Archive for the Legend Category

Weekend in Maryland: A Meet & A Milestone Along the Susquehanna River

Posted in Legend, Milestones, TL on May 1, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  552,429

Twins.  Check out those T-shirts, and check out the cars!  This was summer 2015 at the National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) in Houston, Texas with my friend Chris from the Baltimore area.

In January 2016, Chris flew to Phoenix for the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction.  It just so happened that his trip also involved a special 150,000-mile rollover for my car which we celebrated at Papago Park near the Phoenix-Tempe border.  In a fitting second half to the story, I’ve now flown to his neighborhood on the east coast and rolled 150,000 miles on his Legend GS.  Cool, right?   By now this kind of nerdy behavior shouldn’t surprise any of my readers.

Piggybacking on this special weekend event were some other activities, including a visit from a few of our friends at Redline Reviews with a brand new 2018 Acura TLX and a taste of some of Maryland’s finest crab cakes.  Sexy cars and tasty food – that’s my kind of vacation.

Friday afternoon’s PHX-BWI flight was delayed three times, making a painfully late arrival even worse (as in, 1:00 in the morning the next day).  When I finally got on the ground in Baltimore, I opted to catch an Uber to a shady nearby motel rather than having my friend Chris drive the 50 or so miles to come pick me up at that hour.  Room 241 of the Motel 6 on Nursery Road smelled a lot like an ashtray, and when I got up the next morning, so did all my clothes.

That didn’t matter though, we had an action-packed day ahead.  The first unexpected twist was that Chris picked me up in his wife’s Chevy Cruze as opposed to a Legend or a TL, but it all made sense later on.  We made our way northbound through a series of bridges & tunnels to get to his place in Havre de Grace.  The Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, at 1.4 miles in length, takes drivers underneath the Patapsco River.

Chris had milestones on the brain, and I ended up rolling one on EACH of his two Acuras.  The first was in his 2008 TL Type-S – a car in many ways a twin to my own recently-purchased TL.  It has, however, a few things that set it apart:  20,000 fewer miles, a black interior as opposed to my ivory, and some special aerodynamic equipment in the form of an A-Spec body kit.  I rolled the odometer to 78,000 miles on the way to the local grocery store in Havre de Grace for donuts.

Not long afterward, loyal Legend lover Kevin from Georgia arrived on the scene.  He was wearing a blue T-shirt commemorating my 2011 milestone in my coupe.  Looking good, Kevin!

We prepared our roll-out toward a burger & shake spot called Arctic Circle (much more “hometown” than the chain I had pictured it to be) where a few other friends were already there waiting for us.

Right off the bat, I recognized the “Still Night Pearl” Acura TLX A-Spec that Sofyan Bey, Redline Reviews’ host, had driven up from Virginia a couple of hours south.  The TLX was his tester for the week – fresh out of the gate from a media launch in Kentucky and fresh in automotive news as it barely debuted two weeks ago at the New York Auto Show.  We were lucky to catch a first glimpse.

The next stop on our tour took us to the picturesque Susquehanna River where recreational fishermen and boaters were taking advantage of the unusually warm and humid April afternoon.  There were so many visitors, in fact, that we had to travel another couple of miles up the road to a grassy picnic area in order to find parking that would accommodate everyone.  Chris’ Legend GS rolled its 150,000th mile at precisely the designated spot – arrival at the boat ramp.  A few more folks had showed up for the party, including Marc from New Jersey in a pristine 42,000-mile 1995 Legend coupe, Karna in a 2001 Honda Prelude SH, and Jaysen and Davey in their Legends.

I got the chance to take the wheel of a couple of those cars and it’s always a treat when a friend entrusts me with his or her pride and joy.  Chris had arranged for our group to visit “Legends Vineyard” in Churchville, Maryland.  For $7, we were able to sample about 10 different wines.  It seemed appropriate that most of the cars parked out front during our visit were Legends!  A few of the other guys had to depart shortly thereafter, but Kevin, Chris, and I dined at MacGregor’s in downtown Havre de Grace where I sampled the most popular menu item:  crab cakes.  They were divine.  These pics are for you foodies!  (Looking at you, Brad and Tim)

Tartar sauce & cocktail sauce on the side.  That potato, though!

