Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The North Coast

Generally we think of the United States as having an East Coast and a West Coast.  One thing I’ve learned in our travels is that we also have a South Coast – provided by the Gulf of Mexico; and a North Coast – provided by the Great Lakes.



We’re here because one of our readers/members wrote us an email telling us about Erie Islands.  They said to be sure and take the ferry out to Put-In-Bay and see Perry’s Monument.  So, that’s what we did yesterday and it was great.  Thanks Jim and Barb!



Taking the Ferry from Catawba to Put-In-Bay.


This is a National Park Service, National Memorial: Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial.  Quite a historic place.  On Lake Erie, near this spot in 1813, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry won the decisive battle of the War of 1812. But, the monument’s purpose is also to honor the lasting Peace that has existed among the 3 countries involved  in that war: United States, Canada, and England.  Did you know that the Canada/America border has been the longest  (4,000 miles) unarmed border in the world?  Although that is changing now.


I love learning history and, I gotta admit, I didn’t know much about the War of 1812 – other than the year it began :-).

From the exhibits in the Visitor Center, it sounds like it was a messy war – not all Americans were in favor of it.  War was declared against England partly in response to trade restrictions, and forced recruitment of Americans into Britain’s war with France.  It was also a war of expansion.  The US wanted the Indian’s land of the ‘Northwest’ (Ohio?!) and maybe even Canada.  The Indians aren’t mentioned in the International Peace … ?  And, Perry’s battle, ‘the Battle of Lake Erie’ was pretty gruesome.  His men suffered 80% casualties.


There’s an elevator to the top.


Great views


And the restaurants and tourist attractions were very ‘Island’ … it felt like being in Fort Lauderdale, or even the Keys.



Gorgeous day …

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hot Tub and Cioppino

Here’s where we are … and we’ll be here for a week.


Map picture

Not only does this place (Erie Islands resort) have a working hot tub, they also have a Steam Room.




We took full advantage of both of them yesterday morning before the weekend crowd got into full swing.  We went up to the recreation center for a repeat today but the crowds were a bit much, so we came back home and opened a bottle of wine which we drank while I worked on dinner.


I made one of our current favorites … my own version of Cioppino (Italian Fish Stew.)  I miss having lobster to put in it, but I’ve found that frozen salmon, shrimp, and scallops work pretty well.


Friday, July 24, 2009

This Rally was our Personal Best

We presented all of our prepared seminars at this rally.  Seven titles (Internet, Safe Computing, Vista, Picasa, Blogger, Google Earth, and Photo Story) *plus* the 3-evening hands-on Boot Camp.  And we did good!  Even if I do say so myself :-) 


I believe in continual improvement, so at the end of every seminar we do I’m always reviewing what could have been better, and there’s always something … we missed teaching a crucial point, or we didn’t stay within our time limit, or we were too serious – didn’t get the audience laughing, or we just didn’t get the points across in an understandable way … or … or … or …


This time, when I did my mental review after each seminar all I could think of was, ‘that was good!’  It certainly helped that the seminar rooms were such professional quality:


Excellent acoustics, huge projection for displaying the computer screen, theatre style seating so everyone could see.  I would love to do more University campuses – it sure beats the Swine barn that we usually get at the Fairgrounds!


Even at our last seminar on the last day, we drew a pretty good crowd.  I feel like we have a few hundred new friends!


Even the hands-on boot camp went as well as could be expected.  That is a tough one to teach since everyone is at different levels and everyone has a different computer.  Some with Windows XP, some with Vista.  We even had one person with Windows 2000, and one with a Netbook.


We had a really good group – they were patient and studious and they used the tutorial videos on the DVD to their advantage (that’s what the headsets are for).  We couldn’t have done it without our helpers to keep an eye on everyone.  THANKS Roxie, Chuck and Honey!  ..and Tom the first night.


We didn’t get to see anything else that was going on at the convention since we were busy all the time – we hear very good things from the vendors we spoke to.  Most everyone had a great rally.  The final count was  2,425 family coaches.  And it only rained one day!


We did get to meet up with a couple friends.  We had dinner with Nick and Terry Russell on the last night and had a good time making plans for their Gypsy Gathering rally in Celina, Ohio the end of September.  Since we have all these seminars down pat now, we have to come up with something new!  We’re going to teach a Picasa and a Blogger, ‘Beyond the Basics.’ 


We also ran into Henry Gartner, aka Flakey the Clown.  Odie especially liked getting reacquainted with his bunny rabbit!


