Two in One: San Vegas and Las Diego Road Trip Weekend

Posted in California, ILX, Nevada, Road Trip on February 17, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,486

550486

Odometer (ILX):  192,625

192625

Trip Distance:  1,000 Miles

trip_map

Yeah, I know.  Who RSVPs to a birthday party in one state, and a bachelor party in another state, on the same weekend, and still attends both?  You’re looking at him.  And here I am 1,000 miles later to tell you how that all played out.  The good news is that it feels amazing to go from the awe-inspiring 54th floor of the Cosmopolitan on the Las Vegas Strip one day, to the picturesque and sweet-smelling Mission Beach of San Diego the next.  The bad news is that coming back to reality bit.  Hard.

This past weekend’s adventure started with me scooping up my friend Kyle at his place in central PHX and us making our way, Taco Bell crunchwrap supreme in hand, in the ILX to Las Vegas.  It’s a drive that takes about 4.5 hours through the picturesque yet pretty barren reaches of Highway 93.  We arrived just in time to join the rest of our gang for a bite to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings before venturing out on the town.

vegas_strip

And I can assure you, what happened in Vegas that night will stay in Vegas.  Well, I take that back.  The group text message with 8 people in it became a dumping ground for all the photos and videos from that night’s debauchery, and they will forever live on in the memory bank of each participant’s iPhone.  But this isn’t the time nor place to divulge any of those details.  Las Vegas Boulevard, known better as “The Strip,” is home to some 62,000 hotel rooms.  Tourists are out on the streets 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  There is seriously no end to the available entertainment and we got our share of it.

group

On Saturday morning, we pulled our acts together in time for brunch at “Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar,” home to some of the best nachos I’ve ever had.  They’re called “trash can nachos” and basically come out in a big tin can that gets dumped on a plate in the center of the table.  Trust me, they were amazing.

vegas_ilx_dash

Snoozing passengers!

sleepy_pax

Kyle, Lance, and I hit the road by early afternoon for the next chapter of our road trip weekend:  a bachelor party in Southern California.  Luckily the drive was a breeze with 95% of it being on southbound Interstate 15.  We stopped briefly in the middle-of-nowhere town of Baker, home to the World’s Largest Thermometer at 134 feet tall.  In typical fashion, traffic was slow-and-go the closer we got to the Los Angeles area, but as dusk settled in, we kept cranking the iPod and karaoke’d to classics like Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping” (a song now 20 years old!) to pass the time and the miles.

Primitive but predictable, the Motel 6 on 2nd Avenue in downtown San Diego was our resting spot for the evening.  We had just enough time to freshen up there before heading to dinner and a night out on the town at Oxford Social Club in the Gaslamp District.  I felt like a true A-Lister there:  VIP entry, special reserved seating, and a meeting with the owner himself who came over to shake our hands.  The lights and music raged onward as we celebrated the upcoming wedding of my friends Wade & Rustin until the wee hours.

Speaking of, this is what happens when you’re part of 2 massive group texts and you put your phone away for a few minutes.  Ugh, the anxiety of unread messages.  I put both threads on “do not disturb.”

unread_texts

And what California trip would be complete without a stop at the beach?  My phone told me we were a mere 14 minutes from Mission Beach so we saddled up in the ILX and went to check it out.  The smell of a fresh sea breeze and the sound of crashing waves will never get old.  We wandered northbound along the sand for a little while before looping back to meet the rest of the gang in Little Italy for brunch at a spot called Prepkitchen.

ocean_front

tyson_lance_kyl

The final leg of this epic weekend journey was the stretch of Interstate 8 that links San Diego with the Phoenix area, an oft-desolate road that runs parallel to the Mexican border.  Kyle took the wheel from the halfway point in Yuma onward, which was great because I needed some time with my eyes off the road.

The gang in an elevator

elevator

View from the Cosmopolitan hotel room

vegas_view

Soaking it all in, with Lance

lance_tyson

This was the burger I had at Guy Fieri’s restaurant.  I liked the fries better!

burger

Stop in Baker, CA with Kyle along I-15 southbound.

baker_sign

Gas prices there, ouch!

baker_gas

World’s Tallest Thermometer – 134 feet tall – indicative of the highest temperature ever observed in Death Valley nearby.  Notice it was only 67 degrees at the time of our visit.

baker_thermometer

Continuing on down Interstate 15

i15south

California’s inspection stations have never caused me too much delay.  I just get waved through.

california_inspection

i15

Ahh, the beach!

pacific_ocean

Looking northbound alongside the sidewalk at Mission Beach in San Diego

bech

ocean_front

Fuel and bathroom break in Gila Bend, AZ on the way back to Phoenix Sunday night

sunset

Check out this story about my friend Steve who flew across the country recently to buy a minty 4th generation Honda Prelude and drive it all the way back to Arizona!  Congrats, Steve!  I’m looking forward to seeing the car when you visit tomorrow.

