Archive for July, 2013

Legend Tour: Old Town Scottsdale

Posted in Arizona, Legend on July 31, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  522,664


Odometer (ILX):  47,508


I’m one of 221,789 people who call Scottsdale, Arizona home.  The city is located in the Phoenix metropolitan area and was incorporated in July 1951.  It probably seems to many of my readers that I must not like where I live, since on any given weekend I’m usually on an Acura trip far from home. Truth is, though, that I love it here.


On Sunday, I took a morning cruise in the Legend to downtown Scottsdale which is only about 10 minutes from my home.  “Old Town,” as it’s called, refers to an area at the intersections of Scottsdale Rd & Indian School Rd that is the hub of area night life, commerce, and culture.  I had brunch with my friend Kati at RnR Restaurant & Bar.


Fueled by a delicious omelet & a tall glass of orange juice, I took the Legend around to see a couple of the sights.


The city’s seal is a mounted cowboy, and there are signs of him standing on various corners in the Old Town area.


Some fun facts about Scottsdale, thanks to Wikipedia:

Scottsdale in 1993 was named the “Most Livable City”, in the United States by the United States Conference of Mayors. This title is notoriously lampooned across the state because of the high cost of living in Scottsdale. It is continually ranked as one of the premier golf and resort destinations in the world, with a sizable portion of tax revenue being derived from tourism. It is also home to the Phoenix Open Golf Tournament and the Barrett Jackson car auction held at WestWorld.

At 4005 North Scottsdale Road lies Sugar Bowl – the best place in town for foods, ice cream, pastries, and candy.  It’s been around since 1958.


On May 29th, I had dessert there with my friend Kevin and I confirm that the hot fudge sundae cannot be beat.


Sugar Bowl’s claim to fame is that it has been featured in many of the “Family Circus” cartoons by artist Bil Keane.  Bil lived in Paradise Valley, Arizona and was one of Sugar Bowl’s famous customers.


Bil even wrote a note to the owner of the restaurant on this cartoon that’s hanging at the entrance.  Bil passed away in November 2011 but his son Jeff continues to draw the Family Circus cartoons.


Old Town is a fun place to walk around and check out the mom & pop shops.


Just a few blocks away lies the Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall, one of the 20 largest shopping malls in the country.


The “Old West Meets the New West.”  Below, the Adobe Mission lies at the intersection of Main Street & Brown Avenue.  It was built from 1931-33 and restored in 2000.


Thanks for coming along on the tour of my hometown!

Somebody needs to buy this 1995 Legend LS Coupe 6-speed on Ebay in Denver and become my twin!

$4,999 with 171,000 miles.  You know you want it!


Until next time.

Reader’s Ride: Chuck’s Acura Legends

Posted in Legend, Reader's Ride on July 28, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  522,654


Odometer (ILX):  47,310


When I moved to Arizona nearly 8 years ago, the Acura Legend enthusiast network was one of my means for meeting new friends in the area.  Chuck was one of those first people who I connected with.

In February 2007, I owned a 207,000 mile white Acura Legend GS 6-speed manual.  At the time, Chuck had two beautiful Sirius White Pearl 1993 Legends.  We decided to have a “Pearl White Block Party” and I shared a few pictures on the Legend forums at the time.


Chuck’s sedan had 61,000 miles on it.  His 6-speed coupe had 17,000 miles on it.


Today, Chuck’s sedan is gone but the coupe lives on, now with just under 31,000 miles on the odometer.


Purchased in December 2004 with 16,000 miles on it, this car sees the road only when it’s time to head to the golf course (once a week or so).


The license plate “AZLEGND” is synonymous with Chuck’s username on the Acura Legend forums.


The wheels on the coupe are 16″ aftermarket wheels that were once on Chuck’s sedan.


Underneath those sheepskin seat covers, the condition of the leather is near-new.  In fact, the whole car smells fresh.


All-weather mats protect the perfect carpet.


Even the door panels are immaculate.


Here’s a start-up and very short drive video of this amazingly well-kept Legend.

Readers with a keen eye may have noticed a first generation Legend in Chuck’s garage.  There’s a story behind that one.

In March 2010, I went to take a look at a rare custom Legend convertible about 75 miles from my home.  I posted a pretty detailed write-up to the forums at the time, but I didn’t end up pulling the trigger on it for myself.  The car was a 1988 L model automatic.  It had 87,000 miles on its 2.7 liter engine at the time I took it for a spin.


Over 3 years later, the car popped back up on Phoenix craigslist a couple of weeks ago, and Chuck had the honor of scooping this beauty up.  It became the 5th Acura Legend that he’s owned.  Now at 111,000 miles, the car is in worthy Legend enthusiast hands and I’m excited to see what he’ll do with it.  I can’t think of a better ride for enjoying the perfect Phoenix winters with the top down.


Supposedly this convertible was one of only 12 conversions completed at the time.  It’s nicely put together.


Can’t wait to take this one for a spin!  Thanks, Chuck, for your friendship and for letting me borrow some tools from time to time!

I happened to be driving my Legend GS sedan when I stopped by on Tuesday evening.


This old girl is sitting at about 144,200 miles currently.  It resides in storage but comes out to play about once every 2-3 weeks.


Thanks for reading!

ILX Colorado Trip Day 3: Colorado Springs to Scottsdale

Posted in Colorado, ILX, Road Trip on July 25, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  522,645


Odometer (ILX):  47,274


Daily Distance:  788 Miles


Welcome back!

That Legend odometer seems stuck at 522,000 these days.  The car is resting up for its big trip to Asheville, North Carolina next month.  Meanwhile, I drove the wheels off my ILX (attempted to, anyway) in Colorado this weekend.

