Archive for the Arizona Category

August Already: Group Drive to Gurley Street in Prescott, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, Integra, Road Trip on August 6, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (TL): 98,000

Odometer (ILX):  201,000

Odometer (Integra):  239,826

Trip Distance:  226 Miles

Just when I thought the Aztec Green on my Integra was an obnoxious color, my friend James had to get ahold of a 2017 Honda Civic Si in Energy Green and totally upstage me.  Talk about eye-popping.

This weekend, a few friends and I took a trip to the high country.  In all we had 12 participants and 6 cars out for the Saturday drive, including mostly Japanese cars but with a Domestic and a German for good measure.

  • 1992 Acura Integra GS-R 5-speed – Tyson and Brian
  • 2006 Acura RSX 6-speed – Jack and Jarett
  • 2017 BMW 430i M-Sport – Beau and Cole
  • 2017 Honda Civic Si 6-speed – James and Rob
  • 2017 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport – Matt and Alan
  • 2005 Pontiac GTO 6-speed – Kyle and Sally

I had the oldest vehicle by 13 years so I suppose it’s okay that I brought up the tail end of the pack for most of the drive.  Truth is, I gave that little 1.7-liter 4-banger all she had.  The relatively steep grade from Wickenburg (2,057 feet) to Prescott (5,368 feet) took us through one of Highway 89’s most curvy and technical sections in the state of Arizona.  But it also left me feeling like I was a little out of my league in terms of power and handling.

That didn’t matter; I was enjoying the scenery — not to mention the fact that the weather outside was 20 degrees cooler than we had back home in Phoenix.  I opened my moonroof for the first time since about April!

Knowing beforehand that one specific stretch of 89 is a notorious speed trap, we joked that James should take the lead in that unmistakable neon Civic and perhaps distract any highway patrol officers along the way so the rest of us could slide by at a good clip without the risk of getting pulled over.  I’m happy to report that nobody from our group had any run-ins with the law, which is admirable considering that Matt and Kyle, each with 400 horsepower at their command in the Q50 and GTO respectively, were in vehicles highly capable of breaking the speed limits.

Prescott, the Yavapai County seat and once the capital of the Arizona Territory in 1864, is a popular summertime destination for many Phoenicians like us looking to beat the heat.  Its 40,000 residents probably get used to seeing groups of sports cars and motorcyclists rolling through town almost every Saturday and Sunday during the warmer months.  Luckily for us, we had no issue finding ample parking near the walkable downtown district in a relatively new, 4-level garage.

The tougher challenge was finding a restaurant able to accommodate a dozen people without any reservations.  Gurley Street Grill, just a block away from us, saved the day and set us up in a comfortable spot on the back patio.  To the foodies of the blog audience, you’ll be pleased to know that I took a picture of my turkey croissant and side of cottage cheese.

See?  Even a pickle spear.

We enjoyed the mountain air and each others’ company before packing up and heading back to the Valley of the Sun.  There was some switching of passenger assignments and Rob accompanied me for the drive back, willing to put up with my loud little Integra’s 4,500 RPM whirr at 80 miles per hour as we made the descent down Interstate 17.  He also reminded me to fasten my lap belt.  The automatic shoulder belts in that car always make me forget that there’s another step in the process.  Thanks for coming along for the drive!  Some more news & info follow below.

Other Prescott trips for your reading pleasure:

Short video clip:

Heading into the town of Wickenburg.  We call it Wickentrash, but don’t tell anyone who lives there that.

Fuel and snack stop at Mobil along Highway 93.

Following Matt’s Q50 into the foothills of the national forest

On up the mountain, following Jack’s RSX

Arrival in Prescott on Highway 89

Town view as seen from our parking garage

Enjoying this visitor for a few days.  Brian, from Orlando, was here from Tuesday until Sunday.

Lunch on the Gurley Street Grill patio

Group shot.  Rob, Tyson, Matt, Alan, Cole, Jack, Brian, James, Sally, Kyle, Jarett, Beau

Here are some other news updates and reading links:

A/C Blog from Highline Car Care

Years ago I became acquainted with my friend Wes because he helped me take care of some preventive maintenance on a 3rd generation Honda Prelude I owned at the time.  Later, he did some work on a 1988 Legend coupe I was restoring.

