Family Visit from Utah: OdySea Aquarium & Butterfly World Exhibit in Scottsdale, AZ

Posted in Arizona, Hikes, Misc Travel on March 27, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  552,002

Over the weekend, I gained a greater appreciation for two things:  moms and minivans.  When you’re entertaining 3 kids under the age of 6 years old, you start to realize just how much of a challenge it can become to make sure everyone’s fed, happy, and playing fair.  You also look for any way possible to ease the burden of travel logistics.  My brother Payton and his family visited for 4 days from southern Utah, and their 2013 Honda Odyssey EX-L was just the right ride for their family on such a 14-hour round-trip journey to Phoenix.

And we drove that Odyssey to OdySea.  This Scottsdale aquarium opened last July and is home to 500 species of sea life, living in over 2 million gallons of water.  I guess if our desert ever runs out of irrigation water, we can always drain the fish tanks!

Our favorite feature of the aquarium campus, though, was housed next door in a place called “Butterfly World.”  A 3-D movie educated us on the butterfly life cycle, and then we were permitted to enter a greenhouse-like atrium which is home to over 3,000 butterflies of various colors and sizes.

My niece Vivienne was thrilled that two butterflies perched on her colorful clothing.  Her younger brother Rex didn’t have any such luck and was peeved that they weren’t attracted to him.  And the youngest, Locke, must not have received the memo about “don’t step on the butterflies.”  He’s only 1 year old, and his primal instinct is to step on any insect within leg’s reach.  And, he did.  When we left Butterfly World, it was home to 2,999 butterflies instead of 3,000.

On Saturday, we spent our energy on a short hike at Papago Park near the Phoenix-Scottsdale border.  The place was bustling with hundreds of other families taking advantage of the perfect weather, but we made our way to the summit at “Hole in the Rock” and enjoyed the view.  The afternoon was spent at the Clarendon Hotel, a boutique hotel in central Phoenix that has a great pool facility.  We called dibs on a cabana and soaked ourselves in the long hot tub while listening to relaxing music.  My brother had a celebrity encounter too: He recognized Geoff Rowley, famous skateboarder, enjoying the hot tub with us and struck up a conversation.  Geoff was in town for the PHXAM event.

I had to make sure everyone was well-fed, so our dining destinations were carefully selected.  I introduced my brother and his family to Los Dos Molinos on Camelback Road for Mexican food on Friday night, we ordered Spinato’s Pizza on Saturday, and I took them to Zookz for breakfast sandwiches on Sunday morning before the Odyssey started its return trip to Utah.

Thanks to Payton and Kali for bringing the kids down to spend a few days with me!  I’ll be finding miniature toy frogs in the couch cushions and closets for a few months yet.

Here is a 10-minute video introduction to my garage that my brother put together for his YouTube audience.

(Forgive my error on stating the GS 6-speed sedan was offered in 1993-94.  You all know it’s 1994-95!)

And 4 minutes’ worth of random scenes from throughout the weekend on my own channel.

Locke ‘riding’ a little motorcycle

Viv enjoying the backyard swing

Rex standing next to an orange tree in the backyard

Ready for our 3-D movie at Butterfly World

In the courtyard at OdySea just before grabbing lunch

Shark exhibit

Dinner at Los Dos Molinos Uptown

Breakfast at Zookz

Hiking at Papago Park

Locke, Vivienne, and Rex playing in the backyard

Couple other random pics from recent weeks.  My friends Todd and Josh have two Teslas!

My friend Kevin picked me up a “Chiriaco Summit” bumper sticker.  More on that soon!

And my ILX trip to Willcox was featured in Arizona Driver Magazine‘s March-April 2017 issue!

Have a great week!

PAPA Event at European Motor Studio (EMS) in Chandler, Arizona

Posted in NSX, PAPA on March 23, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  151,266

It’s been almost exactly five years since my friend Scott and I got together in a couple of red sportscars for this photoshoot at the Hayden Lakeside parking garage in Tempe, Arizona.

The date was Wednesday, May 23, 2012, and the hue of Scott’s 1979 Porsche 928 was nearly identical to that of my Formula Red 1992 Acura NSX.  Great minds thought alike.

That was toward the beginning of a longstanding friendship with a guy who’s just as nutty about cars as I am, and this story is one about a company he built from the ground up.

