Posted on June 20th, 2016 by David.B
Ok, when you live in a digital world as we do today, that comes with the need to have backups should something occur. After all, you want to be sure to save the thousands of photos taken of your cats and dogs in funny poses. (Cough, Cough…Brenda) At home I surely hope you have some sort of back up running and that is no different when you are on the road. But how, what, where, when? Let me try to help you in this case.
When traveling you only really have a few choices in backups, cloud storage and external storage such as a USB hard drive. But with cloud storage comes data use, and unless you are lucky enough to have an unlimited data plan, you need to be very careful of cloud storage. But with that said, you SHOULD have it.
“But Dave, what do I do when I only have my JetPack or Mi-Fi device? Then what?” As I just mentioned, USB storage. “But Dave, you mentioned to use Cloud Storage”. Why yes I did.
You see, if you use a service such as CrashPlan (the one we use) then you have the best of both worlds. When you are on the road, you connect a USB hard drive to your computer(s) and CrashPlan will use that. However, when it sees you are on a network, it will then also backup to the cloud for even safer backups of your important files. The best part…You can tell it NOT to back up to the cloud if connected to certain Wi-Fi’s like your JetPack. So that means, when you connect to an RV Park’s Wi-Fi, it will start to automatically backup to the cloud thus backing up anything that has not been backed up. Same holds true when you go home and connect to your home Wi-Fi, it will just start to backup. Nice.
Ok, but a BIG THING people do not think about is where they put that USB hard drive after they do a back up. Most will backup every few days or a week, depending on your needs, and then just pop the drive into a drawer until the next time they want to run a backup. While this makes it very convenient, it does nothing for you in case of theft or dare I say a fire. This is even more true if you full-time in your motorhome like we do and thus our entire life, photos, documents, etc are with us all the time. You have no “home” to also store them at. So what do you do?
We use a SentrySafe Fire Chest that is also rated for digital media and is also water tight. This means that your USB hard drive has a MUCH better chance at surviving a fire. But then also take the time to go one step further…Store it in the cargo bay.
Why store it in the cargo bay? Fire burns upwards and the cargo area, unless the fire started in there, usually burns last. As such, your data has the best chance of surviving. But remember, even if a total loss, you still may have all the files that made it up to the cloud when you connected to Wi-Fi as you travel around. As such, your memories will still be around. The above is the way WE do it. Surely their are many other ways it can be done. But bet you did not think about the storage part. :)
Side Note: If you think getting it out would be a hassle, have two USB Drives and rotate them. At least then you will always have the chance at saving most of your data up to the point of your last swap.
Here is a video I did talking about what I just said above. ;)
Posted on June 12th, 2016 by David.B
Brenda and I would like to thank all that donated to our Memorial Day fund matching challenge to raise money for the Seg4Vets Foundation! A total of $3,380.00 was raised, which includes our match of $1,000 and a match of $440 by Charles Davis and a late, but very welcome, additional $500 by Ken and Diane Custis.
The donation was sent in on Friday 6/17. Click here to see attached PDF file receipt.
Note from Jerry Kerr…
On behalf of General Eberhart, General Hornburg, our Board of Directors and Advisory Board, I would like to express our deepest appreciation for your donation to the Segs4Vets program.
Segs4Vets is an unprecedented grass-roots effort sustained and administered by volunteers representing grateful Americans who passionately believe that when those serving our nation are sent into harm’s way and suffer serious injury and permanent disability they must have every resource and tool available to them which will allow them to fulfill their dreams and live the highest quality of life possible.
Your support of our mission, assisting our nation’s severely injured Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Guardsmen returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan permanently disabled and who will have difficulty walking the rest of their lives, is invaluable. Our Segs4Vets recipients represent the best our nation has to offer, whose service, extraordinary sacrifice, and unwavering patriotism is an inspiration to us all. The benefit that your donation will provide to them will touch them deeply lift their spirits and be a reminder that they have served a grateful nation.
On behalf of all of them I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you.
If you still care to donate, you can do so directly by clicking the logo below…
Posted on June 8th, 2016 by David.B
It happens over and over, day after day. Someone looses a family member. It is never easy no matter how you try to look at it. The only thing I could come up with is that without death, one would have never lived. And without living, one could not add to your life experience. So without death of a loved one, your life would surely have been different.
Tory came into our lives 18 year ago when found by a road side. She was small. So small she fit into the palm of our hand. The nickname of “Baby Kitty” stuck throughout her life right. But also did “Tory the tornado”. You see, even though she remained small, with her head never really growing to fit her body, she was the queen of all and could back that up if she wanted to. (mostly via a very loud voice.) So she would tare though the home at times putting someone into there place who thought maybe they could get away with something. At the water dish and she wanted to drink…you moved. That is just the way it was.
