Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Greetings from Port Republic

Port Republic New Jersey is just a few miles south on the Garden State Parkway from Long Beach Island. We needed to dump our holding tanks after a week in Jimmy's driveway and we figured we could check out the Thousand Trails park that is here. It's called Chestnut Lake and its not as nice as the other TT parks we've visited. An old park. It needs some work. Everything worked fine tho for our 2-night stay. We also took this opportunity to visit some more of Jim's relatives. Jim's Dad grew up in Port Republic and a few aunts, uncles and cousins still live in the area. Yesterday he called Aunt Kay and was happy to find her home - so we went for a visit. Here's Jim, Uncle Joe, Aunt Kay and Cousin Ray. I'm going to post two photos here because Uncle Joe looks better in the first one, but Jim and Ray look better in the second. (Aunt Kay just looks good period!) Jim says he's found a program that makes it easy to take one person from a group shot and put him/her in a different group shot. So, here's his challenge - if it works I'll post his fixed picture here.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Jimmy gets a Blog!

Yesterday, both Jim and I spent most of our time on Jimmy's computer stuff. He has a scanner that has never worked with his new computer. Apparently, something got installed - or not - along with the scanner that simply didn't work. It took many hours and a few support calls, but Jim finally got the bad stuff UNinstalled and was able to successfully install the scanner. Now Jimmy can get out all those old slides and scan them into the computer. Jim also made sure the computer was up to date with other drivers, operating system, and virus / spyware protection. Then what's he gonna do with those scanned photos? That's where I came in - I registered a domain for him - - and set up a Blog and an email address. Actually, along with the domain comes 500 email addresses! So, we set up one for everyone in his extended family! Jim downloaded Picasa onto Jimmy's computer and showed him how to use that to upload bunches of photos into WebAlbums. So, what are you waiting for? Go check it out at You can see the photos from our last 3 nights of partying in a row! Odie mirrors how we feel today! By the way ... there's a comment to my last post from someone who links to their flash travelog. Check 'em out - they're a hoot. hmmm, wonder if I could do that. It's a bit of work but it would be fun.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Morning Paddle

Instead of our morning walk this morning we took a morning paddle! This is when our mild-mannered poodle turns into .... TA DAAAAAAA *Kayodie* What fun. Today was a first ... he stood in his figurehead position for the entire paddle (about an hour) and didn't fall off once. He made it all the way back to shore and jumped off the kayak just as dry as can be. Ok, it's almost noon. Time to get to work. I promised my client a phone call at 4 today to review my progress on their database project. hmmmmm, noon to 4. I'd say that's a perfect work schedule!

Happy Birthday Jimmy

You just never get tired of the sunsets here at Sea Lyon's resort! You'd think we ordered this up special for Jimmy's birthday - but, most every night is this good. There were plenty of people here to help celebrate. For those of you who know Jimmy, yes, we had a corned ham and the pineapple casserole. Yum. Such a great place. Earlier today Jimmy took us all out in the boat and towed a big 'tube' behind that we got to bounce around on. Should have a video clip of that soon.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Our Favorite Parking Spot

We had a long day yesterday. Up at 6:30, pulled in to our friend Jimmy's driveway at 10pm. He lives in Long Beach Island on the Jersey shore. That's where Jim grew up. We figured, "why not just drive and get here?" It is our favorite parking spot after all. The night air was cool, the ocean air was calming. We had a great night. And, we're looking forward to a couple weeks here. I have some Access database work to do for a client in Fort Lauderdale - and we have good cell phone signal and Internet connection here - we're using the Wi-Fi from Jimmy's DSL connection. Jim will be visiting lots of family and friends. We even went for a dip in the ocean today. Quite invigorating!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Shenandoah Sunrise

OK - this morning I have 10 minutes of generator time to make this post. Then we're going to the visitor center to take a guided walk around Big Meadows. Here's our site. We had to move the coach a little to get the satellite aimed thru the hole in the trees. No way we could connect with cell phones here because they are on analog signal. Actually - I tried making a call and it couldn't even connect. I hear so many people say that their Verizon phones work everywhere - voice and data. They just don't go where I go I guess! We got up at 6:30 and drove onto skyline drive for photos this morning. There were deer *everywhere*!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Shenandoah National Park

OH Boy! We get to add another national park to our list! As we were camped in Lynchburg, we took a look at the map and realized how close we were to Shenandoah National Park. So, we made reservations in one of the campgrounds for one night and ... here we are. I really didn't think we'd have Internet tonight. There's no electricity but we can run the generator from 4-7. And, we're in the trees. But, once again, our trusty Datastorm found a little hole thru the leaves. So - I have 5 minutes to publish this post. Here's the best pictures from the day: overlooks everywhere Looking out our front door in the Big Meadows campground. a short walk from the campground. Right in the campground.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Stay at Home Projects

