Abandoned McPhaul “Bridge to Nowhere” in Yuma, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on September 15, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):

531528

Odometer (ILX):  95,993

95993

Trip Distance:  388 Miles

yuma_Map

bridge_sun

Sometimes a road trip opportunity comes out of the middle of nowhere, and it also TAKES you to the middle of nowhere.

On Tuesday, my coworker Greg sent me an email entitled, “Seen this?” with a screen capture of what is known as the Bridge to Nowhere.  Of course, I dropped all work-related activities and headed straight for Google.  My colleagues at the office know me well.  What I soon uncovered was the history of a very little-known 800-foot-long suspension bridge about 8 miles north of the desert community of Yuma, Arizona.

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I mentioned a few things about the bridge to my friend Jack.  “Yuma – really? If you’re going on a day trip, at least have it be to Vegas or somewhere.”  I was determined to make the trip even if it wasn’t to an exotic location, so I took to the streets bright and early on Sunday morning in my Acura ILX and headed westward.  Yuma sits along Intestate 8, and it’s only 7 miles north of the Mexican border.  The sun shines for about 90 percent of days in Yuma, making it the sunniest place on earth (specifically, the city receives 4,015 hours of sunshine per year).  The town’s population booms in the wintertime when “snowbirds” from the midwest roll in with their 5th wheel travel trailers and spend a few months in its perfect climate.

At Fortuna Road, Exit 12, I rolled off the main highway and headed north toward US 95.  Following some directions I’d printed from Roadside America, I knew exactly where I’d be seeing the bridge.  Sure enough, its two tallest spires beckoned from afar as I hit the brakes in the ILX and made a left-hand turn onto a gravel road that truly did look like it was in the middle of nowhere. Just 1/2 mile or so up the dirt road, I’d driven as far as I’d be able to.  Multiple warning signs urged me to not take any further steps toward the bridge.  BRIDGE CLOSED; NO TRESPASSING; and UNSTABLE were some of the notifications I received.  Still, I felt like I needed to get a closer look so I locked the car and started hiking.

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The bridge was built in 1929 in the name of Henry Harrison McPhaul, a notable resident of Yuma.  Just a little under 40 years later, in 1968, it was deemed unfit for modern traffic needs — not difficult to understand, given its narrow width.  A larger bridge was built upstream, along with a dam that rerouted the river.  Today, the McPhaul Bridge is nothing but a roadside relic.  It doesn’t go anywhere or serve any purpose at all, except for inquisitive road trippers like me.

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The actual deck of the bridge is completely shut off with a fence and padlock, so I did not walk along the top of it.  I did, however, hike down underneath the platform.  Thick wooded brush was difficult to navigate, and I was wearing shorts so the sticks would frequently jab at my legs and scratch them.  I had to tread carefully down there.  The view of the underside of the bridge was worth it.  What was once a riverbed is now mostly dry, since the flow of water had been diverted in 1968.

Here’s an aerial view of the north-south running bridge (center of the screen).  At some point, I’d like to try and access the north end of it.  The roads on that side of the wash appear to be dirt based on Google Maps.

nowhere_bridge

Not even a mile up the road. another quick stop was to be made.  A white, hand-painted sign along Highway 95 said, “Pause; Rest; Worship.”  Another dirt road presented itself to my left, so I veered north toward the tiniest church building I’ve ever set foot in.  The “Tiny Church,” as it’s been named, dates back to 1995 and was built by a farmer on his property.  There are 6 tiny pews in the 8-foot by 11-foot interior.  I spent at least 20 minutes at the church and saw nobody else around.  The front door was unlocked so I let myself in.  The front row had bottled waters and some pudding on it, maybe in case any worshipers needed sustenance?  Sitting on top of the pulpit was a Holy Bible and a guest book, which I signed.

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My return trip to the Phoenix area was smooth sailing, as I-8 on a Sunday morning is very quiet and there are remarkably few 18-wheelers along that stretch of road.  I did make just one more visit before calling it a day.

