Archive for the Road Trip Category

Mike’s Integra, Memory Lane Pics, Steve’s Visit, & a Driveway Upgrade

Posted in Arizona, House, Model Cars, Road Trip, SLX on May 23, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (SLX):  178,689

We’ll call this post “automotive potpourri,” like the recent feature on my friend Tim’s blog.

Let’s kick things off with a for-sale listing, just because I’m all about helping a nice old car find a good home.  My friend Mike in Connecticut is selling his 1991 Integra RS Automatic with only 108,000 miles on it.

It needs some cosmetic work as there is rust on the right rear quarter panel and in a few other places.  But mechanically, the car is well sorted out.  In the past year, Mike has addressed the following:  Oil change, transmission service, springs, rear shocks (fronts were done a couple years ago), power steering pump & rack, timing belt/water pump, and the exhaust between the manifold and muffler. All of the above were done at an Acura dealership.  Mike’s not looking to get a ton of money for this so he’s open to offers.

The RS is a bare-bones model with manual-crank windows – probably my favorite thing about it.

There is also no moonroof.

Cloth seats are showing some wear.

Get in touch with Mike at mike.russo.66@gmail.com if this is something you’re interested in.  I wish I had room for it!

On Sunday afternoon, I met up with my friend Mirel who recently had some paint work completed on his 133,000-mile 1994 Legend LS coupe.

Mirel might be taking this one to NALM in Florida in October.

I also happened to be going through some old photos and came across a couple of gems.  This one shows me on my 18th birthday in my bedroom, which had been toilet-papered by friends.  A couple of things stood out to me:  The “Justification for Higher Education” poster, as well as the BMW 3-series convertible die-cast model car that I still have 19, years later.

This was from around 1999 in my 1989 Prelude Si, with my brother in the passenger seat.  It was taken in Logan Canyon in northern Utah, crossing a bridge.  I do miss that car a lot!

I finally got around to purchasing the 2015 CD album “Ludaversal” by Ludacris, which features his Cashmere Silver Metallic Legend on the album artwork.

It’s in my showcase now.

I received some “Precision” magazines which are Acura’s new publication that’s only distributed to dealers.  And me.  I have a special hookup!

I was going through odometer pics to prepare for my 567,890 which is coming up soon.

I had company from my friend Steve from Missouri who I’ve known for about 13 years now.  We initially met at NALM 2006 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  We took the SLX out to one of my favorite dinner spots called Hula’s Modern Tiki.

We also cruised around a bit in the NSX.

I took the Legend GS to work this week.

And drove the GS-R to a friend’s birthday party.

My friend Jason of Pawela’s Garage put together a window sticker replica for the SLX, complete with $35k pricetag.

Thanks Jason!

And finally, I had some work done at the house by having a contractor add some pavers to the front driveway to even it out, for ease of entry.  Check out the video and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Before & After:

Whew, I think that’s it for this week.  Have a nice holiday weekend, everyone!

Northern AZ Road Trip – Grand Falls, Snowbowl, & Bedrock City

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on May 12, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  214,556

Trip Distance:  475 Miles

Nerd Alert:  I have an Excel spreadsheet on my personal laptop entitled “Tyson’s Destinations.”  It has 198 locations on it, including the the state, a description, and the name of the person who recommended it.  As I visit the locations, I shade the lines in gray.  This past weekend, I shaded 3 more lines out, meaning I’ve now hit 52 which leaves a total of 146 left to see.

Completing the list could take me a while, considering the fact that I’m adding locations at almost the same rate that I’m crossing them off.  And some of them are not exactly around the corner.  For example, Key West, Florida has been nagging at me for some time.  Have a place you think I should check out?  Drop me a line; I’m always up for a new adventure.

On Saturday, I visited an Arizona waterfall larger than Niagara, named “Grand Falls” and known for its brown color.  But there’s a catch:  I missed the snow runoff season, and Grand Falls wasn’t so grand, after all.  It was down to just a trickle.  You see, Grand Falls only exists during a short window of time in the spring or after very heavy rains.  I took a gamble on the chance I might get to see something dramatic but was disappointed after about 10 miles of dirt road that it was pretty quiet out there.  At least the scenery was nice.

