Dundarave Porsche Show & Ride 2017

Hello all,

This is one of my favourite Porsche car shows, next to some local early morning Cars & Coffee and German Car Festival but Dundarave is a great place to meet some local PCA members, eat some delicious breakfast and check out some sweet rides. I put together a few clips that I captured with the help of a very special someone. Take a look!

I shot a few photographs as well which I posted on my Instagram page so if you want to see those, please be sure to visit www.instagram.com/mikeschmeee

Cheers,
Mike

2007 Mazda 3 Suspension Repairs

So recently I got to work on a 2007 Mazda 3 base model which had started to have a loud clunky sound coming from the rear left side only when driving over bumps. It’s only present at any driveway bump, speed bump or even a hot pole that one can’t avoid. Basically anything other than a smooth surface. To better describe the sound, it was a hard knocking sound when going over a speed bump at any speed faster than 5km/h. The vehicle had about 187,000 kms, all stock and all OEM parts were always used except the brake pads which are Hawk (previously changed by me as well)

I removed the shocks and they appeared to be in relatively decent shape, old but not leaking. The bump stops might need replacing as there were some cracks but everything else seemed to be alright. I dug a little further and checked the rear end links which seemed to be in order as well. I poked around the rest of the rear suspension and the only other thing that I can think of after a visual inspection was the drivers side rear trailing arm bushing that completely separated. I’m not that familiar with Mazdas but I was willing to bet my money on this part or it’s the semi worn out bump stops.

Here are some photos, starting with a bump stop comparison. The bump stop on the left is the worn out and cracked OEM and the right is the brand new KYB. OEM bump stops were not available from a local dealer so I order some after market parts. The only way to obtain any of these parts that I am replacing is by buying a complete trailing arm and rear shock assembly. One also has to buy them in pairs. Making this quite an expensive job. I didn’t think this was necessary so we replaced both bump stops with KYB aftermarket bump stops and the trailing arm bushing with a Moog bushing. Total value of parts was roughly 80 dollars.

This is the rear drivers side trailing arm bushing:

After I received the parts, I started replacing them the next morning. I began with the bump stops since that was the easiest job and thought I would do the process of elimination procedure. If the bump stops were not the problem then it was definitely the trailing arm bushing but I wanted to be sure.

After installation and a test drive, the sound was still present. Although the bump stops are fresh and nice to have in, that wasn’t the source of the clunk/knocking sound. It was definitely the trailing arm bushing. So I put the vehicle back in the garage, jacked it up and went back to wrenching. Once I completely removed the trailing arm and removed the bushing, I thought I could get the new bushing installed easily by gently hitting the it with a hammer and/or rubber mallet. After trying for about 15-20 minutes I realized this wouldn’t work, so I kind of cheated a little. I marked the bushing and trailing arm so it’s aligned properly for reinstall and brought the items to a local mechanic. About 10-15 minutes and 20 dollars later the mechanic pressed the new bushing in and it was time to start reinstalling the trailing arm.

It’s all good now. Everything installed and its smooth sailings from here. Even fixed the CEL, which was total separate matter.
Overall, working on vehicles is a great joy. I like the feeling of self satisfaction when completing a job. Something about it just feels great.

Cheers,
Mike

Switch Scratch Solution?

To those of you who are having issues with the Nintendo Switch when docking; scratching the bezel or anywhere else on the tablet, I may have a simple solution. I’m sure most people are already aware of this but I thought I’d put it out there anyways; USB Type C male-female cable. This basically acts as an extension cable. It sits firmly inside the dock so it will not disconnect at any time and it charges the unit adequately. I have not done any major charing comparisons or tested the cable with some kind of USB-C wall outlet but that will surely come in the near future. It seems to charge the console at the same speed as plugging the tablet directly into the stock Nintendo dock. All I can really say is that it does the job and does not scratch the table of my Nintendo Switch and that was my number one priority when purchasing this cable. The tricky part is placing the tablet in a position so it has a well ventilated area. For now, I’ve been gently placing the tablet on top of two TV remotes. This provides enough room for some airflow and the soft buttons on the remote do not scratch the screen or back of the Nintendo Switch.

