Archive for April, 2012

Tucson Trip & Latest ILX Video

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Legend, Road Trip on April 29, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  511,719

On September 24, 1994, my Legend was purchased by its original owner from Acura of Pleasanton, California.  Patricia drove the car off the lot with 288 miles on the odometer for the total sale price of $41,250.20.  The car had been on the dealership’s lot for several months as a test-drive vehicle.  It was one of the first “refreshed” 1994 model Legend coupes in the Bay Area at the time, since it was built in October 1993.

Eighteen years later, I gave Patricia a look at her Legend with 511,400 more miles on it than that day in August 1994.  And I could still see the look in her eye that told me she missed the car and the 9 years she had spent with it until I took ownership in early 2003.  Yesterday, she competed in the Duathlon Nationals event in Tucson, Arizona which she had flown in from San Francisco for.  The Duathlon consisted of a 5K run, 35K bike, and another 5K run.  Patricia’s 4th place victory is evidence that she’s still very much “got it” physically.

Patricia and I met at Starbucks in Tucson, which is about 100 miles away from my home, for a chat after her event.  She and I have kept in close contact over the years since I bought my Legend.  She even attended the Drive to Five celebration last November when it turned 500,000 miles at Acura Headquarters in Torrance, California.  As we got caught up over a drink, I looked out at the Legend in the parking lot.  “From this distance, you can’t see the rock chips,” I said.  Her reply, “Oh, I can!”  She loves to give me a hard time about how I’ve let the paint on the front end get beat-up and the clear coat fail on the trunk lid.

Congratulations to Patricia on another of her many athletic successes.  Hope we can connect again soon.

Taken at a rest stop just north of Casa Grande, Arizona on westbound Interstate 10.

Only in AZ do you see a warning like this at a rest stop. I’ve actually managed to live in Arizona for over 6 years now and never see a scorpion.

Yesterday evening I attended a KUPD 97.9 (local radio station) “UFEST” rock concert in Mesa, Arizona with my friends Raul and Matt.  The car sat in the corner of a dirt parking lot ($10 parking!) while we enjoyed getting our ears blasted by Chevelle, Staind, and Godsmack.

Chevelle takes the stage.

Mechanically, the old car needs a few things.

  • Alternator started making a whining noise on the way back from Tucson yesterday.  It was changed only 4,755 miles ago but I went with an aftermarket unit instead of OEM and I think that may be the reason to blame.  Lessons learned!
  • Tires need replacing (and they’re wearing badly on the insides primarily, so I probably need an alignment).  I bought these Michelin Primacy tires at Discount Tire at 392,107 miles.  I don’t think I’ve put 119,000 miles on this set of tires because I’ve had a couple of other sets of wheels/tires on the car over the last couple of years.  I’d say, however, that they do have at least 80-90k on them.  These Michelins are spendy (I was quoted $750 for a new set this week) but they are the best tire I’ve ever owned and I wouldn’t settle for anything less.
  • Timing belt & water pump are now 90,706 miles old.  In my car, they are recommended to be changed every 90,000 miles so it’s now due for this service.  I’ll probably get it in to Acura within the next couple of weeks to have it taken care of.

All in all, still running great!

In NEW Acura news:  Check out the latest in the series of videos illustrating my feedback on the all-new 2013 Acura ILX model which goes on sale next month.  Lee DaSilva, Senior Product Planner at Acura’s main office, shared some Q&A with me during an exclusive test drive.

For a complete write-up of my experience, stop by the “ILX Experience” Facebook tab.  You can click into the Tyson’s ILX Blog screen and see not only my story about driving the ILX, but also a log of reader questions that I’ve answered about the car.

The ILX that I drove in the video was this gorgeous Crystal Black 2.4 liter 6-speed with black interior.  I loved how the 6-speed model has a few special touches on the interior to give it a sporty feel:  contrast color stitching on the leather seats, and red accents on the gauge cluster.

A couple more shots from behind the scenes at the studio.

High Mileage Stories

Posted in Milestones, Prelude, Reader's Ride on April 27, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  511,358

One of my favorite things about Drive to Five is that it has brought so many other Honda and Acura fans out of the woodwork to share their similar mileage successes with me.  I have a new friend named Tim from New Jersey who drives this beautiful 2003 Honda Accord coupe that recently crossed a milestone.  I welcome Tim to the 150,000 mile club!  His car still looks fantastic and from the sounds of things, he’s maintaining it carefully so that it will no doubt cross the 200,000 mile mark and beyond.

