For different reasons, Colorado is near and dear to both of our hearts... and it is one of the greatest outdoor playgrounds in our country and world. We are honored to partner with Visit Colorado, and to explore the varied personalities of the four parks that reside there—Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes, and of course, Rocky Mountain National Park. We can think of no better way to spend the Centennial anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service than in the Centennial State itself!
There's a whole lot of Nevada to explore beyond Vegas and Tahoe! We've been excited to head to Nevada since the beginning of this project, and when we learned that it one of the most mountainous states in the U.S., we were even more so. In that spirit, we are really happy to be able to partner with TravelNevada as we venture into Death Valley and Great Basin National Parks!!
(Photo credit: TravelNevada)
We are very happy to announce South Dakota Tourism as one of our partners! South Dakota is home to two National Parks: Badlands and Wind Cave. As a child, Jonathan visited South Dakota with his family and he has wanted to return to photograph it as an adult for some time; it is also the home state of Stefanie's beloved paternal grandmother. We are very exited to explore and capture what is called the land of infinite variety during the National Parks Centennial celebration (and also the 75th anniversary of Mt. Rushmore!)
Photo credit: South Dakota Tourism
We are excited to announce Visit Montana as a new partner on the Greatest American Road Trip! Montana is the gateway to two of our most beloved National Parks: Glacier, dubbed "the Crown of the Continent" and Yellowstone, America's first national park. We'll be spending a good deal of time in big sky country, exploring both of the parks by paddle, on horseback, fireside while we camp, and along the trails with our cameras in hand.
Now that we think about it, it's surprising to both of us that it took us so long to name the Airstream, our home on the road this year. We've always known it would take on a persona—the way boats, cars, and other large shiny objects we spend a lot of time in tend to do. Teddy, John Muir, Amelia, Ansel Adams, Clark W. Griswold ... we had a lot of contenders (and some really great suggestions) but none of them were quite right. So we threw a bunch of names onto the table, let up on it, and willed the name to reveal itself when the time was right.
We named it while sitting in the car, waiting for the stars to show in full brilliance on a freezing winter night in North Carolina. Wally. As in, Wally Byam, the visionary who invented the Airstream trailer. Duh. Of course that's its name. It’s also a tip of the hat to Wally World, the road trip destination featured in a classic road trip movie that also provided our theme song, Holiday Road (ten points for naming the movie in the comments section below.)
Back to the founder of Airstream, Wally Byam.
Wally was a pioneer, one of the first manufacturers of the modern travel trailer, and the founder of Airstream Inc. located in Jackson Center, Ohio. He was also a pioneer of social media—eons before the idea existed as we now know it—earning grass-roots media attention during overland excursions with pods of people on what he called “caravans.” Wally led mobile Airstream travelers all over the U.S., in Europe, South America, and through Africa—from Cape Town to Cairo, during a famed cross-continental fete that is ever more astonishing when you think of how difficult ground logistics are in Africa today, let alone half a century ago ... and in a travel trailer. It’s astonishing.
These roving communities are still alive and well thanks to the Wally Byam Caravan Club, and the thousands of card-carrying member families that breathe life into rallies, caravans, and events the organization holds around the country each year. We had our first caravan experience just recently, when we happened upon a group of friends traveling in a park in the Southeast. Pulling up to that campsite where they were all aligned was a little bit like moving into a new neighborhood, and we were fast friends with our neighbors. They offered advice, showed us the interior of their trailers, and we traded stories over coffee before everyone went their separate ways, a few honking decorator car horns on the way out. If we weren’t on such a tight schedule, we would be hitting up a rally this year for sure! Especially now that we know others who will be there.
We are continuing to get to know our new home, and we both feel strongly that we are at home when buttoned up inside of it. On the outside, it's handsome and tough as nails. On the inside, it's cozy and comforting and has every practical need one could want in a home.
So while this post is titled in a way that welcomes Wally to our family, we actually ought to thank the Airstream family for welcoming us to the proverbial neighborhood, that is, in our case, the highways and byways of the United States. Along these roads we've realized that all we need is what any family needs—a place to call home.
This Wally Byam Creed:
"In the heart of these words is an entire life's dream. To those of you who find in the promise of these words your promise, I bequeath this creed... my dream belongs to you."
To place the great wide world at your doorstep for you who yearn to travel with all the comforts of home.
To provide a more satisfying, meaningful way of travel that offers complete travel independence, wherever and whenever you choose to go or stay.
To keep alive and make real an enduring promise of high adventure and faraway lands... of rediscovering old places and new interests.
To open a whole world of new experiences... a new dimension in enjoyment where travel adventure and good fellowship are your constant companions.
To encourage clubs and rallies that provide an endless source of friendships, travel fun and personal expressions.
To lead caravans wherever the four winds blow... over twinkling boulevards, across trackless deserts... to the traveled and untraveled corners of the earth.
