Drive to the Wild West: Tombstone and Fairbank, Arizona in the ILX

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on July 31, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  531,295

531295

Odometer (ILX):  90,167

90167

Trip Distance:  372 Miles

tombstone_map

When my friend Chris from Maryland was planning his visit to Arizona, he said, “I want to see a saloon.  Take me to an Old West town.”  I knew exactly which destination would fulfill those wishes:  Tombstone.

tombstone_sign

Just a day after arriving from our trip to Los Angeles for the National Acura Legend Meet, Chris and I again hit the highway in search of a new adventure.  And this time, we traveled back in time 135 years to a town that they say is “Too Tough to Die.”  It’s a town of legends (get it?) and history that fills volumes.

ilx_at_old_tombstone

Our first stop was the Boothill Graveyard.  We took a self-guided tour and noticed that most of the headstones were marked “UNKNOWN.”  The ones that did have names on them were mostly dated from the late 1800’s.  Here’s one example of an inscription we found on a headstone:

Here Lies George Johnson, 1882

He Was Right, We Was Wrong

But We Strung Him Up, and Now He’s Gone

ilx_at_boothill

chris_at_boothill

We parked the ILX and proceeded to walk around in the muggy afternoon weather.  Tombstone’s history dates back to 1879 when it became a boomtown thanks to the nearby silver mine.  During those years, a guide educated us, the town’s population soared to around 10,000 residents, which was even greater than the population of Los Angeles at the time.  A series of destructive fires in 1882 wiped out over 100 businesses.  Additional fires in the mines themselves, depletion of ore, and the falling price of silver led to the decline of Tombstone.  Today, it’s home to only about 1,300 people and the town survives primarily on the tourism industry.

tombstone_street

On October 26, 1881, a historical gunfight took place in an empty lot behind the O.K. Corral.  Lawman Doc Holliday and 3 other officers fought it out against 4 cowboys who were suspected of murder.  Thirty shots were fired, resulting in injury or death for everyone involved except for Wyatt Earp.  Earp lived on until 1929 when he died at the age of 80.  Chris and I watched a gunfight reenactment and got our photo afterward with some of the actors.

chris_tyson_with_actors

The main road through town, Allen Street, is closed to car traffic.  However, carriage rides are available and the town is very pedestrian-friendly.  Chris and I went to the Crystal Palace Saloon for lunch.  The “shroom and Swiss” hamburger was phenomenal, but my favorite item on the menu was the fried ice cream for dessert.

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This courthouse cost $45,000 to build in 1882 and still stands today with a visitor center in the lobby.

courthouse

Heading north from Tombstone, I decided to change up the trip a little bit and do a little ghost towning.  My friend Leif had once told me about a townsite called Fairbank off Highway 82 in southern Arizona, and I happened to notice how close we were to it thanks to my Garmin Nuvi GPS unit as we were departing from Tombstone.

Just before a border patrol checkpoint, Chris and I veered west into the San Pedro Valley and about 8 miles later we arrived at what was once a bustling railroad town in the late 1800’s.  In 1890 and 1894 the area flooded.  An earthquake in 1897 altered the course of the San Pedro River, knocked railroad tracks out of place, and devastated some of the structures in the town.  It’s almost as if Fairbank was destined to be a ghost town from the very beginning.  Fairbank has been abandoned since the 1970’s and today amounts to just a few decrepit structures and a 1920 schoolhouse that was restored in 2007.

fairbank_sign

Heading on in via a very short, perhaps 1/4 mile, one-lane dirt road.

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Parked at the gate to the townsite.

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Chris heads on in.

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This building was once a post office and mercantile.

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The signs posted on these buildings say that they are condemned due to being unsafe.

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We didn’t take the time to hike all 1/2 mile to the San Pedro riverbed, but I enjoyed the green vegetation and it was a nice change of scenery from the rest of the surrounding desert.

chris_hiking_san_pedro

Continuing on Highway 82, I had my first experience with geocaching when Chris and I started heading north on Highway 90.  Geocaching is defined as a recreational activity in which participants use a global positioning system (GPS) to hide and seek containers (“caches”).  Chris downloaded a geocache app to his iPhone and started guiding me on where to make some turns so that we could find it.  I took this picture of the ILX just before Chris (in the background) hit the jackpot.

ilx_at_geocache

Hidden within the chain link fence’s post in this residential neighborhood was a small container attached to the lid.  Once we unscrewed the lid, we found inside a small plastic bag with a folded piece of paper and a pencil where we would fill in the date and our names.  It’s like a treasure hunt!  I had a blast.

tyson_with_geocache

Nice view of Newman Peak just east of I-10 near Picacho on the way back to the Phoenix area.

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We turned over 90,000 miles right around there!

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Thanks for joining on the trip!

Just a couple more parting shots today – first, Chris had free reign of the NSX on Tuesday while I was at work, and he found a great road called South Mountain where he took this picture overlooking the Phoenix downtown area.

nsx_at_south_mountain

Later that day, he drove himself to the airport in the Legend coupe.  Having owned a 400,000 mile 3rd generation Prelude Si, he has an appreciation for cars with higher mileage.

chris_driving_legend

And finally, a well deserved shout-out to my friend Alex.  Despite the fact that his Acura Legend did not even have an engine or transmission installed in it just a couple of weeks ago, he got his car together in time to drive it all the way across the country:  from Warm Mineral Springs, Florida, to Los Angeles, California, for this year’s NALM.  Not only that, but he’s now on his return trip (5,000 miles into it, currently in Chicago) and a couple of days ago passed through my hometown in southern Utah and sent me this photo at the state line.  Keep on trucking, Alex!

alex_coupe_in_utah

 

10th Annual National Acura Legend Meet – Part 2

Posted in California, NALM on July 28, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend coupe):  531,277

531277

Odometer (Legend sedan):  146,014

146014

map

My favorite comment of the entire second day of NALM was: “Look, it’s the rolling retirement home!” when Kevin’s 1994 sedan “Old War Horse” pulled into the Islands Restaurant parking lot in Thousand Oaks, California. Kevin and Alan had a good laugh about it. They do pride themselves in being among the most distinguished of Legend enthusiasts.

No NALM is complete without a chance to put our cars’ suspensions to the test. Tommy was the ring leader for Saturday’s canyon drive, having traversed the two-laners between in the Santa Monica Mountains many many times in the past. He took the lead in his Canterbury Green Legend sedan as we rode out of the Hampton Inn in Thousand Oaks. My friend Stephen took the copilot seat in the Legend coupe. I hoped for the best with my clutch, knowing full well that it (being the original to the car) was hanging on for dear life. I had no intention of driving aggressively but still wanted to at least keep up with the pack.

drive_group

Tommy picked a great road: never-ending twists on Mulholland Drive with scenery that delivered awesome views. Not that I was paying much attention to the scenery – my eyes were instead glued to Duane’s Legend GS sedan in front of me. I got a howl or two out of my Michelin tires. Sergey who was following me noted (not surprisingly) a lot of body roll from my car. Soon we reached the crest and began our descent to sea level. Blue skies gave way to an overcast marine layer, but temperatures were comfortable and Stephen and I rolled the windows and sunroof down to enjoy it.

Our destination for lunch was Neptune’s Net, a famous seafood place along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. Famous, I say, because it was featured in the movie The Fast and the Furious. We did our best to safely park 25+ Legends along the highway before running across four lanes of traffic and settling into the two tables on the outside patio which Gabe, our ring leader, had graciously reserved for us in advance. The fish tacos were calling my name so that’s what got my vote on the menu. Aside from being completely covered in cilantro which is one food I’m not a fan of, they were delicious. I also sampled some of Ben’s French fries and Stephen’s chicken strips. Fried food seems to be something that Neptune’s does well!

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Gabe handed me a walkie talkie and assigned me as one of the shepherds for our next stretch of road. I obediently waited until most of the group had rolled out, then took to the wheel and confirmed that all of the cars in our caravan were accounted for. One unlucky Legend owner was shortly thereafter pulled over for a window tint violation, but otherwise the drive southbound on Pacific Coast Highway went well. A left hand turn on Kanan Road took us back up and over the Santa Monica Mountains and toward Highway 101. We had an appointment at a dyno shop so that some of the Legend owners could evaluate performance of their motors by testing them for horsepower and torque. I had a close call with a concrete parking curb that started to pull my front bumper off after catching an underside splash shield, but survived the incident and it’s hardly detectable that it ever happened.

Once again we braved Los Angeles traffic upon departure. I’ve decided that the 405 and 101 freeways are rarely flowing without incident. Our evening was relaxed, with a dinner reservation at Islands Restaurant just a few miles from the host hotel in Thousand Oaks. The special treat later that night was when Legend owners started throwing their car keys at me and letting me take their cars for test drives.  One thing I love about being a part of this car enthusiast community is the level of pride that each owner takes in his or her vehicle. And despite the fact that we all drive the same model of car, I felt like each one had a unique personality and feel. Huge thanks to Duane, Dave, Alex, TJ, James, and Evan for entrusting me behind the wheel of their babies.  This is a pic with long-time friend Denny.

denny_tyson

On Sunday morning, we made our way to a weekly event in Woodland Hills called Supercar Sunday. When our group of Legends pulled into the mall parking lot around 8:00 a.m., the area was already nearly full of a wide variety of show cars. We got a sneak peek at a new Dodge Challenger Hellcat, got up close and personal with a suicide door 1967 Lincoln Continental with laser-sharp paint work and body panels, and even a couple of 1981 Deloreans. My favorite car, though, was a Sebring Silver 1992 Acura NSX parked up the row a little bit. Super clean with only 65,000 miles on the odometer, I could tell it was well cared for. We weren’t looking over it longer than 2 minutes when the proud owner, Yoav, came up to give us the story on it. He is the editor of Petrolicious and has had a lot of nice cars in his automotive past, but he says the NSX is something special.   He took a few moments to gaze upon our lineup of cars and introduce himself to our group. Thanks, Yoav, for your time!  Here I am with Ben, and with Yoav’s 1992 NSX.

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supercar_legend_lineup

Gabe took the floor back at the Hampton and conducted an awards ceremony. Alex Alperovich swept 3 categories in his Milano Red 1994 LS coupe: Most Potential, Longest Drive, and “Sleeper.” His trophy collection is expanding quickly! Gabe raffled off a number of Legend-related prices. When he pulled two jugs of Honda “Type 2” coolant out of a box and put them on the counter, the collective crowd said, “Oooooooh!” Everyone wanted those. Duane from Folsom, CA was the lucky winner in that case.

Chris and I were rip-raring to hit the highway and head east, so we grabbed some Del Taco and did just that. I got used to seeing my Legend GS sedan in my rearview mirror for the next 7 hours or so. The big surprise was about 90 minutes into the drive when I received a text message with, “You just passed us!” One of the NALM attendees was driving along (in a non-Legend) on Freeway 210 and had spotted Chris and me driving along. Sure enough, I later received a picture he’d taken of us. Talk about timing!

coupes_on_210_freeway

Our drive through the I-10 desert was uneventful aside from some raindrops in Palm Springs and some haze climbing out of the Indio valley to Chiriaco Summit. It was great to get home!  Many, many thanks to the NALM ground team (Gabe, Tommy, Graeme, and whoever else may have played a role) for their efforts in pulling off a great event.

Here are the rest of my pictures.  There will, soon I’m sure, be photos posted here on the forums too.

Video!  Footage is courtesy of Chris.

My Legend sedan, Ben’s 1992 L coupe, and Alan with his 1994 LS coupe.

hotel_lineup

Dave’s award-winning (“Best JDM”) 1994 GS sedan 6-speed with only 98,000 miles.

dave

Alan’s coupe again.  Just love that paint color.

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Saturday morning’s rollout to the canyon cruise.

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Arrival at Neptune’s Net in Malibu.

coupe_neptunes

Chowing down on some of the west coast’s best seafood.

neptunes_group

Alex and Chris decided to climb down to the beach and get wet in the Pacific.

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Looking back at Neptune’s.

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Ben taking a picture of me, taking a picture of him.

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Group overlooking the Pacific.

beach

Heading out again – this time, off to the performance/dyno shop in Van Nuys.

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This photo captured by Sergey’s brother along Pacific Coast Highway.

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Getting dyno tested!

dyno

Group of onlookers.

group_at_dyno

Sunday morning’s view out room 245 of the Hampton Inn.  A glorious sight indeed.

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parking_lot_1

Traditional “trunk liner” signing with Kevin from Duluth, GA.  Each of the last 3 years, I’ve left a special inscription in silver Sharpie on the fabric that covers the underside of his trunk lid.  It’s a tradition we will continue to carry on.

Thanks, Kevin, for the privilege!

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Chris getting a feel for the coupe.

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Southeast Acura Legend guys:  Alex (FL), Alan, (FL), Tyson, Evan (TN), and Kevin (GA).

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Me with Alex.  Showing off my two awards from the ceremony.

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Headed home on I-10 with Chris in our twin Legends.  This shot taken during a fuel-up near Palm Springs.

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A hot entry into the Arizona state line from Blythe, CA.  Welcome home!

tyson_az_state_line

10th Annual National Acura Legend Meet – Part 1

Posted in California, NALM on July 25, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend sedan):  145,443

145443

Odometer (Legend coupe):  530,701

530701

I can’t believe I’ve been going to NALM for 10 years now!  Each time I come to this event it’s a giant family reunion.

Along with a few other long-distance travelers, I made a 430-mile drive across the hot desert from Phoenix and arrived in Thousand Oaks, California around 6:45 p.m. on Thursday evening, just in time for the meet & green and kick-off activities.  Master of Ceremonies Gabe Teran had developed a Legend-specific trivia game for the 30 or so participants in attendance.  Our brains were racked as he asked for specifications like horsepower and torque figures and year-over-year model changes.  I admit that even I, after having owned 9 Legends, could not answer many of his detailed inquiries!

It was a comfortable 72 degrees in the parking lot when we were outside shooting the breeze later in the evening.  Such a refreshing break from the oven that is my home.

thousand_oaks

Here are a few photos from that day’s westward drive on Interstate 10.  Thanks to TJ for capturing this one of Chris (in my sedan), me (in my coupe) and Alex on the road.

i10

It’s a trip to watch my own car come up in the sideview mirror.

rearview

Lunch at Carl’s Junior in Quartzsite, just about 19 miles before crossing into California.  Chuck’s car, at far left, is a 1993 LS coupe 6-speed with only 31,000 miles on it.

quartzsite2

Fueling up in Palm Desert, CA.  At one point on the trip, the 4 of us compared gas mileage and discovered that my GS sedan got the best of the group.  Here are the quantities of gasoline each of our cars took to drive the same distance (roughly 130 miles).

  • Chris – 4.2 gallons
  • Alex – 4.77 gallons
  • Tyson – 4.72 gallons
  • Chuck – 4.8 gallons

fueling

Alex stopped to get a picture at the border to CA.  He drove his car about 2,600 miles to get to this event.

calif_line

Chris and I with an enthusiastic thumbs up after enduring some HEAVY delays on freeways 210, 134, and 101 approaching Thousand Oaks.  Kicking at a clutch pedal gets kind of old when you’re rolling in stop and go traffic!

tyson_chris_arrival

Today, Friday, was where the fun really got started.  After feeding on breakfast from Hampton Inn, I headed out solo toward the American Honda main office in Torrance.  Traffic on the 405 freeway was, not surprisingly, flowing at a crawl or not at all.  I pulled up behind a Silver Moon Acura ILX at one point and it ended up being a couple of guys from Acura’s advertising agency, Mullen.  Sure enough, they parked right near me at the visitor lot at the Honda office.

honda_hq

A Crimson Garnet ILX 6-speed was sitting on display in the lobby.

ilx_at_honda

I had a nice visit with Vince Manganiello from Acura Public Relations.

honda_lobby_with_vince

Sadly, during my visit I received a parking violation from Corporate Security for backing my car in!  Apparently that’s not allowed.  Lesson learned.  The best part was that the officer filled in “2000” as the year of my car.  Hey, I guess it looks 6 years newer than it is!

parking_violation

Next, it was time to cruise .8 miles down the road to the private Honda Collection Hall:  A facility where Honda has stashed away one-off and early production vehicles that are notable in the history of the Honda/Acura brands.  The gang of Legend drivers had already arrived – when I pulled into the parking lot, the Legends lined the parking lot as far as the eye could see.  Dave Heath who oversees the Auto Shows & Exhibits for Honda was kind enough to give our group some great background.  Then, he turned us loose to explore the facility and check out the cars.  Special vehicles of note were a yellow Integra Type R with only a few thousand miles on it, and the first ever 1994 Honda Accord built.

We pulled our Legends around to the back of the building for a photoshoot at a loading dock.  By 2:30 p.m., we were ready to roll out en masse and return to our host hotel in Thousand Oaks.  Traffic was the pits, as expected, but everyone made the 55 or so mile drive back safely (though it took almost two hours).

Here are some stats about the cars:

  • 28 Legends, representative of first, second, third, and fourth generations
  • 14 second generation Legend coupes
  • 9 second generation Legend sedans
  • 13 manual transmission cars
  • 2 original owner cars:  Ben with a 1992 LS coupe and Steve with a 1995 L sedan

Grab bag of pics to follow!  Hope those of you who weren’t able to attend in person will enjoy these.

Chris’ arrival at the hotel.

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lineup2

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lineup8

lineup10

lineup3

lineup11

first_gens

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romeo

lineup6

lineup7

fronts

Chris Martin, Tyson, Vince Manganiello

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Chuck’s shirt reads “You’re Looking at a Legend.”

chuick

1986 Legend sedan on display

legend

Thumbs up!

tyson

Catered lunch

tables

group

Acura RLX on display outside.  The RLX is Legend’s successor.  I got the chance to drive & review one last year.

rlx

1986

Dave, Tyson, Penny, and Ben

dave_tyson_penny_ben

Checking out the Phoenix Red 1991 Legend coupe.  It had only 300 miles on it!

red_legend

nsx_itr

Dave getting comfortable in the 1991 NSX.  Looks good on you, Dave!

dave_in_nsx

Dave also wins the award for coolest – er, hottest – engine bay.  He has airbrushed flames!

flames

Photoshoot from behind the museum.

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I couldn’t even fit all the cars in the camera viewfinder!!

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I got to ride in the backseat of my own car on the way to tonight’s dinner at Toppers Pizza.  I like being chauffeured around!

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Dinner group 1

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Dinner group 2

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It’s been a phenomenal day with friends!  Stay tuned — tomorrow we’re taking a drive up the canyons!

NALM 2014: Next stop, Los Angeles

Posted in NALM on July 23, 2014 by tysonhugie

This evening, my neighbors were peeking out their front room windows, nodding in confirmation.  “He’s crazy.”

What they saw in my driveway was a group of 10 Acura Legends.

group4

The attendees for tonight’s pizza party at my place came from places far and wide:  Two from Florida, even.

pizza1

pizza2

Tomorrow, most of us will head westbound to Los Angeles, California for a multi-day event centered around our car club.

group2

Here are a few other pics from the evening.

Even in the shade, with a straw hat, lounge chair, and box fan on the highest setting, Alan was sweating.  The Phoenix area hit a record 114 degrees today.

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Mirel’s black 1993 LS 6-speed coupe with only 119,000 miles on it stole the show with its glossy paint job.

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3

2

1

Stay tuned for more later this week!

Acura ILX + TL Drive to Death Valley National Park, California

Posted in California, ILX, National Parks, Nevada, Road Trip on July 20, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  89,689

89689

Odometer (Legend):  530,150

530150

Trip Distance:  901 Miles

dv_map

“This could be scary,” Sofyan mumbled as we rolled our suitcases up the front walkway to Longstreet Inn & Casino in Amargosa Valley, Nevada. The hotel, visible for miles on Highway 373 in the barren desert, had loomed like an oasis on the horizon while we approached it (photo below). The sound of country music and horribly off-key karaoke filled the air while I and my 3 traveling colleagues checked into our rooms for the night’s stay. We were weary from a full day of adventure in Death Valley National Park, one of the country’s most oft-overlooked and yet most scenic landscapes. And the evening’s agenda was just what we needed to unwind: A dip in the pool, a home-cooked meal topped off by apple pie, and the clearest nighttime sky I’ve seen in a long time – with stars so visible it was as if we’d pulled them closer to earth.

arrival_longstreet

“Death Valley” sounds like such an enticing place to visit in the middle of the summer, doesn’t it?