But because of her life, she forever changed ours. And again, without death, she would have never lived and thus could not have giving us all the love and memories we now have. (Even though it all was on her terms.)
I am having a hard time witting this after 18 years. So I’ll it some up my thought.
Life can not be life without death. For without death, life would have no meaning. For it is through death that a life was truly lived and was added to your own. Thanks Baby Kitty, Thanks.
Posted on June 4th, 2016 by Brenda.B
OK…So now that camping season has officially been started, here’s a post that is long in the making. And we will start by jumping to the end…Buy What You Want. Don’t worry about if you will fit.
When you have been traveling as long as we have, you’re bound to get the same questions over and over again. One big question on people’s minds is if they buy a 40+ foot motorhome will they have issues finding places to park it or may fit into our National, State or County parks?
Well…The answer is yes and no as to getting into parks. We started out our travels in a 2008 Gulf Stream Tour Master that was a 43-foot diesel pusher and tow vehicle. Well, you know the saying….Location, Location, Location. It really is going to depend on a few factors like where you may want to go.
First off, remember that our highway system across the US is made for big rigs. As such, you will NOT have an issue traveling on interstates, highways, expressways, nor most roads for that matter. Sure, you can come across a bridge that can be to low, but that will be on side roads, parkways, town roads, etc. We personally have not yet run into any issues with not being able to go somewhere we wanted based on size. Ok, wait, there was one….State HWY 1 in California. It is a great scenic drive that just will not handle large rigs due to the hairpin turns. If you tried this, you will see that as you tried to come around a corner that your rig will end up crossing into the on coming traffic. Never a good thing. But besides that, for us, we have not been able to reach somewhere we wanted to be one way or another. Heck, we have been all the way to Newfoundland with a 43-foot motorhome and spent 1.5 month traveling all the areas.
Quick suggestion if you are considering a big rig, or if you have one, is to purchase a Motor Carriers Road Atlas and take a look around the country on paper. This is a special atlas that shows what roads are OK for larger rigs. You may also want to look into a GPS that has maps and data points for RV’s or trucks such as the TripMaker RVND 7710. These types of GPS’s are not your normal GPS as they allow for you to put in the size & weight of your motorhome and will map you around items such as low clearance and weight restrictions. (NOTE…ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION TO SIGNS!!! Maps DO NOT know if three new inches of asphalt was put down making a 14 foot tall bridge now 13 feet 9 inches. Not paying attention can make for a very bad day. We also suggest if you see “trucker” routes, take them. After all, you are as big as they are and someone would like you to take that road for some reason. (You do not need to pull into weigh stations unless directed to do so.)
Our National Parks were built before big rigs were even around. No one back then thought that we would have 45-foot motorhomes for “camping”. When you consider how old a park may be, it’s sites may be smaller unless it has it been upgraded to accommodate larger rigs. Based on budgets etc, it is not likely that the government spent such money. In the chance that money was spent to upgraded the sites or add sites to accommodate larger rigs, have the roads? They may be tighter turns and be narrower if the campground was originally set up for smaller rigs. We have come across some campgrounds in National parks where there was no way we would fit, while others we have been to were no issue at all. (It should go without saying…Watch for low tree limbs also.)
A good source to find out if you would fit is, of course, the campgrounds or park service website. They usually always list the maximum size rig they can accommodate. That being said, Google Maps can be your friend in this as well. Just go to Google Maps and look at an overhead shot of the campground. You can see how heavily treed the area is, how close together the sites are and even how tight the turns may be. This will give you a good idea but remember, Google Maps can also be outdated depending on when they took the overhead shot. So if you still have your doubts, call the campground office.
Most National parks and State parks are going towards an online reservation system. One nice feature about some of these online reservation systems is that they will show you a picture of the actual site you are looking to book. You usually just have to hover over the site on the map and a picture will appear. We really like this feature. It can give you a good sense of whether you indeed can fit in a particular site or not.
When I was looking through our old photos, I came across some places that I felt we had just been to but in actuality we were there years ago. It’s these types of places that really stay with you and being able to stay right on site, at the park, is a great way to really enjoy the full experience.
When we stayed in the Badlands in South Dakota, we were right in the park. They also have a small hotel and restaurant but we kept to ourselves in our rig. The site we had just fit our 43-foot motorhome at the time.
