SNU April Newsletter

SNU Folks,

*The April 2015 Newsletter has been posted*

Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can also be found there.

_Topics in the April newsletter_
April rally at Ft Sage -|- Lahontan rally review -|- What to see and do in Northeast CA. -|- RSVPS for Prosser -|- Rally Planning -|- Courtesy Parking First Offered-|- Important Historical Dates -|- SNU membership, new record

*April Rally At Ft Sage*
Ft Sage off Hwy 395 near Doyle CA is the location for the April SNU rally, Thursday April 23 – Sunday April 26, 2015. Check the rally webpage for directions to Ft. Sage. The route to Ft Sage indicated on some GPS systems goes over a bridge that is NOT recommended for large vehicles or towing a trailer because of weight limits and narrow access. Instead, use Laver Crossing north of Doyle. This site is a BLM campground with dispersed parking and a pit toilet and it is an off road trail head.  Be sure to bring wood for campfires.

 For more information:

Keep Informed about the SNU
 * SNU 2015 Rally Schedule – Mark your calendars

* SNU Facebook page

* What’s new on the



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The English isn’t all that polished but the message about how to get best lead acid battery life is good. See Maintenance-free lead batteries Panasonic will surprise by their lifetime at the Electronics Lab Blog. It does appear to be a Panasonic battery press release but that only means you need to be careful about what is hype and what isn’t.

“However those are things, which can be easily checked up from available internet source or even better from satisfied users. Instead of it, we better bring you a few advices for usage of VRLA/ SLA batteries to serve you as long as possible”

This list is similar to what you’ll find posted in the archives here: “number of cycles (thus a battery lifetime) is very strongly dependent on a level of discharge before consequent recharging.” … “real capacity of a battery (amount of energy, which we´ll get out of it) is strongly dependent on a discharge current.” … “real capacity of a battery also depends on temperature.” Also note the comments about number of cycles.

Hype? Perhaps the best example is the claim that “top quality AGM VRLA batteries last you up to 15 years.” Maybe. The issue is that lead acid batteries gradually lose capacity as they age. If you use and maintain batteries properly, this will be a gradual degradation. The end of life decision then becomes a matter of when deciding the reduction in capacity is sufficient to warrant replacement.

Lead acid batteries are so common for RV and automotive use because they are inexpensive, do the job, and reasonably tolerant of abuse. As a contrast, lithium ion rechargeable batteries have ten times the energy capacity by weight, cost ten times as much for energy storage, and are very intolerant of abuse – so intolerant that Li0ion battery cells often have their own integrated electronics to make sure they are not overcharged, discharged too far, and protected from excess current. Now, if you want life, the NiFe battery might be for you (see NiFe FAQ or Wikippedia) but the trade-off for lifespan is weight.

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Where’s the water? Lahontan

It is a reservoir built in 1915 to help assure water to the fields near Fallon. These days, after a few years of drought, there isn’t much water in the reservoir. Here’s a view from a few years ago:

Lake Lahontan

The destination page for Lahontan State Park has links to the RV group’s photo galleries and other websites of interest — it needs to be updated as a number of the links to external websites suffer link rot. A web search for the title of the link.

The Nevada State Parks people haven’t sat still these last few years, either. Fort Churchill State Historic Park ties in the other end of some big plans:

“Nevada State Parks acquired 3,200 acres along the Carson River in 1994. The properties, known as the Carson River Ranches, connect Fort Churchill State Historic Park with Lahontan State Recreation Area. This river corridor, with its diverse plant and wildlife communities, is a popular area for campers, hikers, birdwatchers, canoeists, hunters and equestrians. While motorized travel on the ranches is not permitted, construction of public access parking areas and a scenic network of trails is ongoing.”

Of course, the float trips on the Carson River depend upon decent winter snowfall so you might need to wait a couple of years for a good La Nina winter for that. Meanwhile, there are a number of well marked trails for walking to view the old fort and the river bottom areas.

