Archive for June, 2013

Legend Oil Change & Random News

Posted in Legend, Maintenance on June 26, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  522,572


Odometer (ILX):  42,344


Welcome summer!  Love those weekend highs.


Today, the Legend coupe went in for an oil change and I added yet another page to the 2-volume set of maintenance records that date back to 1994.


The oil had last been changed on February 14th at 519,701 miles, so it’s definitely taken me awhile to rack up nearly 3,000 miles on this one.  For $43.78, I was out the door with fresh 5W30 oil and a new filter.  It’s worth noting here that I’ve never topped off the car’s oil level between changes.  I’ve checked the oil level mid-change and it’s always been within allowable limits.


The mechanic did make mention on my paperwork of some leaks that I may need to address before my big trip to North Carolina later this year for the National Acura Legend Meet.  Namely, the power steering rack and the differential (both of which are original to the car).

Acura of Tempe, Arizona must be feeling patriotic, because they had this Vortex Blue TSX Sedan and Milano Red TSX Wagon parked at the entrance to the service department.  They just need to park a white one in between them!


While waiting for the service, I had time to check out the all-new MDX that went on sale recently.  Those signature “Jewel Eye” headlights that we’ve also seen in the new RLX are appearing here as well.


The MDX is powered by a 290-horsepower 3.5 liter V6 that delivers impressive fuel economy at 28 mpg highway.  That seems really great for an SUV of this size and weight.  Remember, this thing has a third seating row for passengers and can accommodate 7 comfortably!


The interior appears to be nicely appointed, too.


Apparently, this latest Acura MDX – when equipped with some of the higher end Technology or Advance packages – can be outfitted in Forest Mist Metallic with Eucalyptus (green!) leather interior.


I haven’t seen a green-on-green car since my dad’s 1972 Ford Gran Torino Sport! (pictured in the background here with my younger brother who is now 25):


Next week’s Independence Day holiday will mean extensive travels for the ILX, but it won’t be going too far this weekend.


I found a lot of random stuff to share over the last several days.  First, some NEW Acura news.

2015 Acura TLX Spy Photos

Brenda Priddy Spy Photography caught the 2015 Acura TLX out for hot-weather testing in Death Valley.  This car will reportedly be the successor to the current TL.  Temple of VTEC has a photo album here.


Can’t wait to see more about this exciting new model.

Drive to Five New Member

My friend William has a 2000 Honda Accord sedan 5-speed that he and his family have driven since brand new.  It rolled 500,000 miles a few days ago outside the base where he’s stationed in Georgia.



Congrats, William!

And my friend Spencer also hit a milestone in his Cashmere Silver Metallic 1994 Legend LS coupe 6-speed.  Notice how he managed to get 234,567.0 on the odometer with 901.2 on the trip meter.  Clever thinking (and some pre-planning) there!


Spencer’s car looks great for its age and mileage!



Curbside Classic Feature

Check out this write-up by Brendan Saur of Curbside Classics which is a nice discussion about the evolution of the Legend and its successors.  Brendan did a great job of capturing the highlights of Acura’s flagship, from the original 1986 Legend to today’s 2014 RLX.


Blasts from the Past

If you’ve got 7 minutes to spare, this YouTube video is a fun 1995 comparo between the then-new 1995 Nissan Maxima and some other luxury competitors, including the Acura Legend LS.

Link here since it won’t let me embed.

My favorite comment was during the acceleration test when the narrator claimed the Maxima had better performance because it “powered ahead of the Lexus, the Mercedes, and the Legend.”  Notice that he didn’t say “the Acura.”  This exact point is why Acura abandoned the Legend nameplate in favor of the alphanumeric “RL” name.  People were associating the car with the name “Legend” more than with the name Acura.

Look how they throw the car around those cones at 3:24!


And yet another throwback:  This is a scan from my high school yearbook (year 2000).  Even back then, I took a great deal of pride in my car, a 1989 Honda Prelude Si.  In fact, I made sure to get the exact same parking space every day – right along the street where I could keep a close eye on the car AND have it be protected from receiving dents from careless fellow classmates.


Around that same timeframe was when my family had a 1993 Legend L sedan.  I must’ve been keeping an eye on classifieds because for some reason I clipped these two out of the Pioneer Shopper that came out every Thursday!


It seems odd to see such a pricetag on a 1993.  It’s also hard to believe these clippings are from 15 years ago.


Sure wish I could get $17,500 out of my 1994 today!

ILX Sunday Drive on the Apache Trail in Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on June 23, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  522,443


Odometer (ILX):  42,221


Trip Distance:  179 Miles


Time for a little 4×4 action in my luxury car… again.

In March 2008, I took my Acura Legend where (maybe) no Acura had gone before:  a dirt road that was once the main way to get from Roosevelt, Arizona to Apache Junction, Arizona.  The total drive distance when going this route is 45 miles.  To avoid the dirt road and go around it on paved streets, the distance is significantly longer at 79 miles.  The “Apache Trail,” as it became named, is also known as Arizona Highway 88 and to this day is one of my favorite roads to drive.


Here’s the video for those who’d rather watch than read:

My friend Matt and I decided to do a little Sunday drive and some sightseeing in the Superstition Mountains east of the Phoenix valley, so we set out in two vehicles:  My 2013 Acura ILX, and his work-issued 2013 Nissan Pathfinder.  Highway 88 is lined with rivers and lakes, including Canyon Lake pictured below.


For the most part, it’s a fun, twisty two-laner with very few passing lanes.  There are two one-lane bridges to cross.


