SoCal Girl Experiencing Midwest Weather in the Mazda CX-9

We received a 2015 Mazda CX-9 to drive around during our journey to the midwest. All opinions and photos are mine below. Thank you!

Touring the Midwest in the Mazda CX-9

Last month Jon and I ventured out to Indiana to start our journey for my best friend’s wedding in Effingham, IL.  We flew in separately and Jon navigated his way through the corn & soy bean crops to arrive in the 2015 Mazda CX-9.

2015 Mazda CX-9 with third row seatingBefore heading out, he pre-plotted his journey with some very important stops.  It included visiting the elusive White Castle.  He had he car to himself for the first day and grabbed some of those infamous square sliders and some other treats, and headed south to where I was.


The Midwest is a crazy place for those (like us) that are from the West Coast. We have NO WEATHER.  It’s true.  Most of our seasons are pretty similar – sun, heat, sun, and the occasional rain.  It’s brought us to the lovely drought we find ourselves in, but you can bet that 10 out of 12 months will always have sunshine.  The Midwest? Not so much.  The first day there we encountered some humidity but the second day brought rain.  The third day brought MORE rain which was also the day of the wedding.  But let’s back up.

Eastern Illinois University - Charleston, IL

Eastern Illinois University - Charleston, IL

So the first day we were there, we went and toured Eastern Illinois University.  It’s where Tony Romo attended before he headed off to the NFL.  It was also the host of a men’s track meet and we watched a 4×1 as well as the warm-ups of several teams at the indoor warm-up track.  Everything in the midwest is indoors.  Not only due to the cold & snowy winters – but also for the summer rain showers that we would soon experience.

See the blue skies? They were A TEASE!!!!

Eastern Illinois University - Charleston, IL - O'Brien Field

From the time it took to walk from the front of the school, to the area where the O’Brien Field was – the gray clouds started rolling in.  But that the temperature didn’t lower as we normally see here in SoCal.  With rain comes cooler temps.  In the Midwest – rain just brings rain.

After our journey we went back to my best friend’s house, loaded up the CX-9 with our luggage, and decided to tour a local spot before we ended up at the wedding venue 45 minutes away.

Lincoln Log Cabin - Lerna IL

We visited the Lincoln Log Cabin that was home to Abe Lincoln’s Dad & Stepmom in Lerna, IL.  At the front of the property was an information museum that went through the history of the property and a bit about Abe’s parents’ lives.  They had some school materials from children of that time and I found that fascinating. I love looking at older things like that.

Lincoln Log Cabin - Lerna IL

Once we finished that, we walked out to the working farm that currently houses lots of sheep and chickens.  Jon sort of angered one of the sheep by checking out their sleep area – and we realized they really do rule the farm.  Lincoln Log Cabin - Lerna IL Lincoln Log Cabin - Lerna IL

After passing through those, we went into the log cabin that at some times housed 17 people.  Now, I’ll tell ya, we have a 4 bedroom house with 2 living rooms and a kitchen and sometimes it feels small with 3 adults and 2 kids.  It’s really the “stuff” we pack in here.  This cabin was simple by design and had a loft that would help house the extra visitors.  During the week & on weekends the historical site has working demonstrations that involve cooking, taking care of the animals, drying crops and making candles.

Lincoln Log Cabin - Lerna IL Lincoln Log Cabin - Lerna IL Lincoln Log Cabin - Lerna IL Lincoln Log Cabin - Lerna IL Lincoln Log Cabin - Lerna IL Lincoln Log Cabin - Lerna IL

As we finished our walk around, I noticed a drop on my forehead.  Then another. I asked Jon if he felt them – and he said no.  We kept walking and I realized the ground was becoming wet.  I mentioned we should make our way back to the car and we did while taking our time.  I went inside to use the restroom and came out to heavy rain.  It was surreal.

We got into the car and plugged in our hotel address for the navigation system.  We started heading out and I had the windshield wipers on full blast.  We were guided to a right turn – and I couldn’t find one.  Then, I saw this tiny gravel road. After a momentary freakout, Jon told me to keep going.  After about 300 ft, he decided we should, in fact, turnaround.  Turning around was NOT easy since we were surrounded by corn crops.  I love the Mazda’s back-up camera and it helped guide through our one-hundred point turn (slight exaggeration) to make it back to the main paved road.

Here’s a video of our journey to the Lincoln Log Cabin and our experience with the crazy rain.

I can’t believe how quickly it picked up!  We made it to Effingham safe and sound and during the drive, I found out about their magical windshield wipers.  My car is a 2011 so this is newer technology that is AWESOME.  Eventually the rain let up and I forgot I had it on the first auto setting (ya know, where you can turn the dial to have it go faster or slower).  Jon was resting and after some time it started sprinkling. AND THEN the wipers magically started up again!  And when the rain came harder, they went FASTER! I was so impressed, I showed it off to a friend as we went to the airport after the wedding.  Magical Windshield Wipers!

One place that we took the CX-9 a few times was Steak & Shake.  The fries were SO good and I was SO happy they served Coke.  Yup – Coke girl here, not Pepsi.  I highly recommend visiting one if you’re in the Midwest!


The CX-9 had great features and was PLENTY big enough for the 4 adults and all our luggage for the ride back to the airport.  I loved the light interior contrasting the dark exterior.  The 2nd row was adjustable to allow for more legroom for the taller passengers, and the 3rd row actually came in handy for Jon taking a group of guys to play Frisbee Golf.  We had a blast cruising around in it! Thanks Mazda for hosting our adventure!

2015 Mazda CX-9 with third row seating


  1. says

    what a fun adventure. my neighbor has this car and loves it for her family of 4 and 2 dogs! i love the mazda price point because you can get a lot for your money and the cars are built to last and hold their value.

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