Fall Finon Fest 2010

Carole (who I met through a group called vwcamperfamily) asked me to contribute a post from my own blog (www.jennandromy.com) about what is becoming an annual tradition for the vwcamperfamily – the Fall Finon Fest! Joe, one of our own who is a founding father sort of guy, first started the camp out three years ago. Only a few buses showed up then. Now in its third year, we had a whole group of great people to share good times with! If you find yourself in the gold country of California in September, come on by and join the fun!
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Its already the third year that the Fall Finnon Fest has been going on! And its kind of exciting to know that we’ve been to every single one, since the beginning when we first moved to California! I don’t really have much to say about the camp out, except the usual. It was fun and we can’t wait until the next one! We love seeing new VW busers at these events. Here are some pictures to enjoy:

Fall Finnon Fest 2010
Brian’s bus and his bike that he attached an engine to! Really epic!

Fall Finnon Fest 2010
Carl’s adventure wagon with the hatch popped open. Will he end up selling it or not?

Fall Finnon Fest 2010
Somebody drove up Saturday evening in this Ghia. Not sure who it was, but I got this close up of the front lights.

Fall Finnon Fest 2010
Not sure who’s bus this is, but I’ve seen it before. I appreciate the tarp awning!

Fall Finnon Fest 2010
Peter’s red bus and Brett’s big blue.

Fall Finnon Fest 2010
John’s Dormmobile. Very unique – it was imported from the U.K., I think.

Fall Finnon Fest 2010
The hang out spot was by Shelby and Blake’s Westy vanagon.

Fall Finnon Fest 2010
Saving the best for last! Our bus with Romy cooking breakfast and brewing some coffee on Sunday morning.

Whats Up With LA Taking All of the Water?

JEN AND ROMY FREDERICK OFTEN TAKE OFF IN THEIR VW TO GO CAMPING AND WRITE ABOUT THEIR DISCOVERIES. HERE JEN WRITES ABOUT A RECENT TRIP EAST OF THEIR OAKLAND HOME.
THANKS  FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO OUR BLOG, JEN …..

In our recent jaunts to the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains, be it to go to the desert, the mountains, or visit the hot springs, we’ve encountered many signs of land and water being “owned” by the LADWP. Like signs saying, “No Overnight Camping Allowed – LADWP land.” After a while, we wondered who LADWP was. Then we figured out that its actually the city of Los Angeles and LADWP stands for Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. So why the hell do they own so much land so far away from the city of LA?

It’s because they need to own the land so they could have the right to suck all of it dry! And it’s very apparent when you drive down HWY 395 and look at all of the “lakes” like Mono Lake or Owen’s Lake. In the case of Mono Lake, the LADWP started diverting water out of the river that fed it in the early 1900s and the water level dropped like a rock. Conservation efforts in the 1970s and 1980s stopped them taking as much water as they liked, and now the lake is actually rising again, but it’s still below its natural level. What’s amazing is that Mono Lake is roughly on the same line of longitude as San Francisco, but LA is taking its waters. In the case of Owen’s Lake, it’s even worse. LA completely sucked it dry. It turned from a salt lake like Mono to a salt playa in the 1920s, and now it whips up alkali dust every time there is a wind storm. The people who lived around it complained so much from the dust ‘pollution’ that LA agreed to wet the soil a bit to prevent dust storms. In fact, one of our professors at Berkeley was part of the scientific study which showed how the wind patterns in the Owen’s Valley made the dust storms so bad. She studies how the wind (air) flows over mountains and in mountain valleys. She said that the dry lake bed which was once Owen’s Lake was the largest point source of dust in the western hemisphere! Could you believe that!? After the study was published, that’s when LA decided to start wetting the soil. However, when we drove by Owen’s Lake a couple weeks ago, during a crazy wind storm, we could see the dust storm for miles away!

Owen's Lake Alkali Dust Storm
An alkali dust storm on Owen’s Lake

The wind was really ripping across the Owen’s Valley and picking up a lot of salts and other minerals and dust that cover the now dry lake bed. The cloud formations show just how windy the valley was. The low clouds over the Sierras to the left are caused by condensation of moist air over the mountains. The air is moving very fast downwards into the valley where it dries up, and picks up a lot of dust. In fact, the winds can get so strong that they knock over semi trucks driving on Hwy 395! Then the wind flows back up over the White Mountains to the right, forming this huge front of clouds that runs parallel to the valley. These are the crazy winds that pick up all of the dust and create a hazard when it is windy.

Not only that, but you can’t even camp in the Owen’s Valley because LA owns it to take water from the Owen’s River. Many natural hot springs pop up in that valley and the run off drains into the river, which is tapped by LA. Therefore, LA doesn’t want any new hot tubs built which would interfere with their water supply (even though they wouldn’t at all), nor campers who would just like to enjoy the pleasant scenery.