Valentine’s Day Road Trip Tips

So the big day is approaching, and you are debating what to do with your significant other for the weekend. Why not make it a romantic getaway and take a road trip somewhere? Driving takes away all the stress of air travel, usually costs less when traveling as a pair, and gives you both some quiet alone time as you travel to your destination. For those of you who think this is a great idea, here are some tips on how to get the most out of your time together, and don’t forget to check the Ultimate Drive app for the best routes!

1: Plan everything in advance. This may seem like the obvious, but it is easy to plan the road trip and forget to buy flowers and make a dinner reservation on Valentine’s Day, or vice versa. Planning the whole thing through will avoid traffic, lines and surprises so you can focus on having a good time.

2: Don’t pick a destination too far away. As much as we all love road trips, there is such a thing as too much time in the car- especially when you are trying to get somewhere. Plan for something just a few hours away, and don’t leave at a time that will place you in traffic. Try to locate the most scenic drives around – the Ultimate Drive app is perfect for that!

3: Make sure the car is ready for the trip. Regardless of vehicle, make sure it is up to the trip and everything from tires to headlights are in top order. A quick stop by the dealer for a service or even a once-over in the garage at home will ensure it’s a Valentines Day drive you never forget, and not because of a flat tire!

4: If you have a choice of cars, pick the right one. As much fun as it may sound to take the Z4 out for the weekend; it doesn’t fit enough luggage, lend itself to comfortable long distance driving, or have all terrain tires. (It is February!) Take the X5 instead and enjoy its creature comforts.

5: Have Fun! Remember the whole point of getting away is to enjoy each other’s company and have a good time. Following the tips above will minimize any potential headaches, but remember: even if you do get that flat tire, it will be something you can look back and laugh at on Valentine’s Day for many years to come!

California Dreamin’ : A BMW Getaway

For those of you who are missing the sunshine outdoors and quality driving time in your BMW, there are some easy ways to leave town for a weekend and enjoy a drive! There is no better place for this than Southern California, and here are some pointers for planning the perfect weekend.

Thanks to the availability of several, large airports in Southern California, flying out is relatively easy and affordable. For those leaving from the East Coast there is also the advantage of the time change, enabling you to leave after work on Friday and still get to California at a reasonable hour. Depending on the roads you plan to travel, we recommend flying into LAX (Los Angeles), SNA (Orange County) or SAN (San Diego). All three airports are in close proximity to a good BMW rental, or have them on site at their own rental car terminals.

These California roads practically demand the best of cars and, in terms of renting a BMW, Southern California offers a rather large set of options. Budget, Enterprise and several other well-known rental car companies offer BMWs in their Southern California fleet. If you really want to drive a model they don’t have available, there are a number of smaller private rental companies in the area as well. Whatever you do be sure to reserve a car in advance, as there are usually only 1-2 BMWs on hand per rental location, and in Southern California they do rent out quickly.

Once you are in town and have picked up the BMW, you can relax and enjoy the trip! Naturally the best way to plan your drive is checking out roads in the Ultimate Drive app for iOS, Facebook or Android when preparing for the trip. The app features a vast variety of routes in Southern California from which you can plan a long, hard weekend drive, or a series or fast runs through the canyons and up the coast to enjoy the scenery.

Wherever the journey takes you in California, the appeal of sunshine, beautiful roads, abundant amenities and most importantly a BMW will make it a getaway to remember!

Starting your California trip in Northern California? BMW is now offering car sharing in San Francisco. Check it out here.

 If hitting the California coast isn’t in the cards this weekend, how about sharing other destinations closer to you that offer a milder climate and awesome roads for a long weekend getaway? Let us know on our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/UltimateDriveApp !

