Tuesday, November 2, 2010

There's a chill in the air

and a new season is on it's way . I have not been doing much riding since the week before our vacation and my V-strom has been patiently waiting for my return


content to be plugged into my battery tender watching the weather turn from warm to cooler . All I remember is that during the last week of September it was still warm and now that we have returned to normal life, the temperatures have been quite cool with lows of around 6-8c. It is a shock to the system as during our vacation to China we had been wearing shorts & sandals with average temps of around 25-28c .


It was also refreshing to see so many 2 wheeled vehicles in Beijing and Shanghai where riding is a way of life and scooters are used for daily transportation, unlike here where they are considered toys for recreational weekend use. How I wished that I could have been able to be riding instead of walking but I had to be content to wait until our return. There is really no such thing as renting any vehicle in China as they do not recoqnize International Drivers' Licenses. You must qualify for a regular Chinese license and take the same test as the locals. If you google rent a car in China you will find that your car rental "includes driver" . There is so much to get used to "over there" and they do not abide by the same rules as over here in a more civilized, regimented country. The main rule is "he who is first has the right of way", and signal lights are only a suggestion to be obeyed or not. I think it wiser to let someone else drive under these conditions.

I have been taking photos for many years but somehow during the past few years I have gotten into the P&S convenience factor. I always find a way to upgrade my equipment but somehow when came time to upgrade my Nikon D80 I decided to carry pocket cameras instead. I tend to purchase at the higher end of the scale, such as: Canon G10, Lumix ZS3, Canon SD880. Also since the advent of digital I have not been printing too many of my images. During the film days I used to develop my own B&W and enlarge them in my dark room . For my trip to China I decided to purchase something more suited for a trip in a lifetime with the idea of coming home with images that I could print.


Over the years I have had a few inkjet printers and usually only print 8x10's . I have had mostly HP printers but a few Canon. I purchased my last Canon wide carriage printer i9100 about 5 years ago and it has just been sitting there gathering dust. The last time I used it was to print a few 13x19 images from the Grand Canyon. One night last week I decided to dust it off and download the new software (for Windows 7) and install this on my new Toshiba laptop. I had to do a few head cleanings to get the nozzles unclogged and did some test prints.


There was something not right with the colours and I did another nozzle check to find that the black was not spraying. I ended up doing another few head cleanings to try to unclog the black. I was trying not to do the deep cleaning as this would have consumed too much ink.

I also took a group photo during our tour and being the photographer, I was not in the photo, so I took a night or two using photoshop to put myself into the photo. I am not a PS user and this took a while to come up with something acceptable


and printed out another 13x19 test print. This one was much better and now I am in the group photo . The quality was not bad for a 5 year old printer, but I did another 8x10 print on my HP printer and it was much sharper and clearer than from the older Canon i9100 . I was thinking that perhaps it was time for an upgrade. It is more expensive to print at home due to ink costs but more convenient.

About 2 days after we returned home, we must have picked up a legionaires bug on the plane during our 11 hour flight and Mrs Skoot had to go to emergency to obtain some penicillin but I toughed it out all week at work and finally was feeling good enough to go for a ride


nothing strenuous but to ride around town doing some errands and have a quick lunch . The weather was warmer than it was forecast and it was very pleasant to run through the gears and lean into the corners


I headed down to Kymco to visit with my buddy Gary whom I had not seen for a month and there was no parking to be had


I was feeling a bit weak but felt better after devouring my usual hamburger combo with fries and sugared soda

I made a quick trip to my insurance agent (another Concours rider) to renew the insurance on my V-strom as I keep it insured all year round, and also to purchase storage insurance for my "vette as the insurance has run out for the year and I only insure it for the summer months


I haven't really used the 'Vette much this year, probably less than one tank of gas. Usually when the weather is right I will always gravitate to the bike. I drove the vette to EMS to deliver another bottle of prune juice for Ted. In preparation for winter storage I filled the tank with 94 octane and fuel stabilizer and drove a few miles to get the mixture into the fuel system before driving home to put on the battery tender.

Back to the printer . . . while this Canon was state of the art 5 years ago I find that I am a perfectionist when it comes to quality and equipment


I have reacquainted myself with the various photography forums and reading printer reviews for the past few days and while most of the amateur Pros go for the Epson 3800 or 4800 I find it is too much trouble to constantly calibrate and unclog the jets so have settled on a new Canon Pro 9000 mark 2 printer from eBay. It seems that Canon recently had a rebate sale and there are still lots around the country at cheap prices, considering what they sell for in Canada. It is a wide carriage printer capable of printing on different paper surfaces up to 13x19


During our stay in China it is obvious that tourists are targets of unwanted attention. Before we can even get off the bus they are everywhere wanting us to buy their Rolex watches, purses, kites, or other stuff we don't need. Some even beg for money. We found it difficult to even to into the stores as they are constantly shouting at you to buy something or to make an offer. They don't understand the word NO, and think that all tourists are rich and want to buy . . .

it gets tiring after a while and we had to get out of the mall, but even as we left others were there to sell us the same stuff "on the street" . I didn't have the heart to film everyone. There were some without limbs or missing feet and for these people I truly felt sad and wanted to give them something, but we were told NOT TO by our guide


  1. Looks like good quality pictures coming out of your photo printer. I haven't done printed pictures in ages...

    Watching your video of the street hawkers I can somewhat understand that they might think that tourists must come with money because otherwise he/she wouldn't visit.

