During filming of the final Season Three episode—a couple of weeks back—I arrived at our hotel late. The sun was going down and we’d spent a hot and difficult day shooting in the desert. As I cleaned out my truck in twilight, I heard someone murmur quietly, and under his breath: “Look it’s the Meteorite Man.”
Even though I was tired and a little cranky, I stopped what I was doing and turned around to say hello. Here was a very well dressed older gentleman and his wife, out for a sunset walk. Taking the air, one might say. The gentleman was a fan of my show, Meteorite Men, asked if we were filming in the area, and when the new season would air. I replied that we were filming in the area, and that the new season would start in November on Science. I then asked him where he was from and he said: “Nowhere.” I thought the man was being glib until he added that he and his wife were both retired and now permanent RV-ers. They wandered the country, spending a month here, a week there, and generally taking their own sweet time to see things that interested them. Apart from the appalling cost in gasoline, it seemed a very attractive lifestyle choice. While I could immediately relate to their peripatetic nature, I felt somewhat envious that they were able to see things at their own relaxed pace, because when we are on the move, we are really on the move, and there is no time for sightseeing.
We began filming for Season Three of Meteorite Men in late June, just in time for the big burn, exactly as we did last year, even though we all hoped we would start earlier and avoid some of the summer heat, but we have to deliver the shows when they are needed. This time around I saw seven countries, six states, many airplanes, many meteorites, two eagles, two sunburns, two near cases of dehydration, two quite severe cactus-related injuries, one amphibious vehicle, one giant nest full of giant storks (and I mean giant), one broken toe, one concussion, one Russian cop who looked exactly like Benny Hill, and plenty of other amazing sights.
Steve and I returned to a couple of favorite sites where we’ve hunted in the past, and also broke exciting new ground, visiting some meteorite locations, and even a country or two that we’d never seen before. We continued to receive valuable academic help from the Center for Meteorite Studies at ASU, and the University of Edmonton in Alberta. The highlight, for me, was doubtless working with our new off-road recon truck, “The Mule.” In an earlier and simpler form it’s been my meteorite hunting vehicle for years, and has actually already appeared in several episodes. But, for our third season we thought the MM needed a rougher, tougher, go-anywhere vehicle, and “The Mule” was born. All-Pro Off Road made the crash bumpers and bed rack for me, my friends at Dan’s Toy Shop put the whole thing together, and 1-Day Paint and Body in Tucson, mixed the color for me specially, because I can be a bit nitpicky about such things. In fact, the story of desinging and building the Meteorite Men truck is so much fun it should probably have its own blog entry later on.
My great friend Sonny Clary—a tough firefighter from Las Vegas, and a guy who thinks absolutely nothing of taking off into the screaming desert on his own for two weeks—assisted us with two episodes this season. Sonny has quite the sense of humor and at the end of the shoot said to me: “I thought you guys were just wusses, always saying how hard it is to make the show. I don’t know how you do it.” He seemed almost as tired as me, and I was relieved that he no longer though of my co-host, Steve, and myself, as wusses.
So, here I am back in my office with a broken toe, looking forward to seeing what post-production has done to the new episodes. We had a great team this year. Executive Producer James Rowley directed the first four international episodes, and Jeff Fisher handled the other four. Nice guys, and smart. Our director of photography, Per Larsson, has won two Primetime Emmys and pretty much invented Amazing Race, so I expect the look of the show to be nothing short of dazzling and spectacular. For the last few episodes we were lucky enough to work with cameraman Joe “Boots” Parker, who not only lives here in Tucson, but is a former U.S. Army Ranger, and a wildlife photography specialist. What a superb choice he was for us, and I made a new friend in town. Senior Producer Sonya Bourn returned to keep the entire box of monsters on the road and relatively injury-free, once again, and is the only member of the road crew who made it through all three seasons.
Good people worked hard, traveled far, and brought their expertise to bear. Meteorite Men Season Three will premiere on November 28 at 9 pm on Science. Did we find something rare and amazing in every episode? I really can’t remember. Or, if I can, I am proably not supposed to tell you.
Tune in and find out. I think I can promise you one thing—you won’t be bored.
Text © by Geoffrey Notkin. Photgraphs by Suzanne Morrison © Aerolite Meteorites LLC
All rights reserved. No reproduction without written permission.