Archive for June, 2014

530k Milestone & Flagstaff Quick Drive

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Legend, Milestones, Road Trip, Spy Shots on June 29, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  530,024

530024

Odometer (ILX):  85,452

85452

Took me long enough to get to 530k!

530k

Friday, I drove the Legend to work and achieved a milestone on the way home from the office.  I took a few cell phone shots of the car just shortly after the roll-over.  They aren’t the best quality but you get the idea.

I have a few maintenance items to address before driving it to Los Angeles next month for NALM.  I might go ahead and have the spark plugs changed (last replaced at 434,000).  There’s also a leaking inner CV boot on the passenger side, and I’ve been told the A/C lines at the compressor are leaking, though the system still somehow blows ice cold air.

coupe_front

These were taken just east of Phoenix on the Beeline Highway near the Saguaro Lake turnoff.

coupe_front_right

trunk

Yesterday, I escaped the Phoenix heat for a few hours and met up with some friends in Flagstaff, Arizona.  It’s only about a 150-mile drive each way via I-17 so I was easily able to get up and back comfortably over the course of the day.  It sure was great to spend some time in “only” 90 degree temperatures as opposed to the 110 degrees at my house.

scottsdale_to_flag

The only photos I grabbed were at Exit 317:  Fox Ranch Road.

fox_ranch

Perfect day for a drive.

flag_sign

Think anyone will mind if I park the car there?  I was a rebel for a few seconds.

no_parking

I thought it would be fun to share a few “spy shots” that friends have sent me over the last couple of weeks since I recently started saving them.  My friends know how Legend-crazy I am, so I frequently get text messages of random sightings from the road.

From Tim

spy1

From Terrance

spy2

Another from Terrance

spy3

From Paul

spy4

From Mike

spy5

From Jim

spy6

Another from Jim

spy7

From Beau

spy8

Haha, to those who have my phone number or email:  Keep the pics coming!

NALM Registration for July 24-27 Event in Los Angeles

Posted in NALM on June 25, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,904

529904

Odometer (ILX):  85,018

85018

My friend Jeff sent me the below picture via text message.  He works for the province of Alberta and wanted to show me just how far north his team was stationed today, in the town of Grande Prairie. The sign states “Alaska” with an arrow.

IMG_6116

My first thought was, “That looks so familiar!”

Sure enough, after a little digging, I discovered that I took a picture of the exact same sign 8 years ago.  It was May 2006 and my dad & I were on our way to Fairbanks, Alaska and passing through.  Our weather wasn’t nearly as nice.

IMG_6114

It really is a small world!

Just a quick plug to those of you who may reside within a day’s drive of Los Angeles – or perhaps a couple of you crazies who would be willing to drive even longer than that:  Registration for this year’s 10th Annual National Acura Legend Meet is now open. The event will be headquartered in Thousand Oaks, California and held July 24th through 27th.

This will be the 10th time I’ve driven to NALM since its first event in 2005 in Dallas, Texas.  I’ve enjoyed the program each and every year, and I’ve continued to build quality friendships with others who share similar interests.

My home in the Phoenix area will be a staging area of sorts for at least 3 Legendary road trippers who are coming through from the eastern United States.  Even more exciting for me is that I’ll be able to have both my Legend coupe and my Legend sedan in attendance, thanks to my friend Chris from Baltimore who will fly out and make the 6-hour drive via I-10 from Phoenix with me.

This year’s NALM will include a special kick-off ceremony at Honda’s private museum at the company’s headquarters in Torrance.  Must see!

A detailed itinerary is pending but here’s the basic layout of events.

NALM_schedule

These two are ready to rock and roll!

252

260

Hope to see some of you there!

New York City

Posted in Misc Travel on June 23, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,846

529846

Odometer (ILX):  84,912

84912

I stumbled with droopy eyes off a United Airlines flight at Terminal C in Newark, New Jersey at 6:14 a.m. on Saturday morning.  It felt like 3:14 a.m. to me on Arizona time, but my exhaustion was quickly put to rest when my friend Conor pulled up to the passenger pick-up area in his beautiful Satin Silver Metallic 2004 Acura TSX to provide the finest in luxury transport services.

Our destination was none other than the Big Apple:  Conor and my other friend Brad rolled out the red carpet for me on a two-day trip to New York City this weekend.  My last trip to Manhattan had been nearly 3 years ago.  I tried to convince Brad and Conor that I knew my way around but I would have been truly lost without them.

