The last round of interviews for Lies of Omission were undertaken from the 5th of January to the 13th. I left Colorado in my old Toyota 4Runner with 345,000 miles on it. Yes, it would have been better to rent a car for the journey, but being January and not knowing the condition of the roads and the added expense of trying to rent an AWD or 4WD, I opted for the cheaper, more fiscally responsible option, which was to drive my old 4Runner.
The first interview was David Codrea on the 9th, but I left on the 5th after receiving the lighting package through FedEx. I didn't know if I would encounter closed roads, or massive delays due to icy roads. Since the first step was to cross both Vail Pass and Loveland Pass on Interstate 70, I wanted to start early, thinking that 1st, I would drive through most nights and not need a motel and 2nd, that if I got to David's early I could get B-roll to be intermixed with the interviews to provide that "film quality" documentary that we are dedicated to achieving.
I signed up to Twitter for no other purpose than to promote the film and drive views to the fundrazr page. (yes, that's how they spell it) So, I started a thread for the "Epic Road Trip" and took some poorly photographed shots for the tweets. I had just put a new water pump in so I wouldn't have any problems as it was getting weak and weeping a bit. There was a little bit of traffic and icy roads near the summits of the passes, but nothing engaging 4Wheel wouldn't handle. By morning I had passed through the long expanse of I-70 through Kansas and found myself in St. Louis, MO.
I have a friend who lives in Illinois, so I stopped by and pressed him into service to obtain B-roll in his hometown. We had dinner, but by then I had been up for 48 hours and driving for most of it, so he encouraged me to get some sleep. Planning on getting more B-roll in Indiana and Kentucky, I knew I had to set out early. I got about 2 hours of sleep before I decided to set out. About an hour into the drive, with the temperature hanging around 0 degrees, I noticed the battery light had come on. I pulled over and checked it out and figured my alternator was on the fritz, so I wanted to get further down the road (this was early Saturday morning) where I might find a Walmart, a repair shop and a hotel. It took another hour and I found what I wanted. I got a room as cheap as I could and slept for a few hours, maybe two, by the time I figured someone might be open.
I called around to all of the repair shops, who could maybe get to me on Wednesday, so I knew I would be out in the cold for an hour or so replacing the alternator. Now, anyone who has done this, and I have done it a lot in my life, it seemed like nothing, a couple of bolts, but this was a 4Runner and it was the model that has the alternator below the valve cover. Fortunately for me, I had my old oil field coveralls (North Dakota winter) coveralls and I pulled up to the NAPA and started work. Yes, as is often the way, I went through every tool in the box and even had to go buy a couple. As I have said, I've done this before and know to fix a vehicle in the NAPA parking lot if possible.
Back on the road and out of the hotel before I had to pay for another day, I set off toward Indiana, getting some prime B-roll in the small town of Corydon close to Louisville, KY. By this time, it was dark and I still wanted to get to Midway, KY, where there are some interesting buildings and scenes. I wanted to get the shots at dusk, but that was hampered by the alternator, so I wound up getting a cheap room in Georgetown, KY, got caught up on a few things on the internet and planned to get up at 5am. I have always had a hard time getting to sleep at night and that Saturday night was no different. I finally slept at around 2:30 and got up at 5 and set out.
Midway, KY is a beautiful little town right in the middle of horse and whiskey country, not far from my ancestral family land going way back to 1787. I got some decent shots and set out for Ohio to pick up the director (my daughter) flying in to Columbus, OH. I had a room we could share already booked and was just arriving at about 11:00 am when, in traffic, the transmission let go and I nearly had to cause a multi-car pile-up as I swerved to get out of traffic and off the road.
Keep in mind, this is a 16 year old 4Runner with, by then, 347,000 miles on it. I was expecting it to blow up, just not then and not particularly there. But, I was in Columbus and I was early enough to sort things out before the director's flight arrived, but I spent a lot of time sorting out what to do with the vehicle, getting all of my tools and renting a car from the airport. By then, it was time to meet up with Concerned American of WRSA. We had dinner, talked about the project and the next day's schedule with David Codrea. My daughter's flight didn't arrive until 1:30 in the morning, so I went back to the room and continued the conversation with CA, who was staying just a ways down the road from our hotel. I picked up my daughter, no problem, went back to the room, got her settled, while I decided to write a post. Now, we are dealing with three different time zones here and when I sat down to write the post, I thought it was 2am, it was actually 4am and we had plans to meet back up and head out at 6am. A few hours later, I looked at the right time and realized it was nearly 5am. So, I got about an hour of sleep and got ready to meet up with CA.
