Archive for July, 2014

Drive to the Wild West: Tombstone and Fairbank, Arizona in the ILX

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on July 31, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,295


Odometer (ILX):  90,167


Trip Distance:  372 Miles


When my friend Chris from Maryland was planning his visit to Arizona, he said, “I want to see a saloon.  Take me to an Old West town.”  I knew exactly which destination would fulfill those wishes:  Tombstone.


Just a day after arriving from our trip to Los Angeles for the National Acura Legend Meet, Chris and I again hit the highway in search of a new adventure.  And this time, we traveled back in time 135 years to a town that they say is “Too Tough to Die.”  It’s a town of legends (get it?) and history that fills volumes.


Compare to the May 2011 picture, when I took the Legend there.


Our first stop was the Boothill Graveyard.  We took a self-guided tour and noticed that most of the headstones were marked “UNKNOWN.”  The ones that did have names on them were mostly dated from the late 1800’s.  Here’s one example of an inscription we found on a headstone:

Here Lies George Johnson, 1882

He Was Right, We Was Wrong

But We Strung Him Up, and Now He’s Gone



We parked the ILX and proceeded to walk around in the muggy afternoon weather.  Tombstone’s history dates back to 1879 when it became a boomtown thanks to the nearby silver mine.  During those years, a guide educated us, the town’s population soared to around 10,000 residents, which was even greater than the population of Los Angeles at the time.  A series of destructive fires in 1882 wiped out over 100 businesses.  Additional fires in the mines themselves, depletion of ore, and the falling price of silver led to the decline of Tombstone.  Today, it’s home to only about 1,300 people and the town survives primarily on the tourism industry.


On October 26, 1881, a historical gunfight took place in an empty lot behind the O.K. Corral.  Lawman Doc Holliday and 3 other officers fought it out against 4 cowboys who were suspected of murder.  Thirty shots were fired, resulting in injury or death for everyone involved except for Wyatt Earp.  Earp lived on until 1929 when he died at the age of 80.  Chris and I watched a gunfight reenactment and got our photo afterward with some of the actors.


The main road through town, Allen Street, is closed to car traffic.  However, carriage rides are available and the town is very pedestrian-friendly.  Chris and I went to the Crystal Palace Saloon for lunch.  The “shroom and Swiss” hamburger was phenomenal, but my favorite item on the menu was the fried ice cream for dessert.


This courthouse cost $45,000 to build in 1882 and still stands today with a visitor center in the lobby.


Heading north from Tombstone, I decided to change up the trip a little bit and do a little ghost towning.  My friend Leif had once told me about a townsite called Fairbank off Highway 82 in southern Arizona, and I happened to notice how close we were to it thanks to my Garmin Nuvi GPS unit as we were departing from Tombstone.

Just before a border patrol checkpoint, Chris and I veered west into the San Pedro Valley and about 8 miles later we arrived at what was once a bustling railroad town in the late 1800’s.  In 1890 and 1894 the area flooded.  An earthquake in 1897 altered the course of the San Pedro River, knocked railroad tracks out of place, and devastated some of the structures in the town.  It’s almost as if Fairbank was destined to be a ghost town from the very beginning.  Fairbank has been abandoned since the 1970’s and today amounts to just a few decrepit structures and a 1920 schoolhouse that was restored in 2007.


Heading on in via a very short, perhaps 1/4 mile, one-lane dirt road.


Parked at the gate to the townsite.


Chris heads on in.


This building was once a post office and mercantile.


The signs posted on these buildings say that they are condemned due to being unsafe.


We didn’t take the time to hike all 1/2 mile to the San Pedro riverbed, but I enjoyed the green vegetation and it was a nice change of scenery from the rest of the surrounding desert.


Continuing on Highway 82, I had my first experience with geocaching when Chris and I started heading north on Highway 90.  Geocaching is defined as a recreational activity in which participants use a global positioning system (GPS) to hide and seek containers (“caches”).  Chris downloaded a geocache app to his iPhone and started guiding me on where to make some turns so that we could find it.  I took this picture of the ILX just before Chris (in the background) hit the jackpot.


Hidden within the chain link fence’s post in this residential neighborhood was a small container attached to the lid.  Once we unscrewed the lid, we found inside a small plastic bag with a folded piece of paper and a pencil where we would fill in the date and our names.  It’s like a treasure hunt!  I had a blast.


Nice view of Newman Peak just east of I-10 near Picacho on the way back to the Phoenix area.


We turned over 90,000 miles right around there!


Thanks for joining on the trip!

Just a couple more parting shots today – first, Chris had free reign of the NSX on Tuesday while I was at work, and he found a great road called South Mountain where he took this picture overlooking the Phoenix downtown area.


Later that day, he drove himself to the airport in the Legend coupe.  Having owned a 400,000 mile 3rd generation Prelude Si, he has an appreciation for cars with higher mileage.


And finally, a well deserved shout-out to my friend Alex.  Despite the fact that his Acura Legend did not even have an engine or transmission installed in it just a couple of weeks ago, he got his car together in time to drive it all the way across the country:  from Warm Mineral Springs, Florida, to Los Angeles, California, for this year’s NALM.  Not only that, but he’s now on his return trip (5,000 miles into it, currently in Chicago) and a couple of days ago passed through my hometown in southern Utah and sent me this photo at the state line.  Keep on trucking, Alex!



10th Annual National Acura Legend Meet – Part 2

Posted in California, NALM on July 28, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend coupe):  531,277


Odometer (Legend sedan):  146,014



My favorite comment of the entire second day of NALM was: “Look, it’s the rolling retirement home!” when Kevin’s 1994 sedan “Old War Horse” pulled into the Islands Restaurant parking lot in Thousand Oaks, California. Kevin and Alan had a good laugh about it. They do pride themselves in being among the most distinguished of Legend enthusiasts.

