Archive for October, 2011

Monument Valley

Posted in Arizona, Legend, Road Trip, Utah on October 30, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  499,417

For kicks one time, I “borrowed” a Pizza Hut sign to install on top of my car.  I don’t think I’d ever subject my Acura to pizza-delivery status, but the thought of getting paid to put miles on my car was definitely appealing, as was the thought of smelling pepperoni while driving down the road.

Today I took a quick but refreshing Sunday morning drive to enjoy some views along Arizona Hwy 87 toward the town of Payson.  These pictures were taken at the turnoff to Sycamore Creek Campground.

Then the car got a much needed bath and detail.  I’m a believer in Meguiar’s products and I treated the car to the “step 3” carnauba liquid wax by hand after a thorough wash.  For (most of) the paint being 18 years old, it still cleans up pretty nicely.  My car was manufactured in October 1993 so I guess that means it’s finally an adult this month.  Celebrate!

The reflection here is of my friend Matt’s Maxima in the garage where he was working on an oil change.  Pretty shiny paint for being original to this old Acura.

On the interior, I turned to Griot’s Garage for my preferred leather conditioner called Leather Care.  It looks good, smells good, and works great.  The seats on my car were recovered in 2003 with a kit from Katzkin.  The original leather covers in the car were actually at the time still in decent enough condition to sell.  I’ve been really happy with this aftermarket two-tone setup and it’s held up amazingly.

One thing that I love about Arizona is its landscape diversity.  In some parts of the state, the terrain looks like what I’ve posted above from today’s drive, but just a few hours away you can find yourself in an environment that looks totally out of this world.  If I were to pick my absolute favorite landscape scenery in the entire country, it would be found this place.  At 337,000 miles, in July 2008 I took a road trip there.

These particular views are only accessible via a 17-mile dirt road. The cost was $5 to enter the Navajo National tribal park (it’s all on Indian land). Most visitors opt to pay to have the Indians take them on a guided tour (the road is not recommended for cars on a lot of websites I checked) but of course I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to do a little 4×4 action in the coupe.

I even had my brother’s marketing guy throw together a 24×36 poster of the Legend recently, and the main picture was one that I captured in Monument Valley.  This is a 10MB image that should be suitable for download if any of you would like to do the same!

Also noteworthy:  Monument Valley is not far from four corners, which is the only place in the country where you can stand in 4 different states at once.  I did that in a June, 2005 “Utah Tour” trip with about 176,000 miles on the Legend.

Also stopped to see Hole In the Rock, a complete 5,000-square-foot home that was carved out of a sandstone mountain.  I took a tour for $5 — well worth it if you’re ever in the area!

And finally I buzzed over past Mancos, Colorado at a gift shop near Mesa Verde National Park where telephone poles have been driven into the ground sideways and painted like giant arrows.

Closing in on my goal – and enjoying every mile in the meantime!  Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Still Rollin’

Posted in Legend on October 30, 2011 by tysonhugie

These are all the plates my Legend has worn in its lifetime.

Odometer:  499,306

I spent a little time this morning getting the 3.2L V6 “Type II” powerplant cleaned up.

Then headed out to Stanfield, Arizona to check out the location of a new job that a friend of mine will be taking.  Stanfield is a teeny little town with not much more than a thrift store, post office, and this tire shop.  You’ve probably heard of Big-O.  Well, we today we found Little O.

I thought I’d share a few of the most memorable “rolling shots” that have been captured of my Acura thanks to some friends who know a thing or two about shooting a moving target with a camera.

November 2007 with about 302,000 on the odometer in Phoenix, Arizona – photo credit to Dax Rodriguez.  The Legend was rolling on the 19″ Racing Hart C2 3-piece wheels.

December 2005 with 200,300 on the odometer on a very cold night in Salt Lake City, Utah – photo credit to Tyler Green.  The Legend was rolling on 17″ 2004 Acura TL wheels.  It also had McCulloch 8000K HID headlights bulbs and European Domestic Market (EDM) clear corner lenses.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!  The Legend lives on and continues to creep closer to the big 5.

