Saturday, December 31, 2011

Are you a Member of our GeeksonTour.TV website?

I know that a lot of you are members on our business website, so I normally don't write much about it here, on our personal blog – I don’t want to bombard you.

If you are a member, we thank you!  Because of you, we can continue this wonderful lifestyle and not have to get a real job!  If you aren’t a member, now is the time to join because our prices go up next week.  You can read more about it in our latest newsletter.

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What is a Membership Website?

Let me give you a look behind the scenes.  Our work is Computer Training for Travelers – and we love what we do!  In order to make a living at it, we use the Internet and a Membership website.  What this means is that our tutorial videos are all available on that site, but if you click to watch one, you will be asked for a username and password.  That’s the membership part.  We use WordPress to create the website, and a plugin called WishList Member to manage the parts that require a login.  We use PayPal to manage the payments so we don’t have to be responsible for handling or storing people’s credit card numbers. Here’s more info on why we think a PayPal account is a good idea for everyone.

As with any way of making a living, there is a lot of work involved.  Managing the website is a big job – there are constant updates, and issues to deal with just in making the website work right.  Then, of course there are the videos that must be recorded to have something to sell!  When we started charging for it in 2008, we had a few dozen videos, now we have over 200. 

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We also have to work to drum up business.  Think of us like Rock Stars (I like that!) we go on tour with our seminars to build recognition and promote our tutorial videos on our website.  Some venues pay us a little to present seminars, but many do not.  Usually they let us sell our memberships, books, and DVDs.  Just like you can buy the Rock Star’s CD after the concert!  We also write lots of free articles for our newsletters and other websites. 

Many people stay on our free newsletter email lists for years and may never become a paid member.  That’s OK!  They tell other people about us – it’s how it works.  We have over 5,000 email subscribers and about 800 paid members.  If everyone became a member – it would be too much work for us!  And lots of people receive our free newsletters for a while and then, later, sign up for a paid membership.  We like that, the newsletters let them get to know us.  We’ve even had some people just send us money to say thank you for all the free information they’ve received over the years!

We also write articles on free websites, like our PicasaTutorials, RV.net, and DigitalRVer.  Last but definitely not least, our Facebook page is becoming our favorite way to communicate with everyone and offer free tidbits of our computer training for travelers.

Did I tell you that we love what we do?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

On the Jetties at Port Everglades, many people gather to view the cruise
ships going by.  This is the Allure of the Seas, the largest of all the ships.
It was Christmas Day, complete with Santa Claus!

We had a very odd day for Christmas, but - all in all, I'd call it quite special.  Both Jim and I had caught colds.  I was on the downhill slide, but he was still in the thick of being sick.  We were supposed to pick up my Mom and his Dad and drive up to his sister's house in West Palm.  Although we could have taken an Alka Seltzer Plus and felt ok enough to go, I didn't want our gift to everyone to be a cold! So, we called and cancelled and went back to bed.
When we did finally get up, we decided to watch a movie.  We had a Netflix DVD that had been hanging around for a couple weeks with no time to watch it.  The movie was 'The King's Speech' - wow!  it deserves all the accolades and awards it got last year, it really was a great movie.  And a 'feel-good' movie too.  I love movies.  I think it is my favorite treat to stay home and watch a good movie with my sweetie. So, even though we were sick, I was feeling pretty good.
By the time the movie was over, we were fully awake and took advantage of the time to go over some business stuff that we also haven't had any time for.  We are giving our seminars to a whole new audience next month.  We are booked for the Florida Association of Computer User Groups (FACUG) annual conference on board a cruise ship.  We will be presenting two topics: Picasa, and Smart Phones.  We've given our Picasa seminar hundreds of times but the smartphone seminar is new and I think it has potential for being very popular.  So Jim and I reviewed our materials and made a couple of important decisions on how we will present it.  Then we went thru the steps of our new 'coaching call' service for our members, decided it was in working order and sent out an email to a select test group of our members.  I'm excited about this one - we'll be making solid one-to-one connections with our members.
By then, Jim was fading, so I turned my attention to Odie.  We have been fighting fleas for several weeks (to no avail), and it was time to give Odie another flea bath.  I'm beginning to believe what I read on the Internet that the only way to get rid of fleas is by detonating a nuclear warhead! ... but we gotta keep trying.
Jim needed to go back to bed, and I decided I felt good enough to go get Mom and take her for one of her favorite things - a walk on the beach.  I decided to go to a different place than normal - down by the jetties at Port Everglades.  This was a favorite place of mine growing up here in Fort Lauderdale.  I'd walk the beach then climb out on the rocks and meditate on the meaning of life as the boats went in and out of the channel.  It's sad that Mom has no clue where she is - she should know those jetties like the back of her hand after having gone in and out of the inlet on boats all her life.  When we got there, she said "isn't it interesting how these big rocks are piled up here."  That's what alzheimers has done to her.




