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This Rock Father™ Rides Special Feature is presented in collaboration with Chevrolet, the Official Vehicle of Major League Baseball...

Every team wants to play October baseball. Thing is, if you want to hit the field during the month of pumpkins and hayrides, September baseball is where it's at - a month that can absolutely make or break a season. As the final stretch of the five-month regular season, it's entirely possible for strong teams to collapse while traditionally bad teams can score a spot in the playoffs... weird stuff happens, and rivalries often come into play. Living in Northern Illinois, we're surrounded by rival factions. Of course, the Chicago Cubs reign supreme, but we're almost the exact distance from Wrigley Field as we are from Milwaukee's Miller Park, and now we have a year where the Cubs and Brewers are fighting for the top spot in the National League Central Division (spoiler alert: Cubs will come out on top). That means we regularly hear about a Milwaukee/Chicago rivalry, but we seldom actually see it. Why? Go to a Brewers game and experience it... Cubs fans outnumber the hometown crowd about 5-1 (some say 2-1, but it's more). In fact, Miller Park has the unwelcome nickname of "Wrigley Field North" when the Cubs are in town, but the ball club takes full advantage of that fact, jacking rates on parking and the like to take advantage of their neighbors to the south (can't say I blame them). With September baseball getting good, my wife and I recently had a "grownups night out" with a couple of friends, hitting the road to experience Wrigley North for ourselves.

Published in Rock Father Rides

This story is brought to you in collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors USA...

This summer, some Nashville flavor came to Illinois in a pretty unique way. No, I'm not talking about that "Nashville Hot" chicken (though that's picking up steam in the north as well), but my sister's country wedding. Though she grew up in Illinois as I did, Nashville has always been in her sights, and that's where she ended up. But for her wedding, she was back up north for a barn wedding in Hebron, Illinois. What was unusually cool is where some of the decor came from... not just from City of Nashville, but from the television series. After a six season run across ABC and CMT, Nashville came to an end this summer, which meant that the time had come for the production to wrap things up with a three-day "Set Decoration Public Sale." Actor Charles Esten even shared a video preview of the event some months back, and as luck would have it, decorations that may have dressed the set when Rayna Jaymes (Connie Brtitton) and Deacon Claybourne (Esten) tied the not wound up as part of the atmosphere for a real-life wedding.

Published in Rock Father Rides

There's something very American about the internal combustion engine. We equate it with many things, from going places and getting the job done to horsepower, octane and speed. During the summer months, there's adventure that goes with it as families embark on the Great American Roadtrip to see the country by car. As habits, tastes and technology have changed, gas-power has started to make way for electric, and while there's something to be said about the rumble under the hood, the case for electric is an increasingly appealing one, and the old limits of cost, range and lack of style are getting tossed aside. Adventure? Yes, you can have adventure in an electric car, and the Chevrolet Bolt EV is a prime example of just how far things have come.

Published in Rock Father Rides

Since 2014, The Rock Father™ Santa Holiday Toy Delivery Program has been something that I've looked forward to every year. It's an opportunity to give back to my community through a hyper-local, extremely focused effort to provide holiday gifts for the children of families that could use a hand. For our fourth annual run, I changed things up a little bit - reacting to a sub-par effort in 2016 (donations were way down) by starting preparations earlier. The ultimate goal is simple: to provide toys to as many local children and families as possible, as served by our local township. While there's plenty of bigger organizations that do great work, I wanted our families' efforts to have an impact on our immediate community - friends and neighbors that we may not really know, but people we may be crossing paths with every day. For Avon Township, which serves the villages of Round Lake, Round Lake Beach, Round Lake Park, Round Lake Heights Grayslake, Hainesville & Third Lake, Illinois, a recent estimate was that 4,000 people were being served by Avon Cares Food Pantry each month. I have no idea how many children are in that number, but if I could help all of them, I would. This year, we provided gifts for 72 of them.

Published in James' Journal

Test driving a vehicle can be a lot of fun, but I've long-held the belief that nothing beats the opportunity to really use a new ride to get the full experience. That said, I was able to put the 2017 Toyota RAV4 Platinum AWD to good use during the midst of a long-awaited project here at Rock Father HQ - the tear-down and rebuild of our sizeable 27-year-old deck (more on  that project in a feature down the line). Now, we're not talking heavy hauling here, but for supply runs and tool rentals, the RAV4 was up to the task, in addition to being a really comfortable family ride. Let's take a look...

Published in Rock Father Rides
Friday, September 08 2017 15:42

Test Drive: Rockin the Road - 2017 Mazda6 GT

When I really started working with cars on a frequent basis a few years back, Mazda was a nameplate that didn't immediately strike me as interesting. For some reason, the cars of their past were largely stuck in my head - images of the 1980s that I just couldn't shake. But once I had a real chance to experience what Mazda is now, I really became a fan. In fact, I love their CX series - with last year's CX-9 ranking among my favorite vehicles of the year. Now comes a look at the 2017 Mazda6 GT.

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