Top 3 Favorite Photoshoots

Posted in Legend on October 29, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  499,110

For all the statisticians out there, I’m 99.82% of the way to my 500,000 destination, and getting closer by the day.  I’ve taken literally THOUSANDS of pictures of my Acura Legend in the time that I’ve owned it.  I’m a historian who loves documenting, in case you haven’t already noticed that.

(1) My favorite photo-op was on a remote highway in southern Utah leading up to the Arizona state line (which we called “the Arizona strip”).  I remember the primitive two-lane road having some exciting dips that made for a fun driving experience.  Unfortunately, it has since been widened and improved.  These pictures were taken almost exactly 5 years ago in October 2006.  The Legend had 250,000 miles on it and was sporting my 19″ Racing Hart C2 wheels.

The timing was perfect, the car looked great, and the overall result was pretty good for an amateur car photographer with a simple point & shoot digital camera.  No photoshop here.  This sky was for real.  And yes, I hiked through the mud to get a few of these angles.

(2) Second place award for my most favorite photoshoot time & location was at the opposite (north) end of the state of Utah, while I was attending undergrad at Utah State University in Logan.  It was February, 2005 and the Legend had 160,000 miles on it.  These images were captured on a very cold, crisp evening in the western part of Cache Valley.  Brrrrrrrr!  Hiking through the snow was definitely worth it, though.

I had just recently installed a set of high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlight bulbs on the car.

(3) Third place for my favorite setting would be another northern Utah site:  Logan Canyon.  The fall colors are absolutely stunning there.  These pictures are from October, 2004 when the colors were at their peak.  The Legend had around 150,000 miles on it.

Once again the paint color hides imperfections well.  At nearly 500k miles my car is definitely not a show car.  I saw a clever sticker on someone’s car the other day that seems pretty fitting for my Legend:

There may be bugs,

There may be chips,

But one thing’s for sure:

I drive this bitch!

If you can pardon the language, it pretty much sums up my take on vehicle ownership.  It’s fun to collect and preserve, but it’s also fun to use a vehicle for the purpose it was intended.  And I’ve definitely done that!  Keep on cruizn.

Top 10 Road Trips

Posted in Legend, Road Trip on October 28, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  499,065

Happy Friday morning!  If you’re ready for a run-down on some of the many places my Acura has taken me over the last few hundred thousand miles, head on over to AcuraConnected.com for a feature story today highlighting my favorite destinations.  Many thanks to site owner Chris for the post!

Click here to check it out.

Heritage

Posted in Throwback on October 28, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  499,054

Look at that number 5 just getting overly anxious to reveal itself.

I started the day off with a flat tire this morning.  In all my travels (knocking on wood here) I have never had to change a tire on the side of the road.  I’ve only had tires go flat during the night, like what happened in this case.  I had a good sized screw in the left rear tire so I threw on a spare.  I don’t use a donut spare tire, either.  I have a full-fledged factory 16″ wheel and tire.  In fact on my biggest road trip this year, the coast-to-coast CA to NJ adventure, I took TWO spare tires. I’m an Eagle Scout after all, so my motto is to always be prepared.

The car is screaming for a wash & detail and I hope to tackle that this upcoming weekend.  I’d touch up some of the rock chips on the front end but I fear I’d need a gallon or two of Desert Mist paint and it’d probably end up looking worse than it already does.

Here’s a fun flashback pic.

Seeing double?  You’d better believe it.  Back in May, 2006, my friend Branson from Salt Lake City bought an Acura Legend that looked like an identical twin to mine.  His had an automatic transmission, though.  We had so much fun cruising around the streets in our lookalikes.

Can you tell which one was mine?

Today’s look-back is an extension of a post I published several weeks ago, discussing about how being into cars runs in my family.  Long before Honda and Acura were around, my great-grandfather Merrill V. Hansen and his wife Della were pioneers in the automotive realm.  They opened the very first gas station in Logan, Utah, located in the beautiful Cache Valley of northern Utah.  I felt it appropriate to dedicate a post of my blog to Grandpa Hansen and his legacy.

A crisp winter morning on Highway 89-91.

