Archive for March, 2006

Rainbows at Washoe Lake

When the weather gets interesting at Washoe Lake there is sun and rain and snow and clouds and that means a good chance to see rainbows especially when the sun is low. Here is one that barely got out of bed in the morning.
Washoe Lake Rainbow March 25 2006
Wkipedia has a good rundown on rainbows. This one is low enough that only the top part is showing. A full half circle is more difficult to get into one frame of a photograph unless you have an extreme wide angle lens. More pictures of rainbows and weather will be up soon in a photo gallery.

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Protect your camera

Do you take appropriate precautions to avoid losing your camera while out and about? Michael Carr has some tips to Protect Your Digital Camera While Traveling at About. See what he means when he advises:

* Don’t advertise your camera. …
* Keep it on your body whenever possible. …
* Don’t just leave it dangling from your neck, either. …
* Be aware of your surroundings. …
* Insure it! …
* Secure your images. …

You might have one of those pocket things that would need a pickpocket to lift and wouldn’t provide him much return for the risk or you might have a larger camera that would be worth a thief’s notice. Take appropriate precautions to reduce the risk that your property will come up missing.

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Pictures, nature and science oriented

If you are looking for some good wallpaper for your computer screen, check out Wikipedia’s featured desktop backgrounds.

Or you can take a look at Igor Siwanowicz’s bug pictures.

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HGTV review of 2006 RV Show April 02, 2006 5:00 PM ET/PT

Your last chance to catch the HGTV review of the 2006 RV Show will be on April 02, 2006 5:00 PM ET/PT.

Join host Mark Totty at the the largest RV show in America–the 37th Annual Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show in Hershey Park, Penn. More than 85 manufacturers show off their latest and greatest. From RVs designed for the outdoor enthusiast to top-of-the-line luxury coaches, RV 2006 covers it all.

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Worried that special deal may be a hurricane victim?

The NICB has set up a website so you can check VIN’s

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has compiled a database of vehicles and watercraft affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. The information in this database was gathered from a number of sources, including insurance companies, salvage yards and state and local authorities. As a result, the NICB has not independently verified most of the information in this database and cannot, therefore, vouch for the accuracy of this information. In addition, there may be many additional vehicles and watercraft affected by the hurricanes not included in this database. We are allowing people to check Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) and Hull Identification Numbers (HINs) free of charge as a public service to help determine whether a specific vehicle or watercraft that has come to our attention, was involved in either hurricane.

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Springtime weather

The Sierra Nevada Unit rally at Washoe Lake State Park was a good exercise in getting the rig ready and making sure everything works.
Washoe Lake State Park
Friday, arrival day, had winds that tested rig stability on the road so you could check your sway control. Saturday started with rain pelting the rig and providing the wake up call. Wind gusts rocked the rig. Across the lake out the window at times was a rainbow. The mid day BBQ was a time to bundle up and gather around the coals. Snow flakes were visibile at times. Sunshine at other times. Wind nearly all the time. Get outside and get invigorated by the weather and then get back inside to a nice, warm, and dry RV.

The system passed along Saturday night as forecast so Sunday morning was cold, clear, and crisp. It warmed up quickly. The beaver was out on a commute down the creek to the lake. The red-tail hawk family nesting in the tree on site was out and about as well. The geese and ducks on the lake were making noise as well. What a day. Too bad we had to pack up and head home.

Keep your eyes peeled for the photo galleries. We’ll have them up soon so you can see what you missed if you didn’t join us!

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Weather forecast, Washoe Lake Saturday

First WBCCI Sierra Nevada Unit Rally of 2006! Join us March 24 to26 at Washoe Lake State Park just off US 395 Between Reno and Carson City, NV

Are we a bullseye for mother nature or what?

The February luncheon hit the center of a storm breaking a multi week warm spell. It looks like our Washoe Lake Rally is in the bullseye of another storm, too.

Friday night and Saturday morning show a tight gradient leading the front. This means that the wind prone US 395 along Washoe Lake may be off limits to high profile vehicles at times. Check out East Lake Boulevard to get to the state park.

The precipitation is predicted to be most likely mid-day Saturday when we might even see some snow on the valley floors. This, of course, is when we plan the potluck and meeting time. Fortunately, the group area at WLSP has good cover.

As always, check road conditions (NV DOT winter conditions or links to nearby state sites) and don’t push your luck.

See ya’ at Washoe Lake this weekend!

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Lost in the coastal mountains, lessons to learn.

The Stivers had an unplanned 17 day boondocking experience in snow at 3800 feet in the Oregon coastal mountains with their two children and two grandparents. SF Gate reports that

The family’s trouble began when they became lost on their way home and got stuck in the mountains in up to 4 feet of snow at about 3,800 feet.

After the family was reported missing, rescue teams from Oregon and California scoured the two closest routes from Ashland to the coast. But police didn’t know exactly where they had been heading, and they eventually called off the search when there were no leads.

