Archive for the Road Trip Category

Quick Retreat: Exploring Southern California with Vigor [Featuring the Honda Museum!]

Posted in California, Road Trip, SLX, Vigor on July 17, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Vigor):  114,000

Trip Distance:  856 Miles

I was pulling up to the emissions check station for the 2-year smog check in the 1994 Vigor this morning when the odometer turned exactly 114,000.0 miles.  Small miracles like that have a way of making my day.

Then I extended my arm to rest my elbow on the window sill while waiting for my turn.  I’m pretty sure I got a second-degree burn from the temperature of the surface.  This Phoenix heat doesn’t mess around:  It’s like opening up the clothes dryer, crawling inside, and setting the timer for 40 minutes of permanent press.  But that’s OK.  We have the refuge of various refreshing beaches within a half-day’s drive.

My friend Dillon was paying us a visit from the east coast, all the way from North Carolina.  Dillon is a long-time friend and fellow automotive enthusiast, so he was a great road-trip companion for the roughly 900-mile weekend trip to Southern California.

Our trip took us first to the exclusive and private Honda Collection Hall, located just a block from the American Honda corporate office in Torrance.  I’d heard that it would be open for an informal open house / reception, and since Dillon and our other accompanying friend Joseph had never been inside, we decided to check it out.

My favorite artifact in the museum was the Laurel Blue Metallic 1990 Accord LX on display with over 1 million miles on it.  That’s right – we were in the presence of high-mileage royalty:  “Million Mile Joe’s” car, which made it that distance on its original engine and transmission.  Joe was recognized with a parade and a free car, but unfortunately has since passed away.  His Accord lives on under the caretaking hands of the curators of the museum.

No trip to CA is complete without its share of traffic, and we were dealt a hefty serving of it.  It took us about 4 hours to go the < 200 miles from Los Angeles to San Diego where we’d be spending the remainder of our weekend.  But the company was enjoyable and the cooler temps made for a prime opportunity to put the windows down and enjoy the scenery as we rolled southbound, with occasional views of the Pacific Ocean from Interstate 5.

We met up with another Vigor owner, Ryan, for lunch on Saturday as well as Mike with a Mustang and Jason with a Civic.  It was a rare sight to see the 3 Acura Vigors in one parking lot together, and in fact, during some photos at the stadium next door after lunch, we even (unintentionally) parked them in proper order, from model years 1992, 1993, and 1994.

All said and done, the trip was just what the doctor ordered to cool us down a bit.  Here is a 9-minute video celebrating the 4 years I’ve owned my Vigor (since 4th of July, 2015) as well as highlights fro the California adventure with Dillon and others.  And below are some other news updates from in and around the garage.

In other car updates, the RL got a wax job and is looking great for 210,000 miles.

Recent visit from a few friends.

Supporting my friend Ethan from Hello Road with a T-shirt.  Give his channel a look!

I loved this del Sol ad that I found on Facebook.

Cruising the ‘Sol with my buddy Kurt.

Musical cars.

RL at a housing development called “The New Legend.”  Fitting.

Tail end of Joe’s car

A couple great cars in the museum

Beach time near Belmont Park

Dropping off Dillon at Sky Harbor on Monday night

The ‘new’ (red) SLX is coming along.  I’m getting mixed reactions from followers who have kept up with the progress so far.  A few have said that the vehicle would be better suited as fire kindling in the backyard given its condition.

Others are 100% supportive of continuing with restoration efforts to see what I can make of it.  I don’t intend to go all-in with effort & expense.  At this point the objective is just to ensure roadworthiness and make it look decent enough for a Radwood car show.  I’m pretty much there.  I showed it for its first time two Saturdays ago, at the Scottsdale Pavilions show on July 6.

Dining out while at the show.

Here are 2 more episodes from my YouTube if you haven’t seen them already.

Engine detail

Nice results!

New wheels

12+ new hoses thanks to Hon-Man

Should I have gone this direction with the rebuild?

Re-Purchased 14 Years Later! Mom’s Old 2000 3.5 RL Comes Back for Round Two

Posted in RL, RLX, Road Trip, Utah on June 30, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (RL) – 2005:  23,077

Odometer (RL) – 2019:  210,000

Trip Distance:  722 Miles

This isn’t the first time I’ve done it.

I bought back my 1986 Chevy Celebrity 5 years after I’d sold it.

I bought back my 1991 Prelude Si 4WS 4 years after I’d sold it.

