Day 4 - Nantucket - June 3
This was our first big adventure (and our first blog post together!) after arriving in New England. Exploring Cape Cod on Sunday was nice and scenic and the National Seashore was very awesome, but our Monday Nantucket Island trip was even better.
This also happened to be our first ride on the high speed ferry. Because we were staying just a few miles from Hyannis, we were close to the Hy-Line ferry terminal. Hy-Line operates a fleet of high speed ferries to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard and is the company we used for both island trips.
And high speed is an appropriate adjective to use as I clocked the Nantucket ride at 36 mph. This is not a little boat (158 feet) and it probably had at least 200 people on board, not to mention all of the luggage and other "freight" type baggage. Being a guy... I was really interested in how they made this thing move so fast... and the reason is below.
The Grey Lady IV is the newest vessel of the Hy-Line fleet. It is one of the few high speed ferries that has 3 passenger decks, and when fully loaded, can carry 493 passengers and their baggage.
We arose early to depart at 5:12 am for the first High Speed Ferry to Nantucket. We arrived at the ferry at 5:20 am under some fog and high overcast skies and a temperature of 59º. Most of the other passengers were sleepy workers commuting to work with an early 6:10 am Monday departure time. On this ride, Amy and I paid extra to sit in the "Captain's Seats", the top level passenger deck with more room and larger forward facing seats, and the views were great. All of the pictures and videos that I took traveling to Nantucket were taken from inside the ship from these seats, and I was pretty happy with the way they turned out. You can also get drinks and snacks on board during the ride. The trip was about as smooth as it gets. Other than the vibration from the engines there was no motion at all unless you happened to cross another ships wake. This water can get very rough and visibility can drop to nothing, so days like this are a treat. I spoke with a tour guide that travels back and forth on a regular basis and she told me about one trip where it was so foggy you couldn't see in front of you. She said they blew the horn continuously through the entire trip. They do stop the ferry if the seas get too rough, but I don't know how they determine that.
I have a few short videos of the ferry leaving the Hyannis Harbor and cruising across Nantucket Sound just to give you an idea of the views and the calm water.
As we approached the island the skies were dark from the rain clouds that had passed earlier in the morning. Here are a few pictures of those clouds as we approached Nantucket.
When we arrived on the island at 7:40 am, we were the life on the island! After the hustle and bustle of the ferry passengers settled, Nantucket was still asleep. It was cool, tranquil and quiet. It was so serene that the still beauty stops you in your tracks. The calm AFTER the storm feeling… PEACE that surpasses ALL understanding. It may be true that a picture is worth a thousand words and this one captured the moment perfectly.
Our bus tour of the island wasn’t until 11:00 am so we had some time to explore a little of the town on our own. Of course, food was of interest. While scouting looking for something that was open, we walked around looking at all the cool shops and gorgeous old houses/buildings. Since it was so early, there really wasn't much open, so we headed back to this cute little place called "Provisions" that we saw after stepping off the ferry. We ate a wonderful breakfast sandwich that was just what we needed. "The Original" consist of herbed egg frittata, cheddar, bacon and house-made tomato chipotle jam. They have all kinds of coffee as well as sweets, juices and other light food. Keep in mind, everything is more expensive on Nantucket, but with drinks we paid $19 for our breakfast. Remember... if you get to Nantucket too early... NOTHING is open, it's almost like a ghost town. This may have been one of the reasons it was so surreal. Take the 6:10 am ferry and see what I mean :-)
Once we were fed and we located the bus tour spot, we were ready for adventure. We pretty much scoured the town while Steve was able to capture some incredible images. The sun began to peep through just as the town seemed to wake up. PERFECT in every way! It actually warmed to 74 degrees later in the day. Below is a little slideshow of a few of the downtown pictures before everyone woke up. Notice that many of the buildings will have the date they were built on the front, and you'll see a few here but there are more in the link further down the page.
