FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Updated summer 2006 for travel in Latin America
9. HOW DO YOU FIND CAMPING PLACES IN LATIN AMERICA?
10. WHAT ABOUT SAFETY AND SECURITY?
11. WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT INSURANCE?
12. HOW IMPORTANT IS SPEAKING SPANISH?
13. DO YOU HAVE AN ITINERARY?
14. DO YOU GET LONELY OR HOMESICK BEING GONE SO LONG?
15. WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR OTHER DOG?
9. HOW DO YOU FIND CAMPING IN LATIN AMERICA?
Mexico is pretty easy. There are lots of campgrounds and rv parks in Mexico, especially in Baja and the popular tourist areas on the Mainland. The further south you get, though, the harder they are to find. A couple named Mike and Terry Church have written a wonderful guide, Travel Guide to Mexican Camping, www.rollinghomes.com that everyone uses who takes a rig to Mexico. Though we have found places to boondock on our own, we generally use the Church's book which describes most rv parks and campgrounds in Mexico, including excellent directions to each. Why reinvent the wheel?
When we crossed the border into Guatemala, though, we were much more on our own. We start to look for a place by at least late afternoon because we don't like to drive after dark. We look for hotels, balnearios, restaurants, campgrounds and even stores or gas stations, and always ask the people if we can park there. Sometimes, if it's a place tourists visit like Antigua, we look for the tourist information center (usually on the town square) and get recommendations from them. If it's a gas station we'll fill up, if it's a restaurant we'll eat there, if a hotel we'll offer to pay. We try to find a place that's secure, and in Latin America that usually means a place with an armed guard on duty until morning. It's not a big deal; almost every place you see has a guard or two. We usually go out and talk to them so they know who we are, give them a tip and our thanks before turning in for the night. These guys take their jobs seriously, and check everything and everyone out carefully, as stuff really does happen in these countries. It took us a while to get used to the guards everywhere, armed to the teeth, usually with shotguns, but also with handguns and even assault weapons.
Another source we've used is an rv travel book by Harriet and John Halkyard, 99 Days to Panama, that lists all the places they camped in Central America in the appendix. They have a website www.99daystopanama.com where other travelers can post updates and additions, which we've used and contributed to. This is by no means a complete guide, just the experiences of different people like ourselves. Fellow travelers we've met, who have come from the places we're heading to, are an especially good source of camping spots, as the information is really fresh.
So far in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and now Costa Rica it's been mostly at hotels, restaurants, some parks, parqueos (parking lots) and even gas stations (there's a nice Texaco next to the ruins at Copan that's convenient and quiet at night). These sites may not sound very appealing, but think about it: where do they build a lot of hotels and restaurants? Beautiful places, right? For instance, not long ago we parked at a hotel named Finca las Glorias on the shores of Lago de Yojoa in Honduras, one of the most gorgeous places we've seen, exotic birds everywhere, clean water, fishing, park-like grounds, a restaurant and pool, and internet! We drove up to the secluded lakeside resort on a tip from a local, asked if we could pay them to park for a couple of days next to their dock, and they said fine. For $5 a night we have a million dollar view, and a really fine dinner in their restaurant is $15. The night before, we paid $7.50 to sleep in a hotel lot in a shabby town, with a view of the trucks parked on either side, but we pulled in late, picked the first likely spot, and were thrilled to have a safe place to rest.
RVing in Latin America is a different experience. Services of any kind are rare, so it's important to have battery or generator power, or both. We have both, plus solar panels, and a good inverter. You have to make sure to fill with water and dump your wastewater at every opportunity, because you never know what the future holds. For example, we were stuck in Granada, Nicaragua, with mechanical problems for a few days. We didn't know how long we'd be there and couldn't even move the rig. But luckily just before we arrived, we'd emptied our tanks and filled with water. We were parked in the shade of a huge rubber tree by the lakeshore, we had found a good mechanic and people were friendly, so we didn't stress, we had everything we needed and knew we'd be OK.
