Sunday, March 29, 2009

Learning about Booths

Since we are on a mission to make a living that will keep us on the road – we took the opportunity to have a booth at the Holiday Rambler rally.  We have a lot to learn, but we’re on our way.  Here’s our booth:



One thing we’re learning is that, just because nobody stops by the first day or two – that doesn’t mean you’re not going to make sales.  People take our seminars, and do other things at the beginning of the rally.  Then, they do their shopping on the last day.


We had a small, but respectable turnout for our Picasa seminar:


We thought we had learned, from other small  rallies, that computer tuneups were popular – thus our *fancy* sign for $99 tuneups!  Not one taker?!


It seems that we are just less known in this group.  When we arrived last year at the Gypsy Journal rally, for example, the first person we encountered said, “Yay!  The Geeks are here.  Put me first on your list for some computer work – I’ve been looking forward to seeing you at this rally!”  At this rally, the first person we met looked at our name badge and asked, “What is a Greek on Tour?”


The weather has turned beautiful, if a little chilly this morning – 46 degrees.  We’ll be leaving tomorrow and headed towards Texas where we’ll be visiting with our new sponsors, Tengo Internet.  Then it’s off to Albuquerque for THE Rally.  Jim says it was 26 degrees this morning in Albuquerque :-(

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sideways Rain

If last night’s weather is at all typical of this region, it’s no wonder that Louisiana is called ‘America’s Wetland’!  We have only experienced a night like that when we stayed in the RV thru hurricane Katrina in Fort Lauderdale.  We’re in a town called Gonzales, just south of Baton Rouge.  We’re here to give our seminars at the Holiday Rambler rally. Here’s a map of where we are.


Map picture

We had the kind of rain, wind, lightning and thunder that wakes you up … and keeps you up.  Jim even felt the need to get up and look around – he found that the sideways rain hitting the coach found some places to get in.  There was a puddle on the floor by his desk and water dripping from the light fixtures above.  yuk.

He check the weather alert service on his cell phone and read that our area had over 1,000 lightning strikes within the last 5 minutes!  The thunder made us hug each other and say ‘I love you’ … just in case that wasn’t thunder but the sound of an oncoming tornado.

whew … all is quiet this morning.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

French Quarter

Coming in to New Orleans.  They're building a new bridge across Lake Ponchartrain.




But, that's not the only evidence of economic recovery!




The French Quarter RV park is walking distance to Bourbon Street and the Mississippi river.  It's also right on I-10.


We paid for this convenience - even at 1/2 price for Passport America, this park was $34/night.  You certainly weren't paying for the tranquility and scenery!  It was just perfect to be able to walk to the French Quarter and spend the afternoon.


Map image


We had some great food - Shrimp pasta and Shrimp Po Boy - listened to some live music - and saw a little of the local color:



20090324-28 20090324-29

A few blocks away, there was another guy in all gold.  I'll bet they make a fair living with what people put in their basket to take a photo.


We took our Garmin Nuvi handheld GPS with us.  When we were in the center of the French Quarter, I thought to ask the Garmin to show us what restaurants were nearby.  I chose the category, French, and it returned 22 restaurants within 1 mile!


The waterfront was active with the paddlewheel, the Imax theatre and aquarium, and the park.  People were out, walking, jogging, and just sitting with friends.



OK, that's it.  We 'did' New Orleans.  Obviously we didn't do it right - you need much more time.  But, at least we stopped this time!  We've driven past here on I-10 at least 3 times before.  Actually, the first time we even detoured north to I-20 to avoid the area because it was right after Katrina.  We're glad to see that New Orleans is back in business - but the TV news here is still full of stories about reconstruction, and sad stories of people still waiting for reconstruction.  The hurricane was 4 years ago.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Traveling through Alabama