Here’s a picture my friend took of what Grand Falls “can” look like:

And here’s what I really saw.

The falls are 185 feet tall, whereas Niagara is 167 feet.  So you can bet I’ll be trekking back out to see the falls when the viewing is optimal.

Determined to not have the entire day be a “bust,” I proceeded to my next destination which was the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort.  It comes as a surprise to many, but Arizona actually does have a few ski resorts at higher elevations in the norther part of the state.  This one opened in 1938 and is a short drive up a fun, windy road from Flagstaff that reaches the lodge at 9,200 feet in elevation.  I encountered raindrops as I made my way up the mountainside and I watched the temperature dip from mid-50s to 41 in the matter of a few miles.

Amenities at the lodge were limited but I didn’t take a lot of time to explore.  There was still a fair amount of snow on the ground at that elevation, but it didn’t look like lifts were in operation at the time.  However, I checked the website and it said they were expected to be open at least one more weekend, through the 19th of May.  In fact, the site says that extended weekend makes this year’s season the longest in the resort’s 81-year history.  Too bad I didn’t have time to pick up a quick lift pass!

The last place on my checklist for the day was a step back in time to “Bedrock City,” home of Fred & Wilma Flintstone.  Over six years from 1960 through 1966, William Joseph and Hanna Barbera of Hanna-Barbera produced 166 episodes of the cartoon “The Flintstones.”  It became one of the most iconic TV shows in recent memory, and as a result it inspired lots of roadside Americana to go along with it.  In 1966, in Custer City, South Dakota, a Flintstones-themed 62-acre theme park was opened.  The same owner built a similar operation in Arizona in 1972, pictured here.

Both locations were sold and closed in 2019, but the buildings and some of the relics remain.

When I stopped by the Arizona version of Bedrock City on Saturday afternoon, I was greeted by a massive Fred and “Yabba-Dabba-Doo” sign.  A campground, gift shop, and restaurant were all painted in bright colors and architecturally designed to resemble the cartoon.  Luckily, despite being abandoned, it appears that vandals for the most part have left things alone in the 4 months it’s been closed.

A recent Arizona Central news article stated that the property will become “Raptor Ranch,” a showcase of birds of prey.  So perhaps there is another chapter to the location’s history as a tourist destination (or tourist trap, whichever way you see it).

I bid farewell to the dinosaur skeleton in the parking lot and headed home after a fulfilling day exploring the Arizona high country.  Thanks for coming along!

Here are a few more pics and a short video from my day on the road.

Headed out on backroads while finding my way toward Grand Falls

Puddles of Mud (isn’t that the name of a music group?) as a result of recent rains

Grand Falls, not so grand, but still a nice view

My 4×4

Better than rush hour traffic

Beginning the ascent to Snowbowl

A Yabba welcome at Bedrock City

Other updates for the last couple of weeks are below in random order.

My local Honda dealer congratulated me via email on being a member of the 100,000 mile club.  They’re only about 16 years and 460,000 miles late.

My friend Joseph picked up a sweet Acura Vigor

Which prompted me to take mine out for a spin

Jason clued me in to the fact that a street named “Acura Court” exists in LA.  I’ll be going.

I did a little junkyarding.  These Troopers didn’t have anything I needed.

A friend shared a quote from the reveal of the 1996 Legend (but named 3.5 RL in the states).

Integra outing to Tempe.

I got ahold of a rare OEM rubber cargo mat for the SLX.

Also found out that one local dealership still has Isuzu signage, despite the fact that Isuzu stopped selling passenger vehicles in the states 10 years ago.

I built a little bookshelf for my service manuals.

My friend Jack copied my pic from Baker at the World’s Tallest Thermometer.

I found some 1950s car ads.  Zoom and read some of these gems.

I sorted through my collection of “Style” magazine, which is now out of print.