One of the many ‘car organizations’ I’m currently a part of is the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA).  The group has been around for 18 years and is comprised of automotive journalists from around Arizona.  Today, active membership is around 40 or 50 individuals and meetings are held about once a month.  PAPA’s latest activity was held on Wednesday evening in Chandler, Arizona at the home base for one of the Phoenix Valley’s premier classic European sportscar restoration shops & dealerships.

European Motor Studio (EMS) in name was born in the summer of 2013, but the business – in a lot simpler sense – had existed since long before that time.  Entrepreneur Scott Utter first started wheeling and dealing in collector cars starting when he was 14 years old.  His first car was a gold 1985 Jaguar XJ6 when he had his learner permit.  He sold it for a $2,500 profit, and the rest is history.

Today, EMS has grown into a full time job for Scott and the 4 employees he’s brought on.  He also employs a part time mechanic who is brave enough to dig into 12-cylinder Italian engines.  “Anything I can help you guys with?” I asked as I was setting up a few materials for our group’s arrival.  “Sure,” they said, “just rebuild that V-12 sitting over there on the ground.”  I replied, “It would be worse off than it is already.”  And that’s the truth.  The level of complexity in some of those cars is uncanny.

Most of Scott’s business is carried out online – and around the world.  He’s recently shipped collector cars to Germany and Australia (freight to Europe, by the way – isn’t too bad.  The car goes to the port at Long Beach, California for $350 and then takes a $1,700 boat ride to Europe, arriving in 3-4 weeks).  Most of the inventory tightly packed into his holding warehouse consists of models I can’t even correctly pronounce, with price tags near the market value of my house.

For example, right now he’s sitting on an orange 1971 Lamborghini Espada 400GT with a buy-it-now of $170,000.  My favorite vehicle in current inventory is the 1991 Porsche 911 964 Turbo for a cool $120k.  Maybe that’s just because of my readily-apparent obsession with cars from the early 1990s.

We extend thanks to Scott and his team for hosting us.  Next time, let’s incorporate some test-drives!  Haha.

Refreshments are served

Our group getting the lowdown on some of the EMS inventory.

Lineup of Lotus Esprits

80’s Mercedes – isn’t that a song?  And a French ‘Citroen SM’ – in itself, a very special car.

PAPA member Sandra Munoz had her sights set on this 1971 Land Rover in pastel green.  It seemed like it would be a fitting vehicle to take on some sort of African safari.

Getting a look at the shop area where restorations take place, with a very rare Lamborghini Islero in the background – produced only between 1968-69 (and only 125 total units).  That blue is a factory color!

That green Lamborghini Espada is a factory color too, believe it or not.

Here’s the posh interior of a 1985 Maserati Quattroporte III Saloon with fewer than 30,000 original miles.

$20k for some luxury like that!

Canyon Carvers: A 1992 Prelude & 1992 Integra vs. Arizona’s Catalina Highway

Posted in Arizona, Integra, Prelude, Road Trip on March 19, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  551,894

Trip Distance:  304 Miles

A quarter-century ago in 1992, you could set foot into your local Honda or Acura dealerships and drive away with any number of sport coupes.  From the eco-friendly CRX Si at $11,900 to the flagship NSX at $65,000 MSRP, there was something for just about everyone.

Automotive journalist Steve Lynch (The Truth About Cars) and I decided to pit two against each other that are most alike in price & performance:  The Prelude Si versus the Integra GS-R.  Coming in at about $18k and $17k respectively, they shared more than just a price point.  They each offered a 160-horsepower 4-cylinder powerplant and a slick-shifting 5-speed manual transmission.

Arizona’s “Catalina Highway,” one of the state’s most scenic twisty roads, seemed the perfect spot to carry out our evaluation.  At 26 miles in length from its base in Tucson to the summit at Summerhaven, it climbs nearly 6,000 feet in elevation to over about 8,200 feet – high enough that even now in late March there is snow along the roadside in some stretches.  Arizona, snow?  Yes – it happens.

Joining for the excursion were two friends who preferred to exercise their American muscle and grunt:  Will in a Chevy SS and James (Six Speed Blog) in a Dodge Durango R/T.  Each one offered more than double the horsepower of our Hondas so it wouldn’t have been a fair fight to include them in the comparison test.  Besides, we found a better way to put those two against each other:  an exhaust sound-off contest.  More on that when you watch the YouTube video.

When you saddle up in the Integra GS-R, you have to be alert and attentive.  The automatic seat belts close in on you forcefully as if to say, “Buckle up.  You’re about to take a hell of a ride.”  A crank of the B17 motor and a glance at the 8,000-RPM redline tell you the car is all about the high-revving playtime.  And even though the car is old enough for historic plates and has its share of mechanical quirks consistent with 239,000 miles on the odometer (hello, ABS light on the dash!), it revs happily like a toddler and the chassis tuning is stiff.