We ended up staying 3 nights at the Woods campground in Montgomery. I had a lot of bookkeeping to do. We have a new accountant and a new bookkeeping system, so I had to re-enter all of 2008 business records. I did it! I celebrated by treating myself with a ride to Mobile, Alabama :-) Really ... it is a wonderful treat for me to just be a passenger. I watch the scenery and have no obligations other than occasionally getting up to fetch a drink for my chauffeur! Here is some of the scenery. This is I-65 crossing the Mobile river. And, here's our campspot in Mobile. 11am: I am fully recuperated now and we're back on the road. I have my laptop on my lap, plugged into power from an inverter and plugged into the Internet with my cell phone! We're headed west on I-10 - just crossed the Mississippi state line. We'll be going thru New Orleans today and on to Gonzales, LA where we'll be doing the Holiday Rambler rally. In case you haven't noticed, I've added our complete 2009 rally schedule in the left sidebar of this blog. If you know a rally along this route that may be interested in our computer seminars, let us know! 1 pm: Slight change of plans .. we just found out that we can't stay at the rally site until tomorrow, so we need to stay somewhere else tonight. We found a Passport America park in New Orleans - 2 blocks from the French Quarter. We've been thru New Orleans a couple of times, but never stopped. I guess it's time. And, the park has a hot tub .. Oh Boy!
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Living a Fantasy

This probably doesn't look like the house of most people's dreams, but it surely is my fantasy. When I was younger, I would dream about moving to a place where no-one knew me. I could make up a new name, a new identity, and be anything I wanted to be. That was my fantasy. Now, I could do that just about any day of the week! Here is my life philosophy ... "I have abandoned my search for Truth, and am now seeking a good Fantasy!" Ashley Brilliant is my guru! I've found my fantasy.
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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Devon and Lacie tie the knot

Jim here ... Devon is our son from my previous marriage. He got hitched on Friday and we were not there. So much for planning. Our FMCA plans were made last year. The wedding, while we expected it sometime, was planned? last month. I think the plans are still being made, even after the fact.

Like so many relationships these days, the ceremony was commemorating a de facto living arrangement. They have a son together and Lacie, the bride, has an adorable daughter.

I talked to Devon's mom last night and walked her through uploading her pictures to the web.

From Devon's wedding
She said everything worked out just right. The weather was perfect. The cake was delicious and everyone there had a good time.

Sorry we missed it. We love you.

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A chilly morning in Montgomery

The FMCA rally in Perry, GA was over yesterday. The thousands of RVs that filled the fairgrounds cleared out pretty quick on Friday morning. We're almost always one of the last to go!

And, I just had to snap this one. RV rallies are often held in fairgrounds. It just makes you feel all down-home and earthy to be grouped with the swine! We hit the road and made it as far as Montgomery, Alabama where we woke up to 48 degrees this morning. We'll probably stay here a couple days to recuperate and catch up. We have a couple hundred newsletter subscriptions to enter! That's from people who attended our seminars at the Rally and filled out the card to be added to our newsletter lists. We're at Woods RV park. This is a Passport America park - that means inexpensive - $16/night. They have cable TV here, and a good free Wi-Fi Internet connection. We may stay 3 nights!

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Friday, March 20, 2009

FMCA Rally is over

Saving the best for last. Well, at least the most fun! Yesterday we presented Google Earth and Photo Story 3. Here's Jim's Google Earth class: We do love this stuff! Thank you FMCA! And, to all those who attended our seminars and filled out the card to get our e-newsletter ... We're working on entering all your email addresses now! (there's a few hundred of them) You'll hear from us soon. And, thanks to Glenn M, sitting in the front row, who snapped this photo for us!
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Seminars

We gave 2 more seminars today: Every RVer Needs a Blog, and Safe Computing. Then we completed our hands on class in the evening. All went great.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Changing Times

