Roughing it smoothly

Ray Whyte is a Canadian handyman with a Prowler. He’s put together a 122 page book (PDF) available for free on his website. The book is well worth the download and probably even a donation as requested. There are a lot of pictures, personal anecdotes, tips and tricks, suggestions, and just plain good advice. Whether you want to see how to weld on an additional entry step or sew together a tire cover, Ray has his story, with pictures and sometimes links to YouTube videos.

Books like this are enjoyable for the pictures,  the sharing of common experiences, and the many ideas to peruse and consider. The price on this one can’t be beat.

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Prosser Creek Reservoir SNU plus Norcal Rally

The rangers and the campground host both remarked on the abundance of aluminum that weekend.

Photo galleries and seminar notes are up at the rally page. Check it out!

Photo Galleries:
Rally photo gallery 1 -|- Rally photo gallery 2 -|- Bird Banding

Presentation Handouts:
Off Grid Camping -|- Don’s Handouts -|- Solar Energy -|-

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SNU event update and schedule changes

There are a few changes in the remaining SNU 2015 rally schedule.

* Thursday September 24 – Sunday 27 2015 the rally location has changed from Obsidian Dome to Glass Creek Campground. Glass Creek Campground is 4 miles further south of the the turn off to Obsidian on hwy 395. It is an NFS free, semi dispersed campground. It is more accessible than Obsidian, near Glass Creek and has access to hiking and off road trails.  Here are some links to the Glass Creek area and campground.

* Thursday October 29, 2015 – Sunday November 1, 2015 are the dates for the SNU rally at Death Valley Mesquite campground. This Rally is hosted by Don and Gail and they have a lot of ideas for special activities.

* Saturday November 14, 2015 – the Luncheon will now be held at El Charro Avita in Carson City. The original site has new owners and the place is no longer suitable for an SNU luncheon.

Mark your calendar and plan to join us!

— 

SNU HQ

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Proper tire inflation

The problem of under inflated tires has become an issue big enough for the government to require many new vehicles to have tire pressure monitoring systems.  Under inflated tires are inefficient and can lead to traumatic tire failure. This is why the Les Schwab tire store leaving me with tires below pressures specified on the vehicle driver door placard and below the tire manufacturer’s recommendations for the load on the tire were a concern.

Since tire pressure is to be determined when the air in the tire is at ambient air temperatures, taking the vehicle down to the tire store to get pressures checked is not usually a good idea. A tire that has been run a few miles or has had tires sitting in the sun should be considered a tire in use. About all you can do with tires that are in use is to realize that a hot tire is telling you it needs more air. Never let air out of a tire except when you can measure the pressure when you are sure the tire and the air inside it are at the same temperature as the air temperature in the shade. Manufacturers take into account diurnal temperature changes and other factors when they make recommendations for tire pressure so you should only adjust pressures with the tires at at ambient conditions and not service conditions.

On RV tire safety, Toyo says:

“The amount of air pressure in a tire determines the load that can be carried safely. Every Toyo tire will have the maximum load and inflation molded into the sidewall of the tire. This load and inflation ratio should never be exceeded. Tires for RV applications are subject to a variety of severe conditions when compared to automobiles or trucks. Underinflation of a tire can cause poor handling, irregular wear, and decreased fuel economy. It also causes extreme heat build-up within the components of the tire which can lead to failure. “

“Toyo Tire does not recommend an “inflate-to-the-load” policy for RV tires. Tires that are inflated to accommodate the vehicle’s actual loads do not have any inflation safety margin. Consequently, even a minor loss of air pressure will cause the tires to be under-inflated and overloaded. Toyo Tire’s policy is to observe (as a minimum) the tire pressure established by the vehicle manufacturer as indicated on the tire information placard.”

