Archive for March, 2013

Legend Trip: Easter Car Show in Hurricane, Utah

Posted in Car Show, Legend, Road Trip on March 31, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  521,467


Odometer (ILX):  32,675


Trip Distance:  947 Miles


In nearly 1,000 miles traveled over the course of 3 days in the 520,000 mile Legend, the only thing that I could even consider a “mishap” was when I hit a large tumbleweed dead-on, southbound on Hwy 93 near Wikieup, Arizona.  No damage was noted, just a few stray twigs lodged in the grille that I picked out on my next pit stop.  The joy of traveling through the desert!

One of the annual traditions that I most look forward to is that of traveling to my hometown each Easter to participate in a car show.  This is a picture from the show in 2004.  My friend Blair entered his 1992 Legend LS coupe automatic with Frost White exterior and black interior.  He and I both ended up taking home trophies in the “Imports” class that day.  Blair’s car had all kinds of upgrades, including a set of 18″ Giovanna wheels.


Nine years later, I entered the Legend in that same show this past weekend.

Here’s the play by play of the weekend.  Heading out on Friday – my friend Matt took his 2013 370Z, and I took the 1994 Legend.


Along the way, our first pit stop was in Boulder City, Nevada (home of Hoover Dam!) to meet up with my friend Jessie.  Jessie has a Rosewood Brown 1992 Legend L sedan automatic with 140,000 miles on it.  He has taken great pride in restoring it mechanically and it runs great.  Next on his list are some paint and body work.


Legend lovers.  Jessie’s Legend is older than he is!  If only I’d been so lucky to have such a ride at his age.



The OEM spoiler, tinted windows, and chrome wheels round out the package.  Jessie says he’s on the lookout for some of the factory 16″ Legend GS wheels like my coupe has.


After having lunch, Jessie followed me on Hwy 93 toward Las Vegas and snapped this pic at a traffic light.


Matt and I leap-frogged each other a number of times throughout our 6 1/2 hour journey to southwest Utah.  Here I let him take the lead in his Magma Red 370Z on Interstate 15 north of Las Vegas, Nevada.


Once in St. George, I met up with another guy who appreciates Acura as much as I do.  This is Cody, and his car is a 1993 Legend L sedan in Cashmere Silver Metallic.  His car isn’t just any Legend, though.  It’s a rare 5-speed manual version and it has only 65,000 miles on it.  That’s right, this car has averaged just 3,250 miles per year over its 20 years


Cody was lucky to pick this up just a couple of weeks ago in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It’s immaculate.


Low mileage, meet high mileage.


I peeked inside and this thing still smelled new.  No cracks in the leather, no cracks on the dash — virtually zero detectable wear on this pristine example.  Cody could sense my amazement (and probably my jealousy!).


The only update Cody has planned for this car is window tint.  I agree with that decision – protect the interior and keep the car otherwise 100% stock.  It’s a truly unique find in this kind of condition.  Thanks, Cody, for meeting up!  Next time I’m in St. George, let’s swap car keys so I can see how that thing drives.


Reunited at last with my niece and nephew.  These kids are my pride and joy!


My friend Branson and his dad Don arrived in the evening.  After some late-night car detailing, we all set out very early in the morning (6:45 Utah time; 5:45 Arizona time) on Saturday morning for the car show in Hurricane, Utah which was about 20 miles away.  We got great parking spots on the grass lawn.

Pictured here are Don’s 1965 Ford Mustang 289 and Branson’s 1995 Acura Legend LS coupe.


We positioned the Legends so that they’d face one another.  I had a couple of laminated signs on my windshield:  One stating that the car had over 520,000 miles on the original drivetrain, and the other was a color copy of the window sticker showing its $41,885 price in 1994.


Out came the detailing supplies for some last-minute touch ups.  This shine was achieved with Meguiar’s Gold Class wax, applied by hand and buffed off with microfiber towels.  I used Meguiar’s Endurance tire gel on the Michelins.


Matt’s 370Z turned over 2,000 miles on its odometer on the way to Utah.  It got a little bit of detailing too.  Those 19″ Rays wheels came as part of the Sport package.  You can also see the new-for-2013 LED lights in the front fascia.


While we waited for the show’s official 10 a.m. start time, we wandered down the street for a breakfast buffet.  Branson couldn’t resist dumping $5 into this claw machine in search of a stuffed animal.  He failed.


Back to business.  Here, I’m teaching Dan about the difference between a Type I and a Type II Legend engine.


Dan, by the way, drives this right-hand-drive Nissan Skyline with a long list of modifications.  He was also registered in the Imports category and he parked near us.


Video of some of the action.


Branson displayed his window sticker as well.  His car’s MSRP was $44,270!  The car’s color is Cayman White Pearl, which was offered for only the last year of Legend production — 1995.


Inside, Branson showed his factory literature including two brochures from 1995: a Legend-specific 12×12 brochure, and a smaller full-lineup brochure, both in mint condition.  The trophy there is from a previous show that Branson won in.



Don’s here trying to point out a speck of dirt on the front end of the car.


Over the course of the day I was approached by at least a dozen people wanting to talk about the car.  Usually the first question they’d ask is, “What kind of oil did you use to get it to last that long?”  Many were surprised to learn that I’ve only used conventional 5W30 oil and never synthetic.  I also had a print-out handy of all the car’s maintenance so that I could tell anyone if specific parts had ever been changed.


Many of my conversations with spectators also started out with them saying something like, “My so-and-so had one of these.  It had XXX miles on it and they sold it so so-and-so, and it’s STILL going…”  It seems nearly everyone has been personally involved in a high-mileage Honda or Acura success story at some point.  I enjoyed chatting about them.  And I especially loved it when people said things like, “That can’t be original,” or, “It still looks brand new.”

Here’s another look at the 1965 Mustang that Don and Branson restored from the ground up.  It’s equipped with a “Pony Package” interior that included a wood steering wheel.  The car drew a lot of attention.



Panorama of some of the other vehicles in the show.


There was a lot of nice stuff.  I was impressed by this build – our friend Keith put an LS2 Corvette motor into an older bodystyle car.


It was interesting to observe the different types of people who were drawn to the cars.  The Z was always popular with the younger generation, the Mustang with the older generation, and the Legends were a little of both.


Showing off some mirror shine here.  Branson’s car in the background has a set of 17″ wheels off a 2003 Acura TL Type-S.


Here’s an Acura driver in training.  This is my nephew Beckam sitting inside the Legend.  The set of floor mats seen in use here are actually for show-only use.  I swapped them out with my “daily” mats before driving away.


Another nephew:  Rex.  This little guy is only 3 weeks old.  Such a cutie.


Visit from some friends.  Here are Buck and Kyle.  Buck is an Acura driver with a very clean 2002 RSX Type-S.


Gabbing it up.


Finally, here’s little Miss Vivienne.  She’ll be 2 years old in a couple of weeks, and she’s the sweetest thing ever.


At 4:00 p.m., the awards ceremony kicked off.  Matt end up placing 2nd in the Imports category.


Departure from the park.  There you can see Matt leading the way in the Z, then Dan’s Skyline, then Branson.


Later that night, I got a driving experience unlike any other I’ve ever had:  I got to drive a school bus.  Last year, my brother picked up a retired bus because he needed to shuttle a bunch of people around at an event.  Since then, the bus has mostly sat unused in his company’s back lot.  Well, my friends and I decided it was time to give that bus a little exercise.


