Archive for the Misc Travel Category

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.

Monterey Car Week – 2019 NSX Reveal, The Quail, and Japanese Automotive Invitational (JAI)

Posted in California, Car Show, Integra, Misc Travel, NSX on August 27, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  563,515

Odometer (Integra Sedan):  72,199

Kids today will never understand the struggle of juggling 3 of these bad boys in the car during a road trip:  Huge compact disc albums, each holding 96 sleeves for seemingly unlimited playlist material.

How else do you think I was able to stay entertained long enough to drive 500,000 miles?  Little did I know when I picked up Jewel’s “0304” album in 2003 that I would be standing next to Jewel herself at a private concert 15 years later.  It’s one of my faves!  I loaded it back into my 6-disc CD changer just recently for good measure.

There she is, in the flesh!

Once again it was my turn to hobnob with society’s elite – even if just for a day.  As I did last year, I attended some of the “Car Week” festivities along the Monterey Peninsula in the Bay Area of central, coastal California.  The Integra got to ride out there on a transport carrier, but I caught a flight on Thursday afternoon and skipped the drive (I didn’t have time for a 24-hour round-trip adventure, as much as I would have loved to do it).

This year was the first time for a new event called the Japanese Automotive Invitational.  It’s no mystery that there is an up-and-coming appreciation for cars that historically haven’t been considered part of the “classic car” community.  Shows like the Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS) and Radwood are designed around capturing some of that movement.

JAI has taken things to an even greater level.  The scene in and around Pebble Beach, California is dominated each August by supercars with six-figure pricetags.  But how cool is it that now a 1992 Acura Integra – an $18,000 car when new – received a VIP invitation to be parked in the same venue?  I was thrilled at the opportunity when it arose.

Last Thursday evening, I attended a private Acura event at the Carmel Valley Ranch.  It took me longer in traffic to drive the 80 miles from San Jose airport to Monterey than it had taken me to fly 800 miles from Phoenix to San Jose.  Gotta love rush hour – but at least I was driving a Ford Fusion Hybrid rental car that pretty effortlessly delivered 40 mpg.

The private grounds of the Carmel Ranch provided an intimate setting for around 100 attendees – select media, Acura enthusiasts (10 members like me from the NSX Club of America), Acura personnel & support teams, and the entertainment.  Four-time Grammy Award nominee and singer-songwriter Jewel Kilcher (better known as just “Jewel”) took the stage and shared her talent with the group – both in dialogue and in song.  Jewel was an engaging speaker and I was a little star-struck to be just a few steps away from her platform.

The star of the show – though Jewel was a crowd favorite – was the 2019 Acura NSX.  Now moving into the third model year of its second generation, the latest NSX is receiving suspension & chassis enhancements as well as a broader palette of available colors.  During Acura General Manager Jon Ikeda’s remarks at the podium, the cover was pulled off a vivid “Thermal Orange Pearl” NSX.  It was stunning from any angle.  I enjoyed admiring its lines while in the company of friends and colleagues.

On Friday, I met with representatives from Motor Trend to assist with load-in of show cars at the JAI show venue.  There were roughly 40 vehicles anticipated, including noteworthy models like the Nissan GT-R, Infiniti Q45, Lexus LS400, and a few Acuras:  My Integra GS-R, a 1990 Legend LS coupe, and a Formula Red NSX.  Over the course of the next couple days, many friends stopped by the display and sent me pictures of/with my car.  I especially loved the phone of automotive journalist Jason Cammisa (bottom right).

My next stop on Friday was The Quail Motorsports Gathering.  For 16 years, The Quail has brought out some of the world’s most famous and exotic vehicles.  Tickets are limited in availability and usually priced upwards of $600 apiece, if that tells you anything about how exclusive the venue is.  But for many, the event isn’t just about the cars.  It’s also about the culinary pavilions and opportunity to bask in an environment of manicured lawns and important (or at least wealthy!) people.  I felt out of my league but enjoyed myself either way.

