Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved Volvo. She was always attracted to quirky cars and loved the boxy designs she saw barreling down the highways.
And those headrests! How could she forget those distinctive headrests!! But the closest she ever got to a Volvo was her college boyfriend who bought his uncle’s old Volvo for $1. And the proceeded to total it by hitting a parked car. He definitely wasn’t a keeper (the boyfriend, not the car).
Then she traveled to Germany to visit her brother who casually suggested they road trip it up to Sweden. A grand idea! she thought. And after 8 hours of driving and 8 hours of ferry time, she decided that her brother wasn’t the best travel planner. But she did get to see Sweden – land of cool blue skies, pizza with egg topping, Aquavit, IKEA, and Volvo. They were everywhere.
Then, in 2003, she found my Volvo. It was the brand new XC90. It wasn’t a wagon (I have a wagon aversion). It as a beautiful, shiny, SUV. She just needed a family to fill it with.
She never got that Volvo and truth be told, she is me. I’ve had an unrequited love for Volvo for many years. Flash forward to December 2014 when my editor at SheBuysCars asks if I can fill in for her on a California adventure previewing the new Volvo V60. I believe in helping a girl out so I said yes. And what follows is the rest of the story.
I flew out to San Francisco and was driven (like a fancy person) up to a luxury resort called Calistoga Ranch. Just how luxury? Well, I made a short video because it was so breathtaking. And that was just the start of the journey. I indulged in a 90 minute massage at their amazing spa and then readied myself for a private dinner and wine tasting in “the cave.”
After spending the night in a private lodge and waking early (only because I was still on East coast time), I went for a brief hike taking in the scenery and hoping there were no coyotes or mountain lions waiting to welcome me to California. But the real adventure was yet to come.
After breakfast, we were briefed on our planned road trip for the day: a 4 hour meander through the High Sierras on our way to Lake Tahoe in a new Volvo V60 Cross Country (more on that to come).
She took the first leg of the trip so that I could take in the sights out the window.
It was a blur but it was gorgeous. And since we were encourage to take in the sights, we made sure we stopped at overlooks and Starbucks and Marshalls. There was definitely something for everyone on this trip.
After the switch, I got behind the wheel and cruised us on into to Lake Tahoe where we were greeted by the valets at the The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. If I was looking for more scenery, I certainly got my fill here.
Upon arrival, we were taken to our rooms where John, the Aussie, gave me a tour, turned on my in-room fireplace and proceeded to tell me what it’s really like to have Christmas in summer time (I always wanted to know!). And after a brief respite from that long, grueling drive, I got ready for a private dinner at Trokay in adorable town of Truckee.
(By the way – these Lifestyle journalists are a LOT of fun!)
The only thing Volvo couldn’t plan for this trip was the weather. Although the skies were a gorgeous shade of blue, the temperatures kept much of the snow away. So my planned activity of cross-country skiing was cancelled and I was offered an 80 minute Signature Organic Facial at the spa. I know. Life is full of disappointments.
Feeling as relaxed as I was, I knew I had to have a few last tranquil moments to myself with the Volvo V60 so I grabbed the keys and headed out on my on private drive to THE Lake of Tahoe.
I sat and watched dogs, that legally weren’t allowed on the beach, play on the beach.
And I even took a selfie with my precious Volvo.
As we concluded our journey at a dinner on top of the mountain, drank Aquavit, and sang Swedish drinking songs (or listening to them anyway), I was overwhelmed with emotion (and a touch of nausea – high altitude doesn’t agree with me).
Maybe I was a bit influenced by the whole experience but I walked away with a new respect for Volvo, their commitment to safety, attention to detail, and their appreciation for a little luxury in life.