Drive to Five Review: Nevada Ghost Towning in the 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

Posted in Ghost Town, MDX, Nevada, Utah, Vehicle Reviews on February 13, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra):  246,192

Odometer (MDX):  5,756

Trip Distance:  1,056 Miles

I needed a workhorse to travel back to an 1800s mining town this past weekend and Acura gave me just the right vehicle for the job.  After now completing over 1,000 miles in the latest iteration of its 3-row SUV, I can say with a certainty that the latest MDX is a capable, fun-to-drive machine that offers up first class comfort for a trip of that distance.  Do I have to give it back?

This now marks the fourth time I’ve put a third-generation MDX through its paces.  Here are some prior reviews from here on the blog:

Coming up in April, Las Vegas, Nevada will once again play home to a regional Acura NSX club meet-up called WestFest.  Last year, the event brought out over 50 cars and 80 people.  As part of the planning committee, my role is to establish and plan out the logistics of a scenic group drive to be held on Saturday, April 28th.  It’s not easy to come up with drives for a caravan of that size.

Considerations:

  • Where haven’t we been yet?
  • What will traffic & weather patterns be like on the day & time of our trip?
  • What are the road conditions – are they appropriate for a group of sportscars?
  • Are there any tolls or park fees to consider?
  • How can we keep everyone together, or does it make more sense to split the group?
  • Are there places for fuel and snack stops along the way?

As one can imagine, it takes a great deal of effort to coordinate such an activity.  I partnered up with my friends Dane and Brandon, both Las Vegas locals, to take the MDX out on Saturday morning and scout the terrain.  It was the perfect vehicle for our expedition to the desert:  Second-row accommodations are posh, with captains’ chairs and plenty of space all around.  There are of course independent climate controls for passengers in those areas.  Meanwhile, I pampered myself up front with a heated seat heater, heated steering wheel, and convenient cup holder for my iced caramel macchiato.  You’d think we were going to the local shopping mall and not to the middle of nowhere.

Our drive route for the day was about 160 miles and took us 4 hours from start to finish, including our sightseeing and lunch stops.

Nelson, Nevada is one of many ghost towns in the vast expanses of land around the southwest.  It’s nestled in El Dorado Canyon, about 12 miles off Highway 95 to the east.  If you blink, you might miss the turnoff, so it’s a good thing Dane was coaching me from the passenger seat on where to make my exit at Highway 165.  We passed only one other vehicle on the way into Nelson from there.

The two-laner got a little more narrow, a little more rough, and more curvy as we dipped down in elevation toward the Colorado River.  Soon the buildings of the old mining town came into view, along with dozens of old cars left out to the elements with windows down (or broken out) and interiors rotting away.  I parked the MDX in a dirt lot and we got outside to wander around a little, noting how silent it was outside aside from the scuffling sound made from our shoes on the gravel.

We must have been the first tourists in town that day, because an old man came out of what appeared to be the main general store and put away the ‘closed’ sign while inviting us inside.  The wooden building doubles as his home, but he sells all sorts of remnants of the Wild West in there.  My favorite display was an exhibit of some the various films that the town of Nelson has appeared in, including the Kurt Russell classic “Breakdown.”

Luckily for us (and unlike Kurt Russell’s red Jeep Grand Cherokee in that movie), the MDX was didn’t give us any check-engine lights or troubles of any nature.  We snapped a few photos in Nelson before continuing eastward another few miles to where we could nearly drive right to the banks of the mighty Colorado River on a dirt road.  There was a nice paved turnaround spot that I think will make for a perfect photo-op for the group of NSXs at the April event.

Our next destination on the drive loop was Searchlight, Nevada – a teeny spot on the map that (like most small towns in that area) – got its start as a mining community in the late 1800s but mostly dried up by the mid 1950s.  The name came from one of its original prospectors who said, “It would take a searchlight to find gold out here.”

