Archive for the Road Trip Category

Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS) 2017 – Long Beach, California

Posted in California, Legend, Road Trip on September 25, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend sedan):  155,969

Trip Distance:  760 Miles

Hey, look who came home with a second place award!

This weekend, I drove to Long Beach, California to participate in the 13th annual Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS) along the banks of the Pacific.  It was not my first time being part of the event – in fact, I guess you could say I’m a bit of a seasoned veteran now.

Unfortunately, the “Neo” show – specifically dedicated to 1980s and 1990s cars – was suspended for 2017 due to a potential venue change, but special consideration was made for 20 spots in the “regular” JCCS show to allow for cars from that era, and I jumped at the opportunity.  There are awards given in a total of 25 categories — 3 of which are specific to Hondas.  By comparison, 8 are Datsun/Nissan and 6 are Toyota, so the Honda representation tends to be smaller at this venue.  I was glad to take part.

One highlight was also the fact that I wasn’t the only second-generation Legend in attendance.  Clarion, known in the aftermarket industry as one of the premier car audio companies, has just completed a build of a sound system inside a very clean 1994 Legend LS coupe 6-speed.  Jubal Leierer, Clarion’s Manager of Merchandising and Special Programs, was in attendance at NSXPO earlier this month and told me they’d have the Legend out at JCCS, which was exciting.  I’ll have a special post about that car in the coming weeks.

My trip to Long Beach took place last Friday, September 22nd.  I fought some westbound traffic on Interstate 10 getting out of Phoenix, which is to be expected during the afternoon rush hour.  Saturday morning I had a short 15-minute jaunt from my hotel in Torrance to the JCCS venue at the Queen Mary.  Right off the bat, I ran into a few friends at the registration line.

I was assigned a parking space next to a newfound friend, Daniel, who drives a 1990 Accord coupe 5-speed which he inherited from his grandmother.  It was a stunning blue color.  I also met a guy named Ryan who is the proud owner of a 1988 Daihatsu Charade.  It was the only Daihatsu entered in the whole show.  And it was mint!  Only 56,000 miles and a 5-speed manual.

The oldest vehicle on display was this 1965 Honda T500 pickup truck.

Throughout the day, I wandered around and enjoyed the scenery.  By 10:00 a.m., I was already ready to give the food truck vendor $17 for a grilled cheese sandwich with turkey and avocado.  It hit the spot.  My friends Davis and Joseph came out to say hello – Davis works at Honda in Public relations, and Joseph is a long-time Acura fan who painstakingly restored his 1992 Vigor recently.   During the 1960s, Honda ran a motorcycle ad campaign that said, “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.”

Well, I’ll second that statement!

My short video here:

Here are a couple of videos that my Legend made it into.

MotoManTV piece at 19:00:

And 1:39 here:

Westbound drive on Friday evening near Desert Center, California

Crossing over a series of bridges on the way to the Queen Mary in Long Beach

Check out this lineup of ultra-clean Honda CRXs

Meeting Marcus, owner of HeelToe Automotive

Very clean Celica

A whole rainbow of colors on display

Meeting the famous Tim “Merciless” Mings who is based in Duarte, CA and who specializes in restoration of Honda N600, S600, and Z600 cars.

Windows sticker of an old Z car

With lots of brochures and literature on display

My friend Chris H’s 1980 Honda Accord

Meeting the crew including Zac from Bring a Trailer, one of my favorite automotive websites.

Logan and Davis stopping by to visit

Joseph stopping to visit

This is Joseph’s “Royal Plum” 1992 Vigor.  It’s in great shape for 188,000 miles!

My friend Chris G’s two Preludes:  1986 and 1989.  They have 49,000 and 70,000 miles respectively.

Interior of the ’89 Si

Love this little foam core display board he had up in the rear window.

Pop-up headlights!

“Made in this 80s.  Loved by the ladies.”  This sticker was on a 1980s Nissan Pulsar.

Headed back to the desert via Hwy 91, Hwy 60, & Interstate 10.

Arrival in Phoenix around 11:00 p.m. on Saturday after an easy drive.

