We figured out that this year was our 26th time presenting seminars at the FMCA national conventions. Back in 2004 we were there presenting seminars for Coach Connect, a company who installed WiFi in RV parks. After they went out of business we were invited back to FMCA on our own and Geeks on Tour was born in 2006. See this blog post for more history.
This year, the convention was held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, Georgia. Here was our seminar line up this year:
Technology for Travelers
Smartphones: What does this button do?
Google Photos: What to do with all those photos?
Create your online travelogue
See descriptions of all our seminars on this web page.
We got off to a bad start waking up at 6am to a freezing 29 degrees. We had always needed to be at our table by 7am on the first day to take registrations. We were there by 6:45 only to find the building wouldn't open till 8 ... grrrr, I mean brrrrr.
We survived that and gave our first seminar to nearly 400 people. We had to squeeze our normal 90 minutes of material into a new 60 minute format ... I talked fast! But we got some great feedback.
FMCA has always been limited to motorhomes, but they just recently opened up membership to trailers as well. I had a brilliant idea to convince my friend Alex, to join FMCA with her Casita trailer and come with us to the rally and help out at our table. To my surprise, she said yes! And, she was great help. We stayed at her place near Gainesville the night before and then followed each other up the road to Perry the next day.
Alex with her Casita and our Roadtrek on the way to Perry.
Alex helping out at our table
It was a very busy week, and lots of fun seeing old friends and making new ones. Sometimes it's both old and new! One woman attended several of our classes and she came up to me more than once saying, "How do I know you?" "You look SO familiar." We couldn't come up with anything, but on the last day, she gave it another try and asked, did you go to high school at Nova? OMG - Yes, I sure did. And so did she. Nancy was the captain of our drill team, the Titanaires, and I was co-captain - way back in 1970. Will wonders never cease? She now lives in Georgia and enjoys traveling by RV - and learning more about using her smartphone!
FMCA makes it a small world!
Whenever we're traveling by Cincinnati, we like to stay at the FMCA Member's RV park on 3590 Round Bottom road. It gives us a chance to visit FMCA headquarters and say Hi! Oh, yeah, it also gives us a chance to go to Graeter's Ice Cream for the "to-die-for" Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip!
It's free for members to stay for two days, then $20/night after that. Good 50-amp power and GREAT Wi-FI!! We heard the Wi-Fi was just added a week or so ago ... they must have known we were coming!
Wow! What a week. We spent the past week with a few thousand of our closest friends at the FMCA Convention (Family Motor Coach Association) in Albuquerque, NM.
We were thrilled to see so many people in attendance at our seminars - especially on the day that they had to brave the snowstorm to get there!
We did a lot of talking about digital photos and about blogs, but the hottest topic was all about cell phones and Internet Access.
In several of our seminars, we used our Droid phone tethered to the computer for our Internet connection.
If youâ€™re one of the many folks who have iPhones, youâ€™ll think weâ€™re SO behind the times! But, being Verizon customers, we couldnâ€™t get one of those fancy computer/phones because the iPhone is only available on the AT&T network. Now, both Jim and I have the Motorola Droid -- it's very similar to the iPhone, but on the Verizon network.
Itâ€™s a whole new world!
Weâ€™ve been teaching RVers how to use their cellphones tethered to the computer for Internet Access for a while now. With the Droid (or similar â€˜app-phonesâ€™) you donâ€™t even need to use your computer at all. You can read email, update your facebook status, read your favorite blog, check the weather, and Google for Mexican Restaurants, all from your phone. But, using it as Internet access for your computer is great, too -- especially since the data plan is unlimited!
A couple weeks ago, we wrote an article on Internet by Droid. Last week we put it to the test by depending on the Droid for Internet access in a couple of our seminars. It had to work, or our seminar would be a flop. It did. It worked great. Plenty of speed to upload photos, work with Wordpress, and use Google Earth.
When you get a phone that can browse the web, you must pay for a data plan on that phone. We are paying $30/month for the data plan on each Droid phone. The beauty is that the plan is unlimited. Even when using the Droid as a tethered Internet connection to the computer, the usage falls under the unlimited plan. I checked my Verizon usage stats to be sure - and it reads "unlimited access."
Did you attend the FMCA Convention in Perry, GA on March 16-19? We did!
After a little bit of wet weather to start with, it turned beautiful. We hear all about the RV industry collapsing, but you sure couldn't tell that by this convention! There were over 2,600 rigs there, we understand, and everyone we talked to felt the rally was a big success.
We gave six of our seminars, plus a hands-on Boot Camp. All of our seminars were well attended with no less than 150 people. The Picasa seminar had over 500!
If you missed it, all our handouts are available on our website:
Managing Digital Photos with Picasa
Every RVer Needs a Blog
High Speed Internet on the Road
Making Slide Shows with Photo Story 3
Using Google Earth
And, we're looking forward to doing it all over again in Bowling Green in July!
We already have several blogs, but I still love to try new systems - they just keep getting better. We`ve been living in our Motorhome fulltime for 5 years now. Our first FMCA convention was during our first year, and we`ve only missed one since. Here we are at the St. Paul convention this past summer.
We present the seminar Ãˆvery RVer Needs a Blog! I guess we`ll have to update that to include this new FMCA community!