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Dozens of times I’ve driven past Exit 67 for Avenue 64E to “Dateland,” but it wasn’t until Sunday that I let my curiosity get the best of me and I pulled off Interstate 8 for a closer look.  I’d known that Dateland was famous for its date shakes, but not much else.  I was greeted by a modern service station and adjoining Quizno’s sandwich shop.  For $4.50, I got myself a date shake.  The flavor reminded me just remotely of a “jamocha” flavored shake from Arby’s.  The consistency was really thick, and the chunks – well, they were a bit much.  It was so chunky, in fact, that my straw kept getting plugged.

tyson_with_date_shake

Dates are a fruit that grows on a certain type of palm tree called a Phoenix Dactylifera.  These palms can grow up to 75 feet in height.  Dateland, Arizona started out as a stop along the railroad line in the 1920’s.  Its irrigation pool doubled as a swimming pool.  Today, Dateland’s source of industry primarily comes from its convenience as a pit stop for motorists cruising between Yuma and Phoenix along the interstate corridor.

Thanks for coming along for the trip, and enjoy the rest of these pics!

When you’re traveling this closely to Mexico, there are opportunities to buy Mexican auto insurance all over.

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mexico_sign

Sentinel, Arizona proudly touts its location in the Middle of Nowhere.

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Getting closer to Yuma after this steep pass.

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Here’s the approach of the Bridge to Nowhere.  Cruising north on Hwy 95, all I could see were its tallest pillars.

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Getting closer after hitting the dirt road.

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This is the end of the road.  At least, it has been since 1968.

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Walking on up.

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No Trespassing.  I didn’t go out on the bridge deck; I just went underneath it.

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View from below.  For being 85 years old, this thing is in pretty good shape.

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Plenty of graffiti, too.

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Here you can see the type of thick brush I was trying to trudge through.

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I love the architecture of old bridges and tunnels.

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View from the west side of the bridge.

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Heading back to the car – and a dust storm blowing in.

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You can really see in the above pic how it goes to “nowhere.”

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Farewell to the bridge.

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Next stop:  A little Sunday worship, on a miniature scale.

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Heading up to the chapel.

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Plenty of parking.

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Church is in session!  Thanks Instagram filters.  (follow me under @tysonhugie)

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Here’s a look inside.  There are 6 very small benches.  Apparently you can squeeze 12 people in here if you need to.

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I found some refreshments on the front pew.

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Signed the guest book and provided the blog address.

guest_book

Arriving in Dateland, Arizona for some fuel and a bathroom break.  Those are date palms along the road.

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They sell 100-octane “racing fuel” at the Dateland gas station!  I didn’t indulge… but I wanted to.

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Dates for sale.  If only finding a date was this easy in the relationship world.

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Date Shakes & Quiznos

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Self explanatory Dateland license plate.

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Try one if you’re ever in the area!

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Have a great week!

Tribute to Grandpa

Posted in Throwback on September 12, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,523

531523

Odometer (ILX):  95,509

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I grew up in a car-loving family.  When my dad and I routinely hand-waxed our family vehicles each 6 months, it became an all-day affair.  I remember him pulling my mom’s maroon 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix onto the grass into the backyard, under a shade tree.  His father, too, took a great deal of pride in his own automobile.  This is Grandpa Rex:

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It was 25 years ago today, on Tuesday September 12, 1989 when he passed away due to heart failure.  I was only 7 years old at the time, but my memories of him are vivid and still very real.  This photo from Christmas 1985 shows Grandpa on the couch.  My cousin Kira and I were on the motorized “Power Wheels” 3-wheeler at left.  I guess I’ve always had an affinity for wheeled toys!  I would have been 4 at the time.

xmas1985

Grandpa gave out Certs breath mints like candy.  My brother and I would hold our our hands out and ask for “Mmms” (as that’s what we called them).  He’d gladly share.  As luck would have it, I had chicken pox on Sunday, September 17, 1989 when Grandpa’s funeral services were held in College Ward, Utah, so I did not attend.  Here’s a snapshot from his obituary from Logan’s Herald Journal newspaper dated Thursday, September 14.

