NALM Day 6: Home Sweet Home, Arizona

Odometer (Legend):  526,807

526807

Day Distance:  1,090 Miles

dallas

North Carolina to Arizona in two days.  Seems almost impossible, even to me!  But, I am living proof that it’s possible. Boy does it ever feel good to be back at home!  As much as I love life on the road, after this adventure I’m completely exhausted.  The 4,073 miles of memories were totally worth it, though.

My day started in Dallas, Texas at 5:30 in the morning with a wake-up call that made me want to throw my iPhone out the window.  Between traversing multiple time zones, my sleep patterns are all out of whack and I was far from rested.  I told my Garmin Nuvi GPS unit that I wanted to “Go Home.”  A few minutes of calculation later, and it said I would arrive in 15 hours, 10 minutes.  Sigh.

gps2

But what was unique about those hours?  They were all on the same. exact. freeway.  Check it out (below picture, top left corner).  Once I got underway on I-20, my next turn was in a whopping 1,048 miles.  This is where I basically activated autopilot mode for the duration of the drive.  As long as I kept the car between the white lines, I’d be at my home by later in the evening.

gps

Sunup to sundown.  That’s how I roll.

sunrise_tx

One nice thing about west Texas (and perhaps, the only nice thing?) is that the speed limits are high.

IMG_7488

I spent several hundred miles staring at this:  cruise control activated around 87-89 mph.  I had a tough time feeling “okay” about driving at such a rate of speed without fear of police intervention, but I was grateful to make the drive pass by quickly.

speedo

This is about as interesting as the scenery gets out there.

road

I rolled through the small towns of Abilene, Midland, Odessa.  The primary industry out there is oil & gas.  Along the vast landscape you can see dozens of oil pumps bobbing up and down.  Midland, by the way, was home to former U.S. President George Bush as well as his wife Laura.  I learned that from a road sign at city limits.

san_antonio_el_paso

Picking up some lost time!  I crossed two time zone boundaries (Mountain & Pacific).

mtn

Fuel in Willcox, Arizona after finally entering my home state again.

willcox

And back on the interstate to continue the westward journey.

i10

Those nice looking blue skies soon transformed into something a bit more gloomy.  As I neared Tucson city limits, things looked pretty ominous.

storm_clouds

It warmed my heart to see “Phoenix” on a sign at last.  I was getting so close.

phoenix_sign

Until…. I entered a total parking lot on the interstate!  Extreme weather had contributed to a 6-car pileup.  Imagine having driven 1,000 miles and being only 50 miles from home, then coming to standstill.  I was discouraged.

traffic

Those remaining 50 miles were tedious and scary.  A torrential “monsoon” rainstorm had torn down trees, overturned an 18-wheeler, and stripped some of the road signs right out of the ground.  Rain was still coming down very heavily as I made my way into the Phoenix valley. But I made it!

It is so good to get home.  I extend a huge thanks to everyone who checked in on me throughout the journey!

full_map

Here are a few fun facts about my trip:

  • Total Distance:  4,073 Miles in 6 Days
  • Average Daily Distance:  678 Miles
  • If I drove 678 miles per day, every day for a year, that would be 247,000 miles in a year
  • 11 States Visited:  Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana
  • Crappiest Roads:  Toss-up between Jackson, Mississippi, and Shreveport, Louisiana.  Roller coaster ride, broken pavement, and potholes the size of the Grand Canyon
  • Most Road Construction:  The entire Interstate 40 corridor in northern New Mexico
  • Best Food:  Zaxby’s fried chicken in Asheville, North Carolina.  WE NEED a Zaxby’s in Arizona!
  • Worst Food:  Chobani yogurt from the Love’s Travel Center #475 in Sweetwater, Texas.  It looked like soup.  Also, the chocolate milk that I got there expired on May 31st, nearly a full 3 months ago.  Gross.
  • Best Scenery:  Interstate 40 from Knoxville, Tennessee to Asheville, North Carolina.  2 tunnels and some of the most amazing curves I’ve ever driven.
  • Worst Scenery:  Everything from Abilene to El Paso, Texas.  That 453-mile stretch is forgettable.
  • National Acura Legend Meets That My Legend Has Been To (Starting 2005):  Dallas, Tulsa, Las Vegas, Chattanooga, Branson, Morristown, Salt Lake City, and now Asheville
  • Other Car Sightings:  Legend (1)  ILX (0)
  • Favorite Pit Stop:  Conoco classic service station in Shamrock, Texas along old Route 66
  • Clever Place Names:  “Chair Crusher” restaurant and “Sherlock Homes” mobile home retailer in Henryetta, Oklahoma.  “Mom & Pop’s Pyro Shop” fireworks dealer in Lordsburg, New Mexico.  “Belly Acres” real estate in Abilene, Texas.
  • My Car Issues:  Check engine light on day 1.  Low power steering fluid on day 2.  Worn out driver’s side wiper blade.  Otherwise, NADA.  I have not even had to add any engine oil to keep the level full.
  • Best Song That Came on my iPod Today:  “Chariots of Fire”  I loved cranking this to max volume and picturing a slow-motion race to the finish line as I neared home in the Legend.