Some people have been using a screen protector which seems to be holding up for the most part. I’ve seen a variety of screen protectors bubbling up, some present a kind of melting from the adhesive that’s on the protector due to several hours of straight game play with the unit heating up a bit, while others are just putting up with the scratch. I’ve heard people returning the Switch directly to Nintendo and Nintendo has been quite kind and responsive by suppling a new console or offering to repair the unit in question. I still haven’t received my glass screen protector so I purchased a USB-C male to female cable and it seems to be working out very well. I might buy some kind of stand for the Switch and USB Type C cable in order for the tablet to sit up right and have good ventilation but for now these two remotes will have to do.

Cheers,
Mike

Nintendo Switch

When I first heard of the new Nintendo Switch back around October/November, I was blown away by the versatility the Switch had to offer. I didn’t think to pre-order it which may have been a mistake but in the end, I managed to get ahold of one of the last copies from a newer shipment at a local BestBuy, 10 days after initial release. Nintendo does not offer a lot of games that I truly enjoy, but I’m a HUGE Zelda fan so I had to buy the system and the new game, Breath of The Wild. And who can resist those cute little toys Nintendo has released. After seeing a few Amiibos of Link, I picked up a couple as the artwork is quite nice and detailed, something that I take great pleasure in.

The Switch is great and I can definitely see other game consoles going down a similar route in the future but the controller that comes with the system is a bit cheap in my opinion. It’s just a plastic housing for the Joy-Cons. It feels really small in my hands comparing to a Sony Playstation controller. Probably the worst part about this controller is that you cannot charge the Joy-Cons unless you purchase the separately sold Joy-Con Charging Grip. And yes, the Joy-Con Charging Grip comes with a Nintendo USB-C to USB cable. This info is not stated anywhere that I could find online, not even the box itself. So for those who are wondering, yes, a cable is included with the Joy-Con Charging Grip.
Personally I’d opt out for the Pro Controller but that item seems to be sold out everywhere I look or ridiculously over priced by private sellers. So I’m waiting until I find one in stock for the MSRP.

Which brings me to my next point. Since the Nintendo Switch is a very hot item this Spring, the system, along with many of it’s accessories is sold out and they some how end up being listed on eBay, Craigslist and even Amazon with prices anywhere from 550-900 dollars! I think this is so dishonest and just plain silly. I understand that people are trying to make money but not like this, I just don’t like it as I think it hurts the community who just want to play video games but can’t find the item in stores for the suggested retail price.
Calling stores and asking if the unit is in stock will likely produce a negative result. There are people just hanging around the store waiting for the next shipment in order to buy one. So the unit is basically sold out the minute it arrives. From my research, stores receive a max of 10 units and apparently they are all random shipments straight from Nintendo. I wasn’t able to obtain more information on this but you either have to be extremely lucky to come across a Switch in store, hang around a local shop until the shelves are restocked or keep checking back everyday or even several times a day until you get your hands on one.

The initial setup was daunting as always, I seem to have a curse when it comes to having WiFi issues. Something always seems to go wrong everytime I have to add a new device to my network. Long story short, I had to reset my router back to original factory settings. Oddly enough, it did the trick, the Switch was able to connect to my network and access the internet. The strange part was the original router settings are the same as before so what gives? For a moment I thought I had a defective Nintendo Switch!
Note to the wise, it helps to have the network set to WPA2-PSK (AES), if anyone else is having connection issues with their new Nintendo Switch. I’ve been reading the complaints on some forums and official Nintendo message boards where people are receiving error codes such as 2110-1100, 2110-3127 and 2110-2202. All regarding DNS resolution could not be completed. So if anyone is still having issues, make sure your network is set to WPA2-PSK (AES) and if that doesn’t work reset your router but be warned, this will revert all your custom network settings back to what they originally were on your router. I’m not guaranteeing this will cure your problem but it might, so its worth a shot. I did it and now I’m playing Zelda BOTW