Today, Wes has grown his auto repair business into one the Phoenix area’s premier facilities.  I thought it was interesting to read this informative write-up on how automotive A/C systems work and the importance of maintaining them.  At this point in the summer, we are all grateful for properly functioning air!

Roadkill 78 Lincoln Story

There’s something so cool about the concept of taking a 40-year-old car, hitting the open road, and seeing how many destinations you can hit in a 35-day road trip.  And that’s exactly what a couple of students did in this recent write-up on Roadkill.com.  I think you’ll enjoy the words and photos as much as I did.

Sunset time in the TL the other day.

Another fine AZ sunset, this time in the Legend sedan

Brian from Florida took my NSX on a trip to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon Friday.  It was about a 600 mile trip or so, I think.  He was thoughtful enough to snag this picture at one of the viewpoints.

On a related note, a friend sent me this a few days ago:  Someone posted on the NSX Owners Group on Facebook that his car had over 427,000 miles on it.  Not bad!  Guess mine may have some life left.

Some of Honda’s finest from the 1990s.  That Accord SE belongs to friend and loyal reader Hy.

And since the Vigor really is just a ‘grown up’ Accord, here’s one more pic for today.  It’s a Desert Mist Metallic 1994 Vigor at an auto show when it was brand new.  Thanks to reader Dillon for the awesome find!

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Memorial Day 2017: Cabin Retreat Near Beaver, Utah

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip, Utah on June 1, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  552,509

Odometer (ILX):  199,757

Trip Distance:  1,016 Miles

When I say that Phoenix gave us a ‘warm welcome’ upon returning from my brother’s cabin in central Utah on Monday, I mean it in the most literal of senses.  When I started the car at 7:50 in the morning from my brother’s cabin retreat near Eagle Point ski resort in southern Utah, the exterior temp readout displayed 43 degrees Fahrenheit.  When my friends and I rolled into Phoenix 8 1/2 hours later, it said 107.  Needless to say, I felt overdressed.

Nestled in a grove of trees in the Fishlake National Forest at nearly 10,000 feet in elevation, the destination for our two-night stay was a second home that my brother Bentley built in 2015.  It’s become a summertime base camp for all sorts of recreational activities.  But calling this place a “camp” seems ludicrous, since it’s more modern and three times the size of the home I’m living in.

Our northbound holiday weekend trip started on Friday afternoon, when four of us made our way toward Las Vegas in two vehicles:  My 2013 ILX and James’ press car flavor of the week, a fancy-pants 2017 Genesis G90.  Its double-paned glass, football fields’ worth of leg room, and 5,000-pound heft allowed it to glide its passengers through the desert in ultimate serene comfort.  Meanwhile my little 2.4-liter four-banger was plenty audible at 3,500 RPM cruising speed, but at least I was able to drown it out with some proper road trip tunes.

Mom’s house in Washington, Utah was our waypoint for that evening – a quick in-and-out overnight stay since Saturday morning we had plans to mosey another 120 or so miles northbound.  We did take the time to meet up with my brother Payton and his family pre-departure and to partake of the breakfast fare at “The Egg & I” on Bluff Street.

Beaver, Utah is a town with a sense of humor and a sense of pride.  Most of its 3,000 residents live within a few minutes’ drive of Interstate 15 which is the lifeblood and artery of commerce in the community.  About the only notable destinations there are an outlet store for a company called Cache Valley Cheese, a historic 1876 courthouse, and a 9,000-square-foot pawn shop.

We plunked down $170 at Mike’s Food Town – the only grocery store in town – to get some food & supplies.  As I was standing in line at the register, I looked down and saw that a stranger had placed a box with a saline enema in my cart.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the culprit, and it was my jokester cousin Dillon who happened to be doing his shopping as well.  Dillon and his mom, Jodi, and Jodi’s boyfriend Michael joined us for one night at the cabin.

