I first met Caesar in Ithaca, New York. From his cage in the Tompkins County SPCA, the striped gray kitten caught my attention with his unusually strong determination to remove the retractable antenna from my then state-of-the-art cellphone. It was a good beginning, and another reason beyond the glow of the of fall foliage and pristine layers of never-ending winter snow to love the spot of the Finger Lakes, where I had moved to from Los Angeles for college. But it was with a heavy heart that I packed my bags for this particular pilgrimage to return.
This time, the trip would not involve a college reunion or intensive winery tours. I was traveling with the cremated remains of my first pet to visit his birthplace, for Caesar recently had lost his battle with cancer. Good friend Chuck Ballard, a fellow Subaru of America, Inc. employee, outdoor enthusiast, and fanatic of all things feline, agreed to make the memorial trek with me.
Luckily, the third member of our expedition turned out to be the multi-tool of the Subaru lineup – the 2013 XV Crosstrek. Ours wore Tangerine Orange Pearl, beckoning us to load it with our toys. Because of its available cross bars and trailer hitch, mounting the Subaru bike and kayak carriers plus gear to the XV Crosstrek was a breeze. The orange Subaru seemed like it was looking forward to taking us to our destination.
Our mission of remembrance was to include kayaking Cayuga Lake, whose southern tip ends in Ithaca. Also, Chuck recently had experienced stellar mountain biking in the area, so our 29er mountain bikes would need to make the trip along with our kayaks.
The XV Crosstrek was the rugged vehicle we needed – capable of off-road duty and something with space for our gear, kayaks, and mountain bikes. Outstanding fuel economy for our 500-mile round trip from the Philadelphia area was key. It offered a long-travel suspension and plentiful ground clearance to soak up the Philly potholes and New York trails. All-wheel drive would get us to the trailheads securely in any weather condition. Bluetooth®1 audio streaming with an iPod®2 interface that helped us pass the hours of the long drive was a bonus.
After we hustled our way out of Philadelphia traffic, the XV Crosstrek easily gobbled up the miles, seemingly unfazed by the colorful watercraft up top or the bikes out back. Conversation flowed freely, ranging from dog grooming to Porsche tractors. We also concluded that the XV Crosstrek must be the outdoorsy cousin of the WRX.
We encountered no shortage of people interested in our adventure at every stop we made. An envious businessman muttered how he wished he were going with us. A father on a road trip from Florida consulted Chuck about upgrading from his hardtail mountain bike to a full-suspension rig. An avid car enthusiast suddenly blocked us in with his vehicle, preventing us from leaving our parking spot. He wanted to know if our car really was the all-new XV Crosstrek he had seen online.
1 Bluetooth is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc.
2 iPod is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.
Non-U.S.-spec XV Crosstrek shown.