Category Archives: Family Car

Family Weekend Whirlwind Trip to NYC: Our #OneTankAdventure

When you live in DC, you are often faced with this question: Is a whirlwind #OneTankAdventure weekend trip to NYC with two young kids a good idea?

Is it better to travel from DC to NYC with the kids in the winter or the summer?

Can a 5-year-old stay up for a 7pm performance of the Rockettes?

Do we dare tackle I-95 and the New Jersey Turnpike (barring any Governor Cristie revenge bridge closings) on a busy holiday weekend in December? Or should we cough up the extra money for train or plane tickets?

Note where the youngest WM'ette is perched...on a blustery night in Rockefeller Center

Note where the youngest WM’ette is perched…on a blustery night in Rockefeller Center

And in the end, the ultimate parental-evaluating-a-trip-question must be faced head on: Will we bleed money and end up carrying the kids more than anything? (spoiler alert: every parent knows the answer to this one).

I decided December 2013 was the time to find out the answers to these deep questions. As anyone knows who lives in relative close proximity to NYC, deciding to head there for a weekend trip with the young kids is not a simple question. There are so many things to contend with: traffic, crowds, weather, astronomical prices (starting with how best to get there; plane, train or automobile). But there are also just as many good reasons to take the kids to NYC for the weekend: amazing museums, beautiful architecture, unforgettable theater experiences, entire stores dedicated to candy….to name a few.

So how to get there, where to stay and what to do? My sister lives in Brooklyn and in previous years, just me and the eldest WM’ette would travel up to NYC for a whirlwind weekend holiday jaunt. We’d crash on their sofa and tool around town, it was fun and easy and relatively affordable. Then things got more complicated. My sister now has a toddler of her own and my youngest is now old enough that there’s no way you can take off for a weekend and hit toy and candy stores, see decorations and possibly even a play – and her not find out about it. Suddenly our tradition of quick and affordable holiday weekend for two became a family of four and we needed a hotel room.

Final_OneTankAdventureLast fall as we were considering planning the weekend, I was contacted by a representative from Ford Motor Company offering me a Ford Escape for a weekend. They asked if we had any trips coming up and would we want to give it a whirl? It seemed like the perfect time to try out a new car – a trip up 95 North in the Ford Escape – and we locked it in.

Next question we faced – where to stay and should we spring for tickets to the Rockettes? I knew that at ages 5 and 8, our girls were the perfect age to invest the $500 (yes, you got that right, $500 for 4 seats in the nose bleed section) in taking them to Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes.

Final question – where to stay?

We reasoned that if we were going for one night, we should get the 7pm tickets to the Rockettes in order to maximize our time around the city, and we should spring for a hotel close to Rockefeller Center & Radio City Music Hall because by the end of the night, the kids would just be DONE.  We ended up booking a room at the Omni Berkshire, a few blocks from Rockefeller Center.

photo(155)Ford delivered the beautiful blue Ford Escape the day before we departed, back in mid-December, and the next morning we heard rumblings of snow. Being a DC’er, I chalked it up to maybe a few inches but probably nothing. Being a chronic over-packer, even for a 24 hour jaunt, Mr. WM noted just how much storage space we had in the Escape. We loaded the kids and bags into the bag, set up our portable DVD players and set off towards I-95 North. With Mr. WM behind the wheel, he noted the comfort and leg space he had. In particular, he doesn’t like it when his legs hit up against the middle console, a common complaint he has in smaller cars, and he complimented the interior comfort of the vehicle and the space he had for his long-ish legs. I enjoyed the back-up camera, the satellite radio and of course, the blind spot detection on the side mirrors – loved that feature.

I quickly began to wonder if, in fact, this incredibly fuel-efficient small SUV would result in a #OneTankAdventure for us because we were averaging a whopping 26.2 MPG. Obviously highway travel is more fuel efficient than stop-and-go city traffic – but considering we were headed to NYC – we were bound to hit stop-and-go city traffic. Either way, this car was averaging more efficient mileage than my small Mazda3.

Upon arriving in Midtown, we quickly realized that the snow was coming down at a good rate and it was more than a fluke and poorly predicted DC-style snow storm. The valet had whisked away the trusty Escape and we headed out front to grab a cab to the Upper West Side to meet my sister at the American Museum of Natural History.

NaturalHistoryEnter the first big question to be more strategically evaluated when planning a trip to NYC. If the weather is turning bad, should you leave the neighborhood where you are staying? Was traveling so far from Midtown a good decision given the snow? Would getting back be worth the effort?