In the 19 miles from the Highway 153 junction with Main Street to the Eagle Point ski area in the Tushar Mountains to the east, we climbed over 4,000 feet in elevation.  Here’s where I gladly rowed my own gears in a spirited upward drive with the ILX.  The G90 was no slouch, maintaining impressive composure on the twisties, but when a curvy mountain road is placed in front of me I prefer complete, old-fashioned driver engagement with a clutch pedal and stick shift.

If it weren’t for the presence of a solid guardrail along the side, Highway 153 is the type of road that will give you the heebie-jeebies.  There are steep drop-offs and embankments as the road winds its way upward.  Passing lanes are very few and very far between, so luckily we encountered very little traffic.  My mom and stepdad had already arrived and were anxiously waiting for us.  We settled in and unloaded the cars, then soaked in the view and the cooler temperatures.

We took my brother’s 6-seat Polaris Raptor ATV for a spin around some of the dirt trails in the surrounding area.  In high gear, on a downhill grade, we could only get it up to about 30 miles per hour with our 4 adult bodies onboard.  So I think the 120-mph speedometer is a little optimistic!  The go-anywhere capability was nice, though, and we plowed through a couple of snowbanks with ease.

Cousin Dillon taught us how to play craps, complete with a full blown Vegas style layout and all the chips we cared to gamble with.  Downtime was also filled with a couple of short hikes and a few selections from the DVD binder.  My favorite was “Ocean’s Eleven.”  We took a picnic lunch a few miles up the road to scenic Puffer Lake.

No group outing would be complete without oodles of food – night one was grilled chicken, night two was pasta with Rob’s Famous Meatballs.  I’m confident nobody went hungry during this vacation.

All-too-early, we were loading up the cars on Monday morning and preparing for our return trip.  I opted to take a different route this time – cutting east on Highway 20 toward Highway 89, then south toward the Arizona state line.  I think this was a good call – not only did it deliver some great scenery, but the traffic was light since it allowed us to avoid the Las Vegas & Hoover Dam holiday cluster.  Besides, we also got to stop and see the bridge at Marble Canyon and a few other attractions.

And so concluded our 1,000-mile, 3-state, holiday weekend trip.  I’m ready to do it all over again!  Who’s with me?  A short video and some pics follow.

Snoopy riding a telephone pole ‘rocket’ just outside Wikieup, Arizona on Highway 93

Taking a breather outside the G90

199,000-mile ILX rollover between Las Vegas and St. George

Breakfast at The Egg & I in St. George on Saturday morning

Doing a little shopping in Beaver

Wandering around with Jack

Group pic on the steps of the cabin

Driveway

Raptor ride

Couple pics near a creek with some heavy snow runoff

Paying a visit to the location where some relatives’ ashes are buried

Tyson, Jodi, Michael, Todd, Tia, Jack, Dillon

ILX at sunset

Still plenty of snow on the ground at the ski lodge

Map of Eagle Point

Riding in the back of stepdad Todd’s truck to our picnic at Puffer Lake

Hwy 153 descent

The guys bought me an “I heart Beaver” bumper sticker

Phoenix, only 434 more miles!

Abandoned service station in Fredonia, Arizona

Marble Canyon

Lee’s Ferry bridge with the gang

Easter Trip 2017 to Southern Utah with Jack & Lance

Posted in Arizona, Road Trip, Utah on April 23, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  552,423

Odometer (ILX):  195,000

Trip Distance:  827 Miles

The Arizona Department of Transportation has a sense of humor!

Back in the saddle again, at last!  My trusty silver steed came back into action 11 days ago after its recent bodyshop visit.  Two friends and I rode off into the Arizona sunset toward Las Vegas, then southern Utah.  The occasion?  Family fun in St. George for the Easter holiday.  It was an 800-miler with some of the best roadtrip tunes in the business.  Lance took over the backseat and I serenaded us with his in-car karaoke.  Our favorite artists to jam out to are Tracy Chapman and Jars of Clay.

