Tag Archives: Ford Canada

Escape the City

Well I was supposed to be on the road right now.  On the first short first leg of a road trip.  I was supposed to be eating at the Park Cafe right now but plans have a way of running into real life.

But let’s step back a second.

Ford CanadaFord Canada was cool enough great enough cool and great enough to lend us a 2016 Ford Escape which as you may know, is my favorite vehicle of all time.  Wednesday Wendy and I saw an Alfa Romero parked at The Springroll and while amazed to see it in Saskatoon, at this stage of life, I’d take an Escape (which Ford has for a week).

2016 Ford Escape

Not only has Ford lent me the Escape, they told me to get lost with it for the weekend.  After debating going south to Val Marie (home of NHL great Brian Trottier) and Grasslands National Park or north to Prince Albert National Park (home of noted fraud Grey Owl), we chose north for two reasons.  There is nothing to do in Grasslands National Park and Mark had a football game last night so driving 12 hours to get there and back is more than I wanted for two days.  (I’m not hating on Grasslands National Park or Val Marie, we are going down there for May Long Weekend next year for no other reason to get photos of the signs that say, “Do Not Step on the Burrowing Owls”)

Speaking of Mark’s football game, last night we went to a wet and cold SMF Field at Gordie Howe Bowl to watch Mark’s team get destroyed by Prince Albert.  Mark played well though and on the last series, he took a knee.  We wandered out of the stands to see what was up.  I was wondering if he took a blow the head.  Nope, he took a hard hit to the kidneys and was vomiting up blood.

To spare some details, he was hurt but will be okay and we had him checked out.  We talked about cancelling the trip or just Oliver and I going but he’ll be okay.  So this morning we let Mark get a bit more sleep (a plan that the dog did not buy into)  He is in a lot of pain this morning but he is good to go.  I have a list of things to watch for but if none of those things happen, he should be okay.  If not, in the words of The Guess Who, we’ll be “Heading back to Saskatoon.”  That didn’t stop me from suggesting that because of him getting hurt, we change his name to Tony Romo.

So right away we will be leaving for breakfast a little later than we anticipated but Mark is claiming the heated front seat in the Escape and will try to grab some sleep on the drive up to Prince Albert National Park.  As if he will be sleeping.  The Escape has ESPN Radio which means that we will be listening to countless stories about Vin Scully and college football today.   We will bond without talking.

So breakfast awaits.  Then a trip to Waskesiu via the site of the Battle of Fish and the Batoche National Historic Site.  Then we will go through St. Louis (where we will again have an argument over whether or not that bridge was ever safe for cars) and then Prince Albert.

We will post photos and more stories tomorrow. 

Review of the 2016 Ford Flex

Ford CanadaA couple of weeks ago, Ford Canada was cool enough to lend me a 2016 Ford Flex for a week to review it.   We drove it in the city, we took it on the highway, and we took it on a road that was under heavy construction and kind of scary.   Here is what I learned about the crossover.

The 2016 Ford Flex compliments of Ford Canada

Mark and Oliver liked it.  Especially Oliver.  The third row of seats is amazing when you have children.  There is no fighting, no arguing, just peace and quiet.  When they are sitting beside each other, it is like an uneasy truce both sides are trying to break.  When they are separated, it is peaceful, calm, and relaxing.

The second row of seats is large enough for myself and I am 6’4.  The rear row was fine for Mark and was large enough for Oliver to think he had his own apartment back there.  It is a legit third row of seating.

The 2016 Ford Flex compliments of Ford Canada

I should say that the 2016 Ford Flex broke Mark’s heart.  I have been reviewing Ford automobiles for the last couple of years and each one of them, Mark has been too young to drive anything other than his mountain bike.  In his mind, when he turned 16, he was going to get behind the wheel and put it through his paces.   He just turned 16.   Then I told him he had to be 18.  He was crushed.  Devastated.  Forlorn.

So I asked him what he was going to do about it?  I suggested he tweet at Ferrari that he was kid in the middle of Saskatchewan and if they could lend him a vehicle for a week to review.  Mark was like, “Really?”  I then told him to compare his Twitter following to Kim Kardashian’s and evaluate his chances.  Yes, I troll my own kids from time to time.

Oh well, there is hope for him in 2018.

Driving Around Town

I took the Flex to work with me for the week and we pretty much parked the Chevy HHR.  It is pretty agile around town.  It has a tighter turning radius than you would expect and quite a bit tighter than my old Dodge Caravan which made it a nice commuter vehicle.  While I drove it pretty conservatively, I had to stomp on the gas once to avoid a careless driver and it unexpectedly tossed you back into your seat.  For a vehicle that long, you don’t expect it to handle and have the power of a sports car but does.

The kids liked it.  I had to drop Mark off at Bedford Road Collegiate for his school’s canoe trip.  The response was, “When did you get that SUV?” and “Is that a new Ford Flex?”  Not a huge sample size but it is approved by high school students who love to explore.

At least the 2016 Ford Flex looks stylish

If you want to take a moment to point out that Mark did up the hip straps on his backpack to load it into the car so I could drive him like three kilometers to his school, go ahead, I don’t know what he was thinking.  The Flex had a lot of room for his gear but could barely hold all of the geekness.   The design may be a bit polarizing but the shape means there is all sorts of storage.  if you get the optional luggage rails and then add a luggage rack or pod, you have a vehicle that begs itself to be taken for long road trips.

Driving on the Highway

We took the car to Prince Albert National Park where we intended to hike the trail along Kingsmere Lake to Grey Owl’s Cabin.

My sherpa, I mean my son loads the gear in the 2016 Ford Flex

There were four of us and the dog.  We had a cooler full of cold drinks when we were done and three and a three quarters expedition sized backpacks.  They all fit comfortable in the back even if the dog was confused why she wasn’t driving.   Check out Mark loading the gear in he back when were done.  There was lots of room.

Marley and her backpack

It was a quiet drive using the cruise control on the way up but it’s a great highway vehicle.  Lots of room, Sirius XM radio, nice sound speakers and heated and air conditioned chairs.  It was excellent.  A combination of a long wheelbase and Ford’s suspension made for a smooth and comfortable ride.

Years ago a friend of mine bought a Ford Grand Marquis when his father retired from work.  He picked his dad up, tossed him in and they drove the Trans Canada highway to the east coast, came back, went south and joined up with Route 66 and drove that from coast to coast before heading north to Highway 1 again and headed back to Saskatoon.  I always wanted to do that and have always thought of the Ford Grand Marquis as the perfect vehicle to do that with.  If I was going to do a trip like that, it would be the Ford Flex. 

