Archive for March, 2016

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, Phoenix Ignition Car Show, & Mom’s New Infiniti G35

Posted in California, ILX, Legend, NSX, Road Trip on March 28, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  542,910


Odometer (ILX):  158,951


Trip Distance:  558 Miles


I attended a 60th birthday gathering for my friend Chuck last Wednesday.  As I was just getting ready to head out for another commitment (my second of 3 appointments that evening), he made the comment, “One of these days I’m going to put Velcro on your chair so you’re forced to stick around longer than an hour.”  Ha – sounds about right!


It was a double-duty mileage weekend out here in the American Southwest.  My Legend coupe and my ILX both saw some highway use on a trip out to Southern California for sunshine and relaxation.  Since the early 1900s, the desert city of Palm Springs has blossomed and grown as a destination for its hot springs, architecture, and tourism in the surrounding landscape.  I’ve visited many times over the last few years and it’s an easy 4-hour drive door-to-door from my place in Scottsdale, Arizona.


Ever the king of multi-tasking, I had to stop twice at gas stations and respond to some work emails.  I was in my 1994 Legend LS since my friend, Justin, would be heading out later on in the evening in my 2013 ILX.  The drive into the sunset was enjoyable and I made really good time.  Even at over 540,000 miles, the Legend is still a great highway cruiser than revs at fewer than 2,500 RPM at 80 miles per hour.


One of the attractions I’d been wanting to see in Palm Springs for a very long time is the “Aerial Tramway,” a 2.5 mile, 10-minute ride that climbs in a cable car from 2,600 feet to 8,500 feet in elevation.  It opened in 1963 and climbs in elevation through a rugged canyon to the top of San Jacinto Peak.  Justin and I headed to the tramway station on Friday morning and the wait time was about an hour until the next available departure at 12:40 p.m.


The ascent wasn’t without some drama.  I have both a moderate fear of heights and a slight degree of motion sickness, so after lift-off when the interior of the 80-passenger car started spinning around, it took me a minute before I could even feel comfortable opening my eyes to look outside.  I remember being very grateful that there were a few windows open to let a breeze through so I could get some fresh mountain air.


For the $25/adult price of admission I felt like I got my money’s worth!  The view from the Mountain Station at the top was spectacular (and weather quite a bit cooler than where we’d started).  There are quite a few amenities including a restaurant and snack bar.  We indulged in a $5 tray of nachos and some potato wedges before getting ready to hop on the next available car and make our descent.


I got back from Palm Springs just in time for a car swap at home, then headed to the 2nd annual “Ignition” car show at the Arizona Fairgrounds in central Phoenix.  There were probably 50 vehicles in attendance, spanning a wide range of types.  The centerpiece was a 1960 Bentley, but at the other end of the spectrum was a $600 Chrysler LeBaron convertible (think “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles” movie car).  I represented with the only Acura, displaying my 1992 NSX.  Midway through the day, I was asked to say a few words about the car over the loudspeaker and the master of ceremonies commented on the signature on my glove compartment, which belongs to RealTime Racing driver Peter Cunningham.



Another highlight of the weekend was taking delivery of a new car for my mom.  At the same birthday party referenced in my opening paragraph, I happened to be seated next to someone named John who I was meeting for the first time.  John and I got engaged in “car talk” and I came to find out that he had just listed for sale his 2004 Infiniti G35 online.  What blew me away was the odometer reading:  20,192 miles.  On a 12-year-old car!


So my interest was piqued and I relayed the information to my mother who happened to be looking for a (larger, car-seat-friendly) replacement for her 2010 Volkswagen Eos convertible.  Over the next 24 hours, she struck a deal with John and on Sunday, I showed up to take delivery of the vehicle on her behalf.


It was every bit as immaculate as described.  It’s painted a brilliant Garnet Fire Metallic with Willow leather interior.  Power comes from a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 260 horsepower and the transmission is a 5-speed automatic.  Beyond the standard equipment, the car has the following:

  • Premium Package (Bose Audio, Glass Sunroof, Dual Zone Temp, and more):  $3,200
  • Aero Package (Rear Spoiler, Diffusers):  $550
  • Sport-Tuned Suspension Package (17″ Alloy Wheels, Sport-Tuned Springs):  $425
  • Body-Color Splash Guards:  $120
  • Price as Equipped:  $35,045

When John drove the car off the lot with 36 miles on the odometer on March 20, 2004, it right away became his special occasion car.  Neighbors would say, “You must have a date,” each time it would leave the garage.  (His daily driver was a white Chevy S-10 pickup).



