Archive for November, 2011

Thanksgiving Travels

Posted in Legend, Road Trip, Utah on November 28, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  503,806

Lots of seat-time for the Legend driver and its passengers this weekend as we made the trek as far north as Ogden, Utah, some 757 miles away from my home in Scottsdale.  The drive, though, was totally worth it.  I got to see my new niece & nephew and have a great holiday with my family.

Wednesday afternoon – heading northbound from Phoenix after a short & sweet day at the office.  Quick stop for road treats in Wickenburg, Arizona.

Friday morning, St. George, Utah at my brother’s place.  Legend gets dwarfed by my brother’s 2011 Ford pickup with 40″ tires

Northbound Interstate 15 in central Utah.  Yes, I yielded the driver’s seat to my friend Jeremy for a 2.5 hour stretch of the drive to Salt Lake City!

Central Utah scenery.

Saturday morning, Salt Lake City, Utah.  A very chilly & frosty 25 degrees Fahrenheit and the Legend cranked right up – well, on the second try at least.  It’s a tired old motor!

My friends and I again went to see the steam locomotive, Union Pacific 844, which is nearing the end of its journey of the southwest United States and returning home to Cheyenne, Wyoming soon.  This picture taken at the train station in Ogden, Utah.  A legend meets a Legend (again).

Heading back to St. George, Utah on Saturday evening.  This is my favorite time of day to drive.  Interstate 15 southbound, taken near Nephi, Utah.

Earlier this week I redeemed my first “complimentary” oil change on the Legend, thanks to the folks at Acura Parts & Service in Torrance, CA at the company’s headquarters.  My receipt from Acura North Scottsdale from 502,050 miles states “Extended Warranty.”  That’s one great extension!  I definitely intend on getting the car’s upper front control arms checked out as well as taking a look at the EGR system.  We got a code 12 check engine light a couple of times on this trip – probably just something that needs to be cleaned out & reset.

All in all another successful voyage for the now-seasoned Legend.

Hope all my readers had a great holiday!

What Now?

Posted in Legend, Milestones on November 20, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  502,006

The Drive “Past” Five is well underway and quite a bit has happened since the red-carpet reception at Acura a couple of weeks ago.

This past weekend, the old Legend was exercised on a fun excursion to witness a piece of history.

Union Pacific 844, also known as the “Living Legend,” is a steam locomotive that’s been in service since 1944, 50 years before my Acura, and the only survivor of 10 such locomotives delivered to Union Pacific that year.  The train came through Arizona this weekend in connection with the state’s centennial celebration.  My friend Matt and I had a chance to see 844 roll past us and it was an incredible experience to witness the sheer momentum it carries (220 tons worth!).

Here we are parked alongside a frontage road in Picacho, Arizona upon the train’s arrival on Saturday, November 12th.

We were able to “pace” the train for several miles before stopping to watch it be serviced.

The locomotive was serviced in Coolidge, Arizona before continuing its journey into the Phoenix area.

The Legend made the trip effortlessly.

The following day, I entered the car in a “Battle of the Brands” car show in Chandler, Arizona.  This show was hosted by SanTan Honda and SanTan Subaru who operate dealerships that are adjacent to each other.  There was a great turnout from the Honda & Acura community, including my friend Spencer and his dad, Warren, who brought out their extremely well kept 1994 Legend LS coupe in Cashmere Silver Metallic.  It looks pretty showroom fresh for having around 210,000 miles on it.

Spencer and his dad were also sporting their “500,000” congratulatory shirts that my friend Dave from the acuralegend.org forums developed as part of a group buy.  Awesome!

My friend CJ and his brother Neil stopped by to check out the rides.  As you can see we battled the rain most of the morning but still had a great time at the show.

I couldn’t resist a classic hubcap picture with an exotic 1991 formula red NSX in the reflection.

In the end, neither Spencer nor I took home a trophy in the “Stock Honda” class but two Legends with a combined nearly 3/4 million miles certainly represented very well how enduring and reliable that Acura products can be.

