Road Bucket List

Odometer (Legend):  515,676

Odometer (ILX):  15,511

Life is a highway; I wanna ride it!  All night long.  Anyone who’s followed my blog knows that to me, the journey is way more important than the destination.  I’ve decided to start a record of roads that I absolutely have to drive someday.

1.  Pacific Coast Highway – all the way from Seattle to LA

2.  KEY WEST via Florida Route 1!  Yes please.

3.  The Million Dollar Highway – western Colorado.  I just learned about this one today!

Do any of my readers have any recommendations?  What are some roads in your area that would make for a great Acura-driving adventure?  Check out this awe-inspiring picture gallery of 29 of the world’s best driving roads.  Here’s another one with the 19 “most complex” roads in the world.  The tunnel in China?!  I’m practically drooling.

A Little Architecture History

But this is a car blog, right?  I’ll get to that.  A friend forwarded me a petition this week and asked me to “Save the home of David & Gladys Wright.”  Not one to usually pay much attention to forwarded emails, I decided instead to actually research this one.  Turns out, there’s a pretty cool story to go along with it.

In 1951, just 8 years before his passing, revolutionary architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built this home for his son David.  At the time, its design was borderline crazy – concrete block construction, circular orientation. The entire 2,200 square foot home, in fact, was elevated from the ground on pillars!  The idea was that when built this way, the desert breeze could be enjoyed.  David passed away in 1997 and his wife Gladys died in 2008.  It’s been unoccupied ever since.

Shortly after construction in the 1950’s.

And a more recent picture.

The home is now apparently in jeopardy of being razed in favor of building new homes on the site.  So what did I do?  I took a little Acura ILX detour on the way home from work.

Location:  5212 East Exeter Boulevard, Phoenix Arizona

From overhead, the home truly is just a circle on a huge piece of property – pictured here at center.

That’s some bright afternoon sunshine on a shiny car, but I for sure found the house.  This was taken from the west side of the property on Rubicon Avenue.

I peeked over the chain link fence and snapped this picture.

Indeed, the views of Camelback Mountain are pretty sweet from this street’s location!  Can anybody spot a new accessory on my ILX?

If any of my readers wish to sign the petition as well, it’s located here.  There are lots of nice homes in this area now!  I’d love to own one of these fine estates.

This trip to the Wright home was almost as intriguing as the time in January 2010 when I went with a couple of friends to tour the Phoenix “Mystery Castle” which was built in the 1930’s and constructed entirely of garbage!

It seemed only fitting that I also treat the Legend to a little history lesson this week as well, so on Wednesday night I set out on a quiet solo drive to downtown Phoenix.  My first destination was the historic and haunted Hotel San Carlos, located at 202 North Central Avenue.  The hotel in its day (constructed 1927, opened 1928) was modern and elite.  As fate would have it, though, one of the hotel’s first guests checked in and never left.  Legend has it that her spirit lives in within the hallways.  Actress Leone Jensen dove to her death from the roof of the 7-story building just two months after it opened.

The hotel has since endured multiple ownership changes and renovations, but still retains its original look and feel.  The website gives a little more detail about the timeline of its existence.  I wasn’t able to park in front of the hotel for a picture on Wednesday (light rail track in the way) but visibility would have been poor at nighttime anyway, so I stashed the Legend in an adjacent parking structure and walked a couple of blocks to the corner of Monroe & Central where the hotel is located.  The lobby is complete with many historical artifacts, including some original room keys, newspaper clippings, and a matchbook.

I spoke briefly with the front desk attendant and learned that “ghost tours” are offered on Saturday and Sunday nights at 7:30 p.m. for a $13 fee.  I’ll be making a trip to participate in one of those in the near future, I think.

Ready to head home, instead of taking any freeways, I decided to take Van Buren Rd all the way from Central Phoenix to my home in south Scottsdale.  I wanted to experience a tiny taste of the landscape that people looked at before I-10 and Loop 202 were around.  The road was eerily quiet, as is much of central Phoenix after-hours on a weeknight (unless there’s a sporting event in town).