Over the last 12 years, he paid close attention to detail and maintenance, changing the oil and fluids himself.  He has kept detailed notes on everything done to the car, and during our transaction he walked me through all the paperwork.  Most used cars don’t even come with an original window sticker.  This one not only came with that, but also with full books & records, a 4-page handwritten maintenance log, even a printed page from from when John “built” his car online before taking delivery.

The car has found a good home and now resides in my garage for 2 weeks until mom flies down to get it.

Here are the rest of the pics from this action-packed last few days!

The Legend coupe in Desert Center, California


Morning view in Palm Springs


My friend Scott taking a spin in the ILX


Road ascending “Tram Way” to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway


Staging area for the tramway with a man-made waterfall


View toward San Jacinto Peak


With Justin at the summit


Headed back down toward civilization


Hanging with other friends that afternoon, Chris & Vince


Out and about on the town later in the evening


Scott’s 1965 Mustang interior


Photos from the Ignition Car Show:  Tyson and a Titan


Grassy lawn on the west side of the Coliseum


Old Pontiac Bonneville with only 14,000 original miles


And a few more photos from the day I got the G35 for mom


From the driver’s seat


Back at the house with the ILX


Interior still smells new


Tucked away with the NSX until mom’s arrival


Window sticker at $35,045


Other records and paperwork




Salton Sea, California Road Trip Part 2: Slab City, East Jesus, & Niland Mud Pots

Posted in Blog, California, ILX, Road Trip on March 21, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  542,248


Odometer (ILX):  158,038


Trip Distance:  266 Miles


“Uhh, guys.  We have a problem,” said Jason with a look of despair as we were just getting ready to hop in the cars and continue our Southern California tour last Saturday.  I couldn’t think of what could possibly be the problem.  My eyes immediately went to the tires of his car thinking he might have a flat.  “I locked my keys in the trunk,” he told us.  My mind started rushing with the complexity of the situation.  Here we were, 4 miles down a dirt road in a teeny town with only 1,000 people, standing in a field next to some geothermal mud pots.


If it had been 30 years ago, we might have had to go into town and summon help the old fashioned way.  But the solution was pretty clear and pretty flawless:  James hit the OnStar button on the overhead console of his 2016 Chevy Malibu and summoned help.  The representative was able to patch us through to an available locksmith about 30 miles away in Brawley.  Meanwhile, we had about an hour to kill, so I sat in the backseat of the Malibu and took advantage of its WiFi hotspot and air conditioning vents since it was 90 degrees outside.  Technology has really made even an emergency situation feel pretty dang convenient.  Help came to the rescue:


We pick up today’s story after our visit to Salvation Mountain near Niland and take it even deeper into the “weird category.”  Imagine a place where you can take a vehicle, tent, trailer, or even corrugated tin and pop up a dwelling and just stay there as long as you want.  It’s the “last free place in America,” say some.


Slab City, USA.  If you want to live in the middle of the desert, the land is yours for the taking.  Jason, James, and I headed eastward on a dirt road from Salvation Mountain and entered a wide expanse of land that was littered – literally – with peoples’ belongings and makeshift residences.  A man playing guitar atop an entrance sign looked like he might have been a permanent resident.


I’d seen a hand-painted sign promoting a library of some sort, so I decided to head that direction and see what we could find.  The washboard road was dusty and I lost sight of James in my rearview mirror as I left his white Malibu in a cloud.  But soon I saw a big painted arrow which pointed me in the direction of the library’s parking lot.  “24 hour Library,” it said.


Here we met some locals.  While browsing the books in this open-air shack, I saw a couch and a couple of chairs set up around a chess set.  An old man in a cowboy hat came up and greeted us, cigarette in hand.  “John,” his name we later learned, proceeded to give us a warm welcome to Slab City and provide the run-down on everything we possibly wanted to know.  “You guys skateboard?” he asked.  “You guys want to float the canal?”  His stories were endless.  The library, as it turns out was operated by a one-legged woman and her boyfriend named Caveman, who weren’t there that day.  (“But don’t ask about her leg,” he said.  “She lost it train-track hopping and that’s about all she wants to say.”)