Labor Day Weekend 2017 – Palm Springs, California Trip & TL 100,000 Milestone

Posted in California, Road Trip, TL on September 5, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  554,713

Odometer (TL):  100,468

Trip Distance:  542 Miles

Cue the confetti.  We have another 100,000-miler in the house!

It’s rare for me to own a car with “only” an odometer reading of 5 digits.  In fact, the lowest mileage car I’ve ever owned aside from my 2013 ILX that I got new, was my 1994 Legend coupe that had 95,000 miles on it when purchased in 2003.  That car has come out of hiding a few times in recent days, and several of you have asked why I haven’t posted any updates.  Check out this sunset last night at the Phoenix Financial Center 19-story building on Central Avenue.

The Legend is still trucking along, and the building itself is legendary in its own way.  Constructed in 1964, it was designed to look like a computer punchcard.  My favorite story about its construction is that (Legend has it!) there is a time capsule within the building that was supposed to have been removed in 2012 which has never been found.  We’re now 5 years beyond that date!  I’d be tearing the place apart to find it.  Here’s the story of what I did this Labor Day Weekend.

Nestled at the eastern base of the 10,000-foot-tall San Jacinto Mountains, there’s a city in Southern California that’s made a name for itself as a popular weekend destination.  Palm Springs is home to 44,000 people and some of the best mid-century architecture in the country.  I’d be crazy to not take advantage of a 3-day holiday weekend, and it seemed like a perfect destination.  On Friday afternoon, a friend and I hit the highway and headed westbound to see what the city could offer us.

Luckily for me, my 2007 Acura TL was about to pass a pretty big milestone.  It took the car 10 years to rack up 100,000 miles.  I had to pull over about 30 miles east of Quartzsite, near the Arizona-California state line to celebrate and capture the occasion on video.

We rolled into the Hard Rock Hotel on Indian Canyon Road and valet parked the TL before going out on the town.

The next day was primarily spent lounging next to the pool, despite the fact that it was 104 degrees outside and we had little shade to work with.  One of Palm Spring’s roadside wonders is the “pink door house,” so we made sure to stop there on the way back to Phoenix on Sunday morning.  Bubble gum pink, it sure is.

More pics below from the weekend’s shenanigans.  Coming up later this week:  A flight to Milwaukee for this year’s “NSXPO” annual Acura NSX meet-up.  No, sadly, I won’t be driving out there.  But I’ll at least enjoy whatever festivities I can from the comfort (or discomfort?) of a rental car.

Roadside stop in Quartzsite with my copilot

Palm Springs in all its glory, set against the San Jacinto peaks

Our hotel for 2 nights

Best coffee (ahem, “koffi”) shop in town!  They have 3 locations.

The frozen white mocha hit the spot.

Other news:  I got to check out & drive my friend Daniel’s 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec last week!  It wasn’t my first time behind the wheel of such a car (see Maryland trip) but I greatly enjoyed a more thorough test drive.

Daniel’s car accelerates, handles, and looks like a true sports sedan.

I must say I don’t mind it one bit!  Give it a clutch pedal and I’m sold!

Another shot of the Legend + PSC building last night.

Road trip to Tucson & back today with coworker Amanda for work.

Lastly, remember how some Hondas of old had “5 speed” badging like this?

A friend told me about these $9.99 Amazon emblems that say “6 speed.”  I got one.  As a joke, I promise.  I’m not going to install this permanently!  But I thought it would be funny to mock up with Scotch tape for a picture.

The TL needed a quick pic too!

Have a great week!

Logan, Utah Weekend Trip: Family History, Tasty Food, & Great Roads

Posted in Road Trip, TL, Utah on August 16, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  554,414

Odometer (TL):  99,872

Trip Distance:  1,700 Miles

Merrill Vernon Hansen was my great-grandfather.  Born September 18, 1902, he would have been turning 115 years old next month, but he passed away before I was even 4 years old.  About the only thing I remember of him was when he’d stick his big finger in my face and say, “Are you grandma’s boy?”

