Road trip games

Jonathon Ramsey on Autoblog: Our Top 5 Favorite Road Trip Games Of All Time — (No, We’re Not “There Yet”).

Road trip games, those boredom-battling tests of concentration and quick vision meant to speed the hours, are some of the closest things we have to auto mythology.

Like early tales of Zeus and the Chupacabra passed down by oral tradition, they mean a lot to us, some of them make us laugh and some scare the pants off us, and no one knows from whom, when or where they originated.

I Spy, Road Trip Bingo, A is for Armadillo, Alphabet, Cow Poker … what are your favorites?

These days, it seems that parents are looking at other ways to keep the kids occupied. Consider the Raspicar wireless media server projectI wanted a way to stream video files to different Ipads and ipods I own to entertain my 4 children during long car drives.” Maybe the Pokemon Go phenomena will get an adaptation to automotive travel? 

It used to be we’d get maps at gas stops and plot travels and take notes on locations on the paper maps. No more. It’s electronic maps, wikipedia, and a whole lot of games on a tablet. Things have changed.

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SNU September 2016 Newsletter has been posted

SNU Folks,

The September 2016 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: Obsidian Rally Review -|- Lassen Anniversary rally -|- Welcome Brandon and Kimberly -|- SNU Highlights & Achievements -|- Remembering the Leipper’s -|- 2005 Kingston crickets

September SNU Anniversary Rally at Lassen RV Resort. Thursday September 22– Sunday 25 2016, will be the culmination of the celebration of the SNU’s 40th Anniversary. Don’t miss this very special rally. There is still time to make your reservations.  Cost is $120 per rig (includes 3 nights space rental and special meals for 2 people) RSVP to Randy Grossmann Email randyg@pyramid.net  Phone: 775 883 3603. Lassen RV resort is located one mile off Hwy 299 and 8 miles east of McArthur, CA. It is 175 miles North of Reno via Hwy 395.

Keep Informed about the SNU

— 

SNU HQ 

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Hartley Springs

Here’s an ‘official campground’ between June Lakes and Mammoth


Hartley Springs

See the photo gallery!

ForestCamping.com saysThe campground has the feel of dispersed camping along an amazingly organized maze of roadways. Many camp sites have a “circle-your-wagons” character – great family or group camping. Widely spaced among Ponderosa and Jeffrey pines and White fir with patches of grass, privacy is good at most camp sites. Because of the abundance of OHV trails, this is an excellent base camp for such enthusiasts; it can also get noisy. The campground is pack it in, pack it out.”

The NFS says “Located between June Mountain and Obsidian Dome, at an Elevation of 8400 feet, this campground has 25 campsites surrounded by pine forest with nearby access to the tributaries of the headwaters of Owens River.”

 

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SNU Obsidian Dome Rally August 2016

This was a tenth visit of the SNU to the south side of Obsidian Dome.


Obsidian Dome SNU Rally

See the photo gallery!

The road to this place is a bit iffy and larger vehicles would be in for some nail biting situations. Next year, the SNU plans to transfer the rally site over to Hartley Springs nearby. That road is a bit better with a few sandy spots being the major hazard.

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Sawmill Meadows

Sawmill Meadows is about 11 miles off CA 120 between Benton and Lee Vining.

Sawmill Meadows Campground

It’s a dirt road off 120 to a camp area at nearly 9,000 feet in the pines. The camp area is a bit rough with limited room to maneuver. Coordinates 37.767960, -118.678055.

See the photo gallery!

There is a trail over to Glass Mountain and a lot of scenic vistas.

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USGS topographic maps courtesy National Geographic

There’s another way to get those high resolution USGS topographic 15′ and 7.5′ maps courtesy of National Geographic. See ngmaps.maps.arcgis.com. This should come up with a US overview. You need to hit the +/- buttons to zoom in and drag to the area of interest. Once you zoom in far enough, you’ll see a grid of red markers on the map. Click on one of these markers to pop up a map reference. Click on the map icon in the box and you’ll get a 5 page PDF with the first page a 15′ index to four 7.5 minute maps on the following pages.

