Ford of Canada Back to Basics Weekend in Agassiz, BC


I had one of the most amazing weekend with Ford of Canada. The theme of the trip was Back to Basics, which encourage a group of bloggers and influencers to take a break from our busy city life and go for some backcountry adventures.

When you spend more time Instagraming on your smart phone than enjoying our beautiful city, you know it’s time to do a technology detox. According to Sheryl Connelly, Ford’s Global Consumer Trends and Futuring, in today’s 24/7 culture people are desiring to get away mentally and physically and are increasingly seeking out immersive adventures.

“It used to be that we could escape simply by reading a book or watching a film or going for a walk. While those options still exist, they are at the whim of 24/7 connectivity—and our own growing boredom and shortened attention spans—making it harder to truly escape. Now there’s an emerging “Great Escapism”—a heightened formality around escapism, from scheduling “mindfulness” classes or going on sabbaticals to take a break from the world, or doing ever more daring, outrageous things to will ourselves into another world.”

In a recent Ford study, 62% of adults under age 35 worldwide say that they seek experiences they feel can’t be replicated.

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On cool Saturday morning, we kick off our escape plan at Coastal Ford Burnaby. We meet with our Ford guide, Lance, who taught us the back to basic on how to navigate to Harrison Hot Spring using a real map. No Google Map, no iPhone but good old fashion paper map.

The weekend was not about rejecting technology but to use technology to help us slow down and reconnect with nature.

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With our weekend itineraries on hand, Dennis, Michelle and I are ready to go for our 1.5 hour drive to Harrison Hot Spring.

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We drove the all new 2015 Ford Escape Titanium. Our shiny ride was fully equipped with comfy leather seats and state of the art audio system. It sounds amazing! Some of the key features on this 5 passenger SUV are the 2.0L EcoBoost I-4 engine, blind spot information system, active park assist, power panoramic vista roof and hands-free, foot-activated liftgate.

All of our vehicles are equip with SYNC with MyFord Touch. You can interact with it through voice control, a touch screen tap or a conventional button. You can ask your car for restaurant suggestions by saying “I’m hungry.” How cool is that? When paired with Ford SYNC, “Do Not Disturb” blocks incoming phone calls or text messages. Calls are diverted to voicemail and text messages are saved on the device for later viewing. You can still make voice activated outgoing calls, and SYNC 911 Assist can still make a call in case of emergency.

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This year, Ford is also celebrating 50th anniversary of the legendary Mustang. The 2015 Ford Mustang GT 50th Anniversary set a new benchmark with a more powerful 5.0L 420 horsepower V8, all new sleek design and innovative technologies.

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Our home for the next 2 days was at the Fraser River Lodge. The stunning lodge is located in Agassiz and just 10 minutes from Harrison Hot Spring. All of our cabins face directly on the shore of the might Fraser River and looking towards a majestic view of Mount Cheam. Beautiful!

Mount Cheam

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After a hearty lunch of pasta and roast beef and with hot chocolate on hand, our first itinerary was basic car care and winter driving lessons in the garage. Our instructor, Robin Buck, Canada’s foremost racing drivers and high performance driving instructor with 34 years experience in motorsport, taught us how to change a flat tire, how to check the oil, and how to maneuver our vehicle in icy and snowy condition.

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To check for the engine oil:

Locate and measure the oil level on the dipstick. Only use the recommended oil type and weight, you can find this information located on the engine oil cap. Why? The right oil maintains the engine’s working order and longevity.

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To change the tire:

Find a level area to change your tire and always work away from the moving vehicles and traffic. Make sure the spare tire has air in it and that you have all of the tools needed to make the change. Why? You never know when you’ll need to change a tire and you want to make sure you can do it safely and quickly.

It is also very important to be prepare and have a car emergency kit. The kit should include the following items:

  • Food that won’t spoil such as energy bars and snacks
  • Water
  • Blanket
  • Extra clothing, jacket and knit gloves
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight / glow sticks
  • Jumper cable / booster cable
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Rope
  • Shovel
  • Warning light / reflective triangle

Ford car emergency kit

Here’s is the comprehensive Basic Car Care and Winter Driving guide:

Back to Basics - Guide to Basic Car Care FINAL JPEG

Back to Basics - Guide to Winter Driving FINAL

For 2015, one of Ford’s best selling truck the F-150 got a big upgrade – first in class aluminum alloy body and steel frame. The truck now weights 700 Ibs. (317 kg) lighter than before which means better fuel efficiency, greater towing and payload capacities and higher power to weight ratio for improved acceleration, enhanced handling and braking responsiveness.

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If you drive in the city, you need master how to parallel parking in a narrow street between 2 tightly parked car. Most people dreaded it. With Ford Active Park Assist, you simply hit the “Auto P” button. The vehicle will automatically search for an open space and park itself. No hands, no stress! It parks itself perfectly every time.

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As part of the Back to Basics theme, its also important to learn the history and culture of BC. First Nations artist Don Froese taught us the art of wood carving.

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Of course, we need a good afternoon wine break with tasting from Mission Hill Winery.

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Executive Chef Lucky Dhillon prepared a wonderful dinner for us. He started with a Smoke Duck, Baby Arugula & Beet Salad with orange & ginger soy glaze dressing paired with Mission Hill Pinot Noir. The main was Wild Sockeye Salmon paired with Nk’ Mip Chardonnay. Finally, the dessert was Silk Road Inspired Rice Pudding with Pistachio Cardamon Biscotti paired with Whistler Sauvignon Blanc Ice Wine.

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We cap off the evening with s’mores and more wines!

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On the next day, we suited up our fashionable brown waders and headed out to the Fraser River.

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Our instructor, Jay, shown us to how set up the bait and lure them in!

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It was my lucky day! In just 30 minutes, I caught my first sturgeon. It was fun and a struggle. The fish was so powerful. It took me 10 minutes to railed it to our boat.

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My catch of today was a 5 feet, 100 pounds sturgeon. Video captured by Mark Smith from 30 Day Adventures.

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The other team caught this massive 7 feet, 300 Ibs sturgeon!

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2015 Ford Escape Titanium

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Our ride for the weekend – Ford Escape, Ford Fusion & Ford Mustang.

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I would love to thank the Ford of Canada team (Michelle, Jim & Judy) for an amazing weekend. In 2 days, I caught my first sturgeon, meet new friends, ate s’mores by the campfire and test drove Ford’s new lineup. Be sure to check out the hot new 2015 Mustang, F-150, Escape, and Fusion at the upcoming Vancouver Auto Show at Vancouver Convention Centre.

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Photos courtesy of Ford of Canada #FordBackToBasics


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James Chung

Founder & Editor in Chief of Hello Vancity magazine. Email [email protected]

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