It takes 55 hours to drive from Seattle to Miami and over the last week we drove 64 hours in 3 travel days, with 3 full days of production mixed in there as well. We went through 17 different states and spent 10 more hours on the bus that we did off the bus. A long week to say the least, we covered a lot of ground, but we also got a lot of really good footage and got a lot of work done.
Here is my trip in a nutshell…read on to learn more!

On Saturday night I went over to the Kromm household in Rockford and they were gracious enough to let me spend the night. Michael and I got up at 2:30 the next morning, met up with Ed and Greg, and by 4am we were off in the truck towards Fort Worth, TX. The sixteen hour drive went by pretty fast. We stopped in St. Louis to load the truck with food (well Ed and I did the shopping) while Greg and Michael met up with Greg’s dad (who lives in St. Louis) for some coffee. Back on the road and finally got to our hotel (yes we stayed in a hotel!) around 10 that night. This trip was a big deal for me because it marked the first time I had a bed to sleep in on a SolidLine trip. On the truck I sleep on the couch and in hotels when we fly I usually sleep on the floor, but this time we had a few hotel rooms so I was able to live in luxury.

Greg with his dad Dave and Tina in Saint Louis.

Our first day of shooting in Fort Worth went really well. This was a different kind of shoot than any I had done with SolidLine because we were filming a 2 day retreat for the National Society of Leadership and Success to create a high end promo video to use for future retreats. There were speakers, activities, and dancing, and we were in charge of getting it all on film. This meant that we had no control over what we were shooting so you constantly had to be on the look out for what is going to happen next, and hopefully be in the right place at the right time when something cool happened. Luckily the crew knew what they were doing and we got a lot of great footage, I was even allowed to pick up some b-roll of one of the activities (although my technique was highly criticized by Greg).

Filming one of the training sessions in Texas.


More jib work.

That night filming went until after 9pm so we were exhausted from the 14+ hour day. The next morning we shot a lot of interviews with the students who were attending the retreat.  I was able to do audio for some of the interviews, and since that is what I have the most experience with and I enjoy a lot, it made the interviews fun for me. It is also good to get as much professional experience as possible. Around 4:00 we packed everything up in the 110 degree Texas heat and hit the road for our 34 hour drive to Massachusetts.

Interviewing one of the leaders.


Me working the mixer for an interview.

This was by far the longest drive I had ever had in the truck, and to be honest it was kind of daunting. Luckily it went by really quick. My time was broken up by staying up from midnight to six with the night driver, getting a few hours of sleep, working on a freelance project I just started, making some food for the crew, and then just hanging out. The day and a half flew by and as we drove through New Jersey we decided to stop and meet up with Greg and Michael’s DHL clients for dinner in Newark, NJ.  As we pulled into New Jersey we saw that our generator exhaust pipe had a few broken welds and was dragging on the road.  Needless to say Greg and Michael were not happy.   It took about 40 minutes under the truck, but they were able to fix it with metal coat hangers and twisty ties (just a few of the handy items needed on a truck full of as many systems as the SLM rig) and we went off to eat.  We went to a cool diner in Newark and I had the greatest combination of foods every made…fried chicken and waffles. I had never heard of it before, but I loved it. A good time was had by all and then we were back on the road for the last 4 hours.

Kromm edits while I “work”(watch The Sopranos) on the truck.


Fixing the generator exhaust pipe that ended up dragging through New Jersey…


The best thing since high definition video production.

The last shoot of the trip was at a veterans homestead and was for the US Department of Veterans. We started the day by setting up an interview outside and, of course, it started to rain a little bit. The weather was nice enough to hold out for an hour so we were able to get the interview and move everything inside. The rest of the day was filled with different interviews in different parts of the house. We finished up around 4 and tried to leave, but the road was two small to the drive the truck up, so we had to back down. As I tried to direct traffic away from the road, a police officer pulled up and after I explained the situation he was nice enough to stop traffic for us. After getting off the street, we hit the highway, and off we were.

The bus arrives to the Veteran Homestead in Mass.


Interviewing at the VA homestead in Fitchburg, MA


Interviewing the 2nd ever face transplant patient in the US


Our new friends helps up back out.

After the 34 hour drive the 16 hour drive back seemed like nothing. We got back to the barn Rockford, cleaned the truck, and I drove back to the burbs. It was a really long trip, but it was also a lot of fun. Next week we are shooting in Chicago in the UIC hospital a couple of days with our friends at Transparent Health. I’ll keep you posted!

We did a lot of driving.


I look pretty cool with my headphones on…

State Count – This trip I went to Arkansas, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, and West Virginia bringing my total to 21.

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