The parents grabbed a few supplies and trekked out to where a BLM employee found them.

There are two lessons of primary importance here. First is that, even in this day and age, it is possible to get lost and cut off from civilization – there is wilderness out there where you cannot be found. Second, make sure that someone knows your plans and route so they can help improve the odds of finding you in case of disaster or emergency.

Snow isn’t the only thing that can trap you out in the wilderness. So be prepared. Make plans for the unthinkable. And do your part to make sure it will never happen to you.

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Do you skip stones?

Physics Web is after it. The mystery of the skipping stone

What makes a stone bounce repeatedly when thrown across the surface of a lake, and how many bounces can it perform? Lydéric Bocquet and Christophe Clanet explore the physics behind stone skipping.

The origin of the force that causes a skipping stone to bounce is easy to identify. The conservation of momentum dictates that as the stone enters the water and pushes some of it downwards, the stone is, in turn, forced upwards.

Our experiments have also shown that a bouncing stone must spin with a certain minimum rotational velocity if it is to be stable, i.e. if the angle between the plane of the stone and the water surface is to remain constant

And there’s even numbers and equations and the collision between theory and experiment. Enough to get you started on the next outing near a calm lake or stream with your own experiments.

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RV Safely

RV Safely is a web site devoted to: “Find everything you need to know about RVing safely. Surf our pages to get answers, use our check-lists and read up so you have the knowledge, to enjoy as you travel safely.”

There are articles on RV Driving, fire and tire safety, check lists, first aid, and towing.

Looks like a lot of good stuff. Check what you know, learn things you maybe didn’t know, and get a few good ideas.

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Detecting for Safety

Have you checked the detectors in your RV that are supposed to warn you about dangerous conditions? Check these sites if you have questions about propane, carbon monoxide or smoke detectors.

AUTOS & BOATS : Safety : RV Maintenance: Water, Gas and Electricity : DIY Network:

In this episode, Weekend Mechanic host Bruce Bonebrake demonstrates some important maintenance procedures that should be performed to get a trailer RV ready for a trip.

Safety Detectors (Monaco Coach):

There’s a lesson in this for us. Our RVs include certain items of safety equipment that we need to understand and put to proper use. In fact, this adventuresome friend of mine wouldn’t think of traveling in an RV that didn’t have a smoke detector, a carbon monoxide detector, and an LP gas detector in perfect working order. It’s not that the RV lifestyle is particularly risky – it’s that these important items of safety equipment help eliminate risks that might accidentally appear.

Basic RV Safety (Camper’s Corner):

in most cases it’s not the RV that is dangerous, but the individual that is operating the RV that is dangerous. I gave some examples of unsafe acts that I have witnessed like carrying a full spare LP gas bottle inside the RV, sleeping in the RV with the generator running and never weighing the RV or checking the inflation pressure in the tires.

June – RV Safety – National Propane Gas Association:

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reports that there are nine million RVs on the road today. An additional 100,000 people become RV users each year. Many of them rely on propane gas for cooking, heating, water heating and engine fueling.  NPGA  recommends that RV owners use the following checklist to ensure a safe and worry free RV vacation season.

Welcome to Wilkins RV: C.O., L.P. and S.M.O.K.E. Detectors:

You’ve probably seen them on your RV wall and wondered which one was which – LP, smoke or carbon monoxide (CO). Any new RV produced today is required to have all three (3) detection devices installed. If you have an older coach and don’t have all of these installed, I recommend that you look into acquiring them on your next trip to the hardware store.

Safe T Alert RV Propane Detector and LP Detector:

ANSI A119.2 – Fire & Life Safety – 3-4.8 LP Gas Detectors – "An LP gas detector must be installed in any RV that contains an LP gas appliance and an electrical system. The LP gas detector must be listed as suitable for use in recreational vehicles under the requirements of UL 1484 Residential Gas Detectors, and be installed according to the terms of its listing.
­ RVIA Effective Date 9/96, Revised 9/99."

And here are some places that sell detectors.

Protection Against Carbon Monoxide Poisoning with 12 V Carbon Monoxide Detectors for Travel Trailers and RV Needs from

RV Gas Detectors by MTI Industries

MTI Industries, Inc. has served the boating and RV industry since 1979, providing safety products to original equipment manufacturers and RV retailers across the United States. MTI Industries is on the cutting edge of designing and manufacturing the best alarms for the RV market.

Atwood Mobile Products – ProTechTor Series 2001 Gas Alarms

Atwood Mobile Products – Atwood Carbon Monoxide Gas Alarms

Detectors & Alarms (RV Stuff USA)

These detectors have a ‘gotcha’ too. They draw energy from your battery. People who leave their rigs for a week or two may find a dead battery on return unless they disconnected these detectors. Or, on a long off-grid outing you might get bothered by beeps as the detectors complain about low battery.