As the sun set on our busy Saturday, we admired the scenery from the Havre de Grace Promenade at the waterfront.

Sunday’s events were a lot less structured in nature, and that made for a nice low-key day.  Chris & Kera served up scrambled eggs, sausage, & toast which I washed down with some super-smooth chocolate milk from a dairy up the road in Pennsylvania.  Chris and I decided to check out one of the local salvage yards but it had only 3 Legends in inventory and they were already pretty well picked-over.

It was already time to start making our way toward the Baltimore/Washington International Airport, so we cruised down I-95 toward the city, stopping for a bite at Chop Pit Beef for lunch.  It’s a historic spot that I’d describe as “Arby’s but a million times better.”  I had the ham & beef combo sandwich with the house BBQ sauce.  To Die For!

Many thanks to Chris for being such a great host and to the many friends who came out to play.

IN OTHER NEWS…

For years (about 7, to be exact), I tried getting ahold of the license plate “ACURA” for one of my cars.  The Arizona DMV’s website always told me that the combination was unavailable, which came as no surprise.  Initially I settled for “THACURA” which had my initials in it.  But miraculously one day, it popped up.  I snagged it and proudly put the plate on my 1994 Legend GS sedan.

The story got even better this past weekend, when my friend Dan had me over to his home in Mesa to show me his new 2013 Viper.  In the trunk of the Viper was a gift for me – a vintage Arizona license plate with ACURA on it.  A real plate, mind you.  Last registered in 2001.  What are the chances?  And the best part is that the design is period correct for my car.  According to AZPlates.com, this maroon style ran from 1980 through 1997.

The DMV issued me a new registration sticker and allowed me to put the old plate back into use – some 16 years after it had last seen the roadways!

Few more pics from the Maryland trip below!

Signing Kevin’s trunk liner.  This has become a tradition.

Rear 3/4 view of the new 2018 TLX A-Spec.

TLX interior.

Too excited for my own good.

Looking northward from the bank of the Susquehanna River.

Geek mode, activate.

What better place to take a convoy of Legends?

Parked outside…

Party time at Chris’ place!  Set up like bowling pins.  We just needed another one front & center.  Maybe next time I’ll drive out and play frontrunner.

Quick pic with Marc before he headed back to New Jersey.

The Legend Rolls 550,000 Miles on a Christmas Trip to Utah

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Legend, Milestones, Road Trip, Utah on December 26, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,085

550085

It took me 5 years to go from 500,000 to 550,000, but I finally got there last night.  I made a Christmas 800-mile round-trip to southern Utah this weekend and celebrated the milestone on my way home, along Highway 93 just north of Wickenburg, Arizona.

wikieup

Mechanically, it was smooth sailing aside from adding a little power steering fluid and getting a check-engine light.  As a matter of fact, somehow I achieved 29.7 miles per gallon on the way up Friday night.  I guess that’s partly thanks to the fact that my speeds were usually between 65 and 70 miles per hour.  They still haven’t paved an interstate between Phoenix and Las Vegas so it’s mostly back roads for that 4.5-hour stretch.

550000

Fittingly, my return trip took me through “Santa Claus, Arizona” – a now-abandoned tourist trap that in the 1930s was a gas station, gift shop, and restaurant.  Vandals have destroyed what’s left of it, but the map still clearly confirms its existence and I stopped for a few pictures at Saint Nick’s run-down residence.

santa_claus_map

The place can be yours, if the price is right!

santa_sign

Snow-capped peaks in the background – it was chilly out there, for Arizona standards anyway.

santa

Here’s the roll-over video and a few scenes from Santa Claus.

A few other photos from recent events.  Allie from Acura mailed me a “Nouvelle Blue Pearl” 2017 NSX model car.  I told her it’ll go nicely in my garage!

blue_nsx

Fueling up in Wickenburg on Friday afternoon

wickenburg_fuel

Sunset when rolling through Las Vegas, Nevada

vegas

Visiting mom, and also a visit from our friend Jack

tyson_mom_jack

Re-creation of a 20-year old photo (top) taken in 1997 with mom’s Legend.

