Archive for the Arizona Category

Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Bridge in Yuma; San Diego & LA Quick Trip

Posted in Arizona, California, ILX, Road Trip on November 23, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  220,586

Trip Distance:  866 Miles

Sometimes it’s when you least expect it that interesting roadside attractions pop up and call your name.  I was about halfway from Phoenix to San Diego on Wednesday afternoon when I spotted a neat looking bridge off to the right side of Interstate 8 in Yuma, crossing the Colorado River.  I’d been making good time on my 6-hour trip and had a few minutes of daylight left, so I figured I’d take the next exit and give it another look.  As it turns out, the detour was totally worth the effort because I got to learn about a 104-year-old historic landmark.

This was also the second time I’ve found a noteworthy bridge in Yuma.  The other one was the abandoned Bridge to Nowhere that I blogged about five years ago.  Who would have thought that you could find such cool water crossings in a city that’s smack dab in the middle of the middle of the desert?

This bridge ended up being the “Ocean to Ocean” bridge, constructed in 1915, which crosses the Colorado River at the Arizona-California state line.  It’s a narrow roadway that over time became both structurally at risk and also functionally obsolete, since it was bypassed in 1956 by a newer roadway nearby on 4th Avenue, and then again by Interstate 8 in the 1970s.  Today it serves as a one-laner and carries a road called Penitentiary, named after the historic Territorial Prison State Park nearby.  A railroad trestle bridge runs parallel to it.

From 1988 through 2001, the Ocean to Ocean Bridge was closed to automobile traffic because of structural deficiencies, but a $3 million restoration project allowed it to be made safe once again for automobiles.  And even though my visit was short, it was fun to get to experience it.

The rest of my CA trip was action-packed with a night in San Diego and then a night in Hollywood.  The LA Auto Show’s press/media days concluded Thursday and I made it to the area in time to participate in an after-party at a place called Doheny Room on Santa Monica Boulevard.  The gathering was an annual reunion of about 40 auto-journalist friends of mine.  It was great to see old friends and make a few new ones.

That’s a picture of me with Sofyan Bey of Redline Reviews and Aaron Bragman of Cars.com.

I stayed at the InterContinental Hotel that evening in downtown Los Angeles which, at 73 stories, is the tallest building west of the Mississippi and has 889 guest rooms.  My friend Brian and I were on the 58th floor and the view was stunning.  My ears popped a few times from the pressure change when going up and down the elevator.  Cleverly, the lobby is actually not even on the floor/ground level.  It’s on floor 70.  So as a guest, you have to first go all the way upstairs to appreciate the view before you can proceed to your hotel room.  I thought it was pretty cool.

In typical LA fashion, traffic on Friday was hectic and it took me 45 minutes to Uber the 8 miles to retrieve my ILX in West Hollywood.  Parking the car at InterContinental would have been valet-only, and it would have cost me $46.  So I opted to ditch it in a residential area for the night.  Once I finally got behind the wheel again, it was a pretty straight shot to find Interstate 10 and take that all the way home to Phoenix.  My only pit stop was for a brief lunch stint in Palm Springs at a terrific taco place on Palm Canyon Drive.

Thanks for coming along for the ride!

Oh, and here are the fuel stats for the trip.  The ILX rolled 220,000 miles and achieved about 31 mpg overall.

San Diego night stay with my friend Ryan who has a 6-speed Accord 2.0

Working my way home on Friday afternoon

Quick Visit: 2019 Ferrari Club of America (FCA) Meet in Scottsdale, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, Car Show, NSX, PAPA on November 7, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (NSX):  116,205

You want to know how high-class the Ferrari Club of America is?  They have jewelry for sale at their meets.  I kid you not!  I showed up on Wednesday evening to the Scottsdale Doubletree hotel, home base for this year’s massive 300-car club gathering, and took a stroll through the reception hall.  The whole place felt like it was on another level: wine bar, hors d’oeuvres (I always love spelling that), and yes – the finest of necklaces & rings for your perusal.

