Thursday, July 31, 2014

Olympic National Park

“Alaska South Annex” is what Greg and Marilyn call the Olympic Peninsula. It does seem like a small corner of Alaska was chipped off and put here next to Seattle. Ocean, Mountains, Forest, and Farms.
Mount Olympus
Having the opportunity to visit and see all this beauty makes us realize just how lucky we are in this lifestyle. We have seen so much of America. Almost as out of the way as Big Bend park in Texas, Olympic National Park needs a special visit – you don’t just happen upon it, and no road goes thru it. I’ll bet the percentage of Americans who have been to this peninsula is pretty small. We put Washington State on our RVing map early on in our travels, but that was only because we stayed on the Washington side of the Columbia river once.
Sequim, where we were staying at Greg and Marilyn’s house, is so close to the Hurricane Ridge entrance to the park, we could take an afternoon ride to go there – so we did. That was our “Apres-Show” treat for ourselves.
View from the Hurricane Ridge visitors center

Panorama from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor center

Do we look happy? Hard to believe that we even worked for half of this day! But, when we get to play ...

When we left Greg and Marilyn’s we were bound for a Thousand Trails park on the coast, south of the National Park, but Greg made us promise we would stop and see Rialto Beach. Believe it or not, he really had to twist our arms for this. I had planned to get to our destination and get back to work because it was the end of the month and I have a newsletter to write.  But a promise is a promise! So we postponed our TT reservations for one day and stayed at a park in Forks. From there we could see two more attractions of Olympic National Park: Rialto Beach and Hoh Rainforest.

We decided the beach would be best at sunset, so we visited the Rainforest first. I happened to be a bright, sunshiny day, so it didn't seem quite like a rainforest! The "Hall of Mosses" trail is the must-walk attraction at the Hoh visitor center.

But, Greg was SOO right that Rialto Beach was the to-die-for spot! We gathered our camp chairs, a bottle of wine, and two glasses and settled in to watch the sunset.

We weren't the only ones enjoying the beach. I happened to catch this group as they posed for their special, fun picture.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Weekly Show–What Does This Button Do?

Have you recently acquired a Smartphone or Tablet? Do you wish you knew more about it? Or, have you had one for a while and know they can do more? Just thinking you might get one?
Every Sunday at 2pm Eastern time, we are producing a live half hour video broadcast on the web teaching about Smartphones and Tablets. This week is Episode Six!
Why? Because we can. It’s fun and exciting and a little scary. We are also learning a lot.
We want the show to be light and entertaining, but we want to teach our viewers, too. That’s what we do. We’re Geeks Who Teach. We divide the show into four segments.
WDTBD Header
Our show starts with a beginner’s lesson. Stuff we think is essential to enjoying your phone or tablet. We’ll demonstrate iOS on our iPad, and Android on our other phones and tablets.
Chris has been doing a feature segment on her Samsung Galaxy S5 because that phone is so popular right now. The next segment is about a fun or useful App o’ the Week from Jim. We will talk about industry news and things of interest to us. We’ll finish up with some review and viewer questions.
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We’re not sure what this is going to turn into. Take a look-see and let us know what you think. We can have guests on. That is fun. We can even get a panel of viewers on as part of the show. Based on viewer questions we’ve received, we have already made tutorial videos on several subjects like printing from your Apple or Android mobile devices.
The show is done using Google+ Hangouts On Air (HOA) and can be viewed live at our Geeks On Tour Google+ Page for the event or on our YouTube Page. The links are sent automatically to everyone who follows us on Google+ or is in our Google+ Circles. Visit our Google+ Page now and follow us. We have a dedicated page for the Weekly Show with links to the upcoming show and an archive of all the past shows.
Something else relatively unique to us, is the fact we do our show live, from the road, using whatever Internet connection is available. That often means a cellular data connection. That’s a lot of the scary parts.
If you are interested in Google+ and Hangouts On Air, I’d like to hear from you. The real source of information for these HOAs is +Ronnie Bincer, the Hangout Helper. He is my guru and he has lots of info on his site and links to others. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Gundyville, Gardens, Weekly Show

