The #Roguetograndmas was a huge success

The Turpen family had a big combination family reunion and Thanksgiving celebration last year and my little family had to miss it. We were pretty bummed out about that, but felt even worse when my mother turned 80 years old the day after Christmas. She has only seen my children once and the oldest is now four, so it seemed that getting out to her was a priority.

After checking our schedules, working out some details, and then getting in touch with Steve Parrett at Nissan, the Rogue to Grandma’s House was born. I have a good relationship with Steve, who is the regional press rep here, and Nissan is marketing the all-new 2014 Rogue heavily this year and to do this trip, we needed a fuel-efficient family hauler. So it was all a natural fit. After setting up an itinerary, getting the details in place, and gearing up, we waited for the Rogue to arrive and the adventure to begin.


Our mapped plan had us going from our home in the big city of Pine Bluffs, Wyoming to Laramie, Wyoming, then down into Colorado through the Medicine Bow National Forest, Arapahoe National Wildlife Refuge, Routt National Forest, and U.S. Highway 40 into Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Highway 40 runs across Norhwestern Colorado past the Dinosaur National Monument and into Utah, where it passes through a lot of beautiful country (where I used to spend a lot of time fishing when we lived there). Once reaching Heber City, Utah, our Rogue turned southwest to skirt Mount Timpanogos and enter Provo, Utah where my mother lives. Our return trip would take us back through Heber and then onto Interstate 80 into and across Wyoming.

The 2014 Nissan Rogue arrived at our house on Monday, April 21, and we began packing and preparing for the trip. Last minute things were finisshed and on Tuesday morning, we all piled into the car early (with two toddlers, anything before 9am is early, and we got on the road just after 8). I began live blogging the drive on Facebook under the #Roguetograndmas hashtag. Later that day, Nicolas Zart here at would write up a story to announce the tour. (I later edited that story upon our arrival in Provo to bring it up to date and add photos.)

The trip traveled through some of the most scenic portions of this part of the world and through some of the nicest small towns imaginable. It was a total of about 550 miles in all, mostly through mountains and valleys and hill country.

With two toddlers in tow, of course, we were prepared for anything and knowing how my mother is, we packed the minimum to maximize the amount of available space on the return trip. Both turned out to be wise decisions.

On the road, the Rogue proved to be comfortable, right-sized, and very well-adjusted to a road trip. Even one with two little girls.

We arrived safely in Provo Tuesday night. We spent several days there; visiting relatives, spending time with my mom, and entertaining the girls with trips to a dinosaur museum, some parks, etc. During that time, we did a lot of city driving in and around the Provo-Orem area at a time when it’s busiest: graduation at Brigham Young University. The Rogue’s excellent maneuverability and the suite of optional (and highly recommended, if you live in the city) parking assist and safety systems were a huge help here. The Around View monitor, blind spot warning, and so forth were invaluable. Read a full review of the 2014 Rogue here.

Here is Provo, Utah in the general viscinity of my mother’s house:

Sadly, of course, all good times come to an end and we eventually had to leave and head for home. The return trip was along Interstate 80. So we left Provo and headed up the canyon into Heber City, skirting Park City, and catching I-80 eastbound into Wyoming.

Along this route, we made few stops, but did manage to take lunch at Little America, where we gobbled up fifty-cent ice cream cones. We made a few more stops at interesting-looking locations. Being very familiar with this route thanks to my truck driving days, I was able to point out a lot of things like the bear crossing the mountain outside of Rock Springs, Wyoming and the great scenery to be had as you go around Elk Mountain near Rawlins (keep your eyes open for antelope, they’re all over the place there).

We arrived home safely after about 480 miles of return driving and set to work unpacking the car. Which was another adventure itself.

It was a great week. Many thanks to Nissan and Steve Parrett for the Rogue loaner, to Automotive Media Solutions for on-time delivery of the car, to John and Mary Melms for watching our animals while we were gone, and to my wife and kids for being indulgent as I snapped photo after photo and made Facebook updates along the way.

And thank you for following along and helping make all of this possible, dear reader!

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at