Inspecting the Chevy Traverse

A new video from the Nelsons’ inspecting the Traverse:

Some Heavy Revy and a New Chevy… Traverse

Talking about manhood issues never bores me.

Besides the fact that there’s vast content available, most men are simply jacked up. Be it emotionally, spiritually, or in some sort of ego-driven performance mentality… fellas are harder on themselves than anyone else.

This week, I get to share with guys at the very first conference for men/dad/husband bloggers… Modern Man Media Summit.

My role in all of this is not so much a technological presentation as much as it is a reason for why men bloggers do what they do: inspire men to be better men.

The title of my talk is:

The Vulnerable Man: How John Wayne and Raymond have failed us.

It’s a collection of concepts I created for my men’s conference called Macho Grace and I really think it’s going to rock some worlds. In fact, I said in an interview that anyone that attended would not leave the same way they came. That’s a pretty hefty claim, but I stand by it.

My talk is going to be honest, blunt, and, as usual, funny in my own casual delivery. Most of all, it’s going to be a transparent look as what it takes to be a real man in this day and time.

Here are the Three Principles to Protecting the Vulnerable Man I’ll be sharing:

1. Law of Mantropy

2. Path of Shameless

3. Way of Man-ish

“What’s the revelation on these three Principles?”, you ask… well you’ll just have to register and find out.

I’m really looking forward to this event. There’s going to be a ton of information, networking with great minds, and maybe I’ll even get to meet Cal Ripken! If there’s anyway you can make this event, please don’t hesitate any longer. Register NOW!

BTW, here’s the latest update on our Chevrolet roadtrip to the event:

Chevrolet Traverse Arrives from on Vimeo.

Packing for the @m3summit

I had a lot of gear to bring with me to Atlanta for the Modern Media Man Summit.

Thankfully, Chevrolet had provided me a Traverse.  And I had room to spare. 

Blown Away By Chevrolet

Can you say, “Friggin’ AWESOME!!!?

We’re a week out from the first Modern Media Man Summit and I’m totally jacked up! I’m polishing up my presentation when I get a call from Chevrolet, one of the conference sponsors. The guy on the phone, Renae, tells me I’ve been selected to drive one of their Traverse SUV’s to the conference and I should be on the lookout for a package shortly…

Here’s my reaction to the package from Chevrolet.

Chevrolet Drive-to M3 Summit from on Vimeo.

Please come and join us Sept. 9-11, 2010 in Atlanta, GA.

You can register here:

I speak at 10:15 Friday morning. In addition, I’ll be doing a book signing from 12:45 to 1:45. Hope to see you there!!!

Modern Media Man Summit

The Modern Media Man organization was founded with the focus of becoming the first dedicated blogging conference in the United States focused solely on the issues facing men and dad bloggers as they pursue their interests in blogging about personal, business and educational issues. The organization is focused on meeting the needs of bloggers, podcasters, videobloggers, online TV and radio broadcasters, social media influencers, consumers and small business owners, while also bringing them together with key corporate brands affected by the active purchasing power of today’s Modern Media Man.

The M3 Summit will feature a host of recognized speakers; include a variety of essential seminars, panel discussions and keynotes from some of the best known in the industry. Held in Atlanta, the three-day conference lends a once-a-year opportunity for contact and lead generation, the exchange of ideas, and a look into the heart of men and dad bloggers. More information about Modern Media Man and the M3 Summit can be found at


It’s finally here.  The Summit, the first ever, men and dads blogging conference in Atlanta begins in less than a week.

Today, Chevrolet dropped off a 2011 Red Traverse with 356 miles on it and loaded with funness.

Monday, I’m driving to Houston to pick up Author Ron Mattocks and we’re headed to Atlanta for M3.

Wednesday morning we’re going to take turns on Atlanta Morning TV including FOX’s Good Morning Atlanta and the CBS Morning Show.

And we’ll be doing some fun promotions from the car as we make the 17 hour drive from Dallas to Houston to Atlanta.   You’ll want to keep up with us.  This is going to be a fun ride.

And over on Twitter, make sure you track #ChevyAtM3.  Not to mention #M3Summit!