While visiting the Grand Canyon we stayed at Trailer Village (not run by park services) right in the park itself. It is big rig friendly but they do pack you in there. It’s easily maneuverable though if you take your time and know where you are going, there are lots of roads throughout the campground. The picture I have above of the Grand Canyon campground isn’t the greatest as I was focusing on the wildlife that wanders throughout the campground. You can see our current motorhome in the background, the 45 foot 2014 Tiffin Allegro Bus with our tow vehicle. And yes, the Elk you see were THAT CLOSE to the motorhome. Just walking through without a care in the world.
State Parks are also a great way to get away and see the sites. We have found quite a few that can accommodate larger rigs. One of our favorites and one that we like to visit every time we are in the area is Picacho Peak State Park in Arizona. It’s between Tucson and Phoenix and right off the highway, yet really quiet and peaceful.
While in the Denver area we always stay at Cherry Creek State Park but we have heard from other RVers that Colorado has some wonderful state parks that are big rig friendly.
One thing to keep in mind is if a park offers full hook-ups, electric or nothing at all. While Picacho Peak State Park and Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada has electric (some sites), that is all they have at the sites. They do have potable water and a dump station in the campground so there is that. But you need to be sure you go in prepared for the type of site.
On the other hand, Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora, CO as well as Reed Bingham State Park in Georgia do have full hook-up sites. They both are also very big rig friendly and have big pull through sites.
County and Town run parks are not to be forgotten either. We have found some very lovely county and town parks that rival any state run park.
We always stay at the Hoover Met RV Park (closed for renovations until June 2017) while in the Birmingham, Alabama area and while visiting Charleston, SC we stayed at the James Island County Park Campground. There are a few choices around the Charleston area but we did not want to go to a commercial campground like a KOA. While they do serve a purpose for us (we stay at them while traveling from point A to point B and need hook-ups), we try not to frequent them as we have no kids and we do not wish to partake in any activities, so why pay for something we will not be taking full advantage of.
In fact, our very first stop after picking up our new 45-foot Tiffin Allegro Bus was this lovely campground just north of Red Bay, Alabama where the Tiffin plant is. It’s the McFarland Town Park Campground in a town called Florence, AL and is located right on the Tennessee River. It has boat drops and hiking trails and a disc golf course. Right across the river is the Muscle Shoals area where there is lots to do as far as the history of music and recording studios. And in Sault Ste Marie in the UP of Michigan is a great county/town run campground called Aune-Osborn Campground where you can spend your days watching the huge freighters pass through the Soo Locks and travel up and down the great lakes. Which let me tell you, can be very addicting. Who knew?!
These are just some of the places that we have stayed and there are many more out there. We have yet to stay at a COE (Corps of Engineers) Park, which we hear are lovely.
Some things to consider while staying at National, State or County/Town Parks is that you may not have access to Wi-Fi, you may not have full hook-ups if you want them and there may be additional fees such as a one time park fee. The state parks usually have a state park pass; they are usually good for one year. So if you know you will be frequenting one particular state for a while, or coming back to it a few months later but within a year’s time frame, then you would more than likely be better off buying a yearly park pass. It’s good for any of the state parks, not just that particular one that you may be at at the time. In the long run it would be cheaper than paying the additional park fee every time you camp.
Make sure you also look out for discounts. Georgia State Parks have a great RVer program and it’s free! The more you stay at their parks, the more stickers you will earn and you can work your way up to a free night of camping. Not all state parks may participate so just check the website before you book and see. To learn more info about this RVer program, visit this page.
Wow, that was a lot on places we have been. But the point is, they are all places we were able to go without issue even with a 45-foot motorhome. When we were looking for a motorhome, we did not even consider the issue of not fitting into places. Why? Simple, we knew we would be happier with a larger home on wheels. So you see from the above, it is indeed possible to stay in National, State and County/Town parks in a “Big Rig”. We have stayed in more than I thought we had and we will most certainly continue to do so.
If there is a place that you really want to go to and looking at the website of that particular park shows that you can not fit into the campground, remember that there are always campgrounds just outside of the parks that will accommodate you. We here it now and again, “you can not go everywhere with that large rig.” True. However we have yet to find anyplace we wanted to go that we could not go, either staying inside the park or just outside it’s borders. And if we need to drive 30 mins to go see a site…so be it. After all, that is more of the area we are in to see along the way. So while we may not be able to get into “everywhere”, consider that we also may have a much more comfortable time if stuck inside the motorhome for five days as it rains.
Would we by a large motorhome again? Seeing we have already gone from a 43-foot to a 45-foot, the answer seems to be yes. Again, we knew we would be happier with more space. And lets face it, it is all about living like you want to live and what is right for one person, may not be for another. So buy what you want and enjoy your travels!
Not sure if you trust what you just read…Well here…watch a video instead….