    You must have had a strong will and good nerves to reject purchasing anything.

  2. Bob

    I knew something was up when you returned from the Orient - the only pink thing on this blog is an ink cartridge!

    If you want to experience real street hawkers go to Nairobi - I walked around the city three times with this charmingly eloquent guy hanging on to me explaining the benefits of me giving him money for orphaned children - I'm cruel and hard hearted so I even did not buy him a cup of tee. If Mrs Nikos had been there she would have exchanged email addresses and Facebook details explaining that her husband was a 12ft tall white Massai warrior on a GS....that normally sees them off.

  3. I'm glad they at least had a new driver for that printer. My printer is younger and my new HP desktop will not support my old HP laser printer... I hate upgraded because "they" tell me too. I think the old computer will be set up as the print server.

    Glad you were able to stretch yours and the VStroms legs. Was it enjoyable to partake of the customary meat, fries and sugar drink without paying $7.00 for the drink? ;)

    I don't enjoy being accosted my street vendors either. Seems cruel to say no, but just not feasible to purchase. The panhandlers downtown are much the same way in persistency. I'm getting used to it but always worry about the out unstable person that might become violent. Which can happen here.

  4. Bobskoot, you'd mentioned over the phone that we could look very alike....based on the photo of you sitting on the curb next to the Wee, I must agree....my condolences to you.....


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  5. Hi Uncle Bob,

    The irony...If only the street Hawkers had been selling printers you'd have been in heaven lol..

    You know, I can see the Massai warrior in Nikos, You'll have to photo shop him in a loin cloth with spear and Leopard print BMW LOL...



  6. I love printed photos, but I to have not printed any for sometime. I think my problem is that I just haven't taken any worth printing... I have a nice Epson ink jet, but I mostly would have prints made at Costco due to the cost per print.

    It's almost like vultures circling, looking for the weak tourist and then they all swoop in for a bite...

    I often wonder if they choose that line of work, is there nothing else or are they indebted to some mysterious man. The woman near the end selling the bags looked happy go lucky while some of the men had rather dire looks.

    As with much travel it's in knowing somebody, had you had a personal contact to show you around some you may have had a very different experience.

    As always, enjoyed the post and video.

  7. Everytime I've tried printing photos in the past, but I've never really been satisfied with the results. As far as your weather goes, 6C still sounds pretty nice. Back home, we had lows of -15C (but I'm not there so it shouldn't matter to me, eh)


  8. Dear Bobskoot:

    It's not that places like China are unregimented... They are highly regimented in many regards. It's just that the regimentation comes across as a difficult to understand code of sorts by many westerners. This situation is made more complex by the fact that key directions are not in an English alphabet.

    I can fully understand how tiring it can be however, to have to be constantly on guard against the consumption of the local water. That could get frustrating. Also, while I understand the necessity of being herded through someplaces on a tour, tht gets old fast too.

    Still, I envy you this trip. It is unlikely I will ever get to tour Asia now.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  9. Those street hawkers seem to be everyplace. Very interesting video.
    I have a picture printer that I have only used a very few times and very seldom print pictures any more. My old Lexmark home printer was recycled with an old computer a few months ago.


  10. SonjaM: My HP printer can print lab quality photos up to 8x10. I wanted to upgrade my wide carriage printer to the latest model

    The street vendors quickly became a bother as you kept following you around. there was no where to hide

    I used to be a swap-meet-o-holic and it took many years to get out of the mould. I have nearly reformed

    Nikos: you are either a heartless man with no feelings, or a short version of a Massai warrior. I'm still trying to figure it out

    Lori/BeemerGirl: We have lots of panhandlers downtown and those irritating squeegie people at the stop lights. At least street hawkers are selling something and not begging for money. Canon is very good with updating printer drivers for new operating systems. I have Win7 on my new Toshiba laptop

  11. Charlie6: Yes, we could be brothers or even twins. If I am older then condolences to you rather than the other way around

    Uncle Dave: There is a photo of Nikos somewhere on a prev post. Perhaps Linda could take some time out and work some magic with PS.

    I don't think you could trust that what you are buying is real or a copy by looking at labels. I decided not to purchase anything. I just went there to take pictures

    GAW/Gordon: We knew no one there so we had the comfort and security of our english speaking group. you are right, I think knowing someone would have made a big difference.

    Glad you enjoyed the video. It was very hard to be incognito

  12. RichardM: I do envy you and your excursions around the country. It's almost like you only visit Alaska once in a while.

    from what I have read, Epsons are more finicky and print heads clog up more frequently causing colour shifts by not printing correctly. That's why I prefer Canon which is more troublefree

    Jack r: Local water and washrooms were the only concerns so we stuck to Pop and bottled water. I had an emergency backup plan. I did bring a UV water sterilizer but didn't have to use it.

    I had taken numerous photos while on their freeways. being unable to read their language I don't think you could go far. You have no idea what the signs say and I think they are reporting road conditions ahead. Also I have the feeling that the toll booths are not only designed for tolls, I think they also filter out people who shouldn't be in certain areas.

    cpa3485: Most of my small printing is done at Costco but I like to do my own enlargements for certain reasons which I may blog about. I know that Steve Williams may have other thoughts . . .

    You should print a photo once in a while to keep the heads lubricated and from drying out

  13. Bob

    Just to clarify,I consider myself (in the typical self deprecating way that Anglo Hellines exhibit) as a 80% quartile massai warrior but with a short spear and also sometimes a heartless man.