Archive for the Road Trip Category

Alex’s Legendary 6-Speed, 6-State Tour to the Pacific Northwest

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on June 19, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend sedan):  154,939

Trip Distance:  3,495.7

Who’s ready for summer?  If anybody needs me, I’ll be indoors for the next 3 months.

My friend Alex borrowed my car for a 3,500 mile road trip, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.

Most of us have driven a rental or loaner car before.  What are your driving behaviors in a rental car as compared to in your own vehicle?  Have you ever heard of anyone returning a loaner in better shape than when they picked it up?  Now I have.

There’s one car in my collection that rarely goes anywhere.  I call it the garage queen for a reason:  In 9 years of ownership, I drove it fewer than 20,000 miles.  I think it was driven in the rain only twice during that timeframe.  It’s garaged, preserved, and babied.  Well, that garage queen became a road trip warrior for an 8-day span when my friend Alex flew in from Fort Myers, Florida to take an epic west coast road trip including a visit at this year’s NALM in my 1994 Legend GS sedan 6-speed.

Alex’s route covered 3,495.7 miles and took him through 6 states.  His journeys were documented with several GoPro camera clips as well as over 200 high quality photographs.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime, and the only thing that could have made it better would be if I had been able to be a part of it with him in person.  Experiencing it after the fact through his thorough documentation is the next best thing for me, as well as for all of you!

Alex and his fellow Floridian Alan spent a good chunk of their NALM time perusing the local junkyards for Legend parts.  After having been discontinued from production for over 22 years, you can imagine a model like the Legend does not have very robust support for replacement parts.  As a result those of us who intend to keep our cars on the road forever have to resort to dumpster diving from time to time.  Among the treasures A&A found (and installed) on my Legend GS were:

  • Master window switch with functional auto-down
  • ‘Beauty bar’ plastic trim cover over front bumper hardware
  • Uncracked center A/C vent trim
  • Radio antenna
  • Upgraded chrome door strikers and matching bolts
  • Bracket for clutch hydraulic hose
  • Battery tie-down
  • Windshield washer fluid cap

When I cut south on Interstate 5 on Sunday, June 11th when NALM concluded in Sacramento, Alex went north in my now “enhanced” Legend GS.  He continued on up toward Portland, but he took the scenic route in doing so.  Among his stops were the massive drive-thru Redwood tree in Leggett, California called Chandelier Tree and some  scenic stretches of Highway 101 in southern Oregon.  (Thus the T-shirt!)

Alex took the time to stop for photographs at each state line he crossed.  He reported that the car performed near flawlessly.  The only issues to note:  The speedometer is inaccurate at higher speeds, sometimes reading up to 10 mph faster than actual speed.  The rear brakes are squeaking.  The radio volume controls from the steering wheel don’t work.  And it might be time for spark plugs (last changed in 2009).

But Alex completed his adventure on Wednesday, June 14th after having completed his nearly-3,500-mile road trip.  He flew back to Florida later that evening, but not before we took the NSX out for a bite & drink.

Thanks Alex for giving my old car a chance to see some parts of the country that many people will only dream of experiencing!  Here are just a few of the photos Alex took & shared with me (posted here in random order), and a short video showing a few GoPro scenes just prior to hitting the Oregon state line.

Alan at the wheel

Alex and Alan about to go junkyarding in the Sacramento area

Arizona state line

Bridge crossing

California state line

Chandelier drive-thru tree in Leggett, California

With me in the rearview!

Me being cheesy!

Lots of rain – thank goodness for those new wiper blades a week before the trip!

Traveling the Extraterrestrial Highway (Hwy 93 in Nevada)

So many stickers you can barely make out the sign!

NALM group at Lake Tahoe

Idaho state line – and the car visible in the far background

Semi truck with a pretty cool name / logo

Mountain scenery

More scenery all around

Nevada state line

Pacific Ocean

Oregon Trail information

Oregon state line

Another shot from NALM

Redwood National Park entry

Alan and Alex at Lake Tahoe

Tunnel crossing

Washington state line

Spreadsheet nerd that I am, thought some might appreciate this.  It’s a quick & dirty calculation I did the other day to see how many of the 22,401 miles that my car has been driven that *I* have actually driven them.

As it turns out, roughly 1/3 of the car’s mileage accumulation in those last 9 years have been from other people.

NALM 2017 Sacramento Wrap Up: Return Drive & Video

Posted in California, NALM, Road Trip on June 13, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  554,211

Day Distance:  757 Miles

I made it home safe & sound from my 13th NALM!  Total drive distance, round-trip, ended up being 1,700 miles.  The car performed flawlessly — its only need was a one-time top-off of power steering fluid about midway through the trip.  I was up and out the door of the La Quinta host hotel at 6:30 on Sunday morning, with a long drive ahead of me.

There were just three stops made that day:  Wesley, Buttonwillow, and Palm Desert, California.  Each time, I topped off the tank, used the facilities, and grabbed a small snack.  I was at my house in Phoenix by 5:30 p.m. – exhausted but feeling satisfied about a very successful weekend.

Departure from Sacramento

Alex sent me this – well on his way to Portland in my Legend sedan, driving through a Redwood tree in Leggett, California.

Meanwhile, it was only a matter of time until I was back in the desert, making my way up the long I-10 grade from Indio to Chiriaco Summit.  They always advise people to be careful about overheating here.