1997_2017

My brother’s 1993 Legend LS 6-speed (139,000 mi) next to mine.

payt_legend

The ILX getting snowed on in Holden, Utah.  Jack – from a few pics above – borrowed the car this weekend and put it to good use.

ilx_snow

My uncle Dande picked up a 2013 ILX too.  “Polished Metal Metallic” automatic.

dande_ilx

Family photo of mom’s side of the family.

mcgregor_fam

A few other videos for your viewing pleasure today.

ILX in snow – thanks Jack for the clip:

Link to Xtreme Coupe YouTube channel – my brother’s page.  Watch his Lexus IS300 project updates:

Link to interesting video on the evolution of automotive design:

Link to Hagerty Engine Rebuild Video of a Chrysler motor.  Pretty fascinating stuff:

Have a great week!

500k Milestone Five-Year Anniversary & Shapshots: An Acura a Day for 7 Workdays

Posted in ILX, Integra, Legend, MDX, NSX, Vigor on November 4, 2016 by tysonhugie

Because why not?  Space #1 B1-346 always looks nice at my office.

  • Thursday, October 27 – 2017 Acura MDX

mdx

  • Friday, October 28 – 1994 Acura Legend Coupe

coupe

  • Monday, October 31 – 2013 Acura ILX

ilx

  • Tuesday, November 1 – 1994 Acura Legend Sedan

gs

  • Wednesday, November 2 – 1992 Acura NSX

nsx

  • Thursday, November 3 – 1992 Acura Integra GS-R

integra

  • Friday, November 4 – 1994 Acura Vigor GS

vigor

Hard to believe it’s been 5 years since the day I drove to Acura’s headquarters in Torrance, California and rolled onto the red carpet with 500,000.1 miles on the odometer in my 1994 Legend coupe.  I’m now 48,850 more miles down the highway in that car and don’t plan on retiring it any time soon.  Many thanks to those of you who have been along for the ride from the beginning, as well as those who came onboard more recently!

I’m catching a flight this afternoon to Orlando, Florida for this year’s NSXPO event.  More to come on that soon.

Have a great weekend!

 

Drive to Five Review: 2017 Acura MDX Advance; Canyon Lake Legend Meet

Posted in Arizona, Legend, MDX, Vehicle Reviews on November 1, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  548,850

548850

Odometer (MDX):  1,817

1817

Last Thursday at Bashas’ supermarket in uptown Phoenix, I put the newest Acura MDX to the test doing what it does best!  I made all the soccer moms jealous with every family’s dream ride:  a three-row SUV that brings the comforts of home into a grocery-getter that’s surprisingly fun to drive.

shopping

This striking $57k top-line model brings in all the bells and whistles, including some new-this-year amenities for second-row passengers:  heated seats and captain chairs.  The kids never had it so good!

mdx_front_left

taillight

Prior MDX write-ups are here.  I’ve been lucky to get my mitts on a couple prior iterations of this fine people-mover:

Now in its third generation, this 2017 model is the ‘refreshed’ version of the bodystyle that debuted in 2014.  This latest version wears Acura’s refreshed front end with a grille devoid of the “shield” we’d become familiar with since 2009.  Instead, the styling is now derived from Acura’s Precision Concept and is pentagonal in shape.  Continuing rearward, the design is clean and carried over from prior iterations.  The wheels are 20″ in diameter and a handsome design.  Bling bling!

mdx_in_garage_2

The MDX gives me a “they’ve thought of everything” feeling.  The lights on underside of the sideview mirrors turn on as you approach the vehicle at night to illuminate the ground below.  The liftgate is powered electronically.  And the auto start/stop feature (a fuel-savings enhancement to shut off the motor temporarily at idle when stopped) can be triggered by the level of brake pedal pressure applied.  It took me a couple of minutes to figure that one out, but I fell in love with it when I did.

dash

interior

Bottom line:  this is the most technologically-advanced MDX ever, and it has to be:  the three-row luxury SUV segment in which it dwells is extremely competitive.  And clearly Acura is doing something right:  The MDX is the brand’s top-selling vehicle, moving over 5,000 units in October 2016 (up 23% over the prior September).