The Prelude takes a more sophisticated approach.  Its futuristic dashboard communicates all relevant driver information in typical Honda sensible fashion.  But its engine’s behavior and suspension’s refinement make it less of a rev-machine.  It’s torquey enough at low RPM that the driver doesn’t feel like he or she has to push it to the limit.  Seats are comfortable and supportive, sounds are more subdued, and it acts like a much more responsible daily driver – with a fun side for the weekends – than the trouble-maker Integra.

We all did enough key-swapping throughout the mountain cruise to come to pretty much the same conclusion.  If I had Marty McFly’s DeLorean and transported myself back in 1992, my $18k would be better spent on a Prelude than an Integra.  Reason being, we all spend far more time in day to day mundane driving situations – traffic, commuting, and the occasional interstate cruise – than we do carving up a canyon road or sprinting around an autocross track.  The Prelude is a better all-around value for the money.

For reference, a prior Mount Lemmon trip in which we took a similar parade of sporty Hondas up the mountain.

Oh, and the Durango versus SS?  Skip to the end of the video to see how that contest went :).

Preparing for our ascent

The V8 contenders

Headed on up the mountain

Prelude in the lead

Arrival at Summerhaven – elevation 8,200 feet

And perfect weather!

Lunch at the Sawmill Restaurant

Sweet potato tots!  (insert heart-eye emoji)

Few more pics up at the ski lift area

Integra engine bay

Prelude engine bay

Making our descent

And finally, a visit from my friend Matt today in his 2003 CL Type-S 6-speed!  235,000 miles and it looks & drives like new!

Here are a few links to share:

TSX Travels Acura Anniversary video that I was honored to be a part of:

 

Wedding Weekend in Phoenix, Arizona

Posted in Arizona on March 13, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  551,894

Can you believe the movie The Princess Bride is now 30 years old?

“Mawage.  Mawage is what brings us together today.”  (skip to 26 seconds in)

My friend Paul took a pretty good guess at what I would be doing this past Saturday.

He was wrong, though.  I didn’t drive anywhere exotic this weekend.  I did, however, enjoy one of the most well-executed, multi-day parties I’ve ever attended.  This weekend, two of my best friends, Rustin & Wade, got married and while that means there were no road trips on the radar, it was still a memorable time.  My mom flew to Phoenix from Southern Utah to be a part of the events.

Friday night kicked off with an open house / cocktail party at the grooms’ home in the Sunnyslope area of Phoenix.  It was the perfect venue for an evening with friends and family.  Refreshments were provided in the form of a hot dogs and hot chocolate on the patio – it’s an odd combination, but it works!  On Saturday, I donned a tuxedo for the first time since Senior Ball at Pine View High School in 2000.  It took some trial and error to get the bow tie situated just right, and clearly my experience with cuff links is limited because by the end of the night, I’d lost one of them.  But for a few hours, I felt high class.

It felt appropriate that I do a side-by-side photo of my last red 2-door Honda (the Prelude) along with my latest (the NSX) for a photo while wearing my tuxedo garb, so mom and I cruised over to the Arizona Biltmore neighborhood to do the re-creation.  The above pics were taken in 2000 and in 2017.  I’m sure glad my sense of style has improved.  Though, a few people have asked that the skater shoes and frosted hair tips come back.

Wedding festivities kicked off at 5:00 p.m. at the Phoenix Art Museum on Central Avenue.  The entire venue was decked out appropriately, and our group of about 200 people assembled on the manicured courtyard grounds to await the big event.  Rustin and Wade exchanged their vows and then exited the area with Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” blasting over the speaker.  The crowd loved it.

Later in the evening, we dined, then danced.  The dance floor was illuminated and mom put everyone else to shame showing some of the moves she’s been learning in her weekly Wednesday hip-hop class.  I seriously saw a few people doing the “bow down” gesture to her.  She’s that good.  The weekend capped off with a trip to a baseball spring training game at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa.  The Chicago Cubs played against the Oakland Athletics.  Temperatures were pushing 90 degrees but luckily our group had shaded ‘lawn’ seating.  It was a great day at the ball game!

I’ll let the photos (and a short vide0) tell the rest of the story!

The Legend is back in daily duty for a few weeks.

I even had to take it to Tucson for work last Monday.  Here’s a shot at Picacho Peak along I-10.

Picking up mom from Phoenix “Sky Harbor” International Airport.

Friday night cocktail hour at Rustin & Wade’s house, in gold-rimmed sunglasses that were provided.

Headed to brunch in the Vigor with mom on Saturday morning.

View from brunch at Zookz on Camelback Road & Central Avenue.

Couple photos with the NSX at the Arizona Biltmore area.

Some of my friends looking all fancy.  Sam, Lance, Rob, Kyle, Chris, Chandler, Jack, and James.

Wade and Rustin cutting their wedding cake

Having a little fun with pictures later on.

Sunday’s trip to the baseball game in Mesa.

Wade (hiding), Scott, Lance, and me

Congrats to my friend Sean who hit 100,000 miles today in his 2006 Honda Accord EX-L 5-speed!

Sean bought his Accord brand new in July 2006 and it’s been his daily driver ever since.

Reader’s Ride: Steve’s 1992 Honda Prelude Si

Posted in Prelude, Reader's Ride on March 2, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,564

550564

My buddy Steve Lynch has popped up on my blog a few times.  I met him originally through the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) and he’s a published author many times over.  Over the years, Steve and I have gotten together for car talk and a couple of drives, including our feature on The Truth About Cars with “orphaned Hondas.”  Steve was delighted to share with me the story of his latest automotive acquisition:  a very well-kept, original 1992 Honda Prelude Si.

prelude_tyson

To Steve, this Prelude is more than just A-to-B transportation.  It represents a life-sized souvenir from the days when he worked for Honda at its main office in Torrance, California.  And to him and many others, it represents an icon of an era 25 years ago when cars were simple, fun to drive, and a little more interesting than the sea of cookie-cutter midsized sedans out on the roadways today.

front

Any great car purchase story begins with a long-awaited “first drive” home.  It just so happened that Steve’s first drive in his new Prelude was over 2,000 miles in distance since he’d flown to Florida to pick it up.  Along the return trip, he turned over 100,000 miles on the Prelude’s odometer and visited some interesting roadside destinations like the “Florabama” beach bar, located at the Florida-Alabama state line.  I only wish I’d been able to tag along to enjoy the miles and the scenery!

gauges

The 1992 model year marked the first year for the Prelude’s fourth generation.  Body lines became much more rounded off as Honda departed from the boxy, pop-up-headlight-equipped 1988-1991 model year design that I’ve owned a few of.  That futuristic layout continued on into the interior, where the instrument panel stretches across the entire width of the car with gauges housed in a narrow opening.

front_right

The most beautiful thing about the Prelude, though, is something you can’t readily see.  It’s that 5-speed transmission, so slick shifting you can flick it with a pinkie finger through all the gears.  Honda’s engineering excellence really shines through when you get the Prelude out onto an onramp, just like I did when entering Highway 51 southbound.  The audible and tangible feelings as the car revs to its 6,500 RPM redline are exactly why the Prelude was (and forever will be) a favorite of tuners.

While the “H23” 2.3-liter powerplant puts out only 160 horsepower, it doesn’t matter.  The car’s perfect sense of balance makes it an engaging driver, no matter the speed.  From the moment I got behind the wheel, the car just felt “right.”  Perhaps it’s because the car hails from an era that I’m so acutely familiar with (Honda and Acura products of the 1990s), but it took almost zero time to get comfortable in that supportive bucket seat and to get an understanding of how the controls and features operated.  That’s something I definitely miss in new cars today:  The simplicity of an engine, a transmission, and an open road without a dozen computers deciding how I need to drive or even taking over control for me.

I thank Steve for his hospitality in allowing me a few minutes behind the wheel of his new ride!

front2

right_rear

back

Integra is getting a new radiator this week, and I happened to park nose-to-nose with a Civic CX at the mechanic.

Aztec Green!

aztec

Saturday Drive to Flagstaff, Arizona for a Breakfast Burrito

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on February 26, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,495

550495

Odometer (ILX):  193,151

193151

Trip Distance:  288 Miles

phx_to_flg

My friend Derek and I are on a quest to find the best breakfast burrito in the southwest.  Over the last few months, we’ve sampled the cuisine from Otro Cafe, Phoenix Burrito House, and others.  This time I took one for the team and drove solo, about 4 hours round-trip to try one from “The Dog Haus,” on Route 66 in Flagstaff, Arizona.  It’s a hot dog place, first and foremost.  But a small sign on the east side of the red, triangle-shaped building proclaims proudly the Haus’ notoriety in the burrito arena.

burrito_sign

Does the burrito measure up?  I paid $5 to find out.  It took 3 bites to confirm.  It’s tasty – but Flag’s best?  TBD.

breakfast_burrito

This week’s adventure isn’t too exotic, but I did get to lay eyes on a few neato roadside attractions.  Flagstaff, Arizona is one of the state’s most popular recreation getaways.  In the wintertime, the Snowbowl ski resort is a hot spot, and in the summer, it’s a retreat from the heat where temperatures can be up to 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix.  It’s no wonder so many Phoenicians have a second home there.  I watched the exterior temp readout dip down as low as 35 degrees while making my way northbound on Interstate 17 on Saturday morning.  The elevation gain is substantial – Flagstaff sits nearly 7,000 feet above sea level.

tyson_museum_club

First on my radar was a destination called The Museum Club right along historic Route 66.  Once a 1931 log cabin social hall, today it continues to host live entertainment on a regular basis.  My “Roadside America” iPhone app told me the cabin is also somehow the “world’s largest log cabin,” but I’m skeptical.  Before I believe anything is the “world’s largest,” I want to see proof!

Then, how about this place?  Awesome!

dog_haus

ilx_at_dog_haus

Most of the old Route 66 corridor retains its historic charm.  One such building is definitely The Dog Haus.  After driving my car through the middle of the building, I made my way toward downtown Flagstaff and visited Heritage Square while having a few bites of that burrito.  The last place I checked out was a “Moon Tree” on the northwestern side of town.  I didn’t know what a moon tree was at the time, I found out when I got to it – which took a little bit of scavenger hunting.

apollo_tree

apollo_tree_sign

So here’s what I know so far:

In January, 1971, Apollo 14 launched as a third mission to the moon.  Astronaut Stuart Roosa took about 400 seeds with him while he was orbiting the lunar surface.  When he returned, the seeds were germinated and the seedlings were planted in various places around the country.  One such tree was planted at what was then Flagstaff Junior High School, on April 30, 1976.  What I didn’t learn until after my visit to the tree was that the original tree actually was yanked from the ground 3 days later and did not survive.  A non-moon tree was planted in its place, but the original sign remained.  What a hoax!  It was a fun side-trip anyway.

Thanks for joining for the adventure!

Hot air balloons out floating around on the north end of Phoenix as I left town

hot_air_balloons

Route 66 in Flagstaff

r66

Parked outside the Museum Club

ilx_museum_club

R66 marker attached to the Museum Club

museum_club_sign

Exterior of the Museum Club

museum_club

World’s largest?  C’mon now.  I don’t know about that.

log_cabin

I liked this sign at Muffler Magic.  “Rest Home for Exhausted Mufflers.”

muffler_magic_flagstaff

Northbound San Francisco Street

san_francisco_st_flagstaff

Heritage Square in downtown Flag

heritage_square_flagstaff

Frozen waterway

frozen_creek

ILX with Mount Humphreys (> 12,000 feet in elevation) in the background

humphreys

Sign Mania!  How many do we need?

signs

This lumberjack was carved from a single solid tree.  The lumberjack is Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) mascot so there are lots of similar things around town.

flagstaff_lumberjack

Couple other random pics, including a visit from my friend Chuck in his ’88 Legend ragtop.

tyson_chuck

Chris visiting from Florida

chris_tyson

And Serge visiting from Los Angeles

serge

The below was shared with me this week – an infographic by outdoor clothing & backpack company Cotopaxi regarding our national parks and which ones are the most/least traveled. If you’re like me, crowds are a turnoff, so I’ll be hitting some of those “hidden gems.” Notice our Grand Canyon gets 5 million visitors per year!

cotopaxi_national_parks_x2

Lastly, a model car update on the diecast 1:18 scale 1957 Chevy Nomad that’s one of 5 cars that’s been on my roof for 8 years.

57_nomad

Two in One: San Vegas and Las Diego Road Trip Weekend

Posted in California, ILX, Nevada, Road Trip on February 17, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,486

550486

Odometer (ILX):  192,625

192625

Trip Distance:  1,000 Miles

trip_map

Yeah, I know.  Who RSVPs to a birthday party in one state, and a bachelor party in another state, on the same weekend, and still attends both?  You’re looking at him.  And here I am 1,000 miles later to tell you how that all played out.  The good news is that it feels amazing to go from the awe-inspiring 54th floor of the Cosmopolitan on the Las Vegas Strip one day, to the picturesque and sweet-smelling Mission Beach of San Diego the next.  The bad news is that coming back to reality bit.  Hard.