All it took was one step out of Brad’s place at 95th Street & 2nd Avenue after catching a quick power nap, and I said, “This weather is amazing!”  I hope each and every one of New York City’s 8 million residents had been enjoying it as much as I was.  By the way, that’s double the population of Los Angeles.  Saturday was an action-packed day of sightseeing and exploration, with key visits to Central Park, Grand Central Station, and Times Square.

Here are a few photos from our adventure.

The ILX took a chill pill in the East Economy lot at Phoenix Sky Harbor.

ilx_at_airport

Awaiting my redeye flight from PHX-EWR:  A full two hours early and wondering how I’ll ever be able to sleep on the plane.

airport_waiting

Early morning Saturday arrival in Newark.

ewr_morning

In a sea of yellow cabs, one car stood out:  it was Conor’s silver 2004 TSX.

conor_arrival

Driving through the Holland Tunnel which opened in 1927 and connects Manhattan with Jersey City, New Jersey.  It’s located underneath the Hudson River.

tsx_tunnel

Arrival at Brad’s place on 95th Street after our tour through town.

conor_tsx

A full 30-40 degrees cooler than home!  I enjoyed every second of this weather.

nyc_weather

nyc

This is how you get around in NYC.

subway_sign

For some reason this subway map is so much more overwhelming to me than a road map!  Stop here, transition here to another train, be mindful of special hourly constraints, so much to keep in mind.  Just give me some car keys.

subway_map

Tyson, Brad, Conor before brunch at a neat place called “Trend” located on the Upper East Side.

tyson_brad_conor

Central Park was bustling with activities, including a wedding and a couple of festivals.

central_park

We wandered up to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.

onassis_reservoir

Times Square with thousands of tourists.  The woman to my right was not amused by being in my picture.

times_square

Grand Central Station, which receives 21.6 million annual visitors.

grand_central

Bryant Park

bryant_park

ILX sighting!  I ended up seeing a few of these around.  In all our wanderings, though, we only saw two Legends:  A blue 1991 coupe and a gray 1987 coupe — both in Brooklyn, and both within a block of each other!

ilx

Dinner at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Chelsea.  Highly recommended.  But take note:  It’s cash-only!

grimaldis

Sunday morning, a trip to Conor’s place in Brooklyn Heights, complete with some important reading material.

tsx_records

… and a look at the “shrine” of Acura memorabilia in his living room.

tyson_at_conors

Brooklyn Heights Promenade — the best view of NYC in my opinion.

brooklyn_heights_promenade

Awakening Vanessa the TSX from her slumber for my shuttle ride back to EWR airport.

tsx_parking

Bon voyage!

tyson_conor_with_tsx

Last view. Vanessa, incidentally, turned over 128,000 miles en route that afternoon.

departure

I had a blast this weekend and I extend my thanks to my great friends for their hospitality!

550,000 Miles in 32 Months

Posted in Blog on June 20, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,841

529841

Odometer (ILX): 84,836

84836

I walked into the kitchen after work (and exhaled because it’s been a stressful work week and it’s 108 degrees outside) and started thumbing through the junk mail I’d picked up outside.  The following conversation ensued.

  • Roommate:  Going anywhere fun this weekend?
  • Me:  Yeah, I’m catching a flight to New York tonight.
  • Roommate (turns away from whatever he’s cooking):  You’re FLYING somewhere?

It’s true.  If I can survive tonight’s redeye, I’ll be in Manhattan tomorrow and making a quick turnaround to come back to Arizona on Sunday night.  Whirlwind trip.  But you all know, that’s how I roll.  Or, in this case, fly.

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with a fun video.  Can you imagine driving 7,500 miles per week?  An oil change every week.  Around-the-clock operation.  Nissan provided a Chandler, Arizona-based delivery company with an NV3500 utility van for the ultimate in real-world durability testing.  The results are impressive to say the least.  Just one unscheduled maintenance item:  an alternator replacement somewhere in the 300,000 mile range.  Check out this video!

I’ve personally met Nissan Engineer Craig Pike who appears in the video.  Should I send him a job application to be a test engineer?

dillon_rendering_june_2014

Thanks Dillon for providing the sweet ILX wallpaper here.  Have a great weekend.

