It’s not unusual for automakers to wrangle together members of the press for drive programs. This usually involves flying us all to one location to follow a pre-selected drive route through the countryside. Nissan took a different approach with its #RogueTrip drive to the New York International Auto Show.
They cobbled together ten teams of journalists, gave each of us a 2017 Nissan Rogue SL, and sent us on a road trip to raise money for the charity of our choice. We didn’t all start at the same spot and we didn’t all travel the same route. Teams started in places like Nashville, Detroit, and Atlanta on the Sunday before the auto show with a finish line goal in New York City on Tuesday afternoon.
The winner claimed $5,000 for their charity and bragging rights. I drove for team #NR8 Blue Line with Eileen Falkenberg-Hull and our charity was the Officer Down Memorial Page. While everyone else drove a shiny red Rogue, we requested a blue Rogue in honor of law enforcement.
Since we were driving on public roads, this wasn’t a speed race. There was more than enough time for every team to make the roughly 800-mile drive to the finish line on Tuesday. Instead, we competed through a series of challenges shared on social media and judged by the good folks at Nissan.
Challenges were fun, slightly ridiculous, and fully embraced the idea of a road trip adventure. We shared our most bizarre eats, funniest bumper stickers, and did our best attempts at carpool karaoke. We also had challenges designed to show off the Rouge’s Divide-N-Hide storage system and Around View Monitor that provides a 360-degree view to navigate tight quarters.
The drive route to New York City was entirely up to each team, aside from our lodgings each night, which Nissan booked in advance. No two teams had the same experience and Nissan tried to make each location unique. Now, I’m not saying they did this just to mess with us, but, um, I totally think they did this just to mess with us. Here’s why.
Our first night was way out there in the mountains of North Carolina. It was beautiful. It was peaceful. It was a yurt. Yes, they booked me and my partner our own personal yurts. This was incredibly cool since there isn’t really ample occasion to sleep in a yurt. The drawback was a very tiny space heater and an unusually cold night. I may have slept under every available blanket and all the decorative pillows. I did not get eaten by a bear and I did not get frostbite so we’re going to call it a win. (Stop laughing, Nissan.)
The second night we slept in the lovely Lightner Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was beautiful and Nissan even left us a bottle of wine in an effort to makeup for the potential death-by-bear/frostbite adventure of the night prior. It worked, right until I looked up information on the inn and found out it was used as a battlefield hospital and is haunted by the ghosts of Civil War soldiers. Awesome.
We managed to survive our second night without being scared to death, so I’m going to call that one a win, too. A lovely breakfast by our innkeeper set us up for the final leg of our trip into the city. We crossed the finish line at The Pennsy and joined all the teams for the awards ceremony.
Winners were selected in each of the challenge categories and we managed to nab the award for our Around View Monitor video. The overall winners of the #RogueTrip were Kristin Barclay and Jasmine Risso of team #NR6 Rogue Warriors who earned $5,000 for the National Breast Cancer Coalition. It was a win-win scenario for everyone since no matter who came out on top, a worthy charity received a nice donation.
Congratulations to everyone and thank you to Nissan for sending us all on a #RogueTrip adventure we won’t soon forget.