Archive for the Blog Category

Quarantine Log: Desk Inventory, Legend Literature Download, Scrapbook Excerpts

Posted in Blog, House, Integra, Maintenance, Vigor on April 1, 2020 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Vigor):  114,933

Day “I don’t know.”  It’s Groundhog Day around here, and I feel like Bill Murray hitting the snooze button on the alarm each day wondering if something will be different.  Well, a few things have been different.  There’s a lot less traffic whizzing by on the street outside.  Solitude and seclusion are the norm – and will continue to be for another 4 weeks at least, since as of yesterday evening the state of Arizona is on a ‘formal’ lockdown of non-essential travel.

So my cars will sit but my mind and body will keep moving as best they’re able to.  The good news is that I’ve found miraculous ways to keep busy.  What started out as organizing my top desk drawer for the first time in about 5 years ended up in complete, comprehensive Spring Cleaning that purged 3 huge boxes of stuff from my closets.

And like any analytical person would insist on doing, I took inventory of what was inside my desk drawer so I could share it with you all.  I know, seriously.  Has quarantine gotten to me that badly?  Here you go.

Desk Inventory March 2020:

19 pens
18 sharpie markers
2 scotch tapes
2 sheets of stamps
3 calculators
3 hole punches
4 post-it pads
5 highlighters
7 checkbooks
8 chap sticks
8 flashlights
9 mechanical pencils
9 USB drives / storage mediums
binder clips box
box of business cards
extra go pro battery
notepad
paper clips box
pocketknife
ruler
safety pins box
scissors
staple remover
stapler
thumb tacks box

I don’t know why I needed that many flashlights.  I don’t even think I need a single one.  My phone has that built-in.  Same with the calculators.  Man, how stuff has just become obsolete overnight!

Thanks in large part to the Legend video that I shared with you all on the last blog post (17,000 views and counting in the last 4 days), I will likely be hitting 6,000 subscribers sometime tonight.  It’s hard to believe, but I only had 4,000 around the first of the year.  So a 2,000 subscriber bump in just the first quarter of 2020?  I’ll ride that wave as long as it’ll carry me.  I think I can attribute some of the traffic to the fact that I’ve been diligent about publishing a video about once per week consistently.  Here’s my channel if you aren’t already subscribed.

Since Throwback Thursday starts in a couple of hours, here are some photos of a 1996 scrapbook that I unearthed out of a box the other day while looking for something else.  This Chrismasy-colored page has to do with when my mom bought a 1990 Integra GS sedan – the car, in a sense, that started my entire Acura-ddiction.

Here’s a page where I listed out my “Dream Cars” at age 15.  The Ford Expedition had just come out, so I loved that.  A few oddballs are on the list including a Toyota Camry.  And I had a lot of domestic cars, and only 1 German.  The photo at the bottom of the page is me with my great-aunt’s 1993 Grand Cherokee Limited that we used to detail for her.  I loved that 5.2L V8.

Another oldie, this shot of me being picked up from middle school.  I can tell my mom was driving the red Integra when she took this.  Also, was I wearing socks with sandles?  Let’s bring that style back in 2021.

When was the last time you saw an Acura Legend advertised “under factory warranty”?  Funny thing about this ad clipping that I saved:  Just a couple of weeks ago, a Legend coupe sold for $25,800.  So would you say that Legend prices have come back to 1996 levels after being discontinued for 25 years?

Before our lockdown hit, I took the chance to get the Vigor out for fresh air and deliver something to my former roommate James who bought a place of his own.  This skeleton was part of our Halloween decor for the last couple of years.  I got a lot of odd looks from people while I drove him to his new place.  Seat belted in, of course.

One of the projects I’d been wanting to do for a contribution to the Acura Legend enthusiast community was to assemble a comprehensive media archive of all available / known magazine articles on the car.  It took about 20 years to collect all the magazines that I needed (and a still probably missed a few).  But, the result was worth the effort and I ended up with a massive library that came out to:

  • 47 articles encompassing both generations 1 and 2
  • 247 pages of material
  • 150 megabytes of info

PDF download link is here:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1sWMbabCdCIVe9bt3Z9OLU-NX-SVQmWv7

And here’s the list of what all is in that, if you want to click & read.  Mark, I’m completely ashamed that I forgot to include “High Mileage Heroes” in the mix!  I had it in a special / separate drawer and spaced it.  Next volume.

