Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The gypsy is in Swannanoa, NC!

I left PA at 8:00 am and it was only 12:15 by the time I arrived at my planned stop. I didn't want to stop that early - I wouldn't have anything to do so I would probably put the steps down, slides out, drink a beer, and then waste the whole afternoon on the computer. So I just wanted to drive a little further down the road, maybe an hour or two. A fine misty rain began falling when I fueled up a few miles before the VA/NC border and someone told me it was going to continue until morning. I still had to go through Fancy Gap, a stretch of road that is a 6% descent for about 7 miles, and normally there is some fog present as well as strong crosswinds. I hated to take it on after all the miles I had driven, and was really sorry when I hit the dense fog and heavy rain. I made it and just kept rolling along in the rain, which stopped when I got up the mountain from Old Fort on I-40. I was crawling along with the trucks at about 38 mph by the time I hit the top and the brilliant sunshine. It has rained up here in heaven today, but not now.

I drove a little over 8 hours today, and 465 miles! I was feeling great, especially after I got a little ways into Virginia. The foliage is gorgeous, with lots of reds and red-gold leaves. The mountains are beautiful although a bit difficult due to the grades, which don't seem so steep but they go on and on. I'm sure my fuel mileage today was shot to pieces.

I called the campground when I was back in Virginia to tell them I expected to be here late this afternoon or tomorrow, knowing the office would be closed. They told me to just find a space and take care of the registration on Monday morning. When I said I wanted to stay 3 weeks, I was told I should take a spot with concrete slab, which happen to be only back-ins. After driving so many miles today in rain and heavy traffic I am in no condition or mood to try backing into a space, so I am in a nice pull through. The woman in the office said maybe someone can back me in on Monday. I'm going to try to convince her to let me stay where I am, but if they want to hitch up and back into another space, that is ok with me, except I will have to bring in the slides and do all the other things necessary to move.

I should have hot water by now and the shower is calling me! I'm just so glad to be here, and I am remembering how beautiful the eastern part of the country is - from NY through PA and all the way to the Carolinas - it has been lovely and I've been away too long.

Friday, October 30, 2009

At the PA/MD Border

I drove 300 miles today and am now at Keystone Campground for the night. My son had offered to come by at 7:30 am on his way to work and help me hitch up. My daughter-in-law brought the two boys by on the way to day care so they could say goodbye, and I am so glad I got to see them again. Mike backed the truck up and got it hitched within seconds! Of course I had set the level of the kingpin just perfectly so the whole process took very little time. I remember when my eyesight was so good, but now I find it more difficult to align the hitch and the kingpin looking through the rearview mirror. He was on target 100%!

The traffic was moderate until I got to I-81S, and then it was heavy all the way. To make matters worse were the frequent road works - one 10 mile stretch took a half hour to get through. Of that ten miles there were about two areas of actual work. The rest was just funneling two lanes into one and then bringing the line of traffic to almost a crawl for no reason. I thought Friday would be a bad day to travel, but it is necessary in order for me to arrive in Asheville on Sunday afternoon. I was on the road this morning at 8:15 but followed school buses for about 10 miles, and they made frequent stops. Hopefully, I can leave early in the morning and get past the outlet malls in Morgantown, WV before the traffic gets heavy. My goal is Salem VA, right next door to Roanoke, leaving me an easy time for the final stretch on Sunday. With everyone in Western NC in church on Sunday morning, there should be smooth sailing on the interstate!

I couldn't figure out how to access wi fi on the Mac, but fortunately the aircard is working well. I don't care how I get online as long as I can do it quickly.

I'm going to wander over to the RV Service Center store and see what I might need. I remember from last year that they have lots of goodies. There is also a special sale going on with lots of RV's on the block as I was informed when I registered at the office. Now if my 5ver was in any shape to sell I might be tempted to look for a Class C, but I'm not going to be in any rush just yet

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More about the aircard

Several people have written and said it shouldn’t make any difference which computer I use if they are in the same location, which is my dining table. The desktop seems, for some reason, to be able to lock on the signal and to hold it longer, but that isn’t always true. The Mac takes longer to find the network and then goes in and out.
The screen on the desktop is AT&T Communications, I prefer since I can easily access my account from it. The Mac, however, is for Sierra Wireless Watcher, and I am guessing that Sierra Wireless is the manufacturer. I’m not sure why Sierra came up when I first used it on the map rather than AT&T Communications, but it probably doesn’t make a bit of difference.
In an effort to research my problem I found a forum and noted a post by someone who claimed Sierra Wireless doesn’t work well with a Mac. The administrator’s response was to cut the post short and state that this forum was not the proper place for the discussion, but there wasn’t any indication of where the original post had been moved to. I certainly hope it isn’t an indication of what I will always experience with this air card. I bought it in Jan 2009 on a two year contract, which leaves me a long time to be frustrated. I might look into inquiring about the penalty, and just give it up. I’m not sure I would go with Verizon – in remote areas of the West I have more problem with my Verizon phone than with AT&T, while the opposite is true in the East. Some readers may not have the same experience, and no doubt they both work when you are in or near a large metropolitan area.

Today is the Halloween party and parade at my grandsons’ day care, and this will be the second year I attend the festivities. I’ll be pulling out tomorrow morning and hope to get on the road by 9:00 am. While I have stops planned for two nights on the road, they may change. I’ve learned to be open about that and not plan too much and I’m happier that way. Flexibility and a receptive attitude are my keys to enjoying this life on the road.