“You got a fast car.  I got a ticket to anywhere.  Maybe we can make a deal, maybe together we can get somewhere.  Anyplace is better, starting from zero got nothing to lose.  Maybe we’ll make something.  Me, myself I got nothing to prove.”  Classic lines from Tracy’s “Fast Car.”

The Panda Express in Kingman, Arizona was just the spot to satisfy our cravings for orange chicken and Beijing beef at the halfway point on our drive to St. George Friday night.

Saturday was a day full of activities and good food.  We had breakfast at Bear Paw on Main Street in St. George, and then hiked around on the Red Hill overlooking town.  It was a perfect day with a light breeze and clear skies.  My brother Payton had laid out an assembly line for painting Easter eggs at his home in Santa Clara so we stopped by there and dyed a few eggs of our own with the kids.  I took Jack and Lance up to Snow Canyon and we played around in the sand dunes for an hour.

My grandma and grandpa were hospitable during our unannounced drop-in and even served up lasagna and garlic bread.  We got to spend an hour enjoying the serene backyard patio from the comfort of lounge chairs and chatting it up.  Later that evening, my brother Bentley had us over to his place for a test drive in his 1968 Chevy Nova SS, tacos on the menu, and a game night.  Great way to close out the night.

Easter Sunday consisted of an egg hunt at my brother’s place – complete with eggs of all sizes, filled with more candy than the entire sweets aisle at Walmart.  Stomach ache!

Add this road to your must-drive lists right this instant:  Arizona Highway 89A – Vermillion Cliffs.  It’s the best.  This two-laner runs along the Utah-Arizona state line and traverses some of the most vivid landscapes your eyes will ever see.  Plus, you get to stop at the Cliff Dwellers homesite where Native Americans are usually selling wares like jewelry, rugs, and other artifacts.  Finally, you can stop at Lee’s Ferry where a historic 1928 bridge offers a dramatic view of the Colorado River.

That’s the route we took on our return drive to Phoenix on Sunday, while eating way too much Easter candy and jamming out to more classic hits – mostly from the 1990s.

Thanks for coming along for the adventure!

Breakfast burrito from Bear Paw in St. George

Cruising around in mom’s 2004 Infiniti G35.  It turned over 36,000 miles!

View of St. George

Checking out brother Payton’s “Intensa Blue Pearl” Lexus IS300

Easter egg preparation

Nephew Rex collecting his Easter eggs

With Lance and Jack at Cliff Dwellers along Highway 89A

Enjoying the view from Navajo Bridge at Lee’s Ferry

Hiking South Mountain in Phoenix this past week with my friends Dante & Riley

My brother sold his 1993 Legend L coupe to a friend of mine, Brandon, yesterday.

Hanging with my nephews

Scenic pics along Old Utah Highway 91

 

180 Degrees Automotive: Featuring Sarah “Bogi” Latiener

Posted in Arizona, PAPA on April 10, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra):  239,106

Did you know?  Fewer than 2% of auto mechanics are female.  There are plenty of women who have interest in getting into the industry, but many can’t find work because they aren’t qualified.  And they can’t build the skills to become qualified until they land a job.  It’s a cycle that Sarah “Bogi” Latiener has sought to break by changing the way people think about women in automotive.  Last Wednesday, Bogi invited the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) to her shop in central Phoenix, Arizona that serves as a repair facility as much as an educational institution.

Women from around the community – and around the country – come to Bogi’s to learn the trade.  For some women, it may be the first time they’ve picked up a wrench.  I know for a fact that many of her “students” probably already know a heck of a lot more than I do.  I’ve had professionals handle my car maintenance for years now – aside from air filters, batteries, and easy stuff, I haven’t ever dipped too far into the mechanic scene.  Now I’m inspired to.

And thus the reason why Bogi’s facility is called 180 Degree Automotive:  It turns the perceptions and stereotypes 180 degrees, causing people to think twice about letting a gender difference dictate anyone’s ability to be skilled in automotive trades.  Our group of automotive journalists enjoyed getting a behind-the-scenes look.

