Monday, April 10, 2017

Yuma and the Fleetwood Rally

This was the last of our Arizona rallies, and it was great. Smaller than the other ones, about 120 RVs were registered. We really like this size, it's big enough to have lots of energy in the seminars, but small enough to allow time for one-on-ones during the rally.





This is what I (Chris) really like to do. Sit down with someone who has questions about their smartphone and work with them and their phone, one on one. We print up a sign-up sheet for 30 minute time slots for free. Sometimes two people get together, but we're still talking personal attention and their phones in their hands. Hands-on. That's the way you really learn.

And, we learn too! We had a couple of people who had forgotten the passwords to their main account - the one that is necessary in order to get new Apps, or make major changes to your settings. One was on an iPhone and the other an Android. Neither Jim nor I have ever had to go thru this on our own phones, so helping others taught us a lot. We ended up thinking it was such an important thing to know that we made our next "What Does This Button Do" show about it:


They also had some great fun at this rally. Jim got out the drone to capture the golf cart rodeo. Sweet!


Monday, April 03, 2017

We’re Selling our Motorhome

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We now have a townhouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We might stay there for just one or two months in a year, or we might stay there for 9 –10 months. In any case, we don’t need a motorhome as big as the one we have now. We aren’t Full Time any more. We don’t carry everything we own with us.

We’ve always liked the Roadtrek style of camper van, and that’s what we plan to buy. With that, we could park it in a car space at the townhouse and use it as a second car. We might even go for short weekend jaunts around Florida. We would still travel to the big rallies wherever they may be. I’m sure we will find the space for our necessary laptops, phones and tablets. Another perk of technology getting smaller and smaller. Spending a few days with my friend, Melinda with her Roadtrek 210 Popular convinced us that it can be done. We felt very comfortable in her rig.

We have loved our Gulfstream Endura. I have never seen a floorplan more conducive to fulltime RV living. The minute we stepped foot in this rig in we wanted to live in it. It is unique in that there is a bulkhead right in the middle. This is not a ‘bowling alley’ like most motorhomes. There are 3 distinct living areas: Living room, kitchen/dining (aka Chris’ office) and bedroom. Here is the floorplan as diagramed in the original brochure. Here is a photo album from the dealer when we bought it.
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We didn’t care for the free standing table/chairs in the dining area or the two chairs in the living room. We knew about a place in Napanee, IN where they made custom furniture for RVs. They were highly recommended by our friend Nick Russell and his RVing blog. We planned to get a custom dining room and desk for Jim, we didn’t know about the window sill for the window by the couch. We liked that the best! A place to put your cup of coffee or glass of wine while sitting on the couch. We say that we spent $3,000 on that very special window sill and the dining room table/cabinetry and Jim’s desk were thrown in!
Here are lots of pictures from when that custom furniture was installed.

It’s a Super C

A class C motorhome is characterized by the cab over space. Our first motorhome had that and we loved it. It’s flexible space. It can be a bedroom for taking the grandkids on a trip. Or it can be a reading room, or it can be storage. Isn’t that what most guest bedrooms turn into? A store room. This one is a bit different however, because it’s big. And it’s a diesel engine. The chassis is a Chevrolet Kodiak chassis. It’s well known for dump trucks, and other medium duty truck applications. We really like how easy it is to service with the front engine.
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We bought it and moved in April 2011.The engine has performed flawlessly for the 6 years we’ve had it. Once, it went into “limp” mode and we thought something was drastically wrong, but we made it to a Chevy dealer and they discovered it was just a loose wire that was sending the wrong signal to the diagnostic system and put it into limp mode. One other time we had a weird problem with the fuel filter which made it unable to start after we stopped at a highway rest area. We had to get towed to the nearest truck repair facility and they put in a new fuel filter and sent us on our way.
We put 6 new tires on it in March 2015.

One problem that we have not been able to fix is the bedroom side slide. We’ve tried at 3 different repair facilities. Our conclusion is that it is a bad design. It sits on two rails with two motors for moving it in and out. Those two rails get out of sync and the slide has problems. It no longer works by pressing the button inside. Jim found a way to purchase a device called a training pendant. The trainer is wired into the slide machinery from the outside and it has 2 buttons, one for each rail. One person needs to be outside operating the trainer, while the other is inside pushing to get it past the problem spot. Bringing it in is no problem – still using the trainer standing outside – but one person can do it. We’ve gotten pretty good at it. It’s not much of a problem for us anymore, not sure how it will be for someone new.
motorhome value

Given a starting point of $70,000 – we add some value with our custom furniture, then we take away some value for the problem slide and the fact that we’ve been living in it and working it pretty hard for 6 years. There are several dings and cracks. We ripped out the carpet and have not replaced it with anything leaving raw wood in part of the bedroom and a portion of the living room. I think throw rugs cover it quite nicely!
We will ask $65,000 or best offer.
It has 75,000 miles on it. It gets 9-10 mpg.
Here are all the specs:
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Here's a photo album where I will put photos of the rig inside and out, collected over the last 6 years.