mirrors

My test vehicle was a White Diamond Pearl All-Wheel-Drive “Advance” model with Tech, Advance, and AcuraWatch packages.  Basically, “fully loaded.”  The driver seat is 10-way adjustable.  The climate control system has 3 zones.  Everything is push-button or even hands-free.  If you can’t get comfortable driving this MDX, you’re a lost cause.  I had my fair share of fun with it during my 7 days of cruising around in it.  The MDX is the king of the urban jungle.  I noticed that for being a larger vehicle it’s still easy to navigate in crowded city streets and still has great visibility.

mdx_in_garage

It’s easy to see why SUVs have such a stronghold on modern families.  It was nice to have the higher step-in height, and I loved being able to reach straight out the driver side window to swipe my badge and get into my office’s parking garage (as opposed to being in the ILX and having to reach upward to reach the sensor).  Similarly, ATMs are so much more convenient when they’re right at arm level.  I could get used to that!

second_row

Power delivery in the MDX is smooth and predictable with the 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter engine and 9-speed automatic transmission.  For having so many gears, I found the MDX to do surprisingly little gear-hunting.  It is decisive and determined to understand its driver.  While my travels didn’t take me off the beaten path, based on my prior experience with putting a third-gen MDX through its dirt-road paces, I would proclaim this SUV just as comfortable on-road as off-road.  Versatility is the name of the game.

addiction

Is there room in my garage for an MDX right now?  Absolutely.  Do I have a need for one?  Not at all.  Which isn’t to say it would come in handy from time to time.  As a single 34-year-old, I may not fit the target buyer market for this vehicle.  For those who do, it hits an absolute bullseye.

Many thanks to Acura for letting me behind the wheel!

mdx_right_rear

mdx_side

mdx_left_rear

Few other fun pieces of news below from the past week or so.

1979 Honda Accord from The Simpsons – Thanks, Tim, for sending this to me.  Love it.

MDX at night

mdx_in_driveway

My friend Daniel stopped by in his 2012 Acura TL, bringing the Acura count at my place to 8.

daniel_tl

I put up some new posters at the house including three nice, framed 24×36 prints.

garage_art

Battery replacement for both Legends!  Both were 4+ years old.  Thanks Autozone.

battery_replacement

On Saturday morning, I met up with some Legend owners for a cruise to Tortilla Flat near Apache Junction in eastern Mesa, Arizona.  We cruised up Highway 88 through the Tonto National Forest.

tonto

Left to right:  Gabe, Leon, Tyson

three2

Leon’s interior on his 127,000-mile 1994 LS coupe in Pearl White is really nice.

leon_interior

Gabe’s car looks great too considering it is 24 years old and has 257,000 miles.

three

Great scenery all around!

scenery

Group shot

group

Headed back toward civilization, but stopping at the shores of Canyon Lake for a pic.

canyon_lake

Extreme Garage Makeover: My 1990’s Acura Showroom

Posted in House, ILX, Integra, Legend, NSX, Vigor on October 12, 2016 by tysonhugie

Descending order!

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  548,712

548712

Odometer (Integra):  237,380

237380

Odometer (ILX):  183,721

183721

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  150,668

150668

Odometer (Vigor):  106,293

106293

Odometer (NSX):  106,150

106150

Total Miles:  1,332,924.  1.3 million miles!

Time-travel back with me about a quarter-century to those glorious early 1990s.  I was only about 10 but I still remember them fondly.  You turn on your FM radio and it’s Ace of Base “The Sign.”  Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, and Toy Story are big hits at the box office.  And if you stroll down to your local Acura dealership, you might see vehicles like this:

pano

final

integra

The Acura brand, at the time only about 5 years old, was having a heyday.  The NSX debuted as a world-class supercar with uncanny reliability.  The second-generation Legend was selling like crazy – some 65,000 units in the 1991 model year alone.  The Vigor was a brand new model with the touring comfort of its larger Legend sibling but with nimble handling.  And the Integra GS-R boasted a 1.7 liter VTEC motor with more horsepower-per-liter than any other motor in the world.  Life was good.

Oh, and all those cars in the picture?  They’re stick shifts.  Did you know that there is no new Acura sold today that has a clutch pedal?  That in itself is one more reason why I hang onto the past like this.

