Each year, a group of Subaru enthusiasts gathers for the 48HRS of Tristate Charity Drive. The 1,000-mile journey reunites old friends and welcomes new ones for three days of driving and camaraderie – all to raise money for a great cause!
A Road Trip to Remember
Taking part in the 48HRS of Tristate Charity Drive has been on my bucket list for years. I’ve distance-reported on the event before, but never participated. Suddenly, there I was nearly one thousand miles from home at Subaru of America Headquarters in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, getting briefed by event organizer Ted Drotleff on the morning of our first leg.
My co-driver Melissa Carlson and I buckled into our 2015 Subaru Legacy. Armed with extra wiper fluid, trail mix and matching floral travel mugs, we were ready to roll with the big dogs. Our journey this day would take us from New Jersey to Utica, New York.
Melissa (at left) took the wheel first. I fired up our CB radio – our only means of communication with the group – and began bantering in my best CB-ese.
Mike Paisan, our group leader, expertly guided our caravan of Subaru vehicles along the snowy route.
What started out as highways turned to scenic byways and twisting, turning back roads. Spirits were high and the views became increasingly more spectacular.
Finally, it was my turn to drive. (Despite this silly photo, there was no liquor involved.) I prayed I could keep up, but as it turned out I had a lead foot and had to watch my speed. (Who knew?)
The miles flashed by in a blur. Our cushy 2015 Legacy – which raised some eyebrows initially – performed flawlessly alongside the more performance-driven Subaru models.
Over the next two days, we traveled past the Catskills, through the Adirondacks, and down through Saratoga Springs; stopping along the way to for food, sleep and pit stops..
(Note: When one person has to make a pit stop – the whole group has to stop. Take care of business at every opportunity.)
Slick roads, hairpin turns and freezing rain didn’t stop us. On top of its agile handling and Subaru All-Wheel Drive, our Legacy came equipped with Subaru EyeSight® driver assist technology. The system alerted us when we strayed from our lane and (once) when I came too close to a vehicle stopped ahead of us.
We also had the opportunity to test the adaptive cruise control, which can bring the vehicle to a complete stop from speeds of up to 87 mph. I felt safe, which allowed me to be more adventurous.
Along the Way
Memorable moments include seeing the majestic Adirondack Mountains cloaked in snow; rocky roadside waterfalls frozen blue; a lovely, haunted hotel in Utica; enormous Blue Mountain Lake; and our wicked-cool parade of Subaru-vehicles.
Still, getting to know the drivers inside those vehicles was my favorite part of the trip.
Everyone Has a Story
Nothing beats sitting around a table with a passionate group of Subaru drivers. The 48HRS crew came from all walks of life – lawyers, doctors, concession workers, teachers, auto technicians, veterans and more.
Some traveled alone, while others brought their whole families.
Our conversations revolved around Subaru vehicles, modifications and favorite misadventures. We also talked about our kids, jobs and lives. Occasionally I found myself as the third wheel in a conversation so technical it was like listening to a foreign language.
I’d just smile and throw in an “ooo” here and an “ahh” there when it seemed appropriate. I learned a lot and I’m hungry for more.
Cruising for a Cause
In the end, our three days of driving and camaraderie raised nearly $30,000 to help fund childhood cancer research. It’s a great feeling!
Melissa won our competition to raise the most donations and she is almost done gloating. This Subaru event forever holds new meaning for me. I am now a part of the 48HRS family and cherish my place there.
Together we made a difference.
The 48HRS of Tristate Charity Drive welcomes all drivers of all abilities. Interested in joining the next event? Learn more.