Archive for the Utah Category

Readers’ Rides: Trevor, Shaun, and Dave – Acura Meet in Utah & TL-S Update

Posted in Legend, TL, Utah on April 16, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  560,191

Odometer (Branson’s Legend coupe):  182,633

Big Bear Park in Sandy, Utah was the site of quite the parade on Sunday morning:  Six Acuras rolled in and parked at a 45-degree angle looking as photogenic as possible.  Four of the six belonged to family members of the Kinzer family – surely one of the most devoutly loyal Acura-owning families I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting.

What started as the purchase of a 1979 Honda Prelude, and later a 1985 Honda Accord, has snowballed into Trevor and his wife Michelle owning not one, not two, but a total of 11 different Acura products, spanning a 1992 Legend sedan to a 2008 TL.  If you know what you like, why branch out?  And that’s exactly what’s kept this family’s driveway looking a bit like a broken record over the years – and I mean that in the very best possible way.

Capping off an exceptionally busy weekend of making family & friend visits in northern Utah, I set aside a few hours to devote to “car stuff,” as I always do.  And this time I had the real treat of meeting several great people including Trevor and his family.  We overtook Trevor’s front yard & driveway initially, but decided to head to the city park nearby for a little more wiggle room for photo opportunities.

Along the way came Shaun, in his immaculate Desert Mist Metallic 1994 Legend LS sedan, and Sunny, who rode along with me in a (borrowed) 1995 LS coupe.  I wasn’t about to show up to an Acura meet in my rental Nissan Versa; I’d be shunned.

In attendance were the following:

  • 2006 TL
  • 2008 TL x 2
  • 2006 MDX
  • 1994 Legend sedan
  • 1995 Legend coupe

Shaun’s car is a story of dedication in itself:  Starting with a relatively rough, 200,000+ mile sedan in the Seattle area, Shaun made the drive home to Utah about a year ago (“running on 4 or 5 cylinders,” he says) and then began what was to become an extensive teardown of the Legend mechanicals to get everything updated – and I mean, everything.  The motor received an overhaul with new head gaskets, belts, hoses, just about anything he could get his hands on.  And it shows.  I took the car for a spin later in the day and it runs, drives, brakes, and handles like a car with one-tenth of the miles.

The Acura meet-up, meanwhile, wouldn’t be complete without the presence of “Kyng” – the friendliest pup around.  He thinks the MDX is his, but Michelle would say otherwise.  Thanks to the Kinzer family and to Shaun & Sunny for being a part of a pretty exciting Sunday morning Acura-entourage.  Here’s a short video from our meet-up.

All aboard Southwest Airlines, with a great view of the Rocky Mountains from seat 13F.

My wheels for a day in Logan, Utah – dad’s truck.

Lunch with grandma

Being from Arizona, seeing this in my rental car was a bit of a shock.

My mom’s old 2000 Acura RL, now being driven by my cousin and with around 190,000 miles.  I picked up this car in the San Francisco Bay area in 2005 with 22,000 miles on it from the original owner.

Branson’s coupe (and my loaner for a day)

 

Photoshoot at ‘Legends Boxing’ – this seemed fitting.

Thanks Shaun for the test-drive!

Since this post is heavy on 3G TL content, it’s worth mentioning an update now on my formerly-owned Kinetic Blue Pearl TL Type-S.  Dave in St. Louis has now owned the car for about the same length of time I owned it (roughly 6 months), but he’s been putting on the miles at a much faster pace than I did.  The car today has over 113,000 miles on it (I sold it at 102,500 or so last November).  These are some photographs he took on his 1,500+ mile drive home from Phoenix.

Keep on rolling, Dave!

Easter Weekend 2018 in Utah; Integra Sedan Update Video; IMSA Race Event Invitation

Posted in Integra, Legend, Milestones, Road Trip, Utah on April 7, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  560,138

Odometer (ILX):  204,370 – Slowly still creeping!

