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For many years prior to retiring, selling my house and traveling/living full-time in my motorhome beginning in March 2017, I had a FAX machine in my home. Although FAX is an old technology and my machine did not get heavy use, it was an especially convenient way to quickly and securely communicate with those who were unwilling or unable to use email. On vacating my house I lost that convenience and particularly missed it when, during my travels, I had to use an office supply store or mailing/shipping facility to send/receive FAX messages. Even wireless printers and FAX machines need a conventional phone line to send and receive FAX transmissions which, until recently, was unavailable to me as a full-time RV traveler. There are, of course, Web-based services that will convert email messages into FAX messages and vice versa, but their monthly charges usually range from about $8 to $17. Free FAX services severely restrict the number of pages and quantity of FAX messages that can be sent or received. Here is the way I was able to recently obtain a conventional phone line that operates wirelessly. An OBi200 1-Port VoIP Phone Adapter with Google Voice and Fax Support for Home and SOHO Phone Service can be connected to an Internet router with a standard CAT-5 cable. After it has been configured with Google Voice, unlimited phone and FAX calls can be made via the OBi200 using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) anywhere in North America without any monthly or calling fees. Recently I was introduced to the Obihai Technology OBIWIFI5G 2.4/5GHz Wireless 802.11AC Adapter for the OBi200 which allows me to use my cellular hotspot for the VoIP Internet connection. Like most RV owners, I don’t have an Internet router in my coach. Those who do will not need the wireless adapter. Amazon, Newegg and other on-line sellers sell the OBi200 for about $50 and the OBIWIFI5G adapter for about $25, making the total investment for having a conventional phone line in my coach with unlimited calling and FAXing for less than a year’s cost of the cheapest Internet FAX service. Here is a word of caution; VoIP does of course consume data. My data plan with Verizon is unlimited but if yours has limits you’ll need to take VoIP data consumption into account when considering costs. My campground’s office kindly allowed me to use one of their hard-wired Internet connections to configure my OBi200 and wireless adapter, but once that was done their connection was no longer needed. For my needs I used the FAX tool already available in my Windows computer and a modem connection to the phone line. If I’m sending a document from paper, I use my portable scanner, which I already owned. Otherwise I can FAX documents that already on my computer as easily as I can print them. Received FAX messages pop up on my screen which I can view, save and/or print as needed. Conventional FAX machines can now be bought for as little as $25 on-line. Since my installation, I’ve been able to FAX documents thousands of miles across North America and locally as reliably as I could with the land-line that I had in my home. Frequent boondockers can run the OBi200 directly on 12-volts DC or with its included 120/240 volt AC adapter.
We left Orewa Beach Sunday morning headed north to Whangarei and beyond to Russell and the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. After several days in the campervan we had a list of things we needed. Groceries were at the top of the list. Yes, despite our purchase on Friday we were in for another purchase of food. We located the Countdown Grocery and Louise went in to start shopping. I went to a housewares store, Briscoes. I thought it was going to be more like a Lowe’s than a Bed Bath and Beyond but I still managed to find most of what I wanted. I found a door mat marked $19.95, two plastic wine glasses marked $10 each, a good steak knife for $9.99 and a sharp kitchen utility knife for $6.99. The door mat was marked 50% off so it should have been about $10. When everything was rung up, it came to $30.00 NZ. I checked the ticket and everything was on the ticket but at a discounted price. Must have been a big sale day. With the US conversion it came out to $25.19. Now that is better! I remarked to Louise that I wish the manager of the Briscoes store was running the Countdown! Louise spent another $170 at Countdown. While she prepared lunch I went to a technology store in the shopping center and inquired about a cell phone for our use. They directed me to the Vodaphone store which knew exactly what I wanted. I purchased a simple cell phone with 30 minutes of time for $50.00 NZ, $40.87 US. I consider this a bargain considering what it would have cost us to use our AT&T cell phones here in New Zealand. We’ll plan to do the same thing in Australia. No, of course the New Zealand phone won’t work in Australia! Shopping and lunch completed, we were off to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. We arrived at 4:00, inquired and found they were open until 7:00 which gave us time to explore. We paid $100 NZ, $82 US for admission. The treaty grounds are the location where the treaty was signed between Great Britain and the Maori leaders giving the British Crown sovereign control of New Zealand in 1860. A small museum displays photos, artifacts and documents from the signing. A short video describes the events leading up to the treaty signing. The house which was the residence of the an early British resident, James Busby, still stands and has been restored and furnished with period furniture. The gardens were in full bloom. Also on the grounds is a replica Maori fishing camp and a traditional Maori meeting house. We missed the cultural performances, war dances and celebratory dances. We would see them at another site later in the trip. There is also a huge Maori war canoe which held 80 rowers and is launched each February 6 as part of the Waitangi Day celebration of the signing of the treaty. We were there on February 2 and weren’t able to stay for the celebration. We did notice that traffic was really heavy on February 6 and the schools were closed. It was only after several comments to that effect that we remembered this was a holiday, the celebration of the birth of their nation. We walked from the war canoe by the beach back up to the house on the same path William Hobson walked 154 years before as he represented the British Crown at the treaty signing. On the western outskirts of Russell is a Kiwi Holiday Park. The facilities were good but the parking was mostly sloping. We found a site that was reasonably level and pulled in. Our neighbors were sitting out having a glass of wine and relaxing when we pulled in. They struck up a conversation right away. I had to excuse myself to hook up the electric and turn on the gas. I told them if I didn’t I wouldn’t get fed tonight. We later went out with our wine glasses and had a wonderful discussion with them. We found numerous things in common. They were from Melbourne, Australia and we exchanged contact information and have an invitation to get together with them when we are in Melbourne next month. The RV community is the same everywhere, friends are just a few words away.