Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What we learned

The main purpose of our maiden voyage was to learn about RoVing. And learn, we did:
• Pack the pillows. That’s right, I forgot to take our pillows. And you know how important personal pillows are. Fortunately, I had made some decorative pillows for the bed, so we weren’t obliged to sleep without any pillows. But sleeping just wasn’t the same without the pillows we are accustomed to.
• Take bathing suits. Friday, and even Saturday, we didn’t need them. But Sunday we spent at a nice RV park on the St. Johns River. The sun beat down on us fiercely. We were cool inside our “Baby,” but I longingly looked at the large pool. After dinner, the campground cleared out. I suspect a lot of families with kids went home, or perhaps the parents just kept the kids inside after supper. We could have had the pool virtually to ourselves. But, we forgot our suits. Next time.
• Stow lawn chairs in the basement. It was on my list, but somehow we forgot to load them. That’s a must. Although most campgrounds seem to have a picnic table next to the RV spot, sitting on hard planks isn’t as comfortable as reclining in a nice canvas lawn chair with a built-in footstool.
• Stock the kitchen. We forgot some basics, such as dish towels, the toaster, mayonnaise (we did have mustard, though), steel wool, napkins, and a kitchen sponge. Fortunately, we had a full roll of extra-absorbent paper towels, which was a good substitute.
• Pack more food. Because we didn’t want to unhitch the car, we cooked on our gas stove. I had packed enough food, but we were limited in our choices. So, next time I’ll pack more staples to increase our flexibility.
• Toss in a roll of TV cable. When we were in Orlando/Kissimmee, the TVs found more than 60 stations (a lot of them in Spanish). Where we stayed our last night, we were pleasantly surprised to get about 15 stations (again, many in Spanish, and even more church-related). So, we weren’t without entertainment. But the park did have cable available. We just didn’t have any way to hook into it. Next time we’ll be prepared.
• Take the right fishing equipment. Jim packed two rods as well as his tackle box. But the rods were for ocean fishing, not lake fishing. We attempted to fish off the dock, and we even had a few minnows nibble at our bait, but it’s a good thing we had brought hot dogs along for dinner. Jim will stow two fresh-water rods in the basement along with the others before we head out next time. We’ll be prepared to fish in either locale. (In Florida, we old folks over age 65 don’t even need a fishing license.)
• 3G is good enough. A couple of months ago, largely on a whim, we switched from ATT DSL service in our home, to Clear (clear.com). Clear is a wireless broadband provider, both for home and on-the-go usage. We purchased a bundled package, with a home modem (4G) and an on-the-go USB dongle (4G/3G). When we were in 4G range, the dongle worked well, but not consistently well enough to view videos. The 3G did not allows viewing videos, but was fast enough for my other work, such as getting to websites, checking webmail, and even uploading files.
So, we made the decision to return to DSL yesterday and to purchase a prepaid 3G dongle from VirginMobile. Using that device, I will only have to pay as I need the service, and not pay a monthly charge, whether I use it or not.
• Relax! That was probably the most important learning for me! It’s hard for me to take it easy, but I’m learning. I can almost (but not quite) say I am retired! I’m looking forward to our next trip, which will definitely be a real vacation.
Until next time,
Your Reluctant RoVer, Linda

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