Friday, April 30, 2004

It's Raining I love the sound of rain on the roof of the Motorhome. So cozy. All we need is a fireplace. hmmmm, that probably wouldn't be such a good idea huh? I'm feeling better today. Yesterday I was moping and feeling sorry for myself because I sprained my ankle the day before. Gotta be careful walking down those steps out of the Motorhome - it's not always level ground on the last step! But, it's feeling much better today. Jim taped it up just like he used to do for the wrestling guys in high school. Pretty good job. Since we will be leaving Florida today, we needed to change our cell phone plans. As soon as we cross the state lines, we would be in 'roaming' with our current plan. What a challenge! We have Verizon phones because our research indicated that they had the best coverage nationwide. That may be, but we certainly found the 'holes' already. In Salt Springs we had no service at all. Here at Suwannee river, we are in 'roaming' territory - and the reception is pretty bad. Our current 'Florida' plan doesn't have any 'roaming' charges, but the 'America's Choice' plan that we just switched to WILL charge us .69/minute when we're not in Verizon coverage areas. So, what to do when we're not in Verizon coverage area? Sometimes, we will just be unavailable. But there are some calls, like the Wi-Fi support calls that Jim handles, where we need to talk. We might buy a phone card and use pay phones .. or we might actually buy another cell phone on another network - Cingular or t-Mobile, just for those occasions. So what do we do on a rainy morning? C'mon, you don't really need to ask:

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Way down upon the Suwannee River. That is where we are. Suwannee Valley Campground near the Stephen Foster Memorial. The river is way down, too. The banks were so steep, the campground devised a canoe/kayak delivery system to the beach. Tie the line to the boat and let gravity do the rest. Hauling it back up is the real work, but it works! The river is still beautiful. Odie enjoys the ride. Leaving Florida tomorrow. Not far to Georgia, now.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Facts and Stats Current Camp: Suwannee Valley Campground, White Springs, Florida Site Cost per night: $9.50 with Passport America (plus tax) Travel time: 2.5 hours Miles: 113 Nights at last camp: 5 Current Weather: Sunny and beautiful, 85 degrees TV and Radio We haven't turned on the TV since we left Fort Lauderdale! I think that is so great. Although I never considered myself a TV junkie, I certainly spent my share of time on the couch in front of the 'boob tube'. After a few hours watching silly movies I would often berate myself for the waste of time. In the interest of 'full disclosure' I must also admit that there were times I thought those were the best few hours I had spent in a long time. TV is my 'drug of choice' when I need R & R. I guess I don't need R & R now. And, there's no football so Jim doesn't care! But, it's been long enough and today is Wednesday - West Wing Night. I'm hoping we'll be able to watch that tonight. We just raised the TV antenna - and it doesn't look good. No, we don't have satellite for TV - just for Internet. Jim said he saw a big TV in the campground rec room, maybe we'll go there. As for radio - in Fort Lauderdale we had one 'habit' - and that was WLRN public radio. We just pressed the remote control's 'on' button as soon as we woke up, and got caught up on all the important news while we lounged in bed. ..... We can't do that now. Sure, we can click on the remote control - but 91.3 on the dial will NOT be WLRN. Enter the Internet. Since we have an Internet connection at almost all times, we can simply go to WLRN.org and listen, live, to OUR radio station! We turned it on today as soon as we got parked at Suwannee River. We heard the story of how it was raining in south Florida and how the traffic was at a standstill. Here's a photo of where we are!

