Wheeled Weekend: ALV 2016 Awards Program; “Neo Classics” Japanese Classic Car Show

Posted in California, Car Show, Integra on October 25, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra):


Trip Distance:  758 Miles


Let’s test-drive some new cars!  Today’s update brings you a summary of my wild & crazy weekend o’ fun.  The first half consisted of an automotive program local to the Phoenix area, and the second half involved me taking a crazy drive to California and back so that I could be there for fewer than 24 hours.  Sounds like me, right?

For the last 5 years, I’ve volunteered to help with a Phoenix area “COTY” (Car of the Year) program that caters to folks who are athletic in nature.  It strives to weed out and select the new vehicles each year that stand out as superior for those who demand more from their vehicles:  Those who participate in outdoor sports, primarily.  So it makes sense why GM entered its new Colorado pickup truck, and also why they chose to outfit it with all sort of accessories like an optional kayak rack in the bed.


This year’s “Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year” (ALV) program was based at the San Marcos resort in Chandler, Arizona.  In all we had 28 new vehicles vying for awards in 8 categories.  The two-day event was structured with a media/journalist day on Friday and then a consumer/athlete day on Saturday.

Prior year ALV event write-ups can be found here:

New this year was a destination drive to lunch in Fountain Hills, Arizona at the Eagle Mountain Golf Resort.  In the afternoon, there were both on-road and off-road short drive routes made available for the 35 or so journalists who attended.  The location, Butcher Jones Recreation Area, was perfect for both types of driving as it was adjacent to a nice, curvy two-lane paved road as well as some gnarly dirt backroads.  I got a chance to try my hand at driving a new Toyota Tacoma TRD on some incredibly gnarly terrain using its “crawl control” feature.  The Ram Rebel won first place in the extreme off-road category.


I also got my first chance behind the wheel of Acura’s second-generation NSX supercar, stickering at $197,000.   The NSX was entered in the event as a special feature only, since clearly its abilities from a cargo-carrying and off-road perspective are limited.  Acura’s Allie Coulter reserved a 40-mile drive for me in the car and I must say I fell in absolute love with it.  While the driving experience differs dramatically from that of my 1992 NSX, that doesn’t make it “bad.”  It’s just a 2017 approach to a 1990 formula, and that means the car is faster, safer, more technologically advanced, and…. missing a clutch pedal.  I can honestly say that’s the only place I find fault with it.



How does the car behave, anyway?  I punched it in Sport Mode getting onto the Beeline Highway southbound and it kicked me back into my seat.  Zero-to-sixty only takes about 3 seconds in that car, so the G-forces are enough to plant you firmly in your nicely bucketed seat.  The intoxicating part about driving the NSX is the growl of the motor behind the cabin.  It emits such awesome sounds at any RPM.  Visibility was better than I’d expected.  And the car turned more heads on the 101 southbound freeway during rush hour than a supermodel.


On Saturday, there were test-drive opportunities made available to about 60 athletes who came to the San Marcos to evaluate vehicles and cast their votes.  Other key winners were the Nissan Titan, Kia Cadenza, Kia Soul, Volkswagen Golf, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Nissan Armada.


At the conclusion of the ALV awards ceremony, I grabbed the Integra and hit the highway to drive off into the sunset on Interstate 10.  For the next 6 or so hours, I let the I GS-R’s 1.7-liter, VTEC engine sing to me at 4,500 RPM at 80 miles an hour.  Traffic in Corona, California was jammed thanks to road construction, but I finally made it to my hotel in Torrance a little after 9:00 p.m.


This was only the second year of the “Neo Classics” 80’s & 90’s Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS).  It is hosted at Toyota’s headquarters.  Last year, I attended with my Legend coupe.  This year, I decided to showcase my ‘newest’ car, the Integra.  I was in good company.  Just moments after my arrival, a squad of “DA” bodystyle Integras like mine rolled in and I was able to park next to them and make a few new friends.



