SNU September Newsletter

SNU Folks,

*The September 2017 Newsletter has been posted*
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2017/17-news/index.html

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

_Topics in the September newsletter_
Green Creek rally review -|- Lassen in September -|- SNU Business (rally ideas, board nominations, time to renew, form 990) -|- Boondocking -| Williams Travelogue -|- Family, Friends & Visitors -|- From the Archives – Elenere Amidon

*September Rally At Lassen RV Resort*

The annual rally at the Lassen RV Resort is September 21 to the 24th. Please make your reservation with and submit payment to: Randy Grossmann 2345 W. Washington St. Carson City, NV 8973 775-883-3603 email: Randyg@pyramid.net Randy is old fashioned so he can only accept paper checks either handed to him in person or sent to him via snail mail. The cost for this rally is $120 which includes three nights of full hookups, a catered gourmet lunch and dinner, a waffle breakfast, and entertainment. Randy can email you a reservation form

For more information and pictures check the website
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2017/17-events/17sp-lassen.html

Keep Informed about the SNU
 * SNU 2017 Rally Schedule – Mark your calendars
 http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2017/17-events/17-rallyschedule.html

* SNU Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/groups/178368645651150

* What's new on the SierraNevadaAirstreams.org
http://www.sierranevadaairstreams.org/snuze/index.php?cat=14

*Email: hq@sierranevadaairstreams.org
— SNU HQ

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Home Power Thinking About Batteries

Justine Sanchez has a good article on Battery Bank Design & Sizing in this month’s Home Power Magazine. The focus is on residential systems and not on RV systems. It includes consideration for “areas with utilities unfriendly to net billing” which is one way of saying areas whose populations don’t like subsidies for energy fantasies. But the subsidies are often forced on utility customers and other modern concerns such as load leveling have become an issue in electrical power systems. 

The battery types discussed here are being mass-produced—there is a formalized testing process in place with material safety handling data sheets, etc.—and are currently available for the U.S. residential storage market.
 …
No matter what type of system you have, there are some basic pieces of information you will need for sizing. This includes the daily energy the battery bank will need to supply and the DOD recommended for that battery type.
 …
A primary factor in off-grid battery bank design is “days of autonomy”—the number of days that the bank should meet loads without being recharged due to clouds hampering PV output.

There is a good discussion of considerations that differ between whether the batteries are providing service for off-grid, backup, or load leveling situations. An RV has the potential for much greater variance in energy requirements in most cases. That means that a greater reserve capacity is needed. Weight, maintenance charging, and other factors are much more important in RV systems than they are in Home systems, too.

 

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SNU August Newsletter

SNU Folks,

*The August 2017 Newsletter has been posted*
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2017/17-news/index.html

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

_Topics in the August newsletter_
Review of Weed Heights rally -|-  Green Creek August rally -|- Visit to Jackson Center -|- Welcome Douglas and Dawn Dale -|- Lassen in September -|- The “Other” SNU members -|- Torgue Them Wheel Bolts! -|- Trailer Park Troubadours. -|- SNU Business – nominations, rally schedule & dues -|-  Don & Gail’s Adventures -|- SNU Group Pictures

*August Rally At Green Creek*

Thursday, August 24 - Sunday, August 27, 2017  the  SNU August rally will be at Green Creek which is about 6 miles south of Bridgeport, CA off US 395. Green Creek is an NFS dispersed area  Be sure to follow Wheels directions to the rally site. Green Creek is close to Bodie and could be a great day trip. Activities as always are up to the whims of the rally participants. Plan to join us a Green Creek

RSVP’s  phone: 775 972 9392 or Email: hq@sierranevadaairstreams.org.	If you can’t come for the whole rally, come for a day or come for a visit whatever fits your schedule. For more information and pictures check the website
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2017/17-events/17ag-greencreek.html

*2018 WBCCI International Rally in Salem, OR*

The WBCCI is expecting the 2018 International in Salem Oregon to fill up as did this year at Escanba. It's the perfect location to get a large contingent of Sierra Nevada Unit members at an International. Register now to make sure of a spot with water and electric.

http://wbcci.org/international-rally/caravans/rallies/international-rally/2018-salem-or