1991_dealership

Last weekend, I called upon the expert services of the most efficient, hard-working construction crew I’ve ever known:  My family.  Between my dad and my brother, there is no home or car repair task that can’t be completed (in record time).  When I bought my new Phoenix home in late August, the main selling factor was the fact that it had two garages.

For the last 5 years, I’d been renting storage units in different parts of town to accommodate all of my vehicles, so when the opportunity arose to pick up a home that could fit them all, I worked quickly and made it happen.  (For reference, back in March at an NSX meet I had been lusting after a local club member’s place which similarly had gargantuan parking possibilities).

There was still just one hurdle:  The largest garage was split into two separate 2-car units with a garage door at each end.  This was fine for the previous owner, Charlie, who used half the garage for his woodworking & welding, and the other half for his two vehicles.  But I had other plans for the space:  I wanted to knock out the separating wall and create one gigantic Acura automotive storage mecca.  And that I did!  Or rather, my dad, brother, and stepmom did.

prep

Here’s a look at the progression taken from the south entrance in just 4 photos.

1 – Prior owner’s stuff:

before4

2 – Space cleared out, wall still there:

before2

3 – Wall removed, finish work underway:

ready

4 – Garage completed, vehicles staged:

garage_after

The Friday morning after a 12-hour drive from northern Utah, my garage makeover crew set to work on the task ahead.  Due to limited time-off at my new job, I had to go into the office.  After settling in to check emails, I decided to walk across the street to Starbucks.  At 7:32 a.m., my brother sent me 2 photos.  He and dad had already torn down the wall!  There were dangling wires and a few boards, but I couldn’t believe how much larger the space looked.  It made my day.

wires

Friday afternoon I joined the work crew and assisted with masking and taping off so that my dad could spray the paint on (a much more efficient way to tackle a large surface area than using rollers).  The garage turned into a cloud of misty white air as dad applied two coats.  Smartly we shut the garage doors so that the cars in the backyard didn’t end up with overspray.

paint_prep

We installed 3 matching ceiling fans and hung up two banks of cabinets in the southeast corner for my detailing supplies and tools.  The final step was general clean-up and the hanging of a few banners and signs.  Dad sprayed the garage out with the hose to get rid of the dust and debris, and then we did a quick wipe-down of each of the 5 cars that would be going into the showroom.  Even my 4-year-old nephew Beckam gave us a hand for that chore.

beckam

I’d had months to think about how best to position the vehicles within the space, and I wanted to keep things symmetrical.  We ended up putting the two sedans at the north end, the two coupes at the south end, and the NSX centered in the middle at a 45-degree angle.  I even finally had a use for the aluminum display stand that my other brother, Payton, had built for me earlier this year.

nsx

I couldn’t be happier with the results.  When the 7 fluorescent light tubes kick on and gleam against our bright white ceiling & wall paint, it’s shocking.  Next on the list (but a ways down the road) will be a floor coating, which means I really ought to get some leaks addressed on the cars before I do that.  The Vigor is dropping oil, and the Legend coupe leaves a trail of power steering fluid virtually everywhere it goes.

My family members and I finished out the weekend by planting a couple of citrus trees in my backyard.  For 10 years I’ve been living in Arizona and my dad has been wanting to harvest oranges and grapefruits, so we are finally making it happen.  Below are the rest of the pics!

 

Edit 10/15/16:  Just confirmed for kicks that I can get 6 cars in the main garage pretty comfortably.  Sweet.

1

2

3

trees

Taking a look at the plans

plans

Before – south garage (prior owner)

before3

Before – north garage (prior owner)

before

Before wall removal – north garage

before1

Cars parked in the backyard awaiting their new home

cars_outside

Wall coming down

garage

Dad working on wall removal

wall

Getting ready for paint

dad

Visit from friends Kyle and Matt

hangin

Out on the town with my brother Bentley, Lance, and Rob

friends

Cars got rained on while they were ALL outside!

rainy

Nephew Beckam gives us a hand with weed removal

front_yard

Cars parked in the back – with Beckam’s Power Wheels pickup

backyard_cars

Taking a break

relaxing

Getting closer!