Dane, Brandon, and I rolled onward toward Highway 164 westbound and then over to Interstate 15 northbound.  I hit the gas on the onramp.  For a full size SUV that’s loaded down with technology and comfort niceties, the MDX still scoots down the road with more than ample power.  I observed an overall combined MPG of about 26 despite going heavy on the throttle a few times.  Range on a full tank is in the high 400s.

The Country Club Buffet at Primm Valley Casino, right along the California-Nevada state line, satisfied our hunger before we made our last stop of the day.  Stacked along the east side of I-15 are 7 columns of vividly painted boulders, referred to as “Seven Magic Mountains.”  The massive rocks were cut from a nearby quarry and painted fluorescent colors by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone.  The art installation was opened in 2016 and will be removed sometime this year, so I was glad to get a chance to see it.

The MDX stickers at $58,000 as-tested, including Tech & Advance packages with a full suite of AcuraWatch driver-assistance aids.  I found the LKAS (Lane Keeping Assist System) to be helpful but could do without the ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control).  I much prefer to set a cruise speed and have it be maintained – with the Adaptive engaged, the vehicle starts slowing down well in advance of approaching a vehicle ahead, so you have to change lanes very early which isn’t always possible or convenient.  It’s something I could learn to live with, but just an observation.  The only other gripe I had was with the aesthetics of the black wheels.

There’s a lot to love about the MDX.  Those captivating jewel eye headlights with LED turn signals are just as much “function” as they are “form.”  The ELS Studio Premium audio system will knock your socks off.  I set the bass and the subwoofer to maximum levels for optimal punch, and it retained crisp clarity all the way up to max volume level 40.  Sirius XM channel “90s on 9” never sounded so good.  And if it’s solitude you want, a quiet cabin is easy to achieve too.  I sailed along at 75 mph with minimal wind, road, and engine noise.  The MDX’s 7-speed dual-clutch transmission keeps the revs low at those speeds.

It was tough to give the keys back after being pampered for 7 days, but I was glad for the opportunity to sample the high life!  Below is a 7-minute video and a collection of other photos from my week with the Modern Steel Metallic MDX.  Thanks, Acura, for the loaner!

Back seat comfort

Fueling up at Circle K in Phoenix

And we’re off!

Rolling into Las Vegas at sunset

5,000 mile milestone!

Arrival in Nelson

The ‘general store’ in Nelson

Loved this 1950 Buick!

Next stop:  Interstate 15

Red carpet treatment!  Brandon & Dane getting the door at Primm Valley

Seven Magic Mountains in the Nevada desert

Brandon’s 1993 Legend L 6-speed coupe

MDX parked in front of Siegfried and Roy’s house in Las Vegas!  See the “SR” on the gate?

Thanks for coming along for the ride!

Announcement: 2018 National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) – Colorado Springs, CO – July 18-22

Posted in NALM on February 8, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  559,013

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  156,310

It’s official!  For its 14th annual event, the National Acura Legend Meet is heading to colorful Colorado.  The announcement was formally posted on the AcuraLegend.org forums on Tuesday, February 6th.

To get your tachometer revving, here are a few planned highlights of the event:

  • Scenic cruise to Breckenridge
  • Day trip up Pikes Peak Highway – the famous 14,000 foot peak, and one of the highest elevation paved roads in North America
  • Drag strip event at Pueblo Motorsports Park
  • Dealer day at Pikes Peak Acura

Here are the locations of all prior events, as shown on the NALM Website too.

Registration is expected to go live around April 1, and the event will be held from July 18 through 22.  The host hotel will be the very accommodating Woodland Country Lodge in Woodland Park, just a few miles up the road from Colorado Springs.  Have you ever seen such a view from a hotel parking lot before?

This one will be going for sure!

We are excited to see what this year’s festivities bring.  Attendees are slated to attend from various parts of the country, some driving from as far away as Florida.  I’ll post updates here as they become available.

Stay tuned next week for a featured review on this 2017 MDX Sport Hybrid which I’ll be putting through its paces on a trip to Utah and back.

