First post of 2013!

facebook I pretty much doubt anyone still monitors this blog but just in case, Happy New Year! My apologies for not being more active here but I find I do most of my microblogging on Facebook now. Feel free to join me if you like. But for some reason I woke up today wanting to blog and it got me to thinking about all the places I hang out online. It’s not like I dropped the internet or anything!
Dan Crouch on Twitter I’ve had a personal Twitter account for years and it still looks the same. It basically gets RSS fed links from Rare SportBikes and German Cars For Sale Blog. It’s on my list of to-do’s to get them their own pages one day but I hesitate when I think about the interaction required to do it right…
Dan Crouch Videos - YouTube I spend a lot more time on YouTube since we dumped cable. I miss HD sports but practically everything else I can get online one way or another. I don’t upload many videos but I do try to “like” stuff I enjoyed.
Battlefield 3 As you may have noticed from my YouTube likes, I am a Battlefield 3 addict. I’m not very good at it but it is such a great game with so many different ways to enjoy the game. And the graphics are stunning. I used to think $99 for a game was absurd but considering how much I play it’s a bargain. I don’t share much on Battlelog but if you play on PC you can stalk me now!
pinterest I’m trying out Pinterest, mostly to see if it’s viable for my other websites but it’s a great time waster to see what others are pinning too.

Long Overdue: Actually Using My New Specialized Bicycle!

{note: This is not a guest post, I actually did this LOL! -dc}

I posted on Facebook nearly a year ago that I had been shopping for a Specialized road bike and was hoping to start an actual exercise regimen. It’s been since college that I had any regular riding time, and since high school that I had done any intentional exercise. I knew it wouldn’t be easy getting back on but I didn’t think it would take this long either.

Specialized Road Bike

Still, there’s been alot going on this year and even getting out for a short ride was better than no ride from time to time.

But my wife has been kicking ass on the elliptical machine doing 600-800 calories a day and she feels better and looks great. Something clicked for me this week and I decided it was my turn to take this more seriously.

Yesterday I set out on what I thought was a good first ride over about 45-50 minutes. I tried to pick a route around town that had some gentle hills and nice scenery. Wasn’t tough as Corvallis is one of the friendliest bicycle communities in the country and there are bicycle routes everywhere. I was a little foolish though in that I had a bacon, eggs, and crumpet break”feast” and went on my ride an hour later. The gradual rise along Walnut and then the uphill as it turned into 53rd almost got me sick. Which is also about the time I realized I hadn’t brought any water — idiot!! But the bike path by the OSU horse barns is a nice shot with the wind at your back and the rest of the route was smooth.

Day 1 Route, 8.2 miles:

Today I went back out and wanted to do something a little flatter but compensate by taking a longer route. I stuck with just an energy bar before heading out and I think this helped alot too. I wanted to ride the bike path along Philomath Blvd. like I used to in high school from Bellfountain and Airport all the way to CHS. Even managed to fit in a little business along the way with Rolling Stone Pizza (I’ll be doing a new website for them soon) at the Wednesday Farmer’s Market.

Day 2, 9.1 miles:

Both rides should have me burning around 600 calories each. The day 1 ride due to duration, day 2 due to the 18mph average speed. And day 2 was only 35 minutes. I think initially I’ll stick to routes like this as it was more satisfying seeing more scenery in less time. Probably a byproduct of having two motorcycles 😀

Anyway thanks for listening to me ramble and please feel to post any comments with suggestions — especially anything to help me stick with it!

dc

Reviving our old Canon Elph PowerShot S410 with a NB-1LH Replacement Battery

Our first digital camera was purchased nearly 8 years ago and was one of the popular Canon ‘Elph’ models. Just a simple, compact, and portable camera to easily take snapshots. It always performed well and we especially liked the macro function for close up detail pictures in the garden.

But we haven’t used this camera much since we got the Canon DSLR’s. Suddenly the more stuff we acquire for the big cameras, every outing becomes a project rather than a chance to just snap some simple pictures. When we remembered the Elph, we were excited to loosen up a bit. Unfortunately the battery wouldn’t hold a charge and we were disappointed that a Canon replacement batterywould cost almost $50! But I started reading reviews about the cheapo imitation batteries and reviewers reported that they were just as good (if not better) than the official Canon replacements — and were less than $10! I figured a pack of AA’s is going for more than that these days and decided to try one out. Sure enough, works like a charm and our old camera has been given a new life.

Now I take it with me on short hikes with the dogs and have been enjoying the first signs of spring in Oregon’s forests. These all got some minor changes in Photoshop to crop and adjust color, but that’s about it. Hope you enjoy!

dc

2011 Maui Trip Gallery

I might be a couple weeks overdue in posting pictures from our trip to Maui, but they may be just in time for the snow that’s expected this Thursday!

