On-The-Road Communications
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     (( This area is part of the new content being added,  to be finished soon?    Initial draft // Random notes follow. ))

This is a subject area I want to expand,  it was not previously included in the web-site topics.

When traveling and living full-time in an RV, the economics and the technology of communication become an issue.
This topic parallels the  Fellowship  issue since maintaining relationship calls for being in communication.


Cell phones: what was not long ago a novel means of talking with someone  has become the almost-obvious first-line technology for voice communication when on-the-road.   Where you obtain your cell phone service will become the "long distance" location to which others call to reach you.  Although there are many more cell towers,  there are still locations with minimal or no service.  At the locations where you expect to spend most of your time, it might be advisable to inquire with residents which cell providers have adequate service.


Internet . . . { email },  { research for tasks at hand },  { "community" forums like Escapees, Workers BOF, Christian BOF, etc. }, { maps: travel routing like MapQuest }
... hardwired LAN connections when available (typically on-site at a ministry),   WiFi when on the road or when the campsite is a distance from the ministry.
... Skype  (and other voice over internet services) (usually requires a fairly high speed connection)  an alternative to cell phones when no towers present,  has potential cost advantages if the other party also uses it.

For internet access there a multiple choices, some very expensive, some  'free'.
1. WiFi  at the campground when free  (otherwise the charges at campgrounds tend to be inflated),
2. Free WiFi  at McDonalds or Taco-Bell, etc.  [But you tend to buy something while there -- their whole idea of offering it 'free'.]
3. Libraries (generally restricted to their machines, mostly no insertion of floppy-disks or jump-drives allowed)
4. Cell phone as old-fashioned modem connection (there go your minutes - or spend late hours waiting for data to dribble through),
5. Verizon or other carrier "air card" (or other trade-name) insert/attach to machine (usually extra charges),
6. Hughes satellite at $60 per month and up   - mounting options include:
  (a) tripod mount, like for a surveyor  (about $1200)
  (b) MotoSat automated roof-top mount (about $5000)
  Maximum data transfers per-day enforced,  and not as good/fast as hardwired DSL  (those of you that have experienced DSL will be dissapointed).

I usually depend upon  #1,  #2 (and occasionally #3)  as well as the LAN wired connection at the ministry I am serving.
I have lost some saliva over  #6.a - - but have a hard time justifying the monthly cost [for those periods where #1 is not available].

Paper based communications via the post office are problematic because of the time-frame and/or delays in delivery - - but some stuff must still be reduced to paper.  "General Delivery"  is a commonly available service, although some towns with multiple post-offices may restrict you to only one office.  It also seems, from the reports of other full-timers,  that some post-office post-masters do not like to provide this service and may make you "jump through hoops" to obtain it - - asking first at the destination office (before having something sent) seems to clear the way.
   Most campgrounds do not accept mail for campers.


The logistics and personal thinking/processing issues are different also ...

Even when you know something is about to become due (like the vehicle registration on your trailer),  it is easy to overlook the absence of the notice in the mail. 


A story about  Free WiFi  at Taco-Bell - -  The scene is a small town in north-western Ohio, this was my second lay-over visit to this location. 
   I knew there was a McDonald's that offers free WiFi on the other side of town, but the roads between my campsite and that McD's are all torn up - - requiring a six mile detour.  Then I discover there is a McD's on the campground side of town,  and the door decals advertise Free WiFi:  all is good until I try to get online.  They recently re-decorated and the new door decals are part of the default package:  they do not really have WiFi at all !   
   Back at camp when I describe my experience, someone recalls seeing a sign in the window at the near-by Taco-Bell advertising Free WiFi.  A little more cautiously I check it out (before even taking my laptop inside).  It is true, it works at a just adequate level (small technical issues),  so "Eureka!".
   Now to the subject of  "Free WiFi"  offerings at fast-food outlets, hotels, coffee-houses etc.  Of course, the establishment is making the WiFi available in order to attract paying customers.  To appropriately engage in this quid-pro-quo it is necessary to select something to purchase.  At this Taco-Bell it appeared the small beverage would be the best (read 'cheapest') choice.  So my turn comes and I order a small drink,  the serving lady hands me the cup, rings up the order on the cash register, hands me the receipt and says "That is free for seniors". 
   I fill my cup, set up the laptop, connect to the internet, . . . and  begin  to  feel  guilty . . . while   drinking my free drink   getting free internet access.
(My solution at later visits did tend to hamper my weight control program.)



This page last edited: 13 August 2007