Archive for May, 2019

Nerdy Burger Destination: Group Drive to Globe, Arizona & More Home Improvements

Posted in Arizona, House, NSX, Road Trip on May 27, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (NSX):  115,761

Trip Distance:  180 Miles

Talk about a one-stop-shop:  At Nurdberger in Globe, Arizona, you can get your hands on burgers, coffee, sweets, and… nerds?

You read that right.  This uniquely-themed hamburger joint prides itself in being nerdy.  Its main lobby has arcade games, and the walls are covered in posters of comic book characters.  Most importantly, the menu is nicely put together and I went with a “Power Nurd” 1/4 pound burger (or, berger) along with a side of onion rings with a diameter the size of pancakes.

Globe is a small mining town about an hour and half east of Phoenix that has about 7,000 residents.  When my friend Kyle pitched the question about taking a weekend group drive, we had no problem rounding up 11 people in 8 different (and I do mean, very diverse) vehicles to spend the day on the road for a burger.  Comprising the list of participating vehicles were:

  • Acura NSX x 2
  • Acura TSX
  • Ford Mustang Saleen
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Pontiac G8 GXP
  • Porsche Cayman
  • Toyota FJ Cruiser

The initial 35 or 40 minutes were on largely flat, straight terrain, but after we crossed through Superior and made our way upward through the Queen Creek Tunnel on US-60, things got a lot more interesting.  It was here that I got to have some fun with the NSX.

At the same time, I enjoyed some of my recently downloaded road trip music from Tropical House Records (thanks, Conor!).  It was therapeutic.  This song was one of my faves.  Picture me blasting that at max volume while rowing gears through the Superstition Mountains.

And I must say, Donald’s FJ, despite being unlike some of the other contenders, held its own in the twisties.  Unfortunately, though, he said he burned through 7/8ths of a tank of gas on this trip.  It’s okay – the burger and the experience were worth it.

Greg brought out his rare 1989 fox-body Mustang “SSC” — one of only 160 vehicles built by Saleen that year, and with only 13,000 miles on it.  Speaking of rarity, Kyle’s immaculate 2009 G8 GXP 6-speed manual is a rarity in itself and put us all to shame with its impeccable tire shine.  James’ Elantra Sport rolled 3,000 miles along the way.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.

As someone who is 100% nerd, I can appreciate the allure of a place like Nurdberger and I was glad for an excuse to get some time on the open road and spend it with great people.  Below are some photos and videos of the day’s excursion.

Pre-departure at Kyle’s

Woody and Jack in the 2004 TSX

NSX passing NSX

Woody and James

Following the TSX through Superior

Check out that Saleen!

Shots from Nurdberger

Headed back home

Just call me Al Borland.  I’ve been busy upgrading my home with a few things in recent months, including a new garage floor and some driveway pavers.  The latest addition to the property is an awning in the backyard that gives me 2 additional covered spots.

Before:

During:

After:

Nice to have some shade back there now!

Also got a cool new banner from a friend!

Hope the holiday weekend is going well for everyone.

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Mike’s Integra, Memory Lane Pics, Steve’s Visit, & a Driveway Upgrade

Posted in Arizona, House, Model Cars, Road Trip, SLX on May 23, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (SLX):  178,689

We’ll call this post “automotive potpourri,” like the recent feature on my friend Tim’s blog.

Let’s kick things off with a for-sale listing, just because I’m all about helping a nice old car find a good home.  My friend Mike in Connecticut is selling his 1991 Integra RS Automatic with only 108,000 miles on it.

It needs some cosmetic work as there is rust on the right rear quarter panel and in a few other places.  But mechanically, the car is well sorted out.  In the past year, Mike has addressed the following:  Oil change, transmission service, springs, rear shocks (fronts were done a couple years ago), power steering pump & rack, timing belt/water pump, and the exhaust between the manifold and muffler. All of the above were done at an Acura dealership.  Mike’s not looking to get a ton of money for this so he’s open to offers.

The RS is a bare-bones model with manual-crank windows – probably my favorite thing about it.

There is also no moonroof.

Cloth seats are showing some wear.

Get in touch with Mike at mike.russo.66@gmail.com if this is something you’re interested in.  I wish I had room for it!

On Sunday afternoon, I met up with my friend Mirel who recently had some paint work completed on his 133,000-mile 1994 Legend LS coupe.

Mirel might be taking this one to NALM in Florida in October.

I also happened to be going through some old photos and came across a couple of gems.  This one shows me on my 18th birthday in my bedroom, which had been toilet-papered by friends.  A couple of things stood out to me:  The “Justification for Higher Education” poster, as well as the BMW 3-series convertible die-cast model car that I still have 19, years later.