However - you gotta look at the bright side.  She really enjoyed herself!  Every experience is a brand new experience and she almost has that wide-eyed wonder of a child.  Luckily she is still quite physically fit, so walking on the beach or in a wooded park is no problem and she loves it.  It felt so good to share this with her.  I didn't even think about the cruise ships going by, but we happened to be there when the Allure of the Seas departed.  This is the biggest cruise ship ever constructed and it was quite a sight. On the way home we stopped at the Blue Fish bar and restaurant for a glass of wine and cup of lobster bisque - delicious.  When I dropped her off at her assisted-living home, we hugged real tight - sharing a nothing-held-back loving moment.
When I got home, Jim was up.  We decided to watch another movie - using Netflix instant streaming option this time.  Jim has one computer hooked up to display thru our big screen TV and sound thru the stereo system.  We chose 'Secretariat' - another wonderful, feel-good, inspiring movie.
Sometimes the nicest things happen when plans fall thru.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Down the Rabbit Hole

October 5, 1839: Jasper H. Noyes was born.  His father was Bethuel Noyes, one of the pioneer settlers of Michigan.  Jasper had a son, Charles, and Charles married Mae Manning and had 3 sons Jasper M, Edward, and Francis.  Edward Noyes was my grandfather.
Zella Carter was the daughter of Jim B. Carter and Bessie Snow.  She was born October 11, 1905.  Zella is my grandmother.
Ed and Zella had a baby girl on July 7, 1931 and they named her Marilyn.  That's my Mom.

How do I know all this?  Because I'm cleaning out my Mom's house (she's living in an assisted living facility now) and going thru all sorts of old files, folders, letters, and pictures.  I have truly fallen down the rabbit hole, and I don't know when I'l be back.

I have never been interested in genealogy, and I hope I don't start now!  But, I can see that it would be easy get hooked.  My original plan was to toss everything - I surely have no *need* for my mother's wedding announcement.  When I just couldn't bring myself to do that I thought, ok, I'll box the stuff up and put it in storage.
For who?  When?
One of my finds at moms house. Her wedding announcement. This is from the Detroit yacht club magazine from march 1951
I decided that there's no time like the present so I'm staying at her old house and immersing myself.  Sometimes I'm watching her videos of travel to Antarctica or China or Indonesia or Africa.  Sometimes I'm reading thru old journals ... I found one that I thought was my Mom's writing, but it turned out to be my grandmother's and it was a 1976 trip journal from when she and my grandfather took a camper van and traveled these United States!!  Talk about RVing being 'in my blood.!'  She even writes that one of the highlights of her trip was Bellingrath Gardens in Alabama.  If you've ever attended our Google Earth seminar, you may have heard our story about using Google Earth to decide whether or not to go to Bellingrath Gardens!  As it turned out, we didn't go - now I have to go back!

I also found correspondence with my grandmother just before she died.  She apparently was trying to locate my real father (Richard Andrews of Dearborn, Michigan) who I never met since they split when I was two.  I am still determined not to play with genealogy!  I'm already down the rabbit hole - I don't want to go thru the looking glass too!

