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Considerations for Living on the Road

Well, we are almost done with season two on the road. This year we only worked three shows with the food concession trailer and we booked seven shows with the Wild West Fun Park.

The travel part was essentially the same with the grave exception that fuel prices were a buck higher than they were last year per gallon. For us, with the tight routing we achieved, the additional fuel costs were manageable. With the exception of the first and last leg (leaving and returning to Tucson) we try to keep the legs within 350 miles (one tank full of gas in the motorhome) between shows. Several times this season we broke down the day after the show, hit the road to the next fair and set up the next day. If we had to travel further than about 8 hours it would be REALLY tough on me since I drive the motorhome/trailer rig.

If you follow along, you might have noticed the time between posts has been growing longer and longer. We were surprised once we hit Montana, there’s still plenty of areas with no cell service, no 3g service, and even towns with no internet. I know, a shocker.

We love the ipad with WIFI and ATT 3g service for the times we are on the road with no internet. But it doesn’t do us much good when there’s no cell service at all!

We picked up two ipod touch 4g’s for the entertainment attraction and they are wonderful for putting in your pocket and picking up WIFI to download or send batch messages easily. Not so good for writing long detailed and sometimes overly wordy blog posts.

Technology is a wonderful thing. In any decent sized town we can use the ipods and the ipad with skype to connect with friends and family without incurring any cell phone charges. We do have a cell phone but we honestly don’t use it much or even remember to keep it charged much less check the messages.

I just started using a free app for the ipod/ipad called Textplus to send free SMS messages to anybody with a cell phone via WIFI. I’m sure there’s other great apps that could help us bridge the gap- but hey! Who has the time?

I am working on a way to easily send short posts with a picture to the blog and facebook just to keep updated in between novella posts.

How much do we spend on communication services? Well, we have a family plan cell phone with my Dad out of Arizona with AT&T and we spend $15 per month including unlimited texts (we never use the minutes allotted and the rollover minutes are great). When we hit the road for the three months per summer, I also sign on for the ipad 250mb data plan with AT&T for $15 per month. We divided and conquered over a week ago so I updated the data plan to 5gb of data for $25 per month and I use the AT&T 3g network with skype as a cell phone on the road since Hil has the regular cell phone.

The ipod’s and ipad work well as pseudo cell phones in most locations with WIFI but access to full blown internet (good enough for videos and video skyping) is not as commonplace for us in our travels. We don’t necessarily go out of our way looking for a WIFI signal since it’s a pain to drag the motorhome, trailer, kids around just to find a hotspot. I am going to buy a WIFI extender later this year both for Mexico and the road next year in hopes of getting better reception and more networks with an extender.

I still have to figure out what to do about better communication in Mexico this year. Our collective family was not so happy about us being incommunicado for about 5 weeks when we sailed from San Carlos across the Sea of Cortez to the Baja’s Conception Bay. On the Baja side, there was neither cell towers or internet within easy access.

I may just have to fork out the $50 per month for a prepaid mexican cell phone for the 5 months we are down there for the peace of mind of the grandparents.

You know an ICE COLD draft beer in Mexico is a very affordable price of approximately $1.25! Click Here to Buy Us a Beer.

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