How I Used Technology on My Holiday Road Trip to Elizabethtown

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2016-02-09 Print this article Print
road trip technology

Carrying my several-generations-old Canon Rebel T2i digital 35mm camera was also great because its image quality is terrific and its flexibility is always appreciated. Whether shooting indoors at night when hearing music in honky-tonks in Nashville or inside clubs in Memphis or when capturing images outdoors at Sun Studio or the National Civil Rights Museum or Graceland in Memphis, the Rebel captured just what I was seeking.

Even the rented 2015 Toyota Corolla opened my eyes due to its technology features. The four-door Corolla had a USB port for my devices, Bluetooth to connect my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone for hands-free operation, all the usual musical options from CDs to iPod connectivity to satellite radio, and a nice sound system that let me crank up my music without unwanted distortion.

One disappointment came from the small Yi Action Cam mobile video cameras from Yi. Before leaving home, I decided to try them out like most consumers might—by taking them on the trip and relying on an intuitive set-up and use procedure, rather than setting them up and trying them ahead of time. Bad idea.

I never could get them working properly. The set-up was poorly translated on the instruction sheet and the accompanying illustrations were not clear. I had to call a company representative several times to get things assembled properly, and even then, the set-up was not easy. One of the cameras had a broken flashcard door so they had to send a replacement unit while I was traveling. Even so, the Android app was not intuitive and when I discovered that you couldn't immediately review the video you just shot on the device I lost my enthusiasm for the Yi. A video camera should have the ability to show a user what they just shot. That's my expectation, at least. How could I know if I captured what I wanted if I couldn't immediately review it?

The folks at Yi said they are working on improvements and that my test units were early versions, so I accept that and hope to test out their next version when it is available.

The Journey and the Aftermath

My Elizabethtown road trip was one of the greatest adventures I have taken in my life so far. I drove 2,416 miles and laughed, sang, smiled, explored, saw and experienced everything that life threw my way, from storms to a couple of car crashes on the Interstates. I visited interesting places, ate the best fried chicken in my life—at Gus's Fried Chicken in Memphis—and tasted real Southern BBQ ribs at Central BBQ in Memphis.

I toured Graceland, I went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, I visited the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the home of the Grand Ole Opry. I walked on Beale Street in Memphis and heard the blues, and I stood and said a few words at the grave of Col. Harlan Sanders, the father of the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain, in Louisville.

The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis should be on the bucket list of every American. You can't walk out the same person you were when you walked in. It was life-changing to me.

I also saw Sun Studio in Memphis, where Elvis Presley made his first recording. I ate shrimp and grits and learned of a whole new way of cooking that I had never before experienced. I met new friends and talked to people everywhere. Traveling alone makes one friendly and available for human contact and connections. A good thing.

Home after eight days and thousands of miles, I felt transformed and alive.

The experiences were amazing and the technology I used helped keep me in the moment everywhere I traveled.

Pulling into my driveway at home on Dec. 26, 2015, I was happy and tired. But more than anything, I was appreciative of the devices that made my trip richer by letting me preserve it for myself and share it with my friends as I traveled.

I recently read that money spent on travel is never wasted. I say that I can't wait to get on the road again.


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