Matt was the first to get behind the wheel.  It took us some time to figure out how to operate the controls.  There is a push-button automatic transmission, and the switches for the overhead lights are on the panel to the left of the driver’s seat.


This is a 1996 Bluebird school bus.  It’s got capacity for 84 passengers.  We didn’t travel far but we did get the bus out on a deserted open road where we could practice maneuvering a vehicle of that size.


One of my favorite features was the “Body Fluid Cleanup Kit” (see below picture) hanging above the windshield.  I wonder if that’s ever been used?


Branson took the wheel next.  Believe it or not, the turning radius on this thing was actually pretty good!  At one point Branson did have to three-point-turn in the middle of a road and I was amazed that he was able to do it.


Obligatory bus + Legend shot.  The bus was spray-painted by an employee of my brother’s company for the event they used it in.


Big thumbs up for this fancy ride.


The bus had 205,343 miles on it.  I was impressed that it fired up on the first try!  We did have to wait a little while for the air brakes to pump up.


Finally, here I am settling into the driver’s seat, which is quite bouncy.  The seat itself has an independent suspension unlike every other seat on the bus.  I enjoyed taking this gigantic ride for a spin.  It was gutless but fun.


Branson and I had Matt pick us up as if we were going to school – lights and everything!  What a riot.

Who wants a ride?  I should borrow this thing for a cross-country tour and pick a few of you up.

Have a great week!

Friday Feature: Nick’s 1990 Nissan 300ZX

Posted in Reader's Ride on March 29, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  32,391


As obsessed as I am with Honda and Acura vehicles, some of my friends are equally obsessed with their own respective brands.  One example of this is my good friend Nick.  He’s so in tune with the 1990-1996 Nissan 300ZX that he’s gone to great lengths to capture his passion on a “Z32” (chassis code) Wikispaces site.  Ask him anything, and he’s a walking 300ZX encyclopedia.  I’ve tried to stump him before!

Take a look at the massive list of upgrades to Nick’s Aztec Red 1990 300ZX Twin Turbo.


  • Stage I IPP Longblock [Wiseco pistons, shotpeened rods, ACL bearings, viton valve stem seals, and a lot more)
  • JWT Sport 500 Turbos
  • QFAB 2.5″ Turbo Inlets & Accordion Pipes
  • Z1 Silicone intake “boost” hoses
  • AVS Intercoolers w/ silicone couplers
  • Specialty Z 6qt Oil Pan
  • Stainless steel braided turbo oil feed lines & coolant lines
  • NISMO 555cc Fuel Injectors
  • Super Split 2.5″ downpipes
  • 2.5″ Test Pipes> HKS Hi-Power exhaust
  • Specialty Z High 5 Puck Clutch
  • 350Z HD clutch fork
  • SZ/RPS Segmented Flywheel
  • UR Underdrive Crank Pulley
  • HI BilZki overdriver water pump pulley
  • Mishmoto knock-off radiator
  • BDE Urethane Motor Mounts
  • 25 Row Oil Cooler
  • Currently running Mobil 1 0W-50 Racing Oil with a NISMO VeruSpeed Filter
  • Powertrix SS Coilovers [8k/6k Spring Rates]
  • Adjustable FUCAs
  • Adjustable RUCAs
  • Adjustable tension rods
  • D/S front rotors
  • Hawk HPS Pads
  • MBC Brace
  • Rota P45R Wheels 18×9.5 +20 offset, with 266/35r18 tires all around
  • Socketed 8-bit ECU with NIStune Daughterboard installed
  • Running my own custom tune
  • Old-school 2nd gen APEXi AVC-R Boost Controller
  • HKS Boost Gauge
  • New OEM ’95 TT Wiring Harness with new-style CAS
  • Custom injector adapters (to use 555 Injectors with new-style EFI harness)











One of my favorite commercials in all of automotive advertising is this fun piece featuring Barbie & Ken.  Thanks to my blog reader Tim for tipping me off on this a few weeks ago!

I won’t make the mistake of drag-racing Nick anytime soon in my Acuras.  I might, however, give him a run for his money if I ever get ahold of a 310-horsepower, all-wheel-steering, 2014 Acura RLX.  This new ad from Acura Canada really gets me excited about it.  Thanks to AcuraConnected for sharing it!

Have a great weekend!  I’ll leave you all with a few new ILX pictures featuring some Arizona landscaping.







Ten-Year Anniversary with the Legend

Posted in Legend on March 26, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  520,521


Odometer (ILX):  32,309


Today marks the ten year anniversary of the date when I flew to California to buy my 1994 Acura Legend coupe.  With a Ziploc bag in my pocket containing 95 $100 bills, I hopped on a flight from Las Vegas to San Jose and later that day laid eyes on the car I’d be driving to half a million miles.  It had just 95,000 on it at the time.  Here’s the original AutoTrader ad.


And my American Airlines plane ticket from when I flew out to pick up the car.


Below is the key handoff picture.  I bought the car from someone named Carla, but she’d only had the car a few months.  The original owner was Patricia.  It was a happy occasion to be finally purchasing the Acura I’d been wanting for years.  I re-created the handoff picture this morning at work (thanks Tiffany for being my photographer!).

3/26/2003 on top and 3/26/2013 on the bottom.  The car looks about the same, but I think I’ve aged a bit!  Pardon my Photoshop skills, or lack thereof, as I attempted to stitch these pics together.


My first fuel up when I bought the car was at the “MBP Travel Plaza” off I-5 in Firebaugh, California.  I paid $2.49 for Chevron Premium.


An 11-hour, 696-mile drive later, I was in my hometown.  One of the first places I visited with my new car was my grandma’s, and she took this picture of the car with its proud new owner.


In this thread on the Acura Legend forums (my first post there) entitled “Finally got my six-speed,” I proudly announced my new purchase the day after I’d picked it up:

After months of searching intensely, I found one that fit my needs. Yesterday I flew from Utah to San Jose CA to pick up a car I’d found on AutoTrader just a few days before (I saw the ad just 20 minutes after it had gone online, and immediately called the owner.)

I drove the car 10-hours home and I must say I couldn’t be more thrilled with what I got. It’s a tannish-brown (what’s the real name?) ’94 LS six-speed. Best of all, it only has 95k miles, and has had two female owners who BABIED it! I have a receipt book to prove it! I even have the window sticker ($41,800 for my car in ’94).

This Legend is pristine and I know I had a grin on my face during all 697 miles I had to drive it home. In sixth gear, you’re only revving the motor 2600 rpm at 80mph. It just wants to keep going faster!

Anyways, after years of admiring the 2G LS coupe, I finally got one. My mom introduced me to Legends when she got her ’93 L sedan (now sold) and I must say, I’m hooked! I’ll never go back to any other car

It was only a few weeks later when I installed a set of 18″ chrome wheels on the car and tinted the windows.  I mentioned later in the introductory forum thread that one of my first “mod” plans was to get an OEM 6-disc CD changer for the trunk, but I never ended up doing that.  The stock stereo was ditched for a Pioneer DVD setup in 2004 which remains today (but I intend on changing back to the original Bose head unit soon).

