Saturday, July 16, 2011

I’m technology boondocking. . .

So, here we are, settled in our Camp Host site at Lamoine State Park in Down East Maine.  The Maine woods and Frenchmen’s Bay at our doorstep are beautiful---I even have hummingbirds at my feeder! DSCN5618About the second day of wonderfulness, the reality of not having internet hit me.  I really can’t sit down at my laptop and log on to Blogger, Facebook, Goodreads, E-Bay, Amazon, Google, on-line banking or E mail!  This is not an adventure but a challenge (I won’t go so far as to call it a problem but I am a bit stressed!) 

Of course, as with almost every challenge, there are always options.  One option is to drive about five miles for wi-fi access in the parking lot of the tiny Lamoine Town Hall but presently this is not doable since my laptop battery lasts about 10 minutes. (I have a new battery and auto-charger for the truck ordered from so this may become my go-to place.)DSCN5537For now we are driving twelve miles to the historic 1897 Ellsworth Library where they have excellent wi-fi and electricity.  We found a nice secluded corner table in the second-floor genealogy section and I quite happily settle in.   However Gary is ready to go after a few minutes and then sits “patiently” staring at me to see if I’m about done.  OK, let’s go.DSCN5535This current situation reminds me of the progress that’s been made in the seventeen years since we started full-time RVing.  Back then there was no Internet (well, it was out there but hadn’t been widely commercialized.)  I’ve had a personal computer since 1984 (two floppy disk drives) and bought a little Compaq notebook when we went on the road.  Of course it didn’t hook to anything but I enjoyed using it for word processing, budgeting, my journal and making greeting cards.  

Then, in 1999 our friend Dean introduced me to E mail!  He gave me a floppy disk for Juno,  I loaded it and was on my way--I had E-mail!

Do you remember floppy disks?DSCN5631I quickly learned that modem access on a road could a real challenge.  RV parks were advertising “modem hook-ups” and “modem friendly”  which often meant balancing the laptop on a stack of boxes and almost standing on my head to reach the hook-up, normally behind the fax machine in a far corner of the office.  But I had E-mail and Internet access!  I was thrilled!

Soon most RV parks had comfortable dedicated modem locations, maybe in the office or rec hall but there were surprises.  In 2002 when we checked into the beautiful Tom Sawyer RV Park on the Mississippi River in West Memphis my sister-in-law Lee and I asked if they had modem access.  Oh yes, of course, it’s at site #12.  Wow, we thought, they have a building, so we grabbed our laptops and walked to site #12.  It was the utility post with a telephone connector!   (Note: when we stayed at Tom Sawyer RV Park again last Fall they had really good wi-fi.)

My denim jacket is over my head to block glare from the bright sunlight!MVC-071SNow, of course dial-up is pretty much outmoded and wi-fi is the thing.  In 2006 I wrote in my Christmas newsletter that I feel terribly inconvenienced if I don’t have wi-fi in my fifth wheel!   RV parks sometimes neglect tell you that doesn’t reach your site.  When making reservations I ask three questions:  “Do you have w-fi?  Does it work?  Will it reach my site?” 

In Galveston last December this was the “computer room,” complete with that very uncomfortable metal chair in the lower right corner and a very annoying gurgling water sound, where the wi-fi signal came in clearly!  photoAll in all I am more than happy with computer access technology on the road and plan to check further into tethering or an air card, more fairly recent technology. . .it’s hard to keep up!  Unfortunately I will be roughing it for awhile but beautiful Lamoine State Park and Frenchman’s Bay more than makes up for the inconvenience.  

For now it’s a trek to the Lamoine Town Hall parking lot or the Ellsworth Library so I won’t be posting to my blog very frequently or checking your blogs as often as I’d like!  Don’t give up on me, I’ll be popping in and out and will be back with you on a regular basis. . .in a few months!

I’m technology boondocking!


  1. Oh, the joys of it! For a few weeks we tried the little dealy-bob (4G service) that would make wireless work anywhere. It didn't even work in our own home and we finally returned it. It would have been SO terrific. We should have had access anywhere our cell phones worked, but it didn't work out that way for us.

    I chuckled at you with your jacket over your head trying to see your screen :)

    Hope you're enjoying your Maine location even w/o convenience of internet.

  2. Oh my goodness - the things we take for granted - and the things I never thought about you not having on the road!

  3. Hello! I'm visiting from Rosaria! I couldn't believe you are in Maine! I'm in Saco, Maine, and have been blogging since I retired in June of 2009. Frenchman's Bay is beautiful! Enjoy! Stop by my blog when you have internet access and say hi, will ya?

  4. When we were in Nepal for 10 days, I didn't much think about computers, email, internet, blogging -- but when I am home, it is definitely something I want to have available. I can imagine it would be hard on the road never knowing when you will have access. Enjoy your time and all the nature has to offer. Best wishes and blessings, Tammy

  5. Amazing to think how technology has changed in the past 20 years -- and how we depend on it. I loved reading this post and hearing all the challenges and solutions to staying online on the road!

  6. Seventeen years rv'ing? Wow! You are adventurous. I bet a book is the next project.

  7. Wow! I have never met anyone like you. What a wonderful life you have. Continue your adventure, I will be checking back. Blessings, Martha

  8. I think it is so fascinating that you've been doing this for 17 years. It is a different way to life and I think it is really neat that you're doing it. I'm sure having wifi and being able to stay in touch easier makes things feel more "connected" while you are out traveling around. I love hearing your RVing stories.