Birthday Bash #31

Odometer (Legend):  518,130


Odometer (ILX):  23,729





That sunset is for real!  Just one of the many reasons I love Arizona.

Some of the greatest people drive Acuras!  Six years ago, I met a guy named Sivaram when I transported a 1994 Legend GS 6-speed from San Francisco to Las Vegas for some friends in Georgia.  I never thought that I’d keep in touch with Sivaram but over the years we’ve corresponded via email.  He happened to be vacationing for Christmas in the Phoenix area so I invited him to stop by the house this week.

December 17, 2006


December 25, 2012


I turned him loose behind the wheel of the Legend.  He admitted it had been a number of years since he’d driven a stick shift vehicle, but he quickly got comfortable and handled it like a pro.  In fact, he prided himself on the ability to shift the car with just one finger.  That’s how smooth this Legend’s gearbox operates, even after all those miles.


My friend Ryan was in town from northern Utah for a couple of days.  Ryan’s owned a few Acuras but currently drives a Honda S2000.  His most recent Legend was a 1994 GS sedan 6-speed.  We got together in May 2010 at the Utah State University campus in Logan, Utah for a few pictures of our cars together.  My Legend had 420,000 miles on it.


Ryan sold his car last year.  This was one of his last pics of it:


But I let him take my sedan for a spin so he could re-live the experience.


And we grabbed some In-N-Out Burger on our way to the airport.


Thanks, Ryan, for the visit and for washing the ILX while I was at work on Wednesday!  That was a real surprise!

It’s been nonstop company at the house this month.  My dad and stepmom arrived on Wednesday night.

I’ve always wanted to take a hot air balloon ride, so Friday morning I fulfilled that wish on my 31st birthday!  My stepmom Tanya and I headed to North Phoenix near the Deer Valley airport in the Legend, arriving at 7:00 a.m. for our sunrise flight with Rainbow Ryders.

Fun facts:

  • During our 1 hour, 16 minute flight time, we traveled 7.9 miles
  • Our highest elevation was 7,200 feet (1.4 miles) above the ground.  Temperatures were chilly up there!
  • Our pilot gave a demonstration with a business card.  He threw it out of our basket during descent.  A business card falls at 800 feet per minute.  At that time, we were falling at 900 feet per minute so we were actually able to watch ourselves leave the falling card above us!  It really is tough to grasp the fact that you’re descending, and especially at that rate!
  • The air was so clear that at our highest point, we were able to look toward the north and see the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, Arizona which are 135 miles away.
  • Our pilot, Taylor, had been flying for 12 years.  He told us that commercial certification requires 30 hours of flight time.



Our basket held 12 people.


It got colder at the higher elevations.  Pictures can’t effectively convey just how huge these balloons are up close!


Great view from up there.  It was interesting to be able to look into peoples’ yards.  Dogs were barking at us.  A few homeowners stepped outside to wave at us.  Since the balloon is silent when it’s “coasting,” we could even yell down to the people on the ground and tell them good morning!


Certificate of completion!


Here’s a short video I took with my phone while mid-flight.

We dined at one of my favorite local restaurant chains, Oregano’s Pizza Bistro.  I’d highly recommend the Big Rig pasta with chicken — and no meal at Oregano’s is complete without a chocolate chip half-baked pizza cookie and vanilla ice cream for dessert.


Quick shot with my dad and the ILX.  This guy taught me everything I know about how to take care of a vehicle.


Dinner with friends & family at Kona Grill / City North in Phoenix.


When my dad drove down to Phoenix on Wednesday, he brought my old N-Scale train set.  My grandma and I put this masterpiece together back in 1996 when I was 14-15 years old.  It has paper mache mountains, a resin lake, two tunnels, and even illuminated buildings in the “town” (which I named Tysonville).  I dug out the diesel locomotive to see if it still worked.  Sure enough!  Looks like I was putting miles on toy train sets long before I was driving the wheels off a car.


The ILX and the sedan got a bath yesterday morning, and the ILX was also treated to a one-step Meguiar’s cleaner / wax thanks to some help from my dad.


The ILX also got its leather treated with “Leather Care,” a product by Griot’s Garage.


Met up at lunch with my friend Jeremy who’s driving his “new” (to him) 2006 Honda Accord coupe V6 6-speed.  He picked up this car in Memphis, Tennessee on Thursday morning and he was in Scottsdale, Arizona (nearly 1,500 miles away) the following night.  This guy puts on miles like I do!


Really clean Accord, and it’s a fun car to drive too.  It’s got just over 114,000 miles on the odometer and still has an extended warranty to 120,000.


A fitting headline for my blog on the cover of this Sports Car Market magazine:


Hope all my readers enjoy their New Year celebrations!

11 Responses to “Birthday Bash #31”

  1. Happy Happy Birthday Tyson! I really enjoy following your blogs and love of Acura vehicles. I have a 2011 MDX and hope tp purchase the next generation TL.

    Take care,

    • Terry, thanks for dropping a line and for the b-day wishes! It was a great day indeed – always a bit awkward having it sandwiched between Christmas and New Years, but I’m used to it.

      The MDX is a great ride – I haven’t owned an Acura SUV yet but I’ve driven them and they’re great. I’m excited to see what the next generation TL (now to be named the TLX) will look like. I think we’re all in for a treat! Happy New Year.

      • Totally understand the birthday between Christmas and New Years, my wife’s bday is 12/27.

  2. Penny~Lady6spd Says:

    Happy New Year, Tyson! Great to see you had an enjoyable birthday! I’ve always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride also… maybe some day!

    Here’s to another 50K miles this new year!


    • Penny, you’re right on track – 45-50k seems to my annual mileage no matter what I do! I’ve kept that pace for the last 9 years or so. I hope you have some fun plans in store for your New Year celebrations. Take care and thanks again for being such a great friend.

  3. Happy Birthday Tyson, it looks like you had a great week with friends and family. The hot air balloon ride looks like it was great.

    Have a Happy New Year!

    • Thanks Terry! Yeah, I’d recommend the hot air balloon ride if you ever get the chance to fly in one. It’ll be a low key New Year celebration for me tonight but I’ve got a fun ILX road trip planned for tomorrow. More to come! Thanks again.

  4. Looks like a load of fun compressed into a short time. It was fun to visit, too bad I was a bit under the weather. Glad you got some shots of the balloon ride too!

    • Ryan, hey glad you enjoyed the write-up and I hope you don’t mind me using the pics of your old sedan. The door’s always open in Scottsdale. I’ll see you this summer for sure – the Cruise-In is a tradition for my family. By July I’ll be ready to escape this inferno anyhow. Hope you’re feeling better.

  5. One of the crazier things I have ever done, but yes i did drive 1,500 miles just to wish you happy birthday in person.

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