We are currently in Arizona. We have one more stop west, between San Diego and L.A. then we head east. We’ll take I40 to our next destination, the SKP ACRE rally in Sevierville, TN. Then home. We expect to drive this rig back to Florida in May - then put it for sale on a lot, but just in case there’s the perfect buyer somewhere along our route, we figured we’d put the information out there now.

How about a Roadtrek owner who wants to upsize? We could do a trade. :-)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Parked in the Desert at Quartzsite

We're not big on boondocking, but it's good to know we can. Quartzsite is renowned for having RVs parked all over the desert, off-grid, during January, February and March. Melinda only boondocks in her little Roadtrek. In the year or so since she's been traveling in it, she says that they have never stayed in a campground. Never hooked up to electric or water. So easy in a little rig!

We still had a few more days till we needed to be in Yuma, straight south of Quartzsite, and she needed to head home - north of Q. So, we parked in the desert.

The first evening we took a walk up "our" hill. A walk we've taken many times before when we stayed in Quartzsite in 2004-5 parked at a friend's lot. The view is still awesome, and the flag is still there. I'm sure there's a geocache or two here also, but we didn't look.




Where'd my drone go?






Desert sunsets are impressive. Jim flew his drone, and I took my iPhone out and about. I loved the silhouette of this trailer in the sunset. I even found the owners - out walking their dogs - and got their email to send it to them. I used that for an article on my LearnGooglePhotos.com blog: It's So Easy to Send Photos Using Google Photos


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Girls Just Wanna Go Soak

Melinda and I have known each other for over 30 years. I remember her infant son crawling around on all fours. Now he has 3 kids of his own! We have hiked mountains together and we have paddled rivers, most notably the Colorado river in the Grand Canyon. We've also spent many an evening by the fire with a glass of wine.
I haven't seen Melinda in 4 years.
Jim and I had a week off between the Escapade and the next rally in Yuma. Melinda lives on this side of the country, near Reno Nevada. She has a sweet little Roadtrek camper van and is always looking for trips to take. We made a date to spend a couple days, just Melinda and me, at her favorite spa in Scottsdale. Then she would follow us to our favorite hot springs, in Tonopah.
Jim dropped me off at the spa for my two days of girl time!  What a guy!



First day: Massage, Steam room, Pool, Hot Tub, Dinner
Second day: repeat
Lots and lots of girl talk.
aaaaahhhhhh





Melinda brings out the princess in me!

When our two days were up - and our money was all gone! - we drove her Roadtrek back to the RV park where Jim was and then we drove both rigs out to Tonopah to one of our favorite hot springs - El Dorado.


Melinda's Roadtrek next to our "Big Boy"
Camped at El Dorado Hot Springs for a couple of nights. 
Day 1: Soak, nap, Soak, nap, walk, Soak
Day 2: repeat

Our rigs parked at the Hot Springs

This is a fairy tale place, with lots of "wildlife/"

One of the many soaking tubs

The peacock showing off


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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Escapade

The last rally of the month! The Escapees RV Club. It's called the Escapade and it was held in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to our normal seminars during the rally, we taught a two day pre-rally class on smartphone photography and Google Photos. This is a hands-on class, limited to 16 people so they can really use their phone and learn to manage the photos on their own device. We pair people up and give them exercises to complete so they learn by doing.


This was a busy rally, with nearly 1,000 RVs, and 2,600 attendees, many were walk-ins from the local area. We gave 5 seminars and all were very well attended. They had to close the door and turn people away for the Google Maps session.


By the time we got to the last seminar, many of these people had seen us several times and they were open to playing with us. I loved that Jim reminded me to turn on the video camera for this one:



Jim set up our "Geeky Tiki" in the marketplace where people could come talk to us and sign up for membership. Thanks so much to Joyce Ackley who helps us out in our booth - otherwise most people would have just seen an empty booth since we were in class so much. Thanks Joyce!


We not only worked hard, but played hard this week as well. I won't post the video of me dancing :-) But here we are with friends that we only see at these rallies, we were so glad it worked out one night to gather for dinner, drinks and stories! 

Jim remodeled the Geeky Tiki so it now has wheels. When it was time to tear down, he just rolled it home!





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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Geek Week at Palm Creek

Palm Creek is a huge, amazing, RV resort in Casa Grande, Arizona. We have a long history there, starting with supporting Coach Connect Wi-Fi back in 2004-5. Our official work at the park was over then, but Sue Hepler, a year-round resident who is very active in the computer clubs, keeps in touch with us and arranges our visits any time we're in the area. You can read more about Sue because she is our member spotlight this month.

This year she arranged a "Geek Week" where we taught a couple classes that she put onto the main park activities calendar, one for the Computer Club, and one for the Android club. Yes, there is a computer club AND an Android club! We taught Smartphone Basics, Blogger, Google Photos, and Android Tips. Sue wrote about it in her own blog here. You need to scroll down quite a ways to get to the Geek Week part.