By Friday, we had to decide where we would spend the weekend. Because we do our weekly “What Does This Button Do?” show on Sundays, that can’t be a travel day, and we need to be where there is good Internet.
We started checking RV parks in the Seattle area and found most of them were full – that happens around major metropolitan areas during summertime weekends. We could have extended our stay at Thousand Trails, but we’d have to take all our computer down to the beach in order to get and Internet signal and … there’s no place to plug in down there. Then, we heard (thru Facebook) from our friends Greg and Marilyn Gundy who we met RVing back in 2006. They recently sold their RV and settled down in Sequim, WA. We looked on the map and saw that it was right where we wanted to be … because we wanted to drive around the Olympic Peninsula when we leave here. They said we were welcomed to stay in their driveway … they even have a 50 amp hookup! Wow, that sounds good. But … we also need a good Verizon signal – I knew that would be too much to ask.
Map picture
Greg said, “we have line of sight to the Verizon tower from here!”
Say no more – we’re on our way!
First, we had to get the RV on the ferry. Since we had pretty much walked right on earlier in the week, we paid no attention to making reservations. That was a mistake! This was weekend traffic. We watched two Ferries come and go before we got on. But, it was a beautiful day, so we didn’t mind the wait. The cost was just under $70. We unhooked the car and paid 54 for the RV and 14 for the car. It's more if you leave them hooked up.

Greg and Marilyn like to have fun! They have the same zest for welcoming guests to their home and garden as they do for exploring every inch of Alaska! They even had a custom-drawn park map for us.
The first order of business was to see their incredible garden. Rows of tomatoes outside, and vides of tomatoes inside the greenhouse. Greg points me to the raspberries and I don’t hear any more.
We ended up staying 4 days. I told them they might have a hard time getting rid of us, but Greg said he knew where the power shut off was!

No pesticides in this garden, so I enjoyed picking and eating right off the plants! And, Marilyn made such delicious, healthy things like Kale chips with Kale picked fresh from the garden, I watched and learned. All Greg had to do was point to the raspberry bushes and that kept me busy for a while!

Our weekly show went well. This was Episode 5 ( We covered how to synchronize your email between computer and smartphone, how to change the battery in a Samsung Galaxy S5, and Jim’s App of the week: Pandora.

We were very glad that the Internet connection worked well, because we had another Hangout on Air scheduled for Monday afternoon. This one was for the Quad-Cities Computer Society’s Digital Photo group. We offered to be at their meeting – remotely via Hangouts – and answer questions about Picasa. We usually stop by the Quad Cities group whenever we’re in the area and present a seminar or two. With this technology, we can present seminars anytime they want! And, using Hangouts on Air, it automatically gets recorded. You can watch it here if you’re interested. ( You may need to skip over the first few minutes where the sound was bad – but it clears up.
During our 4 days, we did take time for happy hours, and a couple of excursions. The main one being up to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park – but I think I’ll cover that in my next post.
We went for a bike ride one day, down to the waterfront in Sequim.

Then Greg and Marilyn showed us the waterfront in Port Angeles one night after we went to a buffet dinner with all you can eat Dungeness Crabs!

Here's the beach area - a place for gathering some art supplies for Marilyn. She makes baskets out of the kelp.

Greg's not writing in his blog anymore But from the time I first showed him how in 2006, to the time they got off the road this year, he kept one of the most interesting blogs around. Especially if you're interested in Alaska or gold mining. Just some samples:
One month during their first trip to Alaska - July 2007
Work-camping and Gold Prospecting in Chicken, Alaska 2007
Working the Gold Camp at Chicken, Alaska May 2009
What Marilyn does with that Kelp

Friday, July 25, 2014

San Juan Islands, Ferries, and Friends

Map picture
I didn’t realize quite where we were. Staying at the Thousand Trails park in La Conner, we were right in the middle of everything the Puget Sound/San Juan islands area has to offer. Seattle, Olympic peninsula, Friday Harbor, and Victoria, British Columbia were all within a day trip outing. WE checked out taking the ferry from Anacortes to Victoria, B.C. but you really need your passport, or a specially stamped drivers license. Our passports are out for renewal, and only Jim has that special star on his drivers license.  We’d heard so much about Port Townsend from friends over the years, that we decided to scope that out first. It’s a spectacular ride, including driving over Deception Pass bridge.