The base issue is heat build up. A tire has a foot print, a flat spot on the pavement, whose size depends upon the pressure in the tire and the load on the tire. As the tire rotates, there is flex in the tire as the flat spot moves to a different spot on the tire. That flexing of the tire causes internal friction and that friction causes heat. With additional pressure or less load on the tire, the flat spot is smaller and the flexing, hence the heating, is reduced. That is one reason why it is a good idea to check tire and hub temperatures when you stop during travels. There are two issues in heat monitoring to consider. One is how to measure tire temperatures and the other is how hot is too hot. Most RV tire web sites don’t really say anything on this. Dieter Motor Sports has this:

The best indicator of correct tire pressure is tire temperature. The air pressure acts like three springs inside the tire holding the car up. Overinflation causes the center to push too hard, creating excessive heat. Too little pressure causes insufficient push and reduced heat in the center. Our goal is to have the entire width of the tire share the workload evenly. If one section of the tire is overworked it will overheat and wear prematurely. Tire temperatures will never be perfectly even across the tire. But if a linear reading within 10 degrees can be achieved, far greater tire wear and performance will result.

Even more specific is a racing cars website.

Using an infrared thermometer, you will get a surface reading that may be 10-40 degrees cooler than temperatures taken with a probe type thermocouple. 

Three readings are taken on each tire: inner tread, center tread and outer tread. Inner and outer readings are taken one inch from the tread shoulder. Write down the readings for evaluation. Check with your tire manufacturer to find the recommended operating temperature for your tires. A typical operating range for a DOT-R tire is 180 ˚F to 200 ˚F with a hot pressure of 37 to 43 psi. You want to see no more than 20 degrees difference in temperatures across the tread, with the inside being slightly hotter than the outside.

Another website with guidelines for a hot tire is the Bridgestone page on airplane tires.

A “Hot Tire” is defined to be a tire heated by aircraft operation (Braking) or by exposure to sunlight and having a surface temperatrure higher than ambient temperature by at least 30°C. A “Hot Tire” may also result from operating with an abnormally large tire deflection.

Tires are not recommended for further use when tire surface temperature exceeds 225°F (107°C), or when brake heat creates temperatures that exceed 300°F (149°C) at points where the tire is in contact with the wheel surface.

RV Guidelines

Tire wear isn’t usually an issue with RV tires. A bit of over-inflation is better than trying to get an ‘exactly right’ pressure according to some chart or whatnot. Trailer tires, especially, should be inflated to the max sidewall indicated pressure. Extra wear near the center of the tread from an inflation margin of safety is likely to be minimal over the life of the tire in most RV use.

A stop for a walk-around every couple of hours is not only good for avoiding DVT and muscle issues but also a good time for a quick scan of tires and hubs with an IR thermometer. You don’t need to get as specific as in the racing car website but you should look for anomalies – one tire significantly different from the others – and tires that are quite a bit warmer than air temperatures.

A good TPMS or tire pressure monitoring system will help you avoid problems. It will warn you before you start if any of your tires need air. On the road, you will get early warning of tire failures so you can pull off the road and minimize damage from a flat tire. Monitoring the TPMS readout will familiarize you with how your tires normally respond in service as they warm up and their pressure increases.

Start your RV maintenance and safety procedures with proper tire inflation.

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Caveat Emptor: Les Schwab Tire Store

The saga started with the TPMS going to alarm about 5 miles out from the rally site. The flat tire suffered from old age and that meant replacement was needed. The Les Schwab Tire store 954 in Fallon was among the closest I could find that had the tires I needed in stock and was able to replace them on a Friday afternoon. Having a friend who knew people who worked there and a store with a big regional brand added confidence that the store could take care of my tire problem.

Strike one was the error rate. Tires were not inflated to either tire or vehicle manufacturer’s specifications. This is a safety issue. The valve stems billed on the invoice were not on the tires. This is a proper service issue and a reason to suspect consumer fraud. The odometer was misread. This is a potential warranty problem. The tire DOT date indicated that the tires had spent 10% of their expected lifetime on the shelf. That reduces the value of the product purchased.

