Ramblings of a Techno-Viking

Tonopah Museums and Miller's Rest Area

On my way south for the winter, I spent a night at Miller's Rest Area about 12 miles west of Tonopah, Nevada. It allows camping for 18 hours per two week period, and has a free dump station. Unlike many Nevada Rest Areas, it has trees and grass watered by the on-site well. Picnic tables, grills, trash cans, and water faucets are provided. The faucets and dump station are closed in winter.

In Tonopah itself, I went to the Tonopah Historical Mining Park. The visitors center is free, but the walking tour costs $5 per person. There are several mines on the property, in various states of decay and restoration, most better than the others I have seen. One mine was exploritorially reopened in the 1970's and found not to be commercially worthwhile.

The free Central Nevada Museum has artifacts of the area, including the WWII Army Air Base used for training P39 and B24 crews. The thin atmosphere at 6000 feet caused many accidents of the P39s, and that training was moved elsewhere. Many airplane parts are on display, as well as some experimental radio-television controlled glide-bombs.

Posted Sunday 04 November 2012 03:45 UTC
Last edited Monday 10 December 2012 04:16 UTC

Gold Town Casino, Pahrump Nevada

[[!osm lat="38.060211" lon="-117.220500" type="free-camp" name=Amargosa"]] After leaving Tonopah, I spent a night at Amargosa Rest Area. The Verizon signal was a bit better than Miller's, but I did not bother trying for TV.

The next day I continued to Pahrump, where I expected to stay at Terrible's Town Casino. (It was listed in Casino Camper as allowing overnight parking.) It has been renamed Gold Town Casino, and has a new players club, but still allows overnight parking. Signs inside indicate that Terrible's Lakeside Casino and RV Park has also been renamed. Verizon and T-Mobile signals are good, and a bunch of TV stations come in, but some at low resolution. (CBS is 480p.) The large vehicle part of the lot was fairly noisy with trucks and RVs as well as the traffic noise from the highway. The buffet was serving breakfast Sunday Afternoon, and most of the food seemed to have been sitting on the steam table for a while.

Posted Tuesday 06 November 2012 02:55 UTC
Last edited Monday 10 December 2012 04:16 UTC

Blythe-Vidal Road BLM

US 95 south of CA 62 goes between Reservation and BLM land several times. I pulled off between some rock piles and found a BLM road sign for Blythe-Vidal Road hidden behind them. Looking on my BLM map (Blythe) I found the road is the boundary of a BLM wilderness area. The Verizon signal is good, no TV signal was found. There is a southbound milepost 24.72 not far before this turnout. The road is typical single-lane desert dirt road, I did not walk far down it.

Posted Thursday 08 November 2012 20:15 UTC
Last edited Monday 10 December 2012 04:16 UTC

New Laptop: Thinkpad x120e

My travels the last few days have not been to anywhere new. I spent a few days at Tumco, then spent today in Algodones and am staying the night at Quechen Casino.

Since I never described my new computer due to network problems, I figured now would be a good time to do so. I purchased a discontinued Lenovo Thinkpad x120e laptop. It has 2gb ram, a 320gb hard drive, dual-core AMD processor, and no optical drive. The first thing I did was wipe windows off of it and install Debian Squeeze (stable), then attempt to upgrade to Debian Wheezy (testing). (Squeeze lacked the drivers for some hardware.) Wheezy lacked the drivers for the display, so during the boot sequence it would switch to an unreadable screen. I eventually found that Sid (unstable) had the driver for the display in non-free. (To install it I needed to boot with the Squeeze kernel.) The most significant thing I have not yet debugged is hibernate mode.

One thing I really like about this system is the 4-6 hour battery life. This is enough that I can charge during the day when my solar is in absorption mode (meaning the panels are producing more power than the house battery can safely take) and use it at night and in the morning when there is no spare solar power without depleting the house battery. The 12v charger that I had purchased for my old Thinkpad (which died, prompting the replacement) works fine on my new one.

I purchased a USB powered DVD writer to give me optical capability when I need it. This uses two of the three USB ports.

The network problem I had this summer was the Millenicom 3g USB stick glitched and needed to be reset with their proprietary software that is only available for Windows and Mac. Lacking access to a Windows system that I could install software on, this meant that I was without my network connection. I used the Sandy Library (fast, free wifi) 30 miles from my worksite and occasionally wifi at a closer coffee shop or cafe which were both unreliable.

Posted Tuesday 13 November 2012 00:42 UTC
Last edited Tuesday 13 November 2012 00:42 UTC

An Unexpected Visitor

Today I had an unexpected visitor fly in. A hummingbird came in through my open window, and flew around with occasional rests for over five hours before finally finding the open door to leave at sunset. (My attempts to guide it failed.)

I'm in BLM land off American Girl Mine Road where I was in February. I spent several days at a different spot, but someone coming in and set up nearby. When I went to town to get groceries and run errands I came back I chose this nicer spot instead. My thanksgiving was quiet, I decided not to join the group in Quartzsite for their feast.

Posted Saturday 24 November 2012 01:54 UTC
Last edited Saturday 24 November 2012 01:54 UTC