Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tribute to early RVers: my parents

We’ve been having a good time teaching our seminars here at the Gypsy Journal Rally … we taught one of our very favorite topics this morning: “Creating Narrated slideshow movies with Photo Story 3”  We have our routine and material down pat with this one, so my mind was free to wander a bit in getting prepared. 


It dawned on me that since my Mom is with us it would be cool to show a sample Photo Story movie using pictures from my family’s RV travels in the 60s.  RVing in Alaska, Mexico and Canada are popular topics in RV circles – and we did it in the 60s.  So, I made sure my Mom was in the audience for this seminar and I quickly put together this little movie as part of our presentation:


To learn how to make your own narrated slideshow/movie, see our tutorials at:

It’s SOOO easy!  And, Photo Story is free, just like everything else we teach.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Picasa Fans

Our last session of the Computer Boot Camp was all about Picasa.  Here’s some of the conversations you could have overheard,


“Oh, so *there’s* the pictures I thought I’d lost!!”


“That was SOO easy!  Now that I know how to get pictures from my camera to the computer, I have hundreds of photos to put on.”


“Wow!  Scanned photos from 40 years ago look great after a little editing in Picasa.”


Here’s a few new fans of Picasa:




Boot Camp at Gypsy Rally

We got all settled in at Mercer County Fairgrounds for the Gypsy Journal Rally. Ever since we stopped using our satellite dish, we’ve said, ‘bring on the trees!’ Aren’t they pretty?



If you follow Nick and Terry Russell, of Gypsy Journal, you know that they converted a bus to be their home.  They recently bought a new motorhome … we have a hard time recognizing them now in their new home!



The rally doesn’t actually start till tomorrow, but we are teaching our hands-on computer boot camp over the weekend.  There are fewer people than the last time we taught it – it’s nice to be able to give more personal attention.



The headsets are for people to listen to the Tutorial Videos during the labtime portions of the class.


The rest of the week, we’ll be giving our regular seminars:


  • 10:30 Every RVer Needs a Blog,
  • 1:30 Managing Digital Photos with Picasa


  • 10:30 Slide Shows with Photo Story 3,
  • 3:30 Using Google Earth


  • 10:30 Blogging: Beyond the Basics,
  • 3:30 Picasa: Beyond the Basics

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ohio and Mom

Kind of an odd route we’ve taken this year.  We were in Ohio for the FMCA convention in July … now we’re back in Ohio for the Gypsy Journal rally, after having done a loop up through Vermont and over to the Jersey shore.


So, it was a feeling of deja vu when we crossed back over into Ohio yesterday. See the video of our trip here.

We needed to be in Columbus this morning because my Mom flew in to meet us.  We wanted her to join us for some RV traveling this summer and it seemed like a cool idea to have her meet us toward the end of the summer, then travel all the way back to Florida with us.  So – she’ll get to attend a rally. The Gypsy Journal rally should be perfect – lots of good stuff going on, but small enough to get to know people.  Then, we’ll start heading south.  We plan to sightsee for a couple of days in D.C., then on to a friend’s son’s wedding in the Chesapeake area of Virginia.

Here’s Mom when I picked her up at the Columbus airport.  She’s well-known for traveling light – she only had her carry ons.  It’s a good thing since our ‘mother-in-law suite’ in the RV doesn’t have a whole lot of storage! 

And, here she is, all settled in.

It feels great to be able to do this since she and my Dad took me on my first RV trip (6 months long) when I was 10 in 1962!  It was from Alaska to Guatemala and back.  I remember enjoying that cab-over space too!

Welcome aboard Mom!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Complete Lack of Schedule

We’re here in this Pennsylvania park for 4 days.  Other than the visit to Fallingwater – we have nothing planned other than computer work. We’ve been going to bed later and later, and getting up later and later.  There’s cable TV here – something we rarely get – so we’ve been staying up past midnight watching.


That’s part of the appeal of this lifestyle … the complete freedom of lack of schedule.  But, it can get a bit ridiculous.  If you don’t get up till 9, then you go straight to the computer, two hours goes by before you know it.  We start thinking about breakfast, but it’s already 11am! 


Odie’s falling down on the job.  A dog is supposed to make sure you get up and out in the morning – after all, he can’t use the bathroom, he has to go out right?  He’s amazing.  He can hold it for 15 hours!  He just patiently waits until we finally get up from the computers to take him for a walk. 


