Weekend Trip to Arizona…Part I

This last weekend I cleaned up the Accord, packed a few extra clothes and headed for central Arizona where I’d meet my buddy, Tyson from DrivetoFive. It was a great 3-day trip where I covered close to 1,300 miles.

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The weather for the entire span of the trip was fantastic. The hottest temperatures I witnessed were 90-95 degrees in Tuscon. Other than that, it was 85 or below, sunshine + slight overcast the whole way!

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Friday morning when I departed Las Cruces:

Domo strapped in and ready for take off!

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This is my attempt at trying to be healthier of late. I swapped my usual soda and chips for carrots and a gallon water to have along the way. Carrots are actually the only food that I’ve found that keeps me awake and alert for long distance drives.

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I set off west bound on I-10 towards Arizona. As mentioned in an earlier post, it’s impossible to leave the southwest region of New Mexico without going through the U.S. Boarder Patrol. Even if you decide to skip the freeways, they still have checkpoints on the side roads. “U.S. Citizen?” Yes, sir!

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There’s some neat things to see when traveling on I-10 from New Mexico to Tuscon, AZ. One in particular is “The Thing?”This is a stop between Lordsberg, NM and Tuscon that’s in the area where the world’s first nuclear bomb took place. Could that have anything to do with what happened to, The Thing?

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If one is curious enough to stop by and check out, “The Thing,” they’ll find a mysterious mummified human/creature that’s preserved in a casing in one of the back sheds. Is it a touristy trap with no other significance? Well, stop by and see for yourself.

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This is one of my all time favorite rest stops in southeast Arizona that’s nestled in a huge boulder area with faults (geologically) jetting out of the ground in the middle of the desert.

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When I arrived in Tuscon, I didn’t bother exploring the city but rather headed straight for the hills! First, I had to check out Sentinel Peak Park (Commonly known as “A” mountain) which is a formation made up of volcano rock that resides within the Tuscon Mountain range.

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The drive up the mountain was very nice and the road turned into a one-lane/one-way. Reminded me of Aguirre Springs Park in my area.

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The views from the top were fantastic. It really gives a neat perspective of the City of Tuscon.

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I’m a cactus fan and have always been fascinated by the saguaro cactus. It’s quite prominent in this region (and even a symbol for Arizona) and not only will you see lots of them out in the wild, but many commercial and residential lots use them for landscaping or even to compliment the architecture.

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After Sentinel Peak Park, I then headed just a little bit more west out of town to Gates Pass and the Saguaro National Park. Here’s a shot of the Accord at the bottom of Gates Pass.

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I’m a sucker for desert life. I never knew so many animal and cacti species were around here!

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These are some shots of the Saguaro National Park.

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I don’t think the Accord had ever seen a Saguaro cactus before. Well, here’s proof she has now…

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After I was finished exploring the Tuscon area, I took I-17 north towards Phoenix where I spent the night at Tyson’s place in Scottsdale. Here’s when I arrived at his place.

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This was my first time seeing Tyson at his home. It was neat to learn more about Tyson and all his involvement in the car community. I felt like I was visiting a celebrity! These are some of the plaques that were given to him to celebrate the milestones he’d achieved in his beautiful 1994 Acura Legend Coupe LS 6-speed. Yup, that’s 500,000 miles on the left plaque!

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Here’s Tyson proudly standing before his train project which started out when he was a teenager!

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It’s no secret that Tyson is indeed an Acura enthusiast. Here in his garage is a 1992 Acura NSX that just rolled over to 93,000 miles and his pride and joy, the ’94 Legend Coupe. It now has over 522,000 miles on the original powertrain! Many adventures took place in that car. Many of those have been captured here.

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Knowing his love of Acura and major involvement in the Acura community, I thought I’d bring him a 3D ceramic “A” tile that I made in ceramics class back in college. He seemed to really like it.

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You gotta respect a car guy and his passion. Tyson placed some model cars on his chimney  to see how the paint and plastics would handle the Phoenix sun. This was an experiment and for fun. After 3 years, I’d say they looked pretty good!

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Dinner was at a great restaurant in the heart of Phoenix — Central Bistro. Here is Tyson, Me and Tyson’s friend, Matt.

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The next morning before we departed, Tyson’s friend Chris came over to join us on the drive up through the central part of the state.

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I followed the majority of the way. Here I am following Tyson’s 2013 Acura ILX 6-speed on our way out of town.

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My Accord had to stop the convoy momentarily while it gathered more fuel on the outskirts of Phoenix. From all the running around I did in Tuscon and highway driving combination with the A/C on, I got 28MPG overall. Not bad at all.

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And we’re off!

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Where will be going?

To be continued. . .

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2 thoughts on “Weekend Trip to Arizona…Part I

  1. tysonhugie says:

    Jason, these are some great pics and stories! I’m really glad you got a chance to see Sentinel Peak and Gates Pass while you were rolling through Tucson. I’ve ALWAYS wondered what The Thing was but never had time to stop. Weirdness! I look forward to Part 2 of your write-up!

  2. […] to get home, we left Phoenix early in the morning and only made one stop along the way, Saguaro National Park in Tucson, AZ. I came here a few months back, but didn’t have much time to really explore. […]

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