Quick Trip: “The Quail” Motorsports Gathering in Monterey, California

Posted in California, Car Show on August 21, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  544,256


Odometer (ILX):  180,000


Happy weekend!  I spent a day rubbing shoulders with the automotive elite at an exclusive motorsports show called The Quail in Carmel, California on Friday.  Some 3,000 entry tickets were pre-sold at $600 apiece.  I was lucky to score one for free, thanks to prior involvement with the NSX Club of America and the fact that Acura is a major sponsor of the event.  It was a feast for the eyes, ears, and tastebuds.


From the moment I showed my credential and was given a site map / lanyard, I turned my gaze to the entrance of the event.  Immaculately manicured lawns were lined with brightly-colored supercars and exotics.  Event workers dressed head to toe in white apparel flanked the entryway.


This was not just your everyday “car show” in a Home Depot parking lot with people plopped down on camp chairs and shooting the breeze.  Instead, wait staff brought around wine, champagne, and caviar.  There were 5 or 6 different tent pavilions with free regional-themed food and live music.  And I don’t think any vehicle on display had a value of fewer than six figures.  Many were seven.


I made the rounds as I worked my way toward the large Acura display and was greeted by a couple of colleagues who were already there:  Chris Willson from Science of Speed, and May Lee, the VP of the NSX Club of America.  On display was an elevated white platform with the Acura Precision Concept in the middle, with the NSX GT3 racecar on the left and a ‘street’ NSX at right.  Around 11:00 a.m., seasoned racecar driver Dario Franchitti arrived for some interviews.  I shook his hand and we talked a little.  He’s no stranger to fast cars, having won 4 Indy races.  He’s ordered a “Nouvelle Blue Pearl” 2017 NSX which will be delivered to him later this year.


Right down the street, the Bonhams collector car auction was taking place all day.  My friends Scott and Sandy were selling their 1959 Mercury Park Lane – lot number 74 – and hoped for a good outcome.  I caught a shuttle ride over there to meet up with them.  The entire area was bustling with people, music, and activities – with auction bidding coming over the loudspeaker in a British accent.  “Nine hundred fifty, do I have nine hundred fifty?” he’d ask.  Seriously?  $950,000 – people spend that kind of money on cars.  The most expensive car sold this week in Monterey was a 1955 Jaguar D-Type that went for $19,800,000 at RM Sothebys Auction on Friday night.  Pocket change.


The quick in-and-out Monterey trip capped off with a car event that differed greatly from The Quail.  It was called Concours d’LeMons, and it was a tribute to “the oddball, the mundane, the truly awful of the automotive world.”  Scott, Sandy, and I cruised in their Mini Cooper over to check out the festivities in Seaside on Saturday morning.  The Concours is free and “you get what you pay for.”  This tongue-in-cheek poke at the hoity toity Pebble Beach and Quail crowds seems little a little more my style.  We saw an Amphicar, a couple of AMC Pacers, and of course a Yugo on the grounds.  My friend Jason Cammisa from Motor Trend was on-hand as one of the judges.


And with that, I was dropped at the curb of the cute but functional 4-gate Monterey airport and shed my fleece sweater, knowing that in about 2 hours I’d be back in the desert’s inferno and dealing with nearly twice the temperature.  Thanks for coming along for the adventure!  And, many thanks to the folks at Acura for making it possible for me to attend.  Here’s a very short video, along with some of the other photos I took.

Porsche-mania:  Cars for sale at Bonhams.


Breakfast is served


Ultra rare BMW “Z1” with only 34 kilometers on it.  This went for $90,000.


Ferrari something-or-other that’s worth more than any home I’ll ever own.


Love these lines.


Hey, finally a red car I can relate to.  This 1991 NSX with 85,000 miles looks showroom fresh and belongs to Acura headquarters.


A few celebrity sightings, including this one with Acura’s Chuck Schifsky.


RealTime’s Peter Cunningham, whose collection I visited in Milwaukee last month.


Science of Speed’s Chris Willson


Acura PR’s Gary Robinson


A few folks from Hagerty Insurance, including Jonathan Klinger who inspired this blog 5 years ago.


Like the colors of Skittles candy.


With my buddy Donny from Cadillac, leeching off the free food at the Rolls Royce booth.


Feasts for the eyes, too.