We made our way toward Tortilla Flat which was once a common stopping point when the Apache Trail was more heavily traveled.


Quick pit stop in Tortilla Flat for a bathroom break.  We parked next to a nice 370Z 6-speed.


The misspelling about the “dinning” room entrance at the Tortilla Flat restaurant is almost too far fetched to be true.  I think they’ve left it there intentionally to add to the quirkiness of this place.  The walls are absolutely covered with $1 bills.  I would have added my own, but I needed to save my $1 bills for a car wash later in the day.  You’ll see why.


Though once home to a motel, Tortilla Flat is now just a place to grab food and supplies.


The road continues paved for several miles beyond Tortilla Flat, but then:


For the next 22 miles, we curved around rocks & rivers as we made our way toward Roosevelt Lake on the graded dirt road.


There were several one-lane bridges to cross.  This one crossed over Fish Creek.


The ILX handled the adverse terrain with poise.  I did have to disable the traction control system to get maximum grip – on some of the washboard ruts, the system would disable power to one of the front tires and keep me from maintaining momentum.


I got a picture with our two transport vehicles.  The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder was featured back in March on a trip to Bagdad, Arizona.  It’s a Middle Eastern-spec vehicle with speed in kilometers per hour on the gauge cluster.


Saddle up – we’re off again.


Matt and I traded off taking the lead on the drive.  I ate his dust for a good part of it.  I think my ILX will probably be due for an engine air filter change at its next service.  The suspension did a great job of absorbing the uneven road.  There were a few sights to see along the way, including the Apache Lake Marina.


Soon we were just 12 miles from the junction with Highway 188.


A few more bridges, and we were home free.


The road descended in elevation until we again met up with the Salt River.  From there, we followed it upstream toward the Roosevelt Dam.


Some of you may recognize this place from a drive a few weeks ago when I went with several friends to check out the Roosevelt Dam and its impressive accompanying bypass bridge.


It was a great trip and one that I’d highly recommend!

I’ve got a few other random news bits before signing off for this weekend’s entry:

1)  In November 2012, I drove the ILX back to Phoenix from southern Utah, and I took a picture at the historic Marble Canyon Lodge on Highway 89A in northern Arizona.  Phoenix news station 3TV ended up using my picture in an article this week after the lodge burned down.  Check out slide 6 of 6 with the ILX parked out front!  Screen capture below.


Pretty sad to see the 1920’s lodge end up like this.


2)  Anybody hear about Irv Gordon’s latest in his 1966 Volvo?  He’s only 30,000 miles away from hitting 3 million miles!


Here’s the video.  This guy’s an inspiration.  I’ve tried contacting him to introduce myself but haven’t had any luck yet.

3)  I scanned some old Legend promotional materials this week.  I’ve got a huge collection of magazine articles and brochures related to all things Acura, but specifically about the Legend.  Here’s a reprint from Road & Track magazine.


It’s kind of fun to read the specifications for the Legend Coupe & Sedan from a “Preferred Pre-Owned” brochure.


4)  It’s 4,052 miles from Scottsdale, Arizona to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska on the Arctic Circle.  This would be the road trip of all road trips.  My friend Ben told me he’s interested in doing the drive someday, and the more I look into it, the more obsessed I get with it.  Would anyone like to come along?


5)  Congrats to my friend Chase from Austin, Texas who just picked up a 2013 Fathom Blue Pearl Acura ILX 2.0 on Friday!


Just 23 miles on the odometer when he took delivery!


6)  Speaking of ultra-low mileage, ever heard of a 50+ year-old vehicle with fewer than 10 miles on the odometer?  It’s really possible.  A friend today told me about a classic car gold mine of sorts in Pierce, Nebraska:  a Chevy dealership that’s been closed for decades and which houses dozens of “new” cars that have never been sold.  A 1958 Cameo pickup truck with 1 mile on the odometer seems like a pretty unreal find, but it does exist.  The truck, and nearly 400 other vehicles, will go up for auction this September as the owners of the now-closed dealership (now in their late 90’s) liquidate everything.


Video here:

Have a great week!

Original 1992 Acura Legend Owner: Ben’s Story

Posted in Legend, Reader's Ride on June 19, 2013 by tysonhugie


Odometer (Legend):  522,442


Odometer (ILX):  41,793


Commitment:  Can you imagine keeping the same car for over 20 years?  That’s what my friend Ben has done.  He’s been a proud Legend owner for twice as long as I have.  As for many of us, his love for Acura started before he even had a driver license. This story centers around his 1992 Acura Legend LS coupe that he bought brand new.  I hope you’ll enjoy some of the highlights of his ownership experience as much as I enjoyed learning about them.

Ben’s car is still wearing its original “3D” series California plates dating back to its in-service date in 1993.  California plates have since sequentially moved forward to today’s “7A.”  It’s extremely rare to see a vehicle still wearing its first combination.  And look at that stack of registration stickers – 20 of them, stuck on top of one another.


Ben’s Legend story started was 14 years old when he first took a ride in his friend’s father’s 1989 Seattle Silver Legend sedan and was amazed at the smoothness and features it had.

When Ben was 19 years old, he bought his Frost White Legend coupe with black interior from Acura of Mountain View in Mountain View, California (the building has since been converted into a pool hall).  The asking price was $29,995 and it was the last 1992 Legend on the lot.

I still remember the day I saw it for the first time, and the following day when we bought it.  I still remember the salesman, Steve Cheng.  I wonder where he is today.  I wonder if he’s still selling cars.  If so, it would be cool to re-enact the key handoff (with the unused keys) in the Tyson tradition!  If we could find him, he would probably be in his 60s today.  I remember he told me after we bought the car that I had made the right choice.  I had previously had my heart set on a 3G Nissan Maxima. He said that long after the Maxima is gone and forgotten, the Legend would still be a nice, classy car, and he was right!