I also reconnected with a few old ones, including Jeff Koch from Hemmings, Ryu Asada who’s a designer at Mattel / Hot Wheels, and Ben Hsu from Japanese Nostalgic Car.  The quality of both cars and of people is always exceptional at the JCCS event so that’s why I hope to keep attending year after year.

Thanks for coming along on my weekend adventures!  The rest of my photos and a short video are below.

ALV kick-off dinner last Thursday night at “La Stalla” in Chandler, AZ (sponsored by Toyota)


Groups assembling to do the car drives & reviews


Acura’s 2017 MDX Advance


Sweet NSX photo captured by Mark Elias Media Services


Love the design of Kia’s new Cadenza


Davis Adams from Honda, along with a couple other event participants around the new Ridgeline


Nissan’s Titan showing some off-road prowess


Breakfast is served!


Midpoint / driver change for Friday’s media drive


The Ridgeline pickup bed doubles as an ice cooler!


Biggest downer about about Fiat 124 Spider which was entered:  this automatic transmission.


With Shad (GM) and Darryll (VW)


Audi’s new Q7 was on-hand for evaluation.


Its most intriguing feature to me?  Four-wheel steering.  My 1991 Prelude had that!  Here is comes as part of a $4,000+ option package.


With Will who drove up from Tucson to participate


Now, for some pics on the LA trip:  Quick visit to Honda HQ in the Integra


Arriving at the show at the same time as my friend Chris in his immaculate second-generation Prelude.


Lineup of “DA” Integras.  These guys were all California locals but very welcoming!


With Chris and his Prelude.


One of the Integras had Honda S2000 gauges!


Say what you want, but I loved this ultra base model 1985 Civic DX with only about 40,000 miles on it.


Aztec Green shining during a brief glimpse of sunlight (it was overcast most of the day).


I love seeing original ads & paperwork laid out like this on display.


Ultra clean Honda CRX.  It’s tough to find one of these that hasn’t been heavily-modified!


Armando and his two Subaru SVXs.


Met a new friend named Brian who drives this immaculate Berlina Black 1991 NSX.


And Chris brought out his real Polaroid camera and took this shot (which he later scanned for me).  It’s hard to believe just how far camera technology has come.  But I love how vintage it looks!


NSX Meet & Drive to Saguaro Lake, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, NSX on October 16, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (NSX):  106,256


Trip Distance:  50 Miles


Formula Red traffic jam!


How about a nice fall cruise to kick off our finally-bearable weather here in the desert?  It would’ve been a great day to own a targa-top-equipped NSX for some open-air cruising, but my 1992 model has a fixed roof so I made do with the windows rolled down.  It’s been gorgeous around here the last few days.

Our friend Jhae is the man when it comes to managing the NSX ownership contingent in Arizona.  On occasions I’ve had people send me photos of NSXs they’ve seen out and about.  If it’s a car I can’t identify, I send it to Jhae.  Seconds later, he’ll give me the full download:  Year, modifications, and ownership history.  That’s why we lean on him to be our local event coordinator.  He pulled through for us in a big way yesterday when we had 15 cars show up for a meet, cruise, lunch, and photoshoot.  It was like a mini-NSXPO event squeezed into a 4-hour timeframe.  And everyone had a great time!


The day started out with Kelvin, Frank, Neal, and Curt showing up at my house in two NSXs for a short staging meeting before we all rolled out to Tempe together.  My neighbor Joedee rolled by in her Honda and stuck her head out the window:  “Hey!  Park those down at my garage sale!”


It only took us about 20 minutes to get to the meet location, which was in the parking lot of a baseball stadium on Rio Salado Parkway.  Luckily we had the place almost entirely to ourselves.  The cars kept rolling in.  Pretty soon it was 11:00 a.m. and time for Jhae to round up the troops for our roll-out en masse.  There were a couple of stoplights to navigate but pretty soon we were swarming our way northbound on Highway 87 toward Payson, Arizona on a nicely improved two-laner with 65 mph limits.  It was fun to weave through traffic seeing NSXs both ahead and in the rearview.  Some brave videographers in a Honda Pilot hung out its back window for some rolling video.


