Tag Archives: wifi

Homecoming for Our Rolling Home

picture of airstream service center

THE Airstream Service Ctr

We are in Jackson Center Ohio, home of all modern Airstreams and our favorite place for service work. Our Airstream trailer was born here almost nine years ago. Bringing it back is a fun event for us, if sometimes expensive at $109/hour for service work.

All that's left of the side window

We long ago planned for this service visit. The timing is great, just after Hamvention Jim is willing and able to do almost all our RV’s maintenance work. Some things, though, are either more daunting or just plain messy. We replaced our rooftop antenna recently and figured the factory guys would be better fishing the coax above the ceiling into the front roof locker. Jim has cleaned and repacked our wheel bearings and decided this is a job worth paying for.

Having broken one of the expensive tempered windows, Jim is reluctant to mess with hinge adjustments.

Our rolling home has been here previously. The Airstream Service Center has done some great work on our RV. Full-timers need a good place to have work performed. One could go anywhere on the continent for this, especially as full-timers. Although 500 miles distant from our former home in Charlotte NC, many of our local unit members preferred to bring their Airstreams to the factory for excellent repairs and ready access to all needed parts and materials. We brought ours here for warranty work and were similarly impressed. We’ve returned a couple of times.

We’re parked in Airstream Company’s terraport, a nice camping area 150 yards from the customer service center. You can hardly beat the price, $10/night or free the night before and after your service appointment. Where else can we find water/electric/sewer connections for $10?

The customer waiting area is very comfortable, if chilly from over-cooling. Great wifi (can you tell? Jim’s using it now), free cookies and coffee, and comfortable seating. Best benefit? The company store has all the parts and accessories we need and many we don’t need but enjoy browsing through. It helps keep our minds off the rising labor cost of our repairs and improvements in the service center.

Verizon seems nearly non-existent in Jackson Center OH. Verizon provides all our phone AND wireless stuff, which usually works just great. Not here. We’ve been fortunate to use courtesy wifi at Airstream’s customer service center, but it only serves 25 users.

Within a couple of days we expect another one or two hundred RVs to Jackson Center OH for Alumapalooza, a big fun RV rally held on the Airstream factory and service center grounds. There may not be enough wifi to go around a few days from now. We’ll post again when we find connectivity. Or maybe we can use the phone in the dishwashing kitchen while we’re working down our repair bill.

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie

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©2007-2013 Dreamstreamr


10 full-timing issues – a quick overview

Yesterday we responded to a great question from Mary about the best and worst of full-timing. When you first saw yesterday’s title a couple of readers with us through April Fools Day might have thought we were going to pull your leg again. No, we’re on a really straight streak here.

First, you have to find a place for all your stuff

Mary also asked, “How do you do this gig” (in so many words). We thought we would present an overview of ten somewhat distinct functions we deal with on the road. These things are common to all of us, but how we do it on the road may be a little different from when we owned a house.

Banking, mail forwarding, medical care, hair grooming, clothes replacement, grocery stuff are easy to manage. Also easy is cell phone and wifi/internet. What about residency and hauling books around? Okay, these are the ten things for today.

You have many choices on how to do approach all these aspects and to what degree. We bank electronically, have our mail forwarded by Escapees (Escapees.com), carry health insurance for physicians across the nation, are happy with Great Clips or SuperCuts, buy clothes at good thrift stores, and have courtesy cards for discounts at grocery stores from Alaska to Florida.

Small and capable amateur radio equipment

Our cell phone is Verizon, it works almost everywhere it should. But some of the western states have a lot of nothing in between the coverage areas. It just happens. Ham radio still has coverage in those zones, so we’re both licensed amateur radio operators and truck and trailer are equipped for listening and talking.

Always stop at Tim Hortons for coffee, a donut, and to ask about wifi

If we can’t get wifi from a bakery or coffee shop or grocery store then we’ll use our Verizon usb modem. At only 5gb/month we can’t stream movies or much music. We use it for email, internet look-ups, and maintaining our blog and website.

We have XM radio in the trailer and listen primarily to sixties and seventies rock and public radio. Some states have good National Public Radio broadcast coverage and we enjoy picking it up on FM broadcast. If we don’t like those choices we can resort to our iPod’s music collection through the trailer’s stereo.

Our portable library

Our library is almost exclusively paperback or e-books. We keep four or five paperbacks we can swap out at a campground for some we haven’t read or at least don’t remember. We don’t store much paperwork, generally we scan and save documents then destroy the hard copies. A couple of vital records stay locked in our safe.

Twice we’ve sought urgent medical care, once in Great Falls and once in Dayton. The care was prompt, adequate and effective. We paid out of pocket (with HSA pre-tax bucks) because our deductible is very high. We have high deductible to keep our rates lower.

For now we continue to get our dental work in NC with our same wonderful dentistry. We’re visiting once a year anyway and we schedule this for our time there. Sometime it may not work out but so far we’ve liked this plan. Again, we pay out of pocket for this care.

We did not change our residency from NC. An exhaustive study will show what is best for you. We considered property tax, income tax, sales tax, vehicle registrations, impacts upon health and liability rates, and we found no compelling reason to change our residency. Most of our family lives in NC so we’ll visit every year and can usually take care of business while there.