Speaking of SUVs, if you’re in the market for something fun and quirky to have a little 4×4 fun with, go look at James‘ Isuzu VehiCROSS, currently up for auction on Bring a Trailer at no reserve!  The auction ends on Monday.

It’s one of the most radical designs of the 1990s.  Have a great weekend, all!

Video Release: “Fabulous Fives” 555,555 Milestone; Visits with Joseph & Michael

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Legend, Milestones, NSX on February 5, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  558,967

Odometer (Vigor):  109,340

It’s no mystery that my friend Josh Clymer and I are Mileage Masters.  We thrive on seeing that odometer turn just one more digit…. again, again, and again.  About 5 years ago, Josh launched a blog called TSX Travels, and he began documenting his journeys in his 2005 TSX, just like I started with this blog in Spring 2011.

Josh and I have collaborated on drives and milestones in the past, despite the fact that we live 926 miles apart.  In fact, we got together for a “Dueling Acuras” video production in February 2016.  Somewhere along the road, we got the crazy idea that we should coordinate our all-fives roll-over for the same time and place.

Well, here’s the grand finale!  Josh drove from Boise, Idaho, I drove from Phoenix, Arizona, and we met in the middle – St. George, Utah – for a monumental milestone celebrated together last October 7th, 2017.

It was a busy and fun weekend here, with a friend visiting from southern California and a trip to a new destination in Arizona to see another friend’s car collection.  Years ago when Honda was first getting into the transportation industry, its first mobility tools were scooters and motorcycles that were sometimes sold under the advertising tagline “You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda.”

I think the same general motto holds true today for Honda and its other other brands, because my friends Joseph and Michael are two of the most quality individuals I’ve ever met.  Joseph is the proud owner of a 1992 Acura Vigor and I first met up with him at last year’s Japanese Classic Car Show.  He rolled into Phoenix on Friday afternoon in a newly-acquired 2003 Acura CL in stunning Aegean Blue Pearl with only about 60,800 miles on the odometer.

We enjoyed a night out in Old Town Scottsdale with friends, including sampling the dessert menu at Sugar Bowl, a landmark for the last 60 years since it opened in 1958.  The hot fudge sundae was (as my mom says it) “T-D-F.”  Or, in other words, to die for.

Saturday morning, Joseph and I took a road trip in the NSX about 35 miles away to the west end of the Valley near the base of the White Tank Mountain range.  There, a small community has sprung up in recent years called Verrado.  Though it falls within the broader Buckeye, Arizona city limits, Verrado is very much a self-contained and unified little town.  Its cozy Main Street had a variety of restaurants, and we chose Tempo Urban Bistro for our meet-up with another Acura-owning friend, Michael.  He drives a 2014 ILX 2.0.

Michael’s latest acquisition – which he shared as a surprise after brunch – was a 1988 Acura Legend L sedan Florence Blue Metallic.  From the moment I opened the driver door and took a whiff of the interior, it took me back to some of my prior cars.  That classic “Old Honda” smell is something so unmistakable.  We took the Legend for a spin and it drove smoothly and solidly – a testament to its build quality for being nearly 30 years old.  Can’t wait to see what Michael’s plans are for it.

Speaking of blue cars, I took the opportunity to do a little test-driving this weekend too.  One of my local dealerships, in Tempe, Arizona, now has a 2018 Accord Sport 6-speed manual in stock.  It’s finished in “Still Night Pearl” – a striking color shared with the TLX A-Spec.  The driving experience left me overall pretty impressed.

The Accord’s motor is small:  a 2-liter turbo, but it’s able to crank out over 250 horsepower.  That made ample “oomph” to get up to highway speed on the I-10 onramp at Warner Road with ease.  The clutch was soft and the car felt “big” to me – perhaps because I’m used to daily-driving my little Integra.  I think it’s awesome that the Accord is still offered with a stick shift for those of us who prefer to row our own gears.  For $31,200, it’s a lot of car for the money.

Here’s a video from the day trip to Verrado and some scenes with Joseph’s CL, too.