We branched south at Bush Highway and went to the Lakeshore Restaurant for lunch.  Luckily, Lakeshore was able to accommodate our party of 25+ on the outside patio overlooking Saguaro Lake and the weather was perfect for dining al fresco.  The BBQ chicken sandwich was a solid 10 out of 10.  Jhae made some announcements and notified us that current NSXCA (NSX Club of America) members would receive $10 off their meals.  Sweet!  There were also some giveaways like Hot Wheels NSX scale models and posters.



A few of our attendees had to split off at that time, but the rest of us headed to east Mesa for a photoshoot at Falcon Field next to some very cool old aircraft.  Many thanks to Jhae for his planning efforts and to all the great folks who came out in support.  Looking forward to getting the gang together again soon!

Morning visit from my friend Brett who was driving through from California to Arkansas in his 2007 TL Type-S.


Here you can see the difference between Monte Carlo Blue (left) and Long Beach Blue (right)


Just prior to rolling out


Waiting at the first light


Nice view in the rearview


Looking eastward over Saguaro Lake


Lunch is served!


There IS water in the desert!


Heading back out on Bush Highway


Reds lining up at Falcon Field



Extreme Garage Makeover: My 1990’s Acura Showroom

Posted in House, ILX, Integra, Legend, NSX, Vigor on October 12, 2016 by tysonhugie

Descending order!

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  548,712


Odometer (Integra):  237,380


Odometer (ILX):  183,721


Odometer (Legend Sedan):  150,668


Odometer (Vigor):  106,293


Odometer (NSX):  106,150


Total Miles:  1,332,924.  1.3 million miles!

Time-travel back with me about a quarter-century to those glorious early 1990s.  I was only about 10 but I still remember them fondly.  You turn on your FM radio and it’s Ace of Base “The Sign.”  Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, and Toy Story are big hits at the box office.  And if you stroll down to your local Acura dealership, you might see vehicles like this:




The Acura brand, at the time only about 5 years old, was having a heyday.  The NSX debuted as a world-class supercar with uncanny reliability.  The second-generation Legend was selling like crazy – some 65,000 units in the 1991 model year alone.  The Vigor was a brand new model with the touring comfort of its larger Legend sibling but with nimble handling.  And the Integra GS-R boasted a 1.7 liter VTEC motor with more horsepower-per-liter than any other motor in the world.  Life was good.

Oh, and all those cars in the picture?  They’re stick shifts.  Did you know that there is no new Acura sold today that has a clutch pedal?  That in itself is one more reason why I hang onto the past like this.


Last weekend, I called upon the expert services of the most efficient, hard-working construction crew I’ve ever known:  My family.  Between my dad and my brother, there is no home or car repair task that can’t be completed (in record time).  When I bought my new Phoenix home in late August, the main selling factor was the fact that it had two garages.

For the last 5 years, I’d been renting storage units in different parts of town to accommodate all of my vehicles, so when the opportunity arose to pick up a home that could fit them all, I worked quickly and made it happen.  (For reference, back in March at an NSX meet I had been lusting after a local club member’s place which similarly had gargantuan parking possibilities).

There was still just one hurdle:  The largest garage was split into two separate 2-car units with a garage door at each end.  This was fine for the previous owner, Charlie, who used half the garage for his woodworking & welding, and the other half for his two vehicles.  But I had other plans for the space:  I wanted to knock out the separating wall and create one gigantic Acura automotive storage mecca.  And that I did!  Or rather, my dad, brother, and stepmom did.


Here’s a look at the progression taken from the south entrance in just 4 photos.

1 – Prior owner’s stuff:


2 – Space cleared out, wall still there:


3 – Wall removed, finish work underway:


4 – Garage completed, vehicles staged:


The Friday morning after a 12-hour drive from northern Utah, my garage makeover crew set to work on the task ahead.  Due to limited time-off at my new job, I had to go into the office.  After settling in to check emails, I decided to walk across the street to Starbucks.  At 7:32 a.m., my brother sent me 2 photos.  He and dad had already torn down the wall!  There were dangling wires and a few boards, but I couldn’t believe how much larger the space looked.  It made my day.


