The Dallas Morning News Story about Blogging and TraverseAventures.com

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 DaddyClaxton.com for more updates and information.

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.

2010 Chevy Traverse Review by Screwed Up Texan

Hi, my name is Allie and I blog over at Screwed Up Texan a quirky blog about family, Texas, and the joys of Dr Pepper. Chevrolet has even been known to loan me a vehicle or two or three…sometimes for a couple hours and sometimes for a couple weeks. That’s where this blog post comes in…thanks Daddy Claxton for letting me publish my review of the 2010 Chevy Traverse here.

From June 18-28 I had the opportunity to drive the 2010 Chevy Traverse over the course of our road trip and family vacation from Dallas, Texas to various points in Utah. We also drove the crossover for an additional week after we arrived home and over the Fourth of July weekend for a total of two and a half weeks–all of this courtesy of Chevrolet who wanted my honest feedback on this family vehicle.

Once I had a specific time-frame that I knew I would have the Chevy Traverse on loan, I brainstormed several different types of scenarios and road conditions that I wanted to put the Traverse through. Since my audience is mostly women (yes, there are a few men here!) and of those women many mothers with families, I decided to test the Traverse’s ability to handle two common scenarios that families most likely will encounter in one capacity or another. However, I believe anyone in the market for a 7-8 passenger crossover can appreciate this review.

1.) Grocery shopping with three young children. In other words, will the Traverse be able to comfortably seat three young children all of whom have to legally be restrained through either car seats and/or booster seats, plus groceries to feed the family for two weeks? Answer: Yes, and then some. Not only does the Chevy Traverse easily fit three children all restrained, but it also will fit depending on the package option of LS, LT or LTZ seven to eight total persons. That’s more available seating than both the Toyota Highlander or the Ford Flex which are two of the Traverse’s competition. The Traverse also features Smart Slide (R) second row seats that allow passengers, such as rowdy little boys, to easily enter and exit the third row of seating.

For holding those two weeks of groceries–that we bought for our vacation–the Chevy Traverse held those easily. There was plenty of space for our groceries. When it came time to pack up the groceries, cooler, tent, sleeping bags, too many clothes, blankets, dog carrier, games, et cetera, the Chevy Traverse was able to hold it all with its split third row seat that folded down partially as an option. Personally, I thought there was no way we were going to get any more items into the Traverse. But just when I thought it was impossible, my husband’s grandparents loaded us up with a box of canning supplies and jars, several old books, and a pressure canner to take home to Texas. How’s that for space. If you’re still unconvinced, you should note that the 2010 Chevy Traverse has more cargo space than any of its competitors in the crossover segment, even 30% more than the Honda Pilot. How about behind that third row? More room than both the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot.

2010 Chevy Traverse Interior

2010 Chevy Traverse Interior

2010 Chevy Traverse Interior Groceries

2.) Road trips with young children or even just running errands around town. For the Chevy Traverse to pass this test, it had to provide thoughtful features that keep children and teens entertained and provide some sort of navigation feature to keep me not lost. Let’s start with keeping those kiddos entertained, because we all know that if Junior is screaming and whining “are we there yet?” one hundred times per day, then most likely you’ll be storing your kid in the hidden storage compartment in the back for the remainder of your road trip which is absolutely unacceptable (albeit tempting). For starters, the 2010 Chevy Traverse has an entertainment system that includes a DVD player with screens for those in the backseats. We utilized this feature almost constantly. I now know Monsters vs. Aliens among other children’s movies by heart. The Traverse also has a standard outlet with audio/video plug-ins that allow for gaming via an Xbox, PlayStation, or even Wii. If bowling in your car seems rambunctious, think of it as extra entertainment while camping or RVing.

Extra Storage in Chevy Traverse

Hidden storage for naughty kids, don’t try this at home

For the navigation feature, which I believe should be a standard feature of any make and model in this day and age, the 2010 Chevy Traverse comes equipped with it through the OnStar subscription which is included for one year. Just press the OnStar button and tell the advisor where you want to go and the directions are downloaded straight to your vehicle automatically. See what all OnStar services offer.

2010 Chevy Traverse Navigation

Other thoughtful features include Bluetooth technology that allows you to connect your cell phone to make and receive phone calls hands-free. The Traverse also has a new USB port which connects your mp3 player or flash drive loaded with music to play through the vehicle’s audio system. An XM Radio subscription is also included for three months which allows you to listen to commercial free music and more. The Traverse also has available 115-volt three pronged outlets which make it great for charging laptops and camera batteries.