Rested up from a day of mountain-climbing, my third day of the Mount Evans trip this past weekend was entirely dedicated to my return trip to Arizona.  Many years ago, I rolled through Colorado Springs in my 1994 Legend coupe and I met up with my friend Adam who’s local to the area.  He owned a 1991 Legend coupe 5-speed at the time.


Now, Adam’s moved on to other automotive interests and he’s currently driving a 1995 BMW 540i.  Adam stopped by my hotel on Sunday morning for a reunion.


This car’s in amazing shape for having 210,000 miles on it.  Best of all, it’s a 6-speed manual.  Adam says it’s one of only 100 cars that were produced in its color / transmission configuration for the year.


I gave Adam the opportunity to take the ILX for a short cruise.


After that, I hit the highway and headed southbound toward home.  This was a sign along I-25 in northern New Mexico when I made my return trip:


It reads:

Report Drunk Drivers

Dial #DWI (#394)

I know I’ve been on Instagram too long because when I blew past the sign, I read it as “Hashtag DWI” instead of “Pound DWI.”  Why in the world would they want me to report a drunk driver by hashtagging?

I was on the road long enough (roughly 12 hours, with only short stops for fuel & bathroom breaks) to learn that XM radio stations DO repeat the same songs.  Frequently.  I spent most of the day on a country station, WSIX Channel 57.  I heard this song 4 times.  And I couldn’t bring myself to change the station each time.  It’s too dang catchy!


Storm clouds loomed in the distance as I neared Holbrook, Arizona.


Sure enough, the summer “monsoon” storms were in full force and I got very wet.  The ILX, even with 47,000 miles on the current Michelin Pilot tires, gets excellent grip and I was able to make it through the weather with confidence.


That concluded the 3-day Colorado adventure to the highest paved road in America.  I loved the drive and I’m glad you could all be a part of it!

Random Fun Mileage News:

The other day, I came across a “Trade In Quality Index” website that is a database of about 160,000 traded-in vehicles.  It illustrates the percentage of vehicles with over 180,000 miles on them on this chart.  Acura had 20%.  Geo was the highest at 27%.  I’m not sure how current this data is, but it’s fun to consider.  I have colleagues at work who get antsy to sell or trade their vehicles as soon as they close in on 100,000.  That’s barely past break-in.


Here’s a 1987 Chevy Celebrity with over 375,000 miles, found on  Impressive for an old tank!  The Celebrity model will also have a special place in my heart since it was my first car.


And here’s another Chevy with super LOW miles.  This is a 1950 model year with just 437 miles on it.  More on that here.


All original – of course!


Just look at that interior.


Lastly –

If you haven’t already watched it, check out this Acura “Advance” Commercial linked here.  Thanks Ryan for finding it!

Hope everyone has a great Friday tomorrow.

ILX Colorado Trip Day 2: Mount Evans

Posted in Colorado, ILX, Road Trip on July 23, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  522,641


Odometer (ILX):  47,189


Daily Distance:  ~250 Miles


Welcome to Part 2 of my Colorado weekend adventure wrap-up.  How could I resist the temptation to drive my Acura ILX to a place that’s described like this?

Mount Evans is the road into the sky. Drive from 8,700 feet at Idaho Spring where you turn off Interstate 70 to 14,240 feet to the summit, and you will pass through 3 life zones, passing ancient trees, lakes and forest to the land above timberline. It can be 90 degrees in Denver and 40 degrees at the top of Mount Evans.  Mountain Goats and Bighorn Sheep will greet you as you climb to the top of the world.

If you want to cut to the chase, here’s the video:

Jason, Jeremy, Johl and I set out on Saturday morning to see what Mount Evans was all about.  An LED sign above I-70 west of Denver soon crushed our plans:  The highway was to be closed until 2:00 p.m. for a bicycle race:


Determined to still climb the mountain that day, we delayed our plans and entertained ourselves in the meantime.  Jeremy and I went to see & drive this 1994 Acura Legend LS Coupe 6-Speed that’s currently for sale on Denver craigslist.  A friend asked me to give it a look since he’s a prospective buyer.



This car looks nice from a distance, but it’s a full repaint (and a poor one, at that) and it needs some mechanical help, too.  At 151,000 miles, it did drive fairly nice, but I didn’t feel the car was worth the $6,800 asking price.


Back up the mountain we go!


Jason and Jouhl followed us as we snaked our way on Squaw Pass Road toward the base of the Mount Evans.


We weren’t discouraged when we had to cruise through a dusty construction zone.  We were determined.


Even before we got to the official “Mount Evans Highway,” we were already beginning our ascent.  On a clear day, the views stretch a great distance.


Echo Lake, at 10,600 feet, lies in the background in the below picture and marks the start of the 14-mile road that leads to the summit of Mount Evans.  The Accord and the ILX had driven a combined 1,800 miles to get to this point.  Even without a car wash, our silver paint jobs hid the bugs and dirt well.


Jason, Jouhl, and myself at a wooden sign in front of the Echo Lake Lodge which doubles as a gift shop.


The ILX, rooftop GoPro video camera equipped, was ready to scamper up the mountain.


A tollbooth at the base of Mount Evans road collected $10 per vehicle, then we were on our way to climb our first “Fourteener.”  Denver people call a “fourteener” any of the area mountain peaks (which are several) which exceed 14,000 feet in elevation.


Quick pullout for a photo-op against a beautiful sky.


It’s impossible to convey the beauty of the panoramic views that surrounded us on 360 degrees.


Let’s roll!  Windows were down because it was a pleasant 60 degrees or so.