Strike two was response to notification of these errors. I sent a letter to the store manager describing the issues and suggesting that procedures and policies might be changed to reduce the odds of them happening again. The manager called in response to my letter and asserted that the errors were insignificant or just matters of judgment. The ‘computer did it’ was the reason why billing for product not delivered shouldn’t be considered fraud. My concerns were shrugged off.

Strike three was the response to suggestion for improving the store’s quality of service. The idea of fixing the invoicing system was met with laughter. The idea that things might be done differently to reduce errors was dismissed. There seemed to be no interest in quality of service improvements.

Caveat Emptor! (wikipedia) You are not likely to be at the top of your game when out on the road and you don’t need added burdens. Yes, you should always carefully check what you purchase but you are on their home turf, not yours. You need commercial partners you can trust to help you get things right. You don’t need to work with vendors who add to your concerns or issues that might need to be addressed later. 

The issues raised about tire inflation, tire age, and RV issues are worth a review. Posts on these topics to follow!

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SNU August 2015 Newsletter

SNU Folks,

*The August 2015 Newsletter has been posted*
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2015/15-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_
Weed Heights Highlights -|- Joint Rally with NorCal -|- 2016 Membership Renewal -|- Region 12 Newsletter -|- Airstream Trailers -|- An Academic View of WBCCI -|- Numbers and Names -|- Automotive Tech

*August Rally At Prosser*
The first ever joint rally with NorCal will be at Prosser Family campground near Truckee Off Hwy 89. The dates are Wednesday August 5 to Sunday 9, 2015. Hopefully you have reserved your site and will be joining us for this rally. SNU members Don and Gail and NorCal members Claudette and George have come up with a full agenda for this weekend. If you can’t make the whole rally, feel free to stop by for a visit.

*Just in*
Due to a cancellation, there is a site available for the Prosser Rally. If you want to attend, contact Claudette Paige c.paige@att.net for details ASAP.

 For more information:
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2015/15-events/15jy-weedheights.html

Keep Informed about the SNU
 * SNU 2015 Rally Schedule – Mark your calendars
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2015/15-events/docs/15-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 Prosser Rally update

SNU Folks,

Special Announcement

Claudette Paige with NorCal is working with SNU member Don Williams on the joint rally at Prosser August 5 – 9, 2015. Hopefully you have reserved your site for this exciting rally. It looks like most of the campground sites are taken.

http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2015/15-events/15ag-prosser.html

Here is some current info on that rally.
I (Claudette) just found out that the Independence Lake Preserve, managed by The Nature Conservancy, has a “tour” of Independence Lake on August 8. They only do 4 of these special tours from July to October. Independence Lake Preserve is 10 miles north of Prosser on 89. They could lead a tour on the 8th, Saturday afternoon at 1:30. They will need a list of names of people going on this tour. Any SNU members who are coming to this rally should email Claudette ASAP to sign up for the tour c.paige@att.net

To see what is available at this newly added (2010) Nature Conservancy preserve go to this link.
http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/nevada/placesweprotect/independence-lake.xml

On recommendation by SNU member Jeni Root, Diane and Anita checked out Independence Lake in 2007. Although not appropriate for a rally it is a beautiful place. See the photo gallery.
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/destinations/89-california/independence/gallery.html

Claudette has been working on some other possibilities for the Prosser rally. These include the option to attend the musical “Fantasticks” at Sand Harbor on Thursday night. Another idea is to plan to take the Squaw Valley gondola to do some hiking from Squaw Valley’s High Camp. You would have to make your own reservations for these activities.

Don has proposed these ideas for rally activities: Water Use Management -|- A sourdough pancake breakfast for Saturday morning and roll into a short discussion of sourdough -|- Dutch Iron Cooking (provided no limitations on wood or charcoal fires) -|- Electrical System Management -|- Unexpected Repairs; broken rivets, loose screws, sagging doors, water leaks etc -|- Alyeska the Great Land Caravan slide show

See you at Prosser!