Within 24 hours of picking up my rental car at the San Jose airport, I turned it back in.  This trip was the pure definition of a “whirlwind,” but an enjoyable one it was.  Enjoy a collection of photos and a video below!

I knew I was on the right track when I spotted a 2019 MDX A-Spec ahead of me on the interstate ramp.

Orange was the name of the game in all decor!

Precision Crafted Cocktail, anyone?

Actor Jesse Metcalfe was one of the event’s attendees

An orange so juicy I want to lick it.

Jewel behind the wheel of the NSX.

NSX Club of America Vice President May “May Purple” Lee.

Acura General Manager Jon Ikeda

Automotive journalist Carlos Lago & his wife

I’ll take it!

Nightly stay at the Hyatt Regency Monterey

The Infiniti display near Pebble Beach at the Japanese Automotive Invitational

This weather was a shocker, especially when coming from August in Phoenix.

More from the Infiniti display.

My friend Jerry’s 1990 Legend LS coupe at JAI

Arriving The Quail and seeing a lineup of friends’ NSXs

Acura was giving away orange hats at The Quail.

With Charles Koch from Acura Shows & Exhibits, and fellow NSXCA member Ed Somers

With Motor Trend’s Karen Brown at JAI

Couple quick sidebars:  Thanks Jhae for the limited edition pin!

And I saw this 1G CL on craigslist.  Did you know that if you rearrange the letters in an ACURA emblem, it can spell CAR?  (see top left).

Have a great week!

Travel News Bits: St. George, Prescott, Canyon Lake, & Upcoming Monterey

Posted in Accord, Integra, Legend, Milestones, Misc Travel, Road Trip, Vigor on August 20, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  563,514

Odometer (Vigor):  111,707

Hours (Boat):  4,000

Trip Distance:  225 Miles

Let’s get up to speed on some of the last few weeks’ activities as summer winds down here in Arizona.  In late July, some friends and I traveled to southern Utah for a few days at my brother’s newly-remodeled home. The pool was pretty inviting!

Headed northbound in Kyle’s 2008 Pontiac G8 GXP 6-speed.

James drove up in his tester of the week, the 2018 Accord.

We also took a quick jaunt to the mountains of Payson, Arizona a couple of weeks ago with 8 attendees and 6 cars, including 3 Acuras, a Mazda, a Pontiac, and an Infiniti.  Leading the pack in power and presence was Vlad’s 2017 NSX, recently customized with performance exhaust downpipes from Science of Speed.  I was happy to bring up the tail – my 1994 Vigor is a fun and nimble machine, but its tired suspension, old Michelins, and 176-horsepower motor were no match for the others in this group.

Lunch at Prescott Brewing Company.

Fueling up at the Mobil in Wickenburg.

After 3 years of ownership, I finally had the Vigor’s upholstery worked on.  The driver seat “Cognac” leather was torn along the side bolster, so I had Naro from TrimFit in Phoenix clean it up for $250 last week.  He succeeded masterfully.

I also got around to having a lot of small dings removed from the 1992 Integra GS.  Jorden of Anytime Dent had the car for about 4 days and cleaned up every panel.  It came out looking perfectly.  I snagged a pic while at Starbucks parked next to a 1989 Legend.

This past Saturday, we took Kyle’s new (well, 1993 model year) boat out to Canyon Lake which is about an hour away from my place.  Contrary to popular belief, Arizona does have its fair share of lakes and waterways.  This one is a reservoir formed by the Salt River which is Phoenix’s primary water supply.  The spot is noted by the red marker at top right here.

I tried my hand at riding the tube.  Two days later, I realize I must have been clutching to it pretty aggressively because my arms are realllllly sore.

And yesterday, I took the Legend GS to church and it rolled 160,000 miles.

My Integra GS-R is getting ready for a trip to the California Coast.  It will be featured as one of about 40 cars in Pebble Beach at the inaugural “Japanese Automotive Invitational” show this Saturday 8/25 and Sunday 8/26.  The space belongs to Infiniti, who has partnered with Motor Trend to bring everything together.  Participating vehicles are being brought in from across the nation, including an exceptionally clean 1990 Legend LS coupe from Florida with only 54,000 miles on it.  Pick up is anticipated for sometime this week!

