Archive for July, 2013

SNU Rally Weed Heights July 2013

When it gets hot, where do you go? Someplace with shade, breezes, and a good connection to the power grid! That puts the Weed Heights RV park high on the list for a July Rally.

weed heights SNU rally July 2013
See the photo gallery of the SNU Rally at Weed Heights.

This place is just outside Yerington in Lyon County about 30 miles southeast of Carson City as the crow flies (32 miles bearing 111). It is near the company housing for the retired Anaconda Mine. With the price of copper these days, there are some interested in going through the 360 million tons of tailings again. The EPA has spend the last ten years trying to find cause to label it a supersite for waste. They’ve spent a lot of money haven’t been able to make the case (yet).

Next year, the plan is to be there when the A Night in the Country will liven up Yerington. The event is a benefit to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mason Valley. There is dry camping at the Fairgrounds and it looks like that will be one big 24×7 party time there for the weekend.

The Weed Heights RV park is about 3 miles west and will serve as an overflow area or a camping spot for folks who want to spend the night sleeping or whatnot. You can tell the event managers have some experience as they ban booze, guns, and even pocket knives on premises along with video recorders and laser pointers. If you don’t like the rules, then look for Burning Man a bit later in the year … or maybe Hot August Nights, the Balloon Races, the Air Races, or some other event — lots going on in Northern Nevada.

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A place to camp, or something else?

The Coyote Blog notes When Environmentally Sustainable Actually Was Sustainable

“The US Forest Service has built more campgrounds, by far, than any other entity in the world. For decades, particularly in the western United States, the USFS had a very clear idea about what they wanted in a campground — they wanted it to be well-integrated with nature, simple, and lightly developed. They eschewed amenities like pools and playgrounds and shuffleboard. They avoided building structures except bathroom and shower buildings. The camp sites were simple, often unpaved with a table and fire ring and a place for a tent. They used nature itself to make these sites beautiful, keeping the environment natural and creating buffers of trees and natural vegetation between sites. I have never seen an irrigation system in a western USFS campground — if it doesn’t grow naturally there, it doesn’t grow.

This has proven to be an eminently sustainable design.”

The BLM and USFS both follow this idea but other agencies appear more prey to the ‘PC Campground’ problem – like maybe state and local park departments.

“Over the last several months, I have been presented with plans from three different public parks agencies for parks they want to redevelop. Each of these have been $10+ million capital projects and each one had a major goal of being “sustainable.” I have run away from all three. Why — because each and every one will be incredibly expensive and resource intensive to operate and of questionable popularity with the public. Sustainability today seems to mean “over-developed with a lot of maintenance-intensive facilities”.”

Agencies that use public facilities as bragging points tend to miss one big market. Some people just want to camp in the woods and wilds. If they want a resort or to hold a convention, they’ll find a place that does what they want. Dispersed camping is popular in large part because it doesn’t offer anything except access to the land. Most RV’s are fully able to spend a weekend off grid and take out anything and everything the bring in. Doing that is the essence of ‘sustainable’ and the idea of leaving no indication anyone was there at all.

Now, if the USFS and BLM would just upgrade the ancient campgrounds to better accomodate RV’s a bit larger than people used fifty years ago …

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SNU July 2013 newsletter

SNU Folks,

*The July 2013 Newsletter has been posted*

Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can also be found there, too

_Topics in the July newsletter_

Green Creek Review -|- Prez Meanderings -|- July at Weed Heights -|- Welcome New Members -|- Put the SNU rallies on your calendar -|- Cantaloupe Festival Rally -|- Planning for 2014 -|- Preliminary Huron Report

*Renew or join the SNU for 2014*

*Don’t Forget*
The July rally will be at Weed Heights near Yerington  The dates are Thursday July 18 to Sunday 21, 2013.

Still time to sign up for the Cantaloupe Festival Rally Friday August 30 – Monday Sept. 2, 2013

Check Zephyrs and find out what else is new on the


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Tuft’s Rocket Science 3: Airstream Interplanetary Explorer

What some people do with an Airstream trailer. One example is Edwin Tuft. See the pictures!

It helps if the name is familiar, if you know what a Feynmann diagram is, and you remember the Pioneer Space Plaque, you’ll understand,

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Popular Mechanics Airstream Slideshow

See The Airstream: Secrets of America’s Silver RV. “The retro styling of the Airstream is as appealing today as it was back in the 1930s. In the book Airstream: The Silver RV, available Aug. 13, author and PopMech alum Tara Cox celebrates this iconic travel trailer with some curious and little-known facts.