Merrill was a man who I wish I had gotten to know better – along with so many of my other ancestors.  But one of the highlights of the past weekend in my home state of Utah was thumbing through a few of his books where he’d written messages inside the covers.  One such example was this page from his Holy Bible.  He was 21 years old and getting ready to depart for the “Eastern States Mission” for his church when he wrote this down on Friday, February 29th, 1924.  Not a bad penman!

Grandpa Hansen had a lot of preparations to do at that time.  A week and a half later on Wednesday, March 12th, he would be departing for New York City and spending the next two years of his live giving voluntary service, with very limited contact with family and friends back home in Utah.  So on March 7th, he bought shaving cream for 35 cents.  On March 8th, he got a haircut for a quarter.  And that same day, he bought flowers for his mother as well as for his girlfriend Della – who later became my great-grandmother.  Guess they did the trick.  Here was his expense ledger.

It was later in his life when Merrill opened up what we believe to be Cache Valley’s first automotive service station.  I talked about that here a few years ago.  He lived a long and prosperous life until his passing in 1985.

I was glad to learn a little more about Grandpa Hansen thanks to a weekend road trip up north.  In the 4 months I’ve had my 2007 TL, the poor thing has been stashed away in the garage for a good chunk of that time.  I decided to change all that – in a big way – by taking a 4-state, 1,700 mile journey to visit friends & family.

I had a special guest along for a good chunk of this ride:  My 87-year-old grandmother (and Merrill’s daughter), affectionately known to our family as “Lamb,” took the passenger seat for a time.  With a bad left hip and a frail build, she’s used to being transported in vehicles with higher step-in height, like her PT Cruiser or dad’s MDX.  So when she sunk into the cockpit of my car, she said, “In these sedans, you just disappear.”

I’d only driven a mile or two northbound on Highway 89 in Logan Utah with her and had to pull over one more time – grandma hadn’t fastened her seat belt so the car was warning me with its repetitive beep.  We got that taken care of.  We completed our shopping trip to Kohl’s for some bath towels and a lunch date at Cache Valley’s best pizza joint, called Fredrico’s.  Grandma is the most savvy shopper I’ve met:  We got $36 worth of merchandise for $2.71 thanks to her gift card mailer and some clever couponing.  Score!

Rewinding to the start of the trip, I experienced one of Arizona’s famous “monsoon” thunderstorms on Highway 93 between Wikieup and Kingman – drenching me enough that visibility was next to nothing and I became grateful for fresh wiper blades and grippy Michelin Pilot tires.  By sunset, I rolled through Las Vegas and then had only two hours left until my nightly stop at mom’s place in southwestern Utah.

After a workday in St. George, I motored 4 more hours north.  The TL makes a long-haul drive pretty effortless, thanks to its torquey V6 and low revs in 6th gear.  The sound system – I’ve said this before but it deserves another mention – is absolutely rocking.  You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Celine Dion “Us” blasting through an ELS Surround Sound System.  Most of Interstate 15 is set at 80 miles per hour speed limits so the farmland passes by with ease and quickness.

My friend Branson and I did dinner that evening in Salt Lake at one of my absolute favorite (though very “chain”) restaurants:  Texas Roadhouse.  I’ve known Branson for 14 years now.  We initially connected – this won’t surprise any of my readers – through the car community since at the time we were both driving Acura Legends.  His current Legend coupe, in fact, inspired my selection for the TL’s license plate, so it seemed appropriate that we lined the two cars up side by side for pictures.

Finally, on Saturday morning I hit northern Utah and southern Idaho.  My friend Ryan (guess what – met him through his old Legend, too!) introduced me to his current collection of Audis.  He has 6 cars and in that sense he “speaks my language” as a car hoarder myself.

I also had the opportunity that afternoon to visit the campus of Utah State University – born in 1888, and later, the institution that granted me a Bachelor’s degree in 2005.  The Business facilities have vastly improved since my time on campus but it was fun to roam around some of the same pathways and corridors I hadn’t seen in 12 years.

Dad took me and my niece Vivienne for an ATV ride a few miles up Providence Canyon near his home and we got to check out a couple of waterfalls.  He whipped up homemade tacos and we dined al fresco on his back deck in Providence overlooking the valley below.  The sunset across the Wellsville Mountains always seems a bit like a postcard.