I know genealogy is a good computer topic, but I have enough on my plate right now with Facebook, and then Picasa coming out with a new version, and both Picasa and Blogger becoming part of Google Plus.  This experience has given me some fodder for more Picasa articles though ... like The Easy Way to Scan Slides

This morning Jim picked me up and then we also picked Mom up and went out to breakfast.  I so wish I could show her these things and ask her questions.  But she doesn't remember any of it ... and it would just confuse - and maybe upset - her to show her the pictures and documents.  I did enjoy giving her a nice big hug though!  I know she's had quite the amazing life and I'm enjoying learning even more.

Further your computer education**Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lessons Learned

When you live in a house on wheels, it is good to roll occasionally.  More on that later.
Our generator stopped starting sometime late in our summer tour.  It had been working fine.  I knew that generators like to be used, so we exercised it regularly.  One day, it just wouldn't stay running.  I discussed the problem with fellow RVers and we all agreed it sounded like a fuel problem.  There are lights on the generator that indicate source of the problem, once decoded.  The lights said it was an electrical issue.  Who you gonna believe?  Knowledgeable RVers, or a stupid blinking light? 
We were on our way to the FMCA rally in Madison.  One of the great things about rallies is the opportunity to get service from the many vendors.  Onan/Cummins was there with technicians and parts and everything.  We were so busy presenting seminars, we did 11 different ones, I was too late to get any work done.  So I got some literature and we went on to the Escapade in Wyoming with the intention to have the generator looked at during that part of the trip.
Procrastination is one of my better traits, when I finally get around to procrastinating.
Well, I finally had an RV mechanic look at the generator.  He recommended I take it to Don Hillman for service, as he was reluctant to do the work himself.  He also said to be prepared to spend big bucks.
I made an appointment for service.
The day for service came and we went through the list of things to do to roll the house, which has been sitting too long in one place and had lots of things in comfortable places.  Comfortable places for things are often not good places for things when rolling down the road.
The rig wouldn't start.
I called Don Hillman and said I might be late for my service appointment.
I had apparently left something plugged in which drained the starting batteries.  The emergency battery connect to the coach battery did not help.  These big Diesels need a lot of amps to start.  I called Good Sam Emergency Service.  They sent a truck with enough juice to get me going.

I arrived at Hillman's only a half hour late.  The tech they scheduled for me had been reassigned, but they got another tech right on it.  Great.  He spent some time figuring out what the problem wasn't, then determined the solution.  Brushes.  A small module in an inconvenient location needed replacement.  Less than an hour later, we had our generator fixed!

Thank You Good Sam and Don Hillman.

Lessons learned:
Don't leave things plugged in to drain the battery.
Start your rig regularly when sitting for a while.
Have a good list for stow and go.  Another list for sitting still.
Plastic bottles break less often than glass bottles.
Contents in overhead compartments shift.  I knew that!
Pay for good Emergency Road Service.  I knew that, too.

Be safe out there!

Merry Christmas and all the rest.



Further your computer education**Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

We hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving.  We have so much to be thankful for I can’t even begin to list it all.

Just take a look at this beach which is only 15 minutes away.

The beach - just 15 minutes away
The beach - just 15 minutes away

We had our Thanksgiving celebration at Birch State park, just across from the beach.  Lots of family and friends and good food and a stunningly beautiful day.  Thank you Jo Ellen for putting this together.

Our Thanksgiving picnic spot
Our Thanksgiving picnic spot

Fried turkey for Thanksgiving
Fried turkey for Thanksgiving

I gotta admit though, I find it a bit unsettling to be so settled!  Our wheels haven’t turned in 6 weeks, and we don’t have any plans to move in the foreseeable future.  I’ve been waiting for this time to get work done on our business website, and I have done a lot of good work, but it seems like every one thing that I scratch off my list produces at least 10 more to-do items on the bottom.  I think that the RV traveling lifestyle puts time into perspective.  Or maybe I just like to be on the move – period Smile 

My 40th High School reunion took place this month.  It was great fun to see old friends.  Surprisingly, I found out that I was one of the few who have attended every reunion we’ve had!  That tells me something about myself – connections with people are very important to me.  I never pass up an opportunity to keep those connections alive.  I think that’s why I like Facebook so much.  Now I have a few more High School friends that I know I’ll stay connected with because we are Facebook friends.

