Archive for June, 2011


Posted in Arizona, Legend, Road Trip on June 26, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  479,785

You’d think a clean freak like me would lose sleep over taking my pride and joy on a dirt road.  Such is not the case!

I just rolled back into town from the second annual campout with a great group of friends.  We take the opportunity once a year to escape the PHX area’s soaring temps and pitch our tents up on the Mogollon Rim east of Payson, Arizona off Hwy 260.  Rising to about 7,000 feet elevation, the comfortable weather makes it a great place to catch some fresh air and get away from the bustle of the city.

My friend Nick took the “shotgun” seat and we spent 2 hours getting from my driveway to our group’s campsite off Forest Road 300 near Woods Canyon Lake.  The last 8 miles of our trip were on dirt roads.  Aside from some washboard ruts, the roads are well maintained and I was still able to cruise along at 25-35 mph without too much issue.  The real inconvenience was when we’d pass someone coming the opposite direction and breathe their cloud of dust for the next few minutes.  My air filter hates me right now!

The trusty Legend made the trip flawlessly and fired right up first thing this morning when it was time to make the return trip.

This is after we made the last turn off the main dirt road and to creep down a narrow one-laner to our final campsite.  Don’t try to bring a lowered suspension vehicle out here!  Even on stock height suspension I was nervous about a couple dips & rocks in the roadway.

Nick strikes a pose upon arrival.

Last night’s sunset as seen from our campsite.

Off to the coin-op pressure wash I go!

Scorching Hot

Posted in Arizona, Legend on June 23, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  479,319

The Arizona oven has officially been preheated to full temperature:  scorching hot.  Springtime here lasts but a few weeks.  From here on out, it’s triple digit temps through October.  And what better time of the year for my A/C in the Legend coupe to become needy.  Today I dropped $540 on a new OEM blower motor including install.  Gotta have air!  I had the work performed by a certified Honda technician and friend of mine, Wes Hawkins, who performs work on the side.  It was handy to have the Legend sedan to tool around town in while the coupe was under the knife today.

Wes posted a picture of my original blower motor on Facebook today so I thought I’d share it here.  I never knew what that part looked like but to me it looks pretty dang good for having lasted as long as it did.

It’s a good thing I’m back in business with the climate control system.  Here’s the 10 day for for those in cooler climates who’d like to feel pity on us.

Now it’s just a matter of crossing my fingers that there aren’t any more big-ticket repairs in the next 20,000 miles or so.

In other maintenance news, here are the technician recommendations from my recent oil change at Acura North Scottsdale.  Nothing that I didn’t already know.  I’m debating about going OEM with my next battery instead of another Optima red-top.  Any recommendations?

You’ll also notice that the write-up shows my request for an oil sample to be collected.  I sent it off to Blackstone Labs for analysis.

Here’s a comment I enjoyed from Wes’ write-up on my invoice for today’s A/C system work.

Santa Monica Boulevard

Posted in California, Legend, Road Trip on June 19, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  479,118

Twelve hours in the car for an hour long visit with friends and then a brief visit to the beach?  Yes, please.  Most rational people wouldn’t dream of driving all the way from Phoenix to Los Angeles and back in a day, but then again, perhaps I’m a little crazy anyway.  Yesterday’s day trip was one of the most easiest routes I’ve had to navigate.  I can hop on I-10 just a few miles from my home and stay on the same interstate all the way until the 4th Street exit in Santa Monica which is within walking distance of the beach & the pier.  Who needs air travel!

My A/C blower motor is officially toast, so this was a windows & moonroof-down trip for me.  Aside from a headache caused by the wind buffeting and some warm temps on the way home tonight, it wasn’t all that uncomfortable.  At least the weather in southern California was 70’s and perfect as usual.

I’ve done the trip to LA so many times that I have my “standard” stops along the way.  I’ll usually fuel up at 339th Avenue which is just west of the PHX metro area near Tonopah, then again at the Washington Street exit in Indio.  Easy on, easy off.  I should also mention that there are two things I pick up at the convenience store during each and every road trip:  A vanilla flavored Starbucks bottled drink, and a blue packaged Rice Krispy Treat.  Gotta have ’em.

First stop in Santa Monica was a Legend meet where I rendezvoused with some good friends for car talk.

After lunch and a visit to the beach, I headed eastbound.  This leg took longer because of typical southern California traffic.  Here’s a shot of the gridlock on I-10 just prior to the 405 junction.  Messy!  I ended up taking the 10 to the 5 north to the 143 to the 210 to the 57 and down to the 10 again.  In the end, my return trip still only took me a little over 6 hours even after the delays.

Two more pictures from the drive home.  The first captures one of my favorite features on the 91-95 Acura Legend coupe:  operational rear windows.  Backseat riders always get a kick out of the fact that the little windows go down.  Handy for air circulation!  This picture was also taken during my absolute favorite time of the day to drive, just before dark.  Dusk in the desert is one of the most serene, beautiful settings.

And a shot at the rest area about 60 miles east of Quartzsite.  I was the only person there.  Great sunset.