Please be so kind to share this post as it seems to be asked often on many community forums.
Posted on May 28th, 2016 by David.B
Going to say this right from the start…Please donate below and we will match funds!
On this Memorial Day we remember that traveling in a motor coach and living on the road can be very rewarding and is a freedom we have. We are also honored to say, that traveling on the road has now meant more to us than we had every thought. And by that we mean, being able to help others. And not just other RV’ers via this blog or that we have met in person and offered assistance. But in this case, helping people you usually do not meet on the road…Our Wounded Warrior Veterans.
With all the social media a buzz with other worthwhile causes, we wanted to once again bring up our support for the Segs4Vets Foundation.
“Our focus is that when our severely injured return from Iraq and Afghanistan, they rise again, choosing the path of independence rather than dependence, once again becoming productive members of society, productive members of their family and continue to serve our nation.
The impact of the program resonates well beyond just the recipients; it extends to their wives, husbands, children, mothers, fathers and other family members whose lives have been turned upside down. For many, the Segway has had such a psychological impact on our recipients that it has brought about a dramatic positive change in family dynamics.
The Segs4Vets program provides successful candidates with a universally designed mobility device which does not draw attention to their disability. The Segway is a tool that is solving many of the mobility issues facing our disabled veterans, in a manner which is psychologically uplifting and physically beneficial and rekindling in our recipients the desire and motivation to continue to serve their families, their nation and their fellow man”
This is right up our ally as it is helping our wounded warriors though the use of technology. From money raised from other RV’ers that we have met along the way as we travel, to the auctions we have held through our own companies, to even fund raising efforts on our on-line community forums, it is the people that have come together to help make life better for many of our wounded warriors. At this time we are pleased and proud to announce, through various efforts, that we have helped to raise over, not $1,000, not $10,000, not even $50,000. But now over $91,000.00 to date! (from 2008)
So to those of you, thank you. Thank you for making us smile and seeing yet another good side about being on the road in a RV. For being able to see the good of others that you meet along the way that you happen to mention it to, that later, unknown to you, make a donation and reference us because of that connection that was made on the road.
And to those RV Parks or RV’ers that insisted they give us something for the help we gave them, that money went right to the foundation. We told you we did not want anything for helping you and leaving it on our doorstep, while nice, was not needed. It was needed however for the veterans. (But we will confess, we ate the donuts and muffins.)
Brenda and I would like to thank all that have not only been there for us in helping to make this possible, but of course to all the volunteers of the foundation who also receive no paycheck, yet give their time freely to make life better for our wounded veterans. 100% of all donations are used for the direct benefit of our wounded warriors.
Segs4Vets, is an organization comprised of volunteers from across the United States, serving without compensation, which are committed to making a difference, and is certified as one of America’s Best Charities. They do not engage outside firms to solicit donations, or conduct direct mail campaigns. As such, we do what we can to spread the word.
The cost for each Segs4Vets award through 2016 is expected to average $9,750. Your contribution is greatly needed and deeply appreciated. As a 501 (c) (3) charity, financial contributions to Segs4Vets are tax deductible under the IRS code. The Federal Tax I.D. 55-0877645
So look, if you like the help we have given you. If you ever wanted to do something for us…Don’t! Instead, please make a donation Segs4Vets as it is a great cause you really do not hear about.
SO HERE IS THE MATCHING DEAL…
Now through Friday the June 10th 2016, Brenda and I will match all donations up to total amount of $1,000.00. So if you donate $20, that than becomes $40. We will do this up to a total of $1,000 thus making $1,000 in donations become $2,000. (But we hope for more.) We will also list the final outcome in a future post. (Note…PayPal will the show the funds going to DBNet, which is us. All funds raised, plus our matching funds, will then be sent to Segs4Vets.)
Mr. Jerry Kerr posted the first comment below. Mr. Kerr is the founder of Segs4Vets and thus shows our connection with them over the years.
UPDATE! We had someone reach out that said they will match another $500 over and above our $1,000 match! So makes it $1,500 is total matching funds available!
UPDATE 2! We just had another couple say they will also match up to an additional $500 over and above the $1,500. So that now makes it $2,000 worth of matching funds!
As of Tuesday 6/12 10:23PM ET: $1440.00 Donated + Matching Funds = $2,880.00 Raised!!!
Here is a video that shows Segs4Vets in action…
And this is the video we did for Segs4Vets of the Alamo Presentation…
We also say thanks to TEAM RWB who runs across America to raise awareness of our Veterans. We came across them on running down Route 95 in Utah in the Old Glory Coast to Coast relay. We pulled over and shot this video.