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MBCU Memories – Lloyd Brown drawings- 1989 White Sands Caravan #39

Lloyd had a special way to remember his caravan experiences with his Monterey Bay friends

Mojave Desert

see the gallery!

Southern California – the eastern side

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SNU March Newsletter

SNU Folks,

The March 2015 Newsletter has been posted. Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can also be found there.

Topics in the March newsletter: March rally at Lahontan -|- Black Bear lunch review -|- Something (rallies) for Everyone -|- Coming Soon (Lassen rally) -|- Airstream Caravans -|- WBCCI & Amateur Radio

Also check the latest updates from Region 12.

March Rally At Lahontan

Thursday March 19 to Sunday March 22, 2015 are the dates for the SNU rally at Lahontan. The rally will be at the dispersed site at Beach 7. Friday we’ll celebrate a late St Patrick’s day with a corned beef and cabbage dinner. Come prepared for any type of weather from warm and sunny to windy and cold. Be sure to bring some wood for campfires.

Keep Informed about the SNU


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SNU February Newsletter

SNU Folks,

The February 2015 Newsletter has been posted. Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can also be found there.

Topics in the February newsletter: February at Black Bear -|- Shanghai lunch review -|- SNU Business -|- Region 12 updates (Cali Rally, Newsletter, Officers) WBCCI 2015 International Rally -|- Who is Wally Byam -|- Tool Kit for the Road -|- Benefits of the SNU online newsletter

February Lunch in Fernley – The February lunch date is Saturday, February 21, 2015. Place: The Black Bear diner located East of downtown Fernley at 1190 E Main St. Please rsvp to or call 775 972 9392.

Keep Informed about the SNU:


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SNU January 2015 Newsletter

SNU Folks,

The January 2015 Newsletter has been posted. Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can also be found there.

Topics in the January newsletter

Luncheon at Shanghai -|- Review of the El Charro lunch -|- SNU Business -|- SNU 2014 Highlights -|- Prez Meanderings -|- Anniversaries in 2015 -|- The SNU website -|- Reservations for Lassen -|- New Adventures in 1955

January Lunch in Sparks
Saturday January 24, 2015 the SNU will be at Shanghai Restaurant & Sushi House. The restaurant is on Barring Blvd across from Reed High School in Sparks. Please rsvp to or call 775 972 9392. For more information

Keep Informed about the SNU




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SNU December 2014 Newsletter

SNU Folks,

The December 2014 Newsletter has been posted
Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can also be found there.

Topics in the December newsletter: Luncheon at El Charro -|- Review Bavarian World lunch -|- SNU Business -|- Change in 2015 Rally Schedule -|- Anniversaries in 2015 -|- The SNU website -|- Lassen RV Park Report

December lunch at El Charro, Carson City

The December lunch is at El Charro Avita in Carson City on Saturday December 20, 2014. El Charro is located on Hwy 395 South of Downtown Carson City, 4389 S Carson St Please rsvp to or call 775 972 9392.

Keep Informed about the SNU


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Lassen RV Park

The SNU is always on the lookout for potential rally spots. Here’s one Randy and Vicki checked out in NE California. See the Lassen RV Park report.

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Don’t tell the Pope: reducing global poverty

Mark Perry says It’s the greatest achievement in human history, and one you probably never heard about.

“Dartmouth economics professor Douglas Irwin has an excellent op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal — “The Ultimate Global Antipoverty Program,” with the subtitle “Extreme poverty fell to 15% in 2011, from 36% in 1990. Credit goes to the spread of capitalism“. Here’s an excerpt:

“The World Bank reported on Oct. 9 that the share of the world population living in extreme poverty had fallen to 15% in 2011 from 36% in 1990. Earlier this year, the International Labor Office reported that the number of workers in the world earning less than $1.25 a day has fallen to 375 million 2013 from 811 million in 1991.”

“The reduction in world poverty has attracted little attention because it runs against the narrative pushed by those hostile to capitalism. The Michael Moores of the world portray capitalism as a degrading system in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Yet thanks to growth in the developing world, world-wide income inequality—measured across countries and individual people—is falling, not rising, as Branco Milanovic of City University of New York and other researchers have shown.