10. WHAT ABOUT SAFETY AND SECURITY?
Planning our trip, what we heard most often from Americans was "Be careful!" Some went so far as to advise us to carry a gun, citing cases of robbery and assault they'd heard about. Many of these people had never been there themselves but rumors abound in the states about the dangers of travel in Latin America. We've come to the conclusion that when people are fearful, they feel more comfortable when others share that feeling. It's an unfortunate feature of American life today, disseminated from the top down. We were amused recently by a sticker that said, "Win the War on Terror: Stop Being Afraid".
But just because we're not generally fearful doesn't mean we're not careful. We know people who have been robbed here, and in the US as well. We take the same precautions here as we would anywhere, and some additional ones because of the huge disparity in wealth between ourselves and most of the people here. We try not to camp by ourselves in secluded places, especially where we'd be visible from a highway. We also try not to leave our rig or motorcycle parked in an unguarded area for long, and are happy to pay someone to watch it for us. We ALWAYS lock everything: cab, coach, bins, spare tires and motorcycle, and have replaced cheap locks with better ones where we could. To prevent the theft of our rig, we installed an electronic ignition relay which is activated with a fob, like a remote door lock, and a steering wheel boot for good measure (which we'll use when we leave it for long periods of time). We also cable our chairs and ladder to the rig, and cable our motorcycle to the hitch, both wheels and frame. We take our cue from the locals, who are careful not to leave themselves vulnerable to petty theft and break-ins. So far, we've had two "crimes" committed against us: one day we discovered our valve stem caps had been stolen, and once in a grocery store a woman accidentally took Rus' cart!
We prefer to take security precautions up front, make safety a habit, and then not worry too much about it.
11. WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT INSURANCE?
We were hoping you wouldn't ask. As soon as you cross the border into Mexico, whatever coverage you have in the U.S. stops. In Mexico we had the required liability plus collision coverage, from Sanborn's. We'd still have it, in fact, if we were still there, as it was more cost effective for us to buy a year's policy. In Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua we were "self-insured", a term borrowed from our friends Bob and Elizabeth, which, put more indelicately, means driving around with your ass on the line. In Costa Rica, a liability policy is required on entry, $13 for 3 months; you don't get a copy of the policy, just the receipt, so don't ask us what it covers. What we do in other countries remains to be seen. If we can buy liability insurance, we most likely will, as we've heard it's available by the month in some countries. There's one company, AIG, that offers a multi-country Latin American liability and collision policy, but they refuse coverage if you've had any tickets or claims in the last three years. The best insurance is extreme attentiveness, both hands on the wheel, safe equipment, not driving tired and not driving at night.
For health insurance, things may be a little better, but we hope not to find out. We have individual HSA's (health savings accounts), which will cover some costs while traveling, but not evacuation if one or both of us should have to return to the U.S. for a medical emergency. We purchased a AAA Plus policy which has a medical evacuation provision, and we hope it's good but don't want to find out. We'd advise checking with your agent about coverage out of the country. As with driving, the best insurance is to take care of yourself by avoiding overly risky situations, taking your malaria pills, filtering your water and treating your fruits and vegetables with iodine.
12. HOW IMPORTANT IS SPEAKING SPANISH?
This is a good question, and here's our answer, in another question: How important is speaking English? If you'll be sticking to well-traveled routes which see more travelers, or if you're with a larger group, then truly you won't need to speak Spanish. People will either speak English or downshift the communication to a common denominator. But if you're on your own and you need help, want directions, have a complaint, want to know what's happening, respond to a friendly gesture, explain something, in general say what you want to say, then Spanish is pretty important, about like English. Stopping to take intensive Spanish lessons has paid big dividends for us on this trip, and we wish we'd studied more as part of preparing for this trip.
Even if you don't want to study spanish, it's extremely valuable, at times even necessary, to learn the basics of asking and receiving directions. Roads are not well marked, street signs are scarce in some places and we find ourselves asking for directions many times a day. By the way, people here seem uncomfortable saying they don't know, and will often give you false or very vague directions if they don't. We have found it's better to ask a delivery person, taxi driver or someone who is more likely to drive.
