Archive for April, 2014

ILX Review: RNR Automotive Blog

Posted in Blog, ILX on April 30, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  76,439

76439

rnr_header

For those of you who are always hungry for more car websites to digest, I’ll add another entree to the buffet.  I met a Phoenix-based automotive journalist awhile back and he has featured my 2013 Acura ILX on his page, “RNR Automotive Blog.”  Editor Ruben has a knack for details and I find his writing engaging and informative.  Go take a look at his page!

RNR Automotive Blog

Here’s the link to the article about the ILX specifically.  Stay tuned because he’ll be doing a similar write-up on my Legend and on my NSX in the near future.

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If you’re on Instagram, you can also follow “@rnrautoblog” for great shots of the latest cars Ruben is reviewing.

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Thanks Ruben!

 

Acura Group Drive: Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Legend, Road Trip on April 27, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,275

529275

Odometer (ILX):  76,294

76294

Trip Distance:  600 Miles

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tyson_with_ilx

view

“It’s raining Dippin Dots!” exclaimed Roger as he tightened his hooded sweatshirt and squinted into the freezing wind gusts that were driving snow pellets toward us.  As Roger and the other 5 of us carefully hiked our descent into a 700-foot-deep red rock canyon in a remote part of northeastern Arizona, we occasionally sought shelter from the elements by staying near the rock walls or underneath archways.  We hadn’t anticipated those types of conditions when planning a late April hike in Arizona, but the experience was unforgettable.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

warning

For this weekend’s Drive to Five, come with me to a place that’s sacred to the Navajo Nation and is home to a rich history, dating back as far as 900 AD.  It’s a place with some of the best-preserved ancient ruins in existence and contains scenery that matches the Grand Canyon in its awesomeness.  I’m talking about Canyon de Chelly National Monument, an 83,000-acre site that’s visited by over 800,000 people each year.  For this trip, I was accompanied by a few friends who, like me, have an appreciation for great road trips in great cars.  We took three Acuras:

  • My 2013 ILX 2.4 6-speed @ 75,000 miles
  • Jason’s 2010 TL 6-speed @ 41,000 miles
  • Joe’s 1995 Legend coupe automatic @ 161,000 miles

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Let’s make sure you know how to say “Chelly” before we get too far down the road.  It’s pronounced “Shay.”  Though, for reasons you’ll soon see, there were a few times during the trip when I started to wonder if Canyon de Chelly ought to be called “Canyon de Chilly.”  Mother Nature dished us up a generous helping of ice-cold temps, but that didn’t keep us from braving the weather and feasting our eyes on some of the earth’s finest landscapes.  Canyon de Chelly was set aside in 1931 as a unit of the National Park Service.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My friend Adam and I met up with Joe and his dad, Roger, on the northeast outskirts of the Phoenix area before beginning our ascent through the Tonto National Forest on Highway 87.  As quickly as we started gaining elevation toward Payson’s 5,000 feet, we were thoroughly drenched with roads that were wet enough to cause hydro-planing.  We made just 3 stops on the 5-hour drive to Chinle, Arizona which is a settlement at the mouth of the canyon.  Upon arriving in Chinle, Jason and Jouhl from Las Cruces, NM arrived in Jason’s black TL and completed our trio of Acuras.

One of only two “sit-down” restaurants in the entire town of Chinle, The Junction, was a great place for us all to dry out and to plan the rest of our visit to the area.  We dined on authentic Navajo tacos made from homemade frybread and beans.  After a check-in at the Holiday Inn, we rolled our Acura caravan into the western entrance of the monument just a bit down the road.  Jason and I swapped cars for a few of those miles — that TL’s 3.7 liter V6 is a torquey monster!).

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Our first stop after checking in at the visitor center was the White House Ruins viewpoint.  Adam took one look at the dark clouds approaching at rapid speed from the southwest.  “That’s coming this direction,” he said.  Despite his warning, we prepared ourselves for the canyon’s most well-known hike and set out on a descent into its depths.   Not long into our hike, the Dippin Dots came down and the wind picked up speed.  Adding to those challenges, the sandstone terrain was slippery when wet and our sneakers quickly became caked in several pounds of mud.  At one point, I heard Jason lose his footing in the mud from behind me.  He nearly tackled me to the ground as he struggled to regain his balance, but he and his Canon SLR camera survived without a scratch.  We had a good laugh about it moments afterward.

