Thursday, September 23, 2010

ON vacation and OFFline!

Trying to get dozens of last minute things done in preparation for taking off on our cruise in Alaska.  We leave today.  We plan to be offline for 10 days ... I'm already feeling withdrawal symptoms!  We’ll be back home (at the RV in Fort Lauderdale, Florida) on October 4.

Well, we will have our Droids with us, so, anywhere there's Verizon signal we will be checking email and facebook.  But, we won't do much responding.  We won't be handling business.  Although I do have to get our newsletter out tonight ... I don't think I can let that go till we get back.  I am taking our little netbook computer – mostly as a depository for all the pictures we plan to take – so I’m planning to finish our newsletter while on the plane and upload it from the hotel room in Seattle.  But, once we’re on the cruise ship tomorrow … then we’re really on vacation – honest!

Odie stays home

I so prefer RV travel where you take your whole home with you – pets and all.  Usually, if we need to fly somewhere, we can leave Odie with my Mom, or Jim’s Dad … but they’re going with us on this trip!  Jo Ellen, Jim’s ex-wife, has also offered to take Odie on occasion … but she’s also going with us on this trip!  :-)  Yes, that needs to be a whole other blog post doesn’t it?!  Jo Ellen is part of our extended family.  We thought about some other friends, but when we learned that our across-the-street-neighbor (Max) at the RV park had just started a dog-walking service ;-) we figured he’d be happier in the RV than at a friend’s house where he’d never stayed before.  And Charlie, our immediate next-door neighbor promises to look in on him and give him a treat every day! 

Use Facebook

Meanwhile, be sure to follow us on Facebook.  Facebook is just so much easier to post short updates … it is becoming our ‘mini-blog.’  It also helps that we can so easily update our Facebook status directly from our Droid cellphones.  So, while waiting in line at the airport we can post a quick note about our whereabouts.  Or, when getting ready to board the cruise ship, we can take a picture of the ship (with the Droid’s camera feature) and, with one click upload that picture to our facebook profile.  Or, when we’re taking the train ride up the gold rush trail to White Pass, we can take video of the amazing scenery and upload that to youtube or facebook.  Okay, okay, we’ll put the phones in our pocket and just enjoy the scenery for some of the time!
Business page:  anyone can go there and read our updates. 
Personal pages: and  you must be a confirmed friend in order to see these posts.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Geeks 2010 ‘Tour’ is Over

Wow!  What a summer.  Below is a map of our summer.  Doesn’t it look like we’re trying to Lasso Nebraska and South Dakota?  What a great summer!  We love this traveling life.


Our route was determined by the Rallies where we were booked to give our seminars:

  1. FMCA Convention, Albuquerque 3/22/10 (We flew there)
  2. RV-Dreams Rally, Longs SC 4/7/10
  3. RV Lifestyle, Education & Safety, Bowling Green, KY 6/3/10
  4. The Rally, Louisville, KY 7/22/10
  5. FMCA Convention, Redmond, OR 8/11
  6. Gypsy Journal Rally, Elkhart IN 8/30/10
  7. Escapade, Goshen IN, 9/12/10

Next year will be somewhat similar, since The Rally is in Redmond, Oregon.  Here’s what we know of our 2011 tour so far.  The entries marked with ? are ‘penciled in!’

  1. FMCA Convention, Perry Georgia 3/14/11
  2. ? ‘Geek Week’ – post-rally Geeks on Tour computer workshop planned for nearby campground to Perry. March 19-22
  3. ? RV-Dreams, Sevierville, TN April 12-17/11
  4. The Rally, Redmond, OR, 7/14/11
  5. FMCA Convention, Madison, WI, 8/10/11
  6. Escapade, Gillette, WY 8/28-9/2/11

We will be in Florida for the winter, primarily hanging out with family in our old home town of Fort Lauderdale.  Jim likes working in the office at Paradise Island RV park.  But we are planning to get away for a few events to present our computer education:

