"We don't just want to show you where to ride
We want to show you where the ride can take you"
Authentic America takes viewers on a two-wheeled version of the classic American road trip by way of backroads and rural routes to one of our 59 national parks - exploring some of the best kept secrets the land has to offer in lesser-known attractions, off-the-beaten path eateries, and most interesting of all, the people that make America one of the most colorful and eclectic nations in the world.
Join veteran TV host Nan Kelley and her Grammy-nominated husband Charlie as they become one with the landscape on the seats of their motorcycles in this part adventure, part traveling talk show series that takes you into the heart of America and the lives of the people who live there.
NAN & CHARLIE
"As much as I love to travel and see things, it's all about people for me. I grew up in a beauty shop in the south, where the gift of gab is a prerequisite just to walk in the door. So, meeting people and hearing their stories is my passion...it's just in my DNA!"
"A big part of riding for me is being exposed to everything, including the smells. It probably goes back to growing up on a farm, but when you're cruising along and catch the scent of fresh cut hay, leaves burning or a roadside BBQ joint, you feel connected with the world beyond sight and sound. You just don't get that when you're in a car."
Charlie and Nan Kelley know what it’s like to travel a lot and see a little. As a television host for GAC as well as specials for HGTV, Fine Living, Travel Channel and DIY, Nan has been all over the country and toured the world on numerous trips entertaining our military abroad. Touring with artists such as Billy Ray Cyrus, Keith Urban and Jamie O'Neal to name a few, has taken Charlie to all 50 states several times over. While these jobs might seem like the perfect way to see the world, tight schedules kept their views to what could be seen from tour bus and plane windows, with no time to interact with the people they met along the way. And for two curious people who thrive on conversation and emotional connection with others, half of the experience was always missing.
2008 brought an eye opening reality to the pair when, at a young age, they were both diagnosed with cancer just 6 months apart. As with most cancer survivors, the experience brought a new gratitude for life and the desire to live it fully. With this new outlook, the couple decided to travel the country to see the things they missed the first time around. But, seeing it all through another window didn't make sense. When Nan decided to take the motorcycle safety course in Nashville and get her license, their vision for a real traveling experience became clear!
Motorcycles are second nature to Charlie. He started riding on the family farm at 6 years of age on a small Honda MR50 and kept moving up until he graduated to street bikes. Nan learned to ride her father's motorcycle as a teen, with her mother's permission and the promise that she wouldn't leave their neighborhood. So, when she met her mom at a four way stop in the middle of downtown Hattiesburg, Mississippi, not only was she grounded, but her riding days were over...til now!
These days, motorcycling has become a hobby that not only brings them together, but always opens the door to new friends. In each season of Authentic America, Nan and Charlie will venture on the backs of their two wheeled steeds from their home base of Nashville, Tennessee through small towns and hidden hamlets to one of America’s national parks. Because while their careers have allowed them to see the man made skyscrapers of Manhattan and the bright lights of Vegas, they’ve never seen the towering arbors of the Redwood National Forest or the spectacular coral reefs of Dry Tortugas National Park. These parks will be an adventure in their own right, but it’s the people and places they stumble upon that finally provide the missing piece they never had.
If you're interested in checking out any of the places we've traveled to for yourself, here are the links and tell'em Nan and Charlie sent you! Plan your own trip and let us know what you find out there in Authentic America, we'd love to hear from you and maybe even feature your finds in a future episode!
FT. PAYNE, AL
GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
BOWLING GREEN, KY