Back for More Arizona - Winter 2014 travel blog

Every year when we begin a winter motor home journey, we assume that something will not be working properly. Our vehicle is almost ten years old now and the beating some of the parts take as we move down the road can cause additional deterioration. While we were pleased that the latest prime offenders - the stabilizing jacks and the washing machine - were performing as expected, the list of things that need to be repaired gets longer and longer. Ken is very good at fixing things, but some problems are much easier to analyze and solve than others.

When we stopped getting TV over the air, he crawled up on the roof and could see that the antenna cables had weathered and literally broken in two. He bought new ones, attached them and we were back in business.

Although campgrounds are getting better about providing decent internet, we have always felt blessed to have our own, provided from the satellite dish sitting on our roof. When you think about the process, it really is miraculous. Every time we relocate, Ken pushes a button, the dish rises and locates the distant speck in the sky that is the satellite we are assigned to and signals start moving back and forth. This year the TV signals flowed, but we just couldn't get connected to the internet. Our internet provider assumes that we are online full time and regularly issues software updates and makes changes that are routinely downloaded by the dish. But when we are not online, we missed out on these so we weren't surprised when the connection was not readily made.

When we first got here, the campground's internet signal was so strong we could almost stream a movie, but as more and more RV'ers have arrived, the signal has gotten so diluted, there have been some days when we couldn't get connected at all. After we leave here, we plan to do some real desert camping in locations far from civilization and the fact that we could not connect ourselves became an ever growing concern.

Ken spoke to the internet provider helpline people, but their suggestions did not solve the problem and he began to wonder if some part of our equipment had broken. He found a local couple who do internet installations and we went to their home today to attach our modem to their system to see if it was still working properly. They tried a reboot routine Ken did not know which verified that the modem was OK, but still could not get us connected.

Somewhat disappointed we came back home, plugged the modem back in, and the connection was made. It's all so darn complicated, it seems like no one person can know it all. Some RV'ers have chosen to move away from satellite dishes and use their cell phones, so the dish market is shrinking and generally providers do not like to deal with people who move around since they have so many more issues. We'll be investigating the cell phone alternative, but know that there are many parts of the country where you cannot get data coverage, no matter what the Verizon commercials say.

The next repair item is the desk top computer, which turned on its fan so loudly it felt like we were on a jet runway, every time the computer went to sleep or we turned it off. This made no sense at all, but Ken searched online and found that a number of other computers of this model also had this unrepairable problem. The only solution was to get a new computer if yours is still under warranty. Of course, we are just out of warranty, but the Apple Store people here in Tucson felt that they could repair it for free. They promised it would be ready tomorrow. We are still waiting for the phone to ring.

And then when I tried to print some photographs for our niece, the printer no longer worked. Months of none use are not good for the printer in the motor home and we often have the same problem when we get home again. In the motor home the ink gets frozen at times. Cleaning the print heads didn't help this time. Amazon Prime is supposedly delivering a new one tomorrow. It's great that we have an address here, because getting packages is not easy when you live a gypsy life. Ironically the printer will cost us less than buying ink cartridges. Go figure.

There's still more on the repair list, but that's enough whining for today.

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