Reviews: 2022 Acura MDX Tech, 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring [And some Legend/Integra Stuff]

Posted in Accord, Integra, Legend, MDX, Vehicle Reviews on May 15, 2021 by tysonhugie

Let the good times roll! I got to enjoy a couple more new vehicles in recent weeks, aside from my previously-tested Honda Ridgeline in the last blog post.

The Accord is now in its 10th generation and I was blown away at the level of content for a $38k pricetag – not to mention that the car gets over 40 mpg. My video link is below.

The MDX, on the other hand, is now in its 4th generation as of the 2021 model year, and it is definitely the best yet. My video on that is also below.

Stats / Summary:

2022 Acura MDX SH-AWD A-Spec

290 hp 3.5-liter VTEC; 7-passenger, 10-speed automatic, $58,125 as-tested

Good Stuff:

Aesthetics

  • New design is attractive
  • Attention to detail – true “Flagship” level of quality
  • Lighting front & rear

Performance / Drivability:

  • Steering wheel weight / effort
  • Great acceleration, smooth power delivery
  • Good grip and handling for a vehicle of its size & height
  • Sturdy overall feel
  • Turning radius surprisingly good

Amenities / Tech:

  • Precision cockpit design, materials and finishes top notch
  • Mini MDX in gauge cluster
  • Good screens – size, resolution
  • Nice back-up camera
  • Great panoramic roof with sliding shade
  • Sound system A+
  • Wireless charging tech
  • Tri-zone climate / heated & ventilated seats
  • Ambient interior lighting at night

Not a Huge Fan:

  • Learning curve with infotainment
  • Observed MPG (16 over 200 miles in-town)
  • Friend suggestion – Maybe incorporate HUD into this trim (Avail on Advance)

Changing things up a bit from the reviews, I will share a couple other videos about recent fun. My friend Scott from Palm Springs picked up a 1994 Legend LS coupe automatic a few weeks ago and I got to celebrate his 200,000th milestone in it on his way back to Palm Springs.

Also, another friend Mark scooped up a 1992 Integra GS-R locally that I helped him pick up, so I filmed a video with that as well. The car is now on its way to Connecticut.

Have a great weekend!

Review: 2021 Honda Ridgeline AWD Sport

Posted in TLX, Vehicle Reviews on April 22, 2021 by tysonhugie

Hey y’all. How’s everyone been doing?

Life is moving pretty swiftly here as 2021 seems to be blazing past. I spent this past week in a Honda Ridgeline, I’m currently in a Honda Accord Hybrid, next week I’m getting an MDX, and if all goes to plan, I’m snagging a new TLX Type S in another month or so (for keeps!). Automotive adventures seem to be the name of the game over here. Typical.

Before you go too far, I have to put in a plug for my friend Michael who is selling an exceptionally clean Legend. It ends Monday at no reserve on AutoHunter.

https://autohunter.com/Listing/Details/6497137/No-Reserve-1995-Acura-Legend-SE

On Wednesday, Acura published a YouTube video that’s been a long time (years, even) in the making. Without giving away the whole plot, it has to do with the rebirth of the “Type S” name in the brand’s lineup of cars. I was lucky enough to get to work with Acura on some behind-the-scenes aspects of the film, including sourcing the RSX-S and TL-S that were used in the production. Below are some photos from the day when we shot out at the Honda Performance Center in southern California (I got to hang with Acura VP Jon Ikeda for part of the day).

Then, I’ll embed Acura’s video, along with one that I put together discussing my involvement (not yet published / “listed” on my channel, but will be soon).

Now, let’s get down and dirty into some automotive review chat.

The Honda Ridgeline pickup has been around since 2006 in a variety of iterations, and for 2021 it received a long list of enhancements to better set it apart as a unique and capable vehicle. In my 13-minute video, I discuss some of those and give my feedback on what I loved and didn’t love about the truck.

I fully recognize that there are a handful of you who would rather read a blog than watch a video, so the nuts & bolts are here.