We started giving seminars for the FMCA rallies when we worked for Coach Connect in 2004-5 . Their business was Wi-Fi in RV parks, so that's what we talked about. RVers were really hungry for this information. The largest audience we ever had for 'Internet on the Road' seminars was 700. When we became 'Geeks on Tour' in 2006, we added topics like 'Managing your Digital Photos with Picasa and Every RVer Needs a Blog. But the biggest audience was always at the 'Internet on the Road' seminar - we cover the 3 wireless technologies: Wi-Fi, Cellular and Satellite.
Today, we had our Picasa seminar with over 500 people, and the Internet on the Road seminar had less than 200! I think it's because people are getting cellular aircards and are very happy with how they work. If they need help, they call their cellular provider. They just don't have so many questions any more. Wi-Fi also works a lot better these days than it did a few years ago.
Here's our Picasa seminar ... I didn't get an overall picture - but the room was full.
Then, later in the afternoon, we had the second session of our hands-on boot camp.
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Computer Boot Camp

Whew! Our day started at 7am, and just now ended. It's 10:30. This morning was the designated time for people to sign up for seminars that required a registration and/or fee. That included our 'Computer Boot Camp' - a hands-on computer class that we're giving for the first time at an FMCA rally. When we got to our table at 6:55, there was already a line of people waiting to register! And, we were sold out before 8am. From 8 till 4 we were turning people away because the class was full. But, we would sell them the class materials - 0ur Computer Boot Camp workbook and DVD of tutorial videos. If every day were like this - we'd be rich. We'd also be dead! Our first session of the Boot Camp started at 5pm. I've never had a hands on class with this many people. People brought their laptops to the room - 22 computers were there. And 34 people - many couples gathered around one laptop. We had everything from 5 yr old IBM Thinkpads with Windows XP, to brand new, just out of the box Toshibas with Vista Home Premium ... and everything in between. I think it went as well as could be. Thank goodness a few of our Geeks on Tour Members were available and volunteered to be helpers. They were fabulous! And, after the class, we had a wine and cheese get together/member appreciation party with a group of our Geeks on Tour members who happen to be at the rally. How cool was that? To meet face-to-face the people that have found our tutorials valuable enough to pay for the online membership. I just love our life! Tomorrow we're teaching a seminar on Picasa and another on Internet connections on the road. Then we have our second session of the Boot Camp. Got to go to sleep g'night!
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

FMCA Rally, Perry, Georgia

We had a great visit with Dad and Candy ... Thanks for the steaks and lasagne! ... And the calming view of your back yard. Loved the Azaleas: Then we headed up the road, crossed into Georgia, then on to the State Fairgrounds in Perry for the FMCA rally: Cold and rainy :-( We still had a bit to do to get prepared for all our seminars. We took a look at the room they have designated for us ... it's a bit intimidating isn't it? Would that be cool if we actually filled it? Registrations are down quite a bit from last year, but there's still a lot of RVs here. I heard it was 2,600 RVs registered.
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Friday, March 13, 2009

Driveway Camping

We're on our way to the FMCA rally in Perry, Georgia and my Dad's house is conveniently located in Northern Florida. Driveway camping is such a great way to visit. Just bring your own house and become neighbors for a couple days! Too bad our awnings aren't out in that picture so you can see our pretty new blue (untorn) awnings. Our awning sales and repair friends, Darrell and Nancy of Carefree Colorado, were staying right near us down in Wauchula - so we took advantage and got our old, faded, torn awnings replaced. Oh Boy could use some body work and a new paint job, but a new 'dress' sure helps brighten it up!
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Will you pay for Wi-Fi?

My weekly article for the blog this week asked the question, 'Will you pay for Wi-Fi?" It's getting a lot of responses and makes for some interesting reading. I thought I'd tell you about it in case you'd like to add your 2 cents! I wonder what it was like being around when radio was first invented. Did they try to charge for that? I'll bet they wanted to, but there was simply no way to extract a fee for something that traveled thru the air. Well, now there is. Many people think Wi-Fi should be included as a free amenity at RV parks ... like the pool. Others think it's more fair to charge for useage ... like the laundry machines. Since we worked in the Wi-Fi industry for a while, we know the effort and expense that goes into a good Wi-Fi system. There's got to be money in it *somewhere*! In any case, it's interesting watching a new-born industry develop.
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Monday, March 09, 2009

Torrey Oaks

We moved up the road just a couple miles from Peace River. This is the same park where we gave a Picasa seminar last month. They asked us to come back.

