Archive for October, 2007

Find a flu shot

Maxim Health Systems has a service to help you find flu vaccination sites near you. Enter your zip code and click on [url=]find a clinic[/url].

It will list those places where they are doing flu shots within the selected distance from the USPS office of the zip code you list.

They even have a reminder service that will send you an e-mail reminder to go get your flu shot!

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SNU November Newsletter

SNU Folks,

The November 2007 Newsletter has been posted. See the newsletter index. Note that links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can be found at that URL, too.

Topics include:
* Review of the rally at Ft Sage near Doyle, CA
* SNU elections
* The final version of the 2008 SNU rally schedule
* Welcome new members
* President’s Ramblin’s

>> November Luncheon at the Gold Canyon Steak House < < Saturday November 17, 2007 at 11:30 am the SNU will meet for lunch in Dayton at the Gold Canyon Steak House. Please RSVP so that we can give the Gold Canyon a good idea of how many to expect. Call 775 972 5011 or email Randy and Vicki Grossmann checked this place out for the SNU by visiting it several times with guests. Here is their assessment. “We had service that we all agreed was arguably the best service we have ever had in a restaurant. Four thumbs enthusiastically way up again. Six stars. A++. “ Check Zephyrs to see what’s new on the website.


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Science classroom: history of thermodynamics

From Steam Engines to Life? What is the state of thermodynamics on the 100th anniversary of the death of Lord Kelvin? by Mark Haw notes that December 2007 sees the centenary of Kelvin’s death. Lord Kelvin of Largs, born as William Thomson was one of the founders of many thermodynamics concepts.

The Kelvin temperature scale is what you would use when you want to compare temperatures that influence things such as water heating or battery effectiveness.

Thermodynamics is what we use when we want to figure out what we can do with the energy stored in a battery or propane bottle. How long before we need to refill the tank is a thermodynamics question.

The article describes a bit of the history of the study of thermodynamics and uses that to look at where the science now stands and its direction. Its message is that the door to the future of learning ever more about how things work is wide open with many new opportunities to explore.

In Kelvin’s time, thermodynamics enabled the industrial revolution—a historical period that produced its own ethical and social questions. Similarly, microscopic thermodynamics will enable a new revolution and prompt more discussion about the appropriate uses of technology.

Kelvin’s profound ideas about energy led to a fundamental revolution in modern science but were firmly anchored to a solid reality in the industrial engineering of Victorian Britain.

Which brings us back to microscopic engines: the most interesting objects in which the two themes of modern thermodynamics—microscopic scales and open systems—join. Although studies of individual proteins are important foundation stones, the cell depends on millions of molecules in a complex network of machines, their functions interlocked across a range of scales. Such interplay is possible precisely because these living engines are open to fluctuations and not isolated from their environment. It may be that the complex functions of matter that we call life are nothing more than this multiscale interplay of engines, a network through which energy is transformed again and again, as microscopic machines swap and shift matter—manipulate entropy—in a thermodynamical cycle the likes of which Kelvin could hardly have imagined.

Now, a century after his death, the science of thermodynamics that Kelvin pioneered is indeed more puzzling, more profound, more tantalizing, more practically relevant, and just plain more fascinating, than ever.

It is hard to believe that Kelvin (wikipedia) died when many of our grandparents were alive. It was such a short time ago that we developed the analytic techniques that we now depend upon for getting to where we want to go and living there in comfort. Those techniques started with the imposition of an assumption of a closed system to simplify the problems encountered. Since then, statistical methods to average the effects of the molecular components of matter in the system were developed to better link chemistry and thermodynamics together. These all helped to analyze problems on our scale, problems we encounter in making engines for automobiles or generating electricity, problems in moving heat from the furnace to our living space, problems in storing energy we need to live comfortably.

Now, it appears that the science is learning how to understand what happens when the restrictions of a closed system are removed. It is starting to look at the microscopic realm where molecular sized particles interact. That is an effort to bring thermodynamics into the understanding of how life works at its most fundamental level.

Don’t we live in interesting, vital, and invigorating times?

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RV antifreeze

Winter prep time! We have had some nights get below 20F but the days were warm enough to provide an average RV temperature that kept things from freezing. As fall heads towards winter, the risk of freezing in the RV increases. You have to remove anything that might be damaged by freezing temperatures.

RV antifreeze, that pink stuff, is propylene glycol. It is a sister to the ethylene glycol used for automotive antifreeze. The ethylene is poisonous but the propylene isn’t and is often found in many health grade products to help with texture. The RV antifreeze costs about $3 to $5 a gallon and you do need to watch what you are buying. The pink color is added to the colorless and tasteless propylene glycol. Sometimes scents and flavors are added, too. Here is an example.

The SuperTech on the left says it is tasteless and oderless while the Camco brags about its wintergreen scent. Most of the time you will want an antifreeze that does not leave a taste or odor. When you flush out the antifreeze in the spring, any odor or taste is going to be more difficult to clean out of your water system.

rv antifreeze taste test

Look for sales, look for potable RV antifreeze, and try to find some that is tasteless and odorless so just flushing to plain water in spring will put you back in business.