  • 2021 Ridgeline AWD Sport with Honda Performance Development package ($2,800 add-on) = $40,880
  • 3.5-liter V6 with VTEC and 280 horsepower
  • 9-speed automatic transmission

While I love that the Ridgeline is going for a more rugged look now than ever before, I’m not fully onboard with so much black plastic body cladding. I do, however like the refreshed grille, wheels, and dual exhausts. The truck could use a little more ground clearance in the front, and maybe another USB outlet or two. As with other similar Honda and Acura products I’ve tested, I didn’t love the 9-speed ZF transmission or the auto stop/start.

There’s plenty about the Ridgeline to enjoy though. It has one of the most innovative tailgate designs I’ve ever seen, since it can drop down in a traditional sense but also swing out via a left-side hinge.

The ride quality – both on- and off-road – is confidence-inspiring and almost sedan-like in comfort. I liked the keyless tech, push-button start, and sound system quality. The lighting is great with the LED bulb treatment up front, and the rear aesthetics with HPD graphics and aggressive dual-exhaust system are attractive. The cloth interior was super comfortable! Storage solutions are immense, from a giant console to an in-bed “cooler” with a built-in drainage system. The rear seats also fold up for max space within the bed.

Perhaps best of all, all Ridgeline models are now all-wheel-drive so the truck has the all-weather / all-terrain capabilities to back up its more rugged look. It’s the perfect pickup for people who have occasional DIY projects or adventure aspirations that involve hauling, off-roading, or towing.

Thanks for checking it out with me!

I’m Selling Three Cars

Posted in CL, Legend, NALM, TL on March 10, 2021 by tysonhugie

It had to happen at some point!

Time to clear a little space now that I’ve had my fun finishing out the 1990s fleet. Below are the links to my 7-day, no-reserve listings on AutoHunter for the 1999 2.3CL, the 1996 2.5TL, and the 1993 Legend L coupe.

I have something fun up my sleeve in the next few months for a new toy, so stay tuned for that.

CL: https://autohunter.com/Listing/Details/4074774/No-Reserve-1999-Acura-CL

TL: https://autohunter.com/Listing/Details/4084023/No-Reserve-1996-Acura-TL

Legend: https://autohunter.com/Listing/Details/4865597/No-Reserve-2Owner-1993-Acura-Legend

Also, NALM is back on track! Here are details on the meet October 6-10 in Phoenix, Arizona:

http://forums.acuralegend.org/showthread.php?t=35893

Valentine’s Day 2021 Road Trip to Valentine, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, NSX, Road Trip on February 15, 2021 by tysonhugie

It seemed appropriate that several stars aligned during the 7-day period that Acura granted me the keys to a 2021 NSX. It was Valentine’s Day weekend, the car was painted Valencia Red, and I’d been itching to get out of town for a road trip for some time. I remembered that Arizona is home to a community called Valentine, and the rest is history: I took a 500-mile day trip to check it out.

During the heyday of Route 66, this roadway carried thousands of travelers between its Santa Monica and Chicago endpoints. But in 1978, Interstate 40 was completed about 30 miles to the south, rendering 66 obsolete and bypassing the town. Valentine, like so many other communities, was left to desolation. As of 2000, the census tallied 36 residents. On my visit, I saw not a single person – nor a single building that looked like it was currently inhabited at all.

Like so many of the adventures I’ve documented on this blog, the destination in this case was far less important than the journey. And spending about 8 hours behind the wheel of a $197k supercar was a pretty nice way to spend the day. My travels took me initially through the towns of Wickenburg and Wikieup – each stuck in a time warp of its own, relying primarily on flow-through traffic between Phoenix and Las Vegas to survive economically.

When I got to Kingman, I stopped briefly at the powerplant which has since been repurposed as a visitor center. Conveniently, there was a restaurant called Mr. D’s across the street and I was ready for lunch. The homemade root beet was served in a frosty glass, and it hit the spot. Kingman embraces its Route 66 heritage in a big way, and you only have to drive a few blocks along the old frontage road – named Andy Devine – to see that.

It took me about 30 minutes to get from there to Valentine, by way of a two-lane, mostly flat road that took me through the desert countryside. I had to make a customary stop at the Hackberry General Store, where people had stapled $1 bills to the ceiling and walls, along with license plates from around the country and around the world. My stay in Valentine was short-lived – and I had a feeling it would be. The most predominant remaining bit of civilization there is the 1903 Truxton school house, a two-story brick building that served as an educational institution for the Native Americans until the late 1930s. It’s abandoned now.