gpa_obit

Continuing on, the obituary reads:

Rex married Marilyn Hansen on July 16, 1954, in Logan.  The marriage was later solemnized in the Logan LDS Temple.  At the time of his death, he was employed at Hill Air Force Base.  Rex served his country in the military during the Korean War.  He served in various church positions, his favorite being involvement in the Scouting program.  He was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed hunting, fishing, and snowmobiling with his family, which included eight grandchildren whom he dearly loved.  As a husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Rex will be missed by many.  We wish him a fond farewell until we meet again.

Photo of Grandpa’s birthplace – Cornish, Utah:

cornish_sign

Thanks to my friend Ryan for sending me that picture a few weeks ago.  My dad and I had driven through Cornish on the return leg of our Beartooth Highway adventure this summer, but we didn’t stop for a photo.

Several times on the blog I’ve “followed in Grandpa’s footsteps” (or in this case, tire tread marks).

Original picture with Grandpa and his pride and joy 1950 Buick Special Model 43D “Jetback” Sedan (taken 1954).  Based on the garden hose strung out across the lawn, I bet he’d just washed it.

grandpa1

Did you know that each of those grille “teeth” were individually replaceable?  I have a dealership brochure from 1950 that talks about how the design prevented “locking horns” with another vehicle.  Now that’s innovation.

Grandpa’s Buick model is pictured at the top right of this factory brochure.  It had a meager 128 horsepower generated from its straight-8 engine.  My ILX has 201 horses from half as many cylinders.  I guess automotive technology has come a little way.

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Back in 1998, I found a beat-up 1950 Buick to get a picture with in Beaver, Utah:

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Then in 2002, I saw a 1950 Buick at a car show in Vista, California when I was a missionary for the Mormon church:

tyson_mission_1950Buick

It’s only a matter of time until I find the right Buick and restore one just like Grandpa’s.

My grandma once recounted to me the story of a time when she and Grandpa road-tripped from northern Utah all the way to Nevada.  They were en route to Vegas for their honeymoon in July 1954.  Grandma got homesick and they didn’t even make it all the way to Vegas before turning back around!

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Here’s the Buick all decorated up with honeymoon graffiti:

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Thanks for reading!  And a great weekend to all.

Peter’s Birthday Drive to Prescott, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on September 7, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,504

531504

Odometer (ILX):  95,239

95239

Trip Distance:  244 Miles

prescott

prescott2

Among my group of friends, spending time with our cars is always special treat so when my buddy Peter was deciding how to celebrate his big 32nd birthday, his first thought was to put together a mountain cruise.

Today’s drive took us to the hills northwest of the Phoenix, Arizona area.  The route followed highways 17, 74, 60, 93, and 89.  Catch all that?  The participants brought a wide variety of automobiles.  We ended up having two Acuras, two BMWs, and a Nissan in the mix.  Below is part of the lineup.  Dan’s “Boston Green Metallic” 1998 BMW M3 5-speed is in superb condition for being 16 years old and having over 140,000 miles on the odometer.  He’s taken great care of it.

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Peter’s TSX has undergone a lot of work during the short length of time he’s had it.  Just a few weeks ago, I met with him after he’d taken ownership.  The car was bone stock at the time (below).  Despite having over 185,000 miles on it, it was mechanically sound and he was anxious to get started customizing it to give it some personal style.

peter_tsx

Already, he’s upgraded the suspension and wheels.  He also re-tinted the windows and did some cleanup on some of the body panels.  Not to mention some freshly-polished exhaust tips!  Here were the rides on today’s tour:

  • 2004 Acura TSX
  • 1998 BMW M3
  • 2014 BMW M235i
  • 2009 Nissan 370Z
  • 2013 Acura ILX

