[Editor’s note: I’m happy to introduce my friend Chris Watkins
who will be contributing to the blog! He had a great time traveling to North Georgia and testing the new Toyota vehicles in this post. He loves eating, drinking and style as much as I do. Welcome to Sartorial Exposure, Chris! Follow his adventures on Instagram and Twitter at @christopherbw
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity of joining Toyota for their East Coast Driving Camp, a two-day excursion focused on introducing the features and capabilities of the all-new 2014 Toyota Tundra and 4Runner models. During the experience free reign was given to put the two highly-capable vehicles through the paces at the lush and relaxing Barnsley Gardens Resort in north Georgia. The backdrop of the peaceful streams, trails and forests of the resort and outlying areas were perfect for taking in the splendor of nature and also putting both vehicles in the most rugged situations imaginable.
By no means am I an auto expert. To be clear, I couldn’t tell you the difference between a gasket and a cam head if my life depended on it (so I hope that one day it doesn’t or else I’m screwed). And I say that because I was humbled at the opportunity to be invited along with many of the premier automotive sites and reviewers on the east coast. From what I was told, this was by design in that being a lifestyle blogger it gives me a different perspective in experiencing the brand. Whereby some sites will give you all the bells, whistles and technical specs from an auto enthusiast perspective, from a average/consumer standpoint, I can provide everyday situational aspects that these vehicles will shine in and what’ll make them beneficial to your day-to-day activities.
I enjoy the opportunity to suit up whenever I can. It tends to be wasted a lot just walking around my home, but those that know me, know I’m always fashion forward when out and about at event. So for the urban professional whose daily uniform includes a perfectly tailored suit, two-hour executive lunches and invites to VIP events throughout the city, the 2014 Toyota 4Runner Limited Edition is the jam. It perfectly blends the rugged capability of towing your boat for weekend outings to the lake with a luxury interior and exterior that’s guaranteed to turn heads. With its leather-trimmed seating and spacious three-row interior, picking up your friends for an awesome evening out on the town is comfortable and clutch.
While at Barnsley, we were treated to various activities that truly spoke to the bearded outdoorsman in all of us. I have one, but it’s far less scraggly than the lumberjacks you’re used to. From opportunities to go fly fishing, ride horseback and even blend whiskey after hours, the resort is definitely somewhere I see myself revisiting just to relax and get away for a weekend. The cabin accommodations were quiet and rustic making the perfect environment for self-reflection. We were even treated to a lush outdoor dinner catered by Empire State South
Other activities included the chance to discover your inner sniper by skeet shooting. I had never done it before, and while a childhood of Duck Hunt progressing into first-person shooter games like Halo gave me the mental acuity to take on the feat, I wasn’t prepared for the physical kickback of the shotgun. My shoulder still hurts a little bit. It took about 2 cases of shells before I started to hit my mark, making me thoroughly prepared for the zombie apocalypse when/if it happens.
But by far the most exhilarating activity I took part in was the off-roading experience in the 2014 Toyota Tundra. The opportunity to cut-loose in the north Georgia mountains was everything I thought it would be from years growing up watching the Dukes of Hazard. And while I wasn’t on the run from Rosco P. Coltrane or Boss Hogg, hitting aerials and kicking up dirt is exactly what this truck was made for. Stepping into the driver’s seat is like being behind the wheel of a tank. The interior is massive, definitely the most spacious vehicle I’ve even been in.
Both the 2014 Tundra and 4Runner offer several models and price points that can fit a variety of lifestyles, whether you’re suited, booted or both. Which is very cool if you ask me.