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Q&A from a Reader: 46 Questions Answered

Posted in Blog on September 7, 2018 by tysonhugie

Happy Friday, all.

I recently had a loyal subscriber to the blog send me a list of questions that he’s been wondering about, and I have addressed each of them below.  Maybe some of you will find it interesting.  Feel free to share any feedback, comments, or similar perspectives!

ADVICE:

– Your best maintenance advice?  Change your oil regularly, inflate tires regularly, rotate tires?

Oil changes, air filters, spark plugs, transmission fluid services – those are the basics.  I recently compiled paperwork for a car that has had 87 oil changes in 130,000 miles. That comes out to an oil change every 1,500 miles or so.  Probably excessive, but definitely good attention to detail.  I stick to every 3,000 miles on my older cars that run conventional oil, and between 7,000 and 9,000 miles on my newest car which runs 0W30 synthetic.

– Thoughts about dealer maintenance vs. a la carte maintenance (e.g., Jiffy Lube)?  Dealers seem more expensive but is it better when selling to have a maintenance record from a dealer?

Because the labor rate is cheaper (dealer roughly $140+ per hour) at most side mechanics, I prefer to use a dedicated Honda / Acura specialist for larger ticket items like timing belt & water pump changes every 90,000 miles, and the dealership for only small or less expensive things like oil changes.  The source of a maintenance record is not as important as the existence of one.  Even a handwritten ledger of do-it-yourself mileage & oil change intervals is valuable.

– Thoughts about 30,000 mile service, 60,000 mile service at the dealer?  For $250-$350, they only check items on a list.  It’s usually much cheaper to do items separately (oil change, brake pads, timing belt, air filters).  But will that negatively impact a sale of the car?

I don’t think there’s any “all-in-one” 30k, 60k type service because each vehicle will operate on different intervals.  But I like the idea of packaging things up in a comprehensive checklist because that way the level of detail is usually higher than cherry-picking just a few items to inspect or address.

– Car washing advice?  We have hard water in Arizona; washing at home with a hose can leave water spots.  But an automatic car wash has dangerous rollers that can damage paint.  Recommended soaps?  Recommended washing cloths or brushes?  Recommended drying cloths? (For me personally, chamois cloth was very popular in the 1990s; it was horrible to use, with constant wringing.)

Meguiar’s for car wash soaps, soft cloths for scrubbing, and microfiber towels for drying off.  I don’t use automatic car washes with rollers, but I do go to the coin-op self-serve wash (example, Weiss on 12th St & Maryland in Phoenix) to use the high-pressure gun especially when I have lots of bugs, grit, or mud that a garden hose at the house won’t clean off.

– Wax advice?  Wax on or wax off?  Carnuba wax only?  Wax by hand or okay to use an electric buffer?  Leave on for 5 minutes or 30 minutes?  How often?

I used to have an interval of waxing my car every 6 months with Meguiar’s carnauba paste wax.  But now that most of my cars are driven only infrequently and usually don’t see rain or harsh elements, every couple of years is about what they get.  Let the wax haze (15 minutes) and then remove by hand with a microfiber towel.  Always do it in the shade, never direct sunlight.

– Windshield wax?  (When I lived in Ohio, I used Rain-X on the windshield and it was a dream come true!  I don’t use it in Arizona ‘cuz it rarely rains)

I love Rain-X.  Absolutely.

– Better to park with the trunk facing the sun?  (That’s what I do; less direct sun on interior)

I find myself doing that, too.  Park facing away from the sun, and still use a collapsible windshield shade.

– Dashboard mats worth getting?  (For those of us oldsters, dashboards used to crack from the heat and sun; almost every Phoenician in the 1990s had a DashMat [their headquarters are in Sunnyslope].  But I hear that today’s cars do not need these mats; dashboards last longer.)

I don’t use a Dashmat but I can definitely see the value.  One of the problems with a Dashmat (at least with the ones that I’ve seen) is that they attach with Velcro strips that you have to glue to your dash.  That glue turns to goop over the years and becomes a sticky (and sometimes permanent) mess.

– My #1 complaint:  foggy windshields from offgassing of vinyl.  What do you suggest for cleaning the film?  (Windex causes streaks; I’ve tried ammonia and newspaper; I’ve tried microfiber cloths.).  Plus, how do you clean the film from the other windows that likely have window tint?