We’re relaxing this morning – getting ready to hit the road for a grueling 50 mile drive :-) to where we have reservations for a relaxing week at Erie Islands.  Their hot tub *better* be working!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

FMCA Convention Days 1 & 2

The weather is beautiful, the RVs are plentiful and we’re having a great time at the FMCA International Convention in Bowling Green, Ohio.

There are RVs *everywhere*!! We took a bike ride and the rows of motorhomes just kept on going .. and going … and going ..

After 2 days of giving our seminars, we’re exhausted and exhilarated. It started at 7am Monday morning when we we were scheduled to take registrations for our hands-on Computer Boot Camp. When we did this at the last FMCA rally in Perry, GA we sold out in less than an hour and had to turn lots of people away. Some of those people are also at this rally and they were waiting for us (one said she was at our table at 6am!) Seems like we should have had some kind of prize for them … but I did get their picture:

The Boot Camp is held over the next 3 evenings – 5 to 7. Since this location is a University campus (Bowling Green State University) – we have a real classroom for it. What a wonderful facility. And, really good Wi-Fi!

Also on Monday we gave our High Speed Internet on the Road seminar. This one was also in an awesome room with theatre style seating and a full one-story high screen. And the acoustics … wow!

That was all the first day – we started at 7am and we got home about 9pm. Then we did it over again on Tuesday. Our first seminar was at 8am – all about Vista. I think we convinced most of the 230 people that Vista actually has a lot going for it – contrary to popular opinion. At 1pm we did our Picasa seminar – some of the people in the audience said this was the 3d or even 4th time they’ve attended this seminar of ours and they learn something new every time.

We are tired, but we don’t care. This is what we love to do. We are literally in heaven to have this kind of audience for our work. We love the FMCA for putting these rallies together and giving us the opportunity. Thanks to our sponsor, Tengo Internet, the Boot Camp registrations, and the people who buy our Videos – we even get paid! That’s the golden ticket.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bowling Green Ohio

Here’s our site at the FMCA rally.  Certainly not as pretty as our last site at the state park!  But, people don’t come here for ‘camping’ – they come here for the seminars, the group meetings, the products, and the entertainment.  We understand there are about 2,400 family RVs registered for this rally.  We’re looking forward to a great week.



And, just in case the person who asked us to do a computer tuneup today is reading this … I can’t find where I have your phone number … please call or email us. :-)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ohio State Parks

We landed at a Passport America park that also happened to be an Ohio State park.


Nice place!  And, the weather has been so nice that we had dinner outside.



While Jim took over the motorhome with printing, folding and stapling tasks, I moved my office outside.



And, we were very happy to have Wi-Fi here!  I seriously think we would go well over our 5GB allotment on our cell phone this month without it.  I’ve been holding off on a 350MB Windows update file – finally got it done with the Wi-Fi connection.


While we were out running errands on Wednesday, we noticed that the new Harry Potter movie was playing in Celina.  We slowed down to see the showtimes and … it started in 5minutes.  Well, that was just too perfect.  So we had popcorn for dinner and watched a GREAT movie.


Off to Bowling Green tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Geeks at FMCA

If you take a look at the Family Motorcoach Ass’n website right now – you’ll see Jim’s and my smiling faces.  Right on the home page!


And, if you follow the link under our picture … to ‘Mobile Internet’ you can watch one of our videos that is featured there.


The FMCA International convention starts next Monday in Bowling Green, Ohio.  We’ll be there and we’ll be presenting 7 different seminars:

  • Mon:  High Speed Internet for Rvers
  • Tue: Picasa – Managing Digital Photos
  • Tue: Vista – What’s New
  • Wed: Safe Computing
  • Wed: Every RVer Needs a Blog
  • Thu: Photostory 3 – Professional looking Slideshows
  • Thu: Using Google Earth

We are also giving our hands-on Boot Camp.  That is offered in 3 evening sessions from 5-7.  If you’re going to Bowling Green and want to attend the Boot Camp, registration is on Monday at 7am in the Information Center.  The cost is $60 and we can only take 20 registrations.  Last time we were sold out in 45 minutes!  So, get there early.


The FMCA website includes a complete list of all the seminars available at the Bowling Green FMCA rally.


and … if you’re a Geeks on Tour member, you will be getting an invitation to our private get together.

Hope to see you there!



Please Visit our sponsor:


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Finally, the kayaks get wet

They’ve been on the roof of the car since we left Florida in March.  It was our last day at Indian Lakes Thousand Trails

They just now got wet. 