I’ll be attending part of the ‘car week’ activities as well, as I’m scheduled to attend an Acura private reception this Thursday at the Carmel Valley Lodge.  I’ll be flying in and out of San Jose.  I’ll bring you a full report next week.

That’s a wrap on recent news for now!

Check out this plexiglass magazine display that I picked up!  Soon to be fastened to a wall inside my house or in the garage.

Looks like a car-party at my house.

Beautiful Payson, AZ summer afternoon.

Evening meet-up with Michael (ILX) and a few other folks at Tempe Town Lake Marina.

Trip to Mars: Pennsylvania Weekend Trip, feat. an Olds Toronado & a Modified Legend

Posted in Legend, Misc Travel, Reader's Ride on July 9, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  561,596

Trip Distance:  2,050 Miles by Air

There really is life on (in) Mars.  About 1,700 people, in fact, call this little town in Pennsylvania home.  And I met a few of them this past weekend.  In fact, I had a native Martian who was walking by graciously take my photo while I leaned up against a silver flying saucer in the town square.

Today’s travel journal brings you something a little different.  You could even say that it’s out of this world.  Not because I went to Mars, but because I got on an airplane for a change instead of driving the wheels off an old Acura!  I had an appointment on Friday in Wexford, Pennsylvania which is just north of Pittsburgh.

Getting there was a bit of a chore – thanks to Southwest, my 4-hour flight turned into about a 12-hour day of travel:  I arrived at the airport early in typical fashion, only to discover we were two hours delayed for a mechanical issue.  Then two more hours delayed for a crew change.  And then had to wait while we were re-routed for weather conditions.  What an ordeal.  Eventually, I was grateful to be on the ground in PA and rented a white Chevy Impala Premier for my short commute to my hotel.  The Bose stereo was my favorite part!

On Friday evening, I indulged in some of Pittsburgh’s sights and sounds thanks to my local friend Drew who was a gracious host.  We dined at “The Church” Brew Works on Liberty Avenue.  Built in 1903, the Roman Catholic cathedral is now home to a restaurant.  I highly recommend the buffalo meatloaf – made from bison and accompanied with a side of broccoli.  All of the drinks are named appropriately for being served inside a religious institution, including the Celestial Gold Pilsner and the Heavenly Hefeweizen.

Following dinner, Drew and I climbed to the top of nearby Mount Washington which offered up a spectacular evening view of the Pittsburgh city skyline.  Our vehicle of choice was his 111,000-mile 1981 Oldsmobile Toronado with burgundy velour interior.

The hood ornament far ahead of us pointed the way and the V8 motor rumbled with a satisfying burble as it put power to the ground through a 3-speed automatic transmission.  I especially liked the steering wheel, narrow in diameter with such sensitive input required that Drew could spin the wheel with just a single finger.  Things like that reminded me of my first car, an A-Body 1986 Chevy Celebrity.

Saturday’s car-adventure gave me a completely different driving experience.  Over the years I’ve interacted with hundreds of “car people,” primarily those who are part of the Honda & Acura enthusiast communities.  None of those people are quite like my friend Lou.  A long-time member of the Acura Legend forums and Facebook groups, Lou is one of the most active and known.  I’d met him a couple of times prior, but never given the chance to drive his car.  That all changed on Saturday morning at his home about 3 miles from my hotel in Mars.

Lou’s Legend started out life as a 1992 L sedan automatic.  But that’s where the familiarity ends and the wildness begins.  Every nut, bolt, and mechanical component of his Legend has been drastically modified to squeeze every ounce of power and performance out of the powertrain.  And he has succeeded to put it lightly.

I pride myself in the fact that I didn’t stall the car when getting a feel for its clutch, which reaches its friction point near the top of the pedal and has very little “forgiveness” when it comes to a transition between off and on.