This was from around 1999 in my 1989 Prelude Si, with my brother in the passenger seat.  It was taken in Logan Canyon in northern Utah, crossing a bridge.  I do miss that car a lot!

I finally got around to purchasing the 2015 CD album “Ludaversal” by Ludacris, which features his Cashmere Silver Metallic Legend on the album artwork.

It’s in my showcase now.

I received some “Precision” magazines which are Acura’s new publication that’s only distributed to dealers.  And me.  I have a special hookup!

I was going through odometer pics to prepare for my 567,890 which is coming up soon.

I had company from my friend Steve from Missouri who I’ve known for about 13 years now.  We initially met at NALM 2006 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  We took the SLX out to one of my favorite dinner spots called Hula’s Modern Tiki.

We also cruised around a bit in the NSX.

I took the Legend GS to work this week.

And drove the GS-R to a friend’s birthday party.

My friend Jason of Pawela’s Garage put together a window sticker replica for the SLX, complete with $35k pricetag.

Thanks Jason!

And finally, I had some work done at the house by having a contractor add some pavers to the front driveway to even it out, for ease of entry.  Check out the video and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Before & After:

Whew, I think that’s it for this week.  Have a nice holiday weekend, everyone!

Phoenix Automotive Press Association Event: Gladiators & RAMs

Posted in PAPA, Vehicle Reviews on May 19, 2019 by tysonhugie

It’s always a special treat when I get an invitation to road test the latest in automotive offerings because I spend such a good chunk of time driving vehicles that are “old school.”  Whether we want to accept it or not, the year 2020 is just around the corner and even though the year “sounds” so far in the future, it’s nearly upon us.

Technology has come a long way:  The electronic capabilities of a vehicle have gone far beyond the AM/FM cassette tape decks of yesteryear and evolved into navigation systems, self-driving aids, driver assistance / safety features, and much more.  Gadgets and gizmos are everywhere to be found, and some are easy to figure out while others require a bit more of a learning curve.  The owner’s manual of one of the RAM pickups that I drove on Thursday was 700 pages long.

Fiat-Chrysler representative Scott Brown and a few others from his team hosted some members of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) for a ride-and-drive event in Paradise Valley, Arizona to showcase some of the latest from the brand.  One featured vehicle was a new-for-2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup truck, answering the question “Why can’t I have a Jeep and a truck at the same time?”  I guess we can call it a Juck, or a Treep.  Either way, I loved it.

The Gladiator that I drove was powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine coupled with a 6-speed manual transmission.  You read me right, a real honest-to-goodness shifter and a clutch pedal – and that was my favorite thing about it.  The ability to be in complete control of the vehicle gave me a great deal of confidence when cruising around the drive loops in Paradise Valley, even if not being able to adequately experience any of its go-anywhere / off-road capabilities.  As the only open-air truck on the market, Gladiator puts its occupants out in nature where many of them want to be.  The windshield even folds flat just like the traditional Wrangler.

Also available for demo were a handful of pickup trucks, all the way up to a RAM 3500 Laramie Longhorn which offers luxury car amenities on a vehicle that boasts enough power to pull a house off its foundation and drag it around the block.  It’s no mystery that RAM’s formula is getting something “right” – in 2018, the company sold over 600,000 trucks and RAM is #1 in the heavy duty segment with 40% of overall market share.  Here again we see RAM leading the pack in tech:  auto-tailgates, trailer towing packages, auxiliary cameras, and even power convex mirrors are among some of the features that can be equipped on these trucks.

When Motor Trend named RAM 1500 the truck of the year for 2019, the voting was unanimous.  Scott pointed out that it was the first time the answer has been so cut & dry.  After sampling some of RAM’s offerings, I can definitely see the allure.

Thanks to Scott and the rest of the FCA team for the hospitality!

Our host venue

Gladiator interior

This Gladiator was headed to the “Overland Expo” in Flagstaff, equipped with all sorts of custom features

Sticker on on the ‘Overland’ Gladiator concept

Detail on stitching on one oft he RAM pickup door panels

Power Wagon, and it does have plenty of power.  Some of these trucks have torque figures of 1,000 lb-ft.

The underside of the center console has a mathematics reference grid, including the Pythagorean Theorem.  Gotta love all the “Easter Eggs” that manufacturers sometimes hide for us to find!

Thanks Scott!

Northern AZ Road Trip – Grand Falls, Snowbowl, & Bedrock City

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on May 12, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  214,556

Trip Distance:  475 Miles

Nerd Alert:  I have an Excel spreadsheet on my personal laptop entitled “Tyson’s Destinations.”  It has 198 locations on it, including the the state, a description, and the name of the person who recommended it.  As I visit the locations, I shade the lines in gray.  This past weekend, I shaded 3 more lines out, meaning I’ve now hit 52 which leaves a total of 146 left to see.