Chevy: Traverse, Equinox, or Malibu

In February, some friends and I drove from Dallas, TX to Nashville, TN in the Chevy Equinox. In July I joined one of those friends on a summer Traverse adventure to Kentucky, and just a few weeks ago, four of us gals test drove the new Chevy Malibu.

Having seen three sizes, I think I can offer a little insight so that if you’re looking for a new Chevy, you’ll have an idea of which will meet your needs.

Size Matters.

Car, Crossover, Wagon? Really, it depends on your needs. Travel a lot? You’ll want the Traverse with the 3rd row seat you can put down for extra luggage space. Also, if you have more than two children, the Traverse is a must. Let one child sit up front and the others have separate rows to themselves. It guarantees a more peaceful ride to school… Soccer mom? Equinox fits the bill. There’s enough room for gear without leaving you feeling like you have wasted space or you’re driving a wagon. If you plan to stay around town, the Malibu is my pick. Smaller means easier to park, better gas mileage, and surprisingly, it’s roomy and quite sporty.

Good Looks.

The Malibu wins hands down for it’s sporty exterior and elegant interior. It’s more of a business or fashionita pick. But, I was also very impressed with the Equinox and Traverse. Side by side these two appear to be the same car… one just has an extended backend. I’m not much of a wagon girl, so I like the Equinox (read: easier to park!) but the Traverse really isn’t THAT long and it’s still stylish. Your kids won’t be asking you to pull up around the corner at school drop-offs in any of these cars… no, you’ll be the cool mom who can pull right up to the front of the school.

Budget Friendly.

With the Malibu starting around $21, 900 and the Traverse starting at $29,224 you have a really good range of family budget friendliness. Chevy has also worked hard to make sure each of these three cars is fuel efficient, so the savings continues every day for the life of the car.

If I Had to Pick…

The Malibu would win. I only have one child. I travel quite often. And, I really fell in love with the sexy Malibu Pearl

The Dallas Morning News Story about Blogging and

Here’s a cool story about me and my girls in Tuesday’s Dallas Morning News. We had a blast this weekend with the Traverse.

This photo was taken by Courtney Perry of TDMN.

While you’re here, don’t forget to jump over to for more updates and information.

‘Best of PapiBlogger Family Road Trip’ Reveals Insights about 12,000-mile, 46 Day Drive through America during the Summer of 2010

This was one of the many cool McDonald's restaurants we visited during our epic journey. (Photo sponsored by McDonald's).

What happens when a Miami family of five spends 46 summer days, 12,000 miles and 33 states on the road driving through America together?  They become geography experts and blog about their adventures on their parenting web site

Just days after completing the epic road trip with his wife Angela and kids Briani (1), Elena (6) and Jonathan (10), Miami-based parenting blogger Manny Ruiz is releasing his “Best of PapiBlogger Family Road Trip” report.  The report spotlights many of the best, biggest and most entertaining things the family blogged about during their cross-country journey on a Chevrolet Traverse (the “PapiMobile”).

Best Scenic Drive

The Wyoming to South Dakota leg of the trip was both surprising and dazzling, especially because at one stretch just off the road we drove the PapiMobile (aka Chevrolet Traverse) alongside a major stampede of horses.  The second most scenic drive was the day we went from Seaside, Oregon to Mount St. Helens and then Seattle.

Most Touching Moment of the Trip

Our family visit to the Ronald McDonald House in Orange County, California really touched our family.  After volunteering to help prepare food and hang out with families that are staying at the house because their kids are being treated for grave illnesses, our own children told us they wanted to stay active with the Ronald McDonald House.

Most Unbelievably Cool Moment

Despite flying helicopters over Mount St. Helens and the Grand Canyon and taking a boat ride right near the fury of the Niagara Falls the top votes for best moment of the trip were given to:

  1. Whale watching in Gloucester, Massachusetts
  2. Watching “Mary Poppins” in Broadway
  3. The moment the kids first saw and played with snow in the Timberline Lodge of Mt. Hood, Oregon

Quirkiest Place We Visited

Deadwood, South Dakota.  This town looks like the template for every Old West town you see in movies and thrives on the pre-Las Vegas notoriety it’s enjoyed for being the original haven of outlaw gunslingers, thieves, prostitutes, gamblers and every other hell raiser you can dream of. 

