Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Walmart Night

We don't stay in Walmart parking lots too often, but sometimes it just fits. Here we are at Walker, Louisiana spending a quiet night. For some reason, our Datastorm dish didn't want to connect to the Internet ... it seems to have something to do with the power provided by the generator. It's working fine now that we're back on electrical hookups. We're in Alabama now. Well - not as quiet as the Thousand Trails park the previous night! I posted some more photos of that stay on our Picasa Web Album. It was so nice! We left the Walmart at 8:30 am - that's REALLY early for us! Hey, without Internet there was nothing keeping us. So now it's early afternoon and we're already parked at our next destination - Styx River park, we've been here before. It's a Resorts of Distinction park, so no charge! And, there's a hot tub & pool here. Which is where we're going right now.

Further your computer education **Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thousand Trails: Colorado River

We try to take advantage of our Thousand Trails membership whenever possible. The Colorado River TT Preserve is just about 80 miles south of Austin - right on our route. It's so peaceful and quiet. Lots of green. Being in the desert all winter, I've missed green! We always feel welcomed when we check in at a Thousand Trails, but the welcoming committee here was special! There are deer all over the place. Odie wants to run and play with them - but we're keeping him on a leash. Using Google Earth, we mapped out a nice 1 mile circular walk. We'll stay here a couple nights. Lots of email to catch up on.

Further your computer education **Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Austin and Frank

We only planned one specific stop in our current journey from Arizona to Florida. We had to go thru Austin and visit with Frank. Our RV travels are responsible both for creating this friendship and for giving us the means to keep it. We met Frank through our work with Wi-Fi and Frank's company, Coach Connect. Because of that work, we have spent quite a bit of time in Austin, Texas. It has become one of our favorite cities, with one of our favorite RV parks, and one of our favorite friends!

Here's our site at Oak Forest RV park:

And here's Frank with his new girlfriend, Beth. What a treat to meet her, and to get to spend some time with Frank. They came out to our motorhome and Jim cooked chicken on the grill. The weather is *perfect*. Then the next morning we met up with Frank and his parents for breakfast at the Austin famous Arkie's. This is our Austin family!

Further your computer education **Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Oasis in the Desert

What a perfectly lovely travel day. We got up early enough - 7am - to read a little email before partaking of the park's free breakfast in the clubhouse. Then a little more email before hitting the road at 11.

I drove the first 110 miles. I hardly ever drive, Jim does about 95% of the driving, but it seems I always drive thru El Paso, Texas. Geez that place is huge! Jim drove the last 120 miles, then we stopped for the night at Balmorhea State Park. We lost an hour with time zone change and still got parked by 5. What a nice place! It's one of those special finds that define why we love this lifestyle - and that gets passed on by word of mouth from one RVer to another. See the post on Andy and Diane's blog. There are about 50 RV sites - each one with it's own covered picnic table.

Then there is the pool - made to contain the 22 million gallon/day flow of Solomon Spring. What beautiful, crystal clear water. And it's a refreshing, but not cold, 75 degrees. Jim wanted to jump off the high diving board. I said, 'you're kidding, right?' But he wasn't. He even convinced me. I jumped 3 times. woo hoo More photos on the web album. Clicking on any of the photos above will take you there, then just use the arrows or click on Slide Show. Oh yea - and we got a call from Bob telling us that the next time he tried his Datastorm system, it raised, locked on to satellite and got him online in 3 minutes! Yes ... a perfect day.

Further your computer education **Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Cosmic Plan

I love planning. Looking at a map, looking at a calendar thinking about our life goals.


I rarely follow a plan. Plans are meant to be discarded. Except the cosmic plan. Go with the flow and you'll be amazed at what happens.

Like yesterday. Bob called us in the morning because he was having some trouble with his Datastorm satellite dish and was hoping that Jim could help. I asked where they were and he said, "Benson, Arizona." Really?! Do you know where we are? I asked. He didn't. (the last time we saw each other was in Wyoming last summer)

Benson, Arizona!

Turns out we were about a mile from each other. We met and went out for a very nice Easter breakfast. We laugh a lot when the 4 of us get together.