The 11:00 am tour guide was with Billy from Australia. LOL. He was AWESOME!!!!!!! I wish we had a recording! (EDIT: We found it!) Now I HAVE to return. Here are a few items I learned:
There is a HUGE Preservation Society in charge of everything. Even 2% of real estate sales go to this establishment. Not sure of the political inclination, but if they are responsible for actually preserving this incredible island, then they are doing a mighty act. Only 12 colors can be used on exteriors and Billy spouted them off like the days of the week. The average home is $2.5 million (and I’ve always considered myself above average. HA! and Zillow sales confirm. LOOK!) and they just got squirrels. Can you believe that? Only sweet animals allowed here. I think rodents came over as stowaways. Gasoline is $4/gallon, there are NO traffic lights (Steve can put it on cruise and never stop), there has only been one murder in 150 years, one stucco house (before the conservation society), and CRANBERRY bogs galore. There are 11,000 residents year round and 60,000 during the summer. Oh, and the two hotels run $1000-$1500/night, so this sheds new light on the phrase “DON’T miss the BOAT!” You may end up sleeping on a bench!
The history was fascinating! It embraces you and makes you a part of the island story. So much has stayed exactly the same since the island was placed on the National Historic Landmark District in 1966. It is considered the "finest surviving architectural and environmental example of a late 18th and early 19th century New England seaport town". I LOVE that.
This is where naming your vessel began to identify the numerous shipwrecks. The island is referred to as the “Little Grey Lady of the Sea” and our ferry boat was the “Grey Lady IV.” There is a Whaling Museum with a remarkable scrimshaw collection and the quaint shops are curiously inviting. We saw the little airfield where “Wings”, the TV show, was filmed. Our stop at Sankaty Head Light and exclusive golf club was spectacular. The most amazing views and lighthouse stamped golf ball (found courtesy of Steve) were the bonus takeaways.
This island tour was an additional service available through Hy-Line cruises and was $25 per person. It is highly recommended by both of us in order to gain an understanding and appreciation of the total Nantucket experience . Billy’s narrated tour was truly a MUST in our schedule.
The tour was about an hour and fifteen minutes, allowing us plenty of time to tour the town of Nantucket again on our own. Nantucket is the smallest of the two islands and is only about 48 square miles, so it would be real easy to navigate the island by bike. Both islands also have car rentals, so if you chose to get around and explore on your own, you have options. The video below is from the Sankaty Head Light over on the east side of the island. As you can see, there is a reason there are so many lighthouses in New England. Warm land and cold waters make for some pretty dense fog.
We purchased lots of goodies from several shops and also visited the Whaling Museum. I had lots of pictures from this place and I have somehow lost them along with a few others. Hopefully I'll find them misplaced in another folder. I do have a video of an old restored clock that is on display there and I've included that video below. A little history of the clock...
"In 1881, William Hadwen Starbuck presented the Town of Nantucket with an E. Howard No. 3 flatbed striking clock. Manufactured by the E. Howard Watch & Clock Co. of Boston, it was installed in the tower of the Unitarian Church and began operating on May 28, 1881. It powered the four clock faces of the south Tower and the church’s familiar bell, 52 chimes, three times a day, until 1957, when the dials were electrified.
The Howard clock was donated by the Town to the NHA in April 1972 and was moved to the Peter Foulger Museum. It was restored in 2004–2005 to be installed in the glass-enclosed three-story stairwell of the Whaling Museum for its grand reopening in 2005, a location that displays the clock and its intricate mechanism in full view. Today, from the lobby to the museum’s rooftop belvedere, visitors can closely observe the clockworks chime the hours."
It was afternoon and time to eat, so we went back to a location near the ferry dock and secured a lovely patio spot at The Tavern for a late lunch consisting of clam chowder (we were committed to having it every stop), roast beef sandwich, fries, and beer ($54). Yes... no seafood here, Nantucket is a little pricey and we were saving up for points north.
With newfound energy, we footed on, did a little more shopping, and enjoyed all that we could before leaving for Hyannis on the 4:15 pm ferry. We had planned on returning on the 5:40 pm, but by that time we were done so they let us swap.