Then we put the car on a ferry to go over to Port Townsend.

When we got off the ferry we drove south a ways in hopes of finding our friends Lindy and Mary – they’re long-time dive buddies from Fort Lauderdale who are just beginning their RVing lifestyle. It so surprised us that they’d made it this far already! It took us 11 years to get here! We knew they planned to stay at the Escapees park in Chimacum. They hadn’t arrived yet, but we got to check out the park. It’s very nice except for the fact that we didn’t see any Verizon signal at all – so, we probably couldn’t stay there! Hey, we’re still hoping to meet up with you somewhere down the road Mary and Lindy!

So we drove back up to Port Townsend and wandered around a bit. What a nice city park they have!

And, then we just had to seek out the Potpourri shop that we knew about from our friend Lynn. We met the owner, Jeannie, at the memorial last summer for Lynne’s husband, John. We wanted to say hi! and see the shop we had heard so much about. I felt like I had walked into OZ it was so green and colorful in there! So, here is Jim and Jeannie – saying Hi back to Lynne!

Whenever we’re doing cool stuff like this, we post pictures and notes on Facebook. It’s just so easy with our smartphones – snap a picture, tap the button to share on Facebook, type a few words, and click Send. So many of the friends we’ve made over the last 11 years of RVing are also traveling all over the place. You never know when you might be nearby. When Honey and Bob Shellman saw our Facebook post, they wrote back and said they’re staying at an RV park real close by! So, when we got back from our day tour, they came by and shared some wine! Then we planned an outing for the next day. They know a good restaurant for mussels in Coupeville. Sounds good!

Jim saw a sign for a air museum on the way, so we allowed extra time and stopped at the Oak Harbor PBY Naval Air Museum. PBY’s are Seaplanes used in WWII. Did you know the difference between Seaplanes and Flying Boats? Neither did we! A flying boat can ONLY land in water, it has no landing gear for runways. I think Jim’s primary motivation for the visit was to use the Flight Simulator!

I love mussels, and Toby’s did a great job. The views and the town were a treat. Honey told us that the movie, Practical Magic, was filmed here. We’ll have to watch it again now – we like watching movies filmed in areas where we’re staying.

Pretty spot. I can see why Honey and Bob like it here! In fact, they like it here so much they’re looking at property – we wish you best of luck!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Washington State, Thousand Trails, and

After leaving Boise, we were headed to the very northwest corner of the country. For the first stop we had to find a location where we knew the Verizon signal would be good because it would be a Sunday and we have our weekly online show to broadcast. We picked a place in southeast Washington called Kennewick. The show went well - here's the recording if you want to watch:
After the closing credits of our show, we feel that we deserved a treat, so we went for a little sightseeing drive and early dinner at a brewery.

The next day we were up and at em, raring to go ... about noon ... and headed north.

It became very obvious that we were in the northwest! Mount Adams, Mount Ranier and more.

Our destination was the Thousand Trails park called La Conner. We had originally planned to go to that park back in 2007 but never made it. This is a bit out of the way up here in the far northwest! I'm so glad we finally made it!

We sure made the right decision to be somewhere else for our weekly show though. We haven't had Verizon signal this poor in a long time. Even phone calls placed from our RV would drop for lack of signal. An Internet connection couldn't be made at all. For the first time we made us of the AT&T connection on our iPad. We turned the iPad into a hotspot and were online ok, but certainly not good enough to broadcast our show. The interesting thing is if you just walked thru the trees to the beach area, our phones had 3-4 bars of good 4G signal from Verizon.  And, I didn't mind walking out there to make a phone call! Just look at this view.

Wait just a bit, and you even got to see a pair of bald eagles in the tree.

The next day, we had planned to visit with Chuck Woodbury of at his office just north of Seattle. Then we would go into Seattle, take in Pike's Market and have a drink at the Space Needle. Well, it was pouring rain. We made it to Chuck's place, had a nice lunch, and chatted about our websites, broadcasting Internet shows and our respective production studios. He actually has a real production studio! We discussed having each other as guests on our respective shows.

It's always a treat to visit with people in their homes or offices when you primarily know them only online.

When we were finished with our visit, it was still pouring rain, so we decided not to go into Seattle. There would be no views to be had from the space needle anyway.

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