But that NSX! Talk about a crowd-pleaser. I’m certain I ended up the TikTok, Snapchat, or Instagram of at least a dozen people throughout the course of the day based on the number of cameras I saw poking out of other vehicles. I guess if there’s one modification the car needed but didn’t have, it was window tint. Privacy is not afforded with that car.

The level of performance, coupled with the overall driving “friendliness” is pretty remarkable. It’s a car you can pin at 70 mph on cruise control and drive all day comfortably, but still transform into a nasty speed-machine on a moment’s notice thanks to its twin-turbo V6 coupled with three electric motors. The press car I was allocated was wearing well-used Continental tires with 7,000 miles on them – complete with very evident outside edge wear. I suppose every journalist before me discovered the same thing I did: The car handles like nothing else. Taking a corner at any speed becomes confidence-inspiring.

At the end of the day, whether or not Valentine had any love to offer when I got there was beside the point. The mere act of getting there and back was better for my heart and soul than I could ever expected. Check out my YouTube video here.

While I’m at it, I’ll share a couple other photos. These first few are from my mom’s visit in January. We took a hike to “Tom’s Thumb” in the mountains northeast of Scottsdale. It was about a 4-5 mile round-trip hike that climbed sharply in elevation from the trailhead, then leveled off after the first mile. This was the destination.

I picked her up in the Aztec Green GS-R.

Another shot from the hike.

The other thing I wanted to share was a recent visit to the Japanese Friendship Garden.

Tucked away in central Phoenix is a literal oasis in the desert: 3.5 acres of green plant life and water features. It’s called the Japanese Friendship Garden and it was created in 1987 as a joint project between Phoenix and its sister city in Japan, called Himeji. Later on, a tea house and tea garden were completed in 1996. Embedded within the garden are decorative features that were designed and sent from Japan.

My friend Kyle and I visited the garden on a Saturday afternoon and it took about 40 minutes to take the loop.

There is a koi pond.

Have a great week, all.

A Week with a Civic Type R

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on January 2, 2021 by tysonhugie

It’s that time again! Happy New Year. Here’s my 2020 mileage summary. Miles are down 29% from 2019, and in fact have fallen consistently every year since I started creating charts like this in 2016. Womp!

Last week, I got my hands on a pretty sweet performance car. But I pulled up to the Circle K gas station near my house and immediately had a bit of “wing envy.” I didn’t even realize that could be a thing. But the lime green 1969 Dodge Daytona clearly had my Civic Type R beat in terms of size.

The Daytona’s owner was a good sport about letting me take a photo of his car, but he didn’t seem to care much about my Honda.

I just finished up a week with one of Honda’s most well-engineered creations: A 2020 Civic Type R. Launched in 2017 and based on the 10th-generation Civic, the Type R is the holy grail for performance enthusiasts. Its 306-hp turbo charged 4-cylinder is paired with a six-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential. Suede sport seats with supportive bolsters make sure you’re planted firmly when you go to take that first corner. And given all the confidence the car inspires, you’ll likely take the corner quickly.

The list of “track credentials” on the Type R is lengthy, and the car is engineered be driven in performance situations. Suspension equipment includes MacPherson struts up front, a rear multi-link setup, adaptive damper syste, electric power steering, and Brembo brake calipers up front. I was hard pressed to contain the excitement as I rowed through the cars – it’s a car that absolutely nails the Fun Factor.

Here are a few things I loved about the car, which had 5,000 journalist miles on it.

  • Exclusivity – this isn’t a Civic for everyone. In fact, some dealers take on a hefty market adjustment.
  • Power delivery – it doesn’t matter which gear you’re in, the turbo seems to engage readily and eagerly.
  • Suspension – it’s so tightly wound, it teetered on my the ditch leading into my driveway. Yet, in Comfort mode, it still manages to be compliant around-town.
  • Seats – the best in the business.
  • Steering (and steering wheel) – that Alcantara material makes for great gripping.
  • Cargo utility – this is a hatchback, after all. A very quick one at that.

And a few things that were sorta hit-or-miss for me:

  • Sound – it “looks” like a screamer, but even in Sport and “R” mode, the exhaust note from that tri-tip system was surprisingly subdued.
  • MSRP – whether or not these are going for $38k or even more, it seems that puts this car more in line with well-equipped Acura models or other sports car alternatives.
  • Passenger utility – the rear middle seat is not a seat, but rather a console with two cup holders.

