Tag: driving

Travel Swellness: Camping with the Cadillac Escalade

Escalade for camping weekend

A couple of weeks ago, I went camping for the second time this summer and thanks to Cadillac Canada, I got to test drive a Cadillac Escalade for the trip.

Escalade in Killbear Provincial Park

It’s actually the first time I’ve driven an Escalade, and I was pretty stoked about it. Actually, I was pretty stoked right up until I got in the car and realized how enormous it is. As I’ve only been in an Escalade a handful of times as a passenger, I didn’t realize there are two rows of seats behind the driver, and just how much more massive it is than the other SUVs I’ve been driving (like the Chevy Equinox, GMC Acadia and Buick Envision). How big is it? I didn’t even have to do anything (such as wave to ask them to let me go through) and drivers readily made room for the Escalade so I could get by; people in my neighbourhood could see how this vehicle was not going to make it through the narrow two-way street I live on.

Escalade with Bun and Billie Jean

I was pretty intimidated and nervous behind the wheel at first, and especially so when parking underground (where space is tight and there’s all sorts of columns to maneuver around). I did eventually feel more comfortable driving it once we were out of the city (where traffic was less hectic).

The things I came to like about the Escalade as I drove it and had it for our camping weekend?

  • While you may not think of an Escalade and camping as going hand in hand, camping calls for so much gear, and we were three people and two dogs, and once we put the last row of seats down, we were able to easily fit all of the piles of gear and food. And we were all seated comfortably even with all of our supplies, which was great as we ran into traffic heading out of the city making for a long time in the car.
  • The sharp lines and boxiness of the car; I’ve always been more partial to more boxy cars versus ones with more curves to its silhouette. So aesthetically, it resonates with me.
  • Our Escalade colour, the Crystal White Tricoat, is a gorgeous, almost pearly, white.
  • The luxe, buttery interior. I  jokingly told my friend it made our camping trip into a glamping trip. Also, because it is so spacious, in an emergency, we could all sleep in the vehicle if we came across a bear.
  • The head’s up display on the car’s windshield. Not having to glance at the screen but having my speed and the GPS directions on the windshield (the head’s up display is when this info is projected onto a film on the windshield) so that I can keep my eye on the road is very helpful. I especially found it helpful in the Escalade because I found you could easily be driving quite fast without it feeling like you’re speeding. Being able to have my speed in front of me on this display helped me stay within the speed limit.

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So while the size was intimidating to me, the vehicle did turn out to be a great option for our weekend in the wilderness at Killbear Provincial Park. And I will say, the size of the car and how smoothly it drove did make me feel safe.

As for how camping itself went, I’ll be blogging about that soon. Spoiler alert: we (thankfully) didn’t encounter any bears.

Escaled with Billie Jean chilling

Leave a Comment September 6, 2017

Fitness Swellness: A day of motorsports with Ford Canada

by Pinpoint National Photography

To help celebrate the upcoming Father’s Day (did you get your dad a gift yet??), Ford Canada invited me to drive a Mustang GT and Ford RS on a race track, and I brought along my good friend Damian (and he’s a dad, so there’s my gift to you, D!). I’ve filed this under Fitness Swellness…’cause it’s a sport, right, kinda sorta?

So we drove out to Toronto Motorsports Park, and it was both of our first times driving on a race track. I was kind of nervous…here I am thinking, “Uh…can I do this?!?”

by Pinpoint National Photography

I let Damian go first since I was a bit unsure about getting on the track, but soon enough it was my turn.  Got into the Ford RS and our Ford instructor Malcolm took me out on a recon lap. I only realized once we started out that the car was standard, and I wasn’t confident I could get the car into third gear (I’ve tried to learn to drive standard a few times and it has not gone well, it really stresses me out!), so I didn’t do laps around the track in this car, but instead tried to commit to memory the turns and paid attention to how to handle them based on Malcolm’s talking me through the process as he drove. Turns out, for me anyhow, it’s hard to memorize the curvy track! I did get a feel for the car, though, and felt very safe (those Michelin Cup 2 Track summer tires never felt like we were sliding all of the track). I’m not a car geek, but if you’re wondering the Ford RS has Ford Performance all-wheel drive system with Dynamic Torque Vectoring, turbocharged eco-boost engine and you can select from Normal, Sport, Track and Drift modes.

