Archive for the Road Trip Category

National Acura Legend Meet 2019 Recap & Videos: 5,600 Miles Round-Trip to Florida

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on October 24, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  572,169

Trip Distance:  5,600 Miles

It’s about time.  I’ve been home for over a week from the longest trip I’d taken since 2016, but I’ve been trying to play catch-up.  Below is some event coverage I’ve put together already that you may wish to peruse.

If if you’re more a watcher than a reader, you can fast-forward all the way to the bottom of this post because there are 4 YouTube episodes there for your viewing pleasure a total of about 40 minutes’ worth of runtime.  How about that?  You get to experience a 13-day road trip in a fraction of the time.  You’re welcome.  Haha.

NALM – the National Acura Legend Meet – has led me to various parts over the country over the course of its now-15-year run.  From New Jersey in 2011 to Sacramento in 2017 and Milwaukee in 2012 to Houston in 2015.  Which reminds me, I need to rummage through my closet and see how many prior-year NALM T-shirts I still have.

This year’s voyage was unlike any other.  As time goes on, long-distance road trips get more challenging:  I’m older, the car’s older, parts are tougher to come by, and it’s more and more difficult to break away from work for such an extended period of time.  But the reward – or the juice, as my boss likes to say – is totally worth the squeeze.  In other words, if it’s NALM, I’ll be there.  Plan it in Tierra del Fuego if you want to.  I’ll probably drive there.

I stayed with a variety of friends throughout the trip, which took me through 7 states as I stayed on (or close to) Interstate 10 the entire way.  One night was spent in the luxurious garage of Jason from Pawela’s Garage.  A couple of days later, I got to drive the Guinness World Records “Longest Continuous Bridge Over Water” (that’s a lot of qualifiers) which runs 23 miles over Lake Ponchartrain in the New Orleans area.  I’m a sucker for “world’s largest” anything, and most of you know that about me by now.  And I got to meet a long-time blog reader and friend named Carlos in Miami who proudly showed me his stack of records on his 2005 TSX.  Thanks, Carlos!

Key West, Florida is a destination that had been on my Excel “road trip bucket list” for some time now.  It felt like something I should probably cross off since I’d already be in the same state, so my trip was lengthened by 2 days in order to allow me to visit the Southernmost Point in the Continental United States.  And that side-trip was 100% amazing.  Coincidentally, I had a couple of Arizona friends in the area who invited me on a catamaran for a sunset ‘dinner cruise’.  Thanks again for that, Hy and Linda!

I checked in for the NALM festivities during dinner on day two of the event, while everyone was chowing down on tacos at Jimmy Hula’s in Ormond Beach.  My favorite part of the program happened the next day, when our Legends swarmed Daytona Beach – on the beach itself.  Daytona is one of the few oceanfront areas in the country where you can still drive your personal vehicles on the sand.  I guess when you consider I had my Legend in Los Angeles earlier this year, it pretty much drove from the west coast to the east coast this calendar year.

And perhaps as a reward for that achievement, my car was one of five Legends allowed to park inside the showroom at AutoNation Acura North Orlando, where General Manager Rob Breedlove was gracious enough to roll out the red carpet for our entire pack of Legend fans.  He staffed the BBQ grill outside while our group was addressed by Honda Brand Culture Champion Charles Schnieber about the history of Acura and some fascinating trivia.  Thanks Rob!

All too soon, it was time to conclude our festivities with a beachside pizza party & awards ceremony.  I was awarded a certificate for having the cleanest floor mats in the group, which admittedly was a little unfair because the mats I had in the car are only used for shows and I don’t actually daily drive with them!

My last stop before making the marathon trek westward was to visit an Acura enthusiast in Jacksonville named Andrew, who I can only describe as “me, but on the east coast.”  Andrew has a significant collection of cool cars, including a Honda Odyssey, Honda Ridgeline, an Acura Legend, two Acura CLs, and an Acura NSX.  He and his wife rolled out the hospitality in a big way and I felt right at home.

On my way home, I stayed another night with Jason in New Mexico – this time, celebrating a milestone with him.  (We’re kind of making this a habit).  This time, the achievement happened in his now-100,000 mile 2014 Lexus IS350.  I was happy to be able to celebrate with him.

You’re all asking:  How’d the car do?   Well, it delivered 27 mpg and performed pretty flawlessly for its age and miles.  The only maintenance items worth mentioning were a bottle of power steering fluid used up, a pair of new tires installed for precaution (they’d been a worn before I even left Arizona), an oil change, and replacement of a taillight bulb.  My comprehensive fuel log is posted below – totaling about $640 in fuel expense.

And in Excel form for the nerds in the house.

When it comes to adventures, this was definitely one of the most memorable I’ve had.  And I thank you for coming along on the journey with me!