No NALM is complete without a chance to put our cars’ suspensions to the test. Tommy was the ring leader for Saturday’s canyon drive, having traversed the two-laners between in the Santa Monica Mountains many many times in the past. He took the lead in his Canterbury Green Legend sedan as we rode out of the Hampton Inn in Thousand Oaks. My friend Stephen took the copilot seat in the Legend coupe. I hoped for the best with my clutch, knowing full well that it (being the original to the car) was hanging on for dear life. I had no intention of driving aggressively but still wanted to at least keep up with the pack.


Tommy picked a great road: never-ending twists on Mulholland Drive with scenery that delivered awesome views. Not that I was paying much attention to the scenery – my eyes were instead glued to Duane’s Legend GS sedan in front of me. I got a howl or two out of my Michelin tires. Sergey who was following me noted (not surprisingly) a lot of body roll from my car. Soon we reached the crest and began our descent to sea level. Blue skies gave way to an overcast marine layer, but temperatures were comfortable and Stephen and I rolled the windows and sunroof down to enjoy it.

Our destination for lunch was Neptune’s Net, a famous seafood place along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. Famous, I say, because it was featured in the movie The Fast and the Furious. We did our best to safely park 25+ Legends along the highway before running across four lanes of traffic and settling into the two tables on the outside patio which Gabe, our ring leader, had graciously reserved for us in advance. The fish tacos were calling my name so that’s what got my vote on the menu. Aside from being completely covered in cilantro which is one food I’m not a fan of, they were delicious. I also sampled some of Ben’s French fries and Stephen’s chicken strips. Fried food seems to be something that Neptune’s does well!


Gabe handed me a walkie talkie and assigned me as one of the shepherds for our next stretch of road. I obediently waited until most of the group had rolled out, then took to the wheel and confirmed that all of the cars in our caravan were accounted for. One unlucky Legend owner was shortly thereafter pulled over for a window tint violation, but otherwise the drive southbound on Pacific Coast Highway went well. A left hand turn on Kanan Road took us back up and over the Santa Monica Mountains and toward Highway 101. We had an appointment at a dyno shop so that some of the Legend owners could evaluate performance of their motors by testing them for horsepower and torque. I had a close call with a concrete parking curb that started to pull my front bumper off after catching an underside splash shield, but survived the incident and it’s hardly detectable that it ever happened.

Once again we braved Los Angeles traffic upon departure. I’ve decided that the 405 and 101 freeways are rarely flowing without incident. Our evening was relaxed, with a dinner reservation at Islands Restaurant just a few miles from the host hotel in Thousand Oaks. The special treat later that night was when Legend owners started throwing their car keys at me and letting me take their cars for test drives.  One thing I love about being a part of this car enthusiast community is the level of pride that each owner takes in his or her vehicle. And despite the fact that we all drive the same model of car, I felt like each one had a unique personality and feel. Huge thanks to Duane, Dave, Alex, TJ, James, and Evan for entrusting me behind the wheel of their babies.  This is a pic with long-time friend Denny.


On Sunday morning, we made our way to a weekly event in Woodland Hills called Supercar Sunday. When our group of Legends pulled into the mall parking lot around 8:00 a.m., the area was already nearly full of a wide variety of show cars. We got a sneak peek at a new Dodge Challenger Hellcat, got up close and personal with a suicide door 1967 Lincoln Continental with laser-sharp paint work and body panels, and even a couple of 1981 Deloreans. My favorite car, though, was a Sebring Silver 1992 Acura NSX parked up the row a little bit. Super clean with only 65,000 miles on the odometer, I could tell it was well cared for. We weren’t looking over it longer than 2 minutes when the proud owner, Yoav, came up to give us the story on it. He is the editor of Petrolicious and has had a lot of nice cars in his automotive past, but he says the NSX is something special.   He took a few moments to gaze upon our lineup of cars and introduce himself to our group. Thanks, Yoav, for your time!  Here I am with Ben, and with Yoav’s 1992 NSX.



Gabe took the floor back at the Hampton and conducted an awards ceremony. Alex Alperovich swept 3 categories in his Milano Red 1994 LS coupe: Most Potential, Longest Drive, and “Sleeper.” His trophy collection is expanding quickly! Gabe raffled off a number of Legend-related prices. When he pulled two jugs of Honda “Type 2” coolant out of a box and put them on the counter, the collective crowd said, “Oooooooh!” Everyone wanted those. Duane from Folsom, CA was the lucky winner in that case.

Chris and I were rip-raring to hit the highway and head east, so we grabbed some Del Taco and did just that. I got used to seeing my Legend GS sedan in my rearview mirror for the next 7 hours or so. The big surprise was about 90 minutes into the drive when I received a text message with, “You just passed us!” One of the NALM attendees was driving along (in a non-Legend) on Freeway 210 and had spotted Chris and me driving along. Sure enough, I later received a picture he’d taken of us. Talk about timing!


Our drive through the I-10 desert was uneventful aside from some raindrops in Palm Springs and some haze climbing out of the Indio valley to Chiriaco Summit. It was great to get home!  Many, many thanks to the NALM ground team (Gabe, Tommy, Graeme, and whoever else may have played a role) for their efforts in pulling off a great event.

Awards Summary:

  • Best Sleeper, Most Potential, Longest Drive:  Alperovich (Alex )
  • Lowest Mileage:  ArizonaLegend (Chuck)
  • Highest Mileage:  Tyson
  • Cleanest USDM:  SteveC (Steve)
  • Cleanest JDM:  Sergey (not on forum)
  • Lowest Ride:  Juan (not on forum)
  • Honorable Mention:  Tyson
  • Best in Show G1:  Mikeo (Mike)
  • Best in Show G2:  Davecfprez (Dave)
  • Best in Show RL:  1BadKA9RL (Eric)

Here are the rest of my pictures.  There will, soon I’m sure, be photos posted here on the forums too.