And, so did Odie!



When Odie’s on a kayak, he’s known as Kayodie.



Then it was back on the road – we’re headed for the FMCA Convention in Bowling Green, Ohio.  We found a nice state park at St. Mary’s Grand Lake.  The lower left pushpin in the map below is where Indian Lakes is; the next pin up is Grand Lake St. Mary’s state park where we are right now.  The third pin is Bowling Green where we’ll be for the rally next week.  And the last pin is at Erie Islands, a park where we’ll stay for the week after the rally.


Map picture

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lewis and Clark

One of our blog readers left a comment on yesterday’s post and I was intrigued by his username, ‘Lewis and Clark Trail’ – so I followed it.  Wow.  He starts today on a trip planned to follow the same route that Lewis and Clark did 200 years ago.  Check it out .. and you can follow along.


Reading about his plans reminded me of just how magical our life has been these last 6 years on the road.  I remember a time, long before we started this RV lifestyle, that having a few weeks to take a trip on the Lewis and Clark trail was a dream, a remote and exciting fantasy.  Now, it’s just one of the many things we’ve done! 


In our first year out, we  just happened to be going thru St. Louis, so we went to the Lewis and Clark museum.  Without actually planning, we happened to follow a lot of their route.  Here’s our 2004 map:



At least we definitely visited the beginning at St. Louis, MO and the end at Fort Clatsop, OR.


Here’s a few links to some old blog posts.  Deja Vu …


St. Louis, MO – June 2004

Idaho, deciding to follow the rest of the L&C trail – July 2004

Columbia River

‘Ocean in View, Oh the Joy’ July 2004

Meriwether Lewis Monument – October 2006

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Nikola Tesla

Have you ever noticed how the Google logo changes to commemorate special days?  Today it looks like:

Happy Birthday Nikola Tesla

When you hover over it, you can read ‘Happy Birthday Nikola Tesla and, when you click on it, it does a search for Nikola Tesla.


Jim and I often embark on animated discussions of the future of our computing industry.  We believe that we are in its infancy.  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!  Jim says, the lid will blow when we achieve free, universal power.  So, when solar power, or wind, or free electricity, powers everything – life as we know it will give way to life that is beyond our wildest dreams.


Nikola Tesla achieved that goal at the turn of the century.  The 20th century!  I wish he were here today.  The book I’m reading on my Kindle right now is “The Big Switch: Rewiring the world from Edison to Google”.  I swear it was yesterday that I got to the part about Tesla.  I’ve been a fan of Tesla for many years, but it seems just a bit amazing that I would be reading about him the day before Google throws him a birthday party.  Check it out, it’s something I think we all should know …


Tuesday, July 07, 2009


This morning, I lay awake thinking about emails I needed to write, bookkeeping I needed to do, programming that needs changing on our website, my Picasa tip I need to write today, and a client website that needs a makeover. I finally gave up on sleeping and got up to sit at the computer around 4am.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that I was up to see a gorgeous sunrise! I decided to stop lamenting about all the stuff I can't get done and grab my camera to go appreciate my surroundings.

From Geeks on Tour 200907
From Geeks on Tour 200907
From Geeks on Tour 200907
Happy Birthday Mom! We're looking forward to having you join us for a few weeks :-)

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Make room for a monster

We've had a lot of printing costs lately. When you go to Office Max or Staples, the charges really add up. Several hundred dollars just for one rally. So, Jim has wanted to buy a good laser printer. Especially since we visited Nick and Terry Russel of Gypsy Journal and saw their business class laser printer -thanks a lot Nick, you printer pusher you.

This is what Jim bought ...

From 200907

Where the hell is this thing going to go inside our 30ft, no slides, class C motorhome?! Jim suggests we can just walk around it.

From 200907

Believe it or not, he figured out a way to place it, and it looks like it was made for the spot.

From Geeks on Tour 200907

We are able to remove our old ink jet printer and our scanner to make some room because this is a *color* laser, and a scanner, and a copier/fax. Wow! All for under $550! I remember when a color laser was $20,000! We can't get rid of our ink jet printer altogether, because it is the only one that prints our DVDs

We also freed up some space by getting rid of our DVD movie collection. Actually, we just got rid of the covers and put all the DVDs in a disk 'wallet.' Takes up a *lot* less space!

Happy Fourth of July everybody! And Happy Anniversary to Jim and me - 11 years now and loving every minute of it.

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