Catching up on maintenance – again, before we were chained to our homes.  Vigor first (it had been 13 months since an oil change, yikes).

And green GS-R, which only saw a few hundred miles last year, I think.

You all saw my drive-thru window (AKA my bedroom window) on my last blog post.  Well, I think I took things a step too far.  I found a $28 ‘open sign’ kit on Amazon and ordered it.  Here, we have the open sign, business hours, and a “closed” sign if I need it.  Yes, I put my work attire and badge on for this.

I think it’s also the first time I’ve done my hair in 2.5 weeks.  A friend commented on my instagram post about this, “You’re doing it all wrong.  Working from home doesn’t require wearing pants.”  He has a good point, but this isn’t that kind of blog.  We are a family friendly environment over here at Drive to Five.

Last bit of news, I have to give a shout-out to David in Florida who bought my old Integra sedan.  He sent me this picture this week – the car safely tucked away!  He rolled 75,000 miles on his drive to Florida earlier this year.

Glad you’re enjoying it, David!

Have a good / safe / healthy week, everyone.

NALM 2020 Location Announcement, Visitors, and Integra/RL Updates

Posted in Blog, Integra, Maintenance, NALM, RL on February 7, 2020 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  572,466

Hear ye, hear ye.  This just in:

After 15 years of driving all around the country for the National Acura Legend Meet, to 13 different states, my trip to the 2020 annual event will require me driving…  guess how far?  Just 25 miles from my house to the host hotel!  That’s because NALM is finally coming to my own backyard, and I’ll be co-hosting the event here in Phoenix, Arizona along with a few other volunteers.

The dates will be October 7-11, and without getting into too many details – I’ll save those announcements for some future blog posts – there will be some great venues and some great times for all to enjoy.  Here is the announcement post on the forums.

Prior event locations are here:

Year City State
2005 Dallas Texas
2006 Tulsa Oklahoma
2007 Las Vegas Nevada
2008 Chattanooga Tennessee
2009 Branson Missouri
2010 Salt Lake City Utah
2011 Morristown New Jersey
2012 Milwaukee Wisconsin
2013 Asheville North Carolina
2014 Los Angeles California
2015 Houston Texas
2016 Atlanta Georgia
2017 Sacramento California
2018 Colorado Springs Colorado
2019 Daytona Beach Florida

I’ve created a NALM account on Instagram called @nationalacuralegendmeet where you can follow along for regular updates as we unveil some of the exciting aspects of the itinerary.  Maybe I’ll bring out a different car from the garage for each NALM day.  And one of the events – of course – is a behind the scenes visit at my house.  I might be crazy for opening my doors to an anticipated 25 cars and 50 people, but I’ve said it before:  These people are like family to me and I look forward to hosting them as best I can.

Speaking of hosting:  Occupancy rates at the house have been running high so far in 2020.  Ever since the festivities for Barrett-Jackson, I’ve had company every weekend and enjoyed playing host.  My friends Derek, Jay, Nick, and Chris all stopped by.  Here they are in that order.

Derek, before I took him to his brother’s place.

Jay, passing through town with his gorgeous new Sherwood Green Legend LS 6-speed.

Nick, at right, here from Key West for a weekend in the desert.

And Chris, visiting from CA and about to take the NSX for a spin with his buddy Tony.

I also managed to squeeze in a few automotive updates in video form, so if you get time, tune in for the recent videos on my YouTube channel.  The 1999 Integra is at Hon-Man in Tempe for a laundry list of issues, but I’ve replaced the front emblem, shift knob, license plate bumper plugs, and owner’s manual.  I also got those nasty exhaust tips shined up thanks to a product from Mother’s called Mag & Aluminum Polish.

Check that before & after!

And another before & after!  All about the details.

The RL received some paintless dent removal, new tint, a new windshield, and some touch-up paint.

I finally got my library of car maintenance binders in order, thanks to some new cabinets my dad and stepmom installed in my laundry room recently.

