Archive for August, 2013

Carfidant Paint Depth Gauge – User Review

Posted in Detailing on August 29, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  52,634


We’re taking a break from my long-distance late summer travels for a product review today.

“What’s under that shiny paint?”

That’s the tagline for a new product that promises to potential car buyers that it will help them determine if a vehicle they’re looking at has ever been involved in an accident.  I was given the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to perform a review of the Carfidant paint depth tool, so I used my 1994 Legend and my 2013 ILX as subject vehicles.


The idea here is that an all-original car should have pretty consistent readings around the entire vehicle.  A car that’s been hit & repainted, however, can vary widely from panel to panel.  The reason for this is that extra layers of paint & Bondo cause the meter to give higher readings.  Those high readings are red flags and could be an indication that body work has been performed, even though the vehicle may look 100% mint condition to the naked eye.

See the results for yourself here:

NALM Day 6: Home Sweet Home, Arizona

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on August 26, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  526,807


Day Distance:  1,090 Miles


North Carolina to Arizona in two days.  Seems almost impossible, even to me!  But, I am living proof that it’s possible. Boy does it ever feel good to be back at home!  As much as I love life on the road, after this adventure I’m completely exhausted.  The 4,073 miles of memories were totally worth it, though.

My day started in Dallas, Texas at 5:30 in the morning with a wake-up call that made me want to throw my iPhone out the window.  Between traversing multiple time zones, my sleep patterns are all out of whack and I was far from rested.  I told my Garmin Nuvi GPS unit that I wanted to “Go Home.”  A few minutes of calculation later, and it said I would arrive in 15 hours, 10 minutes.  Sigh.


But what was unique about those hours?  They were all on the same. exact. freeway.  Check it out (below picture, top left corner).  Once I got underway on I-20, my next turn was in a whopping 1,048 miles.  This is where I basically activated autopilot mode for the duration of the drive.  As long as I kept the car between the white lines, I’d be at my home by later in the evening.


Sunup to sundown.  That’s how I roll.


One nice thing about west Texas (and perhaps, the only nice thing?) is that the speed limits are high.


I spent several hundred miles staring at this:  cruise control activated around 87-89 mph.  I had a tough time feeling “okay” about driving at such a rate of speed without fear of police intervention, but I was grateful to make the drive pass by quickly.


This is about as interesting as the scenery gets out there.


I rolled through the small towns of Abilene, Midland, Odessa.  The primary industry out there is oil & gas.  Along the vast landscape you can see dozens of oil pumps bobbing up and down.  Midland, by the way, was home to former U.S. President George Bush as well as his wife Laura.  I learned that from a road sign at city limits.


Picking up some lost time!  I crossed two time zone boundaries (Mountain & Pacific).


Fuel in Willcox, Arizona after finally entering my home state again.


And back on the interstate to continue the westward journey.


Those nice looking blue skies soon transformed into something a bit more gloomy.  As I neared Tucson city limits, things looked pretty ominous.


It warmed my heart to see “Phoenix” on a sign at last.  I was getting so close.


Until…. I entered a total parking lot on the interstate!  Extreme weather had contributed to a 6-car pileup.  Imagine having driven 1,000 miles and being only 50 miles from home, then coming to standstill.  I was discouraged.


Those remaining 50 miles were tedious and scary.  A torrential “monsoon” rainstorm had torn down trees, overturned an 18-wheeler, and stripped some of the road signs right out of the ground.  Rain was still coming down very heavily as I made my way into the Phoenix valley. But I made it!

It is so good to get home.  I extend a huge thanks to everyone who checked in on me throughout the journey!