I use Sprayway ammonia-free glass cleaner.  It comes in a white colored aerosol can with blue lettering and is available at most grocery stores.  Use with microfiber.  Agree, the residue is a challenge.  For tinted windows – the same.  Never use an ammonia-based window cleaner as it will discolor the tint over time.

– Crack a window in the sun/heat or is it unsafe?

I crack a window an inch or so, and sometimes the sunroof too.

– Leave windows down in the garage at night?  (I use my re-circulation button a lot to keep out dust & smells when driving; a friend advised me to turn off the recirc button at night so that the car could breathe, which I’ve done; but now I crack my windows in my garage to allow air flow)

No, I leave the windows up usually.  One thing I do whenever I park a car is hit the “OFF” button to turn off all HVAC operation.  I was told once that it lessens the “load” on an engine when you start it back up if the A/C doesn’t kick in automatically.  Makes sense.

CARS:

– What was your dream car as a kid?  (I used to dream about Corvette Stingrays [with the side fins] in the late 1970s)

I was never one to lust over Ferraris and Lamborghinis.  I had my sights set on more obtainable cars like the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4.

– If you were super rich, what is your dream car today?

I’d buy a mint condition 1950 Buick Special like the one my grandpa owned in 1954 that was driven on his honeymoon with my grandmother.  Nice ones are approaching six-figure pricetags.

– What was your first car owned?

I was given a free 1986 Chevrolet Celebrity CL when I turned 16.  It was a hand-me-down.

– Who taught you to drive?  Did you learn 5-speed first?

My dad taught me to drive on a 1994 Ford Ranger 5-speed pickup.  We went to a remote area near the Utah-Arizona state line outside St. George and drove around on some dirt roads.  My younger brother, a year younger than I, learned at the same time.

– Have you taught anyone to drive?

Yes, I taught my friend Justin to drive a stick shift once.  We did that in my Acura ILX in an empty parking lot near the ASU Tempe campus.

– Do you use cruise control or are you 100% foot powered?

Definitely cruise control on longer stretches.  Usually about 6-8 mph over the posted limit.

– Do you use GPS or paper maps or do you use your intuition?

I used to print volumes of maps on MapQuest and similar sites.  Then I started relying on a Garmin GPS unit.  Now I primarily just use my phone, but I still like having a big traditional paper road atlas in the car with me.

– Your fastest speed (that you will admit to) and where and when?

I drove a 2017 Acura NSX at 155 miles per hour on a closed track in Cantil, California at Honda’s hot-weather proving ground in December 2017.  It was a thrilling experience.

– Do you engine brake on steep hills?

Yes, especially when coming down grades like Pikes Peak in Colorado (July 2018).  My brake temperatures were measured as the lowest of my group of cars at that time because I was effectively using engine braking.

– Do you use a parking brake when parked?  (You probably do if it’s a 5-speed; I ask because my parents drove automatic cars and put the parking brake on every time they parked)

I only use a parking brake when I’m driving a stick shift, but I really should do it in automatics too.

– Thoughts on bumper stickers?  (I’ve heard that parents should always apply their kid’s “student of the month” bumper stickers, but do stickers do a lot of damage in the hot Phoenix sun [fading, melted glue?]?)

Nah, no stickers for me.

INSIDE THE CAR:

– Your favorite snacks when traveling?

Starbucks vanilla frappaccino bottled beverage or Monster “Mean Bean” energy drink.  Rice Krispy treats, Swedish fish, goldfish crackers or other cheesy snacks.  Lunchables too.

– Your worst spill story?  Giant Big Gulp all over?

Last weekend, I was eating a hot dog from a gas station in Kingman while driving.  I dribbled ketchup and mustard all over my shirt and my seatbelt.  I had no napkins and didn’t feel like stopping, so I took off a shoe and used a black sock to clean it up until I got home and could do a more thorough job.

– Do you control the music when you have a passenger and you are doing all the driving?

Yes, on longer trips I usually let the playlist roll on random from my 15,000-song, 80-gig iPod Classic.

– If you get sleepy?

I typically don’t have problems with this as I don’t travel at night if I can avoid it.  In 2007 I hit 2 deer in Texas because I couldn’t see them.  So I try driving in the daytime now.  But those energy drinks (see above) usually keep me awake and alert.

– Are there items you bring on every trip? (gallon of water, blanket, flashlight, flares?)