And finally, does anyone out there want to be my twin?  This Legend coupe is up for grabs in the Los Angeles area!

twin

Have a great weekend!

Road Trip to Nellie E. Saloon (AKA “Desert Bar”) Near Parker, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on February 5, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,420

550420

Odometer (ILX):  191,409

191409

Trip Distance:  334 Miles

desert_bar_map

Food is such a great motivator.  I’ve endured a yawn-inducing corporate seminar because there’s a free meal involved.  I ran a 13.1-mile race last month just because there were all-you-could-drink chocolate milk bottles at the end.  And this weekend, I drove 6 hours and over 300 miles (10 of them on some of the rockiest dirt road stretches I’ve ever put my car through) to pay $12 for a cheeseburger.  It was worth it.

burger

The Nellie E. Saloon, better known as just the “Desert Bar,” is just my kind of place.  This one came at the recommendation of my friend Chris who’s always on the lookout for driving opportunities to obscure destinations.  The drive took me and 3 friends to the Buckskin Mountains in the remote and sparsely-populated western reaches of the Grand Canyon State.  It’s a beautiful area:  The Colorado River slices through the middle of the desert and creates a border between Arizona and California.  Spring breakers flock to the area for wild times at Lake Havasu.  But our destination was far from any such refreshing water supply.  It was tucked deep into a dusty canyon.

hills

And it seems we weren’t alone.  Hundreds of Jeep owners, ATVers, and campers had the same idea that we did and the saloon was a hoppin’ place on a Saturday afternoon.  Getting there was (more than?) half the fun.  The closest town to the saloon – Parker, Arizona – was hosting an off-road race called the “Bluewater 425” which brought out all sorts of desert-goers.  Think baja race.

primitive_road

dusty

About 4 miles out of town on Highway 95, we headed east on Cienega Springs Road and were immediately warned by a roadside sign about primitive road conditions.  Not to be turned away, I gripped the wheel and shifted the ILX into low gear for a bumpy ride.  Sam Haymart, of TestDriven.TV fame, followed closely behind in my cloud of dust with his 2017 Audi A4.  We might have been the only ones crazy enough to subject our luxury sedans to such rocky terrain.

At certain times, the narrow road was only one lane wide and we had to carefully maneuver around oncoming traffic.  The 5 miles of dirt took us probably 20 minutes to navigate, but eventually we arrived at the oasis:  A sprawling, multi-level restaurant and bar crudely constructed inside a canyon with surrounding parking.

solar

From the parking lot, we could hear the bass beat of live music and the closer we got, the louder the music – and the crowds – became.  The lunch rush was in full swing at 12:45 p.m. – amazing because the place had barely opened for the day at “high noon.”  There were various places to order and the seating was “wherever you want.”  I grabbed my cheeseburger and sought after some shade on a set of bleachers.

The people-watching was some of the best I’ve ever had – it seems a few folks had a started happy hour early, as the Coors cans were clearly everyone’s drink of choice to wash down their burgers.  The band played on, and I couldn’t help but sing along for a line or two when the song “Wagon Wheel” came on.

piano

We took a short post-lunch hike to the summit of a rocky overlook.  It gave us a great view of the entire bar area and the surrounding hills.  Desert Bar was lined by a few rusting carcasses of old vehicles including a fire truck.  I noticed upon surveying the parking lot from that vantage point, about 95% of the vehicles in the parking lot were higher clearance AWD trucks and SUVs.  It was probably for good reason, too.  While fair weather cruising wasn’t a huge challenge, I imagine that any sort of inclement weather would pose a real road muddy hazard for someone like me taking a car out there (next time I’ll take an SLX).  And while owner Ken could probably attract a lot more visitors if road conditions were improved, the challenge of the trek is part of the allure.