Jason’s garage

“Prada Marfa” – a worthwhile offbeat destination in rural Texas:  It’s a fake Prada store in the middle of nowhere.

This sure felt like a marathon.

Checking out my friend Michael’s TSX Sport Wagon in San Antonio

Dinner group at Flying Saucer in San Antonio

Rolling 567,890.1 on the coupe with 234.5 on the trip meter

Tire replacement needed in Tallahassee – Discount Tire had my size & brand in stock!

Carlos’ TSX and DJ’s MDX in Miami

Headed out on the “Overseas Highway” to Key West – remarkable scenery

My two-night stay in Key West – highly recommended

Southernmost Point!

Unreal sunsets on our dinner cruise

I stopped by Acura of Pembroke Pines on my way back through the Miami area, and one of the individuals I met was Jon in his gorgeous Monte Carlo Blue NSX

Sean stopped by too – he’s a NALM veteran, as he and I attended the first event in 2005 together!

Sunrise view from host hotel, Coral Sands Inn, in Ormond Beach

Daytona Beach scenes

Chris and his 1994 Legend GS 6-speed.  He authored the last post on this blog.

“World’s Most Famous Beach”

No car club event is complete without plenty of good grub.

Dealer day photos

Presentation from Charles, with my Legend in the foreground

Houston meet-up with Josh and Mark

Home at last!

For your viewing pleasure!

Episode1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Hello from Key West, Florida

Posted in Legend, Road Trip on October 8, 2019 by tysonhugie

Hello!  Let me blow the cobwebs off this keyboard because I’ve been too busy driving to focus on the blog.

This evening I completed the first portion of a massive cross-country road trip from Phoenix to Florida and back.

As I type this, I covered 2,743 miles over 7 states in the last 5 days.  I reconnected with friends in every stop.  I drove across the Guinness world’s longest continuous bridge over water in Louisiana.  I drove under Mobile Alabama in a tunnel.  I had to buy 2 new tires in Tallahassee.  I got soaked in a thunderstorm in West Palm Beach.  I fought Miami snowbirds in traffic.  And now, I’m at the southernmost point in the United States.  In fact, on a map, it looks like I could damn near throw a football and hit Havana, Cuba.

And don’t worry, I have about 400 photos and video clips of it all happening.  You’ll see some of them in due time.

Now, time for bed.

Ending mileage 569,312

Long Beach Weekend: 2019 Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS) at Marina Green Park

Posted in California, Car Show, Del Sol, Road Trip on September 26, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (del Sol):  89,349

Trip Distance:  777 Miles

This was a fun way to break up the work week:  My friend Chris invited me to meet up and check out / test drive his very rare model year 2000 Acura Integra Type R.  The car had 48,000 miles on it and handled incredibly.  Like many ‘B-Series’ powered Honda cars, the Type R loves to rev.  Its tachometer goes up to a sky-high 10,000 RPM.  I appreciated the opportunity!

I’m starting to become a ‘regular’ at some of the Southern California car scene activities each year.  The Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS), now in its 15th year, has been a tradition of mine since I started going in 2014.  Back then, none of my cars were eligible because the cutoff for model year eligibility was in the 1980s.  It’s since been modified, and anything up through the mid-1990s is permissible.

The Key Lime del Sol made the trip this time.  This was the first time it’s made an out-of-town voyage since I brought it to Phoenix from Salt Lake City back in May.  I’m happy to report that the car did great.  Here are write-ups from my prior trips to JCCS.  With the momentum behind the event (growing so much that it had to change venues last year) I’m confident it will be a “thing” for many years to come.

I had a special guest at the house last Thursday afternoon:  My friend Ken from Pennsylvania rolled into town in his vintage 1981 Honda Accord.  His dedication to the event was impressive – even in the face of a breakdown somewhere in Wisconsin, he was able to put a spare fuel pump to use the following day and be back on the road without much time lost.  Driving with an old car in adventure to say the least.  It’s best to live by the Boy Scout motto:  “Be Prepared.”

By the time Ken and I made it out of Phoenix during rush hour, then completed our trek across the desert, our arrival in Torrance at the Holiday Inn was a little before midnight.  The next day, we toured the Honda Collection open house (which I’d visited just recently in July).  I enjoyed a night out with a few local friends before tidying up the del Sol and calling it a night.  My wake-up call on the show day itself always comes very early – in this case it was 5:40 a.m. so I could be at a meeting point in Long Beach by 6:45.

(Why they had this sign up for the “14th” annual 2018 event from last year, I’m not sure.)

This was the largest JCCS in the event’s 15-year history.  Over 400 vehicles were displayed in organized fashion at Marina Green along Shoreline Drive.  The Honda section, as in prior years, was headquartered on the west end of the park.  Luckily I rolled in around the same time as some of my closest colleagues so I got to park near them.

