Alex’s Legendary 6-Speed, 6-State Tour to the Pacific Northwest

Odometer (Legend sedan):  154,939

Trip Distance:  3,495.7

Who’s ready for summer?  If anybody needs me, I’ll be indoors for the next 3 months.

My friend Alex borrowed my car for a 3,500 mile road trip, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.

Most of us have driven a rental or loaner car before.  What are your driving behaviors in a rental car as compared to in your own vehicle?  Have you ever heard of anyone returning a loaner in better shape than when they picked it up?  Now I have.

There’s one car in my collection that rarely goes anywhere.  I call it the garage queen for a reason:  In 9 years of ownership, I drove it fewer than 20,000 miles.  I think it was driven in the rain only twice during that timeframe.  It’s garaged, preserved, and babied.  Well, that garage queen became a road trip warrior for an 8-day span when my friend Alex flew in from Fort Myers, Florida to take an epic west coast road trip including a visit at this year’s NALM in my 1994 Legend GS sedan 6-speed.

Alex’s route covered 3,495.7 miles and took him through 6 states.  His journeys were documented with several GoPro camera clips as well as over 200 high quality photographs.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime, and the only thing that could have made it better would be if I had been able to be a part of it with him in person.  Experiencing it after the fact through his thorough documentation is the next best thing for me, as well as for all of you!

Alex and his fellow Floridian Alan spent a good chunk of their NALM time perusing the local junkyards for Legend parts.  After having been discontinued from production for over 22 years, you can imagine a model like the Legend does not have very robust support for replacement parts.  As a result those of us who intend to keep our cars on the road forever have to resort to dumpster diving from time to time.  Among the treasures A&A found (and installed) on my Legend GS were:

  • Master window switch with functional auto-down
  • ‘Beauty bar’ plastic trim cover over front bumper hardware
  • Uncracked center A/C vent trim
  • Radio antenna
  • Upgraded chrome door strikers and matching bolts
  • Bracket for clutch hydraulic hose
  • Battery tie-down
  • Windshield washer fluid cap

When I cut south on Interstate 5 on Sunday, June 11th when NALM concluded in Sacramento, Alex went north in my now “enhanced” Legend GS.  He continued on up toward Portland, but he took the scenic route in doing so.  Among his stops were the massive drive-thru Redwood tree in Leggett, California called Chandelier Tree and some  scenic stretches of Highway 101 in southern Oregon.  (Thus the T-shirt!)

Alex took the time to stop for photographs at each state line he crossed.  He reported that the car performed near flawlessly.  The only issues to note:  The speedometer is inaccurate at higher speeds, sometimes reading up to 10 mph faster than actual speed.  The rear brakes are squeaking.  The radio volume controls from the steering wheel don’t work.  And it might be time for spark plugs (last changed in 2009).

But Alex completed his adventure on Wednesday, June 14th after having completed his nearly-3,500-mile road trip.  He flew back to Florida later that evening, but not before we took the NSX out for a bite & drink.

Thanks Alex for giving my old car a chance to see some parts of the country that many people will only dream of experiencing!  Here are just a few of the photos Alex took & shared with me (posted here in random order), and a short video showing a few GoPro scenes just prior to hitting the Oregon state line.

Alan at the wheel

Alex and Alan about to go junkyarding in the Sacramento area

Arizona state line

Bridge crossing

California state line

Chandelier drive-thru tree in Leggett, California

With me in the rearview!

Me being cheesy!

Lots of rain – thank goodness for those new wiper blades a week before the trip!

Traveling the Extraterrestrial Highway (Hwy 93 in Nevada)

So many stickers you can barely make out the sign!

NALM group at Lake Tahoe

Idaho state line – and the car visible in the far background

Semi truck with a pretty cool name / logo

Mountain scenery

More scenery all around

Nevada state line

Pacific Ocean

Oregon Trail information

Oregon state line

Another shot from NALM

Redwood National Park entry

Alan and Alex at Lake Tahoe

Tunnel crossing

Washington state line

Spreadsheet nerd that I am, thought some might appreciate this.  It’s a quick & dirty calculation I did the other day to see how many of the 22,401 miles that my car has been driven that *I* have actually driven them.

As it turns out, roughly 1/3 of the car’s mileage accumulation in those last 9 years have been from other people.

21 Responses to “Alex’s Legendary 6-Speed, 6-State Tour to the Pacific Northwest”

  1. We need to fix my number to about 1500. It alas, I’m jealous of his road trip. I usually consider the twin my car when I’m out there. I’m already have some destinations in mind for my next trip out there in January!

    • Sounds awesome! Barrett awaits. Bring your checkbook next time. We need to find you a mint, low mileage ’87 Buick Grand National. Haha. You’ll be seeing the twin later this year somewhere in the Midwest hopefully…

  2. Being one of those who likes to return borrowed items in better condition than when I got them, this was a great post to read. Big respect to Alex and his choices for upgrades to the sedan. As owners (not saying that’s you), we sometimes lose touch with the little things that go wrong in our cars… at least I sure do! Occasionally it takes a third party to make that connection with reality.