I’ve been reading that many people are getting scratches on the screen of the Switch due to the dock. Since I knew of this problem going in, I’ve been extremely careful when docking and undocking but alas, I received my first Nintendo Switch scratch! To be honest, I’m not that bothered by it at all but it does kind of suck when I start to dwell over it. I’m planning on trying a USB-C male to female extension cable to see if that will work as a dock but that item hasn’t arrived yet nor has my glass screen protector so until then I’ll have to live with it.
So far, I’m enjoying the Switch and the new Zelda game. The graphics are sweet, the colours pop and it’s fun to use. A great design by the people at Nintendo. However the controls were a bit of a learning curve for me but you get use to it rather quickly. I initially thought I would be playing with the Switch docked atleast 99% of the time but after trying it handheld, I like it a lot better. Feels good in my hands. Which I think has something do to with the Joy-Con controller that comes with the system. Like I said, the Pro Controller might be better for me but for now, I’m really liking handheld mode. It reminds me of my old SEGA Game Gear except the Switch is a lot better, more advanced. Can’t wait for more games to be released! Switch me baby!

Cheers,
Mike

Icebergs On The Fraser

Well, it’s over, it’s all over. The recent cold snap that hung around for roughly the entire month of December has come and gone. Comparing to the last few years this has been a bit of a change to the typical winter season. Lately the lower mainland of B.C. has been having very mild winters but this year the temperatures dipped down as low as around -12 at night. A lot of ice and snow built up which offered great opportunities to capture some interesting content.

While running a few errands over a weekend I noticed huge chunks of ice along the Fraser River. I’ve never seen ice floating down the Fraser River in the Lower Mainland before, it inspired me to capture some footage and put together a little something.

Something about the ice is very peaceful.

Cheers,
Mike

HEAT 3 Smart Gloves

Hello Readers,

Have you ever been shooting photographs outside during the cold winter months but you’re struggling to operate your camera and keep your hands warm at the same time? Do you find it annoying how you can’t access your phone when and if needed during those times? The moment you remove your gloves your fingers freeze up and become cold as ice? Well, while I was searching online for what other photographers might be using, I stumbled upon a pair of gloves near the end of 2014 that looked quite promising. I don’t usually review products but I do read plenty of reviews to help make my decision when purchasing an item of great interest. However, there are times when not enough information is provided when searching for a certain item, atleast not enough to help me. So I thought if I’m going to write a review of a product that I’m excited about, I better do it right and by that I mean, sharing as much information as possible… along with content!

Living in the lower mainland of British Columbia, you might think it doesn’t get that cold comparing to places in Canada further up north or east. But let me tell you, from December to February, it gets fairly cold. Even when its zero degrees Celsius my fingers start to freeze up when trying to use my camera. Most Canadian provinces experience a wide range of well below zero temperatures and for those who like to shoot photographs in those temperatures might have a difficult time due to their gloves. This is where the Heat 3 Smart Gloves by The Heat Company come in. The lower mainland of B.C. has had quite the cold snap this year so I got another great opportunity to put these gloves to the test. With temperatures between -10 to -12, these gloves keep my boney fingers warm and operational.

This product was originally a custom made item and is now in its third generation. HEAT 3 gloves were designed specifically for special combat forces of Germany and Austria. I’ve only used these gloves when photographing wildlife during the cold winter months but I’m sure one could use these for, skiing, snowboarding, mountain climbing and anything else that involves being outdoors with low temperatures.
To break it down, imagine a cotton black glove one could find at a dollar store with a polyester mitten over top. However, these are not made of either material. They feature elastic microfibre with water resistant and breathable membrane which offers a high level of keeping your hands dry from snow and/or rain. However, I wouldn’t wear these gloves in the pouring rain as they are not Gortex. Alittle sprinkle won’t hurt them though.

These next generation HEAT 3 Smart gloves feature a silver fabric for perfect use on touch screens on both left and right thumb and index fingers. I haven’t tested these gloves on all touch screen devices but I assume it will work since it works with my old iPhone 3Gs and iPad Air 2. I can adjust the wheels and access all buttons on my DSLR without any problems. These gloves allow you to keep photographing without exposing your hands directly to the elements. The palm side of the gloves have full goat leather for more warmth and better grip with additional 4oz Primaloft on the cuff for even more warmth. The pull string safety straps with elastic wrist bands provides a snug fit and prevents the gloves from falling off, which makes this item an even more draft free garment. A zippered compartment is featured on the back of the HEAT 3 gloves and could be used for small items such as memory cards, keys or even heat packs if you’re shooting in really cold conditions. Although I personally do not use this feature for storage, I will say the zipper is easily accessible and maneuverable. The fold down flap for exposing the inner finger glove is quick and easily snaps into place on the back of the outer glove. The same goes for the thumb except it features some velcro instead of a snap button. There’s webbing between the first three fingers so you can take the gloves off with great ease and without inverting all the fingers of the inner glove.

