Thursday, April 2, 2009

Destination-Sun Valley, Idaho

Dear Reader

I apologize for not updating my blog, I have been on one of my most challenging shoots, a shoot in Sun Valley, Idaho.

My trip began in Sun Valley, California, my home base on March 21st. Sun Valley, California is known as the junkyard capital of the world, in contrast to Sun Valley, Idaho which is has more rich people per square inch, than anywhere else. I met my comrade "Trent" in Barstow, California, the job required two motor homes, so we decided to caravan together, since I had GPS, I drove the lead.

If one has ever made the trip to Sun Valley to Sun Valley, the route is simple, take the I-10 east to I-15 north, past Las Vegas, pass Salt Lake City to I-84 North, and finally take HWY 73 north to Sun Valley, Id. I would say this was an easy trip, but as such, this would be a lie, especially in early spring, when weather conditions can change at a moments notice. We hit almost white out conditions in Utah, and heavy winds in Idaho. Driving a motor home in heavy winds is like navigating a sailboat in the ocean, except one has wheels instead of sails and the road is not forgiving when you have vehicles several inches from you. Common since is also a factor, if the weather conditions are too bad, stop at the nearest truck stop and wait it out.

We left Los Angeles on Friday morning at 6 am and arrived at out lodge the next afternoon at 3 pm. When I opened the door of my RV, a cold wind hit me, like a Mike Tyson punch, I put on my heavy coat, gloves and hat and checked into our room.

Sun Valley, Idaho in early spring averages in the low 30's daytime and can easily hit zero at night; fortunately, I had an engine heater for my engine. For a diesel engine to start properly in this cold environment, an engine heater is a must, plus winter blend diesel fuel, to stop the jelling of the fuel. The light poles in the parking lot had AC power for the engine
heater and shore power for the RV, the keep the batteries properly charged at night.

The next morning "Trent" and I scouted some of the locations we would be shooting at, mainly we focused on the difficult locations. If I have one issue that annoys me about this business specifically photo shoots, is when a location scout or producer considers a location only on the merits of the location and not the feasibility of getting large vehicles to and from such location. When one chooses a location consider how accessible the location is for large vehicles like trucks and motor homes, if one is not sure, ask someone like me (Professional Motor home Driver) to scout the location in advance of the shoot date. Do not rely on the owner of the property if they have had motor homes at their location. Most modern motor homes are thirteen feet high, almost a foot and a half taller than a motor home made before 2005. With that said, in my years in this business, I have never seen a road such as Warm Springs Rd; the road starts off safe, paved, then turns to ice and sludge, mud and snow. The perfect road to navigate my 4 X 4 truck, not a road that I would want to drive a motor home on, fortunately I did not have to go to this location, however my buddy did and two-thousand dollars worth of damages latter, "Trent" probably wished he never seen this road. The perfect solution, find a place to do a base camp at, and shuttle the crew to location, this is what "we" do on features and commercials, this saves money and frustration for the producer.

I will continue my Sun Valley trip, next time.