An American Road Trip

Two Weeks, Four Wheels, and the Open Road

I spent the better part of two weeks in the new Fiat 500L on a mission to see some of the grandest monuments in America. Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and Yellowstone National Park. Leaving from the Los Angeles area up Interstate 15 towards the vast openness that is Utah, I find the 500L is excellent on the highway the 1.4 liter engine is not going to win any drag races, but once you are up to highway speeds it settles and is smooth and quiet.

Roadside Attractions along I-15
This route will take me over the Rocky Mountains and to Denver Colorado where I will stop in and visit some friends and check in on my company's showroom. I headed south to Colorado Springs to meet up with a modeling friend of mine and we visited the Garden of the Gods, you can see those photos HERE. Heading north up the I-25 I see this little town called Nunn, and in it was Nunn Motor Company an old dealership still filled with all kinds of cool automotive treasure, sadly no one was around the city of Nunn to answer any questions about Nunn Motor Co.

Nunn Colorado

Pushing on across Wyoming headed towards South Dakota, the sunset was worth pulling over for to watch until the stars came out. The world is a lot quieter up here, you pass through small towns, every now and again, but for the most part it's just you and the open highway.

Sunset at the Wyoming/South Dakota State Line
Somewhere in Wyoming

Panoramic Roof is an amazing way to take in a road trip.

Roomy for it's size the 500L was built to road trip
The 500L's Available Navigation and Satellite Radio with Beats Premium Audio help the miles pass  
 Until you get to the Black Hills of South Dakota it's pretty flat, thankfully this 500L has the preimum Beats sound system and satellite radio, which is key because radio station choices are limited in this part of the country. The built in navigation system also works great and keeps you informed of travel time and road conditions.

Crazy Horse Monument
All of my life I have wanted to see Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument, both are worth the trip. After spending a night in Custer, I woke up early to hit the road and see the Monuments. The first stop was the Crazy Horse Monument, a carving so massive it is hard to believe until you see it in person. The museum at Crazy Horse is worth spending time in and gives you a look into the culture that is celebrated in this monument. It costs $11 per person or $28 per car load and the funds go towards the project, which is not financed by the government.

Mt. Rushmore
After spending the morning at Crazy Horse I packed back in the Fiat and headed to Mount Rushmore. The road that takes you to the monument is a canyon carver's dream. The 500L was fun in the corners for a car that is built to be sporty, but is not a sports car I feel it did pretty well. Mt. Rushmore is free but they charge $11 per car to park, however, that parking pass is good until the end of the calendar year. Mount Rushmore is all you expect it to be and I am glad I went to see it.

Leaving South Dakota
Headed toward Montana for a quick stop in Billings, it is hard to wrap my head around that the largest city in Montana has less than 110,000 people. But with my visit to Billings concluded I headed towards Yellowstone National Park. 

Big Sky Country
Yellowstone National Park
My first time ever visiting Yellowstone and I honestly can't wait to go back and spend some real time exploring it. Camping out of the 500L is perfect, I am not sure if I was in an official campsite but since no one bugged me, I rolled my sleeping bag out and spent a night under the stars. 

Night Views
The next morning I would explore a but but I needed to start making my way back to California. Every bend of the road there is something breathtaking at Yellowstone, and I find myself stopping and taking pictures often. I am going to have to plan another adventure to Yellowstone and really explore it. 

The scale of everything in Yellowstone is amazing
As I inch towards the Idaho state line darkness is falling, I am going to drive most of the night across the desolate I-15 that connects Salt Lake City to  Las Vegas, then on to California and home. While this trip would have been fun in any car, the 500L really did make the trip overall better. The panoramic glass roof let me take in more of the sites, the fuel economy was amazing averaging over 30 mpg across the trip, and it was comfortable and cool. It reminded me of  a scaled down version of old VW Bus, but with none of the drawbacks of an old car. The 500L is smooth, had tons of space, and had everything you could want in a road trip car or daily driver.

I was not paid by Fiat for this post, all opinions are my own. Fiat did loan me the car from the press fleet for this trip.

Road Trip: Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods is a magical place, four-hundred eighty acres of untouched natural beauty that is open to the public free of charge. I parked the Fiat 500L and headed into the visitor's center to learn more about the park. 

The park was a gift to the City of Colorado Springs by railroad tycoon Charles Elliott Perkins. Perkins always wanted the space to be enjoyed by the public as a place to reflect on the natural beauty of the garden. 

In 1909, Perkins' children, knowing their father's feeling for the Garden of the Gods, conveyed his four-hundred eighty acres to the City of Colorado Springs. It would be known forever as the Garden of the Gods "where it shall remain free to the public, where no intoxicating liquors shall be manufactured, sold, or dispensed, where no building or structure shall be erected except those necessary to properly care for, protect, and maintain the area as a public park."

Today the park is still free for all who wish to visit, including over 15 miles of trails, picnic areas, and a visitors center that showcases the park's history and geological significance. I took a bit of a diversion from my road trip to Denver to stop and meet up with fashion model Madison Flowers to go on a short hike and take some pictures in the amazing park. 