Grandpa Hansen’s station offered Texaco fuel at one time, and then Chevron later on.  My uncle Jeff remembers Grandpa telling him that in the early days, gas was delivered using horse-drawn equipment.

Here are some other pictures from over the years that I’ve been able to dig up of Grandpa’s service station.

He and Della lived in the home just south of the station.  The highway has since been widened, raised, and had a guard rail installed so that the home appears to have “sunk” alongside.

Grandpa Hansen with my grandmother, Marilyn, as a baby.

I wonder how much he was charging for gas back in those days?

Late 1970’s here in the background:

My dad’s 1968 Chevy Nova in the foreground.  He had about a dozen different engines in that thing.

To my knowledge, this is the last picture we have of the building before it was finally bulldozed.  You can see that it had been overtaken by a huge 3-bay warehouse next door which still stands today.  The little station to the left is now just a memory.

I’d like to also pay tribute to my great-grandma, Granny (mom’s mom’s mom).  In her later years she loved being chauffeured around in my Legend.  Granny passed away this past April at the age of 98 years young.  “Be true to your teeth and they won’t be false to you,” she’d say.  Always full of wit and wisdom. Granny was also a Honda fan, actually.  She drove a white 5-speed manual 1984 Honda Civic S hatchback well into her 80’s.  It didn’t even have power steering!

This picture is from about 2004 when I picked up Granny at her home to go to church on Sunday morning.

And another from 2006.

Finally, on Thanksgiving Day, 2007.  She still looked great and was as sharp as ever.

Here’s a picture when I picked Granny up to take her to Thanksgiving dinner in November, 2008.  I’m happy to have spent a few of my miles driving around with such a classy lady in the passenger seat.

499,000!

Posted in Legend, Milestones on October 27, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer: 499,010

Fewer than 1,000 miles to go!  The suspense is killing me.  I rolled 499k tonight on the way home from work on Hwy 87.  Seeing that number 5 start to peek up on the odometer gives me chills.  When I reported the milestone to my friend Dave in Seattle, he said that the 5 is winking at me.  Truth.  Here’s the site of the 499k occasion.  It doesn’t look that exciting, but to me, it was!

Today’s history lesson is a flashback story on one road trip in particular that was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

My drive to 5 was sharply sidelined at around 299,000 miles in July, 2007.  I was en route to Austin, Texas for an Acura Legend “meet” with friends in the wee hours of a Saturday morning when a deer decide to become roadkill on Highway 290 between Fredericksburg and Johnson City.

Shaken up but still assured that the car was roadworthy, I continued on and still attended the meet with a wrecked car.

The following morning, an early departure again found me on Highway 290.  Here’s where it gets interesting — surreal, even.  I hit ANOTHER deer and wiped out the driver’s side front end.  At this point, you heard me right, I’d hit two deer on the same stretch of road within 24 hours of each other.  Apparently lightning does strike twice in the same place.

Knowing now that Austin is 1,007 miles from home, I knew I had a serious issue.  My only functioning headlight was soon made inoperative by entering water (of course, it was raining!  What else could go wrong?) so I was pressed to make it home before sundown.  I certainly had some stares and concerned onlookers from both the folks I passed on the interstate and the attendants at my fuel stops.

And I did.  The trusty old Legend, though bruised, got me safely home to Phoenix without missing a beat.

And a day or two later, looking shabby but still proud of its accomplishment, the Legend rolled 300,000 miles in this very location in front of my friend Chuck’s house.

Not long afterward, I made arrangements to have the car repaired by a friend’s body shop in Logan, Utah.  Autocare Collision Repair had the car for several weeks during its reconstruction.  Here’s a shot I took of my coupe driving northbound on I-15 in Salt Lake City, with my dad at the wheel, when I was leaving it for body work and I flew back to Arizona.

And a few shots I took while visiting a couple of weeks later.

The car was outfitted with brand new, factory spec parts.  I saved a chipped piece of one of the old battered headlights as a souvenir.  Finally it was time for the Legend to be back on the road.  And it came back stronger than ever.  So strong, in fact, that Acura of Tempe proudly showcased the car in their Service Department for a couple of weeks.