I was tempted to take the NSX to the meet-up, but I didn’t.  This was a party for the Italians only.  Peter Volny, fellow Phoenix Automotive Press Association member, was one of the key leaders orchestrating this stampede of sportscars.  His team developed a comprehensive website outlining the day-to-day details, which consisted of all the customary ingredients for a quality meeting of ‘car people’:  Plenty of food, driving opportunities, a show (‘concours’ is the proper term in this caliber of club), and performance driving opportunities at the track.  For the track portion, the Ferrari club went to Apex Motor Club which you’ll remember from a recent blog post.

I took a stroll around the property including the “Ferrari Parking Only” section toward the rear.  The cars ranged in age, configuration, and color in a wide variety.  I’m certain many of them held a market value at or beyond the price of my home.  Several of them were covered up – presumably to keep them from being slobbered on by people like me.  Perhaps my favorite feature of any car there was the “BUELER” plate on this ride.  You’ll recall that the famous movie car from the classic 1986 film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” was a 1961 Ferrari 250GT California.

I liked this one particularly, and not necessarily because of its color or condition, but because it had bugs on the front end.  I get the feeling a lot of attendees – especially those from more than a couple hundred miles away – had their vehicles transported to the event in bubble-wrapped, fully-enclosed, climate-controlled shipping containers.  This owner put his Ferrari to use as it was meant to be.

This morning, I visited the Scottsdale Sports Complex where the concours was being held.  Judges wore matching yellow shirts and readily identifiable badges on their lanyards.  It was clear they took their jobs very seriously.  Notice they even opened up the gas door here for closer inspection.  Funny enough, we do that during the judging portion at Legend meets, but usually only when a tie-breaker is needed between two exceptionally clean cars.

This year’s FCA meet is reportedly the second-largest in the club’s history:  It’s surpassed in size only by the 2015 event which was held in conjunction with Monterey Car Week.  I am sure I’ll be seeing a few more ‘raris than usual on my day-to-day travels through the end of the event this coming Sunday morning.  Maybe I’ll even sneak my way into the lineup with my Japanese imposter.

The Doubletree is swarmed in high class cars

No shortage of color out here

I think this might have been my favorite shade

So 1980s I love it.

I drove a car similar to these owned by my friend Greg recently.

And the obligatory NSX picture for this post.  Notice, I found a convertible Crown Victoria at the gas station.

Company from CA, SLX + NSX Pics, Legend Matching Odometers, & Other Car Updates

Posted in Arizona, Integra, Legend, NALM, RL, SLX, TLX, Vigor on October 28, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  219,230

How was everyone’s weekend?  It’s been busy around here as I’ve been getting back to my routine.  Just two days after returning from the mega Florida trip, I had company in town from San Diego and San Francisco for a few days.  My guest book is spilling over onto page 41 since I bought my house in September of 2016.  Let me know when you want to book your reservation (rental cars are available).

I’ll let the photos tell the story below because there’s really not much else to elaborate on.

Ryan and I took the ‘homeless’ white Legend that I’ve been storing for about a year to brunch.

He has his sights set on the Vigor.  At 6-foot-6, he barely fits in that thing.

We also took the 1992 Integras out for a spin.

I’d like to introduce my friend Michael’s new 1996 Prelude Si.  It’s beautiful!

Ben and Smiley arrived on their way back to the Bay Area from Florida on Saturday evening.

Ryan’s Accord 6-speed was looking extra juicy.

I took the Legend for its emissions test last Wednesday.  It passed the test without any challenges.

Here are the recordings for pollutants since I first registered the car in Arizona about 12 years ago.  In some cases the numbers are questionable or inconsistent.  Actually – the numbers this time were better than they were 2 years ago, for all 3 measures.  Go fig.

I needed to juggle some cars around so I parked the 2 ‘reds’ in the driveway for a few pictures on Sunday.  You’ll see more of the SLX in the coming months as it’s involved in a special project.

Similar gauge layout, vastly different driving experiences.

Do you prefer Formula Red or Radiant Red?