Odometer (Integra Sedan):  117,545

Trip Distance:  832 Miles

I’m exhausted.  I drove over 4,800 miles over the last 4 weekends in 4 different 24+ year old cars with > 100,000 miles on them – not counting any of the weekday miles that I accumulated on Mondays through Thursdays.  It’s time for a break, for me and for my cars.  The good news is that all of those miles were achieved with little or no drama.  And the other good news is that I’m actually recovering and taking it easy today.

For the Easter holiday weekend, I took the Legend coupe to southern Utah.  On Saturday I had a reservation at the best breakfast restaurant in town:  Grandma’s House.  The menu consisted of crepes with fruit toppings and whipped cream, with a side of sausage and a glass of milk to wash it all down.  It hit the spot.

I attended an annual car show in the city of Hurricane (pronounced hurri-cun if you’re a local) and spent a couple of hours decorating eggs with the nieces and nephews.  A grand ol’ time indeed.  My brother Payton took me for a spin in his customized 2002 Lexus IS300 — a car that I’ve featured here before but that seems to get more and more extreme each time I see it.  Currently its motor produces in excess of 700 horsepower.  Here’s a quick video.

I’ve been progressing little by little with the 1992 Integra LS.  Hon-Man and his talented repair crew dug in wholeheartedly this week and started tackling some of the car’s key needs.  First and foremost, they attended to some of the routine maintenance needs (fluids, primarily).  Without having any records on the car, I’m really just driving blindly here – and because of that, I wanted a careful eye to inspect the key mechanical components to make sure it’s roadworthy.

New (aftermarket) floor mats make the interior a little more cozy.

The electrical issues appear like they could be related at least in part to a faulty fuse box, and for that we’ve sourced a part which will arrive next week.  Everything else is taken care of:  We replaced a few hoses in the engine bay that were extremely soft and old, replaced both axles, and got some of the bulbs working again.  Marker lights, license plate lights, cruise control, and power antenna are all now working again, which is awesome.  The two front tires were directionally facing backwards, so those are fixed now too.  It’s all about those little details.

Yesterday, I took the car to the Arizona emissions station to have the exhaust gases evaluated.  The car passed, and then I went ahead and got registration taken care of, including special “Historic Vehicle” tags (made available to any vehicle > 25 years old).  Finally.  It’s been a long road getting that car purchased, transported, maintained, and formally relocated to its new home.  In the coming weeks we’ll finish up the mechanicals and probably have windows tinted & some dings removed.

Blog buddy Jason Pawela of Driven for Drives came out to Phoenix to visit this weekend and we took the Integra siblings out for a little drive this morning to Dreamy Draw Park off Northern Avenue.

Here is an 8-minute video capturing some of the latest happenings in the progress with the Integra LS, followed by some other photos of recent events and sightings.  Scroll to the bottom for one more feature – an invitation and offer for some free race tickets!  Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

I’ve always liked these Lexus SC coupes.  This 1999 SC300 was in my mom’s neighborhood.

Scenery in Washington, Utah

My friend Ryan who has the Jurassic Park Explorer (see Radwood 2017) will appreciate this.

Sunday morning quick photo at Pioneer Park on the Red Hill in St. George

Two 2013 models:  Dad’s MDX and my ILX

Easter egg hunting with nephew Locke.  That egg was easy to find.

Milestone on the way home to Phoenix on Sunday!

For reals:  Look at the size comparo between a Dodge Challenger and a G1 NSX.

Beauty shots of the siblings this morning at Dreamy Draw Park

Special Feature Opportunity:  Invitation to IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) Races.

