Archive for April, 2006

New promo videos for Equal-i-zer

The Equal-i-zer Hitch folks have put several new videos on their site to promote their hitch. You’ll need javascript and flash to run the videos. Topics cover sway, load leveling, and installation that should be of interest to any trailerist. The quality and ease of use videos would be more ‘buy mine rather than theirs’ stuff.

It is a step better for sway control than the usual friction bar and about on a par with the Reese Dual Cam system.

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Walker River

Walker River Resort looks to be a rather highfalutin membership oriented RV park and resort on the Walker River in West Nevada. You can find a bit more about the area at Wellington and Smith Valley, Nevada: History and Description and Northern Nevada’s Oasis – The Walker River Region.

The river ought to have some water in it this year. We haven’t had a dry weekend since before the February SNU Anniversary luncheon. Forecasts indicate that the SNU Rally weekend at Walker River Resort isn’t likely to be very dry either,

Cruisin’ the web on Walker River, Nevada:

Central Nevada Roadside Parks photo gallery – Wilson Canyon is just downstream from the resort.

Truckee-Carson-Walker River Systems – student activities.

DEES Research Project: Late Quaternary history of the Walker River

USGS Nevada Water Science Center Water-Resources Data — Walker River Basin

Hydrology of the Walker River Basin

West Walker River, Sierra Nevada , California, USA – Free Pictures – FreeFoto.Com

Walker River (Nevada) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Flyfish Nevada – East Walker River

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Stuff on the web

Things you might find interesting or maybe even useful. Check at your own risk!

LILEKS (James) :: The Institute of Official Cheer – a columnist and author with an interest in things nostalgic.

The Facts and Fiction of 1080p – Xbox – wondering about the new TV’s and why they are so pretty and how to understand all the formats and numbers?

SCI FICTION: Periodic Table – each element is linked to something out of the sci-fi venue. If you have read any sci-fi, see if you recognize anything and can figure out the linkages.

USB adaptors & DIY antenna = “Poor Man’s WiFi” ? – want to make some stuff to get your internet connection going in weak spots? educational if nothing else.

Preserving Old Documents – good advice for keeping those old documents and pictures from deteriorating in storage.

Antique spectacles and other vision aids – did have an interesting history of spectacles but that URL changed. Still an interesting insight in what was in how to see better.

How to Win a Street Fight – WikiHow – this is good advice and something to read through to think about the unthinkable.

The Movie Timeline – “The Movie Timeline is the history of everything, taken from one simple premise: that everything you see in the movies is true – the real mixes with the fictitious, so long as it’s reported in a movie somewhere…” – its crude but you can add your movie events and see how history unfolds, at least in the movies!

commercial sites

Hollowtop Outdoor Primitive School: Earth Skills & Nature Awareness – look for the Primitive Skills & Awareness Articles by Thomas J. Elpel, like how to make your own tire sandals. provides satellite Internet services & products. Authorized StarBand Manual-Flyer dealers & certified Direcway installers. StarBand 360, 481, & 484 – DW4000, DW6000, & DW7000.

Datastorm Users – The Premier Site For Mobile Satellite Internet

Vintage Camper | Your One Stop Book Shop

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The opposite of bulk packaging

Minimus is an online retailer specializing in individual sized packaging for a lot of the consumable things used for everyday living. Featured today is Topical analgesic in 6 ml packet for $1.09; .035 oz packet salt substitue for 3 cents; Ticolino Tea Stick – Chamomile Blend Herbal Tea for 30 cents; and 29 cents for an individual packet of textured teeth wipes. The also sell a wide variety of kits to fit various needs and uses. This might be one resource for stocking that RV for short outings.

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Distracted driving is hazardous

SF Gate reports on a Study: Distraction Behind Most Car Crashes that examined “nearly 2 million miles driven and more than 43,300 hours of data.” What they found is that paying attention to your driving is an important path for driving safety. While cell phone use is a popular distraction, other distractions are probably more important for the RV enthusiast.

Eight out of 10 crashes involve drivers who are drowsy, chatting on a cell phone, applying makeup or otherwise distracted from the road ahead …

Reaching for a moving object while driving increased the risk of a crash by nine times …

Drowsy driving increased the driver’s risk of a crash or near-crash by four to six times …

When drivers took long glances away from the road ahead of them at the wrong moment, they were twice as likely to get into a crash

and, of course, a realization of how these kinds of studies can create irrational responses that plague us all (e.g. speed limits!)