The day after Thanksgiving Jim and Dee Walters pulled into the RV site right next to ours.  They are also fulltime RVers that we met a few years ago and we’ve had fun spending a little time and getting to know them better.  Dee agrees with me that an RV is meant to be moved more often than every two months!  Dee keeps a blog too – Tumbleweed-JimDee.blogspot.com but she does a much better job at writing regularly!  She posted about our evening yesterday where we actually dusted off the Wii and had some fun. 

Playing Wii bowling
Playing Wii bowling

Thanks Dee for motivating me!

Jim and Dee Walters - fellow fulltime RVers - tumbleweed-jimdee.blogspot.com
Jim and Dee Walters - fellow fulltime RVers - tumbleweed-jimdee.blogspot.com

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Exercise, Our Web Business, and Culture

It’s been a quiet week here in Fort Lauderdale, Florida – my home town. Smile
The first part of the week we had to hunker down in the pouring rain.  Any place we had planned to go had to wait till later as many areas were flooded.  Here’s what the RV park looked like:

Excersise:  The flooding made me miss my Monday morning visit to Curves, but I’m proud to say that I successfully completed visits on Tue/Thur/Sat then instead of my planned Mon/Wed/Fri.  One thing that made me join is the fact that I’m not locked into any particular times for a class.  It’s a half-hour ‘circuit’ of workout on resistance machines and aerobic moves.  It’s SO easy and quick, there’s just no excuse!  I haven’t lost any weight yet, but I already feel stronger and I get less out of breath already.  Here’s hoping I keep it up.  There are Curves all over the country – I’ve even noticed them in those little one-gas-station-towns everywhere.  So, I should be able to work out even when we’re on the road.
Our Web Business: Sometimes it’s easy as a walk around the block, just put one word after another, and sometimes it’s like pulling teeth.  This last Geeks on Tour Newsletter was the latter!  I’m supposed to produce a main newsletter every month – but my prior one was August!  I finally got the September/October newsletter published on Tuesday, November 1.  Whew!
Membership Pricing: We announced new pricing in this newsletter.  We’ve been charging a measly $39 for one year of access to all our tutorial videos.  When we first started to charge in 2008, we probably had 70-80 videos – now it’s nearly 200 with plans for many more.  We’ve been talking about raising our rates for quite some time, but kept putting it off primarily because of the logistics of making it work.  Since we switched to using WordPress and the membership plugin Wishlist Member, those logistics have changed for the better so it’s time to Git-R-Done!  We just passed our one year anniversary with WishList Member and the renewal process for our members is *not* going smoothly.  This is one more weight in the balance for charging on an automatic renewal basis. Our new pricing will go into effect starting January 1, 2012:
  • $7/monthly (auto-renewing, aka recurring)
  • $58/annually (auto-renewing, aka recurring)
  • $68/one year (non-renewing/recurring)
Anyone who signs up or renews between now and the end of the year can lock in that measly $39 price by using our ‘Subscribe Now’ button that starts a new auto-recurring payment.  As long as they don’t cancel it, that $39/year rate will last indefinitely. 
Geeks on Tour: Join Now!
We now have 135 members on that recurring plan and it’s remarkable the different attitude I have toward the business.  It’s more solid, more real,  I’m more motivated to produce.  Instead of having members who are testing the waters … for $39, why not?  We have members who have committed to paying us year after year.  They’re telling us that they learn a lot from our work and they want to stick with us.  That makes me want to give them more!  One member recently wrote
Tonight I was playing with my blog, [and other software.] You already know that your 8 seminars at Perry in March have made this "computer stuff" one of my favorite pastimes. But it occurred to me tonight that you and your show-me videos have also given me confidence to navigate this maze of computerdom. Smile Wanting to do something and finally figuring it out is just plain fun.
Thanks as always!-Bill
I wonder if Bill realizes just how good that makes us feel? 
All totaled, we’ve had 1,973 people sign up for our membership at one time or another.  If we can convert even half of those to a committed annual payment, that’s almost a real income!  I love the membership website business model – and I believe we’ve just begun!  If you hadn’t seen this before … check out the Forbes.com article, Running a Subscription Website from the Road, that was done about us and our web-business.
Culture – Miami Beach:  Last night was ‘Sleepless Night’ in Miami Beach.  We were invited to go by Chris and Richard.  Chris is my best-girlfriend from way back and Richard is her husband whose job is assistant director (I think that’s the title) at the Planning Department of Miami Beach. So, even tho no one could ever label Jim and me as night-owl, paint-the-town-red kind of people, we couldn’t pass up this opportunity to get a little culture.
We started out with a delightful dinner at the sidewalk-cafĂ© part of the Five Napkin Burger.  It was a warm, beautiful, breezy night and we had a great time.

