Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gabbing with the Geeks #12

We do these little videos for our business site.  Just in case you don't subscribe to our Newsletter, or follow or Facebook page, we figured we'd post it here too. Visit with the Geeks in their new Motorhome, and hear about how we are now offering seminars anytime, anywhere, using Skype.

You can see all of the Gabbing with the Geeks on our website.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Walk the Trails

We usually pay little or no attention to what day of the week it is, but, as fulltime RVers, it’s important to be parked for the big holiday weekends.  It’s the one time when we actually make reservations.  For the Memorial Day weekend, we’re at a Thousand Trails park just east of Cincinnati in Wilmington.  If I remember correctly, I think we were at a Thousand Trails park last Memorial Day as well.

Jim and I really like to go for a long morning walks.  We are a bit particular on the conditions however.  Not too hot, not too cold, not too wet, not too many bugs, a walking path that doesn’t cross roads, not too rocky, not too muddy, not too much concrete.  We like a path that curves around so we don’t have to retrace our steps, but it can’t be too small a circle – we don’t like to go around and around to get our mile or two done.  If you’re getting this picture – you know we don’t go for good walks too often!  But, we can usually count on our stays at Thousand Trails parks to satisfy our criteria, and walk we did!

Nice Trails for walking.

I really like seeing families at the parks on these big holiday weekends.  It’s just so nice to see parents and kids fishing, biking, playing volleyball.

We’re just having a relaxing time enjoying our wonderful new home!  And walking 1.5 – 2 miles every morning!  We know the exact distance because of Jim’s Droid App called RunKeeper.  We’re still trying to figure out why it’s named that?!

We also took advantage of BBQ chicken dinner at the clubhouse on Saturday night with live music afterward.  Oh, and they have a very nice hot tub/spa here too!

And there’s still been enough time to do some writing and video editing.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011


We're in Cincinnati, the home of FMCA headquarters.  We've had a change of plans for our summer - we're not going to Oregon for The Rally after all.  The numbers just don't add up.  So, we accepted an invitation to speak at the Heartland Rally in Goshen, Indiana.  And, it looks like we'll also be going to the NorthEast Area Rally (NEAR) for FMCA in Vermont.
We've been giving our computer seminars at the big FMCA RV Conventions since we started our journey in 2004 so, whenever we get the chance we like to stop in Cincinnati and check in with the wonderful folks here.  FMCA maintains a nice little RV park just for members.

We had a nice meeting at the headquarters yesterday with Chris Lusk who handles all the arrangements for seminars at the big conventions.  We went over our seminar plans for Madison this August.  We'll be teaching 8 different seminars, plus we've added a new hands-on class: Picasa Photo Editing Workshop.  That'll be fun.

For the first few years that we worked with FMCA, the seminar coordinator was Mary Ann Crowley.  She retired a couple years ago, but we have kept in touch.  It was a treat to get to see her yesterday and learn what she is up to.  She's busier than ever with volunteer work in her community.  Right now she's involved in a project called 'Bicycles in Bloom."  What fun!  We went around with her to see the different bicycles that have been placed.
Mary Ann taking a picture of one of the 'Bicycles in Bloom'

Jim helped Mary Ann make deliveries to other volunteers on the project.  What pretty homes we saw!

A Bicycle in Bloom in Milford, Ohio

Ohio isn't at all the northern, industrial landscape that I envision as a Floridian!  It is rolling hills, with rivers for kayaking, and trails for hiking, and beautiful little towns like Milford with story-book homes.
Thanks for the tour Mary Ann!

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Power Tools, Quiche and Cicadas

We were planning to leave the Marston’s driveway on Saturday, but I wanted to record some video for one of our ‘Gabbing with the Geeks’ and was enlisting Roxie’s help to run the camera.  That took us to about 11am.  We also needed to stop by a truck tire place on our way out of town to install some air fill extensions and get the tires properly filled.  Oooops, we called the place and they close at noon – no way we could get there and get it done in time.  And, they’re closed on Sunday.

So.we stay in the driveway for another couple days.  What a treat!  It was like I was just handed two days on a platter – two unexpected days.  Those things that we say “I just wish we had a little more time, then I’d ….”  Well, we now had that little more time!  I had wanted to get my closet organized but we hadn’t gotten around to it.  Now’s the time! Using a cool website for ClosetMaid, we feed in our closet’s dimensions and then drag and drop different combinations of shelving, hanging space and storage products to build your dream closet.  When you’re done, you can print out a shopping list.  It will show exactly what parts you need, including the various brackets, and cut lengths of shelving.

I think Jim was just happy to have a reason to use some of his power tools!  I’m thrilled to have shelves rather than piling boxes and clothes on top of each other.  A place for everything, and everything in its place!

Since we were here on Sunday and Roxie and Charles like to ‘do brunch’ on Sundays, I decided to make quiche.  Years ago, I was in a habit of hosting Sunday brunches all the time and my signature dish was quiche.  I surprised myself that I still remembered how!

