There is nothing more appealing than the classic road trip, ever since 1950 when the highway was developed countless folks have jumped in their cars and set out to explore our beautiful country. A road trip is a symbol of freedom is part of our culture like the Toyota Corolla. Created in 1966 it quickly became one the worlds most dependable cars. To celebrate this major milestone Toyota invited me to take an epic road trip which involved driving 1,450 miles, a sunrise hot air balloon ride and blowing out candles on a delectable cake.
I was one of the 15 bloggers whom were invited to attend the Corolla’s 50th Birthday party in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I like to share with you my epic road trip and hopefully inspire you to hop in your car, crank up the music and hit the road to new places and make memories of your own.
We all got a special edition 2017 Toyota Corolla SE for our road trip and as Virginia Slims would say ” its come along way baby” since its 1966 design. The new bold design captivates you with its aggressive sporty new front end ( like its sister the Lexus) and with 17″ alloy wheels the Corolla flaunts its sophisticated style.
Willie Nelson’s iconic On the Road Again ( its my favorite song ) set the tone for an amazing road trip an off I went, during my journey I had my own session of Car Pool Karaoke jammed to tunes from memory lane as iconic as the Corolla California Dreaming, Summer in the City , Monday, Monday to name a few and after 150 miles, I had reached my first leg of my trip Flagstaff, Arizona. I love to explore new places , so had breakfast at Martinannes a funky restaurant full of unique art pieces and good food. I had the green pozole served with hash browns, eggs and bacon.Oh and a favorite discovery on the menu was you can get a cup of whip cream ( no questions asked).
Siri reminded me I had to stay on I-40 for 322 miles until Albuquerque, NM. The Corolla has excellent gas mileage I must say, when your on a road trip fuel efficiency is a must and with its sporty design which has been wind-tunnel-tested for optimal performance. This means that Corolla’s sleek shape helps it slip through the air, reducing interior noise and boosting overall efficiency. The Corolla provides 40 highway mpg and 30 city mpg.
I cruised right on to La Hacienda Santa Fe right in time for dinner. This charming hotel was to be our home away from home for the next 3 days. Our suite was fully equipped with a terrace, fireplace, sitting area and such a nice touch to be welcomed with a lovely basket of fresh fruit.
Day two began at 2 am yes, you read correctly as we needed to be on route to Albuquerque International Balloon Festival by 5am.
To my surprise their were lots of folks there most were not riding but rather enjoying the festival that runs for 10 days . Our deflated balloon was quietly waiting for us, you see the winds need to be optimal in order for our Pilot to decide to fly, safety is the number one goal. Our Pilot from Rainbow Balloon Ryders has more than 30 years of experience as he briefed us on safety and landing protocol we got the Go! and then the most magical thing happened the entire field came alive with hundred of hot air balloons being filled at once, different colors and shapes began to ascend up, up and away.
We got in to the basket and off we went to an altitude of 1500 feet. The sun shined on our faces, the calm winds made me feel like I was literally were simply floating on a massive picnic basket. In a matter of 35 minutes we had to descend almost feeling the ground beneath us and then were told that we had to land. Where? I thought to my self.. on an empty field full of dirt, rocks and small spiky plants surrounded by barbwire that’s where and we hit the ground once, twice and the third time I saw a small hill and wondered Oh no!! please don’t tell me that’s our landing site … yep that’s were we crashed the basket tilted on its side.
We allowed the youngest member of our group to get off and then .. one might think we yelled help .. no you see when you have 11 bloggers we yell phone, take pics, and shoot video.
After going thru barbwire to get out of the crash sight .. we headed back to the festival and Yes! we had mimosas celebrated got my certificate saying I had survived and was able to cross hot air balloon ride off my bucket list.
Then off to The Hacienda Santa Fe to get dolled up for the Corolla’s birthday party.
Internationally renowned Restaurant Martin Chef Martin Rios was our party dinning destination which is in walking distance of Hotel La Hacienda. Martin serves amazing refined modern American dishes its ambiance is a mix of contemporary, art all surrounded with a beautiful with a garden-lined patio.. Chef Rios’ cuisine did not disappoint his creativity was superb on every dish and delectable on every bite.
Day three, was an early rise for pics on board our Corollas. And off to Arizona – Home. It was an amazing journey! . Thanks to Toyota for the invite to such an epic road trip. And Happy Birthday Corolla!!
Until next time,