OH, NY, CA, GA Acura owners:  I’m posting this invitation from Acura Motorsports that I received. Free race tickets and the chance to show your car:

Acura owners are invited to attend a weekend at the racetrack with Acura Motorsports. At four IMSA race weekends this year, Acura will be hosting an Acura Car Corral, where owners and enthusiasts can display their ride and enjoy the on-track action. Acura will be providing complimentary parking passes for the corral along with weekend passes to the race for the owner and a guest. Space is limited, so passes will be distributed by RSVP date. Acura Car Corral will be present at these four IMSA races:

1. Mid-Ohio Sports Car Showdown; May 5-6, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
2. Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, June 30-July 1, Watkins Glen
3. Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix, September 8-9, Monterey
4. Motul Petit Le Mans, October 12-13, Road Atlanta

To RSVP for one of these events, e-mail Kyle Ginty at kginty@chargegf.com with the following information:

– Name and name of guest
– Event you wish to attend
– Vehicle model/year
– Mailing Address
– Phone Number

 

Drive to Five Review: Nevada Ghost Towning in the 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

Posted in Ghost Town, MDX, Nevada, Utah, Vehicle Reviews on February 13, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra):  246,192

Odometer (MDX):  5,756

Trip Distance:  1,056 Miles

I needed a workhorse to travel back to an 1800s mining town this past weekend and Acura gave me just the right vehicle for the job.  After now completing over 1,000 miles in the latest iteration of its 3-row SUV, I can say with a certainty that the latest MDX is a capable, fun-to-drive machine that offers up first class comfort for a trip of that distance.  Do I have to give it back?

This now marks the fourth time I’ve put a third-generation MDX through its paces.  Here are some prior reviews from here on the blog:

Coming up in April, Las Vegas, Nevada will once again play home to a regional Acura NSX club meet-up called WestFest.  Last year, the event brought out over 50 cars and 80 people.  As part of the planning committee, my role is to establish and plan out the logistics of a scenic group drive to be held on Saturday, April 28th.  It’s not easy to come up with drives for a caravan of that size.

Considerations:

  • Where haven’t we been yet?
  • What will traffic & weather patterns be like on the day & time of our trip?
  • What are the road conditions – are they appropriate for a group of sportscars?
  • Are there any tolls or park fees to consider?
  • How can we keep everyone together, or does it make more sense to split the group?
  • Are there places for fuel and snack stops along the way?

As one can imagine, it takes a great deal of effort to coordinate such an activity.  I partnered up with my friends Dane and Brandon, both Las Vegas locals, to take the MDX out on Saturday morning and scout the terrain.  It was the perfect vehicle for our expedition to the desert:  Second-row accommodations are posh, with captains’ chairs and plenty of space all around.  There are of course independent climate controls for passengers in those areas.  Meanwhile, I pampered myself up front with a heated seat heater, heated steering wheel, and convenient cup holder for my iced caramel macchiato.  You’d think we were going to the local shopping mall and not to the middle of nowhere.

Our drive route for the day was about 160 miles and took us 4 hours from start to finish, including our sightseeing and lunch stops.

Nelson, Nevada is one of many ghost towns in the vast expanses of land around the southwest.  It’s nestled in El Dorado Canyon, about 12 miles off Highway 95 to the east.  If you blink, you might miss the turnoff, so it’s a good thing Dane was coaching me from the passenger seat on where to make my exit at Highway 165.  We passed only one other vehicle on the way into Nelson from there.

The two-laner got a little more narrow, a little more rough, and more curvy as we dipped down in elevation toward the Colorado River.  Soon the buildings of the old mining town came into view, along with dozens of old cars left out to the elements with windows down (or broken out) and interiors rotting away.  I parked the MDX in a dirt lot and we got outside to wander around a little, noting how silent it was outside aside from the scuffling sound made from our shoes on the gravel.

We must have been the first tourists in town that day, because an old man came out of what appeared to be the main general store and put away the ‘closed’ sign while inviting us inside.  The wooden building doubles as his home, but he sells all sorts of remnants of the Wild West in there.  My favorite display was an exhibit of some the various films that the town of Nelson has appeared in, including the Kurt Russell classic “Breakdown.”

Luckily for us (and unlike Kurt Russell’s red Jeep Grand Cherokee in that movie), the MDX was didn’t give us any check-engine lights or troubles of any nature.  We snapped a few photos in Nelson before continuing eastward another few miles to where we could nearly drive right to the banks of the mighty Colorado River on a dirt road.  There was a nice paved turnaround spot that I think will make for a perfect photo-op for the group of NSXs at the April event.

