Archive for the Arizona Category

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” Lateiner

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” Lateiner 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.

Saturday Drive to Flagstaff, Arizona for a Breakfast Burrito

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on February 26, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,495

550495

Odometer (ILX):  193,151

193151

Trip Distance:  288 Miles

phx_to_flg

My friend Derek and I are on a quest to find the best breakfast burrito in the southwest.  Over the last few months, we’ve sampled the cuisine from Otro Cafe, Phoenix Burrito House, and others.  This time I took one for the team and drove solo, about 4 hours round-trip to try one from “The Dog Haus,” on Route 66 in Flagstaff, Arizona.  It’s a hot dog place, first and foremost.  But a small sign on the east side of the red, triangle-shaped building proclaims proudly the Haus’ notoriety in the burrito arena.

burrito_sign

Does the burrito measure up?  I paid $5 to find out.  It took 3 bites to confirm.  It’s tasty – but Flag’s best?  TBD.

breakfast_burrito

This week’s adventure isn’t too exotic, but I did get to lay eyes on a few neato roadside attractions.  Flagstaff, Arizona is one of the state’s most popular recreation getaways.  In the wintertime, the Snowbowl ski resort is a hot spot, and in the summer, it’s a retreat from the heat where temperatures can be up to 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix.  It’s no wonder so many Phoenicians have a second home there.  I watched the exterior temp readout dip down as low as 35 degrees while making my way northbound on Interstate 17 on Saturday morning.  The elevation gain is substantial – Flagstaff sits nearly 7,000 feet above sea level.

tyson_museum_club

First on my radar was a destination called The Museum Club right along historic Route 66.  Once a 1931 log cabin social hall, today it continues to host live entertainment on a regular basis.  My “Roadside America” iPhone app told me the cabin is also somehow the “world’s largest log cabin,” but I’m skeptical.  Before I believe anything is the “world’s largest,” I want to see proof!

Then, how about this place?  Awesome!

dog_haus

ilx_at_dog_haus

Most of the old Route 66 corridor retains its historic charm.  One such building is definitely The Dog Haus.  After driving my car through the middle of the building, I made my way toward downtown Flagstaff and visited Heritage Square while having a few bites of that burrito.  The last place I checked out was a “Moon Tree” on the northwestern side of town.  I didn’t know what a moon tree was at the time, I found out when I got to it – which took a little bit of scavenger hunting.

apollo_tree

apollo_tree_sign

So here’s what I know so far:

In January, 1971, Apollo 14 launched as a third mission to the moon.  Astronaut Stuart Roosa took about 400 seeds with him while he was orbiting the lunar surface.  When he returned, the seeds were germinated and the seedlings were planted in various places around the country.  One such tree was planted at what was then Flagstaff Junior High School, on April 30, 1976.  What I didn’t learn until after my visit to the tree was that the original tree actually was yanked from the ground 3 days later and did not survive.  A non-moon tree was planted in its place, but the original sign remained.  What a hoax!  It was a fun side-trip anyway.

Thanks for joining for the adventure!

Hot air balloons out floating around on the north end of Phoenix as I left town

hot_air_balloons

Route 66 in Flagstaff

r66

Parked outside the Museum Club

ilx_museum_club

R66 marker attached to the Museum Club

museum_club_sign

Exterior of the Museum Club

museum_club

World’s largest?  C’mon now.  I don’t know about that.

log_cabin

I liked this sign at Muffler Magic.  “Rest Home for Exhausted Mufflers.”

muffler_magic_flagstaff

Northbound San Francisco Street

san_francisco_st_flagstaff

Heritage Square in downtown Flag

heritage_square_flagstaff

Frozen waterway

frozen_creek

ILX with Mount Humphreys (> 12,000 feet in elevation) in the background

humphreys

Sign Mania!  How many do we need?

signs

This lumberjack was carved from a single solid tree.  The lumberjack is Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) mascot so there are lots of similar things around town.

flagstaff_lumberjack

Couple other random pics, including a visit from my friend Chuck in his ’88 Legend ragtop.

tyson_chuck

Chris visiting from Florida

chris_tyson

And Serge visiting from Los Angeles

serge

The below was shared with me this week – an infographic by outdoor clothing & backpack company Cotopaxi regarding our national parks and which ones are the most/least traveled. If you’re like me, crowds are a turnoff, so I’ll be hitting some of those “hidden gems.” Notice our Grand Canyon gets 5 million visitors per year!

cotopaxi_national_parks_x2

Lastly, a model car update on the diecast 1:18 scale 1957 Chevy Nomad that’s one of 5 cars that’s been on my roof for 8 years.

