Archive for the Misc Travel Category

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!

New York City

Posted in Misc Travel on June 23, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,846

529846

Odometer (ILX):  84,912

84912

I stumbled with droopy eyes off a United Airlines flight at Terminal C in Newark, New Jersey at 6:14 a.m. on Saturday morning.  It felt like 3:14 a.m. to me on Arizona time, but my exhaustion was quickly put to rest when my friend Conor pulled up to the passenger pick-up area in his beautiful Satin Silver Metallic 2004 Acura TSX to provide the finest in luxury transport services.

Our destination was none other than the Big Apple:  Conor and my other friend Brad rolled out the red carpet for me on a two-day trip to New York City this weekend.  My last trip to Manhattan had been nearly 3 years ago.  I tried to convince Brad and Conor that I knew my way around but I would have been truly lost without them.

All it took was one step out of Brad’s place at 95th Street & 2nd Avenue after catching a quick power nap, and I said, “This weather is amazing!”  I hope each and every one of New York City’s 8 million residents had been enjoying it as much as I was.  By the way, that’s double the population of Los Angeles.  Saturday was an action-packed day of sightseeing and exploration, with key visits to Central Park, Grand Central Station, and Times Square.

Here are a few photos from our adventure.

The ILX took a chill pill in the East Economy lot at Phoenix Sky Harbor.

ilx_at_airport

Awaiting my redeye flight from PHX-EWR:  A full two hours early and wondering how I’ll ever be able to sleep on the plane.

airport_waiting

Early morning Saturday arrival in Newark.

ewr_morning

In a sea of yellow cabs, one car stood out:  it was Conor’s silver 2004 TSX.

conor_arrival

Driving through the Holland Tunnel which opened in 1927 and connects Manhattan with Jersey City, New Jersey.  It’s located underneath the Hudson River.

tsx_tunnel

Arrival at Brad’s place on 95th Street after our tour through town.

conor_tsx

A full 30-40 degrees cooler than home!  I enjoyed every second of this weather.

nyc_weather

nyc

This is how you get around in NYC.

subway_sign

For some reason this subway map is so much more overwhelming to me than a road map!  Stop here, transition here to another train, be mindful of special hourly constraints, so much to keep in mind.  Just give me some car keys.

subway_map

Tyson, Brad, Conor before brunch at a neat place called “Trend” located on the Upper East Side.

tyson_brad_conor

Central Park was bustling with activities, including a wedding and a couple of festivals.

central_park

We wandered up to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.

onassis_reservoir

Times Square with thousands of tourists.  The woman to my right was not amused by being in my picture.

times_square

Grand Central Station, which receives 21.6 million annual visitors.

grand_central

Bryant Park

bryant_park

ILX sighting!  I ended up seeing a few of these around.  In all our wanderings, though, we only saw two Legends:  A blue 1991 coupe and a gray 1987 coupe — both in Brooklyn, and both within a block of each other!

ilx

Dinner at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Chelsea.  Highly recommended.  But take note:  It’s cash-only!

grimaldis

Sunday morning, a trip to Conor’s place in Brooklyn Heights, complete with some important reading material.

tsx_records

… and a look at the “shrine” of Acura memorabilia in his living room.

tyson_at_conors

Brooklyn Heights Promenade — the best view of NYC in my opinion.

brooklyn_heights_promenade

Awakening Vanessa the TSX from her slumber for my shuttle ride back to EWR airport.

tsx_parking

Bon voyage!

tyson_conor_with_tsx

Last view. Vanessa, incidentally, turned over 128,000 miles en route that afternoon.

departure

I had a blast this weekend and I extend my thanks to my great friends for their hospitality!

History Lesson: National Maximum Speed Limit

Posted in Misc Travel on March 4, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  528,802

528802

Odometer (ILX):  69,050

69050

I saw the below picture shared on Instagram recently.  It’s a high-mileage odometer shot from an older Honda Civic “Wagovan,” so naturally I was quite interested and I immediately liked the photo.  But, what caught me off-guard was one of the comments from this person’s followers.