The styling of the car is either a love-it-or-hate-it thing. I could go either way on it. It’s eye-catching and got me plenty of attention throughout the week. All the aero treatment on the car is indeed functional in some sense, so it’s not just for looks.

I was thrilled to get to spend a Championship White Christmas with this pocket-rocket. Enjoy my 14-minute video and let me know what you think. Happy New Year to all!

Lastly, congrats to my new friend Ramsin who purchased my 1999 Integra GS-R. The car is now home in California.

Quick Look: 2021 Honda Odyssey Elite

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on December 26, 2020 by tysonhugie

According to Merriam-Webster, an odyssey is any long, complicated journey, often a quest for a goal, and may be a spiritual or psychological journey as well as an actual voyage. The year 2020 in itself has felt like a bit of an odyssey, filled with unexpected twists and turns. I guess it’s fitting that Honda dropped off an Odyssey minivan to finish the year out in style.

Unfortunately, my time with the Odyssey was shorter than I like to have for most of my vehicle reviews because of some travels that crept up. But I still got to spend a few days admiring the merits of the Odyssey — and realizing just how lucky today’s kids are. In the late 1980s, my brother and I used to ride in the bed of a pickup truck on a homemade bench seat – for reals. I think it had a seatbelt, but I can’t remember.

Contrast that with the plush accommodations found in any late-model minivan and it makes modern travel feel like an executive white-glove transport service. The Odyssey has rear air, entertainment, bucket seats, and a versatile demeanor that can suit a family of just about any size.

The Odyssey rides now on its fifth-generation platform, having been around since the mid 1990s. The van had humble beginnings, powered by a 2.2-liter 4-cylinder mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Today, it has a 280-hp VTEC V6 which effectively puts it beyond even the power output of my 1992 NSX.

Couple that performance with packaging and content that rival most modern luxury cars, and you can see why the van gets 40% of retail minivan market share today. It’s also been the top-selling retail minivan for 10 years. While the one I tested had a sticker of nearly $50k, lower models start in the $30s. The window sticker is below. If I didn’t know better, the van feels way more “Acura” than “Honda.” And that’s a great thing.

While I didn’t get a chance to put more than a couple hundred miles on this van, I fell in love with it more than I thought I would. The easy step-in, comfy buckets, and heated steering wheel / seats were just part of the welcoming demeanor. I put together a 13-min video on my YouTube of some of my observations.

Back to my holiday weekend fun now. At 1:30 today, I’m picking up the buyer of my 1999 Integra GS-R and he’s driving it home. The car is headed back to California where it spent its entire life except the year I’ve owned it. I hope you all had a very happy and safe Christmas!

For Sale – 1999 Integra GS-R

Posted in Uncategorized on December 15, 2020 by tysonhugie

“Hey. If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I’d like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head…”

I think you know the rest of Clark Griswold’s famous Christmas Vacation quote. But I really do have a last-minute gift idea that you might want for yourself or for a friend.

Just in case the handful of you loyal blog followers aren’t connected to me via YouTube or Instagram, I need to loop you in on a fleet update. The Super Sonic Blue Integra is up for a 7-day, no-reserve auction on a site called AutoHunter.com. It’s a Phoenix-based auction platform similar to Bring A Trailer / Cars & Bids.

Here’s the link. Auction ends 12/22.

https://autohunter.com/Listing/Details/3110675/1999-Acura-Integra-GSR

WordPress is being ridiculous with a new back-end drafting format that I don’t quite have a handle on. I don’t know if these pictures are even going to work, but here you go (below). And they might be huge.

Also, it’s going to be a white Christmas after all. I’m getting a 2020 Honda Odyssey minivan in white tomorrow for a 7-day review, and a white 2020 Civic Type R the week after that. Ohhh boyyyy.

Stay safe and talk soon my friends!

2021 Acura TLX SH-AWD Advance – Week in Review

Posted in TLX, Vehicle Reviews on October 27, 2020 by tysonhugie

Odometer (TLX):  927

Usually when a car’s getting dropped off at the house, it means that I’ve added to the collection.  This time, the delivery was just a short-term loan — but it was a fun one!