Friday afternoon I joined the work crew and assisted with masking and taping off so that my dad could spray the paint on (a much more efficient way to tackle a large surface area than using rollers).  The garage turned into a cloud of misty white air as dad applied two coats.  Smartly we shut the garage doors so that the cars in the backyard didn’t end up with overspray.


We installed 3 matching ceiling fans and hung up two banks of cabinets in the southeast corner for my detailing supplies and tools.  The final step was general clean-up and the hanging of a few banners and signs.  Dad sprayed the garage out with the hose to get rid of the dust and debris, and then we did a quick wipe-down of each of the 5 cars that would be going into the showroom.  Even my 4-year-old nephew Beckam gave us a hand for that chore.


I’d had months to think about how best to position the vehicles within the space, and I wanted to keep things symmetrical.  We ended up putting the two sedans at the north end, the two coupes at the south end, and the NSX centered in the middle at a 45-degree angle.  I even finally had a use for the aluminum display stand that my other brother, Payton, had built for me earlier this year.


I couldn’t be happier with the results.  When the 7 fluorescent light tubes kick on and gleam against our bright white ceiling & wall paint, it’s shocking.  Next on the list (but a ways down the road) will be a floor coating, which means I really ought to get some leaks addressed on the cars before I do that.  The Vigor is dropping oil, and the Legend coupe leaves a trail of power steering fluid virtually everywhere it goes.

My family members and I finished out the weekend by planting a couple of citrus trees in my backyard.  For 10 years I’ve been living in Arizona and my dad has been wanting to harvest oranges and grapefruits, so we are finally making it happen.  Below are the rest of the pics!


Edit 10/15/16:  Just confirmed for kicks that I can get 6 cars in the main garage pretty comfortably.  Sweet.





Taking a look at the plans


Before – south garage (prior owner)


Before – north garage (prior owner)


Before wall removal – north garage


Cars parked in the backyard awaiting their new home


Wall coming down


Dad working on wall removal


Getting ready for paint


Visit from friends Kyle and Matt


Out on the town with my brother Bentley, Lance, and Rob


Cars got rained on while they were ALL outside!


Nephew Beckam gives us a hand with weed removal


Cars parked in the back – with Beckam’s Power Wheels pickup


Taking a break


Getting closer!


Posters ready to go


Family dinner at Switch Restaurant on Central Ave


Final spray down of the floor


Posters getting put up


Vigor wash


Legend sedan wash


Tucked away


Dad and Beckam with the finished product






Artwork is ready to install, like this framed Legend coupe poster:


New NSX interior!  I don’t think I’d shown this yet.  Fresh leather.


And a bath for the ILX so it doesn’t feel forgotten in its separate garage.


Mexico, A Marathon, A Milestones, & Miscellaneous

Posted in ILX, NSX, Road Trip, Running, Utah on October 2, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (NSX):  106,150


Trip Distance:  424 Miles


Hey, that odometer below can’t be real can it?  Sorry Gabe, I think you’ve tampered with it!  Though the number sequence makes me think of a catchy tune I once heard.


Seems one of my cars has been doing some road tripping without me in recent weeks!  Whilst I was enjoying myself on my travels to and from Atlanta recently, my friend Kyle took the ILX south of the border on a little weekend trip to Mexico.  His destination was called Puerto Peñasco, or, in English:  Rocky Point.  It’s a small beach town on the shores of the Gulf of California in Mexico that can be reached in about 4 hours drive time from Phoenix.  It is, in fact, our closest beach (getting to San Diego’s Pacific shoreline takes about two hours longer).