Here are a few fun facts about my trip:

  • Total Distance:  4,073 Miles in 6 Days
  • Average Daily Distance:  678 Miles
  • If I drove 678 miles per day, every day for a year, that would be 247,000 miles in a year
  • 11 States Visited:  Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana
  • Crappiest Roads:  Toss-up between Jackson, Mississippi, and Shreveport, Louisiana.  Roller coaster ride, broken pavement, and potholes the size of the Grand Canyon
  • Most Road Construction:  The entire Interstate 40 corridor in northern New Mexico
  • Best Food:  Zaxby’s fried chicken in Asheville, North Carolina.  WE NEED a Zaxby’s in Arizona!
  • Worst Food:  Chobani yogurt from the Love’s Travel Center #475 in Sweetwater, Texas.  It looked like soup.  Also, the chocolate milk that I got there expired on May 31st, nearly a full 3 months ago.  Gross.
  • Best Scenery:  Interstate 40 from Knoxville, Tennessee to Asheville, North Carolina.  2 tunnels and some of the most amazing curves I’ve ever driven.
  • Worst Scenery:  Everything from Abilene to El Paso, Texas.  That 453-mile stretch is forgettable.
  • National Acura Legend Meets That My Legend Has Been To (Starting 2005):  Dallas, Tulsa, Las Vegas, Chattanooga, Branson, Morristown, Salt Lake City, and now Asheville
  • Other Car Sightings:  Legend (1)  ILX (0)
  • Favorite Pit Stop:  Conoco classic service station in Shamrock, Texas along old Route 66
  • Clever Place Names:  “Chair Crusher” restaurant and “Sherlock Homes” mobile home retailer in Henryetta, Oklahoma.  “Mom & Pop’s Pyro Shop” fireworks dealer in Lordsburg, New Mexico.  “Belly Acres” real estate in Abilene, Texas.
  • My Car Issues:  Check engine light on day 1.  Low power steering fluid on day 2.  Worn out driver’s side wiper blade.  Otherwise, NADA.  I have not even had to add any engine oil to keep the level full.
  • Best Song That Came on my iPod Today:  “Chariots of Fire”  I loved cranking this to max volume and picturing a slow-motion race to the finish line as I neared home in the Legend.


Once again, thanks to the NALM Ground Team for putting on a phenomenal event.  It was worth every mile of the drive.  And thanks to all of my great readers for the support and encouragement along the way.

Final Video:

NALM Day 5: Dallas, Texas

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on August 25, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  525,717


Day Distance:  976 Miles


The return trek from NALM is fully underway!  I’ve already knocked out about half of my return trip to Phoenix from western North Carolina.

These are a few pictures from yesterday evening as the NALM festivities continued.  I met a ‘twin’ license plate car.  The GS 6-speed parked next to my coupe is registered in North Carolina but with exactly the same letter / number combination as I have on my Arizona plate.


I spent some time wandering around the area behind Creekside Lodge.  It was so relaxing to sit and listen to the river flowing.


Temperatures were pretty much perfect, too.


We feasted on a delicious BBQ meal catered by Fat Buddies Ribs & BBQ.  It was finger-lickin’ good.


Lee, Mike, Alex, and Eric were enjoying it for sure.


Alan took center stage for a few announcements related to the itinerary for the following day’s events.


The highlight for me was when Kevin announced that he had a special award to present to me.  Wearing his “500,000 Mile” T-shirt, he called me up to present me with a certificate and a custom clock.


Check out these goods!  Apparently I had the highest mileage Legend at NALM with 524,741 miles on the odometer at the time of the ceremony.


Kevin has gone to great lengths to prepare a number of awards for many folks who traveled to NALM.  It really makes the trip worthwhile to be appreciated in such a way.  Thanks, Kevin!


In anticipation of the long couple of driving days ahead of me, I didn’t sleep all that well last night so I was up & out the door by around 5:30 in the morning.  The first few hours of my drive were along some backroads between Maggie Valley and Atlanta.  I ran into a lot of fog but otherwise it was an easy stretch.  I grabbed a quick parting shot of my car next to Alex’s Milano Red coupe before rolling out.


It was really 5:25, but I glanced at the clock in my car which is still set to Arizona time.  TOO EARLY!