I found out I still have a copy to the ignition key to my original 1989 Prelude Si.

And last weekend, i visited my friend Vlad’s garage, complete with RLX, Integra Type-R, and NSX.

Have a great rest of the weekend!

RADwood Las Vegas 2019: Hip on the Strip

Posted in Car Show, Legend, Nevada, Road Trip on April 30, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  161,272

Trip Distance:  606 Miles

Greg and Jennifer Davis hit a home run with their wardrobes at last Saturday’s “RADwood” 1980s-1990s car show in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Greg’s “1991 NBA Finals” cap looked brand new, and Jennifer’s T-shirt showcased none other than Pee-wee Herman, who from 1980 through 1992 had one of the most widely-recognized voices in homes across America.  I grew up watching Pee-wee’s Playhouse on Saturday mornings, complete with its talking chair and flying bicycle.

Paul Reubens, who portrayed the iconic nerdy character as the star of the show, is now 66 years old.  Isn’t it crazy how time flies?  For folks like me who grew up with our eyeballs on big-box Magnavox TV sets and who played in the yard with MicroMachines, it’s fun to reminisce about the cars & culture that surrounded us during that era.

RADwood is a venue that specifically showcases that kind of culture.  On Saturday evening in Vegas, I attended my fourth of such an event, and in my fourth different vehicle.  For prior write-ups, here are blog entries from the others I’ve been to:

Each show has had its own unique style and flavor thanks to different venues, timing, and extracurricular events.  The Las Vegas Convention Center hosted this one – the same massive show hall that serves as home base for the SEMA convention each year.  I rolled into the show in my 1994 Legend GS sedan, alongside my friend Dane in his 1992 Dodge Stealth R/T.

Brandon M, Brandon H, Dane, Tyson, Jay, and Ryan

My favorite vehicles weren’t necessarily the most eye-catching or exotic.  Instead, they were everyday vehicles that simply don’t usually get preserved to the level that these were.  I fell in love with a red pearl 1990 Toyota Pickup extended cab 4×4 at the Barrett-Jackson booth that was so clean, you could eat off the undercarriage.

I also struck up a conversation with the owner of an exceptionally pristine 1987 Acura Legend L sedan in Florence Blue.  The Legend, as it turns out, was a family heirloom from the owner’s father who cared for the car from new until he passed away in 2015.

His son has now gone to great lengths to restore and preserve it, complete with paint work, new leather, and a mechanical freshening.  It looked so pristine despite having 180,000 miles on it, and the period-correct “Golden State” California license plates really completed the overall look.

I had a short conversation with Brad Brownell from the RADwood leadership team.  “This is a litmus test for future events in this area,” he said.  In just the few short years since the event first kicked off, it has gained strong momentum.

The group’s Instagram following is approaching the 30,000 mark and there are events in the works for locations across the country and even in Europe.  I can only hope that Arizona gets its chance in the spotlight, and that they’ll allow me to show my entire fleet!

I recorded some of the action on my Sony Hi-8 Handycam in the below video.  I had hoped to capture footage using this 1985 Quasar VHS camcorder that I inherited from my grandmother, but I can’t get it to stay powered up.

Greg and Jennifer took home a well-deserved award for their 1991 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4, pictured below.  That award, in fact, was shaped like the “Aggro-Crag” obstacle that was part of the Nickelodeon TV series “Guts” which ran from 1992 through 1995.  Take me back!

Below are a few additional photos from a RAD afternoon in Las Vegas!  Thanks for reading!

Vegas-bound, and stopped for a photo on Legend Ranch Road off Highway 93

This was the write-up that I displayed with the car

Get Rad!

Ethan Tufts, who handles some of RADwood’s social media as well as his own site, linked here.

Loved this Porsche!

A visit from mom, and from Sunny from Salt Lake.

Exceptionally nice looking BMW M5.

Cruising the Strip after the show, as seen from my friend Jay’s Mercedes-Benz.