Back from the Moon

Posted in Legend, Milestones on June 12, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  477,877

Today the mighty Legend coupe completed its journey to the moon and back.  The average distance to the moon is 238,857 miles, so as of 477,714 at around 7:00 p.m. this evening on Interstate 10 eastbound near Quartzsite, Arizona, the mission was completed.  Step aside, space shuttle!  If I’d been getting 26 mpg (hwy rating per the window sticker) for the entire 477,000 miles, the car would have burned just over 18,300 gallons of fuel during this excursion.  Reference on lunar distance:

If I could have placed an ACURA flag on the surface of the moon while I was there, I would have done so.

Today’s adventure took my friend Matt and me to the site of the Chrysler-owned “Arizona Proving Ground” in the town of Yucca, which is literally nothing more than a few ghost town-worthy buildings, a post office, a bar, and the expansive proving ground facility which is both heavily gated and closely monitored.  In stopping at the entrance to the grounds just off Interstate 40 for a picture, a voice came on a loudspeaker, “Can I help you?”  I responded (aimlessly looking around for where the voice had come from) that we were only there for a picture and would be on our way.

Interestingly enough, I was watching an old “MT TV” (Motor Trend) spot from 1998 and noticed that this same facility, once Ford-owned, was used in a high speed shootout and appears in a YouTube clip online.

I (carefully) snagged an odometer shot on I-10 as we neared the Phoenix metro area once again this evening.

Lucky sevens!

Only issue we had with the car today was an intermittent problem I’ve noticed with the climate control system.  Every once in awhile, I’ll start the car and hit the AUTO for the A/C to kick on and not get any fan speed – even when I manually override the system and set it to “high.”  This issue happened once today when we drove a good 5-8 minutes before we got any airflow from the vents.  Otherwise it was a trouble free drive.

My Kinda Books

Posted in Brochures, Legend on June 10, 2011 by tysonhugie

As further witness to just how deep this Acura Legend obsession goes, I thought I’d take a pit stop in the 500k blog to post about my catalog of Acura & Legend literature that I’ve accumulated over the years.

I’ve been collecting anything on paper related to this car since I was about 16 years old.  Today I received in the mail from my friend Steve in Missouri a new addition for the library:  a JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) brochure for the Legend coupe, including photos and specs (in Japanese, of course) for the super rare Alpha-Touring model.  It’s fun to thumb through and view the accessories offered and recognize just how far ahead of their time these vehicles were.  It’s also amazing the level of detail that went into not only the cars themselves, but the advertising materials that promoted them.

I’ve got some full size 24×36 posters, a VHS promo tape, OEM service manuals, magazine articles, brochures from about every year, original dealership press kits in boxes, and virtually anything else that could have been used to promote the Legend.  Among my collection I also keep a few special items related to my own personal car; I was fortunate to obtain from the original owner the window sticker, purchase paperwork, pre-delivery inspection, and I even still have the California license plate “3KED109” that was issued to the car when it was brand new in 1994 in Pleasanton.

Like any good data analyst, I went ahead and logged my collection a few years ago in Excel and I add a line each time I get a new piece of material, such as today.

Here’s the new piece I got today.  18 pages of fascinating reading!  Thanks Steve.

Just one of the boxes of some of the junk I’ve accumulated.

And some pics from a few years ago when I pulled out a few pieces to reminisce.

I won’t even get into the thousands of Legend pictures I’ve taken over the years – of my cars and of others’.  My best friends know me well enough to realize that it makes my day when they send me random “spy” shots of Legends on the road with their phones.  And they’re quick to quiz me on the year, trim, options, and official color name every time it happens.   I love it!

SoCal Adventure

Posted in California, Legend, Road Trip on June 7, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  477,043

Looks like it’s already been about 10,000 miles since I started the blog and I’m creeping ever closer to the half million mark.

Life is a highway!  And I spent this weekend riding that highway.  Specifically, Interstate 8 which parallels the Mexican border all the way from Phoenix to southern California.  I trekked to San Diego for the Rock & Roll Half Marathon.  The trust old Legend made the trip without a hiccup, including a steep grade on the westbound leg that rises from sea level to about 4,100 feet within a matter of 15 miles or so.  There are places alongside that stretch of interstate with signs marked “Radiator Water” for any unfortunate automobilers who might need it.

I took the chance while in the area to zip up the I-5 and say hello to my friend Tom and his mom who are visiting that area from Connecticut for a week-long vacation.  Tom is a long-time friend and fellow Acura fanatic, so we snagged an obligatory driveway photoshoot at the beautiful home in Lake Forest (Orange County) that his family is renting during their stay.

Aside from some expected traffic delays dealing (and parking headache!) with the marathon event and its 20,000+ participants in downtown San Diego, travel throughout the weekend was painless.  It did hurt a little to pay $4.49/gallon for premium fuel at Shell in Jacumba, CA on the return leg.  Just for kicks, I checked my fuel mileage and had only been getting 25 mpg or so, but this was with windy conditions, 80 mph on the cruise control, and A/C full blast.  Maintenance wise – nothing noted since the last oil change.  For convenience’s sake, I had the last one performed at Acura North Scottsdale which is right near my office.  “My” service advisor there, Summer, always incorporates a coupon into my total bill even though I’ve never had to print one off the website.  $36.35 including tax and I was out the door and on the road.

Here’s a shot from Fountain Hills after work today on the way home.  Buggy front end but she still looks decent from a distance.