This past weekend’s adventure started with me scooping up my friend Kyle at his place in central PHX and us making our way, Taco Bell crunchwrap supreme in hand, in the ILX to Las Vegas.  It’s a drive that takes about 4.5 hours through the picturesque yet pretty barren reaches of Highway 93.  We arrived just in time to join the rest of our gang for a bite to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings before venturing out on the town.

vegas_strip

And I can assure you, what happened in Vegas that night will stay in Vegas.  Well, I take that back.  The group text message with 8 people in it became a dumping ground for all the photos and videos from that night’s debauchery, and they will forever live on in the memory bank of each participant’s iPhone.  But this isn’t the time nor place to divulge any of those details.  Las Vegas Boulevard, known better as “The Strip,” is home to some 62,000 hotel rooms.  Tourists are out on the streets 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  There is seriously no end to the available entertainment and we got our share of it.

group

On Saturday morning, we pulled our acts together in time for brunch at “Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar,” home to some of the best nachos I’ve ever had.  They’re called “trash can nachos” and basically come out in a big tin can that gets dumped on a plate in the center of the table.  Trust me, they were amazing.

vegas_ilx_dash

Snoozing passengers!

sleepy_pax

Kyle, Lance, and I hit the road by early afternoon for the next chapter of our road trip weekend:  a bachelor party in Southern California.  Luckily the drive was a breeze with 95% of it being on southbound Interstate 15.  We stopped briefly in the middle-of-nowhere town of Baker, home to the World’s Largest Thermometer at 134 feet tall.  In typical fashion, traffic was slow-and-go the closer we got to the Los Angeles area, but as dusk settled in, we kept cranking the iPod and karaoke’d to classics like Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping” (a song now 20 years old!) to pass the time and the miles.

Primitive but predictable, the Motel 6 on 2nd Avenue in downtown San Diego was our resting spot for the evening.  We had just enough time to freshen up there before heading to dinner and a night out on the town at Oxford Social Club in the Gaslamp District.  I felt like a true A-Lister there:  VIP entry, special reserved seating, and a meeting with the owner himself who came over to shake our hands.  The lights and music raged onward as we celebrated the upcoming wedding of my friends Wade & Rustin until the wee hours.

Speaking of, this is what happens when you’re part of 2 massive group texts and you put your phone away for a few minutes.  Ugh, the anxiety of unread messages.  I put both threads on “do not disturb.”

unread_texts

And what California trip would be complete without a stop at the beach?  My phone told me we were a mere 14 minutes from Mission Beach so we saddled up in the ILX and went to check it out.  The smell of a fresh sea breeze and the sound of crashing waves will never get old.  We wandered northbound along the sand for a little while before looping back to meet the rest of the gang in Little Italy for brunch at a spot called Prepkitchen.

ocean_front

tyson_lance_kyl

The final leg of this epic weekend journey was the stretch of Interstate 8 that links San Diego with the Phoenix area, an oft-desolate road that runs parallel to the Mexican border.  Kyle took the wheel from the halfway point in Yuma onward, which was great because I needed some time with my eyes off the road.

The gang in an elevator

elevator

View from the Cosmopolitan hotel room

vegas_view

Soaking it all in, with Lance

lance_tyson

This was the burger I had at Guy Fieri’s restaurant.  I liked the fries better!

burger

Stop in Baker, CA with Kyle along I-15 southbound.

baker_sign

Gas prices there, ouch!

baker_gas

World’s Tallest Thermometer – 134 feet tall – indicative of the highest temperature ever observed in Death Valley nearby.  Notice it was only 67 degrees at the time of our visit.

baker_thermometer

Continuing on down Interstate 15

i15south

California’s inspection stations have never caused me too much delay.  I just get waved through.

california_inspection

i15

Ahh, the beach!

pacific_ocean

Looking northbound alongside the sidewalk at Mission Beach in San Diego

bech

ocean_front

Fuel and bathroom break in Gila Bend, AZ on the way back to Phoenix Sunday night

sunset

Check out this story about my friend Steve who flew across the country recently to buy a minty 4th generation Honda Prelude and drive it all the way back to Arizona!  Congrats, Steve!  I’m looking forward to seeing the car when you visit tomorrow.

And finally, does anyone out there want to be my twin?  This Legend coupe is up for grabs in the Los Angeles area!

twin

Have a great weekend!