Experienced by Shonda Hurt and Friends
Every year my friends and I celebrate what we’ve affectionately dubbed The Birthday Olympics. From August through March the girls commemorate a birthday almost every month and over the years we’ve taken on everything from visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris to sunbathing on the pristine Miami beaches to hitting ATV trails in the Shenandoah Mountains. As a general rule of thumb whatever the birthday girl of the month wants to do, the planning committee makes it happen. So this year was no different!
Recently, my bestie Michelle met her biological father for the first time and found out she has four brothers and sisters. Over the past year or so Michelle has had the opportunity to meet them all except for one, a sister that lives out-of-state in Atlanta, GA. Poignantly, she decided the 10-hour road trip to The A to meet her sibling during a birthday weekend was best this year. To say that Michelle is a nervous flyer is an understatement. So thanks to Automotive Rhythms, Michelle, Tanya and I loaded up the Lincoln MKC premium utility vehicle and hit I-95 S from Washington, D.C. to make the ATL journey.
The Lincoln MKC is a beauty. The exterior hue of the Black Label model we were provided is called “Notorious,” which suited us road warriors just fine. The interior was crafted with fine Venetian trimmed leather seats and a leather trimmed steering wheel, a panoramic roof that pretty much spanned the length of the vehicle, temperature controls for the driver and passenger and decent cargo space (we swore Michelle was staying permanently because she brought the largest suitcase she owned for the weekend trip). The MKC was clearly designed for extended journeys. Its side view mirrors are outfitted with sensors that notify you when a vehicle or object has ventured into the blind spot area. At the driver’s disposal are cruise control and audio settings so hands are kept on the wheel. More importantly, the navigation system is intuitive and easy to figure out without having to refer to the driver’s manual. There are a cadre of intuitive touches that denote the MKC as a road warrior in its own right. The Nav screen’s graphics display upcoming exits as they appear in real time, a great feature for the more confusing road configurations; the driver’s dash shows the speed limit as you’re riding along the highways and the steering wheel “vibrates” while a graphic on the driver’s dash changes from green lanes to red lanes if you veer too far outside of your actual lane. The MKC really blew us away when the Lincoln SUV alerted “Driver Needs to Rest” with a little cup of coffee to prove its point. So fancy!
Time went by quickly for the most part, but we collectively requested just a bit more out of the Black Label. Legroom was a little tight to begin with. Michelle is six feet tall and would have liked for the driver’s seat to slide back a further during her turn at the wheel, and for Tanya and I, sitting behind the passenger seat required spreading our legs on either side of the seat in front of us for comfort. The MKC made it from the District of Columbia to Atlanta on 2.5 refuels which took us about 11 hours to complete since we made a few stops along the way and also hit rush hour. We drove through Atlanta’s city center for the entire weekend on just one tank (impressive considering the ridiculous amount of time sitting in highway traffic).
In addition to meeting Michelle’s sister and her family, all of whom were fun to get to know, we cruised all over town checking out Atlanta’s shopping scene, stopped off in Smyrna to visit friends, tried a few local restaurants that were recommended to us including Mary Mac’s and Cami Cakes and found a cute little lounge with a live band called BQE. But before the crew knew it, we were making our way back up the road heading home with another successful “Birthday Olympics” behind us.