Visited a friend’s place in the Alpharetta, Georgia area.  Nice homes out there!


Then it was on in to Smyrna off the 285 & 75 freeways.


I grabbed a tank of 93 octane.  Kevin had presented me with a bottle of Chevron Techron fuel system treatment last night.  I feel like my car runs smoother after having run that through!


Two friends came by to meet up with me at a local Starbucks.   Paul drives a 1998 Acura 3.2 TL and Matt drives a 2008 Honda Accord coupe.  Both of them work for Honda/Acura and both found me via this blog.  It’s always great to meet fellow enthusiasts!


You’ll notice that Paul’s super clean TL is equipped with 17″ wheels from an Acura TSX.  Paul was featured as a Drive to Five Reader’s Ride not long ago.


Matt’s Accord is one of the nicest I’ve ever seen.  I even noticed that he’d paid special attention to cleaning up his chrome exhaust tips.


The Accord is just about to roll 80,000 miles.


Check out that immaculate interior.


Paul’s TL is just under 240,000 miles, but you’d never know it from looking at the condition.


Again, attention to detail here!  Looks amazing for being 15 years old and nearly 1/4 million miles.


After my meet-up with Matt & Paul, I continued my westbound trek on Interstate 20 in the Legend.


I didn’t linger very long in “Alabama the Beautiful” but I did use one of the rest areas right off the interstate.


Got this roll-over on a video, coming soon on YouTube.


And, spell this one out loud with me.  M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I.  Love that.


Subway sandwich for me, a tank full of octane for the coupe, and we were off yet again!


“Chunky,” Mississippi.  Love the name of that town at Exit 121!


Here’s when I crossed the Mississippi River.  It’s the chief river of the largest drainage system in North America.  It flows 2,530 miles from Minnesota all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.  The bridge took awhile to cross!


At the other end of the bridge, I entered Louisiana.  About the only notable thing that happened in Louisiana was in Shreveport when I saw a broken down Canterbury Green Legend sedan on the side of I-20.  This, for the record, has been the only Legend I’ve seen this entire trip – excluding those that were involved with NALM, of course.

As nightfall descended, I was already nearing my nightly destination of Dallas, Texas.


There, I met up with my friend Brad who drives a 2012 Acura RDX.  Thanks Brad for swinging by!


I’m staying at the home of my friend Jeff.  He is a fellow Legend fanatic who drives a near-twin to my car, except with a lot more upgrades!  Notice his car at the left below.  It has JDM one-piece headlights but that’s just the tip of the iceberg of all the things he’s done to it.


Desert Mist Metallics in the driveway.


Jeff has “plasti-dipped” his emblems to give them a black finish.  It looks great with his blacked-out trim and wheels, too.


This 6-speed is a riot to drive.  I took it around the block and I can only describe it as an “evil” version of my own car.  Lower, more aggressive sounding, and better handling.


Thanks, Jeff, for letting me stay at your place!


Check out that custom engine bay work.  Attention to detail is the name of the game here.


Tomorrow:  The final stretch home, at last!  We’re almost there!

9th Annual National Acura Legend Meet Pictures

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on August 24, 2013 by tysonhugie

Welcome to Maggie Valley, North Carolina.  This small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains has been overtaken by a swarm of Acura Legends for a multi-day event.  It’s heaven on earth for a Legend fanatic like me!

I just had to share our awesome ‘backyard’ from here at the Creekside Lodge.  We’ve got a great little river out there and we’re about to dine on BBQ dinner in just a few minutes.


Alex installed my NALM 2013 sticker.


I’ll proudly sport that!


Kevin calls his car the Old War Horse.  It’s an L model but with some tasteful GS trim level upgrades.


We dined at Legends Sports Grill.



Table #1:  Kevin, Gerry, Chaka, Joe, Will, Waseem, Tyson, Eric


Table #2


Gerry ordered the “Joker” burger which has peanut butter on it!