The two biggest blue binders are BOTH for the Legend coupe.  Volumes 1 & 2.

We also installed a flat screen TV in the garage that is looping 148 Acura commercials from 1986 through 1999.  It’s 1 hour 47 minutes of runtime.  Seriously.  I turn it on when guests are visiting.

I’m writing weekly now for ClassicCars.com in the “Pick of the Day” section.  Basically, every Thursday I have an article about a vehicle of my choosing that is selected from the 40,000+ listed for sale on the site.  The write-ups are short and sweet, but maybe you’ll be interested in taking a look to see if any of the cars I spotlight interest you.

Some of my recent articles are these:

Thanks for coming along!

Happy 2020 – Blog Stats, Mileage Updates, & Visitors

Posted in Blog, Milestones on January 9, 2020 by tysonhugie

Let’s get this year started off right with some proper automotive updates!

Some data on the blog you’re reading:  Launched in spring 2011, Drive to Five saw its all-time highest traffic in 2014, presumably because I put a lot more effort into it back then than I do today.  I was also on a crusade to get max miles out of my then-new Acura ILX as I accumulated miles in a variety of weekend excursions to share with my readers.  I posted 128 blog entries that year.

This blog saw 60,957 views in 2019 from 26,535 unique visitors.  I posted 52 times, so on average once every week.  There are 78 of you who receive an email every time I publish a new post.  You must be out of your minds.

Sometimes I wonder if “reading” is a forgotten pastime.  Consider the fact that my YouTube channel over the last few months has seen unprecedented subscriber traffic.  A video that I uploaded about my new-to-me 1999 Acura Integra surpassed 50,000 views and 600 comments in its first 12 days.  In those 12 days, the same video made me $250 in ad revenue.  That’s gas money if nothing else (but I won’t quit my day job any time soon).

This blog nets me $3 a month by delivering ads to you all.  That doesn’t even offset what it costs me to pay for the domain name rental and the 3.6 gigabytes of storage it takes to archive the 19,000 images I’ve blogged over about 9 years.  But I’m not into blogging for the money.  I’m a writer.  This is my travel journal, and even if one person reads it, or for that matter, if nobody at all reads it, I’ll still keep publishing with some sort of regularity.

A lot more people are interested in just clicking a “Play” button on their YouTube browser than actually reading a blog, but if you’re still reading this, then to you I say, “Thanks!”  Your loyalty means a lot.

While we’re on a ‘stats’ kick, this grid is a tradition I’ve kept up for 4 years now.

I drove (or my cars drove, rather, because I’ve loaned them out plenty of times) 30,403 miles in 2019.  That was down from 36,053 in 2018.  My most expensive car to maintain last year (shocker) was the rust-bucket SLX which cost me over $2,600 in maintenance.  But I got an Acura video feature out of it, and I still love driving that stupid thing around town just for the reactions.

The ILX saw 10,000 miles and the Legend coupe 7,500.  But remember that 5,600 of those Legend miles were in one single trip:  Driving to southern Florida & back in October for the National Acura Legend Meet.  If NALM stays close to home in 2020 (I’m dropping a major hint here prematurely) it might not see that many this year.

I’ll let the below pics tell the rest of the recent updates.  I’ve had so many cool guests over the last couple of weeks, including a friend named Shaun from all the way in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.  We connected via social media – isn’t it crazy how that works?  He’s a “garage” enthusiast.  Check out his Instagram:  @gullys_garage.  I also received visits from my Legend friend Jimmy, from Gearbox Magazine’s Brian Driggs for a Podcast, from author and friend Steve Lynch, and from a California based friend named Dani who just recently moved to Phoenix.

New Year’s Eve 2020 at ‘Flannel Ball’ in downtown Phoenix with friends

A friend sent me a Chilton’s manual for the GS-R

Library is coming along.  (And the GS-R will get a blog update in due time)

I’ve been picking up some cool magazines, including a coupe comparo where the 5th gen Honda Prelude reigned supreme against 6 other cars back in the day.

This was another interesting find.  December 1993.

A full 3 model years before the SLX debuted, Automobile nailed it.  They had an article discussing the potential for Honda to market a Trooper-based SUV.

