Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Typhoid Mary of Geekdom?

I've tried to be nice to Nick Russell of The Gypsy Journal. Really I have. After all, I believe in equal treatment for all, even trolls. And here's what I get back: The Typhoid Mary of Geekdom.
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Geeks on Tour Interviewed by Brian Brawdy

The best thing about rallies is the people you meet. Because of our connection with (we write a weekly article) we worked in the booth whenever we weren't giving a seminar. We loved getting to know the folks behind - David and Leslie: And, we even got interviewed by Brian Brawdy. Brian is living in a truck camper right now that is all decked out with solar panels and other 'green' stuff, including a system to harvest rainwater. Check out his website - it's full of great 'green rv'ing' information as well as a smattering of search-for-the-meaning-of-life! He has a background in TV reporting. It's obvious when you watch the interview he did of us:
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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blogging to Alaska

Most RVers we know have either already driven to Alaska, or they want to drive to Alaska.  Our friends, Greg and Marilyn Gundy drove there and spent over 3 months in 2007.  They’ve been talking about it non-stop ever since and are going back … right now!  The best part is that Greg is a writer, photographer, and avid Blogger.  That means we can all go along!




In case you don’t know what a blog is … it’s like a travelogue that anyone can create on the web.  Your own personal journal/photo album/travel map that you can allow anyone to see.  It’s a fabulous way to keep in touch with friends and family you’ve left behind.  And it’s surprisingly easy.  Whenever you visit a Blog – you will see the most recent post (article) on top.  As you scroll down, you will be going back in time.


Greg started blogging after taking one of our ‘Every RVer Needs a Blog’ class in  November 2006. He’s kept up his posting every few days ever since.  Every part of his blog is a good read – but the part about Alaska is full of a special kind of passion – a fever even.  Their 2007 trip is chronicled in 37 posts (web pages) where they discuss more things to see and do in Alaska than you can imagine.  As it turns out, they got the Gold Fever bad!  They’ve even joined the Gold Prospector’s Ass’n of America.


Read the Current Blog – en route to Alaska:
If any of you are interested in the trip, I highly recommend reading the Gundyville blog.  Just go to to follow along with their current journey.  Their plan for this summer is to Work-Camp at the Gold Camp in Chicken, Alaska


Read the 2007 Blog – a complete Alaska RV trip:
To get the background, or plan for your own Alaska trip, I recommend you read the 2007 story by starting at the first post - the day they were at Mile 0 on the Alcan highway.  When you get to the bottom of that one, just click on the link for ‘Newer Post’ and that will take you to the next page in the story.  You can keep reading and clicking on ‘Newer Post’ to read the blog just like a book.  (If the link doesn’t work for you, it may be because you’re using the Firefox browser – it works fine in Internet Explorer – no clue why?!)


Do you have an Alaska blog?:
I know that several others out there have blogs from their travels to Alaska.  And even more will be going there this year and blogging about it.  If that’s you – please leave a comment with your blog’s address so we can all enjoy the trip with you!


Chris Guld,

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Crazy Friends

Everybody needs crazy friends! They get you to do things that you never would dream of! Our crazy friends are Lynne and John (among others) and they bought a 100 year-old church in Gravity, Iowa. Their skills are in construction, remodeling, cabinetry, upholstery – you name it, they can do it. Ever since we met them in 2004, we’ve figured that we would like to share a piece of property with them. We could have RV sites and a communal living area … kind of like ‘The Cabin’ in Quartzsite.

But … a *church*?!?!


In Gravity, Iowa ?!?!?


Well – that’s what we got! And it’s way cool :-)


We’re going to be here for several weeks. Until time to go to the Escapades in Sedalia, MO – May 23. You’ll be hearing more about ‘The Church!’

Thursday, April 23, 2009

One Day, Four States

Four states in one day – and they weren’t small states either! We usually limit ourselves to 200 miles/day, but Jim just wanted to drive and get to our next destination. We started in New Mexico, then just cut thru one corner of the Texas panhandle, a very short distance across the Oklahoma panhandle, then we (I mean Jim) drove quite a ways in Kansas.