Richard had gotten tickets (all free, but you had to get them online in advance) for the New World Symphony.  We had second row seats and the Ravel selections were just beautiful.  Richard snapped this photo.

Then, we walked over toward the beach and saw this parade of giant sea creatures.  The Miami Beach version of the Macy’s parade!

Our primary goal was to see Richard play with his band ‘Cone of Silence’ – but along the way we were treated to more classical music just out on the street. (click below and you’ll go to the video – click Back to return)
From 201111
We did finally make our way to the Vinyl and Kai night club and caught Richard’s performance.  It’s so exciting to see a friend doing something that most people only dream of – way to go Richard!  And, the band is really talented too!  Good selection of Motown and Blues.  But – I had forgotten how loud and crowded late night bar scenes can be.  We had a great time, but we are not converted!
Here’s the best picture I could catch of Cone of Silence.  That’s Richard on keyboards.  Follow the link for some videos of their performances.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Time Compression

One thing I *really* like about the RV lifestyle is that, when you’re on the road, you definitely *get* that every day counts.  If we’re visiting an area where we have friends, we make sure to visit those friends because we know that we’ll be on our way again in a few days.  Every day counts.

When we stayed at Hart Ranch near Rapid City, SD this summer, I wanted to go for a hike in the Black Hills.  We didn’t just talk about it, we did it.  We had a memorable day hiking up to Harney Peak.  We had to squeeze this in due to all the work we had to do on our website and rally preparations, but we did it because we only had a week there and every day counts.

Now we’re parked in our RV site where we intend to spend the whole winter.  We’re at Paradise Island in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  This is home for us, all our family and lots of friends are here.  Since we plan to be here for nearly 6 months, the pressure of making every day count is gone.  We’ve been here over two weeks now and still haven’t seen the beach!  Time just slips away.  I usually post to this blog at least twice a week, yet I see it’s been 2 weeks since I last posted!

A couple of days ago I went into the office of our Credit Union to make a deposit.  I usually do this by mail, but I find it a treat to go into the branch office.  Jessica has handled our accounts for years so I stuck my head in her office to say Hi!  She asked how our summer was and it took me a while to give her just the abbreviated version.  She said she couldn’t believe we  had been gone 6 months – it seemed like just yesterday to her.  It seemed like years to me.

It’s not that being in one place is bad … actually, I think we may have been a bit exhausted from our wonderful summer.  It’s been nice to settle in and calm down.  But, now I need to fight against getting too calm!  Not only has it been two weeks since my last personal blog post – it’s been two months since I last published our Geeks on Tour Newsletter. Ok – gotta get to work!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Summer Tour is Over

We’re back in Fort Lauderdale.  This is our fourth winter in a row that we’re staying at Paradise Island RV park and Jim is working in the office in exchange for our site rent. 

We had a fabulous summer.

Screen Captures10

Now we’re back to being settled in.  That’s kinda nice too.  We have the best of both worlds with all the travel in the summer, and a home base in the winter.  For example, I’m looking into going to a ‘Curves’ exercise place 2-3 times/week.  We already have dinners with friends planned for several nights next week, and of course, we get to visit with family and take care of obligations.