  1. Lazy Days RV ‘Friends & Family’ in Tampa, FL 11/3/10
  2. Holiday Travel Resort, Leesburg, FL, Jan 23-30

Right now, we’re taking a day at Thousand Trails, Orlando to clean up from the last rallies and just to rest our road-weary bodies.  Then, we’ll be in Fort Lauderdale tomorrow and off to our Alaska cruise on Friday.  This will be the first time since we launched our business/membership website in 2008 that we’ve been offline for that long.  We’ll probably check in a couple of times, but that’s a whole lot different from being constantly available like we normally are.  I know it looks like we’re always on vacation … and we certainly are having fun … but, it is good for the creative juices to really get away for a while.  Here we go!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Escapees Rally – The Escapade

This was the last rally of our ‘Summer Tour.’ And it went great.  The Escapees RV club has been around a long time.  This was the 50th Escapade.  There were about 800 RVs there, which represents nearly 1600 people. 
We presented 3 seminars: Internet on the Road, Managing Digital Photos with Picasa, and Narrated Slide shows with Photo Story 3.  This picture comes from our Internet class … notice all the Show and Tell goodies on our table: Wi-Fi antennas, cellular antennas, tethered Droid.

And here’s the Photo Story 3 class:

And, for 5 1/2 days we had a booth.  We usually don’t have that much time where we’re just hanging around and can see people.  It was great!  In addition to our normal DVDs and Books with tutorial videos, we helped a lot of people with little computer issues, handed out free trial disks of Streets and Trips, and swapped Droid stories with lots of new Droid owners.
We let Odie out a couple times a day, but for the most part he had to stay in the motorhome.  Odie doesn’t like rallies!
And, we were always prepared to visit with friends at happy hour time … note the wine bottle in my pocket!
Thanks to Sharon Del Rosario for those last two pictures.  Ah, and Alice Gibson sent us this one of the two of us in our booth.  Just to prove that I was there!  So, there is a reason for my aching feet!  5 days standing on concrete floor … if we do much of this, we’ve got to get those spongy floor tiles.
Now we’re off to Florida.  The whole family is getting together, flying to Seattle, and taking an Alaska cruise.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What a Difference a Year makes

We’re at the Escapees rally in Goshen, Indiana.  It’s the 50th Escapade.  We came for the first time last year, and, other than a few vendors – we didn’t know many people.  Most of our time was spent in a booth twiddling our thumbs.  Probably the best thing that happened last year was meeting Phil and Tracy May from Techno RV.  They have a great booth with lots of cool techie gadgets.  They’re from England originally and they now travel the US in their motorhome with their 2 teen agers Ally and Josh.  We’ve since gotten together with them for wine-tasting in Albuquerque and beer-tasting in Redmond, Oregon.  Last week we joined them for the Amish dinner and buggy ride I wrote about in a previous post.  This past Friday they threw a birthday party for Ally and Josh here at the fairgrounds and we had a blast.  We were too busy eating and dancing to even take any pictures!  But, we were tagged in an album of Phil’s facebook photos.

Sunday was spent in the booth all day … and it was a steady stream of people saying “Hello, we’re members and we love your videos!”  OR “Hi Chris and Jim, we saw your seminars in Albuquerque and can’t wait to attend more here.”  OR “Oh, there are the Geeks!  Let’s give them a big hug and take our picture with them!”  and lots of, “Hey Geeks on Tour, we love your website and have learned so much, thank you!”

I think this is going to be a great week!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Blogger for Small Business

In a recent Geeks on Tour Newsletter I wrote an article about how, with all the new improvements, I thought a small business could use Blogger for their website.  But, I didn’t have a good example to show people.  Yesterday, my step-son Devon, called with some questions on how to set up Blogger because he’s building a website for his boss who is an artist and craftsman.  Cool!

