Chance Encounter

Odometer:  490,580

Phoenicians love to flock (or phlock!) to the hills on warm summer weekends to beat the heat.  Payson, Arizona is a short 70-miles away via curvy technical 4-lane highway (3,000 ft+  in elevation gain) so I decided to see what was going on up north for a bit.  Shortly after arriving there, I saw a call come in from my friend Chuck.  “Where are you?” he asks.  I told him I was in Payson.  “Look four cars behind you,” was his response.  As it turns out he and his wife Patty were heading back to Phoenix from a cabin weekend.  We decided to rendezvous for an impromptu lunch.

Chuck also just happens to drive an Acura Legend that similar to mine is equipped in LS trim with a 6-speed manual transmission.  His car, however, has seen far less use since 1993 than mine has.  Interesting fact:  My car has averaged about the same number of miles PER YEAR that his has accumulated in total over its entire 18 years.  With just 29,356 miles on the odometer, his coupe has averaged 1,600 miles annually.  A baby!

Two extremes in the mileage spectrum united today for a photo.

I took care of some routine maintenance yesterday morning at Acura of Tempe.  Never have I seen another customer lounge with such amenities!  Juices, sodas, fresh baked cookes, fruits.  It’s no wonder I intentionally show up with an empty stomach when I take the car in for service.  I’m often asked how often I have to get oil changes based on my hyper-mileage driving patterns.  Typically I drop $35-40 on an oil change about once a month.  Yesterday’s receipt notes that my Optima red-top battery (new exactly 3 years ago) has failed the load test.  Battery life in the desert seems to be 3 years.  The heat just kills them.  I didn’t opt for a replacement at this time.

Dana, “my” service advisor, declined the chance to star in a photo but did allow me to take one at her desk.  Thanks Dana for taking good care of me!

With that, I added yet another line to the maintenance spreadsheet.  As a data analyst by trade, I could have a heyday with this spreadsheet but I won’t bore my audience other than by saying that as of today, the Legend has cost $28,304.32 to operate since the day it was new.  This number won’t include anything associated with registration, emissions inspections, fuel, or insurance.  And I’m fairly confident I’ve left off “most” of my sets of tires (since I’ve gone through 13 different kinds of rims – a story for another day).  Also – the $28k won’t reflect any expenditures related to accessorizing.  These are strictly wear and tear, keep-it-on-the-road dollars.  If you’re curious, it comes out to 5.8 cents per mile over 490,322 miles.

Have I been better off by spending 5.8 cents per mile over the last 8 1/2 years keeping this car on the road as opposed to buying a new vehicle?  Depends.  I haven’t had a car payment in years.  And the way I look at it, most maintenance items can apply even to a new vehicle.  I’d still be in the dealership for an oil change monthly even if I drove a 2011 model.  It’s an argument you can take either way.  Truth is, there’s nothing else I’d “like” to drive right now (within my budget anyway) more than my Legend, so for me keeping it on the road is the best answer.

I always love browsing the local pick-n-pull salvage yards to see what kind of treasures I can dig up.  Yesterday afternoon, my Legend-owning friend Spencer and I went to one of the yards in Chandler, Arizona.  We found only four 1991-95 Acura Legends in inventory — all sedans, all automatics, and all only “L” trim models.  No treasured parts here, although we did pull he audio/cruise steering wheel buttons off this tired old 1991 Cobalt Blue ride.  I think I got second degree burns when I put my hand on the hood for this picture.  Metal in 106 degrees & sun:  don’t try this at home.

I also take note of the odometers of cars that interest me in the salvage yards.  The highest achieved on any of the Legends in there was 215,000.  It’s too bad they for whatever reason were retired before their time.

Spencer’s car – 1994 Legend LS coupe, Cashmere Silver Metallic 6-speed manual.

I’ll close out today’s entry with a for-sale plug for my friend Mirel who’s selling his gorgeous (and rare) 1994 Legend LS coupe 6-speed in Granada Black Pearl.  I visited him yesterday to take some pictures of it for an out-of-state friend who’s interested.  A link to his craigslist ad follows.

The refrigerator in my home proudly wears my magnetic name badge from last week’s visit to Acura on its door.  Signing out!

4 Responses to “Chance Encounter”

  1. All I have to say is that when I read today’s blog entry to Todd, he said, “He reminds me of you!” and laughed. What he meant by this I am not certain, but I accept it as a compliment! Ride on! Waiting for your “Guess the date, time, and place” contest to open up…

  2. Maybe one of these days you will run in to me driving around, but remember I stay within 10 miles of my house.

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