Chris, Tyson, Ben.  Chris drove from Maryland in his 1991 Prelude Si 4WS.  Ben drove from San Francisco in his 1992 Legend LS coupe.  Both have been friends of mine for many years.


I gave Chris the chance behind the wheel of my Legend for a couple of miles after dinner.


Gerry had to take off.  He is the original owner of his 1992 Vineyard Gray Metallic Legend LS sedan.  It has 253,000 miles on it now and still runs great.


Here is our group outside the lodge drawing straws.  Alan, event co-chair, used this as a way to tell who would be going first during the following morning’s dyno runs.



Finally, Alex took my coupe for a spin.  He knows how to build a fast Legend.  It was an honor to have him behind the wheel.


Today was an action-packed day of activities.  This was the scene in the parking lot when dawn arrived.


First order of business was a very scenic 30-minute drive into Asheville.


Alex’s 1994 Legend coupe went on the dyno at Redline Performance.  Videos to come!


Ben also subjected his 1992 coupe to the same treatment.


Meanwhile, I had the chance to also wander around and check out the insides & outsides of some of the other Legends in attendance.  Many of the cars were ultra clean!


This GS 6-speed was particularly nice.  It has the exact same license plate as my Legend does, just from another state!  (North Carolina)


Chaka’s highly modified Legend went up for a test, too.


Here’s the man behind that build.  He was proudly wearing a “Congratulations, Tyson – 500,000 Miles” T-shirt.  Thanks for your support, Chaka!


Ryan and I are representing the Desert Mist Metallics out here.  Showing some love for paint code YR-506M.


Mike from Georgia came out in his amazing Canterbury Green sedan with custom red/clear/red taillights.


This is Jon.  I drove his Legend this morning and it’s a monster.  Dual exhaust, fully modified, and it rides like it’s on rails.  An awesome car that represents many hours of time & effort invested.


Ryan’s car only has 91,000 miles on it.  I drove it this afternoon and it handled like a new car.


A few of the guys in the parking lot talking cars.


We had lunch at Zaxby’s for some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten!  They have a warning sign in there “WARNING:  ZAXBY’S CAN BECOME ADDICTIVE.”  They weren’t kidding!


This Legend came all the way from Connecticut.  It started out as a stock 1991 LS but now has a 3.5 motor from an Acura RL and a 6-speed manual transmission.


Alan’s straw hat comes out to every NALM.


Here are this afternoon’s “formal” group pictures.  We were missing a lot of the cars, but the photos still turned out awesome!











Signing out from Maggie Valley for my last night here.  Tomorrow:  Back on the road to the Wild West!

It’s been an amazing reunion with great friends here.  Thanks for coming along.

NALM Day 3: Maggie Valley, North Carolina

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on August 23, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  524,675


Day Distance:  407 Miles


I made it!  Today was a light day in comparison to yesterday’s marathon:  Just 5 hours, 45 minutes and only 400 miles to my final destination in Maggie Valley for the 9th Annual National Acura Legend Meet.

The Legend was rip-raring to go as I departed from Jackson, Tennessee this morning.


Fuel at Sunoco somewhere in Tennessee.  Like I told my friend Chris, “I don’t even wait for the receipt to print.  I hop back in the driver seat and head out!”


It felt great to finally see that blue marker closing in on its destination.


Asheville!  The finish line is now in sight.


Lots of bridges today – a rare sight for an Arizonan like me.  “River” to me frequently just means the bridge is crossing a dry river bed.


Torrential rain came down between Knoxville and the North Carolina state line.  Traffic slowed to a crawl and even with the wipers on the highest setting, they couldn’t keep up.  Once the clouds parted it was a beautiful canyon.


Two tunnels on I-40 eastbound.


If I had an aftermarket exhaust system, this is where I’d let it roar.