And now I’ve bought back an Acura RL 12 years after my mom sold it.

Let me introduce you to my library of car maintenance binders.

Automotive archaeology – sometimes people call it “Car-chaeology” – is pretty much my favorite thing ever.  Each of my vehicles has a painstakingly-created 3-ring binder about its history and the road that it’s driven.

Here are a few examples of things you’ll find in my history books:

  • Receipts or other paperwork / artifacts discovered inside the vehicle
  • Prior owners’ information – even articles written about those individuals if available
  • Printouts from Zillow of the home(s) where the vehicle has lived
  • Google street view of the dealership where it was sold originally
  • Carfax report, AutoCheck report
  • Maintenance records
  • Copies of the former owner’s title
  • An original or a replica window sticker
  • Printouts of email correspondence with the seller
  • Screen shots of any ads or listings it was included in, individual ad as well as search results
  • Color printouts of photographs – most importantly, a key handoff (usually on the cover page)

Each time I buy a car, I think of the original owner in this context:  “How cool must XX individual have felt to be buying this brand new in such-and-such year?  Why did they option the car this way?  Was it his or her dream car?”  And whenever possible, if I can get ahold of that person’s name, I’ll actually seek them out and ask those questions.  It’s worked almost every time.

In fact, I was even able to reach the original owner of my Acura NSX from three prior owners ago.  Call it stalking, call it insane, call it whatever you want.  That one was worth the investigative effort.  After snail-mailing an envelope in 2012 with current pictures of the car to the name and address of the individual on a receipt from 20 years earlier, several weeks went by, and I got an email which read:

That is indeed my NSX.  I was really interested in owning one from the time they came out….  I drove it on weekends and sometimes on Friday to work.  I was racing formula cars at Laguna Seca at the time, so I drove it to Monterey once a month and parked it with the Ferraris, Porsches, and the occasional Lambo that the other racers would bring.

William went on to talk about how he missed the car.

The point is, there is so much cool history to be uncovered about each and every vehicle in our driveways.  I remember that my mom’s original 1993 Legend L sedan had spent a fair amount of time in Maui, Hawaii before coming back to the lower 48.  I always thought to myself, “Man, if this car could talk.”

Which brings me to my latest chapter of had-to-have-it vehicles purchases (in recent weeks, followers will acknowledge, there have been several – see del Sol and SLX).  I have to start at the beginning of the story for it to make any sense at all.

It was April 2005 when I was helping my mom find a daily driver to replace her 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited.  I was 23 years old and eager to facilitate, so I was all over the classifieds.  I’d found a super clean 2000 black on black 3.5 RL in the Bay Area, but mom wasn’t keen on the black leather interior.  I ended up flying to Santa Ana airport in Los Angeles on April 30th to buy one with a tan interior.  Except, I showed up at the dealership and the exterior color was not black; it was dark gray.  And the car smelled like smoke.  I was deflated and angrily left the dealership in a taxi cab with a Korean driver without any plan in motion.

Then I remembered the black car a few hours north in SF, so I reached out to the owner to see if he still wanted to work anything out.  He did, we settled on an $18,500 sales price, and I booked another flight out of Santa Ana.  Given the last-minute nature of the decision, there were no financial arrangements in place.  The seller, Terry, picked me up at the airport and we went to his home.

The timing challenges (this was a Saturday afternoon just after closing time) meant I was not able to pay for the car right away.  I ended up spending the night at Terry’s house.  It was among the most awkward car-buying experiences I’ve ever had.  This was well before the days of Uber, and I was too young to rent a car, so I was effectively ‘stranded’ at Terry’s until we could get him paid.  I hand-wrote in my journal:

This has been the longest day of my life.  Made it to SFO and Terry picked me up.  He lived in England 30 years and I love the accent.  He was in his 209k mile Mazda 929.  The Bay Bridge was way backed up, so it took a while to get to his house in El Sobrante.  Nice neighborhood!  The RL was cozy in the garage.  It is MINT.  Holy cow is it ever.  23,043 miles and it looks like new…  Terry said I could stay at his place.  He and his daughter are out to dinner and I’m home alone!

Mom and dad rushed to a banking branch that was open the following morning, a Sunday, in Las Vegas 90 minutes away from them and wired the funds.  Then I was finally set free by late morning to drive the 11 hours home in mom’s new black RL.  I had written these driving directions in my journal.  Remember, this is way before Siri could tell you where to go.