Acura CEO Jon Ikeda – a friend of mine since his days with the Acura Design Studio.


Scott and Sandy’s 1959 Mercury with 40,000 original miles, which went for $40,000.


Scott and Sandy themselves.  Thanks for the hospitality, guys!


As seen from the parking lot of the Concours d’LeMons.  Hey, wait?


The original owner of this 1987 Chevy Cavalier was especially proud of it.  And he’d driven it all the way from Michigan!


Before you go, check out the website of author Darius Nabors.  He and his friend Trevor set out 59 weeks ago to visit all 59 national parks in 59 weeks.  They’ve achieved their goal!  I learned about Darius while thumbing through the American Airlines magazine on my flight from Phoenix to Monterey on Thursday night.  Congratulations, Darius!


My Car Went to Idaho Without Me, Some Attic Finds, and a Road Trip to the Landfill

Posted in ILX, Road Trip on August 14, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  544,176


Odometer (ILX):  179,669


Statistics can be fun.  I never thought I’d utter (or type) those words when I took Stats as a sophomore in high school, but today I’m a numbers junkie and I enjoy them – especially in automotive applications.  Like this:  In an AutoTrader search query on August 9, 2016, I pulled up all the 2013-2015 Acura ILX models for sale in the country.  Here’s what I found:

  • 863 automatics (83,033 highest miles)
  • 27 manuals (63,578 highest miles)

So 27 manuals out of 890 total cars = 3%.  That makes my car pretty rare.

I have to admit, my conscience has gotten to me:  In recent weeks, some of the miles on the ILX weren’t “earned” by me personally.  My friends Jack and Chandler borrowed the car for a 2,166-mile, 5-day road trip to Boise, Idaho and back for a wedding.  When flight pricing didn’t look reasonable and attendance was critical (Chandler was a “best man”), I offered up the ILX to them because it’s a reliable and fuel-efficient car for long trips.  And you know the miles don’t scare me a bit.

The only thing I asked in return was that Jack take and share a few photos from along the way, and that he did!  Here’s the route they took, with the Utah leg northbound and the Nevada (return) leg southbound.


Lots of the eastern Nevada area is foreign to me.  I’ve been a few places out there, like Wendover during my open-road race in 2007, and the town of Rachel, when I toured the Extraterrestrial Highway around Area 51.  As it turns out, I’m probably not missing a heck of a lot though.  Jack sent a photo from the entry to Wells, Nevada:  “Gateway to the East Humboldts.”  Originally named for a swampy area near town along the Humboldt River, it got its start as a passenger train stop along the transcontinental railroad.


The historic El Rancho Hotel there has lots of history, having been opened from 1952 to 1980.  Currently there’s not much happening there, but luckily it hasn’t been left completely to ruin.  Note that the El Rancho Hotel is not to be confused with the similarly-named Hotel El Rancho, which is in Gallup, New Mexico.  I visited that back in 2013.

Historic pic




Jack reported that much of the drive looked something like this.  I told him to go ahead find out what the ILX’s speedometer was governed at.  I’m not sure if he did or not, but on a road like that, how could you NOT be tempted to have a little fun?


Next they arrived in Ely.  It’s a town about four times larger than Wells, but still only home to about 4,200 people.  This town is (or was) a key stop along the railroad.  A steam locomotive in the background of the old train station pays homage to that past.  Ely (pronounced “eely”) was a boom town in the early 1900s thanks to the discovery of copper.  This photo was taken in front of the Northern Nevada Railway Museum.


Ely lies at the eastern end of U.S. Route 50 which was named in 1986 by Life Magazine as “The Loneliest Road in America.”  That just makes me want to drive the entire 408-mile stretch of it!  Adding that to my road trip destination list right now, in fact.


Thanks to those travels, Jack and Chandler brought me back a few souvenirs in the form of slaughtered bugs.  I took care of them promptly the next day.  Wouldn’t want them to bake in!


This is how you do summer in Phoenix.


I’m in the process of cleaning out my house for a potential move (I’ll know this week if things are final, then I’ll spill the beans accordingly).  But after spending most of my Saturday indoors boxing things up, I decided it was time to brave the heat and climb into the attic to see what kind of relics had been stashed up there.  My iPhone overheated – that’s how warm it was up there.

