Feb 042010

Yesterday we had lunch with about 40 of our family members. No, it wasn’t a family reunion in the typical sense of the word, but rather a meeting of Escapees Chapter 45. Members of the Escapees RV Club are our extended family, and whenever and wherever we meet up with Escapees, we always feel like we’re with family.

Our dear friends Ed and Alice Allard hosted the luncheon at Roadhaven RV Resort in Apache Junction, and even though we do not belong to Chapter 45, all Escapees are welcome at any event. So when Ed invited us, we made it a point to be there. Who can pass up good food with good friends? I know I can’t!

If you have ever met my pal Ed Allard, you’d remember him, because he’s almost seven feet tall, and he makes a big impression on you. Ed truly personifies the term “gentle giant,” and I cannot tell you how much this guy and his lovely wife, Alice, mean to us. We have known Ed and Alice for ten years, and in that time I have come to understand that God had to make Ed as big as he did, because he’s got such a huge, loving heart that no normal sized body could hold it!

I have to apologize to anyone who tried to leave a blog comment yesterday morning and could not do so. The gremlins were apparently at work, because for some reason, the blog comments were turned off. Thanks to our friends Jerry and Suzy LeRoy for letting me know about the problem so I could get it resolved. I still don’t really understand how it happened, I’m just glad we got it fixed.

In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned Phoenix Commercial Paint in Elkhart, Indiana and posted a link to their latest excellent full body RV paint job. The folks who own that coach posted a comment later in the evening, highly praising the job Michele Henry and her crew did, as did another couple, Jim and Cathy Palm, who’s RV Michele painted last summer. Good work takes time, and Michele says you can expect your rig to be in the shop about three weeks for full body paint. She told me yesterday that she has worked out a special arrangement with Country Inn and Suites in nearby Mishawaka to give a special deal to her customers who are coming in for paint jobs.

Last week I wrote that after weeks of very slow service, I upgraded my older Verizon USB 720 air card with a newer USB 760 model, and said that I would tell you how it works out. I’d like to say that the newer air card is as different as night and day, but that’s not the case. I do think it is a little bit faster, but we have still had frequent times with very slow service, and we are still getting knocked offline occasionally.

It doesn’t seem to make a difference if the air card is in our Cradlepoint MBR1000 router or plugged directly into the USB port of my computer. I think a big part of the problem right now is that the cell towers here in the Mesa and Apache Junction area are just overloaded. It’s pretty frustrating at times, but that’s life, right? We need the hassles once in a while to help us appreciate the many more great days we have with no problems.

Thought For The Day – I keep some people’s numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  14 Responses to “A Family Luncheon”

  1. Nick:
    Now that you’ve had the air card for a while, how does it compare to the satellite internet system you had before? How about latency time?

  2. Dave,
    Overall, there were still more days when we did not use the satellite dish, because we were on the road and it was to much hassle to set up, or because we were under trees and couldn’t get a signal, or we were in the far Pacific Northwest and outside of the satellite’s footprint, where we could not get online then there have been with the air card. When it is working at good speeds, it is just as good as or better than the dish was. Even in areas where it is slow, it usually still works. And bad weather does not affect the air card like it did the dish. No rain fade, etc. Plus, I can take the air card with me if we are away from the RV. Not so with the satellite dish. If I had it to do over, I’d make the same decision.

  3. I just think its the 5GB limit that sucks. Ms Pat and I go over that in less than 2 weeks… Watch NO movies, nor download any Music,,,,just read emails and Blogs and work eBay and Craigs lists… The next step up is 10GB,,,,we would go for that but its $199.00 a month……

  4. We have the Verizon USB727 card and still get kicked off-line about once every 20 minutes like a clock, despite getting a full 5-bar signal here in N. Ft Myers Encore Resort. We have an agreement with a neighbor to tap into their (comcast) wifi once we hit ~4.5 GB on our 3G service. Because we are workamping full-time, our normal activities consume about 6 GB per month, IF we do not download movies and only download minimal music. If we worked out of our coach we would surely need a backup plan, either get Comcast ourselves or buy Sheila her own Verizon plan, E.G. 5 + 5 GB = 10 GB/mo for a total of $120/mo (ouch). On workamper wages that typically isn’t feasible unless we were our own CEO with a product to sell judged very useful by many folks. STILL, our Verizon service here is 1000x better than Tengointernet WIFI at the campground!

  5. On your thought of the day: That is the reason that my ex wifes number is on my phone list.

  6. To Mike McFall: Have you thought of getting a second air card? 10GB with 2 air cards would be cheaper. This was what Verizon recommended to us when I looked into getting more than 5GB.

  7. Nick:

    We are parked at our lot out in the middle of nowhere (about 30 miles east of Q). I can see the Verizon tower about 3 miles away and we still have a slow connection and go dormant. No large groups of RVer around us either. Nobody out there but the coyotes. Go figure.

  8. You said, “We need the hassles once in a while to help us appreciate the many more great days we have with no problems.” That is so true! We keep trying to find ways to reduce the hassles, and we’ll let you know about one of those ways later this month, once we get it installed and try it out.

  9. I’m happy with my satellite Internet. It is automatic so I just push a button and it does all the work of getting pointed in the right direction. There are several satellites to choose from. I have one that allows me to connect in all 48 states as well as the Canadian provinces. I will be going to Alaska this summer so we will see how far North I can get a signal. My speeds aren’t as fast as a wired broadband connection but they are much faster than dialup and I have a 375 mb limit per 24 hours.

  10. Here is my thought on the internet cards…. get 1 Verizon and 1 AT&T… that way you should always have service and 10G… Glad you had such a nice luncheon with your extended family! I know just what you mean… Have fun & travel safe!!1

  11. When Dave gets a spam call, he keeps that number under the name Spam so he knows not to answer if they call again.

  12. I am in Yuma and having the same problem. I got my air card in Memphis and have had no trouble with service until I came to Yuma after Quartzsite. The problem is too many snowbirds on the internet. I have taken my computer to Verizon and called them. They now tell me that where I am Yuma is a bad area. Ya right when I was here before Xmas I never got kicked off. Now I am on line, but can’t get any of my browsers. I hate paying a high monthly fee and not get the service. When all us snowbirds go home I am sure it will work fine. Nick the same would be for you in your area of Phoenix.

  13. I was talking to a Verizon guy today about just that issue. Usually the reason for the drops and slow speeds is that the cell towers are overloaded. You can see that happen at almost any RV rally when large numbers of users converge on a small town. Phone companies install equipment for average expected loads based on population density.
    People are consuming cellular data faster than the companies can provide the service.
    The Verizon tech also said that using a data card in your router should be a bit faster than directly plugged into the computer because the computer no longer needs to maintain and monitor the connection.
    And on it goes…

  14. I am in Yuma ( have been here for 6 months) and have an older air card and grandfathered usage and have no problem here or anywhere I have been in the western states.

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