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Nothing Planned What a day! Jim and I both spent several hours at the computer. We took a break for the hot tub mid-morning. It felt extra good today because the weather was cooler. It rained most of the night ... must have been a bit of a cold front. Mid-afternoon we had an appointment with the management here to discuss Wi-Fi and Coach Connect. The meeting went real well. Then ... Then ... Jim said, "I think we should take the kayak out on the lake for a paddle". OK It was BEAUTIFUL. It took me back all the way to childhood in Alaska because we were always on the water there. My family had river boats, lake boats, and planes on floats. All my travels around the country since college have been boatless! That never dawned on me until tonight when we paddled out to the middle of the lake and then just floated. Enjoying the sights and sounds. Herons flying overhead. Frogs croaking in the marshes at the edge of the lake. The swoosh of our paddles through the water. The temperature was perfect. The air made me want to take lots of deep breaths. Then came the sunset! My words can't possibly do it justice, so I googled the Internet for a 'Sunset Poem'. I couldn't find exactly what I had in mind, this will have to do :-) "Good Night Sun It's been fun See ya soon Say Hi to the Moon"

Monday, April 26, 2004

Our First Adventure Since we got a coupon for 2 night's free stay ... we're still in Ocala National Forest - Salt Springs. I sat at the computer doing Coldfusion stuff all morning, then Jim and I took a hot tub break. Oh! Did I forget to tell you that there is a jacuzzi here? We're in heaven! Sometime mid-afternoon, while Jim is browsing on the web, he says, "Hey, there's a Fish Hatchery near here!" Oh Boy! Fish Hatcheries! My Favorite! Honest, Fish Hatcheries have been among my favorite destinations as far back as I can remember. They are second only to hot springs. I jumped up and said, "Let's Go". A half hour later and 10 miles of a dirt road, we are congratulating ourselves for following directions so well, we had just passed a road with a sign that matched that on our directions. Looking at the directions, I said, "we continue on straight for a while now." We looked up and saw a dead-end into a Lake. Ooops, we must have read some direction wrong. But, wait. Does this look like a loading dock? And, is that a ferry pulling away with a car on it? Sure, enough. Our very own Lake Cruise. I love surprises. And, what a pretty lake. Actually, after studying the map, I think that was the St. John's river. A while later, we made it to the Fish Hatchery only to find that they close at 3:30. Darn! Well, it's the photo that counts right? By the time we got back 'home', we were pretty hungry. Jim grilled up some wonderful hamburgers. All that was missing was a campfire and some marshmallows. Who says this isn't camping?

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Lynne and John just left ... such a let down to see them go. The four of us have SO much fun together, it is really quite remarkable. We have no idea when we'll see each other again, but I'm sure we will. They'll be staying in the Melbourne area for at least 6 months because they have a job there. We'll be heading up to New Jersey next, then across to Kansas and probably out to the west coast before returning to Florida. Partying isn't the only thing we do, though. I set them up with their own website, email and weblog. In return, Lynne did a great job of covering the mattress in our 'loft'. It was the only place in our motorhome that I thought was a little ratty. Not anymore! So, last week, while we visited them in Melbourne, we went to a fabric store and picked out the fabric to cover the mattress. This weekend, they traveled to Ocala National Forest to visit us and finish it. Here's Lynne sewing the covers while sitting at the picnic table outside their motorhome: And here she is stuffing the foam into the finished cover, inside her motorhome: And, here's the finished product: It was Jim's idea to cut the mattress into pieces so that it would give us a back to lean against when we use the space for reading or watching TV. Then, just put the pieces back down to make a full mattress when we use it as a 'guest room'. Brilliant!

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Facts and Stats Current Camp: Elite Resorts at Salt Springs. www.eliteresorts.com Site Cost per night: $14.50 w Passport America membership (plus tax) # of nights at last camp: 3 Travel time:2.5 hours Travel Distance: 78 mi Gas: 32.4 gallons @ 1.799/gal or $58.40 Temperatures: 65 at night 85 day Home is where the Internet Is I can't believe we're asking for campsites without trees! I love trees. And, look at this gorgeous campsite: But, we can't lock on to the satellite for the Internet through all those trees. So, we found another site and moved. Hey, it's still pretty nice. And, the dish was raised and on signal in about 7 minutes. We don't have much cell phone signal here either, but I can live without phone better than I can live without Internet! I have online banking to do and I have lots of website development work to do. And, most of the people I 'talk' to are via email anyway. I'm content here for several days with Internet. Without it, we'd have to leave. We took a tour of the park this morning in exchange for 2 nights free stay. Just like when you visit a timeshare place in Cancun, these folks give you a gift in hopes that you'll want to purchase a deeded campsite. I'm actually tempted. They tell of a park near the beach that sold lots for $25,000 3 years ago that are now going for $90,000! And, while you own it, you can let them rent it out for you. They take 30% for the service. During the tour, we learned that they plan to install high-speed Internet service, and they're open to receiving information from us on Coach Connect's plan. Bye for now ... got work to do!