You can see here where the highway has been sliced into the mountainside.  In this particular area, notice that there are no trees.  That’s because the tree line in Colorado is 12,000 feet and we’d already gone above that.


Z Z Z.  The ILX 6-speed makes for an amazing machine to aggressively tackle switchbacks like this, but I was a little less inclined to push my limits on this road given its danger.  No guard rails here!


It seriously felt like we were endlessly climbing.  13,000 feet.  14,000 feet.


I don’t recall seeing a posted speed limit at all.  “Reasonable” is anywhere from 15-25 miles per hour on most of these blind corners and tight stretches.


As we got even higher in elevation, the road continued to get skinnier and it no longer had pavement markings.  It required care to make way for vehicles coming the opposite direction.


Finally, we rounded the last corner and arrived at the lookout/observatory on top of the mountain.  The parking lot was pretty full but we found a place to parallel park the ILX.


At one time there was a stone-built restaurant and gift shop located here, but after a propane explosion & fire in 1979, it was never rebuilt.  Instead, some of the original walls have been reinforced and the structure serves as an observation point.


Here’s an observatory visible from the visitor area.


Evans is home to around 100 mountain goats.  They were extremely approachable and didn’t appear to have any fear or apprehension toward the many people visiting their home turf.


Photo credit for these great pictures goes to Jeremy who was borrowing my Canon at the time.


By this time I had put on my hooded sweatshirt.  I never thought I’d need a hoodie in late July!  In front of me was one of several elevation markers mounted in the rocks.


This one said 14,258 feet.


In the distance we could see Summit Lake below us.


Jouhl, Jason, Tyson.  Enjoying that crisp 14,000 foot air!  I did get slightly light-headed.


This guy didn’t, though.  Jeremy was off exploring.


Preparing for departure, the silver Hondas line up for a beauty shot.


There’s a word of warning on the back of the tollway ticket instructing people to down-shift to avoid overheating their brakes on the way down the mountain.  This is where having a stick shift is truly an advantage.


Jason led the way.  He expertly handled the grades using his 6-speed transmission to his advantage, because he rarely had to hit the brakes.


More fun awaited us as we made our way to Idaho Springs, Colorado after reaching the base of Mount Evans Road.


Eastbound Interstate 70 has some steep down-grades as it heads into the Denver area.  Apparently this freeway has a history with being dangerous for truckers because there are signs like the below saying, “Don’t Be Fooled!”


We made it back to civilization and treated ourselves – and our cars – to some fuel.  Interestingly enough, There’s 85 octane available in Colorado Springs.  I think the lowest we see in Arizona is 87.


Jason took the wheel in the ILX when we went to dinner.  This photo is not one of my finer ones.


It was a great end to an adventurous day.  I was glad to spend time with friends doing something that I love!

Tune in tomorrow for the final stretch of the Colorado trip.

ILX Colorado Trip Day 1: Scottsdale to Denver

Posted in Colorado, ILX, Road Trip on July 22, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  47,142


Total Trip Distance:  1,941 Miles

Daily Distance:  903 Miles


Hold your breath.  I’m about to take you on a high-adventure ride to some elevations where oxygen is in short supply.  Last Friday, I took flight in my 2013 Acura ILX to head for the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado.  My goal was to push my car to extreme elevations and to experience the inspiring scenery of the Rockies.

I’ll share this trip write-up in a 3-part series.


Just 3 hours northeast of the Phoenix area lies a meteor crater that was formed an estimated 50,000 years ago.  If it weren’t for the multiple signs along Interstate 40 trying to lure drivers in, I probably wouldn’t have even known it existed.  I couldn’t resist the temptation to have a look at what the billboards stated was the “best preserved impact site on earth.”  A $16 entry fee later, I was standing at the rim of a 4,000-foot-wide hole in the ground.


And here’s what that looks like from overhead (thanks Wikipedia):


Mining engineer and businessman Daniel Barringer spent decades in the early 1900’s trying to find the meteor that created this gigantic impact site, to no avail.  It was originally thought that the meteorite would be buried directly beneath the center of the crater.  Drilling projects were unsuccessful.  It is currently believed that the meteor vaporized upon impact.  Only small fragments remain.  As the sign at the entrance to the site indicates, the meteor was traveling an estimated 26,000 miles per hour.


My next pit stop satisfied an intense craving for a Taco Bell crunch wrap supreme at 10:30 in the morning in Holbrook, Arizona (breakfast of champions!).  I had an interesting conversation with a guy named David in a blue Subaru WRX as I was fueling up.  “Is that the new Acura?” he asked.  I told him that yes, this was a new model.  “That looks really sharp!” he said.  After telling him a little more about my story with the car, “I’m sure glad you got the 6-speed.”  I am too.

While in Holbrook, I drove through town on what was formerly part of Route 66.  There are a number of establishments that carry on the Route 66 style.  I especially enjoyed “Empty Pockets” Saloon.


Sahara Inn.  I thought for sure this place was long-since closed, but a look on Trip Advisor reveals that it’s still in business.  It’s rated #15 out of 18 hotels in Holbrook, though.  Be advised!


Holbrook is only about 70 miles from the New Mexico state line, and that was my next destination.  The Zuni Indian Reservation straddles the border and there are tourist traps advertising $7.99 “authentic Indian” blankets and $10 phone cards all over the place.  Does anyone still use phone cards?  The scenery can’t be beat, though.


I’ve stopped here a number of times already, but it just seems appropriate to commemorate my entrance to the “Land of Enchantment” every time I pass this sign on Interstate 40.


Gallup, New Mexico shares that same Route 66 DNA with Holbrook, so again we see some run-down relics of what may have at one time been really nice motels.  Desert Skies has a rate of $25/night.  Bargain basement rates.