My buddy Chris from Maryland, who has the twin to my Legend GS sedan, knew that his recent trip to Florida would cause his car to surpass mine in mileage.  So we figured out a way to commemorate the milestone.  I took my car to Wendy’s and recorded the odometer after I parked it back in the garage.

The reading was 161,440 at the time.

So Chris, similarly, took his Legend to Wendy’s.

And he captured a picture at 161,440.  At this point, Chris’ car is likely to stay ahead of mine for the foreseeable future.

I took a scenic drive on Sunday in the RL out to Saguaro Lake in the Tonto National Forest.  I was scouting drive & lunch locations for a potential bid to host the 2020 NALM event here in Phoenix next fall.

More to come on that, but here’s a 3-minute preview video to the scenery & venues for consideration.

Have you been following any updates on the special Acura TLX PMC Edition?  It’s a TLX built at the NSX factory in Marysville, Ohio, and they’re only making 360 units.  The first one I saw in person was #026, on 7/26/2019 at Acura North Scottsdale.

And since that one was behind velvet ropes, the first one I actually sat in was #146 on 9/26/2019 at Acura of Tempe.

I’ve yet to get behind the wheel but it’s a pretty cool car because it blends Advance and A-Spec packages which historically have been mutually exclusive.  Have a good week!

Sedona Weekend Trip, Brochure Re-Creation, & Junkyard Visit to Desert Valley Auto Parts

Posted in Arizona, Integra, Legend, National Parks, NSX, Road Trip, SLX, Vigor on September 16, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  218,802

Trip Distance:  291 Miles

I have a few fun features to share today.  Mom planned a trip down from southern Utah in her new (to her) 2016 Acura RLX.  We met up in one of Arizona’s red-rock gems, the town of Sedona.  It was about a 2 hour drive for me on Saturday morning.  We enjoyed the seclusion and solitude of an Airbnb room about 5 miles up Oak Creek Canyon from the hustle and bustle of the town’s shopping plazas.  Saturday evening, we dined at Javelina Cantina and then enjoyed the sunset from atop the Airport Mesa.

On Saturday, after breakfast at Indian Garden (I highly recommend the “ranchero bowl”), we went to Slide Rock State Park, a recreation area just a few miles up Highway 89A from where we were staying.  The place gets its name from the slippery nature of the Oak Creek’s bed – after years and years of erosion making the surfaces smooth, coupled with mossy deposits, there is some great slipperiness to be enjoyed.  We saw a few people tumble to a very wet riverbed in what looked to be painful experiences!

The rocks were nice and warm, but the water was chilly!

The last stop on our weekend tour of the region was a quick jaunt out Highway 260 toward the small town of Pine, where we were anticipating the arrival of a friend who was running a 100-mile (!) race.  Unfortunately, as the day went on our timelines were crunched and mom had to head back to Utah, and I had to return to Phoenix.  I’m happy to report that our crazy friend did complete his event though.

ILX + RLX at the Airbnb

Shopping at “Tlaquepaque.”  We love saying that one.

I decided to have a little fun bright and early on a Sunday morning and stage my cars in “brochure” fashion like a photo that might have appeared in a 1991 through 1993 full-line pamphlet from Acura, since the 6 cars included there are the full 6 body styles that were available during those years.  Luckily I only had one neighbor drive by at 6:00 a.m. while I was on top of my step ladder looking like a goofball.

1992 Integra GS-R 251,000 Miles

1992 Integra GS Sedan 73,000 Miles

1994 Legend LS Coupe 566,000 Miles

1994 Legend GS Sedan 161,000 Miles

1994 Vigor GS 114,000 Miles

1992 NSX 115,000 Miles

Lastly, I took the chance to pay a visit to “DVAP” – better known as Desert Valley Auto Parts.  It’s a junkyard that was featured as part of a TV series called Desert Car Kings back in 2011.  I visited in 2018 with my friend Dane, and the video that I captured became quite popular, so I decided to go back and give it another whirl.  I filmed 20 minutes’ worth of banter and it received over 10,000 views in its first 10 days online.  A box office hit!

Have you ever heard of a Dodge Seneca?

Nice looking old pickup truck!

