Totally Off Topic

Hiking the Tour de Mont Blanc in the Alps

I have just recently returned from a trip to the alps.  Some of our lazier friends thought that hiking 80 km in the mountains and sleeping in mediocrely comfortable mountain huts was a horrible way to spend a honeymoon.  Luckily, my awesome wife and I agree with each other in agreeing to disagree with out lazy friends. We had a great time!

Here’s a couple of shots from one of the more dramatic mornings of the hike.

Kristie looking towards the Mont Blanc summit, which was peeking in and out of the clouds.

Me looking out towards the Mont Blanc Massive from the top of Col de la Gliere, somewhere above Chamonix

The full Tour de Mont Blanc is an 160km circle route around the Mont Blanc Massive.  We hiked only the northern half in 6 days, starting from Courmayeur in Italy on the east side, and heading around the north of the Massive through Switzerland, and back into France, ending in Chamonix.  We hike a lot in the Coast Mountains of BC where we live, but the Alps are something completely different.  The terrain is more jagged and spectacular, but the routes are well traveled so the trails are in excellent shape, and easy to follow.  The scenery is breathtaking at every turn.  We highly recommend a visit if you love spending time in the mountains.

A Custom Cafe Racer Motorcycle Build Project

I love the creativity being a photographer allows me.  But sometimes, and especially in this digital age creating an image is a very virtual experience.  You can create incredibly creative image, but it’s not something that you can touch, like a painting or a sculpture.  Sometimes my images don’t even ever go to actual print, they are used only online in the virtual world.  In some sense it feels like virtual creativity.  While I don’t lament my career choice or the freedom it gives me to express myself, sometimes my hands are left wanting.  They need something to touch.

Enter the $350 1981 Honda CM400 Classic!

I picked this beauty up for a steal, and I have big plans for her.  In an effort to busy my hands with some real world creativity (and possibly a hint of a mid life crisis) I will turn this unsightly old beast into a sleek and sexy Cafe Racer style custom motorcycle for zipping around town, and the occasional cruise on the beautiful Sea to Sky Highway that links Vancouver to Whistler.

They (motorcycle folk) say that the CM400 is ugly, and that a CM400 would never make a good looking Cafe Racer.  Well, here is my concept roughed out using a base image of the bike as it was when I bought it (did I mention for a measly 350 bucks? ) and a collage of images from online sources mashed up in photo editing software.  It’s not beautiful, but it gives me a pretty good idea of where I’m headed, and I love it.  I will treasure every time I have to scrub grease from under my fingernails!

I’m not completely sold on the colour yet, so that might change.  I am pretty happy with the styling, and keeping most of the stock parts will keep the costs in line.  I will post occasionally with project updates.