I do have a funny story though about the Ford Flex.  As we were turning into Prince Albert National Park right at LT’s Food and Fuel, I heard a horrible sound from the Flex.

LT's Food and Fuel near Prince Albert Provincial Park

I immediately slowed down but the noise go louder, I pulled into the parking lot and was about to call Ford over the still going loud noise when I realized that it was a Diet Coke I was holding.  I hadn’t done the lid up tight and the road was rough which shook up the pop until air and fizz started to leak out making this noise that had us all convinced there was something wrong with the car.  For the rest of the weekend, every time something in the Flex would make a noise, Mark would go, “Dad, the Flex is breaking! Better stop.”  I deserved that mocking.

The Ford Flex was quiet on the highway and while I didn’t have a lot of traffic to contend with, when I had to pass, there was power to pass which is what is really important.

Leaving the Pavement Behind

The main reason we didn’t complete the trip was that Kingsmere Road was under heavy construction during the week and was closed.  In what we had hoped would be a three day hike instead turned into a two day one which was more than Oliver could handle.

The construction did allow me to see how the Flex handled off the pavement on some soft and sloppy roads.  Parks Canada warned us about the roads before hand.  She said that it was passable but unpleasant.  I took the warning seriously but despite the soft spots, the Flex handled it easily.  Even coming back from trailhead after a large storm the night before where the road was worse, I didn’t worry.  Well there was one part of the parking lot where there was a D6 Cat that looked stuck, I avoided that part of the road.

Final Thoughts

Over a week, I developed some strong opinions about the 2016 Ford Flex.  Let me share them here.

  • For a family like ours that loves to travel, the extra space was amazing.  Three rows of seats but the second one was large enough for the boys travel comfortably without them bugging each other.  It’s the vehicle you want when driving to Disneyland, the west coast or Waskesiu for the day.
  • ESPN Radio.  It may not be your favorite thing on a roadtrip but it is mine.  Sirius XM radio is worth the money and if the car you purchase has it built in and ready to go, you are one step ahead.
  • Heated seats / air conditioned seats.  When you just walk a bazillion miles in the Canadian Shield, things hurt.  Heated seats make that pain go away.  Air conditioned seats cool you down.  They are amazing.
  • Cup holders up front, in the back, on the sides…. Let’s see we had coffee cups, pop bottles, and water bottles all going on the way home.  There was room for all of them.
  • The front and rear sunroofs are a nice touch.  The rear one is split.  At one point Oliver had his one open and Mark had his one shut. 
  • Designed to seat seven adults, the Flex is equipped with large, plush, overstuffed front and second-row seats.
  • The third-row seat dumps into a well in the vehicle’s floor, similar to a minivan, and because the Flex has a nearly vertical rear window and a square roofline, it provides an impressive amount of cargo room even when traveling with a full house of passengers.
  • For the 2016 model year Ford gave us the company’s new Sync 3 infotainment system in the Flex. Sync 3 replaces the MyFord Touch infotainment system, and it represents a significant improvement.

    Highlights of the new system include:

    • Capacitive touch screen with swipe and pinch-to-zoom capability
    • Improved graphics, faster response to inputs
    • Upgraded voice recognition technology
    • Siri Eyes Free, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
    • System updates available via Wi-Fi
  • Fuel mileage wasn’t bad.  You can check out Fuelly and see what other Ford Flex drivers are getting.  The average seems to be about 18 mpg.   I get around 25 mpg with my Chevy HHR but it is a much smaller and less powerful vehicle.

I am a fan of the Flex.  It’s styling isn’t for everyone but I have come to love it.  If you are a family who loves to travel or just wants a comfortable ride to the great outdoors, the Ford Flex is worth looking a closer look at, you will be impressed at what you see.

On being a dad (and hiking with kids)

So we just got back from Prince Albert National Park today.  We had planned to hike to Grey Owl’s Cabin.  We got up early on Saturday, navigated a nasty Kingsmere Drive to the trailhead (it’s under heavy construction) and then started out.

Hiking to Grey Owl's Cabin in Prince Albert National Park

The biggest question I had during the build up to this was how was Oliver going to hold up on the hike and with a pack.  His pack fit him well, only had his sleeping bag, some clothes and his headlamp and knife in it but 40 kilometers over two days is really hard for anyone let alone an 8 year old.

Hiking to Grey Owl's Cabin in Prince Albert National Park

He started out fine but even at the first campground, he was struggling.  As we pushed on we passed kilometer six and he had tears running down his eyes and was saying, “I’m okay Dad, I’m okay.”  He wasn’t.  His feet were killing him.  He had hikers on but it wasn’t working.Hiking to Grey Owl's Cabin in Prince Albert National Park

I have read all sorts of articles on REI and MEC about pushing kids too hard.  It turns a hike into a forced march and makes them hate doing this.  Since hiking is Oliver’s favorite thing in the world right now, I didn’t want to do this too him.

Hiking to Grey Owl's Cabin in Prince Albert National Park

As we came into the Chipewyan Portage, I talked to Wendy and said we are staying here for the night.  He’s in pain and not having fun.  He wasn’t going to make it to Grey Owl’s.

I suggested the idea to him and he seemed so relieved.  Then he came and said, “I’m tough enough to keep going.”  I just said that this looked like a good place to camp (and it was).  Of course we had two tents and it was a one tent campground but I was willing to explain my decision to any Parks Canada warden who came by says it has a two tent campground.  We may or may not have been using that campsite but I’m not sure.  When we got it, it just looked like a picnic area and a one tent campground but I’ll defer to Parks Canada on this one.

Hiking to Grey Owl's Cabin in Prince Albert National Park

Oliver took off his hikers and put on his Dawgs but even then could barely walk he was in so much pain.  He got better as the night went on but he had given it all he had.

Around 8:00 p.m., a light drizzle gave away to an impressive storm.  Mark had a rain poncho on so he got the food up on the bear platform (anti bear platform?) and made sure no food was close to our tents.  We had cooked well away from them but by the fact that you have to do that makes you realize how deep you are into bear country.

The storm continued for most of the night.  The winds came up and we started to hear the trees snap during the night.  Parks Canada does a really good job of thinning out the trees near your campground so there are no “widow makers”  near but hearing those trees snap in the middle of the night is a terrifying sound especially when they are so close.

