Archive for August, 2005

Nitro in your tires

Nitrogen makes up nearly 80% of the air you breath. Costco and other tire dealers have started to use straight 100% nitrogen to fill tires. Ralph Kinney Bennett talks about this in Fill ‘Her Up… With Nitro at TechCentral Station (04nv16)

It’s a safe bet you’ll be hearing more about nitro and seeing an increased availability of nitrogen fill-ups as you shop for tires or maintain your present ones. In the greater scheme of things this is no big deal. But like the improvements that have been made in the inner workings of automatic transmissions over the past 50 years it is one of those gains in efficiency that we often take for granted. It is one of those little refinements and improvements that are routine in a vigorous, free and therefore infinitely articulate market.

What does it do for your tires not having 20% oxygen and a bit of water vapor? One is that nitrogen doesn’t work its way through the tires as fast as oxygen so using only nitrogen helps keep pressure up over time. It also retains less heat helping tires run cooler. Nitrogen isn’t as reactive as oxygen and water so it helps reduce corrosion and deterioration of tires and wheels. Not a big difference (it is already near 80%) but maybe enough to make it worthwhile when convenient.

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Rallies of the sixties

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20th annual Cantaloupe Festival

Going to be in Fallon the first weekend in September? Things should be poppin’! Maybe even consider being a volunteer.

Fallon (RGJ): 20th Annual Hearts of Gold Cantaloupe Festival & Country Fair opens up Friday evening September 2.

The Country Fair takes place during the Cantaloupe Festival and will feature small animal shows, a junior rodeo, a petting zoo, a rock and gem show and all the home-made favorites from jams to quilts to garden vegetables and flowers available for viewing. … the festival committee will hold a volunteer night on Aug. 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Churchill County Museum when volunteers can sign up for different things to do during the festival. … Advance admission tickets for the Cantaloupe Festival will be on sale at HFI Enterprises, Jeff’s Office Supply, the Fallon Chamber of Commerce and the MWR/ITT ticket office at NAS Fallon later this month. … Please call the Fallon Chamber at 423-2544 for more information on any aspect of the 20th Annual Hearts of Gold Cantaloupe Festival.

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An automated packing list website

The Universal Packing List is a website with a form where you fill in information about a planned trip. It then generates a packing list for you.

For more on checklists and preparing for trips, see the Owner’s Guide

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Vector smart battery charger fix

Vector makes intelligent battery chargers that are a good way to charge RV batteries. Some were sold by Wal Mart. Some were not quite as smart as they should have been. Thanks to Rich for this link


We have recently updated and improved our line of Smart Battery Chargers. As a courtesy to our loyal customers, if you have purchased Vector’s Smart Battery Chargers with model numbers VEC086, VEC087, VEC088, VEC090, VEC091, VEC092, and VEC093, we will replace your old unit with one of our new Smart Battery Chargers at no additional charge. Please note that there is no safety concern with the old units.

The new units contain model numbers VEC1086 A, VEC1087 A, VEC1088 A, VEC1090 A, VEC1091 A, VEC1092 A, and VEC1093 A and do not need to be replaced under this program. If you have one of the old units and wish to have Vector send you a new updated unit as a replacement, please send us your old Smart Battery Charger and your name, address, telephone number and email address to Vector Manufacturing, Ltd., 4140 SW 28th Way, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33312, attn: Customer Service.

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Loofa, water conserving showers or edible?

Luffa is sometimes known as Chinese Okra. But when its skin and pulp are removed and all you have left are the vines, then loofa can be used as a rough sponge for removing dead skin cells. So its a vegetable that’s also a beauty treatment. Here’s how the Alabama Extension Service describes it.

Loofa gourds, sometimes called dishrag or sponge gourds, are used primarily for the fibrous sponge inside the gourd. Harvest when vines begin to wither, about 90 days after planting, or when frost kills the foliage on the vines.

Loofa gourds have green, thin skins that peel back when dry. After peeling away skins, soak loofas to remove pulp and seeds. Sponges can be bleached to obtain a lighter color.

It is often sold with soap:

A full 2 inch circle of natural Loofa is embedded in this large bar of soap. Exfoliate, clean and soften your skin in one swoop. Aromatized with a blend of sassafras, cedar wood and anise essential oil for a superb heady scent.

The typical RV enthusiast out in the boonies trying to conserve water may not have too much of an interest in the soft smooth skin beauty aspects (although skin moisturizing might be important in the desert dry air) but conserving water is another matter. The Luffa Info site might provide some clues.

These natural sponge wonders of the vegetable world have many uses. They’ll make your skin squeaky clean or shine up your dirty dishes. Luffa are soft and edible when young and can be cooked and eaten like squash or okra. They turn into a tough mass of fiber when mature.

Where this all comes to is that you can use a loofa sponge to help save water. With a good sponge you don’t need to get as wet and won’t have as much to rinse off so your cleaning water usage is minimized. See the Owner’s Guide for more on saving water in washing.

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Check these sites

The Open CD project

is a collection of high quality Free and Open Source Software. The programs run in Windows and cover the most common tasks such as word processing, presentations, e-mail, web browsing, web design, and image manipulation. We include only the highest quality programs, which have been carefully tested for stability and which we consider appropriate for a wide audience. Read more about TheOpenCD.

Roy showed us how its done at the Kingston Rally but I don’t think Extreme Tech’s Computerize Your BBQ Experience is his style.
Extreme Tech Smoker

Instead of tending the fire yourself, a small control system can tend it for you, controlling the air flow to maintain a set temperature. You could enhance our design to warn you to add fuel during a very long smoke cycle.