My home was built in 1979 and has been updated very little since then.  I’ve lived there for almost 8 years.  The attic was a storage area for 5 boxes of Christmas decor that I needed to bring down.  But while I was up there, I decided to root around a little and see what else I could find.  The access point is a trap-door style ladder in the garage, akin to the one Clark Griswold uses in National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation.”


Well, looky here.  I found some luggage up there that’s not mine.  This is a “Lady Baltimore” suitcase with an American Airlines tag on it.  Google reveals that this brand of luggage was big in the late 1950s.  Oddly enough, it’s locked and I don’t have a key.  Feels empty inside but I need to get in there somehow anyway just because my curiosity is getting the best of me.



I also found some steel-toed boots up there.  Again, not mine.


And a STOP sign.  Where in the world did the prior owners of my home get that?  It’ll make a nice addition to my future garage anyway.


My favorite find was this poster.  I’ve had it since I was about 13.  “Justification for Higher Education” with a series of fancy cars and a nice oceanfront home.  About 20 years later, I’m pretty much there – but minus the ocean, and with vintage Acuras instead of Porsches and BMWs.


The ILX got landfill duty to transport and dispose of a bunch of lumber and miscellaneous garbage that I piled up.  I think I was the only person out there roaming around in the trash and mud in an Acura.  But until I get a pickup truck, this is the best I can do!


I even felt compelled to put together a 3-minute video about my landfill experience.  Riveting, it is not.  But if you’re so inclined:

This coming Thursday night, I’m off to Monterey, California to “The Quail” Motorsports Gathering.  It’s part of Monterey’s week-long focus on automobiles and a very exclusive event, as only 3,000 tickets are made available.  Face value of each?  $600!  Luckily Acura is a major sponsor this year and I scored a ticket for free thanks to helping out with last year’s NSXPO.


Have a great week!

Legend Spy Shot Roundup #8

Posted in Legend, Spy Shots on August 9, 2016 by tysonhugie


I guess I might as well kick this draft post out the door.  I’ve added a few photos tonight that tallied it up to an even 80 Legend sightings.  My last Roundup was posted on April 20th.  So in fewer than four months, I’ve received 120 total cars.  That comes out to a little more than one car per day hitting my cell phone or email.  Here today, courtesy of you my readers and friends, I bring you:

  • 80 Legends
  • 11 NSXs
  • 11 Vigors
  • 3 TLs
  • 3 ILXs
  • 7 Preludes
  • 1 CL
  • 1 RSX
  • 1 Integra
  • 1 EL
  • 1 European Accord

A few winners to feature as we kick things off:

My favorite picture in the lineup is brought to you by Rob, who had traveled to Hawaii for work and who made a special visit to the local Acura dealership in Maui to pick me up a license plate.  Thanks, Rob!


Second place goes to James, who even during his vacation in Paris this summer, managed to find a pretty nice looking second-generation coupe.  I wonder if this car is still there.  As of July 1st (just a little after James’ trip), all cars older than 1997 were banned in Paris as a smog-control measure.  Yikes.


And I can’t remember who sent me this one (pipe up!), but it somehow captured both a Legend and a 2016+ ILX in the same frame.  Nice snag!


Here are the remainder of the Legends, in random order.













































































Here we go with the NSXs












And the Vigors












A few TLs




Some ILXs




A handful of Preludes








And everything else!






Whew!  Thanks for playing!

Tribute to Million Mile Joe, Home Improvements, & Car Updates

Posted in Arizona, Blog, ILX, Integra, Legend, Milestones on August 6, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  544,118


Odometer (Vigor):  105,807


Only in Arizona could a church use this as an advertising ploy!  I’m tempted to convert.


First, a tribute to a man who inspired many.  “Million Mile” Joe LoCicero of Maine became a hero of mine when he and his 1990 Accord reached a million miles back in the fall of 2011. Coincidentally, that was right around the same timeframe when my Legend reached half that distance.  Unfortunately, Joe recently passed away but he will be missed.  As Jason of Driven for Drives put it, “That was a good run.”  Joe, we salute you!


I was able to track down the VIN to Joe’s Accord, and (nerd that I am) I couldn’t resist running a Carfax report just to see what it looks like when a car’s 6-digit odometer effectively resets itself to zero.