Group out at Sugar Bowl in Scottsdale

Saturday morning NSX cruise

1988, 1992, and 2014

The Accord that I test drove had a few miles on it, at 133

Have a great week!

 

Sunday Brunch at the 1929 Wrigley Mansion, More Visitors in Phoenix

Posted in Arizona, Integra, Legend, Milestones, Misc Travel on January 30, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  558,659

Odometer (Integra):  246,106

Imagine being wealthy enough in the late 1920s to own several mansions across the United States:  Chicago, Philadelphia, and other cities — the smallest of which, in Phoenix, at 16,000 square feet.

William Wrigley Jr. was an entrepreneur from a young age, starting his own business selling soap and baking powder at age 29.  At that time, he would give his customers 2 packages of chewing gum as an incentive with each can of baking powder they purchased.  Wrigley’s chewing gum soon became more popular than any of his other products, and the rest was history.  Wrigley went on to hold a controlling interest in several other companies, own the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, and build 5 residences.  Next time you’re chomping on a stick of Big Red, think of him.

Wrigley’s mansion in Phoenix (photo above from 1949), is set atop a 100-foot-tall knoll with views of the Biltmore and the community below.  Construction was completed in 1931, only a year before Wrigley died at age 70.  The mansion went on to be owned by another big wig in the food industry: Geordie Hormel, known for creating Spam (he also claimed to have invented the corn dog).  Hormel bought the Wrigley mansion as a $2.6 million 50th wedding anniversary for his wife, and restored it to his former glory.   He passed away in 2006 but the facility lives on as a private club for Sunday brunch, fancy weddings, and other special events.

On Sunday, January 28th, 86 years and 2 days after William Wrigley passed away, I rolled up the steep driveway from Telawa Trail Road with my dad & stepmom and valet parked my Legend sedan for a brunch reservation I’d made online about 6 weeks prior.  The view of the city was spectacular and the weather couldn’t have been better.

We had about 15 minutes to wander around the facility before being seated at our table, so we went upstairs to see a few of the 24 bedrooms and 2 of the 12 bathrooms.  All of the finishes, materials, and fixtures retain their original appearance but have been well preserved or restored.

Hearty buffet provisions were available in 3 separate rooms:  The first, with fruits, bagels, and salad items for lighter fare.  The second had the main brunch courses:  beef, prime rib, shrimp, lobster, potatoes, and an omelet station.  And the last was up a few stairs in what appeared to be a library, stocked with all sorts of cupcakes and other sugary goodness.  Each time one of us would get up from our seat to make another pass at the buffet, the servers would come around while we were gone and roll up our napkins again.  There was a lot of fine attention to detail.

For $59 a plate, the Wrigley champagne brunch is definitely not a McDonald’s McMuffin value menu, but for a rare treat with special guests, I thought it was well worth it for a way to spend a classy Sunday and get a panoramic view of the city skyline on a crystal blue January day.  We returned to the valeted Legend feeling full and satisfied.  “You’re going to have to roll me to the car,” Tanya said.  No wonder we weren’t hungry again until much later that evening.

The revolving door at Hotel Hugie hasn’t had a break yet — the month of January I ran at nearly 100% occupancy and loved it.  Last week, Dad & Tanya drove 1,421 miles in fewer than 48 hours from Seattle to Phoenix for a trade show called Oasis.  Each January, it draws more than 3,000 buyers to the Phoenix convention center to see and order knick-knacks and souvenirs for their gift shops and visitor centers.  Dad and Tanya hand-craft wooden items like antler-adorned walking sticks, keychains, magnets, and money clips for their company, Yellowstone River Trading.

It was an action-packed few days with the family visiting, with lots of things to do outside the 9-5 trade show grind.  We dined at some new restaurants, visited an escape room, and took care of a few home improvement projects.  I also spent a bit of time at the local junkyard, harvesting a piece of a quarter panel to repair some damage to the left rear corner of my Legend sedan.  It was my first time using a heavy-duty angle grinder and I am pleased with the results!  Thanks to my friend Mirel for the tools and the expertise.