Hiking to Grey Owl's Cabin in Prince Albert National Park

At 4:10 a.m., I heard an animal near by.  Our tents have gazebos and were shut up for the night.  Wendy and I have the Mountain Hardware Drifter 2 person tent which has two entrances.  I had found a baseball sized branch and had put it outside my side of the tent earlier just in case.  I had grabbed my headlamp and was ready to go check it out but it just sniffed around what sounded like the firepit (which we hadn’t used for this very reason) and kept on walking.   There were bear tracks on the trail area this morning.  It worked out the best for both of us.  For me I didn’t have to get muddy and for the bear, he didn’t get his butt kicked.

Leave No TraceWe had a big breakfast, cleaned up our campground, and started the hike back to the Ford Flex.  We took the Leave No Trace philosophy seriously.  We packed out the garbage from the campground.  Before we left Mark and I restacked the firewood and replenished the wood we used the night before.  The campground was a mess before we got there with several large areas burned for bonfires by the beach (really people) and we did our best to clean some of that up as well.

Hiking to Grey Owl's Cabin in Prince Albert National Park

Oliver was good until the last 750 metres and then he was in pain and crying.  I had Wendy and Mark go ahead and open up the car and get him and I an ice cold Gatorade.  Just as we came out of the trailhead Mark came running up and took Oliver’s pack and gave him and I cold drink.

Hiking to Grey Owl's Cabin in Prince Albert National Park

We met a teen girl who was solo hiking to Grey Owl’s the day before.  I had chatted with her dad as she left and she had made the hike and left early in the morning to get back early to meet her dad.  She was chilling out at the trail head when we got back so Wendy took a cold drink down to her who seemed really happy with it.  She was also surprised that Oliver had hiked as far as he did.  That picked up his spirits and he left feeling in a good mood.  The encouraging words of a mom, dad, and brother mean one thing but a compliment from a girl he only met hours before, well that is next level.

Hiking to Grey Owl's Cabin in Prince Albert National Park

From there it was into Waskesiu to get some Doritos and then the long ride home.

Hiking to Grey Owl's Cabin in Prince Albert National Park

Next year we will try to make it to Sandy Bay.

I can pretty demanding of the boys but as I have always told them, all I want to see is there best effort at things.  Oliver put in a huge effort.  He told me that, “I didn’t have enough left in the tank.” which is a great use of a sports cliche but I said back to him, “At eight years old, your tank may not have been big enough and that is okay.”

Exploring with the 2016 Ford Flex

As much fun as the 2016 Ford Flex is to drive around Saskatoon.  Today is why we have it.

Today starts the 20 kilometer hike to Grey Owl’s Cabin.

A couple of hours ago, we loaded the Ford Flex with a cooler full of ice and drinks (for when we are done the hike and get back to the Flex), topped up the tank with gas, tossed three loaded expedition sized backpacks into it and one smaller one for Oliver and a dog backpack for Marley and then headed out the door for Prince Albert National Park.

After we get into the park, we will register with Parks Canada and then head about 40km north of Waskesiu to the trailhead near Kingsmere Lake.  From there we are hiking 17km to the Northend campground where we will make camp before walking another three kilometers to Ajawaan Lake.

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After we check out Beaver Lodge, we will head back 3 kms back to our camp and call it a night.  Then its up and at it the next morning and back to the trailhead where that cooler of orange juice, Gatorade, Diet Coke, cold water and Coca-Cola awaits.  If we don’t make it back, you know we died a painful death at the hands of a bear in the wilderness.

A week

His sunglasses are packed somewhere

I took this photo of Mark today just minutes before we drove him to Bedford Road Collegiate and dropped him off for his school canoe trip.  He is headed to Sturgeon Lake and if all goes well, he will return Tuesday.  If it doesn’t go well, this photo will help search and rescuers find him.

As we pulled up to the school, other kids were walking up with full body pillows and big luggage.  It reminded Mark and I over every failed exploration documentary ever.

The Expedition brought along fine china and suits from the best tailors in London.

Provided he does get back, we will take another trip on Saturday with the 2016 Ford Flex (Thanks Ford Canada, we appreciate it) to Prince Albert National Park.  After stopping in Waskesiu, we will pick up our back country permit and then we drive north past the Waskesiu Marina until we see this sign.

Grey Owl's Cabin in Prince Albert National Park

Then we take a big gulp, tighten up our hiking boots, grab our bags, and then start to walk for 17 kilometers until we get to Northend Campground.  When we get there, we will make camp, store our food up high and then push on for another 3 kilometers until we get to Ajawaan Lake and see Grey Owl’s cabin.

Once there, we will check it out and then head back to the campground for the evening.  I am told that nothing beats smokies and Kraft Dinner after a long hike in the backcountry so I will put that to the test.  Personally I think perfectly barbecued steaks would be ideal but Wendy doesn’t want to carry the barbecue and Oliver is balking at carrying a full propane tank for it.  It’s obvious someone hasn’t bought into my vision for the ideal hike.

As for gear, Wendy, Mark, and I all have expedition sized packs. 

I get to carry:

  • Mountain Hardwear Drifter 2 Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Clothes
  • Camera gear (
  • Primus Classic Stove and fuel
  • Water
  • Coffee Press
  • Stanley Travel Mug
  • Mess kit
  • Food
  • Hatchet (Northend campground has firewood but I need to split up kindling)
  • Headlamp
  • Multi-tool and knife.
  • Wendy is carrying

    • Sleeping bag
    • Clothes
    • Pot for boiling food
    • Food
    • Water
    • Travel mug
    • Mess kit
    • First Aid Kit
    • Headlamp

    Mark is carrying

    • Eureka two person tent
    • Sleeping bag
    • Clothes
    • Water
    • Mess kit
    • Travel mug
    • Food
    • Lantern
    • Headlamp

    Oliver is carrying up

    • Sleeping bag (it’s fleece and a lot smaller than other sleeping bags)
    • Clothes
    • Mess kit
    • Travel mug
    • Water
    • Food
    • Headlamp
    • Flashlight
    • Bushnell Backtrack GPS (he won’t need it but he got it for his birthday and is super excited about it)

    Marley is carrying

    • Dog food
    • Dog dishes
    • Bear bell

    We also have some things like GPS’s (which aren’t needed as the trail follows the lake but it is nice to know how much further), headlamps, flashlights, and some reading material for Friday night.

    Food is pretty simple.  We are all a fan of Marty Belanger’s hiking videos on YouTube and he has this short video on how to pack food for a multi day hike (I just refuse to use instant coffee).   He pre packs his meals into zip lock bags which do for each of us.