parking_lot

Tyson, Sam, Rob, James

group

Ken’s vision of the Desert Bar started in the mid-1970s when he had acquired the land of an old copper mining camp.  By 1983, he had acquired a liquor license and started hosting guests in a makeshift building.  And in the 1990s, further improvements were made to the site including construction of a small church and a covered bridge across the ravine between the parking lot and the main stage.  By the looks of things during our visit, more enhancements are probably still underway as we saw some concrete & rebar walls going up.  And the entire place is now powered by solar panels.  Brilliant, actually!

inside_bar

We made our way back to civilization in one piece and perfectly satisfied with our 6 hour trip for a nice, greasy burger.  For anyone looking for an easy day-trip from the Phoenix area, Nellie E. is a definite hit.  But keep in mind its limited operating hours:  It’s only open from October through April, Saturdays and Sundays, from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.  And the entire operation is cash only!  Don’t even think of trying to pay with plastic out there.  Have fun and check it out sometime!

Related reading:

  • Castle Hot Springs because it’s a similar oasis type place in the desert
  • Mystery Castle because Desert Bar reminded me of this type of architecture
  • Alamo Lake because the Wayside Oasis restaurant was equally challenging to get to
  • Lake Havasu because it’s nearby in the region and another great destination
  • Six Speed Blog to check out what James has been up to
  • TestDriven.TV to see Sam’s auto news and reviews

Road trippers!  Yoohoo!

yoo_hoo

Headed toward Parker

havasu_sign

First sign about the Desert Bar, about 4 miles before we got there

desert_bar_sign

Sam following close behind in the A4

audi

Almost there

dirt_road

Nice layer of dust here.

dusty_ilx

Paying my respects!

church

Parking is very limited out there in the boonies

no_parking

Sample of the menu

menu

Bridge connecting the parking lot with the upper level of the restaurant

bridge

Fire truck that was used at one point to bring in water to the facility.

fire_truck

Dirty Acura and dirty Audi

acura_audi

Passing through “Hope, Arizona” on the way home.

beyond_hope

They’ve fixed the sign!  This was taken last November.

beyond_hope_original

Congrats to faithful reader Hy on (finally) hitting 65,000 miles on his 2004 Acura TSX 6-speed manual!  And, happy birthday today!

hy_65k

Horrible winter weather here in Arizona for a Legend GS sedan cruise the other day.

sedan

And lastly, check out this cool “infographic” someone shared with me on the highest mileage cars of all time.  (credit)

high_mileage

Visit to the 2017 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction

Posted in Arizona, Car Show on January 26, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,387

550387

Odometer (ILX):  190,802

190802

“You barely put a dent in that.”

esprit

That’s not a comment anyone wants to hear when they’re walking past an $800,000 supercar like music legend Steven Tyler’s Hennessey Venom, or a 1 of 1 Pontiac Kammback Trans Am, or a showroom fresh 47-year-old Chevy pickup with 400 original miles on it.

Fortunately, my friend Chris wasn’t talking about denting a car.  He was talking about putting a dent in this gigantic footlong jalapeño & cheddar sausage I picked up from one of the vendors at Saturday’s 46th annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction.

sausage

You’ve never quite seen an automotive buffet like the one in Scottsdale, Arizona this past week.  Over an 8-day period, some 1,700 collector cars found new homes in one of the best-known and widely-viewed auctions in the country.  For anyone with a hankering for a slice or two of literature and automobilia, that’s on the menu too.  Since 1989, Scottsdale’s venue for the Barrett-Jackson auction has been Westworld, not far from my home.  My friend Chris flew in from Baltimore to see what all the sights, sounds, and tastes had to offer.  We didn’t go home hungry.

barrett_tent

Chris and I attended the auction on Saturday morning.  Weather in the Phoenix area had finally broken from a 4-day stretch of rain – much to the relief, I’m sure, of the many people who had their prized, gleaming garage queens out in Westworld’s staging areas for display prior to being auctioned.  The ILX got stashed several miles away in the offsite parking lot and we caught a shuttle bus to the epicenter of activity.

tyson_chris_barrett

It was a star-studded afternoon:  Justin Bieber (Ferrari 458), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Chevelle), and Burt Reynolds (Trans Am) each took the mic at different times during the day to hawk their rides.  Chris and I made the rounds in both the interior and exterior staging areas.  High-dollar “Salon” cars had premium parking in the enclosed areas nearest the auction block.  Other cars – not quite as elite but still well out of my price range – resided in the external grounds shaded by tents.