55mph

“What’s the marker at 55 for?”  Oh, these young ones need to be educated!

What we’re talking about here is the National Maximum Speed Limit Law.  Enacted in 1974 in the United States, it prohibited highway speeds above 55 miles per hour.  The hope of legislators (Richard Nixon signed the provision) was that the gas savings would be substantial.  This was a time when gas shortages were at high tide.

As an emergency response to the 1973 oil crisis, on November 26, 1973, President Richard Nixon proposed a national 50 mph (80 km/h) speed limit for passenger vehicles and a 55 mph speed limit for trucks and buses. That, combined with a ban on ornamental lighting, no gasoline sales on Sunday, and a 15% cut in gasoline production, were proposed to reduce total gas consumption by 200,000 barrels a day, representing a 2.2% drop from annualized 1973 gasoline consumption levels.  Nixon partly based this on a belief that cars achieve maximum efficiency between 40 and 50 mph and that trucks and buses were most efficient at 55 mph.

Man, I’m sure glad I wasn’t of driving age in the 1970s and 1980s to experience this! Did you also know that between 1979 and 1981, federal legislation required that speedometers could only go up to 85 mph?

The National Maximum Speed Limit law saw some changes in the late 1980s, and in 1995 it was overturned entirely, giving speed-limit-setting power to the individual states.  Today, speed limits vary widely.  Rural stretches of Interstate 15 in my home state of Utah are now 80 miles per hour, and there’s a 41-mile stretch of toll road in Texas with an 85 mile per hour limit.  That’s quick!

speed_80

Now you know 🙂

Tonight, my friend Justin and I attended the Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Clippers basketball game at a Kia-sponsored event.  The view of the court was pretty sweet from our suite.

justin_tyson_suns_game

Though the game’s 104-to-96 Clippers win outcome was disappointing for us Suns fans, the company was great.  The other event invitees were fellow automotive journalists based in the Phoenix area.

suns_court

I also had the privilege of meeting Orth Hedrick, Vice President of Product Planning at Kia.

orth_tyson

Thanks to the folks at Kia for the invite!

NHRDA World Finals: Diesel Racing in Ennis, Texas

Posted in Misc Travel on September 29, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  527,050

527050

Odometer (ILX):  54,797

54797

Consider these times that it takes a stock-equipment car to go from a standing stop to the finish line of a 1/4 mile dragstrip:

  • 1994 Acura Legend coupe:  15.7 seconds
  • 1992 Acura NSX:  13.9 seconds
  • 2013 Nissan GT-R:  10.8 seconds

This weekend, my brother raced a 1995 Ford Lightning pickup truck that achieved a 9.0 second run!  That’s enough to blow the doors off just about everything I’ve ever had the pleasure of driving.  I can’t imagine what those G-forces must feel like.

staging

I’ve just returned from a trip to the Lone Star State where I attended the 2013 National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA) “World Finals.”  This long-awaited event was an opportunity for my brother Bentley to showcase the race truck that his company, H&S Performance, put together over the last several months.  H&S specializes in diesel powertrains and is at the cutting edge of development on ways to squeeze every last ounce of power out of diesel vehicles.  The H&S team ended up bringing home 3rd place at the event, and they’re motivated to bring home the gold next year.

