Travel Channel joins Rand McNally’s Best of the Road cross-country road rally to search for America’s best small towns. With the road rally in full swing, we’re getting dispatches from our road warrior videographer: Allison Otto.  Allison joined the Best of the Road RV team and she’ll be filming, taking photos and blogging while on the RV capturing the small town wonders that cross the their path.

Allison’s biggest passion in life is the joy of hitting the open road — she has clocked more than 450 road trips along the back roads of the US. She has also spent 2 years living in a fully-restored, 26 ft. 1958 Airstream — her other passion being vintage RVs!

Check out her photos from New York state and Kentucky.

Allison editing video on the Best of the Road RV.

On the Road dispatch from Allison:

The Best of the Road 2012 tour is officially underway and I’m riding along in a ritzy, 40 ft Fleetwood RV with a crew from Rand McNally as we search for America’s best small towns. It’s such an exciting way to spend the summer, and my personal mission as we head west from Washington D.C. is to find the offbeat and unique people, places and stories that define our country and its small towns.

We had our most grueling day on the road thus far: we drove 511 miles in 7 hours and passed through 4 states (Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia) before we rolled into Danville, Kentucky.

We were exhausted, but cheered up quickly when we saw the welcome BBQ that the citizens of Danville put together in our honor! (See the photo gallery for all the pictures from our Danville visit.)

Before I left the BBQ, I persuaded local bartender David Sullivan to share his recipe for Bourbon Slush—a refreshing Kentucky libation perfect for summer get-togethers:

Start with 2 parts Maker’s Mark Kentucky bourbon

Add 1 part Maker’s Mark Mint Julep Bourbon

Add a dash of simple syrup

Freeze the entire thing and serve chilled with a sprig of mint in each glass.

I also filmed the quirky and incomparable Great American Dollhouse Museum, which showcases more than 200 dollhouses, miniature buildings and room boxes in minute detail. The museum features an entire miniature village circa 1910 populated with tiny people at work and at play in all of the town’s districts. I spent 6 hours there and filmed right through lunch, because it was so fascinating and there were so many beautiful shots and details to capture!  Lori Kagan-Moore, the museum’s curator and chief creator, has wonderful stories to share about the acquisitions of the museum’s various dollhouses and their restoration work. Her daughter, Hannah, who is responsible for helping paint, landscape, and stage the dollhouses and their various sets, was also on hand to show some of the aspects of maintaining the dollhouses. Check out the video: Life Inside a Dollhouse.

And here is the rest of the crew sharing the RV with me: (Left to Right) Rand McNally videographers Andrew Saunderson, Zach Mann, driver Bob Bailey and Best of the Road co-hosts, Amanda Pflugrad and Gary Hurt, leaning against the swanky 40-foot Fleetwood RV that transports our crew across the country.

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Road Trips

One Response

  1. Lynette Pettigrew says:

    Allison, did you check out Paige Davidson Studio and Cahoots while you were in Gainesville Tx? Paige has several Airstream trailer paintings.

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Kathleen RellihanKathleen Rellihan is a digital producer, writer and editor for TravelChannel.com. A Washington, DC, resident, Kathleen's love for adventure travel has inspired her to go dog sledding in Quebec, search...

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