The reason for the trip overall came on Sunday morning, when I transported grandma to Kaysville near Salt Lake City for a church service.  My 21-year-old cousin, Cache, just returned last week from his two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church.  His mission assignment geographically centered around Anaheim, California.  A congregation of about 200 people, including friends, family (like me), and other “ward” members gathered in the chapel to hear Cache address the crowd.  He recounted some interesting stories and words of wisdom.

Cache’s experience was a lot like mine:  I spent the years 2001-2003 in southern California on a similar mission.  Here my assigned “companion” and I were riding a tandem bike in September 2001.

These were some of the children in a family we taught in the community of Ramona.

Cache’s mom, my aunt Shelly, hosted an open house with enough food to feed everyone (times two) and then I hit the open road to continue my long southward trek home.

It was convenient for me to spend another night in St. George and visit a few more family members on my way.  I opted to take the more scenic way home via Fredonia and Flagstaff, Arizona as opposed to going through Las Vegas again.  It was a good choice:  Open roads, stunning scenery, and a to-go lunch of a chicken salad sandwich from grandma.

Hope you enjoyed being a part of this journey!

Branson doesn’t like the camera!  Here he was taking the TL for a spin.

Those rolls at Texas Roadhouse, though!

Odometer on Branson’s coupe.  He’s had it since around 120,000.

Garlic bread, dripping in butter, from Fredrico’s in Logan.

The home in Logan where I lived until I was about 13.

With grandma, and my brother Payton, at a family member’s gravesite.

Someone likes Buicks!

Figured I might as well cross off a state for the TL since I was only a few miles away.

It was around that time that it rolled 99,000 with Ryan at the wheel.

Ryan knew about a scale that we could drive onto at a nearby manufacturing plant.  We hopped out of the car.

The TL weighs 3,540 pounds without us in it.

Saturday night vibes – having gelato from Zeppe’s Italian Ice.

Scooter race!

Another page from Grandpa Hansen’s Bible.

How many choices do you need?  Maverik in Washington, Utah.  First time I’ve ever seen 88 octane “Clear Gas Ethanol-Free.”  I just went with Premium 91.

Jacob Lake, Arizona

Vermillion Cliffs, Arizona

My favorite piece of road.  This straddles the UT-AZ state line.

August Already: Group Drive to Gurley Street in Prescott, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, Integra, Road Trip on August 6, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (TL): 98,000

Odometer (ILX):  201,000

Odometer (Integra):  239,826

Trip Distance:  226 Miles

Just when I thought the Aztec Green on my Integra was an obnoxious color, my friend James had to get ahold of a 2017 Honda Civic Si in Energy Green and totally upstage me.  Talk about eye-popping.

This weekend, a few friends and I took a trip to the high country.  In all we had 12 participants and 6 cars out for the Saturday drive, including mostly Japanese cars but with a Domestic and a German for good measure.

  • 1992 Acura Integra GS-R 5-speed – Tyson and Brian
  • 2006 Acura RSX 6-speed – Jack and Jarett
  • 2017 BMW 430i M-Sport – Beau and Cole
  • 2017 Honda Civic Si 6-speed – James and Rob
  • 2017 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport – Matt and Alan
  • 2005 Pontiac GTO 6-speed – Kyle and Sally

I had the oldest vehicle by 13 years so I suppose it’s okay that I brought up the tail end of the pack for most of the drive.  Truth is, I gave that little 1.7-liter 4-banger all she had.  The relatively steep grade from Wickenburg (2,057 feet) to Prescott (5,368 feet) took us through one of Highway 89’s most curvy and technical sections in the state of Arizona.  But it also left me feeling like I was a little out of my league in terms of power and handling.

That didn’t matter; I was enjoying the scenery — not to mention the fact that the weather outside was 20 degrees cooler than we had back home in Phoenix.  I opened my moonroof for the first time since about April!

Knowing beforehand that one specific stretch of 89 is a notorious speed trap, we joked that James should take the lead in that unmistakable neon Civic and perhaps distract any highway patrol officers along the way so the rest of us could slide by at a good clip without the risk of getting pulled over.  I’m happy to report that nobody from our group had any run-ins with the law, which is admirable considering that Matt and Kyle, each with 400 horsepower at their command in the Q50 and GTO respectively, were in vehicles highly capable of breaking the speed limits.