Highway 54 in 4 States

Except for a few sections that just about jarred every joint loose – 54 was a pretty good road. We left the desert behind us, and started seeing green hills near Wichita, Kansas.


Our celebration was short-lived as we woke up to a scary storm in the middle of the night. Pounding rain, 60mph gusts, and constant lightning strikes made me wish we were back in the desert! I swear I felt the motorhome lift up during some of the gusts. I started calling Odie – Toto.

Here’s a sign from earlier in the day:

From Hustle/Bustle to Peace and Quiet

We had a great time at The Rally.  Four well-attended seminars, a good time in the booth, seeing lots of old friends and meeting many more!  That kind of hustle and bustle is very energizing! 



But, what I so love about our lifestyle is the variety.  If I had to live at that level of activity all the time, I would go crazy in short order.  On Tuesday morning, we packed up the rig, got the holding tanks dumped, made a stop at Trader Joe’s :-) and headed down the road.  Within a very few hours we found a State park in eastern New Mexico and we had the place almost to ourselves.


aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh……. peace and quiet.




We *LOVE* our life!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

No Phone, No Internet

We left Albuquerque yesterday and drove several hours in the general direction of Iowa - our next destination. We found a great little State Park called UTE Lake, in Logan, New Mexico. Only problem is that we were out of range of *any* Verizon tower, and there was certainly no Wi-Fi. It's official ... I miss my Internet Satellite Dish! More on that later. It's about noon the following day now and we're in Oklahoma, traveling NorthEast. Still no Verizon signal thru the rest of New Mexico and thru the little corner of Texas on highway 54. As soon as we saw sufficient signal on our phones, we pulled over at a rest area to check email, knowing that there were probably some new Geeks on Tour members from The Rally trying to get in touch with us. All is well, but don't believe anyone who tells you that their cellular Internet connection works *everywhere.* :-)
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Monday, April 20, 2009

Deja Vu

Yesterday, as we made our way to the Exhibit Hall here at The rally in Albuquerque, we saw some vintage RVs on display.  I was drawn to take a look and was getting serious attacks of Deja Vu as we got closer to the little travel trailers with the Shasta name.



OMG!  I think I lived in one just like this for 3 months in the summer of 1966.


From 1959 to 1966 my family lived in Anchorage, Alaska.  By ‘66 we’d had enough of the cold and decided to move to Florida.  My folks bought one of those Shasta trailers and we took 3 months traveling across Canada and down the east coast.  What wonderful memories for a 14 year old!


Every time I visit my Mom or Dad, I scan some old pictures.  You can see the whole 1966 summer collection on our Picasa Web Album. Here’s just a couple:


Oh yeah – we also presented another seminar yesterday – High Speed Internet on the Road had about 300 people in it!


Last one today – Picasa.  Then we’re back on the road and we’ll be headed to The Church.  … all will be revealed soon :-)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Google Earth and The Rally

Yesterday, at The Rally, we presented our Google Earth seminar.

Happy faces of Google Earth Audience
From Geeks on Tour April 2009

It was great fun.  Most of the people in the audience had already used Google Earth a little, but I know they learned a lot by the end.  At one point during the seminar we mention that ‘some people think that Google Earth is just a way to look at a satellite image of your house.’  That brought a lot of nervous giggles from the crowd – apparently we were talking about them :-)  Although we did show how to look at a satellite image of your house, we spent the rest of the hour and a half showing all the other things you can do with Google Earth, and exactly how to use it. 

Chris Teaching Google Earth at The Rally
From Geeks on Tour April 2009

If you missed the seminar, you can download the seminar handout from our website for free.  Actually, you can download all of the seminar handouts if you’d like.  Just, please respect that this is for personal use only – if you’d like a seminar presented you can contact us with the email link also on our website.