And some fun on the drive home:  My friend Chris in Baltimore and I have “twin” cars, and since we were both on the road at the same time on Sunday, we decided to stage some similar photos.  YooHoo beverages included!

2 for 1: NSX WestFest 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada and the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

Posted in California, Nevada, NSX, Racing, Road Trip on April 16, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (NSX):  115,508

Trip Distance:  1,100 Miles

The last time we talked, I was just getting ready for the third-annual WestFest NSX meet-up in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I had a great time interacting with my friends and seeing some of the sights and sounds of the area.  Friday, Findlay Acura in Henderson hosted us for an open house.  That night, I met up with a few local friends for dinner.  On Saturday, we went to Valley of Fire State Park.  I explored the Strip with Chris Tobias from AcuraConnected who had flown in from Edmonton, Alberta for the occasion.

Now, are you ready for a serving of alphabet soup?  Then come along for an NSX ride from NV to CA for the NTT-sponsored, IMSA-sanctioned, AGPLB.  Because, YOLO!  If that all flew over your head, it’s okay.  I’m new to the IndyCar thing, so I still have my training wheels on.

As the successful WestFest was winding down, my 1,000-mile, 3-state weekend road trip adventure was ready to move to the next chapter.  Accompanied by Chris, we saddled up in my trusty 1992 NSX and headed out on Interstate 15 to southern California bright and early on Sunday morning, April 14th.  We laughed as we passed a billboard near the Nevada-California state line that read:  “Get even before you get out.”  Unfortunately for both of us, we left Las Vegas a little bit poorer than when we’d arrived.

Our first destination was the world’s tallest thermometer in Baker, at the gateway to Death Valley.  But the real target was about 300 miles ahead:  the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, an IndyCar race that’s been around since 1975 which holds an important place in the IndyCar Series as well as in southern California car culture in general.  From the moment Andrew Quillin from Acura Public Relations greeted us at the entrance, the need for speed was resonating in the air, and the Acura presence was strong.

When designer Jon Ikeda took the driver’s seat of the entire Acura brand as General Manager in August 2015, he made it clear that he was looking to return the brand to a lineup worthy of its “Precision Crafted Performance” slogan from the early days in the 1980s and 1990s.  Now about 4 years later, Ikeda’s influence is evident in the return of A-Spec nomenclature, a performance focus that’s derived from the NSX halo car to other vehicles in the lineup, and most importantly a revitalization and expansion of the brand’s presence in the racing industry.

My trip to Long Beach for its 45th annual Grand Prix race has solidified my conviction that Ikeda was the right man for the job.  I was surrounded by the pride and innovation of the brand everywhere I looked.  Acura took over title sponsorship for the event from Toyota with a 3-year commitment just earlier this year.  Aside from the obvious branding and signage, there was an entire conference show hall filled with heritage Acura performance cars from over the years – preserved and displayed as a way to showcase the brand’s achievements.  And that’s before Chris and I even got to see the view from the Pit Suites.

The Long Beach Grand Prix is the 4th of 17 “IndyCar Series” races during the 2019 program year.  It is carried out on a series of public roads that are transformed temporarily into a racetrack for the occasion.  They are the same streets, in fact, that I drive when I attend the Japanese Classic Car Show each year – hardly recognizable among all the concrete barricades and bleachers.  Our perspective from the Acura Media Suite #21 faced south across Shoreline Drive – a stretch straight enough that the IndyCars are flying by at upwards of 175 miles per hour.  If it weren’t for the roar of a 12,000-RPM, twin-turbocharged engine, you could blink and never know a car went by.

Just two days prior to the “official” race, NSXCA President and awarded race driver Peter Cunningham blazed around the same 1.96-mile circuit in a production-spec Thermal Orange 2019 NSX, setting a lap record and making the rest of us all feel a little more inadequate about our skills behind the wheel.  The course itself has changed just slightly a few times since the 1975 inaugural year, but has been the same since 2000.  There are 11 turns with little margin for error – this is a lot more high stakes than the go-kart track I used as a kid.

