Saturday “NSXPO” Planning Drive: Palm Springs to Idyllwild, California

Posted in California, NSX, Road Trip on August 30, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (1993 Legend):  178,323

178323

Odometer (ILX):  139,512

139512

Trip Distance:  657 Miles

idyllwild_drive

Did you know?  We’re only about 6 weeks away from what’s slated to be the biggest gathering of Acura NSX owners in history.  NSXPO 2015, scheduled for October 8-11 in Palm Springs, California, sold out in only 8 days with 250 registered attendees.  These people are coming from all across the country – as well as internationally – to celebrate the NSX’s 25-year anniversary with fellow enthusiasts.

There were just fewer than 9,000 Acura NSX models sold in the United States during the car’s 15-year production run.  That makes them pretty rare (for comparison, Honda sells over 30,000 Accords in any given month), but NSXPO has been a tradition for over 10 years now and continues to draw a crowd.

scott_nsx

One of the activities during our busy 4-day event schedule will be a 100-mile scenic drive through the San Jacinto Mountains just southwest of Palm Springs on the “Palms to Pines Scenic Byway.”  The drive loop is comprised by 3 main roads:  Interstate 10, Highway 243, and Highway 74.  I’ve already taken a “test drive” of this loop (last year) but wanted to give it another go now that we’re getting close to showtime at NSXPO.

nsx_following_ilx

There are many logistics to be fine-tuned.  Have you ever tried taking a group drive with even just a few cars?  Someone needs to stop for fuel.  Someone gets stuck at a light.  Someone takes a wrong turn.  Things can get turned around in a hurry.  Now, expand the scope to involve upwards of 200 vehicles.  There are special considerations were are taking, even potentially including police escorts.  We want the driving event to be fun AND safe for all attendees.

sandy_tyson_scott

On Friday evening, I drove out to Palm Springs via I-10 westbound and arrived in time for dinner with my good friends Scott & Sandy.  On Saturday morning, I met up at the NSXPO host hotel, Agua Caliente Resort, with the following folks:

  • Scott in his red NSX – 47,000 miles
  • Rahul in his red NSX – 96,000 miles
  • JC in his yellow NSX – 98,000 miles
  • Les in his black NSX – 138,500 miles
  • Chris in his burgundy TSX Sport Wagon – 15,000 miles
  • Me in the silver ILX – 139,000 miles

Newest car in the bunch, and I still had more miles than anyone else!  Chris rode along with the rest of us and even took a turn at the wheel of Scott’s car.  Unlike last October’s test-drive, we decided to take the loop counter-clockwise this time.  That meant our first leg would be via I-10 westbound to Exit 101 for Hargrave Street which connects to HIghway 243.

idyll_sign

The highway narrowed to a two-laner as we started making our way up the grade.  For being a Saturday morning, I was surprised how little traffic there was.  I was also surprised how polite the other drivers were about pulling over to the turnouts when they recognized faster moving traffic (us) in their rearview mirrors.  Road conditions were great and we had fun with our mildly-aggressive ascent up the mountain.  Les became concerned about a fuel smell at one point and we took a break to investigate.  He ended up continuing on and his NSX was fine for the rest of the day, however.

vista

We dined at Jo Ann – a burger place in the center of bustling Idyllwild.  Parking was a bit of an ordeal, even for just 5 cars, so we decided it will be best for NSXPO purposes if we tell our 200+ participants NOT to stop there for food or drink, but to continue onward.  Les & JC headed back toward Banning & Orange County, while Scott, Chris, Rahul, and I continued on to the junction with Highway 74 and descending back into Palm Springs.

reds2

For a time, I got to ride in Rahul’s car and it was a real treat.  Rahul’s NSX is special because it’s a limited-edition 1999 “Zanardi” edition, custom designed by Alex Zanardi, professional race driver from Italy.  It’s one of only 50 cars that were built in that configuration – with fixed roof, upgraded suspension, unique wheel design, and other enhancements over the stock NSX.  Rahul’s car is #16.

rahul_jc_nsxs

Here’s the numbered plaque behind the seats:

zanardi_plaque

Continuing down the mountain:

243

Last stop on my Palm Springs visit was a check-in at Scott’s warehouse/museum.  We happened to line up 6 Acuras outside and it seemed only fitting to take a photo.  I got to drive his immaculate 1988 Legend L coupe with only 81,000 original miles on it, as well as his latest acquisition, a 1996 Subaru SVX with only 52,000 miles on it.  Both cars drove amazingly.

tyson_with_acuras

Drive time home to Phoenix was about 4.5 hours and despite some extreme weather I made it with time to spare.  Check out this dust storm I drove straight into, just west of Buckeye, Arizona on Interstate 10.

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Here’s what it looked like from inside the storm.

dust_storm

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

Short video of our Acura lineup at Scott’s:

Friday night arrival at my hotel on Indian Canyon Road

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Parking in Idyllwild

ilx_in_idyll

Photo by Chris – getting ready to head back out after lunch

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1992 & 1999 NSXs

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Chris, Tyson, Scott – looking straight into some very bright sunlight

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Lineup of Acuras at Scott’s storage facility

acuras

I suggested to Scott that he acquire the following cassette tapes to play in his 1988 Legend.

