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 !

 

Round-Up: Top Weekend Drives, October Edition

[Editor’s note: Seeing the devastation of Sandy in the U.S. Northeast this week, we realize that taking a scenic drive may be the last thing on your minds.  Once the tunnels empty, the roads drain, the trees are cleared, the businesses re-open, and life begins to return to normal, we hope you are able to get out and drive, both to refresh your senses and to bring tourist dollars into areas that could use a hand to recover.]

Each week, the BMW Ultimate Drive App Facebook page features our favorite user-submitted stretches, which we like to call “Weekend Drive Picks” — and this month’s routes highlight some of the twistiest, most scenic roads from across the U.S! Check out the October Weekend Drive round-up to get ideas for your next weekend getaway. There’s something for everyone here!

Nevada – Mt. Charleston

This Weekend Drive Pick takes us North West of the Vegas Strip to Mt. Charleston. You’ll want to squeeze this drive in before the snow hits, so pack up the car now and bring a jacket — it can get cold at the top! If you’re not in a hurry, be sure to stop into the Mt. Charleston Lodge, a favorite local eatery, for a tasty treat.

Mt. Charleston, Las Vegas - October

Submitted to The Ultimate Drive App by Richie. To view this route in the new Ultimate Drive Facebook app click here: http://bit.ly/UucLSB or get directions with Google Maps: http://bit.ly/O3iImu.

North Carolina – Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville

Nicknamed “America’s Favorite Drive,” this 89-mile-stretch along the Blue Ridge Parkway (which in its entirety spans almost 500 miles!) provides breathtaking scenery and miles of solitude.  It’s a must-see and a Weekend Drive Pick you’ll never forget!

Submitted to The Ultimate Drive App by Ghost. View this route in the new Ultimate Drive Facebook app: http://bit.ly/VfYpAM or get directions with Google Maps: http://bit.ly/Vd3PkG.

Pennsylvania – Franklin Road

This Weekend Drive Pick features a short country road on the outskirts of Pittsburgh where real driving enthusiasts go to experience fun, twisty “S” curves and view beautiful farmland! With typically very little traffic on this stretch you’ll be able to roll down the windows, put the pedal to the metal (while still obeying the speed limit, of course!) and let the crisp fall air awaken your senses.

Franklin Rd, Pittsburgh - October

Submitted to The Ultimate Drive App by Jmikesdude. View this route in the new Ultimate Drive Facebook app: http://bit.ly/RQQFEA or get directions with Google Maps: http://bit.ly/QVL67x.

Bay Area – Highway 9

From Boulder Creek to Saratoga, this Weekend Drive Pick cruises along Highway 9 in the Bay Area. There are viewing spots of Castle Rock State Park plus lots of twists and turns to keep you on your toes, just be careful around those “S” curves!

Highway 9, Bay Area - October

Submitted to The Ultimate Drive App bbimmer shark. To view this route in the new Ultimate Drive Facebook app: http://bit.ly/VkzFrj or get directions with Google Maps: http://bit.ly/QMco3e.

Do you have a favorite weekend drive you want to see featured? If you’re in the US or Canada submit it through the all new Ultimate Drive Facebook app. Otherwise, share it with us on FacebookTwitter or through The Ultimate Drive app for iPhone and Android you already know and love. We can’t wait to see your best roads!

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

4 Amazing American Racetracks You Can Drive Yourself

Have you ever hopped in your car and pretended you were driving in a big race at a famous circuit? Well, that dream can now come true… with the exception of actually racing the courses! Below is a list of roads which have hosted serious championship races in the past, as well as the present, that are now open to the public! So what are you waiting for? Fire up your engine and go for a drive! Which one will you choose first?

1. Road America Elkhart Lake, WI

While most people think of the purpose-built racing circuit when they hear the name Road America, the truth is, racing in the small town of Elkhart Lake, WI, began on public roads in the 1950’s, just down the street from the modern day race track. To preserve this history, the town has put forth a tremendous effort to maintain the original circuit’s roads and has even posted signs indicating the original racing course! Start planning now so you can squeeze in a race at the modern track and a scenic drive through the Wisconsin countryside!

Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI

2. Watkins Glen International – Watkins Glen, NY

Much like Road America, New York’s Watkins Glen began by hosting races on public roads (with a course that crossed railroad tracks twice per lap!) before building a permanent race track. At 6.6 miles, it is longer than most and a breathtaking site, but there’s another perk of visiting this New York track — many of the roads leading to Watkins Glen are worthy of praise themselves!

Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY

3. Pebble Beach Road Race Circuit Pebble Beach, CA

The third cornerstone of the SCCA championship in the 1950’s was the Pebble Beach Road Race Circuit. This tight and twisty circuit was raced from 1950 until 1956, replaced soon after by the Laguna Seca circuit off nearby Highway 68. The track is essentially a 17 mile drive, through the forest, next to the renowned Pebble Beach Golf Course.

Pebble Beach Road Race Circuit, Pebble Beach, CA

4. Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Colorado Springs, CO

Pikes Peak in Colorado, also known as The Race to the Clouds, is unique on this list for two reasons: not only is the road still raced every July, but it is a one-way uphill course as opposed to the usual closed loop circuit. This 19 mile highway takes drivers to an altitude of over 14,000 feet, a spectacular drive offering amazing views and some twisty turns the whole way up and down the mountain. Situated just outside Colorado Springs, a bonus to this course is virtually every road or highway to the area is a great drive in itself.

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Colorado Springs, CO

Have you ever driven down one of these historic racetracks or are you planning a trip with a few other race car enthusiasts? Fill us in on our Ultimate Drive App Facebook fan page – we want to know what kind of fun you’re getting into this summer!

10 Songs for Your Memorial Day Roadtrip!

Memorial Day is notorious for its weekend getaways. As the kickoff to summer, people everywhere hop in their cars and cruise to the coast (or nearest body of water!), family get-togethers and parties with friends to celebrate and have a good time.

With fun in the air and the sun shining, there are a few luxury roadtrip essentials that all seasoned travelers should have ready. Freshly washed BMW, check. Sunglasses, check. The Ultimate Drive app, check. Music player, check. But wait, what good is a music player without great jams?

Here are 10 tunes that are sure to make you feel both relaxed and glamorous as you cruise around this Memorial Day!

1 ) I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash
2 ) Luxurious — Gwen Stefani
3 ) 1,000 Miles Away — Jewell
4 ) Fields of Gold — Sting
5 ) Goldeneye — Tina Turner
6 ) The Long and Winding Road — The Beatles
7 ) America — Neil Diamond
8 ) Material Girl — Madonna
9 ) Silver and Gold — U2
10) Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes — Paul Simon

You’re singing along already, right? The holiday weekend is right around the corner so upload these tunes to your music player, warm up your vocal cords and let the good times roll! Have a happy and safe Memorial Day.

Did we miss your favorite road trip single? Share it with us on our Facebook page!