I didn’t linger long enough to learn what kind of things “Zuni Fetishes Direct” sells.


But just ahead, I pulled the ILX into the historic 1937 El Rancho Hotel.  El Rancho’s claim to fame is that over the years, it has hosted such famous guests as John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, and Katherine Hepburn.


Though the Interstate 40 bypass of Route 66 cost El Rancho some business, a renovation effort has again made it an attractive place to stay.  A vintage postcard shows the hotel in its original glory.


“The Charm of Yesterday; The Convenience of Tomorrow” is still the motto today.  Surprisingly little has changed from an appearance perspective in El Rancho’s 76 years of existence.


Eastward Ho to Albuquerque we go, then north on Interstate 25 toward Santa Fe.  ABQ marked the halfway point for this drive.  I took the opportunity to stretch my legs, fuel up the ILX with some premium fuel, and take a bathroom break at the Flying J service station.


The high desert pines of Santa Fe give way to some open grassland in northern New Mexico.  I breezed through Las Vegas without even deactivating my cruise control in 6th gear.  Unlike the Las Vegas in Nevada, this one doesn’t offer much to see.  Well, except for 27 “modern” gas stations and 34 restaurants, per the blue sign at the south entrance to town.  I’ve always been intrigued with how New Mexico provides these types of stats for each town.


  • Cotton Eye Joe – Rednex
  • Tubthumping – Chumbawamba

Anyone remember such classics?  I listened to volumes 1 through 4 of JOCK JAMS to get me through northern New Mexico.  I’ve had these CDs for 15 years, but they still get the blood pumping every time.


As I neared the NM / CO state line, storm clouds descended but I saw that Denver finally was a mere 250 miles away.


Thanks to the random travelers who took my picture with the Colorado entrance sign.


I was driving the wrong car for this particular picture, but I still felt it worth a stop.


Sunset on I-25 as I roll through Castle Rock, Colorado northbound.


And finally, reunited with my friend Jason as we’re about to embark on our 4th road trip together.  Jason and I have met up a number of times in the past, for trips to Bisbee, White Sands, and Sedona.  He made the trip from Las Cruces, New Mexico in his 2004 Honda Accord EX coupe 6-speed.


The next day was when we REALLY started having fun.  More on that soon!

By the way, did anyone else see the 401,000 mile 1988 Acura Legend sedan that ran on Ebay last week?  Not too shabby!


Saturday Car Wash Party

Posted in Detailing on July 17, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  522,604


Odometer (ILX):  45,120


From the time I was old enough to pick up a sponge, I was helping my dad uphold our family’s reputation for having the cleanest cars on the block.  In fact, he used to pull the cars out onto the front lawn from time to time and take pictures of them.  I remember a neighbor coming over to ask one time, “When’s the car show?”

(That’s me on the right)


When I got a little older, I’d detail cars for neighbors and friends.  My pride and joy was this chrome-tastic 1989 Honda Prelude Si.


This was one car that I loved working on:  A Geneva Green Pearl 1991 Acura Legend LS Coupe.  It had the Ivory interior and an automatic transmission.


This car belonged to a couple named McKay and Joan who used to visit the copy shop where I worked at the time.  From the moment I sat inside this Legend and drove it to my house, I knew I’d someday own one.  These pictures were taken in 1999 when I was 17.


It wasn’t until 4 years later that I ended up buying a Legend of my own.  McKay and Joan sold this Legend to someone else but I’ll never forget the thrill of calling it my own, even if just for an hour.


In fact, that Legend coupe even inspired me at one point to start making a small clay model of a Legend.  I didn’t get very far with it.


Last Saturday, I hosted a car wash party of sorts at my house.  My friends showed up with a hodge-podge of vehicles, including the following:

Joe’s 1995 Acura Legend LS Coupe Automatic


Jack’s 2008 Volkswagen GTI 6-Speed


Matt’s 2013 Nissan 370Z 6-speed


Jacob’s 2013 Jeep Wrangler 4-door 6-speed


Joe’s Legend is pretty special.  It’s production #1234 from the last model year of the Legend, 1995.  He’s had it for just a few months but already done quite a bit of maintenance to it.


At 155,000 miles on the odometer, it’s got a ways left to go.


Joe recently ditched the aftermarket wheels that were on the car previously and replaced them with the correct 16″ Legend “GS” wheels.


Another friend who came to the party was Paul in his 2013 Acura TL SH-AWD.


Paul’s TL is the definition of “fully loaded.”  This car is equipped with the Advance package and Acura’s signature “Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive” (SH-AWD).


It’s a good thing I was wearing sunglasses, because that Bellanova White Pearl is blinding in the Arizona afternoon sunlight.  The darkly tinted glass on Paul’s TL gives a nice contrast.


Here’s the immaculate interior.  It still smells brand new – and, at only 5,000 miles on the odometer, it should!  Those seats are ventilated.  A great feature to have here in the desert!


My favorite upgrade to Paul’s TL is a Grumpy Cat sticker on the right rear window.  Grumpy Cat, also known by her official name of Tardar Sauce, lives not far from me in Morristown, Arizona.


Who would win this race?  Battle of the brands.


2013 Nissan 370Z Sport:

  • 332 horsepower, 3.7 liter V6 engine
  • 6-speed manual transmission with Synchro-Rev match system

2013 Acura TL SH-All Wheel Drive:

  • 305 horsepower, 3.7 liter V6 engine
  • 6-speed automatic transmission with sport-shift paddles

It’d be a fun match to watch.