Mom drove that RL for two years and rolled the odometer to right around 50,000 miles.

Then she passed it along to my uncle Brett in 2007 who used it as his daily commuter in northern Utah.  I saw the car in passing a few times at family functions, and he kept it up nicely.  He later passed it along to his son (my cousin) Chad who took it over as a newlywed in the Provo area and continued to put on some miles.  The car was faithfully maintained but required a transmission overhaul at around 125,000 miles.  Time marched on.

Chad sent me a text on June 13, 2019:  “You ready to add another car to your fleet?”  I was on my way at the time to Los Angeles for the Honda 60th Anniversary event and I had a lot on my mind, so I didn’t say yes right away.  In fact, my first thought was, “This is the worst timing ever.”  As you’ll recall, my current garage is already beyond full with recent del Sol and SLX acquisitions.  But Chad sent some picture of the RL, now with about 209,000 miles on it, and I took the chance to sleep on it and think it over.

In the end, I decided it was too cool of a chance to pass up.  The car and I have both aged, but with a little elbow grease and a little luck, it’ll still be reliable for a few years to come.  What I’ll do with it I’m entirely unsure.  As a car collector, does it even matter?  For me it’s an artifact of my early 20’s and a reminder of my younger years.  Its model year is the same year that I graduated from high school.  Buying it is almost like some sort of long term automotive dream finally happening almost 20 years later, even though I’ve already gone on to own or drive plenty of far superior / more desirable cars over the years.

Chad picked me up at the Salt Lake International Airport on the morning of Tuesday, June 25th.  I had premeditated the sequence of events a few times in my head:  Dropping him off at his office, and proceeding to southern Utah to have lunch with mom and re-introduce her to the car that she hadn’t seen for well over a decade.  And that’s pretty much exactly as it played out!

I caught a 6:45 a.m. flight out of Phoenix that put me in Salt Lake at 9:15 local time.  Chad scooped me up in my “new” car, and took care of business.  The drive home – all 700+ miles of it – was uneventful, and that’s just the way I like them!  I had forgotten what a smooth ride the first generation 3.5 RL is – the car took everything sporty about its Legend predecessor and numbed it down.  That means it makes for a great long-haul highway cruiser.  Even the armrest on driver door panel is soft and cushy.

Mom enjoyed the reunion as well!  I made sure to catch her reaction on camera.  Check out the 5-minute video below!

And by the way, those headlights cleaned up nicely with some polishing from a 2-step kit from Meguiar’s.  Crystal clear now.  Thanks for hearing me out on my latest Acura-quisition.  Now let’s see how much fun I can have with it.

Window sticker that has somehow gotten lost over the last 14 years

The first odo when I got the car was 23,043, but I didn’t take a picture until 23,058

Back at home in St. George (with Legend in the background) in 2005.

Initial odometer reading on June 25, 2019

Interior still looks good!

A friend’s entertaining reaction to my continued automotive purchasing madness

Fuel up in Nephi, Utah

2000 RL + 2016 RLX

Home safe and sound!

Before / After of headlight restoration!

Visit from friends Davis & Baron this weekend! They just departed on a cross-country trip in a modified Honda Passport.

Quick Trip to LA for Honda’s 60th Anniversary in the United States

Posted in Legend, Road Trip, SLX on June 22, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  566,392

Trip Distance:  764 Miles

Sixty years is quite a while.  When American Honda first launched in the United States in 1959, the company only sold two-wheeled vehicles.  At the time, Honda was operating out of a small storefront on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles.

As part of some anniversary festivities, the American Honda main office in Torrance celebrated with an employee/retiree car show.  I was given the opportunity to participate as well, and I picked the car that most “needed” a road trip because it hadn’t seen one in a while:  The Legend coupe.

I’m pleased to report that the car performed flawlessly for the 800-mile round trip trek.  Among the ‘celebrity’ encounters were Acura General Manager Jon Ikeda and renowned vintage Honda restorer Tim “Merciless” Mings.  Tim played the lead role in the comprehensive restoration efforts for “Serial One” – the first vehicle that Honda sold in America.

Here is the video about the restoration of Serial One.

Below are some pics, and here is my video on the Honda 60th.