Jimmy’s visit in his pristine Legend GS 6-speed

Received a 2020 calendar from my friend Pavel in the Czech Republic

Pulled out the Integra sedan for some photos since I’m selling it

Steve from Tucson stopped by.  He spent time working for American Honda back in the early 1990s and was fortunate enough to get the keys to a then-new NSX for a cruise to the hills.  A 4×6 photo from that occasion was given to me for feature in the display case.

Ken from SFO paid me a visit too.  We went out to dinner.

And while I had the sedan out, I commuted in it today.  Nice sunrise.

My sights are on this now.  Looks like you can guess what my next 2 cars are going to be.

Here’s to another year!

December Updates: Cabin Weekend, Christmas, & Coming Attractions

Posted in Blog, Brochures, Car Show, ILX, Legend, NSX, Road Trip, Utah on December 27, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  212,097

Odometer (Something New):  178,351

Trip Distance:  210 Miles

Time once again to play catch-up on current events.  I’m turning 37 years old in 3.5 hours, so if I don’t wake up tomorrow morning due to old age, I at least want the Drive to Five community to know how I spent my final weeks, right?  Oh and the odometer teaser above – more to come on that.  I might have bought myself a 4,615-pound birthday gift.

First of all, I ended up being featured on Hello Road‘s YouTube channel with a quick feature from the Radwood show a couple of weeks ago in Los Angeles.  Check out this video at about 6:42 on the clock.  Huge thanks to Ethan Tufts for the feature!

A couple weekends ago, I joined 6 friends and headed for the hills northeast of Phoenix.

Our destination was a cabin in Pine, Arizona.  Pine is only a little over 100 miles from the hustle and bustle of the city, but it has a woodsy culture, far cooler temperatures, and lots of wildlife.  I took the ILX for this trip which made light work of the grades rising out of town on Highway 87.  The climb goes from about 1,000 feet above elevation to a little over 5,000, making it a popular way to climb out of the boiling hot valley in summertime.

2012 road tripping:

2018 road tripping:

Among our destinations were the Early Bird Cafe above – which I’d visited six years prior – for a hearty and delicious breakfast.  Unfortunately, employee Katie (pictured in the 2012 pic in orange) no longer works there.  After that, we checked out Tonto Natural Bridge, the “world’s largest natural travertine arch.”  Most of the trails within the park were closed for construction this time, but we were able to hike down toward the riverbed and see some of the mossy waterfalls.

Sam, Adam C, Kenny, Adam S (back), and Tyson, Riley, Chandler (front)

I was delighted to have my friend Brandon from Las Vegas visiting for several days, and then today had another visitor – this time it was my buddy Alaeldeen from all the way in Edmonton, Alberta.  Fun fact:  He owned the Clarion Legend coupe for about two years.

Here’s Brandon:

The gang at brunch:

Here’s Alaeldeen:

I’m also playing caretaker for my friend Branson’s Legend coupe which will spend a few months at my house whilst his home in the Salt Lake City area is getting some garage upgrades.  It’s a sweet ride.  My backyard looks like a bit of a parking lot (or junkyard?) as I’m awaiting the cure of an epoxy sealant on the garage floor.  That story will get its own blog post in the coming weeks.

This past weekend, the ILX ‘front-wheel-drive sleigh’ took me to Christmas festivities in southern Utah, where I got to meet my youngest niece who is named Ava Mae.  She’s a real cutie.  I also reconnected with a few friends including my friend Shaun who recently picked up a 1997 Acura 3.0 CL that drives like a real peach for having 206,000 miles on it.

Cute baby up above, cute babies right here too:

Following I’ll share a hodge-podge of the rest of the pictures from these recent adventures.

NSX roller shot by my friend Michael

And the coupe at the same time

Checking out my buddy Travis’ new-to-him 1995 LS automatic – it needs work, but it’s a start!

Michael’s new 1993 Integra LS at right.

Out at the Pavilions car show and an RSX-S joined me.

Couple more shots of Branson’s coupe:

Literature swag update:  Special thanks to my buddy “on the inside” at American Honda (you know who you are!) who hooked me up with these amazing items.  This first one is an actual binder dated 2001 which shows approved paint & interior finishes for dealerships.  Like actual dealership showroom carpet samples!