Of course, you can also go to the USGS store and order the traditional paper copies or get free online versions (if you support the proper plugin). The NFS also has maps which have a lot of detail to the national forests for hikers and campers. If you are planning on travel in the forests with any vehicle “The following motor vehicle use maps have been prepared and issued under 36 CFR 212.56, and identify those roads, trails, and areas designated for motor vehicle use.” The MVUM are needed so you can make sure to keep your vehicle only on authorized roads.

To avoid the experience of those who blindly followed a personal navigation device (GPS) and have a tale of doom to tell, keep in mind Rule 1: never travel blind. Know your maps and where they came from.

The USGS and NFS maps have a lot of roads and trails you would not want to take your RV on. The state map have road maps a bit more suited for planning an RV trek (Nevada Department of Transportation Maps here). You can also often get a free paper map (Request a Nevada State Highway Map) that shows the major roads and has good tourist and visitor information as well.

The problem with PND/GPS maps is that they are hidden and electronic and the only source you know about is the brand name on the device. Fortunately, technology is making it easier to keep maps up to date, to cross verify maps with other sources, and to obtain current traffic and hazard information. The 511 home (nvroads.com) now provides links to highway cameras so you can see current traffic in some areas. Google also provides road traffic flow information for those who are using cell phones with location turned on. Waze is a social media app that can be used to report traffic situations, too. 

Maps can be fun, educational, and attractive art as well as utilitarian. The options available now are incredible. Be informed. Travel safe.

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SNU August Newsletter

SNU Folks,

The August 2016 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: Weed Heights rally Review -|- August rally at Obsidian -|- Welcome Claudia and Frank & Diane -|- Report on New Directions -|- Airstream Activities -|- SNU business – 2017 dues, rallies & bylaws -|- Trailer Park Troubadours -|- Wheeler Kitty Kredit memories -|- Good Maps

August Rally at Obsidian Dome

Thursday August 18 – Sunday 21, 2016 are the dates for the SNU rally at Obsidian.  We’ll start off with a sandwich and salad dinner on Thursday. Marla will pick up some bread at Shat’s. The rest of us should bring salads and sandwich makings. Obsidian Dome is south of Reno on US 395 about 160 miles. Between June Lakes and Mammoth Lakes, CA. The campground is 2.7 miles off of US 395. Check the website for detailed directions. Rick will post some signs to guide people to the rally site. RSVP to the SNU at hq@sierranevadaairstreams.org or call 775 972 9392.

Keep Informed about the SNU

— 

SNU HQ

 

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Weed Heights 2016

The SNU gathered at Weed Heights for the annual air conditioner exercise. And good fellowship. And good food.

See the photo gallery!

The annual Night in the Country festival was also in Yerington so RV traffic on Alternate U.S. was rather heavy at times but nobody reported any difficulties getting to the rally or to home afterwords. The traffic situation made watching the Google Maps traffic overlay an interesting exercise.

The fixin’ this time was a water heater problem. The park manager just happened to have the part for the thermostat but that didn’t fix the problem. Figuring out the valving system on the water heater bypass turned out to be the trick this time.

Trying to find a path between the trees for satellite TV reception presented a challenge.

And it was a good time to try out the dolly for the toad to make sure everything worked right and the checklist was complete.

Down at the fairgrounds was a big gathering for country music and party fans. Up at the RV park was a bit quieter with a much smaller crowd having their own kind of fun and relaxation.

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Nash 100 years setting the stage for the modern car

Jason Torchinsky repostrs that the Nash Turns 100 Today: Here’s Six Reasons Why It May Be The Most Influential Car Company Ever.

Nash Motors would have been a century old today, and while I suspect that most modern gearheads probably don’t give Nash much thought, they really should. For a defunct car company, we still feel Nash’s influence a surprising amount, in ways that are pretty basic and fundamental to how cars are today.