Video!  Footage is courtesy of Chris.

Two “canyon run” videos from Sergey who was following me.

My Legend sedan, Ben’s 1992 LS coupe, and Alan with his 1994 LS coupe.


Dave’s award-winning (“Best JDM”) 1994 GS sedan 6-speed with only 98,000 miles.


Alan’s coupe again.  Just love that paint color.


Saturday morning’s rollout to the canyon cruise.


Arrival at Neptune’s Net in Malibu.


Chowing down on some of the west coast’s best seafood.


Alex and Chris decided to climb down to the beach and get wet in the Pacific.


Looking back at Neptune’s.


Ben taking a picture of me, taking a picture of him.


Group overlooking the Pacific.


Heading out again – this time, off to the performance/dyno shop in Van Nuys.


This photo captured by Sergey’s brother along Pacific Coast Highway.


Getting dyno tested!


Group of onlookers.


Sunday morning’s view out room 245 of the Hampton Inn.  A glorious sight indeed.



Traditional “trunk liner” signing with Kevin from Duluth, GA.  Each of the last 3 years, I’ve left a special inscription in silver Sharpie on the fabric that covers the underside of his trunk lid.  It’s a tradition we will continue to carry on.

Thanks, Kevin, for the privilege!


Chris getting a feel for the coupe.


Southeast Acura Legend guys:  Alex (FL), Alan, (FL), Tyson, Evan (TN), and Kevin (GA).


Me with Alex.  Showing off my two awards from the ceremony.


Headed home on I-10 with Chris in our twin Legends.  This shot taken during a fuel-up near Palm Springs.


A hot entry into the Arizona state line from Blythe, CA.  Welcome home!


10th Annual National Acura Legend Meet – Part 1

Posted in California, NALM on July 25, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend sedan):  145,443


Odometer (Legend coupe):  530,701


I can’t believe I’ve been going to NALM for 10 years now!  Each time I come to this event it’s a giant family reunion.

Along with a few other long-distance travelers, I made a 430-mile drive across the hot desert from Phoenix and arrived in Thousand Oaks, California around 6:45 p.m. on Thursday evening, just in time for the meet & green and kick-off activities.  Master of Ceremonies Gabe Teran had developed a Legend-specific trivia game for the 30 or so participants in attendance.  Our brains were racked as he asked for specifications like horsepower and torque figures and year-over-year model changes.  I admit that even I, after having owned 9 Legends, could not answer many of his detailed inquiries!

It was a comfortable 72 degrees in the parking lot when we were outside shooting the breeze later in the evening.  Such a refreshing break from the oven that is my home.


Here are a few photos from that day’s westward drive on Interstate 10.  Thanks to TJ for capturing this one of Chris (in my sedan), me (in my coupe) and Alex on the road.


It’s a trip to watch my own car come up in the sideview mirror.


Lunch at Carl’s Junior in Quartzsite, just about 19 miles before crossing into California.  Chuck’s car, at far left, is a 1993 LS coupe 6-speed with only 31,000 miles on it.


Fueling up in Palm Desert, CA.  At one point on the trip, the 4 of us compared gas mileage and discovered that my GS sedan got the best of the group.  Here are the quantities of gasoline each of our cars took to drive the same distance (roughly 130 miles).

  • Chris – 4.2 gallons
  • Alex – 4.77 gallons
  • Tyson – 4.72 gallons
  • Chuck – 4.8 gallons


Alex stopped to get a picture at the border to CA.  He drove his car about 2,600 miles to get to this event.


Chris and I with an enthusiastic thumbs up after enduring some HEAVY delays on freeways 210, 134, and 101 approaching Thousand Oaks.  Kicking at a clutch pedal gets kind of old when you’re rolling in stop and go traffic!


Today, Friday, was where the fun really got started.  After feeding on breakfast from Hampton Inn, I headed out solo toward the American Honda main office in Torrance.  Traffic on the 405 freeway was, not surprisingly, flowing at a crawl or not at all.  I pulled up behind a Silver Moon Acura ILX at one point and it ended up being a couple of guys from Acura’s advertising agency, Mullen.  Sure enough, they parked right near me at the visitor lot at the Honda office.


A Crimson Garnet ILX 6-speed was sitting on display in the lobby.


I had a nice visit with Vince Manganiello from Acura Public Relations.


Sadly, during my visit I received a parking violation from Corporate Security for backing my car in!  Apparently that’s not allowed.  Lesson learned.  The best part was that the officer filled in “2000” as the year of my car.  Hey, I guess it looks 6 years newer than it is!


Next, it was time to cruise .8 miles down the road to the private Honda Collection Hall:  A facility where Honda has stashed away one-off and early production vehicles that are notable in the history of the Honda/Acura brands.  The gang of Legend drivers had already arrived – when I pulled into the parking lot, the Legends lined the parking lot as far as the eye could see.  Dave Heath who oversees the Auto Shows & Exhibits for Honda was kind enough to give our group some great background.  Then, he turned us loose to explore the facility and check out the cars.  Special vehicles of note were a yellow Integra Type R with only a few thousand miles on it, and the first ever 1994 Honda Accord built.

We pulled our Legends around to the back of the building for a photoshoot at a loading dock.  By 2:30 p.m., we were ready to roll out en masse and return to our host hotel in Thousand Oaks.  Traffic was the pits, as expected, but everyone made the 55 or so mile drive back safely (though it took almost two hours).

