Gear Review: Turn your Smartphone into a Dashcam – Nexar

As a lifelong skier, I’ve seen my share of crashes, spins etc. on the highways during winter travel enroute to the lift-served resort or backcountry trailhead. I’ve wanted a dashcam for some time, but balk at the current cost of entry.

Enter Nexar, a free* Android/  iOS app that turns your smartphone into a dash cam.

Sample output:

Glad to have @getnexar dashcam for winter driving this year from Perfect Day Calendar on Vimeo.

Voice Activated commands as well.


Nexar also sells a very affordable automobile dashboard / windshield phone mount on Amazon for a mere $6.95 for Prime members. Click here.screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-10-06-30-am

*Define ‘free’:  Nexar apparently collects your dashcam footage and shares that data (see Wired Mag article here) with related industries  to help develop the autonomous auto industry among other things.  So you decide what ‘free’ is; ‘your mileage may vary’.

At some point, I’ll probably do a fully dedicated 2-Channel (front and rear) dashcam, but in the meantime, this works quite well.

Nexar YouTube Channel

Industry news:

Bad Drivers Are About to Be Outed by a Dashcam App




Gear Review: Levergear Toolcard™ 1.0

You know the drill, you never have the right tool at the right time to fix or repair something?

To be sure there are plenty of multi-tools on the market. But how many are so simple, stylish yet so functional as Levergear’s Toolcard™?

This multi-tool can be carried so easily; the glovebox of the car, top lid of a packpack, pouch inside of a hydration pack or top draw of your garage tool chest. Possibilities endless.

Let’s take a look at this stylish piece of gear, the Toolcard™ 1.0!

Contained in it’s own black plastic sheath


The stylish money clip holding everything ‘nice and tidy’


The money clip pops off to reveal more tools


Toolcard™ 1.0


Toolcard™ 1.0


Simple elegant packaging

Often what will pursuade me to purchase (or not) an item is how environmentally friendly the packaging material is showcasing the item. If an manufacturer displays wanton waste in packaging, I may defer purchase simply because of that ‘turn-off’. Not the case with the Toolcard™ 1.0.


Simple, clean, clever instructions


The ToolcardToolcard™ 1.0 in action

Perhaps the most important feature-The bottle opener *?

No pine cones were injured in this demonstration

img_0442*Red Chair Pale Ale. Seasonal production only

Using the flat head screwdriver function


Using the philips head screwdriver function


Showing the versatility of the adjustable hex wrench functionality. PFC *


Show me the money…

Roll into your favor coffee house or brew pub, sport a bit of lumberjack meets urban hipster vibe with your money clip. Let the barista and bartender alike, know you are person of style, yet sport simple form.


For more information, go to:  *

*Made in America



As always, thanks for reading



Mountain Bike Oregon Aug 26-28 2016

Two weeks before the event I got a text from my buddy in Baltimore, MD  ‘MBO… ?’

A quick check of the family calendar, and the rest was history.

Met my good friend Mike W from Baltimore at MBO two years ago, last day, while riding the double, Hardesty-Lawler.

This year’s itinerary:

  1. ATCA
  2. Hecklestooth
  3. Hardesty

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 11.07.08 AMmap via

Thursday: MBO Day ‘minus’ One

All good MBO’s start with ‘proper’ hydration, grain-based in fact at Brewers Union Local 180 in Oakridge, OR.  #traveloakridge


Always a great vibe in the pub. Burgers are great too.



What’s that saying? ‘hydrate or die’.

MBO Tech tip #180 (get it?) : As it turns out,  you can over-hydrate. Hence an ATCA ride will turn into an Alpine ride. #FunFactsToKnowandLearn



As the sun sets


Friday: MBO Day One Alpine Trail, Wait, didn’t you sign up for ATCA? (read tech tip #180)

Atop ATCA and Alpine rides with the Three Sisters peaks showing on the horizon (right) and Mt. Jefferson barely showing on the horizon through a gap (left). Mike ready to roll… #TakethePun

Here’s what MBO’s site has to say about Alpine:

ALPINE  (The Crown Jewel)

Distance: 14.4 miles.    Steep, Fast, Mild exposure, Sustained climbs/descents.
Technical: 2    (speed, narrow tread)        Grunt: 2 (sustained climbs)
Descending: 5000’                                  Climbing: 1900′

Oh glorious Alpine! Known as the Crown Jewel, this is one wicked trail. A combination of every pleasure known to mountain biking, you can’t not love Alpine. Buff and narrow singletrack is the name of the game. Vast views, tight corners between 400 year old trees, high speed railing on steep side slops; Alpine delivers. The trail is not highly technical, however there are many distractions for the eye and mild exposure. Everyone from relative newbies to seasoned pros love to roll tires on Alpine. It’s a ridiculously fast and fun ride.


