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Monday, August 19, 2013

My Kia, My Summer

When you road-trip close to home and bring your own car, it's pretty important that it's comfortable enough to sit in – for everyone – for hours at a time. My little blue Kia Rio, that I've named Kip, may be compact, but he has plenty of room for driving an hour to the beach and even three hours to Seattle or Bend. Summer may be coming to an end, but that doesn't mean we have to stop packing up our car and heading out to someplace fun. Though we tend to take Kip with us during the spring, we have shared some great summer memories in it as well.

When my old car was limping along on its last leg, Eric and I remembered a commercial from a Kia dealership in town that we saw quite often on TV and decided we should check it out. Neither of us had ever driven a Kia or knew that much about them, but we drove away in a brand new Rio and I have loved it ever since. I drive 25 miles a day, at least, to get to work and back, so something that was compact, comfortable, somewhat roomy and didn't eat a lot of gas was important. 

There's a surprising amount of space in the car. You can fit 2-4 carry-ons in the trunk as needed, plus we have room for my dog's car seat yes, she has her own special seat to see out of the window and our cooler for drinks and snacks. Kip takes us pretty much everywhere. All our weekend jaunts are with him, whether that means we're headed to the farmers' market and a movie or up to Seattle to take a little getaway.

I get 25+ miles per gallon, depending on what kind of driving I do: 25 mpg for mostly commuting traffic that can be start and stop, and around 30 mpg for highway driving. That kind of efficiency really saves us a lot of moola when we go on long-haul trips, which means our travels can be even more budget-friendly. 

Where Kip has taken us:

Bend, Oregon – You may or may not remember the long weekend we took to Bend, where we visited their cute Saturday market, hung out the deck of our vacation rental, visited a candy factory, hit up an outdoor concert (which is why we went there in the first place) and then hiked a lava cave. That was super-fun!
Travel tip: Google free and cheap things to do at various destinations to find unique activities to do along your way.

Seattle, Washington – there was the time when Harry Potter: The Exhibition came to Seattle and I bought tickets and dragged Eric along with me to indulge in my obsession. We ate at Hard Rock, rode the monorail, shopped at the Space Needle and walked a ton all over the city.
Travel tip: Use social media to get suggestions from friends who live near your destination or have traveled there. This is a great way to find hidden gems.

Multnomah Falls – About a half-hour drive outside of Portland is the tallest year-round waterfall in America. My friend and I drove Kip out to see it when she was in town, got a bit of a hike in, popped into the gift shop and then hit the restaurant on-site before heading back home.
Travel tip: You can save a lot of money on dining out if you pack road-friendly foods and snacks. You'll also eat healthier than you would if you stopped for every meal.

Lincoln City, Oregon – My dog loves the beach. I mean, have you ever met a dog that didn't? I didn't think so. She, somehow, thinks she can run and smell everything at the same time, so she will take off running as well as she can with her nose down and try to cover as much ground as possible. It's really fun to see her enjoy it so much, and we have gone the last couple times just for her. 
Travel tip: The beach is awesome, but it's not just found near the ocean. In fact, you could save substantially by traveling to a lake instead. Many have beaches and most of the activities you can do on the coast, but for a much smaller price tag.

I’m not saying that Kip made it possible to go to all those places, but he certainly made them more fun! I really couldn’t ask for a better car that works as well in the city as it does in the country and everything in between. It fits in every parking space and is a breeze to parallel park – I got a thumbs-up from a cop on my excellent one-shot parking job. Four adults fit in it for carpooling and if you have kids, they will have plenty of room to stretch out in the back. (We have squeezed three adults in the back, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a trip longer than across town.) We've even discussed upgrading to a bigger Kia if our family grows larger, but right now Kip is the perfect size for us and fits all of our needs.  

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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