Utah & Idaho – 4th of July Adventures
Odometer (Legend): 514,705
Odometer (ILX): 4,616
Celebration time! Tomorrow (Tuesday, July 10th) marks the 4 week anniversary of the day that I took the key to my new car from John Watts of Acura Digital Marketing when it had just 16 miles on the odometer.
Since that time, the ILX has been driven exactly 4,600 miles.
I’ve spent 92 hours, 16 minutes behind the wheel.
And the car has averaged 31.3 miles per gallon.
“Alex” the ILX scampered all the way to Idaho and back over the last several days. The plan of attack looked something like this:
As we near 5,000 miles, the 2013 ILX is already proving itself a capable, comfortable alternative (can’t say replacement!) to the old Legend. Even after subjecting the car to an 11-hour drive yesterday it wouldn’t phase me to hop in the driver’s seat and do the same drive again today. The ILX demonstrated power on the steep grades, ample entertainment for the many hours of driving, and better-than-advertised fuel economy. I’d say based on my experience so far, this car’s a winner. Here’s a photo essay of where my Independence Day travels took me.
First rainstorm in the new car, northbound on Hwy 93 on the morning of July 4, 2012. So much for that immaculate undercarriage!
Wikieup, Arizona. “Eat at Joe’s” BBQ. I’ve always wanted to try the grub but never had time!
Bluetooth – figured it out! First call was to my friend Linh who said she could hear me loud and clear. I also figured out how to play music from my iPhone through the car’s stereo system without using the USB cable. Pretty slick design here.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Home to “Midnight Mayhem” drag races that I used to attend frequently.
Hopping back on Interstate 15 after a fuel up.
There are a couple sections of rural central Utah where speed limits are a generous 80 mph. The ILX is around 3,400 RPM at that speed but doesn’t drone or give the driver a headache, thanks to its extensive sound deadening.
Pit stop for fuel in Beaver, Utah. Home to 2,400 people and an outlet store for Cache Valley Cheese. Anyone like cheese curd as much as I do?
Approaching Nephi, Utah on Interstate 15.
My favorite trucks. Have YOU had your Tyson today?
And finally among the Wasatch Mountain Range in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Honey, I shrunk my ILX! Perched on the rooftop of my friend Branson’s house with Marcus and Matt in Salt Lake City, we had a nice vantage point of my parking space out front. We scouted out locations to watch that evening’s fireworks.
I connected with my friend Jeff who was visiting Salt Lake from Alberta, Canada and we decided to do a little (okay, a lot of) hiking. “Mount Timpanogos” looms 11,749 feet above the Utah Valley. Ambitious hikers can access the summit via a 14-mile round-trip hike. Jeff and I took along our other friend Devin and ventured out from the trailhead (elevation 6,900 feet) with our eyes on the prize.
It wasn’t long until we were right among the cascading waterfalls caused by spring run-off. Truly spectacular sights & sounds.
But about 45 minutes into our elevation gain, a steady drizzle turned into a full-fledged rainstorm. Coupled with the cold wind (there’s still snow in the ground at this elevation!), slippery mud/rocks, and our lack of adequate rain gear, we quickly learned that this would be a challenge. We did still press on!
In the end we in fact did not reach the summit, but we did reach a small stone shelter built in 1959 at Emerald Lake, at elevation 10,380 feet after about 2 1/2 hours. By that time, my clothes and backpack were soaked all the way through, my shoes were a muddy/squishy mess, and I was absolutely freezing. The cloud cover kept us from being able to see much of a view from up there, unfortunately. But my screaming leg muscles told me we must have been pretty high up! The descent went much faster for us.
A great hike that I highly recommend if you’re ever near the Provo, Utah area and feeling outdoorsy. But remember to take a rain poncho if there’s any mention at all of rain in the forecast.