Breakfast was great, the satellite stuff ... not so much. Jim did some standard upgrade stuff, stowed the dish and brought it back up. Nothing. Now he's kicking himself for touching it at all. It was actually online when he started ... it had taken over an hour when it should only take 10 minutes ... but it was online nonetheless. He did some work that should have improved it, now it's not online at all. AAAAaaaarrrrggghhhhh computer stuff takes so much time. We considered staying over another night and working on it again in the morning, but Bob and Polly seemed more concerned with holding us up than they did about their Internet access. I hope they're still lauging? We got on the road about 3 and headed into New Mexico, stopping at Las Cruces for the night. See the map at top right of this blog for more details. Click on 'View Larger Map.'

Further your computer education **Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Sunday, March 23, 2008

On the Road Again

It feels so good to be on the road again. We're headed east.

When we got our Thousand Trails membership, we also got a membership in Resorts of Distinction. We pay yearly membership fees for these (roughly $500 for TT and $200 for Resorts of Distinction) then we can stay at any of their parks for free. So - we found an ROD park on our way - in Benson Arizona. Nothing special, but it sure is nice not to have to pay. I have to keep reminding myself that it's *not* free ... it is prepaid. The more you use it, the cheaper it gets.

Further your computer education **Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Fond Farewell from Jim

Sir Arthur C. Clarke died this week at the age of 90. His writings inspired me. BBC Obit. Who doesn’t remember 2001: A Space Odyssey? Sir Arthur was quite a sci-fi writer as well as a true scientist. In 1945 he wrote a technical paper:”Extra-terrestrial Relays: Can Rocket Stations Give World-wide Radio Coverage?” In this paper he foretold the invention of the geosynchronous communications satellite. A satellite orbiting the earth at a distance about 22,300 miles over the equator will seem to stay in the same spot relative to the earth’s rotation. Ground stations point to this satellite and relay signals. That is how our wonderful MotoSat Internet dish is able to post this blog entry. This orbit is now called the “Clarke Orbit.” He predicted space stations, cell phones, and much of the Internet in his writings. He was the recipient of all the important science fiction awards and he was even nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1994.
Further your computer education **Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

The Last Day

Continuing on my theme of the importance of the last minute ... here's what we did our last day:

We actually played Pickleball! Actually, it's because one of our computer service customers - Ann - is an avid pickleball player. When she heard that we liked pickleball but had not been playing, she said, "I'm going to sign you up for the free class that is held on Friday at 4. BE THERE."

uh ...

ok ...

It was SOO fun. Thanks Ann!

Then ... doesn't it always take the last minute to clean things up? Our cabover area is called the 'Loft' and it is the one area of our motorhome that is multipurpose. Therefore, it is almost always a mess! I cleaned it up yesterday. And, Jim washed the outside of the rig - so you could actually see out the windows. Then, Saturday morning, we had our last class. We taught how to use Photo Story 3 ... check out the last couple of slideshows we've made with Photo Story 3: Palm Creek Car Show Home Office: Motorhome Office

Having checked everything off our list ... we hit the road on Saturday afternoon.

Further your computer education **Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Friday, March 21, 2008

Computer Off

Must ...

Turn ...

Computer ....

Off ...

It's the *only* way I'll get anything else done! And, today is the day to clean up and get ready to hit the road.

This is SO me ...

"Last night my sister and I were sitting in the den and I said to her, 'I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle to keep me alive. That would be no quality of life at all, If that ever happens, just pull the plug.' So she got up, unplugged the computer, and threw out my wine. She's such a bitch."
Further your computer education **Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I Need More Last Minutes

Six months is the longest we've been parked anywhere since we started this adventure. We got here the first week of October and we're leaving on Sunday. We did have a few trips for rallies, which was nice. I'm in a bit of a funk - not sadness for leaving, but rather guilt for not having used the time to the best advantage. We said we were going to play a lot of pickleball and get in shape. We played 3 or 4 times. We said we were going to go with the hiking club every Friday and get in shape. We hiked 3 or 4 times. I think that's why I like staying places one month or less. When the time is that short, you have no choice but to make the most of it. There are a lot more 'last minutes' when you have short stays. As I mentioned in my last post - I need 'last minutes' to motivate me. We were also disappointed in the turnouts, and therefore income, for our seminars here. There were a few that had 20-30 people. But there were more that had only 5 or 6. I'm not sure why that was - maybe the other people here are playing picklebal and going hiking and golfing rather than sitting at their computers?! This last week people have been coming out of the woodwork asking for Jim's 'Computer Cleanup' service. He charges $99 to do a routine maintenance. If he'd had this many customers all year, we'd have plenty of money! Well, speaking of the last minute ... gotta go. I have my weekly article to write for's blog, and I have to prepare for a presentation on Microsoft Word 2007 for the Computer Club here.
Further your computer education
**Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Monday, March 17, 2008