Beside the obvious practical benefits of knowing some Spanish, it simply makes traveling more fun. We don't have to be very outgoing, if we hang out in a place for a while people will usually come up to us. The first question we are asked more than any other is, "Como se llama su perro?", same as in Canada and the U.S. People aren't really burning up inside to know what our dog's name is; they're just interested in us and want to start a conversation. If we don't know what they're asking, or all we can say is "Ziggy", then that about wraps it up, and we go our separate ways. But if we can go on from there, it gets more interesting.
Though we both struggle along as beginners, we try hard and intend to keep studying. We hope to be good speakers by the time we're done with this trip, still, it can be frustrating to blank on a conjugation or run out of vocabulary on a topic just when it's getting interesting. And lots of times we can say what we want but can't understand the flood of words flying back at us, especially in Nicaragua and Honduras where they talk very fast and tend to drop some consonants. Rus has a fair facility right now, helped by his French and the practice he used to get at work. Kathleen is steadily gaining confidence and only wishes she had more time to study. Learning a language opens you up to it's depth and complexity, and Spanish is far more complex than English in its use of tenses, pronouns, and the subtle changes in meanings given to the same words. But it's so rewarding, for example, to be able to have a conversation at a restaurant with a family at the next table, and find much in common with them, exchanging addresses and hopes to connect again.
13. DO YOU HAVE AN ITINERARY?
No. We don't know enough to have an itinerary. Even if we did, we keep getting fantastic tips, or warnings, from locals and other travelers that would keep throwing us off. Also, the climate is an important factor in our travels. We've been chased out of beautiful coastal areas more than once by the oppressive heat and humidity, and had to head for higher ground and cooler temperatures. We have a broad idea or outline of our journey, but we make decisions daily about what to do, where to go and how long to stay once we are there. It suits our natures to be this flexible, we can set our own pace depending on conditions and how we feel at the time, and be open to what comes our way which is often better than something we could have planned.
We travel with guide books and Kathleen reads them when we get to a new place of interest, often out loud to Rus while we’re driving, then we select what excites us to explore further. We find that the longer we travel, the less interested we are in tourist attractions and museums, though sometimes they are still wonderful, of course. What we love most is the interpersonal or physical experiences we find ourselves in spontaneously each day. For example, getting in a conversation while asking for directions and being invited to camp at an ex patriot’s farm in Costa Rica with a million dollar view, or being temporarily lost hiking on top of a volcano in Nicaragua.
14. DO YOU GET LONELY OR HOMESICK BEING GONE SO LONG?
Sometimes a little, but there's so much going on every single day to grab our attention, we're forced to live in the present, much more than we are at home. Plus, we have each other and Ziggy, the graciousness of the people we meet, and email. Internet cafes are everywhere and really help us stay connected with our family and good friends. Without email, we might get pretty homesick at times. As we move farther south we're meeting fewer and fewer other travelers, and sometimes we do miss sitting around camp in the evening and sharing stories. You become more outgoing on the road, and make friends quickly.
15. WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR OTHER DOG?
Yes, we started this trip with two dogs, Ziggy the Labrador retriever, and Bubbo the rat terrier. Kathleen didn't think it was a good idea to take Bubbo as he's almost 15 and set in his ways, but Rus said "If Bubbo stays, I stay!" So Bubbo went, through the States and Eastern Canada, for 6 months. Turns out, though, that Kathleen was right; he didn't really like traveling; he acted depressed, he sulked and whined and trembled irritatingly as only a small dog can, and generally let us know this wasn't his road in life. We decided it would be better not to continue on to Latin America with him. Fortunately, our son Jamie and his soon-to-be bride Larissa offered to take him for us, and he is much happier now, settled in a dog-loving home, spending his days sleeping by the fire or staring adoringly at Larissa.