On July 10, 1913, a record 134 °F (56.7 °C) was measured at the Weather Bureau’s observation station at Greenland Ranch (now the site for the Furnace Creek Inn), the highest temperature ever recorded in the world.  Daily summer temperatures of 120 °F (49 °C) or greater are common, as well as below freezing nightly temperatures in the winter. July is the hottest month, with an average high of 115 °F (46 °C) and an average low of 88 °F (31C (reference).

The area was named a national monument in 1933 and became a national park in 1994.  It receives nearly a million visitors annually.  Death Valley got its name from prospectors who passed through the area in 1849 when the California gold rush took place, though reportedly only one death took place.  My first and only experience with the area was in August 2011 in the Legend coupe when I paid a visit to a close friend and automotive spy photographer Brenda Priddy who spends her summers there.

ilx_driving

Joining me for this trip were a few friends.  Sofyan, host of the 2theRedline YouTube auto review channel, had flown in from Washington, D.C. for the occasion, and my local friend Peter also came along.

Our day started out in Las Vegas, a city that never sleeps. Glassy-eyed and a bit tired from a night out on the town, we made our way to Johnny Rockets for delicious Belgian waffles with strawberries & whipped cream. That sugar rush was enough to bring me to my senses. Jason Pawela from Driven for Drives arrived and we set out with his 2010 Acura TL and my 2013 Acura ILX in search of some adventures. Highway 160 – “Blue Diamond” took us westward toward Pahrump, Nevada. A slow-moving 65 mph limit felt like it should have been 85 mph: The arrow-straight highway made its way through the desert and Sofyan, who’s visiting from Washington, D.C., commented on the landscape. “So what IS a tumbleweed?” he asked. Oh, you city folks!

last_gas

A little beyond Pahrump, we took a left on Highway 190 toward Death Valley National Park. A few brave travelers – most from other countries, it seemed – joined us at the entrance sign for pictures. Our first stop was at Furnace Creek. It’s a place with $5.56 premium Chevron gas and a breeze that feels like a blow dryer in your face. We were able to find a saloon/restaurant – “49er” — serving up lunch so we were grateful for the opportunity to refill our bellies. All four of us ordered the exact same meal: Turkey club w/o red onion. It hit the spot. A stop at the national park visitor center was in order, so we could pay our $20/car entry fee and legalize our visit. A sign inside the gift shop announced: Heat-Related Deaths Since April 2014: 2. That’s a sobering thought.

group_at_death_valley_entrance

Peter, Sofyan, Tyson, Jason

Jason and I swapped car keys and headed out toward Badwater Basin, some 17 miles away. Badwater is the lowest elevation point in North America, at 282 feet below sea level. I enjoyed seat-time in the 305-horsepower TL with its 3.7 liter V6. Torque for days! The sound system and level of refinement were clearly superior to the ILX, but I did briefly miss the more nimble feel of my smaller sedan. Regading Badwater: Legend has it that a traveler once got to this point and was severely dehydrated. He could not even get his horse to drink from the shallow pool because the water was so salty. Thus the place was named “bad water” and it stuck. Receiving fewer than 2 inches of rain per year, Badwater is one of the driest places in the world. We hiked out a little and Jason filled a Ziploc bag with sand, then we gratefully sought refuge from the oven inside our nicely air conditioned Acura sedans.

peter_tyson_at_badwater

Just 85 miles from Badwater stands the tallest mountain in the contiguous 48 U.S. states, called Mount Whitney (14,505 feet).  You may recall a trip from last summer when Jason and I drove the highest elevation paved road in North America:  Mount Evans in Colorado, at 14,265 feet.   I would have loved to visit Mount Whitney if time permitted.

We wanted to make sure and take home some Death Valley dust on our cars, and I knew just the place to find it. “20 Mule Team Road,” just a few miles from Furnace Creek, is an amazing one-lane, one-way dirt track that winds for 2.7 miles along some terrain that looks like another planet. Jason and I weren’t afraid of doing a little off-roading. In fact, after our first lap of Mule Team, we switched drivers. Sofyan drove the ILX and Peter drove the TL – and we did it all over again. Kicking up dust in style.

20_mule

The last place I wanted to check out was Stovepipe Wells, a small settlement about 23 miles north of Furnace Creek. It’s nestled in between expansive sand dunes. As we approached, it was evident that the wind activity was high because of the wisps of sand sweeping across the roadway. Because of Death Valley’s notoriety as one of the hottest climates in the world, it is an optimal place for automakers to test out the durability of prototype / pre-production vehicles. Sure enough, as Sofyan pulled my ILX into the parking lot at Stovepipe Wells, we spotted 3 white 2016 model year GMC Canyon Diesels out for evaluation. I picked up 2 Gatorades for $3 – best purchase of the day by far. I was parched.

We made our way out of the park on Highway 127 just as the sun dipped down in the western sky. We got a few photos at the California/Nevada state line and then made our entrance into the Longstreet for the night. A great day with great friends.

nevada_entry

Enjoy this video and the rest of these pictures from our trip!

Peter at the wheel of the ILX; Sofyan in the backseat

in_car

Backseat vantage point:  something I’m not used to seeing!

driving

Sunset over the Hoover Dam bypass bridge at the AZ/NV state line

sunset

View from our hotel in Las Vegas:  Excalibur

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Catching the water show at Bellagio

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Saturday morning:  A destination in mind

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Ruins in an abandoned Nevada town

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Next stop:  Furnace Creek

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Thanks to Jason for some awesome “rolling shots” of the ILX

ilx_going_to_pahrump

We made it

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Sign reads:  CAUTION!  EXTREME HEAT DANGER

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Elevation:  Sea level as we made our way toward Furnace Creek

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How’s $5.59/gallon for Premium sound?

gas_prices

Lunch spot

general_store

A brisk 115 degrees Fahrenheit at the National Park Visitor Center

115_degrees

Although, the ILX only showed 113 degrees at the time

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Shot of the ILX in the TL sideview mirror

ilx_in_mirror

Warning at Badwater Basin.  “Walking after 10 a.m. not recommended.”

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Checking out the sights, 282 feet below sea level.

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Pit stop along the “20 Mule Team Canyon” trail.

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Hitchhiking due to broken down Acuras.  Not.

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Stovepipe Wells

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GMC Canyon Diesel prototype that was out for hot-weather testing near Stovepipe

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Crossing back into Nevada from California for the night

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Sunday morning’s return drive to Phoenix:  Gigantic cow

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And the world’s largest firecracker!

firecracker

Thanks for coming along!

Throwback Thursday: Legend Drive to “Spiral Jetty” in Utah

Posted in Legend, Road Trip, Throwback, Utah on July 17, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  530,083

530083

Odometer (ILX):  88,611

88611

jetty_map

What type of alien life form would have created something like this?

spiral jetty

I don’t remember how I found out about the Spiral Jetty, but once I learned of it, there was no stopping me from going there.  It was Saturday June 18, 2005 and for some reason or another, I was in & around Salt Lake City, Utah that weekend.

Spiral Jetty is a 1,500-foot-long, 15-foot-wide, work of art on the north shore of the Great Salt Lake.  It was actually constructed by a human – Robert Smithson –  in 1970.  It’s made of mud, salt crystals, basalt rocks, and water.  Construction took only 6 days and cost $9,000.  Due to varying water levels of the lake, it’s possible at times for the spiral coil to be completely submerged.  On the day when I visited, it was clearly visible but partially underwater.  I would’ve loved to hike out on top of it, but that would’ve definitely ended in some wet sneakers & socks.

