Posts Tagged ‘Verizon’

We Have Lost An Icon

Posted on December 23rd, 2010 by by Administrator

The RV world lost an icon yesterday, when Joe Peterson, co-founder of the Escapees RV Club, passed away. I have been privileged to meet Joe many times over the years at Escapades and other RV events, and he was always a cheerful, friendly, outgoing gentleman.

When Joe and his lovely wife Kay founded the Escapees, way back in 1978, they had no idea what they had started. Over the years they nurtured and guided their little organization until it grew into one of the largest, and in my opinion the very best, RV clubs around. The legacy Joe has left is something the rest of us will enjoy and benefit from for years to come.

This is a loss for all of us, but a double hit for the family; I’m told that Joe’s son-in-law, Bud Carr, also lost his father just a week or so ago. Please keep them in your prayers.  

We had visitors yesterday! Jim and Dee Walter, who are staying at an RV park a couple of miles up the road, stopped in to say hello. We had a good time talking about the RV lifestyle, sharing a joke or two, and comparing our favorite apps on our Droid smart phones.

After Jim and Dee left, Terry and I drove a mile or so south of the campground to Pioneer Park, a county park that includes a small museum, campground, and boat launch on the Peace River. Here are a couple of pictures, one upriver and one downriver. If we get a chance to paddle our kayaks while we’re here, I think we’ll use the launch at Pioneer Park, because the one at our campground is much steeper and looks like it would be harder to use.

Peace River from Pioneer Park

Peace River from Pioneer Park 2

We booked two weeks here at Peace River, and while the campground is okay, the town doesn’t have much to offer. Yesterday we had dinner at the Panda Chinese buffet, and it being a small town, we didn’t have high expectations. As it turned out, we were still disappointed! If we could change our stay and get back into the Orlando Thousand Trails, we’d leave and head back up that way. There’s a lot more to do and see in that area. We’d like to get some paddling in while we’re here, but the weather report for next week is looking pretty grim, so I don’t know if we’ll get to do that or not.   

I mentioned smart phone apps above,and if you have an iPhone or iPad, you might be interested in a brand new app that the nice folks at Technomadia just brought out, called Coverage?. This is a simple app that lets you see where you can expect to get 3G and roaming signals in the continental U.S. for AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile. Yes, you can go online to the different carriers’ websites and get the same info, but Coverage? allows you to do so offline, wherever you happen to be.

These are the same folks who put out the excellent State Lines app, which no RVer should be without. Check out Coverages?, I think you’ll find it useful. They also publish an e-book titled Answers to the Common Excuses not to Travel Full-Time that I have heard good things about. I need to order a copy and check it out.

One final thought on technical things before I close. I have been having  e-mail problems for quite a while now. Sometimes e-mails never get to me,  other times they show up, but disappear from the server before I can read them, or ones I have saved for future reference go missing. 

While we were in Fort Lauderdale last week, Chris Guld from Geeks on Tour, switched me over to G-mail, but since our websites are still hosted on Yahoo for the time being, our e-mail first goes through the Yahoo servers, and that is where we seem to have the problem. So if you e-mailed me and I didn’t get back to you, please try again. Also, I lost some e-mails from folks who asked us to stop by while we were in their area, and I had no way to re-contact them. My apologies.

Bad Nick has been busy posting a new Bad Nick Blog titled Armed Citizens Fighting Back. Check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – Why be difficult, when with a little bit of effort you can be impossible?

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Time Is Running Out

Posted on February 7th, 2010 by by Administrator

We are fast running out of time here in Apache Junction, and we still have a lot to get done before we head to Yuma for our Arizona Gypsy Gathering rally in March. We still need to replace the tires on or motorhome, replace the house batteries, I’m working on the new issue of the Gypsy Journal, and once it is printed, we need to get it mailed out. And, of course, there are still a few dozen rally details and chores that need completed too.

Aside from work related tasks, we still have some folks who want to get together for lunch or dinner, I want to get down to Tucson to visit my cousin Beverly, and I’d like to spend a few hours at the Family History Center of the LDS Church in Mesa. I’m not a Mormon, but their genealogy research facilities are open to anyone, and I’m running into a brick wall on my father’s side of my family tree.

A couple of weeks ago I bought Miss Terry a new Bernina Bernette sewing machine, and while I was working on the new issue of the paper yesterday, she went to a class at Quilter’s Ranch in Tempe to learn about all of the new machine’s bells and whistles. What, you say? A class to learn how to operate a sewing machine? No, Terry has been sewing since she was a youngster, this class was just to learn all about the features of her new machine and its many capabilities.

What the heck, when I got my Blackberry Storm last summer, Verizon had a free class to learn to use it! Of course, I still can’t do much more than make a call or answer e-mails on it.