for travel in US and Canada
1. HOW DO YOU FIND A PLACE TO CAMP?
We never intended to just travel from RV park to RV park, but lots of people do just that. Commercial campgrounds can be very comfortable: they have electrical, water & sewer hookups, pull-through sites (no backing up), bathrooms with showers, and sometimes cable tv and laundry. Some even offer internet connections, a small store or a game room. Although they're usually too crowded and orderly for us, we've learned to appreciate them when we want or need some of the above. In fact, we're parked in one now as we're writing this. It's great to be able to run our air conditioner, bake in our convection oven, do our laundry, and dump our wastewater tanks. More often though, we prefer things a bit wilder, and more scenic. But because we camp EVERY night, we use all types of sites. By the way, commercial campgrounds in Canada are, as a rule, prettier and less paved, more lively and family oriented than in the states, and may have more of a mix of tents, vans, and RVs. It's nice.
There are the state and national parks and the Forest Service campgrounds, some of which are in gorgeous places, and may even have some amenities. County fairgrounds and city parks of some of the smaller towns, especially in the Midwest, often have a few campsites, and these have been our favorites; beautiful settings, lots of space, and we really get the flavor of the areas we're in. Then there are the Wal-Mart parking lots, where RVs can park for free for the night. They are so popular there are internet guides for sale giving the locations of all the Wal-Marts from coast to coast, presumably so you'd never have to pay for a campsite ever again (or get off the pavement, either). We tried it once in a pinch, and it was a bit creepy, noisy and bright, though we can't say we wouldn't do it again in an emergency.
Then there's "boondocking" (self-sufficient camping without hookups), which can be anywhere, but is often on BLM lands in the Southwest, where you can stay for free for months at a time, and some people do. And at the bottom of the scale you have "guerilla camping", which is finding a place that is not a campsite. It can be behind a warehouse, up a logging road, under a bridge, any place where you aren't likely to bother anyone and therefore aren't likely to be bothered yourself. Kathleen and I like this approach, but it takes more flexibility and imagination than we're likely to have when it's getting late and we're tired. It's an acquired skill, one that we're committed to and getting better at. For expert advise on how to find this kind of campsites see Tioga George's website at www.vagabonders-supreme.net. It's playful and loaded with information too.
The fact that guerilla camping is free is nice, but that's not the main appeal for us; even most commercial and government-run camps are pretty inexpensive. It's that after a while, staying in RV parks and organized campgrounds just gives us the creeps and we start to feel confined. Kathleen and I are freedom-lovers to the core, which can sometimes give us outlaw tenancies. Now I don't mean that we like to shoot our pistols at empty beer bottles, chop down trees for our bonfire at night, or even run our generator after 10:00 p.m.. It's little things, like keeping our dogs tied up, or being wedged between two trailers in the middle of the forest, that more and more make us seek out alternative places to camp. When we head south, finding non-campsites will be the norm, as there are no RV parks south of Mexico, and our camp will be wherever we can make it.
2. IS IT HARD TO ADAPT TO THIS LIFESTYLE?
Most of us get a lot of our sense of place and purpose from having a family and a home, a job, a community, close friends, regular activities, plans and projects. We're no exception. We loved our home and our work, being close to our kids, and having close friends and neighbors we saw regularly. Our decision to make this change wasn't about escaping anything, since we loved the lives we were living at home. It was more about seeking new experiences. We're not "on vacation"; rather, we're taking our lives and our relationship on the road.
Naturally, there are adjustments to make, and it's not that easy sometimes, especially for Rus. He's a task-oriented person, a doer, and he occasionally wonders what in the hell he's doing with his life now, driving around looking at stuff, when he could be getting so much done at home. Kathleen is more self-contained, and seems perfectly happy with whatever's happening in the moment. She's can easily spend all day -and has- on her computer while camped at a beautiful beach. Their combined personalities make it all work: Rus makes sure they actually put some miles in toward their loose itinerary, and Kathleen makes sure they have fun along the way.