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Virginia Creek, Conway Summit

Heading south out of Bridgeport on U.S. 395 you climb to Conway Summit, the highest on U.S. 395. The Virginia Creek road heads west from the summit towards resorts and camping opportinities

See the photo gallery! Most of the pictures here are of the lower informal campground on NFS land. The similar upper camping area is more suited to smaller vehicles and tent camping along the creek. Beyond that is the Trumbull Lake campground where you can make reservations online.

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Green Creek

It runs down that canyon!

Green Creek
There are two photo galleries, one for the SNU June 2013 rally and the other with scenery in the area. See the links on the Green Creek page.

This is at a conjuntion of BLM, NFS, and California State Wildlife areas with dispersed camping at spots alongside the creek. The road up the canyon is very rough and rises about 1500′ over 7 miles with moderate grades. The turnoff is from U.S. 395 halfway between Bridgeport and Conway Summit and just a bit north of the turnoff to Bodie.

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Speed trap season

It is a delimma. Most RVers tend to travel a bit slower than other traffic on the road. Sometimes speed limits are lower for RV’s, especially those with trailers or toads. Some RVer’s even brag about going slower than traffic, especially if that traffic is going faster than the speed limit. A commentary in the Washington Times takes a look at the dirty little secret about holiday traffic ticketing and notes a 1964 study of interest to slower traffic.

“David Solomon, a researcher with the U.S. Department of Commerce, spent several years collecting data on the risk factors that cause highway accidents. In a seminal paper published in 1964 — yes, almost 50 years ago — Solomon> found that the least risk of crash involvement occurred with vehicles moving near the average speed of traffic. He documented the safest speed to be about 5 mph faster than traffic flow. Conversely, Solomon’s data showed the odds of being involved in a highway accident rose dramatically as vehicle speed dropped below the average for surrounding traffic. The famous “Solomon Curve,” illustrated in the accompanying graph, has never been substantively refuted in the intervening years. The nature of driver behavior hasn’t changed over time.”

Wikipedia has an article on the Solomon Curve. A 2015 report on the Relation of Speed and Speed Limits to Crashes by Susan Ferguson describes it this way:

  • Both studies found a U-shaped relationship between vehicle speed and crash incidence
  • ŠCrash rates were lowest for drivers traveling near the mean speed, and increased with deviations above and below the mean
  • Low-speed drivers were more likely to be involved in crashes than relatively high speed drivers

This is why you can also be ticketed in many areas if you have several vehicles behind you trying to get by. It is also why you should try to keep up with traffic and pay special attention to getting out of the way when slowing down to turn or for any other reason, such as braking to avoid a ticket when seeing a cop at a speed trap.

There is also a ‘social’ problem when it comes to speed that is illustrated by the Ferguson report. It is a ‘science literacy’ problem that tends to confuse correlation with causation and the over-simplification of complex phenomena. It is embodied in the ‘speed kills’ mantra. Yes, higher speed means higher energy in collisions – just like the higher weight in RV’s will do – and that can increase the severity of a crash. That doesn’t mean that a crash is more likely, though. A look at the Nevada Crash Book, for example, cites ‘exceeding the speed limit’ as way down the list of contributing factors to vehicle crashes.

RVers tend to be mature drivers with good judgment. That means they are usually safe drivers. They can be better drivers if they are alert to the traffic flow and avoid interference in that flow as much as possible. The RV driver needs to stay alert and on task to be aware of traffic ahead as well as behind.

Drive safe this summer!

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Summer driving tips: tires

Consumer News has its Summer driving tips to help prevent a road trip catastrophe and it is worth a review.

Check tire inflation, don’t overload, visually inspect, check the spare … good stuff!

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Obsidian Camp at US 395 north of Bridgeport

Here’s a possible place to stop if travelling on US 395. It’s just a bit north of Bridgeport 38.2973N 119.4470W off Little Walker Road on Molybdenite Creek.

Obsidian NFS Campground

See the photo gallery of the Toiyabe National Forest Obsidian Campground

Google Maps provides directions from US 395 that seem to go around the long way. It appears that Little Walker Road also intersects US 395 only about 4 miles from the campground. Google Earth elevation profile of the ‘direct route’ indicates a climb on this route of 844 ft with an average slope of 5% or so. Here’s what Wheels says about access:

“I took the Little Walker Rd from US 395. As I recall it was a typical dirt road that was not too narrow. The route from 108 on the Forest Service map looks very bad “Unimproved or 4 wheel drive Road Suitable for High Clearance Vehicles.” Also several creek crossings.”

Note that CA 108 is Sonora Pass, the second highest in the Sierra Nevada. CA 108 over the pass has some extremely steep grades and is not a recommended route for RV’s. Use Tioga to the south over to Yosemite, a bit higher but a better road with more manageable grades, or highway 88 to the north to get over the mountains.

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