We didn’t worry about those things as we spent a few hours enjoying the museum, especially the dinosaurs and any exhibits featuring human bones, of particular interest to my 5-year-old.  It was when we left the museum and realized we had three really tired kids, along with fierce winds and a few inches on the ground that we knew maybe we should have stuck closer to 5th Avenue.

What ensued was a long, cold and really magical walk through Central Park. Back to the original question – do you end up carrying kids more often than not?  I offer you exhibit A:

 

One of these things is just like the other.....

One of these things is just like the other…..

Now onto the next question, is a 7pm show a good idea?

Hmm. I still stand by the fact that on a normal night, our youngest goes to bed around 8:30pm-ish – so a 7pm show wasn’t outrageous. But see, factor in whipping cold wind, driving snow, a long magical stroll through Central Park and insane Christmas crowds – and well – a little one doesn’t have much energy left.

Did she stay awake for the duration of the show?

No way.

Did we tell her she did?

Yes.

Did my oldest blab and note she slept through more than half and missed tons of great things?

Oh totally. But she shushed that dream killer and told our little one she barely missed anything. She bought it.

#Lies

#ParentFail

#PoorPlanning

Getting ready to take the Escape over a bridge before heading back to DC

Getting ready to take the Escape over a bridge before heading back to DC (note – you don’t see any snow, do you?)

The next day, much to our total shock, all the snow was gone. Unlike DC where upwards of 6 inches would have shut us down for at least an entire day, all the snow was completely removed from the streets and sidewalks of midtown. It felt like we had a snow-filled dream and perhaps it never really happened?

We honestly had never seen anything like it.The Omni valet delivered the Escape back to us at the hotel and after a lovely morning stroll around Midtown, we headed to Brooklyn, still with about one-quarter of a tank of gas left, enjoyed lunch with baby Jack and his parents before heading back down the turnpike and 95 in our sweet, fuel-efficient ride.

Overall – we had a really great weekend.

Did it feel like we were bleeding cash?

Yes, of course, it’s NYC.

Did Mr. WM end up carrying the youngest on his shoulders pretty much the entire time?

Of course but you all knew that would happen.

Should I have purchased tickets to the 4:30 showing of the Rockettes? Yes, probably but that would have really cut into our day – so them’s the breaks.

Was springing for a hotel so close to Rockefeller Center worth the extra expense?

Absolutely. In the blinding wind and snow at 9:30pm, after a long day of touring around town, this time I was the one carrying the sleeping 5-year-old and you better believe the room was worth its weight in gold at that point.

Did we make it to NYC and back to DC on one tank?

#OneTankAdventure

No. We were driving an entry-sized SUV, loaded with baggage and 4 of us…but we still averaged a whopping 26.2 MPG, filled up one time on the Jersey turnpike, crossed all bridges and tunnels without any unexpected traffic drama, and enjoyed the comfort of our loaner ride.

Will we do it again? Oh absolutely. Right now I’ve got my eyes on a May trip to NYC to see Matilda and celebrate a certain someone’s second birthday…….

Cousins strolling Park Slope

Cousins strolling Park Slope

Disclosure: Ford Motor Company loaned the Ford Escape to me for the weekend but my opinions here are all my own. 

The Family Car: Two Rows or Three Rows?

I don’t know about your house but in my house, there are some firm and divided feelings on the right family car. Mr. WM, he loves the ease and comfort of a minivan.

Moi?

Not so much. I almost cringe at the practicality of it all.

Now, before I offend all my minivan driving readers know that I fully appreciate how ridiculous I sound. Is my anti-minivan state a pathetic attempt to cling onto the last youthful seeming identity I can muster up? I already moved to the burbs, I had the kids, I tool around town getting them to and from their activities – a minivan makes total sense.

Yet I resist.

C’est vrai.

C’est VAIN.

Which then begs the question of two rows or three rows and what is the right vehicle choice due to my self-imposed minivan ban?

We only have two kids, I reason, therefore we don’t need a minivan yet….yet….I am the FIRST to declare lately that I need three rows.

I said it.

Also, I don’t like driving big cars. Why?

Well, let’s just say I don’t have a lot of confidence with my ability to pull into small parking spots or reverse out of a crowded Whole Foods parking lot.

I am a walking cliché, people. I know this.  Go ahead, mock me. I deserve it. Mr. WM does.