Full size spare tire, phone and charger, A/C power inverter, sunglasses, and a pillow to put between the front seats and rest my right elbow on.

LOCATIONS:

– Top 5 favorite drives?  Road conditions plus views

– Top 5 favorite beautiful places?

  • Kluane National Park, Yukon Territory

  • Glacier National Park, Montana

  • Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

  • Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

  • Big Sur, California

– Have you ever slammed the brakes because the view was amazing?

Yes, I stopped right in the middle of the road a few times on my Alaska trip in 2016.

– Over-rated places? (The Thing?, Yosemite?)

Most national parks are sadly getting overcrowded and overrun with tourists.  I’d rather explore a desolate ghost town and be the only person there.

– Worst traffic? (I vote for soul-sucking Boston!!!)

Los Angeles.  Hate the traffic every time I go there.

– Worst places visited?

Memphis.  I didn’t like the vibe or the humidity.  Maybe because I got lost in a bad part of town in the middle of the night in my early 20’s.

– How many states have you visited?

37.  I’m missing most of New England and a few other areas.

HORROR STORIES:

– Speeding tickets?  How many?  Any advice for getting out of them?

A couple, which isn’t too bad considering my miles driven.  I also was pulled over on Interstate 10 many years ago and my car was searched for drugs.  I got a red-light ticket once from a motorcycle cop for failing to stop while making a right on red.  Went to traffic school for that one.

– Radar traps?  Do you use a radar detector?  (They were all the rage in the 1990s)

No, since I tend to drive within 8 or so MPH of the limit this isn’t really a problem or a need.  I’m also skeptical about their effectiveness.  (Haven’t you already been “caught” when it sounds?)

– Run out of gas?  What was the farthest you had to walk to get gas?

I’ve actually never had this happen.  I travel on the top ½ of my tank usually.

– Dust storm story?

Typical Arizona monsoon storms, but nothing specific comes to mind.

– Hail storm story?

Worst hail I experienced wasn’t even while I was driving.  It was while I was at the office and Scottsdale got a horrendous storm.  Even though my car was in the parking garage, because it was on an end space it sustained damage from sideways hail to the passenger side.

– Snow storm story?

One time, when I was a student at Utah State University in Logan, Utah in 2004, I took a short drive up Logan Canyon.  At one point I decided to turn around, but didn’t realize that the snow on the shoulder of the road was a lot deeper than it looked.  My car sank to its axles and I had to call for help – luckily I had a phone and a signal.

– Slid off the road?  Or stuck in mud or sand?

A few years ago, I was at Four Corners and stopped at the Colorado welcome sign to take a picture with my car (of course).  I didn’t realize it was deep sand right at the base of the sign.  I got hopelessly stuck.  Luckily for me, a guy in a GMC Yukon drove by and saw me struggling, so he stopped and pulled me out with some chains.

– # of flat tires?

I’ve never had to stop on the roadside and change a tire, miraculously.  I did have a tire go flat overnight in a hotel parking lot once.

– # of tows?

Two, and both were for fuel pump failures.  Once in my 399,000 mile 1994 Acura Legend and once in my 72,000 mile 1992 Acura Integra.

– Overheated or car broke down in the middle of nowhere?

Just the above mentioned tow on the 1992 Integra.  I was in Nevada along I-15 and rode with the tow truck driver into Las Vegas after limping the car along to a gas station.

– How many people have you helped change a tire?

Zero

– How many hitchhikers have you picked up?

Two, at the same time.  My friend Matt and I were driving to Las Vegas and we saw some guys broken down on Highway 93 between Wickenburg and Wikieup, so we stopped to see if we could help.  They ended up catching a ride with us to Kingman where they rented a vehicle.

Desert Valley Auto Parts Junkyard Trip, a Video Collaboration with Chris, & a Visit from Jay

Posted in Arizona, Blog, Integra, NSX on February 26, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  156,369

Odometer (Integra):  246,561

I clearly don’t watch enough TV, because somehow I missed the fact that a local Phoenix area junkyard was the set of a Discovery Channel TV show back in 2011.  The series, called Desert Car Kings, was filmed at Desert Valley Auto Parts (DVAP) near 7th Avenue & Deer Valley Road on the north end of town.  I haven’t been able to find any episodes online but there are a handful of short clips on YouTube and it looked like a pretty cool series.

