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Unread 11-17-2013, 05:44 PM
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NEJ NEJ is offline
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Panamint Valley weekend

I was determined to go camping this past weekend but the weather was saying "no." Sunday's forecast had wind north but Anza Borrego State Park calm. On Monday, it started to flip, with wind both south and north. Tuesday the wind speeds north were reduced and the south was looking like it would be a bad place to try and be in a tent. That was the pattern for the rest of the week. By Friday morning, south of Panamint Valley was not going to be a workable option---if one believed the forecasts.

The forecasts are updated twice a day. When they update is completely dependent on where you are pointing to and about twelve hours apart. These NOAA forecasts are for an area of your choice and about a square mile or less. They tell you wind speeds, direction of wind, temperature, humidity and precipitation for three hour periods. The forecasts are for about six days out. Obviously they are more accurate for one or two days out than for the later dates.

To me this is pretty important stuff. When I camp, I want to know what the weather is planning on throwing at me. Then I know where to camp and what to expect. This past weekend, Panamint Valley was the only place with wind speeds under 25 to 30 mph. The predicted speeds in PV were to be about 18 max on Friday night. Every place else had Friday gusts of higher velocity and a second wind event on Saturday worse than Friday. By Saturday, PV was to be reduced wind velocity and good conditions.

It is now Friday night in my tent in PV, backed up against the Argus, north of Slate Range Crossing. I went to bed early, right after dinner. So close to the mountains, the sun goes down at 2:45. At 10, I woke to a flapping shade tarp that had kept my tent cool during the afternoon. A stake had pulled out on the windward side. I made the decision to get out of my bag and check the situation. Ted and Gunner (dogs) stayed put.

Once out of the tent, I first thought about re-anchoring the tarp, but another blast of wind changed my mind. By the time I had the poles collapsed and the tarp dumped on one side of my tent, the table had taken a blast and launched itself and everything sitting on top off the side of the hill. From then on, it was half-an-hour of chasing wind-caused problems.

Finally I had the whole site secured for wind from the west. That is the key to wind: know where it will come from. Weather sites can tell you it will blow from a certain direction, but that is all theory until it actually starts huffing and puffing. Of course, once I had my campsite ready to take the wind from several directions, it stopped blowing. Thanks. As I write this the gusts have returned.

It is great to be out camping in PV this weekend. I am pretty sure my 18 mph wind gust will be fine and I can enjoy the place. Glad I had the NOAA website to predict this stuff and know what to expect.

Further update: by morning the wind speed had dropped to zero. It was calm all Saturday, with only a slight down-slope flow in the evening. As I write this, it is quite calm. Most of the morning there were high clouds to the south that obscured the sun. The day did not warm up until afternoon, when shorts and a t-shirt finally became comfortable. I had soft tacos Friday night for dinner and fried tacos tonight. Both dinners were a big success. Yum. My solar panel came out this afternoon when the sun made its appearance and I watched a few hours of "Family Guy" on my laptop. Hopefully my new 12 volt, 22inch, 38 watt, TV comes this weekend. The laptop (45 watt) just doesn't have a bright enough screen for daytime viewing---and that is when I need to watch because of the solar panel power. My battery can only make it through about one movie at night. Upgrade my battery power? I'm thinking about it.

NJ

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