Archive for February, 2009

Winnemucca to the Sea Highway

RV.NET had a discussion about this route with some interesting links. There is the Winnemucca website that has The Historic Winnemucca to the Sea Highway (PDF) brochure with pictures and history. Then there is the Google Maps street view.

Highway US-95 leaves north of Winnemucca connecting Nevada and Oregon. Before continuing on to Idaho, the route branches into State Route 140 into Denio, NV. Denio is the last stop for gas for over 100 miles. Rolling desert sage brush eventually transforms into rolling ocean surf at the end of the 494 miles of scenic western views.

Wide open spaces and a remote part of the country, so be prepared.

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Roads friendlier for older drivers

US News Reports on Why Roads Are Becoming a Friendlier Place for Older Drivers.

Recent statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, however, document major improvements in fatality rates for older drivers. … While IIHS is pleased with the trend, its researchers are at a loss to provide specific causes. There are now more older drivers than in past periods, it notes, and they are driving more miles and keeping their licenses for longer periods. Accordingly, it said it had expected these trends to produce higher fatality rates for older drivers, not lower ones


The AAA has advice to keep the trend going in good advice for seniors. The tips include such things as buying the right car, staying active and fit, limiting distractions, avoiding busy roads, using mirrors, and getting your eyesight checked.

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A worry for all of us

6 Obnoxious Old People Habits (Explained by Science) by Ian Fortey at is a bit crude but provides some things to think about. You may remember your grandparents – hopefully while they were still of an age to be enjoying the RV lifestyle and, perhaps, visiting your house. If so, these Old People Habits (OPH) might not have been truly obnoxious, at least not quite then.

So when you’re late for work and get stuck behind one of these guys, and swear out loud that you’ll never be a slow driving, high pants-wearing, hard candy-sucking Yoda, just remember: at your age, that’s what they said, too.

Keep in mind that you, too, might be a grandparent visiting your grandchildren. Enjoy it while you can and try not to let the wear and tear on your systems become obnoxious habits that overcome what you can offer to your family. A bit of knowledge might allow you to compensate. Maybe Fortey can help you look in the mirror and see what is really there.

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Amateur Radio Field Day, June 2009

The Sierra Nevada Unit of the WBCCI is planning on participating in the Amateur Radio Field Day exercise at its rally in June. The ARRL has a Field Day Package and a station locator. An entry has been made in the locator for this event. Look for station K1CD.

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RV Hints and Tips booklet

Here’s an interesting 56 page PDF booklet on RV Hints and Tips. The author isn’t mentioned but there is a lot of good information and ideas. The stuff on batteries is a bit towards ‘conventional wisdom’ rather than modern reality but that is only a lesson that you need to consider hints and tips like this in context with other knowledge and information.

This collection includes advice on RV purchase, using a 110v refrigerator, making connections on large sized wires, electric brakes, and even how to add a voltage regulator to a portable fluorescent lamp to run it off the RV 12v system.

There are a lot of good ideas and things to think about!

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Volunteer opportunity: science fair in Reno

The RGJ reports: Money, volunteers needed for May science fair in Reno. This might be an opportunity for volunteers visiting the area.

The world’s only international science fair, featuring the brightest young scientists, engineers and inventors, is coming in May to Reno.

The 2009 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair will bring about 1,600 high school students from across the United States and 57 countries to compete May 10-16 for $4 million in scholarships and awards.

See also the Gathering Genius website or the NCET PSA which notes

Don’t have time to volunteer, or don’t have a lot of money to donate? Well, now you can help Gathering Genius just by going to local Scolari’s for your food shopping! Through the Scolari’s Friendship Fund, you can dedicate your frequent shopper number to Gathering Genius and ISEF. Each time you shop, Scolari’s will donate 1 percent of your bill to Gathering Genius!

The “help wanted” page for volunteers at Gethering Genius. Check it out. Maybe you have a place in the effort.

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Plan on doing route 66?

The List Universe has Another 10 Stops on Route 66 for you to check out.