Finally, we have two short videos of the return trip. It was sunny but very windy and the back of the boat had lots of people on it until we got out in open waters... and then the wind and the spray chased everyone inside except for us, a couple of Hy-Line employees and this one girl. Every now and then she would get blasted by a COLD spray... and she never flinched. One person even came out and asked her if she was ok! :-) We talked with her after we pulled in and discovered that she had moved from Miami to just north of Boston and was here for the summer to work on Nantucket, and on this return trip she was headed back to the mainland. Amy just KNEW that she must have lost a bet. :-) Wouldn't it be great if you could somehow let these people know you have a picture of them? I wished I had gotten a video of her getting sprayed. :-)
Both of these links are pretty explanatory, but if you'd like to see all of the Nantucket pictures, click on the first link. It seems I've probably lost about 100 pictures or so and can't find them anywhere, but the remaining pictures are located here.
This link is to our YouTube playlist that has about 35 videos (still adding some) from the entire trip.
New England YouTube Playlist
So a great day with great weather, and it just so happens that this wonderful weather will be our traveling companion over the following 9 days. We were both blown away by the beauty and charm of the old seaside port and the staggering amount of documented history. It's amazing and not uncommon to see building's from the 1700's that are meticulously maintained and still in use today. The fact that the brick and cobblestone roads and sidewalks have withstood the wind and weather and 300 years of use is amazing. Overall, our island trip was surreal and exceeded our every expectation (as each day has so far). I came as a visitor and left as a faithful friend, and this visit would be tough to beat. But what we didn't know was that the next few days would end up being even better. :-)
Incredible. A must do. Ride, don't drive.
If you ever get up to the New England states and you travel to New Hampshire, a visit to Mount Washington is something you do not want to miss. On a good day you will get to witness one of the most spectacular views anywhere in the country. Reaching 6288 feet into the New Hampshire sky, Mount Washington is the king of the White Mountains and is one of many peaks in the Presidential Range. If you look it up on Wikipedia, you'd see this...
"The Presidential Range is notorious for having some of the worst weather on Earth, mainly because of the unpredictability of high wind speeds and whiteout conditions on the higher summits. Because of the poor weather conditions, the Presidential Range is often used for mountaineering training for those who go on to climb some of the world's highest mountains, including K2 and Everest."
One thing they tell you right before you get off the train at the top is "don't miss the train going back down", You don't want to have to hike down this mountain. Even in the summertime, the top of Mt Washington is covered in fog 90% of the time. During the trip up and down the mountain on the cog railway you'll notice all of the stacks of stones known as cairnes (can be seen and talked about in the videos below). Those are used as trail guide markers for the hikers. Since you can hardly see in front of you in the fog, the markers are placed VERY close together to help keep you on the path and not fall off the mountain. As you approach the top of the mountain the Appalachian Trail crosses the tracks, and the hike across Mount Washington and the Presidential Range is considered to be the most difficult hike on the entire Appalachian Trail.
You have three ways to get to the top of Mount Washington, you can walk, you can drive, or you can take the cog railway, and that is the method we took. It's about a 4 hour hike to the top and then another 3-4 back down, so unless you are REAL adventurous and have perfect weather, that is probably out of the question. You can also take your own car to the top by driving on the Mount Washington Auto Road, but a word of caution. This road has no guardrails and if you mess up, there is nothing to stop you and your vehicle from tumbling to the bottom. I haven't been on it but I hear from others that have that it's terrifying. It's makes it hard to enjoy the views when you have to worry about driving off a cliff. See the video at the very end of this post, then decide. ;-)
So... that leaves the cog railway. THIS is the way to go. This is from their website:
The Mount Washington Cog Railway is a narrated 3-Hour-Round Trip train ride to the summit of Mount Washington on a historic and awe-inspiring railway. Averaging around 1 hour each way, you have 60 minutes to explore and take in the Summit of Mount Washington, including the Sherman Adams Visitor Center. Inside the Visitor Center is a museum, post office, small snack bar and 360° views of the surrounding areas including up to 5 states, Canada and the Atlantic Ocean!
Here's a video of the train that took us to the top pulling into the station. They operate multiple trains up and down the mountain during the day and our engine is one of the bio-diesels that they run. The Cog Railway also has a couple of steam locomotives in case you want that old time feel to the ride. Notice that the engine pushes the passenger car up the mountain instead of pulling. The engine has a cog (it's like a gear) that engages slots in the center of the track and that is how you get pushed up the mountain. The steepest grade is about 38%, so it looks like you're headed off into space at times. If not for the cog, the train would never be able to make it up the mountain.