Maui 2011
Shana and I hit “Big Beach” our first full day there. We had big plans to soak in a lot of sun, and we spent 3 full days just lazing around staring at the surf. We really wanted to unwind and this fit the agenda perfectly!

Maui 2011
The obligatory self-portrait on the sand with the warm ocean behind us. Yep, we were drunk on the sun that day!

Maui 2011
As we sat enjoying the view I realized that what looked like a boat on the horizon with a sail fluttering in the wind was actually a whale breaching and playing in the water! This is a cropped hand-held zoom, but it was like a spec on the horizon with the naked eye.

Maui 2011
The next day we took a scenic drive around the northwestern portion of the island going the long way to Kapalua, Lahina, etc… It was a treacherous one lane road in most parts with blind corners and serious drop-offs. But the reward is the view you get from the helicopter tour but without the chopper.

Maui 2011
These ultra-wide images were produced from 8-12 images blended with Photoshop. Shot with Canon 40D and 17-40 F/4L. This lens is hard to beat for capturing the whole scene.

Maui 2011
This is where we stayed upcountry near Haiku. A cute little place that was on a nice 2 acre lot. Very bright and airy, and everything you needed to feel at home. The hutch opens to reveal a 42″ LCD that we watched the Superbowl on while sipping Kona Longboard Lager and mimosas with fresh juice — guess who was having what?! Congrats to Aaron Rogers BTW 😉

Maui 2011
This is our patio complete with gas grill, washer and dryer, and a hot tub! We didn’t use the tub as much as you’d think. It’s Hawaii and the overnight low was like 70F so why bother?

But I did cook a few dinners at home on the grill to offset some of our more expensive meals: Korean short ribs, Teri Chicken, and Maui Ribeyes!

And the meal of the trip was definitely our last night at Mama’s Fish House just outside Paia. This beautiful fish was stuffed with crab and had a lobster tail draped over the top with asparagus. AWESOME! The bisque appetizer that came with was also to die for. But the dessert at the end was really amazing as the sun set.

So as you can tell we focused on scenic drives, days and days on the beach, and great eats. Maui always makes us feel on vacation, but on this trip we really were. Can’t wait to do it again!

dc

A Dream Realized: 1995 Aprilia RS250 Chesterfield Replica in My Garage!

When I first started getting into bikes in the early 90’s, i did a lot of research. It’s in my nature really and no wonder I love the internet so much! But before the internet, I went to the Corvallis Public Library and Linn-Benton Community College Library, which both had great collections of motorcycle magazines. I spent many afternoons reading them. After my thorough analysis (with no seat time) I really wanted a Yamaha FZR400 or an Aprilia RS250. They both had the performance and look I wanted, and I had rationalized that they’d be great first bikes. But to my dismay the 250 wasn’t being imported and the 400’s were very hard to locate as most of the public wanted the more powerful FZR600. But I figured at least they were available. Today the FZR400’s are coveted for their aluminum frames, more pure sporting mission, and performance in amateur racing classes that made them nearly as fast as the 600’s; all of which I knew then and was a large part of why I wanted one — they were special!

I ended up with a ratty FZR600 as it’s what I could afford at the time though. Here’s my original blog post on that bike at an early age riding to Sonomafest with Paul from the Willamette Valley to Bay Area.

Sonomafest really opened our eyes to the amazing talent that road racers possessed. Being able to witness their skill at speed, up close and personal, was really inspiring. We started to follow the top road racing series around the world, and in particular would watch the 250GP class on rented VCR videos. The star of that series was Max Biaggi and he rode the Chesterfield sponsored bike from Aprilia.

Watching Biaggi’s battles and victories only fueled the impossible lust that grew for the factory replica Aprilia RS250 that bears his race livery. But I never really thought I’d have an opportunity to have one considering they weren’t being imported. Here’s a picture of the race replica offered by Aprilia in 1995. I took this picture at the Barber Motorsport Museum:

Aprilia RS250 Chesterfield 2 stroke

Back to Sonomafest, it is one of my favorite road trip memories because we were essentially broke, had no proper gear, but made the trip anyway with great success as two wide-eyed enthusiasts joined up with what felt like thousands of our soon-to-be peers.

As we were staging up for the parade lap of Sears Point that was included with our Cycle World ‘Sonomofest’ ticket package, a guy pulled up next to me on an Aprilia Chesterfield replica — and it even had plates, which certainly added to the excitement of seeing an example like this that was legal-ish to ride on the street! The guy probably thought I was nuts as I practically fell running over to him, motioning to him that I wanted to talk. I tried to ask him how you get an RS250 into the states and get it plated. You could tell he had been asked this a million times, but he wasn’t giving up any secrets today and rode off.

