Archive for the ILX Category

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!

Day Trip: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Southern Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, National Parks, Road Trip on November 11, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  209,416

Trip Distance:  260 Miles

“Where should we meet up on Saturday?”

“Why?”

“Just so I can do a little mapping on times and distances.”

“So Why?”

That’s how a planning conversation about this trip could have gone.  Because, of all the places our group could have picked to rendezvous before venturing into the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, we picked the town of Why, Arizona.  And the term “town” is used very loosely, since it’s home to only about 100 people.  And, as we discovered, its only restaurant (Granny Mac’s Kitchen) is closed on Saturday – the one day of the week that we’d be visiting.  Guess we’ll have to sample Granny’s culinary creations on a future trip.

I’ve visited Why before – about 5 years ago, actually, and discussed a little about how its name came to be.  The intersection of State Routes 85 and 86 originally created a Y shape, but for safety reasons were later transformed to meet at a T.  It was here in Why, at the Why Not Travel Store where James Lee of Six Speed Blog and I awaited arrival of Jason from Driven for Drives.  In addition to snacks and drinks (though I was disappointed the nacho cheese machine was out of cheese), the Why Not store also sells Mexican automobile insurance policies for travelers who are on their way south of the border.  A liability-only policy runs $35 per day and “full coverage” rates vary.

We didn’t stick around long, because we had turf to cover a little south of Why.  Tucked into the far southern reaches of Arizona – literally, touching the international border with Mexico, is a special place that is remote in geography and picturesque in landscape.  Even now, when Arizona’s weather is at its prime and tourism should be at its peak, we had the park largely to ourselves.  Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was established 81 years ago in 1937 and sees just over 1/4 million visitors per year.  By comparison, another of Arizona’s parks, the Grand Canyon, sees about 7 million visitors per year.  I much prefer visiting the lesser-traveled park units.

Now with 3 cars in tandem – my ILX, James’ tester Corolla hatchback, and Jason’s Mazda 6, we visited the Kris Eggle Visitor Center.  It was named for a 29-year-old border patrol agent who was killed in the line of duty in 2002 by a Mexican drug smuggler.  The dangers of being so close to the border are very real, and even today, visitors are encouraged to travel in groups and only visit during the day.

A 15-minute overview film taught a little about the terrain and its history.  I noticed that a pair of hikers inquired with the park ranger about getting a token for completing one of the hikes, and later learned that any visitor who hikes 5 or more miles in the monument is eligible.  We also saw a 7 or 8-year-old take a “ranger oath” with his right arm extended.  Traditions like that make visits to the parks memorable.

The Ajo Mountain Trail was the main attraction for us, and despite the fact that it was rugged and unpaved for most of the 21-mile loop, we knew we had to check it out.  Per-car admission was $20 but to me it was worth it to be able to say I’ve “been there, done that.”  I led the way and kicked up a pretty good cloud of dust for my followers while we stayed in touch by walkie-talkies.  The trail extends eastward to the foothills and curves up to a panoramic lookout over the terrain.  The Sonoran Desert, we had learned earlier in the film at the visitor center, is notoriously one of the most “green” types of deserts, and even in summer displays a wide variety of plant life.  One of those plants, the Organ Pipe Cactus for which the monument was named, is native to the area and highly prevalent.

Since amenities immediately near the visitor center were few, we decided to back-track to the town of Ajo for a bite to eat at Agave Grill before splitting ways for the evening.  James gave his hamburger a little more pizzazz by adding avocado, bacon, and a fried egg.  Jason and I couldn’t help but play copy-cat and order the same thing.  The owner of the restaurant later came out to let us know how much the kitchen staff had enjoyed putting together our custom-ordered burger creations.

But the next time I visit, it’ll be on a non-Saturday so I can see if Granny Mac’s food compares.

Signage indicating proximity to Mexico.  Here’s where we headed south from Gila Bend on Highway 85.

Cab of an old pickup truck made into a fountain – with music playing from inside it!

Coyotes on the loose!

Your one-stop shop:

Jason received this text on his phone as we neared the border (though we didn’t cross it!)