57_nomad

Road Trip to Nellie E. Saloon (AKA “Desert Bar”) Near Parker, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on February 5, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,420

550420

Odometer (ILX):  191,409

191409

Trip Distance:  334 Miles

desert_bar_map

Food is such a great motivator.  I’ve endured a yawn-inducing corporate seminar because there’s a free meal involved.  I ran a 13.1-mile race last month just because there were all-you-could-drink chocolate milk bottles at the end.  And this weekend, I drove 6 hours and over 300 miles (10 of them on some of the rockiest dirt road stretches I’ve ever put my car through) to pay $12 for a cheeseburger.  It was worth it.

burger

The Nellie E. Saloon, better known as just the “Desert Bar,” is just my kind of place.  This one came at the recommendation of my friend Chris who’s always on the lookout for driving opportunities to obscure destinations.  The drive took me and 3 friends to the Buckskin Mountains in the remote and sparsely-populated western reaches of the Grand Canyon State.  It’s a beautiful area:  The Colorado River slices through the middle of the desert and creates a border between Arizona and California.  Spring breakers flock to the area for wild times at Lake Havasu.  But our destination was far from any such refreshing water supply.  It was tucked deep into a dusty canyon.

hills

And it seems we weren’t alone.  Hundreds of Jeep owners, ATVers, and campers had the same idea that we did and the saloon was a hoppin’ place on a Saturday afternoon.  Getting there was (more than?) half the fun.  The closest town to the saloon – Parker, Arizona – was hosting an off-road race called the “Bluewater 425” which brought out all sorts of desert-goers.  Think baja race.

primitive_road

dusty

About 4 miles out of town on Highway 95, we headed east on Cienega Springs Road and were immediately warned by a roadside sign about primitive road conditions.  Not to be turned away, I gripped the wheel and shifted the ILX into low gear for a bumpy ride.  Sam Haymart, of TestDriven.TV fame, followed closely behind in my cloud of dust with his 2017 Audi A4.  We might have been the only ones crazy enough to subject our luxury sedans to such rocky terrain.

At certain times, the narrow road was only one lane wide and we had to carefully maneuver around oncoming traffic.  The 5 miles of dirt took us probably 20 minutes to navigate, but eventually we arrived at the oasis:  A sprawling, multi-level restaurant and bar crudely constructed inside a canyon with surrounding parking.

solar

From the parking lot, we could hear the bass beat of live music and the closer we got, the louder the music – and the crowds – became.  The lunch rush was in full swing at 12:45 p.m. – amazing because the place had barely opened for the day at “high noon.”  There were various places to order and the seating was “wherever you want.”  I grabbed my cheeseburger and sought after some shade on a set of bleachers.

The people-watching was some of the best I’ve ever had – it seems a few folks had a started happy hour early, as the Coors cans were clearly everyone’s drink of choice to wash down their burgers.  The band played on, and I couldn’t help but sing along for a line or two when the song “Wagon Wheel” came on.

piano

We took a short post-lunch hike to the summit of a rocky overlook.  It gave us a great view of the entire bar area and the surrounding hills.  Desert Bar was lined by a few rusting carcasses of old vehicles including a fire truck.  I noticed upon surveying the parking lot from that vantage point, about 95% of the vehicles in the parking lot were higher clearance AWD trucks and SUVs.  It was probably for good reason, too.  While fair weather cruising wasn’t a huge challenge, I imagine that any sort of inclement weather would pose a real road muddy hazard for someone like me taking a car out there (next time I’ll take an SLX).  And while owner Ken could probably attract a lot more visitors if road conditions were improved, the challenge of the trek is part of the allure.

parking_lot

Tyson, Sam, Rob, James

group

Ken’s vision of the Desert Bar started in the mid-1970s when he had acquired the land of an old copper mining camp.  By 1983, he had acquired a liquor license and started hosting guests in a makeshift building.  And in the 1990s, further improvements were made to the site including construction of a small church and a covered bridge across the ravine between the parking lot and the main stage.  By the looks of things during our visit, more enhancements are probably still underway as we saw some concrete & rebar walls going up.  And the entire place is now powered by solar panels.  Brilliant, actually!

inside_bar

We made our way back to civilization in one piece and perfectly satisfied with our 6 hour trip for a nice, greasy burger.  For anyone looking for an easy day-trip from the Phoenix area, Nellie E. is a definite hit.  But keep in mind its limited operating hours:  It’s only open from October through April, Saturdays and Sundays, from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.  And the entire operation is cash only!  Don’t even think of trying to pay with plastic out there.  Have fun and check it out sometime!

Related reading:

  • Castle Hot Springs because it’s a similar oasis type place in the desert
  • Mystery Castle because Desert Bar reminded me of this type of architecture
  • Alamo Lake because the Wayside Oasis restaurant was equally challenging to get to
  • Lake Havasu because it’s nearby in the region and another great destination
  • Six Speed Blog to check out what James has been up to
  • TestDriven.TV to see Sam’s auto news and reviews

Road trippers!  Yoohoo!

yoo_hoo

Headed toward Parker

havasu_sign

First sign about the Desert Bar, about 4 miles before we got there

desert_bar_sign

Sam following close behind in the A4

audi

Almost there

dirt_road

Nice layer of dust here.

dusty_ilx

Paying my respects!

church

Parking is very limited out there in the boonies

no_parking

Sample of the menu

menu

Bridge connecting the parking lot with the upper level of the restaurant

bridge

Fire truck that was used at one point to bring in water to the facility.

fire_truck

Dirty Acura and dirty Audi

acura_audi

Passing through “Hope, Arizona” on the way home.

beyond_hope

They’ve fixed the sign!  This was taken last November.

beyond_hope_original

Congrats to faithful reader Hy on (finally) hitting 65,000 miles on his 2004 Acura TSX 6-speed manual!  And, happy birthday today!

hy_65k

Horrible winter weather here in Arizona for a Legend GS sedan cruise the other day.

sedan

And lastly, check out this cool “infographic” someone shared with me on the highest mileage cars of all time.  (credit)

high_mileage