The Great Salt Lake is a bit fascinating itself.  It’s the largest salt water lake in the western Hemisphere and the 4th largest “terminal” lake in the world.  It covers 1,700 square miles and is a remnant of ancient Lake Bonneville which covered most of Utah.  But how salty is the Great Salt Lake?  Salinity ranges from 5 to 27%.  For comparison, the salinity of the ocean is 3.5%.  I won’t be filling my canteen from the Great Salt Lake anytime soon.  Here’s an attempted “selfie” (though that word didn’t exist in 2005) thanks to a remote timer on my camera with the lake in the background.

tyson_great_salt_lake

Though I learned that the road to the Spiral Jetty was unpaved, that didn’t keep me from taking my then-173,000-mile Acura Legend coupe out on a Saturday morning adventure.  In all, I remember driving about 9 miles one-way on a gravel road.  The last couple of miles progressively got more and more technical.  By the time I got to the last hundred yards or so of the drive, the road had narrowed to just one skinny lane with huge ruts and jagged rocks everywhere.  I did my best to weave around them – fearing that I might scratch one of my 17″ chrome rims or, worst case scenario, catch a rock on my oil pan and cause some even more serious damage to the car.

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I did make it, though, and celebrated with a photoshoot of my filthy Legend and a partially submerged work of art in the background.

legend_with_jetty

The area around the jetty was littered with metal waste:  Empty, rusted barrels, vehicle hulks that had been abandoned and vandalized decades prior, etc.

legend_jetty

front_jetty

legend_back

I made my exit and stopped for a photo in the barren wilderness of northern Utah.

side_dirty

Remarkably, the Legend survived unscathed and after running it through a coin-operated car wash in Salt Lake City, I took it to a Legend “meet” at Sugarhouse Park that very same afternoon.  Though we hadn’t planned it that way, every single Legend that attended was a 2-door coupe.  I wonder how many of those guys still have their cars, 9 years later?

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I know for a fact that Jeff, who was driving that Canterbury Green coupe parked on the end, is now in a black 2008 Acura TL Type-S after having spent the last 8 years in a CL Type-S.  He’s been as brand loyal as they come!

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group_3

group_2

group_1

Summertime fun from years past.  Thanks for coming along with me to Memory Lane.

Pre-NALM Maintenance

Posted in Arizona, Maintenance, NALM on July 14, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  88,482

88482

Odometer (Legend coupe):  530,082

530082

Odometer (Legend sedan):  144,615

144615

I heard a crackle of thunder on Sunday afternoon from inside the house, and I thought my ears were playing tricks on me.  I’d been outside earlier in the day and it was absolutely cloudless at the time.  Then the sound came around again, and I decided to investigate.

What I found when I looked out the windows was a torrential summertime “monsoon” downpour.  First thought:  “Crap, I left the ILX moonroof partially ajar and windows vented!”  Second thought:  “WHERE IS MY CAR KEY?” as I frantically looked on the kitchen table and then ran to the desk in my bedroom where the key was sitting.  I bolted outside shoeless and rolled up the windows, then sought cover and recorded this video.

The past week has been busy for getting the cars up to date on service needs.  I am preparing, along with 27 other registered participants from across the country, for a road trip to this year’s National Acura Legend Meet which kicks off in 10 days in Los Angeles, California.  Here is a thread on the Legend forums where people are talking about their preparatory activities.

Legend coupe:

  • Replace steering rack & pinion (remanufactured) – first time this has been done
  • Replace passenger side inner axle boot – second time this has been done
  • Replace spark plugs – third set including the originals; went with NGK
  • Perform alignment – multiple occurrences of this

Legend sedan:

  • Change oil & filter with 5W30
  • Replace burned out 3rd brake light bulb
  • Perform full inspection – all looks good!
  • Recharge a/c (pending this Wednesday)

NSX (not going to NALM, but still getting some attention):

  • Change oil & filter with Castrol GTX 10W30
  • Recharge a/c

ILX (not going to NALM, but still getting some attention:

  • Change oil & filter with 0W20
  • Rotate tires

The sedan’s oil had last been changed on January 4th, just 209 miles prior.

sedan_maint

Ready to rock and roll.

acuras

Desert Mist Metallic:  Paint code YR-506M.

coupe_sedan

Where to this coming weekend?  Well, I’m expecting company and we’ll depart in the ILX on Friday afternoon to a national park in California.  That’s all I’m going to divulge for now, but stay tuned because this is going to be a hot ride in some hot Acuras.  Have a great week!

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