The passenger car has two sections of seating. The left side of the car (facing forward) has three seats and across the aisle are two more seats. When you make your reservations (and you MUST or you probably won't get a seat and certainly not the best seat) you want to get the front seats on the left because the best views are on that side of the train.
The day we went up was about as good as it ever gets on Mount Washington, so the windows were down on the train. Keep in mind, some of the worst and wildest weather in the U.S. occurs on Mount Washington. Most of the time the mountain is in the clouds with fog and mist. In the winter, that fog and mist become rime ice that covers everything up there. For nearly sixty-two years Mount Washington held the world record for the fastest wind gust ever recorded on the surface of the Earth: 231 miles per hour, recorded April 12, 1934 by Mount Washington Observatory staff. To learn more about the day that wind speed was recorded, click on this link. Another item to note, the tree line starts about 5000 feet. Out in the Rockies, that elevation is about 10,000 feet.
The maximum temperature ever recorded on the summit is only 72 degrees and the high the day we rode up was about 60 degrees, so it was a relatively warm day on the top. The image below shows the conditions right before we started the ride up (we had a 12:30 pm train). It was an incredibly warm day at the bottom, we had seen temps in the low 80's driving to the mountain so we knew the top shouldn't too bad. Even the winds cooperated that day and stayed at speeds that wouldn't blow you off the mountain like they normally do. Notice that our visibility was about 80 miles... today it's 1/16 of a mile (see image below). Here's a link to the current data.
The image below is from today, June 14th about the time we left the station. Compared to our visit, it is much colder with no visibility today. Not a great day to go to the top if you want to see a view.
The elevation at the bottom where you start the ride up is about 1600 feet. It's funny, but Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park is 1529 feet high and you think that's tall when you're on top of it, so this being at the bottom helps put things in perspective.
The station has a gift shop, a restaurant, and restrooms. If you didn't purchase your ticket online, you get your tickets here. There are no restrooms on the train so go before you board.
It's very cool looking up toward the top of the mountain from the station. You can barely make out the tower on the top, and off in the distance you can see the train tracks going up the side of the mountain. Now... picture yourself hiking that. :-)
I mounted my GoPro on the window using a suction cup mount. Stupid me... I could have mounted the actual camera part of it in the open part of the window, but instead, the whole thing was behind the window. It doesn't seem to hurt the image to much but I'm sure it helped with reducing the wind noise. Granted, the train only moves about 4 MPH, so the wind noise doesn't come from the train movement. :-)
Anyway... here are my videos from the front of the train. I should have mounted the camera on the left side window to catch the views, and I was going to on the way down, but someone on the other side of the aisle asked if they could swap seats with us for the return trip. And being the nice person that I am, we swapped, so I didn't have the best view coming back down. And trust me, the left side is spectacular. The pictures I have just don't do it justice. The conductor was great and full of information, I was glad I captured his narration on the videos.
It is a ride you'll never forget. I've added a few pictures below, but if you'd like to see them all, you can click on this link.
Keep in mind that during times of bad weather, the train may not go all the way to the top. They will ride halfway and when there is snow, they stop at a newly built platform and everyone can get off the train and hang out at a bonfire and eat s'mores. We were very blessed with our weather and it couldn't have been more perfect. Because the weather on the top is so unpredictable and generally not so good, it makes it very tough to factor in to your plans. You plan for the worst and hope for the best, and in our case, that's the way it worked out, so your visit may or may not go as well. That's Mount Washington.
Once you're at the top there are several places to explore, and if you're hungry you can grab a bite to eat eat while you're there. And there is even a United State Post Office on the top so you can send mail with a Mount Washington postmark. The Mount Washington Observatory on top is continuously staffed even in the winter time. Research is conducted on new weather instruments and manually taken weather readings occur on schedule 24/7.
