I’m about to set out on a grand adventure which, if all goes well, it will take me from Newport, Oregon to Boston, Massachusetts on Highway 20.
The following is the long version explaining my upcoming adventure. Don’t have time to read it all? That’s okay, click HERE for the Cliff’s Notes version!
This might not seem like a photography related thing, but bear with me, I promise, I’ll bring it all around to photography by the end.
In June of 2003, I was 15 years old, about to turn 16, and I was dreaming of having a car of my own. My mom and I were driving down HWY 101 in Newport past Power Ford Lincoln and there it was: the most beautiful little car I’d ever seen and I had to have it! A test drive, a mechanic check-up, and a day later I was signing papers and taking it home. June 3rd, 2003, I became the owner of that sweet Geo Prizm. It was $1860 and there was some stiff competition from other 16 year olds in the area so there was no budging on price. I withdrew my life savings from my account, which amounted to all of $1500 cash. And my mom wrote a check for the remaining $360. An amount that would be paid back as soon as I sold my next 4-H sheep or hog.
This highly coveted car was already 9 years old when I bought it and had 124,363 miles on it. But there it was. It was mine, it was new to me and I loved it!
My friend, Tristan, had a matching Geo Metro named Luna, so before too long my Prizm was given the name Sol.
I lived about 30 minutes outside of Lincoln City, and an hour from any friends. So, the miles and the adventures added up quickly. I taught myself (and then my friends) to drive a stick shift in it, and took it off-roading in places a sedan should never go and countless weekend trips to Seattle and surrounding areas.
Soon the car took me and all my belongings to Corvallis where I started college. I drove it to and from the coast to see friends almost weekly, and it became my daily freeway commuter to my various jobs in Salem over the years.
When I started dating Andrew, my [now] husband, it made the weekly trip from Corvallis to Eugene in record time. When Andrew proposed in the middle of the night at a dark wildlife refuge I looked at the ring in the headlights so long that the battery died. But, of course, my always dependable car started on the first push-start try. It even put up with me playing mechanic – turns out there’s a lot you can figure out yourself with google, youtube and lots of spare time in college.
We used Sol as the getaway car in our wedding, and 9 years later I’m still picking random pieces of toilet paper off it, thanks to our wedding party thinking that TP was an appropriate way to decorate a car. Thanks guys! =)
Over the years little things would break here & there – I’ve replaced a door handle, a seatbelt, the radio and few other minor things. The paint is finally starting to fade a bit, rust is speckling the hood, the shocks are shot, and the clutch is getting a bit moody. But, the engine just keeps running!
About 4 years ago I had to finally admit to myself that my trusty car was getting older and less pretty than it once was, and I no longer felt professional pulling up in it to client meetings or weddings. Plus, it would be nice to have a bit more room for all my photo gear. So we added a used Mazda Tribute (Cross-over) to our family. But, even then with three cars (My old-trusty, My husband’s daily commuter, and the new Mazda) I just couldn’t bring myself to get rid of my car – I still love driving it and it’s a huge part of me.
However, I’ve finally decided it’s time. There’s no longer a really good reason to own three cars or to pay insurance on all of them. But, my car is only 3400 miles away from hitting a huge mileage marker: 300,000 miles! Fact is, I’m not ready to willingly give up on it before it hits that monumental mark. But, at the rate I drive it – which pretty much is only around town these days – it would take me years to hit that mark.
So, I decided that it’s time for the little car and I to take one last adventure together.
But any old adventure just won’t do – it’s got to be EPIC! So, after a little thought and a lot of googling, I formulated a plan to give the the old car the send off it deserves and hopefully hit that 300,000 mile mark at the same time.
Let’s Drive US Route 20 From Coast to Coast!
At 3,365 miles long, US Route 20 is the longest highway in the United States.