    Friday Meals

    • Breakfast at home
    • Lunch
      • Tortilla shells
      • Broccoli and Cheese Rice to go inside of shells
      • Cliff bars
    • Dinner
    • Kraft Dinner
    • Smokies cooked over a fire announcing to all Black Bears in Prince Albert National Park that we have food they might enjoy.  We will cook these 100 metres or so from campground as suggested by Parks Canada and common sense.
    • Chocolate bars for dessert
    • Tea and hot chocolate
  • Snack
    • Oysters over the fire

    Saturday Meals

    • Breakfast
      • Oatmeal
      • Granola bars
      • Hot Chocolate
      • Coffee
    • Lunch
      • Sidekick pasta
      • Tuna wraps with tortilla

    Raman noodles as needed and we do have enough food in case there is an emergency.

    The only thing that concerns me is that we both have two person tents and the dog likes to sleep between Wendy and I.  That could be for a long night where one of us is sleeping in the vestibule.   That person could be me.

    If all goes well, we will be out by mid afternoon on Sunday and back in Waskesiu for supper.   The Ford Flex has both air conditioned and heated seats.  I am unsure at this time which I will be turning on first as we leave the parking lot.

    This expedition does have it’s own website here.    We’ll be posting much more once we are done there.

    Heading back to Ogema

    By the time this publishes, I will be driving a 2016 Ford Focus (not the one below, this one is white) south to Regina where I meeting up with adventurer and author Robin Esrock.  He is a Ford Canada brand ambassador.  After meeting up (and I assume getting coffee at the Starbucks), we are heading south to Ogema, Saskatchewan (a place where I explored last year with Ford), testing out some food, riding the Southern Prairie Railway, taking in a museum, and then heading back to Regina.

    In Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan with a 2015 Ford Focus

    Wendy and the boys are coming along for the trip.  Instead of heading south with us, they are going to explore Regina and in particular, Wascana Lake and the Saskatchewan Legislature.  I’ll post some photos from the trip to the blog tonight.  I assume they will as well.

    If you don’t want to read my account of the day, check out Elan Morgan’s blog.  It’s always a good read.

    There is a book signing with Robin Esrock in Regina at 7:00p.m.  at the Chapters.  If you come on out, I’ll be there.  I won’t sign your book but we could totally do a selfie or something over coffee. 

    2016 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship

    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.

    2016 Ford Explorer

    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.

    Interior of the 2016 Ford Explorer

    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.

    Interior of 2016 Ford Explorer

    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.

    Motel 6 in Swift Current, Saskatchewan

    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 Imperial Hotel in downtown Swift Current

    Innovation Credit Union in Swift Current

    Customs and Excise in Swift Current, Saskatchewan

    The architecture of First United Church

    First United Church in Swift Current, SaskatchewanFirst United Church in Swift Current, SaskatchewanFirst United Church in Swift Current, Saskatchewan

    Then it was off to the Credit Union iPlex to get our seats before the Opening Ceremonies began.

    Heading into the Credit Union iPlex2016 Ford World Women's Curling Championships2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsMark and Olvier before the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling Championships

    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. 

    Opening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsOpening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsOpening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling Championships

    There is nothing quite like 13 bag pipers going all out to start an event off right.

    Opening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsOpening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsOpening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsOpening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsOpening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsOpening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling Championships

    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. 

    Draw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling Championships

    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.

    Draw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling Championships

    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.

    (Ford) #ExploreSask

    Ford Canada is lending me a 2016 Ford Explorer to take to Swift Current tomorrow and take in some of the 2016 Ford World’s Women Curling Championship.  

    2016 Ford Explorer

    I don’t know if Ford knows this but the drive from Saskatoon to Swift Current is a lot of fun.  First of all you drive from Saskatoon to Rosetown which is no fun at all.  Then once you turn south, the drive gets better.  You get into some hills and curves.  The scenery is great.  There are giant wind farms.  There is Saskatchewan Landing.  Just thinking about taking that SUV down to Swift Current makes me smile.  I love driving that road.

    So why am I doing this?  Well let’s get this out the way.

    • I don’t work for Ford.  Nor am I paid for anything that I write about Ford vehicles.  They give me complete freedom to write what I think about their cars. Over the years when I have written about things that I may not like, I have been contacted by people from Ford asking for more feedback and ways I think it could work better.  That’s it. 
    • Basically the only restrictions that Ford places on me is insurance related and I am not allowed to smoke in the car.  Since I have never smoked, that isn’t an issue.
    • For this trip, Ford Canada is paying for my hotel (at the Motel 6 in Swift Current), gas, and some of the food.  I mention some of the food because I decided I wanted to pay for the red licorice I am buying tomorrow out of my own personal money.  That way I don’t have to share if I don’t want to.
    • Having thought long and hard about this but if I could own any car in the entire world, it would be a Ford Escape Titanium edition.  You have your favorite vehicle, that is mine.  I love that vehicle and every Ford I write about is compared to how it stacks up to that car. 

    Okay, so I mentioned Ford is putting Wendy, Mark, Oliver and I up at the Motel 6 in Swift Current.  The place looks like the inside of an Ikea show hotel.  I can’t wait to take some photos and show you.  I actually am nervous sleeping in it because I am afraid that someone is going to wander through and want to buy part a piece of furniture on their way to go and look at oversized coffee mugs.  The most cutting edge hotel in Saskatchewan is a Motel 6 in Swift Current.  Try to get your head around that. 

    There isn’t a lot to do in Swift Current but I will see what I can photograph and explore there.  Several locals have given me some suggestions on where to eat.

    Once we eat and are secured safely back into the Motel 6 with the NCAA basketball tournament on, I’ll post a review on how the 2016 Ford Explorer handles and a little bit about the trip.

    One last thing, Mark is in driver’s ed but doesn’t quite have his learner’s license yet.  In his (delusional) mind he was so close to test driving the Ford Explorer that he could taste it.  Then I told him that he had to be either 18 or 21 to be able to drive one which pretty much crushed his spirits, hopes, and dreams.  He was quite happy tonight to be able to ride in the front seat.  As he said, “all he had to do was picture being in the U.K. and it was like he was driving.”  I admire his spirit.

    Focus on Saskatchewan

    Ford Focus on Saskatoon

    Day 2 with the 2015 Ford Focus saw us say goodbye to Moose Jaw and head south towards Ogema, Saskatchewan.  First we had to get a photo with Mac the Moose.