Rick Astley, George Michael, Whitney Houston… this is a star-studded lineup!

1988_songs

I agree with this graffiti on I-10 near Desert Center, California.  Enjoy the drive!

enjoy_the_drive

Sunset in my sideview mirror to close out a great day.  Thanks again for coming!

sunset

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah: Peter’s 200,000-Mile TSX Party

Posted in ILX, Milestones, Road Trip on August 24, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  534,427

534427

Odometer (ILX):  138,509

138509

Trip Distance:  1,112 Miles

stg_to_bryce

On any given week, I would guess I receive about a dozen “odometer” related pictures from friends and family.  Recently, a few of those were Ruben’s Honda Pilot hitting 180,180 miles with 90 degrees on the outside temp, Ian’s Volkswagen Jetta GLI hitting 33,333 miles with 111 degrees on the temp, and Ivan’s Acura RL hitting 270,000 miles.  Have I trained these people or what?  Someday I’m going to compile all of the submissions into a massive blog post in order of mileage.

ruben_odo

ian_odo_shot

ivan_odo_shot

I think the Mac-Daddy of all odometer achievers has to be Alex from Florida who has sent me next two.  What are the chances he could pull both of these off in his Scion xB?

  • 78 miles per hour
  • 87 degrees
  • 78,887 miles on the odometer

alex_odo_2

Then:

  • 28 miles per hour
  • 82 degrees
  • 82,228 miles on the odometer

Clearly these took some pre-planning!  Alex is the man.

alex_odo_shot

Special recognition goes out to Josh from Idaho who captioned this odo shot with “Counting.  Like a Boss.”  His 2005 Acura TSX recently rolled the 456,789-mile mark with 123 on the trip meter.  Nicely done, Josh.

josh_odo

Make sure and follow Josh’s pages for TSX Travels on Facebook and on Instagram to keep up to date on his progress toward hitting 500,000 miles on his car!

Speaking of TSX milestones, today’s feature is right along those lines.  We’re here to talk about my friend Peter’s 2004 Acura TSX 6-speed that passed the 200,000 mile mark on a weekend road trip in south-central Utah.

peter_tyson_jason_bryce_sign

Named for Mormon pioneer Ebenezer Bryce who settled in the remote area in 1874, Bryce Canyon was named a national park 1928.  It receives about 1.4 million visitors annually and covers about 36,000 acres.  Despite its name, Bryce is in fact not a “canyon” because it wasn’t formed from erosion from a central stream.  Rather, it was formed by “headward” erosion which has to do with an origin moving away from direction of stream flow.  Can the geologists in the blog-reading audience please chime in and explain this to those of us who are clueless?

Peter picked Bryce as the destination of choice for his 200k celebratory road trip.  The first leg of our trip was to St. George, Utah where we’d be meeting up with seasoned road-tripper Jason from Las Cruces, New Mexico (Driven for Drives) and also joined by James Lee of Six Speed Blog.  Peter and I departed from north Phoenix in the early afternoon on Friday in two silver Acura sedans:  his TSX and my ILX.

ut_state_line

Our timing was sheer perfection, as Peter & I arrived at my mom’s place just minutes before Jason got there (Jason had started his 8-hour driving day out in Grants, New Mexico).  Mom had lasagna, salad, and fruit ready for us to satisfy our appetites.  It wasn’t until about 4 hours later that James arrived in a 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid which he was road-testing for the week.  Mom had to get in on the action by pulling her 2010 Volkswagen EOS into the mix for our 5-car photoshoot on Saturday morning.

group2

We set sail northbound a few minutes later in 3 sport sedans:  The ILX, the TSX, and the 6.  We had about a 130-mile one-way drive to the entrance to Bryce Canyon ahead of us.

james_tyson

Thanks to the elevation gain from St. George to Cedar City, the temperature dipped down out of the 90’s – a great reprieve to those of us who’ve been enduring triple digits since May.  By the time we headed east on Highway 14 toward Duck Creek, Peter only had 10 miles left to spare until the big 200,000 mile mark.  We knew already that the road would not have much of a shoulder to pull over on, but we decided to press on and see where the milestone would happen anyway.

Peter kept me posted via walkie-talkie as his TSX crept closer to the rollover, and we pulled over just briefly for a few shots at the exact location where it happened.  Couldn’t have asked for a nicer backdrop!

tsx_200k

200,000 on the dot:

200000

The happy owner!

peter

It was time to rip through the gears and continue our ascent.  Once we finished climbing Cedar Mountain, we’d arrived at a little over 8,500 feet and the temperature was a brisk 69 degrees.  You’d better believe I had all 4 windows down and the moonroof open to savor every second of that environment.  After some enthusiastic twists & turns in Highway 14, we stopped briefly for a bathroom break at Duck Creek Village.  The place was crawling with off-road enthusiasts and at least a hundred ATVs lined the main street with shops & a small cafe.

bryce_sign

From there, we connected with Highway 89 and headed north for about 25 minutes until arriving at Scenic Byway 12, one of Utah’s most famous stretches of road.  We started seeing frequent signs about Bryce Canyon so we knew we were getting close.  There were two small tunnels along the way.  We opted to take all 3 cars into the park @ $30 each which was kind of a poor financial move, considering the 4 of us could have easily piled into one vehicle.  But for the sake of completing the road trip, we all wanted to have our own cars inside Bryce Canyon for any potential photo-ops.

