Generation Z. Cruising in an RV.: WOW: Utilizing Technology on the Go

Monday, December 17, 2012

WOW: Utilizing Technology on the Go

showing off my Samsung Galaxy Note II from Bill and my Samsung GalaxyTab 2 from Trish and Deejay
Technology is the sum total of state-of-the-art means (specific methods, materials, and devices) used to solve todays practical problems.  Todays means include hardware, software, etc.  The practical problems of cruising in an RV are 1) staying in contact with distant family and friends, 2) reducing load on the RV to minimize fuel expense, 3) getting around new destinations through unfamiliar roads, 4) documenting the enjoyment of new places, activities, and friends, and 5) being prepared for all kinds of conditions (no power, getting stranded, etc.). For you, we scan below the general purpose gadgets and the special RV technologies we are using on the go!

General Purpose Gadgets
the roof contains the dome for the dish satellite
as well as for vents, heat strip, and a/c units plus antenna

Black Fridays (which is always near my birthday) have always been opportunities to upgrade our gadgets. In 2010 Bill gave me with a high power, lightweight (3 lbs) 13-inch Toshiba Protégé laptop. In 2011 I gave him a 5-inch and lifetime map update Garmin GPS.  He gave me a new combination microwave/oven/crisper and a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, a smartphone with mobile Hotspot.  And we gave ourselves the connection for our DirectTV satellite In-Motion dish. This  year Bill got me a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 which is a 5.5 inch smartphone (and he gets the Nexus) and Trish, my eldest daughter and her husband Deejay got me a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 for my birthday/Christmas gifts (Bill gets the Protégé then!).

the Kindle!
So with all this processing power in our RV, we can do anything we want anywhere! We use the laptop and tablet for keeping and updating many digital files, banking and paying bills, writing posts and processing other stuff, emailing and  video-chatting with family (April in the UK and Claudine and family in Calgary and all the kids and grandkids all over  the USA). The Kindle now holds about 50 odd books and mags for Bill and me. And our smartphones, besides being our          phones, now have Mobile Hotspots, replacing the MIFI (Verizon broadband), become our PDAs (personal digital assistant), and serve as back-up cameras when we forget to bring the bulky Nikkon DSLR! 

Wide Screen Garmin GPS
The GPS has the widest screen available (although there is a wider screen, special RV GPS model which we thought was  too spendy) in the market and now includes real time traffic information. Together with the smartphones, we always have a guide to the next campground, the next tourist spot, the nearest Costco, the nearest  Redbox,  the type of food we crave for the moment, the local attraction we do not want to miss, the nearest gas station, the closest dump station, and other necessities of being so new in and around places all the time!

Nikon DSLR D5000 
Bill's Dashboard
The DSLR camera has been great for taking superb shots of outstanding scenery. We have 2 lenses to take care of most distances (like capturing a bear in action from a safe distance), action shots (like me singing in a karaoke session),  and other changing requirements. The DSLR gives us greater control and better pictures than a point-and-click camera. It allows for higher resolutions for higher quality pictures. Editing the photos for posting to this blog is an enjoyable and hugely rewarding task especially after you see the results. We now have about 30,000 photos in all our external drives combined, exceeding a terrabyte in capacity.

Ziller Karaoke System
And I havent even talked about our thousands of songs on our 2 iPods and our Asian Karaoke system (gifts to each other from early times)!

                                       RV Technology Gizmos
Bill's main control system or tanks, batteries, propane, water

Our home on wheels also requires lots of special technology! We utilize systems that are mostly satellite-based so that things can still be operable wherever we may end up. There are also usually different kinds of systems available for different kinds of situations. And the devices are usually more compact than those we use in regular homes.

refrigerator controls that now shows electric power use
combo washer/dryer
Let us take power for instance. On the road or while dry camping (camping without hook-ups or in the boondocks), the refrigerator runs on LPG. Parked at a full-hookup campground, it draws power, like all other appliances and lights, from a 30 or 50 amp circuit (we prefer 50 because we have included everything a home needs including a washer/dryer).  While dry camping, lights are run by house batteries while the generator runs all others heavy drawers such as the furnace, air-conditioning, microwave/oven, washer/dryer, etc., including my hair dryer!.

main system under the RV for control of plumbing systems
the campground hook-ups we attach to
Plumbing is also different in an RV. We have three different tank systems.  We can hook up to city water or store it in a fresh water tank underneath the RV.  The grey water tank holds the water from the sinks, shower, and washing machine/dryer combo. The black water tank holds - you guessed it- the water from the toilet.  We have to make sure they are all drained and flushed regularly.  Most campgrounds have hookups to take care of this but when they dont or when we just use a parking lot, like at a Walmart for a night or just camp by the side of a river as we did on the road to the Arctic Circle, we have to look for public or for pay dump stations or (heaven forbid!) resort to blue boys (you dont want me to tell you about those!).

monitor for inside and outside temperature and humidity
and the white unit above right for automatic control of fans and vents
This is only our second RV (first was Star and now its MA). We have yet to install solar panels, and activate the in-motion TV so I can watch even while Bill is driving (whenever I need to watch Nadal live!). And driving a 37 foot Class A towing a compact car behind it means a total of about 52-53 feet! Backing up can be quite tricky. So there is a TV  monitor that helps Bill. And the towing system (Blue Ox is the brand we use) is readily set up in a Saturn (too bad they are out of production). We have not had an opportunity to use the short-wave radio though. There is really no end to the  technology we can benefit from.  

protector for gas leak from anywhere
microwave/browner/oven/combi cooking
After almost 4 years on the road, we have many devices we no longer can do without. We are not really early adopters but we certainly utilize technology as much as possible. In this lifestyle, technology has become our slave! So has Bill become mine because I do not know how to operate many of these gizmos!
entertainment deck