nova

There didn’t seem to be much rhyme nor reason as to how the parking was arranged.  It wasn’t uncommon to see a Volkswagen Beetle parked next to a Hummer, parked next to a 1962 Chrysler.  But that’s what kept it interesting.  There was something for everyone.  And new this year, there was a live video stream on B-J’s website so that the “auction action” could be viewed by car enthusiasts both near and far.  In all, the week+ long festivities wrapped up with $102 million in sales, with the auction being attended by 320,000 people in person.

desoto

Now the automotive buffet got even more interesting.  My friend Jonathan Klinger from Hagerty called and offered a couple of tickets to skybox #11 in the auction hall – an exclusive opportunity to rub shoulders with the cast & crew from Velocity TV channel.  Not to mention, snacks and drinks were on the house, and the view from high above the show floor couldn’t have been better.  I’ve now been spoiled with skybox access twice, since last year I attended in Acura’s skybox when the 2017 NSX VIN 001 was auctioned off for $1.2 million.

barrett_view

Barrett-Jackson truly was a feast for all the senses.  Now if only I could have brought home some take-out.  In the form of a shiny new toy, of course.  Many thanks to the organizers of Barrett-Jackson for admitting me with a media credential this year!

Here’s a short video I captured of Bieber’s Ferrari on stage with a few of his comments at the end.

Bus ride from the “offsite purple lot” where we’d parked the ILX, several miles away.

bus_ride

Media creds!

barrett_media

This NSX used to be Berlina Black.  It’s a custom build by Clarion car audio.

clarion_nsx

The “Salon” area, including Justin Bieber’s matte-blue-wrapped Ferrari in the foreground.

salon

This 1958 Chevy Corvette was named “Eye Candy.”

eye_candy

30-year-old Buick GNX with only 1,524 miles on it.

gnx

I always think of Skittles candy when I see a color like this McLaren was wearing.

mclaren

“Breathing New Life Into a Legend”

bronco

Loved this “barn find” Shelby Cobra GT 350.  They didn’t even run it through the coin-op wash!

barn_find_shelby

shelby_barrett

The “tri-five” (55, 56, 57) Chevy Bel Airs are always a hit.

interior

I loved the design on the dashboard of this 1962 Chrysler Imperial.

62_chrysler_dash

Only 246 miles on this Pontiac!  Talk about fresh.

246_miles

Quick meet-up with RealTime racing legend Peter Cunningham.

peter_tyson

This pair of 1970 Chevy pickups came from a barn in Alberta, Canada.  Each one has fewer than 1,000 miles on it.

pickups

What’s not to love about a bright red 1990 Lotus Esprit?

lotus

Outside tent area with vendors and more cars

barrett_outside

Sing it with me.  “Apple bottom jeans….”

boots_with_the_fur

Custom car builder Dave Kindig in the background at the Velocity TV skybox.

dave_kindig

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on stage talking about his Chevelle.

earnhardt

“Chasing Classic Cars” host Wayne Carini.

tyson_wayne

Thanks for coming along!

Rock & Roll Marathon Weekend – Future Classics Car Show – & Special Visitors

Posted in Arizona, Car Show, Running on January 22, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,387

550387

Odometer (ILX):  190,476

It’s been a full house at Hotel Hugie this week.  I’ve had company cycling in and out for the past week or so and I’m happy to play host!  Visiting from Palm Springs, California was my friend Scott who came to town on business AND to market his bright yellow 1977 Honda Civic which went up for sale at a collector car auction later in the week.  It brought $14,000!

77_civic

Last Sunday, I ran the 14th annual Rock & Roll Half-Marathon in Phoenix with my mother who had driven down from Utah.  Race day weather couldn’t have been better:  even though the forecast had called for a 30%+ chance of rain, things stayed dry and the overcast skies kept it from getting too warm.  In the end, I somehow pulled off a 2 hour, 22 minute finish time with mom sneaking past the finish line at 1:58.

tia_tyson_after

Darn it mom, I’ll beat you someday.

race_stats

On Monday evening I attended the second-annual “Future Classics Car Show,” sponsored in part by ClassicCars.com, Hagerty, as well as other names in the collector car industry.  It was open to all years, makes, and models, but I opted to take my 1994 Legend GS sedan since it hadn’t seen the light of day in a few weeks.  The car didn’t exactly fit in — most vehicles in the show were more of a ‘tuner’ variety, with big wings, decals, and racing wheels.  But I was happy to represent the all-stock Japanese luxo-sedan.  Parked next to me was my friend Kyle in his 2005 Pontiac GTO, which incidentally ended up winning a trophy in its class.  Congrats, Kyle!

