Acura ILX Trip: Why, Arizona
Odometer (Legend): 522,599
Odometer (ILX): 44,920
Trip Distance: 370 Miles
An instant message conversation with a colleague at work went something like this on Friday.
Apparently my coworkers know me too well. I can’t sit still for long.
It’s times like these during the peak of Phoenix summer heat when the 4 million of us who live in the Phoenix metropolitan area ask ourselves, “Why?” Why do we live in this oven of a city? The answer shows up in the fall when Mother Nature unplugs the heater and we bask in perfect winter weather from October through May.
The word “Why” took on a whole new meaning this weekend. “Why” is a place in southern Arizona. It’s a place so small and insignificant that even my Garmin Nuvi GPS unit didn’t know what it was.
You’re telling me there’s no other town named Why for at least 2,800 miles from here? This place must be special. I was determined to see what this little speck on the map had to offer. As it turns out, the drive was most rewarding. On a cool summer morning (that’s 96 degrees at 8:16 in the morning for us Phoenicians), I set out westbound on Interstate 10 in my 2013 Acura ILX 6-speed.
At Arizona Highway 85, I headed south for 35 miles to Gila Bend.
This blog entry brought to you in part by Fertizona: Arizona’s largest agricultural fertilizer and crop protection retailer. (Not really, but I thought the name was clever).
Gila Bend: Home of 1700 friendly people and 5 old crabs. The 5 crabs’ names, by the way, are written out on the smaller sign below. Seriously!
After passing through town, which didn’t take longer than a minute or two, I headed even deeper south. Next stop: Mexico.
Without a passport, I wasn’t going to get too far, but there were plenty of shops willing to sell me a Mexican insurance policy. Here’s one such example where they actually sell Mexican insurance at a DRIVE-THRU. Can I get a chimichanga with that policy?
Just a bit down the road in Ajo, Arizona (Ajo is Spanish for “garlic”), I found the ultimate one-stop shop. Cactus, jelly, copper, onyx, jewelry, T-shirts, blankets, pottery, rugs, and… swords?! Good to know!
Ahh, here we go. Getting closer – the sign told me I was just 10 miles from Why. Rocky Point, at 103 miles from this sign, resides in Mexico. It’s a popular summertime destination for Arizonans seeking beach-time. It is, in fact, the closest beach to Arizona. Remember that country song, “Oceanfront Property In Arizona”? Well, that ocean’s in another country.
We now learn why Why is called Why. The map below from my GPS illustrates it best. When the unincorporated town was formed, it lied at the intersection of Highways 85 and 86. They roads came together at a “Y.” Since the law at the time required a town’s name to be at least 3 letters long, it was spelled out W-H-Y. Safety concerns later on prompted the creation of a traditional “T” style intersection instead of the original Y.
At last. I made it. Surprisingly, there’s enough customer traffic for a few businesses to stay afloat out there.
Here’s that piece of road that’s now curved where it used to go straight down.
No trip to Why would be complete without a stop at the Why Not Travel Store.
Because you can get Free Why-Fi. Love it.
I made a bathroom break out back and continued on my way. I’d seen all that Why had to offer.
At only about 25 miles from the Mexican border, it was ironic that Madonna’s “Borderline” chose to play from my iPod on the ILX’s 7-speaker Premium Audio System at this time. I rocked it out with plenty of volume.
Eastbound on Highway 86, I had the road to myself. Except when I passed this guy. He didn’t even flinch when I laid on the horn.
The next place of any significance on my drive was Sells, Arizona. Sells was pretty quiet except for the marketplace. It’s on Indian land and is the capital of the “Tohono O’odham” Nation. A service station by the name of Sells Gas sits on the main drag through town. I bet they… sell gas.
Over the course of my 6 or so hours behind the wheel today, I encountered dozens of border patrol vehicles. The Ajo-Why-Sells-Tucson area is a hotbed of immigrant activity. For this reason, it’s heavily policed. I was stopped briefly by officers here, just east of Sells on Highway 86.
For a brief moment while I neared Tucson, I thought I’d driven my ILX into Dr. Seuss’ Whoville. Wasn’t there a Who named Cindy Lou Who? Apparently Cindy Lou Who opened up a restaurant out here called Cindy Lou’s Cafe. Tacos are only $1.25!
Now we’re cookin’.
Last stop on the journey was a meet-up with my friends Nick & Kurt in Tucson for a bite of Mexican grub.
Hope you enjoyed the trip to Why! Now, if I could only find out if there are towns named Who, What, and Where.
In high-mileage news: My friend Jason linked me to a website about a 2005 Honda Accord Coupe EX V6 that’s gone the distance. Here’s the thread on the 7th Generation section of the DriveAccord.net forums.
The odometer reads just over 506,000 miles. The car was owned since new by a territory salesman in Minnesota and every service record is accounted for. The timing belt was changed every 100,000 miles. Reportedly, the only items which have failed are the starter, the power steering, and the battery.
The new owner paid $6,000 for the car. He plans on modifying it with visual & suspension upgrades. I’d leave it alone!
Over and out.