Archive for the ILX Category

2013 Acura ILX 5-Year Anniversary & 200,000th Milestone

Posted in ILX, Milestones on June 14, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  200,015

Took me long enough, right?

It was Tuesday, June 12, 2012 when I got the key to my new 2013 Acura ILX 2.4 at Acura of Tempe, Arizona.  The car, production #000082, was built just a few weeks prior at the Greensburg, Indiana manufacturing plant, and it was being outfitted that day with some accessories.   John Watts, Acura’s Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at the time, gave me the key and I hit the road.

I drove off  from the dealership with a camera crew in tow — we captured some scenes for this video in & around central Phoenix that Acura used in its launch marketing for the car:

The arrangement at the time with Acura – though, to my recollection, there was no formal contract in place – was that I would blog about the car for a year.  And that I did.  I’ve blogged it, in fact, for 5 years now.  This blog has been viewed 516,000 times since that date, by 170,000 visitors.  Those visitors have come from 155 different countries.  The ILX Owners & Enthusiasts Facebook group I created has over 650 active members in it.

My ILX and I have had a good time together.  We’ve seen 19 states including Alaska.  I’ve driven both the highest and the lowest elevation paved roads in North America.  We’ve survived an accident and lived to tell about it.  And here we are today.  So has Acura gotten its money’s worth out of my promotion?  I’ll let them decide.

200,000 had been in my sights for a while.  I first had the idea to roll the milestone on my 5-year anniversary of the car when I started thinking about it earlier this year.  The timing and location of this specific roll-over was not critical, and in fact was pretty anti-climactic.  It was a Monday, a workday, and I’d be catching up from my 4-day NALM weekend so it would have to be in the evening.  I piled 3 friends into the car at the house around 6:30 p.m., sitting at 199,998 on the odometer.

We rolled up to Missouri Avenue, then east toward the Biltmore Mall on 24th Street.  Following us were 2 other friends in a Nissan Rogue.  The milestone came, I pulled over, and we celebrated by popping open a bottle of champagne – though, nobody drank any.  In fact, it later ended up spilling over on the floor in the backseat and I was glad for those rubber all-weather floormats.  It still made for fun video feature material.

Oh, and Derek brought Acura cigars.  I wouldn’t know how to smoke one if I tried, so they were just for decoration.

Dinner was enjoyed at Blanco Tacos & Tequila, along with the typical ‘car banter’ that comprises most of my friends’ conversations any time we’re together.  It was a great evening!

Detailed maintenance notes are pretty easy to summarize, since I’ve kept an Excel spreadsheet on the car’s history since the day I got it.  In all, it’s received 27 oil changes with 0W20 synthetic oil and cost $7,169 to keep on the road.  That cost excludes fuel, insurance, and registration.  The cost-per-mile comes out to about 4 cents.  Not bad, right?  Included in those expenses are a recent $755 starter replacement which was my only “non-scheduled” maintenance item.  I’m now on my 4th set of Michelin Pilot tires and probably just about ready for a 5th.

Here’s the detail from “new to now.”

The car will go to my brother Payton in southern Utah for a while, retired from daily duty here in Phoenix but still getting a few miles in someone else’s hands (and staying in the family).  At this point my driving focus will shift to primarily to the 2007 TL, but with regularly scheduled stints in the other / older cars in the stable.  I’d love to collaborate on another long-term test for Acura.  Maybe they’d see fit to offer me an attractive lease on an RLX, or a TLX A-Spec?

This is a ‘teaser’ 6-second video of the rollover.  My brother and I have a production in the works to more thoroughly document the milestone and some of my history with this car.  Stay tuned in the coming weeks.

So, have I finally earned the right to ditch these ‘Student Driver’ magnets?  🙂

Celebrate good times, c’mon!

