This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. This blog is not supported by advertising, it's supported by the generosity of my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

From Los Angeles to Phoenix in three days in 1989


I've driven between Los Angeles and Phoenix more times than I can count. And to me, it's dull, dull, dull. I've tried many ways of trying to make it interesting, listening to audiobooks, you name it. I just hated it, and I'm glad to think that I'll never do it again. There's a nice company called "Southwest Airlines" that gets me back and forth now, and all I have to do is eat peanuts and look out the window.

But a lot of people do the drive. And the most common thing I hear them say is how quickly they did it. Six hours seems to be about average, and I'm pretty sure some of my "speed demon" friends who never stop for anything but gas have done better than that. And that makes me think of my personal record, which was three days in 1989.

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I like cars, and driving, but I hated just sitting in a box for hours on end, holding onto a steering wheel. Back when I was a kid I dreamed of adventuring when I got a car, the way I saw people on TV did it. But the reality was just sitting in a box, stopping at a gas station, and then seeing how quickly I could get from one point to another. So I stopped doing that, and instead started adventuring, which I hope to be doing until I'm too old to risk walking outside.

I left the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles on a Friday afternoon, and made it as far as San Bernardino that evening. My girlfriend at the time was working there temporarily, and the company had put her up at a nice hotel. So it was late Saturday morning by the time I got back on the road again.

Driving towards Palm Springs, I decided to actually go see it. The freeway bypasses Palm Springs, so you have to take an exit, and I took the first one I saw. And I saw a sign that said I could take a tram up to the top of the mountain, so I did. I've had a lot of people ask me why I would take a tram up to the top of a mountain, and my only answer is, "Why wouldn't you?", and then of course, it just goes back and forth. I also noodled around Palm Springs for a while. I think I was looking for dress shirts, so I looked for a Ross or a Marshalls. I probably ate at KFC.

Palm Spring is kinda pricey, so I headed east to see if I could find a cheap motel, which I did, in Indio. As I recall, it was VERY cheap (I suppose the word "seedy" springs to mind) and when I woke up there was no hot water in the shower, so I just went and jumped into the pool. I must have had my swimming trunks, or I may have jumped in in my bluejeans. I don't recall. Anyway, it didn't bother me.

I rolled into Phoenix on Sunday, and knocked on the door of a friend that I used to know, to see if I could crash. He and his new wife answered the door, and I was told in no uncertain terms that my behavior was unacceptable, and that I should have called ahead. So I wandered off looking for another friend, which I found, and I crashed there for the night. I don't recall the trip home, so it probably took me less than a day.

And that's my record-breaking trip to Phoenix!


Image at the top of this post: the Mighty Mustang in 1989. All that V-8 power, and it ran great, and it still took me three days to go from Los Angeles to Phoenix.