Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

Never say never!

When my kids were under 10, I said I would never take road trips – too far, too much complaining and I am protective of my vacation time.  I also said I would never buy or drive a Hyundai again after we had a bad experience with a used Hyundai Santa Fe that we bought ProductReviewfrom my sister-in-law for our son.  It was eight years old but was in very good cosmetic shape and she had had no major issues with the car.

But looks can be deceiving; the first month we spent $1,500 on some engine issue and then another 500 on something else. We traded it in shortly after and leased a Toyota Rav 4.  I was so annoyed, I never thought I would drive a Hyundai of any type again.

Getting on board with Hyundai

Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

I started to thaw on Hyundai when I attended a Hyundai Genesis test drive.  It is a stunning car – luxurious and spacious with every bit of modern technology.  I kept  that experience in mind when I was offered a test drive of the new and improved Hyundai Santa Fe to drive on …a long road trip!  I’ve been hooked ever since I finally took a chance on a road trip six years ago and have done one every year since.  Now it is a highlight of my summer – having the kids cooped up in my car and all to myself.

We drove 1700 miles round trip from Connecticut to Kentucky.  It only took two and a half tanks of gas and 14 hours. Even though there were only three of the five of us on this trip, the kids were glad to have three rows to spread out.  The third row also came in handy when we picked up cousins. The kids in the third row had plenty of space and best of all, their own air vent and personal controls- they didn’t have to wait for the whole car to cool off. The only thing missing back there was an additional USB port.

Sleeping in a tree

Once we got to Kentucky, we made the usual rounds to various relatives’ houses but this trip we did something totally new – we slept in a treehouse.  Pope’s Creek Ranch in Lebanon, KY is living by the “if you build it they will come” motto.  The ranch has an entertainment barn, country store and Amish staff, with  the owner living on site.  Our valet picked us up in his very used 4WD Jeep and drove us over deep ruts and bumpy roads about 1/2 mile to the treehouse. Ours was the largest of the four with a beautiful view of the hillside, a swing bed, a loft and no electricity, running water or bathroom.  My city kids were amazed at how dark it was at night.  We did have a battery operated lantern and water.

There was no way any of us were going out in the darkness to the outhouse.  It was actually a very clean Port-a-potty but I just couldn’t do it.  Once we got settled in and realized we were a mile into the woods with no way to communicate with anyone and at the mercy of whoever roamed the woods, we started to freak out a little until the crickets serenaded us to sleep.

Going home

The hardest part of any road trip is the drive back, if you take the same route.  We did return the same – and quickest way. The power strip overloaded the car outlet a couple of times, but otherwise we were comfortable.

The Hyundai Santa Fe is most definitely new and improved and worth checking out if you are in the market for a car with a third row.