Memorial Day 2017: Cabin Retreat Near Beaver, Utah

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip, Utah on June 1, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  552,509

Odometer (ILX):  199,757

Trip Distance:  1,016 Miles

When I say that Phoenix gave us a ‘warm welcome’ upon returning from my brother’s cabin in central Utah on Monday, I mean it in the most literal of senses.  When I started the car at 7:50 in the morning from my brother’s cabin retreat near Eagle Point ski resort in southern Utah, the exterior temp readout displayed 43 degrees Fahrenheit.  When my friends and I rolled into Phoenix 8 1/2 hours later, it said 107.  Needless to say, I felt overdressed.

Nestled in a grove of trees in the Fishlake National Forest at nearly 10,000 feet in elevation, the destination for our two-night stay was a second home that my brother Bentley built in 2015.  It’s become a summertime base camp for all sorts of recreational activities.  But calling this place a “camp” seems ludicrous, since it’s more modern and three times the size of the home I’m living in.

Our northbound holiday weekend trip started on Friday afternoon, when four of us made our way toward Las Vegas in two vehicles:  My 2013 ILX and James’ press car flavor of the week, a fancy-pants 2017 Genesis G90.  Its double-paned glass, football fields’ worth of leg room, and 5,000-pound heft allowed it to glide its passengers through the desert in ultimate serene comfort.  Meanwhile my little 2.4-liter four-banger was plenty audible at 3,500 RPM cruising speed, but at least I was able to drown it out with some proper road trip tunes.

Mom’s house in Washington, Utah was our waypoint for that evening – a quick in-and-out overnight stay since Saturday morning we had plans to mosey another 120 or so miles northbound.  We did take the time to meet up with my brother Payton and his family pre-departure and to partake of the breakfast fare at “The Egg & I” on Bluff Street.

Beaver, Utah is a town with a sense of humor and a sense of pride.  Most of its 3,000 residents live within a few minutes’ drive of Interstate 15 which is the lifeblood and artery of commerce in the community.  About the only notable destinations there are an outlet store for a company called Cache Valley Cheese, a historic 1876 courthouse, and a 9,000-square-foot pawn shop.

We plunked down $170 at Mike’s Food Town – the only grocery store in town – to get some food & supplies.  As I was standing in line at the register, I looked down and saw that a stranger had placed a box with a saline enema in my cart.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the culprit, and it was my jokester cousin Dillon who happened to be doing his shopping as well.  Dillon and his mom, Jodi, and Jodi’s boyfriend Michael joined us for one night at the cabin.

In the 19 miles from the Highway 153 junction with Main Street to the Eagle Point ski area in the Tushar Mountains to the east, we climbed over 4,000 feet in elevation.  Here’s where I gladly rowed my own gears in a spirited upward drive with the ILX.  The G90 was no slouch, maintaining impressive composure on the twisties, but when a curvy mountain road is placed in front of me I prefer complete, old-fashioned driver engagement with a clutch pedal and stick shift.

If it weren’t for the presence of a solid guardrail along the side, Highway 153 is the type of road that will give you the heebie-jeebies.  There are steep drop-offs and embankments as the road winds its way upward.  Passing lanes are very few and very far between, so luckily we encountered very little traffic.  My mom and stepdad had already arrived and were anxiously waiting for us.  We settled in and unloaded the cars, then soaked in the view and the cooler temperatures.

We took my brother’s 6-seat Polaris Raptor ATV for a spin around some of the dirt trails in the surrounding area.  In high gear, on a downhill grade, we could only get it up to about 30 miles per hour with our 4 adult bodies onboard.  So I think the 120-mph speedometer is a little optimistic!  The go-anywhere capability was nice, though, and we plowed through a couple of snowbanks with ease.

Cousin Dillon taught us how to play craps, complete with a full blown Vegas style layout and all the chips we cared to gamble with.  Downtime was also filled with a couple of short hikes and a few selections from the DVD binder.  My favorite was “Ocean’s Eleven.”  We took a picnic lunch a few miles up the road to scenic Puffer Lake.

