Off-Roading in Oregon with Lexus

Brasada-Ranch

walk-to-supperHow do I even begin to summarize this trip without making it a bajillion words long? The last few days were amazing and I cannot believe I had the chance to go on another trip with LexusHeels and Wheels. Heels and Wheels brings together an all female driving event for writers all across the board, so I was with some pretty influential professionals from well-known magazines, and newspapers to bloggers like myself.

Delsey suitcaseI arrived on Wednesday to Brasada Ranch in the small town of Powell Butte, Oregon just outside of Redmond. I had so much fun and I filmed it all — my first video is below, the second will be on my YouTube channel. Yes! Multiple vlogs. Get excited. I’m excited. 

Brasada-Ranch-viewsBrasada Ranch is a substantial and a gorgeous resort basically plopped in the middle of nowhere. I recall someone saying you’d have to drive to the next town over to purchase groceries if need be. There was horses a plenty, and bunnies hopping freely right in front of us. Perhaps they ate a little too many juniper berries and were getting bold coming up so close to us. I totally wanted to pet them (I didn’t).

Brasada-Ranch-cabinSage bushes were everywhere, it smelled like a spa. Whenever I stepped outside my cabin, I felt the need to whisper, and simply enjoy the mountainous views and high desert scenery and take it in for all its worth. Even more glorious during the evenings. The stars lit up like nothing I’ve seen in ages. There were even families who were staying around us, but not a peep out of any!

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roomThe room I stayed in! With my Fossil bag and my Delsey suitcase.

Upon arrival, we were situated away and shuttled to our cabins. Some were paired in larger cabins with multiple house-guests, while I was paired with another Canadian writer. Two Canadian pals hanging out in Oregon together, it was great.

Eco-ChallengeNot only were we there for driving, we were also there to learn about the Lexus Eco-Challenge educational program first hand where we did our own mini-eco challenge.

Brasada-Ranch-treesLexus’ educational partner for the past 10 years, Scholastic, gives middle and high school kids with an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) the opportunity for scholarships and grants and in those 10 years Lexus has given away over 35 million in scholarships and grants. The Eco-Challenge is a rewarding program, and it’s so important that girls see that they can do the same thing that boys can do in the area of STEM. Some winning teams have made it global, and another successful team presented their work, and met with President Obama at the White House!

Both evenings, we had supper overlooking Brasada Ranch with gorgeous sunsets.

Sunset-Brasada

Supper-menu

Sunset

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The second and final full day of our trip was ‘driving day’. We were to experience the more rugged side of the Lexus brand. Again, a female-focused event and driving Lexus LUVs (Luxury Utility Vehicles) off-road on a dirt course. More specifically the Lexus LX, and GX models.

Since the group was large, there were two driving shifts. I was in the morning one which was an on-road expedition through the scenic highway in Central Oregon, driving through Powell, and along Crooked River. That’s where the RX and NX was taken out.

CanadiansMy Canadian pal Jodi and I teamed up to be driving partners for the full day.

I’ll let some of the photos do a lot of the speaking for me, because isn’t a picture worth a thousand words?Lexus-On-Road

Lexus-RX

Lexus-and-Cows

Guys I can’t contain my excitement. Many of the women there asked me if I ever stopped smiling. I have to say man, I love my life right now. What an incredible experience, and I’m so lucky to have gone. I had a blast.Rachels-pic

The women I met, and re-connected with (from Palm Springs) these ladies last week in Oregon. What an inspiring, kind, and absolutely hilarious group. My cheeks hurt from smiling!Selfie candid

From urban driving to off-road trails, Lexus LUVs will provide you with a luxurious ride and full off-roading capabilities. Best of both worlds, and I was ready for it. An afternoon of off-roading in the Lexus LX 570 and Lexus GX 460.

Lexus-LX-offroadI’d never been off-roading and I didn’t want to Google much of it before attending. I wanted it all to be a bit of a surprise, whether it was on dirt, rocks, or a trail. I had no clue, but I wanted to learn as much as possible about the capabilities of the Lexus vehicles, because for the most part when I’m reviewing cars for a week, I’m going on an adventure with Alfie, and not taking advantage of what the vehicles can do for me. So much technology has gone into these vehicles it’s unreal. From independent axles to the downhill assist (an ABS function) and active traction control.