hwy_12_tunnel

I summoned everyone for a pow-wow in the Visitor Center parking lot so we could pull out our maps and figure out the next stops.  I proposed a visit to Sunset Point just a little bit down the road.  As soon as we found parking there, we walked out to the edge of the cliff and beheld a huge expanse of red rock formations for as far as the eye could see.  It was stunning to say the least.

bryce_view

The sandstone towers are called “hoodoos” and were formed by years and years of erosion.  That erosion is, in fact, still actively taking place.  The National Park Service recommends making follow-up visits to the park because the terrain can change in just a short matter of time.  I noticed a trailhead that said there was a 1.3 mile loop we could take.  We all had a pretty good amount of energy to burn off from sitting in the cars for the last couple of hours, so we headed down into the canyon on the tight switchbacks that descended at steep elevation.  The base of the canyon reminded me a little of Antelope Canyon due to its sheer walls and cooler temperatures.

tyson_jason

Here you can see a piece of a trail weaving down into the depths of the canyon.

hike

The not-so-fun part was climbing back out of the canyon, as it took only a few minutes to realize the grade was steeper than it looked, and we hadn’t packed any water with us.  We definitely broke a sweat.  Thankfully, we were just a 2-minute drive away from the historic Bryce Canyon Lodge and its restaurant.  The Lodge was completed in 1924 and is a National Historic Landmark.  It was one of 4 lodges built in the Union Pacific Loop Tour.  I sampled the Grand Canyon Club and it was delicious.

scenic_drive

From our dining table, we could see a thunderstorm brewing outdoors and within a few minutes, it was pouring rain outside.  The open windows brought in a breeze of fresh mountain air and it was better than any scent Glade has ever produced!  We didn’t even care that the rain would put a damper on the rest of our park visit.  We decided to check out Rainbow Point, the highest point in the park at 9,105 feet.  The road through Bryce extends for another 15 miles south beyond the Lodge, and we took it to its end.

rainbow_point

Thunderstorms are serious business in Bryce Canyon.  Lightning strikes have claimed the lives of four visitors in the last 23 years!  Rain (and even a little bit of hail – in August!) kept us from venturing too far out at this viewpoint, but we did enjoy a couple minutes from this area. Kind of like Clark Griswold at the Grand Canyon.

We did a little car-key switcheroo after that, and I drove both Jason’s 6 and Peter’s TSX.  The Mazda, at 167,000 miles, drove as smoothly as could be.  I enjoyed the V6 power and the 5-speed transmission.  Peter’s TSX is a sport-tuned masterpiece:  The gearbox has a short-throw shifter making gear changes extremely quick and precise.  Handling has been enhanced thanks to a professionally lowered suspension.  The car drove tightly despite its 200,113 miles!

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Jason split ways from us at the Highway 89 / Highway 14 interchange, and Peter, James, and I went back up over Duck Creek on Cedar Mountain in a torrential downpour.  Road conditions got so dicey I had to slow way down and keep the wipers on full-blast.  Oh, and my wiper blades on the ILX SUCK!  They’re the originals – and Peter pointed out to me earlier in the day that the rubber has become totally detached.  I’m adding that to the list of things to address in this week’s “B1” maintenance service appointment.

eos

Back in St. George, it was time to spice things up a bit so we took mom’s red EOS to dinner.  I decided to show the guys my favorite pizza joint in town:  Pizza Factory.  It did not disappoint!   And the following morning, we headed out in the TSX, ILX, and Sonata for Phoenix by way of Las Vegas on our return drive.

Thanks to all who made this fun weekend adventure possible, and a huge CONGRATS to Peter on passing the 200,000 mile mark.  Here’s to many more!  Video of a few weekend highlights here:

The rest of my photos are here.  First, my Lunchables.

lunchables

Peter in the sideview mirror.

peter_in_rearview

I have Jason & James “tracked,” location-wise, so I was able to see where they were.

tracking

Dinner at mom’s place on Friday night in St. George.

peter_jason_tyson_tia

Photoshoot!

group3

Location of Peter’s 200,000 mile mark

3

Duck Creek Village along Highway 14, east of Cedar City

IMG_0303

Peter’s TSX wears two of these stickers proudly!

save_manuals

Red Canyon, just east of the Highway 89 / Highway 12 junction

red_canyon

Your truly – acting as tour guide

tyson

Peter and James making their way down the trail

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Sweaty hikers but feeling pretty accomplished

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Obligatory warning about not falling off the edge of the cliff

warning

Warning sign at eastern entrance to Highway 14 which would take us up Cedar Mountain

grades

Silver sedans after driving through the massive mountain thunderstorm

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Back in blue sky country, headed to dinner in the EOS

eos_driving

James took a spy shot of this 2016 ILX passing me on Highway 93 on the way back to PHX

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Thanks for joining!