Other criteria I tested on the 2010 Chevy Traverse

Comfortableness

The 2010 Chevy Traverse felt very comfortable and the placement of features felt intuitive. Chevy had me in the LTZ package which has heated and cooled front bucket seats as well as leather which makes for easier cleaning. Other trim packages, including the LTZ, can also include dual-zone climate control, remote vehicle starter system handy for hot days or cold winters when you want the Traverse at the proper temperature before you get in, available driver seat memory positions for comfortable seating (like when someone who has long legs leaves the seat all the way back), and plenty of leg room in the second and third rows.

Safety

If you were to ask most Chevy salespersons about the safety of the 2010 Chevy Traverse, I can almost bet you they’d tout to you the StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control System with traction control and available AWD to help you stay on the road and in control. They would probably also tell you about how the Chevy Traverse has earned the highest possible crash safety rating–5 stars–for both frontal and side impact collisions. They’d mention the six standard air bags. They’d even tell you all about Automatic Crash Response through OnStar which is standard for the first year and automatically notifies an OnStar adviser when you’ve been in a crash and can request emergency help be sent to your exact GPS location–even if you’re unable to respond.

Now all of these features are very important and I would not take one away, but how about those every day situations where you find yourself driving to and from soccer practice, church, shopping, over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house…will you feel safe driving the Traverse even then? I mean, if the vehicle doesn’t feel safe then all of the standard features noted above will be little assurance to the owner. When I drove the Chevy Traverse I felt very safe–I could feel the road so as to gauge my speed, the vehicle shifted very smoothly (something even my Ford/Toyota-loving cousin was impressed with), it accelerated quickly and braked smoothly. The rearview camera system added to the Traverse’s feel of a safe family vehicle that I felt catered to my safety-conscience sensibilities.

As for over the river and through the woods, well we did both. Really. Somewhere in New Mexico on a powdery state highway (who doesn’t pave state highways?) we experienced the Chevy Traverse’s handling. We braked hard, we accelerated fast, we drove on a steep mountain gravel road in Utah with just two feet from falling off the side into an abyss and the Traverse handled all these and more. Potholes? No problem. Slick, wet roads? Boring. Powder? Couldn’t even tell. Gravel? Complete traction. Mountain summits? Felt like flat plains.

2010 Chevy Traverse Camera System

Chevy Traverse on Powdery Roads, New Mexico

Chevy Traverse Outside Price, Utah

Convenience

As mentioned above, there was plenty of seating in the Chevy Traverse with 7 or 8 available seats depending on the package, Smart Slide (R) second-row seats for easy access to the third row, a third row that folds down fully or partially optionally, four storage compartments including a locking glove compartment in the front seat area, power remote lift-gate (you know, so you don’t have to put down your groceries to open the gate or go back outside to close it), in-steering wheel buttons for changing radio stations and operating the cruise control, gas gauge that automatically senses how many more miles to the next fill up, oil life monitoring system, four automatic windows with child locks, and rear seat audio controls. Under the hood, everything is easy to get to. Even Grandpa was impressed with how accessible it was. Basically, the only two things this vehicle lacks are 1.) refrigeration, and 2.) toilets.

2010 Chevy Traverse Back Seats

The Bad, aka My Beefs:

1.) Although the 2010 Chevy Traverse gets 24 mpg highway, the best fuel economy of any eight passenger vehicle, I think 24 highway/18 city is far too low for any vehicle in our day and age. Now this isn’t a problem with the Chevy Traverse per se, however I think minimally this vehicle and any other seven to eight passenger vehicle no matter which company makes it should get 28 miles per gallon city. I should note that compared with our current vehicle which is a van from 2004 we saved two tanks of gas driving to and from Utah from Texas in the Traverse which equates to nearly 800 miles or around 40 gallons of gasoline saved. It should be said that most drivers are expected to range between 19 and 27 mpg per EPA estimates in the 2010 Chevy Traverse LTZ.

2.) Although I had no problem with it, two men that sat in the driver’s seat mentioned that their knees felt uncomfortable with how they touched the sides near the console. I do not find this a deal breaker, then again I am not a man.

3.) I could not find a way to play a DVD and listen to the radio concurrently. I have no idea if this is even possible. Memorizing Monsters vs. Aliens was not an accomplishment I am proud of. However, the DVDs kept the kids mouths shut and their eyes glazed over so it was not a deal breaker.

4.) The way the driver’s dash is designed, it is difficult for the front-seat passenger to see how fast the driver is traveling. This makes for difficult nagging.

For more information on the Chevy Traverse.
For more information on OnStar services.
For a printable version of my 2010 Chevy Traverse review.

Disclosure: I was not paid to write this review, however I did receive a 2010 Chevy Traverse for two weeks at no charge to test drive.

Full Disclosure including links to my media kit