lineup2

On Wednesday, I made a trip to the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport to pick up my good friend Chris who’d just flown in 5 hours from Baltimore to spend a few days with me.  Chris and I have been ‘car friends’ since the late 1990s when we were both dabbling in Honda Prelude circles.  This week, he became the first of my friends who has driven all 6 of my cars.  There you go Chris, the proof is in writing!  You win the grand prize!

tyson_chris

It was an action-packed few days complete with highs and lows.  Mother Nature dished out lots of rain which put a damper on Chris’ travel plans, but it didn’t keep him from taking a trip to Sedona in the Legend sedan and hiking 7 miles in the mud to Devil’s Bridge.  Getting there was an adventure in itself.  He’d intended to take the NSX but only made it 15 miles north of town when the car left him stranded thanks to a faulty ignition switch.  A $195 tow and $101 (parts & labor) repair later, the car was back on the road the next day thanks to Science of Speed in Chandler.  First time that one has seen a tow truck in the five years I’ve owned it!

nsx_tow

On Friday, I telecommuted and supervised Chris while he did some ILX maintenance for me, including replacement of rear brake pads, the engine air filter, and the serpentine belt.

chris_brakes

I introduced him to my favorite Mexican place, “Lose Dos Molinos,” on Camelback Road later that evening to compensate him in part for his labor efforts.  A couple of other special guests made their debut at my home including Mark McCourt and Jeff Koch from Hemmings, then Jonathan Klinger from Hagerty.  Talk about friends in high places.  I was honored to have such automotive elites checking out my home and garage.  I thank them for helping keep the car collecting community alive.

tyson_mark

Speaking of car collecting, you’ll soon read more about my trip to the 46th annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction which was our source of entertainment all day Saturday.  Watch for an upcoming post on that.

Which brings us to the final chapter of Chris’ visit, in which we took a 250-ish mile round trip to Tucson & back in the Legend coupe to tour the Pima Air & Space Museum, a collection of hundreds of retired aircraft.  My favorite was getting to see the Douglas VC-118A that served as Air Force One for Presidents Kennedy & Johnson during the early 1960s (pictured below). On the way back, I introduced Chris to In-N-Out Burger, a favorite fast food chain in this region.  He said the shake wasn’t half bad.

air_force_one

presidential_aircraft

That puts a wrap on what you’ve missed during the last couple of weeks.  Now, make the most of the few minutes of the weekend that remain!  I know I will!  Until next time.

Interior of Scott’s 1977 Civic.

77_civ_gauges

Some literature my friend Richard sent me.  Love this old stuff!

brochures_from_rich

Scott gave me a huge “A” for my garage.  It used to adorn an auto show display booth.

big_a

Also had a visit from my friend Ryan and 3 of his 4 kiddos.  The guest book is filling up nicely!

ryan_tyson

Not to mention this crowd of troublemakers I hosted for pasta dinner the night before the half-marathon.

group

Another shot from the Future Classics Car Show

lineup

Grabbing a bite with Sam and Kyle

sam_kyle_tyson

Headed to pick up Chris from the airport and my friend Lance happened to be right behind me!  He snapped this shot!

coupe_airport

Chris’ arrival.  He’s come out at least 3 times now from Baltimore to visit.

chris

Shots Chris took with the Legend sedan on the Red Rock Scenic Byway in Sedona, Arizona.

red_rock_scenic_byway

gs_sedona

Maintenance underway!

chris_filter

Mark from Hemmings gave me these awesome VHS promotional tapes from the 1990s!  I can’t wait to put them to use!

vhs_tapes

This postcard was inside one of them.  “The question isn’t whether to lease an Acura, but rather which Acura to lease.  We understand what a difficult decision it is, and we recommend you seek professional help.  From your professionally helpful Acura dealer.”  Love that!  I’ll take one of each!

legend_vigor_lease

Visit from Hagerty’s main man in Traverse City, Jonathan Klinger.

tyson_jonathan

Hitting up a mecca for airplane geeks

pima_air_space_museum

The SR-71 Blackbird, this example from 1964, maxes out at over 2,100 miles per hour and flies at 85,000 feet.  This is a serious aircraft.

sr71

Double-double, animal style!  If you know what that is, you’ve been to In-N-Out Burger.

chris_in_n_out

2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan

Posted in Car Show on January 11, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  190,267

