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!

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Shopping for a Virago and Stopping by the Portland Historic Races

This blog post could also be titled, “How to Get an Awesome Sunburn on a Perfect Sunday in July”… Who would’ve guessed that not wearing suntan lotion on a partly-cloudy July afternoon and being in the direct sun for about 5 hours (at least) would do any more than add a little color. You’d think I was 14 or something.

Part 1

I started the day by driving the S2000 up to Portland (top up actually) to meet friends who were shopping for their first motorcycle. I was coming up to help out with the test ride and once over for overall condition. Twist my arm right?

{Mark 10:00am: Dropped the top after a quick stop for a bottle of water.}

Danno wanted a beginner bike that was somewhere between a standard and a cruiser. We went to look at a 92 Honda Nighthawk 750 and an 82 Yamaha Virago 750. To be honest, the Nighthawk looked pretty promising in the ad and I was secretly pulling for this one over the Virago — mostly because it’s newer, I know a guy who’s put a ton of miles on one, and it’s more familiar in terms of the riding position I’m used to.

Unfortunately as is the case with many Craigslist sourced leads, those re-sized (and generally crappier) photo’s they host for you make it difficult to tell just how nice the bike really is. In short, the Nighthawk was generally not well cared for. Maintained just enough that all systems worked ok, but in general needed a thorough service front-to-back to be right. At $2000 it didn’t feel right to me. One sentence review of riding experience: Even though it’s power is pretty good for it’s age, the bike didn’t feel well balanced and in fact felt pretty heavy and a bit awkward during transitions.

So we decided to consider this bike as a ‘maybe’ and decided to break for a quick breakfast since it was still only mid-morning at this point. A quick stop by was needed at Fat City Cafe in Multnomah Village, where we were quickly served a great breakfast. Now we were ready to check out the next potential ride.

Next up was the Virago which was actually in Vancouver across the river. We met a nice retired man who had probably 6 Japanese bikes of this vintage in his garage, all in mostly good condition. Initial impressions were really good as the bike had obviously received some recent care with good tires, new starter, and very clean overall. Compared to the Nighthawk that had a brutally filthy chain, peeling paint, and a leaky caliper, this bike was ready for sale: clean, similar miles at under 15K, and was priced at only $1200. Granted it’s ten years older and power was no comparison to the Nighthawk, it was really easy to ride. It can’t weigh much and dipped into corners with ease. The riding position was somewhat new to me and I actually put my feet on the rear pegs the first time I sat on it. But after riding it for 15 minutes, I see the appeal. It’s totally relaxing and I’ll be damned if those vents on the front of your jacket don’t work 100% better when air is actually hitting them head on instead of getting the leftovers just above the tank!

My advice was to sleep on it and offer $1000 the next day. Danno replied, “I’ve got a thousand on me right now…” and then walked back to the front door and made a deal. We’re going back next week to get it. Congratulations guys, it’s a great first bike!

Part 2

Then I continued top-down in the Honda to the racetrack for the Portland Historic Races around 1pm. This is a great event in our own backyard, and Bob and Joe from Sports Car Shop were racing as well. I was looking forward to putting the 70-200 F4 L into the field again and the weather was perfect.

Sports Car Shop got a great spot for their team and was in the parking lot just behind the clock tower. Plus their close friend decided to add to the general Feng Shui of their pad with his recently acquired Ferrari F430! Beautiful car!

I then puttered around the paddock and club parking areas while grabbing a quick bite to eat before Joe and Bob went out in back-to-back sessions between 3 and 4pm. Once they were out, I grabbed my favorite spot at the track even though the light was facing me. Nonetheless, it was worth the full frontal sun assault considering some of the resulting pictures:

Leaving PIR with the top up, I washed up in the bathroom before hitting the road and when I saw myself in the mirror, my cheeks were definitely a little pink, but not bad. But now that I’ve cooked dinner (on the BBQ outside, doh!) and sat down to edit photos and blog about the day, I’ve gone from pink to full on red — all over. Like an idiot I failed to remember, like I do every year after the first good drive with the top down, that when the top is down = you’re outside and getting burned. Maybe I’ll remember next year…

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Partial Gallery of 2010 Portland Historic Races Sunday Afternoon

Photographing a 2006 Ford GT for Sports Car Shop in Eugene

I’m a pretty lucky guy to have landed the webmaster gig for Sports Car Shop in Eugene. Not only do I get exposed to all kinds of great sports cars, I get to photograph most of them as well. My photos aren’t pro yet, but good enough to represent the inventory. We take the pictures at Skinner’s Butte Park, which is right downtown and only a few blocks from their showroom. And most times that means I get to take them for a short drive too. Last Friday, that was this amazing 2006 Ford GT:

