Archive for January, 2005

Where do you want to camp?

Have you stopped to think about the criteria you use to choose a campsite? Factors such as cost, scenery, neighbors, hookups, and access may change depending upon whether you are trying to get from here to there, or looking for a vacation or needing a place to park while you do something else. Take a look at some of the issues discussed in Choosing a Homestead.
If you are looking to avoid the $20 and up camp fees see Terry’s Tips on Bargain Homesteads.

Find out what other campers think about RV parks. This site looks like a good reference if you are looking for a place to camp. It includes both commercial and other parks. RV Park Reviews – Campground reviews for the United States

If you are curious about what is going on with the Reno train trench, here is a news article with some good pictures. Reno News and Review Cover story – January 27, 2005

For the HOW TO section, see what Netboy is doing to improve his Lance Camper. NetBoy’s Camper Page

The Newlands project was an early 20th century effort to get water from the Carson and Truckee rivers for irrigation in the Carson sink. “The idea was a simple one: irrigate more than 400,000 acres of land in western Nevada using the combined waters of the Truckee and Carson Rivers. To accomplish this, construct a small dam at the outlet of Lake Tahoe, the source of the Truckee River, to control releases into the river, while downstream, a small dam would divert the water into a canal that would carry it to the Carson River where the combined flows would help bring almost a half a million acres of desert land to life. A simple idea that resulted in almost a century of conflict and controversy punctuated by numerous legal and legislative battles that are not yet fully resolved.” See the rest of the story at Newlands Project – History

Vehicles since 1996 have a standardized plug that can be used to find out what the vehicle is doing. Products such as the ScanGauge – Scan Tool + Digital Gauges + Trip Computers allow using this port as a trip computer. The AutoTap OBDII Diagnostic Scanner is a similar device that allows you to feed the data directly to your laptop computer. See OBD-II – On-Board Diagnostic System to learn about the system
OBDII Frequently Asked Questions
OBDII Automotive Diagnostics Homepage

Sunday is Iraqi Elections Day. Let us hope they have a successful and safe process towards a government of and by the people.

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Pogonip, a name for an icy fog and for a park near Santa Cruz. After we get a good blanket of snow, the storm passes and a high settles in, pogonip in the Great Basin valleys is a good bet. The wet snow creating a moist layer near the ground with warmer air above leaves a decorated winter wonderland.

The inversion also bends sound from the distance down so you hear the trains off in the distance as if they were much closer and more local sounds dissapear.

The bad side is that the inversion traps all the dust, dirt and soot and so things can look ugly. Because the fog keeps the sunshine at bay, roads can be covered with black ice making travel even more hazardous than just a limited visibility would do.

The evidence of pogonip near Reno

Here is some browsing for whiling away those winter hours …

Astronomy Picture of the Day

and to check your knowledge about what’s hot in astrophysics: Quiz: Great Space Mysteries Test your knowledge against some of the most puzzling topics in astronomy. These mysteries didn’t get fully solved in 2004, but not for lack of effort. Each will occupy great minds in 2005 and beyond. Meanwhile, there are some known facts.

a tour that sounds interesting:
Signs tell story of Lewis and Clark – On Aug. 5, 1805, when Meriwether Lewis climbed to the back of what’s now called the Hogback, he certainly had no idea that 320 million years earlier he’d have been knee deep in sand. Instead, the famous explorer was just hoping for insight on which tributary his expedition should follow on its quest across a wild frontier. Now, nearly 200 years later, visitors to the state’s Notch Bottom Fishing Access Site along the Big Hole River can learn a bit about both the expedition and the geology of the area through the efforts of a pair of University of Montana-Western professors.

For the worry warts out there:
JS Online: Fuel quality declining, auto industry asserts As automakers, oil companies, mechanics and motorists continue seeking answers to what may be fouling fuel injectors in Milwaukee, recent reports by the auto industry cite a startling nationwide decline in fuel quality.

I hear good reviews about this freebie from google:
Picasa digital photo albums, sharing & printing: Learn More – A free software download from Google. Picasa is software that helps you instantly find, edit and share all the pictures on your PC. Every time you open Picasa, it automatically locates all your pictures (even ones you forgot you had) and sorts them into visual albums organized by date with folder names you know. You can drag and drop to arrange your albums and make labels to create new groups. Picasa makes sure your pictures are always organized.

Winter and batteries don’t mix well, did we hit this page before?
Understanding Batteries 1 A recent U.S. Battery study has shown that up to 15% of batteries replaced are simply flat or partially discharged. Batteries that are flat or partially discharged, and which can be fully restored after recharging, can be re-installed in the customer’s vehicle.  It is important to test all batteries being replaced, as there may be a problem with the vehicle’s electrical system.