Friday, April 23, 2004

We are in Elite Resorts at Salt Springs. Many thanks to Tom and Candy for the wonderful hospitality. We got out of there about 1:30 and in here about 4. We didn't even hook up when we got to the spot, too many trees. So we cruised over to the parking lot and put up the dish. I’m getting used to towing the Honda. I hardly feel it back there. No problems. We stopped at a couple of potential Coach parks on the way to Chris’ dad’s place near Dunnellon. . I saw a couple of DirecWay dishes in that park. Seems Coach Connect would be a perfect fit. All the lots are privately owned. A shared system put in by the association would save lots of $. I’m getting a better idea of what parks need for WiFi to work. Parks in Florida are pretty much clearing out after the winter season. It’s no problem to find space in parks that were overbooked just three weeks ago. I hear that requests for WiFi are increasing. Both from park owners and RVers. While we were at Tom's, we cleaned the coach. Wow, it looks good!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Alaska Highway One fun thing about visiting relatives is getting out the old photos! Here's one of an early camping trip (circa 1966) when we left Alaska and traveled across Canada and down the east coast to Florida. The Alaska Highway aka AlCan was 1500 miles of dirt road. Here's the rig we had then:

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Peace and Tranquility The sound of the birds here is awesome. It's like one of those nature recordings on relaxation CDs. At nighttime the bird songs turns into frogs and crickets, and a beautiful sunny day becomes a cool fresh night. Here's sunset over Lake Rousseau looking from the edge of the backyard: g'Night
Trouble with Datastorm We pulled in to my Dad's driveway about 5 o'clock last night. After our first vodka and orange juice admiring the view, I wanted to put the satellite dish up and get on the Internet to post to this Blog! We proudly said, come look at this. It's like a blue moon rising. It rose just fine, but it never locked on to the satellite. We know that trees are a problem but there are no trees directly overhead or even very close by. Can it be that the trees 2 doors down are blocking just that particular spot? Or is there something wrong with our system? Well, the beauty of blogging is that all you need is an Internet connection on any computer, so I'm using my Dad's computer to make this post. Jim was going to write a little about our drive yesterday as we stopped at a couple RV parks that are candidates for Wi-Fi. Hopefully, he still will, even if it's out of sequence. Right now he's washing the motorhome, and doing an especially good job of cleaning the roof with my Dad's pressure cleaner. Facts and Stats Current Campground/RV Park: Tom and Candy's RV resort and Fish Camp! Dunnellon, Florida. Site Cost per night: $0 ! Miles from last park: 203 Travel time: 6 hours with a stop for lunch at a rest area and a couple stops at RV parks Gas: Fill 'er Up, 34 gallons @ 1.76 or $60.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Facts and Stats Some people have asked me to post prices of stuff on these entries, and I've always enjoyed keeping track of facts as I travel. I'll probably set up a database one of these days, but till then, here's some facts and figures: Current Campground/RV Park: Ocean View RV Park; Indian Harbor Beach, FL; (321)773-0045 Site Cost per night: $22 Price of gas here: $1.75
Awake We had a nice quiet evening 'at home' last night. Maybe we had some recovering to do! John made enchiladas for us all and then we settled down to a game of cards. Playing cards with friends has always been a symbol to me of a relaxed life. I haven't played cards with friends for years. We also had a visit from Dr. Glenn another Kayuba dive club buddy. He was driving from New York back home to Lake Worth ... he could use a break. So, I was rested and wide awake this morning. Thought I'd prove to you that we really are at the beach .... I didn't get up early enough to catch the sunrise, but the clouds and sun cooperated to give me a pretty dramatic picture anyway. Odie can't go on the beach, but he can enjoy the view. Ok, it's time for breakfast now. I believe there's eggs and bacon in the fridge ... yep ... Bye for now.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