The desert is indeed a great place to look for vintage cars and parts.  While interiors, dashboards, and rubber/vinyl trim pieces age and crack terribly, usually the fundamental body parts – frames, panels, and engine components – stay remarkably rust-free and preserved. I frequently visit the local junkyards for that reason, but the ones I’ve been to have a lot newer cars in them and sometimes aren’t very well organized.  DVAP was laid out in a very orderly fashion by make.

Desert Car Kings lasted for just 1 season and 10 episodes, but one of the things they did during the show was restore cars from the junkyard.  That’s always sort of been a fantasy of mine:  Plucking a car from the path of imminent destruction (the crusher), giving it new life, and putting it on the road.

My friend Dane who you met on the recent MDX trip to Nevada introduced me to DVAP.  He is quite the connoisseur of vintage and collectible cars, with the following in his collection currently, from oldest to newest:

  • 1959 Imperial Crown
  • 1964 Dodge 440
  • 1966 Chrysler Town & Country
  • 1969 Imperial LeBaron
  • 1992 Dodge Stealth R/T Twin Turbo
  • 1998 Dodge Ram 2500 4×4
  • 2010 Lincoln MKZ

Can you sense some Mopar loving there?  Dane and I visited DVAP on a Saturday morning and got more than our $2 admission worth wandering around and checking out the inventory.  In the end, we didn’t make any purchases.  Here are 8 minutes of random video I recorded.

Check out this lineup of a couple of the year 1992’s best performance sport coupes.

This weekend, my friend Chris came over to grab lunch with me.  I met him a couple of years ago through the local Integra club (“AZ Second Gens” – about 50 members strong) and have followed his car adventures on his YouTube channel ever since.  Here’s the link so you can take a look and subscribe for yourselves.  We did a car-key swap and headed to lunch at a burger place a few miles away.  Here are a few minutes of video of the meet-up.  It was great to link up.

Here’s the video Chris put together.  27 minutes worth!  Get your popcorn ready or order a pizza first.

While you’re on YouTube, I have some other gems for you.  Check out this next video if you get 30 seconds to spare.  It’s an Acura commercial from around 1993.

What caught my eye right away – without even having to do rewind and replay – was the bridge crossing of an NSX and a Legend at about 8 seconds in.  “Navajo Bridge!” I screamed in my head.  I’ve driven over it dozens of times.  What’s odd, though, is that the video was shot just 2 years before a new bypass bridge west of the original 1929 bridge was completed.  The deck that the Legend & NSX were being driven on is now only open to pedestrian traffic.  Even so, how can I possibly resist re-creating this with my own cars in the newer bridge that runs parallel to it?

Notice in the freeze-frame above, the distinct pattern of criss-cross metal railing along the side.  Below, I’m standing on the same bridge (but along its west side, instead of east) and you can see the newer bridge in the background.

A couple of weeks ago, I joined some friends for brunch at 5th Avenue Cafe in central Phoenix.  Roger showed up in his 1965 Dodge station wagon, and I took the NSX.  There was a little bit of ‘something for everyone.’

Earlier in the week, I got to go to lunch in a 1962 Porsche owned by my friend Bob.

It had an incredible amount of interior space for a vehicle of that size!

I had company from San Diego this past weekend:  My friend Jay rolled into town on Thursday evening in his 2008 Mercedes-Benz SL550 drop-top.  What a stunning ride in Storm Red.

He and I cruised down to Tucson on Saturday morning to meet up with some friends for brunch at Cup Cafe inside the historic Hotel Congress.

Perfect day for a patio chat.

Baked egg something-or-other.  Those potatoes were my fave, though!

Jonathan making his attempt at a group shot, selfie style.

Jonathan and his roommate Corey’s garage.  I approved.

And a quick clip of me driving Jay’s Benz.  It’s 100+ more horsepower than I’m used to handling.

Thanks, Jay, for the visit!

I think you’re all caught up now!  Have a great week!

2017 Annual Mileage Summary & Kai’s 1989 Honda Accord SE-i Coupe

Posted in Arizona, Blog, Milestones on January 7, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  557,697

Odometer (Accord):  42,757

Put on your thinking caps and pay attention, class.  It’s that time once again:  Let’s take a quick glance at how the mileage numbers played out for 2017.  Year over year, overall miles were down by a long shot:  43,000 this year compared to 58,000 in 2016.  Keep in mind, though, that 9,000 of those miles in 2016 were attributed to the Alaska trip.