Thanks to Kyle’s contribution to the ILX’s adventures, the car has now traversed every country in north America this year.  You’ll recall that back in May, my friend Jason and I drove our cars to the Arctic Circle north of Fairbanks, Alaska.  If you plot a route on Google Maps from the Arctic Circle to Rocky Point, it comes in at just fewer than 4,000 miles one-way.  Heck of a road trip!


Kyle took a few photos to share with me, including shot of a fuel-up at “Why” just before crossing over the international border southbound.  You can read more about my visit to Why from 2013 at the hyperlink.


Arrival at the beach


Crossing back into the U.S. of A:


And getting a foam bath.  Thanks Kyle!


I have a couple weeks’ worth of miscellaneous news to catch up on here, I guess.  I had to hit the ground running at work after having been gone for 5 business days on the Atlanta trip.  Luckily, my coworkers were patient with me while I got caught up.  Last weekend was a nice relaxing time at home.  I hit the yard with my new Honda lawnmower on Saturday morning and washed cars that afternoon.

Thanks, Mark, for sending me the November 2016 issue of Automobile Magazine with a feature on the 1992-93 Integra GS-R!


My buddy Mirel bought a new car that I helped him transport.




I’ve had lots of company at my house, including Jenn & Tiffany:


And Brian:


The cars got a bath in the backyard.


And Jeremy and I took the Legend sedan to brunch.


This past Friday morning, I buzzed up to St. George, Utah in the ILX for a family visit and a marathon event.  Yesterday, I took a swing at my tenth full 26.2-mile marathon run.  Having run only a few 3-milers this entire year, my training was lacking to say the least.  But I committed to this back in April and as I boarded a school bus in the morning at 4:00 a.m. to drive me up State Route 18 to the start line, I thought to myself, “Am I insane?”  I think many of the people on the bus had the same thought process.

It became painfully clear at about the midpoint in the race that I was not adequately prepared, but I pressed on, using a jog / walk alternating method to get me through the course.  I never came to a complete stop or took any breaks, but just rather kept moving forward at a semi-consistent pace.  Luckily, the St. George Marathon is primarily downhill in nature so I was able to let gravity help me along.  My finish time was 4 hours, 54 minutes which is on the slow side for my competitive age bracket, but I was just grateful to finish in one piece!

A few more pics from my weekend follow here.  First, checking out grandma’s old Quasar video camera.  We dug it out of storage.  The date of manufacture is June 1985.  Anyone remember lugging around one of these?



Visiting with my nephew Beckam:


And my niece Viv.  That’s her kitty “Marie” but we call her “Pizza.”  You’ll have to ask Viv why.


Race morning!  With mom at the start line.


Start line with our friend Jed.  My shorts (no, not a skirt!) look highly reflective.


This marathon participant is a “legend” in her own way.  Deb Zockoll is the only St. George Marathon runner who has now competed in all 40 runs in the event’s history.  She is an inspiration to many!


Closing in on Mile 15 with Snow Canyon State Park in the background.


Looking surprisingly fresh when I ran past Grandma and Aunt Jodi around Mile 24.


Grandma’s sign:


Taking a minute during my run to greet a few of my younger fans, Vivienne and Beckam.


Best motivation ever!  This is what I most looked forward to at the finish line.


Final standings:


Quick pose with Tanya.


Thought this was pretty cool – an old Caddy parked at the “Field of Screams” haunted corn maze in St. George.


Sending congrats out to my dad who rolled 200,000 miles on his 2010 Hyundai Sonata this weekend!


He sent the picture to me and my two brothers.  He said he’s shooting for 500k.


My friend Jack described my garage as “spearmint gum”  I wonder why!


And today, I got to drive home in my 1992 NSX from Utah.  It had been since May that I last drove it.  The odometer turned 106,000 miles somewhere between Kingman and Wikieup.  I was reminded of how much I enjoy that car!  Best of all, it has a fresh leather interior thanks to my brother’s workmanship.  I’ll post interior pictures of it soon.


I-40 in Kingman, Arizona.


Turnoff at Burro Creek Campground along Highway 93.


That’s it for now!  You’re all caught up.  Have a great week.

