AZ Offbeat Destinations: Wigwam Resort, Cheese N’ Stuff, Miracle Mile, & Herberger Park

I’m still here!  While my attention has been pulled a lot of directions in recent weeks, I owe it to the few loyal readers of the blog to chime in from time to time.  At least I haven’t forgotten my WordPress login credentials yet.

I just got home a few minutes ago from picking up my latest project car from the repair shop – for the second time – after a blower motor replacement in the climate control system.  Isn’t it funny how a single replacement item can exceed what you paid for an entire car?  Yep, just happened.  I have to keep reminding myself how much I enjoy this hobby.

The guest book had been relatively quiet for the entire summer until just a couple of weeks ago, when I hosted a get-together with some ‘car friends’ locally, and my brother breezed through town.  He was en route to Texas so he stopped in for an evening meal at Taco Guild in central Phoenix.

My own travels have dialed back considerably, but that also means I’ve had more of a chance to explore my surroundings locally.  I’ll show you a few of the places I’ve checked out in recent weeks.

The first is the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, Arizona.  It’s only about 25 miles from my place, but it offered a nice “staycation” destination for an over-nighter.  Room rates for locals are only in the low $100’s.  The resort itself dates back to 1929 and has 331 rooms, 2 restaurants, 3 pools, and a 26,000-square-foot spa.  A friend and I stayed over on a Friday night and enjoyed pretending like we were somewhere far from home.

Another place I checked out was right by my house.  For years I’ve driven past this little deli called “CHEESE N’ STUFF” at the intersection of Central Avenue & Camelback Road in Phoenix.  With a name like that, I couldn’t say no.  The interior is totally frozen in time – almost as if the clock stopped in about 1975.  Decor consists of wood paneling, family photos (the place is family-run, after all), and a general store-style shelf setup.  Some of the signs on the wall looked like they had been printed in Print Shop in 1987, adding to the nostalgia.

I can’t remember what this was called but it was literally just 7 types of cheeses, no meat at all.  And I was shocked at how tasty it was.

Here’s a fun one.  The below photo has a sort of Chinese character look archway to it, but it’s actually designed to resemble an abstract picket fence with the letters M M M.  That stands for Miracle Mile McDowell:  a stretch of road that was once a bustling corridor of culture and business in the 1950s.  Later, a new freeway system made the road obsolete, the pavement was widened to remove roadside parking, and businesses started to dry up.

The arch itself was installed in 1991 in an attempt to create a feeling of togetherness between the sides of the road that were now so far from one another.  And since then, there have been many initiatives to revitalize McDowell but for now, the buildings mostly stand empty.

The last place I’ll introduce you to is G. R. Herberger Park, located near 56th Street & Indian School road in Phoenix.  It’s best known as being the location of “Arizona Falls.”

Waterfalls, in Phoenix?  How?  Well, this is part of the Salt River Project:  A series of canals and waterways that bring much needed water to Phoenix and have done so for over 100 years.  This particular location is the site of a 20-foot drop in the canal.

It was once a place for picnics and recreation, but later was forgotten and closed off for many years.  In 2003, the location was restored and saw construction of a hydroelectric power plant and some exhibits.

I’ve had a chance to connect with some awesome folks in recent weeks, including this meet-up in Tempe with Kai and Hy in their exceptionally clean Honda Accords.  I was the odd man out in the NSX.

I also hosted the aforementioned Acura Legend meet-up at my house a couple of weeks ago.  In all, we had eight Legends in attendance.

My friend and fellow journalist Jeff Koch put together a great article on Hemmings that you might get a kick out of.  The link is below.  And based on the nearly 50 comments that it garnered, maybe there are a few people who actually “get” my weird obsession.

You may or may not be following the latest news with regard to the launch of the second-generation Acura TLX, but I am.  The 2021 models went on sale on Monday 9/28.  I’m planning on scooping one up next spring.  Looks good, right?

If you have a few minutes to kill and you’re addicted to online auctions like Bring a Trailer and Cars & Bids like I am, you might want to look at this new site called AutoHunter.  I’m one of the auction writers who have been working on getting things off the ground.  I already wrote for (the parent site) prior, so this was a logical move.


Do you all remember the Mulberry Red 1990 Accord EX I sold over a year and a half ago?  It traded hands just a couple of weeks ago to a friend of mine named Brent who lives in Michigan.  He has a great collection.  He sent me this photo of the Accord alongside his 1990 Legend and 1990 Prelude.  Talk about an epic throwback trio.

And closing things out, if you want to hear / see more about how I’m dumping money and time into my latest project car, here are videos 2 through 6 in the 1996 2.5TL series.  It’s actually been a lot of fun.  I drove the car to Payson, Arizona and back over the weekend and it’s a solid cruiser even at 262,000 miles.

Video 2

Video 3

Video 4

Video 5

Video 6

Bonus content:  video I put together of some upgrades to a family member’s NSX.

NSX Video

Hope that keeps you busy for a little bit.  And, I hope you’re all well!  Leave me a comment and say hello.

