Archive for November, 2016

Collateral damage: Distracted driving

The trend seems to be to pass a law to govern every aspect of going down the road. That is why one judge determined that It is Illegal to Use Phone GPS While Driving in RI. Since the distracted driving laws only mention cell phones as a source of distraction, using an equivalent device like a dedicated GPS navigation device might be OK.

“…Based on the plain language of the statute,” the judges wrote in their decision, “a reader may be looking at any visual display on the phone’s interface and be in violation of the statute. To hold otherwise would defeat the purpose of the statute: to prevent drivers from distractions caused by operation of a cell phone while driving.”

That is going to get interesting when you consider that even dedicated GPS devices are getting on communications networks to get traffic information and updates. There’s also whether a tablet used for navigation will qualify as a cell phone or whether the built in display on some modern cars, cars that use the cell phone network in various ways, will also run afoul of the law.

There is also a need to be concerned about laws that restrict where you can put driving aids and how they are visible to the driver. You can’t assume common sense or safety has anything to do with whether or not you are going to be ticket bait on the road.

Then there’s the autopilot thing. Lane assist, automatic braking, cruise control, visibility assistance cameras, and other safety devices are also targets where the law might have unintended consequences producing collateral damage.

Take care!

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Where is the Great Basin?

The question isn’t simple. You’d think the Great Basin was the area of the ancient Lake Lahontan or the area that drains into the Carson Sink. Links: Here Are a Few, But Great, Great Basin and Great Basin Divide Links provides a few other thoughts about the boundaries of the Great Basin. A Google Earth image is provided:

Google Earth image of the West with a lot of lines. The Great Basin divide according to me is in magenta, wrapping around the Great Basin. Note the two possibilities at Pahranagat Lake, and no Salton Sea.

It seems that the Sierra Mountains define the western border, The Snake River drainage is to the north and the Colorado River drainage defines the eastern and southern boundaries for some. That gets into a lot of territory over a wide range of elevations with most of it desert of one sort or another.

The blog has some interesting exploring of Nevada with a geologist’s point of view. It is a good resource for touring the Great Basin and getting a better handle on what you are seeing.

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Outcomes and the cost of camping

On the Coyote Blog: Minimum Wages and Price Increases To Customers: A Real World Example Today in Arizona. He manages about 35 public campgrounds and parks in Arizona and more in other states. Politics hit his business which mean they hit you.

We will have to look at our financials for each permit, but my guess is that on average, we are talking about camping fee increases of $2 and day use fee increases of $1. This range of fee increases will actually not cover our full cost increase, but we will try to make up the rest with some reductions in employee hours.

This is one impact. Labor laws also limit how he can engage with volunteers and camp hosts and how he can render site services. For those of us that want to get out and enjoy public lands, this is just one side of the squeeze. The other side is in the growing restrictions on land use and when, where, and how we can use public lands and what can happen to you if you miss something. Think the NFS motor vehicle usage maps as an example and consider that with the stories about how the maps in GPS navigation systems and other maps often have errors. An error in the map isn’t a government problem it is your problem. 

We are slowly legislating ourselves out of access to our own country.

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PotPourri: Updates and other stuff. A link to a special report about mobility issues.

Doin’ the winter thang? See the page on preparing for winter.

You can find links to the update to the Bower’s Mansion photo gallery in the Destinations page for Washoe County and the Education History page.

There’s a ‘72 International Sovereign added to Show’nTell.

For happy Airstreamer’s gathering to discuss their favorite hobby see the group shots gallery. There’s also the Dale & Virginia SNU memories photo gallery for a bit more detail on this topic. Then there’s the Traveling with Pets photo gallery, too, for yet another take.

This was a year for wheel bearings and the Owner’s Guide Maintaining section covers winterizing and other topics as well.

Karen sent this link to Truck Camper Magazine about the conflict between the mobile lifestyle and the mobility issues we face as we get older.

Truck Camper Magazine examines the importance of mobility in current and future truck camper design. With 85 million Baby Boomers in the USA and Canada, this topic requires more industry attention. … To be clear, many truck camper owners have yet to experience these symptoms, or haven’t been slowed down by them yet. However, they are thinking about this eventuality, a concern often triggered by caring for their elderly parents.

Perhaps the most obvious sign that mobility is a priority for truck camper owners is the sheer quantity of mobility-focused modifications submitted to our monthly mod contests.

It’s routine to have improved camper step systems, deep bumper set-ups, comfort-improving dinette re-configurations, and even cabover assist handles submitted for the contests. Perhaps an even bigger tip is that these mobility modifications earn a lot of votes, and have won multiple times.

Truck campers are a particular challenge in that they are usually well off the ground and on the very small side for RV’s. Trailers tend to get people thinking about motorhomes due to difficulties in managing the hitch. Motorhomes can be large but they usually need a lot of stairs to get up to floor level. Age isn’t the only issue, either. People tend to be larger now they they used to be. That means there is more of a need for extra headroom as well as toilets with higher seats and other accommodations for taller, wider, and heavier – and even more active – people. 

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What about the RV experience and the community?

Bill Kristol has a conversation with Justice Clarence Thomas: Personal reflections on the Court, his jurisprudence, and his education. Near the end of the conversation (at 1:05:30), Justice Thomas mentions that has been a “motorhomer” for 17 years and notes that “there is a wonder out here” with people who share a common experience. It “keeps you normal” he says to get out with others who share his interest in the RV experience. “You’re with the rest of your country rather than isolated from it” he says.

That is the other part of the RV experience. It is not only to experience the land first hand but also to share that experience with others. That builds relationships and friendships and community. 

The conversation also provides some insight into growing up Black in the south after WW II. The story is an example of just how much is possible. Worth listening to.

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Winter tires and waterless hygiene and winter

Two items on the blogs – separate but both relate to colder temperatures and being prepared. One is about tire pressure and the other about how to keep clean when water isn’t plentiful.

On Autoblog they advise that When seasons change, check your tire pressure.

If your car has tire pressure light, you may notice that it comes on more often in colder months. You check the air, adjust accordingly and continue on. The following week, the light comes on again. Is it a fluke? Most likely not. As the weather gets cooler and temperatures continue to drop, so does the air pressure in your tires. Generally, for every 10 degree change in air temperature (either hot or cold), the tire pressure will change about 2%, which means that standard-pressure tires may change about 1 psi. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you consider the drastic temperature change between sweltering summer and frigid winter days, you may see a 4 to 5 psi loss. The more psi you lose, the more likely you are to face some challenges on the road. Here are some reasons as to why you don’t want to skip out on checking your tire pressure this fall and winter

Of course, the best thing you can do for your tires is to get out on the road. That’s also good for your RV as well. On the other hand, winter roads can be hazardous and cold weather can be challenge on many fronts. If you do need to leave the RV unused, look around on the I’net as there are a lot of ideas about how to best prepare your RV for a lack of exercise. On the other hand, if you do have the opportunity for some cold weather camping, here’s one issue for you.

Another one is from the prepper’s about Waterless Hygiene and How to Keep Yourself Clean. If you can’t run the RV water system because the weather is too cold or if you are extreme dry camping and really have to conserve water, you still need to pay attention to keeping clean.

there are actually products on the market that provide you with quite a good cleansing using no water at all [see link in original article]. A bottle or two in every bug out bag would be a wise investment.

Also check out the Living section on the website. One section has articles about dealing with condensation and staying warm and some of the other winter camping issues. 

Think Spring!

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