Tuesday, May 8, 2007

RV Camping - Watch Out For The Fine Print!

We try and keep up with the goings on of the USDA Forest Service and other public lands administrators as their decisions can have a huge impact on our camping locations and availability. Today we learned about some "guidance" provided by the USDA Forest Service about game retrieval and dispersed camping.

Here is where the "fine print" comes into play. We learned about this document from a camping forum post. The original forum post pointed out two issues...one had to do with ATV's, the other delt with dispersed camping (boondocking). All respondents to this point agreed that ATV's should be restricted, and that was it. Nothing mentioned at all about how camping 50 feet from a road would be lousy with dust, noise, and potential safety issues for children and pets.

So please, read the "fine print" too when you read about public lands doctrine. There is often more than meets the eye that may effect your future camping plans, and if you don't agree with what is happening, let somebody know. Write the forest service, your congressman, or your other elected representatives. They are our public servants, they should be working for us.

RV Camping Home

Sunday, May 6, 2007

RV Alternative Fuels - How Dangerous?

70 years ago today, a vehicle using an alternative fuel crashed taking the lives of 36 people. At the time, it's cutting edge technology included metal framing and fabric cover. It covered thousands of miles safely before it exploded into flames and crashed at Lakehurst, NJ.

The airship Hindenburg crash should remind us about the dangers of making changes, and the need for careful forward thinking. While Hydrogen in the Hindenburg was used as a lifting source rather than a fuel source, the results are obvious. A few years ago, MTBE was a required fuel additive to help reduce engine emissions, then it was found to be a very dangerous chemical additive easily invading ground water, and outlawed nationwide.

The Hindenburg crashed in part because the US had an embargo against less explosive Helium, so the highly explosive Hydrogen was used instead. The problem is that even though the use of Hydrogen as an alternative fuel source sounds great, there are potential problems to overcome. The same is true for Ethanol that is being touted as a great fuel source, but we just read the other day that extremely hazardous chemicals are byproducts that may cause serious environmental issues.

The US seems to take a "knee jerk" approach to energy and political issues trying for the quick fix. Unfortunately, without careful forward thinking, we end up with MTBE type problems or worse. With the cost of fuels skyrocketing, it's easy to view any reduction in our dependence on foreign fuels as positive.

RV alternative fuels are just around the corner. We hope the decision makers keep past disastrous lessons in mind as they make energy policy decisions that may effect our RV camping experiences in a negative way.