|Surviving Slow Travel|
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Today's travel tip is all about our adventures with mobile internet. Internet service is a big issue when living and working on the road full-time in an RV. We are doing slow travel, usually staying in a location for several weeks at a time, before moving on. In addition to writing, I run a small craft business online. I am also promoting my first book, "The Working Parent's Guide To Homeschooling". Reliable internet is critical. When we are staying at one of the grandpas' homes we use their DSL, which is usually pretty good. In between and at our home base, we use a Straight Talk hotspot. I am still learning its quirks, but I will share what I've gleaned so far.
When we decided to downsize and embrace a minimalist lifestyle, traveling and living in the truck and trailer, it didn't make sense to continue to pay $80 a month for landline and DSL that we would rarely use, in addition to cell phones and a mobile hotspot. Keep in mind that I do not have a smart phone or any other 3 or 4G gadget, I cannot advise on how any of that works on the road. I chose Straight Talk over Verizon or AT&T, because prior to hitting the road, our DSL usage was averaging 2-3GB monthly. So far this past year, we have only had 2 weeks at a time with only the hotspot for internet and with gaming, streaming and uploading photos, videos and files from the computer, our usage has easily gone up to 1-2GB a week. Still, even at 8GB a month, I think Straight Talk is more affordable than one of the others. Especially since there are months we don't use it at all. So for now, we stick with Straight Talk.
Here is what I am learning about the hotspot and data usage. Our hotspot is tied to Verizon, so if we are in an area served only by AT&T and its sub-sellers, we get no internet connection with our hotspot. One grandpa is in one of these areas, but fortunately, we are able to use his wifi. When that does not come in so well, we can drive about 10 miles and pick up a signal on our hotspot, or just go all the way to the next big town and use the library wifi. Our home base is out in the boonies. The hotspot picks up a signal, but uploading photos and streaming videos is a very slow process. Sometime this year, I plan to try a wifi range extender and cell phone signal booster there (our cell phone signal is pretty weak at "home", too). I am still investigating whether the range extender will amplify the signal coming in from outside to the hotspot or only the signal from the hotspot to our devices. If the latter is the case, it may not help.
Since this post is already getting a bit lengthy, I will save the rest for next time: Public Wifi vs. Personal Hotspot; Getting the Most out of Our Hotspot; Is it Worth it?
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Saturday, November 22, 2014
Amid our walking tour of downtown
Loretto Chapel is famous for its circular stairway which is believed by many to have been constructed by
himself. Regardless of the validity of the claim, there is no disputing that
the stairway is a marvel, not only for its time, but even now.
According to legend, the architect and builder of the chapel both overlooked the access to the choir loft until the chapel was nearly complete. None of the options to correct this were acceptable to the nuns who had commissioned the chapel, so they began a novena to
Joseph, asking for a solution to this problem.
On the final day of the novena, a mysterious stranger appeared out of the desert and built the beautiful staircase, then disappeared without even collecting his pay.
The 1998 movie, "The Staircase", starring Barbara Hershey and William L. Peterson offers an entertaining version of this legend and is available through the chapel gift shop, as well as other retailers.
The Miraculous Staircase, now over 130 years old, has been closed off for many years. The wear and tear of so many tourists ascending and descending its steps would surely destroy it if it wasn’t.
Fanciful windmills grace the gardens of the chapel, while the sandstone and volcanic rock of its construction allow the beautiful stained glass windows to stand out. The interior of the chapel is simple and serene. Although the Blessed Sacrament is no longer housed here, it retains an atmosphere of holiness. Voices are hushed and photographers are almost stealthy.
Sitting still in the quiet of the chapel, I relax and breathe in the prayers of those holy women who, less than 50 years ago, still knelt here, received the sacraments and instructed the daughters of Santa Fe in the joy of the Catholic faith. I wonder what it would have been like to be privileged to climb that staircase and sing in the choir. I believe, whoever he was, the hand of God worked through the hands of the man who built the Staircase.
You might also enjoy:
|Mass in Yellowstone NP, WY|
|El Santuario de Chimayo, New Mexico|
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
One of our favorite day trips from our current location in Southern Colorado, is historic downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. While we haven't yet partaken of the Opera, we have enjoyed ogling the classic southwestern adobe architecture.
Browsing upscale boutiques, then crossing the street to explore quirky shops filled with folkart and local handcrafts.
Loretto Chapel needs its own post, there are just too many pictures and details to include here.
A stroll past the park reveals a stone turtle and a checkerboard, ready to play.
The Deck at 221 looked interesting, with sculpted horses, rearing with pride. Maybe next trip we'll sit up there under the umbrellas, sipping iced tea or espresso and watching the action below.