Prescott, the Yavapai County seat and once the capital of the Arizona Territory in 1864, is a popular summertime destination for many Phoenicians like us looking to beat the heat.  Its 40,000 residents probably get used to seeing groups of sports cars and motorcyclists rolling through town almost every Saturday and Sunday during the warmer months.  Luckily for us, we had no issue finding ample parking near the walkable downtown district in a relatively new, 4-level garage.

The tougher challenge was finding a restaurant able to accommodate a dozen people without any reservations.  Gurley Street Grill, just a block away from us, saved the day and set us up in a comfortable spot on the back patio.  To the foodies of the blog audience, you’ll be pleased to know that I took a picture of my turkey croissant and side of cottage cheese.

See?  Even a pickle spear.

We enjoyed the mountain air and each others’ company before packing up and heading back to the Valley of the Sun.  There was some switching of passenger assignments and Rob accompanied me for the drive back, willing to put up with my loud little Integra’s 4,500 RPM whirr at 80 miles per hour as we made the descent down Interstate 17.  He also reminded me to fasten my lap belt.  The automatic shoulder belts in that car always make me forget that there’s another step in the process.  Thanks for coming along for the drive!  Some more news & info follow below.

Other Prescott trips for your reading pleasure:

Short video clip:

Heading into the town of Wickenburg.  We call it Wickentrash, but don’t tell anyone who lives there that.

Fuel and snack stop at Mobil along Highway 93.

Following Matt’s Q50 into the foothills of the national forest

On up the mountain, following Jack’s RSX

Arrival in Prescott on Highway 89

Town view as seen from our parking garage

Enjoying this visitor for a few days.  Brian, from Orlando, was here from Tuesday until Sunday.

Lunch on the Gurley Street Grill patio

Group shot.  Rob, Tyson, Matt, Alan, Cole, Jack, Brian, James, Sally, Kyle, Jarett, Beau

Here are some other news updates and reading links:

A/C Blog from Highline Car Care

Years ago I became acquainted with my friend Wes because he helped me take care of some preventive maintenance on a 3rd generation Honda Prelude I owned at the time.  Later, he did some work on a 1988 Legend coupe I was restoring.

Today, Wes has grown his auto repair business into one the Phoenix area’s premier facilities.  I thought it was interesting to read this informative write-up on how automotive A/C systems work and the importance of maintaining them.  At this point in the summer, we are all grateful for properly functioning air!

Roadkill 78 Lincoln Story

There’s something so cool about the concept of taking a 40-year-old car, hitting the open road, and seeing how many destinations you can hit in a 35-day road trip.  And that’s exactly what a couple of students did in this recent write-up on Roadkill.com.  I think you’ll enjoy the words and photos as much as I did.

Sunset time in the TL the other day.

Another fine AZ sunset, this time in the Legend sedan

Brian from Florida took my NSX on a trip to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon Friday.  It was about a 600 mile trip or so, I think.  He was thoughtful enough to snag this picture at one of the viewpoints.

On a related note, a friend sent me this a few days ago:  Someone posted on the NSX Owners Group on Facebook that his car had over 427,000 miles on it.  Not bad!  Guess mine may have some life left.

Some of Honda’s finest from the 1990s.  That Accord SE belongs to friend and loyal reader Hy.

And since the Vigor really is just a ‘grown up’ Accord, here’s one more pic for today.  It’s a Desert Mist Metallic 1994 Vigor at an auto show when it was brand new.  Thanks to reader Dillon for the awesome find!

Have a great rest of the weekend!

San Diego, California Trip & A Petrolicious Article

Posted in California, Road Trip, Vigor on July 18, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Vigor):  107,599

Trip Distance:  710 Miles

The Center of the World, as it turns out, can be anywhere you want it to be.