It’s been a great ride since that purchase day a decade ago.  As I shared in my blog’s kick-off post, the miles came fairly quickly:

  • 100,000 Miles:  May 20, 2003
  • 200,000 Miles:  December 3, 2005
  • 300,000 Miles:  July 29, 2007
  • 400,000 Miles:  October 30, 2009
  • 500,000 Miles:  November 4, 2011

Awhile back, AcuraConnected featured a short article on what I would call my “Top 10 Road Trips.”


Times have sure changed.  When I bought the Legend, I was 21 years old.  I’d not owned a car for the prior two years because I was a service missionary for my church.  I was living at my parents’ home, working on my Associates degree at Dixie College in Utah, and working for a locally based regional airline in the maintenance records department.  Little did I know that I’d keep that Legend through 5 moves, 4 employers, 3 college degrees, and countless road trips.

I took the Legend to work today and it started up on the first try just like it has many times before.  Here’s a very boring 2-minute look at the first part of my drive today.  I typically keep the revs under 2,000 RPM until it’s warmed up.

I’m dedicating most of my seat-time to the 2013 ILX so the Legend is enjoying retirement, though I still get it out regularly to stretch its legs.  Here’s an ILX shot at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport, Terminal 4 parking deck from a few days ago.


This is an ultra-hot Crystal Black Pearl ILX at an auto show recently – it’s not my video, just one that I enjoy watching.

And one more nice ILX – this one a Hybrid – from a member named “954tsx” on the Acurazine forums.  This one’s been upgraded with some 17″ wheels off the 2005-06 Acura RSX Type-S.  Great looking car!


Tonight, my ILX met a new silver-painted friend.  My friend Matt brought over a 2009 Nissan GT-R that he’s doing some evaluations on for his work at the Nissan proving ground near Maricopa, Arizona.  We took it for a (fast!) spin around the block.  This thing has a 3.8 liter twin turbo motor with horsepower in the high 400’s.  I got a little motion sick!  Whiplash anyone?




I can’t wait to see Acura’s answer to this car when the next generation NSX comes out in a couple of years.

Here’s to another 10 years of Acura ownership!  Thanks everyone for following the blog.

Acura ILX Trip: Bagdad, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on March 24, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  520,482


Odometer (ILX):  32,234


Trip Distance:  292 miles


The middle east would make a fun road trip destination, wouldn’t it?  Too bad the logistics are a headache.  I found a nearby substitute that will have to suffice for now. My friend Justin was raised in a remote town in east-central Arizona called Bagdad.

Similar to some other small towns in Arizona like Bisbee, Bagdad got its start as a copper mining town in 1882.  Today, there are around 2,500 people living there.  The town is actually owned by Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, the company that operates the mine.  Justin told me that since the entire town is technically property of the mine, everyone rents their homes from Freeport.

For this trip, Justin and I took the 2013 Acura ILX 2.4 6-speed and my friend Matt took a “test vehicle” from his work at the Nissan proving grounds.  This is a Medium Brown Metallic 2013 Pathfinder 2WD “Platinum” with leather and a huge sunroof.


Our first stop was for fuel & drinks in Wickenburg, Arizona at the Shell station.


I saw this sign posted on the window of the convenience store and it reminded me of a similar anti-litter campaign from the days when I grew up in Utah called “Don’t Waste Utah.”


Located in the hills about 100 miles northwest of the Phoenix metro area, I’ve often seen this sign on Highway 93 northbound and been intrigued about Bagdad.


Heading eastbound on Highway 97, the roller-coaster ride began.  This two-laner is posted at anywhere from 15-35 mph on most of the corners — and for good reason.  Most of those corners are “blind,” and the road is not banked in such a way that aggressive driving can be done safely.  Justin had lots of stories about folks who have lost control of vehicles out there.

The ILX handled the terrain with ease and it was a nice workout for the 6-speed gearbox to slide through its gears.


Soon we reached an intersection and headed left another 4 miles to the town entrance.


Entering Bagdad:  “The Best Copper Town Anywhere.”


Here is a story about how the town allegedly got its name:

“Please don’t associate our town’s name with that of Baghdad, Iraq.  Please note the “h”.  Bagdad has always been a mining town. As legend has it, the first miners were a father and son team. The ore was hauled out on mule teams in bags. (see the “Historical Photos” link) The son would be mining, filling the bags with ore. The father would be getting the things the son needed to mine. When the son needed another bag to fill, he would yell, “bag Dad”. Consequently the name Bagdad was derived. It had nothing to do with Iraq.”


It was about that this time when we realized just how fitting it was that Matt ended up bringing this particular Nissan Pathfinder on our trip.  It’s equipped for the Middle East markets!  Notice that the “OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR” on the passenger sideview mirror is in Arabic.


The air bag warning on the passenger sunvisor is also in Arabic.  Matt’s gauge cluster was in kilometers per hour.  How fitting that he brought a Middle East spec Nissan to a town called Bagdad, right?


First order of business was to refuel our bodies with some delicious hometown grub.  Bagdad has 2 restaurants and 1 grocery store.  Only 1 of the restaurants was open on Saturday when we arrived.  It was called “The Diner.”



Fast, friendly service in here!  A group of people who’d just toured the Bagdad mine were seated near us.


I opted for the classic “Main Street” burger.  It rivaled the green chile burger from Sparky’s in Hatch, New Mexico but wasn’t quite as delicious.  Still, the curly fries were to die for.


Happy to be experiencing some of the local sights and sounds of Bagdad.  That’s Justin seated next to me.


I’m serious – those curly fries were amazing.


The Diner’s operating hours are a bit funky, so I thought I’d share.  It’s open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. only.  It’s closed every Monday.  And it’s closed from March 24th through April 1st for Spring Break, so don’t try and go this week!

Next we took a short driving tour of the “hot spots” in town, including the high school.  Justin graduated in 2010 and he says his class had 23 people in it.  The mascot, appropriately for a town called Bagdad, is the “Sultan” (see the painting on the side of the school in the below picture).


The ILX took a rest while the 3 of us saddled up in the Pathfinder for some off-road adventures.  It was a good thing, too, because the terrain that Justin directed us to required some high ground clearance.



Along this one-lane stretch, we dropped down into a canyon that was full of sandstone rock formations that made great hiking potential.  This particular pullout had a fire pit and a bench – it’d be a great place to have a bonfire and camp out.



Enjoying our perfect weather and sunshine.  It’s too bad that some of these rocks have been been tagged with graffiti.



This one looked like it’d be fun to rappel from – if I knew how to do that sort of thing.


Making our ascent back up the mountainside with Matt at the helm of the front-wheel-drive Pathfinder.


Justin led us on a short hike to a site where we were able to get up close to some rusty, abandoned mining equipment.  We only had to cross over one barbed wire fence (Shh!  Don’t tell anyone!) to get to it.


I have honestly no idea what this type of equipment was used for but perhaps some of my readers will enlighten me.


Glistening in the distance, I spotted something that looked like chrome.  I had to investigate further.  What we ended up finding was an abandoned 2-door car with its leaf springs raised up!


Matt and Justin, climbing on/around the overturned vehicle trying to identify it.  I’m guessing it’s from the 1960s.


There were no badges left, and there were only a couple of part numbers identifiable.  It would be fun to find out what kind of car this was / is.  This is taken from the front.


View toward the back, taken from the driver’s side.  Notice one of the yellow gas shocks still attached there.