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snow_on_hike

Two sandstone tunnels and a couple of bridge crossings later, we had completed the 1.25-mile one-way hike to the ruins where Anasazi people once lived from 900 to 1200 AD.  The last 800 years have taken their toll on the infrastructure, slowly eroding the once-elaborate buildings and returning them to the earth, but we still got a great look at what’s left of them.  A Navajo woman and her daughter were sitting near the ruins with a table where they displayed pottery and other wares for sale.  We saw only one other group of hikers.  I loved the canyon’s feeling of serenity and seclusion.

white_house_ruins

canyon_wall

Our return hike was accompanied by another flurry of snowflakes, but we made it to the summit and Roger said, “According to my Fitbit, we just hiked 79 flights of stairs.”  We happily took refuge in our leather-lined Acuras with heated seats and fast-acting climate control systems.  Aside from a few photo-ops at other viewpoints along the two-lane canyon road, we had a much-needed low-key evening in Chinle.

Today, Joe and his dad departed for Flagstaff in the early morning hours, while Adam, Jason, Jouhl and I went back for a peek at the North Rim of the canyon.  The views were stunning, just as I knew they’d be.  Soon it was time to part ways and return to our respective homes.  Adam and I made just one stop on our 300-mile trip back to Scottsdale.  Thanks to now-sunny weather, the drive was enjoyable and passed by quickly.  I hope you enjoy the photos and video!

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Adam and Tyson en route.

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After meeting up with Joe.  By the time we got to Payson, we both said, “What’s up with this weather?”

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Pouring rain as seen from the hotel lobby in Chinle, Arizona.

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First stop:  Food, of course.

menu

Authentic Navajo Taco on frybread.  It tasted amazing.

navajo_taco

Jason and Jouhl showed up to join the party.

lunch

Checking at the Canyon de Chelly Visitor Center, we were warned about “Hazardous Weather.”  But that didn’t stop us.

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Lining up for a beauty shot at the White House Ruins trailhead.

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The view as we began the descent on our hike.

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Winding our way down the 700-foot drop-off via switchbacks and tunnels that hugged the side of the mountain.

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Passing through one of the tunnels.

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And coming out the other end.

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Roger, Joe, Jouhl, Jason making their way down the trail.

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We saw patches of blue sky.  It looks a lot warmer than it really was!

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Muddy shoes and chilly winds, but 360-degree scenery made up for all that.

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Crossing a bridge.

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Group photo at the White House Ruins:  Roger, Joe, Jouhl, Jason, Adam, Tyson

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A Navajo woman and her daughter selling jewelry and pottery.  Notice:  They do take Visa and Mastercard!

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Back at the trailhead for some photos with the Acuras and their owners.

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Let’s get a move on!

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Next viewpoint.

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Here’s what the view from that sheer cliff looked like.  The vertical lines along the canyon walls are called “desert varnish.”

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Adam, Joe, Roger, Tyson, Jouhl, Jason

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Last viewpoint for the day:  Tsegi Overlook

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Sunday morning:  The clouds had parted but the cold temps remained.

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Back into the monument for a few more viewpoints.

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This Navajo vendor displayed her jewelry on the hood of her Ford Taurus and secured it with cords and rocks to keep the wind from carrying it away.

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Mummy Cave Overlook.

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Antelope House Overlook

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Side note:  Did you know that the Navajo tribe taxes virtually everything?  Our meal last night had “Tribal Tax” tacked on.

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And the fuel pump at Chevron had a “Navajo Nation Fuel Excise Tax.”  Interesting.

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The return drive to the Phoenix area looked a whole lot different than the rain-soaked outbound trip.

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Thanks for coming along!

Josh’s 400,000 Mile Mark

Posted in Milestones, Reader's Ride on April 26, 2014 by tysonhugie

Breaking_News

This just in!

As I jet for the door on a weekend road trip to Canyon de Chelly, I have to share something with the D25 audience. One of our own hyper-milers has achieved an incredible feat on his 2005 Acura TSX this week.

Josh from Boise, Idaho turned the big 400,000 on Interstate 84and he documented the occasion on his blog, TSX Travels, for all of us to enjoy.  I first introduced Josh to you last August when he and I got together on my drive to Washington state.

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Check out Josh’s detailed write-up here where he’s included a video of the milestone as well as a full report from his local Acura dealership about the health & wellness of his Acura now that it’s entered 400k territory.