The ‘power factor’ is where Lou’s Legend sets itself far apart from any other Legend I’ve ever driven.  It will willingly lay down rubber in gears 1, 2, 3, and 4.  I didn’t dare give it wide open throttle in 5th because it would probably have done it there, too.  The turbo let off a “psssshhh” whistle each time I released the accelerator and I needed both hands firmly planted on the wheel when I gave it some heavy throttle getting on Highway 19.

Lou’s complete build sheet is shown at the bottom of this post.  It’s a great deal of content to list out, but it will give you a glimpse of the extreme attention to detail that he has demonstrated with this unique performance Legend.

Thanks, Drew and Lou for the great hospitality and for helping me incorporate some tourism and horsepower into my trip!

Drew’s Olds, & Views from Mount Washington

Lou’s Legend Test-Drive

When you have a 4-hour flight, you get bored & start reading safety materials.  This group of people on an emergency life raft looked like they were having a fun summer.

Grilled cheese at my first stop on the trip, a “Eat N Park” diner in Cranberry on Perry Highway.  It’s kind of like a Denny’s since it’s open 24-7.  G

I enjoyed cruising the scenic backroads in my Impala.

The address provided by Google for the flying saucer did not take me to it.  But I got on aerial maps and found it just a little further down the street ahead of me.  My location at left, saucer at right, circled.

I liked this old Ace Hardware in Mars.

Great rates available here!

“May Peace Prevail On Earth.”

Supermarket mural.

I sampled the “S’Mars” ice cream at Peach Tree.

Rolling around with Drew in his Toronado.  That burgundy interior is to die for!

That suspension soaked up cobblestone streets like nobody’s business.

View from Mount Washington.

The heart of Lou’s machine.

Checking out another Legend coupe he has in the backyard, soon to be parted out.

Lunch spot at Firebirds.

Detail from Lou on his Legend:

This is a 1992 Acura Legend L model sedan originally was a 3.2 (Type 1) with a 4-speed automatic. I’ve since converted the car to a 3.5 with 3.2 (Type II heads) and a 6-speed manual with a custom intake manifold and turbo kit.  In short, the only bolts and parts not changed on this car are the ABS system and brake hard lines; every other parts, nut, bolt, and wire has been touched.

Suspension/Brakes/Wheels/Steering

Ksport 36way coilovers
Addco front sway bar
Addco rear sway bar (with poly bushings)
Custom bolts for rear sway bar
Telion rear upper strut bar (rare)
FUT rear lower short tie bar (adjustable)
FUT rear lower long tie bar
90a poly front control arm mounts (1 of 1 set)
Solid front motor mounts (custom made)
Poly filled (60a) transmission mount
SPC balljoints
Mini BBK using RL caliper brackets
300mm slotted brembo rotors (front)
Slotted brembo rear rotors
New type 2 calipers all four corners (2 pistons up front 1 piston rear) all powder coated candy apple red
Goodridge stainless brake lines
Hawk HPS pads
New oem master cylinder
New rear lower control arms
New front lower control arms
SPC front upper adjustable balljoints (3 degrees)
New moog lower balljoints
18×7.5 +45 Akuza Intimidator wheels
Falken tires (rear)
Continential DWS tires (front)
Electronic power steering from a RHD S2000

Engine/Drivetrain

The engine was built by Laskey Racing in California C35A block (completely stripped and redone using all OEM gaskets and seals)
C32A type 2 heads
C32A type 2 cams
Chevy comp cam valve springs
CP pistons 9:1 compression
Pauter Ibeam rods
ACL bearings
ARP bolts throughout
Clutch masters 850 series twin disc (1 of 1)
Clutch masters Aluminum flywheel (1 of 1)
6-Speed from a 93 coupe (rebuilt to OEM specs/best gearing)
Hondaman23 Built 7 spring LSD
raxles OEM rebuilt axles
200 amp Bosch high output alternator
DrDave remained oem starter
Oem clutch slave cylinder
Oem clutch master cylinder
Braided clutch pedal line
Labrat aluminum pullies
Telion aluminum crank pulley
Modified Legend oil pan
Chevy LS Truck OEM coils
Magnacore plug wires (converted from coil on plug)
NGK 7 plugs
PCV system uses 10an vents in the valve covers
Custom all aluminum radiator 2.5″ thick core
SPAL slim line 1500 cfm 12″ fans with shroud
Rangerjoe short shifter
Custom intake manifold with 90mm q45 throttle body
1/2″ custom fuel rails
1400cc Fuel injector development injectors
Stant rad cap
Engine bay wiring was tucked
8an feed line (earls ultrapro e85 black teflon hose)
6an return line (earls ultrapro e85 black teflon hose)
Magnafuel 4303 (or 4301) fuel pump