Close up of the back bumper and a slight look at the muffler.  I couldn’t believe how immaculate the chrome looked, while everything else had completely rotted away.


View from the rear end.  Somebody help us out.  What in the world is this car?


It was only about a mile up the road where the entrance to the mine was found.  I hadn’t thought to make a tour reservation beforehand, so we didn’t go on-site, but we were able to view some of the tailings from the visitor parking lot.


Some information about the mine can be found here, on the Freeport McMoRan website.

Bagdad is an open-pit copper and molybdenum mining complex.

Bagdad is home to the world’s first commercial-scale concentrate leach processing facility (2003) and one of the longest continuously operating solution extraction/electrowinning (SX/EW) plant in the world (1970). An unincorporated community, Bagdad is one of two FCX “company towns;” the other is Morenci, Arizona.

The Bagdad operation includes a 75,000 metric ton-per-day concentrator that produces copper and molybdenum concentrates, an SX/EW plant that can produce up to 25 million pounds of copper per year from solution generated by low grade stockpile leaching and a pressure leach plant to process molybdenum concentrates.

Fun with a convex mirror just outside the mine’s main entrance.


And just up the road – the Bagdad Airport with a few tiny planes stored there.


Back in the ILX, we looped around Highway 97 toward Kirkland, Peeples Valley, Yarnell, and Congress, and then reconnected with Highway 93 after a dramatic drop in elevation on Highway 89.  A few stretches of this road were just one-lane.



Rolling through Morristown, Arizona, home to 227 people as of the last census in 2009.  This is also home to now world-famous internet sensation, Tardar Sauce — otherwise known as “grumpy cat.”


For those who haven’t yet met Tardar:


And finally the last stretch of our drive was via a brand new stretch of freeway called Loop 303 which took us to reconnect with I-17 southbound just north of Phoenix, Arizona.


Bagdad – check!  I’m systematically crossing off a bunch of to-see destinations in and around Arizona this year.

Classic Car Ad

In the year of my birth, Cadillac launched a new feature in its 6.0 liter V8 engine that powered its mammoth cars:  An 8 cylinder that was able to cut fuel to “unnecessary” cylinders under certain driving conditions, thereby increasing fuel economy.  Similar systems are common today, but in 1981 this was pretty revolutionary.


There’s more detail on Cadillac’s “8-6-4” engine in the below scan:


My favorite paragraph was this:

“How reliable is it?  The system has been proven in over a half-million miles of testing.  It’s that reliable.  All electronic components are solid-state, including the digital computer itself.”

Yeah, because who could ever conceive a car going beyond 500,000 miles back then?  Cadillac’s V8-6-4 system, I’ve learned, only lasted a year before it was discontinued due to issues.  I guess they should’ve pushed for a million miles of testing.

Hope the weekend treated everyone well!

Friday Flashback: My 1986 Chevy Celebrity

Posted in Throwback on March 22, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  520,444


Odometer (ILX):  31,889


I started out as a Chevy guy, believe it or not.  As I’ve shared on the blog before, the only car in my ownership history that wasn’t a Honda or Acura was my first car, a 1986 Chevrolet Celebrity.  Equipped with whitewall tires and wire wheel hubcaps, it was the ultimate “grandma ride,” but at age 16 that didn’t matter.  It meant freedom.

I love this set of commercials announcing the Chevy brand as “Heartbeat of America.”  (The Celebrity ad will be right after the one for Kodak batteries).  Check out the ad for cordless phones, too.  Imagine – being able to talk on the phone from any location in the house!  My, we’ve come a long way in the last 25 years.

My mom and dad bought the Celebrity new off the showroom floor on April 29, 1986 for $13,969.65.  They had traded in this maroon 1982 Chevy Cavalier with 89,000 miles to Axtell Chevrolet in Logan, Utah. Yes, that’s me on a Big Wheel.


I was fortunate to get ahold of all the original paperwork on the Celebrity – and you all know how big I am on recordkeeping.  I even have the factory build sheet from the Oklahoma production facility where the car was manufactured.  This is the bill of sale, which lower on the page showed the $2,700 trade-in on the Cavalier.


Lots of documentation.  Yes!


A little background about the Celebrity model itself:

The Celebrity was sold from 1982-1990 but had 3 facelifts during that time.  Reportedly, the Celebrity was the best-selling car in the United States in 1986 (it sold a whopping 405,000 units!).  This midsize family sedan was powered by a 2.8-liter carbureted V6 pushing out 112 horsepower (my ILX 4-cylinder, by comparison, has 201!).  The Celebrity “Classic,” like my parents bought, was the top of the line model, with woodgrain trim, mock convertible top, and plush interior seats.

Chevy sure tried hard to push these cars out the door.  And apparently, they didn’t have to push too hard:


“Whether you select the performance-oriented Eurosport, the value-packed sedan or coupe, or the versatile station wagon, we invite you to discover Celebrity and experience the refinement and balance achieved by a car designed to do everything well.”

I was 5 years old at the time and I remember how special it was to ride in the Celebrity.  My brother and I always had our “assigned” seats in the back.  I sat on the passenger side, and I’d draw a line (figuratively) with my left hand down the middle of the seat.  If my brother crossed it, I’d unleash some rage on him.

The Chevy logo looks like a bowtie, so it was only fitting that I wore a bowtie for this new-car occasion (I’m pictured at right here).


Eating in the car.


Looks like we’d graduated to bigger Big Wheels, too.  I’ve always been on the go.


Halloween – again, in my assigned seat.


Fast forward to around 1991; my parents sold the Celebrity to my aunt and uncle and bought a 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix coupe 5-speed.  The Celebrity went to the east coast for many years.

The next time I saw the car was in December 1997 when I turned 16 and the car was given to me at 145,612 miles (though the 5-digit odometer read only 45,612).

This was a checklist that my uncle gave me when I was handed the key to the car.  My favorite notes:

  • Key broke off in trunk.  Put any key in a little way and it will open.
  • Cold starts:  Crank for a few seconds.  Let it rest, then crank again.
  • Hope you enjoy it.  We hope it goes another 100,000 miles for you!


The car was cosmetically fairly tired at 11 years old.  A $299 Maaco paint job gave new life to the exterior and I took great pride in keeping it clean.  The old Celeb got me through my sophomore year of high school in style.  I’d blast to lunch at Little Caesar’s with a car-full of friends (it seated 6 comfortably, thanks to dual bench seats).


Man, those wire wheel covers were a pain to clean. Tommy Hilfiger shirt, Doc Marten sandles, and white socks:  Late 1990’s wardrobe at its finest.


I eventually ditched those tires for true-to-original whitewall tires.  Notice that for this photoshoot, probably in 1998, I even installed an “Axtell Chevrolet” dealer license plate for the occasion.


It really did look pretty nice.


Soon, though, I longed for something a little more sporty, and at age 17 in January 1999, I sold the Celebrity and bought my first Honda, the 1989 Prelude 2.0 Si.

I again lost track of the Celebrity until February 2005 when I randomly encountered the owner and asked him if he wanted to sell it to me.  It was ragged.  For $300, the car was mine, and I drove home in my beat-up looking old Chevy with a huge smile on my face.  I don’t know what I planned on doing with the car, I just wanted it back for sentimental reasons.


Oh yes, this thing had seen better days.  If I didn’t keep giving it throttle at a stop light, it would die on me.


The engine – let’s just say it was a miracle this thing still ran with all that gunk around it.


Soon, though, I gave this car a full detail.  Hours and hours worth of work were invested to get it looking decent.


I sure do miss those velour bench seats.  Comfortable seating for 3 up front.


Random odometer pic at 94,309 — which was actually 194,309.  The speedometer on this car maxed out at 85 miles per hour, and the “55” was in an offset blue color since that was the national speed limit at the time.


Celebrity, meet Legend, May 2005.  The Legend had only around 168,000 miles on it at the time.  Check out dad’s hunting trophies on the garage wall.  Mom wouldn’t let him hang them anywhere else.


It was only a little bit later, around June 2005, when parking became an issue and I had to again part ways with the old Celeb.  I haven’t seen it since.  Here’s a flashback video from March 12th, 2005 during that brief window of time when I owned my first car, for the second time.

To this day I’d still love to own another Celebrity.  Perhaps the ultra- exclusive 1987-1988 Eurosport VR version with a $4k option package that included a special aero bodykit.  Apparently there were only about 1,600 of these made.


Hope you enjoyed reading about that old beast of a car as much as I enjoyed digging up memories of it.

Travis’ Civic Si Coupe

Last night, my friend Travis stopped by in his gorgeous 2009 “Redline Orange Pearl” Civic Si Coupe 6-speed.  Travis wanted to check out my cars so we took a couple of test drives.


Travis is a long-time Honda owner and enthusiast.  His last ride was a 2003 Acura RSX Type-S that was equipped with the full A-Spec body kit.  He sold it at around 130,000 miles.  His Civic only has around 53,000.


I took the Civic for a spin and it has a lot of pick-up.  The shift light in the gauge cluster was a fun feature.  I noticed that the clutch pedal travel was a lot shorter than in my ILX – it seems like it would be better suited to performance driving.


Travis noted that he felt the ILX had a lot more torque than his 2.0 liter, 196 horsepower Civic, especially at the higher end of the power band.  When he and I entered the onramp to the Loop 101 freeway, he got a pronounced chirp out of the tires in 2nd gear.  He enjoyed the amenities of the ILX and said that he nearly bought one when it first came out.


Thanks Travis for swinging by!

For those planning on a road trip this summer, check out this article on Jalopnik about the Ten Best Ways to Prepare for an Epic Roadtrip.  I especially liked the comments about bringing along plenty of music AND a good old fashioned paper map.  GPS is awesome, but I love being able to follow my trips on a real map.

Until next time, safe travels everyone.


Acura Legend + Integra: Sunday Morning Photoshoot

Posted in Arizona, Legend on March 19, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  520,407


Odometer (ILX):  31,771


Every once in awhile, I’ll meet someone who’s just as obsessive compulsive about his or her Acura as I am.

On Sunday morning, I traveled to Apache Junction, Arizona to meet up with the proud owner of a rare 1999 Acura Integra GS-R coupe 5-speed in an extremely sought-after color:  Supersonic Blue Pearl.  Dave has owned his car since September, 2011 but has been in the Honda & Acura family for much, much longer.  He started with a Honda Civic Si sedan, then drove an Acura RSX before picking up his extremely nice Integra.  At only 32,000 miles on the odometer, it’s hardly broken in.

I had an idea for a high + low mileage Acura photoshoot, so I arranged to meet up with Dave for a few pictures.  Sunrise was scheduled for 6:34 a.m. so our meeting time was just prior to that, at the mouth of Arizona Highway 88 which is one of my favorite local roads.  Its two-lane switchbacks make for a lot of grins when experienced with a car that handles nicely.


Dave’s Integra build thread on the AZHT forums has received over 14,000 views since it was started in January 2012.  Dave posts periodic updates on the progress of his car.  See for yourselves just how clean it is:






Dave’s got big plans in store for this motor.  My friend Josh has an Integra turbo that I’ve blogged about before, and this Supersonic may very well be the next to get that kind of motor upgrade!






Here’s Dave’s extensive (and impressive!) build list.


  • Custom Powder Coated Valve Cover
  • Aftermarket Spring/Retainers
  • JDM Oil Cap
  • BLOX Intake manifold
  • AEM Fuel Rail
  • BWR Fuel Pressure Regulator
  • Marshall Fuel pressure gauge
  • AEM Cold Air Intake (autoworks short ram coming)
  • Skunk 2 68mm Throttlebody
  • K.G. Precision Engineering Stage 3 block
  • Arias Pistons, Manley Rods, Full Metal Jacket Ductile Sleeves, Chamfered & Micro Polished Crank, Modified Oil Pump, Balance & Blueprint, New bearings
  • ARP Head studs
  • Moroso Turbo oil pan
  • DC 4-2-1 Header
  • Magnaflow Catalytic converter
  • Greddy SP1 Exhaust
  • Fluidyne Radiator w/Spoon Cap
  • FAL Dual Fans
  • Chipped P28 ECU tuned on Chrome
  • Walbro 225 Fuel Pump


  • Full Re-Spray: Supersonic Blue Pearl
  • Honda Badged
  • Wiper Delete
  • Type R lip
  • 6000k HIDs


  • LED Bulb conversions
  • JDM Clock Cover
  • JDM Shift Boot
  • BWR Neo Chrome Shift Knob
  • Kenwood Deck/speakers
  • Megan Short Shifter w/urethane shifter bushings


  • Ground Control coilovers on stock shocks
  • BWR polished lower control arms
  • BWR Front/Rear Camber kit


  • 16×7.5 Kosei K1’s on 205/45/16 Yokohama EVS100


This same highway continues on to Tortilla Flat via some technical twisties.  For any kind of “enthusiast” driver, it’s a must-see.  Thanks, Dave, for taking the time to meet up with me bright and early on a Sunday morning.

Speaking of OCD, if you get time, check out my friend Anthony’s site, OCDetails.  He’s a car detailer by trade and he has some great tips and tricks for ultimate shine.  Back in 2005, he hosted a car show in Salt Lake City that was judged exclusively based on cleanliness.   My Legend took home the award for “Best Engine” – two years in a row, in fact!


This quote is something I’ve truly come to live by:


For some of us, driving is a passion and not just something that gets you from Point A to B.  Check out the story of the Arenas family and their 1996 Nissan Altima 5-speed that turned over 500,000 miles a few weeks ago.  These are the kind of owner stories that any car manufacturer loves!  Even as a long-time Honda/Acura fanatic, I congratulate Alicia and her husband on an impressive feat.  The car looks super clean, too.


Blast from the Past

I tracked down this video from one of the largest Legend meets I’ve ever attended, from over 9 years ago in February 2004.  It was my first “real” Acura Legend meet, and the event that truly jump-started my passion for this brand.  My enthusiasm was beyond cheesy when I narrated (I was 22 years old and wide-eyed), so mute the audio or you’re going to make fun of me later.

And one other video, just for fun.  My aunt Jodi posted this on my Facebook wall yesterday and said, “Tys, you need this!”  A Phoenix-based inventor has created an at-home car wash.  For $29,000 + $4,000 for the installation, I could get one of these babies in my garage.  It’s like a dishwasher for your car.

The cost, however, would be more than the MSRP of my ILX itself.  I’ll pass, but it’s fun to see this kind of technology!

