Two down…Twenty four to go!

This past weekend we shot the first two episodes for the 2011 season in Moab, UT and Grand Junction, CO. As always, it was an interesting experience.

After three planes, five hours of cumulative layovers, and a two and a half hour drive, Ben (the producer, and now shooter too!) and I arrived in Moab about 1:00 am last Friday. We weren’t shooting till Saturday, but I knew this was going to be a brutal trip so I built in a day to recover.

I had never been to this part of Utah, and we had come in under the cover of darkness so I really didn’t have a feel for what the area looked like. When I got up Friday morning tho, I was blown away by the strange and striking landscape. With all the red rock and bizarre topography, it could have been Mars (except for all the healthy looking people on mountain bikes, that is).

We had Friday to kill so we headed to Canyonlands National Park about 30 miles southwest of Moab. This is Utah’s largest national park and it probably covers close to 300 square miles. There is no way to see it in one day (or even one week) so we decided to just hit one of the more accessible areas known as Island in the Sky.

It was pretty chilly, windy, and overcast but the views were spectacular. We drove the 20 miles of paved road in this area, stopping frequently to hike to particularly scenic vistas and shoot some photos.

Island in the Sky

If I look cold in this picture that’s because I was!

Fortunately, the weather straightened out, and we had a perfect day for the car show on Saturday. The show is called April Action, and it was in its 18th year. It’s held in the city park right in the center of town, and they managed to pack over 600 cars into a fairly cozy grassy area surrounded by red cliffs.

There was some really interesting iron there, and the spectator turnout was pretty impressive too. At times, it was so packed that it made shooting a challenge.

April Action

This was also the maiden voyage for our new Sony XDCAM which added a whole other level of complexity to this shoot, but everything went well and this event is going to make a great episode.

Sunday we had to travel to Grand Junction, CO to shoot a feature on Monday, but not before about a five hour side trip thru Arches National Park which is literally just outside Moab.

Arches National Park

This park is possibly even more spectacular than Canyonlands. The drill was pretty much the same here; drive, stop, hike, photograph, repeat. This is really a remarkable part of the country and southeastern Utah should be on everyone’s bucket list.

We finally got on the road to Grand Junction and rolled in late afternoon Sunday. We met up with our interviewee, Tammy Allen, to check out her collection and scout locations for Monday’s shoot. I don’t think I was fully prepared for either her or her collection.

Tammy owns a limousine company in Grand Junction and she just flat out loves cars. I didn’t see all of her cars because they are stored in various locations, but let’s just say she has a lot of them. And while many collectors will focus on a particular marque or a particular era, Tammy goes after cars that just happen to strike her fancy for whatever reason. (I can relate to that!) To call her collection eclectic would be an understatement. She’s also quite attractive and a genuinely nice person. I could tell I was going to enjoy this shoot.

Tammy Allen

We settled on a pair of ’66 Mustangs that were built for Sonny & Cher by George Barris which were completely over the top in a 60’s sort of way, and a pair of really sweet Caddys; a ’38 V16 limo and a ’47 custom woody wagon. The limo was completely period correct. The woody wagon actually started life as a hearse. It had been shortened 29 inches, the roofline lowered 3 inches, and sported a 429 engine and drivetrain from a ’67 Caddy.

Tammy Allen

This shoot went off without a hitch also, and we were on a plane back to E’ville at 6:00 am Tuesday morning.

We leave tomorrow morning for Vintage Torquefest in Farley, IA. This is a traditional hot rod show held at a dirt track speedway, and it’s modeled after the Japlopy Showdown in PA. In addition to the typical car show festivities, participants will have the opportunity to do a few laps on the dirt with their rods. Should be pretty cool. I’ll let you know when I get back. And then it’ll be three down, twenty three to go!

Happy Motoring,

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