Rus wrote the above and I thank him for the compliment. Yes, at times we have different, but strong desires or our different paces conflict and we have to sort it out. The major challenge for me has been to be flexible about the things that I don't care that much about but not as flexible about the things that are really important. For example, I kept putting off my need to settle somewhere for a few days to chill, write, relax and integrate all we've been experiencing because Rus prefers to drive on. Only after I began to lose my passion for the journey did I realize how important it is to me. I'm not caring for myself if I don't stop now and then; but we can usually find a way that works for both of us even if it's not apparent at first. Life on the road presents some unique challenges. The lack of separate space and time and the merging of every outer facet of our once very independent lives intensifies relationship issues. With this in mind we have both tried harder and, I think, given more, because harmony is always more fun. We make it work also by our honesty with each other and because we are committed, even excited, about what we are learning and becoming in the process. Anyway, like Rus said yesterday, "Sometimes one or the other of us is crabby, sometimes both of us at once, but we'd be that way at home too."
We find it's been very important to be flexible with our plans, such as they are, because circumstances change, new opportunities arise, and off we go to a completely different destination!
3. HOW DO YOU GET ALONG WITH EACH OTHER LIVING IN SUCH TIGHT QUARTERS?
This is the most important thing we do. We've had 27 years of practice, but we'd never spent this much time together, not to mention in such a small space and away from everything we used to do as individuals. There's not a lot of elbow room in our little home, so our manners have improved, saying "excuse me, honey" quite a bit more than we used to at home. Rus is trying to learn to chew more quietly, and Kathleen is trying to use more specific descriptions than "thing". Rus does new little favors for Kathleen, like make her morning tea, and Kathleen lets go of minor irritations that she'd probably mention before.
We are aware that we are each other's greatest ally and support, and also that we could make each other and ourselves pretty miserable if we chose to blame the other for how we're feeling. Everything that we are, we brought with us; our best assets and our most grievous faults, and it's the same job as it was at home to keep it together, and maybe more. Lots of couples find they don't really enjoy this lifestyle; one friend who tried it said after 3 weeks she and her husband "just got sick of each other", and sometimes we do, too. We get irritated, tired, frustrated, and sometimes stressed out, true, but we always knew we'd love this, and we do. A big thing (Kathleen speaking) in our favor that makes this lifestyle easier and more fun is that we really enjoy each other's company. We laugh together a lot and are interested in each other's point of view. Our relationship is a treasure and so, we want to take care of it. Part of that, of course, means taking good care of yourself.
4. HOW IS IT TRAVELING WITH DOGS?
The short answer is, it's wonderful, and we're grateful every day that Ziggy and Bubbo are with us. The dogs are content no matter where we are or what's happening, as long as they're with us, which is a constant reminder of how we want to be ourselves. They get us out for daily walks, they make sure we choose more natural sites to camp where we can all have more freedom, and they feel good on our bare feet as they sleep under the table in the evening. Plus they have led us to meet many wonderful people. How many new friends would we have missed if it hadn't been for the dogs who somehow brought us together? Quite a few of them, it seems to us.
The dogs are also a pain in the butt sometimes. We can't leave the rig for more than a few hours at a time if we're going somewhere they can't go, and we have to make sure they have water and enough ventilation to stay cool. There may be times we'll have to board them for a few days, if we really want to go somewhere they can't come, to a workshop for example; but for the most part if they can't come, we just don't go. So far we don't think we've missed anything important.
Many times we find ourselves choosing to skip places that are unfriendly to dogs. But other times we look for creative solutions to leaving them "home" in the rig. At Canyon deChelly we wanted to take a jeep tour that lasted 4 hours. It was midsummer, during a heat wave. Although our rig is insulated quite well and we have two Fantastic Fans inside, it was just too hot to leave them. After checking around we found we could get an electric hook-up from the motel where we booked our guide. So we parked outside their utility room, plugged in, turned on the air conditioner, and let them sleep for 4 hrs inside. They were a lot cooler than we were when we returned.