Current events:

My ILX went in for an oil change yesterday at 45,028 miles.  The technician recommended replacement of the cabin & engine air filters, and fresh manual transmission fluid, due to mileage. Otherwise, just a few quarts of fresh 0W20 oil and I was on my way.

Here’s the latest ILX rendering by Hondatalover.


In his own words, here are the makings of this amazing looking custom ILX.

Things you can see:

  • Tinted windows
  • Tinted Headlights (lightly, just going for a darker housing look)
  • Clear strip for Reverse and turn signal’s on the taillights.
  • 18″ European Honda Accord Type-S wheels.
  • A slight drop. Probably 1/2 an inch,
  • ‘A-Spec’ front, side and rear bumpers with wing spoiler. (One piece, not a lip kit) –I have a non-wing spoiler version. Since not everyone likes wings, I’ll send and let you pick.

Things you cannot:

  • Dual, quad exit exhaust (can’t see, but it’s implied)
  • Dark metal trim w/ fake Carbon fiber accenting.
  • Full LED interior lighting and accenting.
  • LED puddle lights in the L and R mirrors, behind the door handles, bottom of the door (when open) to shine onto the ground, and license plate.
  • Sound deadening material through out.


  • HFP/ A-Spec suspension (1/2″ drop)
  • High performance summer tires.
  • RV6 Bellmouth down pipe w/ Si mufflers.
  • Limited-slip differential.
  • Cold Air Intake.
  • Beefier stabilizer bars.
  • Beefier front and rear tower struts.
  • Hondata reflash optional.

Sounds like a dream ILX to me!  Sign me up for those enhancements.

Acura ILX Trip: Why, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on July 14, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  522,599


Odometer (ILX):  44,920


Trip Distance:  370 Miles


An instant message conversation with a colleague at work went something like this on Friday.


Apparently my coworkers know me too well.  I can’t sit still for long.

It’s times like these during the peak of Phoenix summer heat when the 4 million of us who live in the Phoenix metropolitan area ask ourselves, “Why?”  Why do we live in this oven of a city?  The answer shows up in the fall when Mother Nature unplugs the heater and we bask in perfect winter weather from October through May.

The word “Why” took on a whole new meaning this weekend.  “Why” is a place in southern Arizona.  It’s a place so small and insignificant that even my Garmin Nuvi GPS unit didn’t know what it was.


You’re telling me there’s no other town named Why for at least 2,800 miles from here?  This place must be special.  I was determined to see what this little speck on the map had to offer.  As it turns out, the drive was most rewarding.  On a cool summer morning (that’s 96 degrees at 8:16 in the morning for us Phoenicians), I set out westbound on Interstate 10 in my 2013 Acura ILX 6-speed.


At Arizona Highway 85, I headed south for 35 miles to Gila Bend.


This blog entry brought to you in part by Fertizona:  Arizona’s largest agricultural fertilizer and crop protection retailer.  (Not really, but I thought the name was clever).


Gila Bend:  Home of 1700 friendly people and 5 old crabs.  The 5 crabs’ names, by the way, are written out on the smaller sign below.  Seriously!


After passing through town, which didn’t take longer than a minute or two, I headed even deeper south.  Next stop:  Mexico.


Without a passport, I wasn’t going to get too far, but there were plenty of shops willing to sell me a Mexican insurance policy.  Here’s one such example where they actually sell Mexican insurance at a DRIVE-THRU.  Can I get a chimichanga with that policy?


Just a bit down the road in Ajo, Arizona (Ajo is Spanish for “garlic”), I found the ultimate one-stop shop.  Cactus, jelly, copper, onyx, jewelry, T-shirts, blankets, pottery, rugs, and… swords?!  Good to know!


Ahh, here we go.  Getting closer – the sign told me I was just 10 miles from Why.  Rocky Point, at 103 miles from this sign, resides in Mexico.  It’s a popular summertime destination for Arizonans seeking beach-time.  It is, in fact, the closest beach to Arizona.  Remember that country song, “Oceanfront Property In Arizona”?  Well, that ocean’s in another country.


We now learn why Why is called Why.  The map below from my GPS illustrates it best.  When the unincorporated town was formed, it lied at the intersection of Highways 85 and 86.  They roads came together at a “Y.”  Since the law at the time required a town’s name to be at least 3 letters long, it was spelled out W-H-Y.  Safety concerns later on prompted the creation of a traditional “T” style intersection instead of the original Y.


At last.  I made it.  Surprisingly, there’s enough customer traffic for a few businesses to stay afloat out there.


Here’s that piece of road that’s now curved where it used to go straight down.


No trip to Why would be complete without a stop at the Why Not Travel Store.


Because you can get Free Why-Fi.  Love it.


I made a bathroom break out back and continued on my way.  I’d seen all that Why had to offer.


At only about 25 miles from the Mexican border, it was ironic that Madonna’s “Borderline” chose to play from my iPod on the ILX’s 7-speaker Premium Audio System at this time.  I rocked it out with plenty of volume.


Eastbound on Highway 86, I had the road to myself.  Except when I passed this guy.  He didn’t even flinch when I laid on the horn.


The next place of any significance on my drive was Sells, Arizona.  Sells was pretty quiet except for the marketplace.  It’s on Indian land and is the capital of the “Tohono O’odham” Nation.  A service station by the name of Sells Gas sits on the main drag through town.  I bet they… sell gas.


Over the course of my 6 or so hours behind the wheel today, I encountered dozens of border patrol vehicles.  The Ajo-Why-Sells-Tucson area is a hotbed of immigrant activity.  For this reason, it’s heavily policed.  I was stopped briefly by officers here, just east of Sells on Highway 86.