I took the opportunity later that afternoon to head to Logan, Utah in the ILX. One of my favorite scenic drives of all time is through Sardine Canyon which runs from Brigham City to Logan. Fall colors there are simply unmatched, and I vow to go back later this year to capture some of them with my camera. I did pull off Highway 89/91 for a few pictures of the ILX in the green hills.
Finally, arrival at Grandma’s house and a “traditional” lap around her yard.
Logan is also home to 14,000 students attending Utah State University – home of the Aggies. I graduated as a proud USU student in December 2005 from the university’s Business program. A painted-over drive-in movie theater at the south end of town pays tribute to the university.
On campus at the “Old Main” building which dates back to 1890 when the university was called “Agricultural College of Utah.”
Kid tested, mother approved. Mom took the wheel of the ILX for a test-drive around the neighborhood and seemed right at home rowing through the gears.
The next morning it was time for a bath. An exciting discovery awaited me when I went to pull the car into the garage from its steep driveway parking space. This car actually has a feature that prevents it from rolling backward unintentionally when starting off from a stop! I tested it out a few times. It’s an ingenious idea that keeps the driver from having to do the whole clutch-brake-clutch fancy feet move to keep from rolling back.
I wasn’t content to be THIS close (only 20 miles!) to Idaho without making a little jaunt north of the border, so my mom and I set off in the ILX on Friday for a little adventure. Many of my readers are probably familiar with the 2004 film “Napoleon Dynamite” about a nerdy high schooler. The movie was filmed in the tiny 5,000 population town of Preston Idaho in southeastern Idaho, so my mom and I made a pilgrimage to check it out.
Idaho joins Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California on the list of visited states for the ILX.
After some help from Google, we found out the address to the home used in the movie. A dirt road didn’t stop us from taking the ILX the rest of the way there.
And, our arrival. The home looks exactly the same today as it did in the movie 8 years ago.
Unfortunately, though, there was no pet llama “Tina” on the property as was seen in the film.
Here’s one of my favorite scenes from the movie.
Saturday it was time to attend the Cache Valley Cruise-In car show which has become a tradition for my family in Logan, Utah. The show draws over 1,000 cars each year and is always held on or around the 4th of July.
I happened across this high-mileage beauty: a 1963 Corvette proudly driven by its original owner, Steve Stone. His Corvette has a story as exciting as my old Legend does! Steve’s hit the 48 lower U.S. states as well as 11 Canadian provinces in his car. I chatted with him for several minutes about his 487,000 miles of travels and wish I could have stayed longer to learn more. This is a guy I can relate to!
In other high mileage news: If you haven’t already heard the story of Irvin Gordon and you’re a high mileage car buff, take note. His 3 million mile quest in his 1966 Volvo inspires us all! Makes my measly little 500,000 mile achievement seem like not such a big deal! Here’s the article.
S’mores around a campfire in Logan Canyon finished off the evening last Saturday.
The return trip to Phoenix was long but fun. Mantua, Utah is a little community nestled in Sardine Canyon.
For the 727-mile SLC-PHX leg of the trip, I had a co-driver. This picture was taken in the Virgin River Gorge on southbound Interstate 15 which to this day is one of the most expensive stretches of interstate ever — thanks to the extensive work it took to carve the road through the canyon.
Just beyond Hoover Dam at 4,526 miles on the odometer, we had a warning come up on the display indicating a loose fuel cap. We double checked the cap and it was tight (clicked), so we shut the car off & restarted it to see if the problem reset. It did.
And a parting shot from last night’s sunset on Hwy 93 southbound with Matt at the wheel. Arizona sunsets just never seem to get old.
The ILX continues demonstrating its abilities as a great road-tripper and strikes a great balance between being fun to drive, yet not wearing out its driver on an all-day trip.
My experience thus far is best summed up with the reaction of an onlooker after I pulled in for fuel at Chevron in Salt Lake City on Saturday: “Oh my GOSH that car is so gorgeous! Is it a 2013!?” I told her that yes, it’s a 2013, and no, she couldn’t have it! I’m having way too much fun with the new ride.