Here are some stats about the cars:

  • 28 Legends, representative of first, second, third, and fourth generations
  • 14 second generation Legend coupes
  • 9 second generation Legend sedans
  • 13 manual transmission cars
  • 2 original owner cars:  Ben with a 1992 LS coupe and Steve with a 1995 L sedan

Grab bag of pics to follow!  Hope those of you who weren’t able to attend in person will enjoy these.

Chris’ arrival at the hotel.














Chris Martin, Tyson, Vince Manganiello


Chuck’s shirt reads “You’re Looking at a Legend.”


1986 Legend sedan on display


Thumbs up!


Catered lunch



Acura RLX on display outside.  The RLX is Legend’s successor.  I got the chance to drive & review one last year.



Dave, Tyson, Penny, and Ben


Checking out the Phoenix Red 1991 Legend coupe.  It had only 300 miles on it!



Dave getting comfortable in the 1991 NSX.  Looks good on you, Dave!


Dave also wins the award for coolest – er, hottest – engine bay.  He has airbrushed flames!


Photoshoot from behind the museum.







I couldn’t even fit all the cars in the camera viewfinder!!







I got to ride in the backseat of my own car on the way to tonight’s dinner at Toppers Pizza.  I like being chauffeured around!


Dinner group 1


Dinner group 2


It’s been a phenomenal day with friends!  Stay tuned — tomorrow we’re taking a drive up the canyons!

NALM 2014: Next stop, Los Angeles

Posted in NALM on July 23, 2014 by tysonhugie

This evening, my neighbors were peeking out their front room windows, nodding in confirmation.  “He’s crazy.”

What they saw in my driveway was a group of 10 Acura Legends.


The attendees for tonight’s pizza party at my place came from places far and wide:  Two from Florida, even.



Tomorrow, most of us will head westbound to Los Angeles, California for a multi-day event centered around our car club.


Here are a few other pics from the evening.

Even in the shade, with a straw hat, lounge chair, and box fan on the highest setting, Alan was sweating.  The Phoenix area hit a record 114 degrees today.



Mirel’s black 1993 LS 6-speed coupe with only 119,000 miles on it stole the show with its glossy paint job.





Stay tuned for more later this week!

Acura ILX + TL Drive to Death Valley National Park, California

Posted in California, ILX, National Parks, Nevada, Road Trip on July 20, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  89,689


Odometer (Legend):  530,150


Trip Distance:  901 Miles


“This could be scary,” Sofyan mumbled as we rolled our suitcases up the front walkway to Longstreet Inn & Casino in Amargosa Valley, Nevada. The hotel, visible for miles on Highway 373 in the barren desert, had loomed like an oasis on the horizon while we approached it (photo below). The sound of country music and horribly off-key karaoke filled the air while I and my 3 traveling colleagues checked into our rooms for the night’s stay. We were weary from a full day of adventure in Death Valley National Park, one of the country’s most oft-overlooked and yet most scenic landscapes. And the evening’s agenda was just what we needed to unwind: A dip in the pool, a home-cooked meal topped off by apple pie, and the clearest nighttime sky I’ve seen in a long time – with stars so visible it was as if we’d pulled them closer to earth.


“Death Valley” sounds like such an enticing place to visit in the middle of the summer, doesn’t it?

On July 10, 1913, a record 134 °F (56.7 °C) was measured at the Weather Bureau’s observation station at Greenland Ranch (now the site for the Furnace Creek Inn), the highest temperature ever recorded in the world.  Daily summer temperatures of 120 °F (49 °C) or greater are common, as well as below freezing nightly temperatures in the winter. July is the hottest month, with an average high of 115 °F (46 °C) and an average low of 88 °F (31C (reference).

The area was named a national monument in 1933 and became a national park in 1994.  It receives nearly a million visitors annually.  Death Valley got its name from prospectors who passed through the area in 1849 when the California gold rush took place, though reportedly only one death took place.  My first and only experience with the area was in August 2011 in the Legend coupe when I paid a visit to a close friend and automotive spy photographer Brenda Priddy who spends her summers there.


Joining me for this trip were a few friends.  Sofyan, host of the 2theRedline YouTube auto review channel, had flown in from Washington, D.C. for the occasion, and my local friend Peter also came along.

Our day started out in Las Vegas, a city that never sleeps. Glassy-eyed and a bit tired from a night out on the town, we made our way to Johnny Rockets for delicious Belgian waffles with strawberries & whipped cream. That sugar rush was enough to bring me to my senses. Jason Pawela from Driven for Drives arrived and we set out with his 2010 Acura TL and my 2013 Acura ILX in search of some adventures. Highway 160 – “Blue Diamond” took us westward toward Pahrump, Nevada. A slow-moving 65 mph limit felt like it should have been 85 mph: The arrow-straight highway made its way through the desert and Sofyan, who’s visiting from Washington, D.C., commented on the landscape. “So what IS a tumbleweed?” he asked. Oh, you city folks!


A little beyond Pahrump, we took a left on Highway 190 toward Death Valley National Park. A few brave travelers – most from other countries, it seemed – joined us at the entrance sign for pictures. Our first stop was at Furnace Creek. It’s a place with $5.56 premium Chevron gas and a breeze that feels like a blow dryer in your face. We were able to find a saloon/restaurant – “49er” — serving up lunch so we were grateful for the opportunity to refill our bellies. All four of us ordered the exact same meal: Turkey club w/o red onion. It hit the spot. A stop at the national park visitor center was in order, so we could pay our $20/car entry fee and legalize our visit. A sign inside the gift shop announced: Heat-Related Deaths Since April 2014: 2. That’s a sobering thought.


