Archive for June, 2013

Legend Oil Change & Random News

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

Odometer (Legend):  522,572

522572

Odometer (ILX):  42,344

42344

Welcome summer!  Love those weekend highs.

IMG_5735

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.

acura_legend_oil_change_receipt

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.

legend_in_service_drive

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!

blue_red_tsx

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.

mdx_headlight

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!

2014_mdx

The interior appears to be nicely appointed, too.

2014_mdx_interior

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.

green_on_green_mdx

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):

sc0005b59f

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

legend_dash_ilx

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.

2015_tlx

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.

william_accord

william_accord_mileage

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_odometer

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

spencer1

spencer2

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.

curbside_classic_story

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!

legend_evasive_action

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.

tyson_yearbook_scan

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!

93_legend_ad

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

93_Legend_Ad_2

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

522443

Odometer (ILX):  42,221

42221

Trip Distance:  179 Miles

apache_route

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.

ohv-apache-trail-map

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.

canyon_lake_acura_ilx

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

bridge_az88

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

tortilla_distances

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

pathfinder_370z_ilx

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.

tortilla_flat_dinning_room

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

tortilla_flat_sign

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

pavement_ends

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

acura_ilx_on_apache_trail

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

bridge_az88_acura_ilx

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.

fish_creek_bridge_acura_ilx

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.

tyson_with_pathfinder_and_ilx

Saddle up – we’re off again.

ilx_pathfinder_with_matt

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.

apache_lake_marina_sign

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

roosevelt12

A few more bridges, and we were home free.

az88_bridge

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

az88_acura_ilx

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.

dam_entrance_acura_ilx

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.

3tv_article_marble_canyon_lodge_fire

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

061913_marble-canyon-resized

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

irv

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.

road_track_reprint

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

pre_owned_page_4

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?

prudhoe

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

chase_ilx_1

Just 23 miles on the odometer when he took delivery!

chase_ilx_2

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.

LambrechtChevrolet_02_1500

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

lightning

Odometer (Legend):  522,442

522442

Odometer (ILX):  41,793

41793

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.

registration_stickers

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.

legendmt

legendrl

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

When the car was a week old – Lake Cachuma

ben_legend_original_a

ben_legend_original_2_a

Spring 1993 at the University of California – Santa Barbara campus

ben_legend_spring_1993_a

1993 Mission San Miguel, Central California

10-legend-mission-san-miguel-1993_resized

Shadow pic, 1993

15-legend-shadow-1993_resized

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!

03-legend-sf-theatre-district-parking-garage-sports-cars-only-19970226

April 13, 1997 – Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara

10-legend-stearns-wharf-santa-barbara-19970413_resized

May 4, 1997 – Twin Peaks, San Francisco

13-legend-twin-peaks-19970504ps_resized

May 4, 1997 – Coit Tower, San Francisco

10-legend-coit-tower-19970504_resized

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.

jim_ben_jason_june_1997

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

02-legend-meet-19970612ps

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.

25-legend-meet-group-close-up-19970719ps_resized

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

23-legend-meet-group-with-people-19970719ps_resized

September 19, 1997 – Exact Motorsports meet

13-legend-meet-exact-motorsports-and-lunch-19970919ps

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.

20-bmwcca-rally-19970920

October 11, 1997 – Legend Meet

07-legend-meet-19971011ps

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 Legend.org.

20-legend-meet-jim-eric-ben-19971102

December 7, 1997 – Autocross Event

05-legend-autocross-19971207

December 13, 1997 – Legend Meet

22-legend-meet-19971213ps

legend_meet_12-13-97

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.

legend_meet_4-11-98

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

ben_willow_springs

ben_willow_springs_3

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.

05-legend-hid-halogen-comparison-1998_resized

1998 – Meet with various makes & models

ben_1998_meet

Fall 1998 – Visit to Honda headquarters in Torrance, California

36-legend-honda-torrance-1998-fall_resized

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

ben_legend_1999_winery_visit

May 6, 1999 – NSXPO Scenic Drive

ben-legend-nsxpo99-19990506ps_resized

December 12, 1999 – Legend Meet

legend_meet_12-12-1999

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

100k

May 18, 2000 – Racing at Thunderhill

thunderhill1

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

09-cars-people-051800-1600ps

Fall 2002 Legend Meet – San Luis Obispo, California

ben_2002_slo_meet

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

nalm2007

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

nalm_2007_group

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

ben_coupe_in_snow

NALM 2009 in Branson, Missouri

nalm2009

2009 Legend meet in Los Angeles, California

losangeles2009

NALM 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah

nalm2010

nalm2010_slc

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

tyson_ben_nalm_2010

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

nalm_2010_drags

NALM 2011 in Morristown, New Jersey

nalm2011

NALM 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Legend mechanic Matt Wallace

nalm2012_with_matt_wallace

And with another car that you all should recognize.

nalm2012

NALM 2012 drag races

nalm_drags

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

ben_odometer

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

continental_divide

Four Corners.  This should look familiar!