Some of my readers will also remember when in a prior post I mentioned Matt Marion, editor at Mens Health, who took his green 2001 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T to 500,000 miles on its original drivetrain.  The car was donated to science, so to speak, and engineers at VW headquarters disassembled the motor to assess its condition after all those miles.  The results were pretty remarkable.  Matt shared his story on the Mens Health blog here, complete with a video.

Congratulations, Matt!  (And Matt’s Jetta, which will now live on in other Jettas since its parts have been donated).

I also love to check in periodically at   There’s a special section of that page dedicated to people like me who have had such great ownership experiences with Honda products.  I first submitted my Legend to the page in October, 2005 when it had 194,000 miles.  Following was that initial entry.  I was rolling around on 17″ RSX Type S wheels at the time:

I’ve since followed up with the website administrator, Ellen, multiple times and she’s posted my latest mileage status each time:

  • November, 2007 (300,000 miles)
  • January, 2010 (400,000 miles)
  • November, 2011 (500,000 miles)

The page is searchable which is handy if you’re wondering about high mileage stories of any Honda or Acura model in particular.

Lastly, a special feature for today’s post:   A “Guest Editorial” of sorts.  We all know that well-maintained Hondas seem to last forever.  I’ve known that since long before I started obsessing over getting my own Acura to the 500,000 mile mark.  And I recently shared with my readers that one of my Honda loves has always been the 1988-1991 Honda Prelude, which I shared in a previous post.

One of the key sources of inspiration early on in my Honda-owning history was my friend Chris who lives in Maryland.  Chris and I were both members of the now-obsolete website & forum back in the late 1990’s.  Chris’ car, at around 250,000 miles, was one of the highest mileage vehicles I knew of at the time.  I looked up to his example and set a personal goal of reaching that milestone with my own car at the time, a 1989 Prelude Si that looked just like Chris’ ride.

My Prelude is the red one pictured here.  It had a mere 155,000 miles on the odometer.  These are pictures from the first “meet” I ever attended with any vehicle – held in May 2000 at the Excalibur Casino parking structure in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It wasn’t until November 2008, when I was on a cross-country road trip from AZ to PA and back that I had a chance to actually shake Chris’ hand and sit behind the wheel in his famous Prelude in Maryland, which had 393,565 miles on it at the time.  My Legend had just over 352,000 on it then.

Following is Chris’ story (in his own words) about this Prelude, followed by a photo journal of some of his car’s history.

The abridged 2-owner history of “Highmileage:”

I purchased a bright red 1988 Prelude 2.0 Si from the original owner in February of 1999 for $4800.  The title and odometer read nearly 227,000 miles.  The main reasons why I bought this car were (1) its service history was fully documented from its late 1987 purchase thru present and (2) I was curious how long it would last before it blew up.  I wanted to know how many ORIGINAL miles a Honda would go.

The $4800 I paid for it was a little much but some one repair on the suspension had just been completed and a total repaint and clear coat was done within the last year.  Though the car was 11 years old with well over 200,000 miles; it LOOKED like it was just off the showroom floor and I had to have it.  A quick trip to the credit union and a signature later I bought my first car.

I had Highmileage for 10 years and drove it through MD, DE, PA, NJ, VA, NC, TN, OH, MI and WV.  I drove it, I babied it, I thrashed it with 100-120 mph highway runs in it, I raced it at Summit Point Raceway in WV,  and I took it to numerous car shows before it started rusting.  I took it to the beach dozens of times and it was my prized ride back in 2003 as I left the church with my new bride.  The car was adorned with very large underwear, silly string, soda cans, you name it in tow towards our hotel the night we got married.

Her last car show was the 2004 National Prelude Meet in Pittsburgh PAwhere she won 3rd place with nearly 350,000 miles.  Not long after that 2004 show the numerous Maryland winters with salt started to take their toll on the car and her outward appearance started to go down hill.

April 23, 2009 was her last day on the road.  That week my mother-in-law borrowed it while her car was in the shop having some body work done.  Due to lack of driving at this stage it was stuck around 398,000 miles and I knew with her 100+ mile commute she could easily get me closer to 400,000 miles.  After stalling 2-3 times the car wouldn’t restart.  The front camshaft was seizing up and the timing belt sheared the pulley off the shaft in my hands during troubleshooting.  The odometer showed 399,525 miles.  Due to a broken speedometer cable in 2000 this car easily had over 400,000 miles as I was returning from Detroit to Maryland when it snapped.  The outward condition of the car at this point was poor and at this point it was time to let it go.

