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I wasn’t going to write this blog post. Well, I was going to write it, but not the way it’s now written. I’m not one to be incentivized to write product reviews. I’ve always thought they’re inauthentic and a “cop out” way of blogging. Not always, but mostly. So, when General Motors’ agency contacted me, asking if I wanted to loan a Cadillac XTS for 3-5 days for free, I actually almost declined. But who can really decline to spend a couple free days with a Caddy when you don’t own a car? They did not set any expectations around blogging or sharing photos socially of my time with the Cadillac, so I felt less pressure to do so.

Needless to say, I was so blown away by the car, I had to share my thoughts with you. Trust me, I was not expecting to fall in love with a Cadillac, but the weekend wouldn’t have been the same without it.

The Boyfriend and I don’t get to spend a lot of time together as our work and school schedules are basically opposite. So, we jumped at the opportunity to get away for a weekend.

Out plans started out a little over-ambitious. We planned a road-trip up to Portland. Once we really took the time to map the trek, it seems a little…much. Especially because I had never driven up Highway 1 and that was obviously a must-do. So we settled on Mendocino/Fort Bragg. My mom had stayed up in Mendocino for a long weekend and raved about the scenery — she came back with such high remarks for Glass Beach that I really wanted to check it out.

The Cadillac was dropped off at the apartment on Friday morning. We finished packing up our weekend gear, and hit the road. The interior of the car was gorgeous. I felt instantly fancy.

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Let me say, Highway 1 is windy. Not windy as in air gusts, but windy as in buckle your seat belts and try not to puke. But what a gorgeous drive.

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We stopped at one of my favorite places of all time — Hog Island Oyster Farm. We devoured raw and BBQ oysters to set the mood for the rest of the trip. It was a gorgeous day outside, and not having anywhere to be or anything to do felt incredible.

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We continued our journey up Highway 1 to Fort Bragg where our little AirBnB cottage was located. The cottage was a little add-on to a larger house owned by a very nice couple. No wifi. No cell service. I had a mini panic attack, and then agreed that it would be for the best. Time to unplug!

We unpacked, went grocery shopping and settled in by the wood-burning stove for the night.

The cottage was fairly close to the beach, but accessing the actual water required hiking through sand dunes and getting a crap ton of sand in your shoes before actually arriving. Once we arrived at the beach, it was worth it. There was no one there. We had an entire beach to ourselves. The water wasn’t for wading — it must have been incredibly rocky because the waves broke far away from the shore. It was breathtaking.

Our next stop was at Glass Beach. At first, it was cold and windy and totally not worth it. But we did a little more exploring and actually found a really incredible spot where all of the glass was still present (too many tourists with greedy little hands took so much of the glass that there wasn’t a ton of glass along the whole beach like I thought).

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We got some lunch in Mendocino and shopped around the cute little town. Exhausted, but still itching to explore, we headed out to the Cabrillo Lighthouse. The view was incredible, the hike to the cliffs was a little long and through some sketchy, tick-infested weeds, but it was beautiful. Especially at the perfect time of day — magic hour — just before sunset.

We tucked away in the cottage for the rest of the night, and woke up early the next morning to drive up to the Avenue of the Giants. We were so close (an hour and a half or so away) that we, last minute, added this little extra journey to our trip. And man, was it amazing. To drive through a road that is surrounded by trees so gigantic you can’t even believe are real, was an experience I’ll never forget. I felt so small. And like I was in a land of magic.

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We finished up our trip with one night in Sonoma visiting The Boyfriend’s family and then headed back to reality. It was a perfect weekend to decompress, explore the beauty of Northern California, and take a much-needed break from technology and the real world. I had a blast with my road-trip partner in crime who let me listen to Top 40s with the windows down.

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Now, for the car. Again, I said I wasn’t going to write about the car, but there were some things about it that were just so need, I have to share.

First, I’ve always pictured Cadillacs as  having two core demographics: retired adults age 60-75 or wealthy rappers. Blame the Internet or MTV, but that’s where my mind goes when I hear “Cadillac.” I thought the entire promotion (loan a car for 5 days) was a great way to target a completely different demographic: the 20-something, tech-savvy, social types. And there were some features of the Cadillac XTS that made it very hard to give up:

  • My speed was projected from a screen that reflected off of the windshield. That means I never had to look anywhere but straight ahead to see how fast I was going. If I had music playing, the same screen would project the song title. And even cooler than that, if I had directions plugged into the navigation, the screen would project my next move. Incredibly handy.
  • Once set up the first time, my iPhone was synced with Cadillac CUE for the whole trip. When I got into the car with my phone, the next song would automatically play, phone calls would automatically go through the car system, and I could make voice commands through Siri. I know this feature is in a lot of newer cars, but I’d never experienced it before.
  • One feature that is cool but also a little irritating is the touch screen dashboard. Every feature and functionality is available for setting through the touchscreen dashboard, however, the car is really set up for voice commands. If you’re driving and the car is in motion, the dashboard won’t work (especially the navigation). This means that even if I was driving and The Boyfriend was trying to plug in directions, it would force you to use voice commands. And then it would understand you about 50 percent of the time.
  • Butt vibrations. Yes, I said butt vibrations. Every time you got a little too close to another car, the seat would vibrate. Like, scare the crap out of you randomly vibrate.
  • Also, there were seat COOLERS.
  • I did like the push start — no key necessary — to get the car started and to turn it off.
  • It drove like it was on a cloud.

Needless to say, I was one sad lady when I had to give that car up.

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Another thing to note, I really enjoyed the social participation throughout the trip. @GMNewsWest liked my photos on Instagram and replied to my tweets on Twitter. My favorite, however, was after I posted the photo above, @Cadillac responded in the most perfect way.

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Well said, Caddy. Well said.

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