Feature Story in “Kurumag” Japanese Automotive Lifestyle Magazine

Posted in Blog, Legend on June 17, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,840

529840

Odometer (ILX):  84,672

84672

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of meeting with author Shigeyuki Ishikawa and photographer Yujiro Otsuki from a Japanese magazine called Kurumag.  The free publication is widely distributed across Japan – each issue totaling around 500,000 copies. Previously it has included the stories of custom car builder George Barris and renowned racer Ken Block.

Shigeyuki had learned of my love for the open road through a mutual friend and he asked about featuring my story an upcoming issue that would focus on road tripping.  A few weeks later, Shigeyuki and Yujiro came to my home in Scottsdale, Arizona to conduct an interview (in Japanese, with Yujiro translating) and take a few photos of me and my Acuras.

Many thanks to Acura Legend forum member David (“CatchyCamel”) for his great assistance in putting together the translation so that I could share this article with all of you.  Keep an eye on the Kurumag website because it will soon launch as an electronic version of the magazine.

Cover:

cover

Article:

page1

page2

HEADLINE

Tyson lives in Arizona and his beloved legend reached 800,000 kilometers. There’s nothing he loves more than driving. He is 32 years old, and he told us about the appeal of the road trip.

INTERVIEW Q&A

So what got you interested in cars?

I remember when I was 5, I was polishing my dad’s pickup in front our house. My grandpa and my dad both love cars so it’s no wonder I love cars so much.

What was your first car?

When I was 16, I got handed down a Chevy Celebrity, and then when I was 17 I purchased a Honda Prelude Si. I had fun customizing it quite a bit.

How did you find this particular Legend?

When I was driving my Prelude and my mom was driving a 1993 Acura Legend sedan, I thought it was a good looking car and I hoped to someday purchase my own. At age 21, I started looking all over the country for a Legend coupe MT and I found it in San Jose, California. So I stuffed cash in my pocket and took off right away to go see it. Then it became my beloved car and this has been my 11th year owning it. Other than the Legend, I own an Acura NSX, an Acura Legend sedan, and an Acura ILX.

How did you drive as much as 800,000 kilometers?

The mileage was mostly achieved through my weekend drives almost every single weekend. I find my destinations by opening up a road atlas and saying, “Let’s go there,” to decide where to go. One interesting drive I made was going to Alaska in 2007. I left Arizona and kept going north across Canada until I got to Alaska. And then on the way home I kept going south along the west coast. That drive took 8,000 miles (12,800 kilometers) and the first thing I did when I got to Fairbanks was do an oil change.

You went that far? You could have flown!

Yeah, I agree. The funny thing is I used to work for airlines. I loved traveling so I thought it would be the most awesome thing to go all over the place, but I realized that travel by car is more fun: You get to enjoy the scenery, stop at the small towns and then find good restaurants. It’s not as much fun if you get straight to the destination since you don’t get to enjoy all the other things.

You drove that many miles in one car. That’s not easy, is it?

I could have bought a newer car with the money I spent on maintenance so far. In 2007 in Texas, a deer crashed into my car and the damage was pretty large. The insurance company told me it was totaled but I was so attached to my car that no matter how much trouble it was, I wanted to fix it. It’s an old model year so it was really hard to find the parts. I don’t think it will happen again, but just in case, I got an extra set of headlights (LOL).

Do you know the average miles the Japanese drive in a year is 12,000 kilometers?

Wow! It could take me only 2 months to drive that much. I drive around 50,000 miles (80,000 kilometers) a year.

What’s your most memorable drive?

Back in the day, there was no GPS or iPhone. I printed a map from MapQuest and took it with me. My trips were so far, they would fill up 15 pages. It’s so much easier now. You can take off right away, anytime.

I do have a story from when I went to Santa Monica, California for lunch. This one little lunch took 13 hours round trip. That might be a strange story but on the way home from the lunch as soon as I entered Arizona, the police pulled me over. The office asked, “Where are you going?” so I said, being honest, “I was coming back from Santa Monica from lunch.” The police were suspicious about the fact that I had driven all the way to California just to get lunch and said “No way.” Then more police cars gathered and searched my car completely. That was really something!

Do you have anywhere you want to go for a drive?

I’ve been to almost everywhere on the west coast so I want to go to the east coast like Long Island. Maybe someday, I would like to take the car to Hawaii and drive over there.

What is so appealing about driving?

Everybody must have a desire for adventure. But when it’s time for people to go they tend to plan to much detail like where to go and what to see. Sometimes there is no destination, you just get in the car. Start the engine, turn on the music, and start driving. Just simply and purely enjoying the driving. That also makes a great therapy too. You can clear your mind and the stress of daily life; its just simply just you and the car together. I think driving is a truly wonderful thing.

