Archive for July, 2011

I’ve Got Competition

Posted in Milestones on July 30, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer: 487,035

This morning, I relaxed in the Customer Lounge at Acura of Tempe and enjoyed the amenities while the Legend received an oil change – 3000 miles, yet only 8 days since the last one.  Everything looked great, they said.  I’ve never deviated from standard 5W30 oil throughout my maintenance history on this car.  I declined the wash, as I always do, because I planned to spend a little bit of time doing a hand-wash & wax with my preferred detailing arsenal of Meguiar’s products later in the day.

My friend Chris works at Tempe Honda and had told me about a high-mileage Honda Accord on display that had recently been taken on trade there.  I stopped by to take a look.  The 1990-1993 Accords are some of the most indestructible vehicles on the road.  Another Accord of this vintage is quickly approaching the 1,000,000 mile mark. See below for article link on “Million Mile Joe.”

http://news.discovery.com/autos/honda-owner-nears-one-million-miles-110617.html

This particular 5-speed LX sedan was in pretty remarkable shape, inside & out, and has just over 429,000 miles on the odometer.  The salesperson I spoke with, Daniel, was surprised to learn that I had this Accord beat in the mileage realm.

As planned, I spent some time this afternoon in car-detail mode and applied a coat of Meguiar’s carnauba wax by hand to the coupe.  The results are always rewarding.

Mechanically, things are reportedly good to go for the next 3,000 miles per Acura of Tempe but I’m still going to have those control arms in the rear checked out in greater detail.  I’m enjoying a (somewhat) relaxing weekend at home after having been on the road for so long.

Scottsdale, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, Legend, NALM, Road Trip on July 27, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  486,778

Final Trip Mileage:  5,611 miles (10 days elapsed)

After over 80 hours in the driver’s seat over the past week and a half, I’ve arrived back home to reality.  Even as much as I love life on the road, there’s just something amazing about being back at home and having my own bed awaiting me.  I knew it was going to be a long, boring drive home this morning when I got on I-30 westbound in Fort Worth and my GPS told me the next turn would be 1,023 miles down the road!

Texas seemed to last forever.  I spent most of my day on I-20 in some very sparsely populated towns.

Thankfully most of desolate west Texas has an 80 mph daytime speed limit.  Anything to make it go by faster!  It really is quite a wasteland.

Oil pumps dotting the countryside.

I fueled up in a town called Pecos that only had up to 90 octane gasoline.  The station was called “Stripes.”

$3.69 for premium over there.

Finally, the 20 meets the 10 and you have to choose whether to head toward San Antonio or El Paso.  I went the ELP route.

Pulling off for a look at a scenic viewpoint along the 10.

Welcome (back) to New Mexico!

Shortly into New Mexico, there’s a Border Patrol checkpoint on I-10.  I breezed right through.

I was so happy to see my home state!

Sunset between Tucson & Phoenix approaching home.  The desert always has the best sunsets.

I had a great trip!  It was an escape from the day to day grind and a chance to do a true coast-to-coast drive like I’ve always wanted.  I went through 17 states in all (CA, AZ, NM, TX, OK, MO, IL, IN, OH, WV, PA, NJ, DE, MD, VA, TN, AR).  Couldn’t be happier with how the car performed – no check engine lights, not a drop of oil or coolant added throughout the trip, and it started up the first time every time and trucked right along the highway without skipping a beat.  Definitely needs a bath, though!

I loved seeing so many of my friends across the country and experiencing firsthand the varied landscapes around the nation.  Glad to have arrived safe and sound and I appreciate all my friends & family who checked in on me throughout the trip.

Fort Worth, Texas

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on July 26, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  485,740

Howdy from TX!  Departure from Jackson happened pretty early this morning as I was anxious to get some westbound miles behind me.   Here I am taking off from the posh Motel 6 off Interstate 40 exit 80A.

Only about 70 miles down the road, I went through Memphis (and thankfully, didn’t hit rush hour too badly). The Arkansas welcome sign is on a 3-lane bridge with no shoulder that crosses the Mississippi River, so the best I could do for a picture was this drive-by.

In Little Rock, I hooked into Interstate 30.

Arkansas has some of the coolest city names I think I’ve heard.  Arkadelphia?  I also passed cities called Hope and Friendship.  Aww.