This week I had the privilege of being one of Acura’s guests at a launch of the 2012 Acura TL in connection with Zagat.  It was hosted at Siren Studios in Los Angeles and featured some of the best food & company I’ve enjoyed in a long time.

A high-class affair for a high-class brand with an exceptional car.

In other news:  It was time to get the 2-year registration renewal taken care of on the Legend.  Residents of Maricopa County, Arizona get to go through an emissions inspection if we want to keep our cars registered.  Last week it was time to get the coupe checked out.

As I pulled the car into the Scottsdale, Arizona station, the technician asked me if my Legend was rear wheel drive.  This happens every time I take the car to get smog tested.  The 1991-1995 Legend’s 3.2 liter longitudinally-mounted engine (engineered that way for optimal weight distribution) always throws people off.  I assured the guy that my Legend is front wheel drive.

“Did you just have this detailed at the dealer?” he asked.  I told him I keep the car that clean all the time.  And finally, when he looked at the odometer.  “Did you hear about the guy with a million miles who got a brand new Honda?”  And yes, of course, I told him I was familiar with Joe’s story.

Here are the test results, historic through current.  The Legend got straight A’s yet again.

December, 2006:  255,000 Miles

  • Hydrocarbons:  .43
  • Carbon Monoxide:  6.18
  • NOX:  .81

November, 2007:  302,000 Miles

  • Hydrocarbons:  .26
  • Carbon Monoxide:  6.66
  • NOX:  .37

November, 2009:  401,000 Miles

  • Hydrocarbons:  .59
  • Carbon Monoxide:  5.97
  • NOX:  1.15

November, 2011:  500,000 Miles

  • Hydrocarbons:  .18
  • Carbon Monoxide:  2.72
  • NOX:  1.19

After the technician handed me the paperwork and told me the car had passed with flying colors, he said, “Good luck on the next half million!”

In looking through some of my paperwork I discovered that I still have the very first safety inspection that was performed on the Legend in my ownership.  This is dated 3/27/2003 – just a day after I bought the car.  It had 96,160 miles on it.  The mechanic had mistakenly written the make as “Honda” instead of “Acura” and later crossed it out.  A common oversight!

And I even have the receipt from the first time I ever put gas in this car, on 3/26/2003 in Firebaugh, CA right off Interstate 5 Southbound.  $2.49 for Premium octane — not too shabby!

Lastly:  I was lucky to purchase this Legend from an owner who took equally good (if not better!) care of it.  My Legend’s life started in the San Francisco Bay area and was original sold from Pleasanton Acura.  Patricia, who bought the car at the end of 1994 with 294 miles on it, was able to dig up these pictures a few days ago from when the car was a brand new baby.

Interesting how the car still looks almost identical today.  As you can see there’s still plenty of activity for the Legend as things roll onward beyond the half-million milestone.  I’ll keep the updates coming as we continue the adventure.  Thanks again for being a part of the ride.

Mission Accomplished

Posted in Legend, Milestones on November 6, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  500,588

That 500,000 milestone is now eating my dust!  As it grows more distant in the Legend’s rearview mirror I’ve had some time to reflect on all the amazing events of the past few days.  I’ve been overwhelmed by the support of Acura, of my family, and of my friends in commemorating my car’s achievement.  The staircase at the W Hotel in Hollywood was just one of many places I would be seeing red carpet during my weekend.  Here I am with my mother in the lobby of the hotel.

When I retrieved the Legend from the W’s valet parking team on Friday morning before the event, the guy who pulled the car up to me asked as he got out, “How many miles does it really have on it?”  I assured him that the odometer, which sat at 499,965 at the time, was 100% accurate.  My trip to the Acura headquarters in Torrance was filled with mixed emotions:  I was excited, nervous, hopeful.  Knowing that this was a one-shot ordeal, I wanted so badly for everything to come together just perfectly.  And it did.