The Phoenix city skyline was a nice sight to see after such a long day on the road.

Tucked away until the next adventure!

Here is a short video I put together.

More to come soon, including coverage of an especially monumental ILX milestone.  I think you know what it is!

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

 

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:

 

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

Two in One: San Vegas and Las Diego Road Trip Weekend

Posted in California, ILX, Nevada, Road Trip on February 17, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,486

550486

Odometer (ILX):  192,625

192625

Trip Distance:  1,000 Miles

trip_map

Yeah, I know.  Who RSVPs to a birthday party in one state, and a bachelor party in another state, on the same weekend, and still attends both?  You’re looking at him.  And here I am 1,000 miles later to tell you how that all played out.  The good news is that it feels amazing to go from the awe-inspiring 54th floor of the Cosmopolitan on the Las Vegas Strip one day, to the picturesque and sweet-smelling Mission Beach of San Diego the next.  The bad news is that coming back to reality bit.  Hard.

This past weekend’s adventure started with me scooping up my friend Kyle at his place in central PHX and us making our way, Taco Bell crunchwrap supreme in hand, in the ILX to Las Vegas.  It’s a drive that takes about 4.5 hours through the picturesque yet pretty barren reaches of Highway 93.  We arrived just in time to join the rest of our gang for a bite to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings before venturing out on the town.

vegas_strip

And I can assure you, what happened in Vegas that night will stay in Vegas.  Well, I take that back.  The group text message with 8 people in it became a dumping ground for all the photos and videos from that night’s debauchery, and they will forever live on in the memory bank of each participant’s iPhone.  But this isn’t the time nor place to divulge any of those details.  Las Vegas Boulevard, known better as “The Strip,” is home to some 62,000 hotel rooms.  Tourists are out on the streets 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  There is seriously no end to the available entertainment and we got our share of it.

group

On Saturday morning, we pulled our acts together in time for brunch at “Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar,” home to some of the best nachos I’ve ever had.  They’re called “trash can nachos” and basically come out in a big tin can that gets dumped on a plate in the center of the table.  Trust me, they were amazing.

vegas_ilx_dash

Snoozing passengers!

sleepy_pax

Kyle, Lance, and I hit the road by early afternoon for the next chapter of our road trip weekend:  a bachelor party in Southern California.  Luckily the drive was a breeze with 95% of it being on southbound Interstate 15.  We stopped briefly in the middle-of-nowhere town of Baker, home to the World’s Largest Thermometer at 134 feet tall.  In typical fashion, traffic was slow-and-go the closer we got to the Los Angeles area, but as dusk settled in, we kept cranking the iPod and karaoke’d to classics like Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping” (a song now 20 years old!) to pass the time and the miles.

Primitive but predictable, the Motel 6 on 2nd Avenue in downtown San Diego was our resting spot for the evening.  We had just enough time to freshen up there before heading to dinner and a night out on the town at Oxford Social Club in the Gaslamp District.  I felt like a true A-Lister there:  VIP entry, special reserved seating, and a meeting with the owner himself who came over to shake our hands.  The lights and music raged onward as we celebrated the upcoming wedding of my friends Wade & Rustin until the wee hours.

Speaking of, this is what happens when you’re part of 2 massive group texts and you put your phone away for a few minutes.  Ugh, the anxiety of unread messages.  I put both threads on “do not disturb.”

unread_texts

And what California trip would be complete without a stop at the beach?  My phone told me we were a mere 14 minutes from Mission Beach so we saddled up in the ILX and went to check it out.  The smell of a fresh sea breeze and the sound of crashing waves will never get old.  We wandered northbound along the sand for a little while before looping back to meet the rest of the gang in Little Italy for brunch at a spot called Prepkitchen.

ocean_front

tyson_lance_kyl

The final leg of this epic weekend journey was the stretch of Interstate 8 that links San Diego with the Phoenix area, an oft-desolate road that runs parallel to the Mexican border.  Kyle took the wheel from the halfway point in Yuma onward, which was great because I needed some time with my eyes off the road.

The gang in an elevator

elevator

View from the Cosmopolitan hotel room

vegas_view

Soaking it all in, with Lance

lance_tyson

This was the burger I had at Guy Fieri’s restaurant.  I liked the fries better!

burger

Stop in Baker, CA with Kyle along I-15 southbound.

baker_sign

Gas prices there, ouch!

baker_gas

World’s Tallest Thermometer – 134 feet tall – indicative of the highest temperature ever observed in Death Valley nearby.  Notice it was only 67 degrees at the time of our visit.

baker_thermometer

Continuing on down Interstate 15

i15south

California’s inspection stations have never caused me too much delay.  I just get waved through.

california_inspection

i15

Ahh, the beach!

pacific_ocean

Looking northbound alongside the sidewalk at Mission Beach in San Diego

bech

ocean_front

Fuel and bathroom break in Gila Bend, AZ on the way back to Phoenix Sunday night

sunset

Check out this story about my friend Steve who flew across the country recently to buy a minty 4th generation Honda Prelude and drive it all the way back to Arizona!  Congrats, Steve!  I’m looking forward to seeing the car when you visit tomorrow.

And finally, does anyone out there want to be my twin?  This Legend coupe is up for grabs in the Los Angeles area!

twin

Have a great weekend!