Ben’s car had just 65 miles on the odometer when he took delivery.  He still has all of his original paperwork as well as documentation on the car’s complete life history. These are a couple of pictures from before he added an OEM spoiler and some 16″ Legend GS wheels to replace the 15″ stock 7-spokers.



Below is a photo essay of some of the highlights of Ben’s ownership experience.

When the car was a week old – Lake Cachuma



Spring 1993 at the University of California – Santa Barbara campus


1993 Mission San Miguel, Central California


Shadow pic, 1993


Ben has owned several other very elite rides over the years, including a BMW M3, Toyota Supra, and Acura NSX, but he’s hung onto the Legend longer than any of those.  As the years went by, he racked up the miles traveling to Legend meets and other destinations.

February 26, 1997 – Ben parked his Legend in “Sport Car Only” parking.   Seems fitting!


April 13, 1997 – Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara


May 4, 1997 – Twin Peaks, San Francisco


May 4, 1997 – Coit Tower, San Francisco


June 12, 1997 – Ben’s first recorded attendance at an organized Acura Legend meet.  This event from 16 years ago has since been succeeded by dozens of meets across the country.  Today’s National Acura Legend Meet – NALM – carries on in spirit the intent of this historic meet-up.  It’s something special to meet & interact with other individuals who share our passions.


Here’s a line up of the cars, and their owners, who were in attendance at that first meeting.


The later half of 1997 became a very busy year for Ben, as he attended sometimes multiple meets per month.  Here’s one from July 19, 1997.


I wonder if any of these other folks still have their Legends today besides Ben.


September 19, 1997 – Exact Motorsports meet


September 20, 1997 – BMWCCA Rally.  This was Ben’s first (and only) rally experience, after having been invited by a friend who had a 1992 BMW 325i.


October 11, 1997 – Legend Meet


November 2, 1997 – Legend Meet.  This is a great close-up of the pioneer of the online Legend community as we know it:  Jim Trinh.  His green 1991 LS sedan, named “Vivian” became famous in the late 1990’s as the feature car for website


December 7, 1997 – Autocross Event


December 13, 1997 – Legend Meet



April 11, 1998 – Legend Meet.  In a future post, I’ll discuss more about what I’ve learned from Ben about how the Legend’s online following got its start.  He was there for the early days and is still every bit as involved today.


1998 – Willow Springs Racetrack, California.  Ben put his Legend to the test.



1998 – HID headlights installed.  Ben was one of the first to install this upgrade on his Legend.  This update as well as other are discussed on a website he put together in the late 1990’s.


1998 – Meet with various makes & models


Fall 1998 – Visit to Honda headquarters in Torrance, California


March 13, 1999 – Winery visit in Santa Cruz Mountains of California


May 6, 1999 – NSXPO Scenic Drive


December 12, 1999 – Legend Meet


February 25, 2000 – Hitting 100,000 miles on Interstate 5 near San Diego, California


May 18, 2000 – Racing at Thunderhill


The Legend looks right at home with all these sports cars.


Fall 2002 Legend Meet – San Luis Obispo, California


One of Ben’s Legend’s first trips out of California was for the National Acura Legend Meet in 2007 in Nevada.


This was the NALM 2007 group at a gathering hosted by Acura of Las Vegas.


Since 2009, however, it’s been on multiple cross-country trips in connection with the annual National Acura Legend Meet.


NALM 2009 in Branson, Missouri


2009 Legend meet in Los Angeles, California


NALM 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah



Canyon drive in the mountains east of Salt Lake.  Pictured with my Legend.


At Rocky Mountain Raceway – racing on the 1/4 mile dragstrip


NALM 2011 in Morristown, New Jersey


NALM 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Legend mechanic Matt Wallace


And with another car that you all should recognize.


NALM 2012 drag races


Today, Ben’s car has 183,835 miles on it.


He’s based in China and only travels back to the U.S. a few times a year, but the car is regularly exercised and it has become an icon at the annual NALM due to its ownership history and condition.

When I asked Ben what’s kept him driving the Legend for all this time, he said:

It was my first brand new car, and has been with me for almost my entire adult life.  It was with me when I graduated college, been through several job changes, friends have come and gone, other cars have come and gone, I’ve moved several times (including in and out of the country), but through all this, the Legend has been a constant in my life, and has never let me down or left me stranded at the side of the road.

Ben added that he also kept the Legend because he hasn’t yet seen a worthy replacement for it.  His maintenance history with the Legend has been meticulous since the car was new:

  • Every 3000 Miles: Oil/Filter Change
  • Every 7500 Miles: Minor Service
  • Every 15000 Miles: Medium Service
  • Every 30000 Miles: Major Service
  • Every 75000 Miles: Replace Radiator
  • Every 90000 Miles: Replace Timing Belt, Water Pump

He’s on his 3rd battery, 2nd set of radiator hoses, 3rd set of brake rotors, and has replaced other parts as needed.

  • Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS)
  • Driver Interior Door Handle
  • Driver Exterior Door Handle
  • HVAC Blower Motor
  • Brake Master Cylinder
  • 2 CD Changers
  • Aspirator Fan
  • A/C Compressor clutch (a result of driving through a river)
  • 1 Set Shocks
  • Driver Window Regulator
  • Left and Right Rear Window Exterior Trim
  • Driver Side Window Switch
  • Catalytic Convertor Heat Shields Upper and Lower
  • 2 Bose Amps (1 under recall in the late ’90s)
  • 1 Set CV Joints
  • Taillights
  • Cupholder

The car will be undergoing a very extensive service prior to a cross-country trip from California to North Carolina in a couple of months.