 

Last Minute Gifts for the BMW Lover

It is that time of year again! Is there a BMW lover on your shopping list? Well instead of going for a generic BMW polo, or the same keychain as last year in a different color, have a look at our gift guide and get your loved one something a bit more unique, with picks for different budgets:

Driving a Local Racetrack: For those who haven’t yet driven a BMW on a racetrack, it is a thrill with no comparison. Many local racetracks host open track days, as do many local chapters of the BMW Car Club of America. To locate a track day near you, some excellent resources are the nearest raceway’s website (a good list of U.S. racetracks can be found here), or your local BMW club chapter. (Full list of BMW CCA Chapters available here)

BMW USB Charger: If you spend a lot of time in the car, this BMW USB Charger will be a very welcome addition. Plugging into the cigarette lighter, it converts the power to a standard USB 5 volts, and enables charging of everything from smartphones to iPads for about $23.

Tickets to a BMW Race Weekend: No more room in the house? Another excellent gift idea is tickets to a BMW race weekend! The 2013 American Le Mans Series has races all over the country, and there aren’t many things better than cheering on a factory BMW race car at a historic racing venue. Check out the American Le Mans schedule here to buy tickets and find the race nearest your loved one.

A Special BMW Memory – The Car You Had When We Met: Not all of us may have the history or finances to pull off a gift like this, but at the very least this is an inspired idea and wonderful story to read: The Surprise Gift

Whatever you may choose, have a safe and happy holiday season, and may the new year bring some great automotive adventures!

Take the Scenic Way Home from Thanksgiving

Driving out of town for Thanksgiving this year? We all know that the holidays can be stressful, but the trip to and from your loved ones can also be enjoyable time in the car- whether alone or with family. For those who love driving, there is no better weekend to get in a last driving blast before fall turns to winter.

The traditional GPS will tell you the shortest path or the fastest path, but why not change it up and enjoy the drive on roads suggested by other drivers?  Even better, taking more fun or more scenic routes can enable you to avoid the holiday traffic on the highways.

If you need some tips or directions for your trip, The Ultimate Drive app comes to the rescue in the form of thousands of routes to choose from. All the routes are suggested by people like you, complete with descriptions and ratings to see what other drivers think are the best. You can download the free app at any of these links:

Find a great route, hop in the BMW and hit the road!

Wherever the driving adventure takes you, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and a great road trip home!

 

Great Winter Escapes for People Who Love Driving

As winter rapidly approaches, many of us are preparing our BMWs for winter storage. For those of you who will continue to drive them during winter, the weather may take away the thrills of utilizing your car’s performance capabilities. To lighten up this sad time, we thought we would lay out a few warm weather destinations to get out of town and go on a winter driving journey!

Location #1: Honolulu, Hawaii.

Honolulu is a tropical paradise, and its roads live up to that reputation. Fly into town, get a bit of sun on the beach, then hop in your rental BMW and explore the island via car! We recommend the Tantalus Drive route, from which you can then circle back to town via Round Top Drive on the other side of the state park. You can find this adventurous route in the Ultimate Drive app for iOS, Facebook or Android app here.

Location #2: Scottsdale, Arizona.

Scottsdale is well-known for being a warm-weather haven during the winter months. It boasts a major airport in nearby Phoenix, numerous hotels and amenities, and some great desert roads for all to enjoy in the winter. Our personal favorite drive is Highway 88 from the Phoenix area out to Tortilla Flats. You can find the route in The Ultimate Drive app here. If the scenery looks familiar here is a good hint as to why: many car manufacturers use this road for auto magazine test drives.

Location #3: Key West, Florida.

Our featured East Coast adventure is one of the world’s best known stretches of highway. It’s not a flat-out performance drive, but what it lacks in sport it makes up for in scenery. The route takes you from Miami’s airport southbound to the bottom of the country. Once out of town, you can hop on the famous “Overseas Highway.” On this renowned Highway you will drive over the water and through various islands all the way to Key West- the southernmost city in the continental United States. Drives don’t get much more scenic than this! Check out the route here.

