Car Culture: The Sunflower Trap

NORTHFIELD TOWNSHIP, Michigan – There’s a different take on the speed trap in my neighborhood.

We call it “the sunflower trap” and it’s not about getting a ticket from the cops for having a lead foot. It’s about slamming on the brakes and impeding traffic as you come off of the highway and encounter what people are calling an “Instagram-worthy” field of sunflowers.

And, yes, the cops are having a field day (pun intended) writing tickets and sending out warnings.

Not only are motorists stopping to get a picture of their car in front of the field and causing traffic jams, but people are trespassing to cut flowers. Some bridal parties have been trampling the field as they seek a memorable wedding-day image.

Of course, I was one of the scofflaws, although I resisted the urge to take home a bouquet.

kia forte5 2.jpgI was test-driving the 2017 Kia Forte5 SX hatchback, a sporty offering in the compact vehicle segment, when I stumbled across the amazing view.

My enduring memory of my time in the Forte5 is not about its striking new exterior design or zippy 1.6-liter turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine. It’s about one of the best days of late summer and leaning out the window of the Kia to capture a gorgeous nature image that will end up as my screen forte5 1.jpg

As a longtime auto writer, I have been on many car company-sponsored trips to Europe and Asia.

The drive routes on these trips are designed to showcase vehicles in the some of the most exotic settings in the world. I have encountered fragrant fields of lavender on a Buick trip to Nice, France and toured a botanical garden in Sweden as part of a Volvo trip. The trips are supposed to leave you with a positive image of the company and its cars.

But automakers don’t have to stray too far from the Motor City to create road trips that leave people like me with a warm and fuzzy feeling about their cars. They just need to keep tabs on local growers.

Here’s a word to the wise: I understand that Wing Farms just down the road from my house will have a bounty of giant pumpkins this fall.

I’ve already seen the local constabulary tucked into a nearby cornfield to scope things out. Get ready for the pumpkin trap, I’d say.


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