Oh well, we’ll be busy next week at the rally – maybe our clocks will get reset.  We did get a new video made – and this one combines live video with our normal screencast video.  It’s about using Microsoft Streets and Trips *and* our Garmin GPS.  It’s featured on our home page now – check it out at 


Here’s our site at Roaring Run:


Fall is coming!  It’s in the 50s at night.  They’re draining the pool and shutting down the campground store.  It’s getting pretty.


Saturday, September 19, 2009


We left Hershey and headed west to another membership park, Roaring Run … it’s a Resorts of Distinction park.  I’ve marked it with a red pushpin in the map below.  It’s the upper pushpin.  the lower one is Fallingwater – the famous house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  It is now a tourist attraction run by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
Map picture

We had to go!  It was a bit pricey – we paid $20 each – but we got a guided tour, and the guide was really good. We learned about the fact that the whole house is cantilevered – like a diving board.  We learned, and experienced, the architecture that blurs the distinction between indoors and out.  We learned that Frank Lloyd Wright hated that standard rooms were just 4-wall boxes.  His goal was to ‘destroy the box.’  He did it with glass walls - especially glass corners - as well as round edges and extra ‘cubbyhole’ corners with windows that open wide.

I especially liked the flooring.  Rock.  But not flat slate all even smooth.  It was uneven and felt like you were walking outside.  And, Wright made the furniture all built in … so it fit with everything else.  Like a yacht … or an RV!

They didn’t let you take any photos on the tour :-(  But there are quite a few on the website.
Here’s a few from outside at different vantage points.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Streets and Trips 2010

So that’s why we came here!  It was actually fun to attend a big RV show and not be a vendor or a seminar presenter.  We just wandered around, checked things out, met new people and some old friends.  We checked the seminar schedule and saw Microsoft presenting a seminar on Streets and Trips 2010.  We use S&T and love it.

So we went to the seminar, learned some cool new features, and got to know Larry Petersen from Microsoft.

Believe it or not, it was Larry who asked that this picture be taken.  He wanted a photo with 'the Geeks on Tour'!  Check out his blog.  We got a copy of S&T 2010 and I’ll be getting to work on some articles and tutorial videos about the new features.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On the Road

Why are we leaving LBI?  Look at this beautiful day.  And, the beach is deserted!  Everyone’s gone home after the Labor Day weekend.


Welll … because it’s what we do!

We *LOVED* our stay at Jimmy’s on LBI … Thank you Jimmy!  And, we love being on the road.  So, here we go … The beautiful rolling hills of Pennsylvania.


To the Thousand Trails park at Hershey.  As full-time RVers, we consider Thousand Trails parks to be our home!  As members of Thousand Trails, we can stay up to two weeks at any of the lovely ‘Preserves’ around the country.  Isn’t that better than one home in one place?!  Here’s the road to the park:



And, here’s our site:


There’s a big RV Show in Hershey this week.  It’s actually the kind of event we’d like to present our seminars, but we never made the right contacts to make that happen.  So, we’re just going to attend and see what’s there.  Oh, and, maybe we’ll check out some of the Chocolate too as long as we’re here.  Look at the streetlamps along ‘Chocolate Avenue’ :-)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sunset Summary

We’ll be leaving Long Beach Island today – back on the road headed towards the Gypsy Journal Rally in Celina, Ohio. We’ll be giving several computer seminars plus our hands-on Computer Boot Camp there.


But we can’t leave before I give you last night’s sunset:


September 13



Bye Bye LBI sunsets!


I just can’t pick my favorite sunset picture, can you?


September 5:


September 3 (a)


September 3(b):


August 31:


August 24:


Ok, I lied.  I think September 3(b) is my favorite.  Y’know – this is only a fraction of all the sunset photos I took.  If you want to see them bigger, check out our Picasa Web album for August and September

Barnegat Lighthouse

Before our colds put us down for the count, we visited Barnegat Lighthouse at the north end of Long Beach Island.



217 steps to the top.



Great views



And here’s the beach as the weather started to turn ugly.


This beach was crowded like Spring Break just the day before.  Everybody goes home after Labor Day.


We’ll be leaving tomorrow.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sick and Storm

Hard to believe that fairy tale day at the beach, in the bay, playing in the water, with perfect weather, was just a few days ago.  It’s as if the powers-that-be needed to tell us, “Don’t get used to it OK?”


Jim was sick in bed all day on Wednesday and part of Thursday.  I succumbed to the sniffles last night. 