Following are a few more notable landmarks that Ben has visited on his Legendary travels:

Continental Divide


Four Corners.  This should look familiar!


Musical highway near Lancaster, California.  The grooves in the road play a song when driven across.  The road originally was funded in part by Honda because it was used in Civic commercials.  Residents complained about the noise levels, and the road was paved over in 2008.  However, due to its popularity, it was rebuilt in a more remote location.  I’m definitely going to travel out there soon!


Mount Rushmore – South Dakota


Bonneville Salt Flats – Utah


Redwood Trees – Northern California


Golden Gate Bridge


Crater Lake, Oregon


It’s fitting to note that Ben’s love for Honda & Acura span beyond just this one single car.  Over the years, he’s owned several others.

September 13, 1998 – Ben’s 1989 Legend L 5-speed



Year 2000, his 1992 Grand Prix White on Black interior NSX


Another shot from 2002


Later on:  Ben bought a brand new 2005 Silverstone on Black Honda S2000.



And finally:  July 30, 2005 – Taking delivery of his new 2005 Acura NSX-T 6-speed manual in Silverstone Metallic with Black interior.  He still has this car today, and it has fewer than 7,000 original miles on it.  Truly a collector item.


First odometer reading.



Few people have had the luxury of taking delivery of a brand new Acura NSX.  Ben is one of them.




The S2000 and the NSX together


And the Legend and NSX together



Quite the impressive lineup of cars!

Much like I’ve done over the years with my Legend (see “State Lines”) blog entry, Ben has made an effort to get a picture of his Legend at every state line he crosses.  He’s achieved quite a few!  32, to be exact.  Here they are, in alphabetical order.



































New Jersey


New Mexico


New York


North Dakota










South Dakota








West Virginia






Ben’s car will cross through 10 more “new” states during his drive this August to the National Acura Legend Meet in Asheville, North Carolina.  Thanks, Ben, for being a loyal Drive to Five follower and for sharing your story with me!  I look forward to seeing you at NALM!


ILX Trip to Utah: Buckskin Gulch Hike

Posted in Hikes, ILX, Road Trip, Utah on June 17, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  522,393


Odometer (ILX):  41,757


Trip Distance:  1,101 Miles


Lace up your hiking boots for this one!

Here’s a 4-minute video of the action.  Watch for the dancing by my friend Rustin toward the middle of the sequence.

Kid’s got rhythm!  😉

From the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip to one of the most remote, rugged canyons in the southwestern United States, the Acura ILX saw it all this past weekend.  Since it’s just a 5-hour drive for me from the Phoenix area, Las Vegas is a frequent destination.  My friend Kevin and I headed out last Thursday afternoon and set our sights on Sin City.


The Las Vegas Strip is a 4.2 mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard.  A little known fact is this stretch of road is not in fact located within the City of Las Vegas, but rather in the unincorporated towns of Paradise and Winchester.  The allure of the city brings in nearly 40 million visitors per year, and it’s home to over 20,000 conferences per year.  Since all of those visitors need places to stay, 15 of the world’s 25 largest hotels are located in Las Vegas.


Kevin and I stayed at the castle-themed Excalibur Hotel that’s been around since 1990.

Gambling is big business here!  The gambling revenue of the Las Vegas Strip is $6.2 billion per year.  This city never sleeps.  I’ve been on the Strip at all hours of the night – there are perhaps even more pedestrians out at 3:00 in the morning than there are at 3:00 in the afternoon due to the brutal desert heat!


We met up with a couple of other friends who were visiting from Calgary, Alberta. Kevin and I are in the front seats; Jeff and Jason in the back.  The ILX was quite accommodating for the 4 of us and all of our gear.


Jason had never tried In-N-Out Burger before, so that was a must-see before we headed to Utah to do some hiking.  All these great dining opportunities in Las Vegas, yet our Canadian friends wanted to have burgers!


100 miles north of Vegas on Interstate 15, we arrived in my hometown of St. George, Utah and got settled in.


I showed my friends a few sights around town, including a great sunset viewpoint on the “Red Hill.”


St. George a community in the far southwest corner of Utah.  It’s home to 74,000 people.


My sister-in-law recommended a stop at a place on St. George Boulevard called Swig.  This place specializes in custom-flavored sodas.  The top-selling beverage is called a “Dirty Dr. Pepper,” which includes coconut syrup.


Saturday morning was hike day, starting bright and early at 6:30 a.m.  Another friend, Rob (back seat, red hat) joined the party and we headed out on the 2.5 hour drive from St. George to the hike trailhead of Buckskin Gulch.


My mom and step-dad, Todd, followed in the 2003 Lexus GS430 as we paralleled the Utah-Arizona state line on Highway 389 eastbound.


After a pit stop in Kanab, we continued 38 miles east on Highway 89 until we found a dirt road called House Rock Valley Road.  It was time to get the ILX dirty.  Aside from washboard ruts, the road conditions were pretty friendly for a passenger vehicle.  This type of road would definitely be impassible for a two-wheel-drive vehicle in inclement weather, though.


In just over 8 miles, we arrived at the trailhead for the Wire Pass hike and the Buckskin Gulch.


This same trailhead is used to access a geologic formation called “The Wave.”  However, hiking to The Wave requires a special permit, of which only 20 are issued per day.  We weren’t selected for that hike but decided to explore that same area in a different direction.