It felt weird using a green-handled nozzle at the gas station and I had to remind myself, “THIS IS NOT DIESEL.”  I double-checked the button before I selected the 93 octane, anyway.


Quick oil level check – all systems good!  I’m running Valvoline 5W30 oil.


And finally, I arrived at the Maggie Valley Creekside Lodge and received a warm welcome from all those who had already arrived.


These guys gave me a little grief for my aftermarket audio system and some missing hardware under the hood (thanks to those deer collision incidents in 2007) but overall they were impressed with how things looked!


One lonely Prelude in the background – my friend Chris drove down from Maryland in his 1991 Si 4WS 5-speed.  It’s a beauty with around 220,000 on the odometer.  The Legend in the foreground belongs to Alex.


Nice looking lineup!


Chaka’s engine bay.  Many of these Legends have had extensive upgrades & improvements.


Reunited with Alan from Florida who helped plan the meet. He gave me my commemorative NALM shirt.


It’s good to be here!


We’re rolling to dinner shortly at a restaurant called “LEGENDS.”


Signing out from North Carolina!

NALM Day 2: Jackson, Tennessee

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on August 22, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  524,268


Day Distance:  1,072 Miles


I’m a thousand miles from nowhere
Time don’t matter to me
‘Cause I’m a thousand miles from nowhere
And there’s no place I want to be

My friend Chris told me this could be my theme song for my trip to North Carolina, and I couldn’t agree more.  Thanks Mr. Dwight Yoakam for your talent.

As long as I’ve got a full tank of gas, good tunes, and the open road, it doesn’t matter where I’m going. And today, I saw over 1,000 miles of America from behind the wheel of my 1994 Acura Legend coupe.  Here’s how my day played out.

For a couple of years now I’ve been cautioned about a leaky power steering pump on the Legend.  It’s the original, so understandably getting a little tired.  It was resealed 11,000 miles ago but still loses fluid.  I started the morning off with a whining power steering pump.  When I checked the fluid level, it was well below MIN so I topped it off and grabbed a couple extra bottles of fluid for good measure.


Nothing like plugging in a destination address and seeing that it’s 14 hours, 10 minutes away.  I knew it was time to get comfortable in the driver seat so I slipped off my shoes and queued up the roadtrip playlist.


Sunrise in New Mexico was worthy of a photo op.  Mr. Sunshine woke up after I’d already been on the road awhile, and he went to bed at least a few hours before I did.  I put in overtime today.


Cheesy pics are the result of staring at the road for too many hours at a time.


First stop was the Amarillo, Texas:  home to Cadillac Ranch.  It’s also home to a steakhouse where if you can finish a 72-ouncer, it’s free.  I didn’t quite have the appetite.  Instead, I went with a yogurt and some oatmeal while the Legend enjoyed the company of this stately looking 1980’s Mercury Grand Marquis.


Shamrock, Texas might as well be called Radiator Springs, because it feels exactly like a trip into the cartoon world of the Pixar movie “Cars.”  I especially enjoyed this old Conoco station which now houses the visitor center.


I wonder what the price of fuel was the last time this thing was in use.


A nice biker couple took my pic to commemorate the visit.




I’d worked up some munchies by the time I got into Oklahoma, so I stopped just west of Oklahoma City for a bite to eat.  The town of Yukon is exceptionally proud of the fact that Garth Brooks is from there.


In fact, I dined at a restaurant on Garth Brooks Boulevard.


I wasn’t kidding!  Check out the map.


The Legend was a little thirsty, too, so I went ahead filled up that 18-gallon tank once more.


Eastward ho.


Up to this point on this trip, I have not seen any other Acura Legends on the road.  This is not surprising; the car has now been out of production for over 18 years.  Still, I keep hoping and wishing for the chance to give a head-nod or thumbs-up to a fellow driver if & when I see one.


I found my way through Oklahoma and then crossed that state off my to-see list for the day.  Next up:  Arkansas.