It's Party Time Last night was FUN! We started the margaritas about 4. Hey, we don't have to drive anywhere right? Then we got out the lobster dinner. It's a standard meal for us, but we know that it's kinda special for Lynne and John, so, when it's our turn for dinner there's no question what we're having. One thing that road trips are great for is visiting old friends. I knew that Robert lived around here somewhere so I gave him a call. Sure enough, he lives just a few miles away from where we're staying. When I told him we had a margarita waiting for him, he said he'd be right over! Were we getting silly? Then, Jim got out the drive-in theatre equipment! He put the projector on the dinette table and aimed it out the window and set up the screen at the edge of the awning. We talked about using our computer projection equipment to show movies outside but I didn't really think we'd ever do it. Our first night out we get the opportunity! First I made them all watch the video of me in the 'Chicago' dance performance. Then we put on the DVD of 'Pirates of the Carribbean'. Well, it's Sunday morning now and I think it's about time to go see if there really is a beach here.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

First day of the rest of our life Yep, we're living it now. This is our first day of living on the road and we're visiting our friends, Lynne and John, who have been 'full-timing' for 2 years now. They're staying at an RV park in Indian Harbor Beach and we just pulled up right next to them. We're right across the street from the beach, but we haven't made it there yet. We're just having too much fun hanging out ... talking ... looking at everything in their motorhome and talking about 'what's the best part about living on the road. I say it's the freedom, but then, I have to admit that I'm feeling a little insecure about having so much freedom. It's kinda like getting ready for a performance, or looking down the ski slope when you're at the top. You're scared and thinking, I'm not sure if I can do this. But, it's what you want to do more than anything. So nice to start out with friends who know. I wish they wouldn't try to fatten us up though! Breakfast of waffles, maple sausage and eggs! And, they're happy to be able to share our Internet connection. The dish worked flawlessly, and within 10 minutes Jim had their computer connected wirelessly and Jim was showing them how to look at the Datastorm map and see exactly where we are. Check it out the Datastorm Users Map, we are #787. I've actually had a few people complain that we went 6 days without a post here on the Weblog. So nice to know you care!! We were very busy with a 'last supper' almost every night. If we stayed any longer, some people might complain that we were just trying to get free dinners. It was very nice - even my Mom (who never cooks) made dinner and had a few people over. And, Chris and Richard invited me, Jim and Mom over to their house for dinner. Then there was Easter. Jim's sister Debbie and her husband Bob can be counted on for beautiful spreads on family holidays and this Easter was no exception. I had an extra bonus though, because they used my Grandmother's plates for the placesettings. When we sold the house and cleared everything out I was very happy to find a home for my grandmother's plates with Debbie and Bob. Now I can visit them occassionally!

Friday, April 16, 2004

OH BOY!! We're really on the road, and we don't have to be back any time soon. We left Fort Lauderdale today about 2pm. Here's a photo of the rig hooked up to the car getting ready to go. Then, after a couple hours on the road, we both got calls from clients needing some computer help. So we looked for a rest stop and raised our satellite dish to get connected to the Internet! Cool. While we were connected, I just had to do a little post here. Gotta go now. More later!