Chris and I joined journalists from Motor Trend, Kelley Blue Book, and The Drive, along with a handful of senior leaders and their families.  It was the perfect perspective above the pits, especially being able to watch the speedy work of pit crews.  A Curva Red NSX Pace Car led the way through the course initially, and then 23 drivers put the pedal to the metal IndyCars right on time at the 1:42 planned start.  Luckily for us in the pit suites, we had visibility to bird’s eye and first-person camera angles on TV screens, along with live updates about the leaderboard for the 85 laps that were underway.  And they went by quickly!  In fact, the race took fewer than 2 hours from start to finish.

Alexander Rossi, 27, won the race with 20 second margin, his second consecutive win for the event.  This wasn’t his first impressive racing feat:  As a rookie in 2016, he won the Indianapolis 500.  And his time behind the wheel started many years prior to that:  Before he raced IndyCars, he got his childhood start championing go-karts.  Rossi was up against some stiff competition, including Marco Andretti – grandson of famous racing legend Mario Andretti.  It seems that an appetite for speed runs in the Andretti family.

The sights and sounds of an IndyCar race gave me a glimpse of why the racing lifestyle can be so addicting.  The culture and community around the entire atmosphere provide endless entertainment even if you’re not a race fan.  If you’ve never been to an event like this, I highly recommend it!  Now, if only Acura had let me throw my 115,000 mile, 27-year-old NA1 NSX around the curves for a couple of laps!

Below is a 5-minute video and a series of photos from the conclusion of WestFest and the AGPLB.

Group shot from WestFest on Friday

I met up with Brad, who drove down from Boise, Idaho with his wife Linda in their immaculate Formula Red.  Pictured here also is my local friend Brandon, who has a Legend and a TL-S.

Long Beach Blue is still my favorite color.  Fitting that I left this event to go directly to Long Beach.

With some lovely ladies inside the dealership.

Evening meet-up at my friend Jeff’s place in North Las Vegas, with Romeo and his Legend.

Here’s Jeff, who went from a 1989 Legend to a 1993 Legend to a 2003 CL-S to a 2008 TL-S.  I’ve known him for over 15 years now.

Best fajitas in town, thanks to Michoacan restaurant.

Jeff, Tyson, Nick, Brandon, Romeo

Saturday morning on the escalator with Chris and Nick

Valley of Fire drive

Group shot – I actually didn’t make it into this one!

Banquet dinner back at Gold Coast

The Bellagio casino’s fountain show was set to the Game of Thrones theme song.

Rolling 115,000 in the NSX on Sunday morning.  I bought the car with 80,000 on it in 2011.

Arriving at the Acura Long Beach Grand Prix with Andrew.

Headed to the Pit Suites

Woot woot!

Andrew and his wife Katie

Marco – grandson of Mario – Andretti was one of the drivers.

Acura head of Public Relations, Matt Sloustcher, with his wife and son.

Display booth inside the convention center, complete with a 1986 Legend and 2001 Integra Type-R

Events throughout the day

Thanks for coming along!

NSX WestFest 2019 Kickoff, Honda “Past”Port, Acura TLX PMC Edition

Posted in Integra, Nevada, NSX, Road Trip on April 11, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (NSX):  114,545

Greetings from Sin City!  I’m reporting to you from the hub of the action here where the third-annual NSX “WestFest” is kicking off this evening.  I had a dentist appointment on Tuesday morning and in between “say ahhhh” moments, my dentist was asking about any upcoming plans for the weekend.  “I’m going to Vegas for a car convention,” I told him.

This evoked all sorts of Q&A:  What happens at a car meet?  Do you all really drive the same model?  Do you race them?  And so on.  It kind of cracks me up that the concept is foreign for a lot of people to imagine.  And that’s perfectly okay.

It would be like someone telling me they’re going to a comic book convention: I’m completely illiterate on such a hobby, but I’d be fascinated to learn what goes on there.  Maybe I need to give up cars and take up collecting something smaller and less expensive.  Though some comic books probably outprice the cars in my garage.  I digress.  My dentist thought it was a cool weekend plan.

