where to restart?

Wow, who knew that wifi would be so difficult to come by in the state parks of Florida. The parks we have been at have been in the boonies, as well, with even cell service a scarce commodity. Even so our 4 gigs of data got sucked up so quickly, we were left with none for the rest of the month. Will definitely need to explore other options for more reliable, albeit, affordable connectivity.

Here’s what I have learned about cell phone data usage. First, check to make sure that you turn off the cloud-based backs up and photos sharing to the cloud and your other devices. In our situation, we have an iPhone, two iPads and a laptop, all of which were using the cloud. When using our mobile hotspot, the devices thought they were connected to wifi when they are actually using cell data as wifi through the hotspot so we were really sucking data even though the apps said to use only wifi to update. Secondly, go into the settings and under cellular, go through all the apps and turn off use cellular service for anything except for what you need on a regular basis. I kept Google maps, mail, weather and Safari turned on. I also turn use cellular data to off when not in use. With our four gigs, that gives us about 130 mb of data to use a day. We should be able to get an hour of streaming music, the weather, mail and use Google maps to navigate on that. Also in settings, turn location settings off for almost everything, except navigation, weather and perhaps photos. Last, turn off allow notifications for most apps. I leave my text message and missed call notifications on.

We are considering a cell signal booster to help with our signal, so will keep you posted on that. And perhaps the way to go is to get just a mobile hotspot from Verizon that has a big data plan. This way we would have the 4 gig with Consumer Cellular (the most you can get from them) that works on the AT&T network and a hotspot that works on the Verizon network. More chance of coverage that way. Whew, but for now, no blog posting or photo uploads until we get to wifi or something else figured out.

So, to back up in time, here’s where we have been. From Hamilton Branch in SC, we went to Fort McAllister State Park near Savannah, GA. The park was beautiful, with scenic wetlands and water, and of course, the historic fort,  nice campground, good hot showers, electric and water.


The highlights of these two days  were our trip to Savannah – love that city! – and the late afternoon- evening at Tybee Island. Savannah is a clean, easy to walk around, beautifully historic city. The architecture and the city parks every few blocks were amazing. Tybee island has a gorgeous beach – long and walkable- and a fun little beach strip with restaurants and shops.  We got some great seafood at the Rock House  – fish tacos for Bob and Mimi got her PoBoy fix  – they didn’t have any fresh oysters, but it was delish with shrimp.

Next up, down into Florida for Thanksgiving. The first night was a stopover at Jupiter Springs, a nice little park, just to spend the night along our way to Thanksgiving weekend near Sebring at HighlandHammock State Park. Yes, Thanksgiving is a busy weekend, but his place was pretty much crazy. I have never been to a park where no rules are enforced. 122The sites were crowded so closely it was almost embarrassing. Dogs barking, kids running around all over the park until well after midnight, amplified music blaring, smoky fires day and night…, wow. The saving grace here was the beauty of the park itself.131The hammock forest had trees nearly 1000 years old, beautiful swampy areas with boardwalks, a nice off road bicycle trail and lots of hiking. We were able to get our site changed to one of the end sites, which did improve things somewhat. I would not recommend this campground. If you want to see the natural beauty of the area, take a day trip. If you decide on the park, weekdays would be better, but definitely do not go on Thanksgiving or any busy weekend.

Nothing much to report on the trailer. To this point, we have had no towing problems.Bob noticed uneven distribution of tension on the weight distribution bars to the hitch. Upon inspection, we found a metal slag inside one of the receiving hubs. Using a dremel, our only power tool, Bob was able to shave off most of the extra height from that, but the bars lay unevenly out of the hubs. We also found a jammed link in one of the chains and adjusted the bars from under the chains with the bolts. Seems way better.

The fantastic fan is squeaking at low speeds.  We cleaned it and tried a little spray oil on the motor shaft. It seemed to help for a bit, but now it is back.

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