Last but not least, keep in mind that both smaller and larger car rental companies have fleets of BMWs you can rent for your adventure! This is *crucial* to ensure you have a fun ride for your winter driving escape. Plan your trip soon and have something to look forward to!

Happy Halloween! The Best BMW Halloween Costumes from the Web

Halloween is almost here. In celebration of the holiday and our love for cars, we did some digging to come up with some of the best car costumes on the web. After all, if pet costumes are a regular theme, cars should be able to join in the fun as well!

First up is this M3; which automatically gets a winning vote for being in Halloween dress full time- right from the BMW factory. We give top marks to BMW for making an orange finish classy looking. This car is a Halloween BMW done right!

Next up on the list is this E30 M3, which the owner had to paint orange. We especially love the black headlight trim and grill treatment! It’s a great inspiration for decorating your own car for the 31st, or every day!

Up third it perhaps the most extreme treatment of the Halloween theme we have seen! This M3 is certainly the “loudest” matte black car we have ever seen. The details are done perfectly, and it definitely has a menacing look!

And last of all, we couldn’t ignore these great BMW pumpkins!

Since there is still time before Halloween, should you wind up decorating your own car please send us images at social@socialnav-inc.com! We will post the best ones on our Facebook page for all to see.

Happy Halloween!

Round-Up: Top Weekend Drives, September Edition

Autumn is upon us and there’s no prettier time of year to take a drive! Each week we pick our favorite user-submitted routes to feature on the BMW Ultimate Drive App Facebook page and this month’s stretches are perfect for fall. From the Northwest to the Northeast U.S., there is a drive near you just waiting to be explored. Check out this month’s featured Weekend Drive Picks for some of the most beautiful routes in the country.

Northern California: Avenue of Giants

Northern California is known for its stunning redwoods and this Weekend Drive Pick along the Avenue of Giants surely won’t disappoint! This gorgeous stretch of road winds down the 101 and traces the border of Humboldt Redwoods State Park – a must see!

Avenue of Giants

Submitted to The Ultimate Drive App by Lester. Google Maps directions: http://bit.ly/Q6xpSX.

Vermont: Tracey Road

This Weekend Drive Pick features Tracey Road in Eastern Vermont. Comparable to the App Gap (Rt. 17), this is one of the best twisties for miles around! On this windy yet smooth route, a BMW is the perfect car to scrape the corners without fear of grade changes — you won’t want this drive to end!

Tracy Road, Vermont

Submitted to The Ultimate Drive App by Tonymorr. Google Maps directions: http://bit.ly/Qkufen.

Oregon: Sister’s Loop

Sisters, a small tourist town in Oregon, is home to this Weekend Drive Pick. An 88 mile loop from scenic 126 (complete with waterfalls!) to the more technical roads of 242 makes this drive an all-around must!

Submitted to The Ultimate Drive App by MWGeorge. Google Maps directions: http://bit.ly/NBrjg1.

Montana: Beartooth Pass 

This Weekend Drive Pick takes us to Custer National Forest, near Billings, Montana. The sheer variety of the scenery makes this a must do on your Bucket List! According to Schnehe, our user who submitted this stretch, “Elevation, lakes, glaciers, twists, waterfalls – this has it all!”

Beartooth Pass

Submitted to The Ultimate Drive App by Schnehe. Google Maps directions: http://bit.ly/TsGybU.

If you take one of these scenic fall drives, be sure to review it in The Ultimate Drive app or share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page. Or, if you have your own favorite weekend drive submit it through the app and your drive just might be featured next month!

Reasons to Take European Delivery of Your New BMW – Part 3: The German Road Trip!

In our last blog post, we continued our European Delivery adventure with a tour of the BMW Museum and the BMW Factory, culminating with delivery of a new BMW! This final part of the story is a recap of the driving adventure before dropping off the BMW, which will be reunited with its owner at a dealer back in the USA.