Best Technology Moment of the Trip

The tech moment of the trip was watching the LeBron James “decision” live on our Sprint Nextel EVO 4G phone.  How we saw this announcement so crisply clear on the phone in the midst of Mt. Hood, Oregon was truly stunning and a tribute to the network Sprint provided us to post stories, photos and videos to our blog.

Best Restaurant We Dined At

We estimate we ate more than 140 meals during our road trip.  The top three local restaurants we dined at were:

  1. Santa Fe: Café Pasqual
  2. Boston: Legal Seafood
  3. Savannah: The Pirate’s House

Coolest Fast Food Restaurant

With the help of our sponsor, McDonald’s, we created a route that took us through some of the most interesting McDonald’s restaurants in the nation.  The category for coolest fast food restaurant we visited is a tie between the original, 1955 McDonald’s that today is a museum and the ultra chic Broadway one that hosted us in New York City.

Best Hotel Stay

We stayed at some fine places nationwide but our complimentary stay at the fabulous Hotel Rio in Las Vegas was the best, most comfortable and most needed one of the trip.  It was also the setting for the best family bonding time as we spent a lot of time watching TV and introducing the kids to a new classic favorite show, “The Andy Griffith Show.” 

Best Hollywood Movie-set Visit

Visiting the original home and neighborhood where the 80’s classic film “The Goonies” was shot was a major thrill for our family of young movie buffs.

Longest Drive of the Trip

The 13-hour drive from San Francisco to Mount Hood.  It actually would have taken us three hours more to get to Mt. Hood so we stopped driving at 1 a.m. that day and completed the last three hours of the 16-hour drive the next day.

Favorite State

Our family could not arrive at an unanimous choice. The adults voted for Oregon and Wyoming because of each state’s outstanding beauty, mountains and hospitality.  The kids voted for California and New York.  Jonathan and Elena voted for California because of their experience at Disneyland and the Ronald McDonald House and they chose New York because of they were thrilled to see the Broadway play “Mary Poppins” and they visited the Museum of Natural History.

Best National Park/National Monument

Even though we didn’t spend enough time there Yellowstone National Park wins this category.  In close second place, especially for the kids who say it’s a tie, is Niagara Falls.

Most Surprisingly Beautiful State

We were stunned to see that Wyoming’s unbelievable beauty extends far outside its share of Yellowstone National Park.  In fact, parts of Wyoming are prettier than what you see inside Yellowstone.

Best Haunted City Tour

This was a tough category because we really enjoyed the four top quality haunted tours we took on the trip in St. Augustine, Salem, Boston and Savannah. The adults voted Salem as their favorite followed by Savannah.  The kids voted for Boston followed by St. Augustine.

Hottest Place We Visited

Las Vegas was at a scorching 105 F when we stayed there.  It was so hot that when dipping into the “coldest” pool of the fabulous Hotel Rio we almost instantly dried up every time we got out of the water.

Coldest Place We Visited

At 47 F Seattle was actually colder than the top of snow-covered Mt. Hood, Oregon where we took the kids to play with snow and watch people ski.

Coolest Roadside Oddity

The accordion-style barn house we found in Tensleep, Wyoming was the oddest sighting we found on the road.  The second oddest thing was a potential ghost woman that spooked us walking near Mount Rushmore.

Best Toy for the Trip

The U.S.A. License Plate game by Melissa & Doug.  This game helped us teach all of the states and their capitals to the kids.  Even Briani loves the game because the game has state license plates that make noise as they snap in place.

Best Road Tripper We Met

Jim Marx, age 61, biked for 65 days and more than 3,600 miles on his way from Seattle to Plymouth, Massachusetts.  He did it as a challenge to himself.  He gets our award for Road Tripper of the Road Trip.

Biggest Out of Fuel Scare

We nearly ran out of gas five times during our trip but the time we almost ran out of gas in the Mojave Dessert was terrifying because it would have meant waiting for OnStar to help us refuel in 110 F weather.

Most Boring Drive

The drive from South Dakota to Illinois was so torturously boring that all we were able to photograph were bales of hay along the way.