Though my Acura ILX and Acura Legend got a break this weekend, I still had plenty of fun playing with cars & trucks.  The ILX spent a few days at The Parking Spot, an off-airport parking complex near Phoenix Sky Harbor.  I spotted an old Vineyard Gray Metallic Legend on the way in.

legend_at_parking_spot

And I said adios to my silver chariot as my shuttle bus took me away.  Flight 551 awaited me from Phoenix to the Dallas-Ft Worth Int’l Airport.

ilx_at_airport

My dad flew down from Utah and connected with me in the terminal to join for the Dallas leg.

craig_tyson_airport

Rental ride:  Red 2013 Kia Rio with 29,400 miles on the odometer.  It screamed “economy” loudly, but it did have satellite radio and power windows.  Notably missing from the option list?  Cruise control.  Ouch.

kia_rio_rental

We were also missing an engine temperature gauge.

kia_gauges

For $11 a day, I we couldn’t complain.  MPG averages were in the 35-36 range, so that was a welcome feature!  Right away, we met up with my friend Brad at Mi Cocina in Irving for some fine Mexican cuisine.  Brad’s local to the area and told us the best ways to get around in the construction-mania that abounds in the Dallas “Metroplex.”

tyson_brad_craig

Friday morning, we met up with the H&S crew who were headed to the Texas Motorplex racetrack.  Here, my youngest brother Payton was enjoying the view from atop the trailer that hauls the race truck around.

payton_trailer

While the race team was making preparations for some qualifying runs, my dad and I took a couple of hours to explore Dallas.  The skyline ahead of us on I-35E included the “Reunion Tower.”  See the tower in the center of the frame with the round ball on top?  It stands 561 feet tall and has a restaurant inside that opened in 2009.  At night, the ball is illuminated by 259 LEDs and it’s quite a sight!  This fall, an observation deck will be opened.

dallas

We made our way back to the speedway and started feeling more and more puny in our Kia Rio.  Truck after truck came into the parking area to compete in the drag races.

track_arrival

Determination?  Just being cheesy here.

craig_tyson

We got to work unloading the race truck.

hs_trailer

Low clearance made this a challenging operation, but the truck came out unscathed.

backing_out

Left to right:  Tyson, Payton (brother), Craig (dad), and Bentley (brother).  Motor oil runs through our veins.  We all love cars.

with_brothers

And perhaps the most important introduction of all:  This beast of a truck.

cummins_engine

It started out as a white 1995 Ford Lightning, but morphed into a matte black meteor.  To name a few upgrades:

  • 4500 lbs Race Weight
  • 6.7-Liter Cummins Diesel Engine
  • Triple Turbos (capable of producing up to 130 PSI boost pressure)
  • 4R100 Transmission
  • Dynamite Diesel Performance (DDP) Injectors
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Air Dog Lift Pump
  • H&S Motorsports Stroker Pump
  • Dual CP3 Injection Pumps
  • Mini Maxx Tuner custom tuned with MCC software

The truck pulls 1.8 – 1.9G on launch, does 0-60 in under 2 seconds, and is the quickest 6.7L Cummins powered vehicle in the world.  Here, Payton (who’s the designated race driver) rolled up to the staging lanes as a member of the “Pro Street” class.  The blue golf cart following the truck, though decently fast, was not competing in the event.

staging_2

With each run, we had to quickly identify opportunities for improvement or solve problems as they arose.

working

Every race was logged on a computer with various data points.  Payton spent a great deal of time reviewing the results and identifying red flags so that the race team could make adjustments to the truck accordingly.

data

The fastest run that I got to see the Lightning make was a 9.188 second finish at 151.68 miles per hour.

timeslip

Just seconds later, ominous looking storm clouds let loose and the track closed down for the remainder of the day.

raining

Dad, Payton, and Bentley took a powwow and discussed next steps.

craig_payton_bentley

A race team from Thailand came over to admire the H&S truck.  These guys had air-freighted an Isuzu diesel pickup all the way from around the world to compete in the World Finals!  Their truck was powered by a 4-cylinder but ran the fastest time in the entire event – an unbelievable 8 seconds.

thai_truck_3

Sharing tech tips and stories, via an English-Thai interpreter.

thai_truck

We had to huddle inside the trailer or underneath the canopy while the rain continued coming down.

thailand_people

Dad somehow ended up barefoot after his shoes & socks got soaked.

dad

Though the event was rained out that day, race finals were pushed to the following day.  Unfortunately, my dad and I were scheduled to fly out so we missed it.  Payton ended up in 3rd place at the event, with his 9.003 at 146 mph.

finish

Congrats to Bentley, Payton, and the rest of the H&S crew on a great run! Here is a short video capturing some of the moments on film.  I’ll post a link to a much more professional/official clip as soon as it’s released.