I treat a long-distance drive just like I do a long-distance run:  by breaking it up into chunks.  I’ve found that based on hundreds of thousands of miles of experience, I’m most comfortable stretching my legs every 200-250 miles.  When I fuel up the car, I look at my 2014 Rand McNally atlas (thanks grandma!) and see about where I’ll be when I’ve driven that far.  This way, I always have something to look forward to.


I much prefer easy-on, easy-off gas stations rather than ones that make me sit through multiple traffic lights, and this one at exit 57 fit the bill nicely.  Best of all, they had 93 octane.  It ran $4.09 per gallon.  A sign at the entrance to the station said,  “Premium is Ethanol-Free.”  Good to know!


Holy caffeine alert.  24 ounce Mountain Dew cans exist?   I wouldn’t dare.  A bottle of Tampico orange juice and some beef jerky fit the bill, though.


Rollin, rollin, rollin.


Much of Arkansas looks about like this.  Tree-lined interstate with little traffic.  Speed limits are 70 mph (65 mph for trucks) and I kept the cruise control at 73-75 consistently.


Sunrise in New Mexico, sunset in Arkansas.  Just another day in Drive to Five land.


And finally, tonight’s destination in Jackson.  Just a little blip in the radar off I-40 east of Memphis, but it’s a cozy bed after a long day on the road.  Thanks again for coming along for the ride!


NALM Day 1: Moriarty, New Mexico

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on August 21, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  523,196


Daily Distance:  462 Miles


And we’re off!

It’s been 14 months since I “daily” drove my Acura Legend; I spend most of my seat-time in my 2013 Acura ILX and I’ve had boat-loads of fun with it.  But for this particular occasion, the 9th annual National Acura Legend Meet felt like a fitting opportunity to blow the cobwebs off that old tried & true ride for an old fashioned cross-country trip.

Loaded up and ready to hit the road, I went to work for 1/2 day.


I’ve often described that it feels a bit like putting on an old shoe to get back into my Legend.  It just “fits.”  Perhaps that’s because over the course of the 428,000 miles I put on it over the last 10 years, the driver seat is molded to my shape of my buttocks?

As I was giving my colleague at work the low-down on what to expect while I’m out of the office, our conversation on the phone went something like this:

  • Melissa:  So where is it you’re off to this time?
  • Tyson:  I’ll be in North Carolina on Friday night & Saturday night
  • Melissa:  Oh my gosh.  You’re… flying… this time, right?
  • Tyson (grins):  Umm, nope.

At this point even though she was in Rhode Island and I was in Arizona, I could picture her eye-rolling gesture just as clearly as if she’d been standing in front of me.  Some people will simply never understand the beauty of a good road trip.  Here was my ‘beginning’ mileage for this trip.


The first few hours of my drive were on the scenic back-roads of northeastern Arizona, including this piece of the “Beeline” Highway 87.


Summer thunderstorms, though, would soon put a damper on those perfect roads.  Luckily, the Legend’s Michelin Primary tires are fresh.  They handle the wet better than any other tire I’ve tried.


Once I arrived in Holbrook, I finally got on a “real” interstate.  I would be spending the next 1,300+ miles on this same interstate.  Guess it was time to start getting cozy in that driver seat.


Here’s a welcome change from the high-revving 2.4 liter ILX 4 cylinder.  The Legend, by contrast, lugs around at 2,500 RPM, barely giving the 3.2 V6 a workout.  Consequently, it’s a quieter ride.


Interstate 40 traffic was minimal as I made my way toward the AZ/NM state line.


And the clouds parted just in time for me to catch some sweet patterns in the sky.


Speaking of colors, how about a bright orange Check Engine Light in my face?  This popped on at 522,989 miles.  I’m 99% sure it’s related to a recurring fault with the EGR (Engine Gas Recirculation) system.  Performance was unaffected and I’ve seen this one before.  It seemed odd that it would show up randomly over 200 miles into my drive.