Here’s a video from the seminar:

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Rally, Day one

It’s pretty chilly here in Albuquerque – but when the sun is out it’s beautiful.  The trees have just sprouted bright green new leaves.



The rally officially starts on Friday with Exhibit Hall and all - so Thursday is just for seminars. We presented one seminar in the afternoon - Every RVer Needs a Blog - so we actually had time to attend others!!


My favorite was Bob Difley talking about Boondocking on Public Lands.  I’ve enjoyed the Difley’s (Bob and Lynne) writing since meeting them at Life on Wheels in 2004.  Lynne is the exercise nut – she even inspires me and Jim once in a while!


Here’s Bob teaching the class:


Ooooh – there are so many places we still have to visit!  He referred to a few websites for reference that I wanted to remember:

US Forest Service (adventure travel)

And then, there’s his own website at:


When we first walked into the seminar room, we heard pleas for ‘Is there a Geek in the house?’  Here comes Jim to save the day!


He definitely needed a bigger room!


Thanks for the great seminar Bob!  Hope to go boondocking with you someday.


Today is the first day of the Exhibit Hall – we’re going to be in the booth - #435.  If you follow the link, you should be able to see a live webcam feed from the booth.  I’ll wave!  If you’re here, come say Hi!  We have all our Tutorial Videos for sale on DVDs, as well as certificates for the online membership.  Our rally special is to buy it *all* for $59.  Such a deal!  The videos will teach you how to manage your digital photos, make professional slideshows, make a blog, use Windows Vista, Google Earth, and much, much more.  And the online membership also gives you access to our Members-only Q&A forum where we’ll answer your questions.  If you’re not at the rally, see our order page online.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


One of the greatest things about RVing is neighbors. You can have hundreds of neighbors, or none at all – it’s all up to you. One thing that is fairly guaranteed is that your neighbors will change. Last week we were neighbors with Joline. This morning we were first in line to get parked at the Exhibitors’ area of The Rally.

So, whoever we get for neighbors will be pot luck!

Well lookee here! Sometimes pot luck is really the best!

It’s Nick and Terry Russell from the Gypsy Journal!

Of course, we each knew the other would be here because of our blogs. We knew that they were in Show Low, Arizona and they had a windy day to drive yesterday. They knew that we were staying just south of Albuquerque and would have an easy day of it. We also know that they are going to be at the Escapades rally in Sedalia, Missouri next month. It's almost like being psychic! Our blogs keep us in touch even if we never talk. And, when we do see each other, we don't have to spend time 'catching up' - we already know all that! Just like our seminar tomorrow says, "Every RVer Needs a Blog!" It's how we stay neighbors even when we're thousands of miles away.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Camping World Parking

We left Joline’s a day early in order to come to Camping World and get our furnace serviced.  Nights under the covers without a furnace are bearable - actually kind of pleasant with a furry puppy and not-quite-as-furry hubby - to keep me warm.


But oooohhhh those mornings!  When the thermometer reads around 40 degrees, it’s Jim’s job to get out of bed just long enough to flip the switch on the furnace.  When things are warmed up – I can get up. 


Our furnace stopped heating a few weeks ago. There’s a big Camping World here in Albuquerque, so Jim made an appointment to get it looked at today, then we’d be ready to head to the Rally grounds tomorrow. 


They did the repairs on the furnace quicker than we expected, and cheaper than we expected too!  $150.  We thought it would be $250 or more. 


We can’t go to the Rally grounds before tomorrow morning because they assign arrival times to make the parking manageable.  So, we just stayed in the Camping World parking lot.  The generator needs to be ‘exercised’ anyway!

Camping World is on the south side of Albuquerque. Here's the view looking north. Man! Is it dry here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Is it going to snow!?

Jim says no – it’s much too warm (44) – but you couldn’t prove that by me.  I had to dig out the ski parka and wool hat before I could take Odie for a walk this morning!