Peter, Sofyan, Tyson, Jason

Jason and I swapped car keys and headed out toward Badwater Basin, some 17 miles away. Badwater is the lowest elevation point in North America, at 282 feet below sea level. I enjoyed seat-time in the 305-horsepower TL with its 3.7 liter V6. Torque for days! The sound system and level of refinement were clearly superior to the ILX, but I did briefly miss the more nimble feel of my smaller sedan. Regading Badwater: Legend has it that a traveler once got to this point and was severely dehydrated. He could not even get his horse to drink from the shallow pool because the water was so salty. Thus the place was named “bad water” and it stuck. Receiving fewer than 2 inches of rain per year, Badwater is one of the driest places in the world. We hiked out a little and Jason filled a Ziploc bag with sand, then we gratefully sought refuge from the oven inside our nicely air conditioned Acura sedans.


Just 85 miles from Badwater stands the tallest mountain in the contiguous 48 U.S. states, called Mount Whitney (14,505 feet).  You may recall a trip from last summer when Jason and I drove the highest elevation paved road in North America:  Mount Evans in Colorado, at 14,265 feet.   I would have loved to visit Mount Whitney if time permitted.

We wanted to make sure and take home some Death Valley dust on our cars, and I knew just the place to find it. “20 Mule Team Road,” just a few miles from Furnace Creek, is an amazing one-lane, one-way dirt track that winds for 2.7 miles along some terrain that looks like another planet. Jason and I weren’t afraid of doing a little off-roading. In fact, after our first lap of Mule Team, we switched drivers. Sofyan drove the ILX and Peter drove the TL – and we did it all over again. Kicking up dust in style.


The last place I wanted to check out was Stovepipe Wells, a small settlement about 23 miles north of Furnace Creek. It’s nestled in between expansive sand dunes. As we approached, it was evident that the wind activity was high because of the wisps of sand sweeping across the roadway. Because of Death Valley’s notoriety as one of the hottest climates in the world, it is an optimal place for automakers to test out the durability of prototype / pre-production vehicles. Sure enough, as Sofyan pulled my ILX into the parking lot at Stovepipe Wells, we spotted 3 white 2016 model year GMC Canyon Diesels out for evaluation. I picked up 2 Gatorades for $3 – best purchase of the day by far. I was parched.

We made our way out of the park on Highway 127 just as the sun dipped down in the western sky. We got a few photos at the California/Nevada state line and then made our entrance into the Longstreet for the night. A great day with great friends.


Enjoy this video and the rest of these pictures from our trip!

Peter at the wheel of the ILX; Sofyan in the backseat


Backseat vantage point:  something I’m not used to seeing!


Sunset over the Hoover Dam bypass bridge at the AZ/NV state line


View from our hotel in Las Vegas:  Excalibur


Catching the water show at Bellagio


Saturday morning:  A destination in mind


Ruins in an abandoned Nevada town


Next stop:  Furnace Creek


Thanks to Jason for some awesome “rolling shots” of the ILX


We made it




Elevation:  Sea level as we made our way toward Furnace Creek


How’s $5.59/gallon for Premium sound?


Lunch spot


A brisk 115 degrees Fahrenheit at the National Park Visitor Center


Although, the ILX only showed 113 degrees at the time


Shot of the ILX in the TL sideview mirror


Warning at Badwater Basin.  “Walking after 10 a.m. not recommended.”


Checking out the sights, 282 feet below sea level.



Pit stop along the “20 Mule Team Canyon” trail.


Hitchhiking due to broken down Acuras.  Not.


Stovepipe Wells


GMC Canyon Diesel prototype that was out for hot-weather testing near Stovepipe


Crossing back into Nevada from California for the night


Sunday morning’s return drive to Phoenix:  Gigantic cow


And the world’s largest firecracker!


Thanks for coming along!

Throwback Thursday: Legend Drive to “Spiral Jetty” in Utah

Posted in Legend, Road Trip, Throwback, Utah on July 17, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  530,083


Odometer (ILX):  88,611



What type of alien life form would have created something like this?

spiral jetty

I don’t remember how I found out about the Spiral Jetty, but once I learned of it, there was no stopping me from going there.  It was Saturday June 18, 2005 and for some reason or another, I was in & around Salt Lake City, Utah that weekend.

Spiral Jetty is a 1,500-foot-long, 15-foot-wide, work of art on the north shore of the Great Salt Lake.  It was actually constructed by a human – Robert Smithson –  in 1970.  It’s made of mud, salt crystals, basalt rocks, and water.  Construction took only 6 days and cost $9,000.  Due to varying water levels of the lake, it’s possible at times for the spiral coil to be completely submerged.  On the day when I visited, it was clearly visible but partially underwater.  I would’ve loved to hike out on top of it, but that would’ve definitely ended in some wet sneakers & socks.

The Great Salt Lake is a bit fascinating itself.  It’s the largest salt water lake in the western Hemisphere and the 4th largest “terminal” lake in the world.  It covers 1,700 square miles and is a remnant of ancient Lake Bonneville which covered most of Utah.  But how salty is the Great Salt Lake?  Salinity ranges from 5 to 27%.  For comparison, the salinity of the ocean is 3.5%.  I won’t be filling my canteen from the Great Salt Lake anytime soon.  Here’s an attempted “selfie” (though that word didn’t exist in 2005) thanks to a remote timer on my camera with the lake in the background.


Though I learned that the road to the Spiral Jetty was unpaved, that didn’t keep me from taking my then-173,000-mile Acura Legend coupe out on a Saturday morning adventure.  In all, I remember driving about 9 miles one-way on a gravel road.  The last couple of miles progressively got more and more technical.  By the time I got to the last hundred yards or so of the drive, the road had narrowed to just one skinny lane with huge ruts and jagged rocks everywhere.  I did my best to weave around them – fearing that I might scratch one of my 17″ chrome rims or, worst case scenario, catch a rock on my oil pan and cause some even more serious damage to the car.