To play some part in promoting international goodwill and understanding among the peoples of the world through person-to-person contact.
To refine and perfect our product by continuous travel-testing over the highways and byways of the world.
To strive endlessly to stir the venturesome spirit that moves you to follow a rainbow to its end... and thus make your travel dreams come true.
- Wally Byam
Thank you for continuing to follow us along on the Greatest American Road Trip as we explore all of the U.S. National Parks during 2016. We are excited to share our experience from park 3/59, Dry Tortugas National Park off of Key West, Florida. Please view, share, and enjoy!
Jonathan and Stefanie
Today, The Greatest American Road Trip is proud to announce our first partner in this epic road trip project: Fujifilm.
I (Jonathan) have been a longtime Fujifilm photographer, having made the switch from the much bigger dslr's years ago to become one of Fujfilm’s “X-Photographers”, an ambassador program of which I am so proud to be a part of. As a professional adventure and travel photographer, I am often on the road in remote places, making size and weight considerations of my equipment very important — however, I would never sacrifice image quality to save weight. With Fujifilm, I don’t have to sacrifice either.
On our journey throughout America's wildest places, both Stefanie and I will be shooting with the amazing X-T1 mirrorless camera. I believe the Fujifilm X-T1 has the perfect size/weight balance and optimal image quality. It is compact enough to carry around easily, and I am always astounded by the image quality it is able to produce. The ability to customize the many different buttons to my own style allows me to adjust quickly in those tricky shooting situations. And, having been out shooting in the rain many times, I love the fact that it is weather sealed. Plus, the X-T1 just looks cool in a retro kind of way. It’s just a really fun camera to shoot with professional level control and image quality. Perfect.
To complement the X Series cameras, we will use a variety of Fujinon lenses to during the project. Over the years, I have found that Fujinon lenses are as sharp, and often sharper, than any of the bulkier dslr lenses. Some of my favorite lenses include the wide angle XF14mmF2.8R (for wide landscapes shots and nighttime star trails), the XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 (for those times you need more optical reach), the XF23mmF1.4R (an incredibly sharp and fast all-around lens), and the XF56mmF1.2RADP (a perfect portrait lens producing beautiful bokeh.)
We will also be documenting our journey through the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 instant film camera. This is one of the most fun and easy to use cameras on the market. For those of us old enough to remember instant film print technology, there is an indescribable feeling of nostalgia taking a shot, watching it print directly from the camera, and waving it in the air while the image slowly develops in front of your eyes. It is so incredibly fun to do that again (and we've found that the next-generation of photogs enjoy it just as much as us old-timers do.)
Aside from the professional-level equipment, another reason I’ve not looked back since switching to Fujifilm is the outstanding product support and updates. Most brands' firmware updates are few and far between. However, Fujifilm does an incredible job of supporting and updating cameras currently in the market. Every time I get an announcement of a firmware update, it is like a small gift because I know it will come with some great new enhancement, such as faster auto focusing or the addition of an intervalometer.
Fujifilm offers the complete package and we are sincerely proud to have partnered with this incredible company. Stay tuned to see for yourself the wonder of the National Parks as captured by Jonathan and Stefanie during 2016.
FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation is based in Valhalla, New York, and is the regional headquarters for the Americas. It is comprised of fourteen directly owned subsidiary companies in the U.S. and Canada, and two in Latin America: Brazil and Colombia. The company manufactures, markets and provides service for a broad spectrum of industries including photographic, medical imaging and informatics, pharmaceutical and other life science industries. Industrial segments include data storage, electronic materials, chemical, and graphic arts products and services. For more information, please visit www.fujifilmusa.com.
FUJIFILM North America Corporation, a marketing subsidiary of FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation consists of five operating divisions and one subsidiary company. The Imaging Division provides consumer and commercial photographic products and services, including: photographic paper; digital printing equipment, along with service and support; personalized photo products; film; and one-time-use cameras; and also markets motion picture archival film and on-set color management solutions to the motion picture, broadcast and production industries. The Electronic Imaging Division markets consumer digital cameras, and the Graphic Systems Division supplies products and services to the graphic printing industry. The Optical Devices Division provides optical lenses for the broadcast, cinematography, closed circuit television, videography and industrial markets, and also markets binoculars. The Industrial and Corporate New Business Development Division delivers new products derived from Fujifilm technologies. FUJIFILM Canada Inc. sells and markets a range of Fujifilm products and services in Canada. For more information, please visit www.fujifilmusa.com/northamerica, go to www.twitter.com/fujifilmus to follow Fujifilm on Twitter, or go to www.facebook.com/FujifilmNorthAmerica to Like Fujifilm on Facebook. To receive news and information direct from Fujifilm via RSS, subscribe at www.fujifilmusa.com/rss.