    115`F? Mountains and trees are your best
    friends right now 😎

    Ahhhh I was wondering how you managed to accumulate so much mileage on your cars 😉

    • Haha, seriously, a friend of mine said I need to start a car rental business specializing in 1990s Japanese luxury cars. And you’re absolutely right – getting perspective from another driver sometimes opens our eyes to things about our own vehicles that we don’t even notice. I’m already brainstorming about cooler destinations. Have a guest room in Abbotsford? 🙂

      • My guest room is always open to you Tyson. Mountains and trees all around, lakes and ocean too!

        But…. who exactly is GLEEN FREY?
        🎸☺️🙃

  3. Maybe I can get Alex to come up here and drive my G1 3500 miles . . . after he puts a new transmission in it. 🙂

  4. Alan Jackson Says:

    Great road trip!! Thanks for the loan of the GS. Driving the Legend on the Scenic Cruise event of the NALM was my highlight of the entire NALM. Lake Tahoe area has beautiful scenery and twisty, curvy roads with lots of elevation changes. Very memorable trip in a legendary vehicle.

    • Excellent. Yeah it looked like a real nice route you guys took. If the weather had been a little more cooperative it would have probably been a perfect day. I’ve had it on my “must see” list for a while now. Look forward to the next meet up, whenever that may be. Glad you flew out for NALM.

  5. Brad Heffran Says:

    3,500 miles in about a week — nice! It doesn’t get any better than having someone borrow your car and returning it with upgrades. If only we were all so fortunate! Looks like ridiculous temperatures, even by Phoenix standards, in store for you this week. So I assume you’ll have this gem on blast 😉

    • Oh yes, Glenn F is my idol right now! Haha. Our overnight low is a breezy 90. Time to start getting bids for solar panels on the roof. At least I spend my workday on the 4th floor of a 21-story office building where it’s usually freezing cold anyway.

  6. Man! Some of your rides are getting to see some pretty amazing country without you! At least you get the T-shirt. 😀 Alex went through some of my favorite parts of the West and did so in a fitting, legendary sort of ride. I’m still very fond of the sedan from Mt. Lemmon.

    • Yeah, I’m jealous! Now I regret just heading back to PHX and wish I’d continued on northward to take the long way home 🙂 Speaking of Mount Lemmon, that might make a nice (and close by) reprieve from the heat someday in the coming weeks. Let us know the next time you’re headed out this way!

  7. Great trip, and it’s cool that your friends left the Legend sedan better than they found it. If only everyone that borrowed things was so kind!

    Did I see correctly that they drove through Donner Pass? Did they take any photos of that gruesomely historic spot?

    • You know what, I believe they did go through Donner because I remember somebody mentioning it! I’ll have to ask Alex if he has specific documentation of that. Historic location for sure.

  8. Another great post and kudos to Alex & Alan for helping upgrade the GS!

    So after reading this I had another epiphany. How’s this for an idea since as you mention it’s getting tougher each year to find parts for our cars someone create a spreadsheet on Google Docs that each of us could access.

    The doc would allow anyone who finds parts anywhere in the country at various recycle centers or similar to contribute their finds. So if someone locates a bumper cover, shift handle, whatever, they share it with everyone.

    I would suggest soliciting input from everyone as to what columns (categories) they might like to see but to start here are a few suggestions:

    – Item description
    – Condition
    – Availability (date found/date sold)
    – Donating Vehicle/Model/Year
    – Vehicle Mileage (optional)
    – Item Location (including contact info)
    – Pics (optional)
    – Price (optional)

    It shouldn’t take much to get it started and once its gets going it would be pretty much self-maintaining. The only other upkeep needed is for ppl to be diligent if they purchase a listed part and indicate when they did.

    I won’t be offended if this sounds too wacko… just a thought.

    • LOL maybe on the other hand just use eBay…

      • The idea is clever. I know for a fact there have been people having to retire cars due to lack of parts availability (a friend in New Hampshire recently scrapped his Vigor because it had some severe rust on a few fuel lines, which are discontinued, and he was unable to find replacement parts in time before he had to make a decision on keeping or getting rid of the car). So the problem is very real.

        We are lucky to have some very rust free cars here in Arizona – I was actually thinking of going junkyarding this weekend if I can brave the inferno temps. The Ecology lot on Broadway at 35th Avenue used to have a lot of 1990s Honda & Acura stuff, but the facility has since changed ownership so I don’t know if that’s still the case.

    • Cool idea 😎

  9. Hi Tyson,

    Are you still in the vicinity of all that heat we’ve been hearing about? If so don’t fool around with it; it can sneak up on you and make you sick before you know it.

    Also, (totally serious): have you seen the new reviews this week of the 2018 Toyota Camry? It looks like a really nice car and something that Honda maybe didn’t expect when introducing the new Accord. Over 300 hp in the V6! Amazing to think that this is a so-called “mainstream” sedan that is better equipped than what the Legend used to be, even though it was considered “luxury”.

    Stay cool.

    • Hey Jay! Yeah, it’s still toasty but we’ve dipped to more ‘normal’ temps for this time of year. I did see the reveal of the 2018 Camry in Detroit in January but I haven’t kept up on the latest reviews. Seems the bar has been raised for sure. That’s an important car for Toyota so it’s a good thing they hit a home run with it. Hope you have a great weekend.

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