We decided to stay put for another day and take care of some projects. I picked the mundane job of laundry - then I had lots of computer projects. Jim decided to tackle the ugly project of checking into why our blackwater has been leaking when we dump. Nasty. So, he took everything apart and saw the problem. If you look closely at the big vertical pipe on the right, you'll see a gap. Jim had to close that gap and reattach the rubber gasket that holds the top and bottom together. It took some doing and I had to crawl under the coach and help at one point - but, he got it all put back together nice and solid. Whew. Shower time :-) hmmmm - I wonder what that would have cost at an RV place? When he finished the sewer project, Jim was all set to find another motorhome project, but, alas, it was not to be. My computer gave one little hiccup and just went black. I turned it off and turned it back on ... nothing. Hey Jim! I got your next project for you. Here he is with my computer all apart and blowing out the dust bunnies using an attachment on a scuba tank! -that's how he inflates our tires too. They do get dirty traveling on the road. After a few hours of Jim's magic, my computer restore CDs and a few incantations - my computer came back to life. So, my project was to make some complete backups ... immediately! I did have backups, but they were a few weeks old. Posted by Picasa As it turned out, I had some bad DVDs and the backup process took me a few hours. There goes my time for computer projects. But, I'm thrilled that my computer is back in business. I'm doing enough 'real work' projects these days that I decided it was time for a daily backup process. We like Karen's Replicator for that. So, there went another couple hours, downloading, installing, setting up and running the backup to my external drive. I'm going to bed :-) But, I can sleep tight knowing that both our motorhome and my computer are clean and safe. p.s. If you notice something different about the photos in this post, it's because I downloaded the latest update to Picasa. So, I figured I'd try the 'Blog This' feature again. It works better than it did - but it still won't upload more than 4 photos at once. And, it doesn't let you determine exactly where to upload them to. So, it works - but I still like the blogger way better.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

At Home in Virginia

Yes, it's true. We've moved to Virginia. ... for a couple days anyway! (to see the map above, click on the link at right to "where we are right now", then click on the 'satellite' button) It still amazes - and delights - me that we are equally at home in a parking lot in the middle of a racetrack in Charlotte, NC: and in a forested campground in Lynchburg, VA. And, I'm not talking figuratively 'at home'. This literally *is* home. Wherever it happens to be. We love it. I'm tempted to point out that the home in the forest is much more pleasant than the one in the parking lot, but, we had *so* much fun at the FMCA convention that it simply isn't true. We loved that spot in the parking lot. It was very special to be in the infield right next to the entrance. We thrived on giving the seminars and helping people with their WiFi and computers in general. Can't wait to do it again ... see our schedule. The drive thru North Carolina and into Virginia was beautiful. This park - Thousand Trails, Lynchburg is a campground in the woods. All the trees are beautiful, but we have a love/hate relationship with them now that we depend on our Datastorm satellite dish to get online. The first spot we tried didn't work at all. The poor dish tried and tried to find the satellite thru the trees and gave up after a half-hour or so. We moved to another place and were thrilled that it found a way thru the trees to get connected. So, we may stay for a few days! There's a great path for our morning walk. About 45 minutes all thru the forest. It is very quiet and peaceful. And fun ... we're going to go partake of their 59 cent hot dogs right now. Hey Lynne and John, check out the miniature golf! Wish you were here.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Seminar Wrapup

We just presented our last seminar - "Every RVer Needs a Blog". When we left there, we went over to the Road Connect Wi-Fi hotspot just to check on it and see if all was well. One seminar attendee had beaten us there and was already busy creating his Blog!! Oh my, what's this?!?! ... I just got an email from him:
Here's a link to my NEW BLOG. I attended your seminar this morning, took my computer to the [WiFi hotspot] and created our BLOG. Thank you for introducing us to a whole new world on the computer. Harry-F65124
This has been SO great! We want to do lots of rallies. We had lots of fantastic feedback. Some of the comments I remember: From a Picasa seminar attendee:
I've been using Picasa for several months, but I learned a lot of new stuff in your seminar. I went right to my computer and played for hours.
From a Wi-Fi seminar attendee:
I attended your Wi-Fi seminar *both* times it was offered, there was so much good information.
And, there were lots more. As I mentioned in a previous post, we had about 400 attendees in the first Wi-Fi seminar, about 50 in the second, almost 200 in Picasa, 150 in Safe Computing, and 60 in the Blogging seminar. Our seminar attendees are happier and better-looking than the average RVer, don't ya think? If you'd like a copy of any of the seminar handouts, just click on the link below. Please ... they're for personal use only ... if you want to present a seminar - you'll need to hire us! Seminars and Seminar handouts. And, if you want some of the actual training, we have created some video tutorials on much of the subject material in our seminars. We've just started this, so keep checking back for more. If you want us to present at your rally - send me an email: chris at (You know the drill - replace ' at ' with @. Just trying to avoid a little bit of the spam I get.) Thank you FMCA. And Thank you Road Connect/Coach Connect

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Cut Cable = Dead Website

This is what a main line of fiber optic cable looks like when it's been cut by an unaware construction crew: Unfortunately, this cable was what connected my webhost's servers to the Internet. This is part of the backbone of the Internet. Here is the page at my web host with the full story and more pictures. This kind of stuff happens - I understand. I just wish it would happen at a time when I haven't just told 700 people (at least) about and the weblog. I also have a lot of other stuff hosted there, like the membership database for an organization I webmaster for. They don't use it a lot except for recording attendance after their monthly meetings. This month's meeting was ... you guessed it ... yesterday. It also means that all email for was off today. And, my seminar on Blogging is tomorrow. Whew! I'm sooooo glad it's back up. Actually, I am so glad that I won't even complain about it being down today. That didn't sound like complaining above did it? Actually, I feel really sorry for the owners of the webhost ... can you imagine?