NALM 2016 Day 8: Finally Home in Phoenix, Wrap-Up Video

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on September 20, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  548,664


I made it home, sweet home!  While I’m unpacking the car, sorting through junk mail, and doing a load of laundry, I threw together some quick statistics on my 8-day trip from Phoenix to Atlanta and back.


I visited ten unique states.  My state crossings were in this order:

  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Alabama
  • Tennessee
  • Arkansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • New Mexico
  • Arizona

A few stats:

  • Total trip distance in 8 days:  4,007 miles
  • Total gallons of gas:  143.3
  • Total spent on gas:  $360.39 ($40 of which was on a gift card to Love’s)
  • Average miles per gallon:  27.9
    • Note that the window sticker for my car states EPA rating of 18 city / 26 hwy
  • Quarts of 5W30 oil added:  1
  • Quantity of power steering fluid added:  1 bottle

Detailed gas log below.  I always used the highest available Premium fuel – sometimes 93, and usually 91 octane.  The cheapest gas was in Jackson, Mississippi.


Here’s an 11-minute video capturing some of the highlights from this year’s event.

This morning’s early border crossing into my home state


Quick stop in Winslow, Arizona.  Have you ever heard the song “Take It Easy” by The Eagles?


I recommend listening to it here.  The song mentions “standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.”


It was cool to drive past Twin Arrows, but I saw that the trading post is in pretty sad shape nowadays.


And finally, after fueling in Flagstaff, I made my way down Interstate 17 and home!


Almost forgot to show this awesome award for “Best Engine Bay.”  The printed material attached to the plaque is leather, almost exactly the same color as my interior.  Pretty awesome idea.


Thanks for coming along for the trip!


NALM 2016 Days 6 & 7: Sallisaw, Oklahoma & Gallup, New Mexico

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on September 19, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  548,341


Trip Distance (Overall):  3,684 since last Tuesday


Siri has really failed me.  After two years, she still doesn’t know my car preferences?  For shame!


NALM 2016 is a wrap, but this trip isn’t.  I’m still a ways from home, and that means you still get to hear from me until the fat lady has sung, or rather, until the old Legend has arrived back at my driveway in Phoenix, Arizona.

On Sunday morning, it was a relaxed vibe at our host hotel in Oakwood.  People were partaking of the continental breakfast, loading up their cars, and saying their farewells.  It didn’t take me long to collect my belongings and get packed for the drive.  Meanwhile, my friend Chris had driven over from Athens (Georgia, not Greece) to say hello since he was in the area visiting his sister.


As the rains started coming down, I completed one last NALM tradition in the hotel parking lot:  Putting my graffiti’d message to Kevin inside the trunk of his 1994 Legend LS coupe.  This marks the 5th year in a row we’ve upheld this tradition and it will continue until I’ve run out of space, I guess.


… Or until all his silver Sharpies run out of ink.


That day’s drive took me across 5 state lines:  Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.  Each state has its own landscape, flavor, and style.  I had the opportunity northeast of Birmingham, Alabama to test out a really fresh piece of interstate called I-22, formerly known just as “Corridor X.”




As of June of this year, the complete stretch of freeway is now in place for about 200 miles from Birmingham to the Tennessee state line just outside Memphis.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get that memo until I’d already taken Highway 78, a two-lane side road, for the 12 miles from I-20 to I-22.  Even the Apple Maps on my phone didn’t know that there was a better route because evidently it’s still too new.


Traffic came to a stop (light) after crossing into Tennessee, and I encountered several more stop lights in the final 6 or so miles on approach to Memphis.  Apparently the state of Tennessee still needs to complete its piece for the full freeway to reach the core of Memphis.  Speaking of Memphis, I can’t think of that word without saying “Memphis Raines.”  You remember him?  He was the character Nicholas Cage played in the movie “Gone in 60 Seconds.”