The (three) residents of the small town of Felicity, California think they’re the lucky ones who can claim such a title.  Passers-by on Interstate 8 between Yuma, Arizona, and San Diego California may look to the north of the highway and see a spiral staircase seemingly leading to nowhere.  It’s a 25-foot-tall set of stairs that were brought over from the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Also among the oddities on this site are a pyramid (it’s the desert, after all) and a small church set atop a man-made hill.  When my friends and I travel to southern California, Felicity is one of my favorite pit stops, and it was just one of the highlights a short & sweet trip to San Diego and back this past weekend.

For a change of pace, I pulled the 1994 Vigor out of the garage and put it to work.  After all, it had only been driven about 2,400 miles in two years and it hadn’t left the state since July of 2015 since I first brought it to Phoenix from Denver.  Luckily, the old Arcadia Green 5-cylinder was up to the task and made the trip flawlessly and in the comfort of nice cold air conditioning.  In all, there were 7 of us making the westward trek to escape the summer’s heat so a couple of friends drove separately.

San Diego’s weather forecast is among the country’s most predictable and comfortable.  The highest monthly average high temperature (in August) is 76 degrees and the lowest (in December) is 48 degrees.  To those of us who’ve been hitting triple-digit temperatures since the first week of May, it’s a perfect escape at only 5.5 hours away.  Plus, Yuma, at the halfway point, has a Panda Express.  Sign me up for that roadside destination.

James secured us a sweet 1910 era home on Myrtle Avenue via AirBNB which suited our needs perfectly and was located within a few blocks from the social activities which we wanted to attend.  It was located in the Hillcrest part of town, just north of Balboa Park and conveniently located not far from the I-8 freeway that we had come into town on.  I was able to stash the Vigor streetside for a couple of days and not have to worry too much about parking.  On Saturday I enjoyed the opportunity to throw a beach towel on the front yard under a shade tree and enjoy the cool breeze.  That afternoon, a few of us attended a pool party.

Here’s one heck of a chair.  Or a scene from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Our evening took us deeper into downtown San Diego, to the “Little Italy” part of town.  It was originally an Italian fishing neighborhood and today is home to some of the best Italian dining in southern California.  From our table at a restaurant on India Street called Civico 1845, I could see the harbor just a few blocks away and the open air dining was a nice refreshing break.  Not to mention – the food was phenomenal (albeit $22 for my entree).  At the end of the meal, our wait staff delivered a plate of tiramisu so James in recognition for his 31st birthday the day prior.  He graciously shared with the rest of us, and we burned off a few calories by walking down to the waterfront afterward.

For our return trip to Phoenix on Sunday morning, Rob took the passenger seat of the Vigor and we sampled its audio system while relaxing to Enya’s “Caribbean Blue” on CD.  The car’s motor whirred at 3,100 RPM.  One of my favorite stretches of interstate in the country is the piece of I-8 between In-Ko-Pah Road and Ocotillo, California, which descends sharply from 4,000 feet to seat level.  You can see old segments of US Highway 80 in certain areas, long since bypassed when the interstate took its place in the 1960s.

Thanks for coming along for the trip!

Fuel stop in Alpine, CA as we began our descent into San Diego

Brunch spot for Saturday morning

Rob, Tyson, James, Kyle, Jack

This wasn’t brunch; it was lunch.  But it was amazing!  From Luna Grill on University.

Departure time and loading up the car.

Saying farewell to our temporary home.

Stopping at the Center of the World in Felicity, California.

The Vigor, James‘ tester Genesis G80, and Jack’s RSX.

Here is some reading material for those of you who might not yet have seen it.  Petrolicious editor Alex Sobran asked me to put together a guest editorial for the site.  I was honored at the opportunity.  Petrolicious is one of my favorite automotive websites.  One day I’d like to collaborate on a video production with them.  Here is the article I put together.

Finally, a friend showed me a cool old TV commercial for the 1994 Legend coupe.  I thought it was great how the car is shown in a setting of such opulence and class.  I think you might have to have Facebook to view it, and can’t figure out how to embed the video here so see if the link works for you.

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!

Alex’s Legendary 6-Speed, 6-State Tour to the Pacific Northwest

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on June 19, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend sedan):  154,939

Trip Distance:  3,495.7

Who’s ready for summer?  If anybody needs me, I’ll be indoors for the next 3 months.