For a brief moment while I neared Tucson, I thought I’d driven my ILX into Dr. Seuss’ Whoville.  Wasn’t there a Who named Cindy Lou Who?  Apparently Cindy Lou Who opened up a restaurant out here called Cindy Lou’s Cafe.  Tacos are only $1.25!


Now we’re cookin’.


Last stop on the journey was a meet-up with my friends Nick & Kurt in Tucson for a bite of Mexican grub.


Hope you enjoyed the trip to Why!  Now, if I could only find out if there are towns named Who, What, and Where.

In high-mileage news:  My friend Jason linked me to a website about a 2005 Honda Accord Coupe EX V6 that’s gone the distance.  Here’s the thread on the 7th Generation section of the forums.


The odometer reads just over 506,000 miles.  The car was owned since new by a territory salesman in Minnesota and every service record is accounted for.  The timing belt was changed every 100,000 miles.  Reportedly, the only items which have failed are the starter, the power steering, and the battery.


The new owner paid $6,000 for the car.  He plans on modifying it with visual & suspension upgrades.  I’d leave it alone!

Over and out.

Reader’s Ride: Michael’s 2009 Acura TSX

Posted in Reader's Ride on July 11, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  522,586


Odometer (ILX):  44,444


Please allow me to introduce another fan of the Acura brand to you today.  The model year 2009 marked some (literal) big changes for the Acura TSX sport sedan.  The 2nd generation TSX got longer and wider than its predecessor which debuted in 2004.  My new friend Michael from Chicago owns a stunning Vortex Blue 2009 Acura TSX and he stopped by to visit while road-tripping through the area on Tuesday evening.

Here we are.  Michael’s car has 55,658 miles on the odometer.


He is currently 1,740 miles from home and he is confident that the TSX will get him home safe and sound.  I’m sure it will, too.  He said his oil life indicator still shows 90% useful life remaining.


These two sport sedans have each served as a gateway to the Acura brand, inviting young professional buyers to experience the brand and work their way up the ranks to other Acura models.


I’m a huge fan of this Vortex Blue color.  I’d be interested in seeing how it compares next to Acura’s new “Fathom Blue Pearl” which debuted on the 2013 ILX.


“Beak” grilles.  Though brutally criticized since their birth in 2009, I think that Acura’s signature “shield” front end has matured gracefully over the years.


Here’s the cockpit of Michael’s ride.  It’s a heck of a lot cleaner than mine would be during the middle of a road trip.


There’s something addicting about Acura ownership.  It seems none of us are content with just one car in the garage.  Michael’s other ride is a 1994 Legend LS coupe automatic in Milano Red.  We took my Legend for a spin around the block.


Michael shared these pictures with me of his own Legend.  It’s equipped with JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) one-piece headlamps and factory foglights.  Unlike my car, his has a 4-speed automatic transmission.


This body looks pretty great for a 19-year-old car!  It has around 230,000 miles on it.


Love the look of the rear spoiler with the 1994-95 Legend coupe trunk lid.


This car makes me miss the red Legend LS coupe that my mom used to own.  Here are a couple of pictures from June 2010 when I had three Legends at my house.


My neighbors were rolling their eyes when I took these photos for sure.


The rest of that photoset from 3 years ago is posted here in the Acura Legend forums.

Thanks, Michael, for swinging by and paying me a visit!  I hope to return the favor the next time I’m rolling through Illinois.

For anyone who can’t get enough Legend talk, stop on by the WordPress blog called Project 130R which is put together by my friend Erik.  He’s recently featured two very clean 1st generation Legends that belong to my friends James and Ryan.  Check out Project 130R at the link here.


Independence Day Trip to Utah

Posted in ILX, Road Trip, Utah on July 8, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  522,581


Odometer (ILX):  44,274


Trip Distance:  1,727 Miles


Happy Independence Day!  Lured by cooler temperatures up north, I saddled up in the Acura ILX last Wednesday and set out on a long-distance journey to the motherland of Utah.  Highway 93 northbound from Phoenix was surprisingly quiet for a holiday.


I wasn’t alone, though.  Along for the drive was my friend Matt who works for Nissan / Infiniti at the company’s proving ground just south of Phoenix.  Matt brought a pre-production model 2014 Q50 Sport Hybrid.  The Q50 goes on sale August 5th, but Matt was given special access to this test car for evaluation purposes.


The numbers grew yet again when another friend, Jeremy, hopped in the caravan in St. George, Utah the following morning.


At that point, we had 3 Japanese luxury brands represented.


Jeremy, Matt, and I showed our patriotism on July 4th with colors that were as close to Red, White, and Blue as we could muster:

  • 2006 Lexus IS350 in Matador Red Metallic
  • 2013 Acura ILX 2.4 in Silver Moon Metallic
  • 2014 Infiniti Q50-S Hybrid in Hagane Blue Metallic


These cars, while each one distinct in its approach, all compete against one another in a sport luxury sedan category.  For 200 miles from St. George, Utah to Nephi, Utah, we paced each other on Interstate 15.  Jeremy’s Lexus is powered by a 306-horsepower, 3.5 liter V6 gasoline engine.  It puts power to the wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission.  Paddle shifters on the steering wheel offer the driver control over which gear is selected.


The Infiniti is the most powerful of the 3 vehicles.  The Q50’s powertrain is referred to as a “Performance Hybrid” system.  Power is delivered to the rear wheels via a 3.5 liter gasoline engine coupled with an electric motor.  Together, those two systems work either in unison or independently to maximize efficiency and power.  Net horsepower is 354 — over 150 more horses than I had at my command while piloting the ILX.