We parked our dirty cars and started gearing up for the hike ahead.  With temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, we knew we had to pack plenty of water.


Pit toilets are available but there are no other amenities at the trailhead.


Blue skies and warm temperatures made it a perfect day to explore the great outdoors.


From an informative sign at the Wire Pass trailhead:

You’ll find no designated trails, developed campsites, signs, or facilities inside the wilderness boundary.  The terrain is rugged and hiking conditions can change with the weather.  Hikers should be in good physical condition and know how to navigate in a primitive backcountry setting.


The following sign warns hikers about the importance of being prepared.


For the first 20 minutes or so of the hike, we walked along this dried up riverbed.


For the next 2.5 hours, we hiked deep into the wilderness through this awe-inspiring canyon.  Buckskin Gulch was dry on the day that we hiked it, but during rainy season carries a high volume of water.  It’s a tributary of the Paria River, which itself is a tributary of the Colorado River.  Below, Jeff and Kevin are first arriving at the area where the passageway starts to narrow.


The canyon’s length is 13 miles and there’s only one place where hikers can exit mid-way through (called, appropriately, Middle Trail).  That means once you’re in the slot canyon, there’s no way out for at least several miles.  Here, Cathy and Rustin are leading the way through one of the very narrow sections.  Can you imagine a wall of water coming at you if a flash flood happened here?


The width of the canyon varied anywhere from 2 feet to 40 feet, and the terrain of the canyon floor was diverse, too.  Sometimes we were trudging through very fine sand and other times we had to step across river rocks.


It’s impossible to capture the perspective of just how massive some of these rock formations towered over our heads.  Around each corner, there was a new surprise.


Hieroglyphics from native Indian tribes were found on some of the rock formations.  Natural arches are found in various places along the hike.


It’s incredible to see how nature has formed these sandstone passageways over hundreds of years.  Here I’m pictured with Kevin and Jeff.


There was only one area where we encountered water, and it was easily passed via some logs and rocks which we could hop across.


One account that I read online said that during rainy seasons, the water level in places could require swimming.


Enjoy the rest of these pictures that were captured on the hike, either by my camera or by others in our group.




Tyson, Jason, Rustin, Jeff, Cathy




Jeff, Rustin, Cathy, Jason, Kevin



This is the location where we stopped to have lunch and empty the sand from our shoes.  Most of us had packed peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.


Photo-op with my mom at our picnic spot.


The return to trailhead seemed to go a lot more quickly than our descent.  In all, we were hiking for nearly 7 hours and we only experienced a small section of what Buckskin Gulch has to offer.  It was a relief to get back to the cars and rest our legs.


Get me some water!


Heading back out on House Rock Road, the ILX kicked up a cloud of dust for the 8-mile drive until meeting up with Highway 89 again.


As a testament to Acura comfort, even on a road with conditions like these:


These two tired hikers in the backseat were STILL able to fall sound asleep.


Here, we were reunited with Highway 89 which would take us back to Kanab, then St. George for the evening.  It was good to be back on a smooth road.  As I got up to 65 mph, I left a cloud of dust behind me as the wind blew off the car.


That was our hike experience!  Glad I was able to spend some time with friends.  We loaded up the car at the close of the weekend and reminisced about the good times we had shared.  One day I hope to go back and hike Buckskin in its 13-mile entirety.


I had to top off with some 87 octane instead of Premium this trip, but didn’t notice any adverse performance.


Thanks for coming along!

The only use the Legend has had in the last few days was a drive last night to dinner, when ironically I was passed by a Bellanova White Pearl ILX Hybrid!


In closing, enjoy this ILX “A-Spec” rendering that was sent to me courtesy of digital artist (and Acura fanatic) “Hondatalover.”  I need those wheels!  Thanks, Dillon, for sending.


One Year Anniversary with the Acura ILX

Posted in ILX on June 12, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  40,530


Exactly one year ago, I drove away from Acura of Tempe, Arizona driving a 2013 Acura ILX 2.4 with just 16 miles on the odometer.  Today, I can say with conviction that I have enjoyed each of the 40,514 miles that I’ve driven it since.


Here’s how the year breaks down.  Fast facts:

  • 1,213 gallons of premium fuel used
  • 106 blog posts including this one
  • 33.4 average miles per gallon
  • 14 states visited; 4 ghost towns; 2 national parks; 2 national monuments
  • 8 oil changes with 0W20
  • 1 recall
  • 0 speeding tickets
  • 0 unscheduled maintenance
  • Longest single road trip:  Phoenix, Arizona to Milwaukee, Wisconsin (3,700 miles round trip) – July 2012

Memorable Milestones & Locations

  • 10,000 Miles:  August 10, 2012 in Banning, California on Interstate 10 westbound.  Post here.


  • 20,000 Miles:  November 5, 2012 in Gap, Arizona on Highway 89 southbound.  Post here.


  • 30,000 Miles:  March 1, 2013 on Loop 101 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Post here.


  • 40,000 Miles:  June 2, 2013 in Globe, Arizona on Highway 60 westbound.  Post here.


Complete maintenance history:


I celebrated today’s anniversary by going to a Piano Guys concert with a friend tonight.  These talented artists are from my hometown in St. George, Utah but I went to their show tonight in Mesa, Arizona.  Here’s one cover song they did a great job on:

Here’s to many more miles ahead!  Thanks for coming along on the journey!