Later this morning, I am at my son's house for brunch and brought the computer and aircard. I connected almost instantly and this baby is running at lightning speeds, so I have high hopes!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Poor internet coverage

I have been disappointed that my current campground, which is in such a perfect location as it is only 5 miles from my son's house, gets such poor aircard service. And to make matters even worse, I seem to have less luck getting any coverage on the Mac. The Mac and aircard seem to work better in the morning but it's my desktop that I've been using in the evening. I hope it straightens out when I leave here, but I don't hold out much hope for rural PA or VA either, and that is where I plan to make overnight stops.

I can't wait any longer and will pack up and stow the desktop computer today with all the peripherals, since I can't do anything about the outside as it is raining again. I sure hope I don't have to hitch up in rain on Friday. I groan every time I think about having to hitch up - I don't want to have to do it any more.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Another task or two out of the way

I have been debating whether or not to renew my passport, and today I sent the application off to Philadelphia, certified mail. I really hope to get to Alaska some day, whether driving or by plane, and I have been thinking more and more that I would like to drive into Mexico, even if alone.

Over the past couple of days I moved over 400 photos from my camera's memory card to a flash drive. It is too frustrating to bother with Picasa or iPhoto. Before I pack the desktop (and Windows XP) away, I used the Camera and Scanner Wizard, which I think is as easy and intuitive as I've found. I have a flash drive on which I created albums with titles that make sense to me, and don't need to bother with a computer program that recognizes faces, names events, or any of that bother. All my photos taken at Lassen are in an album entitled "Lassen", pictures taken of RVers I have met are in an album entitled "RVers Photos", etc., and it doesn't get any easier than that! Maybe I would feel differently if I liked to tweak the photos, but with mine "what you see is what I got".

Rain again off and on today, and before I started complaining about it I remembered the past few years of drought in North Carolina and how I longed to see a cloudy sky and rain.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thoughts about leaving

Morning sun on Sylvan Lake

This time last year I was itching to get on the road. Frustrated while waiting three weeks for my check to clear and facing a change in weather, I thought of my future as one of being constantly on the move. Now, a year later, I am very sad to be leaving New York although I know a change of weather is bound to come sooner or later. But I find that I like to stay a while and just enjoy being lazy, and of course, having family in the area makes me sad to leave.

I know so much more about my rig than I did starting out, which is just about 100% more. Unfortunately I didn't get much instruction or information about the various components of a 5th wheel, how to maintain them, or what to watch out for. I've made a lot of mistakes, as well as neglected things that I should have noticed and taken care of right away. But I'm still around to talk about it at any rate.

So what do I think after my first year of full time RVing (actually, ANY kind of RVing)? I covered a lot in my assessment of 6 months and, if anything, the same feelings have just become stronger. I wish I had something smaller and easier to handle than a 34' fifth wheel; I don't like to be constantly on the move, but to relax and get the feel of an area before moving on. Unfortunately when you are trying to beat the first snowfall, or get to a particular place by Christmas, you lose some of the fun of traveling. I like to stay in parks where the natural world is prominent, rather than groomed resorts with lots of amenities and activities. Maybe because I travel alone I enjoy being around others as I was during my first volunteer assignment at Lassen National Park, and I look forward to being able to volunteer in the national parks as long as I'm still on the road.

Surprisingly to me, I miss my house. I miss my furniture, my kitchen, my washer and dryer. I've never been one to become attached to "things", but I was very happy with what I had. My urge to travel and explore trumped everything, however, and I don't think I could live any other way, although I wish I had my house to go back to once in a while - sort of a home base.

And my faith in a Divinity has been strengthened. With all the dumb things I've done, the times I've taken the wrong turn and wondered if I'd ever find my way back, I know some higher power is looking after me, and I hope she continues to watch what I'm doing.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunny Sunday

The weather is mild and sunny this morning. When I walked the dog down by the lake I marveled at how gorgeous it always looks in the early morning, no matter what the weather, but when the sun shines across it, it is absolutely beautiful. Of course I keep forgetting to take my camera with me.

I might as well weigh in on the subject of the "it" factor of RV parks and campgrounds, as I have definite opinions and they are probably different than those of many other RVers. I have given this a lot of thought over the past few weeks, and realize that the campgrounds I comment on in my blog as being great places are those that are run by great folks. That isn't to say I don't appreciate scenery, spaciousness, and all the rest. But I like to walk into the campground office, tired from driving and from wondering if I will find a camping place before I get too tired, and be met with a welcome that makes me feel they have been waiting just for me, and yes, they have the perfect space, a level pull through.

I have come upon many such campgrounds in my year of travel, and some make me wish I could stay for a while whereas others are just a pleasant place to stop for the night. I could easily spend a few weeks at the Village of Trees on the Snake River in Idaho. What a beautiful and friendly place! I wouldn't even have to leave the grounds to go sightseeing, but could just loll around down by the river or at my campsite, or in the CG store.

The campground in Asheville I stayed at last year, and will return this year for at least 3 weeks, is also one of my favorite places. While the actual grounds are laid out very nicely, the location can be a bit noisy since it is so conveniently located right off I-40 and US 70. You can hear the diesel engines going back and forth to the interstate all hours of the day and night, there is a train track running parallel with I-40 and Rte 70, so you might as well enjoy hearing the whistle blow, and Gene Lummus Harley Davidson is right across the road. Last year they had a rally while I was in town and I found myself liking to watch them going by and hear that unique sound of the Harley.