Run-down motels dominate the sides of the road – places like the Paradise Motel.  I’d be afraid to even stop for a picture there, let alone spend the night.  Shortly up ahead, though, a monstrous neon sign shone like a beacon in the night.  I’d reached the site of Bill Johnson’s Big Apple.

From the eatery’s website:

Bill Johnson’s Big Apple, an Arizona restaurant chain for over 55 years, has been serving country style breakfast, mouth watering BBQ and delicious steaks.  Generations of Arizonans have dined at Bill Johnson’s Big Apple Phoenix restaurant since 1956. Get into cowboy mode where the Old West spirit comes alive through a sawdust-covered floor and a hearty, down-home menu loaded with barbecue and fried items.

Sounds good enough to eat!  And I have dined there – it’s worthwhile.  I’ll be back soon.  Meanwhile, a Legend picture sufficed.

Honda’s Proving Ground

Ironically, less than a week after I posted a write-up about my visit to the Nissan Proving Ground for the 2012 Z Convention in my 2013 ILX, Inside Line posted a story about having visited Honda’s facility in their “test car” 1991 Sebring Silver Acura NSX.  The place is located in Mojave, California – a remote desert area about 100 miles north of Los Angeles.  I don’t yet know specifics beyond that but perhaps someday I’ll check it out!  Road trip, anyone?

From the Inside Line article:

ILX Text Messaging Interface = Functional!

Technology is fun!  Earlier this week, I took off from work to grab lunch at Pei Wei in Fountain Hills, Arizona and while driving was alerted on the audio display in the dash that a text message had been received.  It appears that after having gone through several “un-pairing / re-pairing” exercises with my iPhone and my ILX, they decided to get along!  I’ve yet to investigate just all that this system is capable of, but here’s what I know so far:

When I’m driving and receive a text message, the screen will tell me who it’s from and ask if I’d like to view it.

If I hit “Yes”, it’ll read the text message aloud through the car’s speakers, but give the following message:

Since a stick shift vehicle doesn’t have “Park,” I waited until I stopped for lunch and set the parking brake.  Sure enough, when I went into the PHONE menu on the dashboard and scrolled down to Text Message, Branson’s message was there:

Pretty sweet!  I haven’t yet played around with the automated replies.  Perhaps I can customize one that says, “Leave me alone.  I’m driving to five.”

What Color Would You Want?

Now that the Acura ILX has been on sale for a few months, I decided to do a quick Autotrader survey to see what’s listed currently in the new car market as of September 27, 2012.

Automatic ILX:

  • 6,491 vehicles available

6-speed Manual ILX:

  • 355 vehicles available

Wow!  Only 5.1 percent of Acura ILXs currently available in the U.S. on Autotrader are equipped with a manual transmission and the 2.4 liter engine.  Being the data junkie that I am, I took my research a step further.  Of the manual cars, the following are the color breakdowns:

  • Black (Crystal Black Pearl):  99 cars
  • Silver (Silver Moon):  77 cars
  • Gray (Polished Metal Metallic):  55 cars
  • Burgundy/Red (Crimson Garnet):  31 cars
  • Blue (Fathom Blue Pearl):  22 cars
  • White (Bellanova White Pearl):  7 cars

Since that only totals to 291 cars, the other 64 MT-equipped cars may not be advertised with their colors listed.  I’m really surprised that the white is so low volume!  No surprise on the black being high on the list, though.

Photos in order of ranking:

Until next time!

