The closest I have come to camping in my 40 some years on the planet is a 3 star hotel.
It’s redundant to say that camping is not an event or vacation experience I frequently engage in. Ok—the truth is, I never have. So when Subaru invited me as one of several journalists to participate in the Subaru Responsible Recreation Excursion & Camping Event in the Grand Tetons, I declined. I test drive cars, but was not the least bit interested in what the authentic Subaru car owner does for fun, specifically, as it relates to the outdoor activities.
After an overnight reflection of my automatic ‘no’, I threw my hat over the wall and changed my answer to a ‘yes’. Immersion, here I come.
I packed my 26” upright pullman with all kinds of necessities and the bag was checked with the 3” expandability fully engaged. My wheeled carry on was also stuffed to the max. All for a three day camping event. After all, a girl needs options!
Arriving at Jackson airport, I was greeted by two other journalists who nominated me the driver of the Subaru 2010 Outback 3.6R Limited <www.subaru.com> to get us to our campsite. This 30 minute drive included negotiating three wrong turns, and so the picture for the next few days was set.
No make up, no power clothes and no conference room quickly put everyone on the same playing field. No false bravado or pretenses with a group as different as the places we were from. What also helps in getting related, is camping out in 18 degree weather, singing kumbaya by the fire pit and desperately hoping someone was awake at 2:13 am to save me from the black bears when walking 100 yards to the bathroom. Snoring, body noises, etc. simply helped make us all equals and if there had been any prima donnas flying in to Jackson, certainly none showed up.
If a camera crew happened to be in tow, the 3 days could have been shot and edited as a 21st century unisex reality version of ‘City Slickers’. After all, we were in the heart of the Grand Tetons, the originating ‘dude country’.
Driving the 2010 Subaru Outback was a blast. The term ‘off road” was one I quickly understood as I excitedly negotiated the car from 7,000 feet to 11,000 feet up the Jackson Hole ski slopes. Ridiculously affordable with a symmetrical AWD, this wagon hugged the road yet has plenty of clearance to protect the underbelly of the vehicle. Comforts such as NAV system, heated cloth seats and dual-way climate control thwarted any possibility of arguing with my new BFF driving mate, Mike, from Better Homes & Gardens. And, better yet, the car gets 29 miles to the highway gallon. (See upcoming review on the Outback 3.6R Limited in our Her & His Car Review section).
I was surprised to discover that Subaru vehicles are on the road 10 years – longer than most manufacturers And, original Subaru owners hold onto their vehicles an average of 7 + years – it is the perfect auto hand-me-down. Simply put, they are long lasting and hearty vehicles.
There were many benefits of the trip – from meeting wonderfully fun and remarkable people from all over the States, to stretching my driving capabilities, to jamming to Cat Stevens and Neil Young accompanied by the talented George Doran <visit www.georgedoran.com>. In short, it was a three day educational event – including travelling with the extraordinary folks from www.LeaveNoTrace.com – an international nonprofit committed to educating us on Outdoor Ethics and how to be responsible in the elements.
As I picked up my multiple suitcases to head to the airport for home, I also permanently packed away my pre-conceived ideas of the Subaru Outback. Gone are the notions that this brand is exclusively for the authentic outdoor types or the family with 2.5 children. After my immersion experience in the west, I can now see myself as a true-blue urban Outback driver. And that is that.
Drive Your Bargain,
Car Buying Advocate