Planning your visit is easy, even if you are tight on time, I recommend at least taking a drive through the parks amazing roads before jumping back on the I-25. To plan your visit CLICK HERE

Rolex Central Park Horse Show

Land Rover North America will return as the official vehicle for one of the world’s most iconic equestrian events, the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, in the heart of New York City from September 21-25, 2016.

Since its inception in 2014, the Rolex Central Park Horse Show has grown significantly each year, attracting some of the world’s very best competitors in equestrian sport. The event, staged over five days under the iconic backdrop of the New York City skyline in Central Park’s Wollman Rink, showcases a wide variety of equestrian disciplines to thrill spectators and broadcast audiences across the U.S. and around the world.

Kim McCullough, Vice President of Marketing, Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC said, “Land Rover North America is a longstanding supporter of equestrian sport in the U.S. with our commitment spanning over two decades.”

“We are proud to be returning to one of the world’s most iconic equestrian venues. It’s an amazing feat to build a​n ​event ​of this caliber ​in the center of ​ New York ​City.”  

The Rolex Central Park Horse Show is the first-ever outdoor, multi-day equestrian sporting event in New York City, showcasing some of the best show jumpers and dressage riders in the world, all competing for top prizes in the heart of Manhattan.

The third annual Rolex Central Park Horse Show will feature five days of multi-discipline equestrian sport and performances, starting with Arabians on the opening night.  This year, audiences will be treated to a special Dressage performance from triple Olympic Individual Gold medalist Charlotte Dujardin and her wonder horse Valegro. There will also be Hunter competitions and Show Jumping with U.S. Show Jumping Team Silver medalists from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, McLain Ward and Kent Farrington, coming to New York to battle for the prestigious title of U.S. Open Champion on Thursday, September 22, and Friday, September 23, 2016. They will be joined by some of the top riders in the world. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will also host the second annual U.S. Open in the categories covering Jumpers, Dressage, Hunters, U25 Jumpers and Arabians.

Land Rover is also providing a special treat for the younger members in attendance: a fleet of electric powered replicas of iconic Land Rover models. Designed for children aged four to ten, the special junior driving experience will take place in the main arena. Children’s pony rides, face painting, and equestrian demonstrations will also be available free of charge on Sunday.

Mark Bellissimo, CEO, International Equestrian Group commented, "Our New York event continues to grow each year and we are thrilled to have Land Rover North America as our official vehicle partner for the third year running. It is going to be another exceptional show this year with a special celebration for our U.S. Olympic equestrian medal winning athletes from Eventing, Dressage and Show Jumping all coming to Central Park. It is a real privilege to be able to showcase the amazing competitors and their horses from all disciplines to the fans in this iconic arena in the heart of Manhattan.”

In addition to watching some of the world’s top riders in action, spectators will have the opportunity to see the Range Rover Sport HSE displayed onsite. The Range Rover Sport is a genuine Land Rover success story, delivering all the refinement and capability expected from a large SUV with the engaging experience of a performance vehicle.

For 2017 model year, Land Rover continues to increase the desirability of its models with the introduction of new powertrains, upgraded infotainment and connectivity systems, as well as enhanced driver assistance features across its range of Land Rover and Range Rover vehicles. The 2017 Land Rover model line-up features four models: The Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque, both powered by 240-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engines, as well as the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport available with five powertrain options – a 340-hp supercharged V6 gasoline engine, a 380-hp supercharged V6 gasoline engine, a 510-hp supercharged V8 gasoline engine, a 550-hp supercharged V8 gasoline engine and a 254-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine.

Discovery Sport models receive the new All-Terrain Progress Control system as standard across the model line-up, as well as the option for a new Gesture Powered tailgate and new available exterior colors. 2017 Range Rover Sport models benefit from the introduction of Land Rover InControl® Touch Pro™ featuring a 10.2-inch infotainment screen, a new HSE Dynamic model producing 380-hp through the proven supercharged V6 gasoline engine, new exterior paint colors and a wider suite of available Driver Assistance features.

Similarly, the 2017 model year Range Rover sees the introduction of InControl Touch Pro, a wider range of exterior paint colors and a new suite of available Advanced Driver Assistance technologies. At 2017 model year, a new 550-hp Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic also joins the Range Rover line-up distinguished by its standard wheelbase, sporting lowered suspension and Graphite Atlas Grey Accents. Produced by Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) beside the Range Rover SVAutobiography and Range Rover Sport SVR, the Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic will be limited to approximately 200 models in the United States.

Range Rover Evoque also receives updates for 2017 model year including new exterior colors, All-Terrain Progress Control as standard across all trim levels, the availability of InControl Touch Pro and the introduction of an all-new Convertible body style. The Range Rover Evoque Convertible enhances the desirability of the Range Rover Evoque family, taking the Land Rover brand to a new audience of customers looking for a unique combination of open-air luxury and refinement.

Year to date, through August 2016, Land Rover is continuing to grow with sales up 15 percent versus the same period last year.