Capitalism’s bad rap grew out of a false analogy that linked the term with “exploitation.” Marxists thought the old economic system in which landlords exploited peasants (feudalism) was being replaced by a new economic system in which capital owners exploited industrial workers (capitalism). But Adam Smith had earlier provided a more accurate description of the economy: a “commercial society.” The poorest parts of the world are precisely those that are cut off from the world of markets and commerce, often because of government policies.”

Enabling people, securing property rights and rule of law, not via top down governmental control has proven effectiveness. This isn’t what the Pope is advocating as a solution to poverty although he says he isn’t bashing capitalism. It isn’t what much of the population is advocating, either, as the ‘exploitation meme’ as one excuse for one’s ills has a lot of adherent’s as well. 

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SNU November Newsletter

SNU Folks,

The November 2014 Newsletter has been posted — Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can also be found there.

Topics in the November newsletter — Luncheon at Bavarian World -|- Review of Ft Churchill Rally & Region rally comments -|- SNU Business -|- Prez Meanderings -|- SNU Facebook page -|- Marlene & Baxter’s Region Rally comments & trip report -|- CO and other detectors and alarms

November lunch at Bavarian World, Reno — The SNU November lunch will be at Bavarian World in Reno, Saturday November 22, 2014, time 11:30am. Bavarian World is located on the corner of 4th and Valley, just off Wells Ave. Please rsvp to or call 775 972 9392.

Just in! – Check the Airstream photos Wheels took at the Nevada Day Parade

Keep Informed about the SNU



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October rally at Churchill State Park

The SNU October rally was in the cottonwoods down by the river:

See the photo gallery!

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For the survivalist or some interesting reading of classic home how-to literature

The Survivor Library says it is about how to survive when technology doesn’t – classic survivalist meme. The Library Index includes 106 categories of ‘how-to’ out of copyright books. The cookbooks collection has an extensive collection mostly from the 19th century up to about 1922. The books are available in both PDF and epub versions. The epub version works for your eBook reader but sometimes the conversion has glitches.

If you are interested in science, technology, and home-making as it was 150 years ago, this library should provide many interesting resources.

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Lamoille Canyon, Ruby Mountains, A visit with pictures by a geologist

She says she is Looking for Detachment and the latest post is about a geologist’s First Trip into the Ruby Mountains of Nevada. The event was the 2nd Annual Great Basin Rendezvous of the Nevada Mineral Exploration Coalition.

If you want to see what you’ve been missing in North East Nevada complete with a bit of geology, take at look. Here’s an example:

“At this point, where a falling rock sign appears on the side of the road, the overall U-shaped nature of the glacially carved canyon can be seen.
 The main part of Lamoille Canyon forms the foreground right of the road and highway sign, and it continues to the far left where cliffs of brownish gneiss, marble, and granite abound. The Right Fork of Lamoille Creek shoots off to the right, into the U-shaped canyon where its eastern, sunlit slopes are covered by green, yellow, and orange aspen trees.”

there’s more … go see!  

Go visit, too. Fall is time for color and sharp horizons in Nevada. As always, prepare for very cool mornings and beware of the potential for early storms. 

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SNU October Newsletter

SNU Folks,

The  October 2014 Newsletter has been posted  Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can also be found there.

Topics in the October newsletter — October Rally at Ft Churchill -|- Review of Crocker Rally -|- Prez Meanderings -|- Don & Gail Home Again -|- SNU Updates (Elections, WBCCI directory, Mesquite Cancelled, Back to Basics) -|- Repair and Maintenance -|- Airstream Resources -|- Opportunities to assist with rallies

October Rally at  Ft Churchill

The SNU October rally will be at Ft Churchill Thursday October 23- Sunday 26 2014.  The park is located eight miles south of Silver Springs on Alternate U.S. 95, and one mile on Fort Churchill Road. This is a Nevada State Park with 20 individual sites and a nearby dump station. There are no reservations. Site selection is on a first come basis. There are fire rings so bring wood for campfires. Although it is unlikely that the campground will be busy in October, if that does happen, the SNU will relocate to Lahontan Beach 7 for our rally.