Biggest Tech Gadget We Didn’t Miss

Our iPods.  Thanks to our Chevrolet Traverse’s incredible satellite radio we only used one of our iPods for music ONCE.


New Hobbies We Took Up During the Trip

PapiBlogger discovered that he would like to start collecting vintage lunch boxes. Jonathan and Elena took up photography during the trip and Briani discovered how to consistently make cute faces when she smiles for photos.

Times the Road Trip Almost Suffered Postponement

Two times we thought we would need to either postpone or possibly cut short the family road trip.  The first time was in Austin, when Briani developed a very bad cough that forced us to take her to a pediatrician.  The second time was in Philadelphia when Elena developed a very bad earache and cough, almost prompting us to take her to the.

Percentage of the Time PapiBlogger Actually Drove

About 5% of the time.  In order for him to faithfully photograph, videotape and write for the blog, PapiBlogger’s wife drove 90% of the time.  Her sister Melissa, who joined the family for the Seattle to Buffalo leg of the trip, drove the other 5%.

Can I play Wii in my Chevrolet Traverse?

The answer:  YES.  There are inputs for video and sound in the car, and there’s even an electrical outlet in the second row.

The only thing to watch out for would be flying controllers and nunchucks.  My recommendation would be, as always, to make sure that you have everyone using a Wiimote to have the strap on.  And make sure there’s enough distance between them and the next person so they don’t get socked when the player is trying to throw a pass etc.

So, ultimately, yes, you can play a Wii in the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse.  And with DVD player, multi-channel headphones it’s great to have hooked up.  Just make sure no one gets hurt!

Traverse Adventures: A Road Trip to Dallas/Ft. Worth by @MochaDad

It was a rainy Friday afternoon as Tropical Storm Alex barreled through the Gulf of Mexico. Although we were spared a direct hit, my family and I spent several hours battling Alex’s outer rain bands as we traveled down highway 290 from Houston to Ft. Worth.
We had been planning this family trip for several months and we were not about to allow some pesky tropical storm to ruin our plans. Luckily, GM loaned me a Chevy Traverse that was comfortable (the boys each had a captain’s chair while my daughter stretched out in the third row) and more than capable of handling the treacherous highways.

As the rain pelted the vehicle, the kids grew nervous. I was able to ease their fears by allowing them to watch some movies on the built-in DVD player. While they enjoyed the first two Toy Story movies, my wife, KayEm, and I listened to “The Groove” on XM Satellite Radio.

After driving for over and hour and a half, we decided to stop for lunch in College Station, TX, home of the Texas A&M University Aggies.

Since we were on a tight schedule, we opted for a quick meal at Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. The restaurant was decorated with Aggie paraphernalia, historical photos, and Chuck Norris quotes. I found the food to be overpriced and average tasting. The kids, however, loved the chicken fingers.

We quickly finished our lunched and loaded everyone back into the Traverse.

We drove through several small towns and I was pleased to see that they were still thriving despite the economy.

The rain finally stopped as we neared our accommodations at Yogi Bear Campground in Burleson, TX.

Yogi Bear Campground at Rustic Creek Ranch

My family and I had stayed at one of the Yogi Bear campgrounds before, but were blown away this property at Rustic Creek Ranch. The sprawling campground was beautifully maintained and adorned with majestic pine and pecan trees.

Our cabin, with rustic yet elegant decor, was spacious enough to fit my family of five comfortably.

Babe’s Chicken Dinner House

By the time we reached Burleson, we were famished. I searched my iPhone for a nearby restaurant and discovered a local favorite called Babe’s Chicken Dinner House.

When we arrived, we noticed that people were waiting outside for a taste of Babe’s delectable dinners. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long before we were seated.

The interior of the restaurant has a unique style of architecture known as Storybook Style. As I admired the décor, I felt as if I was in a Disney film titled “The Princess and the Chicken.” Several patrons who were celebrating their birthdays ran around the restaurant clucking and flapping their arms while one of the servers sauntered through the restaurant serenading patrons with her sultry songs

While we waited for our table, I joined the staff as they performed the Hokey Pokey. My kids were mortified and begged me to stop. Their moods changed from embarrassment to joy when they discovered that my moves earned us all official Hokey Pokey stickers.