Bogi co-hosts a TV show on Velocity Channel call “All Girls Garage,” and the main project taking place currently is a build called the Chevy Montage.  A team of women is putting together a 1957 Chevy pickup truck (equipped with a BMW M5 engine) that will debut at the SEMA show in Las Vegas in November.  We got an inside look at the place where the magic happens: a nondescript industrial building at Camelback Road and 7th Avenue that is definitely more than meets the eye.  The lobby contains a quarterly art exhibit featuring local artists.  And the garage bays themselves are tidy and organized.  I guess it takes a woman’s touch!

We thank her for the hospitality and wish her the best of luck in finishing up the SEMA build!

Here is a feature video on Bogi from “Assignment America” 7 years ago.

Drove the Vigor to the scene

Entrance

Art gallery on exhibit in the waiting room

Social hour

Eyeballing the shop

Here are a few other pics from over the weekend.  We had some friends come up from Tucson.  Two of them were in a pair of “CB7” (1990-93) Honda Accords, including this EX coupe and SE sedan.

The sedan had 299,927 miles on it!

On his return trip, Corey sent me this pic to confirm the car achieved its milestone.

Honda party at the house.

Jon, Corey, Ryan, Tyson, Ben, Trevor, Chris

James‘ Focus RS, on test for the week, joined the party, as well as Michael’s 2001 7-series.

And Donald’s Vortex Blue TSX 6-speed.  Neighbors must think we’re car crazy.  They’re right.

Family Visit from Utah: OdySea Aquarium & Butterfly World Exhibit in Scottsdale, AZ

Posted in Arizona, Hikes, Misc Travel on March 27, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  552,002

Over the weekend, I gained a greater appreciation for two things:  moms and minivans.  When you’re entertaining 3 kids under the age of 6 years old, you start to realize just how much of a challenge it can become to make sure everyone’s fed, happy, and playing fair.  You also look for any way possible to ease the burden of travel logistics.  My brother Payton and his family visited for 4 days from southern Utah, and their 2013 Honda Odyssey EX-L was just the right ride for their family on such a 14-hour round-trip journey to Phoenix.

And we drove that Odyssey to OdySea.  This Scottsdale aquarium opened last July and is home to 500 species of sea life, living in over 2 million gallons of water.  I guess if our desert ever runs out of irrigation water, we can always drain the fish tanks!

Our favorite feature of the aquarium campus, though, was housed next door in a place called “Butterfly World.”  A 3-D movie educated us on the butterfly life cycle, and then we were permitted to enter a greenhouse-like atrium which is home to over 3,000 butterflies of various colors and sizes.

My niece Vivienne was thrilled that two butterflies perched on her colorful clothing.  Her younger brother Rex didn’t have any such luck and was peeved that they weren’t attracted to him.  And the youngest, Locke, must not have received the memo about “don’t step on the butterflies.”  He’s only 1 year old, and his primal instinct is to step on any insect within leg’s reach.  And, he did.  When we left Butterfly World, it was home to 2,999 butterflies instead of 3,000.

On Saturday, we spent our energy on a short hike at Papago Park near the Phoenix-Scottsdale border.  The place was bustling with hundreds of other families taking advantage of the perfect weather, but we made our way to the summit at “Hole in the Rock” and enjoyed the view.  The afternoon was spent at the Clarendon Hotel, a boutique hotel in central Phoenix that has a great pool facility.  We called dibs on a cabana and soaked ourselves in the long hot tub while listening to relaxing music.  My brother had a celebrity encounter too: He recognized Geoff Rowley, famous skateboarder, enjoying the hot tub with us and struck up a conversation.  Geoff was in town for the PHXAM event.

I had to make sure everyone was well-fed, so our dining destinations were carefully selected.  I introduced my brother and his family to Los Dos Molinos on Camelback Road for Mexican food on Friday night, we ordered Spinato’s Pizza on Saturday, and I took them to Zookz for breakfast sandwiches on Sunday morning before the Odyssey started its return trip to Utah.

Thanks to Payton and Kali for bringing the kids down to spend a few days with me!  I’ll be finding miniature toy frogs in the couch cushions and closets for a few months yet.

Here is a 10-minute video introduction to my garage that my brother put together for his YouTube audience.

