Odyssey Update - 2004-09-09
Thursday, September 9, 2004 - The Northern News is no more...long live the Nomads News! You might have noticed the changes I spent the better part of the day today putting into the masthead of my news page here. After many years of my newsletter being called the Northern News it no longer seemed appropriate since we'll now be spending our time roaming the width and breadth of North America to avoid snow and ice as much as possible, so Nomads News seemed more in keeping with our change of lifestyle.
Nearing the End of Our First Stop
We are now in our third and last week at the Tranquil Acres campground where we've been getting settled into the RV while at the same time having had to wait for the delivery of the two overstuffed wall-a-way Berkline recliners we special ordered to replace the standard living room chairs that typically come with this RV. The recliners arrived late last week but because of the Labor Day holiday weekend we weren't able to take delivery on them until Tuesday after Labor Day and yes, they are as comfortable as they look in the photo.
Due to the size and weight of the recliners in their shipping boxes we couldn't have handled them by ourselves, so we instead opted to drive the RV back to the dealer and have them do the installation there. This involved disconnecting Big Harv from the campsite, getting everything safely stowed away, and hitching it up to Big Larry all for the first on our own. This is a rather major effort and took three hours before we were actually on the road heading toward the dealer.
I'm happy to report though that all went well and we managed to make the trip successfully, even pulling into a large empty parking lot on the way back where I successfully backed Big Harv into an imaginary campsite on my first attempt. Backing up a fifth wheel proved to be much easier than doing the same thing with a standard trailer, as I've been told it would be.
So having lived in Big Harv for nearly three weeks now, our first impressions of this lifestyle have been much what we expected and Big Harv has enough features that we've been able to do whatever we've wanted to with relative ease and we have yet to bump into something and say, gee I wish they'd done this instead or added that. The RV was very well thought out in its design and large enough we don't feel cramped. Of course, the price we pay for this is in towing something so large and not all campgrounds can accommodate us.
As I said above, this is to be our last week here at Tranquil Acres Camping just east of Carleton Place, Ontario, about 20 miles west of Ottawa. We are scheduled to leave here next Monday, September 13, for a KOA campground near Mallorytown, Ontario which is west of Brockville, Ontario down by the St Lawrence River.
The reason for this destination is that Sandra's beloved Aunt Ruth lives in Brockville and we'd like to spend some time with her before we leave for an extended period of time, as well as Mallorytown is also at the eastern end of the very scenic 1000 Islands area of the St Lawrence River. We also want to cross over the border to Watertown, NY and see if Verizon offers a better North American cell phone plan than we can find here in Canada.
I expect some of you might be wondering where we'll go from there. Tentatively, after leaving Brockville we will spend a week or two near the sand dunes at Picton, Ontario, an area I am told is quite pretty although this will be my first time to see it. I'm hoping to get some interesting photos there. Then we plan two or three weeks near the very scenic Algonquin Park which is about three hours north of Picton. Then we'll be back to Ottawa to finalize a few remaining loose ends before we head south to Ohio to see the family there and store a few things. From there we want to spend our 14th anniversary in Gatlinburg, Tennessee where we were married, then make our way through the Smoky mountains on our way to where my mother's family lives in southeast North Carolina. And from there keep heading further south and then west, hopefully having time this trip to see Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and then up the Pacific coast to British Columbia before we head east and back to Ontario where we have to spend 5 months of the year in order to maintain our provincial health benefits. Considering Ontario has the most beautiful summers in North America, staying here for five of the warmest months of the year won't be much of a hardship.
We are nearing the end of our new acquisitions of electronics for our odyssey. Pictured here sitting in our entertainment center is the new Samsung 192MP 19" LCD computer display I bought for photo editing.
Oddly enough, this isn't the display I wanted but is the multimedia version of the one I was looking for, thinking this model cost too much. However, it was the only one I could buy locally, and ironically as it looks to be turning out, one of its multimedia aspects is that it has a built-in TV tuner and it has been seeing more service as a TV than it has as a computer monitor.
And pictured here is Sandra's new laptop, an HP 5240 that replaces our former IBM ThinkPad. It is roughly equivalent in power and capability to the Apple PowerBook except Sandra wanted a larger screen. The only thing it doesn't have that the PowerBook does is a DVD burner and the PowerBook's elegant design.
Now all that remains to be purchased is a high-end digital camera for my photography work. My little Minolta A2 is a very capable carry-around camera and the best of its kind, but this type of camera has some inherent limitations that frustrate those who wish to shoot beyond them.
Although today is Sandra's birthday and she had plans to meet her sister Margie today for lunch in Ottawa, we instead spent a nice quiet day relaxing in Big Harv. This is because the remnants of Hurricane Frances arrived around midnight last night and spent the next 15 hours dumping 5 inches of rain on us and I was not inclined to drive into Ottawa in those conditions.
In fact, they were saying on the TV that people weren't to be out driving unless it was absolutely necessary. Fortunately the wind wasn't that bad, but the rainfall set a record which only caused localized flooding of roads and basements.
One of the biggest limitations of the nomadic lifestyle is the lack of consistent, reliable, high-speed internet access. Before we left the house, just to have some kind of access I signed us up for a Juno dialup account, because it's cheap and has access in both Canada and the US, but we haven't been able to use it here at Tranquil Acres because there's no phone line available. So we've been driving into either Ottawa or Carleton Place each day and finding an open wireless (wi-fi) network to use (open as in not requiring a password to log-in).
Open wi-fi networks, at least in this area, have proven to be far more plentiful than I had imagined, so we haven't been sorely inconvienced by the lack of a telephone line, plus as an added bonus, wi-fi is a high-speed technology.
To view news from our previous stops and camps, visit the News Archives.
Updated Friday, October 22, 2004
Copyright © 2004 by Gordon L Wolford .
All rights reserved.