My friend Paul took the shotgun seat in the ILX with me for this drive.  Peter took the lead in the TSX and the rest of us followed in line.  A wise move, this was: Peter knew all about Highway 89’s notorious speed trap in the 45 mph zone!  Sure enough, as we rounded a corner into a straightaway, an Arizona Highway Patrol vehicle was staring us in the face.  Unfortunately for that officer, our party was in complete compliance with posted limits.  Take that.

hill

From there, the road gained elevation as we rose to about 5,300 feet.  Its twisty curves were banked just enough to inspire some spirited driving.  The ILX had no issues keeping up with the pack, and I enjoyed throwing it between 3rd and 4th gears on the climb.  As a testament to how confident Paul was in my driving skills, he reported “… and I didn’t even grab the oh shiz handle once!”  Soon, we arrived in the town of Prescott, affectionately referred to by locals as “Everybody’s Hometown.”

Prescott was actually the capital of the Arizona Territory in 1864 (Phoenix didn’t take over that title until 1889).  Today, it’s home to around 40,000 people has become a popular weekend destination for Phoenicians like me who are looking to escape the heat.  The city embraces its history with over 800 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

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prescott_fire

We dined at the Firehouse Kitchen (chicken quesadillas highly recommended!), then Paul and I made our way toward Highway 69 which would return us to the Phoenix area, while everyone else headed toward Jerome.  The clouds dropped a little rain on us, but the 70-degree temperatures were refreshing.  By the time we got back to the Phoenix area, the temps were already back up in triple-digit range.  Happy b-day Peter, and thanks for putting this drive together!

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Here are the rest of the pics from our little Sunday drive.  Thanks for coming along.

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A peek at the curves that Highway 89 offered up.

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Following the BMW M235i through Yarnell

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Bathroom & snack break at a “Mountainaire” gas station in Peeples Valley

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Arrival in Prescott

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The lineup

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Departing Prescott with wet roads

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In closing, just a few other random weekend adventures.  Yesterday’s Cars & Coffee in Scottsdale:

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I also did a little junkyarding.  There were 220,538 miles on the odometer of this 1991 LS in Golden Glow Pearl.  It had the factory accessory 15″ 5-spoke wheels, the gold emblem package, and the trunk-mounted spoiler.

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Thanks Dillon for sharing your latest A-Spec TLX rendering!

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And a classic text from Paul showing some true Acura brotherhood.

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Have a great week!

Throwback Thursday: Tyson’s Trio of Cars, March 2005

Posted in Legend, Prelude, Throwback on September 4, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,504

531504

Odometer (ILX):  94,796

94796

house_front

Some people collect coins, or stamps, or baseball cards.  I guess you could say my hoarding tendencies revolve around objects that are a little bit bigger.  I’ve owned multiple cars concurrently for about the last 10 years. 

I don’t remember what compelled me to arrange my 3 cars around my family’s house in St. George, Utah on the morning of March 14, 2005, but I have a series of pictures that were taken with my Canon PowerShot SD400 that are still bringing a smile to my face over 9 years later.  My trio of cars at the time was rather diverse.  Let’s take a closer look at each of them.  To my parents, thanks for putting me up with me driving on the lawn as an eager car-loving 23-year-old.

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Celebrity:

The 1986 Chevrolet Celebrity has a story all its own, which I’ve shared on the blog before.  Purchased brand new by my parents from Axtell Chevrolet in Logan, Utah, it became my first car about 11 years later.  The Celeb was my first taste of life on the open road, and I proudly drove it during my sophomore year of high school.  I even dumped $500 into a Maaco paint job and cleaned its 14″ wire wheel hubcaps in a bathtub with a scrub brush.  #OCD

Years later, I bought it back in ragged shape with 194,000 miles on it for a few hundred bucks and I wasn’t sure what to do with it.  The sentimental value alone prompted me to scoop it up when I had the opportunity, but my (second) time with it was short-lived.  I got rid of it for $800 and its 2.8 liter carbureted V6 was tired and dying.  The Celebrity has surely by now been scrapped and melted down to liquified steel.  It still holds a special place in my heart.  Though its quirks were many – and every vehicle I’ve owned since has been a far more reliable Honda – it had the comfiest bench seat in the world. 