The old Legend at 303,000 miles looked right at home with the new models on the floor.

Well, 990 miles from now the Drive to Five will reach its destination.  The Acura goes in for an oil change and a new windshield next Monday.  This will be the car’s 152nd oil change – each and every one documented with a receipt from the dealership performing the service.

Drive on!

Open Road Racing

Posted in Legend, Road Trip, Throwback on October 26, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  498,953

Still trucking!  499,000 awaits tomorrow!  Here’s a story of how I took my old high-miler into a competitive racing event a couple of years ago.

Bonneville Salt Flats, western Utah

Not many people would dream of taking a 330,000 mile vehicle to participate in a very competitive open-road racing event at over 100 miles per hour.  Probably few people would also enter an old luxury coupe into an event where most drivers brought new Corvettes or Porsches.  Well, I did.

It had always been a dream of mine to drive my own Acura Legend, flat out, on a public highway as fast as I wanted to.  I had that opportunity for two consecutive events at the Bonneville 100 Open-Road Race, put together by an organization called MKM Racing.  The premise of the B100 is to fly down a (closed) public highway for 100 miles (50 miles down, then 50 miles return) and arrive at the finish line at exactly your target average speed.  The race is held about where the “A” on this map is located — in the barren reaches of the Nevada/Utah desert near the Bonneville Salt Flats.

In 2007, with the assistance of “navigator” and friend Branson from Salt Lake, I competed in the 100 mph class.  In 2008, I competed in the 105 mph class.  In both cases, very strict parameters were in place regarding the minimum and maximum speeds allowed.  Had I gone slower than 80 or faster than 124 at any point during the race, I would have been disqualified.  The cars were released from the start line about 1 minute apart from each other.  It’s a surreal experience to be driving at triple-digit speeds and know that the only law enforcement officers you’re going to see will in fact be egging you on!

The 2007 event is discussed in greater detail with tons of pictures here on the Acura Legend forums in my post.

One of the biggest grins I’ve ever had behind the wheel was from my (required) “qualifying” class when, in order to validate that both I and my car were ready to race at speed, I had to take a professional race instructor with me and demonstrate my abilities on a 9-mile stretch of empty road, one day prior to the race.  My instructor was Richard Hille, who competes in the 170 mph class in black 1996 Camaro.  I learned that Richard used to have a 1991 Legend. He told me, just prior to the qualifying run, that he’d taken his Legend to 140 mph. “These are great cars,” he said.  Here is a picture with the two of us gearing up for our run.

During the qualifying run, we went to grid and as we inched toward the start, I reached to turn off the A/C. Richard said, “You can leave that on, you’re not even going to be working this car hard.”  With the adrenaline running through my system and Richard in the passenger seat, I turned into a total beast!  The green flag came, and I blasted through the gears like I never have in my life. I also found out what my car sounds like at high RPM.  I remember thinking, “Man, how come I’ve never driven like this before?!” The Type II V6 motor was singing right up until I hit 100 mph and then I leveled out the speed. After a mile or two, Richard said, “Let’s take it to 110.” I followed instructions, still in 5th gear at the time.  Not long after, he said, “Go ahead and push it to 120.”  I happily obliged, and passed the test with flying colors.

On race day, Branson and I got 2nd place of two cars in our 100 mph class.  But the amazing thing was this: We were only 2.3 secondsoff a PERFECT time. Not too shabby for a first time racer.  Here’s a video of our first leg when I was first getting up to speed and taking it to 115 mph or so.

In 2008, I came back for more grins and upped to the 105 mph class instead of 100 mph.

The day before race morning, my copilot Branson and I went over to the nearby Bonneville Salt Flats in deserted western Utah.  This landmark is known for its seemingly infinite flat land which is the perfect location for vehicles to pursue land speed records.

I’ll paraphrase my experience from a post that I shared on the Acura Legend forums recapping the entire event here.

