Browsing "Technical"
May 13, 2013 -

A Fruitful Experiment

This afternoon, I need a quick clarification on a job I’m doing. I knew that if I headed out to the field where I get reception, I’d get sidetracked. I decided to see if I could get a signal with my Mifi up in the air.

I actually got it to lock onto the network a couple of times at ground level, but not long enough to do anything productive. I used packing tape to attach my awning pole to my broom, then put the Mifi into a baggie and taped that to the awning pole. Finally, I climbed up the ladder and one-handedly taped the broom to the ladder (quite a feat I tell you).

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It actually worked! I got one bar (I can check the connection through my computer) just long enough to get the answer I needed and send a couple of emails! I brought the Mifi down and it was very hot, so even if I had had a decent connection, this was NOT a good temporary solution until I get the booster.

But what this tells me is that the booster is going to work for me and that I didn’t just throw money out the door.

Now, here’s hoping that the 10 to 25 day shipping estimate is overly conservative… It really hit me today that getting online a couple of hours a day really does make me more productive, but also impedes that productivity.

The best solution for me is the one I’m going to get, internet at home, but with limited bandwidth. That said, I can do a hell of a lot more for 15GB than I could with 5GB! I have no idea how I managed that long with so little connectivity, although after years of relying on public wifi, that much better than nothing. 12GB this winter was really good, but not always quite enough. 15GB should serve me well, and at just $10 for each additional GB, I’ll have some breathing room.

In other news, I think we skipped spring and went straight to summer. My first night here, I FROZE. I had lots of blankets on the bed, but didn’t left the furnace on too low and didn’t wear warm enough jammies. My second night, I was comfortable, but the rig was icy in the morning. My third night (last night) I finally had the smarts to put on the flannel jammies again… and was way too hot. I woke up covered in just a sheet and the furnace hadn’t even cycled on all night.

The days here have all been HOT, at least 20C by noontime. It’s only going to get worse. I may find myself dreaming of AC at some point. But the wind definitely helps, and is not too violent down in the valley.

Finally, I forgot to mention something in my last post. Avocados here are 99 cents, almost double what I paid in Texas. If they are as tasty, that will be a bargain.

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Communications & Electronics, Internet, Technical    9 Comments
May 8, 2013 -

Not In the Mood to Drive

I just renewed for a third night here at Dakota Magic. If I really just wasn’t in the mood to drive, I would have gone anyway because I know that that’s just an excuse for not wanting to face the border crossing.

But I’m being really productive and making good use of my FHU, so I can justify another night. This morning, I defrosted the freezer and washed it and the fridge, then made an inventory of the food on board. I found bacon! It will be demolished shortly when I go make lunch. :)

It looks like it might rain, but if it doesn’t, the next project is the cab.

Besides that, I need to put away yesterday’s laundry (almost dry, YAY), wash out Neelix’s litter box, and then I’ll be good to go. There’s really nothing to do now to prepare for the border besides making sure I don’t have any illegal food on board, have a full alcohol inventory (one Texas beer that I am saving for the first crazy hot summer day), and that I know how much I need to declare.

I hope internet in Saskatchewan will be decent (although I will settle for existent). I get a very low signal in North Dakota, so I keep getting disconnected. I might not have found the connection in San Antonio to be so bad had I remembered my online experience in North Dakota last spring.

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Appliances, Campgrounds, Communications & Electronics, Fridge, Internet, North Dakota, Personal, Preparations for Departure, Technical, Travel, USA, Weather    No Comments
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
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