Confession:  I’m a member of a GM “A-Body” car enthusiast forum.  Yes, there exists such a thing.

driveway1

Prelude:

One of 5 Honda Preludes I’ve owned, this one was perhaps my favorite:  a Phoenix Red 1991 with 4-wheel-steering.  It had 144,750 miles on the odometer when I bought it in December 2004 for $3,750 with the intention of using it as a “winter beater” at Utah State University and keeping the Legend in storage. Key hand-off!  I still have that hooded sweatshirt…

jared

Dare I say, that Prelude handled as nimbly as my current NSX and the driving experience was damn near just as fun.  This car, however, sucked my wallet dry.  Having purchased the car with zero maintenance history, it succumbed to a timing belt failure and ended up requiring a new engine right away due to bent valves.  I also dumped a few dollars into an adjustable coilover suspension and those oh-so-flashy 16″ chrome 5-spokers.  I was struggling to juggle cars around and too tied up with full-time college and work to devote to the Prelude, so I put a “For Sale” sign in it at a car show.  It sold that very same day for quite a bit over book value.  Oddly enough, I bought that car back years later, too.  What is it with me and never being able to fully let go? 

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Legend:

The 1994 LS coupe was just a wee babe, with 164,660 miles on the odometer when this photoshoot took place.  I’d upgraded the car at some point with brighter headlights, Catz XLO foglights (later swapped for OEM), and some Ebay-riffic clear corner lenses.  Don’t judge me; I was in my 20’s and still had a bit of “boy racer” in me.  I’d had the car for only two years and intended to keep it awhile, but probably never dreamed I’d still be driving it 9 years later.

So, here we go with my morning photoshoot from the mid-2000’s!

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What were the neighbors thinking as I scampered around arranging these?

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1991, 1994, and 1986 respectively.  Will vinyl roofs ever come back?

fronts

Yes, my friends, my license plate on the Celebrity said “HUGGIE’S.”  Laugh it up!

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Back when a half-bra was all the rage.

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Doors open for artistic effect.  Or something.

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Oops, I was missing some hubcaps on the Celeb.

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My babies.

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Nice shot of the 4WS in action.  Check out that back tire!  The 1988-1991 Prelude with this option handled like nothing else.  I could U-turn anywhere.

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License plates, read left to right:  HUGGIE’S 4CRUIZN UTAHST8.  (I was attending Utah State Univ at the time)

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Okay, that velour interior on the Celebrity.  SO PLUSH.  Comfortable seating for 6.

celeb_interior

Thanks for taking a drive with me down Memory Lane.

Brad’s Visit & “Ignition” Phoenix Car Show

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,491

531491

Odometer (NSX):

98514

Odometer (ILX):  94,381

94381

nsx_front_right

For once, I let someone else do all the “heavy” driving for me this weekend!  Anyone who’s followed D25 long enough knows that in most cases, a long holiday weekend means some kind of crazy cross-country drive.  This time, I’m pleased to report that the cars and I are resting up and enjoying some much-needed downtime.  Brad, though — he’s a man on a mission.  Brad is a Drive to Five reader from Chicago, Illinois who got a wild hair last week and decided to hit the open road in his 2004 Honda Accord coupe and head for the southwest.

On Friday evening, I received a text message from Brad about how he’d just passed a “big crack in the ground,” accompanied by a picture of the Grand Canyon.  Holy smokes – this guy had covered some serious ground in just a matter of a few days!  Following my recommendations, he’d already conquered Colorado’s Mount Evans as well as the Million Dollar Highway.  And he was heading straight for Phoenix!

Confident that his Honda’s A/C had never had to work quite as hard as it was on Saturday, Brad arrived safely and soundly to central Phoenix.  His timing couldn’t have been better:  Some friends and I were attending a car show called “Ignition,” held at the historic 1965 Veterans Memorial Coliseum on 17th Avenue & McDowell Road.

