Archive for December, 2006

Your guide to the night sky for 2007

Night by night, What’s Up – 365 Days of Skywatching (Download the free Book) will show you what to look for and tell you a bit about it. It has a lot of diagrams and pictures to help you understand how to really appreciate what you can see on a dark night out in the boondocks after the campfire has gone down to coals. is a website that you can also use to learn about what is interesting out in the cosmos tonight.

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Stange Clouds

It is a collection of photographs of clouds currently showing lenticular clouds. The site owner is into UFO’s and such and some of these clouds could certainly feed that suspicion.

You can often see lenticular clouds on the lee side of the Sierra’s. They are another result of the wind patterns that make for some good gliding aircraft.

Do you take pictures of interesting clouds and cloud formations on your travels?

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Life’s lessons learning to drive an RV

Ed Poll gets law practice lessons in an RV training effort. LawBiz Blog: Airstream saga – Our first real test is his story of taking his rig down the road for a course in driving the RV.

Being a coach to and for lawyers, our instructor’s behavior resonated with me. I can see why he is successful and is far busier than he wants to be in his retirement. … All in all, it was a great way to spend a couple of days, learning, growing and working with my wife as a team. While not inexpensive, this activity proved to be a great therapy session as well. :-)

The goal? It appears it was to relieve the fear of backing up the trailer. That was resolved, at least for a first step. Along the way Ed found new friends and became aware of the community of RVer’s out there who make up a support network. Now to get really comfortable with his rig and make the most of what it can offer he should join his local RV club like a WBCCI Unit and go camping!

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SNU January Newsletter

For the SNU Folks,

The January 2007 Newsletter has been posted

  • Enjoy the first installment of SNU President, Jerry Thornburg’s “Ramblins”
  • Read about Donald and Gail Williams first trip in their new Airstream
  • Learn about our collaboration with a local online camping guide. Here is a sample of one of the pictures he used.
  • Check out the SNU pink flamingos
  • Plan to attend the SNU January 20, 2007 luncheon. The SNU will start the new year off by getting messy. Our Saturday January 20, 2007 luncheon will be at BJ’s Nevada BBQ in Sparks. BJ’s has won several awards at the annual Best in the West Rib Cook Off. The Lunch will start at 11:30 am. Cost is $15 per person. All members & guests welcome. There will also be a short board/member meeting. For more info
  • Check what’s new on the website
  • Share your thoughts and ideas in the SNU discussion group – now available through SNU member Mike Orchard is the moderator of this private SNU discussion group.


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SNU December Gathering

The WBCCI Sierra Nevada Unit met for lunch at the Overland Hotel in Fallon.
SNU December 2006 Meeting Overland Hotel See the photo gallery!

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Keeping Christmas Memories

Christmas Eve and not yet too late to think about taking a few pictures to help keep the memory. 16 Digital Photography Tips for Christmas has some good ideas for pictures that will be worth going back to look at when Christmas comes around again. Here are highlights from the list.

  1. Set up your own portrait zone. Catch a picture of guests as they arrive – and have it set so they can take their own pictures again later.
  2. Show the before, during, and after so you can tell a story.
  3. Have a point for your pictures and make sure to fill the frame. The basics can make a big difference.

One of the nice things about digital cameras is that you can take a lot of pictures. You can try things and see how they come out. Take a gander through these tips, take pictures, and don’t forget that taking pictures is not why you are visiting with family and friends!

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Electric or propane and the cost of keeping warm

The folks at RV.Net Open Roads Forum: General RVing Issues: Use of Electricity vs propane got to answering the question.

Truckin41 noted that propane isn’t just the per gallon cost but also the delivery costs and these can add up when you take a small RV propane tank a few miles to get filled.

Tonytheobald noted that “1 Kilowatt of electricity equals 3412 BTUH (Cost in our park is about $0.12 ) — 1 Gallon of Propane equals 92,000 BTUH. (Cost varies but I just bought it at $2.23/per gallon.)This would cost about $3.25 if you heated with electricity. ”

Ray,IN cited a rule of thumb: “Since LPG furnaces are not 100% efficient, a formula was devised with that in mind. Find the cost per KWH of electricity and multiply by 22. The result must be less than the price one gallon of LPG for electricity to be cheaper to use.”

In other words, a gallon of propane is equivalent to about 27 KwH of electricity. The 22 number is allowing for propane being 80% as efficient as electricity and that sounds like a good RoT (rule of thumb).

You can find out what the power company is charging you for electricity but you need to be careful of the surcharges, taxes, and other hidden fees. Usually, electricity runs around ten cents per kilowatt hour which means $2.20 per gallon for the propane equivalent in heating.

The 22:1 ratio also means that small changes in the cost of electricity can easily change the balance. That can make you a nervous wreck if you want the cheapest heating and try to figure each and every bill to decide what to do.

