Archive for the Arizona Category

VIP HondaJet & NSX Event in Scottsdale, Arizona – November 11, 2017

Posted in Arizona, NSX on November 12, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  556,317

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  156,015

Odometer (NSX):  109,174

Got a cool $4.5 mill burning a hole in your pocket?  You might just want to look at the latest solution in business travel mobility:  A jet aircraft manufactured by Honda.  Restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, and wealthy businesspeople around the country now have the opportunity to travel in style and comfort.  The increased work-life balance, improved productivity, and reduced stress thanks to avoiding delays, layovers, security lines, loud passengers, and seat assignments are big motivators that Honda hopes will drive customers to pick up its HA-420 aircraft.

Plus, and here’s something I just learned, there are 398 airports in the United States with commercial airline service, but 3,052 airports that allow aircraft like the HondaJet to utilize.  So it truly does open the door to being in multiple places in a shorter amount of time.  “Welcome to your new corner office,” is the tagline for Honda’s foray into air travel which debuted in early 2016.

Just check out that cockpit!  Technology for days.  But does it have lane keeping assist, cruise control, or VTEC?

While such a lofty purchase won’t be making its way into my humble fleet any time soon, it’s fun to dream.  I had the opportunity at an event on Saturday night to get up close and personal with the HondaJet.  Its fine leather and high tech almost made me wonder, “How come this thing isn’t called an AcuraJet instead?”  It’s powered by the HF120 Turbofan motors, rated at 2,000-pound thrust-class with air start up to 25,000 feet, a 4.5 thrust/weight ratio, and 5,000 hours between overhaul.  That’s all a foreign language to me, but it’s said to result in best-in-class durability and reduced operating costs, something we can all surely appreciate.

Also on display in the private hangar were the ScienceofSpeed-built, stunning Nouvelle Blue Pearl 2017 Acura NSX customized for this year’s SEMA trade show in Las Vegas by Chris Willson and his team from Chandler, Arizona.  Ride-and-drive opportunities were made available on a first-come, first-served basis for attendees who wanted to take a lap around the block in Scottsdale’s Kierland area in a stock NSX.  The event was a collaborative effort by Phoenix’s 3 area Acura dealerships (Peoria, Scottsdale, and Tempe).

My friend Rob and I enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and beverages while having a look at the cars and chatting with other attendees.  And the test-drive later that evening in a “Curva Red” 2017 NSX did not disappoint.  The car drives, handles, and performs like nothing else I’ve ever driven.  If I play my cards right, I’d like to get my hands on one for a full 7-day evaluation someday.  I’ll be sure to bring you all along for the ride.

Premium parking for local NSX Club of America members was made available right in front.  I drove my 1992 NSX, of course, and was one of several “Formula Red” owners in attendance at the program.

Nice sunset overlooking the Scottsdale airport.

Ice sculpture!

Some of the night’s testers.

TLX A-Spec on display as well.

I had my Legend GS sedan out and about yesterday to clean out some cobwebs.  The car has a tendency to lose its battery charge over a few weeks’ time if not regularly started and driven, but purrs like a kitten once fired up.  I drove over to the Tempe area for a snapshot at the Mill Avenue bridge.  Temperatures were in the mid-80’s.

I celebrated a milestone on the way home.  The sedan has almost exactly 400,000 fewer miles on it than the coupe.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Test Drive Friday: 2017 “Active Lifestyle Vehicle” (ALV) of the Year Competition

Posted in Arizona, PAPA, Vehicle Reviews on October 21, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  556,095

There’s nothing quite like an ‘unsupervised’ test drive.  When I took off from home base yesterday in the 2017 Dodge Durango SRT with its 475-horsepower, 6.4-liter Hemi V8, I was grinning from ear to ear.  Fiat-Chrysler representative Scott Brown had just unlocked the beast’s full potential for me just moments before by teaching me how to put it in “Sport” mode.  Who knew that a 5,300-pound, 3-row luxury SUV could have a sporty side at all?  I can assure you, it does.  And I’m sure everyone within a mile radius heard me, too.  The exhaust note belched like a muscle car.

(photo below by Mark Elias)

Each fall, automotive journalists and athletes get together to put about two dozen or more new vehicles through their paces and select winners in 9 categories.  This year was ALV’s 14th, based at the Hilton Phoenix-Chandler and taking place on Friday, October 20th.  There are so many “car of the year” programs around the country, but this one positions itself a little differently:  ALV hones in on the opinions of people who have special and more demanding needs for their vehicles – namely, athletes and outdoorsy types.  Bicycle-hauling capability, then, among many other criteria, is one of the things that each registered vehicle is evaluated based upon.

Things got underway on Thursday night with a dinner at Crust Pizzeria in downtown Chandler, sponsored by Toyota.  Friday was a full day of automotive action, with both on- and off-road drive routes available to give attendees a chance to put the vehicles through their paces.  The Butcher Jones Recreation Area, near the banks of Saguaro Lake, offered a perfect setting with multiple types of terrain to demonstrate each vehicle’s unique handling capabilities. I drove there in a 2017 Honda Fit, the bright blue “jellybean” as Public Relations representative Davis Adams called it.  Nicely equipped for $22,000, the Fit was a delightful little ride with a versatile interior, which is probably what pushed it to the winner’s circle when it was voted the best entry in the Urban category.

