2011 Toyota Sienna: Smells Like Hippies and Beef Jerky
April 18, 2011
We headed east to lights of Vegas last Tuesday morning. 1,000 miles of open desert, desert dwellers and a few open throttle passes. However, the photo and video team weren't in the much hyped Lexus LFA. No, we tried to keep up with the supercar in our long-term Toyota Sienna.
The idea was to see how it worked out as a mobile studio, mobile workstation and all around support vehicle. We started out our trip a little frazzled because we had an intense dyno session the day before. But the idea of the adventure waiting ahead of us in (or near) a $375,000 exotic was exciting.
Every part of the day was spent getting to a location, shooting at a location, then heading to the next location. Thankfully the seats of the Sienna were comfortable and the rear air conditioning vents were nearby. Yes, we actually had a mini-heatwave in the upper 80s during our run.
The Sienna has plenty of sauce, which was nice. There were plenty of times we had to catch up to the LFA after doing a drive by. A drive by, as you might imagine, is when we set up cameras on the side of the road for the car to drive past us. Sometimes the LFA didn't stop and we hurriedly packed up and kept heading east. Once we caught up to them, we did car-to-car action. Unfortunately, the second row windows don't roll all the way down. This meant we had to balance the camera(s) on the glass, or a sweatshirt bundled on top of the window. Not the best option for the visual artist.
Another downside to the van was the lack of a 110 outlet. The curse of the base model! We bought a converter so we can run our battery chargers, laptops and all other manner of equipment for our mobile studio. The amount of gear needed to edit while moving created a rats nest of cables and boxes in the second row. I nearly rolled out of the second row seat at a Starbucks because my feet were tightly bound in USB cables.
Eating a sit-down meal is not an option during these road trips. Burger wrappers ran deep by the end. To supplement the lack of rest stops, we packed in a lot of energy drinks, waters and snacks (consisting of trail mix and beef jerky) into the plentiful storage areas located around the van. I'm betting if a future staffer gets stuck out in the middle of nowhere in the Sienna, they would be able to sustain themselves on the raisins and beef scab that tumbled into the cracks between and under the seats during this trip.
We returned the van covered in bugs and smelling a little funkier than before. Look, four guys in the hot desert working under stress for 18 hours a day and eating crappy food ain't gonna leave it pretty. The next guy in line for the Sienna was the big boss. Sorry, boss.
I'll remember our adventure for the rest of my life. The LFA was the reason for the road trip, but the Sienna made the road trip.
Scott Jacobs, Sr Mgr, Photography