The outcome of a road trip is entirely dependent on your traveling partners. Routes change, cars break down, campsites fill up, but if you’re with the right people, you always manage to have a good time.
At the end of June, my girlfriend Marie and I loaded up our ultra soccer mom-ish 2009 CR-V, Babybleu, and by the time we were back in Southern California on August 4, we had driven from the Pacific to the Atlantic, had four new tires and had logged more than 10,000 miles. Along with Marie’s sister, who joined us for the first leg of the trip, and our dog Riley, we traveled through 20 states, visited nine national parks and monuments and spent a week in the Adirondack mountains.
On the road we had family members pass away while others got engaged. We found out that audio books are far superior to satellite radio and that some people really can’t listen to Springsteen 24/7.
I knew I wanted to document the trip but I didn’t want this to be another Final Cut Pro project sitting on my desktop waiting for some miracle motivation to kick me into gear. So rather than use one of my digital cameras, I decided to buy two rolls of ASA 50 color negative Super 8 stock and film our journey on an untested 45-year-old Canon Auto Zoom 814 with a broken light meter.
It was the right decision because the footage came out better than I ever expected. The beauty of the Super 8 film is in its simplicity. It’s free of distractions and offers an honest first impression of colors and shapes that we saw from the road—something I feel is almost impossible to achieve when you’re filming with a Full Frame HD digital sensor.
Whether we were taking the Sunlight Basin Road to the Bear Tooth Highway, or cruising down the California coast on HWY 1 from Arcata to San Luis Obisbo, the road always had something new to offer. We faced our share of challenges but we also grew. This wasn’t our first cross-country road trip but it was certainly the best, and we have the film to prove it.