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The Overland Hotel in Fallon

A historic landmark and an interesting glimpse into how it was before highway 50 had a number.
Overland Hotel
See the photo gallery. 

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A new vista on the Grand Canyon

The Hualapai, or “People of the Tall Pines,” have built a glass skywalk. It extends 70 feet out over the rim and allows you to see 4,000 feet down to the river with only four inches of glass holding you up. This is expected to be open for up to 120 visitors at a time this spring.

Grand Canyon’s Glass Walkway to Open Next March is National Geographic’s report about how this tribe has teamed up with capitalists to create something other than an Indian Casino to generate tribe revenue.

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The Women Get Together

It seems there is a significant interest in the women getting together by themselves or for themselves.

RVing Women – Support Information & Networking for Women RVers!

If you plan to travel by RV, already own one, or are just dreaming about the possibilities, we’re here for you. We are a diverse group of women across the U.S. and Canada who enjoy RVing and love to travel. Our members learn about RVing and enjoy a network of support and friendship offered by RVing Women. Join the thousands of women who have found this supportive organization.

Sisters on the fly,Cowgirl Caravan,fly fishing,trailers,vintage trailers,western bedding

In the summer of 1998 , my sister Becky and myself (Maurrie) sat on a drift boat in Montana fly-fishing. We were happily drinking a glass of wine in celebration of catching an 8 lb. Brown trout. Our Fly- Fishing Outfitter and Guide, Austin, (also my son) congratulated our good job. Of course, we won’t tell you which one of us caught it…It’s a fish-tale you know! From that moment on we invited friends to share in our adventures. Our “Sisterhood” has grown into 630 some women who are active participants in our fly-fishing and other adventures. It is all about the participating in outdoor adventures with women of the same mind set. Having more fun than anyone.

Becoming an Outdoors Woman “offers outdoor skills workshops to women throughout North America. Explore our pages and discover what’s waiting in the great outdoors!”

Women on Wheels

If you are a lady who loves to drive or ride as passenger on motorcycles, motorbikes, scooters, or trikes then this is the group for you! This organization welcomes your family members and you to indulge your passion for riding with other discriminating hobbyists, at rallies, chapter meetings, tours, or other events.

If this is your inclination, then this is just a start. Get out there and find your ‘birds of a feather’ flock – there’s sure to be one out there (if not, why not start your own?)

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Airstream memories – Bryan and Jo Harrison is a photo gallery of what it was like when WBCCI was becoming the phenomena it is today.

see the photo gallery!

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Goin’ huntin’ – Jarbidge

Jerry has a photo gallery about one of his favorite hunting camps and the nearby civilization.


See the photo gallery! Jarbidge – a Thornburg experience

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Short Takes

If you an FOSS nut running the Ubuntu Linux distribution, see Welcome to EasyUbuntu

EasyUbuntu is an easy to use (duh!) script that gives the Ubuntu user the most commonly requested apps, codecs, and tweaks that are not found in the base distribution – all with a few clicks of your mouse.

EasyUbuntu is so easy to use in fact, that even your grandma could be playing encrypted dvds, streaming Windows Media, and sporting the latest Nvidia or Ati drivers in minutes! And yes, EasyUbuntu is GPL.

Vinatage Airstream Features. “The matrix … is intended to be a tool to help identify the differences between models & years of Vintage Airstream trailers from 1936 – 1979.”

RV Service Review is a user generated evaluation of RV service centers. With only 1500+ reviews so far, the statistical sampling isn’t very good nor complete, but, whith your help, this might become a useful resource.

Microbe Magazine talks about the Effective Use of Bleach as an Antiseptic and Disinfectant – probably more than you wanted to know about bleach and disinfecting your systems …

Bill Pinchak tells you how to How to reduce the dangers of overloading, equipment failure and other RV pitfalls at Foremost Insurance – Motor Home, Travel Trailer, and Fifth Wheel RV insurance

Levitated | Everything is something for your spare time.

Reno, Nevada, Connects With Citizens – Jun 06, 2006 -facilitating communication between government and citizens
Techcrunch » Blog Archive » VOIP – The Details Kill The Fun – get the caveats before you leap.
The Digital Bits – We Know DVD! – If you buy DVD recordings of movies, TV series or other entertainment, this site will keep you up to date on what’s happenin’
Wikipedia:Sound/list and Jamendo : Open your ears are sources for free music.

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Christmas lights – taking pictures?

Have you ever tried to get pictures of Christmas lights and decorations? The Strobist has a entry on “How to Photograph Christmas Lights”

The key is light balance. This means finding that ten minute or so window when the light is fading after sunset where ambient and decorative lights are balanced so you pictures will show both the decoration and the environment with a pleasing lighting. Setting the white balance for tungesten will make a background sky look normal rather than red and also show the lights in their proper colors.

This is the kind of photograph where digital cameras are handy because you can shoot and them immediately examine the results as you wait for just the right moment and get the best settings.

