ILX Trip: Southern Utah, Easter Weekend
Odometer (Legend): 529,249
Odometer (ILX): 75,302
Trip Distance: 852 Miles
“Clunk.. clunk.. roll.. clunk…” That’s what I heard loudly from the roof of my car when I pulled out of the Chevron gas station in Hurricane, Utah this morning.
I turned to my passenger, Justin, with a look of “What the heck was that?” and then realized what had happened just in time to look in my sideview mirror and watch a pickup truck towing a 5th wheel trailer obliterate a glass bottle on the road into smithereens with its tires. I am a total airhead. I had inadvertently left an unopened bottled juice beverage sitting on the roof of the ILX and driven away.
Aside from that disappointing little mishap, it was a seamless weekend of family and friends in the scenic southwestern corner of Utah. And the ILX, as always, flawlessly transported me and my friend nearly 900 miles in comfort. Among the weekend’s activities: a visit to the grandparents, a car show, my niece’s 3rd birthday party, some hiking, and an Easter egg hunt. It’s a miracle we were able to squeeze so much into just a couple of days.
For the drive up from Phoenix, Justin and I had a silver Acura caravan with a 2005 TL and the 2013 ILX. A friend needed the TL transported from Arizona to Utah so we were happy to oblige.
Some traffic delays that were caused by construction on on Interstate 15 north of Las Vegas put us about 45 minutes behind schedule, but we made it safe and sound to St. George on Friday evening.
On Saturday, we went to the 29th annual Hurricane Easter Car Show. I’ve been attending this annually since 2004, usually entering the Legend but occasionally displaying other cars like my Prelude 4WS, and the NSX. Here are the pictures from last year. Hurricane is a small town of 14,000 people, yet the car show every Easter weekend attracts from 8,000 to 10,000 spectators.
This year, my brother Bentley entered his 1968 Chevy Nova SS in the “Muscle Car” category. The Nova turned plenty of heads with its metallic red paint and new deep-dish wheels. Not to mention the goodies under the hood: This Nova is powered by a 525+ horsepower Chevrolet LS3 motor — essentially a Corvette powerplant that’s been upgraded for additional power output. The factory 5-speed transmission has been swapped for a 6-speed. It’s no wonder the car ended up taking home a first place trophy in its category. I’ve yet to take the Nova for a spin, but I surely will soon.
We rendezvoused with some friends for an afternoon of hiking some of southern Utah’s famous red rocks and closed out the evening with some birthday celebrations for my niece Vivienne. By Sunday morning, the Easter Bunny had deposited several dozen plastic eggs throughout the yard so we watched the kids fill up their baskets with newfound treasures. Each of the eggs also had a 50 cent piece inside. I should have pocketed a few myself – that’s gas money!
Justin and I worked our way home to Phoenix via the remote backroads of northern Arizona, including my favorite: Highway 89A. This two-laner climbs from 2,000 feet at the desert floor in Fredonia to nearly 8,000 feet at Jacob Lake via curvy mountain grades. I watched the exterior temperature readout in the ILX dip from 75 degrees to 64 degrees as we neared a road at the summit that takes off toward the north rim of the Grand Canyon.
The ILX is well suited to such mountain passes, especially with its sharply tuned 6-speed manual transmission. Descending to the valley floor once more, the Vermillion Cliffs shone brightly ahead of us in vivid red. We saw very little other traffic. We made a stop at the 1928 “Navajo Bridge” which straddles a canyon some 600 feet above the Colorado River.
After one final stop in Flagstaff for a bite to eat, we continued home to the Valley of the Sun. Here are a few of the pictures from the weekend that I hope you’ll enjoy!
Following the ’05 TL on Highway 93 north of Kingman, Arizona
Just before Hoover Dam — this hitchhiker had a ways to go!
The ‘red’ traffic area shown here from the map on my phone was probably 15 miles in length. It was tedious stop-and-go on Interstate 15 northbound as we headed toward Mesquite, Nevada.
“This traffic jam brought to you by Ray Bans.” Justin let me borrow these shades. I lost mine but have another set on order.
You know you’re driving slowly when your GPS unit asks if you’d like to switch to “Pedestrian Usage Mode.”
Nevertheless, we made it, and Saturday was a beautiful day in southern Utah.
Jeremy took the wheel of the ILX for a few of our visits. “Close your eyes and see if you can tell when I’m shifting,” he said. He thinks, mistakenly, that he can shift a manual transmission smoother than I can.
We’re really not as cool as we pretend to be.
Back patio conversation with the grandparents. These folks are my most loyal readers, and I thank them for their support!
Looping around a giant guitar on Tabernacle Street in historic downtown St. George.
And now, a few photos from the Hurricane Easter Car Show.
Justin, Tyson, Jeremy with the 1968 Nova SS.
Too much power under that hood.
Notice that even the gauges have been updated. The factory bench seat has been replaced with supportive, sporty buckets. And my, does that paint glisten.
Next up, we headed to the “Red Hill” of St. George to hike around.
St. George is home to Dixie State University and proudly displays a “D” on the hillside.
Shane, Tyson, Jeremy
My dad happened to be wearing a commemorative 500,000 mile T-shirt at the pool later that day. These were designed and screen printed by a close friend and fellow Acura enthusiast, Dave, prior to my 500k milestone two years ago.
B-day bash for 3-year-old Vivienne.
Easter egg hunt on Sunday morning
And this is Viv. Aren’t they the best?
On the road again, and turning 75,000 miles in the ILX.
Here’s the exact location where it happened, eastbound on Hwy 89A nearing the Vermillion Cliffs.
I couldn’t help but pull over for a few photo-ops in this amazing terrain.
Hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I did.