No group outing would be complete without oodles of food – night one was grilled chicken, night two was pasta with Rob’s Famous Meatballs.  I’m confident nobody went hungry during this vacation.

All-too-early, we were loading up the cars on Monday morning and preparing for our return trip.  I opted to take a different route this time – cutting east on Highway 20 toward Highway 89, then south toward the Arizona state line.  I think this was a good call – not only did it deliver some great scenery, but the traffic was light since it allowed us to avoid the Las Vegas & Hoover Dam holiday cluster.  Besides, we also got to stop and see the bridge at Marble Canyon and a few other attractions.

And so concluded our 1,000-mile, 3-state, holiday weekend trip.  I’m ready to do it all over again!  Who’s with me?  A short video and some pics follow.

Snoopy riding a telephone pole ‘rocket’ just outside Wikieup, Arizona on Highway 93

Taking a breather outside the G90

199,000-mile ILX rollover between Las Vegas and St. George

Breakfast at The Egg & I in St. George on Saturday morning

Doing a little shopping in Beaver

Wandering around with Jack

Group pic on the steps of the cabin

Driveway

Raptor ride

Couple pics near a creek with some heavy snow runoff

Paying a visit to the location where some relatives’ ashes are buried

Tyson, Jodi, Michael, Todd, Tia, Jack, Dillon

ILX at sunset

Still plenty of snow on the ground at the ski lodge

Map of Eagle Point

Riding in the back of stepdad Todd’s truck to our picnic at Puffer Lake

Hwy 153 descent

The guys bought me an “I heart Beaver” bumper sticker

Phoenix, only 434 more miles!

Abandoned service station in Fredonia, Arizona

Marble Canyon

Lee’s Ferry bridge with the gang

ILX Accident & Reconstruction

Posted in ILX on April 14, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  552,392

Odometer (ILX):  193,298

Had you noticed my lack of ILX updates in the last 6 or so weeks?

My car recently got disassembled almost more than it had been since its original build in May 2012.  Thanks to a late February fender-bender, it was out of commission while the qualified team at Impact Auto Body in Mesa, Arizona put it back to 100% roadworthiness.  Lead representative “JJ” and his team were kind enough to snap some photos along the way so I could follow the car’s progress.  I had a nice intermission and excuse to drive around the older cars.

Now, back to racking up the miles I go!

Initial damage February 28, 2017 at 7th Ave & McDowell Road in central Phoenix.

Sad day!

Awaiting the tow truck after GEICO inspector had done his initial estimate.

Off she goes!  They opted to tow it even though the car was fully driveable.  The airbag light was on, even though the airbags did not deploy.  Didn’t want to risk something triggering the system to deploy.

Impact Auto Body in Mesa, Arizona was the place for the restoration.

Here are just a few of the many photos the Impact team was able to take for me.  They’re out of sequence because I’m using the WordPress upload utility to submit all 23 photographs at once.  But you get the idea.

Impact’s attention to detail was phenomenal.  We ended up doing an entire new wiring harness, front apron, and wheel, in addition to the obvious bumper, headlight, foglight, and fender.

This past Wednesday, April 12th, I got the car back in all its pristine glory.  It looks great again.  I’m actually amazed at how incredibly perfect the paint match is.  The front end (sans hood) is already protected with a clear bra.  That hood, by the way, didn’t get refinished.  It still has 193,000 miles worth of wear and tear – including a rock chip that I got on the Alaska trip last year.  I’m proud of that one and I didn’t want to lose the story behind it.

Thanks to JJ for his tireless efforts in getting this car back on the road for me!

Home and tucked away in the garage for a couple of photos.

Hope everyone has a great Easter weekend.  I’m off to southern Utah (in the freshly restored ILX, of course) with a couple of friends.