There’s the round barn in Arcadia, OK, The Drop Inn in Shamrock, TX, the Wigwam Villages (only 3 of 7 left), and others.

Also check out

The Mother Road: Historic Route 66 – “The Historic Route 66 web site is dedicated to provide free information for those who want to learn more about Route 66. It features a turn-by-turn road description, guiding the visitor from Chicago to Los Angeles. The forum is available for discussions regarding old 66 by the visitors of this site. There’s a slide-show, with pictures from our trip down Route 66 in 1994.”

Legends of America – “A Travel Site for the Nostalgic & Historic Minded”

National Historic Route 66 Federation – “The nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Route 66 across the country.” See their “adopt a hundred” program.

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Reno Now and Then

Historic Reno Preservation Society’s (HRPS) February program will feature Jerry Fenwick and Neal Cobb, authors of the popular book Reno Now and Then. The free lecture takes place on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 at 7 p.m. at Mt. Rose School, 915 Lander Street. For details contact Jack Hursh at 746-3252 or check HRPS website.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 — Reno, Now and Then— Historians and photographers Neal Cobb and Jerry Fenwick will present their photographic comparisons of Reno through the ages. They’ll also recount their experiences while writing and photographing the book Reno, Now and Then. A book signing will follow the presentation.

The HRPS program according to the two will be a fun look at how the book came to be and what they did and what happened as they took some of the photos. “It will be informative and funny at the same time,” said Fenwick.

Cobb and Fenwick always wanted to leave something with their names on it and according to the two a book seemed to be the best idea. Both have fantastic vintage photo collections and both enjoy photography so the Reno Now and Then theme seemed fitting. Their extensive knowledge about the history of Reno made writing the book a joy. The title of the book came directly from Cobb’s popular slide program which for years he presented to civic and history groups.

Fenwick’s favorite photo from the book was a photo he took in 1964 of the Truckee River in winter. “It was four below zero when I took that picture. I don’t think the river and the trees looked any more beautiful. It will never look that way again because of the Kayak Park,” stated Fenwick.

The November 2008 printing of the book is nearly sold out and the two hope a second printing will be in the works. The book is published by the University of Nevada Reno Oral History Program.

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Weather and traffic cameras in the Reno Tahoe area

The RGJ posted a report with a map for links to cameras that you can use to see what the weather and traffic is like in the area. See Live weather-traffic cameras in Reno-Tahoe area and beyond.

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For the bucket list: ten waterfalls to visit in the U.S.

For that list of things to do before you kick the bucket, you might consider adding the Top Ten Waterfalls in the U.S.. The posting has nice descriptions with pictures at the Attractions Blog.

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Video – Hat Creek MBCU Rallies late 80’s

Keeping up is always a challenge. Converting the old video tapes from the 80’s can keep a computer busy. Two video clips have been posted that show the scene at MBCU Hat Creek Rallies. See the travelogue page.

These videos have been made to be as portable as possible. They use an AVI container and the video is Xvid encoded and the audio MP3 (There isn’t much audio on these clips). They are rather large files so you will need a high speed connection. If you are interested in doing such things with your old video tapes, see the TechComm Labs blog and search for video entries. It’s enough to make your eye’s water with the technobabble …

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DTV transition – tin foil hat brigade update

If you are one of those worried about mind waves and big brother watching your every thought, you probably already have a tin foil hat. The DTV transition will require an upgrade. See How to create and attach a DTV converter box to your aluminum foil helmet for instructions.

Don’t get caught unprotected June 12, when digital television receivers will begin picking up brainwaves with higher-frequency energy blasts.

While an aluminum foil helmet was sufficient protection during the age of analog broadcasts, new digital transmission is much more powerful, rendering regular 1-ply helmets USELESS.

A benefit of this technique is that is recycles the juice boxes that are very convenient for RV use.

Of course, if you have an Airstream travel trailer you have extra special protection in this regard so you can sleep in peace without having to wear your tin foil hat!

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Reading in the dark?

