As I wrote about on Thursday, Ford Canada sent Wendy, Oliver, Mark, and myself to the 2016 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship in Swift Current, Saskatchewan on Friday and Saturday. Not only that but they gave us a 2016 Ford Explorer for the weekend to get us there and back.
I was given the vehicle on Thursday which gave me a day to get used to it. The Explorer is what you would expect from a luxury SUV. Lot of room, heated seats, air conditioned seats, heated steering wheel. Six cup holders up front. Heated seats in the second row. It also has different traction controls which on Thursday, it looked like I would need as we drove to Rosetown and then down south on Highway 4.
On Friday afternoon as we got ready to leave for Swift Current, I was loading the SUV with our bags and I noticed it had a third row of seats. Immediately Oliver volunteered to sit back there and chill out with his Nintendo 3DS. I picked up Wendy from work and we headed south with Mark in the middle row.
While three rows is more than we need, having it is amazing when travelling with a family. Both boys just did their own thing and didn’t say a word to each other. Not only that but because they weren’t on each other’s nerves for the ride down, they seemed almost thrilled to hang out again in the hotel and dinner. Not only did it make for a nicer drive, it made for a better drive.
The ride was the one thing I was curious about. Last week at this time, summer was here. Then winter came back and the weather was cool and snowy all week. I was wondering how the Ford Explorer would handle the roads between here and Swift Current. For those of you who don’t know, the Ford SUVs are incredible in slippery conditions. They drop down, add extra stability, and more or less own winter. Luckily the weather improved and it was a snow and ice free drive from Saskatoon to Swift Current and back. Not being able to test the all weather capability of the Ford Explorer was okay with me but it is nice to know about when you need it.
Wendy was incredibly sick on Friday and slept for most of the way. While the highways isn’t the best, the ride was quiet enough and smooth enough that she slept from outside of Saskatoon to almost Swift Current. She woke up in time for me to discover the seat massager which helped her with a really sore back. Combine that with heated seats, it made a big difference in her weekend. Wendy made a good point in writing about the weekend, the heated seats feel amazing if you are under the weather.
Of course the best part of the drive was that we listened to ESPN Radio. On ESPN, they aired constant commercials for Zyppah which is an anti snoring device. So Wendy is sleeping and snoring up a storm and every time the commercial comes on, we all crack up. Well except for Wendy, who was snoring.
When we got down to Swift Current, we check into the Motel 6 suite that Ford booked for us. It is a great hotel and was fine for the family. We got unpacked and went for a drive around Swift Current while we decided on dinner. Everyone we talked to suggested Wong’s Kitchen which is where we ended up. After ordering an order for 4, we all laughed when it came out. It was the biggest portions that I have ever seen in my life. It could have fed 10. After barely making a dent into pile of food, we called it a night and went back to the hotel.
If I have one complaint about the hotel it is that the chain doesn’t have a feedback form online so I can leave comments about how great of stay it was. Yes some idiots stumbled into the hotel early in the morning and woke everyone up but that isn’t the hotel’s fault. Being a concrete building, I only heard it on my floor and no clomping around above me. The room was clean, the service was good, and the free coffee was appreciated.
The next morning was early. All of us wanted to get up and explore a bit of Swift Current and get a good meal before heading to the Credit Union iPlex for the start of the curling. We got up, went to Humpty’s, stopped by Cypress Motors Ltd. and picked up our tickets and then checked out downtown Swift Current.
The architecture of First United Church
Then it was off to the Credit Union iPlex to get our seats before the Opening Ceremonies began.
I learned something very important yesterday. It doesn’t matter how loud you are or how many speakers your public address system has, it means nothing when 13 bag pipers walk into your hockey arena. The M.C. wasn’t quite done yet when the Pipes and drums from Saskatoon Legion #63 decided to make an entrance. No matter what needed to be said, the room belonged to these pipers.
There is nothing quite like 13 bag pipers going all out to start an event off right.
Before you ask where the photos are of Team Canada, the additional lighting that was installed to illuminate the ice worked great but Team Canada was marched in right in front of us, outside the additional lights. To make a long story short, my photos of them sucked.
So the after the pipers, piped, the drummers drummed and the speakers spoke, we had two hours to kill. I have written about how bad the food was at SaskTel Centre is before. Then I go to Swift Current where the food is absolutely amazing. There were so many choices that it was kind of overwhelming. Not only were there choices beyond burgers and nachos, there were good and exciting choices. So instead of leaving the arena, we ate there and were thrilled with our choice.
There was a souvenir area that I went in with Wendy. I wanted to give her a curling rock themed toque but she said absolutely not. Instead I got her a t-shirt, a coffee cup, and a pair of curling rock shaped earrings. Oliver wanted a Canadian flag to wave so I got him that and a pin. Everyone was full and happy when they sat down for the start of the first draw.
For you curling fans out there, Canada fell into a deep hole, climbed out of it, gained the lead, lost the lead, and then won in overtime. It was a little tense for those of us who were right there. We were all happy and relieved when Team Canada pulled out the win against a great team from Denmark.
So this is the Russian skip. She never said a single word the entire game. She was playing (and destroying) the Italian team whose skip talked the entire game. One sheet over was the Japanese team who screamed, pleaded, and begged the rock to do what she wanted it to (it worked as her team won) but the Russian skip was quiet all game. Never yelled the Russian equivalent of hurry or hard once. Of course from where I was watching, the Italian team was out classed so maybe she was quiet because she didn’t need to say anything.
After leaving the Credit Union iPlex, we fueled up and started the drive home. It’s a great driving SUV. I am still really partial to the Ford Escape, if I was looking for something larger, the Ford Explorer is a great option. It made a long drive seem effortless. If you are looking for a larger SUV that seats seven, this is what you are looking for. I drove over 600 kilometers in it and didn’t have a complaint. Even more importantly, no one else in the family did either.
Last night w got home in decent time and called it a night. While the Motel 6 in Swift Current was great, there is nothing quite like sleeping in your own bed, even if that means you have to fight a dog for space and covers.
Wendy writes about her weekend with the Ford Explorer and the 2016 World Women’s Championships here.