Rachel-offroadIt’s definitely unnerving when you can’t see where you’re going but that’s where the multi-terrain monitor comes into play. It’s a camera that lets you see what’s in front of you when it’s too steep to see over the hood of the vehicle. My back was tense as I focused on driving and taking in all the information my female driving instructor, Elizabeth was telling me as I was off-roading with her in the passenger seat. Parts of my off-roading adventure momentum was moving us down the hills since my foot was neither on the brake nor the gas pedal. And it’s all due to the ‘crawling control’ feature, which automatically modulates the throttle and brake. I have to tell you, the crawl control feature definitely was an experience in itself due to the noise it was making. Although completely normal, it definitely sounded like something was breaking in the car.

Lexus-LogoSo filthy, so fun!

dirt-shoesThe top of the line LUV is the Lexus LX 570, which is what I had the chance to drive off-road. What I was worried about was bottoming out a lot of the cars. But, to get that ground clearance while off-roading the air suspension can be raised and lowered with the touch of a button. I KNOW! Nuts.

JodiOk. Side note. Notice the mean-lookin’ (I love it) spindle grille on the front of the Lexus vehicles? Lexus’ parent company, Toyota, before they started building automobiles they were in the Loom business (I have a bit of history with working with Looms too, as I loved working with looms and weaving when was enrolled in a 2 year Textile Studies course “back in the day”) and the looms were the inspiration for the spindle grille.

When we came upon uneven trail (such as ditches — shown in my video below) the Lexus owned it! With a combo of multi-terrain select (select from rock, rock & dirt, mogul, loose rock, or mud & sand) and the articulation of the (doesn’t that make me sound fancy?) axles adjusted to get the vehicle over those bumps and deep holes without issue. It almost looked like the tires were going to pop off. It looked so strange, right?!

Brasada Ranch specifically, is an incredible relaxing place to visit considering you can ski during the mornings on the mountains (Olympic ski teams practice on these mountains!) and play a round of golf once the crispness from the air leaves, and the hot hot sun appears during the afternoon, as this part of Oregon is in the high desert. The amenities there are endless, a gorgeous water-park, cycling, horse back rides, golfing, off-roading in the trails, skiing, you name it.

I’ll probably be back to Oregon again while we’re here in the USA, and I especially appreciate that Brasada Ranch is pet friendly. I saw so many awesome pups trotting about with their owners, and I know Alfie would have a time there too.

Bye-BrasadaThank you again to LexusHeels and Wheels for this incredible opportunity. I definitely did not take it for granted. What a cool experience I’ll never forget. 

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Driving Lexus performance vehicles on Chuckwalla Valley Raceway

Photos marked with an * were professional photos from the event. 

I’m sure you’ve all been wondering how the whole Palm Springs trip came about, and how it all went down!

PassportI have to tell you, this little Canadian was excited to hop on an airplane and head down south where the palm trees are taller, and the weather it hotter. Giving my praise and appreciation to Jasmine of Simply Real Moms to trust someone she’s never met, to represent her and her brand for an entire event.

Delsey-luggageI packed my Delsey luggage to go on its second airplane ride (my husband used it first to go back to Canada for a few days), and surprisingly it received a lot of attention. Four different people came up to me to compliment the suitcase!

DesleyWore a silly Hello LA tee, and layered my Superdry hoodie over top for extra warmth, since no matter the temperature I seem to have a constant chill.

RCFWhen I first arrived to the Ritz Carlton, Rancho Mirage in Palm Springs I paired up with Melanie the first afternoon to drive in this Lexus RC F 2 door coupe right before we got ready for the presentation and supper.

12357114_10156261513955176_5289841702882844679_oView from my room!