Turbo System/Exhaust

Everything was fabbed at Chuck Beaverton Automotive. Schedule 40 stainless for the manifolds and cross pipe, aluminum for the intercooler pipe, 3″ stainless for turbo back, all piping and hot parts are ceramic coated bright silver inside and out.
Precision 6466 (gen 2) Fual ballbearing, billet wheel
2 tial 38mm wastegates
1 tial 50mm BOV (candy apple red)
Bell intercooler core, custom end tanks and piping
1 Wiggins clamp
3″ turbo back exhaust with “high flow cat”
Varex mufler (has a cutout inside he muffler, wireless control for quiet and loud)

Body

JDM headlights retrofitted with fxr bixenon projectors
Theretrofitsource d2s bulbs
Theretrofitsource hid ballasts
Carbon fiber pillar garnishes
Carbon fiber jdm explodz wing (ultra rare)
JDM tail lights
95 GS bumper update
Rain visors (not installed)
3rd brake light (lights up the word LEGEND)

ECU/Electronics/Interior

The car used to be Type F interior (tan) but now it’s been converted to Type A (black) and then dyed using SEM products to give a modern-day black interior look with black suede headliner.

Diamond d9 7″ components up front
Alpine h701 sound processor
Alpine c701 controller
Alpine dva-9860 headunit
7″ screen inside JDM navi trim in dash
Converted to LS climate control
JDM navi climate control (installed where radio would be ( 1 of 1 install using USDM console)
Suede wrapped headliner
Leather wrapped a/b/c pillars
Hyundai Tiburon leather front seats (super comfy)
Working cup holder!
TL shift knob and boot
Real carbon fiber switch covers
SMD led throughout the car
LED window switches
DEI alarm and remote start with DEI sensors for auto windows etc
Relocated battery to trunk
Knukonceptz kolossas 0ga wiring throughout the car 12 ga for speakers
Sundown 2500w sub amp
Eclipse (2 channel forget the model number) amp for front stage (old school and real watts!)
ProEFI 128 ecu with custom harness
ProEFI flexfuel kit
ProEFI can display (screen)
ProEFI Fuel pressure sensor
ProEFI Oil pressure sensor
ProEFI Coolant temp sensor
ProEFI Air intake temp sensor
Black dash no cracks!
Suede dash mat
Fiberoptic stereo wiring
Black carpet (no rips or tears)
OEM rubber floor mats
Red LED needles installed in gauges
JDM door sills
New OEM vehicle speed sensor
3-4 layers of second skin sound deadener (SUPER quiet inside)

Performance

Car on 8psi pump 93 makes 360whp/399wtq.  On e85, it was making 510whp/598wtq on 16psi with some breakup (ran out of Dyno time).  It was turned up on some street driving the night before you drove it.  It’s on 19 psi with unknown power levels, but probably 550whp and 640wtq judging by the proefi gauge.

Sunday Brunch at the 1929 Wrigley Mansion, More Visitors in Phoenix

Posted in Arizona, Integra, Legend, Milestones, Misc Travel on January 30, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  558,659

Odometer (Integra):  246,106

Imagine being wealthy enough in the late 1920s to own several mansions across the United States:  Chicago, Philadelphia, and other cities — the smallest of which, in Phoenix, at 16,000 square feet.