Nicely set up G1 TSX at the show in Torrance

With Acura GM Jon Ikeda and the newly-restored 1961 Chevrolet pickup

Rare Honda City Cabriolet

There’s the “Dream Project” G2 NSX that ScienceofSpeed built for 2017 SEMA

Activities throughout the week

Clean original G1 Integra

With Andrew Quillin from Acura Public Relations

I thought it was fitting that a map of the Honda campus had a ‘Legend’

With Curtis Millward from Acura’s agency, Mullen-Lowe, and Scott King who used to work for Honda

Ryu Asada from Mattel / Hot Wheels, arriving in his G1 Formula Red NSX

Coupe interior

I parked next to Scott’s NSX

Display on the Legend

Following Scott at the conclusion of the show

A friend sent me home with lots of literature & swag, including some original magazines from the 1980s and 1990s

I got a kick out of this flyer inside the magazine.  Anybody want a Louver Kit for their Integra?

Look at these other etched glass blocks commemorating special events in the company’s history

The library is looking more and more complete!

I’ve been enjoying the green Skittle from time to time.

Dug up a couple more 20-year-old vintage pics of my 1989 Prelude just for kicks recently.

Cabin trip on a muddy road in 1999 with friends from high school.

Also, huge thanks to my buddy Sean in Austin TX who sent me some swag related to the Hill Country Rallye, a Porsche road rally each year that brings out some of the best of the best in the community!

Have a great weekend.

Pocket Rocket: Introducing the “Samba Green” 1993 Honda Civic del Sol Si

Posted in Del Sol, Road Trip, Utah on June 6, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (del Sol):  88,292

Trip Distance:  800 Miles

So this ought to be a fun summer cruiser, right?  I put together a spreadsheet the other day of all the cars I’ve owned.  If we exclude temporary “project” cars and the like, the grand total comes out to 27 vehicles.

There are a few that stand out as unique:  My Infiniti I30 and Chevy Celebrity were my only non-Honda/Acura cars.  The SLX is my only 4×4.  And even though 22 of the 27 have had moonroofs, none have been a true “removable top” or convertible.  Enter the del Sol, which in fitting translation to English means, “Of the Sun.”  Because this one will actually let me feel some of that Arizona sun like no moonroof ever could.

Honda’s fun, yet economical two-seater CRX model lasted through 2 generations and 8 model years until it was discontinued after 1991.  Two years later, a successor was named and the “Civic del Sol” was launched in the United States in 1993.  Its top trim was the Si model, with a 1.6-liter, 125 horsepower 4-cylinder motor and 5-speed manual transmission.  It was Honda’s attempt at giving a roadster-like driving experience, many years before its legendary S2000 roadster came out.

The Civic del Sol model evolved over a 5-year lifespan, including cosmetic changes, powertrain changes, and even a name change (by dropping the “Civic” prefix).  At its peak, the del Sol sold over 25,000 units in the United states its initial model year, dropping each year for 5 years until only 5,000 were sold in 1997.  That kind of trend is sometimes typical for new model launches – as I recall, the Acura Legend had a similar linear sales decline over the 5 years its second-generation model was sold.

This is a fun commercial from when the del Sol first came out.

Samba Green is certainly one of the most polarizing colors that a conservative company such as Honda has ever offered on a production vehicle.  While my Aztec Green Integra is pretty wild itself, it can’t quite compare to the lime green hue of the del Sol.

This Samba came from the original (77-year-old, if you can believe it) owner named Fred who lived in northern Utah.  He kept it for 26 years and drove it during summertime in western Wyoming and northern Utah.  His maintenance records were painstakingly detailed, including a 14-page handwritten ledger kept in the glove compartment which documented every single fuel up and its associated MPG.

That’s some attention to detail I can appreciate!  When Fred decided to part ways with his del Sol in late April, my friend Jason in Salt Lake was the first to respond to a classified ad listing.  It wasn’t for about a month that I was able to make a trip to that area and pick up the car, so Jason and his wife were gracious enough to store it at their home for me.

The pick-up agenda coincided with an already-planned visit to northern Utah to visit friends and family members the last weekend of May.  I arrived at the Salt Lake airport and was picked up by the little green machine and Jason.  Our first stop was for some fine dining at a place called Lucky 13.  Shaun and Sunny decided to join us, in their Legend & TSX respectively.

I had a nice weekend traversing northern Utah topless and visiting family.  On Saturday I met up with some other local Honda/Acura fans at Legends Sports Bar.  In addition to Shaun coming out again, we had Talin in her MDX, Daniel in his Integra GS-R, and Nate in his Tacoma.

