscape, what added to the excitement (as we whooshed past groves of Joshua Trees) was the loud, roaring sound of the engine.
The irony is – when told us the history of the brand, they also mentioned that their newest vehicle is called Vanderhall Carmel (which of course, piqued our interest). Daniel explains that the “Vanderhall Carmel brings more luxury and convenience to the Vanderhall lineup. With reverse opening doors, a wider cabin and provisions to accommodate a future removable canvas cap shade, the Carmel promises to add additional comfort and luxury to your journey.”
Unlike driving in a convertible car, an autocycle is one step away from the feeling of being on a motorcycle. You’re in the present moment, focusing on the “here and now” when you’re in one of these open-air vehicles.
After experiencing the action-packed event, I surmised that the vision behind Aether Apparel is to inspire modern-day pioneers to pursue an adventure-filled life (while looking stylish, of course). So, if you (or your guy) love exciting adventures, automobiles & motorcycles, or exploring the great outdoors, then you’d enjoy the Aether Rally.
For more inspiring events, check out the Special Events section on Inspirations & Celebrations.
[Header image and autocycle photos featuring us c/o Vanderhall Motor Works.]