To be fair, the ILX was the only 4-cylinder vehicle in our escapade, and it beats out the other two from a pricing perspective by quite a bit.

  • The Q50 starting price is $36,700 and equipped as a Hybrid with Sport package, comes in closer to $50k
  • Jeremy’s IS350 priced out at $35,440 when it was new
  • The ILX starts out at below $27,000.  My 2.4 liter 6-Speed Premium is $29,200 according to

Specs aside, no doubt we had our fun cruising in tandem along I-15.


Soon, we approached Utah Valley and the unmistakable Rocky Mountain peaks referred to as the start of the Wasatch Front.  These mountains are notorious for Utah’s “greatest snow on earth” during ski season.


My friend Branson borrowed the ILX and he visited some noteworthy landmarks in northern Utah that I thought I’d share:

The “Metaphor” statue along Interstate 80 in deserted western Utah has long perplexed motorists who drive past it.  Created in 1986 by Swedish artist Karl Momen, it stands 87 feet tall and is made of concrete.  It’s also sometimes referred to as the “Tree of Life.”  We simply don’t know much else about its meaning, but if it’s offbeat, you know it gets me excited.


Just 25 miles further west, nearing the Nevada state line, lie the expansive Bonneville Salt Flats.  The flats cover 44,000 acres of public land and are the remnant of an ancient Lake Bonneville which has since evaporated, depositing salt in the area.  Due to the salt flats’ incredibly flat surface, they became a popular place to race vehicles & motorcycles.


The first carriage race was held here in 1911.  According to the information sign on-site, by the 1960’s, jet and rocket powered cars had broken the 600 mph barrier.  The Bonneville Speedway itself is 10 miles long and is home every year to various racing events such as “Speed Week.”


When Branson visited the flats on Sunday morning, they were under water.  During rainy seasons, the area is flooded.


The salt flats are a beautiful place to admire the vast nothingness that exists in remote western Utah.  Unfortunately, due to salt being harvested from the flats, they’re shrinking in size.


Here is a link to some pictures from when I took my Legend there in June 2007.  Eighty miles north of Salt Lake lies my birthplace – Logan, Utah.  It was refreshing to experience temperatures like these, having come from the Arizona fireplace.


I met up with some Honda-fanatic friends.  Ryan is the proud owner of a black Honda S2000.  He took my mom for a drive and she was all grins.


I joined Matt, Ryan, and Tyler for a drive up the Logan Canyon Scenic Byway, US Highway 89.


Tyler’s 1990 Prelude Si 4WS 5-speed is in amazing shape and I’ve blogged about it before.


One of the stops while going up the canyon was “Ricks Spring.”  Once thought to be producing water from a deep aquifer, a series of dye tests later revealed that this water outflow from a cave in Logan Canyon actually comes from the Logan River.  The water is extremely clear and chilly.


On Saturday, I attended the Cache Valley Cruise-In car show, a 4th of July tradition for my family.  My brother Bentley’s 1968 Chevy II Nova Super Sport looked phenomenal.  The car is sitting on a fully adjustable coilover suspension and American Racing wheels.  Bentley recently had the brakes upgraded to Wilwood components with cross-drilled and slotted rotors.


This is one mean machine.  It’s powered by a small block 350 cubic inch motor which has been bored to 388 cubic inches.  The registration form for car show entry asked for owners to fill in horsepower ratings.  Bentley wrote in: “Enough.”


The Nova has a 5-speed manual transmission and factory A/C.  I still haven’t driven this thing!


Baby Beckam enjoyed the show as much as the rest of us did.


While I haven’t driven the Nova, I did have a special driving experience while in Logan.  My step-dad Todd owns a 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook sedan.  This baby blue 4-door has a 6 cylinder under the hood.


More importantly for me, it’s equipped with a 3-speed manual, column-shifted transmission.  This was the first time I had the opportunity to drive a “3 on the tree”!  It was quite intuitive once I got the hang of it.  The biggest challenge was remembering that the clutch engagement point was really high, and the brake engagement point was really low.  Fancy footwork is required!


Just when I mastered the art of 3-speed shifting, the car’s gas pedal stuck to the floor and we had to shut the car off and coast into a service station.  Oops!  Thankfully, we got the Plymouth back up and running the following morning.


A phenomenal Cache Valley sunset closed out Saturday night.


On Sunday morning, we were off for more sightseeing.  Golden Spike National Historic Site is a very important landmark among railroad enthusiasts.  It’s located 32 miles west of Interstate 15, near Brigham City, Utah.


Golden Spike is the famous location where, on May 10, 1969, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads came together, completing the very first coast-to-coast, transcontinental railroad.  Golden Spike gets its name from the fact that a spike made of 17.6 carat gold was the last spike to be driven. The actual golden spike is on display in Palo Alto, California.  It was donated to Stanford University in 1892 by its owner, David Hewes.


There’s some fascinating information about the golden spike here.  When the individual teams of railroad workers started getting closer to one another in 1869, they worked feverishly to reach a meeting point.  The Central Pacific team was so productive that they they laid a record-setting 10 miles of track in a single day.


Today, reproduction locomotives are on display at the site.  There are daily 1:00 p.m. demonstrations.


Matt and I set out on our return trip to Arizona and we were met with some adverse weather near Cedar City, Utah.  The Q50 and the ILX were surefooted enough to get us to St. George safely for the evening.


By Monday morning when we completed the final stretch, the sun had peeked out yet again.  I took a couple of “retro” pictures in Fredonia, Arizona at an abandoned service station.  I wish I could have the opportunity to see inside this one.


I doubt this service station ever stocked the 0W20 oil that would be appropriate for my Acura ILX.