A few weeks ago, leading up to a fabulous design forum weekend in Charlottesville hosted by Mazda, they delivered a Mazda5 to my house for us to drive for two weeks. I wasn’t sure what to think. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I own a Mazda3.

See how I am consistent with my personal brand? The Mazda3 is sporty, youthful, it’s small and easy to drive and park. I’ve had my Mazda3 for 8 years and I love her. She’s done right by me. Some of you might recall I was involved in a horrible accident on the beltway a year ago – the kind that shuts down all lanes of the beltway and leaves you pretty much permanently emotionally scarred. It is nothing short of a miracle that I walked out of that accident without so much as a scratch.

I am loyal to my Mazda.

But the Mazda5. Now that’s a different story because though it doesn’t LOOK like a minivan….if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck..well….

Meanwhile over in Mr. WM-land, he was super psyched about the chance to drive the Mazda5 because it is now well-documented that he is a man of practical nature; the yang to my yin.

I reluctantly loaded the girls into the car and as what is normally a time-consuming and somewhat frustrating process (you know, getting them actually INTO a car and into their car seats) was happening, I realized it was actually, well, easy. In a practical way.

First off, the sliding doors are really so nice. You read that right, two sliding doors, not just one. Then there was the issue of the three rows. Because three rows are a novelty to my kids, naturally they both wanted to sit back there and they found it to be super comfortable. Loading their gear, of which there seems to be endless amounts of it, was also really easy because everything just slid straight in. When I’m driving my Mazda3, I have to basically climb down and do strange bendy twists to load the pool bags and other “necessary” kid items across the driver’s seat onto the passenger seat. In the instance of the Mazda5, it was a direct, straight across, no bending or squatting or maneuvering required movement – it was just easy.

Mazda5

Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves, I wasn’t yet ready to relinquish my stupid anti minivan philosophy though in my head, I was reasoning that actually, is the car technically a minivan, because well, it’s smaller and feels like a car.

Then came time to drive it. What Mazda does especially well is build sporty, fun to drive cars, and equip them with luxury-like accessories and interior, so you feel like you’re not in economy class but you are getting the better price than a luxury price tag. This certainly holds true for my 8-year-old Mazda3 and it absolutely is true for the Mazda5.

We had a lovely leather interior, perfect for the inevitable kid spills, satellite radio, bluetooth, GPS, and one of my husband’s favorite features, the windshield wiper sensor that activated and then paced the wipers when it was raining.

In terms of fuel economy, this car performed very well for being a three-row vehicle in city stop-and-go traffic. We actually ended up taking it on three road trips – one to Cunningham State Falls for a day trip of lake lounging and a short (I emphasize the word short) hike, the following weekend we headed to Charlottesville for the Mazda Design Forum Weekend to learn more about the roll-out of the super stylish and fabulous Mazda3 and then over July 4 weekend we hit the beach with the old Mazda5. To say that we tested her out under a range of conditions, frankly, would be an understatement.

Fuel efficiency wise, she ranged between about 21.4 and 24.4 miles per gallon and filling her up ran me less than $50. I was pleased,  honestly. I could track my miles-per-gallon right there on the dashboard during every trip, which might appeal to the consumer who really gets into that, I have a few friends with husbands who are like that.

How about the all-practical question for every family of packing space? If you are using all three rows, there isn’t much in the way of trunk space. There was enough room for a big grocery store run. Again, we only have two kids, so I could pile gear up onto empty seats. Over the 4th, we drove to Bethany Beach and had to bring the girls’ expertly decorated and extremely patriotic bikes so they could ride in the parade, of course. We easily folded down the third row, loaded up the bikes, our weekend bags and had room to spare. At the beach, it was nice to be able to pile everyone in to head to the fireworks in one car instead of two cars, or fold back down the third row to load up all the necessary beach gear, of which, we never pack lightly.

RoadTrip_Mazda5

As for those patriotic July 4 bikes? Actually not a Pinterest Fail on my part, as so much often is:

July4bikes

After two weeks of driving the Mazda5, I confess, I didn’t want to return it. The girls continued to delight over the chance to pick which row they wanted to sit in and the car drove like a car, parked so easily, was smooth and had luxurious features. I grew to like it quite  a lot. As for what we’ll do when it’s time to trade in my now 8-year-old Mazda3, it remains to be seen. Honestly, I have my eye on the Mazda CX9 because it also drives like a car even though it’s an SUV and has the three-rows but Mr. WM is pushing for the Mazda5. I think the price of the Mazda5 also appeals to him (again, that practical side) because they range from about $19,000 – $24,000.