In short, these are great gloves! I’ve been using them for a little over two years now and it works wonders. When needing to use the camera or any device with a touch screen, just unzip the mitten and let your fingers out. When it starts to get a little too cold for you, put the fingers back in and zip the gloves back up. You are instantly warmer than before and I’m not exaggerating. When fully zipped up, I don’t feel the cold and it allows me to stay outdoors photographing nature much longer than I can usually with stand. In freezing, windy storms and cold winter snow these gloves help immensely.

Although some may consider these gloves pricey, at around $200 CDN from The Camera Store, I think they are well worth the price. If photographers are able to spend 5000+ on super telephoto lenses and another 3-8000 on pro camera bodies, then a few hundred for an item that will keep you warm, dry and enable you to use your camera all at the same time, is definitely worth it. So check out the Heat 3 Smart Gloves they might be the ones for you.

Cheers,
Mike

I Got Hacked!… Twice!

Hello World,

For those who follow my work, my website was recently hacked… twice! I was finally able to put it all back together yet I’m still in the middle of making some changes.
I had to pony up and obtain some higher security applications, hopefully it will help but what has me boggled is who would want to hack my site? I guess a trogan some how got in and did as much damage as possible. Hopefully this will be the end of the attacks.

I have several interesting blog posts coming up so please stick around. They should be an interesting read.

Cheers,
Mike

A Little Unboxing

There’s not much to say here. The video does all that for me.

Cheers,
Mike

Revscene Summer Meet 2016

Here’s little video of this years Revscene Summer meet. It took quite some time due to the style of editing but I think it came out decent.

Cheers,
Mike

Wells Gray Provincial Park

Hello mikeschmeee blog followers!… if there are any. I don’t update the blog often and there’s a reason for it. I’ve been travelling lately! So it’s a bit hard to type a little blurb but I make notes during my trips and compile everything together once ready. This past long weekend, British Columbia Day, I spent a little time in Wells Gray Provincial Park or Wells Gray for short. I was unaware of this hidden gem until stumbling upon it as I was making my way towards the province of Alberta, which will be covered in a separate blog post.
Wells Gray is a fairly large provincial park right above the town of Clearwater. If you ever get the chance to visit the park or just passing through Clearwater, be sure to stop at a restaurant called Hop N Hog Tap & Smokehouse, which has great BBQ; chicken, ribs, pulled pork, sausages, corn beard, beans, the list goes on!

Before heading into the park, I HIGHLY recommend picking up this book from the Clearwater information center:

I know some might think its pricey but the book will really help with getting around the park in certain areas. It has a lot of useful information, which in my opinion should be posted all over the park but I get the feeling this place is either supposed to be left untouched to give you a wild like feeling, or the province of BC just doesn’t want to use some of their tax dollars on some much needed upgrades.

Among other items on the list that you’ll want to bring with you to Wells Gray, is bug spray. Some people don’t care for this but believe me, you WILL want bug spray. I use Ben’s 30 wilderness insect repellent eco-spray. The mosquitoes at Wells Gray are massive and they swarm towards you as if its their last meal but with a layer of bug spray on your exposed skin, the mosquitoes don’t even bother approaching. Some are brave and try but the deet keeps them off and you are bug bite free.
Lasty, you’ll need a vehicle to get around as this place is not really designed for starting at the beginning of the park and venturing off by foot. Although, I’m sure you can do that but check with park officials first.

The park has a lot to offer with the heart of the park starting at the end of Clearwater Valley road, which gets a bit rough after the Helmcken Falls view point. Hiking, backpacking, camping, canoeing, kayaking and even guided adventure tours are available. But from my experience the park seems like it needs some sprucing up. The roads leading to certain spots like Bailey’s Chute or Trophy Mountain Flower Meadows, could be in much better shape. I’m not saying you’ll require an AWD vehicle but something lifted with meaty tires would definitely make things easier when travelling on certain roads of the park. Despite all this, a lot of people like to stop at Clearwater and check out Wells Gray on their way towards Jasper and/or Banff.