From there I hooked up with Interstate 40 which is taking me ALLLLL the way across the center part of the country. After bridging me across the Mississippi River, it took me through Little Rock, Arkansas.  I fueled up in Conway a little bit north of there before continuing on to my motel for the night in eastern Oklahoma – a small town called Sallisaw.


Sunday was consumed entirely by Interstate 40, but dotted with a few special attractions along the way.  The I-40 pathway was once that of historic Route 66, so many of the towns along the way have embraced their heritage as stops along the “Mother Road.”  I didn’t make any stops in Oklahoma until I had almost exited the state.  One such Route 66 town is called Elk City, and it’s home to the National Route 66 Museum.  I didn’t take the time to wander through but I did capture a few photos outside with the gigantic sign.


It wasn’t long until I crossed the Texas state line, and JUST across the Texas border lies one of my favorite roadside attractions:  A restored 1936 Conoco gas station that today houses a visitor center.   I’ve stopped here multiple times on my cross-country journeys, including 3 years ago in August 2013 (pulled from my Instagram):


And again today!  The place hasn’t changed much.  For that matter, neither has the car!


That Art Deco architecture gets me every time.  It’s a scene straight out of the Pixar movie “Cars.”  By the time I arrived in Amarillo, I’d worked up an appetite so it was time to track down some food.  I already knew where I wanted to go, because it’s a tradition.  Soncy Road on the west side of town is home to one of the last-surviving Fazoli’s Italian restaurants in the southwest.  For some reason, all Fazoli’s locations in Arizona and in Utah have closed their doors, but this one still remains.  I had to make mom jealous by sending her some pics.  The breadsticks are unlimited!


Mom speaks the language of acronyms.  Her “TDF” there stands for “To Die For.”  I fueled up in Tucumcari, New Mexico and again on the western outskirts of Albuquerque before deciding exactly where I wanted to target my destination for the night.  That destination ended up being Gallup – a teeny town just east of the Arizona state line.

Like so many other towns in the region, Gallup exudes a Route 66 vibe and I intentionally got off Interstate 40 a solid 8 miles before my motel exit, just so I could drive along the old road and see some of the architecture.  Many of the places are run down, shuttered, and in stages of ruin, but a few hearty businesses have withstood the test of time and continue somehow to stay open.  Like the Desert Skies Motel:


And with that, I’m going to get some shuteye and prepare for my final stretch into home tomorrow.

Thanks for coming along, and enjoy a few more photos just for fun.

Downtown Atlanta in the rain


Driver’s Log.  Should I pick one of these up?


Trying out this brand new interstate.


Spell it with me now.  M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I.  It’s just so fun.


My drive took me straight into central Memphis



And then across the Mississippi River into Arkansas!


Evening arrival in Sallisaw, Oklahoma.


The front desk attendant handed me my room’s TV remote after checking in.  I guess they can’t trust guests enough to leave them in the rooms?


Westbound on I-40 on Sunday morning


The tree-lined interstate gave way to grassland.


I get the feeling a few people have wiped out on this 50-mph curve on I-40 in Oklahoma City.  Those signs are a bit obnoxious!  But they got the message across!


I had the chance to use up my $40 Love’s gas station gift card.  Thanks again, Kevin!


Arriving in Elk City, home of the….


… National Route 66 Museum!


On into Texas (again)!


And into New Mexico!


Painted sky as I closed in my nightly destination


Hotel El Rancho in historic downtown Gallup.  Intentionally staying true to its Route 66 look & feel


View from my room tonight


Check you later!

NALM 2016 in Atlanta Day 5: Dealer Day, Car Show, & Awards Ceremony

Posted in Legend, NALM on September 17, 2016 by tysonhugie


“We could have a nuclear war and there would be two things that would survive:  cockroaches and Tyson’s car.”  That was the quote of the day from NALM attendee Steve Dunn, better known to the Legend community as Stevieray.  Steve hails from Tennessee and is a long-time friend and family member.  Because that’s what this group of people has become to me.  It’s an annual family reunion when we get together.  Sure, there are always a few nutjobs in the mix and there’s always plenty of drama to go around, but we share a common bond that keeps us coming back year after year.


