There’s nothing like taking things down a notch and heading out to rustic surroundings for a weekend, this particular one spent with Ford Canada and a group of fellow bloggers at the Fraser River Lodge in Agassiz, BC.
The trip’s theme was Back to Basics, and Ford gave us a fun two days of experiencing their fleet of 2015 Fusions, Escapes — even the sexy Mustang GT, celebrating a half century of freedom on the road (with snazzy, innovative technological advancements).
We drove out from Vancouver early Saturday morning, our group divided up amongst Escape Titanium, Escape SE, Ford Fusion Ti and Fusion Energi vehicles, giving us the chance to experience lane-keeping, blind spot information, active park assist, and navigation controls to make life on the road both safer and easier.
I drove the Ford Fusion Energi, the company’s first plug-in hybrid midsize sedan that offers comfort while lessening the environmental footprint. All vehicles in the lineup include MyFordTouch®, a technology that lets you interact using voice control, touch screen tap or conventional button. Ask it for restaurant suggestions by saying “I’m hungry”, or block incoming text messages and calls via the Do Not Disturb function.
According to Ford trendsetter/futurist Sheryl Connelly, the future’s about taking a break and going on mindful getaways, using tech to minimize stress. Another clear trend she’s seen is the carry less movement, using more mobile apps, less physical wallets and other cumbersome things in our daily, often fast-paced lives.
While at the lodge, we learned several winter driving tips from car expert Robin Buck, including what to pack in a car emergency kit (wipers, jumper cables, gloves, shovel/snow brush, extra fuel, windshield wiper, warm blanket, packaged snacks, flashlight, ice pick, tow rope), and how to change a flat tire.
Buck is an award-winning race car driver and counts the Canadian Grand Prix, Toronto Molson Indy, and Trois-Riviers amongst his crowning achievements. He’s also a six-year NASCAR Canadian Tire Series veteran.
A few more useful tips we learned:
– Change your oil more than less frequently in order to avoid engine damage.
– The biggest cause for flat tires is an under-inflated tire.
– Use as flat a surface as possible when changing a tire.
– Target fixation can cause accidents: look for a way out rather than focus on the problem ahead.
That gorgeous yellow Mustang GT is a powerhouse and a reinvention of the iconic model; the 2015 line adds a 2.3 litre Eco boost to the V6 and V8’s. The car seat conforms to your body so you feel at one with the car. I took a brief test drive and felt its power on the open road.
Another treat in our weekend of winding down was the chance to help carve a 500-year-old Red cedar totem pole. Master Carver Don Froese has worked for the Sto:lo nation for the past 22 years (Sto:lo translates to “People of the River”, an obvious fit as they live along the Fraser River). Several of Froese’s carvings can be seen around the Fraser River Lodge.
The craft of carving gets passed down by generation and an average pole can take nine months to complete. Considered one of the world’s top five carvers, Froese was mentored by Francis Horn.
This five-century-old piece of wood was rescued just in time; it was slated to be burned.
We enjoyed the late afternoon colours of the sky together with a glass of wine or two followed by a three-course dinner prepared by Executive Chef Lucky Dhillon. Smoked Duck, wild Sockeye salmon, steak as well as a vegetarian dish were all paired with Mission Hill wines.
Our dessert was a lovely rice pudding served with a homemade pistachio cardamon biscotti and Whistler Sauvignon Blanc ice wine.
Around the campfire later that evening, we skewered marshmallows for a sociable s’mores making session, complete with glasses of wine and a clear sky made even more gorgeous with this mountain in the background, its lone snow-capped peak appearing to glow in the moonlight.
Sturgeon fishing the next morning was for many of us the weekend highlight. We were split into three boats and taken out on the river, each boat equipped with four poles and bait. It wasn’t too long before James (Hello Vancity) caught a five-and-a-half-foot sturgeon weighing in at 110 pounds.
We got to watch our skipper Ray tag it for the first time. James carefully lifted the fish for a few photos before releasing it back into the river (all fishing here is done on a catch-and-release basis).
Another 15 minutes went by and it was my turn. I caught a four-footer! Struggling to bring it in, in turn lifting the rod and turning the reel, I finally mustered enough strength to bring the fish close enough to get it onto the boat. A rod belt around the waist helped to stabilize my body for those last few tugs.
With the sun sparkling on the water, we spent the morning soaking in the atmosphere while enjoying the scenic views that make this part of BC so special.
The Fraser River Lodge is a beautifully appointed luxury fishing resort about a 90-minute drive outside of Vancouver. The inviting wooden deck chairs lead to some serious unwinding.
A central kitchen area with tables offers hot cocoa/coffee/tea service throughout the day. Each of the eight rooms is fully equipped with a comfortable bed, desk, TV and bathroom with separate shower and soaker tub. The staff are super friendly and accommodating.
You get the feeling of being home on the range with these beautiful bison right next door!
Visit the Fraser River Lodge website for lodging, dining, and package rates. The Fraser River Lodge is located at 7984 McDonald Road in Agassiz. I was invited as a guest of Ford Canada to experience the lodge, dining, and fishing expedition.
Unless watermarked, photos by Flora Gordon/Pinpoint National.