me

Posters ready to go

signs

Family dinner at Switch Restaurant on Central Ave

switch

Final spray down of the floor

sprayed_out

Posters getting put up

hanging_pics

Vigor wash

washing_vigor

Legend sedan wash

washing_gs

Tucked away

three

Dad and Beckam with the finished product

dad2

sides2

sedans2

sedans

sides1

Artwork is ready to install, like this framed Legend coupe poster:

art

New NSX interior!  I don’t think I’d shown this yet.  Fresh leather.

nsx_interior

And a bath for the ILX so it doesn’t feel forgotten in its separate garage.

ilx_washed

NALM 2016 Day 8: Finally Home in Phoenix, Wrap-Up Video

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on September 20, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  548,664

548664

I made it home, sweet home!  While I’m unpacking the car, sorting through junk mail, and doing a load of laundry, I threw together some quick statistics on my 8-day trip from Phoenix to Atlanta and back.

overall_trip

I visited ten unique states.  My state crossings were in this order:

  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Alabama
  • Tennessee
  • Arkansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • New Mexico
  • Arizona

A few stats:

  • Total trip distance in 8 days:  4,007 miles
  • Total gallons of gas:  143.3
  • Total spent on gas:  $360.39 ($40 of which was on a gift card to Love’s)
  • Average miles per gallon:  27.9
    • Note that the window sticker for my car states EPA rating of 18 city / 26 hwy
  • Quarts of 5W30 oil added:  1
  • Quantity of power steering fluid added:  1 bottle

Detailed gas log below.  I always used the highest available Premium fuel – sometimes 93, and usually 91 octane.  The cheapest gas was in Jackson, Mississippi.

gas_log

Here’s an 11-minute video capturing some of the highlights from this year’s event.

This morning’s early border crossing into my home state

arizona

Quick stop in Winslow, Arizona.  Have you ever heard the song “Take It Easy” by The Eagles?

winslow

I recommend listening to it here.  The song mentions “standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.”

winslow2

It was cool to drive past Twin Arrows, but I saw that the trading post is in pretty sad shape nowadays.

twin_arrows

And finally, after fueling in Flagstaff, I made my way down Interstate 17 and home!

home

Almost forgot to show this awesome award for “Best Engine Bay.”  The printed material attached to the plaque is leather, almost exactly the same color as my interior.  Pretty awesome idea.

engine_bay

Thanks for coming along for the trip!

 

NALM 2016 Days 6 & 7: Sallisaw, Oklahoma & Gallup, New Mexico

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on September 19, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  548,341

548341

Trip Distance (Overall):  3,684 since last Tuesday

gallup

Siri has really failed me.  After two years, she still doesn’t know my car preferences?  For shame!

siri

NALM 2016 is a wrap, but this trip isn’t.  I’m still a ways from home, and that means you still get to hear from me until the fat lady has sung, or rather, until the old Legend has arrived back at my driveway in Phoenix, Arizona.

On Sunday morning, it was a relaxed vibe at our host hotel in Oakwood.  People were partaking of the continental breakfast, loading up their cars, and saying their farewells.  It didn’t take me long to collect my belongings and get packed for the drive.  Meanwhile, my friend Chris had driven over from Athens (Georgia, not Greece) to say hello since he was in the area visiting his sister.

tyson_chris

As the rains started coming down, I completed one last NALM tradition in the hotel parking lot:  Putting my graffiti’d message to Kevin inside the trunk of his 1994 Legend LS coupe.  This marks the 5th year in a row we’ve upheld this tradition and it will continue until I’ve run out of space, I guess.

tyson_signing

… Or until all his silver Sharpies run out of ink.

tyson_message

That day’s drive took me across 5 state lines:  Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.  Each state has its own landscape, flavor, and style.  I had the opportunity northeast of Birmingham, Alabama to test out a really fresh piece of interstate called I-22, formerly known just as “Corridor X.”