I’ve followed the launch of the second-generation TLX since the August 2019 reveal of the “Type S Concept” in Monterey, California.  Last month, the car went on sale in non-S trims, and next spring the model lineup will be fully complete when the Type S variant with an all-new 3-liter V6 turbo goes on sale.

The TLX’s original platform which debuted in 2014 was revamped from the ground up, and Acura did its homework to place the car at the front of the competitive segment in terms of design, technology, performance, and handling.  The car I received was configured in Advance spec, coming in at $49,325 including destination and handling.

I’ll keep things short & sweet with regard to my takeaways, because after all, I’m just an everyday journalist with an oddball Acura-ddiction.  I’ll share my review in bullet point form, just like I share data with senior leaders at the office.  I guess I’m still in my 9-5 mode this evening.

Love it:

  • Performance from the 2.0-liter 272-hp inline-four is surprisingly snappy.  The car delivers easy acceleration especially considering its size.
  • The TLX steering, for some reason, is one of my favorite things.  The radius is small, the wheel is nicely weighted and has the right thickness to it.
  • Interior fit & finish are top-notch, with quality materials including open-pore wood and nice leather.  Ambient lighting (customizable in over 20 colors) gives a luxo-vibe.  My fellow Acura-driving friend Daniel (who’s currently in an RDX A-Spec) said the same.
  • Adding onto that, the cabin overall just feels “cozy” to me.  The positions of the armrests are nicely laid out, and thanks to a console-mounted volume knob, you don’t have to reach for anything.
  • Tech & audio system are A+.  I like the resolution of the infotainment screens.  The ELS 17-speaker 3D sound system will really knock your socks off.
  • Aesthetically, I think the car looks really wicked from the front and I like the LED-everything lighting.  The rear, I’m not yet too fond of but I think with some aero accessory treatment could be pretty sweet.
  • SH-AWD delivers really good cornering and traction.
  • Wireless phone charging (part of the Advance package) was a welcome alternative to fumbling with a charge cord each time I got inside the vehicle.
  • Overall, the car ‘drives smaller than it is.’  As in, it’s a huge car dimensionally but it feels light and nimble.

Questionable:

  • It’s likely I didn’t fully understand all the individualization capability in the driving dynamics settings, but whether configured in Sport, Comfort, or Normal, I seemed to detect some floatiness in the suspension and it felt like it bounced rather than absorbed bumps in some cases.
  • I wish Auto-Stop/Start could be set up to never come back on, but it seemed to reactivate every time I turned off the car.
  • The 10-speed transmission gives good power whenever and wherever needed, but the Park button was unsettling.  The car felt like it would continue to jostle for a second after I pushed it.

Indifferent:

  • I didn’t really like the touchpad interface initially but grew to not mind it.  It beats having to put greasy fingers on a touch-screen.  Plus it’s pretty intuitive once you get the hang of it.
  • Head-up display is a nice feature for some, but I preferred to turn it off and just rely on the large, nicely laid out gauges in the cluster.

Thoughts?

The car is exceptional enough that it confirmed my decision to get one.  Not in this trim level, but rather as an upcoming Type S variant in 2021.  I think it’ll make a suitable daily driver to grow up to after having driven the ILX for nearly 8 years.  Even though it sacrifices a clutch pedal and some of the “raw” driving feel, it more than makes up for that with the abundance of tech and creature comforts.  Plus it can still look and feel sporty.

Stay tuned.  Thanks for reading!

1999 2.3CL Acquisition, Utah Trip, JCCS, and Legend Meet

Posted in CL, Legend, Road Trip on October 20, 2020 by tysonhugie

Chris from Baltimore gets upset with me when I don’t start a blog post with a proper odometer reading.  “COVID changed everything,” he said.  Well Chris, I’m here to set the record straight and not only deliver a single odometer reading, but I’m going to give you ten of them.

I’ve sorted them in descending order.  Now, here’s the game: In the comment section, I need you to tell me which car aligns with which reading.  I’ll check your answers and see how you did.

Odometer Total:  2,226,058

Odometer Average:  222,605

I have to catch you up on a few things.  I stepped away from the computer for a few weeks and somehow another car landed at the house.  These things happen when you least expect it.  