We’re in Belen, NM – just south of Albuquerque.  We’re parked in the back yard of our good friend Joline. 



It was quite a beautiful drive getting here. From where we were by White Sands … you go north and you cross the Black lava flows of the Valley of Fires.  Makes for an interesting satellite photo.  The pushpin marks the place where we drove across the Valley of Fires.  Click on the pushpin and you’ll be able to see more.


Map picture


We had to make one stop for Jim to do his work! In our little computer tutorial video business, my job is to make the videos - his job is fulfillment.




Odie is not a fan of this area though because of the sandburs … he is such a delicate flower!  I gotta admit, I sure couldn’t walk barefoot around here.


We’re here till Tuesday, preparing for The Rally.  We’ll be giving 4 seminars there:

  1. Every RVer Needs a Blog: Thu 04/16/2009, 3 - 4:30 Seminar Room A
  2. Using Google Earth: Sat 04/18/2009, 10:30 - 12 Seminar Room A
  3. High Speed Internet for Rvers: Sun 04/19/2009, 3 - 4:30 Seminar Room A
  4. Managing Digital Photos w Picasa: Mon 04/20/2009
    10:30 - 12 Seminar Room E

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

New Mexico Museum of Space History

Jim is a real history buff of America’s space program, and I find it as interesting as anybody. Right in Alamogordo there is a the New Mexico Museum of Space History. I can get tired of museums pretty quickly, but it’s been a while since we’ve visited one, and what can be more fascinating than space history?

This was a *great* museum. And it was a gorgeous day too. See White Sands in the distance?

You start on the fourth floor and just keep winding your way around and down, around and down. I was most interested in the Satellite section. The Sputnik satellite, launched by Russia in 1957, started the space race. All of a sudden the science curriculum in American schools took off! I think we need another Sputnik :-) Satellites seem like such High Tech, Mysterious, Magical things – after all they *are* rocket science! And yet they are an important part of our everyday lives. Many people get their TV from satellites, we get our radio from satellites. It’s communication with satellites that powers our GPS devices that tell us where we are and how to get where we’re going. We can even get our Internet from a Satellite.

What are these things? How do they get up there? And, how do they stay up there?

The idea that a piece of man-made equipment could be placed in orbit around the earth sparked many ideas for applications. Most satellites are individual, custom-designed items. They started with only military purposes – weapons, or spy equipment. But, the commercial applications of communications and navigation have become very popular. The objects themselves can be as small as sputnik – 23 inches – or as large as the Space Station.

They have to be taken into orbit with a rocket. Some have been taken by the Space Shuttle.

An important concept is that of GeoStationary orbit. Meaning that the satellite is at a calculated distance from the earth, traveling at a calculated speed so that it stays at the exact same spot relative to the earth’s surface. This is very important for communications satellites. If the satellite was moving, you would only be able to communicate with it for a brief window of time. GeoStationary orbit was first envisioned by Arthur C Clarke, one of Jim’s heroes. If this fascinates you like it does us, here is a video about Satellites.

We also learned about the X-Prize. Did you know that Charles Lindbergh made his historic flight in order to win the $25,000 Orteig prize? I didn’t. And now, to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE, Burt Rhutan was motivated to build the first private spaceship ‘SpaceShipOne’.

Meanwhile, back at the park, we met some Geeks on Tour members/readers who happened to be staying in the same park. And, they follow our belief that “Every RVer Needs a Blog!” So, you can read about the Trinity Nuclear Test site that’s near here by reading Doug and Linda’s blog. And, here’s their post about the geeks :-) Thanks Linda and Doug! Nice meeting you too!

The other folks we met up with are Jim and Nancy. They told us about seeing a man walking his camel nearby. Check it out.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

White Sand Photo Op

Oh boy – we got a day to play tourist!  We left Carlsbad and traveled over the Sacramento mountains to Alamogordo.  The top of the pass was at 8600 ft elevation.  Then it came down to about 4,000 in less than 16 miles!  Quite a grade.