Are we the only ones with the ongoing debate of two rows or three rows? To minivan or not to minivan?

Our final conclusion – what Mazda has done with the Mazda5 is build the perfect urban minivan for anyone who likes a sporty feel, a smaller car but needs the extra cargo room or passenger room. We were lucky to have the time to test her out.  Time will tell what we decide…in the meantime, back to my Mazda3.

Disclosure: Me and my family were invited to attend a Design Forum Weekend as guests of Mazda in Charlottesville. They provided the vehicle for us to drive. My opinions here are all my own.

 

 

Kids in Hot Cars: Neglect or Not?

Photo Credit: Safe Kids USA http://www.safekids.org/press-release/nhtsa-safe-kids-child-heatstroke

Photo Credit: Safe Kids USA http://www.safekids.org/press-release/nhtsa-safe-kids-child-heatstroke

It’s happening again. Last week – it happened two times in the DC area within days. Last month, 7 kids died in 4 different states within two weeks. It’s a totally preventable, horrific and unnecessary death when parents or caregivers forget a child is in the backseat of a car and the child dies after being left in the heat in a car. It happens every single year, unfortunately.

Several years ago, Gene Weingarten wrote a chilling and incredibly thorough piece on this issue of Kids and Cars in the Washington Post magazine. If you didn’t read it then, I’d encourage you to read it now.

It is a long read and it is a really difficult read. I distinctly remember it took me almost a week because I had to break it up into sections. What he does very well is examine all sides of the issue – in particular the perspective that is so difficult for many of us to accept – HOW CAN THIS BE? Look, if you read my below piece that I wrote back in July 2011, you’ll realize very quickly that I am incredibly firm in my belief that it is neglect on the part of whomever has left this child in the car. Despite those feelings, it’s still important to get a perspective on how the brain functions, how it actually is possible to forget a child. Weingarten’s piece will give you that perspective. The psychologist he interviews pointedly notes that if you’re capable of forgetting your cell phone, you’re capable of forgetting your child.

After re-reading that portion of the interview, I couldn’t help but wonder, if that same sound bite would prove true today. Back in 2009, we weren’t as addicted to our phones as we are now — they weren’t quite so smart — so is it still true?

The other perspective you’ll get from reading the piece is the horrific way a child dies when they are left inside a hot vehicle. One child pulled all her hair out in that process.

That is what I think about when I’m criticized for being judgmental of the parents who forget their kids in the back of the car. How about the kid?

Yet a few months ago, my husband came home one day and said to me “Now I think I can see how someone could forget their kid in the backseat of the car.”

Our youngest had taken to falling asleep in the car, something neither of our kids had really ever done before and we’d moved her up to a booster seat from her convertible car seat. In our Jeep, the way the seats are and the height of the new bigger kid car seat, suddenly it meant that unless you turned the rear view mirror down to deliberately see her – you could no longer see her when looking in that mirror.  In that moment – I knew he was right – for the first time – I could actually realize with my own two eyes how something this horrific could happen.

Even so, I still firmly believe it’s neglect and it’s a crime.

Want to know what else I think? I think that every time a child dies from being left in a hot car, every single one of us needs to slow down and take stock of our own lives. Parsing out the instances where it was a parent deliberately leaving the child, each case shares one common trait – a change in routine, a busy hectic schedule, a tired parent, pulled in too many directions:  a recipe for disaster.

No matter your feelings, no matter where you fall on the spectrum of blame, anger and neglect – we all need to slow down and think about it for a few minutes.

If you want to read more – I’m including the piece I posted back in July 2011 when this was a hot topic in the DC area because of the Virginia mother who left her child in the car. If you read all the way to the end, you’ll appreciate the reminder that it was written a few years ago because I toss in a Casey Anthony reference. Forget about her?

——————————————————————————————–

Every summer stories break that a parent changes his or her routine, forgets to take the child to daycare, instead goes to work and leaves their own child unattended in a hot scorching car for 7 or 8 hours, only to ultimately find the child dead at the end of the work day. It’s a horrible story. It’s a story that no one is comfortable with. But what shocks me every time is how forgiving the public is of these parents who fail to remember their own kid in the back seat of a car all day long.