I took this one for Kevin.  A real live operating Stuckey’s in Arkadelphia!  The characteristic roofline is unmistakable.

4,426 miles into my trip I had my first “on the road” Legend sighting (aside from the meet in NJ, of course).  This 1991-92 sedan in Arkansas had seen better days!  Love the mismatched front fender.  The driver didn’t even acknowledge me as I waved in passing.

So, Indiana has Brazil, Arkansas has England:

And Texas has Paris.  This has turned into a real world tour!

Approaching Dallas on Interstate 30 and crossing through Hubbard Lake.

I went to my good friend Jeff’s place and viewed his two immaculate Legend coupes.  He has a twin car to mine — 1994 LS 6-speed coupe, Desert Mist Metallic with Taupe interior.  I consider it my car’s “evil” twin because it’s got all of the toys I’d like to put on my car if I had the money and didn’t beat it up on the highway so much.  Acura A-Spec wheels, JDM one-piece headlights, sport tuned suspension, clear/red taillights, Remus exhaust.  The list is way too long.  I had the privilege of taking it for a spin and enjoyed every second of it.  Feels like a completely different car from mine.  Jeff also drove mine around the block.

Drove over to a local lake for a couple of shots with part of the Dallas skyline in the background.

His car at around 122k is just a baby!  And it drove like a new car.

Great looking rear end 🙂

Tonight I had a great dinner at Mi Cocina in downtown Dallas with my friends Scott and Peter.

Dallas skyline at sunset off I-35 South.

Spending the night with my friend Stein in Ft. Worth and then off to the 20 westbound!

Jackson, Tennessee

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on July 25, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  485,141

Trip Mileage:  4,012

Lightning storms outside are crazy here!  Just about 15 minutes east of t0wn I ran into a huge thunderstorm that slowed Interstate 40 traffic down to about 45 mph.  I’m tucked in for the night at a motel after another long day in the car.  I got drenched while having my window down at the Taco Bell drive-thru next door after this fuel stop at Phillips 66.

This morning I enjoyed the sights near Shenandoah National Park as I headed westbound on I-66 from Vienna and then I-81 which took me southwest through Roanoke, Virginia.

Another one of those huge crosses!  Third one I’ve seen this trip.  This one is off I-81 in Bristol, VA – right near the VA/TN border.

Welcome to Tennessee!

Knoxville, Tennessee.  For lunch, I went to the busiest Wendy’s in town!  The parking lot was so full I had to park in the entrance to it.  A tour bus parked behind me shortly afterward.  There were brochures for “Dollywood” on the counter in there.

I’ve never seen instructions like this on a gas pump before (also in Knoxville).  Can people really not figure this out on their own?

Wendy’s Frosty!  My fave.

I rolled 485,000 on the 495 freeway approach I-65 South, en route to my friend Steve’s place in Franklin, Tennessee, just south of Nashville.

Here, I had the chance to drive my dream car.  Steve has (in addition to a gorgeous Cayman White Pearl 1995 Legend LS Coupe) an immaculate Formula Red 1997 NSX-T with 48,000 miles on it.  We took the car out for a spirited 20-mile or so run around the countryside.

I learned that in the 3 years Steve’s owned the car, I’m the only person to have driven it besides him!  It was an honor.  The feel of the 6-speed manual with custom short-throw shift kit was an incredible driving experience, and I thank him for it!

When I left Steve’s place in Franklin, the GPS routed me to I-40 via some very cool backroads (94 and 100).

Car did great today.  Arkansas is next up tomorrow!

Vienna, Virginia

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on July 24, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  484,339

The “Pacific to Atlantic” mission was accomplished this morning when I left Marc’s house in Robbinsville and headed about 30 miles east on the 195 freeway to a very neat town called Belmar, New Jersey.  The ocean looked amazing!

Approaching the 195 east to head toward the Jersey Shore.

From there, it was a straight shot down the NJ Turnpike (I-95) toward the DC metro area where I had some friends and family to reconnect with.

This bridge crossing into Delaware cost me $4 in tolls to cross.

It was weird to look at the GPS and see BLUE all around the road.

Welcome to Delaware!

That was a pretty quick state to get through 🙂  Before I knew it…

Welcome to Maryland!