by Pinpoint National Photography

Next was my turn to drive the Mustang GT. I did three (or was it two–the laps are all blurring together now) and it was fun! It’s hard hugging those corners the way you’re supposed to and always looking a step ahead for the next pylon so as to plan where you’re maneuvering the car! The GT, like the Ford RS, has modes you can select (Normal, Snow/Wet, Sport or Track), and 435 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.  It also has blind-spot info system (which I didn’t have to use on the track!), and I wish I could tell you how fast I drove it on the straightaways but I kept my eyes on the track and peeled for the next pylon so I could make my turns.

Here’s a pretty funny video of our track adventure that Ford put together:

To end our track adventure, we each got to sit in the car as the instructor did a hot lap, and I got to see how I should’ve been getting the GT around the track! It was way, way, way faster than what I drove but I probably didn’t have to tell you that.

Thanks for the fun afternoon, Ford Canada! Now I can check “race a car on a track” off my bucket list!

by Pinpoint National Photography

 

Leave a Comment June 16, 2017

Travel Swellness: Driving to WayHome 2016 with Chevy Cruze

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I had so much fun at WayHome Music & Arts Festival last year that I made sure to get tickets early to this year’s fest, which took place about two weeks ago.

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And while I bought tickets months ago, the rest of the trip came together last minute: I’d booked a bed and breakfast near Burl’s Creek (because I just don’t think I’m cut out for music fest camping!) but I had my heart set on Forks in the Trail, which is where we stayed last year but it was all booked when I tried to reserve. But lucky for us, a room opened up about a week prior, huzzah! Tricia and Doug are lovely hosts, the breakfasts are ample and delicious (these pancakes were fluffy and filling, important when fueling for many hours at the fest!), and there’s the gorgeous pool to relax at all morning before driving the 20 minutes to WayHome.

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A few days before WayHome, I also was able to firm up test-driving a Chevy Cruze from GM to get us to the Oro-Medonte. I’ve driven one before (in Nashville in April; you can read about that trip here) but my drive time there was brief so it was good to get more time behind the wheel of a Cruze.

The Cruze feels small enough that it doesn’t feel like I’m taking up a ton of room on the road but yet not so small that it’s intimidating to be driving alongside big trucks (I find when in some very tiny cars you can feel like the big cars will take you out!). There’s plenty of space so it’s definitely comfortable in terms of leg room; we were only two people in the car but if I’d been able to drive up other folks to the fest, there was plenty of space for both more passengers and bags. And that’s even with me packing way too many clothes (yes, I manage to over-pack still despite how regularly I travel).

As always, one of my fave features is the wifi in the car. Although I didn’t get to use it much as the designated driver, it gives me peace of mind to have it. There’s also a spot to place your cell phone (and if you’re like me, your smartphone is your most important tool!), so it’s tucked there safely (there’s wireless charging too, except I personally don’t have the type of battery to use it). With Apple Carplay, my iPhone’s maps, music, messages and phone were easily connected to the vehicle. If I’d had time before our road trip, I could’ve loaded my iTunes with the Killers, Major Lazer, Haim and Beirut to get us excited for the weekend of music to come.

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Features I also appreciate? Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist (although I certainly don’t rely on it, I like knowing the car has his feature especially on trip’s like this one where I’m the only driver and I may be tired), and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, to name just a few. Again, it’s of course important to practice good, safe driving, but having these features to help us be extra safe when driving is helpful and a comfort, especially for someone like me who isn’t driving very regularly.

The Cruze helped us find our WayHome (and our way home, get it? OK, bad joke) smoothly and safely (and in this brilliant blue, it made it easy to find in the fest’s parking lot).

And there’s more finding new roads coming soon!  Later this week, I’ll be Cruze-ing again as I’m doing another  road-trip adventure with a Chevy Cruze! Follow on Instagram and Snapchat (my profile is healthswellness) to find out  more on Thursday!

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Leave a Comment August 9, 2016

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