Tonight, some 65 or so Acura NSX models from 1991 through 2018 will roll in to the Gold Coast Casino here just west of the Las Vegas Strip.  Tomorrow’s festivities will include an open house at a dealership in Henderson, a poker run, dinner at South Pointe, and a club night out at VooDoo Lounge.  Friday will take us to the Valley of Fire State Park, a BBQ lunch, and back to the Gold Coast for a closing banquet and awards ceremony.  Sounds like a good time to me, so let’s get this party started.

Should I plunk down some $20s at one of these slot machines?  Be right back.

If you’re new to WestFest and its happenings, here are write-ups from prior events in 2017 and 2018.

Below are some other automotive-related updates for my viewers – because, well, you asked for it!

I noticed HondaPro Jason stopped at In-N-Out in Kingman, AZ yesterday.  So I re-created his same photo.

Fortune from Panda Express:  “You shall attain great wisdom with each passing year.”  Well, great!

There’s nothing quite like an Arizona sunset.  This taken just south of Hoover Dam on Highway 93.

Weekend road trip in this old thang?  Why not!

I think I found the group.  That Thermal Orange, though!

Here are a few bits of news from recent weeks.  My friend Robert contacted me about a 50″ by 60″ poster he’d had in his garage for many years.  He gifted it to me for display in the garage — it’s the 2002-05 NSX on the wall in the below photograph.  Coincidentally, I already had a similar picture from many years ago that shares the exact same size & material.  They look great together.

On April Fools Day, automakers stepped up to the plate in a big way to come up with clever ways to prank us.  I especially liked what Honda did with a short video on the “PastPort” model – reminiscent of the 1990s.  You can watch the video here.

Honda’s social media team even responded to my comment.

The SLX took a trip to the mall.  “Check Trans” red light flashing (bottom left).  It happens sometimes.  SLX life, yo.

I went to Scottsdale Cars & Coffee on Saturday morning to meet up with a few friends including Vlad who drives a whole fleet of remarkable cars, but even though most of them are near-new, this 20-year-old Phoenix Yellow (aptly named) Integra Type-R is probably his current favorite.  It is a rare model from the year 2000 with only 31,000 miles on it.

The “R” cars (Integra Type-R and Integra GS-R) looked nice together while we had breakfast at Village Inn down the street.

And finally, check out this special edition:  Now going into its sixth model year, the TLX will be offered in a rare hand-built variant called the “PMC Edition,” assembled at the famous Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Ohio where the NSX is built.  The PMC TLX goes on sale this summer and will be limited to only 360 individually-numbered units.  Talk about exclusivity!  Do I need one?

You’ll recognize that brilliant Valencia Red color; it was formerly only offered on the NSX itself.

What if I could get my hands on # 001 / 360…

Have a great weekend – you probably won’t hear from me until after all the hustle and bustle of this Vegas adventure is over.  Because I happen to also be going to Long Beach on Sunday for the “Long Beach Grand Prix” race event.  Two big programs, all in a weekend?  Yep.

Over and out.

NALM 2019 Registration is Live! Legend Anniversary, HPJ Visit, & Tucson NSX Event

Posted in Legend, NALM, NSX, Road Trip on March 31, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend coupe):  565,337

Odometer (Legend sedan):  160,602

The time has come!  The National Acura Legend Meet, otherwise known as NALM, is accepting participant registration for its 15th annual event.  Launched in 2005 in Dallas, Texas, NALM has been held in 14 cities around the country and this October will have its first event in Florida.  Here is a blog what shows photos and videos from each year / location.

Hosting this year’s event will be Alan Jackson, Alex Alperovich, Chris Miller, Thomas Stinson, and myself.  The festivities will kick off on Wednesday, October 9 in Ormond Beach along the Atlantic coastline, with a full roster of activities concluding on Saturday evening with a dinner and awards ceremony.  For me it’ll be a 5,000+ mile road trip, but I’m up to the challenge and excited to drive Interstate 10 end-to-end across the country.