William Wrigley Jr. was an entrepreneur from a young age, starting his own business selling soap and baking powder at age 29.  At that time, he would give his customers 2 packages of chewing gum as an incentive with each can of baking powder they purchased.  Wrigley’s chewing gum soon became more popular than any of his other products, and the rest was history.  Wrigley went on to hold a controlling interest in several other companies, own the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, and build 5 residences.  Next time you’re chomping on a stick of Big Red, think of him.

Wrigley’s mansion in Phoenix (photo above from 1949), is set atop a 100-foot-tall knoll with views of the Biltmore and the community below.  Construction was completed in 1931, only a year before Wrigley died at age 70.  The mansion went on to be owned by another big wig in the food industry: Geordie Hormel, known for creating Spam (he also claimed to have invented the corn dog).  Hormel bought the Wrigley mansion as a $2.6 million 50th wedding anniversary for his wife, and restored it to his former glory.   He passed away in 2006 but the facility lives on as a private club for Sunday brunch, fancy weddings, and other special events.

On Sunday, January 28th, 86 years and 2 days after William Wrigley passed away, I rolled up the steep driveway from Telawa Trail Road with my dad & stepmom and valet parked my Legend sedan for a brunch reservation I’d made online about 6 weeks prior.  The view of the city was spectacular and the weather couldn’t have been better.

We had about 15 minutes to wander around the facility before being seated at our table, so we went upstairs to see a few of the 24 bedrooms and 2 of the 12 bathrooms.  All of the finishes, materials, and fixtures retain their original appearance but have been well preserved or restored.

Hearty buffet provisions were available in 3 separate rooms:  The first, with fruits, bagels, and salad items for lighter fare.  The second had the main brunch courses:  beef, prime rib, shrimp, lobster, potatoes, and an omelet station.  And the last was up a few stairs in what appeared to be a library, stocked with all sorts of cupcakes and other sugary goodness.  Each time one of us would get up from our seat to make another pass at the buffet, the servers would come around while we were gone and roll up our napkins again.  There was a lot of fine attention to detail.

For $59 a plate, the Wrigley champagne brunch is definitely not a McDonald’s McMuffin value menu, but for a rare treat with special guests, I thought it was well worth it for a way to spend a classy Sunday and get a panoramic view of the city skyline on a crystal blue January day.  We returned to the valeted Legend feeling full and satisfied.  “You’re going to have to roll me to the car,” Tanya said.  No wonder we weren’t hungry again until much later that evening.

The revolving door at Hotel Hugie hasn’t had a break yet — the month of January I ran at nearly 100% occupancy and loved it.  Last week, Dad & Tanya drove 1,421 miles in fewer than 48 hours from Seattle to Phoenix for a trade show called Oasis.  Each January, it draws more than 3,000 buyers to the Phoenix convention center to see and order knick-knacks and souvenirs for their gift shops and visitor centers.  Dad and Tanya hand-craft wooden items like antler-adorned walking sticks, keychains, magnets, and money clips for their company, Yellowstone River Trading.

It was an action-packed few days with the family visiting, with lots of things to do outside the 9-5 trade show grind.  We dined at some new restaurants, visited an escape room, and took care of a few home improvement projects.  I also spent a bit of time at the local junkyard, harvesting a piece of a quarter panel to repair some damage to the left rear corner of my Legend sedan.  It was my first time using a heavy-duty angle grinder and I am pleased with the results!  Thanks to my friend Mirel for the tools and the expertise.

New and old pieces of quarter panel.  Updates to come!

Below are a few more photos from recent events.  I received a visit from Redline Reviews’ Editor-in-Chief, Sofyan Bey.

Here’s a 5-minute video filmed just before dropping Sofyan off at the Sky Harbor airport.

Earlier in the week, I dropped off Kevin from Duluth, GA.  I’ve been to the airport a lot lately!

Kevin recently sold his 1994 Legend L sedan.  He had owned the car for 18 years, 11 months, and 26 days.  Fortunately, he still has a 1994 LS coupe, his “Polar Bear.”

I got my front bumper plugs installed on the Vigor – paint matched & all!

Integra parked streetside just west of Chase Field, where the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team plays.