*Keep Informed about the SNU*
 * SNU 2017 Rally Schedule – Mark your calendars
 http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2017/17-events/17-rallyschedule.html

* SNU Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/groups/178368645651150

* What's new on the SierraNevadaAirstreams.org
http://www.sierranevadaairstreams.org/snuze/index.php?cat=14

*Email: hq@sierranevadaairstreams.org
— SNU HQ

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SNU July 2017 Newsletter

SNU Folks

*The July 2017 Newsletter has been posted*
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2017/17-news/index.html

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

_Topics in the July newsletter_
Weed Heights in July -|- Crocker Canceled -|- 1965 Laramie Rally -|- Fridge Ideas -|- Foam Noodles -|- Africa 1959 -|- Environmentally Sustainable Camping -|- Lassen Rally -|- Summer Camping with Pets

*July Rally At Weed Heights*
The July rally will be at the full service RV park in Weed Heights Thursday July 20 to Sunday July 23, 2017. The RV park is located in the Township of Weed Heights just west of Yerington, NV off Hwy Alt 95. Dinner plans include Jerry’s famous Nevada surf-n-turf BBQ on Friday with ice cream for dessert. Hope to see you all at Weed Heights.

RSVP’s  phone: 775 972 9392 or Email: hq@sierranevadaairstreams.org.	If you can’t come for the whole rally, come for a day or come for a visit whatever fits your schedule.

For maps, more information and pictures check the website
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2017/17-events/17jy-weedheights.html

Keep Informed about the SNU
 * SNU 2017 Rally Schedule – Mark your calendars
 http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2017/17-events/17-rallyschedule.html

* SNU Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/groups/178368645651150

* What's new on the SierraNevadaAirstreams.org
http://www.sierranevadaairstreams.org/snuze/index.php?cat=14

*Email: hq@sierranevadaairstreams.org
— SNU HQ ……………………………………………………….This email should only be sent to those who have asked to receive it.Manage your subscription by using the form at http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/news/index.html or sending an email request to hq@SierraNevadaAirstreams.org

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Crocker, SNU Rally, Heat Wave, Uh-oh

As the weekend approaches, the forecast at the Crocker Campground for afternoon temperatures keeps going up. Saturday is now forecast for a high of 92. That is causing those planning on attending to rethink their weekend as that gets into the very uncomfortable to even health hazardous temperatures for them due to existing health problems and age. The nearby RV parks report being full up for the weekend but Crocker Campground is likely to be short of Airstream RV’s.

Of course, most of the RV’s have air conditioners and the MoHo’s usually have a genset installed. This would make it possible to provide a cool down in the heat of the day. The noise and bother of Air Conditioning and the need to hunker down in the RV all afternoon aren’t reasons why the SNU planned a rally at Crocker, though.

UC Davis says the Elderly need special care in hot weather. “Hot weather can be a big concern for older people says Calvin Hirsch, a geriatrics specialist with UC Davis Health System.”

Hirsch noted there are many factors involved in why seniors are so vulnerable in hot weather. Some individuals have health problems, such as heart disease, that make it more difficult for the body to circulate blood properly and dissipate heat. Others are on medications, like diuretics (water pills), that cause water loss and worsen the dehydrating effects of high temperatures. Obese individuals have an especially hard time keeping cool.

A Place for Mom has 7 Tips for Avoiding Elderly Heat Stroke & Exhaustion. “a recent University of Chicago Medical Center study found that 40% of heat-related fatalities in the U.S. were among people over 65.” … “Dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, fainting and breathing problems are all warning signs that help should be sought immediately.”

There are other concerns. Keeping pets cool and safe is a big one. Travel is going to put a special emphasis on preparation. Make sure that tire pressures are at max sidewall for the trailer and also for the tow vehicle and keep the running speeds down. Check all fluids and systems to make sure they are where they need to be and are working properly. Keep in mind that a trailer is likely to get rather warm going down the road and that there is a lot of stress on the refrigerator. Many of the supplies you carry from batteries to food do not do well in the heat and may need special protection from the heat.