August 1st 2009 I rented a trailer and towed it to the junkyard with my Toyota Sequoia

where it was put in the lot for pickers to grab parts off of.  I visited it every week or two and a few parts were taken off the car but nothing major.  After about 2 months; she was gone.

I’m now 35 years old and my twins are 6.  I’m still a car guy per say but haven’t found the next toy to run up and down the highways.  I’ve tried to find the elusive rust-free Prelude, Acura Legend or another rare car that isn’t seen very often but until then I will always remember the good times had with Highmileage!

-Christopher Miller

Havre de Grace MD

Email for the full story.

The car in its prime early days.

Outstanding Award that Chris received at the Churchville Car & Truck Show on Memorial Day weekend, 2000.

October 1, 2001 – at 300,000 miles.  Photo that Chris sent to his friend at Apple Honda of York, PA who helped with the Prelude’s maintenance.

Happy day at 300k!

Chris received as an honorable mention at the Ocean City car show in June 2002.

This car was the getaway car after Chris’ wedding to his wife Kera.

And finally, in later years.

The car’s last day – odometer at 399,525 miles.

August 1, 2009 – final walkaround video here:

The story, though, has a happy ending.  Several weeks ago, Chris picked up a gorgeous 1991 Prelude Si 4WS with only 207,000 on the odometer.

Thanks, Chris, for sharing your story and for your enthusiasm for Honda!

100 Degrees

Posted in Arizona on April 21, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  511,184

Eighteen years have taken their toll on this Acura, no doubt.  While Desert Mist Metallic is great at looking clean most of the time, up close there’s no hiding that my car has been around the world a few times (about 20 times, to be exact).

Here’s some clearcoat failure on the trunk lid that’s been getting worse with each Phoenix summer.  We are lucky enough to receive over 300 days of sunshine per year here, but this means that paint finishes and dashboards take a beating.

And the supportive bucket seats in the Legend coupe end up with a lot of wear and tear on those side bolsters.

This floor mat makes it pretty easy to tell where I’ve rested my heel!

And let’s not forget that sandblasted front end, thanks to lots of interstate highway drives behind 18-wheelers.

But, this old luxo c0upe cleans up just fine with a little elbow grease.  She got a bath this week.

And a couple of nice pictures taken by my friend John this past Thursday night at a parking garage in Tempe, Arizona.

Thanks, John, for the awesome camera skills!

I dug this shirt out of the closet today.  At one time many years ago, I ordered it online. I may not be an Acura technician, but I can look the part!

It’s always a big guessing game each spring in Phoenix:  “When will we hit our first triple-digit temperature day?!”  Well, according to the forecast on right now – it could be today!  Doesn’t seem like we should be getting this kind of heat in April.

Thankfully, the Legend’s A/C is blowing ice cubes, so bring on summer.

As I’ve shared on Drive to Five before, I’m excited for my continued involvement in the launch of the all new 2013 Acura ILX model.  There are some great reviews being shared to YouTube and elsewhere, like the following from DriveTime.

I’m still fielding lots of reader questions about the new ILX via the “ILX Experience” application on Acura’s Facebook page, and the responses are being posted to the “Tyson’s ILX Blog” tab.  Check it out!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Squaw Peak Hike

Posted in Arizona, Hikes on April 17, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  511,008

Forecast says 97 degrees on Saturday!  As temps creep up in Phoenix, Arizona, we’re taking advantage of every chance we get to enjoy the great outdoors before it’s time to hibernate in our air conditioned homes and workplaces.  Yesterday, I hiked with a few friends to the 2,608 foot summit of Squaw Peak, also known as Piestewa Peak which was named in honor of the first Native American woman to die in combat in the US Military.  The 1,200 foot elevation gain feels a lot like a stairmaster for the 1.2 miles each way of the hike.

Tyson, Tyler, Rustin, Matt, and Tanya

I spy.  From the summit, I could still check on my car in the parking lot (circled in orange!)

This weekend I also had company from my friend Tyler from Utah who you’ll remember from my post featuring his white Prelude 4WS.  Tyler was gracious enough to allow me some behind-the-wheel time of this great handling little sports car.

Finally – many thanks to my roommate for putting together this entertaining picture.  Indeed, my Legend lacks a cupholder and my friends love to point that out.   Anyone seen the movie Bridesmaids who can relate with me?