Keep Informed about the SNU



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SNU September Newsletter

SNU Folks,

The  September 2014 Newsletter has been posted Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can also be found there.

Topics in the September newsletter: Crocker Rally in October -|- Prez Meanderings -|-  Obsidian Rally Review -|- Welcome to the Trabitz’s -|- Dues are due -|- From WBCCI -|- SNU 2015 Officers -|- Planned Informality

September Rally at Crocker

Thursday September 25–Sunday 28, 2014 are the dates for the rally at Crocker.. This campground is off Hwy 70 near Beckworth, CA.  We’ll be having our usual shared meals on Friday and Saturday.  Not sure yet about fire restrictions but hopefully we’ll be able to have campfires

For more information

Keep Informed about the SNU

SNU 2014 Rally Schedule – Mark your calendars

SNU Facebook page

What’s new on the




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RV Composting Toilet Thoughts

The Wynn’s YouTube channel has several videos about their RV composting toilet experience. Composting Toilet Secret Tips and Tricks is a good place to start if considering this option. Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet / Standard Crank Handle (Amazon affiliate link) is a popular example of the appliance. There are a few things to consider about composting toilets in an RV:

  • The RV composting toilet costs 3 times (or more) that of a typical RV toilet.
  • Proper composting requires aeration, 50F or better temperatures, 50% (+/- 10%) moisture content, and weeks to months of time.
  • Disposal of waste remains an issue. The Wynn’s experience is that they need to dump the urine bottle every 2 or 3 days and the compost bucket every 2 to 3 weeks.
  • The RV toilet needs a continuous electrical supply to keep its ventilation running. That is key to smell management, aeration, and moisture removal.
  • Water use may be a bit less. The typical RV toilet needs enough water to keep solid waste in the tank covered. A composting toilet only needs enough to clean the bowl.
  • A composting toilet needs to be ‘primed’ with peat moss or something like Worm Factory COIR250G10 Coconut Coir Growing Medium 250g – 10 pack (Amazon) to help aerate the feces and optimize decomposition.
  • Flushing the RV composting toilet involves cranking the aeration and maceration paddles.

Some cabin and house type composting toilets can get really sophisticated. The big issues that complicate the operation are that of removing moisture, allowing for a proper composting time, managing temperature, and facilitating final disposal.The RV toilet manages moisture by operator attention to separating feces and urine into separate containers, depending upon mild ambient temperatures, forced continuous ventilation, and removal of waste prior to complete decomposition. 

The comments I see indicate some of the same issues and attitudes regarding waste disposal as occur with gray water. With regulations and laws getting ever more strict, disposal of any biologic waste outside of specially designated places should be assumed to be prohibited. You might get away with dumping the urine bottle in a privy or toilet but the compost is another issue.

RV toilet compost should be handled and treated much the same way as cat litter. It should be considered dried out rather than composted. Some toilets allow rotating compost buckets to help further composting but the RV situation with a total bucket time of only a week or two with additions within a day or two of disposal isn’t going to do much other than start the initial phases of composting. The week or two does provide a good composting start and does remove a lot of moisture and that tends to reduce the volume and weight of the waste. The result isn’t the sort of thing to put in a privy or other toilet. It also isn’t the sort of thing to spread out in the open. That leaves bag and trash or shallow burying (if allowed).

There are a number of DIY composing projects out there. The RV provides a few opportunities for such a system. For example, the air feed for the toilet could come from the top of the refrigerator heat exchanger. That would help refrigerator efficiency as well as provide pre-warmed air for the compost pile. Both the compost pile air exhaust and the urine bottle could be routed into the RV black tank to reduce the necessary waste disposal intervals. 

The standard RV toilet works well for most RV needs and provides a fairly high barrier for competing technologies. What seems to give composting toilets an edge for some are ideological fantasies. These center on ‘green’ ideas like saving water or recycling or personalized waste handling. Perhaps the old style gopher hole should be considered for comparison. As with all waste, the issue is really more a problem of concentration than it is with where it goes.

