Off-Roading an Acura

Odometer: 12,436


Are you crazy?   A luxury sport coupe is not meant to leave the pavement!

It’s time for a Friday Flashback.  At 315,845 miles in March, 2008, I took my Legend where no Legend had gone before.  Following is the write-up that I shared on the Acura Legend forums at that time after completing what I called an “Adventurous Sunday Drive.”

Hope you enjoy following along as much as I enjoy reminiscing about that fun road trip from years ago…

There’s a road I’ve been wanting to drive for a long time now.  It’s Arizona Highway 88, also known as the Apache Trail.  The road was constructed in the early 1900’s as a stagecoach route and at the time was the only link between Phoenix and the mining town of Globe.  It has since been bypassed by a more efficient route and is lightly traveled except by tourists.

Article – Scenic Drive:  Apache Trail

So this morning I got up at the crack of dawn and headed out.

The road is one of the curviest, windiest roads I’ve ever driven on and I was lucky to have it all to myself.  The first 20 miles or so are paved and go through some beautiful canyon passes.  At a summit, however, the pavement ends and the remaining 22 MILES of the road are unpaved.  That’s where the fun started.

I had a great time and never encountered another vehicle at any time during my drive — which was lucky because there were many stretches where it would have been impossible to pass.  The road was graded gravel for most of the distance, but the washboard was pretty bad and it kept causing my TCS to activate until I finally just turned it off.

There is one stretch of the road — called the Fish Creek Grade — where the road drops 900 feet within a mile.  From the web:

Steep-sided canyons, rock outcroppings and magnificent geologic formations are all along the road. Fish Creek Canyon is perhaps the most awe-inspiring section. The road hangs on the side of this high-walled canyon and winds its way along tremendous precipices that sink sheer for hundreds of feet below.

Here you can see this section of the road.  The view is pretty incredible once you’re down at the bottom.  You look up and realize how much of a drop-off it was.  This was one of the widest sections where I took the picture; the rest was strictly a one-laner.

Most of the guard rail is just wooden planks except for a few sections.  It’s a lot steeper than it looks!!

Awesome view of Fish Creek once you get to the bottom of the canyon.

Lots of huge saguaro catci along the road.

This little cave would be fun to hike in.

One of several one-lane bridges.

Can you find the coupe?  Again, Desert Mist is a great color for being camouflaged in the desert!

Just stirring up a dust cloud.

I had a little too much speed coming into one of the corners, and the car started going sideways on me in the dirt.  Then I decided the Legend wasn’t a rally car and decided to take it easy!

Great view from up top.


Approaching Roosevelt Dam, where 88 meets up with 188 and the off-roading is over.

Just past the dam.

When you finally get a view of the lake, it’s AWESOME.  The morning light was hitting it just right.

Today, my Legend has traveled another 200,000 miles since that eventful Sunday drive.  Next time I head for the dirt hills, I’ll hopefully take an MDX.  Though I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the 1996-1998 Acura SLX!

ILX Update:

I stopped by Acura North Scottsdale this week to see what was on the lot.  For the first time, I saw an ILX with a chromed-out set of the factory 17″ Premium package wheels.  Looks good!  This car was a 2.0 liter automatic model.

My ILX is doing well!  A few “current events” items:

  • About 2 1/2 months after taking delivery of my ILX, I have now finally seen a fellow ILX driver on the road!  On Saturday afternoon at 6 p.m. in north Phoenix (56th Street & Deer Valley), a Polished Metal Metallic ILX Premium passed me going the opposite direction.  Made my day!
  • In playing around with the push-button start, I realized that if the car’s moving and you hold the button in for 5 seconds or so, it’ll shut the car off even while you’re moving.  Good to know in case of emergencies.
  • My goofball friend Matt decided it would be fun to call his phone using my bluetooth system in the ILX while we were both riding in the car.  When he then answered his own phone from within the ILX, he was able to use the ILX speakers to amplify whatever he was saying into his phone.  Random!
  • I finally took the time to program my door locks so that they don’t always try to lock themselves when I’m driving, nor do they automatically unlock themselves when I turn the car off.  It’s handy being able to customize those settings.

Today I ran the ILX the lowest it’s ever gone on the fuel tank.  Range said 27 miles.  I started getting a “Low Fuel” warning when the range was in the mid-30’s.

It only took 10.4 gallons to fill up.

And then when I got underway again, the range shot sky-high to 457 miles.

I guess that means I’ll be getting 41.34 mpg on each of those 10.4 gallons I just added?

Nothing quite like a drive home from work, coming up on a 3-day weekend, with the right tunes blasting, an Orange Berry Blitz smoothie from Jamba Juice in the cupholder, and a classic Arizona sunset like this.

Big weekend adventures await.

Anybody else remember this classic 1987 John Candy & Steve Martin movie?

That’s a hint about what I’ve got up my sleeve for the next few days.  Tune in next time!

Have a great weekend.

12 Responses to “Off-Roading an Acura”

  1. Interesting post as always. But I can’t wait to hear more about this:
    “The old high-miler Legend, meanwhile, will be the feature of my next blog post. Exciting things are happening with it!”

    • Yes, yes, I promised an update! Truth is I’m waiting for some pictures from my friend John before I can reveal what that’s all about. It’s nothing crazy, I assure you. Just a nice chance in the spotlight for the old road warrior. Next week!

  2. Travel SAFE over the holiday weekend Tyson!

  3. Acura SLX? I never knew! They’re known as either a ‘Holden Jackaroo’ or an ‘Isuzu Bighorn’ over here!

    • Yes! And I think I got the date range wrong – it was 1996-1999. Basically an Isuzu Trooper with a different grille, different wheels, color-matched side mirrors and some interior Acura amenities. Rare around these parts!

      • Diesel and petrol options? Wow they left it late when they took them on I think they were available here from ’92?, There’s plenty still around here in various idenities! Not Acura though! Honda did a lot of ‘rebagding?’ i guess you’d say, Landrover Dicovery known as a Honda ‘Crossroads’, and an Isuzu Mu (Mysterious Utility) as a Honda, get this, ‘Jazz’!, and of course the Honda version of the SLX, the ‘Horizon!’. The weird things they did!

  4. Those sunset photos are amazing! I have Bremen looking for an ILX on the roads up here in northern Utah as well but so far without a sighting. Have a magical weekend! (“Those aren’t pillows!”)

  5. *been instead of Bremen. That’s what happens at 5:30 a.m. when eyes are not yet focused

  6. I forgot about the SLX but I saw an old Honda Passport which reminded me they were rebadged Isuzu Rodeos. Planes trains and automobiles- one of my all time favorite movies. Tyson- had seen a bunch of ILXs in Nj at my local dealer ast month but none on the road until or trip to South Carolina this past week where I saw 3 along the way down.

    • Marc, that’s pretty cool you were able to spot 3 of them! Glad the ILX is catching on. I’ll shortly have a post up discussing the outcome of the PT&A weekend. Hope you’re having a good weekend too!

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