Updates from the Road: RoosevElvis

As you may have heard, our RoosevElvis team has been researching, writing, and filming while on an epic road trip from the Badlands to Graceland. Now midway through their journey, here’s an excerpt of assistant director Kevin Hourigan’s daily updates from the road.

You can see more pictures from the trip in our Facebook album.

Teddy jumping into pool

Day 1

Salutations from the road. I will be sending you updates as we venture forth. We’ve been having an amazing time in this truly gorgeous American terrain.

We began our voyage at 4am with a delayed flight and a missed connection, but rallied, quickly got to the airport, and got to South Dakota only a few hours later than we originally intended. Our videographer has been capturing material on the fly since the moment he left his apartment.

We spent a good portion of the day dealing with logistics and getting settled. (Picking up the RV, finding the campsite, figuring out how to plug the RV in…) We had a few substantial shoots yesterday, including in the meat aisle at Walmart. All were dismayed that despite Walmart’s epic selection of packaged meats, the employees did not know what a French press was when TEAM members were eager to purchase one. Luckily, our videographer’s camping French press saved us all.

Day 2

After a good night’s sleep, today was a very busy and highly productive day.

Highlights included:

  • A visit to Keystone, near Mount Rushmore, where Teddy and Elvis shopped, took pictures from “jail” and other tourist attractions, bought sodas, etc. They were a hit with the workers and tourists.
  • Revisited Mount Rushmore. While Elvis walked down to get a refund from the parking man at the memorial, Teddy explored and took notes on the local flora and fauna. Teddy and Elvis met up at the observation deck, where Teddy danced around onstage, and climbed some of the hill beneath the monument.
  • An RV safari to look for buffalo in Custer Park. We shot several sequences of material, including scenes with buffalo. First we found one buffalo and then we found a whole herd. We did shoots with both.
  • Footage of ALL of the eggs flying out of the fridge and breaking, and the ensuing cleanup, while driving the RV.

Day 3

Our day began with an early start. We all rose early to make a dash for the Badlands before it got too hot. We shot for about two hours, and then got rained out. During the rainstorm, we huddled in the RV and shot some interior scenes. After the rainstorm, we went back out and shot for a good four hours in the heat. Though sunburned, and though the sun caused us to hallucinate visions of Mount Rushmore, all pressed on in good spirits.

It is very possible that our RV campsite is secretly a front for a meth lab. Libby has begun an inquiry. Kevin found a man passed out on the floor of the bathroom last night who thought that sleeping in the bathroom would prevent him from being bitten by mosquitos. We will report with findings of the inquiry.

photo (5) Badlands

Day 4

Greetings from Grand Island, NE. Libby has graciously shepherded us to her cabin where we are staying for the next two nights.

Our day began on the campsite at 7:00am today. After a cleanup of the campsite and some delicious oil toast breakfast made by Rachel, we headed over to the pool at the campsite to do a shoot of the ladies in the water. Libby even donned a GoPro camera so that we could get underwater shots.

One of the other campers, perplexed, asked us, “Are you guys YouTubers?”

After shooting the pool, our intention was to head back to Wall Drug to get some interior shots. However, we had several roadblocks to deal with, most notably the fact that we needed to perform the dreaded task of flushing the RV. Rachel bravely stepped forward to tend to this Olympic feat. We quickly realized that the sewage hose had a hole in it, which certainly only made the task more horrific. As to be expected, Rachel complained not once. She did however, spend several long minutes washing her hands after the whole ordeal.

We then drove away from the meth lab campsite for good. Teddy’s soaked pants flapped out the window, hung on the mirror to dry, as we watched Circle 10 RV Campground fade on the horizon.

(Libby and I investigated. We no longer suspect that the campsite was an active meth lab – it’s just a popular hangout spot.)

We hit Wall Drug next. We got several amazing takes with some bizarrely joyful pieces of taxidermy. We asked the manager if it would be possible to use a restricted area to shoot, and we instantly had a new best friend. He even gave us each a complimentary meal at the end of our visit. It was a very sweet display of kindness.

About 100 miles in, Rachel asked us to pull off to stretch a leg, and we accidentally stumbled onto one of the best, most magical locations we have seen yet. The town was Okaton, SD. Population 36. A few dilapidated houses, a crumbling mill, a closed gas station, and a facsimile “Ghost Town” replica attraction which has since turned into an actual ghost town. The irony is only too acute; the town is beautiful.

Eventually, after a break for gas, a Subway meal, and lots of different car DJ’s, we made it safely to Libby’s wonderful cabin in Grand Island. We are so thrilled and so grateful for Libby and her mother’s hospitality.

More soon!

You can read the second installment of Kevin’s road journal here.

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