The most expensive car to keep on the road was the Integra at $0.30 per mile.  Looking back at my maintenance records, the work done was extensive:  radiator, A/C repair, tires, windshield, and other items brought the tally to over $2,000 spent to go about 7,400 miles.  Hopefully though (crossing fingers here) I’ve now addressed most of the big-ticket items and the car will be trouble free with lower operating costs going forward.

The TL, of course, is now sold but I included its mileage here since I did log about 5,000 miles on it during my 6 months of ownership.  So there you have it.  Microsoft Excel is a beautiful invention.  Oh, and yesterday I put a few miles on my Honda lawnmower.  Here in Phoenix, we get our Fall season in January.

The rest of today’s updates won’t have a lot of rhyme nor reason but will rather be a collection of pictures from recent events.  It was a pretty low key holiday season for me.  A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of having Hagerty’s Aaron McKenzie and his wife in my home.  My guest book is now on page 18, filled with noteworthy people who have paid me a visit.  Maybe some of you readers will sign in this year?

I played transporter for a couple of friends who needed a ride to Tucson from Phoenix the week before Christmas.  They were big guys – and we were in the Integra!  I would have selected a different car, had I known!

It seemed like my coworker Jack and I were the only ones at the office in the days leading up to that holiday weekend. If you squint your eyes and look very closely, you’ll see his RSX and my Integra tucked into a corner of the parking garage at work.

I headed out toward Utah on Friday afternoon, December 22nd and traffic was luckily pretty light.

Someone was feeling mischievous and reorganized the letters on the marquee sign at the Mobil gas station in Kingman.  It used to say “DOG PARK.”

Speaking of signs, this classic at Larsen’s Frostop in my hometown of St. George, Utah has been a local landmark for many decades.

Checking out a pretty posh piece of property near my brother’s new place.

Family dinner and gift-giving activities at my brother’s place on 12/23.

Admiring some of the clever work of the Arizona Department of Transportation along Interstate 15 southbound.

My roommate James road-tested a Honda Civic Type-R for 7 days.

We took it over to the Scottsdale Pavilions car show and it drew a lot of attention.  It was a truly engaging performance machine – abundant power, great gearbox, tight handling.  Its demeanor makes for a perfect canyon cruiser or weekend toy, but it’s not something I could see myself driving on a daily basis.  The styling is a bit of a turnoff except for the interior.  It had the most amazing red bucket seats.

I celebrated my 36th birthday.  It’s always fun to look back at old pics, like this one from my 5th.  Stripes for days!

Here’s one taken with my dad.  Was that a steering wheel in front of me?  Perhaps!

Friends really spoiled me.  There were plenty of references to my favorite things, like movies from the 1980s.

My niece and nephews put together a banner for me.

And I had a night out with friends.

I’ve had 2 Legendary visitors in recent weeks, including Sanjay in a 1993 Legend L.

And Mirel in a 1993 Legend LS.

My cousin Chad and his wife Miranda visited and borrowed the Vigor for 4 days to get around.

I got to drop them off at the Scottsdale airport in class & style.

This was the whole family flying out on my uncle’s company’s private jet.

It wasn’t a HondaJet, but I still thought it was pretty cool.  For $13 million though.  Yikes.

And the last feature of the day:  This is my friend Kai who came home to Arizona for the holidays and found himself a project car.

That car is this 1989 Honda Accord, which doesn’t look like anything too special, but does have a very unique story.  It was purchased new in Hawaii in May 1989 and lived there for 7 years before coming to Arizona.  It has only about 42,800 miles on it and was owned by only one person before Kai picked it up from a craigslist ad in Tucson.

Here’s a short and very amateur walkaround video showing how nice of shape it’s in for being nearly 30 years old.

Kai left the car with me to take care of it since he had to fly home to Michigan.  I took it out for a quick cruise on Saturday morning.

Really nice interior.

Pop-up headlights all around!

I created a display document to go on my wheelstand.

Kai even has a copy of the check written for $19,000 when the car was new.

That brings us up to speed!  I hope everyone had a great weekend!

 

Birthday #35 and New Year 2017 Celebrations

Posted in Blog, ILX, Maintenance on January 7, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,089

Trip Distance:  232 Miles

phx_tus

Welcome back to the start of a new year and a few more miles to be driven!

