Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow & Cold

All week I was looking forward to riding my V-strom to the Suzuki Christmas Open house. I can handle cold but not ice and snow. All was fine until Friday night, then it started and didn't stop until half way through Saturday morning. This is what I saw as I was on my way to breakfast

(our back yard)

Lucky I managed to put on my snow tires a couple of days before. I have my tires mounted on spare rims and usually wait until we get our first snow warning before I lug out my hydraulic jack and T-bar. And so it was on Wednesday night, in the dark with a flashlight that I mounted my 4 snow tires. I can't wait to test them out. I purchased these last year but we didn't get any snow.


Here in British Columbia they do not allow you to install only two snow tires. No one will sell you two, you must have four - one for each wheel due to liability issues. Winter tires with the 'snowflake' imprint are more suited for cold weather, unlike summer tires which go hard (and lose their grip) in the colder temperatures. I have Nordic ice radials with aggressive tread.

(our front street)

Sometimes the weather forecaster is wrong and we often miss the front, but not this time. The temperatures are below zero and there is lots of ice on the roads.


Often times our snow has melted by noon but with no heat in the air it is taking longer than normal. I check the road conditions after breakfast hoping that I can still ride but prefer not to take the chance. I have to ride an hour south into Surrey and usually the conditions are worse there.


Today, the wise thing to do is to take my 4 wheeled commuter


I finally get to the Dealership. Not too much activity this time of year


There are some bikes outside but only a few as compared to what would be on display during the summer

(Brian (middle), owner of Motorcyle World, Surrey, BC)

Soon Santa arrives and starts to hand out some goodies


I don't know who these people are but others were taking their photo with Santa, so I did too


I've been keeping myself quite busy these past few weeks learning more about the pleasures of photography and immersing myself into getting all of my equipment in working order, and also upgrading my printer. A few years ago I purchased an Epson flat bed scanner with the idea of scanning E6 from my panorama camera(s) but I couldn't figure out the software and it just sat gathering dust. Then Geoff posted an entry about embarrassing photos and I thought that it was time to set it up.


I purchased this model just at the time the new improved Epson V700 was introduced. It came with all the negative holders and can scan all the film formats that I have, up to 8x10. It came with a simplified version of Silverfast but when I installed it on my newer laptop running Windows 7, it kept freezing. I could not get a free upgrade as they only allow you to upgrade ONE version newer, so I had to purchase it again. This time I have the lastest version (incl ICE) and it seems to run without problem.

In case you didn't know, I am a hobbyist. I experiment and do a lot of reading about things. When I had my last printer, which was top of the line 5 years ago I started to use bulk ink to refill the inkjet cartridges. I never had any problems with clogging heads, nor problem with colours in the final prints (photos).


I purchased this bulk ink refiller kit around 4-5 years ago and was refilling the ink on my Canon i9100 wide carriage printer. Real OEM cartridges are around $14. each and I need 6 . I purchased a new replacement printer from eBay and gave my old printer away to a deserving person who I hope will appreciate it. It is practically new and has been used very sparingly, perhaps less than 10 , 13" x 19" and a handful of 8" x 10" prints.

I now have a Canon Pro 9000 Mark II printer. I set it up last week and it uses 8 cartridges x $22. each . That's a lot of money for a few ml of ink in each cartridge. Also the cartridges now hold less ink than the prev printer. People like myself, who like to do their own printing know that the cost of the printer is negligible as compared to the ink and paper supplies. I was not sure whether I wanted to refill these ink carts or not so I did some investigation and found the company in the US who makes ink basically identical to the Canon formula. I also found out that the formula for this printer was changed slightly from the prev i9900 model. I ordered my bulk ink from eBay and it arrived on Monday


There is enough ink here to refill each cartridge 8 times. A complete set of OEM ink will cost around $180./set and I purchased all of this for around the price of 3 cartridges BUT one problem . . .

They decided to put a chip on each cartidge for ink status monitoring, and once the ink is empty it will never show full, even though you refill it yourself. There is a sequence where you basically deactive monitoring on this cartridge but then when it runs out of ink the printer would not know and you would probably damage the head(s). For every problem there is a solution, so I purchased the Chip resetter. It resets the chip to let the printer know that the ink is full. By doing this the printer would not show any error codes in case you had warranty issues.

If anyone is thinking of getting a new printer I would recommend the Canon Pro 9000 mark II, over the Pro 9500. The 9000 is a dye based printer with better colour. The 9500 is a pigment printer which is more archival but pigment can clog the heads more easily. If you print on a more occasional basis then the 9000 is more than adequate.


  1. Hello Bob!,

    Gee, sorry to see that your bike riding activities have come to a halt for now. I'm sure the extremely pretty scenes don't offset your frustrations!

    By making your post about the scanner, you've committed yourself to revealing photos you'd probably sooner forget my friend - I'm proud of you.