As expected, the title history shows ‘branded’ since the odometer mechanically can’t even show a 7th digit.  (Reminds me of my 1986 Celebrity which only had FIVE digits on the odo).


The Accord was in for service in April 2011 at Berlin Honda in Portland, Maine at 970,333 miles.  The next time we saw an odometer reading, it was almost two years later, at Auburn Motor Sales when the readout was 2,707 miles.  Mileage Inconsistency, says Carfax.  Well, duh!


The most recent Carfax entry on Joe’s old Accord was in December of last year, at 3,341 miles, when the car was purchased by someone in Jefferson, South Carolina.  I’m not sure where the car is today nor who’s driving it, but I hope it’s still getting some time on the open road and not mothballed to a museum where it will dry up and deteriorate.

On the subject of Carfax, I was glad to see that my recent Integra’s emissions pass now shows up, so it’s no longer tarnished by that failure when I brought the car to Arizona earlier this year.


My apologies for sporadic blog posts in recent weeks as I’m still underwater with home and career activities.  It seems the road tripping has taken a back burner.  My home in Scottsdale, Arizona is on the market and I’ve taught myself how to do some basic repairs.

ABC--FILE PHOTO--HOME IMPROVEMENT-- Starring in the ABC Televison Network's hit comedy series, HOME IMPROVEMENT, are (top to bottom) Tim Allen, Patricia Richardson, Zachary Ty Bryan, Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Taran Smith.

I was quite proud of some drywall repair results, and I spent an entire evening doing a repaint on my guest bedroom which turned out pretty flawlessly.  Here a friend captured me attempting some bathroom updates whilst multi-tasking with my work laptop.


I ended up with more paint on my hands and shorts than on the wall, I’m pretty sure.


It’s yet TBD if I’ll be getting the “dream house” I have my sights set on, but I’m crossing fingers and hoping so.  It would be great news from a car-parking perspective as it has lots of garage space.


I had an electrician at my home correcting a few small things on Friday afternoon.  I was in the kitchen and he was in the other room working on a light switch.  “All those cars outside yours?” he asked.  “Yeah, I have six cars.”  He responded, “What’s that, you fix cars?”  “Uhh, yeah, that’s right,” I said.  Sometimes I’d just rather not explain the car-collecting craziness.

This week I visited my friend Mirel at his new shop where he’s started a used car dealership.  On site were 3 Legend coupes and a 1992 Dodge Stealth (I’ve always liked those).


Cool plate!


All these Legends are 6-speed manuals.  Mirel has the right idea!


My friend Chris in Maryland has a “twin” car to my Legend sedan.  Awhile back we both decided to go out for a special treat in our own way.  Though separated by 2,009 miles, I enjoyed my iced caramel macchiato and Chris enjoyed his strawberry shake.  My photo on top, his on the bottom.  It’s interesting how the lighting conditions can change the color so much.  In person, they’re identical “Desert Mist Metallic” paint codes.


I extend THANKS to a couple of my friends and readers!  Jason recently had this awesome canvas print made up from my photo at the Arctic Circle back in May.


And Tim mailed me these sweet posters from a Honda museum in Ohio capturing the race team.  Looks like I have plenty of art to adorn my garage now!


The Legend is getting ready for its trip to Atlanta this September.  I’ll be gone for a full week.


And the ILX is in the hands of a couple of friends this weekend in Boise, Idaho.


Green with envy.  These ones want a road trip, too.


The NSX is still in southern Utah and my brother had his friend Grant from Renu Auto do a full detail on it.  The paint is finished off with an “Optimum Gloss Coat” paint coating.  Results speak for themselves!


Looking forward to bringing this one back to AZ later this fall.


Lastly, you all know I have my “Spy Shot Roundup” posts on a regular basis.  In all my years of collecting spy shots from people, I’ve had the same car submitted by multiple people before.  Like twice.  But in recent weeks, FOUR DIFFERENT SPIES have sent me this 1992 Legend L sedan wearing Wisconsin plates!  The owner has to be wondering by now why she’s being followed by such a skilled group of paparazzi!

From Beau, July 16th, 2016


From Jack, July 20th, 2016


From Matt, July 21st, 2016


From Kyle, August 1, 2016


Unreal!  I’m bound to run into this one eventually!