For being set up in a shack, this library was remarkably well organized by topic or theme.  A “Google Tree” contained the encyclopedia / reference section.  John, and another guy who surfaced who was also named John, extended an invitation to the upcoming Prom Night in Slab City where they’ll have live music and other entertainment along with a “formal” (tongue in cheek) dance.  There was a table spray painted “Free” with all sorts of garbage up for grabs.  I asked John & John if it ever rained in Slab City (wondering how all the books are so well-preserved).  They said it only happens a couple of times a year.  They both heartily recommended we take the time to visit a place called East Jesus, down the road, so we headed that direction after getting our fill of the library.


“EJ” the sign led us, so I stirred up another clout of dust in my ILX and my fellow road-trippers and I entered the next quirky phase of our day’s journey.  There was a literal fork in the road.  I hit the brakes so quickly out of excitement that I activated the ABS system and skidded to a stop on the dirt road.


In East Jesus, it’s art for days.  People have taken garbage and made things out of it.  An old Honda Civic sedan at the entrance was covered in circuit boards and bullet shells.  There was a wall of television sets with messages painted on them.


This was perhaps the most oddball collection of “stuff” I think I’ve ever seen.  I’ll let the pictures and video tell the story here.


Jason, James, and I had lunch back in Niland at the Buckshot Deli & Diner.  The hamburger meat is homemade and delicious, and I chugged two huge glasses of their lemonade. A sign on the wall read:  Food choices:  1)  Take it.  2)  Leave it.


The last place on my “to-see” list was something I’d read about online called the mud pots.  Just 6 miles from where we had lunch, but about 4 of those miles were on a dirt road.  That had never stopped us before, so we decided to check them out.  Mud bubbles up from the ground and sometimes shoots into the air.  Over time, it has formed little mounds of dirt. It reminded me a lot of the geothermal activity at Yellowstone National Park.



I got a little too close to a fresh mud stream and ended up ankle-deep in it.  My shoe was so heavy afterward.  The other guys had a good laugh about it.  The good news was that I had a pair of flip-flops in my trunk ready for just such an emergency.


Mud pot video:

It was around this time when we were just getting ready to part ways and Jason had his keys-in-the-trunk incident.  A nice man in a pickup truck gave us bottled waters while we waited.  I was surprised it took the roadside assistance guy no more than 5 minutes to get access to Jason’s car and get us back on our way after he’d arrived.  James and I headed east on Highway 78 while Jason made his way to Interstate 8 and we split up the threesome.  Our route took us through the Imperial Sand Dunes – also called Algodones Dunes – which span 45 miles in length by 6 miles in width.


There were lots of people out in off-road vehicles enjoying them.  The highway itself was a bit of a roller-coaster with lots of dips posted 55 miles per hour but a lot of fun when taken at about 10 mph over that.


We dined in Blythe, California – reunited with Interstate 10 and our favorite diner, the Courtesy Coffee Shop.  The grilled cheese was just what I needed to fuel me sufficiently for the final 2 hours of the drive back into Arizona and home to Scottsdale.

Here are the rest of my pics from our adventurous day!

Inside the library at Slab City


Lounge area inside the libary


“Google Tree”


Bathroom break in the middle of nowhere along the dirt road


Not even sure what this thing is


More from East Jesus


Nice dashboard on this 1980s Toyota Tercel.  Clutch felt good!


This is called the “Car-B-Que” at East Jesus.  They light bonfires inside an old Mercedes sedan.


Menu at Buckshot Restaurant in Niland, Calif


Looking down into a mud pot


Sand dunes along Highway 78 between Brawley and Blythe, California


Oh, and HAPPY 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!  It was 5 years ago today (March 21, 2011) that I made my first post on Drive to Five.  Since then, the blog has been viewed 418,313 times.  My biggest day ever, with 1,800 views, was the day after I posted about getting my new 2013 ILX back in June 2012.

Thanks for being a part of the adventure, and here’s to many more good times.