When we were finally seated, our server took our orders. The kids and I orders the fried chicken. It was crispy, juicy, and delicious. My wife ordered catfish which came with green tomato relish. The catfish was crunchy and well-seasoned and the relish was sweet and tangy.

All of the meals at Babe’s are served family style and each comes with all you can eat salad, creamed corn, green beans, and mashed potatoes. I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t choose my side dishes, but my disappointment quickly faded when I tasted their creamy, buttery mashed potatoes.

When I bit into my sorghum soaked biscuit, I was immediately transported to my grandmother’s kitchen. Now this was my idea of comfort food.

Ft. Worth Stock Yards

The next morning we ventured to The Fort Worth Stockyards. As soon as we drove into the parking lot, we were transported to the old west.

We immediately saw Cowboys in covered wagons and others mounted atop their steads. I took a few photos with some showgirls while the rest of the family did some shopping.

We really wanted to see the daily cattle drive, but we arrived too late (cattle drives are held daily at 11:30 am and 4:00 pm). Nevertheless, we had a great time. My kids got to ride horses, interact with livestock, and pose with real Cowboys.

As we walked, we noticed several restaurants, bars, museums and shops located throughout the stockyards. The kids and I had fun trying on cowboy hats and boots (FYI – some shop owners do not allow patrons to take photographs while wearing their merchandise)

One of the highlights for me, was scoring a bottle of real Dublin Dr. Pepper. Dublin is the oldest Dr. Pepper bottling plant in the world and only plant the uses the original Dr. Pepper formula with real cane sugar. The sweet beverage tasted delicious after spending several hours in the Texas heat.

I really wanted to visit the Museum of Cowboy History, but the kids were worn out and we had more sites to see.

Dallas Cowboy Stadium

The pinnacle of our trip for my sons and I was a tour of the billion dollar Dallas Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, TX. As we approached the massive structure, I was awestruck by its size. The hulking dome looms over the horizon like a mountain range.

When we stepped onto the field, my daughter said, “Wow! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.” She was right. I felt as if I had stepped into the Football Promised Land. The stadium is the largest domed stadium in the world, seats 80,000, and has the largest high definition video screen which hangs from 20 yard line to 20 yard line.

After taking the cursory tour of the locker rooms (players and cheerleaders), press room, and lounge, my sons and I spent the next hour running up and down the field. It was a special moment for my boys and me – one that we will never forget.

American Girl Store

Our final destination was the American Girl Store. My daughter’s doll, Nee, really needed new hairstyle so we drove a full hour in order to make our appointment.

We picked a hair style and watched as grown women fastened a styling drape around the doll’s shoulders before gently placing her into a miniature stylist’s chair. It was going to take a while to get the doll back into shape, so Nee and her mother began to look around.

We soon realized that the American Girl store is a money making behemoth. Everything from cute outfits to the extensive “self-help” book section screamed: buy me.

In addition to the doll’s new outfit, we ended up buying two books, a doll outfit, and a pair of doll glasses.

The hour we spent in the American Girl Store allowed Nee to recapture some of her little girl innocence. It was a safe place to play with dolls, pick ribbons, make crafts, and hang out.

I’m just glad that there isn’t an American Girl Store in Houston or else, I’d be broke.

On the Road Again

The next morning, we loaded up the Traverse to drive back to Houston. That is when we discovered the one thing that I disliked about the vehicle. My sister-in-law, who is not a light packer, rode back with us. There was a total of four suitcases (my SIL had the same number of bags as our family of five) and various shopping bags. After several minutes of configuring the luggage, I finally managed to secure everything (I fit three of the suitcases in the trunk and had to place the other bags throughout the vehicle’s interior).

The drive home was much more pleasant because it was rain-free. I was not even bothered when the kids started asking, “Are we there yet?”

Mocha Dad

Mocha Dad is Frederick Goodall. He writes the blogs Mocha Dad and Making It Last Forever.

Discolusure: GM loaned me a Chevy Traverse for one week. I paid all of my own expenses on the trip.