Q: Who are you?
A: We are Roger Johnson, the worlds first self proclaimed welcome sign photography expert and Haley Chamberlain who is not a self proclaimed anything but she is a whole lot of fun. You can either go to our biographies page or our individual web sites www.welcometoamerica.us and www.haleychamberlain.com for a more detailed answer.
Q: How did you come up with the idea to do 50 States in 50 Days?
A: While hanging a map on his bathroom wall.. Roger slipped and hit his head. When he regained consciousness he drew a picture of this.
Q: No... really, How did you come up with the idea?
A: Roger always has about a dozen trip ideas in his head at any one moment and this one formed over the years and was more of a wouldn't it be cool if I could do this kind of a thing. Then while working as a tour guide in 2004 Roger decided "YES I'm going to do it!" and have Rodney shoot video of it for either a TV show or documentary film.
Q: So how did Haley get involved with the whole thing?
After attending a seminar sponsored by the Minnesota Film Board in the Spring of 2005 about getting your TV show ideas to various networks Roger decided he was going to put together a pilot episode for a 50 States 50 Days TV series. He wanted a co-host, someone that he could interact with so it wasn't just him talking to the camera or doing formal interviews with a constantly changing array of "Fascinating people" he met along the way as most other travel shows do. So Roger then posted a listing on the Film Boards web site listing what the show was going to be and what he wanted in a co-host. There were about 25 to 30 replies from women in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota metro area that were interested in working on the project. Haley's email - Subject: Haley for Co-Host, was the second email Roger got. Roger and his brother Rodney met and interviewed 5 potential co-hosts, including Haley, and then narrowed those 5 down to just 3 who they did on camera auditions with running around various Twin Cities attractions. Haley made the cut and joined Roger and Rodney later that summer shooting the pilot episode "2 States 2 Days".
Q: Is Roger Haley's bloke?
A: No... Roger and Haley just work together and nothing more.
Q: How did you get to get to Alaska and Hawaii?
A: We took commercial airline flights and then rented cars when in Alaska and Hawaii. We will be in a car for at least 2/3 of the total distance traveled. We estimate that we will be in the van on average 5 hours a day so over 50 days thats 250 hours and at most we will be in aircraft no more then 20 hours total. It's a road trip.
Q: As of the start of the trip how many states have you been to so far?
A: Roger had been to all 50 states at least once and has been to 48 states at least twice. Haley had been to 47 states at least once.
Q: You both live in Minnesota but you started the trip in New York City. Why did you start there?
A: It made more sense to start at one end of the country and make our way to the other rather then starting in the middle in Minnesota and work our way East then all the way back West again. That could have worked but Roger decided to do it the way we did. The reason for New York City rather then some other Eastern destination is that the title of the whole thing is "Welcome to America, 50 States 50 Days" so going to the Statue of Liberty as the very first thing we do seemed fitting.
Q: Are you the first people to do this?
A: No we are not the first but it's still a fun trip to do. We will be doing the trip in our own way seeing and doing the things that interest us in the way that we want to travel. The other thing that we will be doing that I do not think has been done before will be to document the trip and the experience to a greater extent then has been done before. Others have done a great job documenting and sharing their experience with the world, hitch50.com, rosenfamily.net, endurance50.com, 50in50in50.com and others. We hope to take it to the next level with a feature length documentary about the trip.
Q: Did you spend a day in each state?
A: On average, yes. In reality, no.
We were in each state at some point over the course of the 50 days but some states did a little more then pass through. We wished we could do more but time didn't allow it. There is enough time to do something in every state but if we did that there would be so little of it that we would be going from one thing to the next before we had time to take in what we were doing the last place we were. In the end this is a trip to the United States and not a trip to any specific destination so we are going to hit a lot of the highlights and save some of the other specifics that we can't fit in for other trips down the road.
Q: Where to next?
A: We don't know if there will be a next one.