Tag Archives: Living the RV Dream

Technology for Travelers: Geeks Teach at an RV Rally

Getting ready to teach our first seminar, "Technology for Travelers", at the Living The RV Dream Gathering

Getting ready to teach our first seminar, “Technology for Travelers”, at the Living The RV Dream Gathering

We just spent last week at an RV rally called “Living the RV Dream Gathering.” People from all over the country who travel by RV gathered here to learn, make friends, and have fun. We presented 4 seminars and one day-long smartphone photography workshop. For RVers, we almost always start with the seminar we call “Technology for Travelers.”

What IS Technology for Travelers?

We have a very specific meaning of Technology for Travelers. We aren’t talking about the satellite dishes, tire pressure monitors, or GPS devices. Although that could also be called Technology for Travelers, we like to teach what can be done with computer technology to Plan, Preserve, and Share your travels.

We have been traveling by RV since 2003 and our most prized possessions of those years are our pictures, maps, and blogs. If you enjoy your memories as much as we do, we think you need to learn how to use your smartphone and/or your computer to do the same!

Photos

We take hundreds of photos every month while we’re traveling. We use our iPhone and Android phone most of the time, but also some ‘real’ cameras. We gather our best pictures, using Google Photos,  and put them into albums for each month. Then we make a page on our blog to show off those albums. You can learn how to use the free Google Photos from our Book, Tutorial videos, and more on our website.

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Maps

We use Google’s free My Maps to make our own maps for each year. We start planning for the next year by creating a map like “2017 Geek Travels.” Then as the year progresses, we keep modifying that map. We change destinations, add destinations, and populate each stop with photos and descriptions. At the end of each year, we add the map to a Maps page on our Blog. You can learn how to make these maps with the tutorial videos on our website.

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Blogs

Pictures and maps tell most of the story, but I also like to write out my memories journal-style. Facebook is great for sharing small moments, but to have a complete journal I like using Google’s free Blogger.com. As noted above, you can also use your blog to create pages for other things, like pictures, maps, and videos. The blog is where I put it all together!  I created our blog when we were first just thinking about RVing. That was in early 2003 when Blogger.com was the only option available for a free journal/website. I still think it is the best option, and it is free and easy. Since our beginning in 2003, we have written nearly 2,000 posts. We are now ordering hard-bound, 4-color, coffee table books for each year on the road. Thumbing thru those books is one of my favorite things to do!

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Even if you don’t travel by RV, if you have memories you want to keep, check out our Tutorial videos on Photos, Maps, and Blogs. If you do travel by RV, we hope to see you at a Rally sometime down the road! There are hundreds of possible RV rallies to choose from. Most of them are organized by RV Clubs. Living the RV Dream’s website lists all the major clubs here. You can see where we’ll be on our calendar.

Listen to RV Radio Shows via Podcasts

by Chris Guld, www.GeeksOnTour.com

IMG_1703Think of podcasts like Blogs that you can listen to, rather than read.  I listen to three personally, and you may know of many more. The term ‘Podcast’ originated with the popular iPod device from Apple.  The iPod is a dedicated device for playing audio files.  However, you do not need an iPod to play podcasts.  Any computer will do, and most smart phones, as well as dozens of makes and models of ‘.mp3’ players.

A podcast is a computer file, usually in the .mp3 format.  What I’m talking about in this article is audio only, although podcasts can also include video.  Audio podcasts are great to listen to as you’re driving down the road.  You can listen to it from your computer, or you can download it to an MP3 player, or even to your smart phone.  We use our smartphones and plug the audio into our radio (or use bluetooth) so we hear the sound from the radio speakers.

Roadtreking

Roadtreking is a weekly show by Mike Wendland who travels in a Roadtrek class B. With over one million downloads, this is a very popular podcast. Mike’s background is in journalism and it shows, he has been a correspondent for NBC News since the 90s, producing a weekly “PC Mike” segment about technology. You can listen to his podcast by visiting the Roadtreking podcast page, find an episode you want to hear and click the Play button. Mike, and his wife Jennifer, cover technology and RV tips, destinations, people and lots more topics of interest to RVers.

Mike interviewed us (Jim and Chris of Geeks on Tour) in episode 9 of Roadtreking RV Podcast. His most recent podcast interviews Bobbi and Carl Braun. You’ll hear how they have a home in Hawaii, but prefer to spend much of their time RVing the USA!