🙂

Once again, thanks to the NALM Ground Team for putting on a phenomenal event.  It was worth every mile of the drive.  And thanks to all of my great readers for the support and encouragement along the way.

Final Video:

16 Responses to “NALM Day 6: Home Sweet Home, Arizona”

  1. Sherry Dompier Says:

    All I can say is wow!!!

    • Haha, thanks Sherry! It was a wild trip but I had a great time. Needless to say, though, I’m going to lay low for awhile and relax. Need some recovery time after being on the go like that. Hope your week is going well!

  2. Amazing trip Tyson. Glad the old legend handled another big trip with ease

    • It sure did, Marc. I was a little apprehensive about venturing off on such a trip without addressing a couple of maintenance items (leaks, primarily) but I’m happy that things went so well! Now the car gets a full detail and an oil change, then it’ll get a rest for a little bit.

  3. Okay, so your summary of facts if VERY interesting. I thought I taught you how to check expiration dates on all fresh food purchases, like milk? That scene from Chariots of Fire makes me tear up. I am going to re-enact that the next time I visit the beach. Gotta run!

    P.S. SGM is in just over 5 weeks…. time to start training!

    • I know! Time to start running. I contacted Love’s corporate to tell them about the expired products. They already responded and were grateful for the feedback!

  4. * is (not if)

  5. Tyson, I think you should just have slingshot past Phoenix and continued to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. That way, you would have taken care of two big trips in one shot. 😉

    • Carlos – tempting as that sounds, I was very ready to get home! I did bring up the Prudhoe discussion with my friend Ben who was at NALM. He and I are doing our research! Should I take the Legend or the ILX?

  6. “As long as I kept the car between the white lines, I’d be at my home by later in the evening.”

    The passage of time is so very weird. As you begin your journey home you’re thinking: “This is going to take awhile!”

    Then before you know it – BOOM – you’re pulling into your driveway.

    A great journey for sure. I watched the final video on youtube, and was wondering were you using a goPro? I thought I had read you purchased one, and I’m thinking of getting one for an upcoming tropical trim I’m going on soon.

    • Dave, yeah it’s pretty crazy to just watch the miles fly by. Sometimes I totally feel myself zone out for a couple hours at a time, then I check the GPS and all of a sudden I’m hundreds of miles closer to home. The video was put together with a GoPro Hero 3 White Edition (around $200 brand new on Fleabay) as well as with my iPhone. The lens was dirty for part of the video, so that’s why it kind of looked cloudy/blurry. Tropical trip – where are you heading?!

  7. Amazing trip Tyson, I don’t know how you do it.

    • Thanks Terry! It was a crazy trip, and it’s taken me a couple of days to recover, but it was totally worth the effort. Just glad the old car got me safely across the country & back!

  8. Jason Pawela Says:

    Tyson, welcome home to the civilized region of the southwest. I had to LOL at the worst scenery! I agree with you 100%. I bet you’re still recovering from such a long trip. I’m super impressed how you were able to pull off driving that long in one day! Could that have been possible in the ILX? Looks like an overall amazing trip and I hope you gained some really cool memories from it.

    • Jason, I’m mostly recovered at this point. It’s tough to say if I would have endured the 15-hour driving days in the ILX with as high-strung as that car is. It definitely puts more ‘wear and tear’ on a driver than the plush Legend does. Thanks for following my trip. Let’s see where I end up next. The list of destinations gets longer by the day.

  9. Kevin amoth Says:

    As a member of the nalm ground team this year, it was an honor to have you and your amazing coupe at the meet this year. Your writings are spot on and always a pleasure to read.

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