If you do a I’net search for “heatwave health” you’ll likely find a lot of the climate alarmists assuming that the current heat wave is a portent of their vision of doom and gloom. It isn’t. It is normal to get heat waves in the summer. The record set yesterday in Reno was only three degrees above the previous record set in 1940 and just tied the overall June Reno record. In 1940, Reno was a much smaller city and the weather station was not in the middle of a big airport with huge concrete runways. This is called the urban heat island effect.

Be safe. Take care. Avoid unnecessary risks.

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SNU June 2017

SNU Folks,

*The June 2017 Newsletter has been posted*
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2017/17-news/index.html

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

_Topics in the June newsletter_
Eagle Lake Rally Review -|- June rally at Crocker -|- 2018 Rally Planning -|- Lassen in September -|- Awnings -|- Region 12 Rally -|- Nevada Challenges -|- Comments about Airstreams

*June Rally At Crocker*

June the SNU rally will be at Crocker campground Thursday June 22 to Sunday June 25, 2017. Crocker Campground is off of Highway 70 at Beckwourth, CA. At Beckwourth (coming from US 395 and Reno) turn right on Rt 177, the Beckwourth-Genesee Road. The campground is about ten miles up the road. On Friday we will visit a nearby Farmer’s Market and be depending on how it goes, we might have a dinner of Farmer’s Market products on Friday. Plan to join us.

 RSVP’s  phone: 775 972 9392 or Email: hq@sierranevadaairstreams.org. If you can’t come for the whole rally, come for a day or come for a visit whatever fits your schedule.

For maps, more information and pictures check the website
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2017/17-events/17jn-crocker.html

*Keep Informed about the SNU*

 * SNU 2017 Rally Schedule – Mark your calendars
 http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2017/17-events/17-rallyschedule.html
* SNU Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/groups/178368645651150
* What's new on the SierraNevadaAirstreams.org
http://www.sierranevadaairstreams.org/snuze/index.php?cat=14
*Email: hq@sierranevadaairstreams.org

SNU HQ

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SNU Rally Eagle Lake May 2017

The pictures are up! The rally this time was at the North Eagle Lake BLM campgound. See the Eagle Lake Rally Page for gallery links and other information.

Eagle Lake Rally May 2017

This from collection #2 – See the photo gallery! The link to collection #1 is on  the Eagle Lake Rally Page.

The campground is ‘old style’ BLM which means the camp sites tend to be rather small and maneuvering rather difficult. Phil, the host, says this rally had more campground visitors than he’s seen before. It’s usually a quiet place without too many visitors.

The California DOT has quite a rundown on CA 139 (PDF) which is the route from Klamath Falls to Susanville and goes by Tule Lake and the Lava Beds National Monument before it gets to Eagle Lake then over Antelope Pass to Susanville. The scenery is special but the road is rather difficult for larger, modern RV’s as the lanes are narrow and shoulders nearly non-existent. It is an old road.

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Water water (almost) everywhere

Silver Fox took note of the High Water Across the West: Honey Lake with a lot of pictures. She has links to pictures of the lake from previous years, too.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to travel across part of the Great Basin of eastern California and northern and central Nevada, and have noticed a lot of high water, almost everywhere. Honey Lake, which has been dry to only partly filled during the last several years, is once again a lake.

There’s also a new photo gallery: 2017 – A wet year in Northern Nevada with pictures of the ‘dry’ lakes on U.S. 395 north of Reno (but south of Honey Lake). Here’s White Lake near Cold Springs and Bordertown as seen from the freeway.

 

White Lake

 

The rally this weekend will provide some more pictures of Honey Lake and Eagle Lake so stay tuned!

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Nostalgia: an old highway 66 overview

It’s a one hour YouTube video on the route 66 from Chicago to the Pacific Ocean. Most Amazing Views of Route 66 – An Aerial Documentary. It’s a music video tour, a compression of a long journey, a meditation, and a glimpse about what the ravages of time bring to roads. It isn’t a narrated documentary.

Thousands of miles, fuel, and dollars and over two and a half years of obtaining footage have resulted in never before seen perspectives of Route 66.  I’m proud to show you Route 66 like it has never been seen before.  From Chicago to LA, you’ll get your kicks with this video from 66!