I did make it, though, and celebrated with a photoshoot of my filthy Legend and a partially submerged work of art in the background.


The area around the jetty was littered with metal waste:  Empty, rusted barrels, vehicle hulks that had been abandoned and vandalized decades prior, etc.




I made my exit and stopped for a photo in the barren wilderness of northern Utah.


Remarkably, the Legend survived unscathed and after running it through a coin-operated car wash in Salt Lake City, I took it to a Legend “meet” at Sugarhouse Park that very same afternoon.  Though we hadn’t planned it that way, every single Legend that attended was a 2-door coupe.  I wonder how many of those guys still have their cars, 9 years later?


I know for a fact that Jeff, who was driving that Canterbury Green coupe parked on the end, is now in a black 2008 Acura TL Type-S after having spent the last 8 years in a CL Type-S.  He’s been as brand loyal as they come!





Summertime fun from years past.  Thanks for coming along with me to Memory Lane.

Pre-NALM Maintenance

Posted in Arizona, Maintenance, NALM on July 14, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  88,482


Odometer (Legend coupe):  530,082


Odometer (Legend sedan):  144,615


I heard a crackle of thunder on Sunday afternoon from inside the house, and I thought my ears were playing tricks on me.  I’d been outside earlier in the day and it was absolutely cloudless at the time.  Then the sound came around again, and I decided to investigate.

What I found when I looked out the windows was a torrential summertime “monsoon” downpour.  First thought:  “Crap, I left the ILX moonroof partially ajar and windows vented!”  Second thought:  “WHERE IS MY CAR KEY?” as I frantically looked on the kitchen table and then ran to the desk in my bedroom where the key was sitting.  I bolted outside shoeless and rolled up the windows, then sought cover and recorded this video.

The past week has been busy for getting the cars up to date on service needs.  I am preparing, along with 27 other registered participants from across the country, for a road trip to this year’s National Acura Legend Meet which kicks off in 10 days in Los Angeles, California.  Here is a thread on the Legend forums where people are talking about their preparatory activities.

Legend coupe:

  • Replace steering rack & pinion (remanufactured) – first time this has been done
  • Replace passenger side inner axle boot – second time this has been done
  • Replace spark plugs – third set including the originals; went with NGK
  • Perform alignment – multiple occurrences of this

Legend sedan:

  • Change oil & filter with 5W30
  • Replace burned out 3rd brake light bulb
  • Perform full inspection – all looks good!
  • Recharge a/c (pending this Wednesday)

NSX (not going to NALM, but still getting some attention):

  • Change oil & filter with Castrol GTX 10W30
  • Recharge a/c

ILX (not going to NALM, but still getting some attention:

  • Change oil & filter with 0W20
  • Rotate tires

The sedan’s oil had last been changed on January 4th, just 209 miles prior.


Ready to rock and roll.


Desert Mist Metallic:  Paint code YR-506M.


Where to this coming weekend?  Well, I’m expecting company and we’ll depart in the ILX on Friday afternoon to a national park in California.  That’s all I’m going to divulge for now, but stay tuned because this is going to be a hot ride in some hot Acuras.  Have a great week!

4th of July Weekend Part 3: McCall, Idaho to Scottsdale, Arizona

Posted in ILX, Maintenance, Road Trip on July 9, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  88,204


Leg Distance:  1,177 Miles


The return trip from this vacation went by quickly thanks to good music and good company.  About 5 hours into the 17-hour journey, I picked up a copilot in Salt Lake City and we spent the rest of the drive trading off shifts at the wheel.  It sure was tough to leave behind the beauty of the mountains and especially the comfort of cooler temperatures.  My 3-mile run on Saturday morning along the lake in McCall was surrounded by scenes like this.


We spent the day lounging on the deck and doing a little antique shopping in McCall.  That evening, we celebrated my niece’s birthday at a restaurant called Lardo’s.  If you can get past the name, the place really does have quite a bit to offer!  I headed south on Highway 55 after dinner and spent the next 105 miles winding through the Boise National Forest next to the beautiful Payette River.


From Salt Lake City, my friend Jeremy hopped aboard and we continued the rest of the journey together.  Having originally intended to spend the night in St. George, Utah, we decided to press onward.  Black storm clouds on the horizon had other plans for us:  Within 5 miles of entering the Virgin River Gorge on Interstate 15, traffic came to a standstill due to construction delays, and the clouds began to unleash.  The construction and adverse weather conditions were further complicated by much-heavier-than-normal holiday traffic.  The delay in the Gorge cost us about 30 minutes, and then the slow-moving traffic elsewhere on I-15 in torrential downpours cost us even more.

By the time we arrived in Las Vegas, we were exhausted and ready to call it a night, so we did so.  I pulled the rain-soaked ILX into the Hilton Garden Inn in Henderson for a late night check-in, anxious for a fluffy pillow and a good night’s sleep.


On Monday morning, conditions were much more suitable for road tripping.  We made time for a pit stop at the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.  The bridge, completed in 2010, is better known as the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge.  Before its construction (which cost $240 million), traffic was formerly routed OVER Hoover Dam.  To walk across the bridge is a bit unnerving if heights are of concern.  The span covers some 1,900 feet and looms 880 feet above the surface of the Colorado River far below.  But the view of the dam from there is, dare I say it, “dam” good.



The rest of our drive was an easy one with a quick fuel stop in Kingman, Arizona and then a few hours of desert two-laners on Highway 93 on into the Phoenix area.  The closer we got to Phoenix, the higher the temperature climbed — right up until the 110-degree mark.  I sure wished I was still sitting on the cabin deck in McCall, Idaho.

