Browsing "Communications & Electronics"
May 7, 2013 -

What a Sunny Morning!

There is just something about a sunny morning that is absolutely invigorating. It can be super hot or super cold out, doesn’t matter. I makes me bounce out of bed energized by the possibilities of the day.

Since this is my last chance to be on FHU for a bit, I have a long enough to-do list that I may end up staying a third night. The number one priority for today is laundry, and then getting the black tank emptied and rinsed. Tomorrow could then be a rest day since it’s another really full day to Minot.

My border and arrival plan keeps changing, but I think I finally have it down. The big thing is Canadian internet. I thought I was going to have to go to Medicine Hat to buy the only internet device with a decent bandwidth package, but… things keep improving.

Bell now has several devices with that ginormously generous, won’t hear me bitch about it, bandwidth package, at least one of which, a stick, doesn’t need 120V power the way the Turbo Hub does. Moreover, it’s ZERO down for a 2-year commitment AND I could buy it at a number of points along the Canadian route to my property, including in Estevan, Weyburn, and Assiniboia!

That changes everything as far as my reentry plans. Now that I don’t have to drop the RV and go to Alberta, I’m in no rush to land. So if I pulled out of Hankinson Thursday (three nights here total), I would get to Minot Thursday night and then Friday it would be about an hour and a half to the border at Portal and another 45 minutes or so to the Walmart in Estevan where is a The Source store within walking distance at which I could buy my internet device.

In Estevan, I could make sure both my computers can get online and also stock up on supplies (fresh goods that wouldn’t make it across the border; I’m also getting supplies in Minot). And then Saturday, I would have a leisurely three hourish drive to my property.

When I bought the property last year, there was cell coverage in Assiniboia but not my village. Coverage maps now show full coverage in southern Saskatchewan. So I am hopeful I will have internet at ‘home’ with a device bought in SK.

This route does mean that I will likely have to purchase fuel in Canada for the final leg of the trip. But I did more research on the Scobey/Coronach crossing and really don’t think it’s a good idea to cross there. For one thing, they close early, so I’d be racing the clock to arrive from Minot. For another, 22 cars a day in the height of summer is a big rush for them. So I’m worried that I would be providing them with a bit of ‘entertainment’ if you catch my drift. And I would be automatically suspicious for crossing there with my Alberta-plated vehicles as it is a crossing used mostly by locals. I’ll feel more comfortable using that crossing when I am plated in SK and can declare the village to be my home base.

There is a Saskatchewan snow melt map making the rounds of the internet and it is really impressive. Looks like there is almost no more snow in that province! AND the risk of flooding is just about gone! Woohoo! These warm temps should give my property just enough time to dry out enough to not be a festering marsh by the time I arrive.

Next thing to figure out: how I am going to deal with grass. Hopefully it will be a local teenager (I don’t mind mowing, but I’d rather not have to buy and maintain a mower). And I hope no one gives me flack for not taking care of the lawn last year. Ah, all shall be revealed in just a few days…

Finally, a bit of a semantics lesson. I’m having a hard time coming up with the right word to describe ‘my property.’ It is not and will likely never be ‘home.’ Home is MIRANDA. Full-timers get that, but most other folks don’t. Home is also wherever Miranda is parked. Ergo, while Miranda is parked on my property, my property will be ‘home.’ But I can’t say it enough, I am not ‘going home’ this week.

I have a name chosen for my property, but I won’t reveal it until I land and get a feel for the neighbours. Needless to say, it’s another Firefly reference. 🙂

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Boondocking/Dry camping, Campgrounds, Canada, Communications & Electronics, Countries, Internet, North Dakota, Personal, RV Pad, Saskatchewan, Technical, Travel, USA, Weather    8 Comments
May 5, 2013 -

A Cold Nebraska Morning

Last night was perfect hibernating, I mean sleeping, conditions. I got nine straight hours. WOW!

I had a bit of a hard time finding the movie theatre in Columbus yesterday. I saw the sign by the road telling me I was in the general vicinity of it but could not find the building. I circled around the plaza for a bit until I saw some teenage boys holding soft drinks and popcorn bags come out of unmarked doors to what looked like a strip mall. I parked and walked through those doors to find a tiny mall with a few stores. I had to run a craft fair/Tupperware party gauntlet before I finally found the cinema.