There is some repeated footage but the use of the drone provides more context of the road in its place than you’d get from road level photography. This video shows many of the landmarks along the route, the condition of the road and its bridges, a lot of middle America scenery, and an occasional glimpse of folks, especially motorcyclists it seems, out to enjoy the road. 

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The Great American Eclipse

The PBS Space Time YouTube channel has a short presentation on The Great American Eclipse. It’s a once in 40 year special event and there’s likely to be a lot of folks camping out on its path between Oregon and North Carolina. 

sad to say, being PBS the video is plagued by its sponsor (and some wacked out comments) but that is at the end and in the ‘extra notes.’ The presentation itself is quite good and explains the phenomena and what you might be able to see.

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SNU May Newsletter

SNU Folks,

The May 2017 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 May newsletter: May rally at Eagle Lake -|- Ft Sage rally review -|- Emergency Planning -|- Ghost Towns -|- Ukrainian Eggs -|- Why choose the SNU -|-  Airstream Inc

May Rally at Eagle Lake

Thursday, May 18 to Sunday, May 21, 2017, the SNU rally will be at the BLM Campground at Eagle Lake. The campground is 30 miles north of Susanville on Highway 139 and a half-mile west on Lassen County Road A-1. Thursday we will have a salad and sandwich dinner. The SNU will provide the bread so rally participants should bring sandwich fixings and/or a salad. Saturday we will have a Mexican inspired dinner. Let us know if you plan to come so we can make sure we have enough tacos and other goodies for you. RSVP’s  phone: 775 972 9392 or Email: hq@sierranevadaairstreams.org. If you can’t come for the whole rally, come for a day or come for a visit whatever fits your schedule.

For maps, more information and pictures check the website

Keep Informed about the SNU

— 

SNU HQ 

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Wildflowers, Coffee, and Web skimming

Project Gutenberg  has 100 Desert Wildflowers in Natural Color by Natt Noyes Dodge.

When Webster defined a desert as a “dry, barren region, largely treeless and sandy” he was not thinking of the 50,000 square mile Great American Desert of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Most of it is usually dry and parts may be sandy, but as a whole, it is far from barren and treeless. Heavily vegetated with gray-green shrubs, small but robust trees, pygmy forests of grotesque cactuses and stiff-leaved yuccas, and myriads of herbaceous plants, the desert, following rainy periods, covers itself with a blanket of delicate, fragrant wildflowers. Edmund C. Jaegar, author of several books on deserts, reports that the California deserts alone support more than 700 species of flowering plants.

You can either browse the book online – in color! – or download it to read in your eBook device. For this book, you really need a color display.

Skillet is wondering: Is Trader Joe’s Pour-Over Bag the Ultimate in Coffee Convenience? — “The concept is simple: you just twist off the tip of the spout and open the top of the bag, pour hot water in up to the fill line, let it sit for four minutes, and pour the coffee into cups.” Amazon has a pack of six for $18 – that’s about $3 per typical coffee mug. Convenience has its price but this isn’t your every day cuppa’joe, either.

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Texas Davis Mountains and California Gene Autry trail

He says “just keep it between the lines bro …

There is no better sports car loop in the USA– The 75 mile Scenic Loop in far west Texas is a desolate, eye opening…damn I gotta drive.

Then there’s a link to Jennifer Bolande at American Digest: I think that I shall never see / A billboard lovely as a tree. These billboards between I10 and Vista Chino out of Palm Springs – 33°50’41.70”N 116°30’21.02”W – are pictures of what you’d see without the billboards.

Follow the links but don’t stop there. Check out the maps and other resources. Dream. Maybe even put on your bucket list. Places to see. Places to visit. So many. Too many. 

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The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass

For those 62 or older, you can get a discount pass to reduce fees at many recreational areas owned by the Federal Government. See the Senior Pass page. The cost is only $10 or, if you use USGS online store, $20 with the extra ten for ‘document processing.’ This is a lifetime pass. It supercedes the Golden Age Passports that are no longer sold. See America the Beautiful Passes for information about 4th grade, military, and other versions of this discount pass and additional information.