If you liked this post, you might enjoy:
|Santo Nino de Atocha, Chimayo, New Mexico|
|El Santuario de Chimayo, New Mexico|
|Great Sand Dune National Park and Preserve, Colorado|
|Colorado Gators, Mosca, Colorado|
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Winter has rolled in to Colorado and my winter clothes are all in Arizona. We have the heater on in the trailer day and night. We're not moving on for another few weeks - What to do?
To tell the truth, we did keep a few winter items with us "just in case". Not that I seriously thought we would need them. My problem this entire last year. I kept out 1 pair of long johns, my London Fog raincoat with liner and a fleece sweater. I have several summer scarves that can serve for neck warmers and one pair of glove-liner gloves. We also kept the boy's down jacket.
Since we're living in the trailer, we have most of our clothes in the closet. We each keep one suitcase under the bed and that is wear we kept the coats - until 2 weeks ago. Now we are very glad to have them. Even though we will be spending most of the winter in warmer climes, we will be back for a few weeks. So next stop at the Arizona stix and brix, we'll be picking up some more long johns, a couple winter hats, gloves, scarves and snow boots! Where will we put them when we don't need them? In the suitcases, of course. If we decide to take air or rail transport and need our suitcases, we will just leave the extras in the trailer closet.
And when we're in winter weather and don't need the summer clothes? You've got it - we'll keep the suitcases packed.
You might also like:
|Salvage The Day - What To Do When A Trip Does Not Go As Planned|
|Surviving Slow Travel|
|First Stop: Ice Cubes|
|Slow Travel: Freedom To Roam - Or Not|
Thursday, October 9, 2014
|The Working Parent's Guide To Homeschooling|
It's finally in print and boy am I anxious to get this book out to anyone who might benefit from it. Think you're too busy working to homeschool your children? Think again! "The Working Parent's Guide To Homeschooling" is packed with tips, tricks, suggestions and resources to help working parents take charge of their children's education.
Get your free excerpt at the link above and get ready to explore a whole new world of opportunities and freedom for yourselves and your children. "The Working Parent’s Guide to Homeschooling" will inform and empower you with tools and resources to homeschool. You'll explore time management, child care arrangements while working, how to teach and more, with real life working parents’ solutions to each of these issues.
Written specifically for working parents, my own experience peppers every chapter and I also share several other families’ experiences to illustrate solutions to succeed in working and homeschooling.
This dream has been a long time coming, so I hope you will celebrate with me. Now that I've given birth to my first book, I plan on doing it again. Get your copy today and tell me what you think!
Ebook formats coming soon.
Check out these other posts, too:
|Tic Tac Toe|
Friday, September 26, 2014
And Now For A Little Something Different:
Today is Mesothelioma Awareness Day. I was contacted by a fellow blogger who is a Mesothelioma survivor and asked to spread the word about this deadly disease. Since I also have another friend who is a Mesothelioma survivor, I agreed.
In looking for a few background facts to share, I was astounded to find that the ban on asbestos-containing products was overturned just a few years after it was put in effect. Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining.
I was also amazed that it can lay dormant for 20-50 years after a person’s first exposure, and that family and friends can be exposed to it second-hand. I am not an expert on this, so I will refer you to http://www.mesothelioma.com/ for further info; you can also read Heather’s story there (pictured above, with Lily).
And here are some interesting facts about asbestos and mesothelioma:
"Asbestos can be found in many homes, schools, commercial and industrial buildings.
Mesothelioma is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 50 and 70.
Many women received second-hand exposure from parents or spouses who worked closely with asbestos."
Info taken from MAD Asbestos Facts, courtesy www.mesothelioma.com.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
From the windows of the rec room, there is a panoramic view of the mists still rising off of Yellowstone Lake. (Okay, not in this picture.) Mass is about to begin and the young celebrant is scurrying around, arranging the altar, consulting with the pianist and greeting tourists - some in their Sunday best, some in hiking apparel.
It is interesting to note that the murmur of voices is at a far lower level than in many Catholic churches these days. Is it because we naturally respect the sacred ground we are visiting? I know that my own awe and humility are greatly increased by the wonders of Yellowstone.
The altar is a card table, the lectern a music stand, but somehow it feels as if we are in an ancient cathedral. We are. Sometimes it is difficult to find Mass while traveling. Many National Parks, through the diligent efforts of the local Catholic communities, and even sometimes through the efforts of the local diocese, will have Sunday Mass scheduled. This may not be posted in the guide books or newsletters, but a query at one of the lodges in the park is likely to turn up a schedule of Sunday services for several denominations. Even if a regularly scheduled Mass is not available, I have found that sometimes a visiting priest is kind enough to ask for a place to celebrate Mass and pass the word as to location and time.
Yellowstone Lake Lodge is such an ethereal setting for Mass. I have to wonder if this might not be a little taste of heaven.
Check out these posts, too:
|Oregon's Best For Last - Mt. Hood|
|Great Sand Dunes NP and Preserve, CO|
|Grand Canyon Pilgrimage|
|Grand Canyon Caverns|