Find some interesting hardware –

Some RV’ers experiences …

Bill / Diana In 1973 we started camping when our kids were quite small. Our first time was for a two night stay at a local state campground in our Sears & Roebuck blue canvass tent that set us back $59. We liked the experience and did more tent camping in the summer of that year and in the Fall bought our first Travel Trailer. As a family we traveled up and down I95 many times to visit places like Disney World, Busch Gardens, Outer Banks, Williamsburg…..and the list goes on and on. We saw black bear, whales, green turtles laying their eggs and tons of mosquitoes. These are memories that we will cherish forever.
If you are curious about the life of a fulltime RVr we’ll share what we know with you here. A fulltime RVr is someone who sells everything that won’t fit in an RV, including the house!  Why?  Well, to travel the US, Canada, and Mexico, in a palace on wheels.  We’ve been there, done that, for the past 6 years now since retiring from the US Air Force.

Roy’s RVing Main Page – Chassis and Body What you’ll find here are the RVing experiences of Roy and Carol… Our goal: Enjoy seeing America with our family and friends! Treat this web page as an adventure in RVing.  There are literally hours of enjoyment to be had just searching the links and the information available.

Sometimes you wonder about people and their interests, But then you can learn all sorts of interesting trivia from them!
WD-40 Fan Club: WD-40, Lava, 3-IN-ONE, 2000 Flushes, Carpet Fresh, X-14 and Spot Shot are all part of the WD-40 Company family! 2000 uses for WD40 — Tacoma Wheelmen

Maybe a resource for nifty things – but at your own risk!
RoadTrucker Truck Accessories: Travel Gifts : 12 Volt Appliances at

Why name a park pogonip?
Santa Cruze Pogonip Park

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What with floods and potential dam breaks in southern California, severe winter storms all over the west, and all the stories about the results of the tsunamis in the Indian Ocean, preparedness comes to mind. When an event happens it is too late to get prepared. Get prepared before something happens. Your RV is an ideal preparedness center. Your use of the RV can provide opportunities to test your emergency preparedness and to practice your capabilities.

First Aid – The folks who survived being swept up in the tsunami often end up with the problem of surviving wounds caused by all of the debris created by turbulent waters. Sepsis was a big problem for those who were not given proper first aid. This resulted in amputations and many deaths. Do you have a good first aid kit in your RV? Do you know how to use it?

Drinking water – Finding safe drinking water is the next task after taking care of injuries, Water is needed not only for drinking to maintain health but also for cleaning. The general recommendation is that you should have three days worth of drinkable water per person for emergency preparedness purposes. This is three gallons per person. Your RV fresh water tank can easily handle this but it is not
good for storing water more than a week or so. In winter conditions, water storage also presents a freezing problem.

Power – Short term and immediate power needs, such as lighting, are often met by batteries. Propane or gasoline powered appliances can help take care of heating and cooking needs. Your RV should be able to provide comfortable living for at least a weekend in cold weather with its batteries and propane tanks. Beyond this is where generators and other energy sources will be needed.

Sanitation – Proper waste disposal is the first step towards creating a healthy environment after a disaster has occurred. Your RV waste tanks will do for several days and garbage can often be contained in appropriate containers for a week depending upon temperature. But after a few days, more permanent means of waste disposal will have to be found.

Food – This one is a bit easier since the invention of canning for Napoleon’s army.

It doesn’t take a disaster before you find out if you are prepared. Even a severe storm, especially a winter storm, can cause power outages that last from hours to days and restrict ability to get out and about. Such storms also highlight weaknesses in maintenance of your house and RV as leaks can show or things can get rearranged. Be prepared, even for the unusual ‘normal’ stuff!

See the Owner’s Guide section on preparedness

For the HowTo – build a computer in an old G Foreman Grill – This is a PC version of the new $500 iMac Apple introduced this week.

On the history side of things, here is a sight with a brief history of toilet paper

Rob Galbraith DPI: A look back at the NC2000 is a look at the early days of professional digital photography, the problems encountered and solutions found. You can see the progress made in just a few short years and why digital photography is much more than the Polaroid phenomena of the new century.

For the ‘what to do in the spare time’ crowd, here is a guy who made a career out of stacking cards. Cardstacker Gallery shows pictures of massive structures built out of playing cards

For the General Education and self improvement, see

Automotive Programs by Bowling & Grippo to calculate parameters as you build your next internal combustion engine or what to determine what changes of speed or other factors will have on your fuel mileage.

