#GoFurther150 Ford Canada drive experience

I love to get away in a brand new Ford Canada vehicle so when a last minute opportunity came up I couldn’t say “yes, please” fast enough.

For this Ford experience we drove a Ford Explorer. The Ford Explorer is a great car for road trippers, families, and just about anyone who needs a little cargo space with the added benefit of luxury. The Ford Explorer is big but it is so easy to handle and even a snap to park. I really appreciated the third row seating that means you can take seven passengers including the driver.

We really put the Ford Explorer through it’s paces. Almost as soon as I started driving the Ford Explorer I was off running an errand, picking up a gas fireplace out in Langley. So how do I go from North Burnaby to Langley when I have no idea what route to take? The Ford Explorer is fully equipped and the touch screen controls make it a snap to use. I just touch the “Nav” on the touch screen and “enter” an address and I’m done. I was solo in the Ford Explorer that morning so I joined the throngs of morning commuters and quickly discovered another great feature; the Ford Explorer’s side mirrors detect traffic entering your blind spot and a cautionary light shows in the side mirror letting you know about the car moving up your side line of vision.

Good thing the Ford Explorer has so much cargo space because the box carrying the gas fireplace was huge but it fit right in behind the third row of seats. Later when we went to pack for our trip to Vancouver Island we flipped the two rear seats forward and we had ample room for our four suitcases, garment bag, computer cases, cooler and my new Ford Canada 150 backpack.

The morning we left on our road trip the traffic was light and we were in Horseshoe Bay in record time. The Ford Explorer is a comfortable city vehicle that navigated the tight quarters of the Stanley Park causeway with ease. When we hit the Upper Levels Highway the Ford Explorer picked up the pace and our drive was smooth and comfortable.

The ferry is always a tight squeeze with narrow lanes and lots of posts so by using the option of the automatic side mirrors I just hit a button and the mirrors fold in, this is handy when you’re in a tight space, and it’s also courteous to your fellow ferry passengers who have to make their way between rows of cars to get to the stairs and the passenger deck.

Departing the ferry at Departure Bay, Nanaimo and our road trip can finally begin. You have the option of what locals call the “new highway” or you can take the more scenic oceanside old highway once you pass Parksville. So it’s scenic versus timely as you head north passing through the tiny hamlet of Nanoose Bay on your way.

We were in pursuit of what might be Canada’s largest gnome! The #GoFurther150 drive experience came with a challenge and we couldn’t wait to begin our pursuit. Our first stop was the tranquil surroundings of Tigh Na Mara Resort and Spa where we spent a quiet night and a lazy afternoon in the Grotto Spa.

“Tigh-Na-Mara’s Grotto Spa has been named number one in Canada.The Parksville spa earned the title from Spas of America, an international spa and wellness travel website ranking spas across the Americas and within Canada.” Parksville Qualicum Beach News

Dinner later that evening in the Cedars dining room at Tigh Na Mara was a treat. Every dish is made to order, locally sourced and prepared in house, delicious and pleasing to the eye. Staff are pleasant, efficient and knowledgeable.

It’s day two and the pursuit of the elusive gnome continues. We head out to Coombs for a stop at Goats on The Roof Country Market. Can’t resist the yummy ice cream flavours at Billy Gruffs Creamery.

Now it’s time to turn toward the West Coast and the three hour drive to Tofino. It can be slow and the road is curvy but the destination is worth the effort. You can always break up the drive as we did with a stop in Coombs to grab a snack or a takeaway lunch; then next stop Cathedral Grove followed by a side trip to Port Alberni if you wish. The Ford Explorer was a dream on the steep turns with enough power to overtake big trucks and campers whenever we had a passing lane. It goes without saying the roomy interior and lumbar, leather seats are built for comfort. Next stop Pacific Rim Visitor Centre.

Arriving in Tofino and the prerequisite stop at the rugged, wide open beaches and then we’re off to our destination. The next two nights find us at the totally revamped, and renamed, Tofino Resort and Marina. For anyone familiar with Tofino we can unequivocally  assure you the “yellow barn” is no more. Now totally renovated and painted a stately white that will house the administration and front desk of the Resort.

Although the Tofino Resort and Marina was still in the throes of renovation during our stay the building that features the one bedroom suites is now complete with the additional building slated to be ready for occupancy in mid July.

view from our balcony at Tofino Resort and Marina

Both The Hatch, a casual dining restaurant with an outdoor patio; and the more upscale 1909 are now open. We enjoyed happy hour and a dinner at The Hatch. The Hatch features upscale pub food that satisfies the fussiest patron. 1909 is Tofino Resort and Marina’s fine dining establishment; casually elegant decor with outstanding views from every table. In a word the dishes we had were exceptional. For patrons that are looking for the quieter, more refined setting but not necessarily fine dining will find their needs met by the diversity of the menu. You can expect to find something for everyone from authentic wood burning oven pizza to exquisite seafood dishes.

I will be doing a full review of the Tofino Resort and Marina later this month so be sure to check back for all the details of our stay and everything the Tofino Resort and Marina has to offer.

Sunset view from The Hatch at Tofino Resort and Marina

Tofino is so beautiful and there is so much to do that it can be hard to leave; but it’s time for us to move on. We still haven’t found that giant gnome, if it’s that big why haven’t we found him yet?

So back we go along the twisty, turning highway; past Coombs; through Parksville and almost to Nanoose Bay and what is that up on the right, could it be? Yes, we finally find the gnome and is he BIG, could definitely be the biggest gnome in Canada.

Carrying on with our journey to meet up with family for the Canada Day weekend. Great to have the Ford Explorer to continue the fun at the Canada Day 150 parade in downtown Courtenay. We had a blast and headed a little further north to Miracle Beach; half way between Courtenay and Campbell River.

Thanks to Ford Canada’s #GoFurther150 drive experience for the use of the Ford Explorer that made our road trip the fun and comfortable journey it was. Hope everyone had a memorable Canada Day 150.


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