Both these campgrounds are rich in the "It" factor to my way of thinking, but that is so subjective I wouldn't want to recommend either of them based on "It". The people who own and run these parks are the very best, and that makes them special to me.

In contrast, I stayed overnight at an RV resort in Indio CA last year and it was the worst place in my entire travels. It was in a beautiful location, immaculately groomed, squeaky clean in all areas, running over with amenities, and run by the snobbiest people I have ever met. Knowing that I was new at RVing (I told them so) they put me in a spot that would have been difficult for all but the most experienced driver to maneuver in to, with concrete islands here and there to make it more of a challenge, and then stood there trembling with worry that I would hit their precious palm tree as I pulled into my spot. If I hadn't already paid I would have just driven right on out the gate. It ruined me for anything with "resort" in the name from that time on.

So that is my take on the subject. YMMV. (Your mileage may vary).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I'll soon be on the road again

Time is quickly passing and my New York visit will soon be over for this year. I will probably leave next Thursday or Friday, depending on what kind of weather is predicted from here to Asheville, and I hope to be in Asheville for about 3 weeks before heading to Savannah.

A heavy rain is falling today and I get nervous when I hear a drip-drip-drip. It seems to be coming from several different areas, so I'm just hoping is is dripping off the roof or from the slides to the ground.

When I first started RVing I picked up a cheap pair of Wellies (Wellington boots) and every time it rains heavily I am so thankful I got them. They aren't the most comfortable boots to wear, but they keep your feet dry.

My three sons are in Ohio today - Columbus and the Ohio State football stadium this afternoon, and in Cincinnati to watch the Bengals play tomorrow. Of course they are loading up on favorite Cincinnati foods as well. Mike promised to bring me some goetta, a traditional German style breakfast sausage that we all love. My mother-in-law used to make it best, the way she learned from her German ancestors growing up on a farm in Celina, Ohio. I have made it myself and it isn't half bad, but my youngest son has turned out to be the best at it. In my younger days, when there was at least a bakery and a butcher shop in every neighborhood, all the butchers made and sold their own.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Baby steps

That's all I can take for now. This morning I imported a Willie Nelson CD into iTunes and it worked like a charm. The tracks aren't titled, but I remember the tutorial said you can go somewhere on line and it will pick up the titles. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get online with the air card, which is so frustrating. I will be sorry to leave New York but it will be nice to get decent coverage again, hopefully wi fi. I also imported some photos into iPhoto, but I need to download some more from the desktop onto the flash drive so I can continue. I'm just doing it by trial and error.

I cooked frijoles this morning and they are really good! I will use some in chili and also in a soup that I throw together. I am finding that I'm not at all happy with cooking in an RV. I have a relatively spacious kitchen, but when it comes to the prep work - chopping, mixing, etc. - I just don't have the space. The sinks are so small that I splash water everywhere when trying to clean up. I have always cleaned up as I go along, but for some reason it is much more difficult to do that now. Oh well, I still don't have it as difficult as the pioneer women, or women in many parts of the world today.

I'm still tired from the PA trip, so I think I will take a nap this afternoon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My new computer

I am absolutely wild about my new MacBook! I have spent nearly the entire morning playing around with it and learning some of the features -- in fact it is almost Noon and I'm still in pajamas.

I'm normally not a fan of tutorials. I learn by doing (and making lots of mistakes). But the Apple tutorials are very well done and I have found out how to import my photos as well as CD's. I had previously tried to get my photos loaded but could only do one at a time, which was very time consuming. I think I will be able to get them all off a flash drive now, and there are so many ways I'll be able to organize them. Same with the CD's - all I have to do to get my music on iTunes is to play a CD and import it. I went to the iTunes store looking for Bluegrass, and while I could find lists of individual songs to buy, I couldn't find a way to get a preview as I can on Amazon. If any Mac users know how to do this I would appreciate the help.

All in all this is one fantastic machine! I can't say I think it will come as easily to me as to a younger person who has grown up with this sort of technology, but I'm catching on fast enough to please myself. It is ironic - when I got the computer and took a look at what is available I thought to myself - I won't ever use iPhoto, or iTunes, etc. Now I can't wait to get started with them. I just love it when I occasionally break out of my old dinosaur mode.

It is surprisingly mild today but I understand we are going to have torrential rains this weekend - something about the remnants of a hurricane sweeping up to the northeast. I am perched on the edge of a hill - hope it doesn't wash us away.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A short but sweet visit

Saying "goodbye" is one of the most difficult things to do, I think. Maybe it just happens too often in a traveling lifestyle. I just love all my family, and Ara is my first grandchild. I was in the delivery room when she was born, and held her soon after she came into the world. She is special to me and I treasure every opportunity to be with her, as I know that with her busy schedule it will be more and more difficult to connect up with her in the future.

I arrived back in NY this afternoon, after delivering Ara back to her dorm room in plenty of time for her to get to class. The entire day has been overcast, but the fall colors and beautiful scenery of Pennsylvania made up for it. I need to go back out this evening and fuel up - I didn't stop in PA because their fuel prices are way higher than NY. But even NY is going up - I bought diesel the day before I went to PA, and when I passed the same station coming back into town it had gone up $.20/gal, but remains $.15-.25 less than in the Keystone State. I saw quite a few RV's on the road, mostly heading west. Soon I will be joining those driving south on I-81.