Edit:  Here’s a better video by H&S.

Finally, here are the last few pictures I took over the course of the weekend.  I enjoyed seeing this blue Acura TSX parked next to me at the track.

tsx_at_track

And enjoyed a great evening with my local Dallas friends Scott and Lance.

scott_tyson_lance

Lance drives a 2014 Hyundai Equus that’s the ultimate ride.  He invited me to fire it up.  The instrument cluster screen came to life, and the car lifted up on its air suspension.

lance_equus_interior

This was one classy ride!

lance_equus

It was great to get home to Phoenix this morning and have a chance to unwind.

plane

… and also a relief to see that we’ve dipped below 3-digit temperatures for the first time since May.

phx_weather

Reunited with my ILX.

ilx_at_airport_2

It sure felt nice rowing through my own gears after having that Kia for several days.

ilx_inside

Thanks for coming along on the trip!

palms

PHX-SLC-LAX

Posted in Misc Travel on February 14, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  507,401

Here’s an oldie from February, 2004.  The coupe had 125,000 miles on it.  The picture was taken at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Calfornia, after a 28-Legend “West Coast Meet.”  At the time, I had my 18″ x 8″ Mille Miglia wheels installed.

Had a bit of service performed on the old Legend this past week – just an oil change and some manual transmission fluid replacement.  In the meantime, though, I was able t0 cruise around in this fresh looking 2012 Acura TL with only about 1,500 miles on the odometer from Acura of Tempe.  I stopped by the best hole-in-the-wall Mexican food place in Scottsdale:  Fiesta Burrito.  The rolled tacos & guac are pretty divine.

Not a bad looking car from this profile.

This past weekend I flew to Salt Lake City to spend a bit of time with some friends.  Due to the short timeline, I opted for a flight rather than driving up the trusty old Legend.  I did, however, still get to roll around with a familiar car thanks to my friend Branson who let me take his Cayman White Pearl 1995 LS coupe out on the town for a couple of days as my “rental” car.  The amenities in this car beat an Enterprise compact any day!

Soaking up a few minutes of sunshine while doing shopping in Salt Lake City with my mom as well as my friends Jeff and Matt.

On Sunday night after flying back to Phoenix, I  took a drive to LA for work.  It’s about a 400-mile, 6-hour journey.  The view on I-10 westbound was awesome…

… until I ran into one of the worst construction-induced traffic jams of my entire life between Palm Springs and Banning, California.  The 4 lanes of freeway went down to 1.  I was alerted to this fact about 30 miles ahead of time by a sign on the side of the road, but thought it could in no way be that bad.  It was bad.  Horrible, in fact.

Even after a small “win” of having found a small frontage road that paralleled the interstate and moved at twice the speed, I later regretted having tried to divert from the freeway when I had to re-enter it and inched forward at a snail’s pace along with hundreds of other cars trying to merge.  I think I put 100,000 more miles on my poor car’s clutch just enduring this massive delay (along with about 3,500 people).  I later learned that the entire fiasco stretched over 20 miles and was due to late concrete arrival during some pothole fixes.  Nice work, Caltrans!  Aside from this, the trip to LA was an easy ride in the old Acura.

One of my sources for mileage inspiration many years ago was a man by the name of Lloyd Laycook of Kanab, Utah – not far from my hometown in St. George.  Lloyd became a bit of a celebrity in the longevity world when he took his 1990 Lexus LS400 to 555,000 miles.  The car was subsequently purchased by one of the Utah dealership and to this day remains on display there.  When I first heard Lloyd’s story, I actually sought him out and gave him a call to talk about his travels and success story.  Just shows you that with meticulous care, there are lots of cars out there that are capable of hitting miles in the 5’s.