We can vote absentee if we’re too far from the polls. Our income is below the cut-off. We have only a truck and a trailer, both seven years old, as property. Sales tax is of no consequence since we don’t stay anywhere long enough to spend, and don’t foresee buying another RV. NC has worked well with us on inspections and annual registration and our insurance rates are fine, for now.

Life on the road is good for us. We fly home to see our children, siblings, and parents at least once a year. We have fun, play tennis in as many cities and communities as we can. We enjoy taking it as it comes, seeing the select cuts of North America.

What are we missing? We miss our Dilworth United Methodist Church, we miss having space to entertain indoors, and we sort of miss our beautiful home. But we don’t miss these things: shrubs to trim, tree limbs falling or gutters overflowing, driveway cracking, or drains backing up. What keeps us going without all these joys of home ownership? Life on the road is good! We’re loving it and when we don’t, we’ll quit.

Yesterday’s sunset on Lake Superior

This has been a pretty quick overview. Most of these, we think, are covered in our web site’s FAQ pages (hmm, maybe we should look into this?) What did we leave out? What else would be helpful? Let us know, we’ll go some more.

Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamr odyssey, chasing 75 degrees

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©2007-2012 Dreamstreamr

What’s a weekend without wifi?

Sitting outside the RV before sun-up this morning.  Chilly, around 50 degrees and no wind.  The sky is brightening but no sunlight hitting the trees high all ‘round us.

Strong steady whishing noise from through the trees south and west of our RV, must be Sol Duc River.  The river isn’t large or deep, but has that nice whitewater rushing water sound.  Debbie says this one sounds like white noise.

Before leaving bed, grabbed a camera to capture this view from the pillow through our bedroom window.  The nice part of camping in the forest or a field almost anywhere — leave the shades open at night.

Our window view up from the bed pillow

No streetlights burning brightly in, just pitch black everywhere.  It helps we’re under a new moon and amongst densely-packed tall trees.  Clear skies, unlike most times last week in Lacey, if we look straight up in this small clearing.

We drove 101 north from Olympia along Hood Canal (not a canal at all, but the sole glacier-formed fjord in continental USA, 600 feet deep and huge) through a series of small towns.  Much of this we recognized from our visit two years ago with a WBCCI caravan, National Landmarks West.

Lake Crescent on Olympic Peninsula

Through Port Angeles we drove and onward alongside Lake Crescent, a large and deep glacier-formed beautiful blue lake ringed with tree-covered slopes.  We were surprised not a single sailboat was on the lake despite steady winds across the water (We read later, personal watercraft not allowed on this lake). The day is a little cool – are they awaiting a warmer day?

The road from 101 into Olympic National Park evoked memories of Natchez Trace in Tennessee, a paved long and narrow road through the forest.  But this road to Sol Duc Resort Campground is through old growth Douglas firs, every other one seems six feet and greater diameter.

The 1912 Sol Duc Resort was pretty grand

More than 95 years ago was built a four-story resort at these Sol Duc hot springs.  The picture of the resort evokes thoughts of the grand destination lodges built by the American and Canadian rail line companies in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.  But this one lasted only four years before it burned to the ground.

Sol Duc has two campgrounds, the National Park one and the “Resort” one.  The latter has 20 sites and electricity and water hookups but no comfort stations or toilets.  The former has 82 sites, no hookups but vault toilets.  The national park one has paved roads and sites.  The resort is dirt and rocks.

We’re in the Resort campground.  For the $32 per night price we were expecting to be a little wowed.  Far from it, though — this is a gravel parking lot with railroad ties defining camping spaces between 13 and 18 feet wide.  And the utilities post sits at the back edge, each serving two sites.

Space is tight, sites are not deep enough to park the truck lengthwise in front of the trailer and aren’t wide enough to park the truck crosswise.  We moved our truck this morning to provide a departing camper necessary clearance.

The Resort is a small two-story lodge building, pools, and collection of small KOA-style cabins situated on the other side of the river, 300 yards from our campsite.  Three 25’ diameter wading pools are the hot springs.  And a 60’ long unheated swimming pool attracted no adults during our brief reconnoitering.

Sol Duc Resort Lodge 2010

The “lodge” houses offices, a gift shop, a small camping store with beer, charcoal lighter, firewood, marshmallows (the things you wish you hadn’t forgotten).  And there’s a restaurant.  But no wifi, no lounge area to hang out.  We’re a lot surprised an area calling itself a resort lacks these.

Lest you think we’ve lost sight of who and where we are, we’re not complaining about the accommodations.  We only are commenting.  Television holds no attraction for us, wifi and phone service are conveniences we’re fine without.  Well, sort of fine, we think.  But how will we spend our time?

We’re in a designated wilderness area and need to take full advantage of the benefits.  This is an incredibly gorgeous national park.  We’re glad we’re here.  Numerous hiking trails provide us opportunities for seeing more of the old growth forest, and the river’s falls, and some nearby lakes.  We’ve met nice folks.  And it IS dark and quiet at night, as we said.