Welcome to New Mexico!  I’ve stopped here too many times already, so it was a fly-by this time.


Dine & dash at the Arby’s in Gallup, New Mexico.  I’m glad to have that half-bra to save my fresh front end paintjob from getting needless rock chips.  I probably should’ve taken the time to install the bottom piece, too.


Not much to see here!


After my dinner stop, that pesky CEL never came back on.  Soon I was seeing Albuquerque city lights!  That little red dot toward the top right of the picture — that’s the moon, believe it or not!


Just about 30 miles from ABQ I rolled into the small town of Moriarty.  I fueled up the Legend and now it’s time to relax for the night.  I paid $3.69 for 90 octane – which apparently is considered “premium” fuel here.


Checking in and checking out for the night!


The one thing that’s really killing me this trip is the “loss” of time due to the crossing of time zones.  Since Arizona is on Pacific time (we don’t observe Daylight Savings) and North Carolina is on Eastern, I’m losing a full 3 hours.  I guess it’ll make the return trip feel like a breeze since I’ll be gaining them back and chasing the sun.

I’m going to make an attempt at doing as much of this tomorrow as I can.  Come along for the ride.


Reader’s Ride: Mirel’s 1993 Legend LS Coupe 6-Speed; NALM Travels

Posted in Legend, Reader's Ride on August 20, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  52,517


I’ll never forget the day I met Mirel.  It was a beautiful sunny springtime Phoenix day in 2006 and I was cruising eastbound on Dunlap Avenue in Glendale, Arizona in my 1994 Legend coupe.

To my delight, I saw approaching in my sideview mirror what appeared to be another Legend.  Its red paint was eye-catching.  I slowed down just slightly so that the Legend following me would get closer and pass by on my left.  Sure enough, up drove a super-clean Milano Red 1994 L coupe with Mirel at the wheel.  We stared at each others’ cars as we rolled alongside each other, and then I made the gesture of “pull over!”  He knew what I meant.

Soon we were standing next to our cars in a parking lot and exchanging contact information while talking about Legends.  Since that day, Mirel and I have remained good friends.  His Acura ownership experience began long before he bought that red coupe.  He previously owned this green Integra.


And also this Rosewood Brown Metallic 1991 Legend L coupe.


Below are pictures from a very small (3-car) Legend meet in Phoenix on March 1, 2006.  My Legend had about 210,000 miles on it at the time.  I can’t remember exactly where this summit is but I need to get back up there for another round of pictures soon.


The Sherwood Green 1994 L sedan in the middle belonged to our friend Chris.


We got creative with the pictures and climbed up on the hillside for a new angle on things.


Hoods down, now.


Mirel’s Milano Red coupe was an automatic.  Those chrome wheels gave it plenty of bling.


At that time, my Legend was wearing 17″ wheels from a 2004 Acura TL.  I also had a McCulloch 6000K HID headlight kit and some European Domestic Market (EDM) clear corner lenses installed.


Mirel’s red coupe was sold not long after that first meet-up, when he picked up a super clean 1994 LS 6-speed in a highly sought-after black on black color combination.  Soon, however, his young family outgrew the car and it was also sold two years ago.  As of last week, Mirel is now back in the Legend game.


This is his 1993 LS coupe 6-speed in Granada Black Pearl with Ivory Interior.  The car has only 110,000 miles on it.  That comes out to just 5,500 per year over its 20 years of life.  Low mileage!  Mirel found the car listed on Tucson craigslist and called the seller right away.  That night, he made the purchase and drove it home to Phoenix (about a 125-mile trip).  He called me from the road and I could sense his excitement.


This car is a rarity with that kind of mileage.  He gave me the key and I drove it around the block.  It sure does ride nice and smooth.  All the gears were flawless, the clutch had plenty of life, and the suspension & steering were tight.


