10,000 to Go!

I purchased my 2012 Honda Accord coupe in May of 2015 with 42,192 miles on the odometer. From the initial test drive, I made an instant connection with this car. As soon as I left the dealer, I immediately embarked on a long trip to the New Jersey shore, and the more time I spent behind the wheel, the more I enjoyed my new car. My Accord has now been to fifteen states. It’s driven to the top of a mountain. It’s sailed across the ocean (well, a bay). It has visited military history museums, parked beside famous warships, carved up twisty mountain roads, forded flooded streets, and plowed through snowstorms. It has been my constant road trip companion for nearly seven years.

When I first purchased it, I thought I’d be happy to drive the Accord to 100,000 miles before getting something new. It was running so well at 100,000, though, that the goal became 125,000. 150,000 came calling, and the car showed no signs of slowing down. Somewhere along the way, a thought came to my mind: to see what it would take for the car to reach 200,000 miles. Last weekend, I began the countdown to the final 10,000, as my Accord crossed the 190,000 mile mark!

To ring in the milestone, my wife suggested a road trip to one of our favorite seaside towns: Asbury Park, New Jersey. If cars aren’t your thing, enjoy this tour of one of the coolest shore towns in the state. If you like all things automotive, join me for a in-depth update on how my Accord is holding up after all these years and miles. And if you just enjoy a fun blog post, this hopefully will hit the right notes.

Let’s begin:

Asbury Park and 190K

Map of New Jersey with red pin in location of Asbury Park
Our destination to cross over 190,000 miles? Asbury Park.
2012 Honda Accord, parked in front of The Stone Pony.
Our first stop was for a photo outside The Stone Pony. Artists who have played this musical venue include Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Elvis Costello, The Ramones, and of course… Bruce Springsteen (via The Stone Pony).
2012 Honda Accord parked in front of Asbury Park Convention Hall.
Our next stop was to Asbury Park’s Convention Hall. Built between 1928 and 1930, Convention Hall has been used for meetings, parades, special events, car shows, and most importantly, concerts. Acts who have performed here over the years include The Beach Boys, Janis Joplin, The Rolling Stones, James Brown, Van Halen (ahem), Blondie, Bruce Springsteen, and many, many more (via Wikipedia). 
2012 Honda Accord parked in front of Beaux Arts-style round building.
At the southern end of the Asbury Park boardwalk is the hulking remains of the once-grand Asbury Park casino complex. This is the Carousel House, built in 1929, which formerly housed an ornate carousel. Although the carousel itself was purchased in the 1990s and moved to an amusement park in North Carolina, the building remains a testament to the grandeur that once was Asbury Park (via Atlas Obscura).
Remains of Asbury Park Casino.
The remains of the once-proud casino. The structure was enormous – what is standing is approximately 20% of the size of the original building. Today, this remaining space is used as gallery of art installations, free for the public to explore.
Mural of octopus tentacle on wall.
A series of temporary walls have been erected in the casino protect the artwork. To see the murals, you look through numerous peepholes cut into the walls. This octopus tentacle caught my eye. By the way, do you know how an octopus proposes to its sweetheart? It says, “I would like to ask for your hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand in marriage.” I’ll be here all week, folks.
Exterior of Asbury Park Steam Plant.
The Asbury Park Steam Plant once provided heat to the buildings in this section of the city. Built in 1930, it has survived the elements and the wrecking ball of redevelopment.
Pier extending out from Asbury Park boardwalk.
After several weeks of bitterly cold temperatures, a high of nearly 40 degrees felt like a heat wave. My wife and I took advantage of the warm weather to take a long walk on the Asbury Park boardwalk.
Bags of coffee on shelf from Asbury Park Roastery.
After nearly four miles of walking, we had earned a treat, and stopped at Asbury Park Roastery for some coffee. Open since 2007, Asbury Park Roastery roasts and serves its own coffee at three different locations in the city. 
Two cups of coffee in foreground, with boardwalk and ocean in background.
Not a bad view to go with our coffee! That’ll be an oat milk latte for my wife (left) and a dark roast with cream for me (right). 
Exterior of Asbury Park Convention Center.
It was a lovely stroll along the Asbury Park Boardwalk, made even more enjoyable when I once again got to reenact one of my favorite scenes from The Sopranos: “Our true enemy… has yet… to reveal himself.” Ah, you had to be there.
Memorial for SS Morro Castle ship fire in 1934. Memorial is black granite, outside of Asbury Park Covention Center.
On a more serious note, Convention Hall was also the site of one of the worst maritime accidents in US history, when the American liner S.S. Morro Castle caught fire and beached itself right off the Asbury Park coast. Of 549 passengers and crew, 135 died in the accident. Between September of 1934 and March of 1935 (when it was finally hauled away to be scrapped) it became a grim tourist attraction, with thousands of visitors coming to Asbury Park to view the charred remains of the ship (via Wikipedia).
Megaphone amplifier ad painted on side of brick buildling.
The rear of another local building had more art, this devoted to the Asbury Park music scene.
Photo art of Bruce Springsteen and Clarence Clemons.
On the same building is this life-size photo of Bruce Springsteen and the late, great saxophonist Clarence Clemons. Springsteen and members of the E Street band have longstanding connections to Asbury Park. Clemons was playing at Wonderbar in Asbury Park when he and Springsteen met for the first time. Steve Van Zandt, Springsteen’s longtime guitarist, also founded Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes (before he eventually went on to star in TV shows such as The Sopranos and Lilyhammer).
Lifesize photo of Pearl Jam on wall.
A few feet away is this photo of one of my favorite bands. Pearl Jam has played Asbury Park several times, including last year at the Sea.Hear.Now festival.
Mural of woman with forked tongue and butterfly wings.
And of course, it’s always worth a stroll to check out the ever-changing installation of murals throughout Asbury Park.
Odometer reading 190000 TRIP A 310.7
Mission accomplished! 190,000 miles is now in the books, and we’re onto the final push to 200k. Onward!