Nash was a player in developing Flow-through ventilation and modern car HVAC systems that are now taken for granted. The minimalists can also look at Nash’s Reclining seats and car-sleeping ideas. A lot of things we take for granted these days was non-existent not that long ago. Many baby boomers might remember cruising down 66 through the desert with only an evaporative cooler stuck in the window. Big innovations and small ones have made a lot of the risk and discomforts of getting there as things fading in memory.

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Cutting back. Changing times. WBCCI Amateur Radio Service Nets

It’s a sign of the times. AJ4UX says the WBCCI sponsored 20-meter International RV Service Nets [are] Discontinued.

When WBCCI was created in the 1950’s, the primary need for amateur radio was for communications for caravans which roamed far and wide across North America and into the rest of the world.

Because we have been unable to recruit volunteers to manage these two nets, the low participation primarily due to poor propagation, and the replacement by an extensive network of mobile telephone service over North America, the officers decided to discontinue sponsorship of the two 20-meter nets.

The other three nets, all operating on 40 meters, are healthy and have a full complement of net managers and net control stations. These nets, spanning the lower 48 states and into all Canadian provinces, continue to provide excellent contact among net members for social, technical and communications purposes.

The 40 and 20 meter bands are popular for mobile operations. 40 offers regional propagation characteristics most of the time while 20 is better for DX or distance contacts. For local communications, the 2 meter amateur band, often with repeaters, and the CB radio service were used. CB does not require any testing or paperwork for a transmit license so it was very common for in-site rally news and communications. 2 meter with repeaters did require some paperwork and a technical and regulatory test for a ham license but it worked well for metropolitan area coverage.

Cell phones now cover most of these communications needs for sitewide, metropolitan, regional, and national coverage. In addition to voice, they also provide SMS for short text messages and I’net access for information sites and discussion forums. As the cell network has built out and the technology has become more prevalent, the need for CB and ham radio communications has dropped. CB is now nearly just a vestige and ham radio moving more towards the hobbyist aspects with the Preppers coming in because they see it as a doomsday backup.

There is more here, though. “unable to recruit volunteers” and “low participation” bespeak of change. This change is related to the recent ‘rogue Trustee‘ brouhaha in the WBCCI. It is about the Annual WBCCI rally being an order of magnitude smaller than in its heyday – despite Airstream cranking out trailers as fast as it can and despite the iconic nature of the brand and its vintage attractions. The need for in-person meetings to make decisions and printed matter distributed by the post office to communicate and inform and the disappearance of special costs and fees for long distance telecommunications, are technological advances that have diminished the need for the traditional local club operating in the traditional manner with a newsletter and a monthly gathering to decide what to do and how to do it. There are also social changes that divide personal loyalties and provide alternative means for satisfying social needs that diminish the need for the traditional local club. 

For each of us, these changes provide more options for us to express ourselves and find satisfaction and meaning in life. For traditional groups, it means finding ways to adapt to a membership that is not so bound to the group. This is not going to be easy. It will be exploring many new ideas. It means tripping and stumbling and growing and exploring. Errors will be made. Ideas will die. But some ideas will surface and flower. People will get angry and do harmful things. Our mettle will be tested. 

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Families, Kids, Pets, and the RV experience

The Family Corner has been updated. Camping isn’t just for the retired, ya know!

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Summer reading

Looking for something with a bit less fluff than the usual for keeping the mind exercised this summer without having to dip into the wallet? Take a look at the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

On Vietnam, the volumes include Military Communications: A Test for Technology and Engineers at War as well as everything from a history of the special forces to logistics to medical evacuation to social and general history material. 

Choose your war, from the Revolution to Iraq and you’ll find reading on about any military topic from unit histories to medal winner stories to global government and social issues. There’s enough good stuff to find your own gems.