Due to the nature of the sport, open road racers take safety very seriously.  In order to compete in the race, my Legend had to pass a technical inspection including wear & age of the tires among other things.  I also had to install a fire extinguisher in the car.  The only place I could think of that would not create unsightly drill-holes was underneath the back seat, so that’s where we put it.

Here’s my Tech Inspection certificate that was fastened to my windshield after getting the car checked out.

Quick driver’s meeting before heading out to the course.

This is the pre-game assembly at the Visitor’s Center in Wendover, Nevada.  We had to line up in our respective classes and in the proper grid order.

A couple of shots at the pre-race grid with the Legend awaiting its performance.

This is the caravan to the start line on Highway 93 where the race is held.  Mike, a competitor from Las Vegas in the 105 mph class and now a good friend of mine, was ahead of me in his black 2007 C6 Corvette 6-speed.

Once underway, the adrenaline pumps at full speed.  Here is a picture taken by Branson while I blasted down the road at about 115 mph.

A scare emerged just shortly after getting up to speed.  Antelope on the road!  Pay close attention at the end of this video.  Everything happened so quickly that it hardly registered in my mind.  I could easily have made roadkill of this animal.  At that speed, there is lethal potential!

After that near-death experience, I pulled the speed up to 120 and brought our average up to 105. Then, the next scare… we were closing in quickly on the guy in front of us.  In the prior year, we’d never had to pass anybody. It looked like we might have to. This guy in a yellow Corvette was clearly not going fast enough. We tailed him at 85-90 mph through the curves when he should have been doing 100+. I thought about passing him on the straight, but somehow we were able to maintain the 105 average even while staying behind this guy – he picked up his speed in the straights.

Here you can get an idea of the somewhat primitive GPS system that Branson and I relied on during the race.  Top left number is current speed. Bottom left number is average speed.  This picture was taken on a 7-mile straightaway that was called the Speed Trap.  The yellow blob you see up ahead is a competitor in my 105 mph class in a C6 Corvette.  We were gaining on him.


We rolled into finish of the first leg and I got out of the car sweating. I was glad to be alive!  I talked to the guy in the yellow Vette and told him I thought we were right on track. He was running off stop watches and was very confident that he was right and we weren’t.

It was another long hour+ of downtime until we rolled back out to run the second leg. I was worried about having to pass the yellow Vette guy, but determined to do so if I had to. We got the green flag for the second half. This one wasn’t nearly as eventful. Again we sailed to 120 until the average came up, then settled at 105 for the duration of the course. We ended up getting close to the guy in the yellow Vette yet again.  I couldn’t figure out how come our GPS was reading RIGHT ON 105 mph average yet we kept catching this guy!   But we followed him in to the finish.

Before starting the second (return) leg of the race.  Somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Nevada!

Clearly my timing needs some work. We found out later that we had come in a full 51 seconds too early. Our GPS must have been reading wrong and we didn’t end up placing, but we sure had a great time!  Here are the results:

Target Speed 105 Class

1. 0.011-mph (0:00.365+t) 402 Michael Keegan 29:32.296@104.915 28:31.498@105.066 Corvette
2. 0.026+mph (0:00.875-t) 299 William Rice 29:30.577@105.017 28:31.977@105.036 Corvette
3. 0.049-mph (0:01.639+t) 104 Stan Jennings 29:17.897@105.774 28:47.171@104.112 Dodge Van
4. 0.630-mph (0:21.017+t) 351 Mark Rice 29:30.644@105.013 28:53.802@103.714 Charger
5. 1.577+mph (0:51.531-t) 194 Tyson Hugie 29:04.671@106.576 28:07.227@106.577 Acura Legend

The numbers are:

– How far off we were from our target average mph overall
– (How many seconds off)
– Car number
– Driver’s name
– Time for first leg @ average mph
– Time for second leg @ average mph

What this means is that we were 1 THOUSANDTH of a second different between the times of our first leg and second leg. Leg 1 averaged 106.576, Leg 2 averaged 106.577. Mike Borders, who runs the event, said he had never seen that kind of precision before. Now if only we could have had the timing right!  The old Acura represented itself well and demonstrated that even an old luxo coupe can hold its own in a high-speed race.