Thanks for coming along on the trip!  Here are the rest of the pictures.

Dinner at Lardo’s with Ali and Beckam.  Poor lighting for the pic, but phenomenal food.


Another neat dining establishment I wish I’d had time to check out:  “Dollar Bill’s Casual Fine Red Neck Dining,” in Cascade, Idaho.  What a name!


Arrival in Salt Lake City, Utah on Interstate 15 southbound.


Picking up Jeremy and giving him some time at the the wheel.


Taken near the Hoover Dam at the Arizona/Nevada state line.


Total trip time & distance:  41 hours, 39 minutes and 2,521 miles since I departed last Wednesday.


And that’s a wrap to the trip!


Now, it’s time to get down to business and get some updates on how these cars are staying on the road.

Here’s a photo while driving the Legend to get some maintenance done, and following Jeremy in my ILX.


The Legend coupe is currently getting a new power steering rack, fresh spark plugs, and a CV axle boot. I’ll pick it up tomorrow.  These maintenance items are in preparation for the road trip to NALM later this month in Los Angeles.

The ILX went in today for a “B1” service including an oil change with 0W20 oil, new engine air filter, and a tire rotation.  It set me back $118.69.  The technician’s inspection noted that my rear brakes are down to 3MM.  Also, I’m coming up on a 90k service interval which calls for replacement of the serpentine belt and a coolant flush.  What surprised me was how far the car allowed me to drive on that same oil change.  Since my last appointment on May 14th, I drove 9,274 miles on one oil change, and the car’s Maintenance Minder still told me the oil had 15% life remaining.

The dealership is undergoing some renovations inside & out.  Think they have enough flat-screen TVs in the Customer Lounge?


Inspection notes.


And back on my way!



4th of July Weekend Part 2: Boise to McCall, Idaho

Posted in ILX, Road Trip on July 7, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  530,040


Odometer (ILX):  88,114


Leg Distance:  173 Miles



Every day that I’m behind the wheel is an independence day. Drive time means freedom from the stresses of the workplace, freedom from chores, from worries, and from problems. It’s a time when the most pressing concern on my mind is keeping my vehicle between the white lines while making sure I don’t miss out on any amazing roadside attractions. For this year’s July 4th holiday, I swapped car keys with my friend Josh Clymer  of TSX Travels and spent a hundred miles at the helm of his 2005 Acura TSX. Our route took us from the Boise, Idaho metropolitan area through forested, curvy highways escalating to 7,000 feet in elevation in the mountains northeast of town.

From our meeting/departure point near the Boise airport, Josh ensured that I made myself comfortable by helping me get the seat, mirrors, and steering wheel just where I wanted them. “The nav is already programmed,” he said, “You’re going to lead the way.” And with that, we were off to explore the open road by about 9:00 in the morning. Our first attraction was Lucky Peak State Park shortly after we got on Highway 21 and started heading north. The two-lane highway progressively got more technical and it required full attention most of the time, but I couldn’t help but steal a few glances at my own ILX in the rearview mirror periodically.


My two-way radios were nothing but a static-fest, but that’s okay because I was glad to shut mine off. The only sounds I wanted to hear were the harmonious growl of the TSX’s finely tuned 2.4 liter and the buffeting of mountain winds throughout the windows-down cabin. Every so often, the smell of fresh pine trees would be overtaken by the scent of campfire and it brought back memories of so many nights I spent in the great outdoors as a kid.


About 40 miles into our drive, we entered the town of Idaho City and pulled into the General Store. A young man was sweeping the front porch. I asked him to take a photo of us, and then inquired, “So what’s there to do in Idaho City today?” To my surprise, he laid out the entire weekend’s schedule for us, including the plans for a parade which was to begin at noon. He wondered where we were from. When I asked him if he knew where Phoenix was, he said, “I’ve heard of it.” Josh piped up immediately with, “It’s like a frying pan with sand.” I nodded in approval at that description.

Now armed with my GoPro video camera mounted up, we started our next leg: Idaho City to Lowman. Here’s where the road started dishing out some real surprises. Josh had told me to go ahead and ‘open up’ the TSX if I felt so inclined. My better judgment told me I probably didn’t want to ask too much of a car that had 408,800 miles on the odometer. But the car begged for a little torture, so I obliged. Sweeping banked curves of Highway 21 provided the optimal place to test out the suspension tuning. I remember coming into a 25 mile per hour (“recommended”) curve at probably double that. “Whoa, Nelly,” I thought. But aside from a howl from the TSX’s tires, the switchback was easily managed and Josh stayed right on my tail in the ILX, rowing through its 6-speed gearbox. I found the manual mode in the TSX seamless and handy, especially on the downgrades where I wanted to take it easy on the brakes.



I found it miraculous that on a holiday we had the road almost entirely to ourselves. By the time we arrived in Lowman, my stomach was ready for fuel and Josh had just the right place in mind: Sourdough Lodge. A place he discovered by chance when stopping during a traffic back-up, I dare say the Sourdough Lodge now ranks as one of my favorite restaurants to get an omelet. Midway through our breakfast conversation, Josh said, “Oh, wait a sec – I have to show you something,” and he headed for the door. He brought back a white envelope and threw it on the table. I opened it up and saw that it was the original purchase contract for his TSX, dated December 29, 2004 when the car had 5 miles on it. Josh knows that I go crazy for documentation, so this was a real find.



I got a kick out of the phone booth in front of Sourdough Lodge: A sign taped above it said, “Will eat your hard earned money. Courtesy phone inside.” Full and happy, Josh and I headed out to take a cutoff road that would get us to Highway 55. Along the way, we stopped and admired the sights and gushing sounds of the South Fork of the Payette River. It was time to swap cars again, and I thanked Josh for allowing me some seat-time in his TSX. The next 70 miles took me through more heavily wooded forests. Parade traffic in the town of Cascade cost me a 20-minute delay, but I didn’t mind one bit. How could I complain? I had my windows down and moonroof open, and it was July. Try doing that in Arizona without getting cooked.