I recently decided to get my passport renewed and filled out the application to renew it by mail, and got the photos taken. According to the instructions, I went to their website to make sure that everything was being done right, but found out I had to use black ink whereas I used blue, and nowhere in the instructions did it tell me that I had to sign the photos or how they should be affixed to the app. Now I am planning to go to the post office and just pay the extra $25 to have them take the application and make sure everything is in order. I have also just about decided to simply get the passport card which will allow me into Canada, Mexico, or the Carribean. I don't plan to ever go back to Europe, so I think I'll be ok. One of the Lassen seasonal rangers goes backpacking in New Zealand during the winter, and did a good job of painting a glowing picture of it, but I don't think I will ever have the money for a trip to New Zealand. I just want to make it to the three U.S. states I haven't been to, maybe go to Mexico and certainly to a few of the provinces of Canada on my way to and from Alaska. Who needs a passport, and who needs all the hassle of dealing with that branch of the government. I worked for the government my whole life and I can tell you that most employees want to make things easier for their customers, while fulfilling the requirements set for them by their agencies and by Congress. Now everything under Homeland Security just seems to be intended to harass and make it difficult for folks to comply. I may be wrong, and I'm sorry if I'm not being fair to them.

It was nice having wi fi at the motel in Huntingdon PA. It worked well and was extremely fast. Ara and I both had our laptops, and it was fun visiting with my daughter and her family via Skype. We even got to see and talk to my son Joe's daughter, Alyssa, who was at their house yesterday, and although she is just short of two years old, she recognized Grandma. Jeannie is probably the most devoted mother I have ever known, and I know how much she worried about her daughter who was sick and alone. Things are looking up now though.

I need to unpack the few things I took and put them away, and then I am going to visit my grandsons this evening (and anyone else who happens to be there). Lady is just going to chill out at home, happy to be out of the truck.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A beautiful day here

Pennsylvania is sunny and mild this morning and definitely showing off her fall colors. You can't beat the east in fall because of the trees - yellow leaves are pretty, but it takes the scarlets and all the shades of red and gold to be a spectaclar display.

I think Ara is breathing a little easier now and coughing less, although she still has a way to go. Last night we talked to her mom & family on Skype, and it's great to actually see them all when we are talking. I'm not sure what we will do today although we will need to allow housekeeping time to straighten up the room. I'd like to go back to sleep for a while; I stayed in bed until 8:00 am but then got up to take the dog out and now I'm all showered and dressed.

Monday, October 19, 2009

In Pennslvania

I arrived before Noon, safe and sound, and Ara and I were soon at the local Emergency Room. They did a couple of tests and determined that she had indeed had the flu but that antibodies had developed. The bottom line is that she was seen by a doctor and given medication which should start to work quickly, and hopefully she will feel well enough to go to class on Wednesday. The college has been on Fall Break and classes will resume on Wednesday.

My intuition to not drive here on my way to New York was confirmed when I left the Interstate and started over the winding and steep, narrow road. The grade was 10% for several miles, plus the twists and turns, and would have made me a nervous wreck had I tried to pull my 5th wheel. Plus, I would have wanted to come back when Ara became ill, so in the end everything is coming up roses.

Ara and my daughter have Skype, and when I arrived at the dorm this morning I talked to Jeannie - it is so nice to be able to see her as we are talking. I will ask Ara to download the program so I can get in the circle as well. My son Joe has it as well, so we need to talk Mike and Steve into getting webcams and we are all set!

Dinner time for me, so I'll close this and post.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Just a quick post

I've spent a big part of today with family, and my grandsons bring me such joy. Tomorrow morning as early as I can get started, I am going to drive to Ara's college in Pennsylvania and get her to medical care. Of all times for it to happen, the college is closed and practically no one on campus until next Wednesday. Everything, including the cafeteria, is closed. She is very sick and seems to be getting worse, to the point where her breathing is affected. I know I can't possibly get there before Noon, but I will then take her to the nearest emergency room. Her primary medical coverage is with Kaiser Permanente in CA, and for some reason they can only call a prescription to a CVS or Walgreens pharmacy. The nearest one of those is in State College, PA, at least a 45 minute drive away, and nearly impossible for a 20 year old who is sick and without a car or anyone nearby. So Grandma is on the way, and I just hate it that I can't drive at night or I would leave now.

I may or may not post the next couple of days, but I certainly will update the blog when I get back.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The vent cover is on

Now I won't have to worry if it rains or snows, or if the wind blows, the hatches are all closed! Mike came over this afternoon with his two boys and took care of it. His 3 yr old asked if he could go up on the roof also, and at first I think Mike wanted to say no; finally he let him climb the ladder and helped him over the edge onto the roof. I got some cute pictures, but as I was watching a wiggly 1 yr old on the ground, couldn't take much time to set up the shot. I haven't downloaded them off my camera yet.

Mike also got my Apple keyboard and wireless mouse set up so they both work. It is odd, but when I plug in the USB air card I can't use the usb port next to it - the air card is too wide and there isn't room for another device next to it. We thought maybe it could be plugged into one of the two ports on the keyboard, but that isn't possible because of the lack of space available. I would seriously consider getting satellite if I had the money to plunk down for it, but then I read the blogs of those RVers who have to mess with the satellite, and there is usually one to go adjust and tinker with the dish, plus one inside the rig to shout hallelujah when it is working, and I can't be two places at once. So I will just continue to struggle with what I have and hope that Ft. Pulaski has wi fi, which they probably don't, so my next hope is that the AT&T air card works at super speed in the Savannah area.

It is fun having the grandchildren visit me on my turf. They are fascinated with the steps up to the bedroom area, and of course, the pedal flush on the toilet. A one year old quickly finds all the stuff he shouldn't be playing with: empty bottles saved for recycling; dog's water and food bowls; the dog bed upstairs covered with dog hair, and a host of other things. I am worn out in a short time, but I love it!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Gypsy, 1 year older and 10 years wiser! (2nd post)

I shouldn't be so quick to take a photo after the new haircut. It will look better after about a week, but here it is anyway.

I meet the nicest people!

They are everywhere. I finally got a thank you card mailed today to the folks at Hunter RV Park in Lakeview, Oregon. That was my first stop after leaving Lassen, and is just a short way into Oregon on Rte 395. While there I dropped my cell phone and didn't realize it was gone. (I have two cell phones so I didn't really miss it for a while). The folks at the park picked it up and called the last number I had dialed, which was my daughter, and she asked them to mail it to me in care of my son in New York. They told her not to send postage - they would take care of it. This park is Hunter RV Park, 18020 Hwy 395, Lakeview, OR 97630. They have pull thrus with full hookups, gas/diesel pumps as well as propane, and a fairly good sized convenience store. And of course, they have good and friendly people there.

This morning I went back to the print shop because I knew they took passport photos, and I've decided to renew mine which expires in January. The folks who own and work in the shop are so friendly, and I chatted with them for a while. When I went out to drive away I couldn't get the key to turn in the lock, nor could I budge the steering wheel. Fortunately for me a gentleman had just jumped the battery to his wife's car which was parked next to mine. I asked if he could help me, and he got the steering wheel to move so I could start the engine. As I was thanking him the woman told me he had just retired! I hope he has a wonderful retirement.

I then went to get my hair cut, and was very happy with the cut I got this time. It has taken over two months for the boy haircut to grow out enough to be trimmed, and this time I got a really excellent hairdresser. When she was finished I told her it was perfect, and she complimented me on having the good sense to realize how my hair grew and what style was best for the way it grew. I left there feeling great and I certainly hope she does too.

I stopped on the way home to talk to the guy who runs the auto wash/detailing shop that I took my Jeep to last year before I sold it. The buyer was wowed by the beauty inside and out, and how clean it was. I just wanted to tell the owner that I was glad he talked me into spending the money to have it detailed, as it was worth every penny. They do a wonderful job.

I got back to find two full propane tanks in the bay - the park owner took them out for me, drove them to the propane filling station in his truck, and put them back into the bay while I was gone. That is excellent service, I think. He also confirmed to me how to read the electric meter. I knew I either owed $20 so far or $200! Thankfully it is just $20 but I feared the worst because I've been using my electric heater to stay warm.

My son called and told me he and his wife would like for me and the dog to stay at their house, day or night, while it is so cold. I can manage ok, but it feels good to get the offer of a warm house.

I am so appreciative of all the kindness and friendliness that is being shown to me lately, and I hope I can spread the good cheer to others. It is catching, and how wonderful that is! This area of New York is still rural, although new housing is going in everywhere, but the attitudes are more easy-going, the stress levels seem to be lower, and it is a lovely place to be.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Air card a little better-2nd post Oct 15

I have been complaining and whining about my slow and sporadic internet connection via air card. While I'm sure it has something to do with location, I believe I found a partial fix for it, accidently. I thought I needed an updated map and info for my GPS so I bought a cord this afternoon to connect the GPS to my computer. When I inserted the USB into the slot next to my aircard, a message appeared on the screen to the effect "Why in the world are you using that slow slot - there are all these slots that are much faster on your machine. Use one of them." Aha, I began to wonder if maybe my aircard was suffering from the slow-slot syndrome. (Say that 3 times fast!) So I unplugged my usb's for the keyboard and mouse from the back of the computer and into the front, switching the aircard and GPS usb's to the back. Voila! So far my connection and speed have greatly improved, and I don't notice any difference in the keyboard or mouse. I still get messages that I'm not connected to the internet when I can look at the air card software screen and see that I am indeed connected, but things look a little better which is all I can hope for.

After all that,I connected to Garmin to find out they want $70 for an updated map! No way am I going to spring $70 for something I'm not even sure I need.

I found a little bakery today and bought a loaf of Italian bread plus a cherry coffee cake which they put into a box and tied with string. I could have cried I got so homesick for the old bakeries in Cincinnati. The bread sure beats anything at a supermarket bakery, and I'm now chowing down on some yummy coffee cake.

While in one of the stores today I heard a weather report for snow. I sure hope that station was coming from up north such as the Adirondacks, or even Montreal. I don't want to see snow this year.


I am so cold, but I need to get more propane for the furnace, and my electric usage has gone way up since I've been using the electric heater so much. So this morning I just got out my capilene long underwear and I am moderately warm except for my hands. I am really counting on Savannah being warm this winter.