The famed, iconic Sourgrass Meadow just below Sourgrass Mountain (4783 ele).


As you can see the ‘valley’ floor in the distance, we still have some elevation to scrub off before we complete the day on Alpine.


Why we did not ride ATCA, due to Thursday nite ‘over-hydration’,

Distance: 25 miles
Technical Rating: 3
Technical: 3  (Speed, Narrow, Exposure, tight)                 Grunt: 5
Descending: 6950’                       Climbing: 3600’

Alpine Trail is known as the “Crown Jewel” of trails at MBO… but add Tire Mountain and Cloverpatch to the second half of your ride and prepare for epic scenery, long, steep sections of climbing and descending, and some of the most beautiful scenery in the Oakridge valley. This has long been a favorite combo of locals and guests alike, but it just got better! ATC (Alpine, Tire, Cloverpatch) has somehow gotten even better: We added more trail and gave it a new name: ATC-A!

Say “so long” to the gravel and paved buzzkill that this epic ride ended on and say hello to more scenery, trail and excitement as you head back to the red covered bridge.The local MTB community partnered with the USFS and added a new section of trail taking you from Cloverpatch trail to very near Buckhead shelter and ending your ride on the same trail where you started: Alpine.

Yep, ATC-A stands for Alpine, Tire Mt, Cloverpatch, Alpine. Bring your camera, water and thighs…you’re going to want them all. You get a bit of all Oakridge has to offer on ATC-A: Buff, fast, steep, rocky, stunning views and old growth. There are many fast corners, most with good sightlines, but speed can get out of hand very easily.



Saturday: MBO Day Two Hecklestooth Trail


Trail description from MBO site:


Distance: 15 miles
Technical: 5 (Extreme exposure, loose, steep, speed, rocks)    Grunt: 3 (steep)
Descending: 3800’ Climbing: 1500’

Bunchgrass’ little brother. It’s not less primitive or rugged…or less steep…it’s just shorter. Bring your bike handling skills and nerves as Heckletooth will challenge even the best. Very few clean the whole trail, but go ahead and try, just be aware of the extreme exposure and very steep grades and sidehill action at times. There’s some of the best views in the area off of this one.

Morning ritual, unload the bikes from the U-Haul vans. We ride up in old school buses.


Speaking of school buses



Hecklestooth Peak in the Distance


Victory, yours truly, @perfectdaycalendar on the summit of Hecklestooth Peak (ele 3609) with snow covered Diamond Peak (8600 ele) on the horizon.

Rockin the @Showerspass jersey and shorts from the ‘gravel’ lines.

IMG_9066Live action figure, wrist-watch, Camelbak and helmet not included.

Rolling off the top of Hecklestooth, trials riders feel free to attack it! Hwy 58 is at the bottom of the drainage.


More of the group rolling off the top of Hecklestooth


Post ride relaxation:

We were basically the only camp to place our tents in the shade (it was 95 deg on Friday). Everyone else seemed to be fine pitching their tents on the tarmac which is left over from the old mill site.


The swimming hole under the main Southern Pacific Oregon-California line was simply too perfect each afternoon.


Re-Hydration takes on many forms: electrolytes, grain-based hops and barley and good old H2O. See that shade!





Sunday: MBO Day Three Hardesty Trail

Trail description from MBO site: (we only rode the ‘Hardesty’ section this yr, two yrs ago, did the full double shuttle)

Distance: 18 miles
Technical: 4    (speed, tight, exposure, loose, switchbacks)    Grunt: 3 (short climbs)
Descending: 6900’             Climbing: 2000’

Lawler: Warm up with a gravel and trail combo climb. Enjoy beautiful old growth trees and buff, flowy singletrack before hitting a brief, steep grunt up a few switchbacks, then get into some ridiculously fast, narrow and moderately exposed singletrack. There’s several tight corners and exposure but good sightlines into most. We say buff…but Lawler has enough rocks, twists and dips that you need to have you’re A-game on to shred this one.

Hardesty: You get longer to warm up on Hardesty, you’ll climb for a couple miles (mostly gravel, ½ mile trail) before you get to the meadow and it flattens out just before the descent into the trees. This is an especially steep trail, fast and smooth with enough rocky patches and roots to keep you awake. There’s a ton of high speed chicanes, jukes and jives on this…like flying on top of dirt. This trail is relatively easy to ride but takes big nerves and good skills to truly unlock the speed and thrills that lie within. The lower mile sees A LOT of mixed use and we’ll slow folks down at the end…but please keep your eyes wide and alert for other trail users. This ride ends at the Goodman/Hardesty parking area.