Here’s our site at Paradise Island.  And, oooohhhhhh do I love our new RV even more now.  I always said that the smaller rig (30 ft class c , no slides) was a wonderful size as long as you were traveling.  But, the longer you’re parked somewhere, the smaller it gets!  Now with our two big slides and the great office furniture – I am very content.  This is a comfortable house.

Our site at Paradise Island

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Crooked River State Park and Cumberland Island

I have a friend in St. Marys, Georgia that I've been wanting to visit for a while.  Whenever we come back to Florida, I plan to stop in St. Mary's Georgia - but we never do ... till now.  Barbara Ryan publishes the magazine, St Marys Magazine.  We only had 2 nights here, so I was thrilled that Barbara was able to get together with us for  Happy Hour on Friday night.  She says that when she first visited St. Mary's about 8 years ago, it felt like she was getting a great big hug.  She found herself buying a Bed and Breakfast and moving to St. Mary's in short order.  And I can see why.  It's just north of the Florida/Georgia state line on the coast.  Cumberland Island is a barrier island that protects from major weather.  It is a small town where she says she can just drive her golf cart any where she wants to go!

There's a great State Park just a few minutes away from historic St. Marys ... Crooked River.  Here's our site:

On Saturday we took advantage of the ferry over to Cumberland Island National Seashore.  That's got to be one of the most beautiful days we've spent in a long time.  The weather was overcast, and we were worried about rainstorms, but it turned out to be perfect.  If the sun had been shining, it would have been too hot.  We took way too many pictures to lay them out individually here, so I put them in a slideshow instead.


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Friday, October 07, 2011

The Carolinas

We've had perfect traveling days these past few days.

  • Up between 8 and 9,
  • time at the computer, 
  • breakfast, 
  • walk the dog, 
  • on the road by noon
  • About 200 miles of travel - 4 hours
  • Beautiful campgrounds, nice walks, nice dinners, wine etc.
Thousand Trails park in Advance, North Carolina: Forest Lake:
Thousand Trails: Forest Lake

Mom and me walking the Trails

On the road again

Dinner at home. 
Then on to South Carolina and a State Park called Colleton.






 Now we're on to Crooked River State park in St. Mary's Georgia.  We have reservations to take the ferry ride over to Cumberland Island tomorrow.


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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Headed South

Our first stop after leaving the Gypsy Journal rally in Celina, Ohio was in Louisville, KY where we planned to pick up Mom from the airport.  Our friend Dee flew with her, then went off to visit a cousin in Louisville.  When we picked her up, Dee said that Mom had tripped and fallen on a curb when they arrived at Fort Lauderdale airport and Mom's rib was quite sore.  We spotted a Health Clinic/Urgent care facility on our way back to the campground and took her in for some X-rays.  Any time we've needed to use a walk-in clinic on our travels, I have been impressed and this time was no exception.  They were efficient, friendly, and took the time to listen.  The X-rays showed no fracture, so they prescribed Extra Strength Tylenol and rest and sent us on our way.

Whew!

So, all is well, but we arrived back at the campground after dark.  I was so hoping that Mom would get to see the Llamas that she had met before at Grandma's Campground one other time when we flew her out of Louisville.  I did get a picture of the Llamas earlier that day.

Sunday we took off - headed toward N Carolina to visit our old and dear friend, Emily.



Beautiful scenery driving thru the Appalachian mountains.


Emily was one of the very first people I got to know in Fort Lauderdale in the early 80s.  She lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for 50 years, but when she met Donovan a couple years ago, she soon decided that living with him in his home in the N Carolina hills (mountains?) was the place for her.  So, she packed up her cats and all her belongings, sold her house and here she is.  It was so nice to see Mom get to visit her too.  Emily and Mom have quite literally traveled around the world together.  (Here's a short clip of their trip to Bhutan)  
We were hoping to park our motorhome at Emily's and have a longer visit, but the last half mile of the road is not paved or graded.  They take their truck up it all the time, but no way we could take Big Boy up that stretch.  Even the paved road up to the bottom of their hill was a bit of an adventure in a large motorhome.



We did unhook the Honda and drove up to the house to visit a while.