Couple pics of the ever-evolving showcase:

New 2008 TL spiral booklet added, too.

Finally – My brother has just as many toys as I have, and here’s his latest.  This 1954 Ford truck is powered by a supercharged GM “LT4” V8 engine with around 650 horsepower.  I know, a Chevy engine in a Ford.  He’s going to tune it for another 75-100 ponies.  Watch out.

Have a great weekend and New Year celebration if I don’t post here before!

Visitors from CA, FL, and MA – and a Thanksgiving Trip to PA!

Posted in Blog, Misc Travel, NSX on November 26, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  160,454

It’s common for me to have a guest in town from time to time, but rare for 3 to arrive simultaneously – and that’s what happened this past week when Brian, Jason, and Conor flew in to spend a few days with me and the rest of the Phoenix crew.  Brian’s from Orlando, Jason’s from San Francisco, and Conor’s from Boston.  My guest book is getting a lot of new entries lately.  I think I’m on page 27.

Conor and I started things off right with a drive to the neighborhood Starbucks in the NSX.

Jason arrived in his 1987 Volkswagen Scirocco 16-valve.  He’s had the car for over two decades and it has gone through 9 engines during its 130,000 or so miles.  The level of dedication that Jason has for his Scirocco is unmatched!  Reminds me of someone else I know!

Here’s a sneak peek at his comprehensive maintenance spreadsheet, which doesn’t just include a maintenance summary, but also miles per gallon (every fuel up since he’s owned the car) – with graphs – as well as dyno results, weight & balance information, alignment specifications, you name it.  This guy gives me a run for my money.

Other visitors stopped by just this past weekend, including my NSX-owning friend Brent and his family members from southern California.

I’m Legend-sitting for a friend for a few months.  My friend Branson left his 1995 LS coupe 6-speed with me while he has some garage improvements underway at his home in Utah.  Cayman White Pearl is such a sweet color on these cars.

The 1990 Accord EX celebrated a small milestone at 137,000 miles.  I used it as my work commuter for a couple of days.

Check out this article I wrote for ClassicCars.com

https://journal.classiccars.com/2018/11/19/how-one-car-led-to-my-lifelong-fascination-with-acura/

If you get a chance, swing on by my friend Xavier’s YouTube channel called “Sit n Clutch.”  He has some great talent in filmmaking and exceptional taste in automobiles.

Thanksgiving was a little different this year.  I haven’t talked about it on the blog before, but a health condition called hemifacial spasms has kept me on edge for a few years now – it’s an intermittent, involuntary twitching of the eye & mouth on one side of my face.  You already knew I was messed up in the head, but this just made it clinically official.  Haha.

After a great deal of research & preparation, I underwent neurosurgery last Tuesday at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

For 6 days, I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in the “Oakland” area just east of downtown Pittsburgh, which was walkable from the UPMC campus.

Local friends rolled out the warmest hospitality, including my friend Carol and her husband Jeff who took me out in the Waterfront district for dinner one night.

Luckily I was prepared with my heaviest winter coat – which I don’t think I’d put on since Detroit Auto Show in 2017.

The procedure – called “Micro-Vascular Decompression” (MVD) involved the creation of a surgical access port into my cranium behind my right ear, wherein my doctor was able to go in and microscopically re-route the artery that was causing me trouble.  I was under anesthesia for over 4 hours.

But the next day, miraculously, I was released from the hospital and back to sightseeing, if you can believe it.  Even brain surgery can’t make me sit still more than 24 hours.  My friend Adam had flown out from Phoenix to keep me company and we checked out the sights.

The capstone of my visit to western Pennsylvania was a cozy Thanksgiving dinner hosted in this 1930s home in Forest Hills owned by my friend Drew.  He served up a full homemade feast.  The fire was crackling and the food was fantastic.

I hope all my readers had a great holiday!  Stay tuned for weekend adventures as I take the 1992 Integra sedan to this coming Sunday’s “Radwood” car show in Los Angeles.  It’s gonna be totally tubular.

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!