Looking South to slightly Southwest from the Willamette National Forest divide into the Umpqua National Forest region.

Hardesty Trail

Hardesty  Trail: Don’t get ‘Lostt’. This year we hook right, not hook left.



Trails on the MBO, sweet as apple pie, Hardesty Trail


Sunday: MBO Day Three Summing it all up

I should have gone last year, 2015 with 2014 being my first year. Will be there next year. Randy, the founder announced during Saturday evening festivities that the event will only be held on one weekend in late July next year.

Had great thrills riding demo bikes from @Ibiscycles being the Mojo 3 and Ridley LS. Let’s be real, when you can ride demo bikes that collectively cost more than your one-year old Outback.. that’s sweet. Sorry @SubaruUSA.


And how about those volunteers?

Events like MBO couldn’t happen without the support of many volunteers to include our trail guides!

Seeing Double?

I know I just rode the 1.7 mile gravel up hill to the Hardesty Trailhead, and then the .7 mile singletrack climb to the top…

Here we have yours truly again, with Russ G, lead guide for the day. We are fellow riders on the @Showerspass cycling club decked out in the same kit that day. I told Russ, make sure no one asks me for direction, they might end up in Springfield, OR instead. (45 miles away)





Danger, Persistent Weak Layer ahead!

Persistent Weak Layers: “Weak layers that continue to produce avalanches for several days or weeks after a storm.”

Hey, wouldn’t it be great if the backcountry skier had such an alert system? Well, actually there is, and it’s called Avatech.

Backside: Mt. Bachelor 2.20.16 overlooking Kwohl Butte.

Just as Waze is sharing real-time driving conditions via crowdsourcing, Avatech is now doing the same with information from the backcountry regarding snow pack and general weather/snow related observations.

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 4.09.16 PM

When I recently heard they were assembling a team of ‘advocates’ to spread the word about their platform, use the tools, and meet other like minded backcountry travelers, I jumped at the opportunity, thus this write-up.

The 411 on Avatech here:

Avatech YouTube Channel

Meet Avatech Video

Avanet – Route Planning & Terrain Analysis Demo

Want to plan a route and take key considerations of the terrain into your planning before you go? You can do that.  Then, download that key information to a printed map or electronic device, it can be done.

    • ●Elevation
    • ●Aspect
    • ●Slope

Information on the go? There’s an app for that.

Load the Avatech iPhone app, and record information in the backcountry real-time. Learn what others are seeing in the same region as you are, real-time.

Download the app here.

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 4.18.52 PM


Much more to report on, in the meantime, see you on the slopes. Spread the word…


Kwohl Butte 1.15.2009 overlooking Mt. Bachelor


Backcountry Ski North Side Mt Hood

Yesterday was, well, a ‘perfect day’ on the north side of Mt. Hood. The forecast was for 1″ to 3″ of snow, overcast all day, and winds 15 to 20 mph. Upon cresting the upper Hood River valley, I could see that was not the case. In fact, we were going to have a bluebird day.

Indeed it was.  Fourth time up the Tilly Jane Trail this season, having not skied it for two years. Making up for some lost time, no doubt. Made it to the stone hut on the Timberline Trail 600 (ele. 6850) for the first time this season, and the first time in three years now.



Above tracks ‘acquiring’ the ridge in the burn area.



Some people call this an inhospitable area, we call it a backcountry playground. Skin track above the Tilly Jane A-Frame Cabin heading toward the stone hut.



The Stone Hut. I would love to camp overnight in this thing, but it’s full of snow. Do have to like the guy wires holding the roof down, along with the stones.



Lunch time. Shortly after taking this photo, cloud moved in, causing a brief whiteout. That cleared quickly for the decent.



A bit of flat light on the way down. #Solitude I must say. Not too many folks up on the hill.



Not too tracked out.. Quite a few snowshoers but not too many backcountry skiers. That’s ok, less to be tracked out.



Had to stop in this rolling terrain to capture the light in the trees. A bit of alpenglow going on.  Snow was so perfect in the trees. This was some of the best snow I have seen on the north side of Hood in years.



#bigfoot #yeti sighting



Looking back to where I was just 30 minutes ago. Was on the snow Cooper Spur field above the massive Polallie Creek drainage.


Now that there is adequate coverage of snow down lower, it allowed me to go ‘off pisted’ from the actual Tilly Jane Trail throughout the burn area capturing some nice lines like this.


Until next time.