four_corners

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!

musical_road

Mount Rushmore – South Dakota

mount_rushmore

Bonneville Salt Flats – Utah

bonneville

Redwood Trees – Northern California

drive_thru_tree

Golden Gate Bridge

legend-ggb

Crater Lake, Oregon

crater_lake

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

25-1g-legend-front-19980913ps_resized

31-1g-legend-rear-19980913ps_resized

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

jan-nsx-meet-group-photo

Another shot from 2002

ben_white_nsx

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

ben_s2000

ben_s2000_2

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.

ben_with_nsx

First odometer reading.

ben_nsx_odometer

ben_nsx_interior

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

ben_nsx_ext1

ben_nsx_ext2

ben_nsx_ext3

The S2000 and the NSX together

s2000_with_nsx

And the Legend and NSX together

legend_with_nsx

legend_with_nsx_2

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.

Arizona

arizona

Arkansas

arkansas

California

california

Colorado

colorado

Connecticut

connecticut

Idaho

idaho

Illinois

illinois

Indiana

indiana

Iowa

iowa

Kansas

kansas

Massachusetts

massachusetts

Michigan

michigan

Minnesota

minnesota

Missouri

missouri

Montana

montana

Nebraska

nebraska

Nevada

nevada

New Jersey

newjersey

New Mexico

newmexico

New York

newyork

North Dakota

northdakota

Ohio

ohio

Oklahoma

oklahoma

Oregon

oregon

Pennsylvania

pennsylvania

South Dakota

southdakota

Texas

texas

Utah

utah

Washington

washington

West Virginia

westvirginia

Wisconsin

wisconsin

Wyoming

wyoming

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!

acura_mountain_view

ILX Trip to Utah: Buckskin Gulch Hike

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

Odometer (Legend):  522,393

522393

Odometer (ILX):  41,757

41757

Trip Distance:  1,101 Miles

route_map_buckskin

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.

vegas_arrival

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.

excalibur

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!

vegas

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.

crew_in_ilx

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!

in_n_out_burger

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

arriving_st_george

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

acura_ilx_at_red_hill

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

view_of_st_george

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.

acura_ilx_at_swig

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.

car_full_of_people

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

ilx

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.

house_rock_road_acura_ilx

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

buckskin_sign

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.

the_wave-arizona

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.

dusty_trunk

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

ilx_at_buckskin_trailhead_2

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

ilx_at_buckskin_trailhead

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.

trailhead_unpacking

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

flash_flood_warning_sign

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

rustin_rob_hiking

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.

jeff_kevin_hiking

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?

buckskin_rustin_cathy

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.

hiking_jeff_Jason

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.

dwellings

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

archway

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

kevin_tyson_jeff_buckskin

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

crossing_water

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

tyson_in_buckskin

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

todd_hiking

group_at_arch

tyson_hiking

Tyson, Jason, Rustin, Jeff, Cathy

tyson_with_group_hiking

group_hiking_buckskin

hiking

Jeff, Rustin, Cathy, Jason, Kevin

group_hiking

rob_rustin_jeff_hiking

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.

lunch_bunch

Photo-op with my mom at our picnic spot.

tia_tyson_hiking

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.

after_hike_group

Get me some water!

after_hike

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.

acura_ilx_house_rock_road

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

house_rock_road

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

jason_rob_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.

highway_89

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.

loading_ilx_trunk

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

fuel_in_st_george

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!

white_hybrid_ilx

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.

hondatalover_a_spec_ILX

One Year Anniversary with the Acura ILX

Posted in ILX on June 12, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  40,530

40530

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.

lund_hotel

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.

10000

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

20000

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

30000

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

40000_miles

Complete maintenance history:

ilx_maintenance

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

40469

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.

raul_tyson_ford_fusion_rental

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.

IMG_5063

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.

tyson_windsor

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.

GM_building_detroit_border

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.

IMG_5175

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

orion_entrance

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.

tyson_63_lincoln_continental

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.

IMG_5125

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!

1950_buick_at_orion

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.

surprise_show_metallica

Rocking out.

orion_day_2

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!

IMG_5176

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

IMG_5177

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.

IMG_5170

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.

detroit_vehicle

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.

tyson_with_waseem_legend

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

waseem_legend_front_left

Stunning from every direction.

waseem_legend_right_rear

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.

g1_legend_info_center

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

waseem_driving_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.

tyson_at_michigan_central_station_resized

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.

4runner1

4runner2

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!

ilx_following_rlx

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

522318

Odometer (ILX):  40,353

40353

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.

paul_accord

He later moved on to this 1994 Accord.

paul_accord_2

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.

paul_tl_front_left

paul_tl_right_rear

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:

paul_tl_accident

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

photo

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

paul_tl_right_rear

paul_tl_dash

paul_tl_front_right

paul_tl_doors_open

paul_tl_door_panel

paul_tl_on_road

paul_tl_interior

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.

oil_change_receipt

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!

ilx_jims_tl

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.

orion_logo

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.