Our next destination on the drive loop was Searchlight, Nevada – a teeny spot on the map that (like most small towns in that area) – got its start as a mining community in the late 1800s but mostly dried up by the mid 1950s.  The name came from one of its original prospectors who said, “It would take a searchlight to find gold out here.”

Dane, Brandon, and I rolled onward toward Highway 164 westbound and then over to Interstate 15 northbound.  I hit the gas on the onramp.  For a full size SUV that’s loaded down with technology and comfort niceties, the MDX still scoots down the road with more than ample power.  I observed an overall combined MPG of about 26 despite going heavy on the throttle a few times.  Range on a full tank is in the high 400s.

The Country Club Buffet at Primm Valley Casino, right along the California-Nevada state line, satisfied our hunger before we made our last stop of the day.  Stacked along the east side of I-15 are 7 columns of vividly painted boulders, referred to as “Seven Magic Mountains.”  The massive rocks were cut from a nearby quarry and painted fluorescent colors by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone.  The art installation was opened in 2016 and will be removed sometime this year, so I was glad to get a chance to see it.

The MDX stickers at $58,000 as-tested, including Tech & Advance packages with a full suite of AcuraWatch driver-assistance aids.  I found the LKAS (Lane Keeping Assist System) to be helpful but could do without the ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control).  I much prefer to set a cruise speed and have it be maintained – with the Adaptive engaged, the vehicle starts slowing down well in advance of approaching a vehicle ahead, so you have to change lanes very early which isn’t always possible or convenient.  It’s something I could learn to live with, but just an observation.  The only other gripe I had was with the aesthetics of the black wheels.

There’s a lot to love about the MDX.  Those captivating jewel eye headlights with LED turn signals are just as much “function” as they are “form.”  The ELS Studio Premium audio system will knock your socks off.  I set the bass and the subwoofer to maximum levels for optimal punch, and it retained crisp clarity all the way up to max volume level 40.  Sirius XM channel “90s on 9” never sounded so good.  And if it’s solitude you want, a quiet cabin is easy to achieve too.  I sailed along at 75 mph with minimal wind, road, and engine noise.  The MDX’s 7-speed dual-clutch transmission keeps the revs low at those speeds.

It was tough to give the keys back after being pampered for 7 days, but I was glad for the opportunity to sample the high life!  Below is a 7-minute video and a collection of other photos from my week with the Modern Steel Metallic MDX.  Thanks, Acura, for the loaner!

Back seat comfort

Fueling up at Circle K in Phoenix

And we’re off!

Rolling into Las Vegas at sunset

5,000 mile milestone!

Arrival in Nelson

The ‘general store’ in Nelson

Loved this 1950 Buick!

Next stop:  Interstate 15

Red carpet treatment!  Brandon & Dane getting the door at Primm Valley

Seven Magic Mountains in the Nevada desert

Brandon’s 1993 Legend L 6-speed coupe

MDX parked in front of Siegfried and Roy’s house in Las Vegas!  See the “SR” on the gate?

Thanks for coming along for the ride!

Catching Up: Acura Day in Torrance, St. George Marathon, & 555,555 Milestone

Posted in California, Integra, Legend, Milestones, TL, Utah on October 15, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  556,062

Odometer (Integra):  241,233

Check this out.  You are looking at 7 friends on a hill overlooking St. George, Utah.  And those two cars – at the precise moment this photo was taken – had a combined 1,111,111 miles on their odometers.  It was a special day on Saturday, October 7th when my friend Josh and I coordinated this meet-up with much anticipation.

I’m so far behind on blogging that today’s post will be more like a newsletter on what you’ve missed.  I just returned yesterday from spending a few days in the Los Angeles area where I took part in some activities at the main office of American Honda Motor Company for “Acura Week.”  Invited by my friend and Acura Public Relations manager Matt Sloustcher, I drove out there Thursday evening and participated in an all-associate Q&A interview.