22 Responses to “Road Bucket List”

  1.–Ranch-Roads-335-336337a.html If you ever come to Central/West Texas. Please drive these roads if you want some of the best roads in the nation. It’s on the top 10 list like the Dragon’s tail. 🙂

    • Great stuff Russell! I have spent some time browsing around the Motorcycle Roads website and there are some excellent ideas in there – even shown by state. I’ll use this as a reference if I’m ever visiting an unfamiliar state and want a taste of the best local highways. Twisted Sisters looks like a lot of fun. I’ve put that on my list. Tail of the Dragon in NC (Deals Gap) is there now too. Thanks for the ideas. Let me know if you think of any others!

  2. Adam Stewart Says:

    That’s a very good list of roads you’ve got started, each of them being on my list. Even living here(though I’m likely moving out to Louisiana early next year) I haven’t been on US550 yet; friends tell me it’s a beautiful, scenic drive, if at times nerve-wracking. Actually, one of my friends got married in Ouray a while back.

    A couple of others that might interest you:

    Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, New Orleans, LA: Longest continuous road bridge over water. Almost 24 miles long.

    Tail of the Dragon: Definitely one I want to hit sometime. Being in a 6-speed could make it very fun.

    Trail Ridge Rd(Hwy. 34), Rocky Mountain National Park, CO: At over 13,000 feet, it’s the highest contiguous highway in the US. Stunning views, and seeing snow on the ground in August is an interesting sight. Probably one of the most beautiful drives I’ve ever done when i had my KA8. For added mountain driving, head south on Hwy. 40 and it’ll go through some really nice mountain passes before putting you on I-70 about 40-50 miles west of Denver.

    • If you’re on the east coast, especially during the peak of the fall foilage season, Skyline Drive through Virginia is beautiful as well.
      It’s probably only 200-300 miles, but well worth being on your list.

      • Good to know, Duane! I have added Skyline in VA to the list. I agree, fall colors are awesome. Wish we had some of them around here but our cacti stay pretty much the same color here in the PHX area year-round! Thanks for the tip.

    • Adam, you’re right – I had forgotten about the Trail Ridge Rd in RMNP! Definitely got that one on the list now. Once I compile all of these ideas I’ll re-publish the list to the blog so others can appreciate this research. The causeway in Louisiana also sounds like a must-see. That was the main reason I had Key West on the list – love the bridges. Thanks for the advice!

  3. In the “Impossible Dream” video at 0:18 or so, that’s a Z50 mini trail. Late 60’s/very early 70’s. I picked one up in the spring of this year. Mine’s yellow/white 2-tone. 50cc, 2hp, 3 speed trans with an automatic clutch, top speed of about 28mph. I just took it with me when I went camping the beginning of September. It’s a hoot, and always gets conversations started.
    Oh, and I’m guessing the new accessory on the ILX is a wind deflector on the sunroof?
    I’ve done a few of the drives on your list. One I might suggest is Hwy 190 through Death Valley to see Scotty’s Castle, Furnace Creek and Zabriskie Point. But I’d go in the fall or the spring when the weather is much cooler. If you can catch it when the wildflowers are in bloom, it’s surreal.

    • Jon, you win the prize. I added a moonroof visor to the ILX. It’s a direct bolt-on from the 2012 Honda Civic sedan, so I grabbed a new OEM one on Ebay and threw it on there. I like the look, plus it keeps the wind noise down with the moonroof open.

      That’s pretty sweet about the Z50 Mini Trail. I imagine those little bikes have quite the collector/enthusiast following – probably tough to come by these days, too. Glad you were able to snag one of those little machines.

      Death Valley is awesome. I went there last August in the Legend but I only remember seeing Furnace Creek; the other names are new to me.

      Sounds like I’ll need to add that one to my list too. Let me know if you think of any other drives!

      Thanks again for following the blog.

  4. Hey Tyson!
    Congrats on reaching that enviable milestone in ur Legend.
    I’m very glad I ran into ur blog while searching for a new engines for my 91 coupe, I love that car, I blew a H2o pump back in 08, bought an infinti fx, got rid of it. Now I jus want to find a good engine, a Damn good engine that can take to the kinds of milestones ur setting on ur sweet legend.
    Note I did swap da engine with blown pump but the shady mechanic gave a very bad deal.

