PHX Thanksgiving Tradition

Every year the International Automobile Show sponsored by Motor Trend makes its rounds through Phoenix over the Thanksgiving weekend.  The show opens on Thanksgiving day and allows those who want a break from Turkey dreaming and Black Friday shopping to see some cars.  Or perhaps it is a last minute distraction to protect the wallets of consumer’s so they can afford a new car.

We have made this a tradition since we moved to Phoenix.  You can usually find tickets for free and the crowds are light in the late morning of Thanksgiving Day–that allows you to get into the cars, walk around and check them out without too much of a hassle.  As you enter the hall this year you were dazzled by a large presentation of high end automobiles (Bentley, Rolls Royce, Lotus and Ferrari) secured behind a large rope barrier.  Look but do not touch these beauties!

PHX Auto Show

We had a list of cars we wanted to see during the show.  We are not actively looking for a new car but, with all of the recent redesigns and new model launches we had a short list to check out.  Check out our One Phrase Reviews below.

Fiat 500 –> Very Interested, but Forget It
Volkswagen Beetle –> Who Cares-No one else did either
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited –> Upgraded Nicely
Mini Cooper Coupe –> Very Nice
Mini Cooper Countryman –> Very Nice
Hyundai Veloster –> Needs a Real Engine
Land Rover Evoque –> Hipster Material
BMW X3 –> Too Small/Cheap Materials
BMW X5 –> Very Nice, but Pricey

Make sure you take the opportunity to get out to your local New Car show when it makes it’s rounds this year.  It is great to be able to explore the cars without a dealer and have a chance to see how the crowds react to the potential purchase.

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Mr. Pappagiorgio, I presume?

Well, four slot machines and I won four cars. You know, I put a dollar in, I got a car. I put a dollar in, I got a car. I put a dollar in, I got a car. I put a dollar in, I got a car.

Who can forget that scene in Vegas Vacation when Rusty wins a car each time he drops some change in a slot machine. On a recent trip to Vegas my wife and I hit the casino floor after running the Vegas half marathon to try just that same feat. We stayed at the Mandalay Bay hotel and they featured a Corvette and a BMW 328 convertible on the casino floor.

Win a Car--Griswold Style

The Corvette stand even featured a Barrett-Jackson themed series of slot machines. Within a few minutes of sliding dollars into this slot machine the thrill was gone and my wife didn’t have a set of car keys in her hands. I guess the Corvette was not in the plans for this trip.

Win a Car--Griswold Style

A bit later I sat in front of the slot machines hosting the brand new BMW 328. A few dollars slid from my fingers into the slot and yet again I suffered the same fate of losing as my wife earlier did. The video displays touted the fact that a couple had won a 2007 BMW. Did they win the car in 2007 or did they win a 2 or 3 year old car. We started to remember previous trips to Vegas and went back through some photos.

Win a Car--Griswold Style

During a trip to Vegas in 2003 we tried to win a BMW Z3 roadster. That car was actually from 1998 and I had previously tried to win it in 2001. While I did walk away from that particular set of slot machines with a few coins more in my pocket than when I started I still did not get a set of keys.

Win a Car--Griswold Style

That Z3 is probably still sitting on the platform–except now it has made a million plus dollars for the casino over the many years. I tried to do some research on the odds of actually winning a car and it is like anything else in Vegas. I could not find any actual odds on winning a car but like the old saying goes, ” A fool and his money are easily parted.”

Win a Car--Griswold Style

The real question is:

  • Who wins these cars?
  • How often do they win them?
  • Why are they always sports cars?
  • I guess the casino’s know how to tap into our emotions with HOT cars and FLASHY lights and LOUD sounds.

    Win a Car--Griswold Style

    Next time in Las Vegas or any other gambling spot take a minute to drop a dollar in the slot machine and try your luck. You never know–you might pull the lever and take home a brand new (or few year old) sports car just like Rusty.

    Best of Luck!

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    Along the Apache Trail-Let the Adventure Begin

    Jeep’s slogan is “Have fun out there”. We adopted that motto this summer in Arizona.

    Last year was spent adjusting to the house, pool, landscape and did I mention the HEAT! 110 degrees at 10am is not normal on the East Coast–Arizona is different.  The theme for our life starting this summer was much like Jeep’s. Our adventures included hiking, running and 4 wheeling in the Jeep. We decided that our website needed to include those adventures. Look for articles and photos as we have more of those adventures.

    The first adventure to get included is on the Apache Trail. This is the only scenic highway in Arizona–although even the most mundane roads here have wonderful views beyond the PUDs full of homes. The trail is partially paved but mainly dirt that connects Apache Junction to several lakes and a major dam to the North.  Some sections of this road remind you of the Alps with awesome cliffs just feet from the side of an unprotected road. Most sites will tell you that the road can be traveled by automobile but do not believe them. If you care about your car–go rent one.

    4 wheeling Mini Cooper

    OPPS–Not all Mini owners care about there babies. Believe it or not we had cars ahead and behind us on most of this trip including a BMW 335 and a Mini Cooper. The cars will make it but will surely suffer rock chips, suspension issues and possibly other horrendous problems.

    The road is filled with great views of the Arizona landscape. One narrow portion forces cars to pass on a one lane road hundreds of feet above the canyon floor. Sure enough cars have gone over and can be seen on the decent to a permanent resting spot below.

    Narrow Pass

    After 20 plus miles of travel you find yourself below the huge Roosevelt dam that was originally built in the early 1900′s as a government project to help provide a growing Arizona region with water. The dam was later heightened and improved to better serve the growing state’s requirements. The dam rises out of the deep valley and dominates the horizon as you approach.

    Roosevelt Dam

    Once you reach the top of the dam and look down into the canyon below you wonder how different the landscape might have looked 100 years ago. Beyond the dam lies a vast lake for boating and swimming.

    Lake and Bridge

    Visit the Photo Gallery to see all of the photos from this adventure. Keep coming back to see and experience more of the Southwest through our travels and adventures.

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    Let’s Mini 2008 (

    A quick post on the upcoming “Let’s Mini 2008” event in Hildesheim, Germany this next week; July 4th through the 6th.  This event has been around a?few years and looks pretty amazing with over 700 Minis (new and old) gathered to party, race and bond.

    Let's Mini 2008

    The event is modeled after the Mini United event held in various locations around Europe over the last few years.  Here in the USA we have Mini Takes the States.

    If you are heading to the event in Germany and are willing to collect a little memrobilia–I would love to work a deal to get some merchandise. Long story short; we own the domain here in the USA and have owned it for almost 5 years.  It would be cool to have official merchandise for our collection.

    Drop me an email to work out a deal–Please!!!

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