Need a place to store your car?  Or your gun?  While in Mexico…

From the Why Not Travel Store:  “If you need a penny, take one.  If you need two, get a job!”

Interior of the OPCNM Visitor Center

Jason making some purchases

Headed out on the Ajo Mountain Road

Not a great place to have low clearance and low-pro tires!

Quick break near a summit on the trail.

Check the size of that saguaro cactus.

“Double arch”

Dinner spot at Agave Grill in Ajo, Arizona

The burger that wasn’t even on the menu.  We’ll call it, “James’ Juicy Creation.”

Hope you enjoyed coming along!

Back in the Saddle: ILX Return from Utah & My Showroom Display Case

Posted in Brochures, ILX, Utah on September 3, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  206,792

Happy Labor Day.

After a 15-month hiatus, my 2013 ILX is back from Utah.  My brother was using the car for daily duty – though his driving only added up to about 6,000 miles in that length of time.  It had been since last November when I sold my TL Type-S that I’ve been driving around without a ‘modern’ (post-1990s vehicle) so I was glad to get back into something with iPod connectivity and other conveniences.

It felt a bit odd to slide back into that driver seat again after so long, but the car smelled, drove, and handled exactly as I remembered it.  Before leaving St. George last Saturday, I paid a quick visit to grandma and grandpa as well as to my friend Blair who has a couple of 1989 Legend coupes that are up for grabs.  Check out the video at the bottom of this post – free to a good home.  Any takers?

The St. George -> Phoenix trip felt much like every other I’ve taken, except for one new stretch:  The Nevada Department of Transportation has recently (within the last month, even) dedicated a new stretch of road as part of Interstate 11.

Formerly, the drive between Las Vegas and Phoenix required driving through the town of Boulder City which would become overrun with traffic headed to Hoover Dam, especially on holiday weekends.  Now, the new freeway bypasses Boulder City to the south and reconnects with Highway 93 just prior to the bridge over the Colorado River.  It’s a pretty slick piece of road that will easily slice 5 or 10 minutes off my drive.

I happened to pull off at a scenic viewpoint and end up right next to a 2018 ILX.  Its owners were very nice!

The road is so new that traffic is light, and I was able to stop in the middle of the onramp for a photo without blocking anyone.

The other exciting thing is some progress with my literature collection.  After 20 years of acquiring merchandise and brochures related to Acura vehicles, I finally have a way to start showcasing some of it.  Several weeks ago, I purchased a 70″ long (38″ tall, 18″ deep) display case from a company called Achieve Display.  It arrived in Phoenix a few days later but I had to rent a full size pickup truck to retrieve the 300-pound pallet that it came on at the freight depot.

Assembly was a bit of a chore, as the 8-page instruction manual was lacking detail, but we figured it out.  I took some time to do an inventory of some of my collectibles and filled up the case right away.  I also ordered a plexiglass 6-up magazine display to hang on the wall (and another one is on the way) so my laundry room which leads into the garage is finally transforming into a bit of a showroom.  In going through my boxes of literature, I discovered duplicates in some of the items.

Light reading!

I have over 80 brochures ranging in model year from 1986 through 2015, as well as probably that many magazine articles as well.  Time to get my library in order!  One day I’d like to scan a bunch of the items and digitize them to share with the community but most of the pieces are larger than a typical sheet of paper.

My friend Jerry gave me a few awesome items including these vintage hats.

Finished product – for now:

Short video on ILX retrieval:

Blair’s 1989 coupes:

Display case & garage walk-through:

Interstate 11 informational placard

Headed back to PHX

My friend German stopping by to take the NSX for a spin

Photo a friend sent me of a 1992-era dealership

Saw this in one of the vintage mags:  Ads for different car clubs, including 2 Acura clubs.  I want to join!

My friend Eric gave me a sweet Polo shirt for being his first commenter on RentalReview.blog. Go check out his site!

He also gave me some magnets I can use for a little advertising.

Service manuals galore.

Magazines on display – and a framed jigsaw puzzle of my 1994 Legend GS.