22_entry

See?

corridor_x

As of June of this year, the complete stretch of freeway is now in place for about 200 miles from Birmingham to the Tennessee state line just outside Memphis.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get that memo until I’d already taken Highway 78, a two-lane side road, for the 12 miles from I-20 to I-22.  Even the Apple Maps on my phone didn’t know that there was a better route because evidently it’s still too new.

i22

Traffic came to a stop (light) after crossing into Tennessee, and I encountered several more stop lights in the final 6 or so miles on approach to Memphis.  Apparently the state of Tennessee still needs to complete its piece for the full freeway to reach the core of Memphis.  Speaking of Memphis, I can’t think of that word without saying “Memphis Raines.”  You remember him?  He was the character Nicholas Cage played in the movie “Gone in 60 Seconds.”

img_7127

From there I hooked up with Interstate 40 which is taking me ALLLLL the way across the center part of the country. After bridging me across the Mississippi River, it took me through Little Rock, Arkansas.  I fueled up in Conway a little bit north of there before continuing on to my motel for the night in eastern Oklahoma – a small town called Sallisaw.

ok_sign

Sunday was consumed entirely by Interstate 40, but dotted with a few special attractions along the way.  The I-40 pathway was once that of historic Route 66, so many of the towns along the way have embraced their heritage as stops along the “Mother Road.”  I didn’t make any stops in Oklahoma until I had almost exited the state.  One such Route 66 town is called Elk City, and it’s home to the National Route 66 Museum.  I didn’t take the time to wander through but I did capture a few photos outside with the gigantic sign.

tyson_66

It wasn’t long until I crossed the Texas state line, and JUST across the Texas border lies one of my favorite roadside attractions:  A restored 1936 Conoco gas station that today houses a visitor center.   I’ve stopped here multiple times on my cross-country journeys, including 3 years ago in August 2013 (pulled from my Instagram):

old_ig

And again today!  The place hasn’t changed much.  For that matter, neither has the car!

u_drop_inn_shamrock_tx

That Art Deco architecture gets me every time.  It’s a scene straight out of the Pixar movie “Cars.”  By the time I arrived in Amarillo, I’d worked up an appetite so it was time to track down some food.  I already knew where I wanted to go, because it’s a tradition.  Soncy Road on the west side of town is home to one of the last-surviving Fazoli’s Italian restaurants in the southwest.  For some reason, all Fazoli’s locations in Arizona and in Utah have closed their doors, but this one still remains.  I had to make mom jealous by sending her some pics.  The breadsticks are unlimited!

mom_text

Mom speaks the language of acronyms.  Her “TDF” there stands for “To Die For.”  I fueled up in Tucumcari, New Mexico and again on the western outskirts of Albuquerque before deciding exactly where I wanted to target my destination for the night.  That destination ended up being Gallup – a teeny town just east of the Arizona state line.

Like so many other towns in the region, Gallup exudes a Route 66 vibe and I intentionally got off Interstate 40 a solid 8 miles before my motel exit, just so I could drive along the old road and see some of the architecture.  Many of the places are run down, shuttered, and in stages of ruin, but a few hearty businesses have withstood the test of time and continue somehow to stay open.  Like the Desert Skies Motel:

desert_skies_motel

And with that, I’m going to get some shuteye and prepare for my final stretch into home tomorrow.

Thanks for coming along, and enjoy a few more photos just for fun.

Downtown Atlanta in the rain

downtown_atl

Driver’s Log.  Should I pick one of these up?

driver_log

Trying out this brand new interstate.

22

Spell it with me now.  M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I.  It’s just so fun.

miss2

My drive took me straight into central Memphis

mem

memphis

And then across the Mississippi River into Arkansas!

arkansas

Evening arrival in Sallisaw, Oklahoma.

motel6

The front desk attendant handed me my room’s TV remote after checking in.  I guess they can’t trust guests enough to leave them in the rooms?

motel_6_remote

Westbound on I-40 on Sunday morning

amarillo

The tree-lined interstate gave way to grassland.

open_road

I get the feeling a few people have wiped out on this 50-mph curve on I-40 in Oklahoma City.  Those signs are a bit obnoxious!  But they got the message across!

okc_curve

I had the chance to use up my $40 Love’s gas station gift card.  Thanks again, Kevin!

loves2

Arriving in Elk City, home of the….

elk_city

… National Route 66 Museum!

coupe_66

On into Texas (again)!

texas

And into New Mexico!

new_mex_welcome

Painted sky as I closed in my nightly destination

painted_sky

Hotel El Rancho in historic downtown Gallup.  Intentionally staying true to its Route 66 look & feel

hotel_el_rancho

View from my room tonight

coupe_from_above

Check you later!