Ever since I’ve been watching the ads. And sure enough, every now and again over the years, I would spot an RS250 that was for sale. Not often, but the more that surfaced, the more intent I became on watching the entire web to spot these rare opportunities.

After getting my job as a Web Services Manager in 2005, I started this personal blog that you are reading right now. And on occasion I started to blog car and bike classifieds I found from time to time that I found interesting and wanted to share. {sorry most of the images are broken on these ancient links!}

In some part, the RS250 and bikes like it, is what made me want to start Rare Sport Bikes For Sale and German Cars For Sale Blog.

Skip to 2008 and I actually blogged this exact bike when it came up for sale last time: http://raresportbikesforsale.com/1995-aprilia-rs250-chesterfied-replica/ Later I would find out that it was actually owned by an old childhood friend of mine, who is a part owner of SpeedyMoto. He invited me over to look at it and explained that he couldn’t actually go through with the sale. It was his wife’s bike and she got it from a family friend that went through considerable expense importing it into New York from Holland.

But on Tuesday last week he emailed that it was again available and asked if I could help list the bike on RSBFS. I said of course I can, but before we do that, I’M INTERESTED!

We quickly settled on a price and the bike is now in my garage with the Ducati 750SS. Now that I’ve been up close with the bike, it’ll be a 7/10 cosmetically when it gets cleaned up. Long story short, it needs some serious time on the buffer. They used it as a backup track day bike and occasional Sunday rider. It’s great mechanically, probably 9/10. Not to mention it came with crazy spares too. Like a full race body kit, a piston rebuild kit, and a factory decal kit that will allow me to restore the factory body work to new when I’m ready some day.

Luckily the day we went to get it in Portland, it was an amazing 60 degrees outside in January. That’s unheard of but it made for an amazingly awesome test ride in the sun. It makes about 60hp at the rear wheel and weighs in at 308lbs dry. The gearing is very aggressive right now and as Paul said, first gear is silly. There is next to no power below 6k, but then it starts moving and showing some grunt as the revs climb. When you hit 8k the real magic happens and in an instant another 20-30hp kicks in. It screams to the 12k redline immediately as it tries to lift the front end up — and I’m no lightweight myself! A very special experience was realized this day, and one not soon to be forgotten.

Since I read those magazine articles, it only took 16 years to get what I thought I’d never put my hands on. And this is going to sound corny but it probably wouldn’t have happened if RSBFS wasn’t created. The reach, connections, and friendships that the site enjoys has helped me to share what has completely exceeded my expectations and I feel very fortunate.

A quick shout out to SpeeyMoto and Christian Hanson. Thanks for the call!

dc

2010 Year In Review Post (aka Why Has This Blog Been Damn Near Silent?!)

If there are any subscribers left on this site, I sincerely apologize! To summarize this year in a few words is to say I was far too busy. I burned out completely at least 3 times and the last thing on my mind was blogging. Routine 60 hour work weeks have been rewarding but truly challenging.

That said, there was waaay to many cool happenings this year that normally would’ve been documented in these pages and I’m going to try and catch up with a few pictures and brief summaries. These are mostly amazing trips I was able to make happen, some updates on the family, and a few of the ones that got away this year.

Note: This post is grossly unfinished and I’ll be updating it over the next 6-8 weeks, and hopefully adding some event coverage posts before the new season.

Stay tuned as 2011 is going to be action packed and I’m very excited to start getting back into a regular rhythm on this site. Sorry this is a post in progress, but have a Happy New Year!

dc

Family

We are very proud of our Goddaughter, especially when she invents new cute things to do like this! As Mom becomes more comfortable with seeing her angel on the web, we'll try to post more.
Me and Shana at the Corvallis Knights game sponsored by Calapooia Brewing this past August. It was a perfect evening for baseball, and even though the Knights lost this particular night, we had a really great time with Pooia brew crew -- as we always do!
An image of Shana and Sam on a trip to the beach on a stormy day. Sam loves the beach and we decided to take her by herself for a special trip.
A picture of the little stud, Winston, on a walk in the woods. He's a great addition to our family and is always amusing us with his latest alpha antics!
Another one of the cutest dog ever.
And our little black cat, Abbey. Not a fan of pictures, or so she pretends.

Miller WSBK

By far my best image of the year. This is Max Biaggi taking first place for the first time in a long time since his dominance in 250GP racing on Memorial Day. Pictured here about to enter the final corner at the U.S. leg of the World SuperBike Tour at Miller Motorsports Park with a tribute to the American soldiers in the background. Many thanks to Jay Bernard and Veloce Racing Aprilia Team for making our participation possible.