    Thanks too for the printer info as we will shortly be trying to help an 80+ year old to select a printer. She's just got into computing and is soaking it up like a sponge!

    All the very best....

  2. I've always loved the snow. I love to drive in it. However, now that I ride a lot, I am glad to be in Arizona where I can ride year round without too much difficulty.

    I hope it warms up soon so you can get back out on the road.

    Warm wishes,

  3. Sorry to hear that the snow is putting a damper on your riding. Maybe a hack is in your future just for the all weather capability.

    Looking forward to some of your scans now. Fortunately, I have no motor bike history so no photos.


  4. Hah! You just had to share the white wealth, eh? Pretty stuff, but miserable with our many hills. Lots of horror stories from those unlucky enough to have to commute. Hoping this is the last for the season, but know that would be a longer than long shot.

    I refilled carts with my Epson 1280 after moving it to general office printing. For anything color critical I will not use anything other than OEM ink. Try $90+ per cart (times 8) with my Epson 7880. Granted, they are 220ml carts ... yet I still go through 3 + sets per year.

  5. So, where is the picture of you and Santa? Is that te embarrassing photo?

    Our weather has turned colder, but I have still been able to ride, except for yesterday. It was 28 degrees and foggy. The idea of freezing fog on the roadway was not thrilling to say the least. It looks like your storm will miss us except for some colder weather for us.

    And we just keep all season tires on our Subarus.

    Stay warm and when the wetaher gets a bit better, ride safe!


  6. Bob, I echo RichardM's comment re a hack rig in your future!

    The stuff on the roads there that you showed us is nothing to my Ural...which I hope to have back soon.


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  7. Bob

    Do you have pink rubber wellington boots for this time of year?


  8. Canada's Key West? Hardly. I don't know what a snow tyre is.

  9. Geoff:

    still working on the scanner. Tried to install SW on new computer, kept freezing. downloaded new SW from Epson, don't like it. Had to purchase Silverfast via: internet download, I needed the Win7 version. All this work just for you !

    Perhaps it is better for the 80 yo to just get an HP. I also have a Photosmart which I use for 8x10 prints. I have other printers for 4x6. They are very high quality, better than a lab


    You are lucky to be able to have good weather all year around, and barely travelled roads too. If I was where you are I would meander on all of them, esp the ones near the Mexican border.

    thanks for stopping by


    Our snow doesn't usually last long. We had a big storm yesterday and probably by tomorrow it will all be gone. A few days ago it was -10c , tomorrow will be +8c . May be able to ride on the weekend

  10. Chuck:

    I was also thinking of the 3880 but it is overkill for my handfull of 13x19's , plus all the stuff I need to do as calibrate my monitor which is hard on a laptop (I do not have a desktop), plus you have to print something all the time to keep the pigment ink from clogging the heads. and I don't understand the ICC profiles or how to activate or change them. If I was selling photos, like you, then I would always use OEM ink. I did a lot of research regarding 3rd party ink suppliers and found one with nearly perfect Canon forumula.

    We shall see. If I start getting colour casts then I could always just replace that cartridge, or tweek the ICC profile

    If I got a deal on the R1900 I would convert it to B&W


    I thought you had a Canadian Subaru, now you only mention you have a Subaru. Did you get a newer one ? We also have a Canadian Subaru WRX which is very good in the snow, as long as you have ground clearance. A couple of years ago the snow was too high for the undercarriage and we couldn't get out of our laneway.


    I would only consider a DOM re-engineered and refurbished Hack. Either that or a Beemer with sidecar. There is an R100GS for sale up here, if it had factory cases I would consider it. I should have looked at the R80GS for sale last summer.


    hope you get your Ural back soon too

  11. Nikos:

    actually, that's a good idea. I'll see if I can find some Pink Wellington boots for the winter. We just call them rubber boots over here.

    Mr Conchscooter:

    it's just a temporary situation. Our white blanket will be gone by tomorrow. Back to warm and toasty +8c temperatures and sun forecast for the weekend

  12. I'm a few days behind on my reading, so while the snow is very pretty, I hope you're back to clear roads. Snow is rare enough here, that we've never bothered with snow tires.

    I haven't printed much since going digital. A few at home, and a few printed at Costco. Anything larger than 8.5x11 inch I have to send out for printing. At some point I want to do some larger images, but a new printer is not in the plans for a while.

    We gonna see some Bobskoot scans from yesteryear?

  13. Well bluekat,
    You'll note that Bob claims that he's getting his scanner going just for me. However, for a man of his many talents, he seems to be taking his time. Methinks there's no intent to post photos of yesteryear!

  14. Bob: In reading your blog, the urges to get a really good camera and to learn how to use it are getting stronger.

    I don't ride in the winter ( it's too expensive for twelve month insurance in our workers paradise ) LOL It's too bad that my only really good day for riding in season is sunday.

    I would be fun to meet you and the gang. Sitting in Surrey and looking at a dejected V-strom and lonely scooter.