17 Responses to “AZ Offbeat Destinations: Wigwam Resort, Cheese N’ Stuff, Miracle Mile, & Herberger Park”

  1. Chris Miller Says:

    Mulberry is getting closer to my state! I want that car.
    I’m lost without the mileage snapshots but with all the new additions it would take a half page to paste them all.

    • I know, I just didn’t have the strength to deal with mileage updates. At some point you should get in touch with Brent who has the Mulberry and stop by.

  2. So much to talk about here…

    Love the Wigwam Resort! Back in the day it was located in such an isolated location now of course civilization has encroached right up to it. Still a historic spot and well worth visiting.

    When I first moved to the Valley and lived in Scottsdale I worked in Phoenix off Grand Ave. Back then before I-10 was completed one of the quickest east-west routes across the Valley was Indian School Rd. Back then Herberger Park was adjacent to slightly elevated canal running parallel to the road. Not much to see except early morning joggers and desert. So much has changed. Need to revisit and see that waterfall.

    Enjoyed the Tempe “Ty, Kai, Hy” meetup along with the others. The worst part for me was the AC failure in the 93SE. But as you know after 27 years things break. Or as you say “…funny how a single replacement item can exceed what you paid for an entire car.” After a complete OEM NOS AC system replacement (and refill from my 25yr old stash of R12) the car is cold again. I definitely empathize with you or to paraphrase “why is the car I drive least the one that costs most to maintain?”

    After a much overdue redesign I’m anxious to look and drive the new TLX too. Read a few reviews about the non Type-S versions and it looks promising. Can’t wait to drive one and of course see yours! I’m a little surprised you have considered scooping up one of the last RLXs since they’ve now been discontinued? Talk about rare have you seen the production numbers!?

    I too miss the Mulberry Red 1990 Accord EX along with your Vigor. For some reason that teal color really liked great on it.

    As for the 96 TL you’ve certainly put in more than your share of work in it and it does look incredible! Like the 90 Accord it must be the dark burgundy that makes it look so appealing. Can’t wait to see it after it’s fully “Tysonized.”

    Lastly the NSX was literally a blast to drive. The mods from Science of Speed are so well engineered they look and work like OEM! I’ve always appreciated great engineering from high quality and innovative companies like SoS. There really are so few.

    Looking forward to getting together again… and in the cooler weather if it ever gets here.

    • I think we should pick up an RLX for sure. Wanna go 50/50? And I think our prime weather is just about upon us. By the way, there’s a get together on Saturday October 10th with some of the local Legend guys + Kai. Text or email me if you want some details but we are getting together at 4:30 p.m. for a little cruise to Saguaro Lake and then dinner at Tempe Marketplace.

  3. That resort looks terrific – one thing that I’ve come to appreciate during the stay-at-home orders has been how many cool places there are hiding right under our noses. I’ve discovered a lot of interesting spots less than two hours from my home.

    Once the Accord rolls 200k, I’ll be giving the new TLX a test drive. Looking forward to seeing if it lives up to the billing. Not sure about trim level – I know the Type S looks magnificent, but with my commute, the key factor is going to be fuel efficiency and SH-AWD (boring, I know, but such is life in the Northeast).

    I really enjoyed this write-up, and it was great seeing the sedan getting some road action. How’s it holding up?

    • The poor sedan could use a long road trip, but as I type this I’m getting ready to hit the road in the coupe. I’ll be putting 1,600 miles on it over the next five or six days. Time to finally roll 575,000 miles and beyond.

    • Chris Miller Says:

      That sedan doesn’t come out often but it does it makes a statement! So clean!

  4. Glad to see an update and that you’re enjoying some fun drives! The fleet is looking great.


    Good to see an update Tyson and that your WordPress password wasn’t lost. I see mention of the new TLX and your pursuit for one. I can only assume the Type-S will be the one on your radar. I personally think that it’s a step in the right direction for Acura and a great homage to the years we knew Acura for. I’m sad that the Type-S won’t be sold with a manual (at least for now) however.

    I’ll have to book a ticket to come see your collection and sign the guest book. Obviously, world will have to improve for it make sense.

    Keep it coming! Great read and great collection.

    • You’re welcome any time! And yes, the Type-S is the one on my radar. Just racking my brain about which what to put on my personalized plate. All the good ideas I’ve had have been taken when I search them on the DMV website, haha. Hope you have a good weekend Ty.

  6. That was a great article about you and your collection. The TLX looks great. Love that color. Can’t wait to see you get yours. It’s been neat seeing you get the TL into shape. Thanks for mentioning Auto Hunter. I’ll check it out.

  7. Is that a first generation white Tsx I see in one of those pics? 😉

  8. Sixspeedmiata Says:

    I am up for giving the Legend sedan some exercise. I am free all week since I am on Fall Break.

    • I was able to get the car out and stretch its legs over the weekend during an Acura Legend meet/cruise to Saguaro Lake. Stay tuned for the pics / vid! Hope you’re enjoying Fall Break.

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