(Forgive my error on stating the GS 6-speed sedan was offered in 1993-94.  You all know it’s 1994-95!)

And 4 minutes’ worth of random scenes from throughout the weekend on my own channel.

Locke ‘riding’ a little motorcycle

Viv enjoying the backyard swing

Rex standing next to an orange tree in the backyard

Ready for our 3-D movie at Butterfly World

In the courtyard at OdySea just before grabbing lunch

Shark exhibit

Dinner at Los Dos Molinos Uptown

Breakfast at Zookz

Hiking at Papago Park

Locke, Vivienne, and Rex playing in the backyard

Couple other random pics from recent weeks.  My friends Todd and Josh have two Teslas!

My friend Kevin picked me up a “Chiriaco Summit” bumper sticker.  More on that soon!

And my ILX trip to Willcox was featured in Arizona Driver Magazine‘s March-April 2017 issue!

Have a great week!

Canyon Carvers: A 1992 Prelude & 1992 Integra vs. Arizona’s Catalina Highway

Posted in Arizona, Integra, Prelude, Road Trip on March 19, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  551,894

Trip Distance:  304 Miles

A quarter-century ago in 1992, you could set foot into your local Honda or Acura dealerships and drive away with any number of sport coupes.  From the eco-friendly CRX Si at $11,900 to the flagship NSX at $65,000 MSRP, there was something for just about everyone.

Automotive journalist Steve Lynch (The Truth About Cars) and I decided to pit two against each other that are most alike in price & performance:  The Prelude Si versus the Integra GS-R.  Coming in at about $18k and $17k respectively, they shared more than just a price point.  They each offered a 160-horsepower 4-cylinder powerplant and a slick-shifting 5-speed manual transmission.

Arizona’s “Catalina Highway,” one of the state’s most scenic twisty roads, seemed the perfect spot to carry out our evaluation.  At 26 miles in length from its base in Tucson to the summit at Summerhaven, it climbs nearly 6,000 feet in elevation to over about 8,200 feet – high enough that even now in late March there is snow along the roadside in some stretches.  Arizona, snow?  Yes – it happens.

Joining for the excursion were two friends who preferred to exercise their American muscle and grunt:  Will in a Chevy SS and James (Six Speed Blog) in a Dodge Durango R/T.  Each one offered more than double the horsepower of our Hondas so it wouldn’t have been a fair fight to include them in the comparison test.  Besides, we found a better way to put those two against each other:  an exhaust sound-off contest.  More on that when you watch the YouTube video.

When you saddle up in the Integra GS-R, you have to be alert and attentive.  The automatic seat belts close in on you forcefully as if to say, “Buckle up.  You’re about to take a hell of a ride.”  A crank of the B17 motor and a glance at the 8,000-RPM redline tell you the car is all about the high-revving playtime.  And even though the car is old enough for historic plates and has its share of mechanical quirks consistent with 239,000 miles on the odometer (hello, ABS light on the dash!), it revs happily like a toddler and the chassis tuning is stiff.

The Prelude takes a more sophisticated approach.  Its futuristic dashboard communicates all relevant driver information in typical Honda sensible fashion.  But its engine’s behavior and suspension’s refinement make it less of a rev-machine.  It’s torquey enough at low RPM that the driver doesn’t feel like he or she has to push it to the limit.  Seats are comfortable and supportive, sounds are more subdued, and it acts like a much more responsible daily driver – with a fun side for the weekends – than the trouble-maker Integra.

We all did enough key-swapping throughout the mountain cruise to come to pretty much the same conclusion.  If I had Marty McFly’s DeLorean and transported myself back in 1992, my $18k would be better spent on a Prelude than an Integra.  Reason being, we all spend far more time in day to day mundane driving situations – traffic, commuting, and the occasional interstate cruise – than we do carving up a canyon road or sprinting around an autocross track.  The Prelude is a better all-around value for the money.

For reference, a prior Mount Lemmon trip in which we took a similar parade of sporty Hondas up the mountain.

Oh, and the Durango versus SS?  Skip to the end of the video to see how that contest went :).