“I urge legislators not to interpret these results as a need for new legislative initiatives. It is simply not good public policy to pass laws addressing every type of driver behavior,” said Lt. Col. Jim Champagne, chairman of the Governors Highway Safety Association

While we have seen efforts to mandate proper and responsible driving, we have also seen the failures of this approach. Instead, you should take it upon yourself to make sure that your driving is not distracted and that you are alert to the possibility of other drivers who might be distracted and know how to avoid them.

When you are driving, put your attention and focus on your driving. Do not let someone distract you with a “hey! look at that!” Don’t try to catch that thing sliding off the dash. Let someone else in the vehicle take care of phone calls and properly stashing stuff and taking pictures and other things so you can pay attention to driving. Take frequent breaks. Stop and take a nap if you even think you are getting drowsy.

Also keep in mind that you must be able to adapt and adjust to conditions. A road like the Oregon Scenic Outback
Oregon Scenic Outback Byway
doesn’t require the kind of attention that city driving does. Adjust your driving as appropriate but never let your guard down and always be alert to what is on the road ahead and what your rig is telling you.

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For the history buffs

Archives of Sierra Nevada Unit newsletters are now online for most of 1997 to 2002. See the archive index page.

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Mapping service feature comparison

TechCrunch has a quick cross tab of the five major online mapping services versus features offered. It looks like Mapquest is the way to go for routes. . Microsoft Windows Live Local is what you need if you don’t want to travel a route but want to see it anyway.

A comparison like this is also interesting to see what kinds of services people look for that you might never have thought about.

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Here is what Easter weather was doing.

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Walker River Resort deal changed on SNU rally

News Flash

Updates on the SNU Rally April 28 to 30 at Walker River Resort.

We recently learned that Walker River Resort has increased their rates. When inquires were made we learned that the prices they quoted us last fall are no longer valid. The rates for the April 2006 rally will be $26 per rig per nite. IF we have eight or more rigs attending we will all receive a $2.00 discount. The sites for our rally will have water and electricity, no sewer.

Please plan to join us. The SNU always has a great time no matter where we are. We are expecting some guests on Saturday and of course we will be having our typical SNU morning coffee, happy hours, and pot lucks.

The Thornburgs will post signs as after you turn off the highway you will travel 2 to 3 miles before reaching Walker River Resort.

See you soon and keep in mind, eight rigs or more will increase the fun and decrease the cost for each of us.

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New BLM camp at Indian Creek Reservoir


Just in time for warmer weather, campers will have another place to escape to by the end of the month. The BLM will be opening a new campground in the Sierra April 28th. It’ll be next to the Indian Creek Reservoir in Alpine County. The fees will be similar to other grounds at $14 a night for tent spaces, $20 for RV’s. The new Indian Creek Campground will have hot showers, flush toilets, an RV dump station and bear-proof storage lockers.

Here’s the link the the BLM Carson City Field office PSA.

For geographical coordinates of camps in the area, see the Alpine area listing.

For the story about fishing and a good rundown on the lake, see Indian Creek Reservoir: From Waste Water Pond To Quality Trout Fishery

Also see John Luther’s page about birding spots in Alpine County

Too bad the group site is tent only.

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Stretching a skimpy budget

There are a number of sites on the web with a focus on making your RV experience a bit more productive from a monetary point of view.

Workamper is a magazine and news site (i.e. commercial). Whether you are hiring or looking, this site has you in its focus.

Workampers are adventuresome individuals, couples and families who have chosen a wonderful lifestyle that combines ANY kind of part-time or full-time work with RV camping. If you work as an employee, operate a business, or donate your time as a volunteer, AND you sleep in an RV (or on-site housing), you are a Workamper!

Cheap RV Living puts the focus on really cheap, as in living in your car. You can even find out about how to go the bathroom when there isn’t one.

If you are trying to figure out a budget for full time RV living, take a look at what must be considered. There are some good examples of the cheap gear tradeoffs at

Keeping the expenses down is much a state of mind as anything else. Give some kids a tarp, a blanket, marshmallows and a bit of help and you can fill a weekend without hardly any expense at all.

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PopSci’s Howto section

Popular Science has an online How 2.0 with a lot of interesting ideas. Maybe Watch your door from anywhere could turn into a backup camera or something to help you get the ball under the coupler when hitching up. TV on a laptop could be a way to see TV in your RV without having to carry more than your laptop. Or you can find out how to save a snowflake or some good uses for those Altoids tins.

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GOAL: Get Out And Look!

Don in Texas says he has a decal in his truck that says GOAL for Get Out And Look. It is a reminder that you cannot see what is close around your rig and it is necessary to get out and look to make sure that the path you plan to take is clear. If you look at how he tows Airstreams, you can see why GOAL is a good idea.
Come to think of it, Get Out And Look is a good idea for all of us.

