Archive for October, 2008

SNU November Newsletter online

The November 2008 Newsletter has been posted. Note: Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can be found there, too.

Topics in this newsletter include:

* Report from the October Rally at Blue Lakes

* November special Death Valley rally

* November luncheon in Fernley

* Making an Airstream bed Grossmann style

* Airstream sightings

* Shopping for SNU logo items at Cafepress

Luncheon at Chuckars

Saturday November 22, 2008 the SNU will have lunch at Chuckars in Fernley It is on the west end of Fernley. From Reno take exit 46 off I80. Lunch starts at 11:30 am. Cost is $15 per person. Please RSVP Call Wes or Roy at 775 575 7990 or email

Time to renew

It is time to renew your membership in the SNU for 2009. If you are not currently a member, please consider joining us in 2009. The renewal/application form is posted on the SNU website along with a link that enables you to pay your dues online.

> Check Zephyrs to find out if there have been changes in the October rally and also fond out what else is new on the website


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Hope Valley, Blue Lakes Road, SNU Rally

Three photo galleries! The SNU fall colors rally on Blue Lakes Roads off California highway 88 was a twofer. One setting is the bullpen right off 88. Then camp was moved to a spot upstream and alongside the West Fork of the Carson river.

Finally there is a photo gallery of scenery of the river valley and environs.

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CO and other detectors and alarms

The need was for an oxygen concentrator prescription after heart surgery. The solution was a genset in the back of the tow truck. The problem was CO getting into the RV when the wind went the wrong direction.

You must have functioning detectors and alarms in your RV anytime you are anywhere near anything combusting including gensets, furnaces, RV refrigerators, or catalytic or similar space heaters. You should also have combustible gas detectors in case of leaks. (See the Safe Home Products Page for definitions)

RV ratings for alarms and detectors account for the confined space in an RV and the broader range of expected temperature and other conditions, among other things. Make sure any alarms and detectors in your RV have a proper UL listing for RV use.

Detectors age and may need replacement every few years or so. Read the owner’s manual for guidance on this.

Where detectors are installed depends upon what it is trying to detect. Smoke and CO detectors are usually placed high on the wall and combustable gas detectors low.

Check the UL page on CO Product Safety Tips or PDF

The Safe T Alert is a common detector for RV’s. It runs on 8-16v with a 60mA current draw and an operational temperature range of -40F to +140F – this provides a contrast to the usual 110v +40F to +100F specifications for a typical household detector. (Camping World has these for a bit under $60 – Safe-T-Alert Carbon Monoxide Detector with FREE Smoke Alarm and Safe-T-Alert Detectors)

Here’s an Atwood RV alarm at PPL with a digital display that also runs a bit under $60. With a display, you can see how much the stove and oven add to rig CO content. See the battery powered CO Detector at Atwood. Be careful not to use micro measuring to feed paranoic tendencies!

Here’s the Atwood for about $50 at Mac the Fire Guy along with some other fire safety stuff.

The Army has Guidance on the Use of Heaters Inside Tents and Other Enclosed Shelters.

RV Safety Systems has Safety Related Alarm Systems for Buses/Motorhomes that provides some good data as well as descriptions of other alarms you might consider.

The Wisonsin Department of Health Services has a good summary of Portable Generator Hazards that includes CO as well as electrical hazards.

Make sure you have the detectors you need and that they are working properly when you use your RV. It is much better to be awakened in the night by an obnoxious alarm than to suffer fire or other disaster.

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Genset wiring issues

Most of us just fire up the genset and plug in. Every now and then someone wonders about whether it would be a good idea to provide an earth ground or whether the wiring is the way it should be. John Grzywacz runs through the wiring codes and their rationales in his paper Portable Generators and OSHA Construction Regulations (PDF).

The recommendation is against earth grounding as that just provides another electrocution hazard with a portable genset.

Ground fault interrupters used to not be required but that exemption seems to have been dropped in the NEC. Three factors are considered by OSHA. These are 5kW or less, 2 wire single phase, and no connection between the frame and the circuit wires. Because OSHA and NEC have different ideas, there may be some confusion. It is likely that the trend is towards GFI in all cases.