We’re in Tennessee and it happens to be that special time every 13 years when the Cicadas come out, and boy do they make a racket! 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Nashville–The Music City

Jim here.

A couple of lifetimes ago, I was friends with members of a talented band called Transient.  Recently, I learned that one of those friends, Mick Rossi, was touring with Paul Simon promoting his latest “So Beautiful or So What” album.  I purchased tickets online and got in touch with Mick to see if we could get together for the Nashville concert.

He was all for it.  We reconnected and stay in touch now on Facebook.

Thursday was the day of the concert, so we went into Nashville early to do some sightseeing and eating.  All along  that stretch of Broadway there are places with good live music, adult beverages and food.  Tootsies is probably the most famous.  It is right across the alley from the Ryman Auditorium.

The Ryman is famous for being the home of the Grand Ole Opry until the Opry moved to it’s current newer, larger venue. 

The Ryman acoustics are said to be second only to the Mormon Tabernacle.  It is open to the public as a museum during the day, so we took the self-guided tour after lunch.

The crew were setting up the stage for the evening show.  Some of the band members came out to check instruments, and Mick came over to say hi.

What a treat to see him.  He hasn’t changed much even though he has attained great success with his music.  He has been playing with Jazz great Philip Glass for 11 years and has made numerous World Tours.

We made arrangements to meet after the concert and left to experience more sights and sounds and have some BBQ.

The Paul Simon concert was great.  He is such a talented songwriter and performer.  He is nearly 70, and has been performing since his teens.  A big reason for his success is that he is not afraid to embrace music from around the world.

Several local performers, including Don Everly of the Everly Brothers came on stage and performed during the encore.

After the show, we got together again with Mick  and met a couple other members of the band.  What a day and evening to remember!

Now we need to do another Gabbing With the Geeks and hit the road.  Next gig is in Goshen for Heartland.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Day in Franklin

As I mentioned in our last post, we're camped in the driveway of our friends Roxie and Charles Marston.  They have lived in Franklin, Tennessee for 40 plus years.  They both retired from teaching positions in the area and have many ties to the community.  So when they suggested a Marston-guided tour, we jumped at the chance.  The weather has been a bit damp and chilly, but at least it wasn't actually raining on Sunday when we decided to take the afternoon for our tour.

Franklin was the scene of a major battle in the Civil War - ooops, I mean the 'War of Northern Aggression.'  The Battle of Franklin was fought on November 30, 1864 and is referred to as the five bloodiest hours of the American Civil War.  The Carnton Plantation includes the cemetery we visited. (you can read the sign if you click the picture and go to the larger version - then use your Back button to return here)

    As with so many Civil War sites we see as we travel - I am stunned by the sheer number of deaths, and the unthinkable suffering that occurred during that war.  I often wonder if it truly was the only option.  I'm sure glad that I wasn't around then.

On to more of the tour!  Downtown Franklin is delightful, and Roxie tells us that it is bustling most every evening.  Always something going on.  It's very picturesque.

The historic Theatre has recently re-opened.
Our tour guides ... Roxie and Charles Marston in downtown Franklin

They also took us to the Factory at Franklin, an old stove factory that was abandoned and converted into a trendy shopping center.  It's even dog-friendly - we may have to go back with Odie!  We had fun with the over-sized chair at the Factory!

The last stop was Tinkerbell playground.  This was a community project back in 1993.  Roxie and Charles relayed stories of exhaustion as well as exhilaration working as the 'Tool Coordinators' for the project.  You could almost hear their hearts singing as we visited and saw so many kids and families enjoying this park, even on a dreary day!

Roxie and Charles at Tinkerbell Park - which they helped build.
Thanks Roxie and Charles!  We can see why you like it here so much.

Further your computer education

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Driveway Camping and Skyped Seminars

After the RV SEF conference we came back to Roxie and Charles driveway.  What a nice spot!  And, they have a 30 amp connection for us too.  Notice their motorhome parked further back.

We're staying here for over a week because there's a concert in Nashville that we want to go to on May 19.  It's Paul Simon.  We love Paul Simon.  Jim and I attended a Simon and Garfunkel reunion concert in Fort Lauderdale years ago.  But, the real reason we're going to this concert is Mick Rossi - the keyboard player in the band.  Jim knew Mick way back in his New Jersey days ... Local Boy Makes Good!  They recently reconnected on Facebook, and Jim noticed the concert in Nashville ... so here we are!

We also booked ourselves this week to do a couple of seminars for Lazydays Friends and Family rally.  We did one of these rallies last November and really enjoyed the group.  But, they're in the Tampa, Florida area ... how can we manage this?  Fly?  We decided to try Skype again.  We did a short video call to the Massachussetts Good Sam club last year doing Skype and we liked it, but we couldn't do a real seminar because we couldn't show our computer screen.  Now we can.  We could see and hear our audience and they could see and hear us.  We were connected one computer to one computer - on their side, the connected the computer to a projector.  We could switch from transmitting video (our faces) to screensharing whenever we were demonstrating our topic.  (click the picture for a larger version - then use your Back button to return here)

We were able to present our seminars exactly like we do when we're at a rally.  Well, almost exactly.  It was a little disconcerting not to be able to make eye contact and get the feel of the room, but I think we can get used to that.  We were able to ask for a show of hands on certain questions, and we could see the hands that went up.  They had one person designated as the moderator who would be on the lookout for questions, and make sure we could hear them, or else repeat them for us.
The only real problem was that the Internet connection would slow down or drop occasionally.  We were using our 4G mobile hotspot from Verizon - they were on a connection thru the Lazydays network - I'm not sure but I think they were using the Wi-Fi in the Lazydays campground.  We had short problems on both sides.  For the second seminar, we started out by showing how they could go to our website and watch the videos just in case the Skype connection didn't work for an extended period.  In the future, I think we will make sure the host has a copy of our DVD with all the videos in case the Intenet connect problem is on their end.  We know of a few computer clubs that have used our videos for meetings.

So - we now have a new product!!  Geeks on Tour seminars anytime anyplace!!

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

RV SEF Conference

.This is the second year we've done the RV SEF conference, so we were relaxed.  It's a small group and we had a full hour and a half for each of our seminars.  So we could really get involved with our attendees and had time to take all their questions.  We loved it!

Teaching RVers about Internet connections on the Road

Teaching RVers how to make a Blog to record and share their travels

Many RVs were parked right in the parking lot at the Carol Knicely Conference center in Bowling Green, where the conference was held.  We parked at a local KOA because we're spoiled with wanted full hookups.  But, we drove our rig over to get properly weighed, then we stayed thru Saturday evening so we could participate in the open house.  How fun to walk around the neighborhood and go thru everyone's home!

Walter Cannon is the director of RV SEF and he teaches about weight safety for RVs.  We even had time to attend some of the other seminars while we were here.  What a treat.

Then we had him weigh our new rig.  As we had already learned, our overall weight is below the maximum allowed.  But, Walter weighs all 4 wheel positions, and we learned (as we suspected) that the driver side is 600 pound more than the other side.  That side has the slide with the kitchen in it, also the fuel tank and the bulk of the holding tanks.  Not much we can do about that.  But, this means we can put any and all heavy cargo we have on the other side.  So, we have no weight restrictions on our office area ... good to know.  We'll be talking to Walter about any other techniques we should use to be balance.

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Thursday, May 05, 2011

38 Degrees in Tennessee

What?!  There is frost in some areas of Northern Tennessee this morning.  Our weather monitor reports 38 degrees here in Franklin, Tennessee. It's May!

Oh well, we're toasty warm inside our deluxe, luxury, motor-mansion!  The furnace is working brilliantly!  As long as we don't encounter a tornado or flood we'll be happy.  We've seen *lots* of damage from recent tornadoes along our route.  Just like we've been seeing on the news - piles of rubble.

Right now, we're parked in the driveway of our friends, Roxie and Charles Marston.  What a beautiful place!
The Geek Mansion parked at Roxie and Charles place in Franklin, Tennessee.
Hard to believe that one year ago this was under water.  Roxie and Charles have been working hard the entire year recreating their home which had to be gutted after the floods last year.  They are anxiously watching the news on potential new floods this year.  Tennessee and Kentucky are in danger but, so far anyway, this area is not.

We're on to Bowling Green, KY today for the start of the RVSEF conference.
Thanks Roxie and Charles ... we'll be back!

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Monday, May 02, 2011

We Must be Camping

We picked up Mom and our friend, Dee at Mom's place.  Looks like a pretty fancy Limosine coming to get her doesn't it?  Several of the staff came out for a tour.

Mom's chariot awaits.

We're taking Dee to visit her sister near Perry, Georgia.  Then we'll drop them both off at Atlanta airport to fly back to Ft. Lauderdale.  How great to have 2 passengers on our shakedown cruise.  Mom sleeps in the cabover, and Dee sleeps on the fold-out couch.  Everyone is comfortable.  With the curtain across the cabover, and a door to the bedroom hallway - everyone has private space.  and, with the two doors to the bathroom there's no issue in accessing that at any time.  We couldn't be more pleased with the arrangement.

Mom's morning view from her bedroom in the cabover at Ocala North RV Park.
 Our first stop was a beautiful RV park near Ocala - Ocala North RV Park.  I found it using the Passport America App on my Droid.  The second night we made it to High Falls State Park in Georgia.  Dee's sister Judy joined us for dinner ... actually she *brought* dinner :-) then took Dee back with her.
We must be camping?!  We had a campfire and even roasted marshmallows.

Mom, Jim, Judy, and Dee at High Falls Georgia State Park
But ... no sleeping bags for us!  We left that kind of camping quite a while ago.  Here's our bedroom now.

We *LOVE* our new home.

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