Emily and Mom
Donovan in one of the comfy hanging chairs, surrounded by Emily's paintings.
Donovan is an artisan who makes custom moccasins for Catskill Mountain Moccasins.  He sells them at Rennaissance Faires across the country.
Jim in another hanging chair and Emily looking just as content as her cats!
Plan B was to go to a local State Park, so we took the Honda over Hanging Rock State Park to check it out.  Although beautiful, it was just a little too snug for comfort to take Big Boy there.  Yep, that is a drawback to having a wonderful big rig.  In our older, smaller motorhome, this park would have been great.  Everything is a tradeoff.

So, after a short visit, we head out on the road again because we did have a Plan C - there's a Thousand Trails park just south of Winston Salem called Forest Lake.  We knew we could get there before dark.  All is well, it's a beautiful park *and* it has a hot tub.

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Saturday, October 01, 2011

Gypsy Journal Rally

The Gypsy Journal Gathering is one of our favorite RV rallies.  It's small enough that you can almost meet everyone, yet big enough that there's a lot going on.  It also has an emphasis on education so you can choose from seminars on RV issues like water filters and tire maintenance or RV lifestyle topics like traveling to Alaska or staying at Harvest Hosts locations, and of course Geeks on Tour computer seminars.  That's where we come in!

In addition to all the seminars there's a lot of fun too.  We've been coming to this rally for several years now, so it feels like a family reunion with all the friends we get to see.  We were especially happy to see John and Jean Watson - who we've known since our very first days of RVing and going to Datastorm Users rallies.  Jean has agreed to help me with some maintenance work on our websites - stuff that has gotten out of date, and I just don't have time to go fix.  It was really good to spend some time with her in person to work on the website since most communication will be online.  Thanks Jean!

We presented 10 seminars in 3 days.  Yes, we are exhausted - and we loved every minute of it.

Here's Jim teaching GPS navigation and Trip planning systems.
Here's Chris teaching how to make a Blog with Blogger.com
The most popular class was Facebook.  It is such a great way for RVers to keep in touch with family, friends, and other RVers.  We even taught one new class that we hope to repeat many times now ... it is on Smart Phones.  We were pleasantly surprised to see the great majority of the attendees had Android-based phones since that is what we have to demonstrate although we had the iPad hooked up to the projector and were prepared to show some of that.  We showed the anti-virus app we used and reviewed some basics like how to 'reboot', selecting Wi-Fi or 3G, understanding Airplane mode, camera settings like flash, auto-focus, and location storing (geotagging.)  Then the fun stuff like dictating messages rather than typing, and voice search for navigation.  I think we're going to find lots more to teach in this class!  And, we may find that we can just call it Learning the Droid if future audiences are as skewed as this one was.

There was lots more going on during the rally, but we were pretty busy with our classes the whole time.  For more details on the rally, see the Gypsy Journal Blog:


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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Too Much Fun?

Ever since we saw a portable Tiki bar outside an RV in a New York campground, Jim has wanted one.  I saw it, thought it was really cute, and then forgot all about it, but he, apparently, has just been dreaming about this Tiki bar.  So, while we had access to space, tools, and stores at the Jersey shore, Jim started putting this together ..



The Tiki Bar collapses into a package of the plastic shelving, and a roll of the bamboo and tiki torches.
We had a party the last night at the shore, and the Tiki Bar looked soo cute!


So, I told Jim:  "Gee, sweetie, that's *really* cute, but what the heck are we going to use it for?"
"Well, it can be part of our booth or table at Rallies", he said.
"What in the world does a Tiki Bar have to do with computer training?", I replied.
Not much, but it's fun:


And you can never have too much fun!

We're in Celina, Ohio now at the Gypsy Journal RV rally. Friday and Saturday we gave our hands-on computer boot camp class.  It went really well.  We only had 5 registrations, 4 couples and one single, so we didn't make as much money as we'd like, but it was a joy to teach!  We could go into depth, and really answer everybody's questions.

Although it is a serious class, we try to have fun at this too.  For example, when people tell us that they get frustrated with their computers, we warn them to control their frustrations ... then show why with this video:



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