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!