Here’s how my last few years have gone.

  • 2014:  128 blog posts, 115,740 views and 41,008 visitors
  • 2015:  95 blog posts, 113,438 views and 39,165 visitors
  • 2016:  84 blog posts, 107,955 views and 40,495 visitors

Clearly I’m posting less frequently and it looks like that also translates into fewer views overall, though somehow “visitors” remains steady.  Today’s post is just a quickie as I’m out the door (and in the air) at 7:05 a.m. tomorrow morning for my annual trip to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan.

Here was a fun 2016 annual mileage summary that I put together a few days ago with some notes at the bottom if you’d like to geek out with me.

car_nerdery

We need to have a moment of silence for a newly-departed 2001 MDX that reader “Russell” emailed me about.  After 15 reliable years of service, his MDX succumbed to a rusty frame and had to be retired at 525,609 miles on the odometer.

Russell’s email stated:

Tyson, the harsh chemicals used to treat Connecticut roads took out my car today. The part of the body that bolts to rear axle was destroyed by the salts. Done at 525k. Picked up a certified RDX today w 55k.

img_1303

Best of luck with your RDX, my friend!

Winter’s weather wrath is something we don’t really have to deal with here in the Grand Canyon State.  My backyard, in fact, is still green and I had to mow it the other day – even if only to pick up a few fallen leaves from the tree back there.

backyard

I celebrated a milestone of my own last week by hitting 35 years on my odometer a couple of weeks ago.

35

It was a memorable occasion for many reasons.  One of them was a visit from my friend Paul who’s based in Honolulu but happened to be passing through town with his mother and his girlfriend.

tyson_paul

Later that evening, some of my friends took me out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants.

bday_group

I pulled the Integra out on the grass for a couple of evening photographs.

teg_backyard_2

teg_backyard

One of the buildings in Tempe has windows that can be used to spell things out.  When the Super Bowl was in town a couple of years ago, it said XLIX.  Last week it simply said “2017.”

first_solar

Speaking of XLIX, and ILX, I had a 190,000-mile oil change (they call it a “B1” service) and tire rotation last week.  The technician noted a few maintenance items that may need to be addressed in the near future.  Among them:

  • Rear brake pad replacement
  • Leaking rear shock replacement
  • Air and cabin filter replacement
  • Serpentine belt replacement
  • Brake fluid flush
  • Clutch fluid flush

Guess it’s time to blow the dust off the old wallet (I learned that phrase from Josh) the next time I go in for service.

ilx_notes

190k

My friends and I took a drive to Tucson, Arizona for our New Year festivities.

lions_den

My friend James let us stay overnight in his historic 1914 home near the University of Arizona.

group_pic

On my drive home, I received a picture of myself from another friend who wasn’t traveling with us but who happened to come up behind me on Interstate 10 westbound just outside Phoenix.  The world is too small.

letsom_text

This morning I cruised down to Chandler, Arizona for an annual New Year Meet at Science of Speed, an NSX & S2000 specialty shop that I use for some of my maintenance needs.  There was a really nice turnout – probably 30 to 40 cars.  One of them was this unassuming 1992 Formula Red that looks a lot like mine.

nsx_high_mi

Until you peek at the odometer:  347,216.  Wow!  The owner said he’d owned it for 14 years and the car is still on its original engine and transmission.

nsx_gauges

Have a great rest of your weekend!  I’ll be freezing my buns off in Michigan but seeing some hot cars (hopefully) at the auto show.

Tribute to Million Mile Joe, Home Improvements, & Car Updates

Posted in Arizona, Blog, ILX, Integra, Legend, Milestones on August 6, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  544,118

544118

Odometer (Vigor):  105,807

105807

Only in Arizona could a church use this as an advertising ploy!  I’m tempted to convert.

free_ac

First, a tribute to a man who inspired many.  “Million Mile” Joe LoCicero of Maine became a hero of mine when he and his 1990 Accord reached a million miles back in the fall of 2011. Coincidentally, that was right around the same timeframe when my Legend reached half that distance.  Unfortunately, Joe recently passed away but he will be missed.  As Jason of Driven for Drives put it, “That was a good run.”  Joe, we salute you!

mmj

I was able to track down the VIN to Joe’s Accord, and (nerd that I am) I couldn’t resist running a Carfax report just to see what it looks like when a car’s 6-digit odometer effectively resets itself to zero.

