Sunday, June 10, 2018

We Pour at Four

From June 6-10, we were at the Glamarama RV rally in Allegan, Michigan. There were around 300 RVs there, but we parked in a section with just the Roadtreks. This is great because the President of the Roadtrek chapter of FMCA, Sherry Targum, makes sure that we have a space for group happy hours, and she "Pours at Four." Jim and I fit right in!

We were here to teach. We taught 4 seminars: Google Photos, Smartphone Basics, Technology for Travelers, and Create your Online Travelogue.
Jim also took some drone video of the fairgrounds with all the RVs here. Part of our "Create your Travelogue" seminar teaches how to embed that video in a blog post, just like this!

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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

The 12 volt "Van Life" lifestyle

Over the years of traveling by RV, we've evolved. From wandering, to sightseeing, to working on the road. This summer, my husband and I - as GeeksOnTour - are on the road for 5 months and are booked to give seminars at 7 different RV rallies. As we travel, we are making our living from our website. We've grown into our name - this summer we are Geeks On Tour more than ever before. Check out our map above.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida is home. "A" on the map is where we start and stop. Our transportation, home, and office is a camper van made by Roadtrek.
It has all the comforts of home, just in miniature!

No hookups? No problem.

We can have our wilderness and do our work too. We spend months at a time in our Roadtrek camper van. Most of the time we park at places with hookups. That means we plug the RV in to a power source, and now we have air conditioning, TV, and power plugs for all our computers, coffee makers and anything else we need.
The other day we parked at a campground in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. It is a rustic, National Park campground with no hookups.  We parked, got the bikes (electric folding bikes by ProdecoTech) down and went for a ride to the lakeshore.
Lots of beauty, a little exercise, gorgeous weather ... we really enjoyed it. While we were out we found a "Gourmet Grill" for dinner. When we got home (to the RV), we had work to do. We need power. Here's how we get it:
  • Propane: powers the refrigerator, hot water heater, stove, and furnace
  • 12 volt: powers the lights, powers receptacles in the dash where we charge our mobile devices at any time
  • Inverter: converts battery power to 110 for two of our electric wall outlets. All we do is turn the Inverter switch on, then we know which outlets are live and plug our computers in there. Our inverter is not powerful enough to run the coffee maker or the air conditioner.
  • Generator: as long as we have over 1/4 tank of gas, we can turn on the generator and have as much power as we need. Just as if we were plugged in to shore power. Coffee maker, A/C, hair dryer - everything.


What about water and sewer? We have holding tanks for that. When our fresh water tanks are full and our black and gray water tanks are empty, we can live comfortably for about 5 days. We've gone 7-8 when we have use of a bath house.

What about Internet?

Ahh - there are entire books written about that! I'll just give you our short answer. We have a Verizon unlimited plan on our old Samsung phones. We turn those phones into hotspots so our computers can connect. Here's our video on how to do that.

If you look closely at the first photo above, you'll see a cell tower in the distance behind our Roadtrek. That's what we like to see! We had screaming fast Verizon Internet there - 60Mbps down/37Mbps up! We even had enough connectivity to do our live YouTube show from that location - see Episode 144. Even at the Dunes we had good speeds, 10-20 Mbps. Here's an article to learn more about Internet speeds. Rarely do we find a location in the US where Verizon doesn't give us at least enough check email or post to the website. If we do find ourselves in such a place, we also have T-Mobile service we can try or Project Fi from Google. If nothing works, we can't stay!

There you have it, whether we're in our house in Fort Lauderdale, or in our Roadtrek working on the road, it makes no never-mind to us. We have everything we need. Let the tour continue!

List of Rallies, Tour dates. Numbers from map above:
  1. Escapade: May 27-Jun 1
  2. FMCA Glamarama: Jun 6-9
  3. FMCA International Convention: Jul 18-21
  4. Safari 30th Anniversary: Aug 27 - Sep 1
  5. Discovery Owners 20th Anniversary: Sep 10-15
  6. RV Travel Club Grand National Rally: Sep 26 - Oct 3
  7. Workamper Rendezvous: Oct 15-19

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Escapade in Sedalia

Off to work we go! We left Fort Lauderdale on Monday, May 21 to go 1,400 miles to Sedalia Missouri for the Escapee's RV Club Escapade rally.

We were happy to be parked next to our friends Eric and Tammi from TechnoRV

The first 2 days we taught our special, hands-on smartphone photography class. We had 2 groups of really smart people! We went thru all our normal material and then some. We were very happy to have Barb Westerfield join us as a helper - she's very savvy with her Android phone and she's a great teacher. Thanks Barb!

One student, Mike McIlraith, went above and beyond, taking pictures of license plates and them cropping and putting them together. Check it out - so cool!

This video sums up the week:

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

We love Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is one of the reasons that Jim and I got together. Jim's been diving since 1974 and Chris since 1983. For both of us it is our favorite sport/pastime. We don't do it enough!
So, when we attended a monthly meeting of our dive club (UnderSea Adventurers: USA Dive Club) back in January and saw a dive trip to Bimini, Bahamas on the schedule, we checked our calendar and booked it!

Bimini is the island of the Bahamas that is the closest to Florida. Jim used to captain and crew for boats back in the 70s and 80s and he spent a lot of time in Bimini. He found this old photo

And I lived in Fort Lauderdale in the 60s and my parents had a boat that we could go to Bimini. Lots of memories for both Jim and me at the Bimini Big Game Club! and, that is where we stayed for this club trip. We even dove with Neal Watson's Bimini Scuba Center. Both Jim and I know Neal Watson from past experiences ... of course that Neal is the father of the one on this boat!

There are several ways to get to Bimini, our group booked a ride on the ferry. It takes 1-2 hours to make the trip from Port of Miami to Bimini. We had a beautiful morning.
Leaving Port of Miami

Disembarking in Bimini

We got settled in our rooms, deposited our dive gear at the dock, and went looking for lunch and beer. We didn't have to look far!
It was a pretty rainy weekend, but the dive operation was superb, and we had enough good weather to do some great diving. Here is our underwater selfie - Jim and Chris scuba diving1

And, here is my favorite shot! A very friendly turtle came right up to Neal Watson and looked lovingly into his eyes!

Here's a video of the whole weekend:

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Toastmasters and Diving

Jim and I both enjoy attending a local toastmaster club called Earlybird Toastmasters. We've been members since the 90's. When we're on the road, we miss it. So we are very happy that there are now online Toastmasters clubs. We are charter members of Online Presenters Toastmaster because our friend, David Carr started it.
Here's what a traditional -stick and brick- Toastmasters club looks like:

And here's what an online Toastmasters club looks like:

As Jim and I were reviewing our calendar yesterday, Jim reminded me that I was supposed to speak at last night's online meeting. What!? I had forgotten all about it. A speech is supposed to be prepared! What am I going to talk about? I struggled with this question most of the day, then, just a couple of hours before 'showtime' I remembered a story I wrote during the writer's workshop in Italy last summer. It was a personal story about one particular dive trip, and one particular dive - a night dive - that didn't go so well. Perfect! Great timing too, since we are getting ready for a dive trip to the Bahamas this week.

Here's the recording of our meeting, my speech starts at about the 7 minute point and goes for 7 minutes.

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