Friends in Phoenix

Ahhh - the importance of the last minute!! My friend, Patty, from Fort Lauderdale has been living in Phoenix for the past 3 years. When we knew that we would be spending the winter just south of Phoenix, we made contact and said, "Let's get together!" It takes the pressure of time to make these things happen! We're leaving next Sunday - so this was it! We drove up to her place for dinner last night - and I'm SOO glad we did! We meet so many nice people *all* the time, but there's something so special about seeing someone that you've known for years. In our case, it's about 20 years. We were both very active in Women's Executive Club of Fort Lauderdale. In fact we were both President at one time or other. It's great to see her doing so well here in Arizona. Thanks Patty and David for a delicious dinner and wonderful evening! I tried to tell Patty that my kitchen, where everything is in reach without having to take even one step, is more efficient - I don't think she bought it! And, if you want to see what was going on at Palm Creek on Saturday, check out the video I posted on their blog. It was the Annual Car Show - I especially liked the Belairs.
Further your computer education
**Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Friday, March 14, 2008

Winter is Over - maybe

The sun is out, the temperature is up, the flowers are blooming. It is gorgeous here! Weather forecasts say it will be cold again this weekend. But, we'll enjoy this while we can. And, we'll be leavng soon - headed back east. Here's our route, with a few markers and photos from past travels. Click on the markers to see my text, links and photos. You can also use the controls to move up, down, left, right, zoom in, zoom out. Or you cand click the map anywhere and drag it around. Pretty cool huh?
View Larger Map If you want to learn how to embed a map like this, sign up for my newsletter (link below)! That is what I'm working on today. You can also read Google's Help Center on My Maps.
Further your computer education
**Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Internet on the Road: FMCA Magazine Article

I did it! I got published! I've written a lot on computer topics, but, other than a few articles in WordPerfect magazine back in the 80s, it's all been self-published on the web. There's definitely something to be said for being able to touch and feel the results of your work. It makes me feel good to know that a magazine with 300,000 subscribers values my writing. Even better has been some of the reader comments that the magazine has passed along to me:

Your "Internet To Go" article by Chris Guld in the March 2008 issue is one of the very best written, understood and most informative of any article ever placed in the magazine and I have been reading every issue since 1983. Most persons of my age are certainly not computer experts and we appreciate help written in carefully chosen words we can understand and put to use. I learned many valuable points about access to the internet. Thanks to Chris Guld and to you for printing this article.

Gary V Tulsa, OK

You can read the whole article on the magazine's website. Be prepared, it's kinda long :-) I was quite impressed that they didn't cut anything out. The only thing I was disappointed about is that they didn't use any of my photos. I thought this one of Diane and Andy was really nice for showing RVers using computers.
Further your computer education **Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Freightliners Chassis Owners' Rally

I forgot to post some of our pictures from doing the Freightliner Chassis Owners' Rally in Tucson last week. We were just there for a day - kind of a whirlwind. They asked us quite a while ago if we would do a couple seminars, and since it was in Tucson - less than 2 hours away, we figured 'Why not?' It was at the same facility (Beaudry Resort) that our Datastorm rally was held, so we were already familiar. And ... they used the same caterer who makes delicious food. We had to stay for dinner! We have a very compact and simple display now for selling our CDs and DVDs of video tutorials. And, we were in good company! Here is Mac the Fireguy, and Rick from RV Safety Education Rick weighed our rig while we were there and we were thrilled to learn that we had not gained any weight since the last time we were weighed a couple years ago. Ok, that's the good news. The bad news is that we were overweight a couple years ago! But, not by much. We are going to do some house cleaning in the next couple weeks. We just bought 3 new tires, and had an oil change and service. We're ready to hit the road real soon now.
Further your computer education
**Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Old Geeks