Check out our wacky late-summer “monsoon” weather.  This 17-second video shows a courtyard at my office on Friday.  First, getting torrential rains, and later – within a couple of hours – with blue skies and sunshine.  Make up your mind, Mother Nature!

Throwback Thursday: December 1997 “Dirt Wheels” Magazine Feature

Posted in Throwback on July 28, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra):  236,569


Odometer (ILX):  176,656


From an early age, I became obsessed with any wheeled mode of transportation.  I created intricate roadways for my Hot Wheels and die-cast model cars in the front yard.  I even remember “driving” those model cars on a treadmill that was rolling a slow speed.  And I used to wash and wax my bicycles.  Seriously.  (I’m at left here, Aug 1990)


It’s no wonder I’ve become the car fanatic I am today.  But before I received my driver license, I was behind the wheel of a different kind of ride:  my family’s all-terrain-vehicles (four wheelers).  Dad’s bright yellow 1995 Yamaha Kodiak 400 cc go-anywhere beast became my pride and joy.  It was later outfitted with an aftermarket Warn winch up front and was virtually unstoppable in any terrain.


Best of all, my grandparents at the time had a cabin in central Utah with access to hundreds of miles of ATV trails.  In fact, one nearby town (Fillmore), to this day hosts an annual “jamboree” where riders come from all around the country to enjoy a weekend of fun and adventure.  This year’s National ATV Jamboree jamboree took place about a month ago.  It’s akin to the National Acura Legend Meets that I’ve so religiously attended over the last decade.


The Paiute ATV Trail system, named for the Native American tribe that originally settled the area, is seemingly endless.  There are some 800+ miles’ worth of trails waiting to be driven, and the main loop would take 25 riding hours to complete.  I always dreamed of doing that:  Strapping a tent to the rack of my four-wheeler, taking a cooler of food essentials, and just driving for days.  Seems like even at age 14, I had an appetite for the open road.

I can’t believe it’s been two decades!  In August 1997, I wrote a letter to Dirt Wheels Magazine asking them to include a photo in the “Parting Shot” section.  That photo was taken along the Paiute ATV Trail sometime during that summer.  At left is brother Bentley on the Yamaha Kodiak, in the middle is brother Payton on the Kawasaki Mule, and at right (with bleached hair!) I’m sitting atop the Polaris Trail Boss.


Another view from different perspective.


This was my letter to Dirt Wheels.  That signature!  How many 15-year-olds do you know who take themselves that seriously?


Well, it worked.  Four months later, my submission showed up at the very top of the page.  I rushed to the newsstand as soon as I got my issue in the mail so that I could buy up several extra copies.


Here are some other photos from our ATVing adventures over the years in the late 1990s.  First was my grandparents’ cabin, nicknamed “Paradise Found,” during a snowy winter.  The most important part of this photo is the trunk lid of my 1986 Chevy Celebrity which is clearly visible at bottom left.


Bentley, dad, mom, Payton, and me.  And Shadow!  Our pup.  Out hiking somewhere in the mountain range.


Grandma giving a thumbs-up.  Helmets for safety first!


Hiking with grandma, and cousin Braxton.


Payton riding on the front of the Mule, I guess?


Wintertime 4-wheeler ride.  With chains on the tires.


I miss that T-shirt.  “GET FOCUSED.”


Views for days.


Thanks for coming along on the ATV ride down Memory Trail!

New Domain Name, Some Integra Maintenance, & A Visitor from Oregon

Posted in Integra, Legend, Maintenance on July 26, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  544,040


Odometer (Legend Sedan):  150,439


Odometer (ILX):  176,539


I’m all grown up now.  After over 5 years on a free WordPress account, I’d reached about 85% of my allowed media capacity and kept getting warnings about going over.  I’ve shared 14,541 photos on the blog and they take up 2.6 gigabytes worth of space.  So, it was time to upgrade, and along with a paid registration came the opportunity to become an official “dot-commer.”  You can now find this page by typing in simply “drivetofive.com.”  Celebrate good times (c’mon!).

Today’s updates fall into the “hodge podge” category.  Surprise:  I didn’t go anywhere this past weekend.  I’ve had too many other things going on house wise, career wise, and otherwise.  But I did get to enjoy spending time with a visiting friend from Oregon, beat the heat at a Sunday matinee, and attend a planning call with the NSX Club of America (NSXCA) about current events and activities.

