Each year, hundreds of thousands of women make the pilgrimage to ESSENCE’s annual festival in New Orleans.

This year, the ladies of theGrio decided to make their own trek with the help of Ford to experience the empowerment, education and entertainment that the weekend has to offer.

In part one of #GrioGirlsTrip, you’ll get a behind the scenes sneak peek as theGrio’s Natasha Alford (Deputy Editor) and Kimberly Wilson (Director of Social), hit the road with their gal pals Brande Victorian and RaVal Davis.

The girls departed from Atlanta to New Orleans for an epic road trip adventure. In the video above, you’ll see all the trip’s highlights and shenanigans during their journey in the brand new Ford Explorer.