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Huge congratulations to Josh (and his trusty TSX) and here’s to many more miles of fun!  You’re giving me a run for my money!  Also, I look forward to meeting up with you this summer for some tandem Acura drives.

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Watching Josh’s video reminded me of 5 years ago when I watched those same numbers roll over on my Legend.

Have a great weekend!

Throwback Thursday: August 2007 Legend Meet in Monterey, California

Posted in Legend, Throwback on April 24, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,271

529271

Odometer (ILX):  75,470

75470

My attention span at work today has been about a 2 out of 10.   I spun my office chair around this morning and started to gaze at the giant US map pinned to the wall in my cubicle.  “Where to?” I pondered.  That’s what I do when I need an escape from the endless emails that seem to multiply in my inbox.

tyson_at_work

I can spend hours clicking around Google Maps.  The coast of California caught my eye.  Though I last saw the ocean on my trip to Los Angeles about a month ago, it’s been quite a bit longer since I really experienced the beauty of the Pacific.  Lately, I’ve been craving a road trip up the California coast.  To hold me over, I dug up some old pictures from an Acura Legend meet held 7 years ago in Monterey.  Get a load of this scenery.

meetfullres2

That Sirius White Pearl 1994 Legend GS sedan 6-speed at far left was mine.  This trip took place in the brief window of time when my 1994 Legend coupe was undergoing repairs from an unfortunate Texas deer collision incident.  The white Legend was a comfortable ride to and fro.  It had around 210,000 miles on it at the time.

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The good news is that I’ve kept in touch with most of the folks in the picture.  The bad news is that I only know of 1 or 2 who still have their Legends today.

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Nevertheless (or always the more?), scenery like this ocean landscape never seems to get old.

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It was during this trip that I met up with a long-time friend named Sergio who drove a beautiful 6-speed Milano Red Legend coupe.

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Who invited that TL to the party?

me

I think I still have that shirt.  And a little more facial hair.

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Peace.

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Group drive.

woods

Before you click away, wanna see a pretty amazing road trip in action?  Check out the website for America Sin Limites (“America Without Limits“).  Imagine a nearly 9,000-mile drive from Patagonia in South America to Alaska.  In a 1980’s Cadillac limousine!  I learned about this crazy endeavor via Curbside Classic this week, when an automotive journalist spotted the limo in Eugene, Oregon.

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These avid road trippers have already been on the road for over two years, having begun their adventure in the 1989 Caddy in early 2012.

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The trip hasn’t been without incidents.  In scrolling through the Facebook page, I see that they have already had to do extensive motor and suspension work on their car throughout the journey.

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I would SO do this type of trip.  Guess it’s time to start planning.

ILX Trip: Southern Utah, Easter Weekend

Posted in ILX, Road Trip, Utah on April 20, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,249

529249

Odometer (ILX):  75,302

75302

Trip Distance:  852 Miles

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ilx_at_vermillion_cliffs

“Clunk.. clunk.. roll.. clunk…”  That’s what I heard loudly from the roof of my car when I pulled out of the Chevron gas station in Hurricane, Utah this morning.

I turned to my passenger, Justin, with a look of “What the heck was that?” and then realized what had happened just in time to look in my sideview mirror and watch a pickup truck towing a 5th wheel trailer obliterate a glass bottle on the road into smithereens with its tires.  I am a total airhead.  I had inadvertently left an unopened bottled juice beverage sitting on the roof of the ILX and driven away.

Aside from that disappointing little mishap, it was a seamless weekend of family and friends in the scenic southwestern corner of Utah.  And the ILX, as always, flawlessly transported me and my friend nearly 900 miles in comfort.  Among the weekend’s activities:  a visit to the grandparents, a car show, my niece’s 3rd birthday party, some hiking, and an Easter egg hunt.  It’s a miracle we were able to squeeze so much into just a couple of days.

For the drive up from Phoenix, Justin and I had a silver Acura caravan with a 2005 TL and the 2013 ILX.  A friend needed the TL transported from Arizona to Utah so we were happy to oblige.

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Some traffic delays that were caused by construction on on Interstate 15 north of Las Vegas put us about 45 minutes behind schedule, but we made it safe and sound to St. George on Friday evening.