    2015 Ford Focus and Mac the Moose in Moose JawMac the Moose in Moose Jaw

    Of course in the most Saskatchewan of things, the photo was photobombed by a CT-114 Tutor, otherwise known as the plane flown by the Snowbirds.

    As we made our way south, we stopped in Rouleau, the home of Corner Gas and also known as Dog River.

    The set of Corner Gas is a lot smaller than you would think.  It’s also falling apart.  There were reports that someone was going to turn it into a gift shop or a museum but nothing has been done with it.

    We saw the home of the Dog River Howler, the Dog River Hotel, Oscar and Emma Leroy’s house and of course the surveillance bush.

    The Dog River Howler in Rouleau, SaskatchewanThe Dog River Hotel in Rouleau, SaskatchewanDog River The set of Corner Gas in Dog River, SaskatchewanThe set of Corner Gas in Dog River, Saskatchewan

    Then it was to Ogema where we grabbed lunch at the Rolling Hills Restaurant, checked out the old Fire Hall and the British American Gas Station.  By the time we did that, it was off to the Southern Prairie Railway, a tourist railway that took us from Ogema to what is left of Horizon, Saskatchewan. 14 miles away.

    Southern Praire Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanIMGP1415Southern Praire Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanSouthern Praire Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanSouthern Praire Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanSouthern Praire Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanSouthern Praire Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanSouthern Praire Railway in Ogema, Saskatchewan

    This is what is left of Horizon, Saskatchewan.

    Federal Grain Elevator in Horizon, SaskatchewanFederal Grain Elevator in Horizon, SaskatchewanFederal Grain Elevator in Horizon, SaskatchewanFederal Grain Elevator in Horizon, SaskatchewanFederal Grain Elevator in Horizon, SaskatchewanFederal Grain Elevator in Horizon, SaskatchewanFederal Grain Elevator in Horizon, SaskatchewanFederal Grain Elevator in Horizon, SaskatchewanFederal Grain Elevator in Horizon, SaskatchewanFederal Grain Elevator in Horizon, SaskatchewanFederal Grain Elevator in Horizon, SaskatchewanFederal Grain Elevator in Horizon, SaskatchewanFederal Grain Elevator in Horizon, SaskatchewanFederal Grain Elevator in Horizon, SaskatchewanFederal Grain Elevator in Horizon, SaskatchewanFederal Grain Elevator in Horizon, Saskatchewan

    A quick summary of what we learned on the trip

    • Steam locomotives were slow.  Only about 15 miles per hour.  No wonder thieves targeted trains.  They were loud, slow moving, and predictable.
    • Small Saskatchewan towns were placed 7 miles apart because that is how far a farmer could deliver grain in a day back then.  Some say it was to refuel and water the steam engines but nope, it’s about grain delivery.
    • Driving south of Moose Jaw on Highway 6 was the most isolated I have ever felt.  No houses for as far as the eye can see.  Considering at one time every section would have had a home on it, it’s incredible to think I was seeing hundreds of sections from on our drive with almost no signs of life.
    • You can still get parts for Pullman cars.
    • Each top window in the Pullman car we road in was a different size.
    • Never underestimate the spirit of rural Saskatchewan to take on impossible projects.
    • Horizon, Saskatchewan went from a vibrant rural community to only having two buildings left because of property taxes.  The government offered them a hospital but the town turned it down because they were afraid property taxes would rise in town.  This lead to the hospital going to Bengough (which is booming by the way) and eventually Highway 13 being moved.  This killed the town and today there is only a decommissioned Federal Grain elevator there.
    • I was shocked at how well built grain elevators are.  They were built out of 2x4s or 2x6s laying flat and nailed together with one foot spikes holding them together.  Each board would have 50 to 60 spikes driven into it making them built to last.
    • Locomotive collectors are a unique breed who care more about finding a good home for their locomotives then selling them.  The on that Southern Prairie Railway bought had to keep the livery colors or the original owner.  Coincidently the livery colors matched the owners of the short line railroad that own the tracks.

    After we were done, it was back into the Ford Focus and then home.  It was shorter to come home via Regina so we did that.   This is what I learned about the Ford Focus

    • All of the highways we went on were in good condition but some were smoother than others.  The Focus gave a nice ride on all of them.
    • As I wrote yesterday, the car is quiet on the highway.
    • I managed to figure out who was at fault over the Google Maps weirdness, I am pretty sure the bug is with Google Maps.
    • Drink holders.  It has 8 of them.  This is great for travelling with kids.  The boys had their Nalgene water bottles with them as did Wendy and I.  Yet if you grab a coffee or a drink with a meal, you still need another one.  The Ford Focus has them.  It’s almost as if Ford engineers travel with children.
    • According to Mark and Oliver, the stereo sounds great in the back seat.  Ford’s stereo does compensate for road noise and can focus on the driver or the entire car.  It was a big hit.
    • I looked everywhere for it.  The stereo offers me an option to plug my iPod into a line in port but I couldn’t find one.  I may have missed it but I think it is a mistake in the stereo menus.
    • Handling is fine.  I wasn’t rally racing but around Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, and then Ogema, the car handled wonderfully.

    Would I buy one?  Well Wendy and I talked at length about getting one (probably the hatchback) when we got back to Saskatoon.  That should tell you our feelings about the car.  It’s a car that is really worth buying.

    Ford Focus Road Trip: Moose Jaw and Claybank Brick Plant

    Ford Focus on Saskatchewan Road TripThis morning, Wendy, Mark, Oliver and I piled into the 2015 Ford Focus.  We tossed my L.L. Bean canvas duffle bag, go bags, and some camera gear in the back and headed south towards Moose Jaw.  The drive was pretty normal until we came to Chamberlain.

    For those of you not from Saskatchewan, let me explain Chamberlain to you.  The highway from Prince Albert to Saskatoon is four lanes.  The highway from Saskatoon to Regina is four lanes, except when you go through Chamberlain and then it goes down to two lanes for about three kilometers.  There is absolutely no reason it has to do this but it does and it drops to 60/kph as it goes through town.

    Today the speed was 0 kph.  It was at an absolute standstill.  My first thought was that there was an accident on the highway but no, there was a really long convey of about 20 Jays Moving trucks all pulling out of the roadside turnout and they were blocking traffic.  First of all I have no idea why they were blocking traffic and secondly, why was there a need for 20 Jay’s Moving semis to be travelling together in a convey?  It was weird.

    We turned east at that point until we got to Keeler, Saskatchewan.  Keeler is home of the Cooper’s and is a town of about 15 people.  My grandparents house (and the post office) had been torn down but the bar I used to hang out when I was six was still there.