Not much more to say except you need to add this place to your bucket list. I do recommend the train up, but if you think you may want to drive up, watch this video below. You will be amazed and terrified at the same time. :-)
Day 3 Saturday - We Arrive
We made it! We arrived in West Yarmouth about 4:30 pm on Saturday. Along the way we stopped to visit two lighthouses in Rhode Island and eat a lobster roll. :-)
I've added a few pictures and a couple of videos below. Most were taken at the two lighthouses or on the way to them. Oh... and my lobster roll. :-) You can't forget the lobster roll.
We're just getting started so I'll have lots more pictures and videos. Now is when it starts getting good!
EDIT: Here's the link to the photo album.
Here are a couple of videos I took on the ride, and both of these are from the Beavertail Lighthouse. I'll have more later. This first video is from the dash cam and the second video was taken using my S7 with polarizing filter.
EDIT: The bridge and the bridges I talk about below were actually the next day, June 1. They are in Connecticut... I do know that. :-) We arrived at Shelton CT and stayed at a Hampton Inn (the best one of the whole trip) and then continued driving the next day on the road you see above. I think. The days all ran together. :-)
After the fiasco from yesterday, we have decided to skip the stop in Philly to see Independence Hall, and I think that decision proved to be a wise one.
Also... if you travel and use Google Maps... just know that the drive times you see is probably not going to be the time you actually spend on the road. Obviously Google doesn't know how many times you're gonna stop, and it doesn't know how fast you'll travel among other things.
The bridge you see in the picture above is one of many on the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut. Each bridge is a little different, but each one is very fancy. Those were kinda cool. Here's a link to the picture album with images of 33 bridges. https://photos.app.goo.gl/xNYEnbYg5yvYVKhF8 . There are a total of 42 bridges that cross over Merritt Parkway. We will do another blog post about the bridges, there is a great story and history behind them.
Today we end up in Shelton Connecticut at a Hampton Inn. (EDIT: this was a GREAT place to stay). Tomorrow... onward through the fog!
Here we go! Up early this morning for one of our two longest continuous stretches of driving. Our destination today is the Hyatt Regency at the inner harbor area of Baltimore Maryland. Thanks to @mudrun for all of the great information about the Baltimore area!
This leg of the trip is about 650 miles and Google is estimating about 11 hours on the road, so it's going to be a long day. The plan is to leave at 4 am in order to miss rush hour traffic in Charlotte and DC. The original plan was to travel I-85 to I-95, but after noticing that the back roads through Virginia only take 20 minutes longer, I think that's the route I'll take, and that's the route you see in the map above. We'll get lots of pictures and videos along the way, and I'll be posting those as time permits.
We wanted to get past Washington DC to find a place to stay for the night, because early the next morning (Friday) we are going to Philadelphia to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. I didn't want to have to battle early morning DC traffic and we need to be at Independence Visitor Center when it opens (you need tickets), so Baltimore was a good stopping point. From our place in Baltimore, it's about 100 miles and a little less than a 2 hour drive to the Independence Hall parking. We need to be there at 8 am as they start selling tickets at 8:30 even though it doesn't open until 9.
I don't mind the long haul driving, we drive 8 hours one way to see my parents in Sarasota, and when I go to the SCCA National Championships in Lincoln Nebraska we drive for 14-15 hours. My longest drive was 22 straight hours from Atlanta to Boston once, so 11 is very pretty doable. And since I don't normally like to ride with other people driving, so unless I can't keep my eyes open, I'm it. :-) With lots of different things to look at, the side roads won't be as boring as the interstates, so staying awake in broad daylight shouldn't be a problem.
Update Friday AM: Well, we made it to Baltimore. No, not in 10-11 hours as planned, but instead it took us 15 HOURS to get here. If you think Atlanta traffic is bad, try DC traffic. Let me say this... if you ever thought you might like to live in northern Virginia/Maryland... you'd better drive those roads before you decide.
One 14 miles stretch took 1:10 and after that the next 39 miles took 53 minutes. So 2 hours to go 53 miles. For those in Gwinnett that know the road, we took Lawrenceville Hwy all the way through Virginia. 🙂 Yes, highway 29 goes all the way through Virginia (NC too). For the most part, Hwy 29 was an awesome drive. The speed limit is lower, but it's a 4 lane divided highway, and you can sit back, stick it on cruise and relax. It's nothing like taking I-95.