It was your typical small town cinema, a couple of theatres and reasonable enough prices to make popcorn a treat, not a ridiculous indulgence. I ended up going for the 3D showing, but I won’t be doing that again. I had seen ‘Brave’ in 3D and was totally immersed, but with Iron Man 3, all I really got from the 3D glasses was blurriness at the periphery of my vision. Otherwise, I had a fun time as the movie is hilarious and makes up for the second one. I’m glad I saw ‘The Avengers’ in Hampton Roads, otherwise Iron Man 3 would have made almost no sense.

I got in and made my first real meal at home in AGES (pork chops, broccoli, rice) and then I settled down to watch another movie.

It’s another slow morning, but I’ll be doing a good cleaning blitz before I head out to meet P.J. I haven’t been spending much time at home and it shows.

When I’m just passing through an area like this for a night or two and don’t need my full office set up, I usually hang out in the living room and leave the office packed. I really don’t spend enough time in here when I’m parked long-term and I don’t know why. The arm chair is so much more comfortable for watching a movie than is the bed in the back of the study.

L gave me a 19″ TV to use for watching movies or as a bigger screen for my laptop because the tuner went out on it and it’s no good to use as a TV (a case of one person’s trash taking up storage room in the garage being someone else’s useful treasure). I was going to mount it in the study, but now I think I would be better off doing so in the living room to motivate me to use this space more. That will cut down on the ‘where’s your TV?!” comments that I get from most folks visiting the rig. 🙂 I do need to get an adapter for it as Macbook Pros don’t have an HDMI port, and the older ones don’t carry audio from their mini display port, so I need some sort of audio cable, too.

One way that I have made the living room more comfortable is that I got rid of one of the two night tables I had bought as storage for the living room and have FINALLY found the perfect place for the remaining one.

IMGP6703

This way, I get a cat perch and I still have a surface on which to put a cup (that black surface pushes back into the night table). I used to have it laid out so the short side was against the wall, which meant the ottoman was blocked and I couldn’t stretch my legs. Neelix’s cushion (and it’s always been his and purchased expressly for him, Tabitha never had any use for such luxuries) moves around depending on where I am in the rig. So that night table is usually clear to receive bags of groceries or whatever else is coming into the RV.

Some time ago, while looking for something completely unrelated, I found my night stand on Amazon! I paid $10 for two. Amazon is selling them for $125 EACH!!! And, yes, it’s EXACTLY the same thing! If you look at the reviews, there is another RVing using this same unit since it matches standard RV ‘golden’ or ‘medium’ oak cabinetry perfectly.

Time to turn the furnace back on and get started with my day!

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Cats, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Countries, Homemaking, Nebraska, Nice Folks, Personal, Social, Technical, Travel, USA, Weather    2 Comments
Apr 14, 2013 -

Mobile Internet Prices in Canada Are Really Improving!

I’m doing some research this afternoon on a new mobile internet solution for when I get back to Canada.

It looks like there is cell service at my property now, which should simply things.  SaskTel holds a monopoly in Saskatchewan and I don’t want to go with them. So my plan at this point is to drop the RV on my property and then drive to Medicine Hat, the nearest large Albertan city, to buy my mobile internet solution. The big question is, will it work on the SaskTel network? According to the Bell website, it won’t. But I’ve had luck using devices in areas where they’re not supposed to work…

Since I have burned my bridges with Telus, my only other Canada-wide option is Bell. Last I checked, their Turbo Hub offered the best deal at about $75 for 10GB, and $55 for each additional GB. For the same amount of money, Telus offered a mere 5GB. In comparison, I pay Verizon $100 for 12 GB, and $10 for each GB beyond that.

So I just about fainted when I saw the new Bell Turbo Hub rates. Get this, they are BETTER than what I am paying in the US! OMG, my country is moving into the 21st century!

bell rate plans

That graphic shows the Turbo Hub flex plan. Of interest is that your commitment is only $10 a month, versus the $35 I had to pay with Telus. And you can get up to FIFTEEN GB for $105, with each additional GB being only $10!

The Turbo Hub is $300, but only $100 if you commit to two years. Why would I pay $300 up front when my commitment is only $10 a month? I just placed a pretend order to make sure there are no other fees and that the hub really is just $100 with a commitment, and the total they asked me to pay really was just $110 plus tax. And there I was thinking it would be $300 + to get back online in Canada!

I won’t be doing a happy dance until the device works in SK, of course…

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Alberta, Canada, Communications & Electronics, Countries, Internet, Saskatchewan, Technical, Travel    2 Comments
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