Saturday “NSXPO” Planning Drive: Palm Springs to Idyllwild, California
Odometer (1993 Legend): 178,323
Odometer (ILX): 139,512
Trip Distance: 657 Miles
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s the numbered plaque behind the seats:
Continuing down the mountain:
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.
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.
Here’s what it looked like from inside the 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
Parking in Idyllwild
Photo by Chris – getting ready to head back out after lunch
1992 & 1999 NSXs
Chris, Tyson, Scott – looking straight into some very bright sunlight
Lineup of Acuras at Scott’s storage facility
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!
I agree with this graffiti on I-10 near Desert Center, California. Enjoy the drive!
Sunset in my sideview mirror to close out a great day. Thanks again for coming!