I think the biggest attraction is the fourth highest waterfall in Canada, Helmcken Falls. This spectacular waterfall is 141 meters (463 ft) on the Murtle River, the waterfall is three times taller than Niagara Falls! Surprising, isn’t it? Most people think Niagara is huge but I think that’s due to its size in width. But the strange part is, photographs do not give Helmcken Falls justice. You really don’t get the sense of scale unless you can spot a person on the south side of the falls, along the Helmcken Falls Rim Trail. But even so, it still doesn’t feel that big, however, the sight is breathtaking. Getting there is easy and definitely worth a stop even if you’re just passing through the town below.

Helmcken Falls Rim Trail:
South from the Helmcken Falls viewing platform is the Helmcken Falls Rim Trail. Some call it the South Helmcken Falls Rim Trail, either or, it’s the only trail along the edge of the Murtle River which leads to a small opening along the tree line of the canyon right beside the waterfall. This trail is an easy walk with little gain as its mostly flat but don’t forget your bug spray. These suckers are everywhere! A bug net should add an extra layer of protection, that is if you are one that hates mosquitoes buzzing around your ears and eyes, looking for a spot to have a snack on your body.

The trail is fairly well groomed by the use of many hikers so the path is easy to navigate. The trail is soft with all the fallen needles from the surrounding coniferous trees but there are a few muddy patches early on so a good pair of hiking boots or shoes would be ideal. However, anyone in any kind of attire can make the three hour return journey. While I was on the trail, I’ve seen people in full on hiking gear while others in a simple tank top and flip flops.
To the right of the trail is the Murtle River which is fairly wide at this point and seems to flow at a moderate speed but once you start to pass the second warning sign, the speed picks up and you start to see a large body of mist rising up towards the sky. At this point you know you’re close to a major view point.

Although I did not see any bears on this trip, I still brought both of my bear bells and a can of bear spray was on my side at the ready. I don’t mess around when it comes to safety so I take as much precaution as possible, especially when it comes to playing in the wild. While on the topic of safety, there have been fatal accidents on the South Helmcken Falls Rim Trail. The ground is eroding at the end of the trail where you get to view a close up of Helmcken Falls. The edge of this view point has a bit of an over hang and people tend to want a great photograph that shows the falls scale and beauty so they get too close and start to lean over the edge. Be warned though, this is no time to joke around. I’ve seen people taking borderline dangerous selfies and with one wrong step, they could have easily fallen to their death. So for the person who may be reading this and decides to go on this trail, please be careful! Keep your dogs on leash and don’t let anyone in your group go unsupervised.
For those who want a photograph to display Helmcken Falls size and scale, you’ll need a super wide angle lens. I snapped a few photographs with my 24-70mm and tried stitching the images together but I was unsuccessful. But like Arnold said, “I’ll be back!.”

Trophy Mountain Flower Meadows:
This place is unbelievable. The road to the parking lot of this beautiful hike is in my opinion, horrendous! There should be a detailed sign at the beginning of the road stating that this is a narrow rough gravel road with large rocks and deep potholes, with a steep incline and tight corners. However, if you’re brave and willing to stick it out, the reward is magnificent. Once you reach the end of this terrible old logging road, the parking lot at the top is adequate and is able to accommodate about 30-40 cars, if all parked correctly. There is a small outhouse and there were supposed to be two information boards. The boards were there but there was no information posted. This is where the hike begins, to the left of the information boards. Getting to the meadows from the parking lot is about 45 minutes to an hour easy hike, all up hill. You’ll pass a few small creeks running down the mountain, crossing over them on wooden board walks. The trail then cuts through the forest and opens up into a beautiful meadow of yellow glacial lilies in early-mid July and by late July to August there is a second bloom of arctic lupine, indian paint brush and mountain daisies. Any time is worth going but in my opinion the best time to see this meadow is during the second bloom. It’s an explosion of beautiful colours. The further you go up towards the end, the more open it is and you have a wonderful vantage point of Raft Mountain with lovely flowers at your feet. This is one of the most easily accessible sub-alpine meadows in B.C. and it doesn’t take a lot of work to enjoy this spectacular scene in nature.