190267

Aloha from 35,000 feet.  As I generate these thoughts, I’m midway through Delta’s 4-hour flight #2021 with service from Detroit to Phoenix, and luckily a sweet old woman swapped me into her window seat way back here in row 31 so I can at least enjoy the scenery a little.

wing

The North American International Otto Show.  Wait – Otto?   Yes.  Did you know that the Detroit Auto Show was originally named for Otto Shaw, a German Immigrant who opened Detroit’s first used car dealership on Woodward Avenue?  The show was named the Detroit Auto Show until 1989 when it finally took on the “international” flavor when organizers decided it was only fair to recognize the fact that more than just the United States produced cars.  This factoid comes from “autoblopnik” with tongue in cheek, but one fact holds true with definite certainty:  This show is the country’s most extravagant display of automaker fanfare related to new model releases each year.

naias_badge

This year marked the 5th anniversary of my first trip to the show, back in January 2012.  At that time, I was attending the Media Days as a guest of Acura along with a group of a half-dozen or so automotive bloggers.  The main event of interest for me was the unveil of two cars that year: The ILX Concept and the NSX Concept.  Oddly enough it has taken Acura almost these entire last 5 years to fully bring the NSX to market (it sold between 60 and 70 units in December 2016) but the ILX is already in its 5th model year and has had a light refresh as of two years ago.  Heck, by the time the fully-redesigned second-gen ILX comes around (maybe for the 2018 model year?) I’ll probably have 200,000 miles on mine.

acura_booth

Redline Reviews, hopefully by now one of your favorite YouTube car review channel subscriptions, invited me to be part of the team.  I worked with Editor-in-Chief Sofyan Bey, along with his support staff members Peace and Rob, who together produce some of the most thorough and timely video segments in the industry on automotive reviews, new vehicle reveals, and other industry news.  We stayed at a ruggedly industrial repurposed bottling plant from the 1930s on Fort Street, just a mile away from Cobo Center which is the convention hall that becomes the epicenter of all NAIAS activity for the week.

redline_team

On Monday, January 9th, we staked out our spot in the Media Center by 6:30 a.m. (remember, that’s 4:30 in the morning for this Arizona guy!) and hit the show floor running by the time the first press conference, Chevy’s, kicked off at 7:30.  In all, the day involved walking some 14,000 steps totaling out to over 8 miles.  Each automaker’s booth more impressive than the last, many of which offering up food and beverages in attempt to woo the journalists.  It worked for me.  I’ve never met a finger food I didn’t like.

odyssey

A productive day it was.  In all, Sofyan and crew – myself included – captured footage for 10 videos.  Noteworthy subject matter included the new Subaru WRX, Chevy Traverse, GMC Terrain, Honda Odyssey, Ford F-150, Kia Stinger, Lexus LS500, and Toyota Camry – all of which are either brand new or very substantially revised models for the 2018 model years and beyond.

tyson_sofyan_terrain

The crazy thing is just how far the bar continues to be raised.  Almost every press conference transcript includes the words “safer, stronger, more fuel efficient, faster.”  Every year we seem to be creeping ever-closer to automotive perfection.  Where a few years ago it was revolutionary for an automaker to have a 7 or 8 speed automatic transmission, some (Odyssey, F-150) are now getting 10 speeds.

ls500

Going by the wayside are large displacement V8 engines.  Even the 2018 Lexus LS series (above), which debuted 28 years ago in 1989 as the company’s flagship sedan, for the first time will now only be offered with a twin-turbo V6 motor.  That’s not to say it’s taking a step back in power, since the V6 still pushes out over 400 horsepower.  And the “electrification” of the automobile industry expands with each year.  Honda announced that half of its new models in the next 3 years will be “electrified” in some way.  Gas pumps are inevitably being replaced by power plugs.

steve_tyson_brian

A full day of work by me and the rest of the Redline team was followed by an evening at the charming home of Motor Trend Editor, Frank Markus, and his husband Michael in the suburb of Royal Oak about 25 minutes north of downtown.  I picked up a friend from the airport and we headed to the festivities.  There, I was able to rub shoulders with the automotive elite like auto reviewer Jason Cammisa who hosts Motor Trend’s “Ignition” segment and garners tens of thousands of views, as well as Steve Siler and Brian Gurney, pictured above.

sonic

Detroit got its fair share of overnight snow on Monday – so much, in fact, that my rental Chevy Sonic LTZ was nearly stuck a few times while I navigated my way around town.  I’m a noob when it comes to snow driving.  I’ll remind you, it’s been 11 years since I moved to Phoenix.  I made a few visits to local friends and made my way back to the McNamara terminal at Detroit’s international airport.  And with that concluded an action-packed 48 hours in Motor City.  It was worth every second, and every air-mile.  Thanks for reading!

