Odometer (Legend): 542,910
Odometer (ILX): 158,951
Trip Distance: 558 Miles
I attended a 60th birthday gathering for my friend Chuck last Wednesday. As I was just getting ready to head out for another commitment (my second of 3 appointments that evening), he made the comment, “One of these days I’m going to put Velcro on your chair so you’re forced to stick around longer than an hour.” Ha – sounds about right!
It was a double-duty mileage weekend out here in the American Southwest. My Legend coupe and my ILX both saw some highway use on a trip out to Southern California for sunshine and relaxation. Since the early 1900s, the desert city of Palm Springs has blossomed and grown as a destination for its hot springs, architecture, and tourism in the surrounding landscape. I’ve visited many times over the last few years and it’s an easy 4-hour drive door-to-door from my place in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Ever the king of multi-tasking, I had to stop twice at gas stations and respond to some work emails. I was in my 1994 Legend LS since my friend, Justin, would be heading out later on in the evening in my 2013 ILX. The drive into the sunset was enjoyable and I made really good time. Even at over 540,000 miles, the Legend is still a great highway cruiser than revs at fewer than 2,500 RPM at 80 miles per hour.
One of the attractions I’d been wanting to see in Palm Springs for a very long time is the “Aerial Tramway,” a 2.5 mile, 10-minute ride that climbs in a cable car from 2,600 feet to 8,500 feet in elevation. It opened in 1963 and climbs in elevation through a rugged canyon to the top of San Jacinto Peak. Justin and I headed to the tramway station on Friday morning and the wait time was about an hour until the next available departure at 12:40 p.m.
The ascent wasn’t without some drama. I have both a moderate fear of heights and a slight degree of motion sickness, so after lift-off when the interior of the 80-passenger car started spinning around, it took me a minute before I could even feel comfortable opening my eyes to look outside. I remember being very grateful that there were a few windows open to let a breeze through so I could get some fresh mountain air.
For the $25/adult price of admission I felt like I got my money’s worth! The view from the Mountain Station at the top was spectacular (and weather quite a bit cooler than where we’d started). There are quite a few amenities including a restaurant and snack bar. We indulged in a $5 tray of nachos and some potato wedges before getting ready to hop on the next available car and make our descent.
I got back from Palm Springs just in time for a car swap at home, then headed to the 2nd annual “Ignition” car show at the Arizona Fairgrounds in central Phoenix. There were probably 50 vehicles in attendance, spanning a wide range of types. The centerpiece was a 1960 Bentley, but at the other end of the spectrum was a $600 Chrysler LeBaron convertible (think “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles” movie car). I represented with the only Acura, displaying my 1992 NSX. Midway through the day, I was asked to say a few words about the car over the loudspeaker and the master of ceremonies commented on the signature on my glove compartment, which belongs to RealTime Racing driver Peter Cunningham.
Another highlight of the weekend was taking delivery of a new car for my mom. At the same birthday party referenced in my opening paragraph, I happened to be seated next to someone named John who I was meeting for the first time. John and I got engaged in “car talk” and I came to find out that he had just listed for sale his 2004 Infiniti G35 online. What blew me away was the odometer reading: 20,192 miles. On a 12-year-old car!
So my interest was piqued and I relayed the information to my mother who happened to be looking for a (larger, car-seat-friendly) replacement for her 2010 Volkswagen Eos convertible. Over the next 24 hours, she struck a deal with John and on Sunday, I showed up to take delivery of the vehicle on her behalf.
It was every bit as immaculate as described. It’s painted a brilliant Garnet Fire Metallic with Willow leather interior. Power comes from a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 260 horsepower and the transmission is a 5-speed automatic. Beyond the standard equipment, the car has the following:
- Premium Package (Bose Audio, Glass Sunroof, Dual Zone Temp, and more): $3,200
- Aero Package (Rear Spoiler, Diffusers): $550
- Sport-Tuned Suspension Package (17″ Alloy Wheels, Sport-Tuned Springs): $425
- Body-Color Splash Guards: $120
- Price as Equipped: $35,045
When John drove the car off the lot with 36 miles on the odometer on March 20, 2004, it right away became his special occasion car. Neighbors would say, “You must have a date,” each time it would leave the garage. (His daily driver was a white Chevy S-10 pickup).
Over the last 12 years, he paid close attention to detail and maintenance, changing the oil and fluids himself. He has kept detailed notes on everything done to the car, and during our transaction he walked me through all the paperwork. Most used cars don’t even come with an original window sticker. This one not only came with that, but also with full books & records, a 4-page handwritten maintenance log, even a printed page from Infiniti.com from when John “built” his car online before taking delivery.
The car has found a good home and now resides in my garage for 2 weeks until mom flies down to get it.
Here are the rest of the pics from this action-packed last few days!
The Legend coupe in Desert Center, California
Morning view in Palm Springs
My friend Scott taking a spin in the ILX
Road ascending “Tram Way” to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Staging area for the tramway with a man-made waterfall
View toward San Jacinto Peak
With Justin at the summit
Headed back down toward civilization
Hanging with other friends that afternoon, Chris & Vince
Out and about on the town later in the evening
Scott’s 1965 Mustang interior
Photos from the Ignition Car Show: Tyson and a Titan
Grassy lawn on the west side of the Coliseum
Old Pontiac Bonneville with only 14,000 original miles
And a few more photos from the day I got the G35 for mom
From the driver’s seat
Back at the house with the ILX
Interior still smells new
Tucked away with the NSX until mom’s arrival
Window sticker at $35,045
Other records and paperwork