NALM 2015 in Houston, Part 4: Awards Ceremony, Drive to El Paso
Odometer (Legend coupe): 537,541
Odometer (Legend sedan): 149,207
Day Distance: 742 Miles
Texas is too damn huge. How is it possible that James and I spent an entire day driving and never left the state? Here’s how today’s drive directions could have been written:
- Enter I-10 westbound at mile marker 750
- Drive 742 miles
- Exit I-10 westbound at mile marker 8
That’s it. I’m pretty sure those 742 miles could have taken me through several states in any other region of the country. I guess there’s one great thing about a simple day on the road – it gave me plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and appreciate the chance to listen to good music without worrying about navigation. James and I have just checked into a hotel in west El Paso for the evening after spending about 11 hours staring at the open road. A couple of nice things about driving westbound: We’ve already gained back one of our two “lost” time zones, and we were chasing the sun so we had more daylight to work with.
This morning, NALM Awards Director Kevin P. Amoth took the spotlight during the closing ceremony for the 11th Annual National Acura Legend Meet. Kevin’s presentations are always fun-filled and thoughtful. He even had a few special items for me: A license plate frame, some replacement cruise control & audio buttons (mine are well worn), and a replacement sticker for the top of my coupe’s airbox cover. “It’s the last one in the country!” Kevin told me. I believe it. Kevin and I have a special tradition for NALM events that we’ve been carrying out for a few years now. Each year, I take a silver Sharpie marker and sign my name – and a short message – on the underside of his trunk lid. This year, it was the first time he’s brought his 1994 “Polar Bear” coupe, so I had a clean slate to begin with.
I had some ants in my pants after a couple of hours in the meeting room, especially knowing how long James and I would be driving later that day, so we said our farewells and made our way to the parking lot to hit the highway shortly after 10:00 in the morning. Unfortunately, that meant that we missed the announcements about award recipients. Here’s what I know so far:
- Best in Show: Jeff
- Best Wheels: Kevin
- Cleanest Engine Bay: Mike
- “Because Racecar”: TJ
- Best Paint: Larry
- Most JDM: Ross
- Longest Drive: Sergey (Seattle area, WA)
- Best Participant: Ed
- Most Improved: Chris
Truly those awards were very well deserved. In all, NALM attendees drove a total of over 25,000 miles to be in attendance at the meet. It took a lot of time, effort, and money for them to be a part of it. And you know what? I bet you could ask any of those guys if they thought the trip was worth it and they’d say YES without even thinking twice about it. Here I am 11 years into it and not regretting a single mile.
An isolated thunderstorm dumped just enough water on the Katy Freeway to make it the first time my Legend GS has been driven in rain since 2008. No matter. “It’s not going to melt,” as someone wise once told me. I’ll detail it up when I get home to Phoenix sometime. By the time we got to San Antonio and beyond, the skies were clearing. Everything west of the Highway 1604 interchange got a little more desolate and I was okay with that, because it meant I could set my cruise control at 83 miles per hour in the 80 mi/hour zone and not be worried about excess traffic.
Our only stops today were in Sonora, Texas at the Pizza Hut and then at the Love’s gas station in Van Horn, Texas, for fuel. An easy-peasy drive – and tomorrow, we have only 6 hours remaining until our arrival in the Phoenix area. Stay with us as I’ll have one more installment at the conclusion of this adventure!
A few more photos from today follow.
Kevin presenting Mike with the “Golden Glow” Award this morning.
Quick photo of my car with Ben’s white coupe. I will see Ben in a few weeks at NSXPO in Palm Springs, and we’re going to get a similar photo of our NSXs together.
I-10 westbound approaching San Antonio – this isn’t something you see in Arizona. “Hurricane Evacuation Route”
Pizza Hut parking lot in Sonora, Texas
And the open road awaits
Fueling up at Love’s in Van Horn, Texas
Dinner is served!
Safe travels to all you other NALM-goers who are still traveling to your respective homes.