2012 Toyota Camry SE: Road Trip to Dodger Stadium
June 13, 2012
Earlier this week, on Tuesday, my commitment to the Los Angeles Dodgers was seriously tested, and I happened to be driving our long-term 2012 Toyota Camry SE.
The test had nothing to do with the final score, as some key calls by the umpires and clutch hits by Ethier and Rivera resulted in a 5-2 Dodger victory. Instead, it had everything to do with the horrific traffic going to the stadium... starting on the 110 freeway, continuing on the surface streets. After we entered the parking lot and paid our $10, there was another 15-20 minutes of traffic -- in the parking lot -- before we could park the car and hike back to the other side of the stadium to get to our seats. Door to door, my travel time was 3 hours, 20 minutes. Total distance? 20 miles. Never again will I go to a weeknight game when there's a (Mike Scioscia) bobblehead giveaway.
On the upside, I couldn't have picked a much better car for the occasion. As my blood pressure soared, the Camry remained calm, relaxed and at ease with the world. The driver seat never got uncomfortable. When All Things Considered ended, we switched to the Dodger pregame show, and then, sadly, to the radio broadcast of the game itself.
And I decided that I really like the navigation system in our Camry. At times, it's a little slow to respond to human touch, as Brent wrote, but for the money ($1,050 and part of the Display Audio package), it offers a lot of functionality that I like.
Before I went to the stadium, I needed to pick up my friend who'd left his car in Chinatown (didn't want to pay double for parking), and the aforementioned traffic necessitated a lot of rerouting. Some of the streets were unfamiliar to me, so I really appreciated the nav system's little graphic with arrows to show you which lanes are OK to be in for the current route (and grays out/shrinks the ones that aren't).
You'll notice in the above photo that I only had 0.7 mile to go to the pick-up point. Unfortunately, it took about 30-45 minutes to cover that distance. During that time, I noticed that nav software animates the checkered flag that marks your destination as if it's being waved by an omniscent track worker. It's a small touch that both cheered and depressed me, and during one particularly long red light cycle, I directed a short video shoot.
Here's the traffic going up the hill to Chavez Ravine. I'll never give up on the Dodgers, but man, it is not easy to be a fan of this team if you actually want to go to some games.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 9,598 miles