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SNU July news online now

SNU Folks,

The July 2016 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 July newsletter: Hickison Rally Review -|- Weed Heights Rally -|- CBL Update -|- Welcome New Members -|- Remembering Dale & Marge Grosch -|- Update on SNU 40th Anniversary Rally -|- Early Report from Lewisburg -|- Brainstorming with NV State Parks -|- SNU Contributions to WBCCI -|- Dyann’s Kitty Kredits Memories -|- Clarification on officer lists

July Rally at Weed Heights

Weed Heights RV Park near Yerington is the site for the SNU rally Thursday July 21 – Sunday July 24, 2016. The park fees are approximately $24 per night per rig with Good Sam or AAA membership. Pay the park host upon arrival. This full service park The special event for this rally will be Friday dinner with Jerry’s special Nevada Surf-n-Turf BBQ and ice cream for dessert. Don’t miss out. Let us know if you plan to attend so we can make sure we will have enough food for everyone. RSVP to the SNU at hq@sierranevadaairstreams.org or call 775 972 9392.

Keep Informed about the SNU


SNU HQ

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What can I tow?

G.R. White thinks tow ratings are overrated. This is despite efforts like the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J2807 tow-rating standard.

Alongside power, economy and payload, trailering ratings are the Holy Grail of light truck marketing. However, despite recently adopted Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standards that put everyone on the same footing, the value of tow ratings is almost irrelevant in the real world.

There’s only one way to know what your pickup can tow, and it involves a trip to the scales, knowledge of what Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR), GVWR and Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) are and how to calculate it all. Sure, the salesman is correct when they say your truck could pull this or that, but will they be in court or the service drive with you if something goes wrong?

The problem is that measures like in the J2807 standard have carefully specified conditions and assumptions and the actual usage may or may not reflect those conditions and assumptions. White also runs afoul of the measurement problem in his suggested solution as well. J2807 is an attempt at a s usability measure determined by actual performance evaluation. Weight ratings are engineering specifications that are estimated from design and materials considerations. A key item that should raise a red flag is when White refers to the legal system as the only time that argument has any merit is in cases of gross negligence.

Of course, you do not want to abuse the engineering specifications for your rig but you do need to be aware of their source. GAWR and wheel and tire ratings, for example, are close to individual component specific and that means they need careful attention. GVWR is more vague as it is about the vehicle as a system of parts. GCWR is even less precise as it depends upon assumptions about frontal wind area and other factors that depend upon specific circumstances. It also pays to keep in mind that, as engineering specifications, these ratings have a safety margin built in and there are also usually conditions and assumptions considered that can be manipulated for special circumstances. Speed and temperature are two of those conditions and assumptions that can be manipulated to adjust ratings, for instance. Sometimes, like for tires, these conditions are actually specified.

If you remember a family RV experience as a kid back in the 50’s or 60’s, you will recall a family sedan or station wagon with a 100-200 hp engine and a three speed transmission towing a trailer weighing maybe a ton or so. Downshifting on nearly any grade was to be expected and their wasn’t much in the way of creature comforts such as air conditioning or even bucket seats. These days, the tow vehicle is an SUV or pickup truck with nearly double the power of that old sedan and a transmission with double the gears, too. The trailer likely ways four tons or more. People seem to get irritated if their automatic transmission downshifts out of overdrive going up freeway grades and turning off the AC as suggested on I15 going East of Baker is not a consideration.

Yes, it’s prudent to make sure your rig is competent and capable before you buy but people also learn from experience. You find a tow vehicle and a trailer that fits your needs and is comfortable for your RV experience. The choice isn’t a permanent one as your needs, interests, and preferences will change over time. Equipment also keeps getting better, too.

Take care. Drive safe.

 

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An update on the motion of our regional representative to remove WBCCI affiliation with the SNU:

SNU members and friends,

Keep in mind that there will be no change in SNU operations or planned activities from any WBCCI decision. 