And the weather!  The weather has turned UGLY.  We haven’t been buffeted like this since we rode thru Hurricane Katrina in Fort Lauderdale.  Oh yeah … there was that night in Louisiana this spring with sideways rain.  And the thunder and lightning!  I thought Florida had the best thunder and lightning shows.  I was wrong.


Here’s the weather map for right now.  I drew an arrow to show where we are – right where it’s orange and red!



And, here’s our view of the bay right now.


Here’s the ‘sunset’ last night.  See how high the water is up the dock?


A nasty beginning to a nasty day … 9/11

Jimmy says he remembers being able to see the smoke-filled sky over New York from here.  Jim and I were on a river barge trip in France on 9/11/01.  The only news available was in a language we didn’t understand, but the people were awesome.  I remember trying to find a newspaper in one little village we were passing thru and there were none to be had.  A person we met on the street learned our story (Americans on a canal boat) and drove many miles to the next lock to hand deliver a newspaper.


If you want to see other people’s 9/11 stories, or add your own, I recommend the Make History 911 Memorial website.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hands-On Computer Boot Camp

You may have heard about the hands-on class we teach from our website, or past blog posts.  We call it ‘Computer Boot Camp’ because it is Basic Training for computer users.


Specifically, it’s for laptop users with Windows (XP or Vista) operating system.  We will be offering this class as a Gypsy Gathering pre-rally in Celina, Ohio on September 26 and 27.


We find lots of people on the road are using a laptop for the first time.  A lot of them don’t know about the switch on a laptop that turns the Wi-Fi capability on or off.  And, they also don’t know what happens when they close the lid of their computer. 


Some of these people have been using computers for many years as part of their work.  When they were at work and something went wrong – they just called the computer guy.  They can’t do that now, and there’s more they need to know.  They need to know how to make backups.  They need to know about computer security and maintenance.


Jim and I have been in the computer support business continuously since the early 80’s.  Since we’ve been on the road and helping our fellow RVers, we’ve compiled a checklist of essential knowledge and skills we believe every computer user should possess. We developed this class – and many of our Show-Me-How Videos – to help people fill in the gaps in their knowledge.


As you can imagine, with the wide variety of information to teach and the wide variety of experience levels in the class, this is not an easy class to teach.  To keep everyone on track, we’ve written a workbook and recorded Show-Me videos to guide us through the class. You can click on the picture of the workbook to see the table of contents.




The class is broken up into 3 sessions with 2 or 3 specific exercises to be completed in each session.  Much of the class is taught by the videos (that’s why you see the headsets in the photos), so people can learn at their own rate.  And, there are many more videos on the disk than what we cover in class – there’s *no* reason to get bored in this class!  You can click on the disk image below to see the disk contents.




Here’s the review questions for the class, why don’t you take it and see how you do?  If you can confidently answer all the questions, then the class is too basic for you.


If you’re unsure of half or more, then the class would be great for you.  And, if you’re in the vicinity of Celina, Ohio at the end of September, you can sign up for the Boot Camp at the Gypsy Gathering Rally.  The cost is $99 for the two day class, bring your own computer.


If you have any questions, or you’ve attended one of our boot camps and have any comments, we’d love to see them as a comment to this blog post.


If you know of a rally, or an RV park where they would like us to present our Boot Camp, we can do that too.  We need a minimum of 6 attendees, and a maximum of 20.  Of course, it needs to be somewere in our vicinity.  We plan to spend the winter in Florida.


If you’re interested in the Boot Camp, but you can’t attend a class, you can purchase the book and DVD for $20.   Here’s the introductory video to the DVD.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Labor Day party on the River

You’ve met Dianne in this blog before.  Most recently on a houseboat here in Long Beach Island.  And a few years ago at her house in Florida


Now you get to see her house on the river up here.  She invited us to come over for a Labor Day party.  Jimmy decided to go too even though, in 30 years of living here, he’s never left the Island on Labor Day.  Here’s why – all the thousands of people who came to LBI for the weekend, or the whole summer, are leaving that day:


But, we finally made it.  What a cool spot!  You see, in addition to the ocean and the bay, there are also rivers around here.  She is on the Mullica river, we paddled the nearby Batsto river when we were here in 2004.

Map picture


What a great spot!


And, here’s our hostess showing off the view from her dining room.


Lots of clams to feast on – a local delicacy.



Here’s Dianne with her two daughters, Susan (left) and Carol (right):


It’s always good to get around families with kids.  The younger generation gives us a fresh perspective!



Here’s a view of the house from the dock.


Thanks Dianne!  We had a great time. 


and the traffic getting back onto the Island was non-existent!