Route 66 News

DVD review: “Route 66 RV Adventure”

John Holod’s documentary film “Route 66 RV Adventure: Exploring the Mother Road” provides a taut, enjoyable, and fairly up-to-date look at Route 66 from behind the wheel of a recreational vehicle.

Holod has produced “RV Adventure” DVDs about Alaska, Northeast Coast, Rocky Mountains, Southeast Coast, Gulf Coast, Baja, and eastern Canada. Last spring, he turned his camera to the Mother Road for several weeks of shooting from a Winnebago View vehicle.

After an irreverent take on the mascot of the Jackrabbit Trading Post in Arizona, Holod starts the film in downtown Chicago and works his way west. Between snippets on the Mother Road’s landmarks, Holod sprinkles short interviews with historian and artist Jerry McClanahan, musician Harley Russell, Funks Grove Maple Sirup matriarch Glaida Funk, Pontiac Mayor Bob Russell, Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum operator Jerry Ries, and others.

The interviews offer a break from the film’s crisp pace and provide interesting contexts. For instance, Don Decker at the former Wrink’s Market in Lebanon, Mo., said this about Route 66 travelers: “They’re trying to get ahold of something that’s really American.”

Holod’s documentary looks terrific. He obviously boasts plenty of experience behind the camera with his good framing of shots, and the high-quality footage is as good as what you’ll find on the Route 66 DVD market.

Holod also serves as the affable narrator of “Route 66 RV Adventure.” He serves up the occasional quip during the travelogue, including a few “groaners” that prove endearing.

Though Holod’s film is 92 minutes, veteran Route 66 travelers will notice a few landmarks that didn’t make the cut. That’s a testament of how rich Route 66 is — Holod had to leave a few places on the cutting-room floor to keep his film a reasonable length. Indeed, in an email, Holod said: “I could have made one twice as long with all the interesting things there are to see on [Route 66].”

In fact, Holod seems to have gotten a little too tight with the editing. I detected sequences where Holod’s narration was cut a moment too soon, making scenes feel as though they ended abruptly. “Route 66 RV Adventure” could have benefited from a few seconds of breathing room.

Among the special features, the 26 minutes of Travel Tips will prove to be one of the DVD’s most useful features. It contains recommendations for guidebooks, restaurants, motels, bed-and-breakfasts, and RV camps. Each listing comes with addresses, websites, and phone numbers.

Holod also provides a short overview of the Winnebago View RV he used during his 6,000 miles of filmmaking. He says the Winnebago provided good fuel economy, and its smaller size enabled him to travel or park in more places than a larger RV. But it made me wish, for drivers with bigger rigs, he would have provided them advice such as primitive alignments to avoid and attractions where large RV parking is inadvisable.

Also among the Special Features is a 19-minute trailer for Holod’s other “RV Adventures” DVDs.

The odd duck of the Special Features is a 9-minute infomercial for Dental Laser Nogales clinic in Nogales, Mexico, across from the Arizona border. Because Nogales lies more than 300 miles from Route 66, I thought this jarring clip was a mistake. In an email, Holod explained: “The dental clinic was included because many people who buy my DVD’s are RV’ers and spend their winters along the border. I found the clinic was a great way to save a lot of money on dental work so I included it.”

(Review copy of “Route 66 RV Adventure” courtesy of John Holod Productions. The DVD can be ordered for $19.95 here.)

3 thoughts on “DVD review: “Route 66 RV Adventure”

  1. Ron Hart

    John was invited to park his RV overnight at the Boots Motel while shooting in the Carthage area. The finished video took the time to show parts of Route 66 communities and their other historical points of interest that might otherwise be missed by travelers. RV’er or not, this was fun to watch and provides a slightly different format than other Mother Road videos. RV’ing Route 66 is becoming more popular, and this video will encourage their participation in the resurgence of this famous highway. RV’er or not, I highly recommend it.

  2. Crocodile Lile

    It is really sad that there is nothing shown of Route 66 in Amarillo, like a lot of travelers this guy totally missed the historic significance of Amarillo Blvd. & 6th Avenue. Maybe some day people will wake up and experience what Route 66 in Amarillo has to offer.

    1. Ron Hart

      Croc, I spoke with John a couple of weeks ago, and like Ron mentioned, he had to do some tight editing of the many hours of footage he had taken. He was not a “Roadie” when he did the shooting but is a big fan now. I mentioned the reason the Big Texan was off-the-Route and not supportive of it, and he, like many others who “shoot the Route” in documentaries, was not aware of some of the politics. Most States and many larger cities have “Film Commissions” and “Production Service Associations”, but the Mother Road, as a whole, is not well represented. Perhaps this would make a good topic to discuss at the next Summit….the forming of a “Route 66 Film Commission” that can provide historical data, stock video & photos for location shooting, people and places of interest and sources of local information from the eight State Route 66 Associations. Right now, it’s sorta catch as catch can.

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