Jim did our Internet seminar without me yesterday so I could concentrate on more video production. Today was Google Earth, and it really needs both of us. Gorgeous day! Nice park.

From Geeks on Tour March 2009
Ooohhhh ... Aaaaaahhhh Full moon (or almost)

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

On Our Way

There's a double meaning to my title today - 'On our Way.'

We are back on the road - we left Fort Lauderdale day before yesterday and are now at our favorite park, Thousand Trails, Peace River. Tomorrow we move on to Torrey Oaks to give a couple seminars. Then a stop at my Dad's on the way to Georgia.

We also feel that our baby business, Geeks on Tour, is on it's way to becoming a real, money-making business. We have a respectable schedule of RV rallies on our 'Tour' this summer. Starting next week with our favorite, FMCA International Convention, in Perry, Georgia. Of course, we have to put our money where our mouth is and pay all our own development costs and expenses to get to these rallies, and sometimes also to attend. We'll be dipping further into our savings than I ever thought we would. It is scary, but the most worthwhile things usually are and I know we're not alone in this predicament today.

Here's what we're booked for right now - the first four are large rallies of 1,000 to 3,000 rigs each. It's going to be an awesome summer!

  1. March FMCA Convention in Perry Georgia
  2. April The Rally in Albuquerque, NM
  3. May Escapades in Sedalia, Missouri **June Pirates rally at 'The Church' in Gravity, Iowa** (that's a whole other story!:-)
  4. July another FMCA International in Ohio
  5. September Gypsy Journal in Ohio

Do you believe in miracles? Unbelievable ... as I was writing this blog post, I got a phone call. By the time I finished the call, we were booked for another RV event ... a very special one that I heard about from Nick Russell of the Gypsy Journal. It's the RV Lifestyle, Safety and Education Clinic September 13 - 16, 2009 at the Wildwood Conference Center at Harrisburg Area Community College in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. And they've booked us to do several of our seminars there! Thanks Nick for putting in a good word for us. And, thanx for your recent blog post too. So, add a #6 to the list above: RVSEF clinic in September.

You won't see much on the blog from me this week because I need every single minute (and then some) to finish preparations for the FMCA rally. I'm still recording some of the tutorial videos that go on the disks we need to produce and sell and put on our website! I've always said, "If it weren't for the last minute I never would get anything done." I even decided to put a little bit of live video on the disks as an introduction. All the other videos are of the computer screen and my voice explaining the computer screen. People who know Geeks on Tour strictly from our tutorial videos have never seen my face, or met Jim. So, we set up a little recording studio; How do you like our teleprompters?!

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Geeks on Tour - a new level

In an RV park in Central Florida, a dozen or so people gathered together to learn something about their computers. This is the park's Computer Club, they meet once or twice a week. One person agrees to give a presentation, complete with handouts and a projected show. This computer club meeting is not that unusual. Lots of RV parks have computer clubs. The special thing about this particular meeting was the topic. People met to learn about the Computer Tutorial Videos available at! And we had nothing to do with it. One of our members, Roxie Marston, enjoys learning from our tutorials so much that she decided to share it with her club. Here's the blog post from the HTR Computer Club. HTR stands for Holiday Travel Resort. It's hard to express how that makes us feel ... but I can tell you it's a *good* feeling! Thanks Roxie! This reminds me that, one of our earliest students - and now a member; Barb Resnick, started a specific Picasa special interest group in her community's computer club. She says it was attending a Geeks on Tour Picasa seminar at an FMCA convention in 2006 that got her started. Now, I learn from her sometimes. Go Barb! Because of the Internet, we can have a business that we manage from anywhere, and that has customers (members) everywhere. Many of these members are, or become, friends as well. It just gives me chills every time I think about how extraordinary and wonderful that is. We even have members in England and several in Australia! ooooohhh ... RVing around Australia - now that's a goal!
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