Visiting the Oasis gift convention.

Dinner at ‘Camp Social’ restaurant on 7th Street in Phoenix – we ate in a little trailer like that!

Pretty cool old-school Ace Hardware sign.

Dinner on the patio at Hula’s Modern Tiki, with special guest Jake the poodle.

Home Depot on a Saturday in the coupe.

Junkyard find:  1989 Honda Accord LX 5-speed

It had 349,271 miles on it!

Escape room group in Tempe, Arizona

Legend sedan parked at Wrigley’s valet area

Upstairs hallway at Wrigley Mansion

View from our dining table

Buffet room #1

I spotted my car valet parked below

Tanya & dad

Headed back to real civilization after a few minutes living the high life.

Organizing my new Kobalt tool chest!

Fits right in in the garage.

Have a great week!

Family Visit from Utah: OdySea Aquarium & Butterfly World Exhibit in Scottsdale, AZ

Posted in Arizona, Hikes, Misc Travel on March 27, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  552,002

Over the weekend, I gained a greater appreciation for two things:  moms and minivans.  When you’re entertaining 3 kids under the age of 6 years old, you start to realize just how much of a challenge it can become to make sure everyone’s fed, happy, and playing fair.  You also look for any way possible to ease the burden of travel logistics.  My brother Payton and his family visited for 4 days from southern Utah, and their 2013 Honda Odyssey EX-L was just the right ride for their family on such a 14-hour round-trip journey to Phoenix.

And we drove that Odyssey to OdySea.  This Scottsdale aquarium opened last July and is home to 500 species of sea life, living in over 2 million gallons of water.  I guess if our desert ever runs out of irrigation water, we can always drain the fish tanks!

Our favorite feature of the aquarium campus, though, was housed next door in a place called “Butterfly World.”  A 3-D movie educated us on the butterfly life cycle, and then we were permitted to enter a greenhouse-like atrium which is home to over 3,000 butterflies of various colors and sizes.

My niece Vivienne was thrilled that two butterflies perched on her colorful clothing.  Her younger brother Rex didn’t have any such luck and was peeved that they weren’t attracted to him.  And the youngest, Locke, must not have received the memo about “don’t step on the butterflies.”  He’s only 1 year old, and his primal instinct is to step on any insect within leg’s reach.  And, he did.  When we left Butterfly World, it was home to 2,999 butterflies instead of 3,000.

On Saturday, we spent our energy on a short hike at Papago Park near the Phoenix-Scottsdale border.  The place was bustling with hundreds of other families taking advantage of the perfect weather, but we made our way to the summit at “Hole in the Rock” and enjoyed the view.  The afternoon was spent at the Clarendon Hotel, a boutique hotel in central Phoenix that has a great pool facility.  We called dibs on a cabana and soaked ourselves in the long hot tub while listening to relaxing music.  My brother had a celebrity encounter too: He recognized Geoff Rowley, famous skateboarder, enjoying the hot tub with us and struck up a conversation.  Geoff was in town for the PHXAM event.

I had to make sure everyone was well-fed, so our dining destinations were carefully selected.  I introduced my brother and his family to Los Dos Molinos on Camelback Road for Mexican food on Friday night, we ordered Spinato’s Pizza on Saturday, and I took them to Zookz for breakfast sandwiches on Sunday morning before the Odyssey started its return trip to Utah.

Thanks to Payton and Kali for bringing the kids down to spend a few days with me!  I’ll be finding miniature toy frogs in the couch cushions and closets for a few months yet.

Here is a 10-minute video introduction to my garage that my brother put together for his YouTube audience.

(Forgive my error on stating the GS 6-speed sedan was offered in 1993-94.  You all know it’s 1994-95!)

And 4 minutes’ worth of random scenes from throughout the weekend on my own channel.

Locke ‘riding’ a little motorcycle

Viv enjoying the backyard swing

Rex standing next to an orange tree in the backyard

Ready for our 3-D movie at Butterfly World

In the courtyard at OdySea just before grabbing lunch

Shark exhibit

Dinner at Los Dos Molinos Uptown

Breakfast at Zookz

Hiking at Papago Park

Locke, Vivienne, and Rex playing in the backyard

Couple other random pics from recent weeks.  My friends Todd and Josh have two Teslas!

