Archive | March, 2015

Garmin map updates

27 Mar

Each year, and only once a year, I update my Garmin maps on my computer and Zumo 550 with the latest version. I have a lifetime subscription on my account but I hate the updating process so usually procrastinate for a couple of weeks. Even with the latest version of Garmin Express the task yesterday was not significantly any different from other years. I spent three hours with Garmin support on my phone. A long and frustrating process; but I did manage to get the Canada & US version 2015.40 update which is only 3 days old. That should be adequate for any riding for the coming season.

I bought my fist Garmin product in May 2000 and that old Garmin 12 still works like new. It has no maps but is an amazing basic GPS. It’s been soaked sailing in the Great Lakes, gone hiking in my pocket and ridden in the map case on some motorcycle trips. Since 2008 I’ve ridden throughout North America on my motorcycle and love using a Zumo 550. In addition I’ve been using a Nuvi 3597LM in the car for a year. I’d say that I’m a well experienced user, yet the map updating process baffles me.

I must say that each and every Garmin technical support, customer service, software development or software support person is knowledgeable and has been pleasant. I’ve had some very long phone calls to Kansas and Oregon over the past seven or so years and have a large file of emails and hand written notes. Thanks to Phil, Robert, Colleen, Ashley, Glenda, Christa, Debbie, Michael, Jim, Lesley, Nancy, Chris and Steven who I’ve spoken with at length and to Tom, Curtis, Michael who have emailed instructions to me.  They all seem like nice folks and have tried to help. It’s always such a long complex process that I normally set aside most of a day to struggle to accomplish the task.

To all Garmin users who might be updating their maps, I wish you good luck.

Special shoes for motorcycle touring – Sketchers.

18 Mar

Special shoes for motorcycle touring. Sketchers. Huh ?

I was shopping for was a new pair of lightweight running shoes; something to change into and give my feet a rest from long days in my high protecting Sidi OnRoad motorcycle boots.

IMG_20130206_160921Sidi Vibram


Space and weight are serious considerations when packing gear for a motorcycle trip so anything that is non-essential must be very lightweight and squishy or it will be left at home.

I sometimes have traveled with my Teva sandals but often prefer to wear socks and I wanted a casual looking shoe for walking around towns that I visit, and didn’t want a brightly coloured goofy looking pair of runners.



Check out these walking shoes with reflective material at $80US on the Sketcher website.

I found just what I wanted yesterday at a SoftMoc outlet in Whitby Ontario for only $40CDN

According to the brochure in the box “Sketchers GObionic ride features nature-inspired GObioninc engineering plus enhanced Resalyte cushioning and a 4 mm heel drop. This lightweight running shoe with 18 articulated bi-responsive cushioning zones in the outsole offers great flexibility with elevated support and comfort.”     “Go Like never Before”

Well how could I resist a pair of “GObionic ride” running shoes? I needed to try some on.

Definitely light at only 7.5 ounces and very flex flexible, scrunchy and twisty, so easy to pack.

DSCF1201 GObionic

The breathable mesh stretches so my toes can splay out giving a wide fit and the negative heel design and mid foot strike cushioning give a feel like my foot is rolling forward along my entire sole and not just a single flex at my toes. An amazing design improvement for someone like me with serious arthritis in my big toes.

Apparently the Ortholite anti-microbial insole wicks away moisture and helps inhibit odour and the Agion scent protection built-in will combat odour.

The insole comes out easily and they will be washable by hand in a sink and can be tied securely on my top case to air dry as I ride. I expect that they would also be fine to wear in the water, so possibly a good choice for canoe trippers. These Sketchers are made with some high-tech anti-stink properties but I’m sure I can get them plenty stinky if I travel far enough.

DSCF1202e GObionic ride

I would describe them as soft, stretchy and comfortable like a favourite pair of my old socks complete with a rubbery coating on the bottom and a soft arch support. There is no feeling of anything on my feet. I feel nothing solid or stiff, no heel cup, no toe box, no pressure points and no bumps or irritations of any stitching or folds in the material. They are comfortable even in my bare my feet. The size 11 (normally I wear size 10) fits me perfectly.

I was skeptical because Sketchers feel so light and soft that probably they would wear out quickly.  I’ve now researched and some of the fastest runners in the last Boston Marathon wore Sketchers and there are reports on-line of runners and joggers who have 500 or more miles on their Sketchers and still training in them. I expect that the soft spongy injected-molded sole will certainly last me for the all the walking mileage I will do.

My wife says that these are just shoes; but to me, with a name like “GObionic ride,” these are must-have-gear that any serious long distance Vstrom adventure rider needs.

Canadian Breakfast

1 Mar

Breakfast is the most important meal for me because I usually wake up hungry. This morning as I was eating the cornbread that I had made three days ago I realized that what was on my plate was just so Canadian.

IMAG4329e Canadian Breakfast


I had thin slices of cornbread heated in the microwave, some with Canadian maple syrup and some with Canadian cheddar cheese and served with Canadian aka peameal back bacon. It’s also great with a poached egg.

IMAG4330 Canadian breakfast

My recipe for cornbread comes from a friend (thanks Michele) although I’ve modified it because I cook like a guy, so don’t follow anyone’s directions or take instructions well.

1) Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl:  1 & 1/2 cups cornmeal,  1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 cup multigrain flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt.

2) In a smaller bowl melt 1/3 cup of butter in the microwave, add 2 cups of milk and 2 eggs. Beat well with a wisk.

3) Add liquid to dry ingredients and blend thoroughly with a spatula.  Possibly add a small amount of extra flour if you don’t think the consistency it right.  (Thick like muffin mixture and sticky and spongy like bread dough)

4) Line a Pyrex glass baking pan 9″ X 14″ with parchment paper (baking for me is all about minimizing the mess and easy clean-up). Dump in the mixture. Smooth it around a bit with the same spatula.

5) Bake at 425°F for 25 minutes.

It might keep well in the fridge in airtight containers, but mine usually gets eaten in just a few days.