Back in 2007-8 I used Blogger to set them up with a website to be an index of club websites. I taught several people at Palm Creek how to use Blogger so that each activity club could have a place of their own to keep track of club events and photos. I'm amazed that, ten years later, it's still a very active website with 19 clubs listed. Check out the Pickleball club! Palm Creek boasts 32 dedicated Pickleball courts. These guys are serious!

We're happy to teach at Palm Creek anytime we're in the west. Thanks so much to Sue for making it happen!

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Leisure World and Silveridge Computer Clubs

If you want to be someplace where you get help with your computer and can learn anything you want, then find an active senior living community like Leisure World or Silveridge in Mesa, Arizona! We know of many such communities all over the country where people with like interests get together. You can find quite a comprehensive listing of these computer clubs at APCUG.org. That stands for Association of PC User Groups. The "PC" is not limiting - they teach Apple products, mobile devices of both Android and iOS flavors, and even Chromebooks and sometimes Linux.

We meet a lot of people as we travel the country, present at RV rallies, and do our weekly online show. Two of those are Chris & Edith Wrzenski who live at Leisure World and Ron Brown of Silveridge. They all got together and arranged for us to give a couple of seminars to a combined meeting of their two computer club groups. We loved how they put up signs at every turn to show people where to go:

Our Google maps presentation was one of the biggest groups all month. We also taught a session on Google Photos. At the end of the day we counted 34 new and renewing members to Geeks on Tour!
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Sunday, March 12, 2017

FMCA - Family Motor Coach Assn Rally in Chandler, AZ

A great rally. It was well attended - I think I heard 2,400 coaches. It was a fun venue with the old western town theme. We had a nice room for our seminars. It held about 350 people, it had a permanent stage and good Internet connection. And, we had the same room for all 5 seminars - that is SO much nicer than having to haul all our stuff to a different part of the fairgrounds for every class!


The best part of rallies is getting to hear directly from our followers, people like Sally who says she never would have used her smartphone for anything but a phone ... but then she learned from us!







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Tuesday, March 07, 2017

We made it to Arizona in time for our first class.

We completed our commute from Florida to Arizona on February 27, just in time to check in to the Leaf Verde RV park and get cleaned up and rested for our first "gig" at the Sun City Grand Computer Club where we were scheduled to teach Google Photos on March 1.

We chose this park, and even made reservations before leaving Florida, because we knew it had really good Verizon Internet service. There is a cell tower right on the property. Even with that excellent service however, the place was crowded enough that live-streaming our show that week was not as good as we hoped.
What Does This Button Do? Episode 112: How to Learn from Geeks on Tour

Then we just drove the car over to Surprise, AZ where the Sun City Grand Computer club was all set up for us. We so enjoy teaching Google Photos.


We still had a few more days before we had to leave for Chandler, so Jim took the opportunity to fly his new drone. This happens to be the exact same spot where he first flew his first drone 2 years ago.


We also took advantage of the entertainment at the park and saw a tribute to Johnny Cash.


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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Faywood Hot Springs

Next stop along our route was a favorite. We've been here before and have more photos and description on our past blog post. We love hot springs.

We had a nice soak at night and then again in the morning before getting back on the road.



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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Staying at the Ranch

Whenever we know we're driving through Texas we make a point of stopping in Waco to see our old friend, Frank Drew. It feels funny to refer to him as an old friend because we met him when we started RVing, but that was 14 years ago. Even more than the years, it's the feeling of being family that makes me call him an old friend.

He was actually our boss for 2003-5. His company was Coach Connect and they had big plans for Wi-Fi in RV parks all over the country. Our job was to visit all the RV parks where they had installed Wi-Fi and teach the park staff and current residents how to use it. We also presented the Coach Connect seminars at the big rallies, FMCA and Good  Sam. .
With Frank (at Jim's right) and the Coach Connect crew at our first Rally in 2004
Jim in the Coach Connect Austin office in 2005
Jim was their second level tech support, he handled all the phone calls from people who were having problems connecting to the internet. He was quite good at it, but I don't think anyone could call it fun

Because of Coach Connect we spent a lot of time in Austin and got to know Frank and his family. Our first Thanksgiving was with Frank's family at his parents house in Austin. 

By 2006 coach connect was no more, and geek's on tour was born. Frank now has a company (Hey Cupcake) that sells cupcakes from food trucks. He really enjoys having happy customers now, as opposed to being yelled at all the time by wifi customers.

Frank has since gotten married and has a little daughter. We feel part of this new family too since one of their first dates was dinner at our motor home at an RV park in Austin.

We were thrilled when it worked out to stop for a day and visit. Frank suggested we park at the ranch. What a beautiful spot.

He took us for a tour around the property and even let Jim drive. 

We met some cows and horses and Jim flew his drone over the house and the river. Video later.


We even got to stop by Mom and Dad's on our way out of town.


It's always good to see you Frank! We want you to come visit us in Florida sometime. We'll take you scuba diving.