See the entries Winterizing the plumbing and Winterized yet? for more ideas about getting ready for winter.

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SNU Ft Sage Rally

There is a new link on the 2007 and 2008 Rallies page! Two photo galleries have been posted about the October 2007 SNU Rally at the Fort Sage Mountains trailhead.

Ft Sgae October 2007

Gallery 1 Gallery 2

Fall weather, a storm rolling through, clear air, scenic vistas, roiling clouds, zephyrs – what an experience and what a chance to try to capture just of a bit of it in pictures.

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Frosty morning propane check

On a frosty morning you can see how much propane you have left. As the frost melts off, it will first melt off the empty parts of the tank. That leaves a line of frost showing where the liquid level is in the tank.
propane frost line
Note the frost on the bottom of the rear tank in the photograph. That is the tank in use and it doesn’t have much propane left in it.

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David and Rachel Strodes 2007 Safari 25ft

The Strodes have a 25′ Airstream with a side by side rear bed and bath arrangement. That makes for an open feeling for comfortable living out in the woods. It’s a good size for getting out and seeing the country, as in these pictures from Twin Lakes in August 2007.
2007 Safair 25foot Airstream
See the photo gallery!

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Weather for the SNU rally at Fort Sage

Fall in the Great Basin!

It looks like those heading towards Doyle for the SNU Rally at the trailhead near the Fort Sage mountains (see SNU Rally near Doyle CA at Ft Sage BLM Area) will need to be concerned about winds on US 395 Thursday and especially on Friday. There might be showers as well.

A cold front looks like it will pass through the area Friday night and that might mean some snow on Saturday morning. The cold night will be Saturday night when it might get below freezing. Since the Lahontan rally, the weather has been in a deep winter pattern with a series of cold fronts and ‘short waves’ bringing winter weather to the area. This pattern is usually a January thing, not a September and October thing.

Make sure your propane tanks are full and be prepared for an invigorating weekend with fall weather. When you get home it will be time to winterize your rig. We have already had some pretty good freezes but nothing to damage the plumbing, so far. From here on out, the gamble on the weather becomes more and more of a risk.

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WBCCI Unit and Rally Decals from the 1960’s

OK, it is just a collection of pictures of faded circular things someone could have put on their window 40 years ago. They do tell a story: they tell you how it was, where it was, when it was, and who it was.

I'rally decal
See the photo gallery!

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SNU October Newsletter

Sierra Nevada Unit enthusiasts,

The October 2007 Newsletter has been posted. See the newsletter page
*** Note: Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can be found there, too.

Topics include:
* Upcoming rally at Ft Sage near Doyle, CA
* SNU elections to be held at October rally
* Review of the September rally at Lahontan
* Welcome new members
* President’s Ramblin’s
* Thanks to those who have renewed or joined the SNU for 2008. We look forward to others renewing soon.

->-> Ft Sage BLM Campground – Last rally of 2007 < -<- Thursday October 18 to Sunday October 21 2007. At this rally the SNU will be testing a new site. A BLM campground and off road trail head near Doyle, CA, about 45 miles north of Reno. The campground is called Ft Sage. and is about 5 miles east of US 395. A lot of new material has been added to the website over the past two months. Check Zephyrs to see what’s new.

The SNU folks

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No more camping on the backside of Pyramid Lake

The RGJ reports that the “eastern side of Pyramid Lake [is] closed to campers.” The Pyramid Lake Tribe’s tribal council decided that there was too much abuse of land they preferred to keep more pristine. The East side is much more difficult to access than the West, which is where the Sutcliffe to Nixon stretch of Nevada 446 provides a lot of access to the beach. 446 is a paved road that heads north out of Sutcliffe to Pelican and Warrior points then to the needles and hot springs.

The West side road is between the mountains and the lake. One the east, the road to Gerlach is beside Winemucca (dry) lake and you have to go over the mountains to get to Pyramid lake beaches. None of those roads over those mountains is ‘improved’.

Years ago, access to the hot springs and the north side of the lake was blocked due to misuse. Taking a left after leaving pavement on 446 north of Warrior Point heads over to the Fort Sage mountains and Honey Lake. To the north is the Black Rock Desert and a lot of wilderness.

There is a day use fee and camping fee for any visitor to the reservation. The fee might be cheaper than an RV park or state park but not by much. The RV park in Sutcliffe is about the only place for necessary RV facilities.

It is pretty country and very rugged. Towing is restricted to selected companies and it is easy to get stuck in the sand. The lake itself is full of surprises that are sometimes fatal. Take due care and be prepared.

See also:

The Tufas of Pyramid Lake, Nevada By Larry Benson

National Scenic Byway or How Stuff Works highlights

Wes’s Pyramid Lake Fishing Report

Fabulous Treks

Check out the Destinations for photo galleries and more links: Washoe County – Gerlach to Washoe City

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