Yesterday, my friend Sharon Del Rosario sent me an e-mail to tell me about a great country singer and yodeler yodelnamed David Bradley that she and hubby Don met in Quartzsite, and she suggested that I contact David and talk to him about performing at our Yuma rally. Since I value Sharon’s opinion, I called David and we worked out an arrangement for him to come to the rally and perform a concert on Monday evening.

David is the son of world champion yodeler Gene Bradley, and has been performing since he was five years old. He performed with the famous Sons of the Pioneers for five years, and was a featured solo artist at the popular Country Tonite Theatre in Branson, Missouri, where he won the Featured Entertainer of the Year award. You can hear some sound bites of David’s music on his Born To Yodel website. Check it out, and make plans now to attend his concert at the rally. Between David and the Michael Hargis’ concert, we’ll have plenty of reasons to tap our toes at the rally, won’t we?

Besides great entertainment and a full line of seminars at the rally, you will also have the opportunity to take advantage of some extra activities, including getting your RV weighed by Rick and Joyce Lang from RVSEF; taking behind the wheel RV driving classes from the RV School, and taking a class to obtain a non-resident Utah or Florida concealed weapons permit from Traveling CCW.

There is a separate fee for any of these valuable extras, and you should make arrangements before the rally if you can, because they all fill up fast. For RV weighing, contact Rick Lang at; for the RV School, contact Dennis Hill at; and for the CCW classes, visit the Traveling CCW website.

News out of Elkhart, Indiana is that Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC., builders of what I consider some of the finest fifth wheel trailers on the market, has purchased the rights to the brand names Prowler, Mallard, Pioneer, Wilderness, and other Fleetwood towable products, and will begin to build their own line of trailer models under those names. A company press release says they plan to begin manufacturing RVs under the acquired names in the next year. Given my personal opinion of Fleetwood products, I’m not sure this is a move I would have made, but if anyone can build something worthwhile under those brand names, I think it would be Heartland.

As busy as we are, Bad Nick still found time to write a new Bad Nick Blog post titled Dying With Dignity. Check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have, or sleep all you want.

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Verizon Air Card Upgrade

Posted on January 27th, 2010 by by Administrator

As I reported last week, our Verizon air card has been giving us a lot of grief lately. We had frequent periods when service was very slow, and we were getting knocked offline over and over again. The problem happened at any time of the day or night, but more frequently in the evening, from about 6:30 p.m. until after midnight. As I wrote then, I’m sure part of the problem is just the sheer numbers of people using the cell towers, both for telephone and internet access.

I tried several fixes that I read about online, or that other Verizon users recommended, but nothing really helped. So yesterday I went to the local Verizon store to see if they had any ideas.

I was eligible for an upgrade under Verizon’s New Every Two plan, and the young lady who waited on me suggested that I swap out my USB 720 air card (which is actually a modem) for a newer model. I bought my air card before they had any restrictions on usage, and was concerned about losing my grandfathered status, with no five gigabyte monthly limit, even though I have only gone over four gigs once in two years. My customer service rep checked, and assured me that my unlimited status would remain in effect.

Since we travel all over the country as fulltime RVers, I also wanted a card that would still accept an external antenna. I had heard somewhere that no new Verizon air cards have an external antenna port. That was apparently not true, because she set me up with a USB 760 air card that does have the external antenna port, and she even threw in the adaptor cable that matches up with my Wilson Trucker antenna and amp. Total cost, after $50 mail in rebate, was $10.

Verizon air cards webThe new air card is about half the size of the previous one, as shown in this picture. It also did not come with a separate CD to install the updated VZ Access Manager software. The software is apparently built into the modem.

I came home, plugged the new unit unto my desktop computer, it automatically installed its software, and I was good to go. I then plugged it into my Cradlepoint MBR 1000 router, which recognized it immediately.

So far, it works fine. Speeds are still not as high as I have had in the past, but faster than with my old air card. The young lady at the Verizon store did say that here in Apache Junction/Mesa, and other places where they have a lot of users, we can expect slower service in the evening, which is when our problems have been the worst.

From about 6:30 p.m. until after midnight, my service slowed down, though not as bad as it was before. Terry and I both got knocked offline a time or two, but we were able to get right back on. Overall, it was a significant improvement over what we’ve been dealing with. Once I’ve used the new air card for a while, I’ll update you on its performance in a future blog.

Before I close this blog, I need to send a message to one of our Canadian blog readers named Andy who wrote me asking if we have subscriptions available to the Gypsy Journal for Canadian addresses. I tried to respond three times, but the e-mail bounced every time. Yes, we have many Canadian subscribers. Cost is $25 for one year, or $45 for two years. You can send us a check payable in U.S. funds, or click this Subscription Link and scroll to the bottom of the page to subscribe online.

Thought For The Day – Life is sexually transmitted.