See all that leg room he has?  Lounge ready!

Sometimes, though, the joy in the event wasn’t just talking tech specs with the manufacturer representatives, but rather getting to know them better.  Nissan Public Relations’ Jannelle Grigsby, fresh in from LA, rocked out with me to SiriusXM radio station “BPM” at full blast, moonroof open and windows down in the newly refreshed 2018 Pathfinder.  It was great to get to know Jannelle and the many others who came out to teach us about what sets their brand’s vehicles apart from the competition.  Jannelle’s Titan took home an award in an off-road category.

Taking my drive loops up the Bush Highway, I cycled in and out of vehicles throughout the day, driving 17 of the entered 27 in total.  I had my faves, for sure.  The new Alfa Romeo Stelvio had incredible pick-up for a 4 cylinder SUV.  The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, though dressed in minivan sheetmetal, is an absolute riot to drive thanks to its torquey powertrain.  The Volvo XC60 had the best audio system in the whole group, made by Bowers & Wilkins.

And as much of a Honda guy as I am, the 2018 Camry XSE V6 absolutely knocked my socks off.  It feels like so much car for $36,000.  It’s also sporty looking, fast, and loaded with tech features you’d expect to see on a luxury car.  I haven’t yet driven the newest Honda Accord but the Camry is fighting hard for its position in the very competitive midsize sedan market segment.  Representative Chad Moore was understandably very proud of what Toyota’s engineers have achieved.

We were privileged to be in the presence of several elite athletes who cast their votes as well.  Triathlete Lewis Elliot and retired NFL player Mark Walczak participated in the day’s events to contribute their athletic perspective.  At the conclusion of our driving day at 4:00 p.m., I drove the Chevy Equinox back to the Hilton.  It was a super comfortable and easy vehicle to commute around in.

Volkswagen, which had brought out the Tiguan and Atlas, satisfied our afternoon snack cravings with refreshments back at the hotel, and then Kia capped off the night by sponsoring a poolside cocktail hour and dinner.  We got an up close look at the all-new Kia Stinger sedan, glistening in blue paint and drawing a crowd outside from hotel guests who weren’t even part of our program.

Meanwhile, team members from The Carlab in Orange County tallied up the votes and ALV’s emcee Rosalie Michaels announced all the winners at the conclusion of the program around 9:00 p.m.  Here were the winners:

  • Best Value Extreme Off Road:  2017 Nissan Titan Pro-4X
  • Best Value Family:  2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
  • Best Value Off-Road:  2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk
  • Best Value On-Road:  2018 Volkswagen Tiguan
  • Green:  2017 Chevy Bolt EV
  • High Luxury Off-Road:  2018 Ram Laramie Longhorn Southfork
  • Luxury Family:  2017 Dodge Durango SRT
  • Luxury On-Road:  2017 Alfa Romeo Stelvio
  • Urban:  2018 Honda Fit

Complete vehicle entry list by category:

A few video scenes from throughout the day:

Ready to start a day of driving with Sandra Muñoz (Latinaology) and James Lee (Six Speed Blog)

Our Hilton home base rolled out the red carpet

Breakfast sponsored by Nissan (pictured is Eric Noble from Carlab)

Nina Russin (Carspondent.com) kicking off the activities

With Acura’s Andrew Quillin and the new MDX Hybrid – a fantastic family ride with intuitive handling, impressive performance, and loads of tech

James seems to like the Stelvio!

Let’s just zoom on on his face to be sure:

With Toyota’s Chad Moore and Hannah Johnston in the Camry

Vigor + Civic Type-R in the hotel parking lot.  Finest expressions of Honda performance!  Haha

Quick Introduction: “Carvana” Headquarters in Tempe, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, PAPA on September 14, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra):  240,067

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a vending machine eat your quarters!  If you’re like me, you might have an unlucky relationship with them.  One Phoenix-based company called Carvana has made buying a used vehicle a lot like buying a Snickers.  (Photo credit:  Carvana)

The Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) received an invitation from Director of Communications Amy O’Hara to get a behind-the-scenes look at Carvana on Wednesday, September 6th at the company’s headquarters in Tempe, Arizona.

Carvana came about as part of DriveTime, but was spun off and currently operates as a standalone company.

The idea?  Simply put – to make car buying “not suck.”  Give people back their Saturdays, take away the stress and haggling, and ultimately, give people the power to make a vehicle purchase online as simply as they’d make a purchase on Amazon.com.  So far, it’s working.  Launched in 2013, Carvana now has over 7,000 cars in inventory, has expanded to 36 markets and 6 vending machines, and has been ranked in the top 5 on Forbes’ list of America’s Most Promising Companies.