It was a great evening in McCall, Idaho with my family at my brother’s cabin. As I drafted this blog entry from a lounge chair on the back deck whilst admiring a glass-smooth lake, I can think of very few places I’d rather be spending the holiday weekend. Ice cream and a phenomenal fireworks show over Payette Lake capped off an amazing Independence Day.


Here are the rest of the photos and a video from this piece of my weekend journey.

First, Josh taking the wheel of the ILX.


Odometer of the TSX.  I forgot to get one before we departed, but I have this in-motion shot from once we got going on I-84 at the beginning of the day.  Yep, that says 408,823 miles.


Idaho City, Idaho.


Highway 21 northbound in all its wooded glory.


Scenic turnout.


Pull-out near Lowman so we could re-group.


Most of the day, there was little to no cellular service.  Having a reliable car is critical.


Like an oasis in the desert, the Sourdough Lodge shone like a beacon along the road.  We were hungry.


I got a kick out of Josh’s mileage log.  Daily he records his business miles for the road-warrior TSX.


Sourdough Lodge omelet.  Two thumbs way up.


Following Josh back toward a cutoff that would take us to Highway 55.


Unmatched scenery as the road winds along the South Fork of the Payette River.


Water levels are high due to spring runoff.  The sound of water rapids is something I could listen to all day long.


Looking west along the river.


Goofy ol’ me.


Here’s where Josh and I parted ways.  I headed north to McCall; he headed south to Boise.


I took this for my friend Chris who shares a last name with the name of this (very small!) town.


Finally, I arrived in McCall.


This is how I spent much of the afternoon, sprawled out in a lounge chair at my brother’s cabin.


Later that night, ice cream with my niece Addy.


And fireworks over the lake.  Couldn’t have asked for a nicer evening!


Come back next time for the wrap-up of my Idaho driving adventure.

4th of July Weekend Part 1: Scottsdale, Arizona to Boise, Idaho

Posted in ILX, Road Trip on July 3, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  530,029


Odometer (ILX):  86,638


Leg Distance:  1,071 Miles


Brigham City, Utah.  I had a few minutes to kill while waiting for my friend Nick to meet me for some hometown food, so I sprawled out on my back on the grassy lawn in front of Peach City Drive-In and enjoyed the incredible summertime weather.  As I looked above me, the whispy clouds drifted across the sky and the sun peeked through the leaves with a glisten in the light breeze.  Coming from a place where A) It’s 110 degrees, and B) Hardly anyone landscapes with grass, this was quite a rich experience.  I was in my element.


That is, until I heard the sputter of a sprinkler head a few feet away from my face.  Within seconds, the oscillating nozzle made its way with gushing water right toward me.  I thought quickly enough to shield my iPhone from the water as I darted across the grass to safety, but my shirt and sunglasses got soaked.  Nick pulled up a minute or so later and I had to explain, “No, this isn’t sweat.  I just got attacked by the sprinklers and I think everyone inside the restaurant is laughing at me right now.”

It’s a 5-day holiday weekend for me and I’m making the most of it by exploring some new turf up north.  Tonight, I’m in stationed in the capitol of the Gem State of Idaho, in Boise.  Tomorrow, I’m meeting up with none other than Josh of for a scenic tour of the surrounding area en route to my brother’s cabin in the town of McCall.  It’s already been a memorable 1,071-mile trip so far.  Enjoy a few of the photos from this first piece of my journey.

The was just dipping below the horizon around quarter to eight last night as I neared Hoover Dam in Nevada.


I made some time to meet up with my friend Jessie and Devon in Boulder City for some Panda Express dinner.


In St. George, Utah, I dropped off a transmission at my brother’s place.  That unit is going into a Lexus IS300 that my brother is building.  Sure was fun to hoist that into / out of my trunk by myself (Payton wasn’t home at the time of drop-off).


Saturday morning meet-up with mom before heading northbound on I-15 from St. George


Mom knows me best.  She took a couple of “spy shots” while I was driving ahead of her on Bluff Street.


Bonus points to her for also getting the rear quarter panel of a 2nd generation Acura TL!




In Salt Lake City, I made a couple of friend visits but soon continued onward.


Brigham City (population 18,000) is the proud home of the World’s Greatest Wild Bird Refuge, according to a sign that spans its main street.  The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge covers some 74,000 acres and was established in 1928.


I couldn’t help but stop at “Chim-Chiminey” Fireplace and Stove Shop on Main Street.


The sign immediately made me think of this Mary Poppins Song.

Soon, I arrived at Peach City Drive-In at 300 North Main Street.


Peach City has been a landmark in Brigham City since 1937 but its current location dates back to 1957.


Here’s that darn sprinkler that blasted me.


Nick arrived in his gorgeous 2006 BMW 325xi and we prepared to dine.



Grilled cheese, waffle fries, and… fry sauce.  This might be a Utah thing, but “fry sauce” is the best.  It’s basically a combination of ketchup and mayonnaise.  And it’s incredibly delicious.


Heading out again on I-15 to I-84 westbound.


Storms loomed ahead and at one point the torrential rains forced me to put the windshield wipers into high gear.


It was during these thunderstorms that the temperature cooled to a refreshing 65 degrees outside.


By the way, I’m having a tough time adjusting to these daylight hours!  Back home, sunset was at 7:40 p.m.  Here in Boise, it was 9:25 p.m.!  Anyway, here I am, relaxing for the night with many more adventures yet to come.

Thanks for joining!