Video Release: “Fabulous Fives” 555,555 Milestone; Visits with Joseph & Michael

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Legend, Milestones, NSX on February 5, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  558,967

Odometer (Vigor):  109,340

It’s no mystery that my friend Josh Clymer and I are Mileage Masters.  We thrive on seeing that odometer turn just one more digit…. again, again, and again.  About 5 years ago, Josh launched a blog called TSX Travels, and he began documenting his journeys in his 2005 TSX, just like I started with this blog in Spring 2011.

Josh and I have collaborated on drives and milestones in the past, despite the fact that we live 926 miles apart.  In fact, we got together for a “Dueling Acuras” video production in February 2016.  Somewhere along the road, we got the crazy idea that we should coordinate our all-fives roll-over for the same time and place.

Well, here’s the grand finale!  Josh drove from Boise, Idaho, I drove from Phoenix, Arizona, and we met in the middle – St. George, Utah – for a monumental milestone celebrated together last October 7th, 2017.

It was a busy and fun weekend here, with a friend visiting from southern California and a trip to a new destination in Arizona to see another friend’s car collection.  Years ago when Honda was first getting into the transportation industry, its first mobility tools were scooters and motorcycles that were sometimes sold under the advertising tagline “You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda.”

I think the same general motto holds true today for Honda and its other other brands, because my friends Joseph and Michael are two of the most quality individuals I’ve ever met.  Joseph is the proud owner of a 1992 Acura Vigor and I first met up with him at last year’s Japanese Classic Car Show.  He rolled into Phoenix on Friday afternoon in a newly-acquired 2003 Acura CL in stunning Aegean Blue Pearl with only about 60,800 miles on the odometer.

We enjoyed a night out in Old Town Scottsdale with friends, including sampling the dessert menu at Sugar Bowl, a landmark for the last 60 years since it opened in 1958.  The hot fudge sundae was (as my mom says it) “T-D-F.”  Or, in other words, to die for.

Saturday morning, Joseph and I took a road trip in the NSX about 35 miles away to the west end of the Valley near the base of the White Tank Mountain range.  There, a small community has sprung up in recent years called Verrado.  Though it falls within the broader Buckeye, Arizona city limits, Verrado is very much a self-contained and unified little town.  Its cozy Main Street had a variety of restaurants, and we chose Tempo Urban Bistro for our meet-up with another Acura-owning friend, Michael.  He drives a 2014 ILX 2.0.

Michael’s latest acquisition – which he shared as a surprise after brunch – was a 1988 Acura Legend L sedan Florence Blue Metallic.  From the moment I opened the driver door and took a whiff of the interior, it took me back to some of my prior cars.  That classic “Old Honda” smell is something so unmistakable.  We took the Legend for a spin and it drove smoothly and solidly – a testament to its build quality for being nearly 30 years old.  Can’t wait to see what Michael’s plans are for it.

Speaking of blue cars, I took the opportunity to do a little test-driving this weekend too.  One of my local dealerships, in Tempe, Arizona, now has a 2018 Accord Sport 6-speed manual in stock.  It’s finished in “Still Night Pearl” – a striking color shared with the TLX A-Spec.  The driving experience left me overall pretty impressed.

The Accord’s motor is small:  a 2-liter turbo, but it’s able to crank out over 250 horsepower.  That made ample “oomph” to get up to highway speed on the I-10 onramp at Warner Road with ease.  The clutch was soft and the car felt “big” to me – perhaps because I’m used to daily-driving my little Integra.  I think it’s awesome that the Accord is still offered with a stick shift for those of us who prefer to row our own gears.  For $31,200, it’s a lot of car for the money.

Here’s a video from the day trip to Verrado and some scenes with Joseph’s CL, too.

Group out at Sugar Bowl in Scottsdale

Saturday morning NSX cruise

1988, 1992, and 2014

The Accord that I test drove had a few miles on it, at 133

Have a great week!