The 190,000 Mile Review

Before closing, I wanted to take a moment and share some thoughts on my 2012 Honda Accord and how it’s holding up as it approaches 200,000 miles.

The Exterior:

2012 Honda Accord coupe, parked in front of wooden fence.
Despite 10 years and 190,000 miles of use, the car is holding up well. I did have the front end touched up by a local body shop and a small rust spot near the right rear wheel arch was fixed. Otherwise, it’s just plenty of washes, consistent applications of Meguiar’s Deep Crystal Carnauba Wax, and elbow grease. Lots of elbow grease.
Tire and wheel of car.
One of the priciest fixes was when I had to replace this wheel after a wicked pothole on the Pennsylvania Turnpike deformed the wheel past the point of repair. Turns out, wheels are expensive.

The Engine:

Honda J35 V6 engine.
Aside from a healthy dose of winter dirt, the V6 engine in my Accord continues to run well. I’m pleased with its performance and its economy: Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) selectively turns off 2 or 3 cylinders under light load to conserve fuel, meaning that this engine produces plenty of power when needed, but also is frugal at the pump. Outside of routine maintenance, the only repairs have been replacing two coil packs (coil packs send electrical pulses to the spark plugs) and fixing an oil pump seal that had begun to leak. There was also the check engine light caused by a spiders nest in the fuel system… but let’s not mention that. Yuck.

The Interior:

Interior of 2012 Honda Accord coupe.
Aside from some wear and tear on the driver’s seat and steering wheel, the cabin is holding up pretty well. I try to keep it clean and to make sure the leather is treated. Not bad for ten years of driving, right? Overall, the car remains a comfortable, economical, and fun way to pass the miles. It’s the best car purchase I’ve ever made. 

If you’d like a bit of a deeper dive into my car’s condition, I also have included this quick walkaround video I filmed after it crossed the 190,000 mile mark. I doubt any Emmy nominations are in my future, but I had fun putting it together:

Wrapping Up

What better way to usher in a new milestone than with a trip to the Jersey shore! For all the times we have visited Asbury Park, there is always something new to discover and explore. Meanwhile, the Accord continues to do well. If my current driving pace keeps up, I should cross 200,000 miles sometime later in the spring, and we have already decided on a road trip worthy of that milestone!

Thanks for coming along on this special edition of The Open Road Ahead!

‘Til next time.

6 thoughts on “10,000 to Go!

  1. I remember that carousel! And there were bumper cars nearby. My father would take my sister and me a couple of times during the summer.

    Thanks for a great post! (And see you tomorrow at the FP!)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Congrats on 190k of pretty trouble-free miles!

    The carousel house is beautiful and ornate. I think the old casino part is cool too with its new exhibits.

    I’m glad our shared admiration of Accords have brought us, and others, together as friends. I really enjoy refreshing DA throughout the day and seeing how everyone is doing.

    Liked by 1 person

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