The Ultimate Road Trip: The Right Car When You Need to Improvise

The Ultimate Road Trip

“Inspired by Nissan Pathfinder, writer Chris Atwell has written a series about the fictional Anderson Family and imagined the adventures they might have on a summer road trip with Pathfinder. The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this article are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, or entities is intended or should be inferred.”


Up, Up, and Away

The Andersons set out in their all-new 2022 Nissan Pathfinder looking for adventure, but they planned their routes and destinations with care. Only today, a rare opportunity presents itself, and it means making a big adjustment to the itinerary if they’re going to be able to take advantage of it. The Pathfinder delivers, and the Andersons take flight. Darryl tells the story:

Now, you’ve got to understand that my wife Denise and I put together this road trip itinerary well in advance, down to the last rest stop. It’s not the kind of endeavor you want to improvise, especially with the kids in tow. After our stay in Louisville, Kentucky, the plan was to drive our new Pathfinder north to Lake Erie, then head east to Brooklyn and home.

Out of the blue, a friend of ours called with an opportunity the family couldn’t pass up—a hot air balloon ride across the Blue Mountains in Virginia! Our friend had reserved the ride for his family, but they had to postpone. Rather than cancel the reservation, he called us. He knew we were on the road and thought we might be close. Well, we weren’t. From Louisville to Blue Mountain, Virginia, we were talking about a full day’s drive. But the reservation date couldn’t be changed. If we were going to make it on that balloon, we had to leave right away.

While it’s true that I prefer not to improvise on the road, it’s good to know that the Pathfinder was built rugged and ready to take on the unexpected. So, we loaded up the vehicle’s extended cargo space, packed extra supplies for our black Labrador, Juno, in the under-floor storage, and broke east for Virginia.

After more than three weeks on the road, our new ride has come to feel like a second home. For this especially long stretch, the four of us—and Juno—settled into the comfortable passenger space, which could easily carry another four people. The car’s many safety features have provided us peace of mind on each day of our journey for both Denise and me.

I’ve never driven a car with so much innovation and proactive safety tech, like the Intelligent Around View Monitor. This four-camera system gives me a bird’s-eye view of what’s going on around us. And the Safety Shield 360, the Pathfinder’s advanced suite of safety features, goes a dozen steps further! The vehicle warns us of possible blind spots, and includes pedestrian detection, and rear automatic braking.

These features came in handy several times when traffic got heavy or when my Virginia buddy’s recommended “short cuts” got complicated. Eventually, we tossed out his directions and put our trust in the navigation on the Pathfinder’s easy-to-read, touch-screen Head-Up display. I’m sure it saved us an hour of driving time, at least.

With Denise and I alternating, we arrived at Blue Mountain in time for a good night’s sleep and a daybreak balloon launch. What a thrilling experience! The views are spectacular.

Oh, there is one thing I learned about hot-air balloons that surprised me. Once you’re up in the air, there is no telling where you’ll be able to land. Everything depends on the wind speed and direction. In other words, where you land is pretty much up to the balloon!

I’m usually not comfortable with “improvisation” when I travel, at least when I’m on the ground. But plans, like the winds, do change, sometimes on a dime. It’s good to know that our Pathfinder is equipped to adapt.

  • Cargo: Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution. Always secure cargo. Heavy loading of the vehicle with cargo, especially on the roof, will affect the handling and stability of the vehicle.
  • Intelligent Around View Monitor: Intelligent Around View Monitor cannot eliminate blind spots and may not detect every object. Driver should always turn and check surroundings before driving. See Owner’s Manual for safety information.
  • Safety Shield 360:  Nissan Safety Shield technologies can’t prevent all collisions or warn in all situations. See Owner’s Manual for important safety information.
  • Head-Up Display: Available Feature. Never program while driving. GPS mapping may not be detailed in all areas or reflect current road status.