Intermission: Die-Cast Model Car Update, Upcoming Events

Posted in Arizona on August 20, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  534,423

534423

Odometer (ILX):  137,344

137344

I’m about through my 9th summer in Arizona and every year I get a little bit more accustomed to having my metal shift knob “brand” my right palm with the imprint of a 1-6 gear pattern.  We broke a couple of records in the past week or so – 117 degrees Fahrenheit or some nonsense like that.  I kind of lose track after it gets above about 105.  Besides, I’m sitting in an air-conditioned (read:  frigid) office for 9 hours during the workday and I can’t even see the sunshine over my 7-foot-tall cubicle walls, let alone feel it.

Summer is in full swing, and with that I mean I’ve been too busy to even focus much on posting regular updates here.

Here’s what we have to look forward to in the coming several weeks:

  • This weekend:  Road trip to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah
  • Next weekend:  Road trip to Palm Springs & Idyllwild, California
  • Labor Day:  Surprise!  No plans yet for the 3-day weekend
  • September 12:  Honda S2000 Event (details TBD, this one isn’t announced)
  • September 23-27:  National Acura Legend Meet in Houston, Texas
  • October 8-11:  Acura “NSXPO” in Palm Springs, California

Sneak peek of the landscape in Bryce Canyon:

bryce

So I hope you’ll come along for the ride as we make the rounds to some of these fun activities.

In the meantime, it’s been about 18 months since I last looped you all in on my project involving 6 die-cast model cars that have been sitting on my rooftop since December 2009.  For the last nearly 6 years, those cars have seen the wrath of Phoenix weather:  persistent heat, drenching “monsoon” rainstorms, and those famous late-summer dust storms that we giggle and call “haboobs.”

So from glistening 1:18 scale metallic paint & chrome, my unfortunate test cars have now faded, yellowed, and weathered as one would expect.  I climbed up on the ladder this afternoon when I got home from work to see just how bad things have gotten.  The BMW 3-series driver side door was wide open.  I closed it back up – not that it’ll help keep the interior any nicer, seeing as how it’s a convertible.

Here’s how my Maserati looks.  This one is on a west-facing side of the chimney.  It clearly sees direct sunlight a lot.

maserati_8-20

Whereas the ’57 Thunderbird, right in front of it, looks amazing.  It’s by far my best survivor.

thunderbird_8-20

The BMW 3-series lost a headlight sometime in around 2012.  The red seats are baked brown.

bmw_8-20

The SL500’s front grill has deteriorated almost entirely.

mercedes_8-20

The Aston Martin isn’t too bad.  It gets shaded in the afternoons.

aston_8-20

I think the ’57 Nomad might be my favorite.  The way the paint has chipped away and the chrome has yellowed makes it look like a real abandoned car.  I get a “Christine” feeling when looking at it.  Who else here loves the Stephen King movie?

nomad_8-20

It’s as if I can hear “Bad to the Bone” playing when I look at it.

nomad_8-20_b

It looks like a real 58-year-old car.  Someone suggested that when my science experiment concludes (end date:  TBD), I should take one of these cars and “restore” it.  Do I have any hobby modelers in the audience who are good with a paint gun?

As for current events, I had a few fun friend encounters this week.  I rolled out to Gilbert, Arizona in the Legend to check out a friend’s newly-built home.

legend_in_gilbert

Thanks, Todd, for the tour!  I’ll be back for the pool party!

todd_tyson

I also had a visit from my friend Asim who’s based in Washington, D.C., but was in town for work.  I went to start the NSX so we could drive it to Roka Akor restaurant in Scottsdale (great sushi, btw!) and it wouldn’t start.  It cranked all day long but seemed like it wasn’t getting fuel.  Feeling a little defeated (and a lot embarrassed) I told Asim, “Well, we’ll have to take the Legend.  It starts every time.”  And it did.

I’m a little proud of myself for figuring out – and fixing – the NSX starting problem all on my own.  I found out in some googling that the “main relay” is a common weak point.  The solder joints inside the relay get broken or cracked, causing the connection to be lost and thus the fuel pump to receive no power.  I followed some instructions and located the relay behind a panel inside the cabin, just behind the seats.

nsx_interior

I had the relay re-soldered by a friend (but ordered a $70 new one, for good measure), reinstalled it, and the NSX started up on the first crank!  I treated the car to a hand-wash last night.

nsx_wash

Slippery when wet.  Still cleans up decently for having 100,900 miles on the odometer.

nsx_legend

Also this week I got to meet up with my friend Michael who formerly joined a Drive to Five group drive in his BMW 7-series.  He’s since sold the 7 but stayed within the BMW family.  Look at his GORGEOUS 1987 BMW 635csi.  118,000 miles on the odometer and every record since new.  I promise — I saw them.  Michael pulled out an inch-thick portfolio from the glove compartment dating back 28 years.  Unreal.  He let me take the car for a spin and it drove incredibly for such a vintage car.  The A/C blew colder than my 2013 ILX!

michael_bmw

Lastly, I had to laugh when a friend showed me this ad for an immaculate 2000 Acura Integra GS on Ebay.  The car is clean and all, but you know what my favorite part was?  The guy has created a binder for his service records.  Even the cover of the binder has a sketch of the car, a title in appropriate font, and the dates for original purchase and second owner purchase.  I need to meet that guy.