This morning, we were hosted by Carland Acura in Duluth, Georgia for a meet-and-greet / BBQ.  Thanks to the efforts of ground team planning member Kevin Amoth, Carland had allocated an entire parking lot for our group and they served up tasty chicken, burgers, and hot dogs for the group.  The Legends flowed and in and out from around 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 or so p.m. when I took off, but in all I think we had more than 30 in attendance – making this one of the largest national meets in the event’s 12-year history.  A few extra special attendees brought out their prized cars for the viewing – and some, for the driving.


For example, for the first time in my life, I got to drive a right-hand-drive “Japanese Domestic Market” (JDM) Honda Legend coupe.  It’s one of 11 right-hand-drive cars owned by Legend connoisseur Marlow who brought it.  It drew a crowd for obvious reasons.  The condition was remarkable as the car only had 47,000 kilometers on it.  Marlow let me take it for a spin, too.  Talk about a trip!  I had to get used to not only being on the wrong side of the car, but activating my turn signal with my right hand instead of my left, viewing my rearview mirror at my left instead of my right, and taking a whole new perspective on the traffic around me!


This is the driver’s side of the car!  Notice that it’s badged as a “Honda.”


Later in the afternoon, our group got together just up the street from our hotel in Oakwood for a car show and some judging at a parking lot on the campus of the University of North Georgia.  Bonus points were awarded to anyone who had special upgrades to their cars, exceptionally nice condition, etc.  I pulled my “two minute floor mats,” as Chris called them.  They’re called that because they never stay in my car for longer than two minutes before they’re put back in the trunk – I use them for only shows and special occasions since they’re brand new in the box.


The evening events were a cocktail hour, dinner across the street on Highway 53 at a restaurant called “Cookout” sponsored by the ground team, and a closing ceremony / awards distribution event along with prize raffle.


Kevin as usual took command as the Master of Ceremonies in our headquarters of the Best Western, room #218.  There were plaques distributed for a variety of achievements including Best Paint, Best Interior, and Best Engine Bay.  I took home the Engine Bay one!  Kevin also made special recognition of those who had traveled from near and far to be a part of the event.


It was my honor to get a photo with the entire NALM 2016 ground team – minus Alex, who had to leave earlier this afternoon to head to Chicago, at the conclusion of tonight’s activities.  These are truly world-class people and have delivered far and beyond the expectation.  That “Legendary Ln” sign we were holding?  It’s going home with me, along with two others that will soon adorn my new garage back home in Phoenix.

Tyson, Evan, Chris, Kevin, Alan


Until next time, over and out.  This year’s event is in the books!  Tomorrow morning begins my nearly 2,000-mile trip home.

Following Waseem and others to the initial meet-up at Carland Acura


Lining up in the parking lot


Chris showing off his $41,885 window sticker


Rich’s clean Granada Black Pearl Legend GS



Gabe wore his shirt from the Drive to Five Celebration in 2011.


A few more locals showed up who hadn’t yet participated in any part of NALM.


With Alan and Eric in front of the 1993 L sedan that I once owned.


Looking good there!


More of the parking lot


Acura brought out a $68k RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD to show everyone


Marlow’s Japanese-spec Legend.  Notice he’s driving on the right side.


More scenes from the parking lot



One of my fave colors:  (1991-only) Golden Glow Pearl.  You either or love it or you hate it!



Dinner at “Cookout” across from our hotel, sponsored by the ground team


Kevin gave out Love’s gas station booklets and gas cards to a select special attendees (those who had traveled the greatest distances).  It was even personalized with the # of Love’s gas stations I’ll pass on my way home.



Kevin handing me one of my street sign awards.


He’s definitely deserving of this award he received himself!


Oh, and here’s that drag-race video I promised!  A full-blown NALM summary video will take me some time to prepare, but I couldn’t resist sharing this snippet.  Enjoy watching me blow Chris’ doors off.  Haha.

(And thanks, Chris, for letting me win)