Saturday Drive to Flagstaff, Arizona for a Breakfast Burrito

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on February 26, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,495

550495

Odometer (ILX):  193,151

193151

Trip Distance:  288 Miles

phx_to_flg

My friend Derek and I are on a quest to find the best breakfast burrito in the southwest.  Over the last few months, we’ve sampled the cuisine from Otro Cafe, Phoenix Burrito House, and others.  This time I took one for the team and drove solo, about 4 hours round-trip to try one from “The Dog Haus,” on Route 66 in Flagstaff, Arizona.  It’s a hot dog place, first and foremost.  But a small sign on the east side of the red, triangle-shaped building proclaims proudly the Haus’ notoriety in the burrito arena.

burrito_sign

Does the burrito measure up?  I paid $5 to find out.  It took 3 bites to confirm.  It’s tasty – but Flag’s best?  TBD.

breakfast_burrito

This week’s adventure isn’t too exotic, but I did get to lay eyes on a few neato roadside attractions.  Flagstaff, Arizona is one of the state’s most popular recreation getaways.  In the wintertime, the Snowbowl ski resort is a hot spot, and in the summer, it’s a retreat from the heat where temperatures can be up to 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix.  It’s no wonder so many Phoenicians have a second home there.  I watched the exterior temp readout dip down as low as 35 degrees while making my way northbound on Interstate 17 on Saturday morning.  The elevation gain is substantial – Flagstaff sits nearly 7,000 feet above sea level.

tyson_museum_club

First on my radar was a destination called The Museum Club right along historic Route 66.  Once a 1931 log cabin social hall, today it continues to host live entertainment on a regular basis.  My “Roadside America” iPhone app told me the cabin is also somehow the “world’s largest log cabin,” but I’m skeptical.  Before I believe anything is the “world’s largest,” I want to see proof!

Then, how about this place?  Awesome!

dog_haus

ilx_at_dog_haus

Most of the old Route 66 corridor retains its historic charm.  One such building is definitely The Dog Haus.  After driving my car through the middle of the building, I made my way toward downtown Flagstaff and visited Heritage Square while having a few bites of that burrito.  The last place I checked out was a “Moon Tree” on the northwestern side of town.  I didn’t know what a moon tree was at the time, I found out when I got to it – which took a little bit of scavenger hunting.

apollo_tree

apollo_tree_sign

So here’s what I know so far:

In January, 1971, Apollo 14 launched as a third mission to the moon.  Astronaut Stuart Roosa took about 400 seeds with him while he was orbiting the lunar surface.  When he returned, the seeds were germinated and the seedlings were planted in various places around the country.  One such tree was planted at what was then Flagstaff Junior High School, on April 30, 1976.  What I didn’t learn until after my visit to the tree was that the original tree actually was yanked from the ground 3 days later and did not survive.  A non-moon tree was planted in its place, but the original sign remained.  What a hoax!  It was a fun side-trip anyway.

Thanks for joining for the adventure!

Hot air balloons out floating around on the north end of Phoenix as I left town

hot_air_balloons

Route 66 in Flagstaff

r66

Parked outside the Museum Club

ilx_museum_club

R66 marker attached to the Museum Club

museum_club_sign

Exterior of the Museum Club

museum_club

World’s largest?  C’mon now.  I don’t know about that.

log_cabin

I liked this sign at Muffler Magic.  “Rest Home for Exhausted Mufflers.”

muffler_magic_flagstaff

Northbound San Francisco Street

san_francisco_st_flagstaff

Heritage Square in downtown Flag

heritage_square_flagstaff

Frozen waterway

frozen_creek

ILX with Mount Humphreys (> 12,000 feet in elevation) in the background

humphreys

Sign Mania!  How many do we need?

signs

This lumberjack was carved from a single solid tree.  The lumberjack is Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) mascot so there are lots of similar things around town.

flagstaff_lumberjack

Couple other random pics, including a visit from my friend Chuck in his ’88 Legend ragtop.

tyson_chuck

Chris visiting from Florida

chris_tyson

And Serge visiting from Los Angeles

serge

The below was shared with me this week – an infographic by outdoor clothing & backpack company Cotopaxi regarding our national parks and which ones are the most/least traveled. If you’re like me, crowds are a turnoff, so I’ll be hitting some of those “hidden gems.” Notice our Grand Canyon gets 5 million visitors per year!

cotopaxi_national_parks_x2

Lastly, a model car update on the diecast 1:18 scale 1957 Chevy Nomad that’s one of 5 cars that’s been on my roof for 8 years.