    The Keeler Hotel in Keeler, Saskatchewan

    I am also pretty sure that this was the garage that my grandfather used to run.  It has been moved but it’s still there.    The ball diamonds I used to catch gophers in are still there.  My grandpa’s dog Tip used to hide in the long grass beyond the outfield until a ball came near.  My memories were of a lot of ground rule doubles as Tip took off with the ball.

    The Keeler Garage in Keeler, Saskatchewan

    From there we drove to Moose Jaw and checked into the Temple Gardens Hotel and Mineral Spa.  Our room is small, not that well maintained and some disturbing looking stains on the carpeting.  We didn’t stay long because we wanted to check out the Claybank Brink Plant.

    The Claybank Brick Plant is a National Historic Site about 30 minutes out of Moose Jaw.  I don’t know how to describe it.  The organizing committee says they are $2 million into a $6 million project and I kind of think the $6 million is low.  It’s really dilapidated yet really awesome at the same time.  I totally you recommend you go. 

    The website mentioned that Google Maps has the wrong location and it does.  If you can get to Claybank, you can see the plant but getting to Claybank was hard enough with Google Maps.

    Google Maps says it’s turn by turn directions are in beta but when my iPhone is plugged into the car and connected to Sync via Bluetooth, it muted the turn by turn directions entirely which is kind of annoying when you are driving.  To make a long story short, I missed my turn and had to go back… where I missed the turn again…  There was good signage and I am old school, I always have a map but I was thinking the bug has to be with the iPhone and Google Maps working together and then being connected to the Ford via Bluetooth.  Hopefully Google fixes it.

    When we got to Claybank, I couldn’t help but notice this church steeple off in a distance.

    St. Joesph's Parish in Claybank, Saskatchewan

    No signs outside but a quick Google search told me it was St. Joesph’s Catholic Church.  It’s obviously been made by bricks from the plant.

    So as I am taking this photo, my Google Maps finally starts to talking to and I think was telling me to go in two different directions at once.  Of course it is supposed to learn from correct routes but since we detoured into Claybank to take this photo, I didn’t exactly really help the situation.  Sorry about that.

    We finally drove into the plant.  Part of it goes through a farm yard.  I wasn’t totally sure if I was at the right place but I realized, “It’s Canada, if I took the wrong turn, three farmers will politely correct my and then offer to have us over for lunch.”

    So the plant is a step back into time.  They say it is essentially unchanged from the way it was in 1914 to 1937 and I believe them.

    There are tours that you can take earlier in the summer.  Today we were given a map and sent on our way.  We explored all of it in about an hour and it was a nice way to spend the afternoon.

    Here is the Focus with the plant in the background.  It’s a little dusty (both the plant and the car).

    2015 Ford Focus at the Claybank Brink Plant

    This is the restored bunkhouse.  It is now a gift shop, coffee shop, and where you pay to start the tours.  It was one of the first things to be restored.

    The old bunkhouse at Claybank Brick PlantThe Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, SaskatchewanThe Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, Saskatchewan

    This is where the magic started.  The clay was brought here and stored.  It’s the start of the assembly line.The Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, SaskatchewanThe Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, Saskatchewan

    While today was hot even for the tour, I can’t imagine what it would be like to work in here.

    The Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, Saskatchewan

    This is one of the furnaces.The Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, SaskatchewanThe Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, SaskatchewanThe Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, SaskatchewanThe Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, Saskatchewan

    These furnaces were all hand laid.  Inside there was no mortar because the bricks would expand so much during heating and contract during cooling.  They would put 70,000 bricks in there and heat them for a week.  Then it would take about another week to cool.  Then a week to unload them.The Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, SaskatchewanThe Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, SaskatchewanThe Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, SaskatchewanThe Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, SaskatchewanThe Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, SaskatchewanThe Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, SaskatchewanThe Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, SaskatchewanThe Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, SaskatchewanThe Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site near Claybank, SaskatchewanThe 2015 Ford Focus at the Claybank Brink Plant National Historic Site

    They still are aggressively fundraising.  While our entry ticket helps out, I also plan to make a donation.  It’s a great site and I hope they are successful.

    We then headed back to Moose Jaw and parked the car for the night.  We made sure we left it a nice view overlooking downtown Moose Jaw.

    IMGP1385

    Then we took the boys to the mineral spa. The pool is quite nice and we spent some time up there on the roof top spa today.  Supposedly the waters have the same minerals as the one in Bath, England does.   That being said, I have read that about almost every mineral spa that I have ever looked up online.

    For dinner, the plan was to go to Smoke’s Poutinerie but it looks like they were shut down last night.  So that didn’t work out as we had planned.

    Instead Wendy and the boys went to Deja Vu, a place that specializes in chicken and milkshakes.  If it sounds familiar, it has been on The Prairie Diner and You Gotta Eat Here! before.  We walk in and the Saskatchewan Roughriders are losing 14-7 when Smith throws a pick that makes it 21-7 for the Blue Bombers.  The place is full of people wearing Rider gear and no a single person reacts.   Not even a single grimace.  We are still fans but we are at the same where we aren’t going to let what happens on the field affect us.  I think this is what Chicago Cubs fans go through.

    My thoughts on the 2015 Ford Focus.  They are mostly positive.

    • I love Ford’s 6 speed transmission.  I can’t say enough positive things about it.  It makes the car a joy to drive.
    • It is more than big enough for us for a weekend road trip.  The sedan has more space then the hatchback but even the hatchback would be adequate.
    • There are a lot of drink holders which is nice as you start with a travel mug and then stop for a bottled water or a soda later in the day. .
    • The car is quiet on the highway.  You hear very little road noise.
    • All of the Ford vehicles that I have reviewed have all had the Sony stereo upgrades.  After tweaking the standard Ford stereo for my tastes, the factory Ford stereo is excellent.  The one thing that is frustrating with it is that the user interface is brutal.  For some tasks you have to use the upper buttons while other similar tasks you need the lower ones.  It’s not a deal breaker and you definitely get used to it but it’s the kind of thing that doesn’t need to be annoying.  
    • From the first time I reviewed a Ford car to this time, Sync continues to be tweaked an improved every year.  It’s not a big thing but it is nice to see that Ford’s commitment to quality goes to everything.  The nerd in me would love to see the upgrades in software and processing power that has made this possible.
    • I’d seriously think about buying this car.  It’s not perfect but I like it a lot.  So do a lot of you since it is the best selling car of all time (passing the Toyota Corolla).   The only non-factory upgrades I would get would be the bars on the roof so one could add a rooftop storage container.