Aside from a few tears on the driver’s seat, the rest of the interior is in excellent shape, including the factory floormats.  I couldn’t find any cracks in the clearcoat on his burlwood center console trim.


The Type II engine is barely broken in.


A few cosmetic flaws, including the clearcoat deterioration on the tops of the roof & trunk lid, will soon be addressed.  For now, Mirel is just thrilled to be back behind the wheel of a Legend.


Congratulations my friend!  And welcome back to the family.

Here’s what my next 6 days will look like!  I’m traveling to the 9th Annual National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) in Asheville, North Carolina in my 1994 Legend coupe.  I know my car is ready for these 3,922 miles.  But am I?

Stay tuned as I’ll make every attempt to post each night at my planned stops along the way (flags on the map).  Northern leg is the outbound; southern leg is the return.


Off I go!

Hank Bought a Bus

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

Special D25 Feature Story:

It’s one thing for me to drive 3,000 miles in a weekend in the comfort of a 2013 Acura ILX that can zip through traffic, provide all the creature comforts of a luxurious atmosphere, and all the while get excellent mileage.  But can you imagine taking a cross-country 5,000-mile drive in a school bus?


That’s what Hank Butitta is doing.  But this isn’t just any old school bus.  This is a bus that has been completely gutted by Hank as part of his architecture studies in Wisconsin and made into an RV.  To cap off his achievement, he’s embarked on a trip involving friends & family as they together join on this unique adventure.


The last time I checked, Hank is in the Pacific Northwest.  He’s posting daily about his travels.

Check out the introductory video here:

That bus looks a lot like the one belonging to my brother that I drove in March and blogged about.  Hank’s detailed blog with great pictures is here.  It’s definitely worth a read.  Maybe someday our paths will intersect!

As a side note, it’s no mystery that my love of roads and of maps go hand in hand.  You might find these pictures of 40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World as interesting as I did.



ILX Oil Change & New Tires – Maintenance Summary

Posted in ILX, Maintenance on August 19, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  522,734


Odometer (ILX):  52,410


It was time to retire (pun intended) the original set of Michelin Pilot tires that came on the ILX from its factory in Greensburg, Indiana.  I drove on them long enough to circle the globe twice.  I found a vendor on Ebay selling the same make & model of tires for a reasonable price, so I had some shipped to my home.


Acura of Tempe did the install along with a few other items of maintenance last Saturday morning. The car went up on the lift for a full inspection and its 10th oil change with the factory-recommended 0W20 motor oil.


My engine air filter needed a change – badly.  I had that replaced, along with the cabin air filter.  The car is breathing much better now.  As am I!


This was the technician’s report from the inspection that was performed during my oil change.  All systems are go.


Here’s a look at my 52,000 miles of maintenance in the ILX since I picked it up just over a year ago with 16 miles on the odometer.


Notice that up until now, I’ve had oil changes performed every 5,000 miles like clockwork.  This time, I ran the oil quite a bit longer (over 7,000 miles) and the “Oil Life Remaining” indicator on the car’s computer still said it had 40% left.  In all, the car has cost around $1,400 to operate from new to 52,000 miles.

One more page was added to my maintenance records binder, much like the binder I have for my Legend.


Onward I go!  Gotta catch up to this guy.


For more fun reading today, check out “21 Roads to Drive Before You Die.”

Here’s the article link.

There are 6 United States roads listed (and 15 international):

  • #1 – Highway 1, Big Sur, California
  • #4 – White Rim Road, Canyonlands Nat’l Park, Utah
  • #6 – Seven Mile Bridge, Florida Keys
  • #11 – Denali Highway, Alaska
  • #16 – Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana
  • #18 – US Route 550, Million Dollar Highway, Colorado

I’ve been on or near 5 out of 6 of these.  Florida Keys is the last one that I need to wipe out. 


We talked about a few of these when I got your feedback on my “Road Bucket List” post awhile back.

So many roads, so little time!  Have a great Monday.