To capture the tradition of a joyride in the mountains, we enlisted photographer Emily Chaplin, a Charlotte native with ties to Asheville. Emily spent 10 days in the mountains working solo — no assistant, other than the helpful car owners, who were incredibly generous with their time and prized possessions.

“On a number of occasions, I rode in the passenger side of the car on the way to our shoot location,” Emily says, “and something I found surprising (though I shouldn’t have) and wonderful was how many smiles, thumbs-up, cheers, and waves we received — from pedestrians, other drivers, cyclists.”

For this essay, Emily shot 1,936 pictures and photographed 27 different cars.

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