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Brad’s Graphite Pearl 2004 Accord EX coupe is a true one-owner and a low-miler.  Brad has gone to great lengths to keep his Accord in top shape both mechanically and cosmetically, though the Illinois winters at times make that a challenge.  He reported getting the car’s 10-year best-ever mileage of about 38 miles per gallon in the hills of Colorado on this very trip.  This came as a surprise, since he’d been so aggressive with the throttle at times.  The Accord’s 16-valve 2.4 liter iVTEC 4 cylinder motor generates 160 horsepower, and Brad said he definitely gave each one of those horses a workout on the way to the top of 14,000-foot-tall Mount Evans.

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Just 74,000 miles on the Accord!

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I had the chance to ride along with Brad for a few miles, and the car — as well as Brad’s 5-speed shifting skills — were as smooth as could be.  His visit was short, but fortunately he was able to join for lunch and meet a few of my friends.  Brad’s now well on his way back to Chicagoland, having made it all the way to Albuquerque, New Mexico by later in the evening.  Safe travels, Brad, and thanks for making a pit stop in my neighborhood!

The Ignition car show drew a wide variety of vehicles (and owners) but I’ll highlight just a few things.

coliseum

The Coliseum venue itself has an interesting story.  Considered architecturally state-of-the-art when it was built in the mid-1960’s, the building today is a little run-down.  It can still accommodate nearly 15,000 people and continues to host the Arizona State Fair each October, but most larger events have since shifted to other arenas in the downtown Phoenix area.  The Coliseum has had its share of highlights over the years, though, including a sold-out concert by Elvis Presley in 1970.  The Phoenix Suns basketball team played there from 1968 through 1992. 

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outside_cars

I entered my NSX in the show, and it ended up parked next to my friend Matt’s Infiniti Q50 and a Tesla Model S.

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Loved this four-door hardtop Pontiac Bonneville.

bonneville

This 1948 Chrysler belongs to Roger, and it’s one of 30 (yes, THIRTY) Chrysler vehicles in his collection.  I asked him if he’d buy anything that wasn’t a Chrysler.  His response was “Mopar or No Car.”  I like that brand loyalty!

48_chrysler

Believe it or not, that little red car is a vintage Subaru 360.  Its curb weight is only 1,000 pounds.

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I enjoyed all the original paperwork & window sticker on this one-owner, 55,000-mile, 1986 Oldsmobile 442.

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Lunch-bound in the ILX:  Jeremy, Brad, Tyson

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Jeremy, by the way, is a proud owner of a new (to him) 2004 Acura TL 6-speed with the full A-Spec underbody kit.

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I was feeling artsy and the lighting was right, so I grabbed a couple pictures of the 1992 NSX on the way out of the Coliseum.

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Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend!

Motor City Masters: Hollywood, CA TV Show Finale in the ILX

Posted in California, ILX, Road Trip on August 28, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  94,087

94087

Trip Distance: 780 Miles

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What started as the location of a single adobe hut in 1853 has grown to become one of most recognized and prominent places in the world because of its ties to the motion picture industry.  Its name was coined by a man named H.J. Whitley who bought a 500-acre range there in February 1887 and filed the deed with the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office with the name specified.  Hollywood merged with the City of Los Angeles in 1910 and has since grown to become one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in LA.  As of the 2008 census, it was home to over 22,000 people per square mile!  Let’s go there.

Motor City Masters is a Hollywood-based reality TV show centered around automotive design.  Automotive spy photographer Brenda Priddy invited me to accompany her to an exclusive Hollywood party in connection with a viewing of the show’s final episode.  The concept of MCM is pretty simple:  What started as a group of 10 automotive designers was whittled down via elimination in various design events to just two finalists:  Bryan Thompson and Camilo Pardo, pictured below.  The winner at the end of the series would receive $100,000 cash and a 2014 Chevy Camaro Z28.