    Tomorrow we continue south to Ogema where the boys and Wendy will take the Southern Prairie Railway for a ride and then it is back home.  You’ll see more photos and some final thoughts on the Ford Focus tomorrow. 

    Ford Focus Road Trip Starts Now

    Focus on my City with the 2015 Ford Focus

    Good morning.  Wendy, Mark, Oliver, and I are about to hop into a 2015 Ford Focus and take it for a weekend long road trip across Southern Saskatchewan.

    The first leg of the trip today is taking us from here to Moose Jaw where we will be checking into the Temple Garden’s Hotel and Spa in Moose Jaw.  After dropping off our bags, we are heading to the Claybank Brick Plant, a National Historic Site which was instrumental to the railway; from the building of brick facades for railway hotels (like the Delta Bessborough) to firebricks for trains and even World War II fireboxes.  After exploring that, we are heading back into Moose Jaw where we will explore some more of the city, hit up Smoke’s Poutinerie for supper, and then relax in the spa tonight.

    Sunday morning will see us getting up early, grabbing breakfast and the heading south to Rouleau, Saskatchewan.  You may know it as Dog River.   After a stop there, we are heading to Ogema, Saskatchewan where we will take a trip on the Southern Prairie Railway.

    As always, Ford Canada is lending me the car for review.  This time they are also covering our expenses for the trip but haven’t placed any restrictions on what I can write.  I did however sign an agreement that says that no one can smoke in the car.  It is unsaid  but I am pretty sure that I am prohibited from doing any Evil Knievel type stunts or jumps with the car as well.  This is in part because I don’t look good in leather jumpsuits. 

    Mark, Wendy and I will be tweeting the trip, posting stuff to Instagram, and writing about the day in long form on our blogs.   Hope your weekend will be as much fun as ours.

    Father’s Day Giveaway from Ford!

    With Father’s Day almost here, I have a cool giveaway for readers of the blog for Father’s Day compliments of Ford Canada.

    Here are the rules.  Leave a comment with your real name and email address.  Tell a story about driving with your dad (or step-dad or uncle or father figure), tell us a little about the car, the place, and why it was memorable.  It can be meaningful or funny, you pick.

    I’ll do a draw from the contestants and you will win….

    • Ford Genuine Parts Bar Stool with Backrest Constructed from heavy gauge 1” tubular steel frames with lustrous chrome plated finish. Commercial grade vinyl covering screened on the underside so designs will not scratch off with use. Thick foam padded seats rotate on a 360 degree swivel. Easy assembly required. Recommended for indoor use only. Dimensions: Seat – height 30” Seat Diameter- 14” Backrest Height: 42”
    Gp stool
    • Ford Genuine Parts retro metal and wood sign.
    Ford v8 blue
    • Ford ball cap

    Winners will be notified by email on Monday and Ford will ship the prize anywhere in Canada.  I am looking forward to reading your stories!

    Ford’s (Amazing) 50th Anniversary Mustang

    I have been following the news about the 50th Anniversary Ford Mustang for a while now and Ford Canada is releasing it today.  Here is the press release from Ford.

    2015 Ford Mustang

    DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 5, 2013 – The next chapter in the life of the iconic pony car begins today as the all-new Ford Mustang, loaded with innovative technologies and delivering world-class levels of performance, is simultaneously revealed around the globe in six cities on four different continents.

    “Ford Mustang inspires passion like no other car,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, global product development. “The visceral look, sound and performance of Mustang resonates with people, even if they’ve never driven one. Mustang is definitely more than just a car – it is the heart and soul of Ford.”

    Mustang’s impact goes well beyond the 9 million-plus cars sold during its 50 years of continuous production. It is the world’s most-liked vehicle on Facebook, with thousands of appearances in film, television, music and video games. For the first time ever, Ford will bring Mustang to customers in key parts of Europe and Asia.

    “We crafted this car with the goal of creating a contemporary interpretation of Mustang – an American automotive icon that symbolizes optimism and freedom for millions of people around the world,” said Jim Farley, executive vice president of Ford global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln.

    All-new shape, yet unmistakably Mustang

    Ford Mustang

    The clean-sheet design of both Mustang fastback and convertible evokes the essential character of the brand, retaining key design elements including the long sculpted hood and short rear deck with a contemporary execution.

    “You only get one chance to make a first impression and when you see this car, you immediately see a Mustang strong and true,” said Moray Callum, Ford executive director, design, The Americas.

    Several key design features define the all-new Mustang, including:
    · A lower, wider stance with a reduction in roof height, wider rear fenders and track width
    · The return of Mustang fastback with a sleeker profile enabled by more steeply sloped windshield and rear glass
    · Three-dimensional, tri-bar taillamps with sequential turn signals
    · Contemporary execution of the signature shark-bite front fascia and trapezoidal grille

    2015 Ford Mustang Interior.jpg
    Mustang convertible drivers will appreciate the standard multilayer insulated cloth top that gives the car a more upscale appearance and a quieter cabin. The new top lowers twice as fast as before, and has a sleeker profile when folded for open-air motoring.

    The information and controls that an active driver needs are all readily accessible in the aviation-inspired cockpit, which is executed with the highest degree of craftsmanship ever found in a Mustang. Large, clear instrumentation that puts vehicle information right in front of the driver in the roomier cabin while improved ergonomics and tactile switches and knobs provide better control. The added width and new rear suspension contribute to improved shoulder and hip room for passengers and a more usefully shaped trunk that can accommodate two golf bags.

    The Mustang experience

    The way Mustang looks, drives and sounds is key to the visceral experience that makes drivers want to just get in and hit the road. With more options to choose from, there is a Mustang to fit any lifestyle. The upgraded V6 and V8 are joined this year by an all-new 2.3-litre EcoBoost® engine that brings state-of-the-art technology to Mustang.

    Mustang GT continues with the latest edition of the throaty 5.0-litre V8, now featuring an upgraded valvetrain and cylinder heads that yield more than 420 horsepower and 396 lb.-ft. of torque. A new intake manifold improves low-speed breathing for better fuel economy, idle stability and emissions.

    “This EcoBoost engine delivers where a Mustang driver expects it to with a broad, flat torque curve that pours out when you stand on it for easy passing or hustling down a twisty road,” said Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer.

    The Mustang EcoBoost engine uses direct injection, variable cam timing and turbocharging to deliver plenty of usable performance and projected segment-leading fuel efficiency. A unique intake manifold and turbocharger housing enable it to deliver the performance Mustang drivers expect with output projected at more than 305 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque.

