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.