My friend Alex borrowed my car for a 3,500 mile road trip, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.

Most of us have driven a rental or loaner car before.  What are your driving behaviors in a rental car as compared to in your own vehicle?  Have you ever heard of anyone returning a loaner in better shape than when they picked it up?  Now I have.

There’s one car in my collection that rarely goes anywhere.  I call it the garage queen for a reason:  In 9 years of ownership, I drove it fewer than 20,000 miles.  I think it was driven in the rain only twice during that timeframe.  It’s garaged, preserved, and babied.  Well, that garage queen became a road trip warrior for an 8-day span when my friend Alex flew in from Fort Myers, Florida to take an epic west coast road trip including a visit at this year’s NALM in my 1994 Legend GS sedan 6-speed.

Alex’s route covered 3,495.7 miles and took him through 6 states.  His journeys were documented with several GoPro camera clips as well as over 200 high quality photographs.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime, and the only thing that could have made it better would be if I had been able to be a part of it with him in person.  Experiencing it after the fact through his thorough documentation is the next best thing for me, as well as for all of you!

Alex and his fellow Floridian Alan spent a good chunk of their NALM time perusing the local junkyards for Legend parts.  After having been discontinued from production for over 22 years, you can imagine a model like the Legend does not have very robust support for replacement parts.  As a result those of us who intend to keep our cars on the road forever have to resort to dumpster diving from time to time.  Among the treasures A&A found (and installed) on my Legend GS were:

  • Master window switch with functional auto-down
  • ‘Beauty bar’ plastic trim cover over front bumper hardware
  • Uncracked center A/C vent trim
  • Radio antenna
  • Upgraded chrome door strikers and matching bolts
  • Bracket for clutch hydraulic hose
  • Battery tie-down
  • Windshield washer fluid cap

When I cut south on Interstate 5 on Sunday, June 11th when NALM concluded in Sacramento, Alex went north in my now “enhanced” Legend GS.  He continued on up toward Portland, but he took the scenic route in doing so.  Among his stops were the massive drive-thru Redwood tree in Leggett, California called Chandelier Tree and some  scenic stretches of Highway 101 in southern Oregon.  (Thus the T-shirt!)

Alex took the time to stop for photographs at each state line he crossed.  He reported that the car performed near flawlessly.  The only issues to note:  The speedometer is inaccurate at higher speeds, sometimes reading up to 10 mph faster than actual speed.  The rear brakes are squeaking.  The radio volume controls from the steering wheel don’t work.  And it might be time for spark plugs (last changed in 2009).

But Alex completed his adventure on Wednesday, June 14th after having completed his nearly-3,500-mile road trip.  He flew back to Florida later that evening, but not before we took the NSX out for a bite & drink.

Thanks Alex for giving my old car a chance to see some parts of the country that many people will only dream of experiencing!  Here are just a few of the photos Alex took & shared with me (posted here in random order), and a short video showing a few GoPro scenes just prior to hitting the Oregon state line.

Alan at the wheel

Alex and Alan about to go junkyarding in the Sacramento area

Arizona state line

Bridge crossing

California state line

Chandelier drive-thru tree in Leggett, California

With me in the rearview!

Me being cheesy!

Lots of rain – thank goodness for those new wiper blades a week before the trip!

Traveling the Extraterrestrial Highway (Hwy 93 in Nevada)

So many stickers you can barely make out the sign!

NALM group at Lake Tahoe

Idaho state line – and the car visible in the far background

Semi truck with a pretty cool name / logo

Mountain scenery

More scenery all around

Nevada state line

Pacific Ocean

Oregon Trail information

Oregon state line

Another shot from NALM

Redwood National Park entry

Alan and Alex at Lake Tahoe

Tunnel crossing

Washington state line

Spreadsheet nerd that I am, thought some might appreciate this.  It’s a quick & dirty calculation I did the other day to see how many of the 22,401 miles that my car has been driven that *I* have actually driven them.

As it turns out, roughly 1/3 of the car’s mileage accumulation in those last 9 years have been from other people.