Friday, November 27, 2009

Stiff Upper Lip Manufacturing

Sometimes I wake up at night thinking about weird things like the causes of the implosion of the British car industry in the 1970s and 80s. I purchased a book entitled Whatever Happened to the British Motorcycle Industry because it seemed like it would document a similar decline in British motorcycles. Little did I know it would turn out to be an object lesson. Note that the book is manufactured in the UK. So here is a silent photo essay on British manufacturing:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Topaz Mountain, Afghanistan, err, Utah

My brother-in-law Adam and I took the older kids/nieces/nephews to Topaz Mountain in Utah to rockhound while the younger kids went to the pool. It was a great time. The geography in this part of the world is beautifully stark. It looks very much like the photos you see of Afghanistan. And in the white FJ80 Land Cruiser, the illusion one has of driving across the Hindu Kush was even more powerful. The Cruiser performed flawlessly. It is really awesome. Like, I want to take it out behind the junior high and make out with it--that kind of awesome. I need to bring more of my eastern friends to this place so that they can witness the vastness and emptiness. Very, very cool.

I highly recommend this as a fun day trip from the SLC metropolitan area. We brought hammers and screwdrivers to pick for topaz, though I would recommend bringing a rock pick if you go. We all came back with a few decent topaz. Here is a list of stuff to bring:

1) Tools (hammer and screwdriver at a minimum)
2) Hat with neck protection
3) Water
4) Food
5) Ziploc bags for the topaz you find

Where we went:

View Topaz Mountain in a larger map

Some photos:

Setting off on the trek, six cousins

About 30 minutes into the voyage

Where we parked to hunt for topaz. We were 100 yards up the hill from this spot.

Afghanistan shot

Another Afghanistan shot

Leaving a geocache. Got to use low range and lock the center differential

Some of the priceless gems I found

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One in a Billion

Photos from last summer. I am behind on these posts.

I have decided that the best way to get to know a foreign city is to bicycle around and sort of fit in with traffic and life. I went on a business trip to Beijing and to this end bought a sweet folding Dahon Curve D3 bicycle at a Dahon store in Beijing. It wasn't a screaming deal--maybe 25% less than it would have cost in the US. It is, however, a fantastic bike. Highly recommended. I was able to get it into the hard-sided Samsonite I brought along with me, but that required a bit of disassembly. Biking around Beijing is still fun. If the Chinese government doesn't get ahead of the car situation there, we won't have too many more years of cycling in Beijing. Here are some photos:

Notice that I brought my Garmin eTrex along with its handlebar mount. I left a breadcrumb trail on my rides so that I could find my way back to the hotel.

The Square:

Dusk on the Square. Pretty odd to think about what this place means to so many people, mostly outside China. One gets no hint at all of this now...