Salton Sea, California Road Trip Part 1: Bombay Beach & Salvation Mountain

Posted in California, Ghost Town, ILX, Road Trip on March 20, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  542,210


Odometer (ILX):  157,959


Trip Distance:  315 Miles


I have a not-so-secret fascination with abandoned places.  There’s something that pulls me in and makes me wonder, “Why’d everyone leave?”  For that reason, the Salton Sea in Southern California made its way onto my must-see list a long time ago, and I just this weekend got around to finally checking it out.  My friends Jason and James joined for the party.


Once a popular destination for tourists (“The Miracle in the Desert”), this is one lake that’s definitely not on anyone’s recreation radar anymore.  It’s more salty than the Pacific Ocean, and getting 1% saltier in each passing year because it has no outlet.  It’s still California’s largest lake and, a surprise to many, was actually created by accident.


For millions of years the Colorado River flowed through the Imperial Valley where the Salton Sea is located.  It’s at a low point in the region and positioned right over the San Andreas Fault.  Before 1905, the lake bed was mostly dry, but an engineering “accident” diverted gallon after gallon of irrigation water there for two full years before repairs were completed and the inflow stopped.  In that time, the lake bed filled up and even overtook some small towns.  The small influx of water that now makes its way into the sea is enough to keep its level current, though it’s anticipated the level will progressively get lower between now and 2021.


Today the Salton area has a certain allure to it for those of us who love off-beat destinations.  Where else can you find a banana museum, remains of a mobile home park, mud pots, and a giant painted mountain all in a day’s drive?  My road trip partners and I were determined to see what kind of stuff we could uncover.  After a hearty breakfast at Denny’s on Saturday morning, we departed from our motel in Indio and headed along Highway 111 which hugs the eastern shores of the lake.  We were in three vehicles:  my 2013 Acura ILX, James’ 2016 Chevy Malibu (press / loaner car), and Jason’s 2004 Mazda 6.


Sadly, the International Banana Museum – which really appeared to be no more than a convenience store with a little building attached – was shut down when we pulled up.  From the looks of the bars over the windows, it felt more like a prison of some sorts.  A typewritten note was taped to the front window stating that the hours were 12:00 p.m. to dusk, so I guess we missed that opportunity since it was only about 9:00 a.m.  At least it saved us the $1 admission fee.


We next visited the North Shore Beach & Yacht club, which sounds all sorts of classy, but it’s really not.  Maybe at one time it was.  Today it’s been restored – it’s a nice looking mid-century modern building designed by Albert Frey and originally built in 1959.  It was abandoned by 1984 and left to vandals and pillagers until a 2009 grant allocated some money toward the rebuild.  We peeked our heads in only long enough to see that were was a gymnasium and some sort of community center.


Random geography lesson:  Calexico is a town on the border with Mexico.  Its Mexican counterpart across the international line is Mexicali.  I like how they’ve mixed “California” and “Mexico” in the naming of those cities.  Another 25 or so miles down Highway 111, I hit the right blinker and led our threesome of cars onto “Avenue A” in Bombay Beach, California.  In the 1950s and 1960s, Bombay Beach was a popular resort destination, even called a paradise.


But that all changed within the first couple of decades as the ecosystem changed and the quality of the water deteriorated.  People departed en masse by the 1990s as dead fish washed up on the beaches.  While pretty from afar, the beaches are no place for sunbathing.  The water is dirty and it smells about like you’d expect it to.  The few residents who remain live in trailers and must keep to themselves, since we didn’t see a single soul out and about in any yard.  Our drive took us down to 5th Street where we proceeded to make a loop – or square, rather – around the entire town.


Our attention was quickly drawn to the ruins we were passing.  There were abandoned homes lining the street with elaborate graffiti paintings all over them.  I backed the ILX into one driveway of a home that looked almost move-in ready.  NOT.


We drove up over a dike and to the beach which had a wooden boat on a stand.  The water’s edge was littered with dead fish and the flies were abundant. Allow me to introduce my new boat:  “Miss Take.”




I decided we should stop for a soda at the Bombay Market and that was a cultural experience in itself.  Talk about a one-stop shop.  I found the 7-Up I wanted, but what surprised me was the variety of other stuff available.  “Step right in to the gift shop area,” said a sign.  But there was no separate area.  It was just a single shelf.  There were T-shirts for sale with the logo “Living In Paradise.”  Surely out of sarcasm, right?  Maybe not!  A woman in a straw hat behind us in the check out line had nothing but raves to say about the town.  “I just came from Indian Wells and it’s the most stuck-up place I’ve ever been,” she said.  “Bombay is at the complete other end of the scale.”