    Now I’m more determined to find a worthy engine. I’m even open to the new RL engines but sceptical the lil mods and adjustments that has to be made.

    Do u have any suggestions?

    • Hi there, thanks for the nice comments. I definitely take a lot of pride in my Legend (and my ILX) and they have rewarded me with many miles of trouble free service. Congratulations on picking up your 1991 coupe and I’m glad to hear you are determined to get it back on the road and in tip-top shape.

      A lot of folks have had good luck with swapping the 3.5 liter from the RL, but as you noted, it’s not “plug and play.” Where are you located? I might be able to put you in touch with some local Legend enthusiasts in your area who could give your car a look and help with sourcing a good candidate engine.

      • I’m in washington dc area. I wuld like to make contact with other enthusiasts around my area especially ones that might have done the swap. I wuld reall appreciate it . For some reason, i can’t explain, I love that car, I think it has a timeless design, tech equipments ahead of its time.
        I’m lookin to redo engine, suspensions, brakes, interior. As priorities.

        Ur assistance is greatly appreciated.

  5. Mehn!, that’s a sweet ass legend.

  6. Here’s a vote for “Going-to-the-Sun” road in Glacier National Park. Though we took the boys there years ago in conjunction with a river trip excursion, we traversed this road but did not take the time to really absorb the beauty of it. Read up on the facts of its construction and you will agree; it’s time for repeat exposure!

    • Oh yes, this one is without a doubt on my list. That was probably almost a decade ago when we went there. I remember stopping at Logan Pass in the middle of the summer and still seeing snow there! Thanks for the idea.

  7. Looks like you have a lot of potential miles to rack up on your bucket list.

    Moon roof visor

    • Terry, that’s right. With my reader input I’ve now got a total of 14 roads on the list. In the next couple of weeks I’ll plan on sharing the list with everyone so we can all seek out the best roads that might be in our areas. You’re correct on the moonroof visor! Around US $100 shipped to my door, brand new in the box from Ebay.

  8. I live in East Tennessee and I also vote to add the Dragon to your list. Everyone should do it at least once. You could also wind down with a drive through Cades Cove, then back towards Gatlinburg on the twisties on the US71/441 by-pass.

    • Great to know! I’ll do a little mapping and see what that route looks like. Yeah the Dragon is very talked-about among enthusiasts so I’m anxious to experience what it’s all about. Sounds like you’re lucky to have it in your own backyard pretty much. Thanks for the feedback!

  9. Hello Tyson:

    I can vouch for the US1 route to the Keys. That part of the road is also known as the Overseas Highway and is designated as an All American road. This is the highest designation that a scenic route can obtain in the United States. It roughly means that the road is a tourist destination all by itself. There are only 31 of these roads in the country. I have driven this road many times since I live in South Florida. It is specially glorious when a cold front moves thru in the winter and clears out the skies bringing down the daytime temperatures to the 60s. When you decide to make the trip, let me know. We can organize an Acura Caravan 🙂

    Another road I strongly recommend which is also an All American road is the Blue Ridge Parkway. It stretches from Virginia to North Carolina. It is SPECTACULAR. Huge Mountains (to me any mountains are huge since i am from Florida!), waterfalls, stunning pastoral valleys below your car as you are driving. I was breathless. My Acura TSX will return next year. I only wish i lived closer to this magnificent road. I would be driving it every weekend. The pictures do not do this road justice. It must be experienced in person.

    • Thanks Carlos! I added the Blue Ridge Parkway to my list. I hadn’t heard of the ‘All American Road’ designation but now I’m going to have to research that and see what the other 30 or so roads on the list are – maybe there are a couple of then in my area. I’m definitely game to put together an Acura caravan. Would love to see pics of your TSX if you haven’t already shared them with me!

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