joe_vin

As expected, the title history shows ‘branded’ since the odometer mechanically can’t even show a 7th digit.  (Reminds me of my 1986 Celebrity which only had FIVE digits on the odo).

exceeds

The Accord was in for service in April 2011 at Berlin Honda in Portland, Maine at 970,333 miles.  The next time we saw an odometer reading, it was almost two years later, at Auburn Motor Sales when the readout was 2,707 miles.  Mileage Inconsistency, says Carfax.  Well, duh!

rollover

The most recent Carfax entry on Joe’s old Accord was in December of last year, at 3,341 miles, when the car was purchased by someone in Jefferson, South Carolina.  I’m not sure where the car is today nor who’s driving it, but I hope it’s still getting some time on the open road and not mothballed to a museum where it will dry up and deteriorate.

On the subject of Carfax, I was glad to see that my recent Integra’s emissions pass now shows up, so it’s no longer tarnished by that failure when I brought the car to Arizona earlier this year.

emissions_pass

My apologies for sporadic blog posts in recent weeks as I’m still underwater with home and career activities.  It seems the road tripping has taken a back burner.  My home in Scottsdale, Arizona is on the market and I’ve taught myself how to do some basic repairs.

ABC--FILE PHOTO--HOME IMPROVEMENT-- Starring in the ABC Televison Network's hit comedy series, HOME IMPROVEMENT, are (top to bottom) Tim Allen, Patricia Richardson, Zachary Ty Bryan, Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Taran Smith.

I was quite proud of some drywall repair results, and I spent an entire evening doing a repaint on my guest bedroom which turned out pretty flawlessly.  Here a friend captured me attempting some bathroom updates whilst multi-tasking with my work laptop.

caulk

I ended up with more paint on my hands and shorts than on the wall, I’m pretty sure.

bathroom_repari

It’s yet TBD if I’ll be getting the “dream house” I have my sights set on, but I’m crossing fingers and hoping so.  It would be great news from a car-parking perspective as it has lots of garage space.

acura_coupes

I had an electrician at my home correcting a few small things on Friday afternoon.  I was in the kitchen and he was in the other room working on a light switch.  “All those cars outside yours?” he asked.  “Yeah, I have six cars.”  He responded, “What’s that, you fix cars?”  “Uhh, yeah, that’s right,” I said.  Sometimes I’d just rather not explain the car-collecting craziness.

This week I visited my friend Mirel at his new shop where he’s started a used car dealership.  On site were 3 Legend coupes and a 1992 Dodge Stealth (I’ve always liked those).

integra_legend

Cool plate!

mirel_plate

All these Legends are 6-speed manuals.  Mirel has the right idea!

mirel_coupes

My friend Chris in Maryland has a “twin” car to my Legend sedan.  Awhile back we both decided to go out for a special treat in our own way.  Though separated by 2,009 miles, I enjoyed my iced caramel macchiato and Chris enjoyed his strawberry shake.  My photo on top, his on the bottom.  It’s interesting how the lighting conditions can change the color so much.  In person, they’re identical “Desert Mist Metallic” paint codes.

gs_twins

I extend THANKS to a couple of my friends and readers!  Jason recently had this awesome canvas print made up from my photo at the Arctic Circle back in May.

arctic_circle_canvas

And Tim mailed me these sweet posters from a Honda museum in Ohio capturing the race team.  Looks like I have plenty of art to adorn my garage now!

posters_from_tim

The Legend is getting ready for its trip to Atlanta this September.  I’ll be gone for a full week.

legend_at_chilis

And the ILX is in the hands of a couple of friends this weekend in Boise, Idaho.

ilx_rainbow

Green with envy.  These ones want a road trip, too.

vigor_integra

The NSX is still in southern Utah and my brother had his friend Grant from Renu Auto do a full detail on it.  The paint is finished off with an “Optimum Gloss Coat” paint coating.  Results speak for themselves!

nsx_2

Looking forward to bringing this one back to AZ later this fall.

nsx

Lastly, you all know I have my “Spy Shot Roundup” posts on a regular basis.  In all my years of collecting spy shots from people, I’ve had the same car submitted by multiple people before.  Like twice.  But in recent weeks, FOUR DIFFERENT SPIES have sent me this 1992 Legend L sedan wearing Wisconsin plates!  The owner has to be wondering by now why she’s being followed by such a skilled group of paparazzi!

