So back in May, we decided to take a LONG overdue visit to Pennsylvania to visit my family. It had been two years since our last sojourn, and my kids have spent pretty much every day of that two years asking when we could go see “Maw and Pawpaw.” We finally booked the flights, and I was astounded at the price! We’d never had to pay for the kids before since most of our travel was either by road trip in our trusty Kia Sedona or by plane when the kids were under 2 and didn’t need their own tickets. I knew we had lots of awesome plans for when we were back home, and I started making plans to rent a car to see us through our adventures. When I looked at the prices, I flinched. All of our money was going to be eaten up by the cost of travel, and I was getting desperate. That’s when I decided the only thing to do was steal a car.
Okay, I’m only lying a little bit. The truth is that I was in a bind and decided to reach out to the only car company I trust and ask if I could BORROW one of their cars. Back in April, I’d attended the Mom 2.0 blogging conference and had had an amazing dinner with the folks from Kia. I decided that if they’d taken the time to wine and dine me in such style, they MIGHT be willing to grant me use of a car for my trip. And to my surprise and elation, they agreed! They were kind enough to offer us the use of a 2016 Kia Sorento, which is pretty much the car of my dreams. If you follow my blog, you’ll know we’ve taken SEVERAL road trips in our Sedona, including many trips between Florida and Pennsylvania, a cross-country road trip from Florida to Utah and lots of shorter trips – like the one we took to Zion last year.
Changing from our 7-seat Sedona to the 5-seat Sorento was kind of worrying at first, but thankfully our three car seats fit fine. The kids were closer than they’re used to, but they actually LOVED it. Dexter in particular was really happy to be moved up, as he’s used to sitting by himself in the third row. The back of the Sorento had plenty of room for all our luggage when we drove from Buffalo International Airport into the backwoods of Pennsylvania. I’ve got to say that the drive was SO much fun. The first thing I was excited for was that it had an in-built GPS system. Just tell it where you’re going, and it’ll get you there with no trouble. And you can split the screen on the console so you can see the GPS while still working the radio (btw, Sirius XM was AWESOME to have!) and other cool features. Probably my FAVORITE thing was the smart cruise control. It was SO handy to have in the stop/start traffic through Buffalo. The car actually noticed when traffic was slowing down and adjusted speed accordingly, speeding up when traffic thinned out. AMAZING!
As expected, the first few days were taken up with the kids getting reacquainted with their grandparents. But we were bursting at the seams to take the car on some adventures. I asked my dad for somewhere nearby that we could go to let the kids run around and see some pretty sights. He offered up the suggestion to drive to the top of a mountain nearby with a tiny little park that looked out over the town I grew up. How could I resist? The views were stunning, and I got to see my small hometown from a vantage point I’d never seen before. At one point, we were driving nearly vertically up the mountain, but the Kia handled it flawlessly. Dirt roads, gravel and more potholes than I’d like were barely noticed as the car got us where we were going without incident. And as we watched the sun set, I couldn’t help but be so grateful that I got to make this beautiful memory with my husband and kids.
As we left, I was REALLY impressed by the awesome backup camera! Our Sedona doesn’t have this feature, and it was so cool! We were able to see ALL AROUND our car so that backing up was a piece of cake – especially helpful since the parking lot had a giant tree growing out of the middle of it!
Over the next few days, I took my kids on a tour of my favorite places from childhood. We went up to the old town of Kinzua – made famous by Johnny Cash in his song “As Long as the Grass Shall Grow.” We saw the Kinzua Dam and went for a little wade at Kinzua Beach. We had a picnic near the car as we looked out over Kinzua Bridge.
We went hiking in the mountains, driving the car as far as the trailhead and then making our way to waterfalls and other secret spots in the Allegheny National Forest.
There were so many times we just stopped on the side of the road to take in the majesty of my beautiful home state. Rolling hills and farmland, the mighty Allegheny River and more, just out there waiting to be seen. We drove that car EVERYWHERE. Amazingly, it took us a full 8 days before we had to fill the gas tank! I’m not even sure how that was possible!
We went fishing in the Brokenstraw Creek with my dad, which was the one thing my kids were desperate to do. Of course, it didn’t take them long to realize that fishing is only fun if you actually catch a fish! The rest of the time is kind of boring.
But the best part of our trip was just hanging out at my parents’ house, eating ice cream on the back porch, exploring the neighbor’s old barn and just relaxing in the hammock.
It was the perfect trip home. We had two blissful weeks with my family, and I was so ecstatic to get to introduce my kids to my home – especially baby Chester since this was his first time traveling with us.
As we made plans to leave, we had one more exciting stop planned. We left my parents on a Thursday morning and made our way through late spring storms back up to Buffalo, where we surprised the kiddos with a visit to Niagara Falls!
It was a truly spectacular end to a truly spectacular trip, and I am SO grateful to the folks at Kia for allowing us to borrow such a spectacular car!
Of course, as soon as we returned home, life got hectic, and only this morning I realized that it’s been nearly a month since we got back! And I hadn’t written anything to the beautiful folk at Kia to thank them for their super awesome kindness. I’d promised a blog recap in return for their help, and I hadn’t actually done it! In essence, I’d stolen a car! But a life of crime ain’t for me, so here I am telling all and sundry that if you are looking for a perfect family vehicle that can handle ANY terrain with aplomb, look no further than the 2016 Kia Sorento.
In fact, I have been brow-beating my husband to trade in our 2011 Sedona for a newer model because I am and always have been a #KiaMom.