Heading to Southern Illinois to join in the Path of Totality for this year's solar eclipse was made all the more enjoyable with a loaner car, the Chevy Trax, from Chevrolet. We loaded up a family of five adults for the voyage, and could not have been happier with the performance of the carand the stellar performance of Mother Nature.
While most folks headed to Carbondale, Illinois for the festivities, we decided to stake out a place in Marion, a few miles away and right off of Interstate 57. We viewed the eclipse at Rent One Park, where the Southern Illinois Miners baseball team plays. Luck was with us, because the clouds parted for our entire total eclipse, while Carbondale had mostly clouds between them and the sun/moon merger.
I have never driven a Chevy, and my initial experience left me loving the brand. The SUV has internal 4G LTS and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, which my nephew greatly enjoyed, plus Sirius radio ( quite a male-dominated channel list they have … ), great navigation, and OnStar if we had needed it. There is also a power plug, and easy connection to our phone for music.
We took the car on some adventures during our brief stay, including to the Shawnee National Forest and the Crab Orchard Nature Reserve. Both are spectacular. The Trax handled the winding, hilly and gravel roads very well, and we felt safe going over some rickety bridges and narrow water-ways. We also got great gas mileage.
Being under 5-foot tall, I always worry about driving an SUV, but this Trax really handled well, and I never felt overwhelmed. It's a sporty size, and maneuvers in any environment. This is my first time driving a car with a rear-view camera, and it works terrific. I am not used to keyless entry and start, but that was easy to pick up.
We also had a bit of fun with the car when we stumbled on a 1940s Chevy pickup in an old barn next to the Warehouse Antique Mall in downtown Marion. We posed the cars together for a shot of the Trax meeting its ancestor. We think the cars were smiling through their grilles.
We stayed at the Drury Inn Marion, and having booked our trip a year ahead of time, we had a great rate. And the fee included warm breakfast and dinner, and three free drinks. Plus free parking, easy access to the Interstate and lots of nearby shopping and restaurants.
The eclipse itself was beyond incredible, and I now understand eclipse chasers from around the world. We met people from multiple countries looking for the ultimate experience of totality, and we just might join them again in seven years when Southern Illinois becomes the center of the universe once again.