Living the RV Dream

Living the RV Dream is a show by John and Kathy Huggins.  They have been fulltime RVers since 2005.  Their goal is to visit all the US National Parks.  They also do a lot of volunteer work since hitting the road including working at the Escapees CARE center in Livingston, Texas. Living the RV Dream podcasts are produced weekly.  They have written books about the FullTime RVing lifestyle, a very popular Facebook group, and they’re hosting their first Rally this October in Florida where Geeks on Tour will be presenting seminars.  Their most recent podcast will give you lots of good information about Workamping.

RV Navigator

imageRV Navigator is a show by Ken and Martha Wiseman.  As far as I know, this was the very first podcast about the RVing lifestyle and they’re still going strong with their latest podcast from September, 2015 about taking a Caravan trip thru the Maritimes. They have been extended RV travelers since 2005 and have podcast archives back to 2006.  Their home is in Chicago.  They also travel by cruise ship.  Ken is a gadget king and you will hear a lot about Macintosh computers, iPhones, iPads and all things Apple from Ken in addition to RV and Travel topics.  RV Navigator podcasts are produced once each month when they are traveling. Each podcast is about an hour long.

How do you Play the Podcast?

Every system will be a bit different.  It has gotten easier over the years. Each of the 3 podcasts discussed above have simple Play Now, or Listen Now links right on their website under the episode description.  If you click the ‘Play’ button, the audio will start streaming thru your computer and you can listen as it goes.  You must be connected to the Internet for this to work.  If you click ‘Download’, it will download the complete file to your computer – or whatever device you’re using to access this screen.  After the file is completely downloaded, you can run it and play the complete file without an Internet connection.  This is very handy for listening to podcasts while you’re driving.

Ken of RVNavigator adds, “Podcasts are free although some may have advertising.  Podcasts can be accessed on almost any internet enabled device from computers to phones.   As a caveat, downloading and/or steaming does require a fair amount of bandwidth, so frequent downloading of a large number of podcasts (our situation) means extra data charges.  I try to keep our podcast download to 25mb (about an hour at the bit rate we use) but many whose episodes are much larger.”

Finding Favorite Podcasts

Using an app like iTunes Podcast  or Stitcher, you can search thru hundreds of Podcasts and mark those that are your favorites. In the screenshot below, I searched for RV in the iTunes Podcast App and came up with the 3 I’ve mentioned, plus many more. Once you find them, you can ‘subscribe.’  That means, the app will keep track of when a new episode comes out. It will download that and delete ones you’ve listened to. If you want it to automatically download the episode to your device you can turn on the Available Offline feature so you can listen to it offline whenever you want.

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How about you?  Have you found any good RV related podcasts?  And, what is your favorite method for listening?

Train Ride Recorded on Google Earth with My Tracks App

We took a day to play tourist the day before we left the Verde Valley in Arizona. We posted a question on the Facebook group “Living the RV Dream” asking for suggestions of what to do. Within the hour we had no less than 20 responses. More came in over the next day. The consensus seemed to be Take the Train! So we did.

We called and made reservations for the Verde Canyon Railroad. We arrived the next day around noon and boarded the train at 1pm. Then I turned on My Tracks on my smartphone. This is so cool. It is GPS aware so it just keeps drawing a line on a map that plots where we are. But, more than that, you can take pictures along the way and they will be added to the correct spot on the map. When your trip is complete you stop the recording. Then you can view the tour or share it.

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My Tracks is a Google product, so it integrates with Google Maps, Google Earth, and Google Drive.  If you use Google Drive your Tracks are automatically saved there, so you can access them from your computer, or whatever device you like.  This also makes them easy to share with others.  I tapped the share icon at the top of the screen and chose the option to share publicly with Google Drive.

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If you have Google Earth installed on your computer (or whatever you’re using to read this) you can click on this Verde Canyon Track to download it. Then, when you open that .kmz file it will open in Google Earth. You should then see something like the following screenshot. I think the most entertaining way to view it is by double-clicking the Marker labels at the left. So, double-click on Marker 1 and Google Earth will fly you to that point and open up the picture. Then double-click on Marker 2 etc.

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After you record a track, you should be able to open your Google Drive and see a folder called My Tracks.  This folder can be on your computer as well as in the cloud if you download the Google Drive Desktop.

The one big problem with My Tracks is that there is no App for iPhone, just for Android phones.

I doubt that I’ll use this feature very often, but it sure makes for a ‘gee-whiz, look at that’ way to view some special trips.