New and old pieces of quarter panel.  Updates to come!

Below are a few more photos from recent events.  I received a visit from Redline Reviews’ Editor-in-Chief, Sofyan Bey.

Here’s a 5-minute video filmed just before dropping Sofyan off at the Sky Harbor airport.

Earlier in the week, I dropped off Kevin from Duluth, GA.  I’ve been to the airport a lot lately!

Kevin recently sold his 1994 Legend L sedan.  He had owned the car for 18 years, 11 months, and 26 days.  Fortunately, he still has a 1994 LS coupe, his “Polar Bear.”

I got my front bumper plugs installed on the Vigor – paint matched & all!

Integra parked streetside just west of Chase Field, where the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team plays.

Visiting the Oasis gift convention.

Dinner at ‘Camp Social’ restaurant on 7th Street in Phoenix – we ate in a little trailer like that!

Pretty cool old-school Ace Hardware sign.

Dinner on the patio at Hula’s Modern Tiki, with special guest Jake the poodle.

Home Depot on a Saturday in the coupe.

Junkyard find:  1989 Honda Accord LX 5-speed

It had 349,271 miles on it!

Escape room group in Tempe, Arizona

Legend sedan parked at Wrigley’s valet area

Upstairs hallway at Wrigley Mansion

View from our dining table

Buffet room #1

I spotted my car valet parked below

Tanya & dad

Headed back to real civilization after a few minutes living the high life.

Organizing my new Kobalt tool chest!

Fits right in in the garage.

Have a great week!

2018 Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction: Bring Your Checkbooks!

Posted in Arizona, Car Show on January 22, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  558,578

Odometer (NSX):  109,724

“Tyson, you’re going to have to dip into your savings to get this one!” pronounced my friend Kevin as we admired a 1969 Cadillac unlike anything we’d ever seen before.  The car was a running and driving jacuzzi.  You read that right; the “Carpool Deville” pictured below was one of many automobiles (1,729 in fact) up for grabs at this year’s 47th annual Barrett-Jackson collector car auction.  Speedo or bikini not included!

Barrett-Jackson brings automotive enthusiasts (usually, with large pocketbooks) together with rare & collectible vehicles.  It’s the perfect combination that attracts thousands of people like me to Scottsdale, Arizona every January to spectate.   This year, I attended with my friends Chris and Kevin, who are colleagues from the Acura Legend enthusiast community.  Kevin was pretty excited.

See?

Each year, it seems the bar gets raised ever higher:   More cars, higher sale prices, and special guest appearances.  Little did I know going into Saturday’s auction that I would be in the same room as former U.S. President George W. Bush.  But that’s exactly what ended up happening.  Joining Mr. Bush on the stage was none other than Jay Leno himself.  And the Corvette they were promoting ended up being the auction’s third-highest sale for the week, with the $1.4 million pricetag going to charity.

The energy in the room was off the charts, with people standing up from their chairs, holding up their phones, and clapping / cheering each time the high bid went up another notch.  That’s the kind of crowd spirit that makes Barrett-Jackson such a fun annual tradition, even if means paying $16 for a baked potato for lunch.  The entertainment is far more than worth it.  Check out my video below for a small taste of what the scene was like, including George Bush’s remarks about the Corvette being a “damn good car.”

Perhaps our favorite car in the running this year –  since Chris had made us watch it on TV the evening prior – was a 1978 Ferrari 308 customized for the TV series Knight Rider by George Barris.  The styling certainly wasn’t for everyone, but the car’s provenance – a word I’m coming to learn is very important in the auto collector community – made it something special.  We watched it bring $85,000.

Another cool vehicle that we kicked the tires on was this 1990 Honda NSX, straight from Japan and looking pretty crisp in right-hand-drive configuration.  It had 49,000 miles on it and brought a $47,000 pricetag.  Notice – all of the cars get the final sales price written on the SOLD tag with a black Sharpie.

