Saturday “NSXPO” Planning Drive: Palm Springs to Idyllwild, California

Odometer (1993 Legend):  178,323

178323

Odometer (ILX):  139,512

139512

Trip Distance:  657 Miles

idyllwild_drive

Did you know?  We’re only about 6 weeks away from what’s slated to be the biggest gathering of Acura NSX owners in history.  NSXPO 2015, scheduled for October 8-11 in Palm Springs, California, sold out in only 8 days with 250 registered attendees.  These people are coming from all across the country – as well as internationally – to celebrate the NSX’s 25-year anniversary with fellow enthusiasts.

There were just fewer than 9,000 Acura NSX models sold in the United States during the car’s 15-year production run.  That makes them pretty rare (for comparison, Honda sells over 30,000 Accords in any given month), but NSXPO has been a tradition for over 10 years now and continues to draw a crowd.

scott_nsx

One of the activities during our busy 4-day event schedule will be a 100-mile scenic drive through the San Jacinto Mountains just southwest of Palm Springs on the “Palms to Pines Scenic Byway.”  The drive loop is comprised by 3 main roads:  Interstate 10, Highway 243, and Highway 74.  I’ve already taken a “test drive” of this loop (last year) but wanted to give it another go now that we’re getting close to showtime at NSXPO.

nsx_following_ilx

There are many logistics to be fine-tuned.  Have you ever tried taking a group drive with even just a few cars?  Someone needs to stop for fuel.  Someone gets stuck at a light.  Someone takes a wrong turn.  Things can get turned around in a hurry.  Now, expand the scope to involve upwards of 200 vehicles.  There are special considerations were are taking, even potentially including police escorts.  We want the driving event to be fun AND safe for all attendees.

sandy_tyson_scott

On Friday evening, I drove out to Palm Springs via I-10 westbound and arrived in time for dinner with my good friends Scott & Sandy.  On Saturday morning, I met up at the NSXPO host hotel, Agua Caliente Resort, with the following folks:

  • Scott in his red NSX – 47,000 miles
  • Rahul in his red NSX – 96,000 miles
  • JC in his yellow NSX – 98,000 miles
  • Les in his black NSX – 138,500 miles
  • Chris in his burgundy TSX Sport Wagon – 15,000 miles
  • Me in the silver ILX – 139,000 miles

Newest car in the bunch, and I still had more miles than anyone else!  Chris rode along with the rest of us and even took a turn at the wheel of Scott’s car.  Unlike last October’s test-drive, we decided to take the loop counter-clockwise this time.  That meant our first leg would be via I-10 westbound to Exit 101 for Hargrave Street which connects to HIghway 243.

idyll_sign

The highway narrowed to a two-laner as we started making our way up the grade.  For being a Saturday morning, I was surprised how little traffic there was.  I was also surprised how polite the other drivers were about pulling over to the turnouts when they recognized faster moving traffic (us) in their rearview mirrors.  Road conditions were great and we had fun with our mildly-aggressive ascent up the mountain.  Les became concerned about a fuel smell at one point and we took a break to investigate.  He ended up continuing on and his NSX was fine for the rest of the day, however.

vista

We dined at Jo Ann – a burger place in the center of bustling Idyllwild.  Parking was a bit of an ordeal, even for just 5 cars, so we decided it will be best for NSXPO purposes if we tell our 200+ participants NOT to stop there for food or drink, but to continue onward.  Les & JC headed back toward Banning & Orange County, while Scott, Chris, Rahul, and I continued on to the junction with Highway 74 and descending back into Palm Springs.

reds2

For a time, I got to ride in Rahul’s car and it was a real treat.  Rahul’s NSX is special because it’s a limited-edition 1999 “Zanardi” edition, custom designed by Alex Zanardi, professional race driver from Italy.  It’s one of only 50 cars that were built in that configuration – with fixed roof, upgraded suspension, unique wheel design, and other enhancements over the stock NSX.  Rahul’s car is #16.

rahul_jc_nsxs

Here’s the numbered plaque behind the seats:

zanardi_plaque

Continuing down the mountain:

243

Last stop on my Palm Springs visit was a check-in at Scott’s warehouse/museum.  We happened to line up 6 Acuras outside and it seemed only fitting to take a photo.  I got to drive his immaculate 1988 Legend L coupe with only 81,000 original miles on it, as well as his latest acquisition, a 1996 Subaru SVX with only 52,000 miles on it.  Both cars drove amazingly.

tyson_with_acuras

Drive time home to Phoenix was about 4.5 hours and despite some extreme weather I made it with time to spare.  Check out this dust storm I drove straight into, just west of Buckeye, Arizona on Interstate 10.

dust_storm_incoming

Here’s what it looked like from inside the storm.

dust_storm

Thanks for coming along for the ride, and enjoy the rest of these pics!