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RV swamp cooler on the cheap

Burning Man fallout: DIY portable camping PVC pipe evap air conditioner by graywolf.

What he built is a tube framed by PVC pipe with a Fantastic Endless Breeze fan at the top, a tub at the bottom, wrapped in cooler pad material, and a small 12v water pump to circulate water. The fan runs about $70 and the pump under $15. Tub, pipe, and pad are common hardware store items and should run well under $50 with the pads the most expensive item (e.g. Dial Mfg. 3072 Dura-Cool Pads at ~$16 ea).

If you are looking at the RV Motorhome Solar Battery 12-Volt Evaporative Swamp Air Conditioning Cooler that runs nearly $600 and want to see what evaporative cooling will do in your RV and what it takes, the DIY project makes for an inexpensive experimental apparatus. The most expensive part of the DIY swamp cooler is the Fan-Tastic Vent 01100WH Endless Breeze 12V Fan and that is a nice item to have even as just an RV table fan.  The KEEDOX® DC30A-1230 12V DC 2 Phase CPU Cooling Car Brushless Water Pump Waterproof Submersible isn’t that expensive and appears to be a general purpose submersible 12v low volume water pump. (note: Amazon affiliate links – check ‘em out and support this site!).

You might start the experimenting using the bathtub as a water reservoir. If you want automatic water filling, add a standard cooler float valve connected to the RV water supply. The two variables you will want to watch are water and power consumption. A few amps and a gallon or two of water per hour can make a big dent in an RV reserves over a hot afternoon.

Note: waste water is an attractive source for an evaporative cooler. The Burning Man have worked on that, too (see the Zyphers post on the evapotron). To use gray water for indoor cooling would require a water treatment plant to filter the waste water, apply a disinfectant, and, perhaps, a bit of perfume. — Possible but needs a bit of effort and care.

Power needs could be handled with a 100 watt or better solar system. The cost of that (think $4 per watt as a good guide) could be shared with other RV electrical power needs.

Another basic cooling device is shade. Awnings are a good start. Putting one of those 10×10 tent gazebos over the RV might also help. The problem with any of these is the afternoon Zephyrs as they can come with strong enough gusts at times to cause havoc with awnings and light structures.

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SNU Newsletter August 2014

SNU Folks,

The  August 2014 Newsletter has been posted – Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can also be found there.

Topics in the August newsletter

August rally at Obsidian Dome -|- Weed Heights rally review -|- Welcome Stan & Geri -|- Prez Meanderings -|- Time to Renew Membership -|- 2015 Rally Schedule -|- Update from Don & Gail -|- SNU Officers and Elections -|- Summer Travels -|- Measuring Battery Status

August Rally at Obsidian Dome

The annual SNU rally at Obsidian Dome is Thursday August 14 – Sunday 17 2014 Obsidian Dome is located between June Lakes and Mammoth Lakes, CA. The campground is 2.7 miles off of US 395 Please check the link below for detailed information and directions to the rally site, including Rick’s PDF file with photos and route details. Bobbi will be stopping by Schat’s Bakery in Bishop and picking up  a variety of breads and rolls for Thursday dinner. The rest of us will bring salads or sandwich makings. Bring a salad or sandwich fillings for our Thursday evening salad and sandwich dinner.

note: Rick checked the road in and says “road has had some rain on it so it a little bit rougher but still very passable. Take your time going in.”

For more information on Obsidian

Keep Informed about the SNU





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SNU at Weed Heights July 2014

Weather was warm but not all that hot so it made for a good air conditioner exercise.

see the photo gallery!

The SNU rally at Weed Heights was on A Night in the Country weekend. That weekend musical festival was down at the fairgrounds where thousands camped on the dirt. Since both that event and the SNU rally ended on Sunday, US 91A from Yerington to Silver Springs was bumper to bumper white box RV’s with an Airstream sprinkled in here and there on the way home.

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