The lesson would be that checking the detectors for operating condition should be on your departure checklist and disconnecting them from the battery should be a part of your shutdown for storage checklist.

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Getting pictures of families and children

Michelle has hints and tips in two web log entries to help you get better pictures of your family or of children.

See Exposure: Family Pictures that Don’t Suck and Child Portrait Prep.

Here are some questions suggested for a parent to ask a photographer.

1. Are you going to work with my child’s schedule?
2. Are you going to shoot where my child is comfortable?
3. Are you going to shoot the kind of poses and setups that I want?
4. Are you going to allot enough time for the shoot to deal with my child should he get cranky or distracted?
5. Anything else you feel I should know or consider?

and about family pictures

Perhaps you really don’t want to put this much thought or effort into your family pictures. Maybe you’re content with the standard, cheesy fake smiled, canned posed shots around the fireplace that everyone else takes. But please, think of your Christmas card list! Think of how many people on your list get the same kind of holiday card pictures over and over. Cut one family out, paste another in. Think of Grandma’s picture wall! You have the power to make your put your husband’s loser brother’s family portrait to shame.

You can make better pictures. Whether it is family, events, or scenery there are just a few things to learn and implement that will make your pictures more fun for you and for those you share them with.

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A new Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Dr. Bob has a series of entries in his weblog about the building of the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge. You can see the entry about compacting the cables for links to his earlier entries.

The new Narrows Bridge project is the largest engineering endeavor in the U.S. in the last 30 years. Construction began in late 2002, after approval of an $800 million public-private financing package.

The new bridge is scheduled to be completed in 2006, and renovations to the existing bridge made after this. The final project is scheduled for completion in 2007. You, my faithful readers, will see history unfold on this very blog, with regular updates until then.

He has a lot of pictures. The story started when he found out one of his patients was a supervisor on the bridge and invited him for a tour.

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Melting snow and Airstream structure

March 2006 is behaving like February as far as weather goes. There has been a series of storms bring snow and cold. Watching the snow melt off the Airstream in the afternoon brings to mind the fact that Airstreams, like most RV’s are built for moderate weather. You can’t get a lot of insulation value in an inch or two of wall space. And then the ribs will conduct heat, too. This you can see in that the snow melting off the roof is in patches and melted first over the ribs.

The source of the heat? Probably due to solar radiation and the glass house effect from sunshine during the day. The side of the trailer towards the afternoon sun was cleared. It is the morning sunshine that didn’t melt off the snow.
snow melting on an Airstream

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Sierra Nevada Unit Update, March 2006

The March 2006 Newsletter has been posted. Select from the index.

* Wow! what a luncheon. Read all about the Sierra Nevada Unit 30th Anniversary Luncheon Held February 18, You won’t believe the masterpiece that Vicki and Randy Grossmann created.

* Check Whats new on SNUZE for all the latest additions to the website including photo galleries of the luncheon.

*The SNU will hold it’s first rally of 2006 at Washoe Lake State Park March 24 to 26. This is a nice paved area with a great covered BBQ area so weather shouldn’t be a problem. Just be sure your propane tanks are full. Also since the area is not officially open for the season, there will be no water. Region 12 1st Vice President, Don Clark is planning to visit us at this rally. Also Tim and Kimber have some ideas to share with us. If you can’t come to the entire rally, plan to visit us on Saturday for BBQ and discussions. For more rally information

* Anniversary travel mugs – If you haven’t got one yet, the SNU anniversary mugs will be available at all our rallies this year. This is a great way to support SNU rallies and other activities. For each $10 donation to the SNU you will receive one travel mug. They don’t necessarily need to go to other Airstreamers. Family members, friends, coworkers, and others might like to support your Airstream adventures. If you have travel plans this summer, consider taking a few with you to distribute to Airstreamers and others you meet on the road. Give one to a camp host or other special person you meet along the way.

*Treasurers Report – The SNU checking account balance at the end of January was $863.43. This represents an increase from the $716.43 asset value at the end of December. The Bavarian World Lunch cost $235 but kitty receipts for this and for prepayment of the February anniversary lunch helped increase the balance.

The February Lunch cost so far is $844. In addition to $180 prepayments, $330 was collected at the lunch and an additional $125 is expected to be paid. The net to date is what we can call a weather related loss of about $200 on this event.

A Paypal account has been set up to accept online payment. This allows payment via credit and debit cards as well as direct bank transfer. There is a small fee that SNU pays that is about $0.30 per transaction plus a few percent of the total.

the SNU Folks

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March snow A bit of snow on the roads this morning. Temperatures are just a bit above freezing so maybe, if the plows have gone by, you could get to where you were going without chains.

But this is the kind of weather where it is usually best to sit snug and wait for a week or so for the roads and weather to clear.

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