2006 Ford GT For Sale in Eugene, Oregon

2006 Ford GT For Sale in Eugene, Oregon

2006 Ford GT For Sale in Eugene, Oregon

Never in my entire life has the Ferris Bueller line been more applicable, “If you had access to a car like this, would you take it back right away?” Well I won’t add any more drama; I did take it back right away. My Powerball ticket hadn’t hit the previous Wednesday for $212mil, so I tip-toed downtown to the park and back… and loved every minute of it. But the drive back to the shop was a real challenge as there’s an on-ramp to the Beltline just a block further…

Even in my short and pedestrian paced time in the car, it’s very clear this car was built with a lot of care and thoughtful engineering. Not only is it capable of hanging with the best that Europe can offer, it’s also totally easy to drive around in. As low as it is, the front clearance is actually quite good. The clutch that has to manage 550hp is easy to engage and is very light in fact. And the gearing is perfect for that big lump. I think first gear actually goes all the way to 60mph, but with all the torque available so early, you can just lump her along in second and still have plenty of power to make her jump with a squeeze of the accelerator.

Almost more impressive than the engineering and ease of use, is the cars wonderful body. It’s low and very wide. And inside, it’s the business: you sit down deep in the car and the cockpit is all about driving quickly. Sitting in a slung back position, you turn to the right and see the glass back window is right behind you. And right behind that is the supercharger pulley spinning behind your head. Awesome!

Then there’s the sound. Crank it up and make sure to have big speakers attached for the best sound!

My previous benchmark for best performance had been to the Lotus Elise, which Clayton drove back from So Cal when he could’ve just used auto transport. This was a truly wonderful car to drive and a perfectly balanced platform. But this Ford GT takes it to a whole new level in terms of refinement, driveability, and raw performance. I mean with 550hp under foot, you can turn any situation into a tire smoking felony in mere seconds.

Thank you to Bob at Sports Car Shop for the opportunity to sample such a fantastic vehicle!

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A Trip to Mary’s Peak in Our Newly Acquired Volvo XC70

Just a quick post to pimp out our new Soccer Mom ride, a 2002 Volvo XC70 Cross Country:

A quick side trip with Paul and his wife to Van Duzer Winery:
2002 Volvo XC70 at Van Duzer Winery

And the next day we hit Mary’s Peak for a little hike in the snow with our St. Bernard:
2002 Volvo XC70

2002 Volvo XC70

2002 Volvo XC70

As you can tell, we have fallen in love with this car! The e28 535 has been a great car to us, but it was time for my wife to get something nice considering how hard she works for it. Shana is so enamoured with the car that she’s actually going to start her own blog based around our trips in that car. I’m really excited for her and eager to help her with her first blog!

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Our Visit to the 2010 Portland Auto Show

Nearly two weeks ago now, Shana and I made a day of the Portland Auto Show. We used to go every year to fantasize about new cars, but have missed the event in recent years. It’s fun to check out everything up close and personal without the hassle of a salesman crawling down you neck.

We started our day by hitting up the S2ki Forum Hillsboro Honda meetup for S2000 owners. I only got a couple of quick pictures but it was fun to finally meet some forum members I had met online numerous times but never connected with in person. Great job getting 30 cars to come out in the middle of winter Ira! Check out all the pictures on S2ki.

We were fairly rushed at the meet because we had an appointment after that to check out a used Infinity QX4 for the missus. Looked promising in the pictures, but was a little too rough for us. We’re actually having a pretty tough time finding a suitable car for Shana because we’re so used to enthusiast vehicle shopping, which usually results in clean and documented cars to shop for. We were thinking of going with a more dependable Japanese variant, but they’re just not cared for like the European rides we’re used to looking at. Now we’re thinking of going back to European shopping in the form of a Land Rover Discovery. We’re back in Portland this weekend, so we’ll probably stop and look a few then.

Then it was on to check into our downtown Portland hotel, Hotel Lucia. What a beautiful place and fantastic service! Not to mention it was in the center of everything we had planned and easy Max trip to the Convention Center for the show. Can’t wait to stay there again!

After freshening up, it was on to the Portland Auto Show. Tickets were reasonably priced at $10 and at the ticket window we were reminded that many major manufacturers were not there due to cutbacks and slow sales. This was a bummer as BMW, Saab, Mercedes, and many others were definitely cars we were looking forward to jumping into.

{warning: really crappy images ahead. I’ve been too busy to post-process these but wanted to put up what I had.}

Ron Tonkin brought out a few new cars and a couple older ones from his collection. These were all front and center outside the main conference areas:

Ferrari Daytona Spyder Ferrari Enzo Maserati Ferrari F430

MotoCorsa was also in attendance with the latest Lotus and Ducati offerings. The black Sport 1000 was exactly like the demo bike I rode a couple years back.

Lotus Evora Silver Lotus Elise Ducati Sport 1000 Aprilia RSV4

Then it was on to the Audi and Porsche areas. I have to admit, I wanted to check out the Panamera because it looks so bad in pictures. It didn’t disappoint, it’s ugly and HUGE! First the blasphemy that is the Cayenne and now this abomination. So sad that a more true to spirit business model couldn’t have been used to get them into the 21st century.