57_nomad

Two in One: San Vegas and Las Diego Road Trip Weekend

Posted in California, ILX, Nevada, Road Trip on February 17, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,486

550486

Odometer (ILX):  192,625

192625

Trip Distance:  1,000 Miles

trip_map

Yeah, I know.  Who RSVPs to a birthday party in one state, and a bachelor party in another state, on the same weekend, and still attends both?  You’re looking at him.  And here I am 1,000 miles later to tell you how that all played out.  The good news is that it feels amazing to go from the awe-inspiring 54th floor of the Cosmopolitan on the Las Vegas Strip one day, to the picturesque and sweet-smelling Mission Beach of San Diego the next.  The bad news is that coming back to reality bit.  Hard.

This past weekend’s adventure started with me scooping up my friend Kyle at his place in central PHX and us making our way, Taco Bell crunchwrap supreme in hand, in the ILX to Las Vegas.  It’s a drive that takes about 4.5 hours through the picturesque yet pretty barren reaches of Highway 93.  We arrived just in time to join the rest of our gang for a bite to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings before venturing out on the town.

vegas_strip

And I can assure you, what happened in Vegas that night will stay in Vegas.  Well, I take that back.  The group text message with 8 people in it became a dumping ground for all the photos and videos from that night’s debauchery, and they will forever live on in the memory bank of each participant’s iPhone.  But this isn’t the time nor place to divulge any of those details.  Las Vegas Boulevard, known better as “The Strip,” is home to some 62,000 hotel rooms.  Tourists are out on the streets 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  There is seriously no end to the available entertainment and we got our share of it.

group

On Saturday morning, we pulled our acts together in time for brunch at “Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar,” home to some of the best nachos I’ve ever had.  They’re called “trash can nachos” and basically come out in a big tin can that gets dumped on a plate in the center of the table.  Trust me, they were amazing.

vegas_ilx_dash

Snoozing passengers!

sleepy_pax

Kyle, Lance, and I hit the road by early afternoon for the next chapter of our road trip weekend:  a bachelor party in Southern California.  Luckily the drive was a breeze with 95% of it being on southbound Interstate 15.  We stopped briefly in the middle-of-nowhere town of Baker, home to the World’s Largest Thermometer at 134 feet tall.  In typical fashion, traffic was slow-and-go the closer we got to the Los Angeles area, but as dusk settled in, we kept cranking the iPod and karaoke’d to classics like Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping” (a song now 20 years old!) to pass the time and the miles.

Primitive but predictable, the Motel 6 on 2nd Avenue in downtown San Diego was our resting spot for the evening.  We had just enough time to freshen up there before heading to dinner and a night out on the town at Oxford Social Club in the Gaslamp District.  I felt like a true A-Lister there:  VIP entry, special reserved seating, and a meeting with the owner himself who came over to shake our hands.  The lights and music raged onward as we celebrated the upcoming wedding of my friends Wade & Rustin until the wee hours.

Speaking of, this is what happens when you’re part of 2 massive group texts and you put your phone away for a few minutes.  Ugh, the anxiety of unread messages.  I put both threads on “do not disturb.”

unread_texts

And what California trip would be complete without a stop at the beach?  My phone told me we were a mere 14 minutes from Mission Beach so we saddled up in the ILX and went to check it out.  The smell of a fresh sea breeze and the sound of crashing waves will never get old.  We wandered northbound along the sand for a little while before looping back to meet the rest of the gang in Little Italy for brunch at a spot called Prepkitchen.

ocean_front

tyson_lance_kyl

The final leg of this epic weekend journey was the stretch of Interstate 8 that links San Diego with the Phoenix area, an oft-desolate road that runs parallel to the Mexican border.  Kyle took the wheel from the halfway point in Yuma onward, which was great because I needed some time with my eyes off the road.