Parking Paranoia

Posted in Legend on April 13, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  510,553

About two months ago, I transferred within CVS Caremark to a position that required me to work in a different building.  My company’s campus is huge and the new desk is a solid 6-7 minute walk away from the old.  Nevertheless, I had gotten so used to parking in my same location that I still continue to park there.  My conversation with a work colleague at the onsite gym earlier this week went like this:

  • Thad:  So, Shane and I noticed that “6 SPD” is still parked over at Mountain View.  What’s up with that?  I know you guys have shaded parking at the Shea building.
  • Tyson:  Yeah, I still park there and just walk over.
  • Thad:  Are you out of your mind?  WHY?
  • Tyson:  A few reasons.  Having the car parked far away keeps me from getting in and going out to lunch every day.  It also gives me a nice walk before and after work.  Besides, there is more shade coverage than the metal canopies at the Shea building.
  • Thad:  It’s really just about having the car in the shade all day, isn’t it?
  • Tyson (grinning):  You know me.

These people legitimately think I’m off my rocker!  And I love it.  Nobody else is crazy enough to go that far out of their way to have a car sit in the shade.  Today I got out to my car in the garage after work, and this was under the windshield wiper.

I know it’s Thad just having fun with me.  And I won’t be changing my parking habits anytime soon :).  But view the exhibits and I think you’ll agree with my decision.

Where I park:

And here’s the alternative.  Notice – by 4 p.m. the front end of the car isn’t shaded at all!  It may not seem like a huge deal right now, but when it gets to be 120 degrees in Phoenix this summer and you can get burned by door handles, the extra shade goes a long way.

Survey says:  Am I nuts?

Interesting thing about this story is that it’s not the first time I’ve been harassed by coworkers about how I park.

Back in 2003 I was 21 years old and proud to be working my first “real” office job, at SkyWest Airlines in St. George Utah.  The job was perfect except for a lack of decent shaded parking.  I scouted out the neighborhood and found an apartment complex a couple of blocks away with covered parking, so much like I’m doing today, I parked there daily and hiked 5 minutes to get to work.  Well, that lasted a couple of months until I received this notice on my car:

Ha!  These property managers take their parking spots seriously!  I had the last laugh, though.  I’d been using their lot all summer.

When my colleagues at SkyWest got wind of the story, they took it to another level and played a practical joke on me.  I was summoned by phone at my desk one day that I needed to go out to my car on a hot day in June 2003.

Here I am walking out of the office in the red T-shirt.

And here’s what I saw.  They had actually propped up umbrellas to shade my car!

My (then) mere 102,000 mile Legend had 18″ Kaotik Z5 wheels on it at the time.

I was a good sport and even posed for a picture with the pranksters’ handiwork!

Good memories!

My friend Ian who you’ll remember with the 2012 Civic sent me a link via text message yesterday to a blog for the “Half Million Mile Man,” Matt Marion, who’s documented the last 100k of his 500k adventure on a website here.  Matt’s 2001 Volkswagen Jetta took 93 oil changes, 13 sets of spark plugs, and 7 air filters to get to 499,278 miles – the milestone it had reached as of last Friday, April 6th.  He was projected to hit 500k within a couple of days after that, but nothing’s yet been posted to his blog.  Matt decided to donate his Jetta to science, so to speak.  The engineers at VW Group of America will disassemble his car in an effort to identify just what went “right” with this design.

I’ll be anxiously watching Matt’s blog for the unveil and I congratulate him on the accomplishment!

Lastly, I love to share “fanmail” from other folks who are as excited about Acura as I am.  I was recently contacted by blog reader Amanda who’s a proud Georgia State University grad.  Her Vortec Blue 2009 Acura TSX, also known as the PantherMobile, even has its own Facebook page.  Amanda reports that the TSX is currently in Florida supporting Georgia State’s Cheer team as they compete at the NCA Nationals Championship.  Good luck to the team!  Love to see this kind of school spirit – and I must say the TSX makes perfect selection for a mascot vehicle.

Drive on, Amanda!

2013 Acura RLX

Posted in RLX on April 10, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  510,356

In its day, my 1994 Legend was cream of the crop in the Acura lineup.  After the Legend as we know it was dropped after the 1995 model year, it came the 3.5 RL, and then just the RL, and for 2013 Acura’s top model is going to be called the RLX.  Naming conventions aside, this latest iteration promises to be the most advanced flagship model we’ve ever seen from Acura since the company’s 1986 birth.

