Friday, October 18, 2013

The #GlassCamaro Adventure Team

I've posted and talked about what +Lee Myers and I are photographing or where we are off to next on the #GlassCamaro Adventure. However, there is a third key member of our team.

That third member is the muscle, yet he is lean and mean. He never complains despite carrying us and all our gear from one amazing location to the next. I am of course talking about the Camaro.

2014 Camaro SS Convertible ~ Rural Utah

From the start the Camaro was ready to run. Seemingly purpose built for a photography adventure of this magnitude. 6,000+ miles of open road ready to explore!

By now you no doubt know that Lee and I are on an amazing adventure sponsored by +Chevrolet in the 2014 Camaro SS Convertible. More about this adventure here: Camaro Adventure

Chevrolet introduced the Camaro SS in 1967. It came with a 295-hp small-block V-8 engine. The 2014 has a few extras not yet invented in 1967. Like a color head-up display, Chevy MyLink with high-resolution color touch screen control, rear vision camera system and an available 245-watt Boston Acoustics sound system. Not to mention a few extra horses with the 426 HP 6.2L "LS3" V-8 with TREMEC TR6060 six-speed manual transmission. 

That's a mouthful of innovation since 1967, right? Well, that's not all. I could tell you about the strong body structure designed to absorb crash energy and provide a protective "safety cage" around occupants or the six standard air bags among a long list of other features. But I won't. Instead I am going to dive right into the emotional connection to the Camaro.

Before the adventure began my wife, Amy, and I went to Detroit, MI to pick up the Camaro. From the moment Amy and I saw the Camaro sitting just outside the doors at General Motors headquarters in Detroit, MI we were in love. Immediately taken back to the days when we owned our 1995 Camaro Z28. I had convinced Amy shortly after we were married that we should own a Camaro. But not just any Camaro. We needed, yes needed, a Z28! That is just what we bought. A beautiful red Z28 with black leather interior and T-tops, gotta have the T-tops. ;-)

1995 Camaro Z28 ~ My Grandmothers House in Jacksonville, IL

That was not my first brush with my favorite car. When I was 17 I visited a small used car dealership near my hometown of Jacksonville, IL. It was early afternoon on a Saturday when I arrived. The car on the lot that I liked was, you guessed it, a Camaro Z28. I walked into the small office and asked if I could look the car over. I was handed the keys and told I could take it for a short drive. Really!?! So, this 17 year old kid turned toward the Camaro and resisted running.

On my short drive I hatched a plan. I would go back and tell the salesperson that I loved the Camaro but could not buy it until my parents approved. Since the dealership closed in a fifteen minutes I would have to drive it home and keep it until Monday morning. He bought into my plan!!!

So, at 17, I was let lose with a Z28!

I made the 20 minute drive home to find my parents in the driveway when I arrived. My Mom, upon realizing it was me, started in. The short version is she was not happy that her 17 year old was the one let lose with a Z28. I wasn't home more than 5 minutes and the salesperson was contacted, asked to return to the dealership and my parents were on their way back with the Camaro. Well, I tried. 

Fast forward 21 years. I hatched another plan. I would contact Chevrolet directly and ask to take the Camaro on the ultimate test drive. Well, I don't mean to spill the beans but you probably already figured out they bought into my plan!!!

So, after driving the 2014 Camaro SS Convertible some 4,500+ miles what do I think? Short answer: I love it! I mean just look at it.

2014 Camaro SS Convertible ~ Kansas City, MO

As an artist I have an emotional connection to the world around me. The same holds true for cars. While I am not a mechanic and cannot tell you all the whys. I can tell you how it feels, that's what matters anyway. Leave the why to the engineers of the world, be thankful they understand that side of the coin. And boy do the engineers at Chevrolet get it!

For this adventure the Camaro would serve the purpose of making the drive from one photogenic spot to the next exciting, not just a commute. It has done that exceedingly well. When the road presents twist and turns I drop it into third gear and run the guantlet. Leaving me enough pedal to excelerate out of the apex of a corner and set me up for the next bend. The pure joy of driving has a beautiful sound track in the Camaro as well. The exhaust sings and sometimes growls as you accelerate and decelerate in and out of the bends.

2014 Camaro SS Convertible ~ Among the Redwoods in California

Somewhere around 5,000 miles on the odometer I noticed the Camaro had settled in. It now fully understood it's roll. And now, more than ever, we were in sync.

At heart I am still that 17 year old kid. The crackle of the exhaust as you slow for traffic or a stop light still excites me. Watching the heat waves rise through the hood vent at a stop light makes me imagine there is a fire breathing dragon hidden under the hood. The sound of the beast awakening at the turn of the key makes me smile. These are a few of my favorite things.