Short video of our Acura lineup at Scott’s:

Friday night arrival at my hotel on Indian Canyon Road

ilx_in_psp

Parking in Idyllwild

ilx_in_idyll

Photo by Chris – getting ready to head back out after lunch

tyson_in_ilx

1992 & 1999 NSXs

reds

Chris, Tyson, Scott – looking straight into some very bright sunlight

chris_tyson_scott

Lineup of Acuras at Scott’s storage facility

acuras

I suggested to Scott that he acquire the following cassette tapes to play in his 1988 Legend.

Rick Astley, George Michael, Whitney Houston… this is a star-studded lineup!

1988_songs

I agree with this graffiti on I-10 near Desert Center, California.  Enjoy the drive!

enjoy_the_drive

Sunset in my sideview mirror to close out a great day.  Thanks again for coming!

sunset

19 Responses to “Saturday “NSXPO” Planning Drive: Palm Springs to Idyllwild, California”

  1. making the drive just to drive the route! Impressive! Sounds like you are really jazzed for NSXpo!

    • Definitely – we didn’t want our first time through the drive route to be on the actual “game day.” We learned a few very important things (technical corners, bottleneck stop signs, construction zone, parking issues) so we can be better prepared when we distribute the Handbook and have a driver’s meeting. Looking forward to a good time!

  2. Looks like an incredible weekend! Wish I could’ve been there with my TSX! I like the period-correct choice in music for the ’88 Legend as well.

    • Yeah it would’ve been cool if you joined us! One of these days you’ll have to do that — or better yet, just fly out and borrow a car from me. What was your favorite song from the 1988 hits on the list?

      • Yeah it’s not like you don’t have a few Acuras to spare! Seriously, we should talk about me coming for an AZ visit soon. I’d love to visit!

        As for the songs, Whitney all the way. Anything by Whitney is good driving music.

  3. autoscribe1974 Says:

    Beautiful cars! And of course, Scott’s Legend…
    If he needs help with those tunes, I still have those INXS, Rick Astley and Whitney Houston tapes, the Belinda Carlisle on 45, George Michael on CD, and G’n’R, Breathe and TTD’A on a mix tape. 1988 was a good year. : )

    • Now you’re talkin! Bust out those tunes! Maybe Scott should also dress the part, too. If he had any hair, I’d tell him to make sure and style it with lots of AquaNet. Hmm, I have a 20-hour drive to Houston coming up in my 1994 Legend soon. Maybe I should create a 1994-only hit playlist to pass some of that time? 🙂 Hope you had a great weekend, Mark!

  4. Chris Green Says:

    I loved your tune choices too. I hope you can drive my ’86 Prelude soon — I have a case’80s full of period-correct cassettes in the car, and they’re fun to listen to when driving it! I got a factory graphic equalizer recently, and I still need to add that. Wonder if it will make it sound any different?

    • Gotta love 1980’s stereo technology. My friends and I were roaming one of the local pick-n-pull junkyards yesterday and I saw an old 1984 Saab that had a “built in” plastic cassette tape holder underneath the radio. It could accommodate 8 tapes I think. We’ve come a long way! Thanks again for joining for the drive this weekend, and for letting me cruise around in the TSX!

  5. That last photo of sunset in your sideview mirror….spectacular shot!

    • Thanks! Yeah, I liked that one too. Arizona sunsets never disappoint! You should blog about your 20-hour drive from this past weekend! You saw some roads I’ve never experienced.

      • I highly recommend that section of road between El Dorado Hills and Vegas via the “back way.” Have you ever been through Yosemite?

  6. what did I miss? A 93 Legend with 178,300 miles on it? The NSX thing looks like a lot of fun. Wish I had one. I’d go.

    • Ding ding ding! We have a winner. Good eye, Duane. There’s another stray Legend that crawled into my barn recently. You’ll read about it here soon.

      • Another Legend! The family keeps getting bigger and bigger. Hope you’re enjoying it. In less than a month and a half, you’re going to be surrounded by more NSXs than you’ll know what to do with.

  7. Always love a classic sunset mirror shot!

  8. I spy NSX heaven! Love the 80s tunes too!

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