I am so relieved since calling several medical providers in Asheville this morning, and getting 3 appointments in the first 2 wks in November. That is usually impossible because some of them are booked way ahead. I will leave NY the 30th of October so as to be on time to see my doctor the 2nd of November. I should be able to make it in 3 days but I'm counting on decent weather.

My laptop will be ready this evening and I'm looking forward to getting it back with Word loaded. I need to figure out what I want to move from my desktop over to the Mac. I have tons of pictures, many of them from my genealogy hobby, and they really need to be better organized and indexed, but I've lost many of my organizational skills in the past few years. It is ironic that the better I become at achieving a relaxed attitude, the better my life is but my practical skills are being lost or forgotten in the process. I will take that as a good thing, and just one more advantage to becoming older - Lord knows, I need every advantage I can get!

I have ordered 100 business cards printed with my address, phone #, email address and blog website. They come in handy when meeting and exchanging info with other RVers. I had a few that were printed for me by the mail forwarding company I signed on with in South Dakota, but I hope to meet lots of folks while I'm in the southeast this winter and will need a good supply of cards. Two hundred fifty cards would have been only $5 more but I ask myself, "Gypsy, do you think you will live long enough to distribute 250 cards?" I decided that when I'm down to the last 10 or so cards I'll just order another 100, and that way I'm not tempting fate!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I have a lot to learn

I realized that after using my new laptop just a short while last night. I have difficulty adjusting the screen - nothing I am working on stretches out to fit the area I'm working in. The picture in the blog header has never fit the screen and it doesn't with this one either. I really need to learn how to use this beautiful machine to my greatest benefit, and that will take time. First of all, it is planning to teach me a lesson in patience.

Many of the RV bloggers are experimenting with color and size in their daily blogs, and I think they really look good. I thought about it for myself, but I'm sure I would mess it up to the point I'd never recover and then there would be no more "Gypsy's on the road again". It ain't broke and I ain't gonna fix it!

I took my truck for an oil change today and got a new air filter. The old one was filthy from the Lassen dust. Now I need to check the water levels in my RV batteries, a job I dislike intensely. To make matters worse my big flashlight has been lost, "lifted", or misplaced, and without it I can't even see the water level. Then, the dreaded job of getting up on the roof and determining if I can get the new vent cover on. Of course I can do it, but I'm not gonna like doing it and I have no idea how to begin.

I've talked long enough about what I need to do, so I'd better get moving on it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My New Toy!

The Mac has arrived, and I am typing this blog on it. I absolutely am going to LOVE it even more when I figure everything out! I am using Safari, which seems to be fairly intuitive, although I miss the old familiarity of Firefox. I can always download that if I choose. I have even checked my email and replied to and sent one.

I bought the extra keyboard with number pad but haven't used it yet. I probably wouldn't have needed it since the laptop keyboard is so comfortable and easy to use. The touchpad is easier to use than I thought it would be, even though I'm still just clicking it, not anything fancy. There is a lot to learn but so far I give it an A+, and while it set me back a bundle of $, I'm so glad I got it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's getting cold in New York

The thermometer registered 30F when I got up this morning. I didn't look at the indoor thermometer but I know it was chilly. I don't like the furnace going on and off all the time, so I usually turn it off during the day, and forgot to reset it before I went to bed last night. I don't think I'm ready for the cold.

I didn't work on the carpet yesterday, nor did I visit the recycling center. I dropped my bottles and cans off in my son's bin and visited for a while, and then we took Katy to catch her train back into the City. Then we went to West Point, to the commissary and px. The fall colors are nearly perfect around the Point, but no matter the season I think that is about the most beautiful site in the entire state!
Later on after a roast beef dinner, Mike entered the order for my new Mac, and I should allow 8 days to get it, although I'm told they like to give the maximum amount of time it should take, but that it will likely ship much sooner. I didn't order any bells and whistles with it, but I did get an Apple keyboard with number pad. I have a wireless mouse as well as a USB mouse, so I plan to try them both and if neither does a good enough job I can always order an Apple Mouse. A friend of Mike's was pretty adamant that I order Apple Care, and Katy was insistent about it as well. I normally hate to buy insurance on anything I buy new, but this seems to be an important point with the Apple. In the long run it will be worth it to me to have the peace of mind. At least I've never heard that Apple goes out of their way to deny a claim when something does go wrong.

So today I have to get back to the mundane things in life, like carpet cleaning, and I'm finally going to put the winter sheets on my bed.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Day

To all the Canadian readers. Enjoy your turkey with all the trimmings, and family and friends.

I'm going to be busy today with trying to clean the rest of my carpet. I did about 1/3 of the living area yesterday (or more like 1/4) and after drying it looks ok. Not all the spots came out, but at least I know the rug is fairly clean for now. I may have it steam cleaned in a month or so and see what they can do with the stubborn remnants of Lassen volcanic soil. The total area is so small (compared to a regular house or apartment), so it's difficult moving things around. I have some dining chairs lined up in the bedroom, and the kitchen floor is filled to capacity. Yesterday I wiped the wood surfaces with wood polish, but now I notice the little spaces around the windows that have collected Lassen dirt as well. It will never end. I have never been an obsessive house cleaner, and this is not my idea of a good time!