Some cool back ends on these next two Chrysler products.

This one looks pretty mean.

And some Chevy Bel Airs for good measure.

Guess what? The SLX got new leather.  Here’s a pic and video as the saga continues.

Thanks for reading, watching, and following, as always!  Have a great week!

Beating the Heat: Mogollon Rim Campout + SLX & RL Updates

Posted in Arizona, ILX, RL, Road Trip, SLX on September 2, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  218,415

Trip Distance:  250 Miles

I’ve left town every weekend for the last 6 weeks.  Exhausted doesn’t begin to describe how I feel.  But when it comes to making the most out of my summer, I live by a motto my mom emphasizes:  Carpe diem!  For this past weekend’s excursion, I ventured to the Sitgreaves National Forest in the mountain ranges about 2.5 hours northeast of Phoenix.  It’s a spot where temperatures typically range about 20 or more degrees cooler than the Phoenix valley.

Four friends and I found a great campsite just off Young Road, a couple of miles down a narrow dirt road that overlooked the Mogollon Rim and offered fantastic views to the south.  We set up camp and stoked the fire, then cooked burgers & brats over the flames.  Nobody had any particularly good ghost stories to tell as dusk fell, but we spent a good chunk of time proposing potential names for my friend Adam’s soon-to-be new dog.  More to come on what he ended up deciding.

We managed to avoid any run-ins with local wildlife, and the overnight low dipped to a pleasant 60 degrees.  Woody whipped up some delicious breakfast burritos with ham, bacon, and green salsa for breakfast the following morning.  All too soon, it was time to pack up the site and head back down to civilization.  The ILX fared well on the dirt road, though high grass in the median occasionally tickled the undercarriage due to ground clearance issues.

Thanks for coming along!

Camp all set up

Evening sunset looking south across the Mogollon Rim

Breakfast is served!

A relaxed Saturday morning

Soaking in the view

Headed out toward Payson, then Phoenix

Turning 218,000 miles

The vehicle I probably should have taken on this trip is the 1996 SLX.  I’m still getting comfortable with it – trying to gain a little more confidence in its roadworthiness.  I actually took a 350-mile road trip with it on Saturday, including a stop in a little mining town called Superior about 70 miles east of Phoenix.  It did great!

I like this old dealership.  Maybe a good investment as a place to store / display cars for someone?

I rolled 140,000 miles on the way home.

I also spent some time this weekend working on the RL.  Here’s an update video I filmed today, illustrating current condition and recent maintenance.  The engine bay got a detailing!

Hope the holiday weekend treated you well!

Mazda Milestone in Northern New Mexico: Jason’s 200,000th!

Posted in Arizona, Milestones, New Mexico on August 4, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Mazda 6): 200,000

Odometer (ILX):  216,857

Trip Distance:  810 Miles

This is the world’s oldest Dairy Queen, located in Holbrook, Arizona.

We don’t actually know that.  In fact, it’s probably a flat-out lie.

But, my friend and fellow road-tripper Kevin and I have always called it that.  Which explains why, when I sent him that picture (without any caption needed) on Friday afternoon, his text reply said, “Ha!” and then my phone rang a few seconds later.  Our conversation went something like this.

  • Kevin:  “Where are you going now?”
  • Tyson:  “Farmington, New Mexico.”
  • Kevin:  “WHY?”
  • Tyson:  “Just exploring some new turf, I’ve never been anywhere in NM north of Gallup.”
  • Kevin:  “But WHY?”
  • Tyson:  “I’m meeting up with my friend Jason from Las Cruces.”
  • Kevin:  “But Farmington?  WHY!?”
  • Tyson:  “Jason’s Mazda is going to roll 200,000 miles there.  We’re going because it was purchased there new.”
  • Kevin:  “Okay, now there’s a modicum of rationale.  But Farmington is the land that time forgot.”

And indeed, it was.  Farmington is a in a bit of a bubble.  After all, they have an honest-to-goodness, living, breathing K-Mart.  When was the last time you saw a K-Mart?