Even though the word 'Geek' originated as a somewhat derogatory term, meaning something like 'clumsy, socially inept, bookworm.' We have come to adopt the term with pride in it's meaning of being adept with technology. In the world of RVers, we 'Geeks' are relatively rare, so it is easy to be accepted in this role. But, every once in a while something happens to put us in our place. We recently bought new cell phones that can take pictures, take videos, send email, browse the web, navigate using GPS, and oh yeah ... they can actually make phone calls too. We used these 'phones' to take a video about the phones and posted the video on youtube. Just to make sure we don't get too cocky about our technological status ... someone left a comment on our youtube video ...
"You're too old to have this phone...duh lmao"

Hah! In case you're not familiar with 'lmao' - that means, 'Laughing My Ass Off" Actually, after reading it, I was ROTFL (Rolling On The Floor Laughing)

Further your computer education **Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Friday, March 07, 2008

A Last Post?

I need to say goodbye to Ron Morrison. He was a regular at Thousand Trails, Peace River - where we spent the winter last year. I received a couple of emails this week telling me he passed away. It was a shock, since I regularly read his blog , and there had been no mention of illness. No one seems to know exactly what happened, he was taken to the hospital on Saturday night and he was gone by Sunday. Ron was a character. I liked him. He always had a smile for us. He lived in an old blue bus that he operated on vegetable oil.
He didn't have much, but he didn't complain. This year he even got a job as a school bus driver in the town near the park. He was a star computer student. Already a good photographer, he created several PhotoStory slide shows after taking our class. He even told us that he got a couple paid gigs making slide shows for Weddings and other special events. And, of course, we taught him how to blog and he wrote regularly from February, 2007 to February 15, 2008.
And, my favorite personality trait ... he could laugh at himself. He writes in his blog that he bought these green velvet shorts with bells on them to play pickleball - in hopes that they would distract the opponents and he could win a game!
I keep looking at his blog expecting to see another post. It's weird. It makes me think that everyone who blogs should have a designated person who knows your username and password in case a Last Post needs to be made. Maybe it should become a standard clause in our Last Will and Testaments? Designate the person you want to write it, and specify the username and password? Even if I knew his username and password, I wouldn't feel right. I'm not family, and I didn't even know him very well. I guess I could put a comment on his last entry and link people to here.
Goodbye Ron! You touched our lives.
Further your computer education **Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Rally in Tucson

Whew! We made it. It has been a whirlwind the last few days. We drove from Quartzsite to Casa Grande on Sunday. It took us twice as long as it should due to a flat tire which, of course, happened at the most desolate part of the route. Actually that's hard to say since the entire route is pretty desolate. So, we got in after dark, something we usually avoid. So much for the stuff we planned to get done on Sunday afternoon. Then Jim's phone died. He spent Monday morning at the Verizon store trying to get it fixed but finally was told that they had to get a new one shipped in and that would take a few days. hmmm, this is hard. One constant in our RV lifestyle is our cell phones. They are with us at all times. We had our Vista seminar on Monday afternoon at Palm Creek. We had a good turnout and the class went well. Then we had to get on the road after class - 6pm - to head to Tucson where we were scheduled to give our seminars at a Freightliner Chassis rally. I don't think I studied the calendar very well when I booked this one! Another after-dark arrival! Thank goodness for GPS navigation - we made the turns that the computer told us to and came right here. We did actually get here and managed to have it all together to give two seminars and met some nice people. We'll head back to Casa Grande in the morning after getting our rig weighed. I have a few photos, but haven't had a chance to look a them. Just thought I'd post something here when I had the chance ... I'm posting this at 1am. I think I'll go to bed now.
Further your computer education
**Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Quartzsite stopover

Quartzsite is the perfect halfway point between Pomona and Casa Grande. This will be the last time we get to see Lynne and John for while also since we'll be heading to Florida soon, and they're on their way to the northwest. Our favorite walk in the desert is here. We go up a hill to the flag. The spring flowers are starting to come out. Party time. As Lynne always say, "SEE YA" more photos on the web album ... just click on any photo here and you're at the web album and can scroll around.
Further your computer education
**Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**