integra_maint_record_book

Safe travels, happy Friday (soon!) and enjoy the weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Drive to “PHOENIX” Marker, and Some 2016 NSX Sightings

Posted in Arizona, ILX, NSX, Road Trip on August 12, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  534,350

534350

Odometer (ILX):  136,770

136770

Trip Distance:  67 Miles

usury_loop

Lots of cities & towns across America have letters or numbers painted on mountainsides nearby to represent something symbolic.  My hometown in southern Utah has a huge white “D” on the hill since St. George is “Utah’s Dixie.”

dixie_hill

But, there aren’t many towns that have an entire 7-letter word spelled out in massive 100-foot-tall letters!  For anyone who’s driven nearby on Loop 202 or northbound on Ellsworth Road, you’ve probably seen this view (you’ll have to click/zoom at top left):

phoenix_sign_2

Located on Usery Mountain in Mesa about 20 miles east of Phoenix, a giant “PHOENIX” marker is made of rocks that have been painted white.  It took a Boy Scout troop over 5 years to assemble them in the early 1950’s.  Most of the information that I found stated that the marker served as a guide for aircraft at the time, similar to the concrete arrows found across America.

phoenix_sign

Unfortunately, access to the PHOENIX sign is a little tough right now.  I made it almost all of the way there and then ran up against a metal gate with not one, but 3 padlocks attached to it.  Those, along with the plentiful “NO TRESPASSING” signs, kept me from trying to get any closer.

locks

I did the best I could to capture a photo with my car, of course.

ilx_with_phoenix_sign

From there, I looped around toward Saguaro Lake on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

usury_pass

I promise, I was having a good time!

tyson_on_drive

These cliffs at sunset are brilliant.  I need to get back out there at the right time of day.

saguaro_mountains

Sending some hearty congrats out to TWO friends who’ve joined the ranks of “Bellanova White” Acura TLX ownership in the last week or so.  Ed in North Carolina went with the 2.4 liter.  Here it is parked next to his roommate’s 3.5 RL:

ed_tlx

And Ira in Oregon traded his TSX 6-speed in on a new 3.5 liter TLX SH-AWD.

ira_tlx_2

A stunning purchase if I do say so.  Well done, guys!

ira_tlx

Let’s have some NSX Talk for a minute.  This guy Sheldon has a mileage achievement to share that’s pretty dang impressive.  His NSX has logged 400,000 miles!

nsx_400000

Tuesday was a special day for the Arizona NSX fanclub since we learned that two production-spec NSXs were headed our way as part of a testing shakeout during the “#AcuraNSXOnTour” campaign.  My sources had told me to be at the Acura of Tempe dealership between 3-5 p.m.  So, I drove my own 1992 NSX to work, thinking I’d leave directly from there to head to the dealership in the afternoon.  What I didn’t anticipate was extreme weather:

storm_alert

My poor car saw rain for the first time in my 3.5 years of ownership.  Oh well!  As my friend Mike said, “Don’t worry about it.  It’s not like it’s going to melt or anything!”  Very true, Mike.

nsx_at_work

The arrival of the 2016 NSX models was delayed, and the ETA was pushed back to 7 p.m.  An anxious crowd of about 20 people started assembling at the dealership around that time.  Current NSX owners comprised the majority of the group, though most didn’t have their NSXs with them.

acura_of_tempe

One attendee was a guy named Stewart from Fountain Hills who has never owned an NSX but who was specifically invited by dealership management who is interested in getting one.  He’d better get in line!  I don’t know how many cars will be allocated to each dealership, but I heard that there will be only 8 NSXs produced per day at the Ohio assembly plant.

acura_of_tempe_2

By 8:30 p.m., I’d waited 90 minutes and the NSXs hadn’t arrived.  I had to take off because I was already late for a dinner engagement.  I received a text message just minutes later from my buddy Jhae who was still waiting – I’d missed the arrival by just a teeny bit of time.  No worries, I stopped by this morning with my friend Kelvin and we had the cars all to ourselves inside the service bay.

tyson_nsx

The red one looked clean, but the black one had clearly spent a lot of time on the road.  It was covered in dust and the front end was buggy.

black_nsx

Still, I’d take one!  Would you choose the red or the black?

Hope everyone is having a good week.  Before you go, check out these awesome roads in a short “Dream Roads” video put together by Infiniti!  I’m determined to visit some of these.

Dave’s Visit, Vigor Registration, & Upcoming Events

Posted in ILX, Legend, NSX, Vigor on August 9, 2015 by tysonhugie

Descending order mileage update time!

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  534,345

534345

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  147,000

147000

Odometer (ILX):  136,629

136629

Odometer (Vigor):  104,540

104540

Odometer (NSX):  100,859

100859

My buddy Dave flew in for a visit this week from the Seattle area, so I had to roll out the ‘Formula’ Red carpet for him.  We took this car to get drinks at Tempe Marketplace.

dave_with_nsx

Dave is a long-time friend of mine who I originally met via the Acura Legend enthusiast community.  This was the airport shuttle.

dave_with_vigor

On Tuesday night, we took a ride in the Legend coupe for some BBQ dinner at “Bobby-Q’s” off Interstate 17 & Northern Avenue in Phoenix.

dave_with_legend

Cruising to dinner.

tyson_dave_in_legend

The pulled pork was indeed delicious.

tyson_dave_bbq

Dave also borrowed the ILX for a bit.  He sent me a text message later on:  “This clutch is 180 degrees different than your coupe’s!”  Thanks, my friend, for making time for me in your vacation travel schedule!

