Four states. 1072 miles. Two days. All to see… cars?
Ever since learning of its opening last year, I had plans to visit the Honda Heritage Center in Marysville, Ohio. My family has been a strong believer in Honda ever since my Mom did thorough research and insisted we purchase a 1980 Honda Accord to replace our gremlin-plagued 1978 Ford Thunderbird. Since then, my family has owned many Hondas, and aside from a brief period when I drove a Subaru Impreza, I’ve also been committed to the brand. I am also an avid motorsports fan and have followed Honda in that arena since the days when Ayrton Senna drove for McLaren-Honda in Formula 1. Needless to say, this museum became a must-see attraction.
First stop, however, was to take DH to my local Honda dealer, Burns Honda in Marlton, NJ, for a bow-to-stern check. While the car is a 2012 with 60,000 miles on it, I am a firm believer in preventative maintenance. The rear brakes had been giving an intermittent squeak, so I figured it was time to replace them, and I also wanted to make sure the rest of the car was ready for the long trip. The rear brakes did need replacing (not bad for 4 years and 60,000 miles), but the rest of the car reported as trouble-free.
Monday morning, we set off for Ohio, departing New Jersey after the morning rush hour had ended. Aside from intermittent rain showers, it was a stunningly beautiful drive. Western Pennsylvania boasts some amazing landscapes, West Virginia looks in places like a set from a movie, and Ohio has verdant farmland as far as the eye can see. All in all, it was a fun drive.
The next day we arose, grabbed a quick breakfast, and set off for the Honda Heritage Center. We had a reservation for noon, although the facility opens at 10:00 am, and we thought we’d show up and see if we could be allowed in sooner, so we could begin our long drive home as early as possible.
Some lucky guests are allowed to also tour the Honda factory across the street. Unfortunately, when I tried to make the reservation several weeks ago, the tours on this date were already booked. However, the very helpful staff asked if we would like to join the next tour group, heading over to the factory a little before 11:00 am. I remained calm, cool, and collected and responded,”Hmm, that might be fun. Thanks.” Inside, however, my response was: “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? YES ABSOLUTELY YES PLEASE LET’S GO! LET’S GO! LET’S GO!” Or something like that.
Unfortunately, photos and video recording were not permitted within the plant, but I can tell you that we had a wonderful time. Our tour guides, Cindy and Carolyn, were very friendly and helpful. We got to watch sheets of steel eventually transform into sales-ready Honda Accords (the plant also produces the Acura ILX and TLX). I felt like a little kid, walking around wide-eyed, staring at the constant thrum of activity within the plant. While not allowed to take photos, I did find this video on YouTube, which is an inside look at the plant: From Start to Finish: How Accords are Built.
Our tour over, we got back in the car and began the 538 miles journey home. It was a terrific visit, and one I would be glad to do again. The Honda Heritage Center is both a quasi-religious experience for fans of the brand, but also a fun learning experience for adults and children who appreciate technology and fast machines. The best part? It is all free… well, except for the large amount of money I spent at the gift shop, but that was completely voluntary. I highly recommend visiting this fascinating exhibit.
‘Til next time.