My first three weeks as a full timer... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-16-2009, 02:13 AM   #1
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Hey guys, it's me, I have been full timing now since Thurs, April 2nd...I am loving it and learning a lot! First thing you learn, your laptop battery dies really fast LOL

The first 13 days I spent dry camping in the desert, an excellent and necessary experience. I was used to tent camping, but weeded out many unnecessary things I had brought along. I am now headed, from CA to Escapees. I left on Tuesday and have had some good luck boondocking and wanted to share. Last night and tonight, I found small towns, the first in AZ (Eloy) now in TX (exit 138) where the smaller motels allow you (and truckers) to boondock in their lots. It is well lit, seems safe enough and plenty of traffic. I use the ice machines and soda machines and the front desk folks are okay with a cup of coffee in the morning. I am soooo stoked, I feel so safe here. Last night I "camped" outside a motel 6 and tonight a super 8. Escapees is a day and a few hours away as I had to deal with really high winds in AZ and NM, but TX is proving to be an easy ride. There speed limit is 80mph, there is no way I am doing 80 towing my Scamp!! I had one good scare with sway in the wind, but managed it well. Feeling really good about all this so far, loving my Scamp and living quite comfortably.

Just wanted to give you all a quick update and will be back when I get near Escapees and have full hookups, miss you all, except, now, I am one of you
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Old 04-16-2009, 05:22 AM   #2
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Monica:
What items did you decide to "weed out"?

How are you recharging your laptop?

Thanks for the Motel 6/Super 8 info. That's good to remember. I didn't know that at all

Florida is 70 MPH but most do 80 while I poke along with tow at about 55, always looking out for that single-finger, friendly wave from those passing me.Texas is 80 MPH?
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Old 04-16-2009, 07:41 AM   #3
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Hi, If you found Eloy, you really are off the beaten path - amazing - went to high school down the road.

When you stay in a motel's parking lot, do you ask first or just park?

I also am interested in what you found was unneccessary. Through the years, I've done a lot of camping and car travel with my dog and learning of another's solo coping is helpful. Thanks for posts.
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:44 AM   #4
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Here's a tip for you and your laptop. Purchase a little 75 watt inverter that plugs directly into the cigarette lighter in your vehicle. Then, plug the laptop into it, charging while you drive. When you stop you can plug the inverter into the trailer DC plug and charge the laptop as well as use any other AC items that uses less than 75 watts.

You'll find them in guess where. WalMart auto section. I have several inverters. They are not that expense and often you find a 2 pack that's even cheaper. The bigger inverters, size wise, that have a short cord attached to the plug usually have a fan which is noisy. I've found that the small 75 that plugs directly into the outlet works for all I use.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I purchase a DC splitter which I plug into the cigarette lighter in the Jeep then I can charge both the laptop and cell phone at the same time while driving. I only use on inverter for the laptop the cell phone has a DC charger.
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:49 AM   #5
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Another way to go is to get a 12v charger/cord for your laptop. It's a bit more efficient than going through the 110 and then back. I have one made by Targus, but there are other brands too. I do have one of those small cigarette lighter 110 inverters (that Joy mentions) for back-up, as they're so inexpensive.

So how does it work with those motels? You just go in and ask and they let you use the parking lot and all the conveniences (ice, coffee....... wi-fi?) for free? Did they ask for a fee? If not, did you compensate them anyway? I ask because I'm not very bold about those things, but if I knew "the ropes" I might be.

And yes, what are you eliminating? We're curious!

Raya
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Old 04-16-2009, 02:51 PM   #6
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Hey guys, it's me, I have been full timing now since Thurs, April 2nd...I am loving it and learning a lot! First thing you learn, your laptop battery dies really fast LOL

The first 13 days I spent dry camping in the desert, an excellent and necessary experience. I was used to tent camping, but weeded out many unnecessary things I had brought along. I am now headed, from CA to Escapees. I left on Tuesday and have had some good luck boondocking and wanted to share. Last night and tonight, I found small towns, the first in AZ (Eloy) now in TX (exit 138) where the smaller motels allow you (and truckers) to boondock in their lots. It is well lit, seems safe enough and plenty of traffic. I use the ice machines and soda machines and the front desk folks are okay with a cup of coffee in the morning. I am soooo stoked, I feel so safe here. Last night I "camped" outside a motel 6 and tonight a super 8. Escapees is a day and a few hours away as I had to deal with really high winds in AZ and NM, but TX is proving to be an easy ride. There speed limit is 80mph, there is no way I am doing 80 towing my Scamp!! I had one good scare with sway in the wind, but managed it well. Feeling really good about all this so far, loving my Scamp and living quite comfortably.

