Sometimes the best adventures come to you as a surprise, where you throw it all together on short notice and just go!
This is how our adventure to Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan with Ford Canada started. One morning I was reading an unexpected email in my inbox and a week later, the kids were with their grandparents and Todd and I were flying to Regina to start our adventure. The weekend turned out to be more special than I could have ever imagined. Let me tell you all about it!
After landing in Regina, we met with the other bloggers / vloggers participating in the trip including Cassidy of Brains and Bronzed who we had a nice lunch with before we got started, Amanda of Amandabolic , and Lesley of High Heels and Canola Fields . Everyone was excited to get going, so after a quick overview of the features and functions of the Expedition, Explorer and Escape, we hit the road. Todd and I got to drive the Expedition Limited for this first leg of the trip. Driving down the Trans Canada highway with that panoramic moonroof overhead felt a bit like flying. The wireless phone charging hub was a convenient feature, allowing me to keep a full charge while the bluetooth connection gave me the ability to browse and listen to my music on the vehicles SYNC display. It felt pretty luxurious stepping up on the power deployable running board into the comfortable heated and cooled leather trimmed seats - fancy!
What I liked about the Ford Expedition Limited
Todd and I really loved this SUV, but it's pretty easy to like. This vehicle has major power to tow any trailer complete with a 10-Speed Automatic with Selectshift transmission capability, Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control and Trailer Sway Control. Think about pulling a fully loaded Airstream all the way through the Rockies. No problem baby! It'll fit your whole traveling crew of family and friends with a spacious interior that comfortably seats 8.
Something that impressed us was all the smart, safe driving features that this SUV is equipped with. Adaptive cruise control allows you to set the distance in which you want to follow the vehicle in front of you as you cruise down the highway. This means that you won't have to worry about approaching too quickly. More importantly, if the person ahead stops suddenly the Expedition breaks automatically for you. Experience has taught me that safety should be top priority when purchasing a vehicle, especially when you do a lot of long distance driving. Lane Assist is also included in the Expediton. Have you ever driven for such a long time that you start to experience fatigue? Or maybe something draws your eye and you drift just a bit out of your lane? It happens to the best drivers. Lane Assist helps to keep you on track with sensors that determine when you have not engaged your signal, but are entering another lane. It gently guides the car back for you, and will even let you know if it suspects you are experiencing driver fatigue. I love how it's almost like this car really wants to get you to your destination safely. That's something I'm sure anyone would want for their family.
The sun was on the horizon and the evening air had begun to cool by the time we pulled down a long gravel road to our weekend destination, Historic Reesor Ranch. Cypress Hills is an interprovincial park, meaning it expands on either side of the Saskatchewan Alberta boarder. It is a diverse and beautiful park that will change your opinion of a flat prairie Saskatchewan. The rolling hills and unique conglomerate cliffs of this region had me charmed in an instant, and I couldn't wait to find out what the next morning would bring.
Cypress Hills by ATV and Horseback
Two things to know first. I have never driven an ATV and the last time I was on a horse i was 16 years old. This made me both excited and a bit nervous for what this big day had in store for us. We woke from our cozy bunkhouse cabin on Ranchers Row to a surprisingly cool and misty morning. After a big hearty home cooked breakfast and a bit of our host Scott's cowboy poetry, we donned our rain jackets and headed out with a few of the others in our group to meet our ATV guide. Gas, break, the basics, and we were off up over the hills for a full morning of off-road exploring! How was it? Totally thrilling!
That valley overlook and those alpine wildflowers (yes, alpine flowers on the prairies!) took my breath away. That, and the wild wind that whipped around us making the tall grass blow in undulating waves. We crossed closely by grazing cattle as we traveled through the pastures and spotted them roaming free in the forested hillsides. So we continued over, under and through this beautiful place until we came to this pastoral view of the Ranch.
As the sky cleared, the group of us picked up our packed picnic lunches from our host Theresa and took a break before heading out to the stables. Time for a lesson on horseback riding! I was apprehensive but determined to make the most of it. I think horses are beautiful, but they are big, strong and in my opinion - every creature has a mind of it's own. Would the horse I was riding sense that I was apprehensive and just do it's own thing? Meet Pablo.
Pablo is a beautiful male horse who loves to stop and eat grass whenever the heck he wants, but when you get used to that, is a real nice guy. He's also quite handsome. To get started, our ranch guides showed us how to brush our horse friends and how to saddle them up. Then we learned how to ride and guide the horses, which was nerve racking for me, and seemed like no big deal to Todd who also hasn't rode a horse in 20 years. It turns out I really had nothing to worry about (even though I did the whole time). We explored the hills by horseback, up and down the hills, through forest and pasture making this part of the trip my absolute favourite! At one point there were so many cows surrounding us, echoing moos coming from all directions near and far in the trees, I felt like I was in cow Jurrasic Park! So funny, and also really cool for a city girl to experience.
What I liked about the Ford Explorer
After a full afternoon of horseback riding, we had one more big adventure. This time we took the Ford Explorer off-roading up to the top of the hill overlooking Reesor Ranch. This day never stopped surprising me! As for the Explorer, it got us up there easily with it's Intelligent 4WD with Terrain Management System. I will mention that after a long day of bumpy adventurous rides, I very much appreciated that the Explorer also massaged my back and butt. I really need massage seats in my life! After taking pictures together with our vehicles, and enjoying the view, we rode back down the hill with Hill Descent Control . This feature controls the speed in which you want to descend and automatically applies the brake when needed to safely make your way back down in the most efficient way possible. What a smart vehicle! I've admired the Explorer for many years and it just keeps getting better as time goes by.
The last day of our journey, Todd and I drove the Ford Escape Titanium to Fort Walsh National Historic Site. It was a beautiful day to take a walk down into the valley. We love hearing the story places we visit have to tell, and Fort Walsh gave us a look into our Canadian past as well as life and law on the prairies.
What we liked about the Ford Escape Titanium
Our vehicle for the ride back to Regina was the Ford Escape. This all wheel drive SUV provides a great balance between size, fuel economy, and capability to take you safely where you need to go. It even kept up with the Expedition and Explorer on our convoy up the Cypress Hills ! Safety features like Curve Control give you extra confidence when driving down a winding road by adjusting speed and transferring traction to the tires that need it most. Easy to drive and park (it features Enhanced Active Park Assist) the Escape is the perfect car to go from city living to the odd weekend away in the country or road trip vacation.
There were so many times during this weekend where I appreciated how lucky Todd and I were to be enjoying this experience. Ford Canada really took into consideration how their SUV's can enhance the real Canadian road-trip. We know exactly what it's like to want to travel, only to have your grand plans of adventure be truly messed up by an unreliable vehicle. Read about our breakdown in Montana HERE for an example of how we know this situation VERY well. I know a big concern for people looking for a new car is fuel economy. The truth is, if you want to tow a trailer and travel far distances with a family or group of friends, an SUV is your best most reliable option. Ford's EcoBoost engines make their SUV line as fuel efficient and powerful as possible.
This past spring we needed to replace our old van (the culprit of that road trip disaster I mentioned earlier) and decided on another of Fords line of SUV's and crossovers, the Ford Flex. When asked to join in this trip, I knew I'd be comfortable standing behind my reviews of these vehicles since we've had such a great experience with our own Ford. I hope you've enjoyed a look at taking the road less traveled with these great SUV's. Thank you Ford Canada for this memorable experience visiting the beautiful Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park and to Historic Reesor Ranch for their outstanding hospitality.