As I stated on Simply Real Mom’s blog post (read my article here), we all (bloggers, influencers and car enthusiasts) gathered for an all women’s Lexus Performance Driving experience in the Lexus F-Sport vehicles (the RC F coupe, and GS F sedan) on the Chuckwalla Valley Raceway.

But before the adrenaline rush of driving on a track in the desert happened, there was a presentation showing us some behind-the-scenes happening at Lexus. They’re actually coming out with a designer line of women’s clothing for their associates to wear, to feel more stylish in, rather than wearing polo shirts to work all the time. The professional photographer snapped this one below*. _JD41619

And just outside the presentation room, there was this gorgeous Lexus LFA.

spiffykerms in Lexus LFAIt’s my husband’s favourite car, and as soon as I sent him this photo of me sitting in it, I knew immediately what his reaction would be: jaw dropping emoji’s flooding through. It’s a $500,000 car, made almost all out of carbon fiber and only 500 of them available in the WORLD. My husband and I visited a Lexus dealership with an LFA in the showroom in Canada when we lived there, but we weren’t allowed to sit in it. Just look. So sitting in it this time, was pretty incredible. Now you see why I mentioned the jaw dropping emojis? Lol.

_JD41995The next morning we were instructed to follow the Lexus GPS and drive out 70 miles east to the racetrack. Rene from Good Enough Mother, and I getting ready to hit the road!*

ChuckwallaEveryone teamed up in two’s to drive 70 miles to Chuckwalla Valley Raceway. Rene and I ended up taking the IS 250 out and once we got to the track, we had to do those obligatory photos. You know it!!

_JD42069The Heels + Wheels ladies lined up ready to drive*

Two types of the Lexus F sport vehicles, the Lexus RC F coupe, and GS F sedan were just waiting for us to take them out for a spin on the track. But firstly, everyone needed to learn how to drive on the track properly, and efficiently so professional driving instructors took us all under their wings and showed us the ropes roads. I don’t know much about cars to be honest, but I do know I love to drive them. So hearing that the Lexus F-brand vehicles are the highest Lexus performing vehicles allowed on roads! Nuts, and so awesome at the same time.

12375121_10156261550885176_6243242416865427425_oLexus lunch tent*

Lunch was served, and we all gathered in for a buffet style feast — everything tasted excellent and was top notch. Though, I must admit I wolfed down my lunch in order to get more track-time in under my belt. You couldn’t hold me back! I wanted to learn everything I could, not to mention I have the need for speed.

4-ladies-lined-up

helmets-onEach loop I went out on, on the Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, I requested a professional driving instructor to come with me. I wanted to learn as much as I could, as I drove. Jeff was my favourite instructor, as he had some excellent tips to fine tune my driving, not for the track racing, but for the regular streets too. Not to mention the fact, because when with someone I could play a little harder and push the pedal to the metal when I knew there was someone telling me that I could giv’er on the straight-aways. I’m not-so-surprised that I’ve been told I was a confident driver. I suppose it’s all the Canadian winters I’ve driven in since moving to California, knowing exactly when to let off the throttle if I was going in for a too steep of a turn.

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_JD42602A couple of photos of me in the RC F, and GS F out on the track!! *

Lexus, I gotta say you make some exceptional vehicles. It was definitely a spirited driving experience out on Chuckwalla last week. The F-Brand sport vehicles certainly hug your curves while hugging the turns and bends in the road, and what fun it is to drive. I felt confident in the cars ability to make each turn without thinking of its lack of performance.

My adrenaline rush is coming back through my hands, reliving the moment as I type this out. I mean, can we do it all over again? I’m ready for it!

Chuckwalla-Raceway

Leaving-Palm-SpringsCouldn’t wipe that smile off my face even leaving the Ritz Carlton in Palm Springs. But don’t be fooled by my grin. I was sad to leave, but happy that this experience happened, and I’m still on Cloud 9 you guys!

Delsey-ChateletDon’t forget to check out the videos I posted: Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 on my YouTube channel.

Huge hugs and huge thanks to Jasmine for sending me to represent Simply Real Moms, and to Delsey luggage for supplying me with gorgeous luggage.

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