My friend Kevin picked me up a “Chiriaco Summit” bumper sticker.  More on that soon!

And my ILX trip to Willcox was featured in Arizona Driver Magazine‘s March-April 2017 issue!

Have a great week!

New York City

Posted in Misc Travel on June 23, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,846

529846

Odometer (ILX):  84,912

84912

I stumbled with droopy eyes off a United Airlines flight at Terminal C in Newark, New Jersey at 6:14 a.m. on Saturday morning.  It felt like 3:14 a.m. to me on Arizona time, but my exhaustion was quickly put to rest when my friend Conor pulled up to the passenger pick-up area in his beautiful Satin Silver Metallic 2004 Acura TSX to provide the finest in luxury transport services.

Our destination was none other than the Big Apple:  Conor and my other friend Brad rolled out the red carpet for me on a two-day trip to New York City this weekend.  My last trip to Manhattan had been nearly 3 years ago.  I tried to convince Brad and Conor that I knew my way around but I would have been truly lost without them.

All it took was one step out of Brad’s place at 95th Street & 2nd Avenue after catching a quick power nap, and I said, “This weather is amazing!”  I hope each and every one of New York City’s 8 million residents had been enjoying it as much as I was.  By the way, that’s double the population of Los Angeles.  Saturday was an action-packed day of sightseeing and exploration, with key visits to Central Park, Grand Central Station, and Times Square.

Here are a few photos from our adventure.

The ILX took a chill pill in the East Economy lot at Phoenix Sky Harbor.

ilx_at_airport

Awaiting my redeye flight from PHX-EWR:  A full two hours early and wondering how I’ll ever be able to sleep on the plane.

airport_waiting

Early morning Saturday arrival in Newark.

ewr_morning

In a sea of yellow cabs, one car stood out:  it was Conor’s silver 2004 TSX.

conor_arrival

Driving through the Holland Tunnel which opened in 1927 and connects Manhattan with Jersey City, New Jersey.  It’s located underneath the Hudson River.

tsx_tunnel

Arrival at Brad’s place on 95th Street after our tour through town.

conor_tsx

A full 30-40 degrees cooler than home!  I enjoyed every second of this weather.

nyc_weather

nyc

This is how you get around in NYC.

subway_sign

For some reason this subway map is so much more overwhelming to me than a road map!  Stop here, transition here to another train, be mindful of special hourly constraints, so much to keep in mind.  Just give me some car keys.

subway_map

Tyson, Brad, Conor before brunch at a neat place called “Trend” located on the Upper East Side.

tyson_brad_conor

Central Park was bustling with activities, including a wedding and a couple of festivals.

central_park

We wandered up to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.

onassis_reservoir

Times Square with thousands of tourists.  The woman to my right was not amused by being in my picture.

times_square

Grand Central Station, which receives 21.6 million annual visitors.

grand_central

Bryant Park

bryant_park

ILX sighting!  I ended up seeing a few of these around.  In all our wanderings, though, we only saw two Legends:  A blue 1991 coupe and a gray 1987 coupe — both in Brooklyn, and both within a block of each other!

ilx

Dinner at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Chelsea.  Highly recommended.  But take note:  It’s cash-only!

grimaldis

Sunday morning, a trip to Conor’s place in Brooklyn Heights, complete with some important reading material.

tsx_records

… and a look at the “shrine” of Acura memorabilia in his living room.

tyson_at_conors

Brooklyn Heights Promenade — the best view of NYC in my opinion.

brooklyn_heights_promenade

Awakening Vanessa the TSX from her slumber for my shuttle ride back to EWR airport.

tsx_parking

Bon voyage!

tyson_conor_with_tsx

Last view. Vanessa, incidentally, turned over 128,000 miles en route that afternoon.

departure

I had a blast this weekend and I extend my thanks to my great friends for their hospitality!