Luckily, we weren’t there for the night life or the attractions.  We had more important things to attend to.  More specifically, we were there to celebrate my friend Jason’s 200,000th milestone in his Pebble Ash Metallic 2004 Mazda 6.  And to add icing to the cake, the date he’d preselected for the milestone was specifically the 15-year anniversary of its original purchase date in 2004.

My trip to Farmington took me through the forested woodland of northeastern Arizona – a welcome reprieve from the Phoenix summer heat.  I opted not to eat at the DQ in Holbrook, but I did grab a quick beverage at “Gas Max” just north of Gallup after diverging from Interstate 40 to head north through the Navajo reservation.  By the time I rolled into Farmington, it was around 10:00 p.m. local.

Saturday was packed.  After a breakfast burrito including green chile (a NM tradition) at Comfort Suites, we scoped out Hi-Country Kia Mitsubishi (formerly known as Performance Mazda) and burned off about 14 miles so Jason could roll 200,000 at exactly the predetermined location.  We even staged a photo with the car in the same parking spot where it sat when it was originally sold in 2004.  The staff at the dealership were excited to have us on site and celebrating.

Interview time!

Our trip wasn’t complete without a bit of road-tripping adventure, so Jason introduced us to the “Bisti / De-Na-Zin” Wilderness as we made our respective journeys southbound.  The Wilderness is about 45,000 acres of badlands that are remote in nature, free to access, and unforgiving in lack of services or amenities.  We made sure to take bottled waters before trekking into the ash & sandstone formations too far.  We came across the wreckage of a 1950s car.  Maybe one of my readers will be able to identify it.

(More detail in the video below)

I enjoyed the trip home since it took me through Payson, Arizona, which had freshly been rained upon.  Temperatures crept from 68 degrees to 112 degrees as I crawled my way back to home.

Congrats, Jason!

No flood risk on the day we went!

Couple more shots fro the Bisti Wilderness.

Ira’s Visit from Portland, Return of the Type-S, Upcoming CA ‘Car Corral’ in September

Posted in Arizona, NSX, Road Trip on August 1, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (NSX):  115,946

My buddy Ira drove his 2017 Acura NSX over 3,000 miles to have it serviced at a specialty / performance shop – just for the sake of the road trip.  And this is why he and I are friends.

Ira is the proud owner of a Nouvelle Blue Pearl “NC1” (second-generation) NSX that traveled across 5 states over a 6-day period.  His home base is Portland, Oregon but he made it to Phoenix in only two days.  It was fun to host him in the area, and we made the most of his time in Arizona, despite the weather being toasty.

After a welcome dinner at one of the Valley’s fave Italian spots on Thursday, Oregano’s, it was a much needed chance to relax and get some rest.  On Friday, he had the NSX serviced – its first oil change – at Science of Speed.  They are the region’s most reputable experts on parts & performance.  On Saturday, I hosted more than a dozen NSX vehicles and their respective owners for breakfast snacks.

We rolled out at 11:00 in the morning for a 70-mile trip to Gila Bend, Arizona.  Our destination was the “Space Age” Restaurant, a landmark dining establishment that is entirely extraterrestrial-themed.  I went with the Jupiter Burger.  It seemed only fitting that in light of all the recent social media buzz about “storming Area 51,” we customize our group activity for a storming of our own.

The whole experience reminded me a little of my 2005 visit to the Extraterrestrial Highway in southern Nevada.

The Botanical Gardens have twilight “flashlight tours,” so we hit that up later on.  Even after sundown, the temperature lingered in the 108-degree range but we had water bottles and enough ambition to keep our minds off that.

Huge thanks to Ira for taking the time to come see us!  Here is his video on his trip.

And here is my video.

In other news:  Did you hear?  On Thursday, August 15, in Monterey California, Acura showcase its “Type-S” concept car.  This is a very short teaser video that was recently released.  I’ll be in attendance at the unveil so you’ll read more about the car itself here soon!

Finally – if anyone in (or near) California would like to participate, there is a Car Corral at the IMSA Grand Prix race.  Details are found in this flyer, including RSVP instructions.  It’s free to attend!