We made one more pass through the center of town, make sure to note that the bar there, “Ski Inn,” is the lowest bar in the western hemisphere.  That must be due to the fact that Bombay Beach is America’s lowest elevation community, at 223 feet below sea level.  (Reminded me of when I visited the lowest point in North America, Badwater Basin in Death Valley).  I was ready to move on so we hit Highway 111 to our next wacky destination near Niland, California:  “Salvation Mountain.”


So here’s the scoop on Salvation Mountain:  A guy named Leonard Knight spent his lifetime dumping buckets of paint onto a hillside in the barren desert, creating both a living space for himself as well as a religious statement for all who pass by.  The site is absolutely vibrant with colors and covered in Bible verses and Christian sayings.  “God Is Love” is a recurring theme.


A yellow-brick (but not really brick) path leads up a stairway to the cross perched atop the tallest portion of the site.  We took a walk through the area and noticed that people had been leaving keepsakes of all sorts in different rooms – driver licenses, student ID cards, photographs. The construction method for Leonard’s creation was similar to the way the Navajo Indians built their hogans – hay bales and straw were the main building materials.  The place reminded me a little of Phoenix’s Mystery Castle.


Knight spent the last years of his life in a long-term care facility for dementia, and he died in 2014, but the site lives on thanks to volunteers who staff it daily.  Oh, and they are taking donations of latex paint if anyone has a gallon or two to spare.

Thanks for joining for this first part of the trip.  Come back for the second half next time!

More pics here.  First, a pit stop in Quartzsite at the Tyson RV & Mobile Home Park, with my road trip snack essentials.


Dinner on Friday night at Mario’s Italian Cafe in Indio with James & Jason


Jason checking his oil in the 187,000 mile 2004 Mazda 6 on Saturday morning pre-departure.


Int’l Banana Museum sign


Your $1 entry fee is refundable if you make a “purchace.”


NSBYC:  North Shore Beach & Yacht Club.  A lot more exotic sounding than it really is.


Looking southbound on desolate Highway 111 along the eastern shores of the lake.


Graffiti in Bombay Beach:  “Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter.”


Needs a little TLC, but a great fixer-upper.


I hope this graffiti isn’t some sort of gang sign that could get me in trouble (Leif, if you’re reading this, I’m thinking of you!)


The ILX looking over Salton Sea.


Garbage and dead fish all over the place.


Jason and James


Perfect for a swim, no?


T-shirts in the market


Entrance sign to Salvation Mountain


Painted truck at Salvation Mountain


More very soon!

March 13th NSX Meet at Eric’s House in Phoenix

Posted in Car Show, NSX on March 15, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  542,210


Odometer (ILX):  157,162



What defines a Legend?  Discuss amongst yourselves.

I’m lucky to be part of an active local chapter of NSX owners and enthusiasts.  On Sunday afternoon, member Eric hosted several of us for a backyard BBQ at his home in central Phoenix.  When I arrived, his neighbor was outside on the sidewalk already taking pictures of the lineup.  Eric grilled up burgers, chicken, and hot dogs for his guests.  We also explored his awesome house and garage.  While only having 2 bedrooms, the historic 1950s home accommodates 5 or 6 cars, plus has a huge backyard with an RV gate.  Eric definitely has his priorities in order!

Keeping Eric’s “Formula Red” 1991 NSX company in the garage is an Olds Cutlass convertible, a Kharmann Ghia, several motorcycles and a vast collection of memorabilia.  The ceiling was lined with license plates.  And the centerpiece was a vintage two-seater car-racing game called Battle Gear (circa 1998) which featured a red NSX and a white Integra.  I raced Mike (beat him) and Westin (lost to him) and had a blast doing it.  Enjoy a few photos from our little get-together.


Welcoming us to the home.


Eric’s Great Dane kept an eye on everyone.


A living room with motorcycles in it?  Excellent.


Eric, Nevin, Tyson, Alan, Jhae in front of the house, with Westin in the road


Nevin’s NSX-T flanked by the reds


Westin’s 1995 Berlina Black with chrome wheels


Westin’s interior


Alan’s car (white) is actually black.  The white you see there is a wrap.