The important thing about this latest arrival is that it completes this puzzle:

While a full photoshoot is still pending – and unfortunately I don’t have all the cars in a single color – the lineup is all accounted for, and I’m excited to introduce the latest member of the family:  My Milano Red 1999 2.3CL Premium.  This car arrived in Phoenix last week from San Diego, California where it had spent its entire life.

With just 138,000 miles on the odometer, it comes in at one of the lower mileage cars in my collection.  Its condition and color/5-speed trans configuration made it too perfect to pass up.  Milano Red was a one-year-only color for the final year of the first-generation 1997-99 CL.  

The CL is also only the second Acura I’ve owned (out of 22 total now) that was built in the United States.  It was an important model at the time because it was both designed and manufactured in America.  According to the VIN sticker on the driver door jam it came off the assembly line in Ohio in August 1999.

While maintenance records on this car were few (read: completely absent) I do know that the clutch is new since the selling dealership delayed me a few days while inquiring about the car since it was not yet ready to show/drive.  I also see that drive belts look relatively new, but the car will definitely need a few items of preventative maintenance for good measure and peace of mind.  

Here’s a video showcasing the delivery and first impressions for my YouTube audience.

The first week of October, I took an 1,800-mile road trip to visit family and friends in Utah.  My chariot of choice was the 1994 Legend LS, which had been begging to roll the 575k-mile mark for some time.  It performed well, and I enjoyed the chance to connect with family members who I hadn’t seen since May/June during my PMC Edition road trip.  

The fall colors were in full bloom in Providence Canyon in Cache Valley of northern Utah.  My dad & stepmom and I took a 5-mile hike to soak it all in.  The running joke is that here in Phoenix, we don’t get changing colors of leaves.  Instead, we get changing colors of license plates as all the snowbirds from Michigan and Minnesota come in for the winter season.

The highlight of the trip was definitely picking up my 90-year-old grandma and taking her about 25 miles north to the Idaho state line.  We cashed in some lottery tickets and came home $74 richer.  

While the National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) was cancelled much like so many other events in 2020, we did still get a group together of locals for a very informal drive to the Superstition Mountains in northeast Mesa a couple of Saturdays ago.  Here’s a video and a few photos.

One of my many car show traditions that was modified this year was the Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach.  This year, it went to a ‘virtual’ format.  My 1996 2.5TL was featured in a YouTube video.  It’s in here at 6:55.

My mom had a long layover on Sunday and we had enough time for a late lunch, so I borrowed my friend Devan’s six-door, three-row 2000 Lincoln Town Car funeral limo to pick her up.  What a floaty awesome boat.

The ILX got some new wheels thanks to a cheap Craigslist find.  Some of you may recognize these 17″ “waffles” from the 2007-08 TL Type-S.  These ones are chrome, and I don’t really mind it.  The car rides nicely on 235 width tires as opposed to the 215s that it came with.

Coming attractions:  Tomorrow, Acura is putting me into a Fathom Blue 2021 TLX for a seven-day evaluation, and in the coming weeks/months I’m also going to be doing reviews on a fancy Odyssey Elite and a Civic Type R.

Talk to you soon!

AZ Offbeat Destinations: Wigwam Resort, Cheese N’ Stuff, Miracle Mile, & Herberger Park

Posted in Accord, Arizona, ILX, Legend, NSX on September 30, 2020 by tysonhugie

I’m still here!  While my attention has been pulled a lot of directions in recent weeks, I owe it to the few loyal readers of the blog to chime in from time to time.  At least I haven’t forgotten my WordPress login credentials yet.

I just got home a few minutes ago from picking up my latest project car from the repair shop – for the second time – after a blower motor replacement in the climate control system.  Isn’t it funny how a single replacement item can exceed what you paid for an entire car?  Yep, just happened.  I have to keep reminding myself how much I enjoy this hobby.

The guest book had been relatively quiet for the entire summer until just a couple of weeks ago, when I hosted a get-together with some ‘car friends’ locally, and my brother breezed through town.  He was en route to Texas so he stopped in for an evening meal at Taco Guild in central Phoenix.

My own travels have dialed back considerably, but that also means I’ve had more of a chance to explore my surroundings locally.  I’ll show you a few of the places I’ve checked out in recent weeks.