Saturday, April 10, 2004

KAYAK DIVING!!! I am SOOO happy. I got to go kayak diving today. I haven't been since October. It's been too cold and windy most all winter for me. Jim has gone several times, but I always wimped out. Besides, my kayak had a hole in it! And, I was going to be so disappointed if we left South Florida without going kayak diving again. Today was a gorgeous, perfect day - 85 degrees and FLAT calm ocean. That's 'My Ocean'. And - Thank You Geri - for loaning me your kayak. Here we are at our standard parking place right on A1A near Birch State Park, and Jim is taking the kayaks off the roof rack. I'm ready to go. Just look at that flat, calm, clear ocean! Whenever I talk to a new person about kayak diving, they always ask for details about how you get in the water off the kayak and then how you get back in. No matter how much I try to explain, I can tell they're having trouble visualizing it. So, today, I took the camera out with us (in a tightly sealed dry bag) so we could take a couple little videos. Just click on the links below to watch them. Be patient, it might take a while for them to download. Click here for video of Jim starting his dive off the kayak Click here for video of Chris getting back on kayak after the dive. Click here to see video of Chris pulling tank back into the kayak.MPG Here's Jim paddling back in to shore after a great dive. It was a little chilly - 75 degrees - but the visibility was pretty good - about 60 feet, and it was just wonderful to be back in the water. We are going to miss this. There aren't many places in the world where the reefs are close enough to shore like in Fort Lauderdale. And here's Chris paddling back to shore. Click here for video of Jim Paddling back to shore When we get back to shore, here's how Jim carries the kayaks back to the car. Gratitude We're feeling a little sad about leaving this beautiful place with so many friends. Jim and I talked about it while sitting on the beach wall looking out at the ocean drinking our 'apres plongee' beer. Yes, it feels sad to say goodbye to all that we have enjoyed for our last 11 years together here in South Florida. But, we also couldn't be more excited about the journey ahead. We decided what we were really feeling was gratitude. Gratitude for our supportive family here, gratitude for all our friends, and gratitude for the wonderful activities we share. Gratitude for what we have, and excitement for what lies ahead. It just doesn't get any better than that!

Friday, April 09, 2004

Celebrating 35 years of friendship. No matter where I go, I know these two will be my friends. So nice to be able to see both Bonnie and Arynne before embarking on my journey. I wonder where I will see them next time.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Campground Computer Heroes For about 3 months now, I've been working on a brochure we can use to promote our services as we travel around to RV parks. I've always been a proponent of 'just in time' printing using our own printer. But, these brochures with our cool 'super hero' type logo really need color and I'm blown away by how much the color ink costs for our printer. We replenished it the other day and spent over $80!! So, I want to get some printed. Just 50 - 100 because you can be sure I'll want to change something once I start handing them out. Of course, I want them to be perfect before getting any printed, so I'm spending hours and hours and hours ...... I'd really like to get it done today! We are still in a bit of an identity crisis. We've been Guld Systems, Inc. for about 3 years, and that will always be our company name. Here's that logo: But, once we're actually on the road (7 days now! Oh Boy!) we want something a little more meaningful. Campground Computer Heroes is what we want to use: We have also come up with a couple of specific 'products' that we think will sell to people in RV parks, and that we can do in the short time available. 1. Computer Tuneups: where Jim will perform some important, basic maintenance procedures on people's laptops. 2. 'Web Identity Package': where I will set someone up with their own 1-page website, custom email and weblog (like the one you're reading!). This is actually something I can do without ever meeting the person. But, if they're in the same RV park, I can sit with them and show them how to use it once it's done. So, here's the brochure in an Acrobat file (it's meant to be printed as a tri-fold), I'd love to get some feedback. If you have any thoughts, please send me some email at chris@campgroundcomputerheroes.com CCHeroes 2004.pdf

Sunday, April 04, 2004

All aboard for Sharon's 50th Birthday party So cool. A party on a yacht, cruising up and down the Intracoastal waterway on a beautiful Fort Lauderdale evening with a full moon. Sharon is one of the 'Showoffs' dance group that I've been in for the last couple years, so all the 'girls' were there. It was a great party. And, here's the birthday girl herself. She's the one in white. Dancing on the back deck was fun.