My Obsession with Road Trips
Automobiles and road trips have been a nonstop obsession for me ever since I was an infant. I think this love began with my parents who were fond of the all-American road trip, which usually resulted in long family outings. It didn’t matter where we went as long as we were adventuring together and getting to know the country that we lived in.
Most of the time, however, my parents’ work schedules kept us pretty close to home in New Jersey, so it was memorable when my parents brought my brother and I to the Jersey Shore or to the Poconos.
When it came time to get my permit at age 16, I was surprised my parents didn’t hide the car keys from me in response to my fixation with anything road trip related. Fast forward to age 23 and having the opportunity to pick out a Subaru to drive for a week during the National Park Foundation’s Find Your Park Expedition! My eyes brightened and my reaction was probably relatable to a kid in a candy store. I picked the blue one and immediately set up the Bluetooth audio to get the FYPx playlist going (Grace and I collaborated on it a week before the trip). From there, we said goodbye to the beautiful city of Denver and hit the road for Great Sand Dunes, followed by Mesa Verde National Park!
The drive to Great Sand Dunes, as well as Mesa Verde, was better than I anticipated. I think breathtaking and therapeutic are two words that could describe it. Grace and I were in awe as we drove through the twisty mountain roads that were surrounded by lush greens and yellows. The scenery spoke to us and it was calling for us to stop and take in the natural scenery that Colorado had to offer.
When Grace and I weren’t singing “A Thousand Miles,” we were shouting “OMG, OMG LOOK AT THAT,” almost every second as we passed by countless photo ops until we had the courage to radio to the convoy asking if we could stop. I think each pit stop was a great opportunity for all of us since we got to see Colorado in its most picturesque season, fall.
Coming from New Jersey, where smooth, colorful, non-crowded roads were rare, this was such a drastic change. As one can probably tell, Colorado has been added to my list of states I would love to move to.
With any car, the San Luis Valley would be a picturesque drive and I was so glad to be able to have the opportunity to drive through it. And I was especially glad to have the Subaru since there were some situations where its symmetrical AWD came in handy.
Our Subarus were amazing whether on the highway or on back roads. I think my favorite part of the trip involving the Subaru was when we were driving up to the Farview Lodge in Mesa Verde National Park because it involved putting the Boxer engine to the test through some hairpin turns. Needless to say, I was having loads of fun accelerating through the turns and feeling the confident handling of the car while being coddled by the heated leather seats.
When it came to the finale of the #FYPx trip, I was having trouble accepting that I would be home the next day. The last road trip involved us driving from the beautiful Farview Lodge to the Albuquerque airport. There was more scenery, but the atmosphere was different as it was the last time we would be all together (at least for this occasion). As I write this, I honestly hope we can plan for a reunion sometime soon with everyone in another national park.
A week with a group of strangers was intimidating for me at first, but within the first hour of meeting everyone, we were like family. And this family just happens to drive only Subaru Outbacks!
And, I’m excited to share with you that from November 19, 2015 through January 2, 2016, Subaru will donate up to $15 million to participating charitable partners during its eighth annual "Share the Love" event. For every new Subaru vehicle purchased or leased, Subaru will donate $250 to the National Park Foundation when the customer selects the National Park Foundation as the charity of choice*. How cool is that!
Victor Wei participated in the National Park Foundation’s 2015 Find Your Park Expedition. He is a recent college graduate who enjoys storytelling, photography, and adventures.
*Subaru will donate $250 for every new Subaru vehicle sold or leased from November 19, 2015, through January 2, 2016, to four national charities designated by the purchaser or lessee, up to $15,000,000 in total. Pre-approved Hometown Charities may be selected for donation depending on retailer participation. Certain participating retailers will make an additional donation to the Hometown Charities selected. Purchasers/lessees must make their charity designations by January 31, 2016. The four national charities will receive a guaranteed minimum donation of $250,000 each. See your local Subaru retailer for details or visit subaru.com/share. All donations made by Subaru of America, Inc.
Photo credits: Victor Wei and Javier Gonzalez