Having been tossed the keys to a new BMW in the motherland, we were eager to go put our foot down and motor! We didn’t know much about driving in Germany, other than the country’s excellent road manners and drivers’ tendency to go VERY fast. Thankfully BMW takes away a lot of the stress, providing insurance for the trip and a wonderful in-car navigation system (if ordered on your car). So with the GPS programmed, we hit the Autobahn from Munich.

We had a few options for routes, starting with the Ultimate Drive App as a trusted resource.  Using the App, we found over 60 amazing trips short and long that were recommended by local drivers, including this scenic route starting right in Munich:

There was even this amazing roller-coaster of a drive if we had wanted to drive further towards the Alps:

BMW also provides some standard tours they’ve collected over the years. Since we don’t know Germany like the back of our hand and we wanted to make the most of the little time we had, we found BMW’s “Driving Adventures” program (http://bit.ly/bQQ9GP) to be a fantastic resource. With a selection of drives to suit any taste, you can sign up for a pre-planned tour. We decided to take the “Black Forest” tour through Schaffhausen and Baden Baden with a little twist…

After stopping by the breathtaking waterfalls in Schaffhausen, we decided to skip the rest day in Baden Baden to do what any serious would driver would do when presented with a new BMW in Germany: go burn laps at the Nurburgring! It was an entire day’s trip when including the drive to and from the track, but the laps around the 14 mile, visitor-friendly circuit made it the best day of our trip. The opportunity of a lifetime!

From there we rejoined our pre-planned route and wound up in the city of Wiesbaden, where we dropped the newest member of the family off for shipment back to the US. In the morning we hopped a plane back to the USA, and slept away the rigors of the trip while dreaming of the next one.

For anyone planning a European Delivery trip, the following materials are excellent resources:

BMW Welt Overview: http://cache.bmwusa.com/pdf_bc0ddae6-5beb-4673-bdc2-ad79e3286198.arox?v=810c076d-5ace-4f92-abdf-407353dd2cd0

European Delivery Program Guide: http://cache.bmwusa.com/pdf_b6496b61-a503-4572-aab6-b33693f336c7.arox?v=35d5ccae-ea56-485a-87b7-f3b8c185526c

European Delivery Quick Guide: http://cache.bmwusa.com/pdf_3ad64cb0-6b8f-4c68-ba2e-d05826acf175.arox?v=ba96778e-cb4f-4e2d-b0c9-56c67f187077

Reasons to Take European Delivery of Your New BMW – Part 2: BMW Museum and Factory

Part 2: The BMW Museum and Factory

In our last blog post (which can be found HERE) we kicked off our incredible European Delivery trip to BMW in Munich with a tour of BMW Welt. This time we are getting down to business by touring the BMW Factory, Museum, and picking up a new car!

Having spent our morning wandering the main reception hall of BMW Welt, we check in for our tour and are whisked across the street by a fabulous tour guide. Our first destination is the BMW Museum, which for us car nuts is a real highlight of the trip. The museum could be considered a whole day’s activity by itself, and many people spend that much time viewing its many exhibits. BMW has assembled an amazing array of street cars, racing cars, motorcycles, aviation items and interactive displays, all of which tell the story of the company over time.  The images below give a good overview of the multi-level museum and its treasures.

After an amazing few hours wandering the museum and gathering a real appreciation for what the company has accomplished through the years, we meet our guide for a trip through the BMW factory. The car nut within had us divided between love for the museum’s history and the factory’s technology. Unfortunately, images are not allowed in the plant, but we managed to come up with a few stock photos to show off what it is like:

Finally, the moment arrives for those who are there to pick up their new car. At the delivery center, you are given an educational walk-through of every feature on your BMW. It is an impressive presentation, and, despite the anxiety of almost getting your car, it is time well spent to learn features you may not have discovered otherwise. Then the moment arrives! You are united with your car, and given the keys. Time to get behind the wheel and drive!

Stay tuned for Part 3 of this blog- the German road trip!