Let’s go hiking!  The resort provides a trails map indicating several hikes and mileages.  Our first day out we don’t need a long hike, maybe a couple or three miles.  We chose one listed as 0.8 miles each way.  It doesn’t say, and we didn’t check, the starting location.  It would have been a good idea.

How big are these old Douglas Firs?

The trail is Sol Duc Falls trail from one side, and is named Lovers Lane loop from the other end at the resort.  It’s a very nice walk up one side of the river to the Sol Duc River falls and back the other side of the river through old growth forest.  On closer inspection, after our hike, the map shows distances for each trail from the trail’s respective trailhead.  Makes sense, but means you either drive to the trailhead or add the walking distance from campsite to trailhead.

Sol Duc Falls

Our hike was six miles, more than we bargained for our first day out but still a nice walk in the woods.  Second day we hiked the ancient grove nature trail, less than a mile-long loop.  It is beautiful and we would have enjoyed another mile or two of it.  Still, we deserve a long soak in the hot springs, right?  We paid $12 per adult for all the soaking we can take in a day

One pool is pretty warm at 104 degrees, one is less so, and one is barely warm.  We spent over an hour in the warmest pool, kneeling on the bottom so water was up to our necks.  The pool was so crowded, at 4:30 in the afternoon, we felt like sardines packed in a tin.  A movement back or left or right and we bumped into someone.

Hot springs pools at Sol Duc resort

And four of five of the someones were non-English speaking.  We thought we recognized Russian, German, and Japanese, but we weren’t certain.  We heard almost no English amongst the over one hundred people crammed into this warm pool.  Fortunately, 5:00 rolled around and enough people trickled out to make more room in the pool.

Our third day we hiked to Mink Lake, a 5.2 mile round trip with 1,500 feet elevation gain.  We passed through stands of very tall Douglas firs and were amazed at the great piles of fallen trees we frequently saw from the trail.  The hike up to Mink Lake took a little longer than the return trip for only one reason:  blueberries.

We stopped ten minutes on our way up to pick and eat blueberries.  Most were not fully ripened but we each ate a half-cup of pretty good berries.  We couldn’t have denied it either — our hands were deeply stained from some of the ripe berries.

Mink Lake seemed small, maybe an acre or two at most.  An old backpacker’s shelter and fire ring provide one of several designated campsites for backpackers.  Blueberry bushes abound on the lake’s south shore and the berries are larger and in clusters instead of singles like we found on the trail.

Mink Lake in ONP

We donned our fleeces and sat in the very cool afternoon long enough to share a snack bar.  Sunlight was fading and air temperature, which hadn’t exceeded 60 degrees, was falling.  So we packed up and hiked back down to our silver home at Sol Duc Resort.

Absent any wifi, we spent more time reading, hiking, and writing.  We’re craving connectivity, but appreciating the calm and un-busy nature of our days here.  This has been a nice visit in a very nice forest.   Maybe the resort has it figured out after all?

Today, Labor Day, it’s pouring down rain in Forks, 15 miles west of Sol Duc.  We’re in the Thriftway Outfitters/Grocery/Bakery, adjacent to the Dew Drop Inn (yep, another one).  Every other storefront in Forks includes either a store name or a feature with “Twilight”.  We had no idea whatsoever, never heard of Twilight series before.  Different layers of life — even frequent wifi doesn’t reveal all. . .

Jim and Debbie
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©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr

How high do we have to go to cool off?

Something’s happened to our 75 degrees, and it isn’t just the metric conversion. Somewhat suddenly, yesterday, we spilled out from nice cool mountains onto parched hilly grasslands. Our daily high temperatures soared from high 70s to mid-90s as we hit the western side of the Kootenay Mountain range.

Grand Forks offered us one cool moment yesterday morning, we stopped in a Tim Horton’s Restaurant to check for wifi. Nope, you guessed it, they didn’t have wifi in this Tim Horton’s either. We’ll keep checking and let you know when we find a Tim Horton’s with wifi, though. The coffee and pastry were, as usual, excellent.

We’re stopped for two nights in the Kettle River RV Park near Rock Creek, B.C. It is a nice park with two very large irrigated and manicured lawn areas and river access. One of the park customs is to sit in your folding chair in the river. The Kettle River runs slowly and looks between 18″ and 42″ deep. We’ll probably find ourselves in it today.

Today’s temperature is 91 degrees, and the forecast for tomorrow is 97. Time for us to beat it out of here, gain some altitude before we stop again. Let’s see, 5 degrees per 1,000 feet, we need 3,000 feet. We drove up and down between 2,200 and 5,200 feet three times yesterday before landing on this hot side of the mountains.

We’ve spent the past four hours in a coffee shop in Rock Creek getting more than our $2 worth of wifi. Kent and Denise serve superb coffee and we love their cheese corn muffins and fresh baked sausage rolls. The wifi is also excellent, very fast. Jim completed his tasks including downloading needed updates, checking news, and responding to email. Debbie reconciled our accounting and checked her emails.

We’ll leave Kettle River RV Park tomorrow morning early, see if we can find a cool, shady spot for a couple of nights.

See You Down The Road!

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr