Family Time: Trip to Beaver, Utah

Odometer:  14,604

It wouldn’t be a Drive to Five weekend unless it involved traveling at least 1,000 miles, right?  If the Grand Canyon National Park hadn’t been in my way of getting to southern Utah to visit my family, it would’ve been a lot shorter.  Maybe someday they’ll bridge it.

After spending Friday night in my hometown of St. George, Utah, I joined 5 other family members for an annual pilgrimage of sorts.  Each fall, we visit the location where we’ve buried the remains of my great-grandmother, “Granny,” far into the hills of a remote canyon in central Utah.  We took two vehicles and the Acura ILX was one of them.

The 100-mile drive to Beaver from St. George goes quickly via Interstate 15 thanks to its 80 mph speed limit for most of the way.  My cousin Dillon and his wife Crystal joined me for the drive up.  Thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, Dillon was able to be our DJ and we rocked out to some music selections from his iPhone as we motored northbound.  Turns out we’re both fans of the musical group “Fun.”

Beaver‘s a 2,500-resident town that claims its fame as being the birthplace to Philo T. Farnsworth (inventor of TV) and the birthplace of Butch Cassidy.  Beaver is also home to the ‘best tasting rural water’ , based on a 2006 contest that spanned the entire United States.  We didn’t stick around town long enough to appreciate the water, but instead continued our drive and climbed State Route 153 to the east which would lead us up the Tushar Mountain Range, shown as the curvy yellow road in the following map.

The ILX hugged the curves during our ascent into Beaver Canyon.  A river parallels the two-lane highway and the landscape is very green.  Moonroof-open is the only way to travel on a road like this in September.

About 10 miles up the road, however, we were met with a road closure due to installation of a water main.  “You can go around,” a UDOT representative told us, “But it’s a 22 mile dirt road detour via Kent Lake and I wouldn’t take that car on it,” as she motioned to the ILX.  Bummed out but still determined to make our trek, we parked the ILX and piled into the Dodge Nitro to resume our adventure.

As it turns out, having a high clearance vehicle was definitely a necessity.  The detour was full of washboard, ruts, and huge potholes that bounced us around plenty.  We maxed out at 10,000 feet in elevation – this road was way up there!  We did make it safely to our destination (though an hour or so delayed) and pigged out on our picnic lunch.  Here are some pictures from our Saturday activity.

The red rocks of southern Utah have made the area famous for its popularity as a place to film old Western movies.

The climb into Beaver Canyon is (as my grandpa says) “gargeous” this time of year.

But here’s where we encountered our little speed bump in the plans:

No matter – we ditched the ILX for Jodi’s Dodge Nitro 4×4 and left the ILX at the roadside for a few hours.

The rest of our voyage up the mountain looked something like this, but with some sections of road in far worse condition and with steep grades.

The scenery, though, was phenomenal.  Anderson Lake looked like a nice place to stop for some fishing if we’d been prepared.

Grandma in the cargo area – yes.  She insisted!

Bathroom break and a chance to validate our directions.  It’s a good thing we stopped, in fact, because for a short time we’d been traveling the wrong way.  Though they may not be highly visible in this shot, my cousin Dillon (in front of the Dodge) is facing probably a dozen cows that were creeping closer to us.

Finally, we did reach our picnic destination along a small creek.

It took a few retakes (and a few laughs) to figure out Aunt Jodi’s iPhone timer and find something to use as a tripod.

The drive back down the mountain went much more quickly.  After retrieving the ILX, we made a customary stop at Mel’s Drive-In on Main Street in Beaver for ice cream.

Mom got a vanilla cone since twist cones weren’t available that day.

Saddle up!

And we’re off again.

What a great way to spend the afternoon with family!  Nothing like a road trip to bring us closer together.

Following are some of the other pictures from this weekend.

The ILX prior to this trip, by the way, got its first wax job with Meguiar’s Gold Class.  My fave!

Highway 93 in northwestern Arizona.  Home to Nothing.  Literally.  This town – if it can even be called that – is the town of Nothing.  Population 4.  The “All Mart” looks like it’s been closed for quite some time.  From a placard that’s since been removed from the site:

Town of Nothing Arizona. Founded 1977. Elevation 3269ft.
The staunch citizens of Nothing are full of Hope, Faith, and Believe in the work ethic. Through the years, these dedicated people had faith in Nothing, hoped for Nothing, worked at Nothing, for Nothing.

One of many call boxes along the highway.  While I had always thought these were kind of obsolete now that so many motorists are driving around with cellular telephones, the advantage of a call box in an emergency is that the exact location is immediately known by the dispatcher at the other end of the line.

Wikieup Auto Repair.  Wikieup, Arizona.  If you want their attention (per the sign to the left of the picture), you’ve got to “Honk 3 or 4 Times.  Or Call.”  Anyone need a spare hubcap or two?

Wikieup is also home to the Snoopy Rocket.  Yeah, I wasn’t sure what it was either.  But in this picture you can clearly see that the roadside attraction was clearly made out of a telephone pole and features a wooden Snoopy (or two) riding on top.  Bizarre?  You bet.  But totally worth stopping for an ILX photo-op.

I got Rick-Rolled by the ILX right around this time on Pandora – my ’80’s on 8′ station always gives me something to chair dance to!

St. George, Utah Legend sighting.  Rare 1991 L model “Golden Glow Pearl” coupe.  It’d seen better days but it’s a rare color!

Highway 91 in St. George became known as St. George Boulevard and is still one of the main arteries through town.  While many of the old relics of the mid-1900’s have long since been demolished, a few motels like the Sands Motel are still in operation.

I especially like that in the year 2012, the Sands is still advertising the fact that they’ve got color RCA TVs in each room.  When was the last time any of us saw a black and white TV?  I might actually pay extra to stay in a motel room that had one!

While reminiscing about the past, I also drove to and hiked around this old tunnel which in its day was the gateway into town from the north, long before Interstate 15 was sliced through the bluff.

A visit to grandma’s place after that – and what do I find?  Old school pictures on the wall.  I’m at the left.  Bleached hair was all the rage in high school in the late 1990’s.  I promise.

Grandma’s in a Heather Mist Metallic 1997 Acura 3.5 RL seen across the street in this picture.  It’s been in the family since 2004.

Morning hike with a view of the landscape in my beloved hometown.

This morning, I had the chance to chauffeur some very important people to church with me.  My grandpa and grandma took their first ride in the ILX and commented on how smooth it was.

I made the motion to swing into a parking space right near the front door to the church building.  “What are you doing?” Grandpa asked me.  “Just parking,” I responded.  “No, go all the way to the end!” were his instructions.  Sure enough, Grandpa knows proper parking technique!  Must run in the family!

After saying my farewells, it was time to start my 6.5 hour return drive to Scottsdale, Arizona from St. George.  Here’s a state line sign that I hadn’t captured yet.  The Silver State!

I observed 34 mpg in the ILX from Mesquite, Nevada to Kingman, Arizona, about 150-160 miles away.  Just north of Kingman on Highway 93, some ominous storm clouds loomed just ahead.  Sure enough, I got dumped on.  The volume of rain was so bad, in fact, that many cars had pulled off to the side of the road and were waiting the storm out with their emergency flashers activated.  I motored on at a safe rate of speed and got through without any issues.

By the time I got to Phoenix, it was a nice evening out.

And it wouldn’t be a Drive to Five blog post if it didn’t end with a classic Arizona sunset.

This coming Wednesday I’ll celebrate 3 months of Acura ILX ownership and I must say that the nearly 15,000 miles we’ve already shared together have been memorable!   Thanks as always for coming along for the ride!

15 Responses to “Family Time: Trip to Beaver, Utah”

  1. Hey Tyson. how ‘s that clear bra holding up?

    • Hey Dominik, it’s working out great. I have hand waxed the bra with Meguiar’s and that helps it “shed” the bugs once it gets plastered. I’ll re-examine the front end when I give the car a bath sometime this week but so far it’s still looking pretty new!

  2. It was a pleasure and honor to share mileage with you in Alex. Did you get your iPod charger to work? What’s up next on your travel agenda? Oh, you may want to start training for the St. George Marathon…. it’s three weeks from Saturday! See you then if not before. In the interim, happy trails, whether they’re paved or dirt!

    • Yes, thankfully my charger is working. I’m planning on laying low the next couple of weekends, believe it or not. Time to give my car – and my body – a much needed break!

  3. Four very pretty ladies around that tree Tyson! Looks like you all had a great time.

    • I know it! I was a lucky guy to be surrounded by such scenery. We did have a great time. Sounds like you’ve had some adventurous campouts this summer – you and I need to invest in 4×4 vehicles for times like these.

  4. Hey Tyson – the 80mph limit on I-15 must have been a thrill. I came across this feature on the fastest places in the world to drive. I didn’t realize the Bonneville Salt Flats were open to the public! Here’s the link: http://autos.ca.msn.com/editors-picks/the-worlds-fastest-roads

    • Tony, I enjoyed reading through that article! Yes, the Salt Flats are awesome. I have driven on them several times before. A couple of the times that I’ve visited, it’s been after rainstorms and they’re basically salt mud. I saw a Nissan Titan pickup truck totally buried up to its axles in mud one time. I could practically see the undercarriage rusting before my eyes. I posted some pictures of my road racing experience near Bonneville last year. https://drivetofive.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/road-racing/

  5. Quite the adventure! I wonder how many miles you are going to get out of that set of OEM Michelin tires! Who did the Beaver trip best, the GS 430, the ILX, or the Legend!?

    • You know how much I love my Michelins!! I pulled 70k+ out of a set of those on the Legend! It’s hard to beat the torque of a GS430 on the grades up Beaver Canyon. Have you ever stopped at the Cache Valley Cheese outlet in Beaver?! We got cheese curd! The best.

  6. Hey Tyson,

    I frequent many car forums and your story is starting to really get around. It’s very inspiring to me. I’d like to ask your advice if you’d be so kind.

    I kind of have car ADD and I’m always getting and getting rid of cars so I’ve never really had the chance to really pamper a car like you have your Acura, that said, I’m trying to change that, and was wondering what kind of specific detailing regime/products you use?

    I know you’ve posted your excel spreadsheet of your maintenance, but I’m talking the little stuff you do to keep the paint and leather looking so good.

    I’d like to develop a system and every-time I’ve waxed a car it never came out looking all that great. I don’t know what I am/am not doing. I could figure out racing, engine building, etc, but can’t seem to figure out what you’ve mastered. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • John,

      I love it when others can appreciate my crazy obsession with squeezing every last mile out of an automobile and still having it look new.

      I’ve been lucky with my Legend because it’s a rock solid platform to begin with – over-engineered drivetrain, durable finishes, simple maintenance requirements. But it’s still required a lot of attention over the years to keep it maintained and detailed at this level.

      I just ran out space when typing my detail regimen into this text box so I’m going to email you separately. Thanks again for dropping a line – talk to you soon.

  7. Another nice saga. Looks like you had some pretty ladies align on this trip. Great to see the sites you see as you travel around.

    • Thanks, Terry! Yeah I was pretty lucky to be surrounded by these ladies! My grandma sure is a trooper for wanting to ride in the back of that SUV on the dirt road! Hope you have a great weekend. Get that Polished Metal Metallic ILX out for a nice drive.

  8. […] Family Time: Trip to Beaver, Utah […]

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