As I started planning this adventure in my head, so many little coincidences started to present themselves. For instance:
– The west end of Highway 20 starts in Newport, OR, literally a 1/2 mile from where I bought the car
– Highway 20 not only goes through my current town, but it also goes RIGHT PAST my house
– I will be turning 30 this year. I was 15 when I bought the car, I’ve almost owned it for half my life!
– Highway 20 just so happens to go right by (a mere 9 miles away) my good friend’s house (In Illinois!), and he just so happened to ALSO have a Prizm when we met 15 years ago.
– I will drive through (and stay in!) a few Newports, Toledos, and Albanys on my journey, all towns I’ve lived in or spent a significant portion of my life.
SO on April 19th, 2017 I’m setting off from Newport, Oregon and driving east on HWY 20 until I either reach Boston or the car dies. Whichever comes first.
I’m excited to see parts of the country I’ve never seen before, and I want to photograph people I meet along the way.
So here’s the deal: if you live in any of the following places, OR if you want to travel to any of the following places, OR you live anywhere along the way (close to HWY 20), I want to photograph YOU, I want to see YOUR town, I want to photograph YOUR favorite places, and hear what makes YOUR small part of the world unique and different. Specifically, I’d like to set up a photo session* with you to get to see your life through my lens and create some beautiful portraits for you.
So….here’s roughly the direction I’ll be headed once I leave Oregon:
– Boise, Idaho
– Craters Of The Moon (Idaho)
– Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)
– Hell’s Half Acre (Wyoming)
– Douglas, Wyoming
– Newport, Nebraska
– Brushy Creek State Recreation Area (Iowa)
– Chicago, Illinois
– Toledo, Ohio
– Erie, Pennsylvania
– Buffalo, New York
– Niagara Falls (NY and/or Canada)
– Albany, New York – Finger Lakes (New York)
– Boston, Massachusetts
Those are the basic landmarks, but I’m willing to consider photographing anything relatively close to Highway 20 in between these places, so if you have a great idea, please get in touch!
How do the photo sessions work?
– The photo session itself is 100% FREE to you.
– Once I’m back home in my office in May, I will email you with a link to your private viewing and ordering gallery of images.
– You are welcome to order prints and/or digital files from your gallery (Pricing here).
– You are not obligated to purchase anything, but you will be asked to sign a model release form for me to use your images on my website or advertising.
– In most locations I won’t have time to take on more than one session, so please apply early and really ‘sell’ yourself on the contact form 😉
*One BIG FAT warning:
If you’ve gotten this far you probably understand the uncertain nature of this road trip since the entire purpose is to hit 300,000 miles or kill this old car. So far the car has never failed me, and there’s no reason to think it will start now so there’s a good chance that I could make it all the way to Boston on schedule with no issues at all. But, it’s an old car, and no road trip is every fully predictable, so of course there’s also a chance that I will only make it part of the way, have the engine go out and not complete the trip or just get off schedule for some minor reason.
I can give you a good idea of what date and time I likely could do your session and we can stay in contact throughout my journey, but, despite my best intentions, I cannot guarantee that I’ll be able stick to a certain schedule or that I’ll make it to your location at all.
This is why I’m offering the photo sessions for free.
My hope is that those who apply will be as excited about this crazy experience as I am, have a sense of adventure, and be willing to roll with the punches right along with me. I CAN guarantee that if you’re willing to be flexible and embrace this adventure with me, that you’ll have tons of fun and will end up with some awesome portraits. Ready to apply? Get in touch HERE.
Excited about my adventure but don’t live along the way?
There’s a few ways you can participate or help me out!
– Tell a friend! Send this blog post to someone who does live along the way and who might want to participate!
– Follow along on Facebook
– Follow along on Instagram
– Contact me and give me suggestions of must-see places, can’t miss restaurants, and tips for fun things to see and do along the way. Most of these locations will be new for me so I will want to learn from your experiences!
Questions?! leave them in the comments below and I’ll answer. Or check out the FAQ’s HERE
For good measure, I will leave you with a photo of a favorite memory of me with Sol…..