Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Oh, I do book recommendations too...

...and book disses.  As much as I'd like to just talk about awesome gear I own, I don't own so much stuff that I can drive frequent blog postings.  At some point in the not too distant future, I'll be reduced to extolling the certain merits of my brand of Chapstick (It's Burt's Bees if you must know).  But today, middlebrow book reviews.

Don't I appear enthralled
Ted Bell's Phantom seemed like something that would be exactly my kind of escapist fun.  A mean, it says right on the back, "Bond, Eat your heart out... There's a new spy in town."  Unfortunately, the reality is somewhat less thrilling.  It's trivial, sort of boring, and filled with weird inconsistencies.  Here's an example.

"Pablo strode into the room, and brushed the dust of the trail with his hat.  Esmarelda's eyes met his and her spine tingled as she looked at him.  She licked her lips as .... Wait.  That's totally the wrong book.

My bad. The Book: Phantom, by Ted Bell.  The Setting: Palo Alto California.   "A trail snaked through the redwoods that led to an overlook where you could see the Pacific on a clear night.  It wasn't clear..."

Where are the damn redwoods.
Here is a picture of El Camino Real in Palo Alto.  Now, you can say, that I'm picking nits, but the fact of the matter, he set his scene in suburbia, and Then turned it into Mt. Mckinley.  Beyond that, the protagonists main ally is uber-mensch and all around bear slayer Vladimir Putin.  In other words, it's pretty much like later books by Tom Clancy without the detailed research.  I hated it so much I bought two more by the same author.  DoH.!

Now, on the other hand, There is Jack Reacher.  These are great escapist novels, written by Lee Child.  They are all fast reads.  There is a whole mess of them.  I truly don't want to spoil the pleasure, but I'll link to amazon here, and let you get started.  I've seen them listed in chronological order, or in the order that they were published.  I don't think it matters a lot.

To be fair, the later ones are a faded product, but just slightly, and there are 17 of them.  And frankly, I enjoyed them a lot more than even the Clive Cussler books I enjoyed so much in my child hood. Basically, the guy is a brilliant investigator, who also happens to be 6'4 230, so on the rare occasion he can't sleuth it out, he beats the truth out of ya.  And he drinks lots of black coffee.  Classic.

It's a recommendation, not a review.  The link to Amazon has a ton of reviews.  I hope you enjoy it.

Morrison Luke Smith


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Post the First. The unbelievably cool, and now extinct Maverick Durance.

The Maverick Durance.

OH just read outside online's review.  Or stay here.  I bought the Maverick Durance 4 years ago, from Sunnyside Sports, in Bend, Oregon.  Now the company is out of Business!  Is this the end?  Am I now the proud owner of THIS FINE PROFLEX BIKE that has a suspension system made out of squishy rubber bits, or some other KEEN BIKE LIKE THIS FLYING V bike... In other words, did I get stuck with an Edsel, a Rotary Mazda, a Beta-Max, a Laser Disc?

Naaaah.  I got the sweetness.

See, That's the focus of this blog.  Why the stuff I like rawks.

The bike was not cheap.  In fact it cost more than my car, and my other 2 bikes put together.  (Yes, my car is an outrageous 1984 Volvo 240DL  POS wagon, held together by dirt and duct tape, but one that is awesome, for reasons to be discussed later).

But let's discuss it's strengths:
It climbs:
... like a mountain goat:  The Durance has a 2 height front fork:  It's can switch from either 5" of bouncy up front, or 6.5".  And when it's set to 5", the geometry is such that you hug the dirt and rocks like this guy, Ueli Steck. (Plus, he's amazing, so enjoy).  And there is some unique aspect to the rear linkage that takes out all the bouncy in the back, and makes it hook up like mad. "Bouncy" is a technical term.  If it matters, it's triple patented, ultra trademarked, and it was invented by Paul Turner, Mr. Rock Shox, etc.

It's light:
With the amazing Maverick fork, it looks like a motorcycle.  The large diameter aluminum tube make it look like a downhill bike.  But, through crafty design, and in my case, overpriced, shimano dura-ace parts (pronounced due-ah-chay for proper italian accent) it weighs in at a pretty svelte 26 pounds: Not bad for an XL frame with 6.5" of travel.

It's Bitchin
It just looks sweet.

This one has the nifty attachment where you can lower the seat with a flick of a switch for descents, and then, when you start to go cross-country, flip, whoosh, and your upright again.  'mazing.  Of course mine does not have that feature.  Who wants all that weight.  (ounces, OK, maybe this was just me being cheap).

But what about my concerns about obsolescence? Naaaah.  This is the best part.  At least for now, my shop can service this bad boy.  That's a huge deal in bicycle shock world, where you often have to mail off shocks for repair replacement.  In Bend, I drop it off, 2 days later, I'm rocking the huge hits of like 6'.  (Translation, I'm enjoying amazing squishyness and performance as I gingerly maneuver my 43 year old non-athletic bag of bones over intermediate trails)

And here's the judgemental part.  Maverick, If you're going to pay too much for a toy, make it this one.

(Yes, I am, in fact, a Macintosh Guy).  Sweet.  All this bike-aggrandizement has me stoked to ride.  
(c) Morrisonlukesmith