The USGS has a collection of scenic Lake Tahoe Pictures.
USGS Tahoe Pictures

Here’s a source of RV help, blogs, and resources

Looking for a lightweight, quiet 3 KW genset? Here’s one that should be on the market soon.

And check this for 200 household tips.

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What is Airstream up to now?

RV News reports that Airstream Announces Revolutionary Aluminum-Bodied
“G-Series” Motorhomes

Airstream G-Series

Airstream, Inc. announced its plans to market a modern incarnation of its iconic radius-bodied “Classic” aluminum motorhome, originally produced between 1982 and 1996. The new “G-Series” coach has been designed in partnership with BMW Group Designworks- USA, Newbury Park, Calif., to reflect the unique curved body that has become synonymous with Airstream motorhomes.

It don’t look like an Airstream …

or does it?

Airstream is doing rather well right now. “Airstream received 68% more orders this year than it did at its 2004 dealer meeting, and two and a half times the number of orders it received in 2003.” Is this new motorhome design going to add to that success?

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Perseids August 12 Early.

What with daylight savings time, a comfortable RV, and cool mornings, it might take a bit of dedication to get up before the sun does to look up and see the show. It might be worth it, though. NASA reports that Mars joins the Perseid meteor shower for a beautiful display on August 12.. What you will see if you get out of the sack early enough, is the tail of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. It creates a lot of meteors in late July and early August and August 12 is expected to be the best show. The reason why mornings are the best time to see meteors is because that is when you are looking into the direction the earth is going as it orbits the sun. The earth is ‘catching up’ to anything that is in its orbit.

Find out more about Meteors and Meteorstreams at Calsky. See What’s Up in the Sky in August for some good sky maps or Celestial Events for a calendar of celestial goings-on.

And you will like August. Picture this: It’s four in the morning. The sky is dark. The breeze is pleasant. Mars is beaming down from the east while meteors flit across the sky. [NASA]

So. maybe, in addition to a pre-dinner happy hour with a tall cool one after the afternoon siesta to cool down and get ready for an evening to watch the sun set in the west, you can get out the lawn chairs and a hot mug of something to look east to prepare the attitude for breakfast. Then you can sit back, watch the meteors streak the sky, introduce yourself to Mars and the morning constellations and greet the new sunrise when it arrives.

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What does the energy bill DST mean to the RV crowd?

National Geographic reports (05jl28) about the U.S. Energy Bill’s provision for Daylight Savings Time changes.

The bill calls for daylight savings to begin three weeks earlier, on the second Sunday in March, and to end on the first Sunday in November, one week later than daylight saving time currently does (see the history of daylight saving time in the U.S.).

What are the implications for RV enthusiasts?

The extensions are in early spring and late fall which is ‘out of season’ for most RV activity. But then, these are the times of the year when extra evening sunlight will be most noticeable.

It is going to be a big deal for all those things – computers and intelligent clocks – that know about the current daylight savings time schedule. Remember the year 2000 brouhaha?

For road time scheduling, this is going to mean shorter daylight in the morning to utilize the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. reduced city daytime traffic.

Evening campfires after dinner will have more daylight. Dark night campfires will be after the kid’s bedtime.

Any others?

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Road Rage

Robert Charles comments about Road rage remedies (Washington Times Commentary 05ag01) from a Beltway perspective.

Our Beltways have adopted, it seems, a brutal hybrid of congressional and beer hall manners. We watch as drivers filibuster by lane blocking, suspend old rules like not passing on the right, using blinkers for lane changes, allowing a fellow driver into one’s lane — all in favor of becoming part of a high-stakes videogame. Points for passing, no concern for crashes.
…perhaps it is time for the counter-rage campaign — road love. …
We could start with a “smile, don’t curse” line of bumper stickers, add finger puppets for those prone to be digitally active, install random speed bumps on emotional stretches and issue a set of window signs that consciously tame tensions, you know, like “Have a Nice Rush Hour,” “Follow Me, I’m Listening to Classical,” “Whatever Your View, That’s Mine,” “I Brake For Everything,” and “Who Painted These Lines Anyhow?”

Maybe Rob is just trying to be funny, but citing silly bumper stickers as an annoyance and then suggesting more silly bumper stickers does seem kind of strange. And then there is obligatory speed bashing – that one is severly misused and, unless properly qualified, a good clue to be skeptical about the entire argument.

Road rage is a responsive behavior. It is what happens when you have drivers conducting “filibuster by lane” or rules suspension (for themselves only, of course) and such things. The response to those who practice ‘road love’ by completely ignoring other people on the road can be excessively aggressive driving.

The Nevada statutes define Aggressive Driving; Reckless Driving as, within a mile, speeding, creating a hazard to someone else, and doing two or more of specified stupid things from a list. The problem with aggressive driving and ‘road rage’ is that of trying to get from the ‘I know it when I see it’ to a set of specified behavior standards that will hold up in court. This is why speed is always in there as it is easy to measure and observe. Other things tend to be subjective matters of jedgment that are debatable.

An RV on the road is most likely to be going slower than other traffic. It limits the visibility of other drivers. Good RV drivers like to have plenty of clear highway in front of them that can be attractive to lane changers. In other words, and the RV is likely to be a source of road rage rather than a source of agressive or reckless driving. The RV driver has a special obligation to others on the highway as a result.

You need to help others get past you if at all possible. Use turn-outs and avoid congested traffic times. Avoid lane filibustering and even stay to the right side of your lane so people can easier see what is in front of you. Keep an eye on your rear view mirrors to be aware of traffic behind you as well as in front of you.

Drive safe. Help others keep a good ‘tude on the road.

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