Just outside of Washington DC we stayed in a campground (Cherry Hill RV Park) that had a dog walking service. For a fee, a college student came around at the desired time and took the dogs for a 20 or 40 minute walk. That allowed us to leave our rig at the park, take the bus and metro to DC and stay away much longer. We have seen people put up portable pens, or have friends or neighbors walk their dogs while they sight see. Early in our travels we tried to stake the dogs outside in the shade while we went to a hot springs but they barked and howled so loud that we had to interrupt our soak and put them inside. We found that when left in the rig they are more content, therefore much quieter.
There are web sites that give information and tips about traveling with dogs: PetTravel.com is a great resource for international travel. Some other helpful sites are takeyourpet.com and dogfriendly.com
5. DO YOU HAVE TO BE MECHANICAL TO DO THIS?
No, but it helps. Although there are lots of things we'll always have to rely on professionals for, Rus is finding out that if he's able, he's better off doing repairs himself. It's an educational experience, and it makes us more self-reliant. It's hard enough to get an oil change when we're just passing through, never mind an actual repair. There are always a few things that need work. We take care of them, and eventually a few more pop up. Sometimes they're serious, like the blackwater dump valve leaking, and sometimes not, like a burned out bulb or a loose screw. Imagine the normal upkeep of a vehicle and a small house, then add the effects of constant shaking and vibration, and you have the basic RV maintenance scenario. We carry two tool boxes and lots of spare parts: it's a harsh reality. When we do need help, we try for the small shops in the small towns. They're not as booked, and they've been more helpful than the chain service centers.
6. HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR FINANCES ON THE ROAD?
This is a very good question. Most travelers return home before it all has a chance to blow up and go to hell, but if you're gone for two years like us, you have to manage your finances by remote control. Kathleen has worked hard to set up systems, but it takes regular maintenance, and she's often on the phone or on her laptop, overseeing things and straightening out problems which inevitably arise with so-called "automatic payments". It's a bit more complicated for us than for many full-time RVers, because we still have a home and property (with mortgages) and business interests, all of which make it possible for us to travel, but which also need attention. We sometimes take a whole day camped in some beautiful place, like right now on the shores of Lake Ontario, Kathleen talking to banks, insurance companies,etc. I'll turn this over to her to explain how she does it all:
Most of the work was done at home before we left, setting up automatic payments for regular bills, like cell phone, credit card, mortgage payments and insurance, and making sure my online banking was working correctly because we would use it to keep track of our finances. We use our credit card or cash for all our expenses on the road and our ATM card at banks to get cash. I use a secure connection when I do online banking. One of the most important tools for managing finances on the road (besides a good laptop with internet capabilities) is good cell phone coverage. We both got tri-mode phones (Motorola V710) for better coverage in the boonies and after a good deal of research I choose Verizon as our provider. I have been very happy with their service and am content with the coverage. I think it's better than any other provider for rural areas, although there are places where we've been out of range, i.e. large parts of Oregon and the Southwest. Almost everywhere else it's been great. We use America's Choice Plan for good national coverage without roaming charges. Be sure to switch over to North America's Choice if you cross the border into Canada or Mexico or you will be charged for roaming at something like $1 a minute!