The third issue is the neutral and frame ground bonding. It appears that the NEC requires the connection for any genset, like an RV genset, that is not otherwise connected to any power system. This issue seems to have caused some differences in how the popular Honda 2000i is wired between Canada and the U.S. Note also that bonding the neutral and frame ground would eliminate one the three conditions necessary for the GFI exemption.

Grzywacz explains the why of these issues and that can help you understand what is going on with your genset.

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Been to these places?

Neatorama describes How 10 American Towns Got Their Weird Names from Uncle John’s Supremely Satisfying Bathroom Reader.

Like QSL cards for the Radio Amateur, some RVers collect visitation confirmations from places. The equivalent to the ham’s ‘Worked all States’ might be souvenirs from each state capital. Sometimes organization have their own program like the The Loneliest Road in America, Official Highway 50 Survival Guide. or the National Parks. Now you can collect “places with weird names” starting with this collection.

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Brain on Fire mentions a few things to know about How to catch a mouse. It is nearly impossible to keep them out of your rig as they can get through very small holes. They also tend to shy away from new things that appear in a familiar environment so keep your traps in place, even if not using them.

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Blue Lakes, Hope Valley, Carson Pass links

A winter storm went by this weekend dropping temperatures and snow but it looks like the SNU rally weekend in Hope Valley will have sunshine and temperatures ranging from the upper twenties to the sixties – if the long range forecasts hold!

Here are some links to check out:

Blue Lakes

TalkingStory :: Lower Blue Lake Kayaking and Sidetrip to Lost Lake

Sierra Area – PG&E campgrounds and picnic areas, scroll down for Carson Pass Highway 88 area

Alpine County, California – Kirkwood and Hope Valley campsites

East Slopes — A Recreational Guide to the Eastern Sierra and Casade Mountains: Highway 88: Carson Pass to Hwy. 395 Archives

Eldorado National Forest – Recreational Activities – fishing at Blue Lakes

Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest – Recreational Activities – Carson Ranger District Camping

Trout Fishing On Carson Pass, by Mark Wiza

Mokelumne Wilderness

Stanislaus National Forest – Recreational Activities – “The 105,165 acre Mokelumne Wilderness straddles the crest of the central Sierra Nevada, within the Stanislaus, Eldorado, and Toiyabe National Forests. This area lies within portions of Calaveras, Alpine, and Amador Counties and is bordered by State Highway 4 on the south and State Highway 88 on the north. Watersheds drain to the Mokelumne River on the west slope and the Carson River on the east slope.”

Mokelumne River – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Mokelumne Wilderness

the Mokelumne River

GORP – Mokelumne Wilderness, California

SummitPost – Mokelumne Wilderness — Climbing, Hiking & Mountaineering

Carson Pass

California Highway Conditions sr88Safe Travel USA

California State Route 88 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Carson Pass, California -Dutch’s map and photographs

Carson Pass Discovered – Graham’s history

National Scenic Byways on

NSBP home pageGo CaliforniaScenic Drives USA

ENFIA | Carson Pass Information Station

How to Drive Carson Pass Highway |

Mormon-Carson Pass Emigrant Trail Marker

Route 88 – Scenic Highway CA DOT guide

The Carson Pass Area – for ski enthusiasts

California Landmark 378: Pioneer Odd Fellows in Carson Pass, California

Station Meta Data: CARSON PASS

Fall Colors

Fall Colors in the Sierra Nevada foothills – “In the Sierra Nevada foothills and the higher mountains to the east, fall colors can be found for months. Anywhere between late September and early December, folks hankering for showy displays of red or gold leaves will find them somewhere in the region.”

California offers spectacular fall foliage – interactive RVing article

How to View Fall Foliage in California |

Fall Colors of the Mother Lode, Gold Country, Hwy 49

Favorite fall-color drives – Best of the West | Sunset | Find Articles at BNET

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Rocky Point at Eagle Lake

About 30 miles north of Susanville is Eagle Lake. Anita recently checked out a dispersed camping area on the northwest shore. Rocky Point is popular enough to have a host and an outhouse but the access road is a bit of a question.