Long ago, I had promised the passenger seat in my Acura to my mother, Tia, for the 500k occasion.  My biggest concern as I approached the campus on Torrance Boulevard was that I’d blow past the milestone without having the chance to pick her up.  However, as the odometer read 499,999.8 and I rounded the corner toward the main entrance, I knew we were spot-on!  My heart raced because I knew I’d reached the point of no return.  Mom joined me in the car and we turned 500,000 right on cue.  When we then pulled around the corner, I saw a huge group of people awaiting our arrival with anticipation!

I can’t even describe what it felt like to see my name in print, larger than life, in a banner on the building announcing “me” as Acura’s “newest Legend.”  My jaw dropped as the event coordinators waved me up to the red carpet reception area at the base of a podium to the entrance to Acura’s lobby.  I got out of the car amid tons of cheering and clapping.  It felt unreal!  Jeff Conrad, VP of Acura Sales, asked me to join him at the podium.  I started picking faces out of the crowd – people who had traveled from all across the country to be there, from as far away as New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, Salt Lake, Seattle, San Francisco, Phoenix and many other places.

Jeff presented me with an embroidered jacket which immediately was put to use in the overcast (but dry!) weather.  Acura also sponsored a number of different tokens of recognition, including a certificate that will cover my maintenance through 2012, a duffel bag absolutely packed with Acura goodies, and even a timing belt & water pump from the Parts & Service Department.  At this point I’m only about 16,000 miles away from my next timing belt change, so you can bet I’ll be putting that to use!  People with driving habits like mine, I am told, are bad for new car sales numbers but are great for parts & service business!   Acura has graciously given me the opportunity fly to the Detroit Auto Show as their guest this coming January.  Needless to say I was overwhelmed with the generosity.

After the red carpet reception, the next several hours were filled with an inside look at the heritage of Acura & Honda as my guests and I were invited to visit the Honda Collection museum, complete with mint condition examples of many of the important vehicles in the company’s history.  Acura provided lunch and goody bags for all guests.

My Legend got to be pulled into the museum for the afternoon!

A short program was kicked off by John Watts, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at Acura.  My friend Dave Ballance spoke on behalf of my “family” at the acuralegend.org forums and presented me with an engraved crystal plaque commemorating the event.  He had also headed up the development of a custom T-shirt design.

Following Dave’s remarks, Patricia Lasalle (the original owner of my Legend) shared a few thoughts.  My 500k achievement is thanks in large part to her care of the Legend over its first 8 years of life.  She noted during her talk that she’d never taken the car through an automatic car wash during her ownership.  It was always washed by hand.  Lastly, my mom spoke a little about how obsessive-compulsive tendencies run in the family!  She also took the “blame” for introducing me to Acura when she purchased her first Acura, a 1990 Integra GS, back in 1996.  That car set the standard by which we’ve measured all our subsequent cars.

Later on, I met up with my friends from the acuralegend.org community for some photos on-site in the Honda America headquarters parking lot.

Checking out of the luxurious W Hotel and awaiting the car from valet.

I drove home to Phoenix with my now finally broken-in 1994 Acura Legend LS coupe and had about 6 hours of solitude in the car to truly reflect on the half million miles of travels that I’ve been through with this car and the amazing people that it has led me to meet.  Many have asked about the future of the Legend and of Drive to Five.  I intend to keep driving the car and will maintain the blog occasionally as I’m sure there are road trips and adventures yet to be enjoyed.

I thank Acura for the incredible hospitality that far surpassed any expectations I had for this event.  Acura’s willingness to honor and commemorate this type of occasion for just one loyal owner is a true testament to the level of commitment that the company has toward its customers.  To my friends and family who traveled to be a part of the 500k celebration, you made my day.  Better said, you made my year!  Thanks so much for being a part of not only this weekend’s events, but also playing a key role in the journey that got me here.

Drive on!

I’ve Driven to Five!

Posted in Legend, Milestones on November 5, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  500,032

Red carpet?  All the way!