From Beau, July 16th, 2016

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From Jack, July 20th, 2016

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From Matt, July 21st, 2016

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From Kyle, August 1, 2016

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Unreal!  I’m bound to run into this one eventually!

Check out our wacky late-summer “monsoon” weather.  This 17-second video shows a courtyard at my office on Friday.  First, getting torrential rains, and later – within a couple of hours – with blue skies and sunshine.  Make up your mind, Mother Nature!

The Heat Is On

Posted in Arizona, Blog on June 23, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  543,536

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Odometer (ILX):  173,250

173250

Please start playing this video before you read today’s post.  Let it give you some background music.

Okay, you know the heat is bad when twice in one day, you see cars on fire on the side of the road.  It happened on Monday.  First, this red Corvette and then a white Altima later in the day near my house.  I guess these extreme temperatures are taking their toll on more than just us human beings!

corvette_fire

You haven’t lived until you’ve felt 120 degrees on your face, or burned your hand on a metal shift knob.

120

My buddy Sunny was in town from Utah this past weekend and my friends and I enjoyed showing him around a little.  One of the stops we made was to my storage unit in Glendale where I keep the 1994 Legend GS.  We pulled it out and went to lunch nearby at a neat place I discovered called “Kiss the Cook Restaurant.”

sunny_with_gs

kiss_cook_restaurant

Hours are 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Kiss the Cook has some of the best omelets in the Phoenix Valley.  I actually went with a grilled cheese and it was tasty.

kiss_cook_sign

menu

Funny thing about the menu is that it does promise a kiss with every meal.  Our kisses were indeed delivered after paying our bill.  However, as soon as I got outside I realized what a horrible idea it was to take them.  My eyes scanned the parking lot for the nearest dumpster and I promptly threw them away.  Can you imagine putting a Hershey Kiss in your pocket – or anywhere – and getting into a vehicle that’s been baking in 120 degrees?  No thanks!

kisses

I sold my 1993 Legend L sedan this week.  Details will be shared at a later date, but it’s going to a very worthy home and my final mileage on the odometer was just a bit under 179,000.  I only had the car for about a year and I had big plans for it, but just never had enough time, money, or space to really make anything happen with it.  It’s better off going to someone who will actually put it to use.

93b

The transport truck has already arrived on the other side of the country!  It took only 2 days in transit.

93a

Getting loaded up:

I wanted to share a few photos that I received from friends this week.  First off, my friend Scott who worked for American Honda once attended an Acura NSX preview event in 1990 when the first generation NSX debuted.  Here are photos of him with that car.  I also enjoyed seeing the other (now-vintage) models in the background.

scott_nsx_1

Scott has aged just as gracefully as these Acuras in the last 26 years.  Wink wink!  Notice – if you look closely at the license plate in the above photo, it reads:  “YOU’RE FOLLOWING THE MOST SATISFYING CAR ON THE ROAD.”

scott_nsx_2

Speaking of RED cars, my friend Paul sent me this yesterday.  Did you know that for the 2017 model year, Acura is (finally) offering a bright red color on the ILX?  It’s called San Marino Red, and I think it looks fantastic.  I would have opted for that color if it had been available in 2013!  My Silver Moon is kind of “blah” in comparison.

red_ilx

And finally, check out these beauties.  My friend Ira’s TLX and my friend Anthony’s TL-S.

tlx_tl

Stay cool out there!

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

542248

Odometer (ILX):  158,038

158038

Trip Distance:  266 Miles

niland_to_scottsdale

“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.

jason

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:

locksmith

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_sign

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.

guitar_man

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.

library2

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.”)

john_john

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.

east_jesus_sign

“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.

fork_in_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.

tvs

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.

buckshot

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.

mud

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.

shoe

tyson_mud

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_parking

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.

dunes_sign

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.

dunes

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

library

Lounge area inside the libary

couch

“Google Tree”

google_tree

Bathroom break in the middle of nowhere along the dirt road

ilx_6

Not even sure what this thing is

keyboards

More from East Jesus

creature

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

tercel_dahs

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

car_b_que

Menu at Buckshot Restaurant in Niland, Calif

buckshot_menu

Looking down into a mud pot

mud2

Sand dunes along Highway 78 between Brawley and Blythe, California

ilx_dunes

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.

drive_to_five_5_year_summary