OUTSMART – Instant, customized updates on river flows and other water conditions are available daily or hourly by text message or e-mail through a new service offered by the U.S. Geological Survey.
WaterAlert allows users to receive updates about river flows, groundwater levels, water temperatures, rainfall and water quality from any of more than 9,500 sites where USGS collects real-time water information.
The services will be useful for flood watches and other government and business applications, but kayakers, rafters and anglers are likely to be regular users.
From the WaterAlert website, users select sites and customize the way they want information delivered. The system can be set for alerts when conditions are above a value, below a value and between or outside of a range.
For example, rafters can sign up to be alerted when the water levels are high enough to pass over rocks or but not so high as to be unsafe.
Sign up: http://water.usgs.gov/ wateralert.
Fat tire bikers wired for 24-hour race
OUTPACE – About 135 relay teams, 50 sleep-denying individuals and even one unicyclist are entered in the annual 24 Hours Round the Clock mountain bike race next weekend at Riverside State Park.
A record 800 riders ranging from competitive to not-so-gung-ho are set to start Saturday and camp at the Seven Mile Airstrip while pedaling the 15-mile loop trail, said Wendy Zupan Bailey of Round and Round Productions.
Admission is free for spectators.
Bike shop owner Tom Miller of St. Maries plans to rise solo on a unicycle under the team name “One Day, One Wheel, No Brain.”
Top riders win cash, while other prizes go to best team name and campsite. Top name contenders include Moon over My Chamois, No Shift Sherlock, 24 Hours Behind Bars, 5 Dudes in the Hurt Locker, and 2 Old Guys with Nothing Better to Do.
Firewood gets the ax
OUTBURN – New “Stax” logs from Duraflame look much like split wood but the manufacturer says they burn up to 50 percent cleaner.
Three of the logs produce a fire equivalent to burning a 25-pound bundle of wood.
Unlike many manufactured logs, more than one Stax can be used at a time. They light with a single match.
Stax are made with recycled wood sawdust and agricultural biomass combined with bio-waxes and plant oils. No petrochemicals are used.
They’re available for about $20 per six-log bundle – enough for two or three fires – at many big-box stores, including Target, Fred Meyer, Home Depot and Walmart.
Or, you could go the old-fashioned route and cut some dead wood.
Record tiger musky
OUTFISH – A Montana record tiger musky, 48.38 inches long, weighing 30 pounds, was caught last weekend in Deadman’s Basin by Jesse Sanchez of Billings.