TOP TEN COUNTDOWN now in effect!
It’s all downhill from here. The big 4-9-0 was achieved on Interstate 17 southbound in Glendale, Arizona this afternoon near the Thunderbird Road exit. I’d been returning from a trip to my homeland.
If a bridge existed over the Grand Canyon, I’d probably have a lot fewer miles on my car than I do today. The Great State of Utah is where my roots lie and where all my family currently resides, so I end up going around the nat’l park frequently. The Legend could drive itself to Utah on autopilot from just about any direction. I typically visit my hometown in the southwestern corner of the state at least once a month – a roughly 400 mile, 6 hour trip from the PHX metro area each way. After leaving Los Angeles on Saturday morning, I set out northbound to UT instead of eastbound to AZ.
The trek through the Mojave Desert from the LA area to St. George is a breeze. It only takes one freeway, I-15, to get from A to B. I hadn’t driven this stretch of road in several years so I took the chance to appreciate a couple of my highlights on this particular trip:
Between the desert cities of Barstow and Baker, California, lies a road known as Zzyzx. I captured this image while holding the camera out of my open sunroof. Besides being a fun word to look at, the road does have a bit of history.
Credit to Wikipedia for the following background: The name Zzyzx was given to the area in 1944 by Curtis Howe Springer, claiming it to be the last word in the English language. Springer made up the word’s pronunciation “zy-zicks”. He established the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa in 1944 at the spot, which was federal land, after filing mining claims for 12,000 acres surrounding the springs. He used the springs to bottle his water and provide drinks for travelers through the hot desert.
In light of the fact that I captured a picture at the World’s Largest Firecracker last weekend, I had to make a pit stop at the World’s Tallest Thermometer on Saturday. This particular engineering marvel is significant because of its announcement of Baker, California as the gateway to Death Valley. It was also the first backdrop I ever used during a photoshoot with my Legend. I made a stop here on my drive home to Utah after purchasing the car in San Jose, California on the night of March 27, 2003. Here is the picture from that day many years ago. Pic of a pic = poor quality. This was back in the olden days of 35mm film.
And the current version from this weekend. Thankfully the car looks largely the same even after all those miles. It certainly runs just as well.
The thermometer is the most prominent feature of this town of around 700 people. It stands 134 feet tall – a number significant because that was the highest temperature recorded in Death Valley (see my blog post from last weekend!).
Hidden among my cargo for this trip was a set of 17″ Toyota wheels that I had picked up in AZ for my brother to deliver to him. This is far from the first time my Legend has doubled as a pickup truck. When I managed to fit four full size SUV wheels including tires into my 2 door car last week, the look on the seller’s face was priceless.
Quick shout-out to my friend Jeremy who drove to St. George this weekend and spent a little bit of time with me and my family. He’s the one who encouraged me to start this blog in the first place. He’s got pretty good taste in cars too and is as loyal to Lexus as I am to Acura.
Before the Phoenix return trip this morning, I stopped for a quick picture on the hill overlooking town. The DIXIE painted on the side of the sandstone ledge denotes this area as “Utah’s Dixie” since it was settled in the 1800’s by Mormon pioneers who were sent to the area to grow cotton. Look extra closely at this picture and you’ll see some adventurous people rappelling – one atop the rock, and another inside the “D.”
The most prominent building, to the right of the frame, is the Mormon temple.
Despite the opening of the Hoover Dam bypass bridge, there’s still a traffic bottleneck in that area on summer weekends and today was no exception. I hit about a 15-minute delay but otherwise today’s return trip to PHX was most enjoyable. My favorite stretch of “straight line” road lies just south of the dam access road (laugh it up, I said dam road). It’s Hwy 93 and it leads you to Kingman, Arizona on a 60 mile journey where you literally can just leave your steering wheel positioned straight ahead and not touch it for the duration. Boring to some, but I find it a great chance to set the cruise control and just space out a little bit to some good music while watching the desert fly by.
I’m often asked if I have any predictions on where or when the 500,000 mark will roll around. At this point, I’m really not sure! Looking ahead to the next 10,000 miles, I don’t anticipate any major roadblocks to getting me there. Mechanically there are only a few things on the car that I’d say may need some attention.
- That clutch – I keep saying it – continues to perform but is definitely not happy about it. It will be a real feat to milk another 10k out of the original. In the meantime, my left leg gets a workout.
- Brake rotors. They’re original too! Per my records, they were machined at 37,409 miles by Pleasanton Acura and then machined again at 89,784 miles by Precision Auto Repair. I’ve never touched them during my ownership which started at 95,000, but have done a few sets of pads along the way.
- I still haven’t changed the multi-crack windshield but at this point, I’d rather just roll around with the old one as long as I can.
I’ll close out with a sunset pic from last week at my home. Arizona has the best sunsets! Onward to 500,000.