I knew it was cold last night when the heat came on several times. I have the setting at the lowest possible, which is 50F, I believe. The sun is shining this morning so it has probably warmed up already. I'm off soon to find a place to leave my recycling - I've been carrying it around since I left California. I can't believe that RV parks don't have recycling bins, but believe it or not they don't, even in Oregon. By now I have a good collection of Miller bottles and cans, and will probably see a smirk or a raised eyebrow when I take them to be turned in. For a nickel a bottle and can they can smirk all they want.

I've procrastinated long enough this morning - back to work for me.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A wasted effort

I typed a nearly complete update and because of the poor connection, I lost the whole thing. I won't even try to recreate it.

I have decided on the 15" MacBook Pro. While I would like the 17" screen it costs several hundred dollars more, and I think the smaller one will be much better for the RV and for portability. Now I just have to get Mike to order it (at his discount) and hopefully I will get used to it quickly. I haven't decided for sure whether to order the MS Office package or go with the Apple iWork (I think that's what it is called). I've never really cared one way or another for Word, but it's familiar to me and I can use both Word and Excel. I think it is about $80 more than iWork, so that may be the deciding factor. I don't do anything fancy with it but use it more as a temporary storage for text I plan to do something else with.

I decided not to go to the fire house Open House today as they didn't get started until about 11:30 this morning. It takes at least an hour to get there, and I was worried about getting back to walk Lady this afternoon. I drove over to Camper's Barn, only a few miles from here, to check on vent covers for over my shower. They told me that the installation would only take me about 1/2 hour - that means I should allow a full hour, or maybe two. I am not even sure I can do it myself, and I HATE to get up on that roof!

I've been cleaning the carpet a small section at a time, by hand, and it looks a lot better. I bought a heavier duty vacuum cleaner than the one I had, and that makes a big difference - at least it gets up more of the dog hair. Life would be so simple without a dog.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Look forward to shopping today

Really. I normally don't like to shop at all. I'm picking up my niece, Katy, who will take the train out from NYC and bring her Mac Book. First she needs to go to Target, and luckily I was just there so I know how to get there and also how to get back home. Then tomorrow we will all go south to one of those towns I always get confused about - Harrison, Mamaroneck, Rye, etc., where there is an open house at the fire department. My daughter-in-law's uncle is a volunteer fireman, and the kids will enjoy seeing the equipment and so on. Heck, after my experience with fires this summer, I will enjoy it. Then I might get a chance to get to Costco and I have my list prepared.

But this afternoon I will get some one-on-one with the Mac to see if it's the one for me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A better day is coming

After a rainy and windy day yesterday, it looks like today will be lovely. I'm going to drive to Walmart for a couple of items and then stop at the grocery. I slept well last night thanks to the Benadryl and the cough medicine, and I'm hoping I can ward off bronchitis. That's what it feels like I'm trying to get, and not the flu.

I've had a call in for mobile RV service for a couple of days, but the guy has never called me back. I got his voice mail yesterday and left another message. Somewhere along the way I lost the dome vent cover over the shower. I didn't realize it until it started raining a couple of days ago I duct taped a small piece of tarp over it but the winds blew it away yesterday, so I then folded it to fit beneath the fan where I hoped the wind wouldn't catch it. There are gaps which let in the cool air, but the tarp is still in place. I am thinking about going to Campers Barn later and if they have them in stock I might buy it there, although I'm not sure I could install it properly. How I hate getting on that roof, especially with a strong wind blowing.

I thought the clouds reflecting in Sylvan Lake this morning made a pretty picture.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I think I have the flu

It started about 36 hrs ago with a slight sore throat but no other symptom. I looked it up online and found that to have swine flu rather than another type of flu, you must have a fever and body aches, and I had neither. By early yesterday evening the slight fever hit and I developed a bit of a cough so I went to bed early. This morning I have the feeling that laryngitis isn't far away. I am still in denial about the swine flu, but time will tell I guess. What in the world will I do cooped up in this 5th wheel alone for a week, and without any computer amusement except in the morning. I sure hope I didn't give it to my grandsons!

It rained heavily last night and this morning is very mild. As usual, all the geese on the lake take off when Lady and I come into sight, and their wings flapping in unison sounds like a drum roll.

Thanks to each and every person who commented on my computer problems. I had originally hoped I could salvage my desktop (I love the monitor, if nothing else) as I am so familiar with the XP operating system. I have come to realize that it is not really salvageable, nor is the laptop, so whether Mac or PC I will want something that isn't so out of date. I had a shopping trip planned for the coming weekend but that's out of the question now.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The best of intentions . . .

. . . fall by the wayside sometimes. There are so many things I need to do but feel like I'm coming down with something. I have the beginnings of a sore throat, so I didn't do much today except take it easy. I tried to run a couple of errands but both businesses are closed on Mondays, so I came back to the Park. Somewhere in my travels I lost the water pressure regulator, so I bought a new one at Walmart and finally hooked it up today. I had also bought carpet for the rear entry steps and got those put on. They really make a difference - to me and especially to the dog.

I've been wondering what to do about my filthy carpet so I tried to do some research on the net today. I may have to wait until I reach Savannah to get it steam cleaned, or if I can find one, buy a small Green Machine and do it myself. I wouldn't mind doing it, but after looking at the Rug Doctor that you can rent, decided it was much too large to fool with in this small space.