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On Saturday, we went to the 29th annual Hurricane Easter Car Show.  I’ve been attending this annually since 2004, usually entering the Legend but occasionally displaying other cars like my Prelude 4WS, and the NSX.  Here are the pictures from last year.  Hurricane is a small town of 14,000 people, yet the car show every Easter weekend attracts from 8,000 to 10,000 spectators.

nova

This year, my brother Bentley entered his 1968 Chevy Nova SS in the “Muscle Car” category.  The Nova turned plenty of heads with its metallic red paint and new deep-dish wheels.  Not to mention the goodies under the hood:  This Nova is powered by a 525+ horsepower Chevrolet LS3 motor — essentially a Corvette powerplant that’s been upgraded for additional power output.  The factory 5-speed transmission has been swapped for a 6-speed.  It’s no wonder the car ended up taking home a first place trophy in its category.  I’ve yet to take the Nova for a spin, but I surely will soon.

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We rendezvoused with some friends for an afternoon of hiking some of southern Utah’s famous red rocks and closed out the evening with some birthday celebrations for my niece Vivienne.  By Sunday morning, the Easter Bunny had deposited several dozen plastic eggs throughout the yard so we watched the kids fill up their baskets with newfound treasures.  Each of the eggs also had a 50 cent piece inside.  I should have pocketed a few myself – that’s gas money!

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Justin and I worked our way home to Phoenix via the remote backroads of northern Arizona, including my favorite:  Highway 89A.  This two-laner climbs from 2,000 feet at the desert floor in Fredonia to nearly 8,000 feet at Jacob Lake via curvy mountain grades.  I watched the exterior temperature readout in the ILX dip from 75 degrees to 64 degrees as we neared a road at the summit that takes off toward the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

The ILX is well suited to such mountain passes, especially with its sharply tuned 6-speed manual transmission.  Descending to the valley floor once more, the Vermillion Cliffs shone brightly ahead of us in vivid red.  We saw very little other traffic.  We made a stop at the 1928 “Navajo Bridge” which straddles a canyon some 600 feet above the Colorado River.

navajo_bridge_view

After one final stop in Flagstaff for a bite to eat, we continued home to the Valley of the Sun.  Here are a few of the pictures from the weekend that I hope you’ll enjoy!

Following the ’05 TL on Highway 93 north of Kingman, Arizona

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Just before Hoover Dam — this hitchhiker had a ways to go!

hitchhiker

The ‘red’ traffic area shown here from the map on my phone was probably 15 miles in length.  It was tedious stop-and-go on Interstate 15 northbound as we headed toward Mesquite, Nevada.

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“This traffic jam brought to you by Ray Bans.”  Justin let me borrow these shades.  I lost mine but have another set on order.

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You know you’re driving slowly when your GPS unit asks if you’d like to switch to “Pedestrian Usage Mode.”

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Nevertheless, we made it, and Saturday was a beautiful day in southern Utah.

morning

Jeremy took the wheel of the ILX for a few of our visits.  “Close your eyes and see if you can tell when I’m shifting,” he said.  He thinks, mistakenly, that he can shift a manual transmission smoother than I can.

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We’re really not as cool as we pretend to be.

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Back patio conversation with the grandparents.  These folks are my most loyal readers, and I thank them for their support!

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Looping around a giant guitar on Tabernacle Street in historic downtown St. George.

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And now, a few photos from the Hurricane Easter Car Show.

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Justin, Tyson, Jeremy with the 1968 Nova SS.

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Too much power under that hood.

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Notice that even the gauges have been updated.  The factory bench seat has been replaced with supportive, sporty buckets.  And my, does that paint glisten.

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Next up, we headed to the “Red Hill” of St. George to hike around.

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St. George is home to Dixie State University and proudly displays a “D” on the hillside.

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Shane, Tyson, Jeremy

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My dad happened to be wearing a commemorative 500,000 mile T-shirt at the pool later that day.  These were designed and screen printed by a close friend and fellow Acura enthusiast, Dave, prior to my 500k milestone two years ago.

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B-day bash for 3-year-old Vivienne.

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Easter egg hunt on Sunday morning

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Here’s Beckam

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And this is Viv.  Aren’t they the best?

vivienne

On the road again, and turning 75,000 miles in the ILX.

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Here’s the exact location where it happened, eastbound on Hwy 89A nearing the Vermillion Cliffs.

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I couldn’t help but pull over for a few photo-ops in this amazing terrain.

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Hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I did.