SNU HQ

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SNU newsletter July 2015

SNU Folks,

The July 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 July newsletter: Sweetwater Rally Review -|- Weed Heights July Rally -|- 2016 Dues -|- Welcome Ken and Sandra Dillon -|- Possible change of venue -|- Death Valley Rally -|- Frequently Asked Questions About WBCCI -|- Gopher Holes -|- Blue Beret -|- 2016 SNU Rallies

July Rally At Weed Heights

Thursday July 9 to Sunday July 12, 2015 The SNU rally will be at the full service RV Park in Weed Heights near Yerington. This is a nice place up on a hill with nice large trees to park under and great views of the valley. The turn off to Weed Heights and the RV Park off Hwy 95 is well marked. If you can’t make the whole rally, feel free to stop by for a visit.

Keep Informed about the SNU

SNU HQ

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Don Featherstone, R.I.P.

U.S. News reports that Don Featherstone, creator of pink plastic lawn flamingo, dies in Massachusetts at 79.

Featherstone, a trained sculptor with a classical art background, created the flamingo in 1957 for plastics company Union Products, modeling it after a bird he saw in National Geographic. Millions of the birds have been sold.

His legacy lives on at many Airstream gatherings. What is about the pink flamingo yard decoration and an RV rally is something to ponder – some other time, some other place.

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Sweetwater 2015

Perhaps the recent storms and a road washout were the major interest items but the gathering of friends in such scenic country was at yet a higher level

See the photo gallery!

Missed ya’ – maybe nest time?

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SNU June 2015 Newsletter

SNU Folks,

The June 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 June newsletter: Lassen Rally Report -|- June rally at Sweetwater -|- Von Gallion -|- WBCCI International Rallies -}- SNU business (Don Williams delegate, Region 12 updates)

June Rally At Sweetwater: The SNU June rally will be at Sweetwater Summit Thursday June 11 to Sunday June 14 2015. The area is located on highway 338 in Nevada, which comes out of Bridgeport as California highway182. If you are heading north on Nevada 338, at the Sweetwater Summit there is a large parking area to the right with a weather gathering station at the south end. From the southern end of the parking area, there is a short dirt road that goes behind a small knoll where the area flattens out. You’ll see us as soon as you go around the knoll.

Keep Informed about the SNU


SNU HQ

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Lassen Rally

The residue of the Lassen RV Resort SNU Rally remains. Good memories … and a bunch of pictures!


See the photo gallery.

The 2015 Lassen Rally Page has links to the photo gallery as well as to other items of interest in the area and to a second Rally photo gallery (with waffles!). There’s a lot to see in the Fall River valley and plenty of scenic views of a special part of California.

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Fort Crook Museum Photo Gallery

Fort Crook was an outpost in Northern California near Burney Falls in the Fall River Valley area. Now there is a museum near McArthur, CA.

Fort Crook was established on July 1, 1857, to protect travelers on the Shasta – Yreka Road and the Lockhart Ferries. Built by Company A, 1st Dragoons under the command of Captain John W. T. Gardner, the fort consisted of 25 – 30 log buildings enclosed by a pine-pole stockade 12 feet high.

About twenty years after the California post closed, another Fort Crook was established near Omaha, Nebraska, now Offutt Air Force Base.

Fort Crook (2) (1857-1869) – A U.S. Army post established in 1857 as Camp Hollenbush by Captain John W.T. Gardiner and troops from the 1st U.S. Dragoons and the 4th U.S. Infantry in Shasta County, California. Initially named for Assistant Surgeon Calvin G. Hollenbush and later renamed Fort Crook for 1st Lieutenant George Crook, 4th U.S. Infantry. Abandoned in 1869 and returned to the public domain in 1881. [Fort Wiki]

A visit to the museum was on the schedule for many at the SNU Rally held at the Lassen RV Resort. See the photo gallery of the museum tour! Lassen RV Resort is just a few miles east of McArthur and Fall River Mills. If you want a spot for your RV where you can feel like you are camping in the scrub oak yet have all the conveniences ready to hand, this place is a good choice. 50A hookups, pool, and varied settings for the RV.