Here is the registration link on Google Forms.  The cost is $85 through the end of August, and the fee includes a T-shirt, NALM-sponsored food events, access to all activities, lanyard with name badge, sticker, and awards/prizes.  Keep an eye on the forums for more information about schedule and other announcements.

Special thanks to Jason of Pawela’s Garage for some awesome graphic design including the above logo & below announcement!

There are all sorts of anniversaries taking place.  I’ve now had my Legend coupe for 16 years and put around 470,000 miles on it.  I decided to drive it to work on the anniversary date, March 26, and snapped a photo before heading to the office.

Current odometer:

I was pleased to share the anniversary date with Patricia, the original owner of the car, who reported that she was enjoying her time in South America and wished me another happy “sweet 16.”

I also heard from Acura General Manager, Jon Ikeda, who wrote a very nice and meaningful email about how proud he is of the vehicles themselves as well as the people who manufacture them.  This guy knows what’s up!

Mom even made cupcakes for the occasion.  Thanks, mom!

The Arizona region was happy to have a special guest in our presence earlier in the week:  Jason “HondaPro” Richmond of Chicago was passing through the area and joined a Taco Tuesday meet up at Dos Gringos in Tempe.  I stopped by to greet everyone briefly.

Over the last 7 years, Jason has been a traveling “brand advocate” for Honda – meeting with dealerships, training their staff, and building a massive social following / community for brand awareness.  Here he was chatting with Chris Sadowski, who recently completed a right-hand-drive conversion on his 2G Integra.

Jason’s Civic Type-R is the only one in the country painted yellow.

Yesterday morning, I made the 2-hour drive to Tucson bright and early in my NSX for an event hosted by Chapman Acura.  The dealership provided hospitality and refreshments for about 20-25 cars including a surprisingly high volume of second-generation (2017+ NSX models).  When the group split a little after 10:00 a.m. to make a Mount Lemmon run, I headed back to Phoenix.

Halfway to Tucson at ‘Picacho Peak.’

Thermal Orange Pearl 2019 model front & center.

Both of these ones were rebadged as Hondas.

Love the aero treatment & wheels on Adrian’s Formula Red car here.

The SLX is chugging along and occasionally even gets freeway use.  I dared take that top-heavy box to 75 miles per hour the other day.  Haha.

Also, I am continuing to make enhancements to the house / showroom.  I recently added $14 worth of LED strip lighting to the glass showcase.  Fun little upgrade!

2 Dayz Exploring AZ: 300-Mile Road Rally to Sedona & Flagstaff

Posted in Arizona, Integra, Road Trip, Vigor on March 25, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Vigor):  113,079

Odometer (Integra GS-R):  251,087

Trip Distance:  316 Miles

Sometimes you just need to get away on a road trip to clear your head on an open interstate.  And sometimes that relaxing road trip morphs instead into an energetic hodge-podge of friends & vehicles, romping through the hills, braving tourist traffic, and occasionally getting a breath of fresh air.  I joined about 20 friends this weekend on a 300-mile excursion that became just that type of experience.

This group outing was born as a creation of my friend Saifonh, who emerged as a planning leader for what started as an overnight rally to view the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  The route was later modified, the pit stops solidified, and the invites distributed.  Unlike most of the travel adventures I write about on this blog, this one wasn’t just for a specific make, model, or era of car.  This was open to anyone and everything – from a 415-horsepower Chevy SS muscle sedan 6-speed to a people-hauler Toyota Sienna XLE.  And that’s what made it fun.

We joked over the walkie talkies during a particularly technical section of Highway 89A that the Sienna, owned by my friend Ben, was doing a great job at hustling through the curves while keeping all of its juice boxes safely contained in cupholders.  And to be fair, the Sienna was likely the most comfortable ride of the entire bunch.  Between it and Corey’s LX450, there was room to pick up a few hitchhikers (or a soccer team) but the need never came up.  Maybe next time.