However, being a kid at heart you still want to feel your music when you are cruising. The Boston Acoustics sound systems does a splendid job of that!

What don't I like about the 2014 Camaro SS Convertible? Well, there is still a few thousand miles to go. I'll do my best to find something.

I will say I did not think I was a convertible kinda guy. I actually had the nerve to tell this to the team at Chevrolet. I was wrong. It turns out I am very much a convertible kinda guy.

2014 Camaro SS Convertible ~ Bear Mountain Boulevard, CA

I'm not the only one with the emotional connection to the Camaro. The response as we have navigated the western states has been exciting to see. Sometimes it is people coming up and asking if it is the 2014. Others just get excited to see a Camaro in general. One kid took a photo of the Camaro parked at the overlook to the Golden Gate Bridge. Everyone thinks it is amazing of Chevrolet to loan the Camaro to us to explore and photograph so many great places!

This evening the Camaro, Lee and I are in Port Angeles, WA. We have made the turn eastward, cruised along Cresent Lake and found us a place to rest before setting out for more exploration as we make our way towards home.

Below is an overview of our entire adventure. We have only had to pass up a few places. Some because of park closures and others due to time. Our adventure has no set in stone stops and we look forward to our final stretch. Feel free to follow along on Facebook here and here.

A few places we have found it is fun to drive the 2014 Camaro SS Convertible.

See ya on the road!

What Is The #GlassCamaro Adventure?

It's an adventure in your favorite car!

For me that car is the Camaro. The #GlassCamaro Adventure is a partnership between +Chevrolet and me, +Aaron Fuhrman.

The adventure started in Detroit. My wife, Amy, and I flew to Detroit from St. Louis. We met with the team behind the Camaro, ate lunch, laughed, and enjoyed a great conversation about the adventure ahead. After lunch we made our way down from the 300 tower at GM headquarters and outside along the river. There, just outside the doors, sat the 2014 Camaro SS Convertible. We were handed the keys, walked around this beautiful machine, and told to go have fun!

My wife and I enjoyed a 9+ hour drive home from Detroit. Once home I had a couple days before my bro-in-law, +Lee Myers, and I headed west. So, I was able to take my kiddos for a ride. The reactions were perfect. My 5 year old daughter, Ella, smiled from ear to ear. When it was pointed out she exclaimed "I can't help it!"

I picked up my 12 year old daughter, Kaitlyn, up from school. If you were ever 12 you'll know just how great it was for her to miss a bus ride home that afternoon. ;-)

Because I picked up Kaitlyn I had to take my 10 year old daughter, Emily, on a special drive. Just her and dad cruising. Emily giggled a lot.

My wife says to me the evening before Lee and I headed west "We need to buy this car.". Fellas, that was music to my ears!

Speaking of my wife. She was key in arranging this adventure. She stands behind me 100% as I work towards the goal of making photography a full time occupation. I'll be on the road during our 17th wedding anniversary, something I didn't want to miss. During the planning, when it was realized this was the case, she said "Go!, it's my anniversary present to you.". I would argue my wife is the best wife in the world.

The Adventure Begins!

Okay, not quite. The evening before we left I took my 7 year old son, Kyle, out to capture the Camaro in front of an amazing sunset. While driving to the location Kyle says "Daddy, I'm going to buy this car when I get older". Yep, he's my boy!

Now the adventure begins.

An early morning start in Missouri was stumbled for a bit when Lee says "I forgot my phone". I was ready to just leave him behind when he pats his chest and says "Oh, there it is". Good thing you found it Lee! ;-)

About a month ago Lee and I had photographed many great locations in Kansas City, MO. We knew we wanted to make a short stop as we drove through. We pulled off the exit and spotted The Kauffman Center right way. We pulled up front, pulled the parking brake and started shooting.

After our quick stop in KC we started through Kansas.

Our first night was spent in Denver, CO. The first morning we had breakfast at the Day Break Cafe. Breakfast was great! While eating breakfast Lee asked Colleen about locations nearby. We wanted a place to photograph the Camaro. Colleen told us about Red Rocks Park. Well, when you are driving a brand new Red Rock Metallic Camaro you have little choice but to go. ;-)

So we did.

Thanks for the tip, Colleen! After leaving Red Rocks Park we explored as much of Colorado as we could as we drove through. We loved it! Especially highway 24. My new favorite game is watching the G-Meter. ;-)

We have many photographs to share from the road. One highlight was driving along Mount Massive in Colorado.

We spent enough time in Colorado that we arrived in Moab, UT late in the evening. The next morning we set out to explore the Moab area. But not before giving the Camaro a bath. ;-)

We love the area around Moab! The Camaro obviously agrees with us as it roared through the beautiful scenery. Maybe in its Red Rock Metallic finish it felt at home in the surrounding red rock landscape?