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Not Our Crowd

Posted on July 23rd, 2009 by by Administrator

This is our last day vending at the FMCA rally, and though sales have not been what we had hoped for, they are about what we expected them to be. We have covered our expenses, and we have introduced a lot of people to the Gypsy Journal. Hopefully when they get back home or wherever they’re headed from here, they will have a chance to read it and then we’ll see a few more subscriptions come in.

As I said before, the FMCA crowd just isn’t our customer base. It seems like a lot of them spend their time in fancy RV resorts and would never think of boondocking or spending a night in a free campground in a city park, so they have no interest in the guidebooks we sell listing places like that.

I was really disappointed that last night’s scheduled entertainment, a concert by country music singer Lorrie Morgan, was cancelled due to rain. I’ve always been a big fan of that beautiful lady’s music and would have loved to see her in person.

Even if we don’t make any money at this rally, it has been worth it to see so many of our vendor friends, meet some of our readers, and make some new friends too. And I have enjoyed the opportunity to visit my old hometown.

Tuesday evening we looked up another of my childhood buddies, Gary Chandler, and his wife Karen. I had not seen them in 32 years. I managed to find their address with a Google search, but no telephone number, so we took a chance that it was the same people and drove back up to Toledo.

I would never have recognized my old friend, and he didn’t recognize me either, but once I told him who I was it was like old home week, with lots of hugs and laughter all around.

I don’t have any siblings left, so it was good to touch base with some of the people I knew way back in the day. Miss Terry never got to meet my parents, so it was nice for her to get the opportunity to see them through the eyes of my old friends. It made my heart feel good to hear them tell how much they still loved my Mom and Dad, and how they loved listening to Dad play his guitar and tell his stories from his days down on the border. My Mom wasn’t just a mother to her own children; she was Mom to all of our friends as we were growing up, too.

One person whom I would still like to find is the man who was the editor of the Toledo Blade newspaper back when I got out of the Army. I applied for a reporter’s position with the paper, and I can still see his sneer as he told me “Boy, neither you nor I will ever live long enough to see your name in print.” I don’t even know his name, but I’d love to see him someday just to say “Oh yeah? How do you like me now?”

Just as we did at the Escapade in Sedalia, Missouri, we are experiencing very poor cell phone and air card service here in Bowling Green, even though we have full bars of high speed EVDO signal. There are just too many people overloading the circuits, and it doesn’t matter if you have Verizon, AT&T or Sprint, everybody is having problems. Such is life at an RV rally.

Thought For The Day – I get enough exercise just pushing my luck.

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RV Internet Forums

Posted on June 18th, 2009 by by Administrator

Would somebody please check their calendar and let me know what month it is? My calendar swears that it’s the middle of June, but that can’t be right, because yesterday it was so gray and gloomy that I’m sure it must be sometime in November!

I have been busy working on the new issue of the paper all week, but I did take a couple of hours off last night to go to the Verizon store for their free class on how to use my new Blackberry Storms’ many features. I’m amazed at how much they can cram into such a small package. I’ve only had the smart phone for a few days, but I’m more impressed with it every day.

Isn’t technology a wonderful thing? By simply turning on my computer, I can plan a trip, buy a book, do my banking, keep in touch with family and friends all over the country, and participate in online forums on anything and everything under the sun.

I have made friends with RVers from different internet forums, and have had online conversations with them for years. Some I have met eventually in our travels, while others are still out there waiting to cross paths.

My favorite RV forum is the Escapees Discussion Forum, which should be the first place any new RVer logs onto, as well as those with years of experience. Whenever I have a question about anything, whether it is RV related or in things like selecting my new Blackberry, I make a post on the appropriate section of the Escapees forum and usually within minutes the replies start arriving. I try to return the favor by answering other folks’ questions anytime I have input I can share.  According to the Escapees statistics, I have made over 2,200 posts since I joined the forum in 2002.

Another RV forum with a lot of very good information is IRV2. I don’t log on there as much as I do Escapes, because there are only so many hours in a day, and Miss Terry insists I do some work now and then. I particularly like the Owners Forums on IRV2, where you can get input on just about any brand of RV from people who own them.

I seldom go onto the forum, just because I can’t spend my whole life online, but it is another popular site with a lot of RVers I know.

Every forum seems to have its own personality. The Escapees forum is pretty friendly, but I have known several people who have left the forum because they got flamed by some self-appointed critic for innocent posts. Unfortunately, this can happen on any forum, and newbies are sometimes especially targeted before they learn the ropes.

When we were building our MCI bus conversion, I spent a lot of time on the bus conversion forums, but I seldom go onto them any more. I learned a lot, but there are too many guys on them with what I call “Mine’s Bigger” syndrome, and they get tiresome. 

What RV forums and websites do you frequent on a regular basis?

Thought For The Day – Don’t take guilt trips. There are much better destinations available.

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