It is the WBCCI that is at risk as its decision will be about whether or not its Constitution and Bylaws mean what they say and whether or not the SNU represents its purposes and activities as represented to the state of Ohio and the IRS. This is why a page on _Questions to consider if you value WBCCI_ has been posted on the SNU website. See the index page for WBCCI Governance.

If you value the WBCCI, it is time to examine this case of its behavior and to make a stand – speak your voice – about what it is doing, how it functions and what should be done to make it a healthier and more vital organization.

Correspondence and presentations from WBCCI members and officials and other information has been added to the website to provide background and depth for the current case. More is added as it is found. Be an informed member of the organization and do your part to make WBCCI an organization that upholds its legacy and purpose; an organization where we can take pride in our membership.

Also don’t forget! Next week is the rally at Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area – camping, with friends, in our Airstreams, to enjoy and learn about the special nature of the Eastern Slope of the Sierra and the Great Basin. This is also Amateur Radio Field Day weekend so it will be a good time for members with ham radio licenses to exercise their emergency communications skills, too.

— 

SNU HQ

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Don’t buy blind

Steve Lehto says Don’t Buy An RV! – Lehto’s Law Ep. 45 in an 18 minute Youtube video. He’s a consumer protection lawyer and has lots of sad tales to tell.

Published on Aug 19, 2015 — Why you shouldn’t buy an RV – or what you should know before you do. Recreation Vehicles are very different from cars when it comes to how the law protects you.

His point is that an RV is a complex collection of many systems put together by folks under a lot of pressure and often bought by people who don’t really know what they are getting into. Automotive Lemon Laws and consumer protections are not as stringent for RV’s and the risks are significant.

Caveat Emptor (wikipedia) applies. Know what you think you are buying. Check to see that what you think you are buying is most likely what you are paying for. And know the RV lifestyle needs and requirements related to the particular RV you are buying. Expect things to break or not work as you expect and know what to do when that happens.

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SNU June Newsletter

SNU Folks,

The June 2016 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 June newsletter: Crocker Rally Review -|- June rally at Hickison -|- SNU Success -|- SNU Kids -|- Remembering Don & MaryLou Damoth -|-  SNU Business – Delegate Meeting & Proposed IBT motion -|-  Randy & Vicki join the SNU in 2005 -|- Lassen Rally Update -|- Share your SNU Memories

June Rally at Hickison

Hickison Petroglyph Area is the site for the SNU rally Thursday June 23- Sunday June 26 2016. Hickison is 20 miles east of Austin just off US 50 at Hickison Summit. The turnoff is well marked and easily spotted. This is a BLM site with individual camping spots and lots of nice juniper trees. Elevation at the campground is 6500 ft.  Be sure and bring wood for campfires RSVP to the SNU at hq@sierranevadaairstreams.org or call 775 972 9392.

Keep Informed about the SNU

— 

SNU HQ

 

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Mosquitoes, Zika, and Consumer Reports

Lifehacker reports that the Consumer Reports’ Mosquito Repellent Rankings Are Now Available for Free. It’s been a rather wet spring in NW NV and that means not only a lot of weeds but also a lot of bugs, including mosquitoes. A decent repellent can make for a much more comfortable outing.

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The gathering at Crocker NFS campground

The weather forecasts scared off a few. The road construction might have given some others pause. For others, those obstacles were just a part of a special experience.


See the photo gallery. The SNU knows how to enjoy the special capabilities of their Airstream RV’s!

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Drive a model T?

Sometimes we don’t know how good we have it. Take a look at the 1911 Model T owner’s manual and compare. These days you do have lots of controls and gadgets to work with but they are for the media and navigation systems, remote controls for locks and windows, and other such conveniences. In the Model T, the controls were critical to getting it to run down the road. There were three floor pedals. Spark advance and throttle were on the steering column. A lever on the floor to the left of the driver had something to do with gears.

I remember my grandfather running the ‘stage route’ down near Payson. It was a short trip but he could count on having to repair a flat and carried a bag of fuller’s earth for the clutch and often had broken axle problems. That was then. Things have changed. 

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