PHOTO CAPTIONS

  • A plaque from Acura to celebrate 500,000 milestone
  • He keeps all maintenance records well-organized as much as 2 binders full
  • On the wall in Tyson’s dining room are photographs of 3 generations of car fanatics
  • In his hand is binder full of tons of programs, brochures, articles, and newspaper clippings.

Thanks for reading!

Here’s a parting shot of my 1994 Legend GS 6-speed on Sunday in front of “Legend Cleaners” dry cleaning in Ahwatukee, Arizona.

legend_cleaners

And one of the ILX this morning in “my” parking spot at the office.  End space, backed in, close to the curb.  7:00 a.m. arrival and nobody else has this spot staked out that early in the day.  Yeah, it’s all mine.

ilx_parking

Later!

Quick Visit: White Tank Regional Park, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on June 13, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  84,278

84278

Odometer (Legend):  529,778

529778

cacti

Sometimes a driving adventure presents itself when you least expect it.  I had just finished up a walk-through at a rental home in Waddell, Arizona on Thursday afternoon for a cousin who’s moving to the area from Pennsylvania.  Pulling out of the subdivision on Olive Avenue, I looked to the west and saw the 4,000-foot White Tank Mountains in the distance.  I had two hours to kill until meeting a couple of friends for dinner, so I decided to see where that road would take me. (See red pin at left on the below map)

white_tank_map

The four-laner went down to two lanes a mile or two before I approached the entry gate at White Tank Regional Park.  Entry was $6 and I saw a sign stating “Ice Cold Water $1,” so I grabbed one of those as well from the nice senior couple that was working the booth.  “I’m a first timer,” I said, “What is there to do in here?”  The man told me that the park has 28 miles of hiking trails.  I glanced down at the ILX external temp readout and noticed that it indicated 108 degrees, then responded, “Hiking?  Not on a day like today!”  He just shook his head and rolled his eyes, “You’d be surprised.  We have a ton of locals out there right now.”

ilx_at_white_tank

I headed on into the 30,000-acre park and proceeded along the winding, two-lane paved road that had dips and curves giving my suspension a workout.  The landscape was dotted with hundreds of towering Saguaro cacti and a few jackrabbits scampered across my path as I worked my way through the park at 25 to 35 miles per hour.  The road went 3 miles along the base of the mountains until it hit a roundabout, where I looped back.  I took a side loop on the return trip via Ford Canyon Rd which became Waterfall Road.  Despite the temperatures, I did take the opportunity to hike around long enough to get a few stray cactus needles attached to my socks.  Ouch.

white_tank_road

White Tank is definitely a place I’ll be visiting again for some hikes when the weather cools off.  It’ll make a nice backdrop for some automotive photography, too.  Glad I was able to find it!

stop_sign

These massive Saguaro cacti are probably centuries old.  According to the National Park Service, the Saguaro must mature to 100 years in age before it even begins to grow an “arm”!

ilx_at_white_tank-2

cacti2

cactus2

cactus1

You all know I’m big on dates & anniversaries.  Yesterday, June 12, was the 2-year anniversary of the day I took ownership of the ILX from John Watts of Acura’s Digital Marketing team.

The car had just 16 miles on it.  It’s been a fun ride so far!

key_handoff

Have a great weekend!

Beartooth Highway Part 3: Red Lodge, Montana to Scottsdale, Arizona

Posted in ILX, Road Trip on June 11, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,755

529755

Odometer (ILX):  84,086

84086

Leg Distance:  1,307 Miles

part3

On Sunday morning, I slid open the window of room 418 in the historic Pollard Hotel in Red Lodge, Montana around 6:15 a.m. Fresh rains had left moisture on everything in sight, and the smell was better than any “spring rain” scented laundry detergent has ever been able to duplicate. This was the real deal.