See the photo gallery of the museum tour!

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SNU May Newsletter

SNU Folks,

The May 2015 Newsletter has been posted click here. 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 Lassen RV Resort -|- Ft Sage Review -|- Don Damoth -|- Joint NorCal rally -|- SNU Business -|- Region 12 updates -|- Helen Byam Swamborn -|- Firewood -|- Cali Rally review

May Rally At Lassen RV Resort

Lassen RV Park is a full service RV Park located one mile off of Hwy. 299 and eight miles east of McArthur. This is 175 miles North of Reno via Hwy 395. Friday’s dinner will be a BBQ. Everyone should bring their own meat to BBQ. Saturday we plan on a brunch with Randy’s special waffles. If someone has a back up waffle iron they could bring, that would be a big help. Rally participants could also bring some berries or melons for the brunch. Happy hours and other activities will depend on the whims and motivations of the rally participants.

Keep Informed about the SNU


SNU HQ

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The Fort Sage Mountains above the trailhead:

See the photo gallery!

Look the other way across Long Creek Valley towards the mountains with Sugarloaf, Meadow View, and McKesik Peaks. The BLM has put in a lot of work improving their trailhead at Fort Sage near Doyle, CA. It makes a good spot for a spring rally. It seems that the Sierra Nevada Unit tends to pick weekends that get some interesting spring weather as well. That means not only being able to enjoy the scenery, the trails, and good company but also the benefits of the RV as well.

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Chairs

Folding chairs have come a long ways from the wood and canvas variety. Even the aluminum tubing with wide plastic webbing has nearly disappeared. The basic issues remain: something comfortable to sit in that is out of the way when on the road. Gismodo found A Comfy Compact Camping Chair That Packs Away Into Its Own Legs.

At $100 it’s not cheap, let’s get that out of the way first. But at just two pounds and eleven inches tall when folded away inside its tripod legs … hen deployed the Treo chair can support someone up to 250 pounds in weight. … The seat is also elevated about thirteen-inches off the ground so it’s easy to climb in and out of. And assembly looks to be much simpler than the MENSA test that is putting up your average tent,

Might be worth considering if those $30 Harbor Freight directors chairs aren’t your thing or you need something compact for the bug-out bag. For RV camping, also see Amazon Folding Camp Chairs from under $20 to as much as you might want to spend. If the joints are getting a bit stiff and you need a bit higher seat that is easier to get out of, see Slumberjack Big Tall Steel Chair (Khaki)

(note, the Amazon links are affiliate links, clicking on them to view stuff on Amazon helps the website)

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Minimize the problem: Mosquitos and other “Protection against arthropod bites”

Indefinitely Wild has a good rundown on What You Can Do About Mosquitos.

On that turkey hunt in a mosquito-infested valley in the eastern Sierra foothills, I applied a 50 percent DEET lotion to my baseball cap and, during the day, wore permethrin-impregnated, full-coverage clothing. At night, I slept unprotected, first in a stand of trees next to the river that enjoyed a constant breeze, then the next night on the ground, in still air next to the car. Before going to bed, I placed the Thermacell on a rock a few feet away and made sure it was fitted with a fresh pad. I was armed with a head net, just in case, but didn’t use it.

The result? After two nights and two days in mosquito central, I found two bites on my right wrist. I guess nothing’s a 100 percent guarantee, but there absolutely are effective methods and products to keep mosquitoes from sucking your blood.

Your RV is a partial solution, too, but have you checked for your supply of repellent to make sure it is fresh for the coming season? What other precautions are appropriate so you can (a) enjoy the outdoors and (b) protect the inside for a good night’s sleep?

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SNU April Newsletter

SNU Folks,

*The April 2015 Newsletter has been posted*
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2015/15-news/index.html

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:
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2015/15-events/15ap-ftsage.html

Keep Informed about the SNU
 * SNU 2015 Rally Schedule – Mark your calendars
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snu/2015/15-events/docs/15-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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Batteries

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 BeUtilityFree.com 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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