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Diesel versus Petrol

It’s always a challenge trying to fit specifications with popular perceptions when it comes to trailer towing engine choices. An Australian AutoExpert, John Cadogan, has a lecture on YouTube that contains a few hints: Diesel Australia – the Diesel vs Petrol story  — do read the text that goes with the video as it is a bit more complete than many such video explanations.

Diesel vs petrol engines: Comparable petrol engines make more peak power – but diesels deliver huge torque at low revs. That means more low-rpm power from the diesel – maybe three or four times as much down at 2000rpm. That makes diesel feel unfussed and effortless in traffic. Diesel motors are about 30-40 per cent more fuel efficient. That means more cruising range out of a diesel, and less spent every week on transport.

This doesn’t help the confusion. There is a clue given in the video that does provide some help. The first item to consider is a proper definition of terms. It is the power that determines how fast you can get up the hill and the engine torque that determines the gear you need to use. Torque is a force whereas power is the rate of energy flow. So torque needs to have both distance and time figured in to be able to compare it to power. That is one problem with the quote. Another is that comparisons such as “maybe three or four times as much” are useless without a proper referent. The key item is that a diesel is a low speed engines while petrol (gas) engines produce best at higher rotational speeds (RPMs). The power range in a diesel covers only about half the RPM of a gas engine. That means that the transition from cruising on the flat to climbing a hill is going to cause the diesel to speed up much less than a gas engine and that means that the gas engine is more likely to need a shift of gears. 

It all comes back to the transmission. Big rigs need a lot of gears despite being diesels because they need all the power they can get and the gears help optimize the narrow torque curve. Choosing the best engine for long haul means it’s likely a bit small for grades and start stop traffic and the transmission compensates. The typical RV isn’t as heavy and can use an engine that has a better power to vehicle weight ratio to handle mixed traffic situations with fewer gears.

That’s just one example. John covers a lot of ground in 12 minutes so you need to listen carefully to catch things a bit different than you think. It’s not as simple a debate and there is a lot of nuance to catch.

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Pet Peeves: Email for club business

Business communications includes club and association communications and doing it right is stepping up to effectiveness. Business Email Etiquette – 5 Simple Rules For Managing Email Without Being An Ignoramus hits the main points.

There are a few simple business email etiquette rules that you can follow to make your life a whole lot easier and save yourself from being an email ignoramus.

Sure, business email is a necessity, but I think we can all agree that email is a colossal pain in the a$$. A lot of that pain is caused by ignoramus’ rampant misuse of email.

TechTerms defines Netiquette as

Netiquette, or net etiquette, refers to etiquette on the Internet. Good netiquette involves respecting others’ privacy and not doing anything online that will annoy or frustrate other people. Three areas where good netiquette is highly stressed are e-mail, online chat, and newsgroups. For example, people that spam other users with unwanted e-mails or flood them with messages have very bad netiquette. You don’t want to be one of those people. If you’re new to a newsgroup or online chat room, it may help to observe how people communicate with each other before jumping in.

This is really one of those ‘no excuses’ things. It used to be something taught in school typing classes. It’s still a popular topic for Secretary Handbooks (Amazon Affiliate Link). You’ll even find it buried in the links on our website pages (communications etiquette). The link on that page to RFC 1855 appears to be suffering link rot. A search shows the source document can be found at The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF®) from October 1995

This document provides a minimum set of guidelines for Network Etiquette (Netiquette) which organizations may take and adapt for their own use.  As such, it is liberately written in a bulleted format to make adaptation easier and to make any particular item easy (or easier) to find.  It also functions as a minimum set of guidelines for individuals, both users and administrators.  This memo is the product of the Responsible Use of the Network (RUN) Working Group of the IETF.

It is abuse of etiquette that prompted the CAN-SPAM act of 2003 (Wilkipedia). That was aimed at businesses and wasn’t very effective but it did clarify what was bothering people in I’net communications. As such, the law can provide a good guideline for proper practice.

What is amazing is the hostility often encountered when trying to suggest avoiding some of the more gross etiquette breaches. It’s not just about looking good, it is about a consideration for others. It is how a club actually demonstrates what it thinks of its members and other people. Your communications show what you think of your correspondents. Make it good!