In Havre de Grace, Maryland, I visited my friend Chris.  He’s one person who can truly appreciate a high mileage ride, as his 1989 Honda Prelude Si was one of the first > 250,000 mile vehicles I ever remember reading about online.  It ended up getting retired at only 500 miles shy of 400k due to a motor issue, but prior to that the body had already been rusting out.  Chris is very meticulous about his cars and he appreciated the chance to take the Legend coupe for a spin.  He and his wife sent me on my way with some fresh baked chocolate cookies!

Chris and I took the car down to the harbor at the Susquehanna River.

Starting to see signs for something that caught my eye.  The exit to my cousins’ place in Virginia was also the exit for “Tysons Corner.”

Getting a head-on view of the Mormon temple off I-495.

Tollway approaching the DC area.  Cost me a fortune to get down here!

This is the Fort McHenry Tunnel on I-95 south.  It’s 7,200 feet long and goes underneath the Baltimore Harbor.

Welcome to Virginia!

Finally just as I was about to hop off the 495 to head to my cousins’ place, I hit a traffic snarl that delayed me 15 minutes.  Tysons Corner!

Received a visit from a long time friend of mine, Ivan, who’s local to this area.  He’s a former Legend driver and current Acura RL driver.  Great guy – thanks for stopping by!

Finally I enjoyed a smoothie with my cousins at a newly-opened Robeks down the road.  Westbound leg of the trip starts tomorrow!

Robbinsville, New Jersey

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on July 23, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  484,070

For the first time in about a week, I had a chance to stretch my legs and enjoy life outside the car!  I spent the day in the company of many folks who are as car-crazy as I am, so I felt right at home.

After a scavenger hunt in which my friend Alan and I re-routed multiple times and STILL missed some of the turns, we ended up at Bill Vince Bridgewater Acura dealership on Highway 22 in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey.  The dealership rolled out the red carpet for a BBQ.  It was hot and muggy out — a record 103 degree day — but the A/C of the showroom was a nice retreat.  The staff were all incredibly friendly.  Earlier in the day I’d had an oil change done in the service department there and gotten lots of nice comments on the condition & mileage of the car.

Legend traffic jam.  These are just some of the cars that attended today’s event at the dealership.

Here’s my new friend Chris who works as a Product Specialist at Acura.  I learned that he’s seen a few of my YouTube videos and has been following my progress to 500k, so I threw him the keys to the car and he took it for a spin around the block.

Here’s a (partial) lineup of the cars.  I threw my Student Driver magnets on for novelty’s sake.

My friend Marc arrived with his mint condition 1995 Legend LS coupe 6-speed in Granada Black Pearl on Ivory leather.  It has 35,000 miles on it and drew a huge crowd of onlookers.  Marc got to park his car inside the showroom for the afternoon.  He’s also offered me a place to stay tonight so I’m posting from his nice home.  Thanks for the hospitality, Marc!

I have to give some credit to one of my favorite people in the world.  This is Peggy.  She’s put up with her car-crazed son (and all his car-crazed friends) for more meets than I can count.  And today, she slaved over a BBQ grill (again, in record 103-degree NJ heat) to prepare burgers and hot dogs for our entire crew.  What a trooper.  Thanks Peggy!  It was great to see you again.

I had the chance to meet a celebrity of sorts.  This is Matt, owner/operator of Gateway Automotive in Bristol, CT.  This guy is very well known in the Acura Legend enthusiast community as “the doctor.”  Ask him anything.  He knows these cars like nobody’s business.

Another highlight of the day was taking a ride in an extremely rare Acura NSX Zanardi Edition.  This particular car, with 29000 miles on the odometer, is #24 of only 50 ever produced.  It belongs to Mike, the service manager, and he was happy to allow Ben to take it for a spin and me to ride as a passenger.  It was the experience of a lifetime and further solidified my motivation to pick up an NSX soon.

This was a drive I won’t soon forget!

Group of people talking cars.  What better way to spend a Friday afternoon!

Here I’m posing with Juan from New York.  Showing some serious Legend Love.  I copied the idea from a picture I’d seen him post recently on the acuralegend.org forums.  It doesn’t look bad from the pic, but those hoods & fenders were hot enough to cook steaks on after baking in the sun!

Rich’s extremely clean 1995 Legend Special Edition.  I want his floor mats!

And finally, my favorite picture from the day:

Me, Tom, Ken, Rich, and Chad.  Legend fanatics and great friends of mine.  Thanks guys for a great event and for showing a west coast guy some incredible east coast hospitality.