ILX Drive: Old US Hwy 80 & the Gillespie Dam Bridge

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on March 16, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  31,733


Trip distance:  168 Miles

Sometimes I take the long way.  Just because.  My attitude is something like this Acura ad from 1994:


For this weekend’s short & sweet drive, my friend Jack and I took the 2013 ILX to explore a 37-mile stretch of highway that’s a “road less traveled.”  Dating back to 1926, US 80 was once an Atlantic-to-Pacific highway.  Everything west of Dallas, however, has since been decommissioned.

The stretch of Old US 80 that we drove was bypassed in 1956 when a larger, more direct Highway 85 was opened just east of the old highway.  It’s the rounded left side of this box that illustrates today’s journey:


I first learned of this road thanks to a post by member “jdmrex1” on the AZHT forum which is a gathering place for Arizona import car enthusiasts.  He took pictures of his CRX on a bridge and they caught my eye, so I decided to check it out for myself.


Setting out from Phoenix, we made our way eastbound on Buckeye Road toward where Old US 80 starts.


We blew right past the post office in Arlington, Arizona without even realizing it, but I looped back for a picture.  As of the 2010 census, there were just 194 people living here.  It’s remote to say the least.


Here’s where we took a step back in time to the 1950’s and enjoyed the route that people back then would have seen as they traveled from the Phoenix area to San Diego or vice versa.


Desert Rose Bar, Cafe, & Arena.  Talk about an all-in-one.  Believe it or not, I think this place is still in business because there’s a review posted as recently as 2 years ago on Yelp.


Shortly down the road, I pulled the ILX off Hwy 80 into a gravel parking lot on the east side of the road.  Here we were faced with the machinery of the Arlington Cattle Company.  This is a 170-acre facility with quite a bit to offer:

In addition to three tailored feeding programs, we offer a 24 hour receiving & processing crew, truck & cattle scales as well as an on call veterinarian.  We work around the clock to maintain the clean & safe environment necessary for cattle to reach their optimal gain per day.


Just a few more miles down the road, we rounded a corner and saw the long-awaited 1,662-foot-long bridge that I’d viewed in pictures a few days before.


I learned that this location is the Gillespie Dam Bridge which crosses the Salt River.  It’s a steel truss bridge that was commissioned in 1926 by the Highway Department.  It was completed August 1, 1927 at a cost of $320,000.  At the time, it was the longest highway bridge in the state of Arizona.


The was part of US 80 until 1956 when it was decommissioned.  The bridge itself was added to the National Register of Historic Places on the year I was born, in 1981.


When looking to the north from the bridge, the old Gillespie Dam (1921) can be seen.  Fishermen were out in full force enjoying the weather like Jack and I were.  This dam was breached in 1993 and has never since been rebuilt.  You can clearly see the broken area here.


In 2011-2012, the bridge underwent a $7.9 million rehabilitation project which included construction of an “Interpretive Plaza” where we were able to walk up to an elevated platform for a nice vantage point of the entire bridge.


Here’s the parking area of the Interpretive Plaza.


The platform is pictured at left here.


Jack and I hopped back into the ILX and continued south toward the end of this stretch of our journey, in the tiny town of Gila Bend, Arizona.  A metal cobra and dinosaur greeted us at the Shell station.


We enjoyed some lunch before departing from this fine town.  (A little sarcasm there – Gila Bend really doesn’t offer a whole lot to see or do!)


From there we took Hwy 238 about 40 miles to Maricopa, Arizona and then down Hwy 347 north toward the Phoenix area.

We approached the south end of town and met up with a couple friends at Firebird Raceway.  There were some import car race events going on, sponsored by NASA (National Auto Sport Association – Arizona Region).


Nick, Matt, and Jack


This is the motor to Nick’s 1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo.  It’s a beast.  This entire powerplant is fresh – while his car’s chassis has around 170,000 miles on it, the motor itself is only a few thousand miles old.  Nick says he spent twice as much on the engine build as he spent on the car itself.  This sucker is fast — and loud.


The color is called Aztec Red.  I still think the 300ZX design has aged very well, much like Acura’s original NSX of the same era.


A few other events were going on around there, including a drifting competition, so we headed over there.


We watched our friend Brandon put this Subaru through its paces on the track.  His AWD capability gave him a distinct handling advantage.


And back at my house, we had a bit of a car detailing party.  My friends call my home the “Hugie Autospa” because it’s the go-to place for anyone who needs to shine up their ride.  Here is Jack with his obnoxiously-colorful (but awesome!) 2001 BMW M3 6-speed.


The 300ZX even got a little bit of love.



First time this garage has seen two non-Acura products at the same time!


I had a great time today driving and working on my cars and spending time with friends.

“Follow Me” on Instagram

I bit the bullet and signed up for Instagram this week.  I don’t know a thing about it, but it was the best way for me to see the latest pics of my niece and nephews that are getting uploaded daily.  If you want to follow me, look me up!  @tysonhugie


Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Matt’s Accord Coupe & Marc’s Integra GS-R

Posted in Reader's Ride on March 13, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  520,253


Odometer (ILX):  31,444


Today we’ll take a pit stop on the road trip frenzy since I’m featuring a couple of my blog followers who are as Honda/Acura fanatical as I am.

First is Matt from Atlanta.  He drives this stunning red 2008 Honda Accord EX coupe automatic.  It had 36,523 miles on it when he took delivery just a year ago.  He enjoys driving it so much that he’s already got over 69,000 on the odometer. Matt works as a stock material handler (SMH) at Honda’s largest parts center in the country and he loves takes a great deal of pride in the company.

Matt has added a moonroof visor and a factory front accessory lip.


I’ve loved this bodystyle of Accord since its introduction in 2008.


Matt’s owned about a dozen Hondas since he was 15 and says he “hopes to never drive anything else.”


Must be great to work for Honda!  Thanks, Matt, for sharing these pictures and your love for Honda.

I’ve shared the story before of my Legend-loving friend Marc in New Jersey.  He’s the lucky owner of not one, but two mint-condition, low-mileage, Acura Legend LS coupes.  Marc has added a new Acura to his collection.  It’s the Legend’s little brother, the Integra.  This particular model is a 1992 GS-R 5-speed in a very rare color called Aztec Green.  Marc recently picked this baby up with only 110,000 miles on it and all the maintenance up to date.


That little GS-R badge below the passenger side taillight makes this a pretty sought-after ride.  It’s powered by a 1.7-liter 4 cylinder dual-overhead cam motor that was one of Honda’s first implementations of VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control).  VTEC is a valvetrain system developed to increase the efficiency of an engine.  It uses two camshaft profiles and hydraulically selects between profiles.


Marc says this thing is a blast to drive, and I believe him!  The first car that ever got me excited about Acura was a similar 2nd generation (1990-1993) Integra, but it was a 4-door GS sedan.  The Integra has long been known as a sporty, high-revving 4 cylinder and it’s no mystery that they’ve been so popular with import tuners and racers.


That’s really an eye-catching color.  Marc is lucky to have found an Integra GS-R in this kind of condition.  After 20+ years of use, most of these have been highly modified, wrecked, or otherwise destroyed over the years.  The Integra feels a bit like the ancestor of the ILX in that its mission was to fill a role as a fun entry-level vehicle to the premium compact class.