In Sunday’s Washington Post there was an oped written by Molly Roberts on the recent case of the veterinarian from Virginia who left her child unattended for 7 hours last month and the child died. Sunday’s piece, “A Baby is dead. Was it a crime?”, initially infuriated me. Roberts clearly is very uncomfortable with accusing a seemingly loving mother, a smart educated mother, a mother who is maybe – on paper – like Roberts: smart, focused, driven, successful. Roberts, in her piece,  is unwilling to admit that this mother is guilty of neglect even though she concedes it is neglectful to forget a child in a car because we can’t prove that this woman INTENDED to neglect her child.

Ok – so along the path of keeping our children safe – we’re supposed to look kindly on neglect cases where the parent didn’t actually MEAN to inflict any harm on the child. And in this case, the ultimate worst kind of harm, the death of a child. What does the child say about this? How do we protect the innocent if we allow for neglect when it wasn’t intended?

I think what this story, and the shockingly endless stories like this, is really about is this: we can RELATE to this form of neglect. We are all running around, harried, stretched too thin, with schedules too busy and jam-packed. Our minds are racing, our brains overcrowded with to-do lists and deadlines. We can RELATE to how easy it might be to change-up our schedule and forget something, even something as beloved as our child.

So we don’t feel comfortable prosecuting these grieving parents.  We can’t relate to drug-addicted moms who didn’t mean to leave their pipes lying around for the  kid to pick up and use. We can’t relate to parents who drive drunk with their kids in the back of the car. We can’t relate to parents who leave loaded guns in their homes and the child finds it and uses it. But we CAN relate to busy, over-worked and stressed out parents. So we don’t want to hold  them accountable in the court system because it hits close to home.

I’ll be honest: I don’t relate to it and I find it neglectful. I think they should be prosecuted, no matter the profound level of pain and trauma they feel for their horrible mistake. Am I a perfect parent who never makes mistakes? Of course not. But who goes 7 or 8 hours without thinking of their child? How is this possible? I don’t care how busy your day is and what life-saving miracles you might be performing at work – forgetting a child and leaving them to suffer a horrible experience in the back of a hot car is neglect.

Whether we are comfortable saying it, whether we can relate to how it could happen or not – if a child ends up dead – someone should be accountable for it.  Unless, apparently, you live in the state of Florida and your name is Casey Anthony.

————————————-

Follow moi by  hitting “Like” on my Facebook page, it’s always lively over there. I’d love to know what you think.

Driving VW along the California Coast

In March, I was invited to join Volkswagen for a media trip to test out their line of vehicles. They invited an assortment of traditional media and bloggers to join them in Half Moon Bay, California, and we were given a day to drive a variety of their cars along the beautiful mountains surrounding Palo Alto. The trip ended with a tour of their R&D facilities.

As someone who actually worked for the auto industry for many years, I was eager to be a part of this trip.  I learned more about autos and all the research that goes into building these computers on wheels than I ever imagined possible during my time working for the industry and I still find it endlessly fascinating to learn more, particularly about the research involved in building the next generation of vehicles. Also, despite having worked for the industry for so many years, I’d never actually had the chance to participate in a company press junket, so I couldn’t wait.

We were like bees on honey with that sporty red Golf. My partners in crime: Leticia & Jyl

I was part of the first of two waves of media and in my wave, there were only a small handful of women. This didn’t surprise me and I hope the tide is changing on that front. Some of the communications folks at VW noted that they did adopt a different strategy for the spring’s ride and drive and strategically decided to invite some parenting bloggers – realizing that women do yield an enormous influence over all purchasing decisions at home – including cars. I was lucky enough to partner up with two other fabulous bloggers, Leticia who writes Tech Savvy Mama and Jyl who founded Mom It Forward. We were trouble from the start. After defecting from my original group, I hopped into the back seat of our first ride with Thelma Leticia and Louise Jyl. Our marching orders were to enjoy the car, and find our way to the top of the mountain to trade in the CC for the next vehicle of our choosing.

Let me tell you, we took our time. We quickly found the 80s station of our choosing on the satellite radio, I marveled over

The CC we drove up the mountain..when plenty of stops along the way

how much room there is in the back seat of this beautiful car, and we might have trespassed detoured into an artichoke field and stumbled upon an adorable country store on our way up the mountain. The current CC model now offers seating for five, including 3 kids in the back, which is real plus for larger families who still want a sedan instead of a minivan or SUV. As we weaved our way up the narrow mountainous roads, I soon realized that I was feeling incredibly car sick, at which point Jyl helpfully noted this would be the ideal way to test out the car’s durability if transporting children…..how would vomit wipe up in the back seat?