Below were the stats for Barrett’s overall results this year, courtesy of my friend Jonathan Klinger who is the Vice President of Public Relations at Hagerty Insurance.  Many thanks to him for keeping us in the loop via email on the daily happenings over at the auction block.  And thanks, too, to Hagerty’s CEO, McKeel Hagerty, for extending some heartfelt and kind words about the up-and-coming import collector car community when we ran into him right outside the auction area.  It was great to get to meet him.  Pictured here are McKeel, Chris, Jonathan, and myself.

Final Numbers for Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2018:

  • Overall Total: $116.7 million
  • 1,721/1,729 lots sold: 99% sell-through rate
  • Average Sale Price: $65,692
Overall Top 10 Sales (excludes charity cars):
  1. 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder – $1,430,000
  2. 1952 Ferrari 212 Europa – $1,100,000
  3. 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Cutaway Coupe – $1,100,000
  4. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – $770,000
  5. 1966 Shelby GT350 Prototype #001 – $605,000
  6. 2015 MTI Racing Boat – $548,900
  7. 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition – $495,000
  8. 1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 – $495,000
  9. 1958 Chevrolet Corvette Custom Convertible – $440,000
  10. 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV Convertible – $440,000

Oh, and that hot tubbing 1969 Cadillac?  It sold for a value-priced $24,000, or about 6 times the cost of a traditional hot tub.  But for the sake of being able to say that your hot tub had a 472-cubic-inch V8 engine?  Priceless!

Thanks to the Barrett-Jackson team for the chance to attend such an awesome event.  Here is an 8-minute video that I captured of some of the highlights from my perspective, as well as a few additional photos.

Media Pass.  Here we go!

Life-sized Camaro “Hot Wheels” display.  Loved this!

Wide-eyed and soaking up the eye candy from the Salon Collection area.

I could go for a 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS!

This baked potato weighed more than an infant child.

Ran into a few friends, including Jack & Brad.

… And a buddy Tom from the NSX community.

I love these kinds of production number breakdowns.  I will be making something similar for my Legends the next time they’re on display.

Kevin went crazy each time we saw a split-window 1963 Corvette.  He needs one.

This 1930 Cord was front-wheel-drive.  Not something you saw very often during that era.

Food vendors galore!  Chris got a funnel cake.

Love the 1955-57 Chevy Bel Airs.

One of them had some appropriate looking props affixed to the passenger window.

Interior of the 1969 Cadillac hot tub.  The description sheet made it clear to mention, in large caps at the bottom, that the car cannot be registered or driven on public roads.  Bummer.

On our way out, we saw VIN 001 2019 Ford Mustang “Bullitt” Edition, a 50-year throwback to the original Bullitt that was driven by Steve McQueen.  It sold for $300,000.

Hope you enjoyed coming along to the auctions!  A few final sidebars today:

Looking for some midday entertainment to keep your mind off those meetings at the office?  My buddy Josh who you know from TSX Travels has launched a new channel about his latest toy.  The channel is called NSX Experiment.

My friend Cody’s extremely rare and well-kept 1993 Legend L sedan 5-speed hit Bring a Trailer today.  Take a peek and watch the action for the next 7 days at auction!  Good luck, Cody!

And finally, we have to congratulate my friend Eric in KY who found a good home for his red 1989 coupe a couple of days ago. He’s pictured here at left handing off the keys.  Congrats on the sale, Eric!  So many deals to be had.

Have a great week, all!

Mom’s Visit, Half-Marathon, Vigor Bumper Refinish, Future Classic Car Show & Special Guests

Posted in Arizona, Car Show, Legend, Running, Vigor on January 21, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  558,577

Odometer (Integra):  245,989

My guest room is fully booked this month — if it seems I’m light on travels, it’s because I’m hosting all sorts of company.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way!  Now if only I offered free breakfast & a fitness center.