The gang in an elevator

elevator

View from the Cosmopolitan hotel room

vegas_view

Soaking it all in, with Lance

lance_tyson

This was the burger I had at Guy Fieri’s restaurant.  I liked the fries better!

burger

Stop in Baker, CA with Kyle along I-15 southbound.

baker_sign

Gas prices there, ouch!

baker_gas

World’s Tallest Thermometer – 134 feet tall – indicative of the highest temperature ever observed in Death Valley nearby.  Notice it was only 67 degrees at the time of our visit.

baker_thermometer

Continuing on down Interstate 15

i15south

California’s inspection stations have never caused me too much delay.  I just get waved through.

california_inspection

i15

Ahh, the beach!

pacific_ocean

Looking northbound alongside the sidewalk at Mission Beach in San Diego

bech

ocean_front

Fuel and bathroom break in Gila Bend, AZ on the way back to Phoenix Sunday night

sunset

Check out this story about my friend Steve who flew across the country recently to buy a minty 4th generation Honda Prelude and drive it all the way back to Arizona!  Congrats, Steve!  I’m looking forward to seeing the car when you visit tomorrow.

And finally, does anyone out there want to be my twin?  This Legend coupe is up for grabs in the Los Angeles area!

twin

Have a great weekend!

Road Trip to Nellie E. Saloon (AKA “Desert Bar”) Near Parker, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on February 5, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,420

550420

Odometer (ILX):  191,409

191409

Trip Distance:  334 Miles

desert_bar_map

Food is such a great motivator.  I’ve endured a yawn-inducing corporate seminar because there’s a free meal involved.  I ran a 13.1-mile race last month just because there were all-you-could-drink chocolate milk bottles at the end.  And this weekend, I drove 6 hours and over 300 miles (10 of them on some of the rockiest dirt road stretches I’ve ever put my car through) to pay $12 for a cheeseburger.  It was worth it.

burger

The Nellie E. Saloon, better known as just the “Desert Bar,” is just my kind of place.  This one came at the recommendation of my friend Chris who’s always on the lookout for driving opportunities to obscure destinations.  The drive took me and 3 friends to the Buckskin Mountains in the remote and sparsely-populated western reaches of the Grand Canyon State.  It’s a beautiful area:  The Colorado River slices through the middle of the desert and creates a border between Arizona and California.  Spring breakers flock to the area for wild times at Lake Havasu.  But our destination was far from any such refreshing water supply.  It was tucked deep into a dusty canyon.

hills

And it seems we weren’t alone.  Hundreds of Jeep owners, ATVers, and campers had the same idea that we did and the saloon was a hoppin’ place on a Saturday afternoon.  Getting there was (more than?) half the fun.  The closest town to the saloon – Parker, Arizona – was hosting an off-road race called the “Bluewater 425” which brought out all sorts of desert-goers.  Think baja race.

primitive_road

dusty

About 4 miles out of town on Highway 95, we headed east on Cienega Springs Road and were immediately warned by a roadside sign about primitive road conditions.  Not to be turned away, I gripped the wheel and shifted the ILX into low gear for a bumpy ride.  Sam Haymart, of TestDriven.TV fame, followed closely behind in my cloud of dust with his 2017 Audi A4.  We might have been the only ones crazy enough to subject our luxury sedans to such rocky terrain.