Detroit Trip: Metallica Concert

Posted in Concerts on June 11, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  40,469


For once, the Acuras stayed garaged without a single mile being put on them for a weekend.  I hung up the car keys and grabbed my carry-on bag for a 4-day, 3900-mile round-trip to Michigan.

Southwest Airlines transported me and a few of my friends to Detroit, Michigan for the 2nd annual “Orion Music & More” festival, headlined by Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and about 30 other bands.  This was our hot rod for the weekend:  a 2012 Ford Fusion SE with 25,000 miles on it.  I’m pictured here with our friend Raul.


Ahh, Detroit.  Motor City.  This was once home to nearly 2 million people (circa 1950) but as of the 2010 census is now populated by only around 700,000.  The city’s decline is very evident in the architecture of downtown, which we’ll see a bit later.   This was only my second visit ever to Detroit.  The first was in January 2012 when I saw the Acura ILX Concept reveal at the North American International Auto Show.


We stayed at the historic Fort Shelby Hotel which dates back to 1916.  Accommodations were very nice!  The city of Detroit is trying hard to bring life back to downtown.

On Saturday morning, we took a walking tour of the area.  Across the waterway lies the city of Windsor, Toronto, Canada.  Detroit is the only major U.S. city along the Canadian border from which one travels SOUTH to enter Canada.  There’s a tunnel underneath the water connecting the two cities.  It was completed in 1930.


This is a look at the U.S. – Canadian border line with the General Motors HQ in the background.  The lowest floor of the General Motors building has a showroom where we wandered around and checked out the latest offerings.


Later that afternoon, our shuttle bus ride took about 20 minutes and we rolled across the bridge over the Detroit River to Belle Isle Park.  I’m seated here with Raul, with Linh and Matt in the seat ahead of us on the bus.


Entering Belle Isle.  The island itself is only about 1.5 square miles in size.


Aside from all the music, Orion offered a lot of other entertainment, including a custom car & motorcycle show.  It’s a well-known fact that Metallica lead singer James Hetfield has always loved cars.


James’ “Skyscraper,” a lavender 1953 Buick Skylark, is pictured at bottom right in the below.  At top left, we’re chilling at one of the Met Club lounges, and at top right I’m getting electrocuted by a fake electric chair.  One of Metallica’s songs, called “Ride the Lightning,” is a reference to getting electrocuted.


Near one of the 5 stages at Orion, 1950 Buick undergoes some bodywork.  This car is not unlike the 1950 Buick that my grandfather owned during his 20’s.  Love that toothy grille!


Surprise!  While we thought that Metallica would only perform on day 2, they ended up taking the stage in mid-afternoon under the fake band name “Dehaan.”  Thousands of people stampeded to watch, including ourselves.


Rocking out.


The second day of the festival, things got wilder still.  Determined to stake out our spaces at the front of the concert, we went a full 4 hours early.  I was an arm’s distance from the railing.  It’s estimated that 40,000 people were in attendance at the show, so I definitely lucked out!


Deftones lead singer Chino Moreno got the crowd energized during the hour-long set.


Finally it was time for Metallica to close out the show.  We heard some of our favorite songs and some rare ones, too.  The crowds were intense.  At one point everyone was crammed so tightly together that we simply swayed together.  Every so often a brave crowd surfer would come along and we had to watch our heads to avoid getting kicked in the face.


Here’s a video that captures some of the action.

For having played together over 32 years, Metallica still rocks.

Detroit harsh winter climate takes its toll on vehicles.  Detroit has a “humid continental climate” that’s influenced by the Great Lakes.  The cars out there are a lot different than I’m used to seeing in the Arizona desert.  For one thing, I noticed a ton more domestic vehicles on the road – presumably due to the area’s roots as the hub of domestic manufacturing.


Here’s one ride that definitely outshines most of Detroit’s vehicles:  my friend Waseem’s 1990 Acura Legend LS sedan.  I’ve known Waseem for a number of years through the Acura Legend online forums.  He and I both attended last year’s NALM in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and he stopped by my hotel to pick me up for an exclusive ride in his Legend on Sunday.


This is one 23-year-old Acura that doesn’t look its age.


Stunning from every direction.


Best of all, it’s the top-line LS with an “Information Center” in the instrument panel.  This fun little computer has all kinds of neat features, including MPG figures.  Oddly enough, the 2nd generation Legend (model years 1991-95) did not offer anything of the sort.


Waseem picked me up and we explored a little of downtown Detroit from the comfort of his 97,000-mile Legend.


Our key destination was this massive 18-story building from 1912 called Michigan Central Station.  Originally constructed at a cost of $15 million as a train station, it’s sat vacant since the last Amtrak train pulled away in 1988.  Waseem and I got a few pictures from outside.  The building is currently surrounded by a chain link fence and barbed wire.  It appears the future of Michigan Central Station is uncertain.  A couple of times, new uses have been proposed (including making the building the new home of the Detroit Police Department), but funding has become the key road block.


High Mileage Stories

My friend Chris has been around Drive to Five long enough to be featured with his Honda Preludes.  He did some junkyarding near his hometown in Maryland this past week and came across a vehicle that has achieved an impressive milestone.  This 1997 Toyota 4Runner ended up getting junked after a whopping 522,587 miles.  That’s exactly 268 miles further than my Legend has traveled at this point.  Hat tip to Toyota for such a feat!  I’ve always loved this video series (be sure to watch all 3 parts!) where Top Gear tried destroying a Toyota pickup in every possible way, yet it lived on.



Here’s another one that’s pretty special.  Randy Balingit-Hartmann bought a 1989 BMW M5 brand new in his early 20’s.  Today, he’s still driving it and has logged over 400,000 miles.  Randy is so committed to his M5 that he says he’ll “be buried in it.”  I appreciate Randy’s enthusiasm for keeping an old car on the road!

