Long Beach, California: Japanese Classic Car Show

Posted in California, Car Show, ILX, Road Trip on September 28, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,568

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Odometer (ILX):  97,753

97753

Trip Distance:  770 Miles

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Let’s take a moment today and appreciate our elders.  Elderly vehicles, that is.  Among the oldest I’ve owned (one of three 1986 models in my past) was this Montreal Blue Metallic Honda Prelude 2.0 Si, and that was 14 years ago.  These pictures were taken August 26, 2000.  Back then, I was collecting Preludes instead of Acura Legends.  Simpler times.

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For 10 years now, the Southern California community has rallied together to celebrate the heritage of vintage Japanese automobiles.  This year, I made my first visit to the annual event called Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS).  Registration for this year’s program opened on July 1 and was already booked to capacity by July 25!  In order to qualify for entry, participating vehicles must be from pre-1985, with a few exceptions.  For example, this year, JCCS allowed early 1990’s Mazda Miatas to enter as well as first generation Acura Integras.

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The 6-hour drive westward on Interstate 10 started after an early departure from my office in Scottsdale on Friday afternoon.  Though storm clouds in the horizon threatened to dump monsoon rains on me, the weather cooperated aside from a lot of humidity in the Palm Springs area.  My ILX knows the I-10 route between Phoenix and Los Angeles very well, and I’ve grown accustomed to its 3,300 RPM whirr at 78 miles per hour in 6th gear.  I had a lot of great music to accompany me, like this classic road trip anthem.

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I admired the sunset and lucked out on traffic, sailing into Long Beach around 8:00 p.m. for check-in at my motel.  Saturday was the big day.  By 7:00 a.m. I’d driven the 6.1 miles to the Long Beach Waterfront which would shortly be overtaken by hundreds of vintage Japanese automobiles.  I stashed the ILX in visitor parking and I watched as a steady line of cars & trucks – some as pristine as if they’d driven off the showroom floor, and some with nary a stitch of original architecture intact, rolled into the participant gate and into the grassy park.

By 10:00 a.m. I’d already worked up enough of an appetite to drop $14 on a basket of chicken strips and French fries from a truck-based vendor in the entrance.  Ouch to my wallet, and ouch to my diet, but that greasy goodness fueled me all the way through the afternoon.  I wandered among the various participating vehicles and met a few of their proud owners.  Honda & Acura had a booth set up – it was the second year they’d participated – complete with various cars & motorcycles from the Honda Collection museum in Torrance.  Among them, a 1979 Prelude and a 1992 NSX.  I had the chance to interact with a few folks from Honda HQ who I’ve known for some time.

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My focus was directed primarily to the Hondas in the show, but I couldn’t help but glance an eyeball at the bright red Lexus LFA on display (“How’d that get in here?” I thought).  I saw some truly amazing rides:  A 47,000-mile all-original 1986 Prelude, my friend Armando’s ultra clean 1974 Mazda RX-4, an extremely rare 1976 Mazda Cosmo, and a dealership fresh Toyota Corona.

Amidst all the chaos, I received a visit from my friend Davis who’s recently moved into the Long Beach area from his former home in Atlanta.  We wandered over to take a closer look at the RMS Queen Mary.  Long Beach is home to this a 1,000-foot-long ocean liner from 1934 that went into service in 1936 and been parked at the harbor since 1967.  Queen Mary’s size makes her a couple hundred feet longer than Titanic, even.  Today, the ship has been converted into a hotel & museum.  I want to stay there someday!

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The good news came around 2:45 p.m. when we learned that my friends Scott & Sandy (who I featured in a blog post back in March) had been awarded “Best in Show” for their immaculately restored white 1965 Honda S600 Roadster.  Scott is pictured above with the car.  The Roadster was one of 3 vehicles that he and Sandy had entered, alongside a red 1965 right-hand-drive S600 Coupe and a “pop orange” 1972 Z600.  All of them got a great deal of attention throughout the day.  I’ll never forget one wide-eyed spectator, who took a look at the Coupe and said, “This car gives me goosebumps.”  He really did have goosebumps on his arm.  Ha!

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The capstone to our amazing day was when I got to have dinner with a celebrity: famed racecar driver Peter Cunningham (above), known for having achieved 91 professional race wins since the 1980’s.  Peter and his company, RealTime Racing, have been key players in Honda & Acura performance world.  Cunningham is still at it, with a full race-equipped Acura TLX that was on display at the car show.  We dined with a few other friends at Federal Bar in downtown Long Beach.  I said my farewells a little after 7 p.m. and started the long journey home to Scottsdale.

Thanks to those who made it such a great weekend!  Here are the rest of my pics for your viewing enjoyment.

Pit stop in Desert Center, CA:  Home to rusted pumps and an abandoned restaurant.

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Sunset approaching the Los Angeles area.

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Saturday morning arrival at the Long Beach Cruise Terminal, home of the RMS Queen Mary.

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Entryway to the Japanese Classic Car Show, with a lineup of Honda CRXs.

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My friend Chris Hoffman’s immaculate 1987 CRX Si.   He’s the original owner, and the car has just 109,000 miles on its odometer.

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Couple of sexy looking Nissans.

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Here’s a closer look at Honda/Acura’s booth.

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Trio of Toyota Celicas.

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Scott was busy all day telling the story of his gorgeous 1965 S600 Coupe.

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Perfect day at the Long Beach Waterfront to look at some nice cars.

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My friend Chris Green’s 1986 Honda Prelude.  Just 47,000 miles on this beauty here.

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I especially enjoyed some of the visual aids he’d put together.

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I got to tool around in this little thing for a bit.  It’s Scott’s 1972 Honda Z600.  4-speed manual and an absolute riot to drive.

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Armando and his 1974 Mazda RX-4.

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Another amazing Accord:  This one, a rare 2-speed “Hondamatic” 1979 sedan owned by the same Chris with the blue Prelude.

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Just view that plush interior!

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Ever seen a 9,500 RPM redline? This is the gauge cluster from Scott’s red 1965 S600 Coupe.  Love that wood wheel.

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Another one from Chris Hoffman:  His 1980 Accord with just 18,000 miles on it.  Frequently (as in the case with my friends) participants enter multiple vehicles.

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Visiting the Queen, with my friend Davis.

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Someday I’m going back for a tour of this thing!

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Hope you all enjoyed coming along!

Arizona Driver Magazine Feature, Sep/Oct 2014 Issue

Posted in Arizona, ILX, TLX on September 24, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,546

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Odometer (ILX):  96,818

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Today, I received a very “official” looking piece of mail.  It was the kind of envelope with the edges you have to fold over and tear off, like a check or invoice.  TIME SENSITIVE MATERIAL – ACURA ILX it said in bold letters on the outside.  I wondered if maybe I’d received a speed camera violation or something.  Nope, it was an offer for an extended warranty.  Dang junk mailers get more creative every day.

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So, am I interested in an extended warranty to 100,000 miles?  Umm, considering the fact that I’m only 3,182 miles away:  No thanks.

On an unrelated note, I got to meet up with a proud Acura TLX owner today.  My friend Matt, former owner of a TSX and a TL, has recently upgraded to this new ride.  Hey, look, I’m in the pic too.  My shadow is, anyway.

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The editors at Arizona Driver Magazine saw fit to include one of my recent road trip stories in their publication, and I’m thrilled.

Many of you already read my write-up on the Old West town of Tombstone, Arizona, but I put together a special version for the feature story in the September/October 2014 issue of Arizona Driver.  This unique magazine is “The Enthusiast’s Guide to Life Behind the Wheel.”

Arizona has a strong ‘car enthusiast’ population due to its year-round weather friendliness.  Summer tires can be worn in most parts of the state whether it’s January or July, and aside from giving great road trip ideas, the magazine shares insightful reviews on new vehicles & industry news.  Feel free to click through these pages if you’d like to read through the article.

Coming up this weekend:  You’ll join me on a drive to Long Beach, California for the 10th annual Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS).

Don’t touch that dial.

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Spy Pics: 2016 Acura ILX Mid-Model Refresh

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Spy Shots, TLX on September 20, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,537

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Odometer (ILX):  96,510

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I took delivery of my 2013 ILX on June 12, 2012 with 16 miles on its odometer.  The 2015 model year ILX is now already out, and aside from some packaging changes and the deletion of the Hybrid powertrain offering, the ‘newest’ car is pretty much identical.  That’s all about to change.

Did everyone catch the spy pics of the 2016 Acura ILX that were released on Thursday?  Edmunds posted them for the world to see, and I like where the design direction has evolved.  Notice the “shield” grille (or otherwise known as the ‘beak’) has been tweaked.  I also see Jewel Eye headlights, much like the RLX, TLX, and MDX already have.  Finally, the front & rear bumpers are much more aggressive looking.

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Awesome tape job!  They should leave those as racing stripes.

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I’m liking that lip spoiler out back.

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No word yet on when Acura will show us the production version of this refreshed ILX, but maybe it’ll happen at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in November.  I’ll be there watching, just in case.

My ILX got an “A12″ service at Acura of Tempe yesterday.  For $380.74 (ouch), it’s now sporting a pair of new rear brake pads, a new cabin air filter, and some fresh 0W20 motor oil.  It had been 8,271 miles since my last oil change.  My service advisor recommended having the serpentine belt changed on my next visit, but I’m sure that’ll be after I’m well into 100,000 mile range.  Also – SHOCKER – for the first time in history, I allowed the dealership to wash my car.  I’ve been so busy that I just haven’t had time to do it on my own, so it was nice to let someone else do my chores for a change.

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It’s been a wet & wild couple of weeks in the Phoenix area.  On Monday, September 8th, the area experienced its wettest day in recorded history.  By noon we’d already received 3 inches – roughly a third of our annual average.  For me, it was a wet commute to the office.

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For others, it was even wetter.  This is what Interstate 10 looked like at 43rd Avenue.

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Typical for indecisive desert weather, though, by the time I left the office that same afternoon, it was back to blue skies & sunshine.

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It was a few days before the warning signs were removed from roadways around my neighborhood.

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Even the Legend, which probably hadn’t seen rain for a year or more, got stuck in a downpour.

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Finally, it’s always a cool feeling to see a “first” of any new model on the road in a real-world setting.  I was sitting at a light on westbound McDowell Road in Scottsdale, and caught a glimpse of some LED headlights in my sideview mirror.  This was a TLX.

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I felt like a bit of a paparazzi for taking such pictures, but it was kind of exciting to see an on-the-road version of the very vehicle that I saw unveiled as a prototype at the Detroit Auto Show this past January.

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Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend!

Press Preview: 2015 Volkswagen Jetta

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on September 18, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,532

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Odometer (ILX):  96,329

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“Jetta” is a nameplate that’s carries a long history.  Since the 1980 model year, the Jetta has made a name for itself as the best selling Volkswagen in the United States.  Now in its 6th generation, the Jetta is undergoing what VW calls an “evolutionary refresh” for the 2015 model year.  I was invited as part of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) to attend a special ride & drive program at the Phoenix Art Museum on Tuesday evening.

First Generation Jetta

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Sixth Generation Jetta

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When I think of “diesel,” my ears automatically start hearing the characteristic loud idle of my younger brother’s Ford F-250 PowerStroke pickup.  It’s the kind of idle you have to raise your voice to speak over.  But this Jetta TDI?  Refined, quiet, and if it weren’t for the low-RPM tachometer and the characteristic diesel torquey driving demeanor, I would have not even guessed it was powered by diesel fuel.  In short:  46 miles per gallon and still enough power to be fun to drive?  This Jetta made me seriously rethink my perception of the VW brand.

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Volkswagen representative Megan Garbis flew in from the company’s training facility in Herndon, Virginia and shared a few slides that captured the highlights of the newly-improved Jetta.  The Jetta is made in Puebla, Mexico where VW has had production operations for over 47 years.  I’ll share just a few standout points and driving impressions.

I like how they’ve started offering ‘upscale’ features to be purchased a la carte as opposed to grouping them with packages.  HID headlights with LED treatment, for example, can be added to even the lower trim levels of the Jetta.  The base model, by the way, starts at $16,215.  Aside from that, there are some new features that are firsts for this class of vehicle – like an active radiator shutter that closes automatically at a certain speed to reduce wind drag.

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There are a total of 5 engines available on the Jetta, but the clear pick for me would be the 2 liter diesel TDI.  Volkswagen says that adoption of diesel-powered vehicles is on the rise in the U.S., with TDI sales roughly at 28% of overall sales from the VW family of vehicles.  Some may overlook the Jetta TDI based on the fact that it only has 150 horsepower.  But, as Megan stated, “People buy horsepower, but they drive torque.”  Consider the fact that my ILX has 201 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque.  The Jetta has 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.  This translates into a driving experience that I described to my friend Kyle during our test drive as “grabby.”  The TDI shoots off like a rocket as soon as it hits about 2,000 RPM.  I found the 6-speed gearbox fun to drive.

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Equipped as a mid-$20’s car, too, the Jetta brings a lot of refinement.  The doors close with a solid ‘thud.’  Fit and finish was good everywhere except the door panels, which had hard plastic materials up top.  The glossy piano black trim finish that surrounds the radio is a nice touch, and there are matching trim pieces on the steering wheel (which, by the way, is carried over from the famous “hot-hatch” Golf GTI model).

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The Jetta is a serious contender in this very competitive segment, and I’d encourage anyone looking for great MPG and plenty of optioning choices to give it a very close look.  I thank the Volkswagen team for hosting me at the conference and for the chance to take the new Jetta for a spin!  I left a little tread on the tires for you.

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Abandoned McPhaul “Bridge to Nowhere” in Yuma, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on September 15, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):

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Odometer (ILX):  95,993

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Trip Distance:  388 Miles

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Sometimes a road trip opportunity comes out of the middle of nowhere, and it also TAKES you to the middle of nowhere.

On Tuesday, my coworker Greg sent me an email entitled, “Seen this?” with a screen capture of what is known as the Bridge to Nowhere.  Of course, I dropped all work-related activities and headed straight for Google.  My colleagues at the office know me well.  What I soon uncovered was the history of a very little-known 800-foot-long suspension bridge about 8 miles north of the desert community of Yuma, Arizona.

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I mentioned a few things about the bridge to my friend Jack.  “Yuma – really? If you’re going on a day trip, at least have it be to Vegas or somewhere.”  I was determined to make the trip even if it wasn’t to an exotic location, so I took to the streets bright and early on Sunday morning in my Acura ILX and headed westward.  Yuma sits along Intestate 8, and it’s only 7 miles north of the Mexican border.  The sun shines for about 90 percent of days in Yuma, making it the sunniest place on earth (specifically, the city receives 4,015 hours of sunshine per year).  The town’s population booms in the wintertime when “snowbirds” from the midwest roll in with their 5th wheel travel trailers and spend a few months in its perfect climate.

At Fortuna Road, Exit 12, I rolled off the main highway and headed north toward US 95.  Following some directions I’d printed from Roadside America, I knew exactly where I’d be seeing the bridge.  Sure enough, its two tallest spires beckoned from afar as I hit the brakes in the ILX and made a left-hand turn onto a gravel road that truly did look like it was in the middle of nowhere. Just 1/2 mile or so up the dirt road, I’d driven as far as I’d be able to.  Multiple warning signs urged me to not take any further steps toward the bridge.  BRIDGE CLOSED; NO TRESPASSING; and UNSTABLE were some of the notifications I received.  Still, I felt like I needed to get a closer look so I locked the car and started hiking.

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The bridge was built in 1929 in the name of Henry Harrison McPhaul, a notable resident of Yuma.  Just a little under 40 years later, in 1968, it was deemed unfit for modern traffic needs — not difficult to understand, given its narrow width.  A larger bridge was built upstream, along with a dam that rerouted the river.  Today, the McPhaul Bridge is nothing but a roadside relic.  It doesn’t go anywhere or serve any purpose at all, except for inquisitive road trippers like me.

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The actual deck of the bridge is completely shut off with a fence and padlock, so I did not walk along the top of it.  I did, however, hike down underneath the platform.  Thick wooded brush was difficult to navigate, and I was wearing shorts so the sticks would frequently jab at my legs and scratch them.  I had to tread carefully down there.  The view of the underside of the bridge was worth it.  What was once a riverbed is now mostly dry, since the flow of water had been diverted in 1968.

Here’s an aerial view of the north-south running bridge (center of the screen).  At some point, I’d like to try and access the north end of it.  The roads on that side of the wash appear to be dirt based on Google Maps.

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Not even a mile up the road. another quick stop was to be made.  A white, hand-painted sign along Highway 95 said, “Pause; Rest; Worship.”  Another dirt road presented itself to my left, so I veered north toward the tiniest church building I’ve ever set foot in.  The “Tiny Church,” as it’s been named, dates back to 1995 and was built by a farmer on his property.  There are 6 tiny pews in the 8-foot by 11-foot interior.  I spent at least 20 minutes at the church and saw nobody else around.  The front door was unlocked so I let myself in.  The front row had bottled waters and some pudding on it, maybe in case any worshipers needed sustenance?  Sitting on top of the pulpit was a Holy Bible and a guest book, which I signed.

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My return trip to the Phoenix area was smooth sailing, as I-8 on a Sunday morning is very quiet and there are remarkably few 18-wheelers along that stretch of road.  I did make just one more visit before calling it a day.

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Dozens of times I’ve driven past Exit 67 for Avenue 64E to “Dateland,” but it wasn’t until Sunday that I let my curiosity get the best of me and I pulled off Interstate 8 for a closer look.  I’d known that Dateland was famous for its date shakes, but not much else.  I was greeted by a modern service station and adjoining Quizno’s sandwich shop.  For $4.50, I got myself a date shake.  The flavor reminded me just remotely of a “jamocha” flavored shake from Arby’s.  The consistency was really thick, and the chunks – well, they were a bit much.  It was so chunky, in fact, that my straw kept getting plugged.

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Dates are a fruit that grows on a certain type of palm tree called a Phoenix Dactylifera.  These palms can grow up to 75 feet in height.  Dateland, Arizona started out as a stop along the railroad line in the 1920’s.  Its irrigation pool doubled as a swimming pool.  Today, Dateland’s source of industry primarily comes from its convenience as a pit stop for motorists cruising between Yuma and Phoenix along the interstate corridor.

Thanks for coming along for the trip, and enjoy the rest of these pics!

When you’re traveling this closely to Mexico, there are opportunities to buy Mexican auto insurance all over.

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Sentinel, Arizona proudly touts its location in the Middle of Nowhere.

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Getting closer to Yuma after this steep pass.

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Here’s the approach of the Bridge to Nowhere.  Cruising north on Hwy 95, all I could see were its tallest pillars.

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Getting closer after hitting the dirt road.

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This is the end of the road.  At least, it has been since 1968.

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Walking on up.

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No Trespassing.  I didn’t go out on the bridge deck; I just went underneath it.

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View from below.  For being 85 years old, this thing is in pretty good shape.

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Plenty of graffiti, too.

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Here you can see the type of thick brush I was trying to trudge through.

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I love the architecture of old bridges and tunnels.

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View from the west side of the bridge.

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Heading back to the car – and a dust storm blowing in.

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You can really see in the above pic how it goes to “nowhere.”

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Farewell to the bridge.

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Next stop:  A little Sunday worship, on a miniature scale.

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Heading up to the chapel.

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Plenty of parking.

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Church is in session!  Thanks Instagram filters.  (follow me under @tysonhugie)

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Here’s a look inside.  There are 6 very small benches.  Apparently you can squeeze 12 people in here if you need to.

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I found some refreshments on the front pew.

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Signed the guest book and provided the blog address.

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Arriving in Dateland, Arizona for some fuel and a bathroom break.  Those are date palms along the road.

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They sell 100-octane “racing fuel” at the Dateland gas station!  I didn’t indulge… but I wanted to.

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Dates for sale.  If only finding a date was this easy in the relationship world.

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Date Shakes & Quiznos

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Self explanatory Dateland license plate.

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Try one if you’re ever in the area!

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Have a great week!

Tribute to Grandpa

Posted in Throwback on September 12, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,523

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Odometer (ILX):  95,509

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I grew up in a car-loving family.  When my dad and I routinely hand-waxed our family vehicles each 6 months, it became an all-day affair.  I remember him pulling my mom’s maroon 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix onto the grass into the backyard, under a shade tree.  His father, too, took a great deal of pride in his own automobile.  This is Grandpa Rex:

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It was 25 years ago today, on Tuesday September 12, 1989 when he passed away due to heart failure.  I was only 7 years old at the time, but my memories of him are vivid and still very real.  This photo from Christmas 1985 shows Grandpa on the couch.  My cousin Kira and I were on the motorized “Power Wheels” 3-wheeler at left.  I guess I’ve always had an affinity for wheeled toys!  I would have been 4 at the time.

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Grandpa gave out Certs breath mints like candy.  My brother and I would hold our our hands out and ask for “Mmms” (as that’s what we called them).  He’d gladly share.  As luck would have it, I had chicken pox on Sunday, September 17, 1989 when Grandpa’s funeral services were held in College Ward, Utah, so I did not attend.  Here’s a snapshot from his obituary from Logan’s Herald Journal newspaper dated Thursday, September 14.

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Continuing on, the obituary reads:

Rex married Marilyn Hansen on July 16, 1954, in Logan.  The marriage was later solemnized in the Logan LDS Temple.  At the time of his death, he was employed at Hill Air Force Base.  Rex served his country in the military during the Korean War.  He served in various church positions, his favorite being involvement in the Scouting program.  He was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed hunting, fishing, and snowmobiling with his family, which included eight grandchildren whom he dearly loved.  As a husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Rex will be missed by many.  We wish him a fond farewell until we meet again.

Photo of Grandpa’s birthplace – Cornish, Utah:

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Thanks to my friend Ryan for sending me that picture a few weeks ago.  My dad and I had driven through Cornish on the return leg of our Beartooth Highway adventure this summer, but we didn’t stop for a photo.

Several times on the blog I’ve “followed in Grandpa’s footsteps” (or in this case, tire tread marks).

Original picture with Grandpa and his pride and joy 1950 Buick Special Model 43D “Jetback” Sedan (taken 1954).  Based on the garden hose strung out across the lawn, I bet he’d just washed it.

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Did you know that each of those grille “teeth” were individually replaceable?  I have a dealership brochure from 1950 that talks about how the design prevented “locking horns” with another vehicle.  Now that’s innovation.

Grandpa’s Buick model is pictured at the top right of this factory brochure.  It had a meager 128 horsepower generated from its straight-8 engine.  My ILX has 201 horses from half as many cylinders.  I guess automotive technology has come a little way.

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Back in 1998, I found a beat-up 1950 Buick to get a picture with in Beaver, Utah:

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Then in 2002, I saw a 1950 Buick at a car show in Vista, California when I was a missionary for the Mormon church:

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It’s only a matter of time until I find the right Buick and restore one just like Grandpa’s.

My grandma once recounted to me the story of a time when she and Grandpa road-tripped from northern Utah all the way to Nevada.  They were en route to Vegas for their honeymoon in July 1954.  Grandma got homesick and they didn’t even make it all the way to Vegas before turning back around!

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Here’s the Buick all decorated up with honeymoon graffiti:

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Thanks for reading!  And a great weekend to all.

Peter’s Birthday Drive to Prescott, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on September 7, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,504

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Odometer (ILX):  95,239

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Trip Distance:  244 Miles

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Among my group of friends, spending time with our cars is always special treat so when my buddy Peter was deciding how to celebrate his big 32nd birthday, his first thought was to put together a mountain cruise.

Today’s drive took us to the hills northwest of the Phoenix, Arizona area.  The route followed highways 17, 74, 60, 93, and 89.  Catch all that?  The participants brought a wide variety of automobiles.  We ended up having two Acuras, two BMWs, and a Nissan in the mix.  Below is part of the lineup.  Dan’s “Boston Green Metallic” 1998 BMW M3 5-speed is in superb condition for being 16 years old and having over 140,000 miles on the odometer.  He’s taken great care of it.

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Peter’s TSX has undergone a lot of work during the short length of time he’s had it.  Just a few weeks ago, I met with him after he’d taken ownership.  The car was bone stock at the time (below).  Despite having over 185,000 miles on it, it was mechanically sound and he was anxious to get started customizing it to give it some personal style.

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Already, he’s upgraded the suspension and wheels.  He also re-tinted the windows and did some cleanup on some of the body panels.  Not to mention some freshly-polished exhaust tips!  Here were the rides on today’s tour:

  • 2004 Acura TSX
  • 1998 BMW M3
  • 2014 BMW M235i
  • 2009 Nissan 370Z
  • 2013 Acura ILX

My friend Paul took the shotgun seat in the ILX with me for this drive.  Peter took the lead in the TSX and the rest of us followed in line.  A wise move, this was: Peter knew all about Highway 89’s notorious speed trap in the 45 mph zone!  Sure enough, as we rounded a corner into a straightaway, an Arizona Highway Patrol vehicle was staring us in the face.  Unfortunately for that officer, our party was in complete compliance with posted limits.  Take that.

hill

From there, the road gained elevation as we rose to about 5,300 feet.  Its twisty curves were banked just enough to inspire some spirited driving.  The ILX had no issues keeping up with the pack, and I enjoyed throwing it between 3rd and 4th gears on the climb.  As a testament to how confident Paul was in my driving skills, he reported “… and I didn’t even grab the oh shiz handle once!”  Soon, we arrived in the town of Prescott, affectionately referred to by locals as “Everybody’s Hometown.”

Prescott was actually the capital of the Arizona Territory in 1864 (Phoenix didn’t take over that title until 1889).  Today, it’s home to around 40,000 people has become a popular weekend destination for Phoenicians like me who are looking to escape the heat.  The city embraces its history with over 800 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

forest

prescott_fire

We dined at the Firehouse Kitchen (chicken quesadillas highly recommended!), then Paul and I made our way toward Highway 69 which would return us to the Phoenix area, while everyone else headed toward Jerome.  The clouds dropped a little rain on us, but the 70-degree temperatures were refreshing.  By the time we got back to the Phoenix area, the temps were already back up in triple-digit range.  Happy b-day Peter, and thanks for putting this drive together!

peter_tyson

Here are the rest of the pics from our little Sunday drive.  Thanks for coming along.

hwy_71

A peek at the curves that Highway 89 offered up.

89_curves

Following the BMW M235i through Yarnell

yarnell

Bathroom & snack break at a “Mountainaire” gas station in Peeples Valley

mountainaire

Arrival in Prescott

following_todd

The lineup

prescott1

Departing Prescott with wet roads

prescott_city

In closing, just a few other random weekend adventures.  Yesterday’s Cars & Coffee in Scottsdale:

cc

I also did a little junkyarding.  There were 220,538 miles on the odometer of this 1991 LS in Golden Glow Pearl.  It had the factory accessory 15″ 5-spoke wheels, the gold emblem package, and the trunk-mounted spoiler.

GOLDEN_GLOW

Thanks Dillon for sharing your latest A-Spec TLX rendering!

dillon_tlx

And a classic text from Paul showing some true Acura brotherhood.

paul_quote

Have a great week!

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