Please, Please be so kind to share this post so we can continue the support we give to our veterans.
Posted on May 16th, 2016 by David.B
So, we have been asked more than once about what do you do when you need a hospital for surgery when on the road? Well, that is kind of simple, you find one! In this case Brenda needed to have back surgery, spinal fusion due to a degenerative disk at L1 that was just getting worse, and we had a choice to make, do we find a doctor and hospital where we were, or could it wait? Well, thankfully, we could wait. (Though it did mean that Brenda would be in some pain for some time.)
Why wait? Simple…Family. Seeing we were heading back to the Rochester, NY, which is where we are from, we would have family and friends around if needed. It is always good to have a support group if you can. We also wanted to go to Strong Memorial Hospital where we would be able to work with Dr. Robert Molinari who is one of the top surgeons in this field having done many studies and papers on the procedure as well as working with our military with back injuries.
So here I sit at Strong Hospital with Brenda currently in surgery. What am I going writing this? Again, simple. I need to not just sit here wondering and waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the phone to ring. Time surely does seem to move slower when you wait on something like this.
So back to what to do on the road. Well, if you have the choice, you surly can do what we did and move your coach where you may have family or friends for support. If you can’t, then you just need to make the best of it and be sure to notify the RV park you may be at in case you may need to stay longer. You will also find that RV’ers are great people, and they are, and you may find yourself with support you did not expect. This is what happened to us when I needed surgery, two in fact, for kidney stones. Because this came out of nowhere, we had no choice but to stay and get things handled. The KOA we were at was just great and not only extended our stay, but also asked the RV’er that was due to come into our spot if they would mind being on another site so we did not need to move the coach. We then later found ourselves being told not to cook dinner a few nights in a row as others pitched in to help. We did not know any of these people. And to think, this was over a kidney stone. (Then again, I did live with a stent in me for over a week with the 6mm stone still in me…boy that was some week.) So campgrounds can be very helpful and RV’ers, as we have said before, are just great people.
But anyway. You also need to be sure you have insurance that will cover you wherever you may be. This is very important to check into as not all insurance allows for “out of the area” coverage and not all hospitals take all insurance. So having an insurance that is well known and can be used across the country is very important if you choose to travel. So be sure to check your coverages before you start out or you just could find yourself in a bind. BTW…Their is also a service called SkyMed that will not only transport you to where you want to go for hospital service, but also transport your RV and even your pets. It may just be the piece of mind you need.
Brenda was all good when I left her, she was ready to get this over with and hopefully live again without pain all the time. I hated seeing her like that. She did not let on, she hid it well, but it was killing me knowing she was living with pain for over a year. (We needed to try all other treatments on pain relief for her back before we went with surgery as that is always a last resort.) So knowing this was coming, we made plan before we arrived back into Rochester. We had all the appointments set up, we got things done and out of the way that we needed to, and was able to get the surgery set to go. Knowing where you will be going greatly helps to be able to set things up, so again, if something can wait, at least you can make plans. So keep that in mind.
So I sit and wait. Thinking. Hoping. Loving. For my wonderful wife who has taken such care of me over and over again now is going through something that I know she waited, but also is scared of. You see, Brenda has never been in the hospital for herself before. (Ok, she had he tonsils out at 10.) So, saying she is a little nervous would be an understatement. I however, well, ok, I will admit it, am a wreck. However I can only say this…DO NOT WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEOS ON OPERATIONS! Brenda looked it up and we watched what she was going to have done. She thought is was fascinating. I however just seen what they would be doing to her and that was a mistake for me.
As I write this I am wondering if she will be mad at me for posting this. (Especially with a photo) But then again, I am sure she would know this was my way of trying to cope. Trying to keep my mind busy. Trying to make the time just go a little faster. I hope you found this information useful, even if it was self-serving therapy.
Love you babe. Please be ok.
UPDATE: Doctor came down and talked with me at about 10:45 and said it was textbook. Which is really good seeing he wrote part of it. All went very well and he gives her 90% chance of full recovery. She will be in pain for some time, but that will be from the sugary and not the pinched nerve and rubbing bone. So…Now I wait to be able to see her. (Time is so relative to us mere mortals. It can seem so or fast but it really never changes.)
Side Note: The waiting room receptionist came up to me after the doctor stopped by and said “You must be special.” I asked why she would say that. She replied. “Dr. Robert Molinari does not come down to talk to family directly that I have seen. So, Who are you? Are you someone I should have heard of?” I just smiled and said “No, not me, my wife.” and left it at that. (I actually think it may be due to either she has never seen him or our work with Seg4Vets seeing he also does work for our wounded warriors.)