Man, this was such a cool experience. At the end of September, Ted Kristensen and I flew into NYC and had a day to explore and get some images related to this wonderful event before departing on our adventure across this great country of ours.
This event was a ride and drive event created to give different groups of journalists the opportunity to experience the new Super Cruise feature developed by Cadillac that allows hands free driving on many of the nations highways facilitated by a robust, complex, and highly refined network of specialized GPS mapping, updated construction, weather, and traffic status, as well as local, regional, and national public works engineering and law enforcement.
After a press conference and presentation by Johan De Nysschen and New York's Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, we were escorted out of lower Manhattan by New York's finest(both city and state officers) on the morning of Sept. 25th. The weather was balmy in New York and our police escort took us right down the West Side Parkway which has had it's name in the news due to the terrorism attack in the past few days. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful day and quite an experience as we circled past the Brooklyn Bridge and the others on the East Side and continued our convoy into New Jersey. Commencing our journey, Wave 1 continued out of NYC on to Washington DC and Cleveland. I even got within miles of the birthplace of my dad, and the small town in which my grandparents grew up... so close but yet so far. In each city, we had to also scramble to get out and shoot some iconic images relevant to each city which we definitely accomplished in DC.
Wave 2 joined us for another police escort out of Cleveland and onto Chicago, and Memphis. We had a weekend "down" in Memphis, in which we were still shooting and exploring. We made the most of it by checking out the pomp and circumstance of ducks parading down the red carpet at The Peabody Hotel and visiting "The King" at Graceland. Admittedly, it was a strange and unnerving irony standing in front of the Lorraine Motel(now the National Civil Rights Museum) noticing the chasm in the ground enshrining the bullet path that took the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. This revelation taking place just moments before shots rang in the "Vegas" sky, taking the lives of innocent concert goers and embedding terror in the psyche of the nation yet again because of another mad man.
On October 2nd, we set off with another police escort crossing the Mississippi River from Tennessee into Arkansas with our 3rd Wave of participants bound for Dallas and Santa Fe. Upon our rainy morning departure from Dallas on October 3rd, I'm awaiting our police escort across from a grassy knoll in the "birthplace of Dallas" with our flag flying at half-mast for the Las Vegas victims while tracing my line of sight from a green "X" in the middle lane up to a corner window in the Texas School Book Depository. With horrific irony yet again, the convoy of Cadillac's traverses the plaza and jumps on the ramp to the Interstate. I shake it off and run to the car, in part to speed up the pursuit and catch up with my photographic duties but also with the hair-raising feeling of "get me out of here!" Either way, I'm still 1500 miles and 3 days away from "home" with lots of work ahead.
In Santa Fe, there was another rotation of journalists as our 3rd Wave departs. But before that, we found a place to get my fix on a memorable Chile Relleno to savor that iconic New Mexico red chile sauce and give us fuel for the next day of adventure. As our 4th wave joined us in setting out amongst red cliffs and the spectacular vistas from the oldest Capitol City in the U.S., we cruised through stands of autumn leaves just coming to life and big cotton-y clouds contrasting the indigo sky of the Southwest. Getting closer to Phoenix by way of Flagstaff, we had to do it yet again. Time to breathe in a much welcome "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and take that moment where, just steps away from the emblazoned logo of Route 66 in the middle of a special intersection, "I'm standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona... such a fine site to see!" We continue through the cacophony of fall color in the higher elevations skirting Flagstaff and turn south making our way to the outskirts of Phoenix just in time to head out to cover dinner and grab some of the best melt in your mouth filets.
The next day, we left our humble "hipster" abode outside of Scottsdale with our last police escort through Downtown Phoenix via more interstates and head west to where the officers bid us a farewell for the final leg of our adventure. As we approach California, the excitement starts to build as we hit Palm Springs and Cabazon knowing that our actual home is just up and over Mt. San Jacinto but we still have a few more familiar places to get to before accepting this project is now one for "the books". As we approach L.A., traffic is getting thicker and more congested. We finally roll all the way into Santa Monica, make a left and one more right only to see that beautiful Pacific shimmering to greet our arrival. Ahh, "home" at last.
Thank you Kovert Creative for this wonderful opportunity. Teddy, thanks for enduring the hours and demands of what we needed to accomplish, helping make it a success and for setting out on these adventures with me, and building some great moments in the times we were able to.