It was an exciting experience to talk about how I’d become interested in the brand, share feedback on current & future brand direction, and interact with people who are just as passionate about these topics as I am.  Joining me on the stand were Jon Ikeda, General Manager for Acura, and Jeff Conrad, Senior Vice President for Honda.  In all, the ‘formal’ program on Friday afternoon lasted only about 1/2 hour, but the campaign ran a total of 5 days with activities each day designed to educate, promote, and generate awareness for the Acura brand among internal colleagues.  The level of hospitality was awesome.  Thankfully, I didn’t get too tongue-tied.

Just a week prior, I was tasked with two huge milestones of a completely different nature:  I ran the St. George, Utah marathon and I achieved that long-awaited “all-fives” odometer reading on my 1994 Legend coupe, in partnership with Josh who celebrated the same on his 2005 TSX.  It was a rollover more than a year in the making, executed with painstaking precision with the help of a half-dozen friends who wanted to be there for the occasion.  It took a lot of planning to get Josh’s car (700 miles away, in Boise) and my car (400 miles away, in Phoenix) to the same midpoint and pointed toward one another on a closed road within 2/10ths of a mile of each other.  But we succeeded.

There’s much more to come on the “Fantastic Fives” achievement, as a video production is currently underway and you’ll see it soon enough.  For now, here’s a 2-minute teaser!

I recently got to spent an evening with Donny Nordlicht (Cadillac) and Sofyan Bey (Redline Reviews) who were in town for a media event.  Thanks for inviting me out, guys!

I have some special recognition for a couple of friends who went above and beyond the call of duty.  My friend Kyle put some elbow grease into the TL and got it looking shiny and new after our Zion hike, and my friend Hy entrusted his prized TSX with me for a couple of weeks while he performed a full detail on my 1994 Vigor.  The car came back yesterday sparkling better than ever before!  Thanks Kyle and Hy!

Finally, along with my behind-the-scenes look at the Honda main office on Friday, Brand Champion Charles Schnieber told me about some exciting new things going on in the racing circuit.  Check out a video he narrates on Civic performance heritage.

I’ll let the rest of the photos below tell the story.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Westbound at 4k+ RPMs in the Integra on Thursday

Fueling up in Palm Desert

Friends Logan, Davis, and Vince who work at Honda HQ

Acura Week schedule

With Acura PR Manager Matt Sloustcher

The below greeting card was given to all associates at corporate on Friday morning, along with an “A” emblem lapel pin.

Meeting up with my journalist friend Lance who was lucky enough to get an NSX on loan for a few days.

Hitting up “Fleetwood Square” in Tarzana before heading home.  The building is in the shape of a Cadillac front end, in case you couldn’t already tell!

Last weekend’s trip to southern Utah included a drive through Vegas, including the Strip, which was a somber place to be just 4 days following the tragic shootings.

Friday morning 10/6 in St. George with mom, and with my friend Conor who’d flown in from New York.

Off to see the town in the Legend

“Face-swapping” with my 5-year-old nephew Beckam.  Yikes.

The half-million-milers reunited once again.

St. George Marathon – probably the most scenic 26-miler you could ever run.

Plus, how’s this for motivation?  (And they did deliver on that promise)

Mom (with more energy than she knew what to do with), Josh, Conor, and Jason

Grandma was there with her traditional poster.  I had 2 cousins also running.

Trying to keep up with nephew Beckam when he sprinted with me for a block.

Finish line!

Josh getting the TSX prepped for its showtime.

Quiet on the set!

Anddddd, success!  High five for fab fives.

Looking purdy with all those miles.

Interview session back at my brother’s.

Mom serving up breakfast pre-departure Sunday morning.

More TL-S glamour shots

And my ‘visitor’ at the house for a couple of weeks, Hy’s immaculate 2004 TSX.

Clearly I had the wrong car to be driving by “Legend Cleaners.”

And look what I test drove a few weeks ago:  a Fir Green Mica 1996 Acura SLX Premium.  Oh, boy.  I passed on that.