We're off to our next overnight stop in Connecticut, this drive will be a lot shorter and we're going around NYC instead of through it.
This is going to be the story of our two week vacation through the New England states, complete with all of the places we will see, things we will learn, and memories that we will make. Amy and I will include as many pictures, videos, links to the places and things we do, as well as any other information we can find to help document the entire trip. (You know, just in case you'd like to go sometime :-)
When I was 16 years old my parents took us on a trip to the New England states and I still remember parts of that trip to this day. Since my wife Amy has never been to that part of the country (except for a trip to NYC), it will be a new experience for her and a great refresher for me, and there are a lot of places that we'll be going that I've never seen as well, so this ought to be fun!
This is going to be a driving trip. We thought about flying up and getting a rental car up there, but there are so many great places to see along the way, it would be a shame to not take the scenic route by driving versus flying. The total round trip length is about 3000 miles, so it's going to be a long haul with many days in the car. And since I didn't want to put that kind of mileage on my own vehicles, we are renting a SUV (Ford Explorer supposedly) for the trip. We have most of the itinerary planned now, so I'll be posting maps and more details as we get closer in time.
Basically, we pick up the rental vehicle at on Wednesday the 29th, start the trip on the morning of the 30th, and we return home on Wednesday, June the 12th. During the time we are gone, we will pass through a total of 15 states, 11 of which Amy has never seen. On the way up we will travel through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and into Massachusetts. We will set up home in West Yarmouth (next to Hyannis, see map below) in Massachusetts for a stay at the Holly-Tree Inn condo. From there we'll spend almost an entire week exploring Cape Cod and the surrounding area before we embark on a two day drive up the coast to Bar Harbor Maine where we'll stay another two nights at the Coach Stop Inn Bed and Breakfast. We plan on getting off the beaten path and hug the coast as much as possible in order to see all the sights along the way. Our route will pass through a very small section of New Hampshire (Portsmouth) on our way into Maine, and we will be stopping at numerous places all along the coastline before staying at Kennebunk Friday night. The next morning (Saturday) we take the back roads that will lead use to Bar Harbor. Sunday morning after arriving in Bar Harbor, we have to get up REAL early so we can go capture the sunrise (the sunrise is 4:50 am!!!) from Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. From there we will drive up to the US-Canadian border at Eastport Maine, maybe see the "Old Sow", the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere, and eat a lobster roll at Quoddy Bay Lobster before heading back to Bar Harbor.
The return trip begins after breakfast on Monday the 10th, and the first day on the road will lead us across the beautiful forest and mountains of northern New Hampshire. We stop for a three hour round trip ride on the Cog Railway to the top of Mount Washington before continuing the trip south along the Vermont/New Hampshire border where we'll stop to sleep in Woodstock, Vermont. After an overnight rest, we get up early the next morning to begin a long day of driving toward the Cave Hill Farm Bed and Breakfast in Virginia. Rising with the sun on Wednesday the 12th, we'll drive on a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway through Virginia and North Carolina before hopping back on the interstate to finish the trip home.
We have a lot of things planned while we're gone, like stopping at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, taking the ferries to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard islands for day trips, a 4 hour whale watching tour, a guided walking tour in Boston, a trip to the top of Mount Washington, and stops for what is supposed to be some of the best seafood (IE... lobster) and lighthouses anywhere. In between, there will be a thousand other things to see and do, and I hope we can capture it all so you can follow our fun.
I'll break all of this out by making a new post for each day of the trip, so we should end up with a minimum of 14 different post. I'm sure I will also create a special post or three for those special side trips, highlights, and activities that we do. I'm also sure the post will be delayed since I can't spend all my time writing blog post :-) Who knows... I've never documented a two week trip before. I'm just winging it right now ;-)
In order to capture all of the sights and sounds of the trip, I just "had" to buy more electronic gadgets and equipment. Of course :-) The camera I really wanted to buy I just couldn't get right now, a Sony A6400 camera with a couple of nice lenses. Of course I couldn't just stop with the camera, I would also need a good gimbal to go along with it. By the time you add all of that up, I'm in the $2500 range (IF I'm lucky), so all of this will have to wait until sometime after the trip. That won't leave me with a shortage of cameras though :-)
Samsung S7 Edge
Even though this is my phone, this is one awesome camera. The picture quality is superb and it handles low light conditions with ease. While the camera can record 4K videos, I will have it set for 1080p resolution to help save space and make them easier to share. I plan of doing a few time lapse videos using the camera and hopefully one of those will be the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.