I can’t even start to convey the excitement and enthusiasm that were overflowing in today’s 500,000 mile event held at the Acura headquarters in Torrance, California.  A day of recognition for an incredible car, its loving driver, and a network of friends and family who have each played a huge role in making this very long journey a success.  It’s been an exhausting day but I wanted to at least quickly update my loyal readers that the day has in fact arrived.

As soon as I can find my laptop AC adapter I’ll begin to sort through the many pictures that were captured today and share some of the memories, but in the meantime, coming to you from the Business Center at the W Hotel in Hollywood:  the Drive to Five has now crossed the finish line!  In fact, the alignment of the odometer, timing, and predetermined location were absolutely & unmistakably perfect this morning.

I’m overwhelmed by the support from Acura and from my friends who traveled from near and far to share this occasion with me.  Stay tuned as I’ll share some of today’s events in the next couple of days.  In the meantime, you can view a few pictures at AcuraConnected.com and my friend Kevin’s album on Facebook if the link works.

TONS more here too. Thanks Efong for the great documentation!

Thanks for riding along!

Hollywood, California

Posted in California, Legend, Milestones, Road Trip on November 4, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer: 499,964

It’s “500k Eve” – as I settle in for the night in Hollywood on the verge of a very big mileage accomplishment for my old Acura.  The car sailed along Interstate 10 westbound from Phoenix just as smoothly as it has probably 50 times before.  This stretch of road is a familiar one for the old Legend. We did sit through about 45 minutes of construction delays near Palm Springs.

I’ll do my best to bring you some of the day’s festivities via photograph and video after the big occasion.

See everyone tomorrow!

The Legend Community

Posted in Legend, NALM on November 3, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  499,507

The Drive to Five would in no way be complete if I didn’t dedicate a post to some of the incredible individuals who I’ve met because of my Acura.

The Acura Legend “family” in particular has inspired me and encouraged me throughout my travels.  It is incredible to have friends across the country – and even across the world – who share this common interest.  With each of my travel adventures I’ve taken the time to visit some of these people.  On a cross-country trip this July, for example, I had lunch with a friend in Oklahoma named Grant who I first met in 2006 at a Legend enthusiast meet.  Grant sold his Acura long ago, but we’ve kept in touch regardless.  These are great people who I maintain friendships with long after the Acura connection is gone.

I’ll never forget the time in New Jersey a few months ago when I invited my friend Ken to take the driver’s seat and turn over 484,000 miles in my Legend.  The event was captured on video.  I was all grins.  Truly – this is what it’s all about.  There is so much more to my story than just a guy who takes care of his car and drives way too much.  For me it’s been about building friendships that will endure even longer than my seemingly immortal Legend coupe.  In this video you’ll see Ken at the wheel, and my friends Tom and Nick in the back seat.  The enthusiasm among these guys is unmatched and I was happy to share the milestone with them.  Check out the video:

Even in light of the fact that the Legend as we know it in the U.S. was discontinued over 15 years ago, the vehicle truly lives on among a very passionate group of individuals like myself who truly appreciate the Acura brand’s impact in the luxury import automotive world.

Each year since 2005, the National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) has served as a venue for coming together to collaborate, talk, race, detail, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company.  Here are a few memories from over the years.  My 1994 Legend coupe has attended each of the 7 NALMs.

NALM 2005:  Dallas, Texas

NALM 2006:  Tulsa, Oklahoma

NALM 2007:  Las Vegas, Nevada

NALM 2008:  Chattanooga, Tennessee

NALM 2009:  Branson, Missouri

NALM 2010:  Salt Lake City, Utah

NALM 2011:  Morristown, New Jersey

I look forward to what 2012 will bring.

So, off to California tomorrow evening and then landing at Honda’s office in Torrance on Friday morning.  Here’s to hoping that the stars are in alignment as I attempt to bring together the perfect timing, mileage, and location on the big day. Fewer than 48 hours until this old Legend is ready to start its next half million.  Thanks to all the guys and gals at acuralegend.org and acurazine.com who have been with me throughout the journey.