Hey, check out that gas mileage!  In the 399.2 miles driven since my last fuel-up in Hurricane, Utah, my ILX has averaged 35.8 miles per gallon.  I bet my friends in the Lexus and Infiniti are jealous now.


Thanks for joining for the trip!

I really like this tribute to Honda engineering that was released a few days ago.  Enjoy!

Motor Oil

Posted in Legend, Maintenance on July 2, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  522,576


Odometer (ILX):  42,547


My great-grandpa Hansen opened the very first automotive service station in northern Utah’s Cache Valley in 1923.  The automotive industry has always been in my blood.  At one time Grandpa Hansen sold Texaco oils.


Later it was Parco.


And at some point, his station sold Chevron brand.


Great-Grandpa Hansen is pictured here with my grandmother as a baby in January 1931.


Grandpa ran the station until Labor Day 1967 when he retired and sold the building.  His 40+ years in the fuel service industry ingrained in my family a love for the automobile.  The station is seen in the background here, with my uncle Jeff’s 1955 Chevy in the foreground.


This is a fun movie ticket that we have as a reminder of what it was like to spend $0.15 to go to a movie.  Notice the expiration date was March 15th, 1932.  I would’ve loved to explore his service station.  It’s since been bulldozed.


Eighty years later, I’m still supporting the motor oil industry but as a consumer rather than a vendor.


The oil and filter in this car have been changed 161 times.


One of the most common questions I get from readers who learn of my mileage on the Legend is, “What oil are you running in that thing?”  The answer may surprise many.  The Legend runs on conventional 5W30 oil and always has.  I’ve never used any motor oil additives, never used Seafoam.  The only “treatment” of any sort that the car has received is an occasional bottle of Chevron Techron in the fuel tank.  Now, this begs the next question:  “How often do you have the oil changed?”

The short answer:  FREQUENTLY.


As seen in my maintenance spreadsheet, I’ve stuck with a 3,000 mile interval for my entire ownership of the car, even if it means having the oil changed mid-cross-country-trip.  For this reason, my car’s been in dealership service bays as far east as Princeton, New Jersey, as far west as Fife, Washington, as far south as Austin, Texas, and as far north as Fairbanks, Alaska.  I’ve got every corner of the country pretty much covered.

The Owner’s Manual to my Legend calls for an oil & filter change every 7,500 miles.  There’s an accompanying sticker on the airbox in the engine bay that says the same thing.


However, a footnote to the Maintenance Schedule section on page 144 also indicates that “severe driving conditions” warrant a more frequent change.


Severe driving conditions are defined as follows:

  • Driving less than 5 miles per trip
  • Driving on rough, muddy, or de-iced roads
  • Driving in extremely dusty conditions
  • Extensive idling or driving long periods at slow speeds
  • Towing a trailer

In such cases, the oil change interval is shortened to every 3,750 miles.  I consider Arizona driving conditions about as severe as they get.

My other Legend, the 4-door sedan GS 6-speed, is in storage with the battery disconnected.  It gets driven every 2-3 weeks for varying distances.  However, the mileage takes awhile to accumulate.  Case in point:  Between October 17, 2012 and April 15, 2013 (6 months’ time), the car was only driven 278 miles.  But, I still have the oil changed every 6 months regardless of mileage driven.


My ILX, at 19 model years newer than the Legend, asks for a vastly different approach to oil maintenance.  The car comes with 0W20 oil.  Is this oil conventional or synthetic?  It depends on who you’re asking.  I’ve googled this endlessly and seen various types of responses.  One commenter even stated that he knew of three distinct versions of Honda 0W20 oil!

As for the oil change interval, the ILX owner’s manual throws out the notion of mileage-based changes entirely.  Instead, the driver is asked to schedule maintenance based on a computer readout in the middle of the instrument cluster called the “Maintenance Minder.”  I can get to my Maintenance Minder by toggling through a few other screens (mpg, estimated range, etc).  It reads out as a percentage. On a fresh oil change, it’s reset to 100% oil life remaining.


When I got the ILX, I was told, “Schedule your oil change when it hits 15%.”  Well, I had gotten to 5,000 miles and it still said 50%!  As someone who has clung to 3,000 mile changes my whole life, the idea of continuing to push the car to 2 or 3 times that mileage seemed absurd.  I went ahead and had it changed at 5,000 miles, and I’ve stuck to that interval ever since.  Is it wasteful and unnecessary?  Probably.  But it works for me.  I can easily keep track of when the car’s due for service.  And I don’t mind enjoying the Customer Lounge amenities at my local dealership frequently.


We’ll see if my technique gets me to 500,000 miles in the ILX or not.  I’m curious what my readers think.  Weigh in on the comments section:  When do you get your oil changed?

On Monday night, I met up with my friend Armando who has a super clean pearl white 1992 Subaru SVX.  This is Armando’s second SVX.  You all met the first one back in May.  It was good to catch up with him.


I’ve always thought this was a cool design, especially in the black and white two-tone like Armando has.


At around 180,000 miles, he’s just getting broken in.

I wanted to share another classic car of yesteryear with the blog today as well.  This is my step-dad’s 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook Sedan.  He’s owned it for over 35 years.


This beauty has a 3-speed manual transmission on the steering column.  I’m going to take it for a spin when I visit northern Utah later this week.  The ILX and I are off to Logan, Utah to escape the Phoenix heat for a few days.


This Plymouth is up for grabs for $3,800 if anyone out there is interested.


In closing, I visited a friend who had this sitting on her bookshelf.


Published in 1983, I wonder how many of the techniques in there would still apply for today’s vehicles?

I’ll have to order myself a copy and read up!  Have a safe and enjoyable holiday.