At certain times, the narrow road was only one lane wide and we had to carefully maneuver around oncoming traffic.  The 5 miles of dirt took us probably 20 minutes to navigate, but eventually we arrived at the oasis:  A sprawling, multi-level restaurant and bar crudely constructed inside a canyon with surrounding parking.

solar

From the parking lot, we could hear the bass beat of live music and the closer we got, the louder the music – and the crowds – became.  The lunch rush was in full swing at 12:45 p.m. – amazing because the place had barely opened for the day at “high noon.”  There were various places to order and the seating was “wherever you want.”  I grabbed my cheeseburger and sought after some shade on a set of bleachers.

The people-watching was some of the best I’ve ever had – it seems a few folks had a started happy hour early, as the Coors cans were clearly everyone’s drink of choice to wash down their burgers.  The band played on, and I couldn’t help but sing along for a line or two when the song “Wagon Wheel” came on.

piano

We took a short post-lunch hike to the summit of a rocky overlook.  It gave us a great view of the entire bar area and the surrounding hills.  Desert Bar was lined by a few rusting carcasses of old vehicles including a fire truck.  I noticed upon surveying the parking lot from that vantage point, about 95% of the vehicles in the parking lot were higher clearance AWD trucks and SUVs.  It was probably for good reason, too.  While fair weather cruising wasn’t a huge challenge, I imagine that any sort of inclement weather would pose a real road muddy hazard for someone like me taking a car out there (next time I’ll take an SLX).  And while owner Ken could probably attract a lot more visitors if road conditions were improved, the challenge of the trek is part of the allure.

parking_lot

Tyson, Sam, Rob, James

group

Ken’s vision of the Desert Bar started in the mid-1970s when he had acquired the land of an old copper mining camp.  By 1983, he had acquired a liquor license and started hosting guests in a makeshift building.  And in the 1990s, further improvements were made to the site including construction of a small church and a covered bridge across the ravine between the parking lot and the main stage.  By the looks of things during our visit, more enhancements are probably still underway as we saw some concrete & rebar walls going up.  And the entire place is now powered by solar panels.  Brilliant, actually!

inside_bar

We made our way back to civilization in one piece and perfectly satisfied with our 6 hour trip for a nice, greasy burger.  For anyone looking for an easy day-trip from the Phoenix area, Nellie E. is a definite hit.  But keep in mind its limited operating hours:  It’s only open from October through April, Saturdays and Sundays, from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.  And the entire operation is cash only!  Don’t even think of trying to pay with plastic out there.  Have fun and check it out sometime!

Related reading:

  • Castle Hot Springs because it’s a similar oasis type place in the desert
  • Mystery Castle because Desert Bar reminded me of this type of architecture
  • Alamo Lake because the Wayside Oasis restaurant was equally challenging to get to
  • Lake Havasu because it’s nearby in the region and another great destination
  • Six Speed Blog to check out what James has been up to
  • TestDriven.TV to see Sam’s auto news and reviews

Road trippers!  Yoohoo!

yoo_hoo

Headed toward Parker

havasu_sign

First sign about the Desert Bar, about 4 miles before we got there

desert_bar_sign

Sam following close behind in the A4

audi

Almost there

dirt_road

Nice layer of dust here.

dusty_ilx

Paying my respects!

church

Parking is very limited out there in the boonies

no_parking

Sample of the menu

menu

Bridge connecting the parking lot with the upper level of the restaurant

bridge

Fire truck that was used at one point to bring in water to the facility.

fire_truck

Dirty Acura and dirty Audi

acura_audi

Passing through “Hope, Arizona” on the way home.

beyond_hope

They’ve fixed the sign!  This was taken last November.

beyond_hope_original

Congrats to faithful reader Hy on (finally) hitting 65,000 miles on his 2004 Acura TSX 6-speed manual!  And, happy birthday today!

hy_65k

Horrible winter weather here in Arizona for a Legend GS sedan cruise the other day.

sedan

And lastly, check out this cool “infographic” someone shared with me on the highest mileage cars of all time.  (credit)

high_mileage

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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.