😉

Alaska

Posted in Legend, Road Trip, Throwback on November 2, 2011 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  499,487

What better way to enjoy a crystal clear new windshield than with a sunset like this tonight!  Absolutely incredible.

Of all the road trips I’ve taken over the years, the one that stands out as most memorable would have to be an excursion that my dad, Craig, and I took to Fairbanks, Alaska.  I’d dreamed about doing this for years and finally made it happen in May 2006.  I’ll dedicate this post to the trip that out-distanced every other adventure in my Legend by a long shot.

Armed with the MILEPOST Alaska Travel Guide, I started researching dates, routes, stops, and destinations to see along the famous Alaska Highway.  The Milepost was so incredibly detailed that it left little to wonder about.  I remember a page in particular instructing us to look for moose to our right – and sure enough, right on cue, we spotted the wildlife.  I was an MBA student at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at the time, and had an upcoming couple of weeks off between trimesters so I figured the opportunity was right.  The red line here is our outbound trip; the green is our return.  In all I put about 7,600 miles on my Legend in a matter of about 10 days.  There’s a gigantic write-up here on the Acura Legend forums, but I’ll share a few pictures on the blog.

Our northbound route shows here in red, with the return leg in green.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking (and driving) of this post.  They are in completely random order here.

The Alcan Motor Inn, where we stayed one of the nights.

Tons of wildlife sightings!

This sign means hold on for dear life because the frost heaves in the road are going to get bad.  I put my Acura’s suspension to the test.

The actual start of the Alaska Highway (it was SNOWING!):  Dawson Creek, British Columbia

This is in Grande Prairie, where we first started seeing signs with Alaska as a destination! How exciting.

Haines Junction, Yukon Territory – almost there!


Highway 1 in British Columbia. It went through a series of 6 tunnels.

Sunrise

Muncho Lake, British Columbia (about mile 497 on the Alaska Highway)

Views to die for.

Sheep Mountain, Kluane National Park, Yukon Territory.

I got pretty good at reading the tiny little KPH digits on my speedometer while we rolled through Canada!

Stone Mountain Park

Notice how the road winds along near the cliffside.  Just doesn’t get any better than this!

Sheep on the highway in Stone Mountain Provincial Park!

Late sunset on the Alaska Highway (around 11 p.m.)

Bridge in Teslin, Yukon Territory

Cassiar Highway in British Columbia. There were waterfalls right off the road.

Another pic from the Cassiar Hwy 37 drive – British Columbia, Canada.

Gassing up at Petro Canada in Watson Lake, Yukon.

Also in Watson Lake, the famed “signpost forest.”  I should have taken one to add.

Yukon license plate on a van.

Arrival at the border and getting out of the car to stretch.  At last!

Finally – Delta Junction, Alaska.  We had reached our destination – the end of the Alaska Highway – having traveled on it for the entire 1,422 miles.

The aftermath of my tire after arriving back in Salt Lake City, Utah.  This picture was after we’d rotated it from front left to right rear.

And a very buggy Legend front end, begging for a wash.

This was one of many milestones achieved throughout the trip.

And I couldn’t resist buying a souvenir bumper sticker.  No, I didn’t permanently attach it to my back bumper, but I temporarily put it there for a picture.  It reads:  “I drove the Alaska Highway.  Both ways, dammit!”  Not many vehicles with > 200,000 miles can claim such an accomplishment.

Hope you enjoyed the drive as much as I did.

Now, just about 500 miles remain until the big celebration.  Many have attempted to predict where and when the occasion will happen.  Here’s the answer:  Acura has graciously invited me to the company’s North American headquarters in Torrance, California to complete my Drive to Five there this coming Friday, November 4, 2011!

I will depart on Thursday from Phoenix and have “conserved” ample miles to make the voyage to Los Angeles without going past the 500,000 mark too soon.  It will be a challenge to orchestrate the mileage to align at the perfect time and place, but with as many odometer pictures as I’ve taken over the years, I’m up to it!

Many thanks to the great folks at Honda/Acura for following the blog and offering encouragement along the way!  T minus 3 days and counting.