Huge thanks are going out to my friend Beau who snagged me some snazzy new profile photos a week or so ago.  I used the pictures for my Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts.  For laughs, we took this one too.  I couldn’t resist getting the car in just one shot!

tyson_with_vigor

That Vigor is now officially an Arizona resident.  First order of business was an emissions test on Tuesday morning at the facility on Evans Rd in Scottsdale, not far from my office.  That test ran me $20.  Results are here:

emissions_results

Summary:  It passed with flying colors!

  • Hydrocarbons in grams/mile:  Standard = .8;  my Vigor = .36
  • Carbon Monoxide in grams/mile:  Standard = 12; my Vigor = 4.25
  • Oxides of Nitrogen in grams/mile:  Standard = 2; my Vigor = .78

I then spent two hours at the Tempe DMV office near my house.  Luckily I’d taken my work laptop so I could multi-task while dozens of other people made their way through the process.  For $92.28 I was issued new tags with a 2-year registration, good until August 2017.  So cheap!  And it would have been even cheaper, but $50 of that total was for my personalized tags which are on order.  I won’t spill the beans, but I’m excited for what they’ll say.  In the meantime, I’m riding around on a generic looking one.

vigor_az_plate

As all of you know, I’m big on “car history.”  I like to know where my vehicles have been – and what they’ve been through – down to every little detail.  That’s the whole reason I track my vehicle maintenance on Excel spreadsheets.  When I purchased my Vigor from an AutoNation dealership in Denver, it came with its owner’s manual inside the glove compartment.

The original owner’s name was handwritten on the inside of the manual’s front cover.  It only took a quick Google search to locate her current whereabouts and contact information.  I sent her over a quick note.  Within 12 hours, she’d responded – gratefully – and was glad to hear that the car she’d driven for 21 years is still in good hands!  Check out her email:

kathy

That made my day.  I’ll keep Kathy in the loop as things progress.

It’s been a super busy time here.  I’m still actively engaged in NSXPO planning activities, in preparation for our 250-car NSX celebration the weekend of October 8-11 in Palm Springs, California.  I’m taking a “practice” drive through that area soon.  Here are a few coming attractions.

  • Aug 22 – Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
  • Aug 29 – Palm Springs & Idyllwild, CA
  • Sep 23-27 – National Acura Legend Meet – Houston, TX

A few final pics to close out the week.  I test-drove a coworker’s 2005 Porsche Carrera S.  Loved it!

2005_carrera

Rainbow!

rainbow

Drive to Five reader Joe saw this in the local paper.  Someone stole my tagline.

drive_to_five

Legends out on Saturday

dmm_cars_2

dmm_cars

sedan_shift_knob

And the Vigor out on Sunday

vigor_doors_open

vigor_road_ends

The end of the road, and the end of this epistle!  Until next time.

15-Year Class Reunion: Roadtrip to Utah

Posted in ILX, NSX, Road Trip, Utah on August 3, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  534,196

534196

Odometer (ILX):  136,373

136373

Trip Distance:  852 Miles

sgu_route

I flipped randomly through the pages of my hardbound high school senior yearbook from 2000 a few minutes ago.  The book fell open to a page with a bright red 3.5″ IBM disk inside (and no label).  What’s on that disk?  The world may never know, because I have no way of reading it.

disk

It was around that time when Sprint announced the first nationwide wireless data service.  A web phone – can you imagine?  And here probably 75% of you are now reading this blog post via your smart phones.  Times have changed.

It’s hard to believe a decade and a half have passed since I departed the hallways of Pine View High School in St. George, Utah as a graduating senior.  The year 2000 was a pivotal time in our history:  the new millennium.  Though Y2K turned out to be a lot smaller of a deal than we’d anticipated, it’s still fun to look back and reminisce.  And that’s exactly what I did with some classmates this past weekend in my hometown.  Who could forget Lou Bega’s “Mambo Number Five” or Sisqo’s “Thong Song“?  They’ve been stuck in my head since the late 90’s.

best_dressed

I was a bit of a nerd back in those school days.  I admit, I was a member of the “Magic Club,” except, we were too cool to even call it the Magic Club.  It was the “Illusionists Society.”  Seriously.  Aside from that, I participated in my share of car club events, Honor Society get togethers, and that sort of thing.  I think at the end of it all, I was only a B+ grade away from having a perfect 4.0 GPA and becoming one of our 7 or so valedictorians during commencement.  I may never forgive my Chemistry teacher Mr. Page for giving me that B grade.  Haha.