Great to be back on the road!


Reader’s Ride: Paul’s 1998 Acura 3.2 TL

Posted in Reader's Ride on June 6, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  522,318


Odometer (ILX):  40,353


For many of us, our commitment to the Honda & Acura brand runs deep.  Today I’m spotlighting a friend who’s as big of a fan as I am.  He joins the blog from Atlanta, Georgia, and comes from a long history of Honda ownership, starting out with this 1988 Accord.


He later moved on to this 1994 Accord.


I’ll let Paul tell the rest of the story in his own words:

Here is the story about my 1998 Acura 3.2 TL. After pre-inspection I bought it one owner from Ed Voyles Acura in Atlanta GA, on 1/30/2008.  I love my TL; it’s very reliable. I bought the car with 114,582 miles on it.  The car was purchased new in Georgia and has been in Georgia its whole life.



Here is a list of the repairs it’s had.

  • EGR valve replaced @ 112k right before delivery
  • 2 timing belt water pump services at 90k, 190k
  • New rack and pinion 210k
  • New starter 185k
  • New radiator, thermostat, hoses, condenser fan 178k
  • CV axles
  • Motor seals
  • Brakes and rotors
  • EGR cleaning
  • Paintless dent removal

The car now has 235k miles on it and still runs perfectly!  The only modifications that I have done are:  window tint, speakers, head unit, 2004 TSX rims, and had my driver’s seat covered with high quality leather and new padding inside.  It’s the original motor and trans.  Let me say that I probably would have lost confidence in her, had I not come across Drive to Five.  It was a real find for me, I couldn’t believe Tyson put 500k on his Legend.

In high school, my dad had a 1994 Legend LS 4dr in emerald green. My car was a Volvo 1990-740 sedan, so needless to say the Legend was special to me . I loved driving that car around back in those days.  It always made me feel special and important. The 1998 TL is the last Acura model with the Legend 3.2 and 4-speed automatic, as well being the last TL to be built in Japan. I wish they built a 6-spd, it would be the perfect car. I think the design has stood the test of time well. People always ask me what year it is.

I have been on some great road trips.  My favorites are:

  • Atlanta to San Francisco
  • Atlanta to Shelter island NY
  • Atlanta to Minocqua Wisconsin and upper Michigan

Thanks, Paul, for sharing your love for Honda!

Here’s the photo gallery he provided.  An “oops” shortly after purchase:


Fixed up and riding on new wheels.  That is some glossy Starlight Black Pearl.


This is the latest photo set from May 2013 after a detail:








Pretty stellar looking car for being 16 years old and with 235,000 miles on it.

My ILX went in for a 40,000 mile oil change with 0W20 oil this week and came back with a clean bill of health.  Next Wednesday will mark my one-year anniversary of ILX ownership.


Over the weekend, I parked next to a friend with similar automotive tastes.  I’ve known Jim for several years now.  He upgraded awhile back from a 1998 Acura 2.5 TL to a 2008 TL.  Love that bodystyle!


I’ll be traveling 3,949 miles this weekend but it’ll be on Southwest rather than on Acura Airlines.  I’m hitting up a 2-day music festival event called Orion Music & More.


Of the 30 or so bands in attendance, I’ll check out Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rise Against, Deftones, and more.

I hope you all hit the highways this weekend and share your drives with ME instead!  Until next time.

ILX 40,000 Milestone: Group Drive to Roosevelt Lake, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Milestones, Road Trip on June 2, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  522,260


Odometer (ILX):  40,126


Trip Distance:  206 Miles


Would you believe I made it all the way to Miami and back for a day trip?  Sure did!  Miami, Arizona that is.  The small copper boomtown about 80 miles east of Phoenix was just one of the many destinations that I visited in my 2013 Acura ILX with a few friends today.  Here’s a 4-minute recap in country music form.

Eastward ho on US-60 we went, in search of tunnels, lakes, and bridges.


These two lucky chaps shared the ILX with me while a few of our other friends drove separately.  Kevin got shotgun and Brian had the back seat to himself.  There was plenty of room for all.


In the rearview you’ll see the participants in today’s road rally.  Brock brought his 2007 Mini Cooper S 6-speed and Matt brought his 2013 Nissan 370Z Sport 6-speed.  I took the lead and we headed for the hills.


First stop was Superior, Arizona, which from the looks of things is far from “superior” in any way.  Buildings here on Main Street have been vacant for decades.  Superior’s history starts in 1875 when the Queen Creek Mine started producing copper that brought thousands of prospectors to the area.  Mine operations have largely been shut down, but a few hearty residents (3,000, to be exact) continue to call this place home.


Our stop here was merely for a photo-op with of the ghost-towned buildings that lined this once-busy thoroughfare through town.  The cars in today’s drive were all 6-speed manuals, but that’s about all they had in common.


Thanks to Brock for this great shot!


Not a single business was open for customers along this stretch.  We peeked inside a few of these.  One was a diner that looked 100% complete inside.  It was almost as if the owners and patrons had simply vanished from existence and left everything in place.


It’s an eery feeling to walk around in a community that showed so few forms of “life.”  We saw only a few other people out and about early on Sunday afternoon.


We saw it fitting to take a picture of Matt’s 370Z in front of the historic Hotel Magma, constructed in 1923.  Matt’s Z’s official color is “Magma Red.”


A lonely cactus watches us as we bring more excitement to town than it’s probably seen for a few days.


