Tag: ford

Fitness Swellness: National Take a Hike Day with Ford Canada

Ford Eco Sport hike

Last month, I celebrated National Take a Hike Day with Ford Canada (thanks for the Eco Sport for the week, Ford Canada!).

I wish I lived close to mountains and forests so that hiking were more easily accessible. But for now, I do like living in downtown Toronto (having a ton of great restaurants nearby is a life essential). And while there are some trails in the city that I know of that I can take Billie Jean to either by running to them or via public transit (David Balfour Park is one of them), the better trails tend to be farther afield. So with the Eco Sport filled up with gas, we set out for Hamilton to the Bruce Trail.

 

IMG_1512

Crunch, crunch, crunch. I love the sound of just my footsteps and Billie Jean’s flurry of steps (she adores racing around; I’m sure she ends up doing at least double the distance I hike). I’ve done this particular hike once before, which includes four waterfalls. We had just missed the wonderful autumn leaves on the trees by maybe a week or two, but they still made a pretty glorious setting on the ground dotted with some snow. I hadn’t realized there’d be snow on the trails (the snowfall hadn’t lasted downtown so I’d forgotten any snow had come down). The air was brisk and we encountered few people on the trail; I love when trails are so quiet (except if I am lost, then I want to encounter people!). About four hours later, we finished just at dusk famished and pooped.

Bruce Trail

Because getting out to hike is a favourite for both me and Billie Jean, we headed out again on the Sunday to Rouge National Urban Park to the Woodland Trail. More snow, a pretty creek, very few people and one very happy dog.

IMG_1580

Whenever I have access to a car, I try to take advantage of doing things that are too difficult to do without one. Such as going to restaurants further out of the downtown core, and doing shopping errands for bulky items (as much as I’d like to make it a strength workout, I can’t walk the 30 minutes with a giant bag of Billie Jean’s food). With the zippy Eco Sport, I was able to check off trying Tajok-Uzbek cuisine at Chaihana and made full use of the spacious trunk on a shopping outing with a friend.  

eco sport trunk

Someday, I’d love to have a car. It makes so many adventures like camping and hiking and doing chores easier; I truly have never appreciated having one  more than since adopting Billie Jean. The past few years I’ve driven such a variety of cars and it’s helping me learn more about what I like in a vehicle. I now know I prefer SUVs (I find there’s a comfort that comes from sitting up high compared to a car) and the Eco Sport I felt was a good compromise in size for me personally (it’s not so large that I feel uneasy parking or maneuveuring it, but sizeable enough that I could probably go camping with it, and do a road trip in it with Billie Jean). Plus check out the big screen in the Eco Sport (below)! Love it.

This is the first vehicle I’ve driven that has the trunk opening from the side, and I’m not sure what I think about that (would it be harder to open if you had a car or something right behind the car because you’d need more clearance space compared to a trunk that opens upwards?). I also realized that when it comes to paint jobs, I’m pretty conservative when it comes to car colour, gravitating towards black or white, or at most a deep inky navy, instead of more standout shades like the Canyon Ridge of this Eco Sport. (Not that I’d turn down the beyond beautiful red 1957 Mercedes Benz SL that I was fortunate enough to enjoy on Highway 1 in California a few months ago, though!)

 

Ford Eco Sport screen

Already plotting on where to road trip next to with Billie Jean…debating a long (multi-day) road trip next…What are your favourite things you do with a car? Did you celebrate Take Hike Day? Are there fun mini road trips I’m missing out on? Or things in the city I should check out the next time I’ve got wheels? Would love to hear from you.

Billie Jean in Eco Sport

Leave a Comment December 14, 2018

Travel Swellness: Ford Explorer adventures in Toronto with Billie Jean

IMG_9984

When it comes to my schedule outside of work, most of my time is spent making my sweet rescue pup, Billie Jean, happy. Yes, I’m now one of those people.

So with the opportunity to get a Ford Explorer from Ford Canada and show Billie Jean parts of the city she has not yet seen, I jumped at the chance. She’s only been in Canada a year, so there’s so much she hasn’t experienced yet and even though dogs are permitted on the TTC in non-rush hour times, there are adventures that are so much simpler to do with a car.

Ford Explorer at Bluffs

Let’s first talk about this vehicle, though. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t driven in a few months, but the Explorer is one big SUV. I thought I’d get used to it the more I drove it over the four days, but I have to admit I didn’t. However, while it made it nerve-wracking for me (the infrequent driver) to park — I think I spent 20 minutes in my underground parking trying to get it into the only available spot, which was the worst spot of the whole parking garage — I always felt safe in it. The blind-spot assist function is something I appreciate as well as the easy to use GPS (this is a must for me given I have no sense of direction and being lost is a huge stressor for me). In terms of comfort and how easy the car is to use, I liked the Billie Jean hopped right into the backseat (that’s her ultimate seal of approval, I have had vehicles where she seems unsure of what to do with herself), and things like the button to shut the trunk door and to lower the last row of seats (making it easier for me to view out the rear window) make it a relief to drive. And while I’m no expert on driving, from my perspective, I felt like it handled smoothly (braking is nice and smooth, accelerates how I’d expect it to based on how I much I’m stepping on the gas, and even just  how the actual steering wheel feels in your hands; the simple things you may not notice when the car runs smoothly like this one did, but are glaringly obvious when they’re not comfortable to the touch or driving experience, in my experience anyhow).

IMG_9858

I learned how well it drove over the course of a few days, and first up was a spa day for Billie Jean. We rolled up to Park9 in the Distillery  District, where Billie Jean enjoyed a massage bath, she get a mani (well, her claws were trimmed) and best of all, she got a blueberry facial. How cute is that? She came out smelling so fresh and clean and her fur was absolutely brilliant!

Sherwood Park

The rest of our time was spent visiting friends and going to parks we can’t access simply. This included Sherwood Park, which is a lovely park to trek around with a large off-leash section, and also Sixteen Mile Creek in Oakville, where Billie Jean got to sport her adorable new Nordic sweater.

Sixteen Mile Creek

Before stopping into Oakville, we went to make a small pit stop in Burlington as I was keen to try Sunshine Doughnuts (where Billie Jean wasn’t very pleased that she did not get a doughnut for herself).

IMG_9919

And for our last dog-fun outing? A visit to Scarborough Bluffs, which was blissfully quiet and serene on a weekend morning. If you’ve ever met Billie Jean, you can easily tell when she’s having the time of her life, and I know that she felt like she was living her best life on these adventures in the Ford Explorer.

IMG_0062

I took advantage of having the Ford SUV to also do a little exploring of my own, too. Namely, a food adventure. I picked up friends (did you know the Explorer seats six people?) and we headed to Fishmans Lobster Clubhouse, which I have long drooled over when I’ve seen posts of lobster towers on Instagram (and you may recognize the restaurant as it was recently featured on David Chang’s Ugly Delicious). It’s a set menu so my friend in the know insisted we go with a big group of people, so with the Explorer, we were finally able to make our lobster tower dream come true.  And it was so worth it. I can see this becoming an annual trek to Markham.

Fishmans Lobster Clubhouse

I reluctantly returned the Explorer and handed back the keys, but ended our explorations around the city with one happy dog (and one full and happy belly myself). You can check photos on Instagram with the hashtag #FordDogDays! And I’d love your recos of where to go on future outings with this pup!

IMG_0102

 

Leave a Comment May 1, 2018

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

Previous page


Recent Posts

Categories

Recent Comments