The first is the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, Arizona.  It’s only about 25 miles from my place, but it offered a nice “staycation” destination for an over-nighter.  Room rates for locals are only in the low $100’s.  The resort itself dates back to 1929 and has 331 rooms, 2 restaurants, 3 pools, and a 26,000-square-foot spa.  A friend and I stayed over on a Friday night and enjoyed pretending like we were somewhere far from home.

Another place I checked out was right by my house.  For years I’ve driven past this little deli called “CHEESE N’ STUFF” at the intersection of Central Avenue & Camelback Road in Phoenix.  With a name like that, I couldn’t say no.  The interior is totally frozen in time – almost as if the clock stopped in about 1975.  Decor consists of wood paneling, family photos (the place is family-run, after all), and a general store-style shelf setup.  Some of the signs on the wall looked like they had been printed in Print Shop in 1987, adding to the nostalgia.

I can’t remember what this was called but it was literally just 7 types of cheeses, no meat at all.  And I was shocked at how tasty it was.

Here’s a fun one.  The below photo has a sort of Chinese character look archway to it, but it’s actually designed to resemble an abstract picket fence with the letters M M M.  That stands for Miracle Mile McDowell:  a stretch of road that was once a bustling corridor of culture and business in the 1950s.  Later, a new freeway system made the road obsolete, the pavement was widened to remove roadside parking, and businesses started to dry up.

The arch itself was installed in 1991 in an attempt to create a feeling of togetherness between the sides of the road that were now so far from one another.  And since then, there have been many initiatives to revitalize McDowell but for now, the buildings mostly stand empty.

The last place I’ll introduce you to is G. R. Herberger Park, located near 56th Street & Indian School road in Phoenix.  It’s best known as being the location of “Arizona Falls.”

Waterfalls, in Phoenix?  How?  Well, this is part of the Salt River Project:  A series of canals and waterways that bring much needed water to Phoenix and have done so for over 100 years.  This particular location is the site of a 20-foot drop in the canal.

It was once a place for picnics and recreation, but later was forgotten and closed off for many years.  In 2003, the location was restored and saw construction of a hydroelectric power plant and some exhibits.

I’ve had a chance to connect with some awesome folks in recent weeks, including this meet-up in Tempe with Kai and Hy in their exceptionally clean Honda Accords.  I was the odd man out in the NSX.

I also hosted the aforementioned Acura Legend meet-up at my house a couple of weeks ago.  In all, we had eight Legends in attendance.

My friend and fellow journalist Jeff Koch put together a great article on Hemmings that you might get a kick out of.  The link is below.  And based on the nearly 50 comments that it garnered, maybe there are a few people who actually “get” my weird obsession.

https://www.hemmings.com/stories/2020/09/21/guaranteed-you-dont-like-acuras-nearly-as-much-as-tyson-hugie-does

You may or may not be following the latest news with regard to the launch of the second-generation Acura TLX, but I am.  The 2021 models went on sale on Monday 9/28.  I’m planning on scooping one up next spring.  Looks good, right?

If you have a few minutes to kill and you’re addicted to online auctions like Bring a Trailer and Cars & Bids like I am, you might want to look at this new site called AutoHunter.  I’m one of the auction writers who have been working on getting things off the ground.  I already wrote for ClassicCars.com (the parent site) prior, so this was a logical move.

AutoHunter 

Do you all remember the Mulberry Red 1990 Accord EX I sold over a year and a half ago?  It traded hands just a couple of weeks ago to a friend of mine named Brent who lives in Michigan.  He has a great collection.  He sent me this photo of the Accord alongside his 1990 Legend and 1990 Prelude.  Talk about an epic throwback trio.

And closing things out, if you want to hear / see more about how I’m dumping money and time into my latest project car, here are videos 2 through 6 in the 1996 2.5TL series.  It’s actually been a lot of fun.  I drove the car to Payson, Arizona and back over the weekend and it’s a solid cruiser even at 262,000 miles.

Video 2

Video 3

Video 4

Video 5

Video 6

Bonus content:  video I put together of some upgrades to a family member’s NSX.

NSX Video

Hope that keeps you busy for a little bit.  And, I hope you’re all well!  Leave me a comment and say hello.