Like so many college students, Terre Jones read John Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley” in the 1960s and wanted to make a cross-country car trip just like that. But life, including a demanding job as president of Wolf Trap, always got in the way.
So it wasn’t until 2008 that Jones, then 60, embarked on a four-month, 19,000 mile solo journey, with three cameras and an iPod loaded with 200 travel songs. The result: “Road Trip: A Photographer’s Journey to America’s National Parks.”
“It’s a real challenge to be alone for that long and make a trip like that,” Jones told guests at a book party Monday hosted by Jim Kimsey. “There’s a certain introspection that comes with that, a certain peace that you find in being alone.”
His dream trip finally happened when the Wolf Trap board offered Jones a sabbatical after 12 years on the job. He combined his three loves — art, photography, and national parks — into the long-deferred road trip, and a book deal.
“I needed the perfect shot at the golden hour,” he told us. “I really worked hard to get — timing-wise — where I needed to be at the right time.” Jones went to 88 parks from Maine to California (with a side trip to Alaska) taking 9,000 photographs — landscapes, wildlife, iconic landmarks — which were narrowed down to the 200 pictures in the book.
After a long editing process, the glossy tome is finally out — just in time for his last year at Wolf Trap. After the season ends this summer, Jones and wife Polly are moving to Santa Fe where they have a home and photography studio.
Jones said a “Road Trip” sequel is already in the works — but this time with his wife riding shotgun: “It will be a very different perspective with two people.” No word on who picks the music this time.