Single-phase power systems – Chapter 10: POLYPHASE AC CIRCUITS – Volume II – AC is a section of an online text that will help you figure out the difference between 30 amp and 50 amp RV service. The whole text looks like a very good resource for self study in electricity and electronics.

And here are some of the items our soldiers in Iraq find make their life a bit better. A sleeping bag that scrunches down to a soccer ball sized package and socks (and gloves) that keep feet dry from Sealskinz.

And, if you are still trying to fix that RV appliance, check out Bryant RV’s library for service manuals.

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Winter plumbing

What is the dog to do? When the snow is up to your hips it might make it easy to create a berm that can serve as skirting around your rig to help keep the underside protected but getting around and about it a big problem. And consider the poor dog – where does she do her business?

One of the reasons why skirting helps in winter is that a lot of your plumbing is underneath and cold weather can do nasty things to plumbing. Modern systems can handle a bit of freezing, but if you have copper tubing for water as in the old classic RV’s extra care is needed. The gray plastic pipe of the early 90’s has been superseded by PEX which can even be color coded so you can tell hot from cold. These plastic pipes can often handle being frozen while full of water without bursting.

Holding tanks are another problem. A full, frozen waste tank is not something you want to think about. Don’t let these get past a quarter full. But then you are in the same boat the dog is: where do you do your business?

For the dog, you can pound down an area in the snow or dig it out (I am sure the dog would prefer dirt and a fire hydrant or bush) otherwise you will likely find any paths you tromp out in the snow to start growing yellow snow and some other things you’d rather avoid. For your waste tanks, you will need to either wait until the temperature gets above freezing and the contents of the tank are thawed or you will need to shelter (remember the skirting) and heat the tanks and the waste pipes. That is, if you have a prepared repository for your tank waste. Your rig is not like a bear in the woods or a dog running around the yard. People tend to frown (or do other nasty things to you) if they run across any evidence of your waste improperly disposed of.

Plan to attend the first SNU gathering of Saturday, January 22, 2005 – Luncheon in Reno at the Bavarian World restaurant, 595 Valley Rd, Reno, NV. Call Diane at 775 972 5011 and let us know you are coming. For map and directions go to:

Water, Water, Everywhere! A comprehensive look at RV Plumbing (one of Bart’s excellent howto pages)

The Homebrew project for this week: Make your own replica of the Apollo Guidance Computer. 4 years and $3,000 to build this is a testimony to dedication on a parallel with that of some Airstream trailer restoration hobbiests.

Wolfram science page

Winter wonderland in a Reno exburb

Will your waste tank someday be a source of energy for your rig?

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Winter Storms

We sure got one this week! If you are going to be out and about during the winter you need to make especially sure you are properly prepared. The 2005 New Year has road controls in Northern Nevada from California to Utah (and beyond). A series of storms with heavy snow means that travel is hazardous and chains for both the tow vehicle and the trailer will be needed.

The best option is to hunker down and stay off the roads when conditions get like this. Even homeowners need to have supplies on hand. If you are parked in your RV, it might be up to a week or two before you can get food or propane and, if you are off grid, water and electricity can be a concern, too.

If you can get to a main road that has been plowed, you will probably need chains on your drive axle and on one axle of the trailer. There will only be a few hours in the day when you can even think about going anywhere and speeds will be very slow so don’t plan on going far. No matter how your rig is equipped, going slow is the only way to reduce risks. Stay out of the way of snow plows and other traffic and watch for hazards that might be hidden in the snow.

– – – Be prepared for winter driving!
Tire chain information – scroll down past commercial stuff –

Northern/Central California Current Road and Weather Conditions also see the links on this page for NV DOT and weather forecasts.

– – – The Homebrew project for this week
Here’s how to hunt deer with a 12 lb Mountain Howitzer – there may be a lot of tongue in cheek but it does provide a good rundown on these civil war cannons. Other pages show how the cannon is built and used and the tools and paraphernalia needed to operate them..

— Centennials
Las Vegas – New York Times Square new year’s celebration – Einstein – see 100 years of Einstein in the Economist for what he was all about

– – – Gadgets and technology
Worried about the security of your computer? Here is a guide for you.
Legal Technology – PC Security 101 for Lawyers

Here’s a gadget for the AC side of things. It measures Displays Volts, Amps, watts, Hz, VA and kilowatt hours. You can find it on E-Bay for about $25, usually. Kill-A-Watt

Best space images of 2004 — Best Images of 2004
Recovering lost images from your camera’s memory card
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