Tomorrow I’m off to Virginia to visit family and then starting the trek back to Arizona.  Over and out!

Morristown, New Jersey

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on July 22, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  484,002 Miles

Trip Mileage: 2,908 Miles

Other Stats (In case you were wondering):  Moving time was 41 hours, 27  minutes.  Max speed was 108 mph (CA somewhere I think, on a desolate stretch of I-10).  Moving average mph was 70.

I’m heeeeeeere.  It’s been a long haul but I made it safe and sound to my destination this afternoon.  I’m posting from the Best Western Morristown Inn, having finally made the voyage from California to New Jersey in one piece.  Life on the road is exhausting so I’m glad to be able to spend a bit of time in/around this area for at least the next little while.  The hotel’s in a very nice neighborhood with lots of large estates, including the mansion where George Washington wintered in 1779-1780 just a block away.  There’s so much history out here!

Right off the bat this morning I zoomed out of Ohio and through a small sliver of northern West Virginia that only lasted between 10-15 miles.  The entry sign into W VA was overhead on I-70 and the picture that I took is hardly worth posting but I haven’t missed a state yet so here it is.

Then on into PA.

Pennsylvania felt like it crept along at a snail’s pace – a combination of repeated 45 mph construction zones, pockets of heavy traffic, winding roads, hills, and tollway stops made things take a little longer than any other state I drove through on this trip.  When you enter the I-76 toll road, you pass through this gate to pick up your ticket/pass.  I happened to be behind a truck hauling a bunch of new Mopars at the time.

Shortly after entering PA, there’s a (very) small town called Bentleyville which I had to document because I have a brother named Bentley.

There were a number of neat tunnels that I passed through on I-70 and I-76 eastbound, including this one – the Allegheny Mountain tunnel.

Once underway on the tollway, if you leave at a major exit you’ll have to pay when you leave and then get another ticket once you enter the roadway.  To avoid this hassle, there are “service plazas” along the way that are literally just gas/food stops that you can easy-off, easy-on without worrying about any tolls.  Here is the inside of a service plaza.

Interstate 76 after leaving the Sideling Hill Service Plaza on I-76.

The when I went from I-78 to I-81, I left the tollroad and was charged $12.45 for the experience.

I wasn’t able to stop at the NJ welcome sign since it was in the median, protected by a guard rail, and I was on the far right lane of 3 lanes of traffic as I whizzed by.

I’m so close to New York City!  One day I’ll drive through Times Square.

Starting to see signs for Morristown!  Finally!

When I rolled into the Best Western, I was only 1.5 miles away from rolling 484,000 so I invited my friend Ken from New Jersey (who’d said he wanted to take my car for a spin) to drive us around the block and complete the milestone.  Tom and Nick (the King!!  Look at his crown) took the backseat.

You can just barely see the 484 rolling over here.  This is right near that house of George Washington’s what I mentioned earlier off the 287 freeway.

Some of the guys chatting it up in the BW parking lot.

Celebrating my arrival with The King himself!  Nick lives here in NJ and drives the Sherwood Green Legend GS sedan parked behind mine.

Let the games begin!   Here’s the lineup of Acuras that welcomed me when I arrived.

I put my friend Alan (from Floral City, FL) to work helping me clean up the car when I arrived.  He was happy to oblige.

Here’s my friend Tom from CT inspecting some of the “JDM” (Japanese Domestic Market) goodies on one of the cars here.  This particular toy is a pole that extends from the front bumper to assist in parking.

I soon learned that I was far from the only person here obsessed with maintenance & recordkeeping.  Alan busted out his binder complete with Excel spreadsheet for his extremely mint condition, sub-100k mile 1991 Legend LS sedan which I had the privilege of taking for a spin today.

I have a tradition with my friend Miles back home that each time we pass one of those huge mirrored/reflective semi tanker trucks, we take a self-picture as we’re driving past!  I captured this one on the 76 today.

I was happy to learn that one of my blog followers actually works for the dealership that was next to my hotel last night – small world for sure!  Thanks again for the shout-out, Brandon!  I’ve got an appointment tomorrow morning with the local dealership, Bridgewater Acura, for an oil change.  I may also have them take a look at the rear ball joints on the car as a few of the guys here say they look worrisome and I have a long way to go until I get home.  Otherwise no major concerns so I’ll keep on rollin’.