Still digesting Saturday night’s steak dinners and anxious to hit the highway, we opted out of the complimentary sit-down breakfast in the lobby and fired up the ILX for our next day on the road. Multiple route choices presented themselves, but ultimately we decided to take Highway 78 to the northwest which would link us to Interstate 90 and through Bozeman, Montana. The 49 miles between Red Lodge and Columbus passed through rolling green hills with scattered farms throughout. Every home had a red barn in the backyard.

green_hills

Dad took over the wheel for the next 97 westward miles to Bozeman, then the next 80 miles to West Yellowstone via Highway 191. We admired the wildlife and the scenery as we paralleled the Gallatin River.

hwy_191

west_yellowstone_distance

By the time we arrived in West Yellowstone, we’d worked up an appetite (you know, from all that sitting in the car). Outpost Restaurant had opened for lunch just 15 minutes prior, so we stepped through the antler-lined entryway and grabbed a table. Our server started reciting the day’s specials: “First of all, we have a homemade meatloaf with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies, and then we have baked chicken and…” I knew already what my dad would be ordering. We are both suckers for meatloaf. It was well worth the $9.99.

Despite having seen a bear in Yellowstone Park the day prior, we wanted to see a little more wildlife before heading back home, so we pulled off Highway 20 just west of Rexburg, Idaho and visited a drive-through wildlife park called “Bear World.” Seriously.  $16 each for adult entry gets you a ~25 minute driving tour that loops through a (secured / fenced) park that’s home to 45 bears as well as numerous elk, deer, and other critters. As the attendant swung the gate open for us, we were instructed: “Windows rolled up at all times. Speed limit is 3-5 miles per hour. Do not stop or back up.” Dad and I did oblige, mostly. It was unreal to see a brown bear come waddling out of a watering hole and shake his fur off, then mosey right alongside the ILX as if we weren’t even there.

bear_world_entrance

In Idaho Falls, I had dad take the wheel and we sailed southward at 75 miles per hour toward the Utah state line.  The icing on the cake for this day’s drive was when my dad introduced me to a new (to me) stretch of road called Weston Canyon.  It’s known as Highway 36 and located in southeastern Idaho. The two-laner winds past two reservoirs:  Deep Creek and Weston Reservoir, both nestled in lush green valleys and surrounded by scattered farms.

weston_reservoir

I settled in for the night in Salt Lake City, Utah in anticipation of my trip’s long 10-hour remaining stretch for the following day.  The next morning, I was up & out the door by 6:30 in the morning and headed southbound on Interstate 15 through southern Utah, Las Vegas, Nevada, and then on in through northwestern Arizona and dropping down into Phoenix.  By the time I got home, the temperature had crept up to 110 degrees.  I wished I was back at Beartooth Pass breathing the fresh, cool mountain air, but feeling satisfied at another trip checked off the bucket list!

Here are the rest of the pictures from this third leg of one of my biggest trips of the summer so far.  Here is our departure from Red Lodge with drops of water on the car and a crisp, refreshing breeze in the air.

red_lodge_departure

Columbus, Montana is the only place I’ve ever seen 85.5 octane fuel offered.

85_octane

The following picture is for blog reader Carlos in Florida, who alerted me to the fact recently that this week is the 30th anniversary of the world premiere of Ghostbusters in 1984.  I noticed the “Ellen” movie theater in Bozeman, Montana was hosting a Ghostbusters movie trivia night.  Carlos, how well would you have done in the competition?

bozeman_theater

We hit road construction for a few miles on U.S. 191 southbound between Bozeman, and West Yellowstone, MT.

construction

Soon, we arrived in West Yellowstone and got rained on by just a few sprinkles.

west_yellowstone

Meatloaf at the Outpost Restaurant!  Highly recommended.  Half-eaten, sorry.

meatloaf

Photos from Bear World, between Rexburg and Idaho Falls, Idaho.

bear_world_sign

Check out the lengthy Park Rules and Guidelines.  “Always give animals the right-of-way!”

bear_world_rules

Sage advice.

windows_sign

First elk sighting.

elk

Getting access to the bear zone.

bear_gate

And there he goes.  Right off the bat, there was a brown bear (fresh out of a nearby pond) sauntering across our path.

bear

Our last diversion for the day:  Weston Canyon in southern Idaho.

weston_sign

Great roads – we saw a few motorcyclists out this way.

weston_canyon

Selfie!  From the passenger seat, too — not a place I’m sitting very often.

my_reflection

Check out this fuel economy over the 750 miles from Cooke City, Montana to northern Utah!  All those 45-65 mph roads really translated into some great MPGs.

36mpg

In central Utah, speed limits are 80 for most of the time so I set the cruise control accordingly.

gauges

Quick stop in southern Utah – back in red rock country.

washington_utah

Onward into Nevada.

vegas

And home sweet home!  Thank you all for being a part of this trip.