Map picture


Also quite a view. That white area you see down in the lowland area is White Sands National Monument. 


Let’s go take a closer look!



No - that's not snow. It's gypsum sand.



Sure is pretty though!




See more pictures on our Picasa Web Album … just click on any photo above and you’re there.  Then you can go forward or back to other photos.


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Monday, April 06, 2009

OMG 34 degrees

The wind calmed down yesterday and it was gorgeous here in Carlsbad, New Mexico.  Then the cold came.  We woke up this morning to 34 degrees.  What have we done?  The wheels under our house are supposed to prevent this!  And, we still have to go north to get to The Rally next week.

Jim promises me that the weather reports a warming trend.


Odie put on his sweater before we took him to the dog run.

They do have beautiful sunsets here.

And great food! Here's the owner of the park cookin'!

Nice place. They power the whole place with wind-generated power. And they warm the floors with Leo!


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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Wind and Dust Storms

We scheduled a visit at a KOA park in Carlsbad, NM for Saturday.  So we had to make some good time going across Texas.  Jim drove 400 miles and I had the computer on my lap most of the way. 


We stayed at the Escapees park in Pecos, TX.


We made it to Carlsbad in plenty of time. The last 5 miles Jim had to wrestle with the steering wheel to counteract the wind.  We got parked and sat in the motorhome with the wind pounding us.  I heard various numbers … indluding gusts up to 60mph.  Hurricane strength is 74 – but I swear that what we felt today was like Hurricane Katrina in Fort Lauderdale.  Gee – this is the second time in the last 10 days I’ve compared current weather to a hurricane … yuk.


Our seminar went well, and the wind is quieting down now.  It sure is amazing how just hearing and feeling the wind can mentally and physically wear you out.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Tengo Internet

The more things change, the more they stay the same! 


6 years ago, Jim had the idea that he could install high-speed Internet in RV parks.  It was that thought that gave us the belief that we could make a living on the road.  So we sold the house, bought an RV (on eBay!), and took off.  Jim discovered that delivering an Internet connection to RV sites in an outdoor space was a lot more difficult than the home and office networks he was used to.  He wanted to use a technology called Ethernet over Powerline – but he found it just didn’t work right on the kind of power grid one finds at RV parks.  We ended up hooking up with Coach Connect, a company that was installing Wi-Fi in RV parks all around the country.  For 2 years (2004 & 2005) we were part of the Coach Connect team.  We visited over 80 parks nationwide and did support.  We made ‘house-calls’ to guests having issues with the Wi-Fi, we gave Wi-Fi ‘briefings’ to the staff at the RV parks, we gave seminars at the parks and at rallies for Coach Connect, and Jim was sometimes called upon to do a little troubleshooting. 


Coach Connect eventually disappeared from the scene, but not before we built a solid relationship with Frank Drew, the owner.  We spent a lot of time with Frank, and his family, in Austin, Texas.  We were even included in his family’s Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.  Austin, and the Drews’ feel like a second home now!  That’s where we had our mail delivered this time around, and we had a delightful dinner there the other night.  I didn’t take any pictures this time around, but you can check out the blog post from the last time we were here.


Fast forward to today, and Frank has re-appeared on the RV park Wi-Fi scene as the Director of Development for Tengo Internet.  Frank has introduced us to Tengo Internet and now, guess what we’ll be doing?!  Visiting Tengo Internet RV parks and giving seminars.  Our first stop is the Carlsbad KOA in New Mexico.  Tengo will also be a sponsor of Geeks on Tour at the upcoming Rally in Albuquerque. 


Thanks Frank! 

OK, gotta go.  We need to be in Carlsbad tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Allergic to Austin?

We got to Austin night before last and haven’t stopped sneezing since!  It’s beautiful here.  We’re in one of our very favorite RV parks in the country … Oak Forest.  Everything is green and the wildflowers are abundant!  I guess the pollen is too.