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SNU April 2017 News

SNU Folks,

The April 2017 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: Lahontan rally review -|- April Rally at Ft Sage -|- The Most Toys -|- Carefree Camping -|- Local Resources -|- Airstreaming For Everyone-|- Batteries, A New Era -|- SNU Community Service -|- Ft Sage Memories

April Rally at Ft Sage

Thursday April 20 to Sunday April 23, 2017 are the dates for the SNU rally at Ft Sage near Doyle. Be sure to access Ft Sage from Laver Crossing road which is 2 miles from the north end of the Doyle loop. The route provided by a lot of GPS programs from the south is NOT RECOMMENDED for RV’s (unless the bridge has been repaired).  Ft Sage is a BLM campground and off road trail head. The trails are great for hiking and bike riding as well as off road vehicles.  Bring wood for campfires RSVP’s appreciated and helpful. phone: 775 972 9392 or Email: hq@sierranevadaairstreams.org. If you can’t come for the whole rally, come for a day or come for a visit whatever fits your schedule.

For maps, more information and pictures check the website

Keep Informed about the SNU

— 

SNU HQ 

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Outside Missing

At MetaFilter the story linked was How 1,600 People Went Missing from Our Public Lands Without a Trace — That lead to an Outside story centered on the case of 18-year-old Joe Keller who vanished from a dude ranch in Colorado’s Rio Grande National Forest.

The MetaFilter page is worth a look for the comments. The Outside story is rather long but contains a lot of information.

“The first 24 hours are key,” says Robert Koester, a.k.a. Professor Rescue, author of the search and rescue guidebook Lost Person Behavior. Koester was consulted on the Keller case and noted that, like most missing runners, Joe wasn’t dressed for a night outside.
 …
There was nothing to go on. In that first week, the search engaged about 15 dogs and 200 people on foot, horseback, and ATV. An infrared-equipped airplane from the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control flew over the area. Collin’s brother Tanner set up a GoFundMe site that paid for a helicopter to search for five hours, and a volunteer flew his fixed-wing aircraft in the canyon multiple times. A guy with a drone buzzed the steep embankments along Highway 17, the closest paved road, and the rock formation Faith, which has a cross on top. A $10,000 reward was posted for information. How far could a shirtless kid in running shoes get? 
 …
Joe Keller had just joined the foggy stratum of the hundreds or maybe thousands of people who’ve gone missing on our federal public lands. Thing is, nobody knows how many.
 …

It’s hard to put your hunches and suspicions to rest. We’ll never know for certain what happened to Joe Keller. We’ll know even less about what happened to a lot of other people missing in the wild. 

 

One question I had early on was, Are you better or worse off going missing in a national forest than from a Walmart parking lot? I thought I knew the answer. You can see an aerial view of my firewood pile from space on your smartphone. I thought that in the wild, someone would send in the National Guard, the Army Rangers, the A-Team, and that they wouldn’t rest until they found you. Now I’m not so sure.

In Joe’s case, it looks like he was injured in a fall. Even being only a short ways from the ranch, finding him was extremely difficult. It may be low odds of getting lost and the idea of something happening on only a short walk near the campsite seems not worth considering. What is worth considering is that things happen, the wilderness is indeed wild even very close to campgrounds and civilization, and the risk cannot be ignored. 

 

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Lahontan 2017

The SNU rally at the Lahontan Nevada State Park Beach 7 in March 2017 was a nice weekend given usual Nevada spring weather. The big event was watching the lake level rise as water was held to allow spillway maintenance. That put the kibosh on the campfire after the first morning as the fire pit was drowned.

See the rally page and the destination page for more about the event and the place. Some of the new or updated photo galleries include Lahontan Scenery -|- Lahontan water levels 2012 and 2017 -|- The Disappearing fire pit -|- Lahontan Review 1996 to 2017.

Lahontan Rising

Here’s the view towards the lake. The water is part of an inlet with the major part of the lake over the berm in the upper part of the picture. 

The lake is a reservoir fed by the Carson River and the Truckee river via the Newlands Project. It is used to irrigate farmland near Fallon. The excess goes into the Stillwater Wildlife Refuge and there has been work done on US 50 and US 95 to provide culverts and other preparations anticipating a record runoff from this year’s snowpack in the Sierras.