Here’s a 13-minute video of some ramblings Sofyan and I shared after the first day of the show.

Dollar rent-a-car gave me the choice of any compact in this lineup.  I just picked the Sonic at the far end.

dollar_rental_choices

Press conference lineup for Monday morning, January 9th.   Each automaker gets 25 minutes to wow and impress us.

press_schedule_naias

Visiting my friend Waseem who just recently bought a place in Grosse Pointe, about 10 mi north of downtown.

waseem_house

Waseem’s 1990 Legend LS tucked away.

waseem_legend

Dinner with other local friends Hass and his lovely wife.

hass

This was an amazing fish taco from a place called Batch Brewery.

batch_brewing_food

Our AirBNB accommodations in downtown Detroit.

detroit_airbnb

The crowd goes wild over the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse.

traverse

Still one of my favorite designs ever:  The Genesis G80 rear.

genesis_g80

Nissan is bringing out a Rogue Sport model that looks pretty snazzy.

rogue_sport

A run-in with none other than the famous “HondaPro” Jason Richmond, who has built a career out of being a Honda brand advocate.  You go Jason!

jason_tyson

Toyota’s new 2018 Camry is trying pretty hard to look sporty.  This “XSE” version even includes quad exhaust tips.

camry

Big in the news is Kia’s latest offering, the “Stinger” GT.  Complete with Brembo brakes and the whole 9!

kia_stinger_back

kia_stinger

Sweet car in Motor Trend Editor Frank’s garage.  1985 Town & Country!

frank_wagon

Snowy Tuesday morning in downtown Detroit.  I got to use the ice scraper on my Sonic.

morning_snow

BONUS MATERIAL!  My friend Scott is storing a 1977 Honda Civic CVCC in my garage for about a week until it gets auctioned off.

ilx_civic

civic_interior

And my roommate James is testing a 2017 Honda Ridgeline this week.  That means there are a lot of Hondas around this house right now!

ridgeline

Finally, my long-time friend Chris stopped by this evening to show me his latest ride:  a 1999 Mitsubishi 3000GT SL 5-speed.  It only has 97,000 miles on it.  I’ve loved these cars since they first came out.

3kgt_back

Those seats were in remarkable shape for being 18 years old.  Congrats, Chris!

3kgt_interior

Birthday #35 and New Year 2017 Celebrations

Posted in Blog, ILX, Maintenance on January 7, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,089

Trip Distance:  232 Miles

phx_tus

Welcome back to the start of a new year and a few more miles to be driven!

Here’s how my last few years have gone.

  • 2014:  128 blog posts, 115,740 views and 41,008 visitors
  • 2015:  95 blog posts, 113,438 views and 39,165 visitors
  • 2016:  84 blog posts, 107,955 views and 40,495 visitors

Clearly I’m posting less frequently and it looks like that also translates into fewer views overall, though somehow “visitors” remains steady.  Today’s post is just a quickie as I’m out the door (and in the air) at 7:05 a.m. tomorrow morning for my annual trip to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan.

Here was a fun 2016 annual mileage summary that I put together a few days ago with some notes at the bottom if you’d like to geek out with me.

car_nerdery

We need to have a moment of silence for a newly-departed 2001 MDX that reader “Russell” emailed me about.  After 15 reliable years of service, his MDX succumbed to a rusty frame and had to be retired at 525,609 miles on the odometer.

Russell’s email stated:

Tyson, the harsh chemicals used to treat Connecticut roads took out my car today. The part of the body that bolts to rear axle was destroyed by the salts. Done at 525k. Picked up a certified RDX today w 55k.

img_1303

Best of luck with your RDX, my friend!

Winter’s weather wrath is something we don’t really have to deal with here in the Grand Canyon State.  My backyard, in fact, is still green and I had to mow it the other day – even if only to pick up a few fallen leaves from the tree back there.

backyard

I celebrated a milestone of my own last week by hitting 35 years on my odometer a couple of weeks ago.