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Flashback Friday: First Driver License

Posted in Legend, Prelude, Throwback on April 18, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,215

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Odometer (ILX):  74,337

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Oh my.  I came across a color copy of this 1990’s artifact the other day.  Issued the last day of 1997, I was 5-foot-8 and 130 pounds of ear-to-ear grinning 16-year-old.  I’m pretty sure I bolted from the DMV and did a few cartwheels in the process as I was finally a fully legalized driver.

license_1997

While we’re looking back, here’s a shot from around that same era.  My 1989 Honda Prelude 2.0 Si at the time was equipped with some blingin’ 15″ Optima wheels.  Mom’s 1993 Acura Legend L was looking pretty fly, too.  This was taken in 1998 at my grandparents’ cabin near Elk Meadows Ski Resort in the mountains east of Beaver, Utah.

prelude_legend

I also scanned this beauty from around the same time.  Grandma’s Chevy Beretta.  It was a 1990, I think?  I loved that car, and actually I still find Berettas attractive when I see them on the road.  Call me crazy.

gma_beretta

I finally got around to test-fitting an OEM Legend coupe cover that my friend Mark gave me several weeks ago.

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All bundled up!  Perfect fit, just as I expected.  Thanks, Mark!

coupe_under_cover

My friend Chris in NJ tipped me off on this stunning Crystal Black Pearl 2014 Acura ILX, customized by Acura of Pembroke Pines, Florida.  It’s sitting on 19″ Vossen wheels and stanced with Eibach lowering springs.

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Absolutely gorgeous!  And, it’s already been sold to a lucky owner.  It’s amazing how a few subtle updates will really make a car “pop.”

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I’m off to Utah until Sunday for some family festivities, so stay tuned for a trip write-up in the coming days.  The ILX is closing in on the 25,000 mile home stretch to its first 100,000.  Thanks for joining me on the way there!

New York Auto Show – Acura TLX Production Model Unveiling

Posted in TLX on April 16, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,207

529207

Odometer (ILX):  74,301

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I had a bunch of meetings on my calendar today at the office, but can you guess which one was the most important?

schedule

That’s right.  My calendar was solidly blocked from 10:30 to 11:30 Arizona time for today’s Acura press conference.

tyson_at_work

It was an important day for Acura enthusiasts.  New York City’s “International Auto Show” was the place to be.  As each automaker queued up the  lights-camera-action for its press conference,  automotive enthusiasts from around the globe tuned in to lay eyes on some hot new 2015 model year cars.  Acura’s conference was held at 10:50 in the morning Arizona time, and I made sure to block some time out accordingly so I could watch via the live YouTube feed.

tlx_side

The all-new TLX, as a blend of current/outgoing TSX and TL models, will go on sale sometime this summer.  You’ll remember when I traveled to the Detroit Auto Show to see the prototype uncovered for the first time.  In the months since then, the TLX has been refined and readied to become a full-blown production model instead of just a piece of art.

Acura’s Mike Accavitti took center stage and introduced the TLX as a vehicle with “more performance, more prestige, and more technological sophistication” than ever before seen in its predecessors.  Matt Hargett took the stage next and discussed some of the car’s key features and multiple powertrain choices, ranging from a 206-horsepower 4 cylinder to a 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6.

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Thanks to 2theRedline star Sofyan Bey for sending me a few pictures from his front-row seat at the conference, including the following three.

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Nice looking interior!

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tlx_engine

Side profile shot courtesy of AcuraNews.com

2015 Acura TLX Unveiled at NYIAS

Acura’s full press release is here.  I admit I’m loving that blue hue and sure wish I’d been able to see the action in real life.

I’ve been absent from the blog for a few days as I’ve had company visiting from out of town.  My friends Jeff (Calgary, AB) and Shane (Salt Lake City, UT) spent some time here in Phoenix with me so I was in host mode instead of driving all over the state.

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Jeff did borrow the ILX for a couple of days while I had to work, so that gave me an excuse to treat the old Legend to a 35-mile round-trip commute to the office.  The car was happy to get some time on the open road.

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Another Acura found its way to my home this week, too.  I took delivery (on behalf of an out-of-state friend!) of a 2005 Acura TL automatic on Monday.  It will soon go to its new owner in Utah.

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But for now, this Alabaster Silver automatic TL with 163k miles on it will enjoy being a part of the Acura family at my house.

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I haven’t even had a chance to take it for a spin yet since Jeff and I brought it back to the house.

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Hope everyone’s week is going well!