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The Pink Flamingos of the SNU

SNU got the pink flamingo fever by accident. It started with a brainstorming session at a rally in 2004 at Pyramid Lake. We were discussing the WBCCI tradition of decorating gopher holes. Since it is no longer acceptable to dig gopher holes we decided we should decorate the buckets we use to collect grey water when out dry camping. Anyway one thing led to another and before you know it, SNU broke out in flamingo fever.flamingo gallery 

See the photo gallery!

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Don and MaryLou often spend time in Key West Florida during the winter. Among the many events and activities held in Key West is the annual Pirates in Paradise Festival.


These are pictures from the 2006 event.

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For the Geek: GPS Navigation, 85 device knife, and alternative energy

Agam Shah, IDG News Service, reports on some nifty Honing gadgets, LP to MP3 converters, Bluetooth headphones make the list of gift ideas – GPS devices on the move | InfoWorld | News | 2006-12-13 | By Agam Shah, IDG News Service – The Guardian asks Call that a knife? | Consumer and ethical living | Life and Health – and Popular Mechanics takes a look at an Energy Family Part Four: Power Pioneers – Popular Mechanics

If you remember collecting state maps at gas stations – for free – as you went on a family vacation, you have defined yourself as old! Nowadays it is a nifty little pocket device with 2d and 3d maps of your locale showing you exactly where you are. Tell it where you want to be and it will speak up and give you directions. There is even a service to turn your cell phone into one of these backseat drivers.

What an LP to MP3 USB device has to do with GPS may confuse you, but Hammacher Schlemmer has one for $160 so you can put your LP (is being old a theme here?) on your iPod. Then you can use the Sharper Image Inc. Bluetooth headset to listen to that without any wires to trip you up.

The Guardian (British newspaper) shows a picture of “The new Swiss Army knife contains 85 devices, weighs 2lb and costs nearly £500.” and asks “But can you actually use it for anything?” The article has a bit of history of the Swiss Army knives, too.

You may not have 950 black and white Holsteins and a 117,000-cu.-ft. anaerobic digester with more than a million capital investment to use 35,000 gal. of manure per day to generate 280 kilowatts of electricity, but Earl Audet gets as much as $124,000 off that investment (and a lot of hard work). Earl is also using wind and sun to power his farm and make a bit of money on the side selling excess to the power company. The Popular Mechanics article has a good rundown, including the costs of some of the primary hardware, for how you too can get into the alternative power game.

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Checklists are your friend

After an 11 hour ride, here’s one driver who made an 8 million dollar mistake. His B1B is probably a bit more expensive to fix than your RV but the message is the same: Don’t drive tired and never forget to check down the safety list! See B-1 Recovery, Diego Garcia

At about 10 p.m. local time on May 8, 2006, a 7th Bomb Wing B-1B Lancer based at Dyess AFB, Texas, made a wheels-up belly landing on runway 31 at Diego Garcia, skidding 7,500 feet down the runway. The aircraft was landing at the end of an 11 hour ferry mission that started at Andersen AFB, Guam. During the landing, the B-1B caught fire and emergency crews extinguished the flames. The four-person aircrew escaped from the plane through the overhead escape hatch. The aircraft was finally removed from the runway 4 days later. The Air Force Accident Investigation concluded the pilots forgot to lower the landing gear. The USAF estimated the damage to the B-1B at $7.9 million, and the damage to the runway at $14,025. RBRM and those old SEABEES made one tough runway, that’s for sure! For those of you who’ve never seen a $285,000,000.00 bomber on the deck, here she is:

Lots of good pictures of a modern bomber, too!

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Does the oven in your RV get up to 550F? Do you have a ‘stone’ in it to help even out the heat, even for normal use? Have you considered maybe a Pizza when out in the boonies? Hog On Ice shows how to make Manna From Heaven, With Mozzarella.

I have great news. Now, thanks to me and my obsessive personality and my twisted friend Mike, you can make the best New York street-style pizza you have ever eaten—including pizza you’ve paid for—with under TEN MINUTES of prep work. I don’t mean cooking or letting the yeast work. Those things take time. But the actual kneading and rolling and applying sauce and toppings…ten minutes. Tops. And best of all, you can use a food processor.

Pizza is one of those simple dishes that often doesn’t seem to come out right. Sometimes you can pretend that what you get is just your ‘style’ but that doesn’t work unless the result is something you want to do again. Steve tells you how to start out with the basics and get something you will want to do again – and do without all that much hassle or expense, either.

Some other food blogs you might want to check are 101 Cookbooks, Bitchin’ in the Kitchen with Rosie, and Frugal Cuisine.

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Show ‘n Tell photo galleries

There is a collection of photo galleries of non Airstream brand trailers at inside look at brand X trailers and other RV’s The latest is Dave’s Springdale

98 Springdale

Other galleries include a 1947 teardrop, a 50’s era Spartan, and a 2005 Tab.

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