Gizmos for Geeks found an item that could be useful for the RV enthusiast who likes to stay up late reading books on his or her Kindle (a library of 230,000 books in your RV would be rather difficult if in paper!).

LED Lighted Reading Glasses is a continuing evolution of the headlamp. The reference is to Hammacher Schlemmer $40 reading glasses in standard strengths. Four CR1025 batteries fit into the frames. These are common coin cell batteries that run a couple of bucks each so you can get about 30 hours of illumination for less than $10 of battery cost – maybe a quarter an hour to see what you are reading.

Hammacher Schlemmer is one of those shopping places where you need to be in a good state of mind with a firm grip on your wants, desires, and wallet. It is a nifty gadget place with all sorts of things that they think that you will think will make your life easier and more comfortable – like lighted reading glasses. They are not necessarily the cheapest place for things.

Lets-see – front page is advertising a portable language translator, the best nose hair trimmer, Androscoggin sheepskin slippers, and phonograph converter. All sorts of stuff. Take Care.

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About those old propane bottles

You may have some old propane bottles left from the valve conversion or other upgrade. Make referred to Instructables on making a Gas Bottle Wood Burner.

Of particular interest in this How-To is the safety advice for draining and cutting the bottles. You need to be very careful not to incite an explosion of left-over propane in the tank!

There are other possible uses for old propane bottles. You can recycle them if you can figure out where and how. You could cut them in half and get two planters. Turn your creative juices loose and maybe you can invent something!

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Traffic taxes

Fox News: Speeding, Parking Tickets on Rise as Government Revenue Source

Drivers across the country, beware — a heftier fine could be coming to a dashboard near you. Faced with rising deficits and dwindling revenues, many states and local municipalities are turning to increased traffic and parking fines to fill their coffers.

Garrett likened traffic violations to a “hidden tax,” like hotel occupancy taxes, that can easily be passed on to to out-of-state tourists.

“When times are tough, it’s often harder to increase revenue through traditional means like increasing sales and property taxes,” Garrett said. “And traffic tickets certainly fit that bill.”

“It’s disturbing when you come to realize that laws many of us try to obey are not being upheld in any predictable way,” Anderson said. “So then you ask, who does get picked on? What makes the decision when you’re going to enforce the law?”

The American Trucking Associations, which represents more than 37,000 members, said its drivers back efforts to enforce traffic laws. “But legitimate law enforcement reasons, not revenue needs, should determine the nature and extent of those efforts,” a statement from ATA read.

Take care.

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Wally Byam

Pee Wee shares a collection of Wally Byam pictures

See the photo gallery!

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SNU February Newsletter

SNU Folks,

The February 2009 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:
* January at Cabela’s
* February at El Charro
* Jeppson’s maintenance project
* A message from the SNU President
* Newsletter review

*>*> Luncheon El Charro Avita in Carson City

February 21, 2009 Saturday ,South Carson Street, south of downtown Carson City, NV. Lunch starts at 11:30 am. SNU members, non member Airstream owners and potential Airstream owners welcome – board meeting.Hosts: Randy and Vicki Grossmann Cost is $15 per person. RSVP’s much appreciated. Email or call 775 972 9392.


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Why RV?

Why on earth would anyone want to head out on the road in a cramped living space with limited storage and pay money to go visit some place, perhaps where they have already been before? PhysOrg describes a study that might give a clue in finding that Buying experiences, not possessions, leads to greater happiness.

A new psychology study suggests that buying life experiences rather than material possessions leads to greater happiness for both the consumer and those around them. The findings will be presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology annual meeting on Feb. 7.

With things like this you have to watch out for the anti-materialistic bias so often found in soft studies. But think: why else spend money to go RV’ing if not for a realization that the experience is worth a lot more to your life than spending the money on more stuff? When you spend money on your RV you are buying an experience or you aren’t getting your money’s worth.

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Miscellaneous Texas Airstream Rallies of the 1960’s

Here are a few pictures of WBCCI rallies in central Texas a while back … (back when the most popular tow vehicles were sedans, not pickup trucks!)

See the photo gallery!

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