 

Saturday Lunch Drive to Cave Creek, Arizona

Posted in ILX, Road Trip, Utah on July 2, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (TL):  97,505

Trip Distance:  70 Miles

Last weekend’s pre-Independence Day lunch outing involved the 3 most patriotic cars we could get our hands on:  A red NSX, a silver CL, and a blue TL.  Eighteen cylinders, 17 gears, and 816 total horsepower gave us the motivation we needed to get to one my favorite restaurants in the area:  The Horny Toad in Cave Creek, Arizona.  And the pulled pork sandwich was well worth the time and distance to get there.

Visiting for the weekend was my friend Jake from Virginia (check out his blog!) who though admittedly a die-hard BMW guy, didn’t mind spending a few days putting miles on some glorified Hondas.  The CL is owned by my friend Matt and for being an east coast car with nearly 250,000 miles, still felt tight and nimble.  Walkie talkies in hand, we chatted it up on the way to our lunch spot while playing “musical cars” and giving each driver a taste of the three participating vehicles.  Jake complimented the CL’s gearbox, to which Matt said, “That’s the car my daughter will learn to drive on.  If she can’t drive a stick, she can’t drive.”  I like his thinking!

The clear handling winner of the trio was the NSX, with its low slung stance and the lightest chassis of the bunch.  It’s a car that makes no apologies for delivering raw and un-computer-assisted performance.  However, in a straight line, the TL with its 16 horsepower advantage gave the NSX a run for its money.  In fact, the cars were neck & neck in a playful drag race along Scottsdale Road on the way back to Phoenix.  For sheer cruising enjoyment, the TL reigns supreme and we enjoyed blasting its DVD-Audio sound system to Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing.”  The car transforms in a rolling concert hall with the right media.

And that CL – we kept coming back to it – was a great performer for having double the miles of the other two.  It’s a shame Acura only offered the 6-speed manual transmission for one model year in the second-generation CL.  When that car was phased out after the 2003 model year, the brand forever parted ways from a manual transmission V6 coupe.  And that’s a huge loss for someone like me who would love to see a successor to my Legend.

A couple of weeks ago, I delivered the ILX to my brother Payton in Utah where it will stay for the time being.  The fun part of the drive up to St. George was that my friend Jeff rode with me.  Jeff found himself a real cream puff of a car:  This 1995 Honda Del Sol Si 5-speed from the original owners with only 40,000 miles on it.  He was nervous about taking a 22-year-old car on a 400-mile drive without knowing much about its maintenance history, but he made it home safe and sound.

I had a nice weekend with family members including mom and grandma.  Payton and I spent a couple of hours at Snow Canyon State Park on Saturday morning capturing footage the video you’ve already seen.

Look at that setup!  Payton ahead of me in the bed of a Ram pickup, filming backwards.

Quick visit to grandma for a grilled cheese.

Fun news blurb on Acura’s Facebook page when they announced my 200k milestone:

And here’s an article that Jalopnik author Andrew Collins put together on the car.  It’s received over 50,000 views and 220 comments.  My favorite was, “And the crowd goes mild.”

At the other end of the mileage spectrum, does anyone remember the Chevy Citation?  This 1982 V6 model only had 30,000 miles on it.  Jake and I went to test-drive it for a couple of friends.  It’s just as underwhelming of an experience as you think it is.

The car, though, reminds me so much of my 1986 Celebrity that I have to like it.

What a great era for car commercials.

Edit:  Here’s a short video of some clips I took.  (Including Jake struggling to find the hood release, haha).

Saying farewell to Jake until his next visit!

Here’s a sneak peek of a photoshoot I put together last night.  I wrote a guest editorial for a major automotive website that you’ll soon be reading about.  Have a great rest of your holiday weekend, everyone!

Video: ILX 200,000 Mile Celebration & Recap

Posted in ILX, Milestones on June 25, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  554,255

I have a Sunday matinee for you if you have 8 minutes to spare.  The below video is a completely amateur effort that came together thanks to my brother Payton.  I had a few ideas of how I wanted to sum up the 5 years and 200k miles that I’ve driven the ILX.  With the help of our friend Kyle who captured the drone footage, Payton and I filmed this last Saturday in southern Utah and he finished the edits just a couple of days ago.  I hope you enjoy it.

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!