The car buying process starts with a simple online search application where customers can narrow down their selections and find a vehicle that fits their needs.  From there, the financing (in-house), purchase, and even trade-in can be done online.  When the new vehicle is delivered, the trade-in gets picked up.  Seriously it’s a one-stop-shop operation.  Delivery can also be via one of the 6 vending machines (our closest here in Phoenix is Dallas) and Carvana offers $200 toward the outbound flight of the buyer if they elect to fly in and drive home.

Putting to rest any concerns about satisfaction, Carvana allows buyers a seven day, money-back guarantee so they can drive the vehicle they’ve purchased and find out if it really fits with their lifestyle.  Just for kicks, I searched for an Acura RLX.  There are 3 available.  Amy told us that buyers save on average $1,400 compared to Kelley Blue Book Retail values.

Amy showed our group around the Carvana headquarters overlooking the Rio Salado area.  It’s a large, modern, and open floorplan completed just a few months ago to house the roughly 600 colleagues who work there.  Employee perks are pretty sweet, too.  Among the neat features were a pickleball court, multiple refreshment areas (fully stocked!), and even a “library” equipped with comfortable leather couch and a secret bar that hides behind a rolling bookcase.  “When can I move in?” I felt like asking.  (Sorry, no photos of those special areas were allowed).

Carvana takes great pride in the people who it employs and who it serves.  There are two separate walls in the facility that are plastered in Polaroid-like images of happy customers taking delivery of their vehicles, and another wall dedicated exclusively to moms.  That’s right, a mom wall, showing photos of Carvana employees’ mothers taking delivery of their cars as well.  It truly does feel like a family atmosphere rather than an office or workplace.

Here’s a 30-second video showing a little about how the vending machine experiences goes.

To someone like me who has never purchased a vehicle “sight unseen” the thought of carrying out a complete automotive purchase process online is a little unsettling, but after seeing all the buyer protection in place and learning of the thousands of satisfied customers Carvana has picked up in its mere 4 years, maybe the company is on to something!  Many thanks to the Carvana team, and specifically to Amy, for letting PAPA pay a visit!

(Oh, and since we already asked:  No – you can’t shake the vending machine and get a free car, sorry)

 

1-Year Home Ownership Anniversary: Car Wash Partaaay!

Posted in Arizona on August 28, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  554,447

Odometer (Integra):  239,932

It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been a year since I bought what cars.com Editor Aaron Bragman called a “garage-mahal.”  It was Friday, August 26, 2016 when I closed on my new property in Phoenix and it’s been an awesome ownership experience for these first 12 months.  In order to celebrate the anniversary, I invited a handful of friends over for a car wash party.  I’m accustomed to such parties – I had one at my old place in Scottsdale back in May 2016, and prior to that in July 2013.

Special guests for the weekend of festivities included my friend Brad who spent two days with us mid-roadtrip from Chicago, and Stephen who flew in from Seattle.  Neither one was prepared for Phoenix’s 110-degree Saturday heat but I made sure to keep everyone as hydrated as possible.  My garage setup worked out perfectly to host a total of 20 people who washed 8 vehicles. I pulled my cars out into the backyard which opened up the entire garage for ‘indoor’ / shaded washing and detailing.

One of the show stoppers was my friend Saifonh’s jet black 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL500.   We had a wide variety of cars in attendance, though including one of my faves:  A first generation Lexus LX450 SUV.   We did Brad a favor of cleaning off the bugs he’d collected driving out from Illinois.  Thanks to Brad, my Honda lawnmower got its first oil change, and thanks to Peter, it got washed.  We take our Honda care & maintenance seriously around here!

Peter also picked up a few pizzas for lunch so we could keep the crowd fed and happy.  Roommate James got back to the house from off-roading in his press car flavor of the week:  A Ford F-150 Raptor that looked ready to terrorize the neighborhood.  He parked it in the middle of the front lawn so it could be the center of attention.

Later in the evening, a few of us went over to the Scottsdale Pavilions car show.  I introduced Brad and Stephen to one of Arizona’s wonders:  A water fountain in Fountain Hills that for about a decade (when, it was built, in 1970) was the tallest in the world at 560 feet (or, 3 times the height of Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park).

Here is a hodge-podge 3-minute video, along with a few pics!

Thursday evening dinner on the patio at Hula’s on Central Avenue

Picking up Stephen at Terminal 2 at Sky Harbor airport

Giving Anthony’s Subaru Legacy a bath

My friend James’ 2007 TL-S 6-speed in Moroccan Red Pearl was a stunner

More attention for Brad’s Chicago-based 2004 Accord EX 5-speed

James’ TL and mine, nose to nose

Sunset on Saturday at the Pavilions car show

My GS-R arriving Pavs, driven by Anthony and Jon

She looked good rolling past!

Sunday brunch with some of the gang

Stopping by Fountain Hills to check out the main attraction.  It erupts (is that a thing?) every hour, on the hour, for 15 minutes.

About to say farewell to my out-of-staters.  Thanks for the visit!

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