The NSXCA, by the way, is sporting a new website of its own.  Check it out.  I can assure you the internal member page is pretty slick – including downloadable copies of the Club’s quarterly magazine, NSX Driver.  Worth the $40 membership annually if you’re an owner or even just an enthusiast.


We even occasionally get “insider” deals on stuff like, say, the new NSX.  Berlina Black, anyone?


Also in the cool car category is this stellar-looking 1982 DMC DeLorean.  Believe it or not, my boss drives this car and she’s the original owner!  She was proud to show it off last Friday at the office and the next time we get the chance, we’re taking it for a spin.  Maybe I can even get some time behind the wheel.  Unfortunately Shea Blvd doesn’t have anywhere we could safely get up to 88 miles per hour, so maybe another time we could try that.


My friend Kyle and I did an overnight car swap which was a nice change of pace.  He borrowed the ILX and I got the keys to his 400-hp 2005 Pontiac GTO 6-speed.  It has just a little over 101,000 miles on the odometer but looks showroom fresh inside & out thanks to Kyle’s attention to detail.  I was a little paranoid to even drive the thing, but I greatly enjoyed my commute home on Friday afternoon.   The GTO is a car that demands brute force to drive.  The clutch is heavy, the gear shift takes effort, and the doors close with a resounding thud.  There is nothing delicate or dainty about this car.  Not to mention the fact that the exhaust note will awaken anyone within earshot – a mile away.


The Integra came back into service after a couple-week hiatus.  Tait Johnson, better known as “Hon-Man” of Tempe, Arizona, went through the old 1992 GS-R and gave it a real thorough once-over.


The main service item he addressed was a timing belt & water pump change.  This is a routine maintenance item in most 1990s Honda cars, due every eight (?) years or 90,000 miles.  In the Legend, I routinely hit the mileage limit before the time limit over the years.  Additionally, I had Tait address a couple of suspension/braking concerns and install a new catalytic converter.  Some of you may recall that this car failed emissions last month when I tried getting it registered for the first time here in Arizona.  Now she’s passed with flying colors.


List of completed maintenance items


Emissions report – success!


And Arizona’s newest resident!  “Action Auto Title,” by the way – shown in the background – is a third-party DMV agent that I’m trying out for the first time.  Do you hate going to the DMV as much as I do?  This place was a breeze!  I was assisted immediately.  The plate was cozy and smelled of a scented candle.  And the rates are only a fraction more expensive than the DMV.   $55 for two year tags – you just can’t beat that.


I whizzed out to Tonopah on Saturday in the Legend to get its fluids up and moving.  This car won’t be seeing much action until the National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) in Atlanta this coming September.




I polished tips on both the sedan & the Integra.


Later that evening, I stopped by the weekly “Pavilions” car show in Scottsdale.  My friend Michael was attending in his black 2006 Acura TL that he wanted me to check out.  It’s in great shape for being 10 years old!



My friend Justin made his arrival from Roseburg, Oregon on Sunday afternoon.  He’s a fellow car nut who I’ve followed on Instagram for some time now.  And for whatever reason, he decided to leave his beautiful, green state and subject himself to summer’s wrath here in Phoenix during the hottest time of the year.


His 2010 Audi A3 TDI wagon got him around in style, though.


Speaking of Oregonians, congratulations are going out to my buddy Ira in Portland who took delivery of a 2016 TLX in Crystal Black Pearl on Monday.  His new ride is outfitted with the complete Sport Underbody Kit and the accessory wheels.  Instead of a key handoff, his drive-away was accompanied by a (very) “high five.”


And lastly, I don’t know how my buddy Alex does it, but he has a way with capturing odometer readings.  Check this one out.  Rolling over 95,000 miles, with a 95-degree external temperature, driving 59 miles per hour.

Thanks for sharing, Alex!  I can’t compete with that!


Weekend Road Trip: Phoenix to San Diego, California for James’ Birthday

Posted in California, ILX, Road Trip on July 18, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  543,881


Odometer (ILX):  175,686


Trip Distance:  730 Miles


You really can’t get a much better  7-day weather forecast than this.  Highs in the 70s. Lows in the 60s.