You gotta understand, I’ve been waiting for this for years!  I’ve always thought Devon would be good with creative computer stuff, but just like many kids rebel by *not* going into the family business, so Devon avoided computers for most of his young adult years.  Nowadays they simply can’t be avoided though, and I was thrilled to get his call with a couple questions on Blogger.  After I pointed out a few features, and explained how they all worked together, he said “Thanks!” and hung up.  A couple hours later, I checked it out and saw this new website.  Wow!  Tasteful colors, nice layout, gorgeous pictures, four pages, and a custom domain name: All done with *free* blogger, in just a few hours.  Of course, he has many more pages and details planned.  He helped his boss set up a Paypal account and will be adding ‘Buy Now’ buttons when that’s ready.  A website is a constant work in progress, but this looks like a great start. 


I’m proud of you Devon!  And thanks for giving me a sample to show in my Blogging class!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Amish Buggy Ride

Our friends from TechnoRV invited us to join them for dinner at an Amish Family’s home.  In addition to dinner, they would take us on a horse and buggy ride if we wanted to go.

Amish Dinner

The dinner was excellent.  Family style – 17 of us sat around a long dinner table and passed the meatloaf, mashed potatoes, salad, chicken, corn, bread, and apple butter.  All homemade.  Mostly home-grown.  You could see the corn in the field outside the window!  It was delicious!  So good that I had no room for the homemade apple pie at dessert.  But I did share a piece!

We enjoyed the dinner and conversation so much that we stayed for quite a while.  Late enough that it started to get dark. It was then that it really sunk in … this house has *no* electricity.  They do use propane for their refrigerator and an excellent, bright lamp.

Horse and Buggy Ride

The highlight was the horse and buggy ride.  We took a couple of pictures – we were told that it was OK as long as we didn’t photograph our hosts – and I turned the camera to video for a minute as we went clop-clopping down the road.

I made the little movie above with Moviemaker, and wrote about it for my weekly post in as well as in our own Geeks on Tour Computer Tips blog.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Gypsy Journal Rally

The rally is over now.  We presented 9 seminars on the schedule over the course of the three days, and we added a 10th one to teach people how to use our website.  We probably have more Geeks on Tour members at this rally than any other gathering – so we decided to take the opportunity to show them around our new website. 

In other words, we were *busy.*  We didn’t even take time to snap many pictures.  but here are a few:  This is the audience in one of our seminars – GPS Navigation and Trip Planning I think.  geez, they look like a serious bunch don’t they?  Maybe we need to come up with some better jokes?!


Jim and I take turns teaching.  One seminar he stands up and talks while I ‘drive’ the computer.  Another I’ll stand and talk.

I had to carry my laptop back and forth from the motorhome to to the classroom every day, sometimes more than once.  I really like my new computer bag from  More about that later, but here’s a picture:

I think my favorite seminar was our new ‘Internet Love Story’ which is just about the history of Geeks on Tour and how the Internet makes it possible to live and work on the road.  This was the second time we’d done it and we refined it a bit.  Both Jim and I take turns talking, plus we have a complete multi-media presentation to go along, with lots of pictures, videos and slide shows with music. 


We talk about Jim’s and my geeky beginnings, then how we sold the house, bought an RV on eBay, and took off with no visible means of support.  Accompanied by lots of pictures of our travels along the way, we tell of making our living by supporting Wi-Fi in RV parks, work-camping, giving seminars and selling tutorial videos, and finally by running a subscription website; Computer Education for Travelers,  from the road.  The only thing I don’t really like about it is the title: Internet Love Story.  It’s really about Geeks on Tour – I think that may be a sufficient title right there.  I think we should try to present this seminar to lots of different audiences.  It’s fun to do something other than a computer ‘How-To’ class.

Now we have a week to recuperate, then it’s off to the next rally – the Escapade – at Goshen, Indiana.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Hoosier Honey

I can’t talk because I’m still laughing so hard.  If you want to read the story, go to Nick’s Blog.

But … here’s the video: