V&R@5: Five Favorite Destinations

Photo by Randy Stern
Photo by Randy Stern

"I've been to many places and seen many faces…"

To achieve maximum value in this work, you have to be where the story takes you. It could be an auto show, a media drive event, a meeting or a place to stretch out your sea legs. These places represent the combination of work, discovery, experience and enjoyment.

In celebration of V&R's Fifth Anniversary, we are listing Five Favorites of various related items. This round, we are listing Five Favorite Destinations. These are places visited while doing the work of this website. They could include places where auto shows, media drive events and media association meetings took place. They could also include places where road trips happen with vehicles in review.

These locales do not reflect the event or story itself. They are indeed a part of it.

Don't take my travel advice here. These are places where I roamed during the V&R Era.

AUSTIN, TX: Never had I left an airport in Texas until Dodge sent me to the state's capitol to drive the 2013 Dart. It is supposed to be one of the coolest places in the country with its music scene and welcoming atmosphere. The drive route got us out of Austin and into the Hill Country with its amazing backdrops and fine roads. While inside of the city, I visited a grand landmark and experienced the city's center to get the pulse of the city. It certainly pumps a great pulse.

CHICAGO, IL: Every year, there is one reason to head there – the Auto Show. Even if it is the only major auto show I work at, Chicago enables me to catch up on basically everything I missed elsewhere. Chicago is also where the Midwest Automotive Media Association is headquartered, so there are a few obligations to be in town on business. Still, Chicago offers a lot for me – from great dining and plentiful activities. Still, it is a place where the work truly happens every year.

DETROIT, MI: This is where the work comes to life. Both General Motors and FCA sent me to Southeastern Michigan on various occasions. That included a North American International Auto Show, a diversity immersion trip at Motor City Pride and a couple other FCA events. The point of Detroit is witnessing the industry on its home turf. You can feel the pulse of the industry even as the city rises from the ruins. There are a lot of reminders of it beyond Eight Mile Road, too.

LOS ANGELES, CA: My hometown is still my hometown. Though I worked the LA Auto Show in 2014, it was another trip earlier that year that solidified my love for this place. Being back in Reseda was a way to connect the dots from the inspiration point of this work. Reconnecting with family and friends helped put a human element to the place I once called home. It is still a fantastic city. I am indeed proud to have been born from it.

RALEIGH-DURHAM, NC: Lexus flew me to North Carolina's Triangle region to drive the 2016 RX. It had been a long since my only trip there, but I ended getting blown away by everything I experienced. The place has always been beautiful with woods surrounding the area, gentle elevations and classic North Carolina hospitality. The place has certainly grown since 1998, but that's just an understatement. Next time, I truly need to get reacquainted and visit more places across the Triangle.

HONORABLE MENTION – FARGO, ND: It served a dual purpose for a story I was working on. While I drove a 2015 Buick LaCrosse as a tester for OnStar's 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot up that way, I had the opportunity to attend Fargo-Moorhead Pride. What I found was something I always knew of this place – its welcoming atmosphere is what makes Fargo what it is. Of course, downtown Fargo is a nice place to dine, stroll and take in entertainment. I should get back up there again…

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