 

“West Rim” 17-Mile Hike at Zion National Park in Southern Utah

Posted in Hikes, TL, Utah on September 18, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  554,721

Odometer (TL):  101,487

Trip Distance:  900 Miles

For some reason it’s always two days after a hike when the worst cramping and soreness start.  My friend Kyle described the contortions he had to make when getting out of the car last night:  “I twisted out of the car like a geriatric.”  And he’s only 32!  A 17-mile, 8-hour-long hike can really give your leg muscles a run for their money.  I paid for it on my end, too.  But it was worth it.

Having grown up about 45 minutes from Zion, in St. George, Utah, I’ve spent plenty of time in the park but it never seems to get old.  This specific trail – the “West Rim” – was new to me and gave a never-before-seen perspective on some of the park’s 229 square miles of beauty.  Some 4.2 million people visit the park each year, but I’d dare say that most of them don’t attempt a one-day hike as ambitious as the one that we did.

Once again my mountainman (mountainwoman?) of a mother, Tia, reigned athletically supreme as she led our pack of 7 adventurous hikers on a quest through the southern Utah backcountry.  Though technically a downhill hike for its majority, the West Rim trail had its fair share of grades — enough that I guzzled down about 6 bottled waters over the course of the day.  I liked how with each water I finished, my backpack got a little bit lighter to carry.

The terrain on the West Rim took us through many different types of trails:  Wooded forest, singletrack pathway through a field, shale rock, cliffside on sandstone, and a lot in between.  All the while, we were afforded some of the best views that money can’t buy.   Luckily for us, even the weather was prime – with our start temperatures at the Lava Point Campground around 50 degrees and the finish in the low 70s.

We found a consistent pace and alternated who got to lead the pack.  I usually preferred to stay toward the back of the lineup, and wherever space allowed, we usually walked two abreast so we could carry on conversations with one another.  At one point, Kyle and Sandy broke away for an ‘optional’ one-mile out & back side trip to “Angel’s Landing” – a spectacular viewpoint atop a 1,500-foot-tall sandstone cliff to the canyon below.  I’d already seen it, and by the time we got to that decision point, we were already 14 miles into our 17-miler, so I opted to rest my legs.

By the time we finally were within eyesight of “The Grotto,” where a shuttle bus would pick us up and take us to the visitor center to get my stepdad Todd’s truck, we broke into a jog because we were so excited, and because it felt easier on the quads and knees than taking a slower walk.  No pain, no gain!  We finished strong.  And we celebrated:

We were grateful for the chance to refuel our bodies later that evening.  Kyle and Rob and I decided to consume as many carbs as we could, so we paid a visit to an Italian place on Tabernacle Street in St. George called Cappeletti’s.  The lasagna was top-notch.  True to tradition, mom fixed us a breakfast of hotcakes the following morning pre-departure.  There’s nothing like a drizzle of maple syrup to undo all the calorie-burning we’d done the day prior!

Here is a 3-minute video, along with some photos of our weekend!

TL at Sunset in Kingman, Arizona on the way to St. George Thursday night

Mom had left us goody bags

Taking my brother’s 1968 Chevy II Nova SS to lunch.  It has a 525-horsepower “LS3” V8 and 6-speed manual transmission.

Outdoor dining at 25 Main.

Now taking a ride in my other brother’s 700+ horsepower Lexus IS300.  What a beast.

I dictated a shopping list to my 6-year-old niece.  Can you decipher this?

It says:  hamburger, pita bread, trail mix, and water.

Morning of the hike!  Aunt Jodi dropped us off at the trailhead.

Six bumps on a log

 

Starting out at a brisk pace

Taking a breather and eating some snacks

Following a few signs toward the destination – with mom in the lead

Approaching “Scout Overlook” near Angel’s Landing

Panoramic views.  See the road at the bottom of the canyon?

Side trail to Angel’s Landing

Headed on down

Dinner spot that evening

Lasagna!!

Departing mom’s on Sunday morning after breakfast

Riding in the backseat of my own car

Side note – I checked on the model car project!

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.

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!