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5 ZEN ROAD TRIPS AND TIPS

Take the 2017 Ford Explorer on a mind-expanding adventure like one of these—filled with yoga, meditative scenery and solitary calm—in regions throughout the country.

By Ernest Myers

My Ford recently journeyed in the 2017 Explorer with NFL-pro-turned-yogi Derrick “DJ” Townsel in search of peace and tranquility deep in the heart of Florida. To continue that quest to experience natural wonders and attain inner enlightenment, here are a few road trips that will certainly awaken your mind and enrich your soul.

Sierra Nevada

East California’s awe-inspiring Sierra Nevada mountain range is the perfect destination for anyone looking to escape urban life and become immersed in the beauty of nature. Navigate the curving roads and set the Explorer to available 4WD as you breathe in the crisp alpine air of the Mammoth Lakes region and marvel at the waterfalls and monoliths of Yosemite National Park.

Zen Tip: Find the new.
Stay present and alert by seeking out unfamiliar surroundings. By choosing a destination that differs radically from your day-to-day environment, your body will naturally be more aware of the world around you, leading to feelings of excitement and wonder.

Portland, the Hudson River Valley and Nantucket

In the Northeast, not far from a few of the most densely-populated regions of the country, are some of the most tranquil and forward-looking towns in all of North America. Portland, Maine, for one, has in recent years become (like its West Coast counterpart in Oregon) a hub for consciousness-minded individuals with its many yoga festivals, farm-to-table restaurants and city-wide campaigns for sustainability.

Further south, in New York’s Hudson River Valley, idyllic small towns steeped in history dot the countryside, each one offering its own brand of respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. Confidently drive the Explorer Sport, with its new available Sport Appearance Package and the 3.5L EcoBoost® engine, which combines the technologies of turbocharging and direct injection, to yet another excellent destination of the region: Nantucket Island, just off Cape Cod, Mass., where you’ll be able to watch the sunrise over the ocean from the island’s magnificent sandy beaches.

Zen Tip: Fly solo.
While it’s nice to have travel companions to share experiences with, consider taking a journey of discovery alone. Freed from having to accommodate another person’s agenda, you can explore the world at your own pace, allowing for more spontaneity and self-reflection.

The Rocky Mountains

For expansive skies, breathtaking views and open roads, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything that tops a trip that includes the Rocky Mountains. Start off in Denver, then head northwest through Rocky Mountain National Park and into the vast expanses of western Wyoming, taking in the historic coal-mining town of Rock Springs along the way. If the roads seem daunting at any point, shift the available Terrain Management System™ to the appropriate mode to help better handle the different road conditions.

Further north, the town of Jackson Hole offers skiing in the winter, hiking in the summer and jaw-dropping views year-round. And about an hour north, at Yellowstone National Park, the masses come from all over the world to see Old Faithful, the famously punctual geyser. (Those looking for a more serene experience can do so by simply traveling deeper into the lush forests of the nation’s first national park.)

Zen Tip: Travel lightly.
Don’t let too much luggage weigh you down. Plan ahead and only bring the bare essentials: a few days’ worth of clothing, some snacks, basic toiletries and uncomplicated entertainment (such as a book or podcasts). No need to plan for every contingency—trust that the journey will provide everything you’ll need.

Highway One

Yoga, mindfulness and holistic practices are now mainstream in American culture, but there is no denying that these movements first became popular in sunny Southern California.

Travel up the coast on Highway One, from its southern terminus at Dana Point to Santa Monica and beyond, all the way up to Big Sur. Along the way, open up the available Vista Roof® of the Explorer to soak in that SoCal sun. Still have some workaday stress to shed? You’ll find no shortage of opportunities to practice yoga—be it at a luxury retreat or alone on a serene beach.

Zen Tip: The world is your yoga studio.
Remember that yoga isn’t confined to the indoors. Beaches, mountains, forests, national parks—the opportunities to commune with nature via sun salutations are abundant and only limited by your imagination. (Yes, you can flex your Downward-Facing Dog at the rest-stop parking lot).

U.S. Route 50: “The Backbone of America”

“The Backbone of America” stretches across the nation from Maryland to California. For those seeking quiet and true solitude, look no further than the Nevada portion of the highway, which, surrounded by desert and few pit stops, has been deemed “The Loneliest Road in America.” While the name may sound ominous, the legendary byway has embraced its infamy, becoming a tourist destination in its own right with a handy “survival guide” that points travelers to historic and scenic destinations along the way.

Let the efficient power of the Explorer really shine as AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control™ helps you maintain control across miles and miles of open highway.

Zen Tip: Let go of fear.
Being afraid of the unfamiliar is a natural human impulse. But don’t let fear hold you back from embarking on a possibly life-changing adventure. Learn how to surf, or how to mountain-climb or take a bungee-jump plunge if the opportunity presents itself; consider saying “yes,” before defaulting automatically to “no.” An entire world of new experiences awaits.

Tags: Explorer