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A Vintage Mobile Sportsman Trailer

Rob uses blogspot to tell the tale of his restoration of a 40’s vintage 14 foot trailer. If you have RSS feed capability, you can look through each entry separately rather than downloading the whole thing which has a lot of pictures and takes a while to download. Here is the RSS feed link. The RSS feed entries will also show you the comments but that does more to illustrate the problem with comment spam in blogs than add to the blog.

The trailer in this restoration could be considered an ancestor of those that were prepared for the Katrina Hurricane victims. It was for the returning soldiers and their wives after WW II. The stove and refrigerator were apartment types intended for on-grid use rather than boondocking. There were no bath or toilet facilities in the trailer. Occupants needed to use communal facilities provided by the trailer park.

Rob had to rebuild the frame of the trailer and make extensive repairs to the wood frame because of wood rot. He also spent a lot of time polishing the exterior – this must be related to the aluminitis that strikes vintage Airstream owners with a similar compulsion.

What he has now is a very pretty, solid, vintage RV to tow behind his Model A. And he has provided us with an interesting story and a lot of pictures.

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April 2006 SNU newsletter

The April 2006 Newsletter has been posted. See the link on the newsletter index page

The March Rally was a success despite the weather. A little sun, a little snow, a little rain, and lots of wind. Check the photo gallery of the rally and see what else is new.

The rally April 28 to April 30 will be at Walker River Resort. Each participant will need to make their own reservations. For more information see the rally info pages.

It is important to voice your opinion on the proposed WBCCI name change. To vote and to get more information hit the link.

We have added a new section to the website for SNU members. This section includes the SNU Operational Notes as well as other information related to the functioning of the Unit.

Your comments, ideas, feedback, and suggestions, are always welcome and much appreciated. Don’t hesitate to pass them along to the SNU.

See you at Walker River Resort!

– –

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As you gear up for a summer on the road, a checklist or two or three can help you make sure you don’t forget too many critical items. The Camping Journal has got three of them. Two of the checklists are rather extensive inventory lists with checkboxes. The third, for meal planning and shopping, is a form that you can use to help you fill out your own list. All the lists are PDF so they will print nicely and you can make copies as you need for your purposes.

The site sells a camping logbook for $20 and some other rather high end looking stuff but there is also some good stuff on the website. The Chicken Chile Verde – Crockpot or Not recipe looks interesting. Good links page. Check it out.

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Fuel cell turning concept to practical corner?

Strategy page had a note about a fuel cell for use by commandoes so they didn’t have to carry as many batteries to power all that communications, navigation, and other special gear.

Typically, a three day mission would require 30-40 pounds worth of batteries. This is being replaced by a single, suitcase size fuel cell unit that weighs less than ten pounds and puts out about 200 watts.

not to mention no noise or fumes.

200 watts is about the most a typical RV could get from a solar array in bright sun. An alternative and more dendable power source like that could be a significant asset for the RV enthusiast.

The article didn’t say what the fuel was for the cell. Nor do commandoes worry about cost that much. The key, though, is that it is being put to practical use. This should generate economies of scale and provide experience that will help make a moderate sized fuel cell more practicable for RV use.

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Trailer Tire Fact Sheet.

Jon at Mountain Family RV noted potentially low tires on a trailer one of his customers had brought in for propane and a few things before heading out on a vacation. Sure enough, the tech who checked the tires noted that they had lost some air sitting over the winter. Good thing this was noted and fixed because low air pressure is one of the primary causes of tire failure.

Discount Tire has a nice Trailer Tire Facts summary. The Three Keys to Avoiding Trouble include Make sure your rig is equipped with the proper tires; Maintain the tires meticulously; and Replace trailer tires every three to five years, whether they look like they’re worn out or not.

Check it out and see if you really know about trailer tires.

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Ever wonder what happened to TV channel 1?

Tech notes has a history based on a story from the March 1982 issue of Radio Electronics Magazine edited and expanded by J. W. Reiser, FCC International Bureau.

Maybe this will need to be updated when HDTV will be mandated in a couple of years?

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Getting behind cell phones

Useful cell phone information is a good website to use to find out about how to choose a cell phone and what factors are important to consider – and why.

Did you know that the FCC requires that the Analog networks be maintained until February 16, 2008? Do you even know what “Analog” means when talking about cell phones? Find out! You can also answer a lot of questions you might not have known to ask about such things as the E911 rules and GPS tracking and other issues.

The site has a frame on the left with links that will open up a manufacturer or vendor or information site on the right. Other topics include choosing a cell phone, talk times, rentals, coverage maps, satellite phones, disaster recovery, general news, and technical information.

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