This is going to be a very long post, so if you need to get a bite to eat, this would be a good place.
At 6am we headed out to the final destination to be arrived at by 9am. Now, this is where the continued issues and lack of sleep threw a wrench into the plans. I don't like GPS navigation and use it only as a last resort. When one is basically lobotomized by lack of sleep and stress, is a very good time to use GPS navigation. I can say this, because I missed the same turnoff that I was actively looking for TWICE. I will say that I can go for long periods with very little sleep and I can drive during those times without much worry, but at some point judgment takes a vacation and I exhibited lack of judgment numerous times until, Monday night at Gettysburg, PA when I finally got a full night's sleep.
David Codrea was an excellent interview. He was gracious enough to help overcome some of my mind-addled mistakes and I know he probably has a very negative impression of me, but regardless, he had plenty of interesting perspectives to offer the project and contributed a great deal to it.
The next day, Tuesday, we visited the Gettysburg battlefield and took a few shots for the B-roll and set out for VA. We had to stop in York due to there not being any light stands in the lighting package I waited for on the 5th. We did not open the package until arriving at David Codrea's, which was my mistake, but I purchased it online, studied the photo to make sure there would be stands and umbrellas as no good lighting package is minus either of those two things. We bought some lightstands in York and continued on to VA.
Wednesday, we set out early to arrive on time at Gun Owners of America headquarters to meet up with Larry Pratt. We put all of our gear together in the parking lot of a shopping center and on time we arrived, ready to set up and do the interview. Mr. Pratt was delayed doing another interview, but that just gave us time to be ready to roll when he arrived. The folks at GOA were wonderfully accommodating and generous. They were quick to help out and let us move the conference room around to get the best angles. Larry is a practiced interviewee and helped the process along by knowing what we were after and providing us with some valuable insights into the Second Amendment and freedom in general.
From there, we split up. CA went on to his final destination and myself and the director went into DC to get some B-roll. That was interesting with the whole front of the capitol building covered up with stadium seating apparatus. We finally found a parking place and walked around to get it.
The next stop was Mississippi where a very generous donor awaited our arrival at 6am. Another hotel bill avoided by driving through the night. This, I am accustomed to, but my director daughter was not so keen on the practice. We did arrive at Phillip's house, which was magnificent, and directed to our rooms to get a little sleep. I stayed up for a few hours to discuss the project with Phillip and to chat. When my lids gave me away he sent me up to get some sleep. 2 hours later I came back down and talked to Sammi about getting some additional B-roll, but Phillip suggested we talk to the folks down at Boondocks Firearms Training Academy. In conversations with Kyle the instructor and Kim the co-owner, we realized there was some value there for the documentary and set up an impromptu interview. After that, dinner at a seafood place, then back on the road.
It was about an hour or two into the journey to Bill Buppert's in the Southwest that we got a disturbing text. It was my wife saying she was about to go into surgery. Surgery? What surgery? After some frantic moments and texts, we discovered that my wife had been taken to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. A few more phone calls later and we were headed back to Colorado instead. I am grateful to Bill Buppert for his understanding and to CA for his understanding. It is a testament to my wife that she only contacted us by orders of hospital staff, or she would not have mentioned it to us until after the trip was over. While I appreciate her willingness to sacrifice for the cause, that was one step too far. There is nothing more important to either myself or my daughter than my wife's health.
Yes, we still have to get the Buppert interview, but with Sammi in California and me in Colorado, this is something that can be done after my wife's recovery.
So, if you have kept with me through all of that, I would ask for whatever help you might be able to give this project. We have done a lot with very little and have been conscious of all of the hard work every donor must do in order to help us out. This trip alone cost me a vehicle and the cost of a rental car to continue the effort. I can wipe all of that away with a shrug, but we are down to what must be done with paid editors, paid cinematographers, paid actors (to fill in the "real people" aspect of our B-roll) and there is advertising and making time to promote this film in order to make it what I think all of us want to see. Please go to LIES OF OMISSION and do what you can. We are into the nut-cuttin' time right now. We can mess around with this for a little bit, but in order to meet the deadline, we have to have this a completed project no later than June.