The del Sol’s buzzy 1.6-liter made the 800-mile trek from Logan, Utah, to Phoenix, Arizona with ease.  I made good use of my cassette tape audio adapter, and I took the top off after sundown near Wickenburg for the final hour or so of the trip.  I can definitely see why there is such a devout enthusiast following for these little cars!  Looking forward to seeing what kind of fun I can have with it!

Here is a short video and below are some additional photos of my new little green machine.

Original ad (redacted)

Photo from the ad

FaceTiming with Jason to see the car for the first time, from 700 miles away.

The car at Jason’s (with his Legend in the background)

Check out those green stripes on the seats!

Jason’s son has a future in automotive modeling.

Initial mileage at 87,170.

Getting new tires at Discount – gotta love how cheap tires are for 14″ wheels!

Already got ahold of some literature including a Car & Driver magazine from when the car debuted.

Incidentally, a friend of mine is pictured in the 1993 brochure!

New floor mats, soon to be installed.

Key handoff from Jason, even though he wasn’t technically the person I bought it from – he just held the car for me for a few weeks.

Visiting a park in northern Utah named after a relative.

Canyon cruise with Ryan and his 2001 Honda S2000.  Vastly different car, and superior in a lot of ways.

Visiting my friend Paige at the Parts Department at Jody Wilkinson Acura in Salt Lake.  I’ve known her since I was 16.

Rolling back home with a visit to mom, who wore the right color for the occasion.

Visiting my brother and his kiddos.

Home sweet home, tucked in!

Nerdy Burger Destination: Group Drive to Globe, Arizona & More Home Improvements

Posted in Arizona, House, NSX, Road Trip on May 27, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (NSX):  115,761

Trip Distance:  180 Miles

Talk about a one-stop-shop:  At Nurdberger in Globe, Arizona, you can get your hands on burgers, coffee, sweets, and… nerds?

You read that right.  This uniquely-themed hamburger joint prides itself in being nerdy.  Its main lobby has arcade games, and the walls are covered in posters of comic book characters.  Most importantly, the menu is nicely put together and I went with a “Power Nurd” 1/4 pound burger (or, berger) along with a side of onion rings with a diameter the size of pancakes.

Globe is a small mining town about an hour and half east of Phoenix that has about 7,000 residents.  When my friend Kyle pitched the question about taking a weekend group drive, we had no problem rounding up 11 people in 8 different (and I do mean, very diverse) vehicles to spend the day on the road for a burger.  Comprising the list of participating vehicles were:

  • Acura NSX x 2
  • Acura TSX
  • Ford Mustang Saleen
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Pontiac G8 GXP
  • Porsche Cayman
  • Toyota FJ Cruiser

The initial 35 or 40 minutes were on largely flat, straight terrain, but after we crossed through Superior and made our way upward through the Queen Creek Tunnel on US-60, things got a lot more interesting.  It was here that I got to have some fun with the NSX.

At the same time, I enjoyed some of my recently downloaded road trip music from Tropical House Records (thanks, Conor!).  It was therapeutic.  This song was one of my faves.  Picture me blasting that at max volume while rowing gears through the Superstition Mountains.

And I must say, Donald’s FJ, despite being unlike some of the other contenders, held its own in the twisties.  Unfortunately, though, he said he burned through 7/8ths of a tank of gas on this trip.  It’s okay – the burger and the experience were worth it.

Greg brought out his rare 1989 fox-body Mustang “SSC” — one of only 160 vehicles built by Saleen that year, and with only 13,000 miles on it.  Speaking of rarity, Kyle’s immaculate 2009 G8 GXP 6-speed manual is a rarity in itself and put us all to shame with its impeccable tire shine.  James’ Elantra Sport rolled 3,000 miles along the way.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.

As someone who is 100% nerd, I can appreciate the allure of a place like Nurdberger and I was glad for an excuse to get some time on the open road and spend it with great people.  Below are some photos and videos of the day’s excursion.

Pre-departure at Kyle’s

Woody and Jack in the 2004 TSX

NSX passing NSX

Woody and James

Following the TSX through Superior

Check out that Saleen!

Shots from Nurdberger

Headed back home

Just call me Al Borland.  I’ve been busy upgrading my home with a few things in recent months, including a new garage floor and some driveway pavers.  The latest addition to the property is an awning in the backyard that gives me 2 additional covered spots.

Before:

During:

After:

Nice to have some shade back there now!

Also got a cool new banner from a friend!

Hope the holiday weekend is going well for everyone.

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!