After looking around at all the choices for internet connection while on the road I chose to purchase a Verizon Aircard for use when wireless was not available. I am glad I did. The card I got is an Audiovox PC 5220. It cost $99 after rebate and I have unlimited service for 1 year for $80/month. This is more expensive than some but I didn't want to sign a two year contract because we'll be in Mexico and Central America where it won't work. And Verizon has the best national coverage outside of urban areas. The Aircard doesn't work in Canada because there is no Verizon coverage and it doesn't work on extended networks. Still, this card has allowed me to have internet access parked in a National Forest in Washington, in a dispersed campsite in the mountains of Colorado, and the banks of Lake Ontario in New York, and I can even use it while driving down the road, Rus at the wheel of course. The connection is very slow, so I just do my business and I have developed more patience than I usually have at the computer. We are in Canada as I write this and I really miss the Aircard. I've heard about an antenna that amplifies wifi signals and thus increases internet options and it is made very close to our home in Northern California. See more about the Wave RV at radiolabs.com
We also have a mail forwarding service through Escapees in Texas. They offer 3 categories of forwarding, depending on your needs. For us it works like this: when we know we'll be somewhere, like at Rus's brother's house, we call a week to ten days ahead and ask them to send our mail to his address. If we don't know where we'll be but feel the need to check our mail, we pick a random city in the direction we are going, Bathurst, New Brunswick, for example, and have it sent General Delivery. Escapees is a great club for RVers, offering services and discounts that we all need. They are friendly and helpful too.
Even with all these systems in place, we couldn't have gone on the road without a good link to finances at home because we have property to manage. Luckily, we found the world's BEST manager, our oldest son, Jamie,who has been absolutely wonderful! And the bonus is we get to communicate with him frequently for this or that detail that prompts a call.
7.HOW DO YOU COMMUNICATE WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHILE ON THE ROAD?
The quick answer is by cell phone and internet. We picked Verizon, which had the best national coverage for the areas we planned to visit, and got two phones. One is our main phone, which we often leave on or carry with us, and the other is a spare, in case we lose or break the first one. Plus, if we ever separate we can communicate with each other easily by cell phone. We have to take the opportunity here to thank our Verizon dealer, Scott Davis, who owns two stores in the Santa Rosa, California area, and has been a huge help to us in choosing and troubleshooting our cellular service. We are grateful for Scott's intelligence and excellent service, and we highly recommend him. His number is (707)586-8800.
Kathleen and Rus both carry laptops. We love wireless which sometimes enables us to parasite off some unwitting nearby business or home if they're not encrypted (requiring a password to access). Once, while Rus was getting his haircut, Kathleen was able to upload one of our travel logs using a wireless connection found in the strip mall parking lot. We even bought a little gadget called a Wi-fi finder that lights up green and shows the strength of available wireless signals. However, it doesn't detect whether the signal is encrypted or not, which would be even better. It's been fun to play with but to tell you the truth, so far it hasn't proved all that useful. We love the internet, and use it more than anything else to communicate with our friends, keep up with the news, and do our business. Without it we'd probably be lonelier on the road.
Places like the above make our life on the road much happier. We had a bit of lunch in the parking lot, got to read our e-mail, and even uploaded a new chapter of our travel log.
8. WHAT'S WITH THE THIRD PERSON WRITING STYLE?
Our odd "reporter" style of writing evolved gradually as a way to solve the problem of alternating authors, without the need to identify that this is now Rus writing, now Kathleen. While Rus does most of the writing, Kathleen adds to it regularly throughout the text and in the beginning we wrestled with how to give this very joint project a smoother tone. We came up with third person writing. It can be challenging at times, and we both slip out of it occasionally, but find it gives us a format that solves more problems than it creates. (Thanks, Karen, for the question.)
FAQS for fun
These are the two questions people we meet most often ask. You can listen in on our end of the conversation:
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
We're from Northern California, way up near Oregon on the coast. You're right, we're a long way from home. No, LA's over 1000 kilometers south of us. Have you heard of the Redwood Trees? Yeah, they're really huge. Oh? You've heard of Humboldt County?
(We are surprised at how many people have.)
HOW OLD IS YOUR DOG?
Ziggy's only five, she's just prematurely gray around the muzzle. Happens to the best of us. Bubbo, he's fourteen. Yeah, he's doing pretty good for an old guy. He's a rat terrier. No, you don't see a lot of them. Theodore Roosevelt had some when he was president, though. The White House had a rat problem then, and those dogs took care of it pretty quick. Yeah, I guess you're right, there's still a rat problem in the White House!
To top of page
Home About Us Travel Log The Rig
We love e-mail!