Legend Updates

The Legend took me to work on Tuesday and afterward I stopped by a now-closed drive-in movie theater near my home.  The “Scottsdale Six” has been closed since August 2011, as noted by the sign stating “TEMPORARY CLOSED.”  The drive-in originally opened in 1976 and for several decades was home to movie-goers.


This article talks about the ultimate fate of the movie theater.  It closed because it’s located on Indian land (the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, to be exact) and the lease expired in 2001 but was allowed a 10-year extension which ended in 2011.  So, until further notice, this place sits vacant as just a memory of what once was.


I’ve never been to a drive-in movie.  Have any of my readers?


I picked up a new hood lift/strut for the Legend today (aftermarket) at Autozone.  The hood barely stays open with the ones that are on there now.  For only $22 it’s not a huge expense to just throw a new strut on.

ILX Reviews

The most exciting thing that happened with my ILX this week was that it got a much-needed bath after last weekend’s trip to the sand dunes in New Mexico.


The leather seats got a conditioning with Griot’s “Leather Care” product.  They’re starting to show a little more wear and tear – the seat bottoms appear a little more “loose” but still clean up nicely.


This write-up on Autoblog puts the ILX against the Buick Verano and captures the same type of feedback that I have had about the ILX.  The manual transmission drivetrain excels in every way, and from a handling perspective it’s extremely fun and nimble.   There could stand to be some advancements in sound deadening and other fit & finish areas.  I thought it was a great read and definitely had plenty of good to say about the ILX.


And finally here’s a video by “2TheRedline,” a YouTube series of evaluations of new car models featuring Editor in Chief Sofyan Bey.  They’ve added a 2.4 liter ILX to their long-term test fleet and I’ll be watching closely to see how their Fathom Blue 6-speed ILX performs.

Keep on cruisin’, drive to fivers.

New Mexico: White Sands National Monument in the ILX

Posted in ILX, National Parks, New Mexico, Road Trip on March 9, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  520,154


Odometer (ILX):  31,237


Trip Distance:  906 Miles



Road trip time!

Ever since my friend Jason and I met up in Bisbee a couple of months ago, we’ve been wanting to coordinate another drive together.  This time, I put the planning responsibility on Jason and traveled to his hometown in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  I grabbed my friend Chris and we hit the road around 3:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon to head eastbound on Interstate 10 from the Phoenix, Arizona area.

This rainbow sighting happened just north of Tucson.


For dinner, we pit stopped at one of my favorite restaurants:  Texas Roadhouse.  I love this place so much that I downloaded their app to my iPhone.  For any who are seeking recommendations, I like the 6 ounce sirloin (medium), with sides of steamed veggies and mashed potatoes.  Best $9.99 I’ve ever spent for a steak dinner!


I had to capture the above picture inside the restaurant since the “Be Legendary” sign was calling my name.

Our drive that night was 394 miles of all-interstate driving until we got to my Jason’s house right off I-25 in Las Cruces.  The ILX achieved 32.4 miles per gallon even though for a good part of the drive I had the cruise control set at 80 miles per hour.  The rest of the time, speeds varied since we went through pockets of heavy rain.

Jason and I didn’t waste any time before pulling out my huge atlas and laying the ground work for our travels the following day.  He’s done quite a few travels in his Honda Accord coupe which are being captured on his blog, Driven for Drives.


I got the chance to learn quite a bit about Jason.  He and I actually met “electronically” via this blog, but in-person this was only the second time we’d met.

Jason and his friend Jouhl are entrepreneurs.  They operate a business called Wisebliss which specializes in bonsai trees.  But these aren’t just any bonsai trees, these are hand-crafted “biobonsai” miniature trees made from a plant material that needs absolutely no care.  Finally a plant that even I could keep alive.

Check out Jason and Jouhl’s website here.  They’ve got some really neat stuff.


I also browsed through Jason’s extensive collection of car magazines.  The first one that I grabbed was a 1993 Motor Trend “New Car Issue” that had a write-up on the Legend.


Saturday morning was a sunny day in Las Cruces, with an expected high temperature in the 60’s.

Jason, Tyson, Chris


First order of business was a photo-op at none other than the World’s Largest Chile!  I’ve been known to seek out lots of “largest” things, including the largest firecracker, which is located in Nevada.


From there we headed eastward on US-70 toward Organ Mountain.  A sign on the roadside told us we were fewer than 40 miles away from our destination.


Along the way, we took a twisty one-lane side-road toward Aguirre Spring.


Following Jason




This warning sign means business!


After we made our way back to US-70, weather ahead looked good but there were clouds looming in the distance.  Or were they not clouds after all?


Jason in hot pursuit this time (well, not really, since we were both going only 70 mph) as I took the lead for a little while.


It was around this time that Chris spotted a Silver Moon Acura ILX going the opposite direction as we were.  Looked great going down the road.  I think that was the first Silver Moon I’ve seen in “real life” outside those sitting on a dealership’s lot.  Finally, we made it to White Sands and pulled off toward the visitor center at our left.



White Sands is a field of white sand dunes in the southwestern part of New Mexico.  It covers over 143,000 acres and was designated a national monument by President Herbert Hoover in 1933.  The “sand” actually consists of gypsum crystals, and this site is the largest gypsum dune field in the world.


Entry was $3 per person, but Jason picked up the tab for all 3 of us.  Thanks, Jason!  I owe you.


The two-lane highway headed north into the monument area.  Heavy winds had pushed sand across the roadways.  Chris told me that they actually use sand plows to move it out of the way as necessary.  It looks a lot like snow!


Some parts of the road were quickly getting drifted as the sand got kicked up by the wind.  What I’d thought were clouds earlier in the afternoon were in fact caused by sand in the air.  *cough, cough*


We made it to a parking area and took a break to soak in the surroundings.



Much like the scenic Monument Valley drive that I did a few weeks ago, White Sands also offers an un-paved loop for people who want to get a little more up close and personal with these sand dunes.




It truly felt like we were in another world!


The area is extremely remote.  There is a missile testing facility just north of the monument called the Trinity site.  This is where the first atom bomb was detonated in 1945.




Here you can start to appreciate how windy it was.  Even with sunglasses on and my hoodie pulled over my head, I got sand all over the place.  In my hair, eyes, mouth, and nose.  All part of the experience!



And it wouldn’t feel right to have a world of sand at my disposal without kicking off my tennis shoes and digging in my bare feet.





It was around this time that I gave Jason the opportunity to take the ILX for a spin.  He commented on how “solid” the drivetrain felt.  Clutch effort, he noted, was significantly lower than in his Accord.  He liked the width and diameter of the steering wheel and he commented that he exhaust note made the car sound aggressive.



Back on Hwy 70, we were cautioned about the traffic coming toward us from either direction at 70-80 miles per hour.


It was only about 45 minutes until we arrived back in Las Cruces and veered north on Interstate 25.


Exit 241 was for Hatch, New Mexico.  A sign indicated that “Truth or Consequences” was north of us.  I’ve always thought that was a funny name for a town.  The town was originally called Hot Springs, but it was changed in March 1950 to be named after a game show on TV!  More about that here.


The exit for Hatch was about 30 miles north of the Hwy 70 interchange on I-25.  Shortly off the freeway, we drove past “Hot Damm Chile” and the opportunity for a picture was too much to resist.


