Warm sunshine, chirping birds, and longer days are all hallmarks of spring in the Pacific Northwest. One of my favorite parts of spring is taking a trip to the University of Washington to see the cherry blossoms.
There are a few spots with cherry trees around campus, but the quad cherry trees have the best display. The trees were moved from a location near the Montlake Bridge and planted in 1962 when they were already more than 20 years old. Now over 80 years old, the trees still put on a stunning display to welcome spring.
For this trip, we drove the Mazda CX-3 and, just like the cherry blossoms, the car’s Soul Red paint job was a nice pop of color against Seattle’s grey skies. It rained off and on during our drive, which is one of the reasons why I liked the all-wheel-drive system on the CX-3. It is always on and adjusts the power so you have ideal traction before your wheels can slip. That comes in handy whether you are driving across the 520 bridge, heading up one of Seattle’s steep streets, or just cruising along side streets.
When we arrived at the UW campus, the place was packed. Shuttle busses brought in loads of visitors with cameras and hordes of cars circled the campus’ streets. It was difficult to find a parking spot, but we eventually found something in a parking structure and then we made the found our way to the quad.
The timing of the bloom varies each year and depends mostly on the amount of daylight and consistency of temperatures. Warmer temperatures, like we have had this year, are apparently good for blooming. Alternatively, if it gets colder for a longer stretch, the blooming will stall. I just kept checking Twitter for photos of the blossoms to start appearing. That was my unscientific way to determine when it was time to make the trip.
After checking out the cherry blossoms, we drove the CX-3 over to Hello Robin, our favorite little bakery and ice cream place in Capitol Hill. The Mackles’more (a s’more cookie with chocolate chunks) is worth the trip alone.
I liked the compact size of the Mazda CX-3 because it made it easy to squeeze into parking spots at UW and on the street in Capitol Hill. The CX-3 is reported to get 35 HWY MPG, which is also appreciated when you’re making the trek from Sammamish to Capitol Hill for cookies.
After all that excitement, my son took a little nap on the way back home. As a dad, I felt safe letting him snooze away because of all the safety features in the CX-3.
- The radar cruise control with proximity warning lets you set your cruise control speed and then automatically maintains a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead, even when they adjust their speed.
- The Smart City Brake Support can minimize or possibly prevent frontal collisions when driving between about 2 and 18 mph by automatically applying the brakes if it determines that a collision with an obstruction ahead is unavoidable. Considering the amount of stop and go traffic we encountered, this was a comforting feature to have.
- If you are traveling faster than 10 MPH, the Smart Brake Support can help minimize or possibly prevent frontal collisions. The system automatically applies the brakes if it determines that a collision with an obstruction ahead is unavoidable.
- It can be difficult to merge onto the new 520 bridge, especially with all of the construction still taking place. The CX-3 has Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring which alerts you if a vehicle or object is in one of your blind spots and it is unsafe to change lanes.
My favorite feature on the Mazda CX-3 was the Active Driving Display, which was like a little heads up display that popped up above the steering wheel. It allowed me to easily see the driving directions and my vehicle’s speed without having to take my eyes off the road.
It was fun to welcome spring in the classic Seattle way by seeing the cherry blossoms at University of Washington. The blossoms are only around for a few weeks each year. Catch them while you can.