Just wanted to give you all a quick update and will be back when I get near Escapees and have full hookups, miss you all, except, now, I am one of you
Here in Texas, the speed limit for vehicles towing travel trailers is 60 in the daytime and 55 at night. The 80 mph is for "the rest." Though our state could use your hard earned money in the form of a traffic ticket fine, I would honor the posted speed limit for travel trailers. Enjoy your travels!
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Old 04-16-2009, 07:04 PM   #7
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ditto on Joy A... the little inexpensive inverter in the unused cigarette lighter plug is all you need to charge the laptop and phones while driving. Sounds like you're traveling a lot right now.
In the trailer, the 12volt inverter uses a lot of juice for the computer if boondocking. No need to really charge it then if we don't have signal anyway. (We don't have an aircard, yet...)
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Old 04-16-2009, 07:49 PM   #8
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Monica,

Congratulations on your first three weeks . . . your confidence will continue to grow and it will get easier and better and "funner" the more you motor on down the road (at 55-60 mph where life is more relaxed and safe for us little trailer people). How are you connecting to the web? Wifi, or do you use an air data card to plug into your laptop? When do we log onto your blog??????
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Old 04-16-2009, 08:04 PM   #9
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Congratulations on ur first three weeks.
Love to hear more about the 13 days in the desert and pics!!

Be safe and keep ramblin along. Very interested to hear all the escapees details when you hit there.
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Old 04-16-2009, 08:24 PM   #10
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I am in the same boat these days, have been full timing since march 30th, but i'm up in southern British Columbia. I envy you being down south and enjoying warmer weather. It's still dropping below 0C here (makes for some chlly nights). It is amazing how long a deep cycle battery will run a laptop with the inverter. I think they are an absolute must!

If you don't already have the data card for your laptop, that is also an incredibly handy thing to have. Sometimes i find myself feeling a bit lonely and the interent anywhere i go is a nice comfort to have.

I was parked at a motel here in southern BC and politely (or not so politely) asked (told) to leave as it was private property! hahaha. OOPS! Guess i should have asked first!

how long are you planning on full timing?
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:01 PM   #11
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Neat! You're full-timing in a trailer very similar to mine (Steveo that is). I don't hear of that too often Do you have a blog? I really enjoyed British Columbia when I was there, although I was lucky enough to be on a boat with a diesel heater

Raya
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:57 PM   #12
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If you have Verizon, and the right cell phone, you can use their Mobile Broadcast Connect service to 'tether' your laptop to your cell phone for internet access. Because it is a 'feature', not a plan, you can call #611 and have it turned on or off as you choose -- If you leave it on all month, it's $60, same as a data plan, but if you turn it off and on, it only costs $2/day when it's on.

Personally, I prefer to use the inverters rather than mess with a 12VDC cord for each appliance -- A couple of inverters will serve for ALL your appliances, present and future -- The electrical inefficiency of the inverter is not significant. I have had a number of laptops over the years and would have spent a lot of money getting the 12VDC power supplies for them, plus some are not as efficient as others.
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:22 PM   #13
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Pete: You seem to be knowledgeable about a lot of things, so I'm asking for your opinion regarding the reliability and ease of use of the Verizon Mobile Broadcast Connect service you mentioned in this thread. I have Verizon but have never looked into using them for my Internet connection while on the road.

Russell
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:22 PM   #14
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if you are looking at long life for a laptop battery charge, you may consider one of the Netbooks. I recently purchased the Acer Aspire One d250

It is small (But so am I!) and it is MORE than adequate for net surfing and other consumer level activities. I am really enjoying mine. I have my "big" laptop for doing my work things on, as trying to do detailed graphic editing and web stuff is easier on the higher resolution screen, but the #1 advantage to the Acer is this:


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The screen is LED backlit, which helps loads. I run photoshop and other resource sucking Adobe apps, all MS Office apps, and the usual package of browsers, instant messaging programs, music apps etc.

The little webcam that is built in is actually pretty good. I'd turn it on for ya.. but I don't want to scare ya!

The DISADVANTAGE is that it does not have a CD drive, but with jump drives and SD cards, it is hardly missed. I did have to get a small USB CD drive to load in the Office app.. it didn't like being copied to a jump drive for installation. Thats the only issue I had with loading software.. all else I had installed from my jump drive easily.

It sure is nice to actually use a laptop on my lap without feeling weighted down.. or get the burning sensation on my legs! (Be quiet you evil thinkers)

I have had it running up to 8 hours on the battery before I plugged it back in to charge, which only takes an hour... WITH the thing running.

It was a whopping $349... they were out of red ones I am stuck with a very pretty blue...
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