    With at least 300 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque on tap from the standard 3.7-litre V6, even the most accessible Mustang delivers the performance customers expect.

    Drivers will appreciate smoother shifts from the updated manual gearbox, while a reworked automatic transmission features new steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles for drivers who want the choice between convenience and control.

    Most nimble pony ever

    When life throws drivers a curve, the all-new Mustang sets new handling benchmarks for the brand, delivering world-class dynamics and ride quality.

    “We already set a very high standard for Mustang’s dynamics with Boss 302, and our goal was to go above and beyond that with this new car,” said Pericak.

    Mustang features all-new front and rear suspension systems. At the front, a new perimeter subframe helps to stiffen the front structure while reducing mass, providing a better foundation for more predictable wheel control that benefits handling, steering and ride.

    The new double ball-joint front MacPherson strut system also enables the use of larger, more powerful brakes. This is expected to be the best stopping Mustang yet, with three available brake packages.

    At the rear is an all-new integral-link independent rear suspension. The geometry, springs, dampers and bushings all have been specifically modified and tuned for this high-performance application. New aluminum rear knuckles help reduce unsprung mass for improved ride and handling.

    Smarter than your average pony

    2015 Ford Mustang Interior

    The all-new Mustang features a significant amount of innovative technologies providing drivers with enhanced information, control and connectivity when they want it. From Intelligent Access with Push-Button Start to SYNC and MyKey in every Mustang built, plus available Track Apps, MyColour gauges and new Shaker Pro audio system, drivers will be able to customize their time behind the wheel.

    The feeling of freedom and confidence that drivers get in Mustang is amplified when they can take control of how it behaves. On a twisty back road or a weekend track day, the driver can tap the toggle switches on the console to quickly adjust steering effort, engine response, and transmission and electronic stability control settings using the available Selectable Drive Modes to create the perfect Mustang at any time.

    The new advanced, Ford-developed stability control is tuned to maximize Mustang’s dynamic capabilities with features like torque vectoring that directs engine power to individual wheels to help keep the car on course. When the time comes to turn up the wick at the track, Mustang GT includes standard launch control that enables drivers to achieve smooth, consistent starts every time.

    When it’s time to back off and relax for the drive home available advanced driver-assist features including Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control can help ease the load.

    50 years of Mustang

    April 17, 2014, marks the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the original Ford Mustang and each 2015 model marks the milestone with a badge on the instrument panel that includes the galloping pony logo and the words “Mustang – Since 1964.” Mustang will continue to be built in America at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant.

    “From day one, we knew if we were going to build a new Mustang, we had to do it right,” said Pericak. “We built a new Mustang from the ground up that is quicker, better-looking, more refined and more efficient, without losing any of the raw appeal that people have associated with Mustang for decades.”

    The Globe and Mail has it’s thoughts right here as does the Ford Blue blog.  I want one.

    Here is my review of the 2013 Ford Mustang GT in case you are interested.  Its pretty awesome too.

    2013 Ford Mustang GT

    As soon as I was done with Ford’s amazing Focus ST, I took home a Ford Mustang which after 49 iconic years still turned heads everywhere I drove it.

    2013 Ford Mustang GT

    The Mustang was a 6 speed manual transmission with a  soft top.  As soon as I got in, I took the top down which wasn’t my best move as it was a chilly fall day and I shave my head.  So no hair flowing in the wind and instead I came home with a cold.  Wonderful but hardly Ford’s fault.

    2013 Ford Mustang GT

    Starting up the Mustang provide a jolt, even after just driving the Ford Focus ST.  It’s 420 horsepower rumbles to life and demands to be taken for a drive and responds with a baritone bark when you step on the gas.

    While driving the car during the day is fun, driving it at night is far more interesting.  The Mustang has HID headlamps are standard on all models, and they’re flanked by LED light bars that lend a little more distinction to the front-end treatment. Also new on the lighting front are optional side-mirror puddle lamps that project images of the Mustang’s famous pony emblem onto the pavement when the driver unlocks the car. Very cool.

    2013 Ford Mustang GT2013 Ford Mustang GT

    On a Saturday night after work, I realized that I had forgotten to grab our electric oil heater from the cabin.  If it freezes it gets wrecked so we decided to drive the two hours in absolute darkness to the lake to get it.  The two boys piled in the back seat and right away I heard a scared voice in the totally pitch black back seat and it was Oliver going, “It’s really dark back here.”  Black seats, roof and a lack of lighting back there really does make it feel like the abyss.

    Once we hit the highway, I was being hit by drivers flashing their high beams non-stop at me.  By the time we had going to the lake and back it happened over 100 times (I counted to 100).  The lights are spectacular to drive with, even on low beam; something I appreciated during deer hunting season (and when the deer are more jumpy and therefore more likely to jump out in front of traffic) but few of the oncoming traffic we met did.  HID lights are here to stay and it is something that rural drivers (and older drivers) need to get used to.

    As the photo below shows, we did get it a little muddy and dusty

    2013 Ford Mustang GT

    On the same stretch of road that caused the Focus ST so much problems, the rear wheel drive Mustang was extremely stable, even though it was wet from a rainfall earlier that night.

    The one thing the Mustang does not have is a silent mode.  Sneaking into a quiet lakefront community late at night with a car that rumbles like the Mustang had lights turning on as we drove down the main drag.  This car doesn’t sneak anywhere.  While the kids didn’t like the backseat as much as the Ford Focus, my body felt better after the drive in the Mustang.  It was a very comfortable car to drive.

    The cons to the vehicle are gas mileage.  While I reset the cars mileage computer, the reviewer before me was getting an atrocious 17.1 litres per 100 kms.  2013 Mustangs on Fuelly get around 20 mpg which isn’t great but isn’t as bad as I would have thought.

    The other thing I didn’t like was the steering wheel wasn’t telescopic which meant instead of shifting the wheel around to find the optimal position, I was constantly shifting around.

    One last note, when Oliver saw the car, he thought it was a blue KITT as he had just been watching the remake of Knight Rider (which features a Ford Mustang).  He was quite disappointed that it didn’t come with a rockets and guns and said, “So Ford sent you the cheap version of KITT?”  Umm, I guess they did.

    After everything considered, it was a lot of fun to drive and a car I would have loved to keep, even if it has no rockets and doesn’t turn into a Ford truck.

    For more information on the Ford Mustang GT, check out Ford Canada’s website or head into your local Ford dealer.