My Car Went to Idaho Without Me, Some Attic Finds, and a Road Trip to the Landfill

Odometer (Legend):  544,176


Odometer (ILX):  179,669


Statistics can be fun.  I never thought I’d utter (or type) those words when I took Stats as a sophomore in high school, but today I’m a numbers junkie and I enjoy them – especially in automotive applications.  Like this:  In an AutoTrader search query on August 9, 2016, I pulled up all the 2013-2015 Acura ILX models for sale in the country.  Here’s what I found:

  • 863 automatics (83,033 highest miles)
  • 27 manuals (63,578 highest miles)

So 27 manuals out of 890 total cars = 3%.  That makes my car pretty rare.

I have to admit, my conscience has gotten to me:  In recent weeks, some of the miles on the ILX weren’t “earned” by me personally.  My friends Jack and Chandler borrowed the car for a 2,166-mile, 5-day road trip to Boise, Idaho and back for a wedding.  When flight pricing didn’t look reasonable and attendance was critical (Chandler was a “best man”), I offered up the ILX to them because it’s a reliable and fuel-efficient car for long trips.  And you know the miles don’t scare me a bit.

The only thing I asked in return was that Jack take and share a few photos from along the way, and that he did!  Here’s the route they took, with the Utah leg northbound and the Nevada (return) leg southbound.


Lots of the eastern Nevada area is foreign to me.  I’ve been a few places out there, like Wendover during my open-road race in 2007, and the town of Rachel, when I toured the Extraterrestrial Highway around Area 51.  As it turns out, I’m probably not missing a heck of a lot though.  Jack sent a photo from the entry to Wells, Nevada:  “Gateway to the East Humboldts.”  Originally named for a swampy area near town along the Humboldt River, it got its start as a passenger train stop along the transcontinental railroad.


The historic El Rancho Hotel there has lots of history, having been opened from 1952 to 1980.  Currently there’s not much happening there, but luckily it hasn’t been left completely to ruin.  Note that the El Rancho Hotel is not to be confused with the similarly-named Hotel El Rancho, which is in Gallup, New Mexico.  I visited that back in 2013.

Historic pic




Jack reported that much of the drive looked something like this.  I told him to go ahead find out what the ILX’s speedometer was governed at.  I’m not sure if he did or not, but on a road like that, how could you NOT be tempted to have a little fun?


Next they arrived in Ely.  It’s a town about four times larger than Wells, but still only home to about 4,200 people.  This town is (or was) a key stop along the railroad.  A steam locomotive in the background of the old train station pays homage to that past.  Ely (pronounced “eely”) was a boom town in the early 1900s thanks to the discovery of copper.  This photo was taken in front of the Northern Nevada Railway Museum.


Ely lies at the eastern end of U.S. Route 50 which was named in 1986 by Life Magazine as “The Loneliest Road in America.”  That just makes me want to drive the entire 408-mile stretch of it!  Adding that to my road trip destination list right now, in fact.


Thanks to those travels, Jack and Chandler brought me back a few souvenirs in the form of slaughtered bugs.  I took care of them promptly the next day.  Wouldn’t want them to bake in!


This is how you do summer in Phoenix.


I’m in the process of cleaning out my house for a potential move (I’ll know this week if things are final, then I’ll spill the beans accordingly).  But after spending most of my Saturday indoors boxing things up, I decided it was time to brave the heat and climb into the attic to see what kind of relics had been stashed up there.  My iPhone overheated – that’s how warm it was up there.

My home was built in 1979 and has been updated very little since then.  I’ve lived there for almost 8 years.  The attic was a storage area for 5 boxes of Christmas decor that I needed to bring down.  But while I was up there, I decided to root around a little and see what else I could find.  The access point is a trap-door style ladder in the garage, akin to the one Clark Griswold uses in National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation.”


Well, looky here.  I found some luggage up there that’s not mine.  This is a “Lady Baltimore” suitcase with an American Airlines tag on it.  Google reveals that this brand of luggage was big in the late 1950s.  Oddly enough, it’s locked and I don’t have a key.  Feels empty inside but I need to get in there somehow anyway just because my curiosity is getting the best of me.



I also found some steel-toed boots up there.  Again, not mine.


And a STOP sign.  Where in the world did the prior owners of my home get that?  It’ll make a nice addition to my future garage anyway.


My favorite find was this poster.  I’ve had it since I was about 13.  “Justification for Higher Education” with a series of fancy cars and a nice oceanfront home.  About 20 years later, I’m pretty much there – but minus the ocean, and with vintage Acuras instead of Porsches and BMWs.


