After the excitement of the 2014 North American International Auto Show, I was looking forward to the long and painfully boring drive back… my wish was not yet coming true…

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited

The digital road sign above warned: “Changing Roads Ahead. Do not rely solely on GPS.”

I felt like it was speaking directly to me as I had suffered anxiety ever since Driveway editor Keith Morgan climbed into the Jeep Cherokee and we left downtown Detroit, heading north to Toronto.

North, ahem, yes. The tunnel to Canada was a stone’s throw away from our launch point.

I was thinking it would route me the same way I got down to Motown, via Windsor and through the tunnel.

Why the GPS didn’t? I’m not sure. Clearly it knew something we didn’t.

Needless to say, the mechanical woman’s voice echoing through the premium speakers certainly did give us a scenic tour of the area. And by scenic I mean, she guided us through some rather dodgy areas, characterized by poorly maintained roads, broken down buildings and dejected looking people.

After the excitement of the 2014 North American International Auto Show, I was looking forward to the long and painfully boring drive back. (That’s before Keith hitched a ride, honest.) My wish was not yet coming true.

Finally, we were on some sort of highway. But no signs to a border popped up for miles and miles. We even pulled over a couple of times in the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited to check our smartphones to see if we were heading in the right direction.

We were, but I guess I was just looking for a sign. A sign that said “Canada” on it.

But no, we got this instead: “State Prison Nearby. Do NOT Pick Up Hitchhikers.”


Keith and I looked over at each other and laughed nervously.

Oh gosh, what have we gotten ourselves into?

Regardless, we were in it together, so it was bound to be eventful.

I forgot to mention, my fuel was getting low, too, and I had a flight to catch out of Pearson. No need to panic, I think.

When you’re in these kinds of situations, you say things that you normally wouldn’t say.

“I will be so happy when we are back in Ontario,” is a phrase not often uttered by a B.C. resident. But it fell from my lips.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

The one thing that remained steadfast and calm throughout the craziness was the Jeep Cherokee.

The leather-trimmed seats were plush and comfortable to sit in for hours on end.

When I started veering off the straight and narrow – aka out of my lane – the lane departure warning would gently lead me back into place.

And since it was frigid outside – Ontario and Michigan in January is anything but tropical – features like a remote starter, heated seats, a heated steering wheel and dual climate zone controls keep occupants toasty warm.

Not to mention there was a generous amount of power being delivered from its 3.2L, Pentastar V6 engine, which is rated at 271 horsepower and 239 lb-ft of torque. It’s then linked to a 9-speed automatic transmission.

And with 4×4 capabilities, I was ready to brave the winter conditions, on bare roads or not.

Luckily, it was a beautiful day, with few clouds in the sky and clear roads.

Things were looking good.

Then it happened. A sign. A sign to Canada nonetheless. Looks like we’d been routed through Sarnia. I was doing a little happy dance on the inside.

Did I doubt the GPS’s ability to lead? I sure did. Then again, it’s not out of my character to question authority. As we handed the CBSA our passports, all I could think about was finding a fuel station before we got stranded.

And yes, I was very happy to be in Ontario. But I’d be happier when I knew I was on a plane to Vancouver. Yet, I was thoroughly enjoying my time in the Cherokee, quirky styling and anxiety aside.

It had an ability to somewhat calm my woes due to its temperate nature. The quiet cabin allowed for wonderful conversations, whether it was with myself, with the GPS or with Keith.

In addition, I managed to learn a lot from road signs. I will not wholeheartedly rely on the GPS and will not pick up hitchhikers in Michigan.

Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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