I still am having computer troubles, and still can't decide what to replace both computers with. I would get another PC when Windows 7 comes out, for close to half the cost of a Mac. On the other hand, I would still have the problems with firewalls, virus protection, constant annoying security updates, and the like. Additionally, I would have to learn a completely new operating system (no one can tell me it will be anything like any previous Microsoft OS), so I might as well learn a new system that is better to begin with. I hate spending the money when I only need email and internet, but there is nothing in between that I can see. I hope I can hold out until Windows 7 is released, and until I can look and try out my niece's Mac.

The leaves are starting to turn and fall here, and autumn has definitely arrived in the Northeast. Winter won't be far behind. I never thought I would live to see the day I'd be too old to want to hang around a cold environment, although I wouldn't choose to be in either Florida, the Gulf Coast, or the desert. Isn't there someplace north that has a decent winter climate?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Not much of a shopping experience-2nd post

I stopped by Mike & family's house, had some coffeecake and got directions to the Mall. I looked at Target and Best Buy for computers and televisions. Best Buy is a store I've boycotted for several years because of a negative experience I had, but I knew they carried PC's as well as the Mac, so I tried it. I also hoped they would be able to tell me something about the upcoming Windows 7, but customer service is non-existent there. Although there were staff in the department, they were helping men only - I saw several women looking at different computers, and not one staff person offered to help, nor did they ask if I needed assistance. They were standing around talking with each other - those who weren't busy helping guys.

I'm sorry, and probably every male reader will think I'm imagining it, but I'm not and it is true. But then I've never been to a Best Buy where the staff seems anxious to offer anyone assistance. Customer service: ZERO!

Then I stopped at Target (mainly because I had to go through it to get to the parking lot) and looked at TV's. I am considering a small flat screen that is also inexpensive. Even at $199, is it worth it to me to get approx. 5 channels - History, Animal Planet, Weather, PBS, and HGTV? Even those 5 can be worthless most of the time - History does a good job with some of its programs, but it repeats itself over and over (pun intended).

I think I have a negative attitude when I go shopping, thinking I won't find anything I need, except for when I go with my daughter or granddaughter. Then I have fun watching them in action and just waiting around for them to make up their minds.

More on internet woes

Thanks to everyone who has responded to my dilemma of what kind of computer to get. I think I will go shopping today and just look around. Windows 7 won't be available until the end of October, and it's a long time until the end of October from where I'm sitting.

I just checked the AT&T coverage map and where I am located is solidly in the blue, so I can't understand why I'm not getting a decent signal.

More later -

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rainy Saturday

It rained heavily during the night and it has been raining off and on all day today. I spent the morning with my son and his family, and now I think I'll take a nap. Sunny days ahead.

For the readers who have wondered why I'm not in chat lately, the aircard service is really bad. I don't know why that is - location, or whatever - but it will be a long month in New York if I don't get it to work; also, my computer is running
s - l - o w!

Someone told me that if you only use a computer for surfing the web and email, which is definitely 99% of my usage, you might as well not spend the money on a Mac. They feel that you can get a new computer with Windows 7 for a lot cheaper, and sure you have constant updates and security patches, but just deal with it. I really don't know what to do, but if I don't get a Mac I certainly need a new computer that isn't using old technology. My experience is that when you buy a computer offered at a really cheap price, they are selling you old stuff and you won't be happy with it for long. That has been my experience with both my Dell desktop and laptop. Any comments on that?

Friday, October 2, 2009

In New York--Poor aircard service

I made it to Sylvan Lakes campground yesterday afternoon and have been trying to get on the internet ever since. I should get this blog update out in a hurry before I lose it! The trip went well although it was drizzly most of the way. Traffic around Wilkes Barre and Scranton PA is horrendous, and I will have to drive it again in a month! I still beats going anywhere near I-95 though.

The sites here are all back in. I tried over and over to do it; then quit for a while and drove, with the 5ver attached, to a local Stop & Shop. Bad move, as there are concrete islands scattered everywhere, and definitely a minimum of space for a large vehicle much less a pickup and 5th wheel. I came back to the park, tried one more time, and then phoned the owner to tell him I just couldn't do it.

He took me back up to where he said I should pull across two empty sites, allowing me to hook up to whatever I needed, until a 5th wheel owner came back to the campground and could help me. I told him I was going to try again in an end site that he had me pulled across. While I was attempting it a man came out from a large motorhome and directed me to turn the wheel this way and that, and got me in. After I was securely in the spot and hooked my electric up, the three of us stood around and talked for about an hour. What nice folks!

The owner asked me later if I was offended that a man helped me, and I told him absolutely not - I would accept help from a man or a woman when I need it. What in the world has happened to our society when a person is hesitant to offer help solely because of gender.

I drove over to my son's house last night, which is about 5 miles away. I returned about 9:30 in the dark and made a wrong turn, ending up in a neighborhood of very expensive houses near the lake. It took me about half an hour to finally find the road to the park, and I swore I won't ever go out after dark again. I was so disoriented after a few turns, and the GPS was bonkers. Thankfully I was just driving the truck.

Lady and I walked down by the lake this morning and scared off a large flock of Canada geese. They sure make a loud noise when they take off together. She hasn't seen them yet, but there are a lot of deer in the area and they seem pretty tame. That is one thing she would like to chase, so I will have to be very careful to hold on to her leash.

I have a lot of work to do - still haven't cleaned some things since I left Lassen, but I hope I can take it easy for a day or two. What a long drive, and with a big setback, at that!