At the beginning of May 2011, I’m pulling out of Houston in my ‘87 VW camper (Van Coover) and setting off on a dialect-gathering tour of the US and Canada, hitting as many of the accents I don’t “have” yet as possible. Can you help? Here are my major accent goals and destinations:
In May: Beaufort SC for Gullah accents Pittsburgh - yins are welcome to hook me up with some locals! Baltimore Philadelphia
A brief respite in Washington DC and NYC, and then June will take me to: Nova Scotia Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa Upstate New York Toronto Detroit
Then I hope to catch friends and family in Chicago, Iowa and Minneapolis before July finds me in: Winnepeg across to Calgary OR Fargo across to Glacier and up to Calgary and Banff Eastern Washington State Vancouver (the namesake of Van Coover, the VW) Seattle Portland a stop in Ashland, and perhaps a bit of time going more east in Oregon Santa Rosa & San Francisco Yosemite friends and accents in Los Angeles and San Diego
August seems like the perfect time to cross the Mojave without air conditioning, heading to: Las Vegas Moab, UT the Grand Canyon Albequerque and Santa Fe
Which should all roll me into Houston somewhere around September 1.
This all, of course, depends on budget, breakdowns, and side trips. I’ll be hitting all of the lower 48 states I haven’t hit before, a number of national parks, lots of friends I haven’t seen in far too long, and hopefully a lot of “the kindness of strangers.”
As I travel, I’m hoping to do a good deal of editing and writing as well, so that I don’t arrive in Houston with a computer full of only raw material, which would be a little daunting… If you have any leads on locals who might help me gather some of these more obscure accents, I’d appreciate the way into the community! Most of these accents have very little demand, but my goal is to build a wide array of accents for actors to use no matter what comes up.
Future travels? I’m hoping to spend some time in Central or South America this fall working on my Spanish, and at some point I have got to do a similar trip around the UK for a number of months to pick up on more of the regional varieties. I don’t know if it’s worth shipping Coover, though, so I may buy an old van and customize a “stealth” camper for an extended voyage…