7 Last Minute Destinations to Pamper Yourself Before Summer’s End

Summer is drawing to a close and we soon must say goodbye to the long sunny days and weekends on the beach, but there’s still time for one more last minute trip between now and Labor Day! In case you don’t have a destination in mind, we’ve hand-picked a few beautiful spots across the continental U.S. so that no matter where you are there are spas, wine tastings, golfing and sunsets to squeeze in before summer ends. So what are you waiting for? Go grab your bags, gas up your shiny BMW and don’t forget your Ultimate Drive app to steer you down the best routes to these luxury destinations…

1. Cape Cod, MA

Cape Cod is known for its laid back lifestyle, but this little town in the North East offers more than just centuries-old lighthouses and beautiful beaches! A trip to the Cape wouldn’t be complete without spending time sport fishing, admiring yachts in the harbor, wine tasting at a local vineyard or taking a biplane tour. While you’re there, be sure to cruise the 40-mile stretch of Route 6 between Eastham and Provincetown on the outer Cape for a chance to see all the National Seashore has to offer — nature trails, bicycle trails, picnic areas, scenic overlooks and historic sites!


(credit: nopsa.hiit.fi)

2. Palm Springs, CA

Situated in the California desert just two hours east of Los Angeles, Palm Springs is a short drive for South Western vacationers looking to sunbathe at swanky hotel pools and play rounds on some of the country’s most exquisite golf courses. If you’re in the area, pack up your clubs and get ready to enjoy not only your weekend, but also the ride up mountains and across barren desert to reach this beautiful destination!


(credit: Flickr user: arlo j)

3. Kennebunkport, ME

Just 30 miles from the Maine-New Hampshire border, the seaside haven of Kennebunkport has long attracted vacationers, celebrities and those looking for a little New England adventure – it is even home to two US presidents! Kennebunk takes full advantage of its waterfront property, offering a variety of activities like whale watching, charter boat excursions and tours of the homes of sea captains and shipbuilders (some of which are even thought to be haunted…). Be sure to pack a sweater because the sea breeze can get chilly!


(credit: Flickr user: pvsbond)

4. Boca Raton, FL

Only a 20 minute drive from Fort Lauderdale and slightly east of the Everglades, Boca Raton is a paradise in paradise for those in the South East! Boca Raton offers lavish country clubs, sophisticated restaurants and is the perfect weekend vacation spot for anyone looking to experience the elegance and fun nightlife of the downtown district.


(credit: Flickr user: spadayguy)

5. Greenwich, CT

Greenwich is a vibrant cosmopolitan community considered among the most affluent and elegant towns in the North East. Boasting five harbors, Greenwich is a haven for yacht enthusiasts, sunbathers and those who love to explore historic lighthouses. If you’re after a more relaxed getaway, this small town also is littered with five-star hotels, spas and country clubs. Situated on scenic Long Island Sound, just 30 miles from midtown Manhattan, this is the perfect destination for a weekend road trip!


(credit: Flickr user: Ewan-M)

6. Russian River, CA

Just over two hours north of San Francisco, Russian River is in the heart of Northern California wine country and is home to many small and several large commercial wineries — a true wine-enthusiast’s dream destination! Not only does Russian River produce award-winning Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines ready for tasting, it is also home to lush wildlife preserves, boutique lodgings and relaxing day spas.


(credit: Fotopedia.com)

7. Jackson Hole, WY

The rustic adventure and sophisticated style of Jackson Hole meld together to create the perfect atmosphere for a little R&R on your last vacation of the summer. This valley, situated just east of the Wyoming-Idaho border is framed by the Grand Tetons, offering ranges perfect for horseback-riding, beautiful vistas and luxurious five-star accommodations to keep you comfortable at night… or during the day if you wish.


(credit: Flickr user: rickpilot_2000)

Do you have a favorite luxury destination near your hometown? Share it with us here in the comments or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter! And remember, if you’d like to find scenic and exciting routes to and around these destinations, just search in the Ultimate Drive App