It’s no wonder us Phoenicians don’t think twice about flocking to the coastline in mid-summer for a gasp of sea air from time to time.  Yesterday afternoon, I was sprawled in the shade of a palm tree on the grass at the Hotel del Coronado.  The Pacific coast was a picture of perfection:  a light breeze, the sound of the crashing waves, and the smell of fresh flowers.  The grounds at the “del” were immaculate as always.  The historic hotel, built in 1888, has always been a place for San Diego’s elite to vacation.  It’s no wonder the cost for 2 hours of parking is $30 and brunch costs $90.


My seven friends and I didn’t pay for either, as we’d opted to park several blocks away (for free) on a surface street and we ate at Panda Express instead.  But at least the scenery didn’t cost us a penny, and I think a couple of the guys may have even snagged a seashell or two to take home as a souvenir.

The reason for the season was a birthday gathering:  James turned 30 last week and he decided to take the party to Southern California.  It’s only about a five-and-a-half hour drive from Phoenix to San Diego, and with enough advance notice, James was able to arrange an “AirBNB” home for our group in the convenient North Park part of town, right off the I-8 and I-805 freeways.


Kyle took the wheel of the ILX on Friday afternoon for the drive out so that I could telecommute from the road, in the passenger seat.  By the time we descended to sea level at the coastline, the sun had dipped below the Pacific and nighttime had fallen.  Our three-story home for the weekend was right off Idaho Street & El Cajon Boulevard:  “The Gateway to Mid City.”  Saturday morning took us to Pacific Beach which was bustling with people and entertainment.  The water temperature was brisk initially but really not all that bad.  I’d forgotten my flip-flops so I spent $5.99 on a two-pack of them at CVS Pharmacy which promptly fell apart as soon as a strong wave ripped one off my feet.  I guess I got my money’s worth.



We spent the evening in San Diego’s uptown “Hillcrest” district, exploring the streets, freeways, and cuisine.  I twas a a contrast to see the many people outside enjoying the weather.  Central Phoenix after-hours is usually somewhat of a ghost town in comparison.


That brings us to our visit to Coronado Island on Sunday morning.  Once isolated from ‘mainland’ San Diego, Coronado (Spanish for “crowned one”) became connected in 1969 thanks to a 2.12-mile, curved bridge.  It’s five lanes wide with the center lane reserved for emergency use as well as a reversible lane for peak traffic times.  Up until 2002, the bridge cost a $1.00-per-car toll for westbound traffic, but that toll was discontinued after the original bond had been paid.  Today, the roadway carries 75,000 vehicles per day.  We encountered fairly heavy traffic not on the bridge itself, but after arriving on the island and making our way to Hotel del Coronado.  (not my pic here)



Interestingly enough, the San Diego – Coronado Bridge is the third-deadliest “suicide bridge” in the United States.  Between 1972 and 2000, some 200 people jumped to their deaths.  There are signs along the road urging people to call a suicide hotline.  Yikes.


The Hotel del Coronado is home to what is believed to be the world’s oldest living Christmas tree.  First decorated in 1904, a huge pine tree on the grounds continues to be decorated every December.  Unfortunately I didn’t snag a picture of it, but it was far too big to fit in the viewfinder when I walked underneath it anyway!

Interstate 8 brought us back to the desert on Sunday afternoon, where reality soon set in and it was time to do laundry and get ready for the work week.  But the memories will live on we’re glad we got to enjoy the birthday festivities in such an awesome place as San Diego.  Thanks for joining for the trip!

Shell station in Gila Bend, Arizona


Sunset and windmills on westbound I-8 Friday night


Pacific Beach on Saturday with Rob and James


This is a “Baked Bear” ice cream sandwich.  Cookie on one end, brownie on the other end, and cookie dough ice cream in the middle.  TDF (to die for).  Especially since the cookie & brownie were warmed up.


Kyle borrowed the ILX and we drove behind for a block or two in James’ Lexus RX450h.


Entering El Cajon Boulevard


Crossing the San Diego – Coronado Bridge


Arriving at the Hotel del Coronado


Group photo overlooking at the beach at the hotel:  Rob, Kyle, James, Tyson, Chandler, Jack, Michael, Chris


ILX after fueling up in Tavern Rd in Alpine


Have a great week!


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