Last month, I traveled to Chicago to attend the 2012 Brands & Bloggers Summit hosted by Social RevUp at the Hard Rock Hotel. This was my second year attending the one-day Summit that gives bloggers a chance to really hear what brands want, and to let brands know what bloggers think about working with them! It’s not a big event, but getting to stay at a table all day while the panels change, with lots of built-in breaks long enough to have real conversations and spend more than just a second at the sponsor tables is a nice change from the usual huge conference setting. Plus, I LOVE Chicago, like, if I could turn back time, I would move there right after college.
The only problem I have with traveling to Chicago is how to actually get there. It’s only about a 3.5 hour drive, but we are a one-vehicle family right now, and I can’t leave my husband and kids home with no vehicle if there was an emergency. I’ve taken the Amtrak train twice, but it stops at several stations in between Lansing and Chicago, plus slows down for backups on the track, which can turn the trip easily into five hours. I could fly, but by the time I flew from Lansing to Detroit to Chicago, it’s easily five hours as well.
My preference is driving, and in the past I have rented small cars from Hertz at the airport, but this year I got to drive something even better – the 2012 GMC Terrain, which is a small crossover SUV, thanks to sponsorship by GMC! They dropped it off the Wednesday before the conference and I got to keep it for a week. I felt so fancy with such a great-looking vehicle in my driveway!
Driving the Terrain felt like driving in a luxury sedan, but with the cargo space of a minivan. I’m a sucker for XM Satellite Radio, and when I’m hitting those parts of lower Michigan where the radio isn’t that great, cranking up the Comedy channel and belly-laughing to Laugh USA and Blue Collar Comedy makes the drive just that much better. I loved the cupholders with this rubber liner that held a big 32 ounce fountain Diet Coke but also contracted inward to hold my travel coffee mug in place. It’s little things like that that make road trips easier!
Two very cool features I learned about from the Event Solutions men who dropped off the car were the lane-drift warning signal that let me know with a beep if I was getting too close to the yellow line on either side of the vehicle. I have NO idea how the system knows where the yellow line is, but it’s very cool and much appreciated. There’s also a collision alert system that you can set so that you get a warning if the car in front of you is closer than one, two, or three car-lengths ahead of you. I’m a careful driver and I always leave plenty of room between me and the car ahead, but in stop and go traffic, that warning was helpful.
The Terrain comes with a 7″ color touch screen navigation system with maps, information, and the entertainment options. Being able to pull up my route map and only have to glance at the screen right in front of me rather than look down at my phone, that quickly became obvious as the much safer solution for navigation.
My tall, long-legged teenage sons appreciated the extra long legroom in the passenger seats, and I can’t forget to mention the rear-vision camera, which makes backing up so much easier. Can you guess that my bare-bones minivan doesn’t have any of these cool features? The kids didn’t want to give it back either
I can’t thank GMC enough for loaning me the Terrain for a week. I wasn’t even required to write about it, but seeing as I’m still thinking about how much I loved it, I had to share. It truly made my trip to Chicago more comfortable and easier to manage!