bryan_camilo

I took a half day off work on Tuesday so that I’d be able to cruise out to southern California for the occasion.  The drive from the Phoenix area to Hollywood takes about 6 hours and is spent almost entirely on Interstate 10.  Miraculously, I hit zero traffic delays until just 4 miles before my scheduled exit on Highway 101.  Making my way northbound on Gower Street, the white HOLLYWOOD sign that I’ve seen so many times before on movies and in TV was there ahead of me in the distance, plain as day.   The challenge was getting anywhere near it!  Look at these loop-de-loop residential roads!

hollywood_roads

Talk about a maze.  Plus, what the map there doesn’t convey is that the roads in most cases are barely wide enough to fit a single car through, and the turns are tight with blind corners.  Topping that off, the grades are steep.  My Garmin Nuvi GPS unit had to recalculate a couple of times before I found the party house location.

Along the way, though, I did happen to cross right through Lake Hollywood Park which had a perfect viewpoint of the Hollywood sign.  Did you know that the letters in the Hollywood sign are each 45 feet tall?  That’s four stories!  The sign was originally constructed in 1923 and it said “HOLLYWOODLAND” to advertise a new housing development.  In 1949, the “Land” part was dropped, and by 1970 the sign had deteriorated badly.  It was restored in 1979 to its current condition.

ilx_with_hollywood_sign

The party I attended was hosted by a man named Axel who has a beautiful glass-walled, modern home overlooking the city with a pool in the backyard.  Weather was perfect and the amenities were top notch.  Best of all, I got to meet a couple of the show’s cast members.  We watched the final Motor City Masters episode, but were disappointed to learn that “our” pick – Bryan – ended up in 2nd place.  In the end, though, he still came out ahead.  Bryan had struck a dealer with Camilo earlier in the show:  Whoever won first place would get the cash, while the second place winner would get the car.  Bryan plans on selling the Camaro and allocating the funds to a scholarship fund for design students.  Pretty cool of him!

pool

I eventually broke away from the party in anticipation of a long night’s drive ahead.  Once I got past the Palm Springs area, I felt like I was all alone with the truckers out on I-10 in the desert.  I passed dozens of them.  The interstate was smooth sailing, though.  Even though it’s taxing at times, I like to drive at night just because it’s cooler out and there’s less traffic to deal with. Of the 15,605 songs on my 80-gig iPod Classic, this one randomly came on at 1:53 in the morning.  Fitting.

system_of_a_down

Give it a listen.  I rolled into my driveway around 2:45 in the morning, tired from a long day but feeling like it was all worth it!  Here are the rest of my pics.  Enjoy, and thanks for coming along!

Approaching the Hollywood sign

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Making my way up the steep, curvy neighborhood roads

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Hollywood Lake Park

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More views from the park

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Heavy tourist activity around here

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Looking to the southeast

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Arriving at Axel’s place for the party

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Brenda, who’d invited me to the party

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You can see the Hollywood sign from the house

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Acura-only parking!  My friend Scott parked behind me in his RDX, and my friend Chris parked behind him in a TSX.

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Watching the show.

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Another angle

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Kevin and Bryan, both cast members from the show (goofing off!)

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Utah State Highway 153: Beaver Canyon Scenic Byway in the ILX

Posted in ILX, Road Trip, Utah on August 25, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,490

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Odometer (ILX):  93,204

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Trip Distance:  1,061 Miles

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Welcome aboard for an AZ-NV-UT-NV-AZ weekend!  The route between Phoenix, Arizona and St. George, Utah is a long-time favorite of mine.  An old friend of mine got hitched on Saturday evening, so I made the trek to my old stomping grounds to participate in the festivities and to reconnect with a few family members.

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While waiting for a gas pump to continue filling my 13-gallon tank with 91 octane, I was rooting around in the center console for my key so I could lock the car and go inside the convenience store for a drink.  A voice from behind me said, “Excuse me sir…” I was a little startled and looked up to see it was a friend from my hometown, Danny! Here I was, 200 miles from home, and he was also 200 miles from home – randomly meeting up at a Mobil gas station in small town Kingman, Arizona. It’s a really small world indeed.