In some other recent events:  Last Friday, I had to shuffle the cars around the house so I thought it would be interesting to film the start-up of each.  Only the 1993 L started up on the first crank.

Believe it or not, there’s a group of about 600 people on Facebook called “Camrys with Dented Bumpers.”  I captured this one on my way out of the neighborhood the other day.


Also, I finally had the chance to (temporarily) install my Barrett-Jackson plate on my Legend GS.  Top car is my friend Chris Miller’s in Baltimore, bottom car is mine.  Both are 1994 6-speeds.


Speaking of plates, a couple of months ago I was looking on the Arizona DMV site and discovered that this plate was available:


Well, today I discovered that my friend Chris from Tucson ended up grabbing it!


Hope everyone is having a great week!

NALM 2016 Announcement: Atlanta, Georgia – September 14-18

Posted in NALM on March 8, 2016 by tysonhugie

Twelfth time’s a charm!  This morning, it was announced that this year’s National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) will be based in Atlanta, Georgia and held from September 14th through 18th.


The ground team there (Alan, Kevin, Alex, Chris, and Evan) have drafted a 4-page bid that outlines specifically what they have in mind for the occasion.  For me, it’ll be about an 1,800 mile drive each way from Scottsdale, Arizona, and I’m looking forward to it.  Link to official announcement on forums.


In any car club, people cycle in and out as their interest grows or fades.  Sometimes a car is lost in an accident and the owner moves on to another make or model.  And then some of us are are forever stuck in the 1990s.  The collector community is starting to appreciate our hobby.  Since the generation 2 Legend debuted in 1991, that means it’s now “officially” a classic at 25 years old.  And the first model year Legends are now turning 30!  Time flies.  Should I throw an Arizona historic plate on one of my cars yet?


For those who haven’t been with the club from the beginning, I threw together a quick WordPress site capturing a few highlights from each of the event’s 11 years.  Here’s a link to the page.  I’ve been to all 11, and my Legend has been to 10 of them.  The only one it missed was in 2012 (Milwaukee) when I drove my brand new (at the time) ILX.

I also thought it would be fitting to celebrate today’s anniversary.  It was 10 years ago today – on March 8, 2006 – when I created my YouTube channel.  I was 24 and in the middle of my graduate school program in Glendale, Arizona.


Over those ten years, I’ve posted over 100 videos and picked up 522 subscribers.  The videos have been viewed 965,556 times.  So, coming up on a million!  This is small potatoes in comparison to the likes of Redline Reviews (189,000 subscribers and counting), but hey, I’m pretty happy with it.

I have a special road trip in store for a week from this Friday.  A couple friends and I will be traveling to southern California to check out a place called the Salton Sea.  Looking forward to having you along for the ride.  More soon!

“Unstoppable” Video Collaboration with Six Speed Blog

Posted in Legend on March 6, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  542,205


Odometer (ILX):  156,485


How’s everyone’s weekend going?

The first time I heard Sia’s song “Unstoppable,” I fell in love with it.  My friend James of Six Speed Blog has recently delved (that’s a word, right?) into the world of YouTube and has some impressive skills, so I bounced the idea off him about potentially doing a Legend video.

What you see here is the 3-minute result of that conversation, whittled down from over 4 hours of footage taken yesterday with the help of our friends Brock, Andy, and a 2016 Kia Sedona minivan (our camera car).  Hope you enjoy!

A few photos from the day here:







The Legend GS (right) is wearing its new license plate.  Stylin’.


And finally, for you other hyper-milers out there, read about this guy who has 750,000 miles on a 2011 Ford!

Until next time 🙂

Dad’s Visit, NSX Configurator Website, & Other Updates

Posted in Arizona, Hikes, ILX, Legend, Road Trip, Vigor on March 3, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  542,181


Odometer (ILX):  156,073


My mailbox was overflowing with Acura maintenance coupon postcards yesterday afternoon.  Every time they have some sort of promotion I seem to get multiple notices – but hey, I’m not complaining.  Especially when the main featured car is Ludacris‘ 1993 Legend sedan.


Clever stuff, people!


And I might be taking them up on this $28.95 oil change at Acura of Tempe the next time I get over there.