A few particularly cool vehicles caught my eye throughout the day.  I enjoyed my friend Chris’ 1988 Dodge Ram 50 pickup truck.  A Dodge at a Japanese car show?  Yes.  That’s because his Dodge was technically just a rebadged Mitsubishi Mighty Max.  Which reminds me, speaking of rebadges, I think the SLX will make a JCCS debut next year.

At the conclusion of the show, some friends and I dined nearby at the Islands Burger restaurant and hydrated after a day in the sun.  The del Sol got me home safe and sound to Phoenix later that evening.  Until next year!

Rolling 88,888 miles at 88 miles per hour.  I pictured Doc Emmett Brown from Back to the Future:  “When this thing hits 88 miles per hour, you’re going to see some serious shit.”  Well, I didn’t see any of that, but it was still fun to celebrate.

Visit to the American Honda main office

Inside the museum with David and David

Lineup awaiting in staging lanes

Running into friends from all over

My friend Ryan’s 1988 Daihatsu Charade – love it

My buddy Logan

Dave Heath from Honda who works with Auto Shows & Exhibits

The Honda display was nicely laid out

Ever seen a lifted Lexus LS400 on mud tires?

Primary colors?  I think we were just missing blue

Dinner group before my return trip to Phoenix

Last but definitely not least:  The automotive journalist community is pretty small, and is better described as a close-knit family.  Recently, a colleague of mine named Miles Branman in the Southern California region was injured in an accident.

One of the media organizations (similar to PAPA, that we have here in Phoenix) called MPG (Motor Press Guild) has launched a series of auctions in fundraising support of Miles. Among the items up for grabs are some some exclusive collector items donated by Acura.  Check these out:

These are all one-of-a-kind finds, and they’re for a good cause!  The auctions end next Thursday, October 3 at 5:00 Pacific.

Thanks for looking.

Sedona Weekend Trip, Brochure Re-Creation, & Junkyard Visit to Desert Valley Auto Parts

Posted in Arizona, Integra, Legend, National Parks, NSX, Road Trip, SLX, Vigor on September 16, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  218,802

Trip Distance:  291 Miles

I have a few fun features to share today.  Mom planned a trip down from southern Utah in her new (to her) 2016 Acura RLX.  We met up in one of Arizona’s red-rock gems, the town of Sedona.  It was about a 2 hour drive for me on Saturday morning.  We enjoyed the seclusion and solitude of an Airbnb room about 5 miles up Oak Creek Canyon from the hustle and bustle of the town’s shopping plazas.  Saturday evening, we dined at Javelina Cantina and then enjoyed the sunset from atop the Airport Mesa.

On Saturday, after breakfast at Indian Garden (I highly recommend the “ranchero bowl”), we went to Slide Rock State Park, a recreation area just a few miles up Highway 89A from where we were staying.  The place gets its name from the slippery nature of the Oak Creek’s bed – after years and years of erosion making the surfaces smooth, coupled with mossy deposits, there is some great slipperiness to be enjoyed.  We saw a few people tumble to a very wet riverbed in what looked to be painful experiences!

The rocks were nice and warm, but the water was chilly!

The last stop on our weekend tour of the region was a quick jaunt out Highway 260 toward the small town of Pine, where we were anticipating the arrival of a friend who was running a 100-mile (!) race.  Unfortunately, as the day went on our timelines were crunched and mom had to head back to Utah, and I had to return to Phoenix.  I’m happy to report that our crazy friend did complete his event though.

ILX + RLX at the Airbnb

Shopping at “Tlaquepaque.”  We love saying that one.

I decided to have a little fun bright and early on a Sunday morning and stage my cars in “brochure” fashion like a photo that might have appeared in a 1991 through 1993 full-line pamphlet from Acura, since the 6 cars included there are the full 6 body styles that were available during those years.  Luckily I only had one neighbor drive by at 6:00 a.m. while I was on top of my step ladder looking like a goofball.

1992 Integra GS-R 251,000 Miles

1992 Integra GS Sedan 73,000 Miles

1994 Legend LS Coupe 566,000 Miles

1994 Legend GS Sedan 161,000 Miles

1994 Vigor GS 114,000 Miles

1992 NSX 115,000 Miles

Lastly, I took the chance to pay a visit to “DVAP” – better known as Desert Valley Auto Parts.  It’s a junkyard that was featured as part of a TV series called Desert Car Kings back in 2011.  I visited in 2018 with my friend Dane, and the video that I captured became quite popular, so I decided to go back and give it another whirl.  I filmed 20 minutes’ worth of banter and it received over 10,000 views in its first 10 days online.  A box office hit!

Have you ever heard of a Dodge Seneca?

Nice looking old pickup truck!

Some cool back ends on these next two Chrysler products.