To make sure I get the best pictures and video possible from this camera, I purchased an EVO Pro Gimbal to help me keep things steady and a Sandmarc polarizing filter to help with the image quality/reflections in bright light conditions. The gimbal is the EVO version of the Zhiyun Smooth 4, and I have it paired with the FiLMiC PRO app (paid app) on my phone. I can control almost all of the cameras features from the handle on the gimbal, even things like exposure and focus, as well as start and stop videos and take pictures. The FiLMiC PRO app is a must have if you use your the camera in your phone for lots of photography and/or videos. I'm also using another paid app called Lapse It Pro. Lapse It Pro is a full featured time lapse application for your phone.
I've had this camera for a while, and it's still a great little camera. This has been my autocross camera for 3-4 years now. It too will take 4K videos but I will be using this in 1080p resolution. I really love the quality of this camera. I also like the fact that I can set it up to do time lapse videos, so it will be used for those as well. And like my S7, I also purchased an EVO SS 3 axis wearable gimbal that I can use with this camera as well as the new Akaso 4K camera that I purchased (see below). I might look stupid with it on, but I also have a Stuntman Chest mount that I can attach the gimbal to for hands free recording. If you'd like to see how smooth the gimbal is on a chest mount... take a look at the video below.
Akaso V50 Elite 4K Action Camera
I just got this camera for the trip. It was pretty inexpensive (cheaper than the GoPro) and packed with a lot of features, so I thought I'd see how it works compared to my GoPro. Preliminary thoughts are that the picture quality is not quite as good as the GoPro, which is a little disappointing. But I'll give it a chance and put it through its paces. Again, I will "probably" not be shooting 4K videos, but I might try to do one or two just to see how they turn out. 1080p is all that most people can stream, so I'm going to stick to that resolution for the most part.
This camera and the GoPro can be mounted on the EVO gimbal, a head strap, chest strap, pole, suction mount, roll bar mount, or any mount that a GoPro can mount on. I will have a lot of flexibility in how I mount and use these, so I'm going to try to be creative. I'm really going to have to learn more about Adobe Premiere Pro to manipulate all my videos.
Rove R2-4K Dash Cam
One more. :-) This will be my dash cam for the trip. I haven't had it in the car yet, but played with it in the house and really like this. This tiny camera has a ton of features:
Samsung S4 (x2)
When you need a backup. We have two working S4 Galaxy phones that also shoot 1080p videos. We will use these as supplemental devices just in case. I also have a Samsung tablet that is used for various miscellaneous uses that will go with us.
That's all I've got :-) I really hope we can get some great shots of the trip... if not it will entirely be my fault :-)
I almost forgot a couple of items that I can't do without. I know I'm leaving out things like my tripod, power strips, various mounts, all kinds of cables, flashlights, kitchen sink, and all types of other assorted pieces that you would possibly ever need. Or not. Be prepared I say! :-)
Key Power Quick Charge 3.0 6-Port USB Wall Charger (x2)
Because I have SO many devices that charge using an USB charger, I needed lots of charging ports. This is the latest charger that I've bought, and I bought two of them.
Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 5-Port USB Wall Charger
This is the first charger that I purchased a year or so ago. These are the only way to charge when traveling, especially if you have a lot of devices to charge, and I could really use one more like the one above. I believe I counted about 14 things that I own that need a USB charger. This one is a 60 watt/6.4 amp charger.
With all three chargers, I have a total of 17 charging ports. I have a separate 2 port charger for our Fitbit's, and a separate charger for the storage battery (see below).
Ultra High Capacity ZeroLemon ToughJuice 30000mAh 7A Output Portable Charger
While it says charger, it is a giant battery that you can use to charge your devices. This is a "MUST have" if you do any extended picture taking or recording and you aren't going to be near a power source. If you found yourself in that situation, this would be one of those items you wouldn't want to be without.