A 3.5 liter V6 engine will produce over 370 horsepower mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission to get this big luxury sedan moving quickly.  A revolutionary Precision All Wheel Steering system coupled with available Acura signature Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) means it will handle just as well as it looks.  This may be the first time a Honda product has seen all-wheel-steering since the beloved Prelude that I talked about in a recent post.  I love the look and I’m excited about this vehicle accompanying the upcoming NSX as Acura’s “halo” duo.

Handsome looking ride!  This new RL looks to be a nice improvement over the outgoing model.  Some of you may remember my friend Jeremy who proudly purchased an old Legend several months ago.  He’s already upgraded!  Last weekend he picked up a super clean 2005 Acura RL.

Meanwhile, my old Legend continues faithfully.  In current maintenance news:  I’ve been driving on my (full size) spare tire for about 6 weeks now.  The front left tire had a slow leak and I got tired of refilling the air every week or so, and I threw on my spare.  Secondly, on extended highway drives (several hours or more) I’m getting a “Code 12” check engine light.  Performance is unaffected but apparently the repair is pretty involved and will require the system to be disassembled and cleaned.  One of these days!

A friend in Houston forwarded a craigslist ad to me this week for a Type II 6-speed Legend that’s been subjected to some pretty heavy duty recreation!  This one’s a Desert Mist Metallic coupe, same color as mine, but in L model trim:

Indeed the Legend owner’s manual does have a complete 4-page section on towing how-to!  And a trailer weight of up to 2,000 pounds is A-okay.  Who knew that people actually use these cars for that?

This also reminds me of the time I saw a post on the Legend forums about a guy who actually towed a Legend with another Legend!   Philadelphia to Denver (1,850 miles) with a coupe being towed by a sedan.  I had to see the picture to believe it.

Last I checked, these cars weigh about 3,500 pounds so he was pressing his luck for sure.  But it also says a lot for the endurance of the drivetrain that the car withstood such a task.  Maybe if I ever buy a jet ski I’ll paint it Desert Mist Metallic and tow it behind my car!

Saguaro Lake

Posted in Arizona, Legend, Road Trip on April 4, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  510,206

Let’s talk about a legend of another sort today:  Rachel Veitch!

This lady at age 93 has finally decided to retire a vehicle that she bought in 1964 and put 576,000 miles on.  If it weren’t for her degrading eyesight, no doubt she’d press on and shoot for the 600,000 mark.  I love this lady’s enthusiasm and sense of adventure – not to mention commitment to her vehicle.  If I ever find myself road-tripping through Orlando, I’m picking her up for a few miles as a passenger in my own high-miler.   Many thanks to Rachel for her inspiration and I hope her Mercury Comet continues to drive on.

I do however have to point out that Rachel’s car went through 3 sets of shocks, 18 batteries, and 8 mufflers.  My Legend (though it’s still 60k miles behind her car) has the original struts, its 6th battery, and original muffler.  Not too shabby!

I decided it was time for a mini roadtrip adventure in the old Legend, so after work yesterday I set off for Saguaro Lake. This 1,264-acre reservoir is about 30 miles from my home in Scottsdale, located right off the Highway 87 “Beeline” Highway, and then a few miles down the Bush Highway.  The lake gets its name from the Saguaro cacti that are abundant in the area.  These cacti may survive for up to 150 years and can grow up to 50 feet tall.  The views at Saguaro Lake are remarkable at any time of day, but especially noteworthy at sunset which is when I happened to be rolling through.

Come along for the ride.

Also a quick shout-out to my friend Ian who allowed me a few minutes behind the wheel this week of his 2012 Honda Civic Si 6-speed.  What a blast to drive!  Ian found Drive to Five by stumbling across my YouTube channel.  He’s local to Phoenix and an enthusiast of high-mileage vehicles.  We met up briefly for a Frosty at Wendy’s and a picture in the poorly lit parking lot of the 510k mile Legend and the 3k mile Civic.

For anyone who’s keeping up on current automotive events:  Remember that this is the week of the New York International Auto Show!  There are many exciting things to come from Acura.  Among them, a brand new flagship model to be revealed.  Tomorrow’s Acura press conference will be held at 1:50 p.m. Eastern time so expect to see plenty of documentation about the new model later in the day.

Cheesy grin because I love being behind the wheel of my Acura!