The men might have been pulled over to the side, peeking under the hood of the car, but not us. We were instead engrossed in the practical realities of driving kids around. Turns out I didn’t toss my crackers but one of us spilled some tea and it wiped up easily without staining or drama. Check one for durability for VW.

Next we took out a bright red Beetle. The VW team explained to us earlier in the morning during the formal presentation part of the day that they’ve taken customer feedback seriously and changed the shape and size of the Beetle….to appeal to men…but we still loved it. They’ve given the Beetle a “wider stance with a more balanced appeal” but the bottom line is – a Beetle is a Beetle – a completely fun car to drive that always catches the eyes of other drivers on the road. This is the ideal car for anyone who likes to park easily and feel sporty. I loved driving it. And there was no puking happening from the back seat partner in crime during this route. We had fun checking out the fancy and sporty dashboard, stylish interior detailing and naturally took full advantage of the heated seats – something I use even on warm summer days – much to the total confusion of my husband.

Fabulous family vehicle...the Touareg

The third and final car we took out is one of VW’s best cars for families…the Touareg. We loved driving it, one of the largest vehicles VW makes, complete with tons of cargo room in the back for strollers, groceries and beach and pool gear. The Touareg will also be offered as a super charged hybrid…which on some level feels like a contradiction – but who says you can’t love efficiency and speed? As a hybrid, it boasts 28mpg, which is pretty impressive for a bigger SUV. This particular vehicle is also equipped with all the safety technology that is particularly important to parents (well, really, who doesn’t care about safety?), specifically what VW calls an Intelligent Crash Response, meaning in the event of a collision, the doors automatically unlock, the fuel pump shuts off and the hazards immediately go on. As someone who was in a horrific accident on the beltway in February – I would have appreciated even some of these things.

As gas prices flirted with $4/gallon all spring, however, what really draws me to VW as the ideal manufacturer for my next purchase is the diesel option. Personally, I have my eye on the diesel Jetta wagon. Diesel is 20-40% more fuel-efficient than gasoline and unlike the diesel of the 1970s, diesel today is clean. In fact, clean diesel engines reduce carbon emissions by 20% over gasoline engines.  In the fall, VW is rolling out the Jetta hybrid and will offer the Beetle in diesel later this summer. The other car I was lucky enough to ride in but didn’t get a chance to drive was the sporty Golf, also available in diesel and the most powerful Golf engine offered yet, along with a four door option. Suddenly I found myself wanting that car too. Can you tell I like small and sporty? Fabulous choices all around. It’s no wonder this manufacturer saw an almost 30% increase in sales in the United States last year. Though it puzzles me that the diesel options in the US only account for 20% of their fleet sales – despite how popular diesel is overseas, especially in Europe. I wonder if this trend will continue to tick upwards in the US?

So what else did we do beyond drive super fun cars? Well, we ate incredibly delicious food, so clearly I suffered. But the part I was most looking forward to came at the conclusion of our day – which was a visit to their research labs out in Silicon Valley. VW concluded that so much innovation is happening in Silicon Valley – why not partner automotive research with technology research? One of the coolest things we were shown in the lab is a simulator to help learn more about distracted driving – including fatigued driving – and researching the characteristics of when eyelids are closing  to detect when a driver is drowsy. Another core competency at the VW research lab is work on renewable fuels – so hybrids and diesel are not the only solutions. In fact, VW is investing $783 million in renewable energy with their VW ThinkBlue efforts.

Again, I was an automotive policy wonk, so maybe my final fun fact for today won’t thrill you in the same way it did me – but I leave you with this to think about – if 1/3 of Americans switched from gasoline to clean diesel in their daily drives, the U.S. could send back 1.5 million barrels of foreign oil per day, according to the EPA.

Bottom line – it was a great trip and the amount of research going into safety technology, alternative fuels and emissions is truly remarkable and impressive. Now…to convince Mr. Wired Momma that I should be first in line for the Jetta Hybrid this fall…..until then, thank you to VW for a great trip and for expanding your reach into parenting bloggers.

Disclosure: VW purchased my airline ticket and provided me with my lodging and food for the duration of my trip to Half Moon Bay. I was not compensated financially for this post or my time out there. My opinions here are all my own.