I have to give a quick shout-out to my friend Wes at Highline Import Auto.  Wes has been there when I’ve needed him for jobs in the past on all of my Honda and Acura cars.  This past week I had an emergency alternator replacement in the Legend at 506,970 miles and Wes handled it on short notice.  This is now the third alternator that coupe has had, including its first.  The last one was an Autozone “Duralast” model that got me down the road for about 106,000 miles.  Huge thanks to Wes and his team for taking such good care of me in a pinch.

Finally another lesson in proper parking since I’m a fanatic.  End space, pulled far to the edge!

Back home to PHX tonight!

International Travels

Posted in Legend, Misc Travel, Road Trip on October 24, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  498,790

When most people think of visits to theme parks in Florida, they immediately think of Disneyworld, but I found a place that far surpasses Disney in its appeal to me — I’ll call it ‘Legendland’!  About 75 miles west of Orlando in a one-stoplight teeny town called Floral City, my Acura enthusiast friend Alan and his wife Nancy have a beautiful piece of property and four (yes, four!) Acura Legends.  It was a slice of Acura heaven that I got to experience this afternoon before flying back to Phoenix from Tampa.

First off we got a VIP tour of the property including Alan’s spare car parts inventory which would rival any Acura dealership for its completeness and organization.

Alan has a sirius white pearl 1994 Legend GS 6-speed, cashmere silver metallic 1993 LS coupe 6-speed, granada black pearl 1994 GS sedan automatic, and milano red 1994 Legend LS coupe automatic.  This guy is a true collector!  He hosted us for a lake-side BBQ this afternoon after my friend Matt and I took his pedal-powered boat out for a quick spin on the lake.  Alan also let me drive his 1979 MG convertible:  a peppy little 4-speed manual that turned more heads in the 3 miles it than my Legend coupe has in the 400k miles I’ve driven it.

Here’s the group shot.  In addition to Alan’s four Legends, two others showed up to make this into a full blown enthusiast meet:  Moses in his 1994 granada black pearl GS sedan 6-speed (gorgeous!) and Alex in his 5-speed manual converted sherwood green 1994 LS coupe.  Alex allowed me to test drive his car, “Annie.”  She’s a mean beast with plenty of aftermarket goodies including a K-Sport suspension, full exhaust, and a short-throw shifter that makes rowing the gears effortless and fun.

All six Legends made it into this picture if you look closely.  Left to right:  Tyson, Alex, Alan, Moses.

I made Alan dig out the straw hat for this one.  That hat has become a staple at Legend meets across the country.  Anyone who’s seen Alan at one of the National Acura Legend Meets knows what I’m talking about!

Florida’s one of the few states I haven’t driven my Legend coupe in yet.  Over the years I’ve taken this old Legend to vast and varied places in the United States, but some of my most memorable travels have taken place outside the border.  The 2006 drive to Fairbanks, Alaska, and back was especially adventurous because it was the first chance I had to really exercise my kilometers-per-hour reading ability on my speedometer.  My dad and I traversed several Canadian provinces on our way to the far north.  It also was interesting to buy fuel by the liter instead of the gallon.

Then there was the time in October, 2006 when I road-tripped south of the border to “Puerto Peñasco” (Rocky Point), Mexico in order to visit my friend Pam and her family who were RV’ing there for the weekend at the beach.  Rocky Point was about 70 miles south of the US/Mexico border.  I purchased Mexican auto insurance (print-at-home) for the 48 hour trip and set out for Mexico.

This was actually the second time I had driven the Legend into Mexico.  The first was in February, 2005, when I went into Algodones, Sonora, Mexico just west of Yuma, Arizona. Border crossing!

Doing a little shopping.

Crazy drivers, every which way, backing up in a thru-lane.  And I didn’t have Mexican insurance at the time.  Things could have been bad!

The line to get back into the U.S. was about 1/2 hour wait.