Can we talk about those frosted tips again?  (see bottom right)

yearbook_pic

The one redeeming thing about me during that era was my cool car.  I made #6 on the list of the coolest cars at Pine View.  My brother made #5.

pvhs_cars

A lot of the messages inscribed by friends on the insides of the cover of my yearbook have “car” references, as it’s a well known fact that even in the late 1990’s I was very obsessed with anything automotive.  My pride and the joy – as I’ve already well-documented here on the blog – was this 1989 Honda Prelude 2.0 Si.  15 years later, I still have the rear emblem from the trunk lid in a box somewhere.

prelude

My favorite message was this excerpt’s from Ben Braten’s long paragraph:

… What I’m trying to say is, I want your car.  I mean, it’s not like I soil myself or anything when I hear it purr, or lose temporary bladder control when the chrome blinds me due to the combination of the contemptuously bright St. George sun & the precociously reflective properties of the chrome… I do go on!  But anyway, I just want you to know that no matter how much nicer your car is than mine, I’ll still think you’re cataclysmically HIP and all that jazz…

The PVHS Class of 2000’s 15-year reunion festivities were broken into two separate events:  A family-friendly BBQ on Friday evening at a park, and an adults-only roller-skating activity on Saturday afternoon.  I attended both.  I think my ILX was one of only a few sedans in the parking lot at Pine View Park in Washington, Utah.  For as far as the eye could see, minivans and SUVs dominated by a long shot.  That’s because most of my classmates are on their 3rd or 4th child by now.

classmates

“I see you’ve been traveling a lot.”  “I can’t keep track of you!”  Those kinds of comments were recurring themes brought up by classmates in the inevitable Q&A with me that ensued when we started catching up on the 15 years that have passed since I’d last seen some of them.  It was great to reconnect, and my hat goes off to Sr. Class President Brad for his diligence in setting up our reunions every 5 years.

It wouldn’t be a Tyson Trip if there wasn’t a little bit of ‘car stuff’ sprinkled in to the weekend.  As I’d shared recently on the blog, my younger brother Payton recently picked up a daily-driver 1993 Legend L coupe 6-speed.  I swapped him cars for a day just so I could get a feel for it.  First stop on Saturday morning was to say hello to Blair who was working in his yard.  Blair’s a long-time friend of mine who drives a Kinetic Blue Pearl Acura TL Type-S.

legend_tls

I also spent a couple of hours hanging out with my friend Cody who’s a fellow member of the Legend family.  He and I got a few photos together of the “twin” Cashmere Silver Metallic Legends.  Both cars in the below photos are 1993 “L” models and stick shifts.  The chances of getting these two identically-configured cars together for a photoshoot were just too slim to calculate!

twins

The interesting thing about driving these cars back-to-back is just how strikingly different their personalities are despite being nearly identical from the outside.  For starters, the powertrains are different.  Here are some quick perspectives on each Legend after a quick drive in each.

  • Sedan:  200-horsepower, Type I motor, 5-speed manual transmission.  Low-end torque with this setup is plentiful and ready.  Cody’s clutch felt light and smooth.  The car revs freely and and cabin exudes a comfortable feel.  This cream puff is a step back into 1993, right down to the fresh smelling interior.
  • Coupe:  230-horsepower, Type II motor, 6-speed manual transmission.  This is the high-speed highway cruiser.  My brother confirmed that it’s capable of hitting 60 mph in 2nd gear.  The clutch is aftermarket and a little on the notchy side.  The Type II takes awhile to get to optimal rev range.  The ride is a little more abrupt and the seat bolsters are designed with more lateral support.

head_to_head

Selfie with the cars

tyson_cody

Cody’s sedan has only 77,000 miles on it.

77272

Cody’s interior

sedan_interior

Payton’s coupe has 136,000 on it.

136317

Payt’s interior

coupe_interior

The last bit of automotive fun that I had on Saturday was a first-ever drive in an automatic transmission Acura NSX.

tyson_with_midnight_nsx

Cody’s neighbor, Nate, owns a Midnight Purple Pearl NSX-T with the 3.0 liter V6 and 4-speed automatic.  Per the NSX Production Numbers reference sheet on the forums, this car is only 1 of 6 ever produced!  For reference, my 1992 Formula Red with black interior 5-speed is 1 of 421 — a lot more common!  See the arrows here in my diagram.

nsx_prod_numbers

Overall impressions of Nate’s NSX were very positive — while I’d heard nightmare stories about how Acura had “de-tuned” the powertrain and sacrificed performance in the automatic-equipped models, I still thought it accelerated nicely and I still loved that characteristic growl of the motor from behind the cabin.  The shifts were smoother than I’d expected (perhaps because I’m used to the “whiplash” Legend 4-speed automatic of the same era).

tyson_driving_nsx_targa

I didn’t play around with the shift paddle “manual” mode at all – I was too busy enjoying the open-air cruising.  This was also my first time driving an NSX Targa with the top off.  It takes just the quick release of a latch on either side of the top to remove it for easy stowage in a compartment above the engine.  Thanks to Nate for the quick test-drive!

Here are the rest of my photos from this quick trip to southern Utah.

