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Conquering California in a 2017 Ford Mustang EcoBoost

Yes, that's a Mustang hood you see. And, no, you're not mistaken: those are brave Californians.

Travel
 
Thumb picture SVT_MAN - Jul 08, 2017

 

 

Toto, we're not in Wisconsin anymore


I grew up in southeastern Wisconsin, and I continue to live near where I grew up to this day.  While I love living and driving here for the most part (winter not withstanding), it's pretty fun to explore what other parts of the country are like.

Back in June, I had the opportunity to experience California with my girlfriend.  We both soaked in the sights, sounds, and scenic drives of the region.  We started off our adventure in San Diego, and drove north up the coast on the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco.

To sweeten the trip, my girlfriend and I were able to secure a 2017 Ford Mustang EcoBoost convertible to rent for the week we were in California.

How was it?  

Well, it was an amazing experience - but not without its perils.  For instance, I was nearly hit head on by a foolish driver who decided to cross the solid double yellows on a rural highway.  Yeah, that was perilous indeed.  But outside of that truly frightening experience, driving in California is just an altogether different experience versus driving in the Midwest for other reasons.

And while I highly recommend that everyone experience driving in California at some point in their life, there are a few things I think you should consider before you start your adventure.

Consideration #1: Drive Like Annie Porter


California driving means that you need to channel your inner Annie Porter.  No, really. 

If you don't remember who Annie Porter is, rewind your brain to the early 90s.  (I am probably dating myself here.)  For those of you who still don't remember or are too young to care, Annie was that awesome woman (portrayed by Sandra Bullock) who drove the 1966 GM TDH 5303 bus - quite aggressively - in the 1994 blockbuster hit, Speed.  

Question: Do you remember how Annie handled the chaotic, busy streets of Los Angeles?  

Answer: Like a boss.  

Question: How did she handle it like a boss?  

Answer: She stayed above 55, and she did not use her turn signal (except maybe that one turn).

So if you are wondering how to drive in California, that's a good start. 

But let's not take this too far.  You can use your turn signal.   

But what you have to be aware of is that if you do use it, you need to be ready.  If you are on the freeway and you hit your turn signal like a properly polite Midwesterner, you need to know it isn't like changing lanes in the Midwest.  

In the Midwest, you can mosey on over.

In California?  You need to move over almost instantly.

That nice cushion of air you were trying to move into?  

G-O-N-E.

Gone.  

Just like that. 

Consideration #2: Expect Pedestrians to be Pedestrians


Pedestrians in California are just like pedestrians everywhere else, with one decidedly marked difference: 

They have the audacity to think they have some sort of superiority with their right-of-way.  Pssh.

You're driving a Mustang.  Let's see how well THAT works out for them ...

Okay - so I kid, I kid.  But in all seriousness, you really do need to watch out for pedestrians.  They are much more aggressive than you're used to back in the Midwest.

Consideration #3: Expect Ridiculously Odd Traffic Situations

If you've driven in cities like Chicago in the Midwest, you've probably experienced extremely dense traffic and aggressive drivers.  Yeah, that can be a pain.

But as dicey as some situations in Chicago can be, most of the roads themselves aren't difficult to navigate.  But some cities in California will just plain mess with your brain.  

Take San Francisco for instance.  

Now add in a 2017 Ford Mustang with an extremely long hood.

And add in the intersection that is Leavenworth and Union.

And what do you see?  Well .... certainly not the road ahead of you, or cars sitting at the intersection, that's for sure:

Thumb banner screen shot 2017 07 08 at 113954 am

But sometimes telling you how driving is doesn't account for much.

So let's take you for a ride down Lombard instead.  Watch the video and then be sure to comment below!


 
 

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