The drive route itself started on Saturday morning at my home in Central Phoenix, which happily opens its doors for friends and visitors as long as they agree to sign my (now 36-page) guest book.  I added a few line items to it as friends poured in and sampled pastries and orange juice before saddling up for the drive.

My friend Ryan made the trip from Utah to be a part of this adventure, so it seemed only fair that I’d provide his rental car.  Of the 7 available vehicles for the picking (my SLX is in for a transmission service), his weapon of choice was the Vigor.  I decided to take the Integra GS-R.  Joining our Acura family for the trip was Brandon in a TL Type-S.

We made our ascent on Interstate 17 and moved toward Prescott Valley, where the first checkpoint of our rally would have us meet up with Dane from Las Vegas in a red hot 1992 Dodge Stealth R/T.  Dane followed in line as we moved on through Highway 89’s twisties to the old mining town of Jerome which was bustling with tour buses & rental cars.

Knowing that a group of our size was unlikely to find a place for lunch there, we pressed on to Sedona just 28 more miles away.  Our lunch spot couldn’t have been prettier:  We were perched atop the mesa adjacent to the Sedona airport – luckily “Mesa Grill” was able to accommodate us on the patio.  Even Chepe the pup was welcome.

The last piece of road we got to experience on Saturday was my favorite of the day:  Oak Creek Canyon.  It winds through hairpin two-lane curves through the wooded forests and past dramatic red rock formations.  Though certainly best experienced in a sports car in fast motion, poor road conditions and heavier traffic forced us to take a leisurely pace, but I actually didn’t mind.  I had my moonroof open and a buzzy little 1.7-liter go-kart at my command and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Our evening was spent at Southside Tavern on San Francisco Street, which graciously opened its entire back room for our party.  The group had a chance to relax and unwind after a hectic day on the road, and the mac & cheese bites offered a tasty snack.  By the time I got to Econo Lodge on Milton Road, I was ready to call it a night.

Ryan and I made a move pretty early the next morning and fueled up the vehicles (frosty from the night’s cool temps) before heading southbound for the 140-ish mile trip home to Phoenix on Interstate 17.  Thanks to our walkie talkie communication mechanism, we were able to banter back and forth for a couple of hours and it made the time fly by.

In fact, I think in the entire 300-mile loop and nearly 6 hours in the car, I never even turned on my radio.  Not that the AM/FM cassette would have given me much entertainment anyway.

Thanks for coming along for the trip!

Here in alphabetical order was the list of 15 participating vehicles.

  • Acura Integra
  • Acura TL
  • Acura Vigor
  • Chevrolet SS
  • Dodge Dart
  • Dodge Stealth
  • Honda Accord
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Lexus IS350
  • Lexus LX450
  • Mercedes-Benz ML430
  • Mercedes-Benz SL500
  • Porsche Boxster
  • Porsche Cayman
  • Toyota Sienna

Pre-departure breakfast

Kevin’s Accord Sport – loved this car!

Driver meeting hosted by Sai

Sai and George

That’s an experience – getting passed by my own car.  I enjoyed the view.

First checkpoint – Prescott Valley, Arizona

Corey’s LX at 270,000+ miles was the high-mileage king!

Onward we go.  I was behind the Cayman.  Far behind at times, haha.

Green machines atop the hill in Sedona.

Mesa Grill – our lunch spot near the airport.

And dinner spot – every good road trip revolves around the food, right?

Corey and Sai

Crisp Sunday morning in Flagstaff.  It got down to about 30 degrees.

I’m used to seeing all of this in my Integra.  Check engine, ABS, and 4,000+ RPM.  It’s fine.

Dropping off Ryan at the airport later that afternoon.

Couple last bits of news:  Check out this cool article written by my friend Nyko de Peyer about his recent inside look at the Acura Design Studio in California.

And get over to Bring a Trailer right this instant so you can view (and maybe bid on) my friend Dave Ekiss’ 1999 Integra in Supersonic Blue.  You need this car.  I need this car.  Some lucky person is going to buy this car.

Have a great week!