35

It was a memorable occasion for many reasons.  One of them was a visit from my friend Paul who’s based in Honolulu but happened to be passing through town with his mother and his girlfriend.

tyson_paul

Later that evening, some of my friends took me out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants.

bday_group

I pulled the Integra out on the grass for a couple of evening photographs.

teg_backyard_2

teg_backyard

One of the buildings in Tempe has windows that can be used to spell things out.  When the Super Bowl was in town a couple of years ago, it said XLIX.  Last week it simply said “2017.”

first_solar

Speaking of XLIX, and ILX, I had a 190,000-mile oil change (they call it a “B1” service) and tire rotation last week.  The technician noted a few maintenance items that may need to be addressed in the near future.  Among them:

  • Rear brake pad replacement
  • Leaking rear shock replacement
  • Air and cabin filter replacement
  • Serpentine belt replacement
  • Brake fluid flush
  • Clutch fluid flush

Guess it’s time to blow the dust off the old wallet (I learned that phrase from Josh) the next time I go in for service.

ilx_notes

190k

My friends and I took a drive to Tucson, Arizona for our New Year festivities.

lions_den

My friend James let us stay overnight in his historic 1914 home near the University of Arizona.

group_pic

On my drive home, I received a picture of myself from another friend who wasn’t traveling with us but who happened to come up behind me on Interstate 10 westbound just outside Phoenix.  The world is too small.

letsom_text

This morning I cruised down to Chandler, Arizona for an annual New Year Meet at Science of Speed, an NSX & S2000 specialty shop that I use for some of my maintenance needs.  There was a really nice turnout – probably 30 to 40 cars.  One of them was this unassuming 1992 Formula Red that looks a lot like mine.

nsx_high_mi

Until you peek at the odometer:  347,216.  Wow!  The owner said he’d owned it for 14 years and the car is still on its original engine and transmission.

nsx_gauges

Have a great rest of your weekend!  I’ll be freezing my buns off in Michigan but seeing some hot cars (hopefully) at the auto show.

The Legend Rolls 550,000 Miles on a Christmas Trip to Utah

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Legend, Milestones, Road Trip, Utah on December 26, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,085

550085

It took me 5 years to go from 500,000 to 550,000, but I finally got there last night.  I made a Christmas 800-mile round-trip to southern Utah this weekend and celebrated the milestone on my way home, along Highway 93 just north of Wickenburg, Arizona.

wikieup

Mechanically, it was smooth sailing aside from adding a little power steering fluid and getting a check-engine light.  As a matter of fact, somehow I achieved 29.7 miles per gallon on the way up Friday night.  I guess that’s partly thanks to the fact that my speeds were usually between 65 and 70 miles per hour.  They still haven’t paved an interstate between Phoenix and Las Vegas so it’s mostly back roads for that 4.5-hour stretch.

550000

Fittingly, my return trip took me through “Santa Claus, Arizona” – a now-abandoned tourist trap that in the 1930s was a gas station, gift shop, and restaurant.  Vandals have destroyed what’s left of it, but the map still clearly confirms its existence and I stopped for a few pictures at Saint Nick’s run-down residence.

santa_claus_map

The place can be yours, if the price is right!

santa_sign

Snow-capped peaks in the background – it was chilly out there, for Arizona standards anyway.

santa

Here’s the roll-over video and a few scenes from Santa Claus.

A few other photos from recent events.  Allie from Acura mailed me a “Nouvelle Blue Pearl” 2017 NSX model car.  I told her it’ll go nicely in my garage!

blue_nsx

Fueling up in Wickenburg on Friday afternoon

wickenburg_fuel

Sunset when rolling through Las Vegas, Nevada

vegas

Visiting mom, and also a visit from our friend Jack

tyson_mom_jack

Re-creation of a 20-year old photo (top) taken in 1997 with mom’s Legend.

1997_2017

My brother’s 1993 Legend LS 6-speed (139,000 mi) next to mine.

payt_legend

The ILX getting snowed on in Holden, Utah.  Jack – from a few pics above – borrowed the car this weekend and put it to good use.

ilx_snow

My uncle Dande picked up a 2013 ILX too.  “Polished Metal Metallic” automatic.

dande_ilx

Family photo of mom’s side of the family.

mcgregor_fam

A few other videos for your viewing pleasure today.

ILX in snow – thanks Jack for the clip:

Link to Xtreme Coupe YouTube channel – my brother’s page.  Watch his Lexus IS300 project updates:

Link to interesting video on the evolution of automotive design:

Link to Hagerty Engine Rebuild Video of a Chrysler motor.  Pretty fascinating stuff:

Have a great week!