Yep. That's what it was.

The best part of traveling is meeting new people. And we did just that while cruising through the canyon roads. We noticed a painter along the river and pulled in behind her. She was setup beside a beautiful white +Chevrolet Tahoe. Her name was Barbara and after chatting with her for a few minutes she said her husband used to build the motors for Camaro's in the 60's! How cool is that? Barbara, at one point in her life, spent 15 months on her motorcycle traveling the states. No swanky hotels for Barabara, she camped. We were kindred spirits!

Barbara told us that her husband was itching to buy a new Camaro. He was trying to hold out until they sold their ranch. After Barbara looked over the 2014 I imagine she'll give him the green light to get his Camaro a little early. ;-)

Link to Barbara's website:

Thanks for the great conversation and enthusiasm about our adventure, Barb! I hope we meet again, soon.

After dropping the top and posing for a picture with Barbara, she took the photo I don't have it, we set our sites on Dead Horse Point State Park. Our goal was to capture a great sunset. We did just that!

I was soooo excited my hands were shaking! I ran through the landscape looking for the perfect composition. All the sudden there it was. The little twisted tree holding onto the edge of the canyon. It was too perfect and I was the only one there. The sunset was glowing on the distant horizon. I was happy with that. Then the light show started. Awesome!

The next morning we pointed the Camaro towards Monument Valley and enjoyed the open road along the way.

We were concerned about the cloud cover as we approached Monument Valley. The last thing we wanted was a back drop of white at this iconic location. We were excited to see great texture in the sky above these towering buttes!

Monument Valley is amazing! We did not take the Camaro on the dirt road, but still enjoyed the amazing view from the visitor center. Look at the cars on the road. That should give you an idea of the scale of this amazing western landscape. Just stunning!

So, that brings you up to date. I'm posting this from our hotel room in Page, AZ. The Camaro is calling my name from the parking lot. We have Horseshoe Bend, Valley Of Fire and many other locales on the list as we cruise to Las Vegas as our next stop.

You can follow along on my Facebook accounts here and here. I'm also posting updates from Instagram.

Much more to come. Hopefully quicker updates from here on out. ;-)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Where Are We Now? Where Have We Been?

I'll Try To Answer This Fast!

First, we are in Coos Bay, OR. Driving the coast is fun and takes a long time. ;-)

Here on the blog I last updated you at Page, AZ. I'll run you through our adventure as fast as I can as Lee and I point the Camaro north yet again. We are determined to make Olympic National Park despite being a day or two behind.

When we left our hotel in Page we went straight to Horseshoe Bend. This is an amazing location the Colorado river has carved out of the earth. It is difficult to share the size of this amazing spot on our planet. Incidentally I captured Sarah enjoying the view here. I think it helps, but you really need to see this yourself!

Here at Horseshoe Bend we also met Pam and Debbie. We've become friends and I enjoy seeing their pictures from Arches and other parks Lee and I had to skip because of closures.

Oh, here is a quick video I captured with +Google Glass while photographing Horseshoe Bend.

After leaving Horseshoe Bend we set our sites on Zion National Park. Despite being closed we knew we could drive through. Pam and Debbie confirmed this for us.

We were told not to stop and take pictures as we entered the park. At least I think that's what he said.

While we didn't get much in the closed park. I did break the rules a bit. I wasn't the only one.

Leaving Zion our focuse turned to a destination of Las Vegas with a stop at Valley Of Fire. Sadly we were running late and passed Valley Of Fire in the evening. We stopped in Vegas to rest and hoped to get some of our work uploaded. This was not going to happen as internet service would become an ongoing issue starting in Vegas and would not be resolved until we reached Eureka, CA! More on that later.

I don't have much to say about Vegas. Lee and I walked around for about 30 minutes the evening we arrived. We drove the strip once in the morning and then we left.

Death Valley was now on our radar. This desolate location is amazing. Talk about feeling like an ant on this planet! First we noticed the textures as we moved closer to sea level.

Then we moved below sea level, 100 feet below to be exact. The area is so vast you cannot comprehend the size!

The +Chevrolet Camaro looked great there! We had the top up because the temps shot up to 80 and the sun was harsh. Even though we were enjoying temps in the 60's before driving into Death Valley.

We also finally found a road we could make use of!

Our next stop after Death Valley was Lone Pine, CA. I'm going to stop here as we need to hit the road.

I'll pick up in Lone Pine, which we loved, next. I'm also working on a post dedicated to our amazing ride during the #GlassCamaro Adventure!

See ya on the road!