See the photo gallery!

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Reno Championship Air Races 2008

Many familiar planes, some new ones, and a lot of eye candy for the aviation enthusiast, the air races are a lot of fun. This year’s photographic efforts meant creating an index to the pictures from the 1980’s, 2002, 2003, and 2008

See the new 2008 Gallery 1 and Gallery 2 and then compare and contrast to the previous years

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Special Weather Statement

A special weather statement has been issued warning of the potential for a hard freeze towards weekend in the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin area.

People need to plan accordingly for this abrupt change to colder conditions. Temperature sensitive plants and animals should be protected or taken inside. Also water sprinkler systems and outdoor pipes should be wrapped… covered up… or drained as to avoid any damage from freezing water.

Your RV may need a bit of warmth to make sure there is no freeze damage.

Take heed!

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An invitation to traffic court

Eric Peters says “So You Got a Speeding Ticket…“. Don’t just sit and take it but be aware of just what it can cost you and what you can do about it.

Traffic court’s a lot like buying a car — because there’s lots of haggling involved.

Or should be — if you’re smart.

The fact is that traffic citations mey be more than just paying the bail. If it results in a mark on your driving record then it may cost you in increased insurance premiums for several years. Peters says ” it’s crucial to fight that first one — no matter how small it may seem.” Either do it yourself or hire a lawyer. The difficult part is usually realizing just what kind of situation the citation business really is.

It isn’t about safety. It isn’t about ethics or morality or other such hifalutin ideals. It is all about who pays and how much. The game has rules and success at it more often has to do with knowing those rules and using them to your advantage. Just sending in the bail and writing checks for the next few years is like getting told to play a football game and then forfeiting it by not showing up.

The least you can do is to show up for the game. Hire a lawyer for maybe $500 if you want professional assistance or do it yourself with a bit of time and commitment.

you have absolutely nothing to lose by doing this. It’s free — and it’s a good way to game the system, just as the system is trying to game you.

At the very least, your showing up forces the other team to also show up. They may be professional heavyweights but there is only so much damage they can do if you join the game as they do have to follow the rules. You can use those rules to your advantage and significantly increase your odds of winning.

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The SNU October 2008 Newsletter is up

The October 2008 Newsletter has been posted. See the link on the SNU 2008 newsletter index. Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can be found at that URL, too.

Topics in this newsletter include:
* October Rally at Blue Lakes
* November special Death Valley rally
* Report from the Obsidian Rally
* Courtesy Parking
* Time to renew or join the SNU for 2009

Blue Lakes Rally

Thursday October 16 to Sunday 19, 2008 the SNU will hold it’s last regular rally for 2008 at Blue Lakes dispersed camping area off Hwy 88 in Hope Valley. Melissa says once you turn on Blue Lakes road, there is no way you can miss the rally site. This area has lots of great fishing spots, excellent hiking opportunities and beautiful scenery.

Alternate Site – IF there are chain controls on Hwy 88 the October Rally will be at Pyramid Lake Pelican Point. If in doubt as to the rally location check the website or call 775 972 9392 the Monday before the rally. We will also try to send out an email alert if there are any changes in the October rally.

Time to renew

It is time to renew your membership in the SNU for 2009. If you are not currently a member, please consider joining us in 2009. The renewal/application form is posted on the SNU website along with a link that enables you to pay your dues online.

Check Zephyrs to find out if there have been changes in the October rally and links to road conditions and weather or other relevant items of interest.

For only what’s new on the website see the Zephyrs What’s New category


ps –California Highway Conditions sr88and Carson Pass weather. More about Hope Valley and the Blue Lake area, Carson Pass and Highway 88, the Mokelumne Wilderness and Fall color will be provided soon!

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SNU Rally at Obsidian Dome September 2008

Down by June Lakes around back of one of the Mono Domes (or USGS) – here’s a photo gallery of the September SNU rally.

See all the pretty pictures!

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