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Batteries slowly moving to a new era

The previous post referred to a battery upgrade that included a switch from a lead acid to a lithium battery. It appears (good data on this is sketchy) that this produced four times the capacity for size and weight versus a ten times increase in capital outlay. Lithionics is one company that is pushing lithium batteries and its website has some useful information.

Battery life is always one issue. Their FAQ page on this provides a graph of cycles versus depth of discharge but does not mention any other age factors. With 90% DoD, 2400 cycles can be expected while at 10% DoD you might get 35,000 cycles. These are at a 1C discharge rate which is a one hour rate. The usual rating for a lead acid battery is a 20 hour rate and they may provide a range of 500 to 2000 cycles for a similar DoD range.

Lead acid batteries are popular because they are cheap and will take a lot of abuse. Not so lithium. This is why Lithonics pushes its NeverDie® Battery Management System (BMS) to protect the battery from common abuse scenarios. One of the issues it handles is cell equalizing. For RV’s with lead acid batteries that is usually handled by overcharging. Storage will do this with a good battery maintainer but some go for the old style bulk charge while monitoring specific gravity style described on Trojan Battery’s website. The BMS is using modern technology for balance charging cells using cell by cell voltage monitoring as lithium batteries don’t use a liquid electrolyte. This type of charging is also popular for those into remote control hobbies like drones and scale model vehicles that run on lithium batteries.

As for cost, BattleBorn lists an LiFePO4 100 ah 12v LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery for $899.00 – Powerstream has a 12v 22AH for $295 so 100 AH of these would cost nearly $1500 – for comparison, Walmart sells a group 29 lead acid RV battery with about this 100 AH 12v capacity at around $100. This is the 1000 watt hour battery capacity level. 

The Journal of the Electrochemical Society has a paper on Calendar Aging of Lithium-Ion Batteries. The abstract concludes “To maximize battery life, high storage SoCs corresponding to low anode potential should be avoided.” Here are some other highlights:

Calendar aging comprises all aging processes that lead to a degradation of a battery cell independent of charge-discharge cycling. It is an important factor in many applications of lithium-ion batteries where the operation periods are substantially shorter than the idle intervals, such as in electric vehicles. Furthermore, the degradation owing to calendar aging can also be predominant in cycle aging studies, especially when cycle depths and current rates are low.

This is particularly important in RV’s and is why cycle life isn’t even much of an issue with lead acid batteries.

Basically, both the evolution of passivation layers and transition-metal dissolution are promoted by a high state of charge (SoC) and temperature

This is similar to what happens in lead acid batteries where the passivation layers is called sulfation. The difference is that lead acid batteries do better with a full state of charge (SoC) while lithium batteries suffer if stored this way.

Battery University has a page on how to Prolong Lithium Based Batteries

Lithium-ion has not yet fully matured and is still improving. Notable advancements have been made in longevity and safety while the capacity is increasing incrementally. Today, Li-ion meets the expectations of most consumer devices but applications for the EV need further development before this power source will become the accepted norm.

That means you need to be careful when evaluating lithium battery specifications and advertising claims. There isn’t a history, things are changing rapidly, and effective measurement standards are not well established.

Environmental conditions, not cycling alone, govern the longevity of lithium-ion batteries. The worst situation is keeping a fully charged battery at elevated temperatures. Battery packs do not die suddenly, but the runtime gradually shortens as the capacity fades.

Batteries are electrochemical devices and suffer much the same issues no matter the chemistry. Lithium batteries have advantages in terms of cycle life, high discharge rates, and short charge times. This might get you a 4x capability improvement for a 10x price premium. Here’s where that might be worth considering.

  • If you want to run your RV air conditioner for a few hours or other heavy loads for more than a few minutes, 
  • If your lifestyle frequently cycles battery charge in a consistent pattern that doesn’t show significant variation or have need for deep reserves.
  • If you have an ability to charge the battery at 1C rates (100 amps for 100 AH battery)
  • If weight is a significant factor for your battery bank.
  • If you don’t have to worry about temperature extremes (below 40F or above 90F)

Otherwise?

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