The one thing that does put the enthusiasts in a tizzy is the fact that the tagline for the promotion is “Keep the Acura you Love Maintained for Life.”  And just exactly how are we supposed to do that when so many critical parts have been discontinued?  Thus, us true ” Legend lifers” are left to dumpster dive and go junkyarding every so often to find the parts we’re looking for.

CHECK OUT THESE NEW PLATES!  This’ll go on my Legend sedan to replace the existing set.  I couldn’t believe the plate combo was available when I went to search for it a couple of months ago.  Don’t mind if I do!


Perfect use for this emoji.


It would be selfish of me to keep all 300 days of Phoenix sunshine per year completely to myself, so once a year my dad & stepmom travel down from Utah to partake.  I was happy to share some rays.  Having lived in Arizona now for 10 years, I definitely have my favorite hot-spots that we try to visit each time I have friends or family in town, but every once in awhile I throw a new destination in the mix to spice things up a bit.



Over the weekend, I introduced them to Sedona on a short overnighter (2.5 hour drive each way in the ILX) to explore the red rocks landscape of that area.  Aside from hiking Devil’s Bridge which I’ve blogged about a few times in the past, we also made a visit to the Chapel of the Holy Cross – a church built in 1956 directly into a rock formation.


A definite highlight of their visit was our dining experience on Saturday night.  I’d made reservations at Compass Arizona Grill, a revolving restaurant on the 24th floor of the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Phoenix.


My dad’s not big on heights (and for that matter, neither am I) so the ride up to the top in an exterior-facing elevator was just the start of a pretty exciting evening.  The restaurant has fixed exterior windows in a circular form with a floor inside them that spins around, making one complete revolution every hour.  I was slightly concerned about the implications of being prone to motion sickness and having to sit through a dinner while in motion, but it didn’t end up bothering me at all.  Best of all, our 6:30 start time meant we hit the sunset lighting perfectly.



Our high-class ride of choice that evening was my green 1994 Vigor, shined up for the occasion.  We also put a few miles on the ILX (Sedona trip) and the Legend coupe (airport run) over the course of dad & Tanya’s 4-day visit.  Many thanks to them for taking the time to come see me.  I’m extending an open invitation to anyone who reads this – if you’re a fan of road tripping and want to explore the southwest with me and my friends, come on down to visit!

Here are the rest of the photos from the weekend adventures.

Opening night dinner at Oregano’s – our favorite place for a Pizza Cookie.


Meeting up with Chandler and Jack for “Canal Convergence” festival at the Scottsdale Waterfront.


While rummaging through a few old photos, I dug up one taken in 2001 – when I was 20 years old – of me in my Mormon missionary garb standing next to my then-dream car, an Acura Vigor.  I figured it would be fitting to take a picture of that picture, in front of my Vigor!


Putting dad to work on home improvements, including replacement of some trim in the garage.


Quick stop in New River at the abandoned gas station called Jack Ass Acres


Just about to enter Sedona, Arizona on Highway 179 – the Red Rock Scenic Byway


Checked in at the Sky Ranch Lodge in Sedona, near the airport


Doing some shopping in the Uptown district


The only McDonald’s in the world with turquoise arches


Midway through our Devil’s Bridge hike


Tanya and me on the bridge.  Dad was a little nervous for us here.


With Tanya at the chapel


View from inside the chapel


ILX in Sedona


Dinner group at the restaurant


Great way to start a Sunday morning:  Brunch at Cafe ZuZu inside the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale


Tyson, Linh, Tanya, Craig


Airport run in the Legend later in the afternoon


A few other bits of news to share with you:

Just days after I posted my recent “Magic Fives” blog entry highlighting my 155,555 milestone on the ILX, my mom upstaged me.  Her 2010 Volkswagen EOS turned over 55,555 miles at 51 degrees at 55 miles per hour at 8:55 in the morning.  Congrats, and nicely done!


Who has $1/4 million I can borrow?  Now’s your chance to get online and configure your dream 2017 Acura NSX.  Mine would be Nouvelle Blue Pearl and loaded to the max with just about every available accessory.  Orders are now being taken!  I’m told there are over 1 million possible combinations of specific configurations of Acura NSX.  There’s a good chance yours will be one-of-a-kind.


And lastly:  Check out this beautiful Legend coupe on Ebay being sold by a friend of mine!  Just 35,000 miles on a 1993 6-speed.


Have a great rest of the week!