Completing the list could take me a while, considering the fact that I’m adding locations at almost the same rate that I’m crossing them off.  And some of them are not exactly around the corner.  For example, Key West, Florida has been nagging at me for some time.  Have a place you think I should check out?  Drop me a line; I’m always up for a new adventure.

On Saturday, I visited an Arizona waterfall larger than Niagara, named “Grand Falls” and known for its brown color.  But there’s a catch:  I missed the snow runoff season, and Grand Falls wasn’t so grand, after all.  It was down to just a trickle.  You see, Grand Falls only exists during a short window of time in the spring or after very heavy rains.  I took a gamble on the chance I might get to see something dramatic but was disappointed after about 10 miles of dirt road that it was pretty quiet out there.  At least the scenery was nice.

Here’s a picture my friend took of what Grand Falls “can” look like:

And here’s what I really saw.

The falls are 185 feet tall, whereas Niagara is 167 feet.  So you can bet I’ll be trekking back out to see the falls when the viewing is optimal.

Determined to not have the entire day be a “bust,” I proceeded to my next destination which was the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort.  It comes as a surprise to many, but Arizona actually does have a few ski resorts at higher elevations in the norther part of the state.  This one opened in 1938 and is a short drive up a fun, windy road from Flagstaff that reaches the lodge at 9,200 feet in elevation.  I encountered raindrops as I made my way up the mountainside and I watched the temperature dip from mid-50s to 41 in the matter of a few miles.

Amenities at the lodge were limited but I didn’t take a lot of time to explore.  There was still a fair amount of snow on the ground at that elevation, but it didn’t look like lifts were in operation at the time.  However, I checked the website and it said they were expected to be open at least one more weekend, through the 19th of May.  In fact, the site says that extended weekend makes this year’s season the longest in the resort’s 81-year history.  Too bad I didn’t have time to pick up a quick lift pass!

The last place on my checklist for the day was a step back in time to “Bedrock City,” home of Fred & Wilma Flintstone.  Over six years from 1960 through 1966, William Joseph and Hanna Barbera of Hanna-Barbera produced 166 episodes of the cartoon “The Flintstones.”  It became one of the most iconic TV shows in recent memory, and as a result it inspired lots of roadside Americana to go along with it.  In 1966, in Custer City, South Dakota, a Flintstones-themed 62-acre theme park was opened.  The same owner built a similar operation in Arizona in 1972, pictured here.

Both locations were sold and closed in 2019, but the buildings and some of the relics remain.

When I stopped by the Arizona version of Bedrock City on Saturday afternoon, I was greeted by a massive Fred and “Yabba-Dabba-Doo” sign.  A campground, gift shop, and restaurant were all painted in bright colors and architecturally designed to resemble the cartoon.  Luckily, despite being abandoned, it appears that vandals for the most part have left things alone in the 4 months it’s been closed.

A recent Arizona Central news article stated that the property will become “Raptor Ranch,” a showcase of birds of prey.  So perhaps there is another chapter to the location’s history as a tourist destination (or tourist trap, whichever way you see it).

I bid farewell to the dinosaur skeleton in the parking lot and headed home after a fulfilling day exploring the Arizona high country.  Thanks for coming along!

Here are a few more pics and a short video from my day on the road.

Headed out on backroads while finding my way toward Grand Falls

Puddles of Mud (isn’t that the name of a music group?) as a result of recent rains

Grand Falls, not so grand, but still a nice view

My 4×4

Better than rush hour traffic

Beginning the ascent to Snowbowl

A Yabba welcome at Bedrock City

Other updates for the last couple of weeks are below in random order.

My local Honda dealer congratulated me via email on being a member of the 100,000 mile club.  They’re only about 16 years and 460,000 miles late.

My friend Joseph picked up a sweet Acura Vigor

Which prompted me to take mine out for a spin

Jason clued me in to the fact that a street named “Acura Court” exists in LA.  I’ll be going.

I did a little junkyarding.  These Troopers didn’t have anything I needed.

A friend shared a quote from the reveal of the 1996 Legend (but named 3.5 RL in the states).

Integra outing to Tempe.

I got ahold of a rare OEM rubber cargo mat for the SLX.

Also found out that one local dealership still has Isuzu signage, despite the fact that Isuzu stopped selling passenger vehicles in the states 10 years ago.

I built a little bookshelf for my service manuals.

My friend Jack copied my pic from Baker at the World’s Tallest Thermometer.

I found some 1950s car ads.  Zoom and read some of these gems.

I sorted through my collection of “Style” magazine, which is now out of print.

I found out I still have a copy to the ignition key to my original 1989 Prelude Si.

And last weekend, i visited my friend Vlad’s garage, complete with RLX, Integra Type-R, and NSX.

Have a great rest of the weekend!