Audi Rings

Audi Q7

Porsche Panamera

Porsche 997 Turbo

The local SCCA chapter also had a nice area set up. There were several car corral areas that usually aren’t present, likely due to so many manufacturers pulling out this year.

Porsche 996 race car VW Beetle Race Car Porsche Moby Dick 935 Race Car

And here are few more random snaps. You’ll notice how crowded Saturday afternoon was. I think every Dad in town got babysitting duty as there were lots of kids running around. Reminds me that we prefer going on Thursday mid-day when it’s super quiet!

After the show we met up with our good friends Danno, his wife Angie, and our close friend Julie who also happened to be in Portland that day. We had a fantastic dinner at Mother’s Bistro just a few blocks from the hotel. What a meal! Plan on leftovers no matter how big your appetite is!

And by chance, another friend of ours was in town for a whirlwind 48 hour tour, my close friend Ed. He lives in Atlanta now, but amazingly we’ve managed to meet up several times in the past few years. We met for a nightcap at Pazzo and then stumbled upstairs to crash after a very long day.

We’re heading back up to Portland for a wedding at Edgefield this weekend. That makes about 4 trips up there in 5 weeks. Maybe we should get a condo!

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Photoshop Fun with a Honda RS125

My buddy Alex who is a contributing author on Rare Sport Bikes For Sale is about to pick a Honda RS125 for track days. What a great early Christmas present to yourself! He sent over this picture of the bike to show off his latest acquisition. I started staring at in Photoshop and ended up with these two versions of the image. The first one is more photo-realistic and the other has a filter applied for a more stylized look. I’m leaning towards the latter. Probably end up wallpapering one of my garage walls with a huge print out.

Honda RS125

alex_rs125_black_and_white_2Honda RS125

Congrats on the new bike Alex! Can’t wait to see it in action!

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1984 Alfa Romeo GTV – Great Shape, Even Better Price!

Paul sent me an IM tonight with this link and it’s too good a deal not to share. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest and looking for a modern-classic Alfa Romeo, this could be your car:

1984 Alfa Romeo GTV6-Silver – $3500 (SW Portland)

1984 Alfa Romeo GTV6 For Sale in Portland1984 Alfa Romeo GTV6 For Sale in Portland1984 Alfa Romeo GTV6 For Sale in Portland1984 Alfa Romeo GTV6 For Sale in Portland

quote from the Craigslist ad:

For sale is a very good condition GTV6 with 78k miles. I have owned it for about 10 years. Runs and drives great but has the usual fragile 2nd gear synchro. Tires are nearly new on period correct 15 inch OZ wheels. Windows work great, all gauges work as they should, as does all lights and signals. AC system is intact but missing the belt. Leather interior in good shape. Paint is shiny with minor defects here and there, no major dents or dings. Surface rust in spare tire well only. No leaks of any kind. I just had the timing belt, tensioner, water pump and all seals at the front of the engine replaced so I can drive it around for the summer. Always passes DEQ with ease. Sale includes original Campy wheels with tires.

Being a 1984 and 25 years old, this car qualifies for all kinds of ‘classic’ category events. It’s been on my mind recently when thinking about shows, vintage racing, etc… For $3500, this looks like it’d be a great entry into that arena.

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Pictures from the Start Line of the Monte Shelton Northwest Classic Rally

Portland Anniversary Trip 8.8.09 186

6780_619064911988_19710368_36481035_4288835_nThe Monte Shelton Northwest Classic Rally is an event I’ve wanted to become more knowledgeable about for a long time. My wife and I were on the coast probably 6 or 7 years ago and saw a line of classic cars heading down 101 with the Monte Shelton number plates on the sides, and I knew that some day I’d like to participate.

This year we planned to be in Portland for the start of the event to take see what it was all about. I was pleased to find that while some of the cars were in fact very valuable and rare collector cars, there were also many other vintage cars of varying rarity and value. It truly looks like an event for well prepared cars and individuals with a passion for driving in the Pacific Northwest. The event also serves as benefit for the March of Dimes which I thought was a nice touch as well.

I’ve never done a TSD rally before, but it looked like there were plenty of first-timers at the event and the morning meeting promised no surprises. And for those not interested in competing, there was even an opportunity to simply follow the route for fun and join everyone at the checkpoints.

I look forward to getting an eligible classic sometime soon so I can participate too. In the meantime, here are the pics outside start/finish line in Downtown Portland:

Portland Anniversary Trip 8.8.09_1167

Portland Anniversary Trip 8.8.09_1251

Portland Anniversary Trip 8.8.09_1132

Portland Anniversary Trip 8.8.09 213

Portland Anniversary Trip 8.8.09 195

My full gallery is here (348 pics!):

And I stumbled onto this YouTube picture gallery as well:

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