The ILX got landfill duty to transport and dispose of a bunch of lumber and miscellaneous garbage that I piled up.  I think I was the only person out there roaming around in the trash and mud in an Acura.  But until I get a pickup truck, this is the best I can do!


I even felt compelled to put together a 3-minute video about my landfill experience.  Riveting, it is not.  But if you’re so inclined:

This coming Thursday night, I’m off to Monterey, California to “The Quail” Motorsports Gathering.  It’s part of Monterey’s week-long focus on automobiles and a very exclusive event, as only 3,000 tickets are made available.  Face value of each?  $600!  Luckily Acura is a major sponsor this year and I scored a ticket for free thanks to helping out with last year’s NSXPO.


Have a great week!

18 Responses to “My Car Went to Idaho Without Me, Some Attic Finds, and a Road Trip to the Landfill”

  1. Awesome! Will you be doing anything else car-related in Monterey? Mr. Koch and I will be there…

    • Hey Mark! It would be cool to bump into you. My time in Monterey is very short. I arrive 9:51 p.m. on Thursday night. I’m staying at a friend’s place about 4 miles from MRY airport. On Friday, I plan on spending all day at The Quail. Not sure on plans for that evening yet, or for Saturday morning. My return flight to Phoenix leaves around noon on Saturday. Let me know what your plans are and maybe we can coordinate something.

  2. Honey, you need a “GO” sign rather than a stop sign. Don’t pitch the luggage! Mama Tia is coming down to decorate your new digs (if and when).

    • For sure. Just finished reserving a U-HAUL so it’s feeling more and more official. Cross your fingers and toes. Should have inspection results back today sometime, I’m guessing.

  3. What will happen to toy cars you have up on your roof when you move to new place? Are they making the move with you? 😉

  4. Our refuse plant over here is like the 21st century, compared to yours! We pull in and have the car weighed, before driving around a short sealed road to the appropriate section – either green waste or general waste. You then back up to the edge of the pit and unload your rubbish – we now have big bump stops, as a few cars & people have fallen in! The rubbish then gets compressed & trucked off-site. We then pay the full amount (weight difference) upon leaving. Next time I’m unloading stuff, I’ll be sure to pull the camera out and do a quick walk-around. Anyway, have a good week Tyson.

    • Wow, yes, that sounds pretty high-tech (and a lot cleaner). My friend Ira in Seattle said the same thing when he saw my pictures. Their system sounds similar to yours. I bet your refuse plant smells a little better than the one out here, too! Well thanks for reading and you have a great week, too!

  5. Brad Heffran Says:

    Remember… moving is such fun! 🙂

  6. At least you didn’t find creepy dolls in your attic. One time, my cousin wanted to explore her attic and when we went up there, we found a TON of old, creepy, dolls. Those dolls must explain the noises coming from the attic at night, haha.

    Needless to say, we won’t be going back up there.

  7. Ah, exciting news about the move! I have a date (9/13) for my new place so hopefully you’ll have one soon as well. Haven’t started consolidating/trashing/selling/donating anything yet and I really should. Such a process.

    I’ve been super happy with my F150 but knowing you, you’ll end up in a Ridgeline as it’s the closest to an Acura pickup you can get 😉

    • Yeah! And along the way, I’m becoming such a handyman! Last night I worked on fixing some blades on a ceiling fan. I have 10 more items to fix on the buyer’s inspection before this is a done deal! It’s a good thing Lowe’s is a mile away. Now, let me get on AutoTrader and find a decent deal on a Ridgeline 😉 Hope your summer is going well! Text me info on your new place! I close on mine 8/26.

  8. So attic explorations in the middle of summer… welcome to my world!

    Can’t say I’d wish that on my worst enemy. Remember our recent conversation about buying a car during summer and then being cursed to wait in line every 2 years during that same time for emissions inspection?

    Forgot to mention but it applies to summer moves and remodeling too. Guess somethings can’t be helped.

    BTW, after your recent land fill excursion and other assorted home related tasks have you given any thought to finding a Ridgeline?

    I know I have, very serious thought…

    Hang in there soon this will all be a distant memory, least that’s what Linda keeps telling me 😦

    • Seriously, I’d like to see the light at the end of the tunnel – any day now! I’m working from home today while waiting for a plumbing contractor to come fix about 5 things on a repair list. If only my dad lived nearby. He could’ve knocked out all this stuff in an afternoon! I think I’ll hold off on buying a Ridgeline. This was only the 2nd time in 10 years of living in the Valley that I’ve needed to take a trip to the landfill, thank goodness. Good luck with your projects and I’ll keep you posted on mine!

  9. Its like a mystery box that suitcase. I wonder how much something like that would go for on ebay?

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