Yes, I am traveling again. I've been home for four weeks, which is a long time for me. However, I'm now leaving on an extended trip of four or five months. I don't expect to be back home until April or May. There may be some impact on this newsletter although I hope to minimize any possible changes.
In short, I am moving into my Winnebago motor home and plan to live there all winter and much of the spring. The motor home is presently parked in Jacksonville, Florida, although I don't plan to leave it there very long. I'll leave home tomorrow morning and will drive to Jacksonville. That cross-country drive will require several days, depending on the weather. I'll then spend two or three additional days preparing the motor home, and I also need to purchase a tow bar (trailer) to haul my car behind the motor home. About a week or so from now, I'll leave Jacksonville and commence my adventures. In late winter I'll be driving to Texas and then later to Ohio before returning home in the spring.
The plan right now is to pack up and move every week or two to a new RV (Recreational Vehicle) campground. I plan to crisscross the state of Florida. I also will be making a number of presentations to local genealogy societies during the next few months. If you are in Florida and would like to attend one of my presentations, you can see the schedule on this newsletter's home page at http://www.eogn.com. Look at the menus on the right side of the page, and scroll down to the section titled, Meet Dick Eastman in Person. That schedule probably will change in the future as I am still exchanging email messages with two or three more societies about possible additional events.
If you look at the schedule, you will also see a few other events outside Florida. My plan is to occasionally park the Winnebago and fly to the distant event. Once finished, I'll fly back to Florida and continue my nomadic lifestyle.
For the first time in my life, I'll be a homeless person. I'm looking forward to it!
If you own an RV and have any good or bad experiences with campgrounds in Florida, please drop me a note and let me know your recommendations. I'd love to benefit from your experiences.
At this point, I will repeat the disclaimer that I seem to have used frequently in the past:
I will be traveling with a 2½-pound laptop computer, a 4G/3G wireless Mi-Fi device, and wi-fi capabilities as well. In theory, I should be able to continue publishing articles in much the same manner as when I am at home. Please do not be surprised if I occasionally miss a day or two of new articles. I most likely will "catch up" when I do connect online again.
Most RV campgrounds have wi-fi Internet connections available these days. However, I have found that the wi-fi signals are usually strong near the campground's main administration building but get weaker as you move further back into the campground where the motor homes are parked. In addition, being inside an all-metal vehicle is somewhat like operating from inside a tin can: the metal blocks radio (including wi-fi) signals. That frequently results in very weak or non-existent wi-fi signals inside the motor home.
Thanks to my ham radio background, I have devised a solution. I installed a long-range wi-fi system, complete with a high-gain, external antenna mounted on top of a mast that is bolted to the back of the motor home. It should connect to wi-fi hotspots a half-mile or more away if there are no obstructions. However, most campgrounds have lots of trees and other foliage, so I expect the typical connections will only reach out for a quarter mile or so. Still, that's much further than most wi-fi connections.
Here is a picture of the antenna, mounted at the top of a telescoping mast that is attached to the ladder on the back of the motor home:
I got all this built on my last visit to the motor home, and it seems to work well. I plan to add a few finishing touches soon and then will write an article about it, complete with pictures, in my RV blog at http://rv.dickeastman.com. I suspect that article will appear in two or three weeks. If you have an interest in long-range wi-fi connections, you might be interested in my solution.
I'm looking forward to this new adventure with much anticipation. I'm excited! I'll "see you" on the road.