Mom flew down from southern Utah for an annual tradition:  The Rock & Roll Half Marathon which starts & ends in Tempe, near Arizona State University.  We have the whole routine down to a science:  Where to have brunch the day prior, what to wear, where to park the car, and even where to meet at the conclusion of the race.  Because – let’s face it – we already knew that mom was going to beat me to the finish line by a solid half-hour or more.  And she did.

I missed out on the North American International Auto Show this past week.  In case you missed it too, there were some big announcements from Acura with the debut of the all-new 2019 RDX sport utility vehicle.  AND – drumroll please – the Type-S name is coming back!

That same day, I had “Ultimate Finish” – a mobile bumper repair/repaint operation – come over to the house and re-shoot both bumpers on my 1994 Vigor GS.  I must say, for having been a driveway job and completed from start to finish in a matter of 6 hours, it turned out phenomenally.  They charged me $300 per bumper.

I attended the third annual Future Classics Car Show on the upper parking deck of the Scottsdale Quarter shopping center.  It was quite the grab-bag of vehicles, but that’s what makes the show interesting.  James took his 1999 Isuzu VehiCROSS, Kyle his 2005 Pontiac GTO, and Scott his 2012 Mini Cooper.  I was in the 1992 Integra GS-R.  None of us went home with any awards but we enjoyed hanging out with fellow gearheads for the evening.

The following evening, I had a couple of special guests arrive.

Peter Cunningham, President of the NSX Club of America (NSXCA), and Donald Osborne, auto appraiser extraordinaire, came over for a VIP visit to my humble car collection.  We went to dinner nearby at a Casa Añejo.  Meanwhile, my roommate picked up my friend Chris from the Phoenix airport.  A few years ago, we started the tradition of Chris visiting Arizona each January for a several-day visit which centers around attending the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction.  I’ll have more on that in a dedicated next post!

Chris put a few miles on my cars while I was at work the next couple of days, including taking an 800+ mile drive to southern Utah and back in a single day.  He’s a little nuts, but I guess that’s why we get along so well.  Destination #1 was Monument Valley, one of my favorite places.  He also hit up Four Corners and spent a little bit of time in Colorado and New Mexico.  As in, probably a footstep’s worth of time in each!  My car was dirty so I spent a good chunk of the afternoon today getting it cleaned up.  I decided to film a walkaround video since a few had asked for a current one.  Ask and ye shall receive.

Below are a few more photos of the last few weeks’ activities.  Have a great evening!

Picking up mom at the airport

Pasta prep

Dinner crowd at my place

Saturday morning in downtown at the marathon expo

View from the patio at our brunch spot:  FEZ

Tyson, Kevin, Adam, Jon, Tia, Rob, Julio at brunch

Doing a little yard sale-ing with mom (she’s in the sideview mirror proudly holding up a new red dress she purchased for $5)

Mile 10 of the marathon on Sunday morning, with the clock already showing just under 2 hours elapsed.

Finished!  And headed home.

Departure back to Utah, dropping off mom at the airport

Peter Cunningham signing my guest book at the house

Donald Osborne, Chris, me

Airport run in the Legend sedan to pick up Kevin from Georgia

Tyson, Kevin, Chris

Chris’ post to the 5,000-member “ALOE” group on Facebook.  It stands for Acura Legend Owners & Enthusiasts.

Breakfast at Zookz on Camelback

Chris heading out to Carefree to see the world’s largest sundial.

Chris and Kevin enjoying a relaxing evening in my backyard.

More to come, soon!

2017 Annual Mileage Summary & Kai’s 1989 Honda Accord SE-i Coupe

Posted in Arizona, Blog, Milestones on January 7, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  557,697

Odometer (Accord):  42,757

Put on your thinking caps and pay attention, class.  It’s that time once again:  Let’s take a quick glance at how the mileage numbers played out for 2017.  Year over year, overall miles were down by a long shot:  43,000 this year compared to 58,000 in 2016.  Keep in mind, though, that 9,000 of those miles in 2016 were attributed to the Alaska trip.

The most expensive car to keep on the road was the Integra at $0.30 per mile.  Looking back at my maintenance records, the work done was extensive:  radiator, A/C repair, tires, windshield, and other items brought the tally to over $2,000 spent to go about 7,400 miles.  Hopefully though (crossing fingers here) I’ve now addressed most of the big-ticket items and the car will be trouble free with lower operating costs going forward.

The TL, of course, is now sold but I included its mileage here since I did log about 5,000 miles on it during my 6 months of ownership.  So there you have it.  Microsoft Excel is a beautiful invention.  Oh, and yesterday I put a few miles on my Honda lawnmower.  Here in Phoenix, we get our Fall season in January.

The rest of today’s updates won’t have a lot of rhyme nor reason but will rather be a collection of pictures from recent events.  It was a pretty low key holiday season for me.  A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of having Hagerty’s Aaron McKenzie and his wife in my home.  My guest book is now on page 18, filled with noteworthy people who have paid me a visit.  Maybe some of you readers will sign in this year?

I played transporter for a couple of friends who needed a ride to Tucson from Phoenix the week before Christmas.  They were big guys – and we were in the Integra!  I would have selected a different car, had I known!

It seemed like my coworker Jack and I were the only ones at the office in the days leading up to that holiday weekend. If you squint your eyes and look very closely, you’ll see his RSX and my Integra tucked into a corner of the parking garage at work.

I headed out toward Utah on Friday afternoon, December 22nd and traffic was luckily pretty light.

Someone was feeling mischievous and reorganized the letters on the marquee sign at the Mobil gas station in Kingman.  It used to say “DOG PARK.”

Speaking of signs, this classic at Larsen’s Frostop in my hometown of St. George, Utah has been a local landmark for many decades.

Checking out a pretty posh piece of property near my brother’s new place.

Family dinner and gift-giving activities at my brother’s place on 12/23.

Admiring some of the clever work of the Arizona Department of Transportation along Interstate 15 southbound.

My roommate James road-tested a Honda Civic Type-R for 7 days.

We took it over to the Scottsdale Pavilions car show and it drew a lot of attention.  It was a truly engaging performance machine – abundant power, great gearbox, tight handling.  Its demeanor makes for a perfect canyon cruiser or weekend toy, but it’s not something I could see myself driving on a daily basis.  The styling is a bit of a turnoff except for the interior.  It had the most amazing red bucket seats.

I celebrated my 36th birthday.  It’s always fun to look back at old pics, like this one from my 5th.  Stripes for days!

Here’s one taken with my dad.  Was that a steering wheel in front of me?  Perhaps!

Friends really spoiled me.  There were plenty of references to my favorite things, like movies from the 1980s.

My niece and nephews put together a banner for me.

And I had a night out with friends.

I’ve had 2 Legendary visitors in recent weeks, including Sanjay in a 1993 Legend L.

And Mirel in a 1993 Legend LS.

My cousin Chad and his wife Miranda visited and borrowed the Vigor for 4 days to get around.

I got to drop them off at the Scottsdale airport in class & style.

This was the whole family flying out on my uncle’s company’s private jet.

It wasn’t a HondaJet, but I still thought it was pretty cool.  For $13 million though.  Yikes.

And the last feature of the day:  This is my friend Kai who came home to Arizona for the holidays and found himself a project car.

That car is this 1989 Honda Accord, which doesn’t look like anything too special, but does have a very unique story.  It was purchased new in Hawaii in May 1989 and lived there for 7 years before coming to Arizona.  It has only about 42,800 miles on it and was owned by only one person before Kai picked it up from a craigslist ad in Tucson.

Here’s a short and very amateur walkaround video showing how nice of shape it’s in for being nearly 30 years old.

Kai left the car with me to take care of it since he had to fly home to Michigan.  I took it out for a quick cruise on Saturday morning.

Really nice interior.

Pop-up headlights all around!

I created a display document to go on my wheelstand.

Kai even has a copy of the check written for $19,000 when the car was new.

That brings us up to speed!  I hope everyone had a great weekend!