Exercise while RVing and Rain

Yesterday was our 2-seminar day. We got off to a great start by getting up early and attending the 'Morning Exercise' seminar. We were planning to go again this morning, but we're a little late - it starts in 5 minutes (7am) and it's pouring rain outside. hmmmm - always some excuse not to exercise huh? The rain also prevented us from seeing the entertainment last night - The Ricky Nelson Legacy Tour. As we were driving over it started to rain and we saw hundreds of people walking *back*. After we got home, it really poured and lightning and thunder. ooops ... Jim is saying 'c'mon, let's go exercise ... ok more later ... We did it. And here's photo proof:

Monday, August 14, 2006

RV Dreamin'

Since we've been working with Coach Connect/Road Connect and the WiFi in RV parks industry for 3 years now, we're starting to think it's 'old hat' and everyone knows all they need to know and can use WiFi anytime they want. So, imagine our surprise when over 400 people show up for our WiFi seminar today. That's a dream come true to have that many people interested in what we have to say. And, they stayed till the end too. Of course, Jim was really interested in Tom Petty's racecar in the back of the room! But there's another reason I named this post 'RV Dreamin' and that's because of a web-based radio station that we've recently discovered called RV Dream Radio. As a 'everything about RVing radio station, they are covering the FMCA convention here in Charlotte/Concord and they interviewed us tonight! I'll post a detailed link on how to listen to the interview as soon as I get to hear it. That is, if we sound ok. :-)

Setup Day

The motorhomes are movin' in. And, they did end up moving us to the infield after all. Pretty cool. We're right next to the entrance and a very short walk to the Information Center where we'll be running the WiFi hotspot for Road Connect (aka Coach Connect). Click on the image below for a larger version - I put 3 photos together for this one. Jim spent part of the day setting up the WiFi hotspot. There were already people waiting in line to use it. It's an interesting location - we're in the garages for the racetrack. Luckily the weather has turned a little cooler, so they have the garage doors open and there's a breeze. The electricity is available from cables hanging down from the ceiling. A little unusual, but everything is working great. We also walked around and checked out the room where we're giving our first seminar. Looks like it's all set up. The FMCA has been doing this for lots of years. They have their act together. While Jim was setting up the WiFi hotspot, I had time to work a little more on my tutorial videos. I uploaded a couple new ones on 'How to make a Blog'. Check it out at

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Greetings from the FMCA Convention

We're here. We're parked. Along with at least a couple thousand other motorhomes. And, it doesn't start till tomorrow. We're in lot V, street 6 if anyone wants to come visit. The location is the Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte/Concord, NC. Normally you see race cars here. Some RVers are attending this rally just because they're Nascar fans and they wanted the chance to get a closeup view of the track. I'm not a Nascar fan, but I gotta admit it is interesting to see the track. I'd love to get a photo of a motorhome taking a lap! But, I think it would fall over while driving the sloped turns. We were hoping to get parked in the infield, but we didn't get so lucky. It's not far though. I'll take pictures today. We got a call yesterday from FedEx. They had a package to deliver for us here at the convention and he needed some more details on where exactly to leave it. While we were talking, he said, "There must be something about RVs going on here." :-) We have electricity this time - we made sure of that because we expect it to be hot and we have to leave Odie alone most of the day. If you've never been to a big rally, it's interesting how they can provide electricity. Just take a big field, put portable generators in trailers, and run big cables to outlet stands/portable pedestals. But, there's no water or sewer hookups. We'll be here for 6 nights so we need to conserve and use facilities outside of the motorhome whenever possible. Here's Odie guarding the door for Jim. So - we're off today to get setup for the Coach Connect/Road Connect Internet Cafe. This is the Wi-Fi hotspot in the Information Center. That's where we'll be all week except when we're giving our seminars. Here's our list of seminars: Get Away, Stay Connected with Wi-Fi Monday 9:30 am to 10:45 Seminar 4 Practice Safe Computing Tuesday 9:45 am to11 Seminar 1 Managing Digital Photos with Picasa Tuesday 11:30 am to 12:45 Seminar 1 Get Away, Stay Connected with Wi-Fi Wednesday 9:45 am to 11 Seminar 3 Every RVer Needs a Blog Thursday 8:00 am to 9:15 Seminar 3