A summer road trip in Texas. Is there anything better?
Stunning views over rolling hills covered in green trees, wild flowers, and shrubbery spread out on either side of the Arc de Texas as I stopped in the red Chevrolet Traverse I was driving. From the blinding sun, summer was near, and this popular spot would soon be filled with road trippers like me.
In April, Chevrolet loaned me a 2018 Traverse to use on a road trip from Austin to San Antonio. As my trip began, I went over the features with an amazing crew. With the luggage easily fitting in the 98.2 cubic feet cargo space, my phone connected to Wi-Fi and charging in the hidden compartment behind the main screen, and the coordinates set up with On-Star navigation, I set out, checking the rear mirror after a small adjustment turned it into a rear video screen.
Instead of heading straight to San Antonio, I guided the nose of the red Chevy Traverse toward the Hill Country. Like the Arc de Texas, I made many stops, pulling over to take pictures at a historic-style Post Office, to explore the Garrison Brothers Distillery and to admire the vast array of wildflowers at Wildseed Farms. This was made safer with the Traverse’s Rear Cross Traffic Alert System and Lane Change Alert, as pulling over quickly off a main highway to explore roadside attractions can be a bit tricky if you miss someone in a blind spot.
Eventually, I arrived in Fredericksburg, effortlessly parallel parking on a side road from the main street with the Traverse’s rear vision camera, as the adorable town was already packed with visitors shopping, drinking and eating. I strolled through the stores, ate some German sausage and hopped back in the car to make my way to San Antonio.
In San Antonio, I valeted the red Chevy – which by this time was lovingly nicknamed “Big Beauty” – at the charming Hotel Emma and headed out into the city. My time in San Antonio was primarily focused on Fiesta, an annual festival beloved by Texans that started in San Antonio as a one-parade event in 1891 and grew into the multi-week festival we know today. The organizers now raise funds for San Antonio citizens throughout the year.
Fiesta was everywhere – I found it in booths, bands, and colorful streamers at El Mercado, or the Historic Market Square, which teemed with people eating elote, Mexican corn and drinking micheladas as they shopped for Mexican-inspired wares. It was also at San Fernando Cathedral, the oldest church in Texas built in the 18th century, where I bought a beautiful artisanal dress. I strolled to the last Fiesta parade of the evening and witnessed Mexican Ballet Folklorico groups, high school bands, and extravagant floats drifting through thousands of people who snapped photos and cheered.
While much of my time in San Antonio revolved around Fiesta, I did manage to do some touristy things like visit the Riverwalk and take the Chevrolet Traverse to Mission San Jose at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, a first-time experience that felt too short. I could walk around the large yard and through the beautiful chapel of the 1720 mission for hours. On my way back to the hotel, I maneuvered the Traverse to the largest mosaic mural of the Virgin de Guadalupe at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.
While the trip inevitably had to end, even the drive back to Dallas was enjoyable in the Traverse. I had the opportunity to take SH 130, the toll road with the fastest legal speed limit in the nation, bypassing Sunday Austin traffic and saving an extra 30 minutes on travel time. In the Traverse, 85 mph felt more like 60 mph—it was that smooth sailing—an experience I hear is not so common for others whose cars bobble or bounce at such high speeds.
The Chevrolet Traverse had all the features I needed for every aspect of my trip – safety, technology, Wi-Fi connectivity at all times and amazing cameras that helped me to maneuver through Fiesta-filled streets. The Chevrolet Traverse is a bit like Texas; it has plenty of diverse features and a lot of legroom. Maybe one day, I’ll take it out again on the open Texas road, and maybe I’ll see you there, too, with a Big Beauty of your own.
Alex Temblador is a novelist and travel writer based in Dallas. Her work has appeared in outlets including Oyster, Matador Network, Culture Trip and the Huffington Post. @alextemblador