Preparing for our ascent

The V8 contenders

Headed on up the mountain

Prelude in the lead

Arrival at Summerhaven – elevation 8,200 feet

And perfect weather!

Lunch at the Sawmill Restaurant

Sweet potato tots!  (insert heart-eye emoji)

Few more pics up at the ski lift area

Integra engine bay

Prelude engine bay

Making our descent

And finally, a visit from my friend Matt today in his 2003 CL Type-S 6-speed!  235,000 miles and it looks & drives like new!

Here are a few links to share:

TSX Travels Acura Anniversary video that I was honored to be a part of:

 

Wedding Weekend in Phoenix, Arizona

Posted in Arizona on March 13, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  551,894

Can you believe the movie The Princess Bride is now 30 years old?

“Mawage.  Mawage is what brings us together today.”  (skip to 26 seconds in)

My friend Paul took a pretty good guess at what I would be doing this past Saturday.

He was wrong, though.  I didn’t drive anywhere exotic this weekend.  I did, however, enjoy one of the most well-executed, multi-day parties I’ve ever attended.  This weekend, two of my best friends, Rustin & Wade, got married and while that means there were no road trips on the radar, it was still a memorable time.  My mom flew to Phoenix from Southern Utah to be a part of the events.

Friday night kicked off with an open house / cocktail party at the grooms’ home in the Sunnyslope area of Phoenix.  It was the perfect venue for an evening with friends and family.  Refreshments were provided in the form of a hot dogs and hot chocolate on the patio – it’s an odd combination, but it works!  On Saturday, I donned a tuxedo for the first time since Senior Ball at Pine View High School in 2000.  It took some trial and error to get the bow tie situated just right, and clearly my experience with cuff links is limited because by the end of the night, I’d lost one of them.  But for a few hours, I felt high class.

It felt appropriate that I do a side-by-side photo of my last red 2-door Honda (the Prelude) along with my latest (the NSX) for a photo while wearing my tuxedo garb, so mom and I cruised over to the Arizona Biltmore neighborhood to do the re-creation.  The above pics were taken in 2000 and in 2017.  I’m sure glad my sense of style has improved.  Though, a few people have asked that the skater shoes and frosted hair tips come back.

Wedding festivities kicked off at 5:00 p.m. at the Phoenix Art Museum on Central Avenue.  The entire venue was decked out appropriately, and our group of about 200 people assembled on the manicured courtyard grounds to await the big event.  Rustin and Wade exchanged their vows and then exited the area with Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” blasting over the speaker.  The crowd loved it.

Later in the evening, we dined, then danced.  The dance floor was illuminated and mom put everyone else to shame showing some of the moves she’s been learning in her weekly Wednesday hip-hop class.  I seriously saw a few people doing the “bow down” gesture to her.  She’s that good.  The weekend capped off with a trip to a baseball spring training game at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa.  The Chicago Cubs played against the Oakland Athletics.  Temperatures were pushing 90 degrees but luckily our group had shaded ‘lawn’ seating.  It was a great day at the ball game!

I’ll let the photos (and a short vide0) tell the rest of the story!

The Legend is back in daily duty for a few weeks.

I even had to take it to Tucson for work last Monday.  Here’s a shot at Picacho Peak along I-10.

Picking up mom from Phoenix “Sky Harbor” International Airport.

Friday night cocktail hour at Rustin & Wade’s house, in gold-rimmed sunglasses that were provided.

Headed to brunch in the Vigor with mom on Saturday morning.

View from brunch at Zookz on Camelback Road & Central Avenue.

Couple photos with the NSX at the Arizona Biltmore area.

Some of my friends looking all fancy.  Sam, Lance, Rob, Kyle, Chris, Chandler, Jack, and James.

Wade and Rustin cutting their wedding cake

Having a little fun with pictures later on.

Sunday’s trip to the baseball game in Mesa.

Wade (hiding), Scott, Lance, and me

Congrats to my friend Sean who hit 100,000 miles today in his 2006 Honda Accord EX-L 5-speed!

Sean bought his Accord brand new in July 2006 and it’s been his daily driver ever since.