Hatch, New Mexico is the Chile Capital of the World. There is even a Chile Festival held each Labor Day which can attract up to 30,000 people to the small town of fewer than 2,000 residents.  We had to give the famous “Sparky’s” Restaurant a whirl, so we followed Jason there.


I opted for the Green Chile Cheeseburger pictured here, coupled with steak fries and followed by a root beer float.  They’re serious about this burger being “world famous.”  In fact, each time a customer ordered this burger, the clerk would exclaim, “World Famous!” as she rang up the total.  The burger & fries only came to $5.99.


Odd decor was the name of the game around here.


We all ordered the same delicious thing.


This was the juiciest burger I’ve ever eaten.  Absolutely melted in my mouth.  So good!


The last picture I got as we started our 377-mile return trip to the Phoenix area was this shot of an Adopt-A-Highway sign on Hwy 26 just south of Hatch.


The misplaced apostrophe drove me nuts.  When I shared this with a friend of mine via text, he said, “Lol, maybe they should try cleaning their stores before committing to a highway.”  I got a good laugh out of that.

Arizona Railway Museum

Posted in ILX, Trains on March 5, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  520,096


Odometer (ILX):  30,203


Any mode of transportation that involves a set of wheels interests me. Well, and even some that don’t:


On Saturday, friend and I took the Acura ILX to a place in Chandler, Arizona called the Arizona Railway Museum.  We’re both train nerds, having completed two train rides on Amtrak last year.  The ARM is home to a dozen or more historic train cars (and a couple of locomotives) that are on display for the public to view for a $2 entry fee.



Original sign from Southern Pacific showing departure times.


Entering the yard where a series of display cars awaited us.



Here’s a bedroom with bunk beds inside the car AT&SF (Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway) #405, built by Pullman and delivered in 1927.


This is one of the dining rooms.  This particular car was vandalized and lit on fire a couple of decades ago.  It’s since been restored and repainted in period-correct colors.


Our tour guide described this 1910 car as a “men’s smoking car.”  Only men were allowed to smoke, apparently!


Here’s a feature that I thought was pretty innovative.  A “shoe locker” is located just inside the entrance to each of the bedrooms.  At night, attendants would go down the hallway, open up the locker from the outside, and polish the passengers’ shoes!  “But yours don’t look like they’d need shining,” said our tour guide as he looked at our sneakers.


Check out this hand-operated “bike” that was used to survey tracks.  Kind of like an early 1900’s exercise bike!


This room is set up for “day” use.


Below, I’m seated in the lounge of a Pullman car that was built in Massachusetts in 1879.  In 1901 it was the president’s car on the South Carolina & Georgia Railroad.  Accommodations are pretty nice!


For some reason the wood paneling in this hallway made me think of the Titanic.  I guess this train car would’ve been in service right around the same time as the ship was built in the early 1900’s.


Before the days of freon, cooling of the cars was achieved by blowing air over ice!


We crawled up inside the below diesel locomotive dating back to July 1950.  Quick stats:

  • 1,625 horsepower
  • 900-gallon fuel capacity.
  • 58 feet long
  • Weighs 292,000 pounds (146 tons)
  • 60 mph maximum speed


Here’s Matt pretending to pilot (engineer) the Southern Pacific #2562 steam locomotive which has a fascinating story featured here.  It dates back to 1906 and at one point in its history was nearly sold as $1,500 worth of scrap metal.


Our next stop on the train to-do list was a place in Mesa, Arizona called Roy’s Train World.  I found a couple goodies for my N-scale train layout there, including a used Amtrak Bachman locomotive for only $20.


Here’s my train set in action.

Speaking of rail, my friend Ryan shared the below graphic with me recently.  It illustrates a potential route network for a high-speed rail system in the United States.  Could you imagine taking a 220 mph train to get from A to B?  Ryan’s skeptical about the viability of such a system.  “They might have oversimplified the route over the Rockies. Not sure if a train can go 220 mph through snow drifts at 11,000 feet.”  I tend to agree with him.


New Car Mania

The Acura fever is contagious!  After spending the last several years driving a Honda Pilot, my step-mom traded up to an Acura MDX last Friday.  She picked it up from Jody Wilkinson Acura in Salt Lake City, Utah – the same dealership that hosted the National Acura Legend Meet in 2010.

Here is one of the pictures pulled from the online ad.  This MDX is in a new-for-2013 color called Graphite Luster Metallic and it has the Ebony interior.  It’s equipped with the Technology package so it has navigation and all the goodies.


Here’s the traditional key handoff picture with Tanya and the salesperson, James, who she worked with.


When my dad called me to tell me about their purchase, I instructed him immediately to take a picture of the odometer.  They were just getting on the freeway after leaving the dealership and the MDX had 13 miles on it.


First fuel-up in Beaver, Utah.  They wasted no time getting started on the break-in for the new ride, leaving directly from the dealership to take a 303-mile drive to St. George, Utah to spend some time with the grandkids.  As you can see, the MDX got some dealer-installed accessories before leaving the lot, including the roof racks and the running boards.  Looks great!


Congrats, Tanya!

The MDX has consistently been Acura’s best-selling model.  However, when put into perspective with the Honda brand, Acuras are still pretty rare. In February 2013, it sold 2,946 units which was fewer than a third of the number of units as the Pilot sold (9,614) in the same timeframe.  The Honda Media Newsroom release is here.  The ILX also had a pretty good month at just under 2,000 units sold.

Another new car story took place this week, when my friend Matt (who works for Nissan / Infiniti) traded in his company lease vehicle, a silver 2012 370Z Sport for a new 2013 model this afternoon.


This is a new color for 2013 called Magma Red.  Also new are the LED lights integrated into the front bumper which serve as daytime running lights.


Left:  80 miles on the odometer.  Right:  520,080 miles on the odometer.  The Z is powered by a 3.7 liter V6 engine that produces 332 horsepower.


Matt’s car is equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission and the Sport package which includes upgraded brakes and larger diameter wheels which are a new design for the 2013 model year.


This car is also equipped with a backup camera within in the rearview mirror.



First fuel-up at Costco – the same exact pump, in fact, where Matt filled up his old Z last year.


It’s only a matter of time until he heads for the hills in this canyon carver!

Legend Updates

I spent a few minutes working on the Legend this weekend.  The front passenger side bumper light lens was cracked and had taken in water.  I found a really nice one on Ebay that had arrived, so I went ahead and installed that.  Here is the comparison between old and new.


Speaking of the front end of the Legend, I was reminded of a day in August 2008 when a curb stone in a parking lot “grabbed” my bumper as I was backing out and detached it.  That was an embarrassing day.  Legends are kind of notorious for this due to the design and the low clearance.

Seeing the car all bruised up like that reminds me of 2007 before it went in for bodywork after I hit those deer.  Here’s a picture I recently dug up of me and my dad on the day I sent the car in for rework in northern Utah.

In ILX maintenance news, at 30,047 miles the car went in for an oil change at Acura of Tempe.

The engine air filter was changed as well.  Tires are still original and were marked as “yellow” status for wear.  The only recommendation that the technician made was for a manual transmission fluid service due to the mileage.

For any who might’ve missed it, here’s a video documenting the build of the 2013 Acura ILX that competed earlier year in an endurance race called 25 Hours of Thunderhill.

I leave you with this!  I might have nightmares about it tonight :D.