Sonoma Historics Birthday Trip

Shana took me to Sonoma for the Historics at Sears Point this year. Here's a picture of us outside Mario Andretti's winery. Surprisingly not a single car on display. Good wine though and a lovely tasting area.
My favorite image taken from this event: Rothmans Porsche 956


Working with Sports Car Shop

I got some brief seat time in this gorgeous Ferrari Testarossa that is available at Sports Car Shop in Eugene, Oregon. I am their webmaster and get to take pictures of their inventory. Yes, this is one of the best jobs (if you can call it that) that I've ever had!
Earlier in the year I had the pleasure of trotting out this stallion for some pictures. I have to say, this was a far better car than I could've expected. For $140k, Ford hit this one out of the park. I know that's a lot of cash, but compared to it's rivals, it's a true bargain.

The Ones That Got Away (or were considered)

This is a bike I should've just acted on immediately. A 748S, less than 13k miles, and $6000. It was gone in less than 5 days and I've been kicking myself ever since. And in a terrible twist of fate, it's for sale again but this time I'm not in a place to purchase it. Yes, I try to talk myself into it daily...

{I’ve got at least another dozen images and stories to add. I’ll try to bump this post every time I do because there are lots more people to thank for an awesome year!}

dc

A Very Soggy OVM Vintage Motorcycle Show

Just a quick post with pictures from this years 2010 OVM vintage motorcycle show. Scott, Paul, Alex and I all came out to see our favorite local show of the year and the crazy weather we’ve been having didn’t disappoint. Feels more like March as Brad mentioned with all the cold rain and hail we’ve had this week!

Here’s a glimpse of all the enthusiasts that came out despite the wet conditions (click for full size pano):

OVM Vintage Motorcycle Show Corvallis, Oregon 5.23.2010

And the complete and rather thin gallery (can’t shoot in pouring rain):

Always a great show and a nice chance to catch up with like minded friends in the area. See you all next year!

dc

By the way — what do you guys think of the new look of the website? I plan to rotate out the backgrounds with new pictures periodically.

dc

1997 Honda VFR750 at the Oregon Coast

My buddy Paul got his Honda VFR750 out to the coast today. I took the liberty of touching up this image and it ended up as the featured forum post over at VFRDiscussion 😀 Considering I’m a decent amateur at best with Photoshop, I thought that was pretty cool for a 20 minute effort.

Before:

1997 Honda VFR 740 Oregon Coast

After:

1997 Honda VFR 750 Photoshop

dc

2007 Sunriver, Oregon Exotic Car Show

Yeah I’m a week overdue. But with the start of a new school year, several new consulting clients, and little time left, I’m behind on my blogging. Seems like a trend!

I’ll start with some updates on the Ducati. Paul spent some serious quality time with the machine and rebuilt the carbs. While the leaky carb problem was fixed, and the low rpm drivability of the bike has been improved, it still runs very rich. Seems the bike is jetted very aggressively. I’ll be working to get this fixed soon. Many thanks to Paul at the Sports Car Shop for the work on the Ducati!

While the bike was in Paul’s care, he discovered an issue with the steering that was causing the total steering radius to be greatly diminished. Yep, that little mishap I had was due to mechanical issue. The steering is now so… useable!!

Now that I had a machine that was maneuvering more like it should, it was time for a real ride. We planned a great ride from Eugene to Sunriver to catch the annual Sunriver Exotic Car show. A late season ride, but incredible weather. Mid 70’s the entire day!

Here are some highlights from the show:

Getting the bikes ready for the journey
Ducati and Honda

Stopped for a break to get some coffee and gas
Ducati 750

Sunriver Exotic Car Show 2007 Pictures

A killer Porsche 356 Speedster Outlaw
 Porsche 356 Speedster Outlaw

A Porsche Carrera GT, natch
Porsche Carrera GT

A very low mileage and well maintained e30 M3 that I was drooling on
e30 M3

The cleanest BMW 2002tii I think I’ve ever seen
BMW 2002tii

A beautiful Mercedes SL
Mercedes SL

When we arrived in Sunriver, Steph called and invited us over for the Beaver game against Cincinatti at their place in Albany. How could we refuse?! After all, it led us straight through the Santiam Pass and some fantastic corners for 30 or more miles on Highway 20. While I was remembering how to negotiate medium speed corners and how the Ducati likes to be handled, Freddie Spencer (aka Paul) was setting the world on fire with his cornering prowess on the VFR. He made 10 minutes on me in 10 miles. So much time in fact, he had time to pull over and set up for pictures:

Picture 046

Picture 049

And yes, that’s the historical marker for the first Transcontinental Automobile Race in 1909. How ironic that Paul had so much time on me that he could take a break at this marker for me to catch up lol!

Here’s some of the late afternoon shots from Paul’s bike. Not bad for one-handed-while-riding(!):

VFR750

Ducati Rolling Shot

As you can tell, a fantastic day covering 300 miles. Picture credits go to Paul with his handy P&S HP camera.

The entire 2007 Sunriver Exotic Car Show pics on my Flickr.

dc