A full course: Driving the Lincoln Continental to RAW Wasagaming

There are many events I look forward to every year here in Winnipeg.

We are lucky in that we have so many festivals go on throughout the year. Although it’s not a festival, RAW Almond, a culinary experience that takes place on the river at The Forks, brings together some of the city’s — and the world’s — best chefs, to deliver with a set-course menu, giving patrons an immersive dining experience.

I’ve gone to this event for many years, and since it’s so popular, the line up to get tickets is just as exciting as the event itself (it’s always a rush hoping you’ll get the dinner seating and chef you want).  Outside of Winnipeg, the RAW crew has also done the dinner in Churchill, Gimli, and this year, in Wasagaming in Riding Mountain National Park (RMNP).

When they announced tickets for this event I was instantly intrigued as it meant a jaunt out to RMNP, which I actually went to last year with Ford Canada.  Tickets were very pricey, but it included a 20-course (ended up being 22 course) menu, held in a beautifully decorated tent of Canadiana wonder. Figuring that this luxury dining experience would be right up Ford Canada’s alley, the company was so kind to hook me up with the 2018 Lincoln Continental to make the trek up.

2018 Lincoln Continental 2018 Lincoln Continental at Clear Lake Back seat of the 2018 Lincoln Continental Driver seat of the 2018 Lincoln Continental

Although the Continental may remind you of what your fancy grandparents once drove, the 2018 version is definitely for the young at heart.  This car probably has the fanciest bells and whistles that I’ve ever experience in a vehicle. Starting at C$58,150, this five-seat sedan is so luxurious that it made the three-hour trip up feel like half an hour.

Okay, so let’s start with the actual drive itself.  Now that I live off a busy highway, horsepower is very important to me.  I need the power to speed up quickly to avoid on-coming traffic.  The 2018 Continental has an available 3.0L Twin-Turbocharged V6 engine, with an all-wheel drive powertrain.  It also has Dynamic Torque Vectoring, all-wheel drive, and up to 400 horsepower.  In “regular people’s” terms, that means it can go fast, quickly.  Since the highways are often one lanes for part of the trip up, that meant I could pass other cars quickly and not have to worry about it.  This car just zoomed past other vehicles smoothly and efficiently (it’s always kinda scary to pass over vehicles, but the Continental did it in a breeze).

Speed aside, I really loved the beautiful leather and wood interior. There are some major design features in the Continental, and although it took me a few minutes to figure everything out initially, it made the ride so much smoother once I got the hang of it all.  For one, there is an interior door handle, but it doesn’t actually let you out. Instead, you just press a button on the handle itself and open the door.  The door also has all the adjustable seat buttons to move your seat around (and turn on the massagers in the luxurious leather seats, let’s not forget about that!).  As for the exterior handles, they feature an E-Latch with Power Cinch, which is a door handle that has a small button in it that when touched, unlatches the door electronically. So the handle doesn’t actually move, instead you just put your hand in and press the button inside to open it.

Drinking coffee at The Lakehouse Hotel in Wasagaming Hudson Bay Smythe Jacket at Clear Lake 2018 Lincoln Continental at Riding Mountain National Park On the docks at Clear Lake

Other really cool features of the car included the always impressive Lincoln welcome mat when you approach the car at night (it illuminates the Lincoln logo on the ground as you approach the driver or passenger door), as well as interior mood lighting, and lighting as you approach the car (as long as the key is on you). The backseat also has a console which you can pull down in the middle seat and allows the back passengers to adjust the radio station, heating/cooling, etc.

One of my favourite features of the car, and something I had never seen before, was the Heads-Up Display, which is a windshield-projected informational display which told me the speed I was going, the speed limit of where I was driving (this definitely came in handy), gas mileage, and the time. The cool part is that only the driver can see this (and maybe someone sitting directly behind the driver as well).

If you can’t already, I was kinda obsessed with the Lincoln Continental, and all the fancy bells and whistles totally put that “car for more mature adults” perspective to bed early upon driving it (no pun intended).

Course at RAW Wasagaming in Riding Mountain National Park 2018 RAW Wasagaming 2018 RAW Wasagaming Pumpkin soup at 2018 RAW Wasagaming Outside the RAW Wasagaming tent

Anyways, once we actually got into Riding Mountain, we checked into The Lakehouse Boutique Hotel and Ice Cream Shop, and explored around town. Since it’s so late in the season, a lot of places were already closed down for the year.  As a result, we ended up having a super chill weekend where we got to rest and relax for a couple days.  On the Sunday, we took the shuttle to the dining spot, which was in the woods, and then hiked along the water to a tent that held the dinner. The whole experience was phenomenal. From the venue itself (which was made from 1,500 local logs) to the food (all from ingredients found in Manitoba – including seaweed from the Hudson’s Bay), it was a fantastic experience.

A huge thank you to Lincoln and Ford Canada for allowing us to experience this unique event. Although it was in the middle of the woods, the whole production of the dinner was definitely something very special and the ride there and back was just the icing on the (very luxurious) cake.

Have you driven the 2018 Lincoln Continental?

Please note, Ford Canada paid for the tickets to this event, and gave me the car for the journey. All other expenses were paid for by me and I received no monetary compensation for this post.

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