Approaching Las Vegas at dusk on Thursday evening, about 4.5 hours into my drive

arrival_vegas

Rolling past the Las Vegas Strip and resisting the urge to throw $20 on red

vegas

Morning view from mom’s back deck, Friday

view

Heading out to get some pics with Cody in the twin Legends

following_cody

I’m impressed:  Cody owns a cassette tape!  I don’t think I even have one anymore!

cody_cassette

Legends

twins2

sedan_coupe

legends

Another pic from the NSX test-drive.

nsx_front

Veyo, Utah for part of the class reunion festivities

veyo

View overlooking the city of St. George, Utah

ilx_stg

Quick Pics in Tempe, Arizona & Vigor Maintenance Update

Posted in Legend, Vigor on July 30, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  534,153

534153

Odometer (ILX):  135,367

135367

I took a little lap around Lakeshore Drive at Tempe Town Lake on Wednesday after work.  Nobody was out (it was a little too hot).

coupe_tempe_town_lake

In the background here is the Mill Avenue Bridge which dates back to 1931 and continues to carry traffic across the Salt River.

coupe_tempe_town_lake_2

As a “road history” fan, I learned something during my research about the Mill Avenue Bridge.  It was preceded by an even earlier structure – the Ash Avenue Bridge – just to the west.  This photo shows the Mill (left) and Ash (right) bridges in the 1920s.

ash_mill_bridge

The Ash Avenue Bridge, built in 1911, offered a critical first link across the Salt River but was short-lived.  It was far too narrow to accommodate two lanes for automobiles, and it was irreparably damaged by a flood in 1919.  The bridge was finally closed in 1933, two years after the Mill Avenue Bridge was finished, and eventually was demolished in 1991, except for just this tiny piece on the south bank which now has a pedestrian patio/viewpoint on top of it.

ash_avenue_bridge

This October 2013 article by Jay Mark shares more about the very interesting history of this important piece of road.  It was built by convict labor!  During the two years it was under construction, 15 inmates escaped.  What a grand plan that was.  Haha.

I’ve enjoyed showing off my ‘new’ Acura Vigor to friends in the 4 weeks that have gone by since I picked it up on the 4th of July in Denver and drove it home to Phoenix. This past Sunday, I met up with my friends Chuck & Patty who have a custom 1988 Legend L convertible.  It was warm weather for top-down cruising, but that didn’t stop them from getting brunch at Pier54 in Tempe!

tyson_chuck_tempe

Later that same day, my friend Jason from New Mexico rolled through town so we got some Hawaiian BBQ.

jason_in_vigor

The Vigor already undergone quite a bit of transformation both mechanically and cosmetically.  This week, it received a fresh tint job thanks to Desert Shield in Tempe, Arizona.  The purple, bubbled, hazy film on the windows has been professionally replaced with a charcoal 30% all the way around.  I’m very happy with the results.

tinted2

tinted1

From a maintenance perspective, since I had purchased this car knowing little (read: nothing) about its prior history, I pretty much had to start from scratch.  Tait Johnson, otherwise known as “Hon-Man,” has operated a repair shop in Tempe since the late 1990’s that specializes exclusively in Honda & Acura automobiles. One glance at the parking lot upon arrival and I knew that I’d found Honda Mecca.  There were at least two dozen Honda or Acura cars in the parking lot.

honman_logo

I had Tait’s team go through the Vigor with a fine-toothed comb to see what they felt needed addressing.  In the end, they did identify a few things.

  • Blockage in Evap Drain Hose:  This was causing the A/C condensation water to drip on my feet / floor mats rather than underneath the car.  Fixed free of charge.
  • Valve Adjustment:  This Vigor had a nagging “tick” that left me a little concerned.  Tait’s team got it purring like a kitten.
  • Distributor Shaft Seal, O-Rings, Cap & Rotor:  Per recommendation, this fixed a leak.
  • Timing Belt Inspection:  Any Honda lover knows that timing belt maintenance is one of the most critical part things to keep in mind for long-lasting engine life.  In most cases, the interval is every 90,000 miles.  I once had a 1991 Honda Prelude Si that broke its old/original timing belt and bent some valves in the process.  That engine was toast afterward.  Tait found that the Vigor’s belt has in fact already been changed, though there was a concerning aspect of the install – one “guide” is installed backwards and the water pump that was used is a low quality unit.  At some point in the coming weeks, I may do a full timing belt package with Tait for peace of mind.

vigor_TB

At 104,392 miles, I got the car back after these items had been addressed and cruised home happily.  Thanks to my friend Hy for recommending such a great shop.

On the upcoming list of items to address, though somewhat back-burner:

  • Exhaust System:  From the get-go, the Vigor has been a little louder than I think it should be.  I suspect that even though the body doesn’t show any signs of rust-through, the car’s exhaust system probably has some wear & tear from spending 20+ years in Colorado where winters are fairly brutal.  Midas quoted me around $500 to get it back to new.
  • Leather Re-Do:  My friend Donald works for a high-end upholstery shop in Scottsdale and said he’s confident he could easily replace the panel of my driver side seat bolster that is worn out.  And not to worry – he’ll match that “Cognac” colored interior to perfection!

So, in coming attractions:  I’m about to hit the road in the ILX this afternoon and head to sunny St. George, Utah (~800 miles round trip).  The occasion?  High school class reunion!  The Pine View High School class of 2000 is ready for a 15-year regroup.  It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade & a half.  See you on the flip side.  Bonus points if you can find me in this photo from one the dances my senior year.

pvhs_2000

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