To learn more about the Rolex Central Park Horse Show please visit:

The Ultimate Country Home

This ranch, located in Sisters,Oregon, might just be the ultimate country house, not only does it have over 500 acres where you can pretty much do anything you want, it has a track, an indoor and an outdoor arena, a bar, and of course an amazing barn.The main house is just under 15,000 sq feet and boasts 8 bedrooms, 8.5 baths, and a movie theater that is likely larger than the main screen in Sisters.
Check out the amazing estate below and for more info or you put your offer in, visit the official listing on Sotheby's HERE

Santa Fe Fashion Week 2016

 Santa Fe, New Mexico, will be hosting internationally-recognized designers from Project Runway and Under the Gunn.

For the 5th year, the event will bring the fashion world together in the high desert mountains of Santa Fe.  Join us in a celebration of ethical, fashion forward designs and designers, celebrities and fun. The week will kick off Thursday night with an out door garden fashion show and culminate in a Friday Night roof top reception at the Drury Plaza. On September 30th and Saturday evening Octo ber 1st, run way shows will take place, also at the Drury Plaza.

“We’re bringing in Project Runway designers that lead the trends in fashion. Executive Producer Stephen Cuomo. “It’s so big for Santa Fe, the region, and fashion. Santa Fe is showing it’s quickly becoming the next Milan, but with all the wonders and culture of Northern New Mexico at its disposal".

The one-week celebration will kick off with a special showing of the film The True Cost.
This year Santa Fe Fashion Week is highlighting several celebrity designers and fashion all-stars to show the best of ethical fashion, including:

Richard Hallmarq: is returning to Santa Fe Fashion Week for a second time. A designer from Season 11 of Project Runway
Emily Payne: A star from Season 13 of Project Runway
Rey Ortiz from the TV show Under the Gunn

This year’s event sponsors include: Toni & Guy and Drury Plaza 

A complete schedule of events is at  

Stephen Cuomo
Executive Producer Santa Fe Fashion Week

Tokyo Girl

One night in Tokyo while looking for dinner I stumbled across a restaurant where I spent the whole evening hanging out with the staff and chatting with a few of their regular customers in broken English and cell phone photos. Lucky for me Japanese model and actress Mizuno Natsuko happened to be one of them, after chatting about photography I invited her to meet me the next afternoon in Sasazuka to take some photos. When she showed up in a traditional Yukata I knew it was going to be a fun shoot.

Mizuno is currently working on stage productions in Tokyo, but has appeared in a number of magazines, short films, web series and commercials. We shot these photos around the streets of Sasazuka, Tokyo.

You can follow her on Twitter HERE.

Hostel Kyoto

My recent trip to Kyoto was an amazing adventure. It was my first time in that city and while many traditional hotels are avaliable, a new breed of boutique hostels offer an attractive affordable alternative, so I thought I would check one out. By the way this is not a sponsored post and they didn't know I planned on writing a review.

The Piece Hostel Sanjo, is in the heart of Kyoto, just a few blocks from the river walk, restaurants, shopping and parks. I had not stayed in a hostel for a number of years, but this is not your backpacker hostel with old bunk beds and one shower. It is a clean modern establishment with friendly staff, great facilities, and great free wifi.

The rooms are fresh, well designed and clean. There are options for private and family rooms as well as 4-10 person dormitories with bunk boxes. They do also offer all female dormitories for female travelers who prefer not to share a room with men.

Each morning breakfast is served, this being a hostel means that you wash your dishes when you are done, it's not much of a chore, but just be prepared for it. The showers are private and large by Japanese standards and the laundry room is modern and has a number of machines.

4 Person Room

Each dormitory is only accessible to the guests staying in that room and for added security each bunk gets it's own large locker for valuables. If you are taking a road trip there is a pay by the hour parking lot across the street, if you took the train like we did, I recommend renting bicycles as a great way to get around the city.

Ranging from $29-90 a night depending on the type of room you select and the dates, the Piece Hostel Sanjo offers great value. The staff is also helpful with directions, pointing out local festivals, and they offer bag storage on the day of checkin and checkout so you can enjoy the city without hauling your luggage around.

In the basement is a lounge/bar called Drip & Drop that serves coffee, beer, and a daily menu of light meals, if you don't feel like going out. Overall I have to say the Piece Hostel Sanjo changed my opinion on hostels in general and is a great choice for a solo traveler or groups.

For more information or to book your your own stay visit their official website HERE 

Bunk in 10 person room

Barrel Racing

There is no championship, no big buckle to win, no crowd in the grandstands, but across the US barrel racers gather together to hone their skills and engage in some friendly competition. Tonight, is a Thursday night at Ingalls Equestrian Event Center and riders from all over the area have come out to race. Ingalls draws a fairly large crowd seeing as it is in "Horsetown USA" better known as the City of Norco. 

I generally only cover larger events, but it seemed like it might be a good opportunity to capture some grassroots enthusiasts enjoying some time in the area, so I stopped by. One awesome thing about the Barrel Racing Community is that no matter what skill level or how nice your truck is, most everyone is there to encourage each other, coach new riders, and truly enjoy the sport. Enjoy the photos below and share your own barrel racing photos and stories with us on the Cassidy Magazine Facebook Page