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Saturday evening’s wedding was held in Pine Valley Utah.  I’d been there before around Christmas 2012.  The drive from St. George to Pine Valley on State Route 18 took about 40 minutes. The elevation gain lends itself to a change in landscape, as the vivid red sandstone rock formations transition to pine trees and greener surroundings. Pine Valley’s afternoon weather was absolutely perfect for the wedding festivities, so it was appropriate that the ceremony was held outside on the lawn of the bright white, historic 1868 chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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I paid a quick visit to my brother Payton who’s knee-deep in a car “build” that’s been underway for over a year now. He’s converting his blue Lexus IS300 to a stick shift and performing all sorts of drivetrain upgrades in the process.

On Sunday morning, I picked up a special copilot for the day’s drive, Grandma McGregor.  She’d already packed us up a couple coolers full of picnic lunch supplies and food, so we threw those in the back seat and headed out northbound on Interstate 15 toward Beaver.  The 100-mile drive went quickly thanks to the posted 80 mph speed limits that took effect a couple of years ago.  Upon arrival in Beaver, we met up with my mom, stepdad, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew who’d arrived in a separate vehicle (mom’s 2003 Lexus GS430).

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Beaver’s State Route 153 dates back to 1945.   It’s 40 miles long, but the 13 easternmost miles to the city of Junction, Utah are unpaved.  The 27 miles that are paved are a glorious place to take a nice-handling sports sedan like the ILX.  Grandma and I started our drive from Beaver and headed for the hills.

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Making our way  eastbound, Highway 153 enters the Fishlake National Forest as it climbs into the Tushar Mountains.   The road first winds along the Beaver River at the base of the canyon, then begins a sharp ascent to its 9,200 foot elevation at its highest point on the paved portion.  The grades reach up to 9-10% and it’s very common for vehicles to overheat going uphill or to lose braking control going downhill.  Extreme drop-offs have taken many victims over the years – including some accidents that we’ve witnessed firsthand.

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We made it to our destination at the top of the hill, near Eagle Point ski area.  My brother has a cabin under construction there that we took a look at.  Afterward, we traversed a one-lane dirt road deep into the woods and paid our respects to the location where the cremated remains of some of our dear family members were buried.  The ILX got a little muddy, but it was worth it.

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The descent on Highway 153 went quickly.  Knowing that I had a full day’s drive still ahead of me (8 more hours) in getting back to the Phoenix area, I turned over the reins to my stepdad, Todd, who drove the ILX the 100 miles from Beaver to St. George.

By 9:30 p.m. that night, I’d arrived at home in Scottsdale — tired, but feeling very fulfilled about a great weekend.  This was my favorite song from the drive home.  I listened 3 times in a row, at full (level 40) volume.

Thanks for coming along on the trip!  Here are a few more pictures.

Entering Utah from Arizona on the outskirts of St. George

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My brother’s pool.  Anybody want to come take a dip?

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Photo-op with the ILX on the south end of town.

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This was the same place where I took my mom’s 1993 Legend L sedan back in June 1997.  The surrounding landscape has changed a great deal over the last 17 years, but the rocks remain exactly the same.  I found out, by the way, that the old Sherwood Green Legend is long gone.  As of August 2011, it received a “junk” title in Boise, Idaho and there has been no record of it on Carfax since.  RIP, Legend!

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Arrival in Pine Valley, Utah

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Premium parking at the wedding

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Reunited with my friend Kati at the wedding

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My grandma is a whiz!  How many 81-year-olds do you know who text message?

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Arrival in Beaver, UT with grandma and making a fuel-up at Sinclair for $3.84.

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Mom captured this pic of me passing them on Hwy 153 heading up Beaver Canyon

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High elevation cruising!

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Brother’s cabin construction underway

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Quick photo-op with one of the best road trip companions I’ve ever had!

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Arriving at our picnic site

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Lexus and Acura off-road vehicles

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Niece Vivienne was the star of the show.

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Group photo:  Kali (with Vivienne), Grandma, Tia, Tyson (with Rex)

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Todd at the wheel of the ILX for part of the return trip

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