This one looks pretty mean.

And some Chevy Bel Airs for good measure.

Guess what? The SLX got new leather.  Here’s a pic and video as the saga continues.

Thanks for reading, watching, and following, as always!  Have a great week!

Beating the Heat: Mogollon Rim Campout + SLX & RL Updates

Posted in Arizona, ILX, RL, Road Trip, SLX on September 2, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  218,415

Trip Distance:  250 Miles

I’ve left town every weekend for the last 6 weeks.  Exhausted doesn’t begin to describe how I feel.  But when it comes to making the most out of my summer, I live by a motto my mom emphasizes:  Carpe diem!  For this past weekend’s excursion, I ventured to the Sitgreaves National Forest in the mountain ranges about 2.5 hours northeast of Phoenix.  It’s a spot where temperatures typically range about 20 or more degrees cooler than the Phoenix valley.

Four friends and I found a great campsite just off Young Road, a couple of miles down a narrow dirt road that overlooked the Mogollon Rim and offered fantastic views to the south.  We set up camp and stoked the fire, then cooked burgers & brats over the flames.  Nobody had any particularly good ghost stories to tell as dusk fell, but we spent a good chunk of time proposing potential names for my friend Adam’s soon-to-be new dog.  More to come on what he ended up deciding.

We managed to avoid any run-ins with local wildlife, and the overnight low dipped to a pleasant 60 degrees.  Woody whipped up some delicious breakfast burritos with ham, bacon, and green salsa for breakfast the following morning.  All too soon, it was time to pack up the site and head back down to civilization.  The ILX fared well on the dirt road, though high grass in the median occasionally tickled the undercarriage due to ground clearance issues.

Thanks for coming along!

Camp all set up

Evening sunset looking south across the Mogollon Rim

Breakfast is served!

A relaxed Saturday morning

Soaking in the view

Headed out toward Payson, then Phoenix

Turning 218,000 miles

The vehicle I probably should have taken on this trip is the 1996 SLX.  I’m still getting comfortable with it – trying to gain a little more confidence in its roadworthiness.  I actually took a 350-mile road trip with it on Saturday, including a stop in a little mining town called Superior about 70 miles east of Phoenix.  It did great!

I like this old dealership.  Maybe a good investment as a place to store / display cars for someone?

I rolled 140,000 miles on the way home.

I also spent some time this weekend working on the RL.  Here’s an update video I filmed today, illustrating current condition and recent maintenance.  The engine bay got a detailing!

Hope the holiday weekend treated you well!

Ira’s Visit from Portland, Return of the Type-S, Upcoming CA ‘Car Corral’ in September

Posted in Arizona, NSX, Road Trip on August 1, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (NSX):  115,946

My buddy Ira drove his 2017 Acura NSX over 3,000 miles to have it serviced at a specialty / performance shop – just for the sake of the road trip.  And this is why he and I are friends.

Ira is the proud owner of a Nouvelle Blue Pearl “NC1” (second-generation) NSX that traveled across 5 states over a 6-day period.  His home base is Portland, Oregon but he made it to Phoenix in only two days.  It was fun to host him in the area, and we made the most of his time in Arizona, despite the weather being toasty.

After a welcome dinner at one of the Valley’s fave Italian spots on Thursday, Oregano’s, it was a much needed chance to relax and get some rest.  On Friday, he had the NSX serviced – its first oil change – at Science of Speed.  They are the region’s most reputable experts on parts & performance.  On Saturday, I hosted more than a dozen NSX vehicles and their respective owners for breakfast snacks.

We rolled out at 11:00 in the morning for a 70-mile trip to Gila Bend, Arizona.  Our destination was the “Space Age” Restaurant, a landmark dining establishment that is entirely extraterrestrial-themed.  I went with the Jupiter Burger.  It seemed only fitting that in light of all the recent social media buzz about “storming Area 51,” we customize our group activity for a storming of our own.

The whole experience reminded me a little of my 2005 visit to the Extraterrestrial Highway in southern Nevada.

The Botanical Gardens have twilight “flashlight tours,” so we hit that up later on.  Even after sundown, the temperature lingered in the 108-degree range but we had water bottles and enough ambition to keep our minds off that.

Huge thanks to Ira for taking the time to come see us!  Here is his video on his trip.

And here is my video.

In other news:  Did you hear?  On Thursday, August 15, in Monterey California, Acura showcase its “Type-S” concept car.  This is a very short teaser video that was recently released.  I’ll be in attendance at the unveil so you’ll read more about the car itself here soon!

Finally – if anyone in (or near) California would like to participate, there is a Car Corral at the IMSA Grand Prix race.  Details are found in this flyer, including RSVP instructions.  It’s free to attend!

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.

Here is a video on the MMJ Accord.

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?