Just a ways up the road, the drive took us through the 1952 Queen Creek Tunnel.  Originally striped as two lanes in each direction, it now has just two lanes uphill and one downhill due to wider lanes than the standard when it was constructed.  It’s roughly 1/4 mile long.  Matt got on the gas of his 370Z inside so we could all listen to his exhaust note.


Just at the north end of the tunnel, we pulled out into a gravel area and admired the scenery.


This picture shows the current (yellow line) highway where the Queen Creek Tunnel cuts directly through the mountain.  The curvy road toward the bottom of the frame is the pre-1952 highway alignment.  It also included a short tunnel, called the Claypool tunnel.  This was a critical piece of infrastructure for travelers going from Superior to the next town.


Claypool tunnel is now completely closed to automobile traffic but it can be reached in a short 15 minute hike from the current road.  We crossed through this gate and went to check it out.


Temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit didn’t melt our appetite for adventure.


Peering over the edge of the road, we saw the remains of some auto wreckage in the ravine below.


Jack admires the scenery.  Though it’s been over 60 years since this stretch of road was in service, we could still see plenty of areas where the blacktop and even painted road lines are still clearly visible.


Soon, we could see the Claypool tunnel.


Aside from the sound of our shoes crunching along in the dirt, we heard unmistakable squeaking sounds coming from the ceiling.  Connor pulled out his cell phone to see if this tunnel would allow him to “check in” on his FourSquare app, and indeed our suspicions were confirmed when he saw what it was called there:  “Bat Cave.”

Jack captured this picture of me walking along.  It looks like something from a sci-fi film!


It’s amazing how crudely built this tunnel was.  There is graffiti on the walls but it’s litter-free and relatively undisturbed.


Coming out the other end, it’s difficult to tell that this was even at one time a road.


Here I am playing tour guide and telling the others about the history of the tunnel that I’d learned online.  They just roll their eyes at me when I start spouting off random facts and trivia.  I love geeking out on stuff like this!


Time to make our way back to the cars and continue the journey.


These guys definitely have the right level of enthusiasm.


Here we are, entering Miami.  Not to be confused with the Miami, Florida that’s 2,361 miles away from my house — this one is a lot closer.


A few miles down the road, we’d seen all that Miami had to offer (which wasn’t much), and we entered the next town of Globe.  Lunch was at Jerry’s Restaurant – one of the “safest” looking places in town.  As much as I love hole-in-the-wall type food joints, I respect the health of my travel companions so I wanted something that seemed clean and had decent reviews.


Just don’t try and come here too late in the day.  Looks like they leave their closing time up in the air (Noted by “?”).


Inside, our party of 7 overtook the place.  It was a quiet Sunday afternoon in Globe.


Fueled up and ready to journey onward.


My ILX crossed the 40,000 mile mark less than a mile after leaving Jerry’s.


Thirty miles, later up Highway 188, we saw this bridge looming ahead of us.  This was the famous Roosevelt Lake Bridge.


This junction is where Highway 88 leads back to the Phoenix area via a 20+ mile dirt road and.  We opted not to do any off-roading this trip, but I’ve driven that stretch before in the Legend.


We drove as far as where the pavement ended before looping back to get a glimpse of the Roosevelt Dam.


A picture truly does not give a sense of the massive size of this dam.  Built between 1905 and 1911 and named for then-president Theodore Roosevelt, the dam currently stands 357 feet high.  I say currently because the dam when originally built was 280 feet high, but in the 1990’s it underwent some reconstruction that made it much larger. There were 41 workers who died during construction of the original engineering masterpiece.


Still, in 1911 the Roosevelt Lake that the original dam created was the world’s largest artificial reservoir.  The lake today contains over 1 million acre-feet of water.  It also put the original town of Roosevelt under water!


Here’s some information I learned from the Bureau of Reclamation about the dam and its newer bypass bridge.

Prior to completion of the bridge in October 1990, traffic drove over the top of the dam. The bridge itself earned rare distinction when the bridge was named one of the top 12 bridges in the nation in November 1995. The American Consulting Engineers Council cited the bridge for overall design, size, eye-appeal and design challenge. Other bridges cited were the Golden Gate Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge.

The $21.3 million bridge was built to take traffic off the top of Roosevelt Dam. Roosevelt Lake Bridge is the longest two-lane, single-span, steel-arch bridge in North America. The bridge, spans 1,080 feet across Roosevelt Lake providing two-way traffic. The original dam-top roadway was designed to allow two Model-T Fords to pass abreast, but today’s recreational vehicles and full-size automobiles are too wide to permit two-way traffic.


Here, we parked our vehicles in the overlook and viewed the bridge from a distance.


The bridge was painted blue so that it would blend in with the sky.  I’d say they matched the color quite perfectly.


Check out the interior of Brock’s Mini Cooper with just 50,000 miles on it.


This is the view from the other side of the dam.


Notice that the road on the bridge has a slight upward curvature.  This is because if the bridge was level, drivers would have the perception that the roadway was sagging — not a good sensation when you’re driving 150 feet above the water!


One more shot of the rides, anxious for the last leg of our journey.


Group shot:  Brian, Tyson, Jack, Matt, Kevin, Connor, Brock


We cruised back to Highway 188 and headed northbound.


Here’s what it looked like to cross that 1,080-foot bridge.


Our last stop was for some refreshing drinks (remember, it was a 100-degree Arizona day!) at the Butcher Hook restaurant, store, and saloon in Tonto Basin.


Highway 87 took us home.


Thanks to my friends for coming along – whether in person, or vicariously through the blog post.