Archive for the Arizona Category

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!

ILX 7-Year Anniversary: PAPA Visit to Apex Motor Club – Maricopa, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, Milestones, PAPA, Racing on June 16, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  215,000

About 45 minutes from my house is an automotive playground called Apex Motor Club.  Designed with the idea of becoming the “premier motorsports club of the southwest,” Apex was co-founded by entrepreneur and automotive enthusiast Matt Williams.  Matt graciously invited a handful of members of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) to attend a media program on Wednesday morning, June 12, designed to give journalists a glimpse of exactly what the facility currently offers – and will offer in the future.

The heart of Apex is its 2.2-mile track, part of “phase 1” of three phases of expansion that the facility will undergo in the coming years.  The track itself offers something for pretty much any skill level.  I experienced it from a beginner’s perspective in a series of parade laps that got my blood pumping.  If a “parade lap” can do that, imagine what kind of full-on competitive racing could do.  Matt and his team welcomed us with an introduction to the history and the infrastructure.  Apex is located in Maricopa, Arizona, a small community on the outskirts of the greater Phoenix area.

Today, the amenities are relatively scarce aside from a shade pavilion and some portable toilets.  But there are plans in the works to build a clubhouse, restaurant/bar, pro shop, and private garages on the property.  Considering the entire project just broke ground less than a year ago, there has already been some impressive momentum.  Over 100 memberships have already been sold.

The highlight of my trip was when journalists were invites to experience the track firsthand.  I was sandwiched between a Corvette and a Porsche, and we followed a Camaro pilot car.  My little ILX felt understandably a little out of place.  But for each of the 5 successive laps, I got a little more confident in not only the layout of the track but in how to best control my vehicle.  For a “parade” lap it was a pretty spirited experience, and I can confidently say I left plenty of tire tread – and probably a good deal of my brake rotor lifespan – out on the track.  I definitely had a grin on my face when it was all said and done.

In a fitting conclusion to the trip, my 2013 ILX rolled 215,000 miles on the way back to Phoenix – perfect timing since that day was the 7-year anniversary of the day I first took ownership in 2012.

Entry to Apex in Maricopa

Some of the Apex-branded vehicles on-site

Staging area for vehicles

Getting our introduction to the lay of the land

Brittany from Apex, and Matt Ferguson from Barrett-Jackson

Some of the Apex team including co-founder Matt Williams (second from left)

Track tour in a Ford Raptor pickup

Entry to the 2.2-mile course in the ILX

This wasn’t my ILX’s first time on a track.  In 2012 I drove it on the high speed oval at Nissan’s proving ground.

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.

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!