How about a place that’s pretty much not only international but intergalactic:  The teeny town of Rachel, Nevada just outside Area 51 in the rural desert of southern Nevada.  I took this picture in 2005 while cruising along the “Extraterrestrial Highway” (State Route 375) just before also snagging a picture at the “Little A’Le Inn.”  Unfortunately, no sightings of life from outer space during my day trip adventure.

Population:  Humans, 98.  Aliens, ?

Self parking for UFO’s!

And yes, I parked the Legend there!

Not a bad looking spaceship if I do say so.

Or finally how about the time I drove right to Santa Claus’ house in North Pole, Alaska, in 2006?  My dad and I even took the opportunity to buy a plot of land (one square inch, to be exact) to give to my mom for Mother’s Day.  Yes, we got a deed to it!

No trip to the North Pole would be complete without a quick pit-stop at Santa’s house, right?

My dad and I are sitting in the sleigh while the Legend looks on.

This post has turned into a novel but I also need to mention that I’m not the only one in the high mileage game – in fact, lots of people have met or exceeded the 500k mark.  One in particular is Joe LoCicero from Maine – also known as “Million Mile Joe.”  His 1990 Honda Accord today hit 1,000,000 miles.  Honda has recognized him on the company’s Facebook page.  Check it out!  Huge congrats, Joe!

So, I’m back at home after a fun weekend away and happy to be back behind the wheel to finish out the drive to five.  Let’s get a move on.

Utah Roadtrip… Without the Legend

Posted in Misc Travel, Utah on July 6, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  480,150

The Legend sat in hibernation for 3 days while I roamed around the hills of northern Utah visiting family and friend over the long Independence Day weekend.  My parents live just over 800 miles north of the Phoenix area in a small valley of northern Utah.  I was glad for any excuse to again retreat to lower temperatures and also get a chance to see my new niece.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a mileage accumulation weekend for the trusty old Legend as it sat in the garage from Friday through Monday.  A couple of weeks ago, my friend Jeremy had me transport a local 1997 Lexus SC400 for him which he’d received as part of an inheritance.  Just over 70,000 miles, original owner, rare “renaissance red” with two-tone interior.  I was happy to oblige as I’ve always been a fan of the Lexus coupes.  My next task became getting the car to Jeremy in Salt Lake City, so my friend Matt and I saddled up in the luxo-coupe and rolled northward last Friday night.

Here’s a photo of the coupes together pre-departure.  The $56k Lexus is a fine ride but excludes some of the features I’ve come to love in my Legend and was never (except in the 6 cylinder version) offered in a manual transmission so the driving experience was a bit sedated for my tastes.  Still, there’s nothing quite like the sound (albeit heavily dampened) of a V8 motor at wide open throttle.  Mmmm.

As luck would have it, once Matt and I got to Salt Lake City, my friend Branson allowed me the keys to his Cayman White Pearl 1995 Legend LS coupe 6-speed.  Since he works for a local dealership, Branson was able to snag a vehicle off the lot for the weekend and I used his Legend as my rental for the next couple of days.  Silky smooth (freshly clayed) paint, new leather, sporty TL Type S wheels.  This car’s about as close to mint condition as you can get at 142,000 miles.  We drove past the home in Logan, Utah (only 20 minutes or so from the Idaho border) where I grew up.  The yard has changed but the memories are still there!  I lived in this home from ages 5 through 12.

Two great days of food, family, and fun later, it was time to head back to Salt Lake City and hop on a US Airways flight back to Phoenix.  It was great to see the fireworks displays from my window seat at 11F and to be back at home with my comfy memory foam bed.  I’d wondered if the Legend would fire up on the first try since I’ve been told the battery is junk, but indeed the car came to life immediately when it was time to head to work this morning.  Lots of preparations to do in the next couple of weeks before I head on my cross-country adventure to New Jersey.

Here’s one last shot of Sardine Canyon as it descends into Cache Valley where Logan lies.