Next up is Bailey’s Chute which is a small but very fast flowing waterfall. This waterfall has Salmon jumping through from late August to mid September. A few thousand Chinook Salmon return to Clearwater River each year, along with some Sockeye and Coho Salmon, with the spawning grounds extending as far as the gravel bars of The Horseshoe but some fish attempt to go further up the river and past Bailey’s Chute. Although I didn’t see any fish, the rapid waterfall was still a neat sight to see. It’s a fairly short walk from the parking lot to the viewing platform of Bailey’s Chute, about 20 minutes or so. Driving to the Baileys Chute parking lot is relatively easy but the road after the Helmcken Falls view point is a bit rough, mostly light gravel with some pot holes along the way. So it takes some time, about 45 minutes to an hour due to the slow speed that’s recommended. Once again, if one has a 4×4 with excellent tires, you can get there much faster.
If you continue along the trail from Bailey’s Chute, the West Lake Loop Trail begins which continues on up the river and leads to Marcus and Myanth Falls, loops through the forest to West Lake and rejoins the Bailey’s Chute Trail.

Dawson Falls:
This amazing waterfall is very easy to get to, it’s along the way to Helmcken Falls but about a kilometre before. This portion of the road is still paved and allows access to large vehicles such as motor homes and tour buses. The short trail from the parking lot leads to two spectacular viewpoints. One at the top of a bluff and another at the brink. The left side of Dawson Falls has a vertical drop of 20 metres and the water cascades on the right. The convergence of the water at the base of the falls generates a cloud of misty spray and on a sunny day, you’ll easily see a rainbow, possibly two! Whoa! Full on double rainbow all the way!

Next to the Trophy Mountain Flower Meadows, my favourite part of this provincial park is Moul Falls. It’s actually a very popular and easy hike that many frequent. It’s so popular that you can see vehicles parked on the side of the road next to the parking lot before the trail head.
The beginning part of the trail is very boring as it was once an old road to a private property but once you get to a sign which requires you to turn left heading towards Moul Falls, the real trail starts. It’s only about 30 minutes from there.

Once you reach the top of the waterfall, you start to head down to the base along the side of this small canyon. There are some aluminum stairs which were installed not too long ago with a little bench made out of a log right in front of the stairs. An interesting sign is posted on a pole near this cute wooden bench. The sign reads “Construction of the trail to Moul Falls was undertaken for BC Parks by: Anne and Roland Neave, Interior White Water Adventures & The Friends of Wells Gray Park.”
It seems as if this park is not really managed by any provincial body, by that I mean, the province doesn’t want to spend a single dollar on maintaining the park to show off the beauty that it has, and boy does it ever.

However, I’m sure one of the main goals of BC Parks is to protect the bear population and habitat while providing a safe and high quality experience for park visitors. Although I didn’t see any, Grizzly and Black bears are common in Wells Gray and are an important part of the parks ecosystem. So I guess there is a reason why the park doesn’t feel as well maintained as others. However, I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have the entire Clearwater Valley road paved, along with the old logging road up Trophy Mountain.
Moul Falls is worth the trip to Wells Gray by itself, you can even walk behind this waterfall but be sure to bring some waterproof clothing or at least a heavy duty rain slicker, otherwise you’ll get absolutely soaked. Even though you are a good distance away from the waterfall when try to pass behind, you’re getting sprayed as if you are in your own bathroom shower. Due to the speed of the waterfall and the small shallow pool at the base, the overspray from the waterfall hitting the small pond at the bottom, bounces back up and hits you hard all over. For those who work up a sweat during the hike down to the base of Moul Falls, you can actually take a little dip in the small shallow pool, which is totally worth it during those hot Summer days.

As always, there’s never enough time to explore everything so I’ll definitely be returning to Wells Gray Provincial Park. Most likely the same time next year. There were a few trails that I didn’t get to hike and I’d love to get deeper into the park, especially up to Clearwater Lake and Azure Lake. Perhaps a canoeing and camping trip is in order?
There are some fun cross country skiing and snow shoeing areas as well and Helmcken Falls completely freezes over and attracts ice climbers from all over, so it’s definitely worth checking out during the colder and icier seasons too.

Cheers,
Mike